Thursday, February 28, 2013

“The secularization of society is progressing with great speed ... especially in the West"


 
 
Atheist Nobel prize winner mourns Pope's retirement
 
 
.- An atheist Peruvian author has praised the spiritual and intellectual stature of Pope Benedict XVI and said that his departure is a loss for the cultural and spiritual life of the world.
“I don’t know why Benedict XVI’s abdication has been such a surprise,” said Mario Vargas Llosa, a Nobel laureate in literature and a self-proclaimed atheist opposed to the moral teachings of the Church.
“Although it is unusual, it was not unpredictable,” he said of the Holy Father’s announcement earlier this month that he would be resigning on Feb. 28 due to advanced age and declining strength.
“You could tell just by looking at how fragile he was and how lost he seemed among the crowds in which his office required that he immerse himself,” Vargas Llosa said in a column published by the Spanish daily El Pais.
The Peruvian author observed that the Holy Father’s “profound and unique reflections were based on his enormous theological, philosophical, historical and literary knowledge, acquired in the dozen classic and modern languages he commanded.”
While they were “always conceived within Christian orthodoxy,” the Pope’s “books and encyclicals often went beyond the strictly dogmatic and contained novel and bold reflections on the moral, cultural and existential problems of our times,” Vargas Llosa reflected.
He went on to note that Benedict XVI’s papacy spanned “one of the most difficult periods that Christianity has faced in its more than 2000 year history.”
“The secularization of society is progressing with great speed,” he said, “especially in the West, the citadel of the Church until relatively just a few decades ago.”
“Benedict XVI,” Vargas Llosa added, “was the first Pope to ask forgiveness for the sexual abuse that has taken place in Catholic schools and seminaries, to meet with victims’ associations.”
The Holy Father also convened “the first Church conference devoted to listening to the testimonies of the victims themselves and to establishing norms and rules to prevent such evils from occurring again in the future,” he said.
It would therefore be a mistake to celebrate the Pontiff’s resignation “as a victory of progress and freedom,” the author explained.
“He not only represented the conservative tradition of the Church, but also its greatest legacy: that of the high and revolutionary classic and renaissance culture that, let us not forget, the Church preserved and spread through its convents, libraries and seminaries.”


....

Taken from: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/atheist-nobel-prize-winner-mourns-popes-retirement/

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

U.S. Creationists Not Happy With AMAIC'S Genesis Model





A colleague from Missouri wrote:

Hi, Damien -

Not all your readers find very persuasive your case against a global Flood.

[See http://westerncivilisationamaic.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/what-exactly-is-creation-science.html]

Here are a few thoughts from two American Catholic creationists.

Blessings,

    ....









 
....
 
Here's my take:
RS: The Greek of Acts 2:5 means, of the nations that had Jews living in them, all of them were gathered in Jerusalem. It is not including any region of Earth that did not contain Jews. So this context is not the same as Genesis 6-9.
Mackey will need to prove that the expression “all the earth” cannot apply to the whole earth. He will not be able to do so since the Bible uses such expressions in both local and global ways.
More significant is 2 Peter 3:5, which compares the earth completely covered by water at the creation in Genesis 1:1-2 with the flood of Noah’s day that will once again cover the Earth completely with water. The Greek di means “between,” and thus tells us that the Earth was surrounded by water (i.e., water covered the entire spherical circumference). Since creation is global, so is the flood.
It then compares the judgment by fire of the whole earth with the judgment of the whole earth in Noah’s day. Since the fire is global, so is the flood
There is no suggestion that an of these three events: (1) creation water over the earth, (2) judgment fire on the earth at the last day, (3) Noah’s flood, are merely local events.
Genesis 7:19-20 says that the water rose 15 cubits higher than the highest mountain, which is about 300 feet. Whatever the height of the highest mountain, the laws of physics say that water seeks the lowest point and assumes the shape of its container. Water could never reach a height of 300 feet over a mountain locally, since the water would always seek a lower point somewhere on the earth, no matter how far it extended. The only way Genesis 7:19-20 could be accomplished is by a worldwide deluge, not to mention that the same fossils that are found in the Mesopotamian region are found in the Americas, Australia and the Far East.
The proposition that the Garden of Eden was sitting on sedimentary rocks has no evidence to support it. Genesis doesn’t hint to such a circumstance. The only mention of rare earths or elements is Gen 2:12 (gold, bdellium, onyx stone), but these are speaking of what is there as of the writing of Genesis by Moses, not necessarily what was there in the time of the Garden of Eden. Even if they were existing during the time of Eden, gold is a naturally occurring element, not a sediment. Bdellium is the product of tree. The only possibility of something built by layers is the onyx, but that is a quick crystallization process, not a sedimentary process.
The other instance is the use of bronze and iron at the time of Gen 4:22, but these are either naturally occurring elements or forged mixtures of elements, not sediments.
As for the four rivers, flood waters would not necessarily erase the elongated earthen cavity that holds river water. In fact, the exceeding pressure from water that is a mile or two high (as in our oceans) preserves rather than destroys. Once the mile or two of water is removed, the cavity that held the river remains. The only way the cavity would not be present after a flood is if the flood waters were in great turbulence and literally broke up the cavity, but that requires proof of some great turbulence, not assumption.
 
....
 

And
In a message dated 2/23/2013 8:45:49 P.M. Eastern Standard Time .... :

....


....

I don't know how Damien can argue that he is able to interpret Genesis better than ALL of the Fathers of the Church, especially since the geological evidence fits perfectly well with a global Flood and a post-Flood Ice Age. It seems extremely arrogant to think that the Fathers were incapable of interpreting the Scriptures that refer to the Flood correctly and that we needed the speculations of anti-Catholic scientists like Darwin and Lyell to interpret them aright!
....







 


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On Christ and Krishna Resemblance




See earlier post: India's God Krishna Was the King of Jerusalem!

----------------------------------------


Nice work comparing Krishna with Christ, but be careful. I have spent decades arguing against non-Christians who use the fact, that many “pagan” gods so closely resemble Christ, to insist that Christianity is a mere “copy-cat” religion and that Jesus Christ is just another in a long line of similar “false” gods. Apollo, Baal, Attis, Adonis, Dionysus, Horus, Osiris, Thor, … etc. the list goes on and on.
The obvious answer to this half-baked argument is, of course, that Christianity is an extension of the oldest, most widely known religion on Earth. The Hebrews were in contact with many ancient nations, all of whom were descendants of Noah. The religion of the Hebrews was known to be true, and was consequently very influential upon their contacts. The religion that promised the Messiah was presumably known world wide.
Many years before the birth of Christ there was a long list of expected messianic attributes and deeds that were outlined in the Scriptures. The Hebrews were well aware of what to look out for in anticipation of his arrival, they knew exactly what to expect. They had an Ideal, with benchmarks, in mind and there were numerous pretenders to Messiah-ship that had to be assessed to see if they fit the model. Wherever the Israelites went, all the lands into which they wandered or were scattered, they brought this model, their concept of what the Messiah would be like, with them. Thereby the savior gods and heroes of many nations and religions were influenced by the Israelite notion of the Messiah.
If you can keep this in mind, then you might like to read the following two articles that have a direct relevance to the Krishna/Christ resemblance;
 
 
 
John R. Salverda

Sunday, February 24, 2013

What Exactly is Creation Science?

 
 
“The time has come to move beyond Creation Science”, announces Protestant pastor and author Tim Martin in Beyond Creation Science. “How many Christian conservatives would have looked at The Genesis Flood [by John Whitcomb and Henry Morris] a little more carefully”, he writes, “if they were aware up front of its Adventist roots?”

And Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno (S.J.), quoted as saying that ‘creationism is a kind of paganism’ - though he denies having said that exactly, but something akin to it - has answered this question:

The National Academy of Sciences states that creationism doesn’t belong in the classroom. Do you agree?,

with

That’s what the Catholic Church has been saying all along. After the law was passed in Kansas [forbidding teaching of evolution in schools], the only place you could learn about evolution was in a Catholic school. Creationism isn’t science; it’s theology. And in fact most religious people aren’t creationists. That’s an incredibly naïve understanding of religion.

Consolmagno’s comments have prompted Michael Fishwick, a writer for the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation - a Catholic lay apostolate promoting creationism - to entitle a response: “Kolbe Center for the Study of Paganism!?”

And, to the question:

What is ‘creationism’anyway?

Consolmagno replies:

There are different flavors to it. In the U.S. context, if it’s “Do you believe God created the universe?” – I think most Western believers would say yes. But creationists have a creed that the Bible is literally true; Genesis is a blow-by-blow description of what God did at the beginning. That’s not how Genesis was written; it’s a very flawed understanding of how to read the Bible.
It’s also kind of peculiar, because there are three different creation stories [sic?] in the Bible, so which is true?

Even more strongly critical is Tim Martin again (who used to espouse creationism), when he calls Creation Science “a right-wing form of modernism”:

We live in a world dominated by materialism and scientism. The reduction of every aspect of life to“science” has corrupted the soul of Western Civilization. This is one key to understanding the related popularity of both futurism and Creation Science. They are both perfectly compatible with the scientistic spirit of the modern age. In fact, dispensational futurism, at least, is impossible apart from it. Christians aid this scientistic syncretism through Creation Science methods of reading Scripture. They do it by reducing even the language of the Bible to the“scientific.”[1]Viewed in this light it is not difficult to see that Creation Science ideology is a right-wing form of modernism. Conrad Hyers puts it this way:
Even if evolution is only a scientific theory of interpretation posing as scientific fact, as the [young-earth] creationists argue, [young-earth] creationism is only a religious theory of biblical interpretation posing as biblical fact. To add to the problem, it is a religious theory of biblical interpretation which is heavily influenced by modern scientific, historical, and technological concerns. It is, therefore, essentially modernistic even though claiming to be truly conservative.[2]

Catholics (those tending to be of the conservative variety) who have followed Creationism over the years would be well aware that mainstream Catholic scholars have shown virtually no interest whatsoever in its teachings, and that official Catholic documents never seem to support Creation Science.
Why is this so?
Surely Creation Science, teaching a belief in God the Creator of all things, and vehemently defending the inerrancy of the Sacred Scriptures, ought to be warmly welcomed by the Church as an invaluable ally.
On the other hand, the God-fearing are not always right in their estimations, no matter how sincere, and they may need to be corrected. Consider Our Lord’s constant corrections of good people when using the phrase, “You have heard it said … but I tell you”. Some traditions, even those of very long standing, need correcting. The conservative friends of Job had to be awoken from their dogmatic slumber and traditional views about the Divine and retribution. So was the case with the Apostles in regard to the blind man (John 9:3).
In more recent times, much of the misalignment of ancient history with the Bible is due to well-intentioned early archaeologists and historians who had tried to co-ordinate the era of Abraham with the civilisation of Ur famously being excavated by Sir Leonard Woolley. This was on the basis of biblical testimonies (e.g. Genesis 11:31; 15:7) that Abram (Abraham) had been called by God out of Ur of the Chaldeans (generally associated with the famous city of Ur in southern Mesopotamia). Thus they applied to the famous Ur III civilisation a date of commencement of c. 2000 BC, when Abraham lived. This was a disastrous presumption. And so was the choice by François Champollion of the Libyan pharaoh Shoshenq I as the biblical pharaoh “Shishak” who sacked king Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 14:25; 2 Chronicles 12:1-12). Despite the name similarity, this Libyan pharaoh never attacked Jerusalem (as even those who support this identification will admit). This supposed biblically-based pillar of Egyptian history, which stands immovable to this day, has been a disaster for biblical history.
So may it be, likewise, that Creation Science, though a generally sincere and well-intentioned effort to uphold orthodoxy, truth and religion, might have quite missed the mark, leading to chaos, and hence needs to be corrected? That is the view that will be taken here, that it is now time to move beyond Creation Science, as author Tim Martin has said. That does not mean, however, that we accept the criticisms of Brother Guy Consolmagno, who may be associated with Teilhardian-inclined evolutionary-minded colleagues, nor that we espouse evolution. Creation Science has turned this upside down. And, on this very last point, we should like to mention a fascinating article produced by the Kolbe Center and Robert Sungenis, which, if correct, could have explosive consequences for Catholic thinking. The article is called:

"Evolution More than a Hypothesis" Never Said By Pope John Paul II


Dismantling the ‘scientific’ pillars of Creationism

Assuredly, Creation Science is built largely upon the assumption of a global Flood and its geology, but also to some extent upon a ‘science’ of a Six Days of Creation. As we shall see, the methodology is artificial because the approach is entirely ‘Procrustean’, forcing all the data to conform to the a priori concept. It is exactly like the approach to reality of the highly theoretical physical scientists, many of whom are not believers.
The concept of a global Flood has arisen from the universal language of the Flood narratives as read in translation, without a proper appreciation of the original language, of antiquity, of the Middle East, or of ancient scribal methods.
Geologist professor Carol A. Hill tells of into what sort of a scientific bind the global Flood model places its proponents when she writes (“The Noachian Flood: Universal or Local?” http://www.csun.edu/~vcgeo005/Carol%201.pdf.):

Biblical Evidence

One of the basic tenants of many biblical literalists (creation scientists) is that Noah’s Flood was a universal phenomenon—that is, flood waters covered the entire planet Earth up to at least the height of Mount Ararat, which is ~17,000 feet (5000 m) in elevation. Corollary to this view is the position held by flood geologists—that most of the Earth’s sedimentary rocks and fossils were deposited during the deluge of Noah as described in Genesis 6–8. To explain this universal flood, flood geologists usually invoke the canopy theory, which hypothesizes that water was held in an immense atmospheric canopy and subterranean deep between the time of Creation and Noah’s Flood. Then, at the time of the Flood, both of these water sources were suddenly released in a deluge of gigantic, Earth-covering proportions. Along with this catastrophic hydrologic activity, there was a major geologic change in the crust of the Earth: modern mountain ranges rose, sea bottoms split open, and continents drifted apart and canyons were cut with amazing speed. All animals and plants died and became encased in flood sediments, and then these fossil-bearing sediments became compacted into sedimentary rock. There are modifications of the canopy scheme, such as the “ice-lens,” “greenhouse,” “invisible,” and “visible”canopies … but essentially the canopy theory claims that waters released during Noah’s Flood caused all (or most) of the sedimentary and geomorphic features we see today on planet Earth.

[End of quote]
Now, just because we are going to argue that Creation Science is not genuine science does not mean that we do not appreciate the great work done by its many contributors over the years, nor do we reject all of its conclusions. It has turned evolutionary geology on its head. Just as we do not accept many of the conclusions of conventional science, even though we sometimes find that scientists have better interpreted biblical hermeneutics, re Genesis, than have some of the Christians. In the past we have written in regard to this anomalous situation:

… there sometimes occurs the ironical – even humorous – situation whereby agnostic scientists will occasionally call for a more enlightened exegetical approach to Genesis than do the upholders of the biblical tradition; whereas the latter will at times arrive at a more accurate interpretation of the scientific data than do their scientific opponents.

Professor Hill now tells of the scientific bind for those who uphold a global Flood:

Scientific Evidence

Geologic Evidence

No geologic evidence whatsoever exists for a universal flood, flood geology, or the canopy theory. Modern geologists, hydrologists, paleontologists, and geophysicists know exactly how the different types of sedimentary rock form, how fossils form and what they represent, and how fast the continents are moving apart (their rates can be measured by satellite). They also know how flood deposits form and the geomorphic consequences of flooding.….

Flood Geology. In addition to a lack of any real geological evidence for flood geology,
there are also no biblical verses that support this hypothesis. The whole construct of flood geology is based on the original assumption that the Noachian Flood was universal and covered the whole Earth. Since the Flood was supposedly worldwide, then there must be evidence in the geologic record left by it. Since the only massive sediments on Earth are those tied up in sedimentary rocks, and because these rocks often contain fossils, this must be the “all flesh” (Gen. 7:21) record left by Noah’s Flood. And since sedimentary rock can be found on some of the highest peaks in the world (including Everest, the highest), then these mountains must have formed during and after the Flood. The “leaps of logic” build one on top of another until finally, as the result of this cataclysmic event, almost all of the geomorphic and tectonic features present on the planet Earth (e.g., canyons, caves, mountains, continents) are attributed by flood geologists to the Noachian Flood.
Does the Bible actually say anything about mountains rising during the Flood? No, but it does say that mountains and hills were in place before the Flood (Gen. 7:19, 8:4). Does the Bible say anything about sedimentary rock, fossils, or drifting continents? Not
one word. All of these things are read into the Bible from a centuries-past interpretation of it. Most important from a literalist perspective, it can be shown from the Bible (Gen. 2:10–14; Gen. 6:14) that the four rivers of Eden flowed over, and cut into, sedimentary rock strata; that the pre-Flood landscape was a modern one (similar to the present-day landscape; that is, overlying sedimentary rock); and that the bitumen (pitch) used by Noah to caulk the ark was derived from hydrocarbon-rich sedimentary rock. …. Therefore, sedimentary rock must have existed before the Flood.
The Bible itself never claims that all of the sedimentary rock on Earth formed at the time of the Noachian Flood— only flood geologists make this claim.
[End of quote]

We, like Tim Martin, had once favoured the notion of a global Flood but then (fairly recently) dropped the idea. Our own point of departure from this model occurred when we came to search for the location of Paradise and realised that the ancient world of Adam and Eve, the world of Genesis 2, was structured around the four rivers Pishon, Gihon, Tigris and Euphrates; rivers that editor Moses connected with real locations in his own day (e.g. Kush and Ashur) (and still active more than a millennium later, in Sirach’s day, Ecclesiasticus 24:25-27). In other words, there was a continuity between the antediluvian and post-diluvian worlds, contrary to global floodists, who posit a Flood so massive that no trace whatsoever of the former world could have remained.
Along with this was an archaeology in Mesopotamia that revealed a Cain-ite world, destroyed by a great flood, and then a recommencement of that world. For a full explanation of all this, see our

THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA


The biblical evidence for the basic ‘shell’, at least, of the Adamic world still being with us even today has devastating effects for global floodism. This, so well explained by Carol Hill (though we reject her location for Eden), effectively sounds the death knell to creationist geology:
The Garden of Eden: A Modern Landscape


In this paper, I try to apply the findings of modern geology to Gen. 2:10-14. I deduce from the evidence that the four rivers of Eden--the Pishon, the Gihon, the Hiddekel [Tigris], and the Euphrates--were real rivers which existed on a modern landscape before Noah's flood. …. Oil-drilling in southern Iraq confirms that six miles of sedimentary rock exist below the biblical site for the Garden of Eden. This same sedimentary rock is the source of bitumen at Hit, a site which may have supplied Noah with pitch for constructing the ark. The question is asked: How could pre-flood Eden have been located over six miles of sedimentary rock supposedly formed during Noah's flood?
….

Implications for Flood Geology

So far in this paper, I have argued that the Bible locates the Garden of Eden at the confluence of the four rivers of ancient Mesopotamia. The Bible correctly identifies the Pishon River as draining the land of Havilah (Arabia), from whence came gold, bdellium, and onyx stone. The Bible also correctly identifies the Euphrates and Tigris, both of which are modern rivers which drain approximately the same area of Mesopotamia as they did in ancient times. The Gihon …. not positively identified [AMAIC: we do not accept Hill’s location of this river in Iran, it was clearly in Ethiopia, Kush]is probably the Karun (and/or Karkheh), which "encompasses" (winds around) the whole land of Cush (western Iran). Thus, the Bible locates the Garden of Eden …. on a modern landscape similar to that which exists … today.
Six Miles of Sedimentary Rock Below Eden

This interpretation of the Garden of Eden as existing on a modern landscape presents a major conflict between what the Bible says and what flood geologists say.67 The reason is this: there are six miles of sedimentary rock beneath the Garden of Eden/Persian Gulf. How could Eden, which existed in pre-flood times, be located oversix miles of sedimentary rock supposedly deposited during Noah's flood? What flood geologists are implying is that the Garden of Eden existed on a Precambrian crystalline basement and then Noah's flood came and covered up the Garden of Eden with six miles of sedimentary rock. But this is not what the Bible says. It says that Eden was located where the four rivers confluenced on a modern landscape. It says that the Garden of Eden was located on top ofsix miles of sedimentary rock, and thus this sedimentary rock must have existed in pre-flood times.

[The Bible] says that the Garden of Eden was located on top of six miles
of sedimentary rock, and thus this sedimentary rock must have existed
in pre-flood times.




The fact that six miles of sedimentary rock exist beneath the Persian Gulf area is well known by geologists, since this area has been extensively drilled for oil, down to the Precambrian basement. The fact that the Persian Gulf is located in an area of oil recovery is equally as evident to the layperson who, in 1991, witnessed on television the numerous oil fires set off in Kuwait during the Gulf War. The six miles of sedimentary rock below the Garden of Eden area include Tertiary, Cretaceous, Jurassic, Triassic, and Paleozoic rock up to a depth of about 32,000 feet before the Precambrian basement is encountered.68
….
[End of quote]

Whilst we would definitely agree with Hill and Martin that the biblical Flood was local rather than global, our own view, unlike theirs, is that it was not confined just to the region of Mesopotamia, where Hill has the confluence of the four Genesis rivers (in the Persian Gulf), but that it extended right through at least the Fertile Crescent, from Mesopotamia, through Palestine, to Egypt/Ethiopia– where we believe the Gihon river ran. According to Hill, this could not have been the case, because the Flood did not reach even unto Jericho (let alone Egypt and Ethiopia). Thus she writes (The Noachian Flood):

Archaeological Evidence
There is also no archaeological evidence for a universal flood. No flood deposits correlative with those in Mesopotamia have been found in Egypt, Syria, or Palestine, let alone in other parts of the world more distant from the Middle East. Archaeological mounds in Syria and Palestine (such as Jericho), which exhibit fairly continuous occupation since at least 4500 BC, show no signs of a great flood. ….
That the Flood did not extend even to the land of Israel is alluded to in Ezek. 22:24: “a land [Israel] … nor rained upon in the day of indignation [day of God’s judgment by the Flood].” ….
[End of quote]
How Local Was the Local Flood?

Is she right here? And, if the biblical Flood was not global, then how far did it extend?
Professor Hill has optimistically made Ezekiel 22:24 above indicate that the Noachic Flood did not extend even to the land of Israel. Whether it did or not, the prophet Ezekiel in this passage is saying nothing of the sort. Far from the prophet’s words being meant to be a blessing, insofar as Israel was saved from a catastrophe, Ezekiel is foretelling (like Amos and others) that the blessing of rain will be withheld from Israel “in the day of indignation”,because of its sin; this being a terrible blow to an agricultural people.
Now it is our conviction that the Flood extended right across the entire Fertile Crescent, the world of the four rivers of Genesis 2. This is the only world that the Bible has given us up to Genesis 6-8, and so it must be “the world that then was” of St. Peter (2 Peter 3:6), that was destroyed by the Flood. So our local model is far vaster than are the typical local models. How else to explain that Jerusalem was once under the ocean? (“Diggings" (December 1994, Vol. 10, No. 12), "Why Hezekiah's Tunnel Has the Bends" (p.5):

….
A geologist may have the answer … an Israeli geologist, Dan Gill, has done some research on the matter and has come up with some very plausible explanations.
Dan identifies two types of rock in the tunnel area -- limestone and dolomite. The former is fairly soft and porous, the latter comparatively hard. It is rather interesting that this limestone consists of about 30% fragments of fossil shells and some coral, which means that Jerusalem, which is now about 700 metres above sea level, must have been beneath the ocean at some time in the past.
[End of quote]

And so apparently was the entire Giza plateau in Egypt once under Flood:

Report from Mr Sherif El Morsi

Preface


…. for the last 20 years now I have also been collecting evidence of sea erosion due to deep water saturation on the Giza plateau. My own theory (already published in France in 2007) is that the last Great Flood … came up the Giza plateau, and that the Ancient Egyptians with their incomparable skills adapted the plateau from the beginning in order to protect their population and their science beneath it....

This is not surprising when one considers the enormity in size of the ancient Nile (Ur Nil), as told by C. Pellegrino (Return to Sodom and Gomorrah, Bard, 1998, p. 47):

Under the Nile itself are remnants of a deep valley to rival the Grand Canyon. River silts began covering it up as soon as the Gibraltar dam broke open and the Atlantic spilled in, but oil geologists drilling through thousands of feet of mud have located the solid bedrock of the Nile Canyon’s floor. It lies nearly two miles beneath the city of Cairo.
For a brief time, for perhaps two or three thousand years [sic] …the [ancient] Nile poured over a cliff forty times higher than Niagara, but within a half million years [sic], at a rate of inches per day, it had chewed back the bare limestone, slashing the Earth from Cairo to Aswan. The river ran east of Karnak in those days; the slash bypassed Karnak’s limestone fields, left them intact for stonecutting beings, who were then only a distant potential in dryopithecine descent.
[End of quote]
Pellegrino’s reference to “the Gibraltar dam [breaking] open and the Atlantic spill[ing] in” refers to the very same incident that caused the Black Sea Flood that William Ryan and Walter Pitman have equated with the biblical Flood, though dating it to c. 5600 BC (Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About The Event That Changed History, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998).
Now it is most interesting (particularly for Catholic readers) that German mystic Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich has focussed upon the Black Sea region as being one of the hotspots of evil at the time of the Flood. Thus we wrote in “Alpha and Omega”:

Interestingly, with regard to [the] correlation of the Black Sea Flood with the Genesis one (despite the supposed significant time difference) … Catherine Emmerich had claimed that very wicked people had lived in the Black Sea region prior to the Flood and were there destroyed by it. Here is part of her fascinating account of it:

One of Cain's descendants was Thubalcain [Tubal-cain], the origina­tor of numerous arts, and the father of the giants. I have frequently seen that, when the angels fell, a certain num­ber had a moment of repentance and did not in conse­quence fall as low as the others. Later on, these fallen spirits took up their abode on a high, desolate, and wholly inaccessible mountain whose site at the time of the Deluge became a sea, the Black Sea, I think. They were permitted to exercise their evil influence upon men in proportion as the latter strayed further from God. ….
I saw Cain's descendants becoming more and more god­less and sensual. They settled further and further up that mountain ridge where were the fallen spirits. Those spirits took possession of many of the women, ruled them completely, and taught them all sorts of seductive arts. Their children were very large. They possessed a quickness, an aptitude for everything, and they gave themselves up en­tirely to the wicked spirits as their instruments. And so arose on this mountain and spread far around, a wicked race which by violence and seduction sought to entangle Seth's posterity likewise in their own corrupt ways. Then God declared to Noe [Noah] His intention to send the Deluge. During the building of the ark, Noe had to suffer terribly from those people. ….
[End of quote]

So the Black Sea region will definitely need to be included in our antediluvian geography.

What about the Universal Language of the Flood Narratives?

Both Professor Hill and Timothy Martin discuss this issue in detail as have we in our:

Just How 'Global' Was the Great Genesis Flood?


According to Hill (The Noachian Flood):

Universal Language of Gen. 6–8
The best argument, biblically speaking, for a worldwide flood is the“universal” language used in Gen. 6–8, and this is no doubt the main reason why people in centuries past have believed that Genesis was talking about the planet Earth, and why this traditional interpretation has continued to the present day.
In Gen. 6–8, “earth” (eretz or adâmâh) is used forty-two times, “all” (kol or kowl) is used twenty times, “every” (also kowlin Hebrew) is used twenty-three times, and “under heaven” (literally,“under the sky”) …. is used two times.

Earth. The Hebrew for “earth” used in Gen. 6–8 (and in Gen. 2:5–6) is eretz(‘erets) or adâmâh, both of which terms literally mean“earth, ground, land, dirt, soil, or country.” …. In no way can “earth” be taken to mean the planet Earth, as in Noah’s time and place, people (including the Genesis writer …) had no concept of Earth as a planet and thus had no word for it. …. The biblical account must be interpreted within the narrow limit of what was known about the world in that time, … not what is known about the world today. Biblical context also makes it clear that “earth” does not necessarily mean the whole Earth. For example, the face of the ground, as used in Gen. 7:23 and Gen. 8:8 in place of “earth,” does not imply the planet Earth.“Land” is a better translation than “earth” for the Hebrew eretz because it extends to the “face of the ground” we can see around us; that is, what is within our horizon….. It also can refer to a specific stretch of land in a local geographic or political sense. For example, when Zech. 5:6 says “all the earth,” it is literally talking about Palestine—a tract of land or country, not the whole planet Earth. …. The clincher to the word “earth”meaning ground or land (and not the planet Earth) is Gen. 1:10: God called the dry land earth (eretz). If God defined “earth” as “dry land,” then so should we. ….
[End of quote]

The great Pentecost event as recorded in Acts 2 of the New Testament provides us with a wonderful example of how differently the ancient Middle Eastern scribes thought by comparison with today’s logical Western man. “Every nation under heaven” is said to have been assembled in Jerusalem to hear the Apostles from Galilee proclaiming the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, in this thrilling bouleversement of the Babel incident. All of these foreigners could understand the Apostles despite their differences in language. Universal language is used here, as in the Flood narratives. Taken on its own, we would expect “every nation under heaven” to include antipodeans as well, and peoples of deepest Africa and the Americas, and South East Asia, and Australia. But that is not what the text tells us:
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked:“Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”
Here are mentioned only such nations as fall largely within our (AMAIC) geography of the world of Adam and Noah, and not of the vast global world that we know today. And yet the author of Acts 2 can consider this as representing “every nation under heaven”. We would not say that today. This fact alone should perhaps jolt proponents of Creation Science out of their customary tendency to read the Bible in a surface fashion, in translation, employing a modern mentality that approaches the Bible with an a priori agenda.
If the Flood Was Local, Why Did Not Noah Go Elsewhere?

In “Just How 'Global' Was the Great Genesis Flood?” we have dealt with this objection and many others that are thrown up by defenders of a global Flood. We have suggested that, with the distinctive topography and formation of the antediluvian world, perhaps also encircled by the Tethys Sea (for which there is apparently scientific evidence) - the Oceanus (Okeanos) of the ancients - it was impossible for Noah and his family to have gone elsewhere.
The Ark was the only refuge to salvation.
But Tim Martin, who, like professor Hill, has embraced a much more limited Flood model - with people who were not even on the Ark, and living elsewhere, also surviving (and both writers rejecting a ‘young earth’ view of things) - offers an argument that has Noah entering the Ark out of theological necessity:

Why would God need to tell Noah to build an ark when Noah could have walked out of the region affected by the flood? Rather than presenting a problem for the regional flood view, this question exposes how Creation Science’s plain literal priority in reading the account entirely misses the biblical emphasis of the account. God planned the events to picture salvation by grace through faith. There is a spiritual need for the ark, because the ark is a picture of Christ in the midst of God’s judgment. What Creation Scientists often miss in their zeal to defend a plain literal reading is the story of Noah’s ark is not about the geological history of planet earth. It is about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In God’s plan it was important, as a picture of Christ, that Noah enter the ark as an “incarnation” of the gospel, resting in Jesus Christ for salvation. Noah was figuratively “in Christ” while he was “in the ark.” God has a plan whenever he gives his servant a mission, whether it is Noah, Abraham, Ezekiel, or Hosea. Any speculation that wanders from the redemptive purposes of God has lost touch with the biblical emphasis. Once we understand the redemptive purpose God has revealed, the answer to this question is clear. To tell Noah to hike over there where he would be safe from God’s judgment is to teach that man must get up and save himself by his own two feet.We ought to focus on the example of faithful obedience Noah sets rather than speculate on how God would have acted if the flood had been a localized event.
[End of quote]

Our own view, however, is that, whilst Lot was told by angels to flee Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:15) because he could, Noah was told to build an Ark because there would be no other place of escape for him.



To conclude positively on Creation Science, we turn again to Tim Martin (op. cit., pp. 66-67):



The Creation Science movement was a result of sincere Christians desiring to defend the credibility of the Bible in the face of modern skepticism and unbelief. That motive is one that should be evident in all Christians who name Jesus Christ as Lord of all and wish to see the Kingdom of God expand in our day. The problem in this case is not the sincerity or spiritual goals of those within the movement. Nor is the problem their dedication to the cause. The problem is that the movement has backfired on its proponents.

Reading the Bible according to the methods of Creation Science ideology will convince those who read the Bible carefully of the fallibility of the Bible. It leads logical people to unbelief and ultimately to atheism.



And, on the Six Days of Genesis 1, which is not basically a scientific account of Creation, Martin has this to say (pp. 122-):



The creation of the universe is obviously a historical event, as is the creation of Adam and Eve. They are real, historical humans who were created innocent, yet they sinned and broke the covenant relationship between God and man. While this is perfectly compatible with apocalyptic, it is equally clear that a plain, historical record is simply not the purpose of the creation account. That it all happened according to the wisdom and benevolence of God is the point. How it all happened in scientific detail and physical phenomena is not in the priority of apocalyptic communication … Put simply, the apocalypse of creation is about worship and covenant relationship, not science. Understood this way, it is just as relevant to God’s people today as it was in Moses’ day as Israel was leaving Egypt with all its pantheistic idolatry of the creation … We are so used to reading Genesis in terms of the intramural origins debate among Christians or the creation-evolution debate that we have totally missed the reality that the apocalypse of creation is a powerful unveiling of the meaning, essence and goal of covenant life between God and man … Christians desperately need to change their focus from the supposed scientific implications of creation and instead feed off the apocalyptic vision of creation which demands covenant faithfulness in all aspects of life and dimension of God’s world.

[End of quote]



According to our “Book of Origins” article (see below), the account of the Six Days of Genesis was composed in ancient book (i.e. a series of tablets) format. We accept the view of Sts. Augustine, Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas that the Six Days is, not essentially a narrative of God’s work of creation, but rather a revelation of that work already effected.

And, as Martin rightly observes, the document is about worship and covenant relationship, not science.



A Concluding Note


The problem with the imposition upon the Bible of a sophisticated but unscientific ‘science’, as is done by Creationism, is that genuine scientists will be put off the Bible altogether, not wanting to believe a book that supposedly demands conformity to a pseudo science. Scientists and sceptics laugh loudly at the notion of an ancient Ark filled with all of the world’s animals (perhaps even including dinosaurs), and riding out a global Flood. And so they should. Whilst this can be hurtful to many conservative Bible believers, it is in fact a nonsensical exegesis that needs to be discarded. Therefore we would agree with Tim Martin that “the time has come to move beyond Creation Science”.



AMAIC’s Origins Series



Tracing the Hand of Moses In Genesis




Book of Origins




The Location of Paradise


Rivers of Paradise Now Clinched?




Just How 'Global' Was the Great Genesis Flood?








Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"The reduction of every aspect of life to “science” has corrupted the soul of Western Civilization".

 


Taken from: http://planetpreterist.com/content/beyond-creation-science-how-preterism-refutes-global-flood-and-impacts-genesis-debate-%E2%80%93-par-5


by Timothy P. Martin

The Danger of Creation Science

In the previous chapters we examined the connections between a global flood interpretation of Genesis 6-9 and a global interpretation of New Testament prophecy. It’s no coincidence that a global flood view is linked with eschatological futurism. They both rely on a plain-literal approach to the biblical text as it reads in modern English. The flood is explicitly compared to the Great Tribulation in Matthew 24 and the Day of Judgment in 2 Peter 3. The link even appears when we look at the history of both views. Creation Science and dispensationalism both rose to prominence in the 20th century from the same sources All the leading proponents and founders of Creation Science were committed to dispensational futurism. A global reading of the flood is perfectly consistent with, and inseparable from, a global reading of New Testament prophecy.After examining the textual, theological, and historical evidence for the central error of the Creation Science movement, a global flood, we should also consider the “practical effects” of its methodology. The big problem is a plain-literal hermeneutic. The same hermeneutic method which produces a global flood interpretation will poison the reading of the Bible with materialism and scientific precisionism everywhere else.
We live in a world dominated by materialism and scientism. The reduction of every aspect of life to “science” has corrupted the soul of Western Civilization. This is one key to understanding the related popularity of both futurism and Creation Science. They are both perfectly compatible with the scientistic spirit of the modern age. In fact, dispensational futurism, at least, is impossible apart from it. Christians aid this scientistic syncretism through Creation Science methods of reading Scripture. They do it by reducing even the language of the Bible to the “scientific.”[1] Viewed in this light it is not difficult to see that Creation Science ideology is a right-wing form of modernism. Conrad Hyers puts it this way:
Even if evolution is only a scientific theory of interpretation posing as scientific fact, as the [young-earth] creationists argue, [young-earth] creationism is only a religious theory of biblical interpretation posing as biblical fact. To add to the problem, it is a religious theory of biblical interpretation which is heavily influenced by modern scientific, historical, and technological concerns. It is, therefore, essentially modernistic even though claiming to be truly conservative.[2]
Proponents of Creation Science force the Bible to speak in terms with which we are culturally familiar (modern scientific precisionist language), rather than accepting both the content and method of language God has chosen. Creation Scientists force the seemingly global language of the Bible to override the historical context of the flood and biblical eschatology. The same mistake blows the flood account into global proportions and Revelation into global proportions. Their hermeneutic approach entirely misses the important principle that the Bible can only be understood on its own terms, within its own Hebraic mindset and covenant framework. We must step out of our Western scientific mindset and get into the original audience’s shoes in order to appreciate what the Bible is all about. Then, once we understand the Bible properly in its original context, we will be equipped to make relevant application to our modern context.
The bottom line is that Creation Science interpretive methods do not foster the growth of God’s kingdom. Christians who adopt Creation Science ideology actually weaken the Church by reinforcing a plain-literal hermeneutic. I believe the clear and present danger of poisoning the reading of the Bible with materialism and scientific precisionism can be shown in two illustrations. The first is the spiritual danger of Creation Science hermeneutic methods, and the second is the physical danger of Creation Science hermeneutic methods.

The Spiritual Danger of Creation Science

The spiritual danger of Creation Science is that it sets people up to reject God’s Word. The Creation Science method of reading the Bible, when applied consistently, destroys the credibility of the Bible. Consider these texts as representing other poetic texts throughout the Bible known as apocalyptic. Consider Isaiah 13:17f.
See, I [God] will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold. Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants nor will they look with compassion on children. Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Chaldeans’ pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah. She will never be inhabited or lived in through all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there, no shepherd will rest his flocks there... Her time is at hand, and her days will not be prolonged.
This passage predicts the defeat of the Babylonians by the Medo-Persian Empire. Notice the problem for a plain-literalist? We know roughly the region of the Babylonian Empire through archaeological research. People today do live in territory covered by that ancient empire. There are flocks of sheep and livestock located in the region as well. Those committed to a plain-literal hermeneutic must logically admit the prophet was wrong in his pronouncement of judgment. Consider another example:
For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause. Edom’s streams will be turned to pitch, her dust into burning sulfur; her land will become blazing pitch! It will not be quenched night and day; its smoke will rise forever. From generation to generation it will lie desolate; no one will ever pass through it again. Isaiah 34:8-10.
This passage refers to the ancient judgment upon Edom. We know the location of Edom and we can go there. There is no fire burning there today. Smoke does not rise up from the burning land, and the streams are not streams of pitch. Someone who is habituated in a plain-literal method of reading the Bible will logically see the prophet is wrong. Dispensationalism, with it’s commitment to a plain-literal hermeneutic, sets people up to reject the Christian Faith.
He [God] stood and shook the earth; he looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient [lit. eternal] mountains crumbled and the age-old [lit. eternal] hills collapsed. His ways are eternal. Habakkuk 3:6.
The prophet Habakkuk recounts the Exodus from Egypt and conquest of Canaan. The verse is clearly in the past tense. If you read this literally, like the Creation Scientists read Genesis 7, then you have a problem. First of all, the mountains are not eternal in a literal sense of time. “Eternal” has only to do with quality or strength. Secondly, the literal mountains did not collapse when Israel entered the promised land. The language is not communicating scientifically; it is communicating covenantally. It could possibly be a metaphorical reference to the downfall of the Canaanite civilizations at the time of the Hebrew conquest; but if you read this using the hermeneutic of scientific literalism, clearly the prophet is mistaken. Mountains and hills remain in the region of Palestine. They never collapsed.
These passages, and many others like them, use covenantal language never intended to be taken in a precisionist, plain-literal way. Exaggerations for effect are common in apocalyptic imagery, in both the New Testament and the Old Testament. It is an essential part of Hebrew poetry and idiomatic writing. It is a literary genre used by the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles to communicate a big picture of the judgment of God. The closest thing we have to this in our culture is a cartoon.[3] Cartoons don’t communicate literally. They speak indirectly through hyperbole, exaggeration, and imagination.
The Creation Science movement was a result of sincere Christians desiring to defend the credibility of the Bible in the face of modern skepticism and unbelief. That motive is one that should be evident in all Christians who name Jesus Christ as Lord of all and wish to see the Kingdom of God expand in our day. The problem in this case is not the sincerity or spiritual goals of those within the movement. Nor is the problem their dedication to the cause. The problem is that the movement has backfired on its proponents. Reading the Bible according to the methods of Creation Science ideology will convince those who read the Bible carefully of the fallibility of the Bible. It leads logical people to unbelief and ultimately to atheism. Conrad Hyers explains it this way:
Scientific naturalism has been made considerably more plausible and attractive by taking the fundamentalist preacher at his word as being the authentic representative of proper biblical interpretation and normative Christianity. Discounting and discrediting the arguments of anti-evolutionist crusaders appears to be equivalent to dismissing the biblical and theological teaching of creation as an anachronism from a prescientific age. Having successfully mummified Genesis, one does not have to give serious thought or research to the possible sophistication of the creation texts themselves. And having toppled the straw figures of biblical literalism, one does not have to contend with the many formidable and representative giants of the past (such as Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Pascal)…[4]
Creation Science ideology has provided another excuse for skeptics and unbelievers to dismiss the Christian Faith; Christianity, from the days of the early Church Fathers and Augustine, has never stood unanimously on a plain-literal reading of creation or the flood in Genesis. The fact that we do live in an age of skepticism and unbelief makes it imperative that we understand that our mistakes of biblical understanding, if taught dogmatically on God’s authority, will bring disrepute on Scripture. The error of Creation Science hermeneutics actually hinders the spread of the Christian gospel over the long run. It is spiritually dangerous.

The Physical Danger of Creation Science

The physical danger of Creation Science is rooted in the focus on the scientific-literal race of Israel. This is wholly consistent with the scientific-literal approach to Genesis 6-9.
The leading proponent of Creation Science, Henry Morris, lays out his premillenial dispensationalist views in a book called The Revelation Record. Morris reads the book of Revelation the same way he reads Genesis 6-9. It is a cornucopia of global details and worldwide geo-physical actions. Speculative theories abound concerning the book of Revelation just as they abound concerning the Genesis flood.
Morris gives a brief outline of exactly what those views are in the final chapter of his book, The Long War Against God. There he writes:
In fact, the prophecies of Scripture indicate that there will soon be established a global, humanistic, and totalitarian government, under the control of “the great dragon, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan” (Rev. 12:9; cf. 20:2). This regime will forbid the preaching of the gospel and require all to worship the Satan-empowered man on the throne, under pain of death (Rev. 13).[5]
The condition of the world during the coming reign of this humanistic totalitarian system will be much like that of the world today... It will be a time of high technology, great scientific insights, and lucrative world commerce... There will be worldwide television networks; “And they of the people and kindreds and toungues and nations shall see...” certain great events taking place in Jerusalem before their eyes (Rev. 11:9-12).[6]
Morris, like many other futurists, calls for unconditional support for the nation-state of Israel because of these end-times schemes. In fact, most dispensationalists trace their dogmatic support for the modern state of Israel on God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:2:
I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
Not surprisingly, futurists apply this verse globally to all the nations on planet earth in the modern context. So nations and individuals who bless the physical-literal nation of Israel are blessed, today and those who don’t are cursed. This is consistent with a plain-literal global reading of the flood account in Genesis 6-9. The Hebrew word for “earth” in this passage is the same word used throughout the flood account: “erets.” Preterists see the primary fulfillment of this text in inclusion of the Gentiles through the gospel in the first century over the regional scope of the Roman Empire. It may have application today through the church which is God’s royal nation. But the primary fulfillment took place in the first century.
Have these calls by evangelicals shaped American foreign policy toward Israel? A new book, On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals became Israel’s Best Friend, shows the relationship between the rise of dispensational futurism in America and the direction of foreign policy in the Middle East. The author explains what his research documents. I quote him at length from his introduction:
As futurist premillenialists, they believed that they would be raptured before most end-time events actually took place, but they expected to be here long enough to see history moving decisively in a predetermined direction. In essence, they sat high in the bleachers on history’s fifty-yard line, watching as various teams took their positions on the playing field below and explaining to everyone who would listen how the game was going to end. For the first one hundred years of their movement, then, they were observers, not shapers, of events. But all that changed after Israel reclaimed its place in Palestine and expanded its borders. For the first time, dispensationalists believed that it was necessary to leave the bleachers and get onto the playing field to make sure the game ended according to the divine script.[7]
Weber’s book carefully documents how dispensational participation accelerated in the 1980’s with the rise of the Moral Majority on the American political scene. The Christian Coalition of America made their support for Israel one of a few core issues of their political work. Millions of Christian Coalition voter guides have been distributed through thousands of conservative churches. Though their membership is down from the organization’s high point a decade ago, they still boast of more than two million members.[8]
Interestingly enough, the relationship between evangelicals and Israel was not a one-sided affair. The Israeli government actively developed the relationship with American evangelicals; they courted evangelical leaders, knowing they could count on their support once the nation of Israel won their hearts and minds. What was the main tool for building this alliance between evangelicals and the Israeli government? It was tourism. Weber explains:
During the early 1980’s, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism actively recruited evangelical leaders for “familiarization” tours at no cost to them. In time, hundreds of evangelical pastors received free trips to the Holy Land… Needless to say, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism was interested in more than tourist dollars. Here was a way of building a solid corps of non-Jewish supporters for the state of Israel in the United States by bringing large number of evangelicals to hear and see Israel’s story for themselves.[9]
These efforts led to the creation of the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem and a host of other futurist based organizations focused on political advocacy for Israeli interests. The “Embassy” hosts an annual conference in Israel, often attracting over 5000 participants. Israeli Prime Ministers (with the sole exception of Barak in 1999) never fail to make a personal appearance at this annual “Feast of Tabernacles” conference. Benjamin Netanyahu made these comments in his address of 1998:
I came here to thank you for your support in our great endeavor. It has been consistent. It has been unreserved. And I have to tell you , from my point of view, as Prime Minister of Israel, it has been very, very effective. Thank you. The state of Israel is stronger because of your support and it needs this strength to resist undue pressure… Our claim to this land is based on the greatest and most incontrovertible document in creation – the Holy Bible. It’s the Bible that has given us the deed to this land. It is on the basis of the Bible that the Christian world and so much of the International community have recognized our right to it.[10]
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon addressed participants at the 2002 conference. He told thousands of American dispensationalists:
I would like to thank you again for everything – for your friendship and for your solidarity, which are so important to us. I also have a message that I would like you to take home: send more people like you to visit Israel.[11]
The influence American dispensationalists exert on American politics and foreign policy cannot be denied. When the Prime Ministers regularly attend a specific conference of American dispensationalists they are saying something. Their consistent presence proves that American dispensationalists wield substantial authority on the American political scene, and they do so in ways that Israel finds beneficial to their interests.
Evangelicals dedicated to both dispensationalism and Creation Science have lobbied Congress for a close alliance with Israel. While there may be other political reasons for supporting the nation-state of Israel, it is impossible the eschatological reason has been the least over the last five decades. There are very few people in the current American political landscape who dismiss the votes of millions of American evangelicals as politically inconsequential. Those who do are not in office at this time in 2005.
As of September 11, 2001, the violence and bloodshed common to the Middle East has come to our shores. Hatred toward America has been a reality for decades in the Arab/Islamic world, but this hatred has been exacerbated by American foreign policy regarding Israel. A policy which cannot be explained apart from the political power dispensationalism holds in American politics.[12]
The anger directed against America is understandable if you are willing to put yourself in the Muslim shoes of Israel’s enemies. There are some clear inequities of American policy in the Middle East. Those who commit these monstrous acts of terrorism are the arch-enemies of Israel and so have now become America’s enemies as well. In fact, many in the region consider war against America as war against Israel.
The 9-11 event touched off America’s “War on Terror.” Bin Laden has referenced unflinching American support for Israel as one main reason for operations against the United States both domestically and abroad. The domino effect continues with the invasion of Afghanistan and occupation of Iraq. Only God knows where and when the dominos will stop falling, but if you follow the dominos back to the beginning, the conclusion is unavoidable. Part of the responsibility for this violence lies at the feet of Creation Science methods of reading the Bible and dispensational theology in general if eschatological interests have helped shape American policy regarding Israel.
The problems in the Middle East do predate dispensationalism. Given the history of militant Islam and the Christian crusades going back 1000 years, there are no easy solutions to the generations of hatred, vengeance and continuing cycle of violence. As long as all parties view those locations as the “Holy Land” violent confrontations will continue. Preterism removes the theological underpinning of millions of evangelicals’ concept about the nation-state and land of Israel: which are, ironically, not essentially different than the medieval theology which gave impetus to the crusades a1000 years ago.
One thing is clear. Political and foreign policy action born out of eschatological thinking threatens to push the region over the brink of catastrophe. American dispensational Christians have compounded an already problematic situation; a situation which leads to violent deaths on a daily basis. American evangelical Christians have blood on their hands because of their fallacious end-times views.
This is a colossal example of the real-world importance of eschatology, but ultimately hermeneutics. It also highlights how important the success of preterism truly is for the future well-being of American Christianity and American society as a whole. As preterism flourishes in America, unconditional support for Israel will wane. Dispensational theology and Creation Science methods of reading Scripture are not only erroneous, theologically, they are deadly when applied to political policy. Most in the Creation Science movement will view all these events as proof for their prophetic systems. The sad reality is they are merely a logical result of them.
To be continued...
Copyright 2005 by Timothy P. Martin. All rights reserved. Reprinted by Permission
[Beyond Creation Science (2nd Edition) will be available at the Planetpreterist bookstore]
[1]One Creation Science book written by Charles Taylor says it all in the title: The Oldest Science Book in the World.
[2]Conrad Hyers, The Meaning of Creation: Genesis and Modern Science (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1984), p. 27.
[3]I am indebted to Max Sotak for this inisightful suggestion to help people grasp apocalyptic in the Bible.
[4]Conrad Hyers, The Meaning of Creation, p. 11.
[5]Henry Morris, The Long War Against God: The History and Impact of the Creation/Evolution Conflict, p. 261.
[6]Ibid., p. 324.
[7]Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel’s Best Friend (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), p. 15.
[8] http://www.cc.org/content.cfm?id=25&srch=israel
[9] Ibid., p. 214.
[10] Prime Minister Netanyahu also included these amazingly coincidental remarks in the same address in 1998: “And you can see these rogue states, from North Korea at the edge of Asia, to Iraq and Iran right here, who are creating an unstable and potentially violent and dangerous world for us.” The entire address can be accessed at www.nclci.org/netanyahu-tabernacles.htm.
[11]As quoted by Timothy Weber in, On the Road to Armageddon, p. 218.
[12]For a remarkable analysis of the relation between American foreign policy, Israel, Islam and terrorism which avoids both the jingoist propaganda of the right and the myopic defeatism of the left, see Michael Sheuer, Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror (Dulles, VA: Brassey’s Inc., 2004).