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

DerekMK

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I'd be cautious of citing Giertych for anything that is meant to be taken seriously.  His wikipedia article sums up in English some of his rather strange views.  He is a mix of radical Catholic nationalism (honestly, I about fell out of my chair seeing his name on an Orthodox board and it not being followed by curses - he doesn't really believe Orthodox people in Poland deserve any civil rights), a racist (his theory of Neanderthals still existing has a racial twist to it) and just an old fashioned Polish anti-Semite.  Not really knowing enough to comment on the scientific aspects of it all, but as a Polish-American that follows the politics of Poland, I get the feeling he has about as much respect in the scientific community as an holocaust-denier would have among historians.   
 
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PeterTheAleut said:
Can you cite the dogmatic authority (other than you) that declared this?  Agreeing with Νεκτάριος, I'm not aware that any dogmatic office of the Church has ever proclaimed this to be THE authoritative interpretation of the Bible and the Holy Fathers, such that those who disagree are anathema.
God bless !

There is no "dogmatic authority", I often see this question in your posts, why ? I have told you ( and I think others too) that in the Orthodox Church most parts of the Doctrine are not "DOGMAS". We are not catholics - we have many dogmatic Doctrines -and never were procclaimed as Dogma- but this mean not that we can believe what we want ! Doctrine has authority, Holy Scripture has authority, the Fathers have authority, the Tradition has authority........ ( Theophan was right when he was speaking about the consensus patrum)

When you think you only have to believe the "hard Dogmas" - what faith will you have ? Is not even the Ever-virginity of the Theotokos NOT PROCLAIMED AS DOGMA - or her sinslessness, or her assumption, dormition.......and many other things......DO NOT ALWAYS SEARCH FOR DOGMAS !

Did you read orthodox dogmatic theology and did you see how many things are "dogmatic" but never proclaimed as Dogma. Did not even St. Justin mention the Toll Houses in his Dogmatic Theology ?

In the case of the Evolution theory or evolution philosophy- we have some writings of great Saints and Elders-like St, Nektarios of Aegina, Staretz Ambrosje of Optina........and others.....and they have enough authority.

The evolution theory is a contradiction to Holy Scripture and the Orthodox Doctrine of the Nature of Adam; the first created man. You don't have to believe ME but look for your own ( why should Nektarios believe me- he thinks I am a heretic Branch theorist ).

IN CHRIST
 

PeterTheAleut

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Christodoulos said:
God bless !

There is no "dogmatic authority", I often see this question in your posts, why ? I have told you ( and I think others too) that in the Orthodox Church most parts of the Doctrine are not "DOGMAS". We are not catholics - we have many dogmatic Doctrines -and never were procclaimed as Dogma- but this mean not that we can believe what we want ! Doctrine has authority, Holy Scripture has authority, the Fathers have authority, the Tradition has authority........ ( Theophan was right when he was speaking about the consensus patrum)
I'm sorry, but when you say such things as the following:
Christodoulos said:
Orthodox Christians can not accept the Evolution theory ( it is only a theorie not a fact) or Evolution Philosophy !
you are citing a dogmatic authority.  As you yourself even acknowledge, a doctrine doesn't have to be proclaimed DOGMA by an Ecumenical Council to have the same authority as DOGMA.  When you say, though, that Orthodox Christians must accept a doctrine lest one not be Orthodox, you are saying that the doctrine might as well be considered a DOGMA.  (Since you like to argue that you have never said anyone here is not Orthodox, just examine the semantic logic of your statement, "Orthodox Christians cannot accept evolution theory."  Simply following this logical flow, one has to recognize that the statement also makes the converse true: "One who accepts evolution theory cannot be Orthodox.")  What authority do YOU have to say such things, to provide for us the definitive interpretation of the Holy Fathers that we all must follow?

When you think you only have to believe the "hard Dogmas" - what faith will you have ? Is not even the Ever-virginity of the Theotokos NOT PROCLAIMED AS DOGMA - or her sinslessness, or her assumption, dormition.......and many other things......
For the record, no, these beliefs about the Theotokos are not proclaimed as dogma, in that no one (to my knowledge) has been declared anathema for not adhering to them.  They are very central to our veneration of the Theotokos, as can be seen in our rich hymnographical tradition, so that they truly define our understanding of the Virgin, but no one is required by force of excommunication to believe these things about her.  One is recognized as a heretic only for refusing to grant her the title "Theotokos".

Did you read orthodox dogmatic theology and did you see how many things are "dogmatic" but never proclaimed as Dogma. Did not even St. Justin mention the Toll Houses in his Dogmatic Theology ?
If reading the works on dogmatic theology by Fr. Pomazansky and Fr. Justin Popovich--excellent works, I'm sure--drives me to judge my Orthodox brothers and sisters, then I would rather not read them.

In the case of the Evolution theory or evolution philosophy- we have some writings of great Saints and Elders-like St, Nektarios of Aegina, Staretz Ambrosje of Optina........and others.....and they have enough authority.
Maybe so.  I certainly don't deny that these holy men wrote against evolutionary theory and philosophy, and their holiness certainly gives their words great weight for consideration.  But that in itself does not make their teachings binding upon all Orthodox.

The evolution theory is a contradiction to Holy Scripture and the Orthodox Doctrine of the Nature of Adam; the first created man. You don't have to believe ME but look for your own.
And yet many here, whose wisdom and knowledge of this subject I trust, have said that there is no clearly defined "Orthodox Doctrine of the Nature of Adam."  Yes, many Fathers have written on this subject, but one cannot pick and choose which Fathers to follow and preach in an attempt to build an artificial consensus patrum.


( why should Nektarios believe me- he thinks I am a heretic Branch theorist )
Such snide remarks as this certainly do not help your cause here.
 

DerekMK

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Christodoulos said:
why should Nektarios believe me- he thinks I am a heretic Branch theorist.
Frankly, I don't care whether you or anyone else is a branch theorist.  What I was getting at is that you pick and choose from a troupe of schismatic "saints", renegade "elders", fundamentalist protestant thought with a few actual Orthodox sources thrown in for good measure.  Your "traditionalism" is entirely self-serving and quite often contradictory. 

So put up or shut up - there is either a source from a universally recognized Orthodox authority (i.e a pan-Orthodox synod, an anathema issued by a synod of bishops etc) condemning evolutionary biology or there isn't. 
 

ChristianLove

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My first thought about a source is whether the science presented lines up with our fathers, but maybe I'm wrong and we should accept others as higher authority in understanding our universe even if their findings come across as empirically flawed?

I do not know the political views of these scientists. Good to know about Poland's political concerns, but I do know that if we stop listening to a scientist because he is an evangelical or a politician even with strong antiIsrael arguments, then we would have major problems with all our sources, since we would have to logically discount all agnostics and atheists as sources as well, since they obviously do not promote a healthy Orthodox world view. Seems to me that none of these scientists are holy saints but the holy saints that I have read thus far all agree with Intelligent Design and the creationists' viewpoints.

Let me provide some examples without hopefully sounding judgemental:

Charles Darwin- Charles Darwin, left his faith in Christ and the Holy Scriptures as taught by his school in favor of an atheistic antichristian mindset and began exploring nature with the eyes of one author's geological understanding. Finally he gave us "Origin of Species" based on very limited data. While many of his writings have been empirically disproven through logical presentations by numerous evolutionary and intelligent design scientists, some have kept his later in life antichristian premise and promoted new materialistic world viewpoints under his name and call it "neodarwinism" probably to simply tag unto a momentous movement among some who deny the faith or for other marketing or nonmarketing reasons.

Stephen Jay Gould, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins- Atheists I talk with regularly tout these modern leaders of the metaphysical sciences on every occasion possible. They are so vehemently trying to tell all their listeners and readers that the reason for all the pains, troubles and suffering of the world, is Christianity and infact all people of all faiths. They foolishly assume as the communists, that if you wipe out religion from the world, you will stop all wars and usher an era of peace based on their brand of "science". Was it not this same brand of atheism that murdered millions of our fellow brothers, sisters, moms and Dads in the former soviet union? Was not this same evolutionary thought process which led Adolph Hitler to consider the Arian race supreme above all other races and use his war machines to try to implement Darwin's "survival of the fittest" under Nazism? For a wonderful video of the debate between the atheist promoter against Christianity and a Roman Catholic defender of Christians' benefit to mankind, feel free to look up http://www.c-spanarchives.org/library/index.php?main_page=product_video_info&products_id=201727-1 . I found Hitchens to have been so soundly defeated based on facts of history that atheists actually have written supportive statement for D'Souza, saying that they need to "update" their knowledge with his presentations in order to find stronger counterarguments. D'Souza uses their systems to show the logical fallacies in their arguments, but that might get too far off topic.

louis Pasteur- He was a creationist who found us some of the most wonderful medical ways of healing the body.

Dr. Henry Morris- whose scientific views seem to be clearly inline with our Orthodox Church fathers, but who also spends some time denying honorable belief in Holy Tradition because of his modern evangelical misunderstandings in regards to our Faith in Christ. Strange for one from an Orthodox worldview, to see him promote many of the same Holy Traditional belief in the Holy Trinity and venerable Scriptures, while denying the work of the men and the Church that the Holy Spirit inspired to bring him the One Faith.

Maybe we should trust our Church Fathers and simply believe that the Holy Trinity who created all of us, and who was the only eyewitness of Creation, has led our saints and inspired them to understand and reveal truth about creation and rightly lead our scientists to first spend worship time in a monastery and be observed for their heart of Love for God and their sincere humble trust in Christ our God, before exposing them to the history of creation science and the modern macroevolutionary turns to them?

Or should we discount all church fathers who almost unanimously agree with the teachings of intelligent design, because they did not have access to some of the latest leaps from microevolutionary theories into macroevolution and simply say they were ignorant of God's Creation and they should not be trusted as source of areas where "modern science" now claims a higher ground than them.

I do not want to wrongly come across as one who has all the answers, because obviously there are wonderful mysteries in Creation. I honestly know that empirical science cannot prove either creation or evolution, but simply present the data in favor of both, and we can decide for ourselves, whether our Orthodox fathers were true in their presentations on Genesis and the history of man or not.

Hopefully, we can humbly love one another even as we think through our questions of trust in the Holy Spirit's work through the fathers of our faith, while focusing more on loving as they have loved and proclaiming pure Love above all our knowledge (1 Cor 13).
 

PeterTheAleut

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^ (referring to the above post)

By "Intelligent Design" do you mean the (pseudo?)-scientific system put forward by such men as Michael Behe and William Dembski?  I'm not sure that many of our ascetic fathers would have access to their writings to be able to make an informed judgment of the specifics of their ideas.  I'm sure, though, that they would agree that our universe and all life therein was created by an Intelligent Designer, but Professor Behe himself recognizes--I've personally heard him speak--that his Intelligent Design concepts do not preclude belief in evolution as the means by which the Intelligent Designer chose to create life as we know it.
 

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Good question Peter  :) What was the Intelligent Design belief of those inspired by the Holy Spirit and in communion with God our Creator and His One Chuch on earth? Maybe Intelligent Design as understood by readings of the church fathers presented in Father Seraphim Rose's 700+ page book on Creation would be a wonderful starting point  8)

As for "pseudoscience", if I may stick to this reality as the principle "scientific" basis and declare all others as philosophical, metaphysical or "pseudo sciences", maybe we'll all be on holy ground  :angel:  :) :

"...empirical science cannot prove either creation or evolution, but simply present the data in favor of both, and we can decide for ourselves, whether our Orthodox fathers were true in their presentations on Genesis and the history of man or not. "

 

PeterTheAleut

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ChristianLove said:
As for "pseudoscience", if I may stick to this reality as the principle "scientific" basis and declare all others as philosophical, metaphysical or "pseudo sciences", maybe we'll all be on holy ground  :angel:  :) :
But then arises the question of what counts as science, and who is qualified to determine this.  Do those who do not actively participate in the sciences as these have been traditionally defined--no, science never was a purely spiritual/religious pursuit, even though many of the pioneers of what we know as modern science were indeed guided by a traditional Christian world view--have the authority to define science to be something that most don't recognize as science?  Do non-scientists have any legitimate authority to declare the scientific method anti-truth per se?  What if scientific observations prove elements of our Christian cosmology and world view wrong, such as Copernicus did to the Roman Catholic insistence on an earth-centered model of the universe?  Do we then discredit the empirical evidence as anti-Christian and stubbornly insist on following our "divinely revealed" view of things?  Such stubbornness, IMHO, only discredits our witness as that of the backward fundamentalists many already think we are.  I'm not suggesting we worship science, as many of today's scientists do; all I ask is that we see science as a means of seeing how Christ, the Divine Logos, has revealed His Father to us via His creation.  Orthodox Christians need not be opposed to the man-made sciences.

"...empirical science cannot prove either creation or evolution, but simply present the data in favor of both, and we can decide for ourselves, whether our Orthodox fathers were true in their presentations on Genesis and the history of man or not."
I think the above statement (from Fr. Seraphim Rose?) overly simplistic in its implication that the witness of the Holy Fathers and the findings of science are necessarily opposed to each other.  In fact, I would venture to say that the Holy Fathers were not united in their understanding of Genesis and that whoever uttered this statement may have tried to indicate the existence of a patristic consensus that is just imagined and artificial.
 

DerekMK

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ChristianLove said:
My first thought about a source is whether the science presented lines up with our fathers, but maybe I'm wrong and we should accept others as higher authority in understanding our universe even if their findings come across as empirically flawed?
Rather than reading the the Fathers in the most literal way possible, look at their methodology.  They had no qualms in resorting to neo-platonic thought and were not in any way anti-intellectuals.  Had modern evolutionary biology existed in their time with the scientific evidence that has today, I don't see what they wouldn't have Christianized it like they did with much other religious and secular philosophy of their day.


I do not know the political views of these scientists. Good to know about Poland's political concerns, but I do know that if we stop listening to a scientist because he is an evangelical or a politician even with strong antiIsrael arguments, then we would have major problems with all our sources, since we would have to logically discount all agnostics and atheists as sources as well, since they obviously do not promote a healthy Orthodox world view. Seems to me that none of these scientists are holy saints but the holy saints that I have read thus far all agree with Intelligent Design and the creationists' viewpoints.
When someone uses their same methodology to also come up with a belief in the Loch Ness monster and other absurdities, I think it is fair to question his reliability as a scientist.  If only the very fringe of a profession professes a belief and they also profess some very strange beliefs in other issues - might it be worth questioning their conclusions?  And this whole atheism card is getting old.  The poster here, Heohrij is a biologist and an Orthodox Christian.

Or should we discount all church fathers who almost unanimously agree with the teachings of intelligent design, because they did not have access to some of the latest leaps from microevolutionary theories into macroevolution and simply say they were ignorant of God's Creation and they should not be trusted as source of areas where "modern science" now claims a higher ground than them.
"Intelligent design" is a modern idea and a reaction to evolutionary biology.  To speak of anyone in the patristic era holding to it is anachronistic to say the least.
 

minasoliman

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Charles Darwin- Charles Darwin, left his faith in Christ and the Holy Scriptures as taught by his school in favor of an atheistic antichristian mindset and began exploring nature with the eyes of one author's geological understanding. Finally he gave us "Origin of Species" based on very limited data.
Weird...not that I'm defending Darwin's atheism, but I think his atheism places the blame on the Christians who forced him into atheism, not the scientific findings he made, which he made at the time as a Christian.  In fact, he grew up a very religious man, with a very religious family.  In fact, he was still a believer in God at the time of writing the "Origin of Species."  As his views became more popular (and infamous in Christian circles) and as he received the wrath of Bibliolatry "Christians" at the time, he lost his faith, not able to believe in a God that contradicts scientific research (and some other theological issues, like the overstressing the juridical God that bothered him as well).

I hope we don't distort "atheist" "scientists" as evil men with an agenda to destroy religion, like Darwin.  Darwin was a fluke as I showed.  Dawkins and Hitchins are nothing but atheists with a good literary and philosophical sense, not scientific, which is why they're strong on ideology.  Why don't we listen to the voices of people like Dr. Ken Miller and Dr. Francis Collins, who are devout Christians, the former being a biologist the latter being a leading geneticist, both understanding and accepting the importance of the fact of evolution in their research.

I bet you that none of you here who are posting "anti-evolution" crap are actually biological scientists in your fields.  If you want people here to take you seriously, get a biology degree and then come back with your research.  Until then, here's a very long youtube video that I hope you listen to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVRsWAjvQSg

God bless.
 

ytterbiumanalyst

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Mina,

Thank you very much for that link. His graciousness toward those of opposing viewpoints while still making a cogent argument for science, and only science, in science textbooks is just what the scientific community needs. He invites everyone to look at the facts while never stooping to insults or derision. A gentleman and a scholar. I second your invitation for everyone who has posted on this thread to listen to his lecture.
 

Pravoslavbob

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Νεκτάριος said:
So put up or shut up - there is either a source from a universally recognized Orthodox authority (i.e a pan-Orthodox synod, an anathema issued by a synod of bishops etc) condemning evolutionary biology or there isn't. 
Right.  And there isn't one.
 

Pravoslavbob

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minasoliman said:
I bet you that none of you here who are posting "anti-evolution" crap are actually biological scientists in your fields.  If you want people here to take you seriously, get a biology degree and then come back with your research. 
Hear hear!
 

Demetrios G.

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Why do you even worship a God? If he isn't the reason you exist than why worship him. He hasn't done anything for you. For that matter what is you're idea of salvation? Just curious. If he is powerless to create you than wouldn't he be powerless to resurrect you.

 

ytterbiumanalyst

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Demetrios,

Why do you worship a God who does not hold you to the ground? If He doesn't keep you from floating off into space then why worship Him? He hasn't done anything for you. If He is powerless to keep your feet on the floor, then wouldn't He be powerless to save you?
 

Demetrios G.

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
Demetrios,

Why do you worship a God who does not hold you to the ground? If He doesn't keep you from floating off into space then why worship Him? He hasn't done anything for you. If He is powerless to keep your feet on the floor, then wouldn't He be powerless to save you?
Your Idea of salvation is foreign to me. Could you clarify it?
 

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Demetrios G. said:
Why do you even worship a God? If he isn't the reason you exist than why worship him. He hasn't done anything for you. For that matter what is you're idea of salvation? Just curious. If he is powerless to create you than wouldn't he be powerless to resurrect you.
I fail to see how a belief about the method and time frame involved in creation that doesn't accord with yours somehow automatically means one is not a Christian.  Is your God so small that he can only create in the way you have decided he can?  Is your God so small that he has been created in your image and subject to the limits of your imagination?
 

Demetrios G.

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Veniamin said:
I fail to see how a belief about the method and time frame involved in creation that doesn't accord with yours somehow automatically means one is not a Christian.  Is your God so small that he can only create in the way you have decided he can?  Is your God so small that he has been created in your image and subject to the limits of your imagination?
I would like to see how your views fit into our theology. That's all. If you are hesitant to explain them. It doesn't say much about them fitting in. Does it?
 

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Demetrios G. said:
I would like to see how your views fit into our theology. That's all. If you are hesitant to explain them. It doesn't say much about them fitting in. Does it?
Would you care to make an accusation outright instead of stooping to innuendo?  If you are hesitant to publicly accuse us all of having heretical beliefs, it doesn't say much for the substance of the accusation, does it?
 

DerekMK

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Demetrios G. said:
Why do you even worship a God? If he isn't the reason you exist than why worship him. He hasn't done anything for you. For that matter what is you're idea of salvation? Just curious. If he is powerless to create you than wouldn't he be powerless to resurrect you.
I see more awe and majesty in a God who creates this world with a single spark and the laws of science over the course of billions of years than some second rate deity that creates an arbitrary and ultimately chaotic universe. 

Demetrios G. said:
I would like to see how your views fit into our theology. That's all. If you are hesitant to explain them. It doesn't say much about them fitting in. Does it?
How does gravity fit into our theology?  It's not mentioned in the Bible, fathers or any of the councils.
 
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