Some people think the right place to begin reading a book is at the beginning. That is not always so. It is unfortunate that the first two chapters of the Bible, that is the first two chapters of the book of Genesis, are perhaps the most offputting for many people today. That is because they contain the story of the Creation of the World, and of the rest of the Universe.
If you find this account unbelievable, as most people do, you may find it difficult to take the rest of the Bible seriously.
There are six things I do not believe about the Creation Story which you may find worth considering.
- I do not believe you have to hold any particular view of Creation before you can be a Christian. There have been over the years Christians who have held many different views of Creation, as there are today. Some believe Genesis 1 and 2 completely literally, others see them as metaphors, whilst still others regard them as of no relevance at all.
- I do not believe the Bible was written as a scientific textbook. Its theme is God and Mankind. God’s relationship with Mankind, or Man’s relationship with God, if you prefer. It is full of insights into ourselves and how we should live. To miss all that because you do not accept the Bible’s view of how the World began is to rob yourself of something of immeasurable value.
- I do not believe science and the Bible have to be enemies. I have only a limited knowledge of science, but I do value the contributions made to our understanding of ourselves and our World by various disciplines. None of them can ever make the Bible redundant. They do not address the same themes.
- I do not believe Genesis 1 and 2 were ever intended to be taken literally. I am assured by biblical scholars that the language of those two chapters is poetic. You do not write scientific treatises in poetry. Poets take liberties with facts in order to present deeper truths. If you can accept that the word ‘day’ was not intended to mean twenty-four hours, but ‘period’ or ‘phase’ and thus could embrace millions of years, the rest of the story begins to look an awful lot more credible.
- I do not believe the human writer of Genesis had scientific knowledge far ahead of his time. Whether that was Moses or not, they were written long after the Creation but long before most modern scientific discoveries. So the writer could not have known what happened in much detail. I suppose he went into a trance and had a vision, like a lot of the prophets in the Bible. He probably struggled to make sense of what he saw. What we have is testimony to his great insight and ability.
- I do not believe the Creation Story is irrelevant. Although I have said that I do not believe you have to hold any particular view of this story, I believe there is an important truth in it that we should not overlook. God created the World, and the rest of the Universe. Not some other god or the Devil or anyone. It is His World and He knows how it should work. Follow the Maker’s instructions. That is true whether it took Him seven days or seven billion years.
So before you dismiss the Creation Story and then go on to dismiss the rest of the Bible, think about the six things I do not believe about it. Perhaps you will not believe them either.