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Sun, moon and stars - calculating time


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#1 Paul

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 04:41 PM

Time exists, we live in a time zone.
But time is based on nature, not on numbers.

What I mean is, we have invented a way of calculating time, but evidently, it is inaccurate.

For we count by 60 seconds, 60 minutes, twenty four hours.
A day is not based on this by nature.

The universe is not governed by mans calculations.

There are ancient calenders.
The cycle of the moon may have had a purpose, the rising of the sun, maybe even the stars.

My Question is what are the purpose of the sun, moon and stars in Orthodoxy?

Summer doesn't have to start on a day of the year by a man made calender.
Seasons are not governed by mans calculations.

So as to crops, and seasons, and all such things, what is the natural calender?

And what is it's purpose and testimony of God?

#2 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 05:09 PM

Psalm 148:3-4
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!

Psalm 19:1
The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.

Math is the language with which God wrote the universe. The calendar is how we mark the metre by which we paticipate in the celestial dance.

#3 Paul

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 05:45 PM

I suppose I ask is there an Orthodox calender that uses the sun, moon and stars?

I hear of this old and new calender, what's all that about?

I know there were different names for months in scripture.

I know ours are messed up.
September means 7 yet is the ninth month.

October 8, Novemeber I think may be 9, and December 10, yet don't match their calnder position.

I think I've heard some months may be named after rulers, and some maybe of gods.

I hear of an ancinet calender in the book of Enoch.

I can't recall it exactly, I tired to figure it our before, I couldn't.

The moon does have a cycle right?

What about the stars?

I'm unlearnt of such matters.
How often do they become visible, and could they be used to calculate years or what?

#4 Nina

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 05:47 PM

Dear Paul,

As Herman, and our dearest Psalmist (Patriarch David) has said everything is for the glory of God. And God created all these gifts for us. Everything as we know it, will cease to exist after Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead, because He said it and is recorded in the NT.

Maybe you are right and as you say, the sexagesimal system might not be correct. However Sumerians might disagree with us :) and present the wonderful things they did with their sexagesimal number system. Therefore, knowledge was given and revealed to people and we know that all things were allowed to us to be used for the glory of God. What is important is that our souls will outlive all these things and what we do with them and how we use them decides where the last residence of our soul will be in eternity.

P.S Oops dear Paul I just posted this and saw you had clarified your questions further.

#5 Paul

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 06:00 PM

It's O.K.

I don't know what I'm asking exactly.

I have a lot of questions, it's hard to get them out.

I'm unlearnt in many matters, and confused.

As to math, and the things you have metioned Nina, I've never heard of them. (Sumerians, sexagesimal number system)

I was under the impression, man tried to put nature to numbers.

But there is numbers in scripture, that maybe hold mysteries.

Numbers may not be exactly be natural though, it could be that God used them.

I'd be interested in what you mean Herman:

"Math is the language with which God wrote the universe."

I've heard of mathematitions going mad trying to understand the universe.

Doesn't God speak to our hearts.

Nature may very well have it's meaning to the glory of God.

But does it coincide with numbers?

#6 Nina

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 06:49 PM

:) Dear Paul,

Unwittingly, I confuse people. Sorry...

I assumed you knew about sexagesimal because you pointed to the only things (seconds and minutes) we divide in our society into sixtieths; and also since you mentioned that "we have invented a way of calculating time, but evidently, it is inaccurate".

Sexagesimal means 'sixtieth' and it was the numeric system with sixty as a base. It was invented and used by the Sumerians, who were people who lived some millenia before us. You can maybe google the words and learn more.

The same with the Fibonacci's numbers and golden ratio which is found in the creation and what Herman maybe meant (although I would love to hear more from him).

However my point was that these things (although fascinating and which have made our lives easier and give us a glimpse in different realms) will vanish at the end and what matters are our souls. Because many Fathers emphasize that in Heaven there will no be teachers and students; knowledge and lack of it. We will be all the same there.

Also God is above time and whatever restrictive things we experience here on earth. Maybe that is why (and you are right) that many who try to trespass in that realm not in the method and the example of the Holy Fathers, went insane because God is Infinite and the infinite can never be understood completely, or captured for study. We all fall prey of such mindset, trying to figure out why God does what He does; and this mindset is the result of the Fall (I do have this mindset all the time). But as the Psalmist has said, God's ways are mysterious for us.

I am unlearned too, and that is why I am here to learn more for the salvation of our soul, which is what is the only wisdom and knowledge that counts.

Holy Fathers say, try to acquire the Wisdom of God, because that is the highest wisdom there is. This wisdom concerns with matters from above, with matters that save souls. This is the wisdom Fathers possessed and which made them beacons for us to follow and reach Heaven.

Trivia: Aghia Sophia in Constantinople is the church dedicated to the Wisdom of God and is one of the most beloved and important churches.

#7 Paul

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 07:08 PM

No, it's usually I confuse myself.
Maybe in some ways as these mathematicians.

I suppose I try to understand things, beyond my capability, and am not yet ready to understand.

#8 Nina

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 07:16 PM

No, it's usually I confuse myself.
Maybe in some ways as these mathematicians.

I suppose I try to understand things, beyond my capability, and am not yet ready to understand.


You are very nice to not make me feel bad (thank you dear Paul!), however it is true that I cause confusion because I lack the holy gift of discernment... and many other holy gifts.

We all (I first) tend to try to understand things beyond us. But what counts is humility which you always show here. I admire how humble you are.

#9 Paul

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 07:36 PM

You are very nice to not make me feel bad (thank you dear Paul!), however it is true that I cause confusion because I lack the holy gift of discernment... and many other holy gifts.

We all (I first) tend to try to understand things beyond us. But what counts is humility which you always show here. I admire how humble you are.


I think it's a little easier maybe, writing on the internet, I think it can sometimes give a false impression.

I haven't been so in the past on other forums.
I use to get involved in heated debate.

I try to avoid now, and I suppose have to often remind myself of the little knowledge I have.

I find it much more peaceful on this forum, than other religous forums I've been on.
I don't see these heated debate here.

I suppose it's that you're one religion, which is in agreement, and bow to the humility it teaches.

#10 Antonios

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 08:35 PM

Hi Paul,

I also asked a similar question recently. From the conclusions I have come up with, which is in no way authoritative, in the end, it all points to the Majesty and Might of our Creator. All of it. The vastness, the complexities, the beauty, trying to form a mental picture of galaxies light years away, it all leads to the glory and worship of our God in Jesus Christ.

Why did ancient people (as well as some modern ones) study the celestial bodies? Because God loved us and gave us these as a means to guide us and teach us. Why did some of these people worship those same celestial bodies? Because they did not know God or have rejected Him and instead focused on His creation.

I find a beautiful progression in the history of God revealing Himself to mankind. For the earliest civilizations, it was the open canvas of the sky and its 'floating' orbs of lights, an indication of there being something 'out there' apart from the earth. Then the revelation of the story of Creation, and how these were formed by the Word of God out of love. Then by this same God becoming as one of us, to reveal to us that He loves us and wants us to share in His Majesty and Glory. And finally, with the ultimate revelation that His Kingdom is within us. The stars, the moon, the sun will pass away, but the eternal Kingdom of God, which is beyond time and space, is not light years away, but within our very being. Within us.

The celestial bodies have directed mankind for centuries. It is the Son and Word of God which fulfills all things for all time.

#11 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 08:43 PM

A calendar, any calendar, is nothing more than trying to harmonize three independent cycles; the movement of the Earth as it rotates on its axis in relation to its facing of the Sun, the orbit of the moon around the Earth, and the voyage of the Earth as it sails around the Sun. The ancient Hebrews and Moslems use a lunar calendar. The modern world prefers a solar calendar. Regardless, and realizing it is to a large extent totally arbitrary, it is good that we all agree to some sort of calendar, if we intend to coordinate actions or record events in a common framework. God set the universe in motion, with the calendar we merely try to tap our feet to God's celestial music.

Music has rhythm, beat, and tonal harmonies and modalities that can be mathematically represented. So does celestial choreography. We can count how many times the Earth has rotated since some specific event, we can count how many times it has gone around the Sun. We can predict, knowing velocities and vectors when and where a particular star will appear in the sky and even use that to figure out were we are! We can predict where the moon or Mars will be so that when we sling a projectile off our little planet into the Cosmos, they will meet up at the proper time. This is math, this is the language of the Universe. God is the reason E=MC2 or F=MA. Because He wanted it to.

Do numbers teach us about God? No, but they help us understand and appreciate His handiwork. They tell us when to plant crops, when to come together for worship. They help us organize our lives. God uses the calendar to remind us to consecrate our time to Him.

If you believe the kabala, there are secrets that reveal God in numbers and names. Perhaps, perhaps not. But I don't think that we Orthodox Christians care so much about secrets, we simply want to know and be with God, and to give all things their due season, which we mark with various calendars. And some of us (seems a very small number) want to show up on time to Liturgy...

#12 Paul

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 09:44 PM

I was thinking of the 666 as a mystery, at least one I don't understand.

Wouldn't it be more beautiful, to maybe observe new moons, the natural cycles as for maybe feast days, than a written calender?

Does the Orthodox Church?

I hear the Orthodox Church clelebrates Easter, at a different date to Catholics and others, how come?

I don't understand about the stars.
How does that work.
How often does their cycle change?

How could they be used in a calender?

Do our months as in October etc. have any relation to the celestial cycles?

#13 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 11:01 PM

666 is a bigger mystery than you realize, many theologians believe it is actually 661 but that is another thread.

The Orthodox Church certainly follows a calendar, because we want to dance to God's music. We are so spiritually deaf we just try to mark the beat as best we can. A calendar charts the motion, it choreographs the dance.

We participate in the Passover of our Lord on the Sunday after the first full moon that occurs after the 14th of Nisan in the Jewish lunar calendar which occurred around the vernal equinox, a time when the light of the Sun starts to become triumphant over the darkness, even as the Light of the Son triumphs over the darkness of sin. So yes, the Orthodox Church celebrates the seasons instituted by God Himself. Why would we not?

Our Pascha always occurs AFTER the Biblical Jewish Passover because Christ fulfils the typos that Moses and his people observed.

I lived in Saudi Arabia for a year. They follow a lunar calendar. In fact, there is a prize given for the first person to see and report the new moon, the month cannot start without it, so sometimes a month might be a day or so longer if nobody sees the new moon on a given night. Official documents show two dates, the "Gregorian" date and the Moslem date. It makes it a little challenging when making long range plans if you don't know exactly when the 23rd of Safar is going to occur two months ahead...the Gregorian date might happen on the 22nd of Safar, or the 24th, depends on who sees the moon when...

Mt. Athos has a beautiful custom that drives the German tourists crazy. Their clocks are set to the services, not the other way around. Midnight happens when the Midnight prayers start. Again, makes it a bit of a challenge if you like to be EXACTLY on time for things.

October is named for the pagan emperor Octavios. July is named for Julius Caesar. August for Augustus. January I believe is dedicated to the pagan god Janus. January begins (astrologically) with the sun in the sign of Capricorn and ends in the sign of Aquarius. Astronomically speaking, the sun begins in the constellation of Sagittarius and ends in the constellation of Capricornus. Thus the stars mark the calendar. See?

#14 Paul Cowan

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 01:26 AM

Time exists, we live in a time zone.
But time is based on nature, not on numbers.

What I mean is, we have invented a way of calculating time, but evidently, it is inaccurate.

For we count by 60 seconds, 60 minutes, twenty four hours.
A day is not based on this by nature.

The universe is not governed by mans calculations.

There are ancient calenders.
The cycle of the moon may have had a purpose, the rising of the sun, maybe even the stars.

My Question is what are the purpose of the sun, moon and stars in Orthodoxy?

Summer doesn't have to start on a day of the year by a man made calender.
Seasons are not governed by mans calculations.

So as to crops, and seasons, and all such things, what is the natural calender?

And what is it's purpose and testimony of God?



Paul,

Have you ever heard of the Farmers Almanac? It has been used by farmers in this country for around 200 years. It is oddly accurate in its predictions of weather and cropping. Have you ever heard of the Harvest moon? Or planting by the seasons? Or haying day? These are terms used in farming as they rely completely on nature to tell them when the crops are ready to be planted or harvested.

As Christ says

Matthew 16:2 He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; 3 and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites![a] You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.


So as far back as then and further man worked by nature not a calendar.

Paul

#15 Andrew

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 01:38 AM

Math is the language with which God wrote the universe. The calendar is how we mark the metre by which we paticipate in the celestial dance.


I don't want to be a pain, but I don't think math is the language that God wrote the universe in. Math is a product of human cognition. We measure things according to our own limited sense of time, space, and such things, in relation to ourself. Love and freedom are the language of the universe... Love in that God gave us the grace to be the determiners of all existence. Our hearts govern the entire universe, and our hearts are meant to encompass the whole cosmos... God loves and fills the cosmos, and the saint's heart contains the uncontainable Trinity, and all things. Freedom in that our own actions are not determined by God, so our own negative or positive effects on the entire universe are not done away with by God. He allows us to mess everything up, or He enters into a relationship of communion with us and allows us a hand in transfiguring the cosmos and bringing it to order.

I think it's interesting to see that we don't believe in a Platonic sense of things... a perfect original form of the tree does not exist. The particulars are true, real, and meant for transfiguration in the light of Christ. Each thing in the world has a sense of freedom to it, I think. Trees do not follow a common and exact form... they each are given the grace and love to branch out in a free manner. How glorious things will be when Christ's love transfigures everything in the new Earth.

I'm too speculative, I think.

#16 Paul

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 09:57 AM

October is named for the pagan emperor Octavios.


Are you sure?

I just thought it originally was the eighth month, as I recognized Oct as meaning eight, and Sept from September seven, December, as in decimal or decatholon, decade - ten.

I've looked on Wikipedia, and they seem to relate it to being an orginal eighth month I think in an old Roman calendar.

January begins (astrologically) with the sun in the sign of Capricorn and ends in the sign of Aquarius. Astronomically speaking, the sun begins in the constellation of Sagittarius and ends in the constellation of Capricornus. Thus the stars mark the calendar. See?


But don't star signs run into different calendar months?

I'm Pisces, I'm sure it starts in Febuary and goes through some of March.

Sorry I still don't quite understand it.

Is it that certain clusters of stars are visible at certain times, and reappear in a cycle?

Could they possibly be used as Months, and does any calendar?

Do they even appear alongside the cycle of the moon?

Is the cycle of the sun visible to us of itself, or is it only the cycles of the moon and the stars because of the position of the sun?

I know we could maybe look at the position of the sun and know the time of day.
But as for like a natural calendar, being able to look at the sky to celebrate annivesaries, how could that work?

Is it only with the moon and stars, as to what we see, and how does that work, can you use them both together?

#17 Paul

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 10:04 AM

Paul,

Have you ever heard of the Farmers Almanac? It has been used by farmers in this country for around 200 years. It is oddly accurate in its predictions of weather and cropping. Have you ever heard of the Harvest moon? Or planting by the seasons? Or haying day? These are terms used in farming as they rely completely on nature to tell them when the crops are ready to be planted or harvested.


I have heard very little about it.
I think my mother mentioned catching a bit of a programme on it.
She only mentioned of someone using the cycle of the moon to plant their crops by.

#18 Paul

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 10:43 AM

Are you sure?

I just thought it originally was the eighth month, as I recognized Oct as meaning eight, and Sept from September seven, December, as in decimal or decatholon, decade - ten.

I've looked on Wikipedia, and they seem to relate it to being an orginal eighth month I think in an old Roman calendar.


I'm answering myself now.

October doesn't go with September, November and December though.

For why wasn't it named Octember as the others?
Or could that be a case of that language I don't understand?

Or could it be it was named after the pagan emperor Octavios and was lumped in with the left numbers, because of the Oct relation?

Maybe the name itself has a meaning of the number eight does it, so would be a good fit after September and between November, even though it is not the eighth Month?

Does anyone know how these number names came to be out of number?

Seems odd to me that they are numbers, yet in the calendar their month name is not the number we relate it, as to December being our actual twelth month, but seems to mean ten?

#19 Paul

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 10:55 AM

This Wikipedia article seems to answer my questions on the Month names and order

#20 Jim McQuiggin

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 03:48 PM

I'm answering myself now.

October doesn't go with September, November and December though.

For why wasn't it named Octember as the others?
Or could that be a case of that language I don't understand?

Does anyone know how these number names came to be out of number?

Seems odd to me that they are numbers, yet in the calendar their month name is not the number we relate it, as to December being our actual twelth month, but seems to mean ten?


In Latin, 7, 8, 9, 10 = septem, octo, novem, decem

Once upon a time, the year began with March. I may need to be corrected here, but I believe that there was a time that New Year's Day was actually March 25 - to correspond with the Annunciation. This would make sense if you were counting "the years of our Lord".

There is information on this website:
http://www.polysylla...m/?q=calhistory

Jim




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