Ancient Theologians weigh in on Genesis: Basil’s reflections on creation (part 1)

Anyone that has read through the first few chapters of Genesis and reflects on them will at some point struggle with how to interpret and handle the account of creation with what they know of the universe. These difficulties are not limited to readers living in the modern age of science, but have puzzled people throughout every age.

The opening statement of Genesis is very clear. God is the Creator. The Apostle’s Creed and the Nicaean Creed both affirm that basic tenet of theology. However, almost every other aspect of the creation account has been met with numerous approaches and ideas about what the original authors, redactors and God, Himself, meant. Various proposals have been explored and debated as long as the account has existed. These discussions reveal fundamentally different ideas about what the relationship between theology and science should be as well as what hermeneutical method should be used to determine the meaning of a passage.

Even if one sought to understand the account as the original readers might the question remains: is the account an allegory or a historical narrative? Was the author’s goal to provide a scientifically accurate description of the material origin of the universe or was the intent to describe what the function the objects in creation serve? Is it possible the account used the cosmology of the original audience as a framework to present theological truths?

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Vulcan Theology: On seeing what we wish to see.

After reading the title, you might be thinking this post will have something to do with Spock. Maybe you are expecting some interesting twist on how this famous character might be related to some aspect of theology. Neither would be correct.Besides, as any reader of this blog would know, I am a huge Star Wars fan with only a passing knowledge of the Star Trek universe.

I have recently completed reading (actually listening to) The Hunt for Vulcan.  It was fascinating. The book, by Tom Levenson, covers the history, and to a lessor degree the science, that began with the publication of Newton’s Principia in 1687 and ends with Einstein delivering his lectures describing general relativity in 1915.


Spock spoke these words in “The Tholian Web” which aired in 1968

One of the primary characters in the book is the famous astronomer, Le Verrier, credited with discovering Neptune. He was able to accomplish this after noticing that the orbit of the planet Uranus was not following the path that Newton’s laws of gravity required. Analyzing various data and working through numerous calculations he proposed that the cause of the erratic orbit was another planet.

And he was right. Continue reading