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

Heorhij

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ComingHome said:
Coming from a fundamentalist Protestant background, I have a kneejerk reaction to any talk about evolution.  But I am interested in understanding.  How does one reconcile God as Creator (according to the Creed) with evolution?  How could there be other people who were not created as Genesis says Adam and Eve were?  If A & E are not literally the first humans, who or what are they and who or what do they signify?  Are there any resources which would be helpful to consult in relation to these things?

I am sorry for my abyssmal ignorance on this subject but until recently I thought I had all the answers and didn't seriously consider any other questions.
   
Dear ComingHome,

I do not have a slightest problem reconciling the Creator and evolution. I just don't think in antropomorphic (man-shaped) terms. When I read that God "made" the heavens and the earth, I am trying to avoid imagining an old man with a gray beard who is "making" something with the help of his two hands. Same thing, when I read that God "made" Adam from clay, I am trying to avoid imagining that same old gramps taking literal red-colored mud in his hands and sculpturing a doll.

Who are Adam and Eve? As I have already written to this forum, to me they are just humankind. Adam is every man, and every man (except Christ) is Adam. Gustave Flaubert, when he was annoyed to death by journalists who desperately wanted to know, just who was m-me Bovary (who was her"prototype"), said, "M-be Bovary, c'est moi!" ("M-me Bovary, that's myself!") I have the same attitude to Adam and Eve. "Adam et Eve, ils sont moi!" :)

Sorry if this is too wild. I come from a totally secular humanist background, and I never received any religious education/indoctrination whatsoever. I hope my thought has not offended you, please forgive me if it has.

George
 

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EkhristosAnesti said:
I would love to hear a response from anyone who seriously supports evolution on the one hand, and yet has a high regard for the Fathers on the other hand (which excludes GiC in that case  ;))

This is not a challenge, I am just genuinely interested in hearing how such persons would interpret the patristic testimony. FWIW, I personally do not have any position on the matter of creationism vs. evolution since it is a subject I have very superficially investigated.
Not only did the fathers regard the science of their days, but they didn't even have the technology we possess today to observe the things around us.  I think St. Basil and some other Church fathers believed that the world was flat, or had some strange idea about the earth in its relationship with the Sun.  Ever since the telescope, seeing the truth seems to be much more authoritative than listening to the "scientific ideas" of Church fathers.

I like the quote from St. Augustine how when new scientific discoveries are made, new interpretations of Genesis must be allowed.  St. Basil, although he believed in a flat earth, did not think the idea was important for theology.  I think we can reconcile the fathers in this manner, by understanding that they did not have available what we have today.  Thus, we have to be more sympathetic towards the Fathers and towards today's scientific discoveries.  The more we take the Fathers' and the Bible's words literally, the more we ridicule ourselves and the Faith.

From my favorite father, St. Athanasius, here is a good example:

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...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.
Here, we see a typical geocentric view, in which the Sun is orbiting around the earth, as well as the moons and the stars.  Now, if I had no telescope, and all I did was just look straight in the sky for day and night the whole year, it would definitely look like the sun, moon, and stars were orbiting the Earth, and seeing the seas around us, it would seem that this earth stands not in some vacuumed space, but on the firmament of waters.  Now that we have telescopes, NASA, and satellites, we can see that the sun is just one among the stars, that it is the Earth that orbits the sun, and that the waters are part of the globe of the earth, and that the stars do not revolve around us, and that indeed we are sitting on vacuumed space with the centripetal force of the sun pulling us around.  St. Athanasius was not lying; he just didn't have the technology available to understand what we understand today. 

I would extend the same thinking to the science of evolution.

God bless.
 
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Dear Mina,

You missed my entire point, which was that the claim that the Fathers were simply using the "science of their day" seems unfounded. There is no indication, for example, that St Basil was attempting to integrate the science of his day with the Scriptural testimony. St Basil based his views of creation strictly on the authority of the Scriptures. He believed what he believed concerning creation simply because he believed that the Scriptures taught it. If he erred, therefore, he erred not with respect to his application of the science of his day, but with regard to his Scriptural exegesis.

If there is some other passage from any of St Basil's works to qualify the one I brought forth, I would be most interested in reading it.
 

minasoliman

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Dear EA,

Sorry I modified my post after you posted.  Is my example of St. Athanasius sufficient?  I think the passage of St. Athanasius seems to indicate they were using the science of their day, observing what we see without the technology we have today.

God bless.
 
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Dear Mina,

Sorry, but I still do not feel that you have addressed my point.

The quote from St Athanasius does not tell us anything about the inspiration behind his views on the matter it concerns.

The quote I gave you from St Basil makes it very clear that the only and sufficient inspiration for his views on creation are the Scriptures--in fact he explicitly rejects the "wisdom of the world" as a basis for developing a viewpoint on creation; he considers the testimony of God to Moses to be sufficient for him.

If we can maybe just focus on St Basil for the moment, it may make things easier.
 

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Only a few fringe figures (such as Cosmas Indicopleustes) believed the earth was flat in antiquity, which did not include the Church Fathers. See here. Geocentrism, however, is another question.

Anyway, in re: ComingHome's question, here are a few articles from an Orthodox perspective showing how evolution can be integrated with a (mostly) literal understanding of Genesis here, here, and here. So I regard the issue as largely moot and don't really trouble myself much with it.
 

minasoliman

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Dear EA,

Another issue that we can understand from St. Basil is the characteristics of science and philosophy.  In the ancient past, science and philosophy was the same thing.  There was no distinction between the two.  Today, there is a huge distinction.  Science has to be as observable and factual as defining the color of red, not as contemplative as it was in the past.  If I would guess as to why St. Basil said that he would reject the "wisdom of the world," it is probably rejecting anything contemplative about what we observe, since the Bible is sufficient enough for proper contemplation.  Today, this is not the case.  We don't contemplate on the world around us and call that science.  At best a hypothesis, at worst a fantasy, but not science.  Science is not the "wisdom of the world," but the facts of observation.

That's how I might interpret St. Basil.

God bless.
 

minasoliman

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Symeon said:
Only a few fringe figures (such as Cosmas Indicopleustes) believed the earth was flat in antiquity, which did not include the Church Fathers. See here. Geocentrism, however, is another question.

Anyway, in re: ComingHome's question, here are a few articles from an Orthodox perspective showing how evolution can be integrated with a (mostly) literal understanding of Genesis here, here, and here. So I regard the issue as largely moot and don't really trouble myself much with it.
It was the late +Alexander that opened me open to the idea of putting together evolution and the Orthodox faith, and I thank him for that.

God bless.
 

Heorhij

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Symeon said:
Only a few fringe figures (such as Cosmas Indicopleustes) believed the earth was flat in antiquity, which did not include the Church Fathers. See here. Geocentrism, however, is another question.

Anyway, in re: ComingHome's question, here are a few articles from an Orthodox perspective showing how evolution can be integrated with a (mostly) literal understanding of Genesis here, here, and here. So I regard the issue as largely moot and don't really trouble myself much with it.
Thank you for these links, Symeon, but I have to say that to me, the whole "argument" actually ends when the so-called "evolutionists" are even mentioned. They are, apparently, people who subscribe to a certain philosophy. But the theory of biological evolution is, principally, NOT a philosophy. So, the whole discussion becomes nonsensical, oxymoronic, a "hot ice" or a "frozen fire," etc. I can't imagine how one can deduce God from one's observations obtained by using a telescope. In the exact same way, I cannot imagine how one can REJECT God based on one's observations obtained by using a telescope. To me, the whole business of arguing whether there is God or there is no God based on one's observations that genes exist and mutate, and that mutations that confer a more adaptable phenotype get selected, and that this selection may or may not lead to speciation, - is the same as the business of arguing that there is a God or that there is no God based on what I see in my telescope...
 

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Heorhij said:
Thank you for these links, Symeon, but I have to say that to me, the whole "argument" actually ends when the so-called "evolutionists" are even mentioned. They are, apparently, people who subscribe to a certain philosophy. But the theory of biological evolution is, principally, NOT a philosophy.
Excellent point! It'd be interesting if these people also labelled scientists as "periodic tablists" or "gravitationalists." The whole idea that science is essentially philosophy is indeed absurd.
 

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I think both the Scripture and Darwin's Theory are realated..

I just think that all these facts that scientist brought up, like the world being formed in a span of Millions of years.. Who knows, maybe what the book of Genesis refers to as The Seven Days when God created the world, would actually be translated as many millions of years going by, but for the Almighty it felt like only Seven Days...

Since in the scripture it is written that Man was created in 6th day, maybe that "day" was a day for God's time, but for a human to actually BE on that 6th day meant travelling Millions of years that would translate as Darwin's Theory of Evolution...

Thus I believe, that Evolution explain Creationism and that they are inseparable...

God bless...
 

PeterTheAleut

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Here's an interesting hypothesis someone shared on an MSN thread I frequented several moons ago.  According to Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, as one approaches the speed of light, one's own time slows down relative to the time outside of his unit of transportation.  This basically means that if I were to travel at 3/4 the speed of light to a star system 100 light years away, upon my return to earth, I would find that an earth calendar reads 2207, and everyone I knew before my departure has long been dead, yet I would have experienced time as if I had only been in space for a year or two.

Now, let us look at how this affects the universe's experience of its own expansion since the Big Bang.  The Big Bang theory postulates that for the first few billion years (as we humans reckon time) the universe had been expanding at nearly the speed of light.  In universal time, this might actually come out to be only the First Day.  Eventually over the next few billion years (again in human time) as the universe's expansion slows, galaxies form, and within them stars take their form, some together with planets--in universal time, according to Einsteinian theory, this all equates to just the Second Day.  During the next few billion years the earliest forms of life, primarily vegetation, make their first appearance on this rocky planet we call earth, but the universe experiences this as just the Third Day because of the continued speed of her expansion.  I could go on like this through all of the Seven Days of creation, but I figure three is enough for you to get the gist of what I'm saying.  I recognize that this is merely speculation based on my understanding of Einstein's theories of relativity, but don't you see the wisdom in not limiting our doctrines of creation to our limited understanding of time?
 
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Dear Mina,

We are speaking of an event that occured thousands/millions/billions/whatever years ago; I am a little perplexed as to how what happened back then can appear as observable fact to us in the present. Anastasios brought up the issue of microevolution, and I was under impression that such is the type of evolution that we factually observe today; if macroevolution is occuring in the present, and as such factually observable, I would love to know.

It seems to me that St Basil's point is that we are dealing with an incident according to which it is necessary and sufficient for us to simply consult the very account of the Creator himself--the One personally involved in that very act of Creation, rather than in human wisdom (and it doesn't seem to me like the issue of what "types" of human wisdom were prevalent in his day are relevant).
 

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Creationism and Evolution are both linked together. Creationism is a loving act that gave us life. Trying to understand this or explain it will only limit god in doing so. For those that put a biological understanding to it will only confuse the situation further. A biological explaination to creation has a zero chance at ever happening on it's own. If this were true than life would still be coming about out of nothing. And since the same material substances still exist today. Why doesn't it still happen?
Evolution on the other hand is the false life that we fell into after the fall. Evolution is the curse witch is linked to death because life as it should have bin wasn't biological. It was immortal. The false life has become biological and the by product is death.
 

greekischristian

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EkhristosAnesti said:
Dear Mina,

We are speaking of an event that occured thousands/millions/billions/whatever years ago; I am a little perplexed as to how what happened back then can appear as observable fact to us in the present.
You're still in school, arn't you? Perhaps you should take some upper division biology courses. But ultimately, the theory is sound because it can and has and continues to be used to make numerous predictions that are later verified by experiment. Most significant of these examples is comparing closely related species (e.g. different types of yeast or mammals) and being able to mathematically determine, based on the assumption of common ancestry, the most important elements of the genome and the distinguishing features between the species, and in some cases even the function of individual genes. If the assumption of common ancestry can allow us to make accurate predictions that have, time and time again, been verified by experimental evidence, we can only reasonably conclude that the theory is accurate. I'm sure George (Heorhij) could provide us with even better examples if he wished.

Anastasios brought up the issue of microevolution, and I was under impression that such is the type of evolution that we factually observe today; if macroevolution is occuring in the present, and as such factually observable, I would love to know.
This is a false dichotomy, ALL evolution is 'micro-evolution'...fish don't just grow legs and fur overnight and start walking on the ground. But with enough changes, for various reasons determined by natural selection, over a long enough period of time, and this can occur. We've only been observing these things for about 150 years, we'd have to observe for something on the order of tens of millions of years if you want to see so-called 'macro-evolution'.
 

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I am looking forward to seeing my great1000 grandchildren.  It's possible that they might even resemble Kevin Costner in Waterworld.  I will love them no matter what.





 

Heorhij

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greekischristian said:
This is a false dichotomy, ALL evolution is 'micro-evolution'...fish don't just grow legs and fur overnight and start walking on the ground. But with enough changes, for various reasons determined by natural selection, over a long enough period of time, and this can occur. We've only been observing these things for about 150 years, we'd have to observe for something on the order of tens of millions of years if you want to see so-called 'macro-evolution'.
Yes, I agree. Sometimes biologists use the term "microevolution" to specify that they are talking about evolution of populations, leaving out evolution of bigger taxonomic groups (species, genera, etc.). But we have to bear in mind that the mechanisms leading to the evolution of a population are esentially the same as the mechanisms that make higher taxonomic groups evolve; these mechanisms are genetic mutation, natural selection, genetic drift, migrations ("gene flow"), etc. Moreover, how can we put a firm boundary distinguishing two independently evolving populations that are still belonging to the same species, from two independent species? Speciation is a process, it's not a momentary event; the above "boundary" is not, actually, observable, we do not see speciation as such, but only the *results* of the process of speciation (or, sadly, of its opposite - extinction).
 
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GiC,

Yes, I am still a university student, but that is besides the point since science is not, nor will it ever be, a field of study of mine (I am a Laws/Arts--that's a double degree--student and I am majoring in Theology and Studies of Religion in the latter) nor do I pretend to be any sort of expert in science. I wasn't raising any sort of challenge, I was making a genuine inquiry, so there's no need to get smart.

Nevertheless, my main point still stands viz. that it appears that Saints like Basil the Great and John Chrysostom drew the various views on creation that they did strictly upon consideration of the intent of the Scriptures. If they erred, they erred in their capacity as Scriptural exegetes, not as scientists. As I suggested when I first raised this concern, I am more than happy to be corrected.
 

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a question I get from creationists a lot is "If evolution is true why is there still fish in the water or apes?" implying wouldnt they all have evolved. What would be a good answer to this?
 

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prodromas said:
a question I get from creationists a lot is "If evolution is true why is there still fish in the water or apes?" implying wouldnt they all have evolved. What would be a good answer to this?
It's like saying the existence of Australians or Americans relies on the extinction of the British.  "If Americans and Australians came from the British, why are there still British people?"

God bless.
 

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Dear EA,

I'm still not quite getting your point.  Are you saying that if St. Basil believed let's say in a geocentric view (keeping flat-earthism aside for the moment), that it is based not on science but on his interpretation of the Bible, and if he was found wrong, he should be proven scripturally that he was wrong, and not on scientific grounds?

Perhaps fathers like Sts. Basil and John Chrysostom try so hard to keep the Bible accurate, to which I would disagree with such an endeavor, the reason is of the scientific developments in our present time.  And yet, I do understand St. John Chrysostom at one point taking some exceptions, whereas St. Basil likewise collected with St. Gregory favorite passages of Origen that seem to show Origen didn't take things like the Trees of Life or Knowledge as literal trees.  But then don't we have other fathers that believed in a literal tree to begin with?

With this in mind, I have to say that while you may want to limit yourself to St. Basil, there's a whole list of fathers who have different views on interpreting Genesis.  If we can look at the big picture here, we find that no two fathers might have held exactly the same view of Scriptural exegesis of Genesis 1.  What does that tell us?  It certainly tells me that Genesis 1 is not something that is of high authority to view as important for a unifying exegesis than say John 1 or Psalm 23.

I for one like to see a thesis on all the various interpretations of Genesis in Church history.

God bless.
 

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minasoliman 2 things:

1. Thank you for giving me the answer to my almost stupidly simplistic question.
2. Are we to argue about the geocentric view of the universe when it has been literally seen and I believe fathers held these certain view because of the times (thats obvious) but I think that there simple minds (scientifically speaking) is an enlightening thing that tells us that we should not be taken by "intellectual" endevours and that is not what Orthodoxy is about.
 

greekischristian

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EkhristosAnesti said:
Yes, I am still a university student, but that is besides the point since science is not, nor will it ever be, a field of study of mine (I am a Laws/Arts--that's a double degree--student and I am majoring in Theology and Studies of Religion in the latter) nor do I pretend to be any sort of expert in science. I wasn't raising any sort of challenge, I was making a genuine inquiry, so there's no need to get smart.
I did not mean to be 'smart' with you, sorry if it came across that way...half of it was regret that I did not take upper division biology classes in undergraduate school, I mostly limited myself to the more mathematical and theoretical sciences. I personally believe everyone should take advanced classes in both the humanities and sciences...but it's a bit late for me to correct my personal mistakes now. ;)
 
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Mina,

I am really only trying to specifically engage with those who would suggest that Fathers like St Basil and John Chrysostom were seriously concerned with anything other than the authority of the Scriptures in the process of formulating their cosmological beliefs. I am not trying to suggest anything with respect to how their testimony should be treated, and i'm certainly not trying to suggest anything with respect to how to properly interpret Genesis. I am simply questioning (in an inquisitive sense) the response from Orthodox Christian evolutionists, which I have often heard repeated, that patristic testimony should be discarded on the basis that the Fathers were using the science of their day, which, in that day, was woefully underdeveloped (relative to the situation today at least). If science was not seriously an element of their Scriptural hermeneutics (and I am not saying it definitely wasn't, I am simply asking for evidence that it was, in addition to a response to the quoted passage from St Basil which suggests that, for him at least, it wasn't), then Orthodox Christian evolutionists should discontinue such a response in their well-intentioned attempt to defend the integrity of the Fathers.
 
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greekischristian said:
I did not mean to be 'smart' with you, sorry if it came across that way...half of it was regret that I did not take upper division biology classes in undergraduate school, I mostly limited myself to the more mathematical and theoretical sciences. I personally believe everyone should take advanced classes in both the humanities and sciences...but it's a bit late for me to correct my personal mistakes now. ;)
I apologise for assuming a negative tone to your response; that was hasty of me.

Thanks for the information in that response, by the way. It was helpful and it certainly made much sense.
 

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EkhristosAnesti said:
Mina,

I am really only trying to specifically engage with those who would suggest that Fathers like St Basil and John Chrysostom were seriously concerned with anything other than the authority of the Scriptures in the process of formulating their cosmological beliefs. I am not trying to suggest anything with respect to how their testimony should be treated, and i'm certainly not trying to suggest anything with respect to how to properly interpret Genesis. I am simply questioning (in an inquisitive sense) the response from Orthodox Christian evolutionists, which I have often heard repeated, that patristic testimony should be discarded on the basis that the Fathers were using the science of their day, which, in that day, was woefully underdeveloped (relative to the situation today at least). If science was not seriously an element of their Scriptural hermeneutics (and I am not saying it definitely wasn't, I am simply asking for evidence that it was, in addition to a response to the quoted passage from St Basil which suggests that, for him at least, it wasn't), then Orthodox Christian evolutionists should discontinue such a response in their well-intentioned attempt to defend the integrity of the Fathers.
Alright.  Hopefully, this time I understand you correctly.  You're suggesting that St. Basil is not concerned of nor did he use the science of his day to interpret Scripture.  In this case, then we would have to assume that he developed, for example, a geocentric view based solely on Scripture, ignoring whatever scientific ideas were around him (even if these ideas were also geocentric).

One question that comes to mind, is he right in ignoring the science of his days?  The answer to this depends on how we define "science" now versus defining "science" then, which I did earlier.

Another question that comes to my mind, since he solely used the Scriptures to contemplate on the world around us, how does this interpretation apply today?  And if this interpretation contradicts what we believe today, can we protect his integrity?

Am I asking the right questions so far?

God bless.
 

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prodromas said:
minasoliman 2 things:

1. Thank you for giving me the answer to my almost stupidly simplistic question.
2. Are we to argue about the geocentric view of the universe when it has been literally seen and I believe fathers held these certain view because of the times (thats obvious) but I think that there simple minds (scientifically speaking) is an enlightening thing that tells us that we should not be taken by "intellectual" endevours and that is not what Orthodoxy is about.
Dear Prodromas,

I think someone once said that he wished he was like Dita (Arabic word for Grandma) who had the simplest faith in Christ, and lived an awesome spiritual life.  I wish to be like my Dita too, but I can't.  Perhaps, in the Islamic world, but when it comes to the world I live in, where I am bombarded by intellectuals, philosophers, pluralists, atheists, and agnostics, my shell needs to develop into something more akin to the environment around me.  An albino skin can no longer live in an equatorial region; I need a much darker and harsher skin.  This is where it is necessary for me to reach the level of those around me to be better equipped to spread the gospel.  Perhaps, you can consider intellectual endeavors as a "necessary evil" in this day in age.

I'm sorry if I made you feel that was stupid and simple question.  I didn't mean to offend you.  I understand this was a common question among those who might not understand evolution, and putting it with a simple analogy sorta helps understand easily what evolutionists believe.

God bless.
 

Heorhij

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Mina, great story about the "Dita." BTW, it reminded me of Louis Pasteur. This great scientist used to say that as far as the Christian faith is concerned, his ideal is the faith of a simple, un-educated, illiterate Breton peasant. Shortly before his death, when he was already a world-famous professor, somebody asked him, was his ideal still the faith of a Breton peasant, and Pasteur said, "no, actually, I think my real ideal is the faith of the WIFE of a Breton peasant." Pasteur refused to understand, why would people make complicated theories about God instead of simply believing.

Yet, Pasteur was an honest scientist and, as such, would never say something like, eh, if the Bible says that it is the evil spirits who cause disease, then forget about those microorganisms. That's what these so-called "creationists" say.
 

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I am reading a book right now about the history of Islam in Central Asia and the author makes some interesting points.  Osama Bin Laden was/is a civil engineer (and trained to be so) and Mohamed Atta was a trained Architect.  The list goes on of Islamic fundamentalists who are trained in the hard sciences and engineering.  An interesting point in and of itself that really questions the idea that simply educating people will get rid of fundamentalism and other ideas.  But, the point that was made is that all religion has a certain mythos to it.  Understanding the spiritual value from mythos, is far different than the approach one would take to read a science textbook.  The sharp rise in Islamic fundamentalism (and for that matter, Christian fundamentalism) can really be traced to highly educated individuals using their backgrounds in the hard sciences and applying that methodology to religion.

As for the question of St. Basil accepting Genesis as being historically accurate, what reason would he have had to not do so?  So I don't know if that is the best approach to take.  Rather, I'd ask why are the spiritual values of Genesis pegged only to it being historically accurate in your view? 

 

Ebor

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Heorhij said:
I do not have a slightest problem reconciling the Creator and evolution. I just don't think in antropomorphic (man-shaped) terms. When I read that God "made" the heavens and the earth, I am trying to avoid imagining an old man with a gray beard who is "making" something with the help of his two hands. Same thing, when I read that God "made" Adam from clay, I am trying to avoid imagining that same old gramps taking literal red-colored mud in his hands and sculpturing a doll.

Sorry if this is too wild. I come from a totally secular humanist background, and I never received any religious education/indoctrination whatsoever. I hope my thought has not offended you, please forgive me if it has.

George
It's not wild at all it seems to me.  I also find no difficulty in the idea that God in His making the Universe used evolution.  Also, it took me a while to find the quote, but it came to my mind while reading your posts on this subject:

From Lee DeRaud

"Any deity worthy of a graven image can cobble up a working universe complete with fake fossils in under a week - hey, if you're not omnipotent, there's no real point in being a god. But to start with a big ball of elementary particles and end up with the duckbill platypus without constant twiddling requires a degree of subtlety and the ability to Think Things Through: exactly the qualities I'm looking for when I'm shopping for a Supreme Being."

;)

Ebor
 

Ebor

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minasoliman said:
It's like saying the existence of Australians or Americans relies on the extinction of the British.  "If Americans and Australians came from the British, why are there still British people?"
I *like* this one.  Very good indeed, Mina!

:)

Ebor
 

greekischristian

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Νεκτάριος said:
Sort of related to this topic...

I am reading a book right now about the history of Islam in Central Asia and the author makes some interesting points.  Osama Bin Laden was/is a civil engineer (and trained to be so) and Mohamed Atta was a trained Architect.  The list goes on of Islamic fundamentalists who are trained in the hard sciences and engineering.  An interesting point in and of itself that really questions the idea that simply educating people will get rid of fundamentalism and other ideas.  But, the point that was made is that all religion has a certain mythos to it.  Understanding the spiritual value from mythos, is far different than the approach one would take to read a science textbook.  The sharp rise in Islamic fundamentalism (and for that matter, Christian fundamentalism) can really be traced to highly educated individuals using their backgrounds in the hard sciences and applying that methodology to religion.
I do believe that secular education can help diminish the influence of fundamentalism, sure the leaders of fundamentalist movements are educated but they have another, greater, motivating factor: power. The masses from whom they derive their power, however, tend to be rather uneducated. Many (most?) people are willing to suspend knowledge, reason, and truth in the pursuit of power; but the number of those willing to suspend the aforementioned qualities to give power to another is much smaller.
 

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Grace and Peace,

As I have looked over Orthodox materials I get the impression that one can be a Creationist and be very firmly Orthodox.

Does this continue to be true or has most if not all theologians embrace Evolutionary Theory? What are you personal takes on the Creationist/Evolutionist discussions.

Thank you and God Bless.


MODERATION:  I appended the latest discussion of this subject to a thread that died only a few months ago, thinking that the current discussion could benefit from the insights of the most recent previous discussion.  - PeterTheAleut
 

Heorhij

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Dear Ignatius,

As far as I know, of modern Orthodox theologians only Fr. Seraphim Rose said something to the effect of "Darwinism being a heresy," while other remained remarkably quiet.

Personally, I find the entire talk about "evolutionism vs. creationism" being pointless and silly. There exists a scientific theory of biological evolution, much like there exists a scientific theory of electromagnetism or atomic-molecular structure of substance. It's not a matter of personal opinions, philosophies, theologies etc. Debating whether a good Orthodox should "believe in evolution" (or quarks, electromagnetic field, Geisenberg's uncertainty principle, etc.) is plain ridiculous, IMO.

Other than that, as Friul said, do read those old threads.

Best wishes,

George
 

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I think at a bare minimum, one should believe in a literal Adam and Eve. Saying otherwise undermines our Orthodox theology, and our salvation. Some people are fine with that, I guess.
 

greekischristian

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Symeon said:
I think at a bare minimum, one should believe in a literal Adam and Eve. Saying otherwise undermines our Orthodox theology, and our salvation. Some people are fine with that, I guess.
Several Orthodox Schools of Thought got along just fine for centuries with an allegorical interpretation of Genesis. Quite frankly, the entire idea of two original 'full' humans is not even reasonable in the light of modern genetic knowledge.
 

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God made a mistake. He unwittingly created a defective universe if you accept current evolutionary thinking.
 

Heorhij

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Symeon said:
I think at a bare minimum, one should believe in a literal Adam and Eve. Saying otherwise undermines our Orthodox theology, and our salvation. Some people are fine with that, I guess.
Symeon, sorry, if you are right, then I have to side with those who "undermine our Orthodox theology." I can believe that there existed the "first humans" (literally) no more than I can believe that the literal human heart with its atria and ventricles is the literal location of human thoughts. I am from the country where in 1948 geneticists were tortured and shot because they refused to agree, for the sake of an ideology, that genes are fantasies of "bourgeous pseudo-scientists" and that genetics is a "whore of American imperialism." For me, a scientist familiar with population genetics and biological evolution, it is only possible to believe in metaphoric, allegorical Adam and Eve.
 

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greekischristian said:
Several Orthodox Schools of Thought got along just fine for centuries with an allegorical interpretation of Genesis. Quite frankly, the entire idea of two original 'full' humans is not even reasonable in the light of modern genetic knowledge.
And those schools would be...? Even Origen held to a literal Adam and Eve. The allegorical complemented the literal, it didn't replace it.
 
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