Editor, HPR Genesis is not "pseudo-history"
Do not look for science in Genesis

Anthony Zimmerman
Published in HPR
Dec. 2003.
Reproduced with Permission

Perish the unholy thought that if evolution is true, then Genesis is denigrated to "pseudo-history" (Donald Anthony Foley, June 2003). The magnificent opening line of the Bible is forever sacred: "In principio creavit Deus coelum et terram" - "In the beginning God created heaven and earth."

God wisely chose to inspire the sacred authors to write their message in a manner which is intelligible, credible, and "inspirational" for readers of all times and places. God did not mandate the human authors of the Bible to teach classroom science, but to teach what is far more important; to teach us how to live. As Henricus Renckens observes:

It has not been our way of looking at things, but that of the sacred author which has been the vehicle of revelation, which is not addressed to our particular brand of scientific curiosity, but to men of all ages for their salvation. Each age has its own understanding of scientific matters, but the Word of God remains eternally (Henricus Renckens, S.J., Israel's Concept of the Beginning, The Theology of Genesis, p. 192).

The Bible is not only a divine, but also a divine-human book, and this means, as far as the Old Testament is concerned, that we are never in a position to approach the mind of God unless we are prepared to pass first by way of the mind of Israel (Renckens 253).

When we read the Bible, therefore, we read a divine message which may be garbed in the style of a contemporary culture. The styles may change with the times, but the divine message wrapped within remains intact. Indeed, the human authors deliberately employ teaching aids of culture. Consequently we gain access to the divine message by passing through the culturally conditioned mind of the author. The mistaken or incomplete views of a sacred author about scientific matters does not at all distract our reverent attention to the message which God speaks through him.

Peace to those who want to read in Genesis a version of cosmic history as well as truths that God proposes for our belief. They will always have a difficult time to reconcile science with the Bible.