Morgan Freeman calls Mississippi his home. He says he lived in many places, including New York, San Francisco, LA, Chicago. "But this place defines me," he says. "You can't understand me without understanding where I was created. Every religion has a creation story, so what do those stories tell us about who we are and where we came from?" This episode will explore several varieties of creation stories.
Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions all trace the beginning of humans back to Adam and Eve. Freeman explains that Genesis tells us of the Garden of Eden- where human life began. There has not yet been a discovery of the spot, said to lie near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, though many people have tried. Why do people want to find the spot? He says the answer is really interesting, that the Garden of Eden represents the beginning of our communication with God. It could tell us about who we are- like Mississippi life could tell you about Morgan Freeman.
He travels to Jerusalem, and learns about the chapel of Adam- the place that tradition holds is where Adam was buried, and above it, is Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified. According to his expert, the blood of Jesus was said to have flowed down on to Adam, allowing him to be resurrected. They discussed the possibility that the story of Adam and the Garden of Eden could have been a metaphorical story .
He sets out to Turkey to talk with an archeologist about the possibility of the birth of farming, and the birth of believing God are connected. Could this have been Eden? They study the burial practices of the ancient people who lived there.
In this episode, Freeman will speak with a Catholic clergy for the first time. In an article written for Angelus news, Kate O'Hare says that while talking with a priest/astronomer from the Vatican Observatory, "the Church avers its welcoming attitude toward science and discusses how the cosmological Big Bang theory blends into the larger theological view of creation. This appears to confound Freeman, who then emphasizes how a snippet of the Islamic creation myth, and that of the Aboriginal people of Australia, also resemble the Big Bang ... though it's a bit of a stretch in both cases."
Lori McCreary is the executive producer of The Story of God. She told The Blaze that during the filming of this episode, she was able to reconcile and find a balance between her belief in God, and in science while they were talking with Monsignor Sanchez Sorondo. She said that she always noticed many people divide into two camps on the issue of the big bang and the Genesis account of creation, but that Sorondo helped clear it up for her. "We asked him about the big bang and creation ... and he very clearly articulated something for me that I have always felt, but didn't really know how to express in words, which is: the big bang is the scientific explanation of creation and the creation story from Genesis is the theological explanation of creation, and the two do not contradict each other," she said. "I came away feeling just a little more centered in my own beliefs, and also the fact that I'm a scientist - and the two can coexist inside me."
This episode of The Story of God airs this Sunday the 24th on the National Geographic Channel. Check back in after the weekend for a recap, and join in the discussion!