Posted by: religionthink | February 13, 2008

When God Began To Create: Thoughts On Religious Texts As Science

When God Began To Create: Thoughts On Religious Texts As Science

By A.D.Wayman

 

If one were to listen to the most faithful of believers at times you will hear just how accurate the sacred texts are on many topics. Believers talk about the historical accuracy, mathematics and even science. But the author of this essay asks were the texts written to play such a role in society, or do the texts play a separate and far different function then the one commonly believed by the most pious of faith. Does one really need for all things in the texts to be “true” for the texts to have value in our lives? If so, where does the concept of faith come into play? We will try to answer some of these questions in the essay below by discussing the account of the Creation found in the Hebrew Torah.

It has come to the writer’s attention that most evangelicals cannot and do not view the text in the context intended. The literature when read today are heavily saturated with ideas of New Testament theology that even if one were to be able to read some Hebrew, the bias of our denomination, theologies, and belief systems affect the way sacred literature is read. The texts, being multi-functional were meant to be used in a multi-functional way. At times, we forget that the texts were not written to be accurate history books, science books, or financial manuals. The Torah was written to show the relationship between the Deity and his people and explain through aggadah the morel lessons of the laws by stories and accounts of patriarchs that may also serve as allegory. For nothing that happened to the patriarchs did not happen to Israel as a nation. When texts are written in such ways it is at times hard to weed out allegory, metaphors, and symbolism, from the intermixing of historical accounts and places. Many times evangelicals assume that part of the bible to the “True” just because a city or place name of a text is found in archeology. However, they fail to realize that though the place may be true the account may not always be, but may be placed in the text for another reason.

Genesis chapter one, which is written in prose, is clearly an allegorical text. One can see this by the Hebrew word puns. One example of this would be the word Adam. Adam not only is the name of the Hebrew account of the first man but also is the name for mankind. Also according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance it means “To show blood (in the face), that is, flush or turn rosy: – be (dyed, made) red (ruddy).” This may hearkens back to the account of Man being created from the soil. So we see here the multi-functional interpretations of the loaded Hebrew word usage. There are many more examples through the Torah and other Jewish literature.

It is most unfortunate that we fail to see the richness of the literature through the curtain of theology and the need to actually prove a text in ways not intended. It seems that in the history of religion at times, when new sprouts from the old, it seeks to establish itself as the original and invalidate the parent from whose womb it sprang. It still uses connections to the parent when most convenient, but apart from such associations it seeks to sever all ties. It would do us more good to view the texts in more productive ways rather then debating scientists, historians, and others until we are blue in the face. It seems that such sacred literature has been hijacked and the texts and the values are being held hostage by those who may not even know what treasures are locked inside. Possibly, those who have come to hate the literature, out of spite to those who claim to represent it, may be able to reconstruct the metaphors once more. One needs Focus the attention on the Creator rather then pleasing the fumbling attempts of those who feel the need to reconcile to prove their belief system valid.

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Responses

  1. excellent 😀


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