Origins

Authored by: Michael Ruse

The Routledge Companion to Religion and Science

Print publication date:  October  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415492447
eBook ISBN: 9780203803516
Adobe ISBN: 9781136634178

10.4324/9780203803516.ch34

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Abstract

The big-name Greeks had no interest in origins, mainly because there were none! Plato and Aristotle believed in an eternal world, where there may be limited change, but essentially all was as it was in the beginning and will always be in the future Sedley 2008). There were some who challenged this vision, Empedocles for example, but generally they were few, and were regarded as muddled and misguided. The ancient Jews, of course, did have their creation story, and it was this that governed Western thinking right through the scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This persistence was not so much a fact that no-one wanted to go against Holy Scripture – Augustine, around 400 AD, had argued that if the evidence shows otherwise, literalistic interpretations of the Bible must be relinquished (McMullin 1985). It was rather that there was no reason to dispute the accuracy of the Genesis accounts of origins.

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