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Evolution as a viable component in the creation of life


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#81 Christina M.

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 05:51 PM

Thanks for your response, Christina. It is interesting what Romanides says, it is a point I have never read before about EO. The irony is that my observations don't fit with what Romanides says. To give a quick example of what I'm talking about, for this subject in the forum, everybody is looking for Biblical and Patristical sources, and using reason, while observation is being left out in the debate.

I think it would be interesting to have more examples and sources commenting on EO attitude towards observation and experimentation. If EO has always been so open to scientific methodology, it is strange that the scientific breakthroughs took place in the West and not in the East.


Note to someone smarter than me: Correct me if I'm wrong.

The EO don't care about worldly knowledge nor "scientific breakthroughs". Our greatest saints lived without any of these "scientific breakthroughs", which were obviously not necessary for their sanctification (on the contrary, many times they are very detrimental, but that's another topic).

The scientific methodology referred to by the EO is strictly limited to the spiritual life, because everything else is rubbish. Whereas the Pope would claim (he said this a few years ago, didn't he?) that the Rennaisance was a Christian victory, the EO could care less about the Rennaisance. Our scientific method is this: How can I purify my soul, so that I can be close to God? Nothing else really matters.

Disclaimer: I will not be insulted if someone corrects me. I'm just a learner.

Edited by Christina M., 15 January 2011 - 05:56 PM.
wording


#82 Christina M.

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 06:11 PM

Another note to Guillermo: The reason why we frequently refer to Biblical and Patristic sources is because the authors of the Bible and the Fathers of the Church have already reached theosis, in other words they have already used the therapeutic method of the Church to become healthy. As Romanides would say, they have the necessary tool (theosis, or vision of God), to interpret the Bible and the teachings of the Church for us. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God". That is why we quote the Holy Fathers so much. At the same time, we also are trying continuously to become "observers" as well, with the hope that maybe one day we also will reach illumination and theosis. Isn't that the goal of this life? "If we don't see God in this life, we will not see Him in the next." Not that it is easy... I feel like I haven't even started on the path!

#83 Kosta

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 05:59 AM

In the case of evolution, it doesnt bother me one way or the other. The question is what kind of development or evolution does the patristic witness allow for?
If we have an appendix and tonsils which are meaningless, why did God give them? If they were neccesary in the past, how does that fit in with evolution? Will they be neccesary for the distant future?
Why can we witness degeneration, where the body withers away thru disease and drugs and poor treatment, but not the opposite?

For me there are 4 creation stories about man in Genesis, and only one that matters.
1. God created man in his image and likeness (Gen 1.26)
2. God created anthropos from the dust and breathed into him a life giving soul (Gen 2.7-8)
3. God made the anthropos into male and female (Gen 1.27, 5.2)
4. God blessed them and told them to multiply and be fruitful (Gen 1.28, 2.24)

It is the first one that matters and its the last method that we know since procreation is a post-paradise phenomenon.

#84 Guillermo M.L.

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 08:27 AM

Christina, please forgive me if I seemed harsh to your post or if I seemed like attacking your opinions.

You are right that Theosis is much more important than any "scientific breakthroughs" to us, mortal humans. I think it is not necessary at all, to attain glorification, that anyone be required to believe in non-spiritual "knowledge" like biological sciences. I think that in this we can both agree.

My post was mostly generated because an opinion on Romanides about clerics looking through a telescope stroke me as a bit odd, because I think the spiritual focus is somehow lost in it. Sometimes I feel Romanides looks at every significant Western historical fact to postulate that the EO takes exactly the opposite stance, while this may not be necessarily EO Church doctrine, but just a whim of his to show an opposite stance... the title "Franks" spouts prejudice to me, but that is my partial, unfinished opinion... I still have to research Romanides fully, but until now, he seems to me harsh in his statements.

What is intriguing to me, and I would like to have developed in this forum, is how belief or non-belief in evolution can affect progress in Theosis.

Thanks everyone for your input.

#85 Owen Jones

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 09:15 PM

It does not require one to be Orthodox to recognize that most of man's accomplishments in the areas of science, medicine and industry don't amount to much (although it should help to be Orthodox, but most Orthodox in the world today have basically bought into the idea of modern progress). For every step in advance there seems to be two steps backward in the things that matter most in life. Such as peace of mind. The most important things to know have now been around for a long time. Bear in mind, of course, that Christ brought in something entirely new for the people at the time. Making it fresh and new and as powerful today is the challenge to any believer. But we tend to make it stale. And so therefore there is an enormous attraction to innovative things because they promise a kind of new power and energy and capacity toward great accomplishments -- mostly because of the staleness of Christians who do not seem to offer much in the way of an alternative.

#86 Paul Cowan

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 01:30 AM

It is the first one that matters and its the last method that we know since procreation is a post-paradise phenomenon.


Who was it that Cain was afraid when God confronted him with the murder of Abel?

#87 Christina M.

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 01:46 AM

In the case of evolution, it doesnt bother me one way or the other. The question is what kind of development or evolution does the patristic witness allow for?
If we have an appendix and tonsils which are meaningless, why did God give them? If they were neccesary in the past, how does that fit in with evolution? Will they be neccesary for the distant future?
Why can we witness degeneration, where the body withers away thru disease and drugs and poor treatment, but not the opposite?


A humble note on the "tonsils" thing: Although in the recent past they were considered vestigial and of no use to humans, the views have changed, and scientists now generally accept that the tonsils are a useful part of the immune system, which is just not currently understood. That's also why tonsilectomies aren't done without discretion anymore.

--Guillermo: You didn't seem harsh to me, and I hope I didn't seem harsh to you. It is difficult to display emotions over the internet. I'm always happy though when I'm on this forum, because I love this place, so you can just assume that I'm smiling! :)

#88 Jesse Dominick

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 02:46 PM

Who was it that Cain was afraid when God confronted him with the murder of Abel?



"Those who would find him were the sons of Seth who were compelled to seek revenge for the blood of Abel, their uncle. They cut themselves off from Cain and did not intermarry with him because of his reproach and because of their fear of him, but they did not dare to kill him because of his sign." - St. Ephraim the Syria, Commentary on Genesis 3.10

#89 Paul Cowan

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 12:28 AM

Genesis 4:10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. 11 So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.”
13 And Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! 14 Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.”
15 And the LORD said to him, “Therefore,[b] whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.
The Family of Cain

16 Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden. 17 And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son—Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad; and Irad begot Mehujael, and Mehujael begot Methushael, and Methushael begot Lamech.
19 Then Lamech took for himself two wives: the name of one was Adah, and the name of the second was Zillah. 20 And Adah bore Jabal. He was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal. He was the father of all those who play the harp and flute. 22 And as for Zillah, she also bore Tubal-Cain, an instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron. And the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah.
23 Then Lamech said to his wives:
“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
Wives of Lamech, listen to my speech!
For I have killed a man for wounding me,
Even a young man for hurting me.
24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold,
Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”

A New Son

25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.” 26 And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh.[c] Then men began to call on the name of the LORD.


I defer to the holy saint of course. Am I reading the timeline wrong here? Was Cain not banished before Seth was born? If so, whose daughter did he marry? Or was there a HUGE timeline between the time Cain killed Abel and God confronted him with the murder? If the latter, it had to be many many decades for enough people to be born to Seth's children to offer a wives for Cain to marry. Or did Cain marry his son's daughters? Regardless, the years involved seem to far outweigh the story line.


I don't know I understand how this timeline can be so long.

Paul

#90 S. Rey

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 12:58 AM

I think it would be interesting to have more examples and sources commenting on EO attitude towards observation and experimentation. If EO has always been so open to scientific methodology, it is strange that the scientific breakthroughs took place in the West and not in the East.


It is not so much which of the eastern or western church was more open to scientific methodology as to their respective attitude toward secular learning. The Church fathers--especially the Greeks, but also the Latin-speaking fathers of the early church--engaged creatively with secular learning and managed to create the theological pearl from which we still benefit today. St. Basil, the two Gregories, St Athanasius, St. Maximus Confessor, or again St. Dionysus Areopagite are the names that stand out among all others. They hymned the Triune God with the ancient tool of philosophy and poetry, creating perhaps the last golden age of Antiquity and the first golden age of Church history. It is a creativity like this that we should rediscover, not affraid of engaging with secular learning, whether it be science, modern philosophy, but baptizing them and using their knowledge to hymn anew the Triune God of all.

#91 Kosta

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 10:39 AM

Cain probably married one of his sisters (Gen5.4). Scripture only concentrates on the male lineage so there were sisiters around. Seth's male children are the ones refered to as the sons of God (Gen 6.1-4) who married the daughters of men(cains lineage). One interpretation of why seth's son fell for the daughters of Cain's lineage is they lacked modesty and dressed provacatively, seths lineage were easily seduced by them.

#92 Paul Cowan

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 03:44 AM

ok, so as the timeline goes, it speaks of additional male heads of households who had "other sons and daughters". This language is not used for Adam and Eve. It only refers to the 3 boys. There is still a multigenerational curve here in order for so many offspring to be produced.

Paul

#93 Theophrastus

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 10:26 PM

Perhaps Adam and Eve represent the first couple, whereas Cain, Abel, and Seth represent figures who lived thousands of years after Adam and Eve.

#94 Jesse Dominick

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 03:56 AM

Perhaps Adam and Eve represent the first couple, whereas Cain, Abel, and Seth represent figures who lived thousands of years after Adam and Eve.


if we're going to interpret Genesis Patristically then this isnt an option - they accepted the genealogies given in the Bible as is.

#95 Kosta

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 06:02 AM

On this topic on who Cain married were basically speculating. Besides Cain, Abel and Seth scripture says Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters. So its assumed the first humans married their kin. If you want to venture outside the patristic witness and standard interpretation, then the conclusion is God created other couples simultaneously alongside Adam and Eve. And that scripture records only the history of that lineage which survived the flood. This way we still preserve the fact that we are all descended from Adam and Eve via the sole survivors of Noah and his sons.

#96 S. Rey

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 10:16 PM

An article which should give some food for thought:

http://www.theandros.com/protozoe.html

#97 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 06:46 PM

I'm going to chime in on this because I'm a biologist.

What is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter? Scripture states that it is 3 (1 Kings 7:23). We know that it is approximately 3. Now, does that mean Scripture is wrong or that Scripture was written with the wisdom to know that approximations are acceptable when it comes to rather trivial matters like natural science? After all, does Scripture return over and over to the tiny details of the act of creation or does it return over and over to many details of how we ought to relate to each other and how we ought to personally relate to God? What does this mean regarding evolution? It means that it certainly could be the method by which God engineered life, but that it ultimately is not a matter of much importance.

#98 Jesse Dominick

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 01:19 PM

whether or not God is the author of death is prolly a pretty important point.

#99 Paul Nurmi

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 07:17 AM

The steps in the creation process in Genesis 1 are progressive. There is a move from a chaotic mass; increasing order; then simple life beginning in the water; then progressively more intelligent life; and finally, humanity on the final "day" of creation. It seems similar to the way an unborn child evolves (so to speak) over 9 months, beginning as a tiny embryo swimming in birth fluid; and gradually becoming more and more developed. And psalm 139 speaks of God knitting us together in our mother's wombs. So I could conceive of evolution in a similar sense speaking of the entire universe, and life on earth. God knit each form of life together, beginning with the simplest. I hope that does not sound too vague.

In Christ, Paul Nurmi

#100 Darren

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 05:01 PM

I'm going to open up a can of worms here and say that there are theories that Adam was a pre-existing hominid who God infused with a soul, and that the people Cain was afraid of might possibly have been neanderthals.




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