Interesting Question

A reader writes:

Do you know of any authors, modern day priest scientists or writers who have pondered or written of a historical fiction approach to the Creation of Man/Fall story? Something that still follows Church teaching on the matter, but is more historical than Genesis? Something that might account for fossil records of early man, evolutionary progression up to Homo Sapien and some ensoulment event?

If not, do you have any thoughts on this?

Forgive me if your creation beliefs are outside of a continually God directed creation that allows for evolution. I’ve just pondered this and thought of you as the first likely candidate to ask.

Peace sir and keep up the good blog work. I don’t always agree with you, but I have had to reconsider many a political topic based on your tenderly dark lordly writings.

It’s not so much fiction as informed speculation, but the smartest take I’ve read on the matter comes from the marvelously erudite and readable Michael Flynn in his class essay Adam and Eve and Ted and Alice.

My own attempts to noodle the matter are here.

  • Michael

    C S Lewis gave it a go in a chapter of The Problem of Pain.

  • bob

    Don’t stop too early in Genesis. If anyone thinks you can wring a “science” out of it, read the sheep breeding account (experiment?) In chapter 30. The book is not now and never was about geology, biology, astronomy or animal husbandry.

  • Mike

    Fascinating essay. Thanks for the link. Please do more on this. PS What do you think of BioLogos?

    • Mark Shea

      Never heard of it.

  • http://coalitionforclarity.blogspot.com/ Robert King

    I can’t help but notice the reader asked for “historical fiction” rather than straight history. Is he/she looking for a dramatization, something that grabs the gut and the heart as well as the head? Something that shows the set-up for the whole drama of human history? Like the first chapters of Clarke’s 2001, except based on theological truth rather than scientifical-alien-messianic speculation?

    Not that I’m aware of anyone who’s done that, but sounds like an interesting project.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    I can’t think of any such work, simply because the Church doesn’t make such definitive statements on scientific matters.

    By far my favorite creation story of all time is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. It isn’t history at all, but there’s more Truth there than in any work I’ve read outside of the Bible.

  • Billy Bean

    There is a very interesting take on this by a certain Deacon Ezra (Eastern Orthodox) called “These Things We Believe: An Orthodox Catechism for Our Times” which is less a catechism than a serious attempt to interact with modern anthropology and evolutionary science from an ancient Christian perspective which Catholics would also appreciate.You can order it on Amazon or get it from the publisher, Regina Orthodox Press.

  • Pat the Protestant

    It’s not exactly what you are looking for, being an after Easter short story, but you might enjoy The Parliament of Beasts which John C Wright has posted recently.

  • Michael Matthew

    As the father of 5 children, 4 being boys, I pose a more thought provoking question:

    Did Adam and Eve pass gas before the fall and is the flatulent filled universe a result of the fall?

    Enquiring minds want to know.

    • Beccolina

      Considering the amount of happiness flatulence gives little boys (And little girls too), I would say that passing gas happened before the fall too. After all, there’s nothing sinful or immoral about it.

  • gene studies

    I believe, correct me if I’m wrong, that all of humanity by way of our DNA can be mapped back to 8 sets of potential parents. i.e. we’re all related genetically to one of 8 sets of ancestral parents. Only a matter of time before this number gets smaller. Genesis will be indeed proven some day, albeit I’m sure in a manner which won’t make atheists, or creationists, 100% happy. Oh well. God never said he had was going to spell EVERYTHING out for us, we have to figure it out on our own, sometimes.

  • A Reader

    Check out the writings of Gerald L. Schroeder. I particularly like His “The science of God”.

  • Fred

    A narrative of creation, both cosmical and of the first humans, just not fictional but scientific, appeared close to the end of a chapter published a few years ago by The MIT Press, penned by an Argentinian. The thick book was on psychology, physics and metaphysics. I’m sorry that I forget title, author’s name & further data, but the narrative was very important to me at the time, as it showed a respectful, Faith-supporting alternative to the Faith-assuming biblical exposition. As such, it might help Reader to write down by herself/himself the historical fiction approach to the Creation of Man/Fall story.


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