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How old is the earth?


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#261 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 11:08 AM

I will be happy to answer your questions on whose authority I say that your previous statements are defunct; and on whose authority I can say that the Seven Churches were schismatic; and also on the true assessments made by St Victorinus on what and who the Seven Churches represent.

Firstly, it is on your own authority that your previous statements are defunct. You have given two opposing and contrary explanations of the Seven Churches, each denying the truthfulness of the other. If the Seven Churches were simply local churches, as you maintained, which had “problems” that John had addressed for their own time-frame; then this explanation is defunct if at the same time they represent seven epochs, as you later maintained. Why go to the trouble of arguing for one opinion when you voluntarily dismantle it with that of another?



First, I was not putting forward merely my own personal opinions. It is a basic requirement of debate in matters of substance that what we say has a basis in authority. That will be scriptural (as explained by patristic tradition), patristic, or liturgical. Secondly, it is understood in Orthodoxy that the Church comprises local Churches – this does not require explanation. It is to this that St Victorinus refers in the quotation from his work which I gave: the ‘seven churches, of the one Catholic Church’.

You see inconsistency where there is none. Scripture makes use of a number of literary devices although allegory is rare. Symbolism is, however, very common. The Book of Revelation is difficult because it uses a mixture of historical and symbolic devices, and this has caused Protestants to go astray in their understanding of Revelation. Like the Ethiopian, Orthodox acknowledge their need of a guide (see Acts 8:26-40). As Fr David has explained, Archbishop Averky distilled Orthodox commentary and tradition into his book on Revelation. This book, it should be noted, is widely accepted as the best guide to Revelation that we have. The use of real situations in time as types or symbols is a standard literary device, and it is used by St John in his writings about the seven Churches.


I ask also..., where is the evidence that these churches were simply a local concern on the par of Corinth, Cenchrea, Colossae, etc.? You have not submitted any evidence for this; and yet you demand lessor reason for evidence from myself!


The quotation from St Victorinus is explicit about this as I have explained.

Secondly, the Churches were not simply experiencing “problems” as you maintain; they were schismatic . . .


I don’t know how often I have to say this: these Churches were not separated from each other or from the One Church by schism. Do you understand what ‘schism’ is? Were these Churches not in communion with one another? We read about immorality and false doctrines in St Paul’s Epistles but nowhere does St Paul speak of schism – only of people in the Church who had fallen into false beliefs.

Thirdly, the true assessments of St Victorinus... As much of the book is missing; we need to skip through to relevant passages which explain his opinions.

The Church of Ephesus is called “such a class, and such elected persons” (2:2)… “because you yourself hate those who hold the doctrines of the Nicolaitans” (2:6). This church is firmly opposed to the Church of Pergamum who “hold to the doctrines of the Nicolaitans.”

The Church of Ephesus is called “another order which follows” (2:6). This order was successive, which is why they are assumed to be “epochs”. Unlike some of the other churches, “they deny the blasphemy of the Jews, who say that they are Jews and are not; but they are the synagogue of Satan, since they are gathered together by Antichrist.”

The Church of Pergamum is called “The third order of the saints… who are inclined to unlawful associations” (2:14). He says, “You have among you those who hold such doctrine (of Balaam); and under the pretext of mercy, you would corrupt others” (2:14). This particular church, whom you say was part of the Orthodox Church, was teaching false doctrines.

The Church of Thyatira is called “The fourth class” who “listen to new forms of prophesying.” (2:17)

The Church of Sardis is called “fifth class, company, or association of saints.” (3:1) These ones are “Christians only in name”; “as it is not enough to be called a Christian and to confess Christ, but not to have Himself in our work, that is, not to do His precepts.”

The Church of Philadelphia is called the “sixth class” which “is the mode of life of the best election” (3:2).

The Church of Laodicea is called the “the seventh association of the Church” (3:12). They are “neither unbelieving nor believing, for they are all things to all men.”

but history is silent about the epochs of the church as you have distinctly favoured.


Please stick to the norms of debate: I have not ‘distinctly favoured’ anything. You must not skew things people have written in this way. I have followed what Archbishop Averky has written.

I have given evidence and consistent argument for why these churches represent the successive stages of schisms that developed in the One Holy and Catholic Church, which includes all of Christendom.


You have given only your own interpretation: this is not evidence.

What is wanting and waiting is ANY evidence from the silent quarters which claim that the Seven Churches are imagined only to be the Orthodox believers. I will wait to the end of the next life to find such evidence, as there is none. It is an imaginary ghost-ride that makes noises with no substance. Please correct me if I am wrong. Please submit your own evidence for your extreme claims. I have shown evidence from the Orthodox fathers that they are in agreement with me.



You do put things the wrong way round! You should say that you are in agreement with the Orthodox Fathers not that they are in agreement with you! But which Orthodox Fathers have you put in evidence? I repeat: the Orthodox Church adopts with gratitude Archbishop Averky’s book. You should read it. If you cannot accept what he writes, then understand that you are likely to be in error. There is nothing more I can say.

#262 John Bundstein

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 01:16 PM

Greetings to Steve, who is dear in the sight of the Lord.


(Reader Andreas has popped in ahead of me with a much better explanation that mine but I am leaving this as it stands.)

I am so glad to read that the Fathers were so prophetic as to be in agreement with you. Though I have to admit that I still hear those beloved Irish grandparents and uncles at table calmly and logically discussing whatever topic happened into their heads. And I remember the words of a statistician I once knew; “if you can’t convince them with the facts dazzle them with your verbosity” (this was said at a meeting of police chiefs and police department upper management so it has been cleaned up a bit for this forum.)

As I have admitted before I am a very ignorant person. But in the words of the corrections officer in “Cool Hand Luke” what we have here as a failure to communicate. And the term that seems to be the most confusing is “the church” with both upper and lower case “C”. Each individual local church is overseen by one bishop with his priests and deacons. Each bishop in congress with his fellow bishops in any city or state or other geographical area oversees the congregations of all of the local churches within that boundary. All of the regional congresses of bishops working with all of other regional congresses oversee the national church (Greek, Russian etc.). And then all of the bishops of all of the national churches can in congress together be an ecumenical council of the entire Orthodox Church. All of this being the earthly image of the true body of Christ “the Church”.

I don’t think that anyone has ever said that local manifestations of the church being made up of human beings have not fallen into error and/or schism as also have individual members. And I admit that I don’t know enough to say if any or all of the local churches mentioned had actually become schismatic or were simply headed in that direction. But the church (the Orthodox Church if you will) as a body had not gone that direction and it was apparently was attempting the healing of the ailing parts of the body that had done so. Therefore the Orthodox Church has nothing to repent of. And the Church the universal mystical body of Christ has not and can not fall into error.

You seem to fall into the standard brand protestant habit of conceiving the church as being almost the individual member alone. Since each member has their own interpretation of scripture and relationship with God. And if that member is in error (though exactly how that could be determined I am not sure, since it is their own personal private revelation) the entire church is in error because they are by definition its only member.

And I can’t help but wonder if Revelation is so literally true why we are still here? The world was left in a rather sad state by the end of the book as I recall, plagues, and horsemen and fire OH no! Well maybe you are some form of dispensationalist view and we have the 1000 years until the second coming. Oh but wait that was like 1800 to 1900 years ago – does not compute, error, error.

Then again some people just like to argue and blow smoke and it doesn’t matter about what as long as they feel that they can show how wise and clever they are. You have never stated anywhere that I recall what tradition you do come from other than “other” – it might help us to understand the mindset you are working from to know that. We have a well defined and publicly presented place we are coming from (even if you disagree with it) where as you hide in the dark and send out pop shoots – very unBritish that.

And one final thought what does this have to do with how old the earth is that is threads topic??

#263 Michael Stickles

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 04:43 PM

And one final thought what does this have to do with how old the earth is that is threads topic??


An excellent question - perhaps that can be the spur for us to get back "on-topic" for this thread.

#264 Steve Roche

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 08:31 PM

You should read it. If you cannot accept what he writes, then understand that you are likely to be in error.


LOL.

Thanks, I will try to get hold of the book to correct my errors :)

#265 Steve Roche

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 11:01 PM

My contention was delivered in earlier posts (such as posts 234 & 235).

I suggested then that the earliest fathers had already dealt with the belief of evolution; for evolution was taught even before Christ through the Epicurean and Democritean atomic theory. My argument here is to remain faithful and in unison with the earliest church fathers. This is not looking for a "private interpretation"; it is looking for the orthodox interpretation presented by the earliest fathers. Ironically, many of the orthodox believers, who claim to represent the orthodox fathers, are actually the ones guilty of presenting "private interpretations" which are in agreement with the Epicureans. Paul himself had challenged Epicurus.

#266 Theophrastus

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 11:36 PM

My contention was delivered in earlier posts (such as posts 234 & 235).

I suggested then that the earliest fathers had already dealt with the belief of evolution; for evolution was taught even before Christ through the Epicurean and Democritean atomic theory. My argument here is to remain faithful and in unison with the earliest church fathers. This is not looking for a "private interpretation"; it is looking for the orthodox interpretation presented by the earliest fathers. Ironically, many of the orthodox believers, who claim to represent the orthodox fathers, are actually the ones guilty of presenting "private interpretations" which are in agreement with the Epicureans. Paul himself had challenged Epicurus.


It seems to me that Epicurean or Democritean theory excluded the action of a Divinity that guided the processes of evolution. Theistic evolution is the form of evolution, I would suggest, that is consistent with Christianity. Do you have any evidence that the Fathers explicitly rejected theistic evolution?

#267 Steve Roche

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 11:53 PM

It seems to me that Epicurean or Democritean theory excluded the action of a Divinity that guided the processes of evolution. Theistic evolution is the form of evolution, I would suggest, that is consistent with Christianity. Do you have any evidence that the Fathers explicitly rejected theistic evolution?


Epicurus, Democritus and Leucippus were all theistic evolutionists; they believed that the "gods" were directing the process of evolution just as theistic evolutionists believe that Jesus directed the work of evolution. When these theories were opposed by the early church fathers they were opposed as theistic evolutionists; not as atheistic evolutionists.

#268 Ryan

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 01:02 AM

It seems to me that Epicurean or Democritean theory excluded the action of a Divinity that guided the processes of evolution. Theistic evolution is the form of evolution, I would suggest, that is consistent with Christianity. Do you have any evidence that the Fathers explicitly rejected theistic evolution?


"Theistic evolution" is not an independent theory, though. It is a post facto accommodation of a theory which was elaborated under the assumptions of the modern scientific method, a method which is materialistic/ empiricist in its approach and which does in fact owe a great deal to the natural philosophy of Epicurus. "Theistic evolution" is attempting to assert the active role of God in the creation but it already concedes fundamental points to a methodology that assumes that God does not play an active role in the creation, and that the spiritual realm is either nonexistent or completely separate from the material one.

#269 Ryan

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 01:05 AM

Epicurus, Democritus and Leucippus were all theistic evolutionists; they believed that the "gods" were directing the process of evolution just as theistic evolutionists believe that Jesus directed the work of evolution.


I don't know about Democritus and Leucippus, but Epicurus' conception of the gods was of eternally happy beings who were completely aloof and uninvolved in the universe. Their only relevance to mortals was in providing good examples for the Epicurean variety of hedonism. Actually Epicurus' "gods" were really quite superfluous to his system and could be removed without altering any of his fundamental doctrines.

#270 Steve Roche

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 01:47 AM

Epicurus did not deny the existence of god’s; but that the gods could care less about the affairs of men other than that we “eat, drink and be merry.” Epicureans are credited with the saying eat, drink and be merry (see 1 Corinthians 15:32; Acts 17:18). Epicurus taught that “the gods do not reward or punish humans; the universe is infinite and eternal; and events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms moving in empty space.” (Wiki)

Interestingly, Lactantius, the christian tutor of Emperor Constantine, attacked the religious notions of Epicureans in the Riddle of Epicurus:


“God either wants to eliminate bad things and cannot, or can but does not want to, or neither wishes to nor can, or both wants to and can. If he wants to and cannot, then he is weak - and this does not apply to god. If he can but does not want to, then he is spiteful - which is equally foreign to god's nature. If he neither wants to nor can, he is both weak and spiteful, and so not a god. If he wants to and can, which is the only thing fitting for a god, where then do bad things come from? Or why does he not eliminate them?”


What is ironic (IMO) is that this debate now resembles an argument between certain schools of Calvin and Arminius.

Epicurean philosophy, just like the modern evolution philosophy of “eat, drink and be merry”, is exactly the philosophy Paul contended against. It is now, however, endorsed as being compatible with Christianity. Although modern theistic evolutionists dress their teaching up in sheep’s clothing, the inspiration for this philosophy, then and now, is the same wolf. I can see Paul scratching his head even now!

Note: The early Christians did not deny the atomic theory; they denied the random chance related to evolution theory which was sparked by the gods (theistic evolution).

Edited by Steve Roche, 25 September 2012 - 02:03 AM.


#271 Theophrastus

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 04:47 AM

Epicurus, Democritus and Leucippus were all theistic evolutionists; they believed that the "gods" were directing the process of evolution just as theistic evolutionists believe that Jesus directed the work of evolution. When these theories were opposed by the early church fathers they were opposed as theistic evolutionists; not as atheistic evolutionists.


I think one has to distinguish "a god" from "God," with "a god" being a being with greater power than a human, but still immortal because composed of some sort of matter (whether gross matter or a more subtle type of matter), and "God" being That which transcends all sorts of matter (gross or subtle).

Theistic evolution (involving "God", not "a god"), it seems, was not part of Democritus' philosophy.

For Democritus (McGibbon, 1965, pp. 389-390), “The gods are ultimately products of the same Nature which produces other existents and like these must return eventually to their primary constituents,” and Tertullian described Democritus’ idea of the gods as beings that came into existence at a point in time (and, thus, will go out of existence in due time, as well). According to McGibbon, Democritus saw the gods as being worthy of veneration and imitation, but they were beings within the realm of the atom, not beyond it, as “God” would be.

Regarding, Leucippus, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy notes that “There is nothing in other reports to suggest that Leucippus endorsed the idea of a universal intelligence governing events.”

It seems, from a brief look at Democritus and Leucippus, that they did not believe that "the gods" were guiding the overall process of cosmic development, because even "the gods" were products of such development; they had no notion of "God" transcending the total process, guiding it from within/without.

Works:
“Leucippus.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanfor...ries/leucippus/ . Accessed 25 September 2012.
Donal McGibbon. “The Religious Thought of Democritus.” Hermes 93:4 (1965), pp. 385-397.

#272 Steve Roche

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 05:47 AM

The answer to Democritus’ question about whom and what is ‘God’ will depend to some degree on which answer you are looking for. You must remember that in his time to question belief in the deities (god) was atheism and was met with the death penalty (i.e. Socrates). Looking for distractions which confuses the ‘god’ of Democritus is treating the historical data as a puppet to be manipulated.

20th century classicist, Werner Jaeger, in The Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers, says that Democritus “did not deny the gods all together” but “recognised eternity and imperishability as properties belonging to the gods” and retained “prayer as the most fundamental way of expressing one’s faith in the reality of the Divine.”

Plutarch said that ‘Democritus recognized one god under the form of a fiery sphere, the soul of the world.

Democritus himself said: “Now as of old the gods give men all good things, excepting only those that are baneful and injurious and useless. These, now as of old, are not gifts of the gods: men stumble into them themselves because of their own blindness and folly.”

He also said: “Everything existing in the universe is the fruit of chance and necessity.”

It is these two statements that make Democritus a theistic evolutionist. Confusing the meaning of ‘God’ and ‘god’ does not change the outcome. Of course he did not preach creation from the book of Genesis, but he did preach evolution according to his own version of a deity. Looking for agreement between Democritus and Genesis is asking too much. His fundamental belief was in a great soul of the universe which infused all atoms with life. This idea is no different to theistic evolution. The only difference lies in the explanation of why, not how. The mechanism (theistic evolution) is the same.

#273 Owen Jones

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 08:48 AM

I'm assuming Mr. Roche is not arguing that Christians ought to take their guidance from Democritus! That Democritus may or may have not advocated a kind of theistic evolutionism hardly dispositive. For a critique of evolutionism, see the Symposium by Plato.

#274 Steve Roche

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 08:57 AM

I'm assuming Mr. Roche is not arguing that Christians ought to take their guidance from Democritus! That Democritus may or may have not advocated a kind of theistic evolutionism hardly dispositive. For a critique of evolutionism, see the Symposium by Plato.


I think you have misunderstood the comments made above by Ryan and myself. Please read the comments carefully. I said above in post 267:


"Epicurus, Democritus and Leucippus were all theistic evolutionists; they believed that the "gods" were directing the process of evolution just as theistic evolutionists believe that Jesus directed the work of evolution. When these theories were opposed by the early church fathers they were opposed as theistic evolutionists; not as atheistic evolutionists."


Edited by Steve Roche, 25 September 2012 - 09:40 AM.


#275 Owen Jones

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 02:05 PM

the terms "just as" are wildly off the mark.

#276 Jake A.

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 04:37 AM

6-10,000 years old in my honest opinion, just thought I'd share it, I'm not really concerned with being laughed at.

#277 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 02:30 PM

The official 'year from the creation of the world' is 7520 for this year. I've always wondered if the notional beginning of this year is the Church New Year (Sept 1); or January 1st; or after Pascha.

Anyway- the interesting thing is that this dating about fits in with where the historical records disppear and then archeological evidence for cultures as we understand them.

#278 Jesse Dominick

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 03:28 PM

my understanding is that the Byzantine Creation Era year begins on Sept 1 - the celebration of the Church new year.

#279 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:27 PM

my understanding is that the Byzantine Creation Era year begins on Sept 1 - the celebration of the Church new year.


That would certainly make sense.

#280 Ryan

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:31 PM

While we're on the subject of creation-era dating, I have a tricky historical question:

I'm writing a book set during the Mongol invasion of Rus'. My book begins around Feb-March AD 1238. I am trying to get an accurate year for that time according to the Byzantine calendar. Wikipedia lists some sample years in both AD and AM numbering, and says 1204 is 6712 AM. I calculated then that AD 1238 must be 6746 AM- however, Wikipedia doesn't account for the fact that the creation year starts in September, so the years don't exactly line up. I wonder if anyone can help me with this. I have some historic documents translated in English relating to the period but all the years are rendered according to the Christian era.

In short, my question is this- in February-March AD 1238, what year was it according to the creation era? Thanks.




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