📖(2 min. read)A Letter from the Authors of Genesis

How do we read scripture? Every culture has its creation myth – that recounts more about why than how. This short, imagined letter re-situates us in the opening chapters of the Bible – and encourages us to view creation with what we know now – without losing sight of God the Creator. It links to the longer audio talks on Genesis 1 and 2, and to Tom’s resurrection talks; and is answered in the Creation Litany. 413 words

My dear friend,

Let us just say that we would have loved to know in our day what you now know about the world, its story and its place in the universe. (Just as we would love to be able to share with you what we now know, but you could not yet understand!)

We envisaged the earth as flat. Above it a great dome, containing the sun, the moon and the stars. And the dome also had water, emptying rain to the earth.

We also thought of day and night alternating. But we did not think of the sun causing day, as you know it does. (After all, day dawns before the sun appears, and stays on after the sun has gone - does it not?)

All that was the picture we had for our rather poetic meditation on God creating day by day. (You’ll notice for instance that day and night were in place before the sun and moon came on the scene…)

We did in fact know that many plants cannot exist unless pollinated by bees and insects. But we were not writing a botanical treatise, but a theological meditation, so we put all plants on the fifth day and all animals, with men and women, on the sixth.

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We would urge you to write similar creation narratives from your greater understanding, and your more developed understanding of causation.

But if you do, emphasise that God is sovereign, that he creates all things good (evil and sin always being a perversion of what is good – we hate the idea of human life being caught in a battle between ‘Good and Evil’). And emphasise that human beings share, in a unique way, God’s own creative imagination, ability to know the story and not just be part of it, and to love.

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We wrote our account late in the story of our own people, which is why we cast it in a seven day week and included the (rather absurd) idea of God resting on the sabbath. We wanted to emphasise Sabbath as the holy day.

In your version you will somehow have to stress the day after the sabbath as the day of new creation, of Resurrection.

Let us finally add, that it is surely a more profound appreciation of God to know him as creator of co-creators than as a sort of magician. Yes/no?

Thomas Cullinan Feb 2009

Prophetic Trajectories of Hope from San Salvador to Liverpool: A Celebration of the ministries of Oscar Romero, Austin Smith, Tom Cullinan and Kevin Kelly.

 

A talk by David McLoughlin,
Emeritus Fellow of Christian Theology
Newman University 

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