Basically, with regards to evolution, I have come to the conclusion that 1 of these options are possible:
A) God is tricking us (or "testing our faith")
B) Satan planted all the evidence for evolution (including manipulating our DNA)
C) Evolution is true, deal with it.
D) The Omphalos hypothesis
E) Romans 8:19-22. The creation was corrupted by man's Fall; our examination of the creation today is therefore not a trustworthy guide to the creation before the Fall.
F)"Therefore, every literal reading of nature leads finally to idolatry... This is the true picture of idol worshippers, of both the scientific and the unscientific, on one side, and the enlightened Christians on the other. The first cleave with their senses and spirits to the symbols of nature, and the others see with their senses the symbols, but with the spirit they read in the spirit, i.e., the spiritual message in the symbols." - St. Nikolai Velimirovich (emphasis mine)
I think D) is intriguing but E) and F) are most reasonable.
I was about to reply to a question made much earlier that no one answered that I thought I can give a shot, but then I read this, and I thought that is would be a nice segway to what I want to say. D and E actually sound very similar to A and B in a functional sense. D mentions things are created in an orderly fashion and sometimes it means that some things are older than it seems. Well, that's A then, because since things are older than it seems, it goes without question that the orderly fashion God creates also brings deception and limitation to God. Is God so limited that He couldn't give us a means by which He can prove that creation is really less than 10,000 years old? D, just make God not only a deceiver, but actually quite non-omnipotent at all.
E is similar to B in a sense that since the Fall occurred through the deception of Satan, Satan also deceives us through creation. This would make sense if we add the deception of a talking animal (serpent) representing Satan as the actual literal thing that happened in a garden in Eden (not really the spiritual Paradise).
However, I actually like F, and I don't think it contradicts theistic evolutionists, and here's why:
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.
Since things done in nature are revealed in such a manner so as to take the spiritual meaning behind it, think of it in many ways. One thing is that indeed the world is a cruel place. It's not peaceful and it's all about struggle and survival. Christ taught this for us. Is it part of a Fall? St. Athanasius believed that man fell into the world of death, not creating the world of death through man (he also implied that the world actually went from bad to worse through man, which is also true in so many ways).
Also, with the issue of survival of the "fittest", understand process of evolution as survival of all who can bear viable fruit. Taking the parable of the Vine and Vinedresser Christ gave, Nature is the vinedresser, the earth is the vine. If every branch does not bear fruit, Nature takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit, Nature prunes, that it may bear more fruit. So even those who are fit are still challenged. The Father does this with us in a spiritual manner. He allows challenge for our betterment. Many of us scream why must we suffer, but a true Christian says, thank you for strengthening me in times of suffering. It made me truly stronger. Suffering is a means of growth and character making. Because of suffering, Nature gave birth to ape-like series of creatures, up to a perfect point where God finally thought, now I can give creation my Image and Likeness through this Crown of creation. While suffering stinks, it's a means of salvation. We must struggle in order to grow, but God will not leave one person behind nevertheless.
He cursed the fig tree because it didn't bear fruit. Therefore, like nature, we must also be fit not merely to be made worthy, but truly for the betterment of ourselves. If we don't bear fruit, we are pretty much lazy creatures and we put ourselves to death.
But also think of it as indeed a sacrifice. That the old creature must die, so that a new creature might be born. The ultimate story of salvation. Christ is the one who is the highest point of the evolutionary tree, the most perfect, who was not an old creature, but in fact, a new, both creature and uncreated One, Who died that instead of a few new creatures to be born and live, that ALL may be reborn and live. For a mere creature cannot save all through its death for it has room for growth, but in Christ the highest point of growth lies in Him, as He is Infinite, and so giving room for all finite creatures to be saved.
Therefore, if anything, evolution seems to confirm Christian beliefs, not contradict it if we are to look for its allegory as St. Nikolai teaches.
So back to Iconodule, I think C and F are quite complimentary.