mardi 11 juin 2013

Church Father's on Cosmological and Genesis Matters - a short review of my limited knowledge

 St AugustineSt BasilSt Cyril of JerusalemOrigen
Flat Earth?No, round, but without antipodesNeutralFlat, ignore the philosophers!I do not know
Crystalline spheres?YesYesProbably noI do not know
Earth immobile?YesYesProbably yesYes
If St Cyril was pro-Bible and anti-philosophy to the extent of denying roundness of earth, because he thought it contradicted the Bible (even if St Basil in his cautious neutral stance claimed that the Bible did not tell), he may well have been rooted in Hebrew-Babylonian cosmological tradition, where a flat and possibly square earth is one storey of a cosmos where upper storeys do not include planetary spheres but both planets and "fixed stars" are freely moving within a higher dome, one above the stars. If so, there is no patristic consensus for crystalline spheres within the fixed stars, between the planets, and so one is not as per Council of Trent obliged to believe them.
Six literal days?WaveredYes Probably yesWavered/no
Young Earth?Yes Yes Probably yesYes !
When Origen said he did not believe the six days literally took place, he clearly meant that God did it all in one moment. I have also read in his on Genesis that he exposes the days literally anyway, which is why I am not sure if he wavered or denied the six days. He did NOT deny the literal truth of the 72 ancestors reaching back from Christ to Adam. He did NOT even respect Egyptian Paganism which pretended to have tradition and documents from 40 millennia of human life on earth. At least as he was read by St Augustine who cites him in De Civitate.
Flood of Noah took place?YesProbably yesProbably yesPossibly no
St Augustine thought it was both heretical to deny "as Origen" that the flood took place, in order to only affirm its symbolic meaning on "outside the Church no salvation", and to deny - I have forgotten as which other theologian - that it has such a symbolic meaning in order to only affirm its literal meaning. One had to affirm both meanings, the literal and the prophetic. Noah's Arc as Noah's Arc, and Noah's Arc as St Peter's Bark.

1 commentaire:

  1. "No, round, but without antipodes"

    Note that original meaning of antipodes is "against-feet", i e people living on the other side of the globe. Not the lands they live on, St Augustine was not saying the globe was half or all was water on the other side. But the exact other side of Milan and possibly Hippo too is in fact water. Seems God did not want him to be totally wrong there.

    He had not reckoned on people getting onto the other side by voyages that could not be reversed due to streams in the Ocean or by Bering's Straight.