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Question: Do you believe that the acount of genesis in the Old testament should be taken literally?
Yes - 53 (15.8%)
No - 129 (38.4%)
both metaphorically and literally - 154 (45.8%)
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Author Topic: Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy  (Read 317009 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #180 on: December 19, 2007, 11:42:45 PM »

Thank you.

Furthermore, Demetrios, please address the conclusions I presented earlier from computational biology; if not common ancestry what is your interpretation of the data?

Hmm... I think I did see some "conclusions" you drew based on an assertion, but not the actual "data." Maybe I missed something?
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« Reply #181 on: December 20, 2007, 12:11:28 AM »

You're trying to prove that you have the brains of an ape and your calling me brainless. laugh
Demetrios and Νεκτάριος, this thread is not about who of us here has the brains of an ape or no brains at all, so please don't go there.
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« Reply #182 on: December 20, 2007, 12:13:46 AM »



I believe that created exists, because someone else willed it to exist, and not because it willed its own existence.  “Created” existence is therefore not a free existence.
  I will agree that all of creation is linked in some way.  The data compiled tells me that all biological existence has the same building blocks. Similar to non living matter. That doesn't necessarily mean that it all came from one ancestry or even from one planet. How does one explain how people from over 2000 years ago were smarter than people that exist today. Reverse evolution I suppose. Wink
Do you have any data from reputable scientific sources to back up this assertion?
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« Reply #183 on: December 20, 2007, 01:01:56 AM »

Grace and peace to you,

Please excuse my interruption.  I would like to add something to this conversation if I may.  Obviously the scientific questions are FAR from settled.  I was hoping you might consider the Biblical perspective. 

It seems to me that the traditional macro-evolutionary theory is at odds with what the Bible says.  Paul says in Romans 5:12 that death came into the world through sin.  With many other references a very strong case can be made that the Bible tells us that death is not the natural order of things; it is rather a temporary phenemenon.  Death came into the world through sin, and sin came first through Adam and Eve.  Therefore, Biblically speaking, there can be no death before Adam. 

But according to traditional macro-evolutionary theory, death was a part of the very long process leading up to man.

I have a hard time imagining how both of these stories can both be right at the same time.  It seems as though one of them is wrong.

What do you think?
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« Reply #184 on: December 20, 2007, 01:12:42 AM »

Grace and peace to you,

Please excuse my interruption.  I would like to add something to this conversation if I may.  Obviously the scientific questions are FAR from settled.  I was hoping you might consider the Biblical perspective. 

It seems to me that the traditional macro-evolutionary theory is at odds with what the Bible says.  Paul says in Romans 5:12 that death came into the world through sin.  With many other references a very strong case can be made that the Bible tells us that death is not the natural order of things; it is rather a temporary phenemenon.  Death came into the world through sin, and sin came first through Adam and Eve.  Therefore, Biblically speaking, there can be no death before Adam. 

But according to traditional macro-evolutionary theory, death was a part of the very long process leading up to man.

I have a hard time imagining how both of these stories can both be right at the same time.  It seems as though one of them is wrong.

What do you think?
Are we talking the death of ALL animals or just human death?  IIRC, it seems that some of our Holy Fathers spoke of Adam and Eve as if they were originally created separate from the order of nature where death was already the rule and that their fall via sin was in part a fall into the natural realm of physical death.

BTW, for the sake of this discussion, it might be good if you would share with us what Christian faith background you represent, since your strong reliance on the Scriptures (apart from other witnesses to the truth revealed by God, such as the Holy Fathers and the Church?) and the jurisdiction info under your avatar mark you as possibly Protestant.
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« Reply #185 on: December 20, 2007, 01:28:11 AM »

So, basically, you don't care about the scientific evidence; you're going to base your opinions on your personal mythology, completely disregarding the obvious science infront of you?

If science can't explain the actual moment and way that Genesis occurred. Than it is easily disregarded. Simply because it has no foundation. Reversing into something isn't like starting from the beginning.

Quote
Actually, there are several ways that a decrease in intelligence could be explained, evolution favours survival and procreation and the strongest trait isn't always intelligence.

But with that said, I find the idea that people 2000 years ago were more intelligent than us to be laughable. While there were a handful of advancements in that era they are nothing compared to what we see in the modern world. The human race is far more advanced, far more knowledgable, far more progressive, and far more enlightened than it was 2000 years ago. More likely than not, intelligence has not changed, we have just developed a vastly superior culture; but if it did change it no doubt increased.

It would seem that way only because everything was handed down from each generation. Try shutting the lights and see if they can recoupe.
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« Reply #186 on: December 20, 2007, 02:56:01 AM »

Hmm... I think I did see some "conclusions" you drew based on an assertion, but not the actual "data." Maybe I missed something?

Well, I referenced Nature in passing, such research has been rather well published in notable Journals so I thought it reasonable to assum at least a basic familarity. There are several articles in Nature and the Journal of Computational Biology, but as for those I can find with online copies I guess we can start with this one, if you actually need me to basic modern biological research:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v434/n7034/pdf/nature03466.pdf
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« Reply #187 on: December 20, 2007, 03:02:00 AM »

If science can't explain the actual moment and way that Genesis occurred. Than it is easily disregarded. Simply because it has no foundation. Reversing into something isn't like starting from the beginning.

It's called the big bang, pretty straight forward, gods and the supernatural are purely optional. From that galaxies, solar systems, and planets developed and from their reproducing molicules developed, from there biological life, from there humans.

Quote
It would seem that way only because everything was handed down from each generation. Try shutting the lights and see if they can recoupe.

As I said before, 2000 years is a short time, chances are that intelligence hasn't really changed much. (Though I did read an article a while back that argued fairly convincingly that agression in males had decreased substantially over the past thousand years or so and gave viable genetic reasons for this; but that isn't directly related to intelligence, though the more agressive are less likely and capable of exersizing their intelligence.)

As I suggested, it is most likely that we have simply established a superior cuture; we are not biologically superior, we are simply more enlightened and socially superior.
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« Reply #188 on: December 20, 2007, 03:10:30 AM »

Grace and peace to you,

Please excuse my interruption.  I would like to add something to this conversation if I may.  Obviously the scientific questions are FAR from settled.  I was hoping you might consider the Biblical perspective. 

No thanks, if the Bible's view of science is taken as anything other than allegory we must simply conclude that it is plain wrong. Not that there's anything wrong with that, they took the best shot they could considering their time and limited knowledge and understanding of the universe, but in the end, the authors just got it wrong and arn't very reputable sources on these matters.

As I said before, thanks to the advent of gene sequencing, computational biology, and molecular biology it's pretty much a closed case; unless you have some new and groundbreaking research in molecular or computational biology I really don't see what you have to add?
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« Reply #189 on: December 20, 2007, 04:50:57 AM »

No evolution here. I believe what the bible says - Adam and Eve. It even says, the wise on this earth are fools to God.

I wonder though, how doesn't believing in Evolution effect ones relationship with God?
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« Reply #190 on: December 20, 2007, 08:32:11 AM »

No evolution here. I believe what the bible says - Adam and Eve. It even says, the wise on this earth are fools to God.

I wonder though, how doesn't believing in Evolution effect ones relationship with God?
I don't for even a minute buy into GiC's attempts to make belief in God purely optional in our understanding of creation and the genesis of life.  But how, after reading what others of our resident Orthodox biologists have posted here, can you say that belief in evolution per se is incompatible with Orthodox Christian faith?  How do you justify such a Fundamentalist reading of the Scriptures as you present here?
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« Reply #191 on: December 20, 2007, 09:55:58 AM »

It's called the big bang, pretty straight forward, gods and the supernatural are purely optional. From that galaxies, solar systems, and planets developed and from their reproducing molicules developed, from there biological life, from there humans.

It's obviously not a science if it's a theory. That said. The day I stop attending church is the day that man can create from nihl. I challenge them to show me even one molecule they created. Or just plain prove that they can create anything. Until that moment comes they have no footing to try and convince us of anything.

Quote
As I said before, 2000 years is a short time, chances are that intelligence hasn't really changed much. (Though I did read an article a while back that argued fairly convincingly that agression in males had decreased substantially over the past thousand years or so and gave viable genetic reasons for this; but that isn't directly related to intelligence, though the more agressive are less likely and capable of exersizing their intelligence.)

As I suggested, it is most likely that we have simply established a superior culture; we are not biologically superior, we are simply more enlightened and socially superior.

Don't make me laugh. The same society that named a 9th planet and than declassify it as a meteor are superior to people from 2000 years ago? Even with modern optics they lack superior intelligences.
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« Reply #192 on: December 20, 2007, 10:14:27 AM »

It's obviously not a science if it's a theory.
Do you even know what science is to make such an ignorant statement as this?  Theory is the very goal of the scientific method! Contrary to what you may believe about science, it is not about proclaiming facts except as these facts are necessary for the articulation of theories to explain these facts.

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Until that moment comes they have no footing to try and convince us of anything.
Speak for yourself, buddy.  You certainly don't speak for me.

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Don't make me laugh. The same society that named a 9th planet and than declassify it as a meteor are superior to people from 2000 years ago? Even with modern optics they lack superior intelligences.
Naming a 9th planet only to later call it a sub-planetary ball of ice and rock is, if anything, an illustration of how intelligent man is to be able to observe God's creation via scientific means, review new evidence discovered by these means, and change his mind to account for the new evidence.
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« Reply #193 on: December 20, 2007, 11:36:02 AM »

I plead for civility, Brothers and Sisters!

Where is our charity!  Huh
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« Reply #194 on: December 20, 2007, 11:50:35 AM »

I plead for civility, Brothers and Sisters!

Where is our charity!  Huh

I didn't see anything uncivil about this (except maybe the brainless parts).
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« Reply #195 on: December 20, 2007, 12:28:31 PM »

I didn't see anything uncivil about this (except maybe the brainless parts).

Perhaps I'm reading 'tone' into some of these posts I just believe we could be a bit more chartable in our responses.

If I am wrong may you may Brothers and Sisters pray for me!
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« Reply #196 on: December 20, 2007, 12:40:32 PM »

It's obviously not a science if it's a theory. That said. The day I stop attending church is the day that man can create from nihl. I challenge them to show me even one molecule they created. Or just plain prove that they can create anything. Until that moment comes they have no footing to try and convince us of anything.

Well, we know that particles and anti-particles are randomly and spontaneously created in the fabric of space-time, or wern't you paying attention when they went over the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in Quantum Mechanics, you know, the first week of the course? Roll Eyes

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Don't make me laugh. The same society that named a 9th planet and than declassify it as a meteor are superior to people from 2000 years ago? Even with modern optics they lack superior intelligences.

Meteor? Where'd you get that from? Guess you didn't pay attention in Astronomy or Astrophysics either.

Planets, kind of like species, are rather subjective labels; as we discovered more planetary bodies in the Universe we gained a greater understanding of the phenomena and were able to refine our definition. That is how science works, that is why it's so great, greater than all other human attempts at knowledge and understanding; it is always willing to pursue greater knowledge and understanding, even if such knowledge and understanding would undermine previously held 'dogmas'.
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« Reply #197 on: December 20, 2007, 01:01:14 PM »

I didn't see anything uncivil about this (except maybe the brainless parts).

The sentence where I used the word brainless was a direct quote from Demetrios G. that changed the word Orthodox for brainless.  The results were as I expected: nobody (publicly) expressed displeasure at someone calling another person non-Orthodox simply because that person bases their view of scripture on the patristic tradition rather than modern protestantism, while using the exact same sentence to question someone's intelligence generated a prompt response from a moderator.  My little experiment produced the expected results.

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« Reply #198 on: December 20, 2007, 01:37:02 PM »

But according to traditional macro-evolutionary theory, death was a part of the very long process leading up to man.

I have a hard time imagining how both of these stories can both be right at the same time.  It seems as though one of them is wrong.

What do you think?

It is only a contradiction if Genesis is taken at the most literal level possible.  If death means a spiritual death, a separation from God, then every single man (and "adam" simply means human in Semitic languages) has gone through what is described in Genesis. 

How, then, does this conflict with evolutionary science: God created all, all through their own sinfulness have fallen short of the godly life and redemption has been promised (and then fulfilled in Christ)? 

Fr. John Behr, a respected patristics professor at SVS, makes the claim that even the Gospels are not historical works.  They have already gone through a theological gloss and are theological works.  If that is true of the Gospels, how much more so would that be true of many parts of the Old Testament?   What has been lost today is the strong neo-platonic tradition in scriptural interpretation.  Fr. Andrew Louth in several of his books deals with that topic, really making the point that the allegorical understanding of scriptures is in fact the early Christian and patristic understanding of the scriptures. 

The other deciding factor in what has solidified this approach for me as being the correct Orthodox approach has been my study of 19th century Islamic theological trends.  Several scholars put forth the conclusion that it was applying the new scientific methods to theology that created the modern Islamic fundamentalist movements in the 19th century (an interesting aside is that most of the 9/11 hijackers and the leadership of Al-Qaeda are trained in engineering or hard sciences not in the humanities or even any field of Islamic scholarship).  The same intellectual atmosphere existed in North America and to a lesser extent to Europe to create modern protestant fundamentalist movements.  One book in particular, The Religious History of Central Asia from the Earliest Times to the Present Day by James Thrower, makes the point mythos and logos (and those exact words are used) have been separated from each other in modern theological discourse.  Yet, in both the Golden Age of Islam and the Patristic era of Christianity this was not the case at all.  There was simply no reason why something couldn't be both mythos and logos at the same time.   
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« Reply #199 on: December 20, 2007, 01:58:23 PM »

One book in particular, The Religious History of Central Asia from the Earliest Times to the Present Day by James Thrower, makes the point mythos and logos (and those exact words are used) have been separated from each other in modern theological discourse.  Yet, in both the Golden Age of Islam and the Patristic era of Christianity this was not the case at all.  There was simply no reason why something couldn't be both mythos and logos at the same time.   

Grace and Peace,

Could you 'flesh-out' what you mean by mythos and logos, Brother/Sister?
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« Reply #200 on: December 20, 2007, 02:13:19 PM »

Do you even know what science is to make such an ignorant statement as this?  Theory is the very goal of the scientific method! Contrary to what you may believe about science, it is not about proclaiming facts except as these facts are necessary for the articulation of theories to explain these facts.
Speak for yourself, buddy.  You certainly don't speak for me.


Science is a concrete fact. A theory isn't science until it's proven.


Quote
Naming a 9th planet only to later call it a sub-planetary ball of ice and rock is, if anything, an illustration of how intelligent man is to be able to observe God's creation via scientific means, review new evidence discovered by these means, and change his mind to account for the new evidence.

It's called a mistake in my book.
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« Reply #201 on: December 20, 2007, 02:26:14 PM »

Well, we know that particles and anti-particles are randomly and spontaneously created in the fabric of space-time, or wern't you paying attention when they went over the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in Quantum Mechanics, you know, the first week of the course? Roll Eyes

Meteor? Where'd you get that from? Guess you didn't pay attention in Astronomy or Astrophysics either.

I'm guilt, I slept through all of Astronomy. It's ironic that Pluto is rite inside the meteor belt. Wink

Quote
Planets, kind of like species, are rather subjective labels; as we discovered more planetary bodies in the Universe we gained a greater understanding of the phenomena and were able to refine our definition. That is how science works, that is why it's so great, greater than all other human attempts at knowledge and understanding; it is always willing to pursue greater knowledge and understanding, even if such knowledge and understanding would undermine previously held 'dogmas'.

Exactly. Once a better understanding of evolution is put foward than it can be refined. This is exactly why it isn't a science yet. Because there are no proofs.
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« Reply #202 on: December 20, 2007, 02:37:59 PM »

Exactly. Once a better understanding of evolution is put foward than it can be refined. This is exactly why it isn't a science yet. Because there are no proofs.

It's the one place where I tend to be agnostic (i.e. waiting for further evidence)...  Grin
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« Reply #203 on: December 20, 2007, 08:48:48 PM »

Grace and Peace,

Could you 'flesh-out' what you mean by mythos and logos, Brother/Sister?

The wikipedia definitions aren't too bad: Mythos and Logos.  The definition of myth is a bit weak.  Perhaps the best analogy would be giving your children something from Tolkien or Lewis to teach them some of the basics of Christianity. 
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« Reply #204 on: December 20, 2007, 10:36:52 PM »

Science is a concrete fact. A theory isn't science until it's proven.
You might find this primer on what science (that is, the scientific method) is somewhat informative.


From Frank Wolfs, University of Rochester (http://teacher.pas.rochester.edu/phy_labs/AppendixE/AppendixE.html) :

Introduction to the Scientific Method

The scientific method is the process by which scientists, collectively and over time, endeavor to construct an accurate (that is, reliable, consistent and non-arbitrary) representation of the world.

Recognizing that personal and cultural beliefs influence both our perceptions and our interpretations of natural phenomena, we aim through the use of standard procedures and criteria to minimize those influences when developing a theory. As a famous scientist once said, "Smart people (like smart lawyers) can come up with very good explanations for mistaken points of view." In summary, the scientific method attempts to minimize the influence of bias or prejudice in the experimenter when testing an hypothesis or a theory.

I. The scientific method has four steps

1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.

2. Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.

3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.

4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.

If the experiments bear out the hypothesis it may come to be regarded as a theory or law of nature (more on the concepts of hypothesis, model, theory and law below). If the experiments do not bear out the hypothesis, it must be rejected or modified. What is key in the description of the scientific method just given is the predictive power (the ability to get more out of the theory than you put in; see Barrow, 1991) of the hypothesis or theory, as tested by experiment. It is often said in science that theories can never be proved, only disproved. There is always the possibility that a new observation or a new experiment will conflict with a long-standing theory.

emphasis mine
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« Reply #205 on: December 20, 2007, 11:48:36 PM »

If I may add my $.02 to this ever-so-enlightning discussion...

Obviously Genesis does not include the ENTIRETY of creation.  If it did, then it would name each animal and plant individually, correct?  It includes that which God felt was important for us to know in order to achieve salvation.  This is often my response to people who reject God on the basis that the dinosaurs are not included in the Genesis narrative-- it is not essential to our salvation to know how and when the dinosaurs were created and went extinct...

If this is true, that Genesis does not include the entirety of creation, but only what we need to know, then couldn't it be "theorized" that evolution is simply filling in the gaps?  It is good for us to understand HOW God created (this is evolution), but not necessary for us to know to achieve salvation.  *NOTE: I use the term "theory" loosely, so as not to ignite a semantic discussion over the definition of "theory"  If it were necessary for us to understand HOW God created everything, then it could be presumed that we will be condemned for misinterpreting God's version of a "day," or for getting the whole Pluto thing wrong.  I doubt that God will condemn us for these things (of course I have been wrong before).  So what, then, is  important for us to know to achieve salvation?  Here's my humble opinion:

As far as Adam and Eve and the whole "coming from apes" thing goes... I'm not really going to try and figure this one out.  All I know (and all I need to know, I think) is this:  what separates us from the apes that we may or may not have evolved from is the BREATH OF LIFE that God breathed into us.  Could Adam and Eve have been the first humans as we recognize humans in our current form, including the Breath of life?  I don't know.  All I know is that Adam and Eve, whether descended from apes or not, were blessed with the breath of life from the Creator.  If they were descended from apes, then I think it's safe to say that the apes did not have the Breath of life.  The importance is NOT whether Adam and Eve were "first" or whether they evolved.  The importance is that they, and only they (thus we, obviously) were created in God's image and likeness and had the blessing of the Breath of life from God.

I tend to agree that God's day may have been a LOT longer than our day, so any evolution that has taken place in between could fall into the area of "we don't need to know this in order to achieve salvation."  Thus: evolved from apes? Maybe.  Maybe the millions of years of evolution into Adam was just God modeling the clay, so to speak.  Adam was the finished product, made in God's image and likeness, with the Breath of life.  That is what is important to me.

BTW, for what it's worth (and I don't want to ignite another argument here), Fr. Stanley Harakas, in his book The Orthodox Church: 455 Questions and Answers makes reference to a statement released by HCHC, which stated that the only kind of evolutionary theory that is heretical is one that ignores or rejects God as the Creator.  The statement said that most theologians agreed with a belief in theistic evolution.  I saw that mentioned previously in this thread, but haven't really seen a concensus on the matter.  Anyone want to comment?  Anyone out there seen the statement from HCHC, or know where I can find it (short of asking one of my friends there to go to the library and look it up and send it to me)?

Call me a heretic if you want.  You may be right.  But if you do, then pray for me... 
God's blessings
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« Reply #206 on: December 21, 2007, 12:11:08 AM »

What a wise post from our humble brother GreekChef.    Bravo!!

Juliana Smiley
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« Reply #207 on: December 21, 2007, 12:12:47 AM »

What a wise post from our humble brother GreekChef.    Bravo!!

Juliana Smiley

Thank you...

With no offence intended (or taken, for that matter)... May I please correct: it's sister.   Grin
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« Reply #208 on: December 21, 2007, 12:31:29 AM »

4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.

Isn't this physical proof? Or am I missing something.
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« Reply #209 on: December 21, 2007, 01:29:23 AM »

I have a question: Is it patristic to view Adam and Eve as humanity and not the first two individuals? Do any Church Fathers back this view?
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« Reply #210 on: December 21, 2007, 01:38:59 AM »

Science is a concrete fact. A theory isn't science until it's proven.

Looks like you slept through your introduction to proofs in theoretical mathematics as well. Science cannot be 'proven' it's theoretically impossible. Granted, Mathematical Physics has used mathematical rigour to advance the field (the only field of the sciences, save computer science which is essentially a field of mathematics, to apply mathematical rigour); but even that relies upon axioms that are debated by various theoretical physicists as to whether they accurately represent the physical universe. The bottom line is that you cannot prove the validity of observation and thus you cannot 'prove' anything in the sciences. It's all 'theory', be it the theory of evolution, the theory of relativity, atomic theory, electromagnetic theory, the theory of gravity, etc.

So while I'll give you that it has not (and cannot) been proven to mathematical standards, the theory of evolution is at least as true as the theories that proclaim the existence of gravity, atoms, and electricity.
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« Reply #211 on: December 21, 2007, 03:34:37 AM »

Hello Peter,

It is difficult to converse with someone in this way because so many comments and arguments intervene between posts.  I would like to answer some of your questions.

Quote
Are we talking the death of ALL animals or just human death?
 

While Paul doesn't specify the answer to this question in Romans 5:12, I believe he makes it more clear elsewhere.  Romans 8:19-21, for example, describes how "the creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed," and how "creation was subjected to frustration" by God (it not being frustrated before).  And he adds that "the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God."

If we add to this the promise that one day there will be no more death (indeed, the lion will lie down with the lamb), and that this state will be something like life before sin, it just seems to me like God wants us to believe that death itself (whether of animal or of man) was not part of His original creation (which He called "very good"). 

Quote
IIRC, it seems that some of our Holy Fathers spoke of Adam and Eve as if they were originally created separate from the order of nature where death was already the rule and that their fall via sin was in part a fall into the natural realm of physical death.
I'm sorry, but I don't know what IIRC is.  But I suppose some of our Holy Fathers believed, as we sometimes do ourselves, things which are not true.  There must be some Holy Father somewhere who believed that death was not the rule in God's very good creation.

Quote
BTW, for the sake of this discussion, it might be good if you would share with us what Christian faith background you represent, since your strong reliance on the Scriptures (apart from other witnesses to the truth revealed by God, such as the Holy Fathers and the Church?) and the jurisdiction info under your avatar mark you as possibly Protestant.
To be honest Peter, I don't know.  I'm not really protesting anything, so I don't think of myself as a Protestant.  I don't believe that the Bishop of Rome was supposed to be the head over the entire Church, so I'm not a Roman Catholic.  I worship God and share communion in a non-denominational church which most people would call Protestant, but I have broken bread with Catholic monks, Anglicans, and Lutherans. 

Since I am not a Roman Catholic or Greek Orthodox, you may prefer to call me Protestant.  I wish you wouldn't, since it does not accurately describe anything about me.  It might be like someone calling you a Baptist simply because you believe in baptism.

Yes, Christ is my jurisdiction.  But this does not mean that I do not submit to the leadership and guidance of church leaders.  But like the noble Bereans of Acts 17:11, I test everything a leader says against the scriptures. 

I honestly do put a lot of faith in those who have gone before me, so I do read and learn from the Holy Fathers.  When they teach something which does not contradict the scriptures, I am ready to give it fair consideration. 

So let me sum up:
  • I think not even animals died before Adam sinned.
  • I am a Christian informed and led by the richness, wisdom, and beauty of Christ as found in His Word and among His people.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.  Grace and peace to you.
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« Reply #212 on: December 21, 2007, 04:34:00 AM »

It is only a contradiction if Genesis is taken at the most literal level possible.  If death means a spiritual death, a separation from God, then every single man (and "adam" simply means human in Semitic languages) has gone through what is described in Genesis.

How, then, does this conflict with evolutionary science: God created all, all through their own sinfulness have fallen short of the godly life and redemption has been promised (and then fulfilled in Christ)? 

Oh, so I take it we are all born pristine with no innate inclination to sin, but we all end up sinning anyway, like Pelagius said? Or perhaps God arbitrarily gives us our fallen humanity?

Quote
Fr. John Behr, a respected patristics professor at SVS, makes the claim that even the Gospels are not historical works.  They have already gone through a theological gloss and are theological works.

Yes, I agree, the Gospels are theological works. But they are also history. I don't know the context of this remark, but Fr. Behr may be reading too much Jesus Seminar material.

Quote
If that is true of the Gospels, how much more so would that be true of many parts of the Old Testament?   What has been lost today is the strong neo-platonic tradition in scriptural interpretation.  Fr. Andrew Louth in several of his books deals with that topic, really making the point that the allegorical understanding of scriptures is in fact the early Christian and patristic understanding of the scriptures.

The only "father," from the great patristic Alexandrian school or otherwise, I have seen that comes even close to your understanding of the creation account is Origen, and he could hold Adam and Eve to represent the whole of humanity because he believed humanity fell in preexistence. Is that your position? I think I'll stick with Sts. John Chrysostom, Basil, Ambrose, Ephrem etc.

I have a question: Is it patristic to view Adam and Eve as humanity and not the first two individuals? Do any Church Fathers back this view?

Aside from Origen (and we don't regard him as a Church Father), I don't see any.
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« Reply #213 on: December 21, 2007, 04:39:28 AM »

As far as Adam and Eve and the whole "coming from apes" thing goes... I'm not really going to try and figure this one out.  All I know (and all I need to know, I think) is this:  what separates us from the apes that we may or may not have evolved from is the BREATH OF LIFE that God breathed into us.  Could Adam and Eve have been the first humans as we recognize humans in our current form, including the Breath of life?  I don't know.  All I know is that Adam and Eve, whether descended from apes or not, were blessed with the breath of life from the Creator.  If they were descended from apes, then I think it's safe to say that the apes did not have the Breath of life.  The importance is NOT whether Adam and Eve were "first" or whether they evolved.  The importance is that they, and only they (thus we, obviously) were created in God's image and likeness and had the blessing of the Breath of life from God.

I tend to agree that God's day may have been a LOT longer than our day, so any evolution that has taken place in between could fall into the area of "we don't need to know this in order to achieve salvation."  Thus: evolved from apes? Maybe.  Maybe the millions of years of evolution into Adam was just God modeling the clay, so to speak.  Adam was the finished product, made in God's image and likeness, with the Breath of life.  That is what is important to me.

This is what I was hinting at earlier, and what George and Nektarios seem to be missing in their juxtaposition of "first man" and evolution.
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« Reply #214 on: December 21, 2007, 04:46:19 AM »

Hello GreekisChristian,

I wanted to thank you too for responding to my post.  If you don't mind, I'd like to reply to yours.

You said...
Quote
...if the Bible's view of science is taken as anything other than allegory we must simply conclude that it is plain wrong.

I'm not sure what you mean by the "Bible's view of science."  It sounds like you are referring to the Bible's view of nature.  The Bible's view of "science," meaning human knowledge, is not very high.  

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
1 Timothy 6:20  Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge,

One translation of 1 Timothy 6:20 actually translates gnoseos as "science."

But I think you are talking about the Bible's portrayal of nature and its origin, right?
I can see you do not share the Holy Fathers' high view of scripture.  
What about Jesus?  Do you think He got it wrong too?
 
Jesus believed in the creation of Adam and Eve.    Matthew 19:4    Mark 10:6
Jesus believed in the Cain and Abel story.  Matt. 23:35    Luke 11:51
Jesus believed in Noah's flood.       Matt. 24:37-38    Luke 17:26
Jesus believed in Sodom and Gomorah.   Matt. 10:14-15

Quote
As I said before, thanks to the advent of gene sequencing, computational biology, and molecular biology it's pretty much a closed case.
I don't know gene sequencing, computational biology, or molecular biology, but judging from all the debate going on in the world today about this question, I would have to say that all the impirical evidence stands against the notion that this is a closed case.

My concern, however, is with Christian response to scripture.  I hope that you and others like you will soon return to a love of and trust in the word of God.  Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that procedes from the mouth of God.

Thanks again for reading my thoughts and sharing yours.

Grace and peace

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« Reply #215 on: December 21, 2007, 11:58:02 AM »

Looks like you slept through your introduction to proofs in theoretical mathematics as well. Science cannot be 'proven' it's theoretically impossible. Granted, Mathematical Physics has used mathematical rigour to advance the field (the only field of the sciences, save computer science which is essentially a field of mathematics, to apply mathematical rigour); but even that relies upon axioms that are debated by various theoretical physicists as to whether they accurately represent the physical universe. The bottom line is that you cannot prove the validity of observation and thus you cannot 'prove' anything in the sciences. It's all 'theory', be it the theory of evolution, the theory of relativity, atomic theory, electromagnetic theory, the theory of gravity, etc.

So while I'll give you that it has not (and cannot) been proven to mathematical standards, the theory of evolution is at least as true as the theories that proclaim the existence of gravity, atoms, and electricity.

Drop an apple and you prove that gravity exists, Split an atom and you have an atom bomb, move electrons and you can create light, Create a life form and you have life. All I am asking for is Proof? Create a life form. It's that simple. A theory will always remain a theory until proven.

Francis Crick couldn't prove it so he resorted to claims that life is extraterrestrial. What a joke.
 
 Until it's proven all the theory of evolution is. Is a periodic table of biological elements.
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« Reply #216 on: December 21, 2007, 12:03:35 PM »

Drop an apple and you prove that gravity exists, Split an atom and you have an atom bomb, move electrons and you can create light, Create a life form and you have life. All I am asking for is Proof? Create a life form. It's that simple. A theory will always remain a theory until proven.

No, you haven't proven anything with your examples.  Even in all of those cases, all you have done is provided more evidence is support of the relevant theories, but they remain theories.  How about this, since you demand that theories be proven, and won't rely on them until they are, stay off of bridges, okay?  After all, they're only based on theories from physics and those haven't been proven.  Oh, and don't use a plane, either, since that too relies on theories.  Oops, better shut down your internet, as well, since, once again, you've got that little theory thing in the way.
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« Reply #217 on: December 21, 2007, 12:22:04 PM »

No, you haven't proven anything with your examples.  Even in all of those cases, all you have done is provided more evidence is support of the relevant theories, but they remain theories.  How about this, since you demand that theories be proven, and won't rely on them until they are, stay off of bridges, okay?  After all, they're only based on theories from physics and those haven't been proven.  Oh, and don't use a plane, either, since that too relies on theories.  Oops, better shut down your internet, as well, since, once again, you've got that little theory thing in the way.

If a bridge exists and has proven that it can support my weight. That is the proof. What are you saying?
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« Reply #218 on: December 21, 2007, 12:29:06 PM »

If a bridge exists and has proven that it can support my weight. That is the proof. What are you saying?

That it's not proof!
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« Reply #219 on: December 21, 2007, 12:36:37 PM »

Dear All,

I am sorry that I stopped following this debate at some point - I am trying to observe the fast and not to be argumentative or overly emotional, and debates like this one always make me emotional or even angry.

I just wanted to (1) thank all, and especially sister Greek Chef, for their wisdom, and (2) say that it is up to professional biologists to judge the theory of biological evolution, and they have already made their judgment that it is a valid scientific theory (and we know empirical "things" from such theories rather than from random opinions, even if the latter are voiced by scientists). Of course, any non-biologist can also "judge" the theory of biological evolution and say that it is untrue because of this, and this, and that - just like I can "judge" the theory of relativity or like a specialist in accounting or Lebanese music can "judge" Niels Kai Jerne's theory of idiotypic network. I think we all need to have some healthy shame and stop doing this sort of "judging."

I will not participate in this thread anymore, and again, thank you all, and have a great Nativity fast.

George

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« Reply #220 on: December 21, 2007, 12:42:08 PM »

Grace and Peace,

Ancient Faith Radio has a Podcast "God and Science - Part 2: Is Evolution A Fact?"

I encourage everyone to hear what Clark Carlton has to say on the matter...
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« Reply #221 on: December 21, 2007, 12:54:19 PM »

That it's not proof!

Than what is it? A figment of my imagination.
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« Reply #222 on: December 21, 2007, 12:59:00 PM »


So while I'll give you that it has not (and cannot) been proven to mathematical standards,

That's all I need.
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« Reply #223 on: December 21, 2007, 01:07:03 PM »

Than what is it? A figment of my imagination.

No, it's only evidence in support of the theory.  As has been pointed out to you over and over again, it is impossible to prove a theory.  Ever.  Under any circumstances.

That's all I need.

And this just goes to show that you're deliberately cherry-picking people's statements to find support for what you want to hear.  GiC himself stated that it's impossible to prove anything in the sciences, which radically alters the substance of what he later said.  His statement was essentially, "no theory, including this one, can ever be proven because of their very nature" which you misrepresented as "this theory has not been proven because there's not evidence for it."
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« Reply #224 on: December 21, 2007, 03:35:27 PM »

No, it's only evidence in support of the theory.  As has been pointed out to you over and over again, it is impossible to prove a theory.  Ever.  Under any circumstances.

And this just goes to show that you're deliberately cherry-picking people's statements to find support for what you want to hear.  GiC himself stated that it's impossible to prove anything in the sciences, which radically alters the substance of what he later said.  His statement was essentially, "no theory, including this one, can ever be proven because of their very nature" which you misrepresented as "this theory has not been proven because there's not evidence for it."

And what is evidence if not proof?
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