Yes, but St. Basil according to your Greek Church believed that only man was immortal, and when disobeying God, returned to the world of death.
i disagree with this. St. Basil wrote:
On the Origin of Humanity 2.6
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.
And let nobody accuse the Creator of having produced venomous animals, destroyers and enemies of our life. Else let them consider it a crime in the schoolmaster when he disciplines the restlessness of youth by the use of the rod and whip to maintain order.
With the Philocalia of Origen, you have to admit. They could have taken out the passage of the allegory of the trees in his works if they wanted to. St. Basil may be expressing his own opinion perhaps, but he still agreed with St. Gregory to include this Origenian passage as permissible to read, and I'm quoting out of memory, "what man with a right mind would believe that a tree gives immortal life or imparts in man some sort of knowledge of good and evil?" St. Basil may not like allegory everywhere, but this particular case, he allows it.
well i havent read that work so i cant comment too much on it. however, i still think it is significant that St. Gregory considers St. Basil's work to be so sublime that it brings him into the presence of God (St. Ambrose and St. Gregory of Nyssa have similar praise for St. Basil's work). Again, he says:
Oration 43, Funeral Oration for St. Basil, Chapter 67,
I will only say this of him. Whenever I handle his Hexaemeron, and take its words on my lips, I am brought into the presence of the Creator, and understand the words of creation, and admire the Creator more than before, using my teacher as my only means of sight.
he is saying that St. Basil's material work lifts him to spiritual heights. that would seem an odd praise to me if St. Basil actually lowered the trees from their spiritual heights to being mere, literal trees. i think its a basic premise of the Fathers that literal and spiritual interpretations aren't mutually exclusive.
there is also the possibility that St. Basil's view changed over time. IIRC, St. Ambrose's earlier work, Paradise
is much more allegorical than his later work the Hexameron
, which is largely based on St. Basil's work.
It's amazing how St. Basil shows disagreement with St. Dionysius. St. Mark of Ephesus talks about the same St. Dionysius, and even St. Gregory Thevmaturgus, a man who performed miracles, can also write mistakes (who knew!). Fr. Seraphim Rose also taught how we shouldn't remove sainthood from St. Augustine even if he may have written some wrong views. To Fr. Seraphim's credit, I will give him that, and I hope you may realize that Fr. Seraphim's holiness is not diminished if his views are also disagreeable. God performed miracles through him, but that doesn't mean Fr. Seraphim's every word is inerrant. St. Clement of Rome, a direct Apostolic descendant of St. Paul believed the Phoenix was real! Isn't it enough that I quote from a bishop that I have profound respect for who probably considers me a Coptic Monophysite heretic?
of course there are times that the Fathers disagree, but i dont think this issue is one of those times. there may be minor variations, but the main issues are pretty clear, in my opinion. and im not worried about diminishing Fr. Seraphim's holiness. he is merely the one who showed me what the Fathers had to say. if he were alone on this issue i wouldnt be so interested in it, but he demonstrated that the Fathers spoke as with one voice.
It's interesting that you quote St. Ephraim who believed in the literal seven days, and yet St. Basil in implied disagreement believe we live in the 7th day. So St. Basil seems to allow some allegory. And St. John Chrysostom is very clearly anti-Alexandrian in his approach because he comes from a certain school of thought on exegesis.
again, allegory and literality are not mutually exclusive. St. Basil also understands the days literally. He says:
Why does Scripture say "one day the first day"? Before speaking to us of the second, the third, and the fourth days, would it not have been more natural to call that one the first which began the series? If it therefore says "one day," it is from a wish to determine the measure of day and night, and to combine the time that they contain. Now twenty-four hours fill up the space of one day-we mean of a day and of a night; and if, at the time of the solstices, they have not both an equal length, the time marked by Scripture does not the less circumscribe their duration. It is as though it said: twenty-four hours measure the space of a day, or that, in reality a day is the time that the heavens starting from one point take to return there. Thus, every time that, in the revolution of the sun, evening and morning occupy the world, their periodical succession never exceeds the space of one day. But must we believe in a mysterious reason for this? God who made the nature of time measured it out and determined it by intervals of days; and, wishing to give it a week as a measure, he ordered the week to revolve from period to period upon itself, to count the movement of time, forming the week of one day revolving seven times upon itself: a proper circle begins and ends with itself.
There is no consistent view of the first three chapters of Genesis among the Church fathers as you make it out to be. They don't agree on the exact age of the earth, or the timeline of the six days (i.e. how days should be interpreted), and they don't even agree on whether all of creation was incorrupt with man or not. You pick and choose Church father quotes in your blogs to further your cause, and some you even misinterpret.
well obviously i, and many others disagree with you on this. even looking at the poll, the majority of voters believe that the literal level of Genesis is valid. i have yet to see any Father, other than St. Augustine, who actually excludes the literal interpretation of the length of the days, and even St. Augustine insisted upon accepting a young earth, saying those who disagree deserve to be mocked!
Take ST. Maximus the Confessor for instance in your blog about "No plant death before the fall." St. Maximus talked about man who rejected "nourishment from God." He didn't say rejected nourishment from a tree, but took an allegorical approach (in fact, St. Maximus was very very very allegorical, and I'm surprised you use him as a support. He was an advocate of the idea that as soon as man was created, almost in a split second, the Fall occurred).
nourishment from a tree is not mutually exclusive with nourishment from God. Doesn't God nourish you with bread and wine? didndt He regenerate you with water? of course a tree has no power in and of itself, just as the Cross has no power in and of itself, and yet we can bow before the Cross as the instrument of our salvation. i dont know why this is any different.
and again, St. Maximus is indeed allegorical, but thats not mutually exclusive from literal. There is a fairly recent issue of the Orthodox Word entitled "Created in Incorruption" (http://www.stherman.com/Catalog/Writings_of_Father_Seraphim/OW_258-9.htm
) which is a talk given by Fr. Damascene. St. Maximus and St. Symeon the New Theologian are actually two of his biggest sources.
and however long it took man to fall has no bearing on whether or not man's existence in Paradise is literal or not. but nevertheless, Fr. Damascene does address this issue, and demonstrates that St. Maximus is speaking in a relative sense - man fell relatively quickly. He points out that elsewhere St. Maximus also talks about man in his original condition and how he later became. He puts actual time between man's creation and fall.