1) Mike O'Neil Gets it All Wrong, 2) What can Sumerian King List Teach Us?, 3) Two Things You Might Be Asking Now?, 4) The plain reading of Scripture clearly supports six day Creationism
Sunday on youtube and yesterday on my blog copying my comments, I described this blog this way*:
"I nearly only mention the Bible when defining what I am defending."
And today I have to mention the Bible in it - because there are people who think they know I have misdefined what I should defend. So, here I must defend my reading of the Bible. I cite both Jim Stump** and his opponent on CMI Paul Price.***
- If “plain reading” means “what the words clearly mean in my language and culture”,
- My comment
- Yes and no. As formulated it seems to narrow down the exegetic requirements so as to exclude using exact knowledge of earlier cultural contexts, even if applicable.
But that would not be the plain meaning of the definition, it would be an overly literalistic one. Not to say a simplistic one.
We have slightly varied languages (businessmen and people unilaterally engaged in sciences often think my English is bad in grammar, when it simply has a different style) and obviously my culture is much more different from theirs than my language.
I feel like Kent Hovind (I think it was) is "one of them" when he can utter such frogs as Grendel being the dragon of Beowulf poem (the poem has more than one monster, the dragon is not named and the sea monsters are not named either : only the humanoid monsters are identified as "Grendel" and "Grendel's mother", whether they be very ill shapen men or very huge apes, however such came to Denmark). He has not the kind of clture in which it makes sense to actually read the poem through or at least read a summary through instead of thinking that is too geeky stuff to check out for oneself, let's rely on hearsay.
So, "my" language and culture would indeed be an apt guide in someone having a broad human learning. But not in a reader who was ... well, either a scientist or a businessman. As they typically are.
- then I suppose Exodus 20:11 could be used to support six day Creationism.
- My comment
- Oh, you only SUPPOSE so? And only COULD be used?
You suppose pretty right it CAN be and IS used to do so.
- But if that is really how we’re supposed to read Scripture, then 1 Samuel 2:8 means the earth is set on pillars,
- 1 Samuel 2:8, a verse often cited by skeptics to attack the Bible, does not teach that the earth is suspended on pillars. An examination of the context shows that this passage is talking about people, not inanimate objects, and thus metaphorical language is clearly being used.
- My comment
- I checked the Catholic Bibles. Only second half of verse 8 deals with pillars or anything like it, but in the Vulgate and Douay Reims, it is not pillars exactly.
He raiseth up the needy from the dust, and lifteth up the poor from the dunghill: that he may sit with princes, and hold the throne of glory. For the poles of the earth are the Lord' s, and upon them he hath set the world.
Suscitat de pulvere egenum, et de stercore elevat pauperem: ut sedeat cum principibus, et solium gloriae teneat. Domini enim sunt cardines terrae, et posuit super eos orbem.
Note that the first part is echoed in the Magnificat of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Speaking of which, is either Stump or Price among those "praising" her as "blessed"? If not, do they belong to "every generation" of the Church?
Now, to the second part.
No, Price, it is not a metaphor. The second half is really about cosmology. The point being made is that since God rules the cosmos including its close part Earth, he ALSO rules human events.
Now, the Latin has cardines and the English has Poles. A cardo is the kind of pin below and above a door which are set in a door and which the door swings on. Ambiguous as to whether Earth is doorway and cosmos is swinging around it each day (the orthodox interpretation as per from other contexts) or whether instead cosmos is the doorway and Earth is swinging (the modern interpretation, and probably one found in Galileo and Zuñiga). But "cardo" does not mean pillar. Either way, the N and S poles make sense as translations, and there are two of them (plural of cardo, cardines) which is only possible with a round earth. That might be why Masoretic text by now and why KJV has "pillars".
However, let us suppose pillars are the right meaning.
Even so there is nothing absurd in it: continental plates are set on a kind of pikes going downward into the magma. Hence the world - as surface of the globe - is really set on pillars. That the whole of Earth - that is the globe or whatever total three dimensional shape - should be set on pillars can not be the meaning, since of the whole we read elsewhere Earth is hanged on Nothing. Which fits a round Earth quite as well as "Domini enim sunt cardines terrae".
So, no reason NOT to take a plain reading of 1 Kings 2:8.
- and Deuteronomy 21:21 means we should stone our rebellious sons,
- When it comes to Deuteronomy 21:21, Stump misses the point by confusing the meaning of a command with its applicability today. Various Christian denominations have different views of the latter. But most agree that since we are not signatories to the Sinaitic Covenant, the civil penalties don’t apply today. Similarly, most would agree that Christians are not bound by the Mosaic food (kosher) laws today. See Is eating shellfish still an abomination? and Are we allowed to eat all animals today?
- My comment
- The Catholic view is that the commands of civil justice given for Israel are not directly applicable per se under the new law.
They are not unjust, but they were a harsher justice.
However, Sweden under Charles IX (an usurper of Calvinist/Puritan bent, though Sweden was Lutheran, not Calvinist, and the father of Gustavus Adolphus - equally an usurper) did enact death penalty for rebellious children.
In Catholic justice, especially the Middle Ages, the punishment if the matter was grave enough for such, was milder, since taking into account the sweetness of the New Law replacing the harshness of the Old Law.
- and John 15:5 means Jesus is a plant, and
- John 15:5 begins, “I am the vine … ” Not much needs to be said here. Jesus often spoke in figures of speech. Taking that verse literally is not even possible, so we have no record of anyone thinking that He had stems and leaves. Therefore by process of elimination (and common sense) we can see it was a metaphor. Jesus also spoke in parables, but they were intentionally designed to hide the truth from the unbelieving masses, while He spoke plainly to His disciples. See discussion in Biblical creation impedes evangelism?
- My comment
- If Stump is really so uncultured that the plain meaning of this obvious metaphor (which has been missed by no generation in the Church as being that!) is a literal meaning ignoring the words are metaphoric ... sigh. Well, if he is that uncultured, he has no business educating other people on how to read the Bible.
As said above, a culture even in our day should mean things like knowing Grendel was the humanoid and not the dragon or like knowing older manners were more profuse in metaphor than modern ones.
- Roman 16:16 means we should kiss everyone we meet.
- Romans 16:16 asks believers to greet one another with a ‘holy kiss’. It’s true that most churches don’t abide by this, at least in my country. But why? Is it because Paul was being non-literal here? I see nothing in the context to suggest this was supposed to be poetic language. Paul wrote a lot of letters to people in the churches. Among those letters, there is much heavy doctrinal teaching, but there are also some side comments of a personal, non-doctrinal nature, like “bring me my cloak” (2 Timothy 4:13). I’d say most if not all interpreters would consider this statement about kissing to be in that latter category. In Paul’s time and place, kissing people as a greeting was a normal and acceptable thing to do, just as it remains to this day in parts of Europe—Paul wasn’t asking people to rebel against their cultural norms about personal space. For many modern-day Christians, a suitable equivalent would be a pat on the back or a handshake. That is, Paul was expressing the trans-cultural principle of greeting each other warmly with the cultural application of his day.
- My comment
- Both Stump and Price seem to take it this is not done now.
However, in each Holy Mass, a Kiss of Peace is usually given, though Latin rite has tended to omit that.
During the Middle Ages, in order to avoid Kiss of Peace giving anyone butterflies, a gold plate was circled around which everyone kissed, and all those who kissed it were deemed to have kissed each other. But the application was literal enough.
- The “plain reading” of Scripture leads to picking and choosing which verses we like and which we ignore. That is not a responsible way to read the Bible.
- My comment
- No, the plain reading leads to singling out only very few and very obvious cases as metaphor.
- There are reasons we don’t take the plain meaning of those other verses as the best interpretation of Scripture; that makes us at least ask whether there might be reasons not to take Exodus 20:11 and Genesis 1 in their plain sense.
- My comment
- I have never deviated from the PLAIN meaning, though in one precise case from the literal one.
Genesis 1 and Exodus 20 should probably be taken in the plain and literal meanings.
However, St Augustine for Genesis 1 departed from both plain and literal reading in favour of a literal rather than plain reading of a verse in Genesis 2.
This other reading is however ALSO totally at odds with Old Earth any shape or form.
Nearly all other Church Fathers (of those who at all mentioned subject) take the plain and literal meaning of Genesis 1 and a plain rather than extremely literal meaning of the said verse in Genesis 2.
The one exception, if you will call him a Church Father (he is not canonised) being Origen. Possibly the Stromatist too. And Origen takes same view as St Augustine, the Stromatist (Clement of Alexandria, earlier considered a Saint, no longer so since Photius pointed out a formulation which he found heterodox about the Sonship of God the Son) a "chronological agnosticism".
But even that one is hardly strong enough to swallow Old Earth.
Now, the problem is, some people feel they are cultured, knowing that metaphors were used, and think they are more cultured than others if they feel the others, if having their culture should just understand that Genesis "was never meant to be taken literally" (well, it was taken literally and we have no record of an age before our own in which men claiming to believe it were not taking it literally or close enough (see St Augustine, the Stromatist and Origen). But it is they whose level of culture is like the one who had heard of Grendel - and who thought it was the name of the un-named dragon in the Beowulf poem. There is a Grendel, there is a dragon, they are not identical. There are verses meant and from start understood to be metaphorical. There is Genesis 1. They are ALSO not identical.
I get an uncanny feeling some will have me say this over and over again. Like some will abuse their powers of prayer, mixing iniquity in their chalice if celebrating Mass even, in order to avoid exposing their own authority by replying me and finding out how much I know, while praying that I should find out this or that or the other thing they think they know and is applicable.
And if cabbalists are involved, how come they got power over me? Some priest refusing to absolve me from sins, or deeming me excommunicate, while he is the one making the trouble by not being a Creationist of the Young Earth type.
Hans Georg Lundahl
St John of the Cross
* Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... on Several Matters, Including Carbon Dating, Canaaneans, and Ape DNA
** Biologos : 10 Misconceptions about Evolution
September 28, 2015 | By Jim Stump on Faith and Science Seeking Understanding
*** CMI : Stumped by biblical creation: BioLogos takes a cheap shot at biblical creation … and misses
by Paul Price | Published: 24 November 2015 (GMT+10)