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

AlexanderOfBergamo

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
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.
That's exactly what I think. At least, we can share something in common, huh?
I also think that the Bible starts with Adam's fall because he was the first "prophet" who could see God's presence (the beginning of monotheistic religion, possibly) but preferred his egotism and pride to God's offer of immortality. In this sense, we are all sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. He also had descendants who, after the Flood (which I identify with the c. 5600 BCE catastrophic Deluge of the Black Sea), Noachian descendants spread and combined with the pre-existent civilizations. We have proof of this from history, since all Mesopotamian, Indo-European and Egyptian civilizations formed soon after this event in the Middle-East area, and the Ubaidian culture flourished as an empire in the Fertile Crescent, more or less like the empire of the Tower of Babel. It's at that point that all humans outside of the Middle-East got in touch with the Noachian covenant but refused it, thus making necessary the coming of a Saviour. This could also explain the "timing" of the coming of Jesus, some 5600 years after the Flood... a time necessary so that, contaminated by the narrations of the Noachians, all civilizations might have received a common religious heritage from Noah's descendants. Of course, that's my opinion, and I'm not here to impose it, anyway I felt I had to share it with all of you.

In Christ,  Alex
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
^ And you think one post proves a consensus?
feel free to post any Church source that points to the contrary. Do you think all those Saints from various points in Church history were really just crazy or stupid or something. They just hadn't been enlightened by an apostate Anglican yet?

I have learned from this thread that apparently nothing can demonstrate a concensus, and that scientists really no more about Scripture than any number of Saints.
 

jckstraw72

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
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.
can you back this up from Church sources?

Canon 109 of African Code, Council of Carthage, ratified at Trullo and Nicea II.
That Adam was not created by God subject to death.

That whosoever says that Adam, the first man, was created mortal, so that whether he had sinned or not, he would have died in body—that is, he would have gone forth of the body, not because his sin merited this, but by natural necessity, let him be anathema.

Ancient Epitome of Canon CIX.
Whoso shall assert that the protoplast would have died without sin and through natural necessity, let him be anathema.

soooo your position anathematizes you according to 2 Ecumenical Councils ....

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.
see my post that includes many Patristic qoutes about physical death entering only after sin.

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.
yes of course. He willingly died to defeat death for us. that doesnt mean He ever intended us to die in the first place.

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.
i fully agree with this. its my position that God did not desire death -- which would make it strange that He would create via a process that necessarily includes death.
 

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AlexanderOfBergamo said:
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
i really dont know what you're saying about animals sinning, i didnt say they do. they die because man sinned and thereby introduced death into the world. the entire earth was created as man's kingdom and thus its fate is tied to man. One of the Fathers I quoted said that. and St. Paul tells us that creation awaits the redemption of the Saints.

If you want me to consider that God intended for man to physically die then please provide some evidence from an authoritative Church source that states this. Otherwise I will continue to believe that man was always meant for immortality just as the Church has always taught.
 

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jckstraw72 said:
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.
see my post that includes many Patristic qoutes about physical death entering only after sin.
Yes, only those quotes you selected to "prove" your point.
 

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jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
^ And you think one post proves a consensus?
feel free to post any Church source that points to the contrary.
Let's just presume that a consensus doesn't exist, since this is easiest, and that it's up to you to prove that a consensus does exist.
 

AlexanderOfBergamo

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I was not saying that Adam was to die. I meant that Adam was not immortal by nature. His body was mortal, but until he ate of the Tree of Life (i.e. God's grace) he couldn't die, he was sustained in life by God himself. In fact, separating from God had the effect of interrupting grace to Adam, and this brought him to his natural condition, which is mortality. In fact, Adam was immediately expelled from Eden so that he couldn't eat of the Tree of Life once again and obtain an immortal life in sin. I think this doesn't contradict the conciliar statement that Adam was not mortal (i.e. disposed to die anyway) had he sinned or not. I'd be a fool to contradict the infallible Orthodox Faith.
On the matter of animals, I still think your vision of God is even more cruel then ours. Do you really think that God enslaved animals under Adam's authority so that at our fall animals were also condemned to death? This is absurd, and makes God feel intrinsically "evil" more then a God permitting natural death and offering a chance to get out of it. Adam's authority was that of gardener and pastor for all vegetal and animal life forms in the world, a custodian who was to safeguard nature, and not to possess it as if God had built the world to be enslaved by humans.

In Christ,  Alex
 

jckstraw72

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PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
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.
see my post that includes many Patristic qoutes about physical death entering only after sin.
Yes, only those quotes you selected to "prove" your point.
feel free to post quotes that point to the contrary. if the Church does not have a set, traditional understanding, as you claim, then surely you can find some authoritative sources from within the Church that witness to the contrary.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
^ And you think one post proves a consensus?
feel free to post any Church source that points to the contrary.
Let's just presume that a consensus doesn't exist, since this is easiest, and that it's up to you to prove that a consensus does exist.
ive already provided Scriptures, Patristics, Icons, Canons, and hymns. i seem to be the only one really doing any work here, and then you just sit back and say "nah not good enough." perhaps you could put forth some effort and actually attempt to validate your position ...?
 

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AlexanderOfBergamo said:
I was not saying that Adam was to die. I meant that Adam was not immortal by nature. His body was mortal, but until he ate of the Tree of Life (i.e. God's grace) he couldn't die, he was sustained in life by God himself. In fact, separating from God had the effect of interrupting grace to Adam, and this brought him to his natural condition, which is mortality. In fact, Adam was immediately expelled from Eden so that he couldn't eat of the Tree of Life once again and obtain an immortal life in sin. I think this doesn't contradict the conciliar statement that Adam was not mortal (i.e. disposed to die anyway) had he sinned or not. I'd be a fool to contradict the infallible Orthodox Faith.
I can agree with this. Different Fathers spoke of it differently -- some said he was immortal, some said mortal, and some said he was at an in between state, but they all agreed that he only physically died because of sin.

On the matter of animals, I still think your vision of God is even more cruel then ours. Do you really think that God enslaved animals under Adam's authority so that at our fall animals were also condemned to death? This is absurd, and makes God feel intrinsically "evil" more then a God permitting natural death and offering a chance to get out of it. Adam's authority was that of gardener and pastor for all vegetal and animal life forms in the world, a custodian who was to safeguard nature, and not to possess it as if God had built the world to be enslaved by humans.

In Christ,   Alex
but its not my opinion, ive already provided you with Patristic sources saying the same thing, and St. Paul tells us in Scripture that the redemption of the earth is tied to the redemption of the Saints. You might want to also try to argue that there is no concensus, but you can't argue that I'm making this up on my own .... If you want to argue against the notion of a set teaching then please feel free to post sources that teach animals were always meant to die.

and why is it crueler for God to give animals a chance to live forever in perfect harmony as man was meant for, than to make them predisposed for death, as you are claiming?
 

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jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
^ And you think one post proves a consensus?
feel free to post any Church source that points to the contrary.
Let's just presume that a consensus doesn't exist, since this is easiest, and that it's up to you to prove that a consensus does exist.
ive already provided Scriptures, Patristics, Icons, Canons, and hymns. i seem to be the only one really doing any work here, and then you just sit back and say "nah not good enough." perhaps you could put forth some effort and actually attempt to validate your position ...?
It doesn't take any work to validate the status quo, but it does take work to persuade this skeptic to change his point of view by adopting yours.  All I'm saying is that you have no real way of proving that which you want to prove, for you have to stack the deck by excluding those Fathers who don't embrace your point of view.  For example, if I were to present to you such a Father, I'm willing to bet you would reject him solely because he disagrees with you.  So why should I bother to go through that effort?

Blow and blow and blow all you want, jckstraw72.  Turn up the force of your bluster if you think that will help you.  It will only serve to make me wrap my coat even more tightly around myself.  Or you can just admit that this is an argument you'll never win and give up.
 

PeterTheAleut

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I thought this post so appropriate for this thread, as well, that I decided to quote it here so we can include it in this discussion.

Peleg said:
jckstraw72 said:
well I have read Fr. Seraphim's book on Genesis in which he quotes toooons of ECFs, plus I have the 38 volume set of Church Fathers and ok, I'm only up to volume 3, but every one of them that has spoken of Genesis has spoken of it literally. St. Theophilus of Antioch gave probably the earliest dating for the earth -- 5000 some years before Christ it was created he says. I have also came across quotes from other Church Fathers regarding Genesis. Additionally many modern Saints and holy elders have maintained the traditional understanding of Genesis -- St. Nektarios, St. Barsanuphius of Optina, St. Justin Popovich, Elder Cleopa, Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Elder Ephraim, Fr. Seraphim, etc etc

Over at Ancient Faith Radio Dr. Jeannie Constantinou has a series on Genesis that quotes extensively from both St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil.  She has come to the exact opposite opinion regarding how the Fathers used the word literal as compared to the way it is used now.  They are quite different.  She shows how Chrysostom does not view the Creation account in a modern sense of the word literal.  Here's the link to the start of that series http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/searchthescriptures/P28/.  Also, in earlier podcasts she talks a lot about the Fathers and the danger of proof texting the writings of the Fathers to prove a point.  It's very informative.
 

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and why is it crueler for God to give animals a chance to live forever in perfect harmony as man was meant for, than to make them predisposed for death, as you are claiming?
Because in the case of animals suffering death due to Adam's sin, there's no direct link between sin and death for animals. How can the sin of Adam bring the death of animals? How can animals become mortal, as if it were a punishment for a sin they never committed? Animals don't even know what sin is... A God imposing death on animals AS A PUNISHMENT for a sin they never committed is to me far more cruel then a God who created a natural life-death cycle and offered to the only sentient being (man) to be elevated outside of this cycle. How can you redeem someone who has never sinned?

17 And to Adam he said: Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat, cursed is the earth in thy work; with labour and toil shalt thou eat thereof all the days of thy life. 18 Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou eat the herbs of the earth.
This quote offers an explanation of HOW the earth was cursed: there is no minimal suggestion that death was the curse, on the contrary the part I underlined in bold indicates that the earth is cursed in her power to offer spontaneously her fruits to men, and that this curse was not AGAINST the earth, but AGAINST man. Sincerely, I believe this shows how an association of death to "the earth" can't be extracted from the Bible. On the consent of the Fathers: if at least a saint recognized with the title of "Church Father" confesses a different opinion which has never been condemned and which doesn't contradict the doctrines of the church, that possibility should be left open until an official definition is given by an Ecumenical Council. For example, prayers for the dead were never disputed by the holy Church Fathers, so this makes it a consensum Patrum. The Church Fathers, despite what you said, had no precise date of the Creation of the World. By that, I mean that there was no specific claim of apostolic origin for the idea that Adam was created in a specific date. Even the first calendars adopted by the Church allowed to span between 8000 BCE (Origen) to 4000 BCE (Bede) according to different human-made calculations. Also, you must take in consideration that the Church Fathers saw no contradiction in the absence of Cainan, son of Arphaxad, in Genesis 11 at the time they read it. None of the early Church Fathers discussing the Genesis genealogies quoted this Cainan between Arphaxad and Selah, so he must have been absent in the Septuagint at the time; still st. Luke's gospel references this name in the genealogy of Jesus. This proves nothing but the presence of holes in the lists of Genesis - a phenomenon often called "telescoping", which uses names as markers for an era of human history (Like saying "in the days of Charlemagne" to mean dates around 800 AD).
The only occasion the Byzantine calendar was adopted in the Ecumenical Councils is in the dating system, but this is included only as a conventional date, and indeed there was no anathema in the ECs including those who denied the inspiration of this dating system.

In Christ,  Alex
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
^ And you think one post proves a consensus?
feel free to post any Church source that points to the contrary.
Let's just presume that a consensus doesn't exist, since this is easiest, and that it's up to you to prove that a consensus does exist.
ive already provided Scriptures, Patristics, Icons, Canons, and hymns. i seem to be the only one really doing any work here, and then you just sit back and say "nah not good enough." perhaps you could put forth some effort and actually attempt to validate your position ...?
It doesn't take any work to validate the status quo, but it does take work to persuade this skeptic to change his point of view by adopting yours.  All I'm saying is that you have no real way of proving that which you want to prove, for you have to stack the deck by excluding those Fathers who don't embrace your point of view.  For example, if I were to present to you such a Father, I'm willing to bet you would reject him solely because he disagrees with you.  So why should I bother to go through that effort?

Blow and blow and blow all you want, jckstraw72.  Turn up the force of your bluster if you think that will help you.  It will only serve to make me wrap my coat even more tightly around myself.  Or you can just admit that this is an argument you'll never win and give up.
who are these Fathers that don't embrace the POV of all the other Fathers? Seriously, WHO ARE THEY? your whole argument pinges upon that, but yet you never present these other Fathers, you just assume that I am aware of Fathers who denied the literal level of Genesis and that I just ignore them. Literally, I've never seen such Patristic writings anywhere.

And let's not forget that I've also provided hymns, canons, icons, and Scripture as well. Your understanding of a concensus seems to very strange, and you make it basically impossible to ever demonstrate what the Church teaches ... on anything.
 

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AlexanderOfBergamo said:
and why is it crueler for God to give animals a chance to live forever in perfect harmony as man was meant for, than to make them predisposed for death, as you are claiming?
Because in the case of animals suffering death due to Adam's sin, there's no direct link between sin and death for animals. How can the sin of Adam bring the death of animals? How can animals become mortal, as if it were a punishment for a sin they never committed? Animals don't even know what sin is... A God imposing death on animals AS A PUNISHMENT for a sin they never committed is to me far more cruel then a God who created a natural life-death cycle and offered to the only sentient being (man) to be elevated outside of this cycle. How can you redeem someone who has never sinned?
i can't tell you the mind of God about why He did it that way, but I'm not really the one you should be asking:

Romans 8:18 For 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. 23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

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 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.

This one especially answers your objection:
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


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



17 And to Adam he said: Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat, cursed is the earth in thy work; with labour and toil shalt thou eat thereof all the days of thy life. 18 Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou eat the herbs of the earth.
This quote offers an explanation of HOW the earth was cursed: there is no minimal suggestion that death was the curse, on the contrary the part I underlined in bold indicates that the earth is cursed in her power to offer spontaneously her fruits to men, and that this curse was not AGAINST the earth, but AGAINST man. Sincerely, I believe this shows how an association of death to "the earth" can't be extracted from the Bible. On the consent of the Fathers: if at least a saint recognized with the title of "Church Father" confesses a different opinion which has never been condemned and which doesn't contradict the doctrines of the church, that possibility should be left open until an official definition is given by an Ecumenical Council. For example, prayers for the dead were never disputed by the holy Church Fathers, so this makes it a consensum Patrum. The Church Fathers, despite what you said, had no precise date of the Creation of the World. By that, I mean that there was no specific claim of apostolic origin for the idea that Adam was created in a specific date. Even the first calendars adopted by the Church allowed to span between 8000 BCE (Origen) to 4000 BCE (Bede) according to different human-made calculations. Also, you must take in consideration that the Church Fathers saw no contradiction in the absence of Cainan, son of Arphaxad, in Genesis 11 at the time they read it. None of the early Church Fathers discussing the Genesis genealogies quoted this Cainan between Arphaxad and Selah, so he must have been absent in the Septuagint at the time; still st. Luke's gospel references this name in the genealogy of Jesus. This proves nothing but the presence of holes in the lists of Genesis - a phenomenon often called "telescoping", which uses names as markers for an era of human history (Like saying "in the days of Charlemagne" to mean dates around 800 AD).
The only occasion the Byzantine calendar was adopted in the Ecumenical Councils is in the dating system, but this is included only as a conventional date, and indeed there was no anathema in the ECs including those who denied the inspiration of this dating system.

In Christ,   Alex
ok but the obvious thing you're leaving out is that:
1. apparently many early Fathers were interested/concerned with the date of the earth
2. they all calculated a young age based on a literal reading of Genesis! There were variant numbers between the Hebrew and Septuagint, and probably even between different manuscripts of the Septuagint, thus they didn't get exactly the same numbers, but absolutely none of them give you anywhere near enough time for evolution. and the Church eventually officially adopted the Byzantine Creation Era calendar thus showing its mind on the matter.
 

AlexanderOfBergamo

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You are still giving to the Church Fathers more authority then necessary. All of the Church Fathers were moved by personal speculation, which is a series theologumena. The same Church Fathers you proof-text here were also sure that the world would have finished by 500 AD. NONE of the them but Augustine proposed a less literal interpretation of the six millenial days of the world, yet the world is not finished in c. 500 AD, and we're still here to witness this. You are abusing of the principle "consent of the Fathers" to "prove" your positions, but the truth is that the Church Fathers are infallible only when they witness Apostolic Tradition, i.e. those doctrines which have been handed down directly by Jesus to the Blessed Apostles. Often, the Fathers use expressions clearly stating that a belief or practice comes directly from the Apostles themselves, such as "we have received this tradition" etc. which are absent afaik in most if not anyone of the Fathers you quoted. Our ancestors in the Faith used to read the Scriptures to reconstruct the date of Creation only and exclusively for their conviction that the world would be over in 6000 AM.

In Christ,  Alex
 

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AlexanderOfBergamo said:
You are still giving to the Church Fathers more authority then necessary. All of the Church Fathers were moved by personal speculation, which is a series theologumena.
Even when we take this sentence in context of your argument, this is just as bold a statement as you seem to be claiming others are making for their beliefs.  All of the Fathers were moved by personal speculation?  I submit that this statement cannot be held as true; the great cloud of witnesses spoken of in Scripture tells us otherwise.  A great many achieved Theosis and were true Theologians devoid of mere speculation. 
 

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jckstraw72 said:
who are these Fathers that don't embrace the POV of all the other Fathers? Seriously, WHO ARE THEY? your whole argument pinges upon that, but yet you never present these other Fathers, you just assume that I am aware of Fathers who denied the literal level of Genesis and that I just ignore them. Literally, I've never seen such Patristic writings anywhere.
You just don't get it, do you?  I'm not arguing anything except that you bear ALL the burden of proof in this argument, since you are the one trying to prove something.  I'm not trying to prove anything.

jckstraw72 said:
And let's not forget that I've also provided hymns, canons, icons, and Scripture as well. Your understanding of a concensus seems to very strange, and you make it basically impossible to ever demonstrate what the Church teaches ... on anything.
No, I just think you're being too dogmatic about this and trying to formulate and prove Church teaching where none is even necessary.
 

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GabrieltheCelt said:
AlexanderOfBergamo said:
You are still giving to the Church Fathers more authority then necessary. All of the Church Fathers were moved by personal speculation, which is a series theologumena.
Even when we take this sentence in context of your argument, this is just as bold a statement as you seem to be claiming others are making for their beliefs.  All of the Fathers were moved by personal speculation?  I submit that this statement cannot be held as true; the great cloud of witnesses spoken of in Scripture tells us otherwise.  A great many achieved Theosis and were true Theologians devoid of mere speculation.   
thank you Gabriel. and furthermore, if I am really just proof-texting then by all means present any evidence from within the Church to the contrary. Scripture itself tells us that God does not desire the death of living things, that death entered because of sin, and that death is the last enemy to be overthrown, thus when the Fathers teach about the origin of death they are indeed transmitting the Apostolic Tradition.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
who are these Fathers that don't embrace the POV of all the other Fathers? Seriously, WHO ARE THEY? your whole argument pinges upon that, but yet you never present these other Fathers, you just assume that I am aware of Fathers who denied the literal level of Genesis and that I just ignore them. Literally, I've never seen such Patristic writings anywhere.
You just don't get it, do you?  I'm not arguing anything except that you bear ALL the burden of proof in this argument, since you are the one trying to prove something.  I'm not trying to prove anything.
you are attempting to persuade myself and others that I am fabricating a false concensus, and that I am merely proof-texting. This would imply that there is actually another viewpoint that could be presented but which I am ignoring. There is a burden on you to demonstrate that there is actually a variant viewpoint in the history of the Church. Otherwise your interpretation of Scripture is completely your own which is a Protestant thing to do.

jckstraw72 said:
And let's not forget that I've also provided hymns, canons, icons, and Scripture as well. Your understanding of a concensus seems to very strange, and you make it basically impossible to ever demonstrate what the Church teaches ... on anything.
No, I just think you're being too dogmatic about this and trying to formulate Church teaching where none is even necessary.
I'm not attempting to formulate any teaching. I'm presenting to you the words of the illumined Fathers. If anyone is fabricating a teaching I guess it would have to be them. and yes, i think its necessary to establish that death, the great enemy of creation, is not God's fault but rather is our fault. If we blame God for death then we're really not much better than Calvinists.

 
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