Continuing with the exploration and reflection through a series of articles written in a conversational language about Catholicism, about God, about Jesus, about the Church and many other faith related topics. Here we present:
Question 8 – Did God create the world in seven days?
The biblical story of creation* is a true story. However, it is not a scientific report on how and when God* created the world. It is a different kind of truth. You don’t have to take the creation story literally.
The Bible* begins with the story of creation. It dates from about 500 BCE: the period of the return of the Jews* to Israel, after they were exiled to Babylon. Israel was promised by God to the Jewish people, and they were forced to leave that country. This led to a great crisis of faith and doubt: how can a God who loves allow this? But then they are able to return and the Jews will definitely believe that God loves His people through thick and thin. God keeps liberating and forgiving them.
In Babylon, where the Jews lived for fifty years, creation stories were common. Once back in Israel, the Jews, as a sign of their gratitude and joy, wrote their ‘own’ creation story. But this was a very different kind of creation story than was usual in Babylon. There the stories were about a violent struggle between several gods, in which the bad god overcomes, and the human being is no more than a slave. In the biblical story of creation God emerges as a good and faithful God. Humanity is the crown jewel of creation.
In summary, one can say that the biblical story of creation has its origin in a real experience of the people of Israel, but if you read it as a press release about how God created the world in seven days, you are wrong. It poetically expresses the belief that the Jewish people – and more broadly, humans – owe their existence to the faithful love of God. The writer uses a form that fits his time: a story of creation.
– Who or what do you think is at the origin of the world?
– Do you believe that God loves you?
Feel free to leave your thoughts, reflections or comments below.
Watch this space! Coming up: Question 9 – What did God do before he created the world?
Follow these links to go back to Question 1 – Is believing exceptional? , Question 2 – Is Faith for simple souls? , Question 3 – Can you be a Christian and yet doubt your faith? , Question 4 – Can a believer be critical? , Question 5 – Can faith and science get along? , Question 6 – Are you born a Christian?, and Question 7 – Can a human being meet God?
If you wish to learn more about this resource follow this link “52 Questions and Answers about faith”
About the author:
Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ, joined the Society of Jesus in 1989, following a short career as a lawyer. He was trained as a Jesuit in Brussels, Paris, and Santiago de Chile. Today he is a spiritual director who is keenly interested in online ministry and discovering new ways to help people find God.
This text is republished with the permission of Messenger Publications, Ireland. To buy a hard copy of the book click here.