Friday, December 14, 2012

False Science 2

This blog was sparked as a response to a theological discussion about the literal reality of Adam as a distinct person.

We do not criticize any of the speakers in this forum.  You are free to evaluate the discussion on its own merits.  What bothers us is that scientific ideas and terms are often thrown around in the sense of common knowledge.  In this specific instance the history related to Copernicus gets thrown around.  That happens a lot in contemporary society.  However, this creates a false impression about what science does or does not have to say about the issue.  In other words, our common knowledge is not common, it is filled with errors, and in many instances is no better than an old wives fable or urban legend.  Please, we can do better than that.

Our Response

Unfortunately, this pentalog is flawed by a weak understanding of science.  The history surrounding Copernicus and the heliocentric cosmology model is indeed unfortunate.  No one, other than God, knows the exact center of the cosmos; this locus is impossible to discover by measurement or observation.  Even if Big Bang ( is conceded for the sake of this discussion, it is still unlikely that the center of the cosmos can be found by mere man.

“There is little evidence regarding the absolute earliest instant of the expansion.  Thus, the Big Bang theory cannot and does not provide any explanation for such an initial condition; rather, it describes and explains the general evolution of the universe going forward from that point on (ibid).”

“There are generally considered to be three outstanding problems with the Big Bang theory: the horizon problem, the flatness problem, and the magnetic monopole problem (ibid).”

Fundamental to this discussion is the fact that we cannot really see beyond our event horizon (  Obviously, Big Bang, as yet, has nothing to say about the exact center of the cosmos.  Since, we cannot see beyond our event horizon we cannot prove or disprove that God is “out there” by scientific means.  This requires that God, if He exists, penetrate our event horizon, which He did in the form of His Shekinah Glory, a fact attested by millions of credible witnesses over continual periods spanning hundreds of years.

Therefore, having set aside Big Bang as irrelevant and moot, we return to the original question of origins with this additional quote from wiki/Big_Bang.

“If the large-scale Universe appears isotropic as viewed from Earth, the cosmological principle can be derived from the simpler Copernican principle, which states that there is no preferred (or special) observer or vantage point.”

In the realm of multi-dimensional Cartesian coordinates and vector systems, the choice of origins, as well as other details, is entirely arbitrary.  One usually chooses one’s origins to simplify the mathematics of any given problem.  Calculations made from two differing points of origin must produce the same result, even though one may be very difficult to compute, and even more difficult to explain.  As the “Copernican principle” suggests, the two differing points of origin are relative to each other.  A heliocentric cosmology model yields simple elliptical path mathematics that anyone can understand: it is indispensable to discussion of our planetary system.  However, this does not at all obsolete our geocentric cosmology model, which is still in widespread use today and equally indispensable for things like star mapping: contemporary astronomy discussions are still filled with words like ecliptic.  Therefore, the debate over geocentricity versus heliocentricity is worn out.  We do not and cannot know where the absolute center of the universe is located, and we don’t much care.

What we do know is that the Shekinah Glory invaded our event horizon at least once.  Moreover, He did it in such a way as to establish Himself as the sole qualified expert to speak on all things creative.  He was there from before the foundation of the world, we were not there.  He clearly says that Adam is a single real person, that Adam’s flesh was divided somehow, mysteriously to make two distinct real persons: one retaining the name Adam, the other being named Life.  That settles that, but it is hardly the end of the story.

This Shekinah Glory explains to us in numerous places that He is always near, and everywhere: there is no sufficient reason ever to limit the range of that presence either inside or outside of our event horizon.

Finally, it should be abundantly clear to all students of cosmology that this Shekinah Glory appeared in the Bethlehem Star during the days of Herod the Great, on the Mount of Transfiguration a few years later, as tongues of fire on the disciples in 33 AD, and will doubtless come again blazing across the sky in great glory.

Merry Christmas,
Herb Swanson aka Augie

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Midnight Prayers for Western Christians


The purpose of the Midnight Prayers is to fill those who watch at midnight with a depth and love of God’s Law, especially as expressed in Psalm 119.  If nothing else may be accomplished, as a minimum this Psalm may be prayed every weeknight, discarding all the rest.  For those with greater strength and more time, more may be accomplished.  Those who undertake such watchfulness should begin to see and understand the Gospel expressed in the Law, as well as the Law expressed in the Gospel.  To help with such a growing vision, we have added the Decalogue to these prayers, before Psalm 119.

With the love of God’s Law firmly in mind we would also hope that these prayers draw eastern and western Christians closer together.  We are indebted to numerous Orthodox resources, too numerous to mention, for both the structure and content of these prayers.[1]  Those who delve into the background materials, so readily available on the internet, will discover that much material has been removed.  Westerners are not usually accustomed to such prayers, so we did not wish to be tedious to anyone, and thus discourage anyone from finding a simple starting place.

The only thing that is not optional is Psalm 119 itself.  For those whose time is strictly limited the Psalm may be divided into three portions (verses 1-72, 73-131, 132-176), into the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet that are frequently marked in English Bibles, or into some other convenient division.  Those who are able to pray the whole of Psalm 119 every weeknight will find a glorious reward.

One should not overlook the wonderful tangencies between Psalm 119 and the New Testament: especially, Hebrews 5:8; John 14:6 (v 30); Luke 15:7, 10, 32 (v 74); and Matthew 18:12, Luke 15:4 (v 176) which also connects with Isaiah 53:6.

We are indebted to Professor Meredith Kline[2] for his work on ancient covenants, as well.  We are unaware that he ever formed the conclusions presented here, but we would never have seen these relationships, except by standing on Dr. Kline’s shoulders.[3]

The observation that the first three verbs of The Lord’s Prayer are all past tense, passive voice belongs to a seminary classmate.  Unfortunately, his name has been forgotten.  If this observation is taken at face value, it means that The Lord’s Prayer is prophetic of the Cross-work of Christ; the first three petitions are not requests, but rather paeans of praise sung by Christ to the Father.  As such, we enter into these praises in full assurance that each new day is built on the Immovable Foundation, Christ.

Finally, dear reader, we are indebted to you.  There is nothing as important as the bringing together of the Body of Christ into one joyous whole.  This cannot be accomplished without the work of Christ within you.  Please pray with us whenever you are able.  You should never bear any sense of guilt in this: if you are unable, we trust that the Lord has had you occupied with His kingdom work elsewhere.  Peace.

Yours in Christ
Herb aka Augie


Midnight Prayers for Western Christians


... in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.  Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us.  Amen.  Glory to You, our God, glory to You.

O Heavenly King: Prayer to the Holy Ghost

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, You are everywhere and fill all things, Treasury of blessings, and Giver of life: come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.


Holy God, Holy, Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.[4]


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it is now, was in the beginning, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

All-Holy Trinity

All-holy Trinity, have mercy on us.  Lord, cleanse us from our sins.  Master, pardon our iniquities.  Holy One, visit us and heal our infirmities for Your Name’s sake.  Lord have mercy.[5]


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it is now, was in the beginning, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in the heavens, Your name was hallowed.  Your kingdom was brought.  Your will was done.  As in heaven, so also on earth.  Give us this day our heavenly bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil.  Amen.[6] [7]  Lord have mercy.[8]


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it is now, was in the beginning, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.


O come, let us worship and fall down before our King and our God.  O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ, our King and our God.  O come, let us worship and fall down before the very Christ Himself, our Immortal King and our God.

Psalm 51 (50 LXX)

Pray through Psalm 51 (50 LXX) in your favorite version.  Then pray through the Law as follows or in your favorite version.

The Decalogue: The Law (Exodus 20:1-17)[10]

And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

1                   You shall not have other gods before Me.

2                   You shall not make for yourself any graven image: any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

3                   You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them (for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children unto the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me; and showing mercy to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments).

4                   You shall not take the name of the Lord Your God in vain (for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain).

5                   Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.  You shall labor six days, and do all your work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God: You shall not do any work in it: not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates (for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day: therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it).

The First Commandment with promise

Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long on the land which the Lord your God gives you.

6                   You shall not murder.

7                   You shall not commit adultery.

8                   You shall not steal.

9                   You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

10              You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

Psalm 119 (118 LXX)[11]

Pray through Psalm 119 (118 LXX) in your favorite version.  The Stasis may be prayed between verses 72 and 73, as well as between verses 131 and 132.  The Final Stasis may be prayed at the end of Psalm 119.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it is now, was in the beginning, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.  Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia: Glory to You, O God (three times).  Lord, have mercy (three times).  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it is now, was in the beginning, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

Final Stasis

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it is now, was in the beginning, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

The Creed

We believe in One God: Father, Almighty, Maker; of heaven and earth; and of all things visible and invisible.

And we believe in One Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, True God of True God, begotten, not made, being of one essence with the Father; through Whom all things were made.  Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, and was made man.  He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day He raised again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, Who spake by the prophets.

We believe In One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church; we acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins; we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come.  Amen.

Optional Repetition of the Opening Prayers

The Trisagion, Gloria, All-holy Trinity, Gloria, and The Lord’s Prayer may be repeated here as at the opening of Midnight Prayers.

Behold the Bridegroom

Behold, the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night, and blessed is that servant whom He shall find watching.  And again, unworthy is that servant whom He shall find heedless.  Beware, therefore, O my soul, lest you be borne down with sleep, lest you be given up to death, and be shut out from the Kingdom.  But rather rouse yourself and cry: Holy, Holy, Holy are You, O our God, through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.

As You Bring to Mind

As you bring to mind the most fearful day, rouse yourself, O my soul, and be vigilant.  Kindle your darkened lamp and make it radiant with oil, for you do not know when you will suddenly hear that voice cry out, “Behold, your Bridegroom comes to you.”  Mark, then, O my soul, lest like those five foolish virgins, who sleep and remain outside vainly knocking at the door; but endure in all watchfulness, so that you might meet Christ our God with rich oil, and that He might grant the fair Divine bridal-chamber of His glory to you forevermore.

Prayer of the Hours

You are worshipped and glorified at all times and at every hour, in Heaven and on earth, O Christ God.  You are long-suffering, plenteous in mercy, most compassionate.  You love the righteous and have mercy on sinners.  You call all to salvation through the promise of good things to come.  Receive, O Lord, our prayers at this hour, and guide our life toward Your commandments.  Sanctify our souls, make chaste our bodies, correct our thoughts, purify our intentions, and deliver us from every sorrow, evil, and pain.  Surround us with Your holy Angels, that guided and guarded by their array, we may attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of Your unapproachable glory, for You are blessed now, from the beginning, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.


O come, let us worship and fall down before our King and our God.  O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ, our King and our God.  O come, let us worship and fall down before the very Christ Himself, our Immortal King and our God.


Pray through Psalms 121, 134 (120, 133 LXX).

Optional Repetition of the Opening Prayers

The Gloria, Trisagion, Gloria, All-holy Trinity, Gloria, and The Lord’s Prayer may be repeated here as at the opening of Midnight Prayers.

Keep Your Servants

Keep Your servants in remembrance, O Lord, since You are good, and forgive their every sin in this life: for no mortal person is without sin, except for You Who are able to grant rest even to those who have departed.

O You Who by the Depth

O You Who by the depth of Your wisdom provides all things out of love for mortals, and grants to all whatever is profitable.  O only Creator: grant rest, O Lord, to the souls of Your servants; for in You have they placed their hope, O our Creator and Fashioner and God.  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

With the Saints Grant Rest

With all the Saints grant rest, O Christ, to the souls of Your servants, where there is neither pain, nor sorrow, nor sighing, but life unending.  Both now and ever and unto ages of ages.  Amen.  Lord have mercy.[12]

Remember, O Lord

Remember, O Lord, our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters who have fallen asleep in hope of the resurrection of eternal life, and all that have ended their days in piety and faith; and forgive their every transgression in which they have willingly or unwillingly transgressed in word or deed or thought.  And make them to dwell in places of light, in places of verdure, in places of refreshment, where every pain, sorrow, and sighing is fled away, where the visitation of Your countenance makes glad all Your Saints from ages past.  Grant unto them and us Your Kingdom, and participation in Your ineffable and eternal good things, and the enjoyment of Your endless and blessed life.  For You are the Life, the Resurrection, and the Repose of Your servants that have fallen asleep, O Christ our God, and unto You do we send up glory with Your Father Who is without beginning, and Your All-holy and good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.  Amen.

Our Hope

Our hope is the Father, our refuge is the Son, our shelter is the Holy Ghost.  O Holy Trinity, glory to You.


Lord, bless.  Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us.  Amen.

[1] For example: especially


[3] See Meredith G. Kline, “The Two Tables of the Covenant”: Westminster Theological Journal 22 (1960) 133-46, and many other places.

[4] Optional: three times with deep bows or prostrations — If bowing and prostration seem strange, it may help to remember that Christ is the King of Kings.  Because America has no earthly king, all memory of the practice has faded away.

[5] Optional: Lord have mercy three times with deep bows or prostrations

[6] At Your Son’s cross, burial, victory over hell, resurrection, ascension, and future coming in glory.  Join us mortals here on earth to your Son’s work, so that we may participate in it with joy immortal.

[7] O Christ, God-man, You have done all these things for us by your mighty works in life and in death.  Enable us to enter into the majesty of your prayer, by receiving Your most-pure Body and like precious Blood.  Empower us to be obedient to its beauty and goodness, that we might become a truly forgiving people.  Inspire us to behold its glory, that we might be evermore like You in all that we think, say and do, both now and ever and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.

[8] Optional: twelve times with deep bows or prostrations

[9] The name of the prayer suggests an optional practice.

[10] Omit on Saturday and Sunday.

[11] The Midnight Prayer is intended for weekday evenings.  Saturday and Sunday (Kyriake) are frequently given to other things.

[12] Optional: Lord have mercy twelve times with deep bows or prostrations