Christianity in the Land of Santhals
There is considerable difference of opinion among Christians over the story of Creation. From the Catholic perspective God is ever present in some aspect. There are significant themes in the Bible, Moral Therapeutic Deism and “NOAH” that explicitly express distinct views of creation.
The central idea in all three expressions is that God is in existence and created the world. However, the creation stories differ significantly regarding the purpose and reason of the world, more specifically human beings.
The story of creation differs greatly throughout the Bible. The amount of altering views in the book of Genesis alone is astounding. Genesis is the study of beginning; the record of all creation along with sin. It is “mythic” in the way that it tries to make sense of the world. Genesis contains two creation stories.
In chapter one and the beginning of chapter two, the first story expresses the stages of creation in six days, with each day expanding from the day before, until creation achieves its peak when God makes human beings in His image. In Genesis I, the world begins “in the beginning” of everything.
From a void, God creates everything out of nothing. “1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:1-2) God created light and darkness on day one, the next day He created the atmosphere and divided it from the oceans, on day three God created land, water and vegetation, the next day He created the sun, moon and stars, on day five God created creatures to fill the sky and water, on day six He created creatures to fill the land, and on the last day of creation God rested from all His work.
The second story of creation centers around the creation of a human being. God took dirt and breathed life to create the world and humanity. In this Genesis story, creation was more experimental. This can be seen through His creation of Adam and eventually Eve. God seems to be enthusiastic about the world. Similar to Genesis I, God created humanity out of His love and kindness. “And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:4)
He plants a garden and creates animals to entertain Adam and Eve demonstrating how deeply He cares for them and all future humanity. Furthermore, when God created man and woman in His own image, the Bible says, “And God saw everything that He made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) God was fulfilled with His creation and looking at it gave Him a kind of bliss.
The Genesis creation accounts set up a specific problem by stressing the goodness of everything that God has made and continuously deny that the world is broken from the start by a battle involving the forces of good and evil. Although Genesis does not precisely state how evil enters the supposed to be good world, it describes how Adam and Eve introduce the idea of disobedience to God into creation. God in turn created unnatural curses on the future of humanity.
These curses, including men to toil in the field, women to be ruled by their husband and experience excruciating pain during child birth, and the inevitable death of all creation, were meant to punish Adam and Eve for their sinful actions. As time advanced and sin expanded, humans eventually deviated so far from good that they started trusting in and worshipping other so-called divine beings.
The record of the beginning of humans gradually developed to correspond with the life of transgression, violence and these new convictions. This can be seen explicitly in the movie “NOAH”. In this movie, the opening scenes make it apparent that God created humans to be good. Because mankind was becoming too sinful, God called upon Noah to build an ark that can sustain the flood that He would create to wipe out the human race.
“NOAH” is a cinematic train wreck that expresses the de-creation story put in action by God. Certain scenes in this movie express how the human race has become nothing but violent. The main character, Noah, even states that he, along with his family, has the darkness inside him. This can be seen through the savagery toward animals and the treatment of women and children throughout the movie.
In Genesis, God set a moral standard by which the human beings must live. Although, in the Bible, we know that both humans and animals have become violent, “I have decided to put an end to all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them.” (Genesis 6:13), ‘Morality’ in other animals is simply their instincts.
This can add to the claim in the movie that animals are entirely innocent and require protection from the immoral actions of humanity. Genesis places human life in accordance with the life of animals. The first story places the creation of mankind on the same day, day six, as the creation of animals. In “NOAH” there is an essential division between humans and animals. Instead of saving the human race, God orders Noah to bring two of each species on earth onto the arc to save the animal species.
He does this because there is the idea that animals acquire an innocence that human beings clearly do not. This stresses that God saw animal kind as innocent and, in a way, above humans. In the first Genesis story, God created human beings to fill the Earth and order it. “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.'” (Genesis 1:28) This verse describes God’s purpose for the human race as being fruitful while subduing the Earth.
Moral Therapeutic Deism proposes an elevated view of self. It is a very individualistic deism that has the idea that God wants humans to have “good” morals. The five beliefs of Moral Therapeutic Deism are that God exists and created the world, God wants people to be good, nice and fair to each other, the central goal of life is to be happy and feel good about oneself, God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when He is needed to resolve a problem, and good people go to heaven when they die.
The first belief is a direct contradiction to the Incarnation in Scripture. It holds the conviction that God made the world then pulled back from it turning away from human beings. The second belief also contradicts Scripture. Christ did not come to Earth to make unmoral men “good”. He did not come to us to reform us but to reclaim creation from the scourge of sin.
Having a behaved people was not His objective. The third belief is a very self-interested idea because happiness means something different to every person. This claim that the end goal of a person’s life should be to find happiness completely redefines the idea that God wants people to be nice, fair and kind considering that people can define these traits differently. In Scripture, God yearns for more than merely good behavior and occasional happiness.
“Therefore, anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:19)
The fourth belief also contradicts the Incarnation. God is involved in every aspect of our lives. The Kingdom of Heaven, along with God, is current and present. He is exceptionally active in the life and well-being of His creation. “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:15) This idea that God created the world and humanity just to leave it alone can also be seen in the movie “NOAH”.
Repeatedly throughout the movie, Tubal-Cain curses God and is angered by the lack of communication between God and humanity. Except for Noah, who regularly claims to see and hear signs from God, human beings felt that they were, in a way, left in the dark. This caused them to act out and eventually believe that they could do anything they wanted including savagery.
The fifth belief is also considered false by Scripture. Heaven is about being present and in constant communication with God. People do not go to Heaven, Heaven comes down to us. “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven.” (John 3:13)