Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Quote of the Day: "We find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways"

Augustine                          Image via Wikipedia
“In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search for truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it.” -- Augustine, quoted here.
We are told this quote concerns his interpretation of the book of Genesis. If so, it surely applies equally to uncritical proponents of darwinian evolution and biblical fundamentalism.

6 comments:

Joe said...

According to St Paul, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness".

That being said, in order to interpret what it actually says you need to have an understanding of Who it is that breathed it and what His overall agenda is.

Getting hung up on exact interpretations of the English words that are an interpretation of another language that you don't speak or understand is a fool's game.

Yahweh is eternal and omnipotent. He could have brought about His creation in an instant if He so desired or He could have taken His time and savoured the development of the sun, stars, planets, life on Earth. He could have done it in phases of 24 hours or He could have done it over millenia.

What's more unless I am so foolish as to worship the book I read and try to elevate it to a place it doesn't belong the description of creation is accurate enough to show humans that the universe as we know it did not generate itself anymore than we are our own creator.

Anonymous said...

And, oddly enough, you can say the exact same thing about both fortune cookies and newspaper horoscopes; odd how that works, isn't it?

RkBall said...

Unlike fortune cookies, etc., there are rational rules of exegetical interpretation for biblical texts.

Nice try, though.

Brian Forbes said...

Take the entire doctrine as a whole. This quote has been misrepresented by atheists. All you have to do is read it in context.

"...a man is not in any difficulty in making a reply according to his faith ... to those who try to defame our Holy

Scripture. ... when they produce from any of their books a theory contrary to Scripture ... either we shall have some

ability to demonstrate that it is absolutely false, or at least we ourselves will hold it so without any shadow of a

doubt. ...let us choose [the doctrine] which appears as certainly the meaning intended by the author. ... For it is one

thing to fail to recognize the primary meaning of the writer, and another to depart from the norms of religious belief."
http://college.holycross.edu/faculty/alaffey/other_files/Augustine-Genesis1.pdf

Brian Forbes said...

Take the entire doctrine as a whole. This quote has been misrepresented by atheists. All you have to do is read it in context.

"...a man is not in any difficulty in making a reply according to his faith ... to those who try to defame our Holy

Scripture. ... when they produce from any of their books a theory contrary to Scripture ... either we shall have some

ability to demonstrate that it is absolutely false, or at least we ourselves will hold it so without any shadow of a

doubt. ...let us choose [the doctrine] which appears as certainly the meaning intended by the author. ... For it is one

thing to fail to recognize the primary meaning of the writer, and another to depart from the norms of religious belief."
http://college.holycross.edu/faculty/alaffey/other_files/Augustine-Genesis1.pdf

RkBall said...

Thanks, Brian.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"