"If the world has a beginning, and if it has been created, enquire who gave it this beginning, and who was the Creator: or rather, in the fear that human reasonings may make you wander from the truth, Moses has anticipated enquiry by engraving in our hearts, as a seal and a safeguard, the awful name of God: 'In the beginning God created' - It is He, beneficent Nature, Goodness without measure, a worthy object of love for all beings endowed with reason, the beauty the most to be desired, the origin of all that exists, the source of life, intellectual light, impenetrable wisdom, it is He who 'in the beginning created heaven and earth.'" St. Basil the Great, The Hexaemeron quoted at http://www.orthodox.net/gleanings/creation.html
"And He is without beginning, because He is unbegotten; and He is unchangeable, because He is immortal. And he is called God [Qeos] on account of His having placed [teqeikenai] all things on security afforded by Himself; and on account of [qeein], for qeein means running, and moving, and being active, and nourishing, and foreseeing, and governing, and making all things alive. But he is Lord, because He rules over the universe; Father, because he is before all things; Fashioner and Maker, because He is creator and maker of the universe; the Highest, because of His being above all; and Almighty, because He Himself rules and embraces all. For the heights of heaven, and the depths of the abysses, and the ends of the earth, are in His hand, and there is no place of His rest. For the heavens are His work, the earth is His creation, the sea is His handiwork; man is His formation and His image; sun, moon, and stars are His elements, made for signs, and seasons, and days, and years, that they may serve and be slaves to man; and all things God has made out of things that were not into things that are, in order that through His works His greatness may be known and understood." So said Theophiuls of Antioch** in "To Autolycus" quoted athttp://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/theophilus-book1.html
"For as the soul in man is not seen, being invisible to men, but is perceived through the motion of the body, so God cannot indeed be seen by human eyes, but is beheld and perceived through His providence and works. For, in like manner, as any person, when he sees a ship on the sea rigged and in sail, and making for the harbour, will no doubt infer that there is a pilot in her who is steering her; so we must perceive that God is the governor [pilot] of the whole universe, though He be not visible to the eyes of the flesh, since He is incomprehensible. For if a man cannot look upon the sun, though it be a very small heavenly body, on account of its exceeding heat and power, how shall not a mortal man be much more unable to face the glory of God, which is unutterable? For as the pomegranate, with the rind containing it, has within it many cells and compartments which are separated by tissues, and has also many seeds dwelling in it, so the whole creation is contained by the spirit of God, and the containing spirit is along with the creation contained by the hand of God. As, therefore, the seed of the pomegranate, dwelling inside, cannot see what is outside the rind, itself being within; so neither can man, who along with the whole creation is enclosed by the hand of God, behold God. Then again, an earthly king is believed to exist, even though he be not seen by all; for he is recognised by his laws and ordinances, and authorities, and forces, and statues; and are you unwilling that God should be recognised by His works and mighty deeds? "
Creation is thus a window onto God. We say that God is love, and it is because of His love that He created. To suggest that God just made the initial big bang and sat back to watch it unfold is to deny His love. What father would it be that conceives of a child and then abandons it? Not a loving one! Likewise God didn't abandon His creation, He constantly works with His creation.
God is an active participant in the creation. Further, the relationship of a very real Adam is essential to Christianity, almost as much so as that of Jesus.
"If one is to vigorously and consistently maintains that Jesus Christ is the unique Savoir Who has brought salvation to a world in need of salvation, one obviously must know what is the nature of the need which provoked this salvation. (St. Athanasius, De Incarnatione Verbi Dei, 4) It would, indeed, seem foolish to have medical doctors trained to heal sickness if there were no such thing as sickness in the world. Likewise, a savoir who claims to save people in need of no salvation is a savoir only unto himself." http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/frjr_sin.htm
This 'sickness' then is sin. It is ancestral sin, the sin committed by Adam. "And behold, as you see, the sentence of God remains forever as an eternal chastisement...For this reason the Almighty Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, came so as to humble Himself in place of Adam." (St. Symeon the New Theologian "The First-Created Man", p44).
"The sin committed by our progenitors in paradise, with all its consequences, passed and passes from them to all their posterity. What the first people became after the Fall, such also till now are their descendants in the world. "Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image" (Genesis 5:3, KJV). Estrangement from God, the loss of grace, the distortion of God's image, the perversion and weakening of the bodily organism, which ends with death - here is Adam's sad legacy, received by each of us at our very appearance in the world. "As from an infected source there naturally flows an infected stream," teaches the Orthodox catechism, "so from an ancestor infected with sin, and hence mortal, there naturally proceeds a posterity infected with sin, and hence mortal." http://www.stjohndc.org/Homilies/9609a.htm
"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men (Romans 5:12 )." By refusing communion with God, Adam cut himself off from the Source of Life. Having separated himself from God, Adam, in a sense, starved his nature from the gifts of God. Because man was given dominion over all creation, St. Paul insists that all of creation has fallen as well.(Original Sin, p 2 as quoted on http://www.akins.org/matthew/paul.html#tthFtNtACH
"Undoubtedly, one of the most important causes of heresy is the failure to understand the exact nature of the human situation described by the Old and New Testaments, to which the historical events of the birth, teachings, death, resurrection and second coming of Christ are the only remedy. The failure to understand this automatically implies a perverted understanding of what it is that Christ did and continues to do for us, and what our subsequent relation is to Christ and neighbour within the realm of salvation. The importance of a correct definition of original sin and its consequences can never be exaggerated. Any attempt to minimize its importance or alter its significance automatically entails either a weakening or even a complete misunderstanding of the nature of the Church, sacraments and human destiny." http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/frjr_sin.htm
. Thus, it is meaningless, or worse still utterly wrong to downplay the relationships established in Genesis. It is the beginning of the story of Man, and the story of Man's sin. Without it, why would Jesus come to us?
This is not a novel approach to reading Genesis, in fact it is the allegorical approach that is novel! Countless Christian thinkers have throughout the centuries held to the literal truth...
"No on should think that the Creation of Six Days is an allegory" said St Ephraim the Syrian
St. Basil the Great in his Hexatemeron says "Therefore, let it be understood as it has been written."
St.Macarius the Great of Egypt in commenting on Genesis 3:24 said "This is a passage which many of us might have expected to have only a mystical meaning, but this great seer of Divine things assures us that is is also true "just as it is written" for those capable of seeing it." (pp85-6 Seraphim Rose "Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision)
*Properly speaking, the phrase ``original sin'' is not generally used by Eastern Fathers or contemporary Orthodox theologians. This phrase was introduced by St. Augustine in his polemics against Pelagians. The phrase continued to be used, primarily in the west, to denote the idea of ``original guilt.''
(Eastern theologians have long preferred the phrase "ancestral sin,'' which connotes the sin of our first ancestor, Adam. The term was used to denote "the sin of Adam, which was transmitted to his descendants and weighs upon them" or "sin-sickness.'' http://www.akins.org/matthew/paul.html
Further... "With regard to original sin, the difference between Orthodox Christianity and the West may be outlined as follows:
In the Orthodox Faith, the term "original sin" refers to the "first" sin of Adam and Eve. As a result of this sin, humanity bears the "consequences" of sin, the chief of which is death. Here the word "original" may be seen as synonymous with "first." Hence, the "original sin" refers to the "first sin" in much the same way as "original chair" refers to the "first chair."
In the West, humanity likewise bears the "consequences" of the "original sin" of Adam and Eve. However, the West also understands that humanity is likewise "guilty" of the sin of Adam and Eve. The term "Original Sin" here refers to the condition into which humanity is born, a condition in which guilt as well as consequence is involved.
In the Orthodox Christian understanding, while humanity does bear the consequences of the original, or first, sin, humanity does not bear the personal guilt associated with this sin. Adam and Eve are guilty of their wilful action; we bear the consequences, chief of which is death.http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Q...ginal-Sin.html
Thus the creation story, and that of the first real and actual man, Adam is fundamental to the Christian story. This story has been undermined by many Chrisitans.
"Liberal Protestantism can be fairly simply identified. It is a tendency which regards human reason as paramount and which begins its theologising from the agenda of the secular world. It thus appears as continual impulse to modernize the faith, to abandon the confines of the historic creeds, and to accommodate the thought and practices of the churches to those of the secular world...In many ways, liberal Protestantism was (an)... attempt to create an intellectually supportable version of Christianity, in the face of massive divisions within the body of those who claimed to worship the same God." Schaeffer, F, "Dancing Alone: The Quest for Orthodox Faith in the Age of False Religion", pp193-4.
"In short, the triumph of Darwinism implied the death of God an set the stage for replacing Biblical religion with a new faith based on evolutionary naturalism. That new faith would become the basis not just of science but also of government, law and morality. It would be the established religious philosophy of modernity." (Fr. Seraphim Rose, "Genesis, Creation and Early Man", p17)
"Today, confused and well-meaning Protestants of all denominational persuasions, having little or no historic foundation at all, take Scripture - as their only source of spiritual authority... Each individual becomes his or her own "ecumenical council," "bishop" and "priest." Each is a law unto himself as he reads the Bible and claims, "God is speaking to me."" Schaeffer, F, "Dancing Alone: The Quest for Orthodox Faith in the Age of False Religion", p195
But what of science, and man's capacity to summount all with the power of his mind?
"It is not perhaps without good reason that we attribute to simple-mindedness a readiness to believe anything and to ignorance the readiness to be convinced, for I think I was once taught hat a belief is like an impression stamped on our soul: the softer and less resisting the soul, the easier it is to print anything on it...On the other hand there is a silly arrogance in continuing to disdain something and to condemn it as false just because it seems unlikely to us. That is a common vice among those who think their capacities are above the ordinary".
"That it is madness to judge the true and the false from our own capacities", Michel de Montaigne (1993), "The Essays: A Selection", Penguin Classics, p74.
Science is based on the understanding of scientists who are flawed humans.
Science is, for the most part about hypothesis, experiment and observation. If experiments can be repeated with the same observations, such events usually pass into the realm of scientific fact.
Once, there was a belief in spontaneous generation; that life would instantaneously arise from non-life, usually decaying biotic matter. This belief existed because people could see maggots ?form? on rotting meat. The first serious attack on the idea of spontaneous generation was made in 1668 the Italian physician Francesco Redi. Up till that time, it was widely believed that maggots arose spontaneously in rotting meat. Redi believed that maggots developed from eggs laid by flies. To test his hypothesis, he set out meat in a variety of flasks, some open to the air, some sealed completely, and others covered with gauze. As he had expected, maggots appeared only in the open flasks in which the flies could reach the meat and lay their eggs.
It was through hypothesis, experimentation and then observation that Redi showed spontaneous generation did not occur. But for the Darwinist, we must now reverse this ideal. NOW we must believe that life spontaneously developed from non-life, and all without benefit of observation. Worse still, at least with old theories of spontaneous generation life was believed to have come from organic material, now we are to believe that life came from non-organic material.
How too, does a theory of natural selection or survival of the fittest account for the origins of life? What 'need' was there for a Carbon molecule to bind with another molecule, as Carbon does not need to 'survive' as it's not even alive... in fact it exists perfectly well by itself! What was the mechanism then behind the origins of life (in Darwinist terms)?*
Science has thrown out its own methods; it replaces experiment in order to oust God.
Here is a more easily understood and insidious use of science for socio-political ends. In the early 1970s a group of radical feminists went so far as you science to suggest that it was physically impossible for a woman to achieve sexual orgasm whilst having penetrative sex. Even if the woman experienced an orgasm, she was said to be deceiving her self.... "That even in a woman?s sexuality, there is deceit on the part of men, and complacency on the part of some women" in Koedt, A. "The Myth of Vaginal Orgasm." in Koedt, A. & Levine, E. & Rapone, A., (eds.). (1973). "Radical Feminism". Quadrangle Books, New York, p204** They had a vast amount of scientific data to back them up, including physiology that showed that position of the clitoris made it impossible for it to be stimulated by penetrative sex.
Science is only as 'objective' as scientists will allow.
"If you believe that man came up from savagery, you will interpret all past history in those terms. But according to Orthodoxy, man fell from Paradise. In evolutionary philosophy there is no room for a supernatural state of Adam. Thos who want to keep both Christianity and evolutionism, therefore, are forced to stick an artificial Paradise onto an ape-like creature. These are obviously two different systems which cannot be mixed."
Fr. Seraphim Rose, "Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision", pp324-5
"The most important question which is raised for Orthodox theology by the modern theory of evolution is the nature of man, and in particular the nature of the first-created man Adam." (Ibid, p46)
But, I repeat it can't be made more clear than...
"No one should think that the Creation of Six Days is allegory..." St. Ephraim the Syrian (quoted in Ibid p86).
*People will say abiogenesis has nothing to do with evolution should note:
Darwin himself hypothesised a 'primordial soup'
Here, for your information...
Dawkins, Richard. 1996. "Climbing mount improbable." W.W. Norton, New York. pp. 282-283. Where he deals with this issue. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html
is the web-site of a group who have as their banner "Exploring the Creation/Evolution controversy"
Obviously these people include it in an over-arching godless theory.
Kearnon, P. Man-Hating.
in Koedt, A. & Levine, E. & Rapone, A., (eds.). (1973). Radical Feminism. Quadrangle Books, New York.
"Another giant of that era, St. John Chrysostom, observed that, ?To say that creation sprang from pre-existent matter, and not to acknowledge the Creator who created everything out of nothing ? this is a mark of the lowest form of stupidity.? From these quotations we see that the notion that the universe came into existence through some process of self-generation,without the conscious act of an intelligent Creator, required refutation even then, in what we now regard as an Age of Faith, though in those centuries, and for many thereafter, non-believers made up an insignificant minority."http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/divine_evidence_thornton.htm
Obviously Orthodoxy disagrees with you. You are heterodox, after-all.
Unless you are being legalistic in your own interpretations - that there is no dogmatic ruling on the issue. You are correct. I can find one Orthodox site that says:
" Eastern Orthodox theology finds not real argument with evolution up to the creation of man. And even in that, there is a possibility of accepting some of what has been discovered and continues to be discovered by science. For example, Moses, the author of the Book of Genesis, is writing to illiterate people who are asking some sobering questions while they are wandering all over the Sinai desert for some forty years. He uses a picture language and frames of reference with which they can identify. Nonetheless, the language does not take away from the meaning." Fr. George Nicozisinhttp://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/dogmatics/nicozisin_creationism.htm
It is clear from the number of sources I cited by sheer weight and the greatness of them, that Orthodox should reject evolution.
Here is what some more learned contemporaries say..
"In short, then, Orthodoxy absolutely affirms that God is the Creator and Author of all things, that He is actively engaged with His creation, and that He desires to restore His creation to full communion with Himself through the saving death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This, unlike Darwinism, is not a matter of ideology but, rather, a matter of theology. "Fr. John Matusiak at http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Q-and-A_OLD/Evolution-and-Orthodoxy.html
see also Fr. Seraphim Rose athttp://www.holy-transfiguration.org/library_en/sc_e_develo.html
and Gennadiy Kalyabin athttp://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/mathematic.htm