I’ve been going back and forth with Dr. Mark Purchase for a little bit now and today I thought was pretty funny.
>>Honestly, I had no idea that Stephanie Pappas was an atheist and antagonistic toward Christianity. I don’t think that says anything about their scientific credentials though. Kenneth Miller and Francis Collins are both Christians and they hold to evolution. And you’re seriously classifying oldearth.org as an atheistic website?!? WOW! You have two doctorates?!? Must’ve been from a very unaccredited school! You need to learn charity.<<
The Talk Origins website you recommend is clear example. You want me to follow the guidance of atheists, which you obvious have. You encourage people to read anti-creationists for the truth about Creation, that the bible is wrong. Oldearth.con does the same as you.
Maybe he thought that oldearth.org actually was a dotcom and this is a typo as the “n” is right next to the “m” on the keyboard or maybe he deliberately meant to write con, I have no idea. But kudos to “Dr.” Purchase for generating a laugh. But any way, St. Augustine actually famously wrote:
“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although ‘they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.’” (Augustine, The Literal Meaning of Genesis, vol. 1, ch.19.)
Back to Purchase…
>>Who said Genesis should be taken as a literal history? The Church fathers had numerous interpretations for Genesis. http://www.catholic.com/tracts/creation-and-genesis <<
This doesn’t sound right, ‘who said Genesis is literal history’ I gave you a long list – Jesus, Paul, John, Luke, Peter, Matthew, Mark, etc. The whole OT/NT takes it as literal history. And even so, who holds more authority? – The Bible or Church Fathers?
Consider Fr Seraphim Rose – ‘Genesis, Creation and Early Man’. 700 page book on the Church Fathers on this topic. This proves the old-earthers don’t have a leg to stand on when promoting their interpretations of Genesis. With many lengthy quotations from the ‘Holy Fathers’ of Eastern Orthodoxy from the 4th century to present, the book reinforces the truth of a 6 day Creation about 6,000 years ago, followed by a global catastrophic Flood, and this has been the historic teaching of the church until the 19th century.
I read carefully that Catholic article “Creation and Genesis”. But doubt you read it, or you never would have sent it. It’s in keeping with Catholic teaching. But I could not find one quote from any of the Church Fathers suggesting the earth is millions of years old, or Genesis is not literal or historic. Go back and have a look yourself.
In fact, the author of the article basis their whole page on a misunderstanding of 1 Peter.3:8. “One day is like a thousand years’. The context of that has nothing to do with the days of creation. It’s not defining a day because it doesn’t say ‘a day is a thousand years’. The correct understanding is derived from the context— Peter says don’t lose heart because God seems slow at fulfilling His promises because He is patient and not bound by time as we. It has nothing about millions and billions of years.
Where is the evidence that Jesus, Paul, John, Luke, Peter, Matthew, Mark, etc. took Genesis as literal history? The Bible or the Church Fathers? Hmmm…I would say the Church, which is the pillar and ground of truth (1 Tim. 3:15) has more authority than the Bible considering it gave us the Bible in the first place and the Church has no official interpretation of Genesis. Fr. Seraphim Rose is actually highly controversial in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Similar to Fr. Sergius Bulgakov but on an entirely different level of controversy for promoting as dogmatic things that the Orthodox Church does not consider dogmatic. One of these is young earth creationism. Another Orthodox patristic scholar, Peter C. Bouteneff, has a book called Beginnings which argues contrary to Rose’s position. Back to Purchase…
>>From the article on “born again”. “So, if you are born again and the spirit of God lives in you, how is anyone to know that you are not just a deluded person? ………. The traditional Christian understanding of baptism is not applicable here.”<<
Not sure you read what I said, but I covered this article in my last email, and in detail. You need to explain where that was wrong.
Sure you believe yourself a Christian, many likewise, but none fool God. His Word exposes the frauds and defines a real genuine Christian. They are characterized by the indwelling Holy Spirit (Gal.3:1), their love for Christ (Jn.14:15) and “one another…” (Jn.13:35).
1 Jn.4:20 If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar…". 1 Jn.4:6-8 This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." The bible teaches that genuine and real Christians who walk in the truth, are proven by their love for each other.
Those anti-Creationist websites you recommend have one thing in common. They hate 6 day creationists. They are rude, unkind and nasty towards God’s people. They mock them, with ridicule in the most horrible way they possibly can. They can’t hide their hatred. Those who walk in the dark hate those who walk in the light. Those who are only born in the flesh, hate those Born of the Spirit (Gal.4:29).
Another sign of a genuine born again Christian is that they are “not conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of their mind (Rom.12:2). They are not conformed to the evolutionist thinking of this world. But they have a new mind, and conform to God’s Word. If you think yourself a Christian, why are you conformed to this world? Christ gave the example how you should regard Genesis, why be disobedient?
The bible is not a religious book of myth stories but it’s God’s Word. God tells us what to believe about creation, not Talk Origins. For you the bible is wrong. All your emails since have directed me towards unbelief.
I have not directed you toward unbelief at all. It is very true I struggle with believing and feelings of worthiness. At times, I’ve avoided church because I am much too unworthy to stand in the holy presence of my God having to be reminded that church is in fact for sinners like me, not for Pharisees. I do not believe the Bible is wrong. I instead interpret the Bible in the context of the Church. The Church has not specifically laid out a statement on creation as a theological dogma. I am not against you being a young earth creationist. I am simply against your distortions of science to present an argument for that. You need to interact with solid scientific evidence against young earth creationism and sometimes, the evidence is provided by atheists. Would you rather read someone like Kenneth Miller who wrote Finding Darwin’s God and will lead you toward belief? Or someone like Francis Collins’s The Language of God? These two not only support the theory of evolution and defend it from intelligent design but will also point you towards God, the Creator. Do I believe myself a Christian? If I am, I’m not a very good one. Back to Purchase…
>>St. John Chrysostom (another Christian I read) writes: “What then is the use of the water? …..a certain mystery.” (Homily 25 on the Gospel of John)<<
Very interesting, but did you realize Chrysostom’s comment had nothing to do with the New Birth or that the water in John 3 means baptism? Did you realize this? Was there something else you are trying to say? Chrysostom points out that everywhere in the NT baptism speaks of death (not new life). “Baptism into death: and again, Our old man is crucified with Him: and again… ” It’s all about the waters of death – baptism. You need to be born into God’s family. For alas,
"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor 2:14).
So spiritual realities are confusing or rejected to those 'without the Spirit' (ie sin baptism, creation, evil, new-birth, God’s character, bible doctrine, death, etc).
This is all true of you. You need to be born again. Christ died for sin so that we can escape God's punishment for sin, receive New Life. The only way to come to the Father is His appointed way. One must repent. When you accept Christ personally and invite Him into your heart, the Holy Spirit (who knows your heart) enters, cleans, gives new life, opens your eyes to the truth in God’s Word.
I think we have exchanged enough emails, and have nothing more to say. Sorry we don’t have much in common, but thank you for you time. Don’t forget, creation.com – any question on this topic in their search engine will give good results.
Considering that Homily 25 on the Gospel of John is specifically commenting on John 3:5, I’m not certain how you can conclude that St. John Chrysostom is not talking about the New Birth. At this point, I’m wondering about the intelligence of those who awarded you your Ph.D. and Th.D. if you even have either of these degrees. Has any one taught you how to do solid research? Would it be possible also if I could see one of your dissertations as well. I’ve looked them up in the Arizona State University online library and cannot find either one and just because ASU is a secular school does not mean it won’t prohibit dissertations from Christians showing up on their website. I’ve found stuff written by Daniel B. Wallace from the controversial Dallas Theological Seminary from the ASU online library. You know why? Because at least DTS is an accredited school despite its position on dispensationalism and not some diploma mill.