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Friday, 28 February 2014

The Notorious Creationist, Justin Welby

Doug at Catholicity is asked the all-important question, "what is the Church of England's official line on Genesis 1?"

I'm guessing the C of E doesn't have an official line on creationism. It's not great at official lines. The ones that are really official - such as the 39 Articles - are mostly ignored. And any advice from the House of Bishops is immediately fisked, filleted and generally dismembered. Best to assume the C of E has no proper official lines, but is actually just a bunch of people who like drinking poor-quality coffee in cold buildings. But are, generally, pretty nice.

Anyway. Back to the question of Genesis 1. There's no official line. But let's think about the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, whose career before he became an Archbishop was in the oil industry. Quite high-flying, at that.

In fact, as the article at archbishopofcanterbury.org (which I'm guessing is at least semi-official) says,
For 11 years - five in Paris and six in London – he worked in the oil industry, becoming group treasurer of a large British exploration and production company."
So let's ponder that for a minute. An oil exploration and production company. So - do we think, in the company where Archbishop Justin formerly worked, the people responsible for finding oil - people he had to be group treasurer for, responsible for things like income and profits - came to work in the morning and said "Cracking! That particular sedimentary rock is just the sort of Jurassic/Cretaceous formation from which we can often expect to extract petroleum - the compressed organic remains of vegetation from eons ago. Let's try drilling there!"

OR do you think they used to say "We've no idea what to do. Oil is just some black stuff that God scattered randomly around, 6,000 years ago. It could be in sandstone, it could be in limestone - frankly, it could be in granite. Let's just drill holes randomly all over the place and see what we find! There's got to be some somewhere - but who knows where God might have hidden it?"

If you think the latter is the right answer, I have an oil well I can sell you. It's in Bedford, but don't worry. It's as likely a spot as anywhere else. If you think the former is the answer, you've got a reasonable idea about whether the leader of the Church of England, at any rate, thinks Genesis 1 is a literal account.

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