- Mar 8, 2006
- Reaction score
- Portland, Oregon
But why even look to the Fathers for a consensus on this issue? Can we not just accept that maybe the Fathers spoke largely in support of a literal interpretation of Genesis (though I'm still not sure of this) without basing upon this some spurious Orthodox version of creationist dogma that twists and perverts the consensus some see or even creates a consensus that doesn't exist? IOW, even if there is a patristic consensus on this issue, I often think dogmatists like you and Fr. Seraphim Rose may be using this consensus as a source for the formulation of dogmatic conclusions, a use for which this consensus may have never been intended.jckstraw72 said:[Are you sure? I thought that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead actually was the beginning of that story, no?]
well i believe it was this thread, but perhaps a different one where another poster already commented on the anthropology of St. John Chyrsostom and how it is based on a literal understanding of Genesis --- changing Genesis to an allegory would change Orthodox anthropology for one instance. im reading through the 38 volume Church Fathers set and they continuously go back to Genesis on many subjects. of course Christ is our focal point, but we know what we're meant for and why we need Christ because of Genesis.
[I'm not convinced, though, that there was a consensual patristic understanding of Genesis, and I'm quite skeptical that this "consensus" may have been engineered by modern theologians motivated by an unhealthy fear of science.]
do you have any reason besides skepticism to question the concensus -- like have you seen Patristic quotes that deny the literal? do you really think people like St. Nektarios, St. Barsanuphius of Optina, St. Justin Popovich, Elder Cleopa, Fr. Seraphim, Elder Joseph the Hesychast, etc all just had an unhealthy fear of science? maybe their holiness enlightened them to things we don't see. i think its more likely that other modern theologians (i know of no Saints or modern elders who have come down in favor of evolution) fear looking ridiculous to the scientific community if they were to accept Genesis as is.
also, this just popped into my mind ... have you read the Mountain of Silence? The author mentions in there that the Church has historically interpreted Genesis literally. Also, I was in Romania in March and there was a sign by an old icon that said the icon was from the year 7100 or so from the creation of the world ... which corresponds to 1500 something (i dont remember the exact dates, and pictures were not allowed inside this particular church, otherwise i would have gotten a picture of the sign) ... but anyways this reflects the Church's traditional interpretation -- it adopted a calendar in teh Byzantine era that puts us now in the year 7518 or 7519 from the creation of the world. this is mentioned in Fr. Seraphim's book, and i know its also mentioned in http://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Russia-Belief-Practice-Under/dp/0271023503/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244432025&sr=8-1 and im sure you can find other sources. also check out this website http://www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/