Friday, April 28, 2017

America as a Theological Problem During the (Neo)Hellenic Enlightenment

Sebastian Münster's map of the New World, first published in 1540 ~~ Sebastian was a German cartographer, cosmographer and a Christian Hebraist scholar.

"Ἡ Ἀμερικὴ ὡς θεολογικὸ πρόβλημα τὴν περίοδο τοῦ (νεο)ελληνικοῦ Διαφωτισμοῦ"

"America as a Theological Problem During the (Neo)Hellenic Enlightenment"

Ἑῷα καὶ Ἑσπέρια (Athens) 2 (1994/96) 9-70.

By Vasilios N. Makrides


The discovery of America contributed not only to the radical expansion of human knowledge and to a reorientation of man's place on earth, but caused some theological problems too. These difficulties appeared mainly because of the existence of indigenous populations in the New World. What was the origin of these people? Were they descended from Adam and Eve? Were they affected by the original sin? Had Christ saved them? Why are they not mentioned in the Bible? What was their relation to the inhabitants of the already known world? Among the various answers to these questions in Western Europe, the Preadamite theory by Isaac La Peyrère (1596-1676) should be mentioned here. La Peyrère suggested a polygenetic theory and argued for the existence of human beings on earth before the creation of Adam and Eve. Despite harsh criticism and countermeasures by the religious establishment of that time, La Peyrère s theory tried to reconcile the biblical information with the new discoveries, exerted strong influences in the long run and paved the way for the wider dissemination of polygenism (e.g., by Voltaire).

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Life and Faith of Louis Pasteur (1822 - 1895)

Who contributed more to the saving of human lives than any other scientist? Who has been called the greatest biologist of all time? Who revolutionized medicine and public health with his discoveries? A Christian – Louis Pasteur. Let no one claim that faith in God is detrimental to science; you need look no farther than to this great man who said, “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator.”

Pasteur was a humble, godly Catholic who served God and his fellow man through science. If you enjoy milk that doesn’t spoil in a day, if you enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods, if you can take a quick shot and then live without fear of deadly diseases, if you enjoy a longer life than your ancestors did, you should thank the good doctor from France, because you owe much of your physical health and safety to him. But your ultimate thanks should go to the Great Physician, who taught the Israelites many principles of good health and sanitation in the Bible. Pasteur merely rediscovered and elaborated on two basic ideas from the Old Testament: (1) uncleanness causes disease, (2) life was created, and propagates after its kind.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Can a Scientist Believe in the Resurrection? Three Hypotheses.

By Ian Hutchinson
MIT Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering

I’m a professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, and this weekend, I’m celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. So are dozens of my colleagues. How can this be?

Hypothesis one: We’re not talking about a literal resurrection. Perhaps it is just an inspiring myth that served to justify the propagation of Jesus’ exalted ethical teachings. A literal resurrection contradicts the known laws of nature. Maybe scientists can celebrate the idea of Jesus’s spirit living on, while his body remained in the grave.

But the first disciples attested to a physical resurrection. How could an untruth logically support high moral character? How could it have sustained the apostles through the extremes of persecution they experienced founding Christianity? And is celebrating a myth consistent with scientific integrity?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Docudrama: "Newton: The Force of God" (2016)

The dying Sir Isaac Newton recounts the major events of his life to his faithful friend John Conduitt: the political context, the natural philosophy, the religion, the enemies, the losses and victories that laid the foundations of the myth of one of the most eminent natural philosophers of all time.

"Newton: The Force of God" produced by Eugenides Foundation and directed by Panos Anestis, is the first Greek docudrama regarding Sir Isaac Newton's life and works.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Why Science Does Not Disprove God

Amir D. Aczel
Apr 27, 2014
TIME Magazine

A number of recent books and articles would have you believe that—somehow—science has now disproved the existence of God. We know so much about how the universe works, their authors claim, that God is simply unnecessary: we can explain all the workings of the universe without the need for a Creator.

And indeed, science has brought us an immense amount of understanding. The sum total of human knowledge doubles roughly every couple of years or less. In physics and cosmology, we can now claim to know what happened to our universe as early as a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, something that may seem astounding. In chemistry, we understand the most complicated reactions among atoms and molecules, and in biology we know how the living cell works and have mapped out our entire genome. But does this vast knowledge base disprove the existence of some kind of pre-existent outside force that may have launched our universe on its way?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

On the Literal and Figurative Understanding of Genesis 2 (St. Augustine of Hippo)

By St. Augustine of Hippo

The listing of the seven days and the presentation of their works is given a kind of conclusion, in which everything that has been said already is called "the book of the creating of heaven and earth" (Gen. 2:4), even though it is only a small part of the book as a whole. But still it was entirely appropriate to give it this name, because these seven days furnish us with a miniature symbolic picture of the entire span of world history from start to finish. Then it goes on to tell the story of the man in more detail; and this whole account is to be analyzed in figurative, not literal terms, to put the minds of those who seek the truth through their paces, and lure them away from the business of the world and the flesh to the business of the spirit....

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Holy Trinity in Creation and Incarnation

By Christos Voulgaris

Among the other "new teachings" which brought "some strange things to the ears" of the people of the Greco-Roman world, (1) Christianity brought also the teachings about the creation of the world. This was one of the biggest innovations in the world of Philosophy, since the idea that the world was created out of nothing was completely foreign to Greek thought and Greco-Roman religion. To the Greeks the world was eternal and unchangable in its essential structure and form; it simply existed and no one cared to ask how, whence and why. All, intellectuals and non-intellectuals, accepted it as a fact and made no effort to study or transcend it, even with their imagination, in order to see what lies behind it. Of course, they observed the motion, the changes and the constant flow of the elements. But that was it; they simply accepted its permanence and eternity.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Augustine of Hippo on the Devil in Paradise

By St. Augustine of Hippo

(On Genesis: A Refutation of the Manichees, Bk. 2, Ch. 20)

Coming now to the serpent, it represents the devil, who certainly wasn't simple. That he was said, you see, to be wiser than all beasts is a figurative way of stating his slyness. It does not, however, say that the serpent was in paradise, but that the serpent was among the beasts which God had made. Paradise, after all, as I said above, stands for the blessed life of bliss in which there was no longer a serpent, because it was already the devil; and he had fallen from his blessed state, because "he did not stand in the truth" (Jn. 8:44). Nor is there anything strange about the way he could talk to the woman, though she was in Paradise and he was not; she was not in Paradise, you see, in a local sense, but rather as regards her blissful feeling of blessedness. Or even if there is such a place called Paradise, where Adam and the woman were actually living in the body, are we to understand the devil also making his approach there in the body? Not at all, but he made it as a spirit, as the Apostle says: "According to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who is now at work in the children of unbelief" (Eph. 2:2).