Re: [asa] Orthodox Christian view of evolution and kreationizm - was denominational change

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Sun Oct 25 2009 - 10:10:18 EDT


This is not what I was told by a St Petersburg academic at a recent conference we were at.
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Gregory Arago
  To: George Murphy ; Jack ; Christine Smith ;
  Sent: Sunday, October 25, 2009 2:05 PM
  Subject: [asa] Orthodox Christian view of evolution and kreationizm - was denominational change

  Hi George, You already asked a difficult question to me about this recently, which I haven't yet been able to respond to. Perhaps someday there will be more translations from Russian into English and I can think of several persons whose work should be translated, in case any of you are interested in helping fund a project for this (translation work here is surprisingly less expensive, due to a highly educated network/class). Here is one example: (just found today, searching for Fr. Kuraev and 'evolution' - he is an active figure in Russian culture). I'm led to imagine you'll find it fascinating!

  Without saying that you are incorrect, George, or that the article you link to is 'outdated' or just one single view within Orthodoxy, I would say that a majority of the Orthodox Christians I meet believe in a 'real' Adam and Eve. This may or may not make them 'YEC', but this terminology - 'young earth creationism' - doesn't mean the same thing here. It is really an 'American thing' (which has spread to Australia and other Protestant-leaning nations) and somehow 'doesn't fit' the same way in Russia. The term 'kreationizm' is simply an anglicism in Russian that doesn't need to be taken too seriously in the life of most Russian Orthodox Christians.

  Likewise, for Ted to say that Pupin "was absolutely a TE" is misleading. First of all, people didn't call themselves 'theistic evolutionists' in the early 20th century, so Ted is retrodicting here (which serves as rhetorical display to make the label TE look better today, i.e. just how IDists are retrodicting when they say Newton was an 'IDist'). Or pehaps, better to say that I simply define 'TE' much more narrowly than Ted does. To define 'TE' in his way includes quite a large number of people, very few of whom have satisfactorily 'limited evolution' in a way that could be called 'Orthodox Christian' (e.g. the recent post, that started a new thread, was not speaking about 'Orthodox' but rather about 'orthodox,' - orthodox biblical studies). And that is a major problem (i.e. this one of 'limiting evolution', in the face of some Protestant views of 'evolutionism' as a totalising ideology), one which current Catholic statements in recent years are helping to rectify.

  That said, let me answer to Christine by saying that most of the Orthodox Christians I've met, including those who are scientists and scholars, find little problem with the so-called 'natural science' of evolution. There is a greater focus on liturgy than on preaching, and on the great mystery of faith, rather than on the logic or rationale for faith in the Orthodox Church. The dualistic topic of 'science vs./and religion' in Russia is comparatively 'underdeveloped' in contrast to N. America and western Europe (not sure how it compares with other parts of the world). And I would echo much of what Schwarzwald said in this thread, but don't have time at the moment to follow-up on it.

  Have met several people who became Orthodox Christians who were previously Protestant Christians. The key, it seems to me, is to focus on the Kingdom of God and the fraternity/fellowship/communion/unity of the Christian faith, instead of making things into Orthodox vs. Catholic vs. Protestant, i.e. into a denominational affair. There are many attractions today in Orthodoxy (well, at least let me say, in Russian Orthodoxy), not least in terms of the energy with which the Church is filling once again a major role in society and in the lives of the people (narod). You probably can't imagine the number of baptisms that occur on a daily or weekly basis in some Russian Orthodox parishes!

  In fact, as it turns out I sat beside an Orthodox Priest at lunch today and didn't ask anything about 'origins vs. processes,' 'Garden of Eden,' 'first human' or 'kreationizm' (can you believe my lack of fixation in real life on this topic, ASA regulars and friends?! ;-). There were other questions on my person (more than just a mind) to ask him and the amazing others that were there too. Hope you'll enjoy reading Fr. Kuraev!

  Warm regards,


  From: George Murphy <>
  To: Jack <>; Christine Smith <>;
  Sent: Fri, October 23, 2009 3:21:27 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Denomenational Change

  This is not correct. See, e.g., .


  ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jack" <>
  To: "Christine Smith" <>; <>
  Sent: Friday, October 23, 2009 6:52 AM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Denomenational Change

> One of the things that made me stay in the PCA is that the Orthodox, as I understand it, are consistently YEC.

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Received on Sun Oct 25 10:11:06 2009

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