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

ytterbiumanalyst

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Dan-Romania said:
I am against the theory of evolution , not of plain science.
If it is true, as you say, that most scientists are atheists, consider the possibility that it is stupidity like this that causes them to reject Christianity.
 

jckstraw72

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Thegra said:
jckstraw72 said:
one atheist guy said the other day the big issue that divides him from Christians is evolution.
All the more reason to stop insisting it's false. Creationists only make the rest of Christians look worse. When you argue that a scientific theory with plenty of evidence to support it beyond reasonable doubt is inherently atheistic, you only drive people away, and make them atheists. You're playing right into the atheists' hands.
no he didnt mean he'd be a Christian if we'd all accept evolution. He said that evolution is the very foundation of his worldview which therefore gives Him a wholly different worldview than one that is founded upon Christ.
 

jckstraw72

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Pravoslavbob said:
^ Just one question.  Did you even BOTHER to read ONE of Heorhij's post on this thread?  ONE?  Or one of DOZENS of others on this thread that show that believing in evolution and believing in Jesus Christ are not contradictory?  ONE?  ??? ??? ???  ::)
he has not satisfactorily demonstrated that. If God created via evolution then God is the author of death, and thus death is good. Thus Christ destroyed His own good creation. It makes God contradictory. The Book of Wisdom specifically tells us that God did not create death. Heorhij can post what he wants, I will side with the Saints and Scripture. I find it really hard to believe that men the likes of St. Nektarios, St. Justin Popovich, Elder Paisios, Elder Cleopa, etc etc were just too naieve or foolish or whatever to see that evolution and Christ actually go hand in hand.
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
Dan-Romania said:
I am against the theory of evolution , not of plain science.
If it is true, as you say, that most scientists are atheists, consider the possibility that it is stupidity like this that causes them to reject Christianity.
consider that it is their materialistic worldview borne out of the Enlightenment that leads them to reject Christianity.
 

ytterbiumanalyst

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jckstraw72 said:
If God created via evolution then God is the author of death, and thus death is good.
Not necessarily. We believe that God used death to destroy death and give us eternal life. Could he not also use death to create the infinite diversity of life we see in our universe?
 

PeterTheAleut

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
jckstraw72 said:
If God created via evolution then God is the author of death, and thus death is good.
Not necessarily. We believe that God used death to destroy death and give us eternal life. Could he not also use death to create the infinite diversity of life we see in our universe?
Besides, is it death itself, even the death of animals, or merely the death of humans created in the image and likeness of immortal God that is intrinsically evil?  I suppose if one were to carry the reasoning, "Death itself is evil," to its logical extreme, we could even say that God intended not that a star should ever explode in a supernova and leave a black hole behind as its corpse, that even this is a result of the fall of man.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
ytterbiumanalyst said:
jckstraw72 said:
If God created via evolution then God is the author of death, and thus death is good.
Not necessarily. We believe that God used death to destroy death and give us eternal life. Could he not also use death to create the infinite diversity of life we see in our universe?
Besides, is it death itself, even the death of animals, or merely the death of humans created in the image and likeness of immortal God that is intrinsically evil?  I suppose if one were to carry the reasoning, "Death itself is evil," to its logical extreme, we could even say that God intended not that a star should ever explode in a supernova and leave a black hole behind as its corpse, that even this is a result of the fall of man.
God gave man an incorrupt world as his habitation. Nothing died according to the Fathers because all of creation was for the good of man. So incorrupt man was given an incorrupt earth. Saints that have had visions of Paradise have described it as a place of incorruption.
 

jckstraw72

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
jckstraw72 said:
If God created via evolution then God is the author of death, and thus death is good.
Not necessarily. We believe that God used death to destroy death and give us eternal life. Could he not also use death to create the infinite diversity of life we see in our universe?
The fact that God destroyed death shows that it is not good. He used death to defeat it because that is the only way He could have taken on our enemy. Furthermore, the book of Wisdom tells us that God did not create death. also:

1 Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
 

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jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
ytterbiumanalyst said:
jckstraw72 said:
If God created via evolution then God is the author of death, and thus death is good.
Not necessarily. We believe that God used death to destroy death and give us eternal life. Could he not also use death to create the infinite diversity of life we see in our universe?
Besides, is it death itself, even the death of animals, or merely the death of humans created in the image and likeness of immortal God that is intrinsically evil?  I suppose if one were to carry the reasoning, "Death itself is evil," to its logical extreme, we could even say that God intended not that a star should ever explode in a supernova and leave a black hole behind as its corpse, that even this is a result of the fall of man.
God gave man an incorrupt world as his habitation. Nothing died according to the Fathers because all of creation was for the good of man. So incorrupt man was given an incorrupt earth.
What Fathers?  Name them, cite their works, and prove that they spoke in consensus.

You also failed to answer my question or even address my point.  About what death did the Fathers speak?  The death of humans?  The death of animals and plants?  The death of stars and star systems?

jckstraw72 said:
Saints that have had visions of Paradise have described it as a place of incorruption.
Don't confuse the world before the fall of man with the blessed foretaste of the eternal world to come.
 

Pravoslavbob

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jckstraw72 said:
... If God created via evolution then God is the author of death....
You are so sure of that, are you?  You are so very sure about the nature of the Fall, that it happened at a certain point in time on Earth, and that before that moment in time there was no Fall?  You have this whole mystery figured out?   Correct me if I am wrong, but if you are really sure about all of that, then there is little point in continuing this discussion.

ytterbiumanalyst said:
No, I think you want to limit God's active role in creation to what you can understand. This, I think, is a mistake.
Pravoslavbob said:
....How spiritually childish and oafishly cataphatic can [one's arguments] be?.... What appears as being "random" to us limited human creatures indeed hides greater mysteries beyond our understanding.
 

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After relaxing last night with my friends, I have now found new strength to face this topic once again in a more moderate spirit. I hope I can control myself... in the next few days I was so exhausted by a terrible weak at work that everything could drive me out of my mind.

Now, let's see what I can say.

1) To Dan-Romania: I am glad that your position is so similar to mine: I'm a day-age theory supporter. I don't like to discuss whether creation happened through an evolutionary process (having in mind that the process was divinely controlled, or at least that God put some limits and rules in ongoing process) or through a progressive direct creation. This is not the main purpose of my reflections: I only want to keep in agreement with the wisdom of the Bible and Tradition, i.e. the certainty that God formed the worlds with his own energies at work. Anyway, the passage on the antiquity of the world is 2 Peter 3:5 which says: "For this they are wilfully ignorant of, that the heavens were of old, and the earth out of water, and through water, consisting by the word of God. Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. ". Curiously, the same passage supports both the antiquity of the world and the historical account of Genesis on the flood, which is taken as historical, and accuses of ignorance both those who denied the world's antiquity and the historicity of the flood. On the latter, anyway, there's no direct support of the extent of the flood, since the word "world" is ambiguous, and I found at least one element which puts a global flood in contradiction with the Bible itself.
On this subject, I offer to you the time spans a Jewish scientist proposed for the six "days". Every period of time is twice as long as the following:
From 15 to 9450 milion years: "In the beginning God created heaven and earth". Formation of the universe as we know it, with space-time-matter-energy linked with each other by common forces and laws. This precedes the 6 days.
From 9450 to 4650 milion years: Creation of light, i.e. of the protostar which will later become the Sun. Through Earth's atmosphere sunlight began to shine, but the sun was not yet visible due to the clouds.
From 4650 to 2250 million years: Creation of the hydrical cycle: ice melts and forms the seas, and a stabile atmosphere becomes to develop. It is intended that microrganisms (of which the Bible authors were not aware) began to spawn at this time.
From 2250 to 1050 million years: Creation of the first continent, Pangaea, where the dry lands and the seas are rigidly separated. Vegetation begins to appear both in the seas and on the dry lands, as a green mantle for the earth.
From 1050 to 450 million years: Thanks to the plants, the atmosphere is now translucent, so that sun, moon and stars shine in their glory over the Earth. Also, the rhythm of years, seasons, months and days can now be mesured accurately using these planets and stars as references.
From 450 to 150 million years: The first dinosaurs=dragons (=often mistranslated as whale), sea creatures (fish, muscles, plesiosaurs etc...) and flying creatures (insects, pterosaurs and prototype birds such as Archeopterix) all develop at this time.
From 150 to c.ca 12000-10000 years ago: Creation of all mammals and modern cold-blood reptiles. Humans are finally formed.
When I read this timescale, I was so attracted by it that I immediately embraced the day-age theory. As for you, Dan-Romania, what do you think about it?

2) To jckstraw72: Adam was also condemned to "death" on the same day he would eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, yet he survived for some 1000 years. Most Church Fathers saw in this a demonstration that by death was meant the mortality of the entire human being, both spiritual and physical. The theology of some Fathers supporting a mortal Adam who was offered the gift of immortality explains very well how natural physical death might have pre-existed to Adam. Spiritual death and human mortality definitively entered the world after Adam's sin, and the world became corrupted in the sense that Adam had no more power over nature. Nature, too tell it in other words, had become an enemy of Adam, and Adam had to suffer to obtain what he needed in order to survive. Whether, on the contrary, you would support the alternative model that Adam lived a day of a thousand years, you would be putting a gun at your head, since you clearly demonstrate that Genesis used "day" for a symbolic period, and thus the six days can legitimately be interpreted figuratively, as Dan-Romania and I are supporting.

3) To ytterbiumanalyst: I don't think I ever limited God's creative power; on the contrary, I believe that God limited the freedom of the creative process. If God hadn't ruled the process, the world could have developed in a sterile universe. You certainly know that a slight difference in the balance of some universal constants (akin the speed of light, the mass of electrons, etc...) or in the constitution of our solar system could have affected the formation of life - and especially sentient life. In the former case, life could have been totally different or inexistent... in the latter: we could have had a fast-aging Sun consuming before humanity could develop, or a moon with gravitational effects sufficient to provoke daily floods of the entire continents, and a solar system placed in the center of the Galaxy or too near to supernovae being invested by such enormous amounts of radioactivity to stop any evolutionary process and wipe out all life at its beginnings. Also, a complete freedom in life evolution could have created carnivors capable of producing the extinction of many other animals, so that no good creature could be chosen to be the "image of God". If we look at what humans have been able to do since our appearence on Earth, and how many species we have endangered or how many catastrophes we have been able to produce (the atom bomb and Chernobyl, for example) is a sufficient proof that a free evolution of sentient life might have endangered the existence of the planet even long time ago.
In conclusion, I just think that God either put limits on nature, or that nature was manipulated by God's energies so that it conformed over time to fit in God's project. I prefer neither of the two possibilities... I recognize them the same level of accuracy in explaining how the universe comes to be as good as we can see it, and I think both Bible and Tradition don't give explanations in favour of one of the two.

Hope this helps in discussing the subject. I beg your pardon (to ALL of you) if I have been rude these last few days. May God have mercy on me!

In Christ,  Alex
 

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Alex that is a plausible theory to make peace between bible and evolutionary science view of Genesis.I don`t really believe like that , exactly as you said , call me a fool or laugh at me , but i believe God made everything in 6 days, 24 hours.Look for example of the population scale as i posted a few posts ago in this thread.I rather think that God created everything is six literall days 24 hours.I also dislike the idea that the sun of there just that he wasn`t seen by the clouds, etc.God made all the laws of the nature and everything, yes I believe dinosaurs existed , and many other creatures and species of animals, it`s not known how they were called and if they were called dinosaurs than.That is a interesting view , AlexOfBergamo and it is the best i`ve seen putting harmony between science and religion reconciliating both, even if I don`t see it perfect.I must say I don`t know much about science or astronomy(astrology) but I always liked the Universe , planets , stars , etc.As I said I don`t exclude the possibility for the days to be not literall days but ages or times.Again , I am totally against the evolution theory.

And yes the reason i reject the age and the days being ages it`s because it kind of implies a life-death circle before the fall.

What is interesting to know is how they measured the time: upon wich conditions , machines laws or instruments :).
 

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for me that I believe the Universe being of old means , and I don`t deny that God preparing everything from of Old , and the heavens being of old; I assimilate the Universe , galaxies and stars and the unbounded and enormous things to something much small as humans , angels , etc , representatives of our destinies,the paths we make , etc , the light we receive , I see them representative as spiritual things ,this I understand by the word of the gospel 2Peter 3:5 , and Genesis 1:2 , that is what I understand by waters; a vision of mine;
 

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I have nothing against your particular view, Dan-Romania, just because I think that all creationist or intelligent-design positions equally try to be respectful of religion, and they are all equally acceptable in the light of Church tradition. Both possibilities (day-age theory and 24-hour days) were equally held by the Fathers of the Church; both positions on the mortality or immortality by nature of Adam before the fall are witnessed as private understandings by the early Christian writers; and of course no specific decision or declaration has been affirmed by the Church on the matter in the Ecumenical Councils so, in conclusion, I can't judge whoever recognizes a divine origin and order in the world.
I must also add an explanation that Jewish scientist gave to the different dating system, i.e. on how God could well call those ages "days". As the theory of General Relativity affirms, time is not constant: it's a dimension whose speed 'changes' according to the mass of the objects nearby. In a super-dense world such as that reconstructed in the Big Bang theory, time would have flowed differently then in our time, so that in God's perspective it was only a day, but in ours (or better, in the perspective of cosmology) time flew 'faster' with the rapid expansion of the universe, named 'inflation'. This explanation is consistent with modern Now a question for you: how do you explain the 1000-years day of Adam according to the prophecy of God that Adam was to die on the same day he ate the fruit? Do you have your position in this regards?

In Christ,  Alex
 

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In this quote we have St. Justin Martyr talking about the word “day” in Genesis meaning a period of a thousand years by pointing out that despite God telling Adam he would die within a day of sinning he lived over 900 years. That is to say that the days were not literal 24 hour periods. This view is not limited to St. Justin as we see in the next quote Irenaeus speaks of a similar idea:

“And there are some, again, who relegate the death of Adam to the thousandth year; for since "a day of the Lord is as a thousand years," he did not overstep the thousand years, but died within them, thus bearing out the sentence of his sin.”
(Against Herasies, 5:23 [AD 189])


Here he is not arguing for a specific view but rather finding fault with the literalists. Next we move onto someone everyone must be familiar with, St. Justin Martyr.
“For as Adam was told that in the [d]ay [h]e ate of the tree he would die, we know that he did not complete a thousand years. We have perceived, moreover, that the expression, 'The day of the Lord is as a thousand years,' is connected with this subject.”
(Dialog with Typho the Jew chapter 81 [AD 155])

I believe as it is written here , Adam death on <1000 years meaning that he will not enter in the eternity of God , and not remain in the rest of God, fall from the rest of God and from the paradisiac wealthness.
I see the rest of the Lord as of many many years , even eternal.

I also liked this quote:

St. Augustine also comments on his view of the word “day” in the Creation Week. In City of God St. Augustine expressed his amazement of the creation days:

“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 11:6 [AD 419])

Let us start with the Early Father of the Church, Origen. In his book Against Celus he stated:

“…We answered to the best of our ability this objection to God's "commanding this first, second, and third thing to be created," when we quoted the words, "He said, and it was done; He commanded, and all things stood fast;" remarking that the immediate Creator, and, as it were, very Maker of the world was the Word, the Son of God; while the Father of the Word, by commanding His own Son--the Word--to create the world, is primarily Creator. And with regard to the creation of the light upon the first day, and of the firmament upon the second, and of the gathering together of the waters that are under the heaven into their several reservoirs on the third (the earth thus causing to sprout forth those (fruits) which are under the control of nature alone, and of the (great) lights and stars upon the fourth, and of aquatic animals upon the fifth, and of land animals and man upon the sixth, we have treated to the best of our ability in our notes upon Genesis, as well as in the foregoing pages, when we found fault with those who, taking the words in their apparent signification, said that the time of six days was occupied in the creation of the world, and quoted the words: "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens."
(Against Celus 6:60 [AD 248])

It appears that this view of each day containing a thousand years was popular among Early Church Fathers as we read from St. Cyprian of Carthage:

““As the first seven days in the divine arrangement containing seven thousand of years, as the seven spirits and seven angels which stand and go in and out before the face of God, and the seven-branched lamp in the tabernacle of witness, and the seven golden candlesticks in the Apocalypse, and the seven columns in Solomon upon which Wisdom built her house l so here also the number seven of the brethren, embracing, in the quantity of their number, the seven churches, as likewise in the first book of Kings we read that the barren hath borne seven”
(Treatises 11:11 [A.D. 250])

source : http://home.entouch.net/dmd/churchfathers.htm

Thinking again , i would say that is possible that the world would have been created in many years,ages , in an old and of old time, "the generations of the heavens and the earth" , i like this , i kind of always felt that way about of the times of old.Anyway let us remmeber this , that after God made Adam(wich means man/human) He brought all animals to Adam so that he would name them.

Also as I have heard number seven symbolises perfection , fullness , entirely , sacradness , etc.It is possible that the days were completely allegorical and poetic, using numbers and other symbols to give us a perspective of things, to imagine and understand that the whole of God`s will, work(and rest) is included in seven days.
 

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Pravoslavbob said:
jckstraw72 said:
... If God created via evolution then God is the author of death....
You are so sure of that, are you?  You are so very sure about the nature of the Fall, that it happened at a certain point in time on Earth, and that before that moment in time there was no Fall?  You have this whole mystery figured out?   Correct me if I am wrong, but if you are really sure about all of that, then there is little point in continuing this discussion.
the Church understands its own Scriptures by divine illumination. it has nothing to do with me figuring anything out. of course the Fall happened in time at a specific point -- when Adam and Eve sinned -- are you suggesting perhaps that the animals or plants sinned and caused the Fall instead, or what? do you have a reason from within the Tradition to suggest such a wildly allegorical treatment of Genesis that you would question whether the Fall happened in time and because of man?
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
What Fathers?  Name them, cite their works, and prove that they spoke in consensus.

You also failed to answer my question or even address my point.  About what death did the Fathers speak?  The death of humans?  The death of animals and plants?  The death of stars and star systems?
every kind of death entered because of sin. otherwise we would have to believe that the God Who is life itself actually desires death, and then we'd have to question why man is called to redeem the entire earth and cosmos if they are actually meant to die.

The Wisdom of Solomon 1:13 For God made not death: neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living. 14 For he created all things, that they might have their being: and the generations of the world were healthful; and there is no poison of destruction in them, nor the kingdom of death upon the earth:

St. Augustine, City of God, Book XIII.XII
When, therefore, it is asked what death it was with which God threatened our first parents if they should transgress the commandment they had received from Him, and should fail to preserve their obedience,—whether it was the death of soul, or of body, or of the whole man, or that which is called second death,—we must answer, It is all. For the first consists of two; the second is the complete death, which consists of all. For, as the whole earth consists of many lands, and the Church universal of many churches, so death universal consists of all deaths.

For the body would not return to the earth from which it was made, save only by the death proper to itself, which occurs when it is forsaken of the soul, its life. And therefore it is agreed among all Christians who truthfully hold the catholic faith, that we are subject to the death of the body, not by the law of nature, by which God ordained no death for man, but by His righteous infliction on account of sin; for God, taking vengeance on sin, said to the man, in whom we all then were, "Dust you are, and unto dust shall you return." St. Augustine, City of God Book XIII.XV

By this He signifies to us, that the whole earth was at that time watered by a divine fountain, and had no need that man should till it; but the earth produced all things spontaneously by the command of God, that man might not be wearied by tilling it. Theophilus to Autolycus, Book II.XIX

And the animals are named wild beasts [qhria], from their being hunted [qhreuesqai], not as if they had been made evil or venomous from the first--for nothing was made evil by God, but all things good, yea, very good,--but the sin in which man was concerned brought evil upon them. For when man transgressed, they also transgressed with him . . . so in like manner it came to pass, that in the case of man's sin, he being master, all that was subject to him sinned with him. When, therefore, man again shall have made his way back to his natural condition, and no longer does evil, those also shall be restored to their original gentleness. Theophilus to Autolycus Book II.XVII

God did not, as some people think, just give Paradise to our ancestor at the beginning, nor did He make only Paradise incorruptible. No! Instead, He did much more . . . Neither Eve nor Paradise were yet created, but the whole world had been brought into being by God as one thing, as a kind of paradise, at once incorruptible yet material and perceptible. It was this world, as we said, which was given to Adam and to his descendants for their enjoyment. Does this seem strange to you? It should not. St. Symeon the New Theologian, Ethical Discourses 1.1, in On the Mystical Life, vol. 1, p. 21

God gave man in Paradise "every kind and variety of fruit, fruit which is never spoiled or lacking but always fresh, full of sweetness,j and providing our ancestors with indescribable pleasure and enjoyment. For it was fitting that their incorruptible bodies be supplied with incorruptible food." St. Symeon, Ethical Discrouses 1.1

[God] wills to hold it [Paradise] out to us as a type of the indissoluble life to come, an icon of the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. If this were not the case, then the Garden, too, would have had to be cursed, since it was the scene of the transgression. However, God does not do this, but instead curses the whole rest of the earth which, as we have said, was incorruptible just like Paradise, and produced fruit of its own accord. St. Symeon, Ethical Discourses 1.2

Doubtless indeed vultures did not look around the earth when living things came to be. For nothing yet died of these things given meaning or brought into being by God, so that vultures might eat it. Nature was not divided, for it was in its prime; nor did hunters kill, for that not yet the custom of human beings; nor did wild beasts claw their prey, for they were not yet carnivores. And it is customary for vultures to feed on corpses, but since there were not yet corpses, nor yet their stench, so there was not yet such food for vultures. But all followed the diet of swans and all grazed the meadows. St. Basil the Great, On the Origin of Humanity 2.6

God did not create death, but we brought it upon ourselves by a wicked intention. St. Basil the Great, Homily Explaining that God is not the Cause of Evil 7

  The earth, created, adorned, blessed by God, did not have any deficiencies. It was overflowing with refinement. "God saw," after the completion of the whole creation of the world, "everything that He had made: and, behold, it was very good." (Gen. 1:31).
  Now the earth is presented to our eyes in a completely different look. We do not know her condition in holy virginity; we know her in the condition of corruption and accursedness, we know her already sentenced to burning; she was created for eternity. . . . Plants were not subjected either to decay or to diseases; both decay and diseases and the weeds themselves, appeared after the alteration of the earth following the fall of man . . . According to its creation, there was on it only the splendid, only the wholesome, there was only that which was suitable for the immortal and blessed life of its inhabitants . . . The beasts and other animals lived in perfect harmony among themselves, nourishing themselves on plant life. St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, Homily on Man

We don't know what kind of moon there was then, what kind of sun, what kind of light . . . All of this changed after the fall. Elder Barsanuphius of Optina by Victor Afanasiev, pg. 280

The beautiful things of this world are only hints of that beauty with which the first-created world was filled, as Adam and Eve saw it. That beauty was destroyed by the sin of the first people . . . Thus also did the fall into sin of the first people destroy the beauty of God's world, and there remain to us only fragments of it by which we may judge concerning the primordial beauty. Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, pg. 468

The death, however, that befell the soul because of the transgression not only crippled the soul and made man accursed; it also rendered the body itself subject to fatigue, suffering, and corruptibility, and finally handed it over to death. St. Gregory Palamas, To the Most Revered Nun Xenia 10

Of necessity bodily death followed [Adam's] spiritual death, so the evil one caused our double death by his single death. St. Gregory Palamas, Homily 16.25

In not wishing to be nourished by Him [God], the first man rightly fell away from the Divine life, and took death as another parent. Accordingly he put on himself the irrational form, and blackened the inconceivable beauty of the Divine, and delivered over the whole of nature as food for death. Death is living on this through the whole of this temporal period, making us his food. St. Maximus, Ambiguum 10.

God, at the very moment humanity fell . . . gave the body the capacity to suffer, undergo corruption, and be wholly dissolved -- as was evinced when God covered the body with garments of skin. St. Maximus, Ambiguum 8

What I am saying is that in the beginning sin seduced Adam and persuaded him to transgress God's commandment, whereby sin gave rise to pleasure and, by means of this pleasure, nailed itself in Adam to the very depths of our nature, thus condemning our whole human nature to death and, via humanity, pressing the nature of (all) created beings toward mortal extinction. St. Maximus, Ad Thalassium 6.1

[man] was clothed with the roughness of this wretched life -- for that is what the fig leaves signify -- and put on death, that is to say, the mortality and the grossness of the flesh -- for that is what the garment of skins signifies; he was excluded from Paradise by the just judgment of God; and was condemned to death and made subject to corruption. St. John of Damascus, Exact Exposition 3.1

The creation of all things is due to God, but corruption came in afterwards due to our wickedness and as a punishment and a help. "For God did not make death, neither does He take delight in the destruction of living things" (Wisdom 1:!3). But death is the work rather of man, that is, its origin is in Adam's transgression, in like manner as all other punishments. St. John of Damascus, Exact Exposition 2.28

Commenting on Romans 8:20: What is the meaning of "the creation was made subject to futility"? That it became corruptible. For what cause, and on what account? On account of you, O man. For since you took a body mortal and subject to suffering, so also the earth received a curse, and brought forth thorns and thistles. St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 14.

He [the Apostle Paul] discourses concerning creation's bondage, an shows for whose sake such a thing has occurred -- and he places the blame on us. What then? In suffering these things on account of another, has creation been maltreated? By no means, for it has come into being for my sake. So then, how could that which has come into being for my sake be unjustly treated in suffering those things for my correction? St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 14

What armed death against the cosmos? The fact that one man tasted of the tree only. St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 10.

It is said that when the world was first created it was not subject to flux and corruption. According to Scripture it was only later corrupted and "made subject to futility" -- that is, to man -- not by its own choice but by the will of Him to whom it is subject, the expectation being that Adam, who had fallen into corruption, would be restored to his original state. St. Gregory of Sinai, On Commandments and Doctrines 11

Inasmuch, therefore, as the opinions of certain [orthodox persons] are derived from heretical discourses, they are both ignorant of God’s dispensations, and of the mystery of the resurrection of the just, and of the [earthly] kingdom which is the commencement of incorruption, by means of which kingdom those who shall be worthy are accustomed gradually to partake of the divine nature . . . It is fitting, therefore, that the creation itself, being restored to its primeval condition, should without restraint be under the dominion of the righteous; and the apostle has made this plain in the Epistle to the Romans, when he thus speaks: “For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature has been subjected to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope; since the creature itself shall also be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.” St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5.32.1

For the creation was made subject to futility, [St. Paul] says, and he expects that it will be set free from such servitude, as he intends to call this world by the name of creation. For it is not what is unseen [the angelic world] but what is seen that is subject to corruption. The creation, then, after being restored to a better and more seemly state, remains, rejoicing and exulting over the children of God at the resurrection; for whose sake it now groans and travails, waiting itself also for our redemption from the corruption of the body, that, when when we have risen and shaken off the mortality of the flesh . . . and have been set free from sin, it also shall be freed from corruption and be subject no longer to futility, but to righteousness.  St. Methodios of Olympus and Patara, Discourse on the Resurrection, ANF, vol. 6, p. 366

The fate of visible nature has, from the beginning of its existence, been under the power of the influence of man . . . Organically and mystically connected with man as with a God-like creature of God, nature in the essence of its life depends upon man and always moves strictly commensurately with man. When man chose the path of sin and death as his path through history, all of nature, as the results of its inner dependency on man, followed after him. The fall of man was at the same time the fall of nature, and the curse of man became the curse of nature. And from that time man and nature, like two inseparable twins, blinded by one and the same darkness, deadened by one and the same death, burdened by one and the same curse, go hand in hand through history, through the abysmal wilderness of sin and evil. Together they stumble, together they fall, and together they arise, ceaselessly striving toward the distant conclusion of their sorrowful history. St. Justin Popvich, The Orthodox Philosophy of Truth: The Dogmatics of the Orthodox Church vol. 3 p. 792

Adam was placed as lord and king of all the creatures . . . And so, when he was taken captive, the creation which ministered to and served him was taken captive together with him. For through him death came to reign over every soul. St. Macarius the Great, Homilies 11.5

"Death is not natural; rather it is unnatural. And death is not from nature; rather it is against nature. All of nature in horror cries out: "I do not know death! I do not wish death! I am afraid of death! I strive against death!" Death is an uninvited stranger in nature . . . Even when one hundred philosophers declare that "death is natural!" all of nature trembles in indignation and shouts: " No! I have no use for death! It is an uninvited stranger!" And the voice of nature is not sophistry. The protest of nature against death outweighs all excuses thought up to justify death. And if there is something that nature struggles to express in its untouched harmony, doing so without exception in a unison of voices, then it is a protest against death. It is its unanimous, frantic, and heaven-shaking elegy of death.  St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Selected Writings

God has made man, and willed that he should abide in incorruption; but men, having despised and rejected the contemplation of God, and devised and contrived evil for themselves . . . received the condemnation of death with which they had been threatened; and from thenceforth no longer remained as they were. St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation 4

Yet here too he [Adam] makes a gain, namely death, and the cutting off of sin, in order that evil may not be immortal. Thus his punishment is changed into a mercy; for it is in mercy, I am persuaded, that God inflicts punishment. St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 38

Death dissolves this living thing and on the one hand ceases the action of wickedness; on the other hand, it saves man from further anguish, liberates him from sweat, drives away pain and sorrow, and brings the body's sufferings to an end. The Judge mixed punishment with such philanthrophy! Blessed Thedoret of Cyrus, On the Inhumanation of the Lord 6

Paradise, even heaven itself, is accessible to man; and the creation, both of the world and above the world, which long ago was set at variance with itself, is fit together in friendship; and we men are made to join in the angels' song, offering the worship of their praise to God. St. Gregory of Nyssa, A Sermon for the Feast of the Lights

Now the [General] Resurrection promises us nothing else than the restoration of the fallen to their ancient state; for the grace we look for is a certain return to the first life, bringing back again to Paradise him who was cast out from it. St. Gregory of Nyssa, On the Making of Man, 17.2

But as my discourse is not intended to touch on this point, but to prove to you that the Holy Ghost reproaches men because they were made like God, free from suffering and death, provided that they kept His commandments, and were deemed deserving of the name of His sons, and yet they, becoming like Adam and Eve, work out death for themselves. St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 124

For the heavenly Logos, a spirit emanating from the Father and a Logos from the Logos-power, in imitation of the Father who begat Him made man an image of immortality, so that, as incorruption is with God, in like manner, man, sharing in a part of God, might have the immortal principle also. Tatian, Address to the Greeks 7

the very same we hold to be the angel of evil, the source of error, the corrupter of the whole world, by whom in the beginning man was entrapped into breaking the commandment of God. And (the man) being given over to death on account of his sin, the entire human race, tainted in their descent from him, were made a channel for transmitting his condemnation. Tertullian, The Soul's Testimony 3

As for our own views, indeed, we know what was man’s origin, and we boldly assert and persistently maintain that death happens not by way of natural consequence to man, but owing to a fault and defect which is not itself natural; although it is easy enough, no doubt, to apply the term natural to faults and circumstances which seem to have been (though from the emergence of an external cause) inseparable to us from our very birth.  If man had been directly appointed to die as the condition of his creation, then of course death must be imputed to nature.  Now, that he was not thus appointed to die, is proved by the very law which made his condition depend on a warning, and death result from man’s arbitrary choice. Indeed, if he had not sinned, he certainly would not have died.  That cannot be nature which happens by the exercise of volition after an alternative has been proposed to it, and not by necessity—the result of an inflexible and unalterable condition. Tertullian, A Treatise on the Soul 52

Look at the total result: how fruitful was the Word! God issued His fiat, and it was done: God also saw that it was good; not as if He were ignorant of the good until He saw it; but because it was good, He therefore saw it, and honoured it, and set His seal upon it; and consummated the goodness of His works by His vouchsafing to them that contemplation. Thus God blessed what He made good, in order that He might commend Himself to you as whole and perfect, good both in word and act. As yet the Word knew no malediction, because He was a stranger to malefaction. We shall see what reasons required this also of God. Meanwhile the world consisted of all things good, plainly foreshowing how much good was preparing for him for whom all this was provided. Who indeed was so worthy of dwelling amongst the works of God, as he who was His own image and likeness? Tertullian, Against Marcion 2.4

As long as Adam loved God and observed His commandment, he dwelt in the Paradise of God and God abode in the paradisiacal heart of Adam. Naked Adam was clothed with the grace of God and, surrounded by the animals, he held and caressed them lovingly, and they, in turn, licked him devoutly, as their Master. When Adam violated God's commandment., he was stripped of the grace of God, clothed with a garment of skin and exiled from Paradise. Grace-filled Adam became wild, and many animals, because of Adam, were also made savage, and instead of approaching him with devoutness and licking him with love, they lashed out at him with rage in order to tear at or bite him. Elder Paisios, Epistles, pg. 203-204

From these testimonies it is clear that God, having created man according to His image and likeness, conducted him into a Paradise of sweetness to till the immortal gardens. St. Paisius Velichovsky, The Scroll, 6 Chapters on Mental Prayer, chap. 2

Man, having received as his lot an exhausting fast and sorrows, was given over to illnesses, sufferings, and the other bitter things as to a kind of bridle. Because he did not sensibly restrain himself in that life which was free from labors and sorrows, he is given over to misfortunes so that by sufferings he might heal in himself the disease which came upon him in the midst of blessedness. St. Cyril of Alexandria, On the Incarnation of the Lord

Behold the life of innocent Adam in Eden, the lordship of man over creation, which together with us groans because of our fall and thirsts to be delivered into the "liberty of the children of God" (Rom. 8:21). The Life of St. Paul of Obnora, in the Northern Thebaid

 

AlexanderOfBergamo

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You contradict yourself, dear jckstraw72,
when you say that if animals are mortal by nature as in a billion-years old universe, they must also be sinful. Now my question is: were animals responsible for Adam's sin too, so that they suddenly became mortal due to Adam's sin? Are new-born children mortal by nature because they're guilty of anything? I don't think the Church Fathers did believe like this. The mortalist position, saying that Adam (and pre-adamitic animals) were ordinarily mortal and that Adam was offered immortality but renounced to it in Eden, is probably a more accurate position. In fact, if Jesus the New Adam was like the first Adam, wouldn't he be immortal in his human nature, so that all attempts to kill him would have miserably failed, including the Cross? And if you deny that immortality doesn't make invulnerable, then you must believe that our spiritual bodies, which we will be turned into the same renewed nature as Jesus', will be immortal but still vulnerable to accidental death or to murder... I think this makes your attempts sound absurd. Evidently Adam was created mortal, because natural death for creatures without a spirit is nothing but a cycle of nature, like the sun raising and falling under the horizon, or the alternation of seasons and years. Nature is by itself CYCLICAL... it's the spirit which makes ETERNAL as God and angels are... In other words, I firmly believe that salvation is a process freeing us from the natural cycle of the universe and elevating us to the eternity of our Creator. The only way to deny this, is to prove that Adam was certainly immortal before the Fall... A thing which must be proved by the Canons, or the Scriptures, or even by a more solid Tradition then the one you portray in your post (which I don't think to prove that the Church entire believed in an immortal Adam... a theory supported by Augustinians such as the Western Churches but not typical of the Eastern Church).

In Christ,    Alex
 

ytterbiumanalyst

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jckstraw72 said:
every kind of death entered because of sin. otherwise we would have to believe that the God Who is life itself actually desires death, and then we'd have to question why man is called to redeem the entire earth and cosmos if they are actually meant to die.
You confuse several issues here:
1. Did the Fall occur at one point in time?
2. Is the death spoken of in Genesis 2 and Romans 6 a literal, physical death?
3. Are there things which exist which are not created by God?
4. Is the existence of something proof that God wants it to exist?

I will address these issues presently:
1. You seem to believe that Adam and Eve sinned at one particular point, and that before them no one sinned, and after them all sin because of their sin. Consider this: Adam and Eve did actually sin, but their story is included in Scripture not because their sin causes us death, but because all of us sin in exactly the same way they did. When Adam and Eve sinned, they were banished from the place of ease to a life of hard, painful work, and they had to live a life of repentance in order to receive Eden once again. In the same way, our sin isolates us from others, causes us heavy labour, and forces us to repent to God and to others.

2. We become spiritually dead when we sin. The question of whether physical death is brought about by sin is not one I think we can address. We simply do not know enough about death. Certainly, in some instances, physical death is the direct result of sin. For example, a person can murder, and that death is the result of sin; furthermore, the death penalty brought by our government in punishment for that sin is the result of the sin. However, the murdered person may not have sinned, and yet died anyway.

3. Now, in Romans 6, St. Paul tells us that the Law was instituted to bring us to repentance. In this way, he states that even sin (the breaking of the Law) can be used by God to bring us salvation. Does that mean that God created sin? Absolutely not! St. Paul himself states that even though grace increases as a result of increasing sin, it is impermissible to use God's grace as an excuse to sin. So God can use even the things which He opposes to bring salvation.

4. So, then, if sin and death are not created by God, yet they can be used by Him to save us, then we can say that all things exist for God's glory. Now, can we also say that if God uses something for His glory, that He desires it to exist? I believe that is a leap unsupported by reason or evidence. Certainly we understand that God does not desire us to sin, and even Scripture tells us that God desires that none should perish, but that all repent. So I believe it is fair to say that God opposes sin and death, yet uses even that which is antithetical to His Being to grant us salvation.
 
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