Wednesday, May 06, 2009

24 and Scientific Reading

UPDATE: Issues Etc has a topic for this here.
Apparently my 24 day reading is a scientific reading of Genesis 1-3.

I find the accusation astounding. Suddenly semantic reading is being scientific. I think there is confusion of categories here. Semantic reading is the proper respect for the ideas that the language conveys. Whether science agrees with it or not, it is irrelevant.

So the ancient Jews and Christians who believed a 24 hour day in Genesis 1-3 are now being scientific? Or were they simply respecting what the text says?

The nice thing about having no commitment on the 24 hour day is that one does not have to be embarrassed amongst scientists who believe the earth is absolutely ancient. You can claim, Genesis does not claim what it claims if you use common sense. It is not a scientific book anyway. Amazing, for an unscientific book, it can be made to certainly accomodate old earth theory, even the theory of Evolution!!!

So the Bible is a non scientific book which happens to agree with science, eyh?
Can you see the equivocation there?

The thing with science and scientists is that they modify their theories at the speed of light. I am not being sarcastic, I worked with high energy physicists and each time protons collide, right there is a new theory about matter and how it came about.

There is another point, when do these non-24 hour believers discover
a.) there are physicists who laugh at big bangb.) there are biologists who reject evolution
so what now if these groups become in vogue?

Well the non-24 hour folk are in a convenient place, since they never committed, they can swing anywhere the flow turns.

45 comments:

Xan said...

Lito,

I really don't have the time to keep this up anymore. I don't think either of us can change the other's mind on this thing.

"Well the non-24 hour folk are in a convenient place, since they never committed, they can swing anywhere the flow turns."

Maybe. So? I think if you look, you'll find that Christ did not come to earth for the purpose of making sure everybody was committed to a particular view of physics. Could be wrong.

L P said...

Xan,

This is fair, I realize it can be tiring.

No of course, He did not come to teach us about physics or make a commitment to it.

As I said, physics has nothing to do with my reading Gen 1-3. It is purely semantic reading. I hope you get what I mean by semantics. If that is what the text reads, I let it stand. I do not have to adjust what could it possibly mean considering what we know now of the universe. That does not get much hearing in my system.

Semantics gets the priority in me, the rest can go down the drain.

Blessings,

LPC

Augustinian Successor said...

A six-day creation is vital, and even essential, to understanding the relation between creation and justification.

In justification, the Church is restored to her original condition at creation. Even as the Church is God's kingdom here on earth, she sets aside a day to worship her Creator and Saviour. That day coincides with the day of rest. In the OT, it was Saturday. In the NT, it is now Sunday. This provision of worshipping God on a day of rest mirrors both God's own 'rest' from His six-day work, and at the same time, our rest in Jesus.

Hence, the Church at worship on a day of rest can only be properly understood if referred to the six-day creation narration, where there can be found NO fundamental SEPARATION between God's creative and justifying activity.

To insist on evolution is precisely to 'blaspheme against nature' for the whole creation groaneth and travaileth waiting in hope for their redemption from the curse to which it has been subjected to by Adam, and not by evolutionary process.

Thus, as Kuya Lito has said, to introduce evolution into Genesis is to throw everything into confusion. For the only proper understanding of the Church as the first estate of Creation and her Divine Service in the NT is precisely premised on a literal understanding of Genesis 1 and 2.

Augustinian Successor said...

Hence, evolutionary theory necessarily results in a breach between creation and redemption. But this is an THEOLOGICAL impossibility since God's redemptive activity is simply his creative activity, in restoring the human-ness of 'curved in' sinners, and freeing them from the divine ambition, precisely what evolution is all about, the progress of man from unicells produced in a primordial soup to what he is now, and who knows what.

Past Elder said...

Insofar as it may relate to anything I posted here, if there is a confusion, it is that anything I had to say says a semantic reading is scientific, or that a 24 hour day reading of Genesis is scientific, or that the Bible is a non scientific book that happens to agree with science.

There would seem to be no possibility of discussion when even the terms in which it would be framed are not understood.

The first estate, btw, is the clergy, not the church.

Xan said...

Jason, if 144-hour Creation is so vital, why was it never included in the ecumenical creeds? Why is it not in the Lutheran confessions? What is the point of creeds and confessions, if I can agree and subscribe to every one of them, but in order to be a Real Christian (tm) I have to also believe some other thing? How many of these other things are there? Is there a list that I can consult? Perhaps you should admit that you're the one who's a schismatic, and should create this list as the founding document of your new church.

Or perhaps the authors of these creeds and confessions did in fact have the essentials right, and left out specifics about Creation for a reason.

Augustinian Successor said...

Xan,

I think a better question is why isn't justification by faith alone included in the creeds? As Lutherans, we know that it IS. It's implied, incipient, integral to a proper understanding of the creeds.

Likewise when the Apostles' Creed declares that God the Father Almighty is the Maker of heaven and earth, things invisible and visible, a literal six-day is implied because Genesis tells us that God created OUT OF NOTHING by the power of His Word.

J. K. Jones said...

LPC

Thanks for this series.

It has given me much food for thought.

How's the job search coming?

L P said...

JK

Thanks for the concern bro.

I have found some work but I need to promote more my consulting business why I am doing now.

LPC

L P said...

Xan,

This was the point I was making to PE, that when the 1st article was recited, 24 was implied because everybody at that time believed in 24. The non belief today is only 150+ years old. Also you do not put to the creed anything that is already obviously accepted contextually.

Later on the Nicene Creed had to be brought out because even Arians could recite the creed but put their own spin to the words of the Creed. Then even later the Athanasian Creed.


Like I said, you are not disbarred from the label Christian if you do not believe in 24, however, one can be a wrong Christian i.e. in error, as some of us fall in. This is why we need conversation, so that folk could help me by Scripture to be corrected. Ideas do have consequences.


P.E.

The whole issue does not even start from semantics or scientific reading. I am not so sure you have even accepted the first duty to do exegesis and the principles entailed therein.

Like I said, all I am asking is a rebuttal of my arguments in favor of 24 through Ex 20:11 on exegetical grounds (even linguistic grounds).


LPC

Past Elder said...

Everyone thought the Sabbath day was Saturday too, because it is.

Yet Christians began to worship on Sunday despite no command in Scripture to do so.

In fact I've got this little catechism by this cranky German which mentions nothing about rest on the seventh day re observance of the passage you cite, nor of a 6 "day" creation re the 1st article of the Creed.

Augustinian Successor said...

Xan,

Hopefully there are Lutheran churches which you can attend in your locality which allows you to partake of the Body and Blood. Though I personally am sympathetic with the LCMS pastor on church membership, I don't agree at all with 'closed communion.' I know this seems like giving away in one hand, but taking back with the other, I can sympathise with where the pastor is coming from.

L P said...

PE.

Everyone thought the Sabbath day was Saturday too, because it is.This is not exegesis. Exegesis means to bring out what the text says.

No wonder, we are two ships passing in the night and we do not have lamps burning, lucky we do not collide.


All you do to to prove me wrong, is to explain that in Ex 20:11, God was not arguing for a 6 - 24 hour day creation, so that the Jews may follow the Sabbath rule.

God was using a logic and that logic was premised he created the world in 6 literal days. That was the point of Ex 20:11.

You do not have a leg to stand on this one, but don't feel bad, I have not seen one who is a non-24 hour believer rebut Ex 20:11 or offer an explanation other than what the text already says.

In fact I've got this little catechism by this cranky German which mentions nothing about restSo, Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction simply because where people looked, they did not find one?

What, so argument from silence is logically valid now?


LPC

Past Elder said...

You might as well argue that for the next commandment to mean anything you have to be moving to Istael.

L P said...

I am not arguing for us to keep Saturday as a holiday. That is not where I am coming from.

What I am saying is that Ex 20:11 explains why the Israelites are to keep the Sabbath.

In Ex 20:11, it mentions "days" and it links back to Gen 1-3. If "days" in Gen 1-3 were not literal days then Ex 20:11 will not be literal days. If it is not literal days in Ex 20:11, the 7th day of rest loses its complete meaning.

If "days" for example mean 1000 years, then God effectively would be saying in Ex 20:11 that the Jew must keep the Sabbath every 1000 years. You would be dead by the time you need to celebrate it.

There are many places that I will disagree with Luther, this is not one of them. He too believed in a literal 24 hour day in Gen 1-3.

But also, my argument does not rest on what Luther believes for I came to this position many years ago even prior to going Augsburg. I too held to a non 24 hour period, but when I started to look into the texts and listen to arguments and consider the flaws of evolution, I gave it up.

LPC

Augustinian Successor said...

Yes, indeed. At the end of the day, evolution is a non-hermeneutical tool. It's simply incompatible with biblical hermeneutics.

Past Elder said...

Well, you have a very un-Jewish understanding of why Jews understand the obligation to keep the Sabbath, which is in no way dependenr on a 6 "day" creation but applies however "day" is taken.

Orthodox Judaism considers the fact of creation to be the first article of faith, but insists on no particular manner of creation, in fact, sees three different concepts of manner in the Bible itself, the Genesis account being one, the Psalms (19 particularly) being another, and Proverbs 8 being another. The manner of creation is irrelevant; what is important are two facts in any of the ways Scripture attempts to put within our understanding something that remains outside it.

One, that creation however the manner is an act of Divine will, and Two, that Man is the goal of creation and shares a reflection of God the rest of creation does not, therefore, what is important is not the descent of Man but the ascent.

The rest does not depend on the "day" but on the, well, rest; that by honouring God as Creator we honour rest as a part of creation, rest not only in the sense of what one does not do, but what one does, which is, dedicate the seventh of our days, in the realm of our limited creating activities, to him who is the source of all, which hallowing is spoken of as an extra soul enjoyed on the Sabbath.

So no, a 24 "day" in creation is neither universal nor normative in even ancient Jewish thought. Not at all essentially connected with a 7 day week of Creation and a seven day human week.

Augustinian Successor said...

Paul James-Griffiths has done research on Orthodox Jewish thought on the days of creation.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v26/i2/tradition.asp

Question: How does evolution fit into the 6-day creation and one-day rest story at all? Both are simply incompatible.

Question: Why then do folks insist on evolution when there is no denying that God can create out of nothing by the power of His Word? Because of science? How is science true when it is reliant on sense-experience. How does that measure up with the infallibility of the Bible?

Augustinian Successor said...

Reading Genesis and Revelation requires a somewhat different approach. Genesis is HISTORY; hence it's 'ontological.' We expect a historical or temporal SEQUENCE.

Revelation is ESCHATOLOGY; hence it's 'eschatological.' We'd expect a reversal of movement, so that e.g. the 'day of the Lord' looks BACK to AND at the same time looks FORWARD to periods in time. Thus, its time-frame tend to be expressed in more symbolic terms.

The two should not be confused.

Augustinian Successor said...

Evolutionism is unbelief. It questions the power of God. It says no, God could not have created in six-days because I just cannot BELIEVE it.

Well, God is God. He is the Sovereign and Creator. We didn't deserve to be created. But created us He did. In other words, it's all by His sovereignty. Can we question God and say, why did you create us?

Likewise, who are we to say that we know exactly where our origins are, without God's divine REVELATION?

Just as the LORD made us without our aid, He REVEALS how He made us without our aid.

Xan said...

Is there no difference between "could not" and "did not"? I don't think anybody's questioning that he could have created any which way he wanted.

But it is obvious that the earth and the universe are billions of years old. So obvious that if I have to distrust my senses and reason to such an extent, then I'm not qualified to read and process Scripture.

Truth is truth. Christianity isn't about assembling a system of invincible, intentional ignorance. Which is what "creation science" is.

L P said...

PE.

As A.S. gave a reference from Answers in Genesis, I can stack you more from modern Rabbis of the Orthodox kind who will blow away your spin on the matter.

Rebut me using the text of Scripture and right there in Ex 20:11 please.

You engage again in --- what you and I as mathematicians call - hand waving.

I thought bro you should avoid that since you and I know what that practice is.

You are not giving evidence based on the text of Ex 20:11 but yet again, doing a hand waving exercise.

Of course as can be observed, in order to do hand waving, you have to throw red herrings.


LPC

L P said...

Xan,

You said...
But it is obvious that the earth and the universe are billions of years oldAnd what is the obvious evidence of that?

This is begging the question, it is assuming what is yet to be proven.

LPC

Augustinian Successor said...

Xan,

Yes, truth is the truth. Which is why, I know, it is so hard to accept the incompatibility between the Genesis account and science.

Evolutionism can never be made to fit into Genesis; nor can Genesis be made to fit into evolutionism.

Based on the genealogy of the Bible, the earth is no more than 11-13000 years old.

Xan said...

Lito,

Distant starlight is my personal favorite. There are a bunch of other perspectives from countless disciplines that all happen to give about the same answer. It's not a coincidence.

AS,

You've successfully convinced me that the Bible is complete bunk. Congratulations. I suppose there's nothing else for it but to move to California, build a shrine to Gaia and Charles Darwin, and perform animal sacrifices under the full moon.

Augustinian Successor said...

Xan,

As for me and Kuya Lito and other brethren, we shall serve the Lord our God.

Augustinian Successor said...

Xan,

The universe did/ do not expand. There is no empirical proof of that. Stars die, and are reborn, etc. Your citation of distant starlights presupposes the 'Big Bang.' There is no such thing as the Big Bang because either nothing can come from nothing, or matter is not eternal.

If matter is eternal, there is no heaven or hell. If there is no heaven or hell, Christianity or the Bible as you put it is utter bunk.

Well, the will is bound. Unbelief characterise us sinners.

Nothing new under the sun.

Xan said...

This is what PE had in mind when he said that science coming from theologians is as useless as theology coming from scientists.

To paraphrase Charles Babbage, I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke a string of sentences like that.

It's 4 in the morning; I'm going to bed. Night all!

Augustinian Successor said...

But Xan, ... this is precisely what we have been saying all along. Science is always false, and evolution is NEVER neutral.

Thanks for confirming this.

L P said...

Xan,

Have a good sleep.

This is for when you wake up ;-) LOL.

Distant starlight is my personal favoriteClarify for me, if you are saying that there are distant star lights and therefore the earth is old, I do not follow that logic.


When physicists say these stars here and there are trillions of light years from us, they are simply saying ... boy they are really really far from earth.

I seem to think that you believe that the Big Bang is the way the universe happened. This is just a theory. The theory is based on observations and is phenomenological. This should ring bells that when things are phenomenological, it can only speak of what is now. What astronomers are observing is now, after the fall.

See a critique here
http://bigbangneverhappened.org/lernerpaper4.pdf

Lastly, I hope you do not assume that scientists are mindless agenda-less people who are vanguards of scientific truth, I remind you of original sin that plagues them.

They are slaves to the politics of ideas.

I cite an example of Godel who for years did not publish his mathematical logic proof for the existence of God for fear of being ostracized by his community.

Now it is widely believed that he was a believer all along.

Scientists are plagued by the Sanhedrin too.

Please wake up.

LPC

Past Elder said...

Having spent twenty years in Orthodox Judaism learning from Orthodox Jews, I am not interested in what a Gentile thinks Jews believe.

A 24 hour 6 day creation may be believed. I did not say that it can't. Rather, that it need not be believed, and that it has never been normative or universal, as if the Sabbath or anything else depended on the 6 "day" reading.

In fact, speculation as to what Genesis means re the manner of creation, and speculation on the manner of creation itself, ran so rampant that the Mishnah warns against all such speculation, and Rashi and Maimonides both specifically state the Creation account is not given to Man as a step-by-steo from God as to how he did it, but rather a revelation that he did it and that Man is the crown of it.

Neither does "rest" depend on an understanding of rest in the human sense, which God neither needs nor does; the rest being a stop to our ordinary creative labours so that they, like God's, shall reflect the will and the object of Creation, the Sabbath being a foretaste of the end toward which Creation, the Sabbath, the Law and the messianic age all point.

I am neither "for" evolution nor "agin" 6-day creation. I am saying no one belief as to the manner of creation is required to believe the fact of creation and the ascent of Man toward God as the will and action of God revealed in Genesis, the Law, the Prophets, the Writings, or the Gospel. Iam also saying a defence against the ignorant theology of some scientists is not mounted by the ignorant science of some theologians.

Augustinian Successor said...

Meaning that at the end of the day, you still haven't made your point, despite having spent twenty years in Orthodox Judaism. Talk about Gentiles in the first place.

You talk about the ascent of man to God. Lutheranism talks about the DESCENT of God to man. Meaning at the end of the day, you have not understood Lutheranism.

Talk about ignorance in the first place.

Neither here nor there. You accurately describe yourself in that manner.

One thing though: Self-indictment seems to be a sticky point all the way.

Past Elder said...

Um, "I am saying" is generally an indication that the speaker is making his point.

For that matter, having been an examined and professed Lutheran for over twelve years, I am not interested in what a member of the Church of England, continuing or otherwise, thinks Lutherans believe.

Xan said...

When physicists say these stars here and there are trillions of light years from us, they are simply saying ... boy they are really really far from earth.I would challenge you to find an astronomer who accepts your "translation". They're saying that such-and-such a star is at least x million light years away, which means that that star must be at least x million years old. It's pretty straightforward.

The fellow that you quote who doesn't subscribe to the Big Bang found some object that he believes to be 70 billion years old. He says that the Big Bang makes the universe far too young, and that matter is probably eternal. Doesn't sound much like Genesis to me.

Next are we going to translate our multi-trillion dollar deficit into "boy that's a lot of money", or a screening of "Manos" the Hands of Fate into "boy that's a bad movie"? :-)

L P said...

P.E.

I am not interested in what a Gentile thinks Jews believe.BTW, can you share which orthodox jewish group you got involved in?

So my opinion does not count, because I am a gentile? Now is this your exegesis of Ex 20:11?

Ad hominem remarks may move some listeners/readers but not those trained in the art of critical thinking.

Is that the best you can do on this debate/subject? It is poor form.

It looks like there is no exegesis of Ex 20:11 forth coming from you, till Christmas comes.

In a debate, my background has nothing to do with the subject, rather the strength of my assertion is dependent on the merit of the evidence I propose.

Have you forgotten the rules? Or probably just have no arguments because Ex 20:11 has just dumped you in a corner?


--------------

Xan,

The writer rebuts Big Bang and proposes an older universe. It is not an argument for my 24 hour, but it is an argument against your Big Bang?

Why? Because it points to the fact that scientists are never of a stable mind frame regarding a subject, their opinions move to where the present mainstream is flowing.

This is like scientists saying salt is bad for you 15 years ago, now they are saying it is good after all.

The point is this - science is not stable in its belief.

Lastly Big Bang presupposes a constant speed of acceleration. That assumption if wrong shatters the whole system. But that is also the point, they have not proven that the acceleration is constant.

To rely on science in order to understand what the Bible says is to reject the teaching of Scripture, that faith is the source of our understanding.

By faith we understand --- Heb 11:3

LPC

J. K. Jones said...

Two links of interest to the discussion:

http://www.amazon.com/Genesis-WORKS-SAINT-AUGUSTINE/dp/1565481755

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/may/22.39.html?start=3


One word of caution: let's not make this such an intense debate that we give foder to the various athiest blogs I read. We don't need that kind of publicity.

This is an intramural debate between Christians, and it does not have the least bearing on the debate on God's existence (http://jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com/2007/05/richard-dawkins-2.html).

JK

Past Elder said...

Lito, the "hominem" in the "ad hominem" is not you. It is a reference to the article mentioned by AS, which describes a stop by a fundamentalist Christian in which he finds what he already believes will be there.

Ibn Ezra's (if that is who the article means, apparently so) understanding of Creation also draws from Gen 2:3, and understands a continuing creation through the operation of the processes designed and begun by God, in which we now co-operate as beings who share something of his mind and knowledge of his will.

So again, while there is a diversity of opinion throughout history over the manner of creation, no particular idea of that manner is required as necessary to the two essentials -- the fact of creation (that there is a God not to be identified with any part of creation or creation itself), and that Man is the focus of that creation intended for the conscious joy of communion with his Creator.

There was no "group I got involved with". It was simply the Orthodox synagogue and its rabbi in town, and the standard sources used, among which the Hertz Chumash I have blogged about may be the most helpful in this matter. Both the synagogue and the rabbi have since moved and I have no knowledge of either at present.

Augustinian Successor said...

A scholarly research on the views of Orthodox Judaism on Creation is ad hominem?

Yeah, for you 2+2=4, the moon is made of green cheese, black is white, and white is black.

PE, you're fooling NO one except YOU yourself.

Well, as Kuya Lito and I would say, the noose keeps tightening moment by moment ...

Augustinian Successor said...

"For that matter, having been an examined and professed Lutheran for over twelve years" ...

Which you means you have learnt nothing in your twenty years as professing Lutheran. Proven my point.

Augustinian Successor said...

JK,

Evolutionism is as bad as atheism. That's what evolutionism is all about in the first place.

Remember, the historicity of the divine revelation is at stake.

Past Elder said...

Lito had thought I was engaging in ad hominem by saying his opinion does not count because he is a Gentile. I put the Latin words within quotation marks. This is a common grammatical usage to indicate the words are not one's own.

I did say I have been an examined and professed Lutheran for over twelve years, which you say means I "have learnt nothing in your twenty years as professing Lutheran" though I do not have and did not say I have twenty years as a professing Lutheran.

Apparently you do not read even a combox beyond finding in it what you think is already there, or beyond whether it confirms what you think you already know, AS.

Lucian said...

For me it was reading in one or two of Father Cleopa's books that the number seven repeats itself in the Fathers when speaking about the time Adam and Eve spent in the Garden: some said seven hundred years, others seventy, others seven, and so on (because time could not be counted in Paradise, which was a step of Heaven). The idea is that there are two New Years: 1 Nissan and 1 Tishri: and they are both seven months apart from each-other. March was the first month of the Roman Calendar, and September the seventh (that's why the civil New Year fell on 1 March in ancient Rome, and why 1 September is the Churchly New Year)

Anyway: time began to be counted only after the expulsion (point #1). We are in the 7500's after the expulsion; the Jews in the 5700's after it. Furthermore: the repetition of the number seven in Patristical sources alludes to the interval of the seven months between Nissan and Tishri (1 Nissan = the first day; 6 Nissan = the sixth day, when Adam was formed, that's why the East had the Annunciation on April 6: the conception of Christ, the New Adam, takes place on the same date as that of the old Adam). That's why God said that Nissan is for us the beginning of months. But the first [month] of the year is Tishri, the seventh. Why's that? Because time proper only began to be counted then. Hence, the first seven months of the world are viewed as para-temporal by the Fathers. And no-one says about them "they are wrong!". And these first seven months include the first seven days of Creation. But when a scientist says the same, he's evil.

Yes, I know You don't care, and You're a Lutheran of the American Autralian Anglo-Saxon variety who doesn't give a dam [or too much of a dam] about either the Fathers, or old-fashioned, "old-country", semi-Catholic Lutheranism for that matter ... but I thought maybe some old "wackos" like Past Elder here might appreciate it. ;-)

Lucian said...

Remember, the historicity of the divine revelation is at stake.

Did the world end 2,600 years ago? (Daniel 12:11-13)

L P said...

Lucian,

Thanks for this info.

Your comments are always appreciated specially by wackos, there are no doubts about this. :-|


But when a scientist says the same, he's evil. Can you give some examples of this? Seriously, I am not joking. I like to get the info.

LPC

Augustinian Successor said...

"Apparently you do not read even a combox beyond finding in it what you think is already there, or beyond whether it confirms what you think you already know, AS."

That's not it. It's the outright spin, incoherence of your thought which attracts the strongest possible opprobrium. You contribute nothing to the discussion, including your 2nd Temple Judaism, which by the way, is more heterogenous than you think.