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

GOCTheophan

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PeterTheAleut said:
Actually, Theophan, the Church DOES glorify Clement of Alexandria as a saint and Father.
Just because Origen was condemned by the Church for his universalist heresies doesn't mean that we should disregard EVERYTHING this man had to say.
If I were to tell you, you would then brand these named holy men and Fathers as heretics irrelevant to this discussion, thus making the circuit of your circular reasoning complete.  You can't say that no Holy Father has ever accepted Darwinism when you make rejection of Darwinism the very criterion by which you declare someone a Holy Father.
The Roman Catholic Church does accept Clement as a saint and a Father . The Orthodox Church does not. Anastasios was kind enough to correct me on this once.

Origen was not only condemned for his teaching on universal salvation but also for his teaching on other subjects, including the pre-existence of souls that was at the root of his rejection of a literal understanding of Genisis.

No righteous person of the 19 th or 20 th century accepted Darwinism. That is a fact that should tell us something. The fact that you cannot even come up with one even new calendarist or Sergianist illustrates my point.  

Theophan.
 

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Then I'm sure you GOC boys will love this:

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8038.asp

Authored by my own metropolitan.
 

minasoliman

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You obviously completely ignored what I said:

Origen (and I'm going to qualify this because Sts. Basil and Gregory Nazienzen qualified this too) did not believe the Trees of life or Knowledge were literal plants with some sort of edible fruit that provided you Life or Knowledge.
I knew exactly that there will be people here who will just discount whatever Origen taught simply because he was "condemned."    That's why I wrote whatever was in the quotes.  Slow down and read; don't be quick to reply and judge.  If there's anything that is Orthodox and praised specifically by both these great Church fathers and saints, it's Origen's "Philocalia," which was an anthology of Basil and Gregory's favorite ORTHODOX parts of Origen, one of which was describing the proper way of interpreting the Bible.

And as far as I know, we seem to disagree on what "impermanent" means (you haven't even told me what you mean be it; you just simply denied it had anything to do with mortality).  St. Athanasius believed man was the ONLY one who received immortality, but because they sinned, the fell from Paradise and went back to Earth.  Obviously then, St. Athanasius specifically believed it was man who fell, not the whole world.  I suggest you read "On the Incarnation."

God bless.
 

Anastasios

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Αριστοκλής said:
Then I'm sure you GOC boys will love this:

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8038.asp

Authored by my own metropolitan.
What part of that long article did you want us to look at? I don't feel like reading the whole thing right now.
 

minasoliman

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Anastasios said:
Clement is not a saint. That was what I was taught at SVS.
That's news to me.  I had no idea.  We Orthodox seem to disagree even on pre-schism figures as saints, let alone post-schism.  Is he simply just not commemorated in a calendar, or he's simply being denied sainthood like how some try to do with Augustine?
 

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Anastasios said:
Clement is not a saint. That was what I was taught at SVS.
On what basis? Clement was only denied his sainthood by Pope Clement VIII in the 16th century. Do we Orthodox accept his action?
 

Anastasios

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Symeon said:
On what basis? Clement was only denied his sainthood by Pope Clement VIII in the 16th century. Do we Orthodox accept his action?
I have no idea, it's been years since I was in that class.  It is my recollection that he was never entered into the Synaxarion. If he is, what day is his feast? Is there a service for him? Any churches named after him? I don't recall any of that.
 

minasoliman

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Anastasios said:
I have no idea, it's been years since I was in that class.  It is my recollection that he was never entered into the Synaxarion. If he is, what day is his feast? Is there a service for him? Any churches named after him? I don't recall any of that.
We don't have Clement in the Coptic Synexarium, but there's a general consensus of calling him an honored Church father and saint.
 

PeterTheAleut

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GOCTheophan said:
No righteous person of the 19 th or 20 th century accepted Darwinism. That is a fact that should tell us something. The fact that you cannot even come up with one even new calendarist or Sergianist illustrates my point. 
Actually, I didn't attempt to present a contrary saint to you not because I can't but because I just didn't see that doing so was germane to the counterpoint I tried to make.  My point, once again, is this: You cannot assert that no holy man of the 19th and 20th Centuries ever accepted Darwinism when you make acceptance of Darwinism the very reason for refusing to recognize someone as holy.  You essentially stack the deck precisely to support your pov, not to mention that this is also the very epitome of circular logic.
 

falafel333

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GOCTheophan said:
Falafell...Origien is an anathemised heretic. Do you also believe in the pre-existence of souls, the theory behind his refusal to believe what the Church teaches on this subject was based on? Clement of Alexandria also is not an Orthodox saint, not a Holy Father.

As regards the other quoates they can hardly be considered to be AGANIST the literal interputation. I have stated that other interputations- moral, mystical, symbolical are indeed possible but they do not negate the historical Truth of the God-seer Moses's narrative. They can hardly be said to be aganist what the Church teaches with the expection of Origien, who I repeat was a HERETIC.

Theophan.
All of these authors obviously offer a different theory to the literal six-day creation one. You also need to separate the age of Biblical human history which patristic authors give from the Genesis account from the age of the earth which many do not presume to know.

You need to be very careful here would you call these blasphemous as well. Quickly jumping to such judgments with the limited knowledge that we do have can have quite deleterious effects.

Furthermore, why is such a piont so important to you, whether what is mentioned is to be taken literally or allegorically? Would it contradict the doctrines of the church? Can you be so sure that God didn't decide to create in a certain way? What if He did create through evolution, what then?

I think the theology and doctrinal standpoint is much more important than a literal or allegorical sense to the passage. Where these exegetical methods are in conflict with Orthodox theology and dogma is where perhaps a problem may exist.

I have seen too much time wasted on debates and arguments over this issue, all of which is pure scepticism, when it could have been spent on much more fruitful things.

Last time I checked I can't ever remember seeing a literal six-day creation theory of the world being a mandatory dogma of the church.

That being said we should be content to accept that there are a diversity of opinions and that there are much more fruitful things that we should occupy our time, energy and effort with.
 

GOCTheophan

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PeterTheAleut said:
Actually, I didn't attempt to present a contrary saint to you not because I can't but because I just didn't see that doing so was germane to the counterpoint I tried to make.  My point, once again, is this: You cannot assert that no holy man of the 19th and 20th Centuries ever accepted Darwinism when you make acceptance of Darwinism the very reason for refusing to recognize someone as holy.  You essentially stack the deck precisely to support your pov, not to mention that this is also the very epitome of circular logic.
Okay. Can you name a commonly recognised Saint of the 19 th century or even righteous one who accepted Darwinism?

I would probably reject those from the 20 th century you would bring up for other reasons, such as their allowing themselves to be pawns of Soviet power or even praising Joseph Stalin, showing gross disobediance to the canons, being heretical on other issues, etc. 

Theophan.
 

falafel333

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GOCTheophan said:
Okay. Can you name a commonly recognised Saint of the 19 th century or even righteous one who accepted Darwinism?

I would probably reject those from the 20 th century you would bring up for other reasons, such as their allowing themselves to be pawns of Soviet power or even praising Joseph Stalin, showing gross disobediance to the canons, being heretical on other issues, etc. 

Theophan.
This challenge is nonsensical in itself since Darwinism was not proposed till the late 19th century, and even then it was in a largely nonOrthodox country. And was really only then popularised in the 20th century.
 

Heorhij

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GOCTheophan said:
Okay. Can you name a commonly recognised Saint of the 19 th century or even righteous one who accepted Darwinism?


Theophan.
Dear Theophan,

There is no Darwinism, just like there is "Maxwellianism" or "Einsteinianism" or "Pasteurism." Darwin never intended to be the founder of any philosophical teaching, and those who think that there is one are simply misguided.

All Darwin did was explain the "mechanical," mechanistic side of the problem of diversification of life. To this sole end, he proposed a well-founded scientific theory of biological evolution (TBE). So far, TBE is not disproved, so, according to the conventional rules of the scientific method, it stands as valid. (Under "disproved" I, of course, mean purely scientific data, such as an observation that genes do not exist or do not mutate, or that frequencies of alleles and genotypes in populations remain constant regardless of the number of generations, etc. - not religious or other metaphysical objections.)

I believe we can simply choose to learn basic tenets of TBE, just like we can choose to learn basic tenets of other valid, sound scientific theories like the theory of electromagnetism, or the relativity theory, or the germ theory of disease. If we choose not to (which is tragic, IMHO), then we should not engage in debates about these theories, just like we should not engage in debates about the exact appearance of some animal that we never saw.

The dichotomy "choose Christ or choose Darwin (Maxwell, Tesla, Einstein, Bohr, Pasteur, Koch, ..., ..., ...)" is, IMHO, very false and, actually, cruel, unkind. I believe it is one of those false dichotomies that the evil one tries to sell us, to distract us from God and from what is really important in life.

George
 

ozgeorge

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Heorhij said:
The dichotomy "choose Christ or choose Darwin (Maxwell, Tesla, Einstein, Bohr, Pasteur, Koch, ..., ..., ...)" is, IMHO, very false and, actually, cruel, unkind. I believe it is one of those false dichotomies that the evil one tries to sell us, to distract us from God and from what is really important in life.
Hear hear!
You know, the only place I find Orthodox Christians discussing "Darwinism" is in internet forums. I have never once come across an Orthodox Christian book on the subject (perhaps there is one I don't know about). .I never hear it in our trapeza discussions after Liturgy or Q&A time with the Hegumen. Anything I have read or heard on the subject other than in online forums has come from either Evangelical Protestantism or Seventh Day Adventists.
 
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Dear Anastasius,

I have read St Basil's Hexameron and he seems to suggest we should leave science to the scientists, no?
It seems to me that St Basil's take on Genesis, at least on his own terms, was inspired by his understanding of the authoritative teaching of Scripture rather than science. In chapter six of his Hexameron he states:

We are proposing to examine the structure of the world and to contemplate the whole universe, not from the wisdom of the world, but from what God taught His servant when He spoke to him in person and without riddles.
I think there is a sense in which those who argue evolution are going to have to concede that many Fathers were plain wrong, not in their application of the science of their day as many claim, but simply in their understanding of the intention of the Scriptures, which those Fathers regarded as the sole authority upon which to base their ideas of creation.
 

DerekMK

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I have never once come across an Orthodox Christian book on the subject (perhaps there is one I don't know about). .I never hear it in our trapeza discussions after Liturgy or Q&A time with the Hegumen
Genesis, Creation and Early Man by Fr. Seraphim Rose.  

I'm fairly sure Cavarnos has a book out on the topic.  I remember seeing many little tract type publications at Athonite monasteries and other places in Greece.  Oddly enough I've even run across a Polish translation of Fr. Seraphim Rose's book.  
 

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ozgeorge said:
You know, the only place I find Orthodox Christians discussing "Darwinism" is in internet forums. I have never once come across an Orthodox Christian book on the subject (perhaps there is one I don't know about). .I never hear it in our trapeza discussions after Liturgy or Q&A time with the Hegumen. Anything I have read or heard on the subject other than in online forums has come from either Evangelical Protestantism or Seventh Day Adventists.
As far as I know, creationism as we know it today is a product of the United States. In orthodoxy things seem to trace back to Seraphim Rose, who showed a characteristic American interest in this and in "new age" religion.
 

Heorhij

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Keble said:
As far as I know, creationism as we know it today is a product of the United States. In orthodoxy things seem to trace back to Seraphim Rose, who showed a characteristic American interest in this and in "new age" religion.
Well, on a Russian Orthodox forum "Sirota" ("An Orphan") (http://www.cirota.ru) somebody mentioned a while ago that a book written by some present-day Russian Orthodox Church cleric is being circulated among the faithful. In this book this Fr. argues that the six days of Genesis are actual 6 times 24 hours, that the Earth is 7,000 years old, that real Adam and real Eve indeed existed alone (with no other humans around), etc. etc. etc.

Also, a number of the Russian Orthodox clerics wrote letters to the Ministry of Education of Russia, where they claimed that the biology curriculum in Russian schools must be changed, because it does not include the Genesis creation story.

Having said that, I actually do not disagree that this idiotic "creationism" is a Western, Evangelical Protestant influence.
 
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