There is a bit of a comment flurry going on in the Zoomtard comments. QMonkey wrote this:

“but you [Christians] have changed what you once believed because of what science has determined… not what god revealed to you.”

That sentence is philosophically incoherent. If the Judeo-Christian God that is posited does actually exist, he speaks through science just as clearly as his prophets and to remix my favourite Swiss, he can also just as easily speak through communism or a dead dog. If God is, even science is his revelation. You can grow up in a Christendom and still not understand the Doctrine of God.

QMonkey says something else that I suspect lots of people agree with.

“The VAST majority of Christians believe that god created the earth in 6 days, and that he destroyed the earth in a flood, Jonah survived inside a whale etc etc. They deny evolution for exactly the same reason you deny my theory that Jesus didn’t resurrect. I put it to you that up until 1900 ALL Christians believed in a 6 day creation… including st Paul, St John, St Matthew, Luther, William Tyndale etc.”

I cannot prove to you that the majority of Christians living today believe the world was created in 6 days. For what’s it’s worth, the majority of Christians today haven’t thought to ask the question what with famine and persecution and AIDS and all that going on.

But the historical assertion is categorically wrong. Throughout history the Genesis document has been understood to be a framework theological statement written in dispute with other nation’s gods. It’s much more fascinating than the laughable physics paper that fundamentalists turn it into. It was only in the 1900s that anyone began taking it “literally” where literally means scientific, at all. QMonkey and Joe Bloggs on the street actually can’t be more wrong. They have it backwards. I’ll prove it to you now without recourse to empirical methods (since history cannot be generalised) and it should serve as a double blow. QMonkey will accept that I am right about this and then he’ll buy me a pint next time in Dublin and loudly declare to a bevvy of beautiful girls beside us that I am the smartest and wittiest man since Richard Dawkins frankensteinly resurrected a hybrid of GK Chesterton and Carl Sagan in a weird evil atheist science experiment.

In 208 AD Clement of Alexandria wrote:

“And how could creation take place in time, seeing time was born along with things which exist? . . . That, then, we may be taught that the world was originated and not suppose that God made it in time, prophecy adds: ‘This is the book of the generation, also of the things in them, when they were created in the day that God made heaven and earth’ [Gen. 2:4]. For the expression ‘when they were created’ intimates an indefinite and dateless production. But the expression ‘in the day that God made them,’ that is, in and by which God made ‘all things,’ and ‘without which not even one thing was made,’ points out the activity exerted by the Son” (Miscellanies 6:16 [A.D. 208]).

Origen was another super important church father and he wrote:

“For who that has understanding will suppose that the first and second and third day existed without a sun and moon and stars and that the first day was, as it were, also without a sky? . . . I do not suppose that anyone doubts that these things figuratively indicate certain mysteries, the history having taken place in appearance and not literally” (The Fundamental Doctrines 4:1:16 [A.D. 225]).

Pay attention to this one from Origen which totally contradicts the Monkey’s assertion:

“And with regard to the creation of the light upon the first day . . . and of the [great] lights and stars upon the fourth . . . we have treated to the best of our ability in our notes upon Genesis, as well as in the foregoing pages, when we found fault with those who, taking the words in their apparent signification, said that the time of six days was occupied in the creation of the world” (Against Celsus, 6:60).

Ambrose of Milan wrote:

“Scripture established a law that twenty-four hours, including both day and night, should be given the name of day only, as if one were to say the length of one day is twenty-four hours in extent. . . . The nights in this reckoning are considered to be component parts of the days that are counted. Therefore, just as there is a single revolution of time, so there is but one day. There are many who call even a week one day, because it returns to itself, just as one day does, and one might say seven times revolves back on itself” (Hexaemeron [A.D. 393]).

And Ambrose was preaching when Augustine of Hippo began his conversion process. He went on to be the most important theologian of the post-Biblical era full stop. And he wrote:

“It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation” (The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1:19--20 [A.D. 408]).

“With the scriptures it is a matter of treating about the faith. For that reason, as I have noted repeatedly, if anyone, not understanding the mode of divine eloquence, should find something about these matters [about the physical universe] in our books, or hear of the same from those books, of such a kind that it seems to be at variance with the perceptions of his own rational faculties, let him believe that these other things are in no way necessary to the admonitions or accounts or predictions of the scriptures. In short, it must be said that our authors knew the truth about the nature of the skies, but it was not the intention of the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation” (ibid., 2:9).

“Seven days by our reckoning, after the model of the days of creation, make up a week. By the passage of such weeks time rolls on, and in these weeks one day is constituted by the course of the sun from its rising to its setting; but we must bear in mind that these days indeed recall the days of creation, but without in any way being really similar to them” (ibid., 4:27).

“[A]t least we know that it [the Genesis creation day] is different from the ordinary day with which we are familiar” (ibid., 5:2).

“For in these days [of creation] the morning and evening are counted until, on the sixth day, all things which God then made were finished, and on the seventh the rest of God was mysteriously and sublimely signalized. What kind of days these were is extremely difficult or perhaps impossible for us to conceive, and how much more to say!” (The City of God 11:6 [A.D. 419]).

“We see that our ordinary days have no evening but by the setting [of the sun] and no morning but by the rising of the sun, but the first three days of all were passed without sun, since it is reported to have been made on the fourth day. And first of all, indeed, light was made by the word of God, and God, we read, separated it from the darkness and called the light ‘day’ and the darkness ‘night’; but what kind of light that was, and by what periodic movement it made evening and morning, is beyond the reach of our senses; neither can we understand how it was and yet must unhesitatingly believe it” (ibid., 11:7).

And on it goes through the ages. Christians did not read Genesis as a scientific text until a weird off-shoot called the 7th Day Adventists got very angry with Darwinists in the 1920s. I am a scientist who is a Christian. I subscribe to the theory of evolution and believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. In so doing, I am standing with the oldest of Christian traditions.

Your Correspondent, Would do anything for a banana

Advertisements