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Are Trads Required to be Biblical Literalists? - Printable Version

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Are Trads Required to be Biblical Literalists? - Grasshopper - 05-06-2011

I choose option #3. It has been suggested to me that traditional Catholics must accept a literal interpretation of Genesis, and that I'm the only one on the forum who does not. I suspect this is incorrect, although I expect more votes for #1 than for #3. I do not expect it to be unanimous, though. Just curious to see what the spectrum of opinions is on this issue.


Re: Are Trads Required to be Biblical Literalists? - Aragon - 05-06-2011

If the first option is correct then St. Augustine does not qualify as a "traditionalist" Catholic.


Re: Are Trads Required to be Biblical Literalists? - Tim - 05-06-2011

Is the third option exactly as you want it ?  It doesn't make sense the way it is expressed to me, but that's just me. I voted for No.1, the Fathers, I have been told, all agree it was six, twenty-four hour days. The Geneticists place a single woman as mother of us all some where between 12,500 to 7,500 years ago. They even called her Eve .  Gerald Schroeder has given me a way to understand the contradiction concerning the age of the world as billions and billions of years ala Carl Sagan, and a much shorter reality.

As a bit of  humor, I watched PBS last night and Allan Alda was on and exploring the neandrathals. He couldn't understand how the could have been so many years on the earth and never change their technology. This is liberal psycho babble for they apparently did not Evolve.

  tim.


Re: Are Trads Required to be Biblical Literalists? - Grasshopper - 05-06-2011

(05-06-2011, 11:47 AM)timoose Wrote: Is the third option exactly as you want it ?  It doesn't make sense the way it is expressed to me, but that's just me.

I think so, although maybe I could have worded it more clearly. With regard to the question in the subject line (are trads required to be Biblical literalists?), options #2 and #3 both say no. But #2 says you personally do believe in a literal interpretation, and #3 says you do not. Either way, you think it's OK for a trad not to take it literally. To be logically complete, maybe there should have been a fourth option -- trads are required to believe in a literal interpretation, but I personally do not. However, you would have to be a non-trad to say that, and there probably arent' enough of those here to make it an interesting option.


Re: Are Trads Required to be Biblical Literalists? - Stubborn - 05-06-2011

(05-06-2011, 11:26 AM)Grasshopper Wrote: I choose option #3. It has been suggested to me that traditional Catholics must accept a literal interpretation of Genesis, and that I'm the only one on the forum who does not. I suspect this is incorrect, although I expect more votes for #1 than for #3. I do not expect it to be unanimous, though. Just curious to see what the spectrum of opinions is on this issue.

We Catholics are supposed to accept the interpretation as the Church teaches it - so six 24 hour days it is!


Re: Are Trads Required to be Biblical Literalists? - moneil - 05-06-2011

I voted for #3.  The Genesis creation accounts (both of them, there are two) may or may not be exactly, literally, verbatim the way thing things happened, but those accounts do serve to express the truth, and that’s what matters.

The Baltimore Catechism Number 1 sums things up this way (and the essentials very nicely, IMHO):
Quote:.

1. Q. Who made the world?
A. God made the world.

2. Q. Who is God?
A. God is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things.

3. Q. What is man?
A. Man is a creature composed of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God.

6. Q. Why did God make you?
A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.

9. Q. What must we do to save our souls?
A. To save our souls, we must worship God by faith, hope, and charity; that is, we must believe in Him, hope in
Him, and love Him with all our heart.

10. Q. How shall we know the things which we are to believe?
A. We shall know the things which we are to believe from the Catholic Church, through which God speaks to us.

Further on the catechism continuous with:

39. Q. Who were the first man and woman?
A. The first man and woman were Adam and Eve.

40. Q. Were Adam and Eve innocent and holy when they came from the hand of God?
A. Adam and Eve were innocent and holy when they came from the hand of God.

43. Q. Did Adam and Eve remain faithful to God?
A. Adam and Eve did not remain faithful to God; but broke His command by eating the forbidden fruit.

44. Q. What befell Adam and Eve on account of their sin?
A. Adam and Eve on account of their sin lost innocence and holiness, and were doomed to misery and death.

Whether the actual creation of the world happened in six days, six decades, six centuries, or six millennia I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t matter to me, or my faith.

Whether Adam came from the earth and Eve from the rib, or they were beamed down from the celestial kingdom, or at some point two primordial human ancestors were infused with souls I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t matter to me, or my faith.

I always look forward to science giving us a better understanding of our physical world and how it works (I speak of verifiable results and discoveries, not hypothesis, but in the scientific method a hypothesis always precedes the investigation and discovery).  Science has yet to come up with anything to rattle my faith on essential matters.

While looking for a particular quote I remembered from St. Augustine I ran across this:
Quote:Saint Augustine (A.D. 354-430) in his work The Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim) provided excellent advice for all Christians who are faced with the task of interpreting Scripture in the light of scientific knowledge. This translation is by J. H. Taylor in Ancient Christian Writers, Newman Press, 1982, volume 41.

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. [1 Timothy 1.7]
http://www.pibburns.com/augustin.htm

The fundamental understanding of how Catholics (Trad or not) approach the Bible is that it is always accepted as interpreted by the Magisterium, and that interpretation is always informed by Tradition (A Greek Orthodox friend tells fundamentalists “Christ gave us the Church, and the Church gave us the Bible [the defined Canon of Scripture], NOT the other way around”).  The Church has many times taught that our understanding of sacred scripture is informed by our increasing human understanding (which will always be imperfect and incomplete) of the physical world, which God has given us (ref. heliocentrism vs. geocentrism).

Some may find it insightful to read Humani Generis (Pius XII, 1950) http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_12081950_humani-generis_en.html



Re: Are Trads Required to be Biblical Literalists? - Aragon - 05-06-2011

(05-06-2011, 12:34 PM)Stubborn Wrote:
(05-06-2011, 11:26 AM)Grasshopper Wrote: I choose option #3. It has been suggested to me that traditional Catholics must accept a literal interpretation of Genesis, and that I'm the only one on the forum who does not. I suspect this is incorrect, although I expect more votes for #1 than for #3. I do not expect it to be unanimous, though. Just curious to see what the spectrum of opinions is on this issue.

We Catholics are supposed to accept the interpretation as the Church teaches it - so six 24 hour days it is!

Except the Church doesn't teach that the world was made in six 24 hour days.


Re: Are Trads Required to be Biblical Literalists? - Stubborn - 05-06-2011

(05-06-2011, 01:23 PM)Aragon Wrote:
(05-06-2011, 12:34 PM)Stubborn Wrote:
(05-06-2011, 11:26 AM)Grasshopper Wrote: I choose option #3. It has been suggested to me that traditional Catholics must accept a literal interpretation of Genesis, and that I'm the only one on the forum who does not. I suspect this is incorrect, although I expect more votes for #1 than for #3. I do not expect it to be unanimous, though. Just curious to see what the spectrum of opinions is on this issue.

We Catholics are supposed to accept the interpretation as the Church teaches it - so six 24 hour days it is!

Except the Church doesn't teach that the world was made in six 24 hour days.

Gen 1:14 14 And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven, to divide the day and the night,* and let them be for signs, and for seasons and for days and years:

Interpretation: ............The day is completed in twenty-four hours, during which space the earth moves round its axis, and express successively different parts of its surface to the sun. It goes at a rate of fifty-eight thousand miles an hour, and completes its orbit in the course of a year. (Haydock)


Re: Are Trads Required to be Biblical Literalists? - Grasshopper - 05-06-2011

(05-06-2011, 01:28 PM)Stubborn Wrote:
(05-06-2011, 01:23 PM)Aragon Wrote:
(05-06-2011, 12:34 PM)Stubborn Wrote:
(05-06-2011, 11:26 AM)Grasshopper Wrote: I choose option #3. It has been suggested to me that traditional Catholics must accept a literal interpretation of Genesis, and that I'm the only one on the forum who does not. I suspect this is incorrect, although I expect more votes for #1 than for #3. I do not expect it to be unanimous, though. Just curious to see what the spectrum of opinions is on this issue.

We Catholics are supposed to accept the interpretation as the Church teaches it - so six 24 hour days it is!

Except the Church doesn't teach that the world was made in six 24 hour days.

Gen 1:14 14 And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven, to divide the day and the night,* and let them be for signs, and for seasons and for days and years:

Interpretation: ............The day is completed in twenty-four hours, during which space the earth moves round its axis, and express successively different parts of its surface to the sun. It goes at a rate of fifty-eight thousand miles an hour, and completes its orbit in the course of a year. (Haydock)

I have a Haydock Bible, and it's one of my prize possessions. I respect Father Haydock, and I value his annotations. But he is not "the Church". I would be more impressed by an infallible pronouncement from a Pope or Ecumenical Council.


Re: Are Trads Required to be Biblical Literalists? - Aragon - 05-06-2011

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.

– De Genesi ad literam