No one is saying that! Genesis is not poetry written just for fun. It was written by ancient Jews to represent the truth about the creation of the universe as revealed by God - that is the fact that God is the creator of all things, the fall of men etc. The language is highly symbolical not to entertain us but to reflect the truth, which couldn’t otherwise be comprehended by a pre-scientific society. For example number seven 7 represented perfection in ancient semitic culture. I don’t believe it represents the number of days but that God’s creation was perfect by the time he finished it.
You’ll be stuck on the issue of starlight if you think God is limited. I follow astronomical developments closely. I am aware of how far the Hubble telescope can see. If you are a Catholic, you can either consider the miracles Jesus Christ performed as real and impossible, according to science, or not. That is the only thing that you should consider. Can God perform extraordinary things beyond what we regard as natural?
I am tired of the “ya know, 2,000 years ago, people were just too stoopid to get it, ya know?”
A device from 1 B.C. antikythera-mechanism.gr/
You’ll be stuck on the issue of starlight if you think God is limited.
God has no limits, but has chosen to not be deceptive.
I am tired of the “ya know, 2,000 years ago, people were just too stoopid to get it, ya know?”
Not too stupid; just not technologically able to get it. Until Newton, no one really realized how far away the stars were.
A device from 1 B.C. antikythera-mechanism.gr/
Cool, mainly for the precision of the gears. But long before that, Stonehenge was built with the ability to predict eclipses among other things. The ancients weren’t dumber than we, they just didn’t know as much.
You make fact-like statements, but they do not point to what God can do. Raise the dead, give sight to the blind and perform miracles, now, today. Before being considered for sainthood, today, a person needs two miracles attributed to them. God is God - and can manipulate nature as He pleases.
Excuse me Ladies and Gentlemen, but I would like to interject a few thoughts regarding some of the things said in this thread. I will explain why I think this discussion tends to get off track. I usually like to keep my posts short, so bear with me on this one exception.
Regarding the age of the Earth, Catholics are indeed free to believe in an old Earth (estimated by modern geologists to be approximately 4.54 billions years). Or, we can choose to believe in a young Earth created directly in six days. However, the problem to be resolved is which position is true.
It does not constitute support or evidence for a position to argue that God is all-powerful and can do whatever He chooses. God’s Omnipotence or Will should not an issue here. Christians who accept the findings of modern science regarding the age of the Earth do not doubt God’s Omnipotence or His ability to do whatever He chooses.
By the same token, one can make a plausible argument showing that God created the universe in such a way that the universe evolved via the Big Bang. And this vision of God’s plan involving cosmic evolution is a much grander vision of the workings of the Omnipotent God, than is that represented by young Earth advocates. Touche!
Of course, the young Earth advocates believe they have Scripture on their side. But that claim is highly questionable and has yet to be proven. The only thing the literalist have is a particular way of interpreting the creation account in Genesis. It would be more relevant to the issue at hand if the literalist would show us why his method of interpreting Scripture is the correct one. If he cannot present a plausible argument in support of his exegetical method then he has no leg at all to stand on. His only strategy left is to resort to attacking his opponents with false allegations about their lack of belief in miracles, the omnipotence of God, and so on. It’s an argumentum ad hominem. This tact gets the discussion off-track, and it borders on being uncharitable towards one’s opponent.
Again, God can certainly do whatever He chooses, but the problem at hand is determining what is that God in fact chose to do. It is a matter of discovering the truth, an arduous task indeed. The Author Scripture and the Author of Nature is one and the same God. God does not contradict Himself. Truth does not contradict truth. So, if our interpretation of Scripture truly contradicts the interpretation of natural phenomena given to us by scientists, then it needs to be determined who is in error.
Obviously, I do not take the fundamentalist/literalist position. As I said in a previous post, St. Thomas Aquinas maintained that a direct creation in six days is favored by a superficial reading of Scripture. Accordingly, the literalist approach to Scripture is limiting. One would do well to study St. Augustine’s book “On Christian Doctrine”. See especially his chapter on the rules of Tychonius the Donatist for interpreting Scripture.
Briefly, here is one example of how the fundamentalist/literalist approach Scripture can be limiting: The literal sense is often the basis for other senses of Scripture. A word in Scripture may have several senses. However, the literalist may miss the other senses of the same word because he allows himself to get tied to the literal sense.
In the Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas explains how a word in Scripture may have several senses. You can read the entire article here:
Regarding the young Earth position, that argument is trivial which says the creation of the universe and the Earth happened fairly recently even though they appear old, for God is all-powerful, He can do whatever He wants, and He could have done things that way. The burden of proof is really on the Biblical literalist to show why his method of interpreting Genesis 1 is correct. Lacking that proof, the literalist has no rational justification for his position.
The gauntlet has been thrown!
I don’t think you get it, Edwest. The issue is not whether God what God can or cannot do. This is something you keep repeating but your logic is flawed. Yes, God can **indeed **do all these thing, no question. We all acknowledge that (hopefully). But because God can do them doesn’t mean that he did them. Science and literal interpretation of the creation contradict.
If science is correct then fine - even some Father of the Church believed that the days very symbolic.
If you however say that they were literal and that science is mistaken then you not only have to explain how does the error occur but also explain to me why God would make things appear older. That claim does not only seem to contradict his nature but also puts limits before him.
God has limits? Only if you focus on science to the exclusion of all else. His nature? Have you read the Bible? If so, then you would understand His nature.
Here are your answers from the Library of this site:
Only the ones you put on Him, Ed.
Ed, are you interested in a discussion? You don’t answer my questions and completely ignore the arguments I put forth, but instead accuse me of ignorance.
I said that God is outside of time and space. He can create a perfect planet without making it appear like it’s billion years old. Why would he make planet that appears MUCH older then few thousands of years? Is there a practical reason for making it appear old?
Some start are older then “young Earth”. If young earth creationist are correct, then some of the stars we see never actually existed. Why would God create an illusion of stars?
I say that this is against his nature.
This was what? Funny? I always like quoting the Church and the Pope. You know that.
Yes. Every time you describe God you limit Him. “God is truth”, so God is limited by being unable to lie. “God is omniscient”, so God can never learn anything new. “God is omnipresent”, so God can never move to anywhere.
The Bible clearly states what God did. That’s what I go by. I also include the following truths: impossible things called miracles happen today.
Religion is more important than science. The wine Jesus made was not placed through a grapes to fermentation to aging process, it appeared, instantly. That’s the truth.
Oy vey! Rossum, there are critical problems with your argument.
- You misinterpret the meanings of certain names of God, i.e. God is truth, omniscient, and omnipresent.
- You attribute your improperly used terms to others, i.e. edwest2.
- Then you attack and conclude that God is being limited by edwest2 with these terms.
Your argument is a “straw man”.
The attributes of God actually mean the following:
(1) God is truth: Truth is found in the intellect and is founded on being. Truth is an adequation between the thing and the intellect. “This is to the greatest degree found in God. For His being is not only conformed to His intellect, but it is the very act of His intellect; and His act if understanding is the measure and cause of every other being and of every other intellect, and He Himself is His own existence and act of understanding. Whence it follows not only that truth is in Him, but that He is truth itself, and the sovereign and first truth.” (Thomas Aquinas)
You assumed that “God is truth” entails that God is limited by being unable to lie. Actually, God’s inability to lie is not a limitation, but a necessity of infinite or unlimited Goodness. If God were able to will evil, such as a lie, it would be inconsistent with His infinite Goodness; it would mean there is a limitation to His Goodness. Hence, God is unlimited Goodness, therefore He is incapable of lying.
(2) God is omniscient: If God were able to learn anything new, His knowledge would not be infinite or unlimited, because something could be added to it from without. “All-knowing” implies knowledge without limits. God knows all there is, which is infinite knowledge.
(3) God is omnipresent: God is a non-physical being and therefore is not in a place after the manner of physical beings. A spiritual being is in a place, not in a quantitative manner by filling out the dimensions of a place, but by its power whereby it acts in a place. God’s ubiquity means that God can be entirely in every place. The short version is that God is in everything and everything is in God. This is unlimited presence.
A note on your last statement; “The ultimate truth is that there is no Ultimate Truth”: To assert that, “there is no Ultimate Truth” presupposes an objective standard by which this judgement can be made. What then can be the ultimate ground of this objective standard from which you pontificate if not Ultimate Truth itself? – a most peculiar predicament when in order to consider yourself to be right, you have to wrong. :doh2:
Peace & good will,
The Bible clearly states what God did.
It is a bit vague on how He did it. But Genesis clearly rules out the “Life Ex Nihilo” and six day creation week of the YE creationists.
We agree that God cannot lie. We seem to disagree over the use of the word “limit”. If God cannot do something then I see that as a limit. You are free to disagree.
If God were able to learn anything new, His knowledge would not be infinite or unlimited, because something could be added to it from without. “All-knowing” implies knowledge without limits. God knows all there is, which is infinite knowledge.
We agree that God cannot learn anything new.
God’s ubiquity means that God can be entirely in every place.
We agree that God cannot move from one place to another.
It is in the nature of language that giving meaning to a word excludes a host of different meanings. Hence any attempt to use words to describe God can only limit God: if God is green then God cannot be blue. The limitation is inherent in the definitions of the words used. Buddhists have the same problem with nirvana - all descriptions of nirvana are false because any words used to describe nirvana can only be fingers pointing at the moon, they can never be the moon itself.
A note on your last statement; “The ultimate truth is that there is no Ultimate Truth”: To assert that, “there is no Ultimate Truth” presupposes an objective standard by which this judgement can be made. What then can be the ultimate ground of this objective standard from which you pontificate if not Ultimate Truth itself? – a most peculiar predicament when in order to consider yourself to be right, you have to wrong.
You are not the first to have noticed my sig; the paradox is deliberate. The original source is Mark Siderits, “Thinking on Empty: Madhyamika Anti-Realism and Canons of Rationality” in S Biderman and B.A. Schaufstein, eds, Rationality In Question (1989). Dordrecht: Brill.
I have not read Siderits but saw the quote in a piece on Nagarjuna. The “Madhyamika” in Siderits’ title refers to the religious and philosophical school of Buddhism that Nagarjuna founded. I have seen the same quote again in other places in reference to the Madhyamika and Nagarjuna - it seems quite popular. The quote is intentionally paradoxical; paradox is necessary to remind us that words are insufficient when trying to describe the fundamental nature of reality.
For a philosophical discussion of Nagarjuna and reality see the web article Nagarjuna and the Limits of Thought. The Siderits quote is at the end of section four of the article:
There is, then, no escape. Nagarjuna’s view is contradictory. The contradiction is, clearly a paradox of expressibility. Nagarjuna succeeds in saying the unsayable, just as much as the Wittgenstein of the Tractatus. We can think (and characterize) reality only subject to language, which is conventional, so the ontology of that reality is all conventional. It follows that the conventional objects of reality do not ultimately (non-conventionally) exist. It also follows that nothing we say of them is ultimately true. That is, all things are empty of ultimate existence; and this is their ultimate nature, and is an ultimate truth about them. They hence cannot be thought to have that nature; nor can we say that they do. But we have just done so. As Mark Siderits (1989) has put it, “the ultimate truth is that there is no ultimate truth.”
“Genesis clearly rules out” is a false statement. The Church teaches that Genesis records actual history, Your interpretation, or perhaps another interpretation you’ve chosen to agree with, is not consistent with that.
The Church has not ruled infallibly as to the age of the earth which is why Catholics are allowed to believe in a literal 6 day creation. I do.
Religion is more important than science.
I completely disagree with statements that God used evolution since they are conjecture and based on desired interpretations of the Bible. If Genesis is read literally, and records actual history, then, as the Church teaches, we are allowed to believe in a literal 6 day creation. The church has not ruled infallibly as to the age of the earth.
Speaking generally, those who object to religion in their science classes should be aware that the Church rejects so-called science that strays beyond what it can demonstrate. The Bible comes first, science is then interpreted in light of divine revelation.
Though be careful. There’s a gentlemen by the name of Hovind in Pensacola, Fl, who believes he’s used several parts of the Bible, along with scientific theory, to develop his own 6-day creation and Young Earth theory. I’m nervous about his precise interpretation of the Bible, but others aren’t…
How strict does the exegesis need to be?
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
It is entirely possible that God created the universe a long time before He specificially created this planet. This would, conceivably, reconcile the idea of a younger Earth and yet us seeing light from stars much, much older. Those stars were created long before Earth was.