Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Make Way for the Loons

How did it all begin?

The traditional account of creation by the Mansi people of Siberia involved two loons which dove to the bottom of primeval waters to retrieve a piece of the bottom and placed it on top of the water. From there the Earth grew. After a time, at the behest of his daughter, the spirit of the sky ordered his brother, the spirit of the lower world to create humanity. His brother made seven earthy, clay figures and which were quickened by the gods' sister, Mother Earth.
Does the modern evolutionary synthesis refute the Mansi version point by point, tenet by tenet? If not, should we not speak of a "controversy" between the two? Are they not rivals?

Have the loons been duly respected?

It should be sobering to step back and appreciate the dizzying variety of creation myths that people have, in various times and places, earnestly believed. Each of these narratives has as much supporting evidence as the Biblical and Koranic narratives.

3 comments:

Bruce said...

Your point is interesting, and I sense that your doubt about all creation stories is real. When Moses wrote Genesis 1 and 2, all of the world's religions believed in gods who were part of nature, acted like human beings, but were much more powerful than humans, who were created to feed the gods. Moses' revolutionary God was separate from his creation but very much involved in his creation. Such a God had to reveal himself to Moses, because all of the other gods could have been and were products of the human mind. As the whole Bible reveals that God more and more, such a God who is three persons in one God, who revealed himself in Jesus, the God-man who did many miracles and who rose from the dead, according to the eyewitnesses who were willing to die rather than give up their eyewitness accounts. Such a God no one could think up or imagine--unlike all of the gods of our age--which are either part of mature or a one-person god. I invite you to read a good modern translation like the TNIV all of the way through to prove to yourself who the God of the Bible is.

Dale said...

Bruce, a belated thanks for the invitation, but having read plenty of different translations of the Bible, together with countless expositions, summaries, and summaries of summaries of same, I have a more than adequate idea of "who the God of the Bible is."

I suppose I'll chase down this rabbit-hole for now: did the writer of Matthew (assuming, charitably, this was indeed one person) go willingly to his death rather than recant the stuff about graves around greater Jerusalem opening up and granting the corpses some alive-again time around the time of Jesus's total downer of a final weekend on earth? (See Matt 27:52.)

Would you care to give a non-chuckle-worthy account of why not even all the other Gospel writers, let alone other contemporary scribes, bothered to mention this seemingly notable, hard-to-miss event?

Bruce said...

Hi, Dale. I apologize that it took me so long to respond to your inquiry. It was little matters like lower-back surgery and vacation! In studying the gospels, we always need to take into account the writers' audiences and purposes. Earthquakes foreshadowed apocalyptic events in the prophets. Matthew wrote for a Jewish Christian audience to demonstrate that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Messiah. The other Gospel writers have different purposes and audiences and thus mention details that fit their purposes. The biblical history is not modern history but is preaching history with the selection of certain historical events and details that fit the writers' particular purpose (for example, Luke's convincing a Gentile of the truth of Jesus as the divine-human Son of God). Dale, you can be sure that the Bible is God's Word organically inspired (that is, using the authors' talents and writing styles) to point you to the one only true 3-in-1 God who created you and came to earth in Jesus Christ to rescue you and me when we trust in him as the Road to the Father. I have now completed my first book, Doubting? Contact Doubtbusters! I'll let you know here when it's published! I invite you to read it and to ask me further questions. Let's dialogue respectfully. Bruce.