Who Said It: Competency in Genesis

on June 1, 1986

Who was defending religion so strongly that he felt the writer of Genesis could be wrong?

‘The competency of the writer of the Book of Genesis was in religion not cosmogony (the origin and form of the universe). He probably thought the sky was an oval dish over a flat earth, with holes in the dish to let the rain through. On that basis he taught correctly the religious truth that God made us all. If God in His wisdom created some little molecule with all the potential of that evolution in it, well and good, the power of God is not denigrated in the least-perhaps it is enhanced. But there is no way this world of itself could have evolved out of nothing.’

Who was defending God so strongly with the claim God’s power could be enhanced if we believe in evolution? Who was defending religion so strongly that he felt the writer of Genesis could incorrectly have believed the sky was a hole-ridden dish covering a flat earth, while correctly teaching that everything was created by God?

Who said it?
Answer:

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Edward B. Clancy, said it only days before his installation as Archbishop during April, 1983 and it was reprinted in an interview in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald.’ Archbishop Clancy obviously can’t see the fallacy of claiming to believe Genesis is literal where it says ‘God created’ and yet believing it is only symbolic when it refers to what and how God created. The impossibility of reading Genesis this way is shown when you try to be logical about where both man and woman came from. If you claim Genesis teaches the ‘spiritual truth’ that man was created, yet dust to Adam means God slowly allowed molecules to evolve into man, then you find you cannot explain where woman came from using the same rules of interpretation. If evolution was true, woman would have needed to evolve at the same time as man. Genesis both literally and symbolically says she came after man. If evolution was true, women needed to evolve in the same way as men. Genesis states again both literally and symbolically that Eve was formed in a different fashion from Adam.

Trying to read Genesis in the way Archbishop Clancy does soon forces one to the conclusion that both the writer of Genesis and its Inspirer did not have evolution in mind, either literally or symbolically.

Originally published in Creation 8(3):24, June 1986

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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.