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

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Author Topic: Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy  (Read 331772 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #3240 on: July 01, 2011, 08:09:29 PM »

except Genesis is not myth, in fact its pretty painstakingly de-mythologized.

Sigh, the story of creation is a myth in Genesis. Search for my posts on what myth is and why it is a strength and not a weakness.

Then print out all my posts and read them daily. //:=)

I am outta this thread.
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« Reply #3241 on: July 01, 2011, 08:12:44 PM »

when i get back to my room with my laptop i will post what Bp. Michael Dahulich teaches on the matter about how Genesis is clearly different from the myths of the surrounding cultures. perhaps you didnt mean myth in that way, if not, please forgive my mistake.
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« Reply #3242 on: July 01, 2011, 08:45:24 PM »

here is what Bp. Michael Dahulich has to say about Genesis as compared to other creation myths:

Enuma Elish
   One of the most famous myths coming out of the Ancient World is the Babylonian epic known as the Enuma Elish (from its opening words: “When on high”). The cosmogony found there is extremely important for our study of Genesis, for it has been preserved almost in its entirety and belongs to the same ancient Near East of which Israel was a part.
   This Babylonian creation epic tells how, before the formation of heaven and earth, nothing existed except water. This primal element was identified with Apsu, the male personification of the primeval sweetwater ocean, and with his female associate Tiamat, the primordial saltwater ocean, represented as a ferocious monster. From the commingling of the two waters were born divine offspring, who, in turn, gave birth to a second generation of gods; the process was repeated successively. There came a time, however, when the young gods, through their constant, noisy behavior, disturbed the peace of Tiamat and Apsu, who decided to destroy the gods. Their evil design, however, was thwarted by the quick action of Ea, the earth-water god.
   Tiamat now plotted revenge and organized her forces for the attack on the gods who, in response, asked Marduk to lead them in battle. He agreed, provided that he be granted sovereignty over the universe. This was readily agreed to, whereupon Marduk took up warfare against Tiamat and her helpers. After a fierce battle in which he defeated the enemy forces and slew Tiamat, Marduk sliced the carcass of the monster in two and created from one half the firmament of the heaven and from the other the foundation of the earth.
   This work of creation having begun Marduk then established the heavenly luminaries, each in his own place. The gods then complained to Marduk that, each having now been assigned his or her fixed place and function in the cosmos, there would be no relief from the unending toil. Accordingly, Marduk decided to create man to fee the gods from menial labor. Thus a human being was fashioned out of the blood of Kingu, Tiamat’s second husband and captain of her army. The gods showed their gratitude to Marduk by building for him a great shrine in the city of Babylon, “the gate of the god.” The Enuma Elish ends with a description of a testimonial banquet given by the gods at which they recite a hymn of praise to Marduk that confirms his kingship for all eternity.
   Images of this can be found in the Old Testament and the writings of the Fathers, In Isaiah, for example, we find, “Was it not Thou that didst cut Rahab [Tiamat] in pieces, that didst pierce the dragon?” (Is. 51:9) or Psalms, “Thou didst crush the heads of Leviathan” (Ps. 74:14), “Thou didst crush Rahab like a carcass” (Ps. 89:10), and “By His power He stilled the sea; by His understanding He smote Rahab” (Job 26:12). Later, this sea creature (called variously Rahab, Leviathan or dragon) became a symbol for the forces of evil; Cyril of Jerusalem, for example, spoke of Christ crushing the head of the sea monster while standing in the Jordan at His baptism, and this is often portrayed on icons of the Theophany.

The Meaning of Myth
   In the popular mind the word myth has come to be identified with fairy tale and associated with the imaginary and the fantastic. But to the Greeks, Mythos meant originally nothing more than a tale. More specifically, it came to be used in describing the deeds of the gods in their relations with one another, their associations with man, and their roles in the cosmos. Myth, in the ancient view, was intimately connected with ritual. In the ancient world, in general, myths were believed to have actually happened in primeval times and continued to influence the world and human destinies. Thus, myth was mimetically re-enacted in public festivals to the accompaniment of ritual. The whole complex constituted initiative magic, the effect of which was believed to be beneficial to the entire community. Through ritual drama, the primordial events recorded in the myth were reactivated. The enactment at the appropriate season of the creative deeds of the gods and the recitation of the proper verbal formulas, so it was believed, would effect the periodic revitalization of nature and so assure the prosperity of the community.

Function of Enuma Elish
The Enuma Elish was one of many versions of cosmogony current in the ancient Near East, but its importance transcended all others, for it became the great national epic of Babylon. It was solemnly recited and dramatically presented in the course of the festivities marking the Spring New Year , the focal point of the Babylonian religious calendar. The epic performed several functions. First, it was a theogony, for it described how the generations of gods came into being. Second, it was cosmological, for it provided an explanation of cosmic phenomena and gave answers to human speculations about the origins of things. Both themes were naturally appropriate to the New Year festival. But still important, the conception of the universe in the Enuma Elish as a kind of cosmic state corresponded to the structural forms of Babylonian society. The position and function of man in the scheme of creation paralleled precisely the status of the slave in Mesopotamia, while the reception of authority by Marduk and his consolidation of power by the show of overwhelming force were symbolic of the Babylonian conception of human rulership of the state.
At the same time, the Enuma Elish served to validate Marduk’s assumption of the divine government of the universe by explaining his ascendancy from relative obscurity as the city-god of Babylon to a supreme position in the Babylonian pantheon, “king of all gods.” It also reflected Babylonian imperialism and supported Babylon’s claims to political pre-eminence in ancient world.
Finally, in its cultic re-enactment, the Enuma Elish recalled the conflict between Tiamat and Marduk as an expression of the war between the forces of cosmic order and the forces of chaos. The struggle was believed to be repeated constantly in the annual life-cycle of the earth. The mimetic New Year re-enactment of the story was in reality a ritual drama. At the critical time of the Vernal Equinox, when nature seemed to be suspended between inanimation and animation, between inertia and creativity, the ritual recitation of the epic served as an analogical repetition of the primordial victory of cosmic order. The participation of society in the struggle between the forces of death and those of revival, to the Babylonian mind, actually brought into effect the renewal of communal life and its re-invigoration.

Function of Genesis Narrative
The ideas presented in the Enuma Elish, as well as its role in Babylonian society are important for a proper understanding of the Genesis account. We must remember that the Mesopotamian and Hebrew cosmogonies, each in its own way, express through their symbolism the worldviews and values that animated the civilization each represents. However, an important distinction must be made here between Israel and Mesopotamia, for the theme of creation, important as it is in the Bible, is only introductory (a prologue, so to speak) to what is to come, namely, the Exodus from Egypt, when God breaks into history. God’s acts in history, rather than His role as Creator are predominant in Biblical thought.
The Bible opens with the account of Creation, not so much because its primary purpose is to describe the process of cosmogony, nor because its chief concern is with the nature of the physical world or the origin and constitution of matter. Genesis will be a prologue to the historical drama that unfolds in the following pages of the Bible. It proclaims, loudly and without ambiguity, the absolute subordination of all creation to Supreme Creator Who makes use of the forces of nature to fulfill His mighty deeds in history – what will be, for us, “Salvation History.” Unlike the Enuma Elish in Babylon, the Genesis Creation account is primarily the record of the event that inaugurates this historical process, and which ensures that there is divine purpose behind creation that works itself out on the human stage.
There are other basic distinctions between Genesis and the Enuma Elish, for Genesis has no political role. It contains no allusions to the people of Israel, Jerusalem or the Temple. It does not seek to validate national ideals or institutions. In addition, it fulfills no cultic function. The tie between myth and ritual, the mimetic enactment of the cosmogony in the form of ritual drama, finds no counterpart in the Israelite epic. Here, too, Genesis represents a complete break with Near Eastern tradition.
The reason for this is not hard to find. The supreme characteristic of the Mesopotamian cosmogony is that it is embedded in a mythological matrix, whereas the outstanding peculiarity of the biblical account is the complete absence of mythology in the classical pagan sense of the term. The religion of Israel is essentially non-mythological, for there is no sense of any “biography of the gods.” And nowhere is this non-mythological outlook better illustrated than in the Genesis narrative. It has no notion of the birth of God and no biography of God. It does not even begin with a statement about the existence of God. To the Bible, God’s existence is self-evident as is life itself, and Genesis begins immediately with an account of the creative activity of the pre-existent God.
In the Mesopotamian accounts, theogony is closely tied up with cosmogony. The gods themselves had to be created. Even Marduk, the head of the Babylonian pantheon, is not pre-existent. The first beings are demons and monsters, while the god of creation is born only at a fairly late stage in the theogonic process. Moreover, his activity is introduced almost casually and incidentally.
The birth of the gods implies the existence of some primordial, self-contained, realm from which the gods themselves derive. The cosmos too, is fashioned from the same element, personified in the Enuma Elish as the carcass of Tiamat. This is to say, both the divine and the cosmic are animated by a common source. In addition, the concept of the immanence of the gods in nature was one of the basic convictions of the religious of the pagan world. It meant the existence of divine powers, operating in nature, upon whom the well-being of man and society depended. The periodic changes in nature were conceived as episodes in the lives of the gods. Nature and man belonged to the same realm. Hence, the goal of man on earth was to integrate himself harmoniously into the cosmic rhythm.
This dependence upon the material explains the prominence in the polytheistic religion of the tales of the personal lives of the gods, their subjection to birth, growth, sex, hunger, disease, impotence and even death. Now, if there are many gods and these gods are dependent upon physical existence, then they can have neither freedom nor omnipotence. Their immanence in nature limits their scope. Their sovereign powers are circumscribed by the superior forces inherent in the primordial substance of existence. Since, according to pagan concepts, man’s destiny is controlled by two separate forces, the gods and the power beyond the gods, it was inevitable that magic became an integral part of pagan religion. Man had to be able to devise the means of activating those forces superior even to the gods. Religion, as a consequence, became increasingly concerned with the elaboration of ritual designed to propitiate the numerous unpredictable powers that be.
Anyone who reads the Bible, especially the Psalter, is aware that the ancient Israelite was as struck by the majesty of natural phenomena as was any of his pagan neighbors. But unlike them, he did not profess to see God within those phenomena. The clear line of distinction between God and His creation was never violated. Nowhere is this brought out more forcefully than in the Genesis account. Here we find no physical link between the world of humanity and the world of the divine. There is no natural connection between the Creator and His handiwork. Hence, there is not room for magic in the religion of the Bible. The God of Creation is eternally existent, removed from all corporeality, and independent of time and space.
Anyone reading the 1st Chapter of Genesis is immediately struck by the complete de-mythologization found there. The planets, stars and other heavenly bodies are “stars” unnamed and simply “lamps” hung in the sky by the Creator to give light to man. Only the Sun and Moon are mentioned by name, calling to mind that the Sun, Re was a great Egyptian god and the moon, Astarte was a Canaanite goddess. To the Greeks there was Helios the Sun god and Hecate, the Moon goddess of the shades; it was she who ruled over the dead. The Earth and Sea are no longer powerful deities – Mother Earth and Oceanus – but simply, “God called the dry land ‘earth’ and the assembled waters ‘sea.’” And together with them all the secondary gods – the gods of the rivers, mountains, springs, trees, and so forth – have been swept away. The great sea monsters are no longer relics of the mythical chaos and a primeval battle of the gods, but are simply animals directly created by God.
   
1:10 And God saw that it was good.

If the entire world gives testimony to God, God, in turn, gives testimony to the world. He acknowledges it as His work and declares it good! He does not disown it. All the dignity of creation is affirmed. Having dispelled all the falsities of idolatry which created man overestimated in making them equal to the Creator, the Sacred Author defends Creation against those who would deface it. The world is good and holy as the work of a good and holy God. It commands our respect. Placed in existence by the free will of God, it has value and lastingness, and is a participation in the being of God.
When we spoke earlier about the Enuma Elish, we noted that the notion of conflict was inherent in the pagan view of the cosmos. Implicit in the notion of a multiplicity of gods is a plurality of wills which, by human analogy, is bound, in turn, to cause strife. The strife of the gods, personified forces of nature, is an outstandingly characteristic feature of pagan, polytheistic cosmogonies. That is why polytheistic accounts of creation always begin with the predominance of the powers of nature, and invariably describe in detail a titanic struggle between two opposing forces. They inevitably regard the achievement of world order as the outgrowth of an overwhelming exhibition of power on the part of one god who, through violence, manages to impose his will upon all others. This theme of the cosmic battle is the underlying motif of the Enuma Elish.
The Book of Genesis has no direct reference to the notion of creation in terms of struggle. Indeed, the very idea is utterly alien to the whole atmosphere of the creation narrative. Yet the Sacred Author was not unaware of the place of the combat myth in pagan cosmogony, for he emphatically tells us that God created the “great sea monsters” (1:21), that these mythological beings, which elsewhere in Scripture are counted among those who rebelled against God, e.g., Is. 27:1, 51:9, were not at all pre-existent rivals of the one Supreme Creator, but His own creatures.
Despite the familiarity of the Hebrew account with some of the motifs of the cosmogonic myths of the ancient Near East, all notions of a connection between creation and cosmic battles was banished from Genesis with extreme care. The idea of strife and tension between God and nature is unthinkable, and to emphasize the point, the words “and it was so” are repeated after each divine command.
Furthermore, it is highly significant that the biblical fragments of a cosmogonic combat myth have survived solely as picturesque metaphors exclusively in the language of poetry, something which strongly indicates a minimal impact upon the religious consciousness of Israel. Never once are these creatures accorded divine attributes, nor is there anywhere a suggestion that their struggle against God in any way challenged God’s sovereign rule in the universe.
The real qualitative difference between the pagan cosmogonic combat myth and the Israelite fragments is shown by the use to which the fragments are put in biblical literature. They, almost always, appear as a literary device expressing the evil deeds and punishment of the human wickedness in terms of the mythical conflict of God with the rebellious forces of primeval chaos. The plunderers and despoilers of Israel are compared to the noisy seas and the turbulent, mighty, chaotic waters which flee at the divine rebuke.
   [quotes Is. 17:12-14]
   The sinful ones of the earth, the objects of divine wrath, are designated by the names of the mythological monsters, while the defeat of the creature (YAM) in ancient times is cited as evidence of God’s overwhelming power in dealing with the wicked.
   [quotes Is. 27:1]
   Similarly, God’s decisive overthrow of His mythical primeval enemies is invoked as an assurance of His mighty power for the redemption of Israel through a similar victory over the present historical enemies of the nation.
   [quotes Is. 51:9-11, Hab. 3:8-15, Ps. 74:12-19]
   The gross polytheism of the combat myth, in all its implications for religion and society, was excluded from the Bible. The motif itself underwent radical transformation and in Israelite hands, a backward-looking myth of the dim past became a symbolic affirmation of the future triumph of divine righteousness in human affairs. Evil in the world is no longer apprehended metaphysically, but belongs on the moral plane. The events of pre-history become, in the Bible, the pattern for history. The Lord of creation Who utterly controls nature is by virtue of that fact an unfailing source of confidence that His word is eternal and His incursions into history effective; so that His absolute power over the forces of chaos carries with it the assurance of the historical triumph of righteousness over evil.

1:27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

   It is important to point out that the creation of man in Genesis account is an exception the rule of creation by divine command, and solely in the case of man is the material from which he is made explicitly mentioned. This implies emphasis upon the unique position for man among created things and a special relationship to God, and is reinforced in many and varied subtle ways. It seems as if we have for the final creative act the usual act of God’s will reinforced by an act of divine effort. Man, alone, has the breath of life blown into his nostrils by God Himself, and only by virtue of this direct animation did man become a living being, drawing directly from God and the source of his life. Nothing else in the creative process is preceded by a divine declaration of intention and purpose, Let us make man...  (Gen. 1:26). So much does the Sacred Author wish to signify the special status given man in the cosmos, that the verb BARA is used three times in the course of a single verse. Man, in fact, is the high point of creation and the entire story has a human-centered orientation. (We note also, that in similar degree, both man and woman share in God’s Image and Likeness. There is no discrimination!)
   The situation contrasts strongly with the story of creation of man in the Enuma Elish. There, he is almost incidental, fashioned as a king of afterthought, as a servant of the gods to provide them with nourishment and generally to satisfy their physical needs. The Sacred Author seems to be emphasizing the antithesis of this, for part of the very first communication of God to man is an expression of divine concern for man’s physical needs and well-being: Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seeds in its fruit; you shall have them for food... (Gen. 1:29f).
   We recollect that man is created in the image of God, for this idea is closely connected with what follows: God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Gen. 1:28). Man is endowed with power over the animal and vegetable worlds and is conferred with the right and duty to use the resources of nature for his own benefits.
   Thus, the Bible’s concept of the divine image in man constitutes another revolutionary break with the contemporary world. The pagan bond between man and nature has been severed once and for all. No longer is man a creature of blind forces, helplessly at the mercy of the rhythms and cycles of nature, but rather is a being possessed of dignity, purpose, freedom and tremendous power.
   The pre-eminence of man over beast, however, is not the same as total independence. In the 1st Chapter of Genesis when we are told that God created man in His image, nothing is stated of the matter used in the act of creation. In the narrative to follow in Chapter 2, however, it is related that God formed man from dust taken from the earth (Gen. 2:6). The word translated here as dust is used quite often in Biblical Hebrew as a synonym for clay, and in various parts of the Old Testament we are confronted with the motif of man being shaped out of clay. In the Enuma Elish man is created from the blood of the rebellious Kingu. In the Epic of Gilgamesh the goddess Aruru washed her hands, nipped off clay and fashioned it into the man Enkidu. An old Babylonian myth, paralleled in an Assyrian version, explicitly describes the creation of the first men from clay. And the motif is also found in a third millennium, B.C., Sumerian composition. There are also Egyptian paintings which depict the god Khnum sitting upon his throne before a potter’s wheel busily fashioning men.
   The very verb used in the second narrative of the creation of man by God – YASAR – is the same from which the Hebrew word for “potter” is drawn. This figure is a well-known Biblical symbol evoking the notion of God’s absolute mastery over man, so that through the ingenious use of a common mythological motif, the Sacred Author has effectively succeeded, not just in combating mythological notions, but has also conveyed both a sense of man’s glory and freedom and the feeling of his complete dependence upon God. Human sovereignty over the world can never be absolute, for there is also God’s moral order over him.
   After every creative act, God pronounces His verdict: It is TOV (good)! And later: TOV MEOD (very good)! The creation, as such, corresponds completely to God’s creative design for it.
   Evil has no place in the world created by God and does not correspond to God’s design. Evil is not an essence – it is not something. Evil corresponds to the choice the creation itself makes. Evil is not existence or being, but is only a condition of being, a state of existence. And, it is an unnatural condition of being.
   And so, in Biblical teaching on the World and Man, Creation and Providence, (1) God Himself has not created evil, sin or death. (2) God’s representative, man, bears in himself God’s Image and Likeness, and has a vocation to continue the creation. (3) Man is called to cooperation and not opposition to God.
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« Reply #3243 on: July 01, 2011, 10:52:41 PM »

here is what Bp. Michael Dahulich has to say about Genesis as compared to other creation myths:

...
Could you please give us a link or bibliographical reference to where you got this material? I think you should be able to provide this within the next three days. Thank you.
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« Reply #3244 on: July 01, 2011, 10:58:47 PM »

here is what Bp. Michael Dahulich has to say about Genesis as compared to other creation myths:

...
What you have essentially defined is how Genesis is NOT a myth like any other of the ancient Babylonian creation myths. That does not mean, however, that Genesis is not in some way a creation myth.
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« Reply #3245 on: July 01, 2011, 11:13:04 PM »

here is what Bp. Michael Dahulich has to say about Genesis as compared to other creation myths:

...
What you have essentially defined is how Genesis is NOT a myth like any other of the ancient Babylonian creation myths. That does not mean, however, that Genesis is not in some way a creation myth.

it is from the handouts he gives out in his Israel's Origins class at St. Tikhon's.
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« Reply #3246 on: July 02, 2011, 05:26:30 PM »

here is what Bp. Michael Dahulich has to say about Genesis as compared to other creation myths:

...
What you have essentially defined is how Genesis is NOT a myth like any other of the ancient Babylonian creation myths. That does not mean, however, that Genesis is not in some way a creation myth.

it is from the handouts he gives out in his Israel's Origins class at St. Tikhon's.
OK. Thank you. Smiley
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« Reply #3247 on: July 02, 2011, 05:33:40 PM »

of course interpreting the Biblical timelines literally is Orthodox,
This method may have been employed by a number of the Fathers, but was it employed by ALL?

thats why the Church tells us that we are currently in the 8th millennium from creation.
How does the Church tell us that?

Even our Paschal cycles are based on Adam being created on Friday March 1, 5508 BC.
That's a very specific date. Where did you get that? How are our Paschal cycles based on Adam being created on Friday, March 1, 5508 B.C.? And when has the Church ever been so specific on such things as a calendar date?
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« Reply #3248 on: July 02, 2011, 05:48:24 PM »

of course interpreting the Biblical timelines literally is Orthodox
Then St. Basil the Great isn't Orthodox according to you, because he says in His Hexameron: “Therefore, if you say a day or an aeon, you express the same meaning” (Basil the Great, Hexameron, Hom. II, 8 ). In other words, he suggests that each of the six "days" of creation may not have been 24 hours long, but an aeon long.
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« Reply #3249 on: July 02, 2011, 06:27:10 PM »

of course interpreting the Biblical timelines literally is Orthodox
Then St. Basil the Great isn't Orthodox according to you, because he says in His Hexameron: “Therefore, if you say a day or an aeon, you express the same meaning” (Basil the Great, Hexameron, Hom. II, 8 ). In other words, he suggests that each of the six "days" of creation may not have been 24 hours long, but an aeon long.


go back and look again -- when he says that he is not speaking of the days of creation but rather of the the eschatological 8th day, the "day of the Lord." but concerning the first day of creation he says:

Quote
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. Hexameron 2.8
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« Reply #3250 on: July 02, 2011, 06:34:41 PM »

of course interpreting the Biblical timelines literally is Orthodox,
This method may have been employed by a number of the Fathers, but was it employed by ALL?

im not aware of any that didnt believe in the literal timeline, but perhaps there are. but the question was, is it Orthodox to take the timelines literally, and yes, many Fathers did that. of course, not every single Father commented on the timeline, but of those who did there is uniformity as far as i  can see.

Quote
thats why the Church tells us that we are currently in the 8th millennium from creation.
How does the Church tell us that?

through the Church's calendar, the Byzantine Creation Era Calendar, which you can read about here: http://www.orthodoxwiki.org/Byzantine_Creation_Era. the Church for the most part no longer uses a date like 7520, using instead the BC/AD numbering, but the current year still corresponds to 7520 since the creation of the world. this numbering is still used somewhat -- for giving the date of icons or other artifacts, etc. i most recently saw it just a few weeks ago at the museum at Iveron Monastery. the St. Herman's Monastery calendar gives the date from the creation of the world as well.

Quote
Even our Paschal cycles are based on Adam being created on Friday March 1, 5508 BC.
That's a very specific date. Where did you get that? How are our Paschal cycles based on Adam being created on Friday, March 1, 5508 B.C.? And when has the Church ever been so specific on such things as a calendar date?

i read about it in this article by Fr. Alexander Lebedeff: http://www.stjohndc.org/Russian/what/e_9609ca.htm and when I Googled that date I found another document or two that mentions it.
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« Reply #3251 on: July 02, 2011, 06:41:17 PM »

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« Reply #3252 on: July 02, 2011, 07:03:23 PM »

of course interpreting the Biblical timelines literally is Orthodox,
This method may have been employed by a number of the Fathers, but was it employed by ALL?

im not aware of any that didnt believe in the literal timeline, but perhaps there are. but the question was, is it Orthodox to take the timelines literally, and yes, many Fathers did that. of course, not every single Father commented on the timeline, but of those who did there is uniformity as far as i  can see.
Yes, uniformity as far as you can see. What about that which lies beyond what you can, or what you want to see?

Quote
thats why the Church tells us that we are currently in the 8th millennium from creation.
How does the Church tell us that?

through the Church's calendar, the Byzantine Creation Era Calendar, which you can read about here: http://www.orthodoxwiki.org/Byzantine_Creation_Era. the Church for the most part no longer uses a date like 7520, using instead the BC/AD numbering, but the current year still corresponds to 7520 since the creation of the world. this numbering is still used somewhat -- for giving the date of icons or other artifacts, etc. i most recently saw it just a few weeks ago at the museum at Iveron Monastery. the St. Herman's Monastery calendar gives the date from the creation of the world as well.

Quote
Even our Paschal cycles are based on Adam being created on Friday March 1, 5508 BC.
That's a very specific date. Where did you get that? How are our Paschal cycles based on Adam being created on Friday, March 1, 5508 B.C.? And when has the Church ever been so specific on such things as a calendar date?

i read about it in this article by Fr. Alexander Lebedeff: http://www.stjohndc.org/Russian/what/e_9609ca.htm and when I Googled that date I found another document or two that mentions it.
And we're supposed to see this as some kind of dogmatic proclamation? You're using the Church calendar exactly the same way many here argue you shouldn't use the Genesis creation narrative, as some kind of historical document or science text. In the end, you're just making yourself look like a fool.
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« Reply #3253 on: July 06, 2011, 01:23:55 PM »

It might be worth noting that in the opening chapter of Genesis God doesn't say let there be plants and birds and fish and animals and creeping things, rather it says He spoke to the waters and to the earth and said that they were to bring forth all this variety of life. 

Hmmm God commanded the earth and water to bring forth life?  What does that sort of sound like…I wonder what it looked like in progress…whole frogs jumping out of the clay and forests erupting on the mountain slopes…or something slower, more developmental?

As to the first day, I believe both ancient Christian and Jewish teachers regard this initial "light" of creation as intellectual light…order, mind, understanding, etc. Natural light follows.
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« Reply #3254 on: July 06, 2011, 04:40:39 PM »

It might be worth noting that in the opening chapter of Genesis God doesn't say let there be plants and birds and fish and animals and creeping things, rather it says He spoke to the waters and to the earth and said that they were to bring forth all this variety of life. 

Hmmm God commanded the earth and water to bring forth life?  What does that sort of sound like…I wonder what it looked like in progress…whole frogs jumping out of the clay and forests erupting on the mountain slopes…or something slower, more developmental?

As to the first day, I believe both ancient Christian and Jewish teachers regard this initial "light" of creation as intellectual light…order, mind, understanding, etc. Natural light follows.

the Fathers teach that the creation act of each day was instantaneous -- that trees were created as fully grown trees, Adam and Eve were created as adults, etc.
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« Reply #3255 on: July 06, 2011, 08:08:23 PM »

As to the first day, I believe both ancient Christian and Jewish teachers regard this initial "light" of creation as intellectual light…order, mind, understanding, etc. Natural light follows.

This is the case.

The Lord created light before he created the sun, stars and moon to illustrate that the source of light is not those but himself.

Likewise, as I have pointed out elsewhere, the first "day" of creation passed before there was a sun or moon by which to measure the length of the day. In the same way that Adam was not "male" until Eve was created (for sex and gender only exist in distinction and not apart from it), there can be no "day" until the sun is set, observable, in the sky.

It might be worth noting that in the opening chapter of Genesis God doesn't say let there be plants and birds and fish and animals and creeping things, rather it says He spoke to the waters and to the earth and said that they were to bring forth all this variety of life.

Thank you for this. 
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« Reply #3256 on: July 06, 2011, 11:21:17 PM »

of course interpreting the Biblical timelines literally is Orthodox,
This method may have been employed by a number of the Fathers, but was it employed by ALL?

im not aware of any that didnt believe in the literal timeline, but perhaps there are. but the question was, is it Orthodox to take the timelines literally, and yes, many Fathers did that. of course, not every single Father commented on the timeline, but of those who did there is uniformity as far as i  can see.

Quote
thats why the Church tells us that we are currently in the 8th millennium from creation.
How does the Church tell us that?

through the Church's calendar, the Byzantine Creation Era Calendar, which you can read about here: http://www.orthodoxwiki.org/Byzantine_Creation_Era. the Church for the most part no longer uses a date like 7520, using instead the BC/AD numbering, but the current year still corresponds to 7520 since the creation of the world. this numbering is still used somewhat -- for giving the date of icons or other artifacts, etc. i most recently saw it just a few weeks ago at the museum at Iveron Monastery. the St. Herman's Monastery calendar gives the date from the creation of the world as well.

Quote
Even our Paschal cycles are based on Adam being created on Friday March 1, 5508 BC.
That's a very specific date. Where did you get that? How are our Paschal cycles based on Adam being created on Friday, March 1, 5508 B.C.? And when has the Church ever been so specific on such things as a calendar date?

i read about it in this article by Fr. Alexander Lebedeff: http://www.stjohndc.org/Russian/what/e_9609ca.htm and when I Googled that date I found another document or two that mentions it.

From the first source:

Even the most mystical Fathers such as St. Isaac the Syrian accepted without question the common understanding of the Church that the world was created "more or less" in 5,500 BC. As Fr. Seraphim Rose points out:

"The Holy Fathers (probably unanimously) certainly have no doubt that the chronology of the Old Testament, from Adam onwards, is to be accepted "literally." They did not have the fundamentalist's over-concern for chronological precision, but even the most mystical Fathers (St. Isaac the Syrian, St. Gregory Palamas, etc.) were quite certain that Adam lived literally some 900 years, that there were some 5,500 years ("more or less") between the creation and the Birth of Christ."[26]

The Church Fathers also consistently affirm that each species of the animate creation came into existence instantaneously, at the command of God, with its seed within itself.[27] Basil the Great for example takes this literal view in the Hexæmeron, a work consisitng of nine homilies delivered by St. Basil on the cosmogony of the opening chapters of Genesis, providing one of the most detailed expositions of the six days of creation to come down to us from the early church. Basil writes in Homily I that:

"Thus then, if it is said, “In the beginning God created,” it is to teach us that at the will of God the world arose in less than an instant,..."[28]

Typical of the Christian conviction on this point, St. Hilary of Poitiers also affirms that the Creation was performed ex nihilo:

"For all things, as the Prophet says, were made out of nothing; it was no transformation of existing things, but the creation of the non-being into a perfect form".[29]

The prophet cited by St. Hilary was the mother of the Maccabean martyrs, who said to one of her tortured sons, "I beseech you, my child, to look at heaven and earth and see everything in them, and know that God made them out of nothing; so also He made the race of man in this way"[30] (2 Maccabees 7:28).[31] This text from II Maccabees was the standard biblical proof text for the Christian Church in respect to creation from nothingness. We find the thesis in late Judaism, from which it passed into the Christian faith as an essential teaching.[31]

In addition the traditional Jewish understanding of the creation "days" of Genesis is that they are literal as well, as virtually all the Rabbis have understood in commentaries from Talmudic, Midrashic and Rabbinic sources.[32][33].
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« Reply #3257 on: July 07, 2011, 12:49:14 AM »

As to the first day, I believe both ancient Christian and Jewish teachers regard this initial "light" of creation as intellectual light…order, mind, understanding, etc. Natural light follows.

This is the case.

The Lord created light before he created the sun, stars and moon to illustrate that the source of light is not those but himself.

Likewise, as I have pointed out elsewhere, the first "day" of creation passed before there was a sun or moon by which to measure the length of the day. In the same way that Adam was not "male" until Eve was created (for sex and gender only exist in distinction and not apart from it), there can be no "day" until the sun is set, observable, in the sky.


the span of 24 hrs exists whether or not there is a sun for humans to measure it by. just as the length of a meter exists whether or not I have a meter stick. of course, God is not limited by the lack of sun and can of course know the length of time, and tell us, as He did in the creation account. people always try to make this point as if its so obvious and such a good point, but then I wonder why the Church Fathers seem to have completely missed it.... if the points people make today are true then the Church Fathers were really stupid people. Not even less learned in science, but really quite stupid - to have missed such obvious points ....

Quote
St. John Chrysostom, Commentary on Genesis 6:4

(Moses) shows you that everything was accomplished before the creation of the sun, so that you might ascribe the ripening of the fruits not to it, but to the Creator of the universe.

He created the sun on the Fourth Day so that you might not think that it produces the day.

Quote
St. Leo the Great, Sermon 27 On Nativity, chapter 5

For as it is now day time and now night time, so the Creator has constituted divers kinds of luminaries, although even before they were made there had been days without the sun and nights without the moon. But these were fashioned to serve in making man, that he who is an animal endowed with reason might be sure of the distinction of the months, the recurrence of the year, and the variety of the seasons, since through the unequal length of the various periods, and the clear indications given by the changes in its risings, the sun doses the year and the moon renews the months. For on the fourth day, as we read, God said: "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, and let them shine upon the earth, and let them divide between day and night, and let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be in the firmament of heaven that they may shine upon earth."

Quote
Victorinus, On the Creation of the World

In the beginning God made the light, and divided it in the exact measure of twelve hours by day and by night, for this reason, doubtless, that day might bring over the night as an occasion of rest for men's labours; that, again, day might overcome, and thus that labour might be refreshed with this alternate change of rest, and that repose again might be tempered by the exercise of day. "On the fourth day He made two lights in the heaven, the greater and the lesser, that the one might rule over the day, the other over the night,"2 -the lights of the sun and moon and He placed the rest of the stars in heaven, that they might shine upon the earth, and by their positions distinguish the seasons, and years, and months, and days, and hours.

Quote
St. Basil, Hexameron 2.8

“And God called the light Day and the darkness he called Night.” Since the birth of the sun, the light that it diffuses in the air, when shining on our hemisphere, is day; and the shadow produced by its disappearance is night.  But at that time it was not after the movement of the sun, but following this primitive light spread abroad in the air or withdrawn in a measure determined by God, that day came and was followed by night.
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« Reply #3258 on: July 07, 2011, 02:06:46 AM »

As to the first day, I believe both ancient Christian and Jewish teachers regard this initial "light" of creation as intellectual light…order, mind, understanding, etc. Natural light follows.

This is the case.

The Lord created light before he created the sun, stars and moon to illustrate that the source of light is not those but himself.

Likewise, as I have pointed out elsewhere, the first "day" of creation passed before there was a sun or moon by which to measure the length of the day. In the same way that Adam was not "male" until Eve was created (for sex and gender only exist in distinction and not apart from it), there can be no "day" until the sun is set, observable, in the sky.


the span of 24 hrs exists whether or not there is a sun for humans to measure it by. just as the length of a meter exists whether or not I have a meter stick. of course, God is not limited by the lack of sun and can of course know the length of time, and tell us, as He did in the creation account. people always try to make this point as if its so obvious and such a good point, but then I wonder why the Church Fathers seem to have completely missed it.... if the points people make today are true then the Church Fathers were really stupid people. Not even less learned in science, but really quite stupid - to have missed such obvious points ....

Quote
St. John Chrysostom, Commentary on Genesis 6:4

(Moses) shows you that everything was accomplished before the creation of the sun, so that you might ascribe the ripening of the fruits not to it, but to the Creator of the universe.

He created the sun on the Fourth Day so that you might not think that it produces the day.

Quote
St. Leo the Great, Sermon 27 On Nativity, chapter 5

For as it is now day time and now night time, so the Creator has constituted divers kinds of luminaries, although even before they were made there had been days without the sun and nights without the moon. But these were fashioned to serve in making man, that he who is an animal endowed with reason might be sure of the distinction of the months, the recurrence of the year, and the variety of the seasons, since through the unequal length of the various periods, and the clear indications given by the changes in its risings, the sun doses the year and the moon renews the months. For on the fourth day, as we read, God said: "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, and let them shine upon the earth, and let them divide between day and night, and let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be in the firmament of heaven that they may shine upon earth."

Quote
Victorinus, On the Creation of the World

In the beginning God made the light, and divided it in the exact measure of twelve hours by day and by night, for this reason, doubtless, that day might bring over the night as an occasion of rest for men's labours; that, again, day might overcome, and thus that labour might be refreshed with this alternate change of rest, and that repose again might be tempered by the exercise of day. "On the fourth day He made two lights in the heaven, the greater and the lesser, that the one might rule over the day, the other over the night,"2 -the lights of the sun and moon and He placed the rest of the stars in heaven, that they might shine upon the earth, and by their positions distinguish the seasons, and years, and months, and days, and hours.

Quote
St. Basil, Hexameron 2.8

“And God called the light Day and the darkness he called Night.” Since the birth of the sun, the light that it diffuses in the air, when shining on our hemisphere, is day; and the shadow produced by its disappearance is night.  But at that time it was not after the movement of the sun, but following this primitive light spread abroad in the air or withdrawn in a measure determined by God, that day came and was followed by night.

This is a genuine question (as I very much respect your position on the matter and am willing to be convinced): when did time begin?

Surely time had not begun before the Lord began his creative work? Or did it, considering perhaps that the angelic orders are not eternal beings and had already been created?

I do not believe the analogy of the metre and the ruler holds, as time arguably did not exist or did not begin to run before the Lord began his creative work -- there was no time to be measured, in a sense.
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« Reply #3259 on: July 07, 2011, 08:40:40 AM »

As to the first day, I believe both ancient Christian and Jewish teachers regard this initial "light" of creation as intellectual light…order, mind, understanding, etc. Natural light follows.

This is the case.

The Lord created light before he created the sun, stars and moon to illustrate that the source of light is not those but himself.

Likewise, as I have pointed out elsewhere, the first "day" of creation passed before there was a sun or moon by which to measure the length of the day. In the same way that Adam was not "male" until Eve was created (for sex and gender only exist in distinction and not apart from it), there can be no "day" until the sun is set, observable, in the sky.


the span of 24 hrs exists whether or not there is a sun for humans to measure it by. just as the length of a meter exists whether or not I have a meter stick. of course, God is not limited by the lack of sun and can of course know the length of time, and tell us, as He did in the creation account. people always try to make this point as if its so obvious and such a good point, but then I wonder why the Church Fathers seem to have completely missed it.... if the points people make today are true then the Church Fathers were really stupid people. Not even less learned in science, but really quite stupid - to have missed such obvious points ....

Quote
St. John Chrysostom, Commentary on Genesis 6:4

(Moses) shows you that everything was accomplished before the creation of the sun, so that you might ascribe the ripening of the fruits not to it, but to the Creator of the universe.

He created the sun on the Fourth Day so that you might not think that it produces the day.

Quote
St. Leo the Great, Sermon 27 On Nativity, chapter 5

For as it is now day time and now night time, so the Creator has constituted divers kinds of luminaries, although even before they were made there had been days without the sun and nights without the moon. But these were fashioned to serve in making man, that he who is an animal endowed with reason might be sure of the distinction of the months, the recurrence of the year, and the variety of the seasons, since through the unequal length of the various periods, and the clear indications given by the changes in its risings, the sun doses the year and the moon renews the months. For on the fourth day, as we read, God said: "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, and let them shine upon the earth, and let them divide between day and night, and let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be in the firmament of heaven that they may shine upon earth."

Quote
Victorinus, On the Creation of the World

In the beginning God made the light, and divided it in the exact measure of twelve hours by day and by night, for this reason, doubtless, that day might bring over the night as an occasion of rest for men's labours; that, again, day might overcome, and thus that labour might be refreshed with this alternate change of rest, and that repose again might be tempered by the exercise of day. "On the fourth day He made two lights in the heaven, the greater and the lesser, that the one might rule over the day, the other over the night,"2 -the lights of the sun and moon and He placed the rest of the stars in heaven, that they might shine upon the earth, and by their positions distinguish the seasons, and years, and months, and days, and hours.

Quote
St. Basil, Hexameron 2.8

“And God called the light Day and the darkness he called Night.” Since the birth of the sun, the light that it diffuses in the air, when shining on our hemisphere, is day; and the shadow produced by its disappearance is night.  But at that time it was not after the movement of the sun, but following this primitive light spread abroad in the air or withdrawn in a measure determined by God, that day came and was followed by night.

This is a genuine question (as I very much respect your position on the matter and am willing to be convinced): when did time begin?

Surely time had not begun before the Lord began his creative work? Or did it, considering perhaps that the angelic orders are not eternal beings and had already been created?

I do not believe the analogy of the metre and the ruler holds, as time arguably did not exist or did not begin to run before the Lord began his creative work -- there was no time to be measured, in a sense.

time as we know it began when God began to create. in my Cosmology class we also discussed aeonic time in which the angels live, but our time began when God began to create the universe, and time is measured from that first moment of creation. "Before" the "in the beginning" there was timelessness in which God lives.
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« Reply #3260 on: July 30, 2011, 07:19:31 PM »

What follows was originally posted here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,38403.0.html

- PtA




I was just curious to read about everyone's opinions of evolution. Whether for or against, and I'd like to find out why/why not.

I am an evolutionary biology major, so obviously I do believe in evolution. I  believe that the mechanisms of evolution: Natural Selection, Gene Flow, Biased Mutation, and Genetic Drift easily describe how it works. Also, I do not think that the concept of evolution contradicts Orthodoxy in any way. If anything I think that learning about evolution helps me better understand how God does things.

Looking forward to your opinions.
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« Reply #3261 on: July 30, 2011, 07:29:32 PM »

I believe that the scientific theory of evolution is correct. I also believe that the Fathers and Scriptures are correct.

I abhor all 'science of the day'-Christianity Frankenstein hypotheses: Medieval RC's dogmatization of Aristotelian Cosmology, Protestant theories like the Vapor Canopy, "creation science", Intelligent Design, etc.

I believe an intelligent, right-minded person should do one of the following:

>Believe only the theological origin of life, humbly, without pretending that it is supported by scientific evidence. Elder Paisios didn't see fit to believe in evolution, but also didn't try to come up with junk creation science or hybrid theories.

>Believe that evolution and the Faith are two truths, admitting that, like Newtonian and Quantum physics, it has not yet been revealed how to reconcile the two.

>Through the poetic faculty of the human heart and mind, reconcile the two; but do not produce a dogmatic statement.
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« Reply #3262 on: July 30, 2011, 07:37:04 PM »

I'm glad this discussion is being brought up. I personally remain a probing agnostic in regards to natural selection and all the speciation that has seemingly derived from one point. Perhaps I am wrong in my observations, but it should be the job of a scientist to explain rather than to explain it away which many atheists like to clamor on about that we are nothing more than evolved apes (which naturally leads us into euguenics).

One thing to me is clear and for certain, which is what I will stick with, that man (meaning mankind) was created in the image and likeness of God so we are something even more special than just a "homo sapien". In fact without that likeness, I'm not sure how I could rationalize treating my fellow man with compassion, love, forgiveness, care, etc.

I also don't feel the fossil record is up to par with many of the claims evolutionists purport to be true. Then again perhaps I'm looking at the phylum wrong, and in which case I would gladly be corrected.
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« Reply #3263 on: July 30, 2011, 07:46:21 PM »

Well, this issue has been discussed at excruciating length on other threads, but I will briefly address the "theistic evolution" issue:

1. From a purely Orthodox theological standpoint, Darwinian / Macro Evolution is blasphemy, because evolution makes God (rather than sin) the author of death.
 
2. Darwinian / Macro Evolution has dire moral and social implications that run contrary to the Orthodox Christian worldview. If evolution is true, then who or what decides who and what is "fully human". E.G., was Dred Scott "fully human"? Were 6,000,000 Jews in Nazi Germany "fully human"? Is an unborn child "fully human"?Within the framework of evolution, these questions cannot be objectively answered.

I have yet to encounter any evolutionist that can adequately address either one of these points. Sadly, there are some Orthodox Christians who have fallen prey to the evolution propaganda. But these two issues remain unanswered, and until someone can thoroughly and satisfactorily address these problems, then I will forever reject evolution as a brilliant but demonic hoax.

Please remember: however far this thread digresses, continue to bring the proponents of evolution back to these two basic questions. They will try to intimidate you with scientific jargon and belittle your views because "you aren't a scientist, so you can't intelligently talk about the subject." But keep asking them to address these two basic issues. It will be quite interesting to see the scientific, philosophical, and theological gymanastics to which they resort in order to preserve their pet theory.


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« Reply #3264 on: July 30, 2011, 07:55:22 PM »

Thank you Gebre for your post. If I may propound a bit on what you said. If macro evolution were to be true then there was death before Paradise, but if God created was good are we to say death is good as well? Or animals killing upon animals in natural selection is good creation? Or our methods of determining what is good are contrary to what God sees as good?

I guess I can't reconcile death being before Eden, I feel it is contrary to Scripture.
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« Reply #3265 on: July 30, 2011, 08:08:25 PM »



>Believe that evolution and the Faith are two truths, admitting that, like Newtonian and Quantum physics, it has not yet been revealed how to reconcile the two.

I think you mean, "general relativity and quantum physics".
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« Reply #3266 on: July 30, 2011, 08:08:35 PM »

Thank you Gebre for your post. If I may propound a bit on what you said. If macro evolution were to be true then there was death before Paradise, but if God created was good are we to say death is good as well? Or animals killing upon animals in natural selection is good creation? Or our methods of determining what is good are contrary to what God sees as good?

I guess I can't reconcile death being before Eden, I feel it is contrary to Scripture.


Yes Aposphet, these are the questions that must be addressed. Some will try to say that there was indeed physical death prior to the Fall, but not spiritual death. I personally think that this is quite a stretch and does violence to the clear meaning of Scripture and the general consensus of Church Teaching throughout the centuries. Undoubtedly, there will be some who post selective quotes from selective Fathers in defense of such an interpretation, but I maintain that such interpretations are idiosyncratic and anomalous within the wider context of the basic interpretation and understanding of "death" as has been taught by the Church throughout the ages.


Selam
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« Reply #3267 on: July 30, 2011, 08:17:37 PM »

I evolved, from 8 stone to 10 stone to 12 stone lol......  I don't believe in the creationism museum, nor their theology.  The grand canyon is old, I have it on discovery channel authority.
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« Reply #3268 on: July 30, 2011, 08:21:56 PM »

1. From a purely Orthodox theological standpoint, Darwinian / Macro Evolution is blasphemy, because evolution makes God (rather than sin) the author of death.
However, theistic evolution would not necessarily posit that God is the author of spiritual death.
 
Quote
2. Darwinian / Macro Evolution has dire moral and social implications that run contrary to the Orthodox Christian worldview. If evolution is true, then who or what decides who and what is "fully human". E.G., was Dred Scott "fully human"? Were 6,000,000 Jews in Nazi Germany "fully human"? Is an unborn child "fully human"?Within the framework of evolution, these questions cannot be objectively answered.
This question is a particular variation of the larger question of how a species is defined. There is no clearly absolute definition of what Homo sapiens is, or of what Xiphias gladius (swordfish) is, or of what Mammuthus primigenius (woolly mammoth) is, because science (at least biology) does not have access to any 'absolute', unchanging ideal type of a swordfish, or woolly mammoth, or any other organism.

That's why, I would argue, science (or, at least, biology) cannot serve as a foundation for human morality. That foundation would have to come from a non-science realm. But I think you're criticizing evolutionary theory for not doing something (provide ethical foundations), when evolutionary theory never claimed to be able to do that something.
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« Reply #3269 on: July 30, 2011, 08:27:32 PM »

Steven Hawking is hosting a new show on the Discovery Channel and the topic of the first show is "did God create the Universe."  I'm kind of excited to see how he's going to explain this one.
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« Reply #3270 on: July 30, 2011, 08:28:10 PM »

i completely agree with Gebre. the major issue is the question of death. if God is the author of death, then death is good. then we must ask why Scripture refers to death as the last enemy to be overthrown, and why Christ defeated death.
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« Reply #3271 on: July 30, 2011, 08:33:04 PM »

Well, this issue has been discussed at excruciating length on other threads, but I will briefly address the "theistic evolution" issue:

1. From a purely Orthodox theological standpoint, Darwinian / Macro Evolution is blasphemy, because evolution makes God (rather than sin) the author of death.
 
2. Darwinian / Macro Evolution has dire moral and social implications that run contrary to the Orthodox Christian worldview. If evolution is true, then who or what decides who and what is "fully human". E.G., was Dred Scott "fully human"? Were 6,000,000 Jews in Nazi Germany "fully human"? Is an unborn child "fully human"?Within the framework of evolution, these questions cannot be objectively answered.

I have yet to encounter any evolutionist that can adequately address either one of these points. Sadly, there are some Orthodox Christians who have fallen prey to the evolution propaganda. But these two issues remain unanswered, and until someone can thoroughly and satisfactorily address these problems, then I will forever reject evolution as a brilliant but demonic hoax.

Please remember: however far this thread digresses, continue to bring the proponents of evolution back to these two basic questions. They will try to intimidate you with scientific jargon and belittle your views because "you aren't a scientist, so you can't intelligently talk about the subject." But keep asking them to address these two basic issues. It will be quite interesting to see the scientific, philosophical, and theological gymanastics to which they resort in order to preserve their pet theory.


1) LOL, care to explain? Because you can believe in evolution perfectly well and know that death for man did not enter the world until the first sin, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned" Romans 5:12. It is referring to death entering the world for man, that doesn't include animals my friend. You can believe that man evolved from ape (through God's will) and that the first humans sinned, causing death for man. Also, you can believe in evolution for animals and that man came into being under the literal process described in Genesis at a certain point of the earth's existance.

2) Because I believe in evolution you are saying that I do not know what a soul is? Humans are special from normal animals as we have human souls. THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH EVOLUTION.

Do you know that all evolution is, is the change over time in one or more inherited traits found in populations of organisms.

I do not mean any offense, but your arguments are rather moot.
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« Reply #3272 on: July 30, 2011, 08:33:05 PM »

I'm glad this discussion is being brought up. I personally remain a probing agnostic in regards to natural selection and all the speciation that has seemingly derived from one point. Perhaps I am wrong in my observations, but it should be the job of a scientist to explain rather than to explain it away which many atheists like to clamor on about that we are nothing more than evolved apes (which naturally leads us into euguenics).

I think most do their jobs well trying to explain, rather than explain away...although some *cough Richard Dawkins *cough* do try to explain away particular things.

Quote
One thing to me is clear and for certain, which is what I will stick with, that man (meaning mankind) was created in the image and likeness of God so we are something even more special than just a "homo sapien". In fact without that likeness, I'm not sure how I could rationalize treating my fellow man with compassion, love, forgiveness, care, etc.

The answer is divinely inspired evolution, we were still created in God's image, without a doubt.
Quote
I also don't feel the fossil record is up to par with many of the claims evolutionists purport to be true. Then again perhaps I'm looking at the phylum wrong, and in which case I would gladly be corrected.

I disagree, as paleontological fanatic I think looking at the fossil record gives some of the best proof of evolution. Just look at birds and dinosaurs!
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« Reply #3273 on: July 30, 2011, 08:33:43 PM »


That's why, I would argue, science (or, at least, biology) cannot serve as a foundation for human morality. That foundation would have to come from a non-science realm. But I think you're criticizing evolutionary theory for not doing something (provide ethical foundations), when evolutionary theory never claimed to be able to do that something.


I don't disagree with you. But let's stay on topic here. The essential question of the OP is whether or not Darwinian evolution is compatible with Orthodoxy. If you want to start a separate thread that deals purely with the scientific merits (or lack thereof) of evolution, then do so.


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« Reply #3274 on: July 30, 2011, 08:36:01 PM »


Well, this issue has been discussed at excruciating length on other threads, but I will briefly address the "theistic evolution" issue:

1. From a purely Orthodox theological standpoint, Darwinian / Macro Evolution is blasphemy, because evolution makes God (rather than sin) the author of death.
 
2. Darwinian / Macro Evolution has dire moral and social implications that run contrary to the Orthodox Christian worldview. If evolution is true, then who or what decides who and what is "fully human". E.G., was Dred Scott "fully human"? Were 6,000,000 Jews in Nazi Germany "fully human"? Is an unborn child "fully human"?Within the framework of evolution, these questions cannot be objectively answered.

I have yet to encounter any evolutionist that can adequately address either one of these points. Sadly, there are some Orthodox Christians who have fallen prey to the evolution propaganda. But these two issues remain unanswered, and until someone can thoroughly and satisfactorily address these problems, then I will forever reject evolution as a brilliant but demonic hoax.

Please remember: however far this thread digresses, continue to bring the proponents of evolution back to these two basic questions. They will try to intimidate you with scientific jargon and belittle your views because "you aren't a scientist, so you can't intelligently talk about the subject." But keep asking them to address these two basic issues. It will be quite interesting to see the scientific, philosophical, and theological gymanastics to which they resort in order to preserve their pet theory.


1) LOL, care to explain? Because you can believe in evolution perfectly well and know that death for man did not enter the world until the first sin, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned" Romans 5:12. It is referring to death entering the world for man, that doesn't include animals my friend. You can believe that man evolved from ape (through God's will) and that the first humans sinned, causing death for man. Also, you can believe in evolution for animals and that man came into being under the literal process described in Genesis at a certain point of the earth's existance.

2) Because I believe in evolution you are saying that I do not know what a soul is? Humans are special from normal animals as we have human souls. THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH EVOLUTION.

Do you know that all evolution is, is the change over time in one or more inherited traits found in populations of organisms.

I do not mean any offense, but your arguments are rather moot.


But nothing you said here actually addresses the questions I raised. Please stay on topic.
In fact, you actually prove my point. You have to resort to your own subjective interpretation of Scripture (and science) in order to maintain your belief. Again I ask you: Who and what determines who and what is "fully human"?


Selam
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« Reply #3275 on: July 30, 2011, 08:43:35 PM »



>Believe that evolution and the Faith are two truths, admitting that, like Newtonian and Quantum physics, it has not yet been revealed how to reconcile the two.

I think you mean, "general relativity and quantum physics".
Thanks.
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« Reply #3276 on: July 30, 2011, 08:47:18 PM »

I personally think that this is quite a stretch and does violence to the clear meaning of Scripture and the general consensus of Church Teaching throughout the centuries.

Must the Church Fathers be interpreted always literally?
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« Reply #3277 on: July 30, 2011, 08:49:37 PM »

if God is the author of death, then death is good. then we must ask why Scripture refers to death as the last enemy to be overthrown, and why Christ defeated death.
St. Irenaeus believed that biological death was a gift from God to limit man's spiritual and material Death and corruption.

"Wherefore also He [God] drove him [Adam] out of Paradise, and removed him far from the tree of life, not because He envied him the tree of life, as some [Gnostics] venture to assert, but because He pitied him, [and did not desire] that he should continue a sinner for ever, nor that the sin which surrounded him should be immortal, and evil interminable and irremediable. But He set a bound to his [state of] sin, but interposing death, and thus causing sin to cease, putting an end to it by the dissolution of the flesh, which should take place in the earth, so that man, ceasing at length to live to sin, and dying to it, might begin to live to God." - St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies, book 3, chapter 23, paragraph 6

God feeds carnivores, the Psalmist says so.

Adam and Eve ate things in the garden of Eden. Those things had to die to be eaten. The biblical authors believed that when you planted a seed, it died. Are you saying that there was no human planting in Eden?
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« Reply #3278 on: July 30, 2011, 08:53:48 PM »

LOL! So far, the repsonses from the pro-evolutionist camp are just as I predicted.  Wink


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« Reply #3279 on: July 30, 2011, 08:55:44 PM »

LOL! So far, the repsonses from the pro-evolutionist camp are just as I predicted.  Wink


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No need to be snarky.
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« Reply #3280 on: July 30, 2011, 09:05:27 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I was just curious to read about everyone's opinions of evolution. Whether for or against, and I'd like to find out why/why not.

I am an evolutionary biology major, so obviously I do believe in evolution. I  believe that the mechanisms of evolution: Natural Selection, Gene Flow, Biased Mutation, and Genetic Drift easily describe how it works. Also, I do not think that the concept of evolution contradicts Orthodoxy in any way. If anything I think that learning about evolution helps me better understand how God does things.

Looking forward to your opinions.

In the EO conception, I suppose that loosely we could associate the mechanisms of evolution (both cosmic and biological Fundamental Forces of the Cosmos) as being an activity of the Energies of God, and in the OO we could say these are the activity of the Holy Spirit, but we must accept one fundamental truth, the Fathers do not necessarily promote the concept changing God's order, so we have to reform our idea of evolution.  The mechanistic flow we see in our explanations of evolution, to fit with the Church, would have to be seen as eternally part of God's creative Will, and not randomly changing.  The Hindu cosmology of Maya is a good typology for this kind of thinking, the entire of creation is of one essence, Existence, and so even the differing forms and shapes of created things are not permanent so much as just temporal manifestations of the inner essence fitting the circumstances of its environment.  So if we think of our observations of Evolution as not being the result of random mutations or cosmic coincidences, but rather direct, ordered, and precise acts of God, following a designed and eternally cohesive plan, then Evolution as we observe it can be said to fit into Orthodox cosmology.

For example, the Six stages of evolution can easily fit into the first six days of Creation within the Genesis narratives if ones examine both systems conceptually rather than literally.   If we think of the first stage of the creation of Light as being synomous with the first stage of the Big Bang, the initial expansion of the Universe and follow from there we can loosely harmonize the both the Bible and the science theories.  But we must be careful not become Thomas Jefferson deists about it, we must ever embrace Eternally Creating God, hence the term Living God (ie, Life-Giving God).

The fundamental premise of the purely scientific approach to evolution is utterly flawed, heretical, and rightfully condemned, because it does not suggest any sort of Order aside from that of coincidence.  The orders of the Universe according to this model are purely random results of throwing every single dice roll at the same time and seeing what combination sticks, and those which do not cease to exist.  Why is the Universe exactly the way it is today, because the previous versions were natural failures and ceased existing where as the laws and orders of our current system serendipitously worked themselves out like two and two naturally equals four.

This is what the Fathers condemn.  If we rather see each phase and explanation of Evolution as being a shadow revealing the economic activities of an Invisible God, as the Incense smoke reveals the forces of wind, so to do study the orders of Creation reveal the underlying Will and intention of the Creator.  It is the fundamental forces of the universe, gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear forces which combine in their particular flavors to create the conditions of the Universe as we exist in it today.  The Grace of God could be said to be the underlying force which creates, sustains, and empowers these material forces to shape our world.  How gravity or weak nuclear forces keep atomic structures together to their design rather than chaotic disintegrating into nothingness is the Grace of God, what we see is just the shadow caused by the original force, the feeling of the breeze felt in the wind.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
Stay Blessed,
Habte Selassie
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« Reply #3281 on: July 30, 2011, 09:06:57 PM »

Good post, except: "The fundamental premise of the purely scientific approach to evolution is utterly flawed, heretical, and rightfully condemned, because it does not suggest any sort of Order aside from that of coincidence."

That's not the scientific approach to evolution. It's the misapplied epistemological approach to something that loosely resembles evolution.
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« Reply #3282 on: July 30, 2011, 09:40:23 PM »

LOL! So far, the repsonses from the pro-evolutionist camp are just as I predicted.  Wink


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No need to be snarky.

I'm pretty sure I answered his first question and his second was related to ethics, not biology. XD
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« Reply #3283 on: July 30, 2011, 09:40:23 PM »

Who and what determines who and what is "fully human"?

I'm pretty sure God determines what is human, not who, because every "who" is a human. As for us determining who is human, I can determine a human as well as you can. Humans have souls and can love.

I'm interested to see if you just blatantly ignore this response as well...
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« Reply #3284 on: July 30, 2011, 09:40:23 PM »

In the EO conception, I suppose that loosely we could associate the mechanisms of evolution (both cosmic and biological Fundamental Forces of the Cosmos) as being an activity of the Energies of God, and in the OO we could say these are the activity of the Holy Spirit, but we must accept one fundamental truth, the Fathers do not necessarily promote the concept changing God's order, so we have to reform our idea of evolution.  The mechanistic flow we see in our explanations of evolution, to fit with the Church, would have to be seen as eternally part of God's creative Will, and not randomly changing.  The Hindu cosmology of Maya is a good typology for this kind of thinking, the entire of creation is of one essence, Existence, and so even the differing forms and shapes of created things are not permanent so much as just temporal manifestations of the inner essence fitting the circumstances of its environment.  So if we think of our observations of Evolution as not being the result of random mutations or cosmic coincidences, but rather direct, ordered, and precise acts of God, following a designed and eternally cohesive plan, then Evolution as we observe it can be said to fit into Orthodox cosmology.


I agree with you, that's why I believe in only a evolutionary model that follows God's will, not random genetics.


For example, the Six stages of evolution can easily fit into the first six days of Creation within the Genesis narratives if ones examine both systems conceptually rather than literally.   If we think of the first stage of the creation of Light as being synomous with the first stage of the Big Bang, the initial expansion of the Universe and follow from there we can loosely harmonize the both the Bible and the science theories.  But we must be careful not become Thomas Jefferson deists about it, we must ever embrace Eternally Creating God, hence the term Living God (ie, Life-Giving God).

The fundamental premise of the purely scientific approach to evolution is utterly flawed, heretical, and rightfully condemned, because it does not suggest any sort of Order aside from that of coincidence.  The orders of the Universe according to this model are purely random results of throwing every single dice roll at the same time and seeing what combination sticks, and those which do not cease to exist.  Why is the Universe exactly the way it is today, because the previous versions were natural failures and ceased existing where as the laws and orders of our current system serendipitously worked themselves out like two and two naturally equals four.

This is what the Fathers condemn.  If we rather see each phase and explanation of Evolution as being a shadow revealing the economic activities of an Invisible God, as the Incense smoke reveals the forces of wind, so to do study the orders of Creation reveal the underlying Will and intention of the Creator.  It is the fundamental forces of the universe, gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear forces which combine in their particular flavors to create the conditions of the Universe as we exist in it today.  The Grace of God could be said to be the underlying force which creates, sustains, and empowers these material forces to shape our world.  How gravity or weak nuclear forces keep atomic structures together to their design rather than chaotic disintegrating into nothingness is the Grace of God, what we see is just the shadow caused by the original force, the feeling of the breeze felt in the wind.

Stay Blessed,
Habte Selassie

I'm pretty sure I agree with you 100%, with the exception of:

Quote from: NicholasMyra

Good post, except: "The fundamental premise of the purely scientific approach to evolution is utterly flawed, heretical, and rightfully condemned, because it does not suggest any sort of Order aside from that of coincidence."

That's not the scientific approach to evolution. It's the misapplied epistemological approach to something that loosely resembles evolution.

What NicholasMyra says is true.
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