Sunday, April 10, 2011

What Monty Python Can Teach Us About Reading the Bible

You normally wouldn't think we could learn much about theology from Monty Python. In most cases, I wouldn't recommend that we try. Of course, if you can look past a little bad language and irreverent humor, I have to admit that Monty Python is one of the funniest comedy groups that I've ever seen. And every once in a while, they strike upon a bit of philosophy that is a real gem.

The guard scene from the movie, The Holy Grail, is one such gem. Here are two confused guards who can't seem to understand a very simple order. Take a minute and be amused.



Does this remind you of anyone? For the longest time, I didn't didn't get the connection but just recently it dawned on me. This reminds me of people who claim to believe the Bible AND also believe in evolution. Let me explain.

Genesis is a very straight forward and plainly written account of the creation. Even a simpleton could read it and plainly see that it says God created the world in six days and then rested on the seventh. The creation event was a week long. It wasn't millions or billions of years. It wasn't a long progression of creation events over countless generations. There isn't a catastrophe and reconstruction wedged in between verses one and two. It's a simple account of a miraculous event. It's hard to misunderstand.

Yet despite the fact that it is so clearly written, there are millions of people out there that don't seem to be able to understand the clear meaning of the words. “How long is a day?,” I've heard them ask. Next they will say, “The Bible only tells us that God did it and science tells us how.” Excuse me? Are they reading the same text as me? The Bible says that God spoke and it happened. He created light on the first day, the sky on the second day, the dry land on the third day, etc. Each day is punctuated with the phrase “evening and morning” and marked with an ordinal number (“first day”, “second day”, etc). Could it really be more clear?

If you believe that the Genesis account of creation really means God created via something like evolution, then let me ask you a question: if God had meant to write that He created everything in six days, how might He have said it any more plainly? Why is it that the word “day” is easily understood the other few hundred times it is used but suddenly is “vague” when we read it in Genesis? Why should we even look for a different meaning other than the plain one? To me, people who read the Bible and then claim Genesis means something other than what it clearly means sound about as silly as the guards in the video.

The sad part is that the guards in the movie are trying to be funny.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not to be mean, just flabbergasted...
The sad part is that people still believe in creation based on (let's face it) a very silly story rather than evolution which is backed by scads of hard evidence and is occurring even today!

Stu H.

RKBentley said...

Stu H,

Thanks for visiting my blog. You seem to have avoided the main point of this post. I'm sure you believe the Genisis creation account is "a silly story" but why do some Christians - namely those who believe your "silly story" of evolution - claim the seven days in Genesis are really describing millions of years?

I have many other posts that talk more about the science and I invite you to read some of those. But surely you can see that the theory of evolution is not compatible with a plain reading of Genesis. Those people who claim claim to believe both seem about as silly as these guards who can't understand the plain words of their lord.

Thanks for you comment. I hope you come back and comment on some of my other posts.

God bless!

RKBentley