Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Views of Orthodox Theology on Bioethical Issues (4 of 6)


...continued from part three.

5. Biotechnology and the Environment

1) The universe was created by God and He is the Lord of the world. The one who creates something also has power over it. The Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit, created the angels first, then the material creation, and finally man, who is made up of spiritual and material elements (soul and body), and is the microcosm of the entire universe. The kingdom was created, and then the king was created to enter it.

2) Human beings reign over creation; they are rulers of creation by God’s command. They cultivate creation and manage it with God’s special permission and authorization, so they are not able to appropriate it for themselves. Although they manage it they must not usurp it. This means that their jurisdiction is limited and they cannot behave as God, but as God’s stewards and managers who have been authorized by Him. Arrogance has consequences both for human beings themselves and for nature.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Views of Orthodox Theology on Bioethical Issues (3 of 6)


...continued from part two.

4. The End of Biological Life

a) Euthanasia

The Church faces the issue of euthanasia from the Orthodox perspective that we saw earlier, when we identified the way in which the Church handles other bioethical problems. Four important points will be mainly emphasized here.

1) Life was given to human beings by God, so it is God’s gift to humankind. This means that God alone, not man, has exclusive rights over life. God has power over life, and He takes life when the right time comes. A human being is not entitled to take his life, as he is not the cause of life.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Views of Orthodox Theology on Bioethical Issues (2 of 6)


...continued from part one.

3. Prolongation of Biological Life

a) Blood Transfusions

1) Man’s soul is the spiritual element of his existence which, together with the body, constitutes the whole human being. The blood is part of the bodily organism and is not, of course, identified with the soul. According to St Gregory Palamas, “The soul is everywhere in the body.” As essence it is in the heart as in an organ, and as energy it is in the whole body. In Holy Scripture the word ‘soul’ is used with many meanings. Sometimes it denotes the spiritual element of human existence, sometimes it describes the human being, and sometimes it means life. Thus in some cases it is written that animals also have a soul, in other words, life. In human beings the soul has essence (nous and free will) and energy, whereas in animals it only has energy, which is why they act by feeling and instinct. There are passages in the Old Testament in which the soul is equated with blood, for instance, “The soul of all flesh is in its blood” (Lev. 17:11) and “Be sure not to eat the blood, for the blood is the soul” (Deut. 12:23). Here the word ‘soul’ means life (and is translated as ‘life’ in English versions of the Old Testament), because blood is the basic element that constitutes and sustains life.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Views of Orthodox Theology on Bioethical Issues (1 of 6)


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

1. Introduction

I have been involved for many years with bioethical problems arising from contemporary genetic issues concerning the beginning of biological life, its prolongation and its end. The outcome of this involvement was my book Bioethics and Biotheology, which was published in Greek.

This book attempts to give a brief presentation of the genetic problems, from the point of view of molecular biology and genetic engineering, and after each chapter the theological view of the Orthodox Church on each issue is briefly set out.

This is an English translation of the theological views of the Orthodox Church on bioethical issues, which have been taken from the above-mentioned book. The English translation is by Sister Pelagia.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Unbelieving Physicist and a Miracle Above and Beyond the Laws of Nature

St. Iakovos Tsalikes holding the censer and cane of St. David of Evia

By Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol

A few days before we went to the monastery in Evia, some people came from a village and asked Fr. Iakovos Tsalikes to take some relics of Saint David and to perform a Supplicatory Canon for them. As he was leaving, there was a woman from Canada named Maria, and there was a nun with her, from Cyprus actually, and they went to see Fr. Iakovos.

The young woman who was from Canada was a physicist, but she didn’t believe and was probably an atheist. When they got there, Fr. Iakovos told them he was leaving to go to a village. He added: ‘But I hope that Saint David, who’s here in our monastery, will show you that there really are saints and the grace of the Holy Spirit. God exists and He overcomes the laws of nature.'