Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"Theory of Everything" Shows Stephen Hawking to be God-Haunted


As we come to the close of 2014, two of the most buzzed about movies currently out in theaters are about two scientists (Alan Turing and Stephen Hawking) who are united in brilliance and suffered in different ways in their lives, though they commonly suffered from atheism. At Real Clear Religion, Father Robert Barron writes very insightfully about the Hawking film, The Theory of Everything, which he calls "God-haunted," as was, seemingly, the relationship between Hawking and his wife Jane:

In one of the opening scenes, the young Hawking meets Jane, his future wife, in a bar and tells her that he is a cosmologist. "What's cosmology?" she asks, and he responds, "Religion for intelligent atheists." "What do cosmologists worship?" she persists. And he replies, "A single unifying equation that explains everything in the universe." Later on, Stephen brings Jane to his family's home for dinner and she challenges him, "You've never said why you don't believe in God." He says, "A physicist can't allow his calculations to be muddled by belief in a supernatural creator," to which she deliciously responds, "Sounds less of an argument against God than against physicists."

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Four Reasons the Star of Bethlehem Was Supernatural

The silver Star marks the exact spot, according to tradition, where Christ was born in Bethlehem.
By St. John Chrysostom

For if you can learn what the star was, and of what kind, and whether it were one of the common stars, or new and unlike the rest, and whether it was a star by nature or a star in appearance only, we shall easily know the other things also. Whence then will these points be manifest? From the very things that are written. Thus, that this star was not of the common sort, or rather not a star at all, as it seems at least to me, but some invisible power transformed into this appearance, is in the first place evident from its very course. For there is not any star that moves by this way, but whether it be the sun you mention, or the moon, or all the other stars, we see them going from east to west; but this was wafted from north to south; for so is Palestine situated with respect to Persia.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Space Exploration and Religious Observance


Rebecca J. Rosen
July 16, 2012

Before the launch this weekend of three human beings into the ether of space around the Earth, before they boarded their Soyuz spacecraft, and before the rockets were fired, precautions were taken. Not the humdrum checklists and redundancies of space exploration -- assessing the weather, the equipment, the math -- but a preparation with a more mystical dimension: the blessing, by a Russian Orthodox priest, of the spacecraft, as it sat on the launchpad on the Kazakh steppe.

The scene, as shown in NASA photographs such as the one above, presents a tableau that seems incongruent, but may just be fitting.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The True Cross Circles the Earth 16 Times a Day


The Gospels, four icons, crosses and a relic of the True Cross are aboard the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS). A photo taken by the station crew shows an icon and a crucifix floating in zero gravity in the ISS.

The True Cross was given to A.N. Merminov, the head of Roscosmos, by the late Patriarch of Moscow Aleksy II. The Cross was delivered to the station in 2006 by the crew of Soyuz TMA-8.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Fr. Job Talats: "In Space You Can See the Grace of God"

His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill is shown around the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre and the cockpit of a spacecraft. "Space flights are in accordance with divine will, to the extent that they provide man with the opportunity to improve himself," he had stated in November.

The confessor of the cosmonauts at the Yuri Gagarin Training Centre near Moscow speaks of God and of Creation with his flock, even when it is in orbit around the Earth.

January 30, 2011

"Did you see God when you went up there?" This question - often sarcastically posed, sometimes with sincerity, and for others quite naggingly - is repeatedly asked of the members of space missions after their return to Earth. American astronauts had given a reply to that question - and their words were stamped in history - that... they had seen His footprints. Russian cosmonauts on the contrary would not tolerate or make any such quips on matters like these. In the atheist Soviet Union where religion was "the opium of the people", God didn't exist. Until the 1980's. Today, in Vladimir Putin's Russia, conditions are different. Russian cosmonauts admit they have their own confessor, with whom they communicate at any given moment, even when they are in space, just before embarking on their space walk.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Darwin's Tree of Death



By David Klinghoffer

Darwinism's modern day advocates prefer to forget that ideas have consequences. Yet even a scientific idea may have disastrous consequences, as Darwin's earliest critics foresaw. One such prophet was Darwin's own professor of natural science when he was at Cambridge, Adam Sedgwick.

In a letter to Darwin dated December 24, 1859, just after the Origin of Species had been published, Sedgwick warned that if the new book were successful in making its case, then "humanity, in my mind, would suffer a damage that might brutalize it, and sink the human race into a lower grade of degradation than any into which it has fallen since its written records tell us of its history."

Theoreticians of racist imperialism, Marxism, Hitlerism, and modern pseudo-scientific eugenics have all cited Darwinian theory, its subsuming of man among the kingdom of the animals, as an inspiration.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Visited CERN Accelerator


December 3, 2014

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is the first Christian spiritual leader who descended into the bowels of the earth and saw the Large Hadron Collider.

That visit was a symbolic “step” in strengthening the dialogue between Church and Science. The Ecumenical Patriarch is the first Primate of a Christian Church visiting the facilities of the world’s leading research center, after the kind invitation of the General Director, Prof. Rolf Chiouer.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Brief Statement on the Relationship Between Orthodoxy and Science


Below is an excerpt from a statement by the Office of Heresies and Parareligions of the Holy Metropolis of Piraeus, that concludes by describing the Orthodox view of science and the correct interpretation of Genesis 1.

True science is a gift of God to man, according to the divinely inspired words of Scripture: "God gave science to human beings, so that we would praise Him for the miracles He performs" (Wisdom of Sirach 38:6). In science is contemplated and studied the amazing harmony, purpose and order of the material universe, and not only does it not distance us from faith, but instead leads every unbiased person in the glorification of God, according to the words of the prophet: "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands" (Psalm 19:1). Unfortunately, those captivated by an atheistic worldview and perception do not understand that the divinely inspired book of Genesis is not a scientific, but a theological treatise.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Darwinism: The Ideology Behind Marxism and Teenage Nihilism


Where Chairman Mao and Teenage Nihilists Got Their Motivation

Nov 12, 2009

What propelled Mao Zhedong to become the biggest mass murderer in world history? Let a professor of Chinese history answer the question. James Pusey (Bucknell U), writing in Nature this week for a series on “Global Darwin,”[1] was explaining the vacuum left by the collapse of the reform movement in the early 20th century. A “group of intellectuals” found Marxism attractive. It was the fittest ideology:

"Many tried to fill it: Sun, Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kaishek) and, finally, the small group of intellectuals who, in indignation at the betrayal at Versailles, found in Marxism what seemed to them the fittest faith on Earth to help China to survive.

"This was not, of course, all Darwin’s doing, but Darwin was involved in it all. To believe in Marxism, one had to believe in inexorable forces pushing mankind, or at least the elect, to inevitable progress, through set stages (which could, however, be skipped). One had to believe that history was a violent, hereditary class struggle (almost a ‘racial’ struggle); that the individual must be severely subordinated to the group; that an enlightened group must lead the people for their own good; that the people must not be humane to their enemies; that the forces of history assured victory to those who were right and who struggled.

"Who taught Chinese these things? Marx? Mao? No. Darwin."


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Panspermia Theory for the Origin of Life is Possible, says Russian Cleric


November 22, 2014

Boldly bridging the gap between faith and science, a Russian Orthodox Church spokesman has voiced backing for the panspermia theory of life origin, which holds that life was transported here from elsewhere in the universe.

"God could have created the world through various means," Moscow Patriarchate representative Vsevolod Chaplin was cited as saying Thursday by the TASS news agency.

"This includes the primary material contained in the bowels of a comet," Vsevolod Chaplin added.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Question Concerning the Knowledge of God and Orthodox Gnosiology


I received the following question via email and below that is my answer.

QUESTION:


Father Romanides taught that when someone experiences theosis, when they experience the uncreated glory of God and His uncreated energies, then "perfection has come" and faith and hope are no longer necessary and only love remains (I Cor. 13.10). Romanides also taught that prayer of the heart is an experience in which the saint is aware of the Holy Spirit praying within them, which is an existential phenomenon and empirical for the person experiencing it.

How does his teaching relate to the following particular idea of Father Alexander Elchaninov in his book Diary of a Russian Priest?

"Those who demand proofs in order to believe are on the wrong track. Faith is a free choice; wherever there is a desire for proof, even a desire hidden from ourselves, there is no faith. The evidences of divine manifestation must not be taken as 'proofs' - this would be to degrade and nullify the great virtue of faith."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the Compatibility of Science and Faith


In 2010 Cafebabel interviewed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on various contemporary topics (see here). Below is a question with the answer of His All Holiness having to do with the compatibility of science and faith:

Finally, are science and faith incompatible or simply have other recipients and content? Recently, Stephen Hawking has caused a stir with his statements that the universe could exist without the Creator. Do you regard such statements as meaningful? What is the answer of the Church?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Q & A: Why Is There No Official Orthodox Position on the Issue of Evolution and Origins?


I received the following important question in an email a few years back for which I have been given permission to reprint, along with my answer, below:

Question:

I am having difficulties with a particular issue; the issue of understanding Evolution and its place in the Eastern Orthodox Church today.

I am a "cradle" Orthodox and so my experience, through the Orthodox Church, on this topic has been that "Christ is not a decendant of monkeys/apes". I have been taught to be loyal to these matters and I have always considered it disrespectful to even want to consider Christ as an ape. In fact, Elder Paisios has boldly stated that it is "blasphemous" to think in this way (this comment can be found in his "Epistles"). I place much trust in these Saints and Elders of our Church, since I have also experienced their divine wisdom first hand and so this is the line of thinking I have comfortably adopted without questioning it using man's rational mind.

What I have come to understand is that our modern day Church is in fact divided on this matter. There are two groups, those who are compatabilist or those who are incompatabilist (cf. OrthodoxWiki for an explanation of terms).

Not dwelling on Patristics (since I am not a theologian), I can think of a modern day example of Father Seraphim Rose who holds the position of an incompatablist (ie. he does not support the idea that Christ is a descendant of a monkey).

My dilemma is, and what is eating me I suppose, why does the administrative Orthodox Church not hold a position on this matter when it is clear that many of our Saints do? Is there "room for everyone on this matter" (as a new convert boldly stated to me) when only one group can be right. In Orthodoxy (or even philosophy) there can only ever be One Truth so both groups can not be right and, like I mentioned I prefer to place my trust in divine revelation than man made proofs.

I understand from Scripture that, being challenged by the Pharisees as to whether he is from the devil or from God, that Christ announces that a house divided can not stand ... so then, why is our Orthodox church allowing itself to be divided on this topic please?

Further, for someone like myself, who places a huge trust and emphasis on the enlightened words of not just ordinary Orthodox but amazing saints like Elder Porphyrios ... am I sinning for standing up and defending Christ's image? I have been called an ideologist (which I am not).

I hope I make some sense, once upon a time the Church had no answers with regards to the Arian controversy and was divided. Then God revealed through miraculous means that there could only be "one truth" (on that matter) through miraculous means ... This topic for me IS a modern day controversy and though some people think - what does it have to do with salvation, I wonder how important it is to defend the "Tree of Life" from the "Tree of Death" (Darwinism and its variations).

Your thoughts are appreciated.


Answer:

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Mysteries of the Universe


By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos
of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The discovery of the Higgs boson gave an opportunity for newspapers and magazines to interview scientists and to popularize our knowledge of the world and the universe.

Such an interview was given by the eminent physicist and astronomer Dionysios Simopoulos, director of the Eugenides Planetarium in Athens, who has received many honorary distinctions. We will mention below certain points from this interview about our mysterious universe.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Patristic Cosmology and Scientific Cosmology


By Vladimir Lossky

The cosmology of the Greek Fathers is necessarily expressed in terms of the conception of the universe which prevailed in their own age; a fact which takes nothing whatever away from the properly theological basis of their commentaries upon the Biblical narrative of the creation. The theology of the Orthodox Church, constantly soteriological in its emphasis, has never entered into alliance with philosophy in any attempt at a doctrinal synthesis: despite all its richness, the religious thought of the East has never had a scholasticism. If it does contain certain elements of Christian gnosis, as in the writings of St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Maximus, or in the Physical and Theological Chapters of St. Gregory Palamas, the speculation is always dominated by the central idea of union with God and never acquires the character of a system. Having no philosophical preferences, the Church always freely makes use of philosophy and the sciences for apologetic purposes, but she never has any cause to defend these relative and changing truths as she defends the unchangeable truth of her doctrines. This is why ancient or more modern cosmological theories cannot affect in any way the more fundamental truth which is revealed to the Church: 'the truth of Holy Scripture is far deeper than the limits of our understanding', as Philaret of Moscow says.1 In the face of the vision of the universe which the human race has gained since the period of the renaissance, in which the earth is represented as an atom lost in infinite space amid innumerable other worlds, there is no need for theology to change anything whatever in the narrative of Genesis; any more than it is its business to be concerned over the question of the salvation of the inhabitants of Mars. Revelation remains for theology essentially geocentric, for it is addressed to men and confers upon them the truth as it is relative to their salvation under the conditions which belong to the reality of life on earth. The Fathers saw in the parable of the Good Shepherd, coming down to seek one erring sheep from the mountains where he has left the remaining ninety-nine of his flock, an allusion to the smallness of the fallen world compared with the cosmos as a whole, and with the angelic aeons in particular.2

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why It's So Hard For Scientists To Believe In God


Recorded September 13, 2010

Francis Collins Interviewed by David Hirschman

Question: Why is it so difficult for scientists to believe in a higher power?

Francis Collins: Science is about trying to get rigorous answers to questions about how nature works. And it’s a very important process that’s actually quite reliable if carried out correctly with generation of hypotheses and testing of those by accumulation of data and then drawing conclusions that are continually revisited to be sure they are right. So if you want to answer questions about how nature works, how biology works, for instance, science is the way to get there. Scientists believe in that they are very troubled by a suggestion that other kinds of approaches can be taken to derive truth about nature. And some I think have seen faith as therefore a threat to the scientific method and therefore it to be resisted.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Genesis, Time, Aeon and Eternity


By Vladimir Lossky

In Genesis we read that the heavens and the earth, the universe in its entirety in fact, was created "in the beginning". St. Basil saw this as the beginning of time; but "as the beginning of a road is not yet the road, and the beginning of a house is not yet a house, so the beginning of time is not yet time, not even the smallest part of it."1 If the divine will created "in the beginning", it means that "its action was instantaneous and outside of time"; but with the universe time also begins. According to St. Maximus it is motion, the change which is proper to created things whose very origin was in change, which is also the origin of time, the form of sensible being (τα αισθητά). 

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Book of Creation Reveals the Creator


- St. Irenaeus of Lyons (129 - 203)

That God is the Creator of the world is accepted even by those who in many ways speak against Him.... For creation reveals Him who formed it, and the very work made suggests Him who made it, and the world manifests Him who ordered it. The universal Church, moreover, throughout the whole world, has received this tradition from the apostles themselves.

("Against Heresies", Book II, ch. 9:1)


Friday, September 12, 2014

St. Nektarios on Darwinistic Evolution and the Human Soul


The following text comes from St. Nektarios' study on the human soul, and here he defends the dignity of man against naturalistic explanations for the origin of the soul of man. Whereas Darwinistic Evolution claims man, body and soul, was descended from lower life forms, Orthodox theology, as explained by St. Nektarios and other Church writers, teaches that man's soul has a divine origin, given by God. The rational soul of man is in God's image, and the purpose of man is to acquire the Holy Spirit and become like God. This ultimately distinguishes man from the animals. St. Nektarios astutely does not comment on the body of man, which he concedes is like that of an animal, as other Orthodox writers also say, because the body of man is part of the physical universe which science can study and learn about. For a short introduction to this text, read Introduction to Saint Nektarios' Study on Darwinism and the Human Soul.

By St. Nektarios of Pentapolis

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Introduction to Saint Nektarios' Study on Darwinism and the Human Soul


By Dr. Constantine Cavarnos

Sketch Concerning Man "may be regarded as the first Christian anthropology in the modern Greek language."1 In the Preface, St. Nektarios explains that the writing of this book was occasioned by a discussion which he had with some college students that "the soul of man differs only in degree from the soul of animals." To refute their erroneous view, he says, he wrote and published a small study, of only 16 pages, titled Concerning the Relation of the Human Soul to That of the Animal and Their Difference.2 As that work was too brief to treat the subject adequately and to convince the students, he proceeded to write this book of 233 pages. Its purpose is to show what man is, and the chasm that separates man from the animal. In the closing section of the book (pp. 191-229), our Saint gives eleven proofs of the immortality of the soul. Included among these are the six proofs contained in his book Holy Memorial Services. The first two of the latter appear unaltered, the third, fourth and fifth in expanded form, and the sixth revised. The five new arguments are: (1) from the holy life; (2) from the worship of God; (3) from knowledge; (4) from the social life; and (5) from the destiny of nations and divine Providence.

Friday, September 5, 2014

St. Seraphim of Sarov on Adam in Paradise


Below is an excerpt from St. Seraphim of Sarov's conversation with Nicholas Motovilov that explains the purpose of the Christian life as being the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. To make his point, St. Seraphim gives a brief overview of the history of Holy Scripture to show that this purpose for mankind existed from the beginning, with Adam and Eve, the first man and woman. By explaining that man was initially created just like all animals is significant, because what distinguishes mankind from the animals is that mankind has been given the gift of the grace of God to keep us immortal and make us gods. This is the essential key to the theological interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis, and all of Holy Scripture in general, as well as the sacramental and ascetic life of the Church.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Natural Selection and Divine Providence According to St. Nikolai Velimirovich


How the Sheep Survived

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

When we think about Darwin’s theory, we often wonder how the sheep managed to survive. Darwin maintains that in the “harsh struggle for survival” over long periods of time only those animals survived that were stronger and more agile than their neighbors, while the weaker and the less skillful disappeared. Having listened carefully to this theory, we ask ourselves: how did the sheep manage to survive? How did it happen that they were not completely exterminated by their mortal enemies – the wolves? After all, a she-wolf produces a litter of five or six cubs every year, while in the same period of time a ewe produces one single lamb. So every year there are five against one.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Scientific Progress, Frankish Civilization and Romanity


By Protopresbyter Fr. John Romanides

There are clear and distinct boundaries between Theology and Science. Theology, as the Greek origin of the word suggests, is concerned with God - what God is and how one can attain communion with Him - whereas Science is concerned with the created world and is interested mainly in the use of the world.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Animal Body. So What?


By Dr. Barry Arrington

Humans and chimpanzees are genetically similar. Some estimate the similarity at 98%. Others slightly less. A lot of ink has been spilt regarding this issue. See here, here, here, here, and here for just a few examples of the thousands of articles that have been written on the subject. What is all the fuss about? It seems to me that much of the fuss is accounted for by the fact that whether they are in the ID or the creationist camp, many theists have an adverse visceral reaction to the data, and for that reason they work very hard to discredit or downplay it. I once felt this way. But as John Adams famously said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The First Chapter of Genesis Explained in One Sentence


In his An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith (Bk. 2, Ch. 6), St. John of Damascus lists the various possible theories circulating in his time concerning the nature of the heavens, or the universe, and without discounting any of these theories he gives us the essential teaching behind the first chapter of Genesis that must not be contradicted, thus revealing the boundaries between science and theology when interpreting Genesis 1:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Orthodoxy and Modern Cosmology



Orthodoxy and Modern Cosmology

N.K. There is another topic within this dialect of scientific developments and it concerns a possible connection between the Orthodox view of Cosmology and contemporary Physics. Would you like to say something?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Genesis "Problem"


Fr. Robert Barron
February 26, 2011

I’m continually amazed how often the “problem” of Genesis comes up in my work of evangelization and apologetics. What I mean is the way people struggle with the seemingly bad science that is on display in the opening chapters of the first book of the Bible. How can anyone believe that God made the visible universe in six days, that all the species were created at the same time, that light existed before the sun and moon, etc., etc? How can believers possibly square the naïve cosmology of Genesis with the textured and sophisticated theories of Newton, Darwin, Einstein, and Stephen Hawking?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Scientists and the Fathers of the Church


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

The Fathers of the Church studied the creation of the cosmos with a theological purpose. They renounced both materialism and metaphysics. Thus, the two philosophical orientations “in the beginning was matter” and “in the beginning was the idea” was contrasted with “in the beginning was the Word”. God is a person, He is love, because love is an uncreated energy of God. Therefore God is neither an idea nor matter. Later they say that God created the cosmos “out of nothing”, “without the existence of matter” but with His word which is His uncreated energy, which creates created beings.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

On Science and Religion (St. Luke of Simferopol)


By St. Luke the Surgeon, Archbishop of Simferopol (1877-1961)

"When we examine contemporary science as developed by scientists such as Lamarck and Darwin, we see the antithesis and I would say the complete disagreement that exists between science and religion, on topics that concern the more basic problems of existence and knowledge. For this, an enlightened mind cannot accept at the same time both one and the other and must choose between religion and science."

A well known German Zoologist, Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), who was a good follower of Darwin, wrote these words some 65 years ago in his book The Riddle of the Universe, that was very successful and, as it seemed, had proved that faith is absurd. So says Haeckel, that every enlightened man must choose between science and religion and should follow either one or the other. He considered it necessary that such men should deny religion because a logical man cannot deny science.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The History of the Word "Scientist"


Dr. Melinda Baldwin from Harvard University wrote a short yet fascinating and timely history of the word scientist and its association with the discipline of science titled "The History of 'Scientist'", a term historically more controversial than most would think.

Here are some excerpts from Baldwin’s piece:

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Limits of Knowledge Completed Through Faith


By His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Mesogaia

Research is intoxicating. Our world is made with unimaginable beauty and wisdom. It is worth discovering both of these things as much as possible. Simply it must be done with the humility of a man, not the audacity of a pseudo-god. One must compromise within limits.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

What "Inherit the Wind" Was Really About


By Cornelius Hunter

After the 2005 Dover trial, Judge John Jones recalled that he “was taken to school” by the evolutionists. It was, Jones recalled, “the equivalent of a degree in this area.” Unfortunately what evolutionists such as Ken Miller “taught” Jones was a series of scientific misrepresentations (which you can read about here, here and here). But these were not the only misrepresentations that made their way into American jurisprudence in the Dover trial. For the judge did not enter into his new training as a complete novice. As Jones later explained, “I understood the general theme. I’d seen Inherit the Wind.” It would be like a judge explaining that he already understood the general theme of tornado damage because he’s seen The Wizard of Oz. This level of profound ignorance, in such a position of power, is disturbing to say the least. The key question is: How could this happen? How could our educational system fail so badly? What is the source of such anti intellectualism? The answer, once again, is evolution.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Intelligent Evolution and Alfred Russel Wallace


Alfred Russel Wallace was born on January 8th of 1823 and was a contemporary of Charles Darwin. He was a pioneering naturalist who discovered thousands of new species and conceived the most important theory in biology independently of Charles Darwin: Evolution by Natural Selection.

He wrote:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Atheist Admits There Is No Evolutionary Explanation for Consciousness


Russel Wallace, a biologist of Darwin's era, argued that the human consciousness should be exempted from the iron rule of evolution, in which Darwin responded in a letter written to Wallace, "I hope you have not murdered too completely your own and my child". Darwin believed that human consciousness was very much a part of the evolution of the brain, thus dissolving any illusion of man's authorship, creativity or understanding, and yet no convincing evidence has ever been offered to support this notion. Thoughtful atheists admit that the materialist Darwinian process of natural selection cannot account for the human consciousness. Atheist philosopher and physician Raymond Tallis, who said: "You won't find consciousness in the brain", wrote the following in The Philosophers Magazine in 2009:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Patristic Views on the Nature and Status of Scientific Knowledge


By Dr. Jean-Claude Larchet

INTRODUCTION: SOME REMARKS ON METHODOLOGY

The subject I have chosen to deal with brings up some methodological problems which need to be examined.

The first problem has to do with the idea of “scientific knowledge” and therefore of “science” itself. In this presentation, we understand the word science, a priori, in its modern, ordinary sense, that is, the commonly accepted definition: “knowledge of phenomena and their laws,” a rational, rigorous, coherent knowledge which, from the methodological point of view, implies in principle three stages: 1) observation, 2) formation of a hypothesis, and 3) verification of the hypothesis which in the case of the first and third stages can take various forms both direct and indirect.

The modern idea of science did not exist in the Fathers, designated by that word. The Fathers designated what corresponds to it rather as a certain kind of knowledge which uses the senses and reason and which deals with the realm of nature considered in its appearances.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Orthodox Bishop Answers 4 Questions on Science and the Theory of Evolution


Metropolitan Nicholas of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki studied Physics at the University of Thessaloniki where he received his Bachelors in 1976, and after serving in the army he continued his studies at Harvard and M.I.T. where he received his Masters of Arts and Masters in Science, and then in a combined program of Harvard and M.I.T. (HST = Health-Sciences-Technology) he received his Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering. Upon completing his studies he worked simultaneously for New England Deaconess Hospital, NASA and Arthur D. Little. After teaching at Harvard and M.I.T., he went on to teach at the School of Medicine at the University of Crete as well as at the University of Athens. He then went back to Boston where he received both a Masters in Theological Studies and a Masters in Theology from Holy Cross School of Theology, and a doctorate from the University of Thessaloniki in Bioethics. In 2008 he received an Honorary Doctoral Degree from the University of Athens School of Theology in Science and Religion.

The following questions on science and the theory of evolution were presented to His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Gifted Scientist Who Became an Orthodox Bishop


Biographical Summary

Metropolitan Nicholas (Hatzinikolaou) of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki was born on April 13, 1954 in Thessaloniki.

He studied Physics at the University of Thessaloniki where he received his Bachelors in 1976, and after serving in the army he continued his studies at Harvard and M.I.T. where he received his Masters of Arts and Masters in Science, and then in a combined program of Harvard and M.I.T. (HST = Health-Sciences-Technology) he received his Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering in 1986. Their objective was to study the Bio-fluid dynamics of the circulatory system (heart and blood vessels) using Fluid Mechanics and Applied Mathematics. More specifically, he dealt with the invention, the design and study of a noninvasive method of diagnosing valve disease by the acoustic analysis method.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Metropolitan Hierotheos on Theology and Science


By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos
of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Before elaborating on the topic I would like to point out that when I use the term “theology” I mean the Orthodox patristic theology, as preserved in the Orthodox Church, not the Scholastic and Protestant theology developed in the West. In elaborating the topic, I will briefly mention some points that I consider important.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Robert Jastrow on Where Science Ends and Theology Begins


Robert Jastrow (September 7, 1925 – February 8, 2008) was an American astronomer, physicist and cosmologist. He was a leading NASA scientist, populist author and futurist.

His expressed views on creation were that although he was an "agnostic, and not a believer", it seems to him that "the curtain drawn over the mystery of creation will never be raised by human efforts, at least in the foreseeable future" due to "the circumstances of the big bang - the fiery holocaust that destroyed the record of the past".

In an interview with Christianity Today, Jastrow said "Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact."

Robert Jastrow

God and the Astronomers

Chapter 6

The Religion of Science

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Fr. John Romanides on the Creation of the World and Man (6 of 6)


...continued from part five.

By John Sanidopoulos

In the previous posts there was provided a brief synopsis of the Orthodox teaching on the creation of the world and man, according to the spoken teachings of Fr. John Romanides. Fr. Romanides linked dogma with empirical knowledge, and he taught what can be known about these things from the experience of divine vision as it was granted directly to the Prophets, Apostles, Fathers and Saints. Though we currently have an indirect knowledge of these things, acquired through study, Fr. Romanides always taught that we too can have this direct knowledge if we truly live the therapeutic life of the Church. This is why he called the Orthodox Church a "spiritual hospital", and Orthodox Theology a "medical science". Knowing this is a basic prerequisite when studying the theology of Fr. John Romanides.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fr. John Romanides on the Creation of the World and Man (5 of 6)



The previous post was a transcript from a less than clear recording of a classroom lecture of Fr. John Romanides, in which there could be minor errors in transcription and translation. The post below is a summary of the lecture from the notes of a student of Fr. Romanides that is word for word, and fills in some of the unintelligible words due to the unclear recording. Below the translation are the same notes in the original Greek.

By Protopresbyter Fr. John Romanides

Now the problem is whether man evolved from the ape, or if man made his appearance as man from the beginning.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Fr. John Romanides on the Creation of the World and Man (4 of 6)



From a classroom lecture of Protopresbyter Fr. John Romanides delivered on February 4, 1983 at the University of Thessaloniki. The lecture can be heard here. Certain words and phrases cannot be made out, so were left out of the translation below. Keep in mind as well that this lecture is very conversational and not well structured grammatically, and of course the scientific language reflects that of 1983.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Fr. John Romanides on the Creation of the World and Man (3 of 6)



The Creation of Man

"Now it was necessary that man should in the first instance be created; and having been created, should grow; and having grown, should reach maturity; and having reached maturity, should multiply; and having multiplied, should be strengthened; and having been strengthened, should be glorified; and being glorified, should see his Lord. For it is God Who is going to be seen, and the vision of God procures immortality." (St. Irenaeus of Lyons)

"By this arrangement, therefore, and this rhythm, and this course, man, a created and formed being, comes to be in the image and likeness of the uncreated God: the Father being well-pleased and giving His command; the Son carrying it out and creating; and the Spirit nourishing and increasing; and man gradually making progress, and ascending towards perfection. that is, drawing near to the uncreated One. For He Who is uncreated is perfect, Who is God." (St. Irenaeus of Lyons)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fr. John Romanides on the Creation of the World and Man (2 of 6)


...continued from part one.

E) Recording the Experience of Revelation

- "Revelational experience is formulated in created words and concepts. The God-seeing Prophets, Apostles and Fathers use the perceptions of the people of their era in order to put their experience into words. Their basic teaching is that God created the world and He directs it, but the formulation of the experience in words comes from the knowledge of the period. The teaching is a matter of theology, the wording is a matter of communication. The cosmology of the Old Testament, as regards expression and formulation, is influenced by the Babylonian cosmology of that age. We stress this to avoid any confusion between the theology of the God-seeing saints and the scientific language of each era." (Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fr. John Romanides on the Creation of the World and Man (1 of 6)


I want to begin by presenting the basic position of the Orthodox Church on the Creation of the World and Man, as formulated by the preeminent theologian of our time Fr. John Romanides, whose positions are closest to mine. Below are excerpts from his classroom lectures compiled in the much more detailed book by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos titled Empirical Dogmatics of the Orthodox Catholic Church According to the Spoken Teaching of Father John Romanides, which I highly recommend. The excerpts below are from volume two and are actual words of Fr. John Romanides unless otherwise indicated. This will be a six part series that will conclude with my comments. Included will be never before translated material from audio lectures I have on this subject. The next post will be about the Cosmology of the Old Testament.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

About Bio-Orthodoxy


Welcome to Bio-Orthodoxy!

Bio-Orthodoxy is a website with a positive view of both Theology and Science. It was created to clear up the confusion on the relationship of Science with Orthodox Christianity. Orthodoxy has always had a very positive view of Science, but when there is an attempt to interact the two, boundaries are often over-stepped and confusion ensues. This is an attempt to help remedy the situation.

Bio-Orthodoxy does not seek to instill one view or theory as far as Origin Science is concerned, but it does seek to view all things from an Orthodox Christian perspective. There are both positives and negatives to all current theories, such as Theistic Evolution, Intelligent Design and the various forms of Creationism, as well as evidence pro and con, and it is not the aim of this website to propagate only one theory, but to seek the truth in all things and "examine everything carefully" in order to "hold fast to that which is good" (1 Thess. 5:21). 

Bio-Orthodoxy is very much opposed to a naturalist and materialist worldview, but it will respectfully dialogue with such views to filter out the truth when it is offered. Orthodoxy believes that Christ is the Truth, and everything that is true and good in the world is of Christ and belongs to the Church. Truth and goodness can often be found in the most unpredictable places.

Bio-Orthodoxy believes that Genesis, and generally all of Holy Scripture, is a book of Theology, and not Science or History. Theologically, it is infallible. Scientifically and Historically, it is limited in its view by the authors, but still valuable, since its contents and the way it presents things serve a higher purpose than mere human epistemology.

Bio-Orthodoxy will primarily focus on the relationship of Theology and Science, and clarify issues in the Book of Genesis and examine issues that have to do with Archology, Anthropogony and Cosmogony. The primary purpose is to help people discover their true purpose in life and make clear the boundaries between the created and the Uncreated, creation and the Creator.

John Sanidopoulos