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Author Topic: OO Views of Evolution  (Read 5470 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« on: September 10, 2009, 03:11:46 AM »

I am wondering what our various Non-Chalcedonian Churches teach about evolution. My Priest told me that our Ethiopian Orthodox Church teaches that the earth is only about 7,000 years old, which would preclude the possibility of macro evoltuion. I accept the teaching of the Church without question. Do other OO Churches teach a similar view?

PLEASE do not turn this discussion into a debate about evolution. There are plenty of other threads for that debate. I am only interested in what Non-Chalcedonian Churches teach about evolution and/or the age of the earth.

Thanks.

Selam
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« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2009, 07:36:01 AM »

H.H. Pope Shenouda has written in his Q&A books accepting the view that the earth is older than that, arguing that to God a thousand years is as a day, and so the days in the creation account shouldn't be taken as 24 hr (he gave other reasons as well).  So Copts are not required to believe in young earth creationism.

However, all Coptic sources I am familiar with argue strongly against evolution. For an example, see: http://www.stmaryscopticorthodox.ca/publications/articles/sci/sci.html

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« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2009, 09:42:11 AM »

Is there any theologian or great part of the Church that believes in Darwinism?
I take it that the OOC has left Genesis open for interpretation.
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« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2009, 11:51:25 AM »

That's interesting that the Ethiopian Church holds that view. (though I doubt they consider it "dogma") All Copts I've ever talked to or corresponded with seem to hold the position that "the Bible is not a science book, it's a book about how God reaches out to man"...this was a radical concept for me when first encountering Orthodoxy (which was via the Coptic Church), considering I was an Evangelical Protestant at the time. That's what I love about Orthodoxy is that it doesn't try to dogmatize things like this. I accept that Evolution is the best explanation for the multiple layers of scientific evidence within the earth.....but I know Orthodox who are also young earth creationists and we simply agree to disagree.

But I had always assumed that indeed all the OO were in agreement on this. Very interesting...and a good reason why Orthodoxy is so great....we can disagree on these types of things and still be perfectly Orthodox.


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« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2009, 05:21:23 PM »

I want to be careful. I don't know for sure what the consensus is in the EOTC regarding the age of the earth. I just know what my Priest told me, and I trust him. But I hope brothers Hiywot, HaileAmanuel, or AmdeBirhan can provide more details on the matter.

Personally I think the age of the earth can be open to various opinions. I don't feel the same about evolution though. Kallistos Ware doesn't see a conflict with Orthodox theology and evolutionary theory. In fact, he says that evolution is basically a scientific fact. But I don't share his opinion on this matter, although I repsect him deeply in many other ways.

But I will leave this debate for other threads.


Selam
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« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2009, 05:36:12 PM »

I think the most important thing to consider is whether or not it matters on a theological level. If we take the old earth evolutionary form of creationism to be true, does it compromise the salvation story that we find in the Scriptures? If it does not, I don't see why it's all that big of a deal what people believe on the subject.
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« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2009, 06:09:29 PM »

Doesn't the EOTC accept 1st Enoch as canonical? And doesn't 1st Enoch have some very interesting views of the cosmos?
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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2009, 06:50:04 PM »

Doesn't the EOTC accept 1st Enoch as canonical? And doesn't 1st Enoch have some very interesting views of the cosmos?

The book of Enoch is cononical. To what specific views about the cosmos are you referring?

Selam
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« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2009, 07:07:40 PM »

I think the most important thing to consider is whether or not it matters on a theological level. If we take the old earth evolutionary form of creationism to be true, does it compromise the salvation story that we find in the Scriptures? If it does not, I don't see why it's all that big of a deal what people believe on the subject.

I don't think the age of the earth has any bearing on theology. But I do think evolutionary theory has profound theological implications. Human life is sacred and to be valued because we are created in the very image of God. But evolutionary theory compromises human value, because by definition it promotes the concept of lower and higher forms of human development. We see the demonic consequences of this idea on many levels. Jews, Africans, the unborn, and the elderly have all been variously viewed by some as less fully human than others. The results have been atrocious. And since according to evolutionary theory we are still "evolving," then who decides and determines what and who is "fully human?"

For whom did Our Lord come to save and redeem? An amoeba? A neanderthal? An embryo? A Jew? A person with cerebral palsy? An eldery person who has succumbed to dementia? A healthy and robust athlete?

You see, evolutionary theory forces us to make different value judgments about the definition and quality of human life. But if God created "man and woman in His image," then I believe this means He created human beings with initial fullness of humanity. Thus all human life in all of its forms - from conception unto natural death - is to be cherished, nurtured, respected, and esteemed.

Just my opinion.

Selam
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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2009, 08:17:22 PM »

I'm not aware of the Armenian Church taking an official position either way.
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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2009, 08:19:21 PM »

I'm not aware of the Armenian Church taking an official position either way.
Good. If they do, they may have to eat humble pie centuries from now a la the Roman Catholics (I don't hear any Catholic bishops standing against "Galileism" anymore, do you?).
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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2009, 08:54:28 PM »

Hello,

I try not to post much these days, but my fingers were itching on this one.

There is a recent Coptic view that supports evolution:

http://www.coptichymns.net/module-library-viewpub-tid-1-pid-83.html

God bless.
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« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2009, 10:58:27 PM »

Hello,

I try not to post much these days, but my fingers were itching on this one.

There is a recent Coptic view that supports evolution:

http://www.coptichymns.net/module-library-viewpub-tid-1-pid-83.html

God bless.

I don't think so..
Firstly, Reda is a Reader, so his views are not really authoritative for representing a school of thought in the church or the position of the church. Also, he is an engineer, not a biologist.

Secondly, he is not arguing for Darwinian evolution or anything of the kind. He's saying that simpler forms of life were created by God before more complex forms, as recorded in Genesis, and in accorance with fossil records. He does not at any point say that simpler forms turned into more complex forms (in the sense of one speciese evolving into another).

This is what Fr. Athanasius Iskander (former M.D., and the priest at Reda's church) argues in his lecture seriese & articles, that God created species in a certain order, over a long period of time, and this is what the fossil records show us... not an evolution from one speciese to another, but a sequence in creation.
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2009, 11:12:13 PM »

Hello,

I try not to post much these days, but my fingers were itching on this one.

There is a recent Coptic view that supports evolution:

http://www.coptichymns.net/module-library-viewpub-tid-1-pid-83.html

God bless.

I don't think so..
Firstly, Reda is a Reader, so his views are not really authoritative for representing a school of thought in the church or the position of the church. Also, he is an engineer, not a biologist.

Secondly, he is not arguing for Darwinian evolution or anything of the kind. He's saying that simpler forms of life were created by God before more complex forms, as recorded in Genesis, and in accorance with fossil records. He does not at any point say that simpler forms turned into more complex forms (in the sense of one speciese evolving into another).

This is what Fr. Athanasius Iskander (former M.D., and the priest at Reda's church) argues in his lecture seriese & articles, that God created species in a certain order, over a long period of time, and this is what the fossil records show us... not an evolution from one speciese to another, but a sequence in creation.

Yes. This seems consistent with Scripture and with science.

I fear that some Orthodox people - even some esteemed clergy - are too concerned with validation from the scientific community.

Selam
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« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2009, 11:16:51 PM »

And what are the views of the Oriental Orthodox Church on electromagnetism and atomic-molecular structure of matter? Which pope said what on these issues?
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« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2009, 11:18:07 PM »

I think the most important thing to consider is whether or not it matters on a theological level. If we take the old earth evolutionary form of creationism to be true, does it compromise the salvation story that we find in the Scriptures? If it does not, I don't see why it's all that big of a deal what people believe on the subject.

Nothing in the scientific theory of evolution has nothing to do with anything in the salvation story or in any other story.
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« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2009, 11:18:38 PM »

I'm not aware of the Armenian Church taking an official position either way.

Congratulations, Salpy. Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2009, 11:21:17 PM »

And what are the views of the Oriental Orthodox Church on electromagnetism and atomic-molecular structure of matter? Which pope said what on these issues?

Evolution is very relevant to salvation since it comes down to whether we can have a litteral two parents who fell, which has implications for what the incarnation means, etc., so we can't just write it off like electromagnetism as something not related to doctrine. You may not agree, but I think this thread is about what the consistent view is, not debating what it should be...
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« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2009, 11:30:41 PM »

I'm not aware of the Armenian Church taking an official position either way.
Good. If they do, they may have to eat humble pie centuries from now a la the Roman Catholics (I don't hear any Catholic bishops standing against "Galileism" anymore, do you?).

On the other hand accepting that evolution is fact and therefore Adam and Eve are only types and not historical figures would be at least as embarassing if evolution becomes disproven like earlier theories that what happens to parents is passed down to children, etc. that were popular before evolution displaced them.

I know that's not what you're advocating, but I think we should be careful about letting go of our traditional understanding of creation, the fall, the incarnation, and salvation in order to conform to the science of the day. That's very different than persecuting evolutionists as the Catholic church of a few hundred years ago may have done...
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« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2009, 11:43:58 PM »

Hello,

I try not to post much these days, but my fingers were itching on this one.

There is a recent Coptic view that supports evolution:

http://www.coptichymns.net/module-library-viewpub-tid-1-pid-83.html

God bless.

Dear one,

I am not so sure there is a "recent coptic view that supports evolution" at all. I am sure that some people trained in the various sciences are pro (their own theories) regarding combining some aspects of evolutionary theory and Creationism. No doubt there are some who are also pro evolutionism/Big Bang theory as presented by the scientific commuinity presently.

I think people can stretch HH Pope Shenouda's words where HH interprets the Genesis account as not having a 24 hr day prior to day four. Whilst this is clearly the case, however, this also does not, ipso facto make for long ages (millions/billions of years) for those first four "epochs" either. And to my knowledge no Bishop or priest of the church has publically declared such.

In the lead up to my own recent ordination, I recall that this was one of the topics I was directly asked about my own belief (I am of course a believer in special creation by God).  

Finally, I do not think it is wise to necessarily agree with the current speculation of the scientific community, nor is it wise to attack it either from ignorance. The Nicene Creed demands of all Christians to assert..."maker of all things visible and invisible....by Whom all things were made (in heaven and on earth)..." That is what the Church requires of us, and I have seen people with all ideas across the spectrum be able to honestly state those truthful words.  There is a danger for Orthodox to enter into the fundamentalist debates of the Baptist "Back to Genesis" people against the scientific community. I do not think this is wise. I have seen the fruit of it amongst those orthodox who do it. I am not disparaging any -real- evidence they -may- produce, just the way it is produced and in what "theological heretical system" it is produced in.

Pray for me.

Fr James+
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2009, 11:51:53 PM »

I think the most important thing to consider is whether or not it matters on a theological level. If we take the old earth evolutionary form of creationism to be true, does it compromise the salvation story that we find in the Scriptures? If it does not, I don't see why it's all that big of a deal what people believe on the subject.

Nothing in the scientific theory of evolution has nothing to do with anything in the salvation story or in any other story.

Heorhij, please read reply #8 above.

I'm not sure what you mean by the "salvation story." As I'm sure you know, Orthodoxy teaches that salvation is a process and not a single momentary decision. Therefore, how we treat our neighbor is an essential aspect of our salvific process. And our fundamental understanding of humanity will determine how we treat our neighbor. Very few evolutionists believe that human beings deserve full dignity and value from the moment of conception, and thus they tend to be strong supporters of the legality of abortion. So, evolutionary theory certainly can have an influence upon theology, morality, and ultimately human salvation.

Selam
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« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2009, 02:21:20 AM »


Firstly, Reda is a Reader, so his views are not really authoritative for representing a school of thought in the church

That sounds kind of clericalist.
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« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2009, 02:22:41 AM »

I think the most important thing to consider is whether or not it matters on a theological level. If we take the old earth evolutionary form of creationism to be true, does it compromise the salvation story that we find in the Scriptures? If it does not, I don't see why it's all that big of a deal what people believe on the subject.

Nothing in the scientific theory of evolution has nothing to do with anything in the salvation story or in any other story.

It depends on how you interpret the Scriptures.
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« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2009, 09:27:20 AM »

Very few evolutionists believe that human beings deserve full dignity and value from the moment of conception, and thus they tend to be strong supporters of the legality of abortion. So, evolutionary theory certainly can have an influence upon theology, morality, and ultimately human salvation.
Please prove

1) that "evolutionists" exist and
2) that this demographic support legalized abortion.

Thank you for your cooperation.
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« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2009, 02:41:04 PM »


Firstly, Reda is a Reader, so his views are not really authoritative for representing a school of thought in the church

That sounds kind of clericalist.

Not how I meant it.

A quote from the opinion of one layman is not a fair representation of the teaching of the Coptic Orthodox Church. If it were one bishop it still wouldn't be, would would require more attention. If I were to walk into my church basement, I could find laymen who are pro gay marriage, pro women ordination, pro sola scriptura, whatever, there are all kinds who attend and who are in various degrees of agreement or disagreement with the church on various issues. Virtually all of the adult males are readers. So all I'm saying is that the opinion of one man is not representative of the consensus of the church, or even of a school of thought in the church. That said, I agree with Reda's position as I understand it, not as it was presented here, I just think we should be careful about posting one article by one layman as an answer to a post asking what is the teaching of the church...
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« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2009, 03:39:58 PM »

Hello,

I try not to post much these days, but my fingers were itching on this one.

There is a recent Coptic view that supports evolution:

http://www.coptichymns.net/module-library-viewpub-tid-1-pid-83.html

God bless.

Dear one,

I am not so sure there is a "recent coptic view that supports evolution" at all. I am sure that some people trained in the various sciences are pro (their own theories) regarding combining some aspects of evolutionary theory and Creationism. No doubt there are some who are also pro evolutionism/Big Bang theory as presented by the scientific commuinity presently.

I think people can stretch HH Pope Shenouda's words where HH interprets the Genesis account as not having a 24 hr day prior to day four. Whilst this is clearly the case, however, this also does not, ipso facto make for long ages (millions/billions of years) for those first four "epochs" either. And to my knowledge no Bishop or priest of the church has publically declared such.

In the lead up to my own recent ordination, I recall that this was one of the topics I was directly asked about my own belief (I am of course a believer in special creation by God).  

Finally, I do not think it is wise to necessarily agree with the current speculation of the scientific community, nor is it wise to attack it either from ignorance. The Nicene Creed demands of all Christians to assert..."maker of all things visible and invisible....by Whom all things were made (in heaven and on earth)..." That is what the Church requires of us, and I have seen people with all ideas across the spectrum be able to honestly state those truthful words.  There is a danger for Orthodox to enter into the fundamentalist debates of the Baptist "Back to Genesis" people against the scientific community. I do not think this is wise. I have seen the fruit of it amongst those orthodox who do it. I am not disparaging any -real- evidence they -may- produce, just the way it is produced and in what "theological heretical system" it is produced in.

Pray for me.

Fr James+
Servant.

Father bless.

I think it would be wise also not to call the recent views of the scientific community a "speculation."  Unlike the education Fr. Athanasius may have received in the past, it is well known that when a professor teaches a subject pertaining to anything in biological terms, the word evolution comes up as if it is already a known fact, and indeed it is.

I have debated this before in another thread anyway.  I also have debates with my own Father of Confession.  It's well known what my views are, and to for me to deny evolution is like denying gravity.  The stuff we learned in Sunday School are all from "Baptist Back to Genesis" sources, and it sickens me.

I am still one who believes in the salvation of our Lord Christ.  The Creed I recite are like my own words.  I believe in them.  I believe in the Church, and in Her traditions.

Anyway, the OP was what was the OO views.  I've given one from a Coptic reader and a doctor, who said that "evolution is a fact."  While I may not agree with everything in the article, I must say, it's the best thing I can find by a Copt on this particular issue.  If anyone here wants to debate it, there are probably other threads one can benefit from.

Pray for me.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 03:41:11 PM by minasoliman » Logged

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« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2009, 05:19:17 PM »


Father bless.

I think it would be wise also not to call the recent views of the scientific community a "speculation."  Unlike the education Fr. Athanasius may have received in the past, it is well known that when a professor teaches a subject pertaining to anything in biological terms, the word evolution comes up as if it is already a known fact, and indeed it is.

I have debated this before in another thread anyway.  I also have debates with my own Father of Confession.  It's well known what my views are, and to for me to deny evolution is like denying gravity.  The stuff we learned in Sunday School are all from "Baptist Back to Genesis" sources, and it sickens me.

I am still one who believes in the salvation of our Lord Christ.  The Creed I recite are like my own words.  I believe in them.  I believe in the Church, and in Her traditions.

Anyway, the OP was what was the OO views.  I've given one from a Coptic reader and a doctor, who said that "evolution is a fact."  While I may not agree with everything in the article, I must say, it's the best thing I can find by a Copt on this particular issue.  If anyone here wants to debate it, there are probably other threads one can benefit from.

Pray for me.
[/quote]

The Lord bless you my brother,

                                                Dear one thank you for your gracious response. I myself do not ask you to deny anything and we both affirm what the Holy Creed asks of us. Therefore in this matter we have no issues. :-) I know a number of copts that would agree with the doctor you have quoted and I know of some priests that have come very close to the issue as well but wisely staying within what is acceptable within the Church. I also know many Copts that would be rightly called "creationists" and follow every announcement by the Baptist Back to Genesis people. I have learned by experience and observation that there is danger at either end of this matter and thus hold to the safe ground, which for me is very logical, very reasonable and very faithful.  Like you, I am not interested in debating this topic and Ido not follow the debates on the other threads. I spoke only in this matter as the question related directly to the OO and I believed I had some relevant information to bring to the thread. :-)

The prayers of the saints be with you, Pray for me my brother.

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« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2009, 05:50:47 PM »


Firstly, Reda is a Reader, so his views are not really authoritative for representing a school of thought in the church

That sounds kind of clericalist.

Not how I meant it.

A quote from the opinion of one layman is not a fair representation of the teaching of the Coptic Orthodox Church. If it were one bishop it still wouldn't be, would would require more attention. If I were to walk into my church basement, I could find laymen who are pro gay marriage, pro women ordination, pro sola scriptura, whatever, there are all kinds who attend and who are in various degrees of agreement or disagreement with the church on various issues. Virtually all of the adult males are readers. So all I'm saying is that the opinion of one man is not representative of the consensus of the church, or even of a school of thought in the church. That said, I agree with Reda's position as I understand it, not as it was presented here, I just think we should be careful about posting one article by one layman as an answer to a post asking what is the teaching of the church...

I agree that it is not representative of the consensus of the Church. But I don't understand it when you say that it's not representative of a stream of thought within the Church. Would you say that the view of one Bishop also isn't enough to establish a stream of thought within the Church?
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« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2009, 09:01:57 PM »


Firstly, Reda is a Reader, so his views are not really authoritative for representing a school of thought in the church

That sounds kind of clericalist.

Not how I meant it.

A quote from the opinion of one layman is not a fair representation of the teaching of the Coptic Orthodox Church. If it were one bishop it still wouldn't be, would would require more attention. If I were to walk into my church basement, I could find laymen who are pro gay marriage, pro women ordination, pro sola scriptura, whatever, there are all kinds who attend and who are in various degrees of agreement or disagreement with the church on various issues. Virtually all of the adult males are readers. So all I'm saying is that the opinion of one man is not representative of the consensus of the church, or even of a school of thought in the church. That said, I agree with Reda's position as I understand it, not as it was presented here, I just think we should be careful about posting one article by one layman as an answer to a post asking what is the teaching of the church...

I agree that it is not representative of the consensus of the Church. But I don't understand it when you say that it's not representative of a stream of thought within the Church. Would you say that the view of one Bishop also isn't enough to establish a stream of thought within the Church?

I actually did say exactly that in the post you are replying to: " If it were one bishop it still wouldn't be". For example, there have been bishops who have come to follow largely protestant views, and this is not representative of the faith of the church. But I do think that what is said by bishops, especially when not censured by the synod, carries far more weight that what individual laity say, especially since layman usually go on saying whatever they like without ever being censured or having their thoughts examined by the synod. Thus if there was an example of a bishop openly preaching evolution (in the sense of one species turning into another), then that would be a much bigger deal than one obscure article from a reader. (Although in this case that reader does not even preach evolution in the sense of man evolving from apes).
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« Reply #29 on: September 11, 2009, 09:18:45 PM »

Thank you Father for your kind post.  Even though it's I who need your prayers more, I'm sure the blessings and prayers of the saints are always with you.

I forgot to mention that I do agree with Jonathan that this is not the consensus.  But it's a view held by many Copts, yours truly included.

Now whether or not one feels this is the correct view, that's another discussion.

When I was in undergrad, I remember speaking to an Indian Orthodox priest who also finds nothing objectionable in evolution, and he seems to be not the only one.
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« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2009, 08:06:06 PM »

The Tewahdo Orthodox church bases its calculation of Earth's age from the 'Book of Jubilees' also known as the 'Book of Divisons' which is part of the Tewahdo Orthodox Church's cannon.

The book begins with God commanding Moses to ascend  mount Sinai and receive the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments. For example, in Jubilees 1:28, It is written:

"And the angel of the presence who went before the camp of Israel took the tables of the divisions of the years -from the time of the creation- of the law and of the testimony of the weeks of the jubilees, according to the individual years, according to all the number of the jubilees [according, to the individual years], from the day of the [new] creation when the heavens and the earth shall be renewed and all their creation according to the powers of the heaven, and according to all the creation of the earth, until the sanctuary of the Lord shall be made in Jerusalem on Mount Zion, and all the luminaries be renewed for healing and for peace and for blessing for all the elect of Israel, and that thus it may be from that day and unto all the days of the earth

Moreover, according to the book one day in heaven corresponds to 1000 years on Earth.In the book , God promised man, "When five and a half days are full, I will be born of your offspring and save you". .Thus, 5.5 days make 5500 years until the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Below is an interesting article that might be relevant to the topic of discussion. I apologise for its length.

*****************************************************************************
"But when the time had fully come, God sent His only begotten Son..." Gal.4: 4   

How do the Ethiopian and the European (Gregorian) calendar differ?   

The difference is both in years and days. According to the Ethiopian calendar, the current year is 2001, which is clearly Seven (eight) years behind the Gregorian. The Ethiopian months are also lagging by seven, eight, nine or ten days depending on where the two calendars' months match. We have 12 months with 30 days each and a 13th month with five or six days. The 13th month is called "Pagumen" to mean the thirteenth. It is either six or five days whether the year is leap year. The hours of the day are not named and divided in the same way as in the European. For example, the European say 12 O'clock (AM) when it is actually 6 at midday. In the Ethiopian evenings are considered parts of the next day. In this article, it is attempted to give scriptural background to the 7/8  years difference in the calendars according to the teachings of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
 
The difference lies in determining the exact date of the birth of Christ. According to Dionasius, a Roman monk, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ was 753  years after the foundation of the city of Rome. It is according to his calculation that the world joins the second millennium, in spite of the fact that, researchers many years after him have already discovered he has made a mistake by at least four years. Their argument was based on the Biblical clues given at Mt. 2:1 and Lk.3: 1-3, 22-23. In Mt. 2.1, it was mentioned that Jesus was born during the time of King Herod. The King died just after the birth of Christ. Meanwhile, it was also recorded that the king died 750 years after the city of Rome was founded. The other Gospel tells us that Jesus was 30 by the time he began his ministry. It was also mentioned that this was the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. Historians proved that Tiberius came to power 765 years after Rome was founded. Fifteenth of his reign would be in 780, clearly showing a difference of four years from the calculation Dionasius has done. Thus the current European year would have been utmost 2005 AD only!

One would ask, "Why didn't they make these corrections? Why so far? ". One reason for this could be, that based on this calendar many historical records and other important dates and festivals have already been established. Correction would have meant losing of all these documents and reestablishing the dates, which might have created much conflict.

The Ethiopian Christians didn't base themselves on historical facts to decide the date on which Jesus was born. They used ages mentioned in many parts of the Holy Bible. According to their argument, God has nothing to do without reason. He must have meant something when He makes mention of these ages. If one contemplates on this he would draw a remarkable conclusion about this matter.

Moreover, the birth of our Lord was foretold. The time was also fixed. Jesus was not born suddenly. When was it? It is really a big question. How did the Magi come to Jerusalem to worship the infant Jesus? Indeed, they were wise men, and had the prophecy in their tradition that the King of the Jews, whose Kingdom will last forever, will be born in the holy land. It is also important to observe that the chief priests of Jerusalem were able to tell where he was born (Mt.2: 1-5). They knew the date (Dan. 9:24) and place (Mic.5:2). So we can be sure that there is sufficient information to fix the exact date just by following the stories in the Holy Bible and the prophecies.

 
From the St. Paul's, "When the time had fully come, God sent His only begotten son, born of a woman..." (Gal. 4:4) it was clearly indicated that there was a time period which human beings were supposed to wait. This was, according to Ethiopians, 5500 years. The same was mentioned in the tale of Abraham. This was a covenant given to Adam by God. When Adam was banished from Garden of Eden, he sought to get mercy of God. God told Adam that forgiveness of sin would not be obtained by his effort. He then promised him, "When five and a half days are full, I will be born of your offspring and save you". Note that one-day is one thousand years with God (2Pt.3: Cool. When this time (5500 years) had fully come, Jesus was born.  

Then the Ethiopian started to calculate this time following the pace of Biblical history from Genesis up to the time of Jesus the Christ.

The task was not so easy. It requires a good understanding of how the times were mentioned in the Holy Book. It is presented below in a simplified form. The story begins in the fifth chapter of Genesis: (Gen. 5:3)
 
* When Adam became the father of Seth he was 230
* When Seth became the father of Enosh he was 205
* When Enosh became the father of Kenan he was 190
* When Kenan became the father of Mahalalel he was 170
* When Mahalalel became a father of Jared he was 165
* When Jared became the father of Enoch he was 162
* When Enoch became the father of Methuselah he was 165
* When Methuselah became the father of Lamech he was 187
* When Lamech became the father of Noah he was 182
* The flood came at the 600 age of Noah 600

Sum 2256 years
 
Now, we finished the fifth chapter of Genesis. Let us now go to the 11th chapter of Genesis. Remember that here Shem's was selected only because Jesus Christ was in his line of generation.(Gen. 11:10)

* When Shem became the father of Arphaxad 2 years after the flood 002
* When Arphaxad became the father of Cainan he was 135
* When Cainan became the father of Shelah he was 130
* When shelah became the father of Eber he was 130
* When Eber became the father of Peleg he was 134
* When Peleg became the father of Reu he was 130
* When Reu became the father of Serug he was 132
* When Serug became the father of Nahur he was 130
* When Nahor became the father of Terah he was 109
* When Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran, he was 100
* At 75 Abraham went to exile from his relatives and family 075

Sum 1207years
 
The grand sum will be 2256 + 1207 = 3463 years. These above numbers are clearly presented and need no deep knowledge of the whole story of the Old Testament. The remaining ones are found scattered so require a rather better knowledge.
 
From the 75th age of Abraham to Exodus 430 years
From Exodus to Samuel 513 years
From Saul to Solomon 120 years
From Solomon to exile to Babylon 394 years
And in exile 70 years

Sum 1527 years
 
These sums up to 1527 and 3463 = 4990 years From here on the calculations are based on the verse on the Book of Daniel.(Dan. 9:24-25) In this verse the coming of the Messiah has been clearly stated as 62 sevens'. It goes, "From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens', and sixty-two 'sevens' ". The first seven 'sevens' which will amount will be 49 years and the sixty-two others will be 434 years. It is also mentioned that Ezra went to Jerusalem with the exile captives of Israel to build Jerusalem and the Temple at the seventh year of the reign of Artaxees. (Ezra7: 6-9). The first sevens will be from the issuing of the word to the end of the rebuilding of the temple. Mind you, the temple has taken 46 years to rebuild (John (2:20) and the three year difference is the time when the Israeli were banned from building (Ezra 1:1-6 & 23-24).

There is one subtle point to understand here. The sixty-two and the seven 'sevens' are not continuous. The beginning of this is the seventh year of the reign of Artaxees king of Persia (Ezra7: 6-9). This can be historically proved that it was the 76th year of the kingdom of Persia which includes the first seven 'sevens'. Therefore, these 76 years plus 434 (=62 x 7) it would be 510 years.

Finally, we reached the point. This total sum would establish the 5500 (=4990 + 510) years sought. The time God gave Adam to come to this World. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church based its calendar on this calculation.
 
« Last Edit: September 12, 2009, 08:09:08 PM by Elias » Logged
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« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2009, 08:30:07 PM »

The Tewahdo Orthodox church bases its calculation of Earth's age from the 'Book of Jubilees' also known as the 'Book of Divisons' which is part of the Tewahdo Orthodox Church's cannon.

The book begins with God commanding Moses to ascend  mount Sinai and receive the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments. For example, in Jubilees 1:28, It is written:

"And the angel of the presence who went before the camp of Israel took the tables of the divisions of the years -from the time of the creation- of the law and of the testimony of the weeks of the jubilees, according to the individual years, according to all the number of the jubilees [according, to the individual years], from the day of the [new] creation when the heavens and the earth shall be renewed and all their creation according to the powers of the heaven, and according to all the creation of the earth, until the sanctuary of the Lord shall be made in Jerusalem on Mount Zion, and all the luminaries be renewed for healing and for peace and for blessing for all the elect of Israel, and that thus it may be from that day and unto all the days of the earth

Moreover, according to the book one day in heaven corresponds to 1000 years on Earth.In the book , God promised man, "When five and a half days are full, I will be born of your offspring and save you". .Thus, 5.5 days make 5500 years until the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Below is an interesting article that might be relevant to the topic of discussion. I apologise for its length.

*****************************************************************************
"But when the time had fully come, God sent His only begotten Son..." Gal.4: 4   

How do the Ethiopian and the European (Gregorian) calendar differ?   

The difference is both in years and days. According to the Ethiopian calendar, the current year is 2001, which is clearly Seven (eight) years behind the Gregorian. The Ethiopian months are also lagging by seven, eight, nine or ten days depending on where the two calendars' months match. We have 12 months with 30 days each and a 13th month with five or six days. The 13th month is called "Pagumen" to mean the thirteenth. It is either six or five days whether the year is leap year. The hours of the day are not named and divided in the same way as in the European. For example, the European say 12 O'clock (AM) when it is actually 6 at midday. In the Ethiopian evenings are considered parts of the next day. In this article, it is attempted to give scriptural background to the 7/8  years difference in the calendars according to the teachings of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
 
The difference lies in determining the exact date of the birth of Christ. According to Dionasius, a Roman monk, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ was 753  years after the foundation of the city of Rome. It is according to his calculation that the world joins the second millennium, in spite of the fact that, researchers many years after him have already discovered he has made a mistake by at least four years. Their argument was based on the Biblical clues given at Mt. 2:1 and Lk.3: 1-3, 22-23. In Mt. 2.1, it was mentioned that Jesus was born during the time of King Herod. The King died just after the birth of Christ. Meanwhile, it was also recorded that the king died 750 years after the city of Rome was founded. The other Gospel tells us that Jesus was 30 by the time he began his ministry. It was also mentioned that this was the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. Historians proved that Tiberius came to power 765 years after Rome was founded. Fifteenth of his reign would be in 780, clearly showing a difference of four years from the calculation Dionasius has done. Thus the current European year would have been utmost 2005 AD only!

One would ask, "Why didn't they make these corrections? Why so far? ". One reason for this could be, that based on this calendar many historical records and other important dates and festivals have already been established. Correction would have meant losing of all these documents and reestablishing the dates, which might have created much conflict.

The Ethiopian Christians didn't base themselves on historical facts to decide the date on which Jesus was born. They used ages mentioned in many parts of the Holy Bible. According to their argument, God has nothing to do without reason. He must have meant something when He makes mention of these ages. If one contemplates on this he would draw a remarkable conclusion about this matter.

Moreover, the birth of our Lord was foretold. The time was also fixed. Jesus was not born suddenly. When was it? It is really a big question. How did the Magi come to Jerusalem to worship the infant Jesus? Indeed, they were wise men, and had the prophecy in their tradition that the King of the Jews, whose Kingdom will last forever, will be born in the holy land. It is also important to observe that the chief priests of Jerusalem were able to tell where he was born (Mt.2: 1-5). They knew the date (Dan. 9:24) and place (Mic.5:2). So we can be sure that there is sufficient information to fix the exact date just by following the stories in the Holy Bible and the prophecies.

 
From the St. Paul's, "When the time had fully come, God sent His only begotten son, born of a woman..." (Gal. 4:4) it was clearly indicated that there was a time period which human beings were supposed to wait. This was, according to Ethiopians, 5500 years. The same was mentioned in the tale of Abraham. This was a covenant given to Adam by God. When Adam was banished from Garden of Eden, he sought to get mercy of God. God told Adam that forgiveness of sin would not be obtained by his effort. He then promised him, "When five and a half days are full, I will be born of your offspring and save you". Note that one-day is one thousand years with God (2Pt.3: Cool. When this time (5500 years) had fully come, Jesus was born.  

Then the Ethiopian started to calculate this time following the pace of Biblical history from Genesis up to the time of Jesus the Christ.

The task was not so easy. It requires a good understanding of how the times were mentioned in the Holy Book. It is presented below in a simplified form. The story begins in the fifth chapter of Genesis: (Gen. 5:3)
 
* When Adam became the father of Seth he was 230
* When Seth became the father of Enosh he was 205
* When Enosh became the father of Kenan he was 190
* When Kenan became the father of Mahalalel he was 170
* When Mahalalel became a father of Jared he was 165
* When Jared became the father of Enoch he was 162
* When Enoch became the father of Methuselah he was 165
* When Methuselah became the father of Lamech he was 187
* When Lamech became the father of Noah he was 182
* The flood came at the 600 age of Noah 600

Sum 2256 years
 
Now, we finished the fifth chapter of Genesis. Let us now go to the 11th chapter of Genesis. Remember that here Shem's was selected only because Jesus Christ was in his line of generation.(Gen. 11:10)

* When Shem became the father of Arphaxad 2 years after the flood 002
* When Arphaxad became the father of Cainan he was 135
* When Cainan became the father of Shelah he was 130
* When shelah became the father of Eber he was 130
* When Eber became the father of Peleg he was 134
* When Peleg became the father of Reu he was 130
* When Reu became the father of Serug he was 132
* When Serug became the father of Nahur he was 130
* When Nahor became the father of Terah he was 109
* When Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran, he was 100
* At 75 Abraham went to exile from his relatives and family 075

Sum 1207years
 
The grand sum will be 2256 + 1207 = 3463 years. These above numbers are clearly presented and need no deep knowledge of the whole story of the Old Testament. The remaining ones are found scattered so require a rather better knowledge.
 
From the 75th age of Abraham to Exodus 430 years
From Exodus to Samuel 513 years
From Saul to Solomon 120 years
From Solomon to exile to Babylon 394 years
And in exile 70 years

Sum 1527 years
 
These sums up to 1527 and 3463 = 4990 years From here on the calculations are based on the verse on the Book of Daniel.(Dan. 9:24-25) In this verse the coming of the Messiah has been clearly stated as 62 sevens'. It goes, "From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens', and sixty-two 'sevens' ". The first seven 'sevens' which will amount will be 49 years and the sixty-two others will be 434 years. It is also mentioned that Ezra went to Jerusalem with the exile captives of Israel to build Jerusalem and the Temple at the seventh year of the reign of Artaxees. (Ezra7: 6-9). The first sevens will be from the issuing of the word to the end of the rebuilding of the temple. Mind you, the temple has taken 46 years to rebuild (John (2:20) and the three year difference is the time when the Israeli were banned from building (Ezra 1:1-6 & 23-24).

There is one subtle point to understand here. The sixty-two and the seven 'sevens' are not continuous. The beginning of this is the seventh year of the reign of Artaxees king of Persia (Ezra7: 6-9). This can be historically proved that it was the 76th year of the kingdom of Persia which includes the first seven 'sevens'. Therefore, these 76 years plus 434 (=62 x 7) it would be 510 years.

Finally, we reached the point. This total sum would establish the 5500 (=4990 + 510) years sought. The time God gave Adam to come to this World. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church based its calendar on this calculation.
 


Thank you for this wonderful post! This is another reason why I love our Church. While Protestants, Catholics, and even many Orthodox get confused by the demonic deception of evolution, our Scriptures and Tradition settle the matter clearly.

I hope others will read what you have posted and no longer be deceived.

Selam
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« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2009, 09:51:05 PM »

Thank you, Elias, for the information!  I just learned a lot about the Ethiopian tradition, which I didn't know before.  For my own edification, and the benefit of others, could you post a link to the article?  Also, do you have a link that could lead us to the Book of Jubilees, so we could read and learn more?  I am so glad you gave us this information.  Calendar issues always confuse me, and I feel the more I learn the better.   Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: September 13, 2009, 12:35:21 PM »

I'm sorry Gebre.  But I don't understand why you have to bring ad hominems to this discussion.  How would you feel if you were considered under the demonic deception of denialism?

If you also feel the Earth is 5500 years old, and you think that others who don't believe otherwise are demonic, well this has nothing to do with evolution really, you're insulting even most of the Coptic bishops, if not all.
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« Reply #34 on: September 13, 2009, 07:52:55 PM »

I'm sorry Gebre.  But I don't understand why you have to bring ad hominems to this discussion.  How would you feel if you were considered under the demonic deception of denialism?

If you also feel the Earth is 5500 years old, and you think that others who don't believe otherwise are demonic, well this has nothing to do with evolution really, you're insulting even most of the Coptic bishops, if not all.


I apologize if you interpreted my words as offensive. I tried to make it clear earlier that one's belief regarding the age of the earth does not have dire theological or moral implications. So you misrepresent my words when you accuse me of saying that anyone who doesn't believe in a young earth is demonic. I never came close to saying such a thing, and I never would.

But belief in macro evolution does have dire theological and moral implications, as I have previously explained. I do indeed think that macro evolution is a demonic deception, but that is not an ad hominem attack on my fellow Christians. 

Selam
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« Reply #35 on: September 13, 2009, 08:20:47 PM »

I'm sorry Gebre.  But I don't understand why you have to bring ad hominems to this discussion.  How would you feel if you were considered under the demonic deception of denialism?

If you also feel the Earth is 5500 years old, and you think that others who don't believe otherwise are demonic, well this has nothing to do with evolution really, you're insulting even most of the Coptic bishops, if not all.
Brother Mina:

     While you are indeed correct in saying that the Coptic Church does not require one to believe in a literal six days of creation, it most certainly does not teach that Darwinian (Macro) evolution is an acceptable belief.

     Pope Shenouda, in volume one of "So Many Years with the Problems of People", does in fact say that the "days" of creation are allegorical, in fact since there was no sun prior to the fourth "day" the solar day could not have existed. But he was really saying that science has no argument against the Biblical account of creation based on the age of the Earth

Quote from:  "Pope Shenouda III"
Let the geologists say then whatever they want about the age
of the earth; for the Bible did not mention any age for the
earth that may contradict the views of the geologists.

But to reject a literal seven days is far from embracing Macro Evolution. The most complete English work on the subject by a Coptic Clergyman is "Creation vs Evolution" by Fr. Markos Hanna. In his introduction he says:

Quote from: Fr.Hanna
The creation-evolution question is certainly the most important area of apparent conflict between the Bible and science.

It is a great mistake for Christians to compromise on this issue, or maybe even worse, to ignore it. (emphasis in the original)

He goes on to say in his first chapter
Quote from: Fr.Hanna
(T)hose who seek to honor God should realize that evolution is naturalistic and materialistic by its very nature. It is merely an attempt to explain the origin of things without God.... Evolution is also in conflict with the teachings of Christ"

I highly recommend this work, as it reflects the teaching of the Church as I have heard it expressed without exception.

It is important to recognize that the age of the Earth and the origin of life are two separate discussions, and by conflating them one damages truth. 
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« Reply #36 on: September 13, 2009, 08:57:33 PM »

Thank you, Elias, for the information!  I just learned a lot about the Ethiopian tradition, which I didn't know before.  For my own edification, and the benefit of others, could you post a link to the article?  Also, do you have a link that could lead us to the Book of Jubilees, so we could read and learn more?  I am so glad you gave us this information.  Calendar issues always confuse me, and I feel the more I learn the better.   Smiley


Dear Salpy;

The link to the source of the article could be found here: http://www.ethiopianorthodoxchurch.org/eotc-history.php

This article is actually taken from a book written in Amharic and translated into English.For those native speakers who could get hold of the book, the title and name of the authors :'YEZEMEN AKOTATER' , By A.Gebremariam and G.Mehari.The title refers to the method of calculating /counting the ages/centuries.

As for the Book of Jubilee, I use the online version at http://reluctant-messenger.com/book_jubilees.htm. I am not certain, if the translation is trustworthy, though. But it is a reet good read.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2009, 08:58:19 PM by Elias » Logged
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« Reply #37 on: September 13, 2009, 09:04:33 PM »

I think the most important thing to consider is whether or not it matters on a theological level. If we take the old earth evolutionary form of creationism to be true, does it compromise the salvation story that we find in the Scriptures? If it does not, I don't see why it's all that big of a deal what people believe on the subject.

Old earth is necessary for evolution, however the converse is not true, that is young earth is not a requirement for Creation.

To believe in an old earth is not against faith. To believe that man evolved from lower life forms creates problems. They are not the same.

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I agree that it is not representative of the consensus of the Church. But I don't understand it when you say that it's not representative of a stream of thought within the Church. Would you say that the view of one Bishop also isn't enough to establish a stream of thought within the Church?

"Streams of thought within the Church" implies a consensus theology and evolution of doctrine. Neither of these are Orthodox concepts. Orthodoxy is about revealed truth and its transmission from generation to generation. The thoughts of single Bishops or Priests, especially taken from private conversation and without context are not the teaching of the Church.



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« Reply #38 on: September 13, 2009, 09:17:09 PM »

Thank you, Elias, for the information!  I just learned a lot about the Ethiopian tradition, which I didn't know before.  For my own edification, and the benefit of others, could you post a link to the article?  Also, do you have a link that could lead us to the Book of Jubilees, so we could read and learn more?  I am so glad you gave us this information.  Calendar issues always confuse me, and I feel the more I learn the better.   Smiley


Dear Salpy;

The link to the source of the article could be found here: http://www.ethiopianorthodoxchurch.org/eotc-history.php

This article is actually taken from a book written in Amharic and translated into English.For those native speakers who could get hold of the book, the title and name of the authors :'YEZEMEN AKOTATER' , By A.Gebremariam and G.Mehari.The title refers to the method of calculating /counting the ages/centuries.

As for the Book of Jubilee, I use the online version at http://reluctant-messenger.com/book_jubilees.htm. I am not certain, if the translation is trustworthy, though. But it is a reet good read.


Thank you so much!   Smiley
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« Reply #39 on: September 14, 2009, 12:17:01 AM »

Dear Coptic Kev,

I respectfully disagree with Fr. Markos' assertion that evolution contradict's Christ teachings.  Yes, evolution is a materialistic explanation.  Is Abouna suggesting that we should teach God created in science classes?  Medicine is the materialistic study to heal patients.  Are we to say God causes the drugs to help you in medical school?  Chemistry is the materialistic study of molecular interactions.  Are we to say God separates the oil from water?  The human body, the flesh, bones, skin, blood, and brain, are all materialistic.  There's nothing in this that contradicts my beliefs in Christianity.  Science in its true essence is materialistic and has nothing to do with theistic or philosophical beliefs.  Evolution is the materialistic study of change in alleles.  To study and understand materialistic nature has nothing to do with contradicting Christian teachings.  To believe in radical materialism will contradict Christ's teachings.  I remember going to a Coptic youth convention 3 or 4 years ago where finally, a servant who understood fully well what evolution was taught us to differentiate between the science of evolution and the philosophy/"religion" of evolution, in which the latter has nothing really to do with evolution, but rather the whole basis of atheism, which is something that is not even taught in science classes.  In the end, this servant actually taught publically one can still accept evolution and be a good Orthodox Christian.

This also leads to another issue.  A lot of the arguments I heard made by clerics on evolution either come from a misunderstanding of the scientific knowledge, a selective rehash of Protestant Young Earth garbage (notice I said "selective"), or on wrong assumptions all which make us, quite frankly, look embarassing.

With that said, I am one who accepts the reality of evolution, and I find nothing in it to lead to "dire theological consequences" as Gebre believes, and I don't think I am demonically deceived in believing so.  Plus, our friend Elias was giving us a proof from the book of Jubilees how the Ethiopian Church seems to correctly believe in young earth.  This was praised by Gebre and went on to call evolution demonically deceived belief.  Maybe he didn't mean it, but implied by his praise and subsequent condemnation/insult, I took as an insult not just to myself, but to even those who believed in old earth creationism, since he recommends people to read Elias' post and "no longer be deceived."


Anyway, I'm giving two links on the debate I partook on this subject. I've heard all the arguments I can fathom.  So before making any repetitive arguments, I suggest reading these threads.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,4959
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15104

God bless.
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« Reply #40 on: September 14, 2009, 12:23:20 AM »

I want to remind everyone of the inquiry of the OP. My question was what do our Non-Chalcedonian Churches teach regarding evolution? Not what individuals believe or what certain strains within the Church promote. What matters to me is the teaching of the Church.

Thank you.

Selam 
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« Reply #41 on: September 14, 2009, 12:30:48 AM »

I want to remind everyone of the inquiry of the OP. My question was what do our Non-Chalcedonian Churches teach regarding evolution? Not what individuals believe or what certain strains within the Church promote. What matters to me is the teaching of the Church.

Thank you.

Selam 

There is at the moment no Coptic Synodical stand on the issue.  So therefore, the answer is there is really no official view as far as the Coptic Church stands.
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« Reply #42 on: September 14, 2009, 12:44:15 AM »

I want to remind everyone of the inquiry of the OP. My question was what do our Non-Chalcedonian Churches teach regarding evolution? Not what individuals believe or what certain strains within the Church promote. What matters to me is the teaching of the Church.

Thank you.

Selam 

There is at the moment no Coptic Synodical stand on the issue.  So therefore, the answer is there is really no official view as far as the Coptic Church stands.

Thank you for your answer.

Please understand that my acceptance of the Ethiopian Orthodox teaching regarding the age of the earth does not mean that I am disparaging you or others personally. But since my Church teaches the earth is less than 10,000 years old, then that precludes the possibility of macro evolution. And when others promote as "factual science" that which clearly contradicts the teachings of  my Church, then either they are deceived or the Church is deceived. And I shall never trust the opinion of humanistic science over the teaching of my Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

I hope you understand, and that you will stop thinking that I am personally attacking you or anyone else.

Peace to you.

Selam
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« Reply #43 on: September 14, 2009, 01:03:02 AM »

OK, let me sum up here:

Armenian Church:  No official position;

Coptic Church:  No official position;

Ethiopian Church:  The earth is too young to allow for the possibility of macro evolution.

Someone correct me if I got the above wrong.

Do any Syriac or Indian Orthodox persons want to contribute here?
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« Reply #44 on: September 14, 2009, 01:12:54 AM »

Gebre,

This is not an official warning, but rather a friendly reminder, to monitor your rhetoric.  I really don't believe you intended to insult anyone, but you got to realize that "demonic deception" can be considered offensive to many.  You're entitled to your feelings on the matter, just try to find a nicer way to say it.  Just read over your posts before you click the "post" button.  Thanks.
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