Why we all should read The Book of Genesis.

christopheranton By christopheranton, 29th Dec 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

The controversy between creationists and evolutionists, especially regarding interpretation of The Book of Genesis, has raged for a long time. There really is no reason for all that "hot air".

It is not about creation at all.

Much has been written about The Book of Genesis over the years. The interpretation of the first book of The Bible has divided scholars since it was first written. Indeed there is little agreement among people as to when it was actually compiled. Some say that it was dictated to Moses by God, and that it is an exact account of how The Earth, and everything on it, came to be. Others that it was written by Hebrew priests after the return from Babylon in the fifth century BC. The protagonists for the later authorship believe that it was felt neccessary to establish a history, and a relationship with God going back into prehistory, for the newly free jewish nation. The notion that God rested on the seventh day was put in to reinforce the belief in The Sabbath as a special day to be set aside for the worship of God.

A debate has been raging since the nineteenth century between fundamental creationists, who insist that the account in The Bible is the literal truth about how we arrived on this planet, and Darwinian evolutionists who believe that we are the result of a series of gradual modifications in species that have, through the course of many millions of years, resulted in the handsome and intelligent beings that we mostly are today.

The sad thing about this controversy is that extremists on both sides have used it to vilify each other. On the one hand we have people like Richard Dawkins, who insist that the science of evolution is an absolute proof that there can be no God, and on the other side we have the creationists who scream all the time that to consider the notion that the arguments of Charles Darwin might have merit, is to be on a fast track to Hell.
Sadly both sides feed of each other, and both sides are wrong.

But I am not writing here to back up the arguments of either side. Neither do I have enough knowledge of biblical studies to form a definite opinion on the origins of The Book of Genesis. It may well have been dictated by God to Moses. He may even have held the hand of the prophet. I dont know. Perhaps it was written by priests in the fifth century BC. It might even have been compiled by Kermit The Frog in collaboration with Miss Piggy. I have to admit that the last one is the least likely. But what I will say about it is that it is definitely not an account of how the world was created. What it is, however, is a morality tale of the first order; and it is in this way that it should be read and understood by people of faith, and people of no faith.

There is a tradition in literature of pointing out the difference between right and wrong. Actions have consequences. In popular fiction the good guy usually wins. We can see this all the time in writing so diverse as Grimms fairytales, where the good Cinderella wins out, and the bad Ugly Sisters are thwarted; or in the stories of Charles Dickens, when the Good Oliver Twist wins out over the corrupt Mr Bumble. There is a very sound reason why these stories should end as they do. It is important for the moral development of the readers that sound role models are put before them. If the bad guys were always winning, we might begin to believe that evil actions were the way to proceed. This is not the way to build a successful society.

It was ever thus. The accounts in Genesis are exactly the same. The evidence for the literal truth of the creation accounts, and the worldwide flood, are so contradictory of what we do know from the fossil record, that we can dismiss those notions out of hand. There may have been a localised flood that killed the greater proportion of the people living in a limited area. But that is the best that anyone can honestly say.

So we have to look for another reason to give value to The Bible's first book. I have to say that it is primarily a demonstration that wrong actions can have unfortunate consequences. When it tells us that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden because they disobeyed God by eating a forbidden fruit, it is not relaying a real story, but it is pointing a very important moral,i.e we should keep our agreements, and if we break our word there will be a cost.
The same lesson is to be learned from the account of Noah's flood, and from the story of The tower of Babel, although the Babel episode also warns us against the dangers of hubris, and of overreaching ourselves, ( a lesson most of us have still failed to learn).

To conclude, let me just say that it is a pity that The Bible has become the "football" of the extremists. There is no real reason why it can not be read, and benefit be taken from it, by people of great faith and of no faith. I personally believe in God, and in the Divine Inspiration, that guides the texts of The Bible. But it was never written to be read as literal truth in every particular, and it was definitely never meant to be a text book on creation. To maintain this is to just make a mockery of the truth, and that is what God is supposed to be about.

Tags

Adam And Eve, Atheist, Bible, Book Of Genesis, Charles Darwin, Creationism, Creationism Versus Evolution, Darwinian Evolution, Darwinism, Evolution, Extremists, Genesis, God, Meaning Of The Book Of Genesis, Morality Tale, Richard Dawkins

Meet the author

author avatar christopheranton
Born in Ireland, but living in London since 1986, my main interests are reading, studying history, politics, and theology, and looking after the welfare of my cat. I like to write on a variety of subjects, make general observations on lifes dilemmas....(more)

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
29th Dec 2010 (#)

Added to Facebook. I love your style of writing.
My vote is on the frog and pig.. in fact the conspiracy could be something like them plotting against sheep and snakes

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author avatar Greenfaol
29th Dec 2010 (#)

LOL, loved the kermit account, brilliant. Couldn't agree more. As a geologist, I know the earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old. As someone spiritual, I don't think that detracts from holy books in any way. Very, very well said, Christopher :D Happy New Year x

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author avatar Denise O
30th Dec 2010 (#)

Chris, I could not agree more. I believe in God, I use the bible as my guide but, if I went literally by what the bible states then...
If my child did something wrong, I would take a actual rod and have at them.
What I gather from what was written is, we are hold our kids accountable for THEIR actions and not let them get away with doing wrong.
Not take a rod to them.
Good read.
Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar christopheranton
30th Dec 2010 (#)

Thanks Denise for reading.
I,m sure your children are glad that you are not
a bible literalist.
Have a Happy New Year.

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author avatar vpaulose
1st Jan 2011 (#)

Dear brother,
Heart greetings for the New Year. Thank you for your comment on my article on "camel milk". I have corrected the typo mistake you have pointed out.'it is 24 hours'. Thank you also for your articles. They are very useful.

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author avatar christopheranton
1st Jan 2011 (#)

You are welcome.
Thanks for visiting.

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author avatar angelnjuly
5th Jan 2011 (#)

Hi Chris~
Your writings are very good. They convey messages that makes someone think. Nice one~

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author avatar christopheranton
5th Jan 2011 (#)

angelnjuly. You are welcome.
Thanks for reading.

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author avatar Retired
6th Jan 2011 (#)

Very good article. Thanks.

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author avatar christopheranton
6th Jan 2011 (#)

Lucia anna.
You are welcome.

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author avatar traffic backlink
14th Feb 2011 (#)

i like the the picture, could you add more pictures for your next article ?
looking forward for your Genesis article

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author avatar christopheranton
14th Feb 2011 (#)

traffic backlink.
Thanks for reading.

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