Truth beyond facts

Apr 24, 2017 by

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Recent letters have addressed the Genesis creation stories and the theory of evolution. We need to look at the differences between these two perspectives. One is based on science; the other is a profound and beautiful religious affirmation. Comparing the two shows the difference between facts and truth. It is like talking about the details of marriage and the meaning of love. Both are important.

Gen. 1:1-2:4 is a beautifully profound story that provides the basis for the meaning of the whole Bible. It starts with chaos, moves to an orderly world and finally to a state of rest. The remaining stories of Genesis 2-11 tell of human wickedness, corruption and pride, which God seeks to remedy. The whole story of the Bible is one of ups and downs, including crucifixion and resurrection, until it ends with the peace and rest of Revelation 21-22.

Genesis 1 reveals the nature and role of God. Unlike other ancient gods who fight and kill each other to create the world, God stands outside the chaos and order. He looks, commands, approves and finally announces the whole is very good. Though spoiled by humans, creation is basically good and therefore can be fixed — unlike some religions that say the fallen world must just be endured.

Finally, there is the question of how to understand the sequence of creation in Genesis 1. It helps to put days 1-3 and 4-6 in parallel columns. Days 1-3 provide the basic structures. Days 4-6 fill those categories or structures. Thus general “light” on Day 1 is filled on Day 4 with specific lights: the sun, moon and stars. We also note that the author or authors found the lunar calendar, with its days and weeks, a helpful outline to tell the story. It is a beautiful and profound story affirming that God is good and gave the natural world purpose and direction.

Burton Yost
Bluffton, Ohio

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