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Question: Do you believe that the acount of genesis in the Old testament should be taken literally?
Yes - 54 (15.6%)
No - 134 (38.7%)
both metaphorically and literally - 158 (45.7%)
Total Voters: 346

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Author Topic: Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy  (Read 348866 times) Average Rating: 0
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Riddikulus
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« Reply #990 on: June 15, 2009, 04:39:17 AM »

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Again you confuse mysterical matters with the physical realities of our surroundings. To be honest with you, I couldn't care less who believes that Genesis is a literal account of creation, what I disagree with is that people should be deceived into thinking that this is the only viewpoint they are allowed to have. The Orthodox Church does not enforce such a decision upon its members. And I would see any representation of Genesis within the Church's hymnography etc, as a symbolic focus on God's ways and His relationship with His creatures.

and that's the problem. You don't care what the Fathers think. Even Theokritoff who critiqued Fr. Seraphim agreed that the Fathers viewed Genesis litereally.


Based on the above, I assume that you hold to a Geocentric scientific model?
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« Reply #991 on: June 15, 2009, 07:22:40 AM »

and that's the problem. You don't care what the Fathers think.

But why is this the "problem?" Yes, I really don't care what the Fathers think about the Avogadro's number, or about the energy being the mass multiplied by the speed of light squared. Why should I? I revere the Fathers because they shaped the doctrine of the Church, which is that Christ, my Lord and Savior, is the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity and therefore True God, but also man like me. What else should I really "care" about as far as what the Fathers think? Do I need to seek their guidance in the issue of how I should tie my shoelaces, or in the issue of how I should treat African Americans, or in the issue of whether I should cut fish with the knife held in my right or left hand? Please do not dismiss these statements as ridiculous because I do really thingk they have as much relevance to our faith as the statement that the universe was created in literal 6 days (6 times 24 hours) or as the statement that Joshua stopped the movement of the Sun (Joshua 10:13). Why should issues of the science of biology, which did not even exist in the time of the Fathers, be any different?


the issue at hand is how to interpret Genesis. Yes, the Fathers are good for that.

If you ignore the Fathers on Genesis then that basically leads to two conclusions that i can think of:
1. The Spirit led the Fathers incorrectly for 1800 years
2. the Spirit wasn't interested in leading the Fathers when it came to Genesis.


There is perhaps a third possibility: that the Spirit taught us, humans, to develop a thing called natural science (as we know it now, beginning from Francis Bacon's "Novum Organum"). The Fathers lived when science as we know it today was not yet developed, so they could not possibly know or use it. But we can, and should.
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« Reply #992 on: June 15, 2009, 10:59:19 AM »

I agree with you Heorhij.  Things happen on this planet in time and build on or come from things that have happened before.  (For some interesting examples of this, the old PBS program Connections with James Burke is good.)  As new things are found or created or thought of then there may be further progress from them.  Medical practices from 1500 or more years ago would not know what to do with a vaccine or how to develop an antibiotic, but these things came about in time as people thought and hypothesized and worked on them.  I'm wondering  why the Spirit would have "told" the ECF  about geological ages of millions of years or paleontology or anything like that.  They were busy with other things and it wasn't their "field" as it were.

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« Reply #993 on: June 15, 2009, 04:12:26 PM »

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Based on the above, I assume that you hold to a Geocentric scientific model?

what does that have to do with Orthodox doctrine?
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« Reply #994 on: June 15, 2009, 04:13:54 PM »

and that's the problem. You don't care what the Fathers think.

But why is this the "problem?" Yes, I really don't care what the Fathers think about the Avogadro's number, or about the energy being the mass multiplied by the speed of light squared. Why should I? I revere the Fathers because they shaped the doctrine of the Church, which is that Christ, my Lord and Savior, is the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity and therefore True God, but also man like me. What else should I really "care" about as far as what the Fathers think? Do I need to seek their guidance in the issue of how I should tie my shoelaces, or in the issue of how I should treat African Americans, or in the issue of whether I should cut fish with the knife held in my right or left hand? Please do not dismiss these statements as ridiculous because I do really thingk they have as much relevance to our faith as the statement that the universe was created in literal 6 days (6 times 24 hours) or as the statement that Joshua stopped the movement of the Sun (Joshua 10:13). Why should issues of the science of biology, which did not even exist in the time of the Fathers, be any different?


the issue at hand is how to interpret Genesis. Yes, the Fathers are good for that.

If you ignore the Fathers on Genesis then that basically leads to two conclusions that i can think of:
1. The Spirit led the Fathers incorrectly for 1800 years
2. the Spirit wasn't interested in leading the Fathers when it came to Genesis.


There is perhaps a third possibility: that the Spirit taught us, humans, to develop a thing called natural science (as we know it now, beginning from Francis Bacon's "Novum Organum"). The Fathers lived when science as we know it today was not yet developed, so they could not possibly know or use it. But we can, and should.

so knowing that science would develop, why didnt the Spirit inspire the Fathers to interpret accordingly? Why do the Fathers speak so forcefully about something that they supposedly weren't even hearing from the Spirit? is it perhaps possible that evolution is incorrect, and thus the Fathers and creationists aren't actually anti-science as they are so often painted?
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« Reply #995 on: June 15, 2009, 04:15:22 PM »

Wisdom of Solomon 1:13: For God made not death: neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living.
14: For he created all things, that they might have their being: and the generations of the world were healthful; and there is no poison of destruction in them, nor the kingdom of death upon the earth:


did Scripture just happen to get it wrong because it didn't have the benefit of secular science?
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« Reply #996 on: June 15, 2009, 06:20:37 PM »

if anyone's interested, i have posted my critique of George Theokritoff's review of Fr. Seraphim's book on my blog. http://www.oldbelieving.wordpress.com
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Riddikulus
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« Reply #997 on: June 15, 2009, 07:01:28 PM »

Quote
Based on the above, I assume that you hold to a Geocentric scientific model?

what does that have to do with Orthodox doctrine?

It has everything to do with the literalist doctrine you are preaching. The Church Fathers were geocentric in their understanding of the Cosmos. If scripture is to be read as the Fathers direct us, then aren't we supposed to accept all aspects of the Father's interpretations? Thus, if the Church Fathers are to be taken literally, are you then also geocentric in your understanding of the Cosmos?
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« Reply #998 on: June 15, 2009, 07:12:03 PM »

and that's the problem. You don't care what the Fathers think.

But why is this the "problem?" Yes, I really don't care what the Fathers think about the Avogadro's number, or about the energy being the mass multiplied by the speed of light squared. Why should I? I revere the Fathers because they shaped the doctrine of the Church, which is that Christ, my Lord and Savior, is the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity and therefore True God, but also man like me. What else should I really "care" about as far as what the Fathers think? Do I need to seek their guidance in the issue of how I should tie my shoelaces, or in the issue of how I should treat African Americans, or in the issue of whether I should cut fish with the knife held in my right or left hand? Please do not dismiss these statements as ridiculous because I do really thingk they have as much relevance to our faith as the statement that the universe was created in literal 6 days (6 times 24 hours) or as the statement that Joshua stopped the movement of the Sun (Joshua 10:13). Why should issues of the science of biology, which did not even exist in the time of the Fathers, be any different?


the issue at hand is how to interpret Genesis. Yes, the Fathers are good for that.

If you ignore the Fathers on Genesis then that basically leads to two conclusions that i can think of:
1. The Spirit led the Fathers incorrectly for 1800 years
2. the Spirit wasn't interested in leading the Fathers when it came to Genesis.


There is perhaps a third possibility: that the Spirit taught us, humans, to develop a thing called natural science (as we know it now, beginning from Francis Bacon's "Novum Organum"). The Fathers lived when science as we know it today was not yet developed, so they could not possibly know or use it. But we can, and should.

so knowing that science would develop, why didnt the Spirit inspire the Fathers to interpret accordingly? Why do the Fathers speak so forcefully about something that they supposedly weren't even hearing from the Spirit?

The same logic applies to Geocentricism and yet the Fathers didn't interpret it accordingly and they did spoke forcefully about something they clearly weren't even hearing from the Spirit.


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« Reply #999 on: June 15, 2009, 07:37:11 PM »

I'm assuming it's ok to comment on the blog here. Moderators, please excuse me, if this is incorrect.  Undecided

if anyone's interested, i have posted my critique of George Theokritoff's review of Fr. Seraphim's book on my blog. http://www.oldbelieving.wordpress.com

This jumps out at me on your blog concerning the article by the Theokritoffs.

The Theokritoffs: Fr Seraphim is commendably honest in recognizing that if one believes, as he does, that we must read Genesis exactly as the Fathers did, one is then committed to a thorough-going young earth creationism, however much contrary evidence there may appear to be.

jckstraw72: This is all an Orthodox needs to know!! Are we the Church of the Fathers or aren’t we?!

Please note that the Theokritoffs are not suggesting that we must follow Fr Seraphim's example of reading Genesis exactly as the Fathers did, merely that he comes to honest and logical conclusions regarding the committment to young earth creationism. How is this all an Orthodox needs to know? Are you elevating Fr Seraphim's opinion to the status of infallibility; and one that all Orthodox believers should follow? Where does the Church teach that the Orthodox believer must read Genesis in such a way?

The Theokritoffs also say: Beyond presenting us with a selection of patristic thought, Fr Seraphim forces us to confront hard questions about the way we read patristic commentaries on Scripture. For him, there is no difficulty: we read the Scriptures as the Fathers direct us, since “the Fathers link the ancient text with today’s reality’ (72). But do they? Or do they themselves need interpreting? The Editor underlines Fr Seraphim’s desire to acquire the mind of the Fathers (23, his emphasis), rather than simply becoming a scholar specializing in their writings; and the repeated implication is that this “mind” can only lead us to accept all aspects of the Fathers’ interpretation, except for a few trivial details. But where does this leave other theologians of our day, such as Fr Georges Florovsky or Bishop Kallistos Ware, who have not felt obliged to follow the Fathers’ literal understanding of the creation story? Must we write off as delusion their dedication to recovering the mind of the Fathers as “an existential attitude and a spiritual orientation” (Florovsky, “Patristic Theology and the Ethos of the Orthodox Church”) and “re-experiencing the meaning of Tradition in a manner that is exploratory, courageous and full of imaginative curiosity’ (Ware, The Orthodox Church)? Is it so indisputably clear bow the patristic attitude is to be applied to today’s world?

edited for clarity

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« Reply #1000 on: June 16, 2009, 03:40:26 AM »

The Fathers themselve don`t need interpreting , they are the ones who interpret and explain . They have homilies , sermons , etc. This are explanations to the Scriptural books.You should read from patristic literature to see Riddikulus. Stop hanging on a death branch - EVOLUTION - . The fundament of evolution is wrong.From foundation it is wrong.
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« Reply #1001 on: June 16, 2009, 03:59:05 AM »

...“Re-experiencing the meaning of Tradition in a manner that is exploratory, courageous and full of imaginative curiosity’ (Ware, The Orthodox Church)

Re-experiencing sounds like starting over to me.  He might as well have said "re-imagining" as far as I am concerned.  Are we supposed to imagine how the fathers would have reacted to modern scientific knowledge with exploratory curiosity?

Blah.  Orthodoxy needs to be closed-minded for its own good.  Just hole up and wait for the end to come like Fr. Seraphim did! Cheesy
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« Reply #1002 on: June 16, 2009, 05:07:15 AM »

...“Re-experiencing the meaning of Tradition in a manner that is exploratory, courageous and full of imaginative curiosity’ (Ware, The Orthodox Church)

Re-experiencing sounds like starting over to me.  He might as well have said "re-imagining" as far as I am concerned.  Are we supposed to imagine how the fathers would have reacted to modern scientific knowledge with exploratory curiosity?

How does it sound like starting over? Even in reading a normal piece of literature for a second time, one can drawn new ideas and concepts from it. Put something aside for several years and go back to it; knowledge and life experiences change one's perspectives of what one reads. And as we don't know what the reaction of the Fathers would be to modern scientific knowledge we cannot rule out their acceptance of it.

Quote
Blah.  Orthodoxy needs to be closed-minded for its own good.  Just hole up and wait for the end to come like Fr. Seraphim did! Cheesy

Of course, if that is a person's decision, all power to them. However, that doesn't mean that everyone wishes to be close-minded and close-mindedness doesn't appear to be advocated in Orthodoxy, nor it is necessarily a virtue. Having had contact with close-minded Christians, I have discovered immense freedom in coming to Orthodoxy, something I intend to continue having.   Wink
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« Reply #1003 on: June 16, 2009, 01:38:04 PM »

Number of posts on this thread: 1,000
Number of people whose minds have been changed: 0
Spending time arguing about this on the Internet: priceless.
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« Reply #1004 on: June 16, 2009, 01:46:57 PM »

Number of posts on this thread: 1,000
Number of people whose minds have been changed: 0
Spending time arguing about this on the Internet: priceless.

=)) this is not the only thread like that , where people argue and speak in contradictory without trying to reach to a consensum , well i think your affirmation says a lot of things

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« Reply #1005 on: June 16, 2009, 06:15:21 PM »

Well, the thread did start nearly two years ago and was revived and one never knows who is "lurking" and reading and perhaps has learned something or at least to consider other points of view.
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« Reply #1006 on: June 16, 2009, 06:41:47 PM »

Number of posts on this thread: 1,000
Number of people whose minds have been changed: 0
Spending time arguing about this on the Internet: priceless.

ytterbiumanalyst

Personally, I'm not out to change anyone's mind. I simply object to anyone assuming some kind of weird magisterium and insisting that everyone should hold to a literal interpretation of Genesis, always with the implications that if one doesn't one hasn't read the fathers, or hasn't read them correctly.

And there hasn't been much on the tv, either. Wink
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« Reply #1007 on: June 16, 2009, 06:44:09 PM »

Well, the thread did start nearly two years ago and was revived and one never knows who is "lurking" and reading and perhaps has learned something or at least to consider other points of view.

This is very true. If nothing else, people have had he opportunity to read constrasting points of view.
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« Reply #1008 on: June 16, 2009, 08:18:59 PM »

Quote
Please note that the Theokritoffs are not suggesting that we must follow Fr Seraphim's example of reading Genesis exactly as the Fathers did, merely that he comes to honest and logical conclusions regarding the committment to young earth creationism. How is this all an Orthodox needs to know? Are you elevating Fr Seraphim's opinion to the status of infallibility; and one that all Orthodox believers should follow? Where does the Church teach that the Orthodox believer must  read Genesis in such a way?

no im not elevating Fr. Seraphim to infallibility -- but rather the concensus of the Church Fathers. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems now you are agreeing that if we simply accept the Fathers at their word we will believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis? This is what I have been trying to get at.

And the Church at least teaches us to believe in a literal Adam and Eve who were immortal physically before sin -- this is taught by the Council of Laodicea and ratified by the 6th and 7th Ecumenical Councils. Also icons show us that Adam and Eve and their descendants are literal people. Even St. Paul tell us that creation is in the state it is in because of sin, and not by design of God.

The question is: where does the Church teach any other way of looking at Genesis? Are Fr. Florovsky and Met. KALLISTOS significant enough to overhaul 19 centuries of Church Fathers, Saints, councils, icons, hymns, etc?

If this were an issue like the toll-houses where there really is no concensus on whether they exist, or even if they do, how to understand them -- there have been people on both sides throughout history -- i could understand going either way and asking where does the Church definitively teach the tollhouses. but on this issue there really is a consistent line of teaching -- where do we see another way of interpreting the whole of the Adam and Eve story (not just the length of the days)?
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« Reply #1009 on: June 16, 2009, 08:41:32 PM »

Quote
Please note that the Theokritoffs are not suggesting that we must follow Fr Seraphim's example of reading Genesis exactly as the Fathers did, merely that he comes to honest and logical conclusions regarding the committment to young earth creationism. How is this all an Orthodox needs to know? Are you elevating Fr Seraphim's opinion to the status of infallibility; and one that all Orthodox believers should follow? Where does the Church teach that the Orthodox believer must  read Genesis in such a way?

no im not elevating Fr. Seraphim to infallibility -- but rather the concensus of the Church Fathers.
Why do we need to elevate ANY authority found within the Church and make it an authority external to ourselves and to which we must assent without question?  Catholics have the infallible Pope, and Protestants have the infallible Scriptures.  And the Orthodox have the infallible patristic consensus? Huh  Last I understood, only the Church is infallible; the consensus of the Fathers may indeed be a very good witness to the mind of the Church, but I would not distill the infallibility of the Church down to this.  To do so is to embrace the model of an external, overarching infallible authority that I abandoned when I left the Protestant/Catholic world to become Orthodox.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems now you are agreeing that if we simply accept the Fathers at their word we will believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis? This is what I have been trying to get at.

And the Church at least teaches us to believe in a literal Adam and Eve who were immortal physically before sin -- this is taught by the Council of Laodicea and ratified by the 6th and 7th Ecumenical Councils. Also icons show us that Adam and Eve and their descendants are literal people.
Have you ever seen an iconographic depiction of an historical Adam and Eve?

Even St. Paul tell us that creation is in the state it is in because of sin, and not by design of God.

The question is: where does the Church teach any other way of looking at Genesis? Are Fr. Florovsky and Met. KALLISTOS significant enough to overhaul 19 centuries of Church Fathers, Saints, councils, icons, hymns, etc?
But you've not yet proven the patristic unanimity, or even near-unanimity, on this issue that is the definition of consensus.  Again, a smattering of proof texts from the writings of various Fathers is not enough to prove that all the Fathers spoke unanimously on this issue.  And even if they did, why make it an infallible authority?

If this were an issue like the toll-houses where there really is no concensus on whether they exist, or even if they do, how to understand them -- there have been people on both sides throughout history -- i could understand going either way and asking where does the Church definitively teach the tollhouses. but on this issue there really is a consistent line of teaching -- where do we see another way of interpreting the whole of the Adam and Eve story (not just the length of the days)?
Again, why do we need to see an infallible consensus?
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« Reply #1010 on: June 16, 2009, 08:52:47 PM »

Quote
Please note that the Theokritoffs are not suggesting that we must follow Fr Seraphim's example of reading Genesis exactly as the Fathers did, merely that he comes to honest and logical conclusions regarding the committment to young earth creationism. How is this all an Orthodox needs to know? Are you elevating Fr Seraphim's opinion to the status of infallibility; and one that all Orthodox believers should follow? Where does the Church teach that the Orthodox believer must  read Genesis in such a way?

no im not elevating Fr. Seraphim to infallibility -- but rather the concensus of the Church Fathers.
Why do we need to elevate ANY authority found within the Church and make it an authority external to ourselves and to which we must assent without question?  Catholics have the infallible Pope, and Protestants have the infallible Scriptures.  And the Orthodox have the infallible patristic consensus? Huh  Last I understood, only the Church is infallible; the consensus of the Fathers may indeed be a very good witness to the mind of the Church, but I would not distill the infallibility of the Church down to this.  To do so is to embrace the model of an external, overarching infallible authority that I abandoned when I left the Protestant/Catholic world to become Orthodox.

correct, only the Church is infallible. What I meant is that when the Fathers speak with one mind we see it as the mind of the Church. Am i incorrect in this understanding? -- because that is essentially what converted me to Orthodoxy

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems now you are agreeing that if we simply accept the Fathers at their word we will believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis? This is what I have been trying to get at.

And the Church at least teaches us to believe in a literal Adam and Eve who were immortal physically before sin -- this is taught by the Council of Laodicea and ratified by the 6th and 7th Ecumenical Councils. Also icons show us that Adam and Eve and their descendants are literal people.
Quote
Have you ever seen an iconographic depiction of an historical Adam and Eve?

absolutely. There are several in Fr. Seraphim's book, and I have seen many in person. Have you seen a Pascha icon with Christ pulling Adam and Eve out of Hades with halos on them? I know my parish has one. I have also seen icons of just Adam, the first-created man. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=37996998&l=f009ef9f4b&id=9316336 there you can see one from the Orthodox orphanage in Guatemala city, and here: http://www.comeandseeicons.com/a/inp28.htm is another. St. Irenaeus tells us that it is heresy to say Adam was NOT saved. This of course requires him to be real.

Even St. Paul tell us that creation is in the state it is in because of sin, and not by design of God.

The question is: where does the Church teach any other way of looking at Genesis? Are Fr. Florovsky and Met. KALLISTOS significant enough to overhaul 19 centuries of Church Fathers, Saints, councils, icons, hymns, etc?
Quote
But you've not yet proven the patristic unanimity, or even near-unanimity, on this issue that is the definition of consensus.  Again, a smattering of proof texts from the writings of various Fathers is not enough to prove that all the Fathers spoke unanimously on this issue.  And even if they did, why make it an infallible authority?

do you honestly expect me to post like every commentary on Genesis ever or something? I really don't know what more you could possibly want. Even Theokritoff, who is critiquing Fr. Seraphim overall agrees that the Fathers interpreted Genesis literally. Have you considered that not a single Fathers has been presented who rejected a literal understanding of Genesis, including those Saints who have lived since Darwin? and why make it infallible? because that gift is given to the Church -- the Church is people, thus the infallibility is expressed by people through their writings, artwork, etc. when all aspects of the Church speak to the same thing i think its pretty safe to say its the mind of the Church.

If this were an issue like the toll-houses where there really is no concensus on whether they exist, or even if they do, how to understand them -- there have been people on both sides throughout history -- i could understand going either way and asking where does the Church definitively teach the tollhouses. but on this issue there really is a consistent line of teaching -- where do we see another way of interpreting the whole of the Adam and Eve story (not just the length of the days)?
Quote
Again, why do we need to see an infallible consensus?

how else do we know the truth? if you take away infallibility you consent to denominations.
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« Reply #1011 on: June 16, 2009, 08:59:50 PM »

has anyone read the Lament of Eve? It is a lament based on the commentaries of the Fathers on Genesis 1-5. I have not yet read it.
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« Reply #1012 on: June 16, 2009, 09:03:38 PM »

this page talks about other icons of Adam and Eve and mentions that Adam and Eve are the starting point for Orthodox anthropology http://orthodoxwiki.org/Adam_and_Eve. If we allegorize the story how would that change our anthropology? can we really just assume it will remain the same, even though the people it is based on have been allegorized away into literary figures? if they aren't literal then what do we really know about pre-lapsarian man? what parts can we continue to accept and what parts must we allegorize?
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« Reply #1013 on: June 16, 2009, 09:10:03 PM »

and here is an entry about the Church calendar i have mentioned several times, and about the datings given by several Fathers
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Byzantine_Creation_Era

and I am working on finding the article again, but I read in an article that the Typikon is based upon the world beginning on Sept. 1, 5509 BC -- ill hopefully get back to you on that.
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« Reply #1014 on: June 16, 2009, 10:29:49 PM »

Quote
Please note that the Theokritoffs are not suggesting that we must follow Fr Seraphim's example of reading Genesis exactly as the Fathers did, merely that he comes to honest and logical conclusions regarding the committment to young earth creationism. How is this all an Orthodox needs to know? Are you elevating Fr Seraphim's opinion to the status of infallibility; and one that all Orthodox believers should follow? Where does the Church teach that the Orthodox believer must  read Genesis in such a way?

no im not elevating Fr. Seraphim to infallibility -- but rather the concensus of the Church Fathers. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems now you are agreeing that if we simply accept the Fathers at their word we will believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis? This is what I have been trying to get at.

Where does the Church decree that the Church Fathers' opinion of science is infallible? No, I am in no way suggesting that we accept the Fathers at their word concerning matters of science. What I am suggesting is that if (as you claim) we must take the Fathers at their word, we must take their literal interpretation of a geocentric cosmology as a literal interpretation, too. As you haven't answered my question as to your opinion on such a position, and as you insist upon agreement with the Fathers, I assume that you must follow the Fathers and hold to a geocentric cosmology.

Quote
The question is: where does the Church teach any other way of looking at Genesis? Are Fr. Florovsky and Met. KALLISTOS significant enough to overhaul 19 centuries of Church Fathers, Saints, councils, icons, hymns, etc?

I don't think that you have realised that you are using Scripture, Church Fathers, Saints, councils, icons, hymns etc as a scientific text; to prove the science of the time of the Fathers. If you do that, you should expect it to be overthrown by modern science. In such a case, anyone is significant enough to overhaul those 19 centuries. I believe it's also important to understand that if one continues to insist that people interpret science as the Fathers did, one is in danger of turning them away from the source of a much greater truth.

Quote

If this were an issue like the toll-houses where there really is no concensus on whether they exist, or even if they do, how to understand them -- there have been people on both sides throughout history -- i could understand going either way and asking where does the Church definitively teach the tollhouses.

Again you confuse something we can't actually know with something we can actually have physical knowledge of.

Quote
but on this issue there really is a consistent line of teaching -- where do we see another way of interpreting the whole of the Adam and Eve story (not just the length of the days)?

There is no express need for it to be interpreted literally, other than your insistance that one do so to prevent one accepting scientific knowledge beyond of the time of the Fathers. It can and should be interpreted theologically, rather than scientifically; because as a scientific text it fails miserably.

You said earlier:
Quote
so knowing that science would develop, why didnt the Spirit inspire the Fathers to interpret accordingly? Why do the Fathers speak so forcefully about something that they supposedly weren't even hearing from the Spirit?

The same logic applies to Geocentricism and yet the Fathers didn't interpret it accordingly and they did speak forcefully about something they clearly weren't even hearing from the Spirit.

edited for clarity

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« Reply #1015 on: June 16, 2009, 10:41:12 PM »

has anyone read the Lament of Eve? It is a lament based on the commentaries of the Fathers on Genesis 1-5. I have not yet read it.

How about... as far as understanding evolution goes... DON'T?  Embarrassed
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« Reply #1016 on: June 16, 2009, 10:42:47 PM »

Quote
Please note that the Theokritoffs are not suggesting that we must follow Fr Seraphim's example of reading Genesis exactly as the Fathers did, merely that he comes to honest and logical conclusions regarding the committment to young earth creationism. How is this all an Orthodox needs to know? Are you elevating Fr Seraphim's opinion to the status of infallibility; and one that all Orthodox believers should follow? Where does the Church teach that the Orthodox believer must  read Genesis in such a way?

no im not elevating Fr. Seraphim to infallibility -- but rather the concensus of the Church Fathers.

Of men (not gods) who had no clue about science, so...?
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« Reply #1017 on: June 17, 2009, 02:47:10 AM »

Quote
Please note that the Theokritoffs are not suggesting that we must follow Fr Seraphim's example of reading Genesis exactly as the Fathers did, merely that he comes to honest and logical conclusions regarding the committment to young earth creationism. How is this all an Orthodox needs to know? Are you elevating Fr Seraphim's opinion to the status of infallibility; and one that all Orthodox believers should follow? Where does the Church teach that the Orthodox believer must  read Genesis in such a way?

no im not elevating Fr. Seraphim to infallibility -- but rather the concensus of the Church Fathers.
Why do we need to elevate ANY authority found within the Church and make it an authority external to ourselves and to which we must assent without question?  Catholics have the infallible Pope, and Protestants have the infallible Scriptures.  And the Orthodox have the infallible patristic consensus? Huh  Last I understood, only the Church is infallible; the consensus of the Fathers may indeed be a very good witness to the mind of the Church, but I would not distill the infallibility of the Church down to this.  To do so is to embrace the model of an external, overarching infallible authority that I abandoned when I left the Protestant/Catholic world to become Orthodox.

correct, only the Church is infallible. What I meant is that when the Fathers speak with one mind we see it as the mind of the Church. Am i incorrect in this understanding? -- because that is essentially what converted me to Orthodoxy
But even this understanding of patristic wisdom I would criticize as essentially an attempt to distill the infallible authority of the Church down to just one or two of its components--in this case, patristic consensus.  We should not regard the Fathers as a magisterium whose authority, when they speak of one mind, is incapable of error and therefore irreformable (the definition of infallible).  We do not receive the unanimous witness of the Fathers without question and without criticism merely because those whom we call "the Fathers" spoke in one accord.  Rather, when we receive the teachings of the Fathers as true, we do so because their wisdom resonates with what we the faithful experience to be true.  This requires that we be active participants in all the other aspects of Holy Tradition--i.e., the Divine Liturgy and other services of prayer, the daily reading of Scripture and the Fathers, the writing and veneration of icons, works of mercy to our brothers and sisters and the less fortunate among us, etc.  We can't just study the texts of the Fathers and look for a consensus that we can proclaim as "the united mind of the Fathers" to which all must adhere to be able to consider ourselves Orthodox.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems now you are agreeing that if we simply accept the Fathers at their word we will believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis? This is what I have been trying to get at.

And the Church at least teaches us to believe in a literal Adam and Eve who were immortal physically before sin -- this is taught by the Council of Laodicea and ratified by the 6th and 7th Ecumenical Councils. Also icons show us that Adam and Eve and their descendants are literal people.
Have you ever seen an iconographic depiction of an historical Adam and Eve?

absolutely. There are several in Fr. Seraphim's book, and I have seen many in person. Have you seen a Pascha icon with Christ pulling Adam and Eve out of Hades with halos on them? I know my parish has one. I have also seen icons of just Adam, the first-created man. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=37996998&l=f009ef9f4b&id=9316336 there you can see one from the Orthodox orphanage in Guatemala city, and here: http://www.comeandseeicons.com/a/inp28.htm is another. St. Irenaeus tells us that it is heresy to say Adam was NOT saved. This of course requires him to be real.
Yes, Adam is real, but not necessarily in the strictly historic sense that he was a flesh and blood individual just like you and me.  We can recognize Adam as being the whole of mankind and still recognize Adam to be real.

BTW, I also happened to notice that both the icons to which you posted links are signed by their writers, which is NOT a canonical practice--icons are NOT to be signed by their writers, who are to remain completely anonymous.  One of the icons I even recognize to be published by Monastery Icons, a known producer of signed and canonically dubious icons--I have one of them, having purchased it when I was yet an ignorant inquirer.  Thus, I really have to question whether these two icons truly represent the Orthodox iconographic tradition and should even be seen as presenting what we believe as Orthodox.  I'm inclined now to think not.  Maybe LBK can step in and verify what I've just seen and concluded.


If this were an issue like the toll-houses where there really is no concensus on whether they exist, or even if they do, how to understand them -- there have been people on both sides throughout history -- i could understand going either way and asking where does the Church definitively teach the tollhouses. but on this issue there really is a consistent line of teaching -- where do we see another way of interpreting the whole of the Adam and Eve story (not just the length of the days)?
Again, why do we need to see an infallible consensus?

how else do we know the truth? if you take away infallibility you consent to denominations.
I'm not taking away infallibility, since I do recognize infallibility as the possession of the whole Church.  Do you remember me saying this?  I just oppose any attempt to condense infallibility to just one aspect of the Holy Spirit's guidance of the Church so as to make this aspect an external authority to whom we bow down and offer blind assent and obedience.  The whole Church includes the Fathers, but it also includes bishops, priests, deacons, and all the faithful worshiping the Holy Trinity and celebrating the risen Christ's presence in the Eucharist throughout all ages.  Thus, the Spirit-guided charism of knowing and teaching the truth is not the sole property of the papacy, the Scriptures, nor the "consensus" of the Fathers.  We are all to know (i.e., experience) the Truth and bear witness to Him.
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« Reply #1018 on: June 17, 2009, 12:32:39 PM »

Quote
Please note that the Theokritoffs are not suggesting that we must follow Fr Seraphim's example of reading Genesis exactly as the Fathers did, merely that he comes to honest and logical conclusions regarding the committment to young earth creationism. How is this all an Orthodox needs to know? Are you elevating Fr Seraphim's opinion to the status of infallibility; and one that all Orthodox believers should follow? Where does the Church teach that the Orthodox believer must  read Genesis in such a way?

no im not elevating Fr. Seraphim to infallibility -- but rather the concensus of the Church Fathers. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems now you are agreeing that if we simply accept the Fathers at their word we will believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis? This is what I have been trying to get at.

Where does the Church decree that the Church Fathers' opinion of science is infallible? No, I am in no way suggesting that we accept the Fathers at their word concerning matters of science. What I am suggesting is that if (as you claim) we must take the Fathers at their word, we must take their literal interpretation of a geocentric cosmology as a literal interpretation, too. As you haven't answered my question as to your opinion on such a position, and as you insist upon agreement with the Fathers, I assume that you must follow the Fathers and hold to a geocentric cosmology.

opinions of science is not the issue at hand, but rather how to properly interpret Genesis. this may have some scientific implications, but science is not the issue. and concerning geocentrism, again i ask, 1. what Scripture were they interpreting to teach geocentrism (if they even unanimously did -- i hear this claimed all the time but never see it ...) and 2. what doctrine would this effect in any way even if they did teach it as Scriptural interpretation?

Quote
The question is: where does the Church teach any other way of looking at Genesis? Are Fr. Florovsky and Met. KALLISTOS significant enough to overhaul 19 centuries of Church Fathers, Saints, councils, icons, hymns, etc?

Quote
I don't think that you have realised that you are using Scripture, Church Fathers, Saints, councils, icons, hymns etc as a scientific text; to prove the science of the time of the Fathers. If you do that, you should expect it to be overthrown by modern science. In such a case, anyone is significant enough to overhaul those 19 centuries. I believe it's also important to understand that if one continues to insist that people interpret science as the Fathers did, one is in danger of turning them away from the source of a much greater truth.

no, im using all those sources to interpret Genesis. no matter how many times you try to redirect the conversation to science, im going to bring it back to Scriptural interpretation, which belongs to the Church, and the Church alone. You don't seem to realize that you are using scientists to tell you how to understand the early chapters of Genesis.

Quote

If this were an issue like the toll-houses where there really is no concensus on whether they exist, or even if they do, how to understand them -- there have been people on both sides throughout history -- i could understand going either way and asking where does the Church definitively teach the tollhouses.

Again you confuse something we can't actually know with something we can actually have physical knowledge of. [/quote]

i dont see how this comment follows what i said, but either way, can we really have physical knowledge of the ancient past? we can see it in the rock layers, but how do we know scientists are interpreting it correctly? science is supposed to be observable, and descent from a common ancestor was not observed since there was no one around to observe it. however, God was around, and He gave us an account of the beginning ....

Quote
but on this issue there really is a consistent line of teaching -- where do we see another way of interpreting the whole of the Adam and Eve story (not just the length of the days)?

Quote
There is no express need for it to be interpreted literally, other than your insistance that one do so to prevent one accepting scientific knowledge beyond of the time of the Fathers. It can and should be interpreted theologically, rather than scientifically; because as a scientific text it fails miserably.

yes. you pegged me. im anti-science. thats why im using a computer. i have already mentioned doctrinal issues that would be affected by inserting a new interpretation of Genesis. are you intentionally overlooking them?

Quote
You said earlier:
Quote
so knowing that science would develop, why didnt the Spirit inspire the Fathers to interpret accordingly? Why do the Fathers speak so forcefully about something that they supposedly weren't even hearing from the Spirit?
The same logic applies to Geocentricism and yet the Fathers didn't interpret it accordingly and they did speak forcefully about something they clearly weren't even hearing from the Spirit.

please provide evidence that the Fathers were unanimously geocentrists, that they were so because of Scripture, and that they were forceful about it.



also, even if you believe that the Church has not unanimously interpeted Genesis literally, do you honestly believe that opens the door for you to interpret it any way you want at all? Ok, so a few Fathers spoke of the days allegorically -- but they either said the days are actually one instance, or the days are 1000 yrs long -- how does that tell you its ok to make the days into billions of years? can you give me any other example where you would accept such methods -- interpreting the Scripture any way you want because you don't think theres a set teaching already?

[/quote]
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« Reply #1019 on: June 17, 2009, 12:35:16 PM »

has anyone read the Lament of Eve? It is a lament based on the commentaries of the Fathers on Genesis 1-5. I have not yet read it.

How about... as far as understanding evolution goes... DON'T?  Embarrassed

this thread is about understaning Genesis though ... are you saying don't read Patristic commentaries to understand Genesis?
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« Reply #1020 on: June 17, 2009, 12:36:16 PM »

Quote
Please note that the Theokritoffs are not suggesting that we must follow Fr Seraphim's example of reading Genesis exactly as the Fathers did, merely that he comes to honest and logical conclusions regarding the committment to young earth creationism. How is this all an Orthodox needs to know? Are you elevating Fr Seraphim's opinion to the status of infallibility; and one that all Orthodox believers should follow? Where does the Church teach that the Orthodox believer must  read Genesis in such a way?

no im not elevating Fr. Seraphim to infallibility -- but rather the concensus of the Church Fathers.

Of men (not gods) who had no clue about science, so...?


but they understood Genesis, which is what this thread is about. please try to stay on topic.
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« Reply #1021 on: June 17, 2009, 12:39:36 PM »

has anyone read the Lament of Eve? It is a lament based on the commentaries of the Fathers on Genesis 1-5. I have not yet read it.

How about... as far as understanding evolution goes... DON'T?  Embarrassed

this thread is about understaning Genesis though ... are you saying don't read Patristic commentaries to understand Genesis?
You would like it to be, but it isn't. Wink  I've been around much longer to know that this thread is about the conflict between Creationism and belief in Evolution.  Therefore, it is just as proper for us to assert that you're using Genesis to interpret science and even render scientific proclamations as it is for you to assert that we're using science to interpret Genesis.
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« Reply #1022 on: June 17, 2009, 12:40:42 PM »

Quote
Please note that the Theokritoffs are not suggesting that we must follow Fr Seraphim's example of reading Genesis exactly as the Fathers did, merely that he comes to honest and logical conclusions regarding the committment to young earth creationism. How is this all an Orthodox needs to know? Are you elevating Fr Seraphim's opinion to the status of infallibility; and one that all Orthodox believers should follow? Where does the Church teach that the Orthodox believer must  read Genesis in such a way?

no im not elevating Fr. Seraphim to infallibility -- but rather the concensus of the Church Fathers.

Of men (not gods) who had no clue about science, so...?


but they understood Genesis, which is what this thread is about. please try to stay on topic.
You're restricting the topic.  Please stop doing so.
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« Reply #1023 on: June 17, 2009, 12:50:55 PM »

Quote
Please note that the Theokritoffs are not suggesting that we must follow Fr Seraphim's example of reading Genesis exactly as the Fathers did, merely that he comes to honest and logical conclusions regarding the committment to young earth creationism. How is this all an Orthodox needs to know? Are you elevating Fr Seraphim's opinion to the status of infallibility; and one that all Orthodox believers should follow? Where does the Church teach that the Orthodox believer must  read Genesis in such a way?

no im not elevating Fr. Seraphim to infallibility -- but rather the concensus of the Church Fathers.
Why do we need to elevate ANY authority found within the Church and make it an authority external to ourselves and to which we must assent without question?  Catholics have the infallible Pope, and Protestants have the infallible Scriptures.  And the Orthodox have the infallible patristic consensus? Huh  Last I understood, only the Church is infallible; the consensus of the Fathers may indeed be a very good witness to the mind of the Church, but I would not distill the infallibility of the Church down to this.  To do so is to embrace the model of an external, overarching infallible authority that I abandoned when I left the Protestant/Catholic world to become Orthodox.

correct, only the Church is infallible. What I meant is that when the Fathers speak with one mind we see it as the mind of the Church. Am i incorrect in this understanding? -- because that is essentially what converted me to Orthodoxy
But even this understanding of patristic wisdom I would criticize as essentially an attempt to distill the infallible authority of the Church down to just one or two of its components--in this case, patristic consensus.  We should not regard the Fathers as a magisterium whose authority, when they speak of one mind, is incapable of error and therefore irreformable (the definition of infallible).  We do not receive the unanimous witness of the Fathers without question and without criticism merely because those whom we call "the Fathers" spoke in one accord.  Rather, when we receive the teachings of the Fathers as true, we do so because their wisdom resonates with what we the faithful experience to be true.  This requires that we be active participants in all the other aspects of Holy Tradition--i.e., the Divine Liturgy and other services of prayer, the daily reading of Scripture and the Fathers, the writing and veneration of icons, works of mercy to our brothers and sisters and the less fortunate among us, etc.  We can't just study the texts of the Fathers and look for a consensus that we can proclaim as "the united mind of the Fathers" to which all must adhere to be able to consider ourselves Orthodox.

ok, i agree with you here. when i have spoken of the concensus of the Fathers have i spoken too narrowly. however, i have provided Scripture, Patristics, modern Saints, canons, the Church calendar, and icons altogether. when i said the concensus of the Fathers i was thinking of how this is played out in the whole life of the Church, and not only the Fathers' writings.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems now you are agreeing that if we simply accept the Fathers at their word we will believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis? This is what I have been trying to get at.

And the Church at least teaches us to believe in a literal Adam and Eve who were immortal physically before sin -- this is taught by the Council of Laodicea and ratified by the 6th and 7th Ecumenical Councils. Also icons show us that Adam and Eve and their descendants are literal people.
Have you ever seen an iconographic depiction of an historical Adam and Eve?

absolutely. There are several in Fr. Seraphim's book, and I have seen many in person. Have you seen a Pascha icon with Christ pulling Adam and Eve out of Hades with halos on them? I know my parish has one. I have also seen icons of just Adam, the first-created man. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=37996998&l=f009ef9f4b&id=9316336 there you can see one from the Orthodox orphanage in Guatemala city, and here: http://www.comeandseeicons.com/a/inp28.htm is another. St. Irenaeus tells us that it is heresy to say Adam was NOT saved. This of course requires him to be real.
Quote
Yes, Adam is real, but not necessarily in the strictly historic sense that he was a flesh and blood individual just like you and me.  We can recognize Adam as being the whole of mankind and still recognize Adam to be real.

but if Adam is real only in a symbolic sense, why would he have a halo. if we represents all of mankind, then giving him a halo means all of mankind is definitely redeemed.

Quote
BTW, I also happened to notice that both the icons to which you posted links are signed by their writers, which is NOT a canonical practice--icons are NOT to be signed by their writers, who are to remain completely anonymous.  One of the icons I even recognize to be published by Monastery Icons, a known producer of signed and canonically dubious icons--I have one of them, having purchased it when I was yet an ignorant inquirer.  Thus, I really have to question whether these two icons truly represent the Orthodox iconographic tradition and should even be seen as presenting what we believe as Orthodox.  I'm inclined now to think not.  Maybe LBK can step in and verify what I've just seen and concluded.

that might very well be ... i don't know about rules for icons and all that. however, in Fr. Seraphim's books there are much older icons included from ancient Churches and monasteries ... if i can figure out how to use the scanners on campus i can scan some of them. also, the wikipedia page i provided mentions that Adam and Eve are in the All Saints icons with halos, and there are in many Paschal icons with halos, although I know some don't have them with halos.

and what of people who have Adam, or other early Genesis figures as their patron Saints? do they just not have actual patrons?


If this were an issue like the toll-houses where there really is no concensus on whether they exist, or even if they do, how to understand them -- there have been people on both sides throughout history -- i could understand going either way and asking where does the Church definitively teach the tollhouses. but on this issue there really is a consistent line of teaching -- where do we see another way of interpreting the whole of the Adam and Eve story (not just the length of the days)?
Again, why do we need to see an infallible consensus?

how else do we know the truth? if you take away infallibility you consent to denominations.
Quote
I'm not taking away infallibility, since I do recognize infallibility as the possession of the whole Church.  Do you remember me saying this?  I just oppose any attempt to condense infallibility to just one aspect of the Holy Spirit's guidance of the Church so as to make this aspect an external authority to whom we bow down and offer blind assent and obedience.  The whole Church includes the Fathers, but it also includes bishops, priests, deacons, and all the faithful worshiping the Holy Trinity and celebrating the risen Christ's presence in the Eucharist throughout all ages.  Thus, the Spirit-guided charism of knowing and teaching the truth is not the sole property of the papacy, the Scriptures, nor the "consensus" of the Fathers.  We are all to know (i.e., experience) the Truth and bear witness to Him.

so the question is, who in the Orthodox Church bore witness against a literal understanding of Genesis before the influence of evolution came around? Did anyone at all? and just bc some question it now does not necessarily mean that is the mind of the Church beginning to express itself, since we know that all kinds of errors and heresies have begun within the Church and taken time to weed out -- such as Iconoclasm. im not saying you guys are heretics, just trying to point out that not every movement within the Church actually belongs properly to the Church. 1900 yrs of consistent teaching (Scripture, Fathers, Saints, icons, canons, calendar, hymns, etc) is much more reliable, unless ya'll are just willing to say that the Church just didnt really know Genesis until science enlightened us.


St. Bede the Venerable, in his commentary on Genesis, said it is ok to employ allegorical interpretations (the 4 rivers are the 4 Gospels, etc) which he did to a great extent, as long as you do not lose the explicit faith that is based in the history of Genesis (quoted in Jaroslav Pelikan's The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Vol. 3: The Growth of Medieval Theology (600-1300) ) which is the same thing that St. Augustine said.

so you are all correct -- there is a definite place for allegorical interpretations of Genesis within the Church -- but they are meant to draw mystical, theological, and moral implications (such as seeing the angel with the flaming sword as representing the loss of Paradise in every person's soul), and not for denying the literal truth of the Scripture (St. Macarius says the angel with the sword was literally at the gate of the Garden). that simply has no precedent in the Church.
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« Reply #1024 on: June 17, 2009, 12:52:32 PM »

Quote
Please note that the Theokritoffs are not suggesting that we must follow Fr Seraphim's example of reading Genesis exactly as the Fathers did, merely that he comes to honest and logical conclusions regarding the committment to young earth creationism. How is this all an Orthodox needs to know? Are you elevating Fr Seraphim's opinion to the status of infallibility; and one that all Orthodox believers should follow? Where does the Church teach that the Orthodox believer must  read Genesis in such a way?

no im not elevating Fr. Seraphim to infallibility -- but rather the concensus of the Church Fathers. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems now you are agreeing that if we simply accept the Fathers at their word we will believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis? This is what I have been trying to get at.

Where does the Church decree that the Church Fathers' opinion of science is infallible? No, I am in no way suggesting that we accept the Fathers at their word concerning matters of science. What I am suggesting is that if (as you claim) we must take the Fathers at their word, we must take their literal interpretation of a geocentric cosmology as a literal interpretation, too. As you haven't answered my question as to your opinion on such a position, and as you insist upon agreement with the Fathers, I assume that you must follow the Fathers and hold to a geocentric cosmology.

opinions of science is not the issue at hand, but rather how to properly interpret Genesis. this may have some scientific implications, but science is not the issue.
But when you use Genesis to criticize science and offer your own quasi-scientific statements, then science IS the issue.  You're trying to manipulate this conversation to silence scientific opinions so that no one can offer a scientific rebuttal to your "patristic" pseudo-science, so that one can no longer use science to defend evolution against scientific statements you have based on ignorance and opposition to the scientific method.

no, im using all those sources to interpret Genesis. no matter how many times you try to redirect the conversation to science, im going to bring it back to Scriptural interpretation, which belongs to the Church, and the Church alone.
And we the faithful are just as much part of the Church as are the Holy Fathers.  Do we not have the same Holy Spirit as the Fathers?  Is this same Holy Spirit not guiding us to understand Genesis in the light of what we know through scientific observation of His creation?

You don't seem to realize that you are using scientists to tell you how to understand the early chapters of Genesis.
And, again, you're using Genesis and the Holy Fathers to tell us how we are to understand science.  Shouldn't you allow us lovers of science to defend ourselves?
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« Reply #1025 on: June 17, 2009, 12:54:27 PM »

and youre simply refusing to acknowledge that Scripture can have scientific implications, without science being the main issue.

and you keep vacillating between tactics -- do you want to assert that the Church has no concensus, or that we don't need to listen to the Church's concensus because it shouldnt be teaching on science? please choose a tactic and stick with it.

and if scientific implications of Scripture are so far out of the realm of the Church, how come no one seems to have told the Saints that? are you going to go with the secular idea that modern man is more enlightened?
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« Reply #1026 on: June 17, 2009, 12:59:22 PM »

I saw this on youtube. I believe it is a bishop explaining this, but it is rather interesting. It talks about science and religion.

Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0rsWp7sCnY

Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1_hoJ-0NEM&feature=related

Part 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0Zkin28jEo&feature=related

Part 4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qg-VylINPc&feature=related

Part 5
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7JutxYAtQA&feature=related
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« Reply #1027 on: June 17, 2009, 01:06:38 PM »

Quote
Please note that the Theokritoffs are not suggesting that we must follow Fr Seraphim's example of reading Genesis exactly as the Fathers did, merely that he comes to honest and logical conclusions regarding the committment to young earth creationism. How is this all an Orthodox needs to know? Are you elevating Fr Seraphim's opinion to the status of infallibility; and one that all Orthodox believers should follow? Where does the Church teach that the Orthodox believer must  read Genesis in such a way?

no im not elevating Fr. Seraphim to infallibility -- but rather the concensus of the Church Fathers. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems now you are agreeing that if we simply accept the Fathers at their word we will believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis? This is what I have been trying to get at.

Where does the Church decree that the Church Fathers' opinion of science is infallible? No, I am in no way suggesting that we accept the Fathers at their word concerning matters of science. What I am suggesting is that if (as you claim) we must take the Fathers at their word, we must take their literal interpretation of a geocentric cosmology as a literal interpretation, too. As you haven't answered my question as to your opinion on such a position, and as you insist upon agreement with the Fathers, I assume that you must follow the Fathers and hold to a geocentric cosmology.

opinions of science is not the issue at hand, but rather how to properly interpret Genesis. this may have some scientific implications, but science is not the issue.
Quote
But when you use Genesis to criticize science and offer your own quasi-scientific statements, then science IS the issue.  You're trying to manipulate this conversation to silence scientific opinions so that no one can offer a scientific rebuttal to your "patristic" pseudo-science, so that one can no longer use science to defend evolution against scientific statements you have based on ignorance and opposition to the scientific method.

no, science is not the issue. if i say to you "how do you understand the days of Genesis?" how do you see that as belonging to Darwin rather than the Church? Asking for Scriptural interpretation in no way says you should look to secular science. im not opposed to the scientific method. im wearing glasses right now. do you think im about to throw them against the wall and yell voodoo!! or something? dating methods are based on the assumption of uniformitariansm (even Theokritoff who was critiquing Fr. Seraphim agreed about this), which i have no reason to accept. the scientific work that lead to me having glasses involved observing the human eye in the here and now -- actually observable stuff! -- it had nothing to do with digging up fossils and making proclamations about them.

no, im using all those sources to interpret Genesis. no matter how many times you try to redirect the conversation to science, im going to bring it back to Scriptural interpretation, which belongs to the Church, and the Church alone.
Quote
And we the faithful are just as much part of the Church as are the Holy Fathers.  Do we not have the same Holy Spirit as the Fathers?  Is this same Holy Spirit not guiding us to understand Genesis in the light of what we know through scientific observation of His creation?

how can the same Spirit lead you to understand Genesis in a manner that is contradictory to Christians for the first 1800 years or so? Claiming we are all hearing from the same Spirit but are getting different answers sounds awfully Protestant to me. in a disagreement with a Protestant, when we are claiming to hear from the Spirit and they are also claiming to hear from the Spirit, the answer I have always heard is, look to the Church. see what the Church has always believed (St. Vincent ...). you say the Fathers were tainted by the inaccurate science of their day (which means you are implicitly admitting that they read Genesis literally ....), and Protestants will say the Fathers were tainted by the Hellenic mystery cults and that's why the Church has crazy things like sacraments. whats the difference in these approaches? i cant see what it is.

of course you have the Spirit -- and so do I, but I surely go against Him a good bit too. thats why I don't trust myself on this, or on a relatlively new idea within the Church. i look to those who have guided us for millennia.

You don't seem to realize that you are using scientists to tell you how to understand the early chapters of Genesis.
And, again, you're using Genesis and the Holy Fathers to tell us how we are to understand science.  Shouldn't you allow us lovers of science to defend ourselves?

sure you can defend yourselves. but when Church and science come into conflict, why should i side with science rather than the Church?



Fixed quote tag issue...  -PtA
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« Reply #1028 on: June 17, 2009, 06:07:07 PM »

Quote
Please note that the Theokritoffs are not suggesting that we must follow Fr Seraphim's example of reading Genesis exactly as the Fathers did, merely that he comes to honest and logical conclusions regarding the committment to young earth creationism. How is this all an Orthodox needs to know? Are you elevating Fr Seraphim's opinion to the status of infallibility; and one that all Orthodox believers should follow? Where does the Church teach that the Orthodox believer must  read Genesis in such a way?

no im not elevating Fr. Seraphim to infallibility -- but rather the concensus of the Church Fathers. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems now you are agreeing that if we simply accept the Fathers at their word we will believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis? This is what I have been trying to get at.

Where does the Church decree that the Church Fathers' opinion of science is infallible? No, I am in no way suggesting that we accept the Fathers at their word concerning matters of science. What I am suggesting is that if (as you claim) we must take the Fathers at their word, we must take their literal interpretation of a geocentric cosmology as a literal interpretation, too. As you haven't answered my question as to your opinion on such a position, and as you insist upon agreement with the Fathers, I assume that you must follow the Fathers and hold to a geocentric cosmology.

opinions of science is not the issue at hand, but rather how to properly interpret Genesis. this may have some scientific implications, but science is not the issue.
Quote
But when you use Genesis to criticize science and offer your own quasi-scientific statements, then science IS the issue.  You're trying to manipulate this conversation to silence scientific opinions so that no one can offer a scientific rebuttal to your "patristic" pseudo-science, so that one can no longer use science to defend evolution against scientific statements you have based on ignorance and opposition to the scientific method.

no, science is not the issue. if i say to you "how do you understand the days of Genesis?" how do you see that as belonging to Darwin rather than the Church? Asking for Scriptural interpretation in no way says you should look to secular science. im not opposed to the scientific method. im wearing glasses right now. do you think im about to throw them against the wall and yell voodoo!! or something? dating methods are based on the assumption of uniformitariansm (even Theokritoff who was critiquing Fr. Seraphim agreed about this), which i have no reason to accept. the scientific work that lead to me having glasses involved observing the human eye in the here and now -- actually observable stuff! -- it had nothing to do with digging up fossils and making proclamations about them.

no, im using all those sources to interpret Genesis. no matter how many times you try to redirect the conversation to science, im going to bring it back to Scriptural interpretation, which belongs to the Church, and the Church alone.
Quote
And we the faithful are just as much part of the Church as are the Holy Fathers.  Do we not have the same Holy Spirit as the Fathers?  Is this same Holy Spirit not guiding us to understand Genesis in the light of what we know through scientific observation of His creation?

how can the same Spirit lead you to understand Genesis in a manner that is contradictory to Christians for the first 1800 years or so? Claiming we are all hearing from the same Spirit but are getting different answers sounds awfully Protestant to me. in a disagreement with a Protestant, when we are claiming to hear from the Spirit and they are also claiming to hear from the Spirit, the answer I have always heard is, look to the Church. see what the Church has always believed (St. Vincent ...). you say the Fathers were tainted by the inaccurate science of their day (which means you are implicitly admitting that they read Genesis literally ....), and Protestants will say the Fathers were tainted by the Hellenic mystery cults and that's why the Church has crazy things like sacraments. whats the difference in these approaches? i cant see what it is.

of course you have the Spirit -- and so do I, but I surely go against Him a good bit too. thats why I don't trust myself on this, or on a relatlively new idea within the Church. i look to those who have guided us for millennia.

You don't seem to realize that you are using scientists to tell you how to understand the early chapters of Genesis.
And, again, you're using Genesis and the Holy Fathers to tell us how we are to understand science.  Shouldn't you allow us lovers of science to defend ourselves?

sure you can defend yourselves. but when Church and science come into conflict, why should i side with science rather than the Church?
If you recognize that the Church is much more than just the Holy Fathers and that the Holy Fathers are therefore not infallible per se and apart from the Church, then why must we see a conflict between science and the Church?
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« Reply #1029 on: June 17, 2009, 06:13:10 PM »

and youre simply refusing to acknowledge that Scripture can have scientific implications, without science being the main issue.
When those scientific implications are wrong, those who appreciate real science need to stand up and refute such an incorrect interpretation of Scripture.

and you keep vacillating between tactics -- do you want to assert that the Church has no concensus, or that we don't need to listen to the Church's concensus because it shouldnt be teaching on science? please choose a tactic and stick with it.
I'll use whatever tactic I like, thank you very much. Angry  I'm actually asserting both and will continue to assert both.

and if scientific implications of Scripture are so far out of the realm of the Church, how come no one seems to have told the Saints that? are you going to go with the secular idea that modern man is more enlightened?
No, I'm going to go with the idea that the Holy Spirit is the possession of the Church and not solely the possession of the Fathers.
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« Reply #1030 on: June 17, 2009, 08:51:00 PM »

Quote
Please note that the Theokritoffs are not suggesting that we must follow Fr Seraphim's example of reading Genesis exactly as the Fathers did, merely that he comes to honest and logical conclusions regarding the committment to young earth creationism. How is this all an Orthodox needs to know? Are you elevating Fr Seraphim's opinion to the status of infallibility; and one that all Orthodox believers should follow? Where does the Church teach that the Orthodox believer must  read Genesis in such a way?

no im not elevating Fr. Seraphim to infallibility -- but rather the concensus of the Church Fathers. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems now you are agreeing that if we simply accept the Fathers at their word we will believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis? This is what I have been trying to get at.

Where does the Church decree that the Church Fathers' opinion of science is infallible? No, I am in no way suggesting that we accept the Fathers at their word concerning matters of science. What I am suggesting is that if (as you claim) we must take the Fathers at their word, we must take their literal interpretation of a geocentric cosmology as a literal interpretation, too. As you haven't answered my question as to your opinion on such a position, and as you insist upon agreement with the Fathers, I assume that you must follow the Fathers and hold to a geocentric cosmology.

opinions of science is not the issue at hand, but rather how to properly interpret Genesis. this may have some scientific implications, but science is not the issue.

You are using the opinions of the Fathers to decide how we should properly interpret Genesis; to the exclusion of an accepted scientific stand. As their opinions express the scientific knowlege of their day, the issue most defintely is science; theirs vs ours. If, however, we see that Genesis is to be interpreted as theology, not scientifically we cease to have a conflict with science. Bishop Kallistos speaks on this issue in a brief video at... http://www.tangle.com/view_video.php?viewkey=d32e16f75c0e84e66464

Quote
and concerning geocentrism, again i ask, 1. what Scripture were they interpreting to teach geocentrism (if they even unanimously did -- i hear this claimed all the time but never see it ...) and 2. what doctrine would this effect in any way even if they did teach it as Scriptural interpretation?

It impacts the doctrine of creation, brings into question the interpretions of the Fathers, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And yes, the Fathers were unamimous in their belief in a geocentric cosmos. You might be interested in this Catholic believer's site regarding the upholding of geocentrism... http://www.scripturecatholic.com/geocentrism.html. Don't disregard him out of hand, because his arguments are frighteningly similar to those you make. On that page you will find scriptural references and quotes from the Church Fathers. He's deadly serious and he isn't alone in his opinion.

He states;

Scripture
Geocentrism is the view that the earth is the center of the universe, and that the universe (sun, moon, stars, planets) revolves around the earth.  Most geocentrists also believe that the earth stands still, and does not rotate on its axis.  Geocentrism is in contrast to heliocentrism, which is the view that the earth rotates on its axis and, along with the other planets, revolves around the sun. While it is permissible for Christians to hold the heliocentric view, heliocentrism can only be advanced as a theory, not a certainty (because neither heliocentrism nor geocentrism can be scientifically proven definitively)


Sound familiar?

He continues;

In fact, three Popes (Paul V, Urban VIII and Alexander VII) have officially declared that heliocentrism is opposed to Sacred Scripture, and condemned the notion that heliocentrism was a truth to be believed with certainty. Instead, the Scriptures, the Apostolic Tradition and teachings of the Church support a geocentric cosmology vis-à-vis a heliocentric one. Nota Bene: I am a faithful Catholic, not a scientist. I am obedient to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. When presented with a question of faith (such as how God created the universe), I look to the Scriptures, the Tradition and the teachings of the Catholic Church for the answer. I do not rely upon modern scientists who have been unable to prove heliocentrism and disprove geocentrism, especially those who deny the inerrancy of Scripture and generally abhor the Catholic faith. 

When interpreted literally, the Scriptures teach us that the earth does not move. Should we interpret the Scriptures literally? The Catholic Church, having adopted the rule of St. Augustine, teaches “not to depart from the literal and obvious sense, except only where reason makes it untenable or necessity requires; a rule to which it is the more necessary to adhere strictly in these times, when the thirst for novelty and unrestrained freedom of thought make the danger of error most real and proximate.” Pope Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus, No. 15, 1893.  This was affirmed by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis, No. 36, 1950. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 116, also says: “The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: "All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal."

In other words, we are to interpret the Scriptures literally unless there is a compelling reason to interpret them otherwise.  This is why the Church interprets literally, for example, Matt. 16:18 (Peter is the rock); Matt. 19:9 (remarriage after divorce is adultery); Matt. 26:26-28 (“this is my body”); John 6:51-58 (“eat my flesh”; “drink my blood”); John 3:5 (born of water means baptism); John 20:23 (“whose sins you forgive are forgiven”); 1 Peter 3:21 (“baptism saves you”); and James 5:14-15 (“anoint the sick with oil to save them and forgive their sins”). 

We must also remember that the Scriptures were dictated to the sacred writers by the Holy Ghost. Thus, we take God’s Word for what it says, for He is the author of Scripture. There does not seem to be a compelling reason to depart from the literal and obvious sense of the following Scriptures which teach, both implicitly and explicitly, that the earth does not move. 

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The question is: where does the Church teach any other way of looking at Genesis? Are Fr. Florovsky and Met. KALLISTOS significant enough to overhaul 19 centuries of Church Fathers, Saints, councils, icons, hymns, etc?

I don't think that you have realised that you are using Scripture, Church Fathers, Saints, councils, icons, hymns etc as a scientific text; to prove the science of the time of the Fathers. If you do that, you should expect it to be overthrown by modern science. In such a case, anyone is significant enough to overhaul those 19 centuries. I believe it's also important to understand that if one continues to insist that people interpret science as the Fathers did, one is in danger of turning them away from the source of a much greater truth.

no, im using all those sources to interpret Genesis. no matter how many times you try to redirect the conversation to science, im going to bring it back to Scriptural interpretation, which belongs to the Church, and the Church alone. You don't seem to realize that you are using scientists to tell you how to understand the early chapters of Genesis.

No, you are using these sources in an attempt to discredit an accepted scientific theory in favour of the literal interpretation of the Fathers; therefore you are using them as a scientific text. Otherwise what value do they have in any discussion with science? While Scriptural interpretation belongs to the Church and the Church alone, the Fathers are not the extent of that Church. Neither are they experts in the science you are attempting to discredit. And as I understand the early chapters of Genesis as theology, rather than science, science has nothing to say in how I understand it. 

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If this were an issue like the toll-houses where there really is no concensus on whether they exist, or even if they do, how to understand them -- there have been people on both sides throughout history -- i could understand going either way and asking where does the Church definitively teach the tollhouses.

Again you confuse something we can't actually know with something we can actually have physical knowledge of.

i dont see how this comment follows what i said, but either way, can we really have physical knowledge of the ancient past?

Earlier you tried to contrast the mystical with the mudane. Whereas we have no physical evidence to support or deny the teaching of Tollhouses, there is physical evidence regarding our physical world. And yes, we can really have physical knowledge of the ancient past.

Quote
we can see it in the rock layers, but how do we know scientists are interpreting it correctly?

Sorry, but I'm going to have to leave you to do some investigation on how geology works.

Quote
science is supposed to be observable, and descent from a common ancestor was not observed since there was no one around to observe it.

By studying the standard phylogenetic tree, it can be seen that every species has a unique genealogical history. Each species has a unique series of common ancestors linking it to the original common ancestor. We should expect that organisms carry evidence of this history and ancestry with them. The standard phylogenetic tree predicts what historical evidence is possible and what is impossible for each given species. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section2.html

Rapid evolution is observed in the Italian Wall Lizards on Pod Mrcaru... http://www.umass.edu/loop/talkingpoints/articles/74409.php

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however, God was around, and He gave us an account of the beginning ....


Where does God explain HOW he created our world, let alone the universe? Surely you are not suggesting that our knowledge of our universe should be limited to a few lines in Genesis?

Quote
but on this issue there really is a consistent line of teaching -- where do we see another way of interpreting the whole of the Adam and Eve story (not just the length of the days)?

There is no express need for it to be interpreted literally, other than your insistance that one do so to prevent one accepting scientific knowledge beyond of the time of the Fathers. It can and should be interpreted theologically, rather than scientifically; because as a scientific text it fails miserably.

yes. you pegged me. im anti-science. thats why im using a computer. i have already mentioned doctrinal issues that would be affected by inserting a new interpretation of Genesis. are you intentionally overlooking them?

Do you deny that you are selectively anti-science with regard to biological evolution? And as far as doctrinal issues go, I see no problem as I only read Genesis as a theological text and not science. If you scroll through the pages of this thread you will see a variety of opinions on this. 

Quote
You said earlier: so knowing that science would develop, why didnt the Spirit inspire the Fathers to interpret accordingly? Why do the Fathers speak so forcefully about something that they supposedly weren't even hearing from the Spirit?

The same logic applies to Geocentricism and yet the Fathers didn't interpret it accordingly and they did speak forcefully about something they clearly weren't even hearing from the Spirit.

please provide evidence that the Fathers were unanimously geocentrists, that they were so because of Scripture, and that they were forceful about it.

See above. The Church Fathers were adament in their apologetics with pagans who viewed the cosmos as heliocentric.

Quote
also, even if you believe that the Church has not unanimously interpeted Genesis literally, do you honestly believe that opens the door for you to interpret it any way you want at all?

I interpret it theologically, not scientifically. Where does the Church decree that Scripture is supposed to uphold or discredit scientific theories? While the Fathers certainly attempted to show that Scripture was literal in the case of geocentricism, the pagan theory was closer to the truth. I guess that's where St Augustine's quote comes in again. Wink

edited for clarity and pesky *quote* thingies
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« Reply #1031 on: June 17, 2009, 10:08:14 PM »

so the question is, who in the Orthodox Church bore witness against a literal understanding of Genesis before the influence of evolution came around? Did anyone at all? and just bc some question it now does not necessarily mean that is the mind of the Church beginning to express itself, since we know that all kinds of errors and heresies have begun within the Church and taken time to weed out -- such as Iconoclasm. im not saying you guys are heretics, just trying to point out that not every movement within the Church actually belongs properly to the Church.

Gosh, thanks.  Grin

Quote
1900 yrs of consistent teaching (Scripture, Fathers, Saints, icons, canons, calendar, hymns, etc) is much more reliable, unless ya'll are just willing to say that the Church just didnt really know Genesis until science enlightened us.

Much more reliable for what purpose? Theological or scientific? Though the Fathers may have disagreed on the literal interpretation of Genesis, they certainly saw it within the context of their scientific knowledge - and that would have a great impact on how they interpretated it.

However, the discoveries of science have affected how we view such interpretations and how we ourselves interpret Genesis. I'm certainly willing to say that though the Church was teaching theology for those 1900 years, She certainly wasn't teaching science. And neither is that Her purpose.

We (the Church) didn't really know science until science (including those scientists who were/are Christians) enlightened us. This is what has brought about a shift in understanding Genesis; so that we see it soley as theology rather than a theology/science mix. Here are some clips with Jaroslav Pelikan very briefly commenting on The Shift From 'How' to 'Why?' Questions in Theology, On the Need for Humility, St. Augustine and Genesis, On Reading Scripture As Science, The Connection Between Cosmology and Theology at... http://www.counterbalance.org/cqinterv/cq3-41-body.html?b=cqinterv/jp-body.html.



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« Reply #1032 on: June 17, 2009, 10:47:03 PM »

so the question is, who in the Orthodox Church bore witness against a literal understanding of Genesis before the influence of evolution came around? Did anyone at all?

St. Augustine, St. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, St. Cyprian of Carthage....

In terms of modern day bishops we have at least Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo), Bishop Alexander (Mileant) of Blessed memory, Archbishop Michael (Mudyugin) of Blessed memory, Bishop Nathanael (L'vov) of Blessed Memory, and Bishop Basil (Rodzyanko)...

Among theologians we have E.M. Andreiev, Protopresbyter Basil Zenkovski, Protopresbyter Nikolai Ivanov, Prof. N.N. Pheoletov, V.S. Solovyov, Protopresbyter Stephan Lyashevski, Prof. lazar Milin, Fr. Dumitru Staniloe....
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« Reply #1033 on: June 17, 2009, 10:51:30 PM »

so the question is, who in the Orthodox Church bore witness against a literal understanding of Genesis before the influence of evolution came around? Did anyone at all?

St. Augustine, St. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, St. Cyprian of Carthage....

In terms of modern day bishops we have at least Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo), Bishop Alexander (Mileant) of Blessed memory, Archbishop Michael (Mudyugin) of Blessed memory, Bishop Nathanael (L'vov) of Blessed Memory, and Bishop Basil (Rodzyanko)...

Among theologians we have E.M. Andreiev, Protopresbyter Basil Zenkovski, Protopresbyter Nikolai Ivanov, Prof. N.N. Pheoletov, V.S. Solovyov, Protopresbyter Stephan Lyashevski, Prof. lazar Milin, Fr. Dumitru Staniloe....

And Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) - I have already quoted him in this regard somewhere in the beginning or middle of this thread.
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« Reply #1034 on: June 18, 2009, 04:05:32 AM »

You might be interested in this Catholic believer's site regarding the upholding of geocentrism... http://www.scripturecatholic.com/geocentrism.html. Don't disregard him out of hand, because his arguments are frighteningly similar to those you make. On that page you will find scriptural references and quotes from the Church Fathers. He's deadly serious and he isn't alone in his opinion.

He states;

...

I found this particularly "enlightening" Roll Eyes, particularly for its striking similarity to a repeated argument from jckstraw72 that I've been working hard to refute.

Tradition / Church Fathers

In 1564, the Council of Trent (Session IV, April 8 ) infallibly declared that that no one could “in matters of faith and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine...interpret the sacred Scriptures…even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.

This infallible declaration was restated by the First Vatican Council: “In consequence, it is not permissible for anyone to interpret holy scripture in a sense contrary to this, or indeed against the unanimous consent of the fathers” (On Revelation, April 24, 1870, chapter 2, no. 9).

Pope Leo XIII explained why we are required to hold to the interpretation of the Fathers when they are unanimous: “the Holy Fathers, We say, are of supreme authority, whenever they all interpret in one and the same manner any text of the Bible, as pertaining to the doctrine of faith or morals; for their unanimity clearly evinces that such interpretation has come down from the Apostles as a matter of Catholic faith” (Providentissimus Deus, 1893, no. 14).

In other words, when the Fathers are unanimous about an interpretation of Scripture, their understanding comes from the Sacred Deposit of Faith handed down by Christ and the Apostles. The Fathers unanimously interpreted the Scriptures to support a geocentric cosmology.  According to Trent and Vatican I (two dogmatic ecumenical councils of the Catholic Church), we are not permitted to depart from their interpretation of the Scriptures, because their interpretation is deemed to have come from the Apostles. Those who reject geocentrism must explain why they do not submit to this rule of biblical interpretation set forth by two infallible councils.


http://www.scripturecatholic.com/geocentrism.html


Again, note that the author of this essay is citing the unanimous consent of the Fathers (i.e., patristic consensus) as the authority for why we should continue to accept no substitute for the geocentric view of the universe.
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Tags: science Theory of Evolution evolution creationism cheval mort 
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