Re: [Norton AntiSpam] Re: [Norton AntiSpam] Re: Vatican

From: Robert Schneider <>
Date: Wed Nov 09 2005 - 06:30:45 EST

On God's "gender": there are feminine images of God in the OT, as biblical scholars have pointed out. And from early times, Christian theology has insisted that God is beyond gender. When my (usually male) students insist that God is masculine, I tell them that they are making God in their own image.

However, as I pointed out to my students in my NT Lit. classes yesterday, the correct translation for Gal. 3:28 is "...not 'male and female'." As N. T. Wright and others point out, Paul is clearly referencing Gen. 1:27. They interpret Paul to mean that in Christ gender distinctions no longer obtain, because believers are "one" in a "new creation." The shift also contains an implicit rejection of all patriarchial systems of gender discrimination. Ephesians carries this forward in 5:21ff with "Be mutually submissive to one another out of reverence for Christ," and includes husbands and wives under that rubric.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Jim Armstrong
  Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2005 1:12 AM
  Subject: Re: [Norton AntiSpam] Re: [Norton AntiSpam] Re: Vatican

  You take it wrong - I just suspect that the perspective of the time would have a hard time ascribing anything other than a male attribute to an authority figure. In the absence of a reasonably good space/time understanding, there would be perhaps a little more justification for anthropomorphizing God than in our own time. If God is living, and sentient, and in some way like us, then the choosing of some personal pronoun is probably irresistable, though its appropriatenss might be questioned in the longer view.

  There is also that troubling passage, in part "...neither male nor female..."

  Don't understand your second offering. But there might be something there that I agree with...maybe. JimA

  janice matchett wrote:

    At 11:18 PM 11/8/2005, Jim Armstrong wrote:

      I'm still stuck here, Janice.
      While there is a lot of specialty language here, as well as a good bit of historical perspective, one outstanding question seems easy enough to articulate without invoking them. If our understanding of God is that he/she/it transcends our universe of space and time, existing before that universe came into being (or perhaps form, comprising only the E part of the E=mc^2 equation), why does it make sense that whatever image and/or likeness to God that may be expressed necessarily has anything to do with the physical? ...And in particular, comprises something that would be put at risk by a physical evolutionary creation process? Baffling! ~ JimA

    #2#2# "He/she/it"???? I take it you reject the Scriptures. Maybe that's why you're "stuck".

    Do you think that the Creator doesn't know the end from the beginning and "takes risks"?


      janice matchett wrote:

        At 10:18 PM 11/8/2005, George Murphy wrote:

          It's not surprising that Janice & her obscurantist sources are trying to minimize the significance of such statements. Of course "the Vatican" hasn't endorsed evolution in the sense of an ex cathedra definition making acceptance of it de fide for RCs, but a statement by the head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, when seen in the context of earlier statements by JP II, certainly carries some weight. It shows a clear desire on the part of the RCC to distance itself from creationism and the ID movement, at least in its popular manifestion.

        ### The horse's mouth, excerpted::

        " tell the truth, rather than the theory of evolution, we should speak of several theories of evolution. On the one hand, this plurality has to do with the different explanations advanced for the mechanism of evolution, and on the other, with the various philosophies on which it is based. Hence the existence of materialist, reduc tionist and spiritualist interpretations. What is to be decided here is the true role of philosophy and, beyond it, of theology.

        5. The Church's Magisterium is directly concerned with the question of evolution, for it involves the conception of man: Revelation teaches us that he was created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gn 1:27-29). The conciliar Constitution Gaudium et spes has magnificently explained this doctrine, which is pivotal to Christian thought. It recalled that man is :the only creature on earth that God has wanted for its own sake" (n. 24). In other terms, the human individual cannot be subordinated as a pure means or a pure instrument, either to the species or to society, he has value per se. He is a person. With his intellect and his will, he is capable of forming a relationship of communion, solidarity and self-giving with his peers. St Thomas observes that man's likeness to God resides especially in his speculative intellect for his relationship with the object of his knowledge resembles God's relationship with what he has created (Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 3, a. 5, ad 1). But even more, man is called to enter into a relationship of knowledge and love with God himself, a relationship which will find its complete fulfilment beyond time, in eternity. All the depth and grandeur of this vocation are revealed to us in the mystery of the risen Christ (cf. Gaudium et spes, n. 22). It is by virtue of his spiritual soul that the whole person possesses such a dignity even in his body. Pius XII stressed this essential point: if the human body takes its origin from pre-existent living matter the spiritual soul is immediately created by God ("animal enim a Deo immediate creari catholica fides nos retinere inhet"; Encyclical Humani generic, AAS 42 [1950], p. 575).

        Consequently, theories of evolution which, in accordance with the philosophies inspiring them, consider the mind as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a mere epiphenomenon of this matter, are incompatible with the truth about man. Nor are they able to ground the dignity of the person.

        6. With man, then, we find ourselves in the presence of an ontological difference, an ontological leap, one could say. However, does not the posing of such ontological discontinuity run counter to that physical continuity which seems to be the main thread of research into evolution in the field of physics and chemistry? Consideration of the method used in the various branches of knowledge makes it possible to reconcile two points of view which would seem irreconcilable. The sciences of observation describe and measure the multiple manifestations of life with increasing precision and correlate them with the time line. The moment of transition into the spiritual cannot be the object of this kind of observation, which nevertheless can discover at the experimental level a series of very valuable signs indicating what is specific to the human being. But the experience of metaphysical knowledge, of self-awareness and self-reflection, of moral conscience, freedom, or again, of aesthetic and religious experience, falls within the competence of philosophical analysis and reflection while theology brings out its ultimate meaning according to the Creator's plans.

        ~ Janice :)

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: janice matchett
            To: Randy Isaac ;
            Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2005 9:58 PM
            Subject: Re: Vatican

            At 09:31 PM 11/8/2005, Randy Isaac wrote:
              Someone sent me this clip from Australia. Did anyone see the full text of the Vatican statement?

          Evolution in the bible, says Vatican By Martin Penner November 07, 2005
            THE Vatican has issued a stout defence of Charles Darwin, voicing strong criticism of Christian fundamentalists who reject his theory of evolution and interpret the biblical account of creation literally.
            Cardinal Paul Poupard, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said the Genesis description of how God created the universe and Darwin's theory of evolution were "perfectly compatible" if the Bible were read correctly.

            His statement was a clear attack on creationist campaigners in the US, who see evolution and the Genesis account as mutually exclusive.

            "The fundamentalists want to give a scientific meaning to words that had no scientific aim," he said at a Vatican press conference. He said the real message in Genesis was that "the universe didn't make itself and had a creator".

            This idea was part of theology, Cardinal Poupard emphasised, while the precise details of how creation and the development of the species came about belonged to a different realm - science. Cardinal Poupard said that it was important for Catholic believers to know how science saw things so as to "understand things better".

            His statements were interpreted in Italy as a rejection of the "intelligent design" view, which says the universe is so complex that some higher being must have designed every detail.

        ### Here's all I have ~ Janice

        The "Vatican" Endorses "Darwin"? ["Vatican" has done no such thing
        Ignatius Press Blog - Ignatius Insight Scoop ^ | 11/08/05 | Mark Brumley
        Posted on 11/08/2005 4:12:49 PM EST by AHerald

        News reports from a variety of sources are claiming that the Vatican has endorsed evolution and condemned Intelligent Design. For example, at Science and Theology news the headline declares, "Vatican sides with Darwin." The subheader for the piece states, "There is no more confusion swirling around the Vatican over its stance on ID. Darwin has won out, and scientists are breathing a collective sigh of relief." Glad to know that scientists care so much what the Vatican says about things like this.

        Then there is The Australian, which states, "The Vatican has issued a stout defence of Charles Darwin, voicing strong criticism of Christian fundamentalists who reject his theory of evolution and interpret the biblical account of creation literally."

        Not as direct about the issue of evolution, ABC News declared, "Vatican: Faithful Should Listen to Science."

        Lots of online media have picked up on the story and repeated it. The problem is, so many are getting it wrong. "The Vatican" has said nothing on the subject. No statements have been issued by the Vatican. Cardinal Paul Poupard, who heads the Pontifical Council for Culture, made some remarks pertaining to the subject of evolution at a religion and science conference being held at the Vatican. Some other churchmen at the same conference made some remarks. But "the Vatican" has issued no declarations, nor has it "endorsed Darwin."

        When Pope John Paul II declared evolution to be more than a hypothesis in his 1996 Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, he didn't "endorse Darwin," as I pointed out at the time. To say that versions of the theory of evolution are compatible with Christianity is not to "endorse Darwin." It is to say that versions of the theory of evolution are compatible with Christianity. That much was implied by Pius XII half a century ago.

        Whether the theory of evolution can account for the diversity and present forms of biological species is primarily a scientific question, not a theological one, even if, indirectly, it has theological implications. Perhaps evolution can account for these things; perhaps it can't. But whether it can or not, the Vatican hasn't weighed in. It has, however, maintained what we should expect it to maintain--that whatever we say about evolution or biology as a matter of natural science, God is the Creator of all life and his creative activity can be rationally discerned from the world around us.
Received on Wed Nov 9 06:35:22 2005

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