Author Topic: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision  (Read 57342 times)

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Offline Keble

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #90 on: April 05, 2005, 01:53:44 PM »
Well, yeah, he can, and so can science fiction writers, at least in their story universes. You've turned Genesis into science fiction; current physics doesn't go with your plot line, so you've simply postulated a changed science without anything vaguely resembling scientific rigor.

We still can't get past this "God made the world so as to fool people into believing that it's much older than it actually is" problem. The "laws of physics take a holiday" version you are touting is also not really consistent with the spirit of the text. Genesis 1 is written as though God sets the natural order in motion and then that order takes it from there. In your version there is no natural order until Day Seven.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2005, 01:54:15 PM by Keble »

Offline Matthew777

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #91 on: April 05, 2005, 04:07:19 PM »
You've turned Genesis into science fiction; current physics doesn't go with your plot line, so you've simply postulated a changed science without anything vaguely resembling scientific rigor.

You should know what place the natural sciences should have in our hearts and minds.

St Theophanus the Recluse wrote: "The positive teaching of the Church serves to know whether a concept is from the Truth. This is a litmus test for all teachings. Whatever agrees with it, you should accept it, whatever does not- - reject. One can do it without further deliberations". "Science goes forward fast, let it do so. But if they infer something inconsistent with the Divine Revelation, they are definitely off the right path in life, do not follow them". "Believers have the right to measure the material things with spiritual ones, when materialists get into the realm of the spiritual without a slightest scruple... We have wisdom as our partner, while theirs is foolishness. Material things can be neither the power not the purpose. They are just the means and the field of activity of spiritual powers by the action of the spiritual beginning of all things."

Materialists would never consider the possibility that God created the stars for our own benefit. It makes sense that God would create the stars in such a way that the light would reach our planet. No retreat to physics is necessary.
God is not bound to the laws of physics. It would be better if we took heed to the wisdom of the church fathers instead of modern scientists in this matter.
The natural laws that we observe now is not how the Creation was before the Fall.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2005, 04:11:21 PM by Matthew777 »
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Offline Ebor

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #92 on: April 05, 2005, 04:43:40 PM »
In Genesis, we read that God created the stars in an instant so that they may light up the night sky. Given that He created the stars for us to see, and the stars are far, far, away, it only makes sense that God accelerated their light speed when He created them so that the light would reach our earth. God created the stars. God accelerated the speed of light of the stars. Since then, the speed has been a constant. God can, after all, do anything.

You're adding to the text.  Genesis says that God created the Sun and Moon and stars.  It doesn't give a time frame.  The word "instant" is yours. 

Your "idea" may "only make sense" to you, but there is no basis in fact to it.  Why should your "explanation" be accepted on your authority?

Ebor

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Offline Ebor

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #93 on: April 05, 2005, 05:00:38 PM »

Materialists would never consider the possibility that God created the stars for our own benefit. It makes sense that God would create the stars in such a way that the light would reach our planet. No retreat to physics is necessary. 

How do you know what "materialists" think?  Are you saying that anyone who disagrees with your ummm theory is a "materialist"?    I also wonder if maybe God might have made the stars and other things not necessarily "for our own benefit" but maybe for their own sake and the joy of being?  I am reminded of the passage from Psalm 104:

25.  So is this great and wide sea, in which are creeping animals innumerable, both small and great beasts. 
26.  There go the ships: there is that leviathan, which thou hast made to play therein. 

No mention of leviathan being for the benefit of humans.

Quote
God is not bound to the laws of physics. It would be better if we took heed to the wisdom of the church fathers instead of modern scientists in this matter.
The natural laws that we observe now is not how the Creation was before the Fall.

God made the Laws of Physics and people have been figuring them out.  How do *you* know what creation was like before the Fall?  You weren't there. You state a "fact" without support.   

Why should your views of the church fathers be accepted either?  Are you reading things on your own?  Are you taking classes in theology?  Do you have a spiritual director or Spiritual Father to guide you?   

For Christianity and Physics I'll take the ideas of Sir James Polkinghorn, physicist, former president of Queen's College, Cambridge and Anglican clergyman: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/stories/s18054.htm  for an interview.

Ebor
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Offline Keble

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #94 on: April 05, 2005, 05:08:24 PM »
You should know what place the natural sciences should have in our hearts and minds.

Well, um, again, nobody is in disagreement here on this. We all believe that the natural sciences are strictly limited in their revelation about God. The problem here is your resort to theology to answer questions of natural science, and by extension, your resort to speculations in order to make science and your theology fit together.

Now Theophan the Recluse isn't a church father by a long stretch, nor (as far as I can tell) a scientist of any stripe. Therefore I'm only impressed with him as evidence of literalist creationist viewpoints within the Russian church. But then what he says is very troublesome. There are many places where the bible by inference makes statements about the physical world which aren't true or makes statements about non-miraculous history which are implausible. There are plenty of cranky atheists out there ready to point these out. Now, most of these are simply remarks in passing, and a non-theologian would tend to deny that they intend to teach. But if these passages must be taken as literal teaching, then they constitute prima facie evidence that the bible (and therefore the church) teaches falsehood.

Also, the philosophical structure of what he says is deeply wrong-headed. When he says:

Quote
"Believers have the right to measure the material things with spiritual ones, when materialists get into the realm of the spiritual without a slightest scruple... We have wisdom as our partner, while theirs is foolishness. Material things can be neither the power not the purpose. They are just the means and the field of activity of spiritual powers by the action of the spiritual beginning of all things."

... first of all, I think the last statement is heresy-- even gnostic. Yes, they are that means, but that's not all they are. They are not merely the set for a cosmic play. The first sentence, though, is more the problem. I don't agree that either side has any such right, nor is it reasonable that materialist mistakes about spiritual categories justify spiritual claims for material categories.

The enemy in arguing for young earth creationism isn't Francis Crick; it's me.

While I'm at it: I looked up the quote which you supplied. It is, of course, not from a primary source (the use of the phrase "litmus test" appears to be a recent American idiom), but at least you could 'fess up to where you got it from.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2005, 09:22:00 AM by Keble »

Offline Ebor

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #95 on: April 05, 2005, 05:09:31 PM »
Sorry, I had to come out of the woodwork to address Matthew.

You claim to have taken some Physics classes. OK.

Mathew777 said on page one of this thread that he had taken "college level anthropology and biology". So, to be fair, I don't recall if he said that he has actually take any Physics courses. Otoh, he is making statements on the subject, so questioning is in order, maybe. (Then again, "College level" can cover alot of ground from Biology 101 on up, and taking a class isn't the same as being an authority on the subject matter. ;) )

Ebor
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Offline Matthew777

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #96 on: April 06, 2005, 01:21:33 PM »

 How do *you* know what creation was like before the Fall?

Studying the fathers of the Church in their inspired exegesis of Scripture; something which we should all trust over secular philosophy.

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Offline Matthew777

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #97 on: April 06, 2005, 01:26:17 PM »
Genesis Creation and Early Man is truly eye-opening for anyone who is willing to consider the traditional Orthodox understanding of Genesis.  Fr. Rose provides an excellent patristic commentary on the text of Genesis using the fathers of the Church to expound on the literal, historical and mystical meaning of the text. Then Fr. Rose expounds on what the relationship an Orthodox Christian should have with secular philosophy and then he gives a critique of the evolutionist model. The editor's epilogue is very revealing as to the philosophy behind evolutionary theory and how this has shaped secular culture.
If you are interested in the patristic understanding of Genesis over secular philosophy then this is definitely the book for you. I highly reccomend it. The truth as to the origin of the universe, the world, the species and mankind will not come from secular musings but from the revealed book of Genesis and the correct interpretation as given by the fathers of the Church.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
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Offline GiC

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #98 on: April 06, 2005, 02:32:26 PM »
GiC,

Yea remember minkowski spaces and those damned orthogonal vectors?

Here's the problem with the spcial relativity approach, even though I admit it is the standard accepted in the physics community today:
1) as you mentioned, special relativity deals only in systems where gravitational effects are weak or non-existant.
2) where there is gravitation, spacetime takes on a curvature and general relativity must be adopted.

I am a mathematican and not a physics guy, but perhaps you are. I always thought there were some contradictions to the special relativity theory..in particular tachyons and superbradyons? What about the additity of mass? This one I know.. E^2=m^2*c^4+p^2*c^2 The triangle inequality takes effect, you know, always faster to go from pt A-C than pts A-B-C

Humbly awaiting your reply,
R

Special Relativity (SR) is like Newtonian Physicis in that it helps explain many situations and is very simple and straightforward, thus used when possible (but when not possible to use Newtonian Physics). But what I was refering to was the effects of General Relativity (GR) on the velocity of light (specifically curvatures in the Space-Time continuum caused by the acceleration of Space-Time's expanson combined with the Presence of Gravitational Fields caused by the presence of Mass (positive and, possibly, negative).

My undergrad was in Mathematics, though I almost had a Minor in Physics, I took all the required theoretical classes, but I never took the labs...so I didn't get the minor (the reason I go my minor in Computer Science was because I could take enough theoretical computer science electives, to get it...rather than easy, but boring, programming classes), in any case, I did take a Physics class in Special Relativity, and one in General Relativity , with that said, it's been a couple years and I'm a little rusty.

Tachyons and superbradyons, and any other type of superluminal communication, if taking place, does undermine SR, which is dependent on the fact that there is a constant (c) which no information can be transmitted faster than, fortunately GR takes all this into account, and the contradictions in SR are resolved.

Offline Matthew777

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #99 on: April 06, 2005, 03:15:35 PM »
I would rather not debate this anymore. It should be clear from the fathers of the Church that when scientists infer something which contradicts the traditional understanding of Scripture, we have the full right to disagree.

St. Theophanus the Recluse wrote: "The positive teaching of the Church serves to know whether a concept is from the Truth. This is a litmus test for all teachings. Whatever agrees with it, you should accept it, whatever does not- - reject. One can do it without further deliberations" [1]. "Science goes forward fast, let it do so. But if they infer something inconsistent with the Divine Revelation, they are definitely off the right path in lie, do not follow them" [2]. "Believers have the right to measure the material things with spiritual ones, when materialists get into the realm of the spiritual without a slightest scruple... We have wisdom as our partner, while theirs is foolishness. Material things can be neither the power not the purpose. They are just the means and the field of activity of spiritual powers by the action of the spiritual beginning of all things."
http://www.creatio.orthodoxy.ru/sbornik/sbufeev_whynot_english.html

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Offline Ebor

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #100 on: April 06, 2005, 04:28:59 PM »
I would rather not debate this anymore.

Well, I don't think you *were* debating this. Most of the thread you seemed be issuing statements of your ideas as though they were Papal Bulls while ignoring points that other people wrote questioning or objecting to them.

Quote
It should be clear from the fathers of the Church that when scientists infer something which contradicts the traditional understanding of Scripture, we have the full right to disagree.

And when someone posts things that don't touch on real science or show understanding in how it works but brushes it off, on their own authority, other people who know more have the full right to disagree with him or her, too. The church fathers were not scientistsa and today' scientists are not (for the most part) theologians. But imho John Polkinghorne is a good authority on both physics and Theology:
http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/quarks/

And just repeating the quote from St. Theophan (but not addressing others critique of it) does not make it more applicable or true to the subject matter.


Ebor
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Offline Matthew777

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #101 on: April 06, 2005, 04:37:49 PM »
It does show what place secular philosophy should have within the Orthodox Church.
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Offline Veniamin

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #102 on: April 06, 2005, 04:39:30 PM »
It does show what place secular philosophy should have within the Orthodox Church.

Emprical "hard" sciences are hardly philosophy.
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Offline Ebor

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #103 on: April 06, 2005, 04:56:38 PM »
It does show what place secular philosophy should have within the Orthodox Church.

Does it?  And that place is "No where"  or "Ignore the data if you don't like it?" 

I concur with Veniamin, that hard science is not "philosophy".  You seem to use the term "secular philosophy" without any concrete definition, unless it's "things that don't go along with my ideas".

Ebor
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Offline Matthew777

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #104 on: April 06, 2005, 05:07:50 PM »


Emprical "hard" sciences are hardly philosophy.

Darwinism is a philosophical system. Given that large-scale evolution cannot be observed in the present nor in the fossil record, it is not a fact but a philosophical interpetation of the facts.
In the fossil record, what we observed is long periods of stasis followed by abrupt appearance of species without true intermediates. In the present, we can observe variation within kinds such as a new variety of fruit fly but not large-scale evolutionary change.
Universal common descent is not a fact and St. Theophan saw this.

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Offline GiC

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #105 on: April 06, 2005, 05:34:07 PM »
Emprical "hard" sciences are hardly philosophy.

You dont really believe this do you? Please tell me I don't have to go through Descartes and Hegel again...perhaps you can just go look at my debate with JosephofMessiah?

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/newboard/index.php/topic,5547.30.html

Hopefully the first three paragraphs of that post should be enough to convince you that so-called' 'Empirical "hard" sciences' really are just a branch of Philosophy (mind you a branch of Philosophical though I enjoy exploring). If it isn't enough, follow the argument, I make more points (and the same point over and over again)...if there are any questions, just ask.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2005, 05:35:24 PM by greekischristian »

Offline Veniamin

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #106 on: April 06, 2005, 05:38:55 PM »


You dont really believe this do you? Please tell me I don't have to go through Descartes and Hegel again...perhaps you can just go look at my debate with JosephofMessiah?

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/newboard/index.php/topic,5547.30.html

Hopefully the first three paragraphs of that post should be enough to convince you that so-called' 'Empirical "hard" sciences' really are just a branch of Philosophy (mind you a branch of Philosophical though I enjoy exploring). If it isn't enough, follow the argument, I make more points (and the same point over and over again)...if there are any questions, just ask.

Okay, here's a question...

Could you possibly dumb that down for me a little?  I don't have an extensive background in philosophy, so a lot of that's completely over my head.
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Offline yBeayf

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #107 on: April 06, 2005, 06:03:57 PM »
Quote
In the fossil record, what we observed is long periods of stasis followed by abrupt appearance of species without true intermediates.

This is patently false, and I have demonstrated this to you before. You have chosen to ignore any point I have made.

In any case, even if this were true (which it is not), it would support an old Earth with special creation of each species at different points in time, rather than a 7-day creation with all species created roughly simultaneously.

Offline GiC

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #108 on: April 06, 2005, 06:43:17 PM »
Okay, here's a question...

Could you possibly dumb that down for me a little? I don't have an extensive background in philosophy, so a lot of that's completely over my head.

Did you ever see the matrix? How do you know for certain that what you observe is real? You make assumptions, you work off of axioms (fundamental assumptions). With religion we are axioms are the foundations and sources of our beliefs, with science the axioms are observations...but in both cases you can not know anything for certain, your conclusions are only as true as your axioms; and since you can never know for certain that your axioms are true (G+¦del's Incompleteness Theorem), whether it's science or religion, it's all completely based on faith.

Offline Matthew777

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #109 on: April 06, 2005, 09:00:56 PM »


This is patently false, and I have demonstrated this to you before. You have chosen to ignore any point I have made.


Please read Darwin on Trial in case you have not already.

In any case, even if this were true (which it is not), it would support an old Earth with special creation of each species at different points in time, rather than a 7-day creation with all species created roughly simultaneously.

The geolocial column does not exist anywhere in the world. Furthermore, fossils are often found in the "wrong" order. Therefore, we are unable to date the world by the fossil record. Radiometric dating methods are unreliable also. We are not able to know the age of the earth from science but the fathers of the Church agreed that the earth is 7,500 years old.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2005, 09:01:10 PM by Matthew777 »
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Offline GiC

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #110 on: April 06, 2005, 09:32:36 PM »
Please read Darwin on Trial in case you have not already.

Matthew, this just isn't how you debate...it's unrealistic to expect someone to go read a book to make you point. Make the Argument, and back it up with proper citations if necessary.

Offline Matthew777

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #111 on: April 06, 2005, 09:39:35 PM »


Matthew, this just isn't how you debate...it's unrealistic to expect someone to go read a book to make you point. Make the Argument, and back it up with proper citations if necessary.

Please check it out at your local library. I am not debating this. The fossil record falsifies Darwinism and the book explains why without appealing to the Bible or creation science.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2005, 01:21:33 PM by Matthew777 »
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Offline GiC

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #112 on: April 06, 2005, 09:54:01 PM »
Please check it out at your local library. I am not deating this. The fossil record falsifies Darwinism and the book explains why without appealing to the Bible or creation science.

I'm just telling you that's not how you debate. Post it if you will, it really doesn't matter since this arguement is a moot. Creationism and Evolution use two different sets of Axioms, thus they are NOT two opposing theories, they are two independent theories, each based on a certain set of beliefs...which is why the entire discussion between 'creationists' and 'evolutionists' is pointless and never gets anywhere.

Offline yBeayf

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #113 on: April 06, 2005, 10:33:51 PM »
Quote
I am not deating this.

This, at least, is true.

Offline Veniamin

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #114 on: April 07, 2005, 12:06:17 PM »
Did you ever see the matrix? How do you know for certain that what you observe is real? You make assumptions, you work off of axioms (fundamental assumptions). With religion we are axioms are the foundations and sources of our beliefs, with science the axioms are observations...but in both cases you can not know anything for certain, your conclusions are only as true as your axioms; and since you can never know for certain that your axioms are true (G+¦del's Incompleteness Theorem), whether it's science or religion, it's all completely based on faith.

Okay, I can see what you're saying, although I don't think I agree with it.  However, once I've based my belief in God on faith, don't all my other beliefs, whether secular or religious, necessarily flow from that?  I believe God exists and that he created the world.  If God created the world, it must be real, rather than an illusion placed there by someone else.  If the world's real, then what I observe about the world is real, right?
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Offline Matthew777

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #115 on: April 07, 2005, 01:22:19 PM »
But when men make observations which contradict the revealed truth, we have the right to disagree.
He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
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Offline GiC

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #116 on: April 07, 2005, 03:01:51 PM »
Veniamin,

Your conclusions are derived from your assumptions; however, the assumptions must be made on faith. Thus Empirical 'hard' science does not have any more force or authority than Religion, but rather is simply a belief derived from one's metaphysical axioms, as religion is.

Offline Veniamin

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #117 on: April 07, 2005, 03:29:37 PM »
Veniamin,

Your conclusions are derived from your assumptions; however, the assumptions must be made on faith. Thus Empirical 'hard' science does not have any more force or authority than Religion, but rather is simply a belief derived from one's metaphysical axioms, as religion is.

I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

OT:  Nice "secret agent" title.  :D
Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl. ~Frederick the Great

Offline GiC

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #118 on: April 07, 2005, 03:40:47 PM »
I dont know what there is to disagree about, but ok...lol

Offline Veniamin

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #119 on: April 07, 2005, 03:47:24 PM »
I dont know what there is to disagree about, but ok...lol

With you, there's always something to disagree with.  ;)

BTW, are you a secret agent for the real EP or for Mor?
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Offline GiC

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #120 on: April 07, 2005, 03:51:26 PM »
LOL

Offline Ebor

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #121 on: April 07, 2005, 04:35:25 PM »


Matthew, this just isn't how you debate...it's unrealistic to expect someone to go read a book to make you point. Make the Argument, and back it up with proper citations if necessary.


 :headbang:  Yes!  I may not agree with you in all areas, GiC, but you're spot on with how to hold to the rules of arguement and debate!  thank you.

Ebor
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Offline Ebor

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #122 on: April 07, 2005, 04:38:38 PM »

 How do you know for certain that what you observe is real? .

Was it Zhuang Zhou dreaming he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming that he was Zhuang Zhou?

 ;D

Sorry, couldnt' resist.

Ebor
"I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". - C. S. Lewis

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Offline Matthew777

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #123 on: April 07, 2005, 04:49:24 PM »
Please consider Fr. Rose' book. He is greatly responsible for the revival of Orthodox Christian theology in the United States and the West.
He will eventually be canonized as a saint. It took a great deal of struggle and prayer to acquire the mindset of the fathers and provide the traditional patristic exegesis of Genesis. Before we allow secular wisdom to interpret the text of Genesis, please consider this book. Fr. Rose also provides a critique of the evolutionist model and why it is not worth compromising our tradition.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2005, 04:52:09 PM by Matthew777 »
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Offline Ebor

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #124 on: April 07, 2005, 05:00:05 PM »
Please consider Fr. Rose' book.

What makes you think I *haven't*? or is it only "Considered" when the result is agreement? 

Ebor
"I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". - C. S. Lewis

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Offline Matthew777

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #125 on: April 07, 2005, 05:03:03 PM »
Have you read the book? If not, how can you have an opinion of it?
« Last Edit: April 07, 2005, 05:03:28 PM by Matthew777 »
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Offline yBeayf

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #126 on: April 07, 2005, 05:04:02 PM »
Quote
Have you read the book?

I own the book, and have read it twice. I'm still unimpressed. It had nice icons, though.

Offline GiC

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #127 on: April 07, 2005, 05:07:17 PM »
Please consider Fr. Rose' book. He is greatly responsible for the revival of Orthodox Christian theology in the United States and the West.
He will eventually be canonized as a saint. It took a great deal of struggle and prayer to acquire the mindset of the fathers and provide the traditional patristic exegesis of Genesis. Before we allow secular wisdom to interpret the text of Genesis, please consider this book. Fr. Rose also provides a critique of the evolutionist model and why it is not worth compromising our tradition.

On the issue of Creation, I side with the School of Alexandria (along with St. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, St. Athanasios, St. Cyril, St. Augustine, et cetera) and I believe that all things were created simultaneously and instantaniously, not over the course of six days (even the Cappadocians emphasized that all matter was created instantaniously outside of time, though they differed with the School of Alexandria in their belief that God then used the existing matter to form the universe and all therein within the confines of time). Thus, I could argue that those who interpret the creation account literally are ignoring the witness of the Fathers and have been influenced by the scholastic movement of the medieval latin church; thus arguing that they do not have and ignore the 'patristic mindset.'
« Last Edit: April 07, 2005, 05:08:17 PM by greekischristian »

Offline Matthew777

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #128 on: April 07, 2005, 05:13:16 PM »
From what I have read, the belief that all things were created simultaneously was a minority view of the fathers who were influenced by secular philosophy.

St. Ephrain the Syrian, who knew Hebrew and approached the world with an "Eastern" mindset, 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)

In his commentary on the fifth day of Creation, St. John Chrysostom tells us:

"The blessed Moses, instructed by the Spirit of God, teaches us with such detail...so that we may clearly know both the order and the way of creation of each thing. If God had not been concerned for our salvation and guided the tongue of the Prophet, it would have been sufficient to say that God created the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and the living creatures, without indicating either the order of the days, or what was created earlier and what later...But he distinguishes so clearly both the order of creation and the number of days, and instructs us about everything with great condescension, in order that we, coming to know the whole truth, would no longer heed the false teachings of those who speak of everything according to their own reasonings, but might comprehend the unutterable power of the Creator."

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.

« Last Edit: April 07, 2005, 05:16:04 PM by Matthew777 »
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Offline GiC

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #129 on: April 07, 2005, 05:35:22 PM »
From what I have read, the belief that all things were created simultaneously was a minority view of the fathers who were influenced by secular philosophy.

A minority view? Simultaneous creation was held by the entire School of Alexandria and by St. Augustine and his successors in the West (until the coming of Scholasticism), and the most important principle in simultaneous creation, the simultaneous creation of all matter, was even held by the Cappadocians and their successors. Infact the only School of Thought that opposed this view was the School of Antioch (to which St. Ephraim the Syrian and St. John Chrysostom both belonged), so quoting the opinions of two Antiochians hardly establishes your opinion as the 'patristic opinion.' Are you trying to argue that St. Clement of Alexandria, St. Athanasios the Great, St. Cyril the Great, St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Gregory the Theologian did not have a Patristic mindset? I could argue that St. Ephraim the Syrian and St. John Chrysostom were influenced by Judaizers or Secular Aristotelian Philosophy; you're not going to find any theological posistion from any of the fathers that did not have some earlier philosophical influence, people are a product of their culture, there's no way around that. And don't try to argue that the School of Antioch is some how more 'Christian' or more 'Patristic.' Whereas the extreme elements of the School of Alexandria were anathematized at Chalcedon, the extreme elements of the School of Antioch were anathematized even earlier at Ephesus. Neither School can be taken to be all-authoritive (though on this issue, the fact that St. Augustine and the West agreed with the School of Alexandria, as well as the Cappadocians on the most important points, would actually lend creedence to the posistion that the Alexandrian Conclusion is most consonant with Orthodoxy and Patristic Thought).

Offline Matthew777

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #130 on: April 07, 2005, 06:08:51 PM »

 Are you trying to argue that St. Clement of Alexandria, St. Athanasios the Great, St. Cyril the Great, St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Gregory the Theologian did not have a Patristic mindset?

First of all, St. Basil the Great is definitely not one to use for the position that all things were created simultaneously. Have you read his commentary on the Hexaemeron in which he expounds on the literal meaning of the six days of Creation?
St. Basil. Nine Homilies of the Hexaemeron.
http://www.creatio.orthodoxy.ru/english/hexaemeron/index.html

St. Gregory of Nyssa was a brother of St. Basil and upheld the literal meaning of the Hexaemeron. Please read his commentary:
http://www.bhsu.edu/artssciences/asfaculty/dsalomon/nyssa/hex.html

Please, if you are going to make such claims, please provide quotes. I have read St. Basil commentary on the Hexaemeron and it is both strange and surprising that you would use him to support your view.
Given that I have shown two of our examples to be fallicious, please provide evidence to support the others.

"St. Basil the Great says about God's creative acts in the Six Days. In speaking of the Third Day of Creation, St. Basil says:

At this saying all the dense woods appeared; all the trees shot up... Likewise, all the shrubs were immediately thick with leaf and bushy; and the so-called garland plants...all came into existence in a moment of time, although they were not previously upon the earth. (Hexaemeron, V, 6)

Again, he says:

"Let the earth bring forth." This brief command was immediately mighty nature and an elaborate system which brought to perfection more swiftly than our thought the countless properties of plants. (Hexaemeron, V, 10)

Again, on the Fifth Day:

The command came. Immediately rivers were productive and marshy lakes were fruitful of species proper and natural to each. (Hexaemeron, VH, 1)"
In the Hexaemeron he writes:

"Those who do not admit the common meaning of the Scriptures say that water is not water, but some other nature, and they explain a plant and a fish according to their opinion. They describe also the production of reptiles and wild animals, changing it according to their own notions, just like the dream interpreters, who interpret for their own ends the appearances seen in their dreams. When I hear grass, I think of grass, and in the same manner I understand everything as it is said, a plant, a fish, a wild animal, and an ox. Indeed, I am not ashamed of the Gospel.... Since Moses left unsaid, as useless for us, things in no way pertaining to us, shall we for this reason believe that the words of the Spirit are of less value than the foolish wisdom (of those who have written about the world)? Or shall I rather give glory to Him Who has not kept our mind occupied with vanities but has ordained that all things be written for the edification and guidance of our souls? This is a thing of which they seem to me to have been unaware, who have attempted by false arguments and allegorical interpretations to bestow on the Scripture a dignity of their own imagining. But theirs is the attitude of one who considers himself wiser than the revelations of the Spirit and introduces his own ideas in pretense of an explanation. Therefore, let It be understood as it has been written. (Hexaemeron, IX, 1)"
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/evolution_frseraphim_kalomiros.aspx

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.

« Last Edit: April 07, 2005, 06:12:21 PM by Matthew777 »
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Offline Matthew777

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #131 on: April 07, 2005, 08:59:24 PM »
Even though Fr. Seraphim insisted on upholding patristic tradition, he was rather humble about it. He warned us not to fall into a self-righteous zealotry which he called "super-correctness".

I understand that this is a sensitive subject and there is a great level of mystery involved. I do not have all the answers which is why I choose to believe the patristic understanding of Genesis because I figure that the fathers, in their spiritual wisdom, were closer to true theology than I will ever be.

What is the important though is something broader than the distinction of "literal" vs. "allegorical" interpretation of Genesis:
Do you believe that the universe and everything within it has been designed for a purpose?
Do you believe that human beings have been created in the image of God?
And do you believe that humanity has a fallen nature that must be redeemed by Christ?

We may disagree with the specifics, but these are the absolute essentials when it comes to the doctrine on Creation.   

Please consider this article which addresses the difficulties between YEC vs. OEC. I  believe it dispassionately addresses the crux of the matter without pitting one side against the other:

Probe Ministries
Christian Views of Science and Earth History
Rich Milne and Ray Bohlin
http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/viewscie.html

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Offline GiC

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #132 on: April 07, 2005, 11:08:51 PM »
First of all, St. Basil the Great is definitely not one to use for the position that all things were created simultaneously. Have you read his commentary on the Hexaemeron in which he expounds on the literal meaning of the six days of Creation?

I didn't say that St. Basil believed in the Simultaneous creation of all things, I said that he believed in the Simultaneous Creation of all matter, or in his terms, of all the Elements. In his first Homily of the Hexaemeron he states that, Fire, Air, Water, and Earth, from which all things come, were created on the first day of creation, the rest of creation he speaks of being formed from these things, or called forth from them, but the essential act of Creation was complete on the First Day, the rest of the days was essentially forming from that which he had already created.

St. Gregory of Nyssa was a brother of St. Basil and upheld the literal meaning of the Hexaemeron. Please read his commentary:

St. Gregory of Nyssa, of whom I have become quite fond, is far more adamant about the instantaneous and simultaneous creation of all matter than his brother. St. Gregory (at the link you gave me) said, 'In order to understand this, the beginning of the cosmogenesis is suggested because God is responsible for the causes of all things and the powers, and by the first impulse of his will the substance of each being such as heaven, ether, the stars, fire, air, sea, land, animals and plants.' And later he says:

'"Earth was not seen and unfurnished." Clearly this means that God's power over all things in the beginning came into existence by one impulse of creation, for his power seminally contained every created being and came into existence through one initiative.'


He then goes on to explain the true meaning of the Creation account:

'"Earth was not seen and unfurnished," as if to say that it was and not was. For qualities did not come together; a demonstration of this insight is that the text says it was "not seen." What is not seen lacks color; color is a certain outflow from the exterior of a given form which never lacks a body. If it was not seen, indeed it lacked color. By it was also unsightly because physical shape was absent. Thus at the immediate creation of the world there was the earth along with the rest of created beings. There remained through the creation of qualities that came into being, for the text says that the unseen existed, indicating no other created being is to be seen besides it, and also names by the word "unfurnished" that it had not yet became dense with corporeal properties.'

So we see that while St. Basil admited to the initial Creation of the Elements, and later the forming of the world and all therein from them, St. Gregory actually adovcated the Simultaneous creation of all things, and considers the Creation account to be a developing of Characteristics for and a Revealing of this Simultaneous Creation. In both cases though, they allowed for a simultaneous creation of matter, which is the important part, whether or not the matter was formed instantly, or over six days, or over fifteen billion years is secondary; however, on this Issue I will side with the School of Alexandria and advocate an instantaneous forming of matter as well as creating, though the philosophical implications of this are not nearly as profound.

Offline Matthew777

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #133 on: April 08, 2005, 12:49:54 AM »
Most importantly, we should cosider what we share common ground on.

Have you read the Probe ministries article?
http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/viewscie.html

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Offline GiC

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Re: Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision
« Reply #134 on: April 08, 2005, 01:35:07 AM »
Matthew,

You mistake my Religious and Philosophical beliefs for my Scientific beliefs. Science is fundamentally based on a different set of Axioms than Religon and Philosophy, thus making different assumptions will lead to different conclusions. Religiously and Philosophically I believe in Simultaneous Creation (I'm not even going to venture at a date); however, scientifically speaking I am not allowed to appeal to those Axioms, I must use the Axioms of Science, thus from a Scientific perspective I believe in Evolution as a flawed, but viable, theory...the concept of 'Intelligent Design' simply falls outside the realm of scientific thought and therefore cannot be regarded as a scientific theory. Thus because of the variation in axioms, I do not believe there to be a real debate between evolution and creation.

P.S. Could you have found a more protestant article?
« Last Edit: April 08, 2005, 01:35:37 AM by greekischristian »