Just How ‘Global’ Was The Great Flood?

by

Damien F. Mackey

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I. Introductory Section

For a long time my view of Noah’s Flood was shaped by books like The Genesis Flood, that classic by Whitcomb and Morris, and other like-minded writings on the subject. When the full implications of these writings hit me – of our terrestrial globe being entirely overflown by water, with a massive boat astride it all keeping safe the last eight humans, plus pairs of every known species of animal – I was like a man in a daze: overwhelmed. What an incredible image! Nothing in human experience seemed comparable to it. Later also I became intensely interested in the search for Noah’s Ark, and was quite convinced that a boat-shaped object that had been found on so-called ‘Mount Ararat’, or Agri Dagh (Ağri Daği) in (south) eastern Turkey, was indeed Noah’s Ark. In those days I was often in touch with one of the key Ark-eologists (as they have been called), Dr. Allen Roberts, who was then making news with his visits to the Agri Dagh site and his colourful adventures there (allegedly being taken captive by bandits on one occasion). Dr. Roberts and I customarily exchanged phone calls and also articles. I even used to tell enthusiastic school children in a Scripture class that I was taking in a Sydney (Australia) suburb that Noah’s Ark had now been discovered on Mount Ararat; and we hopefully imagined that one day we might hire a helicopter and go visit the site.

At this particular time I probably entirely fitted the image of the Ark tragic whom Professor Ian Plimer has described in his book, Telling Lies for God. Reason vs Creationism (Random House, Australia, 1997), chapter 4, “The great flood of absurdities”. I give firstly Plimer’s provocative description of an Ark-eologist – bearing in mind that he has a certain extreme type of Flood/Ark seeker in mind – followed by that of the latter’s naïve disciple [p. 97]:

To be an ark-eologist is not easy because one has to abandon logic, abandon history, forget geography, abandon interpretation of the Bible, abandon knowledge, abandon modern science and have a blind unreasoning faith that a mythical stupendous maritime wooden vessel sits atop a mountain in eastern Turkey.

Plimer continues [pp. 97-98]:

One can only admire those, who against all odds, go looking for wooden boats on mountain tops. There are those, notwithstanding, who sit at home waiting patiently for their favourite ark-eologist to return with tales of horrors, dangers, divine guidance and supreme success from yet another unsuccessful expedition to eastern Turkey. These devotees already know that Noah’s ark rests on Mt Ararat, have been reassured by the unconvincing ‘evidence’ and acquiesce to supplementary purse-opening ark-eology ceremonies.

Yes, I could once identify with most of this.

But, over time, ever so slowly, I came to question: (a) this ‘global’ scenario for the Flood, and (b) the so-called Ark on the mountain – and, more recently (c) “Mount Ararat” as being the actual mountain of the Ark’s landing, or even of its ever having been submerged beneath the Flood (for more on this last, see IV. (c)) – since various lines of research I was pursuing, and methodologies, generally biblical, seemed to be conspiring against the possibility of such a scenario and were indeed pointing in the direction of a different model –indeed a far less vast one.

I refer to a combination of:

  • looking to read the Scriptures (in this case, Genesis) more and more as ancient, not modern, texts, along the lines of P.J. Wiseman.

    [See also Excursus A];

  • a developing geography of early Genesis that seemed to make apparent that the pre-Flood world could not have had its geographico-hydrological contours entirely erased, as ‘global’Flood proponents would tend to argue; and, correspondingly,

  • an apparent archaeologically-attested cultural continuity in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) from the pre-Flood Cain-ites (descendants of Cain) to the post-Flood (early Dynastic) inhabitants.

    Moreover, there were

  • those manifold scientific arguments against a ‘global’ Flood, and lastly, but definitely not least,

  • common sense.

    These i-v will be my points of reference in the course of my arguments below.

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For complete article, go to: http://amaic1.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/just-how-global-was-great-flood-genesis.html

Queenship of Mary

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Pius XII established this feast in 1954. But Mary’s queenship has roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary “mother of my Lord.” As in all the mysteries of Mary’s life, Mary is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus’ kingship. We can also recall that in the Old Testament the mother of the king has great influence in court.

In the fourth century St. Ephrem (June 9)  called Mary “Lady” and “Queen.” Later Church fathers and doctors continued to use the title. Hymns of the 11th to 13th centuries address Mary as queen: “Hail, Holy Queen,” “Hail, Queen of Heaven,” “Queen of Heaven.” The Dominican rosary and the Franciscan crown as well as numerous invocations in Mary’s litany celebrate her queenship.

The feast is a logical follow-up to the Assumption and is now celebrated on the octave day of that feast. In his 1954 encyclical To the Queen of Heaven, Pius XII points out that Mary deserves the title because she is Mother of God, because she is closely associated as the New Eve with Jesus’ redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection and because of her intercessory power.

Comment:

As St. Paul suggests in Romans 8:28–30, God has predestined human beings from all eternity to share the image of his Son. All the more was Mary predestined to be the mother of Jesus. As Jesus was to be king of all creation, Mary, in dependence on Jesus, was to be queen. All other titles to queenship derive from this eternal intention of God. As Jesus exercised his kingship on earth by serving his Father and his fellow human beings, so did Mary exercise her queenship. As the glorified Jesus remains with us as our king till the end of time (Matthew 28:20), so does Mary, who was assumed into heaven and crowned queen of heaven and earth.

Quote:

“Let the entire body of the faithful pour forth persevering prayer to the Mother of God and Mother of men. Let them implore that she who aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers may now, exalted as she is in heaven above all the saints and angels, intercede with her Son in the fellowship of all the saints. May she do so until all the peoples of the human family, whether they are honored with the name of Christian or whether they still do not know their Savior, are happily gathered together in peace and harmony into the one People of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity” (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 69).

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Pope Francis Holds Mass to Huge Crowd in Seoul for Korean Catholic Martyrs

Updated Aug. 16, 2014 8:53 p.m. ET

Pope Francis beatified 124 Korean martyrs in a ceremony in Seoul on Saturday. The pontiff led the mass in front of a crowd of about 800,000. Photo: Getty Images

EUMSEONG, South Korea— Pope Francis led a ceremony Saturday to beatify 124 Korean martyrs, a rite that highlighted the special history of a church that has been referred to as the Asian tiger of Catholicism. Later he visited a prominent charitable center that has been at the center of controversy in recent years.

The 77-year-old pontiff led the ceremony in front of Gwanghwamun Gate in the main square in Seoul before a crowd that numbered about 800,000, according to estimates by organizers of the event. This was the site of the torture and execution of many Korean martyrs in the 18th and 19th century.

The willingness of the pope to travel to South Korea for the ceremony highlights the dynamism of the peninsula’s Catholic community, which is small but one of the fastest-growing in the world. The pope is looking to highlight the possibilities for the faith to take root elsewhere in Asia.

The martyrs were among about 10,000 Catholics who died for their faith in the 18th and 19th centuries. The large number of martyrs distinguishes the Korean Catholic Church and makes it one of the most persecuted congregations in the history of Catholicism.

Catholic worshippers greet Pope Francis (C) as he arrives at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul on August 16, 2014. A tight security cordon was thrown around central Seoul on August 16 to screen out possible threats as up to one million people gathered for a huge, open-air mass by Pope Francis. AFP PHOTO / POOL / JUNG YEON-JEJUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis held Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium on the second day of his trip to South Korea. The WSJ’s Deborah Kan speaks to Lionel Jensen, associate professor at the University of Notre Dame, about Asia’s importance to the Vatican.

The pope led the beatification ceremony before an enthusiastic crowd that filled the huge square, which stretches more than a mile. He toured the entire square in his Kia-made Popemobile, stopping to kiss babies and bless the chanting crowd. On his cassock, he wore the yellow-ribbon pin that is the symbol of the Sewol ferry tragedy, which left more than 300 dead.

He asked the driver stop before a group of protesters who have been calling on the Korean government to launch a probe into the ferry sinking, a heated issue domestically. The Pope paused with one protester and accepted a petition from the man, to applause.

Pope Francis was also scheduled Sunday to baptize the father of one of the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster. The man asked the pontiff to baptize him at a meeting the pope held with the ferry survivors and victims’ parents on Friday.

The pontiff has enjoyed a warm welcome since arriving in Seoul on Thursday for his first trip to Asia. He was greeted by cheering crowds at a Mass at a soccer stadium in Daejeon on Friday morning and was mobbed by young people at a meeting for Asian Youth Day — the main reason for the pontiff’s visit to Korea — in the afternoon.

Oh Sin-buk, a 53-year-old man from Daejeon, attended Friday’s Mass at the stadium then woke up at 5:30 a.m. to take the express train to Seoul for Saturday’s beatification. He said he was particularly impressed by the pope’s call for young people to fight injustice and described the pontiff as cute, innocent and lovely.

Yang Je-su, a 55-year-old lifelong Catholic, arrived in Gwanghwamun at 4:30 a.m. to secure a spot near the podium for Saturday’s ceremony. She said she was happy and honored that the pope had come to Korea. She also saw Pope John Paul II, the last pontiff to visit Korea, when he came in 1984 and 1989.

People gather ahead of a mass by Pope Francis in Seoul’s Gwanghwamun area on Saturday. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

The Korean Catholic Church is a rare example of a Christian community that is growing faster than Protestantism. While Protestants outnumber Catholics and their evangelical groups are among the biggest in the world, Catholicism has grown in recent years as Protestant numbers are eroding. Infighting and corruption scandals at Protestant megachurches have driven some faithful away in recent years.

Some of the 124 martyrs beatified Saturday were believers who predate the formal establishment of the Korean church in 1836. St. John Paul II visited Korea in 1984 to preside over the canonization of 103 early believers, but they came after the formal birth of the church.

Seoul’s Cardinal, Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, who received his red hat only in February from Pope Francis, was present at the beatification ceremony. He is a direct descendant of one of the first Koreans to embrace Catholicism in the 1700s as well as a Catholic martyr who died in the 1800s.

On Saturday afternoon, the pope visited visit Kkottongnae, or Flower Village, a center dedicated to the disabled, elderly and homeless, where he held a touching meeting with disabled children who were abandoned by their families.

The village was founded in 1976 by Father John Oh after he saw sick beggars feeding other homeless people, and it is the biggest welfare program run by the Korean Catholic Church. It has opened other centers overseas and attracted the attention of the pope in 2012 when he was still Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who invited Father Oh to Argentina to set up a similar institution there.

The pope’s election scuttled those plans, but Pope Francis’ visit is a vote of confidence in a man and a community that has drawn controversy due to corruption allegations. In 2007, Father Oh was acquitted of embezzlement charges.

Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said Friday that the Vatican and the Korean bishops’ council determined that a visit was appropriate in light of the fact that Father Oh was acquitted.

The pope also met Saturday with lay leaders of the Korean church, underscoring the unusual history of a church that was first propagated by the laity. For decades after Catholicism arrived in Korea in the late 1700s, it was sustained entirely by lay persons.

“The Christian faith was not brought to the shores of Korea through missionaries,” the pope said at Saturday’s Mass. “It entered through the hearts and minds of the Korean people themselves.”

The pope is in Korea until Monday. Before leaving for Rome, he will hold a Mass to conclude the Asian Youth Day celebrations and say another for the peace and reconciliation of the divided Korean peninsula in the main cathedral of Seoul.

A priest passes through a security checkpoint in central Seoul on Saturday. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

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Pope Francis Holds First Public Mass in South Korea

Pontiff Addresses Tens of Thousands in World Cup Stadium

By Deborah Ball and Jonathan ChengUpdated Aug. 15, 2014 2:22 p.m. ET

Pope Francis held Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium on the second day of his trip to South Korea. The WSJ’s Deborah Kan speaks to Lionel Jensen, associate professor at the University of Notre Dame, about Asia’s importance to the Vatican.

DAEJEON, South Korea— Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Friday before tens of thousands of cheering participants and later met with young people from around Asia on the second day of his five-day trip to South Korea.

The morning Mass, celebrating the feast of the Assumption, was held in the packed Daejeon World Cup Stadium, which has a capacity of about 50,000 people. Before the Mass, the pope met with eight survivors and two parents of those who died in the Sewol ferry disaster in April. Banners on the roads leading to the stadium called for the pope to remember the victims.

Pope Francis also used Friday’s events to speak out against what he described as the dangers of economic inequality and the excesses of capitalism, a favorite theme of his and one that could resonate in South Korea, where rapid economic growth has brought social pain.

Participants in the Mass arrived at the stadium at dawn and waited for four hours for it to start. While they waited, a master of ceremonies led the crowd in an enthusiastic wave around the stadium.

Pope Francis meets with South Korean bishops in Seoul on Thursday, at the start of his five-day trip. European Pressphoto Agency

Thousands of followers attend a mass conducted by the Pope at Daejeon World Cup Stadium. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

The Mass in Daejeon, the pope’s first in public in South Korea, took place on the country’s independence day, the 69th anniversary of the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II. North Korea, through its state media, marked the anniversary by firing three short-range missiles into the sea on Thursday just before the pope’s plane landed in Seoul.

Underscoring the theme, a children’s choir, wearing Korea’s colorful traditional hanbok dresses, sang Arirang, a folk song considered the country’s unofficial anthem.

A disco-era Korean pop star, Insooni, warmed up the crowd with an upbeat set that featured backup dancers and a rapper, while Grammy-winning soprano Jo Sumi performed. Both are Catholics. In South Korea, many prominent celebrities and pop stars are practicing Catholics.

The crowd cheered and chanted “Viva Papa!” when the pope entered the stadium in a Popemobile specially made by Kia

Do Hyang-sook, a 50-year-old who has been a Catholic since she was a child, came with her sister from Wonju, a city southeast of Seoul. Upon seeing the pope, she said, “I’m so happy that I want to cry.”

Before the Mass, the pope met survivors of April’s ferry sinking, which left more than 300 dead, and two parents of the victims. One parent asked the pope to baptize him; the pontiff will do so Saturday in Seoul.

In the afternoon, Pope Francis met with thousands of young people at a shrine at Solmoe that honors a Korean martyr who was also the first ordained priest on the peninsula. The meeting was part of a multiday Asian Youth Day celebration, the main reason for the pope’s trip to South Korea. The young people mobbed the pope, snapping photos and offering him gifts. He was given a yellow-ribbon pin, which is the symbol of the ferry tragedy, and he pinned it to his cassock.

The trip, Pope Francis’s first to Asia and the third by a pope to South Korea, aims to highlight the importance of the region to Vatican hopes of spreading the faith on the continent with the smallest percentage of Catholics. The visit with Asian youth is a key part of Pope Francis’s efforts to energize the Catholic Church by reaching out to young people.

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Taken from: http://online.wsj.com/articles/pope-holds-first-mass-in-south-korea-1408070930

Pope Francis faces greatest challenge yet in Asia

Exactly 17 months after his election in Rome as leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, Pope Francis is shifting gear and turning his attention to Asia.

This week, he begins the first of three – and perhaps four – long-distance trips to encourage his flock in the continent that presents the Catholic Church with its greatest missionary challenge in the 21st century.

Although only 3% of the world’s Catholics live in the planet’s most populous continent, more have been baptised in Asia this year than in Europe, according to Vatican statistics.

A poster for a photo exhibition of Pope Francis in Seoul Pope Francis has used his leadership to push for the Church to pay more attention to developing countries

Pope Francis is spending five days in South Korea, where the number of Catholics has grown at a giddy rate over the past four decades.

Their number has risen from 2% to an astonishing 11% of the population in a country where Buddhism is still strong and most young people profess no religion at all. Korean Catholics tend to be well educated and form a significant part of their country’s political elite.

Pope Francis will beatify and pay homage to the memory of a group of Korean martyrs who died for their faith in the 18th Century.

A man passing in front of a huge wall painting for Korea"s Catholic martyrs at Solmoe Shrine in Dangjin (7 August 2014) The Pope is due to visit South Korea’s Catholic martyrs at Solmoe Shrine in Dangjin

What distinguishes Catholicism in Korea from other Asian cultures is that Koreans did not wait for foreign missionaries to arrive before they began to convert.

They formed their own church after learning of the foreign faith brought to China at the beginning of the 17th Century by the Italian Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci.

He introduced Western cartography and mathematics to China and his gilded statue still stands proudly today in the compound of the Catholic cathedral in Beijing.

Pope Francis is the first ever Jesuit to have been elected to the papacy, and he has always regretted that health reasons prevented him fulfilling his ambition to travel to Asia as a missionary after completing his priestly training in Argentina.

Catholic worshippers attend a mass at the Myeongdong cathedral in Seoul (4 August 2014) Catholics in South Korea converted on their own, without the influence of missionaries

After South Korea, he plans to visit Sri Lanka in January, and then to fly on to the Philippines, the only Asian country with a Catholic majority, due to it once having been a Spanish colony. And I understand that a further trip to Japan is on the cards, even though only a minuscule 0.5% of Japanese are members of his church.

In Seoul, the Pope will be meeting several thousand young Catholics from 23 different Asian countries gathered for a Catholic Youth festival.

The numbers will be far, far fewer than the millions who attended his triumphal visit to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day in July 2013, his first foreign trip. But the significance of the South Korean event could transcend that mega-meeting.

Pope Francis has his picture taken inside St. Peters Basilica with youths from the Italian Diocese of Piacenza (28 August 2013) Francis is seen by many to be a more accessible and modern Pope than his recent predecessors

An invitation to North Korean Catholics (if indeed any exist today) to send a delegation to Seoul was rebuffed by Pyongyang, but members of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Church are expected to turn up in force.

Pope Francis took over his high office in the same week that the Chinese leader Xi Jinping took over as president in Beijing.

The Pope sent Mr Xi a personal message of congratulations and in return received a polite reply, despite the (for the Vatican) worrisome gap in official relations between the Catholic Church and China since the Communist takeover in 1950.

On his way to Seoul, Pope Francis will fly over the airspace of Russia and China – and he is expected to send a courtesy telegram to both the Russian and the Chinese leaderships while over their territory, as has long been the custom during papal charter flights.

Pope John Paul visited South Korea twice during the 1980s, but each time his plane avoided Chinese air space.

No plans exist for a papal visit to the demilitarised zone which still separates the two Koreas 61 years after the stalemated end of the Korea War.

But just as during his visit to the Holy Land earlier this year, Pope Francis will make a powerful appeal for peace and reconciliation at his final mass in Seoul Cathedral before he returns to Rome.

By 2030, one influential pastor estimates, China will have nearly 250 million Christians.

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Priest Peter Liu Yongbin (right) gestures as he speaks to children at

the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Beijing Aug. 8, 2013.

 

China Establishes New ‘Christian Theology’ To Control Its Christian Population

In a country known for quixotic public campaigns, China’s latest surely ranks among its most creative. The government will create a “Chinese Christian Theology” to guide the practice of Christianity in the country, the China Daily reported Thursday. Although the government has yet to provide any details into what this new theology entails, its purpose is clear: Speaking to China Daily, Wang Zuo, director of the State Administration of Religious Affairs, said, “The construction of Chinese Christian Theology should adapt to China’s national condition and integrate with Chinese culture.”

On the surface, it may seem strange that an officially atheist state would create a new theology. But the endeavor provides a glimpse into an increasingly religious country, and a government’s desire to deflect any potential challenge to its authority.

Since relaxing prohibitions on religious faith in 1982, the Chinese Communist Party now recognizes five official faiths: Protestantism, Catholicism, Taoism, Buddhism and Islam. Because much religious faith remains underground, it is difficult to establish the precise number of worshippers in China. But a 2007 survey estimated that 31 percent of the country’s population, a number exceeding 400 million people, practiced a religious faith of some kind. Each religion has an organized, government-sanctioned hierarchy that is headquartered in Beijing and under the direct supervision of the Chinese Communist Party.

Even with that structure in place, the government has occasionally felt the need to further exert its control over the country’s religious life. In recent years, this trend has intensified. In 2007, Beijing passed a law prohibiting Buddhists from reincarnation. (The government has thus far not revealed whether there have been any violations.) In Tibet, government minders have replaced monks as supervisors of Buddhist temples throughout the region, reversing a long-standing policy.

In the far-western Xinjiang region, whose 9 million ethnic Uighurs practice a mild form of Sunni Islam, Beijing limits permission of Muslims to make the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, while in July China banned fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. And this month, in Karamay, the local government said residents wearing Islamic clothing, and men wearing long beards, could not legally board city buses.

China’s religious repression in Xinjiang and Tibet has a clear political purpose: Beijing regards both regions as separatist threats, and has invested large sums of money in cajoling Uighurs and Tibetans toward loyalty to the Communist Party. But Christians, who do not have a specific geographical base in China, also experience persecution. In Wenzhou, government officials in April abruptly shut down a popular church without explanation, while police tore down crosses from thousands of churches throughout the city.

China’s attempts to micromanage Christian practice in the country have done little to stem the religion’s popularity: By 2030, one influential pastor estimates, China will have nearly 250 million Christians. That would, at current projections, give the officially atheist country the world’s largest Christian population.

For now, the Chinese government appears to recognize it cannot return to the Maoist era, which largely suspended all religious life in the country. But the creation of a bespoke Chinese Christian theology is an attempt to co-opt China’s newfound devotion into an explicitly patriotic enterprise.

Still, in a country where Web searches for Jesus far outnumber those for President Xi Jinping, Beijing may have a major challenge on its hands.

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