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Author Topic: The Evolution Thread to End All Evolution Threads  (Read 23533 times) Average Rating: 0
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ozgeorge
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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.

Quote
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 correct or am I mistaken?

No, cizinec what I was actually writing was that many of the Fathers believed in the literal truth of the Creation story while at the same time understandiing the higher allegorical truth within it as well. For example I believe that the journey of Hebrews in the desert after being brought out of bondage in Egypt is literallly true. But I also believe that the story can be understood allegorically in the sense that each soul goes through a time of being in the desert and at various times many people rebel despite all that God has done for them by bringing them out of bondage.
What I am trying to point out is that you should not consider interpreting the Creation story allegorically as a denial of the literal interpretation. Most of the Church Fathers, if not all, interpreted the Old Testament, including the Creation, literally and allegorically at the same time.

But you are definitely right about Origen. Though his biblical commetary is helpful and insightful he does seem to forsake the body going entirely after the spirit. I believe St.Maximos the Confessor described the literal truth of the Scripture as the body or flesh and the allegorical truth of it as the spirit
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« Reply #195 on: April 19, 2005, 11:20:20 AM »

For heterodox thinkers there is no Fall. It's purely allegorical.  Read Bedyaev, Teilhard, Dewey et al.. Mankind is moving forward. There is only progress. Evolutionism is the new religion and has permeated all levels of our thinking, scientific (appropriate for materialistiic age), social (now appropriate for modern , New Age Man), political (the same) and finally religious - the Omega Point and other such idealistic pietism.  The ontological reality of Man in Christ is becoming outdated as we are swamped by syncretic reletavism of modern Christianity - spearheaded by Vatican theologiians and some academic Orthodox.

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« Reply #196 on: April 19, 2005, 11:31:21 AM »

If each creation "day" represented an indefinite period of time, how would that make Genesis any less historically accurate?
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« Reply #197 on: April 19, 2005, 12:16:26 PM »

I don't think I agree with anyone here; at least not entirely.  Creation is beyond our meager comprehension.  I believe what the Church teaches concerning the creation.  I don't need hypothetical "science" to "prove" something inherently unprovable through the extreme machinations of creative minds concerning infinitesimally insignificant observations and I don't need hypothetical "theology" to explain or answer to these scientific observations and theories.

"Evolution", "creationism", a mix, whatever; it's unprovable and it boils down to faith.  Time is a tricky thing and we simply are not able to wrap our minds around its nature, and that's what we're really discussing here:  time and how it contains prehistory.  If we can't really understand the nature of time, something theoretical physics has demonstrated on many occasions, then how can we understand the creation? 

I don't really like the idea of over-speculating on the unknowable.  That has typically led to heresy, division and strife.  I accept what has been given to us in the Church and that is all, nothing more and nothing less. 
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« Reply #198 on: April 19, 2005, 06:15:50 PM »

Other than the lack of evidence and solid mechanism, this is the reason why I do not believe in universal common descent:
Essentialism. God created each according to its kind with a distinct nature. On the other hand, if all species are from the same ancestral stock, then all species share the same nature. If there is no distinct nature between species, and no distinction between mankind and the animal kingdom, then the distinction between God and the material world becomes blurred. What is the result of this? Pantheism, the belief that God is the material world or that the essense of nature and the essense of God are essentially the same.
A belief in universal common ancestry will inevitably lead to monism because if there is no distinction between the different animals and between animals and humans, then there is no distinction between nature and God and between mankind and God.
Furthermore, if all nature has evolved from the beginning from simple to complex, and were only one stage in this perpetual development, then one could conclude that we are evolving to become God. That is another blasphemy.
If we confuse the essential nature of humans and animals, then we will confuse the essential nature of God.

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« Reply #199 on: April 19, 2005, 10:18:01 PM »

Quote
A belief in universal common ancestry will inevitably lead to monism because if there is no distinction between the different animals and between animals and humans, then there is no distinction between nature and God and between mankind and God.

I'm having a hard time following your logic here. If A != C, and B != C, but A == B, it does not follow that A == B == C.
For that matter, there's a rather clear difference between man and animals -- we have spirits and souls.
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« Reply #200 on: April 20, 2005, 07:57:25 PM »

How is there a clear difference if we are descended from animals?
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« Reply #201 on: April 20, 2005, 08:31:21 PM »

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How is there a clear difference if we are descended from animals?

Er, I just answered that. We have spirits and souls. The fathers have never denied that we share part of our nature with the animals -- it's what we have that they don't that makes us different.

And I still don't see how us sharing part of our nature with animals means that there's no distinction between God and creation.
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« Reply #202 on: April 20, 2005, 11:40:39 PM »

According to the fathers, it is our fallen nature that shares part of our nature with the animals; not the angelic-like nature of Adam before the fall.
Furthermore, the fathers believed that Adam's flesh and soul were created at the same moment of time.
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« Reply #203 on: April 21, 2005, 12:51:11 AM »

So how does the difference between God and creation break down if man shares part of his nature with the animals?
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« Reply #204 on: June 20, 2005, 01:42:14 AM »

I checked out this book at the library:

The Genesis Question: Scientific Advances and the Accuracy of Genesis
by Hugh Ross
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1576832309/qid=1119245757/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/102-0301800-0479300?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

I thoroughly enjoy Hugh Ross and find his assessment of the Creation/Evolution debate to be sound.
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« Reply #205 on: June 20, 2005, 03:29:10 PM »

This is the first time I have viewed this thread but I wanted to say one thing.  In my humble opinion, speculating on the mystery of creation is a bit of a waste of time.  I know this might bother both you Matthew and probably others who's profession is in the palentology, archeology, anthropology, etc.  We (human beings) are here on this earth by the hand of God.  Why does it matter how this technically occurred?  God has revealed Himself to us.  He has given us all a chance to be with him through the grace of the Holy Spirit and His only Begotten Son Jesus Christ.  There are more important things to worry about than these scientific theories.  God has given us all an intellect and the wherewithall to explore these areas...however it is possible that He might not want us to spend a lot of energy on pondering on the process of His divine creation.  Again let me say that  this is just my opinion...I'm not sure that it could be supported patristically.  All I know is that I have a limited time here to try to do the right thing.  It is hard enough to try to truly love everyone as Christ commanded and to love the Lord with all my heart.  I have my work cut out for me....and I venture to say the same goes for the rest of humanity.
God bless you all,  Juliana
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« Reply #206 on: June 21, 2005, 12:28:50 AM »

The reason why I consider this topic important enough to occasionally ponder is the necessity to find a balance between what we know from Scripture and what we know from living in the physical world. Hugh Ross' books are an example of achieving that balance.
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He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
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