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Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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6015 Years Ago.....

Sunday, October 23, 2011

In the 17th Century, the Anglican Archbishop of Armagh , James Ussher, published:

Annales Veteris Testamenti, a prima mundi origine deducti, una cum rerum Asiaticarum et Aegyptiacarum chronico, a temporis historici principio usque ad Maccabaicorum initia producto.(Annals of the Old Testament, deduced from the first origins of the world, the chronicle of Asiatic and Egyptian matters together produced from the beginning of historical time up to the beginnings of Maccabes)

This Verbosely titled work has become more commonly known as 'Ussher Chronology'. In it Ussher attempts to chronicle history through a fundamentalist reading of the King James Bible. In this work Ussher estimates that God began creating the world on the evening before the 23rd of October 4004BC. There had been many attempts at producing such work over the centuries. Jose ben Halafta,Bede the Venerable and even Sir Issac Newton had produced such works, however the Ussher Chronology seems to have been the most popular.

Modern scientific evidence , especially within the field of cosmology, certainly seems to suggest that the universe is much, much older that just over 6000 years. This however is not a matter of conflict for Christians. It is not a tenet of the faith to hold that God created the World in six 24-hour periods. Pius XII, in his 1950 encyclical Humani Generis, declares that Catholics are at liberty to believe that creation took a few days or a much longer period, according to how they see the evidence, and subject to any future judgment of the Church.. They need not be hostile to modern cosmology. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

"Many scientific studies . . . have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life forms, and the appearance of man. These studies invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator"

This view does not conflict with Sacred Scripture as one must accept that the Bible is a 'Book of Books' , with many different styles and genres within its pages. One can read the Genesis creation accounts literally and still hold a belief in the Big Bang and evolution. This is because Genesis is not or was never intended to be a historical account. What is important is that one realises that God is the creator of all, and that all of creation is sustained through Him and by Him.

Mark Davoren

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