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UPDATE: The Groaning of Creation: Chapter 5 – “Heaven for Pelicans? Eschatological Considerations – Part I

Image result for hosea 2:18

God’s covenant with animals.

 

This past Sunday we completed the first half of Chapter 5 of Christopher Southgate’s The Groaning of Creation.

 

Here are our essays.

 

“The Groaning of Creation” – Chapter 5: “Heaven for Pelicans? Eschatological Considerations” – Part I

Related image

 

This week we will be covering the first 4 sections of Chapter 5 of Christopher Southgate’s The Groaning of Creation.

Please answer one of the following questions:

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Chapter 3: “Strategies in Evolutionary Theology”

Image result for dolphin rape

Are these dolphins engaging in the act of gang rape?  If so, are they culpable for their actions?  Are they sinning?

 

Had a very interesting session this past Sunday.  One of the topics revolved around “when” sin “entered” the picture.

Was it always present in creation or did it emerge around the time anatomically similar homo sapiens did around 200 – 150 thousand years ago?  Or was it around 50 – 40 thousand years ago when when cognitively modern humans came about that sin entered the picture and we became morally aware or conscious of our actions?

If sin was around since the beginning, then are animals culpable of sin?  Are the dolphins above sinning and are to be held accountable for their actions?

Among our group, there still seems to be a prevailing belief that humans are somewhat set apart and distinct from the rest of the animal kingdom.  We are still uncomfortable with being called animals or part of the animal kingdom.

Does being created in “the image of God” make us unique, separate, and above all other creatures?

Here are our essays.

 

 

Chapter 3: “Strategies in Evolutionary Theology”

Image result for god suffers alongside us

Job suffers and mourns alongside Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.  Does God suffer alongside us as well?

 

We will go over Chapter 3: “Strategies in Evolutionary Theology” in Christopher Southgate’s book The Groaning of Creation.

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Groaning of Creation: Chapter 2 “Roads Not Taken” – Part 2

Image result for jesus as perfect man

 

Some interesting conversations today as we finished Chapter 2 of The Groaning of Creation as we discussed whether or not Genesis advocates vegetarianism, whether Jesus was the apex of human evolution or humanity itself, and if the doctrine of the Fall is a necessary and viable concept given the discoveries of science.

Here are our essays.

 

 

Groaning of Creation: Chapter 2 – Part II

 

Woodcut, God, Adam and Eve, snake, devil, Fall of Mankind, Genesis 3, 3, creation of the world, Old Testament, Catholic Picture-Bible

“God, Adam and Eve”, Woodcut, Catholic Picture-Bible

 

This week, we will finish up Chapter 2: “Roads Not Taken” of The Groaning of Creation.

We will examine the doctrine of the Fall and see whether or not it comports with evolutionary theory and the theology of Andrew Elphinstone.

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“Questioning Darwin” – HBO Documentary

 

This HBO documentary takes a look into the beliefs of creationists and biblical literalists to understand why they so vehemently oppose evolution and Darwinism.  That’s one half of the documentary.

 

The other half looks into the life and beliefs of Charles Darwin, and how so often he is misunderstood.

 

I would’ve liked if they could have interviewed Christians who embraced evolution or had no problems believing in the comparability of  evolution (by natural selection) and Christianity, but they may be in the minority or not as vocal as creationists and evolutionary atheists.

 

This is a huge topic within American culture, society, and religion that gets really heated at times.

 

 

 

 

 

The Problem with Camels and the Old Testament

camels

Camels are mentioned as pack animals in the biblical stories of Abraham, Joseph, and Jacob. But archaeologists have shown that camels were not domesticated in the Land of Israel until centuries after the Age of the Patriarchs (2000-1500 BCE).

 

Whenever you read a Bible or a children’s Bible with illustrations, you’re bound to come across images of camels alongside Abraham, Issac, or Jacob.  We take this for granted most of the time.

The New Bible Dictionary: 3rd Edstates,

In Scripture, camels are first mentioned in the days of the Patriarchs (c. 1900 – 1700 BC) [a bit different from the caption above].  They formed part of the livestock wealth of Abraham and Jacob (Gen. 12:16; 24:35; 30:43; 32:7, 15) and also of Job (1:3, 17; 42:12).  On only two notable occasions are the Patriarchs actually shown using camels as transport: when Abraham’s servant went to Mesopotamia to obtain a wife for Isaac (Gen. 24:10), and when Jacob fled from Laban (Gen. 31:17,34)- neither an everyday event.  Otherwise, camels are attributed only to the Ishmaelites/Midianites, desert traders, at this time (Gen. 37:25).  This very modest utilization of camels in the patriarchal age corresponds well with the known rather limited use of camels in the early 2nd millenium BC. (p. 160)

 

However, recent archaeological and scientific studies provide new evidence that suggests that camels were domesticated in the regions associated with the biblical Patriarchs centuries later than is portrayed in the biblical accounts.

This research and issues with the domestication of camels is not new news and has been known for some time now.

This research is interesting when trying to place a time-frame on when and where the Pentateuch was written and compiled.

How science and biblical studies converge – read the article here.

 

 

 

“Noah’s Ark: The Facts Behind the Flood”

Was the Ark that survived the Flood really round?

Dr. Irving Finkel, assistant keeper at the department of the Middle East at the British Museum, recently deciphered the “Ark Tablet” – an ancient Babylonian tablet that describes a flood and a building of an ark by a single person; however this one is unique in that this tablet provides specific instructions on how the ark was to look like and be built.

Some interesting facts:

  1. In this account, the ark was round, called a coracle– a shape that is still used today in the Middle East, with a diameter of around 230 ft; very different from our traditional picture of what the ark looked like from our Sunday school pictures
  2. It’s one of the first known depictions of the Akkadian (Semitic Babylonian) word “sana” which translates to “two each, two by two” when the Ark Tablet describes how the animals were rounded into the coracle. (Sound familiar?)
  3. It’s worthy to bear in mind that, as Finkel states, the Babylonian flood story in cuneiform is 1,000 years older than the book of Genesis in Hebrew.

He’s come out with a new book on his discoveries called The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood.

I personally had a chance to attend a lecture of Dr. Finkel in the summer last year at the Metropolitan Museum of Art when they were exhibiting the Cyrus Cylinder; the Met used his English translation of the Cylinder. He’s quite an entertaining speaker, unlike most other academic lecturers in his field who tend to be quite dry and boring in my opinion.

It should be interesting to see how this may impact biblical and Old Testament studies in the future.

Click here for his complete article.