Herbert Spencer was a non-Christian scientist who died a century ago. His greatest achievement was that he determined everything which exists, fits into five categories; time, force, action, space, matter.
Genesis 1:1 revealed those categories millennia ago,
"In the beginning (time),
the heavens (space)
and the earth” (matter)
You can trust the truth of Genesis, because Jesus did
Well on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday when a photon is a particle it could fit in matter. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday when it is a wave I don’t think it fits in any of these. And of course on Sunday it can’t make up it’s mind so I guess you could say it fits them all.
When in the height heaven was not named, (time/space}
And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name, (matter)
And the primeval Apsu, who begat them, (force/action)
And chaos, Tiamut, the mother of them both (same as above)
I guess the Enuma Elish must have scientific facts.
I’ve seen this interpretation before. Seems to originate here:
It’s a very forced interpretation. Basically what the guy has done is quote mined Herbert Spencer to try and get a definition of science that he could use, and then somehow contorted Genesis 1:1 from “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” into meaning “science is all about time, force, action, space and matter.”
Basically, it’s a textbook example of eisegesis.
You need to realise that Spencer wasn’t a physicist; he was a philosopher. As such his five manifestations make little sense from the perspective of someone trained in physics, because he’s basically just taken an arbitrary selection of five units of measurement. Why not energy, or momentum, or entropy, or electric charge?
As xkcd puts it, “philosophy’s just maths sans rigour, sense or practicality.”
It’s best to read Genesis on its own terms and let it say to us what it wants to say rather than what we want it to say. Trying to read Genesis 1 as if it were a scientific paper just reduces it to absurdities, in the same way as trying to read Shakespeare’s sonnets as if they were a scientific paper reduces them to absurdities.
God created a cosmos, not a bag of mutually unrelated whatnots. Only if He created the latter, instead of the former, would there have to be the kind of logic that claims that the primary semantic level of G1:1 is inherently mutually exclusive of any close cognates of the subjects that universally normally are found therein.
God does not set out to be understood simply in terms of His words, but rather in terms of what we were designed to readily know or deduce of what He made. Humans are not just the most ‘rational’ creatures, but the most grounded in, and motivated to, the cosmic concerns for life. Even John Walton recognizes this for Genesis 1.
So the God-given universally most natural reading finds that Genesis 1 is purely about the ecological Earth within its general cosmic setting. Even the central portion of the account invokes the luminaries strictly in terms of the Earth and its life. So, purely according to that reading, the account is not at all explicitly about any specialized, ancillary things, least of all about universally trivial things in their own terms, such as matter, energy, or the physical spatial dimension.
This is not to say that the ‘special interests’ in such things as physics finds no satisfaction in the account. On the contrary. Nevertheless, the fact that the first portions of the Genesis 1 account are amenable to trivially universal physics and physical cosmology is a fact that is due only to the inherent, created relation between various things, not to the author’s primary level of meaning in the text. As subjects are, we cannot even speak of the proper ground (Genesis 1:10) without inherently providing to the hearer suggestions both of the entire terrestrial world (v. 1-2) and of the physics of matter.
Thus, the basic relations within cosmological physics may well be mutually reflective with those of the manner and sequence in which God assembled (or even merely invoked, as Walton would have it) the terrestrial system. But if humans’ own initial and normal domestic base is the land, and if life and its natural support is the constant primary objective concern, then there can be only one best basic, condensed cosmological interpretation of v. 1.
And the whole account it is, after all, a best short and sweet account, not something specifically and explicitly addressed to trivial universal physics.
So, by way of cognates, cosmological physics may legitimately be found in the Genesis 1 text. Nevertheless, to accord such things to the text by way of excluding the terrestrial subject is a physics-chauvinistic, even polemically obsessed, move. In fact, no model proposed for the sake of this move has found in the text any suggestion of the life-critical fine tuning of such things as the countless physical forces. Yet this fine-tuning is what the central portion of the text would suggest, in that many of these forces are in common between the Earth and the wider cosmos.
Concerns of physics and matter may be immediate undercurrent concerns of their own. But they obviously are trivial in respective ways, rather than being either basic main concerns in their own terms or special to life. And it is strictly to the entire terrestrial world that the human being has been designed by God to be initially directly concerned.
According to Genesis 2, the first two humans each were privately created some hours apart. This emphasizes both the primacy of the human individual and of the individual’s need of a biosocial relationship with at least the ideally mutually complementary human individual. So the first, and broadest possible, pair of cosmological concerns on the part of either Adam or Eve was that of (1) whence, and in what manner, their mate, and (2) what that has to do with their more generally life-centric and otherwise cosmological concerns. So the Genesis 1 account abides, even in the first verse, the simplest possible cosmological pattern of pairs, and thus which is predictive of the manner and source of the creation of woman:
The universe and its special Earth (v. 1);
The Earth and its maximally constructive abundance of liquid water (v. 2);
That abundance of water and its cycling system (vs. 3-10);
That water cycle and its basic life (vs. 11-12);
5. That basic life and its animal life (vs. 20-25);
6. Animal life and its human life (v. 26-30);
So, the question: What is the best short account, for humans, of cosmic, terrestrial, and biological origins?
Carl Sagan would have had us all assent to the idea that life, the Earth, and humans, are objectively insignificant. His notion of the merely general bulk of the cosmos was that of something that, at least in functional sum, not only is a coldly indifferent, blind democracy of physics, but to the tyranny of which Earth is a randomly fortunate victim that may well, therefore, have any number of alternates in the cosmos.
Who said that Genesis doesn’t have scientific facts?!
First of all the above discussion is on Genesis 1 and 2 rather than all 50 chapters.
The discussion could profit by a definition of the term ‘scientific fact’. I propose that the term scientific fact be defined as an assertion about some aspect of creation (or of the creator) that can be made by any honest and competent investigator regardless of the faith that they hold. ‘Aspect of creation’ can include consistently observed human behaviors e.g the speaking of multiple languages. Scientific facts pertaining the creator can be considered an empty set.
With this definition, Genesis 1 -11 contain scientific fact only for the most naive literalst and these facts have been falsified in multiple ways.
Genesis 12-50 contains facts which are candidates for scientific fact , the geography of Canaan and Egypt come to mind. Then there are the candidate facts which the Bible presents with no comment such as Rachel’s use of mandrakes (30:14) and Jacobs array of wood stripes (30:37) which at best can be presented as teaching about then current biological misconceptions. It should be said that using Genesis 12-50 for this purpose misses the the main point of Genesis 1-50 which is better thought of as an introduction to God and to His wayward human creatures.
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6
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