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Orthodox Church and the reading of book of Genesis

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by ProScribe, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. jckstraw72

    jckstraw72 Doin' that whole Orthodox thing

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    so, anyone interested in continuing this discussion? i always am!

    i thought we could look at what some of the modern Saints have said in reaction to evolution:

    and

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  2. Joshua G.

    Joshua G. Well-Known Member

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    I like St. John of Kronstadt a lot, but I'm not understanding what he is upset with here. Why can't the geologists analyze the earth's structure? What is presumptuous about that?
     
  3. jckstraw72

    jckstraw72 Doin' that whole Orthodox thing

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    well i dont think he's objecting to analyzing the earth's structure. his objection is to trying to understand the works of the Lord in a way that the Church has not traditionally done - as he says "contrary to Holy Writ."
     
  4. Protoevangel

    Protoevangel Smash the Patriarchy!

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    I think you are reading a little more into it than is there.






    Edit: Oops, I missed Jckstraw's post. I had the "reply" window open when I had to take care of something... lol
     
  5. rusmeister

    rusmeister A Russified American Orthodox Chestertonian

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    I think PE and JS are right.
    I would add that saints are saints, and say many right and true things - I'll dare say most to all things, but not all are gifted with equal clarity of expression and precision of speech. So I'd say that they are right, but can be expressed differently.

    It seems to me that the context is modern scientists claiming to have answers that disprove general truths of the Bible, and St John rightly rebuking them - if nothing else, for presuming contradiction when they don't really know enough to know if there actually IS any contradiction.

    It is likely the lack of precision that throws off people inclined to believe whatever the popular scientific theories are. As for myself, I am much more inclined to believe that discoveries may well, and probably WILL be made that will transform all modern (ie, current, contemporary, that is temporary) understandings and bring us back to Biblical truths.

    I don't know if there was a literal Tower of Babel, but as a linguist slowly becoming a self-taught etymologist, I am thoroughly convinced of a catastrophic event that happened no more than 7,000 years ago that rapidly and totally mixed up languages. Having studied over a dozen languages in different language families, there is no doubt in my mind that 10,000 coincidences are not coincidence, but evidence of such an event. In the end, however abstract, the Biblical truth turns out to be truer than the most secure scientific knowledge - which must always admit that discoveries tomorrow could modify the understandings of today.
     
  6. jckstraw72

    jckstraw72 Doin' that whole Orthodox thing

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    for some context, here is St. John's attitude towards Scripture:

     
  7. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    Well, I have some ponderings, but there is really no answer to my questions because only God knows them, but I'll share them here anyway. LOL

    So, I've been reading the Life and Works of Fr. Seraphim Rose for the past year or so. I'm into the mid 600s (page wise lol). Anyhow, I was reading the other day in the book how there was no sexual intercourse in heaven. Adam and Eve did not procreate, according to Fr. Seraphim and others he quoted (Chrysostom and some other CF's). It said that procreation came after the Fall. It got me thinking about how babies were born and I thought it was interesting that Adam and Eve were made as adults, basically, with immature spirituality. So, I thought, "why weren't they little babies and then grew up?" Because pregnancy and childbirth wasn't happening in heaven? So I asked my priest what he thought. He said there are two schools of thought on this, and he did not say which one he agreed with but just that there were two schools of thought on the subject. That the pain of childbirth was made after the Fall, and the other about go forth and multiply. Anyway, I just thought it was interesting. :blush:
     
  8. jckstraw72

    jckstraw72 Doin' that whole Orthodox thing

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    could you clarify - i didnt understand what the 2 schools of thought are ...
     
  9. Protoevangel

    Protoevangel Smash the Patriarchy!

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    If I understood:

    1.) Adam and Eve had no options to procreate; the order to ' go forth and multiply' was a forshadoing of after the fall.
    2.) The ' go forth and multiply' was an order for then and there... Perhaps they began, and perhaps they did not have a chance to before the fall, but the potential was there.

    Is that about right, Dorothea?
     
  10. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    Yes, I believe so, Proto. Thanks. Sometimes I don't transmit what I was told very well. Sorry, jck! :blush:
     
  11. jckstraw72

    jckstraw72 Doin' that whole Orthodox thing

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    well my understanding is that the true answer is #3 - they were called to procreate then and there, but it was not sexual - we simply don't understand how it would have happened.

    but that brings up another point - if man's unfallen nature is virginal then he surely he isn't in a line of evolution which doesnt happen without sexual reproduction!
     
  12. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    Oh yeah. That was another thing in the book. it said that man and woman were meant to be virginal. Never meant for sex. But it came about because of the Fall and that because of this, marriage came about. I should get it out and type it here (the excerpt).

    #3 answer is very interesting. :)

    Evolution comes about in sexual reproduction in humans? :eek:

    My understanding and why I don't believe the whole ape/monkey/whatever thing is that man was the only created being made in His Image. It was given life and immortality, which animals weren't. Do you agree?
     
  13. tapi

    tapi Regular Member

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    Ahh.. our perverted Augustinians are emerging. Run for cover!
     
  14. jckstraw72

    jckstraw72 Doin' that whole Orthodox thing

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    absolutely, man alone is created according to the image of God.
     
  15. jckstraw72

    jckstraw72 Doin' that whole Orthodox thing

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    uhh, actually St. Augustine believed they were mean to reproduce sexually but they just fell into sin before they had a chance.
     
  16. tapi

    tapi Regular Member

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    Nope. Man is not immortal by nature. Only God is immortal by nature. Man was destined to be immortal by grace, but fell into sin, separating himself from God the source of life, and therefore into the bondage of death.
     
  17. jckstraw72

    jckstraw72 Doin' that whole Orthodox thing

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    there are 2 ways of looking at this issue:

    1. man in and of himself is not immortal - all that is created is passable and only God is impassable. man is immortal by God's sustaining grace, but not by nature
    2. man's natural condition is to be sustained by grace - we were created this way, and the Church brings us back to this condition and we will be in this condition in Heaven.

    either way you look at it, sin is the cause of man's death. in that sense Adam was immortal until he sinned.
     
  18. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    God breathed life into man - which was immortality. Meaning their spirits/souls did not perish after their bodies reposed. Even before Christ came Incarnate and died on the cross and opened the tombs...they were in their tombs waiting. Their spirits/souls were not dead. Animals were made/created with different souls - mortal ones. Meaning, when they pass on from the earth, they go back to dust - souls and bodies. People don't.
     
  19. rusmeister

    rusmeister A Russified American Orthodox Chestertonian

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    For me, CS Lewis clarified it in "Perelandra" (If you haven't read his "Space Trilogy", then you are indeed deprived).

    The chicken did indeed come before the egg. The question of sexual relations is unimportant/trivial. They were both necessary and blessed after the Fall in any event, and specifically by the Church in marriage.
     
  20. Joshua G.

    Joshua G. Well-Known Member

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    I know I am going to get tomatoes thrown at me for objecting here, the statement is loaded because it makes it sound like those who take Genesis 1 figuratively approach the Scriptures as if to imagine that they were wrong.

    I for one have tended toward a figurative over literal understanding of the Scriptures but never thought of them in terms of "wrong". To me they were always 100% correct. Now, from that, those who don't want to understand what others are saying will say "well, you just pick and choose what you want to believe" (believe me, I know, I've been lutheran for most of my life.. I know how it goes), but there are things that I don't understand but I accept anyway because the Bible is clear that this is what we believe. I don't accept spins on the verses SO THAT I can sleep better an night and pretend I get it all. I am no stranger to accepting things on pure faith even though my intellect says "that doesn't make any sense to me."

    St. John of Kronstadt may be perfectly right in saying that Genesis was meant to be taken literally. IN fact, because of this thread, I am being increasingly convinced or at least very open to the idea that in fact that is true. But that doesn't lead me to beleive that those who (perhaps incorrectly) take it as figurative deem it "untrue" as in, it's wrong. They simply don't believe that geological/biological/astrological/zoological truths is what Genesis was ever attempting to get at.

    So, to rehash. I am not saying that St John is wrong in his assessment of Genesis in taking it literally. I am saying that that is not a fair or aware assessment of what is going on in the minds of many figurativists. I say this not to come down on St. John but rather to open understanding among literalists of figurativists and also to throw out there that a Saint is revered for several things and if they wrote about spiritual matters, then they are trustworthy on these matters. However, that doesn't mean that they are not easily able to be incorrect in their generalizations of groups of people (they don't know them all and they don't know me) or their understanding of subjects outside of what they are venerated for. That doesn't mean they don't know what they are talking about outside of their spiritual writings, they very well may know better than I. But I just think we need to be careful when quoting the Saints to not assume that every word they say is fully inspired or that what they are saying is applicable to all times (such as how figurativists view the inerrancy of the Scriptures... maybe at that time, all figurativists were also gnostics or heretics in other ways. But today there is great variety in this camp ranging, at worst, to the scientifically confused to the outright heretic who recreates Christianity in his own image).
     
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