Genesis in Nostradamus

I got to thinking the other day. There are lots and lots of creation narratives across cultures — elephants standing on turtles, the first man and woman throwing bones over the shoulder to create the plants and animals, and so on and so forth. If you lined them all up one alongside each other in a shelf, I think there are only two that that you’d say were viable — our own and the Hebrew one. And when you look at them side by side, they’re not really that different.

You have to do a little cultural translation, mind. You have to be aware that water/sea does not mean H2O to the Hebrew mind, but rather the sea is chaos. When a westerner thinks of the infinity of the universe, we cannot help thinking of space… we even call it space! A Hebrew mind thinking of an infinity of nothing would think of the vast sea … would think of water. And they do, in their creation story. If you squint a little, you’ll see that the author of the Hebrew creation was communicating the same creation we’re used to. It starts suddenly, and with light/energy … brought about by something or someone totally out of our experience. Then matter (firm land) has to be separated from the chaos (water) before the rest of the stuff can happen.

Much of what follows is in the order you would want it to be in — truth that modern people have accessed through scientific enquiry was somehow accessible in a different way to this ancient author. Plants before life in the sea before birds and mammals. Even evolution is anticipated: “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind.”

Even those bits that are difficult are worth discussing in science terms as well as theological. So, for example, in Genesis, if the dry land / Earth does represent matter rather than planet Earth, then the plant life is viewed to come into existence before our solar system. That would have been thought bizarre at one point. But by the late 20th century, the theory that life is extra-terrestrial, and that comets and so on might, in fact, be transporting the earliest forms of life were being explored (see for instance, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe’s panspermia hypothesis).

Because the Genesis account is in the Bible, it’s given a rougher ride than it deserves. If it had been discovered in a cave, or if someone found it in the writings of Nostradamus or even in the writings of some 19th century mystic, oh, how the tabloid newspapers would hawk it as uncanny, supernatural, and an amazing likeness. Good guesses, Moses!

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation