lundi 27 février 2017

More on Inerrancy, Specifically Six Days

Stefan Schwarz
Question for everyone. Why do so many call upon St. Augustine as a supporter of reading Genesis purely allegorically?

I have been reading through his sections on Genesis in the City of God and in Confessions and as far as I can tell St. Augustine is speaking quite literally about six days of creation. Am I missing something?

Johnny Proctor
People who want to subordinate the creation account to scientific hypotheses get very nervous when we invoke Trent and Vatican I as infallibly teaching that Catholics are not permitted to teach an interpretation of Scripture contrary to the consensus of the Holy Fathers. They know they can't get around this, so they invoke an opinion of St. Augustine's - which, far from being in favor of a billions-of-years-evolutionary-process, suggests creation all occurred in an instant. This shows the sophistry and craftiness of the so-called theistic evolutionists, and how they are trying to bypass dogma.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
In De Genesi ad Literam Libri XII, books V and VI, he argues against 6 literal days and for a one-moment creation.

He explains the days as the successive views that angels had of what had just happened, and evening and morning as angels viewing it first by their capacities (evening), then in the light of God's glory (morning).

He also explains fall of some angels (Satan, et al.) as them seeing creation only from the "evening" view.

Obviously, this makes a YEC even a few days younger.

Johnny Proctor
The text they refuse to acknowledge is Exodus 20:11. Read St. Basil the Great's Hexaemeron preface on this - he cites the authority of Moses as the author of Genesis as one whom the LORD God spoke to as it were face-to-face.

St Basil the Great HEXAEMERON, Complete
Translated by Bl. Jackson.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Obviously, St Augustine's a bit personal take on the nature of the six days does NOT weaken the Patristic consensus of a few thousand years between Creation and Birth of Christ.

Their take is "if St Augustine could be non-literal" [one direction] "about the six days, I can be non-literal" [opposite direction] "on them too."

No, not if specifically St Augustine closes that opposite direction and no one opens it.

Johnny Proctor
1. It is right that any one beginning to narrate the formation of the world should begin with the good order which reigns in visible things. I am about to speak of the creation of heaven and earth, which was not spontaneous, as some have imagined, but drew its origin from God. What ear is worthy to hear such a tale? How earnestly the soul should prepare itself to receive such high lessons! How pure it should be from carnal affections, how unclouded by worldly disquietudes, how active and ardent in its researches, how eager to find in its surroundings an idea of God which may be worthy of Him!

But before weighing the justice of these remarks, before examining all the sense contained in these few words, let us see who addresses them to us. Because, if the weakness of our intelligence does not allow us to penetrate the depth of the thoughts of the writer, yet we shall be involuntarily drawn to give faith to his words by the force of his authority. Now it is Moses who has composed this history; Moses, who, when still at the breast, is described as exceeding fair; [1365] Moses, whom the daughter of Pharaoh adopted; who received from her a royal education, and who had for his teachers the wise men of Egypt; [1366] Moses, who disdained the pomp of royalty, and, to share the humble condition of his compatriots, preferred to be persecuted with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting delights of sin; Moses, who received from nature such a love of justice that, even before the leadership of the people of God was committed to him, he was impelled, by a natural horror of evil, to pursue malefactors even to the point of punishing them by death; Moses, who, banished by those whose benefactor he had been, hastened to escape from the tumults of Egypt and took refuge in Ethiopia, living there far from former pursuits, and passing forty years in the contemplation of nature; Moses, finally, who, at the age of eighty, saw God, as far as it is possible for man to see Him; or rather as it had not previously been granted to man to see Him, according to the testimony of God Himself, "If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house, with him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently and not in dark speeches." [1367] It is this man, whom God judged worthy to behold Him, face to face, like the angels, who imparts to us what he has learnt from God. Let us listen then to these words of truth written without the help of the "enticing words of man's wisdom" [1368] by the dictation of the Holy Spirit; words destined to produce not the applause of those who hear them, but the salvation of those who are instructed by them.

St. Basil, Hexaemeron

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Certainly, they would just say "St Augustine didn't agree" and pretend to know better as long as you don't show you know the details.

Johnny Proctor
I have been in such exchanges multiple time with "conservative" Catholics. They cite Saint Augustine as a dissenter from the consensus of the Holy Fathers and grant themselves license to dismiss their voluminous writing on topics that touch on cosmogeny and cosmology, to say nothing of metaphysics.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
And they don't mention that the same De Genesi ad Literam also is clearly Geocentric.

Johnny Proctor
Yes, but once you consign Genesis 1-11 to a symbolic sense you have free reign to dismiss any cosmological references at all. This is why we must cite Trent and Vatican I as infallible sources for biblical exegesis.

The other tack is that they say infallibility extends only to faith and morals, and nothing beyond, even though this is explicitly condemned by Pope Leo XIII in Providentissimus Deus.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
And [we must] also accept the symbolical senses that really are there (Adam's sleeping and Eve created from his side symbolises Christ on the Cross and the Church).

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