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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 332986 times) Average Rating: 0
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Jonathan Gress
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« Reply #3780 on: September 28, 2011, 02:02:58 PM »

That sounds like a personal problem.

By the way, Adam and Eve were given plants to eat. Did they have to eat? Could they have starved if they decided not to eat?



It may be personal, but it's also shared by many others. I mean, do you accept that God did not create death, but that it entered into the world through Adam's sin? If so, how do you reconcile this with a belief in evolution and the existence of death before sin existed? If you can convince me the two are reconcilable, I would be thrilled, since I haven't been able to figure out how to reconcile the two beliefs.

My understanding is that they did not have to eat the plants, but the plants were given for their innocent enjoyment. There was no possibility of starvation.

The phrase "create death" does not make sense to me. It does like "create falling" or "create tying". Death is an action, not a thing.

I think it is implied that they needed to eat. The instruction was not, "I give you these to eat if you feel like it". Also, eating is how we get energy to do things. Unless Adam and Eve were creating energy in their bodies, they needed to eat so they could walk around. Why have a tree called "the tree of life"? And of course, if they ate, they would have to poop.

Moreover, the warning to Adam and Even that they would surely die if they ate of the fruit would make no sense in a world where nothing died because they would have no concept of it.

But if you are interested in compatibility, see these for starters:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1088949815257678826 (talk by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware - go to the 1:29:00 mark or so)
http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/creation_man_a_mileant_e.htm (Bishop Alexander (Mileant) - note the section Death: when did it appear?)



"God did not create death" is from the book of Wisdom, so the language is Scriptural.

I read Bp Alexander and his theory was that animal death is not really death, and that the death Adam incurred in any case was only spiritual. However, this does not appear to me to be the traditional doctrine, which is that physical death itself did not exist before the Fall.

I'm still kind of confused about why you insist on scientific explanations for mysteries such as how did man live in Paradise, but you don't insist on such explanations for mysteries like the virgin birth of Christ. The latter is impossible according to science: not only is the probability vanishingly small for any kind of natural human parthenogenesis, but it is non-existent for parthenogenesis resulting in male offspring. Asking about how Adam managed to do without defecation to me is like asking how the Theotokos remained intact after giving birth.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 02:03:45 PM by Jonathan Gress » Logged
Sauron
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« Reply #3781 on: September 28, 2011, 02:15:47 PM »

Dogmatism does not mean what you seem to think it means.
Dogmatism to me is what I say it means. You're all too willing to condemn as fools those who disagree with your opinions, and that makes you dogmatic. It doesn't matter if those opinions are subject to change.

I am sorry, but words have meanings. If I do not fit the definition of dogmatic, then I am not dogmatic. You may wish to confirm this with your dictionary. Or better yet, your priest by asking, "is dogma subject to change?" Please post your findings here!
You're picking out something that doesn't matter. You appear all too quick to condemn as fools those who disagree with your opinions. That makes you dogmatic.

Well, it is not my job to correct where your English education has failed you.

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My opinions have only been descriptions of the physical universe, and those opinions are always subject to change based on the evidence. That is the opposite of dogmatic.

And, as I have told you earlier in this thread, it is not arrogant to say what I know to be true.
It is arrogant, though, for you to portray that you're better than anyone else here because of what you "know" to be true.

I haven't portrayed myself as being better than anyone. If I have had a better command of the facts than you or others, such people should feel bad about discussing matters where they had no business having an opinion. As you admitted before, many of the participants here are "completely ignorant of science". Guess what? That means their opinions about science don't count.

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What is arrogant is for people who have little to no scientific literacy making wild claims that openly defy overwhelming scientific evidence.
I notice you haven't yet addressed my statements regarding how the uniformitarian principle itself begs the question. You don't know uniformitarianism to be absolutely true, yet you argue as though it is.

I already addressed the uniformitarian principle earlier in the thread. That you do not like it does not mean that I did not do so.
You're not reading what I said. I said that you haven't yet addressed my statement that uniformitarianism itself is an assumption that begs the question.

Of course uniformitarianism is an assumption. So what?

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You don't know that I am not an angel sent to enlighten you, yet you argue as though you do.
Comparing yourself to angels now, are you?

No.

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Sauron
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« Reply #3782 on: September 28, 2011, 02:18:56 PM »

"God did not create death" is from the book of Wisdom, so the language is Scriptural.

I already explained to you that "create death" does not make sense.

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I read Bp Alexander and his theory was that animal death is not really death, and that the death Adam incurred in any case was only spiritual. However, this does not appear to me to be the traditional doctrine, which is that physical death itself did not exist before the Fall.

I think it is quite clear that human death would come if Adam was denied access to the tree.

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I'm still kind of confused about why you insist on scientific explanations for mysteries such as how did man live in Paradise, but you don't insist on such explanations for mysteries like the virgin birth of Christ. The latter is impossible according to science: not only is the probability vanishingly small for any kind of natural human parthenogenesis, but it is non-existent for parthenogenesis resulting in male offspring. Asking about how Adam managed to do without defecation to me is like asking how the Theotokos remained intact after giving birth.

I do not know how better to explain it to you.

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Jonathan Gress
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« Reply #3783 on: September 28, 2011, 02:43:57 PM »

"God did not create death" is from the book of Wisdom, so the language is Scriptural.

I already explained to you that "create death" does not make sense.

I suppose you could put it like this: "God did not create entropy". He did not include these processes of degeneration and corruption in the original Creation. These processes only entered the universe as a consequence of our forefather's sin. That at least is the the traditional teaching.

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I read Bp Alexander and his theory was that animal death is not really death, and that the death Adam incurred in any case was only spiritual. However, this does not appear to me to be the traditional doctrine, which is that physical death itself did not exist before the Fall.

I think it is quite clear that human death would come if Adam was denied access to the tree.

Actually I don't think it's explicit that Adam needed to eat of the fruit of the tree of life to live, but rather the Bible only says that to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil would cause him to die, after which only eating of the tree of life would save him. And I don't see why being informed of the concept of death in the abstract entails that anything in the universe before the Fall actually died.

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I'm still kind of confused about why you insist on scientific explanations for mysteries such as how did man live in Paradise, but you don't insist on such explanations for mysteries like the virgin birth of Christ. The latter is impossible according to science: not only is the probability vanishingly small for any kind of natural human parthenogenesis, but it is non-existent for parthenogenesis resulting in male offspring. Asking about how Adam managed to do without defecation to me is like asking how the Theotokos remained intact after giving birth.

I do not know how better to explain it to you.



You never explained it in the first place. You simply continue to assert this distinction as if it were self-evidently reasonable, but it's not.
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Sauron
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« Reply #3784 on: September 28, 2011, 02:53:46 PM »

"God did not create death" is from the book of Wisdom, so the language is Scriptural.

I already explained to you that "create death" does not make sense.

I suppose you could put it like this: "God did not create entropy". He did not include these processes of degeneration and corruption in the original Creation. These processes only entered the universe as a consequence of our forefather's sin. That at least is the the traditional teaching.

Now I have heard YECs say that entropy did not exist in the pre-fall world. Of course, that doesn't work because, for example, a world without entropy would have no friction. Holding fruit would be impossible because it would slip out of one's hands. Adam and Even would not be able to walk because they would be slipping and sliding all over the place. I believe that the fundamentalist YEC organization Answers in Genesis even rejects the "no entropy" claim.

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Actually I don't think it's explicit that Adam needed to eat of the fruit of the tree of life to live, but rather the Bible only says that to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil would cause him to die, after which only eating of the tree of life would save him. And I don't see why being informed of the concept of death in the abstract entails that anything in the universe before the Fall actually died.

What part of "tree of life" don't you understand?

Being advised of something that does not exist, even conceptually, is not a warning at all. If I say, "If you do this, you will loijlnijpnn", you haven't the slightest idea what is being told to you.

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« Reply #3785 on: September 28, 2011, 02:55:07 PM »

Dogmatism does not mean what you seem to think it means.
Dogmatism to me is what I say it means. You're all too willing to condemn as fools those who disagree with your opinions, and that makes you dogmatic. It doesn't matter if those opinions are subject to change.

I am sorry, but words have meanings. If I do not fit the definition of dogmatic, then I am not dogmatic. You may wish to confirm this with your dictionary. Or better yet, your priest by asking, "is dogma subject to change?" Please post your findings here!
You're picking out something that doesn't matter. You appear all too quick to condemn as fools those who disagree with your opinions. That makes you dogmatic.

Well, it is not my job to correct where your English education has failed you.
Au contraire! My English education has not failed me. Since you appear so quick to redefine words to make them say what you want them to say, let me define them for you.

My opinions have only been descriptions of the physical universe, and those opinions are always subject to change based on the evidence. That is the opposite of dogmatic.
dogmatic -
1. characterized by or given to the expression of opinions very strongly or positively as if they were facts (from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dogmatic)
2. given to or marked by the forceful expression of strongly held opinions (from http://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/dogmatic?show=0&t=1317234980)


Note that these definitions speak of the manner by which you say something and say nothing of the changeability or unchangeability of the content of what you say. You're expressing very strong opinions in a very forceful manner, which makes your manner dogmatic.

And, as I have told you earlier in this thread, it is not arrogant to say what I know to be true.
arrogant -
1. exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one's own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner (from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arrogant)
2. having a feeling of superiority that shows itself in an overbearing attitude (from http://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/arrogant?show=0&t=1317235494)


Note that these definitions do not say that it's not arrogant to say what you know to be true. These definitions do not, in fact, say anything about the content of what you present to us. Even if what you say is only what you know to be true, the manner by which you present it can, and in this case does appear to be, very arrogant. For one, you present a very low view of the knowledge of those who disagree with you. That is very arrogant.

Come to think about it, your claim that my English education has failed me is in itself a very arrogant thing to say, even by your own definition, since you don't know that claim to be true.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 02:58:43 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
Sauron
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« Reply #3786 on: September 28, 2011, 03:19:40 PM »

My opinions have only been descriptions of the physical universe, and those opinions are always subject to change based on the evidence. That is the opposite of dogmatic.
dogmatic -
1. characterized by or given to the expression of opinions very strongly or positively as if they were facts (from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dogmatic)
2. given to or marked by the forceful expression of strongly held opinions (from http://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/dogmatic?show=0&t=1317234980)


Note that these definitions speak of the manner by which you say something and say nothing of the changeability or unchangeability of the content of what you say. You're expressing very strong opinions in a very forceful manner, which makes your manner dogmatic.

Ok, great. "Dogmatic" is an adjective, not a substantive argument. Who cares if I speak confidently? All that matters is if what I say is correct.

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And, as I have told you earlier in this thread, it is not arrogant to say what I know to be true.
arrogant -
1. exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one's own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner (from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arrogant)
2. having a feeling of superiority that shows itself in an overbearing attitude (from http://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/arrogant?show=0&t=1317235494)


Note that these definitions do not say that it's not arrogant to say what you know to be true. These definitions do not, in fact, say anything about the content of what you present to us. Even if what you say is only what you know to be true, the manner by which you present it can, and in this case does appear to be, very arrogant. For one, you present a very low view of the knowledge of those who disagree with you. That is very arrogant.

How I do love a game of Dueling Dictionaries! It takes me back to junior high like only the hit films of John Hughes can.

But you haven't shown how this definition applies to me. I haven't made any statements about my own worth or importance, or about being superior. In fact, you are the only person in this thread who is so interested in talking about me. Although I am flattered by your attentions, they are a bit off-topic. Feel free to start a new thread about me, though!

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Come to think about it, your claim that my English education has failed me is in itself a very arrogant thing to say, even by your own definition, since you don't know that claim to be true.

Oh, burn!
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #3787 on: September 28, 2011, 03:59:07 PM »

How I do love a game of Dueling Dictionaries! It takes me back to junior high like only the hit films of John Hughes can.
Dueling dictionaries, however, require that you have a dictionary you can put up against the one I used. Can you do that?
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Sauron
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« Reply #3788 on: September 28, 2011, 04:26:41 PM »

How I do love a game of Dueling Dictionaries! It takes me back to junior high like only the hit films of John Hughes can.
Dueling dictionaries, however, require that you have a dictionary you can put up against the one I used. Can you do that?

If I must...

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/dogmatic?region=us

dogmatic(dog·mat·ic)
Pronunciation:/dôgˈmatik/
adjective

    inclined to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true

Origin:
early 17th century (as a noun denoting a philosopher or physician of a school based on a priori assumptions): via late Latin from Greek dogmatikos, from dogma, dogmat-  (see dogma)

Since I say my opinions are subject to change based on the state of the evidence, I do not say that they are incontrovertibly true.

That was easy. See you after gym class!
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #3789 on: September 28, 2011, 04:48:22 PM »

How I do love a game of Dueling Dictionaries! It takes me back to junior high like only the hit films of John Hughes can.
Dueling dictionaries, however, require that you have a dictionary you can put up against the one I used. Can you do that?

If I must...

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/dogmatic?region=us

dogmatic(dog·mat·ic)
Pronunciation:/dôgˈmatik/
adjective

    inclined to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true

Origin:
early 17th century (as a noun denoting a philosopher or physician of a school based on a priori assumptions): via late Latin from Greek dogmatikos, from dogma, dogmat-  (see dogma)

Since I say my opinions are subject to change based on the state of the evidence, I do not say that they are incontrovertibly true.
But just the fact that your dictionary's definition of "dogmatic" does not describe your behavior does not make my dictionary incorrect. If anything, I've shown another dictionary definition of "dogmatic", which your manner can easily be seen as matching.
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Jonathan Gress
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« Reply #3790 on: September 28, 2011, 05:22:04 PM »

Sauron, can you explain to us how Christ's risen body can move through doors as if they weren't there? If His body was a real physical body, such that it was possible to touch and feel it, it would presumably have to obey all the other properties of a real human body, such as not being able to pass through an obstruction like a door without either breaking the door or itself. And you don't get to say "it's a miracle, science doesn't need to explain it", since that is exactly what Fr Seraphim Rose and other Orthodox creationists say about Creation. You say that the lack of death in Paradise is impossible according to physical and biological laws. Fair enough, but by this rationalistic approach you are forced to deny all other miraculous claims of your faith. You can't have one without the other.
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« Reply #3791 on: September 28, 2011, 08:09:52 PM »

No, it doesn't. It forces me to think that Genesis isn't geological science, but theological mythology. Useful for answering the questions of primitive man regarding his physical surroundings, but nothing whatsoever to do with dating the age of the universe. This particular point has nothing to do with evolutionary philosphy.

well thats an interesting idea, but the notion that Genesis is mere mythology is not found in any of the Orthodox commentaries on Genesis. you can certainly hold to that idea, but you can't try to claim that its an Orthodox view of Scripture.

You appear never to have heard of St. Augustine of Hippo. I commend his "The Literal Interpretation of Genesis" to your attention, wherein he advised against a literal interpretation of Genesis.

According to St. Augustine, the literal interpretation of Genesis is praise-worthy:

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On Genesis: The Refutation of the Manichees 2.3
If the Manichees were willing to discuss the hidden meaning of these words in a spirit of reverent inquiry rather than of captious fault-finding, then they would of course not be Manachees, but as they ask it would be given them, and as they sought they would find, as they knocked it would be opened up to them. The fact is, you see, people who have a genuine religious interest in learning put far more questions about this text than these irreligious wretches; but the difference between them is that the former seek in order to find, while the latter are at no pains at all to do anything except not to find what they are seeking.

So then, this whole text must first be discussed in terms of history, and then in terms of prophecy. In terms of history deeds and events are being related, in terms of prophecy future events are being foretold. One should not look with a jaundiced eye, to be sure, on anyone who wants to take everything that is said here absolutely literally, and who can avoid blasphemy in doing so, and present everything as in accordance with Catholic faith; on the contrary one should hold up such a person as an outstanding and holy admirable understander of the text. (emphasis added)

St. Augustine also specified that any allegorical interpretations of Genesis are NOT mutually exclusive from the literal, historical interpretation:

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City of God, Book 13.21
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.(emphasis added)

St. Augustine also asserts that it is part of the catholic faith that bodily death is due to man's sin, and not to any natural necessity:

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City of God Book 13.15
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."

and finally, in St. Augustine's view, anyone who proposes a timeline other than that given is Scripture is deserving of mocking:

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City of God Book 18.40
In vain, then, do some babble with most empty presumption, saying that Egypt has understood the reckoning of the stars for more than a hundred thousand years. For in what books have they collected that number who learned letters from Isis their mistress, not much more than two thousand years ago? Varro, who has declared this, is no small authority in history, and it does not disagree with the truth of the divine books. For as it is not yet six thousand years since the first man, who is called Adam, are not those to be ridiculed rather than refuted who try to persuade us of anything regarding a space of time so different from, and contrary to, the ascertained truth? For what historian of the past should we credit more than him who has also predicted things to come which we now see fulfilled?




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The evidence does not tell you that the world is old - a certain interpretation of the evidence tells you that the world is old. its your choice whether or not to accept that interpretation. i don't, and so there's no deception. the Church teaches that there was a time before sin and death, and since there was no death and decay in that time period there are thus no artifacts or remains from that time period for scientists to examine. thus, as the Fathers point out continuously, the pre-lapsarian world does not belong to science - there's nothing about it that scientists could study. why that simple and traditional idea is so appalling to you I don't understand.

If there was no death, how did the nitrogen cycle work? Why were people given the command to "be fruitful and multiply" in a world with no death? This would result in trillions of humans on the planet within 40 generations, even assuming a conservative birth rate of less than two offspring per parent.


i have no reason to believe the nitrogen cycle worked the same way, if it even existed, in Paradise. the pre-fallen world is not the key to Paradise. Fr. John Romanides states clearly that scientific endeavors can never know about Paradise;

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The Ancestral Sin, p. 41-42
When philosophical systems try to explain the phenomena of things and the presence of evil in them on the basis of what is known about nature, it is absolutely natural for them to confuse the idea of the creation of mater with its fall. If we begin with philosophical and scientific observations of the material world, it is logically impossible to arrive at a distinction between the creation of the world and its fall. Quite simply, this is because the reality before our eyes presents nature as it is now, after the fall … Philosophy is unable to bridge [its] dualism between matter and reality because it is impossible for natural man to distinguish between the wholly positive creation of the world and the fall of the world. Man cannot know this division except by revelation. (emphasis added)

St. Augustine also warns against judging the things of God by things we see:

Quote
City of God, Book 12.24
For we are not to conceive of this work in a carnal fashion, as if God wrought as we commonly see artisans, who use their hands, and material furnished to them, that by their artistic skill they may fashion some material object. God's hand is God's power; and He, working invisibly, effects visible results. But this seems fabulous rather than true to men, who measure by customary and everyday works the power and wisdom of God, whereby He understands and produces without seeds even seeds themselves; and because they cannot understand the things which at the beginning were created, they are sceptical regarding them—as if the very things which they do know about human propagation, conceptions and births, would seem less incredible if told to those who had no experience of them; though these very things, too, are attributed by many rather to physical and natural causes than to the work of the divine mind.

as for the command to multiply, i see no reason why that would necessitate death ...
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« Reply #3792 on: September 28, 2011, 10:43:31 PM »

If I may, the Virgin Birth is proof that Jesus is the Messiah. Creation in Genesis 1-2 is not. Thats how I can accept the Virgin Birth but doubt YEC. The 7 day creation is NOT a "mandatory" of the faith. The Virgin Birth of our Lord is. Comparing the two is like comparing apples to steel doors.

God created all things including nature. I have always held that God set up nature within certain boundaries and let it run. To use an argument the last time this came up, God will not stop a tornado from going just because you built a house in tornado alley. However, if God decides to do something miraculous and overrules nature, he can.

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but it's not OK to accept on faith that Creation happened as recorded in Genesis 1-2 despite the fact that geology, paleontology and biology all show evidence for a very different creation process
Ah, well then. Apparently the extraordinarily vast amount of scientists (who I ALSO believe are wrong) must have missed that email...darn outlook express......may I have the link for a nonbiased firm that has these findings?

Might I also say the following:

Believing in intelligent design (evolutionary or not) does not in any way diminish the miracle and majesty of our Lord God's creation and love for us.

PP

Excellent, I think that's a better approach than trying to ask how the nitrogen cycle or the the avoidanced of overpopulation works before the Fall.
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« Reply #3793 on: September 28, 2011, 10:47:55 PM »

If I may, the Virgin Birth is proof that Jesus is the Messiah. Creation in Genesis 1-2 is not. Thats how I can accept the Virgin Birth but doubt YEC. The 7 day creation is NOT a "mandatory" of the faith. The Virgin Birth of our Lord is. Comparing the two is like comparing apples to steel doors.

God created all things including nature. I have always held that God set up nature within certain boundaries and let it run. To use an argument the last time this came up, God will not stop a tornado from going just because you built a house in tornado alley. However, if God decides to do something miraculous and overrules nature, he can.

Quote
but it's not OK to accept on faith that Creation happened as recorded in Genesis 1-2 despite the fact that geology, paleontology and biology all show evidence for a very different creation process
Ah, well then. Apparently the extraordinarily vast amount of scientists (who I ALSO believe are wrong) must have missed that email...darn outlook express......may I have the link for a nonbiased firm that has these findings?

Might I also say the following:

Believing in intelligent design (evolutionary or not) does not in any way diminish the miracle and majesty of our Lord God's creation and love for us.

PP

If you are right that a belief in the literal, factual truth of Biblical Creation is not necessary for salvation, then I agree. But I'm not sure about that. This is not because I believe an age of 7500 years is necessary for salvation, but because the doctrine that God did not create death is necessary for salvation, and this doctrine cannot be reconciled with the belief that death existed before the first humans.

And just to add, to my past post, this is perhaps the crux of the whole thread at the very least on the Orthodox side.

Perhaps, we should just concentrate on that again.  Is it okay for the faith to believe that animals can undergo physical death before the creation of humanity?
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« Reply #3794 on: September 28, 2011, 11:00:00 PM »

Dogmatism does not mean what you seem to think it means.
Dogmatism to me is what I say it means. You're all too willing to condemn as fools those who disagree with your opinions, and that makes you dogmatic. It doesn't matter if those opinions are subject to change.

I am sorry, but words have meanings. If I do not fit the definition of dogmatic, then I am not dogmatic. You may wish to confirm this with your dictionary. Or better yet, your priest by asking, "is dogma subject to change?" Please post your findings here!
You're picking out something that doesn't matter. You appear all too quick to condemn as fools those who disagree with your opinions. That makes you dogmatic.

Well, it is not my job to correct where your English education has failed you.
Au contraire! My English education has not failed me. Since you appear so quick to redefine words to make them say what you want them to say, let me define them for you.

My opinions have only been descriptions of the physical universe, and those opinions are always subject to change based on the evidence. That is the opposite of dogmatic.
dogmatic -
1. characterized by or given to the expression of opinions very strongly or positively as if they were facts (from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dogmatic)
2. given to or marked by the forceful expression of strongly held opinions (from http://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/dogmatic?show=0&t=1317234980)


Note that these definitions speak of the manner by which you say something and say nothing of the changeability or unchangeability of the content of what you say. You're expressing very strong opinions in a very forceful manner, which makes your manner dogmatic.

And, as I have told you earlier in this thread, it is not arrogant to say what I know to be true.
arrogant -
1. exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one's own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner (from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arrogant)
2. having a feeling of superiority that shows itself in an overbearing attitude (from http://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/arrogant?show=0&t=1317235494)


Note that these definitions do not say that it's not arrogant to say what you know to be true. These definitions do not, in fact, say anything about the content of what you present to us. Even if what you say is only what you know to be true, the manner by which you present it can, and in this case does appear to be, very arrogant. For one, you present a very low view of the knowledge of those who disagree with you. That is very arrogant.

Come to think about it, your claim that my English education has failed me is in itself a very arrogant thing to say, even by your own definition, since you don't know that claim to be true.

Future poets will surely sing this once-in-a-lifetime battle of the Great Logicians
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« Reply #3795 on: September 29, 2011, 01:22:50 AM »

Dogmatism does not mean what you seem to think it means.
Dogmatism to me is what I say it means. You're all too willing to condemn as fools those who disagree with your opinions, and that makes you dogmatic. It doesn't matter if those opinions are subject to change.

I am sorry, but words have meanings. If I do not fit the definition of dogmatic, then I am not dogmatic. You may wish to confirm this with your dictionary. Or better yet, your priest by asking, "is dogma subject to change?" Please post your findings here!
You're picking out something that doesn't matter. You appear all too quick to condemn as fools those who disagree with your opinions. That makes you dogmatic.

Well, it is not my job to correct where your English education has failed you.
Au contraire! My English education has not failed me. Since you appear so quick to redefine words to make them say what you want them to say, let me define them for you.

My opinions have only been descriptions of the physical universe, and those opinions are always subject to change based on the evidence. That is the opposite of dogmatic.
dogmatic -
1. characterized by or given to the expression of opinions very strongly or positively as if they were facts (from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dogmatic)
2. given to or marked by the forceful expression of strongly held opinions (from http://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/dogmatic?show=0&t=1317234980)


Note that these definitions speak of the manner by which you say something and say nothing of the changeability or unchangeability of the content of what you say. You're expressing very strong opinions in a very forceful manner, which makes your manner dogmatic.

And, as I have told you earlier in this thread, it is not arrogant to say what I know to be true.
arrogant -
1. exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one's own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner (from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arrogant)
2. having a feeling of superiority that shows itself in an overbearing attitude (from http://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/arrogant?show=0&t=1317235494)


Note that these definitions do not say that it's not arrogant to say what you know to be true. These definitions do not, in fact, say anything about the content of what you present to us. Even if what you say is only what you know to be true, the manner by which you present it can, and in this case does appear to be, very arrogant. For one, you present a very low view of the knowledge of those who disagree with you. That is very arrogant.

Come to think about it, your claim that my English education has failed me is in itself a very arrogant thing to say, even by your own definition, since you don't know that claim to be true.

Future poets will surely sing this once-in-a-lifetime battle of the Great Logicians
Care to join us? Or would you rather just throw rhubarbs? Wink
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« Reply #3796 on: September 29, 2011, 09:09:49 AM »

An organism doesn't evolve. I think we can all agree with this statement.
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« Reply #3797 on: September 29, 2011, 09:33:27 AM »

How I do love a game of Dueling Dictionaries! It takes me back to junior high like only the hit films of John Hughes can.
Dueling dictionaries, however, require that you have a dictionary you can put up against the one I used. Can you do that?

If I must...

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/dogmatic?region=us

dogmatic(dog·mat·ic)
Pronunciation:/dôgˈmatik/
adjective

    inclined to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true

Origin:
early 17th century (as a noun denoting a philosopher or physician of a school based on a priori assumptions): via late Latin from Greek dogmatikos, from dogma, dogmat-  (see dogma)

Since I say my opinions are subject to change based on the state of the evidence, I do not say that they are incontrovertibly true.
But just the fact that your dictionary's definition of "dogmatic" does not describe your behavior does not make my dictionary incorrect. If anything, I've shown another dictionary definition of "dogmatic", which your manner can easily be seen as matching.

Like I said, Dueling Dictionaries takes me back to junior high. Want to come over to my house and play Duck Hunt on Nintendo?

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« Reply #3798 on: September 29, 2011, 09:45:51 AM »

How I do love a game of Dueling Dictionaries! It takes me back to junior high like only the hit films of John Hughes can.
Dueling dictionaries, however, require that you have a dictionary you can put up against the one I used. Can you do that?

If I must...

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/dogmatic?region=us

dogmatic(dog·mat·ic)
Pronunciation:/dôgˈmatik/
adjective

    inclined to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true

Origin:
early 17th century (as a noun denoting a philosopher or physician of a school based on a priori assumptions): via late Latin from Greek dogmatikos, from dogma, dogmat-  (see dogma)

Since I say my opinions are subject to change based on the state of the evidence, I do not say that they are incontrovertibly true.
But just the fact that your dictionary's definition of "dogmatic" does not describe your behavior does not make my dictionary incorrect. If anything, I've shown another dictionary definition of "dogmatic", which your manner can easily be seen as matching.

Like I said, Dueling Dictionaries takes me back to junior high. Want to come over to my house and play Duck Hunt on Nintendo?



Duck Hunt always sucked.
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« Reply #3799 on: September 29, 2011, 09:56:32 AM »

How I do love a game of Dueling Dictionaries! It takes me back to junior high like only the hit films of John Hughes can.
Dueling dictionaries, however, require that you have a dictionary you can put up against the one I used. Can you do that?

If I must...

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/dogmatic?region=us

dogmatic(dog·mat·ic)
Pronunciation:/dôgˈmatik/
adjective

    inclined to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true

Origin:
early 17th century (as a noun denoting a philosopher or physician of a school based on a priori assumptions): via late Latin from Greek dogmatikos, from dogma, dogmat-  (see dogma)

Since I say my opinions are subject to change based on the state of the evidence, I do not say that they are incontrovertibly true.
But just the fact that your dictionary's definition of "dogmatic" does not describe your behavior does not make my dictionary incorrect. If anything, I've shown another dictionary definition of "dogmatic", which your manner can easily be seen as matching.

Like I said, Dueling Dictionaries takes me back to junior high. Want to come over to my house and play Duck Hunt on Nintendo?



Duck Hunt always sucked.

Good thing you weren't invited. You can play Colecovision while eating Cinnamon Toasters® and Dyno-Bites® at your own house.

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« Reply #3800 on: September 29, 2011, 09:58:12 AM »

How I do love a game of Dueling Dictionaries! It takes me back to junior high like only the hit films of John Hughes can.
Dueling dictionaries, however, require that you have a dictionary you can put up against the one I used. Can you do that?

If I must...

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/dogmatic?region=us

dogmatic(dog·mat·ic)
Pronunciation:/dôgˈmatik/
adjective

    inclined to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true

Origin:
early 17th century (as a noun denoting a philosopher or physician of a school based on a priori assumptions): via late Latin from Greek dogmatikos, from dogma, dogmat-  (see dogma)

Since I say my opinions are subject to change based on the state of the evidence, I do not say that they are incontrovertibly true.
But just the fact that your dictionary's definition of "dogmatic" does not describe your behavior does not make my dictionary incorrect. If anything, I've shown another dictionary definition of "dogmatic", which your manner can easily be seen as matching.

Like I said, Dueling Dictionaries takes me back to junior high. Want to come over to my house and play Duck Hunt on Nintendo?



Duck Hunt always sucked.

Good thing you weren't invited. You can play Colecovision while eating Cinnamon Toasters® and Dyno-Bites® at your own house.



no, i eat ramen noodles with Thai peanut sauce while watching Boston Legal
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« Reply #3801 on: September 29, 2011, 10:14:25 AM »

How I do love a game of Dueling Dictionaries! It takes me back to junior high like only the hit films of John Hughes can.
Dueling dictionaries, however, require that you have a dictionary you can put up against the one I used. Can you do that?

If I must...

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/dogmatic?region=us

dogmatic(dog·mat·ic)
Pronunciation:/dôgˈmatik/
adjective

    inclined to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true

Origin:
early 17th century (as a noun denoting a philosopher or physician of a school based on a priori assumptions): via late Latin from Greek dogmatikos, from dogma, dogmat-  (see dogma)

Since I say my opinions are subject to change based on the state of the evidence, I do not say that they are incontrovertibly true.
But just the fact that your dictionary's definition of "dogmatic" does not describe your behavior does not make my dictionary incorrect. If anything, I've shown another dictionary definition of "dogmatic", which your manner can easily be seen as matching.

Like I said, Dueling Dictionaries takes me back to junior high. Want to come over to my house and play Duck Hunt on Nintendo?



Duck Hunt always sucked.

Good thing you weren't invited. You can play Colecovision while eating Cinnamon Toasters® and Dyno-Bites® at your own house.



no, i eat ramen noodles with Thai peanut sauce while watching Boston Legal

Just say "ramen". The "men" part means "noodle" already, as in kishimen, reimen, somen, and the like.

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« Reply #3802 on: September 29, 2011, 09:02:01 PM »

How I do love a game of Dueling Dictionaries! It takes me back to junior high like only the hit films of John Hughes can.
Dueling dictionaries, however, require that you have a dictionary you can put up against the one I used. Can you do that?

If I must...

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/dogmatic?region=us

dogmatic(dog·mat·ic)
Pronunciation:/dôgˈmatik/
adjective

    inclined to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true

Origin:
early 17th century (as a noun denoting a philosopher or physician of a school based on a priori assumptions): via late Latin from Greek dogmatikos, from dogma, dogmat-  (see dogma)

Since I say my opinions are subject to change based on the state of the evidence, I do not say that they are incontrovertibly true.
But just the fact that your dictionary's definition of "dogmatic" does not describe your behavior does not make my dictionary incorrect. If anything, I've shown another dictionary definition of "dogmatic", which your manner can easily be seen as matching.

Like I said, Dueling Dictionaries takes me back to junior high. Want to come over to my house and play Duck Hunt on Nintendo?



Duck Hunt always sucked.

Good thing you weren't invited. You can play Colecovision while eating Cinnamon Toasters® and Dyno-Bites® at your own house.



no, i eat ramen noodles with Thai peanut sauce while watching Boston Legal

Just say "ramen". The "men" part means "noodle" already, as in kishimen, reimen, somen, and the like.



Things like "kamo-gawa river" and "senso-ji temple" used to do my head in, but I have learnt to accept them, haha.
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« Reply #3803 on: September 29, 2011, 09:06:10 PM »

How I do love a game of Dueling Dictionaries! It takes me back to junior high like only the hit films of John Hughes can.
Dueling dictionaries, however, require that you have a dictionary you can put up against the one I used. Can you do that?

If I must...

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/dogmatic?region=us

dogmatic(dog·mat·ic)
Pronunciation:/dôgˈmatik/
adjective

    inclined to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true

Origin:
early 17th century (as a noun denoting a philosopher or physician of a school based on a priori assumptions): via late Latin from Greek dogmatikos, from dogma, dogmat-  (see dogma)

Since I say my opinions are subject to change based on the state of the evidence, I do not say that they are incontrovertibly true.
But just the fact that your dictionary's definition of "dogmatic" does not describe your behavior does not make my dictionary incorrect. If anything, I've shown another dictionary definition of "dogmatic", which your manner can easily be seen as matching.

Like I said, Dueling Dictionaries takes me back to junior high. Want to come over to my house and play Duck Hunt on Nintendo?



Duck Hunt always sucked.

Good thing you weren't invited. You can play Colecovision while eating Cinnamon Toasters® and Dyno-Bites® at your own house.



no, i eat ramen noodles with Thai peanut sauce while watching Boston Legal

Just say "ramen". The "men" part means "noodle" already, as in kishimen, reimen, somen, and the like.



Things like "kamo-gawa river" and "senso-ji temple" used to do my head in, but I have learnt to accept them, haha.

Gyoza dumplings
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« Reply #3804 on: October 04, 2011, 02:58:52 AM »

I can't help but laugh at the thought that God planted bones under the Earth to confuse us with dating the planet...
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« Reply #3805 on: October 04, 2011, 03:01:26 AM »

I can't help but laugh at the thought that God planted bones under the Earth to confuse us with dating the planet...
Well, He had enough of a sense of humor to give us the duck-billed platypus. Grin

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« Reply #3806 on: October 04, 2011, 03:05:51 AM »

Well you don't challenge God to a test of the animal version of "Can God create a rock so heavy He cant lift?"
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« Reply #3807 on: October 04, 2011, 11:18:01 AM »

I can't help but laugh at the thought that God planted bones under the Earth to confuse us with dating the planet...

i dont know anyone that would suggest that
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« Reply #3808 on: October 04, 2011, 12:35:42 PM »

I can't help but laugh at the thought that God planted bones under the Earth to confuse us with dating the planet...

i dont know anyone that would suggest that

Right. I agree that a God who deliberately deceives us makes no sense. But I've been thinking more about this problem and it really does come down to how we treat the uniformitarian principle. There's nothing wrong with this principle, but there's also no reason why we have to give it unlimited scope. And if we really believe that our God can accomplish miracles, which by definition lie beyond the scope of the UP, we have to be prepared to yield up the UP wherever our faith demands it, such as the Resurrection and, I think, the Six Day Creation and the Flood. I've gone back and forth on the latter a lot, but I'm coming round again to creationism, not because I think secular biology and geology can be faulted on scientific grounds (something I'm not really qualified to take a stand on), but simply because I believe that the early universe as revealed in Genesis lies beyond the scope of science.
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« Reply #3809 on: October 04, 2011, 01:36:54 PM »


I can't help but laugh at the thought that God planted bones under the Earth to confuse us with dating the planet...

i dont know anyone that would suggest that

Right. I agree that a God who deliberately deceives us makes no sense. But I've been thinking more about this problem and it really does come down to how we treat the uniformitarian principle. There's nothing wrong with this principle, but there's also no reason why we have to give it unlimited scope. And if we really believe that our God can accomplish miracles, which by definition lie beyond the scope of the UP, we have to be prepared to yield up the UP wherever our faith demands it, such as the Resurrection and, I think, the Six Day Creation and the Flood. I've gone back and forth on the latter a lot, but I'm coming round again to creationism, not because I think secular biology and geology can be faulted on scientific grounds (something I'm not really qualified to take a stand on), but simply because I believe that the early universe as revealed in Genesis lies beyond the scope of science.


Good points brother. As I have pointed out previously on this thread, nature after the Fall is quite deceptive. We have to realize this. One of the presuppositions that evolutionists maintain (and let us remember that evolutionists are bound as much by presuppositions as creationists are) is that the observable patterns in nature are for the most part "uniform" and trustworthy. But we live in a fallen world, and that which appears and feels most natural may in fact be the antithesis of what was natural prior to the Fall. All we have to do is consider our appetites. We crave things that destroy us. Our sexual passions, our gustatory passions, and our intellectual passions often war against our very souls. These passions feel quite natural today; but in the spiritual climate of pre-fallen Eden, they would have felt like razors and thorns.

As Orthodox Christians, we know that we are to fight against these passions and bring them under submission to God. It is a lifelong struggle, and we all fall short. But why do we think that our intellect and powers of observation should not also be brought under submission to God. Why do these Orthodox Christians who believe in evolution place such blind faith in science, as if scientists and their scientific methodologies are immune from the deceptions and perversions that accompanied the Fall?

Science is a wonderful instrument for discovery; and in fact, God is the Author of all true science. But any ostensible science that divorces itself from the Creator will inevitably produce lies rather than truth. Sure, secular science can reveal many facts about the world and our universe; but when these facts are elevated to the status of empirical and metaphysical truth, then they can actually weave a fabric of deception. We must not forget that partial truth is often the greatest lie.


Selam

 
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« Reply #3810 on: October 04, 2011, 03:54:43 PM »

I think partly it actually comes to an old dogmatic difference between East and West. According to RC scholasticism, the power of reason was not affected by the fall; this, I think, was how they tried to explain the knowledge of God from observing material things that St Paul talks of. But I think in the East it's understood that coming to knowledge of God through observing nature still requires the grace of the Holy Spirit guiding us towards the truth, since by our own power, unaided from above, we can do no good (that was the Pelagian heresy). Although the RC's also rejected Pelagianism, there seems to be a Pelagian whiff about the idea that our reason is still as capable as it was before the Fall.
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« Reply #3811 on: October 04, 2011, 08:16:21 PM »

I'm not sure how much that logic carries.  Considering the fact that many of these techniques in science to figure out certain things have also been used in forensics, medicine, and chemistry, resulting in fairly accurate results that lead to things that actually work, I'm not sure why we cross the line at specifically this particular issue of the far past and of genetic similarities between species.  If one would be consistent with the idea that post-Fall conditions deceive us all, then forensics, medicine, and chemistry is all a sham, and the drugs you take, the investigations you make, and the cleaners you use all shouldn't work.

I recommend that if you really need to know how to tackle the situation, to study the science itself.  Take classes, do the labs, read the books and the research.  If you can't, I don't see how one can make an educated response to this issue.  This isn't about Roman Catholicism, or Western Scholasticism.  It's about whether science at all is reliable.  People say there's "good science" and there's "bad science."  However, how do you even know that if you don't even know anything about science?

Is there anything in the Church fathers that talk about Post Fall as being full of natural deception?  Or do they talk about a law of death in the world?  This is the difference.  Evolution is how species try to survive and evolve through this law of death.  It is not a deceived conception of a deceived natural background.  It would be disastrous even in our Christological suppositions.  How can the Word become man, and allow Himself to be consubstantial with a deceived nature?  He took a mortal nature.  This is what the Church fathers all attest to.  All things in nature will pass away, all things are mortal, all things are short-lived.  But not all things fool you.  Our Lord was at least merciful enough that we can survive through this mortal world.  A deceptive world would be quite difficult to live in if you truly think about it.
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« Reply #3812 on: October 04, 2011, 09:18:45 PM »

I don't think that it's necessarily a case of things now being deceptive, but that the boundary between things now and things in the times before the Flood and the Fall is impassible for the human intellect, unaided by Revelation. So the UP works fine for us now, but in a purely secular, practical sense. It does not of itself deliver any enlightenment, except insofar as the appreciation of the order permeating the universe leads us to belief in the Creator (and even this can only happen if we allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten us and lead us to this knowledge, as proven by the many scientists who study the order in the world and yet choose to remain atheists).

I take your point to the extent that to form an educated opinion on the science behind modern biology and geology, you need to study the questions properly. But I see the question of Creation as a dogmatic issue, an issue of faith, and where dogma and science conflict, as they do with any miracle, for the honest believer I think science needs to yield. In other words, I think that objections to a literal reading of Genesis that are based on the incompatibility between Genesis and science are essentially of the same kind as objections to belief in the bodily Resurrection of our Lord on the basis of incompatibility with science. There are plenty of liberal Protestants now (and even a few radical Catholics, I understand) who now even deny this, surely one of the most basic of Christian dogmas. I do actually think there's a kind of slippery slope, starting with denial of the Flood and the Six Days, that ends up in this morass of absolute denial of all miracles, which is really virtually the same as atheism.

I certainly sympathize with anyone who struggles to reconcile the demands of reason with those of doctrine; I've been there myself MANY times. But a way I've worked it out, and maybe it will work for others, is to start with the Resurrection. I believe in the bodily Resurrection of Christ because everything simply makes more sense if It actually happened than if It didn't happen. The whole history of the early Church, and even later history, just makes more sense, seems more probable, if the disciples actually did see Christ walking around in the flesh after the third day. Starting with that, I realize that I am in the hands of a God who can accomplish anything, and that if He chooses to reveal to us the true history of Creation, I am therefore willing to take Him at His word, even if it happens to conflict with what scientific experts say about what they think was the early history of the world.
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« Reply #3813 on: October 04, 2011, 10:36:54 PM »

I can't help but laugh at the thought that God planted bones under the Earth to confuse us with dating the planet...

i dont know anyone that would suggest that

I ran into a Protestant once who suggested that, has stuck with me ever since.

Maybe he was Ken Ham's son.
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« Reply #3814 on: October 04, 2011, 10:54:13 PM »

I can't help but laugh at the thought that God planted bones under the Earth to confuse us with dating the planet...

i dont know anyone that would suggest that

I ran into a Protestant once who suggested that, has stuck with me ever since.

Maybe he was Ken Ham's son.
That's a fairly common statement among some Protestant fundamentalists, that God placed those fossils to test us, or that the fossils are creations of Satan.
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« Reply #3815 on: October 04, 2011, 10:59:29 PM »

I can't help but laugh at the thought that God planted bones under the Earth to confuse us with dating the planet...

i dont know anyone that would suggest that

I ran into a Protestant once who suggested that, has stuck with me ever since.

Maybe he was Ken Ham's son.
That's a fairly common statement among some Protestant fundamentalists, that God placed those fossils to test us, or that the fossils are creations of Satan.

I wonder if this is because these Protestants also don't recognize that human reason was corrupted by the Fall? I don't know about the more sophisticated traditions of Reformed theology, but the less theologically informed among them may simply see it as a case of applying ordinary science to investigating miracles like the Flood, without really thinking through whether the Flood was a miraculous event that may not be understandable in scientific terms.
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« Reply #3816 on: October 04, 2011, 11:07:55 PM »

I already explained to you that "create death" does not make sense.

I brought up that evolutionary biology necessitates that God creates humans through a prolonged and cyclical process of death. If death was an enemy to be destroyed, and if the incarnation was the weapon sent to destroy death, and if God created humanity through death, then we're back to God defeating Himself. That sounds a lot like the whole Penal Satisfaction thing we chide so much:

"God got so mad that he killed himself to satisfy his anger."

"God created man through death, and death is an enemy that God has to defeat, so God has to stop what He was already utilizing to come out on top."

We simply cannot believe that death is the result of man's falling into sin if death existed before man.
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« Reply #3817 on: October 04, 2011, 11:38:46 PM »

I don't think that it's necessarily a case of things now being deceptive, but that the boundary between things now and things in the times before the Flood and the Fall is impassible for the human intellect, unaided by Revelation. So the UP works fine for us now, but in a purely secular, practical sense. It does not of itself deliver any enlightenment, except insofar as the appreciation of the order permeating the universe leads us to belief in the Creator (and even this can only happen if we allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten us and lead us to this knowledge, as proven by the many scientists who study the order in the world and yet choose to remain atheists).

I take your point to the extent that to form an educated opinion on the science behind modern biology and geology, you need to study the questions properly. But I see the question of Creation as a dogmatic issue, an issue of faith, and where dogma and science conflict, as they do with any miracle, for the honest believer I think science needs to yield. In other words, I think that objections to a literal reading of Genesis that are based on the incompatibility between Genesis and science are essentially of the same kind as objections to belief in the bodily Resurrection of our Lord on the basis of incompatibility with science. There are plenty of liberal Protestants now (and even a few radical Catholics, I understand) who now even deny this, surely one of the most basic of Christian dogmas. I do actually think there's a kind of slippery slope, starting with denial of the Flood and the Six Days, that ends up in this morass of absolute denial of all miracles, which is really virtually the same as atheism.

I certainly sympathize with anyone who struggles to reconcile the demands of reason with those of doctrine; I've been there myself MANY times. But a way I've worked it out, and maybe it will work for others, is to start with the Resurrection. I believe in the bodily Resurrection of Christ because everything simply makes more sense if It actually happened than if It didn't happen. The whole history of the early Church, and even later history, just makes more sense, seems more probable, if the disciples actually did see Christ walking around in the flesh after the third day. Starting with that, I realize that I am in the hands of a God who can accomplish anything, and that if He chooses to reveal to us the true history of Creation, I am therefore willing to take Him at His word, even if it happens to conflict with what scientific experts say about what they think was the early history of the world.

It's sad that there are those who removed the Resurrection from Christian belief, where essentially, you're absolutely right that it does lead to a form of "Christian atheism."  But can one really be Christian and deny the Resurrection?  Can one be Christian and deny the Eucharist?  These are essential issues of dogma for an Orthodox Christian, and no one should deny these.  But am I less of an Orthodox Christian (ignore the fact that I'm Coptic) if I follow the evidence that physical death was there before the Flood/Fall?

Up until now, there has been no council to condemn evolution, despite some recent Church fathers along the way, although there is an increasing number of quite influential Church leaders that would no doubt be hailed as Church fathers later also consider evolution as fine with its presuppositions.  It seems like the tides might be turning, just as the tides turned between the era where all of Christianity believed that angels can actually copulate with humans, and the era later where they didn't.  Yet, let us consider this issue.  That despite all this, it seems no one wants to waste time to turn this into a conciliar issue and officially make it a heretical thing.  It seems that no one really wants to condemn the other side, despite all the heavy debating that occurs here.  And I won't be surprised if this continues for a very long time.  Because no one in the Orthodox Church is the "liberal Protestant/radical Catholic" that suggests that the Virgin birth didn't happen or that the Resurrection didn't occur.  Because as far as I'm concerned, that really crosses the line into Christianity.

But sure, more importantly is this.  That the council is not created because if you are right, then it doesn't matter to my faith anyway.  If you are wrong, it doesn't matter to my faith anyway.  However, the reason I choose these scientific establishments already is because of its practicality today in my field of work.  More importantly, I use it as a tool for the gospel, especially for those who also choose the science for the practicality of their field of work as well, so as not to scandalize their understanding for the Truth, the Essential Truth that leads one to be a Christian, not what leads one to be a Biblical literalist.
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« Reply #3818 on: October 05, 2011, 12:21:49 AM »

That's an interesting point you raised about angels and the idea that they copulated with humans (the "giants" mysteriously referenced in Genesis just before the Flood). I suppose on that particular issue there is no agreement among the Fathers (I don't know if we are supposed to take it as a matter of faith now that angels cannot copulate with humans, although the consensus of the more recent Fathers seems to support that view; my impression is more that the later Fathers simply saw this idea as irrational, that spirits could copulate with material beings, rather than heretical per se, but I might be wrong). But I happen to think it's rather different when it comes to the teaching concerning the Six Days, Paradise, the Fall, the Flood, and so forth. I see much more unanimity on that front, at all periods of history. That being said, I also recognize that there doesn't seem to have been any council particularly addressing this issue, not even (as far as I know) among the True Orthodox. There have been a few figures even among the True Orthodox who've supported Darwinism to some degree or other, although I am inherently suspicious of a lot of them because of other questionable theological opinions (e.g. Dr Alexander Kalomiros and his "River of Fire" soteriology, or Fr Michael Azkoul).

I think to be Christian one has to affirm that death came as a consequence of Adam's sin, and to be honest I think that this needs to cover both bodily and spiritual death. So the kinds of reconciliations that e.g. Bp Alexander Mileant came up with, e.g. making it out that it was only spiritual death that was concerned (if I recall his argument rightly), seem to me to be really pushing against what's doctrinally acceptable. I for one do not feel comfortable with that. But having said that, if you can figure out a way of reconciling science and this teaching, then I'm not prepared to be dogmatic about that. I suspect the reason behind the Church's reluctance to address the issue explicitly is because the boundary between what the Church can affirm with certainty, i.e. dogmas, and what lies beyond it's competence, i.e. science, is so fine in this case that the bishops don't want to risk ending up on the wrong side. I'm basing my opinions more on what I see to be the teaching of the Fathers as a whole, including some recent saints who have spoken out against Darwinism, e.g. St John of Kronstadt, St Nectarios of Aegina. Also, I am in principle really suspicious about rationalizing dogmas that are hard to understand. I think that approach leads too easily into heresy. I think it's wiser simply to acknowledge where difficulties lie, trust the Church, and hope for some reconciliation in the future.

For your own position as a scientist I really understand that you are in a different position from most people. You have to deal with these issues every day, and you may even have to publicly accept the assumptions of Darwinism for the sake of your profession (publishing and so on). That is really a pastoral matter and I'm not qualified to talk about that (especially since you're not even a member of my Church Wink ). I've experience similar difficulties: although linguistics doesn't involve Darwinism directly in most cases, it's still part of a lot of discussions, and if you just declare you don't believe in it you can probably expect not to be taken seriously (though I think there's at least one evangelical Protestant who's also a serious theoretical syntactician, Mark Baker, who also doesn't believe in evolution). Personally, I might be willing to concede at most a kind of Popperian acceptance of Darwinism as a legitimate scientific theory, without treating it in any way as dogmatic truth, i.e. I wouldn't say I "believe in" Darwinism, but that I accept it as a valid hypothesis. Maybe that's too much of a sellout, I don't know. But as with much of Church teaching, the fact that something is hard to accept or to live up to doesn't make it untrue.
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« Reply #3819 on: October 05, 2011, 02:52:00 PM »

I think it's a mistake to think that only spiritual death was the result of Adam's sin.  If Adam have not sinned, He could have lived an immortal and incorrupt life, and might even eventually through growth and maturation, and through the incarnation of Christ, bring the rest of the world with him.  However, the rest of the world did not partake of the grace of incorruption and immortality as Adam.  Therefore, I also would agree that Adam had to have born and lived an incorrupt life with God in the Paradise of Joy away from the world.  Adam brought death upon the human race, a race that wasn't supposed to die.  I think the question lies centrally on whether all plants and animals around Adam even before Adam existed died or not.  And to that, I think the answer according to the material evidence we find, yes.  That is how I personally have been able to reconcile the science of evolution and the faith of the Church fathers.
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« Reply #3820 on: October 05, 2011, 03:31:20 PM »


I already explained to you that "create death" does not make sense.

I brought up that evolutionary biology necessitates that God creates humans through a prolonged and cyclical process of death. If death was an enemy to be destroyed, and if the incarnation was the weapon sent to destroy death, and if God created humanity through death, then we're back to God defeating Himself. That sounds a lot like the whole Penal Satisfaction thing we chide so much:

"God got so mad that he killed himself to satisfy his anger."

"God created man through death, and death is an enemy that God has to defeat, so God has to stop what He was already utilizing to come out on top."

We simply cannot believe that death is the result of man's falling into sin if death existed before man.


Exactly Alveus. And this issue has yet to be satisfactorily answered by the theistic evolutionists, IMHO.


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« Reply #3821 on: October 05, 2011, 04:11:00 PM »

I think it's a mistake to think that only spiritual death was the result of Adam's sin.  If Adam have not sinned, He could have lived an immortal and incorrupt life, and might even eventually through growth and maturation, and through the incarnation of Christ, bring the rest of the world with him.  However, the rest of the world did not partake of the grace of incorruption and immortality as Adam.  Therefore, I also would agree that Adam had to have born and lived an incorrupt life with God in the Paradise of Joy away from the world.  Adam brought death upon the human race, a race that wasn't supposed to die.  I think the question lies centrally on whether all plants and animals around Adam even before Adam existed died or not.  And to that, I think the answer according to the material evidence we find, yes.  That is how I personally have been able to reconcile the science of evolution and the faith of the Church fathers.

Hm, well I guess this is where I disagree, since we have e.g. St Simeon the New Theologian, who at least in the EO Church enjoys enormous authority, saying explicitly that there was not even any animal death before the fall; St Gregory of Sinai is another father who explicitly taught that there was no death of any kind originally. Also, the teaching that the earth was cursed for Adam's sake makes much more sense if the earth was not cursed before his sin, i.e. that death in the rest of creation followed upon Adam's disobedience (since Adam was the crown of the material world). Paradise was not, in my understanding, a place where death was exceptionally absent, but it's main significance was as the location of the tree of life. Also, after the earth was cursed, Paradise was removed from the earth and remains uncursed as the abode of the saints.

I understand that, when we use the UP to work out the relative age of various animal and plant remains, we find that they are older than the oldest remains of humans. But again, it's about the UP and whether we give it completely free rein when investigating the distant past.
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« Reply #3822 on: October 05, 2011, 04:40:50 PM »

I think it's a mistake to think that only spiritual death was the result of Adam's sin.  If Adam have not sinned, He could have lived an immortal and incorrupt life, and might even eventually through growth and maturation, and through the incarnation of Christ, bring the rest of the world with him.  However, the rest of the world did not partake of the grace of incorruption and immortality as Adam.  Therefore, I also would agree that Adam had to have born and lived an incorrupt life with God in the Paradise of Joy away from the world.  Adam brought death upon the human race, a race that wasn't supposed to die.  I think the question lies centrally on whether all plants and animals around Adam even before Adam existed died or not.  And to that, I think the answer according to the material evidence we find, yes.  That is how I personally have been able to reconcile the science of evolution and the faith of the Church fathers.

Hm, well I guess this is where I disagree, since we have e.g. St Simeon the New Theologian, who at least in the EO Church enjoys enormous authority, saying explicitly that there was not even any animal death before the fall; St Gregory of Sinai is another father who explicitly taught that there was no death of any kind originally. Also, the teaching that the earth was cursed for Adam's sake makes much more sense if the earth was not cursed before his sin, i.e. that death in the rest of creation followed upon Adam's disobedience (since Adam was the crown of the material world). Paradise was not, in my understanding, a place where death was exceptionally absent, but it's main significance was as the location of the tree of life. Also, after the earth was cursed, Paradise was removed from the earth and remains uncursed as the abode of the saints.



No death would mean that canines didn't exist prior to the fall. Or any other animals of prey such as hawks, fish and the like.
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« Reply #3823 on: October 05, 2011, 05:29:27 PM »

I think it's a mistake to think that only spiritual death was the result of Adam's sin.  If Adam have not sinned, He could have lived an immortal and incorrupt life, and might even eventually through growth and maturation, and through the incarnation of Christ, bring the rest of the world with him.  However, the rest of the world did not partake of the grace of incorruption and immortality as Adam.  Therefore, I also would agree that Adam had to have born and lived an incorrupt life with God in the Paradise of Joy away from the world.  Adam brought death upon the human race, a race that wasn't supposed to die.  I think the question lies centrally on whether all plants and animals around Adam even before Adam existed died or not.  And to that, I think the answer according to the material evidence we find, yes.  That is how I personally have been able to reconcile the science of evolution and the faith of the Church fathers.

Hm, well I guess this is where I disagree, since we have e.g. St Simeon the New Theologian, who at least in the EO Church enjoys enormous authority, saying explicitly that there was not even any animal death before the fall; St Gregory of Sinai is another father who explicitly taught that there was no death of any kind originally. Also, the teaching that the earth was cursed for Adam's sake makes much more sense if the earth was not cursed before his sin, i.e. that death in the rest of creation followed upon Adam's disobedience (since Adam was the crown of the material world). Paradise was not, in my understanding, a place where death was exceptionally absent, but it's main significance was as the location of the tree of life. Also, after the earth was cursed, Paradise was removed from the earth and remains uncursed as the abode of the saints.



No death would mean that canines didn't exist prior to the fall. Or any other animals of prey such as hawks, fish and the like.

Canines would have existed, just they wouldn't kill to eat. When Prophet Isaiah prophesies that the wolf will lie down with the lamb (or was it the lion and lamb?), the wolf/lion doesn't cease to be a wolf/lion. It just becomes a vegetarian wolf/lion. Smiley
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« Reply #3824 on: October 05, 2011, 07:14:19 PM »

I think it's a mistake to think that only spiritual death was the result of Adam's sin.  If Adam have not sinned, He could have lived an immortal and incorrupt life, and might even eventually through growth and maturation, and through the incarnation of Christ, bring the rest of the world with him.  However, the rest of the world did not partake of the grace of incorruption and immortality as Adam.  Therefore, I also would agree that Adam had to have born and lived an incorrupt life with God in the Paradise of Joy away from the world.  Adam brought death upon the human race, a race that wasn't supposed to die.  I think the question lies centrally on whether all plants and animals around Adam even before Adam existed died or not.  And to that, I think the answer according to the material evidence we find, yes.  That is how I personally have been able to reconcile the science of evolution and the faith of the Church fathers.

Hm, well I guess this is where I disagree, since we have e.g. St Simeon the New Theologian, who at least in the EO Church enjoys enormous authority, saying explicitly that there was not even any animal death before the fall; St Gregory of Sinai is another father who explicitly taught that there was no death of any kind originally. Also, the teaching that the earth was cursed for Adam's sake makes much more sense if the earth was not cursed before his sin, i.e. that death in the rest of creation followed upon Adam's disobedience (since Adam was the crown of the material world). Paradise was not, in my understanding, a place where death was exceptionally absent, but it's main significance was as the location of the tree of life. Also, after the earth was cursed, Paradise was removed from the earth and remains uncursed as the abode of the saints.



No death would mean that canines didn't exist prior to the fall. Or any other animals of prey such as hawks, fish and the like.

Canines would have existed, just they wouldn't kill to eat. When Prophet Isaiah prophesies that the wolf will lie down with the lamb (or was it the lion and lamb?), the wolf/lion doesn't cease to be a wolf/lion. It just becomes a vegetarian wolf/lion. Smiley

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. St. Theophilus to Autolycus Book II.XVII

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

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


Here it is absolutely and vitally important to understand that everything which God created in the beginning was perfectly good. Everything was indescribably magnificent and good without even the slightest hint of evil, harm, grief or insufficiency, and certainly not death. God created everything in brilliant perfection. In that primordial world there was no illness, no fear, no danger. The animals did not fear or devour one another for they were given grass for forage, and man was given grain and fruits. God created man for life, not for death. God did not create death and in the primordial world there was no death. Even fruits did not perish and upon falling from a tree immediately metabolized into fragrant earth. Not only was man not threatened by death or illness, but even did not burn him and water did not drown him; all the animals and nature recognized him as their king and master and served and submitted to him in love and harmony. Fr. Nikita Grigoriev, Faith and Delusion, p. 9-10
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