Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy

Do you believe that the acount of genesis in the Old testament should be taken literally?

  • Yes

    Votes: 73 16.8%
  • No

    Votes: 163 37.6%
  • both metaphorically and literally

    Votes: 198 45.6%

  • Total voters
    434

PeterTheAleut

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jckstraw72 said:
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.
I think that's self-evident.

jckstraw72 said:
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.
But I'm not offering my own interpretation of Scripture.  Besides, others here have already done the work of demonstrating an alternate point of view from the Fathers.

jckstraw72 said:
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.
But the way you've approached this argument on this thread, it is you and you alone who are organizing pertinent and related Patristic writings into a single body of work with the goal of persuading us to adopt your particular point of view as if it were Church dogma.  So I am not questioning, nor have I ever questioned the Fathers.  I have only questioned you.  As I said before on this thread, it's all about you.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
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.
I think that's self-evident.

jckstraw72 said:
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.
But I'm not offering my own interpretation of Scripture.  Besides, others here have already done the work of demonstrating an alternate point of view from the Fathers.

jckstraw72 said:
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.
But the way you've approached this argument on this thread, it is you and you alone who are organizing pertinent and related Patristic writings into a single body of work with the goal of persuading us to adopt your particular point of view as if it were Church dogma.  So I am not questioning, nor have I ever questioned the Fathers.  I have only questioned you.  As I said before on this thread, it's all about you.
when was an alternative POV from the Fathers shown? you have a few quotes that deal only with the length of days, none of which give you enough time for evolution. another thing to think about -- some Fathers seem to have interpreted the days to be 1000 years because of other Scriptural verses! that is a far cry from someone pulling from secularist science to interpret Scripture. and if 3 or 4 Fathers really overturns a concensus then there isn't a whole lot that we can actually believe.

but as i have said repeatedly, the length of the days is probably the least important issue here. you still have the big issue of death. no one has presented any evidence that says God desires death.
 

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Why does people put the wrong words in my mouth (or better, in my keybord LOL)?
I never said that the Church Fathers were wrong in their speculation. I just said they were speculating on the subject, since no explicit tradition from the Apostles has come to us, so that we might affirm Adam to have been created precisely 5500 years before Adam (which makes me think: how could man have reached 6 billion people on Earth after all natural disasters, epidemics and wars, when the Flood happened according to the Septuagint only around 3250 BCE?). Indeed, they were only reading in the ONLY spontaneous meaning possible at the time, the literal one, given that the science of the time was so primitive. I insist in listening to Augustine's good suggestion: when scientific observation and reason contradict a LITERAL reading of the Scriptures, we must listen to science too and try to harmonize them. Only the modern theory of a 15 billion year old world is compatible with the existence of stars distant million years; this is the main problem that the crazy and non-sensic "creation scientists" can't validly overcome. Saying that light speed is decaying, when no scientific proof exists of this, is an absurdity. Also, considering that MOST of our universe is ruled by the value of the speed of light ('c' in the famous E=mc^2 formula of Albert Einstein), the entire universe would have had different characteristics, most of them leading to the destruction of the universe or to its sterility. For example a universe where c is greater, the energy extracted from mass would have been too great, so that the stars would have consumed too rapidly. And this is just a little example. The extremly precise balance of forces and dynamics in the ACTUAL world proves God's existence more then any conjecture, and I am surprised that a creationist is attacking me, since I am one of the few still supporting the existence of a literal Adam, and of a literal Flood (while its extent was more limited then in a global flood theory). History and a literal reading of the Bible simply DON'T MATCH in their respective chronologies. Why would God deceive us, and make the universe seem older then it is? Doesn't this contrast with the words "The heavens declare the glory of God"? If the heavens declare the glory of God, then the how's and when's of creation must be encoded in the fabric of the universe as we know it. The wind/breath of God can still be heard roaming in the sound of Big Bang, as scientists proved long ago. This roaming is the only testimony of what happened when God stretched out the heavens like a curtain, and traced the firmament over the earth.
The thing which drives me mad is that while I accept all possible beliefs on creation (including the idea of 6 literal days), and even the conclusions on darwinian evolution I recently debated here can be entirely plausible, you jckstraw72 accuse me and others (including bishops and theologians of our times) of being heretic. Sincerely, I can't understand where your hatred comes from. My only possible explanation is that you're frightened by physical death... that you consider it intrinsically evil, and can't accept that God established this cycle too. Death - I mean, physical death - as proven useful in the world after the Fall. Only through death we can get in communion with God. I also think that the free violation of God's commandment by Adam and Eve was somehow providential, so that natural death might have let humans understand how important is God and how weak and futile we are on our own. It's more or less like a child who, naively, understands the importance of a toy only he has lost or broken it. Our forefathers were children in faith, and they hadn't understood the difference between "immortal by nature" and "immortal by grace", and this is the root of their rebellion and pride.
I feel really offended by your lack of understanding and love towards most your brothers and sisters in Orthodoxy (but I didn't offendfor myself, afterall I am nothing in this world and my opinion counts anything in the Church).
 

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AlexanderOfBergamo said:
Why does people put the wrong words in my mouth (or better, in my keybord LOL)?
I never said that the Church Fathers were wrong in their speculation. I just said they were speculating on the subject, since no explicit tradition from the Apostles has come to us, so that we might affirm Adam to have been created precisely 5500 years before Adam (which makes me think: how could man have reached 6 billion people on Earth after all natural disasters, epidemics and wars, when the Flood happened according to the Septuagint only around 3250 BCE?). Indeed, they were only reading in the ONLY spontaneous meaning possible at the time, the literal one, given that the science of the time was so primitive. I insist in listening to Augustine's good suggestion: when scientific observation and reason contradict a LITERAL reading of the Scriptures, we must listen to science too and try to harmonize them. Only the modern theory of a 15 billion year old world is compatible with the existence of stars distant million years; this is the main problem that the crazy and non-sensic "creation scientists" can't validly overcome. Saying that light speed is decaying, when no scientific proof exists of this, is an absurdity. Also, considering that MOST of our universe is ruled by the value of the speed of light ('c' in the famous E=mc^2 formula of Albert Einstein), the entire universe would have had different characteristics, most of them leading to the destruction of the universe or to its sterility. For example a universe where c is greater, the energy extracted from mass would have been too great, so that the stars would have consumed too rapidly. And this is just a little example. The extremly precise balance of forces and dynamics in the ACTUAL world proves God's existence more then any conjecture, and I am surprised that a creationist is attacking me, since I am one of the few still supporting the existence of a literal Adam, and of a literal Flood (while its extent was more limited then in a global flood theory). History and a literal reading of the Bible simply DON'T MATCH in their respective chronologies. Why would God deceive us, and make the universe seem older then it is? Doesn't this contrast with the words "The heavens declare the glory of God"? If the heavens declare the glory of God, then the how's and when's of creation must be encoded in the fabric of the universe as we know it. The wind/breath of God can still be heard roaming in the sound of Big Bang, as scientists proved long ago. This roaming is the only testimony of what happened when God stretched out the heavens like a curtain, and traced the firmament over the earth.
The thing which drives me mad is that while I accept all possible beliefs on creation (including the idea of 6 literal days), and even the conclusions on darwinian evolution I recently debated here can be entirely plausible, you jckstraw72 accuse me and others (including bishops and theologians of our times) of being heretic. Sincerely, I can't understand where your hatred comes from. My only possible explanation is that you're frightened by physical death... that you consider it intrinsically evil, and can't accept that God established this cycle too. Death - I mean, physical death - as proven useful in the world after the Fall. Only through death we can get in communion with God. I also think that the free violation of God's commandment by Adam and Eve was somehow providential, so that natural death might have let humans understand how important is God and how weak and futile we are on our own. It's more or less like a child who, naively, understands the importance of a toy only he has lost or broken it. Our forefathers were children in faith, and they hadn't understood the difference between "immortal by nature" and "immortal by grace", and this is the root of their rebellion and pride.
I feel really offended by your lack of understanding and love towards most your brothers and sisters in Orthodoxy (but I didn't offendfor myself, afterall I am nothing in this world and my opinion counts anything in the Church).
how do you know there isnt an Apostolic Tradition coming down to us, considering that Scripture, Patristics, canons, hymns, and icons all point to the same understanding?

i never called you a heretic. im simply asking for someone to demonstrate that their interpretation is a sound Orthodox interpretation rather than something modern man has just made up by the influence of evolution.

in order for St. Augustine's words to apply to me I would first have to be convinced that evolution is scientifically sound. i find it to be a philosophy rather than science since it is built upon a series of assumptions, thus I find St. Augustine's quote much more fitting for theistic evolutionists.
 

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I don't know how to make you understand that I'M NOT an evolutionist. I don't believe evolution is a sound theory (which doesn't mean I am condemning those who support a creation THROUGH evolution). Still I see other observations - both mathematical and empirical - that point to a very old universe and can't be explained out with a Young Earth model of creation. There are a variety of belief systems spanning from progressive creationism/day-age theory and others which accept a scientifical DATING of creation according to empirical sciences (astrophysics, archeology, geology, paleontology...) but deny biological evolution and abiogenesis for their more or less explicit contradiction with the Scriptures.

In Christ,  Alex
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
PS: The application of this passage to the conversation has been detrimental to our conversation: it seems clear that you're accusing me and others of heresy.
 

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AlexanderOfBergamo said:
I don't know how to make you understand that I'M NOT an evolutionist. I don't believe evolution is a sound theory (which doesn't mean I am condemning those who support a creation THROUGH evolution). Still I see other observations - both mathematical and empirical - that point to a very old universe and can't be explained out with a Young Earth model of creation. There are a variety of belief systems spanning from progressive creationism/day-age theory and others which accept a scientifical DATING of creation according to empirical sciences (astrophysics, archeology, geology, paleontology...) but deny biological evolution and abiogenesis for their more or less explicit contradiction with the Scriptures.

In Christ,   Alex
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
PS: The application of this passage to the conversation has been detrimental to our conversation: it seems clear that you're accusing me and others of heresy.
well he says that the opinion of certain orthodox people are derived from heretical sources, not that the people are heretical. i think deriving an interpretation of Scripture from secularist scientists constitutes getting an opinion from a heretical source.
 

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jckstraw72 said:
and if 3 or 4 Fathers really overturns a concensus then there isn't a whole lot that we can actually believe.
I would correct that by saying that if 3 or 4 Fathers really overturns a consensus then there isn't a whole lot we can actually proclaim as dogma, which is actually a good thing.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
and if 3 or 4 Fathers really overturns a concensus then there isn't a whole lot that we can actually believe.
I would correct that by saying that if 3 or 4 Fathers really overturns a consensus then there isn't a whole lot we can actually proclaim as dogma, which is actually a good thing.
im sorry, i just dont see how a few random quotes about the length of the days of creation overthrows everything else in the Church which accepts the literal level of Genesis, including many more issues than just the relatively unimportant length of the days.
 

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jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
and if 3 or 4 Fathers really overturns a concensus then there isn't a whole lot that we can actually believe.
I would correct that by saying that if 3 or 4 Fathers really overturns a consensus then there isn't a whole lot we can actually proclaim as dogma, which is actually a good thing.
im sorry, i just dont see how a few random quotes about the length of the days of creation overthrows everything else in the Church which accepts the literal level of Genesis, including many more issues than just the relatively unimportant length of the days.
And I don't see how a few random quotes about the literal days of Genesis establishes a consensus. You're going to have to do better than that.

As I have said before, if the Orthodox Church is going to be making statements about scientific theories, which it is wholly unqualified to do, then it is no better than the Roman church, and I don't want to be part of it.
 

PeterTheAleut

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
and if 3 or 4 Fathers really overturns a concensus then there isn't a whole lot that we can actually believe.
I would correct that by saying that if 3 or 4 Fathers really overturns a consensus then there isn't a whole lot we can actually proclaim as dogma, which is actually a good thing.
im sorry, i just dont see how a few random quotes about the length of the days of creation overthrows everything else in the Church which accepts the literal level of Genesis, including many more issues than just the relatively unimportant length of the days.
And I don't see how a few random quotes about the literal days of Genesis establishes a consensus. You're going to have to do better than that.

As I have said before, if the Orthodox Church is going to be making statements about scientific theories, which it is wholly unqualified to do, then it is no better than the Roman church, and I don't want to be part of it.
I'm with Mr. Y on this.  jckstraw, the one thing you're trying to do on this thread that has drawn my objection more than anything else has nothing to do with HOW you have gone about trying to prove a patristic consensus, even though this has been superficially the focus of my questioning.  What I reject most is your very goal of trying to make a dogmatic proclamation on evolution where none is necessary or even desired.
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
and if 3 or 4 Fathers really overturns a concensus then there isn't a whole lot that we can actually believe.
I would correct that by saying that if 3 or 4 Fathers really overturns a consensus then there isn't a whole lot we can actually proclaim as dogma, which is actually a good thing.
im sorry, i just dont see how a few random quotes about the length of the days of creation overthrows everything else in the Church which accepts the literal level of Genesis, including many more issues than just the relatively unimportant length of the days.
And I don't see how a few random quotes about the literal days of Genesis establishes a consensus. You're going to have to do better than that.

As I have said before, if the Orthodox Church is going to be making statements about scientific theories, which it is wholly unqualified to do, then it is no better than the Roman church, and I don't want to be part of it.
Hear, hear!
 

Riddikulus

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PeterTheAleut said:
ytterbiumanalyst said:
jckstraw72 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
and if 3 or 4 Fathers really overturns a concensus then there isn't a whole lot that we can actually believe.
I would correct that by saying that if 3 or 4 Fathers really overturns a consensus then there isn't a whole lot we can actually proclaim as dogma, which is actually a good thing.
im sorry, i just dont see how a few random quotes about the length of the days of creation overthrows everything else in the Church which accepts the literal level of Genesis, including many more issues than just the relatively unimportant length of the days.
And I don't see how a few random quotes about the literal days of Genesis establishes a consensus. You're going to have to do better than that.

As I have said before, if the Orthodox Church is going to be making statements about scientific theories, which it is wholly unqualified to do, then it is no better than the Roman church, and I don't want to be part of it.
I'm with Mr. Y on this.  jckstraw, the one thing you're trying to do on this thread that has drawn my objection more than anything else has nothing to do with HOW you have gone about trying to prove a patristic consensus, even though this has been superficially the focus of my questioning.  What I reject most is your very goal of trying to make a dogmatic proclamation on evolution where none is necessary or even desired.
Hear, hear!
 

Dan-Romania

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This is the book of the generation of heaven and earth, when they were made, in the day in which the Lord God made the heaven and the earth,       

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 
         
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.             
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?       
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone— 
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
“Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,           
when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
 

AlexanderOfBergamo

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1) I believe that the Church MIGHT have the authority to express doctrines concerning creation/evolution controversy, and that no matter what the Church says, I will obey to it after an official proclamation THROUGH A VALIDLY ESTABLISHED ECUMENICAL COUNCIL.
2) The fact that up to now the Church has never expressed her interpretation on Genesis is that either (a) the question has been clear in itself up to recent times when the fight between literalists and allegorists has begun (b) there's no sufficiently solid tradition on the matter, so the question is voluntarily left open to private interpretation (c) the Church sees no contradiction of ANY of the positions involved, and as a loving Mother is protecting her children from schisms based on questions which don't affect theology either directly or indirectly. I find anyway that this omission by the Church hierarchy is GOOD. Christians should be educated in accepting different opinions WITHIN the Orthodox Faith.

As I have said before, if the Orthodox Church is going to be making statements about scientific theories, which it is wholly unqualified to do, then it is no better than the Roman church, and I don't want to be part of it.
If such a little aspect of Orthodoxy is sufficient to make you leave the true Church, then you must be more faithful to god-wisdom than to God-Almighty. The Church indeed has authority to explain the theology BEHIND the Bible and Tradition, even affecting science, and when the Church sets a doctrine, she is giving it from God's revelation. The anathemas against those who don't believe that Adam was immortal (either by nature or by grace, the question is open) can't be avoided, since the Church has infallibly stated this in her Ecumenical Councils. If you reject this authority, you can step back and look for another church.
At this time you're lucky, anyway, seems the church has no official opinion, so you can stay in Orthodoxy. Hope that this doesn't change!

In Christ,  Alex
 

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how old is the earth according to the Church?How many years passed untill Christ?
 

PeterTheAleut

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Dan-Romania said:
This is the book of the generation of heaven and earth, when they were made, in the day in which the Lord God made the heaven and the earth,       

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:   
         
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.               
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?         
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—   
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
“Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,             
when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
You could at least offer us the common courtesy of telling us this came out of Job (Job 38:4-11).  Come to think of it, this doesn't really do much for your strident anti-evolutionist position, either, since all you've done is assert one source of positive knowledge against another.  Were YOU present to see God create the heavens and the earth that you think you know so much about this?
 
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