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The God Squad: Creationism, evolution both raise legitimate questions

May 24, 2013|By Rabbi Marc Gellman

Q: In our newspaper's "letters to the editor" section, we often read letters from people who believe literally what the Bible has to say (creationists, who embrace intelligent design, and readers who reject the theory of evolution).

They seem so hidebound in their beliefs that they refuse to even consider the other side of the argument. The truth of evolution is obvious, but it does seem to me there must be a guiding force behind it all. Doesn't it seem obvious that both sides should be considered? — P., Ocala, Fla., via godsquadquestion@aol.com

A: In the case of creationism versus evolution, I've never understood the nature of the conflict.

I believe God could have used, and probably did use, evolution as the mechanism for adapting life to the world God created. I also believe that the brilliant design of life in all its forms is the most eloquent possible evidence of intelligent design.

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On both sides of the debate, I try to ask sympathetic but probing questions. When talking with evolutionary fundamentalists, I urge them to reflect on the impossibly long odds of mere random selection producing, let us say, Shakespeare. In the case of biblical fundamentalists, I try to remind them that a seven-day creation week could not have been made up of seven 24-hour days because a day is defined by the sun, and the sun, according to Genesis 1:14-19, was not created until the fourth day.

Taken together, these two observations have helped me to believe, with Einstein, that our job in both science and religion is to "trace the lines that flow from God."

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Q: We are taught to love all and forgive our enemies. My question: Is it right and possible to not like someone but still love them, that is, to wish them no ill will and to help if they're in need, but to choose not to be around them because it brings you down emotionally? Can we really forgive but not forget? — G., via godsquadquestion@aol.com

A: Let me begin my response by going to the text that's troubling you from Matthew 5:43-48 (KJV):

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