OrthodoxChristianity.net
November 24, 2014, 08:38:42 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Adam and Eve Reconsidered  (Read 2582 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« on: February 16, 2005, 12:23:47 AM »

I've been giving a great deal of thought into what theistic evolution really means in relation to the Scriptures and whether or not Biblical history and evolutionary theory are compatible.

In Philosophy of Religion class, we are studying the problem of evil. This is the question of how an all-loving and all-good God could allow such evil, pain and suffering in the world.

In the evolutionary understanding of history, pain and suffering are just necessary variables for the "survival of the fittest".
But then again, why would a perfect God create through a process of such cruelty? Why would the Creation be imperfect from its very beginning?

This led me to rethink Genesis and whether or not it provides a better answer to the problem of evil. If the Genesis account is meant to be interpretted literally, then all the suffering and pain in the world is the direct result of Adam's sin. Therefore, it is not God who created the world to be imperfect but Adam who made the world imperfect through his own act of rebellion.

Another reason why I am rethinking Genesis is my study of the notion of fideism. This is the belief that if and when revelation and reason are in conflict, revelation always trumps reason.
You see, I've studied the evidence both for and against macroevolution for quite a while and it has only shown me just how much we don't know for sure either way. Whether or not one believes in the theory of evolution is ultimately a choice based on sheer will alone.
Now, if Genesis is meant to be interpreted literally, and my faith in the Bible is all the validation that I need, then it would be better for me to believe Genesis based on faith than hold to a scientific theory whose evidence is inconclusive.
If God's Word is eternally truthful and mankind's theories are constantly altered or abolished, then I choose God's Word.

I am not going to spend too much time debating for or against the scientific evidence for macroevolution. I just fail to see how this theory enlightens me as a Christian or why such a belief in an unproven theory is even necessary.

Some may find it irrational to abandon a modern scientific theory for a religious reason however, this is probably how St. Paul would answer to such an assertion:

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength."
(I Corinthians 1:18-25)

Few pursuits are more vain than the attempt to find a scientific explanation for something which goes beyond the realm of scientific inquiry.
And the fact that credible Orthodox Christian scholars have rejected evolution as purely a Western philosopical invention is further reason for me to hold fast to the traditional understanding of Genesis.
If Darwinian theory jeopordizes one's steadfastness to the tradition of the Church, then I choose tradition over human invention.

I wouldn't necessarily call this young earth creationism, this is more of a fideistic interpretation of the Creation story. I have no reason at this point to be opposed to the idea of macroevolution but I am growing highly ambiguous to it as a theory.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.

« Last Edit: February 16, 2005, 12:30:46 AM by Matthew777 » Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
jmbejdl
Count-Palatine James the Spurious of Giggleswick on the Naze
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Church of Romania
Posts: 1,480


Great Martyr St. John the New of Suceava


« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2005, 05:47:46 AM »

Matthew777,

It's interesting to see that you're reconsidering your position on evolution. I've been there also since I converted to Orthodoxy, and I think you're right to do so - the evidence for evolution simply isn't as strong as biologists often make out. Of course, as the son of a geneticist, when I first came to this conclusion it was the scientific equivalent of heresy to me. I went with it nonetheless.

I still don't think that Genesis is meant to be read entirely literally (not all the Church Fathers seem to have thought this either) and I find young earth creationism laughable, but I'm certainly not in the evolution camp any longer. So long as you don't start going so literalist that you come up with reasons for fossils such as 'God put them there to deceive the unfaithful' (I really heard this from an evangelical young earther), then I think you're on the right track.

James
Logged

We owe greater gratitude to those who humble us, wrong us, and douse us with venom, than to those who nurse us with honour and sweet words, or feed us with tasty food and confections, for bile is the best medicine for our soul. - Elder Paisios of Mount Athos
Doubting Thomas
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 874

Anglican (but not Episcopagan)


« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2005, 02:05:47 PM »

Matthew, I don't think you are being "irrational" at all. It's pretty neat how you can reconsider the validity a long held belief. (Believe me, as a life-long Baptist, I've done a lot of reconsidering over the past couple of years)

God Bless. Smiley
Logged

"My Lord and My God!"--Doubting Thomas, AD 33
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2005, 02:25:54 PM »

St. Basil writes:

The nature of existing objects, set in motion by one command, passes through creation without change, by generation and destruction, preserving the succession of the species through resemblance until it reaches the very end. It begets a horse as the successor of a horse, a lion of a lion, and an eagle of an eagle; and it continues to preserve each of the animals by uninterrupted successions until the consummation of the universe. No length of time causes the specific characteristics of the animals to be corrupted or extinct, but, as if established just recently, nature, ever fresh, moves along with time. (Hexaemeron, IX, 2.)

St. Ephraim says in his commentary on Genesis:
No one should think that the Creation of Six Days is an allegory; it is likewise impermissible to say that what seems, according to the account, to have been created in the course of six days, was created in a single instant, and likewise that certain names presented in this account either signify nothing, or signify something else. On the contrary, one must know that just as the heaven and the earth which were created in the beginning are actually the heaven and the earth and not something else understood under the names of heaven and earth, so also everything else that is spoken of as being created and brought into order after the creation of heaven and earth is not empty names, but the very essence of the created natures corresponds to the force of these names. (Commentary on Genesis, ch. I)

St. John Chrysostom, in his commentary on Genesis, teaches:
Today God goes over to the waters and shows us that from them, by His word and command, there proceeded animate creatures. What mind, tell me, can understand this miracle? What tongue will be able worthily to glorify the Creator? He said only: Let the earth bring forth-and immediately He aroused it to bear fruit.... As of the earth He said only: Let it bring forth-and there appeared a great variety of flowers, grasses, and seeds, and everything occurred by His word alone; so also here He said: Let the waters bring forth... and suddenly there appeared so many kinds of creeping things, such a variety of birds, that it is impossible even to enumerate them with words. (Homilies on Genesis, VII, 3)

And again St. Chrysostom writes:

God took a single rib, it is said: but how from this single rib did He form a whole creature? Tell me, how did the taking of the rib occur? How did Adam not feel this taking? You can say nothing about this; this is known only by Him Who created.... God did not produce a new creation, but taking from an already existing creation a certain small part, from this part He made a whole creature. What power the Highest Artist God has, to produce from this small part (a rib) the composition of so many members, make so many organs of sense, and form a whole, perfect, and complete being. (Homilies on Genesis, XV, 2- 3)

Evolutionism is antiscriptural.
 As Chrysostom warns us:

Not to believe what is contained in the Divine Scripture, but to introduce something else from one's own mind-this, I believe, subjects those who hazard such a thing to great danger. (Homilies on Genesis, XIII, 3)
Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2005, 03:39:33 PM »

So long as you don't start going so literalist that you come up with reasons for fossils such as 'God put them there to deceive the unfaithful' (

Most "transitional fossils" can be explained as extinct species that evolutionists have misinterpreted.
Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2005, 05:00:24 PM »

Rejecting the theory of evolution is much easier than I thought it would be.
If the church fathers are truthful then evolution is not.
Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
Doubting Thomas
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 874

Anglican (but not Episcopagan)


« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2005, 05:54:24 PM »

Rejecting the theory of evolution is much easier than I thought it would be.
If the church fathers are truthful then evolution is not.
Amen! Smiley
Logged

"My Lord and My God!"--Doubting Thomas, AD 33
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2005, 09:17:25 PM »

Given that the church fathers would be strictly opposed to theistic evolution, why is there not a universal consensus against the theory within the Church?
« Last Edit: February 16, 2005, 09:25:39 PM by Matthew777 » Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2005, 10:07:24 PM »

My primary reason for not believing in a literal interpretation of Genesis was the apparent contradiction between 1 and 2 Genesis. However, there really is no contradiction at all:
Genesis 1
- Day one - heavens and earth are created.  "Let there be light."  Day and Night. - Day two - Atmospheric waters separated from earth waters.
- Day three - Land appears separating the seas.  Vegetation is made.
- Day four - Sun, moon, stars are made.
- Day five - Sea life and birds are made.
- Day six - Land animals, creeping things, and man (male and female) are made.
Genesis 2
States heaven and earth were created.  no plant yet on earth, no rain yet, no man.  but, a mist rose watering the surface of the ground.  Then the Lord formed man from dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.  Then God made Eve.
     There is no contradiction between Genesis 1 and 2.  Genesis 1 is a detailed explanation of the six days of creation, day by day.  Genesis two is a recap and a more detailed explanation of the sixth day, the day that Adam and Eve were made.  The recap is stated in Gen. 2:4, "This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven." Then, Moses goes on to detail the creation of Adam and Eve as is seen in verses 7 thru 24 of Gen. 2.  Proof that it is not a creative account is found in the fact that animals aren't even mentioned until after the creation of Adam.  Why?  Probably because their purpose was designated by Adam.  They didn't need to be mentioned until after Adam was created.
http://www.carm.org/diff/Gen_1.htm   

Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
jmbejdl
Count-Palatine James the Spurious of Giggleswick on the Naze
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Church of Romania
Posts: 1,480


Great Martyr St. John the New of Suceava


« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2005, 04:23:20 AM »



Most "transitional fossils" can be explained as extinct species that evolutionists have misinterpreted.

I wasn't really referring to transitional fossils - I don't even really know of any good ones and the evangelical I mentioned was talking about all fossils (he was a young earther and didn't believe that the earth had existed long enough for fossilization to take place at all). All I was meaning was that if you take a literal reading of Genesis so far that you come up with theological arguments relying on God tricking humans, then I think you're treading on thin ice. In my opinion, this evangelical's concept of a deceitful God is closer to to my idea of Satan than the loving God I worship and who is reflected in all creation.

James
Logged

We owe greater gratitude to those who humble us, wrong us, and douse us with venom, than to those who nurse us with honour and sweet words, or feed us with tasty food and confections, for bile is the best medicine for our soul. - Elder Paisios of Mount Athos
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2005, 11:53:39 AM »

duly noted.

may peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2005, 01:02:28 AM »

Given that the church fathers would be strictly opposed to theistic evolution, why is there not a universal consensus against the theory within the Church?

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2005, 09:28:07 PM »

I humbly await a response.
Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2005, 03:34:59 PM »

I do not see any conflict between evolutionary theory and the Christian faith, assuming that made the descent of man possible and breathed the soul into us.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
BritishEnquirer
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 28


« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2005, 12:25:54 PM »

I do not believe that scepticism about evolution by natural selection is necessarily fideist, as some biologists are also sceptical that natural selection explains life in totality.

Prof Stuart A. Kauffman has written a book called 'The Origins of Order' which is not anti-Darwin, but explains that it is insufficient to explain life on Earth. His theories are based on complexity theories. He is not arguing from a faith viewpoint. Stephen Jay Gould has also stated that the fossil record does not support evolution by natural selection.

I do not believe that the death of animals and plants is necessarily a result of the Fall. I agree with theistic evolutionists that the death of humans is different than the death of animals and plants. Humans were created innocent, with the potential of immortality as they developed into perfection, but blew it. Animals and plants were never created to be immortal. At least, I don't see it that way.

I think part of the problem for us humans, is that we sometimes project our feelings about things, as though our feelings were the truth. I happen to like tigers, very much. I also happen to like deer and antelope, etc. If I see a TV programme which shows tigers hunting antelope, or whatever cute creatures, and I feel the tigers are being cruel, am I not projecting my own sentiments? If I conclude that Nature is cruel, is that truth? Or is it a projection of my feelings? If I see the death of an antelope as somehow as important as the death of a human being, or a nearby equivalent, am I mixing categories?

If earthquakes are cruel, if volcanoes are cruel, does that mean gravity is cruel also? Many people have been injured or killed due to gravity.

Christina
Logged
Sabbas
Drink from your own wells
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 503

St. Glicherie True Orthodox Church of Romania


« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2005, 11:26:27 AM »

It would be nice if Fr.Seraphim's book Genesis, Creation, and Early Man were put completely online soon. Here is one very good excerpt from the book that deals with Creationism and Evolution http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/evolution_frseraphim_kalomiros.aspx and here is a website with the Forward and first three chapters of his book http://creatio.orthodoxy.ru/english.html I like the Patriarchal Blessing at the top!

I do not believe that scepticism about evolution by natural selection is necessarily fideist, as some biologists are also sceptical that natural selection explains life in totality.

Prof Stuart A. Kauffman has written a book called 'The Origins of Order' which is not anti-Darwin, but explains that it is insufficient to explain life on Earth. His theories are based on complexity theories. He is not arguing from a faith viewpoint. Stephen Jay Gould has also stated that the fossil record does not support evolution by natural selection.

I do not believe that the death of animals and plants is necessarily a result of the Fall. I agree with theistic evolutionists that the death of humans is different than the death of animals and plants. Humans were created innocent, with the potential of immortality as they developed into perfection, but blew it. Animals and plants were never created to be immortal. At least, I don't see it that way.

I think part of the problem for us humans, is that we sometimes project our feelings about things, as though our feelings were the truth. I happen to like tigers, very much. I also happen to like deer and antelope, etc. If I see a TV programme which shows tigers hunting antelope, or whatever cute creatures, and I feel the tigers are being cruel, am I not projecting my own sentiments? If I conclude that Nature is cruel, is that truth? Or is it a projection of my feelings? If I see the death of an antelope as somehow as important as the death of a human being, or a nearby equivalent, am I mixing categories?

If earthquakes are cruel, if volcanoes are cruel, does that mean gravity is cruel also? Many people have been injured or killed due to gravity.

Christina

Christina the Fathers are not projecting their own feelings into the story of Creation they are going by the Tradition and Vision given to them. In fact in their time they were fighting against looser more allegorical interpretations of the Genesis story made popular by Neo-Platonists and others.

Quote
I do not believe that the death of animals and plants is necessarily a result of the Fall. I agree with theistic evolutionists that the death of humans is different than the death of animals and plants. Humans were created innocent, with the potential of immortality as they developed into perfection, but blew it. Animals and plants were never created to be immortal. At least, I don't see it that way.

The Fathers have always said that the animals were created to live and not die as well. They state that nature was incorrupt. Why would God create animals to die? How is theistic evolution compatible with Orthodoxy? It seems to say the body and soul are created separately for the first man. The Church has always taught that mans soul and body are created at the same time together. Theistic evolution seems close to Origenism in this saying that the soul is somehow breathed into a body that is already alive and formed.

Quote
I happen to like tigers, very much. I also happen to like deer and antelope, etc. If I see a TV programme which shows tigers hunting antelope, or whatever cute creatures, and I feel the tigers are being cruel, am I not projecting my own sentiments? If I conclude that Nature is cruel, is that truth? Or is it a projection of my feelings? If I see the death of an antelope as somehow as important as the death of a human being, or a nearby equivalent, am I mixing categories?

Carnivorous animals are specifically mentioned as having originally been created as herbivores as everything. The Fathers, I believe St.Basil in particular, state that as hard as it is to believe carnivorous animals did indeed live off fruits and other plants like everything else. Animals were not created to hunt and kill one another. It is the result of man, who was made king of all creation, that with his fall into corruption so to do the animals fall. In the biography of Fr.Seraphim of Platina, which I very strongly advise everyone interested in the Orthodox faith to read, you see, at the monastery he and Fr.Herman founded, the natural, close relationship man has with the animals. At the monastery they had deer that came right up to be fed and were not afraid at all, cats and dogs that got along, etc. 

Quote
If earthquakes are cruel, if volcanoes are cruel, does that mean gravity is cruel also? Many people have been injured or killed due to gravity.

Man was created invulnerable to the elements. He could be underwater and not suffocate, he could be in fire and not burned, etc. The fallen world is indeed a cruel world. By saying this I do not mean to impugn gravity but rather to say that man was not meant to be a slave to the elements and forces around us.

By the way I am very happy to read about your change of heart Matthew! I hope you have come to see where I and others are coming from.
Logged

www.hungersite.com  Ãƒâ€šÃ‚  www.freedonation.com you can donate up to 20 times at freedonation.  http://www.pomog.org/ has online 1851 Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton English translation of Septuagint.http://www.cnrs.ubc.ca/greekbible/ Original Koine Septuagint and New Testament.
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2005, 11:23:32 PM »

Oh, I love Fr. Rose!
Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2005, 02:53:58 AM »

Is Genesis Creation and Early Man worth the long read?
I wonder why certain Orthodox Christians have such hostility toward the Creationist modern fathers of the Church.

May paeace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.078 seconds with 45 queries.