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

PeterTheAleut

Hypatos
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2006
Messages
37,280
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
48
Location
Portland, Oregon
jckstraw72 said:
[But proof texts don't prove a consensus.]

how have i proof texted? I posted ECFs specifically saying its impermissible to interpret the days of creation allegorically and more recent Saints who explicitly wrote against evolution, and you call that proof texting?
Yes, by definition, what you have admitted to doing is in fact proof texting.  You have a dogmatic conclusion that you want to persuade us to embrace.  You have handpicked those patristic quotes, apparently removed from their proper context, that support your dogma (excluding those patristic quotes that don't?).  And you are presenting those handpicked quotes as evidence for the point you want to prove.  That, jckstraw, is proof texting.

A proof text taken out of context is merely a pretext.
 

Dan-Romania

High Elder
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
938
Reaction score
0
Points
0
voted both metaforically and literally.

My apologises for crossing the line in the other thread.
 

SDMPNS

High Elder
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
540
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
FLORIDA
I remember being taught in Sunday School in St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Philadelphia that the Book of Genesis does not contain literal facts but it contains literal truths. God created the heavens and the earth and created all of us in His image.The rest is just commentary.
I remember a old monk who has sense fallen asleep that one thing that worried him about evangelical protestants joining the Church is that they would still insist on reading the Bible as if they were still evangelical protestants.
 

Heorhij

Merarches
Joined
May 2, 2007
Messages
8,574
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
62
Location
Columbus, MS, USA (Originally from Ukraine)
Website
www.muw.edu
SDMPNS said:
I remember being taught in Sunday School in St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Philadelphia that the Book of Genesis does not contain literal facts but it contains literal truths. God created the heavens and the earth and created all of us in His image.The rest is just commentary.
I remember a old monk who has sense fallen asleep that one thing that worried him about evangelical protestants joining the Church is that they would still insist on reading the Bible as if they were still evangelical protestants.
I am afraid that there exists this trend in the traditionally Orthodox countries as well, not just in the USA or Western Europe where many Orthodox are converts from Protestantism. About 2 years ago, for example, I heard from one Russian woman from Moscow that her parish priest very strongly admonished her and other parishioners to take the Genesis story literally. When I wrote on another Orthodox forum ("Sirota," a Moscow-based one) that I take Genesis metaphorically, she replied, "that's bad, because you must believe that everything indeed happened just like it is told in this book - that's what my priest tells me."
 

SDMPNS

High Elder
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
540
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
FLORIDA
YIKES......I thought only America would have this problem because of the large number of Evangelicals who have converted..of coarse if one's priest is also a convert from protestantism...What is happening in the catachumanate?
[/quote]
 

jckstraw72

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Apr 7, 2009
Messages
1,174
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Yes, by definition, what you have admitted to doing is in fact proof texting.  You have a dogmatic conclusion that you want to persuade us to embrace.  You have handpicked those patristic quotes, apparently removed from their proper context, that support your dogma (excluding those patristic quotes that don't?).  And you are presenting those handpicked quotes as evidence for the point you want to prove.  That, jckstraw, is proof texting.
if my quotes are apparently removed from their proper context then feel free to put them in the proper context. the context is interpretation of Genesis. the reason i don't post quotes that contradict Creationism is that i've never seen one besides the few that Riddikulus posted, and I responded to them. feel free to post more quotes from Saints that contradict Creationism and then we can deal with them.

and i could easily say that the few quotes from Riddikulus are just prooftexted to try to prove evolution. for instance, i provided evidence from St. Clement of Alexandria that he did NOT believe in allegorical days, as Riddikulus' one quote seemingly showed. and regarding St. Justin Martyr -- one quote alone does not prove his stance on Genesis. In many other places he speaks of Adam and Eve literally, and a literal global flood (which many evolutionists tend to reject also). so his overall attitude to Genesis is one of literality, despite one confusing quote about the length of Adam's life (notice he therefore believes in a literal Adam who literally lived 900 some years ...)
 

jckstraw72

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Apr 7, 2009
Messages
1,174
Reaction score
0
Points
0
I am afraid that there exists this trend in the traditionally Orthodox countries as well, not just in the USA or Western Europe where many Orthodox are converts from Protestantism. About 2 years ago, for example, I heard from one Russian woman from Moscow that her parish priest very strongly admonished her and other parishioners to take the Genesis story literally. When I wrote on another Orthodox forum ("Sirota," a Moscow-based one) that I take Genesis metaphorically, she replied, "that's bad, because you must believe that everything indeed happened just like it is told in this book - that's what my priest tells me."
There is a society in Russia called Shestodnev -- 6 Days, which was founded with the blessing of Patriarch Alexei II (memory eternal). Every year they hold a conference which brings together theologians and scientists from all kinds of fields to discuss how their respective work falls in line with the Patristic teachings on Genesis. A recent issue of the Orthodox Word (from St. Herman's) is dedicated to the most recent conference.

Was Patriarch Alexei II and everyone involved in these conferences just a convert or too influenced by Fundamentalism? Should we say that of St. Nektarios, St. John of Kronstadt, St. Barsanuphius of Optina, Elder Cleopa, St. Justin Popovich, Elder Paisios, Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Fr. Seraphim, etc etc?
 

SDMPNS

High Elder
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
540
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
FLORIDA
I still maintain that the Genesis stories do not contain literal stories but do contain eternal truths..God created everything and made us in his image.
 

Riddikulus

Protokentarchos
Joined
Feb 20, 2006
Messages
4,788
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Queensland, Australia
jckstraw72 said:
No, it doesn't. Our God-bearing fathers were ignorant of the evidence, (yes, evidence) revealed to us over time by men of science. How many of the Church Fathers were geocentric in their understanding?

ok, well then you admit that the evidence contradicts the Fathers, you just believe the Fathers were wrong.
Yes, I've already said that. They were ignorant of the evidence revealed to us over time by men of science. In areas outside their expertise, they are wrong. Why would we assume that because someone is inspired by the Holy Spirit they know all things scientific?

I believe that studying the Creator is a more accurate approach than studying the creation. as for geocentrism -- did that belief arise from Scriptural interpretation, or did that just tend to be what everyone was believing?
It was a belief that was upheld by scripture, else why was the Church so adamently against it?

because the belief in literal days comes from their interpretation of Scripture, not from borrowing from the then-current ideas of the culture.
This belief came from the Jewish culture. There were other creation myths in the Roman world, but they were eventually discarded. This one took because it came with the Christian package.

again ill quote St. John of Kronstadt:
"The Holy Scriptures speak more truly and more clearly of the world than the world itself or the arrangement of the earthly strata; the scriptures of nature within it, being dead and voiceless, cannot express anything definite. "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?" Were you with God when He created the universe? "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counseller, hath taught Him?" And yet you geologists boast that you have understood the mind of the Lord, in the arrangement of strata, and maintained it in spite of Holy Writ! You believe more in the dead letters of the earthly strata, in the soulless earth, than in the Divinely-inspired words of the great prophet Moses, who saw God."
No disrepect to St John intended, but if he was insisting upon a literal interpretation of Genesis based on his limited understanding of what geologists of his time were saying, he is simply incorrect. Geologist do not boast that they understand the mind of the Lord; they read the evidence of nature. Is God a master deceiver? Why provide us with the intelligence to investigate and understand our surroundings and place an illusion of age in the strata?

you are correct in your assessment of my posts. however, i cannot agree that the Church has no dogmatic teaching on this matter. true, there is no Ecumenical Council statement on evolution, but the mind of the Church is not always expressed in a council. claiming that it must be ecumenically pronounced in order to be considered the Church's teaching would mean that the Church didnt teach Jesus as God until 325.
But it was certainly permissable to have an opinion either way before the mind of the Church was expressed in council. At this moment, we have no idea which side of the issue any of the Church fathers fall should a council to settle this matter ever be called.

Or for another example, which Ecumenical Council teaches that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ? (perhaps one of them did, but not that I know of). however, I did provide one Canon from the 6th and 7th Ecumenical Councils that says that we must believe in a literal Adam who only died because of sin (thus not because of a process of evolution).
What the Church teaches regarding the mysteries of our faith is quite different to testable scientific hypothesis. And again, which death are we discussing? Spiritual or physical? If the death described is spritual and relating solely to man, rather than the rest of the animal kingdom, that would only have come about once man had developed beyond *animal* instincts to moral concepts and conscience. Hence when the first of mankind sinned, the connection of innocence with God was severed. At that time, man no longer followed instincts with the innocence of the animal kingdom, he deliberated on things and made decisions outside that paradigm. 

Let me quote St Augustine once again...

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. [1 Timothy 1.7]
and despite this caution, he still says:

St. Augustine, City of God, Book XIII.XXI
On this account some allegorize all that concerns Paradise itself, where the first men, the parents of the human race, are, according to the truth of holy Scripture, recorded to have been; and they understand all its trees and fruit-bearing plants as virtues and habits of life, as if they had no existence in the external world, but were only so spoken of or related for the sake of spiritual meanings. As if there could not be a real terrestrial Paradise! As if there never existed these two women, Sarah and Hagar, nor the two sons who were born to Abraham, the one of the bond woman, the other of the free, because the apostle says that in them the two covenants were prefigured; or as if water never flowed from the rock when Moses struck it, because therein Christ can be seen in a figure, as the same apostle says, "Now that rock was Christ!" No one, then, denies that Paradise may signify the life of the blessed; its four rivers, the four virtues, prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice; its trees, all useful knowledge; its fruits, the customs of the godly; its tree of life, wisdom herself, the mother of all good; and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the experience of a broken commandment. The punishment which God appointed was in itself, a just, and therefore a good thing; but man's experience of it is not good.

These things can also and more profitably be understood of the Church, so that they become prophetic foreshadowings of things to come. Thus Paradise is the Church, as it is called in the Canticles;[2] the four rivers of Paradise are the four gospels; the fruit-trees the saints, and the fruit their works; the tree of life is the holy of holies, Christ; the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the will’s free choice. For if man despise the will of God, he can only destroy himself; and so he learns the difference between consecrating himself to the common good and revelling in his own. For he who loves himself is abandoned to himself, in order that, being overwhelmed with fears and sorrows, he may cry, if there be yet soul in him to feel his ills, in the words of the psalm, “My soul is cast down within me,”[3] and when chastened, may say,” Because of his strength I will wait upon Thee.”[

. . .These and similar allegorical interpretations may be suitably put upon Paradise without giving offence to any one, while yet we believe the strict truth of the history, confirmed by its circumstantial narrative of facts.
I have added the piece represented by the ellipsis in the quote you supplied to get a better idea of context. Clearly St Augstine doesn't appear to be speaking against the allegorising of Paradise, merely certain allegorizations.

I prefer to look at what St. Augustine actually believed about Genesis, rather than assuming that the other quote accurately applies to creationists (do we actually know St. Augustine would say that about creationists? perhaps he would say that about evolutionists).
Well, certainly it would appear that St Augustine doesn't support an entirely literal interpretation of Genesis, for he has allegorised paradise in the above passage.

editied for clarity

 

Riddikulus

Protokentarchos
Joined
Feb 20, 2006
Messages
4,788
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Queensland, Australia
jckstraw72 said:
and i could easily say that the few quotes from Riddikulus are just prooftexted to try to prove evolution.
No, they don't prove evolution and I never said they did. The theory of Evolution was unknown at the time. All the quotes prove, is that not all the fathers spoke of Genesis in literal terms.

edited for clarity......  :-[
 

jckstraw72

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Apr 7, 2009
Messages
1,174
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Riddikulus said:
jckstraw72 said:
No, it doesn't. Our God-bearing fathers were ignorant of the evidence, (yes, evidence) revealed to us over time by men of science. How many of the Church Fathers were geocentric in their understanding?

ok, well then you admit that the evidence contradicts the Fathers, you just believe the Fathers were wrong.
Yes, I've already said that. They were ignorant of the evidence revealed to us over time by men of science. In areas outside their expertise, they are wrong. Why would we assume that because someone is inspired by the Holy Spirit they know all things scientific?
im not advocating assuming that. im advocating looking to the Fathers to understand Scripture. Why do you interpret Scripture according to scientific theories rather than the Fathers?


because the belief in literal days comes from their interpretation of Scripture, not from borrowing from the then-current ideas of the culture.
This belief came from the Jewish culture. There were other creation myths in the Roman world, but they were eventually discarded. This one took because it came with the Christian package.
where do you think the Jews got it from? perhaps Scripture ...

again ill quote St. John of Kronstadt:
"The Holy Scriptures speak more truly and more clearly of the world than the world itself or the arrangement of the earthly strata; the scriptures of nature within it, being dead and voiceless, cannot express anything definite. "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?" Were you with God when He created the universe? "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counseller, hath taught Him?" And yet you geologists boast that you have understood the mind of the Lord, in the arrangement of strata, and maintained it in spite of Holy Writ! You believe more in the dead letters of the earthly strata, in the soulless earth, than in the Divinely-inspired words of the great prophet Moses, who saw God."
No disrepect to St John intended, but if he was insisting upon a literal interpretation of Genesis based on his limited understanding of what geologists of his time were saying, he is simply incorrect. Geologist do not boast that they understand the mind of the Lord; they read the evidence of nature. Is God a master deceiver? Why provide us with the intelligence to investigate and understand our surroundings and place an illusion of age in the strata?
we've already discussed whether or not geologists claim to know the mind of God. they might not outright say that claim, but they think they know that the days of Genesis are actually periods because of their scientific work. they believe the Fathers to be wrong, thus they believe they understand God's creation and Scripture better.

and there is no illusion of age, because God has told us through the Church that He created plants and all such things in a mature state. had He not told us this you could perhaps claim He's being deceptive, but we already know from Scripture and the Fathers that we should expect the young earth to appear mature. on the first day of Adam's existence he was allowed to eat from certain trees -- obviously he didnt have to wait for the trees to grow up and produce fruit, it was already that way.

you are correct in your assessment of my posts. however, i cannot agree that the Church has no dogmatic teaching on this matter. true, there is no Ecumenical Council statement on evolution, but the mind of the Church is not always expressed in a council. claiming that it must be ecumenically pronounced in order to be considered the Church's teaching would mean that the Church didnt teach Jesus as God until 325.
But it was certainly permissable to have an opinion either way before the mind of the Church was expressed in council. At this moment, we have no idea which side of the issue any of the Church fathers fall should a council to settle this matter ever be called.
sure we do. read their works.

if it was permissible to not believe that Jesus was God why was it such a problem that Aruis believed that? your line of argument seems to suggest that the faith is not there from the Apostles but is rather decided upon in Councils. as i understand it, the Orthodox view is that the Councils proclaimed what the Church always believed.

Or for another example, which Ecumenical Council teaches that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ? (perhaps one of them did, but not that I know of). however, I did provide one Canon from the 6th and 7th Ecumenical Councils that says that we must believe in a literal Adam who only died because of sin (thus not because of a process of evolution).
What the Church teaches regarding the mysteries of our faith is quite different to testable scientific hypothesis. And again, which death are we discussing? Spiritual or physical? If the death described is spritual and relating solely to man, rather than the rest of the animal kingdom, that would only have come about once man had developed beyond *animal* instincts to moral concepts and conscience. Hence when the first of mankind sinned, the connection of innocence with God was severed. At that time, man no longer followed instincts with the innocence of the animal kingdom, he deliberated on things and made decisions outside that paradigm. 
we are talking about every kind of death. The Wisdom of Solomon tells us that God did not create death. I have already provided a canon from the 6th and 7th Ecumenical Councils that declares anathema anyone who believes man was meant to physically die. futhermore, why would Christ defeat physical death if its actually good? (since everything God created was good ...). Also, regarding animals, how would it be paradise for man if the animals he names and loves and cares for are dying all around him? does he just not actually care about the animals and thus it doesn't affect him?  

Let me quote St Augustine once again...

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. [1 Timothy 1.7]
and despite this caution, he still says:

St. Augustine, City of God, Book XIII.XXI
On this account some allegorize all that concerns Paradise itself, where the first men, the parents of the human race, are, according to the truth of holy Scripture, recorded to have been; and they understand all its trees and fruit-bearing plants as virtues and habits of life, as if they had no existence in the external world, but were only so spoken of or related for the sake of spiritual meanings. As if there could not be a real terrestrial Paradise! As if there never existed these two women, Sarah and Hagar, nor the two sons who were born to Abraham, the one of the bond woman, the other of the free, because the apostle says that in them the two covenants were prefigured; or as if water never flowed from the rock when Moses struck it, because therein Christ can be seen in a figure, as the same apostle says, "Now that rock was Christ!" No one, then, denies that Paradise may signify the life of the blessed; its four rivers, the four virtues, prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice; its trees, all useful knowledge; its fruits, the customs of the godly; its tree of life, wisdom herself, the mother of all good; and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the experience of a broken commandment. The punishment which God appointed was in itself, a just, and therefore a good thing; but man's experience of it is not good.

These things can also and more profitably be understood of the Church, so that they become prophetic foreshadowings of things to come. Thus Paradise is the Church, as it is called in the Canticles;[2] the four rivers of Paradise are the four gospels; the fruit-trees the saints, and the fruit their works; the tree of life is the holy of holies, Christ; the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the will’s free choice. For if man despise the will of God, he can only destroy himself; and so he learns the difference between consecrating himself to the common good and revelling in his own. For he who loves himself is abandoned to himself, in order that, being overwhelmed with fears and sorrows, he may cry, if there be yet soul in him to feel his ills, in the words of the psalm, “My soul is cast down within me,”[3] and when chastened, may say,” Because of his strength I will wait upon Thee.”[

. . .These and similar allegorical interpretations may be suitably put upon Paradise without giving offence to any one, while yet we believe the strict truth of the history, confirmed by its circumstantial narrative of facts.
I have added the piece represented by the ellipsis in the quote you supplied to get a better idea of context. Clearly St Augstine doesn't appear to be speaking against the allegorising of Paradise, merely certain allegorizations.
I prefer to look at what St. Augustine actually believed about Genesis, rather than assuming that the other quote accurately applies to creationists (do we actually know St. Augustine would say that about creationists? perhaps he would say that about evolutionists).
Well, certainly it would appear that St Augustine doesn't support a literal interpretation of Genesis.
if you read the City of God you will see that he most certainly supports a literal Genesis. He is rightly saying that there are deeper levels of meanings that can be taken from the text, but that does not exclude the literal level. that is exactly what he says in the quote i provided.

for instance:

St. Gregory the Theologian, noted for his profound mystical interpretations of Scripture, says of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: "This tree was, according to my view, Contemplation, upon which it is only safe for those who have reached maturity of habit to enter." Does this mean that he regarded this tree as only a symbol, and not also a literal tree? In his own writings he apparently does not give an answer to this question, but another great Holy Father does (for when they are teaching Orthodox doctrine and not just giving private opinions, all the great Fathers agree with each other and even help to interpret each other). St. Gregory Palamas, the fourteenth-century hesychast Father, comments on this passage:

Gregory the Theologian has called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil "contemplation" ... but it does not follow that what is involved is an illusion or a symbol without existence of its own. For the divine Maximus (the Confessor) also makes Moses the symbol of judgment, and Elijah the symbol of foresight! Are they too then supposed not to have really existed, but to have been invented "symbolically"?

St. Macarius the Great of Egypt, a Saint of the most exalted mystical life and whom one certainly cannot suspect of overly literal views of Scripture, writes on Genesis 3:24: "That Paradise was closed and that a Cherubim was commanded to prevent man from entering it by a flaming sword: of this we believe that in visible fashion it was indeed just as it is written, and at the same time we find that this occurs mystically in every soul." This is a passage which many of us might have expected to have only a mystical meaning, but this great seer of Divine things assures us that it is also true "just as it is written" - for those capable of seeing it.


http://www.creatio.orthodoxy.ru/english/rose_genesis/chapter1.html



let me make this clear, although i already have: there are allegorical truths to Genesis, but they do not exclude the literal truth. however, the Fathers have explicitly taught that interpreting Genesis only allegorically to the exclusion of the literal level is impermissible.
 

jckstraw72

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Apr 7, 2009
Messages
1,174
Reaction score
0
Points
0
No, they don't prove evolution and I never said they did. The theory of Evolution was unknown at the time. All the quotes prove, is that not all the fathers spoke of Genesis in literal terms.
but they only deal with the length of the days, and some of them are confusing at best (St. Justin Martyr, and St. Irenaeus) and the St. Clement quote doesnt even deal with the length of the days as it supposedly does.

websites that collect such quotes dont look at how the Fathers dealt with the entirety of Genesis -- for instance did those Fathers believe in a literal Adam and Eve, a literal global flood, did they believe death existed before sin, did they believe all of earth was immortal, or just man? these questions are far more important for the issue at hand, and Fr. Seraphim's book delves into all these matters. just looking at one small aspect is not sufficient to glean the minds of the Chuch/Fathers on this issue.
 

Riddikulus

Protokentarchos
Joined
Feb 20, 2006
Messages
4,788
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Queensland, Australia
jckstraw72,

I just typed a reply to you on one of your recent posts and somehow, in trying to fix up the quotes, I lost the lot.  :mad: I'm sorry, but I'm going to take that as Divine Intervention showing me that it's time to stop this, and I'm just not going to spend another hour trying to recollect everything I had written. We seem to be going in circles anyway, and I really don't have any more time to give to this topic. As I don't wish to make this thread a full-time career, I'm going to have to say that we will just have to agree to disagree.

The sun is shining, grandchildren are pestering me to take them out. In short, "real life" opportunities call to me!  ;D

Thanks for your civil exchange of ideas.

God be with you.
 

jckstraw72

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Apr 7, 2009
Messages
1,174
Reaction score
0
Points
0
for anyone else who is still reading, i was just about to post these:

St. Gregory the Sinaite writes:

The presently existing creation was not originally created corruptible; but afterwards it fell under corruption, “being made subject to vanity,” according to the Scripture. (Chapters on Commandments and Dogmas 11, Russian Philokalia, vol. 5)

In his Homilies on Romans St. John Chrysostom says:

just as the creature become corruptible when your body became corruptible, so also when your body will be incorrupt, the creature also will follow after it and become corresponding to it.

St. Macarius the Great says:

Adam was placed as the lord and king of all creatures . . . . But after his captivity, there was taken captive together with him the creation which served him and submitted to him, because through him death came to reign over every soul. (Fifty Spiritual Homilies, Homily 11)

St. Symeon the New Theologian writes:

The words and decrees of God became the law of nature. Therefore also the decree of God, uttered by Him as a result of the disobedience of the first Adam—that is, the decree to him of death and corruption—became the law of nature, eternal and unalterable. (Homily 38)

And St. Basil writes, “in fact, nothing of what had received designation or existence had yet died." (On the Origin of Man). And this fits exactly with what St. Paul tells us in Romans 8:

18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

If all of creation but Paradise and man was meant to die then it wouldn’t be groaning in pain. Futhermore, he even says the creatures were made subject to vanity and shall be delivered into the “glorious liberty” of the saints.
 

PeterTheAleut

Hypatos
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2006
Messages
37,280
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
48
Location
Portland, Oregon
jckstraw72 said:
Riddikulus said:
jckstraw72 said:
No, it doesn't. Our God-bearing fathers were ignorant of the evidence, (yes, evidence) revealed to us over time by men of science. How many of the Church Fathers were geocentric in their understanding?

ok, well then you admit that the evidence contradicts the Fathers, you just believe the Fathers were wrong.
Yes, I've already said that. They were ignorant of the evidence revealed to us over time by men of science. In areas outside their expertise, they are wrong. Why would we assume that because someone is inspired by the Holy Spirit they know all things scientific?
im not advocating assuming that. im advocating looking to the Fathers to understand Scripture. Why do you interpret Scripture according to scientific theories rather than the Fathers?
Why do you interpret science according to the Scriptures and the Fathers and not according to the observations of science?  Riddikulus has already mentioned how we have been forced to reinterpret the Scriptures according to our scientific knowledge that the earth is not the center of the universe and that the earth is not flat, despite the clear biblical evidence to the contrary.  Are we to continue to see the earth as flat because the Scriptures and the Fathers say the earth is flat?

jckstraw72 said:
you are correct in your assessment of my posts. however, i cannot agree that the Church has no dogmatic teaching on this matter. true, there is no Ecumenical Council statement on evolution, but the mind of the Church is not always expressed in a council. claiming that it must be ecumenically pronounced in order to be considered the Church's teaching would mean that the Church didnt teach Jesus as God until 325.
But it was certainly permissable to have an opinion either way before the mind of the Church was expressed in council. At this moment, we have no idea which side of the issue any of the Church fathers fall should a council to settle this matter ever be called.
sure we do. read their works.
Just because Riddikulus disagrees with you doesn't mean she hasn't read the Fathers' works.  She apparently has already and has presented from her reading evidence to suggest that there is no such patristic consensus as you like to keep proclaiming.  You can keep bombarding us with patristic quotes all you want, but you need to prove near unanimity to prove a consensus.  All it takes to disprove a consensus is just a few quotes from some Fathers who believed differently, and Riddikulus has done that.

jckstraw72 said:
if you read the City of God you will see that he most certainly supports a literal Genesis. He is rightly saying that there are deeper levels of meanings that can be taken from the text, but that does not exclude the literal level. that is exactly what he says in the quote i provided.
Again, Riddikulus has read the City of God, or else she wouldn't be able to quote it to you.  It's possible for someone to have read and studied the same material you have studied and still draw a conclusion that differs from yours.  She has apparently done this.

jckstraw72 said:
let me make this clear, although i already have: there are allegorical truths to Genesis, but they do not exclude the literal truth. however, the Fathers have explicitly taught that interpreting Genesis only allegorically to the exclusion of the literal level is impermissible.
The thrust of your arguments, however, don't show a desire to present a literal view of Genesis as A legitimate way to understand the text.  Your use of Genesis to oppose evolutionary theory shows, rather, a desire to present a literal view of Genesis as THE ONLY legitimate way.  If you could accept a non-literal interpretation of Genesis, why are you so opposed to a view of Genesis that allows for evolution?
 

jckstraw72

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Apr 7, 2009
Messages
1,174
Reaction score
0
Points
0
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
Riddikulus said:
jckstraw72 said:
No, it doesn't. Our God-bearing fathers were ignorant of the evidence, (yes, evidence) revealed to us over time by men of science. How many of the Church Fathers were geocentric in their understanding?

ok, well then you admit that the evidence contradicts the Fathers, you just believe the Fathers were wrong.
Yes, I've already said that. They were ignorant of the evidence revealed to us over time by men of science. In areas outside their expertise, they are wrong. Why would we assume that because someone is inspired by the Holy Spirit they know all things scientific?
im not advocating assuming that. im advocating looking to the Fathers to understand Scripture. Why do you interpret Scripture according to scientific theories rather than the Fathers?
Why do you interpret science according to the Scriptures and the Fathers and not according to the observations of science?  Riddikulus has already mentioned how we have been forced to reinterpret the Scriptures according to our scientific knowledge that the earth is not the center of the universe and that the earth is not flat, despite the clear biblical evidence to the contrary.  Are we to continue to see the earth as flat because the Scriptures and the Fathers say the earth is flat?
i only "interpret science according to the SCriptures and the Fathers" when there is an overlap. in such an instance the Church is obviously a more accurate source, as it hears directly from God. Where do the Scriptures speak of a flat earth though? And what doctrinal issue would this be related to? I have already brought up several doctrinal issues that are involved in how we understand Genesis.

jckstraw72 said:
you are correct in your assessment of my posts. however, i cannot agree that the Church has no dogmatic teaching on this matter. true, there is no Ecumenical Council statement on evolution, but the mind of the Church is not always expressed in a council. claiming that it must be ecumenically pronounced in order to be considered the Church's teaching would mean that the Church didnt teach Jesus as God until 325.
But it was certainly permissable to have an opinion either way before the mind of the Church was expressed in council. At this moment, we have no idea which side of the issue any of the Church fathers fall should a council to settle this matter ever be called.
sure we do. read their works.

Just because Riddikulus disagrees with you doesn't mean she hasn't read the Fathers' works.  She apparently has already and has presented from her reading evidence to suggest that there is no such patristic consensus as you like to keep proclaiming.  You can keep bombarding us with patristic quotes all you want, but you need to prove near unanimity to prove a consensus.  All it takes to disprove a consensus is just a few quotes from some Fathers who believed differently, and Riddikulus has done that.
i have already dealt with her quotes several times. at best she shows some variance on the length of the days of creation. this hardly speaks to the totality of the Adam and Eve story.

jckstraw72 said:
if you read the City of God you will see that he most certainly supports a literal Genesis. He is rightly saying that there are deeper levels of meanings that can be taken from the text, but that does not exclude the literal level. that is exactly what he says in the quote i provided.

Again, Riddikulus has read the City of God, or else she wouldn't be able to quote it to you.  It's possible for someone to have read and studied the same material you have studied and still draw a conclusion that differs from yours.  She has apparently done this.
its quite literally impossible to read the City of God and come away thinking St. Augustine did not interpret Genesis literally. He said its only acceptable to see allegorical spiritual truths in Genesis if you also adhere to the strictly historical sense of it. i have already provided that quote in an earlier post.

jckstraw72 said:
let me make this clear, although i already have: there are allegorical truths to Genesis, but they do not exclude the literal truth. however, the Fathers have explicitly taught that interpreting Genesis only allegorically to the exclusion of the literal level is impermissible.

The thrust of your arguments, however, don't show a desire to present a literal view of Genesis as A legitimate way to understand the text.  Your use of Genesis to oppose evolutionary theory shows, rather, a desire to present a literal view of Genesis as THE ONLY legitimate way.  If you could accept a non-literal interpretation of Genesis, why are you so opposed to a view of Genesis that allows for evolution?
no i quite understand that there are allegorical truths in Genesis, and I have already posted several Patristic quotes that speak of this. Scripture has many levels, which should all be taken into account. The problem with evolution is that it necessarily rules out the literal level, which no Church Father (that I have ever seen, including in this whole thread) ever did. I have also mentioned previously Church canons that speak of a literal Adam and Eve, the Church's calendar adopts a literal timeline, icons show Adam and Eve and other early figures with halos which means they are actual people/Saints, etc etc.


i am quite comfortable with the allegorical truths of Genesis. the question is, why are modern Christians uncomfortable with the literal level. is there any reason from within the Church to be so?
 

Ebor

Taxiarches
Joined
Dec 11, 2002
Messages
6,492
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
64
Location
Maryland
jckstraw72 said:
why are modern Christians uncomfortable with the literal level
"Uncomfortable"?  Hardly.  Genesis tells the Truth that God created the universe.  Scientific knowledge shows the facts of creatures that once lived and passed into extinction, the plate tectonics that show how the continents fit together once long ago and how the Earth has changed, how species can adapt to certain settings such as the finches on the Galapagos Islands, the age of samples by various methods such as C14 and K-Ar, how the Mediterranean Sea was once a desert then flooded when the passage to the Atlantic opened and so much more.  I'd as lief be "uncomfortable" with a favourite story that I knew wasn't physical fact.  They're different kinds of information or thought. 

It's marvelous that God did so much over so long.  Much more marvelous then having all this only a few thousand years old with fake fossils that seem to be millions of years old.  For God to make fake fossils would have Him making a lie, and I don't believe that.

Ebor
 

Riddikulus

Protokentarchos
Joined
Feb 20, 2006
Messages
4,788
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Queensland, Australia
jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
Riddikulus said:
jckstraw72 said:
No, it doesn't. Our God-bearing fathers were ignorant of the evidence, (yes, evidence) revealed to us over time by men of science. How many of the Church Fathers were geocentric in their understanding?

ok, well then you admit that the evidence contradicts the Fathers, you just believe the Fathers were wrong.
Yes, I've already said that. They were ignorant of the evidence revealed to us over time by men of science. In areas outside their expertise, they are wrong. Why would we assume that because someone is inspired by the Holy Spirit they know all things scientific?
im not advocating assuming that. im advocating looking to the Fathers to understand Scripture. Why do you interpret Scripture according to scientific theories rather than the Fathers?
Why do you interpret science according to the Scriptures and the Fathers and not according to the observations of science?  Riddikulus has already mentioned how we have been forced to reinterpret the Scriptures according to our scientific knowledge that the earth is not the center of the universe and that the earth is not flat, despite the clear biblical evidence to the contrary.  Are we to continue to see the earth as flat because the Scriptures and the Fathers say the earth is flat?
i only "interpret science according to the SCriptures and the Fathers" when there is an overlap. in such an instance the Church is obviously a more accurate source, as it hears directly from God. Where do the Scriptures speak of a flat earth though? And what doctrinal issue would this be related to? I have already brought up several doctrinal issues that are involved in how we understand Genesis.

jckstraw72 said:
you are correct in your assessment of my posts. however, i cannot agree that the Church has no dogmatic teaching on this matter. true, there is no Ecumenical Council statement on evolution, but the mind of the Church is not always expressed in a council. claiming that it must be ecumenically pronounced in order to be considered the Church's teaching would mean that the Church didnt teach Jesus as God until 325.
But it was certainly permissable to have an opinion either way before the mind of the Church was expressed in council. At this moment, we have no idea which side of the issue any of the Church fathers fall should a council to settle this matter ever be called.
sure we do. read their works.

Just because Riddikulus disagrees with you doesn't mean she hasn't read the Fathers' works.  She apparently has already and has presented from her reading evidence to suggest that there is no such patristic consensus as you like to keep proclaiming.  You can keep bombarding us with patristic quotes all you want, but you need to prove near unanimity to prove a consensus.  All it takes to disprove a consensus is just a few quotes from some Fathers who believed differently, and Riddikulus has done that.
i have already dealt with her quotes several times. at best she shows some variance on the length of the days of creation. this hardly speaks to the totality of the Adam and Eve story.
What is does show is that a literal interpretation of Genesis is not consistent within the writings of the Fathers.

jckstraw72 said:
if you read the City of God you will see that he most certainly supports a literal Genesis. He is rightly saying that there are deeper levels of meanings that can be taken from the text, but that does not exclude the literal level. that is exactly what he says in the quote i provided.

Again, Riddikulus has read the City of God, or else she wouldn't be able to quote it to you.  It's possible for someone to have read and studied the same material you have studied and still draw a conclusion that differs from yours.  She has apparently done this.
its quite literally impossible to read the City of God and come away thinking St. Augustine did not interpret Genesis literally. He said its only acceptable to see allegorical spiritual truths in Genesis if you also adhere to the strictly historical sense of it. i have already provided that quote in an earlier post.
I'm not sure how you would come to this conclusion. St Augustine is famous (or infamous, depending on one's point of view) for advocating that the creation events were implemented instantaneously rather than spread over six natural days. He speculates in various ways as to the meaning of the days, but advocates a position of instantaneous creation taking place in Genesis 1:1. In the City of God, he states; "What kind of days these were is extremely difficult, or perhaps impossible for us to conceive." Literal days are hardly impossible to conceive. It seems St Augustine was puzzled as to when God created time, with the sun (by which a normal day is measured) being created only on the fourth day. Because of this he opted for instantaneous creation, with the “days” of Genesis 1 being treated as six repetitions of a single day or days of angelic knowledge or some other symbolic representation. 

Augustine’s view, with its emphasis on instantaneous creation, had a profound influence throughout the Middle Ages.

What seems clear from the City of God is that Augustine believed that the six days of Genesis are the progressive revelation of God's creative activity - to the angels and to any humans who could not understand that He created everything instantaneously. Augustine interprets the days in Genesis as being a manifestation of the sequence in that one moment of Creation. To Augustine, all creation happened in one instant.

"But simultaneously with time the world was made, if in the world's creation change and motion were created, as seems evident from the order of the first six or seven days. For in these days the morning and evening are counted, until, on the sixth day, all things which God then made were finished, and on the seventh the rest of God was mysteriously and sublimely signalized. What kind of days these were it is extremely difficult, or perhaps impossible for us to conceive, and how much more to say!" (City of God, Book 11: Chapt. 6). http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf102.iv.XI.6.html

Spirit of God who by him recorded God’s works which were finished on the sixth day, may be supposed not to have omitted all mention of the angels whether he included them in the words “in the beginning,” because He made them first, or, which seems most likely, because He made them in the only-begotten Word.  And, under these names heaven and earth, the whole creation is signified, either as divided into spiritual and material, which seems the more likely, or into the two great parts of the world in which all created things are contained, so that, first of all, the creation is presented in sum, and then its parts are enumerated according to the mystic number of the days. (chapter 33 City of God http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf102.iv.XI.33.html)




 
Top