quote:Originally posted by Percipient: This is from message 6271 in the old club, Here edited by canonyz:
In his confession, prepared by the Inquisition, Galileo’s crime was identified as, “heretical depravity.” On his knees before the Inquisition he read aloud:
“...I must altogether abandon the false opinion that the Sun is the centre of the world and is immovable, and that the Earth is not the centre of the world and moves ... the said false doctrine ... is contrary to Holy Scripture ...”
This position of the Roman Church was also the Protestant position. Johann Kepler, the great astronomer, was excommunicated from the Lutheran Church on similar grounds.
Is heliocentric theory contrary to holy scripture? Modern creationists seem to think that holy scripture supports Copernicus. Were Church scholars so ignorant? Are creationists today better informed? Exactly what does the Bible say about the universe?
The popular interpretation, I believe, takes unwarranted liberties with the text; is blind to related biblical evidence; discounts classical scholarship; and ignores a wealth of documentation regarding the widely held and well publicized theories of ancient “science.”
[This message has been edited by canonyz (edited 01-24-2001).]
It is often said that the first act of creativity was the appearance of light. Indeed the opening statement of Genesis (1:2) has creation beginning in a dark watery place. This is virtually identical with the cosmogony of the Sumerians; a cosmogony wholly accepted by the entire ancient Middle East, including Akkadia, Assyria, and Babylonia. The New Testament writer, Saint Peter (2 Peter 3:5), confirms this suggestion with a statement commonly translated:
"heavens...and an earth formed out of water..." Revised Standard Version.
"God...used the waters to form the earth..." Living Bible.
"...earth was formed...out of water..." Jerusalem Bible.
The Egyptians said that the god Atum "came into being of himself" among the primeval waters and created air and moisture which created earth and sky. This does not, of course, address where the water came from. What it does show is that ancient "science" held water as the primeval element from which all else was made. This idea was accepted by some Greek philosophers including Thales of Miletus (circa 600 BC).
Today we think of the primeval element as hydrogen.
Which is it, my creationist friends? And furthermore, where is the scriptural suggestion that the universe was created from "nothing."?
The first act of creativity, according to Genesis 1:3, is the creation of light. "God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light." (RSV) This occurs three days before God said, "Let there be lights..." vs 14 (i.e. sun, moon and stars)
God separates the light from the darkness and calls the light: Day. This is Day Light. Could it be stated more clearly? Yet modern creationists speculate that it is actually Sunlight. In so doing they reveal that they are unaware of the ancient cosmology represented here. In fact, there was once considerable debate on the nature of daylight. Many saw it as a separate reality, a phenomenon apart from sunlight.
One religious cult of Sumeria (circa 2000 BC) proposed that it was the goddess Inanna (planet Venus) which ushered daylight into the sky. Ancient Roman mythology credited Lucifer (planet Venus) with this task. Indeed the word itself means Bearer of Light. Venus, once thought to be a different "star," was credited with ushering daylight from the sky after the sun "went down." The Greeks, recognizing that both phenomena (morning and evening stars) were one and the same, called the "star" Phosphoros (light bearer), aka "the bright morning star" (ho aster lampros proinos).
In view of the animosity which Judaism often displayed toward sun worship, it should not surprise us that The Light, associated with God Himself, was never, biblically, identified with the sun.
By 600 BC, Babylonian "scientists" had offered convincing proof that daylight is a result of scattered sunlight in the atmosphere. The Book of Genesis, compiled sometime later, chose to ignore this bit of "science" in favor of the older, traditional, view that the light of day is the light of God's presence. In that opinion, daylight is entirely unrelated to the sun-god of Babylon.
God separates the Light from the darkness and calls the darkness Night. "And there was evening and there was morning, one day." vss. 4,5 (RSV)
This definition of the time period, "one day," precludes the modern interpretation of the Hebrew term "YOM" to be an epoch of undermined length. Creationists attempt to apply this definition to the creation story alone, but allow it to mean what it says elsewhere in scripture.
In fact, the formula: There was evening and there was morning, X day; is repeated for each of the six days of creation. Apart from a desire to align the Bible with modern cosmogony, there is no reason to doubt that the narrative means exactly what it says.
It seems to me that the question is not so much, What does the Bible say?; but rather, Why does the Bible say it? A study of the evolution of science provides numerous clues in answer to this question.