The View From 1776

“Understanding” Creation - Round Three

      http://www.thomasbrewton.com/index.php/weblog/understanding_creation_round_three/

Yet more discussion about what the meaning of is is.

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In the continuing exchange of emails, I received the following:

“So you say the bible is to be taken symbolically, not literally?”

That was in response to part of my earlier answer in which I said:

I think that’s the point. ?There are realms of being or non-being that we simply cannot imagine or sense.  The Book of Genesis is a symbolic effort to put this profound intuition into human words.

My reply:

You’re about to push me into a very hot pot.  Many Christians, as obviously you know, believe that the Bible is literally the Word of God. 

I too believe that it is the Word of God, in the sense that the Bible is what the spirit of God put into the hearts of men.  But, as I said in other replies, God can only be intuited, because the human mind lacks the capacity to understand a realm of pre-existence outside being (that tangle of words illustrates the difficulty).

A masterly painting is not the same thing as the physical reality that it represents, and it may be a selective distortion of the reality.  Nonetheless it was inspired by the original and conveys a distinct and instructive picture, a “message” to the viewer.  The Bible is more than that, but the analogy is useful.

Obviously the writers of Genesis were not present to witness the creation of the world out of darkness and chaos.  One can say that the Genesis account is the Word of God in the sense that it represents humans’ Divinely-inspired attempt to deal with a fundamental question of existence and humans’ place in it.

The ancient Hebrews were pretty sharp.  Genesis is not a bad layman’s description of what many physicists and astronomers today would say about the origin of our world.

Jesus Christ was an actual, historical person, as witnessed by both enemies and believers.  His miracles are also historical fact, witnessed in some cases by thousands of people.  You may not believe them possible, but that is to maintain that the laws of nature, as we presently understand them, are never suspended. 

It was in that connection that I mentioned Professor Hawking’s naked singularity of a black hole, where the laws of nature are suspended.  Until recent experiments in the realm of quantum mechanics, most people would have thought anyone was nuts to believe that matter could be simultaneously in two different places, or that action in one locale could directly influence matter located elsewhere.  As physicists probe further into matter and energy, they are encountering more and more counter-intuitive phenomena.

In the medical field, for example, miraculous cures occur, for which medical science has no answer.  Life-threatening tumors just disappear overnight in response to prayer (as I know from an experience in my family).