Re: FAITH MATTERS
- Dear Nouveau Man,
I shall try to answer you as I can. I am not a theologian, and never been to a divinity school. Though by birth I am Syrian orthodox, I also follow it and adore it because of its richness.
Q1. Can Bible be verified historically/scientifically?
Ans. Yes; Bible can be verified historically. It is more clearer in the new testament. Look at Luke chapter 3 verses 1-2. Look how magnificent the Syriac Christian author Luke has put the world settings. Regarding the O.T, Note that the O.T is followed by the Jews also. The prophets and the kings are all in history. When our priests proclaim "In the fullness of time Bethlehem Ephrata honored You" is explained by ST. Cyril that the reason for Judaism is Christianity and Christianity is not an after effect of Judaism. By the O.T God almighty is telling us that it is impossible to be righteous. Hence, Jesus proclaims that "nobody comes to the Father except through me� Salvation is the Effect of O.T. but is possible only through the blood of Jesus. Before crucifixion, Jesus asks the question to God the Father "Is there any other way". The idea we see after the first sin. God clothed Adam and Eve with lamb-skin. The lamb had to be killed for saving them. Abraham had to show the willingness to kill his promised son to receive blessing.
Q 2. Is Genesis or the entire OT for that matter, compatible with the modern scientific views?
Ans; Yes; Note that we had an oral tradition in the O.T. Before Passover, God asked the Israelites to narrate the story to your children. So we had the tradition of narration in the O.T. About Genesis, Note that genesis chapter 1 was added as an introduction after many centuries. The tradition of God creating man from mud is there even with the aboriginals of Australia. When we question Genesis 1, that God created the heavens and the earth in the beginning; we should look for the answer in John chapter 1. It says, "In the beginning was the word". How does word comes? It comes from the mind. So, we all existed in the mind of our God before the foundations of the earth was put together. St. Paul's explains it. In the acts of apostles we see him being chosen in the wilderness on his way to persecute. Later he says he was chosen in his mother's womb. In Ephesians 1:4 he says that we are chosen before the foundations of the world were laid. Foundation of the world is the milky-way and beyond. So, we all existed before this universe was created. The uniqueness of the teachings of our church through the Cappadocian fathers is that we are free to investigate. We are much above and beyond Augustine. Look at the scientists; the big-bang theory is gone. Evolution is fading. Only one is permanent; the word.
Q. 3. Character of God � why is there a huge difference between the Gods character NT as opposed to OT?
Ans: The O.T. God is angry. He was friendly in the beginning. He walked with Adam. He is angry at our sin. The anger is gone because His only begotten Son paid the price. His son became a ransom. His Son is sitting at the right (in our human body he received from Mary) hand pleading for us. Note that we are the only ones in all the world's religions and sects who calls God; Our Father in Heaven. He is an accepting Father, not an angry God. Just like in the story of the "prodigal son" where the father receives the son with stretched out hands, Jesus received us on the cross with the most stretched out of all hands and received us in to himself. Hence we have a loving FATHER in God in the New Testament.
Dn. Monsy M Jacob