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Author Topic: The Evolution Thread to End All Evolution Threads  (Read 24755 times) Average Rating: 0
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BritishEnquirer
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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!

George (Australia)
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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?

Christina
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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.

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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.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.

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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!

Quote
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 »

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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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