Thursday, December 29, 2016

Homilies on Genesis 1 by St. Nikolai Velimirovich (7 of 7)


By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

(Prologue, Dec. 7)

"And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31).

Brethren, when all the parts of a building are good, then the building in its entirety is very good. Every single brick is good, and every stone, the mortar and the lime, and the beams and the pillars - but man is moved to admiration only when he views the entire structure. Oftentimes, a certain detail in the building seems unintelligible and inappropriate to him, but he forgets about this in a moment when he turns his gaze upon the whole. And, indeed, there are many details in this world, as well as in things and in events, that are unintelligible and inappropriate to us. Only when the entire thing as a whole is revealed to us do we understand and are reassured.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Homilies on Genesis 1 by St. Nikolai Velimirovich (6 of 7)


By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

(Prologue, Dec. 6)

"And God saw that it was good" (Gen. 1).

Brethren, everything that was created and how it was created by the most pure and sinless God is pure and sinless. Every creature of God is pure and sinless as long as it is turned toward God, as long as it is not separated from God and until it does not become hostile to God. Every creature of itself praises and glorifies God as long as it is pure and sinless. That is why the Psalmist sings: "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord [Alleluia]!" (Psalm 150:6).

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Homilies on Genesis 1 by St. Nikolai Velimirovich (5 of 7)


By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

(Prologue, Dec. 5)

"And God saw that it was good" (Genesis 1).

Brethren, the first revelation about this world that Holy Scripture communicates to us is that the world proceeded from good and not from evil, from God and not from some power contrary to God and not from some imagined primordial mixture of good and evil. The second revelation, brethren, about this world is that everything that the good God created is good. The light is good; the firmament of heaven is good; the land is good; the sea is good; the grass, the vegetation and the fruitful trees are good; the heavenly lights - the sun, moon and stars - are good; the living creatures in the water and the birds in the air are good; all living beings according to their kind are good; the cattle, the small animals and the beasts of the earth are good. Finally, man - the master, under the lordship of God, over all created things - is also good.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Homilies on Genesis 1 by St. Nikolai Velimirovich (4 of 7)


By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

(Prologue, Dec. 4)

"And God saw that it was good" (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25).

Brethren, only good works proceed from the good Creator. Therefore, let all those who say that both good and evil proceed from God be silent. After His every act, God Himself affirms that it is good. Six times He repeated that what He created was good, and finally, the seventh time, when He saw all in its entirety, He pronounced His judgment that all He had created was "very good" (Gen. 1:31). Therefore, in total He repeated seven times that everything was good that came into existence by His holy will.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Homilies on Genesis 1 by St. Nikolai Velimirovich (3 of 7)


St. Nikolai Velimirovich

(Prologue, Dec. 3)

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen. 1:1).

Brethren, whatever God desires to reveal to men is revealed, and whatever He does not desire to reveal remains concealed. Moses, the one who beheld God, could say nothing more about heaven than that in the beginning God created it. Having said that, he continued to describe in detail the creation of the earth. Why does Moses not speak in detail about the creation of heaven? Because God did not want to reveal any more to him, since the men of his time were neither mature enough nor capable of understanding heavenly matters beyond their senses. Only when many centuries had passed and God's New Testament had come to men, did God reveal much more of the heavenly world to His faithful and chosen ones. Only Christians began to see the heavens opened.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Homilies on Genesis 1 by St. Nikolai Velimirovich (2 of 7)


Part One

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

(Prologue, Dec. 2)

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).

How compact and full is God's every word! It is like folded linen, which can be carried under the arm and spread upon the grass over a large area. How many, many priceless good things does this word of God reveal to us: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." First of all, it shows us that God is the only eternal and uncreated One. And this first revelation brings about in us the first inexpressible joy.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Homilies on Genesis 1 by St. Nikolai Velimirovich (1 of 7)


By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

(Prologue, Dec. 1)

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).

Brethren, this is God's answer through the mouth of the prophet, the answer to the question that we all thirst to know: "Whence comes this world?" God hears our question, spoken or unspoken; He hears and gives an answer. Just as He gives rain to the dry earth, just as He gives health to a sick person, just as He gives bread and clothing to the body, so also does He give an answer to our spirit. He gives an answer to the question that has caused it hunger and thirst, pain and nakedness, until it (the spirit) is nourished and quenched, restored to health, and is clothed with the true answer.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Archbishop Iakovos on Spiritualism, Materialism and Darwinism


By Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America

"I believe in one God, Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible."

As you may observe, this is not a definition. We can define only visible and tangible objects, not abstract ideas or unattainable conceptions. God, being an invisible and absolute spirit and the perfect manifestation of love, can be felt and believed, but not fully conceived in His essence. We do not agree with those who claim that a partial knowledge of God is equal to none. We are not greatly impressed by stereotype scientists who believe only in what they can conceive, or by stylish agnostics. We instead believe firmly that our ratio, or intellect, has its limitations, while the field and scope of knowledge is so vast, so endless, that no human mind can completely explore or even make an impression on its endless limits.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Orthodox Faith and the Natural Sciences


By Protopresbyter Fr. George Metallinos

1. In Orthodoxy, the antithesis – and the conflict – between faith (or theology) and science is not something self-evident. It is only a pseudo-problem, because Orthodoxy in its authentic expression and realization is likewise a science, however with a different cognitive subject.

Orthodox Theology is a science and in fact a positive science, because it has a cognitive subject and it also implements a scientific method. In Orthodox tradition, two kinds of cognition or wisdom are discernible (from the Apostle Paul, James the brother to Christ, through to Gregory Palamas and Eugenios Voulgaris etc.). There is the cognition of the Uncreated (God) and the cognition of the created (the world, as something fashioned or created). The cognition of God (“theognosy”) is supernatural and is attained through the synergy of man with God. The cognition of the world is natural and is acquired through scientific research. The method for attaining the cognition of the Divine is the “nepsis” (soberness) and “catharsis” (cleansing) of the heart (Psalm 50:12 and Matthew 5:8). Theology, therefore, is the gnosiology and the cognition of the Uncreated. Science is the gnosiology and the cognition of the created. In the science of faith, cognizance is called “theosis” (deification) and is the sole objective of Orthodoxy. All else is only the means to that end.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Our Universe Contains 10 Times More Galaxies Than We Thought


Timothy Revell
October 13, 2016

Space used to be surprisingly crowded. The observable universe contains a whopping two trillion galaxies, making it 10 times as packed as we previously thought.

Since the Hubble Space Telescope started observing the deep sky, we’ve used its images to estimate that the universe we can see contains around 100 billion galaxies. But now, a team of astronomers led by Christopher Conselice at the University of Nottingham has generated 3D images of deep space by combining images from telescopes around the world, including Hubble.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Protopresbyter John Romanides's Teaching on Creation


PROTOPRESBYTER JOHN ROMANIDES'S
TEACHING ON CREATION

By James L. Kelley, 2016

Father John Romanides (1927-2001), from his earliest publications in the 1950's to his final postings to the website romanity.org in the early 2000's, never ceased to speak of the Orthodox doctrines about creation as essential to understanding Orthodox Tradition. The core of this Tradition, for Father John, is the healing of man's dissipated noetic energy through the “way free of error”: the threefold path of purification, illumination, and glorification.[1] His presentation of the Orthodox faith, undoubtedly unique in its organization and in some of its applications, is nonetheless not new, but rather remains in essence identical to what the Orthodox have taught at all times. This being the case, our discourse can be read as a general presentation of the Orthodox teaching concerning creation, though it also serves to introduce Father John's rich and enduring oeuvre.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Commentary on the Six Days of Creation and the Six Ages (St. Bede)


Concerning the Six Ages of the World

By Saint Bede

Hitherto it may have sufficed to speak literally of the origins of the growing world. It is pleasing, however, to intimate in a few words that order of those six or seven days in which the world was made correspond to its ages - which are of the same number.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

All That a Christian Should at Least Know About Creation


By St. Augustine of Hippo

When, then, the question is asked what we are to believe in regard to religion, it is not necessary to probe into the nature of things, as was done by those whom the Greeks call physici;* nor need we be in alarm lest the Christian should be ignorant of the force and number of the elements — the motion, and order, and eclipses of the heavenly bodies; the form of the heavens; the species and the natures of animals, plants, stones, fountains, rivers, mountains; about chronology and distances; the signs of coming storms; and a thousand other things which those philosophers either have found out, or think they have found out. For even these men themselves, endowed though they are with so much genius, burning with zeal, abounding in leisure, tracking some things by the aid of human conjecture, searching into others with the aids of history and experience, have not found out all things; and even their boasted discoveries are oftener mere guesses than certain knowledge.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

What Scientists Have Said About the Miraculous Chapel of St. Theodora in Vasta


By John Sanidopoulos

What we know of the life of St. Theodora of Vasta comes entirely from local tradition, but her little chapel in southern Greece is known throughout the world and visited by thousands every year.

The Chapel of St. Theodora dates approximately to the 12th century and it is entirely made of stone. What is extraordinary about this church however is that there currently grow 17 enormous trees on the roof of this small structure. Most of them are over 30m high, and some of them are over 1m in diameter. Many of the trees weigh over 1 ton. Yet, even though the roof of the little church is thin and without any special support, it remains standing for centuries now as if by a miracle. Scientists have studied the case and they confess their inability to explain how the trees grow on such a thin roof, without destroying the church. The little church is under great pressure, and over time some minor restoration has been necessary, but that is mainly due to the curiosity of some inexperienced people who have tried to “understand the mystery”. Unprofessional interventions have affected the church’s architecture, though only to a small degree.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Do the Saints Have Unerring Knowledge of Scientific Matters?

"The non-Christological interpretation of the Old Testament is not only deception, but also heresy."
 - Fr. John Romanides (1927-2001), Priest and Teacher of Theology

By Prof. Fr. John Romanides

When activated by the Holy Spirit the noetic faculty has unceasing memory of God in the Lord of Glory Who is Christ Incarnate. This is a state of liberation from demonic influences and unity in Christ in which the whole person, body and soul, is kept from error and gifted with inspiration in such wise that he does not confuse the energies of God with the energies of creatures and especially of the devil.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

HC/HC Faculty Statement on “Creation Science and Evolution Science”


Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
Brookline, Massachusetts

The interpretation of the Genesis account of creation in light of ongoing scientific discoveries and theories is regularly discussed today by Orthodox Christians. The following statement, written in 1982 and in the context of a specific decision of the court, offers a concise expression of Orthodox Christian teaching on the matter and should be useful for those seeking to study the topic more closely. This statement has been slightly edited to correct minor infelicities of language in the original. The footnote about the 1982 court decision was also added for those seeking to explore the original context of the statement (February 2011). Obviously, the statement does not comment on any scientific discoveries or discussions of the issue since 1982.

Faculty Statement on “Creation Science and Evolution Science”
March 1982

The recent decision which determined unconstitutional the Arkansas law requiring the balanced treatment for “Creation Science” and “Evolution Science” in the public schools of that state, has raised several questions of concern for Orthodox Christians.1

Among Orthodox Christians there are varying views on the creation of the world by God and the theories of evolution developed over the years since the time of Darwin. No official Orthodox pronouncement exists on these topics. The following topics form an outline of a consistent Orthodox position that may serve as a response to the contemporary issues of the teaching of “Creation Science” together with “Evolution Science” in the public schools of the nation.

Friday, August 12, 2016

"Creationism Versus Evolution" (Fr. George Nicozisin)


CREATIONISM VERSUS EVOLUTION

By Fr. George Nicozisin

INTRODUCTION

To the savage and primitive mind the earth seemed to be the whole flat floor of the universe. The sky was the dome above it across which the sun, the moon and the stars passed and passed again, returning by some mysterious, roundabout or subterranean route. The Babylonian and Chinese astronomers believed the earth was flat. It was the ancient Greeks (6th B.C.) who first grasped the idea the world was in a spherical form. The globe of earth, they thought, was the center of being and the sun-moon-stars-planets moved about it.

It was in the 16th century A.D. that man’s mind moved beyond this point. Copernicus said the sun was the center, not the earth. But Copernicus’ theory was not proved until the 17th century with Galileo’s telescope. The later 18th and 19th centuries saw the rise of a series of important scientific concepts about the origins of our world and life upon it. Thus emerged what came to be known The Theory of Evolution, which eventually contrasted itself with The Theory of Creationism.

Where do the two theories find their source of knowledge and information and are they in conflict? Creationism finds its information and knowledge in the Bible, while Evolution finds it from the Record of the Rocks. Is there a conflict between Science and Religion? If we take the Fundamentalist approach (everything in the Bible is to be taken literally), then there is a conflict. If, however, every word in the Bible is not be taken literally, then there is basically no conflict. That is to say, until we come to the creation of Man as we know him and the Bible speaks of him!

SCIENTIFIC THEORY OF THE ORIGIN OF EARTH

The classical theory is that vast ages ago, the sun was spinning, a flaming mass not yet concentrated into a compact center of heat and light. (Science does not attempt to explain how, when, where and why the sun appeared. Science only deals with what exists.) The sun, which somehow began as a mass of gases, itself, was larger than it is now and spun much faster.

As the sun whirled, a series of fragments were detached from it by the near approach of some body flying through space. These torn-off fragments became planets. Our EARTH is one of those fragments that became planets. The flaming mass that was the material of the earth broke into two masses as it spun. The larger one became the EARTH itself, and the smaller one, which is now dead, became the still MOON.

Astronomers and mathematicians who base their computations on the rate of the cooling of celestial bodies and in various processes of diffusion and atomic change give us 2000 million years as a body separate from the SUN.

Biologists believe that life began in warm, sunlit, shallow water, possibly in pools and lagoons along the coast of the first formed seas.

IN THE BEGINNING

The atmosphere was much denser. Great cloud masses obscured the sun, frequent storms darkened the heavens. The land of those days, upheaved by violent volcanic forces, was a barren land, without vegetation, without soil. The torrential storms swept and created rivers which carried loads of sediment out to the sea to become mud that hardened later into slate, shales and sands.

The dry parched land took layer upon layer of rock and soon became mountains. After long ages, the steam in the atmosphere began to condense and fall onto earth. As it poured over the hot rocks, the water gathered in depressions as pools, lakes and then seas. As the waters rolled over rocky mountain formations, they brought with them dust and particles to form sediment accumulations, called strata.

THE BIBLE THEORY OF CREATION

The opening lines of the Book of Genesis, the first book in the Bible, says:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…”

The first article of the Creed we recite at every Liturgy and at every Baptism says:

“I believe in One God, Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth and everything visible and invisible.”

In Christian Theology, and certainly in Orthodox Christian Theology, the Biblical affirmation that “God created the heavens and the earth, and everything visible and invisible” became one of the earliest doctrines that God created all things “out of nothingness into being,” as the Divine Liturgy prayer says.

Orthodox Theology does not seek to oppose the scientific discoveries of Astronomy, Mathematics, Geology and Biology. Rather, as the Eastern Christians did in the early centuries, the Church seeks to correlate the discoveries of science with Biblical truths.

Even the concept of a “Six Day Creation” was discussed in the Christian East as early as the fourth century.

The Hebrew word for “day” is “Iom,” which means both “day” and “a lengthy period of time which is undetermined.”

St. Peter (II Peter 3:8) says, “But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.”

In the Bible version of Creation, the sun appeared the fourth day. How could days one, two and three be regarded as twenty-four hour days as we know them?

Finally, the Bible version of Creation concludes each day by saying, “And it was evening and it was daylight the first / second / third / fourth / fifth / sixth day…” This is not so with the seventh day which appears to be still in existence.

We are still living the seventh day, and shall continue to live it until the end of time when God deems it time to terminate the material world, as He created it.

A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF SCIENCE AND THE BIBLE

THE BIBLE

1:1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

2. The earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.

3. And God said, “Let there be light;” and there was light.

4. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from darkness.

5. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

6. And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”

7. And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so.

8. And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

9. And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together in one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.

10. God called the dry land Earth and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas.

11. And God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth.” And it was so.

12. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

13. And there was evening and there was a third day.

14. And God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years.

15. And let them be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.

16. And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also.

17. And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth.

18. to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

19. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

BIBLICAL ACCOUNT OF EVOLUTION

Verses 1 through 10 and 14 through 19.

20. a. And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures.”

20. b. “And let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens.

21. So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

22. And God blessed them saying, “Be fruitful and multiply on the earth.”

23. And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

24. And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.

25. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the cattle according to their kinds, and everything that creeps upon the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26. Then God said, “Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

27. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

28. And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

29. And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.

30. “And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breadth of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31. And God saw everything that He had made and behold it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.

2:1. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

2. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all His work which He had done in creation.

MODERN SCIENCE

I. Gases formed the Sun. The Sun was a spinning, flaming mass of matter not yet concentrated into a compact center of heat and light. Some body flying through space tore fragments of the Sun and sent them flying. They became planets.

II. One flaming planet went off by itself and separated into EARTH and MOON. The EARTH accumulated oxygen and hydrogen around it. Slowly the waters separated above the earth as a great cloud mass. The Earth had volcanic upheavals as the crust got cold. The clouds dropped their waters and filled the crevices, valleys and openings around the mountains, hills and slopes. These became brooks, streams, rivers, lakes, seas and oceans.

THE RECORD OF THE ROCKS

It is the Science of Geology, particularly the Science of Paleontology, which has contributed so much to modern scientific discovery. Geology deals with the structure of the earth’s crust and the development of its various layers. It includes the study of rock formations, types and fossil forms. Paleontology deals with prehistoric life through the study of fossils … The Record of the Rocks. There are five basic Records or Periods of the Rocks.

1) AZOIC ROCKS

Azoic literally means “lifeless.”

There is no trace of life in this period.

The Time is unknown.

2) PROTEROZOIC ROCKS

Proterozoic literally means “Beginning of Life.”

This is the period of time when chemical bodies, minerals and organic substances began to take form. Rocks became lead, iron, coal, crystals, etc.

The Time is unknown.

3) PALAEZOIC ROCKS

Palaezoic literally means “Ancient Life.”

This is when water life plants began, seaweeds, shellfish, crabs, worms and crawling things.

The Time is a several hundred million years ago.

4) MESOZOIC ROCKS

Mesozoic literally means “Middle Life.”

This is when shrubs and bushes, trees and other plantlife came out of the water. The animal life in the waters progressed in growth, size and kinds. They too, emerged from the water on to the land; i.e., giant reptiles that became dinosaurs and flying reptiles.

The Time is about 150 Million Years ago.

5) CENOZOIC ROCKS

Cenozoic literally means “Recent Life.”

This is when animal life is supposed to have come on the earthly scene.

This is also The Age of Mammals.

Mammals are family animals. Their newborn form eggs and are kept in the body until hatched. Even after birth, the young are protected for some period of time until they are able to fend for themselves.

This is also the Period of the Origin of Man.

The prevailing opinion of Modern Science is that man, like other mammals, is descended from ancestors of a lowlier kind. That is to say, man descends from the large apes, the chimpanzee, the orangutans and the gorilla.

The theory contends that man once had a common ancestor with these mammals which in turn descended from a thermomorph (monster/form), a monster reptile, which in turn evolved from a series of amphibians leading back to primitive fish, and ultimately, amoeba from the depths of the sea.

SOME CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Over 120 years have passed since the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species. While some scientists still agree with Darwin’s theory of the changeability of species, much discovery has been done since then to create doubt and suspicion among them. The conflict between creationism and evolution has been primarily a struggle between Roman Catholics and Protestants, on the one hand, with scientists, on the other. You will find very little writing in Orthodox Christian circles.

Primarily this is because the Eastern Fathers, generally speaking, did not take a fundamentalist viewpoint of creation. For example, Vladimir Lossky, a great Orthodox theologian of the past century, says in his famous book, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, “The Church always freely makes use of philosophy and the sciences for apologetic (explanatory) purposes, but she never has any cause to defend these relative and changing truths as she defends the unchangeable truth of her doctrines.”

Eastern Orthodox theology finds no real argument with evolution up to the creation of man. And even in that, there is a possibility of accepting some of what has been discovered and continues to be discovered by science. For example, Moses, the author of the Book of Genesis, is writing to illiterate people who are asking some sobering questions while they are wandering all over the Sinai desert for some forty years. He uses a picture language and frames of reference with which they can identify. Nonetheless, the language does not take away from the meaning.

With the exception of verses 11, 12 and 13 of chapter one, the Genesis version follows basically along the theory of evolution.


Creation of Man

There are two references to the creation of man in Genesis. The first one is the simple statement made in verse 26 of chapter one:

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in Our own image, after Our likeness…” and is restated in verse 27: “So God created Man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

The second reference is in chapter two, verse 7:

“Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

In Orthodox theology, the two words ”image” and “likeness” are not used interchangeably as they are for Roman Catholics and Protestants. For Orthodox Christians, “image” denotes the powers and faculties with which every human being is endowed by God from the first moment of his existence. “Likeness” is the assimilation, the growth process to God through virtue and grace. We call this growth process “theosis.” For Western theology, man was created perfect in the absolute sense and therefore, when he fell, he fell completely away from God. For Orthodox theology, man was created perfect in the potential sense.

Thus, for example, Ireneus, a Church Father of the second century, in speaking about the creation of Adam and Eve says, “They were a child not yet having their understanding perfected.”

Father John Romanides, a contemporary Orthodox theologian says “Adam and Eve were two children born who were protected by nature and the animal world through the Holy Spirit.”

Did we evolve from the water? The infant does live a period of development in his mother’s womb which is a liquid world. It is only outside the mother’s womb that the lungs breathe as they were designed to breathe and function.

Did we evolve from animals? Ancient men did not look like us. In fact, they might shudder to see the form and the appearance we, their descendants, have taken!

Even Modern Science agrees that at some point man took on something that made him different from the animal world … he became a rational being (think, discern, evaluate, decide and act).

Should Modern Science be able to prove without the shadow of a doubt that man evolved from amoeba, reptiles, animal life into what he is today, Orthodox theology would be able to make the transitional acceptance far more readily than Western theology for all the reasons stated above.

Plant life dies! Animal life dies! Man dies, too! But he goes on living! We cannot ask “Where we came from?” without asking “Where are we going?”

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Metr. Kallistos of Diokleia on Science and the Theory of Evolution



By Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia

Religion and science are working on different levels and are following different methods, and using different kinds of evidence. And, indeed, what each is saying is relevant for the other, but we mustn’t confuse these two levels of discourse. The scientist is working from the evidence of our senses, the theologian, the religious thinker, is using the data of revelation, scripture. So here are two different forms of evidence, and two different ways of arguing. As I see it, there need not be any conflict between religion and science, if each is properly understood, because they are answering different kinds of questions. The scientist is telling us what there is in the universe, and he is also saying, as far as we can discover, how the universe came to exist in the form which it now has, by what stages it developed. In the religious sphere, we are asking why was the world created, and what is the purpose of our life on earth. Now, in my view, those are not strictly scientific questions, and the scientist does not claim to answer them, though what he tells us about how the world is and how it came to be the way it is may help us to answer these religious questions. Some scientists would say that the question: Why is there a universe? Where did it come from? What existed before the Big Bang? some scientists would say that these are simply non-questions, which shouldn’t be asked. But in fact these are questions which as human beings we want to ask and need to ask. But I don’t think the scientist, simply on the basis of his scientific discipline, can answer them.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Patriarch Kirill of Russia: "It is naive to read Genesis as the textbook on anthropogenesis"


August 2, 2016

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia believes science and religion do not contradict each other, as they respond to different questions, and there is no sense in searching an answer to spiritual questions in works on Physics or Biology.

“We can say that science, religion and art are different ways of examining the world and man, of examining the world by man. Each of them has its own instruments, its own methods of learning. They respond to their own questions,” the primate said at his meeting with scientists in Sarov.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Violence in the Old Testament: A Patristic Perspective


By John Sanidopoulos

When we encounter troublesome violence in the Old Testament that unsettles us, we may take some solace in the possibility that these texts reflect theological and ideological concerns as encountered by the communities that first read these books. Similarly, the Church Fathers tended to not read these stories and interpret them literally, but they transcended the literal reading. They knew that God is not a genocidal maniac who seeks the destruction of human beings, therefore they understood that these passages only truly make sense spiritually and theologically, as they are intended.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Response to the Teaching of Saint Paisios on Evolution


By John Sanidopoulos

Like most teenagers of his time and even of the present, St. Paisios was taught about evolution in the context that either you believe in Darwinian evolution and reject God, or you accept God and reject evolution. In his own words, he explains this is what happened to him when he was fifteen years old, when a friend of his brother tried to dissuade the young Arsenios (this was his name prior to becoming a monastic) from the "nonsense" of prayer and fasting. Arsenios saw this as a temptation that he had to overcome (read more about this here). And indeed it was, since he was presented with various theories to dissuade him from faith in Christ. As a reward for remaining faithful, even at his young age he was made worthy of a vision of Christ immersed in divine light, confirming his faith.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Ten Ways Noah’s Ark Prefigured the Church


By Stephen Beale

Since the time of the Fathers, Christians have always seen the epic ark of Noah as a type of the Church. Just as the ark was the means by which Noah and his relatives were spared destruction, so also the Church is the instrument by which Christians are saved. The comparison between the two has an explicit biblical foundation in 1 Peter 3, where the apostle writes that the flood itself anticipated the sacrament of baptism.

Inspired by the Genesis account, early Church Fathers, elaborated on the many ways in which the ark prefigures the Church. Here are ten:

Friday, June 10, 2016

Can We Know God Through Mathematics?


The esteemed theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, one of the creators and developers of the revolutionary String Theory which is highly respected throughout the world, claims to have developed a theory that might point to the existence of God. Through this theory he claims that it is through mathematics we can know the mind of God, who he says is a mathematician. He says: "The mind of God we believe is cosmic music, the music of strings resonating through 11 dimensional hyperspace. That is the mind of God." You can hear him explain more here. The Orthodox perspective is quite different, however, coming down to how both Science and Theology should be viewed and used. Below Fr. John Romanides and Fr. George Metallinos explain, together with a wonderful quote by Albert Einstein that can be integrated into the Orthodox perspective.

By Protopresbyter Fr. John Romanides

At this point, we come to a crucial difference between the apophatic theology of the Church Fathers and that of the Western Scholastic theologians of the Middle Ages. Even today if we open up a dogmatic textbook written by Roman Catholic theologians, we will come across their claim that there are two ways to theologize – one way involves attributing names to God and the other negative way involves removing these names from God. But what is absurd is that for them these names are not taken away from God in order to avoid attributing them to Him, but in order to purify the names of their imperfections.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Relationship Between Science and Scripture (Galileo Galilei)



In 1615, as the Roman Inquisition was beginning to investigate his heretical heliocentric model of the universe, Galileo — who knew how to flatter his way to support — wrote to Christina of Lorraine, the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany. The lengthy letter, found in Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo (public library), explores the relationship between Science and Scripture. Galileo bemoans his critics who “remaining hostile not so much toward the things in question as toward their discoverer,” making an eloquent case for why blind adherence to sacred texts shouldn’t be used to disarm the validity of scientific truth.

Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany, 1615

By Galileo Galilei

To the Most Serene Grand Duchess Mother:

Some years ago, as Your Serene Highness well knows, I discovered in the heavens many things that had not been seen before our own age. The novelty of these things, as well as some consequences which followed from them in contradiction to the physical notions commonly held among academic philosophers, stirred up against me no small number of professors - as if I had placed these things in the sky with my own hands in order to upset nature and overturn the sciences. They seemed to forget that the increase of known truths stimulates the investigation, establishment, and growth of the arts; not their diminution or destruction.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Faith and Science: Contradictory or Complementary Meanings?


By Michael G. Houlis,
Theologian, Professor, Special Associate of the Holy Metropolis of Syros

Over the past few years, there has been an unnecessary return to essays and articles at the forefront of research, even by various positive scientists, on the old, misunderstood topic of the “enmity” between Science and Faith, or, Logic and Religion.

This phenomenon is being fuelled once again, mostly by representatives of the positive sciences, with quite a number of new and more heated books opposed to Christianity, but also by circles of the more conservative Protestants of America, who are opposed to the contemporary findings of Biology, Astronomy, Physics, etc. with their verbatim interpretation of the first Chapter of the Holy Bible (Genesis) and who are also against certain branches of Science with scientific and religious criteria.

We must make it clear from the very start, that Theology and Science do not oppose each other by nature, given that Science concerns itself with the structure and the functions of Nature, whereas Theology deals with God’s revealed truth and with the Holy-Spiritual meaning of Life. Science can answer questions about how the world and the universe are made, but it cannot of course answer the questions of who created the universe and why. These last questions are the business of Theology and by extension, of the Church. The great contemporary scientist Stephen Hawkins had stated that “even if science could manage to explain everything that happened from the birth of the universe to this day, it will not be able to explain why” (Focus magazine, vol.2, April 2000, p.80-84).

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Russian Priest Seeks Scientific Proof for the Miraculous Nature of the Holy Light (Holy Fire) of Jerusalem

Fr Gennady Zaridze

Meet the Russian Priest Investigating the ‘Miraculous’ Holy Fire of Jerusalem

Victor Khroul
May 2, 2016
Catholic Herald

According to tradition, the Holy Fire ignites from the tomb of Jesus Christ at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It has been descending on the church for more than 1,500 years and it is believed that the year when it fails to light will be the last year in humankind’s history.

In those first few moments after it descends, the fire is only slightly warm. Pilgrims can easily take it in their hands and wash their faces in it, without hurting either their hands or faces.

Is this miracle? Some people, especially non-Orthodox Christians, have their doubts. But there was no doubt in the minds of the 100-plus pilgrims from Russia that they were witnessing a miracle: that was what had brought them to Jerusalem two days previously, on Friday. In total, thousands of Christians gathered in Jerusalem to light torches and candles from the holy flame on the eve of Orthodox Easter.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Christ, the Liberator of Adam and Eve

Christ liberating Adam and Eve from Hades

"As the evil one procured our twofold death by means of his single spiritual death, so the good Lord healed this twofold death of ours through His single bodily death, and through the one resurrection of His body gave us a twofold resurrection.

By means of His bodily death He destroyed him who had the power over our souls and bodies in death, and rescued us from his tyranny over them both.

The evil one clothed himself in the serpent to deceive man, but the Word of God put on man's nature to trick the trickster."

- St. Gregory Palamas, "Homily for Holy and Great Saturday"

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Garment of Adam and the Garment of Joseph


By John Sanidopoulos

Genesis begins with the account of the creation of the first-formed Adam and Eve, and records their disobedience to God by eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. When the Lord confronted them regarding their disobedience, and gave them an opportunity for repentance, they refused to put the blame on themselves, incurring a curse from God and banishment from the Garden of Eden. As they were being banished, we read in Genesis 3:21: "The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them." No longer were Adam and Eve "clothed" in the uncreated light of God and thus protected from the elements, but their disobedience made them realize their purity was gone and they were left naked and exposed to the elements. God, however, in His goodness, provided for them with lowly earthly garments made of animal skin. Just as someone who enjoys special favor from the king is clothed in royal and expensive garments, but after some sort of disobedience or betrayal is stripped of such garments and made to look like a slave, so also were Adam and Eve. Their clothing, from now on, was to be a constant reminder of their disobedience and the loss of their purity.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Orthodox Christianity and the Role of Science


By John Tachos

1. The Christian distinction between Science and Faith

In his homily on creation titled Hexaemeron (“On The Six Days”), where he analyzes the Old Testament narration of Creation, Basil the Great promptly stresses that the narration purposely lacks many details, in order to exercise and sharpen the readers’ minds, so that with the few details provided, they might seek out the rest (PG 29, 33B). He furthermore stresses (and this is more important) that, even if mankind discovers the way in which God created all things wonderful, it would in no way diminish our admiration of God’s grandeur.

Basil the Great here introduces two basic principles, as prerequisites for interpretation: (a) the freedom of scientific research, which is also an exercise of the mind and (b) the distinction between WHO made the world and HOW the world was made. In other words, it is one thing to theologically “know” that God created the world, and a totally different thing to “seek” the ways that all these wonders came to being. In the second instance, we acknowledge scientific “seeking” as the means to describe and analyze the data of all created things, and of course not the means to describe or analyze the uncreated divine energy.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

What’s Behind It All? God, Science and the Universe (A Dialogue with Krauss, Meyer, Lamoureux)


On March 19, 2016 from Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto, three top minds from three different perspectives gathered for this 2-hour dialogue to discuss "What's Behind It All? God, Science and the Universe."

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Inheritance of the Ancestral Sin


By Archimandrite Maximos Panagiotou,
Holy Monastery of Panagia Paramythia in Rhodes

We did not inherit the guilt of the original ancestral sin, but its consequences. With this, due to our remoteness from God, the entire human race is fallen and is in corruption with the tendency towards evil. This can be given a parallel example: if our natural environment due to our current irrational use of it is irreversibly damaged, the next generations of people will have no responsibility for the evil they were born in, but they will inherit the corruption of nature.

Synaxarion for the Sunday of Cheesefare


By Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos

SUNDAY of CHEESEFARE

On the same day, we commemorate the banishment of Adam, the First-formed man, from the Paradise of delight.

Verses

Let the world lament bitterly with our first ancestors,
For it fell together with those who fell by a sweet repast.


Synaxarion

Our Holy Fathers appointed this commemoration before the Holy Fast, as if to show in actual fact how beneficial the medicine of fasting is to human nature, and also how great is the shame of gluttony and disobedience. Passing over all the individual sins committed in the world on account of him, as being without number, the Fathers set forth how much evil Adam, the first-formed man, suffered from not fasting even for a brief time, and how much evil he thereby brought upon our race, clearly pointing out also that the virtue of fasting was the first commandment that God gave to mankind. Not keeping this commandment, but yielding to his belly, or rather, through Eve, to the deceitful serpent, Adam not only did not become God, but also incurred death and transmitted corruption to the whole human race.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Nikola Tesla and the Serbian Orthodox Church


Address given for the Berkeley Organization of Serbian Students evening of commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Nikola Tesla’s death. Here we offer a slightly revised version of the original Berkeley Address.

By Bogdan Lubardić, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer
University of Belgrade - Faculty of Orthodox Theology, Serbia

9 February 2013

Your Grace, Bishop Maxim, very reverend and reverend fathers, distinguished colleagues, dear students and friends, I have been honored by the invitation to address you in the name of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of Belgrade University on the occasion of celebrating Saint Sava's Day here in San Francisco. And yet, I am to speak about the famous Serbian-American scientist Nikola Tesla (1856–1943). I have been asked to reflect, if only very briefly, on his legacy in regard to the Serbian Orthodox Church. It is my modest opinion that the following views may be a reasonable and legitimate evaluation of his position in the collective living memory of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Fr. Milutin Tesla (1819-1879), Nikola Tesla's Father


Milutin Tesla was born in Raduc, county Medak, Lika, on February 19 (OS), 1819. The Serbs came to Raduc from around Knin in the 1690s, having arrived there from western Serbia, via Hercegovina. The name Tesla denotes either a trade, as tesla is Serbian for adze - a small axe with a blade at right angles to the handle - or a physical characteristic, such as protruding teeth, prevalent in the Tesla family. The name Tesla is also found in Ukraine.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Georgina-Djuka Tesla (1822-1892), Nikola Tesla's Mother


"The mother's loss grips one's head more powerfully than any other sad experience in life." - Nikola Tesla, 1924

In my library, amongst the myriad books and papers about Nikola Tesla, beginning with those written nearly a century ago, and including the web entries created in our own day, there is a veritable sea of information, and quite a bit of disinformation, about the man who "invented the 20th century." Tesla had been declared, variously, an Austrian, a Hungarian, an East European, American, Yugoslav, Croat, occasionally even a Serb - which he was, by birth, heritage and his human consciousness. Nikola Tesla's father, Milutin, is always listed as a priest, sometimes an Orthodox priest, or a Greek Orthodox priest, only rarely as a Serbian Orthodox priest, which he was, and a most excellent, learned and devout man at that.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Is the Whole Earth a Living Icon of the Face of God?


By John Sanidopoulos

There is a quote attributed to St. John of Damascus circulating around the internet that says:

"The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God."

One website says that it comes from his "Treatise", but other than that I have no idea where it came from. I assume this means his treatise on icons, otherwise known as his Apologia Against Those Who Decry Holy Icons. However, the above quote I have not been able to locate in either this work or any other that has been translated into English, and I doubt it comes from one of his untranslated texts. In fact, I know it doesn't, because the quote is nonsensical and overly sentimental, and I can't imagine any Church Father making such an absurd statement.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Three Hierarchs and Modern Atheism


By Metropolitan Euthymios (Stylios) of Achelous

(A sermon delivered to scientists in 1971)

"You boldly defeated heresies."

Introduction: The phenomenon of atheism appeared in the West and became a great and dangerous universal movement, which Western Civilization paid for dearly in the 20th century.

The phenomenon of atheism also appeared within the Western Church, as a reaction of scientists to the arbitrariness and cruelty of this Church (Holy Inquisition, etc.) In the East, however, there was never a problem in the relationship between scientists and the Church. And we owe our gratitude to the three great Hierarchs we celebrate today: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysystom.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Original Light of Creation (St. Gregory the Theologian)


By St. Gregory the Theologian

There is one Light, God: inaccessible, knowing no succession or beginning, never ceasing, never measured, always shining - triply shining! - yet few, I think or less than few, are capable of reflecting on how great it is. And there are secondary lights, shining forth from that first Light: the powers that surround it, the spirits that serve it. But this light around us not only began recently, but is interrupted by night, and itself interrupts night in equal measure; it is entrusted to our sight, it is poured out in the air, it takes the very thing it gives - for it provides sight for the power of seeing, and is the first thing that our eyes see; by bathing visible objects, it gives us access to them. For since God has willed this universe, composed of both visible and invisible beings, be put together as the great and marvelous herald of his greatness, he himself is the light for eternal creatures, and there is no other (for why would those who possessed the greatest of lights need a second one?); but for lower creatures - those all around us - he caused the power of this light to shine forth, first of all. For it was fitting that the Great Light begin the work of creation with light, by which he destroyed the darkness, along with the disorder and confusion that had prevailed until then.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Faith And Science In Orthodox Gnosiology and Methodology


By Protopresbyter Fr. George Metallinos

A. Problem or pseudo-problem?

The antithesis and consequent collision between faith and science is a problem for western (Franco-Latin) thought and is a pseudo-problem for the Orthodox patristic tradition. This is based upon the historical data of these two regions.

The (supposed) dilemma of faith versus science appears in Western Europe in the 17th century with the simultaneous development of the positive sciences. About this same time we have the appearance of the first Orthodox positions on this issue. It is an important fact that these developments in the West are happening without the presence of Orthodoxy. In these recent centuries there has been a spiritual estrangement and differentiation between the [rational] West and the Orthodox East. This fact is outlined by the de-orthodoxiation and de-ecclesiastication of the western European world and the philosophication and legalization of faith and its eventual forming as a religion in the same area. Thus religion is the refutation of Orthodoxy and, according to Fr. John Romanides, the sickess of the human being. Therefore, Orthodoxy remained historically as a non-participant in the making of the present western European civilization, which is also a different size than the civilization of the Orthodox East.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Breaking: Origin of Life Still a Mystery


From a brief review in Scientific American of A Brief History of Creation: Science and the Search for the Origin of Life (Bill Mesler and H. James Cleaves II, Norton, 2015):

No scientific quandary is as confounding, controversial or important as the question of how life began, argue journalist Mesler and geochemist Cleaves. “It touches upon not only how we came to be, but why we came to be,” they write. “It is, in a sense, the ultimate question.” Here the authors chronicle the historical quest to understand how life arose from nonlife, from Aristotle's theory of the “spontaneous generation” of life, to Charles Darwin's 19th-century musing on the origin occurring “in some warm little pond,” to the latest modern-day research on the “LUCA,” or last universal common ancestor. They find that the scientific understanding of life itself has advanced considerably over the years but that the fundamental event that began it some four billion years ago is just as much a mystery as it ever has been.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Russian Scientific Studies on the Property Change of Water on Epiphany Day


Russian Study: Physical Property of Water Changed on Epiphany Day

February 5, 2007

All water, including that in the water supply system, changed its physical properties on the Epiphany Day and the day before it, the Sysin’s Research Institute of Human Ecology and Environmental Hygiene of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences physicists found some days ago.

The institute’s scientists daily researched properties and quality of regular water from the pipe measuring quantity of ion radicals in it. From 17 January(1) the ion radical level started rising, and the water started smoothening. The water’s pH level was rising too making it less acidic, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily said on Monday.