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A physicist’s view of Genesis

Creation and Genesis

Dr Ard Louis is a Reader in Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford. As a scientist who believes in God, Ard Louis has made a detailed study of the Creation accounts in Genesis. He says,

“As a Christian, the Bible is key foundation upon which I build my worldview. Therefore, it matters greatly to me whether or not this text is a reliable source of knowledge.”

Ard Louis’ view can broadly be described as Theistic Evolution – and here the term ‘evolution’ in ‘Theistic Evolution’ refers not just to biological evolution but also to stellar evolution and so on. In other words it is a way to say that science explains (as far as it can) how things have happened in the Universe’s history; religion tells us why.


Why does the Bible call the Sun and Moon ‘lamps’?

Michelangelo’s interpretation of the Biblical account of the Creation of the Sun and Moon painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel


Here is an explanation – what do you think?

In the Bible, the text says that God made two lamps to shine in the sky – the Sun for daytime and the Moon for night. We now know that the Sun is a star and the Moon is a sphere of rock which reflects light. Why would the writer of the Creation story describe the Sun and Moon as lamps?

Biblical scholars have argued that these lines are written in the language of appearance, setting out how things look to us. They also say that there is a message in the text for people at the time. Many people living at around that time believed that the Sun and Moon are gods. The Creation story writer is saying, the Sun and Moon are not gods, they are just beautiful ‘lamps’, created by God.

© 2011 LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion)