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Did Jesus Christ make Adam and Eve out of the dust, and of the rib?


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#21 IoanC

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 05:18 AM

Aren't you guys taking the Genesis tale too literally?


I doubt that we are. God created Adam and Eve in way that was different than the way He created Heaven (the Angels). God created the Angels just by thinking them into being, while man was formed out of the dust.
Perhaps, we could ask ourselves, aren't we leaving out the deeper meaning of Genesis? For the purpose of this topic, yes, we probably are. Genesis is also good learning material for understanding God's personality, and man's fallen nature. But this deeper meaning certainly does not mean that certain parts of the Bible cannot be read more literally. My point is that you can take a passage literally, or not so literally, but still miss the deeper meaning. In this case, I feel we are discussing a passage that can bit taken literally to a high degree. What our imagination does...is a different story.

#22 Paul Cowan

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 05:19 AM

I was taught the question of "where are you" was not directed towards their physical location but towards their spiritual. God knew where they were. He wanted to know where they were spiritually. Apparently not in a "good" place.

Whenever I hear this question I think of "where" I am spiritually even though I know the person wants to know where I am physically. Or when someone asks me "where is your wife"? I hesitate to say she is in bed, rather she is struggling with God and her ailments.

Paul

#23 Guillermo M.L.

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 07:37 AM

Perhaps, we could ask ourselves, aren't we leaving out the deeper meaning of Genesis? For the purpose of this topic, yes, we probably are.


Well, that was what I was referring to. =)

I mean, we can entertain ourselves speaking about the Garden of Eden as a physical location, making a top 10 guide of places to visit, and discuss whether God when walking through it showed a 33-year old beard or a grayer one. It is no issue as long as we don't set aside the focus on the deeper meaning of the tale, which is the tale of man's fall and the introduction to the long history of our redemption =)

From my curiosity, I ask, what is the general stance from the Orthodox Church regarding topics like prehistoric cavemen, age of the Earth and evolution? I know more or less the RC stance for those topics, but not the OC one...

#24 Evan

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 11:02 AM

St. John Chrysostom does not understand the description of God's strolling to refer to his physical presence (an Incarnation before the Incarnation, as it were), but to an abiding consciousness of sin, brought about by the experience of turning away from God.

From his collected "Homilies on Genesis" (Homily 17):

"What are you saying-- God strolls? Are we assigning feet to him? Have we no exalted conception of him? No, God doesn't stroll-- perish the thought: how could he, present as he is everywhere and filing everything with his presence, be confined to the garden? What right-minded person could say this?

So, what is the meaning of this statement, 'They heard the sound of the Lord God as he strolled in the garden in the evening?' He wanted to provide them with such an experience as would induce in them a state of anguish, which in fact happened: they had so striking an experience that they tried to hide from the presence of God. Sin, you see, appeared, and trangression, and they were covered in confusion. After all, that incorruptible judge --conscience-- I mean, in taking a stand against the accused cried out in unmistakable tones, levelled its accusation, brought forward evidence, and as if before their very eyes wrote down details of their sins in all their magnitude. For this reason, you see, the loving Lord from on high, in forming human beings right from the beginning, implanted conscience in them as a tireless accuser, proof against dissuasion and deception at any time."

#25 IoanC

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 11:07 AM

I was taught the question of "where are you" was not directed towards their physical location but towards their spiritual. God knew where they were. He wanted to know where they were spiritually. Apparently not in a "good" place.

Whenever I hear this question I think of "where" I am spiritually even though I know the person wants to know where I am physically. Or when someone asks me "where is your wife"? I hesitate to say she is in bed, rather she is struggling with God and her ailments.

Paul


I agree with you in that the spiritual should come first, but I don't believe it's wrong to take into account the physical, as well. For example, you can say, "I am praying in a Church". The focus is on "I'm praying", but that doesn't cancel out the fact that you are indeed "in a Church building"; and we can certainly get into describing the physical Church, if we wish; ie. patron saint, location, dimensions, etc. If one doesn't like such a discussion, that's fine, but I don't think it's wrong to find out such information, at least for historical purposes, if nothing else.
As a parallel, just as we have a soul, we also have a body, and as you may know, Orthodoxy puts great emphasis on not regarding the body as unimportant. Our bodies will be resurrected when Christ returns, and they will eternally be the residence of our souls. I think it's important to maintain a sort of balance between those things that are unseen and those that are seen because you can't always separate the two, much like Christ's divine and human natures being eternally united now; or Holy Communion: bread and wine - Body and Blood.

Edited by Ioan, 24 October 2010 - 12:05 PM.


#26 IoanC

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 11:40 AM

St. John Chrysostom does not understand the description of God's strolling to refer to his physical presence (an Incarnation before the Incarnation, as it were), but to an abiding consciousness of sin, brought about by the experience of turning away from God.

From his collected "Homilies on Genesis" (Homily 17):

"What are you saying-- God strolls? Are we assigning feet to him? Have we no exalted conception of him? No, God doesn't stroll-- perish the thought: how could he, present as he is everywhere and filing everything with his presence, be confined to the garden? What right-minded person could say this?

So, what is the meaning of this statement, 'They heard the sound of the Lord God as he strolled in the garden in the evening?' He wanted to provide them with such an experience as would induce in them a state of anguish, which in fact happened: they had so striking an experience that they tried to hide from the presence of God. Sin, you see, appeared, and trangression, and they were covered in confusion. After all, that incorruptible judge --conscience-- I mean, in taking a stand against the accused cried out in unmistakable tones, levelled its accusation, brought forward evidence, and as if before their very eyes wrote down details of their sins in all their magnitude. For this reason, you see, the loving Lord from on high, in forming human beings right from the beginning, implanted conscience in them as a tireless accuser, proof against dissuasion and deception at any time."



I think it's great that you brought a quote from the Fathers into discussion, but I believe your interpretation of it is primarily incorrect. What I believe St. John Chrysostom was doing is he was trying to rule out for us the fact that God is not just some 'person strolling on the planet', nothing more, nothing less. No, God is indeed present everywhere, as only He knows. St. John is bringing the spiritual to the forefront, but in no way is He saying that God can't walk around, if He feels like it; that would put a limitation on God. To give an example, The Holy Trinity has once been seen in the form of Three Angels dining with Abraham. Now, that's an actual visual appearance of God (not in His full glory, though). Here, you definitely can't say that it's just some sort of allegory. No, the Angels ate at Abraham's table. As if they needed to really eat? No, they just loved interacting with people and humbled themselves before men. So, why can't God come walking around in the Garden in a form higher than an Angel, then?

I believe you are attempting to see Genesis, or Biblical texts as something to not be taken literally at any rate, yet, you attribute a purely literal interpretation to what St. John Chrysostom said. :) Excuse me for saying, but I find this to be a relatively common tendency among western orthodox.

What you said about conscience, and the inner workings of man's nature is indeed a deeper meaning of what happened, but I'd like to ask you: Was not Adam and Eve in full communion with God before they fell? And if that's so, does that not imply that they were able to see Him, as well? What do you mean when you say "presence of God"? Just an invisible presence of God within Adam and Eve's nous? If so, what did man fall away from, and what is Jesus Christ coming back for (in its totality)?

#27 IoanC

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 11:55 AM

From my curiosity, I ask, what is the general stance from the Orthodox Church regarding topics like prehistoric cavemen, age of the Earth and evolution? I know more or less the RC stance for those topics, but not the OC one...


There's an entire area on this forum dedicated to such topics. It is under "Doctrine and Theology", then "Creation, The Cosmos and Human nature"; "The Cosmos" will probably have more of what you are looking for, but all areas are definitely worth checking.I believe that should cover a lot more than one could say in just one post.

My current understanding of cavemen, or tribal societies that can still be found on the planet, is that they are simply groups of people who for various reasons have been isolated from "mainstream humanity", at some point during history. As far as age of the Earth and such things, I encourage you to visit the forum areas that I recommended, and/or do other research because what Orthodoxy has to say on these subjects is usually very different than what other religions or ideologies say.

#28 Evan

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 12:08 PM

I think it's great that you brought a quote from the Fathers into discussion, but I believe your interpretation of it is primarily incorrect. What I believe St. John Chrysostom was doing is he was trying to rule out for us the fact that God is not just some 'person strolling on the planet', nothing more, nothing less. No, God is indeed present everywhere, as only He knows. St. John is bringing the spiritual to the forefront, but in no way is He saying that God can't walk around, if He feels like it; that would put a limitation on God. To give an example, The Holy Trinity has once been seen in the form of Three Angels dining with Abraham. Now, that's an actual visual appearance of God (not in His full glory, though). Here, you definitely can't say that it's just some sort of allegory. No, the Angels ate at Abraham's table. As if they needed to really eat? No, they just loved interacting with people and humbled themselves before men. So, why can't God come walking around in the Garden in a form higher than an Angel, then?

I believe you are attempting to see Genesis, or Biblical texts as something to not be taken literally at any rate, yet, you attribute a purely literal interpretation to what St. John Chrysostom said. :) Excuse me for saying, but I find this to be a relatively common tendency among western orthodox.

What you said about conscience, and the inner workings of man's nature is indeed a deeper meaning of what happened, but I'd like to ask you: Was not Adam and Eve in full communion with God before they fell? And if that's so, does that not imply that they were able to see Him, as well? What do you mean when you say "presence of God"? Just an invisible presence of God within Adam and Eve's nous? If so, what did man fall away from, and what is Jesus Christ coming back for (in its totality)?



I am not arguing that the Son COULD not have revealed Himself in a physical manner to Adam and Eve, any more than He could not have revealed Himself to Joshua as Commander-in-Chief of the armies of the Lord, or to Abraham at the Oak of Mambre, or to Jacob with whom He wrestled. I do not, however, understand St. John to be affirming that he DID reveal Himself in a physical manner to Adam and Eve. While your interpretation may vary, it seems plain to me that St. John DOES understand this "presence" to be noetic, even though it necessarily has a physical component, being that we are not dualists and do not believe that the soul's inclinations are without impact on the body. St. Augustine, in the "City of God," follows St. Athanasius in insisting that the death of the soul is the efficient cause of the death of the body. It is punishment, of course, but it is punishment that follows from the very nature of our dependence upon the grace of God to preserve us in life which is truly life. We are not "naturally" immortal.

I would also say that the communion between God and Adam and Eve was not complete prior to the Fall. They were yet of the earth, earthly, and had not put on the spiritual bodies that we will be clothed with on the last day. Even if they had not broken communion, something would have had to happen to bring together God and man. If our separation from God, as St. Athanasius understood it, is threefold-- separation in virtue of being created, in virtue of having sinned, and in virtue of being corruptible and death-bound-- and all of these separations are restored only in Christ, we were yet seperate from God prior to the Fall.

By way of illustration, Adam and Eve hungered and thirsted. We won't have such problems in the heavenly Jerusalem. We will not become disincarnate soul-things, but neither will we have such bodily needs. We wouldn't say that the Risen Lord ate the honeycomb because He was hungry, would we? Rather, He did this to prove that He was no spirit. He was, however, spiritual. If this is the sort of body which we are to take up (or, rather, our corruptible bodies will be "transfigured" into by the Spirit of God Who will raise us up-- all the while remaining OUR bodies, not new ones), it is a different body from that which Adam possessed.

Frankly, I have no fixed opinion on the passage you've drawn attention to. My point in bringing up St. John's interpretation was to contend that the Fathers do not dogmatize about what it means for God to stroll.

In Christ,
Evan

#29 IoanC

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 12:29 PM

I am not arguing that the Son could not have revealed Himself in a physical manner to Adam and Eve, any more than He could not have revealed Himself to Joshua as Commander-in-Chief of the armies of the Lord, or to Abraham at the Oak of Mambre. I do not, however, understand St. John to be affirming that he DID reveal Himself in a physical manner to Adam and Eve. While your interpretation may vary, it seems plain to me that St. John DOES understand this "presence" to be noetic, even though it necessarily has a physical component, being that we are not dualists and do not believe that the soul's inclinations are without impact on the body. St. Augustine, in the "City of God," follows St. Athanasius in insisting that the death of the soul is the efficient cause of the death of the body. It is punishment, of course, but it is punishment that follows from the very nature of our dependence upon the grace of God to preserve us in life which is truly life. We are not "naturally" immortal.

I would also say that the communion between God and Adam and Eve was not complete prior to the Fall. They were yet of the earth, earthly, and had not put on the spiritual bodies that we will be clothed with on the last day. Even if they had not broken communion, something would have had to happen to bring together God and man. If our separation from God, as St. Athanasius understood it, is threefold-- separation in virtue of being created, in virtue of having sinned, and in virtue of being corruptible and death-bound-- and all of these separations are restored only in Christ, we were yet seperate from God prior to the Fall.

Adam and Eve hungered and thirsted. We won't have such problems in the heavenly Jerusalem. We will not become disincarnate soul-things, but neither will we have such bodily needs. We wouldn't say that the Risen Lord ate the honeycomb because He was hungry, would we? Rather, He did this to prove that He was no spirit. He was, however, spiritual.

In Christ,
Evan


Well, I am not going to use the word "physical", since it rightfully confuses people; I will use "visual". ie. Adam and Eve were in the visual presence of God and the Angels. This is common knowledge in the Church according to my understanding.

I would say that Adam and Eve were in full communion with God in the Garden, in a way I can't describe; all I can say is that they could see and hear God in a way that a person naturally relates to another. Was that full communion also the fullness of man's capability to commune with God? No, I believe the process of theosis is infinite. But, I certainly know that we've lost visual contact with God after the fall, and also His abundant Grace in way that we can constantly perceive.

What you seem to think is that in the Garden, man had only God's Grace to a high degree, but not visual contact with Him; and also that having a noetic experience rules out the possibility that you can have that noetic experience in also the (external) visual presence of God, or an Angel, or even a human. I disagree with both. We can sure each have a neotic experience, if we shake hands; that doesn't rule out the fact that we shook hands. I mean are you saying that it's all noetic? We die and then we just have a noetic experience? That would imply that God is IN our nous, The Angels are IN our nous, etc. No, we may well have a noetic experience, but as we know, God is everywhere, and the angels are not in our nous. This almost borders on New Age, where we are all God or something like that. There are countless examples in our Tradition where Angels appeared to men and spoke to them in human language. This is not just in our nous. The Angels were present, too, and had their own experience.

In Christ,
Ioan

Edited by Ioan, 24 October 2010 - 12:51 PM.


#30 Evan

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 01:02 PM

Well, I am not going to use the word "physical", since it rightfully confuses people; I will use "visual". ie. Adam and Eve were in the visual presence of God and the Angels. This is common knowledge in the Church according to my understanding.

I would say that Adam and Eve were in full communion with God in the Garden, in a way I can't describe; all I can say is that they could see and hear God in a way that a person naturally relates to another. Was that full communion also the fullness of man's capability to commune with God? No, I believe the process of theosis is infinite. But, I certainly know that we've lost visual contact with God after the fall, and also His abundant Grace in way that we can constantly perceive.

What you seem to think is that in the Garden, man had only God's Grace to a high degree, but not visual contact with Him; and also that having a noetic experience rules out the possibility that you can have that noetic experience in also the (external) visual presence of God, or an Angel, or even a human. I disagree with both. We can sure each have a neotic experience, if we shake hands; that doesn't rule out the fact that we shook hands. I mean are you saying that it's all noetic? We die and then we just have a noetic experience? That would imply that God is IN our nous, The Angels are IN our nous, etc. No, we may well have a noetic experience, but as we know, God is everywhere, and the angels are not in our nous. This almost borders on New Age, where we are all God or something like that. There are countless examples in our Tradition where Angels appeared to men and spoke to them in human language. This is not just in our nous. The Angels were present, too, and had their own experience.

In Christ,
Ioan



I'm not saying anything like that. An angel physically liberated St. Paul from his chains. Angels physically moved the stone away from Our Lord's tomb. An angel killed thousands of Assyrians outside the gates of Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah. These are not figments of our religious imagination. These are concrete acts which happen in history.

We believe in the resurrection of the dead, in their bodies. We believe that the souls of the righteous dead are experiencing a foretaste of the joys of Heaven and the souls of the wicked are experiencing a foretaste of the torments of Hell, but that the reunion of soul and body must occur before we can be ultimately perfected. That's not "merely" noetic.

What I am trying to suggest is that God's strolling need not be understood as implying that Our Lord physically made His way around the garden, calling out to Adam and Eve. I do not read St. John to share that understanding-- even though later, he DOES affirm that Abraham's dining experience and Jacob's wrestling match were physical encounters in the way you've suggested. Incidentally, if it was at all unclear, I do believe that these, together with the appearance of the Lord to Joshua, were indeed physical encounters. The ground upon which the Commander-in-Chief stood was holy because He stood on it. The bush actually burned, and Moses no doubt felt the heat. I could go on and on. Again, we are NOT dualists. God acts in history, in time and space.

Certainly, Adam and Eve were visible to God. He was not ignorant of where Adam was. But I'm not convinced that God was visible to man in the Garden, any more than I'm convinced that Adam and Eve audibly heard His voice in the way that you might hear mine.

In Christ,
Evan

Edited by Evan, 24 October 2010 - 01:32 PM.


#31 Owen Jones

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 01:11 PM

IMHO, and at the risk of being stoned (in the traditional sense I mean), the creation stories in Gen 1 and Gen 2 are classical cosmogonic myths. What sets them apart is that they contain and teach profound theological revelations; many of them. And upon which everything else in our faith is based. And so by focusing on a literal/historical interpretation of the text, the true spiritual meaning is either minimized or lost altogether. Here are just some of the truths expressed that I can think of:

1. Good is Good.

2. Therefore His creation is good.

3. Mankind is the culmination of His creation.

4. We are made in His image and likeness, and this is extremely important for everything that is to follow.

5. God is not whimsical and arbitrary in His acts; they have intrinsic meaning and purpose. This really sets Genesis apart from every other creation story that I am aware of, except for Plato's Timeaus, which is why it was quoted by several of the Fathers.

6. His creation is not just a collection of playthings.

7. God created knowing that humans would not follow his instructions. So our disobedience somehow is part of His purpose, His plan so to speak.

8. God is not to blame for our awful condition, despite the fact that He knew in advance how we would debase our condition. We are fully responsible. He endowed us with free will.

9. However, there is an opposing evil force in the universe that tricks man into thinking it is OK to be disobedient. It really makes God out to be a liar. And that there won't be any negative consequences to our disobedience. So our free will and the proper exercise of free will is not something that is cut and dried. It says a lot about the nature of good and evil -- how perplexing and confusing it can be, and why it takes enormous constant effort and training to be able to discern the difference.

10. The true and proper and natural state of man is to live in perfect harmony with God and with all of the things He has made. This is not an historical fact but something that arises out of experience and struggle. This revelation is, however, one of the most important, significant "facts" of history.

11. There is a theological explanation for the fact that human beings get sick and die and suffer in between all kinds of discord, conflict, inner turmoil, etc. The reason is not material, but spiritual. It is not the result of unseen, arbitrary or deterministic forces but lies deep within each one of us. The context, both ancient and modern, is that people are constantly striving to come up with explanations for why people and the world are really messed up. The standard mythology today is evolutionary. As mankind evolved he developed strong survival instincts. The ones with the strongest survival instincts prevailed, and those were the ones who were able to command the strongest mates, breed, and produce offspring, and therefore those with a weak survival instinct were eliminate from the gene pool. But with the rise of civilization, these instincts clashed with the demands of civilization and needed to be repressed. How to effectively repress these instinctual, biological, evolutionary drives so that mankind can live in harmony in turn springs forth numerous theories about how to do that, all of which require some kind of coercive action on the part of controllers who know the "truth." Genesis of course represents a God who is firmly in control, and all attempts by humans to control our destiny is doomed to failure.

12. For a look at the conflict between ancient creation myths, see Plato's Symposium. The Bible is not a philosophical text, so it does not lay out the Hebraic revelation in opposition to other creation myths. But that does not mean that the ancient Hebrews would not be aware of the context, of how unique their approach to creation was. And theologically and morally superior, with profound implications. It is just one of the reasons why the Hebrews saw themselves as God's chosen people.

13. There are many more profound implications, but one might say that salvation from God is implicit in the text. God as not only creator but savior is implicit in the text. The whole point is that while we condemn ourselves, we cannot save ourselves. But one has to have the spiritual eyes to see this, and debating whether it is a rib or a side or a spine seems to me to inevitably deaden the spiritual intent of the text.

Edited by Olga, 30 October 2010 - 09:56 AM.
added spaces between bullet points for ease of reading


#32 IoanC

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 01:52 PM

I'm not saying anything like that. An angel physically liberated St. Paul from his chains. Angels physically moved the stone away from Our Lord's tomb. An angel killed thousands of Assyrians outside the gates of Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah. These are not figments of our religious imagination. These are concrete acts which happen in history.

We believe in the resurrection of the dead, in their bodies. We believe that the souls of the righteous dead are experiencing a foretaste of the joys of Heaven and the souls of the wicked are experiencing a foretaste of the torments of Hell, but that the reunion of soul and body must occur before we can be ultimately perfected. That's not "merely" noetic.

What I am trying to suggest is that God's strolling need not be understood as implying that Our Lord physically made His way around the garden, calling out to Adam and Eve. I do not read St. John to share that understanding-- even though later, he DOES affirm that Abraham's dining experience and Jacob's wrestling match were physical encounters in the way you've suggested.

In Christ,
Evan


Well, the wrestling match sounds a bit funny. I am sure God had a great time even though He had to let Jacob win, or? :)

I believe neither of us can really describe what God's walking in the Garden looked like.
My main point is that Adam and Eve had both a noetic and bodily experience of God in The Garden. In other words, they could also see and hear God with their physical eyes and ears, not just their nous. To use an analogy, I will contrast Elijah's and Enoch's assumption of both body and soul into Heaven while alive, as opposed to what is possible in our ascetic practice today through higher levels of praying that St. Anthony the Great and others attained, where they were indeed "in Heaven", but not bodily.

With love and respect,
In Christ,
Ioan

#33 IoanC

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 02:03 PM

IMHO, and at the risk of being stoned (in the traditional sense I mean), the creation stories in Gen 1 and Gen 2 are classical cosmogonic myths. What sets them apart is that they contain and teach profound theological revelations; many of them. And upon which everything else in our faith is based.


Forgive my ignorance, is the notion of "cosmogonic myths" part of Orthodox theology?

#34 Owen Jones

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 02:05 PM

As for Adam, he is not some historical artifact. Adam is me. Adam is a type for me, and you. I am just like Adam. There was a time in my early youth in which, despite some difficult circumstances, I intuitively realized that that God was good and He can make things right and I prayed to him with a sincere heart. But then I rebelled against my parents and God but I did so without thinking it through, or realizing the consequences. I permitted myself to be led in the wrong direction, and there were disastrous consequences, believe me. And I always blamed somebody else. I did not see my inherent vulnerability to Satan's temptations, and always thought that my thoughts and actions were justifiable, not based on evil but on good, even though they were self-centered. And so if we do not see Genesis typologically, we will be spiritually adrift and confused.

#35 IoanC

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 02:15 PM

As for Adam, he is not some historical artifact. Adam is me. Adam is a type for me, and you. I am just like Adam. There was a time in my early youth in which, despite some difficult circumstances, I intuitively realized that that God was good and He can make things right and I prayed to him with a sincere heart. But then I rebelled against my parents and God but I did so without thinking it through, or realizing the consequences. I permitted myself to be led in the wrong direction, and there were disastrous consequences, believe me. And I always blamed somebody else. I did not see my inherent vulnerability to Satan's temptations, and always thought that my thoughts and actions were justifiable, not based on evil but on good, even though they were self-centered. And so if we do not see Genesis typologically, we will be spiritually adrift and confused.


I, for one, didn't say Adam was an artifact. Though, I've heard it said that he is God's handiwork. He may well be a type for you, but he is also a historical figure like all people. I don't believe that discussing the historicity of something is wrong; though, it may understandably not be the favorite or even a necessary topic of discussion for all. Purely a question of personal interest, if you ask me.

#36 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 02:20 PM

That the one who 'walked and talked with Adam' in Genesis is the New Adam, Christ, is said explicitly by St Irenaeus of Lyons in his Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching.

#37 IoanC

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 02:29 PM

That the one who 'walked and talked with Adam' in Genesis is the New Adam, Christ, is said explicitly by St Irenaeus of Lyons in his Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching.



Thank you, Father! Greatly honored and edified by your answer!

In Christ,
Ioan

#38 Owen Jones

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 04:51 PM

Well, if the question of Adam's historicity is strictly a matter of personal interest, then I suppose I could say the same about a lot of Orthodoxy's teachings!

It is true that the overwhelming preponderance of Orthodox teachers have taught the historicity of Adam and Eve and the literal/historical version of Genesis 1 and 2, and post-Nicea it is, I assume, the formal position of the Church. So I defer to that, with a qualification, that to treat it only as such misses the point entirely. And I doubt that any of the Church Fathers have commented on Genesis without focusing primarily on the allegorical and typological significance of Adam and Eve. So what would be the allegorical and typological significance of Adam's "rib?" That would be the only point to the discussion as far as I see it...as a way of defining and understanding human nature and human relationships. The first thing that comes to mind is that it is significant in what it doesn't claim. It does not claim, for example, that Eve is the product of sexual relationships between Adam and some other animal, or some angelic being, or some alien from another planet. But that man and woman are of the same nature and substance and are not inherently alien to each other, and are designed to live in harmony, etc. And that our spiritual destinies are closely intertwined. I hate to sound like a theological prig, but there is no point to the account apart from its spiritual/allegorical significance. And so one can surmise that it was written (by Moses) as a theological treatise primarily, and not as a literal/historical document. One not so obvious point needs to be made in these types of discussions, which is that historical facts have no meaning. So to say that Genesis 1 is an historical account is a meaningless statement in and of itself.

#39 IoanC

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 05:23 PM

Well, if the question of Adam's historicity is strictly a matter of personal interest, then I suppose I could say the same about a lot of Orthodoxy's teachings!

It is true that the overwhelming preponderance of Orthodox teachers have taught the historicity of Adam and Eve and the literal/historical version of Genesis 1 and 2, and post-Nicea it is, I assume, the formal position of the Church. So I defer to that, with a qualification, that to treat it only as such misses the point entirely. And I doubt that any of the Church Fathers have commented on Genesis without focusing primarily on the allegorical and typological significance of Adam and Eve. So what would be the allegorical and typological significance of Adam's "rib?" That would be the only point to the discussion as far as I see it...as a way of defining and understanding human nature and human relationships. The first thing that comes to mind is that it is significant in what it doesn't claim. It does not claim, for example, that Eve is the product of sexual relationships between Adam and some other animal, or some angelic being, or some alien from another planet. But that man and woman are of the same nature and substance and are not inherently alien to each other, and are designed to live in harmony, etc. And that our spiritual destinies are closely intertwined. I hate to sound like a theological prig, but there is no point to the account apart from its spiritual/allegorical significance. And so one can surmise that it was written (by Moses) as a theological treatise primarily, and not as a literal/historical document. One not so obvious point needs to be made in these types of discussions, which is that historical facts have no meaning. So to say that Genesis 1 is an historical account is a meaningless statement in and of itself.


I feel you are actually closing yourself off from some elements, and you think that just because the spiritual, the unseen, should come first, then the physical becomes totally irrelevant. Genesis is not an allegory. The way most orthodox present it IS historically accurate. Whether they mention the deeper meaning behind this real story, is a separate subject, but it doesn't necessarily mean that people don't know that there's always a deeper understanding behind what they see and hear; this is an assumption you are making.

As far as this discussion being about Adam's rib, that certainly hasn't been the case; not even close. Someone made a remark, that's all. The main topic is about 'Jesus walking in the Garden'. And as we now know, the work of St. Irenaeus of Lyons has confirmed that such was the case to a literal degree.

#40 IoanC

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 05:47 PM

I found a quote from the work "Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching" by St. Irenaeus of Lyons, the work that Father Irenaeus from this forum kindly recommended to us.

" And, that he might have his nourishment and growth with festive and dainty meats, He prepared him a place better than this world, excelling in air, beauty, light, food, plants, fruit, water, and all other necessaries of life, and its name is Paradise. And so fair and good was this Paradise, that the Word of God continually resorted thither, and walked and talked with the man, figuring beforehand the things that should be in the future, (namely) that He should dwell with him and talk with him, and should be with men, teaching them righteousness. But man was a child, not yet having his understanding perfected; wherefore also he was easily led astray by the deceiver."




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