Correcting the science of Genesis

“Hullo, is that God?”

“Yes, Yahweh speaking, can I help you?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact. I have a problem with the fact that your account of the creation of the world in Genesis isn’t scientifically accurate.”

“Well, that’s mainly because it isn’t scientific – but what is your particular problem with it?”

“OK, it may not be scientific as such, but it contradicts science, and you’re supposed to be the God of truth. Light is formed before the sun, the sea before the earth, everything seems flat, solid firmaments appear, and so on.”

“What would you have preferred it to say, to be accurate ‘science’?”

“Well, that the world was formed out of a disc of dust, and that it is a sphere that orbits round the sun would be good start.”

“But as a matter of fact, it wasn’t formed from a disc of dust – I won’t give away the real story on the phone: that’s for your boys to explore. And even your own people know the earth is an oblate spheroid, not a sphere, and that it doesn’t revolve around the sun, but about the solar system’s centre of gravity, that sometimes lies outside the sun altogether.”

“Well yes, I know that, but it’s roughly a sphere, and it orbits the sun more than the sun orbits the world.”

“But weren’t you the one insisting on scientific accuracy? Why should you get to decide how accurate is accurate enough, rather than the Israelites for whom it was first written?”

“OK, then – let’s be properly accurate then. Why doesn’t Genesis include the differential equations that tell the real scientific truth, in the true language of science?”

“Those crude human approximations? Well, quite simply because I don’t use them myself, any more than I use the theory of humours, and the Israelites didn’t use them either. You can’t construct a real universe using Newtonian calculus.”

“Then how did you construct the real Universe, since that’s what Genesis 1 is all about? If our science isn’t good enough, why not teach us the real thing?”

“Right you are,” replied God. And he proceeded to explain in detail, and in perfectly logical, normal, English, the simplest possible summary of how he actually created the world and all that is in it. After about two hours, he paused. “How do you like it so far?” he asked.

“I haven’t understood a single word you’ve said. Couldn’t you make it a bit simpler?”
“Yes indeed, I could, and in the form that would be most useful to you. Maybe you should buy my book on the subject.”

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About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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6 Responses to Correcting the science of Genesis

  1. swamidass says:

    Great. Love it.

  2. Avatar photo Merv Bitikofer says:

    Nicely written, Jon! This is a drum beat I’ve been pounding for a long time, and now I’m slightly jealous that you wrote it up first and better than I could have! I think this will have to be my regular link-share for the perennial question … “so why didn’t God just tell it like we know it is now?”

    • Avatar photo Jon Garvey says:

      Thanks, guys.

      We now know that what we now know is wrong, but we don’t know how. However, we are working on it, and are sure that we will soon know what we now don’t, and then we’ll be in a position to tell God to rewrite Genesis.

      Will be out of contact for the next few days, so apologoies for non replies to any stray comments that might drop by.

  3. Robert Byers says:

    Perhaps God thinks he hit the main equations. He explains death, languages, women in birth pains(unique), legless snake, the decay of earth and universe AND the miost important first creation on DAY ONE was gGods spirit looming over the deep and creating light and its divisions by time.
    light and time is what Einstein went on about and still said he didn’t understand at the end of his years.
    Genesis is gods word or it isn’t. Mans correction is very suspect.
    What is light oh man??!

  4. Ron S says:

    Hi Jon,

    Well said. The masterful beauty of Genesis is open to anyone and everyone, regardless of age, education, or culture. A 2 year old can grasp it, a 22 year old can wrestle with it, and a 222 year old (should we ever live that long) can wonder at its simplicity, beauty, and depth.

    I wonder if many scientists could ever sum up their life’s work so elegantly or succinctly for everyone to appreciate.

    • Avatar photo Jon Garvey says:

      Thanks Ron – what is true of the creation account seems to be true of the rest of the Bible – perspicacity as regards what is necessary to saving faith, and depth to explore for a lifetime (or several).

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