Comment on More on A Young Earth by T O’Rama.
Number 8 on your list is very, very interesting to me, something I’ve long struggled with. Cardinal Ratzinger says he would love to retire and study that issue, and the issue of the Fall in general, with great intensity.
The swarmy NY Times writer Nicholas Kristof once wrote, “All religions have scriptures that say some ridiculous things, Islam no more than others. The trick of modernization has been to interpret the ridiculous bits away as merely
I posted his comments on a Catholic billboard and received this wise response:
Did we take the 7-day creation account literally until science made us treat it as allegory?
Well, yes and no.
There is a long tradition (both Jewish and Christian) of reading Scripture in a sophisticated, multi-level manner. So allegorical interpretation is quite venerable.
Part of the difficulty is the genre of the creation narratives. History did not exist when Genesis was written, for example. And how literally did surrounding groups regard their creation narratives?
A useful analogy might be the Illiad of Homer. As an epic, it purports to relate the history of the Trojan war. Many scholars believed it was all fiction until the 1920s when Troy was discovered. They found not one but seven cities built one upon the other. Scholars believe that some events were not recorded literally but symbolically. For example, some believe that the Trojan Horse is a symbolic allusion to Posseiden, god of horses, the sea, earthquakes. Scholars found evidence that an earthquake assisted one of the sieges of the city. The idea is that that earthquake was recorded in a memorable way, as the Trojan horse.
There is literal content to the creation narratives, but theologians debate where the literal begins and ends. A minimalist position is that the creation narratives tell us that God created the world and that the world is basically good. Others favor a more exact correspondance.
Your newspaper author demonstrates an ignorance not only of traditional hermeneutics, but also of modern orality studies (including Homerics).