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Author Topic: The Evolution Thread to End All Evolution Threads  (Read 23785 times) Average Rating: 0
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Matthew777
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« on: April 06, 2005, 03:38:22 PM »

Hello, everyone. Over the past few months, I have been immersed in the patristic understanding of Genesis and the negative arguments against the purported evidence for evolutionary theory.

I started my journey by reading these Orthodox articles:
Genesis and Early Man
The Orthodox Patristic Understanding
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/evolution_frseraphim_kalomiros.aspx

Why an Orthodox Christian cannot be an evolutionist
S.V.Bufeev
http://www.creatio.orthodoxy.ru/sbornik/sbufeev_whynot_english.html


And then I read St. Basil's Commentary on the Hexaemeron:
http://www.creatio.orthodoxy.ru/english/hexaemeron/index.html

And then I read Darwin on Trial by Phillip E. Johnson:
Darwin on Trial
by Phillip E. Johnson
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0830813241/qid=1112815613/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/102-5863301-8941737

And then finally I read Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision by Father Seraphim Rose:
http://www.sainthermanpress.com/catalog/chapter_one/genesis_book.htm



After carefully studying the evidence againt evolutionary theory and the traditional Orthodox teachings on the meaning of Genesis, I am greatly perplexed.

Given that the fathers of the Church interpreted Genesis as a historical account and the purported evidence for Darwinism is very lacking, then why is there such a hostility of American Orthodox Christians toward Creationism? Why are so many Orthodox Christians illiterate of patristic theology?

What meaning is there to the doctrine of ancestral sin if the fall were not a historical event?

Why are Adam and Eve considered saints by the Orthodox Church if they were not historical persons?

If Genesis were not a factual history, then why didn't God reveal this to Jesus Christ, Saint Paul and the fathers of the Church?

If the Orthodox Church has no opinion on natural science, then why did the holy fathers tell us to not allow secular wisdom to influence our interpretation of Scripture?

If Genesis only tells the "why" but not the "how" of God's creative work then why did the fathers of the Church explain the meaning of Genesis as a true historical account?

And finally, given that the fathers of the Church insisted on the historicity of Genesis, Why is there not an official statement of the Church against evolutionism?


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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2005, 03:46:28 PM »

I hope to get some good answers. I have been very confused lately.

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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2005, 05:49:17 PM »

If you want to know how everything was made, then read the bible! yay! questions awnserd!
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2005, 05:51:49 PM »

And dont you think, if God really wanted all to know how and when everything was exactly made then he would have told us? yeah.
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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2005, 06:04:42 PM »

Why does this topic deserve yet another thread?

I also thought you weren't going to debate this anymore.
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2005, 08:58:01 PM »

I am not debating. I desire to have questions answered.

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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2005, 09:49:18 PM »

I am not debating. I desire to have questions answered.

You have had your questions consistently answered; you just never seem to like the answers.
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2005, 01:21:02 PM »

I've had people say that Orthodoxy has no opinion on science but has anyone addressed what the fall and ancestral sin mean if we are to accept Darwinism?
Has anyone answered as to why we should compromise our theology for a modern secular idea?
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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2005, 02:08:27 PM »

I've had people say that Orthodoxy has no opinion on science but has anyone addressed what the fall and ancestral sin mean if we are to accept Darwinism?

Is that a real question, or merely rhetorical?

Quote
Has anyone answered as to why we should compromise our theology for a modern secular idea?

The thing is, there is any amount of disagreement on how much compromise there actually is, and tere are more than just two positions in the argument. Since this has been moved over to free-for-all, I'm not the least bit hesitant about turning the teacher tone up very high about this.

The bad position is, of course, the "man is the measure of all things" Enlightenment humanism turned up too high version of Darwinian evolution in which utterly random small scale genetic variation is deemed sufficient to power the pattern of development to which the fossil record (among other things) testifies, therefore eliminating the deity from the picture. This position surely overreaches, in the sense that it is making claims about genetic variation which are scientifically at least a bit dubious. It's quite clear that genetic variety equals speciation; it's also clear that survival is a sorting factor. What isn't clear is exactly what is generating that variation. (Discussion of the origin of life is utterly speculative and may be disbelieved at will.)

The problem with the young earth creationist theory, though, is that if one assumes that the physical world testifies accurately to the processes of time, then one must believe that the world is old and that there is a definite progression of form in living creatures as time progresses-- on a scale of millions of years. This evidence is scientifically unassailable, and the creationist attempts to refute it as science are utter failures. The only way to escape is to make an unscientific assertion: that the world was created to look old. This has huge theological implications, none of which I think would prove acceptable to any of us.

YEC is a theological opinion, not a scientific theory. And furthermore, it's an opinion whose authority arises from the interpretive process, not from any text itself. To believe it one must believe that scripture intends to teach about the physical processes of creation, and while we're at it (as far as the fathers are concerned) that it intends to refute any kind of evolutionary theory, not just the atheistic Darwinists.

As far as the church fathers are concerned, they cannot have consciously intended to refute evolution; the idea hadn't been conceived of. The errors of their lifetime were the theories that the material pre-existed and that the divine simply shaped it, and that the material was intrisically "evil" in contrast to the "good" divine. Further back, the competition for the Genesis account involved copulating pantheons and the corpses of slain monsters. As far as science is concerned, all of these are surely wrong-- indeed, one of the striking things about Genesis 1 is how much it resembles the modern secular vision of creation. "Let there be light" leads directly into the Big Bang; the progression through the six days expresses the very much longer progression science sees.

So when you say, in the other thread:

But when men make observations which contradict the revealed truth, we have the right to disagree.

... I don't know about "rights", because rights are very much about being allowed to do things that are wrong. But I do know that this sets up the foundation for atheism. It's important to differentiate between the observational and analytical powers of sciences; it's another when one relies on theology in saying, "you can't believe what you see." This is a principle that can only be pushed so far. It demands the uttermost rigor, something that the YEC crowd conspicuously lacks.

Beyond that, there's the notion that, well, theology is so much more important than, well, science, that theologians don't ahve to be, well, good scientists, or even listen much to scientists. This, folks, is hubris.
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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2005, 03:09:17 PM »

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 says,
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)"
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/evolution_frseraphim_kalomiros.aspx

If one has a uniformitarian presupposition, perhaps the world will "appear" old. However, why should be believe that way?
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« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2005, 03:41:14 PM »

In the St. Ephraim quote,

First of all, give the context. Taking patristic quotes out of context is just as bad as taking Scriptural quotes out of context and trying to "prove" a point with them.

He's commenting on the issue of saying that "Heaven" and "Earth" in Genesis do not correspond with our real and tangible earth. (Heaven is less tangible to us.) Making the claim that Genesis is not talking about the creation of our real universe is incorrect. But saying that God's time is not our time (as He is above, without, within, and the very source of time) and thereby not dogmatically asserting that the world was made in six of humanity's experience of a day as the earth's rotations around the sun is not what the good Father is speaking about. He's arguing for a sequential creation of the universe, as given in Genesis. Those who claim that not all of Genesis is to be understood literally do not contradict a sequential creation. God's experience and ultimate existence is unknowable to us. Why is it folly to believe that God's creative powers are not totally made known to us through the text of Genesis?

I think you're letting your presuppositions cloud your reading of texts and quotations.

When dealing with patristic teaching, one must also accept the fact that they did not have the scientific knowledge about the world that we have today. Perhaps it is better to look at what the recent Orthodox of the world say and write about correlating our scientific and experiential knowledge about the world with our spiritual knowledge of God's relation to man and the world as explained in Genesis to see what the patristic consensus on creation is..
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« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2005, 03:59:45 PM »

He's arguing for a sequential creation of the universe, as given in Genesis.

Please read St. Ephrain's words:

"These are still, of course, general principles; let us look now at several specific applications by St. Ephraim of these principles.

Although both the light and the clouds were created in the twinkling of an eye, still both the day and the night of the first day continued for 12 hours each. (Ibid.)


Again:

When in the twinkling of an eye (Adam's) rib was taken out and likewise in an instant the flesh took its place, and the bare rib took on the complete form and all the beauty of a woman, then God led her and presented her to Adam. (Ibid.)"
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/evolution_frseraphim_kalomiros.aspx

Recent fathers of the Church who affirm Orthodox tradition have upheld the patristic understanding of Genesis. This is a matter which science cannot touch. This is about sound theology.
Just as St. John the Evangelist was a prophet of the end of time, Moses was a prophet of the beginning of time.
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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2005, 04:16:58 PM »


Sound theology is not affected by a non-literalist Orthodox scriptual interpretation of Genesis. I keep posting because I cannot believe the stuff being discussed, but I believe that discussing anymore on this subject is like beating my head against a brick wall. One cannot have discussion with someone who has made up their mind and determined what the truth is on their own, even when using patristic commentary as "proof" for themselves under the pretext of submitting to Orthodox Tradition. So, I'm going to stop beating my head against the wall and say adios to this type of conversation! Have a blessed Lent.
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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2005, 04:27:21 PM »

The fathers of the Church agreed that Genesis is a historical account given by the revelation of God and that is good enough for me. If you could prove otherwise, then please do.

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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2005, 04:27:48 PM »

Matthew777,

*Why* do you have to have non-negotiable iron-clad answers to all those questions? Is your faith dependent upon an Earth that is 10,000 years old or less? Why or why not? Is being agreed with by others somehow proof that you are right?  Why can't there be varied ideas? Why would the church fathers be "infalligble" on everything? It was in the thread on the word "Easter" that someone said that saints are not 100% correct on everything. What damage does it do to you or your faith in Christ Jesus if the universe really is billions of years old and the Earth isn't "young" and the fossils are as old as the dating says they are?

You do not address other people's points, but repeat yourself as though that is an answer or that other people will come around to *your* opinion by being worn down with your (non)points. You do not present your own arguements, but tell others to read books that agree with you and toss of quotes without context. You make assertions about Science without any documentation or supporting evidence. You are not trained in either a science *or* theology but make pronouncements as though you had the authority. Do you *really* think that your posts are convincing of your viewspoint?

If I had a question in EO theology I could ask Anastasios, or Mor or TonyS or others on this forum who are in Seminaries so they have some qualifications. I could also go to an EO priest or two that I am acquainted with, as well as doing reading on my own (reading in context and with discernment, I would hope). You have not shown that your understanding of the church fathers (*all* of them agree with you? I seem to recall that there was a quote posted in another thread that the work it was taken from actually showed that not all the church fathers held to a YE/literal 6 days)

To reiterate:

WHY do you *have* to have all those questions answered? and If answers are given that you don't like will you ignore them?

I apologize for being blunt.

Ebor


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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2005, 04:29:29 PM »

The fathers of the Church agreed that Genesis is a historical account given by the revelation of God and that is good enough for me. If you could prove otherwise, then please do.

You have read *all* of the church fathers and *all* that they wrote on Genesis and you understand it in context and with discernment?  Or have you found clips and exerpts that you like?

Ebor
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2005, 04:32:37 PM »

Please provide a father of the Church who did not believe Genesis to be a divinely inspired historical account.
I've read Genesis, Creation and Early Man, which makes great use of patristic quotes but without taking out of context, and St. Basil's Commentary on the Hexaemeron.

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« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2005, 06:31:45 PM »

If one has a uniformitarian presupposition, perhaps the world will "appear" old. However, why should be believe that way?

Because science is impossible without it.

Now, you've quoted the same passage from Ephraim the Syrian at least three times, and from what I can see you're getting it from an online copy of at least part of Fr. Rose's book. Which I suppose is OK. But since we're being free-for-all here, I have no reason to take him as an unassailable authority on the interpretation of scripture. Indeed, the conflict between apparent reality and his claims is so great it leads me to discount him.

So your next post is going to accuse me of choosing secular over revealed truth. I don't see it that way. There's nothing secular about looking at the world and seeing it for what it is; it's neither secular nor revealed, but just truth.

As you've guessed by now, quoting the fathers isn't going to do it. For one thing, you're using secondary sources again: you aren't really quoting the fathers, but only Fr. Rose.
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« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2005, 12:59:40 AM »

Why should it matter that science depends on it? True theology should be unchanging. Uniformitarianism teaches that the present is the key to understanding the past while the fathers of the Church taught that the fall of man dramatically altered nature and therefore, we are not able to realize the beginning of the world, the origin of the species and mankind from observing the present.

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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« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2005, 07:48:11 AM »

Why should it matter that science depends on it? True theology should be unchanging.

Says who? That's just a rationalization for not having to abandon the mistaken theology to which you have committed yourself!

Quote
Uniformitarianism teaches that the present is the key to understanding the past[.]

There's no "uniformitarianism". It's not some deep theory, but only the rather obvious idea that ordinarily the behavior of the universe remains the same.

Quote
[...] while the fathers of the Church taught that the fall of man dramatically altered nature and therefore, we are not able to realize the beginning of the world, the origin of the species and mankind from observing the present.

OK, let's review the course of this argument. Some months back you are ardently against creationism, and you insist that the fathers were against it too. After getting refuted, now you've picked up Fr. Rose's book and made it your oracle, with side helpings from others.

Now, this happens to be one of the side helpings. Fr. Rose commits to the notion that one can see that the evidence of an old earth is not there, and in that he is wrong. The thing is, you're just throwing these arguments around without really thinking about them. Consider the consequences of this one: you're (in effect) saying that the fossils weren't there before the fall, and that the rocks were all "young" before the fall, and that the mountains didn't exist before the fall..... need I go on? And does scripture really teach this? I don't know, but I doubt it.

Quote
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?

OK, but you've essentially conceded the argument in asking these. I don't think there's a person here who doesn't believe these things.

Quote
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:

You know, I'm not going to read it. Not because it's either good or bad, but because you have a very poor record of picking your authorities.
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« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2005, 07:55:06 AM »

The fathers of the Church agreed that Genesis is a historical account...

That is not the opinion of my Orthodox Priest.
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« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2005, 12:39:09 PM »



That is not the opinion of my Orthodox Priest.

Could  he please provides ancient patristic quotes?

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« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2005, 02:34:43 PM »

Quote
Quote
EBOR:  You have read *all* of the church fathers and *all* that they wrote on Genesis and you understand it in context and with discernment?
>>Who has?  What are you trying to say?  Is it unreasonable for Matthew to request even one CF? 
Why try to divert the question w/ lectures on changing positions?  Can you not answer it?

Quote
MATTHEW777:  If one has a uniformitarian presupposition, perhaps the world will "appear" old. However, why should be believe that way?
Quote
KEBLE:  Because science is impossible without it.
>>Not at all.  Rather, men should realise that they are so small and such a pittance compared w/ God's creation (let alone God Himself) - can our feeble science, "great" and "advanced" though it be, detect the origin of life?  Given all the evidence against evolution, what are we to do?  Shall we not bow before God's revelation? 
Let science deal w/ that which we can understand and let us cede the floor to the One Who knows when we do not. 
Not that I expect unbelievers and mockers to do so, but believers should be willing, nay, the first to do so.

Quote
KEBLE:  There's no "uniformitarianism". It's not some deep theory, but only the rather obvious idea that ordinarily the behavior of the universe remains the same.
>>This is another example of what I mean.  We can't see all that well backwards, but want desperately to do so. 

Quote
KEBLE:   Fr. Rose commits to the notion that one can see that the evidence of an old earth is not there, and in that he is wrong. 
>>You sound like a Protestant! 
Oh wait, you are.   Wink

Quote
KEBLE:  you're (in effect) saying that the fossils weren't there before the fall, and that the rocks were all "young" before the fall, and that the mountains didn't exist before the fall..... need I go on? And does scripture really teach this?
>>Consider this: 
Adam is created.  Two minutes later an expert physician examines him.  What will he say?  Will the physician say, "By George, you, sir, are 30 minutes old!"?  On the contrary, he will conclude that Adam is something like 30 yrs old.
Similarly, why not the earth?  It may appear to be billions of yrs old to our puny abilities, but that is not what God's revelation says. 
So God created the Earth w/ the appearance of age and told us about the origin of the Earth and life in His revelation, the Scr.  If you refuse to believe God's revelation, that is your fault.  Will you call God a deceiver for acting according to His good pleasure and telling you what you need to know, if you reject it?  How arrogant and wicked!
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« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2005, 02:40:04 PM »

If Adam and Eve were not historical persons, Why are they considered saints in the Orthodox Church?

What does the doctrine of ancestral sin mean without a historical fall?

These are questions that should be answered.

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« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2005, 02:44:30 PM »

Yes, I meant to re-ask that question.
The question about Adam and Eve being saints is highly interesting to me, too.
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« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2005, 02:47:52 PM »

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Given all the evidence against evolution, what are we to do?

Still waitin' on this evidence...
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« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2005, 02:50:33 PM »

Still waitin' on the patristic quotes and answers to other questions too.  Join the club.
What's wrong w/ my scenario of the Appearance of Age of the Earth?
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« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2005, 03:13:43 PM »



Still waitin' on this evidence...

Please read Darwin on Trial, for starters
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« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2005, 03:15:28 PM »

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Please read Darwin on Trial, for starters

Like I said, still waitin' for the evidence...
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« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2005, 03:18:06 PM »



Please read Darwin on Trial, for starters

It's *your* arguement. Why can't you state the view/opinion on your own? If you're read the book yourself, then give us the argument from it. State the facts they present, give links to data. Like GiC wrote, your method is not how debate and argument is done to convince others of your point.

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« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2005, 03:21:05 PM »

Not at all. Rather, men should realise that they are so small and such a pittance compared w/ God's creation (let alone God Himself) - can our feeble science, "great" and "advanced" though it be, detect the origin of life? Given all the evidence against evolution, what are we to do? Shall we not bow before God's revelation?

LOUD SIGH

Can we stay on topic here? I've said nothing about any origin of life, and really, scientific thought about this is definitely out in the "highly speculative" zone.

And if I can repeat one more time, I don't "give" that there is any evidence against evolution. When you talk about such evidence, you subject yourself to the ordinary rules for such evidence. I've never seen any such evidence that conforms to those rules, and as I said before, I tired of wasting my time examining it.

Quote
Consider this:
Adam is created. Two minutes later an expert physician examines him. What will he say? Will the physician say, "By George, you, sir, are 30 minutes old!"? On the contrary, he will conclude that Adam is something like 30 yrs old.

Ah, but there ought to be signs that Adam is not thirty years old. Time not only leaves the signs of our normal development; it also leaves the marks of the history of our lives. I have scars and such galore to indicate that I wasn't created yesterday; Adam would not, because none of those things would have happened to him yet.

With respect to the earth the situation is even more stark, because the processes involved are much more like the injuries of Adam than his "normal" development. That the processes of plate tectonics continue to this day is indisputable; we can measure the motion. But not only that-- we can see the scars of millions upon millions of years of this activity all around us. It's not just the presumed history of a grown man presumed to have a childhood; it's a history to which we can assign a chronology of events.

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If you refuse to believe God's revelation, that is your fault.

Who are you to dare to speak for God?
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« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2005, 03:26:47 PM »

I am not debating. One should be able to survey the evidence with an open mind and accept the patristic teachings with the simplicity of the heart.
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« Reply #32 on: April 08, 2005, 03:28:13 PM »

How about the Appearance of Age?
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« Reply #33 on: April 08, 2005, 03:39:19 PM »

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I am not debating.

Then what are you doing?
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« Reply #34 on: April 08, 2005, 03:43:49 PM »

I am not debating. One should be able to survey the evidence with an open mind and accept the patristic teachings with the simplicity of the heart.

Should one? So one is *only* reading with an open mind *if* the result is they agree with you? Any disagreement or pointing out errors is due to a closed mind?  Or is it only "evidence" if you agree with it?

You seem to have a *need* for certainty. Why? No one was at the Creation but God. He hasn't told us how He did it. But he set up a Universe of wonders and order and laws of how things work. People have bit by bit found thngs out.

I have a passage of the Book of Job running through my head at the moment:

1. Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
2. Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
3. Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
4. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
5. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
6. Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
7. When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

We probably won't know *everything* about the Creation. But God has given us the curiosity and the intelligence to look and seek and puzzle things out from what He made.

Ebor

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« Reply #35 on: April 08, 2005, 03:47:59 PM »

>>Who has? What are you trying to say? Is it unreasonable for Matthew to request even one CF?

Ummm scholars and professors at seminaries who teach Patristics and other people who want to read them for the sheer love of learning maybe? 

Particularly in EO seminaries, I would suspect that there are people who *have* read all of the fathers of the Church.  Some of the seminarians here on the Forum probably know a good bit about that.

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« Reply #36 on: April 08, 2005, 04:00:02 PM »

I don't suppose Fr. Seraphim Rose might be among them, would he?  Or at least among the most widely-read?
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« Reply #37 on: April 08, 2005, 04:02:06 PM »

Please read Darwin on Trial, for starters

Why should I, when there are a plethora of web sites pointing out its errors?

And as far as

Quote
One should be able to survey the evidence with an open mind and accept the patristic teachings with the simplicity of the heart.

You aren't surveying the evidence with an open mind. If you want simplicity of heart, then quit getting a bee in your bonnet about issues such as this.
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« Reply #38 on: April 08, 2005, 04:10:23 PM »

Bee in my bonnet? There is nothing wrong with holding fast to Orthodox tradition. I am sorry if I have offended you.

Please read the book for yourself. Those sources may just be much too biased.

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« Reply #39 on: April 08, 2005, 04:45:03 PM »

Bee in my bonnet? There is nothing wrong with holding fast to Orthodox tradition. I am sorry if I have offended you.

You haven't offended me-- you have annoyed me.

What we have here is not Orthodox tradition, but your tradition, grounded in your reading of Seraphim Rose and your utter refusal to consider any contrary viewpoints. For instance, now you are commending Philip Johnson to us; but when we point at contrary reviews of the book, well, "[they] may be just too biased." Give it a rest! If you are going to complain about us not reading everything you drag out here, how can you dare to say that you will not read critics of the authorities you cite?

It should be obvious to the most casual observer that the church fathers didn't explicitly condemn modern scientific theories about the age of the earth. They couldn't, because in their day there were no such theories. There were theories which talked about the earth forming/being formed from pre-existent matter, but they weren't scientific and in any case modern science also rejects those theories.

As to Orthodox tradition, you aren't reading a broad enough range of material to offer an opinion. Seraphim Rose is offering a case for his own views, and there's no reason to take him as a sufficient expert on Orthodox opinion. You are at least obligated to search out contrary opinions within Orthodox and hear them out. Everything you've cited traces back to the same small set of works, and before you insist that we read more creationist tripe, you need to branch out yourself.
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« Reply #40 on: April 08, 2005, 05:09:54 PM »

Here are some statements from official church websites:

From the UK Deanery of the Antiochian church

From the OCA

From the Atiochian Archdiocese of North America

From the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Isn't that enough?
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« Reply #41 on: April 08, 2005, 05:12:38 PM »



If you cannot answer the questions in my OP, then why are you posting in this thread?

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« Reply #42 on: April 08, 2005, 06:57:36 PM »

Keble,

I ask you, w/ all due respect, to slow down just a tad.  Your tone is quite aggressive.
1st of all, you are not fair when you deny that there is *any* evidence against evolution.
You want some?  OK - Irreducible complexity, specified complexity, the huge odds against life appearing from non-organic material, the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record.  There's more but that should suffice.

2nd, you have made no headway in the slightest against a view that God created the world w/ the appearance of age.  Obviously, the appearance of age is exactly that - age.  So "scars" and such as you put it, and yes, the signs of tectonic history, would be incorporated in the appearance of age. 

3rd, I presume in no way to speak for God.  Rather, I repeat what the Scr says:
Isaiah 8:20 "To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn" (ESV). 
Let my words be His.  And I didn't mean "YOU" when I said "if you refuse to believe..."  'Twas a more universal "you."  As in, "if one refuses to believe what God has said, that is his/her own fault."
But, just for the record, you do not refuse to believe what God has said, do you, Keble?
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« Reply #43 on: April 08, 2005, 11:33:42 PM »

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OK - Irreducible complexity,

Not a problem for evolution. Behe is a crank.
Quote
specified complexity,

Dependent on IC, which is a non-argument against evolution.
Quote
the huge odds against life appearing from non-organic material,

Has nothing to do with evolution.
Quote
the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record.

There is no lack of transitional forms in the fossil record. Anybody who says otherwise is ignorant or lying.

Quote
2nd, you have made no headway in the slightest against a view that God created the world w/ the appearance of age.  Obviously, the appearance of age is exactly that - age.  So "scars" and such as you put it, and yes, the signs of tectonic history, would be incorporated in the appearance of age.

It's perfectly possible that God created the world with a false appearance of age. It's possible He created it five minutes ago, and us and our memories with it. This is worthless as a scientific theory, though, and would also be the equivalent of God making the Earth out of jello but arranging it so that by any scientific or sensory observation it appears to be made of rock.
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« Reply #44 on: April 09, 2005, 12:42:55 AM »

It is obvious to the critical observer that there are many gaps in the fossil record. Even evolutionary scientists admit this behind closed doors. There is no true naturalistic explanation for the diversity and complexity of life.

Please, end the trivial arguments. Leave any rationalistic considerations behind. Consider the questions I have provided in my original post. If you can provide evolutionist answers then please do. If not, then perhaps you should rethink your position.
There is nothing wrong with leaving rationalism behind and accepting Scripture and patristic teaching with the simplicity of the heart.

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« Reply #45 on: April 09, 2005, 07:43:01 AM »

Dear Matt777,

Believing in theistic evolution and believing in a historical Adam and Eve are not mutually exclusive. The RC Church for example. has accepted evolution as a scientific theory as long as the understanding that we are all descended from Adam and Eve is maintained. Their teaching of Original Sin is of course more reliant on a historical Adam and Eve than Orthodoxy.

I have a problem with people who are Creation Scientists because what they are teaching is not science. Science does not go out to prove a religious text in a literal fashion.

There are problems with Darwin and gene mutation. I have a book by Prof Stuart Kauffman who argues that Darwinism is not sufficient. He is not anti-Darwin. Kauffman's theories are to do with complexity theories, ie systems produce some changes, not individuals. Chaos theory,things like that.

I believe that Genesis 1 is a polemic.

Suppose someone said to you: 'Too many cooks spoil the broth!'

You answer: 'Many hands make light work!'

You have argued Proverb by Proverb.

Whether Genesis 1 was written just after Egypt or Babylon, it is an argument against the current Creation myths of the time. If you believed in Egyptian or Babylonian myths and then read Genesis 1, you would read it as a magnificent message of freedom. Indeed, if you were brought up in a Shamanic culture today, it would be a wonderful message of freedom.

Why does Genesis 1 mention the creation of the Greater and Lesser lights, rather than the Sun and Moon? Because the words Sun and Moon, in those days, referred to the gods as well as the physical objects. Genesis 1 plainly teaches that they are not gods, by calling them greater and lesser light.

It is a type of poetry, but not rhyming poetry.

It starts off with 'without form and void (empty)

Then, it goes on with the first 3 days as forming, then the next 3 as filling. The second day has God separating the waters, the fifth day the waters are filled. Note: birds come out of the water!

Have you noticed that God says to the waters: 'Let the waters bring forth.....'
And, God says to the Earth: 'Let the Earth bring forth.......'

I believe the argument needs to be made in the realm of philosophy of science, rather than science itself. We need to concentrate on arguments such as: 'Science, by being founded on a philosophy which excludes God from its reasoning, cannot logically disprove God as some scientists like Dawkins say.'

It is one thing to exclude God from one's investaigations into Gravity, it quite another to exclude such a consideration from the studies of the Origin of Life or the Origin of the Universe.

Defending a literal view of Genesis is not scientific, especially when such defenders say that scientists are godless and twisted by sin, etc. It is not truthful either, when saying 'if you don't believe what we are saying, you are not really a bible believing / true Orthodox Christian.'  That is propaganda, not truth seeking. It is a psychological hook for the unwary. Dawkins uses the same dishonest propaganda when he implies that if you don't agree with him you are stupid.

My 2 cents

Christina
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« Reply #46 on: April 09, 2005, 08:42:45 AM »

Thank you for a well written and balanced post Christina. :thumbsup:

Love the homophonic pun of your screen name by the way!

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« Reply #47 on: April 09, 2005, 09:09:11 AM »

Thanks OzGeorge,

It wasn't meant as a pun.

Another thing: Doesn't Tradition teach that the Garden of Eden was a Paradise?

If so, how come Scientific Creationists write as though the whole Earth was a Paradise?

What is the point of a Paradise within a perfect world?

If Adam and Eve had not have sinned, perhaps the Garden of Eden would have been expanded until it covered the whole globe?

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« Reply #48 on: April 09, 2005, 09:30:43 AM »

I second OzGeorge on your post, Christina,  Well done!   

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« Reply #49 on: April 09, 2005, 09:34:55 AM »

1st of all, you are not fair when you deny that there is *any* evidence against evolution.

I'm not "denying" it. I have simply reached the point where I just don't feel I need to waste any more time thrashing out the same old lame arguments. Creationists have to respond to critiques of their positions-- period. My experience is that mostly, they don't.

Take "irreducible complexity". As much as I would like to believe it (and as much as I think Darwinians give themseves a bye on dealing with the issue) the obvious hole is that "irreducible" really means "I can't conceive of it." Failure to imagine is simply not a good counter argument; if and when the process gets figured out, then it becomes conceivable and its complexity is sown to be reducible enough.

Quote
2nd, you have made no headway in the slightest against a view that God created the world w/ the appearance of age.  Obviously, the appearance of age is exactly that - age.  So "scars" and such as you put it, and yes, the signs of tectonic history, would be incorporated in the appearance of age.

The point is that there's a difference between the appearance of age and the appearance of a history. One can imagine a human being growing up minus the marks of injuries and the like, but the aging of the mountains is in a sense nothing but history..

Quote
But, just for the record, you do not refuse to believe what God has said, do you, Keble?

The issue has never been what God has said, but what mortals have said that God has said.
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« Reply #50 on: April 09, 2005, 10:17:27 AM »

It wasn't meant as a pun.
Really? I live in a sleepy mountain village in Australia, population 1500, yet even our local General Store stocks the "British Inquirer"!

Another thing: Doesn't Tradition teach that the Garden of Eden was a Paradise?
If so, how come Scientific Creationists write as though the whole Earth was a Paradise?
What is the point of a Paradise within a perfect world?
Well,firstly, I think we need to ask: what do we mean by a "perfect world"? According to Orthodoxy as I understand it, all the elements of the world in the "Pre-Fall" state- Humans, the animals, the plants, the seas, the rocks, etc. existed in their nature as created by God, "Who saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good."
"Very good" means neither perfect nor imperfect, it simply means that each 'element' was true to it's unique, God-given nature. For example, there are some who hold that both the first humans and the animals were herbivores "Pre-Fall", and the animals only started preying on each other after the Fall- it's my understanding that part of the reason we fast from animal products is to recall this 'Pre-Fall state'.
But only God is perfect, "Forasmuch as He trusts not His saints; and the Heaven is not pure before Him." (Job 15:15). It is quite possible for there to have been a Paradise in a Pre-Fall world- a Pre-Fall world is a good world, but not a uniform world. That's as I understand it, but then, I'm still grappling with the age old question about the Genesis story of how "morning came and evening came" on the first and second day if the Sun wasn't created until the third!

If Adam and Eve had not have sinned, perhaps the Garden of Eden would have been expanded until it covered the whole globe?
I remember reading one of the Fathers (I can't recall which one) as saying that we pray facing East because we are homesick for our true home- that "Garden planted eastward in Edem". I don't think we can fully know what God's plan was before the Fall (and perhaps we have mercifully been spared from fully knowing what we missed!). Thankfully, we have a Saviour whose Death and Ressurection has not only delivered us from death and bondage to sin, but have won for us a New Heaven and a New Earth to come.

George (Australia)
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« Reply #51 on: April 09, 2005, 05:53:51 PM »

I have a problem with people who are Creation Scientists because what they are teaching is not science. Science does not go out to prove a religious text in a literal fashion.

I agree that Creationism is not "scientific". This is because, like the fathers of the Church, I believe that the question of origins is something which reaches above and beyond the realm of scientific inquiry.
St. John Chrysostom taught that just as St. John the Evangelist was a prophet of the end of time, Moses was the prophet of the beginning of time.
The Church fathers agreed that Adam and Eve were historical persons and that the Hexaemeron is a true history.

If the origin of the universe, the species, and mankind was a supernatural event then natural science would never be able to exlain it.

The Darwinian mechanism is not able to explain the origin of the species. Sure, we may observe oscillations in the size of finch beaks and the shades of moths but this does not at all show how new morphological feautures come into being in the first place. Drug resistant bacteria become dominated by the normal bacteria population once the drugs are gone and therefore, this does nothing to prove the creative power of natural selection either.

Are Darwinists able to prove the creative power of mutations combined with natural selection? Could they provide evidence for how new, inheritable morphological features arise from the neo-Darwinian mechanism?

Evolution, as defined as change over time within a species, does nothing to show how that species arose in the first place. Yes, we may observe the emergence of a new population of fruit flies that cannot mate with its parent population. But scientists are not able to prove with the Darwinian mechanism that amphibians elolved into reptiles, reptile to mammal, etc.

St Theophan 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 nor 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

Creation is in principle a theological concept, but not a scientific one. Given that Darwinists have not been able to provide an adequate naturalistic explanation for the origin of the species and mankind, how much more so should we hold fast to the patristic understanding of Genesis?

The fathers of the Church agreed that Genesis is divinely inspired and historically accurate. As Orthodox Christians, our understanding of Scripture is passed down by the interpretation of the early church fathers. Before we read modern secular ideas into the text, we should consider the divine wisdom of patristic tradition. Only then will be find the truth. No "creation science" is necessary.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.

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« Reply #52 on: April 09, 2005, 06:10:39 PM »


Well,firstly, I think we need to ask: what do we mean by a "perfect world"?

The nature of the world before the fall was a state in between corruption and incorruption. Please consider the following:

"But let us turn now to a holy Father who speaks quite explicitly about the incorruption of the creation before Adam's disobedience: St. Gregory the Sinaite. He is a holy Father of the highest spiritual life and theological soundness, who attained to the heights of Divine vision. In the Russian Philokalia he writes:

The presently-existing creation was not originally created corruptible; but afterwards it fell under corruption, being made subject to vanity, according to the Scripture, not willingly, but by reason of him, Adam, who hath subjected it in hope of the renewal of Adam who had become subject to corruption. (Rm. 8:20) He who renewed and sanctified Adam has renewed the creation also, but He has not yet delivered it from corruption. (Chapters on Commandments and Dogmas, 11)

Further, the same Father gives us remarkable details about the state of the creation (in particular, Paradise) before Adam's transgression:

Eden is a place in which there was planted by God every kind of fragrant Plant. It is neither completely incorruptible, nor entirely corruptible. Placed between corruption and incorruption, it is always both abundant in fruits and blossoming with flowers, both mature and immature. The mature trees and fruits are converted into fragrant earth which does not give off any odor of corruption, as do the trees of this world. This is from the abundance of the grace of sanctification which is constantly poured forth there. (Ibid., 10) (This passage is expressed in the present tense-because the paradise in which Adam was placed is still in existence, but is not visible to our normal sense organs.)".
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/evolution_frseraphim_kalomiros.aspx

There was no death, killing nor suffering before the fall:

"There is a very significant hint about this in the commentary in Genesis of St. Ephraim the Syrian. When speaking of the "skins" which God made for Adam and Eve after their transgression, St. Ephraim writes:

One may suppose that the first parents, touching their waists with their hands found that they were clothed with garments made of animal skins-killed, it may be, before their very eyes, so that they might eat their meat, cover their nakedness with the skins, and in their very death might see the death of their own body. (Commentary on Genesis, ch.3)"
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/evolution_frseraphim_kalomiros.aspx


The light that created the evening and morning before the creation of son was nothing more than the light of God. St. Basil clearly explains this in his commentary on the Hexaemeron:
St. Basil. Nine Homilies of the Hexaemeron.
http://www.creatio.orthodoxy.ru/english.html

In case you are interested in the traditioanal Orthodox understanding of Genesis as expounded by the holy fathers, please begin with this:
Genesis and Early Man
The Orthodox Patristic Understanding
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/evolution_frseraphim_kalomiros.aspx

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.


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« Reply #53 on: April 09, 2005, 10:56:37 PM »

Matthew I am glad you have come to see things the same as I do but I have to agree with others that there may in fact be no point even in engaging in dialogue in this as I figured out a while ago. The links you provided are good. If they want to read them they can. You have found out just how amazing this earth was before the Fall and we still see some of this beauty through the corruption that now reigns in nature. Indeed this view has always been an integral part of Orthodoxy and to deny this is to deliberately overlook much in the Lives of the Saints and Patristic literature.
Anyway I think you should just stop worrying about others criticism and just accept what you have learned. I know it is in stark contrast to what we are taught in High School and quite amazing to read about but some people simply disagree and do not find it as amazing as you and I and others do.

Good reading!

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« Reply #54 on: April 09, 2005, 11:05:43 PM »

It is obvious to the critical observer that there are many gaps in the fossil record. Even evolutionary scientists admit this behind closed doors.

And just how many closed door meetings with evolutionary scientists have you attended?
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« Reply #55 on: April 10, 2005, 12:13:15 AM »

The light that created the evening and morning before the creation of son was nothing more than the light of God. St. Basil clearly explains this in his commentary on the Hexaemeron:
St. Basil. Nine Homilies of the Hexaemeron.
http://www.creatio.orthodoxy.ru/english.html

I've read St. Basil's homilies, but they haven't answered my question. The Light before the creation of the Sun was, of course, the Light of God. But the Septuagint says that on the first and second days: "k+¦+» +¡+¦+¡+++¦-ä++ +¡-â-Ç+¦-ü+¦, +¦+¦+» +¡+¦+¡+++¦-ä++ -Ç-ü-ë+»"- which is translated as "and the evening came and the morning came". The word "+¡-â-Ç+¦-ü+¦" ("evening") means the setting of the Sun in the western horizon every 24 hours- this is the only "evening" any person has ever seen on Earth. If I understand you correctly, this took place historically without the existence of the Sun, which could only be achieved on the first two days of creation by God's Light orbiting the Earth twice over a period of 48 hours and only shining on one side of the Earth while it orbited, or the Earth rotating twice in 48 hours while God's Light shone on only one side, and therfore, giving the appearance of "setting" in the western horizon and "rising" in the eastern horizon 12 hours later. And how do we know that this took place in 48 hours? There is nothing in Genesis or the Fathers to assure us that these first two days of creation (or in fact any of the other days of creation) were twenty four hours long each.
Secondly, St. Basil states that the firmnament of the heavens (sky) is set above us and holds back the "waters above the earth":

 
Quote
" "And God said, let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and
let it divide the waters front the waters. And God made the firmament, and
divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were
above the firmament." Before laying hold of the meaning of Scripture let
us try to meet objections from other quarters. We are asked how, if the
firmament is a spherical body, as it appears to the eye, its convex
circumference can contain the water which flows and circulates in higher
regions? What shall we answer? One thing only: because the interior of a body
presents a perfect concavity it does not necessarily follow that its exterior
surface is spherical and smoothly rounded. Look at the stone vaults of baths,
and the structure of buildings of cave form; the dome, which forms the
interior, does not prevent the roof from having ordinarily a flat surface. Let
these unfortunate men cease, then, from tormenting us and themselves about the
impossibility of our retaining water in the higher regions.
  Now we must say something about the nature of the firmament, and why it
received the order to hold the middle place between the waters......But as far as concerns the separation of the waters I am obliged to
contest the
opinion of certain writers in the Church who, under the shadow of high and
sublime conceptions, have launched out into metaphor, and have only seen in
the waters a figure to denote spiritual and incorporeal powers. In the higher
regions, above the firmament, dwell the better; in the lower regions, earth
and matter are the dwelling place of the malignant. So, say they, God is
praised by the waters that are above the heaven, that is to say, by the good
powers, the purity of whose soul makes them worthy to sing the praises of God.
And the waters which are under the heaven represent the wicked spirits, who
from their natural height have fallen into the abyss of evil. Turbulent,
seditious, agitated by the tumultuous waves of passion, they have received the
name of sea, because of the instability and the inconstancy of their
movements. Let us reject these theories as dreams and old women's tales.
Let us understand that by water water is meant"
(St Basil the Great, Homily III on the Hexameron)

If we wish to keep Patristic Tradition, must we hold as an empirical fact St. Basil's understanding that there are waters above the earth on the other side of the sky?

Also, St. Basil says that the Earth is normally immovable.
Quote
"Do not then be surprised
that the world never falls: it occupies the centre of the universe, its
natural place. By necessity it is obliged to remain in its place, unless a
movement contrary to nature should displace it." St Basil the Great, Homily III on the Hexameron

If we wish to keep Patristic Tradition, must we hold as empirical facts St. Basil's understanding that the Earth neither rotates on it's axis, nor orbits the Sun, and that the Milky Way is not rotating and the universe is not expanding?


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« Reply #56 on: April 10, 2005, 01:20:04 AM »


If we wish to keep Patristic Tradition, must we hold as an empirical fact that there are waters above the earth on the other side of the sky?

According to patristic tradition, these waters existed above the earth until Noah's flood. Today it is refered to as the "pre-flood vapor canopy". Please read Genesis Creation and Early Man by Blessed Seraphim of Platina for a better explanation.

If we wish to keep Patristic Tradition, must we hold as an empirical fact that the Earth neither rotates on it's axis, nor orbits the Sun, and that the Milky Way is not rotating and the universe is not expanding?

As Blessed Seraphim of Platina wrote,
"Here I should state an elementary truth: modern science, when it deals with scientific facts, does indeed usually know more than the holy Fathers, and the holy Fathers can easily make mistakes of scientific facts; it is not scientific facts which we look for in the holy Fathers, but true theology and the true philosophy which is based on theology."
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/evolution_frseraphim_kalomiros.aspx

Given that large-scale evolution cannot be observed either in the present nor in the fossil record, origins is not a matter of science but of true theology.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.

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« Reply #57 on: April 10, 2005, 01:21:49 AM »


Anyway I think you should just stop worrying about others criticism and just accept what you have learned.

But I am worried that my fellow Orthodox Christians are missing out on true theology by accepting the Darwinian paradigm of history.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
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« Reply #58 on: April 10, 2005, 02:01:02 AM »

According to patristic tradition, these waters existed above the earth until Noah's flood. Today it is refered to as the "pre-flood vapor canopy".
Could you provide even one citation from one Father recognised by the Orthodox Church to support this? I cannot see how any Father could say anything like this when David, writing the Paslms well after the Flood, wrote in the Psalm which we use as part of the Praises at every matins:
Quote
"Praise Him ye heavens of heavens, and the water that is above the heavens. (Psalm 148:4 LXX)"
In the Septuagint clearly states it in the present tense by using the phrase "-ä++ -ì-Ç+¦-ü+¼++-ë", i.e.: "that is above".
Like the "rapture", the "pre-flood vapour canopy" is yet another recent Protestant invention.

You still haven't explained my original question in my previous two posts: How did evening come and morning come on the first two days of creation?
Let me repeat:
Quote from: ozgeorge
I've read St. Basil's homilies, but they haven't answered my question. The Light before the creation of the Sun was, of course, the Light of God. But the Septuagint says that on the first and second days: "k+¦+» +¡+¦+¡+++¦-ä++ +¡-â-Ç+¦-ü+¦, +¦+¦+» +¡+¦+¡+++¦-ä++ -Ç-ü-ë+»"- which is translated as "and the evening came and the morning came". The word "+¡-â-Ç+¦-ü+¦" ("evening") means the setting of the Sun in the western horizon every 24 hours- this is the only "evening" any person has ever seen on Earth. If I understand you correctly, this took place historically without the existence of the Sun, which could only be achieved on the first two days of creation by God's Light orbiting the Earth twice over a period of 48 hours and only shining on one side of the Earth while it orbited, or the Earth rotating twice in 48 hours while God's Light shone on only one side, and therfore, giving the appearance of "setting" in the western horizon and "rising" in the eastern horizon 12 hours later. And how do we know that this took place in 48 hours? There is nothing in Genesis or the Fathers to assure us that these first two days of creation (or in fact any of the other days of creation) were twenty four hours long each.

In Christ,
George (Australia)
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« Reply #59 on: April 10, 2005, 02:06:01 AM »

The water that now exists above the heavens, wouldn't that be the clouds? I mean, the sky is sometimes refered to as the heavens in Scripture.

Fr. Seraphim Rose explains the pre-flood vapor canopy in Genesis, Creation and Early Man.

The words that translate as "evening and morning" can also be translated as "beginning and end".

St. Ephraim wrote, "Although both the light and the clouds were created in the twinkling of an eye, still both the day and the night of the first day continued for 12 hours each."
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/evolution_frseraphim_kalomiros.aspx

Furthermore, please read Exodus. Given that the six days of Genesis is the basis for the the week, they must have been 24 hours long.

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« Reply #60 on: April 10, 2005, 02:57:39 AM »

The water that now exists above the heavens, wouldn't that be the clouds? I mean, the sky is sometimes refered to as the heavens in Scripture.
I suggest you read St. Basil the Great again Matthew! He clearly states that there is a difference between heaven and the sky and anyone who confuses them is in error! Not only this, he clearly explains the phenomenon of clouds and precipitation through evaporation by the Sun and he says that this should in no way be confused with "the waters above the firmnament".
St. Basil says that the 'fimnament' is in the middle, seperating the waters above from the waters below. The clouds are below the firmnament.

Fr. Seraphim Rose explains the pre-flood vapor canopy in Genesis, Creation and Early Man.
Try again. Fr. Seraphim of Platina is not a Father recognised by the Orthodox Church. And even if he is, would,'t you be a bit concerned that no other father before him said that the waters above the heavens had fallen during the Flood? You have been duped by the Protestants my friend! The "pre-flood vapour canopy" is a modern theory- just as evolution is. That much water vapour in the atmosphere would make the sky foggy white. Why is there no mention in Genesis of Noah's surprise on Mount Ararat that the sky had suddenly turned blue for the first time in human history? He certainly must have looked up, because he saw the rainbow. Wink

The words that translate as "evening and morning" can also be translated as "beginning and end".
Says who? Please cite. Was it the same protestants who say that the Red Sea in Exodus is merely a typographical error which should read "Reed Sea" (as though the scriptures were written in English originally) and was in fact just a marsh of reeds in which the egyptians chariiots and spears had gotten entangled?

Furthermore, please read Exodus. Given that the six days of Genesis is the basis for the the week, they must have been 24 hours long.
'Furthermore', please read Daniel where a "day" is actually a year, and Paul who says that with God, a thousand years are as one day.

Matthew, I am not a Darwinist, nor an Evolutionist- there is not enough evidence for me yet to support theistic evolution. Recently I read the book "A Brief History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson, and although he supports the theory of evolution,yet even he states that if all the fossils of human ancestors were put together as individuals, they would not even fill a school bus. My point is that you won't 'disprove' the theory of evolution by attempting to 'prove' Genesis. The Truth of Genesis is metaphysical Truth, and Divine Truth which surpasses the "scientific" and "empirical" truths. I think perhaps the problem is that "empirical" truth is seen as superior to "metaphysical" Truth in modern cultures. This is what I beleive Fr. Seraphim of Platina was struggling against. This is certainly clear in the chapter he wrote entitled "Nihilism- the Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age". I personally have a great veneration for Blessed Fr. Seraphim, and not only do I have an Icon of him, but also some soil from his grave. His writings and the two versions of his life and works are among my most loved books. But you can't argue against Evolution by using the same methods that Evolutionists use (emprirical science) to 'prove' Genesis- they are speaking vastly differernt 'languages'.
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« Reply #61 on: April 10, 2005, 07:24:36 AM »

Hi all!

MBZ sez that this thread is getting too serious Shocked .

So...

DARWIN WAS WRONG!

Yes, Darwin was wrong! He obviously didn't have young children when he wrote his "theories'! See, as the exceedingly proud Papa of Da Boyz (Yohanan, who turned 8 in January & Naor, who turned 4 in November), I have come to the following conclusion after several years of careful, hands-on, research: We are bovines, i.e. ruminants! I've wondered why our Boyz claim, from time to time, at the dinner table that they're full & have no room in their tummies for real food but suddenly exclaim that they do have room for whatever ice cream/jello/cake/cookies/pie DW & I may be serving for dessert. What a miracle! Such a mystery! Why is this? My theory is that young children are born with an extra chamber to their stomachs that is normally closed but opens only when ice cream/jello/cake/cookies/pie is in the offing (as adulthood approaches, this extra chamber gradually atrophies & withers away, in most cases, kinda like the thymus gland does). Since ruminants have such multi-chambered stomachs, we must be related to them. Obviously, hominids must have branched off from bovines at some point in the distant evolutionary past.

This is my theory.

Can any of you parents out there back up my findings?

Anyone know where I could get a grant to pursue further research? Maybe Baskins & Robbins, Haagen Daz & Nabisco will agree to provide me with funding.

Be well!

MBZ
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« Reply #62 on: April 10, 2005, 08:20:51 AM »

The light that created the evening and morning before the creation of son was nothing more than the light of God. St. Basil clearly explains this in his commentary on the Hexaemeron:
St. Basil. Nine Homilies of the Hexaemeron.
http://www.creatio.orthodoxy.ru/english.html

Have you actually read this? Can you provide a citation within the text of where it says this?

Just to save everyone the brain-burn of trying to read this stuff: The link takes you to a Russian site, and it has a link to someone else's site. That site has copied of the CCEL translation, and the CCEL text was translated by " the Rev. Blomfield Jackson, MA, Rector of St. Bartholomew's, Cripplegate, London." (Other works within the series list him as vicar of St. Bart's Moor Lane, and fellow of Kings College.) He died in 1905 and indications are that the works were published sometime around 1890-- maybe a bit earlier, but certainly not much later.

All this is prologue to the point that the actual translated text verges on impenetrability rather often. For example, there's this passage:

Quote
There are also innumerable kinds of birds. If we review them all, as we have partly done the fish, we shall find that under one name, the creatures which fly differ infinitely in size, form and colour; that in their life, their actions and their manners, they present a variety equally beyond the power of description. Thus some have tried to imagine names for them of which the singularity and the strangeness might, like brands, mark the distinctive character of each kind known. Some, as eagles, have been called Schizoptera, others Dermoptera, as the bats, others Ptilota, as wasps, others Coleoptera, as beetles and all those insects which brought forth in cases and coverings, break their prison to fly away in liberty. But we have enough words of common usage to characterise each species and to mark the distinction which Scripture sets up between clean and unclean birds. Thus the species of carnivora is of one sort and of one constitution which suits their manner of living, sharp talons, curved beak, swift wings, allowing them to swoop easily upon their prey and to tear it up after having seized it. The constitution of those who pick up seeds is different, and again that of those who live on all they come across. What a variety in all these creatures! Some are gregarious, except the birds of prey who know no other society than conjugal union; but innumerable kinds, doves, cranes, starlings, jackdaws, like a common life. Among them some live without a chief and in a sort of independence; others, as cranes, do not refuse to submit themselves to a leader. And a fresh difference between them is that some are stationary and non-migratory; others undertake long voyages and the greater part of them, migrate at the approach of winter. Nearly all birds can be tamed and are capable of training, except the weakest, who through fear and timidity cannot bear the constant and annoying contact of the hand. Some like the society of man and inhabit our dwellings; others delight in mountains and in desert places. There is a great difference too in their peculiar notes. Some twitter and chatter, others are silent, some have a melodious and sonorous voice, some are wholly inharmonious and incapable of song; some imitate the voice of many taught their mimicry either by nature or training; others always give forth the same monotonous cry. The cock is proud; the peacock is vain of his beauty; doves and fowls are amorous, always seeking each other's society. The partridge is deceitful and jealous, lending perfidious help to the huntsmen to seize their prey

I have no idea how much of the obscurity of this passage is due to the work of a learned Victorian and how much of it is originally there. Did Basil really say "Dermoptera"? (Isn't that Latin?) If you're wondering why it's always this translation that appears on-line, it's because (a) it's easier to copy someone else's work than type the whole thing back in again, and (b) this translation is out of copyright.

Be that as it may, this is a pretty good example of the sort of natural theology that persisted in the West up into the middle ages. The question is whether you would take it as instruction on science. It seems on one level that Basil intends it so.
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« Reply #63 on: April 10, 2005, 08:45:17 AM »

Did Basil really say "Dermoptera"? (Isn't that Latin?)

Actually, it's Greek.
"Dermo" = "Skin"
"Ptera" = "Wings"
See what I mean by Evolutionists and Creationists speaking different languages? Wink (just kidding).
In modern taxonomy, the order "dermoptera" (the skin-winged mammals, known as "Flying Lemurs") contains only one genus and two species. One species lives in South East Asia, Java and Borneo, and the other species lives in the Phillipines. I doubt these are what St. Basil had in mind when he wrote "dermoptera" (if indeed he did write "dermoptera")

MBZ,
I think you're on to something there!

George (Australia)
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« Reply #64 on: April 10, 2005, 09:17:43 AM »

Hi all!

George, you posted:

Quote
MBZ, I think you're on to something there!

Ah, I see...how many little evolutionary throwbacks do you have? Smiley

Well (MBZ says, putting his Serious Hat on now)...

I suppose that I'd define my personal views as theistic evolution. Now, if you ask how I jibe/square all that will my faith as an orthodox Jew, I reply as follows:

First, about a "literal reading" of the Tanakh. I don't think that any two people could agree on a "literal reading" of, say, Genesis (certainly mine, as an orthodox Jew and based on the original Hebrew, will probably differ in many particulars from that of a fundamentalist Protestant, based on the KJV); such a thing is inherently subjective and based on our own idiosyncrasies, psychological/emotional/spiritual baggage and personal it-seems-to-me's. Thus, we should be very leery of basing beliefs and/or arguments on a "literal reading" of the scriptures. Those who do insist on a strict, narrow, "literal" interpretation of this or that section of scripture are, I believe, forcing it into a literary and spiritual strait-jacket entirely of their own devising that does no justice to the scriptures.

So, that being said, how do I, the orthodox Jew, view the Torah? Well, of course, I believe that it (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) is the literal word of God as He revealed it to Moses our Teacher. We believe that the Torah can be understood/appreciated/interpreted on any of four general levels ranging from that which is most in accord with a close reading of the (original Hebrew!!!) text, to the metaphorical, to the most rarefied and esoteric (the grasp of which is waaay beyond most of us). Who is to say which chapter and verse of Genesis is to be best understood or appreciated on which level? Moreover, our Sages say that the Torah is like a diamond with many facets, each with its own brilliance, each offering a different perspective from which to behold the wondrous jewel.

Lastly, I would humbly argue that we are grasping at trees & missing the forest. What is more important, (sterile?) debates over whether Genesis proves/supports or disproves/opposes this or that theory of creation or evolution, or whether the Flood "really happened" or discussing, studying and seeking to internalize its sublime moral, ethical and spiritual truths (such as befit the word of God)?

I heard a story that Karl Barth once gave a lecture on Genesis 3 at the University of Chicago. When it came time for the question and answer portion, a student spoke up and said "Dr. Barth, you don't really believe snakes could talk do you?" Barth replied, "I could care less whether or not snakes could talk. What I'm interested in is what the snake said."

BRAVO FOR DR. BARTH!!!

WELL SAID!!!

(Dr. Barth gets my point; or, rather, I get his!)

The Torah is not a cosmology/biology/geology/history text. It is God's loving instructions on how He wants us to lead our lives.

Above, I said that one of the levels which we can understand the Torah is the metaphorical. One of the books I have at home & love to reread from time-to-time is the late Carl Sagan's The Dragons of Eden. In the chapter entitled, "Eden as Metaphor," Sagan notes that so far as is known, childbirth is generally painful in only one species, us. This is due to the size of the head. He notes that God pronounced, "In pain shall you bring forth children," to us after we had eaten of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and gained the ability to discern between right and wrong, i.e. to make (uniquely human) abstract, moral judgements. This ability resides in the neo-cortex of our brains; it is our neo-cortices which make our brains so big (see http://www.brainsatwork.com/B2B/SB10.html), which in turn causes human childbirth to be painful. Sagan says that the fossil record, so far as it was known at the time he wrote the book, shows an explosive growth in human cranial size (i.e. an explosive growth in the size of hominid neo-cortices). Thus, it would only be when our neo-cortices began to grow/expand so much, that childbirth became especially painful. Thus, when taken metaphorically, this particular aspect of Genesis jibes very nicely with the evolutionary/fossil record. (Sagan also says that the hostility God ordains between the snake's descendants & Eve's is a metaphor to the eras in which reptiles & mammals contended for the domination of the earth.)

Just some (kosher, of course!) food for thought.

Be well!

MBZ (going to get some ice cream)
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« Reply #65 on: April 10, 2005, 09:25:41 AM »

Well said MBZ
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« Reply #66 on: April 10, 2005, 09:57:26 AM »

Be that as it may, this is a pretty good example of the sort of natural theology that persisted in the West up into the middle ages. The question is whether you would take it as instruction on science. It seems on one level that Basil intends it so.
Now you see, you are doing exactley what Matthew777 is doing. Just as we cant't read empirical science into scripture, we can't read it into the writings of the Fathers. St. Basil is looking into the wonder and order of Creation and seeing God's hand in it.
 Whether they are a result of theistic evolution or simply Creation, my cat has the softest fur I've ever felt, this evening's sunset was a beautiful combination of colours with iridescent flecks of cirrus clouds high in the atmosphere, children look angelic when they are asleep, dolphins have a great sense of fun, nothing tastes as good as watermelon on a hot day.....what a wonderful Creator we have!
St. Basil is not presenting "empirical facts" to teach us science, he is pointing out the wonders of Creation as a testament to the generosity and wisdom of the Creator.
In Orthodox spirituality, those who come to illumination see beyond even this, beyond the empirical knowledge of things which only point to the Creator. They "see" the created "logoi", that is, the "reason" or "true nature" of everything. They are shown what the true nature of a rock, an insect, a supernova, a leaf is.
The very first entry of St. John of Kronstadt's "My Life in Christ" reads:
"Thou, o God, hast opened wide to me Thy truth and thy verity. By instructing me in the sciences, thou hast opened to me all the riches of faith, of nature, and of human understanding...."
This is what St. Basil is saying, and this is what is meant by Divine Truth surpasses empirical facts.
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« Reply #67 on: April 10, 2005, 10:01:36 AM »

George, you posted:
Ah, I see...how many little evolutionary throwbacks do you have?

Six little arrows fill my quiver.
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« Reply #68 on: April 10, 2005, 11:01:55 AM »

Hi all!

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Six little arrows fill my quiver.

Oy (as my people say)!

Do you & Mrs. Ozgeorge get any sleep at all? Smiley

Be well!

MBZ
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« Reply #69 on: April 10, 2005, 05:40:26 PM »

But you can't argue against Evolution by using the same methods that Evolutionists use (emprirical science) to 'prove' Genesis- they are speaking vastly differernt 'languages'.

But we can have negative arguments against the purported evidences for universal common ancestry and in doing so, we can show the text of Genesis to be a "rational" alternative. The fathers of the Church certainly understand Genesis as a factual history and that is good enough for me as an Orthodox Christian.
Blessed Seraphim of Platina, by the way, is regarded as a modern father of the Church.

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« Reply #70 on: April 10, 2005, 06:21:51 PM »

Do you & Mrs. Ozgeorge get any sleep at all? Smiley

"Sleep"?...Ah yes! Ah yes, I remember now!

But we can have negative arguments against the purported evidences for universal common ancestry and in doing so, we can show the text of Genesis to be a "rational" alternative. The fathers of the Church certainly understand Genesis as a factual history and that is good enough for me as an Orthodox Christian.
How is Genesis is a "Rational alternative"? God created all matter and energy out of nothing- how is this "rational"? Adam was created from mud- how is this "rational"?  Eve was created from Adam's rib- how is this "rational"? You are applying the axioms of empirical science to God in order to "prove" what He did was possible, and it just doesn't work. The classic example is the protestant notion of the "Pre-flood vapour canopy" where pseudo-science is used in an attempt to explain the unexplainable.
Are we now going to attempt to use empirical science to show that it is "rational" that a Virgin can give birth to a Man who is God?

Blessed Seraphim of Platina, by the way, is regarded as a modern father of the Church.
Not yet he isn't. There is much dispute over his writings. For example, he has been accused of gnosticism in his writings on the Toll-houses. You and I may think he is a Father of the Church, but the Church doesn't yet.
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« Reply #71 on: April 10, 2005, 06:40:55 PM »

By "rational" I meant believable. It certainly is more believable than Darwinism.

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« Reply #72 on: April 10, 2005, 06:47:04 PM »

Here's the Greek of what Keble posted:

+òß+¦-âß+¦ ++ß+¦++-ä+++¦ +¦+¦++ß+¦++ +¦+¦+¦-Ã¥++-ü+¦ß+¦ ++-à -üß+++¦+¦ +¦+¦ß+¦ ß+É++ -ä++ß+û-é ß+ä-ü+++¦-â+¦++, ß+â-é ß+Éß+¦++ -ä+¦-é +¦+¦-äß+¦ -äß++++ +¦ß+É-äß++++ -ä-üß+¦-Ç++++ ß+É-Çß++ß+â +¦+¦++' ß+â++ ß+É++ ++ß+¦-ü+¦+¦ +¦+¦ß+¦ -äß+Ã¥-é -äß+¦++ ß+¦-ç++ß++-ë++ ß+É+++¦-äß+¦-â+¦-ë-é ß+É-Ã¥++-êß+¦+++¦+++¦, +¦ß+æ-üß+¦-â+¦+¦ ß+ô++ ++ß+¦++ ß+ä+++++++¦ -äß+¦++ -Ç+¦-ä+¦+¦++ß+¦++, ++-à -üß+++¦-é +¦ß+¦ ß+É++ -ä++ß++-ä+++¦-é +¦+¦+¦-Ã¥++-üß+¦-é ß+ö++ -ä+¦ -ä++ß+û-é +++¦+¦ß+¦+++¦-â+¦ +¦+¦ß+¦ ß+É++ -ä++ß+û-é -â-çß+¦+++¦-â+¦ +¦+¦ß+¦ ß+É++ -ä+¦ß+û-é -ç-üß+¦+¦+¦-é-+ +¦+¦ß+¦ +¦+¦-äß+¦ -ä++ß+¦-é +¦ß++++-à -é, +¦+¦ß+¦ -äß+¦-é -Ç-üß+¦+++¦+¦-é, +¦+¦ß+¦ -äß+¦ ß+ñ++++, ß+Ç++ß++++++-ä++++ ++ß+û-â+¦++ +¦ß+É-ä++ß+û-é -äß+¦++ -Ç-üß++-é ß+ä+++++++++¦ -Ç+¦-ü+¦+++++¦+¦ß+¦++. ß+¼+¦++ ++ß+¦++ ++ß+û++ -ä+¦+++¦-é ß+É-Ç+¦+¦-üß+¦++++-â+¦++ +¦+¦ß+¦ ß+Ç+++++++¦-ä++-Ç+++¦ß+++¦+¦-é -ç-üß+¦-â+¦-â+++¦+¦, ß+¦++', ß+Ñ-â-Ç+¦-ü +¦+¦ß+¦ +¦+¦-à -äß+¦-ü-ë++ -ä+¦++ß+¦++ -äß+Ã¥-é ß+Ç-â-à ++ß+¦++++-à -é +¦+¦ß+¦ ++ß+¦++++-é ß+Ç+++++++¦-âß+++¦-é, -äß++ ß+¦+¦ß++-ë+++¦ ß+æ+¦ß+¦-â-ä++-à  +¦ß+¦++++-à -é ß+É-Ç+¦+¦+¦++ß++-â+¦++-ä+¦+¦. +Ãœ+¦ß+¦ -äß+¦ ++ß+¦++ ß+á++ß+¦+++¦-â+¦++ -â-ç+¦+¦ß+¦-Ç-ä+¦-ü+¦, ß+í-é -ä++ß+¦-é ß+Ç+¦-ä++ß++-é-+ -äß+¦ +¦ß+¦ +¦+¦-ü++ß+¦-Ç-ä+¦-ü+¦, ß+í-é -äß+¦-é ++-à +¦-ä+¦-üß+++¦+¦-é-+ -äß+¦ +¦ß+¦ -Ç-ä+¦++-ë-ä+¼, ß+í-é -ä++ß+¦-é -â-åß+Ã¥+¦+¦-é-+ -äß+¦ +¦ß+¦ +¦+++++¦ß+¦-Ç-ä+¦-ü+¦, ß+í-é -ä++ß+¦-é +¦+¦++++ß+¦-ü++-à -é, +¦+¦ß+¦ ß+à -â+¦ ß+É++ ++ß+¦+¦+¦+¦-é -ä+¦-âß+¦ +¦+¦ß+¦ -Ç+¦-ü+¦+¦+++++¦ß+û-é +¦+¦++++++++ß+¦++-ä+¦, -Ç+¦-ü+¦-ü-ü+¦+¦ß+¦++-ä++-é +¦ß+É-ä++ß+û-é -ä++ß+ª ß+É++ß++-ä-ü++-à , -Ç-üß++-é -äß+¦++ -Ç-äß+Ã¥-â+¦++ ß+á+++¦-à +++¦-üß++++++...

It does say dermoptera Smiley

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« Reply #73 on: April 10, 2005, 07:37:39 PM »

Brothers,

The following passage from the Bible is the most pro Darwinism thesis in the whole Christian faith.
May be the faith field is also governed by Darwin's laws.
Why are you against Darwinism ?

Matthew 13

3 And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, "Behold, the sower went out to sow;
4 and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.
5 "Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil.
6 "But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 "Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.
8 "And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.
9 "He who has ears, let him hear."
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« Reply #74 on: April 10, 2005, 08:38:33 PM »

What does that have anything to do with the origin of the species and mankind? Does not Jesus himself explain the meaning of that particular parable?

It should be clear that Genesis explains origins and that the fathers of the Church expounded on its historical, mystical, literal and symbolical meanings.

No one who believes in the God whom Orthodox Christians worship would have ever conceived such a system of thought as Darwinism.

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« Reply #75 on: April 10, 2005, 09:04:43 PM »

Quote
No one who believes in the God whom Orthodox Christians worship would have ever conceived such a system of thought as Darwinism.

Ok, you've moved into the realm of the actively insulting. I am an Orthodox Christian, I fully believe in Christ, the Son of the Living God, and having reviewed the physical evidence, I find the fact of evolution to be utterly obvious

And I'm still waiting for a cite on your claim that the fossil record is lacking transitional forms.
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« Reply #76 on: April 10, 2005, 09:17:57 PM »

That's funny, *I'm* still waiting for those of you who defend non-Young-Earth-Creation positions to explain why the idea of God creating the universe w/ the appearance of age is not a viable possibility.

The Scr teaches it - read it to find out.
yod in Hebrew means "day." 

The argument that scars and such other signs of "wear and tear" explain this away are silly.  If we believe that God created the world w/ the appearance of age, would/could that not include scars and other things?  To deny that is to put God in a box (geez, I hate that clich+¬) and take on an idea of a God w/ limited creativity Whom you somehow outsmarted w/ your skilled scientific inquiries.

Anyone?
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« Reply #77 on: April 10, 2005, 09:27:22 PM »

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That's funny, *I'm* still waiting for those of you who defend non-Young-Earth-Creation positions to explain why the idea of God creating the universe w/ the appearance of age is not a viable possibility.

I've already admitted it as being a viable possibility, just as God having created the world last week is a viable possibility. It doesn't help us understand anything about how the world works, though, so even if this is the case (which I don't think it is), it is my belief we should proceed as if the world were billions of years old and evolution is a fact.

Would it make you happier if every scientific publication were prefaced with "Warning: the following information may or may not be true. The world may have been created last week, and all this stuff is just a figment of God's imagination. Proceed at your own risk. Not valid in Singapore."?

Quote
The argument that scars and such other signs of "wear and tear" explain this away are silly.  If we believe that God created the world w/ the appearance of age, would/could that not include scars and other things?  To deny that is to put God in a box (geez, I hate that clich+¬) and take on an idea of a God w/ limited creativity Whom you somehow outsmarted w/ your skilled scientific inquiries.

On the other hand, for God to have made the world 7000 years ago, but to have intentionally fashioned it to resemble a world that has been around for billions of years, and for God to set up the physical evidence for natural processes, both geological and biological, that do not actually exist, would make of Him a liar. I refuse to accept that.
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« Reply #78 on: April 10, 2005, 10:17:32 PM »

yod in Hebrew means "day."

Actually, "yom" means day; yod (or yud) is the equivalent of the letter "y" (which begins the word "yom.")

In any case, I don't see how the sudden cite of the Hebrew word is revelant.

Marjorie
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« Reply #79 on: April 11, 2005, 05:26:36 AM »

Hi all!

Marjorie, you are correct. Yom is the Hebrew (both ancient & modern) word for "day." Many of our sages (our very great 8th century CE Sage, Saadya Gaon, first & foremost) have said that the seven "days" of Creation were not 24-hour days as we know them.

This http://www.ou.org/publications/ja/5760summer/genesis.pdf is an absolutely fascinating article entiteled Genesis, Cosmology and Evolution by Rabbi Hillel Goldberg, that I heartily recommend. It's not short & it has to be read both slowly & more than once. But it is, I think, excellent & makes the point that those who claim that religion & science do not jibe understand neither one properly. (An html version is at http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cache:dpOF347cHAIJ:www.ou.org/publications/ja/5760summer/genesis.pdf+evolution&hl=en.)

Enjoy!

MBZ
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« Reply #80 on: April 11, 2005, 08:11:30 AM »

But it is, I think, excellent & makes the point that those who claim that religion & science do not jibe understand neither one properly.

MBZ,

Thanks for the link to this very insightful article.
I especiallly liked Rabbi Goldberg's insight into the first day. Even in the Septuagint, there is no evening and morning which preceeded the first day of Creation.

 Rabbi Goldberg eloquently says what I have only been only able to fumble at saying:
Quote
"Darwin reduced the Torah to scientific tract that would rise or fall on the coherence of his new biological science. This, not random evolution, is the primary injustice that Darwin did to the Torah. He simplified and eviscerated it, robbing it of it's own central concern, which is spiritual-ethical, not scientific."

Rabbi Goldberg goes on to say that "Creation Science" ironically makes the same mistake, and I fully agree.

However, Rabbi Goldberg's definition of what constitutes "Creation Science" is very limited. He says that Creation Science simply attempts to disprove Darwin. I would say that so-called "Creation Science" not only attempts to disprove Darwin, but also attempts to "prove" Genesis. An example is the theory which became fashionable in the 1970's of the "Pre-Flood Vapour Canopy"- a theory for which there was absolutely no basis in either Science or Scripture- it was simply the creation of some people's imaginations who felt this was the only way to explain the Great Flood. More recently it has fallen out of fashion due to a more recent discovery when an attempt was made to drill through the Earth's crust in Siberia. What was found was that the rocks 2 kilometres below the Earth's surface were saturated with water. So now, the "Creation Scientists" have abandoned the "Pre-Flood Vapour Canopy" theory and are adopting theories which involve changes in the Earth's crust which flooded the world with subterrainian water that was brought to the surface.

Rabbi Goldberg's use of the Special Theory of Relativity, while interesting, seems to me to be yet another form of "Creation Science" which, yet again, in his own words could unintentionally, "Rob the scriptures of it's own central concern which is spiritual-ethical, not science".

And you know, none of this has yet explained to me how "evening came and morning came" on the first two days when the Sun was created on the third. Even the Special Theory of Relativity cannot explain this. Perhaps the God-inspired scriptures include this very account of a Sunless evening and morning to remind a future, Science-and-Technology-worshipping generation that the Scriptures aren't talking Science.....just a thought.

It seems that in these ungodly times where technology has become the new "idol", the belief is that something can only be true if it can empirically be proven to be true. This probably partly explains the surge in New Age pseudo-spirituality. The "gurus" say "try it and see if it works", and when people try it, they see that it does "work". "You see", says the guru, "you don't need to believe in a god, simply meditate (or use use crystals, or aromatherapy, or hang a dream-catcher over your bed, or use feng shui etc), it 'works' ". Faith, on the other hand, is 'Faith'- it is not security, nor is it empirically proven. A monk who has attained theosis and who eminates the Uncreated Light is not "empirical scientific proof" that God exists. Similarly the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea was not sufficient "empirical scientific proof" of the existence and power of God for Pharoah to prevent him from persuing the Israelites. There is a percievable "Truth" which cannot be percieved by the eyes and ears, it can only be percieved through the 'eyes' of the Soul, yet this Truth is Absolute, whereas "empirical scientific facts" are all relative truths.
George (Australia)
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« Reply #81 on: April 11, 2005, 11:32:05 AM »

Now you see, you are doing exactley what Matthew777 is doing. Just as we cant't read empirical science into scripture, we can't read it into the writings of the Fathers. St. Basil is looking into the wonder and order of Creation and seeing God's hand in it.

I must apologize for mangling the point of my post by truncating it in my haste to get it posted so I could get on with Real Life(tm).

What I should have said was that Basil appears to have intended to teach "science" in a-- hmmmm-- secondary way. Which is to say, his reference to it is in the nature of a sermon illustration. One might expect these illustrations to be instructive not only as to illustrating the point of the sermon, but also in their own right. Basil was directly preaching about natural theology, but to get there he had to do some talking about natural science.

What's more to the point is that he was relying upon the natural-- secular-- science of his day. That is, the non-theological content of his sermons-- things like how bats, birds and bees are all related-- simply reflects the way people thought in general. Not an exact reproduction of that thinking, because there wasn't a canon of natural science and because his Judaeo-Christian perspective does give a certain shape to his thinking-- a shape, however, that was carried over into current science because Christianity had the right answer and the pagan philosophies more often than not did not.

This is a bit beside my original intent, which was to actually confront Basil's typically ancient/medieval style of discussion. The passage I quoted was one of the more comprehensible to the modern mind; the discussion on the firmament, to take one of the more opaque examples, tends to set off a process of translation into modern terms which tends to obscure how differently the ancients might think about the matter.

In any case, if one is to cite Basil, one should quote Basil. I'm guessing that the repeated references arose not out of actual grounding in the text, but a secondary reference through (if I may be so bold) Seraphim Rose.
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« Reply #82 on: April 11, 2005, 01:10:15 PM »

That's funny, *I'm* still waiting for those of you who defend non-Young-Earth-Creation positions to explain why the idea of God creating the universe w/ the appearance of age is not a viable possibility.

It's not a question of viability, but of meaning. To create an earth that falsely appears old has a theological meaning; it's a potent source for natural theology concerning the nature of God.

Quote
The argument that scars and such other signs of "wear and tear" explain this away are silly. If we believe that God created the world w/ the appearance of age, would/could that not include scars and other things?

The point is that these scars don't just show age; they show a history, to the point where the positions of the continents can apparently be tracked, eon by eon. As it stands now, Europe can be seen to have collided with North America, and then split apart again; India was shoved into Asia and indeed is still pushing the Himalayas higher. The processes that we can see now, extended backwards, do indeed appear to show a history of motion dating back a billion years at least-- and motion implies time.
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« Reply #83 on: April 11, 2005, 02:24:30 PM »

Quote
BEAYF:  It doesn't help us understand anything about how the world works, though, so even if this is the case (which I don't think it is), it is my belief we should proceed as if the world were billions of years old and evolution is a fact.
>>Oh, great.  Let us proceed according to that which is manifestly untrue - Darwinism.  To be preferred is the approach where we recognise that, in certain areas, our knowledge and ability to acquire further knowledge is limited.  No shame in accepting that God's grandeur puts us to shame.  Somehow, though, I don't think the generally godless scientific establishment will accept that...

Quote
BEAYF:  Would it make you happier if every scientific publication were prefaced with "Warning: the following information may or may not be true. The world may have been created last week
>>No, my suggestions are limited here to the "science" of trying to discover our origins.  The Scriptures told us where we came from.  But that's not good enough for us, no way!  We've gotta find something ELSE so that nobody can tell us what to do! 
I'm not against science, only Darwinism.

Quote
BEAYF:  On the other hand, for God to have made the world 7000 years ago, but to have intentionally fashioned it to resemble a world that has been around for billions of years, and for God to set up the physical evidence for natural processes, both geological and biological, that do not actually exist, would make of Him a liar. I refuse to accept that.
>>A liar?  I already pointed out to you that God TOLD us what He did in the Scr.  How does that make Him a liar? 

Quote
MARJORIE:  Actually, "yom" means day; yod (or yud) is the equivalent of the letter "y" (which begins the word "yom.") 
>>Oops!  Yes, I meant "yom."  Thanks for the save!
The citation of the Hebrew word was clearly not adequately explained - my fault again.  "Yod" appears as a 24-hour day in every place (w/ one exception, I believe) in the Scr.  I bring it up to show that these are not to be understood as anything other than days.

Quote
KEBLE:  What I should have said was that Basil appears to have intended to teach "science" in a-- hmmmm-- secondary way.
>>All I see here is explaining away of an ECF's testimony.  Matthew has asked for CFs to refute his view, and none have been put forth so far.  That speaks volumes, and should speak louder to the O-dox here than it does to me, the Evangelical!  And yet, that is not the case...

Quote
KEBLE:  It's not a question of viability, but of meaning. To create an earth that falsely appears old has a theological meaning; it's a potent source for natural theology concerning the nature of God.
>>Could you elucidate on what you mean, please?

Quote
KEBLE:  ...India was shoved into Asia and indeed is still pushing the Himalayas higher. The processes that we can see now, extended backwards, do indeed appear to show a history of motion dating back a billion years at least-- and motion implies time.
>>And I suppose God could not have done that as well? 
Of course He could have.  Unfortunately, this argumentation will continue to fail if you continue to pursue it.
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« Reply #84 on: April 11, 2005, 03:28:58 PM »

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Let us proceed according to that which is manifestly untrue - Darwinism. 

You are assuming this, but have yet to provide any evidence for this assertion. I find evolution to be manifestly true and obvious to anyone who looks at the evidence and is willing to consider it a possibility. If you are determined to reject evolution no matter what evidence is presented to you, there's not much I can do to help you.

If credible, verifiable, peer-reviewed evidence were presented to me that falsified the theory of evolution, I'd drop that theory in a heartbeat. Evolution for me is not ideology, it's just a scientific theory that has a heck of a lot more evidence going for it than any other alternative I've seen. Still waitin' for scientific evidence against it, though...
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« Reply #85 on: April 11, 2005, 03:44:43 PM »

And several pieces of information have been offered.
You dismissed them.  Maybe I should just dismiss your 'proof' for Darwinism.  There we go - that's nice and fair.

But it's not the central point of my argument.  Do you have any argument against my position of God creating the kosmos with the appearance of age?
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« Reply #86 on: April 11, 2005, 04:08:22 PM »

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Do you have any argument against my position of God creating the kosmos with the appearance of age?

I've already answered this: I have no more argument against it than I have against God having created the kosmos last week. Both positions appear to me to be equally absurd, and thus equally likely.

Quote
And several pieces of information have been offered.

Please point me to these credible, verifiable, peer-reviewed pieces of information. Note: the claim that the fossil record is lacking transitional forms is patently false, and when I say "patently" I mean "absolutely farkingly obvious". The assertion that there's a lack of transitional forms is as debunkable as the assertion that there are no birds in the sky, or rocks on the ground. You don't even need any sort of fancy theories to debunk it, just a willingness to look at what's been found in the ground. Heck, talkorigins.org has even compiled a nice long list of vertebrate transitional fossils. Here are directly links to the pages, so you don't have to waste time navigating through the site:
Transitions from primitive jawless fish to sharks, skates, and rays.
Transitions from primitive jawless fish to bony fish
Transitions from primitive bony fish to amphibians
Transitions among amphibians
Transitions from amphibians to first reptiles
Transitions among reptiles
Transitions from reptiles to first mammals
Transitions from diapsid reptiles to first birds

Some transitional plankton fossils

Want more?


Irreducible complexity is just a "god of the gaps" argument -- just because we don't know how something formed right now doesn't mean we won't know in the future.
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« Reply #87 on: April 11, 2005, 05:04:43 PM »

And I suppose God could not have done that as well? Of course He could have. Unfortunately, this argumentation will continue to fail if you continue to pursue it.

Well, when it comes to "could have", he could have created the earth and its creatures through a 4.5 billion year process of plate tectonics and evolution-- and then could have had the writer of Genesis 1 describe it in highly poetic terms. "Could" in this case secretly means "consistent with the picture I already have in my mind about how God works".

It seems to come down to two things: the "queen of sciences" arrogating authority to herself as if she had some actual ability to change the truth; and a distaste for dealing with the supposed religious implications of evolution. And no doubt on one level the latter is distasteful, because it makes the action of God in the world that much more incomprehensible. And it's also distasteful to contemplate devotion to a God who willfully creates a misleading universe. Personally I think it is a lot easier to accept that Genesis 1 is interested in telling us about God rather than about natural history, than it is to accept a God whose intent in creation is deceitful. The first is consistent with scripture, and the second is not.
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« Reply #88 on: April 11, 2005, 05:06:41 PM »

Ok, you've moved into the realm of the actively insulting.

Darwinism is antithetical to the traditional understanding of Genesis and Orthodox theology. It is highly unlikely that any Orthodox Christian would have "discovered" it.

In case you are interested:
A Critique of Douglas Theobald’s
“29 Evidences for Macroevolution”
    by Ashby Camp
http://trueorigin.org/theobald1a.asp

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« Reply #89 on: April 11, 2005, 06:04:26 PM »

Any rebuttals to what I actually posted?
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« Reply #90 on: April 11, 2005, 06:09:47 PM »

Science is not able to tell us the age of the earth. There must be a reason why we have the genaeologies of Scripture. According to the Septuagint, the world is 7,500 years old.
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« Reply #91 on: April 11, 2005, 06:13:20 PM »

OK, I can see you're only interested in monologue. (Actually, I saw this a while back but was hoping that someone would come in with something more substantive). I'm through here unless anyone has anything new to add.
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« Reply #92 on: April 11, 2005, 06:20:25 PM »

Matthew,

I've already demonstrated that the fathers are far from in agreement on the interpretation of the Creation account, so stop appealing to them, they just dont all support your conclusions. Ultimatley only the School of Antioch would have fully supported this posistion you claim as universally patristic. Moreover, from the manner in which St. Basil presented his Interpretation of the Creation account, heavily relying on the Science of the Day, it is quite likely that he would have been open to a theory such as Evolution had science presented it to him. Of course, that is just speculation, but it has more basis in fact than most your claims here.
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« Reply #93 on: April 11, 2005, 07:41:11 PM »

Science is not able to tell us the age of the earth.

Oh really? <Glyph of one raised eyebrow> and just how precise do you expect it to be? To the year? month? more?

How about rocks?:
http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/geotime/age.html
http://www-astronomy.mps.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast161/Unit5/deeptime.html


and this link that speaks of an plus/minus 1%
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-age-of-earth.html

Once againg you have made flat declarations without any supporting evidence. I decline to accept you as an authority.

Quote
There must be a reason why we have the genaeologies of Scripture. According to the Septuagint, the world is 7,500 years old.

and according to Bishop Ussher it was created in October 4004 B.C. using a number of works to calculate it.
http://www-astronomy.mps.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast161/Unit5/ussher.html

Imho, Bp. Ussher was a better scholar then some here.

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« Reply #94 on: April 11, 2005, 08:14:54 PM »

Through the mercy of God we are being saved. And may Him be all the Glory yesterday and today and in days of the future until there is  a day, and after that whenever and always from all through all and for all. Amin.


It seems to me that brothers and sisters are talking about things and questions of the new world where these kind of questions are common and everpresent. In my mind there is not a single confusing question in regard to Theory of Evolution that we should ponder before the Church does so. As far as teaching as impressed by the Holy Mother Church, the Bride of our Lord and Saviour, Christ Jesus, it is very simple to see that it would be an abssurd to assume that THERE IS a concept of Evolution in any part of canon law, because until this age, brought by questioners of the west, nobody ever questioned the Creationism as you people call it and place it, that way, into a relativitic place to Evolution making them same, even to each other just one of two theories. And canon law mostly deals with thing that were questioned. Sorry, you will have to wait until next Oecumenical Synod or the first one that will deal with Evolution. What I am trying to say, going hand in hand with Protestants and Atheists and arguing in their arguments, you become one and all of them. (Note Ps, 1,1.)

In my mind it is a sin of heresy to disregard thus revealed truths.
And those are:
I believe in one God, Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth and of everything visible and invisable. (Proffesion A, the Symbol of faith of Holy Fathers of the Christian Church as formulated by Holy Fathers led by Holy Spirit during the First Oecumenical Council and confirmed after by all other Councils of the Church).

Concerning the World
"On Creation
Q. Who created the world, how and why?
A. God created the world in six days, from nothing, with only the power of His
   Word, that He might make other beings happy also.

Q. Into what parts can we divide the world?
A. Into the visible world, that is, what we see (the earth, stars, etc.) and
   into the invisable, that is, what we do not see, (spirits)."

Taken from current Catechism of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Chruch of the East, in front of Serbian people also known as Orthodox Church (pp 12-13, Belgrade 2003, edition of the BelgradeTheological Faculty of he Serbian Orthodox Church, with the blessing of his holyness P. Pavle)

And these statements are clear what the Holy Mother Church states through its concenssus of faith. All statements given by mortal man that are not affirming this statement, or, are in full or part negatory to dogma or dogmas of as promulgated by Holy Mother Church, the Body of Christ are heretic therefore heterodox and let it be anathema. (Note Cathecism is not a document of Oecumenical Nature but can be changed with the time, unlike the formulae given by Oecumenical Council which are timely-eternal).





I wish now to answer questions that have been asked at the start fo this thread, in order.

Given that the fathers of the Church interpreted Genesis as a historical account and the purported evidence for Darwinism is very lacking, then why is there such a hostility of American Orthodox Christians toward Creationism? Why are so many Orthodox Christians illiterate of patristic theology?

Creationsnism is a protestant term that many are familiar with in America. It is not Orthodox term. Orthodox Church does not see Creationism or Evolution as matters of salvation and it does not consider them (yet) as a dogmatic issue for the fact that in the oppinion of the Church the Truth needed for salvation has been given and is as was and as taught, preached and sung by ALL, EVERYWHERE and ALWAYS. The statement of faith needed for slavation (DOGMA) is as stated in 1st. Article of the Symbol of Faith of the Orthodox Church. This is position of the Church and to that I have nothing to add.
Why such a hostility of American Orthodox Christians toward creationism. In my oppinion it is due to the fact that many Protestant sects deem this as a fight between religion and science and is theres (American Orthodox Christians) 'knee-jerk' reaction to anything that is formaly protestant.
Why are so many Orthodox illiterate in Patristic theology? Well there are over 23.000.000 pages of Patristic theology. I guess people who are working 2 jobs and have kids do not have time to read alot. Thats why Church has a symbol of faith. Form this all theology comes. It all theology one needs to know. Reading fathers is good. But not all fathers all the time correct and some may be rather heterodox. I am sure that this is a question of proper patristics and not of this forum. There is one truth and whoever, man or women of the mortal flesh, may be (is) teaching othervise and contrary to the articles of faith (DOGMAS) let it be anathema.
I do not see statements needed for salvations (dogmas) on the same plain as statements of anybody mortal. Therefore I don't consider that there is a conflict between Orthodox Church and science, because Orthodox Church for largest part does not consider science as area of salvation and scientist because of their approach to facts of life do not know ALL THE TRUTH and where there might be a conflict between the two it should be regarded as a sin of ignorance.  In the end i believe that there is truth needed for salvation and that is scientific truth needed for whatever reasons one may be looking into them.



What meaning is there to the doctrine of ancestral sin if the fall were not a historical event?
Why are Adam and Eve considered saints by the Orthodox Church if they were not historical persons?
If Genesis were not a factual history, then why didn't God reveal this to Jesus Christ, Saint Paul and the fathers of the Church?


Dogmas regarding Ancestral Sin and other statetements of faith should not be used for bickering in regard to this, in my view, purely western protestant/atheist discussion. I will say that IF THEORY OF EVOLUTION is in any part contrary to the ORTODOX FAITH as promulgated by Tradition, that would mean that THAT PART of theory of evolution in not correct. But this doen not mean that all of Theory is incorrect (Science is still evolving in all aspects).  I certainly believe that elements of the report regarding Ancestral sin are historical event as thought by Orthodox Church. How these connect to Evolution/Creationism saga going on in the west? Well, I am sorry to say that the Oppinion of the Church has not yet been formulated in traditional way, so all arguments are without Canonical support that this question may require, As far as Ancestral sin is concerned it is clear from Lk. 3,23-38. (note Lk. 3,38. especially) what Church believes in regard to Adam being historical. I belive that person who is negating reveiled truth for sake of saving his/her own oppinion, let it be anathema. I am not entering in classification of the historicity of Genesis because it had been done by the Fathers of the Church. The question regarding revelation about Genesis in the New Testament is question of atheological argument using some form of theological methodology.



If the Orthodox Church has no opinion on natural science, then why did the holy fathers tell us to not allow secular wisdom to influence our interpretation of Scripture?
This is typical western question. Even it might be painful for us we have to except, sometimes our dearest themes, might mot be really important. Holy Fathers HAVE NOT DEALT with the question of science as understood today. They dealt with secular wisdom. In real terms that means that there is ONLY ONE way by which human kind can understant Holy scripture and thus message of the same. This has nothing to do with secular themes. The fact that Church has not pondered this question yet (through the only way of Ekklesial pondering, which is Oecumenical Synod) makes it question out of realm of faith (thus not needed for salvation). When and if Church makes Dogma that is concerned in this field that will become Tradition of the Chuch.



If Genesis only tells the "why" but not the "how" of God's creative work then why did the fathers of the Church explain the meaning of Genesis as a true historical account?
I believe that Holy Fathers have spoken according to there own revelation. The fact what they said is not the point, the point is HOW THEY LIVED according to what they said. If fathers believed in Historicity of Genesis they did so because it was so reveiled to them. I am not saying otherwise, but I am saying that making oppinion regarding something that Church has not yet made Her oppinion about, is not wise.



And finally, given that the fathers of the Church insisted on the historicity of Genesis, Why is there not an official statement of the Church against evolutionism?
Due to the fact that Church HAS NOT made official statement for or against evolutionism. Having said this, it is not our office to do that for the Church.




To conclude, I believe that it is a question that should be pondered but I do not see it as something important, as much as you do anyway.  Science is using methodology of PROOF, Theology is using methology of Divine Revelation and system of faith. These are different in all aspects. These can at times be in contradiction. This is so due to a moment in scientific development that science is at some stage or at the oppinion of people in regard to questions. This may not be factual situation. Let us worry about our lives an follow great examples of sacrifice for the Lord who sacrified everything for us and our salvation. Talking about things that Church has not talked about is very unwise. On the same time talking about things incontrary to the Church is deadly. Creationism might sound very right and Evolution might seem very wrong. Let us not be quick to make decision about something that Orthodox Church has not made decision yet. Leave heterdoxy to heterodox. On this question Church has been silent. We should do also.

NOTE: If a statement stated by a mortal man is contrary to Doctrine deemed by The Church as needed for salvation (Dogma), this statement is heretic therefore heterodox. This is he only measure we have, for now.



God bless.

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« Reply #95 on: April 12, 2005, 09:12:36 AM »

Hi all!

Hmm, lessee here...

Rho, you posted:

Quote
Yom" appears as a 24-hour day in every place (w/ one exception, I believe) in the Scr. I bring it up to show that these are not to be understood as anything other than days.

But that is not how we, for whom Hebrew is our native & first language, understand it. I refer you to the section entitled "Cosmology: The Age of the Earth" in that article by Rabbi Hillel Goldberg I cited in my previous post (http://www.ou.org/publications/ja/5760summer/genesis.pdf).

Quote
...God creating the kosmos with the appearance of age...

Rabbi Goldberg writes:

Quote
Falsifiability, a requirement of argument, is the idea that if a point is not subject to refutation — if it does not take into account contradictory evidence — it cannot be true. If claims of evolution made from the fossil record do not grapple with gaps inthe record, these claims become a matter of dogma or intuition. In Darwinism, the absence of falsifiability characterizes its treatment of paleontology — and more. Some organisms have mal-adaptive traits, yet survive. Under Darwinism, they should not, since Darwinism requires the survival of the fittest. Other organisms exhibit diametrically opposed traits, yet both survive. Under Darwinism, only one should. Evolutionary biology, however, incorporates all contingencies. Its practitioners readily expand or contract its definition in order to divert evidentiary challenges. No claim is falsifiable —therefore, none can be true.

Taking your idea into account (which I'll call "appearanceofageism"), I could rewrite the foregoing as follows:

Quote
Falsifiability, a requirement of argument, is the idea that if a point is not subject to refutation — if it does not take into account contradictory evidence — it cannot be true. If claims of appearanceofageism made from the fossil record do not grapple with gcontradictory evidence, these claims become a matter of dogma or intuition...Appearanceofageism, however, incorporates all contingencies. Its practitioners readily expand or contract its definition in order to divert evidentiary challenges. No claim is falsifiable — therefore, none can be true.

Appearanceofageism, by its very nature, admits of no contradictory evidence whatsoever. It cannot be argued against.

Keble, you posted:

Quote
Personally I think it is a lot easier to accept that Genesis 1 is interested in telling us about God rather than about natural history, than it is to accept a God whose intent in creation is deceitful. The first is consistent with scripture, and the second is not.

Well said!

Beayf, you spoke of the "God of the gaps" idea. Believe it or not, this past Saturday night I went to a study session in memory of a deceased member of our community & one of the rabbis who spoke discussed this very idea.

The God that I, as an orthodox Jew, believe in is certainly not a God of the gaps. Before eating bread, an orthodox Jew says the following blessing: "Blessed are You, Lord our God, Eternal King, Who Brings Forth Bread From the Earth." But, as we call know, bread doesn't come from the Earth Wheat does but it has to be harvested in sufficient quantity, threshed, winnowed and ground into flour. Then you have to add water (and usually yeast), mix and bake. Breadmaking is a quintessentially human process. What does God have to do with it? Yet it is precisely because there are no gaps in the making of bread that this blessing is considered the highest/holiest of all of our blessings over food. By reciting it, we acknowledge God as the Ultimate, if not the Proximate, Cause of everything and as our Ultimate, if not Proximate, Benefactor. Saying this blessing over this quintessentially human product saves us from pride and prevents us from falling into the (same) error described in both Deuteronomy 8:17 ("and you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth') and Jeremiah 9:23 ("Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom..."). Saying this blessing teaches us to see the miraculous in the mundane and to internalize the lesson in Psalm 127:1 (which is the antidote to the aforementioned error in Deuteronomy and Jeremiah), "Except the Lord build the house, they who build it labor in vain; except that the Lord keep the city, the watchman wakes in vain."

However, while my God is not a spiritual gap-plugger, neither is He Bishop Usher's God.

Howzat?

Be well!

MBZ


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« Reply #96 on: April 12, 2005, 04:07:17 PM »

Quote
Some organisms have mal-adaptive traits, yet survive. Under Darwinism, they should not, since Darwinism requires the survival of the fittest.

The good rabbi misunderstands how evolution works. It is perfectly possible for a population with maladaptive traits to survive, if it possesses other, adaptive traits that offset the maladaptations. Evolution isn't concerned with the best design, only with the design that works well enough.

Quote
Evolutionary biology, however, incorporates all contingencies.

Not really. The theory of evolution can be easily falsified -- find us some rabbit fossils in pre-Cambrian layers, or a human who reproduces by asexual budding, or a dog giving birth to a frog, and you'll blow the current theory out of the water.
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« Reply #97 on: April 12, 2005, 05:28:49 PM »

and according to Bishop Ussher it was created in October 4004 B.C. using a number of works to calculate it.
http://www-astronomy.mps.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast161/Unit5/ussher.html

Imho, Bp. Ussher was a better scholar then some here.

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Bishop Usher used the Masoretic text to date the age of the earth. The Septuagint, on the other hand, is older and therefore more reliable. The fathers of the Church dated the earth at less than 10,000 years old, based on the Septuagint:
http://www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/Chapter3.htm
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« Reply #98 on: April 12, 2005, 05:35:27 PM »

Let us not be quick to make decision about something that Orthodox Church has not made decision yet. Leave heterdoxy to heterodox. On this question Church has been silent. We should do also.

The fathers of the Church were definitely not silent on this matter. We have no reason to not believe in the patristic understanding of Genesis. Darwinism is an attempt to give a naturalistic answer to a fundamentally theological question. I do not enjoy debating this issue because it really should be a non-issue. Theistic evolution is an attempt to marry Darwinism with the Word of God. However, one need only allow the text to speak for itself to notice the contradiction. The philosophy of Darwinism is antithetical to traditional Christian theology.
The more I think about the disagreements people have over this, the more my head hurts.


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« Reply #99 on: April 13, 2005, 12:47:04 AM »

Oh, mate... give it a break....
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« Reply #100 on: April 13, 2005, 07:09:08 AM »

Bishop Usher used the Masoretic text to date the age of the earth. The Septuagint, on the other hand, is older and therefore more reliable. The fathers of the Church dated the earth at less than 10,000 years old, based on the Septuagint:
http://www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/Chapter3.htm

Well, my wife checked this one out, but she says it's my turn to do the refuting, so here goes:

There's no reference to the Septuagint on the referenced page, and there's also no specific agreement about the age of the earth mentioned there. You've found a reasonably good reference (one which we've discussed before, BTW) but you are misrepresenting what it says.
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« Reply #101 on: April 13, 2005, 07:27:33 AM »

Hi all!

Matthew777, you posted:

Quote
Bishop Usher used the Masoretic text to date the age of the earth. The Septuagint, on the other hand, is older and therefore more reliable.

I know that this is off-topic but...

A Greek translation is more reliable than the original Hebrew? Huh :scratch:

Be well!

MBZ
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« Reply #102 on: April 13, 2005, 07:31:27 AM »

While I do not involve myself in these Evolution threads - the topic is moot to Orthodoxy- I did note that the referenced "fathers" on the page linked seem to pre-date the Masorite text, most considersably so. Hence, one may 'assume' the Septuagint was being used.
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« Reply #103 on: April 13, 2005, 07:32:59 AM »

Hi all!

Matthew777, you posted:



I know that this is off-topic but...

A Greek translation is more reliable than the original Hebrew?  Huh :scratch:

Be well!

MBZ

Maybe not...but where is this 'original' Hebrew?
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« Reply #104 on: April 13, 2005, 07:57:02 AM »

MBZ,

Quote
A Greek translation is more reliable than the original Hebrew?

Just a couple of general issues to consider in relation to the above comment:

1)   The Septuagint, being a translation, is hence an interpretation. As we know, there are disputes today regarding what specific Hebrew words of the Bible originally meant, and the range or restriction of their intended implications and applications etc. Given that the Septuagint is a 3rd century B.C. translation (the oldest translation of the Bible we know) performed by Jewish scholars (a date and authorship which the general consensus of the schorlarly community agrees with), it is therefore essential for consideration, since it provides us with information regarding how the Hebrew was understood by those who were obviously in a much more reliable position both historically, culturally, and religiously, to define what certain words meant.

2)   The Greek translation may be considered more reliable in the sense that it provides us data concerning differing pre-Masoretic divergent Hebrew texts which would have provided the basis for any divergent readings between the Hebrew Masoretic and the Greek Septuagint; as dead sea scroll research has proven. In this sense, the Greek translation may be deemed more reliable with regards to providing a more reliable reading - a reading which may have been prone to scribal errors (whether they be innocent or deliberate is for each individual to conclude on their own) resulting in the various divergent readings found in the Masoretic text.

Point 2) ^ obviously relates to +æ-ü+¦-â-ä+++¦+++«-é’s very valid question: but where is this 'original' Hebrew?


Anyways, this is obviously absolutely irrelevant to the nature of this thread, and maybe even irrelevant to the purpose of why the Septuagint translation was brought up in the first place (?), but I just thought I would throw in my two cents nonetheless.

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« Reply #105 on: April 13, 2005, 08:12:34 AM »

Hi all!

Well, it is an article of the Orthodox (Jewish!) faith that the Torah we have today is the same & exact Torah that God revealed to Moses. See http://www.aish.com/shavuottorah/shavuottorahdefault/Accuracy_of_Torah_Text.asp & http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/benAsher.html. The Masoretic text fixed by Aaron ben Moses ben Asher is merely standard regarding (more or less) vowelization & cantillation of the text, but the unvoweled text (of the kind that Torah scrolls must be written in ) itself is, as we believe, unchanged. The Aleppo Codex (http://www.imj.org.il/eng/shrine/aleppo.html), which ben Asher edited himself is at the Israel Museum here in Jerusalem. That the texts found among the Dead Sea Scrolls may & do have variations is irrelevant. Sectarian heretics like the authors of the the Scrolls cannot be relied on to accurately transmit texts in accordance with the rules & norms of the normative orthodoxy that they broke away from, denied & despised.

About the translation of the Septuagint by our Sages,this past Dec. 22 was one of 4 first-light-until-nightfall fast days on our calendar, on which we abstain from food & drink (but not from bathing, marital relations, and wearing jewelery, cosmetics & leather, all of which we abstain from on the 2 'round-the-clock fasts on our calendar). It is the 10th of the Hebrew month of Tevet (the "fast of the tenth [month]" referred to in Zechariah 8:19), on which we recall Nebuchadnezzar's siege of Jerusalem (see II Kings 25:1). But it also marks the translation of the Torah into Greek, i.e. the Septuagint (see http://www.aish.com/literacy/mitzvahs/The_Tenth_of_Tevet.asp). That the Torah was translated into another language is considered a cause for sadness & a reason to mourn. Our Sages say that when the Torah was translated (into Greek), (spiritual) darkness descended on the world. Remember, our Sages were compelled by Ptolemy II to translate the Torah; it wasn't their choice.

Regarding, "what specific Hebrew words of the Bible originally meant, and the range or restriction of their intended implications and applications etc.," we rely on our Sages, who pass on the traditions that they have received from their teachers, who received them from their teachers, etc., all the way back to the people who actually wrote the books and/or were there at the time. (We rely on our Sages in much the same way as you rely on the Church. While Infallibility is, of course, a particularly Roman Catholic doctrine, we do believe in an unbroken chain of tradition (http://www.aish.com/holidays/shavuot/last/chain.htm#precise)
stretching from Moses himself all the way to our Sages who compiled the Talmuds (and from then to today). Insofar as we're talking about linguistics, textual interpretation, etymology, idiom, etc., we would humbly submit that this is more than sufficient.

EkhristosAnesti, you also posted:

Quote
The Septuagint, being a translation, is hence an interpretation.

As a Hebrew-to-English translator (hence my fondness for, and bias towards, originals) with almost 12 years' experience, you are, of course, quite correct.

Quote
Anyways, this is obviously absolutely irrelevant to the nature of this thread, and maybe even irrelevant to the purpose of why the Septuagint translation was brought up in the first place (?), but I just thought I would throw in my two cents nonetheless.

Sure, it's OT, but I would say that your $0.02 is well spent!  Smiley

Be well!

MBZ
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« Reply #106 on: April 13, 2005, 02:03:52 PM »



Well, my wife checked this one out, but she says it's my turn to do the refuting, so here goes:

There's no reference to the Septuagint on the referenced page, and there's also no specific agreement about the age of the earth mentioned there. You've found a reasonably good reference (one which we've discussed before, BTW) but you are misrepresenting what it says.


"Biblical dating of Creation
The Bible begins with the Book of Genesis, in which God creates the world, including the first human, a man named Adam, in six days. Genesis goes on to list many of Adam's descendants, in many cases giving the ages at which they had children and died. If these events and ages are interpreted literally throughout, it is possible to build up a chronology in which many of the events of the Old Testament are dated to an estimated number of years after the Creation.

Some scholars have gone further, and have attempted to tie in this Biblical chronology with that of recorded history, thus establishing a date for the Creation in a modern calendar. Since there are periods in the Biblical story where dates are not given, the chronology has been subject to interpretation in many different ways, resulting in a variety of estimates of the date of Creation.

Two dominant dates for Biblical Creation using such models exist, about 5500 BC and about 4000 BC. These were calculated from the genealogies in two versions of the Bible, with most of the difference arising from two versions of Genesis. The oldest was translated into Greek from the Hebrew Torah during the third century BC as the first book of the Septuagint. It was used by Jews until about 100, then by all Christians until 405, then by the Byzantines until 1453, and is still used by the various Orthodox churches. The newest was due to a revision of the Torah by Jews about 100, which was slightly modified about 900 (though not affecting this genealogy), and is still used by all Jews. Jerome translated it into Latin as the first book of the Vulgate in 405, then it was used by all Western Christians, who split into Roman Catholics and Protestants beginning in 1517. Basically, the patriarchs from Adam to the father of Abraham were often 100 years older when they begat their named son in the Septuagint than they were in the Vulgate (Genesis 5, 11). The net difference between the two genealogies was 1466 years (ignoring the "second year after the flood" ambiguity), which is virtually all of the 1500-year difference between 5500 BC and 4000 BC.

Jewish scholars subscribing to similar interpretations give two dates for Creation according to the Talmud. They state that the first day of Creation week was either Elul 25, AM 1 or Adar 25, AM 1, almost twelve or six months, respectively, after the modern epoch of the Hebrew calendar. Most prefer Elul 25 whereas a few prefer Adar 25. These place the sixth day of Creation week, when Adam was created, on the first day of the following month, either Tishri or Nisan, the first month of either the civil or biblical year, respectively. In both cases, the epoch of the modern calendar was called the molad tohu or mean new moon of chaos, because it occurred before Creation. This epoch was Tishri 1, AM 1 or October 7, 3761 BC, the latter being the corresponding tabular date (same daylight period) in the proleptic Julian calendar.

According to the Eastern Orthodox Church calendar, the world was created on September 1, 5509 BC."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dating_Creation#Biblical_dating_of_Creation

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« Reply #107 on: April 13, 2005, 02:06:26 PM »



Anyways, this is obviously absolutely irrelevant to the nature of this thread, and maybe even irrelevant to the purpose of why the Septuagint translation was brought up in the first place (?), but I just thought I would throw in my two cents nonetheless.


The Masoretic text dates the Creation at roughly 4004 b.c. while the Septuagint dates the event at roughly 5,500 b.c. The fathers of the Church, in their dating of the Creation, utilized the Septuagint.
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« Reply #108 on: April 13, 2005, 04:50:07 PM »

The Masoretic text dates the Creation at roughly 4004 b.c. while the Septuagint dates the event at roughly 5,500 b.c. The fathers of the Church, in their dating of the Creation, utilized the Septuagint.

Well, actually, the MT doesn't give a specific age, and I have every reason to believe that the LXX also does not specify a date. There are some very nice links off the Wikipedia article you link to that belie the notion a consistent pattern of dates. For example, in this article a pretty good account of some of the differences in dating. It gives a definite LXX date, citing this article from a creationist site. The second article gives the same date, citing one "Albufaragi", but it doesn't say who or what this is, and every Google reference leads one way or another back to the same obscurity. So I have no idea where this date really comes from, but I'm hard pressed to believe that it actually appears in the text of the Septuagint. I have to suspect that the date is one person's Ussherian calculation using the LXX, and as one can see in the articles that tehre is a wide difference of opinion even among the church fathers-- none of whom is cited as providing a specific date.
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« Reply #109 on: April 13, 2005, 06:37:33 PM »

Why do you persist in questioning the fact that the traditional position of the Church is different from yours?

Based on the genealogies of the Septuagint, the fathers of the Church dated the earth centures before Bishop Usher.

"Strictly speaking, there is no special Byzantine calendar. I used this name in the Program only for short, because otherwise I had to write something similar to "variation of the Julian calendar, which was used in Byzantine at the time of the Emperor Constans and according to which years counting was conducted since the World Creation, which happened on Saturday, September 1, 5509 B.C.".

In Byzantine Julian calendar was used, and the counting was conducted from the World Creation. The Date of the World Creation was determined in various ways, i.e. there were many eras since the World Creation. Besides the era since the World Creation on September 1, 5509 B.C., I could mention the era since Adam (from creation of Adam) — Friday, March 1, 5508 B.C. Both eras came to Russia from Byzantine and were used for several centuries to date the events.

Period of 532 years is named Indiction. All dates of the Orthodox Easter in any indictions are exactly repeated.

Thus, the Julian calendar with Byzantine era from the World Creation on September 1, 5509 B.C. was realized in the Program under the name "Byzantine calendar"."
http://www.junecalends.com/documents.html#Byzantine_Calendar

I've already shown you a scholarly exposition of the fathers in their dating:
www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/pdf/chapter3.pdf

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« Reply #110 on: April 13, 2005, 06:45:57 PM »

Why do you persist in questioning the fact that the traditional position of the Church is different from yours?

You seem to throw phrases like that around an awful lot, and as I demonstrated earlier, it isn't always true. Please, give me evidence for the 'traditinal posistion of the Church' an Oecumenical Synod would be nice, if you dont have that a few universally accepted local synods would do, now if you want to make that claim again based on patristic sources, please try not to rely on only one school of thought, but discuss what was believed in the Alexandrian School and Cappadocian School as well as your beloved Antiochian School (just using fathers from the Anitochian School I could give you a very good defence of Nestorianism).
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« Reply #111 on: April 13, 2005, 06:48:03 PM »

In dating the earth, the position of the church fathers is that the earth is less than 10,000 years old. In the Orthodox calender, the creation occurred in September 1, 5509 B.C.; this is referenced in Genesis, Creation and Early Man.
Alexandrian School, Cappadocian School and the Antiochian School may have disagreed on the meaning of the Hexaemeron but a young earth was universally accepted in the early Church. Even Origen dated the earth at less than 10,00 years old.
It would be hard to deny that the this is the traditional position of the Church.
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« Reply #112 on: April 13, 2005, 06:53:59 PM »

In dating the earth, the position of the church fathers is that the earth is less than 10,000 years old. In the Orthodox calender, the creation occurred in September 1, 5509 B.C.; this is referenced in Genesis, Creation and Early Man.
It would be hard to deny that the this is the traditional position of the Church.

Fr. Seraphim's book is not the definitive Orthodox source no matter how much you want to argue that he uses "patristic sources".  You need to get this concept past your mind.  Answer GiC's question:  give him concrete examples from Fathers from different schools of thought (Antiochian, Alexandrian, Capadoccian, etc.).  Referring someone to Fr. Seraphim's book doesn't count - not for this point anyway.
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« Reply #113 on: April 13, 2005, 06:55:57 PM »

Are you able to disprove any thing I've said? I've provided references.

"Hippolytus (c 170236) wrote, "For in six days the world was made, and [the Creator] rested on the seventh" (Against Heresies 4:48). In a more detailed discussion of the age of the earth in which he taught that the world was less than six thousand years old he wrote, "For as the times are noted from the foundation of the world, and reckoned from Adam, they set clearly before us the matter with which our inquiry deals. For the first appearance of our Lord in the flesh took place in Bethlehem, under Augustus. in the year 5500; and He suffered in the thirty-third year. And 6,000 years must needs be accomplished, in order that the Sabbath may come, the rest, the holy day 'on which God rested from all His works.' For the Sabbath is the type and emblem of the future kingdom of the saints, when they 'shall reign with Christ,' when He comes from heaven, as John says in his Apocalypse: for 'a day with the Lord is as a thousand years.' Since, then, in six days God made all things. it follows that 6,000 years must be fulfilled. And they are not yet fulfilled, as John says: 'five are fallen; one is,' that is, the sixth; 'the other is not yet come "(On Daniel 2:4).
  From this we see once again that Hippolytus taught that the world was created in six days, and that the world would continue six thousand years from the "foundation of the world."
  Clement of Alexandria (c 150-220) also did not teach a great age of the earth but reckoned time from creation to his lifetime to be only 5,784 years: "From Augustus to Commodus are two hundred and twenty-two years.' and from Adam to the death of Commodus five thousand seven hundred and eighty-four years, two months, twelve days" (Miscellanies 1:21). Concerning the fourth commandment, he simply states that "the creation of the world was concluded in six days" (Miscellanies 6:16). In light of the fact that Clement considered time from Adam to his day as only 5,784 years it is hard even to pretend that he thought of the six days of creation as billions of years.
  Origin wrote, "After these statements, Celsus, from a secret desire to cast discredit upon the Mosaic account of the creation, which teaches that the world is not yet ten thousand years old, but very much under that,... And yet, against his will, Celsus is entangled into testifying that the world is comparatively modern, and not yet ten thousand years old" (Celsus 1:20). Note that Origen emphasizes that Celsus was in error and motivated by a "secret desire to cast discredit upon the Mosaic account of creation." According to Origen what is the Mosaic account? He plainly states the Mosaic account of creation "teaches that the world is not yet ten thousand years old, but very much under that.
Augustine wrote, "As to those who are always asking why man was not created during these countless ages of the infinitely extended past, and came into being so lately that, according to Scripture, less than 6000 years have elapsed since He began to be, just as I replied regarding the origin of the world to those who will not believe that it is not eternal, but had a beginning" (City of God 12:12)."
http://stjohnsrcus.inetnebr.com/page7.htm

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« Reply #114 on: April 13, 2005, 07:29:30 PM »

Not as good as I would have hoped, but better than I expected. (Come on, the RCUS? If you're using their articles to defend your posistion you're in trouble...though while I was a member of the RCUS I heard far better arguments for creationism than I've heard on this board.)

But the problem still exists that these fathers are trying to approach the issue scientifically (except for Augustine, whose point is that the world does have a beginning and is not eternal) with the best resources they had at hand, for them that was the scriptural account of History, they lacked any other means of scientific exploration. If the fathers had had the benifit of modern science available to them, whose to say that they wouldn't have embraced evolution? In light of the often scientific method the subject is approached with (this is Especially True with St. Basil and St. Clement of Alexandria...less so St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Cyril who were more concerned with Philosophy than science) it would actually be quite reasonable to assume that some of these fathers would have embraced the theory of evolution, and would have had no trouble seeing the creation account as an allegory, as many of them thought it an Allegory anyway.
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« Reply #115 on: April 13, 2005, 07:32:25 PM »

I would assume that the Catholic Encyclopedia contains the same quotes of the fathers in their patristic database. The quote of Origen is here: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04161.htm
The quote of Clement is here: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/02101.htm
The quote of Hippolytus is here: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0502.htm
The quote of Augustine is here: http://www.catholicfirst.com/thefaith/churchfathers/Volume11/augustincity12.cfm

I doubt that the fathers would make such a concession considering that they refuted the secular ideas on the age of the earth, the creation, etc. with the words of Scripture alone. Furthermore, the apostolic doctrines of ancestral sin, the fall of man, the goodness of the first-created world, etc. would be called into question if Genesis were not a historical account.

Could you please quote some fathers who read Genesis as an allegory?

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« Reply #116 on: April 13, 2005, 07:42:13 PM »

However, while my God is not a spiritual gap-plugger, neither is He Bishop Usher's God.

Just to be clear, I in nowise meant that Bp. Ussher's calculation was the correct one. I cited him as a person who did the calculating, using more then just the Masoretic text as the article I link shows but Matthew seems to have missed:

"Contrary to popular misconception, Ussher did not simply count up years by following who begat whom in the Book of Genesis. Rather, he undertook a careful, critical synthesis of historical documents including Biblical, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean sources, knowledge of the calendrical systems of antiquity, Roman history, and any ancient documentary sources he could get acquire and verify (then as now the lucrative traffic in antiquities lead to numerous counterfeits in circulation). His scholarship was impeccible, and the end of that scholarship was not so much to fix the date of Creation (although that was the one result we remember), but rather to compile as complete and historically correct a chronology of human history as the documentary evidence would allow.'

On a side note a friend of mine found in a used bookshop in and lent to me: Challenge Torah Views on Science and Its Problems put out by the Association of Othodox Jewish Scientists, Aryeh Carmell and Cyril Domb editors. It's very interesting.

Also, MZB, I like your idea of the bovine background, I have observed the same phenomenon in my own children as you have in your sons. Grin

Ebor
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« Reply #117 on: April 13, 2005, 07:45:29 PM »

Oh, check this out:

"Where Byzantine influences prevailed the years were generally numbered from the beginning of the world (ab origine mundi). This era was calculated from 1 September, and the birth of Christ, which is the point of departure of our present chronology, took place in the year 5509 of the Byzantine system."
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04636c.htm


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« Reply #118 on: April 13, 2005, 08:06:10 PM »

"Until Peter the Great's rule, Russia counted time from the creation of the world, which the Russian Orthodox Church calculated as having occurred in 5509 BC."
http://www.eamonn.com/archives/000901.html

"Dr. Vera Rossovskaja, astronomer of the Research Institute at Leningrad, wrote a notable book, The Remote Past of the Calendar, published in 1936, in which she stated that up to the end of the fifteenth century the Russian year began on March 1. Years were counted from the "creation of the world," an event that was placed in the year 5509 B.C."
http://personal.ecu.edu/MCCARTYR/Russia.html

"September 1, 5509 BC - day of creation of the world (according to the Byzantine Empire) and beginning of their calendar"
 http://explanation-guide.info/meaning/6th-millennium-BC.html

"...whereas the most famous Eastern Creation is the epoch of the Byzantine Era, 5509 b.c."
 http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Genealogies+of+Genesis

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« Reply #119 on: April 13, 2005, 08:20:03 PM »

Why do you persist in questioning the fact that the traditional position of the Church is different from yours?

I think that what is being questioned is your authority to make statements of what is traditional. You are not a church father. GiC is a seminarian, I gather. MZB knows Hebrew. Others who disagree with you back up their objections like Beayf with the links re transitional fossils. Pardon me, but this gives them more credibility then your devotion to Fr. Seraphim Rose's book and the Hexameron (Have you *read* every bit of that btw?)

Quote
Based on the genealogies of the Septuagint, the fathers of the Church dated the earth centures before Bishop Usher.

And Bp. Ussher used lots of material in his work, not just one source.

Quote

This is a site promoting their calendar software. For information's sake

Quote
I've already shown you a scholarly exposition of the fathers in their dating:
www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/pdf/chapter3.pdf

Have you read all of this work also? One of it's points is that there was not a unanimous view. And the chart of age of the earth has only 6 writers who made "Specific Statements" concerning the age of the earth. (Chart 3.4)


Regarding the point of a Young Earth but created with the "Appearance of Age" I was thinking about fossils in rocks that when tested showed that they were millions of years old but were "actually" less then 10,000 years old. and geological features that showed movements and forces that would not have happened since it would have taken millions of years to do. All of this "Looking old but really young" could put the Creator of the Universe in the same mold as those who make the "Piltdown Man" fraud and other fake fossils.

http://unmuseum.mus.pa.us/piltdown.htm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/feature/story/0,13026,1083411,00.html

And I do not believe that the Lord of Heaven and Earth would make frauds.


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« Reply #120 on: April 13, 2005, 08:28:50 PM »

I think that what is being questioned is your authority to make statements of what is traditional. You are not a church father. GiC is a seminarian, I gather. MZB knows Hebrew. Others who disagree with you back up their objections like Beayf with the links re transitional fossils. Pardon me, but this gives them more credibility then your devotion to Fr. Seraphim Rose's book and the Hexameron (Have you *read* every bit of that btw?)

First of all, no mention of modern science should be necessary in the discussion of Biblical Chronology.
Secondly, it is upsetting when objections are made without support when I do provide back up for my claims.
And yes, I've finished reading Genesis Creation and Early Man and St. Basil's commentary on the Hexaemeron.
Fr. Seraphim gave 200 pages of patristic commentary on Genesis, not from his own opinions but from quotes of the church fathers.

According to the Byzantine Calendar, the world is 7500 years old. This date was arrived at from the genealogies in the Greek Bible.
"Where Byzantine influences prevailed the years were generally numbered from the beginning of the world (ab origine mundi). This era was calculated from 1 September, and the birth of Christ, which is the point of departure of our present chronology, took place in the year 5509 of the Byzantine system."
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04636c.htm

According to the calendar accepted by the Church, the earth is 7500 years old.


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« Reply #121 on: April 13, 2005, 08:34:21 PM »

'And how could creation take place in time, seeing time was born along with things which exist? . . . That, then, we may be taught that the world was originated and not suppose that God made it in time, prophecy adds: "This is the book of the generation, also of the things in them, when they were created in the day that God made heaven and earth" [Gen. 2:4]. For the expression "when they were created" intimates an indefinite and dateless production. But the expression "in the day that God made them," that is, in and by which God made "all things," and "without which not even one thing was made," points out the activity exerted by the Son'

--St. Clement of Alexandria (Miscellanies 6:16)


'For who that has understanding will suppose that the first and second and third day existed without a sun and moon and stars and that the first day was, as it were, also without a sky? . . . I do not suppose that anyone doubts that these things figuratively indicate certain mysteries, the history having taken place in appearance and not literally' (The Fundamental Doctrines 4:1:16)

'The text said that "there was evening and there was morning;" it did not say "the first day," but said "one day." It is because there was not yet time before the world existed. But time begins to exist with the following days' (Homilies on Genesis)

'And with regard to the creation of the light upon the first day . . . and of the [great] lights and stars upon the fourth . . . we have treated to the best of our ability in our notes upon Genesis, as well as in the foregoing pages, when we found fault with those who, taking the words in their apparent signification, said that the time of six days was occupied in the creation of the world' (Against Celsus 6:60).

--Origen


'For as Adam was told that in the [d]ay [h]e ate of the tree he would die, we know that he did not complete a thousand years. We have perceived, moreover, that the expression, "The day of the Lord is as a thousand years," is connected with this subject.'
(Dialog with Typho the Jew Chapter 81)

'And there are some, again, who relegate the death of Adam to the thousandth year; for since "a day of the Lord is as a thousand years," he did not overstep the thousand years, but died within them, thus bearing out the sentence of his sin.' (Against Heresies 5:23)

--St. Justin Martyr


'The first seven days in the divine arrangement contain seven thousand years'

--St. Cyprian of Carthage (Treatises 11:11)


'Seven days by our reckoning, after the model of the days of creation, make up a week. By the passage of such weeks time rolls on, and in these weeks one day is constituted by the course of the sun from its rising to its setting; but we must bear in mind that these days indeed recall the days of creation, but without in any way being really similar to them' (The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 4:27)

'at least we know that it [the Genesis creation day] is different from the ordinary day with which we are familiar' (The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 5:2)

'For in these days [of creation] the morning and evening are counted until, on the sixth day, all things which God then made were finished, and on the seventh the rest of God was mysteriously and sublimely signalized. What kind of days these were is extremely difficult or perhaps impossible for us to conceive, and how much more to say!' (The City of God 11:6)

-- St. Augustine of Hippo
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« Reply #122 on: April 13, 2005, 08:42:51 PM »

I've already shown that these fathers agreed with me on the age of the earth. Furthermore, one should consider that even if they interpretted that Hexaemeron allegorically, they considered the story of Adam and Eve to be historical.
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« Reply #123 on: April 13, 2005, 08:50:41 PM »

And I submitted that they viewed genesis as an allegory; thus, the numbers they used for the age of the earth was taken from genesis because they had nothing better to use. Today science has offered us other options, and I present that from the views these fathers have presented on Genesis, had they been aware of the theory of Evolution, they would have at least been open to it. Moreover, you have not addressed St. Justin Martyr's belief in the interchangability of 'a day' and 'a thousand years' nor St. Cyprian of Charthage's statement that Creation took 7000 years. Plus you only quoted Origen as saying that 'the Mosaic account of creation "teaches that the world is not yet ten thousand years old;"' you have offered no evidence that he accepts the Genesis account as literal, infact I have presented evidence to the contrary.
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« Reply #124 on: April 14, 2005, 02:29:58 AM »

From what I've read, the Antiochian school of the Fathers were literal in their approach to Genesis, while the Alexandrians were allegorical. So, one cannot argue that the Fathers were literal or allegorical, as some were one and some were the other.

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« Reply #125 on: April 14, 2005, 03:07:46 AM »

From what I've read, the Antiochian school of the Fathers were literal in their approach to Genesis, while the Alexandrians were allegorical. So, one cannot argue that the Fathers were literal or allegorical, as some were one and some were the other.

This is really the point that I have been trying to make...that there is no consistant patristic view on Creation, different fathers viewed the issue in different ways. Thus to present a literalist view as the universal consensus of the fathers is an inaccurate portrayal.
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« Reply #126 on: April 14, 2005, 06:57:10 AM »

This is really the point that I have been trying to make...that there is no consistant patristic view on Creation, different fathers viewed the issue in different ways. Thus to present a literalist view as the universal consensus of the fathers is an inaccurate portrayal.

Amusingly, that's also the point of the work that's being cited now.
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« Reply #127 on: April 14, 2005, 07:38:47 AM »

MBZ,

I will make this my last post in response to this very off-topic issue of the Septuagint vs Masoretic since I dont want to distract the purpose of this thread. We can continue this discussion in PM if you would like - I don’t think it’s worth creating a new thread over unless you really want to.

Quote
Well, it is an article of the Orthodox (Jewish!) faith that the Torah we have today is the same & exact Torah that God revealed to Moses.

I never knew Orthodox Jews believed in impeccable textual transmission; I thought this was only a belief held by the general Islamic community, because of their peculiar conception of the Quran as the literal word of God spoken by Him since time eternity. In any event, such an article of faith may (and does) conflict with what archaeology and history have proven, which is generally that any text of antiquity has over time inevitably undergone certain textual changes, and come down in differing forms - though this certainly need not oppose the general reliability of the text itself, and faith in the substance of what the text proclaims. This is how I as a Christian view both the Old and New Testament - as relatively very accurate and reliable texts (reliable enough to put my faith in them both), but certainly not impeccably preserved word for word - as appealing as the idea is, it's simply not grounded in fact and I can not in all academic honesty adhere to such an extreme conservative viewpoint of the Scriptures. Both the New and Old Testament have come down to us in varying forms amongst various manuscripts - The New Testament is without doubt the most well attested to ancient text, with figures that support the conclusion that we can ascertain the original form of the New Testament, better than we can ascertain the original form of any other ancient text, including the Old Testament.

Quote
The Masoretic text fixed by Aaron ben Moses ben Asher is merely standard regarding (more or less) vowelization & cantillation of the text, but the unvoweled text (of the kind that Torah scrolls must be written in ) itself is, as we believe, unchanged.

The Masoretic text is not simply one fixed text (a misconception many have), but rather a family of variant Hebrew texts. In his book Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (2nd revised edition, 2001), Emanuel Tov of Hebrew University states:

"It is clear from the preceding pages that one of the postulates of biblical research is that the text which is preserved in the various representatives (manuscripts, editions) of what is commonly known as the Masoretic Text, doesn’t reflect the "original text" of the Bible in many details. Even though the concept of an "original text" remains vague, it will still always be legitimate to recognize the vast differences between the Masoretic Text and earlier or different stages of the biblical text. Moreover, even were we to assume that the MT reflects the "original" form of the Bible, we would still need to decide WHICH Masoretic Text reflects this "original text," since the Masoretic Text is not a uniform textual unit, but is rather represented by many witnesses... Similar problems arise when one compares the MT with the other textual witnesses, such as the Qumran scrolls and the putative Hebrew source of the individual ancient translations (such as the LXX). We don’t know which of all these texts faithfully reflects the biblical text. Thus, it shouldn’t be postulated in advance that the MT reflects the original text of the biblical books better than the other texts."

Quote
That the texts found among the Dead Sea Scrolls may & do have variations is irrelevant. Sectarian heretics like the authors of the the Scrolls cannot be relied on to accurately transmit texts in accordance with the rules & norms of the normative orthodoxy that they broke away from, denied & despised.

The Qumranites were not Orthodox Jews? This is the first I have heard of this. Do you have any evidence for this? In any event the findings of the DDS are very revelant regardless of how “Orthodox” this sect is. The scrolls present us with the fact that during that period of time (i.e. 10-11 centuries prior to the earliest extant MT MS) there was a diversity of forms of the Hebrew text, of which today’s MT reflects only ONE of these text-types, as does the pre-masoretic Hebrew text which would have been the basis for the Septuagint translation - hence the authenticity of both the MT and the Septuagint are in a sense vindicated. The fact the Septuagint diverges in its reading in various places from the Masoretic, therefore implies from the objective perspective (on the basis of the evidence of the dds findings that is), that they did not edit the MT, but rather they were translating from an already existing divergent Hebrew form of the Biblethat had existed in 3rd century Palestine - so who is to say which form best reflects the “Original Bible”? Scholars certainly haven’t had any reason to give one textual tradition precedence over another. In explaining the relationship between these two differing forms, Emmanuel Tov states in his book The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research:

"The Hebrew text that is presupposed by the Septuagint represents a tradition which is either close to that of the MT or can easily be explained as either a descendant or source of it."

We simply cannot draw anything conclusive in light of the evidence we have.

The New Testament itself further validates the fact that during that time there was more than one form of the Hebrew text, since it quotes scripture that is either a) consistent with both the MT and LXX b) consistent with the LXX but differing from the MT and c) consistent with the MT but differing from the LXX.

Quote
That the Torah was translated into another language is considered a cause for sadness & a reason to mourn....Remember, our Sages were compelled by Ptolemy II to translate the Torah; it wasn't their choice.

It may not have been their idea to perform the translation, but compelled is a strong word, for which I would like to see some evidence for.

I don’t think there is anything to suggest what you’re saying, on the contrary, there have been a number of theories posed by scholars concerning the very reasons for the creation of the LXX:

a)   The Alexandrian ruler wanted an 'authorized version' of the Torah
b)   Local Jewish communities wanted a version sanctioned by Jeruslem
c)   Someone needed to deal with intra-Judaism bickering
d)   Jerusalem wanted to exercise religious control/guidance over Diaspora Jewry.

You’re making it out as if the LXX translation was something that the Jews never wanted and always despised. However, I believe history speaks otherwise.

Certainly many Jews upheld the LXX and used it for their own purposes, most notably the Alexandrian Jews - especially Philo who regarded the translation as divinely inspired and the translators almost as prophets. It was also consistently cited by other Diaspora Jewry as scripture in pre-Christian times, was used and read in synagogues throughout the 6th century, and was (as implied earlier) used at Qumran in pre-Christian times similarly. I believe any later resentment of the LXX in later rabbinic writings is simply a reflection of anti-Christian bias, considering that the Septuagint was used almost as a standard text by the early church.

F.F.Bruce in giving reason for the LLX’s being highly disparaged in certain rabbinical writings later on, states in his book The books and the Parchments:

“From the first century onwards Christians adopted it as their version of the Old Testament and used it freely in their propagation and defense of the Christian faith.”

Quote
Regarding, "what specific Hebrew words of the Bible originally meant, and the range or restriction of their intended implications and applications etc.," we rely on our Sages, who pass on the traditions that they have received from their teachers, who received them from their teachers, etc., all the way back to the people who actually wrote the books and/or were there at the timeGǪ Insofar as we're talking about linguistics, textual interpretation, etymology, idiom, etc., we would humbly submit that this is more than sufficient.

Well how exactly are you approaching this: from a confessional perspective or an academic one?

Approaching this issue academically and hence as impartially as I could, I would definitely consider the pre-Christian Jewish traditions an essential contextual factor for consideration, though not sufficient and certainly not “more than sufficient”. As a man of faith, the jewish traditions are irrelevant to me, and I would submit that my church traditions are more than sufficient in the interpretation of scriptures.
To go further; as an academic student I would argue that my church traditions are objectively justifiable when considered amongst the many other contextual factors that would need to be taken into account for a non-confessional objective exegesis.

So to provide a specific example therefore; I would as a man of faith submit that the almah of Isaiah 7:14 may and does refer to a Virgin, and as an academic student I would submit that Isaiah 7:14 certainly may and probably does refer to a virgin. The former is based primarily upon St Matthew’s understanding of it, which of course I believe to be a divinely enlightened one, and the church fathers affirmation of this, which I believe to be a divinely guided one. The latter would be based upon many contextual factors INCLUDING the fact that this is how the Septuagint interprets it.

Peace.

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« Reply #128 on: April 14, 2005, 01:17:16 PM »

Moreover, you have not addressed St. Justin Martyr's belief in the interchangability of 'a day' and 'a thousand years' nor St. Cyprian of Charthage's statement that Creation took 7000 years.

7000 years does not equal billions of years. Is this an example of reading the text of Genesis allegorically or was it an attempt to interpret the days in a God-befitting manner?
As for more quotes from Origen:
http://www.creationism.org/articles/EarlyChurchLit6Days.htm
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« Reply #129 on: April 14, 2005, 01:20:21 PM »

From what I've read, the Antiochian school of the Fathers were literal in their approach to Genesis, while the Alexandrians were allegorical. So, one cannot argue that the Fathers were literal or allegorical, as some were one and some were the other.

Christina

The only examples I have been shown of an allegorical interpetation is in the meaning of the days in the Hexameron. However, if God created all things simultanaeously, and literal history began with Genesis 2, then the earth would still be young and the Genesis account itself would be relatively the same. Now, if one could provide a father of the church who believed in evolution or that Adam and Eve are mythological characters then please do.

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« Reply #130 on: April 14, 2005, 02:34:37 PM »

In Matthew 19, it is impossible to separate the doctrine taught by Jesus from the historicity of the event which he establishes it on. His concept of marriage- the physical union of man and woman into "one flesh"- is absurd unless the quotation of Adam and Eve refers to actual historical persons of flesh and bone. The validity of Christ's answer to the question of marriage and divorce depends on the reliability of there being a literal creation of male and female in the beginning of time - joined as "one flesh".
Matthew 19:4-6

Some may contend that Jesus was merely speaking in parable but every time that Jesus did so, he made clear that he was speaking in parable.
Others contend that Jesus merely accomodated to the knowledge of his day but Jesus was incredibly honest and rebuked any teaching which He did not believe to be true.
Jesus Christ would not have validated the Creation account if He did not believe it to be a factual history. The omniscience and honesty of Christ establishes Genesis as a historical account. In Hebrews 6:18, we read that it is impossible for God to lie.

Every time He quoted the Old Testament, He referred to it as truth.
For example, Jesus' prophecying of his own death and resurrection hinges on the historicity of Jonah and the big fish. If the historicity of this story is in question, then the historicity of the resurrection should be also.

Jesus would not base the meaning of marriage and divorce on a myth. The fact that God specifically created one male and one female in the beginning of time so that they may become one flesh shows that males and females shall be joined until the end of time:

"4And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made[a] them at the beginning "made them male and female,' 5and said, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?[c] 6So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." (Matthew 19)

Jesus found the Old Testament to be the truth. He did not accomadate in order to meet the "simple understanding" of the first century Jews. He declared that "heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away" (Matthew 24:25), that the "Scriptures cannot be broken" (John 10:35) and that "not one jot nor tittle will pass away from the Law till all is accomplished". (Matthew 5:17-18)

There is no way to separate the doctrinal authority of Christ from the reliability of the Old Testament.

The Old Testament contains truth:
"Sanctify them with your truth. Your word is truth." John 17:17

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.

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« Reply #131 on: April 14, 2005, 05:19:28 PM »

7000 years does not equal billions of years. Is this an example of reading the text of Genesis allegorically or was it an attempt to interpret the days in a God-befitting manner?

I'm simply saying that it demonstrates that he was open to the Concept that a 'day' was not 24 hours, but perhaps a thousand years, of course a thousand years can easily be taken figuratively as 'a very long time' that's a very, very, small jump; it's simply foolish to try and argue that the fathers were unanimously behind a literalist interpretation of Scripture. Many were quite opposed to it, especially in Alexandria, where this approach was often blamed for Nestorianism (which is actually a valid arguement). Of course the allegorical extreme has been accused of bring about monophysitism (though I think this argument is less valid than the one re: nestorianism), but in any case there is a balance. Sometimes scripture can be taken literally, other times it should be viewed allegorically, and the Church has never unanimously been behind one or the other, and to argue that they have is to ignore the patristic history of the Church.


You're trying to use the fathers like protestants use the scripture (not surprising since you're getting all this from protestant websites). You give quote of some fathers in support of your posistin, I give some in support of mine, and so on and so forth. Try actually sitting down and reading the fathers, get in the mind of Origen, St. Clement of Alexandria, St. Cyril the Great, et cetera...find out how they thought, how they viewed the world...you will find it is not the black and white protestant literalist interpretation of scripture that you are advocating.

The only examples I have been shown of an allegorical interpetation is in the meaning of the days in the Hexameron. However, if God created all things simultanaeously, and literal history began with Genesis 2, then the earth would still be young and the Genesis account itself would be relatively the same.

Actually the School of Alexandria tended to interpret the whole Bible allegorically, not just Genesis 1.

Now, if one could provide a father of the church who believed in evolution or that Adam and Eve are mythological characters then please do.

First, Allegorical is not the same as Mythological...your argument there is a non sequitur. Secondly, since the theory of Evolution was not presented during the patristic era, it's an absurd argument to say that it is false because those in the patristic era did not accept that which they were ignorant of. There was no theory of gravity during that time either, if I can't find a father to back up basic Physics are you going to dismiss that as well...lol. I hope this demonstrates the problems with and folly in expecting patristic support for a modern scientific theories.
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« Reply #132 on: April 14, 2005, 05:40:12 PM »

But is Darwinism a theory or philosophy? That makes all the difference.

I understand that the Alexandrian school interpretted the Bible allegorically but wasn't that outside of the mainstream?
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« Reply #133 on: April 14, 2005, 05:53:58 PM »

But is Darwinism a theory or philosophy? That makes all the difference.

It's a theory within science...science, however, is essentially a philosophy; the debate at hand is how consonant is scientific philosophy with christian philosophy.

I understand that the Alexandrian school interpretted the Bible allegorically but wasn't that outside of the mainstream?

No, it was not outside of the 'mainstream' it was probably the greatest theological school of the early Church, in many ways and on many issues it defined what 'mainstream' was.
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« Reply #134 on: April 14, 2005, 06:45:33 PM »

No, it was not outside of the 'mainstream' it was probably the greatest theological school of the early Church, in many ways and on many issues it defined what 'mainstream' was.

Why do you place such emphasis on the Alexandrian school of thought?
Would you like to become a non-Chalcedonian?
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« Reply #135 on: April 15, 2005, 12:01:40 AM »

Why do you place such emphasis on the Alexandrian school of thought?

I am placing a great deal of emphasis on them because they were one of the two great Schools of Thought in the Early Church, and probably greater than Antioch, and they were a school of thought that produced such great theologians as St. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, St. Athanasios the Great, and St. Cyril of Alexandria...as well as establishing the basis for the thought of St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite, and St. Maximos the Confessor, and influential in the theology of untold numbers of the fathers. Moreover, the thought that was presented by this school can hardly be ignored in a discussion like this, in which we are debating literal versus figurative interpretations of the Holy Scriptures; rarely are there easy answers within Orthodox and we should not try to make issues so cut and dry.

Would you like to become a non-Chalcedonian?

Not at all, though I have great love and respect for the Alexandrian school of Thought and especially for the Theologians that the Byzantine Church and the Non-Chalcedonians hold in common, I disagree with the conclusion of some of their theologians that Chalcedon was a Nestorian synod; rather, I see the synod as a rejection of Nestorius while simultaneously a reaffirmation the Humanity of Christ. And while I can see how certain theologians from the School of Alexandria would certainly tend in the extreme direction that they did (i.e. Eutyches), I do not believe these conclusions to be either a required or even natural result of Alexandrian thought. Rather I find these extreme posistions to be a result of an attempted oversimplification of Christological Dogmas, a desire for a simple and reasonable answer that actually answers more questions than it presents, when no such answer exists; thus, this was not the kind of answer the Chalcedon gave, Chalcedon gave an answer that took two more Oecumenical Synods to simply clarify what they were trying to say and even to this day, especially in the Dialogue between the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox, we are still trying to learn how to fully express and communicate Chalcedon.
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« Reply #136 on: April 15, 2005, 09:13:59 AM »



Why do you place such emphasis on the Alexandrian school of thought?
Would you like to become a non-Chalcedonian?

... Aren't you a non-Chalcedonian?

*confused*

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« Reply #137 on: April 15, 2005, 11:23:53 AM »

I am confused. I accept St. Cyril's miaphysite christology, the one accepted by the Alexandrian school and the council of Ephesus. The Byzantine and Latin Churches, on the other hand, rejected this previously held christology in Chalcedon. I do not understand why one would think of me as a "schismatic" or "heretic" considering that miaphysitism was the pre-chalcedonian christology.

Furthermore, the theologians in the Alexandrian school, even though they may have interpretted the Hexaemeron allegorically, understood the story of Adam and Eve to be a historical account and the basis for the doctrine of ancestral sin.

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« Reply #138 on: April 15, 2005, 01:31:27 PM »

Is it possible that some here might be confusing "allegorical" with "typological" in regards to Biblical interpretation?
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« Reply #139 on: April 15, 2005, 02:21:01 PM »

I am confused. I accept St. Cyril's miaphysite christology, the one accepted by the Alexandrian school and the council of Ephesus. The Byzantine and Latin Churches, on the other hand, rejected this previously held christology in Chalcedon. I do not understand why one would think of me as a "schismatic" or "heretic" considering that miaphysitism was the pre-chalcedonian christology.

I'm discussing Alexandrian thought, not the details of Chalcedon...that's another discussion.

Furthermore, the theologians in the Alexandrian school, even though they may have interpretted the Hexaemeron allegorically, understood the story of Adam and Eve to be a historical account and the basis for the doctrine of ancestral sin.

Did they? There were often times when they would reject historical interpretations in favour of allegorical interpretations, I have not read enough of the Alexandrian School of thought on this particular issue to know what their take would be, though I assume, like with many issues, there would be some disagreement within the School itself. However, the manner inwhich they interpreted much of Scripture would demonstrate that they would be open to interpreting that story allegorically if there was a pressing reason to...of course during the early Church there was no pressing reason for an allegorical interpretation (though one was often given anyway), today there may be.


Is it possible that some here might be confusing "allegorical" with "typological" in regards to Biblical interpretation?

Typological interpretation is a very narrow field of allegorical interpretation. Typology was employed by the School of Antioch, but they did not produce the full allegorical interpretations we see coming out of Alexandria.
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« Reply #140 on: April 15, 2005, 02:29:22 PM »

This is a commentary of St. Gregory of Nyssa in which he refers to Adam and Eve as historical persons:
On Holy and Salvific Pascha
By our father amongst the saints Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa
http://www.saintdemetrios.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/st_gregory_of_nyssa.htm

This is his commentary on the Hexaemeron:
http://www.bhsu.edu/artssciences/asfaculty/dsalomon/nyssa/hex.html

While some fathers believed that all things were created simultaneously while others believed that each "day" represented a thousand years, they all nonetheless interpreted Genesis as a historical account. This is not a difference of opinion on the historicity of Genesis but of the meaning of the Hexaemeron. Please name one father of the church who did not believe Adam and Eve to be historical persons and that the earth is young.
If all things were created together in the same command, then everything would be even younger. Wink

For a Catholic overview of the fathers in their interpretation of Genesis:
http://users2.ev1.net/~origins/pdf/hexrev.pdf

The Fathers of Antioch, the Fathers of Syria, and the Cappadocian Fathers (including St. Basil and St. Gregory of Nyssa), interpeted the Hexaemeron in the literal sense. Thus one can conclude that the Alexandrian position was outside of the mainstream.

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« Reply #141 on: April 15, 2005, 03:23:07 PM »

Matthew,

You're missing the point again, you're trying to argue from specific quotes of various fathers that were made within the context of their own time and culture and ignoring how they thought. My point has been that they were far more open to the influences of science and philosophy on their thought than you are willing to admit. This radical protestant literalism that I see may have had some roots in Antiochian thought (btw, the Syrian and Antiochian schools are one and the same), but it a taking of these tendencies to the extreme (as Nestorius did) and completely ignoring the other traditions of the Church. The issue of pre-existance of matter was an issue that the fathers had to deal with, and on this issue their statements are very important; however, evolution was not an issue that they addressed, and you cannot simply take exegetical works that are designed to address the issues of that day and apply their statements to a debate that these fathers could never have even conceived of...I dont think it is possible to effectively argue that even had the Fathers been presented with all the scientific evidence evolution and understood the theory that they would unanimously have turned against it. Some would certainly have opposed it but I am equal certain that others would have at least considered if not embraced it (St. Cyril of Alexandria comes to mind and quite possibly even St. Basil the Great who had tendencies to rely in the science of the day).
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« Reply #142 on: April 15, 2005, 03:31:46 PM »

In the beginning of the Hexaemeron, St. Basil directly refutes the secular origins theories of his day with the text of Genesis. I doubt that he would find the Darwinists as any different from the atomists. This is not a matter of science but of true theology.

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." I stop
struck with admiration at this thought. What shall I first say? Where shall I
begin my story? Shall I show forth the vanity of the Gentiles? Shall I exalt
the truth of our faith? The philosophers of Greece have made much ado to
explain nature, and not one of their systems has remained firm anti unshaken,
each being overturned by its successor. It is vain to refute them; they are
sufficient in themselves to destroy one another. Those who were too ignorant
to rise to a knowledge of a God, could not allow that an intelligent cause
presided at the birth of the Universe; a primary error that involved them in
sad consequences. Some had recourse to material principles and attributed the
origin of the Universe to the elements of the world. Others imagined that
atoms, and indivisible bodies, molecules and ducts, form, by their union,
the nature of the visible world. Atoms reuniting or separating, produce births
and deaths and the most durable bodies only owe their consistency to the
strength of their mutual adhesion: a true spider's web woven by these writers
who give to heaven, to earth, and to sea so weak an origin and so little
consistency! It is because they knew not how to say "In the beginning God
created the heaven and the earth." Deceived by their inherent atheism it
appeared to them that nothing governed or ruled the universe, and that was all
was given up to chance. To guard us against this error the writer on the
creation, from the very first words, enlightens our understanding with the
name of God; "In the beginning God created." What a glorious order! He first
establishes a beginning, so that it might not be supposed that the world never
had a beginning. Then be adds "Created" to show that which was made was a very
small part of the power of the Creator."
http://www.creatio.orthodoxy.ru/english/hexaemeron/32011.htm

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« Reply #143 on: April 15, 2005, 03:42:09 PM »

The atomists insisted on the pre-eternal existance of matter, which would imply that matter exists outside of the One, outside of God, and thus is logically equal to any pre-eternal god. The insistance on Creation arose out of a necessity to defend God as the source of all things. Creationism vs. Evolution is a fundamentally different argument, the Evolutionist posistions, which trace themselves back to a big bang where the laws of physics break down actually necessitates the existance of some 'god' or 'metaphysical force' and can actually be regarded as quite consistant with Christian Philosophy, it can still preserve God as the source of all matter as the creater and former of the universe and the sustainer of all life and existance. You're trying to compare apples and oranges.
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« Reply #144 on: April 15, 2005, 03:43:34 PM »

The Greek atomism and modern Darwinism are both materialistic origins theories.
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« Reply #145 on: April 15, 2005, 04:40:04 PM »

The Greek atomism and modern Darwinism are both materialistic origins theories.

The Genesis Creation account and The Creation of the World by Eurynome are both metaphysical origins theories...does that make them the same?
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« Reply #146 on: April 15, 2005, 04:53:13 PM »

This is rather surprising...

This is how Fr. Seraphim Rose quotes the Hexaemeron:

"We cannot do better than to begin with St. Basil himself, who has written so inspiringly of the Six Days of Creation. 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

And this is what it actually says:

"HOMILY IX.

The creation of terrestrial animals.

    1. How did you like the fare of my morning's discourse? It seemed to me
that I had the good intentions of a poor giver of a feast, who, ambitious of
having the credit of keeping a good table saddens his guests by the poor
supply of the more expensive dishes. In vain he lavishly covers his table with
his mean fare; his ambition only shows his folly. It is for you to judge if I
have shared the same fate. Yet, whatever my discourse may have been, take care
lest you disregard it. No one refused to sit at the table of Elisha; and yet
he only gave his friends wild vegetables.  I know the laws of allegory,
though less by myself than from the works of others. There are those truly,
who do not admit the common sense of the Scriptures, for whom water is not
water, but some other nature, who see in a plant, in a fish, what their fancy
wishes, who change the nature of reptiles and of wild beasts to suit their
allegories, like the interpreters of dreams who explain visions in sleep to
snake them serve their own ends. For me grass is grass; plant, fish, wild
beast, domestic animal, I take all in the literal sense.  "For I am not
ashamed of the gospel."  Those who have written about the nature of the
universe have discussed at length the shape of the earth. If it be spherical
or cylindrical, if it resemble a disc and is equally rounded in all parts, or
if it has the forth of a winnowing basket and is hollow in the middle;  all
these conjectures have been suggested by cosmographers, each one upsetting
that of his predecessor. It will not lead me to give less importance to the
creation of the universe, that the servant of God, Moses, is silent as to
shapes;
he has not said that the earth is a hundred and eighty thousand furlongs in
circumference; he has not measured into what extent of air its shadow projects
itself whilst the sun revolves around it, nor stated how this shadow, casting
itself upon the moon, produces eclipses. He has passed over in silence, as
useless, all that is unimportant for us. Shall I then prefer foolish wisdom to
the oracles of the Holy Spirit? Shall I not rather exalt Him who, not wishing
to fill our minds with these vanities, has regulated all the economy of
Scripture in view of the edification and the making perfect of our souls? It
is this which those seem to me not to have understood, who, giving themselves
up to the distorted meaning of allegory, have undertaken to give a majesty of
their own invention to Scripture. It is to believe themselves wiser than the
Holy Spirit, and to bring forth their own ideas under a pretext of exegesis.
Let us hear Scripture as it has been written.
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/32019.htm

I hope this is just a difference of translation rather than a deliberate deception.

I hope this is just a difference of translation rather than a deliberate deception.



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« Reply #147 on: April 15, 2005, 04:59:49 PM »

Your first quote is from the 9th (IX) Homily...your second is from the 4th (IV) Homily.
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« Reply #148 on: April 15, 2005, 05:02:19 PM »

Yeah, I changed it. But the one from Catholic Encyclopedia is different.
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« Reply #149 on: April 15, 2005, 05:06:51 PM »

Different translations. A good reason to read it in the Original Greek.
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« Reply #150 on: April 15, 2005, 05:08:39 PM »

Fr. Seraphim Rose was a linguist and did his own translations. Perhaps this shows his dedication to acquiring a thoroughly patristic mindset.
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« Reply #151 on: April 15, 2005, 11:11:32 PM »

Quote
the Evolutionist posistions, which trace themselves back to a big bang

No, NO, NO! Evolution has nothing to do with Big Bang theory. They are completely unrelated. Evolution is a subset of biology: it is solely concerned with life. Big Bang theory is a cosmological theory, which is a subset of theoretical physics. As far as biology is concerned, it doesn't matter if the universe began with the big bang, God created it ex nihilo, if it had no beginning (steady state), or if it were sneezed out by the Great Green Arkleseizure, for that matter. Evolutionary theory also says nothing about the origin of life; the first cells could have been molded by God, formed naturally, or been shat out by Capt. Picard when he was brought back in time by Q, for all evolutionary theory cares. As long as life exists, evolutionary theory is happy.
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« Reply #152 on: April 15, 2005, 11:36:54 PM »

No, NO, NO! Evolution has nothing to do with Big Bang theory. They are completely unrelated. Evolution is a subset of biology: it is solely concerned with life. Big Bang theory is a cosmological theory, which is a subset of theoretical physics. As far as biology is concerned, it doesn't matter if the universe began with the big bang, God created it ex nihilo, if it had no beginning (steady state), or if it were sneezed out by the Great Green Arkleseizure, for that matter. Evolutionary theory also says nothing about the origin of life; the first cells could have been molded by God, formed naturally, or been shat out by Capt. Picard when he was brought back in time by Q, for all evolutionary theory cares. As long as life exists, evolutionary theory is happy.

And biology is nothing more than a subset of physics where we use terribly inaccurate approximations because the calculations are two complex (at least until we get a Quantum Computer in the range of eighty to ninety q-bits or so, at which time biology will go the way of alchemy and witch doctors), biological is simply one small part of a greater theory, which is considered evolution, that also takes into account the evolution of galaxies, stars, planets, solar systems, atmospheres and yes, the building blocks of life along with the evolution of those building blocks to what we have today. To try and exclude this from any system of evolution is to ignore the scientific method on which evolution is based (which does not break down if we go before the formation of life), and thus undermine the theory itself.
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« Reply #153 on: April 16, 2005, 12:19:18 AM »

Evolutionary theory is not just biology but a metaphysical system to explain how the material universe as we know it could have arisen from an unguided process.
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« Reply #154 on: April 16, 2005, 01:12:18 AM »

Evolutionary theory is not just biology but a metaphysical system to explain how the material universe as we know it could have arisen from an unguided process.

No, it's a scientific theory that explains the origins of the universe from a scientific perspective. It only becomes metaphysical if you try to elevate science to a metaphysical theory. It is a subset of Science, no different than the Theory of Gravity or Quantum Mechanics.
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« Reply #155 on: April 16, 2005, 01:24:45 AM »

Is it not the metaphysics of naturalism?
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« Reply #156 on: April 16, 2005, 02:38:11 PM »

Quote
Evolutionary theory is not just biology but a metaphysical system to explain how the material universe as we know it could have arisen from an unguided process.

Unfortunately, you are wrong. Evolutionary theory is only concerned with physical changes in populations of living creatures over time. It has nothing to do with astronomy, cosmology, or theoretical physics, except to the degree that any subset of biology has to do with those disciplines.

Quote
No, it's a scientific theory that explains the origins of the universe from a scientific perspective.

Unfortunately, you are also wrong. Cosmological theories try to explain the origin of the universe from a scientific perspective. Evolutionary theory is only concerned with physical changes in populations of living creatures over time.

Quote
biological is simply one small part of a greater theory, which is considered evolution, that also takes into account the evolution of galaxies, stars, planets, solar systems, atmospheres and yes, the building blocks of life along with the evolution of those building blocks to what we have today.

This is absolute rubbish. Cosmology and biolgoy are two different scientific disciplines. Biology doesn't assume anything about the origin of the universe, or the formation of astronomical phenomena. How the universe was created has nothing to do with Stephen J. Gould's theories, and how cynodonts evolved from therapsids has nothing to do with Stephen Hawking's theories.
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« Reply #157 on: April 16, 2005, 06:01:20 PM »

ev-+o-+lu-+tion   
A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. See Synonyms at development.

Consider stellar evolution, for example.
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« Reply #158 on: April 16, 2005, 09:25:53 PM »

The meaning of the word "evolution" is not synonymous with the Theory of Evolution, any more than speaking of the "gravity" of a situation has anything to do with the Theory of Gravity.
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« Reply #159 on: April 16, 2005, 10:27:22 PM »

For philosophical naturalists, evolution is an all-embracing concept for how the world as we know it came into being through an entirely materialistic process. I could provide quotes but that would just be redundant. This is common knowledge.
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« Reply #160 on: April 16, 2005, 10:54:11 PM »

Quote
For philosophical naturalists, evolution is an all-embracing concept for how the world as we know it came into being through an entirely materialistic process. I could provide quotes but that would just be redundant. This is common knowledge.

Er, no, I'm afraid it's not. The Theory of Evolution is a well-defined biological theory that has nothing to do with cosmology. I should dearly like to see these quotes, though even if they say what you claim they say, all that proves is that the speaker was incorrect in their terminology.

It is a common misconception that the theory of evolution encompasses cosmology, but it just ain't so. Evolution is a biological theory, not a worldview. Fr. Seraphim was talking out of his arse when he stated otherwise.
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« Reply #161 on: April 16, 2005, 10:56:37 PM »

Also, for all that Fr. Seraphim goes on about Teilhard, his speculations on teleological evolution are unscientific, not taken seriously by any legitimate biologist, and irrelevant to today's scientific discourse.
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« Reply #162 on: April 16, 2005, 11:25:07 PM »

Evolution is a biological theory, not a worldview. Fr. Seraphim was talking out of his arse when he stated otherwise.

I note the British/Australian spelling of "arse".
If we remember that Fr. Seraphim was not trying to match science with science, but pointing to a phenomenon which is happening in our time- that is, that children are being brought up by nominally Christian parents who are ignorant of the Creator. We see that what he was trying to do was to remind people that we must believe what we profess to believe, namely, our belief that God is "the Maker of Heaven and Earth and of all things visible and invisible."
In Father Seraphim's time, the now famous experiment took place where a primitive earth atmosphere in a jar was sparked with electricity (as a form of 'lightning") and allegedly, amino acids were produced. "There you have it, a universe which does not require a God and where life can evolve on it's own!". This is what Fr. Seraphim was reacting against, a phenomenon which was taking place in his own time.
While I disagree with Matthew's position, and beleive it to be a misreading of Fr. Seraphim's intent, I also think you are doing him an injustice as well.
Also, he may very well be glorified one day- God help you if you are found accusing him of "talking through his arse"!
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« Reply #163 on: April 16, 2005, 11:30:08 PM »

Quote
Also, he may very well be glorified one day- God help you if you are found accusing him of "talking through his arse"!

I am in fact a big proponent of his glorification -- I venerate him as a saint. Even saints, though, can talk out of their arses once in a while.
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« Reply #164 on: April 17, 2005, 01:35:36 AM »

How have I misread Fr. Seraphim?

As for the word "evolution":

"By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous. Together with Marx's materialistic theory of history and society and Freud's attribution of human behavior to influences over which we have little control, Darwin's theory of evolution was a crucial plank in the platform of mechanism and materialism-of much of science, in short-that has since been the stage of most Western thought." (Futuyma D.J., "Evolutionary Biology", [1979], Sinauer Associates: Sunderland MA, Second Edition, 1986, p.2). [top]

"Although many details remain to be worked out, it is already evident that all the objective phenomena of the history of life can be explained by purely materialistic factors. They are readily explicable on the basis of differential reproduction in populations (the main factor in the modern conception of natural selection) and of the mainly random interplay of the known processes of heredity." (Simpson G.G., "The Meaning of Evolution: A Study of the History of Life and of its Significance for Man," [1949], Yale University Press: New Haven CT, 1960, reprint, p.343). Charles Darwin

"Evolution is any process of growth, change or development. The word stems from the Latin evolutio meaning "unfolding" and before the late 19th century was confined to referring to goal-directed, pre-programmed processes such as embryological development. A pre-programmed task, as in a military maneuver, using this definition, may be termed an "evolution." One can also speak of stellar evolution, chemical evolution, cultural evolution or the evolution of an idea. Other kinds of evolution include evolutionary algorithms (which include genetic algorithms) which attempt to mimic processes similar to biological evolution in a computer program, most frequently as an optimization technique and as an experimental framework for the computational modelling of evolution."
http://knowallabout.com/e/ev/evolution.html

I do find it rather interesting that certain fathers of the Church attempted to interpret the days of the Hexaemeron in a God-befitting manner.
Though it is highly paradoxical that the Hexaemeron could represent six indefinite periods of time while the story of Adam and Eve is a historical account, this may nonetheless be true.
The notion that each "day" should be understood befittingly of God is just as rational as believing that He created the universe with "apparent age".
Given that the Scripture is not explicit on this matter, it is perhaps best to leave it as a mystery and focus on what we can be more certain of.

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« Reply #165 on: April 17, 2005, 03:12:51 AM »

I am in fact a big proponent of his glorification -- I venerate him as a saint. Even saints, though, can talk out of their arses once in a while.

I think you've missed the point Beayf, which is that despite what you may think, Fr. Seraphim was addressing the "zeitgeist" of his time, he was not talking through his arse. When I went to high school (by the way, I attended my 20 year high school reunion last November which gives you an idea of how long ago this was), there was no internet, and you were considered well off if you had a VCR. At this time, the Experiment of Stanley Miller was still "state of the art" science. In 1953, Miller recreated what was believed to be the early atmosphere of the Earth by creating a chamber with only hydrogen, water, methane, and ammonia. To speed up "geologic time" in his experiment, he boiled the water and instead of exposing the mix to ultraviolet light he used an electric discharge something like lightning. After just a week, Miller had a residue of compounds settled in his system. He analyzed them and the results were electrifying: Organic compounds had been formed, most notably some of the "building blocks of life," amino acids. Amino acids are necessary to form proteins which themselves form the structure of cells and play important roles in the biochemical reactions life requires. Miller found the amino acids glycine, alanine, aspartic and glutamic acid, and others. Fifteen percent of the carbon from the methane had been combined into organic compounds. As amazing as discovering amino acids at all was how easily they had formed. This was immediatley "latched on to" by the "popular scientists" as evidence that the Universe began without thew need for God, and simply evolved into what we know today- energy and inorganic matter into organic matter and Life. I know this sounds bizaar today, but in my day (and Fr. Seraphim's day), this was considered the "first step" in Evolution- even in school science curricula.
The distinction that you see between Evolution and comsology did not exist in Fr. Seraphim's day. In his day (and my day) Evolution was not simply a branch of biology, it was an explanation for the origin of organic matter and life.
So before you accuse Fr. Seraphim of "talking though his arse", perhaps you should take a sober step backewards and see what he was up against in his own time, rather than judge him by anachronism.
By the way, Fr. Seraphim also warned about the obsession with UFO's- again, another "fad" at the time. The movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" was a box office hit, and very believable to people who were on the UFO bandwagon. Have you noticed how this fad has died down since camcorders have become so freely available? In another generation, the concept of UFO's may be completely extinct- in which case, Fr. Seraphim's writing will appear strange and superfluous and based on pseudo-science. I think a similar thing is happening with yourself when you look back at Fr. Seraphim's writings in relation to Evolution. The Evolutionary Theory of his day was not the Evolutionary Theory that you know today.
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« Reply #166 on: April 17, 2005, 02:55:54 PM »

Very well; I retract my "talking through his arse" comment, if it'll make you feel better. The distinction between cosmology and the theory of evolution did in fact exist in the scientific community during Fr. Seraphim's time, however. I freely admit the two may have been conflated in the popular media (and still are); however, when discussing or studying scientific matters, it is best to ignore the popular media, as their grasp of scientific matters is notoriously bogus.
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« Reply #167 on: April 17, 2005, 03:01:07 PM »

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Together with Marx's materialistic theory of history and society and Freud's attribution of human behavior to influences over which we have little control, Darwin's theory of evolution was a crucial plank in the platform of mechanism and materialism-of much of science, in short-that has since been the stage of most Western thought."

This says nothing about the theory of evolution as a cosmological theory.

Quote
Although many details remain to be worked out, it is already evident that all the objective phenomena of the history of life can be explained by purely materialistic factors.

What happened before life was created / formed / generated is not part of the history of life, scientifically speaking, so again, this says nothing about cosmology.

Quote
"Evolution is any process of growth, change or development. The word stems from the Latin evolutio meaning "unfolding" and before the late 19th century was confined to referring to goal-directed, pre-programmed processes such as embryological development. A pre-programmed task, as in a military maneuver, using this definition, may be termed an "evolution." One can also speak of stellar evolution, chemical evolution, cultural evolution or the evolution of an idea. Other kinds of evolution include evolutionary algorithms (which include genetic algorithms) which attempt to mimic processes similar to biological evolution in a computer program, most frequently as an optimization technique and as an experimental framework for the computational modelling of evolution."

Yes, but the concept of "evolution" per se is not synonymous with the theory of evolution. In fact, the word "evolution" itself was a rather poor choice of name for the theory -- looked at purely materialistically (which is all science can do), evolution is not directed towards a goal, nor is there some inevitable progression from the lower to the higher; it is simply a matter of populations changing to be better adapted towards their environment.

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« Reply #168 on: April 17, 2005, 04:12:31 PM »

Er, no, I'm afraid it's not. The Theory of Evolution is a well-defined biological theory that has nothing to do with cosmology. I should dearly like to see these quotes, though even if they say what you claim they say, all that proves is that the speaker was incorrect in their terminology.

It is a common misconception that the theory of evolution encompasses cosmology, but it just ain't so. Evolution is a biological theory, not a worldview. Fr. Seraphim was talking out of his arse when he stated otherwise.

Actually it depends on who you ask...I know that most Biologists will say that evolution only deals with the Biological aspect, but most Physicists will include Cosmology in Evolution, viewing biological evolution as simply a small side show, but a subset of physics (after all, there is no difference between the electrons and protons found in biologican and non-biological matter, so ultimately there is no difference from the point of view of the physicist); it is just Jargon that is specific to each field, we are simply arguing over semantics.

Ultimately evolution (including Cosmology) is a theory born out of the Axioms of Science, if you have a problem with it, you need to discuss the Axioms of Science, not evolution which is simply a theorem derived from these Axioms; by claiming the the thoery is a philosophy you are ignoring its origins and trying to make more out of it than is really there.
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« Reply #169 on: April 17, 2005, 04:13:31 PM »

I think a similar thing is happening with yourself when you look back at Fr. Seraphim's writings in relation to Evolution. The Evolutionary Theory of his day was not the Evolutionary Theory that you know today.

Fr. Seraphim wrote on the patristic understanding on Genesis in order to affirm apostolic tradition. Even if evolution were not a popular theory, we can be sure that he would have provided the patristic exegesis for us to learn from.
The nature of the first-created man and world, the fall, the necessity of redemption, and others are important Orthodox doctrines that hinge on the traditional understanding of Genesis.

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« Reply #170 on: April 17, 2005, 05:23:07 PM »

Though I do not usually like creation "science", I find this site to be very interesting:

"Welcome to Answers in Creation, a creation science ministry believing in an inerrant Word of God and a literal interpretation of Genesis.  We also believe the earth is billions of years old.  We apply logic and common sense to creation science, and bring conservative Christianity and Old Earth Creationism together, without conflict."
http://www.answersincreation.org/

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« Reply #171 on: April 17, 2005, 07:35:19 PM »

Brothers/Sisters,

Let’s suppose that some archeologists after thousands of years will find my home and there they’ll also find my diary that I keep in my desk.
 
In my diary I am writing all my impressions and generally all about my personal life with my family.

So they will have the archeological findings of my house, my furniture, my clothes, and all things found in ones house along with my diary.

In their effort to understand my life they may find that my diary’s evidences are not compatible with their other findings. There is nowhere in my diary a written evidence about the existence of a device called refrigerator and for several other appliances. Also there is also no written evidence about our dog found buried in our garden. And also by studying the house structure they will figure out that my description of its construction is so deficient that I may not even talk about this specific house.

Then one of these archeologists will have the bizarre idea that I was writing in my diary about my family’s life, about my personal relationship with my family’s members and I was not keeping a record about everything that was there in our house or everything was taking place. So it is absolutely right that they found no detailed records of the things that I had no personal relation with and also that my ability to explain everything that was surrounding me was limited by my capacity to relate with each one of them.

They‘ll all think this proposition and after awhile they‘ll come to the conclusion that my diary is an unreliable source for their scientific analysis because is referring to personal impressions about personal relationships and it is not a scientific journal.
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« Reply #172 on: April 17, 2005, 08:05:35 PM »

The following are quotes of church fathers who may have been open to the day-age theory:

Justin Martyr
"For as Adam was told that in the day he ate of the tree he would die, we know that he did not complete a thousand years [Gen. 5:5]. We have perceived, moreover, that the expression ‘The day of the Lord is a thousand years’ [Ps. 90:4] is connected with this subject" (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 81 [A.D. 155]).

Irenaeus
"And there are some, again, who relegate the death of Adam to the thousandth year; for since ‘a day of the Lord is a thousand years,’ he did not overstep the thousand years, but died within them, thus bearing out the sentence of his sin" (Against Heresies 5:23:2 [A.D. 189]).

Clement of Alexandria
"And how could creation take place in time, seeing time was born along with things which exist? . . . That, then, we may be taught that the world was originated and not suppose that God made it in time, prophecy adds: ‘This is the book of the generation, also of the things in them, when they were created in the day that God made heaven and earth’ [Gen. 2:4]. For the expression ‘when they were created’ intimates an indefinite and dateless production. But the expression ‘in the day that God made them,’ that is, in and by which God made ‘all things,’ and ‘without which not even one thing was made,’ points out the activity exerted by the Son" (Miscellanies 6:16 [A.D. 208]).

Cyprian
"The first seven days in the divine arrangement contain seven thousand years" (Treatises 11:11 [A.D. 250]).

Origen
"For who that has understanding will suppose that the first and second and third day existed without a sun and moon and stars and that the first day was, as it were, also without a sky? . . . I do not suppose that anyone doubts that these things figuratively indicate certain mysteries, the history having taken place in appearance and not literally" (The Fundamental Doctrines 4:1:16 [A.D. 225]).

"The text said that ‘there was evening and there was morning’; it did not say ‘the first day,’ but said ‘one day.’ It is because there was not yet time before the world existed. But time begins to exist with the following days" (Homilies on Genesis [A.D. 234]).

"And since he [the pagan Celsus] makes the statements about the ‘days of creation’ ground of accusation—as if he understood them clearly and correctly, some of which elapsed before the creation of light and heaven, the sun and moon and stars, and some of them after the creation of these we shall only make this observation, that Moses must have forgotten that he had said a little before ‘that in six days the creation of the world had been finished’ and that in consequence of this act of forgetfulness he subjoins to these words the following: ‘This is the book of the creation of man in the day when God made the heaven and the earth [Gen. 2:4]’" (Against Celsus 6:51 [A.D. 248]).

"And with regard to the creation of the light upon the first day . . . and of the [great] lights and stars upon the fourth . . . we have treated to the best of our ability in our notes upon Genesis, as well as in the foregoing pages, when we found fault with those who, taking the words in their apparent signification, said that the time of six days was occupied in the creation of the world" (ibid., 6:60).

"For he [the pagan Celsus] knows nothing of the day of the Sabbath and rest of God, which follows the completion of the world’s creation, and which lasts during the duration of the world, and in which all those will keep the festival with God who have done all their work in their six days" (ibid., 6:61).

Lactantius
"Therefore let the philosophers, who enumerate thousands of ages from the beginning of the world, know that the six-thousandth year is not yet complete. . . . Therefore, since all the works of God were completed in six days, the world must continue in its present state through six ages, that is, six thousand years. For the great day of God is limited by a circle of a thousand years, as the prophet shows, who says, ‘In thy sight, O Lord, a thousand years are as one day [Ps. 90:4]’" (Divine Institutes 7:14 [A.D. 307]).

Augustine
"Seven days by our reckoning, after the model of the days of creation, make up a week. By the passage of such weeks time rolls on, and in these weeks one day is constituted by the course of the sun from its rising to its setting; but we must bear in mind that these days indeed recall the days of creation, but without in any way being really similar to them" (ibid., 4:27).

"[A]t least we know that it [the Genesis creation day] is different from the ordinary day with which we are familiar" (ibid., 5:2).

"For in these days [of creation] the morning and evening are counted until, on the sixth day, all things which God then made were finished, and on the seventh the rest of God was mysteriously and sublimely signalized. What kind of days these were is extremely difficult or perhaps impossible for us to conceive, and how much more to say!" (The City of God 11:6 [A.D. 419]).

"We see that our ordinary days have no evening but by the setting [of the sun] and no morning but by the rising of the sun, but the first three days of all were passed without sun, since it is reported to have been made on the fourth day. And first of all, indeed, light was made by the word of God, and God, we read, separated it from the darkness and called the light ‘day’ and the darkness ‘night’; but what kind of light that was, and by what periodic movement it made evening and morning, is beyond the reach of our senses; neither can we understand how it was and yet must unhesitatingly believe it" (ibid., 11:7).
http://www.catholic.com/Library/Cre...and_Genesis.asp

Though it is highly paradoxical that the Hexaemeron could represent six indefinite periods of time while the story of Adam and Eve is a historical account, this may nonetheless be true.
The notion that each day should be understood "befittingly of God" is just as rational as believing that He created the universe with "apparent age".
Given that the Scripture is not explicit on this matter, it is perhaps best to leave it as a mystery and focus on what we can be more certain of.
Given that God stands outside of time, He did not necessarily create within time and therefore, the universe itself could be billions of years old even though the Creation ocurred in six "days". Given that the fathers of the Church were not unanimous in the meaning of the Hexaemeron, one need not believe in a young universe in order to uphold the authority of Scripture.
God created the earth in six days and specially created the species and mankind. Genesis itself is a factual history. The nature of time before the fall, on the other hand, is a mystery to human understanding. The universe may be billions of years old or less than ten thousand. However, if the universe is young, then the supernovas we observe never really happened. That is a little unsettling.
As sort of a "patristic scholar", I am constantly learning more and more about what the fathers of the Church taught. Given that the fathers were not unanimous of the length of the Creation days, we should be open to the possibility that modern science is correct in its dating techniques.
As I have shown before, some of the fathers taught that we must understand the days of the Hexaemeron in a manner befitting of God, given that He stands outside of time.

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« Reply #173 on: April 17, 2005, 08:13:42 PM »

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Physicists will include Cosmology in Evolution, viewing biological evolution as simply a small side show, but a subset of physics

Then those physicists may be using the word "evolution" in a different way, but they are definitely not talking about the theory of evolution. If they are, they're wrong. Communities of living beings changing over time in response to selection pressures is not related to how stars and galaxies form, except insasmuch as anything is related to how stars and galaxies form.

It's not impossible, or even uncommon, for a scientist in one field to have serious misconceptions about what is going on in another field. I'm not a biologist, but biology is a great interest of mine, and one that I spend a lot of time studying about. I have only the barest familiarity with physics, though, and so my opinion is not to be relied upon when discussing cosmology or astronomy.
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« Reply #174 on: April 17, 2005, 08:41:47 PM »

Then those physicists may be using the word "evolution" in a different way, but they are definitely not talking about the theory of evolution. If they are, they're wrong.
"If they are, they're wrong."- do you mean they're "talking through their arses"? Wink
If we extrapolate the idea that Evolution can begin on it's own (as Stanley Miller did) and therefore "provide" an explanation for the origins of the Universe which says that God did not create the Universe, because it could begin on it's own, we have a plausable scientific hypothesis.
However, this "hypothesis", however much it is based on  empirical science will always be a "philosopy". Even if we believe that God is the "first cause" who set this evolution in motion, we have taken a philosophical/metaphysical stance. We are saying that "this is how God created the Universe", and cannot escape the fact that we have taken the philosophical stance of Deists, and we must reject "Revealed Truth" in favour of empirical, scientific facts.
Even the belief that physics and metaphysics "cannot mix" is a philosophical stance. Even the statement that "all truth is empirical" is not an empirical statement, it is a metaphysical statement.

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« Reply #175 on: April 17, 2005, 09:05:43 PM »

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If we extrapolate the idea that Evolution can begin on it's own (as Stanley Miller did) and therefore "provide" an explanation for the origins of the Universe which says that God did not create the Universe, because it could begin on it's own, we have a plausable scientific hypothesis.

The thing is, though, that the theory of evolution requires some already existing life to work with. How life began comes under the heading of theories of biogenesis (and FTR, I believe that the first life was created by God directly; ditto for Adam and Eve). Likewise, how the universe began falls under the heading of cosmology; it's what is studied by scientists such as Stephen Hawking. Now, many scientists believe that the universe began on its own, and that life formed on its own (though I do not), but neither of those have to do with the theory of evolution. It's once that life was existing that the theory of evolution applies, as selection pressures would have come to bear on the newly formed life, e.g. the early formation of the oxygen-rich atmosphere after the development of photosynthesis, which meant that the great diversity of anaerobic bacteria and archaea would henceforth be limited to environments that lack oxygen, such as mud, soil, hot springs, etc.
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« Reply #176 on: April 17, 2005, 09:21:30 PM »

Now, many scientists believe that the universe began on its own, and that life formed on its own (though I do not), but neither of those have to do with the theory of evolution. It's once that life was existing that the theory of evolution applies,

I know that you believe in God. I know that Evolution is not necessarily Biogenesis. I know that Evolutionary Theory applies to life once it exists. What I am saying, is that we cannot deny that Evolutionary Theory is a philosophical and metaphysical stance. The idea that it is "pure science" is untrue. If one believes in God, and accepts the Theory of Evolution as an empirical fact, then there is no escaping the fact that we have defined the mechanism by which God sustains life. We have not simply stated empirical facts, whether we are right or wrong, we have made a philosophical/metaphysical statement, we have made a theological statement. There is no hiding behind the facade of "pure science". We have likened God to a watchmaker who makes a watch, sets it in motion and has nothing more to do with it- the position of the Deists.
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« Reply #177 on: April 17, 2005, 09:50:20 PM »

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then there is no escaping the fact that we have defined the mechanism by which God sustains life. We have not simply stated empirical facts, whether we are right or wrong, we have made a philosophical/metaphysical statement, we have made a theological statement.

Do you feel the same way about attempts to tease out how gravity works, or electromagnetism, or chemical reactions? What is special about life that figuring out how it works, and how populations of it work, is so different and more grave than figuring out how apples fall to the ground, or how moving a wire through a coil produces an electrical current?
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« Reply #178 on: April 17, 2005, 10:23:00 PM »

Do you feel the same way about attempts to tease out how gravity works, or electromagnetism, or chemical reactions? What is special about life that figuring out how it works, and how populations of it work, is so different and more grave than figuring out how apples fall to the ground, or how moving a wire through a coil produces an electrical current?
Firstly, yes, I feel the same way about all the "laws of Nature". I beleive that they are established by God in His wisdom. Every time I learn a new scientific fact, I am stuck with wonder at the wisdom and generosity of our God.
Secondly, at the basis of The Theory of Evolution is randomness. If God chose to use this mechanism to sustain life, then He is not the Creator of Mankind- randomness is. God cannot, even for an instant, interfere with the process of Evolution- because this would render Evolution unrandom and the entire basis of the theory collapses.
What is the point of praying for our daily bread if our receiving our daily bread depends on randomness? How could there have been a Fall if the existence of free will is random? What is the point of praying that we be delivered from trials if our trials are simply the result of randomness? What was the point of Christ's Death and Ressurection if there is no Divine Plan of Salvation- only randomness? What was the point of the Divine Incarnation if this breached the randomness of Evolution? How can we say that the Human Nature of Christ is the result of the randomness of Evolution? And if we say that the Incarnation was not random, then hasn't God interfered in history (at least in the case of the Incarnation) and therefore removed randomness? And if we look at the History of our Fathers in the Faith- all the way back to Abraham- hasn't God interfered in history, and therefore history is not random?
Thirdly, if Evolution is the mechanism by which God sustains life, did God therefore create a flawed system of randomness that He needs to redeem us from by His Plan of Salvation? This is not the Orthodox understanding.....According to Orthodoxy, the nature of everything which God created is inherently good. Evolutionary theory requires that the nature of everything is inherntly neutral.

The only way in which the theory of Evolution and a belief in the God Whom the Orthodox Christians worship can be reconciled is if we either believe that Evolution stopped when Man came into being, and there was no more randomness after that, or if God stopped His act of Creation after the "sixth day" and has not interfered in human history since then, and the interference of God in human history is only an "apparent" interference. The latter belief cannot be reconciled with the Orthodox Christian God, which leaves us therefore with the former, namely that Evolution has ceased.
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« Reply #179 on: April 17, 2005, 11:55:28 PM »

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Secondly, at the basis of The Theory of Evolution is randomness.

The theory of evolution is the exact opposite of randomness. Natural selection is an imposition of order -- a sorting of those organisms in a population who are unfit to survive in their particular environment from those who are fit.

Quote
God cannot, even for an instant, interfere with the process of Evolution- because this would render Evolution unrandom and the entire basis of the theory collapses.

The huh? God interfering with the process of evolution does no such thing -- organisms will still live and die according to their fitness in relation to their environment. Mutations will still occur, and mixing of genes will also still occur. Bacteria and archaea will still continue to merrily shuffle their genes around, viruses will spread new genetic information willy-nilly, and what comes out of that mix will still either be fit to survive in its environment or not.

Does the theory of gravity collapse if God interferes with its operation for some specific purpose? Does the fact that St. Mary of Egypt levitated off the ground in her prayer mean that we should chunk all our calculations about planetary movements? Can we no longer predict solar eclipses because Christ walked on the water?

Quote
What is the point of praying for our daily bread if our receiving our daily bread depends on randomness? How could there have been a Fall if the existence of free will is random? What is the point of praying that we be delivered from trials if our trials are simply the result of randomness? What was the point of Christ's Death and Ressurection if there is no Divine Plan of Salvation- only randomness? What was the point of the Divine Incarnation if this breached the randomness of Evolution? How can we say that the Human Nature of Christ is the result of the randomness of Evolution? And if we say that the Incarnation was not random, then hasn't God interfered in history (at least in the case of the Incarnation) and therefore removed randomness? And if we look at the History of our Fathers in the Faith- all the way back to Abraham- hasn't God interfered in history, and therefore history is not random?

I fully agree that history is not random. Once you realize that God intervening in the operation of the universe doesn't mean the theory of evolution collapses, all these problems disappear. God has established orderly rules for the operation of the universe -- matter attracts matter gravitationally; electricity and magnetism are interchangeable; nothing can travel faster than light in a vacuum; populations of organisms change over time as a result of pressure from their environment. The fact that God can suspend or modify these rules for His own purposes doesn't mean the rules are now invalid.

Quote
The only way in which the theory of Evolution and a belief in the God Whom the Orthodox Christians worship can be reconciled is if we either believe that Evolution stopped when Man came into being, and there was no more randomness after that, or if God stopped His act of Creation after the "sixth day" and has not interfered in human history since then, and the interference of God in human history is only an "apparent" interference.

I believe you are setting up a false dichotomy. I see no contradiction whatsoever between having an active, intervening God and also having natural processes continue to operate. And evolution is still clearly continuing to happen -- new species have been observed to form, both in the laboratory and in the wild, and natural selection is still in operation, else we would not have problems with populations of bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics.
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« Reply #180 on: April 18, 2005, 12:10:15 AM »

The theory of evolution is the exact opposite of randomness. Natural selection is an imposition of order -- a sorting of those organisms in a population who are unfit to survive in their particular environment from those who are fit.
You've missed a step here..... "Survival of the fittest what?" Don't you mean the survival of the fittest genetic mutation? Doesn't Evolutionary Theory therefore depend on the randomness of genetic mutation?

The fact that God can suspend or modify these rules for His own purposes doesn't mean the rules are now invalid...I believe you are setting up a false dichotomy
The "Pure Science" of Evolutionary Theory requires that genetic mutation is random. Since you believe that God intereferes in history, you therefore do not accept the pure science of Evolutionary Theory. This is not a false dichotomy- this is fact.

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« Reply #181 on: April 18, 2005, 12:56:13 AM »

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Don't you mean the survival of the fittest genetic mutation? Doesn't Evolutionary Theory therefore depend on the randomness of genetic mutation?

Strictly speaking, no. The neo-Darwinian synthesis does, but that is only a subset of evolutionary theory. We didn't know the mechanism of transmitting changes from generation to generation until the 50s and the discovery of DNA, but evolutionary theory got on fine before that.

As I've said before on here, I don't believe that genetic mutation is responsible for most of the evolutionary changes we see -- I think lateral transfer of genetic information between species is responsible for that. Unlike most instances of mutation, transfer and shuffling of whole genes *does* have the ability to create new information, as opposed to making changes one tick at a time.

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The "Pure Science" of Evolutionary Theory requires that genetic mutation is random.

Nope, it really doesn't. All it requires is that some mechanism exist for change in physical attributes in a population over time exist, whether that mechanism be genetic mutation, transfer of genes, Lamarckian inheritance, little elves, or the direct intervention of God.
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« Reply #182 on: April 18, 2005, 02:09:09 AM »

Does anyone besides me find the day-age theory to be a viable interpretation of the Hexaemeron?
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« Reply #183 on: April 18, 2005, 06:22:48 AM »

Yes, the guy who wrote this:

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8045.asp

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« Reply #184 on: April 18, 2005, 06:54:07 AM »

Nope, it really doesn't. All it requires is that some mechanism exist for change in physical attributes in a population over time exist, whether that mechanism be genetic mutation, transfer of genes, Lamarckian inheritance, little elves, or the direct intervention of God.

Well sidestepped...almost, but not quite.
If we accept that it is the direct intervention of God, or if we state that Evolution was the mechanism set in motion by God, then we still run into a severe theological problem, which I would like you to explain.
Whether it is ordering a random or unrandom variation of DNA, the "survival of the fittest" requires the exisitence of death, since certain species/mutations etc must die in order that "the fittest" may survive. If Evolution is still continuing since Mankind came into being, this means that death was always an inherent part of Creation.
If we accept Evolution as the mechanism by which God sustains life, then Death is not the consequence of the Fall, but was always "part of the (Divine) plan".
Therefore, our whole Orthodox Christian Faith is a sham, since Christ's Death and Ressurection only redeems us from what He Himself created, not from the consequences of the Fall, and the Divine Apostle Paul must either be lying or mistaken when he says:
   
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one (man) many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one (man), judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (Man) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (Roman's 5:10-17)

And St. Paul is also telling an untruth when he says:
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord"(Romans 6:23) ?
Is St. Paul speaking of a metaphorical, spiritual death? Well, no, firstly because he says that even those who "had not sinned after the simultude of Adam" (and therefore were not spiritually dead) also recieved this death. And secondly, because he goes on to say:
"And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Romans 8:10-13)
So the question is, was St. Paul wrong? Was death always part of the plan anyway, and not a consequence of the Fall? Are we simply being redeemed from a situation which God put us in in the first place? Is the General Ressurection simply a metaphorical/spiritual ressurection just as the "death" which is a consequence of sin is?

If we are an Orthodox Christian who believes in theistic evolution, then we must accept that Mankind was not destined to die at some stage, but brought this upon himself by the Fall which brought death into his life. The only way this is possible is if Evolution ceased for humans the instant the first soul-bearing human came into being.

How does the Theory of Evolution cope with a species which is excluded from it's laws?


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« Reply #185 on: April 18, 2005, 09:39:32 AM »

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If we are an Orthodox Christian who believes in theistic evolution, then we must accept that Mankind was not destined to die at some stage, but brought this upon himself by the Fall which brought death into his life. The only way this is possible is if Evolution ceased for humans the instant the first soul-bearing human came into being.

Which is exactly what I believe. I recognize, though, that this claim is not scientifically testable; I believe it as a matter of faith.
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« Reply #186 on: April 18, 2005, 10:01:16 AM »

Which is exactly what I believe. I recognize, though, that this claim is not scientifically testable; I believe it as a matter of faith.

My dear friend Beayf,
Do you see therefore that as well as being an empirical science, the Theory of Evolution is also a metaphysical/philosophical position? In order to accomodate your Orthodox Christian belief, you have had to alter the theory to exclude at least one species from it. Those who do not alter the Theory in the way which you have done are taking the metaphysical/philososphical position that the Fall did not take place.
I think if we sort through the piles and piles of words, arguments, counter-arguments etc in this thread, we will find that this is the crux of what the debate was about, namely, that Evolutionary Theory, as it stands in science, is not completely reconcilable with our Faith unless we alter it, and that there is therefore no escaping the fact that despite the appearance of "pure science", the Theory of Evolution also takes a metaphysical/philosophical stance.
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« Reply #187 on: April 18, 2005, 02:33:50 PM »

I would really prefer that we discuss this post:

The following are quotes of church fathers who may have been open to the day-age theory:

Justin Martyr
"For as Adam was told that in the day he ate of the tree he would die, we know that he did not complete a thousand years [Gen. 5:5]. We have perceived, moreover, that the expression ‘The day of the Lord is a thousand years’ [Ps. 90:4] is connected with this subject" (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 81 [A.D. 155]).

Irenaeus
"And there are some, again, who relegate the death of Adam to the thousandth year; for since ‘a day of the Lord is a thousand years,’ he did not overstep the thousand years, but died within them, thus bearing out the sentence of his sin" (Against Heresies 5:23:2 [A.D. 189]).

Clement of Alexandria
"And how could creation take place in time, seeing time was born along with things which exist? . . . That, then, we may be taught that the world was originated and not suppose that God made it in time, prophecy adds: ‘This is the book of the generation, also of the things in them, when they were created in the day that God made heaven and earth’ [Gen. 2:4]. For the expression ‘when they were created’ intimates an indefinite and dateless production. But the expression ‘in the day that God made them,’ that is, in and by which God made ‘all things,’ and ‘without which not even one thing was made,’ points out the activity exerted by the Son" (Miscellanies 6:16 [A.D. 208]).

Cyprian
"The first seven days in the divine arrangement contain seven thousand years" (Treatises 11:11 [A.D. 250]).

Origen
"For who that has understanding will suppose that the first and second and third day existed without a sun and moon and stars and that the first day was, as it were, also without a sky? . . . I do not suppose that anyone doubts that these things figuratively indicate certain mysteries, the history having taken place in appearance and not literally" (The Fundamental Doctrines 4:1:16 [A.D. 225]).

"The text said that ‘there was evening and there was morning’; it did not say ‘the first day,’ but said ‘one day.’ It is because there was not yet time before the world existed. But time begins to exist with the following days" (Homilies on Genesis [A.D. 234]).

"And since he [the pagan Celsus] makes the statements about the ‘days of creation’ ground of accusation—as if he understood them clearly and correctly, some of which elapsed before the creation of light and heaven, the sun and moon and stars, and some of them after the creation of these we shall only make this observation, that Moses must have forgotten that he had said a little before ‘that in six days the creation of the world had been finished’ and that in consequence of this act of forgetfulness he subjoins to these words the following: ‘This is the book of the creation of man in the day when God made the heaven and the earth [Gen. 2:4]’" (Against Celsus 6:51 [A.D. 248]).

"And with regard to the creation of the light upon the first day . . . and of the [great] lights and stars upon the fourth . . . we have treated to the best of our ability in our notes upon Genesis, as well as in the foregoing pages, when we found fault with those who, taking the words in their apparent signification, said that the time of six days was occupied in the creation of the world" (ibid., 6:60).

"For he [the pagan Celsus] knows nothing of the day of the Sabbath and rest of God, which follows the completion of the world’s creation, and which lasts during the duration of the world, and in which all those will keep the festival with God who have done all their work in their six days" (ibid., 6:61).

Lactantius
"Therefore let the philosophers, who enumerate thousands of ages from the beginning of the world, know that the six-thousandth year is not yet complete. . . . Therefore, since all the works of God were completed in six days, the world must continue in its present state through six ages, that is, six thousand years. For the great day of God is limited by a circle of a thousand years, as the prophet shows, who says, ‘In thy sight, O Lord, a thousand years are as one day [Ps. 90:4]’" (Divine Institutes 7:14 [A.D. 307]).

Augustine
"Seven days by our reckoning, after the model of the days of creation, make up a week. By the passage of such weeks time rolls on, and in these weeks one day is constituted by the course of the sun from its rising to its setting; but we must bear in mind that these days indeed recall the days of creation, but without in any way being really similar to them" (ibid., 4:27).

"[A]t least we know that it [the Genesis creation day] is different from the ordinary day with which we are familiar" (ibid., 5:2).

"For in these days [of creation] the morning and evening are counted until, on the sixth day, all things which God then made were finished, and on the seventh the rest of God was mysteriously and sublimely signalized. What kind of days these were is extremely difficult or perhaps impossible for us to conceive, and how much more to say!" (The City of God 11:6 [A.D. 419]).

"We see that our ordinary days have no evening but by the setting [of the sun] and no morning but by the rising of the sun, but the first three days of all were passed without sun, since it is reported to have been made on the fourth day. And first of all, indeed, light was made by the word of God, and God, we read, separated it from the darkness and called the light ‘day’ and the darkness ‘night’; but what kind of light that was, and by what periodic movement it made evening and morning, is beyond the reach of our senses; neither can we understand how it was and yet must unhesitatingly believe it" (ibid., 11:7).
http://www.catholic.com/Library/Cre...and_Genesis.asp

Though it is highly paradoxical that the Hexaemeron could represent six indefinite periods of time while the story of Adam and Eve is a historical account, this may nonetheless be true.
The notion that each day should be understood "befittingly of God" is just as rational as believing that He created the universe with "apparent age".
Given that the Scripture is not explicit on this matter, it is perhaps best to leave it as a mystery and focus on what we can be more certain of.
Given that God stands outside of time, He did not necessarily create within time and therefore, the universe itself could be billions of years old even though the Creation ocurred in six "days". Given that the fathers of the Church were not unanimous in the meaning of the Hexaemeron, one need not believe in a young universe in order to uphold the authority of Scripture.
God created the earth in six days and specially created the species and mankind. Genesis itself is a factual history. The nature of time before the fall, on the other hand, is a mystery to human understanding. The universe may be billions of years old or less than ten thousand. However, if the universe is young, then the supernovas we observe never really happened. That is a little unsettling.
As sort of a "patristic scholar", I am constantly learning more and more about what the fathers of the Church taught. Given that the fathers were not unanimous of the length of the Creation days, we should be open to the possibility that modern science is correct in its dating techniques.
As I have shown before, some of the fathers taught that we must understand the days of the Hexaemeron in a manner befitting of God, given that He stands outside of time.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.

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« Reply #188 on: April 18, 2005, 10:45:53 PM »

I would like to read the quotes concerning the days of Creation being a Thousand years in context. If you assume that 1000 years is literal than I really cannot see how the same Fathers who wrote these quotes could have believed in the literal existence of Adam and Eve and Paradise though we know that they did believe in this literally. The Thousand years is most likely part of the allegorical interpretation. I think the mistake many of you are making is assuming that the interpretation has to be either literal or allegorical when in fact it is actually both. St.Ambrose does this often in his own writings on Creation. He makes it clear against the assertions of philosophers who say that the Earth has always existed or could not be created as the Bible says that indeed what has been revealed to Moses is the literal truth. However St.Ambrose all lifts us to a higher allegorical understanding in his book Paradise in which he teaches us to cultivate the Garden within. The living fountain that is our Lord shall water us and if we till our soil we shall become like the Garden of Eden within ourselves.
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« Reply #189 on: April 19, 2005, 08:29:46 AM »

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I think the mistake many of you are making is assuming that the interpretation has to be either literal or allegorical when in fact it is actually both.

Which is exactly the same mistakes the early Christian heretics were making.  Origen believed almost everything to be allegory, including many miracles and even the resurrection of the body.  The Marcionites, et. al. took certain passages too literal and ended in heresy.  The Church Fathers pointed out, as does Sabbas, that we should be cautious when looking to either extreme. 

Concerning death, Beayf, I thought it was Patristic consensus that death did not exist *anywhere* in creation before the fall.  Is this correct or am I mistaken?
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« Reply #190 on: April 19, 2005, 09:12:20 AM »

Concerning death, Beayf, I thought it was Patristic consensus that death did not exist *anywhere* in creation before the fall. Is this correct or am I mistaken?

Physical death of the body or a spiritual death (via damnation or separation from the Lord)?
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« Reply #191 on: April 19, 2005, 09:43:32 AM »

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Do you see therefore that as well as being an empirical science, the Theory of Evolution is also a metaphysical/philosophical position? In order to accomodate your Orthodox Christian belief, you have had to alter the theory to exclude at least one species from it.

Not really. I don't accept the germ theory as a metaphysical theory, even though it did not apply to Christ, who healed the sick through His will. Ditto for the theory of gravity, though Christ walked on water. I don't see why the theory of evolution should be different.
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« Reply #192 on: April 19, 2005, 09:58:29 AM »

Physical death of the body or a spiritual death (via damnation or separation from the Lord)?

In the Orthodox Christian Funeral Service, we chant:

"You Who of old created me out of nothing in Your Divine image,
and returned me back to dust, from which I had been made, for my disobedience,
to your own likeness again restore me,
and that ancient beauty again return to me."

I think therefore (and I could be wrong) that the Orthodox understanding is that physical death (returning back to dust) is the result of sin (disobedience).
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« Reply #193 on: April 19, 2005, 10:10:56 AM »

Not really. I don't accept the germ theory as a metaphysical theory, even though it did not apply to Christ, who healed the sick through His will.
Yes, you don't accept germ theory as a metaphysical theory, however, those who do not have the faith in Christ that you have would say that there are bacterial and viral diseases for which there is no cure. It is impossible at this stage for germ theory to provide a cure for HIV/AIDS, therefore germ theory counts it as an incurable disease. But there is no such thing as an incurable disease in the Orthodox Church (the position which you hold). According to your metaphysical position, there is no such thing as an incurable disease, but according to germ theory's metaphysical position, there are certain diseases for which there is currently no cure.
. Ditto for the theory of gravity, though Christ walked on water. I don't see why the theory of evolution should be different.
Similarly, the metaphysical position of the Law of Gravity is that it is impossible that a human person cannot walk on water, your metaphysical position is that a human can walk on water in certain circumstances.

And similarly, the metaphysical position of the Theory of Evolution is that it is a continuing process for all living species, whereas your metaphysical position is that Evolution was interrupted at some point for at least one species prior to that species coming into being.
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« Reply #194 on: April 19, 2005, 10:43:00 AM »



Which is exactly the same mistakes the early Christian heretics were making. Origen believed almost everything to be allegory, including many miracles and even the resurrection of the body. The Marcionites, et. al. took certain passages too literal and ended in heresy. The Church Fathers pointed out, as does Sabbas, that we should be cautious when looking to either extreme.

Concerning death, Beayf, I thought it was Patristic consensus that death did not exist *anywhere* in creation before the fall. Is this