April 4, 2018

CREATION IN EIGHT DAYS – A SCIENTIFIC VERSION

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:51 pm by Rev. Thomas Perchlik

The English versions of the book of Genesis open: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”
But then the account drifts counter to current, scientific, understandings. The scriptures were written with the best science of their time and were written to sanctify the seven-day week. I have created my own UU version, using the results of science while honoring the rhythm of the week, and using the word God as a metaphor for the mystery of the source of creation.

CREATION IN EIGHT DAYS – A SCIENTIFIC VERSION

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the Universe was one, singular, formless and empty. There was not darkness nor light, not distance nor time, and the Spirit of God hovered in and around all.

Then the spirit moved , and there was light, and heat. There and then formed hydrogen and helium, oxygen, and all the elements. God saw that this was good. The seas of hot dust clumped and congealed into balls of light, separated by darkness and cold space within. Light and darkness, the fist day. (But there was no Earth or oceans, no life or people, so we rest on this day and worship the wonder of being.)

Then God said, “Let the solar system be born.” So, one cloud centered and churned until it burst into nuclear fire, our Sun. Whorls and eddies became planets around it. The Earth formed, and one great lump collided with Earth. Moon and Earth cooled and danced together. God saw this was good. From morning to night, one billion years, the second day. (But there was no oceans, life or human beings.)

Then, God said, “Let water separate from the land.” Rain fell, rocks cooled, oxygen was liberated to change the atmosphere to air. Air, earth, fire, and water, was the surface of Earth, and God saw this was good. Morning with the sun shining on the seas and night with the moon shimmering on the waters, the third day.

Then God said, “Let there be life in the waters.” In shallow seas, it began as simple things that fed on sunlight. Life grew and changed and formed the Ediacaran garden. Fronds and tubes carpeted the oceans for 100 million years until new creatures formed. Then trilobites, sea scorpions, the earliest fish and sharks filled the waters. God said, “Be fruitful and multiply” and life was rich and varied and God saw it was good; morning and night, the fourth day.

Then God said, “Let living things arise on land.” Plants came first, moss, then ferns, then woody plants and seed-bearing plants formed forests. Next, creatures began to move about and change until there were sail-backed dimetrodons and lizard like creatures of all sorts. Giant beasts swam in the oceans, and giant dragonflies flew through the forests. For two hundred million years animals and plants filled the earth, and God saw they were good. Then the evening came, and countless forms of life faded and vanished in the night of the fifth day.

Then God said, [at the beginning of one of my favorite days,] “Let there be dinosaurs.” And there were dinosaurs, and God saw they were good. For two hundred and fifty thousand million years dinosaurs thrived and took all sorts of forms. Some were small as cats, while others were the largest creatures ever to walk the Earth. Some ate only plants, while some ate other dinosaurs. From the early dinosaurs till triceratops walked under the twilight moon, two hundred million years.

Then God said, “Let mammals dominate the earth.” An enormous meteor hit the Earth and so much changed. Dinosaurs did not survive the change, though some few transformed into birds that flew across the arc of the sky. Many creatures and plants, from sharks and snakes, to ferns and pine trees, changed very little. But mammals thrived. At first, they were few and small, but they developed into Elephant like mastodons, and huge saber-tooth tigers, early canines became huge wolves. God said, “Be fruitful and increase” and so they did. Somewhere near the end of this day, several kinds of primates developed tools. Creatures had long used sounds to communicate, but some of these new creatures spoke languages and sang songs.

We gather on Sunday to remember the first day of creation when there was only dust and light. We also celebrate that a new week is beginning. We are the latest of creation, and we must live in harmony with all the rest of the Earth. What will the world be like in a million years, or two hundred million? Will we have faded away, or will we survive to carry life and wonder and love out to other stars? Will we be smarter and healthier, or not? We Unitarian Universalists have chosen to work with the Creator Spirit who first said, “Let there be light.” May we be a blessing in this wonderous universe.

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