Posted by: L. E. Barnes | September 12, 2011

Monday Message

Fr. Robert Barron discusses how we should approach the biblical book of Genesis:




  1. ‘Genesis is so rich and so multi-veiling’ -I like that 🙂 When he spoke about the earth coming forth via violence, the idea of ‘survival of the fittest’ came to mind. The origins of life, according to Evolution (when taken at face value), plays itself out quite violently.

    I agree that knowing a particular book’s genre is vital, but, I disagree that Adam is a mythological person. Genesis (and the rest of Scripture (including Christ)) doesn’t give that impression (there’s just too much to have to ‘explain away’). The Catechism also seems to teach that Adam was a historical person. There is nothing wrong with interpreting Genesis allegorically, so long as it’s history is not compromised. It’s not an either/or.

    We should interpret Scripture in the way it is meant to be interpreted. I agree with Fr. Barron to that extent. Yet, Scripture should not bow before Evolution. This is something of deep personal concern. Whenever there is a perceived (and I emphasize ‘perceive’) conflict between Scripture and Science, it’s Scripture that gets slapped with the big ‘?’, Science being infallible and untouchable. The whole matter is utterly backward from what it ought to be, in my opinion.

  2. I’ll need to review the Church’s teachings on Adam and original sin. Still, I’m not a “young earth” creationist who insists on reading the Genesis creation account literally, and I believe issues such as the age of the universe and the theory of evolution are scientific matters, not religious ones. And besides, the Bible isn’t a science textbook–if it were, it would be out of date in a relatively short period, as scientific viewpoints are constantly developing.

    Of course, I understand the concern that a number of Christians have about the Bible ending up with the supernatural drained out as a result of people’s attempts to “demythologize” it.

    Thanks for your comments!

  3. I was really pleased to find the four senses of reading the Bible Father Barron mentioned in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Historical-critical method of reading it has cause a lot of people (Catholics) to lose their Faith. Glad Pope Benedict weighed in on this and brought the scholars up smartly.

    • Yes, it appears that the four senses of reading the Bible, which ancient Church scholars used, have fallen by the wayside. In another video Fr. Barron talks about how one of the biggest “heresies” he hears from skeptics who post critical comments of his videos on YouTube is biblical fundamentalism–i.e., insisting on a strictly literal reading of passages from the Bible that really should be seen in another light (such as the spiritual sense that he talks about in this clip).

  4. “Scientific viewpoints are constantly developing”.

    That’s the point Evan.

    Let me ask you something: Hypothetically, if the ‘scientific community’ one day proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is a God, that He created the earth in six days, that a real Adam and Eve existed ect., in short, every ‘see-able’ thing that the Genesis creation account conveys, would you then, “read the Genesis creation account literally”?

    • I don’t think that’s a useful question. Science can’t prove or disprove God’s existence, and I’m sure it can’t confirm the book of Genesis either–as these are things that cannot be scientifically tested. Some Christians adamantly insist that the universe was fully created in 6 consecutive 24 hour days (though that’s impossible anyway, since there wasn’t initially any sun according to the Genesis story), that the earth is only a few thousand years old, etc. And some have even gone so far as to insist that a person cannot be a true Christian if he or she doesn’t espouse those views.

      As a professor at an evangelical seminary I attended remarked, the problem with such a mentality is that you end up with theologians trying to act as if they were scientists. And just as I get annoyed with atheist scientists like Dawkins who try to act as if they were experts on subjects like philosophy, religion and history (when they clearly possess no expertise in such areas), I recognize that preachers and religious scholars are getting way out of their league when try to speak authoritatively on scientific subjects. Anyway, my point, as I said earlier, is that these topics belong in the scientific realm, not the religious realm, just as some issues belong to the sphere of religion, not science. And trying to turn the Bible into a science book isn’t doing the Bible any favors!

      I respect that you’re trying to uphold Christian orthodoxy, but I must respectfully disagree with you on this particular issue.

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and commenting. God bless!

  5. Evan,

    My question was asked hypothetically.

    I’d really like an answer, but if you think it’s unanswerable, then I’ll leave it at that.


    • I understand. It looks like we’ll just have to agree to disagree. But I appreciate your input, as it’s always great when a blog post generates discussion. Thanks again!

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