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

Symeon

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Νεκτάριος said:
From a theological perspective, I still don't understand why Adam and Eve cannot be allegorical for all of humanity.  Has not each and every one of us fallen and in need of a Savior?
Of course, but the question is why? We have all fallen because of Adam and Eve's sin. Do you think God unjustly created us all in our fallen, sin prone state? Or is our state unimpaired, and we all choose to sin anyway? This is only going to lead to Pelagianism.

I think the general consensus was that yes, it still would have as redemption is more than simply forgiveness of sin - it is that God became man so that man might become god. 
Yes, Christ would have become incarnate to deify us even if there was no Original Sin. But since we obviously are in a fallen, sin prone state, that matter needs to be taken care of.
 

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Symeon said:
Um, because those are physiologically incapable of interbreeding.  I'm using Dobzhansky's strong definition of species here: "That stage of evolutionary progress at which the once actually or potentially interbreeding array of forms becomes segregated into two or more arrays which are physiologically incapable of interbreeding." Apes are physiologically capable of interbreeding, ergo, same species. ::)
This brings up an important (IMNSHO) question of just what counts as an ape.  Gorillas are apes.  Chimpanzees are apes.  Orangutans are apes.  But are they capable of interbreeding with each other and producing offspring that can reproduce?
 

greekischristian

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What is the point about this debate about species? Genetics has proven that they all have a common ancestry. Haven't you all been reading Nature?
 

DerekMK

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Symeon said:
Of course, but the question is why? We have all fallen because of Adam and Eve's sin. Do you think God unjustly created us all in our fallen, sin prone state? Or is our state unimpaired, and we all choose to sin anyway? This is only going to lead to Pelagianism.
Well...why should the the entire book of Genesis be taken literally?  A text need not be literal in order to have spiritual merit.  What's more remarkable - God creating a coherent and law governed universe that slowly unfolds over the course of time and He uses the mythology and oral tradition of the Near East to revel the deeper spiritual Truths of Himself to His people or some second rate deity that publishes a self contradicting blueprint? 

Yes, Christ would have become incarnate to deify us even if there was no Original Sin. But since we obviously are in a fallen, sin prone state, that matter needs to be taken care of.
O certe necessarium Adae peccatum, quod Christi morte deletum est!
O felix culpa, quae talem ac tantum meruit habere Redemptorem!


We've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God through our own doings.  The Orthodox Church does not believe that original sin transmits guilt.  You could almost image in an allegory of God giving a person everything, yet that person rejecting it through disobedience.  The result of that was a life of toil and labor, but it was softened with hope of future redemption.  Sound familiar?  Adam and Eve need not be literal in order for Orthodox sotiriology to make sense. 

 

Symeon

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PeterTheAleut said:
This brings up an important (IMNSHO) question of just what counts as an ape.  Gorillas are apes.  Chimpanzees are apes.  Orangutans are apes.  But are they capable of interbreeding with each other and producing offspring that can reproduce?
You are correct, ape is a family (which even we humans are included in) rather than the hard category of species. The main point is that virtually all examples of speciation offered up by evolutionists belong to the weak definition, i.e. poodles and pit bulls as separate "species." What the evolutionist will do is take an observed internal split in a species, such that we have different varieties of a species that are capable of interbreeding (such as poodle and pit bull) but stick to their own and call it "speciation" because they are "reproductively isolated."
 

Symeon

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Νεκτάριος said:
Well...why should the the entire book of Genesis be taken literally?  A text need not be literal in order to have spiritual merit.  What's more remarkable - God creating a coherent and law governed universe that slowly unfolds over the course of time and He uses the mythology and oral tradition of the Near East to revel the deeper spiritual Truths of Himself to His people or some second rate deity that publishes a self contradicting blueprint?
I think we all know your opinion of the Old Testament.

O certe necessarium Adae peccatum, quod Christi morte deletum est!
O felix culpa, quae talem ac tantum meruit habere Redemptorem!


We've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God through our own doings.  The Orthodox Church does not believe that original sin transmits guilt.  You could almost image in an allegory of God giving a person everything, yet that person rejecting it through disobedience.  The result of that was a life of toil and labor, but it was softened with hope of future redemption.  Sound familiar?  Adam and Eve need not be literal in order for Orthodox sotiriology to make sense.
"Sound familiar?" Yes, it sounds like Pelagianism. The Orthodox Church might believe we don't have the "guilt" of Original Sin ("guilt" defined as personal guilt, which none of the western confessions appear to believe anyway), but the Church does believe that we are born corrupt, with an inborn inclination to sin and subject to death due to the original sin (or ancestral sin, if that term is more to your liking) of Adam and Eve.

But this is rather irrelevant, as belief in evolution isn't even necessarily incompatible with a literal Adam and Eve.
 

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Demetrios G. said:
I don't disagree with you. When does Influenza stop being Influenza?
That's like asking when does a mammal stop becoming a mammal.  On a microscopic level we're talking about, analogically speaking, tigers and chimps when we talk about the evolving influenza strands that we get.

If we're lucky enough, we will find more fossils that help explain more of the species that were "not fit" enough to move on in earth life.  We've already found many, and with the help of computers brought forth a number of amazing studies to further the understand of the science of evolution.  And computers are the key here.  GiC gave you a glimpse of the use of computers for testing and accuracy.  Let it be known that without computers, it would have taken us a hundred years to record the human genome.  With computers, we also have shown how we are genetically related to our cousins and relatives as well as trace our ancestral genes.  With the same technique, we also have traced the common ancestry we have with all other organisms of different species, from the chimp to the E. Coli.

A quick point on "physiological capability" of mating.  When a horse mates with a donkey to create a mule, that does not prove the horse and donkey are the same species.  When we consider the whole array of canines, there are in fact a physiological incapability at the gross level to mate between a chihuahua and St. Bernard, and, although I'm not too sure, I think they are genetically capable of mating (if the womb can handle the growing fetus).  The idea of speciation when looking at the genetics of a population makes it quite difficult to theoretically pinpoint the drawing line.  The line can start to be clearly drawn as two populations distance themselves from one another for thousands of years.  I think this is why it's hard to say what is considered a different species.  For all we know, it might be possible to interbreed with a chimp after all, but no human is obviously taking that chance, at least those who are in the right mind.  It seems to me that the accepted definition is that which George mentioned earlier.

God bless.
 

Demetrios G.

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greekischristian said:
What is the point about this debate about species? Genetics has proven that they all have a common ancestry. Haven't you all been reading Nature?
For every yay there is a nay even in science. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6937476.stm
 

DerekMK

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Symeon said:
I think we all know your opinion of the Old Testament.
My opinion would be the one based upon the great patristic school of Alexandria rather than modern protestant theological trends.

"Sound familiar?" Yes, it sounds like Pelagianism.
I'm not denying the role of divine grace in redemption. 

But this is rather irrelevant, as belief in evolution isn't even necessarily incompatible with a literal Adam and Eve.
Well, except of course for the fact that it is.  Perhaps the opinion of the actual biologist posting in this thread and just about every scientist would be a bit more important than some Orthodox fundamentalist. 
 

Symeon

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Νεκτάριος said:
My opinion would be the one based upon the great patristic school of Alexandria rather than modern protestant theological trends.
The great patristic school of Alexandria didn't deny the literal meaning of the text either.

I'm not denying the role of divine grace in redemption.
Another aspect of Pelagianism would be the denial of Original Sin and its effects, which your view would appear to entail.

Well, except of course for the fact that it is.  Perhaps the opinion of the actual biologist posting in this thread and just about every scientist would be a bit more important than some Orthodox fundamentalist. 
Or... you could read the article I posted earlier, not to mention the one posted by JoeS. The actual biologist seems to be hung up on a certain reading of the phrase "first man" which is not essential.
 

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minasoliman said:
A quick point on "physiological capability" of mating.  When a horse mates with a donkey to create a mule, that does not prove the horse and donkey are the same species.  When we consider the whole array of canines, there are in fact a physiological incapability at the gross level to mate between a chihuahua and St. Bernard, and, although I'm not too sure, I think they are genetically capable of mating (if the womb can handle the growing fetus).  The idea of speciation when looking at the genetics of a population makes it quite difficult to theoretically pinpoint the drawing line.  The line can start to be clearly drawn as two populations distance themselves from one another for thousands of years.  I think this is why it's hard to say what is considered a different species.  For all we know, it might be possible to interbreed with a chimp after all, but no human is obviously taking that chance, at least those who are in the right mind.  It seems to me that the accepted definition is that which George mentioned earlier.

God bless.
Yes, the mule would appear to throw a wrench into the man-made category of species wouldn't it? But even then, no one would deny that physiological incapability to mate outside it's own species is without a doubt and any controversy speciation, which has not been observed. The examples of "observed speciation" proffered by evolutionists do not even rise to the level of horse and donkey, but are essentially equivalent to Chihuahua and St. Bernard, if even that.
 

Demetrios G.

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Νεκτάριος said:
My opinion would be the one based upon the great patristic school of Alexandria rather than modern protestant theological trends.
What Protestant theological trends?
  I'm sure you already know that there is a Orthodox Dogma on Creation. Dogma is something that you must believe in it to be Orthodox.  I'm not saying your not Orthodox, but it's something to think about.
 

greekischristian

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Demetrios G. said:
For every yay there is a nay even in science. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6937476.stm
That's simply a disagreement about the exact timeline, not the principle of common ancestory which is a proven genetic fact. There's not room for disagreement on this fact anymore, the biological evidence is too strong.
 

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greekischristian said:
That's simply a disagreement about the exact timeline, not the principle of common ancestory which is a proven genetic fact. There's not room for disagreement on this fact anymore, the biological evidence is too strong.
You must have missed this part when skimming through. It basically states that the homo erectus witch is the species that is said, to be ware modern humans have evolved from is actually the descendant of the gorilla. That my friend is physical proof and not a theory.

The fossil record indicates that modern humans (Homo sapiens) evolved from Homo erectus.

However, to some researchers, the small size of the erectus skull suggests that species may not have been as similar to us as we once thought.

On average, modern humans display a low level of "sexual dimorphism", meaning that males and females do not differ physically as much as they do in other animals.

The scientists compared the small skull to a much larger erectus cranium found previously in Tanzania. If the size difference between the two is indicative of the larger one being from a male and the smaller being from a female, it suggests that erectus displayed a high level of sexual dimorphism - similar to that of modern gorillas.
 

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Demetrios G. said:
What Protestant theological trends?
Biblical literalism.  The underdeveloped state of Orthodox Theology for what amounts to about the last millennium has made Orthodox people especially susceptible to extremist ideologies (look no further than religious dissidents during the Russian Empire) or outright borrowing of fundamentalist protestant thought.  Good examples of this are found in the anti-Harry Potter craze among Greek monastics.  Most of their tracts were nothing more than recapitulated arguments from US Evangelicals.  Although my personal favorite was one that I saw that cited an article from The Onion as proof of Rowling's Satanism.  Seraphim Rose even admits (and encourages his followers to so so) collaboration with protestant "creation scientists." 

I'm sure you already know that there is a Orthodox Dogma on Creation. Dogma is something that you must believe in it to be Orthodox.  I'm not saying your not Orthodox, but it's something to think about.
I'll keep that in mind next time I recite the line in the creed about biblical literalism.

And of course the scientific world has demonstrated that evolution is a fact.  I'm not saying you're brainless, but it's something to think about. 
 

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Demetrios G. said:
You must have missed this part when skimming through. It basically states that the homo erectus witch is the species that is said, to be ware modern humans have evolved from is actually the descendant of the gorilla. That my friend is physical proof and not a theory.
This, my friend is physical proof that you, yourself, did not actually read the article, or if you did, you are mis-quoting it to prove your point.  Nowhere does the article state that homo erectus is "actually the descendant of the gorilla." (your exact words)  The article states, "it suggests that erectus displayed a high level of sexual dimorphism - similar to that of modern gorillas."  Sexual dimorphism may be a trait in gorillas but it is certainly not limited to gorillas.  It is very common in many animals, birds, and insects.
 

Demetrios G.

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Νεκτάριος said:
Biblical literalism. 

And of course the scientific world has demonstrated that evolution is a fact.  I'm not saying you're brainless, but it's something to think about. 
You're trying to prove that you have the brains of an ape and your calling me brainless. :laugh:
 

greekischristian

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Demetrios G. said:
You must have missed this part when skimming through. It basically states that the homo erectus witch is the species that is said, to be ware modern humans have evolved from is actually the descendant of the gorilla. That my friend is physical proof and not a theory.
Carpatho Russian said:
This, my friend is physical proof that you, yourself, did not actually read the article, or if you did, you are mis-quoting it to prove your point.  Nowhere does the article state that homo erectus is "actually the descendant of the gorilla." (your exact words)  The article states, "it suggests that erectus displayed a high level of sexual dimorphism - similar to that of modern gorillas."  Sexual dimorphism may be a trait in gorillas but it is certainly not limited to gorillas.  It is very common in many animals, birds, and insects.
Thank you.

Furthermore, Demetrios, please address the conclusions I presented earlier from computational biology; if not common ancestry what is your interpretation of the data?
 

Demetrios G.

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greekischristian said:
Thank you.

Furthermore, Demetrios, please address the conclusions I presented earlier from computational biology; if not common ancestry what is your interpretation of the data?
I believe that created exists, because someone else willed it to exist, and not because it willed its own existence.  “Created” existence is therefore not a free existence.
  I will agree that all of creation is linked in some way.  The data compiled tells me that all biological existence has the same building blocks. Similar to non living matter. That doesn't necessarily mean that it all came from one ancestry or even from one planet. How does one explain how people from over 2000 years ago were smarter than people that exist today. Reverse evolution I suppose. ;)
 

greekischristian

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Demetrios G. said:
I believe that created exists, because someone else willed it to exist, and not because it willed its own existence.  “Created” existence is therefore not a free existence.
  I will agree that all of creation is linked in some way.  The data compiled tells me that all biological existence has the same building blocks. Similar to non living matter. That doesn't necessarily mean that it all came from one ancestry or even from one planet.
So, basically, you don't care about the scientific evidence; you're going to base your opinions on your personal mythology, completely disregarding the obvious science infront of you?

How does one explain how people from over 2000 years ago were smarter than people that exist today. Reverse evolution I suppose. ;)
Actually, there are several ways that a decrease in intelligence could be explained, evolution favours survival and procreation and the strongest trait isn't always intelligence.

But with that said, I find the idea that people 2000 years ago were more intelligent than us to be laughable. While there were a handful of advancements in that era they are nothing compared to what we see in the modern world. The human race is far more advanced, far more knowledgable, far more progressive, and far more enlightened than it was 2000 years ago. More likely than not, intelligence has not changed, we have just developed a vastly superior culture; but if it did change it no doubt increased.
 
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