The Nature of God
“They sell the New Testament within the same cover as the Old Testament because they go together. So to say that refuting the story of creation in Genesis has NO IMPACT on Christianity doesn’t seem entirely correct to me. Upon what notion of God is Christianity built, if not the one who created the universe and Adam in seven days?”
Robert Moore’s comment angered me, as did his post, which I perceived as ignorant, arrogant and missing the most important matters. Why do people believe New-Earth Creationism? is an interesting question, but you will not find the answer in the Bible.
Christianity is not built on a single notion of God. It is extremely wide, with many different sects, and many would deny the Christianity of others who claim to be Christian. It has included Deism, the forerunner of rationalist atheism, a belief in a Creator who does not intervene in the Created world, and Theism, a belief in a personal God who answers prayer. It includes knowledge of God through reading the Bible, personal experience, and the Traditions of the Church. The Sea of Faith movement are Christians who see God purely as a metaphor. As a Quaker I would say “Christ has come to teach his people himself”- God is in the Leadings of people, now, who speak as moved by the Spirit- or our Higher Selves: the experience is more important than the words used to describe it.
I think the Bible shows growth in the understanding of God- the tale of Abraham and Isaac shows a movement from the idea of a God who demands human sacrifice to a God who does not- and the New Testament gives a new emphasis to God as loving Parent. Of course the New Testament God is a new understanding: God in a human being, God as Spirit speaking through human beings, God as Victim, crucified by man and unresisting. And God is the same God, and the perceptions in the New Testament have their roots in the Old.
If we believe in God or value the Bible, must we believe God created the World in six days? No, because it is not true, and never intended as a scientific theory of creation. But it is a beautiful story, containing truth: God saw what God had made, and behold, it was very good. What about Jesus walking on the water, or changing water into wine? I don’t know. I do not think I need to form a view on whether these things happened, and (as the Gospels were written decades after the crucifixion) that some stories might be untrue does not refute all of them.
I get it, Robert, I really do. I told a blogger that the Earth was 4.5bn years old. He said he had considered the evidence, and he tended to that view, but for him “the jury was still out”. Evidence for: the science of geology. Evidence against: the Book of Genesis, read in an ignorant way. I told another the “narrow way” meant being yourself and self-actualising as against the “broad way”, trying to conform and be “normal” and he said, no, Jesus got to self-actualise, but we have to die to self and become Christ-like. The opposing views, ”be your true self” and “surrendering self and following Christ”, are closer together than the words indicate (I think- he would disagree) but still.
These are damaging views, and I understand the sense of disconnect when you criticise them and people withdraw from you because you are Bad; and the need to assert the Truth against them. But Christianity is so much more than that.