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A eucharistic refutation of creationism and evolution


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#1 RichardWorthington

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 02:40 PM

My original thread "evolution and the baptism of Christ" was commandeered by the Moderators and renamed as "Creation and evolutionary theory, II". In that thread I was hoping to explore the possibility of the link between the sacraments and the creation being able to raise us above the usual "Evolution versus Creationism" debates. However, as the first thread had just been closed, the usual exchanges continued, and so recently I thought I would start again.

So that you know my background, it is this: I used to be a six-day creationist following Fr Seraphim Rose’s writings. I then became an evolutionist, but still with a feeling that God did not create anything evil (and being vague with regards to humanity). I then realised (see the first post in the "Creation and evolutionary theory, II") that perhaps the sacraments could be used to point to a higher way of thinking. However, it was the Reader Yuri Zharikov who alone converted me to see again a form of the creation in six days (see here and here): however I am still perfectly happy - and more so now - with an old universe and evolution!

I know my ideas sound wacky: it has been suggested that I am an Origenist, though I do not know what this means in this context. Your thoughts, fellow Monachians, would be welcome: I need your help!!!

At the start of my original thread I recommended some cake and tea: another few helpings might be required to digest all of this post too!

"Somewhere over the rainbow": a refutation of Creationism


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http://en.wikipedia....ration_of_Jesus; click to enlarge!


Look at this icon of the Transfiguration of our Lord, in particular look at the concentric circles of blue light around Christ. If you were looking for a way to describe this light to someone using only everyday words, how would you describe it?

Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. (Ezekiel 1:28)


And so it is that for Orthodox Christianity there are two rainbows: the one which appears to everyone after it rains, and the one in the "appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD" as ‘iconised’ in the icon above . And this is where the problem lies: to which rainbow - or maybe both - does God refer when He says, "I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth" (Gen 9:13)?

For Evangelical Creationists, it seems that the Vision of Christ in Glory is alien to the account of Genesis (1-11) as it is to their spirituality. It is approximately sufficient for someone to believe that the world is only about 6,000 years old. The step from the Genesis narrative to faith in Christ is something like this: as the world is only 6,000 years old there must be a Creator God … sin, wrath, judgement, eternal punishment and suffering in hell … therefore produce repentance (sometimes a.k.a. ‘emotional destruction’) and join our organisation. In other words, Genesis is merely the starting point for logical deductions - hence the Atheists' fervent acceptance of Evolution to destroy this starting point! (I realise that this is quite a poor description of Evangelicism. The Evangelicals I know are not like this, but this description can be seen at times in certain fundamentalist sections.)

However, for the Orthodox surely Genesis is not the start of logical deductions, but the end of faith: "For Christ is the end of the law" (including Genesis), "when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part" (in this case, scriptures) "will be done away", and "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Rom 10:4; 1Cor 13:10; Heb 11:1) - so in other words when Christ appears, as He has done to many saints, then faith passes away to be replaced by Vision.

St John of Damascus writes the following about the Eucharist, in which, if we were like the saints, we would see Christ and the Divine Light ("We have seen the true Light …"):

God said, This is My body, and This is My blood, and this do ye in remembrance of Me. And so it is at His omnipotent command until He come: for it was in this sense that He said until He come: and the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit becomes through the invocation the rain to this new tillage.
The Orthodox Faith, book 4, ch. 13


So to find out about the ‘tilling’ commanded to us ("the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend [i.e. ‘till’] and keep it." Gen 2:15) we should be looking at the Eucharist; may I also suggest that this applies to finding out about the whole creation. For Wisdom says,

When He prepared the heavens, I was there, When He drew a circle on the face of the deep, When He established the clouds above, When He strengthened the fountains of the deep, When He assigned to the sea its limit, So that the waters would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth, Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman.
(Proverbs 8:27-30)

For he hath given me (Wisdom) certain knowledge of … the beginning, ending, and midst of the times. (Wisdom 7:17-18)


And how do we unite with Wisdom to attain to this Genesis of knowledge? Again, it is the Eucharist:

Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars; She has slaughtered her meat, She has mixed her wine, She has also furnished her table. … "Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed." (Proverbs 9:1-5)


As such then, it is clear that the proofs of a young earth, or of the animal ‘kinds’ keeping themselves to themselves, or of a global flood do not lead to this Eucharistic knowledge of the creation. They lead to the dim image, not to the Vision "face to face" (1Cor 13:12). Indeed, I had mentioned in a previous post how I was prevented from truly appreciating the original creation because the Creationists kept pointing to evidence from this fallen world: "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"

Also, I must point out that Fr Seraphim Rose - who has greatly influenced Orthodox Creationism - based his theories on the Evangelical Creationist world-view, and as such went against the ancient tradition. For example, he uses the King James Version in opposition to the united testimony of the ancient translations in one important place, and also does not know about the ‘firmament’ that Ezekiel saw and described. (See this post for more.)

To try to reconcile this corrupted world with that of the original creation, I spoke of a higher dimension or universe. In other words, the pre-Flood (?) world was a union of two universes: this current one and the ‘spiritual world’ (Paradise was still visible before the Flood, so I have read). As such, it cannot be described with our physical laws. If you can accept that before the Fall humanity would have reproduced in a higher way than sexual reproduction (St John of Damascus, "The Orthodox Faith", book 4, chapter 24), then please try to accept what I write, for neither apply to the world as we see it now.

Therefore, seeing that Creationism leads us away from the deifying vision which the prophets and apostles had - in other words, from deification in Christ - I consider it to be fundamentally flawed as a means of explaining the Genesis record. Creationism leads us to a knowledge of created symbols and ideas in opposition to the Vision of Glory which St Gregory Palamas defends as being uncreated. (Though of course, the angels and firmament etc. are created.) Therefore I would like to suggest that the rainbow of Genesis is indeed the same as the rainbow in the "appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord".

"The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow": a refutation of Evolution

True evolution agrees with scripture where it states for our own rebuke:

I said in my heart, "Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals." For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust. (Ecclesiastes 3:18-20)


In other words, in the final analysis, as far as any physical evidence is concerned humanity and the animals are the same. Evolution, thus far, is in fact Biblical!

However, strict evolution, via logic, then uses this part of the truth to deny another part:

For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honour. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen- Even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. (Psalm 8:5-8)


And knowledge of this part of the truth comes from scripture, and, at its highest form, from the Vision of the Lord of Glory, as discussed above. Therefore, to try to get authentic knowledge via evolution is like trying to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

Summary

The Eucharist is described as being the Body and Blood of Christ.

Seeing no change at all in the bread and wine, some take Christ’s words symbolically - this corresponds to Evolution: "what you see is what you get", with God or an ‘Intelligent Designer’ invoked to account for humanity’s (spiritual) uniqueness.

Believing that the bread and wine are in reality Body and Blood, some take Christ’s words literally and then deduce something like ‘transubstantiation’ - this corresponds to Creationism: ‘Faith’ is required to see that which the evidence denies.

However, regarding a higher view of the Eucharist, I think we first have to remind ourselves of the words of St Basil the Great:

Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or publicly enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have received delivered to us "in a mystery" by the tradition of the apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force. And these no one will gainsay;-no one, at all events, who is even moderately versed in the institutions of the Church (Oration on the Holy Spirit, ch. 27)


It has been commonly assumed that the full teaching of the Eucharist has now been made available to all. Indeed both ancient and modern instructions given both before and after baptism do not really give us a sense that there is anything beyond the "change" of bread into Body and wine into Blood. However, I was taught by Fr Maximos Lavriotes, who was taught by Fr John Romanides, that in the Eucharist Christ would appear, if we were worthy. At first I thought this was foolish - no one in the churches stated such a thing. However, my fellow Orthodox, let us listen to the lives of the saints, in particular to Starets Feofil of Kiev:

I see a strange dew descending on the Holy Gifts and shining angels soaring above the altar-table, saying 'Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Sabaoth; heaven and earth are full of Thy glory!' Then my whole being is enraptured unspeakably and I am unable to tear myself away from the sweet vision.
http://www.reu.org/p...ints/feofil.txt


When St Peter talks about us being "living stones" (1Peter 2:5), it is interpreted ‘symbolically’. However, if we were to talk about "stones of fire" (Ezekiel 28:14) perhaps people would start listening more to St Gregory Palamas and authentic deification! (Linking the "stones of fire" with the "living stones" was inspired by the writings of Dr Margaret Barker; in particular she has written a fascinating account of, in effect, the Christians building Ezekiel’s temple .)

So to summarise the summary, I would suggest that the Eucharistic Vision of the Lord of Glory yields a better approach to the creation than either Creationism or Evolution. Our Faith is not based on a doctrine of Christ, but on Christ! Now it is probably true that my interpretation of Genesis is not exactly patristic, but at least it is still defending the glory of the Creator and His creation, while not forcing people to accept interpretations about this fallen world which seem to go against certain evidence. As such, to me it does not matter if we explain the physical (and fallen) world by creationism or evolution, so long as we are not attempting to deny the Vision of the Lord of Glory.

For more on the Vision of Glory and creation please see this post from the previous thread, and for how I can adhere to evolution (and at that without any Intelligent Designer nudging evolution) see this post.

As said, I do need your help. What are your thoughts? Am I totally un-patristic and half-way to being taken away by the ‘men in white suits’? Or is this really a way forward to end the deadlock?

Richard

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Edited by RichardWorthington, 19 May 2008 - 03:05 PM.
typos etc


#2 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 03:06 PM

Dear all,

As we already have too many threads focusing on the issue of creation and evolution, I would like to ensure from early on please that this new thread focus solely on the issue of Eucharistic matters as they may relate.

XB, Dcn Matthew

#3 Robert Hegwood

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Posted 24 May 2008 - 05:20 PM

There is a good bit of interesting content in your post, thought I am hesitant to embrace some of its particulars. Most troubling to me is the manner in which you link creationism to the Holy Eucharist..."Believing that the bread and wine are in reality Body and Blood, some take Christ’s words literally and then deduce something like ‘transubstantiation’ - this corresponds to Creationism: ‘Faith’ is required to see that which the evidence denies."

Notice you say some take Christ's words "literally", well I thought the Orthodox did precisely that, believing the change does make the offering of bread and wine to be Holy Eucharist. And yet we do not consent to the nest of conceits tangled with the word "transubstantiation" though at times we have been ambivalent concerning the use of the word itself. That said, I think I see the point that you are driving at, namely that the elements are conceived as human tissues disguised under the forms of bread and wine.

On this latter point it seems to me most of us do not outwardly perceive the change because of our own blindness to heavenly things. We are not of pure enough heart to be able to see, for which God has not granted us as yet such an open vision. And it is something of this "blindness" to which I think you are referring with regard to our perception of the creation....namely that it is incomplete and hence we are trying to draw conclusions either on partial evidence one hand or pious speculation on the other.

In this you might find some support from Fr. Seraphim. If I recall correctly he regarded the realm of psychic phenomena not to be a spiritual state but the far edge of the physical universe to which most of us were mercifully insensible since after the fall it had become largely the abode of demonic activity. This would certainly suggest that prior to fall human perception...and thus the "world" which man could explore and examine was much greater than it is now with regard to the earthly...let alone what was perceptible to him of the heavenly.

Your theory also brings to mind something my first priest told me when I asked him concerning death prior to the fall...especially with regard to predators...since it was obvious that the design of a great number of creatures was that of hunters and killers of other animals. So if one day the lion was busy grazing grass and snacking on tree bark and the next, after the fall, the lion is chasing down gazelles...or that one day certain classes of life were benign symbiotes perhaps...but the next day they become deadly parasites with complex life cycles that at various stages hijacked their hosts own behaviors in various ways in order for the parasites to propagate...how does that happen in the time frame of a 6 day creation and a fall within a few short hours or days thereafter? My priest said that perhaps I was thinking to simplistically about the fall. He suggested that the fall was cosmic event with cataclysmic effects which rippled both forward and backward in time...so that its effects were knit into the very fabric of earthly life at their inception...hence the existence from the beginning of predators and parasites integrated into the life cycle, though at the beginning it was not so. This means the original state of creation is something outside our ability to examine even in fossil evidence since the fall's effects were so thorough in and throughout time. To riff upon Madame L'Engle , we might think of it as a "Stain in Time".

There is though some wisdom from our experience of the Holy Eucharist that we might take away from this in regard to creation, namely that in it we touch upon a mystery that our senses have not been opened to perceive. We know God created it. We know the rough outlines of His order in creation. We know our foreparents made a great mess of things that we have added to in kind generation upon generation. What creation was, we do not know. What creation will be we do not know. What we do know is that God entered creation began its redemption and our own in the substance of His own flesh and blood which He ever provides for us mystically for our salvation in the Holy Eucharist. Explaining too much about how He does this...and what it is that He does when He does it is something we are not inclined to speculate upon. Rather, we know the mystery in initiation and participation, and if God so wills by open perception. That is sufficient for us in this present life. Explanations do not transfigure us thus they are of less consequence to us than the participation in the mystery which does.

So with regard to creation, perhaps it is sufficient that nourished by the Holy Eucharist we live in this fallen world as agents of its renewal and redemption so far as God permits till Christ returns and restores all things and not be too distressed because aspects of it original state are beyond our knowledge.

#4 RichardWorthington

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 07:28 AM

Dear Mr Hegwood,

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my little thread.

There is a good bit of interesting content in your post, thought I am hesitant to embrace some of its particulars. Most troubling to me is the manner in which you link creationism to the Holy Eucharist

Notice you say some take Christ's words "literally", well I thought the Orthodox did precisely that, believing the change does make the offering of bread and wine to be Holy Eucharist. And yet we do not consent to the nest of conceits tangled with the word "transubstantiation" though at times we have been ambivalent concerning the use of the word itself. That said, I think I see the point that you are driving at, namely that the elements are conceived as human tissues disguised under the forms of bread and wine.


Yes, perhaps I was a bit hasty in my words: I would suggest that some take the words "This is My Body" and "This is My Blood" too literally in a materialistic sense. Look at the church’s teaching on the Eucharist and the Liturgy. Where do you find the vision quoted in the first post of Starets Feofil of Kiev? Or read here from St John Chrysostom’s book "On The Priesthood" (Book 6, para. 4):

At such a time angels stand by the Priest; and the whole sanctuary, and the space round about the altar, is filled with the powers of heaven, in honor of Him who lieth thereon. For this, indeed, is capable of being proved from the very rites which are being then celebrated. I myself, moreover, have heard some one once relate, that a certain aged, venerable man, accustomed to see revelations, used to tell him, that he being thought worthy of a vision of this kind, at such a time, saw, on a sudden, so far as was possible for him, a multitude of angels, clothed in shining robes, and encircling the altar, and bending down, as one might see soldiers in the presence of their King, and for my part I believe it.


"For this, indeed, is capable of being proved": Can you not see how our evidence is far greater and more secure than all the evidence which this creation around us can produce? Where is evolution here? Where is trying to ‘prove Genesis’ by referring us to materialistic evidences and counter-arguments? Where is ‘science’ with its knowledge of this material world? Where is ‘gnosticism’ with its knowledge of sensual spirituality-so-called? "O Israel, happy are we, for things which are pleasing to God are made known unto us!" (Baruch 4:4).

On this latter point it seems to me most of us do not outwardly perceive the change because of our own blindness to heavenly things. We are not of pure enough heart to be able to see, for which God has not granted us as yet such an open vision. And it is something of this "blindness" to which I think you are referring with regard to our perception of the creation....namely that it is incomplete and hence we are trying to draw conclusions either on partial evidence one hand or pious speculation on the other.


Yes, we - and I do include myself - do not see as we ought. We have to fall back on the scriptures and writings of the Fathers. These are our own "peer-review" literature, similar to that of science. Their peer-review literature is far better organised than ours ever shall be: no wonder people give up trying to understand the Christian Faith based on writings. However, as described above, our evidence leaves their evidence behind - and indeed leaves the whole creation standing! To attain to the same evidence to which their peer-review points we may need to travel the world, build telescopes costing millions of pounds, study upon end, and so on. However, to attain to our evidence all we need to do is to watch our heart and mind, seeking purity of heart by God’s grace, for "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God".

Pray for me! I do not see, but at least know that we all should see!

Richard

PS. I'll reply to the others points soon(-ish!).

#5 RichardWorthington

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 01:03 PM

My priest said that perhaps I was thinking to simplistically about the fall. He suggested that the fall was cosmic event with cataclysmic effects which rippled both forward and backward in time


This started me thinking. It is one thing to vaguely talk about time falling, but another to make it plausible. Sometime ago, I posted the following ideas:

2) "the heavens and the earth which are now preserved" {quoting from 2 Peter 3:5-7,13}: maybe the phrase "which are now preserved" indicates that this universe - heavens and earth - was different from the united multiverses (spiritual universe and physical universe) which were ‘the universe’ before the Flood.

3) So therefore it could be that our universe, being ripped from the higher universe of the spirits in the Flood, collapsed and started again. If scientists want to talk about a ‘big bang’ then let them without any hindrance. Note what I am saying, the Flood affected the whole universe we see around us today.


I have since found good ancient evidence that this is how the Flood was understood:

I had laid me down in the house of my grandfather Mahalalel, (when) I saw in a vision how the heaven collapsed and was borne off and fell to the earth. And when it fell to the earth I saw how the earth was swallowed up in a great abyss, and mountains were suspended on mountains, and hills sank down on hills, and high trees were rent from their stems, and hurled down and sunk in the abyss. (1 Enoch 83:3-5)


In other words, the whole creation was indeed changed, being "swallowed up in a great abyss"; 2 Peter 3:5-7,13 surely was referring to this?

4) Time - hmmm … bit of a problem! However, it could be that since the two united multiverses split that both time and space in one became different from time and space in the other (even in this universe scientists have discovered that time is variable from place to place, being bent by gravity). As such Noah and those with him, still being of the united spiritual-physical multiverse in the ‘ark’, would experience time according to the higher dimension, but the fallen world experienced time in a different way.

6) Noah with his family and the animals coming out of the ark: they would come down from the higher dimension into what is now this fallen world, hence the olive tree of Genesis 8:11 would not have had to survive a year under water! Perhaps this coincided with the "Great Leap Forward" of 40-50 thousand years ago, when "human culture apparently started to change at much greater speed" (everything else - including all the dinosaurs and the big asteroid destructions - would have happened while the whole universe was under the Flood’s ‘hyper-waters’).

7) If we do want to adhere to a literal genealogy from Noah to Abraham - and I would adhere to the Septuagint rather than Hebrew as according to the latter Noah was still alive when Abraham was born! - then this might be a possibility: … Perhaps this chosen line and those surrounding it, because of their virtue, still lived partially in the higher dimension and so counted time according to that universe, while other humans lived as we do now. As they fell from virtue, their life-spans decreased as the other universe grew fainter. Well, this would imply that by our timeline they lived many thousands of years;


So Noah would experience time differently from the earth around him, this being linked to the Great Leap Forward, and humanity gradually falling from virtue.

Therefore I decided if I could illustrate how this might happen. As Abraham is clearly in history proper, but Genesis before him reads very differently, I produced an exponential time decay chart starting with the Flood and ending with him. However, I realised that the Big Bang in this model would have taken place only one thousand years before the Flood. This was too much of a coincidence with the Genesis narrative, so I started again with more definite dates. See the next post for more … I was shocked by what I found!

Richard

PS

I would like to ensure from early on please that this new thread focus solely on the issue of Eucharistic matters as they may relate.

I will indeed show how the Eucharist is very central to the concept of time, but will need to get this out of the way first …

#6 Owen Jones

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 01:25 PM

My one equivocation has to do with the notion that if we were worthy we would see Christ at the Eucharist. I believe if God chose for us to see, we would, not simply due to our worthiness. Attributing pure sight to our worthiness, exclusively, lays entirely the onus, shall we say, on us, and our effort. But I believe God sometimes chooses to withdraw and remain more hidden that we might seek Him more diligently. Also, many people may see things that, given our rationalistic (in the negative sense) world, they are afraid to discuss with others. Also, one must ask the question, how has religion gotten in the way of our vision. Since Romanides has been mentioned, we might ponder Romanides' statement that religion is a neuro-biological illness, of which Orthodoxy is the cure. I think we must ask ourselves, how much of Orthodoxy today is religion, and where is the Orthodoxy.

Back to Genesis. See how I have already made an error, by suggesting it is something that we should or can get back to? Genesis 1 is not an historical looking back, but rather a present revelation that has a structure to it. It is an experience, not an historical artifact that can be dug up and examined. Part of the structure, a necessary part, is the experience we have of spiritual disorder, or, more accurately, the tension between spiritual order and spiritual disorder, both in our own souls and that which we experience in the world. This present experience does not lend itself to historical analysis. Genesis 1 is not an historical explanation or analysis of our present disorder, it is a revelation of the nature of that present disorder.

I very much like looking at the Eucharist and various problems of how we look at the Eucharist as equivalent to Genesis 1. With the equivalent problems of transubstantiation on the one hand, vs., what, a kind of allegorization on the other. As with Genesis 1, there is no analysis of the eucharist that can be done. It is something one must experience in depth to have any knowledge of "it."

#7 RichardWorthington

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 09:47 PM

My one equivocation has to do with the notion that if we were worthy we would see Christ at the Eucharist. I believe if God chose for us to see, we would, not simply due to our worthiness. Attributing pure sight to our worthiness, exclusively, lays entirely the onus, shall we say, on us, and our effort. But I believe God sometimes chooses to withdraw and remain more hidden that we might seek Him more diligently.


You are absolutely correct! Thank you for correcting my simpleness!! :)

Christ shone equally and identically to both the guards of His tomb and to Mary Magdalene. The first became like dead men, the second - after a permitted period of doubt so that she might guard her heart better next time (?) - called Him Teacher.

The difference is their love of Christ. That is all I was trying to get at. That also explains why God does not in general reveal Himself like this ... we are not pure in our hearts to see it; we would become like the guards and not Mary. (Although this does not stop God from giving those who need encouragement a suitable foretaste: "A Light That Is Not Light That Knows My Name" Indeed, it is not by our effort at all ... nevertheless as you say, alongside this knowledge we should indeed seek Him more diligently. He is good, and loves mankind!)

I think we must ask ourselves, how much of Orthodoxy today is religion, and where is the Orthodoxy.


I've just lived through (still living through?) a church split ...


I do like the rest of your post, but will continue later.

Thank you for commenting!

Richard
:)

#8 RichardWorthington

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 12:23 PM

(I usually put a note that some cake and tea would be useful while reading my long posts. Forget that - some shots of Vodka or Ouzo (I prefer Drambruie!) would be better! For speed, you can skip to the summary at the end.)

We all know that King Solomon built the Temple of the Lord. However, how many people know that he also built a huge golden chariot?

The Chariot of the Lord: "the chariot, that is, the gold cherubim that spread their wings and overshadowed the ark of the covenant of the LORD." (1 Chronicles 28:18)

Its wheels: "The workmanship of the wheels was like the workmanship of a chariot wheel; their axle pins, their rims, their spokes, and their hubs were all of cast bronze." (1 Kings 7:33)

Its horses: "Then he removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun, at the entrance to the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathan-Melech, the officer who was in the court; and he burned the chariots of the sun with fire." (2 Kings 23:11)

Yes, it is true that the horses were removed because of sun-worship, but they were originally there innocently to complete the symbolism:

Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!" (2 Kings 2:11-12)


So Solomon built a chariot in imitation of the Vision of the Cherubic Chariot Throne of God (see Ezekiel chapter 1). This was specifically built facing east, so that it could not be misunderstood as referring to the sun because the sun travels westwards from its rising to its setting. However, Solomon did not build two structures - one a Temple, the other a Chariot - but one structure: the Temple was the Chariot, an image of God’s Cherubic Chariot.

Interestingly, we read of God’s Chariot on day one of creation, in the words of St Jerome:

In the beginning the earth was without form and void, there was no dazzling sun or pale moon, there were no glittering stars. There was nothing but matter inorganic and invisible, and even this was lost in abysmal depths and shrouded in a distorting gloom. The Spirit of God above moved, as a charioteer, over the face of the waters

http://www.ccel.org/...206.v.LXIX.html


However, how many chariots run on water? Before chariots were invented, a different symbol was used for the motion of "sun-gods", that of a "solar barge":

A "sun chariot" is a mythological representation of the sun riding in a chariot. The concept is younger than that of the solar barge, and typically Indo-European, corresponding with the Indo-European expansion after the invention of the chariot in the 2nd millennium BC.

http://en.wikipedia.....2F_Sun_chariot


An example of a "solar barge" or "sun boat" is given on the above web page, that of Ra, an ancient Egyptian sun god, riding in his "solar barge":

Posted Image

Also the Khufu ship:

Posted Image


Now here is an interesting point: take a look at reconstruction of the Tabernacle (from Wikipedia):

Posted Image


Instead of a chariot, does this not look like a boat? Indeed, Psalm 19:4 talks about the "tabernacle for the sun" - not a chariot, but a tent; surely this refers not to a fixed tent, but to the bridge of a boat? Now this is where my brain went into over time: if I sound crazy then perhaps it is because it helps! Tell me, is there anywhere in the Bible where a much-talked about boat might have been misinterpreted?!!?

Can it be that Noah’s ark is not in actual fact a normal boat, but a "solar barge" or "sun boat" for our God, "he who rides upon the heaven is thy helper, and the magnificent One of the firmament." (Deuteronomy 33:26 LXX; recall that there are waters above the firmament)

:wince:
Think about it!!! Imagine people reading, "O LORD, were You displeased with the rivers … that You rode on Your horses, Your chariots of salvation?" (Habakkuk 3:8), and then trying to defend the idea that actual physical horses could drag the Jerusalem Temple around!! Methinks the Flood story in Genesis has been seriously misunderstood.
:biting fist in mouth, eyes wide open in disbelief: !!!!!

People have suggested that the waters above the firmament were destroyed in the Flood - implying a very worldly understanding of the story. However, in this post I quoted from St Jerome showing that he viewed the firmament and its waters as still existing, and significantly not-of-this-creation. Additionally we read in the additions to the book of Daniel, "Bless the Lord, all you waters above the heavens", Daniel 3:60; they are still up there!

Now I suppose that before modern astronomy we could believe that somewhere above the sky there was a realm of water - perhaps hence the blue colour of the sky? That is probably why no Father seriously looks for any advanced meaning in the Flood story. However, given the valid scientific knowledge we have today, such a literal reading of Genesis leads us Christians open to complete ridicule.

Yet I think a quote-mined quotation from St Jerome (following on from the above quotation) could show that a higher interpretation of Noah’s ark is permissible?

When the world falls into sin nothing but a flood of waters can cleanse it again. But as soon as the foul bird of wickedness is driven away, the dove of the Holy Spirit comes to Noah as it came afterwards to Christ in the Jordan, and, carrying in its beak a branch betokening restoration and light, brings tidings of peace to the whole world.

http://www.ccel.org/...206.v.LXIX.html


In other words, the dove that was sent out of the ark was not a created dove of which the Spirit-dove at Christ’s Baptism was an imitation, but it was the very same uncreated manifestation of the divine Spirit. To read the Flood story without such an appreciation of such things merely leads us to a complete collision with the evidence as accepted by science.

As Solomon’s building was simultaneously both a Temple and a symbol of God’s Chariot Throne, so I would suggest that Noah’s ark was simultaneously both a Temple and a symbol of God’s "solar barge", borne aloft by the cherubim. The Flood story switches between being temple-based and "solar barge"-based (and some would say also with some story-telling).

What evidence is there from Genesis that the ark could be seen to be a temple?

  • In Genesis 6:14 Noah is told to make "an ark of square timber" (LXX reading). Yet St Victorinus of Pettau links the square element to the heavenly Temple:

    I say, in respect of the square city, he shows forth the united multitude of the saints, in whom the faith could by no means waver. As Noah is commanded to make the ark of squared beams, that it might resist the force of the deluge, by the precious stones he sets forth the holy men who cannot waver in persecution

    http://www.ccel.org/....vi.ii.xix.html , para. 16


  • "And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits" (Genesis 6:15), yet the courtyard of the Tabernacle was as follows: "The length of the court shall be one hundred cubits, the width fifty throughout" (Exodus 27:18). Could not the width and length of the ark be like a temple courtyard, not exactly like the Tabernacle’s or the Temple’s, but a similar function? (Additionally, Solomon’s Temple was 30 cubits high, according to the Hebrew text; the LXX has 25 cubits, perhaps this was the inside measurement? 1 Kings 6:2)

  • Noah was told to make the ark with "with lower, second, and third decks" (Genesis 6:16), and yet Solomon’s Temple had three levels of chambers: "he made side chambers all around it. The lowest chamber was five cubits wide, the middle was six cubits wide, and the third was seven cubits wide; for he made narrow ledges around the outside of the temple, so that the support beams would not be fastened into the walls of the temple" (1 Kings 6:5-6; see also Ezekiel 42:3).
If the ark was both a temple and an image of the heavenly "solar barge" then the following two interpretations of its making would be reconciled: In Genesis 6:22 it is Noah who builds the ark (i.e. temple), but in 1 Enoch 67:1-2 it is the angels who built the ark for Noah (i.e. with their appearance the "solar barge" image attained its fulfilment). Noah’s physically built ark remained on the earth, but he and those with him sailed on the waters in the "solar barge" of the cherubim, yet not on the waters of the earth, but the waters above the firmament, where the true rainbow is (see the first post; interestingly, I have just found that St Victorinus of Pettau linked the rainbow of the Vision of Christ with Noah’s rainbow: see http://www.ccel.org/...7.vi.ii.iv.html , para. 6).

Now if Noah ‘floated’ on the waters above the firmament, i.e. if the Flood was actually not-of-this-creation, then what does it say about the present creation which it created? I quoted above about how Enoch and possibly St Peter understood the Flood to have caused the whole heaven and earth to have been "swallowed up in a great abyss". However, the Babylonian exile was described as being "like the waters of Noah" (Isaiah 54:9). So I had the idea that any ‘extreme’ descriptions of the exile might have come from some unwritten tradition about the Flood. And here is a very relevant quotation:

I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; And the heavens, they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, And all the hills moved back and forth. I beheld, and indeed there was no man, And all the birds of the heavens had fled. (Jeremiah 4:23-25)


Clearly, this did not happen around 600BC! However, the terminology of this passage must remind us of the creation story of Genesis chapter 1, in particular of Day One. In this passage, is he making a parallel that as the Flood caused the creation to start again, so too Jerusalem will be similarly destroyed? If so, then 95% of all the problems with Genesis and science are solved:

In the Flood of Noah, the entire universe was re-formed. However, it was not fashioned again by the hand of God but by itself, having a ‘remembrance’ of what was before, and having being handed over to the demons by our sinfulness. Therefore the chaos and pain and suffering and death we see around us is indeed evidence against an ‘Intelligent Designer’, as He - our God - did not design this universe as we see it now. Mercifully, we do not therefore have to think of dinosaurs being on the ark with Noah as they existed and became extinct in this new and fallen world before Noah arrived. Additionally, Genesis 1 relates to the original universe that Noah knew before the Flood, not the corrupted version we see today.

When Noah ‘landed’ on the earth, his memory of his conversations with his great-great-great grandfather Mahalaleel - whose lifespan overlapped with both Adam and Noah - would tell him that the universe was about 2262 years old; however, the new universe in which he now found himself was billions of years old, according to generally accepted science. As scripture itself teaches: the heavens and earth "will all grow old like a garment" (Psalm 102:26). I will write more on how the two time scales can be reconciled soon-ish.

Summary

However, to summarise, let us analyse Isaiah’s Temple vision with the ways in which the Genesis Flood story has been interpreted. Isaiah "saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple" (6:1), along with flying seraphim (for the time being, as the physical temple and other visions mention cherubim, let us assume cherubim instead). There are three ways to interpret Isaiah’s vision:

  • The traditional "Literal Genesis" method: the flying cherubim are the golden statues themselves which were flying around and bashing into things. Literalists defence: the gold must have had certain impurities, and so was magnetic. Science has shown that around this time and place there was some strong interference in the earth’s magnetic core. Sceptics’ attack: Science says no such thing. There was probably some hallucinogenic in the incense.

  • The modern "Symbolic Genesis" method: Obviously the statues did not fly around, so therefore he actually was only relating a morality tale about human behaviour. We look to science to teach us properly about humanity. Isaiah saw no vision, but only wanted to warn humanity about the dangers of UFCs - Unidentified Flying Cherubim!!

  • The "Eucharistic-type Vision" method: Isaiah did indeed see flying cherubim, but the statues in the temple did not move. While being present on this earth, he was simultaneously transfigured into being not-of-this-creation, having passed through the heavenly veil. This is the veil which is now given to us all in the Eucharist of Christ’s Flesh, thereby making us all priests in Christ: it is this alone which gives us the true knowledge of humanity.
Well, I’m trying to examine the possibility of the latter: am I vaguely in the right direction? Any suggestions?

Genesis 1 is not an historical explanation or analysis of our present disorder, it is a revelation of the nature of that present disorder.


I am seriously coming round to the idea that it is actually broadly historical; as mentioned above, I will post my fuller ideas on time soon-ish. However, Genesis is indeed a revelation:

For thou alone, O Lord our God, rulest over things in heaven and things on earth, who art borne on the throne of the cherubim, the Lord of the seraphim and the King of Israel; thou alone art holy, and at rest amidst the holy ones

from The Divine Liturgy


Christ’s Cherubic Chariot Throne is also the "solar barge" of the Tabernacle and - as I guess here - also the ark which saved Noah. How else can we say that "The LORD sat enthroned at the Flood" if we cannot also say, "And in His temple everyone says, Glory!" (Psalm 29:10,9)?

Does this help? Am I looking in the right direction?

Richard

Edited by RichardWorthington, 21 June 2008 - 12:44 PM.
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#9 RichardWorthington

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 11:29 AM

[quote name='Robert Hegwood']My priest said that perhaps I was thinking too simplistically about the fall. He suggested that the fall was cosmic event with cataclysmic effects which rippled both forward and backward in time [/quote]

It is one thing to say that "time fell" or was changed, or that the Fall influenced things before the Fall, but giving evidence is another. Pondering the above priest’s words propelled me to write the following: rather than after the Fall, it is after the Flood that time as experienced by humanity gradually changed. The simple most implication is that the Genesis timeline and the billions of years of evolution need not at all be at variance with each other.

NOTE: Long Post Ahead! Suggested reading manner: in moderation with plenty of Kagor! (A delightful church wine used in Russia, simply delicious!)

[quote]Mitochondrial Eve is estimated to have lived about 140,000 years ago. Y-chromosomal Adam is estimated to have lived around 60,000 years ago
http://en.wikipedia....lineal_ancestry (NOTE: these names of Adam and Eve should not be confused with the Adam and Eve mentioned in the Bible; they are for simple identification purposes only.)

Behavioural modernity (also known as the Great Leap Forward or the Upper Palaeolithic Revolution) is a term used in anthropology, archeology and sociology to refer to a critical event in sociocultural evolution, occurring between the Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic. Around 50,000 years ago, modern human behaviour arose relatively abruptly
http://en.wikipedia....ard_(evolution)
[/quote]

How can these be reconciled with the Biblical creation at about 4004 BC (Masoretic Text) or 5508 BC (Byzantine Era, based on Septuagint), or with the world-wide Flood of Noah 3246 BC (Septuagint)? (Dates from this web page here.)

Between "The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it!", and "The scientific evidence says it, I believe it, that settles it!", is there really any sensible ground, not involving any major upheavals?

Consider the following:

According to science, the universe is 13.73 billion years old - can we somehow reconcile this with the LXX Genesis date of 5508 BC? If Noah’s Flood was somehow a much more ‘spiritual’ - though very real - event than has previously been thought, then can this be the big change that happened in our homo species around 50,000 years ago? (I quoted above how the whole creation was indeed changed, being "swallowed up in a great abyss", and so deduced that "In the Flood of Noah, the entire universe was re-formed". This does at least imply a higher understanding of the Flood than that suggested by the film Evan Almighty - which, however, is not difficult … !!)

Earlier on I wrote this:

[quote name='RichardWorthington']

"Perhaps this chosen line [of Abraham] and those surrounding it, because of their virtue, still lived partially in the higher dimension and so counted time according to that universe, while other humans lived as we do now. As they fell from virtue, their life-spans decreased as the other universe grew fainter. Well, this would imply that by our timeline they lived many thousands of years"

So Noah would experience time differently from the earth around him, this being linked to the Great Leap Forward, and humanity gradually falling from virtue. [/quote]

So assuming an exponential time decay "as the other universe [i.e. spirit world] grew fainter", we can deduce a formulae relating the two ages of the universe and the two dates for the Flood/Great leap Forward. The two ways of measuring time are compared: the normal scientific time dating versus the Genesis time dating. (For the calculations see the attached Excel workbook, link at the bottom of this post.)

Genesis Dates (BC) Scientific Dates (BC)
-3,300               -64,043.5
-3,200               -37,692.3
-3,100               -22,666.8
-3,000               -14,088.3
-2,900               -9,176.7
-2,800               -6,348.8
-2,700               -4,703.9
-2,600               -3,730.0
-2,500               -3,136.2
-2,400               -2,757.7
-2,300               -2,500.7
-2,200               -2,312.4
-2,100               -2,162.8
-2,000               -2,035.0
-1,900               -1,919.5
-1,800               -1,810.8
-1,700               -1,706.0
-1,600               -1,603.3
-1,500               -1,501.8
-1,400               -1,401.0
-1,300               -1,300.5
-1,200               -1,200.3
-1,100               -1,100.2
-1,000               -1,000.1

http://www.monachos....8&pictureid=740


(The Genesis Dates have been extrapolated forward to include dates up to 1000 BC. The Scientific Dates have been cropped at 3,500 BC for illustrative purposes.)



What does this comparison of dates mean? The blue dots represent how the Genesis dates compare with the scientific dates. After about 2000 BC on the graph the blue dots are aligned to the line ‘y=x’ showing that the two dating methods are the same. For example, the Mesha Stele (also known as the "Moabite Stone") was set up about 850 BC; this is the ‘scientific date’, as it is made independent of human records and human genealogies. It confirms the Biblical account, and the Biblical dates of King Omri of Israel.

However, before 2000 BC the two sets of dates start to differ. I would suggest that this would mean that if an event was narrated as having taken place at 2,500 BC then the archaeological and/or various scientific dating methods would date the event at about 3000 BC (3,136 BC from the above table).

In other words, time as experienced by some of or all of humanity before about 2000 BC was different from time as experienced by animals, the earth, and the entire universe, both then and now.

This is a bold statement, and it needs evidence to be listened to properly. Here I shall provide such evidence:

  • The Dates for the Most Recent Common Ancestor
    Above I quoted that Mitochondrial Eve is estimated to have lived about 140,000 years ago (i.e. 138,000 BC), and Y-chromosomal Adam about 60,000 years ago (i.e. 58,000 BC). Finding what the corresponding Genesis dates would be for these scientific dates yields 3,441 BC (195 years before the Flood) and 3,288 BC (42 years before the Flood) respectively.

    The above Genesis dates for our genetic ancestors correlate well with the dates for our most recent common ancestor as inferred non-genetically by population:

    [quote] "This paper has sought to investigate an intriguing aspect of the human species - our common ancestry. Based on the results of a series of computer models, it seems likely that our most recent common ancestor may have lived between 2,000 and 5,000 years ago. This is, perhaps, one tenth to one one-hundredth the length of time to our most recent common ancestors along solely male or solely female lines, which have been the target of considerable recent interest." (page 27)

    Different parameters changed the "the MRCA to 5103 BP" (page 20)
    (BP="Before present", before 1950, yielding a date of 3153 BC; ‘MCRA’= Most Recent Common Ancestor)

    Both from Rohde, DLT , On the common ancestors of all living humans. Submitted to American Journal of Physical Anthropology. (2005).
    (I have not read this paper, but follow the summary found in http://en.wikipedia....#Time_estimates . The paper can be downloaded via footnote 5.)[/quote]

    Additionally, Noah lived from 3846 BC to 2396 BC (from same web page as for the LXX dates above). This agrees perfectly with the Most Recent Common Ancestor date arrived at by considering human population growth. (Considering human population growth involves reconstructing the time length of supposed genealogical-type relationships between peoples, and so belongs to the human time as illustrated by Genesis.) Significantly, it also agrees with the genetic Most Recent Common Ancestor ‘Genesis-related’ dates for Mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam (original scientific dates being 138,000 BC and 58,000 BC respectively).

    So we see that the scientific dates and human-orientated dates (populations and Genesis) are in perfect agreement with this newer time model. Furthermore,

    [quote]The point beyond which everyone alive today shares the same set of ancestors is somewhat harder to predict, but it most likely falls between 5,000 and 15,000 years ago, with a significantly more recent date for the point at which we share nearly the same set. (page 27)[/quote]

    May I suggest that the Biblical Adam and Eve be the sole contenders for this?

  • Toba catastrophe theory
    [quote]
    According to the Toba catastrophe theory, 70,000 to 75,000 years ago a supervolcanic event at Lake Toba, on Sumatra, reduced the world's human population to 10,000 or even a mere 1,000 breeding pairs, creating a bottleneck in human evolution.

    The analysis of lice genes confirmed that the population of Homo sapiens mushroomed after a small band of early humans left Africa sometime between 150,000 and 50,000 years ago
    http://en.wikipedia....astrophe_theory[/quote]

    The Toba catastrophe would have occurred around 3,311 BC to 3,325 BC in Genesis dates (corresponding to 68,000 BC to 73,000 BC). This is just before the Flood. However, "Release from the bottleneck could have occurred either at the end of this hypercold phase, or 10,000 years later" (abstract from this paper), corresponding to 3,312 BC to 3,297 BC in Genesis dates. These dates agree better with the Flood date of 3246 BC, although it does lie just outside the date range deduced.

    [quote]On the other hand, in 2000, a Molecular Biology and Evolution paper suggested a transplanting model or a 'long bottleneck' to account for the limited genetic variation, rather than a catastrophic environmental change. This would be consistent with suggestions that in sub-Saharan Africa numbers could have dropped at times as low as 2,000, for perhaps as long as 100,000 years, before numbers began to expand again in the Late Stone Age
    http://en.wikipedia....tion_bottleneck (The Late Stone Age started around 40,000 years ago)[/quote]

    So it could be that those who were in the ‘ark’ had their spiritual-physical bodies gradually merged with the few thousand non-human homo-thingies mentioned above, or else their spiritual-physical bodies became genetically more like the previous homo-thingies as the spirit side lessened. (This would imply that there were more than eight humans on the ark; given the scientific evidence as it is now, I would propose that bending Genesis to allow for a few thousand souls be permitted. However when the above mentioned abstract also says that "Around 50 ka, dramatic growth occurred within dispersed populations that were genetically isolated from each other" this could well be due to the extreme longevity after the Flood, even if it started to decrease, thereby perhaps permitting a literal eight survivors?)

  • The Neolithic revolution
    [quote] The Neolithic Revolution was the first agricultural revolution—the transition from nomadic hunting and gathering communities and bands, to agriculture and settlement. It occurred in various independent prehistoric human societies 10–12 thousand years ago.http://en.wikipedia....thic_Revolution[/quote]

    10 to 12 thousand years ago equates to 8,000 BC to 10,000 BC. From these scientific dates we can obtain the approximates Genesis dates of 2,868 BC to 2,922 BC, around 378 to 324 years after the Flood. Observe that Noah died 350 years after the Flood.

    Why would there be this delay of a few hundred years?

    Perhaps the Last Ice Age influenced this ("It began about 110,000 years ago and ended between 10,000 and 15,000 BP")? Interestingly, Noah only began to be a farmer after Ham’s fourth child Canaan was born (Genesis 9:18-20). Maybe this is evidence for such a gap?

    Additionally, the above quotation at the top, "the transition from nomadic hunting and gathering communities and bands, to agriculture and settlement" would match with Genesis where it states that Noah and his family lived in tents (9:21,27) but that settlements were started later (e.g. by Nimrod, 9:8-10).

    Interestingly
    [quote] Hodder believes that the Neolithic revolution was the result of a revolutionary change in the human psychology, a "revolution of symbols" which led to new beliefs about the world and shared community rituals embodied in corpulent female figurines and the methodical assembly of aurochs horns
    http://en.wikipedia....thic_Revolution[/quote]
    It is very significant that the start of agriculture was due to religious beliefs, for it was Adam who was told to till the ground. (Note that the female figurines mentioned above could be a representation of Wisdom , Proverbs 8:22-31; the female symbol of Wisdom became in Christianity the Body of Christ, the Mother Church, and the Jerusalem above, who was symbolised in the veneration of the Mother of God)

  • Chinese Rice and Tea

    [quote]
    the earliest attested domestication of rice took place in China by 7500 BC

    This evidence leads most archaeologists to say that large-scale dry-land rice farming began between 5000 and 4500 BC
    http://en.wikipedia....ental_East_Asia

    Chinese knowledge of tea-shrubs goes back nearly 6,000 years and tea cultivation dates back 2,000 years.
    http://app1.chinadai...410/cu18-1.html
    (So knowledge of tea dates to about 4,000 BC.)[/quote]

    However, according to Chinese ‘legend’ it is Emperor Shennong who

    [quote] is believed to had lived some 5,000 years ago, and taught ancient China the practices of agriculture. Appropriately, his name means "the Divine Farmer". Considered to be the father of Chinese agriculture, this legendary emperor taught his people how to cultivate grains as food, so as to avoid killing animals.

    Tea, which acts as an antidote against the poisonous effects of some seventy herbs, is also said to be his discovery. Chinese legend places this discovery in 2737 B.C
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shennong [/quote]

    Therefore scientists can deduce that Emperor Shennong is legendary because the dates do not correlate. However, treating 2737 BC as a Genesis-type date (based on human tradition) yields a scientific date of 5213 BC. This would still pre-date tea by about 1,000 years ("Chinese knowledge of tea-shrubs goes back nearly 6,000 years"), as opposed to post-dating it by 1,000 years. Perhaps knowledge of tea in China is older than thought, or to be more accurate, it just as old as human tradition states. It is not just Genesis that can be defended, but other ancient stories too!

    However, we still have above that "the earliest attested domestication of rice took place in China by 7500 BC", which would be too early to reconcile with the date of Emperor Shennong of about 5,000 years ago. However, consider this:

    Shennong and Shem both live immediately after a global flood account. Additionally the name Nüwa in the Chinese ‘flood myth’ is very similar to Noah, albeit Nüwa is normally identified as a woman.

    The ‘Legendary’ Chinese Emperor Shennong is our Shem, the son of Noah!!!!

    Shem in Hebrew is http://www.monachos....&pictureid=739. However, in the older Paleo-Hebrew alphabet the ‘m’ (mem) and the ‘n’ (nun) would be written as http://www.monachos....&pictureid=743. I guess that early on the ‘m’ got confused for a ‘nn’ (as this confusion would only occur in this alphabet and the older Canaanite alphabet, then maybe the Chinese form is the original, minus the ‘ong’ perhaps?).

    Now Shem lived, according to Genesis, from 3,344 BC to 2744 BC; this certainly corresponds well with Emperor Shennong’s life, although according to their story he invented tea in 2737 BC. Still, it is close enough to rule out chance I think. Converting the Genesis date of Shem’s death to a scientific date tell us that he died around 5321 BC, perfectly containing the date of 7500 BC for the domestication of rice.

One very important outcome of this dual time model is that humanity - our humanity, as clever as we are - did not actually take tens of thousands of years to move from drawings to writing, and so on. This is exactly what should be expected. Additionally, we appear very rapidly on the scientific time-scale, all other homo-thingies being advanced apes. We are now similar to these advanced apes, but are not apes.

However, while I know that there is some contrary evidence to overcome, yet it does seem to me to be plausible. (I do have some initial thoughts on these but thought I would not lengthen this post any more!)

I am now perfectly happy with the genealogies of Genesis, and also with the earth being billions of years old. I think of humanity as being around seven thousand years old, while accepting the scientific evidence of our humanity appearing roughly 50,000 years ago according to time being measured as we know it now.

I know that both this and the preceding post are very long, but any comments would be valuable. I also would dearly love any scientists here to comment on my mathematics and methodology.

I really do think I am happy with both Genesis and the Theory of Evolution - even if no-one else is! (Admittedly, with some minor re-interpretations in both.) Then again, perhaps it is merely a case of "Ignorance is bliss"!

Richard

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#10 M. Partyka

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 04:54 PM

Richard,

I admire your efforts, but there's a glaring problem. You're not taking into account the scientific evidence which says that human beings and chimpanzees are descended from the same common primate ancestor. Can you factor this into your scenario somehow?

#11 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 06:10 PM

Richard,

I admire your efforts, but there's a glaring problem. You're not taking into account the scientific evidence which says that human beings and chimpanzees are descended from the same common primate ancestor. Can you factor this into your scenario somehow?


If I paint a picture of a chimpanzee one day, and then use the same paints to create the image of a man, would the scientific analysis point to a common image ancestor or to a common image creator?

Just asking...

Herman

#12 M. Partyka

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 06:30 PM

If I paint a picture of a chimpanzee one day, and then use the same paints to create the image of a man, would the scientific analysis point to a common image ancestor or to a common image creator?

What if the images were both based on the same rough sketch? ;)

#13 M. Partyka

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 06:34 PM

Richard,

Just so this thread doesn't get commandeered into yet another argument over the scientific evidence, let me rephrase my earlier question into something more hypothetical: If you were to be convinced at some point that humans and chimps sprang from a common ancestor, how might you factor this into your scenario?

#14 RichardWorthington

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 10:11 PM

Richard,

I admire your efforts, but there's a glaring problem. You're not taking into account the scientific evidence which says that human beings and chimpanzees are descended from the same common primate ancestor. Can you factor this into your scenario somehow?


... but I specifically state (albeit, these comments could be lost in the long post):

Toba catastrophe theory

So it could be that those who were in the ‘ark’ had their spiritual-physical bodies gradually merged with the few thousand non-human homo-thingies mentioned above, or else their spiritual-physical bodies became genetically more like the previous homo-thingies as the spirit side lessened.


(at the end)

Additionally, we appear very rapidly on the scientific time-scale, all other homo-thingies being advanced apes. We are now similar to these advanced apes, but are not apes.



I do perfectly well accept that "human beings and chimpanzees are descended from the same common primate ancestor" except that I would modify it to be "human bodies and chimpanzees are descended from the same common primate ancestor", which I think is more accurate. Humanity is older than our corrupted physical bodies; we have always had physical bodies, but not always like this.

After the Flood Noah is told:

Gen 9:2 "And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand.
Gen 9:3 "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.
Gen 9:4 "But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.
Gen 9:5 "Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man.


I have read that the Fathers say that the animals also started to eat meat at this time, being vegetarian before the Flood, like us.

Would this imply a change of nature? I think it would: before the Flood, did animals attack humans, or only run from them at times? I do not know, but I would suggest that they did not attack us or each other before the Flood, certainly not to eat anyway.

Our physical nature changed. That is all I am trying to say. It changed into being like the chimps.

Richard
PS The animals being only vegetarian before the Flood only applies to the original spirit-physcial world, not the world we see today. T-Rex was not a vegetarian!!

#15 M. Partyka

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 10:36 PM

So it could be that those who were in the ‘ark’ had their spiritual-physical bodies gradually merged with the few thousand non-human homo-thingies mentioned above, or else their spiritual-physical bodies became genetically more like the previous homo-thingies as the spirit side lessened. (This would imply that there were more than eight humans on the ark; given the scientific evidence as it is now, I would propose that bending Genesis to allow for a few thousand souls be permitted. However when the above mentioned abstract also says that "Around 50 ka, dramatic growth occurred within dispersed populations that were genetically isolated from each other" this could well be due to the extreme longevity after the Flood, even if it started to decrease, thereby perhaps permitting a literal eight survivors?)

If you're going to permit more than "eight souls" (i.e., humans) to have been on the ark, you're going to have a problem with 1 Pet 3:20, aren't you?

I do perfectly well accept that "human beings and chimpanzees are descended from the same common primate ancestor" except that I would modify it to be "human bodies and chimpanzees are descended from the same common primate ancestor", which I think is more accurate. Humanity is older than our corrupted physical bodies; we have always had physical bodies, but not always like this....Our physical nature changed. That is all I am trying to say. It changed into being like the chimps.

I don't think I'm quite clear on the "homo-thingie" theory. Is this a reference to Australopithacenes, Neanderthals, etc.?

I would also have to ask of the theory in general: How many of the Fathers said anything to the effect that the world in which Adam and Eve were created was not the very same world (though now fallen) in which we ourselves live?

#16 RichardWorthington

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 07:03 AM

I would also have to ask of the theory in general: How many of the Fathers said anything to the effect that the world in which Adam and Eve were created was not the very same world (though now fallen) in which we ourselves live?


Numerous questions and interesting points! However, for now please let me address the above.

The world in which Adam and Eve lived contained Paradise, i.e. the Garden of Eden. It was still visible after the Fall, but not after the Flood. Therefore there must have been some change happening.

Regarding the river in Paradise:

Gen 2:10 Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads.
Gen 2:11 The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.
Gen 2:12 And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there.
Gen 2:13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush.
Gen 2:14 The name of the third river is Hiddekel;[fn2] it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.


About this St Jerome has said:

In Eden a garden is planted, and a fountain in the midst of it parts into four heads. This is the same fountain which Ezekiel later on describes as issuing out of the temple and flowing towards the rising of the sun, until it heals the bitter waters and quickens those that are dead (Ezek. xlvii. 1, 8).

http://www.ccel.org/...206.v.LXIX.html


The River in Eden still exists, but is now only seen in visions - see also Rev 9:14; 16:12. Paradise still exists in true reality, but is "not of this creation" (Hebr 9:11). (Thereby implying that trying to find where Eden was on this earth is a bit pointless ...!) Please note also the implied link between the Genesis narrative and the Temple/Tabernacle worship which became for us the Eucharistic Liturgy.

I guess that the names of the rivers in Eden and their location were not used at the time of being there, but are used by the author of Genesis (Moses or other, I don't mind) as an illustration. Genesis is also full of temple symbolism.

So there must have been some change in the world: the Fathers did not have the scientific evidence available to them which we have now; they did not need to be so precise or to ask such questions.

Richard

Edited by RichardWorthington, 01 July 2008 - 07:08 AM.
Hyperlinks+Hebrews quotation


#17 Alex Michael Rusanen

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 06:23 PM

"Whether or not man evolved from a lower species is of no consequence, for, even if he did, there would still have to be a certain period in time when the lower species became infused with the image and likeness of God and given the gift of an immortal soul. The Church, as a wise mother, has made no formal pronouncement for or against the theory of evolution."

http://www.orthodoxr...cept_of_man.htm

#18 RichardWorthington

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 08:41 AM

"Whether or not man evolved from a lower species is of no consequence, for, even if he did, there would still have to be a certain period in time when the lower species became infused with the image and likeness of God and given the gift of an immortal soul. The Church, as a wise mother, has made no formal pronouncement for or against the theory of evolution."

http://www.orthodoxr...cept_of_man.htm


Yet before these words we read:

In Genesis, first and second chapters, we are told that mankind is derived from a single pair, our first parents. This fact is born out not only from scripture which tells us that all men share in a common state of sinfulness and in a common need of redemption, but also through the study of Psychology, History, and Philology. All men, for example, regard the family as the unit of human life: also, there is a sense of corporate unity with the rest of mankind. Furthermore, in his relationship with God, each man shares a certain consciousness of the necessity of religion and the worship of God

(underlining mine)


and a bit later on

The original state of man was one of harmony in a three-fold relationship—towards himself, towards nature, and towards God


Umm ... somehow I think evolution denies any initial single couple; humanity gradually evolved out of other ape-like creatures. When anatomically modern humans arrived they would have still interbred with those ape-likes ones that were almost homo sapiens. And there was never any harmony ...

So in effect, "the Church pronounces about our First Parents, but tries to avoid mentioning evolution" would be a more accurate statement!!

Richard
:)

#19 RichardWorthington

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 08:58 AM

If you're going to permit more than "eight souls" (i.e., humans) to have been on the ark, you're going to have a problem with 1 Pet 3:20, aren't you?


It was just a possible suggestion; I do not know about genetics or about how quickly humans might have reproduced if they did live long ages. That is all: how can I make definite pronouncements on science when I am not a scientist! (Also, I do not know how the science figures are derived: are they from direct evidence, or based on a model? If on a model, then the figures could easily change when the model is modified.)

I don't think I'm quite clear on the "homo-thingie" theory. Is this a reference to Australopithacenes, Neanderthals, etc.?


It is a reference to whatever science decides the fossils points to: for me, it really is irrelevant. Humanity was taken from the dust of the earth: now that our bodies are fallen, does it really matter to which animal we are most similar?

Richard

#20 RichardWorthington

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 11:00 PM

If I paint a picture of a chimpanzee one day, and then use the same paints to create the image of a man, would the scientific analysis point to a common image ancestor or to a common image creator?

What if the images were both based on the same rough sketch? ;)


Thank you Herman and Mr Partyka for these little posts regarding pictures. "The kingdom of heaven is like a tiny post which had huge implications!". Maybe I should shorten my own posts … :)

You have given me an idea. At the start I mentioned about the Transfiguration of Jesus. However, there are two ways to interpret the same written account. Consider these two pictures below:

Posted Image Posted Image

from http://en.wikipedia....ration_of_Jesus


Which of these most closely correlates to what actually happened when Jesus was Transfigured? Both pictures are taken from the same text, but the underlying assumptions result in very different pictures. The left-hand one is based on an understanding derived solely from this fallen world we see around us; even the Light from Jesus is drawn as a natural light. However, the icon on the right-hand side tries to bring in other assumptions about this world. As theological bigwigs have stated:

The icon, then, is a window into heaven, allowing us to see the deified state. What is "natural" here, may not be "natural" there. Architectural representations are not always accurate, for instance. Windows, doors, walls, are not always in their proper places, and pillars may land on open areas, appearing to be suspended in space.

http://www.antiochian.org/1103744287

The holy personages, buildings, mountains, rivers and plants on icons are never a mere representation of people and the material realm that surrounds us, but transformed, incorruptible and shown in their transcendent essence.

http://www.byzantine...-tradition.html



So here is my idea: How would you draw a picture of the Genesis account?

(post with pictures to follow, as we can only have a maximum of three linked images per post …)

Edited by RichardWorthington, 15 July 2008 - 11:13 PM.
Titles





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