samedi 3 novembre 2012

Sungenis' Friend and Getting Theology Right

Just after 49 minutes (I counsel you to get the context), Sungenis' friend (offscreen) says there is one place where "without any magic, without any supernatural stuff" ...

Now, why would that be a merit? I am not disputing it is a rhetorical merit while arguing with atheists. But before Christians?

Now, certainly, if by magic we mean things like Faust, Paracelsus, Uncle Andrew Ketterley, the Nine Ring Lords (who bought some magic of power and intimidation), Anthony LaVey, Aztek priesthood* and other servants of the devil, the universe works quite well without them, thank you!

But that is not what the ones mean who accuse him and Sungenis (or for that matter creationists) of "appealing to magic". By "magic and supernatural" they mean for instance but not limited to "a will affecting bodies directly without using the body whereof it is the mind, rather than just existing in a brain and sending nerve signals to hands and feet and toes and fingers which need a certain muscular force to do what the will wills".

In that sense we Christians have to acknowledge "the supernatural", though we may and should insist that "magic" is for reasons of moral theology not a good word for it. If God does a thing, he has not bought his power by a deal with the devil who is only a creature of His. If an angel does a thing, he has his power, exactly like the devil does, from God and has no need either to buy it from the devil. (That person being an "angel" or spirit as to his being, but not one who stayed faithful to his Creator.) That doesn't stop stupid or simply ignorant atheists from calling divine or angelic action or "interference" "magic".

And that is why we Christians should not be shy about what atheists call "magic and the supernatural". We should of course hold ourselves far away from the LaVey stuff, but that is another matter.

Another confusion of mere terminology is whether a Christian can speak about Pisces and Virgo without being a superstitional astrologer. Pisces and Virgo are two of the constellations which we can see neither N or S off of the ecliptic but right on and around the ecliptic plane which sun and moon and other planets transcend from west to east (apart from their daily motion with the stars from east to west), without or with retrograde motions: they are the two that the sun is hiding from us at either equinox. And if I always cite those two, it is because I have not bothered to learn the other ones, these are when ma, me and granny had their birthdays, and some atheist in the family always bothered about the star signs. I suppose the solstices are Cancer and Capricorn, but I am less sure of Capricorn.

Now back to the question whether astrophysics shouls exclude or not the supernatural. Is what I would call "the Ramandu principle" true or false?

Well, first off, in the book of Genesis God gives Abraham to examples of things innumerable (to us men, but of course not to God). And in the book of Baruch** God does not say that he calls every grain of sand by name.

Whether the visible stars (including sun, moon and other planets) are organisms with spiritual souls or they are things moved by incorporeal spirits (strong or weak Ramandu principle, so to speak) is quite another question. In Paris and England the theses condemned by bishop Stephen II Tempier of Paris include a condemnation of visible stars having any kind of souls, but they do most pregnantly not include any condemnation of visible stars being moved by incorporeal spirits faithful to God. But his successor, Stephen III of Paris, around the Canonisation of St Thomas Aquinas (just before or just after) lifted the condemnations "insofar as they seem to condemn the positions of Thomas Aquinas" - but no more than that. Now, the mature position of St Thomas Aquinas was that stars are merely moved by spirits themselves incorporeal, but earlier he had the position that stars had angels or might have angels as a kind of souls (note that even then not every angel would have a star for a body: saying there is a star for every angel is condemned in Paris and England). Even then he denied them having vegetative life, but that is because no change had been observed in any star. When Tycho Brahe observed a Nova, that argument can have gotten in another position.

One more thing, Sungenis said that earth was the first thing God created. No, it was heaven and earth, meaning either at the same time or earth just after the heavens (ha-shamayim being plural, I think "the heavens" are a good translation).

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Paris, Mouffetard
St Hubert in Octave of All Saints

PS: Robert said that the singular spot of the universe standing still per se could be earth or could not, we could not know without revelation. That is so clearly not the position of St Thomas Aquinas. We can know very well that II+II=IV, even if we are not some of us Christian (I am, but some readers are not). We can know we should not shoot at peaceful passers by even if given orders, even if we are no Christians (as was said after Glencoe). We can also know what at least two senses attest, as long as there is no even clearer proof against it. Now sight and inner ears (not of a few Neil Armstrongs, in possible special moments, but of billions all of their lives) both attest that earth is still, excepting earthquakes. As long as there is no proof to the contrary (and Neil Armstrongs watching earth move is no proof, since we all see the Moon from where they watched, if the story be true, is moving), that stands as a proof. Scripture and Bruno / Galileo case magisterium (1600, 1616, 1633) just confirm that, precisely as Scripture and early XXth C. magisterium confirmed the Natural Law against early XXth C. tyrants.

PPS: here is a link to the 1276/1277 condemnations (letare sunday before easter day 1277), giving just theses in Syllabus Errorum format(a few books and authors were condemned in the ingress of the letter):

Index in stephani tempier condempnationes

Of course, if St Thomas Aquinas directly says what Stephen Tempier denies (I have not seen that, excepting the strong Ramandu principle as to youth of St Thomas), the condemnation was in such a case lifted in 1325. Otherwise it still remains in force, in Paris and England. I am not sure what English synod made the condemnations of Paris valid for England as well, but one manuscript does give the list in the systematic form with the heading "Collectio errorum in Anglia et Parisius Condempnatorum qui sic per capitula distinguuntur".

*Two magicians or warlocks whose historicity is disputed, two examples from fantasy books, two from undisputably historic characters in the real history of the real world.

**Which the Jabne synod or Jamnia synod of rabbis, held after year 70, foundational for Judaism, wrongfully excluded from the Canon of the Old Testament.

1 commentaire:

  1. I should think that a set of ecclesiastic condemnations valid for England and Paris are valid for English and French colonies in N. America as well, excepting possibly Nova Scotia, which is no English but a Scottish colony.

    The French of Québec is old fashioned Parisian French (like pre-French Revolution Parisian).