Dear Mr Partyka.
The Orthodox heart sings that
[quote name='Yuri Zharikov']St. Ambrose: … The sun is younger than the green shoot, younger than the green plant. (Hexameron 3:6).[/quote]
yet the Orthodox mind also observes that
[quote name='M. Partyka']theology does indeed make statements about the created world, and this can bring it squarely into conflict with science.[/quote]
[quote name='M. Partyka']the world God created in seven days cannot be the world we live in, or else perhaps seven days to God doesn't mean our 24-hour days. [/quote]
The best solution to the above is to consider the following misquotation about St Paul:
[quote]I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago -- who definitely was in the physical body and so we can apply physical science to it
-- such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man -- who definitely was in the physical body and so we can apply physical science to it
-- how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. (2 Corinthians 12:2-4, New Monachian Version)[/quote]
This variant reading in the New Monachian Version points to where both Evolutionists and Creationists are going somewhat astray. It is true that St Paul went to Paradise - that same Paradise out of which our first parents were expelled - but he actually wrote about his experience: "whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows". Now we know that science can only deal with the world as we see it ("in the body"), but Orthodox theologians should seek to speak about the spiritual world ("out of the body", although the body will be resurrected on the Last Day). However, when Orthodox theologians start to argue over the evidence regarding how old the universe is or how we humans are related to apes, should they really be using physical evidence? As it is written:
[quote]For Creationists try to show physical evidence of miracles, and Evolutionists seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Creationists a stumbling block and to the Evolutionists foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:22-24, New Revised
What is the "stumbling block" the Creationists trip over regarding the pre-fallen world and Paradise? Listen to Blessed Seraphim of Platina (a.k.a. Fr Seraphim Rose), where he correctly states,
[quote]"the law of nature as we now know is different from the law of nature before Adam’s transgression … natural science, bound up entirely with its observation of the present state of creation, cannot investigate it" ("Genesis, Creation, and Early Man", page 415)[/quote]
Of course the world we know today is related to the un-fallen world, but to try to look in-depth is to come against the futility to which the creation is subjected (Romans 8:20). How is it then that he actually tries to verify his writings of that un-fallen world from the current laws of nature and scientific observations?
Regarding the firmament, Genesis 1:6: "St Basil believes that the function of the ‘firmament’ was to preserve a mild temperature over the whole earth. Now, it so happens that we know of a certain ‘greenhouse’ effect on the earth in prehistoric times: tropical plants and animals have been found in the ice of the far north, indicating that the northern regions were indeed once temperate" (page 117; indeed on the next page he speculates that the firmament would help keep harmful radiation at bay! But in the pre-fallen world there was no radiation that could be remotely compared to what we know today.
Regarding the sun - Genesis 1:14 - and that it is far larger than the earth: "One could, of course, conceive of a sun much smaller than the one we know and much closer to the earth, while preserving its apparent size as seen from the earth. But such a sun would expend its energy many times more rapidly than our present sun does. Evidently, God made the sun the size and the distance from the earth it needs to have if it is to give to earth the amount of light and heat it requires to support life to the end of this age (page 127-8; yet the ancients taught otherwise about the sun, that its "light is sevenfold brighter than that of the moon; but as regards size they are both equal", The Book of Enoch 72:37). [/quote]
Years ago I was walking around thinking that the tropical plants and animals under the ice were a proof of the six-day creation. However, just recently it has begun to dawn on me that to be either a Creationist or an Evolutionist is to be mistaken; both are correct, but only in their respective spheres and not outside
. Now hopefully I think I am actually becoming Orthodox.
[quote name='M. Partyka']Then, in the last few years, the creation/evolution debate wormed its way into the forefront of my mind, and I felt is was time to sit down and take a look at it myself to see on which side of the debate I belonged. Now there usually isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish I lived in an earlier era, like that in which the Fathers lived, when we didn't know so much about the past, the earth, the stars, and the whole cosmos. Unfortunately, that option isn't open to me. Like Adam and Eve, my eyes have been opened, and things don't look the same anymore. [/quote]
O Mr Partyka, I salute you! O catechumen wiser than the baptised, pray for me! O servant of God, teach me an ignorant fool!
The Creationists I have listened to so far are all described by the scripture which says, "I sleep, but my heart is awake" (Song of Songs 5:2): their heart is awake when they correctly describe the beautiful state of the pre-fallen world, but they are asleep when it comes to relating this to others. You however, are described by the scripture which says, "I laid me down and slept; I awoke; for the Lord sustained me" (Psalm 3:5): you are awake with the knowledge that God does not want us to ignore our reasoning mind in "submission" to others, and yet you also are yearning for your heart to wake up:
[quote]Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light. (Ephesians 5:14)[/quote]
If any Creationist challenges the evidence either for an ‘old earth’ or for evolution, that maybe such evidence is not accurate or is distorted, then reply as follows:
[quote]What part of "corrupted" do you not understand? St Paul says that "the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Romans 8:20-21). Why do you seek to teach me about the incorruptible from the corrupted and about the irrefutable from the futile? So what if the corrupted implies a certain statement: being based on corruption it could be either true or false!
If St Paul "was caught up into Paradise" - "whether in the body or out of the body" he did not know - then why do you seek to find evidence about this same Paradise from this fallen world without being caught up into heaven yourself? (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)
You who believe that the bread and wine in the Eucharist become the very Body and Blood of Christ, will you try to prove this by science? Will you try to prove the ‘change’ by searching for evidence of some "homoeopathic Blood"? It is clear to science that what is in the chalice remains bread and wine, no matter how much you examine it. However, the Orthodox who renounce the rationalism of the West say that "the Angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar" (Judges 13:19-20; see this post
). So too with the creation! [/quote]
And then to enlighten them regarding their error, recall to them the Rubin vase (Image taken from http://lookmind.com/...hp?cat=4&id=177
Creationist: This image is clearly that of two faces
Evolutionist: No, it is a vase
Creationist: But the BIBLE says in Exodus chapter thirty-three, verse eleven, that "the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend."
Evolutionist: I suppose there could be faces there, but are you telling me that this evidence of yours relates to God?
Creationist: Absolutely, "the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it!"
Evolutionist: So no possibility of a vase being there?
Creationist: No, but in John chapter three verse eighteen it says that "he who does not believe is condemned already"
Evolutionist: So if the way you look at the image is taken as evidence for two faces, then why cannot the way I look at it be taken as evidence for a vase?
Creationist: We know that you are fudging up the evidence!
(and so on ad infinitum.
Note that while parodying the image of a fanatical Bible-basher - and I do not apply this to anyone here - it should be noted that I have found certain atheists to be just as shallow.)
Let me tell you what you already know: the God who appeared to Moses appeared in glory, and the skin of Moses’ face shone (Exodus 34:30). How then can the above image of the faces be compared with the reality of meeting God face to face? In like manner, how can the present creation be "worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed" to the creation via us (Romans 8:18)? Who cares about the universe being billions of years old, or about our physical body being derived from the apes? The world is fallen. But how then can we talk about creation in six days? Mr Partyka, you answered this yourself:
[quote name='M. Partyka']the world God created in seven days cannot be the world we live in [/quote]
- exactly the same deduction I came to (see this post
). Do we not talk about the spiritual world as being "not of this world"? Paradise still exists - St Paul went there "whether in the body or out of the body I do not know" (2 Corinthians 12:3). As such, it can only be considered to be "not of this world". The scientific term for such a thing, where different laws operate, is another universe. How this fallen universe of corruption came from the original single universe which was "neither completely incorruptible, nor entirely corruptible" I suppose we shall never know (quotation from St Gregory the Sinate speaking of Paradise; "Genesis, Creation, and Early Man", page 166).
Perhaps it could be worth mentioning that time also probably fell; surely Paradise would have remained forever young even while the days passed. Maybe this is what is indicated in the words of Christ, "the hour is coming
, and now is
" (John 5:25). Also, scientists have just recently discovered that time is not always the same in our universe: "time told by a clock in our galaxy and the time told by one floating in a void could differ by as much as 38 per cent" ("New Scientist", 07 March 2008, article "Dark energy may just be a cosmic illusion"
); by the way, it is older in the voids.
Therefore, let not science be mocked for trying to explain how the world works now or previously, for they are not studying the work of an ‘intelligent designer’ at all. This universe is
based on the work of the Beautiful Designer, but because "through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin" (Romans 5:12), it is under the tyranny of the "ruler of this world" (John 12:31), i.e. the devil. Blame him for the suffering in this world, but first let us acknowledge our foolishness in handing him the keys in the first place!
Similarly, let not true Orthodox theology be mocked: the Father is not like a fairy! But with soberness and purity of heart let us show that there is more to being human than being a slave of the evolutionary treadmill. Indeed, why are we trying to save endangered species when this would hinder our own "survival of the fittest"? Did God become incarnate as a monkey as well? From where does our immortal soul 'evolve'? Materialism is not "Creationism versus Evolution" or "Theology versus Science", but the denial of the Vision of the Spirit of life (see the thread "The sacraments: 'the earnest expectation of the creation' and the divine light"
I originally started this thread as "Evolution and the baptism of Christ", wanting to explore how the sacramental life of the Church may help. It was then taken over to be "Creation and evolutionary theory, II". However, I think one quotation from the Sunday of Forgiveness may help restore the balance:
[quote]I boldly put my trust in the abundance of Your mercies, Christ my Saviour, and in the Blood that flowed from Your divine side; for through Your Blood, loving Lord, You have sanctified the nature of mortal man, and have opened to those who worship You the gates of Paradise that were closed of old to Adam. http://www.ocf.org/O...iodion/prel_sun
Neither by looking for evidence in this fallen world nor by logic do we attain to Paradise, but only by the life-giving Blood of Christ. As it is written, "Drink from this, all of you; this is my Blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins".
"O slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!" (Luke 24:25), but of you, Mr Partyka, Christ says, "I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!" (Matthew 8:10).
[quote name='M. Partyka'] Now there usually isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish I lived in an earlier era, like that in which the Fathers lived [/quote]
Pray for me, O catechumen of the Most High! May your wish come true: may you indeed one day return from Eternity!
PS. Until someone can actually prove that picture of Rubin's vase is either that of two faces or that of a vase, please let us not hear about the evidence for evolution being flawed, and neither that the Fathers of the Orthodox Church do not know of the life of Paradise, which is the life of the Age to Come!