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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jckstraw72 said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
ok - wait .... youre attributing dating methods to God, but the Fathers who wrote on Genesis were just writing personal opinions?! of course all of creation speaks of God ... but God directly speaks to us in the Church ...
If a Church father believed that the earth was flat (and there have been many), and evidence shows otherwise, I think it's okay to say the Church fathers weren't correct on their view of the world.  The Church fathers were infallible with spirituality, not science.  I think God speaks to what matters the most.  What's more important, teaching how the GI system absorbs nutrients, or feeding the poor?
 

Rufus

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jckstraw72 said:
Jetavan said:
Nigula Qian Zishi said:
The Church year will soon be 7519, showing exactly when orthodox Christianity teaches the beginning of creation was.
By "the beginning of creation", do you mean when God spoke "Let there be light"?
you can read about it here http://www.orthodoxwiki.org/Byzantine_Creation_Era
How did they know the world was created on September 1st?
 

nstanosheck

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Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
No, what is sad is that people believe unproven theories over the Fathers, the Bible, and what the Church has always historically taught. Plenty of serious award-winning scientists are creationists and they have much more proof than any of the amateurs here who want to go with the flow of the World.
 

minasoliman

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Nigula Qian Zishi said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
No, what is sad is that people believe unproven theories over the Fathers, the Bible, and what the Church has always historically taught. Plenty of serious award-winning scientists are creationists and they have much more proof than any of the amateurs here who want to go with the flow of the World.
Who are these award-winning creationists you speak of?  Even the ID movement confess an old earth.
 

minasoliman

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Rufus said:
jckstraw72 said:
Jetavan said:
Nigula Qian Zishi said:
The Church year will soon be 7519, showing exactly when orthodox Christianity teaches the beginning of creation was.
By "the beginning of creation", do you mean when God spoke "Let there be light"?
you can read about it here http://www.orthodoxwiki.org/Byzantine_Creation_Era
How did they know the world was created on September 1st?
Or March 25th?  It looks like the EO's here contradict the Church fathers with the September 1 heresy.
 

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Nigula Qian Zishi said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
Plenty of serious award-winning scientists are creationists....
Examples?
 

Rufus

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Jetavan said:
Nigula Qian Zishi said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
Plenty of serious award-winning scientists are creationists....
Examples?
Yes. Who?
 

Ortho_cat

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Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
I would also be willing to bet that this is largely a 'western' Orthodox phenomena as well...
 

jckstraw72

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Ortho_cat said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
I would also be willing to bet that this is largely a 'western' Orthodox phenomena as well...
St. John of Kronstadt, St. Barsanuphius of Optina, St. Nektarios, St. Justin Popovich, Elder Paisios, and Fr. George Calciu were all against the theory of evolution. which one of them is "western"?
 

jckstraw72

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minasoliman said:
jckstraw72 said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
ok - wait .... youre attributing dating methods to God, but the Fathers who wrote on Genesis were just writing personal opinions?! of course all of creation speaks of God ... but God directly speaks to us in the Church ...
If a Church father believed that the earth was flat (and there have been many), and evidence shows otherwise, I think it's okay to say the Church fathers weren't correct on their view of the world.  The Church fathers were infallible with spirituality, not science.  I think God speaks to what matters the most.  What's more important, teaching how the GI system absorbs nutrients, or feeding the poor?
your critique only works if the Fathers were intending to provide us with science, rather than divinely revealed truths. however, the first homily of St. Basil's Hexameron makes it quite clear what his intent is http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf208.viii.ii.html. thus your position would have to argue that not only is St. Basil wrong about science, but he can't even figure out what his true intent is!

the question of death belongs to theology, not science. no matter how many times people on this board try to insist that the interpretation of Genesis is a matter for science, it will in actuality remain a matter of theology.
 

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Ortho_cat said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
I would also be willing to bet that this is largely a 'western' Orthodox phenomena as well...
No more Western than adopting your epistemology from the West European "Enlightenment".

Can we stop using "Western" as a handy label for everything we don't agree with?
 

jckstraw72

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Sleeper said:
Indeed Heorhij, it is very sad.  The Baptist church I grew up in was extremely literal in its take on creationism and eventually it was just embarrassing. I don't understand why so many Christians think they need to turn their brains off.

It's quite clear to me that the Fathers were working within the framework they had at they time, as any human person would.  Further scientific discoveries do not negate the truth of what they taught.  It would be one thing if there were some extremely important truth that was totally riding on a young earth, the denial of which would be detrimental to our Faith and a shunning of the Church, but as far as I'm aware, no such thing exists.

The Fathers communicate to us spiritual truth, the truth of which does not necessitate the scientific framework they had available to them.
the most important question here is not the age of the earth. the important questions are anthropology, and most importantly (in my opinion), what is the origin of death?
 

jckstraw72

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i think its very odd that people think they can completely change the beginning of a story, and assume that the rest of the story will remain exactly the same, as if the beginning has no implications for everything that flows from it .... makes me think of the movie Butterfly Effect -- changing the past will change everything after it.
 

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Iconodule said:
Ortho_cat said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
I would also be willing to bet that this is largely a 'western' Orthodox phenomena as well...
No more Western than adopting your epistemology from the West European "Enlightenment".

Can we stop using "Western" as a handy label for everything we don't agree with?
That response is so western...
 

jckstraw72

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Iconodule said:
Ortho_cat said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
I would also be willing to bet that this is largely a 'western' Orthodox phenomena as well...
No more Western than adopting your epistemology from the West European "Enlightenment".

Can we stop using "Western" as a handy label for everything we don't agree with?
great post! but come on, we both know they wont even give it a second thought though ...
 

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jckstraw72 said:
St. John of Kronstadt, St. Barsanuphius of Optina, St. Nektarios, St. Justin Popovich, Elder Paisios, and Fr. George Calciu were all against the theory of evolution. which one of them is "western"?
Do you have the larger contexts for these quotes? For instance, you've posted this quote from Elder Paisios. I don't know if Fr. Seraphim Rose has accurately quoted Elder Paisios, but here goes:

Elder Paisios: "...And if one thinks that from a human being, the Most Holy Theotokos, Christ was born! Then what we are saying is that a monkey was an ancestor of Christ? What blasphemy!!" --Elder Paisios of Mount Athos --- from the forthcoming updated Genesis, Creation, and Early Man

I would like to know the larger context of Elder Paisios' comment
 

minasoliman

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jckstraw72 said:
minasoliman said:
jckstraw72 said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
ok - wait .... youre attributing dating methods to God, but the Fathers who wrote on Genesis were just writing personal opinions?! of course all of creation speaks of God ... but God directly speaks to us in the Church ...
If a Church father believed that the earth was flat (and there have been many), and evidence shows otherwise, I think it's okay to say the Church fathers weren't correct on their view of the world.  The Church fathers were infallible with spirituality, not science.  I think God speaks to what matters the most.  What's more important, teaching how the GI system absorbs nutrients, or feeding the poor?
your critique only works if the Fathers were intending to provide us with science, rather than divinely revealed truths. however, the first homily of St. Basil's Hexameron makes it quite clear what his intent is http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf208.viii.ii.html. thus your position would have to argue that not only is St. Basil wrong about science, but he can't even figure out what his true intent is!

the question of death belongs to theology, not science. no matter how many times people on this board try to insist that the interpretation of Genesis is a matter for science, it will in actuality remain a matter of theology.
At that time, science was studied more by speculation than by actual scientific observations.  They used math to confirm their speculations (sounds very similar to what Hawkings is doing today).  The math works, therefore it must be true for them.  However, as we have seen later on, the math works for other explanations as well.  St. Basil is doing nothing wrong.  He's using the science of his day and says that God was the one who created the world in that manner.  Look at this:

Do not then imagine, O man! that the visible world is without a beginning; and because the celestial bodies move in a circular course, and it is difficult for our senses to define the point where the circle begins, do not believe that bodies impelled by a circular movement are, from their nature, without a beginning.  Without doubt the circle (I mean the plane figure described by a single line) is beyond our perception, and it is impossible for us to find out where it begins or where it ends; but we ought not on this account to believe it to be without a beginning.
He concedes the circular motions of the "celestial bodies."  He also concedes the mystery of the geometric shape of the circle, but he refutes any idea that creation is eternal because of the shape.  And notice what exactly the science of his day was.  He believed as was popularly believed by most serious scientists, that the Earth is the center of the universe, and that the "celestial bodies" (sun, moon, stars, planets) revolve around it in circular motion (planets moving using circle within a circle).  Today, this science has now been refuted, but the idea St. Basil is conveying is still valid (unless you want to believe that the sun still revolves around us).  God created, and to take God out of creation is vanity.  I don't see anything wrong with that in light of evolution, and in fact, I fully agree with St. Basil with this, but I disagree with his Aristotelian science.
 

minasoliman

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Here are some more interesting quotes from the Church fathers.  St. Athanasius believed that the Sun moves and the Sun pulls with it the moon and the stars to help their orbit around the Earth.  He believed that whole earth floats on top of the waters, unmoveable, and is the center of the universe.  He also seems to believe that water and clouds are of different natures, not the same:

St. Athanasius' [i]Contra Gentes: Part 1--[url=http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf204.vi.ii.i.xxvii.html]Chapter 27[/url][/i] said:
But the proof of all this is not obscure, but is clear enough in all conscience to those the eyes of whose understanding are not wholly disabled. For if a man take the parts of Creation separately, and consider each by itself,—as for example the sun by itself alone, and the moon apart, and again earth and air, and heat and cold, and the essence of wet and of dry, separating them from their mutual conjunction,—he will certainly find that not one is sufficient for itself but all are in need of one another’s assistance, and subsist by their mutual help. For the Sun is carried round along with, and is contained in, the whole heaven, and can never go beyond his own orbit, while the moon and other stars testify to the assistance given them by the Sun: while the earth again evidently does not yield her crops without rains, which in their turn would not descend to earth without the assistance of the clouds; but not even would the clouds ever appear of themselves and subsist, without the air. And the air is warmed by the upper air, but illuminated and made bright by the sun, not by itself. 6. And wells, again, and rivers will never exist without the earth; but the earth is not supported upon itself, but is set upon the realm of the waters, while this again is kept in its place, being bound fast at the centre of the universe. And the sea, and the great ocean that flows outside round the whole earth, is moved and borne by winds wherever the force of the winds dashes it. And the winds in their turn originate, not in themselves, but according to those who have written on the subject, in the air, from the burning heat and high temperature of the upper as compared with the lower air, and blow everywhere through the latter. 7. For as to the four elements of which the nature of bodies is composed, heat, that is, and cold, wet and dry, who is so perverted in his understanding as not to know that these things exist indeed in combination, but if separated and taken alone they tend to destroy even one another according to the prevailing power of the more abundant element? For heat is destroyed by cold if it be present in greater quantity, and cold again is put away by the power of heat, and what is dry, again, is moistened by wet, and the latter dried by the former.
St. Athanasius' [i]Contra Gentes: Part 3--[url=http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf204.vi.ii.i.xxvii.html]Chapter 36[/url][/i] said:
Who that sees the clouds supported in air, and the weight of the waters bound up in the clouds, can but perceive Him that binds them up and has ordered these things so? Or who that sees the earth, heaviest of all things by nature, fixed upon the waters, and remaining unmoved upon what is by nature mobile, will fail to understand that there is One that has made and ordered it, even God? Who that sees the earth bringing forth fruits in due season, and the rains from heaven, and the flow of rivers, and springing up of wells, and the birth of animals from unlike parents, and that these things take place not at all times but at determinate seasons,—and in general, among things mutually unlike and contrary, the balanced and uniform order to which they conform,—can resist the inference that there is one Power which orders and administers them, ordaining things well as it thinks fit? 4. For left to themselves they could not subsist or ever be able to appear, on account of their mutual contrariety of nature. For water is by nature heavy, and tends to flow downwards, while the clouds are light and belong to the class of things which tend to soar and mount upwards. And yet we see water, heavy as it is, borne aloft in the clouds. And again, earth is very heavy, while water on the other hand is relatively light; and yet the heavier is supported upon the lighter, and the earth does not sink, but remains immoveable. And male and female are not the same, while yet they unite in one, and the result is the generation from both of an animal like them. And to cut the matter short, cold is opposite to heat, and wet fights with dry, and yet they come together and are not at variance, but they agree, and produce as their result a single body, and the birth of everything.
St. John Chrysostom believed earth floats on water, the sun and clouds occupy the same sky and even touch each other, and other interesting things that will be explained later:

St. John Chrysostom's [i]Homily IX on the Statues to the People of Antioch--[url=http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf109.xix.xi.html#fna_xix.xi-p30.1]7[/url][/i] said:
But I have yet somewhat more to say on this head. For not only, indeed, does the magnitude and beauty of the creation, but also the very manner of it, display a God who is the artificer of the universe. For since we were not present at the beginning, whilst he was engaged in the work of forming and creating all things; nor had we been present, could we have known how they came into being, the power that disposed them being invisible; He hath made the mode of this creation to become our best teacher, by compounding all things in a manner which transcends the course of nature.
Up to this point, St. John Chrysostom advocates the observation of nature as our best teacher of what nature entails.  This is good and I agree (as all scientists agree, they all use nature as their teacher), but also his intention is to use Scripturally that nature is what God inspired, which when judging by today's standards and observations, his perceptions were not correct.  Although valid in his days, his observations are invalid today.  And so he continues to prove his point:

St. John Chrysostom's [i]Homily IX on the Statues to the People of Antioch--[url=http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf109.xix.xi.html#fna_xix.xi-p30.1]7-8[/url][/i] said:
Perhaps what I have said, is not sufficiently clear. Therefore it is necessary that I should again repeat it in a clearer manner. All men, then, must admit that it is the course of nature for water to be supported on the earth, and not the earth on the waters. For the earth being a certain dense, hard, unyielding, and solid substance, is easily able to support the nature of water; but the water, which is fluid, and rare, and soft, and diffusive, and giving way to all it meets with, must be unable to support any solid body, though it were of the lightest kind. Often indeed when a small pebble fails upon it, it yields, and makes way, and sends it down to the bottom. When therefore thou beholdest not a small pebble, but the whole earth borne upon the waters, and not submerged, admire the power of Him who wrought these marvellous things in a supernatural manner! And whence does this appear, that the earth is borne upon the waters? The prophet declares this when he says, “He hath founded it upon the seas, and prepared it upon the floods.” And again: “To him who hath founded the earth upon the waters.” What sayest thou? The water is not able to support a small pebble on its surface, and yet bears up the earth, great as it is; and mountains, and hills, and cities, and plants, and men, and brutes; and it is not submerged! What do I say? Is not submerged? How comes it to pass, that since the water has been in close contact with it below, during so long a period, it has not been dissolved, and the whole of it become mud? For the substance of wood, when soaked in water but a little time, is rotted and dissolved; and why do I say of wood? What can be firmer than iron? yet often this is softened, when it remains a long time in water; and well it may. For it derives its substance from the earth. Therefore many run-away servants, when they make their escape, dragging their shackles and chains along with them, go to brooks of water, and thrust their shackled feet therein, and after making the iron softer by this means, they easily break it by striking it with a stone. Iron, forsooth, is softened, and wood is rotted, and stones are worn away by the nature of water; yet so great a mass as the earth hath remained such a length of time lying upon the waters, without being either submerged, or dissolved, and destroyed!

And who is there that must not feel astonished and amazed at these things; and confidently pronounce that they are not the works of nature, but of that Providence which is above nature? Therefore one speaks thus: “Who hangeth the earth upon nothing.” And another observes, “In His hands are the corners of the earth.” And again: “He hath laid the foundation of it upon the seas.” And these declarations, though they seem contrary to one another, have yet an entire agreement. For he that said, “He hath laid the foundation of it upon the seas,” meant the same thing as he did who declared, “He hath hung it upon nothing.” For its standing upon the waters is just the same thing as hanging upon nothing. Where then is it suspended and placed? Hear the same one saying, “In His hands are the corners of the earth.” Not that God hath hands, but that thou mayest know that His power it is, providing for all things which holds together and supports the body of the earth! But if thou believest not what I now say, believe what thou beholdest! for even in another element it is possible to find this admirable workmanship. For it is the nature of fire to tend upwards, and to be always mounting aloft; and although you force and constrain it never so much, it cannot submit to have its course directed downwards. For often, when we are carrying a lighted torch, although we incline its head downwards, we cannot compel the force of the flame to direct itself to the ground; but still it turns upward, and passes from below toward that which is above. But with respect to the sun, God hath made it quite the contrary. For He hath turned his beams toward the earth, and made his light to direct itself downward, all but saying to him by the very shape (of the heavens), “Look downward.—Shine upon men, for thou wert made for them!” The light, indeed, of a candle cannot be made to submit to this; but this star, great and marvellous as it is, bends downward, and looks toward the earth, which is contrary to the nature of fire; owing to the power of Him who hath commanded it. Wouldest thou have me speak of another thing of the like kind? Waters embrace the back of the visible heaven on all parts; and yet they neither flow down, nor are moved out of their place, although the nature of water is not of this kind. For it easily runs together into what is concave; but when the body is of a convex form, it glides away on all sides; and not even a small portion is capable of standing upon such a figure. But, lo! this wonder is found to exist in the heavens; and the prophet, again, to intimate this very circumstance, observes, “Praise the Lord, ye waters that are above the heavens.” Besides, the water hath not quenched the sun; nor hath the sun, which hath gone on his way beneath for so long a time, dried up the water that lies above.
The laws of nature that are contradictory is because the Lord commands it.  He commands water to flow in a concave pattern the earth, but convex in the sky.  He commands fire to go up, but the sun to shine down.  He commands the pebbles to sink in water, but the whole earth to float on water.  He commands fire and water to quench each other, but the sun and clouds to remain still even when they touch each other.  These "contradictions" are a proof of God's control of the world.  We can today explain these contradictions scientifically, but at the same time, as believers we can also say, God, the genius of a creator, put consistency in the Laws of nature to behave in manners that seemed contradictory to St. John Chrysostom.

Today, we know that the earth isn't the center of the universe.  The earth is not a vast flat surface that floats on waters, but a spherical body where the waters fill up the gaps of earth like it fills up a glass cup.  We know that water as in all matter, can exist in three states: solid, liquid, and gas, existing in ways depending on temperature and pressure which can explain why they float on air, and why they are liquefied on earth.  We can explain that it is not the heaviness that determines how something floats on water, but density.  We know that the earth revolves around the sun, and the moon revolves around the earth, and the stars do not revolve around us at all, and that the sun has nothing to do with the movement of the stars, and not directly to the moon.  I agree with St. John Chrysostom that nature can be our teacher both physically and spiritually.  Physically by the observations we make in science, and spiritually by acknowledging the unmeasurable greatness and genius of our Pantocrator.  I agree with all the Church fathers that I believe in God the Father, Pantrocrator, Who created all things, whatever I can sense and whatever I can't, here and everywhere.

It saddens me that I have to point out the scientific errors of the Fathers just to prove a point, because I do love these particular Church fathers regardless and use them in lessons concerning the Church faith and spirituality.  But to expose the Fathers is not what I intend to do, but rather show you that you are misusing the Church Fathers and not appreciating the times, the context, and the culture that they lived in and were influenced by.  My grandmother taught me many pious errors, but what she taught me about the Christian faith, morals, and the saints are infallible.  The Holy Spirit truly guided her.  I have no reason to think that my disagreements with the Church fathers on trivial matters that don't pertain to the faith means I deride or disrespect them.  Otherwise, I wouldn't call them "fathers."

I would be more inclined to say that St. Basil is the most scientifically minded of the three, because he accepted the science taught by the pagans, but added that God created us.  I personally believe based on this pattern St. Basil if he were to live today would be a theistic evolutionist.  He was also a practical Church father.  The quote escapes me, but I know it didn't matter to him dogmatically whether the earth floated on water or spherical.
 

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Iconodule said:
Ortho_cat said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
I would also be willing to bet that this is largely a 'western' Orthodox phenomena as well...
No more Western than adopting your epistemology from the West European "Enlightenment".

Can we stop using "Western" as a handy label for everything we don't agree with?
When I refer to western influence, I am referring to a particular brand of biblical literalism that causes people to espouse a literal historical view of the bible which in turn causes them to reject modern scientific advancement. The greeks of the old had no problem merging/blending current philosophy/scientific thought with their religious views. They did not see them as incompatible; rather complementary.
 

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minasoliman said:
It saddens me that I have to point out the scientific errors of the Fathers just to prove a point, because I do love these particular Church fathers regardless and use them in lessons concerning the Church faith and spirituality.  But to expose the Fathers is not what I intend to do, but rather show you that you are misusing the Church Fathers and not appreciating the times, the context, and the culture that they lived in and were influenced by.  My grandmother taught me many pious errors, but what she taught me about the Christian faith, morals, and the saints are infallible.  The Holy Spirit truly guided her.  I have no reason to think that my disagreements with the Church fathers on trivial matters that don't pertain to the faith means I deride or disrespect them.  Otherwise, I wouldn't call them "fathers."
Sad indeed. Would those on this thread who claim that the church fathers must be inerrant on both scientific and spiritual matters be willing to also espouse the scientific views held by the fathers in their time, (such as the earth floating on water etc.) as pointed out by minasoliman here? If no, then why not? How can you agree that they were incorrect with regards to scientific matters then, yet they must be infallible with respect to them now (particularly with respect to the ToE)?
 
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