Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Roman Catholic wrong use of Augustine

Augustine is invoked a lot by Roman Catholics in his comments on on Psalm 99
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1801099.htmAugustine's Expositions on Psalm 98 (Actually, Psalm 99)

see here also at the ccel site

Otherwise known as
"Ennarations (Expositions) on Psalm 98"

There are 2 big problems with this.

= לַ"L" = "at"; הֲדֹם = "hadom" = footstool. Psalm 99:5 and 9 - both have the "L" preposition. "at the footstool of His feet" and "at His holy hill". לְהַר

"L" = "at"; הַר = "har" = hill

Augustine's sermon on Psalm 98 is Psalm 99 in English.

He didn't know Hebrew (as even Augustine admitted in his disputes with Jerome; and He didn't like Greek, as he also admitted, and he did not know Greek very well either. He and Tertullian before him contributed a lot of good things, but the reliance upon Latin rather than the original languages of the God-breathed Scriptures was a devastating mistake for the Church in history.); it is obvious - God does not say "Worship His footstool for His feet"; rather it says "worship [the Lord] at His footstool for His feet." Worship the Lord at His holy hill. ie "at the temple" or "at or in the earth, on the hill, the temple", etc.

1. Augustine was wrong on Psalm 99 - the Hebrew is clearer than his commentary. Hence, again; the great need for the Reformation and the clarity it brought in separating the good of Augustine from his mistakes and extra biblical traditions.

2. Augustine did not mean any transubstantiation type of doctrine or literally bowing before bread and wine as if they had become Christ - nowhere does he say this kind of thing. He just says that since Christ is both God and man (His human nature is "of the earth"), then it is appropriate to worship Him - which Protestants do without the transubstantiation idolatry and genuflecting, etc. - He is in heaven sitting at the right hand of God the Father; He is not in the bread or wine. The bread and wine are symbols/representations of His once for all sacrifice for sin.


Paul Hoffer said...

Hi, Reverend Temple:

I posted these citations in an earlier post. I am repeating doing that to respond specifically to your article here. I think that St. Augustine had a pretty good reason for believing that the earth was God's footstool:

Isaiah 66:1: "Thus says the LORD: The heavens are my throne, the earth is my footstool."

Mt. 5:34-35: "But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King."

Acts 7:49: "'The heavens are my throne, the earth is my footstool. What kind of house can you build for me? says the Lord, or what is to be my resting place?'"

Now I realize that there are passages that also talk about the Ark of the Covenant being the footstool of God (1 Chron. 28:2; Psalm 132:7), but again the Ark is a created thing, thus Augustine's argument does not falter.

That said, if Jesus, Our Lord, says the earth is God's footstool, then I will accept his "opinion" over your dictionary. Likewise, one could hardly fault Augustine for wanting to follow Jesus' view on the matter.

As for the second part of your argument, I would suggest that the reader follow the link you have put up to Augustine's words. You may fashion an argument over how Real of a Presence he believed was present in the Eucharist here, but what you can't argue about is that he was talking about something else.

If God truly is in the Eucharist as Augustine writes, then it is entirely appropriate for us to bow down and worship Him there. As I hope to show in the near future, Augustine's views are entirely in line with those of Ambrose, his mentor and the Catholic Church at that time and what the Church teaches yet today. I do recognize that you are merely parroting the opinion of your particular denomination on this matter. I must wonder though how Protestants who do accept the doctrine of the Real Presence interpret the passage in question. How do you reconcile your denial of the Real Presence with those Protestants who do recognize to varying extents the truth of the doctrine?

God bless!

Ken said...

Paul Hoffer wrote:
I think that St. Augustine had a pretty good reason for believing that the earth was God's footstool:

Isaiah 66:1: "Thus says the LORD: The heavens are my throne, the earth is my footstool."

Yes, so? I didn't say that "the earth is not God's footstool", per Isaiah 66:1. It is obviously metaphoric language about the awesomeness and greatness and vastness of God - "where is a house you can build for Me?" (Read the rest of Isaiah 66:1-2ff).

My point is that the Hebrew of Psalm 99 does not say "worship the footstool", rather it says "worship at His footstool" - worship [the Lord] at His footstool", ie, in the earth, at the holy hill (v. 9) - ie, the temple.

Hebrew has a definite article marker for the direct object.
If the Psalmist here had meant "worship His footstool", he would have used the definite direct object marker.

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃

For example, there above is Genesis 1:1 and it has the direct object marker that shows the object of the verb. the heavens and the earth are the direct object of God's creation.

Psalm 99:5 and 99:9 do not have the direct object marker, so Augustine was wrong on that. It uses the "L" indirect object preposition "to" or "at". The bible is clearer than the Early Church fathers.

Ken said...

Same goes for the Matthew 5 and Acts 7 passages you cited above - there is no contradiction with what I am saying with these passages of Scripture.

It does not say "worship the earth" or "worship His footstool"; even Jesus says "do NOT swear by heaven or the earth, for it is His footstool".

Ken said...

You may fashion an argument over how Real of a Presence he believed was present in the Eucharist here, but what you can't argue about is that he was talking about something else.

We worship the Lord in Spirit and truth - Jesus is 100 % God and 100 % man - Augustine was wrong on the Hebrew, but right on the worship of Jesus Christ. He says one who eats must worship first. He never actually says, "worship the bread and wine"; but He means the partaker in the Lord's supper or Eucharist, is worshiping Christ, because Christ was human also; but Augustine does not actually say in this context that they are "worshiping the bread and wine" [which supposedly, in RC believe, became Jesus after the priest uttered the words in Latin] . On this, Turretinfan was right, it is "hocus pocus" and ridiculous.

I have no problem with "real presence" as His spiritual presence for believers by faith in communion with Him, as I understand Calvin's view. Keith Matthison has a whole book on it,

Given For You -


and an article -


they (the bread and wine) are not "mere symbols", but they are at least symbols/representations/signs.

The 27th Comrade said...

Surely, Mr. Paul Hoffer, you could not have so thoroughly missed the point of the post, could you? I may be misunderstanding the response.

Nobody protested the fact that X is God's Y. Ken, however, protested the absence of the "at" in "Worship God at His X".
X, here is empatically not God, and that is the point of contest.
Even Jesus, in calling it His Y agrees.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Rev. Temple:

Please re-read what I wrote both here and in my original comments. I never said that St. Augustine says that we should worship the earth. What he does say is that we may properly worship the flesh of Christ (a created thing) which Augustine acknowledges is in the Eucharist as well as His divinity.

God bless!

Ken said...

Augustine is unclear as to if he is saying "it is ok to worship the host of the Eucharist" or "it is ok to worship Christ, who is "from the earth", since He received His human nature from Mary, which is represented/signified/symbolized by the bread and wine.

Augustine's pertinent comments on Psalm 99 are in paragraph 8, but it is on verse 5.

8. "O magnify the Lord our God" Psalm 98:5. Magnify Him truly, magnify Him well. Let us praise Him, let us magnify Him who has wrought the very righteousness which we have; who wrought it in us, Himself. For who but He who justified us, wrought righteousness in us? For of Christ it is said, "who justifies the ungodly." Romans 4:5 ..."And fall down before His footstool: for He is holy." What are we to fall down before? His footstool. What is under the feet is called a footstool, in Greek ὑ ποπόδιον, in Latin Scabellum or Suppedaneum. But consider, brethren, what he commands us to fall down before. In another passage of the Scriptures it is said, "The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool." Isaiah 66:1 Does he then bid us worship the earth, since in another passage it is said, that it is God's footstool? How then shall we worship the earth, when the Scripture says openly, "You shall worship the Lord your God"? Deuteronomy 6:13 Yet here it says, "fall down before His footstool:" and, explaining to us what His footstool is, it says, "The earth is My footstool." I am in doubt; I fear to worship the earth, lest He who made the heaven and the earth condemn me; again, I fear not to worship the footstool of my Lord, because the Psalm bids me, "fall down before His footstool." I ask, what is His footstool? And the Scripture tells me, "the earth is My footstool." In hesitation I turn unto Christ, since I am herein seeking Himself: and I discover how the earth may be worshipped without impiety, how His footstool may be worshipped without impiety.

[My comment: Here he wrongly thinks that the footstool itself may be worshiped.]

For He took upon Him earth from earth; because flesh is from earth, and He received flesh from the flesh of Mary.

[this is true, as to His incarnation; and we can worship Christ in spirit and truth and eat the Lord supper's without bowing down in front of it as if it changed into Christ]


Ken said...

And because He walked here in very flesh, and gave that very flesh to us to eat for our salvation; and no one eats that flesh, unless he has first worshipped:

[My comments: He doesn't say "worshiped Christ who is the bread and wine, after it was transformed or changed, etc.]

we have found out in what sense such a footstool of our Lord's may be worshipped, and not only that we sin not in worshipping it, but that we sin in not worshipping. But does the flesh give life? Our Lord Himself, when He was speaking in praise of this same earth, said, "It is the Spirit that quickens, the flesh profits nothing."...But when our Lord praised it, He was speaking of His own flesh, and He had said, "Except a man eat My flesh, he shall have no life in him." John 6:54 Some disciples of His, about seventy, were offended, and said, "This is an hard saying, who can hear it?" And they went back, and walked no more with Him. It seemed unto them hard that He said, "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, you have no life in you:" they received it foolishly, they thought of it carnally,

[which is what modern Rome has done from Radbertus in the 8th Century to 1215 Ad to nowadays.]

and imagined that the Lord would cut off parts from His body, and give unto them; and they said, "This is a hard saying." It was they who were hard, not the saying; for unless they had been hard, and not meek, they would have said unto themselves, He says not this without reason, but there must be some latent mystery herein. They would have remained with Him, softened, not hard: and would have learned that from Him which they who remained, when the others departed, learned. For when twelve disciples had remained with Him, on their departure, these remaining followers suggested to Him, as if in grief for the death of the former, that they were offended by His words, and turned back. But He instructed them, and says unto them, "It is the Spirit that quickens, but the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63 Understand spiritually what I have said; you are not to eat this body which you see; nor to drink that blood which they who will crucify Me shall pour forth. I have commended unto you a certain mystery; spiritually understood, it will quicken.

[This is what Calvin seems to say in his view - it is a spiritual presence, not a physical presence; and only for believers to commune with Christ by faith.]

Although it is needful that this be visibly celebrated, yet it must be spiritually understood.