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The Scientific Worldview of the Bible

October 29, AD 2013 69 Comments

World is Ordered

I have often remarked that the Bible is not a science book. However, after studying the history of science through the theological perspective of the late Fr. Stanley Jaki, I have a better answer.* The Bible absolutely has a scientific worldview beginning in Genesis 1:1 and continuing to Revelation 22:21.

This may seem a trivial point, but the mindset of the Old Testament stood out from all other ancient cultures, particularly the pantheism of the Egyptians, Babylonians, and Greeks who thought the universe was an animistic god-being. The radically different psychology of the Old Testament held that the universe was a stable and ordered creation separate from — and held in existence by — God, the Creator. In the Hebrew culture the concept of a Creator and of a creation out of nothing with an absolute beginning in time was literally codified in the book of Genesis.

The order and predictability of physical laws gave testimony to the trustworthiness of God. When the Israelites held captive in Babylon hoped for restoration, Jeremiah (33) reminded the people that the same God who orders the day and night promised heirs to David’s throne as “countless as the stars of the heaven, measureless as the sea-sand.” In Psalms 71 the enduring process of nature was proof of God’s enduring rule: “Ageless as sun or moon he shall endure; kindly as the rain that drops on the meadow grass, as the showers that water the earth.” In Wisdom 7  the Creator is the source of all knowledge: “Sure knowledge he has imparted to me of all that is; how the world is ordered, what influence have the elements, how the months have their beginning, their middle, and their ending, how the sun’s course alters and the seasons revolve, how the years have their cycles, the stars their places.” In Wisdom 11 the Lawmaker who rules the cosmos “ordered all things by measure, number, and weight,” an undeniably exacting scientific cosmic outlook.

Also notice, what we call “science” and “religion” were united, an intrinsically comprehensive psychology of truth that was later confirmed in the New Testament when Christ, the Logos, revealed that He is the Creator become man.

The next time someone quips that the Bible has nothing to say about science, point out that the ancient worldview of the Bible is the worldview demanded by modern science since its beginning and still today — a view that expects the world to be ordered, predictable, and stable so that its mysteries can be measured, quantified, and discovered. Modern science needs these conversations more than ever.

*Chapter 7 of Science and Creation, “The Beacon of the Covenant.”

Hello, and thank you for reading. I am a wife, mother of seven, and joyful convert to Catholicism. I write from my tiny office in a 100-year-old restored Adirondack mountain lodge. Read more about me here, with pictures. Find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. "Like" my Facebook page Science Was Born of Christianity to follow updates about my book. God bless you!

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  • nannon31

    But keep in mind that God did not do a circumvention of the primitive scientific detail concepts they had. God works with the level of the biblical writer who at the time of Joshua thought that the sun always moved and the earth was still. You’ll notice the mistake is in Joshua’s words not God’s in chapter 10:

    12 On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:

    “Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
    and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”
    13 So the sun stood still,
    and the moon stopped,
    till the nation avenged itself on[b] its enemies,
    as it is written in the Book of Jashar.

    The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!

    • joeclark77

      You’re operating on an old-fashioned heliocentric model of the universe that’s been out of date since Einstein. Under relativity, the sun *does* always move, and the Earth *does* sit still…. (as Obi-wan would say) … from a certain point of view. Heliocentrism and geocentrism are equally true and equally false.

      • Howard

        Yes and no. Both may be equally true, but they are not equally useful. One is simple and straightforward, with good calculations being possible for high school kids. The other requires at least differential equations and preferably differential geometry. My general rule is that anyone making that claim needs to demonstrate an ability to do the problem the hard way before they can claim that it can be done either way. If you can’t actually work the problem, you really have no business talking that way — after all, you only mean that you read a vague statement about it being possible.

        It is *possible* to put one’s pants on like the “second silly” from the story, but that doesn’t make it the right way to do things.

        http://www.worldoftales.com/European_folktales/English_folktale_96.html

        And the inn was so full that he had to share a room with another traveler. Now his room-fellow proved quite a pleasant fellow, and they forgathered, and each slept well in his bed.

        But next morning, when they were dressing, what does the stranger do but carefully hang his breeches on the knobs of the tallboy!

        “What are you doing?” asks young squire.

        “I’m putting on my breeches,” says the stranger; and with that he goes to the other end of the room, takes a little run, and tried to jump into the breeches.

        But he didn’t succeed, so he took another run and another try, and another and another and another, until he got quite hot and flustered, as the old woman had got over her cow that wouldn’t go up the ladder. And all the time young squire was laughing fit to split, for never in his life did he see anything so comical.

        Then the stranger stopped a while and mopped his face with his handkerchief, for he was all in a sweat. “It’s very well laughing,” says he, “but breeches are the most awkwardest things to get into that ever were. It takes me the best part of an hour every morning before I get them on. How do you manage yours?”

        Then young squire showed him, as well as he could for laughing, how to put on his breeches, and the stranger was ever so grateful and said he never should have thought of that way.

        “So that,” quoth young squire to himself, “is a second bigger silly.”

        • James1

          “My general rule is that anyone making that claim needs to demonstrate an ability to do the problem the hard way before they can claim that it can be done either way. If you can’t actually work the problem, you really have no business talking that way — after all, you only mean that you read a vague statement about it being possible.

          Does this mean I can’t even say man has walked on the moon until I, myself, have walked on the moon? I can not actually say “the sun is rising” or “the earth has rotated enough that the sun is now visible” until I can show my homework to prove either is correct? Am I now prohibited from passing on knowledge without having acquired it on my own?

          Such a thing seems a bit demanding that one would have to “do the math” before boarding a plane, flushing one’s toilet, or grilling a burger…

        • joeclark77

          Both heliocentrism and geocentrism are useful for some calculations, but poor choices for some others. If you are trying to put a rocket into space, or onto the moon, you’re certainly not going to use heliocentric calculations! No, you’d hold your launch pad to be the fixed point, and chart a trajectory from there. Geocentrism. Also directly challenging your point, I can’t see how heliocentrism would have been more useful to Joshua when he was fightin the Amorites.

  • benedict1

    Amen, amen, Dr. Trasancos. This prompts me to do some more searching. I think there are a lot more references although your case is sufficient. As Nagel says in the very last paragraph of this recent book on the mind, and it is the materialist’s curse whenever they must confront the Truth of Revealed Faith, to paraphrase : “……they find some way for their theories to triumph over common sense….” All there from line 1 of Genesis, He made it all. Thanks for another clear, concise little jewel.

    • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

      I keep these CFP columns to ~400 words, so it pushes me to be concise, but what blew me away in Jaki’s book (this particular chapter) is that he includes page after page after page of scripture. When I read it I thought, “Why didn’t I notice that before!” He covers Genesis, the prophets, the psalms and proverbs, the Wisdom literature, and (as always) he more than abundantly makes his case. Even as I was reading the scripture he quoted, I read the surrounding scripture and this naturalistic world view is everywhere.

      This chapter comes after six chapters about the other ancient cultures who failed to view the world this way, and the difference is striking.

      Can’t wait to get to the Nagel book! So much to read. Wonderful!

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  • Matt

    The Bible is to Science, what Astrology is to Astronomy;

    What delineates the Bible from Science, is Sciences lack of an editorialized narrative. I also think you’re conflating monotheism with “order and predictability of physical laws”

    It’s an interesting thought. But try not to give the bible allowances it doesn’t deserve. There is a lot of sincere truth-seeking in the bible; and a lot of propagandish narrative

    • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

      Good questions!

      Your analogy won’t work because astrology was said to predict future events or individual personalities based on the position of celestial bodies. It was tied to the doctrine of the Great Year and the pantheistic idea that the world and all that is in it is an eternal cycle.

      There is nothing in the Bible about predicting personalities or future events based on the positions of stars and planets. There is nothing in the Bible about the universe eternally cycling, quite the opposite. Genesis teaches that the world, created by a Creator, has a beginning and end in time.

      When the Greek texts reached Christianity, astrology was condemned because it contradicts the Christian Creed.

      As for “conflating monotheism” there is a distinct difference in Christian monotheism and Jewish or Muslim monotheism. Christian monotheism is Trinitarian and Incarnational. Christ is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity who became man. That means Christ is also the Creator. Christ is also called the Word and the Logos, Rationality Itself, which is why there is order and predictability in physical laws created by a personal and merciful God. The Jewish and Muslim faiths do not acknowledge Christ. (As an added point, this is an example of how the New Testament sheds light on the Old and the Old sheds light on the New.)

      • Matt

        I’m sorry Stacy, I don’t think you understood my analogy or what I thought you were conflating.

        Either I didn’t explain myself well enough; or you didn’t take the time to understand what I wrote

        In either case, you have good answers; just not to my post

        • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

          You didn’t write very much; maybe you could explain.

          • Matt

            I’m saying that you
            could argue that the bible is scientific; in the same way you could
            argue that Astrology is scientific. I’m saying they both hold about the
            same amount of science

            I’m understanding that you
            don’t believe Astrology is scientific. I’m saying Astrology contains
            about the same amount of science as the bible. I might even go as far as
            to say that Astrology is more scientific than the Bible; but only
            because I’ve read a lot on the subject.

            I’m saying you’re taking
            the belief in One God. and lumping that belief into Physics; however,
            comparing or conflating Monotheism with modern science is a big leap.

            Lastly, I’m saying the bible has included a lot of narrative and propaganda; which modern science does not contain.

            I also said you had an interesting thought.

          • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

            Okay, thanks.

            Rather than compare in terms of how much science the Bible or astrology hold, the point is about a world view (mindset, psychology).

            The Biblical view of the world is that it is ordered, predictable, and stable. The scientific view of the world is the same.

            The astrological view of the world is that when celestial bodies are in certain positions, then certain events will happen. It does presume a predictable order, but it cannot be considered stable since there is no correlation between the predictions and the positions. It is, as they called it, magic. Where the Biblical and scientific worldviews have proven true, the astrological one has not.

            I’m also not equating the belief in One God with physics. The argument is more directed at claiming that modern science (exact science, the quantification of objects in motion, i.e. physics) was “born” because of the Christian worldview. It’s not arguable that the Biblical/Christian worldview preceded modern science.

            I appreciate your counters since I’m trying to compose a question and answer section in my thesis about how to communicate Jaki’s arguments. It helps me think it through.

          • Matt

            Ok, I still think you have an interesting idea;

            however, within the bible itself, you have two diametrically opposed world views which split the bible down the middle: Before Jesus and After Jesus.

            The Protestants have built an entire theology based on this idea. You would need to answer why these are actually the same and how the OT and NT are in fact unchanged… when everything, (the mindset, psychology) changed; and another change when Paul wrote, and then another at the Council of Nicea, and so on…

            I don’t think you can dismiss Astrology so easily, but that’s your choice

          • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

            I don’t see how the OT and NT are diametrically opposed world views. Are you familiar with the theological term “typology”?

            Also, in the early days of the Church, the Christians relied on the OT scripture to practice the sacraments and to grow in understanding of them. The liturgy is fundamentally OT and NT in character, as is all of Christianity.

            As for astrology, I am curious about your defense of it. If I’m missing something, I want to know. It was (still is) the belief that the positions of celestial bodies predict individual personalities and human events.

            Astrology is still very much practiced today in the horoscopes, tarot cards, numerology, feng shui — all directed at knowing what will happen in the future as if the arrangement of material bodies will reveal that to us. Right?

            http://www.astrology.com/

          • Matt

            Yes I’m quite familiar with Theological Typology. Are you familiar with the doctrine of Dispensation?

            Historically, Astrology is the study of the celestial bodies, with an applied narrative. You may disagree with the narrative; however, quite a lot was known about the moon, and planets and stars. They knew when to harvest; about planet retrograde and about eclipses. They used that knowledge of the sky to navigate at sea. That is applied knowledge which could be considered scientific in nature. Christianity has no such applied knowledge of the world around us. In addition to this, Astrology has stayed with us; none of the names of the planets or stars, or constellations are Christian.

            As for the differences between the OT and NT. You are trying to argue that the world view (mindset, psychology) had remained the same. I find this an impossible notion. Everything changed when Jesus spoke; and it changed again when Paul wrote. Doctrine changed, membership eligibility changed; simple things like diet changed; how you eliminated your sins changed; …this was big stuff back then. Revolutionary. People died over this.

            Typology and hindsight are 20/20, sure. But to say Jesus made no difference to the Jewish Faith, is like saying an Orthodox Jew and Catholic could sit down together for mass, and no one would know the difference. …it’s an impossible notion.

          • Marc M

            Matt, I think you are conflating the historical and modern meaning of a couple of terms. At one time, astrology referred to a field of study which included what we call today astronomy. But today, astrology generally only refers to the mystical aspects–predicting the future, etc.

            Similarly, philosophy at one time meant the study of everything, including, for example, both physics and theology. Today the subdisciplines are seen as separate. One can’t pick and choose, however, to say that modern astrology is scientific because historically scientists studied astrology–especially while at the same time rejecting Christianity as unscientific based on a similar history!

            The continuity between the old and new covenants was seen immediately by the earliest fathers of the church. The world view, the foundation, remained. In addition to typology, I would ask you to ponder the idea of progressive revelation–that God revealed truth to the world bit by bit, building upon each layer, culminating in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus–not as a new revolution that threw out what came before, but as a fulfillment and manifestation of what was only imperfectly revealed before. This is how the first Christians understood it, how Jesus explained himself, and what Paul wrote about.

          • Matt

            Mark,

            I don’t think I’m conflating anything;
            I am specifically speaking about Astrology (or Ancient Astronomy)
            during the time of the OT and NT. This was in direct response to Stacy’s
            argument that the bible (at the time it was written) is scientific.

            But
            as a side note (and having nothing to do with this conversation);
            Astrology can be a type of archeological evidence for the mindset of
            humans, 20,000 years ago. You find a lot of evidence for Astrology
            throughout the bible; from Moses and Aaron, to Jesus and the Wise-men. I
            don’t think you can so easily separate Astrology from the Bible; any
            more than you can separate the history of Mathematics and Science from
            the Egyptians and Babylonians, as Stacy has. End side note.

            Stacy
            is attempting to build an argument that the mindset and psychology of
            has gone unchanged. Some things have gone unchanged, some have had
            progressive revelation, as you say;
            Typology tries to smooth over
            these rough spots; Dispensation attempts to clearly delineate these
            ages. For example; during the Garden of Eden, before the fall; the laws
            of the Universe were different from now, correct?

            So how
            can you build an argument that says, nothing changed, until it
            fundamentally changed; and then it went back to not changing again; so
            therefore it’s unchanging?

          • Marc M

            I’m not sure where you think anyone has made quite that argument, or where Stacy has claimed that the Bible is scientific in the sense that you seem to be countering.

          • Matt

            I don’t think I misunderstood her argument:

            “The next time someone quips that the Bible has nothing to say about
            science, point out that the ancient worldview of the Bible is the
            worldview demanded by modern science since its beginning and still today”

            She’s welcome to correct me if I’ve misunderstood her argument, but her last paragraph is very clear and concise. I think I’ve taken an academic approach to this; I’ve countered with valid points; it’s her choice to consider or dismiss.

          • Micha_Elyi

            …however, within the bible itself, you have two diametrically opposed world views which split the bible down the middle: Before Jesus and After Jesus.
            Matt

            Many have detected an odor of the Marcian heresy in much of Protestantism.

          • joeclark77

            There’s a Martian heresy? Now *that* sounds like some interesting astrology…

    • Micha_Elyi

      The Bible is to Science, what Astrology is to Astronomy…
      Matt

      False. The metaphysical worldview revealed in the Bible is foundational to empirical science, as Stacy Trasancos pointed out in her brief essay. What’s more, it’s particularly the Catholic Christian theological and metaphysical worldview that made empirical science possible. Catholics compiled and preserved the Bible then went on to invent empirical science. In contrast, nothing in the metaphysics of astrology is foundational to astronomy.

      I invite you to try again.

  • jamey brown

    Just brilliant. What a comfort to go to sleep at night knowing that God knows every hair on my head, every leaf on the tree, and that
    He’s in charge, so I don’t have to be.

    I was just reading in Peter Kreeft’s Jesus Shock that the Hebrew view of God was just crazy to the ancient pagans. And as you point out science has proven the Old Testament was right. Well the Catholic Church’s view of God and morality and truth seems just as crazy to the modern pagans. Who will point out the truth to them? I think it falls on us, so we have to be ever vigilant. I heard on Catholic radio this week someone say about the famous quote “The price of liberty is to be ever vigilant.” They said that we should be ever vigilant for all the virtues, not just liberty.

  • VelikaBuna

    The entire essay can be read here for those of you who are interested. I haven’t read it yet, but I will when i have some time.

    http://www.surrey.ac.uk/ati/ibc/files/Science&Creation.pdf

    • Nostromo

      No mention of Al-Ghazali, second only to Mohammed in influence in Sunni theology, that stifled Islamic science.
      Otherwise good read. Thanks!

  • James Patton

    “what we call “science” and “religion” were united” Only in the smallest of minds was that true. I still can’t comprehend why anyone would subject their faith to the test of scientific scrutiny, unless you actually think that faith is fact…:)

    • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

      Care to back any of that up, or were you just cruising by?

      • James Patton

        Your assertions or my lack of understanding why you would subject your faith to scientific scrutiny?

        • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

          Science is about measurement of the motions of objects. Faith is about the ultimate purpose of humanity. No, I would never subject faith to scientific scrutiny any more than I would subject the meaning of my life to how fast my car can go.

          • James Patton

            “Science is about measurement of the motions of objects.”

            What a strange reply from someone with your credentials.

          • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

            Perhaps it’s you who wants to shore up your beliefs with science. Hmm?

          • James Patton

            You have a talent for unfounded assertions and I commend you for that. As far as “shore up your beliefs” that is not necessary since beliefs are moribund for me.

          • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Rimmer

            But that’s pretty-much what science is. At least, the real sciences, like physics, chemistry, biology. What else is there besides measuring how things either change or don’t change and trying to find out why?

          • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

            (Hey, I like your new website!)

          • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Rimmer

            (Thanks!)

          • St_Albert

            Well, as a PhD physical organic chemist, I gotta say it isn’t strange… it is pretty much what it’s all about. Maybe you should come to Berkeley and set us all straight.

            sheesh.

            That said, this discussion is fascinating. I had resolved not to jump in, and now look what happened.

            :-)

          • James Patton

            LOL….:D

            I am sure science has nothing to do with …”knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation”… and will take your word based on the credentials you claim…:D

            It is still a fascinating discussion.

          • St_Albert

            “It is still a fascinating discussion.”

            Well, right off the bat we can agree on that!

            Yeah, your proposed definition of science, “knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation” can be accepted in a very general way, but I’m saying that my life as a physical organic chemist is all about measuring changes over time. And those changes could, arguably be specified as “measurement of the motions of objects” as Dr. Trasancos said.

            So yeah, real-world experience yet again filters totally theoretical propositions. — to my detriment I admit, since I am kind of wedded to the real world.

            Fly free!

            Albert

  • james

    ” Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, Magi came from the East to Jerusalem, saying, ” Where is he who is born king of the Jews ? For
    we have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him.” Matt 2: 1-2

    • nannon31

      James,
      It is possible that the Magi were given a private revelation by God regarding
      both a star and Christ outside the context of astrology. I say that because Isaiah the prophet is virulent against astrology in Isaiah 47…

      Isaiah 47:13
      You wore yourself out with so many consultations!
      Let the astrologers stand forth to save you,
      The stargazers who forecast at each new moon
      what would happen to you.
      14
      See, they are like stubble,
      fire consumes them;
      They cannot deliver themselves
      from the spreading flames.
      This is no warming ember,
      no fire to sit before!
      15
      Thus do your wizards serve you
      with whom you have toiled from your youth;
      They wander their separate ways,
      With none to save you.

      • james

        ” And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth
        distress of nations bewildered by the roaring of the sea and waves …”
        Luke 21: 25

        • nannon31

          Still has nothing to do with astrology….”signs in”. For a complex look at the magi, go here…and he actually agrees with the private revelation direction since he points out that the magi were also given a private revelation not to return to Herod:

          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09527a.htm

          • james

            How about a nice little do-it-yourself guide to astrology by Jeane Dixon?

          • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

            Yeah, I’m not seeing the connection with ancient astrology. Astrology was part of the belief in the Great Year, where the universe was thought to emanate from the Unknown God/First Cause, and to cycle eternally, thus, the belief that events can be predicted.

          • james

            “Astrology is a probabilistic study of natural tendencies, a probabilistic study of the “gravity towards destiny”. Just as the gravity towards earth can be overcome, this “gravity towards destiny” can be overcome by several means (“will power” being one of those)” A quote on Vedic
            astrology, considered the best in the world. It’s not about prediction.
            The Magi were master astrologers who, like great inventors, doctors,
            and leaders were few and far between. The watered down science
            that we have today of this discipline does not reflect the genius that
            was and may still be. It is overwhelmingly usedas a personal science that if done with applied skill can tell you more about yourself than you
            might want to believe.

          • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

            Astrology? Not about prediction. I’d like to see your sources.

            This is today (a two-minute Google search):
            http://www.astrology.com/vedic-astrology

            http://www.vedicscholar.com/

            http://www.councilvedicastrology.com/

            This is the origin (from the etymology of the OED):

            In ancient Greek ἀστρολογία and ἀστρονομία were effectively synonymous, both words denoting the science of celestial objects. Influenced by the Egyptians and the Chaldeans, the Greeks of the Hellenistic period began to make calculations and predictions on the basis of astronomical observations, and the word ἀστρολογία came to be used in this sense. In Latin astrologia is used earliest (in Varro, 1st cent. b.c.) and predominantly to denote the science of celestial objects. Astronomia first appears a little later (in Seneca, 1st cent. a.d.). The first author who attempts a semantic distinction between the two Latin words is Isidore (a636). Isidore ( Origines 3. 27) defines astronomia as incorporating the positions and motions of planets and stars; he distinguishes between astrologia naturalis, the study of celestial phenomena, and astrologia superstitiosa, the practice of divination and predictions based on observations of celestial phenomena.

            Bottom line: It’s pantheism, which is direct conflict with the Christian Creed.

          • Matt

            Stacy,

            Why did you en-bold predictions? But not calculations? Calculations that could be considered scientific in the ancient world?

            You are purposely being selective with your data. And that is not scientific, whatsoever.

            The bible also has MANY MANY predictions and prophets who make predictions; the last book, Revelations is ONE BIG PREDICTION on the future.

            The only thing the bible has passed on into the modern world is its form of government; it’s rules, laws and social norms. The church was a form of government after the Roman Empire; and in our modern world, the Vatican is a Theocracy and Monarchy.

            You are maintaining laws for an old form of government.

            That’s my final thought. I know you will be instantly dismissive; this will De-evolve into an exhaustive internet argument; so, I’m outta here

          • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

            I put the words in bold because James said astrology was not about predicting. It was, and it still is — not predicting as in “this ball will drop to the ground” but as a matter of predicting human events based on celestial patterns, just like horoscopes today do, i.e. divination of matter, i.e. pantheism.

            This is not a question of science, but history.

          • Theophilus2

            I’m no scientist but it appears you’re not among the faithful. In case you are I highly recommend the practice of Divine Reading. What you see as predictions we see as promises fulfilled. And the last book, The Unveiling of Christ, is many things but definitely not just “one big prediction” about the future.

            Pax tibi

          • james

            The link is: Jyotish -Vedic Astrology. You have the first 5 lines of my
            post above so I don’t see what the problem of a probabilistic study is.
            The Magi were clearly astrologers so you’ll have to talk with Matthew
            or Luke about that.
            Over and out on the subject as we are at cognitive loggerheads. :)

          • james

            It is possible that the Magi were given a private revelation by God regarding both a star and Christ outside the context of astrology.
            They were astrologers who were very adept at reading the stars and
            you shift the focus to dreams which have no basis in any kind of measurable spacial / temporal system. The Luke 21:25 forecast by Jesus about the end times I suppose has no astrological basis either.
            and yet, He referenced … a fallacy ? If, as your quote above purports
            possibilities, so have the literal gospel verses.

          • nannon31

            Joel,
            Go to Joel chapter 4:14 on…which treats of the last days Christ was referring to:
            ” Crowd upon crowd in the valley of decision; For near is the day of the LORD in the valley of decision.
            15
            Sun and moon are darkened, and the stars withhold their brightness.”

            You are still avoiding Christ’s reference to signs IN the heavenly bodies…IN…nothing to do with astrology. Revelation also has a passage similar to Joel.

          • james

            one LAST post to you. There is no Joel – a minor minor speculater -
            4-14 and the quote is ” the valley of destruction” not decision. Yes,
            signs IN the stars …that will be read by the very wise. Peace.

          • nannon31

            James,
            There are many different english versions of the bible that vary in small details. I copied and pasted from the Catholic Bishop’s site’s nab translation…which uses “decision”.

          • St_Albert

            James, what worldview are you dealing in? (Don’t interpret this as in “what planet are you from?” I just mean “what are your assumptions?”)

            What do you mean by “There is no Joel”? Are you not aware of the fact that nannon31 was quoting from the Bible book of Joel?

            Evidently you are, but your translation of Joel (there is no Joel) 4;14 as “the valley of destruction” rather than the “valley of decision” needs documentation. The vulgate “in valle concisionis” is translated as “in the valley of decision” just as nannon31 claimed. Thus that interpretation goes back way before you were born. Do you dispute Jerome? If so, what are your bone-fides?

            Maybe your’e punching above your league…

            Just sayin… but of course you’re welcome to proove me wrong.

            Albert

          • james

            It should have read Joel 4: 14 within the parenthesis.

            My bible is the Family Rosary edition copyright 1953 published with the approbation of Samuel Cardinal Stritch, archbishop of Chicago.
            The book of Joel is 3 chapters and verse 14 says valley of “destruction.”

            All these subtle changes and you can just imagine how much license
            was taken over 2000 years. And Joel is a minor, minor prophet of the
            Southern Kingdom who foretold in figures the great evils of his time.
            I can get the same thing from Catholic Stand and Ignitum.

            I’m holding my candle pretty well, thank you.

          • St_Albert

            This is one of those rare occasions where we both are (somewhat) right. In the Douay version of the english bible, Joel has only 3 chapters ( Ch. 3 == Ch 4 in the Vulgate and in more modern versions,, e.g. New American (Catholic) and Jerusalem Bible). Presumably your bible cited is derived from the Douay.

            In the Douay, v.14 uses “valley of destruction” as does your bible. But the Vulgate, the New American, and the Jerusalem all use “valley of decision.”

            That said, I must concede your point about (admittedly small) changes over time in translations of the bible. Interesting, but kind of off-topic I think.

            IMHO, Stacy’s original point was that the Bible promotes a worldview in which natural law holds, and is predictable. Without this assumption, real science is not possible.

            And for a real-world example of why this is so, consider the course of scientific progress in the Islamic world, alluded to by someone way early in this thread, pre- Al Ghazali (in which moslems accepted the “predictable and logical” model) versus post- Al Ghazali (in which the belief that the natural world was inherently predictable and logical became heretical). Note that by “predictable” I am not referring to “predicting the future” but rather the notion that if I do an experment and get a given result, then if I repeat the experiment, or you repeat the experiment, we should get the same result within experimental error.

            With apologies for detours to another rabbit trail, I remain,

            albert

          • james

            And by predictable I mean “Astrology is a probabilistic study of natural tendencies, a probabilistic study of the “gravity towards destiny”.
            Those Magi got it right because they were highly skilled at their gift.

            Every thread has a rabbit hole – Newton chased an apple down one.

  • Jim S.

    “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth …”

    We believe that God created the universe, but we can never know it in a scientific sense.

    1. We know from mathematical models that the universe is at least 13.798 billion years old.

    2. We know from empirical observation that the oldest objects in the universe are at least 13 billion years old.

    3. We know from geometry that a line can be divided into two parts ad infinitum, provided that the resulting parts are of equal length.

    4. We know from the theory of relativity that space and time are convertible.

    5. Therefore, it is possible to divide the distance between the oldest observed object and the universe’s theoretical beginning into two parts of equal length ad infinitum.

    6. But ad infinitum means that there would always be one more division. There would be no first term.

    7. If there were no first term, there would be no subsequent terms, which we know to be false, because the universe exists.

    8. Therefore, we “know” that the universe was created (out of nothing) because God told us so in Genesis. But science cannot prove it.

    Which raises an interesting question: your Big Bang astronomer peering through the Hubble looking for distant objects, just what does he think he’s looking for?

    • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

      One of Jaki’s greatest teachings was the application of Gödel’s incompleteness theorem as a “cudgel against those scientists who try to shore up their materialism with their ‘final’ cosmologies.”(Science and Relgion: A Primer, 25-50)

      Such theories in physics must be heavily mathematical and thus, per Gödel’s theorem, they cannot have in themselves proof of their own consistency. Neither can Creation be fully grasped by physics, since scientists cannot go outside the cosmos to measure it.

      It is akin to a child trying to prove a final theory of how his house works when he is incapable of toddling outside its doors. (Stacy Trasancos, mom of many toddlers)

      • http://www.catholicauthor.us/ Dominic de Souza

        :)

    • james

      multiverses

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