fact, fiction or myth

A news note:   The Old Fool attended a Grief Support Group offered byYoder Culp Funeral Home for persons who have lost a spouse.  We’re telling our stories and laughing and crying together.  I’ve noted the comments of two persons who read “More About Me” because their mothers who are in the Grief Support Group  gave them the URL of the website.

Now The Old Fool turns his attention  to our discussion of Genesis 1 and 2. The Old Fool must choose his words carefully and report how he understands them.  The definitions are taken from the several meanings offered by dictionaries.  Here is how he is speaking of Genesis 1 and 2:

  • fact:  An event or thing known to have happened or existed, a truth verifiable from experience or observation
  • fiction:    A literary work whose content is produced by the imagination and is not necessarily based on fact.
  • truths:   Conformity to fact or actuality.  A statement proven to be or accepted as true.  often Truth – That which is considered to be the supreme reality and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence
  • myth:   A story about superhuman beings of an earlier age taken by preliterate society to be a true account, usually of how natural phenomena, social customs, etc., came into existence.
  • evidence:  That which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.
  • proof: – (a piece of) evidence, information etc that shows definitely that something is true

Are Genesis 1 and 2 factual accounts?  Not really, they are based on what was believed in a preliterate society. Members of a preliterate society are not dumb. They just rely on telling instead of writing down their histories.

Are Genesis 1 and 2  fictional accounts?  Yes, we can say they have been produced by imagination.  However, fiction is often used to convey truth.  We might agree that the imagination that produced Genesis 1 and 2 was spiritually inspired.

Are Genesis 1 and 2 truths?  Not that we can know for sure.  However, the story tellers of a preliterate society are thought to be highly accurate.   They may tell the kind of truth that is considered to be the supreme reality, has ultimate meaning and value of existence.

Are Genesis 1 and 2 myths?  Yes,  They are stories of an early age understood by a preliterate society to be true accounts of how natural phenomena, social customs, etc., came into existence.

Are Genesis 1 and 2  the kind of evidence that leads to proof of what actually happened? No.  The evidence they offer cannot be verified and therefore cannot be considered proof.

If this is the way it is with Genesis 1 and 2, where can we go for the facts about creation? We may learn what we can from scientists who are gathering evidence about how the universe began. It should be noted that scientists do not describe their findings as proof.

AND finally there is the wonderful verse of Hebrews 11:3    “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”  NIV

Faith leads to understanding.   Evidence that is first-hand, direct, observed, practical, actual, experimental, pragmatic, factual, and experiential leads to discovery of more evidence and perhaps eventually to the first bit of evidence, as it was in the beginning.  But evidence-finders will be cautions in declaring that they have proven anything.  That is the way science is as The Old Fool understands it.  There is always room for understanding by faith.

The Old Fool wants to be understood as a Bible believer, not as a literalist, but as one who seeks beyond the sacred page, as the old song says.

The next post will likely again explore College Mennonite Church as a big tent. turn

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
This entry was posted in Biblical Interpretation, Faith, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.