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Sunday, May 25, 2008

K-D: THE CREATION OF THE WORLD Part 3

In contrast with all these mythical inventions, the biblical account shines out in the clear light of truth, and proves itself by its contents to be an integral part of the revealed history, of which it is accepted as the pedestal throughout the whole of the sacred Scriptures. This is not the case with the Old Testament only; but in the New Testament also it is accepted and taught by Christ and the apostles as the basis of the divine revelation. The select only a few from the many passages of the Old and New Testaments, in which God is referred to as the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and the almighty operations of the living God in the world are based upon the fact of its creation: In Ex 20:9-11; 31:12-17, the command to keep the Sabbath is founded upon the fact that God rested on the seventh day, when the work of creation was complete; and in Ps 8 and 104, the creation is depicted as a work of divine omnipotence in close adherence to the narrative before us. From the creation of man, as described in Ge 1:27 and 2:24, Christ demonstrates the indissoluble character of marriage as a divine ordinance (Mt 19:4-6); Peter speaks of the earth as standing out of the water and in the water by the word of God (2 Pe 3:5); and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, "starting from Ge 2:2, describes it as the motive principle of all history, that the Sabbath of God is to become the Sabbath of the creature" (Delitzsch).

The biblical account of the creation can also vindicate its claim to be true and actual history, in the presence of the doctrines of philosophy and the established results of natural science. So long, indeed, as philosophy undertakes to construct the universe from general ideas, it will be utterly unable to comprehend the creation; but ideas will never explain the existence of things. Creation is an act of the personal God, not a process of nature, the development of which can be traced to the laws of birth and decay that prevail in the created world. But the work of God, as described in the history of creation, is in perfect harmony with the correct notions of divine omnipotence, wisdom and goodness. The assertion, so frequently made, that the course of the creation takes its form from the Hebrew week, which was already in existence, and the idea of God's resting on the seventh day, from the institution of the Hebrew Sabbath, is entirely without foundation.

4 comments:

Ktisophilos said...

Thomas Aquinas also had some interesting comments about creation week in Summa Theologiae:

Thus we find it said at first that “He called the light Day”: for the reason that later on a period of twenty-four hours is also called day, where it is said that “there was evening and morning, one day.” [FIRST PART, QUESTION 69: On the Work of the Third Day]

Nothing entirely new was afterwards made by God, but all things subsequently made had in a sense been made before in the work of the six days. Some things, indeed, had a previous experience materially, as the rib from the side of Adam out of which God formed Eve; whilst others existed not only in matter but also in their causes, as those individual creatures that are now generated existed in the first of their kind. [FIRST PART, QUESTION 73
On the Things That Belong to the Seventh Day]

Whether all these days are one day? Ia q. 74 a. 2

On the contrary, It is written (Gn. 1), “The evening and the morning were the second day. . . the third day,” and so on. But where there is a second and third there are more than one. There was not, therefore, only one day.

I answer that, On this question Augustine differs from other expositors. His opinion is that all the days that are called seven, are one day represented in a sevenfold aspect (Gen. ad lit. iv, 22; De Civ. Dei xi, 9; Ad Orosium xxvi); while others consider there were seven distinct days, not one only. Now, these two opinions, taken as explaining the literal text of Genesis, are certainly widely different. ...

Reply to Objection 7. The words “one day” are used when day is first instituted, to denote that one day is made up of twenty-four hours. Hence, by mentioning “one,” the measure of a natural day is fixed. Another reason may be to signify that a day is completed by the return of the sun to the point from which it commenced its course. And yet another, because at the completion of a week of seven days, the first day returns which is one with the eighth day. The three reasons assigned above are those given by Basil. (Hom. ii in Hexaem.).

Ktisophilos said...

Thomas Aquinas (continued), with good advice for SADs:

Whether there are waters above the firmament? Ia q. 68 a. 2

I answer with Augustine (Gen. ad lit. ii, 5) that, “These words of Scripture have more authority than the most exalted human intellect. Hence, whatever these waters are, and whatever their mode of existence, we cannot for a moment doubt that they are there.”

[The “Summa Theologica” of St. Thomas Aquinas. Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. Second and Revised Edition, 1920.]

John said...

Well, well, well, Kt, fancy ol' Thomas being so humble as to admit that even though he didn't know how the waters were, he still believed, because of Scripture's clarity, that they did indeed exist up there.

Now contrast this with the Bishop of South Sydney, Rob Forsyth, who came onto this site and thought he had a winner against us by citing the waters above as evidence that Genesis 1 couldn't be taken at face-value. Do you think he would have asked the good doctor that question?

I suppose Rob might reply that he knows more about science than Thomas did and so Thomas could be forgiven for being so obtuse.

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