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Creation of mankind


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#21 Robert Hegwood

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 09:53 PM

Can you please quote the original source? (St. Gregory of Nyssa)


Nope. It is just something I remember reading a long time ago...and I think it was attributed to St. Gregory, though I'm not absolutely sure. It was attributed to a noted early saint, that much I am certain of.

"that mankind was created en masse like all the other creatures but one was taken aside and enbreathed with the Holy Spirit who then became Adam our first father". Since this statem is problematic in many levels. To name a few: 1.It denies our exclusive descendancy from Adam and Eve. 2.It would make the original sin absent.


To point 1: I'm not sure that is necessarily an intractable problem since all extant human lineage traces back to them.

To point 2. I do not see how it would make original sin absent. If Adam and Eve fell then they committed the ancestral sin that effected all creation.

#22 Victor Mihailoff

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 01:40 AM

[quote][quote name='Robert Hegwood']Long ago I recall reading somewhere that St. Gregory of Nyssa speculated that mankind was created en masse like all the other creatures but one was taken aside and enbreathed with the Holy Spirit who then became Adam our first father.

St. Gregory mentioned this in the context of God not creating a dead body for Adam and then enbreathing that, rather Adam began alive prior to God giving him the Holy Spirit and thus making him in the image of God.[/quote]

The answer to that can be found in Genesis 2:7. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

In Christ, Victor

#23 Yuri Zharikov

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 02:07 PM

Nope. It is just something I remember reading a long time ago...and I think it was attributed to St. Gregory, though I'm not absolutely sure. It was attributed to a noted early saint, that much I am certain of.



To point 1: I'm not sure that is necessarily an intractable problem since all extant human lineage traces back to them.

To point 2. I do not see how it would make original sin absent. If Adam and Eve fell then they committed the ancestral sin that effected all creation.


I think the argument is about nothing because it started with a false assumption - St. Gregory of Nyssa said something about creation of people en mass.
The assumption was accepted as true without checking and the argument was developed as if the assumption was actually true... but it is FALSE.
As far as relying on our memory, oftentimes it fails us more often then we think (there were some nice posts about this by Frs. Raphael and Matthew). So to give this discussion some substance we need the source - who said this when and in what context, otherwise we are talking not about fathers' opinions but about our own; since this opinion runs counter to the scripture (eg. Rom 5:12) and the very fundamentals of Christian faith, imho it makes the argument only mildly interesting and not very relevant to the forum.

Yura

#24 Robert Hegwood

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 06:32 PM

Well maybe someone whose memory is better or whose reading is more extensive can recall who spoke in this vein.

As for the Genesis account Victor references this is the one that the saint in question, which I believe to be St. Gregory of Nyssa...maybe another Gregory, was dealing with. He said God did not create the body of Adam dead and then breath His Spirit into Adam to enviviate him, rather, Adam was created alive and God's enbreathing in this passage was His impartation of the Spirit so that man would be the image of God.

The speculation follows from the assertion that Adam was first created alive and not just as lifeless corpse that was subsequently animated. If he was alive prior to this visitation of God's Spirit then was he created corporally just as all other creatures were as one of many who was then later set apart or was he created alone?

I'll keep looking in the meantime to see if I can find the reference.

#25 M. Partyka

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 07:20 PM

I think with the "Adam was one of many" scenario, we need to choose between one of two courses:

1) God directly made many humans, all in the image of God, then chose Adam to act in Eden as the representative of all humanity.

2) God directly or indirectly made animals in human form, then took one of them (Adam), breathed into him a spirit, and put him in Eden to act as the representative of all humanity.

Of these two options, I think the one more easily reconciled with Scripture is the first, as it provides for the existence of full human beings outside of Adam's immediate family from which Adam's children could find spouses for themselves.

#26 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:17 PM

In the above, Nina wrote:

Robert, regarding St. Gregory of Nyssa there is a lot of misinformation and misinterpretation circulating, spread around by the heterodox. They are the ones who have wrongly attributed to him the theory of apokatastasis (restoration of all). However St. Gregory of Nyssa never stated, or implied such a theory in his writings and I do not think he would have ever said the speculation you mention "that mankind was created en masse like all the other creatures but one was taken aside and enbreathed with the Holy Spirit who then became Adam our first father". Since this statem is problematic in many levels. To name a few: 1.It denies our exclusive descendancy from Adam and Eve. 2.It would make the original sin absent.

Can you please quote the original source? (St. Gregory of Nyssa)


Of course, you also should provide a source! St Gregory of course does speak about the possible salvation of all; it is not the case that this is a 'heterodox reading' of his works: it is a reading of what he actually writes. It is authentic to say that St Gregory does not mean by it what others in history have meant by it (e.g. it is not linked into a pre-cosmic 'fall of souls' as in Origin; it is not linked to an insistence that God will restore all, thus denying freedom, etc.); but it is not correct to deny that he spoke about it!

In any case, that isn't the main focus of this thread. As to the matter of the creation of man more directly: St Gregory speaks of a 'double creation' of man, first as ungendered and secondly as gendered; but I do not know, Robert, of any passage in his works that reflects what you note.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#27 Nina

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:38 PM

Of course, you also should provide a source!


A source:

St Gregory of course does speak about the possible salvation of all [...] [St. Gregory's theology] (it is not linked to an insistence that God will restore all)


I am sorry, but the point about apokatastasis (on which we both agree) was not meant as a diversion, but it was meant as an indication about the various speculations and misinterpretations that exist in the non-Orthodox exegesis of St. Gregory's treatises.

#28 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:46 PM

I am sorry, but the point about apokatastasis (on which we both agree) was not meant as a diversion, but it was meant as an indication about the various speculations and misinterpretations that exist in the non-Orthodox exegesis of St. Gregory's treatises.


We must be very careful making claims about 'the non-Orthodox exegesis of St. Gregory's treatises'. This issue is not an example of that, so far as I can tell, because it is most clearly a present issue in his writings. Moreover, it is also an issue commented on and studied / exegeted by Orthodox theologians and writers, as much as by non-Orthodox.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#29 Kornelius

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 12:48 AM

As to the matter of the creation of man more directly: St Gregory speaks of a 'double creation' of man, first as ungendered and secondly as gendered; but I do not know, Robert, of any passage in his works that reflects what you note.Dcn Matthew


Dear Fr. Matthew,

Yes, it is true that St. Gregory concludes that the creation of our nature is in a sense twofold. I agree with you father, that there is a difference, however, between this twofoldness and what Robert is saying below.

Long ago I recall reading somewhere that St. Gregory of Nyssa speculated that mankind was created en masse like all the other creatures but one was taken aside and enbreathed with the Holy Spirit who then became Adam our first father.


Let me explain Robert. The twofoldness in creation does not refer to a distinct human/intelligent creation apart from Adam, (as Roberts thinks), but rather to the rational and irrational in us. The rational in us contemplates the Divine and incorporeal nature of God. Likewise God in Whom there is no gender, ("In Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female" Gal. 3. 28), so our rational side does not admit the distinction between male and female. On the other hand, the irrational, our bodily form is divided into male and female. That is why in Genesis (see below) we find two distinct references about creation of man. They refer, once again to the rationality and irrationality in our nature.

In the image of God created He him (Gen.1. 27)


Male and female created He them. (Gen. 1. 27)


Exegeting these two quotations, St. Gregory says:

Thus the creation of our nature is in a sense twofold: one made like God, one divided according to this distinction [male and female]...I think that by these words Holy Scripture conveys to us a great and lofty doctrine; and the doctrine is this. While two natures - the Divine and incorporeal nature, and the irrational life of brutes - are separated from each other as extremes, human nature is the mean between them: for in the compound nature of man we may behold a part of each of the natures I have mentioned, - of the Divine, the rational and intelligent element, which does not admit the distinction of male and female; the irrational, our bodily form and structure, divided into male and female. St. Gregory of Nyssa On the Making of Man.


Going back to Robert's post, I would like to point out what St. Gregory means by creation en masse. You are right Robert, he does speak of that, but it does not refer to a distinct creation apart from Adam and Eve, but rather to the timeless, diachronic, and eschatological character of the creation. Let me explain. St. Gregory said that "...in the Divine foreknowledge and power all humanity is included in the first creation." In other words, even future generations of mankind (us for example) are priviledged to have been created at that same moment with Adam and Eve, potentially that is, and then born of their descendancy (Adam's and Eve's) in our time.

#30 Yuri Zharikov

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 03:39 AM

Well maybe someone whose memory is better or whose reading is more extensive can recall who spoke in this vein.

As for the Genesis account Victor references this is the one that the saint in question, which I believe to be St. Gregory of Nyssa...maybe another Gregory, was dealing with. He said God did not create the body of Adam dead and then breath His Spirit into Adam to enviviate him, rather, Adam was created alive and God's enbreathing in this passage was His impartation of the Spirit so that man would be the image of God.

The speculation follows from the assertion that Adam was first created alive and not just as lifeless corpse that was subsequently animated. If he was alive prior to this visitation of God's Spirit then was he created corporally just as all other creatures were as one of many who was then later set apart or was he created alone?

I'll keep looking in the meantime to see if I can find the reference.


You see, there is no and cannot be "firsts" and "thens" in individual acts of creation for God does not create in time but with the time (otherwise He would be a mere demiurge). Time is a creature just like anything else and while we, people, need it to "create" something, He does not. The images of creation of man given in the Book of Genesis depicting God as if taking time, thought and effort to create man are simply meant to convey the idea of uniqueness of man as a part of creation and a unique dispensation about him. Bringing something into existence per se occurs outside of time, time begins with completion (so to speak) of a creative act. Thus both with creatures other than man and man, their creation to a human eye would look like a blink of an eye event. Plants are not there, you blink, and exuberance of plant life covers the whole earth, etc.
So St. Basil in Hexamaeron says: Therefore for us to understand that the world is created by Divine will not in time, it is said: in the beginning God made. To expound upon this ancient exegetes, expressing the idea more clearly, said: instantaneously God made, that is abruptly and instantly.
Bl. Agustin (do not know the source) said: God creates with the time, not in time.
Likewise St. John of Damascus in the Exact Exposition of Faith (book 2) states: Further, body and soul were formed at one and the same time, not first the one and then the other, as Origen so senselessly supposes.

in the Lord,
Yura

#31 Victor Mihailoff

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 04:41 AM

Thus both with creatures other than man and man, their creation to a human eye would look like a blink of an eye event. Plants are not there, you blink, and exuberance of plant life covers the whole earth, etc.
So St. Basil in Hexamaeron says: Therefore for us to understand that the world is created by Divine will not in time, it is said: in the beginning God made. To expound upon this ancient exegetes, expressing the idea more clearly, said: instantaneously God made, that is abruptly and instantly.
Bl. Agustin (do not know the source) said: God creates with the time, not in time.
Likewise St. John of Damascus in the Exact Exposition of Faith (book 2) states: Further, body and soul were formed at one and the same time, not first the one and then the other, as Origen so senselessly supposes.

in the Lord,
Yura


The glorious appearing of the Lord, the general judgment, and the end of the natural world are events which will take place almost simultaneously. They are described primarily in the 24th and 25th chap*ters of Matthew, in the third chapter of II Peter, and in the last pages of Revelation, which is first and foremost the book of eschatology.

Time began at some point, and accordingly at some point time will cease. For, as we are taught by the God-enlightened St. John of Damascus, after the general resurrection and the universal judgment, time will no longer be counted in days and nights; there will be “rather one unending day”. “Time will not exist then, but creation will be maintained” under a different form of course. “The created world can exist even in a state of ‘not in time’. Creation began, but will not cease to be!” The soul and the angelic beings have a beginning, but do not have an end, as St. Gregory of Nazianzos theologizes. Consequently, as Fr. Georges Florovsky writes, “it is possible to liken creation to a geometrically stretched band of rays or semi-direct lines, which from their source or at least from their initial point extend into infinity”. The world was created ex nihilo with the omnipotent word of God, “Let there be” [Gen. 1:3]. It began at some point. But “the word of God goes out, but does not pass away”. The God-inspired Apostle affirmed that “the word of the Lord abides forever” [I Pet. 1:25], and the life to which this word of God regenerates us is one eternal life. Moreover, God “created all things that they might exist” [Wis. Sol. 1:14]. “He did not create them for ‘a while’, but for always. With His creative word God brought creation into being for always”. Also, “there is no plan to recall this creative decision” of the omnipotent God. Consequently, “the world has a contingent beginning, but not an end. There is grace in the irrevocable will of God". (An Orthodox Survival Guide for the 21st Century)

Under the Lord's protection, Victor

Edited by Father David Moser, 06 March 2008 - 04:52 AM.
fix quote


#32 Rostislav

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 02:27 PM

MODERATOR'S NOTICE: The following message has been posted by an account engaged in on-line identity fraud. The member 'Rostislav' is identical to members 'Rick James York' and 'John M.' The current post, made before discovery of this fact, is being retained in order to preserve the flow of threads; but readers should be aware of this case of multiple identity.

I wanted to ask what about caveman? Thanks.

I scanned the posts and do not think I saw the words caveman or cavemen. I may be wrong and missed it.

I once bought a booklet from an Orthodox church bookstore that gave an explanation for cavemen.

It said that throughout history there have been small groups of people that did not want to do their share of work in society, so they moved out of the mainstream and moved into caves (so they would not need to build houses). They were too lazy to plant crops and basically just hunted, fished and gathered wild food like nuts and berries.

They had alot of spare time, so they did much painting on the walls of their caves because they could not be bothered to make a canvas. Their contemporaries could have already had the use of iron and factories but they used what they could find in the wilderness for free.

Even in the 20th Century there were cultures similar to cavemen but they found a way to live in houses for free by squatting. There were the Beetniks and Hippies for example. Punks also learn to live without a job but now society supports our modern "cavemen" in many developed countries through social welfare.

The booklet said that God still looked after them. If they wanted to live like animals at least God would give them survival features too. So He darkened their skin and made their brows to bulge over their eyes for prtection against the sun's rays. He made their hair coarse and wiry so that it would not easily fall out, leaving their heads unprotected. He gave them excellent three-D memories so that they would not get lost. They could remember every tree, stream, hill and rock they saw on their treks. But their memory for symbols and numbers was poor because they no could longer read or use basic arithmatic becaue none of them trained to be teachers.

The point I am trying to make is that cavemen were not prehistoric men, but just dropouts from society.

In Christ - Rusty

Edited by Father David Moser, 21 November 2016 - 04:15 PM.
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#33 Father David Moser

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 03:25 AM

I once bought a booklet from an Orthodox church bookstore that gave an explanation for cavemen.
...

The point I am trying to make is that cavemen were not prehistoric men, but just dropouts from society.


Now that's an interesting conjecture that I have never heard before. Can you tell us who wrote this booklet and did the author refer to any sources - or was it just a personal opinion?

Fr David Moser

#34 Rostislav

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 04:46 AM

MODERATOR'S NOTICE: The following message has been posted by an account engaged in on-line identity fraud. The member 'Rostislav' is identical to members 'Rick James York' and 'John M.' The current post, made before discovery of this fact, is being retained in order to preserve the flow of threads; but readers should be aware of this case of multiple identity.

Now that's an interesting conjecture that I have never heard before. Can you tell us who wrote this booklet and did the author refer to any sources - or was it just a personal opinion?

Fr David Moser

If I said I read it in a booklet and you call it "an interesting conjecture" and ask me "was it just a personal opinion?" What does that indicate you to be implying?

It is a small booklet and does not use a bibliography but there is a source cited in the little chapter on this topic. It is (Job 30).

I just borrowed a copy of the booklet and found that it is written by a professor of Theology and Old Testament, but I do not know your motive exactly. So, I'll keep that to myself for the time being.

Why did I have to borrow a copy you ask? I gave away all of the copies I bought years ago to people who asked questions about the topic of the booklet and to family members who do not attend church services. I gave them copies of the NT and little prayer books also.

Besides, the booklet is too old for evolutionists. It was published decades ago. Evolution has evolved again since then. Too old, as you said in another voice about Fr Seraphim Rose being reposed since 1982 and not a suitable source for debate against modern evolution.

(Mat. 21:24-27) The creation of life, whence was it? From God's Word alone or from that plus the activity of a scientific theory not introduced in the words of Genesis? Answer me that clearly and openly first and I will answer your other question.

Rostilav Koolikov +

Edited by Administrator, 10 June 2008 - 09:07 AM.
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#35 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 01:39 PM

Please let's get back to a Patristic discussion of the topic of this thread.

Many thanks.

The Management.

#36 Father David Moser

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 03:00 PM

If I said I read it in a booklet and you call it "an interesting conjecture" and ask me "was it just a personal opinion?" What does that indicate you to be implying?


I imply nothing - I only said that what you state is a unique position that I have not previously encountered and so I was curious as to how the author came by this opinion. You state that the booklet is quite old - "too old for evolutionists" and therefore there are a whole host of questions that arise for me. Is this something that was published with the imprimatur of the Church censor? Is it something that was found in a religious newspaper and reprinted? Is it something that was previously set aside by the Church but revived by a modern publisher who had an agenda? Just because someone printed a booklet of an old article doesn't make that booklet any more authoritative than an old Superman comic book or some protestant tract. I am simply asking for some authentication or verification of the theory you present.

As for your question - I suspect that if you read back on this topic in the various posts that have been been made, you will find an answer to your question. You seem to be quite insistent on the literal interpretation of Genesis without any addition of "outside" theories - and yet your "caveman" theory is far far outside anything that can be found in Genesis.

This whole post comes back to the admonition made at the end of the "creation/evolution" thread. If you are going to insist on a literal interpretation of the Genesis account, please back it up with patristic sources. If you are going to insist on a non-literal/symbolic interpretation of the Genesis account, please back it up with patristic sources. An anonymous booklet printed by who knows who written by someone we don't know is not an authoritative source (even if it was sold in a Church bookstore).

Fr David Moser

#37 Yuri Zharikov

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 05:33 PM

Every theory before it is corroborated by evidence is conjecture - this is according to Karl Popper.

The difficulty with the question at hand is three-fold. One, what is a cave man? A man living in a cave? The term itself is from the Darwinist vocabulary of the mid-XIX c and it has a very strong evolutionist smell to it. To get at the issue I will venture to define it as the Neanderthal Man, that is a type of ancient people defined by a suite of archaeological artifacts. We can now pose the question as follows: is the Neanderthal Man different from us, that is is there such a separate biological entity as the Neanderthal/cave man? This leads us to two hypotheses.
Ho = no difference
Ha = difference

The null hypothesis of no difference is accepted by default unless it can be conclusively shown that the alternative hypothesis is true. If you are surprised, this is how the scientific hypothesis testing operates (I will again refer the interested parties to Karl Popper)

What evidence do we have on purported differences between the Neanderthal vs modern-type men? Most of the information has already been laid out in the mitochondrial Eve post (evolution/creation thread), namely C-14 dating shows considerable temporal overlap between the two types; morphological data (bones) shows strong regional/climatic similarities. Finally, DNA-extraction methods from ancient tissues have been developed. A recent review of 44 scientific papers addressing the question of genetic differences between the Neanderthal and modern-type men, concludes that data are inconclusive viz their relative biological status (I can provide a reference but it is in Russian). So given this, we cannot accept Ha and thus Ho (no difference) hypothesis stands. For all we know these were simply different races or populations.

Difficulty two is related to Patristic evidence. Many Fathers lived in caves themselves and so were cavemen and women by definition. Barbarian nations around them in many cases led similar life-styles. To apply the term in a Patristic context is thus not very meaningful. Still the idea of a cave-man implies or presupposes an biological ancestor of the modern man and I understand it is the connotation in which the issue came up here.

Is there anything that the Fathers and the Church can say about there being humans other than us? TONNES. The Oktoikh has 80 references to Adam and Eve as real historical figures and/or first humans (e.g. Sunday, 1st tone, 1st song of the Resurrection canon, 1st troparion; Sunday, 8th tone, 6th song of the Cross canon, 1st troparion). The Lenten Triodeon makes 60 similar references (e.g. Lord, I have cried out to Thee, 2nd stichera, Thu of the 2nd week; Stavro-Theotokion of the stikhovnya (?) of the Matins, Wed, 3rd week). Opening St. John Chrysostom's sermon on marriage (C.P. Roth & D. Anderson. 1986. St. John Chrysostom. On Marriage and Family Life. ST. Vladimir's Press, p 94) we read:

We must love our wife not only because she is a part of ourselves and had the beginning of her creation from us, but also because God made a law about this when He said: For this reason man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife...

This leads us to the third difficulty, namely why do we appeal to the Fathers at all? On a parallel thread we were encouraged to provide Patristic testimony on creation. This was done. As a result, a very pointed question was asked: does the testimony represent the Orthodox faith. The discussion just fell silent and no answer was given. (Fr. Raphael, I am very sorry, but to say that Patristic evidence is "very Patristic" did not help). So what this means? Perhaps unjustifiably, I thought that appeals to Patristics evidence were meant to bring us to consensus and help us align our ideas along the Patristic, no - along Orthodox, lines. Is it really the case or we are simply sifting through Fathers to see if perchance they will agree with us. And when they do not we just say 'so what' and move to a different thread?

I am just genuinely trying to understand, so please forgive me if my questions are offensive or unjust.

With love in the Lord,
Yuri

#38 Eugenia P.

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 06:26 PM

I have a question that may be a little off topic, but hopefully not too much. In my reading the other day in Genesis VI it mentions the sons of God were wont to go in to the daughters of men. I was curious about this distinction as it is mentioned a couple of times (verses 2-5).

#39 Yuri Zharikov

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 07:39 PM

I have a question that may be a little off topic, but hopefully not too much. In my reading the other day in Genesis VI it mentions the sons of God were wont to go in to the daughters of men. I was curious about this distinction as it is mentioned a couple of times (verses 2-5).


The difference between the lineages of Seth (sons of God) and Cain (daughters of men) is meant. I do not have a Patristic quote handy but this is a very common exegesis.

#40 Yuri Zharikov

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 07:51 PM

St. Ephraim the Syrian (On Paradise). The family if the two brothers became divided: Cain went away <...> to live in the land of Nod, lower than the places where the families of Seth and Enos dwelt. But the descendants of those who dwelt above and were called the sons of God abandoned their land, went down and entered into marriage with the daughters of men, the daughters of those who dwelt below.




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