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Author Topic: Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy  (Read 347936 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #2070 on: August 02, 2010, 08:17:40 PM »

Spiritual death comes upon the scene due to the choices of Adam and Eve.

The wages of sin is death. So physical death existed before sin? I thought the Holy Fathers taught that all of the cosmos was brought into disorder because of the sin of Adam (even if this means all men, the point still holds). Theistic Evolution capitulates to modern narratives and betrays this truth by stating that death was from God all along. How can he trample down death by death?
I would say that Jesus did that: He trampled down Spiritual Death by means of physical death -- leading to the ultimate elimination of both Death and death.
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Why do we hope for peace when the lion will lay with the lamb? Won't they still be enemies at the end if he only heals our "spiritual death", and not the physical one as well?
I'm not sure if the lion and the lamb necessarily represent real animals. It is possible that the lamb is symbolic of God's meekness/love, and the lion, of God's wrath/justice: love and justice are intertwined and cannot be separated. The love requires the justice; and vice versa.
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How does any of this "spiritualization" of our redemption square with apostolic doctrines like the resurrection of the dead?
One way: Jesus died a physical death, but Jesus did not die a Spiritual Death. Thus, Jesus resurrected a physical resurrection, which means that we will also be resurrected physically. But, whether we will also be resurrected from a Spiritual Death, depends upon our synergy with God.

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Was His resurrection merely spiritual? Is Christ Himself really a constructed spiritual archetype, as you seemingly posit that Adam was?
Adam was a real person, as is Christ. Adam died a physical death, and a Spiritual Death. Christ, however, only died a physical death. But that physical death of Christ led to the physical and Spiritual r/Resurrection of Adam.

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« Reply #2071 on: August 02, 2010, 08:37:05 PM »

Jesus died a physical death, but Jesus did not die a Spiritual Death. Thus, Jesus resurrected a physical resurrection, which means that we will also be resurrected physically. But, whether we will also be resurrected from a Spiritual Death, depends upon our synergy with God.

So when we are resurrected from the dead, death in the material world will continue, and perhaps even the deified man will still feed upon the flesh of creatures?
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« Reply #2072 on: August 02, 2010, 08:41:58 PM »

Jesus died a physical death, but Jesus did not die a Spiritual Death. Thus, Jesus resurrected a physical resurrection, which means that we will also be resurrected physically. But, whether we will also be resurrected from a Spiritual Death, depends upon our synergy with God.

So when we are resurrected from the dead, death in the material world will continue, and perhaps even the deified man will still feed upon the flesh of creatures?
No. When we are resurrected, we shall be like this thread: We shall never die, but we shall continue on, no matter how old, repetitive, and tedious we become.
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« Reply #2073 on: August 02, 2010, 08:57:35 PM »

Jesus died a physical death, but Jesus did not die a Spiritual Death. Thus, Jesus resurrected a physical resurrection, which means that we will also be resurrected physically. But, whether we will also be resurrected from a Spiritual Death, depends upon our synergy with God.

So when we are resurrected from the dead, death in the material world will continue, and perhaps even the deified man will still feed upon the flesh of creatures?
Au contraire.

Physical death was not God's original intention.

But doesn't theistic evolution demand that God intended for physical death to exist?

No, not really. Theistic evolution only says that death existed before humans evolved. That's different from saying that God intended for physical death to exist.

One hypothesis: God's foreknowledge knew that, once He created Adam and Eve, that they would choose sin, choose Spiritual Death. Now, how do you  defeat Spiritual Death? Answer: You defeat poison with another kind of poison. You defeat Death by another type of death, by the physical death of God the Son. Thus, God created the conditions for physical death to appear, which would lead to the evolutionary process producing Adam, and God would imbue Adam with Breath. Once Adam and Eve chose Spiritual Death, the very means to defeat Spiritual Death was already present.

Physical death -- that which makes evolution possible -- also makes Salvation possible, because the physical death of God the Son, leads to the end of Spiritual Death and the beginning of everlasting Life.
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« Reply #2074 on: August 02, 2010, 09:30:58 PM »

No. When we are resurrected, we shall be like this thread: We shall never die, but we shall continue on, no matter how old, repetitive, and tedious we become.

You're always such a delight to hear from.

Theistic evolution only says that death existed before humans evolved. That's different from saying that God intended for physical death to exist.

But that is also saying that the sin of Adam is not the cause of physical death in the cosmos, which as I understand it is the plainer meaning of the Holy Scriptures, and this is confirmed by the illumined Holy Fathers and Mothers of the Church.

If humanity does not bring physical death into the world by sin, then where does death find its source?
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« Reply #2075 on: August 02, 2010, 10:02:24 PM »


Theistic evolution only says that death existed before humans evolved. That's different from saying that God intended for physical death to exist.

But that is also saying that the sin of Adam is not the cause of physical death in the cosmos, which as I understand it is the plainer meaning of the Holy Scriptures, and this is confirmed by the illumined Holy Fathers and Mothers of the Church.
There might be two ways of understanding how Adam "caused" physical death. One way, is that Adam's sin directly caused physical death. Another way, is that God's foreknowledge was aware of Adam's sin in the future, and so God created a universe in which physical death existed -- because only through physical death of the Son, would Adam's sin be reversed.
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« Reply #2076 on: August 02, 2010, 10:21:19 PM »

There might be two ways of understanding how Adam "caused" physical death. One way, is that Adam's sin directly caused physical death. Another way, is that God's foreknowledge was aware of Adam's sin in the future, and so God created a universe in which physical death existed -- because only through physical death of the Son, would Adam's sin be reversed.

I honestly don't see a way that this can be squared with the Church's teachings on death, because even if indirectly it seems to make God the author of death. It also makes death a part of His creative process, which also undermines the mission of Christ God. It's almost as if He's working against Himself, if that makes sense.
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« Reply #2077 on: August 02, 2010, 10:42:21 PM »

This is one of my favorite quotes that is helpful for this subject:

Grudging existence to none therefore, He made all things out of nothing through His own Word, our Lord Jesus Christ and of all these His earthly creatures He reserved especial mercy for the race of men. Upon them, therefore, upon men who, as animals, were essentially impermanent, He bestowed a grace which other creatures lacked—namely the impress of His own Image, a share in the reasonable being of the very Word Himself, so that, reflecting Him and themselves becoming reasonable and expressing the Mind of God even as He does, though in limited degree they might continue for ever in the blessed and only true life of the saints in paradise. But since the will of man could turn either way, God secured this grace that He had given by making it conditional from the first upon two things—namely, a law and a place. He set them in His own paradise, and laid upon them a single prohibition. If they guarded the grace and retained the loveliness of their original innocence, then the life of paradise should be theirs, without sorrow, pain or care, and after it the assurance of immortality in heaven. But if they went astray and became vile, throwing away their birthright of beauty, then they would come under the natural law of death and live no longer in paradise, but, dying outside of it, continue in death and in corruption.

...

By nature, of course, man is mortal, since he was made from nothing; but he bears also the Likeness of Him Who is, and if he preserves that Likeness through constant contemplation, then his nature is deprived of its power and he remains incorrupt. So is it affirmed in Wisdom: "The keeping of His laws is the assurance of incorruption." And being incorrupt, he would be henceforth as God, as Holy Scripture says, "I have said, Ye are gods and sons of the Highest all of you: but ye die as men and fall as one of the princes."

A couple of points St. Athanasius is teaching us:

1.  Man like any creation is made out of nothing.
2.  Anything creation that is made out of nothing is naturally mortal, or impermanent.  In other words, naturally, you will die.
3.  Man unlike other animals received something different from animals, a grace, i.e. the impress of the Image and Likeness of the Logos.
4.  The Image and Likeness is the source of man's sharing with the reasoning, incorruption, and immortality of God.
5.  God removed man from his natural habitat into His Paradise (where the saints who die are in now) so that man's grace may be secured.
6.  If man disobeyed God's commandment, man's grace won't be secured, and he'll return back to his natural habitat, under the natural law of death and corruption with all the other animals.

In St. Athanasius inspired words, I submit.


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« Reply #2078 on: August 02, 2010, 11:06:52 PM »


In St. Athanasius inspired words, I submit.

Another interesting section:

"(5) This, then, was the plight of men. God had not only made them out of nothing, but had also graciously bestowed on them His own life by the grace of the Word. Then, turning from eternal things to things corruptible, by counsel of the devil, they had become the cause of their own corruption in death; for, as I said before, though they were by nature subject to corruption, the grace of their union with the Word made them capable of escaping from the natural law, provided that they retained the beauty of innocence with which they were created. That is to say, the presence of the Word with them shielded them even from natural corruption, as also Wisdom says: God created man for incorruption and as an image of His own eternity; but by envy of the devil death entered into the world."[10] When this happened, men began to die, and corruption ran riot among them and held sway over them to an even more than natural degree, because it was the penalty of which God had forewarned them for transgressing the commandment."
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« Reply #2079 on: August 03, 2010, 12:33:03 AM »

Mina and Jetavan, I think you guys are extrapolating way too much from St. Athanaisus's words. The point he is making is that only God is infinite, i.e. having no beginning or end. All creatures are thus contingent upon their Creator, meaning they have at least a beginning. Adam and Eve were created with free will, which made them susceptible to death- not because of their inherent nature but because they possessed the potential to choose sin and thus suffer the consequence of death. I do not see St. Athanasius in any way saying that Adam and Eve were created inherently corruptible, but only that their free will made it possible for corrupution to come to them via their own choice, not by their inherent nature.  

St. Athanasius says "they were by nature subject to corruption," not that they were by nature corruptible. This an important distinction. Free will was part of their inherent nature, which made them subject to corruption via the misuse of their volitional will. But St. Athanasius is not saying that they were created corruptible, subject to death apart from sin.

He also makes it clear that the "natural law of death" is the consequential law of the effects of sin. St. Athanasius is not saying that there existed a natural law of death prior to the Fall.

St. Athanasius says that before God bestowed the grace of His own image upon man, man like all animals was "essentially impermanent." Now what does this mean, exactly? Well, we know that only human beings possess the potential for theosis, not animals. So, apart from the grace of having the divine image bestowed upon him - which Scripture indicates happened at the very time of his creation - man would have merely been an animal possessing no potential to attain the deification of which St. Athanasius speaks when he declares, "God became a man in order that man may become God." Thus, this phrase "essentially impermanent" does not automatically imply natural death. For God can create life out of nothing, and thus He can withdraw life without death being involved. Humanity is unique because we have the ability through grace to evolve spiritually and grow into oneness with God while always remaining distinct from God. Animals do not have this privilege, and thus are "essentially impermanent."

I think it is a gross stretch to use the words of St. Athanasius to support the idea of theistic evolution. Do any of us really think that blessed St. Athanasius did not believe in the literal creation of Adam and Eve? Do any of us really think that he believed disease, violence, and death naturally existed prior to the Fall? St. Athanasius would surely tell us that these things were the result of sin, not the natural state of creation prior to sin.


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« Reply #2080 on: August 03, 2010, 12:49:52 AM »

Dear Gebre,

You cannot get any clearer than what St. Athanasius says in these words.  Man in order to attain immortality left the natural world of death and went to the Paradise of Joy in communion with God.  Man was removed from the natural world, that world which contains natural death, and He decided to give us something all other material creation does not have, and in doing so, we were not in the world, but as soon as we sinned, we left Paradise and joined the rest of the world.

This is exactly what St. Athanasius teaches.  Your interpretation is simply a stretch, not an accurate straightforward interpretation.  Death did indeed exist, just that God wanted it to be avoided within humanity, in which humanity decided to follow the natural inclinations of the world than his own spiritual inclination of the Image.

To say that it's unfair for God to have created physical death is just as unfair as not giving canines His own Image too.
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« Reply #2081 on: August 03, 2010, 01:05:04 AM »

I thank you for the helpful replies. You've certainly given me some new possibilities to consider.
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« Reply #2082 on: August 03, 2010, 02:08:45 AM »

Dear Gebre,

You cannot get any clearer than what St. Athanasius says in these words.  Man in order to attain immortality left the natural world of death and went to the Paradise of Joy in communion with God.  Man was removed from the natural world, that world which contains natural death, and He decided to give us something all other material creation does not have, and in doing so, we were not in the world, but as soon as we sinned, we left Paradise and joined the rest of the world.

This is exactly what St. Athanasius teaches.  Your interpretation is simply a stretch, not an accurate straightforward interpretation.  Death did indeed exist, just that God wanted it to be avoided within humanity, in which humanity decided to follow the natural inclinations of the world than his own spiritual inclination of the Image.

To say that it's unfair for God to have created physical death is just as unfair as not giving canines His own Image too.


Dear Mina,

How does death occur? Consider that question. Death is the result of disease, imperfection, and deficiency. Therefore, if death was natural prior to the Fall, we would have to conclude that God created imperfection. But that can't be. Disease, imperfection, and deficiency came about through sin, not through the hand of God.

As I said previously, I disagree with your interpretation of St. Athanasius's words. But even if you are correct in your interpretation of them, that does not mean that St. Athanasius was correct. The Fathers were not infallible in everything they said. But we do know that the Early Fathers universally believed in the literal creation of Adam and Eve. So, it is more than a stretch to attempt to use St. Athanasius's words in support of theistic evolution.


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« Reply #2083 on: August 03, 2010, 02:21:49 AM »

He also makes it clear that the "natural law of death" is the consequential law of the effects of sin.
I don't see where St. Athanasius says this. Of course, for Adam, death was a consequence of sin, but where does the Saint say that this was true for other organisms?

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I think it is a gross stretch to use the words of St. Athanasius to support the idea of theistic evolution.
I doubt that the Saint was even aware of the possibility of evolution. But what the Saint does suggest, is that physical death, was a part of the cosmic pattern, before Adam's appearance.
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« Reply #2084 on: August 03, 2010, 02:41:05 AM »

He also makes it clear that the "natural law of death" is the consequential law of the effects of sin.
I don't see where St. Athanasius says this. Of course, for Adam, death was a consequence of sin, but where does the Saint say that this was true for other organisms?

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I think it is a gross stretch to use the words of St. Athanasius to support the idea of theistic evolution.
I doubt that the Saint was even aware of the possibility of evolution. But what the Saint does suggest, is that physical death, was a part of the cosmic pattern, before Adam's appearance.


I don't think St. Athanasius is suggesting that at all, for to do so he would have to be suggesting that disease, imperfection, and deficiency came from the hand of God rather than through the hands of Adam and Eve.


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« Reply #2085 on: August 03, 2010, 09:21:35 AM »

Well, we're in quite a dilemma Gebre.  Because you believe in something personally, you either force your interpretation on St. Athanasius or you call St. Athanasius wrong.

I'm not saying whether St. Athanasius is right or wrong, but just giving you the alternative view, where many Church fathers, like St. Athanasius, believed that when death was a result of sin, it was a result of Adam sinning and Adam being hurt.  Animals do not sin.  Animals simply do what their instincts guide them to do.  We have instincts, but we also have a spirit, which guide us to transcend our instincts, which is why death for us is a tragedy, whereas death for the rest of the animal world is natural.

I'm not saying St. Athanasius believed in evolution.  But the idea that death didn't exist before Adam's fall is not shared by all Church fathers.  If you want to believe St. Athanasius is wrong, then that is your opinion and there's no point in debating this any further.

In addition, you assumption that death and disease as imperfection for the whole animal kingdom is just an assumption.  I believe death and disease is a human problem, whereas although part of a natural world, we as humans strive to transcend nature.  But death and disease perhaps God intended it as perfect for the natural world, for nature to take its course, until the General Resurrection, and sometimes we even thank God for death and disease to teach us to combat sin in a life of adversity.
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« Reply #2086 on: August 03, 2010, 04:40:03 PM »

Well, we're in quite a dilemma Gebre.  Because you believe in something personally, you either force your interpretation on St. Athanasius or you call St. Athanasius wrong.

I'm not saying whether St. Athanasius is right or wrong, but just giving you the alternative view, where many Church fathers, like St. Athanasius, believed that when death was a result of sin, it was a result of Adam sinning and Adam being hurt.  Animals do not sin.  Animals simply do what their instincts guide them to do.  We have instincts, but we also have a spirit, which guide us to transcend our instincts, which is why death for us is a tragedy, whereas death for the rest of the animal world is natural.

I'm not saying St. Athanasius believed in evolution.  But the idea that death didn't exist before Adam's fall is not shared by all Church fathers.  If you want to believe St. Athanasius is wrong, then that is your opinion and there's no point in debating this any further.

In addition, you assumption that death and disease as imperfection for the whole animal kingdom is just an assumption.  I believe death and disease is a human problem, whereas although part of a natural world, we as humans strive to transcend nature.  But death and disease perhaps God intended it as perfect for the natural world, for nature to take its course, until the General Resurrection, and sometimes we even thank God for death and disease to teach us to combat sin in a life of adversity.

We do indeed have a different view of the matter. You see the natural Creation prior to the Fall as full of disease and death, a natural environment which man must transcend. I believe the natural Creation prior to the Fall was absent of disease, imperfection, deficiency, and death, and thus a natural paradise to which man can be restored through theosis.

Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.


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« Reply #2087 on: August 05, 2010, 02:41:05 AM »

Gebre, I have to agree that your interpretation is a bit of a stretch for St. Athanasius. The saint is simply taking an idea found in classical philosophy (such as Plato's Timaeus) that any creature must be impermanent by nature- not by any fault of its own, but by the sheer fact that it has a temporal beginning and must therefore have a temporal end. On the other hand, I don't know if there is necessarily a sharp contradiction between this and those fathers who teach that there was no animal death before the Fall. Why, after, did man's sin bring death to the whole world? It was because of man's role as priest and king of creation. The way man went, the rest of creation went. As God gave man the gift of immortality, perhaps man could share this gift with the rest of creation, and lift it above the natural law of death. These are just my personal thoughts.
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« Reply #2088 on: August 05, 2010, 06:59:57 AM »

Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.
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« Reply #2089 on: August 05, 2010, 07:40:42 AM »

Jesus died a physical death, but Jesus did not die a Spiritual Death. Thus, Jesus resurrected a physical resurrection, which means that we will also be resurrected physically. But, whether we will also be resurrected from a Spiritual Death, depends upon our synergy with God.

So when we are resurrected from the dead, death in the material world will continue, and perhaps even the deified man will still feed upon the flesh of creatures?
No. When we are resurrected, we shall be like this thread: We shall never die, but we shall continue on, no matter how old, repetitive, and tedious we become.

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« Reply #2090 on: August 05, 2010, 09:16:06 AM »

Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.

I hope we aren't denying that a fall occurred?
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« Reply #2091 on: August 05, 2010, 03:12:48 PM »

Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.

I hope we aren't denying that a fall occurred?
No, we're not.  A fall did occur.  However, some will say that this fall was merely the fall of man, whom God created to enjoy a life higher than that of the rest of the material creation, into the same law of entropy and death that already ruled the world.
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« Reply #2092 on: August 05, 2010, 03:22:03 PM »

Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.

of course sin doesnt create, but it corrupts. the Fathers are clear on this.
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« Reply #2093 on: August 05, 2010, 04:05:41 PM »

Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.

I hope we aren't denying that a fall occurred?
No, we're not.  A fall did occur.  However, some will say that this fall was merely the fall of man, whom God created to enjoy a life higher than that of the rest of the material creation, into the same law of entropy and death that already ruled the world.

Well than, if our state was that of what it use to be. Than nothing had changed at all.  Wink
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« Reply #2094 on: August 05, 2010, 04:29:47 PM »

Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.

I hope we aren't denying that a fall occurred?
No, we're not.  A fall did occur.  However, some will say that this fall was merely the fall of man, whom God created to enjoy a life higher than that of the rest of the material creation, into the same law of entropy and death that already ruled the world.

Well than, if our state was that of what it use to be. Than nothing had changed at all.  Wink
What do you mean?
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« Reply #2095 on: August 05, 2010, 07:21:36 PM »

Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin.


St. Paul says quite the opposite:

"The creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now." [Romans 8:20-22]

In writng about "Fallen Creation," Father John Romanides says:

"St. Paul strongly affirms the belief that all things created by God are good.[ 3 ] Yet, at the same time, he insists on the fact that not only man,[ 4 ] but also all of creation has fallen.[ 5 ] Both man and creation are awaiting the final redemption. [ 6 ] Thus, in spite of the fact that all things created by God are good, the devil has temporarily [ 7 ] become the "god of this age."[ 8 ] A basic presupposition of St. Paul's thought is that althought the world was created by God and as such is good, yet now there rules in it the power of Satan. The devil, however, is by no means absolute, since God has never abandoned His creation.[ 9 ]

Thus, according to St. Paul, creation as it is is not what God intended it to be--"For the creature was made subject to vanity...by reason of him who hath subjected the same."[ 10 ] Therefore, evil can exist, at least temporarily, as a parasitic element alongside and inside of that which God created originally good. A good example of this is one who would do the Good according to the "inner man," but finds it impossible because of the indwelling power of sin in the flesh.[ 11 ] Although created good and still maintained and governed by God, creation as it is is still far from being normal or natural, if by "normal" we understand nature according to the original and final destiny of creation. governing this age, in spite of the fact that God Himself is still sustaining creation and creating for Himself a remnant,[12 ] is the devil himself."



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« Reply #2096 on: August 05, 2010, 07:43:59 PM »

Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.

of course sin doesnt create, but it corrupts. the Fathers are clear on this.
Or, in other words, it affects us, but it doesn't effect us.
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« Reply #2097 on: August 05, 2010, 07:45:14 PM »

^ Whoops--didn't realize my wife was still logged on. That was me.
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« Reply #2098 on: August 08, 2010, 01:49:19 PM »

Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.

I hope we aren't denying that a fall occurred?
No, we're not.  A fall did occur.  However, some will say that this fall was merely the fall of man, whom God created to enjoy a life higher than that of the rest of the material creation, into the same law of entropy and death that already ruled the world.

Well than, if our state was that of what it use to be. Than nothing had changed at all.  Wink
What do you mean?
What you are saying is that Adams fall is a fall from what could have bin a risen state depending on Adam. That isn't a fall. It's a failure to achieve. Now if Adam was in a state between corruption and incorruptibly before he fell. He would be the decision maker rather than an underachiever. And if we view the falls affects on all of creation throughout time and space in the same way as Christ effectively saved Adam and all those that can before him. The act can be seen as cosmic and reached into time and space. Now we have a real fall. Wink
   We don't know what things could have look like before the fall. All we know is that the fall affected it just as it affected the aftermath. What evolution and science is looking at could just be the affects of the fall. If Adam had chosen wiser. The past would have look different than the fallen state that creation is in now.
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« Reply #2099 on: August 08, 2010, 08:25:05 PM »

Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.

I hope we aren't denying that a fall occurred?
No, we're not.  A fall did occur.  However, some will say that this fall was merely the fall of man, whom God created to enjoy a life higher than that of the rest of the material creation, into the same law of entropy and death that already ruled the world.

Well than, if our state was that of what it use to be. Than nothing had changed at all.  Wink
What do you mean?
What you are saying is that Adams fall is a fall from what could have bin a risen state depending on Adam.
No, that's not what I'm saying, nor does it answer my question.  I asked you to tell me what you mean, not tell me what (you think) I mean. Wink

That isn't a fall. It's a failure to achieve. Now if Adam was in a state between corruption and incorruptibly before he fell. He would be the decision maker rather than an underachiever. And if we view the falls affects on all of creation throughout time and space in the same way as Christ effectively saved Adam and all those that can before him. The act can be seen as cosmic and reached into time and space. Now we have a real fall. Wink
Without a proper understanding of what I said, I'm not sure your reasoning applies.

We don't know what things could have look like before the fall. All we know is that the fall affected it just as it affected the aftermath. What evolution and science is looking at could just be the affects of the fall. If Adam had chosen wiser. The past would have look different than the fallen state that creation is in now.

And how do we know this?
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« Reply #2100 on: August 09, 2010, 02:46:14 PM »

Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin.


St. Paul says quite the opposite:

"The creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now." [Romans 8:20-22]

In writng about "Fallen Creation," Father John Romanides says:

"St. Paul strongly affirms the belief that all things created by God are good.[ 3 ] Yet, at the same time, he insists on the fact that not only man,[ 4 ] but also all of creation has fallen.[ 5 ] Both man and creation are awaiting the final redemption. [ 6 ] Thus, in spite of the fact that all things created by God are good, the devil has temporarily [ 7 ] become the "god of this age."[ 8 ] A basic presupposition of St. Paul's thought is that althought the world was created by God and as such is good, yet now there rules in it the power of Satan. The devil, however, is by no means absolute, since God has never abandoned His creation.[ 9 ]

Thus, according to St. Paul, creation as it is is not what God intended it to be--"For the creature was made subject to vanity...by reason of him who hath subjected the same."[ 10 ] Therefore, evil can exist, at least temporarily, as a parasitic element alongside and inside of that which God created originally good. A good example of this is one who would do the Good according to the "inner man," but finds it impossible because of the indwelling power of sin in the flesh.[ 11 ] Although created good and still maintained and governed by God, creation as it is is still far from being normal or natural, if by "normal" we understand nature according to the original and final destiny of creation. governing this age, in spite of the fact that God Himself is still sustaining creation and creating for Himself a remnant,[12 ] is the devil himself."



Selam


From what I understand, there's two ways to interpret these verses, your way (Fr. John Romanides way) and another way, i.e. all of creation sympathizes with our fallenness, and groans because we groan, just as a poet who talks about clouds as the dust of God's feet, or the singing of birds as praising the Lord, so too the birth pains of creation are their groaning in the corruption of man.

But in truth, in the General Resurrection, we shall bring all of creation in incorruption with us.  Here's another way to interpret this verses:

The phrase "subjected to vanity" according to St. Gregory of Nyssa symbolizes created nature, for we are vain in nature compared to God's uncreated divinity, and indeed, "subjected to vanity the same who subjected them in hope."  Creation which took part in the birthing of humanity hopes that through humanity they may be brought to incorruption.  Indeed, we as the crown of creation may bring not just ourselves but all of creation to salvation.  They suffered to bring us on earth through God's power.  Unfortunately, we messed up, and all of creation groans as they groaned before we came in this world.  One day however, through Christ who partook of creation, we will once again bring creation to incorruption with us through Him who is Incorruptible by nature.

This story does not contradict creation's corruption before humanity.  For the dawn of humanity brought rejoicing upon creation for hope in incorruption, just as the dawn of the Incarnation of Christ brought rejoicing upon humanity for hope in salvation.

Of course there's no right or wrong answer.  You will have other Church fathers who will agree with your interpretation too, people like St. Theophilus of Antioch and I think St. Ambrose, and I'm not sure but maybe St. John Chrysostom, although he wasn't that clear, but the above interpretation of mine is in part influenced by him.

God bless.
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« Reply #2101 on: August 09, 2010, 03:03:06 PM »

Just to add to the discussion, I found this to be interesting on what Fr. John Romanides views of the Fall of Man and the Interpretation of Scriptures from here:

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2009/11/fr-john-romanides-on-extraterrestrial.html

Quote
First one should point out that in contrast to the traditions deriving from Latin Christianity, Greek Christianity never had a fundamentalist or literalist  understanding of Biblical inspiration and was never committed to the inerrancy of scripture in matters concerning the structure of the universe and life in it. In this regard some modern attempts at de-mything the Bible are interesting and at times amusing.

Since the very first centuries of Christianity, theologians of the Greek tradition did not believe, as did the Latins, that humanity was created in a state of perfection from which it fell. Rather the Orthodox always believed that man [was] created imperfect, or at a low level of perfection, with the destiny of evolving to higher levels of perfection.

The fall of each man, therefore, entails a failure to reach perfection, rather than any collective fall from perfection.

Also spiritual evolution does not end in a static beatific vision. It is a never ending process which will go on even into eternity.

...


The Orthodox believe that all creation is destined to share in the glory of God. Both damned and glorified will be saved. In other words both will have vision of God in his uncreated glory, with the difference that for the unjust this same uncreated glory of God will be the eternal fires of hell.

God is light for those who learn to love Him and a consuming fire for those who will not. God has no positive intent to punish.

For those not properly prepared, to see God is a cleansing experience, but one which does not move eternally toward higher reaches of perfection.

Of course the article is about the possibility of Intelligence in other planets, but I have some feeling Fr. John is also somehow fine with the concept of evolution within his interpretation of Scripture in some way.

God bless.
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« Reply #2102 on: August 31, 2010, 06:28:21 PM »

Does the presence of a Tree of Life that could give immortality imply that physical death was part of the original plan, and that the eating of the fruit simply hastened what was already in process?

Quote
Gen 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever....

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« Reply #2103 on: August 31, 2010, 10:19:15 PM »

Does the presence of a Tree of Life that could give immortality imply that physical death was part of the original plan, and that the eating of the fruit simply hastened what was already in process?

Quote
Gen 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever....



no
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« Reply #2104 on: October 09, 2010, 06:46:51 PM »

So, because I was raised with a liberal and non-religious atheistic background, for most of my life I have simply taken the truth of the standard Theory of Evolution for granted.

When I started becoming serious about exploring Christianity, I did not give the matter all that much thought, as I had mostly seen sources which stated that the Faith is not incompatible with belief in said theory.

However, recently I have come to become more and more skeptical of the means of evolution, particularly the survival of the fittest usually to the detriment of those weaker and less adaptive than them. To me the system whereby the fit animals develop through selfish monopolizing of resources in contrast to sacrifice or even simply sharing seems very much like a fallen way for things to operate. As such, I am beginning to wonder more and more if the Darwinian process of "natural selection" is in fact a consequence of the Fall. Maybe if it is, it would still be possible that some other process of evolution operated before the Fall; I don't know.

Can anyone address this? I'm particularly interested to hear explanations from those who defend Darwinian evolution as intended by God.
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« Reply #2105 on: October 09, 2010, 07:12:07 PM »

I'm on the fence about evolution.  Sometimes I wonder if God gave creatures a certain ability to adapt to change.  Having said that, if it did happen, it is because God decided it would.  It is not some random event.
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« Reply #2106 on: October 09, 2010, 08:20:28 PM »

I'm on the fence about evolution.  Sometimes I wonder if God gave creatures a certain ability to adapt to change.  Having said that, if it did happen, it is because God decided it would.  It is not some random event.

Mostly I am concerned with the fact that the survival of the most adapted often occurs at the exploitation of the less adapted.
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« Reply #2107 on: October 09, 2010, 11:23:37 PM »

I'm on the fence about evolution.  Sometimes I wonder if God gave creatures a certain ability to adapt to change.  Having said that, if it did happen, it is because God decided it would.  It is not some random event.

Mostly I am concerned with the fact that the survival of the most adapted often occurs at the exploitation of the less adapted.
There are those who would make a case for "genetically-advantageous altruism"; this debate goes back and forth ad infinitum, I'm afraid.

Another perspective:

Any attempt to create a Frankenstein's monster out of the theory of evolution and the genesis accounts, via scholastic theology and naturalism, will inevitably end in failure and unhappiness. We can speculate, but how these two things can be totally reconciled is a mystery not yet revealed to us.

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« Reply #2108 on: October 10, 2010, 01:21:47 AM »

Interesting topic! I look forward to hearing answers.
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« Reply #2109 on: October 10, 2010, 01:52:49 AM »

I'm on the fence about evolution.  Sometimes I wonder if God gave creatures a certain ability to adapt to change.  Having said that, if it did happen, it is because God decided it would.  It is not some random event.
Perhaps socially, but physical evolution, I think, is mostly about mutations surviving with change.  Suppose our atmosphere changes enough that some people go through a change in lung structure.  Those people will have a better chance to survive, even if they help out the others.  I don't think evolution demands that people be selfish, although evolutionary thinking can create an atmosphere to make it easier to be that way.

Mostly I am concerned with the fact that the survival of the most adapted often occurs at the exploitation of the less adapted.
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« Reply #2110 on: October 10, 2010, 02:34:39 AM »

Perhaps socially, but physical evolution, I think, is mostly about mutations surviving with change.  Suppose our atmosphere changes enough that some people go through a change in lung structure.  Those people will have a better chance to survive, even if they help out the others.  I don't think evolution demands that people be selfish, although evolutionary thinking can create an atmosphere to make it easier to be that way.

I am thinking mostly of who is best able to get food and the babes (reproduce). Those who are adapted must be selfish to access limited resources, and they must do this at the exploitation of those who are less sufficiently adapted; that is at least assuming the fairly common scenario of too few resources for all to survive.
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« Reply #2111 on: October 10, 2010, 08:18:43 AM »

Michael Dowd, author of Thank God for Evolution, argues that evolution is not simply about death and selfishness.

Species help other species to survive:

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"Well, one of the phrases I prefer—a phrase that I have borrowed from evolutionary scientists alive today—is ‘survival of those who fit best’—that is, those who fit well with their environment, especially the other living beings with whom they associate. Of course, ‘association’ includes what you eat—cows eat grass, lions eat zebra, humans eat plants and often animals. But ‘association’ from an ecological standpoint also includes such things as, ‘Who supplies the oxygen you breathe?’ ‘What little critters inside your gut help you digest your vegetables?’ ‘What living beings decompose your waste?’ ‘What plants and their associated bacteria are used by farmers to restore the nitrogen in harvested fields?’ And, of course, ‘What do we, in turn, do to contribute our share of support to the body of life?’"

Death does not have the last word in evolution, nor does it have the last word in Christianity:

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"Yes, the face of Nature that we call evolution is not all pleasant from the standpoint of any particular species or individual. Predation is real; genetic defects occur naturally; and, of course, death ultimately knocks at the door of everyone. Nevertheless, I draw from my own Christian tradition to put these realities in a sacred context. What, after all, is the food web, if not a variation of ‘Take, eat, this is my body, which is given for you’? When we speak of the “interdependent web of life” what we are really talking about is one big divine banquet—‘holy communion’ at the scale of the whole planet. And what is the core teaching of the Easter saga if not this: on the other side of every ‘Good Friday’ is ‘Resurrection Sunday’—that is, death never has the last word, life does!"
« Last Edit: October 10, 2010, 08:22:36 AM by Jetavan » Logged

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« Reply #2112 on: October 10, 2010, 10:46:58 AM »

However, recently I have come to become more and more skeptical of the means of evolution, particularly the survival of the fittest usually to the detriment of those weaker and less adaptive than them. To me the system whereby the fit animals develop through selfish monopolizing of resources in contrast to sacrifice or even simply sharing seems very much like a fallen way for things to operate.

Perhaps there is some misunderstanding due to different meanings of a word.  "Fit" doesn't just mean healthy, or strongest or in good physical condition.

The term "survival of the fittest" does not mean that the bigger, stronger creatures take all the resources.  It refers to particular variations of species that "fit" in certain places in the world such as being able to eat things that others could not. Camels are "fittest" to survive in arid conditions that other large quadrupeds would not survive, for example. The variety of beak shape in the finches of the Galapagos Islands is an example that Charles Darwin wrote about.  Here is a link to an article about it:
http://www.galapagosonline.com/nathistory/wildlife/birds/galapagosbirds.htm

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« Reply #2113 on: October 10, 2010, 01:14:21 PM »

So, because I was raised with a liberal and non-religious atheistic background, for most of my life I have simply taken the truth of the standard Theory of Evolution for granted.

When I started becoming serious about exploring Christianity, I did not give the matter all that much thought, as I had mostly seen sources which stated that the Faith is not incompatible with belief in said theory.

However, recently I have come to become more and more skeptical of the means of evolution, particularly the survival of the fittest usually to the detriment of those weaker and less adaptive than them. To me the system whereby the fit animals develop through selfish monopolizing of resources in contrast to sacrifice or even simply sharing seems very much like a fallen way for things to operate. As such, I am beginning to wonder more and more if the Darwinian process of "natural selection" is in fact a consequence of the Fall. Maybe if it is, it would still be possible that some other process of evolution operated before the Fall; I don't know.

Can anyone address this? I'm particularly interested to hear explanations from those who defend Darwinian evolution as intended by God.

Have you studied biology at school?

You see, there is no way one can "believe" or "not believe" in scientific theories that have received a sound evidential support. Can you say, "you know, I feel like I do not believe in the theorythat states that matter is composed of atoms and molecules?" Please note: the statement that matter is composed of atoms and molecules IS NOTHING MORE THAN A THEORY. Of course, one can say that he or she "does not believe it." So what?

The theory of biological evolution has as much, or more, factual support as the theory of atomic-molecular structure of matter, or the electromagnetic theory of J.C. Maxwell, or the relativity theory of A. Einstein. "Believe" it, or not "believe" it - it still stands.

Obscurantism, stubborn unwillingness to learn what science is all about and what particular scientific theories are - that's silly, in my book, and that has nothing to to with one being Orthodox or Zoroastrian or eliever in the Flying Cookie Monster. "Learning" "objections" against scientific theories from lay Web sites instead of learnig what these theories actually are from professional science teachers is not only silly and ridiculous but also dangerous and degrading.
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« Reply #2114 on: October 10, 2010, 07:23:11 PM »

Yes, yes, yes...homo sapiens are social animals, they want to be loved and accepted because it ultimately helps form societies which are beneficial for survival and procreation from an evolutionary perspective. Religion is simply a misplaced attempt to pursue something that truly is good, social behaviour.

You are avoiding the thrust of LiveFree's comment.  Telling.


Heros? Heros are for religions, you can't have Buddhism without Buddha, you can't have Islam without Mohammed, you can't have Christianity without Jesus.

I agree with all of your assessments here, but have to tell you the Muslim possibly, the Buddhist definitely, would not.  The source documents of early Isalm would contradict your Muhammad>Islam: they claim, somewhat like what you claim for science, that he taught only what was already there.  Even Mahayana Buddhism does not claim any special status, ontologically speaking, to Buddha: he did what all of us are supposed and can do (so they say).

Yes, no Jesus, no Christianity, no matter how much Liberal Protestantism teaches otherwise.

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But with science, it's the idea that is significant
Yes, that's how Newton felt about Leibnitz over calculus, and used his position to cast the latter into obscurity.  Mr. Enlightenment himself, Voltaire, helped him do it.

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...if Pascal hadn't made his discoveries, someone else would no doubt have...

...and if Ptolemy hadn't made his discoveries, someone else would no doubt have...

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he was the first to see something, but by no means the only person in history capable of doing so; even without him science would have advanced. In fact, religion has long been the bane of science and human advancement, even in great minds.

sanitzing again.

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Pythagoras had an absurd religious adversion to irrational numbers, had he simply focused on the mathematics and forgot about the philosophical non-sense who knows how much further he could have pushed the boundaries of mathematical knowledge?


Yes, maybe we could have developed nuclear weapons by the dark ages.

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Likewise with Pascal, had he not been such a fool as to abandon the pursuit of science for such useless trivia as religion and philosophy perhaps he could have made even greater contributions to science, instead the opium of masses stole from science and human progress a few precious years of his research.


Pythagoras only got involved with numbers because of his religious beliefs.  Otherwise he could have just as well lived his life in obscurity.  In other words, no religion, no math, so no, he would have not pushed any boundary in math anywhere.

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Religion can be the bane and humiliation of great men, but never their glory.
As Pythagoras shows, it is what makes them great men in the first place.

Have you read "The Sleepwalkers," by Arthur Koestler?
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Tags: science Theory of Evolution evolution creationism cheval mort 
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