jeudi 30 mai 2013

Did animals die before the Fall? If yes, can dinos be very, very old?


Did animals die before the Fall? If yes, can dinos be very, very old?
Animal Death could be Consequence of the Fall (Patristic support and scientific consideration)
Carnivores in Eden?

But even if you take some of the details very literally, it still looks like animals and plants died before the Fall—consistent with the findings of modern science.

Cited from: Catholic Answers: Matt Fradd: Was there death before the Fall?

Herein he cites:

In the opinion of some, those animals which now are fierce and kill others, would, in that state, have been tame, not only in regard to man, but also in regard to other animals. But this is quite unreasonable. For the nature of animals was not changed by man's sin, as if those whose nature now it is to devour the flesh of others, would then have lived on herbs, as the lion and falcon. Nor does Bede's gloss on Gn. 1:30, say that trees and herbs were given as food to all animals and birds, but to some. Thus there would have been a natural antipathy between some animals. They would not, however, on this account have been excepted from the mastership of man: as neither at present are they for that reason excepted from the mastership of God, Whose Providence has ordained all this. Of this Providence man would have been the executor, as appears even now in regard to domestic animals, since fowls are given by men as food to the trained falcon.

ST, Prima Pars, Q96, A1, Answer to objection nr 2

On the question of beasts devouring each other, St Augustine agrees or seems to agree with St Thomas and Matt Fradd, although De Genesi ad Litteram Book 3 chapter 16* does not expressly mention that this would have been so before or without the fall. Similarily with De Civitate and with St Basil's Hexaemeron:

Expeditis de nostri saeculi exortu et de initio generis humani difficillimis quaestionibus nunc iam de lapsu primi hominis, immo primorum hominum, et de origine ac propagine mortis humanae disputationem a nobis institutam rerum ordo deposcit. Having disposed of the very difficult questions concerning the origin of our world and the beginning of the human race, the natural order requires that we now discuss the fall of the first man (we may say of the first men), and of the origin and propagation of human death.

City of God XIII:1 / De Civitate XIII:1

But each animal is distinguished by peculiar qualities. The ox is steady, the ass is lazy, the horse has strong passions, the wolf cannot be tamed, the fox is deceitful, the stag timid, the ant industrious, the dog grateful and faithful in his friendships. As each animal was created the distinctive character of his nature appeared in him in due measure; in the lion spirit, taste for solitary life, an unsociable character. True tyrant of animals, he, in his natural arrogance, admits but few to share his honours. He disdains his yesterday's food and never returns to the remains of the prey. Nature has provided his organs of voice with such great force that often much swifter animals are caught by his roaring alone.

Hexaemeron IX:3

So, theoretically, dinosaurs could have existed and devoured each other before man was there, say between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, thus reviving the gap theory.

The problem therewith is not so much theological, at least in the tradition of Sts Augustine and Thomas Aquinas (I have not checked with St Gregory of Nyssa or with St Basil the Great as yet), but more scientific before it becomes theological again: if we accept such and such immense ages for T Rex and Brontosaurus, like present evolutionist datings of millions of years we can hardly say that the atmosphere had no or little C14 when the men in Cro-Magnon or Le Moustier lived, and thus we would be stuck with the datings for them too, and we would have men dying before Adam sinned or anatomically human beings not counting as men: Cro-Magnon (named after that find, also living in Les Eyzies) are anatomically horse faced Europeans, Neanderthals - who lived in Le Moustier - are men with round faces, not exactly identical to any today known race, but within the range of human variability. If these are men, they did not die before Adam did. If these were not men, men appearing biologically as men can for different reasons be considered as just apes. So, not wanting to call either Adam of one Australian team, nor Adam before God breathed into his nostrils an ape** I am stuck with Cro-Magnon and Le Moustier finds being misdated, and that means that earth is young enough for atmosphere's C14 to be or to have recently been in a buildup stage, and that means T Rex and Bronto cannot be millions of years either. A short while according to gap theory would be possible.

Or they could have existed outside paradise - man at first giving appropriate Brontos to deserving Tyrannosauri. Or dinos may have been engineered by genetical and other modification. Nodian civilisation was wicked.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
BpI, Georges Pompidou
Corpus Christi Feast
Thursday 30-V-2013

* = Google Books, De Genesi ad Litteram LIbri Duodecim, Online

** CMI: David Catchpoole: ‘Ape’ slur against Australian indigenous footballer Adam Goodes sparks anti-racism backlash—yet censorship still prevails

Update the Day after:

I had another look at the fathers and on Bible verses that indirectly could seem to make for a reading of vegetarian lions in Paradise. Now, Hexaemeron by St Basil seems to have used the parts of creation as reminders for our present life after the fall. Not surprisingly, since Genesis 1 is epistle reading for beginning of lent in eastern rite. But if I thought other Church Fathers would confirm what Bede invalidated followed by St Thomas and what St Augustine seemed to invalidate, I was a bit disappointed:

Victorinus On the Creation of the World : Victorinus Commentary on Apocalypse of St John

I was surprised to find that Victorinus thought angels had been formed late during the six days, unless I misunderstood, but nothing about the diet of lions.

Then there is the question of prophecy, on how it reflects on earthly paradise. If you read certain passages in Isaiah as Jehovah's Witnesses, as being about a restored earthly paradise, they would of course reflect what was true of the first paradise. But here are the passages with the commentaries of Haydock:

Isaiah 11:6 *The wolf shall dwell with the lamb: and the leopard shall lie down with the kid: the calf, and the lion, and the sheep, shall abide together, and a little child shall lead them.

7 The calf, and the bear shall feed: their young ones shall rest together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp: and the weaned child shall thrust his hand into the den of the basilisk.

9 They shall not hurt, nor shall they kill in all my holy mountain, for the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the covering waters of the sea.

[With the comment:]

Ver. 6. Wolf. Some explain this of the Millennium. (apud St. Jerome) (Lactantius vii. 24.) --- But the more intelligent understand, that the fiercest nations shall embrace the gospel, and kings obey the pastors of the Church. (Calmet) --- Lead. Or "drive," as the word is used by Festus. (Haydock)

Ver. 8. Basilisk. Psalm ix. 13. The apostles subdued kings and philosophers, without any human advantages.

Ver. 9. Kill. The most inveterate pagans, being once converted, entirely alter their manners, Osee ii. 18.

Isaiah 65:25 *The wolf and the lamb shall feed together; the lion and the ox shall eat straw: and dust shall be the serpent's food: they shall not hurt, nor kill in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.

[With the comment:]

Ver. 25. Straw. People of the most perverse tempers shall become mild by the influence of the gospel, and shall dwell together in perfect concord. (Calmet) --- Food, according to the sentence, Genesis iii. 14. (Menochius) --- The devil's power is abridged, chap. xi. 6. (Calmet) --- The proudest Gentiles are converted, and adopt the mild manners of Christians, in fasting and mortification. (Worthington)

In other words, paradise is restored - for man, in the Church, in monasticism. The wolf and the lamb fed together when Clovis had obeyed the injunction "mitis depone colla, Sigamber", "bend thy neck humbly, Sigambrian." Not among beasts.

So, in patristics so far, it is man's death that came with Adam's sin. But it actually did come so, and that leaves the argument like above./HGL

Further update:

Romans 8:19 For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God.

20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him, that made it subject in hope:

21 Because the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

22 For we know that every creature groaneth, and is in labour even till now.

[with comment:]

Ver. 19. The expectation[2] of the creature. He speaks of the corporal creation, made for the use and service of man; and, by occasion of his sin made subject to vanity, that is, to a perpetual instability, tending to corruption and other defects; so that by a figure of speech, it is here said to groan and be in labour, and to long for its deliverance, which is then to come, when sin shall reign no more; and God shall raise the bodies, and united them to their souls, never more to separate, and to be in everlasting happiness in heaven. (Challoner)

Waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God. That is, for the time after this life, when it shall be made manifest that they are the sons of God, and heirs of the kingdom of his glory. Several interpreters understand all creatures whatsoever, even irrational and inanimate creatures of this world, which are represented as if they had a knowledge and sense of a more happy condition, of a new unchangeable state of perfection, which they are to receive at the end of the world. See 2 Peter i. 13; Apocalypse xxi. 1. Now every insensible creature is figuratively brought in groaning like a woman in labour, waiting, and wishing for that new and happy state; but in the mean time unwillingly made subject to vanity, i.e. to these changeable imperfections of generations and corruptions, which then they shall be delivered from. (Witham)

The creature, &c. The creatures expect with impatience, and hope with confidence, to see a happy change in their condition; they flatter themselves that they will be delivered from the captivity of sin, to which man has reduced them, and enter into the liberty of the glory of the sons of God. Not that the inanimate creation will really participate the happiness and glory of the elect; although in some sense they may be said to have part in it, since they will enter into a pure, incorruptible and perfect state to the end of ages. They will no longer be subject to those changes and vicissitudes which sin has brought upon them; nor will sinful man any longer abuse their beauty and goodness in offending the Creator of all. St. Ambrose and St. Jerome teach that the sun, moon, and stars will be then much more brilliant and beautiful than at present, no longer subject to those changes they at present suffer. Philo and Tertullian teach that the beasts of prey will then lay aside their ferocity, and venomous serpents their poisonous qualities. (Calmet)

Other, by the creature or creatures, understand men only, and Christians, who groan under miseries and temptations in this mortal life, amidst the vanities of this world, under the slavery of corruption; who having already (ver. 23.) received the first-fruits of the Spirit,[3] the grace of God in baptism, have been made the children of God, and now, with expectation and great earnestness, wait and long for a more perfect adoption of the sons of God: for the redemption of their bodies, when the bodies, as well as the souls of the elect, shall rise to an immortal life, and complete happiness in heaven. (Witham)

In other words, authorities are divided on precisely how this applies and if it applies to irrational animals./HGL

One may perhaps assume that although rabbits might have been eaten by lions, they would not have suffered things like long suffering in cancer./HGL

mardi 21 mai 2013

Answering Father Dwight Longenecker's Difficulties with Adam and Eve

I nearly felt like just uncharitably posting in the comment section the posts with the replies, I am posting them with this intro, trying to be charitable. And since comment section is not open, I am posting on my blog and linking to yours, here:

Patheos : Standing on my Head : Difficulties with Adam and Eve.

Father Philip Lynch, C.S.Sp. and R.I.P., would simply not have agreed at all. And he was handing on what Catholics know as Tradition, therein. Nor do I agree:

Crea vs Evolu : If Genesis Chapter One is Not History, Then What?

People like you are giving me trouble believing your Pope is the true Pope. Here is what I wrote to Rome, and hope one earlier correspondent there transmitted to the concerned:

Francis, are you Dealing in Life or in Death?

So far I have gotten no answer. Here is a quote from you:

My own theory is that there were other human-type creatures on earth, but that Adam and Eve were the first specially created humans with souls, with free will and perhaps the first with language. They were the first to have a relationship with God, and therefore the first parents of all who believe.

That is rehashed talmudism, thinking that people outside the people of God are not true people. It implies believing that it can talk like a man and walk like a man but still not be a man. Look like an image of God and yet not be it. Make no mistake, the men of Cro-Magnon, dated I think (and acc. to us YEC obviously misdated) to some 20.000 Before Present, looked exactly like us. The difference between them and modern Europeans is less than between Europeans and Asiatics. That much I do know about Evolution Theory as earlier having studied it with avidity. I am an ex-Evolutionist, you see.

No, it is vital to the pro-life cause, as well as to avoiding racism, that things that look like men are also men, created in God's image. The theory of pre-Adamites surfaced in a very ugly context, some Spaniards exasperated with Mexican human sacrifice or with their own greed being stopped by considerations of humanity, whichever it was, theorised that Mexicas were not men, but pre-Adamites. The Church pretty quickly condemned that theory of course - since back then there was no breach in the YEC Tradition.

Part of your trouble is what I would call a kind of Galileo Complex about standing up for things that your scientist Frank would consider ridiculous. Galileo was wrong, not only honour of the Church, but also coherence of YEC requires it:

Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere ... on Young Earth Creationism Denying Gravity (with a certain levity towards the matter, thank God!)

Other part of your trouble is apparently not knowing (or possibly not caring) that Saint Thomas Aquinas would have given you exactly the same answer about Cain's wife as you were given back in your Evangelical days. It was his sister, and certain moral and medical issues about that were not there in the first generation after the first parents. That is all.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Paris, from Mouffetard Library
Pentecost Tuesday
(or Tuesday in Pentecost Octave)*

*I love that episode about Paul VI trying to use white and being told to use green: "but we are in the Pentecost Octave" - "you abolished it, your holiness". Don't you?

vendredi 17 mai 2013

Popular on Apologetics Section

samedi 4 mai 2013

If Genesis Chapter One is Not History, Then What?

Lawrence Krauss is menacing the freedom of Christian parents all over the English speaking and Western world by his words that "teaching children creationism is child abuse". [In the video of a TV debate from 18th of February 2013, ABC, Q&A, he modified the words to "mild child abuse", but he is currently often quoted without that qualification.]

I mean, if a father beats his one year old daughter with a stick for fun, I think he should be locked up and his daughter taken away from him. That is child abuse. But if a father tells his children that God created all there is, directly or indirectly (the man made is obviously made by a man made by God and from materials made by God, but that doesn't mean God himself decided how to put together the computer I am writing on) and that the sixty million years ago that T Rex is supposed to have lived was not so long ago, it is indeed folly to compare that even remotely to child abuse. But Lawrence Krauss is not comparing it remotely to child abuse, he is classifying it as such.

So were the people who decided I could not stay with my ma during school terms after grade eight. They did perhaps not say so in so many words, but ma is the person who comes closest to having taught me creationism and pro-life stances, creationism and pro-life stances is what I was being mobbed for in school, and the decision implied I had to get away from mother because she was having a bad influence on me. Never, ever will I agree they were right, they blighted my life for years to come.

However, Krauss is atheist, and on top of that a militant such, he can be counted on to say something stupid once in a while.* Let us see if he got a Christian co-debator who said something wise? Not quite this February on ABC, not quite. I am citing an article on Creation dot com which is citing the dialogue:**

And what was Dickson’s response to Krauss’s “child abuse” taunt? ABC Q&A presenter Tony Jones immediately offered Dickson the opportunity to respond:

TONY JONES: John Dickson?

JOHN DICKSON: Yeah. This is going to be an agree fest, I think.


JOHN DICKSON: I agree but for one thing that I think lowers the tone. On the science I totally agree and you’ll find that most mainstream Christians are very comfortable with science and with all of the discoveries of science, including that 13.72 billion years ago there was a bang and evolution by natural selection. This is standard. When you go to theological college you are taught how to read Genesis 1 and it’s quite clear that Genesis 1 is written in a style that is most unlike the historical prose we know from other parts of the Bible. The style is not quite poetry but it’s more in the direction of poetry. It uses number symbolism in a way that would blow your mind. The artistry of it is clear.

First off, if creationism were unduly taking Genesis 1 "as history," it would even so not be child abuse to teach it to children. Common and simpleminded misunderstandings do occur among people, and teaching your children what you believe yourself is not in itself child abuse.

One could argue it is child abuse to teach your children witches were women who were good at healing in a world were doctors were bad at it, and the Church only agreed to burn witches and burned so many of them because the Church men were afraid of healing and that the Church then for that reason burned so very, very many of them. Or that Luther was condemned because Leo X needed money from Indulgence sales for his personal luxuries. But that kind of misunderstanding, which is more evilminded than simpleminded, very seldom leads to children being taken away from parents, even if the children are baptised and have a supernatural faith on top of a natural life to loose. That is the kind of lies that kills the faith.

But mistaking the literary style of Genesis chapter 1 is hardly a reason to take children away from their parents. Unless of course the Church had centuries before decided that Genesis chapter 1 must not be taken as literal truth. Which is obviously not the case. So, as an answer to the child abuse taunt - I saw the comment above the dialogue just when copying - this is lame, close to treason against Christian liberties in Society. Or, rather, it is an act of treason.***

However, I am not John Dickson's judge, I am glad for that, and considering the ire that Lawrence Krauss' thinkalikes have provoked in me by action and John Dickson's thinkalikes by agree fests, I think John Dickson can be happy too that I am not his judge.***

I am writing this to give an answer to his arguments. Or to his one argument which in two phrases can be stated as "it is not accurate history but nearly poetry", and "it is too artistic with number symbolism to be accurate history".

The fact is that the word "history" has several meanings. The basic Greek word "historia" means "research", and Thucydides and Herodotus did that. Since the research does not always come to exactly one single version as the true one, it involves sometimes leaving undecided which version is true, either way it involves citing sources, and even if the author - either of the two or others like them - decides, either for an extant version or for a reconstruction of his own, he often uses words like "probably" or "dokei moi". Any school child can see that Genesis 1 is written very differently from that.

One can even go further, and say it is told as a story - which in Greek is "mythos".°

If you did not skip all the English words, like "research" and "story" and concentrate only on the Greek ones, like "historia" and "mythos", you will of course see, that this is not at all any kind of argument against taking Genesis 1 as literally true. A research may come to a flawed conclusion, a story can be told as simple as that and still be true. Taking differentiations about literary style for a yes-or-no difference about literal truth or even claim to such is simply stupid.

The other extreme meaning of the word "history" is "all of the events past, present and future". As events overall do not take sides between literary styles, Genesis 1 can certainly be quite historic on that account.

A narrowing down, from "all of the events past, present and future" to "all of the events known to man" is quite in keeping with either research or story giving us accurate history.

A further narrowing down means that most of Genesis 1 is not quite history. But that is because "history" is used for "events past that have been seen and remembered by men". Most of Genesis 1 was before man was there, as its story goes. Of course, most of "evolutionary history of life" was before man was there too. And Annunaki seeking a way to get slaves and doing genetic engineering on apemen to form man was also before man was there to observe and record and pass on anything.

Then, how do any of the three versions even claim to know which version is true?

Two of the versions are based on "research". In the "Cayce case" there is also an element of prophecy under hypnosis. I do not really trust hypnosis in prophetic connexions, any more than possessions or frenzies of Sibyls, such as the Greeks and Romans trusted. The Biblical version is based on Prophecy, but of another kind. Moses saw as a prophet what had happened before man was there and up to his being there. He also probably saw in more detail - probably in a second separate prophecy - how after man was created first male, man was then a few hours later extended to being both male and female by creation of Eve. But since that account begins basically with Adam being there and talking with his maker, it can be traditional collective memory from the events up to when Moses wrote it down. Now, Moses also walked the children of Israel out of Egypt dryshod over the Red Sea. Not quite what Cayce has managed while alive, as far as I know.

I think that can suffice for the literary style. I even added. Now, the perfect artistry. There is numeric symbolism in Genesis 1. There is gorgeous artistry in Genesis 1. Well, if God was acting and man was first of all not yet created and to the end of the chapter created but not yet sinful, what would you expect? If man is artful, why should Our Creator be artless? If He did great art then and it appeared with éclat, He can still do great art and it can still appear with éclat, insofar as we let Him into our lives and the lives of each other. But often we do not and that is why history later than Genesis 1 is so often either inaccurate or unartistic. Back then that was not yet an issue, and artistry and accurate fact met.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Mouffetard, Paris
St Monica's Feast

*Even non-militant atheists like Autumn Lauber have said something stupid once in a while. I think. What do you think about her Taco Cow video?

I prefer her latest one:


***I am not sure while writing this that this was the final answer to the child abuse charge, even if they were the words immediately after it. I just checked with John Dickson by writing him a mail over Facebook. Have not yet received answer, when I do I will either delete my words or get the parentheses off them and change this footnote.

Update: I checked by googling for the video with the conversation. The conversation goes on after the quote I gave, past an abusive namedropping which I comment on right next, and on to his answer about child abuse.

Philo Judaeus (purportedly, I have not read the passage), Origen (purportedly, I have not read the passage) and St Augustine (I have read another passage which may indicate that the position of non literal truth was not his final one, check with De Genesi ad Literam), were all YEC. They were in that partial agreement (were they were clearly minoritarian) not six day literalists, but they were not extending six days into six billion years or so, they were compressing them into one moment. Now whether you count together the Biblical chronology as 7200 years or as 6000 years (including the two thousand years after the Bible), compressing six days into one moment does not lengthen the chronology, but shorten it. Slightly. At least Origen and St Augustine, possibly Philo too, ridiculed Egyptian Pagans for creation durations like 40.000 years. "Poo, that is bragging about having an older tradition than you actually have" was their basic response. Remember that this was about Egyptians not reconstructing age of earth by quasi science, but claiming actually have had such a long tradition, actually having kept historic records of King Scorpion and a few more that lived like 10.000 years or even twice or three times as long. Similarily Babylonians and Chinese. In face of that tradition, keeping their own, these three men cited maintained it was their own one which was right. Now, would they not have laughed their arses off if they had heard about men using their names to say "sure, we need not take the Bible literally, we can accept earth is 6 billion years old or 4.5 billion years old" or whatever the age is!

Now, John Dickson did not want to want to call teaching creationism child abuse. He was uncomfortable with it for two reasons. That NOT teaching nor even allowing creationism to be taught would be the real child abuse, as it was in my case (I remember class room discussions were science teacher would call a halt precisely after the comment where I could have exposed his logic as bad, I found myself abused, socially, as he was recommending my class mates to find me "unscientific" and as such stupid: Lawrence Krauss thought having been taught creationism is handicapping, and so is having accepted any social identity which is very out of fashion, but that does not mean the state has a right to stop it), so that NOT teaching creationism would be the real child abuse was not one of his two reasons. Indeed, just before going into the two, he did say he thought authorities should look into the matter, I suppose he meant to shut down the rare voice of truth. Sorry, but the charge of treason stands. Whatever the good or benevolent or kind or kindhearted intentions behind it may have been.

°When Aristotle analyses the "mythos" of Aeschylus' Persae, he is not stating it is inaccurate as history, obviously, only that the story told in a few words is what Aeschylus takes from history and then elaborates to a drama. Note that it is not the dramatic embellishments, but the story-line as such, borrowed from recent events, that Aristotle calls "mythos".