The Greek Concept of Creation

The ancient Greeks had no shortage of creation myths, with many elements taken from the Babylonian model. Two poets, Homer and Heslod, described the Greek religious system, with Its national gods in charge, while living In a royal court full of Intrigues and lusts.

In his version Heslod saw the origin of the universe as deriving from the chaos, the vastness, of space that produced the first goddess, Gaea (earth). She created Uranus (heaven), who became her husband, and they produced many lesser gods. The division between heaven and earth occurred when one of their sons, Cronus, In a fit of jealousy attacked his father Uranus. Zeus, the one who became the chief god, was born from the Irate Cronus and his wife Rhea.

Sadly, the only surviving writings about Christianity from the first centuries after the apostles come mainly from men steeped in Greek thought and philosophy. These were Justin Martyr (110-165), Clement (160-220), Origen (185-254) and Augustine (354-430), all former disciples of the thinking of Plato and Aristotle. In this way Greek philosophy entered the Roman church and formed much of Its theology.

"The problem with Gentile Christians," notes church historian Samuele Bacchioc-chi, "was not only their lack of familiarity with Scripture, but also their excessive fascination with their Greek philosophical speculations, which conditioned their understanding of Biblical truths. While Jewish Christians often erred In the direction of legalism, Gentile Christians often erred In the direction of philosophical speculations which sundered Christianity from Its historical roots" (God's Festivals In Scripture and History, 1995, pp. 102-103).

In particular, Origen and Augustine began to Interpret much of the book of Genesis as allegory. They viewed the Genesis account as filled with symbolic fictional figures representing truth, human conduct or experience. Gradually, this allegorical method became the norm In the Catholic understanding of much of Genesis. These misconceptions were to heavily Influence church authorities down through the years.

18 Creation or Evolution: Does It Really Matter What You Believe?

18 Creation or Evolution: Does It Really Matter What You Believe?

that Adam and Eve were the first man and woman, created directly by God (Matthew 19:4; 1 Corinthians 15:45)?

Was Christ mistaken, and did He mislead others? Is 2 Timothy 3:16 true in stating that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine [teaching] . . ."? Clearly, the implications for Christian faith and teaching are profound (see "The Testimony of the New Testament" on page 9).

Perhaps the effects of his theory on Darwin's own faith can illustrate the damage it can do to religious convictions. Darwin started as a theology student and a staunch respecter of the Bible. But as he formulated his theories, he lost faith in the Old Testament. Later he could no longer believe in the miracles of the New Testament.

There is great danger in following in Darwin's footsteps. We should remember the old saying: If you teach a child that he is only an animal, don't complain when he behaves like one. Can we not lay part of the blame for rampant immorality and crime on society's prevalent values and beliefsā€”derived to a great extent from evolutionary theory?

Without the belief in a just God who will judge the actions of men, isn't it easier for people to do as they please? Aldous Huxley, a fervent advocate of evolution, admitted why many quickly embraced evolution with such fervor: "I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning . . . The liberation we desired was . . . from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom" (Ends and Means, 1946, p. 70).

Julian Huxley, brother of Aldous Huxley and also a leading proponent of evolution, later wrote, "The sense of spiritual relief which comes from rejecting the idea of God as a super-human being is enormous" (Essays of a Humanist, 1966, p. 223).

Could this kind of thinking have something to do with the immorality rampant in so many schools and universities where God is banned from the classroom and evolutionary theory is taught as fact?

It's time to gain some proper perspective. Is the Bible a reliable guide for understanding? If so, then how can the Genesis account be reconciled with the idea of an ancient earth? What about evolution? How strong is its case? Let's carefully weigh the evidence.

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