Volume 92, Issue 84

Tuesday, March 9, 1999


The Bible presents a hopeful future

All wisdom, yet still no faith

PCs and clones are the bomb

The Bible presents a hopeful future

Re: Don't rely on the word of the Bible, March 4

To the Editor:
Several days ago Warren Flood pointed out something that not all readers of the Christian Bible pick up. I do wonder, by the way, if Flood is aware that Genesis is part of the Bible, not only for Christians, but also for Jews.

Nevertheless, it is true, as he wrote, that in the first creation story human beings appear after plant life and in the second they are needed for plants to grow. Genesis and the Bible would, therefore, seem to be discredited. If, however, we can avoid a highly literal reading of the stories, we find that they complement each other and yield a message of hope.

In the first account, God is presented as a great king who speaks and the parts of creation (as they were understood by Middle Eastern people 4,000 years ago) emerge. Human beings are presented, neither as gods or as slaves to gods. They are dependent on God, but also endowed with powers, roles and responsibilities quite distinct from other animate creatures.

In the second story God is pictured as a sculptor who fashions humanity from clay. He breathes the spirit of life into his art. He enlists the cooperation of human beings to create plant life. A human names animals according to their character. In this account humanity is from the earth but also from God and is to cooperate with him in bringing forth what is good.

In circulation today we find other, less hospitable, visions of humanity: as the repository of dark sexual and violent urges; as economic machine; as the product of chance and energy; as the product of language. As I understand it, the Genesis view of God, the world and humanity in contrast is pregnant with hope for the future.

The message of the creation subverts claims humans are determined by nature, that we are pawns of psychological and cultural forces or that we are the slaves of political and market powers which assume God-like totalitarian proportions. All of us are called to know God and to respond to the creation and to other human beings in freedom and in keeping with the high value of each.

Mike Veenema
UWO Chaplain

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