Karl Rahner on why Genesis 1-11 is not an Eyewitness Account

Karl_Rahner_by_Letizia_Mancino_CremerOften it is alleged that Genesis 1-11 is an eye-witness account, and even if Adam was not there in the beginning of Genesis 1-2, then God was certainly there as an eyewitness. But this will not do! Karl Rahner explains why it is a travesty to treat the proto-history of Genesis 1-11 as merely an expressive eyewitness account in this excellent quotation:

"Negatively it can probably be said quite simply that the account of creation in all its parts is not an 'eye-witness report' of what happened, by someone who was there, whether it be God or Adam who is thought of as the reporter. Or, to express it in more learned fashion, the account of creation does not depict the event which it reports with the actual observable features of its occurrence. Consequently it is not the report of someone who is describing and is in a position to describe a visible event of an historical kind because he was present and saw how it happened. If that were the case, then the figurative trappings and modes of expression which are present would be meaningless there. Nor would a reader expect them, if the occurrence to be reported had its own actual observable historical and therefore at all times intelligible and communicable features and provided the reporter were present at the event. Nor are the figurative modes of expression simply to explained as didactic devices designed to assist a primitive hearer's comprehension, for even to him much could have been differently said without prejudice to his understanding. To put the matter once again negatively, we can and indeed must of course affirm that what is contained in the account of creation as a proposition actually affirmed, is true, because God has revealed that content. But that statement does not imply the proposition that what is narrated there is reported by God in the manner in which it is expressed, because he was present at the event reported and is giving an eye-witness account even if it is one with some rather metaphorical features" -Karl Rahner, Homisation: The Official Teaching of The Church on Man in Relation to the Scientific Theory of Evolution, pg 34-35

Karl Rahner is one of my favorite Roman Catholic theologians, and he has written an excellent book discussing the controversial questions regarding Origins and Evolution. Read the complete book online: "Homisation: The Official Teaching of The Church on Man in Relation to the Scientific Theory of Evolution."  (mirror)

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