Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Young Earth Creationism Tome

In an upcoming post, I will examine whether the Bible and science teach that the earth is "young." By young I mean thousands of years old as opposed to millions or billions, the latter being the near-universally accepted age of earth. I have diligently researched the creation-evolution controversy for about 29 months.

The most notable views on the issue are young earth creationism, old earth creationism (including progressive creationism, day age creationism, and gap creationism), theistic evolutionism, and atheistic evolutionism. One of the most popular old-earth views among today’s faithful is the literary framework hypothesis, an allegorical interpretation. Atheistic evolutionism is not tenable and is not worth a moment’s consideration at this point.

I will examine in detail the teaching of the Bible, the Church Fathers, and the Magisterium to see whether they testify to the literal, historical truth of Genesis 1-11 as the definitive account of the beginning of the world of creatures. I will examine geology and other branches of science and take a look at the explanations of the available scientific evidence from multiple viewpoints and conclude once and for all which view explains it most parsimoniously. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

God is Truly All-Loving

1. God is truly all-loving, for "God is love" [1 Jn 4:16]. St. John the Theologian also records the saying of Christ in Jn 3:16: "For God so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting." In Wisdom 11:25, the inspired author addresses God as follows: "For Thou lovest all things that are, and hatest none of the things which Thou hast made: for Thou didst not appoint, or make any thing hating it." The Angelic Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas, the prince of theologians, proved that God cannot literally hate anything as we sinful humans do since His will "cannot be inclined to evil;" in other words, because He ""wills the good of everything.".{1}

2. Nevertheless, we seem to encounter a difficulty when we read passages that say God hates certain persons and things. This, however, is a figurative hatred. St. Thomas says that because God loves things and wills "their good to be," He "wills their evil not to be", and so God says He hates evil things in the sense of wishing them "not to be."{2} Thus we read in Zech 8:17: "And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his friend: and love not a false oath: for all these are the things that I hate, saith the Lord." Secondly, God "hates" by "wishing some greater good, which cannot be without the privation of a lesser good."{3} This is the meaning of passages like Sir 12:7: "For thou shalt receive twice as much evil for all the good thou shalt have done to him: for the Highest also hateth sinners, and will repay vengeance to the ungodly."

Notes & References
{1} Aquinas, St. Thomas (Doctor Angelicus). "Book I, Article 96: That God hates nothing." Trans. Joseph Rickaby, S.J., M.A. Summa Contra Gentiles: Of God and His Creatures. London: Burnes and Oates, 1905. 18 Apr. 2007 <http://www2.nd.edu/Departments/Maritain/etext/gc1_96.htm>.
{2} Ibid.
{3} Ibid.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Atheistic Moral Realism

Atheistic moral realism is untenable, as Dr. William Lane Craig shows in Philosophical Foundations For a Christian Worldview. He argues in the following way. Moral values must be mere abstractions in the paradigm of atheistic moral realism, but this is not an adequate foundation in reality. There's no real ground for duties, unlike in theism, and so there would be no moral obligations. It is not plausible that creatures would just evolve in a Dawkins-type "blind watchmaker" process and correspond to an abstract moral realm. Now for a moral system to be tenable, it must have accountability. However, atheistic moral realism has no true moral accountability. It reduces to nihilism because with no afterlife (in which we have one of two everlasting fates with either our will immutably fixed on good or immutably fixed on evil) it does not matter how we act on earth. Self-interest can't be the grounds for accountability because self-interest often contradicts morality.

What Does the Bible Really Teach?: Michael the Archangel

Mirror link

MYTH
Jesus and Michael the Archangel are the same person

Appendix 218: Who is Michael the Archangel?
The spirit creature called Michael is not mentioned often in the Bible. However, when he is referred to, he is in action. In the book of Daniel, Michael is battling wicked angels; in the letter of Jude, he is disputing with Satan; and in Revelation, he is waging war with the Devil and his demons. By defending Jehovah's rulership and fighting God's enemies, Michael lives up to the meaning of his name—"Who is Like God?" But who is Michael?
The first sentence is correct. St. Michael is a spirit creature and he is only explicitly mentioned four times in the Bible. In the past St. Michael came to the Archangel Gabriel's aid [(1) Dan 10:13] and quarreled with Satan over St. Moses' body [(2) Jude 9]. In the future (probably in the early 24th century [Dan 9:24,27; Mt 24:37]), St. Michael will stand up on behalf of God's children when the Antichrist appears [(3) Dan 12] and throw him to the ground when he tries to ascend to Heaven [Dan 8:25] and become victorious over Satan in a battle in Heaven [(4) Rev 12:7]. St. Michael may be the cherub who kept vigil at the gates of Eden (the terrestrial paradise where the curse of original sin entered the world with the serpent's help) [Gen 3:24]. He could also be the angel who killed 185,000 troops in the Assyrian King Sennacherib's army in their sleep [2 Ki 19:35], the angel who stood in Balaam's way [Nu 22:22], and the angel through whom God decided to publish the Ten Commandments.
At times, individuals are known by more than one name. For example, the patriarch Jacob is known as Israel, and the apostle Peter, as Simon. (Genesis 49:1,2; Matthew 10:2) Likewise, the Bible indicates that Michael is another name for Jesus Christ, before and after his life on earth. Let us consider Scriptural reasons for drawing that conclusion.
Archangel. God's Word refers to Michael "the archangel." (Jude 9) This term means "chief angel." Notice that Michael is called the archangel. This suggests that there is only one such angel. In fact, the term "archangel" occurs in the Bible only in the singular, never in the plural. Moreover, Jesus is linked with the office of archangel. Regarding the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Thessalonians 4:16 states: "The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel's voice." Thus the voice of Jesus is described as being that of an archangel. This scripture therefore suggests that Jesus himself is the archangel Michael.
St. Basil the Great of Caesarea (Church Doctor), Salmeron, and Cardinal St. Robert Bellarmine (Church Doctor) believed that St. Michael is the single highest angel, whereas St. Aquinas (Church Doctor) ranks him as the prince of the lowest angelic order, the angels. In any case, there are actually seven archangels [Tobit 12:15] and so St. Michael is not the only archangel. "The" (definite article) is used in Jude 9 simply because St. Michael is one particular archangel out of several (implied by the indefinite article "an" in 1 Thess 4:16 and explicitly stated in Dan 10:13 and Tobit 12:15). St. Michael does not rebuke demons but leaves that responsibility to the Lord [Jude 9], and Jesus is the Lord Who fulfills that role [Mt 12:28; Mk 1:34]. Why does the writer call Jesus Lord in the penultimate sentence if the Lord is one [Dt 6:4] and Jesus is supposedly not God? Of course, he is forced to because he must submit to St. Paul's teaching that Jesus Christ is Lord [1 Cor 8:6]. Since Jesus Christ is Lord, the Father is Lord, and there is only one Lord [Is 45:5-6], then Jesus and the Father are truly one [Jn 10:30] in the sense of being consubstantial (of the same substance, of the same essence) and therefore just as the Father is God, Jesus is God. Since God was not created and Jesus is God, Jesus is not a creature! Since Jesus is not a creature and St. Michael is a spirit creature, Jesus is not St. Michael the archangel! Now, Jesus is omniscient, as is the plain meaning of Colossians 2:3's affirmation that in Jesus "are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Since Jesus is omniscient and no angel is omniscient, Jesus is not St. Michael the archangel! The rhetorical question of Heb 1:5—"to which of the angels did He ever say: 'You are My Son; today, I have become Your Father'?"—has the answer "none." Heb 1:6 says, "Let all God's angels worship Him." Worship in the sense of latria is to be paid to God alone, not an angel who is a creature and not Creator, so Jesus is to be worshiped as God by all the faithful. Now the writer, by virtue of being a Jehovah's Witness, professes that Jesus is Lord by his participation in the divine dominion as God's first and foremost creature, but this does not suffice. Since God alone naturally (not by grace) possesses the glory of happiness, one cannot call any creature "the Lord of glory." God, "The Lord of mighty deeds, He is the king of glory" [Ps 23:10] and so when 1 Cor 2:8 says "had they known, never could they have crucified the Lord of glory," He who was crucified is God, and so Jesus is God, thus Jesus is not a creature, thus Jesus is not St. Michael the archangel.

According to St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica We can carefully say that Christ as man is creature when "man" is added as a predicate in the reduplication covering the term signifying the nature and not the suppositum. Christ is incorporeal and impassible in his Godhead and is corporeal and passible in His manhood . Contrary to the heretical teaching of Nestorius, St. John Damascene speaks the truth of the Catholic Faith when he says Christ has but one hypostasis (suppositum) which is uncreated in its Godhead and created in its manhood.

Page 219:
Army Leader. The Bible states that "Michael and his archangels battled with the dragon … and its angels." (Revelation 12:7) Thus, Michael is the Leader of an army of faithful angels. Revelation also describes Jesus as the Leader of an army of faithful angels. (Revelation 19:14-16) And the apostle Paul specifically mentions "the Lord Jesus" and "his powerful angels." (2 Thessalonians 1:7; Matthew 16:27; 24:31; 1 Peter 3:22) So the Bible speaks of both Michael and "his angels" and Jesus and "his angels." (Matthew 13:41) Since God's Word nowhere indicates that there are two armies of faithful angels in heaven—one headed by Michael and one headed by Jesus—it is logical to conclude that Michael is none other than Jesus Christ in his heavenly role.*

*More information showing that the name Michael applies to God's Son is found in Volume 2, pages 393-4, of Insight on the Scriptures, published by Jehovah's Witnesses.
The above replies conclusively prove that Jesus cannot be an angel in the first place, much less St. Michael the archangel.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Invincible Argument for Filioque

MYTH
John 15:26 proves that the Holy Spirit only proceeds through Christ temporally

This is how St. Thomas Aquinas argues in Summa Contra Gentiles: The Son says that He sends the Holy Spirit: "When the Paraclete cometh, Whom I will send you from the Father" [Jn 15:26]. My Orthodox brethren agree that the Holy Ghost is True God; thus, the Son has authority not of dominion (e.g. a king rules over a land), superiority (e.g. John is holier than Jack), or seniority (e.g . a general is ranked higher than a colonel), but of origin. Therefore it is undeniable that the Holy Ghost is sent by (proceeds from) the Son and not only the Father.