Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Does Sydney Anglican Archbishop Blaspheme Holy Spirit?

It's a big call but I can't help wondering. I just can't help wondering!

All following quotations use the New International Version of the Holy Bible.

In Matthew 12: 22-37 an incident of healing and dialogue from Jesus Christ is recorded by Matthew.

Jesus' healing of the mute is not praised by some of those present. Instead they misapply the activity of Holy Spirit to Beelzebub - "It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons." In reply our Lord argues convincingly that if Satan (or Beelzebub) were to drive out Satan he would be working against himself.

But it is what our Lord goes on to say that has me wondering. He goes on to say "But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you ........ And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come."

Note the context in which our Lord raises the occasion of blaspheming Holy Spirit. It is, in this situation at least, when one speaks against Holy Spirit. And the consequences of blaspheming Holy Spirit are deadly serious.

Consider then Luke's account of this healing of the mute and accompanying dialogue. It can be found in Luke 11: 14-28. There are some differences in the things said by our Lord but that which I quote is "But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." Note that Luke uses the term "finger of God" instead of "Spirit of God". This is significant. Most commentators would say that it doesn't matter whether Holy Spirit or finger of God is used because it is all the same - it is the power of God. Fair enough, we can accept that because the magicians in Pharaoh's court attributed the plagues to the finger of God (Ex. 8:19).

Now cast your attention to Moses' recording in Exodus 31:18 and Deuteronomy 9:10 that the Tablets of the Testimony (ten commandments) were "inscribed by the finger of God". What is recorded then is that Holy Spirit (or finger of God) inscribed, among other important words, on the two tablets of stone "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."

When the Archbishop of the Sydney Anglican Diocese, Peter Jensen, holds to the opinion that the creative process undertaken by Father, Son and Holy Spirit was over a period of more than six days, as a Theistic Evolution position requires, then isn't the Archbishop denying the very words inscribed by Holy Spirit? Isn't he and other Theistic Evolutionists speaking against Holy Spirit? Aren't they saying that Holy Spirit didn't do what He inscribed on the tablets of stone?

Is this blaspheming Holy Spirit?

I'm not sure, but the Archbishop and his likeminded Anglican (or Episcopalian as Sam Drucker prefers to call them) friends in Sydney ought to examine their behaviour carefully. They ought not dismiss this matter lightly because the consequences are serious, deadly serious.

Please advise?

Neil Moore

Friday, July 27, 2007

Two Arrogancies?

Sometimes I think that Christians who are vehemently opposed to the Bible's direct teaching about creation are motiviated by two arrogancies, or maybe, one of the two.

The first, I think, is the arrogant presumption that people other then Christians don't have a religious belief. I use 'religous' here as Clouser uses it in his book "The Myth of Religious Neutrality". That is, a basic belief in something which is independently real. Today, I would suggest that the dominant belief is that the only independent reality is material. That is, basic reality is nothing more than the material, and everything is circumscribed materially.

The second arrogance is related. It is that the Christian/biblical world view is really accepted by all and sundry, and that their beliefs are embedded in a commitment to that world view. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course.

Both these mistakes hobble evangelism and deny the Scriptures.

When you speak to a person about matters of Christian faith at some (early) stage you have to know their world view and introduce them to yours. If you say to a materialist that Christ saves you from your sin, etc., they hear that in terms of reality being finally material, and chance interactions being all that we have: nothing is really significant. Of course, no one lives this way, but that's a typical belief, or its logical conclusion.

The end is the materialist is philosophically locked out of the biblical world view and is not typicaly in a position to embrace its elements, including Christ's salvationm, until that world view is undone (I know that all response to Christ do not follow this paradigm, but it is a helpful framework, I find).

However, if you are able to meet and expose the person's world view (in a conversational engagement, of course) then move them to understand the supernatural world view of the Bible, and its congruence with both history (including the Creation) and our existential circumstances, then the road to Christ is more direct (with other factors aside).

Not only did Paul set out this agenda in Acts 17 (blithly ignored by the Church in recent times, if not all times, and certainly the Sydney Anglicans now!), but the Spirit has provided us with the knowledge to take people to the 'land of the love of God, and the God of love' in the Creation wrought by God and only accounted for in Genesis 1.

So if the world really came supernaturally from God's hand, this is the great undoing of materialism, and examination of the world should be consistent with this and we can use such evangelically. On the other hand if the world really came about by chance processes (contrary to Hebrews 11:3), a view espoused on the axiomatic basis that there is no God, or if there is, he has not spoken or acted in our time-space, then the world should look like that (what ever that looks like: and how would we know?).

Paul thinks that the Creation 'looks like' it came from the hand of God (Roms 1:20 and 4:17c read together) and that this is a sufficient sign to us of God's hand and love!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Sydney Episcopalian CASE Against Christ

Apologies to the recent inquirer Geoff. The length of this posting was necessary to get all necessary quotes in.

CASE (Centre for Apologetic Scholarship and Education) operates from New College, University of NSW, Sydney, Australia. CASE has close links to Campus Bible Ministry spawned by St Matthias Anglican (Episcopalian) Church, Centennial Park. Through the conduct of seminars, conferences and its quarterly magazine of the same name, CASE has been a channel for the homogeneously worldly thinking ISCAST (Institute for the Study of Christianity in an Age of Science and Technology).

Christian parents around the world should think seriously if their son or daughter suggests taking up studies at the University of NSW and residence at New College. It is bad enough for your son or daughter to suffer the assaults of atheistic and worldly Professors at the university but to have an alleged ally such as CASE giving aid and comfort to those who side with the world against the Word of God on the matter of origins is diabolical.

CASE in quarterly magazine No. 8 of 2005 promulgated the thoughts of Graeme Finlay, Senior Lecturer in Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Christian students were subjected to Finlay's undemonstrated (but uttered as fact) statement that humans have evolved from primate species. Finlay goes on to criticise Biblical Creationists - you know, those who trust God's Word, like ... say .... Sir Isaac Newton, regarded by secular scientists as the greatest scientist to have ever lived!

Elsewhere, Finlay reviewed the writings of Douglas C. Spanner who believes that the Bible does not state in unequivocal terms that Adam and Eve were the physical ancestors of all present day members of the human race. Finlay also reviewed the writings of R. J. Berry who claims that by the time the God-image was infused into Adam and Eve, Homo sapiens had [already] spread to many parts of the world: there were Indians in America, Aborigines in Australia and so on. Of these two 'great minds' Graeme Finlay says "the Christian church is fortunate to have scholars of such calibre." (for more information on this see "Theological Problems With Theistic Evolution" in Bibliotheca Sacra 150 April-June 1994: 155-74).

So, Graeme Finlay is permitted by CASE to influence the minds of Christians at New College, University of NSW but what scope is given to Biblical Creationists? I am not aware of any hearing given Biblical Creationists by CASE. Those who think like Sir Isaac Newton, Martin Luther and John Calvin don't seem to cut it with CASE.

Theistic Evolution is such a corruption of all sensibility. It is neither hot nor cold but, instead, is liable to being the vomit spewed out of the mouth of the Lord (Rev. 3:14-18). What do some of the advocates of Evolution have to say? They were not without clear thinking. They could see the logical consequences of what they proposed. Their problem is the error of their initial proposition. It is not based on fact. It is an error but, as I say, having once accepted the proposition there is a logical flow of thought which cannot sensibly be denied.

What did Charles Darwin say once he had accepted the proposition of a process for the ordering of life by the evolution of species through natural selection? He said "What book a Devil's Chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering low and horribly cruel works of nature!"(Ralph Colp Jnr 'Notes' page 382n. Colp studied Darwin's notes and letters)

What did Jacques Monod, famous Microbiologist, Philosopher and Atheist say during an interview with Laurie John and broadcast on the Australian Broadcasting Commission on 10 June 1976? On the subject of Theistic Evolution Monod said " .... And why would God have to have chosen this extremely complex and difficult mechanism when, I would say by definition, he was at liberty to choose other mechanisms, why would he have to start with simple molecules? Why not create man right away, as of course classical religions believe? ..... selection is the blindest, and most cruel way of evolving new species, and more and more complex and refined species .... the more cruel because it a process of elimination, of destruction. The struggle for life and elimination of the weakest is a horrible process, against which our whole modern ethics revolts. An ideal society is a non-selective society, is one where the weak is protected; which is exactly the reverse of the so-called natural law. I am surprised that a Christian would defend the idea that this is the process which God more or less set up in order to have evolution."

What did Dr Tom Ambrose, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Ely (UK) say to the Church of England Newspaper, Friday, October 21st, 1994? He said "When will the church 'come clean' about evolution? Once We admit we share a common ancestry with other animals, certain consequences follow. Fossils are the remains of creatures that lived and died for over a billion years before Home sapiens evolved. Death is as old as life itself by all but a split second. Can it therefore be God's punishment for sin?"

"The fossil record demonstrates that some form of evil has existed throughout time. On the large scale it is evident in natural disasters. The destruction of creatures by flood, ice age, desert and earthquake has happened countless times. On the individual scale there is ample evidence of painful, crippling disease and the activity of parasites. We see that living things have suffered in dying, with arthritis, a tumour, or simply being eaten by other creatures."

"From the dawn of time, the possibility of life and death, good and evil, have always existed. At no point is there any discontinuity; there was never a time when death appeared, or a moment when the evil changed the nature of the universe. People try to tell us that Adam had a perfect relationship with God until he sinned, and all we need to do is repent and accept Jesus in order to restore that original relationship. But perfection like this never existed. There never was such a world. Trying to return to it, either in reality or spirituality, is a delusion. Unfortunately it is still central to much evangelical preaching."

Perhaps G. Richard Bozarth in an article entitled 'The Meaning of Evolution' in The American Atheist, Sept 1978 page 19 has more understanding of the times than some who profess to be Christians today. He said ".... Christianity is - must be - totally committed to the special creation as described in Genesis, and Christianity must fight with its full might, fair or foul, against the theory of evolution ... It becomes clear now that the whole justification of Jesus' life and death is predicated on the existence of Adam and the forbidden fruit he and Eve ate. Without the original sin, who needs to be redeemed? Without Adam's fall into a life of constant sin terminated by death, what purpose is there to Christianity? None."

Perhaps Jeffrey Dahmer, mass murderer, cannibal, necrophiliac in the USA and arguably one of the worst men to have walked on the earth has something to say by his life - both chapters of his life. Some time after his arrest, trial and sentencing, Dahmer said " I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from slime. When we died, you know, that was it, there is nothing ..." Dahmer was eventually killed by an another inmate while in prison. In 2004 American TV interviewer Larry King interviewed the father and stepmother of Jeffrey Dahmer. Here is an excerpt: KING: "How was he dealing with prison, Jeff?... " L. DAHMER: "Jeff - he - at first it was extremely hard, but then he - he sent away for 13 books ..... [from the USA Institute for Creation Research]. I told him about the place. And he bought the 13 books that turned him from a - an evolutionist into a creationist and from there into a Christian. And he started talking, handing out pamphlets and so forth and talking with other prisoners, trying to ...." KING: "So he was a born again?" L. DAHMER: " He was - he was - I'm sure, in talking with him, it wasn't just a jail house conversion. I really believe that."

Accept the testimony of those who see evolution to its logical end in thought and being. In their belief in evolution they were cold in outcome. Their problem? They accepted evolution as first premise. They could not see the glory of Jesus Christ in his creative, recreative and resurrection works. Thankfully, Jeffrey Dahmer saw and received this Lord Jesus Christ before leaving the world.

Theistic Evolutionists want a bit of Darwin and a bit of Christ. Advocates will have the creative works of Darwin and the recreative and resurrection works of Jesus Christ. In some strange admixture of the 'jewels of Egypt' and the 'God who saves' they have thrown their gold into a fire to fashion a Golden Calf.

Sam Drucker

Monday, July 16, 2007

A message from your sponsor

Due to scally wags, I've decided to turn off anonymous commenting. I've got nothing against the Anonymous family, per se, they've authored some great works throughout history, but as their members have not always been Romans 12:10-ing, that's it folks.

All Uncle Eric can say, is, use a registered ident; and remember your calling (if you are Christian, and especially if you are Calvanist).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Anon accepts the challenge and, finally, after 3,500 years, removes the ambiguity in God’s revelation.

For those who may have missed it, I asked Anonymous to improve God’s Word, to remedy what is obviously an ambiguity on the first page of the Bible. I say ambiguity because Anon and the Sydney Anglican Diocese have argued that Genesis 1 is not necessarily a straightforward historical list of what God did on 6 consecutive days. Rather, they take it as meaning anything but that. Strong argument and strong language [my apologies to anyone peripheral to the debate who has been sincerely hurt] have proved no help and the sides have been even more irreconcilable.

Now, in order to accomplish this Anon meshed a few sentences in Hebrew from Genesis 1 (“accidentally” written backwards!) and altered the expression ‘one day’ to ‘first day’, as well as replacing the ubiquitous and initial waw consecutive (‘and’ or ‘then’) with the expression ‘on the next day’. Thus, by his effort here Anon can now firmly boast that, as far as the original text is concerned, the days of Genesis 1 do not intend to communicate one day immediately following the previous. In other words, Anon’s proposal that there are gaps of indeterminate length between “successive” days stands beyond reproach. The upshot of this is that Genesis 1 is assuredly not an historically accurate record of God’s creating but merely a “better” piece of literature than the surrounding cultures’ cosmogenic accounts, as Anon has previously confirmed and the Sydney Anglican heretics have likewise preached from their pulpits and formulated in their written works.

Anon has further criticised the grammar point that others have made that the waw + verb construct (wayyiqtol) indicates temporal succession. He maintains that it can also indicate logical succession. I agree this is correct and can be seen, for example, in such a verse as Genesis 39:2 (“The Lord was with Joseph, and so he became a successful man”), where God being with Joseph entailed his success. However, I wish to rebut his implication that in the case of Genesis 1 it would only indicate logical succession, as though temporal considerations are non-existent or, as I suspect Anon favours, diminished in importance. Let me say immediately that once Genesis 1 is framed within the big picture, mere logical succession, set loose from ideas of close temporal succession, would reduce the passage to a triviality or, worse still, transform it into sheer nonsense. To accomplish this I need to discuss something concerning the relevant Hebrew grammar. To cut to the chase, There is an overriding reason why the writer of Genesis 1 chose both ‘yom echad’ (i.e. ‘one day’), rather than Anon’s substitution with ‘yom rishon’ (i.e. ‘first day’), and the preponderant class of verb, the wayyiqtol. Let me first offer a rejoinder to Anon’s changing ‘one day’ to ‘first day’.

Both rabbis and Christian commentators have been perplexed as to why God chose to call the first day of creation, ‘one day’, rather than the more fitting ‘first day’. When an ordinal series is being denoted, as it is with the subsequent ‘second day, third day…seventh day’, one expects the first day to be called, well, the first day. And this is exactly what these learned and ancient commentators have concluded: On the “first” day there were no other days to compare or contrast it with so it cannot rightly be called by the ordinal. It is unique and thus must be addressed by the cardinal, “one”. Let me suggest an analogy to help explain.

If you were the only person who entered a marathon race it would seem quite inappropriate, even meaningless, to say after you had crossed the finishing line, “I won the race.” It’s only when there is at least another competitor that you could rightly claim “I won.” And so it is similarly with the first day, I mean, Day 1: what other days can be put up against Day 1, on Day 1, if no others were “in the race”, so to speak? Keep this point about being “on” Day 1 in mind because it neatly dovetails with the following grammar discussion.

Biblical Hebrew (henceforth BH) is a discipline which has experienced, and continues to experience, considerable differences of opinion concerning the nature of the rules of its grammar. Like all languages, over the centuries it was spoken it changed. But unlike other languages, even dead ones, BH has few sources of evidence apart from the Bible itself. Classic Greek, though dead, has literally thousands of different extant examples e.g. inscriptions, manuscripts, quotes. Furthermore, it had its early grammarians and it became somewhat of an international language, even within the Roman Empire. BH, on the other hand, may have had early grammar works but none has survived apart from one from approximately 1000 years ago, well after BH had disappeared from it actually being a language of communication. Thus, much academic opinion and ink have been spent augmenting, criticizing, inventing, responding to, reassessing and rethinking what BH grammar rules are. The function of verbs, arguably, is where most of this activity and ink has been exhausted.

In order to understand what the writer of Genesis 1 meant when he wrote about each of the 6 days, in particular Day one, it is necessary to appreciate the difference between ‘tense’ and ‘aspect’, though there is often a complementary relationship between the two temporal systems.

Usually, though not always, in any tensed report involving action or an event, there are three components that are ordered temporally to each other so that the information can be transmitted to the reader. These are

· S, the speech time which indicates the moment of speech
· E, the event time, when the event occurred
· R, the reference time, the time that is being talked about or the temporal standpoint from which the event is considered

Take a statement relaying one of my favourite activities, “I’ve drunk 6 Little Creatures” [FYI, the best beer in the world]. As with all English tensed statements, the speech time is the present. However, in this case, the event occurred at some non-indicated time before Now, with the reference being also from the present, hence the statement utilizing the present perfect tense.

Compare this with the past perfect, “I had drunk 6 Little Creatures by the time I got stuck into a quite pleasant ’95 Grange.” As with the previous example the S time is obviously in the present and the E and R times are dissimilar, but in this case all three are distinct from each other. If you can imagine I am making that statement say at 11pm, I finished the last of the 6 beers 5 hours earlier at 6pm (E time), walked into my wine cellar, chose the Grange at 6:10 pm (it took me a few minutes to decide between the 93 and 95!), walked upstairs, took out the cork, decanted it, let it breathe for 2 hours, and then, at 8:15 pm, took my first sip of heaven in a bottle (R time).

The quality of ‘aspect’ is difficult to come to grips with because as English speakers almost our whole outlook on narrative is governed by tense i.e. this happened, then this, followed by that, usually all from the understood perspective of the present. One explanation of ‘aspect’ states that in BH “the author transports the listener/reader into the very story they are relating, inviting them to become almost an eyewitness of the events in the story. As the listener/reader experiences the story, they are beckoned to follow the action dynamically, rather than observe it passively from the present…tense is of little importance, and is merely a by-product of the narrative perspective, rather than a governing concept.” (Athas, G. & Young, I., Elementary Biblical Hebrew, 2007, p. 55.)

Another writes:

“Although both aspect and tense are concerned with time, they are concerned with time in very different ways…[T]ense is a deictic category, i.e. locates situations in time, usually with reference to the present moment, though also with reference to other situations. Aspect is not concerned with relating the time of the situation to any other time-point, but rather with the internal temporal constituency of the one situation; one could state the difference as one between situation-internal time (aspect) and situation-external time (tense).” (Comrie, B., Aspect, Cambridge University Press, 1976, p. 5.)

So how does this relate to Anon’s contention that he can slip in a ‘first day’ to the Genesis 1 text and believe that he has improved upon God’s Spirit’s effort?

Let me make the bold claim that I believe Anon is wrong. Furthermore, let me stick my neck out and make another “bold” claim that I think God got his language and grammar here exactly right. Genesis 1:3-5’s use of a series of wayyiqtol verbs brings the reader to that initial action using it as a reference point, a springboard so to speak, to participate in the subsequent actions by God. Rather than looking from afar (e.g. the present time of when one is reading the text), the wayyiqtol “creates a new narrative reference point, and therefore beckons the reader/listener to progress to it…[and] conveys a progressive action.” (Elementary Biblical Grammar, p. 94.) Thus, if we are invited into the biblical narrative and this narrative is dynamic, then we are there, with God, on that first day. And this is the point, there is no first day. A first day would only be correct if Hebrew were like English and was primarily a tensed language and the text was grammatically arranged in the past/present perfect or simple past, as Hebrew was once believed to be. How could it be true that if you are in Day 1 you could meaningfully use an expression that connotes other days were already in existence if, yet, there really were no other days? For Anon to think he can just alter God’s Word and replace ‘yom echad’ with ‘yom rishon’ belies what is actually happening in the text as supported by BH grammar and specifically the nature of aspect.

Now, let’s move onto the main class of Hebrew verb used in Genesis 1.

Anon wishes us to believe that the idea of temporal succession, as manifested by the overwhelming use of wayyiqtol verbs (waw consecutive + verb), is now passé, or in the very least, no longer the main constituent of this verb’s function. That is, this type of verb has no inherent capacity to generate, particularly if used rapidly and extensively (as it is in Genesis 1), any idea of temporal, limited, succession. This argument, even among recent scholars who have strongly reacted against the older claims of Hebrew being primarily a tensed language, is not something that carries much weight. The problems are complex and no single rule fits all cases. Now, it is true that occasionally there is a wayyiqtol which does not indicate the next action in time, however, as Athas et al argue, “it is close to the true function of the waw prefix.” (p. 100.) Anon’s apparent throwing the baby out with the bath water is not a worthwhile or efficacious pursuit.

Wayyiqtol verbs are rare in poetry and dialogue; they are however the defining feature of Hebrew narratives and convey a progressive action. They are usually translated in English as the simple past tense (e.g. God said, made etc), but, as previously explained, “attract the reader/listener to this new action, thus overcoming the initial distance.” (see Athas, p. 94ff and 100.) Concluding his work on this subject, Goldfajn states the following: “[T]he principle for the temporal interpretation of wayyiqtol should specify that the main temporal function of this form is to express temporal continuity…[T]he prefixed form wayyiqtol operate[s] as explicit temporal anaphors, in the sense that [it] takes [its] temporal reference from an antecedent event. Wayyiqtol…seem[s] to be saying ‘after that’, where ‘that’ refers back to the last event narrated…the ‘after that’ of the wayyiqtol form refers to past events. Thus wayyiqtol…has the temporal value of posteriority. Furthermore, it mainly indicates that bounded events followed each other continuously in the past of either some explicit speech time or a context-specified. Traditionally, reference grammars…for example, describe the function of wayyiqtol as that of expressing ‘actions, events, or states which are to be regarded as the temporal or logical sequence of actions, events or states mentioned immediately before’. This description is of course in accord with the principle proposed above.” (Goldfajn, T., Word Order and Time in Biblical Hebrew Narrative, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1998, p. 143.)

Now this last statement neatly segues to a rebuttal against those who maintain that the seventh day, because there is no final ‘evening and morning’, is open ended. In other words, the spiritual sense of the Sabbath annuls any historical reality to the seventh day just because of the absence of this one temporal marker (now, that’s what I do call a non sequitur!). Since I am presently discussing the wayyiqtol verb and its importance to temporal succession, it should be noted that in Genesis 2:2-3 all the relevant verbs are wayyiqtol i.e. “God ended”, “God rested”, “God blessed”. One writer specifically comments about this function of wayyiqtol verbs: “[A]ctivities and states…when expressed by wayyiqtols…come across as telic, not in the sense that there was a final goal or achievement that was reached but simply that some event or state was terminated [and] the clear sequential interpretation triggered by wayyiqtols in the biblical Hebrew text is closely connected with the fact that the wayyiqtol form represents situations which include their end points.” (Goldfajn, p.71.)

So what of Anon’s main thesis that there are gaps between each of the days? By promoting that there are, Genesis 1 becomes indistinguishable from the pagan myths and folk tales, the very literature that it is supposed to assail, at least according to the promoters of a non-historical Genesis 1. By deracinating the Genesis 1 narrative from real time Anon and his colleagues have demonstrated a singular ignorance of what makes Jewish writing so unique, that of being inextricably tied to the temporal. From the beginning (in and of what?) of the first page, through the prophets (“Now it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah…that this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord…”), to Jesus (“Now in the morning…”, “And again he entered Capernaum after some days…”, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham….”, “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus…This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria…”, “Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread….”, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him…”), even to Revelation (“The Revelation of Jesus Christ…things which must shortly take place” ), real time, even measurable time, is the key.

Notwithstanding this, what exactly would Genesis 1 mean if it were an exception to temporality being the quintessential mark of Hebrew thought and narrative and that there were gaps of unknown and unknowable length? I suggest Genesis 1 would signify everything and thus nothing at all. It would have no connection whatsoever with the real events of the beginning. That is, what Genesis said happened and what actually happened in real time and space would be completely different. For example, imagine for a moment a world where plants appeared on the third day, then months, years, even millennia, passed by, then at some unknown point of no significance the sun was created on the “fourth” day. Anon labels this interpretation, logical. For the life of me I cannot begin to sense how ‘logical’ is apposite. In fact, I’m of a mind to say that these putative gaps, no matter what their length, render Genesis 1 nonsense on the same level as a poor farmer’s son planting magical beans and the stalk growing up to a kingdom in the sky where a giant lives.

Quite possibly all Anon is indicating by his attribution of logical succession to the wayyiqtol verbs is that God’s saying, etc, actualizes each of the commands of God and that it is these which form the logical necessity. But even if so, why would you include such strict, limiting temporal markers as ‘an evening and a morning’ and ‘day + ordinal’?

So this raises important questions: On what basis would Anon’s innovative gap theory be an improvement on the pagan stories of creation which all refrain from including temporal markers? [Anon STILL hasn’t furnished any example of a pagan myth which has anything like the Genesis 1 chronology!] What extra true information does a “pseudo-chronology” provide that not including it, as all pagan mythological tales do, would omit?

On top of all the arguments I’ve used up until now that mitigate against Genesis 1 being taken for anything but an historical record, there is a commonsense notion that seems to have been overlooked by Anon. Whatever may be felt to be missing in Genesis 1, it isn’t as though the text is all we have as readers. As intelligent creatures we value commonsense; however, come to Genesis 1 and all notion of wisdom and intellect seems to vanish. Sternberg makes the valuable point that one of the literary devices used in all narratives, Hebrew or otherwise, is that the writer, for effect and in order to draw in the reader, purposely creates informational gaps for the reader to fill in. However, to argue that the details of Genesis 1 signal gaps between the days strains well beyond the limits of sound thinking. By doing so, in addition to eschewing a commonsense reading, Anon and his supporters ignore all the patent signs that tell us that there are no gaps and that Genesis 1 is a chronological list of what occurred in the very first week of the cosmos. Sternberg goes on to say, “To emphasize the active role played by the reader in constructing the world of a literary work is by no means to imply that gap-filling is an arbitrary process. On the contrary, in this as in other operations of reading, literature is remarkable for its powers of control and validation. Of course, gap-filling may nevertheless be performed in a wild or misguided or tendentious fashion, and there is no lack of evidence for this in criticism ancient and modern. But to gain cogency, a hypothesis must be legitimated by the text. Illegitimate gap-filling is one launched and sustained by the reader’s subjective concerns (or dictated by more general preconceptions [i.e. the age of the Earth!]) rather than by the text’s own norms and directives.” (Sternberg, M., The Poetics of Biblical Narrative: Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1985, p. 188.)

One further comment about commonsense. Given the inclusion of the unambiguous temporal markers of ‘day + ordinal’ as well as the content of Genesis 1’s days, strict chronological temporal succession appears to be the most rational conclusion. After all, if the writer has, as it appears he has, gone to an enormous length to include an inordinate amount of temporal information, and yet wants to disavow the temporal succession, why would he not just have written a less complex statement of God’s activity and eschewed the whole time aspect?

Rather than throwing up his quite obviously tendentious and ad hoc “solution” to the question I posed, as though his case were proved beyond any doubt, Anon should have evinced a sense of academic responsibility by, in the very least, providing a statistical analysis of whether his “correction” to God’s Word actually was commensurate with other like passages. That is, is ‘on the next day’ the usual expression incorporated in extended lists that resemble Genesis 1? I for one would like to know if it is an appropriate expression, that it isn’t anachronistic or that it doesn’t turn what would be normally considered as unencumbered, aesthetically pleasing BH narrative into a stilted and forced set of lines, replete with superfluities.

Anon’s task of “correcting” God’s Word, is no small task. Of course, he could, as he has done before, accuse me of begging the question by taking as the default position that Genesis 1 is a record of a series of historical, sequential acts over six 24 hour periods. Of course he could! But seeing as that his, in addition to the Framework Hypothesis, Day-Age Theory, Gap Theory etc, is nothing more than a Johnny-Come-Lately idea which unconsciously or dishonestly tries to accommodate the assumed great age of the earth, this fact in and of itself exculpates me from the charge of question-begging. After all, some traditions, particularly those that involve truth, really do set you free.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Some more of the same: historical witness against the heretics

There has been a concerted, though very much erroneous, attempt to paint early believers as being, in the least, divided over the issue of the age of the earth, the length of the days in Genesis 1, and whether the seventh day, because of its lack of an “evening and a morning”, eliminated the straightforward understanding of the previous six. The following are excerpts from writings of major early commentators, commentators nominated by Anonymous as intending to support his case for a non-literal take on Genesis 1. As I’ve previously stated on this blog, even the minority of these writers who took an allegorical or figurative view did so by nearly always first acknowledging the reality of a historical 6 days. Some saw, for example, that the first 6 days were symbolic or prefigurements of the ages to come which were measured in 1000’s of years, rather than the mooted millions that the pagans and Sydney Anglican heretics routinely throw around. Even Philo, a well-known Platonist, first discussed the 6 days as though they weren’t figurative, and only then, in a subsequent book, set out his understanding from a platonic perspective. Furthermore, one has to understand his goal for doing so, namely, “to demonstrate the superiority of Jewish philosophy over other philosophical systems current in his day. In his De Opicio Mudi Philo interprets the Creation in Genesis in philosophical terms. It should be read as a brilliant tour de force by which Philo wishes to amaze the gentile reader with the great amount of Hellenistic cosmology and metaphysics which he can read out of, really into, the first three chapters of Genesis…To a large degree Philo was addressing himself with missionary intent to an audience unfamiliar with Judaism.” (Halevy, S.C., Philo’s De Opicio Mundi and the Palestinian Genesis Rabbah) The few that augmented the literal with a purely allegorist or figurative slant, always did it because of considerations outside of the text, and not due to something in it. Principal among these was the strong platonic and Pythagorean interest in numbers. The other unequivocal feature is the ancients’ complete absence of anything like the postmodernal literary theory which has structure superseding content that far too many pseudo-conservatives are presently pushing. Their attempts to pass this off as credible and acceptable remind me of Paul’s words to the Colossians:
“Be careful that nobody spoils your faith through intellectualism or high-sounding nonsense. Such stuff is at best founded on men's ideas of the nature of the world and disregards Christ!”

1. Epistle of Barnabas
Barnabas 15:3 Of the Sabbath He speaketh in the beginning of the creation; AndGod made the works of His hands in six days, and He ended on theseventh day, and rested on it, and He hallowed it.
Barnabas 15:4 Give heed, children, what this meaneth; He ended in six days. Hemeaneth this, that in six thousand years the Lord shall bring allthings to an end; for the day with Him signifyeth a thousand years;and this He himself beareth me witness, saying; Behold, the day ofthe Lord shall be as a thousand years. Therefore, children, in sixdays, that is in six thousand years, everything shall come to an end.
Barnabas 15:5 And He rested on the seventh day. this He meaneth; when His Sonshall come, and shall abolish the time of the Lawless One, and shalljudge the ungodly, and shall change the sun and the moon and thestars, then shall he truly rest on the seventh day.
Barnabas 15:6 Yea and furthermore He saith; Thou shalt hallow it with pure handsand with a pure heart. If therefore a man is able now to hallowthe day which God hallowed, though he be pure in heart, we have goneutterly astray.
Barnabas 15:7 But if after all then and not till then shall we truly rest andhallow it, when we shall ourselves be able to do so after beingjustified and receiving the promise, when iniquity is no more and allthings have been made new by the Lord, we shall be able to hallow itthen, because we ourselves shall have been hallowed first. Barnabas 15:8 Finally He saith to them; Your new moons and your Sabbaths I cannotaway with. Ye see what is His meaning ; it is not your presentSabbaths that are acceptable [unto Me], but the Sabbath which I havemade, in the which, when I have set all things at rest, I will makethe beginning of the eighth day which is the beginning of anotherworld.
Barnabas 15:9 Wherefore also we keep the eighth day for rejoicing, in the whichalso Jesus rose from the dead, and having been manifested ascendedinto the heavens.
[Note the basis for his typological prophetic understanding is based upon a historical and literal creation week. This was a common enough hermeneutical technique for Jewish and Christian writers of all ages.]

But men of God carrying in them a holy spirit and becoming prophets, being inspired and made wise by God, became God-taught, and holy, and righteous. Wherefore they were also deemed worthy of receiving this reward, that they should become instruments of God, and contain the wisdom that is from Him, through which wisdom they uttered both what regarded the creation of the world and all other things.
And first, they taught us with one consent that
God made all things out of nothing; for nothing was coeval with God: but He being His own place, and wanting nothing, and existing before the ages, willed to make man by whom He might be known; for him, therefore, He prepared the world. For he that is created is also needy; but he that is uncreated stands in need of nothing. God, then, having His own Word internal within His own bowels, begat Him, emitting Him along with His own wisdom before all things. He had this Word as a helper in the things that were created by Him, and by Him He made all things. He is called "governing principle" [arkh], because He rules, and is Lord of all things fashioned by Him. He, then, being Spirit of God, and governing principle, and wisdom, and power of the highest, came down upon the prophets, and through them spoke of the creation of the world and of all other things. For the prophets were not when the world came into existence, but the wisdom of God which was in Him, and His holy Word which was always present with Him. Wherefore He speaks thus by the prophet Solomon: "When He prepared the heavens I was there, and when He appointed the foundations of the earth I was by Him as one brought up with Him." And Moses, who lived many years before Solomon, or, rather, the Word of God by him as by an instrument, says, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." First he named the "beginning," and "creation," then he thus introduced God; for not lightly and on slight occasion is it right to name God. For the divine wisdom foreknew that some would trifle and name a multitude of gods that do not exist. In order, therefore, that the living God might be known by His works, and that [it might be known that] by His Word God created the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein, he said, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Then having spoken of their creation, he explains to us: "And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God moved upon the water." This, sacred Scripture teaches at the outset, to show that matter, from which God made and fashioned the world, was in some manner created, being produced by God.
[I’ve quoted these words of Philo for Anonymous and his followers to make sure they’ve understood that this early Christian, an important one, understood that it was God’s Spirit who led men to become instruments of the Creator to report on the Creation’s history. Now of course, with Anon’s novel and esoteric approach to Genesis he may deem himself, like Peter Jensen, an instrument of God and his may be a new revelation from the Lord himself. In that case, I will apologise profusely to him and beg forgiveness for doubting his “Thus saith the Lord.”]

[Genesis 1-2:3/4, as written]

Of this six days' work no man can give a worthy explanation and description of all its parts, not though he had ten thousand tongues and ten thousand mouths; nay, though he were to live ten thousand years, sojourning in this life, not even so could he utter anything worthy of these things, on account of the exceeding greatness and riches of the wisdom of God which there is in the six days' work above narrated. Many writers indeed have imitated [the narration], and essayed to give an explanation of these things; yet, though they thence derived some suggestions, both concerning the creation of the world and the nature of man, they have emitted no slightest spark of truth. And the utterances of the philosophers, and writers, and poets have an appearance of trustworthiness, on account of the beauty of their diction; but their discourse is proved to be foolish and idle, because the multitude of their nonsensical frivolities is very great; and not a stray morsel of truth is found in them. For even if any truth seems to have been uttered by them, it has a mixture of error.
[Hullo, hullo, hullo! What’s this you say dear Theophilus?]

Moreover, his [Hesiod's] human, and mean, and very weak conception, so far as regards God, is discovered in his beginning to relate the creation of all things from the earthly things here below. For man, being below, begins to build from the earth, and cannot in order make the roof, unless he has first laid the foundation. But the power of God is shown in this, that, first of all, He creates out of nothing, according to His will, the things that are made. "For the things which are impossible with men are possible with God." Wherefore, also, the prophet mentioned that the creation of the heavens first of all took place, as a kind of roof, saying: "At the first God created the heavens"--that is, that by means of the "first" principle the heavens were made, as we have already shown. And by "earth" he means the ground and foundation, as by "the deep" he means the multitude of waters; and "darkness" he speaks of, on account of the heaven which God made coveting the waters and the earth like a lid. And by the Spirit which is borne above the waters, he means that which God gave for animating the creation, as he gave life to man, mixing what is fine with what is fine. For the Spirit is fine, and the water is fine, that the Spirit may nourish the water, and the water penetrating everywhere along with the Spirit, may nourish creation. For the Spirit being one, and holding the place of light, was between the water and the heaven, in order that the darkness might not in any way communicate with the heaven, which was nearer God, before God said, "Let there be light." The heaven, therefore, being like a dome-shaped covering, comprehended matter which was like a clod. And so another prophet, Isaiah by name, spoke in these words: "It is God who made the heavens as a vault, and stretched them as a tent to dwell in." The command, then, of God, that is, His Word, shining as a lamp in an enclosed chamber, lit up all that was under heaven, when He had made light apart from the world. And the light God called Day, and the darkness Night. Since man would not have been able to call the light Day, or the darkness Night, nor, indeed, to have given names to the other things, had not he received the nomenclature from God, who made the things themselves. In the very beginning, therefore, of the history and genesis of the world, the holy Scripture spoke not concerning this firmament [which we see], but concerning another heaven, which is to us invisible, after which this heaven which we see has been called "firmament," and to which half the water was taken up that it might serve for rains, and showers, and dews to mankind. And half the water was left on earth for rivers, and fountains, and seas. The water, then, covering all the earth, and specially its hollow places, God, through His Word, next caused the waters to be collected into one collection, and the dry land to become visible, which formerly had been invisible. The earth thus becoming visible, was yet without form. God therefore formed and adorned it with all kinds of herbs, and seeds and plants.

On the fourth day the luminaries were made; because God, who possesses foreknowledge, knew the follies of the vain philosophers, that they were going to say, that the things which grow on the earth are produced from the heavenly bodies, so as to exclude God. In order, therefore, that the truth might be obvious, the plants and seeds were produced prior to the heavenly bodies, for what is posterior cannot produce that which is prior. And these contain the pattern and type of a great mystery. For the sun is a type of God, and the moon of man. And as the sun far surpasses the moon in power and glory, so far does God surpass man. And as the sun remains ever full, never becoming less, so does God always abide perfect, being full of all power, and understanding, and wisdom, and immortality, and all good. But the moon wanes monthly, and in a manner dies, being a type of man; then it is born again, and is crescent, for a pattern of the future resurrection. In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the Trinity, of God, and His Word, and His wisdom. And the fourth is the type of man, who needs light, that so there may be God, the Word, wisdom, man. Wherefore also on the fourth day the lights were made. The disposition of the stars, too, contains a type of the arrangement and order of the righteous and pious, and of those who keep the law and commandments of God. For the brilliant and bright stars are an imitation of the prophets, and therefore they remain fixed, not declining, nor passing from place to place. And those which hold the second place in brightness, are types of the people of the righteous. And those, again, which change their position, and flee from place to place, which also are cared planets, they too are a type of the men who have wandered from God, abandoning His law and commandments.

Who, then, of those called sages, and poets, and historians, could tell us truly of these things, themselves being much later born, and introducing a multitude of gods, who were born so many years after the cities, and are more modern than kings, and nations, and wars? For they should have made mention of all events, even those which happened before the flood; both of the creation of the world and the formation of man, and the whole succession of events. The Egyptian or Chaldaean prophets, and the other writers, should have been able accurately to tell, if at least they spoke by a divine and pure spirit, and spoke truth in all that was uttered by them; and they should have announced not only things past or present, but also those that were to come upon the world. And therefore it is proved that all others have been in error; and that we Christians alone have possessed the truth, inasmuch as we are taught by the Holy Spirit, who spoke in the holy prophets, and foretold all things.

But I wish now to give you a more accurate demonstration, God helping me, of the historical periods, that you may see that our doctrine is not modern nor fabulous, but more ancient and true than all poets and authors who have written in uncertainty. For some, maintaining that the world was uncreated, went into infinity; and others, asserting that it was created, said that already 153, 075 years had passed. This is stated by Apollonius the Egyptian. And Plato, who is esteemed to have been the wisest of the Greeks, into what nonsense did he run? For in his book entitled The Republic, we find him expressly saying: "For if things had in all time remained in their present arrangement, when ever could any new thing be discovered? For ten thousand times ten thousand years elapsed without record, and one thousand or twice as many years have gone by since some things were discovered by Daedalus, and some by Orpheus, and some by Palamedes." And when he says that these things happened, he implies that ten thousand times ten thousand years elapsed from the flood to Daedalus. And after he has said a great deal about the cities of the world, and the settlements, and the nations, he owns that he has said these things conjecturally. For he says, "If then, my friend, some god should promise us, that if we attempted to make a survey of legislation, the things now said," etc., which shows that he was speaking by guess; and if by guess, then what he says is not true.

[What’s that, dear brother Theophilus? You actually reckon early Genesis is accurate history? It’s the year 2007 and here’s a bunch of Christians who reckon you know nuthin’! What do you make of that?]

It behoved, therefore, that he should the rather become a scholar of God in this matter of legislation, as he himself confessed that in no other way could he gain accurate information than by God's teaching him through the law. And did not the poets Homer and Hesiod and Orpheus profess that they themselves had been instructed by Divine Providence? Moreover, it is said that among your writers there were prophets and prognosticators, and that those wrote accurately: who were informed by them. How much more, then, shall we know the truth who are instructed by the holy prophets, who were possessed by the Holy Spirit of God! On this account all the prophets spoke harmoniously and in agreement with one another, and foretold the things that would come to pass in all the world. For the very accomplishment of predicted and already consummated events should demonstrate to those who are fond of information, yea rather, who are lovers of truth, that those things are really true which they declared concerning the epochs and eras before the deluge: to wit, how the years have run on since the world was created until now, so as to manifest the ridiculous mendacity of your authors, and show that their statements are not true.

For Plato, as we said above, when he had demonstrated that a deluge had happened, said that it extended not over the whole earth, but only over the plains, and that those who fled to the highest hills saved themselves. But others say that there existed Deucalion and Pyrrha, and that they were preserved in a chest; and that Deucalion, after he came out of the chest, flung stones behind him, and that men were produced from the stones; from which circumstance they say that men in the mass are named "people." Others, again, say that Clymenus existed in a second flood. From what has already been said, it is evident that they who wrote such things and philosophized to so little purpose are miserable, and very profane and senseless persons. But Moses, our prophet and the servant of God, in giving an account of the genesis of the world, related in what manner the flood came upon the earth, telling us, besides, how the details of the flood came about, and relating no fable of Pyrrha nor of Deucalion or Clymenus; nor, forsooth, that only the plains were submerged, and that those only who escaped to the mountains were saved.

[A world-wide Flood? Come now dear Theophilus, can’t you read plain Greek/Hebrew? It just does not necessary mean “covered all the world” when it says “covered all the world.” Quite obviously your Greek and Hebrew translating skills are feeble.]

And neither does he make out that there was a second flood: on the contrary, he said that never again would there be a flood of water on the world; as neither indeed has there been, nor ever shall be. And he says that eight human beings were preserved in the ark, in that which had been prepared by God's direction, not by Deucalion, but by Noah; which Hebrew word means in English "rest," as we have elsewhere shown that Noah, when he announced to the men then alive that there was a flood coming, prophesied to them, saying, Come thither, God calls you to repentance. On this account he was fitly called Deucalion. And this Noah had three sons (as we mentioned in the second book), whose names were Shem, and Ham, and Japhet; and these had three wives, one wife each; each man and his wife. This man some have surnamed Eunuchus. All the eight persons, therefore, who were found in the ark were preserved. And Moses showed that the flood lasted forty days and forty nights, torrents pouring from heaven, and from the fountains of the deep breaking up, so that the water overtopped every high hill 15 cubits. And thus the race of all the men that then was destroyed, and those only who were protected in the ark were saved; and these, we have already said, were eight. And of the ark, the remains are to this day to be seen in the Arabian mountains. This, then, is in sum the history of the deluge.

[Sorry, mate, you’re nothing but a primitive because modern science has proved you wrong!]

Adam lived till he begat a son, 230 years. And his son Seth, 205. And his son Enos, 190. And his son Cainan, 170. And his son Mahaleel, 165. And his son Jared, 162. And his son Enoch, 165. And his son Methuselah, 167. And his son Lamech, 188. And Lamech's son was Noah, of whom we have spoken above, who begat Shem when 500 years old. During Noah's life, in his 600th year, the flood came. The total number of years, therefore, till the flood, was 2242.
And immediately after the flood, Shem, who was 100 years old, begat Arphaxad. And Arphaxad, when 135 years old, begat Salah. And Salah begat a son when 130. And his son Eber, when 134. And from him the Hebrews name their race. And his son Phaleg begat a son when 130. And his son Reu, when 132 And his son Serug, when 130. And his son Nahor, when 75. And his son Terah, when 70. And his son Abraham, our patriarch, begat Isaac when he was 100 years old. Until Abraham, therefore, there are 3278 years. The fore-mentioned Isaac lived until he begat a son, 60 years, and begat Jacob. Jacob, till the migration into Egypt, of which we have spoken above, lived 130 years. And the sojourning of the Hebrews in Egypt lasted 430 years; and after their departure from the land of Egypt they spent 40 years in the wilderness, as it is called. All these years, therefore, amount to 3,938. And at that time, Moses having died, Jesus the sun of Nun succeeded to his rule, and governed them 27 years. And after Jesus, when the people had transgressed the commandments of God, they served the king of Mesopotamia, by name Chusarathon, 8 years. Then, on the repentance of the people, they had judges: Gothonoel, 40 years; Eglon, 18 years; Aoth, 8 years. Then having sinned, they were subdued by strangers for 20 years. Then Deborah judged them 40 years. Then they served the Midianites 7 years. Then Gideon judged them 40 years; Abimelech, 3 years; Thola, 22 years; Jair, 22 years. Then the Philistines and Ammonites ruled them 18 years. After that Jephthah judged them 6 years; Esbon, 7 years; Ailon, 10 years; Abdon, 8 years. Then strangers ruled them 40 years. Then Samson judged them 20 years. Then there was peace among them for 40 years. Then Samera judged them one year; Eli, 20 years; Samuel, 12 years.

[Theophilus, you are a churlish child for taking the Bible so literally.]

Hence one can see how our sacred writings are shown to be more ancient and true than those of the Greeks and Egyptians, or any other historians. For Herodotus and Thucydides, as also Xenophon, and most other historians, began their relations from about the reign of Cyrus and Darius, not being able to speak with accuracy of prior and ancient times. For what great matters did they disclose if they spoke of Darius and Cyrus, barbarian kings, or of the Greeks Zopyrus and Hippias, or of the wars of the Athenians and Lacedaemonians, or the deeds of Xerxes or of Pausanias, who ran the risk of starving to death in the temple of Minerva, or the history of Themistocles and the Peloponnesian war, or of Alcibiades and Thrasybulus? For my purpose is not to furnish mere matter of much talk, but to throw light upon the number of years from the foundation of the world, and to condemn the empty labour and trifling of these authors, because there have neither been twenty thousand times ten thousand years from the flood to the present time, as Plato said, affirming that there had been so many years; nor yet 15 times 10,375 years, as we have already mentioned Apollonius the Egyptian gave out; nor is the world uncreated, nor is there a spontaneous production of all things, as Pythagoras and the rest dreamed; but, being indeed created, it is also governed by the providence of God, who made all things; and the whole course of time and the years are made plain to those who wish to obey the truth. Lest, then, I seem to have made things plain up to the time of Cyrus, and to neglect the subsequent periods, as if through inability to exhibit them, I will endeavour, by God's help, to give an account, according to my ability, of the course of the subsequent times.

And from the foundation of the world the whole time is thus traced, so far as its main epochs are concerned. From the creation of the world to the deluge were 2242 years. And from the deluge to the time when Abraham our forefather begat a son, 1036 years. And from Isaac, Abraham's son, to the time when the people dwelt with Moses in the desert, 660 years. And from the death of Moses and the rule of Joshua the son of Nun, to the death of the patriarch David, 498 years. And from the death of David and the reign of Solomon to the sojourning of the people in the land of Babylon, 518 years 6 months 10 days. And from the government of Cyrus to the death of the Emperor Aurelius Verus, 744 years. All the years from the creation of the world amount to a total of 5698 years, and the odd months and days.

These periods, then, and all the above-mentioned facts, being viewed collectively, one can see the antiquity of the prophetical writings and the divinity of our doctrine, that the doctrine is not recent, nor our tenets mythical and false, as some think; but very ancient and true.

[Unlike the recent pseudo-intellectual ravings of the heretics at the Sydney Anglican Diocese.]

If you please, then, study these things carefully, that you may have a compendium and pledge of the truth.

3a. Philo’s ON THE CREATION (or ‘A Treatise on the Account of the Creation of the World, as Given by Moses.’)I.
(1) Of other lawgivers, some have set forth what they considered to be just and reasonable, in a naked and unadorned manner, while others, investing their ideas with an abundance of amplification, have sought to bewilder the people, by burying the truth under a heap of fabulous inventions. (2) But Moses, rejecting both of these methods, the one as inconsiderate, careless, and unphilosophical, and the other as mendacious and full of trickery, made the beginning of his laws entirely beautiful, and in all respects admirable, neither at once declaring what ought to be done or the contrary, nor (since it was necessary to mould beforehand the dispositions of those who were to use his laws) inventing fables himself or adopting those which had been invented by others. (3) And his exordium, as I have already said, is most admirable; embracing the creation of the world, under the idea that the law corresponds to the world and the world to the law, and that a man who is obedient to the law, being, by so doing, a citizen of the world, arranges his actions with reference to the intention of nature, in harmony with which the whole universal world is regulated. (4) Accordingly no one, whether poet or historian, could ever give expression in an adequate manner to the beauty of his ideas respecting the creation of the world; for they surpass all the power of language, and amaze our hearing, being too great and venerable to be adapted to the sense of any created being.
II. Since, then, this world is visible and the object of our external senses, it follows of necessity that it must have been created; on which account it was not without a wise purpose that he recorded its creation, giving a very venerable account of God.
III. (13) And he says that the world was made in six days, not because the Creator stood in need of a length of time (for it is natural that God should do everything at once, not merely by uttering a command, but by even thinking of it); but because the things created required arrangement; and number is akin to arrangement; and, of all numbers, six is, by the laws of nature, the most productive: for of all the numbers, from the unit upwards, it is the first perfect one, being made equal to its parts, and being made complete by them; the number three being half of it, and the number two a third of it, and the unit a sixth of it, and, so to say, it is formed so as to be both male and female, and is made up of the power of both natures; for in existing things the odd number is the male, and the even number is the female; accordingly, of odd numbers the first is the number three, and of even numbers the first is two, and the two numbers multiplied together make six. (14) It was fitting therefore, that the world, being the most perfect of created things, should be made according to the perfect number, namely, six: and, as it was to have in it the causes of both, which arise from combination, that it should be formed according to a mixed number, the first combination of odd and even numbers, since it was to embrace the character both of the male who sows the seed, and of the female who receives it. (15) And he allotted each of the six days to one of the portions of the whole, taking out the first day, which he does not even call the first day, that it may not be numbered with the others, but entitling it one, he names it rightly, perceiving in it, and ascribing to it the nature and appellation of the limit.
VII. (26) Moses says also; "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth:" taking the beginning to be, not as some men think, that which is according to time; for before the world time had no existence, but was created either simultaneously with it, or after it; for since time is the interval of the motion of the heavens, there could not have been any such thing as motion before there was anything which could be moved; but it follows of necessity that it received existence subsequently or simultaneously. It therefore follows also of necessity, that time was created either at the same moment with the world, or later than it--and to venture to assert that it is older than the world is absolutely inconsistent with philosophy. (27) But if the beginning spoken of by Moses is not to be looked upon as spoken of according to time, then it may be natural to suppose that it is the beginning according to number that is indicated; so that, "In the beginning he created," is equivalent to "first of all he created the heaven;" for it is natural in reality that that should have been the first object created, being both the best of all created things, and being also made of the purest substance, because it was destined to be the most holy abode of the visible Gods who are perceptible by the external senses; (28) for if the Creator had made everything at the same moment, still those things which were created in beauty would no less have had a regular arrangement, for there is no such thing as beauty in disorder. But order is a due consequence and connection of things precedent and subsequent, if not in the completion of a work, at all events in the intention of the maker; for it is owing to order that they become accurately defined and stationary, and free from confusion.
IX. 35) But when light came, and darkness retreated and yielded to it, and boundaries were set in the space between the two, namely, evening and morning, then of necessity the measure of time was immediately perfected, which also the Creator called "day." and He called it not "the first day," but "one day;" and it is spoken of thus, on account of the single nature of the world perceptible only by the intellect, which has a single nature.

XIII. (42) But in the first creation of the universe, as I have said already, God produced the whole race of trees out of the earth in full perfection, having their fruit not incomplete but in a state of entire ripeness, to be ready for the immediate and undelayed use and enjoyment of the animals which were about immediately to be born. (43) Accordingly he commanded the earth to produce these things. And the earth, as though it had for a long time been pregnant and travailing, produced every sort of seed, and every sort of tree, and also of fruit, in unspeakable abundance; and not only were these produced fruits to be food for living animals, but enough also to serve as a preparation for the continuous production of similar fruits hereafter; covering substances consisting of seed, in which are the principles of all plants undistinguishable and invisible, but destined hereafter to become manifest and visible in the periodical maturity of the fruit. (44) For God thought fit to endue nature with a long duration, making the races that he was creating immortal, and giving them a participation in eternity. On which account he led on and hastened the beginning towards the end, and caused the end to turn backwards to the beginning: for from plants comes fruit, as the end might come from the beginning; and from the fruit comes the seed, which again contains the plant within itself, so that a fresh beginning may come from the end.
XIV. (45) And on the fourth day, after he had embellished the earth, he diversified and adorned the heaven: not giving the precedence to the inferior nature by arranging the heaven subsequently to the earth, or thinking that which was the more excellent and the more divine worthy only of the second place, but acting thus for the more manifest demonstration of the power of his dominion. For he foreknew with respect to men who were not yet born, what sort of beings they would be as to their opinions, forming conjectures on what was likely and probable, of which the greater part would be reasonable, though falling short of the character of unadulterated truth; and trusting rather to visible phenomena than to God, and admiring sophistry rather than wisdom. And again he knew that surveying the periods of the sun and moon, to which are owing the summers and winters, and the alternations of spring and autumn, they would conceive the revolutions of the stars in heaven to be the causes of all the things which every year should be produced and generated on the earth, accordingly that no one might venture either through shameless impudence or inordinate ignorance to attribute to any created thing the primary causes of things, he said: (46) "Let them run over in their minds the first creation of the universe, when, before the sun or the moon existed, the earth brought forth all kinds of plants and all kinds of fruits: and seeing this in their minds let them hope that it will again also bring forth such, according to the appointment of the Father, when it shall seem good to him, without his having need of the aid of any of the sons of men beneath the heavens, to whom he has given powers, though not absolute ones."

XV. (47) This is the cause why the earth bore fruit and herbs before God proceeded to adorn the heaven. And next the heaven was embellished in the perfect number four, and if any one were to pronounce this number the origin and source of the all-perfect decade he would not err.

XXII. (67) So at last all things were created and existing together.

XXV. (77) And some one may inquire the cause why it was that man was the last work in the creation of the world. For the Creator and Father created him after every thing else as the sacred scriptures inform us. Accordingly, they who have gone most deeply into the laws, and who to the best of their power have investigated everything that is contained in them with all diligence, say that God, when he had given to man to partake of kindred with himself, grudged him neither reason, which is the most excellent of all gifts, nor anything else that is good; but before his creation, provided for him every thing in the world, as for the animal most resembling himself, and dearest to him, being desirous that when he was born, he should be in want of nothing requisite for living, and for living well; the first of which objects is provided for by the abundance of supplies which are furnished to him for his enjoyment, and the other by his power of contemplation of the heavenly bodies, by which the mind is smitten so as to conceive a love and desire for knowledge on those subjects; owing to which desire, philosophy has sprung up, by which, man, though mortal, is made immortal. (78)

XXVI. (79) This is the first reason on account of which it seems that man was created after all other animals. And there is another not altogether unreasonable, which I must mention.

XXVIII. (83) And besides all this, another is also mentioned among the necessary causes. It was necessary that man should be the last of all created beings; in order that being so, and appearing suddenly, he might strike terror into the other animals.

XXX. (89) But after the whole world had been completed according to the perfect nature of the number six, the Father hallowed the day following, the seventh, praising it, and calling it holy. For that day is the festival, not of one city or one country, but of all the earth; a day which alone it is right to call the day of festival for all people, and the birthday of the world. (90)

XLIII. (128) These things, and more still are said in a philosophical spirit about the number seven, on account of which it has received the highest honours, in the highest nature. And it is honoured by those of the highest reputation among both Greeks and barbarians, who devote themselves to mathematical sciences. It was also greatly honoured by Moses, a man much attached to excellence of all sorts, who described its beauty on the most holy pillars of the law, and wrote it in the hearts of all those who were subject to him, commanding them at the end of each period of six days to keep the seventh holy; abstaining from all other works which are done in the seeking after and providing the means of life, devoting that day to the single object of philosophizing with a view to the improvement of their morals, and the examination of their consciences

XLIX. (140) The first man, therefore, appears to me to have been such both in his body and in his soul, being very far superior to all those who live in the present day, and to all those who have gone before us. For our generation has been from men: but he was created by God. And in the same proportion as the one Author of being is superior to the other, so too is the being that is produced. For as that which is in its prime is superior to that the beauty of which is gone by, whether it be an animal, or a plant, or fruit, or anything else whatever of the productions of nature; so also the first man who was ever formed appears to have been the height of perfection of our entire race, and subsequent generations appear never to have reached an equal state of perfection, but to have at all times been inferior both in their appearance and in their power, and to have been constantly degenerating,

LXI. (170) Such is the life of those who originally were men of innocence and simplicity, and also of those who have come to prefer vice to virtue, from whom one ought to keep aloof. And in his before mentioned account of the creation of the world, Moses teaches us also many other things, and especially five most beautiful lessons which are superior to all others. In the first place, for the sake of convicting the atheists, he teaches us that the Deity has a real being and existence. Now, of the atheists, some have only doubted of the existence of God, stating it to be an uncertain thing; but others, who are more audacious, have taken courage, and asserted positively that there is no such thing; but this is affirmed only by men who have darkened the truth with fabulous inventions. (171) In the second place he teaches us that God is one; having reference here to the assertors of the polytheistic doctrine; men who do not blush to transfer that worst of evil constitutions, ochlocracy, from earth to heaven. Thirdly, he teaches, as has been already related, that the world was created; by this lesson refuting those who think that it is uncreated and eternal, and who thus attribute no glory to God. In the fourth place we learn that the world also which was thus created is one, since also the Creator is one, and he, making his creation to resemble himself in its singleness, employed all existing essence in the creation of the universe. For it would not have been complete if it had not been made and composed of all parts which were likewise whole and complete. For there are some persons who believe that there are many worlds, and some who even fancy that they are boundless in extent, being themselves inexperienced and ignorant of the truth of those things of which it is desirable to have a correct knowledge. The fifth lesson that Moses teaches us is, that God exerts his providence for the benefit of the world. (172) For it follows of necessity that the Creator must always care for that which he has created, just as parents do also care for their children. And he who has learnt this not more by hearing it than by his own understanding, and has impressed on his own soul these marvellous facts which are the subject of so much contention namely, that God has a being and existence, and that he who so exists is really one, and that he has created the world, and that he has created it one as has been stated, having made it like to himself in singleness; and that he exercises a continual care for that which he has created will live a happy and blessed life, stamped with the doctrines of piety and holiness.

3b. Philo’s ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATION, I (or ‘The First Book of the Treatise on The Allegories of the Sacred Laws, after the Work of the Six Days of Creation.’)
I. (1) "And the heaven and the earth and all their world was Completed."{1}{#ge 2:1.} Having previously related the creation of the mind and of sense, Moses now proceeds to describe the perfection which was brought about by them both. And he says that neither the indivisible mind nor the particular sensations received perfection, but only ideas, one the idea of the mind, the other of sensation. And, speaking symbolically, he calls the mind heaven, since the natures which can only be comprehended by the intellect are in heaven. And sensation he calls earth, because it is sensation which has obtained a corporeal and some what earthy constitution. The ornaments of the mind are all the incorporeal things, which are perceptible only by the intellect. Those of sensation are the corporeal things, and everything in short which is perceptible by the external senses.
II. (2) "And on the sixth day God finished his work which he had made." It would be a sign of great simplicity to think that the world was created in six days, or indeed at all in time; because all time is only the space of days and nights, and these things the motion of the sun as he passes over the earth and under the earth does necessarily make. But the sun is a portion of heaven, so that one must confess that time is a thing posterior to the world. Therefore it would be correctly said that the world was not created in time, but that time had its existence in consequence of the world. For it is the motion of the heaven that has displayed the nature of time.
(3) When, therefore, Moses says, "God completed his works on the sixth day," we must understand that he is speaking not of a number of days, but that he takes six as a perfect number.

4. Origin de Principiis
Chapter V.—That the World Took Its Beginning in Time.
1. And now, since there is one of the articles of the Church
which is held principally in consequence of our belief in the truth of our sacred history, viz. that this world was created and took its beginning at a certain time, and, in conformity to the cycle of time
decreed to all things, is to be destroyed on account of its corruption, there seems no absurdity in re-discussing a few points connected with this subject. And so far, indeed, as the credibility of Scripture is concerned, the declarations on such a matter seem easy of proof. Even the heretics, although widely opposed on many other things, yet on this appear to be at one, yielding to the authority of Scripture.
Concerning, then, the creation of the world, what portion of Scripture can give us more information regarding it, than the account which Moses has transmitted respecting its origin? And although it comprehends matters of profounder significance than the mere historical narrative appears to indicate, and contains very many things that are to be spiritually understood, and employs the letter, as a kind of veil, in treating of profound and mystical subjects; nevertheless the language of the narrator shows that all visible things were created at a certain time.
3. But this is the objection which they generally raise: they say, “If the world had its beginning in time, what was God doing before the world began? For it is at once impious and absurd to say that the nature of God is inactive and immoveable, or to suppose that goodness at one time did not do good, and omnipotence at one time did not exercise its power.” Such is the objection which they are accustomed to make to our statement that this world had its beginning at a certain time, and that, agreeably to our belief in Scripture, we can calculate the years of its past duration.

[Admittedly, Origen was prone to pushing a platonic line through which Scripture was made to fit.. As J. Lyman writes, “As the core of his pedagogical and theological method, the profound eclecticism of Origen has been at the same time one of his most attractive and repelling aspects. His use of Platonic wineskins for Christian theology has troubled both admirers and critics since his first works in Alexandria…Origen emphasized the pedagogical and apologetic use of philosophy; by means of Greek categories, the full truth of Scripture, in opposition or agreement with philosophy, could be made comprehensible to non-believers or to educated Christians.” (Christology and Cosmology, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1993, p. 42.)

[I’m ending this thread with a repeat of Josephus’ account as Anonymous did not bother to comment upon this first century author’s take on Genesis, despite his calling for a first century witness for a literal view of the first chapter. This lack of comment, I can only speculate, is because it really does dismantle Anon’s arcane and elitist take on the matter.]

6. Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews Book I, Containing The Interval Of Three Thousand Eight Hundred And Thirty-Three Years. From The Creation To The Death Of IsaacChapter I The Constitution Of The World And The Disposition Of The Elements
1. On the fourth day he adorned the heaven with the sun, the moon, and the other stars, and appointed them their motions and courses, that the vicissitudes of the seasons might be clearly signified. And on the fifth day he produced the living creatures, both those that swim, and those that fly; the former in the sea, the latter in the air: he also sorted them as to society and mixture, for procreation, and that their kinds might increase and multiply. On the sixth day he created the four-footed beasts, and made them male and female: on the same day he also formed man. Accordingly Moses says, That in just six days the world, and all that is therein, was made. And that the seventh day was a rest, and a release from the labor of such operations; whence it is that we Celebrate a rest from our labors on that day, and call it the Sabbath, which word denotes rest in the Hebrew tongue.
Moreover, Moses, after the seventh day was over begins to talk philosophically; and concerning the formation of man, says thus: That God took dust from the ground, and formed man, and inserted in him a spirit and a soul. This man was called Adam, which in the Hebrew tongue signifies one that is red, because he was formed out of red earth, compounded together; for of that kind is virgin and true earth. God also presented the living creatures, when he had made them, according to their kinds, both male and female, to Adam, who gave them those names by which they are still called.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Episcopalian Declension to Heresy in Sydney, Australia

Evangelicals in the USA have regarded with caution anything Episcopalian because of the serious declension which has occurred in the Episcopalian Church in the USA. Given the parlous state of that denomination in the USA one can only respect the caution.

Perhaps the largest evangelical Episcopalian Diocese in the world, the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church in Australia, if known at all by evangelicals in the USA, has also been looked upon with a little suspicion because .... well, it is Episcopalian. At the very least a 'watch' was put on the Diocese by those who had any interest in goings on here. From the perspective of the Diocese, some twenty years ago or more there were attempts to say to evangelicals in the USA that "we're okay". Evangelical conference attendance in the USA and promotion of the Sydney theological seminary, Moore College, were strategies designed to demonstrate the acceptability of the Sydney Episcopalian Diocese. Leading evangelicals in the USA were invited to speak at conferences here. Underlying everything else the conferences were hoped to achieve was the hope that we could be seen as okay to evangelicals in the USA.

This essay is designed to disprove the notion that all is well in the Episcopalian Church in Sydney, Australia. Things had been better in the past but declension is well under way. The declension has its roots in the teaching of the theological seminary called Moore College over the past twenty to thirty years. In that time a tumour (English spelling) developed and has been left unchecked to this day. Unchecked, it will consume all other doctrines of God which are reformed and evangelical.

The tumour is what is called Theistic Evolution. It is now vigorously defended within the Diocese as a model for the origin of life. The defence goes all the way to the top position of the Diocese and still has refuge within the theological seminary of the Diocese.

Where then is the Episcopalian Church in Sydney, Australia headed? Perhaps a look at the history of the evangelical church in Wales, Great Britain some one hundred years or more ago will provide some insight.

A friend of mine is interested in Revivals. His interest is greater than mine. He recently loaned me a book entitled "The Welsh Revival of 1904" written by Eifion Evans and published by Bryntirion Press. I found it a very sobering summary of the revival which occurred in Wales and to Welsh people in other parts of Great Britain. Of particular interest to my friend was the observation that unlike earlier revivals this revival did not occur with an emphasis on biblical preaching and teaching. It was more a consequence of calling on the Holy Spirit's presence and activity through prayer. The effects of the revival were perhaps not as prolonged or extensive of those that had gone before.

Enough of that, what I want to raise here is the state of the church in Wales prior to and after the revival of 1904.

Eifion Evans observed that, in the years prior to 1904, the emergence of Psychology, Liberalism, Higher Criticism and the influence of Evolutionary Theory affected the doctrine of the churches. Evans writes on page 44, "The sheer intoxication of a new theology which championed so loudly a release from the trammels of traditional orthodoxy blinded many to its utter contingency. Liberal theology was not merely taking away the decorative appurtenances of Christianity, it was demolishing its very foundations." Evans goes on to say "The spiritual bankruptcy of the churches, thus deprived of the very cause and meaning of their existence, was the subject of many complaints before the revival broke out."

Well, the revival occurred and some 59,000 were added to the nonconformist churches in Wales. The Church of England and the Church of Rome figures were unknown. However, of those 59,000 it seems at least 20,000 fell away in later years. It is interesting to then see what Eifion Evans observed in relation to the Calvinistic Methodists after the revival. I will quote Evans from pages 187 to 190 in his sub-heading of Doctrinal Conflict under the chapter headed Militant Aftermath:

"The influence of the 1904 revival was more important in the constitutional history of the Calvinistic Methodists. In the 1920's there was a great deal of discussion within the denomination about the Confession of Faith. The Constitutional Deed of 1826 had been framed to ensure strict adherence to the denomination's doctrinal tenets, and to provide a corresponding legal safeguard for its places of worship. By 1912 there had been an attempt in the courts of the church to secure the framing of a 'Shorter Declaration of Faith', an oblique and indirect criticism of both content and length of the confession being implied. Later the reports of the Reconstruction Commission, which had appeared in the early twenties, strongly urged parliamentary legislation to modify these requirements.

Nantlais Williams, one of the revival's most illustrious converts, was in the vanguard of the opposition to this move. His objections were grounded on the conviction that the advocates of a liberal theology were seeking the legal and doctrinal leverage necessary to take over the denominational machinery and to bring about a radical change in the evangelical nature of its witness.

He maintained that the liberals were agitating for reform purely as a matter of political maneuvre. It was a deceptive strategy on their part to gain power in the courts of the church. They were ecclesiastical cuckoos seeking to gain fraudulent control of the evangelical nest.. Unable to set up their own churches through the impotence of their modernist message, they sought to supplant the churches of the Methodist Fathers, established by evangelical zeal for the 'old' gospel.

Their cry for freedom sounded laudable until Williams observed : 'We are not bound by the law, so much as by the Fathers and their scriptural, evangelical faith.' He exposed their doctrinal dishonesty and moral indifference of their position, for the modernist faith 'did not have enough confidence in itself to venture forth to raise a temple to disseminate it. It must rather endeavour to usurp the right to those buildings put up at the expense of the Confession of Faith ... It will be robbing what rightly belongs to others.'

In the discussion which followed through the columns of the denomination's weekly he further charged the modernists with double-talk, a device which utterly confused the common people. The scriptural and historical content of the most fundamental concepts were being shamelessly debased. There could be no prosperity to the church which thus betrayed the truth. A devaluation of the Christian currency could only lead to disaster. Nor would the ecumenical aspirations which motivated the leaders of the reconstruction movement be best served in an atmosphere of doctrinal fog. The interests of both sides could only benefit by clarity, honesty and charity.

Later, Williams acknowledged that 'it was something received in 1904 which encouraged me to stand so resolutely throughout the debate.' The issue was finally resolved when note was taken of his insistence on the inclusion in the Declaratory Statement of clear affirmations regarding the Deity of Christ, His virgin birth, His atoning death, His literal resurrection on the third day and His second coming. The draft document was modified accordingly, and the 1933 Act of Parliament which remains the law of the church incorporates these determinative truths. In this way the 1904 revival has left an abiding mark on the legal structure of that ecclesiastical body.

In spite of these brave efforts it was a hollow victory for orthodoxy. One result of the reconstruction movement was the drawing up of the long-awaited 'Shorter Declaration of Faith.' In its wake T. Nefyn Williams, a minister who had been disciplined for heterodox views in 1928, was able to seek, and receive, readmission with a clear conscience. In his pamphlet Y Fford yr Edrychaf ar Bethau ( The Way I look at Things), as the title suggests, he rejects the biblical and confessional authority in favour of his own moral consciousness. This subjectivist criterion led him to deny all supernatural elements in the gospel narratives from the virgin birth to the bodily resurrection of Christ. It followed that he ridiculed the biblical concepts of original sin and substitutionary atonement. While his expulsion in in 1928 had been an unavoidable necessity, his restoration in the 1930's - without repentance or retraction - marked the beginning of an epoch.

From being an honest dissenter he became the champion of doctrinal deviationists. They used the 'Shorter Declaration of Faith' to salve their conscience from the demands of the fuller and more explicit confession. If the age of doctrinal confusion had not dawned, when men would use theological terms evacuated of their traditional and biblical meaning, it was enough to take shelter under and all-embracing theological umbrella of general concepts. It was an era of dwindling doctrinal requirements. The disintegration of orthodoxy had become an accomplished fact within at least one of the historic denominations."

Well, the pressures of the world's thinking experienced in the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had its effect on the doctrine of the church. Of course, similar pressures were experienced and succumbed to around the globe but, as a caution to evangelicals in the USA, I bring to attention the declension to heresy occurring within the Episcopalian Church in Sydney. Evangelicals in the USA beware.

A century ago, modernism was the trojan horse used of the Evil One to gain entry into the Church's thinking and undermine the authority vested in the Word of God. Today it is post-modernism used of the Evil One to undermine the authority vested in the Word of God. The constant in both scenes is the offensive notion that the frustration, suffering, disease and death riddled and dead end laced process of evolution was the means used by God in creation. This, in spite of the clear utterance of God in Exodus 20:11 and supported unreservedly in Genesis 1 and Exodus 31:16-18 to the contrary. The beauty, for the purposes of deception, in the post-modernist approach to Scripture is that it affords a 'legitimacy' to a reader to reinterpret the Word of God to what the reader wants. In this situation the reader simply contends he/she is understanding the mind of the author and the original audience. Ultimately, it is the post-modernist reader who is interpreting the passage to his/her conditioned mind, a mind conditioned by the influences of the world or the Evil One.

Post-Modernist thought is as slippery as the 'theory of evolution' and difficult to tie down. Post-Modernists can accuse their opponents of doing the very thing they, themselves, do with Scripture. This was demonstrated by a recent anonymous correspondent to the comments section of this blogspot.

As regards the Episcopalian Church in Sydney it is evident that graduates of the theological seminary of the Diocese are increasingly unwilling to refute Theistic Evolution and some actually promote this view of origins. Thus the tumour is healthy and growing. Who knows what doctrines of the church will come under assault in the future. Will the long established evangelical 'Articles of Religion' of the Episcopalian Church come to be amended and will the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney, Australia play a role in this change? One thing we can be confident of is that declension is occurring concerning belief in the Person of Jesus Christ and His glory in Creation. To the mind of this writer this is a heresy.

Evangelicals in the United States of America beware of what is going on here in Sydney, Australia.

Sam Drucker

Monday, July 2, 2007

Reviews, Articles in Journal of Creation

Chaps and Chapettes,

In the latest Journal of Creation there are quite a few goodies which may interest bloggers and commenters:

Secular sermons
A review of A Devil’s Chaplin: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love by Richard Dawkins
Book Review by Lael Weinberger

Theistic evolution—a greater fairytale for mankind
A review of Evolution from Creation: Conflict, Conversation, and Convergence by Ted Peters and Martinez Hewlett
Book Review by David Stevens

Atheist with a mission
A review of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
Book Review by Philip Bell

Good approach misapplied to get ‘analogical days’
A review of Genesis 1–4: A Linguistic, Literary, and Theological Commentary by C. John Collins
Book Review by Frank DeRemer

Evolution’s theological underpinnings
A review of Darwin’s Proof: The Triumph of Religion Over Science by Cornelius Hunter
Book Review by Chase Nelson

and articles:

The meaning of yôm in Genesis 1:1–2:4
Countering the Critics Article by Francis Humphrey

On literary theorists’ approach to Genesis 1: Part 1
Paper by Marc Kay

Both these articles touch on matters raised here: the former by a PhD on the language, the latter on the 'twisting of scripture' to use James Sire's book title.

There's a pile of other good stuff too: as usual.

I've also been reading Living Tradition at: which has some interesting articles on origins, theology and Genesis. It is a Roman Catholic journal, but I assume we're all consenting adults here and can read RC material. But, good stuff here on form criticism and Gunkel. What I particularly like is the demand for form critics to supply evidence for their indulgences: I'd like to see some commenters do the same!