Ancient Theologians weigh in on Genesis: Basil’s reflections on creation (part 1)

Anyone that has read through the first few chapters of Genesis and reflects on them will at some point struggle with how to interpret and handle the account of creation with what they know of the universe. These difficulties are not limited to readers living in the modern age of science, but have puzzled people throughout every age.

The opening statement of Genesis is very clear. God is the Creator. The Apostle’s Creed and the Nicaean Creed both affirm that basic tenet of theology. However, almost every other aspect of the creation account has been met with numerous approaches and ideas about what the original authors, redactors and God, Himself, meant. Various proposals have been explored and debated as long as the account has existed. These discussions reveal fundamentally different ideas about what the relationship between theology and science should be as well as what hermeneutical method should be used to determine the meaning of a passage.

Even if one sought to understand the account as the original readers might the question remains: is the account an allegory or a historical narrative? Was the author’s goal to provide a scientifically accurate description of the material origin of the universe or was the intent to describe what the function the objects in creation serve? Is it possible the account used the cosmology of the original audience as a framework to present theological truths?

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Origen on Free Will

This is a series that will be updated periodically that captures the early church views on free will. Check the Series page for the other posts.

OrigenWhat prompted this series was an assertion made by Charles Spurgeon in his sermon “Election“, that throughout church history only heretics held to a view of free will:

Were I a Pelagian, or a believer in the doctrine of free-will, I should have to walk for centuries all alone. Here and there a heretic of no very honourable character might rise up and call me brother.

In this post we will examine the views that Origen held on these topics.

If you have heard the name Origen before then you probably know that he had his run ins with various church leaders (during his lifetime through to today) due to his hermeneutics and speculative views on various doctrines. But reading about his life and digging into his writings it is evident that his life was focused on Jesus Christ. We evaluated his basic views and whether they were orthodox in a prior post. Continue reading

Who wrote the Gospel of Mark (Part III)

Modified from original published on September 18, 2009

John MarkIn the first two posts on the Gospel of Mark we have examined the historical records of Papias (110) and Irenaeus (180). Both men were from Asia Minor who provided information regarding the author and dating of the book. They are two of the earliest pieces of information that we have.

Combining the two accounts we observed the following regarding the Gospel of Mark:

  1. Mark was the author.
  2. Mark wrote down what Peter was teaching and proclaiming.
  3. Mark was not a disciple of Jesus (while Jesus was alive).
  4. Mark wrote after Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome.

Another source of information regarding the Gospel of Mark is found in the Anti-Marcionite Prologues. These prologues were included with the Gospels in many Latin manuscripts and would have served a purpose similar to the summaries that precede a Biblical book in Bibles today. They provided the reader with information about the book. Continue reading