Friday, September 19, 2008

Short History 3

From Old Testament times, prophets predicted a Messiah for the Jewish people. They expected a political liberator who would bring in a new age where Israel would be triumphant and rule over enemies.

Jesus Christ was born about 4 BC According to the Christian religion, Jesus was and is the Messiah, but His leadership was not what the Jews were expecting. Christians believe He is the Son of God and came to redeem and free the human race from sin. He died around 30 AD (the exact year can only be approximated).[i]

Shortly afterward Paul, a disciple of Jesus, wrote regarding knowledge of God through nature: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made…so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).

In 30 AD, Galen, a Greek physician, was born. He wrote books which influenced the way medicine was practiced for about 1500 years, even though it was very limited. For example, he did not know that blood circulated in the body.

Also, Ptolemy, an Egyptian (probably Greek immigrant parents) living at 100 AD, drew an elaborate planetary system in which the Earth was center. It agreed with Aristotle’s view and continued to be accepted in the Middle East and Europe.

St. Augustine, a great theologian, lived in about 400 AD. In “The Literal Meaning of Genesis,” he warned Christians that unbelievers know facts about physical elements of earth and sky. If Christians try to teach Scripture in terms of false facts, they would detract from the true spiritual messages.[ii] However, Augustine himself did not hesitate to proclaim that the initial Creation is God’s handiwork.[iii]

This short history of relationships between science and religion will be continued.

[i] New Catholic Encyclopedia, Second ed., s.v. “Jesus Christ.”
[ii] Cf. St. Augustine, the Literal Meaning of Genesis Sec. 38-39, Ancient Christian Writers. trans. John Hammond Taylor (NY: Paulist, 1982), search “augustine-genesis” at: .
[iii] Cf. St. Augustine, City of God, Book XI, Ch. 1-8,

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