This is an update of the last post: here is the survey I gave to the class as part of our creation narratives discussion:
1. Was the world created? If so, by what or whom?
2. How old is the Earth? How do you know?
3. How old is humanity? How do you know?
4. Is there a flaw in creation that must be corrected? If so, what is it?
5. By what agency is the flaw corrected? Human? Natural? Divine? All of the above?
6. What is the metaphysical status of matter in your story? Is it capable of self-creation?
7. How gnostic are you? Is knowledge the key to fixing the flaw in the world? Is the material world, in itself, a mistake? Do you have a plan for escaping this mistake?
Note: The questions assume a familiarity with the Babylonian, Hebrew, Platonic, Pauline, Gnostic, and Darwinian worldviews we’ve been talking about in class. The most fun we’ve had so far is our ongoing discussion of Carlo Ginzburg’s The Cheese and the Worms, an account of a 16th-century miller in Friuli, Italy, and his encounters with the Inquisition after he starts to preach a heterodox genesis story to his fellow villagers.
p.s. Though this material is not explicitly environmental in outlook, a person’s reaction to the environmental crisis will be deeply influenced by their answers to these questions. Someone with a more gnostic view of the flaw in matter itself will react differently to news of world-wounding than someone who assumes, with Genesis, that the world is basically good.