Let us start with the fairly blunt fact- not accepted by some- that the literal interpretation of the Bible in all aspects in a fairly new trend. In the last two centuries, this trend has come to the point that people are believing myths that weren't believed by the most primitive people (judging society by its level of technological advancement). Two stories of particular contention are (of course) Genesis itself and the Flood.
Much better scholars than I have studied creation stories, their links to each other, and how earlier generations interpreted them. I strongly suggest starting with Karen Armstrong: "The Case for God," "The History of God," and "The Battle for God." The "Archaeological Study Bible," while not my favorite Bible for actual reading, has great supplemental material, among it small articles on ancient creation narratives and ancient flood narratives.
Briefly, all early civilizations- not surprisingly- have creation myths. It seems to be a universal human need to attempt to explain the world around us, including its beginnings. These stories were adjusted as needed and seem to have been used by people much like parables- a tool to teach a particular point. They were not studied as if they were history books.
Many early creation myths involve one superior God who appears after either a succession of earlier, less important, less majestic gods -or- one who shows his greatness by defeating some great enemy (such as Leviathan). Earth itself and humanity often arises from either a vast void of nothing or a great muck of mud/dirt/clay. The story in the Christian Bible resembles very closely the early Mesopotamian myths (Sumer being the first 'civilization' as defined by many historians, me among them). Early Mesopotamian accounts also include a flood narrative. (As do some accounts from the New World...who were NOT in contact with the Middle East).
Summary: it is everyone's prerogative to believe what they wish. God gives us free will. My thinking is that before one attempts to limit what someone else can study (such as banning the teaching of the theory of evolution from schools), one should make sure they are an expert on said topic. And then they should pray and ask if it is really God's will for them to control someone else's will and thoughts. Let His will be done.
Jennifer Becker Landsberger
Who am I? Freelance writer (magazines, websites, & copywriting), Catholic, military wife, and Mensan. Double Bachelor's in History & Psychology.
Witnessing by charity and love are above all. Studying the Bible and beyond helps me on this quest. Feel free to join my walk into the Bible.
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Thank you & God bless you.
~~~Prayer before Writing-
Oh creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with a loving knowledge of you, that I may bring you like to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries what you have revealed.
To my readers & fellow writers,
1. I will pray that God's grace helps illuminate all of our interactions- both those of simple reading and more active conversations.
2. I will communicate with you respectfully and civilly. These are (rightly) issues which we feel passionate about. But even in disagreements, I will respect you fellow "seekers of truth."
3. I will not fall into negative behavior or words, such as insinuations, exaggerations, blames, or personal attacks. I respectfully ask you to do the same.
4. I will pray we will all find the truth and strive to fulfill the two greatest commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
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Sites I Recommend
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism by Dave Armstrong