Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Chicken and the Egg

This morning, my little guy asked me the question. "Daddy, you know the chicken and the egg question? So...which came first? The chicken or the egg?"

I know the answer to that, of course. I told him so, and explained why. Chickens, you see, are birds. Birds evolved from dinosaurs, which laid eggs. Before anything resembling the Gallus gallus domesticus existed, or even its wild ancestors existed, there were eggs. So the answer to that question is the egg, hands down, by tens of millions of years.

He seemed suitably impressed.

If I'd been a Creationist, though, I probably would have told him the opposite thing entirely. It's the chicken, I'd have said. Because God made the birds on the fifth day. Made 'em from scratch out of dirt and fluff, with no gestation. Just BAM! Skwawk! Chickens. Then, later, eggs.

Sigh. We can't even agree on that.

11 comments:

  1. So remind me again: How do you explain the Bible's creation story to your son?

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  2. "Which one?"

    Ah yes,the "multiple/contradictory creation stories". I hear that old chestnut from anti-theists all the time. There's only one story with some detail brought in and fleshed out later.

    You concern me sometimes, for instance, when you previously tried to pass off the account of the woman and the dragon in Revelation as being a retelling of the Apollo myth. That's a fundy atheist tactic and obviously untrue. Much as the "multiple/contradictory creation stories" ploy is.

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  3. There are two stories, and one can be quite robustly theistic...heck, fully Christian...and recognize that. That thesis ain't a chestnut, unless by "chestnut" you mean competent and scholarly and grounded in both textual and manuscript study. I'm sure that's precisely what you meant. ;)

    The two stories have different chronologies and different purposes. Genesis 1:1-2:3 is a liturgical poem, celebrating the goodness of creation. It comes likely from a priestly source later in the history of the Hebrew people. Genesis 2:4 - 3:24 is older...the kind of story told around the campfires of a nomadic people. It 'splains why, if God made all things good, stuff is so messed up.

    Both are true, and both are necessary, in that the two combined articulate the core dynamic underlying the need for our reconciliation with God.

    Recognizing that in the text is neither a ploy nor subversive to a healthy Christ-centered faith.

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  4. "Genesis 1:1-2:3 is a liturgical poem, celebrating the goodness of creation. It comes likely from a priestly source later in the history of the Hebrew people. Genesis 2:4 - 3:24 is older...the kind of story told around the campfires of a nomadic people. It 'splains why, if God made all things good, stuff is so messed up."

    So, you've essentially agreed with me that we are talking about the same "story", simply articulated differently.

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  5. "So, you've essentially agreed with me that we are talking about the same "story", simply articulated differently."

    If you consider a summary and an analysis to be the same, but differently expressed then i can see why you may think this way.

    These two "stories" have two completely different premises. In this way they are not the same. Two different purposes, two different effects, two different audiences, two different stories.

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  6. I think what I learn as I get older and read the various debates within Liberal and Conservative Theological circles, and within my own "conservative" conclusions, is that presuppositions are inescapable.

    Same text, two very different conclusions rendered by two exceedingly different presuppositions.


    Makes life interesting to be sure! ;o)

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  7. So the correct answer is that neither the chicken nor the egg came first- velociraptors did!

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  8. If I'd been a Creationist, though, I probably would have told him the opposite thing entirely.

    @ beloved - Your low view of scripture never ceases to amaze me.

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  9. @ Mark: It's not so much a low view of Scripture as a low view of the literalist approach to Scripture. Whichever way, at least I keep you entertained. ;)

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  10. It's not so much a low view of Scripture as a low view of the literalist approach to Scripture.

    Oh, I do understand Dave. I use to make scripture say something it didn't say as well. By God's grace, I learned to stop such foolishness; maybe one day you will as well. I mean that in a literal sense.

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