Evolution
#81
Thanks for that, Nic.  Although some of these quotes simply employ the expression "six days" without further clarification, it's clear that others mean a literal 24-hour period.

I found an article by Jimmy Akin defending a symbolic non-literal interpretation of the six days; this prompted a response from Robert Sungenis in which he states:

Quote: The facts are these: Of the thirty or so Church Fathers that gave at least some interpretation to Genesis 1, all of them, with the exception of one (Origen), and possibly two (Augustine), believed that the days of Genesis 1 were six literal days of twenty-four hours each. Many of them even use the words “twenty-four hours” or its equivalent. We don’t possess many defined dogmas in Catholicism that have as much patristic evidence behind them as we do for a literal six-day creation (e.g., doctrines of Mary, purgatory, indulgences, etc).

If Sungenis is correct, that would seem to be an end to the matter.   (In his article Sungenis also addresses the Pontifical Biblical Commission document.)  He doesn't say whether the same degree of unanimity applies to the question of the age of the Earth, but either way, if he's right about the 24-hour day consensus, it follows that any form of theistic evolution is inadmissible.
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#82
(10-31-2010, 08:56 AM)Cambrensis Wrote: Thanks for that, Nic.  Although some of these quotes simply employ the expression "six days" without further clarification, it's clear that others mean a literal 24-hour period.

I found an article by Jimmy Akin defending a symbolic non-literal interpretation of the six days; this prompted a response from Robert Sungenis in which he states:

Quote: The facts are these: Of the thirty or so Church Fathers that gave at least some interpretation to Genesis 1, all of them, with the exception of one (Origen), and possibly two (Augustine), believed that the days of Genesis 1 were six literal days of twenty-four hours each. Many of them even use the words “twenty-four hours” or its equivalent. We don’t possess many defined dogmas in Catholicism that have as much patristic evidence behind them as we do for a literal six-day creation (e.g., doctrines of Mary, purgatory, indulgences, etc).

If Sungenis is correct, that would seem to be an end to the matter.   (In his article Sungenis also addresses the Pontifical Biblical Commission document.)  He doesn't say whether the same degree of unanimity applies to the question of the age of the Earth, but either way, if he's right about the 24-hour day consensus, it follows that any form of theistic evolution is inadmissible.

And St. Augustine only proposed the idea that God could have created in an instant, but he firmly held to the belief in 6 literal 24-hour creation days.  Concerning Origen, I am not sure what his take was (I always thought that he believed in 6 literal creation days, but may have proposed an alternate), but in regards to him, he abandoned the true Faith and fell into error on a major scale, so his witness would be to a much lesser degree.

Indeed, the PBC (Pontifical Biblical Commission) of 1909, which at the time was considered as an "arm of the Magesterium" which dissent was paramount to dissent from the Pope, taught explicitly that "Genesis does not contain purified myths."

Sungenis is definitely correct when stating that very few Church doctrines hold as much patristic witness as the six literal creation days of Genesis.  But still, Catholic theistic evolutionists and old-earth proponents will try to weasel their way around this monumental observation, still trying to squeeze their billions of years in between two verses.  It is quite sad how so many modern Catholics would rather trust in modern atheistic science than the strong voice of the Church Fathers and the apparent obviousness of Sacred Scripture on the matter - explicitly stating that the earth was made in six DAYS and giving a systematic genealogy of patriarchs that allows us to reckon the age of the earth as between aprox. 6,000 and 7,500 years (depending upon which Biblical text is authoritative - the Hebrew Masoretic Text, the Sarmatian Text or the Greek Septuagint.) No matter which is the true authoritative text, the earth is less than 10,000 years old.
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#83
Nic, you probably know this, what's the name of that book about the Flood - written by a Protestant - that Bishop Williamson was praising in a homily posted here in FE a few weeks ago?
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#84
http://www.catholic.com/library/Creation...enesis.asp

"Fundamentalists often make it a test of Christian orthodoxy to believe that the world was created in six 24-hour days and that no other interpretations of Genesis 1 are possible. They claim that until recently this view of Genesis was the only acceptable one—indeed, the only one there was.

The writings of the Fathers, who were much closer than we are in time and culture to the original audience of Genesis, show that this was not the case. There was wide variation of opinion on how long creation took. Some said only a few days; others argued for a much longer, indefinite period."

But Nic has told us that the Church Fathers were unanimous in their teaching that the only possible interpretation of the Genesis creation account involved literal, 24-hour days!  How could Nic be so confused, and so completely wrong?  Or was he being dishonest?  (Probably not.)

Creationist authors used to remind me of Democratic politicians (or, Ok, all politicians): they lie.  They simply make things up because they know that most of their reader base is ignorant of the full scope of the data and the arguments of the "other side".

I have the massive, three-volume "Faith of Our Fathers" series and while I haven't read it all, and while some Fathers who taught 24-hour days, I doubt there was even a single one who made this an important article of the faith at all.  They were simply speaking what they assumed to be the case based on the facts of nature they had available to them at the time.  When Augustine, and others, declared that there were probably no "24-hour days", it was not treated as an article of faith ; he was not attacked by anyone in the Church.  It is only in modern times, with the Fundamentalist influence, that this occurs.

Remember that there are issues that even a majority of the Fathers were wrong about: for example, many, if not most, believed the Lord's return to be imminent.  They are infallible only when speaking in unison.  Nic's assertion that this was the case with 24-hour creation days is absolute bunk, as I said initially.

Also: http://www.catholic.com/library/Adam_Eve...lution.asp
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#85
(10-31-2010, 08:56 AM)Cambrensis Wrote:
Quote: The facts are these: Of the thirty or so Church Fathers that gave at least some interpretation to Genesis 1, all of them, with the exception of one (Origen), and possibly two (Augustine), believed that the days of Genesis 1 were six literal days of twenty-four hours each. Many of them even use the words “twenty-four hours” or its equivalent. We don’t possess many defined dogmas in Catholicism that have as much patristic evidence behind them as we do for a literal six-day creation (e.g., doctrines of Mary, purgatory, indulgences, etc).

A majority of the Fathers might have believed that the sun went around the earth and mentioned such in their homilies: this does not mean it is an infallible Church teaching, much less any Church teaching: it is nothing but an incidental statement about nature given the knowledge at the time.  I am pretty sure that I could find a collection of quotes from the Fathers speaking of the sun going around the Earth: who here is a geocentrist?  Who will become one if I produce the quotes?

How many sermons from the Fathers taught that it was an article of faith to believe in 24-hour creation days?

Even if there were such sermons (or letters, etc.), from a majority of the Fathers, the matter is not settled, for, as I pointed out, there were other matters a majority were in error on.  I cannot recall offhand but one of the Marian dogmas, I believe, may fall into that category.

Many of the quotes given do not speak of literal, 24-hour days at all, but simply use the word 'day', and so they are irrelevant, as the entire question here is whether 'day' can have an allegorical meaning in this context.

I agree that the question of 24-hour creation days is closer to the faith than, say, Scripture verses (or opinions of the Fathers) that appear to support geocentrism, but the two are not terribly far apart.  By this I mean that all teachings of not only faith and morals, but the spirit of the account as well, are just as completely intact if we allow ourselves to think that God is not bound by our concept of a day (before earth was even rotating and the concept of 24-hour day could exist).

I am sorry to have to say this but this sort of thing makes Christians the laughingstock of the educated world.  Again, the quote from Augustine I posted early on comes to mind.  To read into these statements from the Fathers that literal, 24-hour creation days is being taught as a article of the faith is an error.  To assert the teaching is infallible is either confused or dishonest.
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#86
There is another common tactic of the Fundamentalist in play here: information overload.  Note that most of the quotes from the Fathes Nic posted do not state support for literal, 24-hour creation days!  They simply speak of day in the general sense or even just generally of the creation.

Fundies love to do this.  Ah, the joys of debating them.  Point out the primacy of Peter in Scripture and you get two pages of quotes talking about Christ's divinity and greatness: see, you stupid Catholic, Christ must be our center, not Peter!  It's always a non-sequitur: the information produced doesn't counter what it intended to: it's neither here nor there.  The amount of information is designed to impress the naive: look at all this stuff that guy has on his side!  He must be right!

I'm not calling you a Fundamenalist, Nic, but you are behaving like one on this topic.  And, for what it's worth, I believe you are sincere and certainly respect your faith, but I believe you have been led astray on this topic, to concentrate on minutia and cause division by not admitting that certain things are not articles of faith required for belief.  I'm sorry but to me it always smacks of a personal vendetta.  If you are more comfortable believing in 24-hour creation days (however that might be defined before the earth existed, or rotated), that is just fine, but please don't tell the rest of us we're required to.
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#87
The Catholic Thinker Wrote:A majority of the Fathers might have believed that the sun went around the earth and mentioned such in their homilies: this does not mean it is an infallible Church teaching, much less any Church teaching: it is nothing but an incidental statement about nature given the knowledge at the time.  I am pretty sure that I could find a collection of quotes from the Fathers speaking of the sun going around the Earth: who here is a geocentrist?  Who will become one if I produce the quotes?

How many sermons from the Fathers taught that it was an article of faith to believe in 24-hour creation days?

...

I agree that the question of 24-hour creation days is closer to the faith than, say, Scripture verses (or opinions of the Fathers) that appear to support geocentrism, but the two are not terribly far apart.  By this I mean that all teachings of not only faith and morals, but the spirit of the account as well, are just as completely intact if we allow ourselves to think that God is not bound by our concept of a day (before earth was even rotating and the concept of 24-hour day could exist).

So you're saying that a consensus of the Church Fathers (whether unanimous consent or the 'moral unanimity' of a substantial majority) only becomes infallible Church teaching if it  pertains to bedrock matters of faith -- in other words, the Fathers tell us how to go to Heaven but not how the heavens go?

This would seem to be the position of Leo XIII in Providentissimus Deus:

... we must remember, first, that the sacred writers, or to speak more accurately, the Holy Ghost "Who spoke by them, did not intend to teach men these things (that is to say, the essential nature of the things of the visible universe), things in no way profitable unto salvation." Hence they did not seek to penetrate the secrets of nature, but rather described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science. Ordinary speech primarily and properly describes what comes under the senses; and somewhat in the same way the sacred writers -- as the Angelic Doctor also reminds us -- "went by what sensibly appeared," or put down what God, speaking to men, signified, in the way men could understand and were accustomed to.

The unshrinking defense of the Holy Scripture, however, does not require that we should equally uphold all the opinions which each of the Fathers or the more recent interpreters have put forth in explaining it; for it may be that, in commenting on passages where physical matters occur, they have sometimes expressed the ideas of their own times, and thus made statements which in these days have been abandoned as incorrect. Hence, in their interpretations, we must carefully note what they lay down as belonging to faith, or as intimately connected with faith -- what they are unanimous in. For "in those things which do not come under the obligation of faith, the Saints were at liberty to hold divergent opinions, just as we ourselves are," according to the saying of St. Thomas.


The Catholic Thinker Wrote:I am sorry to have to say this but this sort of thing makes Christians the laughingstock of the educated world.

It might seem so, given that modern science tells us that an old Earth and heliocentrism are indisputable facts.  But modern science also tells us that unborn children are just blobs of cells, the rational intellect is just the physical interaction of brain molecules, and virgins just don't get pregnant while remaining virgins.  Not to mention that the physical universe can somehow be the cause of its own existence.  To be sure, these latter claims  pose no problem for the Christian because the Church has spoken to the contrary -- the Christian knows that in these cases 'science' must be trespassing outside its legitimate area of competence or just plain wrong.  But to the "educated world", YEC or geocentrism are no more laughable than our Lady's perpetual virginity or transubstantiation.

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#88
(10-31-2010, 01:27 PM)Cambrensis Wrote: So you're saying that a consensus of the Church Fathers (whether unanimous consent or the 'moral unanimity' of a substantial majority) only becomes infallible Church teaching if it  pertains to bedrock matters of faith -- in other words, the Fathers tell us how to go to Heaven but not how the heavens go?

This would seem to be the position of Leo XIII in Providentissimus Deus:

... we must remember, first, that the sacred writers, or to speak more accurately, the Holy Ghost "Who spoke by them, did not intend to teach men these things (that is to say, the essential nature of the things of the visible universe), things in no way profitable unto salvation." Hence they did not seek to penetrate the secrets of nature, but rather described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science. Ordinary speech primarily and properly describes what comes under the senses; and somewhat in the same way the sacred writers -- as the Angelic Doctor also reminds us -- "went by what sensibly appeared," or put down what God, speaking to men, signified, in the way men could understand and were accustomed to.

The unshrinking defense of the Holy Scripture, however, does not require that we should equally uphold all the opinions which each of the Fathers or the more recent interpreters have put forth in explaining it; for it may be that, in commenting on passages where physical matters occur, they have sometimes expressed the ideas of their own times, and thus made statements which in these days have been abandoned as incorrect. Hence, in their interpretations, we must carefully note what they lay down as belonging to faith, or as intimately connected with faith -- what they are unanimous in. For "in those things which do not come under the obligation of faith, the Saints were at liberty to hold divergent opinions, just as we ourselves are," according to the saying of St. Thomas.

Thanks for the quote.  I was indeed saying that the Fathers are not infallible unless unanimous, and furthermore I do not believe that a majority of them intended to put for ANY teaching of the faith per 24-hour creation days.  Furthermore, and more importantly, the Church cannot contradict Herself, and she has already declared that a believe in literal 24-hour creation "days" is *not* necessary.


Quote:It might seem so, given that modern science tells us that an old Earth and heliocentrism are indisputable facts.  But modern science also tells us that unborn children are just blobs of cells, the rational intellect is just the physical interaction of brain molecules, and virgins just don't get pregnant while remaining virgins.  Not to mention that the physical universe can somehow be the cause of its own existence.  To be sure, these latter claims  pose no problem for the Christian because the Church has spoken to the contrary -- the Christian knows that in these cases 'science' must be trespassing outside its legitimate area of competence or just plain wrong.  But to the "educated world", YEC or geocentrism are no more laughable than our Lady's perpetual virginity or transubstantiation.

Modern science does not tell us any of what you said regarding the unborn, the intellect, or a causeless universe: what you are referring to are *(mis)interpretations* of scientific data and/or scientists masquerading as philosophers.

The unborn: science is very much on the side of the pro-life cause here.  What science teaches us is at the moment of conception a new individual of the human species is created - period.  At this point we have a unique genetic individual, and at no other point is there such a qualitative change.  Now, the knowledge of the infusion of the soul that comes from faith also plays a part in our position, of course, but by no means can true natural science be said to be *against* it.  (And there is at least one large atheist pro-life org, by the way.)

As far as the intellect goes, the prevailing *opinion* is that "the mind is the brain" - this is merely a direct consequence of the *philosophy* of materialism that now holds sway over society.  Materialism teaches that the physical is all there is - so by definition there is no such thing as a "mind" outside of the brain.  This philosophy is nothing but an article of "faith" on the part of its adherent, and fortunately for us there is *lots* of evidence that it is false. 

Please see this messy back-and-forth for now if you are interested, taken from a debate I had with someone on CAF last year:

http://www.catholicthinker.net/mind-matter/

I have a lot more material to clean up and post at some time.  Now I have a bit of motivation.  Rest assured that when the evidence is produced the teaching that the mind is nothing but an "emergent" property of the brain will seem preposterous to an honest thinker.

Causeless creation: almost a contradiction in terms, isn't it?  It's got nothing to do with science, which by definition only concerns itself with the results of creation.  This is a good read:

http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/sep/10090704.html

As for the Virgin Birth, science tells us that it is not naturally possible, and science it right: it was a miracle.  That is the definition of the miraculous: a suspension of the natural order.  The Laws of the universe are God's Laws and can be superseded for His purposes.  Or, He perhaps works within them in a way we cannot understand.  (Quantum mechanics offers a possible hypothesis here but I am not going to go there now.)

Pitting science against faith is nonsensical and a dangerous mode of thinking.  As the Church teaches, they can never contradict each other, for they are both Truth; the natural sciences are just explanations of the physical creation.

I've got to get a one year-old into a costume now.  More later.
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#89
(10-31-2010, 10:13 AM)Vetus Ordo Wrote: Nic, you probably know this, what's the name of that book about the Flood - written by a Protestant - that Bishop Williamson was praising in a homily posted here in FE a few weeks ago?

Vetus Ordo -- I'm actually not sure which book you are referring to.  The book that I personally think is an eye-opener is the 8th Edition of Dr. Walt Brown's "In the Beginning:  Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood."  This book is without a doubt the BEST book I have ever read on the subject. 

I have been involved in this issue for some time now.  Actually, I was an avid theistic evolutionist when I was a Protestant.  It wasn't until I became Catholic and began the search for TRUTH that I became a young-earth Creationist.  If this makes me a fundamentalist, then I am a fundamentalist, as well as millions of Catholics of the past, as well as the early Church Fathers and the Apostles.  But in reality, I am NOT a fundamentalist in the derogatory sense of the term.  How could I be a fundie and be a dedicated preterist when it comes to eschatology and Biblical prophesy?  This doesn't add up.  It was only in my pursuit for TRUTH that I began to subscribe to these ideals.

Catholic Thinker - perhaps it is you who have been led astray - by a scientific community who thinks God and Scripture are fairy tales.  How could I be led astray when I:  1) follow the general consensus of the Church Fathers, 2)  follow the obvious sense of Sacred Scripture without bending it to support off-the-wall theories, and 3) have true science to back up my claims that the earth is LESS than 10,000 years old.  You have continued to offer arguments defending your notion that being involved in atheistic science is not against the teaching of the Church, and holding to an old earth is just fine and dandy (when there is no sound reason to do so).  I have offered several scientific insights into what I believe and why I believe it.  You have offered none.
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#90
I wrote a response (and a general thread about the subject) here: http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/inde...845.0.html

It is in a forum which will hopefully keep the subject focused.
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