Saturday, August 23, 2008

Why Evolution is Biblical*

It's ark time in North Florida as Tropical Storm Fay is currently dumping a ton of rain on Tallahassee. The ground outside the front door of our house is a sopping wet mess, and I can hear the sirens of fire trucks and police cars off in the distance. And I'm sure the cat has curled up in the corner figuring there is nothing better to do than to sleep and hope this storm ends soon.
I'd join in her that, but I am wide awake, and energized, and will more likely do some "not so light" reading for my Education for Ministry class. Nothin' like reading about the Priestly creation story in Genesis with its "waters of chaos" while there's rainy wind gusts of 30 miles per hour blowing against the windows!
And speaking of that particular creation story...let me launch headlong into that heated topic of evolution.
For reasons I don't really understand, as a species, human beings really want things to be black or white, right or wrong. To entertain the idea that there could be a middle path seems to cause a great deal of discomfort. I know. I was up close and personal with the 2000 presidential election in Florida. People don't handle messy very well at all.
The same seems to be true with evolution vs. creationism. Understand, I don't think one should read the creation stories in Genesis as being absolute literal truth of how things happened. I believe these stories are told, and were told by the people of that time, to make sense of the world and why things were the way they were. But I also see in the P story of creation at the start of Genesis a description of evolution.
If you read it, you'll see a progression that seems to track how the world evolved to the state of us having human beings. Ah, but wait: in the P story, the writer never says that God created the apes which then evolved into human beings. That's true.
In the First Chapter of Genesis, God creates living creatures, and birds, and sea monsters and orders them to go forth and multiply on the fifth day. Then he creates cattle, creeping things and wild animals...and once he's done that, now it's time to create humans in "our own image". Do the animals "evolve" into people? No, not in the writings here, but I am not focusing on that. What I think is more important is to see how this progression of creation takes place. And it happens in an order that would seem to follow the course of events as understood by science. All things came into being over a period of time (and God's idea of evening and morning are probably eons as opposed to hours) with humans being the last to arrive on the scene.
Sounds like a description of evolution to me!
Yet it seems those who are firmly in the scientific camp and those convinced creationism is the only right answer can't, or won't, entertain the possibility that they both are right at least in the P story of creation. The sides dig in, and lob hand grenades at each other. Because we humans seem to want winners and losers, black and white, right and wrong. Sigh.
By the way, I do think we evolved from the "wild animals". I can't look at the skeleton of any number of animal species and not see how closely we resemble them in structure. But even in my belief in evolution, I don't think these are just random mutations or experiments gone awry, but likely part of a plan that we can not comprehend, but isn't it fun to try. Recognizing the evolution of the various species doesn't take anything away from a power greater than ourselves that made it all possible.
Speaking of which, I have some "not so light" reading to do.
Sometimes the Universe is just a little too cosmic for me! I wrote this post this afternoon, and the New York Times ran this article on its website tonight. A Florida-based story no less. Ha!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think I shall enjoy your reading the different Biblical stories and perhaps I shall be able to follow along with you. Your right on as to the development of human life I think, that it took eons to get where we are upright and a fairly inquisative group of homo sapiens. We haven't really done such a great job of things anyway.