2 Ways of Knowing God Experiencing God Reasoning to God Believing AnotherExperts say 90% of our knowledge comes from reading (believing the word of another.)
3 Experiencing GodExperiencing God is somewhat like experiencing the sun.We experience the sun not directly, but indirectly by its effects: heat, light, energy.Similarly, we experience God indirectly by increases in faith, hope, or love.
4 Reasoning to GodThe only reasonable explanation of our universe is that an infinite intelligence created it.Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
5 Faith in GodWe are very limited in what we can know about God from experience and reasonOnly Jesus can give us a clear and certain knowledge of God.John 1:18
6 Divine RevelationRefers to public revelation as opposed to private revelation.Ended with last apostle’s deathWe continue to uncover deeper meanings in it through study and prayer. (CCC 66-67)
7 What about “private revelations,” like Fatima? After investigation, if the Church rules a specific “private revelation” in not in conflict with public revelation, it may be believedThe Church obliges no one to believe “private revelation”
8 Margaret Mehren Three ways of knowing? Did she experience God, reason to God and/or believe another?Testing the truth of the experience:Did she grow more faith-filled?Did she grow more hopeful?Did she grow more loving?(Faith , hope and love are theological virtues because they come from and lead to God.)
9 Handing on Revelation Revelation Public (Bible/Tradition)Private (e.g. visions)Immediate (deeds Ps 78:52, dreams Mt 1:20, visions Is 6:1-8)To ProphetsTo ApostlesMediate (handing on immediate revelation)To Future GenerationsUnder Holy Spirit’s Guidance
10 Sacred TraditionTeachings passed orally and unerringly form generation to generationExample: Mary was a virgin all her life
11 Sacred Scripture (CCC 126)Gospels developed through three stages: Life: what Jesus said and didOral: what apostles preachedWritten: what evangelists wroteDivine InspirationHoly Spirit and human writer act as a team (The Spirit acts through the talents of the writer.)Inerrancy of Scripture“free from religious error in matters related to salvation”Bible is not free from scientific or historical errorInterpretation of Scripture“You must go back, as it were, in spirit to those remote centuries of the East. With the aid of history, archaeology, ethnology, and other sciences, you must determine accurately what modes of writing the ancient writers would likely use, and in fact did use.” Pope Pius XII to biblical scholars.The Church is the mother of the New Testament and thus the interpreter.
12 Canon of ScriptureTestament comes form the Greek meaning od “sacred agreement” (covenant)Old Testament: God’s covenant with Israel mediated by Moses.New Testament: God’s covenant with all people mediated by JesusDead Sea Scrolls importance:~1000 yrs older than oldest biblical manuscripts known to usNon-biblical scrolls fill in gap of little-known Jewish history between 200 BC and 50 AD, and they help clarify biblical writings from this period
13 Old Testament Act One: Creation – God Creates Act Two: De-creation – Sin DestroysAct Three: Re-creation – God Saves Us
14 Interpreting the Bible LiteralistsInterpret with the text alone – Adam lived 930 yrsCreation happened in 4004 BC or 4026 BC (depending on which genealogies are used)Genealogies were never intended to be taken literally – they build a literary bridge between Adam (father of all people) and Abraham (father of all Hebrews)Declining age spans symbolize the tragic impact that sin is having on the human family.ContextualistsInterpret with text and context (literary, cultural, historical)Early chapters deal with pre-history – the fuzzy era between the appearance of people and the recording of their stories
15 Bible Connection Old Testament (46 books) has 4 parts Pentateuch (5 books + 3 special books)Wisdom (7 books)Historical (13 books)Prophetic (18 books)New Testament (27 books) has 4 partsGospels (4 books)Acts (1 book)Letters (21 books)Revelation (1 book)
16 CreationCreation Story: Like Jesus’ parables convey religious truths and not historical facts Four Religious Truths of the Creation Story: God is One God planned creation God created everything good God made the Sabbath holy Second Creation Story It is suggested the image of God “breathing” life in to clay was inspired by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, which ancients were familiar with (eg 2 Kings 4:32-34)
17 De-CreationDe-creation: -Misuse of environment -Misuse of free will Sin: Personal Sin: the free act of a single individual (CCC 1868) Social Sin: involves the collective behavior of a group of people, like a nation (CCC 1869) Two forms: -Commission – doing bad -Omission – not doing good
18 Origin of SinFirst “sin story” is the snake tempting Adam and Eve to eat the appleSymbolic Story - Symbolic MeaningSymbolsSnake = devilEating = sinful actTeachingEvil enters the world through the sin of the first coupleThree major tragic effects of the first sinIntroduces evil into worldFlawed human raceDoomed human race(God’s responses explained “origin” of disturbing realities)The pain involved in childbirth (to the woman)The pain involved in hard labor (to the man)The ongoing struggle between good and evil in the world (to the snake)Ray of Hope: God’s remark to the snake (CCC ; 1 John 3:8)
19 “Her offspring (Jesus) Will crush your head (devil) “Her offspring (Jesus) Will crush your head (devil). In the process, however, Jesus will suffer (snake will bite his heel.)”
20 Re-creation Act 1: God creates us Act 2: Sin destroys us Act 3: God re-creates usCovenant with AbrahamNew identity – God’s chosen personNew destiny – Father of nationsCovenant with IsraelNew identity – Chosen peopleNew destiny – Priestly peopleCovenant with DavidNew identity – Chosen kingNew destiny – Ancestor of the MessiahGod’s covenant moved form Abraham to Israel to David (CCC )
21 God’s people sin God’s people suffer God’s people wait After Solomon’s death: kingdom dividedNorth – IsraelSouth - JudahBeginning of personal and social sins against GodGod raised prophets, Israel did not reform, Assyria destroyed Israel in 722 BCJudah also did not listen to prophets, Babylonian armies destroyed Jerusalem and Temple, people enslavedGod’s people sufferPeople exiled to Babylon, prophets try to help restore faithBabylon conquered by Cyrus of Persia and Judah freed –sort of, other conquers claimed Judah before the Roman came in 63 BCGod’s people waitHebrew scriptures end “unfinished”Faithful Jews await the Messiah, pray for God to complete the work of re-creation in the world (CCC 716)