Creation, Thomistic Philosophy, and the Natural Sciences


#161

It’s weird for you to insult scientists in the same post where you throw out a principle discovered through scientific research.


#162

Ok, thanks for the reply and I respect your opinion. But what new galaxies are being formed and where and from what material? All the galaxies from the observations from Hubble deep field and what not are already formed and distinct from each other. Unless your thinking that one galaxy may merge into another galaxy and this merger is called a ‘new’ galaxy. Whether or not one galaxy has ever merged with another one, I don’t know, it’s part of a theory of galaxy formation from the Big Bang theory. I don’t believe the Big Bang ever happened. Nor do I believe galaxies formed to what they are observed today by smaller galaxy mergers which is one of the theories of galaxy formation. I believe all the galaxies that are observed or not observed in the heavens today were formed immediately by God himself as God determined the original placement of all the elemental atoms in the entire heavens which I believe he immediately created out of nothing and from which the stars that make up the galaxies are formed from.

As I have said in recent prior posts, I don’t think it is impossible in theory that new stars may be generated by natural processes from clouds of dust and gas in the interstellar medium of galaxies that got there by dying stars, supernovae, and such like natural processes of nature. I believe the original material for any galaxy was placed there by God and organized more or less into all the stars and planets he was going to form from it although not necessarily all at once analogously to the creation of the earth and waters in Gen. 1: 1-2 in a somewhat formless or unfinished manner but received further formation and organization from God on days 2 and 3. What I mean is that God need not have formed an entire galaxy and all the stars in it all at once but gradually over the course of possibly many billions of years taking the ‘days’ of the Genesis seven day creation narrative as indefinite periods of time which modern science appears to substantiate and indicate. At the same time, I’m not excluding the possibility of second generation stars being generated by natural processes from interstellar material that got there from first generation stars that were immediately formed by God.

Solar system and planetary formation theories do not convince me at all especially the rocky planet formation theories. Neither stars, planets, asteroids, comets and such like things have been directly observed to form in the heavens and it is virtually impossible to experimentally verify which leaves me quite tentative concerning all these theories but, as I’ve said, I’m more inclined to accept the possibility of star generation by natural processes. The wikipedia article on the ‘Formation and Evolution of the Solar System’ reads to me like a science fiction novel. I believe our solar system in its entirety was formed immediately by God himself.


#163

The various theories about solar system formation, much less galaxy formation, offer very little. Our solar system is in orbit around the center of our galaxy, The Milky Way. If there were a defined number of galaxies - a limit - that might give scientists a starting point regarding how much matter exists out there, but they don’t know.


#164

I have not read or studied in depth radioactive decay. I know some YEC websites have some in depth articles about this in which it appears they make some valid points concerning radioactive dating methods that are used by scientists for dating the age of the earth which could be questionable. Even assuming possible errors in the scientific techniques in dating the age of the earth or our solar system, there is still the ‘starlight’ problem I think although there are some interesting articles on YEC websites by scientists who offer some possible explanations of the ‘starlight’ problem using Einstein’s theories of general and special relativity and time dilation. Whoever is right here, I personally don’t have a problem with an old earth or old universe in billions of years. In one sense, since God is eternal, creation being millions and billions of years old speaks to me of God’s timelessness and eternity and the amazing vastness of the heavens of God’s immensity and infinite being as the Psalmist declares:

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork (Psalm 19:1).


#165

It’s not just YEC sites. Based on research I’ve done, there are anomalous findings. The redshift is the supposed speed that galaxies are moving away from us, however, some galaxies with high [fast] redshifts are linked to galaxies with a low [slow] redshift. Even Edwin Hubble was unsure about redshifts and thought they may relate to something else. It has been confirmed that some galaxies are moving at superluminal - faster than light - speeds.

It is wrong to talk about the time of the Big Bang. From what can be observed, relative to our position in the universe, no one knows with any certainty when the Big Bang happened. I think redshift measurements involve an optical aspect that is not understood.


#166

Here is an interesting article from nationalgeographic.com titled ‘Three Theories of Planet Formation Busted, Expert Says’

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/02/110222-planets-formation-theory-busted-earth-science-space/


#167

Thanks. 10 characters.


#168

The question can be raised as to what degree can or do created natural secondary causes or creatures of whatever kind assemble or cause things or natural phenomenon. Human beings produce artifacts both simple and complex such as a hammer, nails, computers, cars, airplanes which the natural processes and forces of nature cannot produce or cause. Nature provides the material for human artifacts but human beings alone produce the form/s of these artifacts by their intelligence and will.

Who gave the form and order to the entire corporeal universe and assembled all its parts together such as the galaxies composed of many stars, solar systems such as ours with our sun, planet earth and seas, compound substances such as minerals and rocks, elemental atoms and the quantum world, and the many species of plants and animals on earth? Did God himself by his own ‘hands’ create and assemble all these parts of the universe into the form of the whole universe analogous to a human being assembling the parts of a computer into the form of the whole computer? Or, did the universe assemble itself from the beginning to what we observe today by created secondary causes such as what is presented by the Big Bang or cosmic evolutionary theories?

Is it even possible for created secondary causes or natural processes of nature to assemble or cause certain objects as I mentioned above, namely, galaxies, stars, planets such as our earth, various compound substances such as minerals and rocks, living things, elemental atoms and the quantum world, and if so to what extent or degree? It is obvious from observation that the natural processes of nature produce various phenomena such as animals and plants reproducing themselves and in fact the entire observable world is as a natural phenomenon and natural processes.

On planet earth, we observe that natural processes can produce various phenomena such as clouds, rain, and snow; volcanoes, earthquakes, and storms; hurricanes and tornadoes. But, who or what assembled planet earth itself, the earth’s atmosphere, seas, and sun, and ordered and assembled all the natural processes we observe on earth?


#169

(continued)

A computer made by an intelligent human being with all its parts arranged in order which nature cannot produce can be compared analogously to the making and formation of the whole universe with all its parts and natural processes arranged in order by the infinitely intelligent God in whom human beings are made in his image and likeness. Indeed, St Thomas Aquinas draws such an analogy quite a few times in his writings.

“In all things moved by reason, the order of reason which moves them is evident, although the things themselves are without reason: for an arrow through the motion of the archer goes straight towards the target, as though it were endowed with reason to direct its course. The same may be seen in the movements of clocks and all engines put together by the art of man. Now as artificial things are in comparison to human art, so are all natural things in comparison to the Divine art” (ST, Pt. I-II, Q. 13, art. 2).

“All things are compared to God as artificial things to an artificer…Whence the whole of nature is like an artifact of divine art” (SCG, Book 3, 100, 6).

“Natural things depend on the divine intellect, as artificial things depend on the human intellect” (ST, Pt. I, Q. 17, art. 1).

The analogy between a human artifact such as a computer made and assembled by human hands and the entire universe as a divine artifact made and assembled together by the ‘hands’ of God does not appear to hold up in a Big Bang or evolutionary theory of the formation and assembling of the world from created secondary causes. Just as a computer cannot be made and assembled by natural forces and processes of nature, it may be that the natural forces and processes of nature did not and cannot form and assemble the variety and multitude of creatures of the world especially in its first institution except in a limited sort of fashion. By a limited fashion, I mean what I mentioned earlier about our solar system, sun, planet earth and seas which after being fashioned, formed or given a form, and assembled by God’s own ‘hands’, natural processes produce storms and rain, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, earthquakes, and such. Of course, all natural processes, all creatures animate or inanimate, rational or irrational, are directed and governed by God’s providence.

Personally, I believe God himself created, made, fashioned, formed, and ordered all the variety of creatures of the world in its first institution such as it is written in the creation narratives of Genesis 1 and 2 and other creation texts of the Bible analogously to a computer or car made and assembled by a human being’s own hands and work. Once assembled by its hardware and software components, a computer just needs some electrical power to run it and some input by a human. The computer now runs in a manner sort of by itself as from like secondary causes or ‘natural processes’. The ‘power’ that runs the entire natural world is from God as the first cause as the CCC#308 says “The truth that God is at work in all the actions of his creatures is inseparable from faith in God the Creator. God is the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes”.


#170

“In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his for he made it;
for his hands formed the dry land” (Psalm 95: 4-5).


#171

Yeah… isn’t strange that evolution just happen to provide us with hundreds of delicious foods for us to eat. :thinking:


#172

(NASA - NOAA, Eastern Hemisphere 2012)

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good (Genesis 1: 9-10).


#173

(NASA - Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter 2015, picture of Earth taken 134km above Compton Crator on Moon. The large tan area in the upper right is the Sahara desert, and just beyond is Saudia Arabia. The Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America are visible to the left).

‘He stretches out the north over the void,
and hangs the earth upon nothing…
He has described a circle upon the face of the waters
at the boundary between light and darkness’ (Job 26: 7,10)


#174

Personally I think Genesis 1 got it almost completely scientifically right, which is quite an accomplishment for a book which is about 4000 years old. Genesis can be seen to agree with the Big Bang, a slowly forming Earth, super-continents such as Pangea, abiogenesis and evolution. God using scientific laws to accomplish His goal does not limit His creative act one iota, especially when you recognize that God created what we now call “scientific laws”.

The Big Bang is covered in the first three words: “In the Beginning…” Up until the theory of the Big Bang became generally accepted most scientists believe that the universe always existed. It was a shock even to Einstein who disagreed with Fr. Lemaitre when he presented the concept to him and the subsequent discoveries affirming it.

A slowly forming Earth: “and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters—” Without form or shape means it started as a cloud of dust and moisture which was rapidly settling. Such rapidity would cause huge storms. I read one report which stated that it rained day and night for over 10,000 years. Obviously if you were looking up at this dark cloud of dust and moisture you would never see the sun or the moon. Eventually you would see light and darkness but still not see the sun and moon. This explains why the light was “created” on day 1 while the sun and moon do not make an appearance until day 4.

Super continents: “Let the water under the sky be gathered into a single basin, so that the dry land may appear.” If the water was a single basin then so was the land which would appear as more and more dust settled.

Abiogenesis: “Let the EARTH bring forth vegetation: every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth that bears fruit with its seed in it. … Let the EARTH bring forth every kind of living creature…” Note that here it indicates that rather than God “zapping” vegetation and animal life into existence He charged the EARTH with producing them. This implies a longer period of time than a “day”.

Evolution: Note the order in which living things appeared. Vegitation, sea life, “great sea monsters”, mammals and finally man. The order coincides with an evolutionary development. Note also that it says “Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness.” So humans were the only thing that God actually created, and that was in His image and likeness. In other words man’s spiritual soul. Our physical bodies certainly could have developed over great amounts of time like all other animals, but somewhere along the line God infused His image and likeness in the soul.

I think it would be considered stunning if a 4000 year old document could be seen to agree with just ONE modern scientific concept. Genesis can be seen to agree with FIVE.


#175

God miraculously moved over the earth and waters and created. The earth without God can create nothing. I mean it’s not like seeds appeared in the earth from inanimate matter. God did not just pick two random almost humans and drop souls into them. Adam and Eve both had preternatural gifts given to them by God.


#176

Ok. I believe the reason why various modern scientific discoveries that may conform to the Genesis seven day creation narrative is because the book of Genesis is not just a document composed solely by a human author but it is of divine origin, inspiration, and authorship. The whole bible is God’s word, He is the principle author of it. Even if one were to look at the Genesis 1-2:3 creation narrative from a sort of viewpoint of the human author himself which, however, cannot be divorced from its principle divine author, the narrative is common sensible. I mean, for example, before there can be plants and animals on earth, there needs to be an earth first to place the plants and animals on and seas first to place marine animals in.

The interpretation of the Genesis 1 creation narrative you present in your reply post involves merely a single supernatural and direct creative act by God, namely, I suppose the singularity of the Big Bang ‘covered in the first three words: “In the beginning…”’ Presently, this sort of belief and interpretation of Genesis, namely, a cosmic ‘scientific’ and theistic evolutionary theory interpretation, appears to be acceptable in some manner or other in the Catholic Church today. However, this interpretation is certainly not the only acceptable belief and interpretation of Genesis 1 or of the first article of the catholic profession of faith and it is not the one I hold and put my faith in. For one thing, in my interpretation of the seven day creation narrative, a single creative act involving only the first three words of the Genesis 1 creation narrative would render meaningless the following six days work of the creation and formation of the world by God’s Word. I interpret the six days work following Genesis 1:1 as distinct supernatural and direct creative acts of God which all the fathers of the Church that I know of also held except that Augustine held the days to be one day but the majority of the other fathers distinct days involving time. For example, if the earth naturally evolved slowly over time from ‘In the beginning…’ and eventually assembled itself by secondary natural causes of nature, what is the point of the work of day 3 where it is written:

‘And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good…And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.’

Speaking of the earth and the pictures from space I posted of it in prior posts, our planet earth is breathtaking and astoundingly beautiful. To me, the only reasonable explanation and cause of this planet earth is God himself who formed it with his own ‘hands’ which was the result of God’s direct creative activity and work of day 3. Again, for me, it would require a greater faith than what God is asking of me to believe that this planet earth somehow assembled itself by the activity of natural and blind secondary causes of nature.


#177

Of course that is correct. But the earth WITH God can do anything. Whether you believe in a God-guided slow development or an instantaneous creation it does not diminish God’s creative act one iota.

I am not saying that it did happen that way but that it was a possibility. The soul is the finger of God, the Divine spark that drives us. But when does a baby receive a soul? At conception? At birth? Prior to conception? When was the soul created by God? It is impossible to answer that because God is time-less. Past, present and future are all the same to Him. Personally I believe that He created the souls of all humans (and perhaps all animals and aliens) in one creative act and that they have been simply waiting for the right time for them to be conceived. But the soul is our true nature, not our physical bodies.


#178

Granted. But the human author obviously was not writing “history” but rather trying to convey a divinely inspired message. The Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible) are four different oral traditions badly woven together to attempt to form a continuous narrative. There are all sorts of errors and contradictions in these books, mainly in trivial episodes of history. If God was inspiring “history” there would be no contradictions. Just the fact that Christ dismissed a number of the “laws” of Judaism bears witness that it was never meant as history. Hence the reason I cannot believe that the Bible is the “Words” of God where every word should be taken in a literal sense. Where the truth lies is in its message which is often buried behind what is actually being said. So, yes I believe it to be the Word of God. In as far as what is written beyond those messages there will be error.

I agree. The Church states that the events may be taken literally or figuratively. I am just expressing my opinion but not demanding that you believe as I do.

Do I believe that the galaxies, suns, planets, moons, asteroids and comets were formed by God? Absolutely. They most certainly were not blind events. But I also believe that they were processed by the scientific laws and nature which God also created to achieve the results which God wanted.


#179

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good (Gen. 1: 9-10).

As I’ve been saying, I believe on this day God himself directly formed the planet earth and the seas per the text of Genesis above and other creation texts of the bible. I believe the material or elemental atoms for the earth were created by God in the beginning in Gen. 1: 1-2 and this material for the earth without form was just waiting to be formed into the planet earth at that time God had determined from all eternity in his plan of the world. Some material from nearby stars may have got mixed with the formless earth material over many ‘days’ or years, billions of years according to the present scientific consensus, before the work of day 3.

God himself gave the earth its form and nature. He formed the core, mantle, and crust of the earth and if the continents slide on plates as is suggested by the plate techtonics theory, He formed that and the seas too of course. God determined the precise quantity of each of the elements that the earth would be composed out of and the precise quantity of water it should have. He also formed the earth’s atmosphere as he formed the earth although the formation of the earth’s atmosphere could have been a part of the work of day 2 taking the earth and waters in a more advanced stage of formation more or less. Modern science suggests that the earth may be about 4.5 billion years old so before the creation of mankind and the seventh day rest, God’s supernatural and direct creative activity in the formation of the earth lasted I believe all this time and at the same time directing by his providence natural processes He set up in the earth . This is also evident I believe from the fact that vegetation, plants, and trees are said to be created also on day 3 and many even most species of these plants and trees don’t appear in the fossil record 4 billion plus years later apparently even right up to the creation of mankind.

To what extent the nature of the earth’s natural processes that God set up in its formation played a role in the earth’s topography through time such as possibly from the idea of plate tectonics, I don’t know, I wasn’t there to observe it. But, I do not take an either/or approach meaning I do not exclude God’s direct supernatural creative activity through time until the seventh day rest and over the course of possibly billions of years in the formation of the earth’s topography since when He first formed the planet earth and seas, nor do I exclude at the same time natural processes He may have set in place such as volcanoes obviously or the theory of plate tectonics.


#180

Based on Catholic teaching, Adam and Eve were both special creations.

“37. When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.[12]”

  • Humani Generis

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