Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy

Do you believe that the acount of genesis in the Old testament should be taken literally?

  • Yes

    Votes: 73 16.8%
  • No

    Votes: 163 37.6%
  • both metaphorically and literally

    Votes: 198 45.6%

  • Total voters
    434

minasoliman

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Dear Gebre,

You cannot get any clearer than what St. Athanasius says in these words.  Man in order to attain immortality left the natural world of death and went to the Paradise of Joy in communion with God.  Man was removed from the natural world, that world which contains natural death, and He decided to give us something all other material creation does not have, and in doing so, we were not in the world, but as soon as we sinned, we left Paradise and joined the rest of the world.

This is exactly what St. Athanasius teaches.  Your interpretation is simply a stretch, not an accurate straightforward interpretation.  Death did indeed exist, just that God wanted it to be avoided within humanity, in which humanity decided to follow the natural inclinations of the world than his own spiritual inclination of the Image.

To say that it's unfair for God to have created physical death is just as unfair as not giving canines His own Image too.
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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minasoliman said:
Dear Gebre,

You cannot get any clearer than what St. Athanasius says in these words.  Man in order to attain immortality left the natural world of death and went to the Paradise of Joy in communion with God.  Man was removed from the natural world, that world which contains natural death, and He decided to give us something all other material creation does not have, and in doing so, we were not in the world, but as soon as we sinned, we left Paradise and joined the rest of the world.

This is exactly what St. Athanasius teaches.  Your interpretation is simply a stretch, not an accurate straightforward interpretation.  Death did indeed exist, just that God wanted it to be avoided within humanity, in which humanity decided to follow the natural inclinations of the world than his own spiritual inclination of the Image.

To say that it's unfair for God to have created physical death is just as unfair as not giving canines His own Image too.

Dear Mina,

How does death occur? Consider that question. Death is the result of disease, imperfection, and deficiency. Therefore, if death was natural prior to the Fall, we would have to conclude that God created imperfection. But that can't be. Disease, imperfection, and deficiency came about through sin, not through the hand of God.

As I said previously, I disagree with your interpretation of St. Athanasius's words. But even if you are correct in your interpretation of them, that does not mean that St. Athanasius was correct. The Fathers were not infallible in everything they said. But we do know that the Early Fathers universally believed in the literal creation of Adam and Eve. So, it is more than a stretch to attempt to use St. Athanasius's words in support of theistic evolution.


Selam
 

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
He also makes it clear that the "natural law of death" is the consequential law of the effects of sin.
I don't see where St. Athanasius says this. Of course, for Adam, death was a consequence of sin, but where does the Saint say that this was true for other organisms?

I think it is a gross stretch to use the words of St. Athanasius to support the idea of theistic evolution.
I doubt that the Saint was even aware of the possibility of evolution. But what the Saint does suggest, is that physical death, was a part of the cosmic pattern, before Adam's appearance.
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Jetavan said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
He also makes it clear that the "natural law of death" is the consequential law of the effects of sin.
I don't see where St. Athanasius says this. Of course, for Adam, death was a consequence of sin, but where does the Saint say that this was true for other organisms?

I think it is a gross stretch to use the words of St. Athanasius to support the idea of theistic evolution.
I doubt that the Saint was even aware of the possibility of evolution. But what the Saint does suggest, is that physical death, was a part of the cosmic pattern, before Adam's appearance.

I don't think St. Athanasius is suggesting that at all, for to do so he would have to be suggesting that disease, imperfection, and deficiency came from the hand of God rather than through the hands of Adam and Eve.


Selam
 

minasoliman

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Well, we're in quite a dilemma Gebre.  Because you believe in something personally, you either force your interpretation on St. Athanasius or you call St. Athanasius wrong.

I'm not saying whether St. Athanasius is right or wrong, but just giving you the alternative view, where many Church fathers, like St. Athanasius, believed that when death was a result of sin, it was a result of Adam sinning and Adam being hurt.  Animals do not sin.  Animals simply do what their instincts guide them to do.  We have instincts, but we also have a spirit, which guide us to transcend our instincts, which is why death for us is a tragedy, whereas death for the rest of the animal world is natural.

I'm not saying St. Athanasius believed in evolution.  But the idea that death didn't exist before Adam's fall is not shared by all Church fathers.  If you want to believe St. Athanasius is wrong, then that is your opinion and there's no point in debating this any further.

In addition, you assumption that death and disease as imperfection for the whole animal kingdom is just an assumption.  I believe death and disease is a human problem, whereas although part of a natural world, we as humans strive to transcend nature.  But death and disease perhaps God intended it as perfect for the natural world, for nature to take its course, until the General Resurrection, and sometimes we even thank God for death and disease to teach us to combat sin in a life of adversity.
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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minasoliman said:
Well, we're in quite a dilemma Gebre.  Because you believe in something personally, you either force your interpretation on St. Athanasius or you call St. Athanasius wrong.

I'm not saying whether St. Athanasius is right or wrong, but just giving you the alternative view, where many Church fathers, like St. Athanasius, believed that when death was a result of sin, it was a result of Adam sinning and Adam being hurt.  Animals do not sin.  Animals simply do what their instincts guide them to do.  We have instincts, but we also have a spirit, which guide us to transcend our instincts, which is why death for us is a tragedy, whereas death for the rest of the animal world is natural.

I'm not saying St. Athanasius believed in evolution.  But the idea that death didn't exist before Adam's fall is not shared by all Church fathers.  If you want to believe St. Athanasius is wrong, then that is your opinion and there's no point in debating this any further.

In addition, you assumption that death and disease as imperfection for the whole animal kingdom is just an assumption.  I believe death and disease is a human problem, whereas although part of a natural world, we as humans strive to transcend nature.  But death and disease perhaps God intended it as perfect for the natural world, for nature to take its course, until the General Resurrection, and sometimes we even thank God for death and disease to teach us to combat sin in a life of adversity.
We do indeed have a different view of the matter. You see the natural Creation prior to the Fall as full of disease and death, a natural environment which man must transcend. I believe the natural Creation prior to the Fall was absent of disease, imperfection, deficiency, and death, and thus a natural paradise to which man can be restored through theosis.

Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.


Selam
 

Iconodule

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Gebre, I have to agree that your interpretation is a bit of a stretch for St. Athanasius. The saint is simply taking an idea found in classical philosophy (such as Plato's Timaeus) that any creature must be impermanent by nature- not by any fault of its own, but by the sheer fact that it has a temporal beginning and must therefore have a temporal end. On the other hand, I don't know if there is necessarily a sharp contradiction between this and those fathers who teach that there was no animal death before the Fall. Why, after, did man's sin bring death to the whole world? It was because of man's role as priest and king of creation. The way man went, the rest of creation went. As God gave man the gift of immortality, perhaps man could share this gift with the rest of creation, and lift it above the natural law of death. These are just my personal thoughts.
 

ytterbiumanalyst

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.
 

Heorhij

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
Alveus Lacuna said:
Jetavan said:
Jesus died a physical death, but Jesus did not die a Spiritual Death. Thus, Jesus resurrected a physical resurrection, which means that we will also be resurrected physically. But, whether we will also be resurrected from a Spiritual Death, depends upon our synergy with God.
So when we are resurrected from the dead, death in the material world will continue, and perhaps even the deified man will still feed upon the flesh of creatures?
No. When we are resurrected, we shall be like this thread: We shall never die, but we shall continue on, no matter how old, repetitive, and tedious we become.
BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
 

Demetrios G.

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.
I hope we aren't denying that a fall occurred?
 

PeterTheAleut

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Demetrios G. said:
ytterbiumanalyst said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.
I hope we aren't denying that a fall occurred?
No, we're not.  A fall did occur.  However, some will say that this fall was merely the fall of man, whom God created to enjoy a life higher than that of the rest of the material creation, into the same law of entropy and death that already ruled the world.
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.
of course sin doesnt create, but it corrupts. the Fathers are clear on this.
 

Demetrios G.

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PeterTheAleut said:
Demetrios G. said:
ytterbiumanalyst said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.
I hope we aren't denying that a fall occurred?
No, we're not.  A fall did occur.  However, some will say that this fall was merely the fall of man, whom God created to enjoy a life higher than that of the rest of the material creation, into the same law of entropy and death that already ruled the world.
Well than, if our state was that of what it use to be. Than nothing had changed at all.  ;)
 

PeterTheAleut

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Demetrios G. said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Demetrios G. said:
ytterbiumanalyst said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.
I hope we aren't denying that a fall occurred?
No, we're not.  A fall did occur.  However, some will say that this fall was merely the fall of man, whom God created to enjoy a life higher than that of the rest of the material creation, into the same law of entropy and death that already ruled the world.
Well than, if our state was that of what it use to be. Than nothing had changed at all.  ;)
What do you mean?
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin.

St. Paul says quite the opposite:

"The creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now." [Romans 8:20-22]

In writng about "Fallen Creation," Father John Romanides says:

"St. Paul strongly affirms the belief that all things created by God are good.[ 3 ] Yet, at the same time, he insists on the fact that not only man,[ 4 ] but also all of creation has fallen.[ 5 ] Both man and creation are awaiting the final redemption. [ 6 ] Thus, in spite of the fact that all things created by God are good, the devil has temporarily [ 7 ] become the "god of this age."[ 8 ] A basic presupposition of St. Paul's thought is that althought the world was created by God and as such is good, yet now there rules in it the power of Satan. The devil, however, is by no means absolute, since God has never abandoned His creation.[ 9 ]

Thus, according to St. Paul, creation as it is is not what God intended it to be--"For the creature was made subject to vanity...by reason of him who hath subjected the same."[ 10 ] Therefore, evil can exist, at least temporarily, as a parasitic element alongside and inside of that which God created originally good. A good example of this is one who would do the Good according to the "inner man," but finds it impossible because of the indwelling power of sin in the flesh.[ 11 ] Although created good and still maintained and governed by God, creation as it is is still far from being normal or natural, if by "normal" we understand nature according to the original and final destiny of creation. governing this age, in spite of the fact that God Himself is still sustaining creation and creating for Himself a remnant,[12 ] is the devil himself."



Selam
 

EofK

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jckstraw72 said:
ytterbiumanalyst said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.
of course sin doesnt create, but it corrupts. the Fathers are clear on this.
Or, in other words, it affects us, but it doesn't effect us.
 

Demetrios G.

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PeterTheAleut said:
Demetrios G. said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Demetrios G. said:
ytterbiumanalyst said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.
I hope we aren't denying that a fall occurred?
No, we're not.  A fall did occur.  However, some will say that this fall was merely the fall of man, whom God created to enjoy a life higher than that of the rest of the material creation, into the same law of entropy and death that already ruled the world.
Well than, if our state was that of what it use to be. Than nothing had changed at all.  ;)
What do you mean?
What you are saying is that Adams fall is a fall from what could have bin a risen state depending on Adam. That isn't a fall. It's a failure to achieve. Now if Adam was in a state between corruption and incorruptibly before he fell. He would be the decision maker rather than an underachiever. And if we view the falls affects on all of creation throughout time and space in the same way as Christ effectively saved Adam and all those that can before him. The act can be seen as cosmic and reached into time and space. Now we have a real fall. ;)
  We don't know what things could have look like before the fall. All we know is that the fall affected it just as it affected the aftermath. What evolution and science is looking at could just be the affects of the fall. If Adam had chosen wiser. The past would have look different than the fallen state that creation is in now.
 

PeterTheAleut

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Demetrios G. said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Demetrios G. said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Demetrios G. said:
ytterbiumanalyst said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Animals do not sin, but they are effected by the Fall just as the entire creation is effected by it. Animals suffer and feel pain. Death for them does not feel "natural," any more than it feels "natural" for human beings. It is quite unnatural, the unfortunate fate of man's sin that brought havoc and misery to the entire creation.
No, neither animals specifically nor creation as a whole were effected by sin. They were effected by God at the beginning. Sin does not have power to create anything.
I hope we aren't denying that a fall occurred?
No, we're not.  A fall did occur.  However, some will say that this fall was merely the fall of man, whom God created to enjoy a life higher than that of the rest of the material creation, into the same law of entropy and death that already ruled the world.
Well than, if our state was that of what it use to be. Than nothing had changed at all.  ;)
What do you mean?
What you are saying is that Adams fall is a fall from what could have bin a risen state depending on Adam.
No, that's not what I'm saying, nor does it answer my question.  I asked you to tell me what you mean, not tell me what (you think) I mean. ;)

Demetrios G. said:
That isn't a fall. It's a failure to achieve. Now if Adam was in a state between corruption and incorruptibly before he fell. He would be the decision maker rather than an underachiever. And if we view the falls affects on all of creation throughout time and space in the same way as Christ effectively saved Adam and all those that can before him. The act can be seen as cosmic and reached into time and space. Now we have a real fall. ;)
Without a proper understanding of what I said, I'm not sure your reasoning applies.

Demetrios G. said:
We don't know what things could have look like before the fall. All we know is that the fall affected it just as it affected the aftermath. What evolution and science is looking at could just be the affects of the fall. If Adam had chosen wiser. The past would have look different than the fallen state that creation is in now.
And how do we know this?
 
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