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Darwin and the Bible.

Having been captivated by the title, "Charles Darwin and His Apostles Have Got It All Wrong!", I took it upon myself to read this article, not once but several times, and each time I read it, I not only developed the zeal and determination to respond to it, but certain ideas highlighted by the writer, Prof Konotey-Ahulu, disturbed my mind and prompted me to write this critique.

I am delighted by the title itself. It is also my opinion that Darwin and his apostles got it wrong with the Theory of Evolution as the basis for understanding how the universe came about. The theory does not offer plausible arguments to sustain the claim that the world is a product of evolution. It is merely "whistling in the dark to keep their scientific courage up", as Prof Konotey-Ahulu nicely puts it.

Like Dr Wieland and many other Christians, I agree it is plausible to assert that the creation of the universe cannot be explained without God or a Supreme Being (in philosophical terms: the ultimate cause, the uncaused cause).

Having said that, there are some points highlighted by Prof Konotey-Ahulu as being in Dr Wieland's book that I beg to differ on. These include the citation of the book of Genesis, to be precise Noah's flood, as providing a basis for the argument against evolution.

Prof Konotey-Ahulu quotes Dr Wieland as having said that the eight human beings who survived Noah's flood can provide us with evidence to account for the different races on earth. This seems to be a rather far-fetched idea to postulate.

Why do I say this? We must understand that the flood in the Bible is not a historical facr. The story of Noah is a myth and must be left precisely as that.

The Genesis creation texts or stories, such as Noah's flood, are not meant to answer scientific questions on how the world came to be. They are to show God's relationship with people but not to be understood as history.

In the article, there is a statement ascribed to Dr Wieland that says "the Bible is history, not myth". This statement is rather disturbing. I am not disputing the relevance of this sacred text or diminishing its significance whatsoever, but I am disproving the assertion that it is history and not myth.

Again, I am not disproving that there are historical events outlined in the Bible that actually took place, but I am positing that we look at our teachings critically if we are to understand it even better.

Why do I say the Bible is not history? Let us look at the story of the flood. If it is history, the same story must have the same non-conflicting narrations of the event. However, this is not the case.

The text of the flood is written from two perspectives woven together. For those who have a background in Scripture Studies, they would know that it is written using two traditions common with the authors of the Ancient Near East, the Priestly (P) and Yahwist (J) traditions.

The text says two things about the actual rains that are not the same. The presentation and wording of the text about the rain is different. The J tradition says that it rained for 40 days, beginning from the seventh day after the command to enter the ark. The P tradition, on the other hand, talks of the waters continuing to increase over the earth for 150 days and the duration of the flood being one year.

Now if this was history, what would be true, the 40 days' rain or the one year? We must understand that like all myths, this story was written not for historical data but to express the religious ideas of the people of the Ancient Near East, such as God's salvation for the world.

Mandlenkosi Ncube Johannesburg, South Africa
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Title Annotation:Readers' views
Author:Ncube, Mandlenkosi
Publication:New African
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Oct 1, 2011
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