Application of old pagan concept of trinity

Many who believe in the trinity are surprised to learn that the idea of divine beings existing as trinities or triads long predated Christianity. Yet the evidence is abundantly documented. So let us have a look at some of the evidence.

Marie Sinclair, Countess of Caithness, in her 1876 book Old Truths in a New Light, states,

“It is generally, although erroneously, supposed that the doctrine of the Trinity is of Christian origin. Nearly every nation of antiquity possessed a similar doctrine. [The early Catholic theologian] St. Jerome testifies unequivocally, ‘All the ancient nations believed in the Trinity’.” — (p. 382)

Notice how the following quotes document belief in a divine trinity in many regions and religions of the ancient world.

Sumeria

Ur III Sumerian cuneiform for An or Anu, the earliest attested Sky Father deity. In Sumerian religion, he was also “King of the Gods“, “Lord of the Constellations, Spirits and Demons”, and “Supreme Ruler of the Kingdom of Heaven”, where Anu himself wandered the highest Heavenly Regions.

“The universe was divided into three regions each of which became the domain of a god. Anu‘s share was the sky. The earth was given to Enlil. Ea became the ruler of the waters. Together they constituted the triad of the Great Gods.” — (The Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, 1994, pp. 54, 55)

Babylonia

“The ancient Babylonians recognised the doctrine of a trinity, or three persons in one god— as appears from a composite god with three heads forming part of their mythology, and the use of the equilateral triangle, also, as an emblem of such trinity in unity.” — (Thomas Dennis Rock, The Mystical Woman and the Cities of the Nations, 1867, pp. 22, 23)

India

Purana or “ancient, old” Manuscript

“The Puranas, one of the Hindoo Bibles of more than 3,000 years ago, contain the following passage:

‘O ye three Lords! know that I recognise only one God. Inform me, therefore, which of you is the true divinity, that I may address to him alone my adorations.’

The three gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva [or Shiva], becoming manifest to him, replied,

‘Learn, O devotee, that there is no real distinction between us. What to you appears such is only the semblance. The single being appears under three forms by the acts of creation, preservation, and destruction, but he is one.’

Hence the triangle was adopted by all the ancient nations as a symbol of the Deity … Three was considered among all the pagan nations as the chief of the mystical numbers, because, as Aristotle remarks, it contains within itself a beginning, a middle, and an end. Hence we find it designating some of the attributes of almost all the pagan gods.” (Sinclair, pp. 382, 383)

Greece

“In the Fourth Century B.C. Aristotle wrote:

‘All things are three, and thrice is all: and let us use this number in the worship of the gods; for, as the Pythagoreans say, everything and all things are bounded by threes, for the end, the middle and the beginning have this number in everything, and these compose the number of the Trinity’.” — (Arthur Weigall, Paganism in Our Christianity, 1928, pp. 197, 198)

Egypt

“The Hymn to Amun decreed that

Re-Horakhty.svg

Re, also spelled Ra or Pra, in ancient Egyptian religion, god of the sun and one of the creator gods, who rose from the ocean of chaos on the primeval hill, creating himself and then in turn engendering eight other gods.

‘No god came into being before him (Amun)’

and that

‘All gods are three: Amun, Re and Ptah, and there is no second to them. Hidden is his name as Amon, he is Re in face, and his body is Ptah.’

… This is a statement of trinity, the three chief gods of Egypt subsumed into one of them, Amon. Clearly, the concept of organic unity within plurality got an extraordinary boost with this formulation. Theologically, in a crude form it came strikingly close to the later Christian form of plural Trinitarian monotheism.” — (Simson Najovits, Egypt, Trunk of the Tree, Vol. 2, 2004, pp. 83, 84)

Other areas

Many other areas had their own divine trinities.

In Greece they were Zeus, Poseidon and Adonis. The Phoenicians worshipped Ulomus, Ulosuros and Eliun. Rome worshipped Jupiter, Mars and Venus. In Germanic nations they were called Wodan, Thor and Fricco. Regarding the Celts, one source states,

“The ancient heathen deities of the pagan Irish, Criosan, Biosena, and Seeva, or Sheeva, are doubtless the Creeshna [Krishna], Veeshnu [Vishnu], [or the all-inclusive] Brahma, and Seeva [Shiva], of the Hindoos.” — (Thomas Maurice, The History of Hindostan, Vol. 2, 1798, p. 171)

Arthur Edward Pearse Brome Weigall, English Egyptologist, stage designer, journalist and author, at the Temple of Edfu, before 1913

The deception is beautifully seen by the astonishing admission of Arthur Weigall who himself is a Trinitarian. Egyptologist Arthur Weigall summed up the influence of ancient beliefs on the adoption of the trinity doctrine by the Catholic Church in the following excerpt from his book:

“It must not be forgotten that Jesus Christ never mentioned such a phenomenon [the Trinity], and nowhere in the New Testament does the word ‘Trinity’ appear. The idea was only adopted by the Church three hundred years after the death of our Lord; and the origin of the conception is entirely pagan …
The ancient Egyptians, whose influence on early religious thought was profound, usually arranged their gods or goddesses in trinities: there was the trinity of Osiris, Isis, and Horus, the trinity of Amen, Mut, and Khonsu, the trinity of Khnum, Satis, and Anukis, and so forth …
The early Christians, however, did not at first think of applying the idea to their own faith. They paid their devotions to God the Father and to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and they recognised the mysterious and undefined existence of the Holy Spirit; but there was no thought of these three being an actual Trinity, co-equal and united in One …The application of this old pagan conception of a Trinity to Christian theology was made possible by the recognition of the Holy Spirit as the required third ‘Person,’ co-equal with the other ‘Persons’…The idea of the Spirit being co-equal with God was not generally recognised until the second half of the Fourth Century A.D… . In the year 381 the Council of Constantinople added to the earlier Nicene Creed a description of the Holy Spirit as

‘the Lord, and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and Son together is worshipped and glorified.’

Andrey Davidson, Kingdom of God – Arius’ non-trinitarian Christian  theology

(Arian Church Facebook Group)

Christian Doctrine of the Trinity

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Preceding

Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today

Christianity without the Trinity

Next: A Father Who begat a son

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Additional reading

  1. Tri-union gods and Pagan, Christian, Muslim and Jewish views on the Creator God
  2. Looking for answers on the question Is there a God #1 Many gods
  3. A Triple God or simply a rather simple One God
  4. Trinity matter
  5. Trinity – History
  6. How did the Trinity Doctrine Develop
  7. History of the acceptance of a three-in-one God
  8. Altered to fit a Trinity
  9. The Trinity – the truth
  10. Trinitarian philosophy
  11. Does there have to be a Holy Trinity?
  12. Problems correspondents have with the Trinity Doctrine
  13. How do trinitarians equate divine nature
  14. The Great Trinity debate
  15. Newton not believing in the Holy Trinity
  16. Inspired Word
  17. The habitual misreading of John 1 and the ‘Word being God’ #1
  18. The habitual misreading of John 1 and the ‘Word being God’ #2
  19. Who Is Jesus? God, or unique Man?
  20. Jesus the “God-Man”: Really?
  21. The saviour Jesus his godly side
  22. The saviour Jesus his human side
  23. Omniscient God opposite a not knowing Jesus
  24. Jesus Christ being dispatched as the Figurehead of a Religion
  25. The Christ, the anointed of God
  26. Challenging claim
  27. Challenging claim 1 Whose word
  28. Challenging claim 4 Inspired by God 3 Self-consistent Word of God
  29. Deity manifested in Messiah
  30. Germanic mythological influences up to today’s Christmas celebrations
  31. Problems correspondents have with the Trinity Doctrine

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Further reading

  1. Is God comprised of three persons, or is He just one person?
  2. Questions for those who believe in the Trinity
  3. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  4. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  5. Trinity in the Bible
  6. Shiva, the destroyer yet the preserver
  7. Universe according to Pythagoras – pt. 1 – Tetractys
  8. A Note on ‘Biblical’ Simplicity
  9. 1 John 5:7 And Matthew 28:19 – Fabricated Trinity Verses
  10. What is God’s Glory and Why does it Matter?
  11. Ethno-nationalism and the Christian Trinity
  12. In the Newness of Prepositions
  13. Labyrinth of the Week #2: Trinity Lutheran Church
  14. Oneness Pentecostalism and Their False Doctrine of Modalism
  15. ALiF Quotes: “Plurality of One is Duality and Plurality of Two is Trinity; everything else is their derivatives.”
  16. Embrace the Mystery: Does all of theology “make sense”
  17. The Trinity Dogma and the Worship of Angels
  18. The Lord Jesus Christ and The Divine Trinity
  19. A Glimpse of the Trinity
  20. What is the Trinity?
  21. The Trinity: It’s Not That Hard to Believe.
  22. Easy Way To Know God’s Will
  23. Trinity, logically described
  24. Trinity, Part II
  25. ​Unity of the Blessed Trinity
  26. (Study) Jesus Is God
  27. A Quick Stop at The Shack
  28. Random Submission
  29. Testament 26: His word is our bond
  30. Islam and the Doctrine of the Trinity
  31. Robert Wells Needs Help Responding to Muslims on Blogging Theology
  32. The Hospitality of Abraham: The Liturgical Witness
  33. Hays on Mark’s Jesus: The God Who “Walks By” On the Water
  34. A Dove, 3, 7, and Creation
  35. Irenaeus: Salvation is the work of the Trinity
  36. Do Not Be Anxious to Be Modern In Theology
  37.  Testament 24: how to receive grace and mercy 
  38. Virgin Birth (Symbolism, Mythology, and Mystery)
  39. Is Jesus a lesser God?
  40. No One Knows the Father Except the Son: H.R. Mackintosh on the Radical Exclusivity of Revelation in Christ
  41. Delighting in the Trinity
  42. The Good God
  43. The Curious Christian
  44. Misquoted Verses #1: Judge Not
  45. Let’s Get Lost: Mapping Religion in the 21st Century
  46. The Most Shocking Thing Ever Uttered

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Bible containing scientific information

Does the Bible contain scientific information unknown at the time?

Answered by  

Some attempts to find scientific knowledge in the Bible are misplaced. For example, in Isaiah 40:22 the ‘circle of the earth’ does not describe the earth as a sphere; the Hebrew word for ‘circle’ is used, not the Hebrew for ‘sphere’ or ‘ball’. However, the Bible does contain information which has historically been of considerable scientific value.

Demythologizing the cosmos

Aristotle

Aristotle (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

Unlike every other Ancient Near East cosmology, the Bible describes the universe in naturalistic terms. The sun, moon, and stars are inanimate objects rather than gods, the universe was not created from the recycled body parts of divine beings, and the universe operates according to fixed laws. Early Jewish and Christian commentators understood that nature is regular and orderly, since everything in nature takes place according to fixed laws which God has instituted, which never change. [1] [2]

This concept of the universe, which we take for granted, was revolutionary in the Ancient Near East and was not even approached by the Greeks until around the 4th century BCE. In fact the inadequacy of Greek science led to a complete dead end. [3] Unable to free itself completely from mythology, Greek science finally stagnated and failed to advance any further. [4] Western science was not revived until the 6th century CE Christian philosopher John Philoponus challenged the pagan cosmology inherited from the Greeks. [5]

“Expositio et quaestiones” in Aristoteles De Anima by Johannes Buridanus, 1362?.

A pagan Greek philosopher,  Proclus, had written a massive polemical commentary explicitly criticizing the Biblical description of the universe and its origin, on the grounds that it was scientifically unsupportable. Philoponus destroyed Proclus’ arguments in his reply, demonstrating the many flaws in Proclus’ work. [6] He also wrote numerous commentaries on Aristotle’s works which identified their errors, using the Biblical cosmology as his tool. [7]  This breakthrough was instrumental in the formation of Western science as we know it. [8] Philoponus’ work was used by later scientific investigators such as such as Bonaventure, Gersonides, Buridan, Oresme, Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola, Galileo Galilei, and Isaac Newton, all of whom made significant scientific progress as a result.

The universe had a beginning

Philoponus had defended the Christian cosmology, deriving powerful arguments from observations of the universe that it must have had a beginning, and that it was finite in duration. He singlehandedly debunked the greatest pagan philosopher and cosmologist in recorded history (Aristotle), as well as burying Proclus’ criticism of the Christian cosmology. Later Jewish and Christian cosmologists throughout the medieval era made similar arguments, based on the same observations. Christian scientists from Francis Bacon to Isaac Newton all understood this, for centuries.

Incredibly, some of the greatest 20th century scientists such as Eddington and Einstein claimed it could not be true (apparently Einstein later said it was possibly the greatest error in his career). Eddington even admitted he didn’t want it to be true, for philosophical reasons. [9] It was only recently that scientific evidence for the ‘Big Bang’ proved that the universe did indeed have a beginning and would have an end, contrary to what many scientists had believed.

Health & hygiene regulations

Examples of cleansing rituals (and other commandments), carried out under the Law of Moses with excellent hygiene benefits include:

  • Carrion is not to be eaten (Leviticus 7:24)
  • The examination and cleansing of objects known to have come into contact with infectious persons, and their destruction if they are unable to be cleansed (Leviticus 13)
  • The quarantine and routine inspection of those suffering from infectious diseases, and the washing or destruction of objects touched by that individual while infected (Leviticus 13, 14)
  • Dwellings known to be infected with mold are to be repeatedly cleansed and examined until the mold has been completely removed, persons in the dwelling to wash themselves and their clothes, any physical material in the house which carries the mold is to be disposed of outside the residential area (and replaced with new material), and if the dwelling cannot be cleansed or if the mold keeps reoccurring the entire dwelling is to be destroyed and the debris disposed of outside the residential area (Leviticus 14)
  • Men and women with abnormal genital discharges were to wash themselves and their clothes, if they touched anyone or anything without washing their hands that person or thing had also to be washed (Leviticus 15)
  • Cleansing rituals involved washing with running water, avoiding the danger of stagnation and the transmission of infection by contaminating a static body of water with unclean material (Leviticus 15)
  • Those in contact with a dead body to wash themselves and their clothes, and any open container which was in a room where a person had died was to be considered unclean, together with its contents (Numbers 19:11-20)
  • Latrines to be dug well clear of residential areas (Deuteronomy 23:12-13)

Historical, medical, and scholarly commentary on these passages has noted the value of these instructions. [10] [11] [12] [13] George Washington actually used and enforced the hygiene rules in the Law of Moses to improve the health of his troops, and to give them a significant advantage over their English enemies, who were not so aware. [14]

Egyptian medical science was crippled by its belief in the supernatural cause of many illnesses. [15] The Law of Moses never attributed sickness to supernatural evil such as demons (unlike the nations around them). This gave them a tremendous advantage when approaching the issue of health and medicine. [16] [17]


References

[1] Sirach chapter 16, verses 26-28, 180-175 BCE.

‘When the Lord created his works from the beginning, and, in making them determined their boundaries, he arranged his works in an eternal order, and their dominion for all generations. They neither hunger not grow weary, and they do not abandon their tasks. They do not crowd one another, and they never disobey his word.’

[2] Basil of Caesarea, ‘Hexamaron’, chapter 5, sections 10, 370 CE.

‘It is this command which, still at this day, is imposed on the earth and, in the course of each year, displays all the strength of its power to produce herbs, seeds, and trees. Like tops, which after the first impulse continue their evolutions, turning upon themselves, when once fixed in their center; thus nature, receiving the impulse of this first command, follows without interruption the course of ages until the consummation of all things.’

[3] John McKenna, article ‘John Philoponus, Sixth Century Alexandrian Grammarian, Christian Theologian and Scientific Philosopher’, Quodlibet Journal, Volume 5, Number 1, January 2003.

‘The Greek concept of God caused a deep confusion between cosmology and theology and was a dead-end to science, as we know it in our time.’

[4] Wilderberg, ‘John Philoponus’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

‘Reading Philoponus as well as the writings of his great adversary Simplicius, one gets the sense that in the 6th century CE, traditional pagan Greek learning had become desperately insular.’

[5]  Dan Graves, ‘Aristotle’s Earliest Creationist Critic’, 1998.

‘A widespread religion of Philoponus’s time was pantheism, a belief system that sees God as equivalent to nature. In his rejection of this, Philoponus argued that the Creator transcends nature rather than being within it. Having been created, nature exists without constant intervention by God. This radical conception shocked the pagans who believed the gods were imbedded within the material universe.’

[6] Wilderberg, ‘John Philoponus’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

‘The Athenian Neoplatonist Proclus (c. 411-485), the teacher of Philoponus’ own teacher Ammonius, had written a defense of the pagan Greek (Aristotelian, Platonist) belief in the eternity of the world. His aim was to show that Christian creationism was intellectually untenable.’

‘Like the polemic against Proclus, Against Aristotle is mainly devoted to removing obstacles for the creationist. If Aristotle were right about the existence of an immutable fifth element (ether) in the celestial region, and if he were right about motion and time being eternal, any belief in creation would surely be unwarranted. Philoponus succeeds in pointing to numerous contradictions, inconsistencies, fallacies and improbable assumptions in Aristotle’s philosophy of nature relating to these claims. Dissecting Aristotle’s texts in an unprecedented way, he time and again turns the tables on Aristotle and so paves the way for demonstrative arguments for non-eternity.’

[7] John McKenna, article ‘John Philoponus, Sixth Century Alexandrian Grammarian, Christian Theologian and Scientific Philosopher’, Quodlibet Journal, Volume 5, Number 1, January, 2003.

‘However, of greatest important is Philoponus’ cosmology, based upon his monotheism. Believing that heaven and earth were both created by God ex nihilo  he vehemently attacked Aristotle’s assumptions with regard to the eternity of the universe and its dichotomy into a heavenly and sublunary region.’

[8] Dan Graves, ‘Aristotle’s Earliest Creationist Critic’, 1998.

‘Philoponus’s application of Christian theology to physics prefigured a new era in science. The Alexandrian scholar was the first to combine scientific cosmology (the study of the nature of the universe) with monotheism and the Christian doctrine of creation. In doing so, Philoponus anticipated not only the findings but also the methods of modern science.’

‘Philoponus’ replies anticipated the great Renaissance scientists Galileo (1564-1642) and Simon Stevin (1548-1620).’

[9] Arthur Eddington, ‘The End of the World: From the Standpoint of Mathematical Physics’, Nature, volume127 (1931), p. 450.

‘Philosophically, the notion of a beginning to the present order is repugnant to me.’

‘I should like to find a genuine loophole.’

Eddington also acknowledged that the theory of the universe expanding, as proved by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, was a powerful argument for the truth of the Biblical description of the universe as having a beginning (Eddington, ‘The Nature of the Physical World’).

‘Religion first became possible for a reasonable man of science in the year 1927’

[10] C. Singer and E. A. Underwood, ‘A Short History of Medicine’, 1962.

‘Among the physicians of classical antiquity we find no consistent view of transmission of infection by contact. Indeed the whole idea of infection was effectively absent from them, so that preventive measures based upon them could not be developed. It was reserved for the Middle Ages to conceive serious official measures against spread of epidemics. These measures were constantly derived from the leper ritual of the Bible with its fundamental concept of isolation.’

[11] Kim Taylor, ‘Toxic Mold Assessment: Mitigation, and Prevention’, Federal Facilities Environmental Journal (Summer 2004), p. 60.

‘The first documented residential mold assessment and remediation was reported in the Old Testament (Leviticus 14) in which identification, evaluation, and cleanup methods were described. The cleanup methods described in Leviticus have not significantly changed in the present day.’

[12] Peter M Baldwin, ‘Contagion and the State in Europe, 1830-1930′ (1999), p. 5.

‘The ancient Jews had been the first to develop not only the rules of contagionist prophylaxis detailed in Leviticus, but had also formulated other pertinent aspects of public hygiene: a weekly day of rest, protection of the food and water supply, concern with abnormal discharges of the genitals and more general bodily cleanliness, including perhaps (if one is willing to attribute also functional motives to religious rituals) circumcision.’

[13] T Thulchinsky & E Varavikova, ‘The New Public Health: An Introduction for the 21st Century’ (2000).

‘The Hebrew Mosaic Law of the five Books of Moses stressed prevention of disease through regulation of personal and community hygiene, reproductive and maternal health, isolation of lepers and other “unclean conditions”, and family and personal sexual conduct as part of religious practice.’

‘It also laid a basis for medical and public health jurisprudence. Personal and community responsibility for health included a mandatory day of rest, limits on slavery and guarantees of the rights of slaves and workers, protection of water supplies, sanitation of communities and camps, waste disposal, and food protection, all codified in detailed religious obligations.’

‘Food regulation prevented use of diseased or unclean animals, and prescribed methods of slaughter improved the possibility of preservation of the meat.’

‘The Mosaic Law, which forms the basis for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, codified health laws for the individual and for society, all of which have continued into the modern era as basic concepts in environmental and social hygiene.’

[14] Colonel Robert Anderson, Office of the Surgeon General Department of the Army of Washington, ‘The Evolution Of Preventive Medicine In The United States Army, 1607-1939′ (1968).

‘Like Pringle, Brocklesby, Tilton, and others, Washington invoked the Mosaic sanitary code, as stated in the Fourth and Fifth Books of Moses in the King James Version of the Old Testament, Numbers 5: 1-4 and Deuteronomy 23: 12-14. This is shown in the facsimile reproduction (fig. 7) of the broadside of his general orders for the Army under the command of Brigadier General McDougall, issued at Head Quarters, Peeks-Kill [in October? 1777]. A copy of this broadside (43) is reprinted as appendix A, p. 189. In this broadside, Washington refers to Moses as “the wisest General that ever lived, for he was inspired.” He might also, with good reason, have referred to him as “the Founder of Preventive Medicine,” as proclaimed by Wood and others (44).’

[15] The Eber Papyrus (a collection of Egyptian medical texts).

‘When thou meetest a large tumour of the God Xensu  in any part of the limb of a person, it is loathsome and suffers many pustules to come forth; something arises therein as though wind were in it, causing irritation. The tumour calls with a loud voice to thee: it is a tumour of the God Xensu. Do nothing there against.’

[16] Ashland Theological Journal, (29:170), review ‘Powers of Evil: A Biblical Study of Satan & Demons’ (1997).

‘In contrast to contemporary Ancient Near-Eastern texts, the OT makes no reference to demon possession or exorcism, nor do the people exhibit undue fear or fascination with these spirits.’

[17] Richard Hess, ‘Review: A Reassessment of the Priestly Cultic and Legal Texts’, Journal of Law and Religion, Volume 17, #1/2 (2002), p. 378.

‘Milgrom argues that there is a basic distinction between the religious understanding of spiritual forces in the ancient Near East and in Israel. In the former, priests used rituals and incantations to thwart the evil powers and intentions of demons. P eliminated the world view that held demons responsible for the evil in the world. In its place, people were to be held responsible for the wickedness. In this sense, people replaced demons.’

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Picture of Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei and A...

Picture of Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei and Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Replies:

  • Russell Hamner

    your looking for the wrong kind of science, it is indeed political science and social science that has been hidden from you. do some research and reasoning. moses came down the mountain with two tablets, leviticus for the oganization of religion for social science, and deuteronomy for the oganization of political science, seperated by numbers which tells you to count all who are able to go to war i.e. government, and not to count the levites i.e. religion. in effect separation of church and state, so.. the covenant of god demonstrates the seperatio of church and state, the constitutionalist formed the united states, and the constitution on the seperation of church and state or in other words they formed them on the covenant of god.

    look out into your world and watch… it is coming to and end as you know it, soon the kingdom will come upon you as a thief in the night, for god has revealed his purpose, the wheel she is big and she turns very slowly but yet it comes, and yet it is upon you. repent for the kingdom of god is upon you lest the wheel crush you under its heel.

  • Brandy Williams

    Oh my did you all do your home work, however, I have a slightly different outlook. I think that the Bible is full of many different types of sciences; social, medical, governmental, and personal. Even archeologicly. While being the written word of God the practical uses for everyday life was amazing and the governmental applications the best ever displayed. If we all followed them now maybe we wouldnt be in these messes. Socially all the knowledge you need is to love thy neighbor as thy self and it is a magor undertaking to do so at times. I call that art a science! Personally why would you follow Gods order for all the different types of tithing its built to make you prosper and geez at the amount of training it takes to do that! Another science to me. We dig stuff up out of the dirt all the time that proves that the people of biblical times had to be smart ie the babylonian light bulb! I think we tend to over think things instend of practality, we need to focus on what is at hand. Why should any of us care how we make it to the other side as long as Jesus is our center. All we should do is focus on making the time we are given a type of heaven on earth and seek His kingdom first, treat others as we would be treated and watch a move of God spring from the works of our faith and hope. You know those things unseen. What good is it to be a believer is waiting to die some horrible death? Even though I may give myself up to be burned my life now is so much more important than how I leave this life and enter the next. Focus boys focus! Who is our focus?! Nothing but Jesus!

  • Michael

    Russell, I’m not sure where you came up with this perspective but I see several errors you might want to resolve. God was to be the King of the Jews, the same God that inhabited the Temple, the same God that will rule with “a rod of iron.” The Jews did not obey the “separation of church and state” proscribed in the tablets, they rejected God in doing so. (1 Sam. 8:7) God appointed the kings, all the way to the Messiah through the same line. The two tablets don’t separate “church and state,” we don’t even know how many words were on each. The logical split, however, first reveals our relationship with God (commandments 1-4) and then reveals our relationship with each other (commandments 5-10). Leviticus vs. Deuteronomy? Deuteronomy, literally, means “second law,” but practically it is the second “telling.” Those that were present at the time of the first reading had perished, judged for doubting God and His character. Those who had grown up or been born during those forty years then received the same law. “it is indeed political science and social science that has been hidden from you. do some research and reasoning”??? Considering what you wrote, I would encourage you to do the same. “the wheel she is big and she turns very slowly…lest the wheel crush you under its heel”??? Mixed metaphors doesn’t come close, there is no heel on a wheel, oh my! Read Genesis over again, and once you understand who the “seed of the woman” is and the references to bruising, move on, but slowly.

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    Galileo Galilei. Portrait by Ottavio Leoni. De...

    Galileo Galilei. Portrait by Ottavio Leoni. Detail. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Additional reading:

  1. Deliverance and establishement of a theocracy
  2. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  3. Observance of a day to Remember
  4. Were allowed to willfully break the Law of Moses
  5. Relapse plan

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  • Evidence from science, philosophy and history against Mormonism, the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS) (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    “In contrast to the self-sufficient and solitary absolute who creates ex nihilo (out of nothing), the Mormon God did not bring into being the ultimate constituents of the cosmos — neither its fundamental matter nor the space/time matrix which defines it. Hence, unlike the Necessary Being of classical theology who alone could not not exist and on which all else is contingent for existence, the personal God of Mormonism confronts uncreated realities which exist of metaphysical necessity.
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    Mormons believe in an eternally existing universe, such that matter was never created out of nothing, and will never be destroyed. But this is at odds with modern cosmology.The Big Bang cosmology is the most widely accepted cosmology of the day. It is based on several lines of evidence, and is broadly compatible with Genesis. It denies the past eternality of the universe. This peer-reviewed paper in an astrophysics journal explains. (full text here)
  • Mathematical Cosmology – Math, Physics, Cosmos (mountainviewranchstore.com)
    Mathematical cosmology seeks to explain the often complicated theories of our universe.
  • Jerry Coyne’s Twisted History of Science and Religion (forbes.com)
    In his latest post on the topic, he promotes the false belief that there is a fundamental conflict between science and religion, and he even makes the wild (and admittedly unproven) claim “that had there been no Christianity, if after the fall of Rome atheism had pervaded the Western world, science would have developed earlier and be far more advanced than it is now.” (For some thoughts on that theory, see this post.)Historians have long realized that the great conflict between science and religion is a myth. But it continues to be an article of faith among the New Atheists. In contrast to his views on evolution, Dr. Coyne thinks that he can ignore the evidence from history and disregard the settled view of experts in the field. But, being a scholar and a rational man, we’re sure that he will change his mind if shown to be wrong.
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    Steven Weinberg said it best, ‘science is a corrosive to religion .. and it’s a good thing too’. The church fought hard and long to keep the earth as the centre of the universe, to keep mankind as a result of ‘special creation’, to keep disease and natural disaster as a product of god’s wrath due to the evil of mankind. Anything that might damage the ‘faith and morals’ of the common folk was forbidden regardless of it’s truth .. not exactly a pro-science view. (Edward MacGuire)
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    Enter Copernicus. His book caused a massive change in the way people thought about the universe. If you think this was a problem for the church: It was even more of a problem for the universities. Copernicus actually delayed the publication of his book, not because he was worried about the church, but because he worried about the academics! If I recall the history correctly, this was more than just a new model: It was “experimental” mathematics. (Izak Burger)
  • ‘Less Than 1 in 479 Million’: Mathematician Calculates Impossibility of Contriving Creation Account (christiannews.net)
    A mathematician with a historical timeline organization has calculated that there is less than a 1 in 479 million chance that Moses, the author of Genesis, made up the Biblical creation account.Margaret Hunter is owner of Bible Charts and Maps: an organization that produces the Amazing Bible Timeline. The timeline is a circular chart that portrays Biblical events—based on the scholarship of Bishop James Ussher—alongside other significant historical happenings. According to Bible Charts and Maps’ website, over 50,000 people have purchased the Amazing Bible Timeline.
    +Hunter quoted a letter from the Smithsonian Department of Anthropology, which says “the Bible, in particular the historical books of the Old Testament, are as accurate historical documents as any that we have from antiquity and are in fact more accurate than many of the Egyptian, Mesopotamian, or Greek histories.”

    Ultimately, says Hunter, “The Bible is not a book of mythical stories of made up people fighting made up enemies, but a factual history confirmed by archaeological evidence at least as far back as archaeology has been able to take it.”

  • How to falsify a religion using scientific or historical evidence (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    I notice that a lot of new atheists seem to think that “I don’t like it” can refute a religion. What I often see among atheists is this tendency to set up expectations of how God would have acted and then complain that he doesn’t met those expectations. I don’t think that this is a good way to argue against a religion, because it’s subjective. God isn’t obligated to comport with atheist expectations.So in this post, I wanted to show how a reasonable person can evaluate and reject different worldviews using evidence.
  • With Lines and Angles – Euclid – Changed the World – One Person (onepersonchangedtheworld.wordpress.com)
    In the Elements, Euclid deduced the principles of what is now called Euclidean geometry from a small set of axioms. Euclid also wrote works on perspective, conic sections, spherical geometry, number theory and rigor.
  • What Caused the Big Bang? A Master Mason and Knight Templar Offers a Unique New Approach to Multiverse Cosmology (prweb.com)
    “In the pages of “What Caused the Big Bang?, I introduce a striking new cosmology that transcends the models of Divine Creation and a spontaneous Big Bang that had no cause.””My book is written for people who are spiritual but not religious, who respect science but are not atheists,” Augustine noted. “If you have no use for the creation story in the Bible and likewise find the claim that the Big Bang just ‘spontaneously happened’ to be unconvincing, then you may indeed like what my book has to offer.”
  • Rare edition of the Bible on display in the Quad Cities (radioiowa.com)
    A very rare edition of the Bible is now on display in the Quad Cities. It’s a copy of the first hand-written and hand-illustrated Bible in more than 500 years, that was commissioned by Saint John’s University in Minnesota, and took 15 years to complete.

Science and the Bible—Do They Really Contradict Each Other?

Nikolaus Kopernikus.jpg

Portrait of Mikołaj Kopernik, better known as Nicolaus Copernicus 1580, Toruń Old Town City Hall

galileo_card

galileo_card (Photo credit: triviaqueen)

The seeds of the clash between Galileo and the Catholic Church were sown centuries before the Renaissance mathematician and astronomer Copernicus and Galileo were born. The earth-centered, or geocentric, view of the universe was adopted by the ancient Greeks and made famous by the philosopher Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.) and the astronomer-astrologer Ptolemy (second century C.E.).*

Aristotle’s concept of the universe was influenced by the thinking of Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras (sixth century B.C.E.). Adopting Pythagoras’ view that the circle and sphere were perfect shapes, Aristotle believed that the heavens were a series of spheres within spheres, like layers of an onion. Each layer was made of crystal, with the earth at the center. Stars moved in circles, deriving their motion from the outermost sphere, the seat of divine power. Aristotle also held that the sun and other celestial objects were perfect, free of any marks or blemishes and not subject to change.

Ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and A...

Ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle would become highly revered in the christian world and later also in the medieval Islamic world. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aristotle’s great scheme was a child of philosophy, not science. A moving earth, he felt, would violate common sense. He also rejected the idea of a void, or space, believing that a moving earth would be subject to friction and would grind to a halt without the application of constant force. Because Aristotle’s concept seemed logical within the framework of existing knowledge, it endured in its basic form for almost 2,000 years. Even as late as the 16th century, French philosopher, jurist and polyhistor Jean Bodin expressed that popular view, stating: “No one in his senses, or imbued with the slightest knowledge of physics, will ever think that the earth, heavy and unwieldy . . . , staggers . . . around its own centre and that of the sun; for at the slightest jar of the earth, we would see cities and fortresses, towns and mountains thrown down.”

Aristotle Adopted by the Church

The fifth of Thomas Aquinas' proofs of God's e...

The fifth of Thomas Aquinas’ proofs of God’s existence was based on teleology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A further step leading to the confrontation between Galileo and the church occurred in the 13th century and involved Catholic authority Thomas Aquinas (1225-74). Aquinas had a profound respect for Aristotle, whom he referred to as The Philosopher. Aquinas struggled for five years to fuse Aristotle’s philosophy with church teaching. By the time of Galileo, says Wade Rowland in his book Galileo’s Mistake, “the hybridized Aristotle in the theology of Aquinas had become bedrock dogma of the Church of Rome.” Keep in mind, too, that in those days there was no scientific community as such. Education was largely in the hands of the church. The authority on religion and science was often one and the same.

The stage was now set for the confrontation between the church and Galileo. Even before his involvement with astronomy, Galileo had written a treatise on motion. It challenged many assumptions made by the revered Aristotle. However, it was Galileo’s steadfast promotion of the heliocentric concept and his assertion that it harmonizes with Scripture that led to his trial by the Inquisition in 1633.

In his defense, Galileo affirmed his strong faith in the Bible as the inspired Word of God. He also argued that the Scriptures were written for ordinary people and that Biblical references to the apparent movement of the sun were not to be interpreted literally. His arguments were futile. Because Galileo rejected an interpretation of Scripture based on Greek philosophy, he stood condemned! Not until 1992 did the Catholic Church officially admit to error in its judgement of Galileo.

Lessons to Be Learned

What can we learn from these events? For one thing, Galileo had no quarrel with the Bible. Instead, he questioned the teachings of the church. One religion writer observed: “The lesson to be learned from Galileo, it appears, is not that the Church held too tightly to biblical truths; but rather that it did not hold tightly enough.” By allowing Greek philosophy to influence its theology, the church bowed to tradition rather than follow the teachings of the Bible.

All of this calls to mind the Biblical warning:

“Look out: perhaps there may be someone who will carry you off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ.”—Colossians 2:8.

A page of hand-written notes, with a sketch of branching lines.

In mid-July 1837 Darwin started his “B” notebook on Transmutation of Species, and on page 36 wrote “I think” above his first evolutionary tree.

Even today, many in Christendom continue to embrace theories and philosophies that contradict the Bible. One example is Darwin’s theory of evolution, which they have accepted in place of the Genesis account of creation. In making this substitution, the churches have, in effect, made Darwin a modern-day Aristotle and evolution an article of faith.*

True Science Harmonizes With the Bible

The foregoing should in no way discourage an interest in science. To be sure, the Bible itself invites us to learn from God’s handiwork and to discern God’s amazing qualities in what we see. (Isaiah 40:26; Romans 1:20) Of course, the Bible does not claim to teach science. Rather, it reveals God’s standards, aspects of his personality that creation alone cannot teach, and his purpose for humans. (Psalm 19:7-11; 2 Timothy 3:16) Yet, when the Bible does refer to natural phenomena, it is consistently accurate. Galileo himself said: “Both the Holy Scriptures and nature proceed from the Divine Word . . . Two truths can never contradict one another.” Consider the following examples.

Even more fundamental than the movement of stars and planets is that all matter in the universe is governed by laws, such as the law of gravity. The earliest known non-Biblical reference to physical laws was made by Pythagoras, who believed that the universe could be explained by numbers. Two thousand years later, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton finally proved that matter is governed by rational laws.

The earliest Biblical reference to natural law is contained in the book of Job. About 1600 B.C.E., God asked Job: “Have you come to know the statutes [or, laws] of the heavens?” (Job 38:33) Recorded in the seventh century B.C.E., the book of Jeremiah refers to Jehovah as the Creator of “the statutes of the moon and the stars” and “the statutes of heaven and earth.” (Jeremiah 31:35; 33:25) In view of these statements, Bible commentator G. Rawlinson observed:

“The general prevalence of law in the material world is quite as strongly asserted by the sacred writers as by modern science.”

If we use Pythagoras as a point of reference, the statement in Job was about a thousand years ahead of its time. Keep in mind that the Bible’s objective is not simply to reveal physical facts but primarily to impress upon us that Jehovah is the Creator of all things—the one who can create physical laws.—Job 38:4, 12; 42:1, 2.

The Hydrologic Cycle. Illustration by Tom Schultz

Another example we can consider is that the earth’s waters undergo a cyclic motion called the water cycle, or the hydrologic cycle. Put simply, water evaporates from the sea, forms clouds, precipitates onto the land, and eventually returns to the sea. The oldest surviving non-Biblical references to this cycle are from the fourth century B.C.E. However, Biblical statements predate that by hundreds of years. For example, in the 11th century B.C.E., King Solomon of Israel wrote: “All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place from which the rivers come, to there and from there they return again.”—Ecclesiastes 1:7, The Amplified Bible.

Likewise, about 800 B.C.E. the prophet Amos, a humble shepherd and farmworker, wrote that Jehovah is “the One calling for the waters of the sea, that he may pour them out upon the surface of the earth.” (Amos 5:8) Without using complex, technical language, both Solomon and Amos accurately described the water cycle, each from a slightly different perspective.

The Bible also speaks of God as “hanging the earth upon nothing,” or he “suspends earth in the void,” according to The New English Bible. (Job 26:7) In view of the knowledge available in 1600 B.C.E., roughly when those words were spoken, it would have taken a remarkable man to assert that a solid object can remain suspended in space without any physical support. As previously mentioned, Aristotle himself rejected the concept of a void, and he lived over 1,200 years later!

Does it not strike you as amazing that the Bible makes such accurate statements—even in the face of the erroneous yet seemingly commonsense perceptions of the day? To thinking people, this is one more evidence of the Bible’s divine inspiration. We are wise, therefore, not to be easily swayed by any teaching or theory that contradicts God’s Word. As history has repeatedly shown, human philosophies, even those of towering intellects, come and go, whereas “the saying of Jehovah endures forever.”—1 Peter 1:25.

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[Footnotes]

In the third century B.C.E., a Greek named Aristarchus of Samos put forth the hypothesis that the sun is at the center of the cosmos, but his ideas were dismissed in favor of Aristotle’s.

For an in-depth discussion on this topic, see chapter 15, “Why Do Many Accept Evolution?” in the book Life—How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or by Creation? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The Protestants’ Attitude

  Leaders of the Protestant Reformation also railed against the sun-centered concept. They included Martin Luther (1483-1546), Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560), and John Calvin (1509-64). Luther said of Copernicus: “This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy.”

  The Reformers based their argument on a literal interpretation of certain scriptures, such as the account in Joshua chapter 10 that mentions that the sun and the moon “kept motionless.”* Why did the Reformers take this stand? The book Galileo’s Mistake explains that while the Protestant Reformation broke the papal yoke, it failed to “shake the essential authority” of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, whose views were “accepted by Catholic and Protestant alike.”

[Footnote 2]

Scientifically speaking, we use incorrect terms when we refer to “sunrise” and “sunset.” But in everyday speech, these words are both acceptable and accurate, when we keep in mind our terrestrial perspective. Likewise, Joshua was not discussing astronomy; he was simply reporting events as he saw them.

[Credit Line 1]

From the book Servetus and Calvin, 1877

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From the book A General History for Colleges and High Schools, 1900

[Credit Line 3]

From the book Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 1855

After w05 4/1 pp. 4-7

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Preceding articles:

Where is the edge

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)

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Additional reading:

  1. Living on the edge
  2. Is it “Wrong” to Believe that the Earth is a Sphere? Inclusive the first generation of Christadelphians their views
  3. A dialogue about the earth moving and spinning around the sun
  4. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  5. Everyday beauty

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In Dutch:

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  • Reason Illuminates Faith (in the Middle Ages) (thesoapboxguild.wordpress.com)
    The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution, is incredibly readable for its length and depth, and is a credit to its author. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in science and the Middle Ages. This series of blog posts is my attempt to gain a deeper appreciation for the issues Hannam raises, and to think alongside him as he dives into the lost world of medieval cosmology, medicine, mathematics, and philosophy.
  • Thomas Aquinas’s Works and Philosophies  As an Italian philosopher and (bestessaycheap.wordpress.com)
    Thomas led the Church towards a new expression of thinking. (MSN knowledge and Research). From the beginning he rebelled against a life previously go d sustain the stairs by his family, and pave a road towards success for himself.
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    Although many philosophies were derived from the bookworm thinker, Aristotle, he believed that it focused too na! rrowly on only when a few professions.
  • Galileo (hiddengrail.wordpress.com)
    At the University of Pisa, Galileo learned the physics of the Ancient Greek scientist, Aristotle. However, Galileo questioned the Aristotelian approach to physics. Aristotelians believed that heavier objects fall faster through a medium than lighter ones. Galileo eventually disproved this idea by asserting that all objects, regardless of their density, fall at the same rate in a vacuum.
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    Because Galileo supported the Copernican system, he was warned by Cardinal Bellarmine, under order of Pope Paul V, that he should not discuss or defend Copernican theories. In 1624, Galileo was assured by Pope Urban VIII that he could write about Copernican theory as long as he treated it as a mathematical proposition. However, with the printing of Galileo’s book, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Galileo was called to Rome in 1633 to face the Inquisition again. Galileo was found guilty of heresy for his Dialogue, and was sent to his home near Florence where he was to be under house arrest for the remainder of his life. In 1638, the Inquisition allowed Galileo to move to his home in Florence, so that he could be closer to his doctors. By that time he was totally blind. In 1642, Galileo died at his home outside Florence.
  • Who are the most significant moral philosophers in the history of Western philosophy? (leiterreports.typepad.com)
    1. Aristotle  (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)
    2. Immanuel Kant  loses to Aristotle by 364–227
    3. Plato  loses to Aristotle by 414–168, loses to Immanuel Kant by 349–241
  • Unified Truth: Faith and Reason (str.typepad.com)
    Christianity’s engagement with non-Christian thought proceeds from the Christian belief that reason and faith are complementary, not oppositional. Thomas Aquinas’ synthesis of Aristotle and Christianity is a vital chapter in this engagement. His interaction with the philosophy of Aristotle demonstrates both the harmony of reason and faith and the oneness of truth, which are both central to the Christian intellectual tradition….
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    Greek philosophy is not compatible with Christian theology, except in a few areas. In Greek philosophy, the body is bad. In Christian theology, the body is good and will be redeemed eventually by God. Greek philosophy has brought us off course in our understanding of eschatology and other important things on many occasions in the church. I am a bit wary about some of what Thomas Aquinas believes because of that.
  • Galileo Galilei (Scientific revolution) (chrissanchez42.wordpress.com)
    Galileo eventually combined his laws of physics with the observations he made with his telescope to defend the heliocentric Copernican view of the universe and refute the Aristotelian system in his 1630 masterwork, Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World. Upon its publication, he was censored by the Catholic Church and sentenced to house arrest in 1633.
  • Aristotle (megcannington.wordpress.com)
    Aristotle’s works shaped centuries of philosophy from Late Antiquity through the Renaissance, and even today continue to be studied with interest. He was definitely a  prodigious researcher and writer.
  • Knowledge Development History (zahrohtimy.wordpress.com)
    According to Bertrand Russell , among all history , nothing so difficult so astonish or explained besides the birth of civilization in Greece of a sudden. It has many elements of civilization there for thousands of years in Egypt and Mesopotamia. But certain elements have not been intact until then executing Yunanilah race .
    +
    Archimedes , considered one of the greatest mathematicians of all time , it is based on mathematical principles form temuannya lever, pulley system ( which didemonstrasikannya to attract a private boat only), and penak thread, that shows the planetarium model that can show movement of sun, moon, the planets, and constellations in the sky possibility. In the field of mathematics, the findings on the value of p ( phi ) over the previous approach of scholars. Of his works that is experimental, it is then dubbed as ” Mr. Experimental IPA ”.
  • What’s the record for the longest delayed apology? (chron.com)
    The longest delayed apology I can think of came from the Catholic Church, in 1992, to Galileo:Moving formally to rectify a wrong, Pope John Paul II acknowledged in a speech today that the Roman Catholic Church had erred in condemning Galileo 359 years ago for asserting that the Earth revolves around the Sun.
  • Thomas Aquinas on Wisdom by Robert M. Woods (facebookapostles.org)
    For Thomas, and most Philosophers until the modern world, Philosophy was essentially the “love of wisdom.” To engage in the the practice of philosophy was the faithful pursuit of wisdom wherever it might be found. The primary understanding of truth was saying of a thing what was and not saying of a thing what was not. In a larger sense, wisdom was an understanding of the truth of things. Philosophy was not navel gazing and not ideological manipulation, but it was a diligent quest to understanding the good, the true, and the beautiful.