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Offline LivenotoneviL

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Wrestling with Genesis right now and the Existence of God
« on: May 10, 2018, 11:14:48 AM »
This is a two part post that I feel like I need to share.

So, I don't claim to know the answers for everything, nor do I claim to know that I will know the answers for everything, including the Book of Genesis... however, despite my proneness to outbursting, I try to be a very logical person, and if there is a contradiction, I try to resolve it.

So, when it comes to Genesis, I've always held the opinion that I don't have a definitive answer to it, but there are several theories - YEC, OEC, Theistic Evolution, etc., that I've maintained are open to possibilities of Truth, particularly with trying to make compatible what is the Orthodox understanding of Creation - at least, how I've been taught it by Father Seraphim Rose.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJRVJwnhVzI&t=315s

i.e., Creation involving a perfect world that was composed of both a refined, Spiritual Matter that is strange for us to comprehend, and how Jesus post-Resurrection was able to take on this Refined Matter (e.g., being able to enter into locked buildings, unable to be recognized by the Apostles, etc.)

And the question I have is how do we make heads or tails out of the Archaeological Record which we have in place today, and how can it NOT be a contradiction to a basis of our Faith?

So, I've looked through both Theistic Evolution and YEC, and I've found both to be unsatisfactory, especially with the above understanding of the Pre-Fall World.

In YEC, the argument that is put forward is that the earth is actually only 6000 years old - and the fact that it appears older in age is just a fact, as we don't know what the initial conditions were like. The millions of years of Sediment can be chalked up to faulty human observation, with a Global Flood caused by Geysers and Raining helping form the Earth's Geography. We of course can accept Natural Selection, but we have to acknowledge that a Bat cannot morph into a Zebra.

However, this leads to many problems I find - particularly with Radiometric Dating and the Fossil Record. We have done SO MANY tests involving radioactive decay in various elements, along with dendochronology, protein decay, and even counting ice bubbles in glaciers that all point to an old earth that is much older than 6000 years; as well as astronomical observations in terms of how heavenly bodies are created and destroy, which suggest processes which take millions of years. Also, how do we explain the fossil record? How do we explain dying organisms that are millions of years old, as well as no records of similar organisms in different sedimentary layers? What about the fact that we cannot find humans or human-like organisms that are in the "Jurassic" period for example - can we chalk that up to a Flood? Where are all the bodies? Did all the apes become fossilized and the humans not?



And next, we have Theistic Evolution - which I find problematic. How do we incorporate the Patristic Understanding of "refined matter" and a deathless world? Why did God

1. Lie to us about the Book of Genesis, as well as allow all of the Church Fathers to be completely wrong about the literal nature of the Book of Genesis
2. Create a fallen world that involves a process of suffering and death...just to refine it at some arbitrary point and unrefine it again?
Were humans the only ones that were transformed after Homo Erectus?


And I feel lost right now in terms of even just believing in God. I'm asking the big questions - I want, I mean I REALLY WANT there to be a God who loves me and cares for me, but am I just trying to deceive myself? Am I lying to myself?

At the end of the movie "Solaris" by Tarkovsky, there is a scene where the main character "repents" to his Father in a mirror of the Prodigal Son painting by Rembrant - but it's an illusion, a dream. It's all an extrapolation of the mind of the character, that can't recreate reality perfectly, with a rainy interior house.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_0UPh5FELg&t=258s

Is this just me? Trying to talk to God just mentally? Am I trying to illusion myself, to lie to myself to cover up reality? Am I trying to find truth in falsehoods? How can I trust myself? Why should I believe in God? Why do I even exist? Why am I trying to justify a clear contradiction? Am I trying to justify a contradiction?

So I don't know. I feel like for civilization religion is an absolute necessity, and I don't see myself as leaving religion - I think to live as a hedonistic atheist is more of a prison than asceticism, as asceticism leads to balance and happiness - but how can I progress if I don't believe in what I practice?

I don't know.
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Through confession of the Oneness
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May God one day unite me with the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church.

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Wrestling with Genesis right now and the Existence of God
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2018, 01:04:22 PM »
You're taking literalism too hard. Young Earth Creationism is not a Christian necessity, but rather an obsession to a first layer of reading Scripture (1 - literal; 2 - moral; 3 - spiritual; see Clement of Alexandria). Our faith is about Christ, not about bones and dirt.

At the end of the movie "Solaris" by Tarkovsky, there is a scene where the main character "repents" to his Father in a mirror of the Prodigal Son painting by Rembrant - but it's an illusion, a dream. It's all an extrapolation of the mind of the character, that can't recreate reality perfectly, with a rainy interior house.
This is not what Tarkovsky meant. He was an Orthodox Christian and a symbolist, making a point on the conflict between the character's inner humanity and outer "scientificity". His humanity was religious, his scientificity was the illusion of Solaris.

Quote
Is this just me? Trying to talk to God just mentally? Am I trying to illusion myself, to lie to myself to cover up reality? Am I trying to find truth in falsehoods? How can I trust myself? Why should I believe in God? Why do I even exist? Why am I trying to justify a clear contradiction? Am I trying to justify a contradiction?
You're seeing a contradiction where there is not. This contradiction appears as we uses modern epistemology (literalism) to approach the holy book of Genesis. As St. Justin of Celije said, if man asks a question the Bible cannot answer, it is because the question makes no sense.
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

Anyhow when God was asked he said Eastern Orthodox is true Church and not Catholic Church. So come home and enjoy.

Offline LivenotoneviL

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Re: Wrestling with Genesis right now and the Existence of God
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2018, 03:26:40 PM »
You're taking literalism too hard. Young Earth Creationism is not a Christian necessity, but rather an obsession to a first layer of reading Scripture (1 - literal; 2 - moral; 3 - spiritual; see Clement of Alexandria). Our faith is about Christ, not about bones and dirt.

At the end of the movie "Solaris" by Tarkovsky, there is a scene where the main character "repents" to his Father in a mirror of the Prodigal Son painting by Rembrant - but it's an illusion, a dream. It's all an extrapolation of the mind of the character, that can't recreate reality perfectly, with a rainy interior house.
This is not what Tarkovsky meant. He was an Orthodox Christian and a symbolist, making a point on the conflict between the character's inner humanity and outer "scientificity". His humanity was religious, his scientificity was the illusion of Solaris.

Quote
Is this just me? Trying to talk to God just mentally? Am I trying to illusion myself, to lie to myself to cover up reality? Am I trying to find truth in falsehoods? How can I trust myself? Why should I believe in God? Why do I even exist? Why am I trying to justify a clear contradiction? Am I trying to justify a contradiction?
You're seeing a contradiction where there is not. This contradiction appears as we uses modern epistemology (literalism) to approach the holy book of Genesis. As St. Justin of Celije said, if man asks a question the Bible cannot answer, it is because the question makes no sense.

Well, how do you see Genesis? Why did Christ have to redeem us? Did God create a fallen world? To what extent did the Supernatural play in creating the world?
"I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation."

May God one day unite me with the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Wrestling with Genesis right now and the Existence of God
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2018, 04:41:18 PM »
The important points, in my view, are these:

1. All creatures are naturally impermanent, or corruptible; they are utterly contingent and have a beginning and must therefore have an end. (This is a premise the Fathers share with the Platonists.) 
2. God created Adam to share in his immortality, necessarily a gift from God and not an inherent feature of man's constitution.
3. As priest and king of creation, man's participation in divine incorruption would be reflected in the rest of creation.
4. Man's sin results in his expulsion from paradise; in St Athanasius' words, "But if they went astray and became vile, throwing away their birthright of beauty, then they would come under the natural law of death and live no longer in paradise, but, dying outside of it, continue in death and in corruption."
5. The incarnation of the Son of God, by restoring the fallen image in man, also restores the cosmos.

When new findings and theories emanate from the natural sciences, there are a number of ways we can square them with these basic principles, keeping in mind that the scientific models are in flux and based on a way of approaching nature very different from the theological way. To a large extent theology and naturalistic science are bound to talk past one another. Like those anamorphic paintings that reveal a different image depending on the angle one approaches them, there is an important difference between the sensory-empirical angle and the spiritual-symbolic angle, without either approach necessarily being false.

Approaching the creation outside of ourselves, we will necessarily find our reflection in it, and therefore gather evidence of a decrepit, old world where life and corruption are inextricably entwined, seemingly governed by mindless forces and tending toward nothingness, as if it has always been this way and always will. We have been cast out of paradise and into a cosmos where the ground is cursed for our sake; putting a magnifying glass to this cursed ground will only confirm this. To fully perceive the harmony, beauty, and spirituality of this creation, we have to start by looking inward in a heart where Christ has taken seat.

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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Wrestling with Genesis right now and the Existence of God
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2018, 05:55:39 PM »
I think your problem regarding TE is that you assume animals would have to be made of this spiritually-infused matter (the term I prefer so as to avoid Gnostic connotations) and incorruptible-by-grace as well. Is that even literally true Patrisitically?

It seems to me that one could concoct a view in which man was spiritually-infused and incorruptible-by-grace prior to the Fall, but animals and the rest of the natural world still suffered and died since their lives and suffering exist on a different order in God's plan (not unimportant, but just different) and the Bible is primarily concerned with our spiritual condition (I mean, we don't even get a clear answer as to whether animals go to Heaven, it doesn't seem like a big priority for the text).
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

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Re: Wrestling with Genesis right now and the Existence of God
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2018, 06:25:23 PM »
This is a two part post that I feel like I need to share.

So, I don't claim to know the answers for everything, nor do I claim to know that I will know the answers for everything, including the Book of Genesis... however, despite my proneness to outbursting, I try to be a very logical person, and if there is a contradiction, I try to resolve it.

So, when it comes to Genesis, I've always held the opinion that I don't have a definitive answer to it, but there are several theories - YEC, OEC, Theistic Evolution, etc., that I've maintained are open to possibilities of Truth, particularly with trying to make compatible what is the Orthodox understanding of Creation - at least, how I've been taught it by Father Seraphim Rose.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJRVJwnhVzI&t=315s

i.e., Creation involving a perfect world that was composed of both a refined, Spiritual Matter that is strange for us to comprehend, and how Jesus post-Resurrection was able to take on this Refined Matter (e.g., being able to enter into locked buildings, unable to be recognized by the Apostles, etc.)

And the question I have is how do we make heads or tails out of the Archaeological Record which we have in place today, and how can it NOT be a contradiction to a basis of our Faith?

So, I've looked through both Theistic Evolution and YEC, and I've found both to be unsatisfactory, especially with the above understanding of the Pre-Fall World.

In YEC, the argument that is put forward is that the earth is actually only 6000 years old - and the fact that it appears older in age is just a fact, as we don't know what the initial conditions were like. The millions of years of Sediment can be chalked up to faulty human observation, with a Global Flood caused by Geysers and Raining helping form the Earth's Geography. We of course can accept Natural Selection, but we have to acknowledge that a Bat cannot morph into a Zebra.

However, this leads to many problems I find - particularly with Radiometric Dating and the Fossil Record. We have done SO MANY tests involving radioactive decay in various elements, along with dendochronology, protein decay, and even counting ice bubbles in glaciers that all point to an old earth that is much older than 6000 years; as well as astronomical observations in terms of how heavenly bodies are created and destroy, which suggest processes which take millions of years. Also, how do we explain the fossil record? How do we explain dying organisms that are millions of years old, as well as no records of similar organisms in different sedimentary layers? What about the fact that we cannot find humans or human-like organisms that are in the "Jurassic" period for example - can we chalk that up to a Flood? Where are all the bodies? Did all the apes become fossilized and the humans not?



And next, we have Theistic Evolution - which I find problematic. How do we incorporate the Patristic Understanding of "refined matter" and a deathless world? Why did God

1. Lie to us about the Book of Genesis, as well as allow all of the Church Fathers to be completely wrong about the literal nature of the Book of Genesis
2. Create a fallen world that involves a process of suffering and death...just to refine it at some arbitrary point and unrefine it again?
Were humans the only ones that were transformed after Homo Erectus?


And I feel lost right now in terms of even just believing in God. I'm asking the big questions - I want, I mean I REALLY WANT there to be a God who loves me and cares for me, but am I just trying to deceive myself? Am I lying to myself?

At the end of the movie "Solaris" by Tarkovsky, there is a scene where the main character "repents" to his Father in a mirror of the Prodigal Son painting by Rembrant - but it's an illusion, a dream. It's all an extrapolation of the mind of the character, that can't recreate reality perfectly, with a rainy interior house.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_0UPh5FELg&t=258s

Is this just me? Trying to talk to God just mentally? Am I trying to illusion myself, to lie to myself to cover up reality? Am I trying to find truth in falsehoods? How can I trust myself? Why should I believe in God? Why do I even exist? Why am I trying to justify a clear contradiction? Am I trying to justify a contradiction?

So I don't know. I feel like for civilization religion is an absolute necessity, and I don't see myself as leaving religion - I think to live as a hedonistic atheist is more of a prison than asceticism, as asceticism leads to balance and happiness - but how can I progress if I don't believe in what I practice?

I don't know.
Do not worry about it.  Genesis spends two chapters on the creation.  It is not a science book.  If the Lord decided to create things during a  long time that the evolutionists think, He did.  If He decided to create everything in seven literal days, He did.  He is capable of both.

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Re: Wrestling with Genesis right now and the Existence of God
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2018, 06:40:04 PM »
Thank you, Luke. Glad to hear you say that.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Wrestling with Genesis right now and the Existence of God
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2018, 06:50:47 PM »
I kind of want to see somebody try and revive John Calvin's idea that the six days have to be symbolic... because God really created it all instantaneously.

Why would an omnipotent being take six days to do what He could have done in the twinkling of an eye?

« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 06:51:42 PM by Volnutt »
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline CarolS

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Re: Wrestling with Genesis right now and the Existence of God
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2018, 07:20:06 PM »
It's a mistake to view Genesis as an exact history or science book. Instead, it tells us as much as we need for our salvation. Calculations based on counting generations don't even make sense because the bible doesn't always tell us how old each person was when they begat another. And it's possible that whole generations are omitted but the basic geneology is still true.
If you want to believe, be cautious about giving too much weight to those who argue against the bible.   
Our understanding of the history of the earth (compared to the knowledge of God) is like an ant trying to comprehend the Empire State Building.
Have you ever imagined a world with no hypothetical situations?

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Wrestling with Genesis right now and the Existence of God
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2018, 07:29:22 PM »
You're taking literalism too hard. Young Earth Creationism is not a Christian necessity, but rather an obsession to a first layer of reading Scripture (1 - literal; 2 - moral; 3 - spiritual; see Clement of Alexandria). Our faith is about Christ, not about bones and dirt.

At the end of the movie "Solaris" by Tarkovsky, there is a scene where the main character "repents" to his Father in a mirror of the Prodigal Son painting by Rembrant - but it's an illusion, a dream. It's all an extrapolation of the mind of the character, that can't recreate reality perfectly, with a rainy interior house.
This is not what Tarkovsky meant. He was an Orthodox Christian and a symbolist, making a point on the conflict between the character's inner humanity and outer "scientificity". His humanity was religious, his scientificity was the illusion of Solaris.

Quote
Is this just me? Trying to talk to God just mentally? Am I trying to illusion myself, to lie to myself to cover up reality? Am I trying to find truth in falsehoods? How can I trust myself? Why should I believe in God? Why do I even exist? Why am I trying to justify a clear contradiction? Am I trying to justify a contradiction?
You're seeing a contradiction where there is not. This contradiction appears as we uses modern epistemology (literalism) to approach the holy book of Genesis. As St. Justin of Celije said, if man asks a question the Bible cannot answer, it is because the question makes no sense.

Well, how do you see Genesis? Why did Christ have to redeem us? Did God create a fallen world? To what extent did the Supernatural play in creating the world?

I'm not Rapha, but I tend to think that the natural world is properly described as fallen because we abuse and fail to properly appreciate it (both in terms of destroying it and in terms of idolizing it), not because disease and entropy and erosion exist. We would be immune to these things if we had never disobeyed.

Animal suffering to supernovas is just a natural side-effect of the very same processes that give us the beauty of a sunset or a waterfall. When we are finally and fully redeemed, these things will have fulfilled their purpose and the processes maintaining them will no longer be needed (I don't know whether or not that means that sunsets and waterfalls will no longer exist in the New Earth, the Scriptures seem ambiguous on the point. But that's just an aside).

Now, we could (and perhaps should) ask theodicy-type questions as to why God lets your pet dog get cancer or lets baby lions get eaten by hyenas and whether this suffering will also somehow be redeemed by Christ. But these are issues that for clarity's sake need to be held separately from how one reads Genesis.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 07:35:48 PM by Volnutt »
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Wrestling with Genesis right now and the Existence of God
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2018, 07:33:55 PM »
It's a mistake to view Genesis as an exact history or science book. Instead, it tells us as much as we need for our salvation. Calculations based on counting generations don't even make sense because the bible doesn't always tell us how old each person was when they begat another. And it's possible that whole generations are omitted but the basic geneology is still true.
If you want to believe, be cautious about giving too much weight to those who argue against the bible.   
Our understanding of the history of the earth (compared to the knowledge of God) is like an ant trying to comprehend the Empire State Building.

+1
It's the double-edged sword of being lazy and being bored.- Reliant K

Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline LivenotoneviL

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Re: Wrestling with Genesis right now and the Existence of God
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2018, 10:28:59 PM »
I appreciate it guys.
"I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation."

May God one day unite me with the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church.

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Wrestling with Genesis right now and the Existence of God
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2018, 11:37:47 PM »
Well, how do you see Genesis? Why did Christ have to redeem us? Did God create a fallen world? To what extent did the Supernatural play in creating the world?
I have nothing else to say after Iconodule put it so well.

I kind of want to see somebody try and revive John Calvin's idea that the six days have to be symbolic... because God really created it all instantaneously.

Why would an omnipotent being take six days to do what He could have done in the twinkling of an eye?


:laugh:

It's a mistake to view Genesis as an exact history or science book. Instead, it tells us as much as we need for our salvation. Calculations based on counting generations don't even make sense because the bible doesn't always tell us how old each person was when they begat another. And it's possible that whole generations are omitted but the basic geneology is still true.
If you want to believe, be cautious about giving too much weight to those who argue against the bible.   
Our understanding of the history of the earth (compared to the knowledge of God) is like an ant trying to comprehend the Empire State Building.
+2
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

Anyhow when God was asked he said Eastern Orthodox is true Church and not Catholic Church. So come home and enjoy.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Wrestling with Genesis right now and the Existence of God
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2018, 11:54:02 PM »
I appreciate it guys.

I hope we've been able to help :)
It's the double-edged sword of being lazy and being bored.- Reliant K

Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Wrestling with Genesis right now and the Existence of God
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2018, 07:27:03 AM »
Day by day, OP, that's enough for now.  And keep praying, even if you're not sure anyone's listening.   :)
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no clue, so there's that.

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Re: Wrestling with Genesis right now and the Existence of God
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2018, 02:12:06 PM »
I got my understanding of Evolution from someone called Aron-Ra.
Learn meditation.

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Re: Wrestling with Genesis right now and the Existence of God
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2018, 04:33:30 PM »
I got some understanding of jazz from Sun Ra but drew the line there:  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Ra.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 04:34:26 PM by recent convert »
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