Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Genesis: truth and metaphor


  • Please log in to reply
195 replies to this topic

#41 Guest_Mark Whitman

Guest_Mark Whitman
  • Guests

Posted 01 February 2005 - 09:13 AM

I just read through some of the old posts linked to here, and saw the name of Irenaeus a few times. Then I saw the name of Steenberg a few times... does anyone know if this is the same Matthew Steeenberg who's leading the retreat weekend on Irenaeus in February?
--Mark W.


#42 Brian B.

Brian B.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 20 posts

Posted 01 July 2006 - 02:40 AM

Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Greetings

I am beginning my journey from Augsburg to Constantinople, full of questions, excitement, and more than a bit of trepidation. Along the way I found this wonderful website filled with gifts of understanding and wisdom. Truly I feel blessed to have stumbled upon a place full of reasoned and gifted teachers, so obviously interested in truth. Thank you for all the wonderful discussions which I am even now perusing, and which I find bring one epiphany after another.

In my recent explorations I recall an interesting reading of Genesis by Dr. Alexander Kalomiros posted to a different site. The article is titled, "The Six Dawns." As it seems pertinent to this discussion I thought to post the link.

http://www.zephyr.gr...hn/frread-a.htm

I am interested in knowing whether his interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 is considered an acceptable one in Orthodoxy, or if there is anything in it controversial. From discussion here I suspect more the former than the latter, but thought it best to check with those with more experience and knowledge than I. Personally, I have always been very scientifically and empirically oriented, so I naturally found a lot in his explanation that resonates.

In appreciation and humility in Christ,

Brian

#43 Ken McRae

Ken McRae

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 569 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 01 July 2006 - 03:28 PM

... I recall an interesting reading of Genesis by Dr. Alexander Kalomiros posted to a different site. The article is titled, "The Six Dawns." As it seems pertinent to this discussion I thought to post the link. I am interested in knowing whether his interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 is considered an acceptable one in Orthodoxy, or if there is anything in it controversial.


"The writings of our Holy Fathers, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. John the Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great and their Cosmology are presented in the context of Creation. Their spirit is revealed to be far from the fundamentalist understanding of contemporary scholastics. According to the patristic teaching, unknown to many Orthodox Christians ... etc.".


Hello Brian! While I am not Orthodox, I have read some Orthodox writings, and have found Dr. Kalomiros not to my personal liking; due in part to his controversial manner or style of writing, which is reflected in the above quote from the website description you've linked for us. The reviewer (translator?), quoted above, appears to quote Dr. Kalomiros as describing much of contemporary Orthodox thought on creation, (and on the Book of Genesis in particular,) as being deeply influenced by "the fundamentalist understanding of contemporary scholastics;" to the extent that the Patristic teaching, as he interprets and explains it, has been completely eclipsed, and is now "unknown to many Orthodox Christians." In other words, he is predicting an "Orthodox" resistance to his published research, from the outset, on the basis of its (findings) being apparently lost to contemporary Orthodox Christians.

To be honest, though, such accusations against contemporary Church fathers never sat well with me and still don't. In my narrow view of Tradition, all such claims smack of standing in judgment of not just contemporary Orthodox fathers, but of the One, unbroken, living and holy Tradtion of the Church. If one's predecessor(s) achieved theosis believing certain things, then perhaps it is unsafe to begin to pick and choose things to reject from their fatherly or paternal transmission(s) to their sons. This is how I think Fr. Seraphim Rose would probably address the problem, and it strikes my heart with some power or force. (May the Lord deliver me from the deceptions of my own heart!) Imo, then, you're likely to find some Orthodox Christians who like what he teaches, others who are not so taken with it, or are unsure of it, and still others, perhaps, outright rejecting it.

A big congratulations, btw, on your decision to start the journey, one that may take you around the world a few times, (figuratively speaking,) before you arrive at your desired destination; but such a journey must start with the first step, which you have already taken. Remember the words of Christ, though, that "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Lk. 9:62) What is the Lord talking about here? And why a plough, of all things? In another text, He says that the kingdom of heaven is within you, thus clearly implying that it must be sought within the territory of the heart, as opposed to stacks of books. The Jews marvelled over the wisdom of Christ saying, "How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?" (John 7:15) And thus he replied that "If any man will do his (Father's) will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." (John 7:17) It is a matter of the heart, as opposed to the head, and thus requiring much heart-work as opposed to brain-work. This is the Orthodox way and the path of salvation leading into the heavenly kingdom.

The Lord reveals spiritual truth and knowledge to the pure heart, and the humble mind grounded in the heart; not the proud mind divorced from the heart, and exalted with its own earthly learning and wisdom. It is hard to humble a proud head and to lay it low before the Lord; and it is this hardness of heart, overgrown with many harmful weeds sown by the adversary, that requires ploughing before the seed of the Orthodox Word will bear its fruit in due season. Hence the plough is for preparing the ground of our stoney hearts for the seed of the Orthodox Word, and the revelation of God. Jesus said that "no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him (Mt. 11:27)." Remember, though, that the Lord says that he who puts hand to the plough but later turns back, will be unfit for the kingdom of heaven. We must all learn to discern between our heart and our head. Follow your heart, and Christ will guide you, in His Name and for His sake, as it is His own precious Blood that purchased our freedom!

unworthy Theophilus ~

#44 Brian B.

Brian B.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 20 posts

Posted 02 July 2006 - 11:38 PM

Thank you for your thoughts Theophilus.

Brian

#45 Father David Moser

Father David Moser

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,581 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Cleric

Posted 05 July 2006 - 05:05 PM

In my recent explorations I recall an interesting reading of Genesis by Dr. Alexander Kalomiros posted to a different site. The article is titled, "The Six Dawns." ...
I am interested in knowing whether his interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 is considered an acceptable one in Orthodoxy, or if there is anything in it controversial.


Brian,

There is certainly some controversy surrounding Kalomiros' views. At the time that he originally published them, Hieromonk Seraphim Rose published a response which is much more "creationist" in its approach. The hoped for correspondence and discussion between the two never materialized and so we do not have the benefit of that discussion to draw upon.

Kalomiros' approach is certainly not "anti Orthodox" and yet it is not "the whole story" either. I am personally not a strict creationist, however, neither can I accept Kalimiros wholesale acceptance of evolutionary science. Both views, that espoused by Kalomiros and that espoused by Rose, have their place in Orthodoxy and there has not, as yet, been a learned and reasoned discussion of the issue from an objective pov, taking into account the full range of scientific opinion as well as a learned and well informed perspective of the Church Fathers. It is often easy to dismiss the contributions of earlier fathers such as Basil the Great or John of Damascus as having a "primitive" or "outdated" grasp of science and yet I believe that what they have to say on the topic must "inform" our own understanding of the scientific evidence.

Evolution, as we know it today, is much more of a scientific philosophy than even a scientific theory. It is philosophy about how to understand and interpret the observations of the various fields of science as they relate to the origins of the universe, the earth, life, and man. The conflict arises less as a scientific debate than as philosophical debate.

What is really needed, imo, is to garner first a clear and comprehensive awareness of the writings of the Fathers and the mind of the Church on this matter and then to bring that philosophy to the scientific data (without trying to ignore or disprove established fact). But what we don't need to do is what Dr Kalomiros seems to have done and that is to somehow embrace the already existing evolutionary theory/philosophy and somehow inject God into it.

There are some significant issues that both "sides" of the discussion have left out to this point - one of the most important being the effect of the fall on the physical nature of man and on the overall nature of the universe. When did "corruption" enter the picture (before or after the fall). Was there consistency between the physical "laws" of the universe between the pre and post fall periods. I think these questions and others, which arise from reading the writings of the fathers, are important, but they are not even addressed let alone resolved and in fact they are often not even asked.

Fr David Moser

#46 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 05 July 2006 - 10:35 PM

Fr David wrote:


What is really needed, imo, is to garner first a clear and comprehensive awareness of the writings of the Fathers and the mind of the Church on this matter and then to bring that philosophy to the scientific data (without trying to ignore or disprove established fact).


I think so many in Orthodoxy would deeply appreciate this type of effort. Many or most of us (myself very much included) have a minimal understanding of science. We strongly suspect that much of the scientific evidence presented as certain is really only one among many possible ways of reading the evidence. And yet at times in our effort to defend the Patristic perspective we act as if scientific evidence because of its uncertainty carries no weight, which surely is wrong.

Somehow we need to go a step further in all of this and as you say bring the Patristic perspective to the scientific evidence without being afraid of it. I have to admit that although I am on the side of full-nature creation by God I have noticed some weaknesses in the Orthodox 'creationist' argument. Basically this argument identifies scientific evidence with the autonomous 'natural law' interpretation of it. This is a logical let alone a theological flaw in the strictly creationist argument as it is like saying something cannot exist due to the false way in which someone interprets its existence. Thus we need to get to where we can freely bring the evidence forward & shine the light of the Patristic vision on it.

There are some significant issues that both "sides" of the discussion have left out to this point - one of the most important being the effect of the fall on the physical nature of man and on the overall nature of the universe. When did "corruption" enter the picture (before or after the fall). Was there consistency between the physical "laws" of the universe between the pre and post fall periods. I think these questions and others, which arise from reading the writings of the fathers, are important, but they are not even addressed let alone resolved and in fact they are often not even asked.

Fr David Moser



As I say I have very little understanding of science. My secular training is in history and from this I can say that the philosophy of evolution reflects a movement that really has been occurring, most intensely in western society, since the Christianization of society from the time of Constantine.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#47 Byron Jack Gaist

Byron Jack Gaist

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 615 posts

Posted 06 July 2006 - 05:47 AM

Dear Fr Raphael,

You wrote:

the philosophy of evolution reflects a movement that really has been occurring, most intensely in western society, since the Christianization of society from the time of Constantine.

Can you say a bit more about this? What do you have in mind when you refer to the "philosophy of evolution"?

I wonder what others think about the obvious issue that science relies on the evidence of the senses and scientific instruments (an extension, if you like, of our pereceptive abilities) in order to formulate its hypotheses about the mechanisms, laws and even the nature of the world around us? What do the fathers say about relying on the evidence of the senses alone?

Also, I have a question about creation ex nihilo. What is the relationship of matter to spirit in Orthodox teaching? In what way is God as spirit related to His creation as matter? I have the impression a Gnostic might say that God's substance is simply of a subtler and lighter kind and quality than the darkness and heaviness of matter, but that the two ultimately fade into and out of one another on a continuum. Whereas, the Orthodox may believe instead that God is 'wholly other' than matter in creation. If so, how?

In Christ
Byron

#48 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 06 July 2006 - 02:25 PM

Dear Fr Raphael,

You wrote: Can you say a bit more about this? What do you have in mind when you refer to the "philosophy of evolution"?


What I am referring to is the sense of progress which drives our western society. This may or may not be quite the progress which society takes it to be. But yet real movement from one point to another is really taking place so that the sense of progress is not at all imaginary even if again it is not progress of a positive kind.

What is the real nature of this movement & what is behind it? In a way the answers to these questions are the answers to the mystery of our distinct but yet very powerful western society that for better or worse does seem to draw- or drag- the rest of the world physically and spiritually along with it. So this is an extremely important question for us especially as Orthodox Christians. Few however seem to take it up directly except for some few like Philip Sherrard & in a way the Slavophiles of Russia.

One thing I can say is that this social dynamic and the fact of a distinct western society driven by it begins with the same forces that result in the Great Schism. I have been researching this now for at least 15 years and feel I am beginning to get a grasp on how this ties in with the social/cultural side of the question. But what really is behind the crucial issue of a different theology in the west? Except for the obvious fact that the west begins doing theology differently which results in the Schism I really don't yet clearly see what the real connection is behind the changes in western society and this theological change.

As for your other questions below I'm really hoping others take a stab at it. In so much of this we rightly rely on others. What do most of us really know about the scientific method? Not so much so we rely on others to work from the understanding they already have. That's how it should also be for all these questions like ethics, etc so that each of us isn't having to come up with our own formulas in areas where we have little expertise. Someone coming up with a decent and clear explanation for a given issue, in book form for example, is a tremendous help for us.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

I wonder what others think about the obvious issue that science relies on the evidence of the senses and scientific instruments (an extension, if you like, of our pereceptive abilities) in order to formulate its hypotheses about the mechanisms, laws and even the nature of the world around us? What do the fathers say about relying on the evidence of the senses alone?

Also, I have a question about creation ex nihilo. What is the relationship of matter to spirit in Orthodox teaching? In what way is God as spirit related to His creation as matter? I have the impression a Gnostic might say that God's substance is simply of a subtler and lighter kind and quality than the darkness and heaviness of matter, but that the two ultimately fade into and out of one another on a continuum. Whereas, the Orthodox may believe instead that God is 'wholly other' than matter in creation. If so, how?

In Christ
Byron



#49 Olga

Olga

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,823 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 07 July 2006 - 04:09 AM

What do most of us really know about the scientific method?


Having trained in a scientific field, I can offer this:

The scientific method involves formulating a hypothesis (an idea) based on either observed phenomena or an original idea, devising an experiment which tests this hypothesis, running the experiment, observing the results of that experiment, and then analysing these results. If the results of the experiment are contrary to predicted results according to the hypothesis, then the hypothesis can be discarded. If the results support the hypothesis, then further, more refined experiments can be performed to test the hypothesis further.

Another plank in the scientific method is the "repeatability" of results, If there is consistency in the strength of the hypothesis, then, with continued experimentation, enough knowledge is accumulated which is consistent enough for the hypothesis to "grow" into a theory. The checks and balances are twofold: Repeatability of results i.e. can the same or similar observations be made if others run the same experiment? (Anyone remember the "cold fusion" fiasco of 1989?), and publication in a properly refereed scientific journal. This not only allows the free dissemination of knowledge, but, by the process of peer review, work which is of an inadequate standard is not published.

Theories are not immutable, if more information comes to light, then a theory (not just a hypothesis) can be discarded or superseded. A good example of this is the cause of stomach ulcers. For many decades, the medical world had observed that gastric ulcers were the result of increased acidity of the contents of the stomach due to physiological reasons and/or psychological stress, and prescribed medication and other therapies designed to reduce this. More serious cases were treated surgically. However, while many people were helped, this was not always a true cure, and many found little benefit from this approach. Some 20 years ago, a group of Australian researchers hit on a truly novel idea, which seemed so preposterous at the time, that they struggled to attract funding and support to evaluate this hypothesis. Yet they persisted. In short, they were able to show that in many cases, the cause of many gastric ulcers was not stomach acidity, but the infection of a bug called Helicobacter pylori. Ulcers could be treated not with antacid medication, but with antibiotics. For their trouble, Dr Barry Marshall and Dr Robert Warren were awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize for medicine.

Also, fabrication of results is the worst "crime" a scientist can commit. Dr William McBride (another Australian) shot to fame in the early 1960s through his work in finding the link between thalidomide (commonly prescribed at the time for morning sickness during pregnancy), and the development of horrific birth defects (stunted and missing limbs, etc). He founded a research body dedicated to studying birth defects, and his work was, quite rightly, highly respected. Yet he fell from grace in 1987, having been exposed as falsifying results in some of his experiments conducted in the early 1980s.

As an aside, all too often in the non-scientific world, the word "theory" is used instead of "hypothesis", which understandably leads to confusion and misunderstanding. Precision of language is paramount in science, as it is, of course, in theology! :))

#50 Ken McRae

Ken McRae

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 569 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 07 July 2006 - 02:10 PM

The scientific method involves formulating a hypothesis (an idea) based on either observed phenomena or an original idea, devising an experiment which tests this hypothesis, running the experiment, observing the results of that experiment, and then analysing these results. If the results of the experiment are contrary to predicted results according to the hypothesis, then the hypothesis can be discarded. If the results support the hypothesis, then further, more refined experiments can be performed to test the hypothesis further.

Another plank in the scientific method is the "repeatability" of results ... etc.


Since Darwin's "hypothesis" can never be subjected to scientific lab testing, as you have described, (which would require taking an ape and figuring out how to repeatedly evolve it into a homosapien,) then why was it ever classified as a "theory", or even worse - presented in school textbooks as scientific "fact", rather than the weak "hypothesis" it truly is? In short, why was it not quickly discarded as scientific nonsense? The fact that modern sciene has stood by it for so long does a great disservice to the integrity of the scientific field and community!

#51 Guest_alexei

Guest_alexei
  • Guests

Posted 07 July 2006 - 02:22 PM

What I am referring to is the sense of progress which drives our western society. This may or may not be quite the progress which society takes it to be. But yet real movement from one point to another is really taking place so that the sense of progress is not at all imaginary even if again it is not progress of a positive kind.


Hello all,

I remember Fr. Schmemann talking about just this in "Between Utopia and Escape."

Basically, his thesis is that Christianity's introduction of the eschaton changed the way people thought about the nature of time and their relation to the world. That this influence never went away in Western society (think Hegel, Marx, etc.) should be obvious.

You can find the article here: http://www.schmemann...aandescape.html

Yours in Christ,
Alesha

#52 Guest_alexei

Guest_alexei
  • Guests

Posted 07 July 2006 - 02:25 PM

Since Darwin's "hypothesis" can never be subjected to scientific lab testing, as you have described, (which would require taking an ape and figuring out how to repeatedly evolve it into a homosapien,) then why was it ever classified as a "theory", or even worse - presented in school textbooks as scientific "fact", rather than the weak "hypothesis" it truly is? In short, why was it not quickly discarded as scientific nonsense? The fact that modern sciene has stood by it for so long does a great disservice to the integrity of scientific field and community!


Because it makes sense. To them, at least. Maybe I'm not being very charitable; please forgive me.

Nevertheless, "it makes sense" is clearly not scientific, or else astronomy would have ended with Ptolemy and baseballs would fall faster than oranges.

#53 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 07 July 2006 - 06:13 PM

Hello all,

I remember Fr. Schmemann talking about just this in "Between Utopia and Escape."

Basically, his thesis is that Christianity's introduction of the eschaton changed the way people thought about the nature of time and their relation to the world. That this influence never went away in Western society (think Hegel, Marx, etc.) should be obvious.


Yours in Christ,
Alesha



Then we need to ask why such progress in the western sense was not seen in Christian Byzantium. And in eastern Orthodox societies such as Russia westernisation was imposed in an external fashion.

On the other hand from my own research I would say that without Christianity the west would never have taken the social shape it has with one of its chief characteristics being a dynamic which it calls progress.

The Latin west does convert during the early centuries of the Church to such an extent that even the non-Latin peoples became very Orthodox albeit with their own cultural ethos.You can read early Anglo-Saxon Christian literature for a fascinating example of this; Christ & His Apostles are often portrayed as heroic warriors surrounding their Chieftain. The way of expressing this draws on ancient cultural symbols but yet the point is completely Orthodox since the the Apostles are now spiritual warriors with Christ triumphing over the foes Satan, sin & death. It really must have been a tremendous inspiration for the local peoples newly converted and shows the way in which the Church thinks being neither open nor close minded about culture. The evidence clearly shows that the problem was not at all that western Europe didn't convert. The evidence if read particularly in comparison with that of other cultures who also converted such as the Greeks, Latins, etc shows in fact a remarkable similarity.

The first warnings about the culture question however come in the west as the Roman Empire collapses and a new social order gradually assumes its place. Warnings not only about the chaos but about the purposeful individual violence that is ripping society apart as a Christian community can be found in St Gregory of Tours' History of the Franks & also in Wulfstan's Sermo Lupi ad Anglos. Here something beyond the collapse of Roman society or violence has to be looked at since these things- or similar- occurred in other places within Christendom, for example Russia, and did not result in the loss of Orthodoxy. So it is a mistake to just look at negative social forces within the west. Rather I think we should look to the positive social forces in the west. In other words instead of focusing on faceless social forces which in reality can be found eventually at any time or place look to human values which drove that society.

Here I think there is much more to be understood since immediately we see that although the Roman society had basically collapsed by the 7th c to be replaced by a new western one many of the driving forces of this culture were the ancient heroic virtues of the warrior combined with Christian values. As long as the balance scale tilted towards the latter then culture was a servant for Orthodoxy- and successfully so at first. But as we move towards the 11th c the balance clearly moves towards the former to the extent that the Church in a sense becomes socialised. This for example can be clearly seen in the Crusades which are in reality a kind of model for the new Europe.

What is important to recognize is that this is not at all a simple case, as some would have it, of the ancient re-taking the new. Rather it's more a case of the Orthodox balance between the timelessness of the Church and culture being lost to produce something new and unique which had never been seen before.

A lot more should be done to examine this but briefly we can say for now that the new culture definitely relied on the moral/ascetic sense of Christian values. But it also relied on the heroic sense which itself had been modified by the Church. It is from the combination of these two I think that we find the western attraction particularly towards continually transcending oneself through individual effort. That this new value is extremely powerful we can see in the way in which it still defines our modern society 1000 years and more later. But part of its power may also lie in its ability to adapt to the religious or secular with equal ease.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#54 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 07 July 2006 - 08:31 PM

Olga wrote:

Having trained in a scientific field, I can offer this:

The scientific method involves formulating a hypothesis (an idea) based on either observed phenomena or an original idea, devising an experiment which tests this hypothesis, running the experiment, observing the results of that experiment, and then analysing these results. If the results of the experiment are contrary to predicted results according to the hypothesis, then the hypothesis can be discarded. If the results support the hypothesis, then further, more refined experiments can be performed to test the hypothesis further.

Another plank in the scientific method is the "repeatability" of results, If there is consistency in the strength of the hypothesis, then, with continued experimentation, enough knowledge is accumulated which is consistent enough for the hypothesis to "grow" into a theory. The checks and balances are twofold: Repeatability of results i.e. can the same or similar observations be made if others run the same experiment? (Anyone remember the "cold fusion" fiasco of 1989?), and publication in a properly refereed scientific journal. This not only allows the free dissemination of knowledge, but, by the process of peer review, work which is of an inadequate standard is not published.



Thanks for the explanation. Now here's where my ignorance comes in though!

Historical archeologists go through a field where the Battle of Waterloo took place and find a buried boot. They examine the boot against the historical evidence from the past and determine whether the boot belonged to a French soldier on the day of the battle or a Belgian farmer many years later. But that's just it- they have evidence from the past they try to work with. What if they don't quite have that evidence? Isn't this a bit like the evidence for evolution except that the evidence is other artifacts which are also seen as verifying evolution- in other words the evidence is a theoretical framework rather than solid evidence?

The thing of it though is that a lot of things have no evidence for verifying their origin. This in itself though doesn't prove things one way or the other. It just means the theory is not certain, not that it isn't correct.

At the end of the day then I wonder if we actually do end up putting things with little evidence into the best theoretical framework that we can. Is evolution then like this? Is it good science even as a possibility or not?

Looking at it in the above way I think would get us out of the bind we continually fall into of thinking that if evolution is wrong then we have to find a way to discount the evidence.

We've got the evidence. So what's the framework? How much of the evidence is acceptable or unacceptable for us as Orthodox Christians?

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#55 Olga

Olga

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,823 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 10 July 2006 - 09:22 AM

It just means the theory is not certain, not that it isn't correct.


Well said, Fr Raphael! A theory by definition is an attempt to provide a coherent model for a body of observed phenomena. Should evidence come to light to challenge a theory, then the theory must be modified or, in some cases, discarded, and a new model proposed and tested.

#56 Scott Pierson

Scott Pierson

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 370 posts

Posted 10 July 2006 - 10:52 PM

I think there is a real difference between legitimate "allegorical" exegesis and radically allegorizing a text in order to make it accord with ones preconceived prejudices. People should be very careful not to throw out a "literal" understanding of the text just because it is inconvenient. The fact that a verse has an allegorical, typological, etc meaning doesn’t mean it cant also be understood literally. If one where to say " the tree of knowledge of good and evil is a reference to contemplation " for example, that could be acceptable... But to say "when the Bible says that Adam was created by God from the dust of the earth that really means that he came from the womb of a monkey like humanoid" or " When the Bible says that Eve came from the side of Adam , from his rib, while he was sleeping it really means eve came from another monkey like animal who maybe happened to by lying on the ground by the side of adam while he was sleeping.. yeah that’s it " lol. I think saying things like that would be taking allegory a little beyond its usefulness! Its enough to make Origen blush really.

I would agree with the other poster who said that everyone should check out Father Seraphims book " Genesis Creation and Early Man" its great! There are also many good books that debunk evolution from a more scientific standpoint.

Scott

#57 Ken McRae

Ken McRae

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 569 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 29 July 2006 - 09:45 PM

There is certainly some controversy surrounding Kalomiros' views. At the time that he originally published them, Hieromonk Seraphim Rose published a response which is much more "creationist" in its approach. The hoped for correspondence and discussion between the two never materialized and so we do not have the benefit of that discussion to draw upon.



I would agree with the other poster who said that everyone should check out Father Seraphims book " Genesis Creation and Early Man" its great!


Either Fr. Seraphim's book was as good as you say, or even better, or else St. Herman's Press did'nt publish many copies of it, but "new" (previously unowned) copies of it seem a little hard to find; and it's no longer listed on the St. Herman's Press website. We can only hope a new second edition is currently being prepared!

Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian View - by Fr. Seraphim Rose

Orthodoxy and Genesis: What the Fathers Really Taught - A Review of Fr. Seraphim's Genesis, Creation and Early Man

AN INTERVIEW WITH FR. DAMASCENE (CHRISTENSEN), FROM THE MONASTERY OF ST. HERMAN OF ALASKA IN PLATINA, CALIFORNIA

On Wednesday, the fourth day of the annual Nativity readings began the conference section dedicated to the «Orthodox Understanding of Creation of the World». One of the speakers was an Orthodox hieromonk, Fr. Damascene (Christensen), an American from the Monastery of St. Herman of Alaska in Platina, California, which belongs to the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America. This monastery is well known in Russia as the home of Fr. Seraphim Rose, its founder, and Fr. Damascene is a member of the Brotherhood from the time of Fr. Seraphim’s repose. He is the author Fr. Seraphim’s biography (due to appear in a new Russian version this year under the title Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works), and is something of expert on Fr. Seraphim’s Life and writings in general.

Genesis and Early Man: The Orthodox Patristic Understanding

An article entitled The Eternal Will was printed in The Christian Activist Volume 11, Fall/Winter 1997. It was a lecture given by Dr. Alexander Kalomiros on evolution vs. creationism and his interpretation of the traditional teachings by the Fathers of the Orthodox Church about Genesis. This is a response to Dr. Kalomiros by Fr. Seraphim Rose. It has been excerpted for length by Frank Schaeffer.

A Video Interview with an Evangelical Apologist on the Evolution Debate

This video is only about 30 min. long, and is not an in-depth look at the secular theory of evolution, but it touches upon some characteristic flaws in that theory, and gives some ideas how to prepare you children for the many intellectual and philosophical attacks upon the Faith they'll encounter at College.

#58 Scott Pierson

Scott Pierson

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 370 posts

Posted 31 July 2006 - 11:40 AM

Either Fr. Seraphim's book was as good as you say, or even better, or else St. Herman's Press did'nt publish many copies of it, but "new" (previously unowned) copies of it seem a little hard to find; and it's no longer listed on the St. Herman's Press website. We can only hope a new second edition is currently being prepared!


Oh no! I let someone borrow my copy a long time ago and never got it back.. and now he goes to another church and I dont see him any more. I will have to track him down.

#59 D.A. Hill

D.A. Hill

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • 8 posts

Posted 30 August 2006 - 02:12 PM

Since Darwin's "hypothesis" can never be subjected to scientific lab testing, as you have described, (which would require taking an ape and figuring out how to repeatedly evolve it into a homosapien,) then why was it ever classified as a "theory", or even worse - presented in school textbooks as scientific "fact", rather than the weak "hypothesis" it truly is? In short, why was it not quickly discarded as scientific nonsense? The fact that modern sciene has stood by it for so long does a great disservice to the integrity of the scientific field and community!


But Darwin's theory is tested everyday. For example, evolutionary theory predicts that there is an intermediate between fish and the first land creatures. Now paleontologists took this information and identified which geological layer fish are found in (but not land dwellers) and then identified the first layer that land dwellers appear. They then searched the geologic column between those two time periods and discovered http://scienceblogs....another_gap.php. In other words, Darwin's theory is confirmed in this case. Evolutionary theory would also predict you won't find human remains in Jurassic deposits with dinosaurs for example, so if that is found, the theory is falsified.

Of course there are several creation "science" organizations that play loose with scientific facts and use shoddy methodolgy to prop up a literal reading of Genesis.

Father Seraphim Rose's book Genesis, Creation, and Early Man was very interesting for both the first half (Patristics)and in the appendix (he mentions de Chardin and Swedenborg), but I fault him for using the above mentioned shoddy 'research' from the various Protestant creationist organizations (it should also be noted that Fr. Rose was not trained in science, so he should not be faulted too much for falling for the whitewashed tombs of creationist 'science').

#60 Scott Pierson

Scott Pierson

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 370 posts

Posted 30 August 2006 - 10:56 PM

Giving Darwinian evolution the benefit of the doubt that it can account for the variety of life forms now in existence the question would still remain , did it in fact occur. If using a computer that could investigate the issue, say one is able to prove that through a completely random fall of one million toothpicks they could land in the shape of the sentence “ I put these here to make this sentence". Would that prove that every sentence spelled out in toothpicks arrived there via a random fall? obviously not. Its possible but incredibly improbably (so improbable it would almost be safe to say it was impossible) . it’s the same with evolution in my mind.

Both evolution and creation models are able to deal with the facts on hand and come up with ( on the most part) possible explanations for the evidence. Both evolutionists and creationists have some “zingers” they can use to blow holes in one or another argument in favor of either model. Creationist for example could point to the “living fossils” , creatures thought to be millions of years old based on their location in the fossil record (and thought to be extinct for millions of years) and then found to be very much alive in exactly the same form like the ceolacanth***http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Coelacanth ), or to unfossilized supposedly 65 million year old T-rex bones with red blood cells, polystrate fossils, human artifacts and fossils with creatures that lived supposedly before humans existed, etc.. Evolutionists might use their argument that human fetuses have gill slits or that we have apparently useless “Vestigial organs”..

Anyways when I look at the evidence I think its obvious that science has not yet grown to the level in which in can PROVE beyond any doubt either model. All we can say is one looks more probable then the other based on what we now know. We can however know what the Bible and the fathers teach on the subject… that there was a special creation, that each creature reproduced after its own kind, that death did not enter the world until after the fall (survival of the fittest before death ?), etc.

So if both models can explain for the evidence but only creationism can be reconciled with the Bible and fathers without using very creative “allegorical” interpretation why believe evolution ?

***in other words they have been around for millions of years but for some strange reason never evolved

Here is a good article on the Geological Column:

http://www.nwcreatio...ngeocolumn.html




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users