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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Genesis 1, the polar bear and the space alien

Two news stories caught my attention this week, and both of them are tied to the Creation story in Genesis 1. I should note that I've read Genesis 1 a lot, not so much because of its specific significance as much as it is, well, "in the beginning." I have endeavored to read the Bible all the way through a number of times, but succeeded only twice; in 1977, the King James version; and 1995-1996, the Revised Standard Version.
Those failed attempts are not unlike those nine-cent first volumes of the encyclopedias that supermarkets used to sell, which, of course, contained everything one needed to know about the aardwolf and the abacus; I owned a lot of A sections.
In fact Genesis 1, and the first three and a half verses of Genesis 2, made up the lectionary for this past Sunday. The lectionary, in case you are not familiar, is a methodology that the Church devised to read through much of the Bible over a three-year cycle.
So, I don't think it was mere coincidence that the Vatican scientist suggested last week that there is no conflict between believing in God and in the possibility of "extraterrestrial brothers". In other words, or more correctly, in other worlds in this vast universe, there may be similar Creations, with a similar contract between Creator and the life forms there, the Vatican scientist posits.
Not so incidentally, it was in this most recent reading, in context with the Vatican pronouncement, that I fully realized just how much the Creation story implies an earth-centered universe. Verse 16 (NIV): "God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars." No wonder the views of Copernicus, greatly amplified by Galileo, seemed so heretical. In fact, it wasn't until 1998 that the Roman Catholic Church acknowledged it had been wrong about Galileo.
The other news story was about the polar bear being added to the threatened species list in the U.S. If the Creator gave dominion of the creatures to humans, it came with responsibilities as well. Unfortunately, as a practical matter, the listing may mean little, since the White House says that pronouncement was not intended to address greenhouse gas emissions, apparently the polar bear's real enemy.
Make wearing a flag pin the 28th Amendment.
Oh, no! I find myself largely agreeing with Pat Buchanan!


1 comment:

GayProf said...

In terms of Pat Buchanan -- A wolf is still a wolf even if he hasn't eaten your chickens today.