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"Let There Be Light" = Big Bang?

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Posted by John Morgan Powell on February 7, 2001 16:17:27 UTC

Efforts to reinterprete the Genesis story to match our modern understanding of the formation of the Earth and universe have been exerted by Bible-believing scientists, but the results are not satisfactory to the scientific community. When people use hind-sight to reinterprete ancient writings it may promote continued faith in God, but it doesn't help scientists understand how nature operates.

It reminds me of the LDS scientist who, in trying to support the notion that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, suggested that Joseph Smith in the 1830s had knowledge of astronomy far advanced of others in his day because he spoke of there being many heavens and earths. This author suggested that the many earths meant there were many other inhabitable planets (which was an idea that had been tossed around for at least hundreds of years before his time) and that the many heavens he referred to meant "galaxies". If true, this would mean Joseph Smith knew about galaxies a hundred years before the rest of the world learned it when Hubble showed that the spiral "nebulae" were galaxies separate from our own Milky Way Galaxy. I seriously doubt "galaxies" is what Joseph Smith meant by "heavens".

It should be understood that the Genesis story is a borrowed creation-myth from other civilizations. The writers of Genesis apparently did not understand that light on Earth comes from the Sun and other luminous bodies, but believed it could exist without such sources. They thought that day and night could exist on the Earth before there was the Sun. They believed that the stars were created merely to give a little extra light at night (not knowing that stars are the factories which produce the heavy elements of which the Earth and all life are made). They thought that you could have plants before there was the Sun. They thought Eve was made from a rib of Adam. They believed some other unscientific things.

Should we treat the ancient words of Genesis as inspired from God when we have to throw out what the original writers thought the words meant and replace their meanings with our own, updated ones?

Some religious people argue that science is unreliable because it keeps changing. Religion, they argue, is reliable because the scriptures remain the same. Are the scriptures really the same when we completely change the meanings of the words? Religion has also evolved as societies as evolved.

I seriously doubt that the authors of the Genesis story were thinking about the Big Bang when they wrote the words: "let there be light".

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