Interpretations of creation story vary
http://www.thereporter.com/Stories/0%2C ... %2C00.html
By Karen Nolan/Staff Writer
Was the world created exactly as it says in the book of Genesis, or is the theory of evolution a more accurate account? Not every faith that includes Genesis among its Scriptures feels compelled to debate the matter.
For the vast majority of Jews, any discrepancy between science and faith was pretty much settled 1,100 years ago, said Rabbi Steve Vale of Congregation Ha-Makom (The Jewish Community of Solano County).
Saadia Gaon, a Babylonian rabbi who helped codify Rabbinic Judaism, resolved the conflict, Vale said.
"Saaida Gaon said that if there is scientific evidence of something and it contradicts what Torah (Scripture) says, the Torah can't be wrong and science can't be wrong. I'm wrong. I'm interpreting it wrong," the rabbi explained.
Genesis, for instance, says the world was created in seven days. "There's no compelling reason for us to say a day is 24 hours," Vale said. "There's no reason to say God could not create the world through evolution."
Nor do Jews necessarily hold that Genesis is the start of the story. "'In the beginning' really means, 'when God was beginning the world,' " Vale said. "The Bible starts the story with the beginning of life and human beings, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it was the beginning of God or his creation."
It is impossible to know whether the world evolved or was created as Genesis describes it, Vale said, but that's not the point of Scripture.
"For Jews, the Bible is a book about why we are here and how we're supposed to act, not how we're created. People are welcome to read that into it, but it's not for us," Vale said. "I'm more interested in how I'm supposed to act, how I'm supposed to treat people on the streeet, how am I supposed to connect to God through the acts in my life."
A similar philosophy guides Roman Catholic teaching.
"We say that the lessons of the Bible are lessons about God's relationship with the human race and our relationship with God - that all the stories are calculated, if you will, to elucidate something of the relationship between God and the universe and his people," said the Rev. Vincent O'Reilly of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Vacaville. "So the Bible tells us who made the world and what the responsibility of creation is to the one who created it, but we rely on science to teach us how the world developed."
In the Catholic church, science and faith collided in the 17th century, when astronomers Johannes Kepler and Galileo upended the church's teaching that the Earth was the center of the universe. In the intervening 400 years, Catholic theologians and scientists have come to a truce.
"All truth has to come from God," O'Reilly explained. "If science is telling us some truth about the development or evolution of the universe, then that's the truth as we know it today. Five hundred years from now, some scientist may come up with a slightly different version. But that won't change our position that a creator designed the universe and we're striving to understand how."
Besides, he added, how God created the world isn't the point of the creation story. "The story is ultimately that human beings are the highpoint of God's creation. And God has charged humans with responsibility for the rest of creation."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also doesn't spend a lot of time debating the fine points of evolution or creationism. Its official teaching lies between the two points.
"We believe that God created the world, but not necessarily in seven days," said Dayton Call, a spokeman for the church in Solano County. "When it comes to evolution, we don't believe human beings evolved. We believe we were descended from Adam and Eve. But that's as far as the church's position goes on the subject. If there's evolution involved as far as the creative process, we would not argue that there's not."
Orthodox Christians also steer clear of the creation vs. evolution debate, said the Rev. Silas Ruark of St. Timothy Orthodox Church (Antiochan) in Cordelia.
"Orthodoxy basically accepts the fact that there is very much we don't know about the beginning and the end," Ruark said. "We know that in the beginning God created. And we know that in the end he will bring it to a close. But to venture into a great deal of speculation about the how or even the when is for us to assume that we can understand the mind of God."
Most Orthodox Christians accept the Genesis account as being a "true revelation of God's creation and God's interaction with humankind," Ruark said. Orthodox Christianity also teaches that the world has "gone haywire" through the disobedience of humankind.
"But the exact hows of the creation, the hows of his incarnation and the hows of his second coming are known only to God," Ruark said.
As more scientists come around to the creation side, more and more facts are coming out that destroy the myth of Evolution. Did you know man and Dinosaur walked the earth at the same time? What was the canopy made out of that protected the earth before the deluge??
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The modern ideas about evolution have missed the crux of Darwin's theory. He never suggested that one species evolved into another. He never wrote that apes evolved into humans. His theory was the survival of the fittest. In each species. Bears changed to blend in with the background. Rabbits evolved to become extremely fast. Tall men get more pussy. In that world, the weak die out. All these people who want to save every species should remember one thing. Millions of species have died out through natural causes. If they suceed in saving a particular species, have they interfered in natural selection? I say they have. All the animal world that we humans cling to will someday die out. As we go about saving the world, remember the Hippocratic oath, First, do no harm.
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