Excerpt from When God Speaks for Himself: The Words of God You’ll NEVER Hear in Church or Sunday School, by Mark Tier and George Forrai (Inverse Books, 2016). Reprinted with permission from Mark Tier.
From Chapter 4: Reason, Science and the Church
“Nothing is to be accepted save on the authority of scripture, since greater is the authority of scripture than all the powers of the human mind.”
— St. Augustine in De Genesi
“Before Adam’s sin none of [the animals] attempted to devour or in any wise hurt one another; the spider was as harmless as the fly!”
— John Wesley, founder of Methodism
“[Stephen] Hawking is attempting [in his book A Brief History of Time], as he explicitly states, to understand the mind of God. And this makes all the more unexpected the conclusion of the effort, at least so far: a universe with no edge in space, no beginning or end in time, and nothing for a Creator to do.”
— Carl Sagan, in his Introduction
“Your Highness, I have no need of this hypothesis.”
— Pierre Laplace to Napoleon on why his works on celestial mechanics made no mention of God
The Supremacy of Faith
When Christianity was declared Rome’s monopoly religion in 380 CE by Emperor Theodosius, all competing religions — including Christian sects not obeying the doctrinal edicts of Rome — and Greek knowledge were violently suppressed by the combined forces of church and state. Books were burned, the library at Alexandria was pillaged, faith and revelation replaced reason and experimentation as the only sources of knowledge, literacy plunged, and Europe entered the “Dark Ages.”
The Bible was in Latin, the language of Catholic services (a practice only discontinued in the 1960s). Access was, therefore, restricted to people who could speak and read Latin — mostly monks and nuns. So the populace at large was entirely dependent on their priests for their knowledge of what God and the Bible actually said.
Christendom, in other words, was one enormous Sunday School.
Unsurprisingly in the context where the authority of the scriptures became absolute, they became the source of scientific pronouncements.
The Science of the Bible:
The Bible begins [Genesis 1]:
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
God created light on the first day — but he doesn’t get around to creating any source of light until the fourth day. And there’s no known scientific basis for the existence of light without a source.
And what does it mean to “divide the light from the darkness”? Darkness, after all, is merely the absence of light.
On the third day, God created grass, herbs, fruits, and (presumably) the other plants which all flourished before the creation of a life-giving sun.
Eventually, on the fourth day, God gets around to creating the sun and the moon:
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
So God created “two great lights”: the sun and the moon. But the moon, as we know, is not a light, it’s a reflector of light. And why did he need to “set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth” and “to divide the light from the darkness” when he’s already created light and divided it from the darkness? Isn’t he repeating himself?
At the end of the sixth day “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” [Genesis 1:31].
But didn’t take long for him to see the “error of his ways” “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart” [Genesis 6:6].
So he decides to destroy his creation by drowning everyone (and every thing).
Excerpted from When God Speaks for Himself by Mark Tier and George Forrai. Copyright © Mark Tier and Pronto Express, 2010. All rights reserved.
— Church and State (@ChurchAndStateN) January 23, 2018
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