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Question: How would you describe your beliefs regarding God's creation?
Creationism (literal 6 days) - 6 (16.7%)
Theistic Evolution (evolution is God's tool) - 17 (47.2%)
Apathetic (don't care) - 6 (16.7%)
Atheistic Evolution - 1 (2.8%)
Other - 6 (16.7%)
Total Voters: 36

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Author Topic: Interpretation of Genesis, literal or spiritual?  (Read 4537 times) Average Rating: 0
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stavros_388
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« Reply #90 on: November 05, 2012, 09:17:22 AM »

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Maybe he meant he saw the Lords back.

According to "Orthodox Dogmatic Theology", by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky, he did not. At least, not literally. Neither did God have feet. And neither is heaven a physical place. Black-and-white, either-or thinking don't do scripture justice, in my opinion.

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« Reply #91 on: November 05, 2012, 09:39:06 AM »

"However, concerning the spiritual nature of God the Scripture speaks beginning with the very first words of the book of Genesis, and to the Prophet Moses God revealed Himself as He Who Is, as the pure, spiritual, Most High Existence. Therefore, by bodily symbols the Scripture teaches us to understand the spiritual attributes and actions of God."

-- Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky, p.64, "Orthodox Dogmatic Theology"

"According to the Scriptures, God sleeps, He awakens, He grows angry, He walks, and He has the Cherubim as His throne. But when did He ever have infirmity? And have you ever heard that God is a body? Here there is presented something which does not exist in reality. For, in accordance with our own understanding we have given names to the things of God which are taken from ourselves... He walks, because walking is going from one place to another. He reposes and as it were dwells in the holy powers - and we have called this a 'sitting', and a 'sitting on a throne', which is likewise characteristic of us, for the Divinity does not repose in any place as well as in the saints. A swift movement we call 'flying'. If there is a beholding, we think of a 'face'; if there is a giving and a receiving, we speak of a 'hand'. Likewise, every other power and every other action of God are depicted among us by something taken from bodily things."

-- St. Gregory the Theologian, Homily 31, Fifth Theological Oration, "On the Holy Spirit" (as quoted on  p.64 and 65, "Orthodox Dogmatic Theology" )

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« Reply #92 on: November 05, 2012, 10:08:56 AM »

For those of us who take Genesis literally and we are to be textually faithfull how do we understand the waters, they were never actually said to be spoken into existance by God.  Are the waters then an eternal pre-existant substance?
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« Reply #93 on: November 05, 2012, 10:18:41 AM »

I'm cOnFuSed now.. I've always thought the appearances of God in Genesis, Exodus is the preincarnate Logos ?.
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jckstraw72
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« Reply #94 on: November 05, 2012, 10:33:37 AM »

How do you view Genesis, is it to be interpreted absolutely literally, and against science? Is it a holy, God-inspired work about our salvation which is not to be taken as a scientific document?

I also included a few other options for convenience as well, that way you are not compelled to take a side.

Also for discussion, should we interpret it absolutely literally, or should we interpret Genesis in a manner similar to other mystical and symbolical books of the Bible (allegorically, historically, typologically etc...)?

Is evolution simply the work of Satan used to deceive us? Or is it the likely reality of where we come from and simply the result of science discovering God's work?

What do the Jews believe, that would be the place to start.  Genesis was written thousands of years B.C. The Jews opinion on Genesis would be proper to get a good understanding.

Interpretations from me, some what 4-5,000 years later...  Shocked

God Bless Smiley

He already dismissed Jewish views on scripture earlier in the thread and said we don’t operate this way any longer.  Its new age Orthodoxy.

Shall we interpret the words of the God-seeing Prophet Moses, then, by the method of the Pharisees or that of the Sadducees?

I suggest by the words of Moses.

But the Prophet's words do not interpret themselves. What did the Prophet mean when he wrote that he saw the Lord's back, for example? Our God-bearing Fathers have had different things to say about the meaning of those words.
Maybe he meant he saw the Lords back.

Kerdy, I appreciate your posts and your positions, but we do need to make sure that we interpret the Scriptures as the Fathers did. God does not literally have a back - He is immaterial. If I recall correctly, St. Gregory of Nyssa says this is speaking of God's energies.
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« Reply #95 on: November 07, 2012, 07:22:48 AM »

“Over analysis” is a phrase which keeps popping up in my mind when I read this thread.  I wonder why.
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« Reply #96 on: November 07, 2012, 03:50:51 PM »

Kerdy, it has just been clearly demonstrated that the Fathers are against you in this and you flippantly accuse us who follow their interpretation of "over-analysis". Are you sure you're in the right Church?
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« Reply #97 on: November 08, 2012, 04:38:50 AM »

I have some questions and looking for understand.

1. Did God literally create us from the Dust of this Earth ?. Genesis 2:7
2. When Adam & Eve fell, God sent them out of the Garden. He made them Garments of Skin for Adam and his Wife. (Genesis 3:21) Are the Garments of Skin the skin we currently have at the moment or did he literally make us garments of skin from animals?.

Thanks

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« Reply #98 on: November 08, 2012, 09:29:41 AM »

Kerdy, it has just been clearly demonstrated that the Fathers are against you in this and you flippantly accuse us who follow their interpretation of "over-analysis". Are you sure you're in the right Church?
Over analysis of what I am saying.  But I do thank you for proving my point.  As to the jab of if I am in the right church, are you sure you don't have a Protestant lingering in the shadows of your mind?  That sounds exactly like something one of them would say.
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« Reply #99 on: November 08, 2012, 09:35:41 AM »

I have some questions and looking for understand.

1. Did God literally create us from the Dust of this Earth ?. Genesis 2:7
2. When Adam & Eve fell, God sent them out of the Garden. He made them Garments of Skin for Adam and his Wife. (Genesis 3:21) Are the Garments of Skin the skin we currently have at the moment or did he literally make us garments of skin from animals?.

Thanks


It all depends on who you ask.  

My answers would be yes and animal skin as clothing over human skin. 

Then again, some would say neither due to some sort of belief Adam and Eve were not real people.
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« Reply #100 on: November 08, 2012, 09:40:26 AM »

I just want to ensure I understand the process here.  God gives a message to a prophet.  The prophet delivers that message.  The people rejoice.  But it isn't until thousands of years later that someone figures out what the prophet actually meant to say.  Apparently, that prophet couldn't interpret what they meant and said something else.  Is this one of those "bad actually means good" things or bible code/riddle scenarios?
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« Reply #101 on: November 08, 2012, 09:45:39 AM »

Curious..if my child asks me if Santa Clause is real and I provide the jolly fat man story to make her happy, did I lie or tell the truth?
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« Reply #102 on: November 08, 2012, 10:20:49 AM »

Curious..if my child asks me if Santa Clause is real and I provide the jolly fat man story to make her happy, did I lie or tell the truth?
Neither. And both. Why does it have to be one or the other?
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« Reply #103 on: November 08, 2012, 10:42:27 AM »

I just want to ensure I understand the process here.  God gives a message to a prophet.  The prophet delivers that message.  The people rejoice.  But it isn't until thousands of years later that someone figures out what the prophet actually meant to say. 
The Church has always known what Genesis means to say: that God created the world.
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« Reply #104 on: November 08, 2012, 01:57:02 PM »

I just want to ensure I understand the process here.  God gives a message to a prophet.  The prophet delivers that message.  The people rejoice.  But it isn't until thousands of years later that someone figures out what the prophet actually meant to say.  Apparently, that prophet couldn't interpret what they meant and said something else.  Is this one of those "bad actually means good" things or bible code/riddle scenarios?

The problem with that process is that most of the time, the people didn't rejoice, they rejected the prophet. His message wouldn't be accepted until a long time after.

Kerdy, it has just been clearly demonstrated that the Fathers are against you in this and you flippantly accuse us who follow their interpretation of "over-analysis". Are you sure you're in the right Church?
Over analysis of what I am saying.  But I do thank you for proving my point.  As to the jab of if I am in the right church, are you sure you don't have a Protestant lingering in the shadows of your mind?  That sounds exactly like something one of them would say.

Actually, I'd say that out of all of us here, your view is the one which is the most like the Protestants and the Fundamentalists.

I'll refer you to some official Orthodox sources about the Bible and some of the things we are discussing.

The Bible & How the Orthodox Church uses it: http://oca.org/questions/scripture/bible

Evolution & Orthodoxy: http://oca.org/questions/contempmoral/evolution-orthodoxy

Scripture in the Orthodox Church: http://www.antiochian.org/discover/scripture

Faculty Statement on Creation Science and Evolution Science at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology: http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/religioused/resourcesforteachers/Faculty%20Statement%20on%20Creation%20and%20Evolution.pdf

I have some questions and looking for understand.

1. Did God literally create us from the Dust of this Earth ?. Genesis 2:7
2. When Adam & Eve fell, God sent them out of the Garden. He made them Garments of Skin for Adam and his Wife. (Genesis 3:21) Are the Garments of Skin the skin we currently have at the moment or did he literally make us garments of skin from animals?.

Thanks



The short answer is that the Church doesn't tell us how to interpret it.

My personal answer is that no, God didn't literally create us from the dust of the earth, and no, God didn't literally make them "garments of skin". All of those are meant to convey a deeper meaning. We see that Adam & Eve hid themselves from God and clothed themselves to hide their 'Nakedness". Their nakedness is symbolic of their fallen nature, their sin.

Also, there are some parts of the Bible which talk about God doing something, or "feeling" a certain way, and aren't necessarily mean to convey and actual literal truth. An example of this would be God becoming "wrathful" or "angry". Which God cannot do, but rather it is using human language to convey something spiritual and something that we cannot comprehend, that we can't possibly understand.

Curious..if my child asks me if Santa Clause is real and I provide the jolly fat man story to make her happy, did I lie or tell the truth?

Children are a little different than adults. When our children are learning the Bible, we tell them simpler stories and more literal stories. As they grow older, they begin to understand more and move past that elementary level. This is a simple fact of life and the development of our brains, they are incapable of certain reasoning skills that adults are capable of (but don't always utilize well).

So, well yes, you lied to her because Santa Claus does not exist. But it's an acceptable lie because while also teaching her throughout her childhood into adulthood, she will begin to understand that he isn't real, but the spirit that he is meant to represent is real.

Rather, the better decision is to speak honestly. I probably won't teach my kids that Santa Claus is real. Rather, I will teach them about the real St. Nicholas, whose story is real and far greater than the legend of Santa Claus.

I just want to ensure I understand the process here.  God gives a message to a prophet.  The prophet delivers that message.  The people rejoice.  But it isn't until thousands of years later that someone figures out what the prophet actually meant to say.
The Church has always known what Genesis means to say: that God created the world.

Exactly Jetavan.
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« Reply #105 on: November 08, 2012, 03:42:37 PM »

I just want to ensure I understand the process here.  God gives a message to a prophet.  The prophet delivers that message.  The people rejoice.  But it isn't until thousands of years later that someone figures out what the prophet actually meant to say.  Apparently, that prophet couldn't interpret what they meant and said something else.  Is this one of those "bad actually means good" things or bible code/riddle scenarios?

You mean like John 6, where everyone immediately perceived what the Lord meant?
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« Reply #106 on: November 09, 2012, 05:31:41 AM »

Curious..if my child asks me if Santa Clause is real and I provide the jolly fat man story to make her happy, did I lie or tell the truth?
Neither. And both. Why does it have to be one or the other?

Because only one is the truth.  In turn, why in the world would God provide us the jolly fat man story when it's easier, faster, and better simply to cut to the meant and potatos?  My guess, He wouldn't.  If He did, it was the only time.
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« Reply #107 on: November 09, 2012, 05:32:49 AM »

I just want to ensure I understand the process here.  God gives a message to a prophet.  The prophet delivers that message.  The people rejoice.  But it isn't until thousands of years later that someone figures out what the prophet actually meant to say. 
The Church has always known what Genesis means to say: that God created the world.

Of course, but when one questions the means, eventually one questions the event.  This is human nature and proven itself true countless times.
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« Reply #108 on: November 09, 2012, 05:34:11 AM »

The short answer is that the Church doesn't tell us how to interpret it.

And yet, you feel it your duty to do this very thing.
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« Reply #109 on: November 09, 2012, 05:47:24 AM »

I just want to ensure I understand the process here.  God gives a message to a prophet.  The prophet delivers that message.  The people rejoice.  But it isn't until thousands of years later that someone figures out what the prophet actually meant to say.  Apparently, that prophet couldn't interpret what they meant and said something else.  Is this one of those "bad actually means good" things or bible code/riddle scenarios?

You mean like John 6, where everyone immediately perceived what the Lord meant?

I mean like Nebakanezer’s dream.  Daniel, the prophet, knew exactly what it meant.  God provided that for him.  It didn't take a thousand years for some college prep to decide what it meant.  But someone Daniels words couldn't, according to some, be interpreted then, like Moses, or Jesus for that matter (Temple destruction) or a great many other prophetic events.  Creation wasn’t written as a prophecy, it was written as a historical event.  When John the Baptist went around preaching of the coming of the Messiah, could his words not be interpreted for another 1000 years or did people know right then what he meant? 

Seriously folks, think about ALL of biblical and church history when you decide what you do and don’t want to believe.  Not just bits and pieces.  If God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, why do people feel the need to change how He works to fit their ideas?  A little consistency would be great.
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« Reply #110 on: November 09, 2012, 07:43:56 AM »

I just want to ensure I understand the process here.  God gives a message to a prophet.  The prophet delivers that message.  The people rejoice.  But it isn't until thousands of years later that someone figures out what the prophet actually meant to say.  Apparently, that prophet couldn't interpret what they meant and said something else.  Is this one of those "bad actually means good" things or bible code/riddle scenarios?

You mean like John 6, where everyone immediately perceived what the Lord meant?

I mean like Nebakanezer’s dream.  Daniel, the prophet, knew exactly what it meant.  God provided that for him.  It didn't take a thousand years for some college prep to decide what it meant.  But someone Daniels words couldn't, according to some, be interpreted then, like Moses, or Jesus for that matter (Temple destruction) or a great many other prophetic events.  Creation wasn’t written as a prophecy, it was written as a historical event.  When John the Baptist went around preaching of the coming of the Messiah, could his words not be interpreted for another 1000 years or did people know right then what he meant? 

Seriously folks, think about ALL of biblical and church history when you decide what you do and don’t want to believe.  Not just bits and pieces.  If God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, why do people feel the need to change how He works to fit their ideas?  A little consistency would be great.


Your argument is not with us, but with the Fathers.
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« Reply #111 on: November 09, 2012, 09:58:40 AM »


Seriously folks, think about ALL of biblical and church history when you decide what you do and don’t want to believe.  Not just bits and pieces.  If God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, why do people feel the need to change how He works to fit their ideas?  A little consistency would be great.

And yet look at what you're trying to do by lining everything up as "truth" or "lie".

Curious..if my child asks me if Santa Clause is real and I provide the jolly fat man story to make her happy, did I lie or tell the truth?
Neither. And both. Why does it have to be one or the other?

Because only one is the truth.  In turn, why in the world would God provide us the jolly fat man story when it's easier, faster, and better simply to cut to the meant and potatos?  My guess, He wouldn't.  If He did, it was the only time.

Telling stories - fictional and often rationally unbelievable ones - is a means of conveying truth. It is done in all cultures and faiths - including Christianity. Why did Jesus tell the parable of the Good Samaritan - couldn't he have just "cut to the meat and potatoes" and said: "Help your neighbour. It's the right thing to do." Was His story the truth or a lie?

Outside of Christianity, what about Aesop's Fables? They're not "true", yet they teach truth. What about all the children's fairy tales we have enjoyed? Finding a deeper and hidden truth might not always be their purpose, but they open up a sense of wonder and beauty - which is a sort of truth, I suppose.

To use your example, "Santa Claus" is just as true as "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". If you are going to show "a little consistency", then do I take it that you are depriving your children of all these stories? I hope not. They are all teaching opportunities.

And what do you do with such things as the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple - the Feast we will soon celebrate? There is little reason to believe that it is historically accurate (not impossible, I know - I'm leaving some wiggle room here  Wink). Is the Church teaching the truth or a lie?

My point is that when it comes to what is truth and what is a lie, the waters become rather murky. Stories are meant to create wonder, amazement, imagination, and take us beyond ourselves and our present world. When we start to pigeon-hole everything into truth vs lie, or literal vs spiritual we lose that sense of awe and beauty.
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« Reply #112 on: November 09, 2012, 11:02:22 AM »

Perhaps a better way to say that heaven is not a physical place is by saying, we can't hop into a space ship, fly a long ways and reach heaven (or hell for that matter).  We aren't Mormons who believe God lives on the planet Kolob.  Perhaps it would be more palatable to you if we were to say they exist in a different dimension than we exist in.  For example, you are looking at this screen which is 2 dimensional and reading the words that I write.  That is a very limited way of understanding what I think and who I am.  If you were able to see the three dimensional me typing this letter and thinking what I am writing, you would have a much "realer" understanding of the reality of my beliefs.  This can be a considered an example of God.  We operate in 3 dimensions and travel through a 4th (time)  God is not confined by those 4 dimensions and can move, communicate and exist in countless dimensions.  In that sense, he is much "realer" that our physical world. We can consider heaven/hell to exist on that same plane.  We as Orthodox  view heaven and hell more as a relational positioning with God rather than a physical one.

 
Is "realer" a real word?

(Please note, I am just trying to give an example, I am not saying that this example of dimensions should be considered the literal truth or that it is Church dogma.)
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« Reply #113 on: November 10, 2012, 06:59:34 AM »

I just want to ensure I understand the process here.  God gives a message to a prophet.  The prophet delivers that message.  The people rejoice.  But it isn't until thousands of years later that someone figures out what the prophet actually meant to say.  Apparently, that prophet couldn't interpret what they meant and said something else.  Is this one of those "bad actually means good" things or bible code/riddle scenarios?

You mean like John 6, where everyone immediately perceived what the Lord meant?

I mean like Nebakanezer’s dream.  Daniel, the prophet, knew exactly what it meant.  God provided that for him.  It didn't take a thousand years for some college prep to decide what it meant.  But someone Daniels words couldn't, according to some, be interpreted then, like Moses, or Jesus for that matter (Temple destruction) or a great many other prophetic events.  Creation wasn’t written as a prophecy, it was written as a historical event.  When John the Baptist went around preaching of the coming of the Messiah, could his words not be interpreted for another 1000 years or did people know right then what he meant?  

Seriously folks, think about ALL of biblical and church history when you decide what you do and don’t want to believe.  Not just bits and pieces.  If God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, why do people feel the need to change how He works to fit their ideas?  A little consistency would be great.


Your argument is not with us, but with the Fathers.

All of them?

There isn't even one of them who viewed it in a literal sense?  Not one?
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« Reply #114 on: November 10, 2012, 07:02:06 AM »


Seriously folks, think about ALL of biblical and church history when you decide what you do and don’t want to believe.  Not just bits and pieces.  If God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, why do people feel the need to change how He works to fit their ideas?  A little consistency would be great.

And yet look at what you're trying to do by lining everything up as "truth" or "lie".

Curious..if my child asks me if Santa Clause is real and I provide the jolly fat man story to make her happy, did I lie or tell the truth?
Neither. And both. Why does it have to be one or the other?

Because only one is the truth.  In turn, why in the world would God provide us the jolly fat man story when it's easier, faster, and better simply to cut to the meant and potatos?  My guess, He wouldn't.  If He did, it was the only time.

Telling stories - fictional and often rationally unbelievable ones - is a means of conveying truth. It is done in all cultures and faiths - including Christianity. Why did Jesus tell the parable of the Good Samaritan - couldn't he have just "cut to the meat and potatoes" and said: "Help your neighbour. It's the right thing to do." Was His story the truth or a lie?

Outside of Christianity, what about Aesop's Fables? They're not "true", yet they teach truth. What about all the children's fairy tales we have enjoyed? Finding a deeper and hidden truth might not always be their purpose, but they open up a sense of wonder and beauty - which is a sort of truth, I suppose.

To use your example, "Santa Claus" is just as true as "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". If you are going to show "a little consistency", then do I take it that you are depriving your children of all these stories? I hope not. They are all teaching opportunities.

And what do you do with such things as the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple - the Feast we will soon celebrate? There is little reason to believe that it is historically accurate (not impossible, I know - I'm leaving some wiggle room here  Wink). Is the Church teaching the truth or a lie?

My point is that when it comes to what is truth and what is a lie, the waters become rather murky. Stories are meant to create wonder, amazement, imagination, and take us beyond ourselves and our present world. When we start to pigeon-hole everything into truth vs lie, or literal vs spiritual we lose that sense of awe and beauty.

I suppose we must ultimately agree to disagree on the approach to these things.   Smiley
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« Reply #115 on: November 10, 2012, 10:38:44 PM »

I just want to ensure I understand the process here.  God gives a message to a prophet.  The prophet delivers that message.  The people rejoice.  But it isn't until thousands of years later that someone figures out what the prophet actually meant to say.  Apparently, that prophet couldn't interpret what they meant and said something else.  Is this one of those "bad actually means good" things or bible code/riddle scenarios?

You mean like John 6, where everyone immediately perceived what the Lord meant?

I mean like Nebakanezer’s dream.  Daniel, the prophet, knew exactly what it meant.  God provided that for him.  It didn't take a thousand years for some college prep to decide what it meant.  But someone Daniels words couldn't, according to some, be interpreted then, like Moses, or Jesus for that matter (Temple destruction) or a great many other prophetic events.  Creation wasn’t written as a prophecy, it was written as a historical event.  When John the Baptist went around preaching of the coming of the Messiah, could his words not be interpreted for another 1000 years or did people know right then what he meant?  

Seriously folks, think about ALL of biblical and church history when you decide what you do and don’t want to believe.  Not just bits and pieces.  If God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, why do people feel the need to change how He works to fit their ideas?  A little consistency would be great.


Your argument is not with us, but with the Fathers.

All of them?

There isn't even one of them who viewed it in a literal sense?  Not one?

Did a little fast action research and look what I found.

The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus
Chapter XV.—The false and the true Sabbath.

Further,1654also, it is written concerning the Sabbath in the Decalogue which [the Lord] spoke, face to face, to Moses on Mount Sinai, “And sanctify ye the Sabbath of the Lord with clean hands and a pure heart.”1655And He says in another place, “If my sons keep the Sabbath, then will I cause my mercy to rest upon them.”1656The Sabbath is mentioned at the beginning of the creation [thus]: “And God made in six days the works of His hands, and made an end on the seventh day, and rested on it, and sanctified it.”1657Attend, my children, to the meaning of this expression, “He finished in six days.” This implieth that the Lord will finish all things in six thousand years, for a day is1658with Him a thousand years. And He Himself testifieth,1659saying, “Behold, to-day1660 will be as a thousand years.”1661Therefore, my children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, all things will be finished. “And He rested on the seventh day.” This meaneth: when His Son, coming [again], shall destroy the time of the wicked man,1662and judge the ungodly, and change the-sun, and the moon,1663 and the stars, then shall He truly rest on the seventh day.

Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, was a disciple of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, a disciple of the Apostle John, speaks of a literal Adam and Eve as he wrote:

“For it is said, 'There was made in the evening, and there was made in the morning, one day.' Now in this same day that they did eat, in that also did they die.”

He also speaks of a  literal six-day Creation:

“And God brought to a conclusion upon the sixth day the works that He had made; and God rested upon the seventh day from all His works. This is an account of the things formerly created, as also it is a prophecy of what is to come. For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years; and in six days created things were completed: it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand year.”

Hippolytus, Bishop of Portus, was a student of Irenaeus, and wrote:

“And six thousand years must needs be accomplished… for 'a day with the Lord is as a thousand years.' Since, then, in six days God made all things, it follows that 6,000 years must be fulfilled.”


Augustine wrote:

“fewer than 6,000 years have passed since man’s first origin,”
 
When he wrote City of God, he stated

“The world was in fact made with time, if at the time of its creation change and motion came into existence. This is clearly the situation in the order of the first six or seven days, in which morning and evening are named, until God’s creation was finished on the sixth day, and on the seventh day God’s rest is emphasized as something conveying a mystic meaning. What kind of days these are is difficult or even impossible for us to imagine, to say nothing of describing them.
In our experience, of course, the days with which we are familiar only have an evening because the sun sets, and a morning because the sun rises; whereas those first three days passed without the sun, which was made, we are told, on the fourth day. The narrative does indeed tell that light was created by God…. But what kind of light that was, and with what alternating movement the distinction was made, and what was the nature of this evening and this morning; these are questions beyond the scope of our sensible experience. We cannot understand what happened as it is presented to us; and yet we must believe it without hesitation.”

In reference to Adam and Eve, Jesus said:

“But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female”

Theophilus referencing Adam and Eve:

Man, therefore, God made on the sixth day, and made known this creation after the seventh day, when also He made Paradise, that he might be in a better and distinctly superior place. And that this is true, the fact itself proves. For how can one miss seeing that the pains which women suffer in childbed, and the oblivion of their labours which they afterwards enjoy, are sent in order that the word of God may be fulfilled, and that the race of men may increase and multiply? And do we not see also the judgment of the serpent, — how hatefully he crawls on his belly and eats the dust, — that we may have this, too, for a proof of the things which were said aforetime?

He even added up the time from Adam until the flood as 2242 years and 3278 years when Abraham begat Issac.   3278 years from the Creation of Adam until Issac.

Clement of Alexandria

For the creation of the world was concluded in six days. For the motion of the sun from solstice to solstice is completed in six months – in the course of which, at one time the leaves fall, and at another plants bud and seeds come to maturity. And they say that the embryo is perfected exactly in the sixth month, that is, in one hundred and eighty days in addition to the two and a half, as Polybus the physician relates in his book On the Eighth Month, and Aristotle the philosopher in his book On Nature. Hence the Pythagoreans, as I think, reckon six the perfect number, from the creation of the world.

Lactantius, a scholar who tutored Emperor Constantine’s son, Crispus, wrote:

 “Therefore, since all the works of God were completed in six days, the world must continue in its present state through six ages, that is, six thousand years.”

Plato and many others of the philosophers, since they were ignorant of the origin of all things, and of that primal period at which the world was made, said that many thousands of ages had passed since this beautiful arrangement of the world was completed; foolishly saythat they possess comprised in their memorials four hundred and seventy thousand years; in which matter … they believed that they were at liberty to speak falsely. But we, whom the Holy Scriptures instruct to the knowledge of the truth, know the beginning and the end of the world … Therefore let the philosophers, who enumerate thousands of ages from the beginning of the world, know that the six thousandth year is not yet completed, and that when this number is completed the consummation must take place, and the condition of human affairs be remodeled for the better, the proof of which must first be related, that the matter itself may be plain. God completed the world and this admirable work of nature in the space of six days, as is contained in the secrets of Holy Scripture, and consecrated the seventh day, on which He had rested from His works.

Victorinus
To me, as I meditate and consider in my mind concerning the creation of this world in which we are kept enclosed, even such is the rapidity of that creation; as is contained in the book of Moses, which he wrote about its creation, and which is called Genesis. God produced that entire mass for the adornment of His majesty in six days; on the seventh to which He consecrated it … In the beginning God made the light, and divided it in the exact measure of twelve hours by day and by night, for this reason…


So it appears I am not really in argument with the Fathers at all.  Much of it is available in the Christian Classics Ethereal Library if you want to look it up.
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« Reply #116 on: November 11, 2012, 10:59:09 PM »

Kerdy, I never said that individual Fathers do not understand parts or all of the Book of Genesis literally. What I said was that the Fathers do not baulk at pronouncing that certain parts of the Holy Scriptures cannot be understood literally and must be understood allegorically or typologically.

I think it is very admirable that you are zealous for the truth of the Holy Scriptures and I do not say that your interpretation of them is wrong. I am only saying that you are not at liberty to say that they must be understood literally in all their parts. You must accept that the Fathers were not strict literalists, though they at times did insist upon the historicity of certain scriptural narratives: that is inescapable.
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« Reply #117 on: November 11, 2012, 11:10:45 PM »

If God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, why do people feel the need to change how He works to fit their ideas?  A little consistency would be great.

The Devil is in the details.
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« Reply #118 on: November 12, 2012, 04:40:57 AM »

Kerdy, I never said that individual Fathers do not understand parts or all of the Book of Genesis literally. What I said was that the Fathers do not baulk at pronouncing that certain parts of the Holy Scriptures cannot be understood literally and must be understood allegorically or typologically.

I think it is very admirable that you are zealous for the truth of the Holy Scriptures and I do not say that your interpretation of them is wrong. I am only saying that you are not at liberty to say that they must be understood literally in all their parts. You must accept that the Fathers were not strict literalists, though they at times did insist upon the historicity of certain scriptural narratives: that is inescapable.

I'm ok with this.  The problem isn't in the approach of, "We will never know for certain,” rather in the "Your approach is wrong because it doesn’t conform to the general consensus of modern thought.”  Especially, when modern thought is usually wrong or produces some contorted variation of the truth.  People are even saying truth is murky.  No, it isn’t, at all.  Either something is true or it is a lie.  We can color it up any way we want, but there are only two answers to any question.  The right answer and the wrong answer.

The fact is, Creation and evolution are not new topics.  The only difference is the approach people are now taking.  Both topics were dealt with, in detail, by the Early Church Fathers as a result of Greek philosophy and teachings of the time. 

On one hand, folks declare we should adhere to the Church Fathers and on the other hand they ignore what the Church Fathers actually say.  It is frustrating, to say the least, to engage in a never ending circular argument without any foundation or standard. 

If the answer is, “The EFC’s had different thoughts on the matter,” why would someone attempt to use them to support their view point?  It doesn’t make sense, does it?

What I find disturbing isn’t people believe in evolution and some twisted version of Creation, but that anyone who disagrees with them is deemed ignorant and treated as some sort of fool.  The arrogance is astounding.  Be the one who disagrees with evolution and watch the vultures begin to circle.  It doesn’t matter if your argument is sound, you simply “don’t understand.”  Be the one who doesn’t believe in a *insert astronomical number of years here* earth at watch the attacks ensue.  It’s hypocritical and the exact opposite if what some say people like me should be doing.  That’s my problem with it.  Their view is, agree or shut up.  Maybe I missed the part where apparent bully tactics fit into Orthodoxy.  Then again, in the last week I have been called a Protestant, a Fundamentalist and told I probably should leave the Orthodox Church.  Yep, sounds like true Orthodoxy to me.  That Christian love is a beautiful thing.  I sure am glad no one at my parish acted this way...in over two years.  Must be an internet Orthodoxy problem.
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« Reply #119 on: November 12, 2012, 05:49:12 AM »

Quote
Maybe he meant he saw the Lords back.

According to "Orthodox Dogmatic Theology", by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky, he did not. At least, not literally. Neither did God have feet. And neither is heaven a physical place. Black-and-white, either-or thinking don't do scripture justice, in my opinion.



If God doesn't present a front or back, then why do we find this in the ECF's writings?

The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus
Chapter XV.—The false and the true Sabbath.

Further,1654also, it is written concerning the Sabbath in the Decalogue which [the Lord] spoke, face to face, to Moses on Mount Sinai, ...
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« Reply #120 on: November 12, 2012, 12:30:36 PM »

Quote
Maybe he meant he saw the Lords back.

According to "Orthodox Dogmatic Theology", by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky, he did not. At least, not literally. Neither did God have feet. And neither is heaven a physical place. Black-and-white, either-or thinking don't do scripture justice, in my opinion.



If God doesn't present a front or back, then why do we find this in the ECF's writings?

The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus
Chapter XV.—The false and the true Sabbath.

Further,1654also, it is written concerning the Sabbath in the Decalogue which [the Lord] spoke, face to face, to Moses on Mount Sinai, ...

For God's sake (literally), you take everything way too darn literally. Seriously, it is almost identical to Protestants, they take little bits and pieces of scriptures (or in your case, Church Fathers) and focus on a little bit to support their own view. That's an abuse of both the Saints and of Scripture.
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« Reply #121 on: November 12, 2012, 12:49:48 PM »

Kerdy, I never said that individual Fathers do not understand parts or all of the Book of Genesis literally. What I said was that the Fathers do not baulk at pronouncing that certain parts of the Holy Scriptures cannot be understood literally and must be understood allegorically or typologically.

I think it is very admirable that you are zealous for the truth of the Holy Scriptures and I do not say that your interpretation of them is wrong. I am only saying that you are not at liberty to say that they must be understood literally in all their parts. You must accept that the Fathers were not strict literalists, though they at times did insist upon the historicity of certain scriptural narratives: that is inescapable.

I'm ok with this.  The problem isn't in the approach of, "We will never know for certain,” rather in the "Your approach is wrong because it doesn’t conform to the general consensus of modern thought.”  Especially, when modern thought is usually wrong or produces some contorted variation of the truth.  People are even saying truth is murky.  No, it isn’t, at all.  Either something is true or it is a lie.  We can color it up any way we want, but there are only two answers to any question.  The right answer and the wrong answer.

No one is saying that Kerdy. What we are saying is that the Church gives us the freedom to choose. We are saying the Church allows us to believe both it, and modern science. Also, no, modern science is not usually wrong (again, you are misunderstanding what science is) and doesn't contort the truth.

The truth is sometimes murky, but not in a sense of relative truth. The truth isn't relative, but the truth cannot always be found. Right & wrong contains many shades of grey. In fact, the church recognizes this and this is why the way it deals with things isn't uniform.

Are soldiers committing a grave and terrible sin by killing other people in battle? The Church says no, because soldiers are not given the same punishment given to someone who kills in cold-blooded murder or who kills by accident. Those who kill in cold-blooded murder are refused communion until they are on their death bed, they also are supposed to stand in the narthex with the penitents and ask forgiveness every service. Soldiers, on the other hand, are only refused communion for 3 years during which time, I think, they are allowed to be with the rest of the congregation in the nave. Both directly violated the commandment, but both are treated differently despite it.

Same thing for those who deny Christ. If one denies him under duress, they are treated and received differently in the church than those who deny him by free choice.

The truth, and right/wrong isn't "relative" but there are shades of grey out there.

Quote
The fact is, Creation and evolution are not new topics.  The only difference is the approach people are now taking.  Both topics were dealt with, in detail, by the Early Church Fathers as a result of Greek philosophy and teachings of the time.  

On one hand, folks declare we should adhere to the Church Fathers and on the other hand they ignore what the Church Fathers actually say.  It is frustrating, to say the least, to engage in a never ending circular argument without any foundation or standard.  

We aren't ignoring the Church Fathers, and we aren't saying we should. What we are saying is that we aren't to be Protestant Fundamentalists when we look at the Bible or when we look at the Fathers. We cannot be Biblical literalists and we cannot be Patristic literalists. There are some things to be taken literally and others that aren't.

Also, at the same time, neither the scriptures, nor the fathers are infallible. The Fathers were fallible human beings like we are, and some of them even committed theology errors, and others committed factual & scientific errors. To take everything they say as law is not Orthodox, and is much more akin to Protestant Fundamentalism.

Quote
If the answer is, “The EFC’s had different thoughts on the matter,” why would someone attempt to use them to support their view point?  It doesn’t make sense, does it?

What I find disturbing isn’t people believe in evolution and some twisted version of Creation, but that anyone who disagrees with them is deemed ignorant and treated as some sort of fool.  The arrogance is astounding.  Be the one who disagrees with evolution and watch the vultures begin to circle.  It doesn’t matter if your argument is sound, you simply “don’t understand.”  Be the one who doesn’t believe in a *insert astronomical number of years here* earth at watch the attacks ensue.  It’s hypocritical and the exact opposite if what some say people like me should be doing.  That’s my problem with it.  Their view is, agree or shut up.  Maybe I missed the part where apparent bully tactics fit into Orthodoxy.  Then again, in the last week I have been called a Protestant, a Fundamentalist and told I probably should leave the Orthodox Church.  Yep, sounds like true Orthodoxy to me.  That Christian love is a beautiful thing.  I sure am glad no one at my parish acted this way...in over two years.  Must be an internet Orthodoxy problem.

You misunderstand the Fathers. You are applying modern Creationism onto the Church Fathers. They weren't Creationists and they weren't Biblical Literalists. They read Genesis literally, but they have absolutely no reason to think otherwise, or to read it otherwise. There are other things the Fathers said that led them to read parts of the Bible literally which we know today were not the case.

The kind of view you are espousing is a Protestant Fundamentalist view. It isn't an Orthodox viewpoint.

You cannot demand that we interpret Genesis literally. You cannot insist that we have to understand it literally because of either the Fathers or the Bible itself. You are putting your own personal view before the Church and what she says. You are putting your own authority above the Church's authority. The Church has given us freedom to interpret Genesis either literally, or according to modern science. It has not, does not and will not say that "you must interpret it literally" or "you must interpret it allegorically". The Church gives us freedom in this case, and you have to recognize that.

There is no problem with people who interpret it literally, just as there isn't a problem with people who interpret it allegorically. The problem comes when those people demand that you interpret it one way or the other. They are putting handcuffs on an issue that the Church has left for our own discretion and has left undefined. The Church says that we must believe that God created all things. It has not and does not say how God created all things, and it is un-Orthodox to demand that we believe a certain way how he did it.
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« Reply #122 on: November 13, 2012, 04:37:12 AM »

Kerdy, I never said that individual Fathers do not understand parts or all of the Book of Genesis literally. What I said was that the Fathers do not baulk at pronouncing that certain parts of the Holy Scriptures cannot be understood literally and must be understood allegorically or typologically.

I think it is very admirable that you are zealous for the truth of the Holy Scriptures and I do not say that your interpretation of them is wrong. I am only saying that you are not at liberty to say that they must be understood literally in all their parts. You must accept that the Fathers were not strict literalists, though they at times did insist upon the historicity of certain scriptural narratives: that is inescapable.

I'm ok with this.  The problem isn't in the approach of, "We will never know for certain,” rather in the "Your approach is wrong because it doesn’t conform to the general consensus of modern thought.”  Especially, when modern thought is usually wrong or produces some contorted variation of the truth.  People are even saying truth is murky.  No, it isn’t, at all.  Either something is true or it is a lie.  We can color it up any way we want, but there are only two answers to any question.  The right answer and the wrong answer.

No one is saying that Kerdy. What we are saying is that the Church gives us the freedom to choose. We are saying the Church allows us to believe both it, and modern science. Also, no, modern science is not usually wrong (again, you are misunderstanding what science is) and doesn't contort the truth.

The truth is sometimes murky, but not in a sense of relative truth. The truth isn't relative, but the truth cannot always be found. Right & wrong contains many shades of grey. In fact, the church recognizes this and this is why the way it deals with things isn't uniform.

Are soldiers committing a grave and terrible sin by killing other people in battle? The Church says no, because soldiers are not given the same punishment given to someone who kills in cold-blooded murder or who kills by accident. Those who kill in cold-blooded murder are refused communion until they are on their death bed, they also are supposed to stand in the narthex with the penitents and ask forgiveness every service. Soldiers, on the other hand, are only refused communion for 3 years during which time, I think, they are allowed to be with the rest of the congregation in the nave. Both directly violated the commandment, but both are treated differently despite it.

Same thing for those who deny Christ. If one denies him under duress, they are treated and received differently in the church than those who deny him by free choice.

The truth, and right/wrong isn't "relative" but there are shades of grey out there.

Quote
The fact is, Creation and evolution are not new topics.  The only difference is the approach people are now taking.  Both topics were dealt with, in detail, by the Early Church Fathers as a result of Greek philosophy and teachings of the time.  

On one hand, folks declare we should adhere to the Church Fathers and on the other hand they ignore what the Church Fathers actually say.  It is frustrating, to say the least, to engage in a never ending circular argument without any foundation or standard.  

We aren't ignoring the Church Fathers, and we aren't saying we should. What we are saying is that we aren't to be Protestant Fundamentalists when we look at the Bible or when we look at the Fathers. We cannot be Biblical literalists and we cannot be Patristic literalists. There are some things to be taken literally and others that aren't.

Also, at the same time, neither the scriptures, nor the fathers are infallible. The Fathers were fallible human beings like we are, and some of them even committed theology errors, and others committed factual & scientific errors. To take everything they say as law is not Orthodox, and is much more akin to Protestant Fundamentalism.

Quote
If the answer is, “The EFC’s had different thoughts on the matter,” why would someone attempt to use them to support their view point?  It doesn’t make sense, does it?

What I find disturbing isn’t people believe in evolution and some twisted version of Creation, but that anyone who disagrees with them is deemed ignorant and treated as some sort of fool.  The arrogance is astounding.  Be the one who disagrees with evolution and watch the vultures begin to circle.  It doesn’t matter if your argument is sound, you simply “don’t understand.”  Be the one who doesn’t believe in a *insert astronomical number of years here* earth at watch the attacks ensue.  It’s hypocritical and the exact opposite if what some say people like me should be doing.  That’s my problem with it.  Their view is, agree or shut up.  Maybe I missed the part where apparent bully tactics fit into Orthodoxy.  Then again, in the last week I have been called a Protestant, a Fundamentalist and told I probably should leave the Orthodox Church.  Yep, sounds like true Orthodoxy to me.  That Christian love is a beautiful thing.  I sure am glad no one at my parish acted this way...in over two years.  Must be an internet Orthodoxy problem.

You misunderstand the Fathers. You are applying modern Creationism onto the Church Fathers. They weren't Creationists and they weren't Biblical Literalists. They read Genesis literally, but they have absolutely no reason to think otherwise, or to read it otherwise. There are other things the Fathers said that led them to read parts of the Bible literally which we know today were not the case.

The kind of view you are espousing is a Protestant Fundamentalist view. It isn't an Orthodox viewpoint.

You cannot demand that we interpret Genesis literally. You cannot insist that we have to understand it literally because of either the Fathers or the Bible itself. You are putting your own personal view before the Church and what she says. You are putting your own authority above the Church's authority. The Church has given us freedom to interpret Genesis either literally, or according to modern science. It has not, does not and will not say that "you must interpret it literally" or "you must interpret it allegorically". The Church gives us freedom in this case, and you have to recognize that.

There is no problem with people who interpret it literally, just as there isn't a problem with people who interpret it allegorically. The problem comes when those people demand that you interpret it one way or the other. They are putting handcuffs on an issue that the Church has left for our own discretion and has left undefined. The Church says that we must believe that God created all things. It has not and does not say how God created all things, and it is un-Orthodox to demand that we believe a certain way how he did it.

In this type of forum, your opinion has the same value as mine, or anyone else for that matter, and rather than engage in a perpetual cycle of pointless debate on who is right and who is wrong, why not just accept someone holds a different opinion than you do?  Once the reasons are produced, and all have a valid point, but come to a different conclusion, leave it there and move on instead of employing Machiavellian tactics and comments designed to elicit a specific response from another person. 

In other words, play nice and stop feeding your need to be right all the time.  Everyone has an opinion.  Because it differs from yours makes it no less valuable and you seem to forget, you might be wrong.  Unless, right and wrong are relative, as you (mistakenly) suggest.

In any event, I have become rather tired of you seeking out my posts for the soul purpose of debating me for whatever reason it is you do this.  I have no problem with debate, mind you; however, you seem to take this to a different level of which I am not inclined to engage.  If you say I am off track, but my priest says otherwise, I feel confident he is a more trustworthy source of information than yourself.  You will understand if I take his word on Orthodoxy over those of strangers on the internet.  I like to hear differing opinions, but when it gets me to the point of causing me to respond with an emotional comment rather than a thoughtful comment; it’s sunk to a point of no interest, which is where we have found ourselves. 

So, you have your opinion.  I have my opinion.  Let’s move on, shall we?
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« Reply #123 on: November 13, 2012, 09:05:33 AM »

I usually get my seeing stones and put my face in my hat and dictate my interpritation of Genesis word for word to my followers. Just sayin
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« Reply #124 on: November 13, 2012, 11:47:07 AM »

In this type of forum, your opinion has the same value as mine, or anyone else for that matter, and rather than engage in a perpetual cycle of pointless debate on who is right and who is wrong, why not just accept someone holds a different opinion than you do?  Once the reasons are produced, and all have a valid point, but come to a different conclusion, leave it there and move on instead of employing Machiavellian tactics and comments designed to elicit a specific response from another person. 
This isn't about opinion Kerdy. As I've said repeatedly in this thread and others, you and I are given freedom by the Church to interpret Genesis differently. The discussion you and I have had is about whether or not we should be compelled by the Church to believe Creationism. The Church doesn't compel us and it doesn't ask us to believe creationism. We are given a freedom by the church. You have to recognize that, and that is the basis of my argument. I'm not asking you to believe in theistic evolution, I'm just saying that you cannot argue that I must believe creationism.

Quote
In other words, play nice and stop feeding your need to be right all the time.  Everyone has an opinion.  Because it differs from yours makes it no less valuable and you seem to forget, you might be wrong.  Unless, right and wrong are relative, as you (mistakenly) suggest.
You are making assumptions and accusations about me that you cannot support. Also, I've never said right and wrong are relative. Again, you are putting your own words and your own thoughts into my mouth and my mind.

Quote
In any event, I have become rather tired of you seeking out my posts for the soul purpose of debating me for whatever reason it is you do this.  I have no problem with debate, mind you; however, you seem to take this to a different level of which I am not inclined to engage.  If you say I am off track, but my priest says otherwise, I feel confident he is a more trustworthy source of information than yourself.  You will understand if I take his word on Orthodoxy over those of strangers on the internet.  I like to hear differing opinions, but when it gets me to the point of causing me to respond with an emotional comment rather than a thoughtful comment; it’s sunk to a point of no interest, which is where we have found ourselves. 

So, you have your opinion.  I have my opinion.  Let’s move on, shall we?

I am not seeking out your posts. Me posting on two or three threads that you have doesn't equal "seeking out". In fact, I'm the one who started this particular thread.

I'm not saying you're off-track for believing creationism. I'm saying you're off-track in how you want to force the rest of us to believe creationism and how it seems, from the rest of your posts elsewhere, that you almost expect the Orthodox Church to be fundamentalist. We don't put our own expectations and beliefs onto the Church, we submit to the Church and to her wisdom. If the Church says that we must believe God created all things, and it says how he did it isn't important, then we must submit to that and recognize that the study of creationism or evolution is an extra thing, it isn't essential and it will never be essential.

As for the word of Priests, I understand your position on that issue. Yet the Orthodox Church is much bigger than the local parish. You'll find some people online who may not really be Orthodox, or are only Orthodox in name. You'll find others who are Orthodox. We are strangers, but at the same time, we aren't because we partake of the very same body and blood of Christ and belong to the same Church.

I seriously doubt our Priests are that different from each other, and especially since I've spoken and heard the word of multiple Priests on this very issue and they all agree. What they've said, is that God created all things, beyond that, we just don't know and we aren't compelled by the Church to believe either evolution or creationism. I could care less if someone believes in creationism (other than if they are a voter and would vote in favor of someone who would cut funding to NASA and others) because that is their right, but I also have a right to believe in theistic evolution, we are given a freedom.

What I'm against, as I've said time and time again, is that I'm against those who want to insist that I have to believe in Creationism (or Evolution) in order to be "Orthodox" or in order to be "Patristic". That just simply is not the case, never has been and never will be.

If you want to believe in creationism, fine, that is your right and your choice. But it isn't Orthodox to demand that I also believe in creationism and that I have to interpret Genesis literally.
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celticfan1888
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« Reply #125 on: November 13, 2012, 01:28:42 PM »

science has not and will not ever prove Creation didn't happen in a literal six days, and there is a long list of reasons why.

It COULD. But I doubt it will.
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« Reply #126 on: January 10, 2013, 10:54:22 PM »

How did Adam and Eve communicate with God ?. Did they literally see him as we see each other ? Was he able to be touched ? Did they see the whole Holy Trinity when God walked with them in the Garden or was it it the Pre-incarnate Christ the Word of God walking and communicate with them as per we do??.

Tanks in advance
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