Genesis and Cosmos

Basil and Origen on Genesis 1 and Cosmology


In Genesis and Cosmos Adam Rasmussen examines how Basil and Origen addressed scientific problems in their interpretations of Genesis 1. For the first time, he offers an in-depth analysis of Basil’s thinking on three problems in Scripture-and-science: the nature of matter, the super-heavenly water, and astrology. Both theologians worked from the same fundamental perspective that science is the “servant” of Christianity, useful yet subordinate. Rasmussen convincingly shows how Basil used Origen’s writings to construct his own solutions. Only on the question of the water does Basil break with Origen, who allegorized the water. Rasmussen demonstrates how they sought to integrate science and Scripture and thus remain instructive for those engaged in the dialogue between religion and science today.

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Adam Rasmussen, Ph.D. (2013), The Catholic University of America, is a lecturer in theology at Georgetown University as well as a senior lecturer in theology for Brescia University’s online program. He has published two articles on Basil and Origen.
Introduction: Scripture and Science

1 Origen, Basil, and Secular Education
 1 Origen of Alexandria
 2 Basil
 3 Conclusion

2 The Interpretation of Scripture
 1 Origen
 2 Basil: Disciple of Origen
 3 Conclusion

3 “The earth was invisible and unformed”: Prime Matter and Creatio ex Nihilo
 1 Hylomorphism
 2 Pre-existent Matter and Creatio ex Nihilo before Origen
 3 Origen
 4 Basil
 5 Interpretation and Analysis

4 “A separator between water and water”: Cosmology and Water above the Sky
 1 Origen
 2 Basil
 3 Interpretation and Analysis

5 “Let them be for signs”: Astrology
 1 Greco-Roman Astrology
 2 Origen
 3 Basil
 4 Interpretation and Analysis

Conclusion: Basil and the Legacy of Origen
 1 Basil and the Anti-Origenist Movement
 2 Origen and Basil as Models for the Modern Science-Religion Debate
All interested in how early Christian authors used philosophy in their theology and biblical interpretation. It should also be of interest to those who wonder about Genesis 1 and science.
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