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Friday, September 19, 2008

John Polkinghorne Says Scripture Is Abused

"When we read any kind of deep literature, if we are to give it the respect that it deserves we must make sure we understand the genre of what is written. Mistaking poetry for prose can lead to false conclusions. When Robert Burns tell us his love “is like a red, red rose”, we know that we are not meant to think that his girlfriend has green leaves and prickles. Reading Genesis 1 as if it were a divinely dictated scientific text, intended to save us the trouble of actually doing science, is to make a similar kind of error. We miss the point of the chapter if we do not see that it is actually a piece of deep theological writing whose purpose ... is to assert that everything that exists does so because of the will of the Creator. Thus literal creationists actually abuse scripture by the mistaken interpretation that they impose upon it," the Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne writes in The Times today in a piece that expresses dismay over creationists who interpret Genesis literally and regret over Michael Reiss' recent resignation from the Royal Society.