The Genesis Rock
The story of the Genesis Rock reminds us of how biblical and scientific accounts, despite their different purviews and purposes, remain inexorably linked in our understanding of origins.
At BioLogos, we believe that a serious and faithful reading of Scripture doesn’t call for a recent origin to the earth, and we are persuaded that God has shown us through the natural world he created that his creative work began much earlier.
Learning about science has taught me humility about my Bible reading and it has pushed me to think again, to read again, to ask again, and to wonder all over again what the Bible was saying when it was written and how the Bible was heard to its original hearers (so far as the evidence permits us to know such things).
For my part, the historical setting of the text plays an important role in how I read. It’s not a problem in my view to see the authors of Genesis embedded in their times, writing in the scientific/mythological terms they knew, even if those terms are now obsolete.
“There are clues in a text as to how the text should be written, so with Genesis, the rhythmic nature of Genesis 1 and 2, the almost poetic, and hymnic, function that it would have played in the liturgy of the earliest Jewish lives… it seems to me that there are clues here that it should be read in a theological way.”
We must press beyond the various creation narratives in the Hebrew Bible, including the final chapters of Job, to the picture of God revealed in the New Testament—the Creator who does not rationally explain away the scandal of suffering but who instead enters into it.
The confident assertion that the Bible trumps science stems from a misunderstanding of the purpose of the scriptures, and a misapplication of the Bible to answer questions that can only be answered by the application of science.
We now take for granted an understanding of the Christian story that was largely worked out by Paul and later theologians. Even though the Gospels were composed after Paul’s letters, they were concerned to tell the story itself in all its strangeness as it had been preserved by the first generation of Christians. And what we find in the stories themselves is the shock and wonder and surprise that the resurrection caused.
When you are in church, do you act and speak differently than when you are in school? Do you tend to compartmentalize what you learn about in Biology class from what you learn about in Sunday School?