So, recently I had an odd thought/theory about Genesis in relation to natural science and I wanted to run this by my fellow Orthodox brethren who know more of theology than I do. I feel the idea is a bit too philosophical which made me wonder if it was bordering on Gnosticism, but I just find it so compelling. I know evolution is a hot-button issue, and I don't want the thread to turn polemical. If you are a young-earth creationist, fine by me; if you are a completely macro-evolutionist, fine by me. If you confess the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity according to the Ecumenical councils, you are my Orthodox brother/sister in Christ. So here goes:
So, I personally greatly respect and admire Fr. Seraphim Rose; his writings were instrumental in my coming into the Church. His writings on Nihilism and the spiritual state of modern man and the ideas he holds are some of the most incisive evaluations of the human spirit I have ever read. That being said, I hated "Genesis, Creation, and Early Man", I thought he made a totally non-dogmatic issue in the Church into controversial hail-storm. I thought he was incredibly insensitive and unfair to his "evolutionist" brothers in Christ (such as Dobzhansky and Dr. Kalomiros) which I thought was odd, considering how much he stressed the Royal Path; being on neither the left nor the right, and he seemed very much on the right in a very protestant way. His arguments against evolution were also very Protestant and pretty much bunk, but would be excusable theories in the early eighties when he published the book. So, I simply cast the book aside and chalked up the mistake to him rejecting the world in it's entirety, even the things that are right and true.
The other day, I was reading his biography again and I came across the chapter on "Genesis, Creation, and Early Man" and decided to see Fr. Damascene's evaluation of the work, thinking that perhaps a point was missed among the mass of text. I realized there was. Fr. Seraphim certainly wasn't one for nonsense and he felt that the "Theistic Evolutionary" stance was an intellectually cowardly one. In which a person afraid to face the scientific "facts" of the day capitulated and invented a system by which to reconcile his beliefs with the science of the day. He further explains that to say that "man evolved into what he is today and then the image of God was bestowed on him" (and other such theories) weren't Orthodox in the slightest, as they flew in the face of Orthodox Anthropology: that man was created as he is, and that his disobedience to God subjected all creation to the fall and death. So, if man was a part of this imposed scheme of theistic evolutionists, then the world was subject to the aspects of the fall before man even arrived on the scene via evolution. I realized in this, that Fr. Seraphim was right in his objections, but I also felt that an atheist evolutionist could turn around and say that natural science proved our religion wrong. I began to think that Fr. Seraphim and the hypothetical atheist were being too rationalistic, subjecting a mystery to the either/or logical fallacy, and that there could be another explanation.
Today, I was listening to Fr. Tom Hopko on evolution (because I felt he had studied the topic more fairly than Fr. Seraphim, and also probably more in-depth), and he further reinforced my realization that the theistic evolutionist viewpoint is theologically wrong in that it's often presenting the wrong god. Often times, the god in question just put the watch together and let it run (Deism) or is controlling every minute detail (Calvinism) and neither of these ideas are Orthodox (I'll have to listen to the other lectures, because as of yet, he hasn't given his own theologically informed opinion). After this I came to think about what I know, and what I don't know. I am not an agnostic theist, I know that God is He Who Is (the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the existent One etc. and I really believe that), I'm fairly certain that it's a scientific fact that there was life before us, and that evolution is a well established theory. I also do not agree with Archbishop Lazar that one can just relegate Adam and Eve to the nebulous allegory bin and remain in Orthodox theology.
Then I began to think, "this is a mystery, as are most things that pertains to God's actions in the world, so couldn't both be true?" I then began to consider what it means to be in the presence of God (as Adam and Eve in Eden)which is the fountain of life. As Peter says, "to be with God one day is as a thousand years", which made me think of the difference of Kairos (God's time) and Chronos (linear time). Chronos cannot be in the presence of God, because Chronos is inextricably tied to Death. In Greek thought, Chronos ate her children; Chronos kills everything: men, women, children, empires, and ideas. God became incarnate within Chronos to save mankind from death, and interesting enough, before the Chi-Rho came to stand for Christos, it was used to denote Chronos. I thought that was the coolest thing, because God became incarnate in time, just as the rest of creation to draw creation back to Himself. He has defeated one of the greatest tools of the last enemy to be destroyed, and mocks it. Anyways, my thought was this: in being cast out of Eden, man and all creation would have become subject to Chronos, which is why man came at a specific point in time and not at the very beginning as a linear understanding of the events of Genesis would lead one to believe.
There's my idea. It contains Orthodox ideas but I have never heard an Orthodox person ancient or modern express this view, so I have no confidence in it and am perfectly willing to disregard it if someone can show me that it isn't Orthodox. So, what do you guys make of this idea?
Peace to you in XC,