How "creation" came to be

>> Thursday, November 27, 2014

Since Newton, creation had been central to much Western understanding of God, and people had lost sight of the fact that the biblical story had never been intended as a literal account of the physical origins of the universe. Indeed, the doctrine of creation ex nihilo had long been problematic and had entered Judaism and Christianity relatively late; in Islam the creation of the world by al-Lah is taken for granted, but there is no detailed discussion of how this happened. Like all other Koranic speech about God, the doctrine of creation is only a "parable," a sign or a symbol. Monotheists in all three religions had regarded the creation as a myth, in the most positive sense of the word: it was a symbolic account which helped men and women to cultivate a particular religious attitude. Some Jews and Muslims had deliberately created imaginative interpretations of the creation story that departed radically from any literal sense. But in the West there had been a tendency to regard the Bible as factually true in every detail. Many people had come to see God as literally and physically responsible for everything that happens on earth, in rather the same way as we ourselves make things or set events in motion.
~Karen Armstrong, A History of God, p. 355


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