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Question: Do you believe that the acount of genesis in the Old testament should be taken literally?
Yes - 53 (15.7%)
No - 129 (38.2%)
both metaphorically and literally - 156 (46.2%)
Total Voters: 338

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Author Topic: Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy  (Read 332404 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #2115 on: October 10, 2010, 07:49:22 PM »

I change my previous vote of yes to no.
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« Reply #2116 on: October 10, 2010, 08:33:51 PM »

The following discussion started here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,30443.0.html  -PtA


How do christians who believe in evolution justify the predatorial relationship between species before the fall (e.g. the types of evolutionary arms races experienced between the gazelle and the lion that evolution by natural selection predicts)?
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« Reply #2117 on: October 10, 2010, 08:41:02 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.

I wish I knew more about biology... Evolution, per se, I know is completely beyond denying. The theory of natural selection--as a "sub-theory" of evolutionary theory--can indeed raise some important questions, depending on how you look at things. Just due to the nature of science, I have little doubt that evolutionary theory will continue to undergo significant developments.
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« Reply #2118 on: October 10, 2010, 09:08:39 PM »

How do christians who believe in evolution justify the predatorial relationship between species before the fall (e.g. the types of evolutionary arms races experienced between the gazelle and the lion that evolution by natural selection predicts)?

The first idea that pops into my head is... well, the fall just happened prior to such activity. But then that doesn't help very much, unless I am going to say that the fall happened hundreds and hundreds of millions of years ago--long before anything resembling human beings existed. So how then could we tie the fall to human activity? It is one thing to say that the creation accounts are symbolic, e.g. to put forth the idea that humans fell, but maybe it did not start with a literal Adam and Eve roughly 6,000 to 7,000 years ago. But to say that the Genesis accounts are pretty much just nice stories and that humans are merely the place holders in the story for explaining that there was somewhere, some time, some how, for some reason a fall, is a very different thing. I'm stumped.
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« Reply #2119 on: October 10, 2010, 09:15:09 PM »

How do christians who believe in evolution justify the predatorial relationship between species before the fall (e.g. the types of evolutionary arms races experienced between the gazelle and the lion that evolution by natural selection predicts)?
Perhaps "physical death" existed before the Fall? Perhaps the Fall represents the entrance of "spiritual death" into the cosmos?
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« Reply #2120 on: October 10, 2010, 09:17:45 PM »

How do christians who believe in evolution justify the predatorial relationship between species before the fall (e.g. the types of evolutionary arms races experienced between the gazelle and the lion that evolution by natural selection predicts)?

The Fall is a change in the relationship between God and Man, and Man and Creation. The behaviour of animals prior to the rise of human beings is neither fallen nor unfallen. It just was.

FWIW, Richard Swinburne, himself an Orthodox Christian, writes in his work Responsibility and Atonement (Oxford University Press, 1989) that the traditional theology of the fall can be reconciled with evolution.

And ditto what ortho_cat said. As the Fall is about spiritual death, it makes little sense to speak about animals, as animals don't have souls.
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« Reply #2121 on: October 10, 2010, 09:24:18 PM »

How do christians who believe in evolution justify the predatorial relationship between species before the fall (e.g. the types of evolutionary arms races experienced between the gazelle and the lion that evolution by natural selection predicts)?

The first idea that pops into my head is... well, the fall just happened prior to such activity. But then that doesn't help very much, unless I am going to say that the fall happened hundreds and hundreds of millions of years ago--long before anything resembling human beings existed. So how then could we tie the fall to human activity? It is one thing to say that the creation accounts are symbolic, e.g. to put forth the idea that humans fell, but maybe it did not start with a literal Adam and Eve roughly 6,000 to 7,000 years ago. But to say that the Genesis accounts are pretty much just nice stories and that humans are merely the place holders in the story for explaining that there was somewhere, some time, some how, for some reason a fall, is a very different thing. I'm stumped.

I will not dogmatically defend the view I am about to put forth, but I've always strongly favored the view that the Fall was not a point-in-time event, but something mystical--sort of like how Christ is ever slain. Part of the reasoning behind this is that I simply cannot bring myself to believe that the author of Genesis was intending to write about a historical event when he wrote about Paradise.

There is one point where I believe our Orthodox theology outright has a leg up on the West: the Fathers do not teach that Adam and Eve were created naturally immortal and totally perfect in the garden. They were to gain immortality by grace, and were as spiritual children embarking on the path of theosis. I do not see how anything about evolution contradicts this view, and if it did, I probably wouldn't care. The truth does not depend on my understanding it.
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« Reply #2122 on: October 10, 2010, 09:45:22 PM »

sort of like how Christ is ever slain.

I have never seen this idea derived from anything more than a questionable translation of 1 passage from John's Apocalypse.
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« Reply #2123 on: October 10, 2010, 10:00:58 PM »

How do christians who believe in evolution justify the predatorial relationship between species before the fall (e.g. the types of evolutionary arms races experienced between the gazelle and the lion that evolution by natural selection predicts)?

Dear Ortho_cat
I am unclear as to what your issue is here. Perhaps it would be best to remove yourself from 19th century concepts of natural selection. Evolution is based imperfection, in terms of the fidelity of DNA polymerases and the enzymes that repair DNA damage (due to UV irradiation, gamma rays, reactive chemicals that you eat or breath that modify DNA, etc.). These essential enzymes are not perfect, otherwise you could smoke to your heart's content without worrying. Whether the meek or the strong inherit a place in the biosphere is also based on the unpredictable. A species can survive by virtue of the fact that it has been forced to exist at the periphery of a life-sustaining oasis, whereas the species usurping the oasis was obliterated due to a cataclysmic natural event.
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« Reply #2124 on: October 10, 2010, 10:02:28 PM »

sort of like how Christ is ever slain.

I have never seen this idea derived from anything more than a questionable translation of 1 passage from John's Apocalypse.

It is explicitly referenced in the 9th Ode of the Canon of Preparation for Holy Communion. I admit, though, that I do not recall ever finding it in patristic texts.

Ode 9, Troparion 1
The Lord is good: O taste and see!
For of old He became like unto us for our sake,
and offered Himself once as an offering to His Father,
and is ever slain, sanctifying them that partake of Him.

Do you know which passage of Revelation it is? I can look up some patristic commentary.
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« Reply #2125 on: October 10, 2010, 10:30:09 PM »

How do christians who believe in evolution justify the predatorial relationship between species before the fall (e.g. the types of evolutionary arms races experienced between the gazelle and the lion that evolution by natural selection predicts)?

Dear Ortho_cat
I am unclear as to what your issue is here. Perhaps it would be best to remove yourself from 19th century concepts of natural selection. Evolution is based imperfection, in terms of the fidelity of DNA polymerases and the enzymes that repair DNA damage (due to UV irradiation, gamma rays, reactive chemicals that you eat or breath that modify DNA, etc.). These essential enzymes are not perfect, otherwise you could smoke to your heart's content without worrying. Whether the meek or the strong inherit a place in the biosphere is also based on the unpredictable. A species can survive by virtue of the fact that it has been forced to exist at the periphery of a life-sustaining oasis, whereas the species usurping the oasis was obliterated due to a cataclysmic natural event.

I think that my knowledge of natural selection and evolution is current as I have read several recent books on the subject. I am talking about big picture concepts here, not DNA mutations. We know that in the wild, the gazelle and the lion have co-evolved via ever-increasing arms races; the lion adapted to catch the gazelle, and the gazelle adapted to avoid the lion. My question was specifically regarding these predatory relationships which are governed by the process of natural selection, and how christians believe these relationships were before the fall. I believe this is also the question that the OP was getting at.
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« Reply #2126 on: October 10, 2010, 10:35:42 PM »

How do christians who believe in evolution justify the predatorial relationship between species before the fall (e.g. the types of evolutionary arms races experienced between the gazelle and the lion that evolution by natural selection predicts)?

The Fall is a change in the relationship between God and Man, and Man and Creation. The behaviour of animals prior to the rise of human beings is neither fallen nor unfallen. It just was.

FWIW, Richard Swinburne, himself an Orthodox Christian, writes in his work Responsibility and Atonement (Oxford University Press, 1989) that the traditional theology of the fall can be reconciled with evolution.

And ditto what ortho_cat said. As the Fall is about spiritual death, it makes little sense to speak about animals, as animals don't have souls.

I can work with this. However, it still doesn't get around the concept that the predatory relationships between animals just seems...well, outright cruel and merciless at times. And since we can't blame this activity on the fall of man, we have to conclude that God wanted it to be this way, which can be a tough pill to swallow for some (myself included).
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« Reply #2127 on: October 10, 2010, 10:37:50 PM »

How do christians who believe in evolution justify the predatorial relationship between species before the fall (e.g. the types of evolutionary arms races experienced between the gazelle and the lion that evolution by natural selection predicts)?

The Fall is a change in the relationship between God and Man, and Man and Creation. The behaviour of animals prior to the rise of human beings is neither fallen nor unfallen. It just was.

FWIW, Richard Swinburne, himself an Orthodox Christian, writes in his work Responsibility and Atonement (Oxford University Press, 1989) that the traditional theology of the fall can be reconciled with evolution.

And ditto what ortho_cat said. As the Fall is about spiritual death, it makes little sense to speak about animals, as animals don't have souls.
Can you quote someone on that?
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« Reply #2128 on: October 10, 2010, 10:44:16 PM »

How do christians who believe in evolution justify the predatorial relationship between species before the fall (e.g. the types of evolutionary arms races experienced between the gazelle and the lion that evolution by natural selection predicts)?

The Fall is a change in the relationship between God and Man, and Man and Creation. The behaviour of animals prior to the rise of human beings is neither fallen nor unfallen. It just was.

FWIW, Richard Swinburne, himself an Orthodox Christian, writes in his work Responsibility and Atonement (Oxford University Press, 1989) that the traditional theology of the fall can be reconciled with evolution.

And ditto what ortho_cat said. As the Fall is about spiritual death, it makes little sense to speak about animals, as animals don't have souls.
Can you quote someone on that?

Indeed, there is an intimate link between bodily corruption and sin. There is also a link between man and all of creation, as humanity is the "unity point" of the cosmos. We cannot say that spiritual death and bodily death are not related. I think the answer to this lies in the fact that without God's grace, human beings are naturally mortal, like animals. In light of evolution, our mortality could be interpreted as a failure to trancend our passionate animal nature.
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« Reply #2129 on: October 10, 2010, 10:47:20 PM »

How do christians who believe in evolution justify the predatorial relationship between species before the fall (e.g. the types of evolutionary arms races experienced between the gazelle and the lion that evolution by natural selection predicts)?
Perhaps "physical death" existed before the Fall? Perhaps the Fall represents the entrance of "spiritual death" into the cosmos?

I think your first conclusion is the only one that a person who believes in common descent can come to, and i'm fine with believing that.

Humans on the other hand had the 'tree of life', whatever you want to interpret that to mean. Perhaps this 'living forever' never was intended to imply physical immortality, but spiritual immortality (however that begs the question, how would they 'eat' of the 'tree of life' after they died? Perhaps this was referring to some non-physical form of communion with God that can be continued in the afterlife, somewhat like a pre-Christ theosis?)
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« Reply #2130 on: October 11, 2010, 12:01:11 AM »

How do christians who believe in evolution justify the predatorial relationship between species before the fall (e.g. the types of evolutionary arms races experienced between the gazelle and the lion that evolution by natural selection predicts)?

Dear Ortho_cat
I am unclear as to what your issue is here. Perhaps it would be best to remove yourself from 19th century concepts of natural selection. Evolution is based imperfection, in terms of the fidelity of DNA polymerases and the enzymes that repair DNA damage (due to UV irradiation, gamma rays, reactive chemicals that you eat or breath that modify DNA, etc.). These essential enzymes are not perfect, otherwise you could smoke to your heart's content without worrying. Whether the meek or the strong inherit a place in the biosphere is also based on the unpredictable. A species can survive by virtue of the fact that it has been forced to exist at the periphery of a life-sustaining oasis, whereas the species usurping the oasis was obliterated due to a cataclysmic natural event.

I think that my knowledge of natural selection and evolution is current as I have read several recent books on the subject. I am talking about big picture concepts here, not DNA mutations. We know that in the wild, the gazelle and the lion have co-evolved via ever-increasing arms races; the lion adapted to catch the gazelle, and the gazelle adapted to avoid the lion. My question was specifically regarding these predatory relationships which are governed by the process of natural selection, and how christians believe these relationships were before the fall. I believe this is also the question that the OP was getting at.

Hi Ortho_cat,
I apologize for my assumption about the dated basis of your perceptions. I am afraid that I am biased and that the further afield one goes from molecular mechanism the more one enter into the realm of speculation. I would include the co-selective force on gazelles and lions in the speculative category.  Although this assertion can be made on the basis of natural selection, whether it is true is another matter. There are a lot more variables than the makeup of two genetic species.  If you have references to peer reviewed articles, I will look at them, time permitting.

That being said, evolution is a fact (barring a purposeless deception to the nth degree). I also see no benefit for dwelling on this topic.

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« Reply #2131 on: October 11, 2010, 12:23:46 AM »

That being said, evolution is a fact (barring a purposeless deception to the nth degree).

Hee hee, try telling that to a lot of the people on this forum and see what happens...

I agree with you by the way.
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« Reply #2132 on: October 11, 2010, 12:30:09 AM »

That being said, evolution is a fact (barring a purposeless deception to the nth degree).

Hee hee, try telling that to a lot of the people on this forum and see what happens...

I agree with you by the way.

I find it refreshing that many people here seem to be, at least, open to the idea of it. In many evangelical circles, evolution might as well be spelled as "evilution"...  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #2133 on: October 11, 2010, 12:33:02 AM »

How do christians who believe in evolution justify the predatorial relationship between species before the fall (e.g. the types of evolutionary arms races experienced between the gazelle and the lion that evolution by natural selection predicts)?

Dear Ortho_cat
I am unclear as to what your issue is here. Perhaps it would be best to remove yourself from 19th century concepts of natural selection. Evolution is based imperfection, in terms of the fidelity of DNA polymerases and the enzymes that repair DNA damage (due to UV irradiation, gamma rays, reactive chemicals that you eat or breath that modify DNA, etc.). These essential enzymes are not perfect, otherwise you could smoke to your heart's content without worrying. Whether the meek or the strong inherit a place in the biosphere is also based on the unpredictable. A species can survive by virtue of the fact that it has been forced to exist at the periphery of a life-sustaining oasis, whereas the species usurping the oasis was obliterated due to a cataclysmic natural event.

I think that my knowledge of natural selection and evolution is current as I have read several recent books on the subject. I am talking about big picture concepts here, not DNA mutations. We know that in the wild, the gazelle and the lion have co-evolved via ever-increasing arms races; the lion adapted to catch the gazelle, and the gazelle adapted to avoid the lion. My question was specifically regarding these predatory relationships which are governed by the process of natural selection, and how christians believe these relationships were before the fall. I believe this is also the question that the OP was getting at.

Hi Ortho_cat,
I apologize for my assumption about the dated basis of your perceptions. I am afraid that I am biased and that the further afield one goes from molecular mechanism the more one enter into the realm of speculation. I would include the co-selective force on gazelles and lions in the speculative category.  Although this assertion can be made on the basis of natural selection, whether it is true is another matter. There are a lot more variables than the makeup of two genetic species.  If you have references to peer reviewed articles, I will look at them, time permitting.

That being said, evolution is a fact (barring a purposeless deception to the nth degree). I also see no benefit for dwelling on this topic.



Hmm I remember this particular analogy (of the lion-gazelle) being discussed in either "Why Evolution is True-Coyne" or in "The Greatest Show on Earth-Dawkins". If I find some patience and/or time I'll try to look up the reference and see what they cite as evidence.
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« Reply #2134 on: October 11, 2010, 09:41:51 AM »

Ortho Cat,

What is your opinion on intelligent design?
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« Reply #2135 on: October 11, 2010, 09:45:21 AM »

hey good question deusveritasest. if God intended for death to happen then our religion is a farce.
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« Reply #2136 on: October 11, 2010, 10:11:26 AM »

hey good question deusveritasest. if God intended for death to happen then our religion is a farce.
One could argue for death existing before the Fall, without arguing that God "intended" for death to happen.
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« Reply #2137 on: October 11, 2010, 11:56:05 AM »

but even after the existence of man God declares all that He sees to be good -- if death already existed at this point then He is calling death good.
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« Reply #2138 on: October 11, 2010, 12:12:09 PM »

but even after the existence of man God declares all that He sees to be good....
Then again, Jesus stated that no one is "good" but God, so maybe the "good" in Genesis has different meanings. Perhaps, in Genesis, when God says that creation is "good" He is not thereby denying that there might also be a bit of a what humans might consider "non-good" present as well.
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« Reply #2139 on: October 11, 2010, 02:50:03 PM »

but even after the existence of man God declares all that He sees to be good....
Then again, Jesus stated that no one is "good" but God, so maybe the "good" in Genesis has different meanings. Perhaps, in Genesis, when God says that creation is "good" He is not thereby denying that there might also be a bit of a what humans might consider "non-good" present as well.

well we know that God also considers death to be non-good. the Wisdom of Solomon tells us that God does not desire the death of any living thing, and St. Paul tells us that creation is awaiting its redemption.
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« Reply #2140 on: October 11, 2010, 04:16:15 PM »

but even after the existence of man God declares all that He sees to be good....
Then again, Jesus stated that no one is "good" but God, so maybe the "good" in Genesis has different meanings. Perhaps, in Genesis, when God says that creation is "good" He is not thereby denying that there might also be a bit of a what humans might consider "non-good" present as well.

well we know that God also considers death to be non-good. the Wisdom of Solomon tells us that God does not desire the death of any living thing, and St. Paul tells us that creation is awaiting its redemption.

Human death and the death of irrational animals are two different matters entirely. Animals are not capable of the likeness of God, so I have a hard time seeing how animals could have been immortal in Paradise.
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« Reply #2141 on: October 11, 2010, 06:04:12 PM »

Ortho Cat,

What is your opinion on intelligent design?

I would be willing to believe that God may have guided the process of evolution and 'got the ball rolling' so to speak, and perhaps even intervened at some point to provide man with that 'spark' that distinguishes him from other creatures. ID theories that attempts to refute evolution and natural selection I could not agree with.
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« Reply #2142 on: October 11, 2010, 06:07:01 PM »

hey good question deusveritasest. if God intended for death to happen then our religion is a farce.
One could argue for death existing before the Fall, without arguing that God "intended" for death to happen.

I would like to see such an argument presented. I would rather side with those who say that it was part of the design, otherwise overpopulation would consume the earth.
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« Reply #2143 on: October 11, 2010, 08:08:58 PM »

but even after the existence of man God declares all that He sees to be good....
Then again, Jesus stated that no one is "good" but God, so maybe the "good" in Genesis has different meanings. Perhaps, in Genesis, when God says that creation is "good" He is not thereby denying that there might also be a bit of a what humans might consider "non-good" present as well.

well we know that God also considers death to be non-good. the Wisdom of Solomon tells us that God does not desire the death of any living thing, and St. Paul tells us that creation is awaiting its redemption.

Human death and the death of irrational animals are two different matters entirely. Animals are not capable of the likeness of God, so I have a hard time seeing how animals could have been immortal in Paradise.

man is the crown and king of creation, thus the rest of the creation was given as a kingdom and servants to man, and thus its fate is bound to man's. As long as man remained immortal, so did creation, and when man fell creation fell.

The Wisdom of Solomon 1:13 For God made not death: neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living. 14 For he created all things, that they might have their being: and the generations of the world were healthful; and there is no poison of destruction in them, nor the kingdom of death upon the earth:

And the animals are named wild beasts [qhria], from their being hunted [qhreuesqai], not as if they had been made evil or venomous from the first--for nothing was made evil by God, but all things good, yea, very good,--but the sin in which man was concerned brought evil upon them. For when man transgressed, they also transgressed with him . . . so in like manner it came to pass, that in the case of man's sin, he being master, all that was subject to him sinned with him. When, therefore, man again shall have made his way back to his natural condition, and no longer does evil, those also shall be restored to their original gentleness. Theophilus to Autolycus Book II.XVII

God did not, as some people think, just give Paradise to our ancestor at the beginning, nor did He make only Paradise incorruptible. No! Instead, He did much more . . . Neither Eve nor Paradise were yet created, but the whole world had been brought into being by God as one thing, as a kind of paradise, at once incorruptible yet material and perceptible. It was this world, as we said, which was given to Adam and to his descendants for their enjoyment. Does this seem strange to you? It should not. St. Symeon the New Theologian, Ethical Discourses 1.1, in On the Mystical Life, vol. 1, p. 21

[God] wills to hold it [Paradise] out to us as a type of the indissoluble life to come, an icon of the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. If this were not the case, then the Garden, too, would have had to be cursed, since it was the scene of the transgression. However, God does not do this, but instead curses the whole rest of the earth which, as we have said, was incorruptible just like Paradise, and produced fruit of its own accord. St. Symeon, Ethical Discourses 1.2

Doubtless indeed vultures did not look around the earth when living things came to be. For nothing yet died of these things given meaning or brought into being by God, so that vultures might eat it. Nature was not divided, for it was in its prime; nor did hunters kill, for that not yet the custom of human beings; nor did wild beasts claw their prey, for they were not yet carnivores. And it is customary for vultures to feed on corpses, but since there were not yet corpses, nor yet their stench, so there was not yet such food for vultures. But all followed the diet of swans and all grazed the meadows. St. Basil the Great, On the Origin of Humanity 2.6

The earth, created, adorned, blessed by God, did not have any deficiencies. It was overflowing with refinement. "God saw," after the completion of the whole creation of the world, "everything that He had made: and, behold, it was very good." (Gen. 1:31).
Now the earth is presented to our eyes in a completely different look. We do not know her condition in holy virginity; we know her in the condition of corruption and accursedness, we know her already sentenced to burning; she was created for eternity. . . . Plants were not subjected either to decay or to diseases; both decay and diseases and the weeds themselves, appeared after the alteration of the earth following the fall of man . . . According to its creation, there was on it only the splendid, only the wholesome, there was only that which was suitable for the immortal and blessed life of its inhabitants . . . The beasts and other animals lived in perfect harmony among themselves, nourishing themselves on plant life. St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, Homily on Man

The beautiful things of this world are only hints of that beauty with which the first-created world was filled, as Adam and Eve saw it. That beauty was destroyed by the sin of the first people . . . Thus also did the fall into sin of the first people destroy the beauty of God's world, and there remain to us only fragments of it by which we may judge concerning the primordial beauty. Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, pg. 468

In not wishing to be nourished by Him [God], the first man rightly fell away from the Divine life, and took death as another parent. Accordingly he put on himself the irrational form, and blackened the inconceivable beauty of the Divine, and delivered over the whole of nature as food for death. Death is living on this through the whole of this temporal period, making us his food. St. Maximus, Ambiguum 10.

What I am saying is that in the beginning sin seduced Adam and persuaded him to transgress God's commandment, whereby sin gave rise to pleasure and, by means of this pleasure, nailed itself in Adam to the very depths of our nature, thus condemning our whole human nature to death and, via humanity, pressing the nature of (all) created beings toward mortal extinction. St. Maximus, Ad Thalassium 6.1

The creation of all things is due to God, but corruption came in afterwards due to our wickedness and as a punishment and a help. "For God did not make death, neither does He take delight in the destruction of living things" (Wisdom 1:13). But death is the work rather of man, that is, its origin is in Adam's transgression, in like manner as all other punishments. St. John of Damascus, Exact Exposition 2.28

Commenting on Romans 8:20: What is the meaning of "the creation was made subject to futility"? That it became corruptible. For what cause, and on what account? On account of you, O man. For since you took a body mortal and subject to suffering, so also the earth received a curse, and brought forth thorns and thistles. St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 14.

He [the Apostle Paul] discourses concerning creation's bondage, an shows for whose sake such a thing has occurred -- and he places the blame on us. What then? In suffering these things on account of another, has creation been maltreated? By no means, for it has come into being for my sake. So then, how could that which has come into being for my sake be unjustly treated in suffering those things for my correction? St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 14

What armed death against the cosmos? The fact that one man tasted of the tree only. St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 10.

It is said that when the world was first created it was not subject to flux and corruption. According to Scripture it was only later corrupted and "made subject to futility" -- that is, to man -- not by its own choice but by the will of Him to whom it is subject, the expectation being that Adam, who had fallen into corruption, would be restored to his original state. St. Gregory of Sinai, On Commandments and Doctrines 11

Inasmuch, therefore, as the opinions of certain [orthodox persons] are derived from heretical discourses, they are both ignorant of God’s dispensations, and of the mystery of the resurrection of the just, and of the [earthly] kingdom which is the commencement of incorruption, by means of which kingdom those who shall be worthy are accustomed gradually to partake of the divine nature . . . It is fitting, therefore, that the creation itself, being restored to its primeval condition, should without restraint be under the dominion of the righteous; and the apostle has made this plain in the Epistle to the Romans, when he thus speaks: “For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature has been subjected to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope; since the creature itself shall also be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.” St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5.32.1

For the creation was made subject to futility, [St. Paul] says, and he expects that it will be set free from such servitude, as he intends to call this world by the name of creation. For it is not what is unseen [the angelic world] but what is seen that is subject to corruption. The creation, then, after being restored to a better and more seemly state, remains, rejoicing and exulting over the children of God at the resurrection; for whose sake it now groans and travails, waiting itself also for our redemption from the corruption of the body, that, when when we have risen and shaken off the mortality of the flesh . . . and have been set free from sin, it also shall be freed from corruption and be subject no longer to futility, but to righteousness. St. Methodios of Olympus and Patara, Discourse on the Resurrection, ANF, vol. 6, p. 366

The fate of visible nature has, from the beginning of its existence, been under the power of the influence of man . . . Organically and mystically connected with man as with a God-like creature of God, nature in the essence of its life depends upon man and always moves strictly commensurately with man. When man chose the path of sin and death as his path through history, all of nature, as the results of its inner dependency on man, followed after him. The fall of man was at the same time the fall of nature, and the curse of man became the curse of nature. And from that time man and nature, like two inseparable twins, blinded by one and the same darkness, deadened by one and the same death, burdened by one and the same curse, go hand in hand through history, through the abysmal wilderness of sin and evil. Together they stumble, together they fall, and together they arise, ceaselessly striving toward the distant conclusion of their sorrowful history. St. Justin Popvich, The Orthodox Philosophy of Truth: The Dogmatics of the Orthodox Church vol. 3 p. 792

Adam was placed as lord and king of all the creatures . . . And so, when he was taken captive, the creation which ministered to and served him was taken captive together with him. For through him death came to reign over every soul. St. Macarius the Great, Homilies 11.5

"Death is not natural; rather it is unnatural. And death is not from nature; rather it is against nature. All of nature in horror cries out: "I do not know death! I do not wish death! I am afraid of death! I strive against death!" Death is an uninvited stranger in nature . . . Even when one hundred philosophers declare that "death is natural!" all of nature trembles in indignation and shouts: " No! I have no use for death! It is an uninvited stranger!" And the voice of nature is not sophistry. The protest of nature against death outweighs all excuses thought up to justify death. And if there is something that nature struggles to express in its untouched harmony, doing so without exception in a unison of voices, then it is a protest against death. It is its unanimous, frantic, and heaven-shaking elegy of death. St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Selected Writings

Paradise, even heaven itself, is accessible to man; and the creation, both of the world and above the world, which long ago was set at variance with itself, is fit together in friendship; and we men are made to join in the angels' song, offering the worship of their praise to God. St. Gregory of Nyssa, A Sermon for the Feast of the Lights

Look at the total result: how fruitful was the Word! God issued His fiat, and it was done: God also saw that it was good; not as if He were ignorant of the good until He saw it; but because it was good, He therefore saw it, and honoured it, and set His seal upon it; and consummated the goodness of His works by His vouchsafing to them that contemplation. Thus God blessed what He made good, in order that He might commend Himself to you as whole and perfect, good both in word and act. As yet the Word knew no malediction, because He was a stranger to malefaction. We shall see what reasons required this also of God. Meanwhile the world consisted of all things good, plainly foreshowing how much good was preparing for him for whom all this was provided. Who indeed was so worthy of dwelling amongst the works of God, as he who was His own image and likeness? Tertullian, Against Marcion 2.4

As long as Adam loved God and observed His commandment, he dwelt in the Paradise of God and God abode in the paradisiacal heart of Adam. Naked Adam was clothed with the grace of God and, surrounded by the animals, he held and caressed them lovingly, and they, in turn, licked him devoutly, as their Master. When Adam violated God's commandment., he was stripped of the grace of God, clothed with a garment of skin and exiled from Paradise. Grace-filled Adam became wild, and many animals, because of Adam, were also made savage, and instead of approaching him with devoutness and licking him with love, they lashed out at him with rage in order to tear at or bite him. Elder Paisios, Epistles, pg. 203-204

Behold the life of innocent Adam in Eden, the lordship of man over creation, which together with us groans because of our fall and thirsts to be delivered into the "liberty of the children of God" (Rom. 8:21). The Life of St. Paul of Obnora, in the Northern Thebaid

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« Reply #2144 on: October 11, 2010, 10:38:45 PM »

Thank you for your thoughtful response.

but even after the existence of man God declares all that He sees to be good....
Then again, Jesus stated that no one is "good" but God, so maybe the "good" in Genesis has different meanings. Perhaps, in Genesis, when God says that creation is "good" He is not thereby denying that there might also be a bit of a what humans might consider "non-good" present as well.

well we know that God also considers death to be non-good. the Wisdom of Solomon tells us that God does not desire the death of any living thing, and St. Paul tells us that creation is awaiting its redemption.

Human death and the death of irrational animals are two different matters entirely. Animals are not capable of the likeness of God, so I have a hard time seeing how animals could have been immortal in Paradise.

man is the crown and king of creation, thus the rest of the creation was given as a kingdom and servants to man, and thus its fate is bound to man's. As long as man remained immortal, so did creation, and when man fell creation fell.

Assuming man existed yet.

Quote
The Wisdom of Solomon 1:13 For God made not death: neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living. 14 For he created all things, that they might have their being: and the generations of the world were healthful; and there is no poison of destruction in them, nor the kingdom of death upon the earth:

And the animals are named wild beasts [qhria], from their being hunted [qhreuesqai], not as if they had been made evil or venomous from the first--for nothing was made evil by God, but all things good, yea, very good,--but the sin in which man was concerned brought evil upon them. For when man transgressed, they also transgressed with him . . . so in like manner it came to pass, that in the case of man's sin, he being master, all that was subject to him sinned with him. When, therefore, man again shall have made his way back to his natural condition, and no longer does evil, those also shall be restored to their original gentleness. Theophilus to Autolycus Book II.XVII

God did not, as some people think, just give Paradise to our ancestor at the beginning, nor did He make only Paradise incorruptible. No! Instead, He did much more . . . Neither Eve nor Paradise were yet created, but the whole world had been brought into being by God as one thing, as a kind of paradise, at once incorruptible yet material and perceptible. It was this world, as we said, which was given to Adam and to his descendants for their enjoyment. Does this seem strange to you? It should not. St. Symeon the New Theologian, Ethical Discourses 1.1, in On the Mystical Life, vol. 1, p. 21

Again, it depends on whether you interpret truth historically or in terms of meaning.

Quote
[God] wills to hold it [Paradise] out to us as a type of the indissoluble life to come, an icon of the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. If this were not the case, then the Garden, too, would have had to be cursed, since it was the scene of the transgression. However, God does not do this, but instead curses the whole rest of the earth which, as we have said, was incorruptible just like Paradise, and produced fruit of its own accord. St. Symeon, Ethical Discourses 1.2

Is Paradise the noetic throne of God in creation, or is it a garden in Iraq?

Quote
Doubtless indeed vultures did not look around the earth when living things came to be.

They just flew around in circles?

Quote
For nothing yet died of these things given meaning or brought into being by God, so that vultures might eat it. Nature was not divided, for it was in its prime; nor did hunters kill, for that not yet the custom of human beings; nor did wild beasts claw their prey, for they were not yet carnivores. And it is customary for vultures to feed on corpses, but since there were not yet corpses, nor yet their stench, so there was not yet such food for vultures. But all followed the diet of swans and all grazed the meadows. St. Basil the Great, On the Origin of Humanity 2.6

He forgot to mention smilodon.

Quote
The earth, created, adorned, blessed by God, did not have any deficiencies. It was overflowing with refinement. "God saw," after the completion of the whole creation of the world, "everything that He had made: and, behold, it was very good." (Gen. 1:31).
Now the earth is presented to our eyes in a completely different look. We do not know her condition in holy virginity; we know her in the condition of corruption and accursedness, we know her already sentenced to burning; she was created for eternity. . . . Plants were not subjected either to decay or to diseases; both decay and diseases and the weeds themselves, appeared after the alteration of the earth following the fall of man . . . According to its creation, there was on it only the splendid, only the wholesome, there was only that which was suitable for the immortal and blessed life of its inhabitants . . . The beasts and other animals lived in perfect harmony among themselves, nourishing themselves on plant life. St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, Homily on Man

Looks like plant life had hard luck even before the fall. The alligators must have had a great time chewing the cellulose.

Quote
The beautiful things of this world are only hints of that beauty with which the first-created world was filled, as Adam and Eve saw it. That beauty was destroyed by the sin of the first people . . . Thus also did the fall into sin of the first people destroy the beauty of God's world, and there remain to us only fragments of it by which we may judge concerning the primordial beauty. Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, pg. 468

In not wishing to be nourished by Him [God], the first man rightly fell away from the Divine life, and took death as another parent. Accordingly he put on himself the irrational form, and blackened the inconceivable beauty of the Divine, and delivered over the whole of nature as food for death. Death is living on this through the whole of this temporal period, making us his food. St. Maximus, Ambiguum 10.

Ambuguum is a good name for some of these quotations.

Quote
What I am saying is that in the beginning sin seduced Adam and persuaded him to transgress God's commandment, whereby sin gave rise to pleasure and, by means of this pleasure, nailed itself in Adam to the very depths of our nature, thus condemning our whole human nature to death and, via humanity, pressing the nature of (all) created beings toward mortal extinction. St. Maximus, Ad Thalassium 6.1

The creation of all things is due to God, but corruption came in afterwards due to our wickedness and as a punishment and a help. "For God did not make death, neither does He take delight in the destruction of living things" (Wisdom 1:13). But death is the work rather of man, that is, its origin is in Adam's transgression, in like manner as all other punishments. St. John of Damascus, Exact Exposition 2.28

Commenting on Romans 8:20: What is the meaning of "the creation was made subject to futility"? That it became corruptible. For what cause, and on what account? On account of you, O man. For since you took a body mortal and subject to suffering, so also the earth received a curse, and brought forth thorns and thistles. St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 14.

Thorns and thistles only started growing after the fall?

Quote
He [the Apostle Paul] discourses concerning creation's bondage, an shows for whose sake such a thing has occurred -- and he places the blame on us. What then? In suffering these things on account of another, has creation been maltreated? By no means, for it has come into being for my sake. So then, how could that which has come into being for my sake be unjustly treated in suffering those things for my correction? St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 14

What armed death against the cosmos? The fact that one man tasted of the tree only. St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 10.

If your interpretation is correct, then the curse must have acted retrospectively on trilobites and dinosaurs.

Quote
It is said that when the world was first created it was not subject to flux and corruption. According to Scripture it was only later corrupted and "made subject to futility" -- that is, to man -- not by its own choice but by the will of Him to whom it is subject, the expectation being that Adam, who had fallen into corruption, would be restored to his original state. St. Gregory of Sinai, On Commandments and Doctrines 11

Inasmuch, therefore, as the opinions of certain [orthodox persons] are derived from heretical discourses, they are both ignorant of God’s dispensations, and of the mystery of the resurrection of the just, and of the [earthly] kingdom which is the commencement of incorruption, by means of which kingdom those who shall be worthy are accustomed gradually to partake of the divine nature . . . It is fitting, therefore, that the creation itself, being restored to its primeval condition, should without restraint be under the dominion of the righteous; and the apostle has made this plain in the Epistle to the Romans, when he thus speaks: “For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature has been subjected to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope; since the creature itself shall also be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.” St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5.32.1

For the creation was made subject to futility, [St. Paul] says, and he expects that it will be set free from such servitude, as he intends to call this world by the name of creation. For it is not what is unseen [the angelic world] but what is seen that is subject to corruption. The creation, then, after being restored to a better and more seemly state, remains, rejoicing and exulting over the children of God at the resurrection; for whose sake it now groans and travails, waiting itself also for our redemption from the corruption of the body, that, when when we have risen and shaken off the mortality of the flesh . . . and have been set free from sin, it also shall be freed from corruption and be subject no longer to futility, but to righteousness. St. Methodios of Olympus and Patara, Discourse on the Resurrection, ANF, vol. 6, p. 366

The fate of visible nature has, from the beginning of its existence, been under the power of the influence of man . . . Organically and mystically connected with man as with a God-like creature of God, nature in the essence of its life depends upon man and always moves strictly commensurately with man. When man chose the path of sin and death as his path through history, all of nature, as the results of its inner dependency on man, followed after him. The fall of man was at the same time the fall of nature, and the curse of man became the curse of nature. And from that time man and nature, like two inseparable twins, blinded by one and the same darkness, deadened by one and the same death, burdened by one and the same curse, go hand in hand through history, through the abysmal wilderness of sin and evil. Together they stumble, together they fall, and together they arise, ceaselessly striving toward the distant conclusion of their sorrowful history. St. Justin Popvich, The Orthodox Philosophy of Truth: The Dogmatics of the Orthodox Church vol. 3 p. 792

Yes.

Quote
Adam was placed as lord and king of all the creatures . . . And so, when he was taken captive, the creation which ministered to and served him was taken captive together with him. For through him death came to reign over every soul. St. Macarius the Great, Homilies 11.5

"Death is not natural; rather it is unnatural. And death is not from nature; rather it is against nature. All of nature in horror cries out: "I do not know death! I do not wish death! I am afraid of death! I strive against death!" Death is an uninvited stranger in nature . . . Even when one hundred philosophers declare that "death is natural!" all of nature trembles in indignation and shouts: " No! I have no use for death! It is an uninvited stranger!" And the voice of nature is not sophistry. The protest of nature against death outweighs all excuses thought up to justify death. And if there is something that nature struggles to express in its untouched harmony, doing so without exception in a unison of voices, then it is a protest against death. It is its unanimous, frantic, and heaven-shaking elegy of death. St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Selected Writings

Death is unnatural in that we are intended by nature to surpass death by the greace of God. Without that grace, corruption is quite natural to us, for we are created and therefore not naturally eternal.

As for animals before humanity, I don't have the answers, and I am content with that, God not having revealed it to me.

Quote
Paradise, even heaven itself, is accessible to man; and the creation, both of the world and above the world, which long ago was set at variance with itself, is fit together in friendship; and we men are made to join in the angels' song, offering the worship of their praise to God. St. Gregory of Nyssa, A Sermon for the Feast of the Lights

Look at the total result: how fruitful was the Word! God issued His fiat, and it was done: God also saw that it was good; not as if He were ignorant of the good until He saw it; but because it was good, He therefore saw it, and honoured it, and set His seal upon it; and consummated the goodness of His works by His vouchsafing to them that contemplation. Thus God blessed what He made good, in order that He might commend Himself to you as whole and perfect, good both in word and act. As yet the Word knew no malediction, because He was a stranger to malefaction. We shall see what reasons required this also of God. Meanwhile the world consisted of all things good, plainly foreshowing how much good was preparing for him for whom all this was provided. Who indeed was so worthy of dwelling amongst the works of God, as he who was His own image and likeness? Tertullian, Against Marcion 2.4

Against Marcion, the one who believed all matter was inherently evil.

Quote
As long as Adam loved God and observed His commandment, he dwelt in the Paradise of God and God abode in the paradisiacal heart of Adam. Naked Adam was clothed with the grace of God and, surrounded by the animals, he held and caressed them lovingly, and they, in turn, licked him devoutly, as their Master. When Adam violated God's commandment., he was stripped of the grace of God, clothed with a garment of skin and exiled from Paradise. Grace-filled Adam became wild, and many animals, because of Adam, were also made savage, and instead of approaching him with devoutness and licking him with love, they lashed out at him with rage in order to tear at or bite him. Elder Paisios, Epistles, pg. 203-204

...and the sharp teeth were also a post-fall addition?

Quote
Behold the life of innocent Adam in Eden, the lordship of man over creation, which together with us groans because of our fall and thirsts to be delivered into the "liberty of the children of God" (Rom. 8:21). The Life of St. Paul of Obnora, in the Northern Thebaid
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« Reply #2145 on: November 13, 2010, 08:22:02 AM »

St. Ephraim the Syrian on the verses 1 to 5 of Genesis 1:

"After Moses spoke of heaven and earth, of the darkness, the abyss and the wind that came to be at the beginning of the first night, he then turned to speak about the light that came to be at dawn of the first day. At the end of the twelve hours of that night, the light was created between the clouds and the waters and it chased away the shadow of the clouds that were overshadowing the waters and making them dark. For Nisan was the first month; in it the number of the hours of day and night were equal. The light, then, remained a length of twelve hours so that each day might also obtain its [ own ] hours just as the night possesses a measured length of time. Although the light and the clouds were created in the twinkling of an eye, the day and the night of the first day were each completed in twelve hours."

Several things to notice:

1. For St. Ephraim, the days mentioned in Genesis are 24-hour days.

2. God created heaven and earth, the darkness, the abyss, and the wind, all at the beginning of the first day, that is, in the evening ("the beginning of the first night"), since in Jewish tradition, day begins at evening.

3. Light is created 12 hours later, at "dawn", which is the first light seen, even before the sun itself is actually seen.


One might conclude that the reason the sun is not created until the fourth day is because Genesis reflects the visible occurrences during the Hebrew "day". The light of dawn is seen before the actual sun is seen. Thus, plants can start growing on the third day, because the light (of dawn) is already present.
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« Reply #2146 on: November 16, 2010, 11:52:20 PM »

The following discussion started here on Faith Issues: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,31366.0.html  -PtA


Does the Eastern Orthodox Church (Greek, Serbian, Romanian, Russian, etc.) accept the doctrine of evolution in any form? Do any of the Oriental Orthodox Churches accept this doctrine? Just wanted to know.
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« Reply #2147 on: November 16, 2010, 11:55:39 PM »

Does the Eastern Orthodox Church (Greek, Serbian, Romanian, Russian, etc.) accept the doctrine of evolution in any form? Do any of the Oriental Orthodox Churches accept this doctrine? Just wanted to know.

EO churches have no "official" stance either way. Opinions vary. There are very prominent Orthodox theologians who do and don't believe evolution. I do not know about OO.
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« Reply #2148 on: November 17, 2010, 01:35:30 AM »

Does the Eastern Orthodox Church (Greek, Serbian, Romanian, Russian, etc.) accept the doctrine of evolution in any form? Do any of the Oriental Orthodox Churches accept this doctrine? Just wanted to know.
This member of the Coptic Church sees no contradiction between evolution and his Coptic faith. (Or, at least, that's what I think he argues.)
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« Reply #2149 on: November 17, 2010, 01:52:25 AM »

I'm very worried that Rome accepts evolution as a possible explanation for Genesis 1 (and many if unfortunately not most priests are buying that Genesis 1 can be allegorized as evolution and it's all a "myth"). If you don't believe in Moses can you believe in Christ ? No of course not (John 5:45-47). I heard the Eastern Orthodox were starting to accept this evolution business and it's worrying me.
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« Reply #2150 on: November 17, 2010, 02:47:46 AM »

We already have a thread for this topic. No need to start another one to beat the dead horse.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,4959.0.html
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« Reply #2151 on: November 17, 2010, 02:49:12 AM »

I'm very worried that Rome accepts evolution as a possible explanation for Genesis 1 (and many if unfortunately not most priests are buying that Genesis 1 can be allegorized as evolution and it's all a "myth"). If you don't believe in Moses can you believe in Christ ? No of course not (John 5:45-47). I heard the Eastern Orthodox were starting to accept this evolution business and it's worrying me.
Why should what Rome does, worry you?
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« Reply #2152 on: November 17, 2010, 02:51:37 AM »

I heard the Eastern Orthodox were starting to accept this evolution business and it's worrying me.

Rest assured there will be people who embrace the silly notion of literal creationism are more traditional for several decades to come.
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« Reply #2153 on: November 17, 2010, 03:05:37 AM »

I'm very worried that Rome accepts evolution as a possible explanation for Genesis 1 (and many if unfortunately not most priests are buying that Genesis 1 can be allegorized as evolution and it's all a "myth"). If you don't believe in Moses can you believe in Christ ? No of course not (John 5:45-47). I heard the Eastern Orthodox were starting to accept this evolution business and it's worrying me.
Why should what Rome does, worry you?

What it doesn't worry you that 1 billion of your brothers are about to deny Christ (possibly, I don't know) by believing in this evolution garbage? That many orthodox Bishops MIGHT be doing the same ? Is it not enough that protestants believe in symbolic sacraments, now we have to have the largest Christian communion believe Moses is a liar? Sure worries me.
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« Reply #2154 on: November 17, 2010, 03:37:12 AM »

We already have a thread for this topic. No need to start another one to beat the dead horse.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,4959.0.html

Yes. This is one of those dead horses that has been beaten so badly that thee is nothing left of it. If you wish to beat it some more, go ahead and resurrect that older thread. There are some interesting and surprisingly civilized discussions in that thread.
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« Reply #2155 on: November 17, 2010, 04:06:19 AM »

I'm very worried that Rome accepts evolution as a possible explanation for Genesis 1 (and many if unfortunately not most priests are buying that Genesis 1 can be allegorized as evolution and it's all a "myth"). If you don't believe in Moses can you believe in Christ ? No of course not (John 5:45-47). I heard the Eastern Orthodox were starting to accept this evolution business and it's worrying me.
Why should what Rome does, worry you?

What it doesn't worry you that 1 billion of your brothers are about to deny Christ (possibly, I don't know) by believing in this evolution garbage? That many orthodox Bishops MIGHT be doing the same ? Is it not enough that protestants believe in symbolic sacraments, now we have to have the largest Christian communion believe Moses is a liar? Sure worries me.
I assumed that you held to the idea that the Assyrian Church of the East is the True Church. So, you're saying the Latin Catholic Church is also the True Church?
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« Reply #2156 on: November 17, 2010, 04:16:49 AM »

The "True Church" started in Eden with Adam and Eve, we have branches of the true Church, ACOE does not believe in some sort of ecclesial supremacy (ie: things like papal primacy, first among equals, one Bishop having power over another ruthlessly). ACOE has an open communion approach, it does not deny sacraments to other Christians (even protestants who don't believe in sacraments. They are baptized in the name of the Trinity and follow Nicaea, most of them that is, JWs and such are not allowed communion because of their anti-Trinitarian heresy and invalid baptisms). As such the ACOE pains when another member of the Body of Christ adopts a bad decision, we are members of one Body, if the enemy hits one member the whole Body ails. Read the parable of the weeds (the weeds must grow along with the wheat and only be uprooted in their time), also think of the inn keeper in the story of the good Samaritan, he is a type of the clergy. Unfortunately many Patriarchs, priests, and Popes and Bishops will not make it... Sad
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« Reply #2157 on: November 17, 2010, 11:11:57 AM »

I'm very worried that Rome accepts evolution as a possible explanation for Genesis 1 (and many if unfortunately not most priests are buying that Genesis 1 can be allegorized as evolution and it's all a "myth"). If you don't believe in Moses can you believe in Christ ? No of course not (John 5:45-47). I heard the Eastern Orthodox were starting to accept this evolution business and it's worrying me.
Why should what Rome does, worry you?

What it doesn't worry you that 1 billion of your brothers are about to deny Christ (possibly, I don't know) by believing in this evolution garbage? That many orthodox Bishops MIGHT be doing the same ? Is it not enough that protestants believe in symbolic sacraments, now we have to have the largest Christian communion believe Moses is a liar? Sure worries me.

I believe you can acknowledge the scientific fact of biological evolution (and it is fact, regardless of what the unfortunately named "Creation scientists" will spew on their websites) and believe in Christ. There is nothing that says otherwise. I think you will find that if you see a patent contradiction between the 2, then you are bringing some assumptions to the table about one or the other that need unpacking- therein we will find the issue.

The knee-jerk rejection of "science" as something that is per se anti-Christ or against the faith is an absurd construction. Nature is a revelation of  God and we should strive to view nature, God and Christ and His redemptive work harmoniously.

We can discuss the theological implications of evolution and what it means when certain Fathers/theologians reject it- that is a discussion worth having. However, for a lay person to conclude that they have to reject scientific fact to remain faithful to Christ is just not a good position to be in.
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« Reply #2158 on: November 17, 2010, 12:49:48 PM »

I'm very worried that Rome accepts evolution as a possible explanation for Genesis 1 (and many if unfortunately not most priests are buying that Genesis 1 can be allegorized as evolution and it's all a "myth"). If you don't believe in Moses can you believe in Christ ? No of course not (John 5:45-47). I heard the Eastern Orthodox were starting to accept this evolution business and it's worrying me.
Why should what Rome does, worry you?

What it doesn't worry you that 1 billion of your brothers are about to deny Christ (possibly, I don't know) by believing in this evolution garbage? That many orthodox Bishops MIGHT be doing the same ? Is it not enough that protestants believe in symbolic sacraments, now we have to have the largest Christian communion believe Moses is a liar? Sure worries me.

I believe you can acknowledge the scientific fact of biological evolution (and it is fact, regardless of what the unfortunately named "Creation scientists" will spew on their websites) and believe in Christ. There is nothing that says otherwise. I think you will find that if you see a patent contradiction between the 2, then you are bringing some assumptions to the table about one or the other that need unpacking- therein we will find the issue.

The knee-jerk rejection of "science" as something that is per se anti-Christ or against the faith is an absurd construction. Nature is a revelation of  God and we should strive to view nature, God and Christ and His redemptive work harmoniously.

We can discuss the theological implications of evolution and what it means when certain Fathers/theologians reject it- that is a discussion worth having. However, for a lay person to conclude that they have to reject scientific fact to remain faithful to Christ is just not a good position to be in.

As the son, brother and God-child of Orthodox priests and the proud father of a molecular biologist who is a research fellow at a major university, I can attest that what you say is true. My son and his wife are active members of an Orthodox Church near where they live and while he struggles from time to time over certain issues, I always reassure him that all of us struggle. The bigger problem for scientists of faith is the almost 'messianic' fervor of the non-believers. Such is life. Nature is indeed a revelation of God.
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« Reply #2159 on: November 17, 2010, 01:03:28 PM »

I'm very worried that Rome accepts evolution as a possible explanation for Genesis 1 (and many if unfortunately not most priests are buying that Genesis 1 can be allegorized as evolution and it's all a "myth"). If you don't believe in Moses can you believe in Christ ? No of course not (John 5:45-47). I heard the Eastern Orthodox were starting to accept this evolution business and it's worrying me.
Why should what Rome does, worry you?

What it doesn't worry you that 1 billion of your brothers are about to deny Christ (possibly, I don't know) by believing in this evolution garbage? That many orthodox Bishops MIGHT be doing the same ? Is it not enough that protestants believe in symbolic sacraments, now we have to have the largest Christian communion believe Moses is a liar? Sure worries me.

I believe you can acknowledge the scientific fact of biological evolution (and it is fact, regardless of what the unfortunately named "Creation scientists" will spew on their websites) and believe in Christ. There is nothing that says otherwise. I think you will find that if you see a patent contradiction between the 2, then you are bringing some assumptions to the table about one or the other that need unpacking- therein we will find the issue.

The knee-jerk rejection of "science" as something that is per se anti-Christ or against the faith is an absurd construction. Nature is a revelation of  God and we should strive to view nature, God and Christ and His redemptive work harmoniously.

We can discuss the theological implications of evolution and what it means when certain Fathers/theologians reject it- that is a discussion worth having. However, for a lay person to conclude that they have to reject scientific fact to remain faithful to Christ is just not a good position to be in.

As the son, brother and God-child of Orthodox priests and the proud father of a molecular biologist who is a research fellow at a major university, I can attest that what you say is true. My son and his wife are active members of an Orthodox Church near where they live and while he struggles from time to time over certain issues, I always reassure him that all of us struggle. The bigger problem for scientists of faith is the almost 'messianic' fervor of the non-believers. Such is life. Nature is indeed a revelation of God.

Of course, we all struggle and when something on the surface contradicts our faith- it is natural to recoil or have a crisis one way or the other.

However, it is important to separate the rabid atheistic proselytizing of some evolutionists/scientists from the science, just like it is necessary to separate the human elements that have done wrong in our own Church from the truth of Orthodoxy.

I read recently where Stephen Hawking spouted off about there not being a God-- he is a smart dude, but his opinion on that issue is no more valuable than mine or yours. Science simply DOES NOT DISPROVE the existence of God.

Now, if you assert a literal 7 day creation or that the Earth is 15,000 years old based on Genesis, then yes of course naked science would tell you are wrong. But like I said in my prior post, that says something about the assumptions and concepts that person is bringing to the table.

And yes there are Fathers who obviously believed there was a literal 7 day creation, that Adam wasn an actual person (he may have been), etc., but they just believed what everyone believed back then- there opinion on the age of the Earth provided the context in which they wrote and thought, but it doesn't change the theological truths they were communicating. They also believed the Earth was flat, and that the Sun revolved around the Earth. They were wrong- so what? They were very holy men,  not omniscient, right?

Of course we have to be careful when incorporating the views and assertions of science into our own belief system and guard carefully our Orthodox faith. "Science" has been wrong more often than it has been right. But, science isn't a body of knowledge, but a system of understanding and testing hypothesis. When something has been proven to the greatest extent humanly possible (like evolution) and you find yourself twisting against windmills or coming up with crazy ideas about the dinosaur bones being put there by God as a test of faith, or you are holding your kids out of traditional curricula to avoid them learning evolutionary science you have gone off the rails.
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