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Summary: Working out conflict between science and Genesis Creation account.

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Many people now believe the creation account in Genesis is a charming myth with no evidence for validation. However, I think we can look at Genesis in a reasonable and logical manner, seeing that it actually does support scientific research. The origin of the universe and especially of human life is answered in the Genesis account. Both nature, science and theology can agree with each another and any apparent conflict between them is due to faulty interpretation and an incorrect understanding of the text.

First of all, it is important to understand that the New Testament depends very heavily on Genesis. At least 165 passages in Genesis are directly quoted or clearly referred to in the New Testament. Christian salvation is based on the Adam-Christ model, therefore the doctrine of creation is foundational for every other doctrine in scripture because God’s revelation begins with creation in the book of Genesis.

When examining the Genesis account, we must be careful not to employ a contemporary historical interpretation. The Hebrew mentality worked differently than ours in telling history and we need to take this into account when trying to understand scripture. Here the Hebrew author is using a technique that was understood to the readers of the time, namely that the writer would introduce a general concept, work with details and then sum the up the general concept and the details. Additionally, a secondary pattern of thought in the Hebrew mind was to a address a broad subject, then go to a more general subject and then to the specific. These two patterns we see in reading the Genesis account of creation. Why did the writer do this? To introduce the idea of covenant and grace that leads to the gospel message of Jesus. St. Bonaventure said: “God did not create to increase his glory, but to show it forth and to communicate it to those whom he loves.”

Now we need to consider the meaning of the Hebrew word “barah,” which means “to

create,” but not in the same sense as the English equivalent. Without understanding its Hebrew meaning, the reader misses a pivotal point which narrows down the message of this account. This Hebrew verb for “create” is used only of God’s creative activity apart from any pre-existent material. So the understanding for the Hebrew word is that God created out of nothing, without the use of any pre-existent material and the writer desired to express the thought of absolute creation, asserting that the heaven and the earth had a beginning and that this beginning is to be found in the fact that God created. We can see the same use of the Hebrew verb “barah” with its same meaning in Psalm 46 when the writer proclaims: “Create in me a clean hear Oh God!”

Evolution, then, does not begin from this standpoint. Evolution addresses how life developed, slowly and gradually, from something that was already there. This point, in itself, illustrates that the Genesis account and evolution do not have to be in conflict. Additionally, Charles Darwin doesn’t refute that God is behind the creating.


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