Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Answering Jimmy Akin on Things

Did Death Enter the World Because Man Fell? (Open Forum)
Jimmy Akin | 10 April 2024

Section I 03:39 - If confirmation is supposed to be like Pentecost then how come we don’t go out like the apostles?

5:11 While visions were very rare, Eli knew what they were, and could set Samuel straight.

Now, could anyone set Abraham straight in advance so he was competent to recognise the voice of God?

Arguably yes. His great-grandfather Seruch lived until he was 50, and he was not an idolater. I know there are different text versions of LXX Genesis 11, but the correct one, which is reflected in Martyrology of Christmas Day, or the correcter ones, add the chronology of Syncelus, that the Orthodox and presumably Eastern Rite Catholics cite at September 1st, has or have Abraham a contemporary of Seruch.

6:45 If you want to exemplify periods with "great awakenings" (as some versions of Protestants would say), I suggest you study:

  • St. Patrick's mission on Ireland
  • St. Francis and his disciples
  • St. Dominic and his disciples.

Section II
08:10 - Rom 5:12 said death entered because of sin but if evolution is how God created everything which included death, how do we square that?

"it's about Evolution and original sin um 8:34 so it in it says in Romans 5 verse 12 that death entered the world through sin 8:40 but with our knowledge of evolution we know now that death and suffering was like always present on Earth even before 8:46 the first humans"

No, we precisely do not know that.

We know that dinos were leaving each other handicapped and ailing for long before they died or suffering cancers, but we do not know this happened before Adam.

The ones we find would typically be from the year of the Flood.

9:44 You are accounting for Romans 5.

If apart from physical death you add severe prolonged suffering to the mix, St. Thomas no longer agrees with you on beasts.

And in that case it definitely does not agree with Romans 8, which specifically is about non-human creatures in this passage:

19 For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope: 21 Because the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain, even till now.

While Challoner is considering the groaning as a figure of speech, with animals, some kinds of suffering would actually make them groan. Being bitten but not eaten is not a noble death in the service of a higher creature, as St. Thomas imagined the rabbit to the wolf, it is "vanity" in the sense of St. Paul.

So, we can see in dinos things apart from just dying that point to Adam's sin.

10:03 Actually, the fur clothing Adam and Eve received were arguably from an animal they had loved and which had to die, as a firstling in death among animals.

That's at least one or two animals that died because they sinned, and points to at least a distinct possibility some classes of animal (which Hebrew call nephesh khaya) would not have died.

But what's clear is, they would not have been subject to meaningless suffering. Romans 8.

10:14 St. Thomas was perhaps not just more of a species fixist than Evolution believers, but also more of a species fixist than Young Earth Creationists.

Have you heard of the muntjak? It's a kind of deer. It also is a meat-eater.

So, predators have developed from plant-eaters. Darwin and Ken Ham agree on that part.

10:21 At least a hint that beasts were vegetarian before the Fall

29 And God said: Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind, to be your meat: 30 And to all beasts of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to all that move upon the earth, and wherein there is life, that they may have to feed upon. And it was so done.

You can take a supplemented and extracted second clause as "and I have given to all beasts ... wherein there is life that they may have to feed upon" without specifying what.

Or you can instead supplement also the object from the first clause as to make it "and I have given every herb ... to all beasts ... wherein there is life that they may have to feed upon" -- in this latter interpretation, you have a direct statement God gave every creature above the water level plants to eat on.

Note, some of the more Hebraically minded Church Fathers would not agree with Sts Augustine or Thomas.

B u t ... even those who did, did not say any beast would have been bitten in a vain attempt to eat it, survived in pain and handicap for years and then died to be of no use to any eater.

10:54 A fruit is certainly living tissue, but it's not an individual exemplar of the species.

When you eat figs, fig seeds pass through your digestive tract, and the individual exemplars that were potentially affected by your act were actually planted by you.

I think this is true for all fruits, they are made so that the creatures that eat them tend to plant them. I can't plant abricot trees every time I eat abricots, but I know if I had land in an area perhaps further south, I could plant some of them.

Plus, unlike beasts and birds, plants are not classified, at least not explicitly, as "wherein there is life" ... hence the cop-out is doubly deceptive.

11:24 "even if they ultimately die"

Could have a point according to Sts Augustine and Thomas, though I think they were too species fixist.

But even if they suffer horribly and ultimately die without being of use to any other creature?

Not quite as clear you'd have patristics or scholastics on your side. More like, you can have misconstrued what "good" means.

11:55 Perhaps another thing to put on my accusation list against CCC?

302 Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created "in a state of journeying" (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call "divine providence" the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection:

The first thing I underlined is sth which would seem to contradict the creation account.

The second "in statu viae" is true but only partly of man.

Adam and Eve were not created in a state of journeying towards a better biology or even psyche, they were created in a state of journeying towards the union with God called the beatific vision. Stars (unless they are bodies of angels, as some have held), waters, trees, beasts, cannot in themselves enjoy that vision. At most they can be yearning for us doing so. Therefore they cannot be considered as journeying to it. Therefore the term is no argument against the fact that the universe indeed did spring up from God's fiat in complete immediate creaturely perfection.

He that liveth for ever created all things together. God only shall be justified, and he remaineth an invincible king for ever
[Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 18:1]

And "all things together" means, there never was a year when bees as yet had no pollen or pollinated plants as yet no bees. There never was a year when insects did and land animals didn't live above the water level. There never was a year with astronomy but as yet no biology or with galaxies, but as yet no earth. And St. Augustine took it as meaning, there never was even one moment of delay between the different created things, hence his figurative sense about creation days.

Oh, you meant § 310, here it is:

310 But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better.174 But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world "in a state of journeying" towards its ultimate perfection. In God's plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.175

Again, not a Catholic document you are reading from!

174 Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I,25,6.
175 Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, SCG III,71.

Let's check the Thomistic references.

First, the Summa. I'll give the corpus first:

I answer that, The goodness of anything is twofold; one, which is of the essence of it—thus, for instance, to be rational pertains to the essence of man. As regards this good, God cannot make a thing better than it is itself; although He can make another thing better than it; even as He cannot make the number four greater than it is; because if it were greater it would no longer be four, but another number. For the addition of a substantial difference in definitions is after the manner of the addition of unity of numbers (Metaph. viii, 10). Another kind of goodness is that which is over and above the essence; thus, the good of a man is to be virtuous or wise. As regards this kind of goodness, God can make better the things He has made. Absolutely speaking, however, God can make something else better than each thing made by Him.

Far from affirming the Evolutionism of § 310, St. Thomas is in fact denying it.

Let's take objection 3 and its answer too:

Objection 3. Further, what is very good and the best of all cannot be bettered; because nothing is better than the best. But as Augustine says (Enchiridion 10), "each thing that God has made is good, and, taken all together they are very good; because in them all consists the wondrous beauty of the universe." Therefore the good in the universe could not be made better by God.

Reply to Objection 3. The universe, the present creation being supposed, cannot be better, on account of the most beautiful order given to things by God; in which the good of the universe consists. For if any one thing were bettered, the proportion of order would be destroyed; as if one string were stretched more than it ought to be, the melody of the harp would be destroyed. Yet God could make other things, or add something to the present creation; and then there would be another and a better universe.

A very clear DENIAL of an evolving universe, not an affirmation, like we find in 310 !

175 => CAPUT 71 Quod divina providentia non excludit totaliter malum a rebus

The majority of Young Earth Creationists would argue, for persistent and agonising evils, this would not have been the case for sentient creatures before the fall.

Now, SCG III,71 does not speak of how God created the universe. It speaks of what we can observe here and now after the fall. It's an answer to Manichaeans who could say "my granny drowned, so water is evil" ... not an endorsement for stating God created, even before the fall, the universe so that things should get extinct.

As for creatures coming into existence, well, very arguably, Atelerix algirus, Erinaceus europaeus, Hemiechinus auritus have come into existence while dinos died, namely after the Flood, but hedgehogs, of which these are species, have always existed since day VI, some time before the creation of Adam.

Bethany Ann
Have you considered making videos about these things you have studied? You seem to have a lot of knowledge, and I for one would enjoy learning more.

Hans Georg Lundahl
@bethanyann1060 I have several blogs.

This comment comes to a post I'm making on Assorted Retorts from Yahoo Boards and Elsewhere, but I definitely do also have blogs that involve simply essays, therefore just my own copyright, therefore I can offer the option of printing against voluntary royalties. On apologetic subjects, the three go-to's would be:

Bethany Ann
@hglundahl Thank you!

Hans Georg Lundahl
@bethanyann1060 You are welcome!

Our dialogue is now on the latest post on the first mentioned of these!

12:21 Indeed, you have drawn out yet another evil from 310, here:

310 But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better.174 But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world "in a state of journeying" towards its ultimate perfection. In God's plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.175

Oh, the problem is not that Adam fell and the universe waits for the restoration of man, it seems from here the problem is more it hasn't yet evolved to the final perfection.

Teilhard versus Romans 8. Jesuits versus the Bible. And by Jesuits, I obviously don't mean Sts Ignatius or Robert.

Section III
14:46 - My 7th grade students wanted to know if the children of Adam and Eve had to have children with their siblings?

15:26 "There are different opinions on this."

Name one denying this, prior to Teilhard?! [I forgot Isaac La Peyrère]

Not St. Thomas Aquinas if Postilla in Libros Geneseos is, as I presume a youth work:

Et dicit, cognovit et cetera. Nota quod quamvis Scriptura non exprimat generationem filiarum a parentibus primis, tamen eam subinnuit. Nam alias non potuit Cain habere uxorem, nisi duceret suam sororem. Tamen hoc Scriptura tacuit, quasi fuerit istud in principio ex necessitate, quia hoc erat et est contra legem et instinctum naturae: unde postmodum in lege prohibetur: ideo voluit hoc Scriptura tacere, ne esset incentivum ad agendum contra illud praeceptum.

So, yes, she was a sister, no the Bible doesn't say so, but that's because this "was and is counter to the law and instinct of nature, which it why it was later forbidden in the law, hence Scripture kept quiet on this, in order to not incite to transgress that precept."

Before that he says "but in other ways Cain could not have a wife than by marrying his own sister" ...

St. Augustine in City of God allots a somewhat longer passage to this, where he argues in that first generation after the first parents, it was not just unavoidable, but also innocent, it's only in later generations that the cumulation of relationships reaches a level which was unacceptable and avoidable.

17:22 Curious: did it say Abel had time to marry and have children?

Now for the argument.

When we argue for maximally purgatory and minimally prayers for the dead, we usually would say, "this opinion is known to have been there in II Maccabees, 'even if it is not canonical, according to your view,' the Protestant needs to consider it was an opinion among Jews prior to Jesus, and Jesus did not correct it as false" ... fine, I agree with that. I'm a Catholic.

Now what would be the parallel in this case?

Jubilees says Cain and Seth (and perhaps Abel) married siblings, this was written c. 150 BC, contrary to the Masoretic chronology we do not have any contrary opinion from the time (or do you?) and this was not "corrected" by Jesus, therefore it is true. If you don't accept that, you have basically betrayed the Catholic case for Purgatory.

Andy Polasek
The Catholic case for purgatory does not hinge specifically on the Second book of the Maccabees.

It doesn't even depend on popular speculation at the time of Jesus. Paul teaches it partially in his letters when he says that some will only be saved as through fire with their bad works burned up, though they will be saved. The church developed this understanding as time went on.

Hans Georg Lundahl
@Joker22593 "some will only be saved as through fire with their bad works burned up, though they will be saved"

While I agree on this understanding of the passage, it is disputed.

The strongest case for prayers for the dead is, Jews clearly held the view prior to Jesus (sth Calvin tried to deny) and Jesus did not correct it.

There is a reason why the Protestants who deny this doctrine or by now dogma are more allergic to Maccabees than to the Epistles of St. Paul. Including that passage in Corinthians, forget which of the two.

If a view is popular in Jesus' time and He makes no effort to contradict it, how is that not an approval?

@Joker22593 "The church developed this understanding as time went on."

Which would mean it was not an Apostolic teaching per se and could not be dogma.

You'd be better off to give credit to the private revelation type events recorded in St. Gregory's Dialogues, where souls appeared, told of purgatory, asked for intercession and disappeared.

William of Occam considered private revelations, if sufficiently well established before the Church Universal, as per se "binding dogma." Or Catholic Truth.

In fact, St. Paul in one place indirectly shows he shared the popular Jewish understanding, he was praying for Onesimus (if that's the guy) and asking people to greet the household of the same, but not himself. However, the Protestants denying Purgatory or prayers for the dead could pretend Onesimus (if that's the guy) was simply in captivity and for that reason not available for greetings, and an urgent reason to pray for.

So, the best option is still:
  • II Maccabees proves that Prayers for the Dead was a popular idea among Jews prior to Rabbi Akiva
  • Jesus did not correct that idea
  • therefore He approved it.

17:57 The CMI staff and the AiG staff have lots of specialists about genetics. Robert Carter, Georgia Purdom ...

If Adam and Eve had a perfect genome, and were only slightly changed when becoming mortal (perhaps this is when the gene for producing vitamin C became a pseudo-gene), this means Seth and Cain did not share many mutations with the sisters they married.

THIS means, the inbreeding was not yet harmful.

The CMI staff have gone so far as to argue, the ban on incest is posterior to the time of Abraham, due to this effect of inbreeding not yet having become harmful.

You see, the harmful part about inbreeding is, gene X is damaged on chromosome ... 7 in one edition in the father, and it is also damaged on chromosome 7 in one edition of the mother.

Neither father nor mother has any damage from this, since this damage is recessive. Statistically 1/4 will have both genes correct, 1/2 will have a setup like each parent, and 1/4 will have Cystic fibrosis. I just looked up it was autosomal recessive and on chromosome 7.

Why did Seth and Cain not risk transmitting Cystic fibrosis to their children by marrying siblings? Simply because the mutation that causes this ailment didn't occur yet.

I also looked up that oldest persons we have skeleta of that got Cystic fibrosis ... "Imagine the thrill of discovery when more than 10 years of research on the origin of a common genetic disease, cystic fibrosis (CF), results in tracing it to a group of distinct but mysterious Europeans who lived about 5,000 years ago."

In my recalibration, this is not "3000 BC" per se, its more like 1767 BC. Confer Abraham being born 2015 BC (Genesis 14 -- since historic -- carbon dates to "3500 BC" but occurred in 1935 BC).

You can of course pretend Genesis 14 is a myth. Atheists do. In that case it has no date and cannot recalibrate the reed mats from En Geddi. But you cannot deny En Geddi is mentioned as Asason Tamar in Genesis 14, and you cannot give the Amorrhaeans of Asason Tamar a later archaeologic interpretation than the one of the Chalcolithic, so, the options are, a) either 3500 BC as a carbon date refers in reality to Abraham around 80 years old (after vocation at 75 and subsequent visit to Egypt, before birth of Isaac at 86), b) or Genesis 14 is a myth.

However, if you take the position Genesis 14 is a myth, you have just made Melchisedec a colleague of Batman ... a fictional character. You have just undermined Eucharistic theology, big time.

So, arguably, Cystic fibrosis was not an issue for the children of siblings who were grandchildren of Adam and Eve. It wasn't an issue to anyone before Abraham had already died.

Dito for all the other issues that genetics could involve for these marriages.

18:16 If you have one chromosome locus in yourself that causes a problem, not "in your family" except it's usually from your ancestors.
And then you marry someone with the same ancestry, from which you have that chromosome locus there is a high chance both share the same damaged locus ... in the case of inbreeding, there is never a case about an entire chromosome being a problem, only one locus is damaged.

Cystic fibrosis is not from all of chromosome 7, it's from a specific locus on chromosome 7!

You might be thinking of things where a whole chromosome is one too many. In sex chromosomes, it's OK to have XX or XY, but XXX for women, or XYY or XXY for men tends to infertility and to some problems. Likewise, two examples of chromosome 21 is perfectly OK, but three of them ... well, it causes a damage in your developing brain, if in all cells (it happens that some people have cells of different chromosomal setups, it's called mosaical).

But those cases have nothing to do with inbreeding.

I think your view of the matter may involve a prejudice about certain Ozark populations where these things were common:

  • cousin marriages
  • marriages when the women got children late
  • children with chromosomal diseases like Downs (chromosome 21) or whatever Lonnie in Duelling Banjos is supposed to suffer from.

It would seem the condition was not about inbreeding, but about how old the mother was, even if it was Downs. About a decade ago I had a discussion of it.

Inbreeding doesn't cause Downs. Age of mother does.

19:18 "This opinion assumes that Adam and Eve were the only two people in existence" -- and very rightly so.

Polygenism is condemned.

If "other people" were rational, Adam would not be ancestral to all people (from his side for Eve, from his loins for others). Original sin would be unexplained and unfair.
If "other people" were not rational, not created in God's image, they were also not endowed with freewill, so if the barrenness in mating with a beast would not have been an issue, the lack of actual consent on part of the beast would still have been an issue, it would share the rape aspect of bestiality.

Isaac La Peyrère had his book condemned. And rightly so.

In his version "other people" were rational, but unlike Adam had no option for immortality, were not created for God. This is strictly speaking a racist position, especially if combined with pretending certain peoples today do not descend from Adam.

Speaking of which. If you accept the timeline of modern anthropologists, when do you place Adam?

In 7000 or 6000 years ago? Genesis 3 can be historical, but we have an Isaac Peyrère problem where the first Amerindians and Aborigines discovered did not descend from Adam and could not be redeemed by Christ.
Or in 40 000 years ago, 100 000 years ago, 750 000 years ago? You avoid the Isaac Peyrère problem, but at the same time you make sure Moses could not have received a reliable historic tradition from participants in the Genesis 3 event. You have ruined Original sin and also Mariology.

19:23 "these days the Church has shown some flexibility to other possibilities"

Like Fiducia Supplicans and Amoris Laetitia show flexibility in both blessing remarried couples with one or two divorcees, and in allowing them the Blessed Sacrament?

Like "Rabbit Gate" showed "Pope Francis" as showing some flexibility about contraception?

I'm reminded of a Friend on FB, of the female kind, who commented "what's vwong with wabbits?"

Like "John Paul II" showed flexibilty in relation to idolatry, which Buddha worship objectively is, and to heresy, which Anglicanism objectively is, whereever on the inbetween you wish to place Judaism and Islam?

You have just made my case against the last three men you hold to have been Popes.

19:40 Preadamites were precisely the conception of Isaac La Peyrère, which was precisely condemned by the Church.

Not sure how much precedent he had among Jews who didn't convert, but they are not an authority, like they don't have a case for Rashi's position on what age Rebeccah married. So, if he had that, it's not a recommendation of his view.

20:09 No, do not say that because their names mean so and so "they were symbols" ... some people in communion with your Pope, over here in Paris actually mean by that that they never existed as individual people.

And I mean (supposed at least) clergy.

Once you go that route, that he did, you have contradicted Trent Session V very directly.

Not saying you did that, Jimmy, but you used a wording which such people would use.

20:30 I would definitely not call the opinions differing from the historic one (thanks for that honesty) "more reasoned" ... they are less reasoned.

Half baked ideas with apostasy around every corner. Things you can affirm and stay Catholic by forbidding yourself to ask questions.

The historic opinion is solid. Like a certain object Christ compared Simon Bar Jonah to.

Section IV
20:55 - Does the Cyclical Universe Model disprove God?

Not commenting right now, he seems too close to Big Bang, but sufficiently far from famed Atheist Carl Sagan. So, I break off from subsequent sections right now.

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