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ebed melech and gordo, both of you are on target.
as far as alleged contradictions are concerned, I remember my NT prof discussing the accounts of the resurrection. in one Gospel it says that was one person at the Tomb,. another Gospel gives another number, and so on. what is established is that there was at least one person at the Tomb to discover that Jesus had risen from the dead.there is also the example of a cop at a traffic scene taling to witnesses. he may get a slightly different account from each withness thus what he needs to do is get to the heart of the matter so he can have something to write a report with, in other words: what do the accounts have in common. as far as the Holy Spirit allowing two contradictory accounts of Creation to exist in the Bible, that is ludicrous, is God the Holy Spirit the author of confusion? read the accounts again. the second account is dealing with the creation of humankind, while the first is giving a play by play action of all of Creation.
as far as the Fundamentalist alleging that dinosaurs were being bumped off in the Middle Ages, I have to wonder how old was the Fundamentalist? three? no Fundamentalist I know would say such piffle. as far as Fundamentalists are concerned, most dinosaurs were wiped out in the Flood. I said most, after all, there is the case of the coelcanth (spelling?), a fish thought to be extinct for millions of years, until they inconveniently began turning up in the 1930's, and arstill coming up. and what to say about undiscovered species in the depths of the oceans? new species, many thought to be extinct, both on land and on sea are turning up all the time,so who is to say? so much for the hubris of humankind that presumes to have all the answers, and that includes evolutionists, panderers of the "higher"criticism of the Bible,liberal theologians, and the rest of that rabble. good work ebed melech and Gordo, you have your heads on straight.
Much Love,
Jonn

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Gordo,

As far as the "uncovering of nakedness" is concerned, it seems to be a euphemism for sexual relations:

Leviticus 18:6-19 and Leviticus 20:17-19, 21

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No man shall approach to her that is near of kin to him, to uncover her nakedness. I am the Lord. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother: she is thy mother, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's wife: for it is the nakedness of thy father. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy sister by father or by mother, whether born at home or abroad. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy son's daughter, or thy daughter's daughter: because it is thy own nakedness.

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's wife's daughter, whom she bore to thy father, and who is thy sister. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's sister: because she is the flesh of thy father. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister: because she is thy mother's flesh. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's brother: neither shalt thou approach to his wife, who is joined to thee by affinity. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: because she is thy son's wife, neither shalt thou discover her shame.

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: because it is the nakedness of thy brother. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy wife and her daughter. Thou shalt not take her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter, to discover her shame: because they are her flesh, and such copulation is incest. Thou shalt not take thy wife's sister for a harlot, to rival her, neither shalt thou discover her nakedness, while she is yet living. Thou shalt not approach to a woman having her flowers, neither shalt thou uncover her nakedness. Thou shalt not lie with thy neighbour's wife, nor be defiled with mingling of seed.
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If any man take his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother, and see her nakedness, and she behold her brother's shame: they have committed a crime: they shall be slain, in the sight of their people, because they have discovered one another's nakedness, and they shall bear their iniquity. If any man lie with a woman in her flowers, and uncover her nakedness, and she open the fountain of her blood, both shall be destroyed out of the midst of their people. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy aunt by thy mother, and of thy aunt by thy father: he that doth this, hath uncovered the shame of his own flesh, both shall bear their iniquity. If any mall lie with the wife of his uncle by the father, or of his uncle by the mother, and uncover the shame of his near akin, both shall bear their sin: they shall die without children.
I think I heard a Rabbi claim that "uncover ones nakedness" was a euphemism for sexual relations on Mysteries of the Bible on Tthe Learning Channel.


Jonn,

The guy on TV was not a three year-old but a guy who teaches Creationism at a Bible College or University.

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Dr. Eric,

Thanks for the supporting passages on the euphemistic interpretation of "uncovering nakedness". I'm certainly less inclined to buy into the notion of castration, although it would sort of "seal the deal" in terms of any claim to power. To be sure, incest (implied rape) with his mother is more than sufficient to merit a curse for the offspring, Canaan.

Of course, that curse is repeated with the offspring of Lot and his two daughters. The history in the Old Testament seems to follow an eliptical pattern, with multiple fulfillments and cycles of promises, blessings, falls, curses, and promises.

Jonn, I agree that the presumption of the primacy of fallible modern science over divine revelation has posioned the faith of the average Catholic. To my mind, it does not have to be that way. We should not assume that the Bible is saying something it is not asserting. It is not a science manual, nor is it a modern history textbook. At the same time, one needs to seek out precisely what is being asserted by the accounts that are presented.

To reduce them to pure mythology, like the pagan Greek myths of the gods and goddesses, is unacceptable to any Christian worthy of the name. As Father Louis Bouyer observes, one cannot properly interpret these myths without completely denying their historical character.

True historical events are, however, being communicated in ancient forms in Sacred Scripture, but these events need to be properly interpreted not by imposing modern assumptions and expectations, but by "receiving" and "digesting" the texts according to their own inner logic and form.

Personally, I think both the OT and the NT must be read through a liturgical lens which respects the event-character of what is communicated, while at the same time recognizing that their underlying construct and primary purpose is doxological.

Haven't had much time to research the two items this week. But I'll git 'er done soon enough!

Gordo

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yes, Gordo, and what we need to remember that the Bible is infallible and inerrant in what it seeks to teach, that is, the written Word of God. to make a lot of fuss over what can be editorial glosses that have no effect on doctrine,or how many people were there at the Tomb of the Risen Saviour, just to mention a couple of things,is a pathetic attempt of certain people with an agenda who wish to impugn Holy Writ and excuse themselves from the authority of what God has revealed (I guess they found themselves under conviction and wished to excuse their way of life, who knows).
Much Love,
Jonn

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Originally posted by ebed melech:
Dr. Eric,

Thanks for the supporting passages on the euphemistic interpretation of "uncovering nakedness". I'm certainly less inclined to buy into the notion of castration, although it would sort of "seal the deal" in terms of any claim to power. To be sure, incest (implied rape) with his mother is more than sufficient to merit a curse for the offspring, Canaan.

Of course, that curse is repeated with the offspring of Lot and his two daughters. The history in the Old Testament seems to follow an eliptical pattern, with multiple fulfillments and cycles of promises, blessings, falls, curses, and promises.

Gordo
Actually, Gordo, I meant that Noah himself was violated (I'm trying to dance around the terms I'd usually use, do you get what I'm meaning?)

That's why the curse was so bad, since the sin was so bad. The offspring of Lot's daughters were neighbors of the Israelites who lived in more or less indentured servitude, whereas the Caananites were destroyed and wiped out by Israel. More or less...

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Originally posted by Dr. Eric:
Actually, Gordo, I meant that Noah himself was violated (I'm trying to dance around the terms I'd usually use, do you get what I'm meaning?)
Hmmm...that's a new one on me. I don't know that it really explains the cursing of Canaan, though.

I'll have to do some checking...

Gordo

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He then said that this proves that people up until the Middle Ages were still fighting and killing dinosaurs!
Dr. Eric that's the funniest thing I've ever heard! JAJAJAJAJA

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I've been meeting with my new priest and it has been interesting. He has suggested that there is no official Dogmatic view of how to view the inspiration of the Scriptures and that Orthodox are not tied to any kind of verbal-plenary inspiration as traditional Catholics and protestants seem to be.

In fact, many Orthodox theologians hold that Adam and Eve were not historical individuals, but rather represent the human condition. Such seems to be the case with his grace, Archbishop Zizioulas, but that is just my interpretation of what he is saying.

I must confess that I am inclined to agree with that position. Personally, I think much of the Old Testament is more mytho-poeic than strictly historical in the literal sense. And I have no problem with there being "mythic" elements in the New Testament as well. What I was told was that the only things that much be held to be literally true are those things that affect Dogma. So, the Virgin birth was literally true. Christ's bodily resurrection was literally true, etc.

To me, this makes sense, because the less we must say about the historical character of certain passages, the less possibility there is that some archeological or paleological evidence will cause us problems. Peace in Christ,

Joe

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But ultimately, Joe, such positions turn the whole of salvation history on its head. How can Adam prefigure Christ and Mary prefigure Eve as mythopoeic inventions of the human imagination? What does that say about the interconnectedness of the human family and our shared nature and origin? What are the implications for the salvific nature of the hypostatic union? The whole allegorical system of interpretation, which not only forms and informs our sacramental theology but also the very nature of the Gospel itself understanding the New Testament as the spiritual interpretation of the Old, presupposes the literal/historical/earthly level of meaning as a foundation to move to the spiritual. Otherwise we end up building mansions on clouds.

Whatever the opinions of contemporary Orthodox theologians, I would certainly trust the Church fathers, as cited above, before them.

Again, I see the Scriptures principally as liturgical documents in both the Old and New Covenants. This does not make their historical nature and reliability suspect, but it does explain how and for what purpose they were written. These are not designed as History and Science Textbooks, but rather as revelatory and inspired historical texts which inform and form the congregation's worship of the one true God.

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What I was told was that the only things that much be held to be literally true are those things that affect Dogma. So, the Virgin birth was literally true. Christ's bodily resurrection was literally true, etc.
This is definitely a slippery slope if it is indeed the Orthodox Church's canonical position. (Of course, who speaks for Orthodoxy, but that is a discussion for another day.) Who is to say what affects dogma and what does not? I believe that such a view is very problematic since it completely undermines the revelatory nature of the Sacred text. Is God the author of error? Does He intermix truth and error? Is that not the nature of a spiritual toxin? If so, He is not God and we might as well pack up our faith and go elsewhere.

Look, the bottom line is that it is spiritually dangerous to set oneself above the sacred page as judge and jury of its veracity. The posture of the Theotokos is our model of a faithful, penetrating and obedient reception of the Word as revealed, but not fully comprehended. We are to be its handmaiden, not its master. I believe with the Church Fathers in the Sacred Scriptures' sacramental and revelatory nature, and ascribe any weakness to my own poor inability to interpret properly what is intended to be communicated. The positions you have outlined do not represent the traditional Christian view, despite, with all due respect, what your new priest told you.

Again, beware of mansions on clouds...

God bless,

Gordo, who quite enjoys mythopoeic genre like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but puts no divine faith in Gandalf the Grey or the salvific kenosis of Frodo of Bag-End biggrin wink :p

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Originally posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy:


In fact, many Orthodox theologians hold that Adam and Eve were not historical individuals, but rather represent the human condition. Such seems to be the case with his grace, Archbishop Zizioulas, but that is just my interpretation of what he is saying.

Joe
When I went to Greekfest, during the tour, the guide said that the Orthodox believe that Adam and Eve were real persons.

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Originally posted by ebed melech:
But ultimately, Joe, such positions turn the whole of salvation history on its head. How can Adam prefigure Christ and Mary prefigure Eve as mythopoeic inventions of the human imagination? What does that say about the interconnectedness of the human family and our shared nature and origin? What are the implications for the salvific nature of the hypostatic union? The whole allegorical system of interpretation, which not only forms and informs our sacramental theology but also the very nature of the Gospel itself understanding the New Testament as the spiritual interpretation of the Old, presupposes the literal/historical/earthly level of meaning as a foundation to move to the spiritual. Otherwise we end up building mansions on clouds.

Whatever the opinions of contemporary Orthodox theologians, I would certainly trust the Church fathers, as cited above, before them.

Again, I see the Scriptures principally as liturgical documents in both the Old and New Covenants. This does not make their historical nature and reliability suspect, but it does explain how and for what purpose they were written. These are not designed as History and Science Textbooks, but rather as revelatory and inspired historical texts which inform and form the congregation's worship of the one true God.

Quote
What I was told was that the only things that much be held to be literally true are those things that affect Dogma. So, the Virgin birth was literally true. Christ's bodily resurrection was literally true, etc.
This is definitely a slippery slope if it is indeed the Orthodox Church's canonical position. (Of course, who speaks for Orthodoxy, but that is a discussion for another day.) Who is to say what affects dogma and what does not? I believe that such a view is very problematic since it completely undermines the revelatory nature of the Sacred text. Is God the author of error? Does He intermix truth and error? Is that not the nature of a spiritual toxin? If so, He is not God and we might as well pack up our faith and go elsewhere.

Look, the bottom line is that it is spiritually dangerous to set oneself above the sacred page as judge and jury of its veracity. The posture of the Theotokos is our model of a faithful, penetrating and obedient reception of the Word as revealed, but not fully comprehended. We are to be its handmaiden, not its master. I believe with the Church Fathers in the Sacred Scriptures' sacramental and revelatory nature, and ascribe any weakness to my own poor inability to interpret properly what is intended to be communicated. The positions you have outlined do not represent the traditional Christian view, despite, with all due respect, what your new priest told you.

Again, beware of mansions on clouds...

God bless,

Gordo, who quite enjoys mythopoeic genre like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but puts no divine faith in Gandalf the Grey or the salvific kenosis of Frodo of Bag-End biggrin wink :p
Gordo,

Your points are well taken. I do think, however, that the non-literalness of Adam and Eve does not destroy the parallelism between the old and new Adam & Eve. Chesterton wrote about Christianity as the myth that has come true. The imagery of Genesis, whether historical or not, finds its fulfillment in the literal incarnation of Christ. Peace in Christ,

Joe

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Originally posted by Dr. Eric:
Quote
Originally posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy:
[b]

In fact, many Orthodox theologians hold that Adam and Eve were not historical individuals, but rather represent the human condition. Such seems to be the case with his grace, Archbishop Zizioulas, but that is just my interpretation of what he is saying.

Joe
When I went to Greekfest, during the tour, the guide said that the Orthodox believe that Adam and Eve were real persons. [/b]
Dr. Eric,

I am sure that you will find a variety of opinions among the Orthodox. Personally, I see no necessity in having an official opinion on the matter. BTW, I am not saying that Archbishop Zizoulias does not hold to a literal Adam & Eve. I was just saying that his position sounds that way to me. I could surely be wrong. Peace in Christ,

Joe

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literal Adam and Eve? sorry, but it is quite plausible.
scientists have tyraced back DNA samples throughout humankind, and guess what they learned? there is one human source, albeit female, for all human DNA (Eve?). so it is just common sense that since it takes two to tango, that a male source was also present (Adam).
on a soteriological level, St. Paul in Romans writes that since sin came into the world through one man, salvation has entered the world through another man, the Godman Christ Jesus. it does not say that sin came into the world through a bunch of men, a pithecanthropus, or anything else, but by ONE man, and there is but ONE Saviour.
if we are going to be Orthodox, then stand by an orthodox view of Scripture.
Much Love,
Jonn

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Jonn,

Your post, especially the quotation from St. Paul, is right on target. I remember seeing the DNA research back in 1992 - when I was a religion teacher at an inner city parochial school. It certainly demonstrates a scientific reason for belief in our orgins.

If Adam is only symbolic of collective humanity suffering a collective fall, it turns the whole Pauline redemptive construct on its head.

God bless,

Gordo

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I don't for even an instant believe that the Calvinists, or anyone else for that matter, are going to delete Genesis from the Holy Scriptures. Martin Luther toyed with the idea of deleting the book of James, calling it an "Epistle of straw," but I think that is the last attempt to change the canon (it didn't work). Some African-Americans wanted to include a letter of Dr. Martin Luther King's from prison into the canon of the New Testament, but that failed, too. The Holy Scriptures can be abused or misused, but they will stand as long as the Church of Christ stands, I'm convinced.


Andrew W. Smith
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