So this is probably a question that all of you have either asked yourselves or been asked by others. I've had conversations multiple times about this subject since the first time that I came online. 


I know of three versions of how Genesis can fit with evolution. GAP, Day-age, and allegorical. 


GAP to me is a joke. It proposes that between the versus in genesis ( between 1:19 and 1:20 if I remember correctly) the bible leaves out millions ( or billions) of years. Besides the fact that this makes god out to be a deceiver, it also still doesn't explain why the rest of creation is out of order. Like why the earth and plants are created before the sun.


Day-age makes an attempt to explain things by turning day into some indistinguishable period of time. Mainly by using versus like 2 Peter 3:8. 


Again we encounter the same problem as the first though. The arrangement of creation is out of order.


The last attempt is by saying that Genesis is allegorical. This is probably the best attempt at making things fit. Mainly that of making it so that it doesn't matter what order the Genesis account is in because that is not the point of the verse. They aren't suppose to be taken literally. 


One problem with this, and this includes the above versions as well. On what basis are we determining that Genesis isn't meant to be taken literally. Why should we drop the one interpretation for the others?


The main answer that I've gotten for this is that if we want science to fit with Genesis then we need to change Genesis in order to make it fit with our understanding of science. An example of this can be found here.


So this leads me to ask. Should the bible determine reality or should reality determine the bible? Because if Genesis is taken as non-literal so that we can fit it with science, then does that not mean that we create a precedence when it comes to how we look at the world? Wouldn't that mean that when science determines whether an event/object is good or bad for us then the bible takes a back seat? And if the bible takes a back seat, wouldn't that undermine the idea that it is the inspired word of god? I say it does.


Between the moderate Christians and the fundamentalist I always go with the moderates. I would rather have people who are pro rather then anti science. Still, on this subject I have come to realize that I cannot agree with moderates. Not with what has been presented. I can no longer tell a fundie directly that I see no conflict with science and the bible. 


What are your thoughts. Do you think that these two can reach some reasonable ( if not god written) consensus on the matter? I would be interested in hearing what you have to say.


As a side note, I really enjoy Robert Ingersoll's Some Mistakes of Moses.


Great read if you find the time.

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If I can play devil's advocate a moment, I'd say yes.

It's already been addressed that we all look at genesis as mythology at best and a pack of lies at worst so obviously it can coexist with science because they aren't competing truths. This question, then, really only has a point from the perspective of a christian (or jew or whatever) that believes it to be part of the "inerrantly true" bible. So where science is true and genesis is true, I would argue that they can coexist only where genesis can be not taken literally. I realize this has also been addressed, but I would take it one step further and maintain that they would also need a consistent (and reasonable) system to determine what to take literally and what not to take literally. And I don't mean the currently used "if it is offensive to the high morals of today, then it must have been allegory" system.

Would the burning of bibles be an effective protest ?

Absolutely NOT!  Burning books, heretics, and churches serves no decent purpose and only encourages foolish reactions.  Rather, when confronted with foolishness, name it as foolish, give your rationale, turn and shake the dust off your sandals, and go find something more fun to do.
How about this:
  • The theory of evolution exists as a well-researched and supported description of the development of life on this planet, useful for understanding current and future discoveries regarding the variety of life on earth
  • The bible exists as an amusing if utterly delusional description of how ancient man thought life may have been placed on this planet, useful for understanding subsequent texts based on it, but not useful for much else

The Hebrew writings themselves are NOT delusional -- they were the best guess the prescientific people of their time could make about the origins of the universe, the world and the life around them. They are simply a historic library composed of cosmology myths, legends, laws, literature, and in the later parts, there is some historical accuracy.

It's the PEOPLE who believe in it LITERALLY who are delusional.

Yes, I like your distinction.  Obviously Bronze Age people have stories they created based on their perceptions.  For 21st Century human beings to use ancient writings as an answer to modern problems is ludicrous, at least in my biased opinion.  I have seen too much suffering caused by beliefs in gender roles, sexism, racism, nationalism, slavery, homophobia, domination and oppression based on religious doctrine and imposed on others and on non-believers.  One simple example is the position on stem cell research held by some who use their religious values to dictate to everyone.

Hm-m, in physical anthropology texts I see images of Neanderthals and speculations on their fate. I look about and occasionally see people whose features remind me of those textbook images.

All about me I see 21st century human beings. I hear a debate between people seeking to become the GOP candidate for president and hear Bronze Age levels of knowledge.


Tom, that is the way I hear their blather.

...or to put the question in less politically-correct eloquence, "Can talking donkeys coexist with astronauts on the International Space Station?"


Yes, they probably could, but at some point you may get clever and wonder; "Why would 'god' choose a veritable desert (Iraq) for the mythical "garden of eden," and why does radiometric dating place the age of that rock garden at the same age as the rest of the planet, which is billions of years old?"


Then again, Casper the psychopathic ghost demanded that children be burned alive as a sacrifice to please him, while telling everyone else not to murder...or they'll be murdered for murdering. My hope is that the original question should now sound offensive.


"I see dummies everywhere..." -The Sixth Atheist Sense

Dear Mr. Swami,

You certainly have had a personal triumph with the word 'bara'.

"But, it does seem to possibly throw out the common idea of "creation" in the way we usually hear it said, not that we have to argue away the fantasies of others." 

If this seems to throw out the idea of creation, then why do you repeatedly say "I do not know if Genesis and evolution co-exist" Hindu philosophy also has a great deal to say about creation. If the word 'bara' throws out the Christian variety of the story, it certainly does not support Hindu theory of creation. In short, if the story of creation is thrown out, what remains for us to accept is evolution, unless you have a third story to tell.

Why should we feel shy of accepting the evolution as the true and proven theory? Once this is realised, you can not say "I do not know if Genesis and evolution co-exist". Unless you can take a firm stand on the subject of evolution/creation, your story remains only a story of your personal victory.

Madhukar Kulkarni.


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