This is part of a conversation I had with a Catholic friend I like and admire. In his previous email, he had questioned by use of Mark 10:6 to defend the idea that Jesus believed and taught that the creation of mankind was at the beginning of Creation, as opposed to 13 billion years later. Mark 10:6 quotes Jesus who says, ““But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’”
You call into question my use of Mark 10:6 to prove Jesus took this literally. I believe my position still stands, and here is why.
A look into Bible commentary shows that the phrase “of the creation” is not even found in the oldest texts, so even if one chooses a hyper-literal interpretation, they have to wait until later editions to do so, because the older texts say “At the beginning God made them male and female” (and not “At the first moment of creation…”). Also, I have to simply argue with your assertion that a literal interpretation of Jesus words would have to mean “at the very moment” Creation began. Jesus doesn’t say that, even in the English versions based on later texts. He says From the beginning,or at the beginning, or from the beginning of creation.
It does not use CREATION as a verb, such as “From the beginning of creating,” or “When God Began Creating…” Creation is used as a noun. And the creation account in Genesis, which Jesus is clearly referring to, shows Adam and Eve being created at the beginning of the Creation- DURING the creation of the Creation in the first of 52 weeks, in the first of (at Jesus’s time) 4,000 years.
Creation is the heavens and the earth, the sky and sea and all that live in them. The beginning of Creation was Genesis 1. Jesus meant what he said, and it does not clash with the Young Earth position at all unless you arbitrarily FORCE the words of Jesus to mean the first ACT of creation, or the first DAY of creation, when he does not say anything like it. Once again, I merely suggest we take the text as literally as the text is meant to be taken. Not more and not less.
Consider the alternatives:
Jesus SAID “At the beginning (of Creation) BUT Jesus actually meant, “At the very last moment of creation- 13.7 BILLION YEARS after creation began, and BILLIONS of years after almost everything else was made, and even hundreds of thousands of years after the first humans evolved from their ape-like hominid ancestors, God made them male and female.”
Once one adds in deep time and evolution, it starts to become not only incoherent, but simply false.
What is Jesus saying God made, and at the beginning of what? Sex- male and female- would have evolved billions of years prior to whatever mythical Adam is being alluded to. And a Big Bang timeline would put Adam- mythical or not- on the last page of the last chapter in all of history. In order to escape the problems which arise by forcing deep time into Jesus words, one is forced to simply say Jesus was wrong whether he knew it or not.
But why not agree that Jesus said what he meant and meant what he said?
You say, “we know that Jesus is not speaking literally when He refers to the creation of man and woman” and very simply I disagree. We have no reason to think he was not speaking literally of the creation of man and woman. What in the text gives you reason to doubt it? Because you try to force it to “literally” mean the very first moment of creating? It does not say that. And if nothing in the text does, then why are you trying to save Jesus from the meaning of the words he chose? The only way I can understand this position is one wherein you say, “If Jesus meant what he said, he was wrong, so let’s change what he MEANT.” It’s the same in Genesis 1 and Exodus 20.
The OEC position forces you to say, “The words of the Bible are wrong, so we will rescue it from criticism by pretending it doesn’t mean what it actually says.”
If this is not the case, then there MUST be a case that can be made FROM THE TEXT, but there is not. The case is ALWAYS made from the pretense of “science”.