In the Beginning…: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall

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Contents

  1. Reading Genesis with Cardinal Ratzinger - Homiletic & Pastoral Review
  2. The Truth About Creation
  3. See a Problem?
  4. In the Beginning...: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall (Resourcement)

I will begin by summarizing the three hermeneutical principles employed by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, in his non-literalist interpretation of the six-day account of Genesis, traditionally called the Hexaemeron. Do they count for anything? In order to answer these questions, he suggests three criteria for interpreting the Genesis text: the distinction between form and content in the creation narrative, the unity of the Bible, and the hermeneutical importance of Christology.

Thus, Cardinal Ratzinger concludes that Genesis does not and cannot provide a scientific explanation of how the world arose. Rather, it is a book that seeks to describe things in such a way that the reader is able to grasp profound religious realities. He is called to read Genesis as its human author wished it to be read, not as a scientific treatise, but as a religious narrative that communicates profound truths about the Creator. The interpreter must investigate what meaning the sacred writer intended to express and actually expressed in particular circumstances as he used contemporary literary forms in accordance with the situation of his own time and culture.

Moreover, though Cardinal Ratzinger does not provide a theological justification for this criterion, the Second Vatican Council did. For instance, how do we know that the human author of the six-day creation account did not mean to write a bona fide historical narrative or a scientific treatise? He certainly could have. For instance, the Ratzinger notes that a study of the origins of the creation texts in the Wisdom literature especially reveal that they were written to respond to the Hellenistic civilization confronted by the Israelites.

This image would not have been appropriate for their time and would not have been understood by their Greek contemporaries. In contrast, a study of the origins of the Hexaemeron, the six-day account of creation, found in the first chapter of Genesis reveals that it was written to respond to the seemingly victorious Babylonian civilization confronted by the Israelites several centuries before their encounter with the Greeks. Here, the human author of the sacred text used images familiar to their pagan contemporaries to refute the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian creation account that claimed that the world was created when Marduk, the god of light, killed the primordial dragon.

For instance, when the Sacred Scriptures affirm that in the beginning, the earth was without form and void cf.

Reading Genesis with Cardinal Ratzinger - Homiletic & Pastoral Review

When they refer to the sun and the moon as lamps that God has hung in the sky for the measurement of time cf. These verses, and they are only two of many examples, illustrate the intent of the human author of the Hexaemeron. He wanted to dismantle a pagan myth that was commonplace in Babylon and assert the supremacy of the one Creator God.

Cardinal Ratzinger concludes:. In the Bible itself the images are free and they correct themselves ongoingly. In this way they show, by means of a gradual and interactive process, that they are only images, which reveal something deeper and greater. In sum, a comparative study of the different creation accounts scattered throughout the Sacred Scriptures reveal that they were not and are not historical or scientific narratives.

The Truth About Creation

They were theological arguments that used different images to communicate the same truth — the truth about the Creator and his Creation. Finally, the second criterion raises another important question: Why should the Sacred Scriptures be treated as a unity? What is the source of this unity? The entire Bible is about him. Thus, Genesis has to be read in the context of its fulfillment in Christ.

Expertly translated from German, these reflections set out a reasonable and biblical approach to creation. Seller Inventory AAS More information about this seller Contact this seller 8.

C4: Ignite Your Catholic Faith - What's the Story on Creation?

More information about this seller Contact this seller 9. Published by Grand Rapids, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. From: Antiquariaat de Roo Zwijndrecht, Netherlands. Original publisher's paperback, pictorial frontcover, large 8vo: xij, pp. Very fine copy. More information about this seller Contact this seller Published by William B. About this Item: William B. A Fine, brand new copy.

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The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Seller Inventory GOR Published by Eerdmans Pub Co About this Item: Eerdmans Pub Co, Condition: Brand New. In Stock. Seller Inventory x Published by Eerdmans About this Item: Eerdmans, Great condition with minimal wear, aging, or shelf wear. Condition: Like New.

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Almost new condition. Soft cover. Minor shelf wear. Otherwise a tight, tight, unmarked book. Brand New!. Seller Inventory q. Nonviolent Theology. Political Theology. Theological Traditions Anglican.

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