Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy

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

  • Yes

    Votes: 73 16.8%
  • No

    Votes: 163 37.6%
  • both metaphorically and literally

    Votes: 198 45.6%

  • Total voters
    434

jckstraw72

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Fr. John Romanides, Original Sin According to St. Paul

St. Paul claims that death is the enemy which came into the world and passed unto all men through the sin of one man. Not only many, but all of creation became subject to corruption. The subjugation of man and creation to the power of the devil and death was obviously a temporary frustration of the original destiny of man and creation. It is false to read into Paul's statements about the first and second Adams the idea that Adam would have died even though he had not sinned, simply because the first Adam was made eis psychen zosan—which expression, according to St. Paul's usage within the context, clearly means mortal. Adam could very well have been created not naturally immortal, but if he had not sinned there is no reason to believe that he would not have become immortal by nature. This is certainly implied by the extraordinary powers St. Paul attributes to death and corruption.
 

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plus, you know, it was kinda physical death that Christ defeated through His Cross and Resurrection ... that whole bodily resurrection at the 2nd Coming thing ...
 

minasoliman

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jckstraw72 said:
Fr. John Romanides, Original Sin According to St. Paul

St. Paul claims that death is the enemy which came into the world and passed unto all men through the sin of one man. Not only many, but all of creation became subject to corruption. The subjugation of man and creation to the power of the devil and death was obviously a temporary frustration of the original destiny of man and creation. It is false to read into Paul's statements about the first and second Adams the idea that Adam would have died even though he had not sinned, simply because the first Adam was made eis psychen zosan—which expression, according to St. Paul's usage within the context, clearly means mortal. Adam could very well have been created not naturally immortal, but if he had not sinned there is no reason to believe that he would not have become immortal by nature. This is certainly implied by the extraordinary powers St. Paul attributes to death and corruption.
I think to understand Fr John Romanides, one has go understand that in the full context of this quote, Fr John seems to still found no need to fight or see any contradiction between evolution and Orthodoxy, not through a literal understanding of the Scriltures, but rather by what he believed to be the principles of Orthodoxy.

From http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/dogmatics/nicozisin_creationism.htm

Father John Romanides, a contemporary Orthodox theologian says “Adam and Eve were two children born who were protected by nature and the animal world through the Holy Spirit.”
From http://www.orthodoxchristianbooks.com/articles/397/romanides,-holy-scripture-science/
In general, Romanides has a great respect – too great a respect - for science. He appears to believe in the “big bang”, and evolution, and psychoanalysis, and seems completely oblivious of the powerful objections brought against all these theories by more independent-minded scientists… He believes that the process of purification, illumination and deification can be reflected in the future findings of neurobiology… Several times he compares his “empirical dogmatics” or “experiential theology” with medicine and psychiatry…
Here's also an article by Fr John that alludes to him having no problem with today's science:
http://preachersinstitute.com/2010/03/08/fr-john-romanides-on-extraterrestrial-life-by-fr-john-romanides/

Oh how I wish Fr John were alive today.  His students seem to not have a problem with evolution.  Wondering if that was really the case with him.


 

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
celticfan1888 said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
With respect, this is a ridiculous argument. Christ did not come to conquer the death of grass and fingernail tissue. He came to conquer sin and death, which became inextricably linked after the Fall. There was no animate death prior to sin, and that is clearly what the Scriptures and the Church refer to when speaking of death. To assert that death means only spiritual death is a subjective interpretation that lacks import from Scripture, the Church, and the Fathers.


Selam
St. Augustine disagrees with you.

So you say that plant death doesn't matter? What about the death of single celled organisms when you eat the fruit? Hm, hm?

I stand by my statement above, and I'm pretty certain that Blessed Augustine would agree.
Then prove it.

The burden of proof is on those who are promoting a novel interpretation of the meaning of death in order to make evolutionary theory compatible with Orthodoxy.


Selam
You said Blessed Augustine would agree with you. Now that you said that, it's your burden to prove that he would. That's all I care about right now.
 

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jckstraw72 said:
Jonathan Gress said:
The first two of your last three posts, jckstraw, are good evidence that both St Augustine and the Church speaking through the Council of Carthage believed bodily as well as spiritual death are the consequence of sin, against the idea that the human body was subject to death even before the Fall. The last post, however, is not quite germane to your argument, since it concerns the status of body and soul after the Fall, and is arguing against those who believe only the body became subject to death as a result of sin.
well, but it says that it is both body and soul that changed at the Fall -- that was the question - does the Church teach that the body dies from sin also.
I don't think anyone's really arguing, though, that sin brought bodily death as well as spiritual death to the human. The argument I read, and which you aren't answering, is that the death of plants and animals is a direct result of human sin and not part of the original created order.

I'll admit, though, that I got sidetracked a bit by Sauron's language of "spiritual death vs. physical death" and when I saw Gebre address that, misunderstood Gebre to be arguing in favor of the belief that plants and animals were also created to not die. If I were to see Sauron's and Gebre's debate as addressing a distinction between physical and spiritual death in humans, the idea that humans were created to die, and that the death of the human body is not a consequence of the fall, then I would say that Gebre is right.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
jckstraw72 said:
Jonathan Gress said:
The first two of your last three posts, jckstraw, are good evidence that both St Augustine and the Church speaking through the Council of Carthage believed bodily as well as spiritual death are the consequence of sin, against the idea that the human body was subject to death even before the Fall. The last post, however, is not quite germane to your argument, since it concerns the status of body and soul after the Fall, and is arguing against those who believe only the body became subject to death as a result of sin.
well, but it says that it is both body and soul that changed at the Fall -- that was the question - does the Church teach that the body dies from sin also.
I don't think anyone's really arguing, though, that sin brought bodily death as well as spiritual death to the human. The argument I read, and which you aren't answering, is that the death of plants and animals is a direct result of human sin and not part of the original created order.

I'll admit, though, that I got sidetracked a bit by Sauron's language of "spiritual death vs. physical death" and when I saw Gebre address that, misunderstood Gebre to be arguing in favor of the belief that plants and animals were also created to not die. If I were to see Sauron's and Gebre's debate as addressing a distinction between physical and spiritual death in humans, the idea that humans were created to die, and that the death of the human body is not a consequence of the fall, then I would say that Gebre is right.
Hasn't this issue already been raised before in this thread? I seem to recall quoting St Gregory of Sinai among others, cited in Fr Seraphim's essay, stating quite explicitly that there was no death of any kind, animal, plant or human, before the Fall. I'm not aware of any Fathers that say otherwise. Mina did cite St Athanasius who spoke of creation falling back into death or something like that, but the saint's words to me suggested more that he was treating death and corruption as the inevitable fate of nature deprived of grace, which is to tend back towards its original state, i.e. nothingness.

I think it might be better, for those who are concerned about the apparent weight of evidence behind evolution as a scientific theory, to consider the possibility that the death that supposedly already existed in the world prior to humanity was allowed by God in anticipation of Man's fall. I can't think of how this would contradict the Fathers, unless one were to insist that the relative chronology of death and the fall were itself of dogmatic importance. But my impression is that what is important is not the temporal sequence of death and fall, but the causal sequence, with sin causing death.
 

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A propos of the above, I am reminded of Met Anthony Khrapovitsky's theory of redemption, in which he held that the death of each man is allowed by God in anticipation of the sins he will later commit. In other words, there is no inherited original sin which merits death. I remember reading that other bishops in ROCOR had a problem with this, since imposing a penalty in anticipation of later transgressions seemed to be inconsistent with God's justice. However, my impression is that Met Anthony understood that was what important was the causal sequence of sin and death, and that which came first in time is ultimately not important to God, Who is outside time.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
I think it might be better, for those who are concerned about the apparent weight of evidence behind evolution as a scientific theory, to consider the possibility that the death that supposedly already existed in the world prior to humanity was allowed by God in anticipation of Man's fall. I can't think of how this would contradict the Fathers, unless one were to insist that the relative chronology of death and the fall were itself of dogmatic importance. But my impression is that what is important is not the temporal sequence of death and fall, but the causal sequence, with sin causing death.
All my life, animal and plant death before the Fall didn't seem to be an issue to me.  Most of the Coptic Sunday School servants, priests, and bishops I knew taught me a version of Old Earth Creationism.  It comes to my shock therefore to read posts by Gebre as espousing the "Ethiopian" view, but doesn't seem to realize he is probably contradicting the view of HH Pope Shenouda.  And I'm not talking about evolution, just merely the possibility of animal and plant death before the Fall.

When I have a discussion of evolution with Coptic people, we never had any quarrels about this issue.  And frankly, I do ask myself does my faith make a difference either way, evolution or not?  I don't think so, but if other people feel scandalized by this, and I am a heretic to them, then I pray that this issue may be resolved in the future.
 

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minasoliman said:
Jonathan Gress said:
I think it might be better, for those who are concerned about the apparent weight of evidence behind evolution as a scientific theory, to consider the possibility that the death that supposedly already existed in the world prior to humanity was allowed by God in anticipation of Man's fall. I can't think of how this would contradict the Fathers, unless one were to insist that the relative chronology of death and the fall were itself of dogmatic importance. But my impression is that what is important is not the temporal sequence of death and fall, but the causal sequence, with sin causing death.
All my life, animal and plant death before the Fall didn't seem to be an issue to me.  Most of the Coptic Sunday School servants, priests, and bishops I knew taught me a version of Old Earth Creationism.  It comes to my shock therefore to read posts by Gebre as espousing the "Ethiopian" view, but doesn't seem to realize he is probably contradicting the view of HH Pope Shenouda.  And I'm not talking about evolution, just merely the possibility of animal and plant death before the Fall.
Sure, I understand. It is very hard for anyone to believe that there was literally no animal or plant death before the first humans, since we have all those fossils that appear to have died well before humankind appeared. You have to resort to arguing that all the dating is wrong, which is tough. But would you be willing to accept that the death of those animals and plants is in some mystical sense caused by Man's transgression? Or do you feel that this would be impossible to believe, given that animals died before Adam in time? If impossible, is this because you think it's important for sin to precede death in time in order to have caused death?
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
A propos of the above, I am reminded of Met Anthony Khrapovitsky's theory of redemption, in which he held that the death of each man is allowed by God in anticipation of the sins he will later commit. In other words, there is no inherited original sin which merits death. I remember reading that other bishops in ROCOR had a problem with this, since imposing a penalty in anticipation of later transgressions seemed to be inconsistent with God's justice. However, my impression is that Met Anthony understood that was what important was the causal sequence of sin and death, and that which came first in time is ultimately not important to God, Who is outside time.
This might not be completely analogous, since not only was Met Anthony denying that original sin preceded our individual mortality, but he was denying that there was any sin common to human nature which could cause our mortality. So his theory ends up being dogmatically questionable in any case. I'm not here saying his theory is wrong, but that even after separating temporal from causal sequence you still potentially have a problem here.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
Jonathan Gress said:
I think it might be better, for those who are concerned about the apparent weight of evidence behind evolution as a scientific theory, to consider the possibility that the death that supposedly already existed in the world prior to humanity was allowed by God in anticipation of Man's fall. I can't think of how this would contradict the Fathers, unless one were to insist that the relative chronology of death and the fall were itself of dogmatic importance. But my impression is that what is important is not the temporal sequence of death and fall, but the causal sequence, with sin causing death.
All my life, animal and plant death before the Fall didn't seem to be an issue to me.  Most of the Coptic Sunday School servants, priests, and bishops I knew taught me a version of Old Earth Creationism.  It comes to my shock therefore to read posts by Gebre as espousing the "Ethiopian" view, but doesn't seem to realize he is probably contradicting the view of HH Pope Shenouda.  And I'm not talking about evolution, just merely the possibility of animal and plant death before the Fall.
Sure, I understand. It is very hard for anyone to believe that there was literally no animal or plant death before the first humans, since we have all those fossils that appear to have died well before humankind appeared. You have to resort to arguing that all the dating is wrong, which is tough. But would you be willing to accept that the death of those animals and plants is in some mystical sense caused by Man's transgression? Or do you feel that this would be impossible to believe, given that animals died before Adam in time? If impossible, is this because you think it's important for sin to precede death in time in order to have caused death?
I'm not sure if such questions make a big difference to me.  I read a post somewhere by a person who shared that his priest believed that Adam's sin had such an effect that caused a reverberation of death even backwards in time.  I thought that was an interesting idea.  But this makes no difference to me.  What I do believe is that man is God's special creation, created through communion with God to be a god in the world and to improve it.  However, man sinned, fell under the sway of death, choosing the world alone over divine life with God, and through that decision is actually making the world a worse place to live in year by year, causing all of creation to cry out for a Savior.  It's not so surprising to find therefore that some of the greatest desert fathers had such a loving relationship with nature in a sense deifying it with them.  Whether before Adam such things partook of natural corruption or not doesn't seem to hurt the central understanding of my salvation.  In fact, I'm inclined to even say that even though through Adam, sin caused man's death, Christ seems to prefer the restoration of the world by death, a death that leads to new and improved life, and if we were to allegorize the fossil history, it seems to be teaching us just that.
 

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
jckstraw72 said:
i completely agree with Gebre. the major issue is the question of death. if God is the author of death, then death is good. then we must ask why Scripture refers to death as the last enemy to be overthrown, and why Christ defeated death.
I think that is spiritual death, not physical death.

I think it is quite clear that there was physical death built into the pre-fall world. For example, Adam and Eve were given all plant (except one) to eat. If they plucked a carrot out of the ground and ate it, the carrot was dead. If the cow eat grass, the blades of grass were chewed, digested, and eliminated as poop.

How about Adam and Eve themselves? Did they have hair and fingernails, which are composed of dead cells? If there was no death, why be given the command to be fruitful and multiply in the pre-fall world?

With respect, this is a ridiculous argument. Christ did not come to conquer the death of grass and fingernail tissue. He came to conquer sin and death, which became inextricably linked after the Fall. There was no animate death prior to sin, and that is clearly what the Scriptures and the Church refer to when speaking of death. To assert that death means only spiritual death is a subjective interpretation that lacks import from Scripture, the Church, and the Fathers.


Selam
Simply saying "ridiculous" is not a rational argument. I think you need to respond to my hypothetical.

For example, in the pre-fall world, Adam and Eve were given plants to eat. If Adam picks a tomato of the vine, would that tomato live forever? Then when he bites into it, don't individual cells of the tomato die as they tear? Now the tomato is in chunks in his stomach, dissolving in sulfuric acid. Is every cell of that tomato still alive? Now it is shuttling through the small intestines as sludge, where Adam is absorbing it into his body. Not one cell of that tomato has died? According to you, what happened to every single cell of that tomato?

Go beyond that. Why did Adam and Eve even need to eat at all?

Go beyond that. Why be fruitful and multiply if there is no death? The world population is going to reach seven billion people this year and is already bursting at the seams, even though 150,000 people die every day. Care to tell me what the population would be if no one ever died? (Hint: the answer will be in trillions)

According to you, did Adam have fingernails and hair or not?
 

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
jckstraw72 said:
i completely agree with Gebre. the major issue is the question of death. if God is the author of death, then death is good. then we must ask why Scripture refers to death as the last enemy to be overthrown, and why Christ defeated death.
I think that is spiritual death, not physical death.

I think it is quite clear that there was physical death built into the pre-fall world. For example, Adam and Eve were given all plant (except one) to eat. If they plucked a carrot out of the ground and ate it, the carrot was dead. If the cow eat grass, the blades of grass were chewed, digested, and eliminated as poop.

How about Adam and Eve themselves? Did they have hair and fingernails, which are composed of dead cells? If there was no death, why be given the command to be fruitful and multiply in the pre-fall world?

With respect, this is a ridiculous argument. Christ did not come to conquer the death of grass and fingernail tissue. He came to conquer sin and death, which became inextricably linked after the Fall. There was no animate death prior to sin, and that is clearly what the Scriptures and the Church refer to when speaking of death. To assert that death means only spiritual death is a subjective interpretation that lacks import from Scripture, the Church, and the Fathers.
What support do you really have for that viewpoint? Can you give specific quotes of what the Scriptures, the Church, and the Fathers have to say about death that backs up your assertion?


Scripture is clear: "Life is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11]



Selam
The Scripture was not written so that you will have a science text. The Scripture was written so that "ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name." John 20:31.

Sponges and jellyfish do not have blood. According to you, are they alive?
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
All my life, animal and plant death before the Fall didn't seem to be an issue to me.  Most of the Coptic Sunday School servants, priests, and bishops I knew taught me a version of Old Earth Creationism.  It comes to my shock therefore to read posts by Gebre as espousing the "Ethiopian" view, but doesn't seem to realize he is probably contradicting the view of HH Pope Shenouda.  And I'm not talking about evolution, just merely the possibility of animal and plant death before the Fall.
Sure, I understand. It is very hard for anyone to believe that there was literally no animal or plant death before the first humans, since we have all those fossils that appear to have died well before humankind appeared. You have to resort to arguing that all the dating is wrong, which is tough. But would you be willing to accept that the death of those animals and plants is in some mystical sense caused by Man's transgression? Or do you feel that this would be impossible to believe, given that animals died before Adam in time? If impossible, is this because you think it's important for sin to precede death in time in order to have caused death?
It has nothing to do with fossils. Plants were given to man to eat in the pre-fall world. Plants are alive, so I do not understand how man could eat a living plant and not kill it. Was the plan that Adam would pick a peach off a tree, eat it, poop out the whole peach, and then stick it back on the tree?
 

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Sauron said:
Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
All my life, animal and plant death before the Fall didn't seem to be an issue to me.  Most of the Coptic Sunday School servants, priests, and bishops I knew taught me a version of Old Earth Creationism.  It comes to my shock therefore to read posts by Gebre as espousing the "Ethiopian" view, but doesn't seem to realize he is probably contradicting the view of HH Pope Shenouda.  And I'm not talking about evolution, just merely the possibility of animal and plant death before the Fall.
Sure, I understand. It is very hard for anyone to believe that there was literally no animal or plant death before the first humans, since we have all those fossils that appear to have died well before humankind appeared. You have to resort to arguing that all the dating is wrong, which is tough. But would you be willing to accept that the death of those animals and plants is in some mystical sense caused by Man's transgression? Or do you feel that this would be impossible to believe, given that animals died before Adam in time? If impossible, is this because you think it's important for sin to precede death in time in order to have caused death?
It has nothing to do with fossils. Plants were given to man to eat in the pre-fall world. Plants are alive, so I do not understand how man could eat a living plant and not kill it. Was the plan that Adam would pick a peach off a tree, eat it, poop out the whole peach, and then stick it back on the tree?
The Fr Seraphim essay also provides patristic quotes showing that there wasn't even defecation in Paradise, so part of your argument is moot. And I suppose "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive. The point is that, however hard it is for us to understand, there was no death of any kind in Paradise.
 

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Jonathan, you're right - the question of animal and plant death has already been gone over many times in this thread. Evidnece has been put forth from the Fathers and it has been rejected.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
Sauron said:
Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
All my life, animal and plant death before the Fall didn't seem to be an issue to me.  Most of the Coptic Sunday School servants, priests, and bishops I knew taught me a version of Old Earth Creationism.  It comes to my shock therefore to read posts by Gebre as espousing the "Ethiopian" view, but doesn't seem to realize he is probably contradicting the view of HH Pope Shenouda.  And I'm not talking about evolution, just merely the possibility of animal and plant death before the Fall.
Sure, I understand. It is very hard for anyone to believe that there was literally no animal or plant death before the first humans, since we have all those fossils that appear to have died well before humankind appeared. You have to resort to arguing that all the dating is wrong, which is tough. But would you be willing to accept that the death of those animals and plants is in some mystical sense caused by Man's transgression? Or do you feel that this would be impossible to believe, given that animals died before Adam in time? If impossible, is this because you think it's important for sin to precede death in time in order to have caused death?
It has nothing to do with fossils. Plants were given to man to eat in the pre-fall world. Plants are alive, so I do not understand how man could eat a living plant and not kill it. Was the plan that Adam would pick a peach off a tree, eat it, poop out the whole peach, and then stick it back on the tree?
The Fr Seraphim essay also provides patristic quotes showing that there wasn't even defecation in Paradise, so part of your argument is moot. And I suppose "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive. The point is that, however hard it is for us to understand, there was no death of any kind in Paradise.
So Adam didn't have an anus? How about intestines? According to the patristic quotes, how did the nitrogen cycle work?

Was there respiration in Paradise?

You suppose that "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive? What does that mean?
 

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Azurestone said:
Sauron said:
Was the plan that Adam would pick a peach off a tree, eat it, poop out the whole peach, and then stick it back on the tree?
LOL. Someone didn't get the memo.
Could you please explain your comment?
 

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jckstraw72 said:
Jonathan, you're right - the question of animal and plant death has already been gone over many times in this thread. Evidnece has been put forth from the Fathers and it has been rejected.
For those who are new to this discussion, would you be willing to go back through this thread and point out exactly where the evidence has been provided and rejected? Would you also care to explain why the evidence was rejected? (because it was put forth as evidence of a patristic consensus that is contrived, artificial, and possibly non-existent)
 

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Sauron said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Sauron said:
Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
All my life, animal and plant death before the Fall didn't seem to be an issue to me.  Most of the Coptic Sunday School servants, priests, and bishops I knew taught me a version of Old Earth Creationism.  It comes to my shock therefore to read posts by Gebre as espousing the "Ethiopian" view, but doesn't seem to realize he is probably contradicting the view of HH Pope Shenouda.  And I'm not talking about evolution, just merely the possibility of animal and plant death before the Fall.
Sure, I understand. It is very hard for anyone to believe that there was literally no animal or plant death before the first humans, since we have all those fossils that appear to have died well before humankind appeared. You have to resort to arguing that all the dating is wrong, which is tough. But would you be willing to accept that the death of those animals and plants is in some mystical sense caused by Man's transgression? Or do you feel that this would be impossible to believe, given that animals died before Adam in time? If impossible, is this because you think it's important for sin to precede death in time in order to have caused death?
It has nothing to do with fossils. Plants were given to man to eat in the pre-fall world. Plants are alive, so I do not understand how man could eat a living plant and not kill it. Was the plan that Adam would pick a peach off a tree, eat it, poop out the whole peach, and then stick it back on the tree?
The Fr Seraphim essay also provides patristic quotes showing that there wasn't even defecation in Paradise, so part of your argument is moot. And I suppose "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive. The point is that, however hard it is for us to understand, there was no death of any kind in Paradise.
So Adam didn't have an anus? How about intestines? According to the patristic quotes, how did the nitrogen cycle work?

Was there respiration in Paradise?

You suppose that "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive? What does that mean?
I think I already mentioned that it was hard to understand. :p
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
Sauron said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Sauron said:
Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
All my life, animal and plant death before the Fall didn't seem to be an issue to me.  Most of the Coptic Sunday School servants, priests, and bishops I knew taught me a version of Old Earth Creationism.  It comes to my shock therefore to read posts by Gebre as espousing the "Ethiopian" view, but doesn't seem to realize he is probably contradicting the view of HH Pope Shenouda.  And I'm not talking about evolution, just merely the possibility of animal and plant death before the Fall.
Sure, I understand. It is very hard for anyone to believe that there was literally no animal or plant death before the first humans, since we have all those fossils that appear to have died well before humankind appeared. You have to resort to arguing that all the dating is wrong, which is tough. But would you be willing to accept that the death of those animals and plants is in some mystical sense caused by Man's transgression? Or do you feel that this would be impossible to believe, given that animals died before Adam in time? If impossible, is this because you think it's important for sin to precede death in time in order to have caused death?
It has nothing to do with fossils. Plants were given to man to eat in the pre-fall world. Plants are alive, so I do not understand how man could eat a living plant and not kill it. Was the plan that Adam would pick a peach off a tree, eat it, poop out the whole peach, and then stick it back on the tree?
The Fr Seraphim essay also provides patristic quotes showing that there wasn't even defecation in Paradise, so part of your argument is moot. And I suppose "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive. The point is that, however hard it is for us to understand, there was no death of any kind in Paradise.
So Adam didn't have an anus? How about intestines? According to the patristic quotes, how did the nitrogen cycle work?

Was there respiration in Paradise?

You suppose that "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive? What does that mean?
I think I already mentioned that it was hard to understand. :p
My questions were not about how hard to understand the issues are. I asked, according to the patristic quotes, how did the nitrogen cycle work, if there was respiration, and about Adam's anatomy. Please be responsive. I think we could agree that the pre-fall world has respiration because of the reference to animals and people having the "breath of life", yes?

I truly do not understand what you meant when you said that "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive. Could you please explain what you mean by that?
 

Asteriktos

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Something I posted earlier in the thread, fwiw...

Before he dressed himself in the garments of skin man wore a "divinely woven" [99] attire, his psychosomatic dress which had been woven with grace, with the light and glory of God. Our first parents "were clothed in glory from above... the heavenly glory covered them better than any garment could do." [100] This refers to the attire of the "in the image," the prelapsarian human nature formed by the breath of God and endowed with a deiform structure. This attire shone with "the likeness to the divine" which was constituted, not by a "shape" or a "color," but by "dispassion," "blessedness" and "incorruption," the characteristics by which "the divine is contemplated as beauty." [101]

The first man, according to the succinct expression of St Gregory the Theologian, was "naked by virtue of his simplicity." [102] This means, as St Maximos explains, that his body did not contain within it the mutually contradictory "qualities" which now pull it in different directions, scourge it with corruption and make it decay, but it possessed "another temperament which befitted it, a temperament maintained by simple qualities compatible with each other." It was "without flux or wastage," free from "constant change depending  on which quality was predominant," and for this reason was not bereft "of immortality by grace." [103] If we understand the "nakedness" as transparency, we can say that the body of Adam was so simple that it was in reality transparent, open to the material creation without resisting it in any way, and without the world offering any resistance to the body--the world had been surrendered to it. The human body, while maintaining its own peculiar constitution and separate identity with regard to the world, was nevertheless not divided from it at all.


[99] This is the usual characteristic which hymnology attributes to the prelapsarian human attire: "Thou hast dressed me in a divinely woven attire, O Savior" (canticle 6, troparian 1, Canon of the Sunday of Cheesefare). Cf. Romanos Melodos, Kontakion on Epiphany, Oikos 2. See also the study of the Great Canon below, pp. 173-4. For the general condition of the first human beings before the fall according to St Gregory of Nyssa, see J. Gaith, La conception de liberte chez Gregoire de Nysse, 52 ff.

[100] St John Chrysostom, On Genesis 15,4, PG 53, 123 and 16, 5, PG 53, 131. Cf E. Peterson, Pour une theologie du vetement, 5-9, who also gives references to Sts Irenaeus, Ambrose, and Augustine

[101] St Gregory of Nyssa, On Those Who Have Fallen Asleep, PG 46, 521D

[102] St Gregory of Nazianzus, Oration 45, 8, PG 36, 632C

[103] St Maximos the Confessor, Ambigua, PG 91, 1353AB


--Panayiotis Nellas, Deification in Christ: Orthodox Perspectives on the Nature of the Human Person, pp. 52-53
Though I realise some have issues with the concepts...
 

Jonathan Gress

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Sauron said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Sauron said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Sauron said:
Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
All my life, animal and plant death before the Fall didn't seem to be an issue to me.  Most of the Coptic Sunday School servants, priests, and bishops I knew taught me a version of Old Earth Creationism.  It comes to my shock therefore to read posts by Gebre as espousing the "Ethiopian" view, but doesn't seem to realize he is probably contradicting the view of HH Pope Shenouda.  And I'm not talking about evolution, just merely the possibility of animal and plant death before the Fall.
Sure, I understand. It is very hard for anyone to believe that there was literally no animal or plant death before the first humans, since we have all those fossils that appear to have died well before humankind appeared. You have to resort to arguing that all the dating is wrong, which is tough. But would you be willing to accept that the death of those animals and plants is in some mystical sense caused by Man's transgression? Or do you feel that this would be impossible to believe, given that animals died before Adam in time? If impossible, is this because you think it's important for sin to precede death in time in order to have caused death?
It has nothing to do with fossils. Plants were given to man to eat in the pre-fall world. Plants are alive, so I do not understand how man could eat a living plant and not kill it. Was the plan that Adam would pick a peach off a tree, eat it, poop out the whole peach, and then stick it back on the tree?
The Fr Seraphim essay also provides patristic quotes showing that there wasn't even defecation in Paradise, so part of your argument is moot. And I suppose "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive. The point is that, however hard it is for us to understand, there was no death of any kind in Paradise.
So Adam didn't have an anus? How about intestines? According to the patristic quotes, how did the nitrogen cycle work?

Was there respiration in Paradise?

You suppose that "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive? What does that mean?
I think I already mentioned that it was hard to understand. :p
My questions were not about how hard to understand the issues are. I asked, according to the patristic quotes, how did the nitrogen cycle work, if there was respiration, and about Adam's anatomy. Please be responsive. I think we could agree that the pre-fall world has respiration because of the reference to animals and people having the "breath of life", yes?

I truly do not understand what you meant when you said that "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive. Could you please explain what you mean by that?
I'm saying that it was different in some way. Given that prelapsarian nature operated under different laws than our postlapsarian nature, as we observe it today with our scientific tools, we don't really have any grounds, logically speaking, to object to descriptions that seem to contradict our current understanding of nature, viz. absence of death, rotting, defecation, sexual intercourse etc.
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Sauron said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
jckstraw72 said:
i completely agree with Gebre. the major issue is the question of death. if God is the author of death, then death is good. then we must ask why Scripture refers to death as the last enemy to be overthrown, and why Christ defeated death.
I think that is spiritual death, not physical death.

I think it is quite clear that there was physical death built into the pre-fall world. For example, Adam and Eve were given all plant (except one) to eat. If they plucked a carrot out of the ground and ate it, the carrot was dead. If the cow eat grass, the blades of grass were chewed, digested, and eliminated as poop.

How about Adam and Eve themselves? Did they have hair and fingernails, which are composed of dead cells? If there was no death, why be given the command to be fruitful and multiply in the pre-fall world?

With respect, this is a ridiculous argument. Christ did not come to conquer the death of grass and fingernail tissue. He came to conquer sin and death, which became inextricably linked after the Fall. There was no animate death prior to sin, and that is clearly what the Scriptures and the Church refer to when speaking of death. To assert that death means only spiritual death is a subjective interpretation that lacks import from Scripture, the Church, and the Fathers.
What support do you really have for that viewpoint? Can you give specific quotes of what the Scriptures, the Church, and the Fathers have to say about death that backs up your assertion?


Scripture is clear: "Life is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11]



Selam
The Scripture was not written so that you will have a science text. The Scripture was written so that "ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name." John 20:31.

Sponges and jellyfish do not have blood. According to you, are they alive?


I don't think sponges and jellyfish need to be redeemed from sin. Let's try to remember the context of this discussion. We are dealing with the concept of death in an Orthodox Christian context. Within this context it is clear that death means physical and spiritual death of animate life. The Fall effected all of creation, but Scripture gives a clear indication of what constitutes "life". Atonement was always made by the shedding of blood, and by His blood
we have hope of salvation.


Selam
 

PeterTheAleut

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
jckstraw72 said:
i completely agree with Gebre. the major issue is the question of death. if God is the author of death, then death is good. then we must ask why Scripture refers to death as the last enemy to be overthrown, and why Christ defeated death.
I think that is spiritual death, not physical death.

I think it is quite clear that there was physical death built into the pre-fall world. For example, Adam and Eve were given all plant (except one) to eat. If they plucked a carrot out of the ground and ate it, the carrot was dead. If the cow eat grass, the blades of grass were chewed, digested, and eliminated as poop.

How about Adam and Eve themselves? Did they have hair and fingernails, which are composed of dead cells? If there was no death, why be given the command to be fruitful and multiply in the pre-fall world?

With respect, this is a ridiculous argument. Christ did not come to conquer the death of grass and fingernail tissue. He came to conquer sin and death, which became inextricably linked after the Fall. There was no animate death prior to sin, and that is clearly what the Scriptures and the Church refer to when speaking of death. To assert that death means only spiritual death is a subjective interpretation that lacks import from Scripture, the Church, and the Fathers.
What support do you really have for that viewpoint? Can you give specific quotes of what the Scriptures, the Church, and the Fathers have to say about death that backs up your assertion?


Scripture is clear: "Life is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11]



Selam
The Scripture was not written so that you will have a science text. The Scripture was written so that "ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name." John 20:31.

Sponges and jellyfish do not have blood. According to you, are they alive?


I don't think sponges and jellyfish need to be redeemed from sin. Let's try to remember the context of this discussion. We are dealing with the concept of death in an Orthodox Christian context. Within this context it is clear that death means physical and spiritual death of animate life.
If by "animate life" you mean non-human forms of life, then no, it is NOT clear that death means what you say it means, and no amount of repetition is going to make it otherwise.
 

Jetavan

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
jckstraw72 said:
i completely agree with Gebre. the major issue is the question of death. if God is the author of death, then death is good. then we must ask why Scripture refers to death as the last enemy to be overthrown, and why Christ defeated death.
I think that is spiritual death, not physical death.

I think it is quite clear that there was physical death built into the pre-fall world. For example, Adam and Eve were given all plant (except one) to eat. If they plucked a carrot out of the ground and ate it, the carrot was dead. If the cow eat grass, the blades of grass were chewed, digested, and eliminated as poop.

How about Adam and Eve themselves? Did they have hair and fingernails, which are composed of dead cells? If there was no death, why be given the command to be fruitful and multiply in the pre-fall world?

With respect, this is a ridiculous argument. Christ did not come to conquer the death of grass and fingernail tissue. He came to conquer sin and death, which became inextricably linked after the Fall. There was no animate death prior to sin, and that is clearly what the Scriptures and the Church refer to when speaking of death. To assert that death means only spiritual death is a subjective interpretation that lacks import from Scripture, the Church, and the Fathers.
What support do you really have for that viewpoint? Can you give specific quotes of what the Scriptures, the Church, and the Fathers have to say about death that backs up your assertion?


Scripture is clear: "Life is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11]



Selam
The Scripture was not written so that you will have a science text. The Scripture was written so that "ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name." John 20:31.

Sponges and jellyfish do not have blood. According to you, are they alive?

I don't think sponges and jellyfish need to be redeemed from sin.
But, like the rest of creation, don't they groan and labor with pain, because of sin (Romans 8:22)?
 

jckstraw72

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Jetavan said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
jckstraw72 said:
i completely agree with Gebre. the major issue is the question of death. if God is the author of death, then death is good. then we must ask why Scripture refers to death as the last enemy to be overthrown, and why Christ defeated death.
I think that is spiritual death, not physical death.

I think it is quite clear that there was physical death built into the pre-fall world. For example, Adam and Eve were given all plant (except one) to eat. If they plucked a carrot out of the ground and ate it, the carrot was dead. If the cow eat grass, the blades of grass were chewed, digested, and eliminated as poop.

How about Adam and Eve themselves? Did they have hair and fingernails, which are composed of dead cells? If there was no death, why be given the command to be fruitful and multiply in the pre-fall world?

With respect, this is a ridiculous argument. Christ did not come to conquer the death of grass and fingernail tissue. He came to conquer sin and death, which became inextricably linked after the Fall. There was no animate death prior to sin, and that is clearly what the Scriptures and the Church refer to when speaking of death. To assert that death means only spiritual death is a subjective interpretation that lacks import from Scripture, the Church, and the Fathers.
What support do you really have for that viewpoint? Can you give specific quotes of what the Scriptures, the Church, and the Fathers have to say about death that backs up your assertion?


Scripture is clear: "Life is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11]



Selam
The Scripture was not written so that you will have a science text. The Scripture was written so that "ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name." John 20:31.

Sponges and jellyfish do not have blood. According to you, are they alive?

I don't think sponges and jellyfish need to be redeemed from sin.
But, like the rest of creation, don't they groan and labor with pain, because of sin (Romans 8:22)?
arent you thereby acknowledging that even animals and plants and the earth itself suffer from our sin?
 

celticfan1888

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St. Augustine said that the Bible (including Genesis) should not be interpreted literally if it goes against what we know from science and reason.

In regards to what St. Augustine says:

"With the scriptures it is a matter of treating about the faith. For that reason, as I have noted repeatedly, if anyone, not understanding the mode of divine eloquence, should find something about these matters [about the physical universe] in our books, or hear of the same from those books, of such a kind that it seems to be at variance with the perceptions of his own rational faculties, let him believe that these other things are in no way necessary to the admonitions or accounts or predictions of the scriptures. In short, it must be said that our authors knew the truth about the nature of the skies, but it was not the intention of the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation." - The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 2:9 by St. Augustine

"It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation." - The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1:20, Chapt. 19 by St. Augustine
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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jckstraw72 said:
Jetavan said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
jckstraw72 said:
i completely agree with Gebre. the major issue is the question of death. if God is the author of death, then death is good. then we must ask why Scripture refers to death as the last enemy to be overthrown, and why Christ defeated death.
I think that is spiritual death, not physical death.

I think it is quite clear that there was physical death built into the pre-fall world. For example, Adam and Eve were given all plant (except one) to eat. If they plucked a carrot out of the ground and ate it, the carrot was dead. If the cow eat grass, the blades of grass were chewed, digested, and eliminated as poop.

How about Adam and Eve themselves? Did they have hair and fingernails, which are composed of dead cells? If there was no death, why be given the command to be fruitful and multiply in the pre-fall world?

With respect, this is a ridiculous argument. Christ did not come to conquer the death of grass and fingernail tissue. He came to conquer sin and death, which became inextricably linked after the Fall. There was no animate death prior to sin, and that is clearly what the Scriptures and the Church refer to when speaking of death. To assert that death means only spiritual death is a subjective interpretation that lacks import from Scripture, the Church, and the Fathers.
What support do you really have for that viewpoint? Can you give specific quotes of what the Scriptures, the Church, and the Fathers have to say about death that backs up your assertion?


Scripture is clear: "Life is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11]



Selam
The Scripture was not written so that you will have a science text. The Scripture was written so that "ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name." John 20:31.

Sponges and jellyfish do not have blood. According to you, are they alive?

I don't think sponges and jellyfish need to be redeemed from sin.
But, like the rest of creation, don't they groan and labor with pain, because of sin (Romans 8:22)?
arent you thereby acknowledging that even animals and plants and the earth itself suffer from our sin?

Indeed, the whole creation suffers from sin. But Christ came to die for sinners, not for plants.


Selam
 

Jetavan

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jckstraw72 said:
Jetavan said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
jckstraw72 said:
i completely agree with Gebre. the major issue is the question of death. if God is the author of death, then death is good. then we must ask why Scripture refers to death as the last enemy to be overthrown, and why Christ defeated death.
I think that is spiritual death, not physical death.

I think it is quite clear that there was physical death built into the pre-fall world. For example, Adam and Eve were given all plant (except one) to eat. If they plucked a carrot out of the ground and ate it, the carrot was dead. If the cow eat grass, the blades of grass were chewed, digested, and eliminated as poop.

How about Adam and Eve themselves? Did they have hair and fingernails, which are composed of dead cells? If there was no death, why be given the command to be fruitful and multiply in the pre-fall world?

With respect, this is a ridiculous argument. Christ did not come to conquer the death of grass and fingernail tissue. He came to conquer sin and death, which became inextricably linked after the Fall. There was no animate death prior to sin, and that is clearly what the Scriptures and the Church refer to when speaking of death. To assert that death means only spiritual death is a subjective interpretation that lacks import from Scripture, the Church, and the Fathers.
What support do you really have for that viewpoint? Can you give specific quotes of what the Scriptures, the Church, and the Fathers have to say about death that backs up your assertion?


Scripture is clear: "Life is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11]



Selam
The Scripture was not written so that you will have a science text. The Scripture was written so that "ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name." John 20:31.

Sponges and jellyfish do not have blood. According to you, are they alive?

I don't think sponges and jellyfish need to be redeemed from sin.
But, like the rest of creation, don't they groan and labor with pain, because of sin (Romans 8:22)?
arent you thereby acknowledging that even animals and plants and the earth itself suffer from our sin?
Either human sin, or angelic sin.
 

jckstraw72

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Jetavan said:
jckstraw72 said:
Jetavan said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
jckstraw72 said:
i completely agree with Gebre. the major issue is the question of death. if God is the author of death, then death is good. then we must ask why Scripture refers to death as the last enemy to be overthrown, and why Christ defeated death.
I think that is spiritual death, not physical death.

I think it is quite clear that there was physical death built into the pre-fall world. For example, Adam and Eve were given all plant (except one) to eat. If they plucked a carrot out of the ground and ate it, the carrot was dead. If the cow eat grass, the blades of grass were chewed, digested, and eliminated as poop.

How about Adam and Eve themselves? Did they have hair and fingernails, which are composed of dead cells? If there was no death, why be given the command to be fruitful and multiply in the pre-fall world?

With respect, this is a ridiculous argument. Christ did not come to conquer the death of grass and fingernail tissue. He came to conquer sin and death, which became inextricably linked after the Fall. There was no animate death prior to sin, and that is clearly what the Scriptures and the Church refer to when speaking of death. To assert that death means only spiritual death is a subjective interpretation that lacks import from Scripture, the Church, and the Fathers.
What support do you really have for that viewpoint? Can you give specific quotes of what the Scriptures, the Church, and the Fathers have to say about death that backs up your assertion?


Scripture is clear: "Life is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11]



Selam
The Scripture was not written so that you will have a science text. The Scripture was written so that "ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name." John 20:31.

Sponges and jellyfish do not have blood. According to you, are they alive?

I don't think sponges and jellyfish need to be redeemed from sin.
But, like the rest of creation, don't they groan and labor with pain, because of sin (Romans 8:22)?
arent you thereby acknowledging that even animals and plants and the earth itself suffer from our sin?
Either human sin, or angelic sin.
do you think thats compatible with evolution?
 

Jetavan

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jckstraw72 said:
Jetavan said:
jckstraw72 said:
Jetavan said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
jckstraw72 said:
i completely agree with Gebre. the major issue is the question of death. if God is the author of death, then death is good. then we must ask why Scripture refers to death as the last enemy to be overthrown, and why Christ defeated death.
I think that is spiritual death, not physical death.

I think it is quite clear that there was physical death built into the pre-fall world. For example, Adam and Eve were given all plant (except one) to eat. If they plucked a carrot out of the ground and ate it, the carrot was dead. If the cow eat grass, the blades of grass were chewed, digested, and eliminated as poop.

How about Adam and Eve themselves? Did they have hair and fingernails, which are composed of dead cells? If there was no death, why be given the command to be fruitful and multiply in the pre-fall world?

With respect, this is a ridiculous argument. Christ did not come to conquer the death of grass and fingernail tissue. He came to conquer sin and death, which became inextricably linked after the Fall. There was no animate death prior to sin, and that is clearly what the Scriptures and the Church refer to when speaking of death. To assert that death means only spiritual death is a subjective interpretation that lacks import from Scripture, the Church, and the Fathers.
What support do you really have for that viewpoint? Can you give specific quotes of what the Scriptures, the Church, and the Fathers have to say about death that backs up your assertion?


Scripture is clear: "Life is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11]



Selam
The Scripture was not written so that you will have a science text. The Scripture was written so that "ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name." John 20:31.

Sponges and jellyfish do not have blood. According to you, are they alive?

I don't think sponges and jellyfish need to be redeemed from sin.
But, like the rest of creation, don't they groan and labor with pain, because of sin (Romans 8:22)?
arent you thereby acknowledging that even animals and plants and the earth itself suffer from our sin?
Either human sin, or angelic sin.
do you think thats compatible with evolution?
Sure. We killed off the Passenger Pigeon, the Dodo, among many others; and we aren't done yet. We pollute the air, water, and land. I'd say that animals, plants, and the earth are all suffering from our sins.

But you probably didn't mean that type of suffering, the suffering produced by modern industrial civilization. You probably are referring to human sin of a more basic kind.

I think that human sin having an effect upon creation, is consistent with evolution. We humans have a level of self-awareness and other-awareness that is lacking in other species, and, because of that, we humans have greater power to destroy the creation around us. This greater power to destroy is due to the image and likeness of God within us.

Do I think that human sin is that which produced physical death in the non-human world? No, but I do think that human sin produces a much deeper type of death, a spiritual death, a "groaning and laboring in pain", in the non-human world.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
Sauron said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Sauron said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Sauron said:
Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
All my life, animal and plant death before the Fall didn't seem to be an issue to me.  Most of the Coptic Sunday School servants, priests, and bishops I knew taught me a version of Old Earth Creationism.  It comes to my shock therefore to read posts by Gebre as espousing the "Ethiopian" view, but doesn't seem to realize he is probably contradicting the view of HH Pope Shenouda.  And I'm not talking about evolution, just merely the possibility of animal and plant death before the Fall.
Sure, I understand. It is very hard for anyone to believe that there was literally no animal or plant death before the first humans, since we have all those fossils that appear to have died well before humankind appeared. You have to resort to arguing that all the dating is wrong, which is tough. But would you be willing to accept that the death of those animals and plants is in some mystical sense caused by Man's transgression? Or do you feel that this would be impossible to believe, given that animals died before Adam in time? If impossible, is this because you think it's important for sin to precede death in time in order to have caused death?
It has nothing to do with fossils. Plants were given to man to eat in the pre-fall world. Plants are alive, so I do not understand how man could eat a living plant and not kill it. Was the plan that Adam would pick a peach off a tree, eat it, poop out the whole peach, and then stick it back on the tree?
The Fr Seraphim essay also provides patristic quotes showing that there wasn't even defecation in Paradise, so part of your argument is moot. And I suppose "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive. The point is that, however hard it is for us to understand, there was no death of any kind in Paradise.
So Adam didn't have an anus? How about intestines? According to the patristic quotes, how did the nitrogen cycle work?

Was there respiration in Paradise?

You suppose that "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive? What does that mean?
I think I already mentioned that it was hard to understand. :p
My questions were not about how hard to understand the issues are. I asked, according to the patristic quotes, how did the nitrogen cycle work, if there was respiration, and about Adam's anatomy. Please be responsive. I think we could agree that the pre-fall world has respiration because of the reference to animals and people having the "breath of life", yes?

I truly do not understand what you meant when you said that "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive. Could you please explain what you mean by that?
I'm saying that it was different in some way. Given that prelapsarian nature operated under different laws than our postlapsarian nature, as we observe it today with our scientific tools, we don't really have any grounds, logically speaking, to object to descriptions that seem to contradict our current understanding of nature, viz. absence of death, rotting, defecation, sexual intercourse etc.
Do you understand why saying, "oh, it was different somehow" is not an explanation of anything?

Beyond that, you have failed to respond to my questions. I asked if the patristic quotes had an explanation for the nitrogen cycle in Paradise. Do they?

I asked if you think there was breathing in the Paradise. Was there?

I asked if Adam has intestines and an anus. Did he?

I asked you meant when you said that "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive. Could you please explain what you mean by that?

I do not know how I can make my inquiry any clearer.
 

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celticfan1888 said:
St. Augustine said that the Bible (including Genesis) should not be interpreted literally if it goes against what we know from science and reason.

In regards to what St. Augustine says:

"With the scriptures it is a matter of treating about the faith. For that reason, as I have noted repeatedly, if anyone, not understanding the mode of divine eloquence, should find something about these matters [about the physical universe] in our books, or hear of the same from those books, of such a kind that it seems to be at variance with the perceptions of his own rational faculties, let him believe that these other things are in no way necessary to the admonitions or accounts or predictions of the scriptures. In short, it must be said that our authors knew the truth about the nature of the skies, but it was not the intention of the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation." - The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 2:9 by St. Augustine

"It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation." - The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1:20, Chapt. 19 by St. Augustine
Isn't it amazing that a 5th-century theologian can understand this concept but some 21st-century Christians cannot?
 

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Sauron said:
jckstraw72 said:
i completely agree with Gebre. the major issue is the question of death. if God is the author of death, then death is good. then we must ask why Scripture refers to death as the last enemy to be overthrown, and why Christ defeated death.
I think that is spiritual death, not physical death.

I think it is quite clear that there was physical death built into the pre-fall world. For example, Adam and Eve were given all plant (except one) to eat. If they plucked a carrot out of the ground and ate it, the carrot was dead. If the cow eat grass, the blades of grass were chewed, digested, and eliminated as poop.

How about Adam and Eve themselves? Did they have hair and fingernails, which are composed of dead cells? If there was no death, why be given the command to be fruitful and multiply in the pre-fall world?

With respect, this is a ridiculous argument. Christ did not come to conquer the death of grass and fingernail tissue. He came to conquer sin and death, which became inextricably linked after the Fall. There was no animate death prior to sin, and that is clearly what the Scriptures and the Church refer to when speaking of death. To assert that death means only spiritual death is a subjective interpretation that lacks import from Scripture, the Church, and the Fathers.
What support do you really have for that viewpoint? Can you give specific quotes of what the Scriptures, the Church, and the Fathers have to say about death that backs up your assertion?


Scripture is clear: "Life is in the blood." [Leviticus 17:11]



Selam
The Scripture was not written so that you will have a science text. The Scripture was written so that "ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name." John 20:31.

Sponges and jellyfish do not have blood. According to you, are they alive?


I don't think sponges and jellyfish need to be redeemed from sin. Let's try to remember the context of this discussion. We are dealing with the concept of death in an Orthodox Christian context. Within this context it is clear that death means physical and spiritual death of animate life. The Fall effected all of creation, but Scripture gives a clear indication of what constitutes "life". Atonement was always made by the shedding of blood, and by His blood
we have hope of salvation.


Selam
Who cares what you think about sponges and jellyfish? They are alive, yet have no blood. I hasten to add that they are also animate, as any trip to an aquarium will reveal.
 

Jonathan Gress

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Sauron said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Sauron said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Sauron said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Sauron said:
Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
All my life, animal and plant death before the Fall didn't seem to be an issue to me.  Most of the Coptic Sunday School servants, priests, and bishops I knew taught me a version of Old Earth Creationism.  It comes to my shock therefore to read posts by Gebre as espousing the "Ethiopian" view, but doesn't seem to realize he is probably contradicting the view of HH Pope Shenouda.  And I'm not talking about evolution, just merely the possibility of animal and plant death before the Fall.
Sure, I understand. It is very hard for anyone to believe that there was literally no animal or plant death before the first humans, since we have all those fossils that appear to have died well before humankind appeared. You have to resort to arguing that all the dating is wrong, which is tough. But would you be willing to accept that the death of those animals and plants is in some mystical sense caused by Man's transgression? Or do you feel that this would be impossible to believe, given that animals died before Adam in time? If impossible, is this because you think it's important for sin to precede death in time in order to have caused death?
It has nothing to do with fossils. Plants were given to man to eat in the pre-fall world. Plants are alive, so I do not understand how man could eat a living plant and not kill it. Was the plan that Adam would pick a peach off a tree, eat it, poop out the whole peach, and then stick it back on the tree?
The Fr Seraphim essay also provides patristic quotes showing that there wasn't even defecation in Paradise, so part of your argument is moot. And I suppose "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive. The point is that, however hard it is for us to understand, there was no death of any kind in Paradise.
So Adam didn't have an anus? How about intestines? According to the patristic quotes, how did the nitrogen cycle work?

Was there respiration in Paradise?

You suppose that "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive? What does that mean?
I think I already mentioned that it was hard to understand. :p
My questions were not about how hard to understand the issues are. I asked, according to the patristic quotes, how did the nitrogen cycle work, if there was respiration, and about Adam's anatomy. Please be responsive. I think we could agree that the pre-fall world has respiration because of the reference to animals and people having the "breath of life", yes?

I truly do not understand what you meant when you said that "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive. Could you please explain what you mean by that?
I'm saying that it was different in some way. Given that prelapsarian nature operated under different laws than our postlapsarian nature, as we observe it today with our scientific tools, we don't really have any grounds, logically speaking, to object to descriptions that seem to contradict our current understanding of nature, viz. absence of death, rotting, defecation, sexual intercourse etc.
Do you understand why saying, "oh, it was different somehow" is not an explanation of anything?

Beyond that, you have failed to respond to my questions. I asked if the patristic quotes had an explanation for the nitrogen cycle in Paradise. Do they?

I asked if you think there was breathing in the Paradise. Was there?

I asked if Adam has intestines and an anus. Did he?

I asked you meant when you said that "fruit of the herb" is not meant to be alive. Could you please explain what you mean by that?

I do not know how I can make my inquiry any clearer.
You might as well be asking how is it physically possible for the risen Christ to pass through closed doors. Stop being so obtuse. The definition of a mystery is that it's inexplicable by ordinary natural laws.
 

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Sauron said:
celticfan1888 said:
St. Augustine said that the Bible (including Genesis) should not be interpreted literally if it goes against what we know from science and reason.

In regards to what St. Augustine says:

"With the scriptures it is a matter of treating about the faith. For that reason, as I have noted repeatedly, if anyone, not understanding the mode of divine eloquence, should find something about these matters [about the physical universe] in our books, or hear of the same from those books, of such a kind that it seems to be at variance with the perceptions of his own rational faculties, let him believe that these other things are in no way necessary to the admonitions or accounts or predictions of the scriptures. In short, it must be said that our authors knew the truth about the nature of the skies, but it was not the intention of the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation." - The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 2:9 by St. Augustine

"It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation." - The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1:20, Chapt. 19 by St. Augustine
Isn't it amazing that a 5th-century theologian can understand this concept but some 21st-century Christians cannot?
The problem is that many believe there are dangerous moral and dogmatic implications to accepting Darwinian theory. At least for Orthodox, who aren't dogmatic about Biblical literalism, this is the main issue. Personally I think the main task is to work out how our dogmas can still be true even if everything the evolutionists say is right, rather than refuse to accept sensible explanatory theories for the biological facts we observe.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
The problem is that many believe there are dangerous moral and dogmatic implications to accepting Darwinian theory. At least for Orthodox, who aren't dogmatic about Biblical literalism, this is the main issue. Personally I think the main task is to work out how our dogmas can still be true even if everything the evolutionists say is right, rather than refuse to accept sensible explanatory theories for the biological facts we observe.
I totally agree.
 
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