Thursday, June 22, 2006

Still wearing my ID bracelet


Nancy C. Brown, on her great blog about the Chesterton conference, mentioned; “Father Jaki had a small group session on Intelligent Design…Well, Father is very blunt, and he even told us that the bible can't be so correct, which caused people to walk out of the room, because the bible says in Genesis Chapter one that the plants were created before the sun, which we know can't happen.”

That reminded me of a story I wrote for Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Answers. It was not an ID piece but an apologetics dialog. This is not the space to publish the whole story but here is an excerpt concerning the third day (plants before the sun). Just another thought to kick around.
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Then she asked with a pointed finger, thinking she had me, “But what about the plants without the sun?”
“Yes, that’s a tricky one.” I admitted and went on to explain, “Some call it the day of adornment. The problem I have with that is one does not adorn before the work is done. God said: ‘…Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. And God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth. And it was so.’”

“As for the plants without the sun again this is not a problem, because there was light, His first command was "Let there be light"; and there was light. Not as we know light but light none-the-less. If we can thrive in His light surly plants can. So, on this third day there are two things going on here. God is creating the armature, Earth, in which to build his image, and the media, clay, in which to form his magnum opus, Man, ‘…then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground,’. Aside from his physical structure there are other things needed to make man, to keep him going, man needed hope. I see this third day as the first promise of the coming of His Son and the truth of His church that will stand forever. It is not the fruit trees that are important, it is the seed. Since the first readers had an agricultural mindset, they would understand this day as one of hope, of bounty to come, and the promise of salvation. The image of the symbolism of the seed is used throughout both Testaments. The word seed is mentioned more than a dozen times in Genesis alone, from the seed of the land and harvest to the seed between the woman and the serpent and to the seed of Abram. The short sighted ask for food, the intelligent ask for seed, ‘… and give us seed so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate.’ ”

5 comments:

Agricola said...

Nice post Alan.

It brings up an interesting question. What did Chesterton think about creation? I know that he mentions evolution in his books now and again, but it seems as though he uses it to refer mainly to those scientists who are prone to thinking of man as a highly (or not so highly, depending on your point of view) ape. I wonder what shape a conversation with GK about the origin and development of the universe would take.

I fancy he'd favour an intelligent design theory rich with artistry of the greatest magnitude. Perhaps he'd give a description of God as the only sculptor capable of creating a life-like, life-sized, representation encompassing all reality - material and spiritual.

In any case, would anyone have any GK (and friends too... we wouldn't want to leave them out) references for his thoughts on these and related issues?

Regards

Nick Milne said...

agricola: The page number and chapter elude me, but in Orthodoxy Gilbert declares that he has no objection to the theory of evolution whatsoever, so long as it means that something called an ape (or what have you) turned very slowly into something called a human being. For indeed, says he, in a universe governed by a personal God, that God may just as well do things slowly and subtly as quickly and dramatically, if it suits Him. It is only when this explanation of how something happened is retroactively synthesized into an explanation of why it happened that problems begin to arise.

Alan: I enjoyed this one too. The idea of bunch of plants getting by on righteousness while they wait for the sun to arrive delights me.

rhapsody said...

This is considered a legitimate question/argument?

It's like asking, which came first, the chicken or the egg?

According to Genesis, it would have to be the chicken.

My goodness, if you believe that there is a God, you better believe that He pretty much does things His way without checking in with us whether it's plausible or not...

Chestertonian said...

You people ought to read Tolkien's The Silmarillion, which deals with how the world might have been lit prior to the creation of the sun and the moon.


:-)

Alan Capasso said...

agricola,
My story was one of dealing with Genesis as an explanation of the creative process, the steps an artist (Creator) goes through to create something. I took that apologetics bent because It most definitely is not science It really is aesthetics. As the Catechism states “Many scientific studies . . . have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life forms, and the appearance of man. These studies invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator” (CCC 283). “Still, science has its limits” (CCC 284, 2293–4).
Now imagine the writer of Genesis, inspired by God, so the writer asks, ‘Where do I begin?’ God answers, ‘I God created everything.’ Now the writer looks around and really sees the vastness and the beauty of his surroundings and asks in innocent wonder, ‘How did you do that?’ Genesis begins with that answer. It is an artistic answer.
As I know my arm is the umbilical cord between my mind and the wood I now know that the Bible is the umbilical cord between God and man and nothing would come through that cord that was not true nourishment. (“…it was not the intention of the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation,” St. Augustine The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 2:9 AD 408).
Chesterton often refers to world with the view of someone intimately aware of the creative process.

Chesterton on Evolution in Orthodoxy is in the chapter called The Suicide Of Thought pages 37-38
(I happened to have had that one handy)