Skip to comments.Creation story isn't science but reveals God's love, pope says
Posted on 02/07/2013 6:26:00 AM PST by Alex Murphy
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The biblical account of creation isn't a textbook for science, Pope Benedict XVI said.
Instead, the first chapter of Genesis reveals the fundamental truth about reality: that the world is not the result of chaos, but is born of and continually supported by God's love, the pope said Feb. 6 at his weekly general audience.
In a series of Year of Faith audience talks about the creed, Pope Benedict touched on the description of God as "creator of heaven and earth."
In an age of science and advanced technology, how are Catholics supposed to understand the Old Testament account of creation that says God created the heavens and earth in six days, and rested on the seventh? the pope asked.
"The Bible isn't meant to be a manual of natural science," the pope told the estimated 5,000 visitors and pilgrims gathered for his audience. "Instead it is meant to make understandable the authentic and deep truth of all things," he said.
The creation account in Genesis reveals the fundamental truth that "the world is not a collection of opposing forces, but has its origin and steadiness in the Word, in the eternal reason of God, who continues to sustain the universe," the pope said.
The creation story also points to the fact, he said, that God has a plan for the world and for humanity, a plan that gives people "the courage to face the adventure of life with trust and hope."
It shows that everything God creates is "beautiful and good, filled with wisdom and love; God's creative action brings order, leads to harmony and gives beauty," Pope Benedict said.
God created man and woman in his image and breathed life into the human form he molded out of clay from the earth, according to Genesis, the pope said. The biblical affirmation means that humanity is not self-made or god-like, but is united by the same origin despite cultural, historical and social differences.
It also means, he said, that "we all carry in us the vital breath of God, and every human life, the Bible tells us, is under the specific protection of God."
"This is the most profound reason behind the inviolability of human dignity against every temptation to measure a person's worth using criteria of utility and power," he said.
The description of the Garden of Eden means that God gave humanity, "not a wild forest, but a place that protects, nourishes and sustains," he said.
"Man must not see the world as his own property to pillage and exploit, but as a gift from God" to safeguard and develop with respect "following the rhythms and logic" of God's plan.
But while God created "a universe of goodness, harmony and beauty," human beings freely chose to believe in lies over the truth and, in that way, that brought evil into the world, the pope said.
The symbol of the serpent reflects the "constant temptation to abandon (man's) mysterious alliance with God," he said.
The serpent doesn't reject God but instigates suspicion by suggesting that following God's word is somehow "a chain that binds, that deprives one of freedom and the most beautiful and precious things in life," the pope said.
But breaking one's relationship with God through sin destroys every human relationship, and only God, who is always reaching out with his loving hand, can restore things the right way.
"Through the saving obedience of Christ, the new Adam, God himself has justified us and enabled us to live in freedom as his beloved sons and daughters."
At the end of the audience talk, the pope greeted members of the Conventual Franciscans who recently held their 200th general chapter in Assisi. The pope urged them to show the men and women of today "the beauty of following the Gospel in simplicity and fraternity."
I don’t think that is really a intellectually consistent position. If Genesis is meant as a fairy tale, then that isn’t showing man love; it’s simply lying to us, which makes the Popes’ assertion that God did so self-contradictory and unbelievable.
Alex, I’m no papal cheerleader but his statement approximates the “framework” view of the creation account which is considered acceptable in most Reformed circles. At least in this statement he doesn’t advocate heretical views such as macroevolution
I can't argue with that.
"For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.See related threads:
"But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"
I think you mistaken in understanding the Pope’s teaching. He isn’t calling Genesis a fairy tale, but the inspired word of God written in a way to communicate the truth about creation and life.
Secondly, what is your belief of Genesis?
No, the account of creation isn’t science - no more than any other eyewitness testimony is.
But then again, if science could answer all questions, they wouldn’t need ethics committees.
1. Since when is science the final arbiter of all truth? It never has been. Science is the observation and application of natural laws... it doesn’t deal with philosophical and metaphysical truth.
2. The creation story in Genesis isn’t told as a science manual. It is a true story of God’s love and our beginnings told from the perspective of a Father to His children. When it was originally told, we were told in such a way that man could understand. Just as you simplify the complex for your young children, so God did for us. This doesn’t make it false. Rather, it is full of meaning and truth... just not from a scientific, literal reading.
For example, consider what was done on each of the six days. In the beginning, the Earth was without form and void. On the first three days, God made the form (light from dark; sea from sky; dry land). During the next three days He filled these forms in order (sun and moon; fish and birds; plants and animals). This isn’t science... it is more than that.
Benedict says God has a plan for mankind but the scientists he puts so much trust into to explain natural science say there is no plan, only random events that will eventually end in all life on earth being destroyed completely, utterly.
Benedict says all human life is under the protection of God. A fair question would be:
When did this protection start? With “Lucy” and what Nat. Geo. and scientists call the first humans?
“Instead it (the Bible) is meant to make understandable the authentic and deep truth of all things,” he said.”
But the very science Benedict relies on to explain nature and “all things” is in the spiritual darkness of atheism and yet claims truth for its self, all else being myth and credulity.
It’s a poor shepherd that leads thirsty sheep away from the water.
He didn’t say it was a “fairy tale”. If that’s what you heard you weren’t listening.
The Bible has only been in printed form for about 700 years or so, before then the masses couldn’t even read for the most part...how could the creation of the Earth be explained in such a way other than in allegorical form?
People get caught up in the minutiae, rather than focusing on the big picture.
Strawman, feel the wrath of the fundamentalist Freepers.
Galileo said, "The Bible teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go."
Yeah, what did that dumb Polack know anyway? ;)
Thanks for the expose, though.
Too late, you’re here
The Earth-centric model fit the available data better than the heliocentric model. So if at the time you purely looked at the data you would have to have rejected Copernicus.
Also Copernicus clung to the superstitious idea that orbits were perfect circles.
Genesis is more awesome then man can imagine. Science textbook and more.
Praise the Lord
“He isnt calling Genesis a fairy tale, but the inspired word of God written in a way to communicate the truth about creation and life.”
He didn’t call it a fairy tale in so many words, but his implication amounts to the same thing. If he doesn’t believe that God actually formed Adam and Eve from the dust of the ground and breathed life into them, then he thinks it’s a fairy tale. A fairy tale may be a method to communicate moral lessons and such, but it is not a method to communicate truth in any strict sense of the word.
“Secondly, what is your belief of Genesis?”
I believe it is the Word of God, and, since God doesn’t lie, it is a truthful account and not a fairy tale.
“1. Since when is science the final arbiter of all truth? It never has been. Science is the observation and application of natural laws... it doesnt deal with philosophical and metaphysical truth.”
Science isn’t the final arbiter of all truth. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything though. The Pope seems to want to make Genesis compatible with science, by explaining that Genesis isn’t a truthful account. So, if anyone is holding science out as a higher standard of truth, I’d say it was the Pope.
“2. The creation story in Genesis isnt told as a science manual. It is a true story of Gods love and our beginnings told from the perspective of a Father to His children. When it was originally told, we were told in such a way that man could understand. Just as you simplify the complex for your young children, so God did for us. This doesnt make it false. Rather, it is full of meaning and truth... just not from a scientific, literal reading.”
Yes, it does make it false, strictly speaking. When I tell a child that the Tooth Fairy will come and put money under their pillow for their teeth, I am lying to them. I may think that I am doing it out of love, or some other kindly motivation, but I am still not telling them the truth. So, the assertion that you, and the Pope are making is essentially calling God a teller of “tall tales”, to put it mildly.
One doesn’t need to come flat out and say something to make the assertion. If you didn’t hear it, then you weren’t listening critically.