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Question: Do you believe that the acount of genesis in the Old testament should be taken literally?
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Author Topic: Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy  (Read 324613 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #2610 on: December 09, 2010, 09:23:22 PM »

I think it's pretty clear in genesis that the tree of life is what provided adam/eve with their immortality; once they were cut off from it they were no longer immortal:

And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24After he drove the man out, he placed on the east sidee of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.


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« Reply #2611 on: December 09, 2010, 09:36:02 PM »

I think it's pretty clear in genesis that the tree of life is what provided adam/eve with their immortality; once they were cut off from it they were no longer immortal:

And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24After he drove the man out, he placed on the east sidee of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.




even if that is so, they were only cut off from the Tree of Life because of sin. they were not mortal because God made them that way, which, as has been pointed out many times in this thread, is a belief anathematized by the 7th Ecumenical Council.
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« Reply #2612 on: December 09, 2010, 09:42:57 PM »

I don't understand why things have to be compartmentalized, though.  Why cannot God look upon His creation and call it good, because that cycle of life giving way to death giving way to life again, is His autonomous creation's way of making itself?  Why cannot this natural, physical death of biologically living things, be a thread in the tapestry of creation that is, on the whole, "good"?
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« Reply #2613 on: December 09, 2010, 09:49:07 PM »

I don't understand why things have to be compartmentalized, though.  Why cannot God look upon His creation and call it good, because that cycle of life giving way to death giving way to life again, is His autonomous creation's way of making itself?  Why cannot this natural, physical death of biologically living things, be a thread in the tapestry of creation that is, on the whole, "good"?

Be cause your faith defined it.

However,

Remember, you don't need to reconcile everything. We don't know everything, and probably never will. We know God created the universe and the life in it, however it happened, it did.

Your Faith has defined that man was immortal with the likeness of God. We are now prone to death and separated from God. How that works together with our logic from what we currently observe... Whatever. 
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« Reply #2614 on: December 09, 2010, 09:52:44 PM »

Excellent points!
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« Reply #2615 on: December 09, 2010, 09:55:15 PM »

I don't understand why things have to be compartmentalized, though.  Why cannot God look upon His creation and call it good, because that cycle of life giving way to death giving way to life again, is His autonomous creation's way of making itself?  Why cannot this natural, physical death of biologically living things, be a thread in the tapestry of creation that is, on the whole, "good"?

it could be. but then He wouldnt turn around and destroy that which He has called good. i dont see how seeing death as our enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death) is a compartmentalization?

St. Augustine writes about the different kinds of death:

Quote
City of God, Book XIII.XII
When, therefore, it is asked what death it was with which God threatened our first parents if they should transgress the commandment they had received from Him, and should fail to preserve their obedience,—whether it was the death of soul, or of body, or of the whole man, or that which is called second death,—we must answer, It is all. For the first consists of two; the second is the complete death, which consists of all. For, as the whole earth consists of many lands, and the Church universal of many churches, so death universal consists of all deaths.

Quote
Book XIII.XV
For the body would not return to the earth from which it was made, save only by the death proper to itself, which occurs when it is forsaken of the soul, its life. And therefore it is agreed among all Christians who truthfully hold the catholic faith, that we are subject to the death of the body, not by the law of nature, by which God ordained no death for man, but by His righteous infliction on account of sin; for God, taking vengeance on sin, said to the man, in whom we all then were, "Dust you are, and unto dust shall you return."

so for St. Augustine, at least in the case of man, it is part of the truthful catholic faith that man physically dies only because of sin. and of course he's not alone on this thought.
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jckstraw72
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« Reply #2616 on: December 09, 2010, 09:57:09 PM »

I don't understand why things have to be compartmentalized, though.  Why cannot God look upon His creation and call it good, because that cycle of life giving way to death giving way to life again, is His autonomous creation's way of making itself?  Why cannot this natural, physical death of biologically living things, be a thread in the tapestry of creation that is, on the whole, "good"?

Be cause your faith defined it.

However,

Remember, you don't need to reconcile everything.

3 cheers for ye!
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« Reply #2617 on: December 09, 2010, 10:24:37 PM »

We have to differentiate what man is by nature, and what man is by grace.  By grace, man was immortal.  By nature, man is mortal.

If you're going to call a Tree a literal Tree that granted immortality, then you are calling the Tree the provider of grace, which is something only God can do.
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« Reply #2618 on: December 09, 2010, 10:33:46 PM »

We have to differentiate what man is by nature, and what man is by grace.  By grace, man was immortal.  By nature, man is mortal.

for this topic i dont think it matters -- either way death is only here because man sinned.

Quote
If you're going to call a Tree a literal Tree that granted immortality, then you are calling the Tree the provider of grace, which is something only God can do.

i dont understand why you're so opposed to trees being trees. St. Gregory the Theologian, in addition to being a fan of Origen, also highly praised St. Basil's Hexameron. Of it he says:

Quote
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.

and in St. Basil's Hexameron we find this:
Quote
Those who do not admit the common meaning of the Scriptures say that water is not water, but some other nature, and they explain a plant and a fish according to their opinion.... (But) when I hear "grass," I think of grass, and in the same manner I understand everything as it is said, a plant, a fish, a wild animal, and an ox. Indeed, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel (Rom. 1:16)."... (Some) have attempted by false arguments and allegorical interpretations to bestow on the Scripture a dignity of their own imagining. But theirs is the attitude of one who considers himself wiser than the revelations of the Spirit and introduces his own ideas in pretense of an explanation. Therefore, let it be understood as it has been written

St. Ephraim the Syrian tells us similarly in the Commentary on Genesis:

Quote
No one should think that the Creation of Six Days is an allegory; it is likewise impermissible to say that what seems, according to the account, to have been created in six days, was created in a single instant, and likewise that certain names presented in this account either signify nothing, or signify something else. On the contrary, we must know that just as the heaven and the earth which were created in the beginning are actually the heaven and the earth and not something else understood under the names of heaven and earth, so also everything else that is spoken of as being created and brought into order after the creation of heaven and earth is not empty names, but the very essence of the created natures corresponds to the force of these names.

St. John Chrysostom, speaking specifically of the rivers of Paradise, writes:

Quote
Perhaps one who loves to speak from his own wisdom here also will not allow that the rivers are actually rivers, nor that the waters are precisely waters, but will instill, in those who allow themselves to listen to them, the idea that they (under the names of rivers and waters) represented something else. But I entreat you, let us not pay heed to these people, let us stop up our hearing against them, and let us believe the Divine Scripture, and following what is written in it, let us strive to preserve in our souls sound dogmas.

the Fathers method of approaching the text is pretty clear I think
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« Reply #2619 on: December 09, 2010, 11:03:35 PM »

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.

St. Basil perhaps was fed up with an overdoing of allegory of just about everything in the Scriptures as people were abusing the allegorical approach.  But that doesn't mean that when his whole work is praised by St. Gregory that every thing written by St. Basil St. Gregory agreed.  I tried to show you some consistency.  I did not claim St. Basil believed in allegory as St. Gregory did, but I did show that both did seem to agree on death being only referred to humanity, and not to the world, as your very own Byzantine liturgical texts have proven, which agree with our Coptic liturgical texts.

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.

I praised the article of ROCOR Bishop Alexander Mileant as pivotal to my understanding of how to read Genesis in the light of the science of evolution, but I don't agree with everything that is written in it either.  In fact, I like this quote earlier in this thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,4959.msg363885.html#msg363885

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?

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.

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.  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).
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« Reply #2620 on: December 10, 2010, 12:47:22 AM »

I think it's pretty clear in genesis that the tree of life is what provided adam/eve with their immortality; once they were cut off from it they were no longer immortal:

And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24After he drove the man out, he placed on the east sidee of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.




even if that is so, they were only cut off from the Tree of Life because of sin. they were not mortal because God made them that way, which, as has been pointed out many times in this thread, is a belief anathematized by the 7th Ecumenical Council.

I would only contend that they were made immortal by grace (via 'tree of life'), not by nature however. That is, God provided man with the tools to obtain immortality.
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« Reply #2621 on: December 10, 2010, 12:49:41 AM »

We have to differentiate what man is by nature, and what man is by grace.  By grace, man was immortal.  By nature, man is mortal.

If you're going to call a Tree a literal Tree that granted immortality, then you are calling the Tree the provider of grace, which is something only God can do.

I just read your post here after I posted mine...it appears we're on the same brainwave!  laugh Kiss
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« Reply #2622 on: December 10, 2010, 02:07:24 AM »

We have to differentiate what man is by nature, and what man is by grace.  By grace, man was immortal.  By nature, man is mortal.

If you're going to call a Tree a literal Tree that granted immortality, then you are calling the Tree the provider of grace, which is something only God can do.

I just read your post here after I posted mine...it appears we're on the same brainwave!  laugh Kiss

:-)

I'm searching online and I found that there lived a 4th century bishop, Nemesius of Emesa, who wrote a treatise "On the Nature of Man" who seems to think along this line as well, who influenced the theological thinking of St. Maximus the Confessor and St. John of Damascus.

St. Athanasius taught that if man can secure the grace by obeying the law, immortality will be assured, and equated the Tree of Life with the Word of God.  The important part here is that grace is given.  The idea of a tree is to prepare one to understand the true Tree, i.e. the Cross where we receive our True Fruit, that is the Eucharist.  I don't know why it's so hard for people to get this.  It is very clear for me in light of the NT.
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« Reply #2623 on: December 10, 2010, 11:20:31 AM »

We have to differentiate what man is by nature, and what man is by grace.  By grace, man was immortal.  By nature, man is mortal.

If you're going to call a Tree a literal Tree that granted immortality, then you are calling the Tree the provider of grace, which is something only God can do.

I just read your post here after I posted mine...it appears we're on the same brainwave!  laugh Kiss

:-)

I'm searching online and I found that there lived a 4th century bishop, Nemesius of Emesa, who wrote a treatise "On the Nature of Man" who seems to think along this line as well, who influenced the theological thinking of St. Maximus the Confessor and St. John of Damascus.

St. Athanasius taught that if man can secure the grace by obeying the law, immortality will be assured, and equated the Tree of Life with the Word of God.  The important part here is that grace is given.  The idea of a tree is to prepare one to understand the true Tree, i.e. the Cross where we receive our True Fruit, that is the Eucharist.  I don't know why it's so hard for people to get this.  It is very clear for me in light of the NT.

no one is denying the obvious typology of the Tree to the Cross, but i dont understand why that has to lead to a denial of the literal tree. the Cross is certainly literal. we just discussed yesterday in length in my hermeneutics class here at St. Tikhon's about how allegorical interpretation weren't used to the exclusion of literal interpretations for the most part. the Fathers used allegory to spiritually benefit their flocks, but it was understood that if the allegory doesn't help, then don't use it. allegory was never used for developing dogma, according to Dr. Mary.

she wrote her thesis in defense of allegorical interpretations, as i guess that method has come under attack in Biblical Studies crowds, and i asked her if she thought there were times when the Fathers did go overboard with their allegories (i had in mind some commentaries i had read, i think by St. Gregory the Great), and she said that if the Fathers were using them then it must have been palatable for their culture, and if it reaped spiritual benefit then we can't say their allegories were over the top. but we live in a culture shaped by the Enlightenment where allegory is not so palatable, and so, she said, if i don't like a particular allegory, or think its too much of a stretch, then just dont read it. if its not beneficial, dont use it. and she reiterated that dogma is never formed from allegory anyways.
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« Reply #2624 on: December 10, 2010, 11:31:16 AM »

I think we all agree then that if not for the tree of life, whatever that is taken to be, then man would not have been immortal, correct?
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« Reply #2625 on: December 10, 2010, 11:37:22 AM »

Sounds compatible with Orthodoxy.
And quite beautiful if you ask me.
Evolution is an absolutely phenomenal wonder of God's creation.  Those who deny it are denying him part of his glory.

death is not a part of God's creation....
Didn't Adam and Eve eat plants (which thus lead to the death of plants) before the Fall?

http://oldbelieving.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/no-plant-death-before-the-fall/

So the plants continued to live even after they were eaten?

Define "Living".. Plants dont have souls. And maybe they don't exist individually as we do. When the species becomes extinct maybe that is a sort of death.....  

This thread makes my head hurt.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2010, 11:39:12 AM by Marc1152 » Logged

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« Reply #2626 on: December 10, 2010, 11:45:27 AM »

Sounds compatible with Orthodoxy.
And quite beautiful if you ask me.
Evolution is an absolutely phenomenal wonder of God's creation.  Those who deny it are denying him part of his glory.

death is not a part of God's creation....
Didn't Adam and Eve eat plants (which thus lead to the death of plants) before the Fall?

http://oldbelieving.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/no-plant-death-before-the-fall/

So the plants continued to live even after they were eaten?

Define "Living".. Plants dont have souls. And maybe they don't exist individually as we do. When the species becomes extinct maybe that is a sort of death.....  

This thread makes my head hurt.

dead plant:



live plant:



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« Reply #2627 on: December 10, 2010, 11:48:21 AM »

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:

Quote
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

Quote
Hexameron 9.5
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.

Quote from: minasoliman
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:

Quote
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.

Quote from: minasoliman
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.

Quote from: minasoliman
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:

Quote
Hexameron 2.8
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.

Quote from: minasoliman
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!

Quote from: minasoliman
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.
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« Reply #2628 on: December 10, 2010, 12:05:04 PM »

here is a helpful quote from St. Augustine:

Quote
City of God, Book XIII.XXI
On this account some allegorize all that concerns Paradise itself, where the first men, the parents of the human race, are, according to the truth of holy Scripture, recorded to have been; and they understand all its trees and fruit-bearing plants as virtues and habits of life, ...as if they had no existence in the external world, but were only so spoken of or related for the sake of spiritual meanings. As if there could not be a real terrestrial Paradise! As if there never existed these two women, Sarah and Hagar, nor the two sons who were born to Abraham, the one of the bond woman, the other of the free, because the apostle says that in them the two covenants were prefigured; or as if water never flowed from the rock when Moses struck it, because therein Christ can be seen in a figure, as the same apostle says, "Now that rock was Christ!" No one, then, denies that Paradise may signify the life of the blessed; its four rivers, the four virtues, prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice; its trees, all useful knowledge; its fruits, the customs of the godly; its tree of life, wisdom herself, the mother of all good; and the tree of the knowledge of good ...and evil, the experience of a broken commandment. The punishment which God appointed was in itself, a just, and therefore a good thing; but man's experience of it is not good.. . .These and similar allegorical interpretations may be suitably put upon Paradise without giving offence to any one, while yet we believe the strict truth of the history, confirmed by its circumstantial narrative of facts.

this is echoed by St. Methodios:

Quote
Discourses, III.2
For it is a dangerous thing wholly to despise the literal meaning,5 as has been said, and especially of Genesis, where the unchangeable decrees of God for the constitution of the universe are set forth, in agreement with which, even until now, the world is perfectly ordered, most beautifully in accordance with a perfect rule, until the Lawgiver Himself having re-arranged it, wishing to order it anew, shall break up the first laws of nature by a fresh disposition. But, since it is not fitting to leave the demonstration of the argument unexamined-and, so to speak, half-lame-come let us, as it were completing our pair, bring forth the analogical sense, looking more deeply into the Scripture; for Paul is not to be despised when he passes over the literal meaning, and shows that the words extend to Christ and the Church



and here St. Maximus says that it is indeed all of creation that perishes because of our sins:

Quote
Ad Thalassium 6.1
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. 

and

Quote
Ad Thalassium 65
Through sin, this cosmos became a place of death and corruption.

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« Reply #2629 on: December 10, 2010, 12:17:24 PM »

We have to differentiate what man is by nature, and what man is by grace.  By grace, man was immortal.  By nature, man is mortal.

If you're going to call a Tree a literal Tree that granted immortality, then you are calling the Tree the provider of grace, which is something only God can do.

I just read your post here after I posted mine...it appears we're on the same brainwave!  laugh Kiss

:-)

I'm searching online and I found that there lived a 4th century bishop, Nemesius of Emesa, who wrote a treatise "On the Nature of Man" who seems to think along this line as well, who influenced the theological thinking of St. Maximus the Confessor and St. John of Damascus.

St. Athanasius taught that if man can secure the grace by obeying the law, immortality will be assured, and equated the Tree of Life with the Word of God.  The important part here is that grace is given.  The idea of a tree is to prepare one to understand the true Tree, i.e. the Cross where we receive our True Fruit, that is the Eucharist.  I don't know why it's so hard for people to get this.  It is very clear for me in light of the NT.

no one is denying the obvious typology of the Tree to the Cross, but i dont understand why that has to lead to a denial of the literal tree. the Cross is certainly literal. we just discussed yesterday in length in my hermeneutics class here at St. Tikhon's about how allegorical interpretation weren't used to the exclusion of literal interpretations for the most part. the Fathers used allegory to spiritually benefit their flocks, but it was understood that if the allegory doesn't help, then don't use it. allegory was never used for developing dogma, according to Dr. Mary.

she wrote her thesis in defense of allegorical interpretations, as i guess that method has come under attack in Biblical Studies crowds, and i asked her if she thought there were times when the Fathers did go overboard with their allegories (i had in mind some commentaries i had read, i think by St. Gregory the Great), and she said that if the Fathers were using them then it must have been palatable for their culture, and if it reaped spiritual benefit then we can't say their allegories were over the top. but we live in a culture shaped by the Enlightenment where allegory is not so palatable, and so, she said, if i don't like a particular allegory, or think its too much of a stretch, then just dont read it. if its not beneficial, dont use it. and she reiterated that dogma is never formed from allegory anyways.

This is the same Paradise the saints enjoy today.  The Cherubim that blocked the way to Paradise opened it to the Thief who first came there.  These saints do not have bodies because the second coming has not been achieved, but certainly they do partake of the many plants and trees that give life, and perhaps now, they also have knowledge as well.

For those who do accept a literal tree, you can still find that they do not reject the most important ingredient.  First the plants and trees were not like trees on earth.  So even it if was literal, it was not even the same, but a much higher more grand species, most beautiful, cultivated by God Himself so to speak.  Yet, they also talked about Wisdom, or the Word of God as a tree of Life.  Some even pertained to the Tree of Knowledge as the Word of God Incarnate, that is that's how one partakes of both Life and Knowledge in one.  And all the plants of the field and all the trees represent the uncreated energies of God.

When we go back to this Paradise, where is this tree?  I do not need a "tree."  I don't read in the Church fathers that we will go back and see the same trees Adam had.  Instead, the Tree literally is the Cross, and the fruit literally is Christ.  When I'm alive, or when I'm in Paradise, or when the Second coming is here, that Tree and that Fruit is eternally the true tree and the true fruit.

So in consistency with the disagreeing fathers, I believe they had something in common, that the fruit of the tree represented the Word of God, and that the fruits of other plants represented his energies.  Why "tree"?  Because it's prophetic.
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« Reply #2630 on: December 10, 2010, 12:30:56 PM »

We have to differentiate what man is by nature, and what man is by grace.  By grace, man was immortal.  By nature, man is mortal.

If you're going to call a Tree a literal Tree that granted immortality, then you are calling the Tree the provider of grace, which is something only God can do.

I just read your post here after I posted mine...it appears we're on the same brainwave!  laugh Kiss

:-)

I'm searching online and I found that there lived a 4th century bishop, Nemesius of Emesa, who wrote a treatise "On the Nature of Man" who seems to think along this line as well, who influenced the theological thinking of St. Maximus the Confessor and St. John of Damascus.

St. Athanasius taught that if man can secure the grace by obeying the law, immortality will be assured, and equated the Tree of Life with the Word of God.  The important part here is that grace is given.  The idea of a tree is to prepare one to understand the true Tree, i.e. the Cross where we receive our True Fruit, that is the Eucharist.  I don't know why it's so hard for people to get this.  It is very clear for me in light of the NT.

no one is denying the obvious typology of the Tree to the Cross, but i dont understand why that has to lead to a denial of the literal tree. the Cross is certainly literal. we just discussed yesterday in length in my hermeneutics class here at St. Tikhon's about how allegorical interpretation weren't used to the exclusion of literal interpretations for the most part. the Fathers used allegory to spiritually benefit their flocks, but it was understood that if the allegory doesn't help, then don't use it. allegory was never used for developing dogma, according to Dr. Mary.

she wrote her thesis in defense of allegorical interpretations, as i guess that method has come under attack in Biblical Studies crowds, and i asked her if she thought there were times when the Fathers did go overboard with their allegories (i had in mind some commentaries i had read, i think by St. Gregory the Great), and she said that if the Fathers were using them then it must have been palatable for their culture, and if it reaped spiritual benefit then we can't say their allegories were over the top. but we live in a culture shaped by the Enlightenment where allegory is not so palatable, and so, she said, if i don't like a particular allegory, or think its too much of a stretch, then just dont read it. if its not beneficial, dont use it. and she reiterated that dogma is never formed from allegory anyways.

This is the same Paradise the saints enjoy today.  The Cherubim that blocked the way to Paradise opened it to the Thief who first came there.  These saints do not have bodies because the second coming has not been achieved, but certainly they do partake of the many plants and trees that give life, and perhaps now, they also have knowledge as well.

For those who do accept a literal tree, you can still find that they do not reject the most important ingredient.  First the plants and trees were not like trees on earth.  So even it if was literal, it was not even the same, but a much higher more grand species, most beautiful, cultivated by God Himself so to speak.  Yet, they also talked about Wisdom, or the Word of God as a tree of Life.  Some even pertained to the Tree of Knowledge as the Word of God Incarnate, that is that's how one partakes of both Life and Knowledge in one.  And all the plants of the field and all the trees represent the uncreated energies of God.

When we go back to this Paradise, where is this tree?  I do not need a "tree."  I don't read in the Church fathers that we will go back and see the same trees Adam had.  Instead, the Tree literally is the Cross, and the fruit literally is Christ.  When I'm alive, or when I'm in Paradise, or when the Second coming is here, that Tree and that Fruit is eternally the true tree and the true fruit.

So in consistency with the disagreeing fathers, I believe they had something in common, that the fruit of the tree represented the Word of God, and that the fruits of other plants represented his energies.  Why "tree"?  Because it's prophetic.

i pretty much agree with this. definitely everything about that Paradisal world is different than we know - more spiritual. this is especially spoken of in regards to our bodies i think. to support this point, St. Theophilus says:

Quote
To Autolycus, II.XXIV
God, then, caused to spring out of the earth every tree that is beautiful in appearance, or good for food. For at first there were only those things which were produced on the third day,-plants, and seeds, and herbs; but the things which were in Paradise were made of a superior loveliness and beauty, since in it the plants were said to have been planted by God. As to the rest of the plants, indeed, the world contained plants like them; but the two trees,-the tree of life and the tree of knowledge,-the rest of the earth possessed not, but only Paradise. And that Paradise is earth, and is planted on the earth, the Scripture states, saying: "And the Lord God planted Paradise in Eden eastwards, and placed man there; and out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food."

however, i also wouldnt expect (i could be wrong) to receive of the Eucharist in Paradise, but this doesnt reduce the Eucharist to an allegory.

you seem to say that trees were simply used as a literary means of prophesying, but i would say that trees were literally there in the garden for the purpose of prophesying! having actually experienced those trees in the garden, Adam and Eve were being prepared to accept Christ Who would come to Hades preaching about a victory on a tree! if the trees were only later, literary inventions, then Adam and Eve would be bereft of this actual parallel to point them towards Christ.

thats why i dont like when people want to turn so much in the Old Testament (thinking more of Biblical criticism here) into mere myths or symbols. then only those people reading the Old Testament are actually prepared - the people who actually lived these things didnt receive actualy foreshadowings of Christ, because all these stories are just myths or symbols!
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« Reply #2631 on: December 10, 2010, 12:49:35 PM »

The same St. Augustine that teaches we should be mindful of the science of our days, that our interpretation of Genesis may change?

The same St. Basil who your liturgical tradition, which I believe holds more weight by the fact that you pray it, quotes?

Even herbivores, which the Church fathers talk about eat and kill plants for food, and the plants regrow.  The Church fathers saw "life" in plants but they didn't see in plants the same "life" animals have.  But today in biological science, we find that indeed plants do have the same biochemistry, the same DNA, similar modes of reproducibility and mutations and disease, etc.  So we can't say today plants are without life.  So we find that it was okay to kill and eat plants in Paradise!  And so the Church fathers talked about eating plants, they don't lose life in the same way as animals do.  But in fact, they were scientifically mistaken.  Therefore, in today's understanding, their interpretations don't make sense.

I can simply say the scientific evidence doesn't support their ideas anymore.  Many of them wrote what they thought of in their own opinion.  You see the words "I think" or "In my view" when they write.  Let us be mindful of other interpretations at the time.

For you Fr. Seraphim.  For me, Bishop Alexander will be a Church father to quote from:

Quote
Some people draw the conclusion from the Bible’s account of Adam and Eve that, before the fall of the first man, neither death nor decay existed in nature: life all over Earth flowed smoothly without storms or cataclysms, animals of prey fed on grass, and neither insects, fish, nor animals died, but rather all of them enjoyed immortality together with man. This idealization of the primitive world has no basis.

The very concept of death is full of human tragedy. Do we really have the right to apply the word death in the same sense to the plant or animal world? The departure of animals is not a death similar to the departure from life of Godlike man, who was made to be immortal. The division of a living cell, the loss of bacteria or an insect, or the halting of physiological processes in an ape is not the same thing as the demise of a human. Animals were not promised immortality, and they do not die because they broke the commandment. On the contrary, their death is just as natural a process as their birth. From the appearance of the first living cell in the world up until the creation of Adam, birth and death flowed in an uninterrupted stream. If it had been otherwise, the world would have become overpopulated with animals with nothing to feed upon soon after its creation. Only death and decay could pave the way for the birth of new creatures.

Adam was made to be immortal, not by his nature, but rather, conditionally, insofar as he was given access to the Tree of Life as a reward for fulfilling the commandment. In warning Adam about the danger of death, the Maker did not have in mind physical so much as spiritual death — that he would be deprived of the life-giving grace of the Holy Spirit. However, theoretically, Adam could have prolonged his physical life if he had eaten from the fruit of the Tree of Life after the Fall, too. It is specifically because God denied Adam access to the Tree of Life that he was doomed to physical death. Saint Gregory the Theologian explains that God fixed things so that the moral "evil [which entered Adam] did not become immortal." The fact that Adam was created outside of Eden already tells us that he must have been acquainted with death in the animal kingdom.

It may be assume that before the Fall of Adam there were no predators within the limits of Eden and only herbivores and harmless animals lived there. But beyond the limits of Eden, life flowed in its primordial rhythm. We know from paleontology that long before the birth of man there were predators even more fierce than today’s. From the very beginning, life and death alternated on all levels of existence — from microorganisms to the very largest animals. Just look at the skeleton of the prehistoric tyrannosaurus, whose teeth, sharp as a knife, reached lengths of 15 centimeters (6 inches). He certainly didn’t feed on grass!

Paleontology has counted about ten cases of relatively short periods from 500 to 65 million years ago during which massive extinctions of an enormous quantity of animal and plant species occurred. Perhaps the most grandiose massive extinction took place about 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period, when 50 to 90 percent of the species inhabiting Earth, or about 200 of 400 known families, were wiped off the face of the Earth. Another massive extinction of apocalyptic proportions occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period, 65 million years ago, which led to the death of all dinosaurs and ammonites.

But in that case, how are we to interpret the words of the Apostle Paul: "For the earnest expectation of the creature eagerly awaits for the revealing of the sons of God... For the creature was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;.. because the creature itself also wall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. Chapter 8:19-21)?

Is the Apostle not indicating here that death and decay in the world were the result of the Fall of Adam? It seems to us that here he is talking not about the past, but about the future. The Apostle’s basic idea is that nature is imperfect and perishable because man, the crown of creation, was expected to perfect himself spiritually. But since man fell morally, nature remained perishable and imperfect without reaching the ideal state it was destined for. When the faithful part of mankind is honored with immortality after the universal resurrection from the dead, then the rest of the physical world will be transformed into new heavens and a new earth (see II Pet. 3:13). On the "day" after the universal resurrection, all of nature will be renewed, and the lowest creature, together with man, will be free from the laws of decay and destruction. What will nature look like then, and will it still have the plants and animals we know? The Apostle does not answer these questions. There are hints in the Bible that there will be something similar in the new world to what we see here (Is. 11:6-9, Is. 65:17-25; Rev. ch. 21-22). However, it is useless to try to imagine now what that spiritual world will look like, because time itself, space, and all the laws of nature will have completely new substance.

We have already cursorily mentioned the misunderstanding concerning Earth’s position in the galaxy. Since Moses describes everything from the point of view of an observer on earth, the impression is created that Earth is the center of the universe. Roman Catholic theologians defended this view with much pathos: "It is not fitting for the Earth, to which the Lord had to descend, to spin around in space like a child’s top." Fortunately, with time good sense triumphed and now no one can seriously repeat the old error about the universe’s rotation around Earth. This case vividly illustrates the problem that a biased understanding of some expressions in the Bible can cause when one is unaware of or ignores basic scientific data.

And certainly this is not Biblical criticism of the 18th century.  This is Alexandrian allegory since Philo.

And since you agree with what I say, why then would something cease to exist when we go back to Paradise not finding exactly what Adam in Genesis is said to have?  Are you saying God brings things into existence and then takes them away in Paradise?
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« Reply #2632 on: December 10, 2010, 01:45:25 PM »

I think we all agree then that if not for the tree of life, whatever that is taken to be, then man would not have been immortal, correct?
No, I doubt that we all agree on anything.  I, however, agree with you completely.  After our eating from the Tree of Knowledge, God was quite explicit in nipping that little problem in the bud, not wanting us to eat from the Tree of Life and become immortal.  Basic logic would seem to indicate that if one can become immortal, then one is not immortal already.  But then again, many would refuse to let basic logic get in the way of a good argument, anyway.
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« Reply #2633 on: December 10, 2010, 02:47:49 PM »

I think we all agree then that if not for the tree of life, whatever that is taken to be, then man would not have been immortal, correct?
No, I doubt that we all agree on anything.  I, however, agree with you completely.  After our eating from the Tree of Knowledge, God was quite explicit in nipping that little problem in the bud, not wanting us to eat from the Tree of Life and become immortal.  Basic logic would seem to indicate that if one can become immortal, then one is not immortal already.  But then again, many would refuse to let basic logic get in the way of a good argument, anyway.

man was not created immortal in the sense that he was not definitely going to live forever - he was created in an in-between state. it remained to be seen which way man's will would go - to life or death. however, the Fathers are clear that man would not have died had he not sinned. This is pronounced by an Ecumenical Council. Since man was not created in a state of sin, the state of man at his very creation was not necessarily heading towards death. this is not compatible with evolution which knows only the natural necessity of death.
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« Reply #2634 on: December 10, 2010, 03:38:09 PM »

Couldn't they be tied together though?  Man could not have died without sin, precisely because it was sin that banished them from Eden, and thus, the Tree of Life.

I've always understood the banishment from Eden to be an act of mercy, rather than an act of punishment.  Had God not done so, and barred man from ever entering there again, man could've been immortal in that horrific state of sin, feasting upon the Tree of Life.

I'm open to adjusting this viewpoint of course, so if you think it's way off, I'd like to read some thoughts about it.
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« Reply #2635 on: December 10, 2010, 03:42:05 PM »

Couldn't they be tied together though?  Man could not have died without sin, precisely because it was sin that banished them from Eden, and thus, the Tree of Life.

I've always understood the banishment from Eden to be an act of mercy, rather than an act of punishment.  Had God not done so, and barred man from ever entering there again, man could've been immortal in that horrific state of sin, feasting upon the Tree of Life.

I'm open to adjusting this viewpoint of course, so if you think it's way off, I'd like to read some thoughts about it.

that is my understanding.

and thats the problem here -- it is sin and the expulsion from the Garden that plunges man into mortality, not natural necessity. I know of no "sinlessness = immortality" caveat in the theory of evolution.
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« Reply #2636 on: December 10, 2010, 03:50:30 PM »

I think we all agree then that if not for the tree of life, whatever that is taken to be, then man would not have been immortal, correct?
No, I doubt that we all agree on anything.  I, however, agree with you completely.  After our eating from the Tree of Knowledge, God was quite explicit in nipping that little problem in the bud, not wanting us to eat from the Tree of Life and become immortal.  Basic logic would seem to indicate that if one can become immortal, then one is not immortal already.  But then again, many would refuse to let basic logic get in the way of a good argument, anyway.

 the Fathers are clear that man would not have died had he not sinned. This is pronounced by an Ecumenical Council. Since man was not created in a state of sin, the state of man at his very creation was not necessarily heading towards death.
All what you said is compatible with the idea that animals and plants experienced (or would eventually experience) physical death before the Fall.
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« Reply #2637 on: December 10, 2010, 03:55:02 PM »

I think we all agree then that if not for the tree of life, whatever that is taken to be, then man would not have been immortal, correct?
No, I doubt that we all agree on anything.  I, however, agree with you completely.  After our eating from the Tree of Knowledge, God was quite explicit in nipping that little problem in the bud, not wanting us to eat from the Tree of Life and become immortal.  Basic logic would seem to indicate that if one can become immortal, then one is not immortal already.  But then again, many would refuse to let basic logic get in the way of a good argument, anyway.

 the Fathers are clear that man would not have died had he not sinned. This is pronounced by an Ecumenical Council. Since man was not created in a state of sin, the state of man at his very creation was not necessarily heading towards death.
All what you said is compatible with the idea that animals and plants experienced (or would eventually experience) physical death before the Fall.

in that reponse i was dealing just with humanity. much has been said on both sides about animals and plants throughout this thread, however. it is a basic tenet of the Fathers that the fate of creation is tied to that of man.

just for one example:

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

Quote
Homilies on Romans, 14.
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.

Quote
Homilies on Romans, 14
He [the Apostle Paul] discourses concerning creation's bondage, and 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?
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« Reply #2638 on: December 10, 2010, 05:28:29 PM »

And again from your very own liturgy:

The Greek Liturgy of St. Basil states:

Quote
For having made man by taking dust from the earth, and having honored him with Your own image, 0 God, You placed him in a garden of delight, promising him eternal life and the enjoyment of everlasting blessings in the observance of Your commandments. But when he disobeyed You, the true God who had created him, and was led astray by the deception of the serpent becoming subject to death through his own transgressions, You, 0 God, in Your righteous judgment, expelled him from paradise into this world, returning him to the earth from which he was taken, yet providing for him the salvation of regeneration in Your Christ.

This is very similar to what St. Athanasius believed.

God bless.

Mina

Maybe, St. Basil likes to think of Paradise as having some animals and plants that were immortal.  But certainly not the world.
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« Reply #2639 on: December 10, 2010, 06:05:44 PM »

I think this is essential in learning about the Fall:

Quote from: Rev. George Mastrantonis' Exorcism
To understand the nature of exorcism it is necessary to understand the nature of Adam's corruption after his "fall" from Paradise. Adam was created with spiritual gifts given to him for his perfection, as well as the Grace of God. Adam was created "in the image" and "after the likeness" of God. "In the image" means that he had the potential, through free will, to reach the higher level that is "after the likeness" of God, being without corruption. Had the 'gifts bestowed on man by God been properly cultivated in Paradise, man - by the Grace of God - could have become holy and righteous and attained the "likeness" of God, instead of becoming corrupt and bringing about his own death. This is the, teaching of the Church on the state of man in Paradise. Adam was expected to exercise this free will and be tested in his effort to reach his destination - "after the likeness" of God, not death. He was tested by an opponent of the same nature and equal abilities. His opponent was envious and clever, a fallen angel in the form of a serpent, demon, Satan and Devil. His weapons were arrogance and disobedience, which he used to tempt Adam and Eve. He was "that ancient serpent, who is calledthe Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world", Rev. 12:9; "He (the serpent) was a murderer from the beginning", John 8:44.

Adam and Eve were tempted by arrogance, disobedience, selfishness and the desire for independence. Adam's sin of arrogance and disobedience to God's Will was a mortal one which penetrated his existence and that of subsequent generations. Thus, the punishment of the original sin is death, as revealed in Scripture: "for the wages of sin is death", Romans 6:23. Therefore, "none isrighteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God. . . there is no fear of God before their eyes", Rom. 3:10-11,18. Almighty God in His compassion sent His Son to save "fallen" man and to reconcile him with God, for "as by one man's disobedience manywere made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be maderighteous, Rom. 5:19. The excellences and qualities created in Adam were diminished and became blurred after his "fall"; still, man retained a spark of desire for perfection and distinguishing between good and evil. This blurred state in "fallen" man is sufficient, however, for him to know and to accept in humility and obedience God's Revealed Truths for his salvation in Christ. With this understanding of the nature and consequence of Adam's sin, the need for the exorcism of evil is more evident in baptism.
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« Reply #2640 on: December 10, 2010, 06:51:53 PM »

And again from your very own liturgy:

The Greek Liturgy of St. Basil states:

Quote
For having made man by taking dust from the earth, and having honored him with Your own image, 0 God, You placed him in a garden of delight, promising him eternal life and the enjoyment of everlasting blessings in the observance of Your commandments. But when he disobeyed You, the true God who had created him, and was led astray by the deception of the serpent becoming subject to death through his own transgressions, You, 0 God, in Your righteous judgment, expelled him from paradise into this world, returning him to the earth from which he was taken, yet providing for him the salvation of regeneration in Your Christ.

This is very similar to what St. Athanasius believed.

God bless.

Mina

Maybe, St. Basil likes to think of Paradise as having some animals and plants that were immortal.  But certainly not the world.

that quote says nothing about the state of the world outside of the Garden.
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« Reply #2641 on: December 10, 2010, 08:43:34 PM »

The same St. Augustine that teaches we should be mindful of the science of our days, that our interpretation of Genesis may change?

once again, for about the bajillionth time in this thread -- Creationism is not anti-science! i am not advocating not being mindful of science. i just dont find the theory of evolution to be particularly scientific. and i don't think St. Augustine would believe in it either. people can throw around this reference from St. Augustine all day long, but it really proves nothing for either side, because we can't ask him how his opinion towards science would manifest itself in regards to evolution.

Quote from: minasoliman
The same St. Basil who your liturgical tradition, which I believe holds more weight by the fact that you pray it, quotes?

are you referring here to the quote you just posted? That quote doesn't at all say what you want it to say.

Quote from: minasoliman
Even herbivores, which the Church fathers talk about eat and kill plants for food, and the plants regrow.  The Church fathers saw "life" in plants but they didn't see in plants the same "life" animals have.  But today in biological science, we find that indeed plants do have the same biochemistry, the same DNA, similar modes of reproducibility and mutations and disease, etc.  So we can't say today plants are without life.  So we find that it was okay to kill and eat plants in Paradise!  And so the Church fathers talked about eating plants, they don't lose life in the same way as animals do.  But in fact, they were scientifically mistaken.  Therefore, in today's understanding, their interpretations don't make sense.

perhaps the Fathers are drawing the line between sentient and non-sentient beings? you can't really fault them for not having 21st century definitions ... but either way, you are speaking of the biological makeup of plants as we know them, not as they were in Paradise, because nobody knows that. we do know that plants were different in Paradise though. St. Symeon the New Theologian says:

Quote
Ethical Discourses 1.1
Notice that it is nowhere written, “God created paradise,” or that he said “let it be and it was,” but instead that He “planted” it, and “made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” [Gen. 2:8-9], bearing every kind and variety of fruit, fruit which is never spoiled or lacking but always fresh and ripe, full of sweetness, and providing our ancestors with indescribable pleasure and enjoyment. For their immortal bodies had to be supplied with incorruptible food.
1.4
This is the reason why, when God saw from before the creation of the world that Adam would be saved through re-birth, He subjected creation to him, and put it under a curse so that, having been created for the sake of man who had fallen into corruption, it should itself become corrupt and provide him annually with corrupted food. . . . Which is to say that creation was not of itself subjected to humanity, nor was it willingly changed over to corruption and made to bear

Quote from: minasoliman
I can simply say the scientific evidence doesn't support their ideas anymore.  Many of them wrote what they thought of in their own opinion.  You see the words "I think" or "In my view" when they write.  Let us be mindful of other interpretations at the time.

yes, sometimes the Fathers were giving opinions. Those instances fall under this passage by St. Basil:

Quote
Hexameron, 9.1
Those who have written about the nature of the universe have discussed at length the shape of the earth.  If it be spherical or cylindrical, if it resemble a disc and is equally rounded in all parts, or if it has the forth of a winnowing basket and is hollow in the middle all these conjectures have been suggested by cosmographers, each one upsetting that of his predecessor.  It will not lead me to give less importance to the creation of the universe, that the servant of God, Moses, is silent as to shapes; he has not said that the earth is a hundred and eighty thousand furlongs in circumference; he has not measured into what extent of air its shadow projects itself whilst the sun revolves around it, nor stated how this shadow, casting itself upon the moon, produces eclipses.  He has passed over in silence, as useless, all that is unimportant for us.  Shall I then prefer foolish wisdom to the oracles of the Holy Spirit?  Shall I not rather exalt Him who, not wishing to fill our minds with these vanities, has regulated all the economy of Scripture in view of the edification and the making perfect of our souls?

but when it comes to the use of allegory vs. literal, and the question of death i have found no wavering. their word are quite insistent. Again, St. Basil:

Quote
Hexameron, 1.9
Shall I then prefer foolish wisdom to the oracles of the Holy Spirit?  Shall I not rather exalt Him who, not wishing to fill our minds with these vanities, has regulated all the economy of Scripture in view of the edification and the making perfect of our souls?  It is this which those seem to me not to have understood, who, giving themselves up to the distorted meaning of allegory, have undertaken to give a majesty of their own invention to Scripture.  It is to believe themselves wiser than the Holy Spirit, and to bring forth their own ideas under a pretext of exegesis.  Let us hear Scripture as it has been written.

Quote from: minasoliman
For you Fr. Seraphim.  For me, Bishop Alexander will be a Church father to quote from:

Quote
Some people draw the conclusion from the Bible’s account of Adam and Eve that, before the fall of the first man, neither death nor decay existed in nature: life all over Earth flowed smoothly without storms or cataclysms, animals of prey fed on grass, and neither insects, fish, nor animals died, but rather all of them enjoyed immortality together with man. This idealization of the primitive world has no basis.

false. it quite clearly has a basis in the Fathers. he may disagree with the Fathers, but its just plain false to claim there is no basis.

Quote
The very concept of death is full of human tragedy. Do we really have the right to apply the word death in the same sense to the plant or animal world? The departure of animals is not a death similar to the departure from life of Godlike man, who was made to be immortal. The division of a living cell, the loss of bacteria or an insect, or the halting of physiological processes in an ape is not the same thing as the demise of a human. Animals were not promised immortality, and they do not die because they broke the commandment. On the contrary, their death is just as natural a process as their birth. From the appearance of the first living cell in the world up until the creation of Adam, birth and death flowed in an uninterrupted stream. If it had been otherwise, the world would have become overpopulated with animals with nothing to feed upon soon after its creation. Only death and decay could pave the way for the birth of new creatures.

just because animal and plant death is not the same as human death does not mean that God desires their death. Bp. Alexander is falsely assuming that because human immortality is based upon keeping the commandments, then plant and animal immortality must also be based on keeping commandments, but who teaches this? where is he getting this idea? the Fathers are clear that the fate of creation is tied to man. St. Theophilus says:

Quote
to Autolycus Book II.XVII
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.

Quote
The fact that Adam was created outside of Eden already tells us that he must have been acquainted with death in the animal kingdom.

ummmm, only if there were animal death outside the Garden. but what do the Saints say?:

Quote
St. Symeon the New Theologian, Ethical Discourses 1.1, in On the Mystical Life, vol. 1, p. 21
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.

Quote
It may be assume that before the Fall of Adam there were no predators within the limits of Eden and only herbivores and harmless animals lived there. But beyond the limits of Eden, life flowed in its primordial rhythm. We know from paleontology that long before the birth of man there were predators even more fierce than today’s. From the very beginning, life and death alternated on all levels of existence — from microorganisms to the very largest animals. Just look at the skeleton of the prehistoric tyrannosaurus, whose teeth, sharp as a knife, reached lengths of 15 centimeters (6 inches). He certainly didn’t feed on grass!

skeletons show us the state of an animal at its death. that tells us nothing about the world before sin and death existed.

Quote
But in that case, how are we to interpret the words of the Apostle Paul: "For the earnest expectation of the creature eagerly awaits for the revealing of the sons of God... For the creature was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;.. because the creature itself also wall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. Chapter 8:19-21)?

Is the Apostle not indicating here that death and decay in the world were the result of the Fall of Adam? It seems to us that here he is talking not about the past, but about the future. The Apostle’s basic idea is that nature is imperfect and perishable because man, the crown of creation, was expected to perfect himself spiritually. But since man fell morally, nature remained perishable and imperfect without reaching the ideal state it was destined for. When the faithful part of mankind is honored with immortality after the universal resurrection from the dead, then the rest of the physical world will be transformed into new heavens and a new earth (see II Pet. 3:13).

ok, but what do the Saint say?:

Quote
St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans 14
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 . . . He [the Apostle Paul] discourses concerning creation's bondage, and 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?

Quote
St. John of Damascus, Exact Exposition 2.28
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.   

Quote
We have already cursorily mentioned the misunderstanding concerning Earth’s position in the galaxy. Since Moses describes everything from the point of view of an observer on earth, the impression is created that Earth is the center of the universe. Roman Catholic theologians defended this view with much pathos: "It is not fitting for the Earth, to which the Lord had to descend, to spin around in space like a child’s top." Fortunately, with time good sense triumphed and now no one can seriously repeat the old error about the universe’s rotation around Earth. This case vividly illustrates the problem that a biased understanding of some expressions in the Bible can cause when one is unaware of or ignores basic scientific data.

earth is indeed, spiritually the center of the universe. but as for its physical placement, that is one of those things that St. Basil talks about - its useless for our salvation

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« Reply #2642 on: December 10, 2010, 10:37:45 PM »

I'm going to be very clear with you.  The saints are wrong.  Period!

There was death.  Leaving evolution out of the picture, the evidence clearly shows death existed long before apes even existed.  The fossil records are consistent about this and don't lie.  I don't care if you don't agree with evolution.  But surely you are also rejecting other sciences when doing this.

God created the cosmos with certain physical laws that were programmed into it.  These laws seemed to gear in the direction of humanity.  Death of plants and animals are a natural process, and these are shown by Church fathers.  Only man was given immortality as St. Athanasius teaches.

St. John Chrysostom, St. Theophilus, St. Augustine, and whoever else thought the world had no death in it before man were all wrong.

Whatever you want to believe in Paradise is up to you on the other hand.  If believing that immortal and incorruptible plants and animals existed in Paradise is necessary for your salvation, then I question your faith.  But nevertheless, let your faith be yours.  I only wonder if these things are necessary for the faith really?  Why would these particular plants and animals fall with man for man's wrongdoing?  It is clear both Adam and Eve ate from the tree, and not Eve or Adam alone.  Did they also give the fruit to the animals and plants to have them die with them?

What is important was man was greedy and sought independence.  However that happened, I don't know.  I've maintained belief in the Fall while not contradicting evolution.  It's amazing we have one Church father Nemesius of Emesa who sought very clearly to show the essentials of Christian faith mesh well with the "science" of their days, among other Church fathers who taught different things.

Thank God for St. Athanasius who trumps all these Church fathers, one person you haven't quoted at all in your futile blogs.
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« Reply #2643 on: December 10, 2010, 10:42:13 PM »

I'm going to be very clear with you.  The saints are wrong.  Period!

There was death.  Leaving evolution out of the picture, the evidence clearly shows death existed long before apes even existed.  The fossil records are consistent about this and don't lie.  I don't care if you don't agree with evolution.  But surely you are also rejecting other sciences when doing this.

God created the cosmos with certain physical laws that were programmed into it.  These laws seemed to gear in the direction of humanity.  Death of plants and animals are a natural process, and these are shown by Church fathers.  Only man was given immortality as St. Athanasius teaches.

St. John Chrysostom, St. Theophilus, St. Augustine, and whoever else thought the world had no death in it before man were all wrong.

sorry, i dont have it in me to be so bold as you. i will bow to those who are purified, not those who have neat instruments.
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« Reply #2644 on: December 10, 2010, 10:55:58 PM »


Thank God for St. Athanasius who trumps all these Church fathers, one person you haven't quoted at all in your futile blogs.

1. i dont know how Oriental Orthodoxy works, but Eastern Orthodoxy doesnt desperately cling to one Father above everyone else. Isnt that rather like Calvinism?
2. in believing that humans were created immortal, St. Athanasius is just as much contradictory to evolution as everyone else I have put forth
3. another poster, i think Jonathan Gress, has already shown that you are probably stretching St. Athanasius too far
4. you base everything on one Father, whereas my blog has over 30 or 40 Fathers and Saints. whose argument is futile?
5. here ya go:

Quote
St. Athanasius, Agaisnt the Arians, 2.48
If then the Lord is in such sense created as a `beginning' of all things, it would follow that He and all other things together make up the unity of the creation, and He neither differs from all others, though He become the `beginning' of all, nor is He Lord of them, though older in point of time; but He has the same manner of framing and the same Lord as the rest. Nay, if He be a creature, as you hold, how can He be created sole and first at all, so as to be beginning of all? when it is plain from what has been said, that among the creatures not any is of a constant nature and of prior formation, but each has its origination with all the rest, however it may excel others in glory. For as to the separate stars or the great lights, not this appeared first, and that second, but in one day and by the same command, they were all called into being. And such was the original formation of the quadrupeds, and of birds, and fishes, and cattle, and plants; thus too has the race made after God's Image come to be, namely men; for though Adam only was formed out of earth, yet in him was involved the succession of the whole race.

everything of each kind came into being in one instant, by one command. whats the timeline for evolution again?

Quote
2.60
it having been shown to be true in an earlier part of this book, that no one creature was made before another, but all things originate subsisted at once together upon one and the same command.

same question
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« Reply #2645 on: December 10, 2010, 10:58:31 PM »

 Why would these particular plants and animals fall with man for man's wrongdoing?  It is clear both Adam and Eve ate from the tree, and not Eve or Adam alone.  Did they also give the fruit to the animals and plants to have them die with them?


creation was created for man. it has no purpose apart from man. thus its fate is tied to man's. immortal man belongs in an immortal creation. mortal man belongs in a mortal creation. one Father that I have cited, I forget who, said that the fallen creation helps to call man to creation, because he realizes what he lost.


and i could just as easily look at your faith and see that it hinges on raising up one Father above all others and thus question your faith. but come on, that'd be absurd of me to do.
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« Reply #2646 on: December 11, 2010, 12:03:31 AM »

I have a question for you.

I'd like you to quote mine the Church fathers for me on the idea of whether they believed Angels came and produced children through human women called the Nephilim?
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« Reply #2647 on: December 11, 2010, 10:57:10 AM »

I have a question for you.

I'd like you to quote mine the Church fathers for me on the idea of whether they believed Angels came and produced children through human women called the Nephilim?

dont you mean quote mine St. Athanasius? he's the only one that matters i thought ....

if anything, you've been quote mining to find people who you think are in agreement with St. Athanasius because you think he's infallible, whereas the Creationist POV can point to countless Fathers from every age of the Church. and anyways, St. Athanasius is incompatible with evolution also. he believes people were created immortal (whether by nature or by grace, either way they were immortal), and he believes the creation act of each day was instantaneous. so if you really fully follow St. Athanasius like you say you do you would have to drop evolution.

but anyways, this site: http://www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/Chapter5.htm has a chart that has it all laid out. whether or not the chart is entirely accurate im not sure, because although i like his page overall, i have found a few points of research that i would disagree with him about.

also, in post 2542 you said that St. Irenaeus is an infallible source that no one really disagrees with, but he believed the sons of God were angels ....

but isnt this just a diversion from the topic at hand?
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« Reply #2648 on: December 11, 2010, 11:48:48 AM »

I have a question for you.

I'd like you to quote mine the Church fathers for me on the idea of whether they believed Angels came and produced children through human women called the Nephilim?

dont you mean quote mine St. Athanasius? he's the only one that matters i thought ....

if anything, you've been quote mining to find people who you think are in agreement with St. Athanasius because you think he's infallible, whereas the Creationist POV can point to countless Fathers from every age of the Church. and anyways, St. Athanasius is incompatible with evolution also. he believes people were created immortal (whether by nature or by grace, either way they were immortal), and he believes the creation act of each day was instantaneous. so if you really fully follow St. Athanasius like you say you do you would have to drop evolution.

but anyways, this site: http://www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/Chapter5.htm has a chart that has it all laid out. whether or not the chart is entirely accurate im not sure, because although i like his page overall, i have found a few points of research that i would disagree with him about.

also, in post 2542 you said that St. Irenaeus is an infallible source that no one really disagrees with, but he believed the sons of God were angels ....

but isnt this just a diversion from the topic at hand?

It's not really a diversion.  You criticize me of not following the majority of the Fathers.  I'm reading that the Church fathers of the first three centuries almost unanimously believed that the sons of God were angels.

I already gave you a quote on how St. Athanasius is scientifically wrong.  It just so happens, he was right about death existing with other animals even before the Fall.  So I wonder do you agree with the concensus patrum that angels had intercourse with humans (even St. Jerome who did not accept Enoch as Scripture)?
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« Reply #2649 on: December 11, 2010, 02:18:04 PM »

Iconodule, I feel like we're going going back and forth in our current arguments without making much progress towards a mutual understanding. Perhaps I can present a new question. How much certainty/evidence/confidence do you think is required for a scientific theory to be considered reliable or trustworthy?

For example, lets consider bridge building. Humans have been building bridges for a long time. A properly educated engineer should be able to design a bridge that is reliable for virtually any application. Different bridges all across the world obey the same laws of structural mechanics, and therefore have a similar architecture. When we see a new bridge built across a large body of water (for example, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in New Orleans, LA) We don't hesitate to drive over it because we have confidence in the engineers, the builders, and most importantly for this discussion, the science behind bridge-building. It has been shown time and again that bridges can be designed and constructed for specific applications and they perform reliably for these applications.

The visible world is not an illusion- it truly exists, but it does so entirely by the active creative and preserving power of God. Therefore, a methodology that attempts to "objectively" understand the visible creation, while ignoring God, is false. At the same time, because the visible world does exist, such a methodology will not be completely wrong in its observations or calculations- its perception will be distorted, but not completely wrong.

Yes, this modern atheist/ deist natural philosophy has produced many useful ideas and things which "work." At the same time, we can find other effective ideas and inventions emanating from other philosophies, many of which are still in use today. The ancient civilizations of Greece, Mexico, China, etc. all produced various discoveries, techniques, and inventions which "work" very well. Some say that the Mayan calendar is the most accurate in the world. At the same time, the calendar was created on some false premises and for false purposes. (And of course we still use a calendar today based largely on pagan advances in astrology.) Another incredible invention that comes to mind is the Greeks' Antikythera mechanism. And we all have great admiration for the mathematical advances of the Greeks (and other ancient civilizations), without embracing the philosophy of Pythagoras or other philosophers.

So it is possible to make things that "work" without subscribing to the philosophies of dualism or materialism. Scientists who were also Christians mastered mathematics and engineering and gave us some of the architectural wonders of the world, not the least of which is the Hagia Sophia.

Quote
Certainly we can't say that all science is unreliable or untrustworthy.

And certainly I have never said so. I merely said that the philosophy which is usually called "modern science" is false. But that is not the only science that there is. A science that understands the creation in light of God's immanent activity in it is more trustworthy.

Quote
What then, in your mind, is the key distinction between something like the structural mechanics of bridge building, and evolutionary biology?

The bridge has an immediate practical purpose. Since modern science is materialistic and of a thoroughly earthly persuasion, it's natural that making things that "work" in a worldly sense would be its strength. But its fatal weaknesses become clearer in the more theoretical or cosmological fields. Darwinism is plainly false because it is contrary to God's revelation.
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« Reply #2650 on: December 11, 2010, 03:15:36 PM »

I have a question for you.

I'd like you to quote mine the Church fathers for me on the idea of whether they believed Angels came and produced children through human women called the Nephilim?

dont you mean quote mine St. Athanasius? he's the only one that matters i thought ....

if anything, you've been quote mining to find people who you think are in agreement with St. Athanasius because you think he's infallible, whereas the Creationist POV can point to countless Fathers from every age of the Church. and anyways, St. Athanasius is incompatible with evolution also. he believes people were created immortal (whether by nature or by grace, either way they were immortal), and he believes the creation act of each day was instantaneous. so if you really fully follow St. Athanasius like you say you do you would have to drop evolution.

but anyways, this site: http://www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/Chapter5.htm has a chart that has it all laid out. whether or not the chart is entirely accurate im not sure, because although i like his page overall, i have found a few points of research that i would disagree with him about.

also, in post 2542 you said that St. Irenaeus is an infallible source that no one really disagrees with, but he believed the sons of God were angels ....

but isnt this just a diversion from the topic at hand?

It's not really a diversion.  You criticize me of not following the majority of the Fathers.  I'm reading that the Church fathers of the first three centuries almost unanimously believed that the sons of God were angels.

I already gave you a quote on how St. Athanasius is scientifically wrong.  It just so happens, he was right about death existing with other animals even before the Fall.  So I wonder do you agree with the concensus patrum that angels had intercourse with humans (even St. Jerome who did not accept Enoch as Scripture)?

did you look at the website i linked? its quite clear that the teaching that angels had intercourse with humans is NOT the concensus patrum. this is an issue on which there is a noticeable divergence. but it is mainly the early writers who interpreted the "sons of God" this way, whereas this teaching fell out of the later Fathers and is not part of the Church's teaching. Many later Fathers, approaching the issue theologically, interpreted the "sons of God" as sons of Seth, as angels do not have bodies and cannot reproduce. This interpretation is put forth by St. John Chrysostom, St. Ephraim the Syrian, St. John Cassian, St. Augustine, St. Athanasius, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Gregory Palamas, etc. if we were to try to define a concensus patrum on this issue it would be that the "sons of God" are sons of Seth, with some earlier writers being the outliers. it is clear that the Church does not teach that the "sons of God" are angels.
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« Reply #2651 on: December 11, 2010, 05:51:32 PM »

I have a question for you.

I'd like you to quote mine the Church fathers for me on the idea of whether they believed Angels came and produced children through human women called the Nephilim?

dont you mean quote mine St. Athanasius? he's the only one that matters i thought ....

if anything, you've been quote mining to find people who you think are in agreement with St. Athanasius because you think he's infallible, whereas the Creationist POV can point to countless Fathers from every age of the Church. and anyways, St. Athanasius is incompatible with evolution also. he believes people were created immortal (whether by nature or by grace, either way they were immortal), and he believes the creation act of each day was instantaneous. so if you really fully follow St. Athanasius like you say you do you would have to drop evolution.

but anyways, this site: http://www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/Chapter5.htm has a chart that has it all laid out. whether or not the chart is entirely accurate im not sure, because although i like his page overall, i have found a few points of research that i would disagree with him about.

also, in post 2542 you said that St. Irenaeus is an infallible source that no one really disagrees with, but he believed the sons of God were angels ....

but isnt this just a diversion from the topic at hand?

It's not really a diversion.  You criticize me of not following the majority of the Fathers.  I'm reading that the Church fathers of the first three centuries almost unanimously believed that the sons of God were angels.

I already gave you a quote on how St. Athanasius is scientifically wrong.  It just so happens, he was right about death existing with other animals even before the Fall.  So I wonder do you agree with the concensus patrum that angels had intercourse with humans (even St. Jerome who did not accept Enoch as Scripture)?

did you look at the website i linked? its quite clear that the teaching that angels had intercourse with humans is NOT the concensus patrum. this is an issue on which there is a noticeable divergence. but it is mainly the early writers who interpreted the "sons of God" this way, whereas this teaching fell out of the later Fathers and is not part of the Church's teaching. Many later Fathers, approaching the issue theologically, interpreted the "sons of God" as sons of Seth, as angels do not have bodies and cannot reproduce. This interpretation is put forth by St. John Chrysostom, St. Ephraim the Syrian, St. John Cassian, St. Augustine, St. Athanasius, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Gregory Palamas, etc. if we were to try to define a concensus patrum on this issue it would be that the "sons of God" are sons of Seth, with some earlier writers being the outliers. it is clear that the Church does not teach that the "sons of God" are angels.

You're missing the point.  There seems to be a drastic change in the way this verse was interpreted over the centuries.  You missed the point that you have for three hundred years, the Church seemed to be quite unanimous at the idea that Angels had intercourse.

Then you get a 50/50 mix in the 300s, and then by the 400s, it became unanimously that it doesn't make sense angels can have intercourse.

In other words, this was not an issue central to the faith, and so the Church fathers rather than follow the Church fathers before them used logic.  St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, St. Ephrem were not the first Church fathers.  They were ancient, but relatively speaking, they were the first ones to imply that the earlier church fathers were wrong.

And the fact that you're adding St. Gregory Palamas, 13th Century, a jump and a leap from everyone else, you're lumping them together with the first and second century theologians.  That makes no sense.  I am using Bishop Alexander Mileant, God rest his soul, and you easily dismiss him.  There's something that necessary for the faith and others that are not.  St. Augustine recognized this, and so his literal interpretation of Genesis is malleable at best.
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« Reply #2652 on: December 11, 2010, 08:21:48 PM »

I have a question for you.

I'd like you to quote mine the Church fathers for me on the idea of whether they believed Angels came and produced children through human women called the Nephilim?

dont you mean quote mine St. Athanasius? he's the only one that matters i thought ....

if anything, you've been quote mining to find people who you think are in agreement with St. Athanasius because you think he's infallible, whereas the Creationist POV can point to countless Fathers from every age of the Church. and anyways, St. Athanasius is incompatible with evolution also. he believes people were created immortal (whether by nature or by grace, either way they were immortal), and he believes the creation act of each day was instantaneous. so if you really fully follow St. Athanasius like you say you do you would have to drop evolution.

but anyways, this site: http://www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/Chapter5.htm has a chart that has it all laid out. whether or not the chart is entirely accurate im not sure, because although i like his page overall, i have found a few points of research that i would disagree with him about.

also, in post 2542 you said that St. Irenaeus is an infallible source that no one really disagrees with, but he believed the sons of God were angels ....

but isnt this just a diversion from the topic at hand?

It's not really a diversion.  You criticize me of not following the majority of the Fathers.  I'm reading that the Church fathers of the first three centuries almost unanimously believed that the sons of God were angels.

I already gave you a quote on how St. Athanasius is scientifically wrong.  It just so happens, he was right about death existing with other animals even before the Fall.  So I wonder do you agree with the concensus patrum that angels had intercourse with humans (even St. Jerome who did not accept Enoch as Scripture)?

did you look at the website i linked? its quite clear that the teaching that angels had intercourse with humans is NOT the concensus patrum. this is an issue on which there is a noticeable divergence. but it is mainly the early writers who interpreted the "sons of God" this way, whereas this teaching fell out of the later Fathers and is not part of the Church's teaching. Many later Fathers, approaching the issue theologically, interpreted the "sons of God" as sons of Seth, as angels do not have bodies and cannot reproduce. This interpretation is put forth by St. John Chrysostom, St. Ephraim the Syrian, St. John Cassian, St. Augustine, St. Athanasius, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Gregory Palamas, etc. if we were to try to define a concensus patrum on this issue it would be that the "sons of God" are sons of Seth, with some earlier writers being the outliers. it is clear that the Church does not teach that the "sons of God" are angels.

You're missing the point.  There seems to be a drastic change in the way this verse was interpreted over the centuries.  You missed the point that you have for three hundred years, the Church seemed to be quite unanimous at the idea that Angels had intercourse.

Then you get a 50/50 mix in the 300s, and then by the 400s, it became unanimously that it doesn't make sense angels can have intercourse.

In other words, this was not an issue central to the faith, and so the Church fathers rather than follow the Church fathers before them used logic.  St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, St. Ephrem were not the first Church fathers.  They were ancient, but relatively speaking, they were the first ones to imply that the earlier church fathers were wrong.

And the fact that you're adding St. Gregory Palamas, 13th Century, a jump and a leap from everyone else, you're lumping them together with the first and second century theologians.  That makes no sense.  I am using Bishop Alexander Mileant, God rest his soul, and you easily dismiss him.  There's something that necessary for the faith and others that are not.  St. Augustine recognized this, and so his literal interpretation of Genesis is malleable at best.

i understood exactly what you were saying. You asked if i abide by the concensus patrum that angels bred with men and i said there is no such concensus patrum, which is true. it may have been the dominant view at one time, but that fell away long ago. same story with chiliasm - many early Fathers believed in it, but that teaching fell away and is certainly not the teaching of the Church. the understanding of creation and paradise and the fall, on the other hand has remained consistent right up through our modern holy elders and Saints.
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« Reply #2653 on: December 11, 2010, 08:57:33 PM »

I have a question for you.

I'd like you to quote mine the Church fathers for me on the idea of whether they believed Angels came and produced children through human women called the Nephilim?

dont you mean quote mine St. Athanasius? he's the only one that matters i thought ....

if anything, you've been quote mining to find people who you think are in agreement with St. Athanasius because you think he's infallible, whereas the Creationist POV can point to countless Fathers from every age of the Church. and anyways, St. Athanasius is incompatible with evolution also. he believes people were created immortal (whether by nature or by grace, either way they were immortal), and he believes the creation act of each day was instantaneous. so if you really fully follow St. Athanasius like you say you do you would have to drop evolution.

but anyways, this site: http://www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/Chapter5.htm has a chart that has it all laid out. whether or not the chart is entirely accurate im not sure, because although i like his page overall, i have found a few points of research that i would disagree with him about.

also, in post 2542 you said that St. Irenaeus is an infallible source that no one really disagrees with, but he believed the sons of God were angels ....

but isnt this just a diversion from the topic at hand?

It's not really a diversion.  You criticize me of not following the majority of the Fathers.  I'm reading that the Church fathers of the first three centuries almost unanimously believed that the sons of God were angels.

I already gave you a quote on how St. Athanasius is scientifically wrong.  It just so happens, he was right about death existing with other animals even before the Fall.  So I wonder do you agree with the concensus patrum that angels had intercourse with humans (even St. Jerome who did not accept Enoch as Scripture)?

did you look at the website i linked? its quite clear that the teaching that angels had intercourse with humans is NOT the concensus patrum. this is an issue on which there is a noticeable divergence. but it is mainly the early writers who interpreted the "sons of God" this way, whereas this teaching fell out of the later Fathers and is not part of the Church's teaching. Many later Fathers, approaching the issue theologically, interpreted the "sons of God" as sons of Seth, as angels do not have bodies and cannot reproduce. This interpretation is put forth by St. John Chrysostom, St. Ephraim the Syrian, St. John Cassian, St. Augustine, St. Athanasius, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Gregory Palamas, etc. if we were to try to define a concensus patrum on this issue it would be that the "sons of God" are sons of Seth, with some earlier writers being the outliers. it is clear that the Church does not teach that the "sons of God" are angels.

You're missing the point.  There seems to be a drastic change in the way this verse was interpreted over the centuries.  You missed the point that you have for three hundred years, the Church seemed to be quite unanimous at the idea that Angels had intercourse.

Then you get a 50/50 mix in the 300s, and then by the 400s, it became unanimously that it doesn't make sense angels can have intercourse.

In other words, this was not an issue central to the faith, and so the Church fathers rather than follow the Church fathers before them used logic.  St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, St. Ephrem were not the first Church fathers.  They were ancient, but relatively speaking, they were the first ones to imply that the earlier church fathers were wrong.

And the fact that you're adding St. Gregory Palamas, 13th Century, a jump and a leap from everyone else, you're lumping them together with the first and second century theologians.  That makes no sense.  I am using Bishop Alexander Mileant, God rest his soul, and you easily dismiss him.  There's something that necessary for the faith and others that are not.  St. Augustine recognized this, and so his literal interpretation of Genesis is malleable at best.

i understood exactly what you were saying. You asked if i abide by the concensus patrum that angels bred with men and i said there is no such concensus patrum, which is true. it may have been the dominant view at one time, but that fell away long ago. same story with chiliasm - many early Fathers believed in it, but that teaching fell away and is certainly not the teaching of the Church. the understanding of creation and paradise and the fall, on the other hand has remained consistent right up through our modern holy elders and Saints.

Then, I believe there will come a time when also the belief of a young Earth will also be abandoned and the belief that death before the Fall will also be abandoned.  I'm not sure what the Church believes about Paradise itself, but the fact that trees and plants and herbivores don't exist in Paradise today, I don't see that this belief that it existed in Adam's time holds much water to my salvation either.  Right now, we are in the 50/50 era of this discussion.  Perhaps, next century will show that this discussion might even be pointless.  It may not be the "consensus patrum" now, but perhaps in another two or three centuries, it will.

If the angels causing intercourse was the "consensus patrum" by 300 AD, only for it to change later, then I only see a precedence with this issue as well.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2010, 09:00:55 PM by minasoliman » Logged

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« Reply #2654 on: December 11, 2010, 09:43:17 PM »

I have a question for you.

I'd like you to quote mine the Church fathers for me on the idea of whether they believed Angels came and produced children through human women called the Nephilim?

dont you mean quote mine St. Athanasius? he's the only one that matters i thought ....

if anything, you've been quote mining to find people who you think are in agreement with St. Athanasius because you think he's infallible, whereas the Creationist POV can point to countless Fathers from every age of the Church. and anyways, St. Athanasius is incompatible with evolution also. he believes people were created immortal (whether by nature or by grace, either way they were immortal), and he believes the creation act of each day was instantaneous. so if you really fully follow St. Athanasius like you say you do you would have to drop evolution.

but anyways, this site: http://www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/Chapter5.htm has a chart that has it all laid out. whether or not the chart is entirely accurate im not sure, because although i like his page overall, i have found a few points of research that i would disagree with him about.

also, in post 2542 you said that St. Irenaeus is an infallible source that no one really disagrees with, but he believed the sons of God were angels ....

but isnt this just a diversion from the topic at hand?

It's not really a diversion.  You criticize me of not following the majority of the Fathers.  I'm reading that the Church fathers of the first three centuries almost unanimously believed that the sons of God were angels.

I already gave you a quote on how St. Athanasius is scientifically wrong.  It just so happens, he was right about death existing with other animals even before the Fall.  So I wonder do you agree with the concensus patrum that angels had intercourse with humans (even St. Jerome who did not accept Enoch as Scripture)?

did you look at the website i linked? its quite clear that the teaching that angels had intercourse with humans is NOT the concensus patrum. this is an issue on which there is a noticeable divergence. but it is mainly the early writers who interpreted the "sons of God" this way, whereas this teaching fell out of the later Fathers and is not part of the Church's teaching. Many later Fathers, approaching the issue theologically, interpreted the "sons of God" as sons of Seth, as angels do not have bodies and cannot reproduce. This interpretation is put forth by St. John Chrysostom, St. Ephraim the Syrian, St. John Cassian, St. Augustine, St. Athanasius, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Gregory Palamas, etc. if we were to try to define a concensus patrum on this issue it would be that the "sons of God" are sons of Seth, with some earlier writers being the outliers. it is clear that the Church does not teach that the "sons of God" are angels.

You're missing the point.  There seems to be a drastic change in the way this verse was interpreted over the centuries.  You missed the point that you have for three hundred years, the Church seemed to be quite unanimous at the idea that Angels had intercourse.

Then you get a 50/50 mix in the 300s, and then by the 400s, it became unanimously that it doesn't make sense angels can have intercourse.

In other words, this was not an issue central to the faith, and so the Church fathers rather than follow the Church fathers before them used logic.  St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, St. Ephrem were not the first Church fathers.  They were ancient, but relatively speaking, they were the first ones to imply that the earlier church fathers were wrong.

And the fact that you're adding St. Gregory Palamas, 13th Century, a jump and a leap from everyone else, you're lumping them together with the first and second century theologians.  That makes no sense.  I am using Bishop Alexander Mileant, God rest his soul, and you easily dismiss him.  There's something that necessary for the faith and others that are not.  St. Augustine recognized this, and so his literal interpretation of Genesis is malleable at best.

i understood exactly what you were saying. You asked if i abide by the concensus patrum that angels bred with men and i said there is no such concensus patrum, which is true. it may have been the dominant view at one time, but that fell away long ago. same story with chiliasm - many early Fathers believed in it, but that teaching fell away and is certainly not the teaching of the Church. the understanding of creation and paradise and the fall, on the other hand has remained consistent right up through our modern holy elders and Saints.

Then, I believe there will come a time when also the belief of a young Earth will also be abandoned and the belief that death before the Fall will also be abandoned.  I'm not sure what the Church believes about Paradise itself, but the fact that trees and plants and herbivores don't exist in Paradise today, I don't see that this belief that it existed in Adam's time holds much water to my salvation either.  Right now, we are in the 50/50 era of this discussion.  Perhaps, next century will show that this discussion might even be pointless.  It may not be the "consensus patrum" now, but perhaps in another two or three centuries, it will.

If the angels causing intercourse was the "consensus patrum" by 300 AD, only for it to change later, then I only see a precedence with this issue as well.

the idea of angels mating fell away for theological reasons - because angels dont have bodies. you're hoping that the concensus patrum will be changed for scientific reasons. pretty noticeable difference. perhaps we will one day discount Christ's miracles because science doesnt recognize healing powers in mud!
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