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Posted By: Westerner Gone East Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/13/06 10:21 AM
My mother heard something very interesting from her aunt, a former member of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

The denomination known as Christian Reformed is one variant of the Dutch Reformed tradition (others include the Reformed Church in America, the Netherlands Reformed Congregations, and the Protestant Reformed Church), and is very common in my area (Iowa, Minnesota). It has long been known for its strictness.

But this denomination apparently deleted the Book of Genesis from the Bible, which I guess means it will have to publish its own Bible excluding the book. As you can imagine, this caused a schism which led to the founding of the United Reformed Church back in '98.

I was just shocked, and I am wondering, why Genesis? Does anyone else know about this or familiar with this denomination?
Posted By: ebed melech Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/13/06 10:52 AM
I've never heard of this. Genesis is the "hinge" upon which the entire Gospel turns - without it, neither the OT nor the NT makes any sense. The salvation offered by Christ the New Adam, the New Moses and as a fulfillment of the universal covenant prefigured in the Noahic and Abrahamic covenants (partially fulfilled in the Davidic) makes absolutely no sense whatsoever! And what about all those passages and allusions in the NT that are taken from Genesis?

Plus, the Pentateuch really should be treated as a single narrative unit. Pick any narrative and imagine deleting 1/5 of the chapters at the beginning. Doesn't it make the reader ask:

Wait a second...

- Who are these characters?
- What are their backgrounds?
- How are they related to one another?
- How did they get here in this situation?
- Why do they act the way they do?

I'm sure these were some of the questions Moses was trying to answer for Israel.

Blessings,

Gordo
Posted By: Carson Daniel Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/13/06 12:53 PM
I would imagine the truth of the matter is that some scholars have said that the book of Genesis or more precisely the first 13 chapters are no longer to be taken literally but only symbolically. This is in many ways tantamount to removing the book but I doubt seriously that they physically removed the book from their Bibles. But it does make for good gossip, I admit.

CDL
Posted By: JonnNightwatcher Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/13/06 01:57 PM
my earliest White ancestors in the US were Dutch Reformed (New Amsterdam 1639) and you can best believe that they were strict.
however, thanks to Barth and the rest of the neo orthodox ilk along with their liberal predescessors, the Old Testamenat has been disregarded, and the Christian Reformed along with the rest of mainline Protestants are floundering in their anti Biblical theology. we have the Wellhausen hypothesis (its matrix was Hegelian thought)with its JEPD system that has trashed the Pentateuch. Rome dances to the tune as any look at the introductory part of the Pentatuech in the NAB will tell.
do all Calvinists follow the line? absolutely not!while the idea that the Christian Reformed eliminating the early chapters of Genesis may be a foolish rumor, let me assure you that such Calvinist bodies as the Presbyterian Church in America hold to Bible inerrancy and the truth of the Pentateuch as the written word of God.and I am in agreemant with that stand.
come on folks, let's avoid rumors, even where the mainline Protestants are concerned, it is a violation of the Commandment that forbids bearing false witness against one's neighbor.
Much Love,
Jonn
Posted By: Wondering Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/13/06 04:07 PM
I googled Christian Reformed Genesis and came up with a lot of sermons, Bible studies, and more, all from Christian Reformed sources quoting Genesis. If this is so, it must be very limited.
Posted By: Joe T Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/13/06 04:18 PM
This should be of interest:

The Belgic Confession

The oldest of the doctrinal standards of the Christian Reformed Church is the Confession of Faith, popularly known as the Belgic Confession, following the seventeenth-century Latin designation "Confessio Belgica." "Belgica" referred to the whole of the Netherlands, both north and south, which today is divided into the Netherlands and Belgium. The confession's chief author was Guido de Br�s, a preacher of the Reformed churches of the Netherlands, who died a martyr to the faith in the year 1567.

...

Article 4: The Canonical Books
We include in the Holy Scripture the two volumes of the Old and New Testaments. They are canonical books with which there can be no quarrel at all.

In the church of God the list is as follows: In the Old Testament, the five books of Moses-- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; the books of ...

Source:
http://www.firstchurchsh.net/BelgicConfession.htm

Reformed Church in America:

The following confessions and creeds are statements of Reformed beliefs:

Three historic documents--the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort

Three historic creeds--the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed

Source:
http://www.rca.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?&pid=299&srcid=2059

NOTE: The Heidelberg Confession quote Genesis throughout (about 24 times).

Source:
http://www.carm.org/creeds/heidelberg.htm

Genesis is also quoted in the Canons of Dort:

Source:
http://members.iinet.net.au/~jvd@iinet.net.au/Canons/ch2art1-5.htm

Christian Reformed Church

Bible: Authority

History
The issue of biblical authority was raised because of theological unrest in the Netherlands in 1969 and the influence of that unrest on the CRC. The initial overtures on this subject, to Synod 1969, were concerned about CRC seminarians going to study at the Free University of Amsterdam, where professors were teaching new methods of interpreting Scripture, especially the first chapters of Genesis. Synod 1968 denied the overtures to look into the matter because they concerned teachings of men from another denomination. However, the following year, synod agreed that the issue was also affecting the CRC and therefore commissioned a study committee. In 1971 the report of that study committee was referred to the churches and to the Reformed Ecumenical Synod. In 1972 seven recommendations from the report were adopted, and the report was published for further study under the title "The Nature and Extent of Biblical Authority." Objections to the report in subsequent years were not sustained by synod.

References
Acts of Synod 1968, pp. 93-95, 574-77, 584, 588
Acts of Synod 1969, pp. 101, 501-04
Acts of Synod 1970, pp. 53, 240
Acts of Synod 1971, pp. 102-03, 106, 128, 459-95, 664-65
Acts of Synod 1972, pp. 66-69, 493-546, 627-28, 641, 644-47
Acts of Synod 1973, pp. 33-34, 46, 717, 731-33
Acts of Synod 1974, pp. 105, 644-45
Acts of Synod 1977, pp. 98-101, 682-84, 699

Source:
http://www.crcna.org/pages/positions_authority.cfm


Sincerely,
Joe Thur
Posted By: Memo Rodriguez Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/13/06 06:06 PM
Hi,

For what is worth, I believe Genesis is a nightmare for "Sola Scriptura" Christians.

How many times did God create the universe once or twice?

If twice, what happened to "the other" universe. If once, then why we have two mutually contradictory accounts of it?

After Cain killed Abel, who was Cain afraid from to fear for his life? Who is this wife if his, where did she come from?

Were there really people living 900+ years? How does that play with archeological evidence of human civilization well beyond the 6000 year (give or take) time frame that the dates of Genesis suggests?

I mean, if I believed all these passages to be literally and historically correct, I would have a very hard time with modern science. I would be very tempted to dump one of them either Genesis or modern science, as perversely untruthful.

Shalom,
Memo
Posted By: Wondering Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/13/06 07:35 PM
Quote
Originally posted by Memo Rodriguez:
I mean, if I believed all these passages to be literally and historically correct, I would have a very hard time with modern science. I would be very tempted to dump one of them either Genesis or modern science, as perversely untruthful.
Memo,

The majority of fundamentalists I know who rigidly adhere to sola scriptura reject modern science completely. For an example: http://www.answersingenesis.org/museum/
Posted By: Dr. Eric Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/13/06 10:05 PM
One of those fundamentalist literalist guys was on TV and he showed a Romanian coin with this image on it: wink

[Linked Image]

He then said that this proves that people up until the Middle Ages were still fighting and killing dinosaurs! :p :rolleyes:
Posted By: ebed melech Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/14/06 01:30 PM
Quote
Originally posted by Memo Rodriguez:
Hi,

For what is worth, I believe Genesis is a nightmare for "Sola Scriptura" Christians.

How many times did God create the universe once or twice?

If twice, what happened to "the other" universe. If once, then why we have two mutually contradictory accounts of it?

After Cain killed Abel, who was Cain afraid from to fear for his life? Who is this wife if his, where did she come from?

Were there really people living 900+ years? How does that play with archeological evidence of human civilization well beyond the 6000 year (give or take) time frame that the dates of Genesis suggests?

I mean, if I believed all these passages to be literally and historically correct, I would have a very hard time with modern science. I would be very tempted to dump one of them either Genesis or modern science, as perversely untruthful.

Shalom,
Memo
Memo,

You touch on a number of issues that I wish I had time to address, but I do not at present. I will only offer three brief points as a matter of consideration:

1. Underlying all of your assumptions here is that Sacred Scripture contains error. This clearly contradicts the patristic witness regarding the inspiration and inerrancy of the sacred writings, and the proper posture a Christian should have when approaching and interpreting the Bible:

Saint Augustine

Quote
I have learned to hold those books alone of the Scriptures that are now called canonical in such reverence and honor that I do most firmly believe that none of their authors has erred in anything that he has written therein. If I find anything in those writings which seems to be contrary to the truth, I presume that either the code is inaccurate [faulty manuscripts], or the translator has not followed what was said [wrong sense], or I have not properly understood it [misunderstanding on the part of the reader]. I think that you, dear brother [Jerome], must feel the same way. And I say, moreover, that I do not think that you would want your books to be read as if they were the books of Prophets or Apostles, about whose writings, free of all error, it is not lawful to doubt.
Saint Clement of Rome

Quote
You have studied the Holy Scriptures, which are true and of the Holy Spirit. You know well that nothing unjust or fraudulent is written in them.
Saint Irenaeus
Quote
If, however, we are not able to find explanations for all those passages of Scripture which are investigated, we ought not on that account seek for another God besides Him who exists....Things of that kind we must leave to God...knowing full well that the Scriptures are certainly perfect....The true knowledge is the doctrine of the Apostles...and the very complete tradition of the Scriptures, which have come down to us by being guarded against falsification, and are received without addition or deletion; and reading without falsification
Saint Justin Martyr

Quote
If a Scripture which appears to be of such a kind be brought forward, and there be a pretext for regarding it as contradictory, since I am totally convinced that no Scripture is contradictory to another, I shall admit instead that I do not understand what is spoken of...
Saint Athanasius

Quote
Now it is the opinion of some, that the Scriptures do not agree together...but there is no disagreement whatever, far from it, neither can the Father, who is truth, lie; 'for it is impossible that God should lie,' as Paul affirms.
Saint Gregory Nanzianzus

Quote
We who extend the accuracy of the Spirit to every letter and serif will never admit, for it is impious to do so, that even the smallest matters were recorded in a careless and hasty manner by those who wrote them down.
Saint Epiphanius

Quote
And nothing of discrepancy will be found in Sacred Scripture, nor will there be found any statement in opposition to any other statement.
Saint John Chrysostom

Quote
'But the contrary,' it is said, 'has come to pass, for in many places they are found to disagree with each other.' Yet, this very thing is a great proof of their truthfulness. For if they had agreed exactly in all respects, even as to time and place and to the using of the same words, none of our enemies would believe that they had not met together and had not written what they wrote in accord with some human compact....But as it is, the discord which seems to be present in little matters shields them from every suspicion and clearly vindicates the character of the writers.
Saint Jerome

Quote
I am not, I say it again, so ignorant as to suppose that any of the Lord's words are either in need of correction or not divinely inspired. But the Latin codices are proved to be faulty by the discrepancies which they all exhibit among themselves; and it was my desire to restore them to the form of the Greek original, from which my detractors do not deny that they have been translated.
Within our Christian worldview, Sacred Scripture has dual authorship - divine and human. It is not possible that error can be intermingled with divine revelation since that would make God the author of such error in which case He would not be God and we might as well pack our spiritual bags and go somewhere else.

While some may argue that these Church fathers are only reflecting an antiquated view of the sacred writings that we moderns can disregard, I would offer two arguments sed contra: a) Given their close proximity to the events in the sacred writings and to the time of the apostles, the fathers come closer to reflecting the true mind of the Christian Church in interpreting these Scriptures b) If we can cast aspersions on the teaching of the fathers on this matter, why not on other matters of doctrine and belief?

2. According to the patristic method of exegesis (aka "the quadriga") the foundation or "sacrament" of the spiritual meaning of the text is its literal/historical meaning. I could no sooner accept the spiritual interpretation of the Old Testament which the Gospel represents while doubting its true historical character (when properly understood) than I could accept a meal that has just a "little bit of poison" mixed in with it. There are spiritual consequences to error and it cannot coexist with the truth.

3. So - all of this begs the question: if from the perspective of faith (especially as taught by the fathers) one cannot acccept the notion of the admixture of error in an inspired text, how does one reconcile that with the difficulties of passages and events like the ones you mentioned and science and our "modern" experience?

Here are a few additional thoughts worth considering in light of the patristic method:

http://www.rtforum.org/study/lesson4.html

I would only offer that if there is any limitation to inerrancy it is in our own understanding and interpretation of what the text is intending to communicate and not in the text itself. Deference must be given at all times to what is divinely revealed in and through the inspired writings - which includes the events properly interpreted. Inerrancy and infallibility are the natural corrollaries to inspiration. Otherwise our whole faith is a castle built on sand!

As to the specific texts you mention, it will take a bit more time to respond to these. But I thought I would deal at first with your underlying assumptions in light of patristic and magisterial principles of interpretation.

Blessings,

Gordo
Posted By: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/15/06 03:12 AM
Gordo,

Look again at the quote you posted from St. John Chrysostom. He says that there are discrepencies in the text, but they do not significantly affect anything that is taught as doctrine.

If you were to do an extensive study of biblical interpretation in the early Church, you would find that a number of authors had difficulty with the discrepencies in Scripture. Even more problematic to them, was the depiction of God in the Old Testament. It was common to see allegorical method as the answer to these problems. Here is one way of thinking about it. God inspired the authors of Scripture but he didn't take away their own limited historical and cultural perspectives. The epistle of Hebrews says that the prophets only spoke of God in a partial way. Complete revelation is given through the Son. I would suggest that this means that not all Scripture is equal in terms of the clarity of its revelation. Older parts of Scripture have the revelation of God more obscurely present. Hence, the Israelites believed that their acts of genocide against the canaanites and God's wiping out the first born of Egypt were orders given from God. Rather, I would suggest that the obscure revelation in these passages is that God will honor his covenants and will see to the victory of his people. Perhaps, this is in spite of their sins.

For the fathers, especially the desert fathers, it was common to allegorize such passages by suggesting that the Israelites actions against the canannites were really meant to symbolize the actions we should take against the demons in our spiritual life.

Finally, it was common for many fathers to say that God intentionally put contradictions in the bible in order to make us move beyond the literal text and see the true spiritual meaning hidden in it. This was most common among the Alexandrian fathers, Origen and St. Clement of Alexandria.

I don't think that we should take an all or nothing approach to biblical inerrancy and literalism. This is what fundamentalist protestants do and, honestly, I think they end up with a view of reality that is simply incoherent. Revelation is progressive and it is only fully given in the New Testament. The best way to interpret the Old Testament is to do so Christologically. All of Scripture is the witness to the Word of God, Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Christ who is the Word of God. And the Scriptures are the Word of God in that they testify of him (see Karl Barth). Peace in Christ,

Joe
Posted By: ebed melech Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/15/06 04:30 AM
Quote
Originally posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy:
Gordo,

Look again at the quote you posted from St. John Chrysostom. He says that there are discrepencies in the text, but they do not significantly affect anything that is taught as doctrine.
The reference here is to the Gospels specifically, I believe, which is a topic unto itself. Nothing that is written in the Gospels cannot be reconcilied through a proper canonical reading, which respects the structure the author intended as well as the event character of what is conveyed.

Quote
Hence, the Israelites believed that their acts of genocide against the canaanites and God's wiping out the first born of Egypt were orders given from God. Rather, I would suggest that the obscure revelation in these passages is that God will honor his covenants and will see to the victory of his people. Perhaps, this is in spite of their sins.
That certainly is one argument, but I do not think it respects the narrative, nor does it respect the inspired nature of the text. One has to read it in context through the lens of divine accomodation. God stoops down to our lowliness in order to raise us up to His heights. It was in the spirit of this accomodation, for instance, that Moses permitted divorce and remarriage (after the pivotal recapitulated Fall with the Golden Calf incident). It was permitted as an accomodation to Israel's weakness since Israel was in such a spiritual state at the time that the men would have murdered their wives to remarry!

The annihilation of the Canaanites, without trying to oversimplify it all, is another example of divine accomodation. Taken in narrative context, the Canaanites were interlopers on Israel's land and, as the cursed descendants of Ham they were the sources of some of the most corrupting influences in the land, including human sacrifices and orgiastic ritualism. The cleansing of the land commanded by God should also be seen in terms of Israel's failure to be a light to the nations and her perpetual desire rather to be LIKE the nations. Israel became the instrument of God's judgement against the Canaanites yes, but also because Israel would be too tempted by cohabitating with the Canaanites (and in fact did give in when the commands of God were not followed) since she was weak and prone to falling and unable to convert them. All of this has to be seen in light of Israel's divine vocation to be a soure of salvation to the nations in light of the universal promise to Abraham.

One risks slipping into a form of neo-Marcionism by forcing expectations from a new covenant perspective into one's reading of the Old Testament texts. As the fathers say, God treated Israel with the medicine she needed at a particular stage of her illness - or, to use another analogy, God fed Israel with the food and teaching she needed at her particular stage of development. Marcion (and the Gnostics) asserted that the Old Testament God was a different god altogether because they could not reconcile the Gospel teaching with the commands to kill Canaanites, the different ritual laws, etc etc. This presented a real issue for the early Church, especially when trying to convert pagans. How could they reconcile the differences between the testaments and still worship the same God? The key to its proper interpretation as argued by the fathers is divine accomodation.

(Perhaps the best synthesis of this patristic teaching can be found in Stephen Benin's The Footprints of God: Divine Accomodation in Jewish and Christian Thought [amazon.com] . Benin is a Jewish scholar who is very conversant with the patristic attempts to reconcile the Old and New Testaments. His treatment is masterful, IMHO, and he resurrects an ancient approach that is lost on many contemporary scholars - especially as it pertains to the "fall" with the Golden Calf.)

Quote
For the fathers, especially the desert fathers, it was common to allegorize such passages by suggesting that the Israelites actions against the canannites were really meant to symbolize the actions we should take against the demons in our spiritual life.
But allegory as used by the fathers (Origen's over allegorizing tendencies may be the exception - although I may be being unfair to him) always respected the event character of the literal meaning. Using the Canaanite example, to be sure one could read the passages tropologically (that is, at the moral level of spiritual exegesis) and see in the "cleansing" of the land the command to remove all demonic influences from the terrain of the heart - sort of a cleansing of the spiritual middle earth/homeland! But it is IMPOSSIBLE to say that a non-event can prefigure anything. If God did not command Israel to cleanse the land, than no amount of "spiritualizing" of the text will change the fact that what is being put forward as revelation is really falsified.

Quote
I don't think that we should take an all or nothing approach to biblical inerrancy and literalism. This is what fundamentalist protestants do and, honestly, I think they end up with a view of reality that is simply incoherent.
The two concepts - biblical inerrancy and literalism - need to be treated as distinct realities. I advocate for biblical inerrancy when the text is properly understood, but not biblical literalism. Biblical literalism should not be confused with either canonical interpretation or the literary meaning of the text. I sit with fear and trepidation at the feet of an exegetical master like Saint Augustine, not Billy Sunday or the Scofield Reference Bible commentary team. You need to avoid lumping the two together, or buying into the tendency of modern schlarship to assume anyone who would respect the inspired nature of the text (as opposed to taking a prosecutorial posture as they do) as well as the canonical context is a fundamentalist. Such labels are inaccurate and unhelpful.

Quote
Revelation is progressive and it is only fully given in the New Testament.
Be careful here. Taken to its furthest conclusion, you are undermining the inspired nature of the Old Testament which unwittingly removes the foundation of the New Testament, which is the "spiritual interpretation" of the Old. You may also risk slipping into forms of Marcionism.

The fullness of revelation given in the New Testament does not preclude, but rather ASSUMES the revelatory and inspired nature of the Old Testament. To say otherwise is to completely contradict none other than Saint Paul and his inspired writings in the Pauline corpus of the same New Testament!

Quote
The best way to interpret the Old Testament is to do so Christologically. All of Scripture is the witness to the Word of God, Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Christ who is the Word of God. And the Scriptures are the Word of God in that they testify of him (see Karl Barth).
Agreed, and there are many wonderful works to suppport this, beginning with the New Testament! But again, the spiritual reading of the Old Testament assumes and respects its event character, when properly read and understood according to its narrative context and literary meaning.

Peace be the pilgrimage,

Gordo
Posted By: Porter Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/15/06 02:28 PM
Quote
Originally posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy:
Gordo,


I don't think that we should take an all or nothing approach to biblical inerrancy and literalism. This is what fundamentalist protestants do and, honestly, I think they end up with a view of reality that is simply incoherent. Peace in Christ,

Joe
Thanks for the comments here, Joe. Very informative and expressed well especially the above paragraph.

In Christ,

Porter
Posted By: ebed melech Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/15/06 06:04 PM
Porter,

Respectfully, I disagree.

Actually many of the issues we face in the Church are due to the fact that many biblical theologians, catechists and the faithful have lost touch with patristic methods of exegesis while labelling as "fundamentalist" what is in fact the position of the fathers.

Labels such as these are "thought bombs" that shock, shame and silence, but do not serve thoughtful exegesis or dialogue. They can serve the purpose of making us feel comfortable being dismissive of what is in fact part of the deposit of faith when it is inconvenient or difficult to reconcile with modern views and sympathies.

As for me, I cannot reconcile faith with the notion that Sacred Scripture is not to be trusted to the Church and her teaching authority and Tradition, but rather to exegetical "experts" whose underlying assumptions (some driven by their own philosophical or theological bias, as well as political and career aspirations - hence then Cardinal Ratzinger's suggestion that we should apply the historical-critical methods to the critics themselves!) usually place the burden of proof on the deposit of faith rather than on their wild and presumptuous theories and "demythologizing" tendencies that only undermine the faith.

The Scriptures are - first and foremost - an ecclesiastical text, and, as I have seen argued recently, a liturgical text. Certainly such an approach annihilates many of the tenents of biblical fundamentalism and literalism, but it does not require questioning the inspiration or inerrancy of the text. I would much rather question my own assumptions and interpretive abilities than the text itself, respecting the canonical narrative as received but without imposing on it either fundamentalist or modernist categories of thought. The Scriptures must be read within the context of the Church in general and the Church's worship in particular.

Peace,

Gordo
Posted By: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/15/06 07:03 PM
Gordo, how would you treat the following alleged contradictions?

1.) The buying of the potter's field & death of Judas:

Matthew 27:3f-When Judas, his betrayer, saw that he was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, "I have sinned in betraying innocent blood." They said, "What is that to us? See to it yourself." And throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, take the pieces of silver, said, "It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money." So they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day..."

Acts 1:16f- "Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David, concerning Judas who was guide to those who arrested Jesus, For he was numbered among us, and was allotted his share in this ministry. (Now this man bought a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowls gushed out, and it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)....

2.) The death of Saul

I Samuel 31:4f-Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword, and thrust me through, and make sport of me." But his armorbearer would not; for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. And when his armorbearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword, and died with him..."

II Samuel 1:5f-Then David said to the young man who told him, "How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?" And the young man who told him said, "By chance I happened to be on Mount Giloba and there was Saul leaning upon his spear; and lo, the chariots and the horsemen were close upon him, he saw me, and called to me. And I answered, 'Here I am.' And he said to me, 'Who are you?" I answered him, 'I am an Amalekite.' And he said to me, Stand beside me and slay me; for anguish has seized me, and yet my life still lingers.' So I stood beside him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen..."

These seem like clear contradictions to me. God bless. Peace in Christ,

Joe
Posted By: ebed melech Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/16/06 01:19 AM
Joe,

Since I do not have an answer at the ready for these verses, I will have to do a little research on both of these situations. I will say that whether or not I am personally able to reconcile the passages is immaterial to the question, IMHO, although I will do my level best. It does not change what I have argued as a matter of principle.

God bless,

Gordo
Posted By: Diak Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/16/06 02:55 AM
As my Scripture professor used to say, "The Bible is true but not exact".
FDD
Posted By: Lawrence Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/16/06 03:09 AM
The Douay-Rheims reads "And he indeed hath possessed a field of the reward of iniquity, and being hanged, burst asunder in the midst: and all his bowels gushed out". So there's no discrepancy regarding the manner of how Judas died. As for the potters field, the emphasis appears to be on the words "reward of his iniquity" rather than the 30 pieces of silver.
Posted By: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/16/06 03:29 AM
Quote
Originally posted by Lawrence:
The Douay-Rheims reads "And he indeed hath possessed a field of the reward of iniquity, and being hanged, burst asunder in the midst: and all his bowels gushed out". So there's no discrepancy regarding the manner of how Judas died. As for the potters field, the emphasis appears to be on the words "reward of his iniquity" rather than the 30 pieces of silver.
The Douay Rheims is a translation from the Latin Vulgate, which is not the original Greek. I would be hesitant to take its rendering of the passage at face value. Peace in Christ,

Joe
Posted By: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/16/06 03:32 AM
Quote
Originally posted by Diak:
As my Scripture professor used to say, "The Bible is true but not exact".
FDD
Father Deacon,
And I agree. I have no problem saying that the Bible is true in all that it teaches. But this can include inexactitudes, discrepencies on matters of detail, various accounts of events, etc. peace in Christ,

Joe
Posted By: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/16/06 03:35 AM
Quote
Originally posted by ebed melech:
Joe,

Since I do not have an answer at the ready for these verses, I will have to do a little research on both of these situations. I will say that whether or not I am personally able to reconcile the passages is immaterial to the question, IMHO, although I will do my level best. It does not change what I have argued as a matter of principle.

God bless,

Gordo
Gordo,

Why couldn't the Holy Spirit permit two conflicting stories to both be present in the sacred canonical text if they both had something to teach?

Peace in Christ,
Joe
Posted By: ebed melech Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/16/06 11:13 AM
Quote
Originally posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy:
Quote
Originally posted by ebed melech:
[b] Joe,

Since I do not have an answer at the ready for these verses, I will have to do a little research on both of these situations. I will say that whether or not I am personally able to reconcile the passages is immaterial to the question, IMHO, although I will do my level best. It does not change what I have argued as a matter of principle.

God bless,

Gordo
Gordo,

Why couldn't the Holy Spirit permit two conflicting stories to both be present in the sacred canonical text if they both had something to teach?

Peace in Christ,
Joe [/b]
Joe,

I'm not convinced that the two are in fact "conflicting" accounts - they could be complimentary perspectives on the same event.

For instance - consider these:

The woman says Gordo is my husband. The woman says Gordo is my son. The woman says Gordo is my nephew. The woman says Gordo is my cousin.

How can all these statements be true? Are they contradictory?

The only proper way to interpret this is to understand the context in which these statements were made including their source or witness. Unless I am from West Virginia, the only possible way to reconcile these is to see that the "woman" refers to several women each with their own relational perspective. In court, several witnesses can see the same event while recalling different aspects of it. Often by reconciling the two eye witness accounts, we come up with a more complete picture of what transpired.

For instance, with the account of Judas, is it not possible that he in fact hanged himself from the tree and that either a branch or the rope broke and his decaying corpse fell to the ground, spilling its bowels? It is even more likely if he hung himself from a high place, such as over a cliff. Both statements would then be true, albeit different aspects of the events would be reflected in each account. Again, I need to research this but I use it as an example of how witnesses may approach the same event differently.

Also, timeframes and events are sometimes collapsed or telescoped in the sacred writings. These texts were not written according to modern journalistic standards! We also have to respect the fact that certain phrases or euphemisms might be used that do not in fact translate well into modern languages - not without some effort.

For instance - the account of Noah cursing Canaan. If you read the translated passage, you get the impression that Ham, Noah's son, went into Noah's tent after Noah had too much wine, uncovered his naked body and left him exposed for others to see and then went and bragged about it to his brothers. And for this, Noah woke up with a hangover, saw what Ham had done and then staggered out of the tent and cursed Ham's son, his grandson. (Hangovers cause people to say and do the damndest things...pun intended!)

Makes sense, right? Sure...um not!, unless depanting someone is grounds for having your seed cursed and it is a matter for semi-adolescent bragging in the post-deluvian world! (You could then say "Ham" was the forefather of High School gym antics, I suppose.)

The only way to make sense of this passage is to understand three key elements not related in the account: the garment of blessing, its association with primogeniture and the statement "uncovering his nakedness".

In the patriarchal period, the concept of "blessing" was more than a simple statement after someone sneezed - it represented the transfer of the priestly and patriarchal authority and power to govern the economia of family life, and was usually passed from the father to the firstborn son (usually through the spoken blessing invoking the name of God and the laying on of hands - we can make our own connections to the New Covenant "blessing" of ordination and the transfer of fatherly responsibility). This notion of blessing and primogeniture plays a pivotal role in the unfolding metanarrative of the whole Old Testament (e.g., Esau relinquishing the "blessing" of primogeniture to Isaac the second-born for a bowl of Campbell's soup, thus recapitulating the fall of Adam who lost his blessing to satisfy his appetite through eating - indicating something more is going on in the narrative).

The cloak, coat or "garment" was a symbol of this primogeniture, in the same sense that the garments of royalty are today. (Some of the rabbis, I am told, actually trace the origin of the patriarchal garment to Adam in the garden and the clothing god fashioned out of animal skins for Adam.) This also explains the jealousy of the brothers of Joseph over Jacob's blessing of a "coat of many colors"...were they really that fashion conscious? "Daddy - how come he gets to shop at Abercombie and I have to settle with the Gap?" OR was there something more going on in the narrative tied to the garment of blessing symbolizing that Joseph was to assume the power and authority to rule his brothers. The fact that their betrayal by selling him into slavery in Egypt in fact providentially fulfilled their obedience to Joseph and became a source of blessing for their family...which later ripened into a curse...shows the power of this blessing in the life of Israel.

So how does this relate to the story of Noah?

Ham, who is the second-born goes into his father's tent and "uncovers his nakedness" which is a euphemism that has multiple levels of meaning according to the rabbis.

It could mean: stealing the garment of blessing, castration and sleeping with his wife. All three of these acts would symbolize an attempt to usurp the power of his father, Noah, who had the right and authority to rule. Again, a recapitulation of the Fall. (The more things change, the more they remain the same!) It is quite possible that Ham did all three, but the more likely version is that he did at least two: stole the garment and slept with Noah's wife (aka his mother) which would explain the "curse" of Canaan - the fruit of that incestuous union. Sleeping with the wife of a man (especially a king) was a way to claim power over him, just as David slept with Uriah's wife and his son in his act of rebellion and revolution against his father slept with David's concubines.This explains one of the reasons why the kings of the past have taken umbrage at any of their subjects sleeping with the queen. It was equally an act of rebellion/revolt/treason against the crown.

Ham then went to his brothers - not to "giggle" about the prank that he played on dear old dad - but rather to assert his power over them - "I'm the one in charge, now!". They, of course, promptly quelled the rebellion against their father and restored the garment of blessing to its rightful owner.

The events surrounding Noah's realization of what Ham had done and his eventual curse of the offspring could reflect a telescoped chronology of events - or it could simply be a true prophecy spoken by Noah. All of this, of course, must be seen in the light of the Exodus event (this is being recounted to Israel, after all) and one sees in this account the origin of a people - the canaanites. Any Israelite reading this account would immediately make that connection - from the "cursed seed" of Ham to the usurpers and interlopers in the land of promise who still practice the sinful behaviors of their great, great great, etc etc grandfather!!

My point in relating all of this? Oftentimes biblical narratives present historical events in ways that are both "veiled" in language and do not reflect a chronology of historical events in a way that we would expect from an article in the New York Times (although lately thanks to the NYT's "creative re-writing" of historical events, That probably is not the best example!) Sometimes we have to unpack the meaning of the story that is related to us in the context of the broader narrative, understanding the author's purpose, perspective, use of language, etc etc. Where two accounts are given (for instance the two creation accounts in Genesis and the two acccounts of Saul's death) these principles must be applied to properly reconcile or reconstruct a chronology, although even the chronology of events as related by the author serves the narrative's broader purpose (as seen in the Gospels, including the geneologies of Jesus). This does not change the event character of what occured, but we should not expect that the author is writing like a journalist either.

But I'll research the two accounts you gave me.

Peace,

Gordo
Posted By: Porter Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/16/06 02:52 PM
Quote
Originally posted by Diak:
As my Scripture professor used to say, "The Bible is true but not exact".
FDD
Thanks, Deacon Diak,

Exactly! smile
Posted By: Porter Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/16/06 03:07 PM
Quote
Originally posted by Dr. Eric:
One of those fundamentalist literalist guys was on TV and he showed a Romanian coin with this image on it: wink

[Linked Image]

He then said that this proves that people up until the Middle Ages were still fighting and killing dinosaurs! :p :rolleyes:
Eric, I appreciate this. Doesn't make any historical sense, but it does show how far some will go to make a point! Anyway, just in case someone who may simply lurk a while with us and takes the dinosaur=dragon idea seriously let me reassure them (am an ex-teacher of ancient and medieval history)>> There were no dinosaurs in Ancient Rome nor in the Middle Ages...just mythical dragons depicted in works of art and told in tall tales. Creatures of legend but not fact.

Porter
smile
Posted By: ebed melech Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/16/06 03:09 PM
Quote
Originally posted by Porter:
Quote
Originally posted by Diak:
[b] As my Scripture professor used to say, "The Bible is true but not exact".
FDD
Thanks, Deacon Diak,

Exactly! smile [/b]
Well, again Porter, it depends on what one means by "exact". To say that the "sun rises and sets" is "true" insofar as it reflects what one observes in the sky and so long as you are not trying to assert anything scientific, in which case it would be "inexact".

It appears that you have some interest in this topic. Do you intend to engage in an actual dialogue on the issues or desire to have others make the arguments for you? wink

Gordo
Posted By: Porter Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/16/06 03:18 PM
Quote
Originally posted by ebed melech:
Porter,

Respectfully, I disagree.

Actually many of the issues we face in the Church are due to the fact that many biblical theologians, catechists and the faithful have lost touch with patristic methods of exegesis while labelling as "fundamentalist" what is in fact the position of the fathers.

Labels such as these are "thought bombs" that shock, shame and silence, but do not serve thoughtful exegesis or dialogue. They can serve the purpose of making us feel comfortable being dismissive of what is in fact part of the deposit of faith when it is inconvenient or difficult to reconcile with modern views and sympathies.

As for me, I cannot reconcile faith with the notion that Sacred Scripture is not to be trusted to the Church and her teaching authority and Tradition, but rather to exegetical "experts" whose underlying assumptions (some driven by their own philosophical or theological bias, as well as political and career aspirations - hence then Cardinal Ratzinger's suggestion that we should apply the historical-critical methods to the critics themselves!) usually place the burden of proof on the deposit of faith rather than on their wild and presumptuous theories and "demythologizing" tendencies that only undermine the faith.

The Scriptures are - first and foremost - an ecclesiastical text, and, as I have seen argued recently, a liturgical text. Certainly such an approach annihilates many of the tenents of biblical fundamentalism and literalism, but it does not require questioning the inspiration or inerrancy of the text. I would much rather question my own assumptions and interpretive abilities than the text itself, respecting the canonical narrative as received but without imposing on it either fundamentalist or modernist categories of thought. The Scriptures must be read within the context of the Church in general and the Church's worship in particular.

Peace,

Gordo
Gordo, just read back and found this. Was surprised it was addressed to me in particular. If so...I don't really disagree with what you are expressing here but in my support of Joe's remarks if it seems so..so be it, and I surely did not deny the approach of the Church Fathers, in fact, deeply appreciate them!

I guess I just have a tough time with Protestants who take the bible literally to the point of not searching out what it once meant in order to really understand what it now means and that is the fundamentalist approach I meant.

But... I think you are discussing this mainly with Joe and others...and see it did continue.

I'll leave it at that.

I always appreciate what you have to say.

Respectfully.

Porter
Posted By: ebed melech Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/16/06 03:22 PM
Porter,

Not a problem! These conversations are always multi-directional anyway, especially when the dialogue gets going.

And, BTW, I was just being playful with you in my comments above. I did not intend it to be as sharp a "jab" as it came across! Apologies if I offended!

Blessings,

Gordo
Posted By: Porter Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/16/06 03:26 PM
Quote
Originally posted by ebed melech:
Porter,

Not a problem! These conversations are always multi-directional anyway, especially when the dialogue gets going.

And, BTW, I was just being playful with you in my comments above. I did not intend it to be as sharp a "jab" as it came across! Apologies if I offended!

Blessings,

Gordo
Absolutely no offense. I have enjoyed sort of poking my nose into this one. And, no not entering the dialogue..mainly because what I want to say has been said already..just giving a little support here and there when something rings true.

Peace and blessings,

Mary Jo
Posted By: Joe T Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/16/06 04:10 PM
Quote
Originally posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy:
Why couldn't the Holy Spirit permit two conflicting stories to both be present in the sacred canonical text if they both had something to teach?
Good point, Joe.

I brought this up several times as the reason why there can exist several rites with their own theologies. There are those who wish to combine all of them into one mega-rite (like Tatian's Diatessaron) or choose one over the rest (like Marcion).

Biblical stories also "develop" over time when used again in a different book. Even our Divine Liturgy makes a few changes to the texts used in the Thrice Holy Hymn.

See: https://www.byzcath.org/cgibin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=5;t=000004

Joe
Posted By: ebed melech Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/16/06 04:49 PM
Quote
Originally posted by Joe T:
Quote
Originally posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy:
[b]Why couldn't the Holy Spirit permit two conflicting stories to both be present in the sacred canonical text if they both had something to teach?
Good point, Joe.

I brought this up several times as the reason why there can exist several rites with their own theologies. There are those who wish to combine all of them into one mega-rite (like Tatian's Diatessaron) or choose one over the rest (like Marcion).

Biblical stories also "develop" over time when used again in a different book. Even our Divine Liturgy makes a few changes to the texts used in the Thrice Holy Hymn.

See: https://www.byzcath.org/cgibin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=5;t=000004

Joe [/b]
Joe,

Interesting points. One could say that there might be certain accretions to the original inspired writings (including the insertion of margin notes), or that the writings themselves developed with multiple authors and sources contributing to the text. I certainly would not argue that the text was plunked down from on high intact and in the King James English, no less!

But I would also argue that your anaology needs to be qualified and has limited application. As the principle of non-contradiction states, something cannot both be true and not true at the same time and in the same manner. In matters of theology, things cannot be "true" for one ritual tradition and "false" for another in the same communio. Hence the search for reconciling what may be only apparent opposites based on emphasis, as has been done with the Copts and Armenians, I believe.

In the matter of Sacred Scripture that which is divinely revealed cannot both be true and not true at the same time and in the same manner. (Of course, one also needs to discern precisely what is being asserted as true and factual. I know that there are some who even want to assert that the parables of Jesus are historical events, which is absurd!) And often, as with theological approaches, contradictions are only apparent and not actual. The one difference - and this is essential - is that the writings of SS are divinely "inspired". The dogma of inspiration is a distinct category of a much higher order, exercising a primacy within the context of Christian Tradition.

God bless,

Gordo
Posted By: JonnNightwatcher Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/18/06 07:31 PM
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
Posted By: Dr. Eric Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/18/06 10:53 PM
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

Quote
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.
Quote
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.
Posted By: ebed melech Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/20/06 12:26 PM
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
Posted By: JonnNightwatcher Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/20/06 01:43 PM
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
Posted By: Dr. Eric Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/20/06 07:36 PM
Quote
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...
Posted By: ebed melech Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 10/20/06 08:39 PM
Quote
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
Posted By: Criostoir McAvoy Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 11/05/06 07:49 AM
Quote
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
Posted By: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 11/06/06 05:38 PM
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
Posted By: ebed melech Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 11/06/06 08:03 PM
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
Posted By: Dr. Eric Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 11/06/06 08:32 PM
Quote
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.
Posted By: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 11/06/06 10:48 PM
Quote
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
Posted By: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 11/06/06 10:50 PM
Quote
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
Posted By: JonnNightwatcher Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 11/10/06 02:30 PM
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
Posted By: ebed melech Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 11/11/06 02:58 PM
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
Posted By: bupanishad2012 Re: Calvinists delete Genesis - 11/13/06 08:56 PM
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.
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