Thursday, August 18, 2011

Our First Contest

(I ought to have done this yesterday, for Fr. Jaki's birthday; I apologise.)

Announcing the first contest of the Duhem Society!

The Genesis One Contest

As we all know, the first chapter of Genesis is the summary or "Great Creation" story - as compared to that in Genesis 2 which talks mostly about Adam and Eve and the garden. We also know that this is one of the major bones of contention when it comes to any sort of discussion about science (writ either large or small) and faith (also writ either large or small). It's sad, since (as GKC might say) it's stingless for the most orthodox. Ah well. Perhaps you already have a copy of SLJ's Genesis One Through the Ages, which gives a great deal of interesting information about the topic; as with most such topics, it comes up in many of SLJ's books. You also ought to have read (or at least seen our posting) about the very critical comments by St. Augustine from his own work on the topic - see here for the reference.

Anyway, the contest is a rather tongue-in-cheek affair, though one which ought to be attempted by every serious Historian of Science, just as a corrective against assuming too much - or too little. It is a writing exercise, and yet it should be fun, and very interesting and instructive.

Here it is:
The Genesis One Contest

Write a comprehensive statement of Creation which includes all things, and indicates not only the entire system of physical things, but also stresses their origin. (Who, and How - you decide how to proportion it all, as long as What is "everything" = "all things visible and invisible".)

You may use whatever style you wish, but you are restricted to under 759 words - which is (at least by one estimate) the number of words in Genesis One. You need not work out a division into verses, unless of course you use a poetic form.

In order to enter, you may submit it to me by e-mail (see my "profile" for the e-address), or you may post it on your own blogg, then send me a link to it. If you use e-mail, let me know whether you will permit your entry to be posted on our Society blogg.

Note that this exercise is not to prove anything (except perhaps to you, the entrant). We will not impose historico-critical analysis, or doctrinal verity, or any of those formalisms to your submission; you must be the final arbiter: when you are done you will have to find yourself satisfied - and be able to say as God did, that it is indeed VERY good. (If you're not, wait a year, revise it, and try again!)

Due by September 23 - that is, Before the Fall. (hee hee)

An aside: if you think that this seems to suggest that there might be more to Genesis One than a rather liturgical "emphasis on the seven-day week and the holiness of the Sabbath" - well, I think that's plain, especially once one reads the relevant chapter. But then SLJ does say a lot more than that; it's always a matter of emphasis. And let's not forget what St. Augustine says about it!) Maybe it's because I'm an architect of systems, and that last line about how God saw the System of All Things as very good... well, you write enough fiction (or software), and you'll begin to understand that such writing is a lot different than purely academic commentary. I am sure it will be a shock to some, but there is such a thing as Reality. Ahem. But that's just an aside.

I hope this will be an annual activity. Please enter early and often. I make no guarantees about any sort of prizes, but I am sure the fun you have writing it, and the fun we'll have reading it will be worth more. Perhaps someday when we have our journal, we'll also be able to have real (tangible) prizes.

1 comment:

The Atheist Turtle said...

Before there was time there was God and God was love – infinite, inexhaustible, unquenchable, uncontainable love. Love must be shared, it wants to create and did. God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them. He lit the universe with His radiance and separated Himself from His creation making Heaven to be His dwelling place. He created spirit servants to be with Him and do His bidding and apart from Heaven God prepared the universe as a homey place suited for life of substance. God arranged for great land masses and oceans on the earth and filled them with a complex assortment of vegetation and sea creatures and on the land a myriad of plants and air breathing animals all to benefit His greatest creation - a creation from the lowliest of sources, from the substance of the earth, the ashes left over from creation God formed His child, man, a physical, air breathing substantial animal but differing from all others for the manner of his creation. God Himself, breathed into the nostrils of this earth formed man the breath of life and the man became a living soul, like God in image, to love God in fulfillment of His desire, and to be loved by Him.