Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Extract of Lazar - Akin : Where is the Authority?

Extract of Lazar - Akin : Where is the Authority? · Gideon and Jimmy came to exchange on carbon dating

Creation vs. Evolution: Jimmy Akin on Patristic and Scientific Expertise. · Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere: Extract of Lazar - Akin : Where is the Authority?

My sympathies are with Gideon Lazar, he's a convert from Orthodoxy, I'm a revert from it, and we share the basic position. I find Jimmy Akin more objectionable, as will be seen, and well recall his type from among progressive Lutherans, back before my original conversion to Catholicism.

EVOLUTION: What the Church Teaches w/ Jimmy Akin & Gideon Lazar
14th March 2022 | Pints With Aquinas

0:54 Already here.

Infallibility in the present has the named three organs, and he gets the last one wrong, it's not bishops meeting outside councils, but bishops agreeing with moral unanimity outside councils.

But these three organs serve the two sources of the faith : Bible and Tradition.

And Pope, Councils, Ordinary magisterium and its incumbents are supposed to get the things they teach (infallibly or not quite so) from these two sources.

1:11 Disciplinary decree - it is very far from unique in content and overall mentions of the principle, like St. Vincent of Lérins starting the list, are far from just disciplinary.

2:27 You go, Lazar!

If Akin were right, you would have lost on the exchange, since councils of Jerusalem and Iasi agree that Tradition is authoritative, and I am not sure these were just made as "disciplinary" decrees. These councils met to reaffirm condemnations of "Papism" but make a new condemnation, namely of Protestantism.

To clarify, I don't mean Acts 15, I mean the Synod of Dositheus, 1672.

(Iasi was 1642)

3:52 A bishop or other Church Father cannot "read" the Tradition that is from God, like Scripture is, because it is not a text.

It is basically their (and later ones) readings of Scripture that are tradition.

The tradition of reading the OT, like seeing types of Christ and Mary in every good man and every blessed woman of the OT, goes back to the exposition of Scripture given by Our Lord during the 40 Days after Resurrection. His focus certainly was to show that Moses and the other prophets had spoken of Him, both in direct prophecy (Genesis 3:15 also mentioning His Blessed Mother, Genesis 49:10 ...) and in the lives and acts of the "good guys" (Abraham being obedient, Isaac a sacrifice, Jacob a bridegroom ....) - but it is also certain that He had also given basics of a standard 1st C AD understanding of Biblical history during the 3 and a half years He had them as disciples, because if He hadn't, or at least if He hadn't tacitly assumed it, Christianity would have started out with another view of Biblical history.

Obviously some up to then debatable questions were settled differently between Christians and Jews. We know from St. Paul that Melchisedec was not a Hebrew or Proto-Hebrew like for instance Shem - a greatgrandfather several generations removed is not a far off cousin several generations removed, which is how one best describes Gentiles in relation to Hebrews, and Jews disagreed, putting forward that Melchisedec was Shem.

But there is no doubt that Our Lord considered Abel and Cain as a historically factual couple of brothers, any more than there is of His disciple Peter considering our descent as mankind from eight people on the Ark as valid genealogy and history.

4:04 The question of "which Scripture" is authoritative can certainly be settled by magisterium, but wasn't finally so settled up to Trent. Before Trent, the magisterium had only given low key decisions, most notably Rome 382 and Carthage 397, both of which were local synods, like Meaux, like how Tours 813 can't oblige an Eastern Rite Catholic to prepare a sermon before each Sunday Mass and Obligatory Feast Day Mass, and the actual orthodoxy shown depended mainly on tradition taking Rome / Carthage as representing more than the local rules they actually were, as far as magisterial decisions were concerned.

However, these decisions concern books. Like "the prayer of Manasseh" or "the Canticle of the Three Young Men" so also the "adulteress pericope" belong to II Chron, Daniel, John, because of universal or near universal tradition. There is no decree of Trent that explicitly says they belong there, but there is one that implies it, namely the issuing of the Vulgate, since the Vulgate is the traditional Latin text, and since the Clementine Vulgate followed text tradition. Do I make my point clear?

Now, the magisterium certainly can and does give a similar decision on which tradition is authoritative. Namely in how it enumerates Church Fathers.

First approximation : is the tradition bearer a saint or a blessed? While Tertullian who isn't has traditionally often been used on other issues, the fact that he's not canonised is a directive we need not take his opinion in favour of Montanism. Who counts as a saint is a directly magisterial decision, precisely as what are the 72 / 73 books of the Bible.

And second approximation : can you find disagreement of his opinion on the matter among the rest?

It's a bit like Classical Latin. Cicero may not use the form known as supine, but if Caesar uses it, go ahead. However, in Classical Latin, or Classicising Latin Prose, the options of expression are limited and any approved source may give you the gloss you need. In determining if something is authoritative tradition, we do not need just one, we need all - or all who spoke on a specific matter, the one at hand. St. Cyril's book on the sacraments is not a major source for either Tower of Babel or the sacrament of Extreme Unction. But it was not exposing on Biblical history (note, I omitted carefully Genesis episodes that are types for either Baptism or the Eucharist as a Sacrifice or Meal) any more than the other five sacraments. If we want extreme unction, we go to sacramentaries, and if we want Tower of Babel we go to City of God, where St. Augustine discusses it. Or to Postilla in Libros Geneseos, where St. Thomas discusses it, though some recent learning has denied it was by him. I don't.

What Akin is looking for is like looking for a Church decision that directly says the adulteress pericope belongs to the Gospel according to St. John before admitting that (as all Church Fathers in the Catena Aurea commented on, or half of them, at least) the adulteress pericope is an authoritative reading within the Gospel.

4:33 Jimmy Akin on the magisterium is actually mis-citing it.

Does the Bible require a Young Earth?

Decision as per 1909, Day-Age theory (taken in the strict sense given by its inventor Fr Fulcran Vigouroux, days could be long ages only up to creation of Adam, there are still probably 22 generations from Adam to Abraham, no men before Adam, no biological ancestry for Adam, and if more generations are needed, that would be in the Genesis 11 genealogy - but probably there wouldn't be that) was approved as an alternative, namely by the judge appointed by Pope St. Pius X : Fulcran Vigouroux, Sulpician father.

Confer the decision as per 1905, saying that Genesis 1 - 11 cannot be classified as myth or fable.

In other words, the magisterial "window" for old earth implies taking Genesis 1 - 11 as strictly historic, and only extending the timespan for verses in Genesis 1 up to verse 26.

Now, 1909 said Day Age was fine Biblically, it doesn't now say "Day Age +" or "Day Age latu sensu" are fine too and it could not say that Day Age was viable scientifically. Since 1920 at least we know that Day-Age is not fine scientifically.

Does the Bible require Adam did not result from Evolution?

There is in fact no magisterial tradition from mostly undoubted Popes on that one. Pius XII, Humani Generis, § 36, does not say we are not required to exclude evolution. It basically says the magisterium steps out of the way in favour of discussions on the matter. And as the discussions would need to involve Biblical scholars, it would obviously be a possible outcome of such discussions that - no, Adam, as described in Scriptire, cannot have evolved. Otherwise there would have been no point in invoking discussions among people knowledgeable on the Scriptures.

Here we actually can detect an immediate mis-citing already in 1950. JRRT's Letters are in fact not part of his Middle Earth "mythos" or "legendarium" and one of them in 1950 cites the quandaries of C S Lewis who had no magisterium, and what a priest had just said about a magisterial decision : we are allowed to believe Adam's body came from evolution, but not that his soul did so. This mis-citing (not Tolkien's no doubt, but that priest's) is like one about 20 years later, where "Paul VI"' states that one can ask one's bishop for certain permissions to use hand communion, and it is directly translated into the Pope having defined that hand communion is allowed - with lots of sacrileges in the wake of this mis-citing. But as to Humani Generis, it was not even an actual permission to take Adam as on the bodily level a product of evolution, it is more like "magisterium steps back, let's see the discussion" and it is fatally dishonest when Jimmy Akin tries to block the discussion onto his bandwagon by mis-citing this the way he does.

At 4:41, I think Jimmy Akin is referring to the people that he, not I, would consider as "last three Popes".

Pius XII overrated modern science, but had some residual restrictions in the backbone. The three - Popes or Antipopes - after him didn't give much on the matter.

"John Paul II" started doing so in the early 90's. Proving to me, he was not Pope.

4:56 "the last hundred years"

If you mean Papal Biblical Commission, anything prior to Pius XII can't help, as shown in the discussion of 1909.

In 1920, there actually was in Paris an imprimi potest or imprimatur for a work of reference, in which Fr. Émile Mancenot SJ argued for the Framework Theory in his article on the Six Days' Work. But in the ensuing decades, the Paris archdiocese actually earned partial rebukes in Humani Generis for over confidence in modern mainstream science and corresponding under confidence in the Bible taken as literal history.

So, Jimmy Akin is arguing very impressionistically about the status questionis quoad magisterium recens.

5:24 "no Catholic should be saying someone is a heretic for holding to an old earth"

Well, not if it's only pre-human remains that are old, which involves a scientific position no longer tenable. If the atmosphere is 100 000 years or 1 000 000 years old or even older, there is no way that carbon 14 levels could be low enough within the Biblical span for human existence (also magisterial span, as per 1909) to get men carbon dated as 40 000 years old.

Suppose an Old Earth were true, but Mankind's history had the timeline of Full LXX (with Second Cainan) as interpreted by Syncellus.

For the multitude of men (either Cro Magnon / Sapiens sapiens or Neanderthals) carbon dated as 40 000 years, we would need a minimum of 500 years, meaning the real date would at the earliest be from 5000 BC. This gives them a maximal real age of 6950 years prior to 1950. If their atmosphere had 100 pmC, they would now have a carbon date of 6950 years and a pmC remainder of 43.14 pmC.

But whatever the level, back then, we would have had now 43.14 % of this original level.

x * 43.14 / 100 = 0.792 pmC
x = 79.2 / 43.14
x = 1.836 pmC

I have my arguments on why the level could have been as low as 1.4 pmC just before the Flood, 2242 years after creation, but who would argue that it could have 1.836 pmC 1 000 000 years after creation?

So, if one holds an old earth basically as the Watchtower sect does, as the Sulpician did, extending of the timeline only the days up to Adam's creation, that's not heretical, but unscientific. As per knowledge gained after 1909.

When one goes further, well, that's when it gets heretical instead of un-scientific.

6:01 Lazar, I don't think you can tie down St. Augustine to the Jansenist position, even if Jansenius actually did quote mine St. Augustine.

And on top of that, the positions on grace and freewill by St. Jerome - also a Church father, if only a priest, not a bishop - were precisely those that held Erasmus back from following Luther even when he was more proto-Jansenist than actually Protestant (like 1517). True, when Erasmus wrote De libero arbitrio diatribe sive collatio in 1524, Luther had already invented Protestantism, nevertheless, Erasmus concentrated on refuting his Jansenist leanings. And this because Erasmus based his theology on the matter more closely on this other Church Father, St. Jerome of Stridon.

The actual Jansenist position was not "because the Church FatherS" say so, but "because ONE Church Father" says so (in fact they misread him too).

So, it has nothing to do with the consensus of Church Fathers, only with the preponderance of one of them (a thing which some Orthodox have complained about).

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