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Question: Do you believe that the acount of genesis in the Old testament should be taken literally?
Yes - 53 (15.9%)
No - 127 (38%)
both metaphorically and literally - 154 (46.1%)
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Author Topic: Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy  (Read 296063 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #4770 on: October 13, 2012, 07:14:28 AM »

I have my computer back and all seems to be working well; however, I am not entirely certain it is a good idea to continue posting on this thread at this time.  So, I will prepare a few things in the event this thread is later resurrected with interest rather than mocking of people who have a different opinion.  I also have a strange feeling my work load is about to get a serious increase so I may not have time anyway.
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« Reply #4771 on: October 26, 2012, 02:26:44 PM »

Quote
To help resolve this controversy, scientists have for the first time comprehensively analyzed two complete shoulder blades from the fossil "Selam," an exceptionally well-preserved skeleton of a 3-year-old A. afarensis girl dating back 3.3 million years from Dikika, Ethiopia. The arms and shoulders can yield insights on how well they performed at climbing.
....
"The question as to whether Australopithecus afarensis was strictly bipedal or if they also climbed trees has been intensely debated for more than 30 years," researcher David Green at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Ill., said in a statement. "These remarkable fossils provide strong evidence that these individuals were still climbing at this stage in human evolution."

At the same time, most researchers agree that many traits of the A. afarensis hip bone, lower limb, and foot are unequivocally humanlike and adapted for upright walking.

"This new find confirms the pivotal place that Lucy and Selam's species occupies in human evolution," Alemseged said. "While bipedal like humans, A. afarensis was still a capable climber. Though not fully human, A. afarensis was clearly on its way."
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 02:26:59 PM by Jetavan » Logged

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« Reply #4772 on: November 05, 2012, 02:24:08 AM »

New questions.

According to science, how old is earth and how long ago did life spring forth?
a) Approximately four billion years.
b) During the first billion years; probably in the first half-billion.
Thanks!  I ask because, probably a surprise to most, I actually read and watch a lot regarding this stuff.  Though I do not accept much of it past ideas, I always find it interesting to see what direction people are going and what those new ideas arising are.  I have been seeing a lot of things lately where dates/time periods seem to have shifted and wasn't sure what was still being used as a standard.
The earth's age estimate is relatively well accepted, with a probable error of around only 1%.  Where did you read "a lot of things lately where dates/time periods seem to have shifted"?
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« Reply #4773 on: November 28, 2012, 10:43:08 PM »

On today’s 700 Club, televangelist Pat Robertson appeared to break with many of his fellow fundamentalists who subscribe to Young Earth creationism regarding the age of the earth, disputing their notion that the planet is only around 6,000 years old. Robertson said that James Ussher, the seventeenth century bishop who to this day is heralded by Young Earth creationists for using the Bible to argue that the earth was created in 4004 BC, “wasn’t inspired by the Lord when he said it all took 6,000 years, it just didn’t.” While many creationists believe that dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark, Robertson insisted that dinosaurs “were on the earth before the time of the Bible, so don’t try to cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years, that’s not the Bible.”
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« Reply #4774 on: December 01, 2012, 10:33:03 AM »

Are there any good documentarys on Debating Evolution from an Orthodox prespective or close enough to it ?.

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« Reply #4775 on: January 02, 2013, 03:39:04 AM »

Did God literally create us humans from the dust of this earth ?.

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« Reply #4776 on: January 02, 2013, 03:46:59 AM »

In a manner of speaking, yes. Smiley
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« Reply #4777 on: January 02, 2013, 04:07:06 AM »

An ambitious task, but you can't go wrong with sources like St. Basil the Great and Father Seraphim Rose. Regardless of your conclusions, you will not please everyone. When delving into an exhaustive interpretation of Genesis, controversial topics such as evolution and the Nephilim of Genesis 6 will inevitably come up. There are even various interpretations of St. Basil's interpretation - even amongst Orthodox Christians. My humble advice would be to rely primarily on the works of the Saints and early fathers. Too many modern theologians sacrifice sound theology on the alter of modernity. Father Seraphim Rose is an exception however. In spite of what some my say, "Genesis, Creation, and Early Man" is an excellent book that provides in depth insights on the interpretation of the Saints and fathers.

All the best to you in this endeavor.


Selam
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« Reply #4778 on: January 02, 2013, 07:43:55 AM »

Did God literally create us humans from the dust of this earth ?.


Define "create" and "dust" and "literally". Roll Eyes
« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 07:44:17 AM by Jetavan » Logged

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« Reply #4779 on: January 02, 2013, 07:47:48 AM »

Did God literally create us humans from the dust of this earth ?.


Define "create" and "dust" and "literally". Roll Eyes

And "humans".
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« Reply #4780 on: January 02, 2013, 11:39:02 AM »

Fr Seraphim Rose doesnt always represent all of Orthodoxy, despite what some may like to think.

On top of the sources mentioned, I'd also recommend you view official church websites.id also recommend a listen to Dr. Jeannie Constantinou's introduction to the bible series, specifically the ones on interpretation and on Genesis specifically.

Long story short, you'll find that the Orthodox Church isn't goin to tell you what to believe about Genesis. It doesn't require a literal interpretation nor another kind. You could be a so-called "creationist" or believe in "theistic evolution", it doesn't matter to the church, it's a matter of theological opinion and not doctrine.
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« Reply #4781 on: January 04, 2013, 01:16:07 AM »

Fr Seraphim Rose doesnt always represent all of Orthodoxy, despite what some may like to think.

On top of the sources mentioned, I'd also recommend you view official church websites.id also recommend a listen to Dr. Jeannie Constantinou's introduction to the bible series, specifically the ones on interpretation and on Genesis specifically.

Long story short, you'll find that the Orthodox Church isn't goin to tell you what to believe about Genesis. It doesn't require a literal interpretation nor another kind. You could be a so-called "creationist" or believe in "theistic evolution", it doesn't matter to the church, it's a matter of theological opinion and not doctrine.


Well, not so fast. While it is true that one is not required to deny evolution in order to be an Orthodox Christian, it is also true that Orthodox Christians are to maintain Orthodox doctrine. Theistic evolution would mean that God authored death, and such a view is heresy. Death came about through sin, but theistic evolution logically requires one to attribute death to God rather than sin.

These are issues that he will certainly have to wrestle with. No easy task.


Selam
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« Reply #4782 on: January 04, 2013, 02:43:07 AM »

Fr Seraphim Rose doesnt always represent all of Orthodoxy, despite what some may like to think.

On top of the sources mentioned, I'd also recommend you view official church websites.id also recommend a listen to Dr. Jeannie Constantinou's introduction to the bible series, specifically the ones on interpretation and on Genesis specifically.

Long story short, you'll find that the Orthodox Church isn't goin to tell you what to believe about Genesis. It doesn't require a literal interpretation nor another kind. You could be a so-called "creationist" or believe in "theistic evolution", it doesn't matter to the church, it's a matter of theological opinion and not doctrine.


Well, not so fast. While it is true that one is not required to deny evolution in order to be an Orthodox Christian, it is also true that Orthodox Christians are to maintain Orthodox doctrine. Theistic evolution would mean that God authored death, and such a view is heresy. Death came about through sin, but theistic evolution logically requires one to attribute death to God rather than sin.

These are issues that he will certainly have to wrestle with. No easy task.


Selam

It depends on how you define death. God isn't the author of spiritual and eternal death, which He saved us from. Physical death is a different story, it isn't a universal idea within Orthodoxy that physical death came with sin, some Fathers suggested that physical death existed before the fall.
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« Reply #4783 on: January 04, 2013, 06:30:26 AM »

Fr Seraphim Rose doesnt always represent all of Orthodoxy, despite what some may like to think.

On top of the sources mentioned, I'd also recommend you view official church websites.id also recommend a listen to Dr. Jeannie Constantinou's introduction to the bible series, specifically the ones on interpretation and on Genesis specifically.

Long story short, you'll find that the Orthodox Church isn't goin to tell you what to believe about Genesis. It doesn't require a literal interpretation nor another kind. You could be a so-called "creationist" or believe in "theistic evolution", it doesn't matter to the church, it's a matter of theological opinion and not doctrine.


Well, not so fast. While it is true that one is not required to deny evolution in order to be an Orthodox Christian, it is also true that Orthodox Christians are to maintain Orthodox doctrine. Theistic evolution would mean that God authored death, and such a view is heresy. Death came about through sin, but theistic evolution logically requires one to attribute death to God rather than sin.

These are issues that he will certainly have to wrestle with. No easy task.


Selam

It depends on how you define death. God isn't the author of spiritual and eternal death, which He saved us from. Physical death is a different story, it isn't a universal idea within Orthodoxy that physical death came with sin, some Fathers suggested that physical death existed before the fall.


Was this thread merged? Anyway, somebody was writing a thesis or something about the Orthodox interpretation of Genesis. These difficult issues are things he will inevitably have to wrestle with.


Selam
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« Reply #4784 on: January 04, 2013, 06:35:04 AM »


Long story short, you'll find that the Orthodox Church isn't goin to tell you what to believe about Genesis. It doesn't require a literal interpretation nor another kind. You could be a so-called "creationist" or believe in "theistic evolution", it doesn't matter to the church, it's a matter of theological opinion and not doctrine.
But be careful!  Regardless of your what you say, if you stand firm with a literal interpretation, modernists will assuredly ridicule you and say you are uneducated.  Best to, if you do hold firm to tradition, keep it to yourself or else you'll be asked a million times why and immediately told how wrong you are.
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« Reply #4785 on: January 04, 2013, 09:20:18 AM »

Was death part of Gods creation plan or did death appear after the fall of mankind when Adam sinned?
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« Reply #4786 on: January 04, 2013, 09:24:52 AM »

Was death part of Gods creation plan or did death appear after the fall of mankind when Adam sinned?

I don't claim to know for sure, but one possible complicating factor is that death for humans might be different than death for, say, plants, or even animals. Could plants have died in the garden of eden if Adam stepped on them or ate them or something? Would that have been pre-fall? What if Adam would have killed an animal, perhaps accidentally? All speculation...
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« Reply #4787 on: January 04, 2013, 10:05:35 AM »

Was death part of Gods creation plan or did death appear after the fall of mankind when Adam sinned?

I don't claim to know for sure, but one possible complicating factor is that death for humans might be different than death for, say, plants, or even animals. Could plants have died in the garden of eden if Adam stepped on them or ate them or something? Would that have been pre-fall? What if Adam would have killed an animal, perhaps accidentally? All speculation...

But accidental death is the result of imperfection resulting from the fall. There were no accidents in Eden before the willfull sin. Also, the scriptures say that "the life of a creature is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11] So, I think we need to be careful about calling the consumption of plants prior to the fall to "death." Perhaps nothing died when it was eaten, as the conditions prior to the fall were radically different from the conditions subsequent to the fall. All I'm saying is that it is fine to speculate, but when our speculations lead to us to unbiblical or unorthdox ideas, then we need to submit our speculations to biblical and Orthodox truth.


Selam
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« Reply #4788 on: January 04, 2013, 10:55:08 AM »

Was death part of Gods creation plan or did death appear after the fall of mankind when Adam sinned?

I don't claim to know for sure, but one possible complicating factor is that death for humans might be different than death for, say, plants, or even animals. Could plants have died in the garden of eden if Adam stepped on them or ate them or something? Would that have been pre-fall? What if Adam would have killed an animal, perhaps accidentally? All speculation...

But accidental death is the result of imperfection resulting from the fall. There were no accidents in Eden before the willfull sin. Also, the scriptures say that "the life of a creature is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11] So, I think we need to be careful about calling the consumption of plants prior to the fall to "death." Perhaps nothing died when it was eaten, as the conditions prior to the fall were radically different from the conditions subsequent to the fall. All I'm saying is that it is fine to speculate, but when our speculations lead to us to unbiblical or unorthdox ideas, then we need to submit our speculations to biblical and Orthodox truth.


Selam

But if you ask the question, what does blood do, it carries nutrients and oxygen, maintains body temperature and pH, and transports away bodily wastes.  So, in animals it may be blood, in insects it may be lymph, in plants it may be sap, all doing the same or similar things.

But if there is spiritual understanding behind this verse, then we need to consider it, and not define everything in such literalistic terms.

The point is, if we take evolution off the table, just this verse can be shown to be true in a simple-minded manner, but also equally true is the idea of life in plants and many insects, despite the fact that they don't have blood.  Biological life as defined (in simple terms) is a function of reproducibility and growth through biochemical processes.  This is not theologically necessary to believe "in", but it is true and believable.
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« Reply #4789 on: January 04, 2013, 08:42:50 PM »

Was death part of Gods creation plan or did death appear after the fall of mankind when Adam sinned?

I cannot say for certain, but my opinion is death is the result of the fall.  My understanding is death, at least as we know it (humanity) did not occur until Adam and Eve ate of the fruit.  Up until that point, who can say how long they had actually lived.  One year, five years, 7000 years, we just don’t know, but we do know they lived until they disobeyed God.  

Personally, I wouldn’t focus on plants and animals.  Everything we have tells us they were created separately and differently than mankind and are not held to the same standard or have the same “spirit” has we do.  So if a tree or bird died in Eden, it held no connection (IMO) to humanity.  This is one of the many problems I see with modern thinkers.  They redefine what we already have an understanding and definition for, resulting in constant confusion and flexible standards.  Where in Scripture or Tradition are we instructed to be concerned for the safety, health, reproductive ability, soul, etc., of plants and animals?  We are not.  What we do see is how everything in nature, except man, instantly bends to the will of God without resistance.  We, mankind, are the ONLY things provided an eternal existence, free will, and all the things humanity has which nothing else does.  Again, if you allow your focus to be altered even slightly, you will find yourself in a very confusing place, filled with bewilderment, asking why you can’t get a straight answer.  

Hold fast and don't allow people to create loopholes where none exist.  For instance, someone right now is trying to find a way to talk around what I said about being concerned for nature and looking for something to say we should be good stewards of the earth.  Not to provide a clear answer to your question, rather than to try and punch a hole in mine.  Circle argument.  Avoid it.
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« Reply #4790 on: January 04, 2013, 08:58:44 PM »

Where in Scripture or Tradition are we instructed to be concerned for the safety, health, reproductive ability, soul, etc., of plants and animals?

Not to destroy fruit trees (wantonly or in warfare) (Deut. 20:19-20)
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« Reply #4791 on: January 04, 2013, 09:01:11 PM »

Was death part of Gods creation plan or did death appear after the fall of mankind when Adam sinned?

I don't claim to know for sure, but one possible complicating factor is that death for humans might be different than death for, say, plants, or even animals. Could plants have died in the garden of eden if Adam stepped on them or ate them or something? Would that have been pre-fall? What if Adam would have killed an animal, perhaps accidentally? All speculation...

But accidental death is the result of imperfection resulting from the fall. There were no accidents in Eden before the willfull sin. Also, the scriptures say that "the life of a creature is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11] So, I think we need to be careful about calling the consumption of plants prior to the fall to "death." Perhaps nothing died when it was eaten, as the conditions prior to the fall were radically different from the conditions subsequent to the fall. All I'm saying is that it is fine to speculate, but when our speculations lead to us to unbiblical or unorthdox ideas, then we need to submit our speculations to biblical and Orthodox truth.


Selam

Indeed.  I would not call the death of an animal or plant actual death as neither have an eternal soul.  Plants are for consumption to survive as are animals.  Humans are not.  This is why we are commanded not to murder one another, but there is no mention of plants or animals.  Their “life”, or existence, is not the same, or even comparable, to ours.  A person cannot approach life in a cold, heartless, scientific manner and expect to find a warm, loving, mystical, and eternal relationship with our creator.  It is a very different mindset and understanding.  They are two different schools of thought.  
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« Reply #4792 on: January 04, 2013, 09:06:16 PM »

Where in Scripture or Tradition are we instructed to be concerned for the safety, health, reproductive ability, soul, etc., of plants and animals?

Not to destroy fruit trees (wantonly or in warfare) (Deut. 20:19-20)
See what I mean psalm110?  That didn’t even take as long as I thought it would.  A tragic attempt to punch a hole with nothing else, no other thought provided, no attempt to explain, no other points addressed, nothing.  A simple, out of context jab, which unfortunately for the poster, didn’t prove much of anything outside they can use Google (or hopefully, that the poster is playing around to prove my point).  In addition, this text quoted, in no way, addressed the topic of discussion we are on. 

Again, be careful of what you accept from some people.
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« Reply #4793 on: January 04, 2013, 09:08:00 PM »

Where in Scripture or Tradition are we instructed to be concerned for the safety, health, reproductive ability, soul, etc., of plants and animals?

Not to destroy fruit trees (wantonly or in warfare) (Deut. 20:19-20)
See what I mean psalm110?  That didn’t even take as long as I thought it would.  A tragic attempt to punch a hole with nothing else, no other thought provided, no attempt to explain, no other points addressed, nothing.  A simple, out of context jab, which unfortunately for the poster, didn’t prove much of anything outside they can use Google (or hopefully, that the poster is playing around to prove my point).  In addition, this text quoted, in no way, addressed the topic of discussion we are on. 

Again, be careful of what you accept from some people.

I thought you wanted an answer to your question. Huh
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« Reply #4794 on: January 04, 2013, 09:20:46 PM »

Was death part of Gods creation plan or did death appear after the fall of mankind when Adam sinned?

I don't claim to know for sure, but one possible complicating factor is that death for humans might be different than death for, say, plants, or even animals. Could plants have died in the garden of eden if Adam stepped on them or ate them or something? Would that have been pre-fall? What if Adam would have killed an animal, perhaps accidentally? All speculation...

But accidental death is the result of imperfection resulting from the fall. There were no accidents in Eden before the willfull sin. Also, the scriptures say that "the life of a creature is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11] So, I think we need to be careful about calling the consumption of plants prior to the fall to "death." Perhaps nothing died when it was eaten, as the conditions prior to the fall were radically different from the conditions subsequent to the fall. All I'm saying is that it is fine to speculate, but when our speculations lead to us to unbiblical or unorthdox ideas, then we need to submit our speculations to biblical and Orthodox truth.


Selam

Indeed.  I would not call the death of an animal or plant actual death as neither have an eternal soul.  Plants are for consumption to survive as are animals.  Humans are not.  This is why we are commanded not to murder one another, but there is no mention of plants or animals.  Their “life”, or existence, is not the same, or even comparable, to ours.  A person cannot approach life in a cold, heartless, scientific manner and expect to find a warm, loving, mystical, and eternal relationship with our creator.  It is a very different mindset and understanding.  They are two different schools of thought.  
but Gebre is saying that even the death of animals did not occur according to dogma, whereas you are saying it doesn't matter, since they don't have the same "life" as we do, which I agree with, and which why I don't find evolution objectionable.
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« Reply #4795 on: January 04, 2013, 10:01:50 PM »

I'm very tired at the moment (having an 11-day old baby will do that to you!) so please take it easy on me if I'm just plain missing something here. Smiley

But, in terms of pure chronology, isn't it obvious that dinosaurs lived and died well before the emergence of anything resembling a human being? I accept the current scientific consensus of evolution over a literal creation account. I think it's fairly well substantiated. The only problem I can see in terms of harmonizing this with "Church teaching" is this issue of death; when it happened, what it really means, etc.

It seems clear that when God says "ye shall surely die," that Adam & Even don't die physically, so isn't God referring to the unique death that only Adam & Even could die? i.e., a spiritual death?

How's this for a narrative? God, in His wisdom, desiring to create a universe that is separate from Him, wherein free creatures can freely emerge and become what they will within a fruitful system that God designed for this very intent, sets creation going with the Big Bang. Eventually, homo sapiens emerges from the vast web of common life, and God chooses two of them, male and female, to breathe the breath of life into, vivifying them spiritually. Genesis picks up here.

What would be the problem with seeing things this way? Also, we know that Lucifer and his minions have been granted a certain freedom and power over the created world. Could this also not explain pre-Edenic death? Does the Church have any teaching on the chronology of when the angels fell and the creation of man?

Again, apologies for any incoherence here. Lord, have mercy Smiley
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« Reply #4796 on: January 05, 2013, 12:18:32 AM »

Did God literally create us humans from the dust of this earth ?.



That is what He said He did, and I trust Him, so yes.
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« Reply #4797 on: January 05, 2013, 12:30:17 AM »

Did God literally create us humans from the dust of this earth ?.



That is what He said He did, and I trust Him, so yes.
That's what Moses was inspired to say what He did.  It is believed sometimes something is written in accordance with cultural understanding with divine inspiration for a deeper meaning.
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« Reply #4798 on: January 05, 2013, 12:32:43 AM »

Did God literally create us humans from the dust of this earth ?.



That is what He said He did, and I trust Him, so yes.
That's what Moses was inspired to say what He did.  It is believed sometimes something is written in accordance with cultural understanding with divine inspiration for a deeper meaning.

Interesting, but I am not debating you.
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« Reply #4799 on: January 11, 2013, 06:27:13 AM »

How did Adam and Eve communicate with God ?. Did they literally see him as we see each other ? Was he able to be touched ? Did they see the whole Holy Trinity when God walked with them in the Garden or was it it the Pre-incarnate Christ the Word of God walking and communicate with them as per we do??.

any idea?

Thanks
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« Reply #4800 on: January 11, 2013, 10:14:32 AM »

Was death part of Gods creation plan or did death appear after the fall of mankind when Adam sinned?

I don't claim to know for sure, but one possible complicating factor is that death for humans might be different than death for, say, plants, or even animals. Could plants have died in the garden of eden if Adam stepped on them or ate them or something? Would that have been pre-fall? What if Adam would have killed an animal, perhaps accidentally? All speculation...

But accidental death is the result of imperfection resulting from the fall. There were no accidents in Eden before the willfull sin. Also, the scriptures say that "the life of a creature is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11] So, I think we need to be careful about calling the consumption of plants prior to the fall to "death." Perhaps nothing died when it was eaten, as the conditions prior to the fall were radically different from the conditions subsequent to the fall. All I'm saying is that it is fine to speculate, but when our speculations lead to us to unbiblical or unorthdox ideas, then we need to submit our speculations to biblical and Orthodox truth.


Selam

But if you ask the question, what does blood do, it carries nutrients and oxygen, maintains body temperature and pH, and transports away bodily wastes.  So, in animals it may be blood, in insects it may be lymph, in plants it may be sap, all doing the same or similar things.

But if there is spiritual understanding behind this verse, then we need to consider it, and not define everything in such literalistic terms.

The point is, if we take evolution off the table, just this verse can be shown to be true in a simple-minded manner, but also equally true is the idea of life in plants and many insects, despite the fact that they don't have blood.  Biological life as defined (in simple terms) is a function of reproducibility and growth through biochemical processes.  This is not theologically necessary to believe "in", but it is true and believable.

I think your arguments are interesting and have some logical merit. But the problem I have with your reasoning here is that it assumes when Moses spoke of "blood" he also meant "lymph," "sap," etc. Perhaps he did mean these things, but it certainly requires a tremendous amount of reading into the text. If we were to apply such liberties to all of Scripture, then there is no limit to the interpretations we can come up with. I think there is something to be said for an 'Ockham's Razor' approach to bibilical hermeneutics. And it seems the Saints and fathers were careful not to impose the novel beliefs of the day onto the ancient scriptures.


Selam
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« Reply #4801 on: January 11, 2013, 01:26:35 PM »

Was death part of Gods creation plan or did death appear after the fall of mankind when Adam sinned?

I don't claim to know for sure, but one possible complicating factor is that death for humans might be different than death for, say, plants, or even animals. Could plants have died in the garden of eden if Adam stepped on them or ate them or something? Would that have been pre-fall? What if Adam would have killed an animal, perhaps accidentally? All speculation...

But accidental death is the result of imperfection resulting from the fall. There were no accidents in Eden before the willfull sin. Also, the scriptures say that "the life of a creature is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11] So, I think we need to be careful about calling the consumption of plants prior to the fall to "death." Perhaps nothing died when it was eaten, as the conditions prior to the fall were radically different from the conditions subsequent to the fall. All I'm saying is that it is fine to speculate, but when our speculations lead to us to unbiblical or unorthdox ideas, then we need to submit our speculations to biblical and Orthodox truth.


Selam

But if you ask the question, what does blood do, it carries nutrients and oxygen, maintains body temperature and pH, and transports away bodily wastes.  So, in animals it may be blood, in insects it may be lymph, in plants it may be sap, all doing the same or similar things.

But if there is spiritual understanding behind this verse, then we need to consider it, and not define everything in such literalistic terms.

The point is, if we take evolution off the table, just this verse can be shown to be true in a simple-minded manner, but also equally true is the idea of life in plants and many insects, despite the fact that they don't have blood.  Biological life as defined (in simple terms) is a function of reproducibility and growth through biochemical processes.  This is not theologically necessary to believe "in", but it is true and believable.

I think your arguments are interesting and have some logical merit. But the problem I have with your reasoning here is that it assumes when Moses spoke of "blood" he also meant "lymph," "sap," etc. Perhaps he did mean these things, but it certainly requires a tremendous amount of reading into the text. If we were to apply such liberties to all of Scripture, then there is no limit to the interpretations we can come up with. I think there is something to be said for an 'Ockham's Razor' approach to bibilical hermeneutics. And it seems the Saints and fathers were careful not to impose the novel beliefs of the day onto the ancient scriptures.


Selam

No no, I'm not assuming that Moses meant sap and lymph.  He most probably meant ONLY the blood of higher vertebrate animals, probably not knowing that "the life of other creatures can also be in their sap and lymph," which we now know.  It's not a matter of imposing novel beliefs into the Scriptures, but seeing the wisdom in the predominance of the allegorical understanding of Scripture in areas where literal understanding gives us little or no benefit.
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« Reply #4802 on: January 11, 2013, 02:26:04 PM »

Was death part of Gods creation plan or did death appear after the fall of mankind when Adam sinned?

I don't claim to know for sure, but one possible complicating factor is that death for humans might be different than death for, say, plants, or even animals. Could plants have died in the garden of eden if Adam stepped on them or ate them or something? Would that have been pre-fall? What if Adam would have killed an animal, perhaps accidentally? All speculation...

But accidental death is the result of imperfection resulting from the fall. There were no accidents in Eden before the willfull sin. Also, the scriptures say that "the life of a creature is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11] So, I think we need to be careful about calling the consumption of plants prior to the fall to "death." Perhaps nothing died when it was eaten, as the conditions prior to the fall were radically different from the conditions subsequent to the fall. All I'm saying is that it is fine to speculate, but when our speculations lead to us to unbiblical or unorthdox ideas, then we need to submit our speculations to biblical and Orthodox truth.


Selam

But if you ask the question, what does blood do, it carries nutrients and oxygen, maintains body temperature and pH, and transports away bodily wastes.  So, in animals it may be blood, in insects it may be lymph, in plants it may be sap, all doing the same or similar things.

But if there is spiritual understanding behind this verse, then we need to consider it, and not define everything in such literalistic terms.

The point is, if we take evolution off the table, just this verse can be shown to be true in a simple-minded manner, but also equally true is the idea of life in plants and many insects, despite the fact that they don't have blood.  Biological life as defined (in simple terms) is a function of reproducibility and growth through biochemical processes.  This is not theologically necessary to believe "in", but it is true and believable.

I think your arguments are interesting and have some logical merit. But the problem I have with your reasoning here is that it assumes when Moses spoke of "blood" he also meant "lymph," "sap," etc. Perhaps he did mean these things, but it certainly requires a tremendous amount of reading into the text. If we were to apply such liberties to all of Scripture, then there is no limit to the interpretations we can come up with. I think there is something to be said for an 'Ockham's Razor' approach to bibilical hermeneutics. And it seems the Saints and fathers were careful not to impose the novel beliefs of the day onto the ancient scriptures.


Selam

No no, I'm not assuming that Moses meant sap and lymph.  He most probably meant ONLY the blood of higher vertebrate animals, probably not knowing that "the life of other creatures can also be in their sap and lymph," which we now know.  It's not a matter of imposing novel beliefs into the Scriptures, but seeing the wisdom in the predominance of the allegorical understanding of Scripture in areas where literal understanding gives us little or no benefit.

I understand. In fact, Moses may very well have understood the principles of science more than we realize. God may have granted him divine prescience in numerous areas. But we shouldn't presume that he didn't intend what he actually wrote. That does not bind us to an illogical and rigid literalism, but it should nevertheless restrain our allegorical appetites.

My concern is that many will use your logic to rationalize evils like abortion. Some argue that the nascent human embryo does not scientifically deserve the same respect and sanctity as those who are born. There are Christians who will use allegorical interpretations of scripture to defend abortion. And logically, within the evolutionary framework, abortion is easy to rationalize.



Selam
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« Reply #4803 on: January 11, 2013, 02:30:52 PM »

Moses may very well have understood the principles of science more than we realize.

"With our minds, we cannot come to know even how the sun is made; and if we beg God to tell us how He made the sun, the answer rings in our soul, 'Humble thyself, and thou shalt know, not only the sun but the Creator of the sun.' But when the soul through the Holy Spirit knows the Lord, then from joy she forgets the whole world and ceases to fret for earthly knowledge." (St. Silouan)
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« Reply #4804 on: January 11, 2013, 02:49:38 PM »

Was death part of Gods creation plan or did death appear after the fall of mankind when Adam sinned?

I don't claim to know for sure, but one possible complicating factor is that death for humans might be different than death for, say, plants, or even animals. Could plants have died in the garden of eden if Adam stepped on them or ate them or something? Would that have been pre-fall? What if Adam would have killed an animal, perhaps accidentally? All speculation...

But accidental death is the result of imperfection resulting from the fall. There were no accidents in Eden before the willfull sin. Also, the scriptures say that "the life of a creature is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11] So, I think we need to be careful about calling the consumption of plants prior to the fall to "death." Perhaps nothing died when it was eaten, as the conditions prior to the fall were radically different from the conditions subsequent to the fall. All I'm saying is that it is fine to speculate, but when our speculations lead to us to unbiblical or unorthdox ideas, then we need to submit our speculations to biblical and Orthodox truth.


Selam

But if you ask the question, what does blood do, it carries nutrients and oxygen, maintains body temperature and pH, and transports away bodily wastes.  So, in animals it may be blood, in insects it may be lymph, in plants it may be sap, all doing the same or similar things.

But if there is spiritual understanding behind this verse, then we need to consider it, and not define everything in such literalistic terms.

The point is, if we take evolution off the table, just this verse can be shown to be true in a simple-minded manner, but also equally true is the idea of life in plants and many insects, despite the fact that they don't have blood.  Biological life as defined (in simple terms) is a function of reproducibility and growth through biochemical processes.  This is not theologically necessary to believe "in", but it is true and believable.

I think your arguments are interesting and have some logical merit. But the problem I have with your reasoning here is that it assumes when Moses spoke of "blood" he also meant "lymph," "sap," etc. Perhaps he did mean these things, but it certainly requires a tremendous amount of reading into the text. If we were to apply such liberties to all of Scripture, then there is no limit to the interpretations we can come up with. I think there is something to be said for an 'Ockham's Razor' approach to bibilical hermeneutics. And it seems the Saints and fathers were careful not to impose the novel beliefs of the day onto the ancient scriptures.


Selam

No no, I'm not assuming that Moses meant sap and lymph.  He most probably meant ONLY the blood of higher vertebrate animals, probably not knowing that "the life of other creatures can also be in their sap and lymph," which we now know.  It's not a matter of imposing novel beliefs into the Scriptures, but seeing the wisdom in the predominance of the allegorical understanding of Scripture in areas where literal understanding gives us little or no benefit.

I understand. In fact, Moses may very well have understood the principles of science more than we realize. God may have granted him divine prescience in numerous areas. But we shouldn't presume that he didn't intend what he actually wrote. That does not bind us to an illogical and rigid literalism, but it should nevertheless restrain our allegorical appetites.

My concern is that many will use your logic to rationalize evils like abortion. Some argue that the nascent human embryo does not scientifically deserve the same respect and sanctity as those who are born. There are Christians who will use allegorical interpretations of scripture to defend abortion. And logically, within the evolutionary framework, abortion is easy to rationalize.



Selam

To allegorize Scripture to bend the rules of morality or the Orthodox faith of the Church is an abuse of allegory in my opinion, and far from its more Orthodox use, as stipulated in the ancient Alexandrian tradition.  This is where I would draw the line, in agreement with you.

If I may add, many today have used a technique called "Scriptural criticism", which is different from Scriptural allegory.  I would think it's more likely the abuse of the former that's allowing things like homosexuality and abortion to be allowed, not the latter.
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« Reply #4805 on: January 14, 2013, 05:38:52 PM »

And logically, within the evolutionary framework, abortion is easy to rationalize.
Nations have used gravity to drop bombs on innocent civilians.  That doesn't invalidate the explanation of gravity.

Murderers have used the principles of physics to send chunks of lead flying through their victims' bodies.  That doesn't invalidate the science of ballistics.

Chemistry can purify your water, but it can also poison you.

The ends to which a science's precepts are used have almost nothing to do with the validity of the science itself.
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« Reply #4806 on: January 14, 2013, 09:04:02 PM »

And logically, within the evolutionary framework, abortion is easy to rationalize.
Nations have used gravity to drop bombs on innocent civilians.  That doesn't invalidate the explanation of gravity.

Murderers have used the principles of physics to send chunks of lead flying through their victims' bodies.  That doesn't invalidate the science of ballistics.

Chemistry can purify your water, but it can also poison you.

The ends to which a science's precepts are used have almost nothing to do with the validity of the science itself.

I agree with you. But the proper analogy in this context would be eugenics and racist oppression that is predicated upon false and unsubstantiated science. That's the issue here. Is evolutionary theory as scientifically valid as the theory of gravity? The debate will rage on.


Selam
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« Reply #4807 on: January 23, 2013, 02:11:12 PM »

 Just a curious question. I've been a particularly strong theistic evolutionist for many years, and I'm curious what the church, and you orthodox Christians have to say about it.

 I was under the impression that there isn't Biblical literalism within Orthodoxy, right?


--- To be real clear, I have no desire to debate about the topic at all. I know it can be controversial, but I'd simply like to know peoples' thoughts on it.

 EDIT: Well, no I know that it's quite divided. >_> haha
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« Reply #4808 on: January 23, 2013, 02:33:45 PM »

Just a curious question. I've been a particularly strong theistic evolutionist for many years, and I'm curious what the church, and you orthodox Christians have to say about it.

 I was under the impression that there isn't Biblical literalism within Orthodoxy, right?


--- To be real clear, I have no desire to debate about the topic at all. I know it can be controversial, but I'd simply like to know peoples' thoughts on it.

 EDIT: Well, no I know that it's quite divided. >_> haha

Yaaa...quite divided indeed...which comes to show one of two things:

1.  Either it is irrelevant to the Orthodox faith
2.  The Churches haven't given an official answer about it
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« Reply #4809 on: January 23, 2013, 02:49:52 PM »

Just a curious question. I've been a particularly strong theistic evolutionist for many years, and I'm curious what the church, and you orthodox Christians have to say about it.

 I was under the impression that there isn't Biblical literalism within Orthodoxy, right?


--- To be real clear, I have no desire to debate about the topic at all. I know it can be controversial, but I'd simply like to know peoples' thoughts on it.

 EDIT: Well, no I know that it's quite divided. >_> haha
certain Holy Fathers were quite literal about creation, while others did not say much. St. Athanasius and St. Cyril both spoke on creation. So did St. Jacob and others. Look up the word Hexameron and you'll find some info from many sources.

I would rather be in the latter camp, due to my desire for mystery. Being able to accept that we can not know everything is freeing for me and I would not want to write something that is unorthodox.
Regardless, it seems logical that microevolution is a true thing, but as for macroevolution ill leave that to science which is always postulating yet as more data comes in it changes. Leave science to science and souls to the church.
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« Reply #4810 on: January 23, 2013, 08:05:46 PM »

Quote
Regardless, it seems logical that microevolution is a true thing, but as for macroevolution ill leave that to science which is always postulating yet as more data comes in it changes. Leave science to science and souls to the church.

 That's certainly a respectable belief, although I would like to note that macro-evolution is basically micro-evolution but over a longer period of time. Smiley
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« Reply #4811 on: January 23, 2013, 08:13:43 PM »

Quote
Regardless, it seems logical that microevolution is a true thing, but as for macroevolution ill leave that to science which is always postulating yet as more data comes in it changes. Leave science to science and souls to the church.

 That's certainly a respectable belief, although I would like to note that macro-evolution is basically micro-evolution but over a longer period of time. Smiley

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but macro-evolution means that the changes are so profound that a new species arises from a different one.  Time has nothing to do with it.  Microevolution just makes the same species adaptable to the changing conditions or a new environment without changing the species itself.  So if you take the Human Journey where people moved from Africa to all corners of the world, you will see that there are differences in feature according to where the humans eventually settled.  But at the end of it all of them are still the same species.
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« Reply #4812 on: January 23, 2013, 09:01:34 PM »

Quote
Regardless, it seems logical that microevolution is a true thing, but as for macroevolution ill leave that to science which is always postulating yet as more data comes in it changes. Leave science to science and souls to the church.

 That's certainly a respectable belief, although I would like to note that macro-evolution is basically micro-evolution but over a longer period of time. Smiley

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but macro-evolution means that the changes are so profound that a new species arises from a different one.  Time has nothing to do with it.  Microevolution just makes the same species adaptable to the changing conditions or a new environment without changing the species itself.  So if you take the Human Journey where people moved from Africa to all corners of the world, you will see that there are differences in feature according to where the humans eventually settled.  But at the end of it all of them are still the same species.

Er, time has everything to do with it. Macro and micro evolution is the same process viewed from different time frames.
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« Reply #4813 on: January 23, 2013, 10:28:03 PM »

Quote
Regardless, it seems logical that microevolution is a true thing, but as for macroevolution ill leave that to science which is always postulating yet as more data comes in it changes. Leave science to science and souls to the church.

 That's certainly a respectable belief, although I would like to note that macro-evolution is basically micro-evolution but over a longer period of time. Smiley

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but macro-evolution means that the changes are so profound that a new species arises from a different one.  Time has nothing to do with it.  Microevolution just makes the same species adaptable to the changing conditions or a new environment without changing the species itself.  So if you take the Human Journey where people moved from Africa to all corners of the world, you will see that there are differences in feature according to where the humans eventually settled.  But at the end of it all of them are still the same species.

Er, time has everything to do with it. Macro and micro evolution is the same process viewed from different time frames.
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sheenj
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« Reply #4814 on: January 23, 2013, 10:44:37 PM »

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 Roll Eyes. It's very analogous to the concept of a dialect continuum in Linguistics. Just like there's no clear line when one language ends and another begins; there's no real clear line where one species begins and another ends.
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