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

jckstraw72

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PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
I do not know their views on mutation, genetic drift, natural selection, speciation, etc. But if they wrote somewhere that the currently existing theory of biological evolution must be wrong because of these and these and these Scriptural reasons - then I would have to be very sorry to conclude that they all were as much weirdoes and wacos as Fr. Seraphim was.
yes, the Saints are weirdos bc they don't agree with you. that sounds so Orthodox.
No less Orthodox than your assertion that the Saints are infallible. ;)
i made no such assertion. i have referenced ancient and modern Saints, church hymns, icons, canons, Scripture, and the Church calendar. ya'll have provided 3 Patristic quotes and some modern scientists.
The truth of one's convictions are not measured by number of "supporters".
actually, yes, thats how it works in the Church. Tradition is that which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. A new belief that popped up 200 years ago due to the outside influence of non-Orthodox scientists hardly passes that test.
 

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Ebor said:
jckstraw72 said:
Ebor said:
jckstraw72 said:
Heorhij said:
jckstraw72 said:
haha i never said the Fathers commented on evolution! that doesnt mean their work is totally irrelevant though.
I think it IS totally irrelevant, because they could not possibly have the first clue about what the biological evolution is.
who cares? they understand Scripture. go back and read the OP ....
Because the science of Biology is not the subject of the Scriptures, nor is it a subject that the ECF knew about.  How could they have any relevant comment upon something of which they knew nothing? 
the question at hand is how to interpret Genesis. i have very little interest in diving into science.
As a theological work that tells that God created the Universe, but doesn't tell us the nuts-and-bolts process?
youre right, the Fathers tell us not to try to get into "how" God created because that is beyond us as an act of God. How does God "speak" and out comes creation? I have no clue how to fathom that. But the Church is able to tell us what the Scriptures mean by "day" and She is able to tell us that Adam and Eve  were literal people and She is able to tell us that no death of any kind occurred before sin. i have never attempted to say "how" God creates and I have never said that the Church tells us that. on the other hand, theistic evolutionists DO try to tell us the "how" and in doing so they come into conflict with Tradition, by saying death existed even before sin, Adam and Eve aren't literal, the days aren't literal, etc.

Heorhij said:
so St. Barsanuphius of Optina, St. Nektarios, St. Justin Popovich, St. John of Kronstadt, St. Seraphim of Sarov, and others like Elder Paisios, Elder Joseph the Hesychast, and Elder Cleopa arent Saints in your eyes. You know darn well I've already mentioned and quoted them several times. You're just choosing to ignore that.
One might suggest that they are counted as saints due to their theology or devotion or humility or other things.  But none of them were apparently learned in biology.
they were illumined by God, thus I will give credence to their teachings on Scripture over those of scientists.
I haven't come across any paleontologists or geologists teaching on Scripture.  The ones I've read have been on the fossils, the data and the methods used.  Have you found some who say that they are "teaching in Scripture" or is that your idea that they are and you are conflating religion and science?
theistic evolutionists believe the days weren't literal, they usually believe Adam and Eve aren't literal, they believe death existed in the world even before sin and thus there was no Paradisiacal earth, etc. there is nothing in the Church that tells them to believe these things -- these beliefs about Scripture come solely from evolutionary science. that is what i mean.
 

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jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
I do not know their views on mutation, genetic drift, natural selection, speciation, etc. But if they wrote somewhere that the currently existing theory of biological evolution must be wrong because of these and these and these Scriptural reasons - then I would have to be very sorry to conclude that they all were as much weirdoes and wacos as Fr. Seraphim was.
yes, the Saints are weirdos bc they don't agree with you. that sounds so Orthodox.
No less Orthodox than your assertion that the Saints are infallible. ;)
i made no such assertion. i have referenced ancient and modern Saints, church hymns, icons, canons, Scripture, and the Church calendar. ya'll have provided 3 Patristic quotes and some modern scientists.
The truth of one's convictions are not measured by number of "supporters".
actually, yes, thats how it works in the Church. Tradition is that which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. A new belief that popped up 200 years ago due to the outside influence of non-Orthodox scientists hardly passes that test.

No, PtA is right, that's not how it works.  Tradition does not mean having the most number of supporters, otherwise St. Athanasius was in the wrong.  Remember, he "woke up and found the world Arian".  Considering the support the iconoclasts had in their own time, I would probably go so far as to say that iconoclasm had the most number of supporters before the Ecumenical Council that condemned it as heresy. 

 

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Schultz said:
Considering the support the iconoclasts had in their own time, I would probably go so far as to say that iconoclasm had the most number of supporters before the Ecumenical Council that condemned it as heresy. 
Even after the 7th Ecumenical Council there was needed another council to condemn Iconoclasm.
 

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Schultz said:
jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
I do not know their views on mutation, genetic drift, natural selection, speciation, etc. But if they wrote somewhere that the currently existing theory of biological evolution must be wrong because of these and these and these Scriptural reasons - then I would have to be very sorry to conclude that they all were as much weirdoes and wacos as Fr. Seraphim was.
yes, the Saints are weirdos bc they don't agree with you. that sounds so Orthodox.
No less Orthodox than your assertion that the Saints are infallible. ;)
i made no such assertion. i have referenced ancient and modern Saints, church hymns, icons, canons, Scripture, and the Church calendar. ya'll have provided 3 Patristic quotes and some modern scientists.
The truth of one's convictions are not measured by number of "supporters".
actually, yes, thats how it works in the Church. Tradition is that which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. A new belief that popped up 200 years ago due to the outside influence of non-Orthodox scientists hardly passes that test.

No, PtA is right, that's not how it works.  Tradition does not mean having the most number of supporters, otherwise St. Athanasius was in the wrong.  Remember, he "woke up and found the world Arian".  Considering the support the iconoclasts had in their own time, I would probably go so far as to say that iconoclasm had the most number of supporters before the Ecumenical Council that condemned it as heresy. 
And there's also the famous words of St. Maximos the Confessor when the emperor tried to persuade him to embrace monotheletism.  [My paraphrase]  "I don't care if the whole Church embraces this heresy.  I will remain Orthodox."  St. Maximos won when monotheletism was condemned by the Sixth Ecumenical Council.
 

PeterTheAleut

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jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
I do not know their views on mutation, genetic drift, natural selection, speciation, etc. But if they wrote somewhere that the currently existing theory of biological evolution must be wrong because of these and these and these Scriptural reasons - then I would have to be very sorry to conclude that they all were as much weirdoes and wacos as Fr. Seraphim was.
yes, the Saints are weirdos bc they don't agree with you. that sounds so Orthodox.
No less Orthodox than your assertion that the Saints are infallible. ;)
i made no such assertion. i have referenced ancient and modern Saints, church hymns, icons, canons, Scripture, and the Church calendar. ya'll have provided 3 Patristic quotes and some modern scientists.
The truth of one's convictions are not measured by number of "supporters".
actually, yes, thats how it works in the Church. Tradition is that which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. A new belief that popped up 200 years ago due to the outside influence of non-Orthodox scientists hardly passes that test.
And how recently did the modern-day creationist dogma you're spouting here pop up?  The Fathers may have spoken individually and in disparate contexts regarding their understandings of Scripture and creation, but it's only been within the past 100 or so years that Christians have developed their specific dogmas of Creationism and compiled proof texts from the Scriptures and/or the Fathers for support.  I would venture to say that the Fathers were by and large NOT creationists as we define this term today.
 

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Schultz said:
jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
I do not know their views on mutation, genetic drift, natural selection, speciation, etc. But if they wrote somewhere that the currently existing theory of biological evolution must be wrong because of these and these and these Scriptural reasons - then I would have to be very sorry to conclude that they all were as much weirdoes and wacos as Fr. Seraphim was.
yes, the Saints are weirdos bc they don't agree with you. that sounds so Orthodox.
No less Orthodox than your assertion that the Saints are infallible. ;)
i made no such assertion. i have referenced ancient and modern Saints, church hymns, icons, canons, Scripture, and the Church calendar. ya'll have provided 3 Patristic quotes and some modern scientists.
The truth of one's convictions are not measured by number of "supporters".
actually, yes, thats how it works in the Church. Tradition is that which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. A new belief that popped up 200 years ago due to the outside influence of non-Orthodox scientists hardly passes that test.

No, PtA is right, that's not how it works.  Tradition does not mean having the most number of supporters, otherwise St. Athanasius was in the wrong.  Remember, he "woke up and found the world Arian".  Considering the support the iconoclasts had in their own time, I would probably go so far as to say that iconoclasm had the most number of supporters before the Ecumenical Council that condemned it as heresy. 
im talking about looking at the whole picture ... of course there can be any number of heresies with many supporters at any one time, but overall the gates of Hades don't prevail of course. I had in mind St. Vincent's statement that Tradition is that which is believed, everywhere, always, by all.

and your argument works just as easily against you .... Arianism and Iconoclasm lasted well over 100 years -- so the fact that Evolution is the current trend in science, and is starting to leak into theology, doesnt mean its true. The fact that theistic evolutionist views on Genesis are so new to the Church should be a sign that they dont belong to the Church.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
I do not know their views on mutation, genetic drift, natural selection, speciation, etc. But if they wrote somewhere that the currently existing theory of biological evolution must be wrong because of these and these and these Scriptural reasons - then I would have to be very sorry to conclude that they all were as much weirdoes and wacos as Fr. Seraphim was.
yes, the Saints are weirdos bc they don't agree with you. that sounds so Orthodox.
No less Orthodox than your assertion that the Saints are infallible. ;)
i made no such assertion. i have referenced ancient and modern Saints, church hymns, icons, canons, Scripture, and the Church calendar. ya'll have provided 3 Patristic quotes and some modern scientists.
The truth of one's convictions are not measured by number of "supporters".
actually, yes, thats how it works in the Church. Tradition is that which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. A new belief that popped up 200 years ago due to the outside influence of non-Orthodox scientists hardly passes that test.
And how recently did the modern-day creationist dogma you're spouting here pop up?  The Fathers may have spoken individually and in disparate contexts regarding their understandings of Scripture and creation, but it's only been within the past 100 or so years that Christians have developed their specific dogmas of Creationism and compiled proof texts from the Scriptures and/or the Fathers for support.  I would venture to say that the Fathers were by and large NOT creationists as we define this term today.
i think youre quite wrong. the Church unanimously has taught that the earth is less than 10,000 yrs old (even Origen said that!), that death only came into the world with sin, that God's creative act of each day was instantaneous, that Adam and Eve are literal people, etc

 

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jckstraw72 said:
i think youre quite wrong. the Church unanimously has taught that the earth is less than 10,000 yrs old (even Origen said that!), that death only came into the world with sin, that God's creative act of each day was instantaneous, that Adam and Eve are literal people, etc
Good idea.  Just keep putting your hands on your ears and shouting " LA LA LA I CAN"T HEAR YOU! I CAN"T HEAR YOU! LA LA LA" to anyone with a compelling argument that you might, just possibly have to consider.  Then, when they don't answer you because they see that you will not even consider that you might (however minute the possibility) be even just a little off track, you can rejoice in knowing that you are "right".   ::)
 

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jckstraw72 said:
i think youre quite wrong. the Church unanimously has taught that the earth is less than 10,000 yrs old....
That's your opinion.  I think that this belief effectively marginalises you and people like you and makes it hard for others to take you seriously.   (Others have already explained how the Fathers believed in the best science that they had available to them at the time, and that they were not scientists, etc. etc., so I will not entertain the possibility of  rehashing this argument over and over again  in the way that you seem to favour.)  By the way, I also believe that evolutionary theists are in error.

Forgive me, but I find this entire discussion extremely tiring and trying.   But dare I ask you this: what possible concern should it be of yours, exactly, about how old the earth really is, when it comes to your salvation?  Do you really believe that this matters to your salvation and to others posting here?  Why?  What we have to believe is that God created in a manner most wondrous that is ultimately beyond our understanding.  Do we have to agree about what a day means to God in the language of the Bible?  What a day means to the Source of all Being, the only true Being, who Himself created time in a manner beyond all human comprehension, Who utterly transcends beyond anything we can conceive or or express in our puny language or equally limited thought processes anything to do with time?  Why?  WHY?

I do understand about how it is important to oppose evolutionary theism, but so do other posters here who believe in evolution, but not  evolutionary theism.  Do you not see this?  Does the concept of  "nuance" have no importance for you at all, or indeed, do you even acknowledge that sometimes things are not black and white?

I also see how it might be important to insist that Adam and Eve are real people.  Why do you insist that we must swallow the entire canon of creationist belief, hook, line and sinker?  Do you not realise that good scientists and good theologians are in agreement insofar as they know that the human mind can only conceive of the wonders of this universe up to a certain point, and that beyond that point is only an apophatic mystery?
 

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jckstraw72 said:
i think youre quite wrong. the Church unanimously has taught that the earth is less than 10,000 yrs old (even Origen said that!), that death only came into the world with sin, that God's creative act of each day was instantaneous, that Adam and Eve are literal people, etc
But you have yet to prove any of this to my satisfaction or to the satisfaction of your detractors on this thread.  Until you can do this, I see no reason to continue this argument with you, since you are holding so incorrigibly to your point of view.
 

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A new problem arouse in my mind lately. If evolutionary process and natural selection require mortal being and death, how was there no death before the Fall?
Some say that immortality only began after becoming in the image of God (homo sapiens?). So, can we say that God allowed death etc. until Man was created in His Image?
Elder Paisios once said that carnivorous animals used to eat dead animals only before the Fall. Therefore, this could completely fix the issue concerning animals, but I'm not sure about humans yet.
 

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GammaRay said:
A new problem arouse in my mind lately. If evolutionary process and natural selection require mortal being and death, how was there no death before the Fall?
Have you not been reading the last 1000 posts? The Law of Natural Selection is based on observations of the world as we see it now, and describes the process of speciation as we see it now. To assume that what is happening now has always occurred is not only unscientific and illogical, it's ignorant, deceptive, and just plain asinine. Please, please go back and read what knowledgeable people have said about one of our scientific laws, and quit trying to fit an anachronism into your literal interpretation of ancient literature.
 

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GammaRay said:
Elder Paisios once said that carnivorous animals used to eat dead animals only before the Fall. Therefore, this could completely fix the issue concerning animals, but I'm not sure about humans yet.
But how did the dead animals die in the first place?
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
GammaRay said:
Elder Paisios once said that carnivorous animals used to eat dead animals only before the Fall. Therefore, this could completely fix the issue concerning animals, but I'm not sure about humans yet.
But how did the dead animals die in the first place?
Death: when did it appear?

Some people draw the conclusion from the Bible’s account of Adam and Eve that, before the fall of the first man, neither death nor decay existed in nature: life all over Earth flowed smoothly without storms or cataclysms, animals of prey fed on grass, and neither insects, fish, nor animals died, but rather all of them enjoyed immortality together with man. This idealization of the primitive world has no basis.

The very concept of death is full of human tragedy. Do we really have the right to apply the word death in the same sense to the plant or animal world? The departure of animals is not a death similar to the departure from life of Godlike man, who was made to be immortal. The division of a living cell, the loss of bacteria or an insect, or the halting of physiological processes in an ape is not the same thing as the demise of a human. Animals were not promised immortality, and they do not die because they broke the commandment. On the contrary, their death is just as natural a process as their birth. From the appearance of the first living cell in the world up until the creation of Adam, birth and death flowed in an uninterrupted stream. If it had been otherwise, the world would have become overpopulated with animals with nothing to feed upon soon after its creation. Only death and decay could pave the way for the birth of new creatures.

Adam was made to be immortal, not by his nature, but rather, conditionally, insofar as he was given access to the Tree of Life as a reward for fulfilling the commandment. In warning Adam about the danger of death, the Maker did not have in mind physical so much as spiritual death — that he would be deprived of the life-giving grace of the Holy Spirit. However, theoretically, Adam could have prolonged his physical life if he had eaten from the fruit of the Tree of Life after the Fall, too. It is specifically because God denied Adam access to the Tree of Life that he was doomed to physical death. Saint Gregory the Theologian explains that God fixed things so that the moral "evil [which entered Adam] did not become immortal." The fact that Adam was created outside of Eden already tells us that he must have been acquainted with death in the animal kingdom.

It may be assume that before the Fall of Adam there were no predators within the limits of Eden and only herbivores and harmless animals lived there. But beyond the limits of Eden, life flowed in its primordial rhythm. We know from paleontology that long before the birth of man there were predators even more fierce than today’s. From the very beginning, life and death alternated on all levels of existence — from microorganisms to the very largest animals. Just look at the skeleton of the prehistoric tyrannosaurus, whose teeth, sharp as a knife, reached lengths of 15 centimeters (6 inches). He certainly didn’t feed on grass!

Paleontology has counted about ten cases of relatively short periods from 500 to 65 million years ago during which massive extinctions of an enormous quantity of animal and plant species occurred. Perhaps the most grandiose massive extinction took place about 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period, when 50 to 90 percent of the species inhabiting Earth, or about 200 of 400 known families, were wiped off the face of the Earth. Another massive extinction of apocalyptic proportions occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period, 65 million years ago, which led to the death of all dinosaurs and ammonites.

But in that case, how are we to interpret the words of the Apostle Paul: "For the earnest expectation of the creature eagerly awaits for the revealing of the sons of God... For the creature was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;.. because the creature itself also wall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. Chapter 8:19-21)?

Is the Apostle not indicating here that death and decay in the world were the result of the Fall of Adam? It seems to us that here he is talking not about the past, but about the future. The Apostle’s basic idea is that nature is imperfect and perishable because man, the crown of creation, was expected to perfect himself spiritually. But since man fell morally, nature remained perishable and imperfect without reaching the ideal state it was destined for. When the faithful part of mankind is honored with immortality after the universal resurrection from the dead, then the rest of the physical world will be transformed into new heavens and a new earth (see II Pet. 3:13). On the "day" after the universal resurrection, all of nature will be renewed, and the lowest creature, together with man, will be free from the laws of decay and destruction. What will nature look like then, and will it still have the plants and animals we know? The Apostle does not answer these questions. There are hints in the Bible that there will be something similar in the new world to what we see here (Is. 11:6-9, Is. 65:17-25; Rev. ch. 21-22). However, it is useless to try to imagine now what that spiritual world will look like, because time itself, space, and all the laws of nature will have completely new substance.

We have already cursorily mentioned the misunderstanding concerning Earth’s position in the galaxy. Since Moses describes everything from the point of view of an observer on earth, the impression is created that Earth is the center of the universe. Roman Catholic theologians defended this view with much pathos: "It is not fitting for the Earth, to which the Lord had to descend, to spin around in space like a child’s top." Fortunately, with time good sense triumphed and now no one can seriously repeat the old error about the universe’s rotation around Earth. This case vividly illustrates the problem that a biased understanding of some expressions in the Bible can cause when one is unaware of or ignores basic scientific data.
---------

taken from <a href="http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/creation_man_a_mileant_e.htm">On the Appearance</a> by Bishop Alexander (Mileant), 
 

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Pravoslavbob said:
jckstraw72 said:
i think youre quite wrong. the Church unanimously has taught that the earth is less than 10,000 yrs old (even Origen said that!), that death only came into the world with sin, that God's creative act of each day was instantaneous, that Adam and Eve are literal people, etc
Good idea.  Just keep putting your hands on your ears and shouting " LA LA LA I CAN"T HEAR YOU! I CAN"T HEAR YOU! LA LA LA" to anyone with a compelling argument that you might, just possibly have to consider.  Then, when they don't answer you because they see that you will not even consider that you might (however minute the possibility) be even just a little off track, you can rejoice in knowing that you are "right".   ::)
no one has posted any contrary view on Genesis from any authoritative source within the Church ... im not sure where you're getting that idea.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
i think youre quite wrong. the Church unanimously has taught that the earth is less than 10,000 yrs old (even Origen said that!), that death only came into the world with sin, that God's creative act of each day was instantaneous, that Adam and Eve are literal people, etc
But you have yet to prove any of this to my satisfaction or to the satisfaction of your detractors on this thread.  Until you can do this, I see no reason to continue this argument with you, since you are holding so incorrigibly to your point of view.
ditto. i already said last page this argument can't go anywhere else. as i said then all i can do is post more and more quotes from the Church but that somehow isnt getting us anywhere.
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
GammaRay said:
A new problem arouse in my mind lately. If evolutionary process and natural selection require mortal being and death, how was there no death before the Fall?
Have you not been reading the last 1000 posts? The Law of Natural Selection is based on observations of the world as we see it now, and describes the process of speciation as we see it now. To assume that what is happening now has always occurred is not only unscientific and illogical, it's ignorant, deceptive, and just plain asinine. Please, please go back and read what knowledgeable people have said about one of our scientific laws, and quit trying to fit an anachronism into your literal interpretation of ancient literature.
so youre saying uniformitarianism is a baseless assumption then?
 

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jckstraw72 said:
so youre saying uniformitarianism is a baseless assumption then?
Hardly baseless.  Looking at the present for keys to the past is a major part of scientific thought.  Start with current fact and work/reason backwards.  What else can we do?  Just come up with some fantastic/unbelievable hypothesis and claim it is true with absolutely zero theoretical or observational backing? 

It is just another application of Ockham's razor.
 

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jckstraw72 said:
Pravoslavbob said:
jckstraw72 said:
i think youre quite wrong. the Church unanimously has taught that the earth is less than 10,000 yrs old (even Origen said that!), that death only came into the world with sin, that God's creative act of each day was instantaneous, that Adam and Eve are literal people, etc
Good idea.  Just keep putting your hands on your ears and shouting " LA LA LA I CAN"T HEAR YOU! I CAN"T HEAR YOU! LA LA LA" to anyone with a compelling argument that you might, just possibly have to consider.  Then, when they don't answer you because they see that you will not even consider that you might (however minute the possibility) be even just a little off track, you can rejoice in knowing that you are "right".   ::)
no one has posted any contrary view on Genesis from any authoritative source within the Church ... im not sure where you're getting that idea.
Yet so far you have used in your defense, St. Augustine; who did not believe in a 6-day Genesis and  St. Clement who proclaimed creation was an "infinite and dateless production"....
 
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