Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ribs and a good video

Last Sunday's readings included Genesis 2: 18-24. Here is an excerpt:

"The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. " -- Genesis 20 - 22

My husband and I have a running argument. He is an evolutionist and I am a creationist. We peacefully solve this problem by agreeing that HIS ancestors were hairy apes and mine were created by God in Paradise in a burst of creative love. (This is quite against the will of my own family members who much prefer, in their own thinking, the ape side.) ANYWAY . . .

I often hear people saying that the seven days in the Biblical creation story was just a metaphor for billions of years; that the story is all symbolic. And I admit the order that things would have come about from a Big Bang viewpoint can be related loosely to the seven-day order in the creation story. But now somebody, anybody, tell me how putting Adam to sleep, removing one of his ribs and making Eve from it can symbolize anything in the evolutionary process. According to that way of thinking, the sexes would have to have co-evolved simultaneously.

I personally cannot think of any way to explain the rib story as a logical extension of evolution. And I personally cannot, from an evolutionary way of thinking, do anything with that story except to say that it is just a story. Maybe it has a lesson for us and wasn't meant literally. Maybe it was added there by men wanting to rationalize their perceived superiority over women so they could boss them around.

I think if we are going to look at the creation story as a symbol, though, we have to be very careful not to lose original sin in the process. If it is just an old folk tale, even an inspired one, is original sin still real? What does it matter if we lose original sin anyway?

Without original sin you don't have need of Jesus to do anything other than just show us some good videos on being nice to each other. Really, He didn't even need to die if there was no original sin to be specifically overcome once and for all.

So that should pick a good fight and I will be very disappointed if I don't get one.

Note from Joyce: My understanding of the Catholic Church stance on creation/evolution is that you are allowed to believe most of what evolution teaches but not the ape thing. Souls do not evolve. Last I heard the Church was taking a good look at this matter and may have more to say about it before long.

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