Pope Benedict: Bible Cannot Be Taken Literally
As far as St. Augustine, Dr. Robert Sungenis says the following about him in this article:


"....Allow me to answer the question for you. It makes little difference, simply because, on this particular subject, Mr. Akin has created an artificial distinction between "the majority of the Church Fathers" and the "moral unanimity" of the Fathers. 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.(2) 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).

Moreover, when we examine the reasons for Origen's denial of literal days, his departure from the Fathers is not something about which Akin should take much satisfaction. The fact is that Origen did not see the days of Genesis as literal because practically his whole methodology in interpreting Scripture was allegorization. There is hardly a Scriptural text that Origen did not impose his allegory - a method he learned from the school of Philo, the Greek philosopher bent on assigning his Platonic ideals to holy writ. There is a reason why we don't call him "St. Origen," and that is because many of his ideas were heterodox, and a few of his beliefs were actually declared heretical (e.g., the transmigration of souls).

As for Augustine, far from rejecting a literal six-day period, he did not for a moment suggest that the days of Genesis 1 could be billions of years long, and he never, in fact, rejected that the days of Genesis were 24 hours long. Rather, in one of his interpretations, Augustine suggested that perhaps God created everything instantaneously, and that the six days were the means by which the angels could comprehend, in stages, what God had made all at once.(3) In short, Augustine offered what he thought was a viable alternative to remedy what he believed were exegetical difficulties in interpreting Genesis 1 as six literal days, not to mention the fact that Augustine also had a penchant for spiritual interpretation.

The main reason Augustine had these difficulties is due to his self-imposed desire to find some place in Genesis 1 for the creation of the angels. Seeing no other place to put them, Augustine suggested that the creation of light in Genesis 1:3 served this purpose. This, of course, would force the other days to be representations of what the angels contemplated, but not necessarily in 24-hour segments. Since none of the other Fathers of the Church shared his concern about when the angels were created, Augustine acknowledged that his interpretation was only a possibility, and that he would gladly concede it if someone could harmonize the rest of the Genesis 1 text......"

"....So let's take the tally. Of the thirty or so Fathers who taught on the days of Genesis 1, all but two said the days were literal. Of those two, one had a known-habit of interpreting almost all of Scripture in an allegorical sense (Origen), while the other said the days could be limited to one instant of time, but only because he felt compelled to add the angels to Genesis 1, in addition to the fact that he misconstrued the Greek of Ecclesiasticus 18:1, yet even at that, admitted his interpretation might not be correct and he would gladly concede it to anyone who had a satisfactory literal interpretation. Thus, we have at least 94% of the Fathers who say the days of Genesis 1 are literal days, 3% who say they are not, and 3% who say that they may be. ..."


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Re: Pope Benedict: Bible Cannot Be Taken Literally - by SaintRafael - 11-19-2010, 03:50 PM

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