RichardWorthington opened “Creation and evolutionary theory, II” with a perplexing issue which has by now taken so many different forms. He expressed his version this way:
Knowing of the exchange of evidences and theories in the whole ‘Evolution versus Creationism/Intelligent Design’ debate, I just felt that there must be a higher approach to the whole issue.
I'm not certain, but it seems he may feel that the topic has strayed from his preferred critique of 'Creationism/Intelligent Design' – and of course it has. RichardWorthingtgon's recent words were:
I consider the discussion of whether or not evolution is true to be less than fruitless on this forum. We should rather discuss the theological and philosophical implications of the theory: is the theory compatible with Orthodox [C]hristianity? How should we view science in general? Is american creation science a healthy option for Orthodoxy?
There is a clue to the conundrum he proposes when he says, “We should rather discuss the theological and philosophical implications of the theory”. His point is thus to arrive at Orthodoxy's compatibility with creation theory, evolution, Creationism and intelligent design. But then, it is such a provocative subject we are left wondering what new path it will take tomorrow.
In fact, this subject is so provocative, i am surprised that the course of the thread is as focused as it is. The clue that is given (which has been suggested over and over in these messages) is yet again raised by Owen Jones' quick comment:
...we cannot... in principle, reduce the meaning [of Adam and Eve in the garden] to its historicity. The literal historical meaning of a text is always the lowest level of meaning, according to the Church Fathers, with the mystical meaning as the highest.
This is only one phrasing of the 'clue', when there are hundreds we could site from these messages alone. The clue reveals that M. Partyka is speaking of oranges while RichardWorthingon was asking an apples question. But RichardW did not help out his cause by opening the door to both theology and philosophy. For the one is apples while the other is oranges.
It is not for nothing that the first thing out of the gate, the Fathers were quick to pounce upon the words of Saint Paul:
Col. 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit...
Yet the real issue here goes deeper. Modern exegetes will argue that the Fathers' real concern was for rampant neo Platonism, while in reality they used philosophical reasoning themselves. This is the form of the academic argument. And it is entirely beside the point.
The story of apples and oranges is revealed in Owen's classification of historical truths. They may be just a bit lower than Paul's meaning for philosophical truths. However, if we continue to ponder and argue these differences we shall continually avoid the higher meaning – the One which Saint Paul was discussing.
Bishop Basil put it so nicely when he addressed the congregation several years ago at Father Anthony's funeral in Dallas. His point was not that truth was totally absent from historical arguments – just that historical thinking contains only a small portion of truth. The Orthodox truths of which Saint Paul was speaking contain all the Truth.
That will sound presumptuous to non believers. The resulting Orthodox habit has therefore become one of simply not arguing these things.
There are these Truths, and then are all the other truths, and there is no way that the latter may enter into communion with the former – through argument. This is one version of what Saint Paul was saying when he chained philosophy to deceit.
My own assessment of these things is that we may address M. Partyka's very conscientious and well spoken scientific concerns, but not through Orthodoxy.
We may continue to speak of evolution theory (as i did in my previous message), but to expect to make it compatible with the Mysteries of Orthodoxy will only produce frustration (or worse). One simply may never get at the heart beat of Orthodoxy using a scientific stethoscope.
In other words, Orthodox meaning very well addresses the problems of evolution; but one may not enter into those meanings using historical/scientific reasoning.
Edited by Herman Blaydoe, 17 June 2008 - 11:22 AM.
Added proper quote formatting