Posted by: oldbelieving | May 10, 2010

Orthodoxy and Creationism

So I’m sure we all know about the debate of Creation vs. Evolution. You will meet different Orthodox Christians say different things — some are ardent Creationists, some are ardent Evolutionists, and some don’t really care and don’t think it matters either way.

If you really consider the theological implications that evolution would have for Orthodoxy, rather than just throwing it in as a different beginning, and read what the Fathers have to say about Genesis, you will clearly see that evolution is in fact wholly incompatible with Orthodox Christianity. There are many issues here: the Fathers accepted the Scriptures as is — they didn’t think themselves wiser than God’s revelation. Many Fathers insisted that we not deny the literal/historical level. The Fathers, without exception as I far as I know, therefore accept the timeline of Genesis as literal, which leaves not nearly enough time for evolution to have occurred. And the major issue here is: what is the origin of death? Orthodoxy teaches that the fall of Adam and Eve was a cosmic event, bringing death to all of creation since Adam and Eve were the kings of creation and all of  creation was created for them and therefore tied to them physically and spiritually. If evolution be true, then the creation has always been filled with suffering and death simply because God chose to create it that way. And since all that God  created is good then death must be good! Then we’re faced with the question: why did Christ defeat death?! Evolution gives us a very mixed-up God. Dating procedures also make the assumption of uniformitarianism — but we know from the Tradition that there have been two big changes — the Fall (especially this!) and the Flood!

So here are some quotes from the Fathers just concerning the timeline and chronologies in Genesis, followed by a section of quotes from modern Saints and Elders and Church writers who either outright reject evolution, or continue to accept the literal interpretation of Genesis, even living since the rise of the evolutionary theory. Notice that the vast majority of these authors are NOT American. I point that out since this issue is often side-stepped as just being an American Fundamentalist phenomenon, but Orthodox Saints have been combating this teaching since it first came out!


Literal days and literal chronology in the Fathers

— St. Ambrose of Milan, Hexameron 1:37

In notable fashion has Scripture spoken of a “day,” not the “first day.” Because a second, then a third, day, and finally the remaining days were to follow, a “first day” could have been mentioned, following in this way the natural order. But Scripture established a law that twenty-four hours, including both day and night, should be given the name of day only, as if one were to say the length of one day is twenty-four hours in extent.

St. Archelaus of Cascus, Disputation with the Heretic Manes, Chapter 31,

Listen also to what I have to say on this other expression which has been adduced, viz., “Christ, who redeemed us from the curse of the law.”275 My view of this passage is that Moses, that illustrious servant of God, committed to those who wished to have the right vision,276 an emblematic277 law, and also a real law. Thus, to take an example, after God had made the world, and all things that are in it, in the space of six days, He rested on the seventh day from all His works by which statement I do not mean to affirm that He rested because He was fatigued, but that He did so as having brought to its perfection every creature which He had resolved to introduce. And yet in the sequel it, the new law, says: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”278 Does that mean, then, that He is still making heaven, or sun, or man, or animals, or trees, or any such thing? Nay; but the meaning is, that when these visible objects were perfectly finished, He rested from that kind of work; while, however, He still continues to work at objects invisible with an inward mode of action,279 and saves men.

St. Athanasius, Against the Arians 2.19

And all the visible creation was made in six days:—in the first, the light which He called day; in the second the firmament; in the third, gathering together the waters, He bared the dry land, and brought out the various fruits that are in it; and in the fourth, He made the sun and the moon and all the host of the stars; and on the fifth, He created the race of living things in the sea, and of birds in the air; and on the sixth, He made the quadrupeds on the earth, and at length man. And ‘the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; and neither the light is as the night, nor the sun as the moon; nor the irrational as rational man; nor the Angels as the Thrones, nor the Thrones as the Authorities, yet they are all creatures, but each of the things made according to its kind exists and remains in its own essence, as it was made.

— St. Augustine, City of God, Book XIII.XXI

On this account some allegorize all that concerns Paradise itself, where the first men, the parents of the human race, are, according to the truth of holy Scripture, recorded to have been; and they understand all its trees and fruit-bearing plants as virtues and habits of life, …as if they had no existence in the external world, but were only so spoken of or related for the sake of spiritual meanings. As if there could not be a real terrestrial Paradise! As if there never existed these two women, Sarah and Hagar, nor the two sons who were born to Abraham, the one of the bond woman, the other of the free, because the apostle says that in them the two covenants were prefigured; or as if water never flowed from the rock when Moses struck it, because therein Christ can be seen in a figure, as the same apostle says, “Now that rock was Christ!”No one, then, denies that Paradise may signify the life of the blessed; its four rivers, the four virtues, prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice; its trees, all useful knowledge; its fruits, the customs of the godly; its tree of life, wisdom herself, the mother of all good; and the tree of the knowledge of good …and evil, the experience of a broken commandment. The punishment which God appointed was in itself, a just, and therefore a good thing; but man’s experience of it is not good.. . .These and similar allegorical interpretations may be suitably put upon Paradise without giving offence to any one, while yet we believe the strict truth of the history, confirmed by its circumstantial narrative of facts.

City of God, Book XVIII.XL

In vain, then, do some babble with most empty presumption, saying that Egypt has understood the reckoning of the stars for more than a hundred thousand years. For in what books have they collected that number who learned letters from Isis their mistress, not much more than two thousand years ago? Varro, who has decla…red this, is no small authority in history, and it does not disagree with the truth of the divine books. For as it is not yet six thousand years since the first man, who is called Adam, are not those to be ridiculed rather than refuted who try to persuade us of anything regarding a space of time so different from, and contrary to, the ascertained truth? For what historian of the past should we credit more than him who has also predicted things to come which we now see fulfilled?

On Genesis: The Refutation of the Manichees 2.3

If the Manichees were willing to discuss the hidden meaning of these words in a spirit of reverent inquiry rather than of captious fault-finding, then they would of course not be Manachees, but as they ask it would be given them, and as they sought they would find, as they knocked it would be opened up to them. The fact is, you see, people who have a genuine religious interest in learning put far more questions about this text than these irreligious wretches; but the difference between them is that the former seek in order to find, while the latter are at no pains at all to do anything except not to find what they are seeking.

So then, this whole text must first be discussed in terms of history, and then in terms of prophecy. In terms of history deeds and events are being related, in terms of prophecy future events are being foretold. One should not look with a jaundiced eye, to be sure, on anyone who wants to take everything that is said here absolutely literally, and who can avoid blasphemy in doing so, and present everything as in accordance with Catholic faith; on the contrary one should hold up such a person as an outstanding and holy admirable understander of the text.

— St. Basil, Hexameron, 2.8

Why does Scripture say “one day the first day”? Before speaking to us of the second, the third, and the fourth days, would it not have been more natural to call that one the first which began the series? If it therefore says “one day,” it is from a wish to determine the measure of day and night, and to combine the time that they contain. Now twenty-four hours fill up the space of one day-we mean of a day and of a night; and if, at the time of the solstices, they have not both an equal length, the time marked by Scripture does not the less circumscribe their duration. It is as though it said: twenty-four hours measure the space of a day, or that, in reality a day is the time that the heavens starting from one point take to return there. Thus, every time that, in the revolution of the sun, evening and morning occupy the world, their periodical succession never exceeds the space of one day. But must we believe in a mysterious reason for this? God who made the nature of time measured it out and determined it by intervals of days; and, wishing to give it a week as a measure, he ordered the week to revolve from period to period upon itself, to count the movement of time, forming the week of one day revolving seven times upon itself: a proper circle begins and ends with itself.

— Venerable Bede, On Genesis (Translated Texts for Historians vol. 48, trans. By Calvin B. Kendall, Liverpool University Press, 2008), p. 75

And there was evening, with the light gradually setting after the completed period of the length of the day and passing beneath the lower parts of the world, which now regularly happens at night with the familiar circuit of the sun. And there was morning, with the same light gradually returning above the earth and beginning another day. At this point one day was completed – without doubt a day of twenty-four hours.

Cassiodorus, Commentary on Psalm 6, Ancient Christian Writers vol. 51, pg. 98-99

It is not without significance that he set the character of the penitent within the number six which is acknowledged as perfect in the discipline of numbers. On the sixth day God created man . . . Moreover He willed to be crucified on the sixth day for the salvation of men, so that this reckoning seems to embrace most fittingly both man’s beginning and the absolution of his sins.

— St. Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata 2.21

From Adam to the deluge are comprised two thousand one hundred and forty-eight years, four days. From Shem to Abraham, a thousand two hundred and fifty years. From Isaac to the division of the land, six hundred and sixteen years. Then from the judges to Samuel, four hundred and sixty-three years, seven months. And after the judges there were five hundred and seventy-two years, six months, ten days of kings.

The Stromata 4.25

Whence He commands them not to touch dead bodies, or approach the dead; not that the body was polluted, but that sin and disobedience were incarnate, and embodied, and dead, and therefore abominable. It was only, then, when a father and mother, a son and daughter died, that the priest was allowed to enter, because these were related only by flesh and seed, to whom the priest was indebted for the immediate cause of his entrance into life. And they purify themselves seven days, the period in which Creation was consummated. For on the seventh day the rest is celebrated; and on the eighth he brings a propitiation, as is written in Ezekiel, according to which propitiation the promise is to be received.

The Stromata 5.6

Now the high priest’s robe is the symbol of the world of sense. The seven planets are represented by the five stones and the two carbuncles, for Saturn and the Moon. The former is southern, and moist, and earthy, and heavy; the latter aerial, whence she is called by some Artemis, as if Aerotomos (cutting the air); and the air is cloudy. And cooperating as they did in the production of things here below, those that by Divine Providence are set over the planets are rightly represented as placed on the breast and shoulders; and by them was the work of creation, the first week. And the breast is the seat of the heart and soul.

The Stromata 6.16

Wherefore Solomon also says, that before heaven, and earth, and all existences, Wisdom had arisen in the Almighty; the participation of which-that which is by power, I mean, not that by essence-teaches a man to know by apprehension things divine and human. Having reached this point, we must mention these things by the way; since the discourse has turned on the seventh and the eighth. For the eighth may possibly turn out to be properly the seventh, and the seventh manifestly the sixth, and the latter properly the Sabbath, and the seventh a day of work. For the creation of the world was concluded in six days.

— St. Cyprian of Carthage, Treatise 1.1

The enemy is more to be feared and to be guarded against, when he creeps on us secretly; when, deceiving by the appearance of peace, he steals forward by hidden approaches, whence also he has received the name of the Serpent. That is always his subtlety; that is his dark and stealthy artifice for circumventing man. Thus from the very beginning of the world he deceived; and flattering with lying words, he misled inexperienced souls by an incautious credulity.

Treatise 9.11

But that it may be more manifestly and fully known how useful and necessary patience is, beloved brethren; let the judgment of God be pondered, which even in the beginning of the world and of the human race, Adam, forgetful of the commandment, and a transgressor of the given law, received.

Treatise 9.24

Let us wait for Him, beloved brethren, our Judge and Avenger, who shall equally avenge with Himself the congregation of His Church, and the number of all the righteous from the beginning of the world.

Treatise 11.2

It is an ancient adversary and an old enemy with whom we wage our battle: six thousand years are now nearly completed since the devil first attacked man.

(this responds to 11.11 which says “As the first seven days in the divine arrangement containing seven thousand of years.” Evolutionists put this forth as proof of non-literal reading, but 11.2 proves a literal timeline. If each day was 1000 yrs then 6th and 7th days are 1000 yrs each and time from first attack of Satan to St. Cyprian would be more like 8000 years.)

Treatise 12.20 1st Book

Also in the first book of Kings: The barren has borne seven and she that had many children has grown weak. But the seven children are the seven churches. Whence also Paul wrote to seven churches; and the Apocalypse sets forth seven churches, that the number seven may be preserved; as the seven days in which God made the world; as the seven angels who stand and go in and out before the face of God, as Raphael the angel says in Tobit; and the sevenfold lamp in the tabernacle of witness; and the seven eyes of God, which keep watch over the world; and the stone with seven eyes, as Zechariah says; and the seven spirits; and the seven candlesticks in the Apocalypse; and the seven pillars upon which Wisdom has built her house in Solomon.

— St. Cyril of Alexandria, Against Julian the Apostate 2:27-28

27. As for the way in which he made creation happen, we do not have the means to say.  I affirm that it is beyond any way of expression known to us: how indeed could what exceeds understanding be explained?  In my opinion, the approach imagined by the supreme Being and the way that leads to an understanding of his enterprise will be always as inaccessible to our human condition as we are by nature lower than this Being himself. When Moses said, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”, understand that he condenses and summarizes in some way all the details in a single word, when he describes the genesis of all creation. Then, he attempts to say somehow how this creation was put in order and how all the things created were assigned the role in life which they have.

Moses also states that that God created through the all-powerful Word: in fact his creator-Word of the universe is God himself and proceeds from God by nature. “God said,” Moses continues, “Let there be a firmament!” and this firmament  instantaneously becomes real by the operation of the Word, and God gives it the name of ‘heaven’. “God said: Let the dry land appear!” and the waters gather in a single body. God said moreover: ‘Let the sun be!’ and it was; and so for the moon, the stars, the day, the terrestrial and aquatic animals, and the birds.  But by nature the elements themselves cannot draw from their own resources the possibility of escaping corruption, on the contrary, they need the hand of He that maintains them in good condition: this is the sense of the words of Moses: “the breath of God was moving over the waters.” Indeed the breath of God vivifies anything, because He is life also by nature, as He proceeds from the life of the Father; everything needs Him, and there is no other means for anything to obtain existence in order to be what it is.

28. So contemplate, as I have just said, the firmament firmly established by the Word and the firm ground emerging after the gathering of the waters in a single body;contemplate the green earth full of grass and trees, and the vital forces included in them which makes possible for them to conceal their transitory nature with the virtue of eternity, to last and remain; see the luminaries of the firmament, created by God only for the purpose of lighting what is on earth, to mark the moments of time, the days, the years! Moses adds that the earth accepted the order to give rise to the brute animals, the Creator on his side distributing to each its form, size and conditions of existence.

And when everything in the world had finally been created, when nothing for lacking to supply the needs of man, then, and only then, did the Creator begin to think of the way in which He was going to realise man himself. Because the creation of man, unlike the other creative acts, could not be improvised.  The supreme being, in the conception of some and actually, is just grandeur and perfection — some even say that it is the loss of any spirit, any language, any admiration: however He decided to form the animal in His own image, as much as could be made. Also, having every reason to ensure that this, which must be in His image and resemblance, namely man, did not appear weak, contemptible or different enough from the other animals, He chose to create him only after serious reflection.

— St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 12.5

If then thou seekest the cause of Christ’s coming, go back to the first book of the Scriptures. In six days God made the world: but the world was for man. The sun however resplendent with bright beams, yet was made to give light to man, yea, and all living creatures were formed to serve us: herbs and trees were created for our enjoyment. All the works of creation were good, but none of these was an image of God, save man only. The sun was formed by a mere command, but man by God’s hands: Let us make man after our image, and after our likeness. A wooden image of an earthly king is held in honour; how much more a rational image of God?

— St. Dimitri of Rostov, Works of St. Dimitri of Rostov, III, p. 101, Christian Readings, 1842, IV, 395 (in Russian), as quoted in Lossky’s The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, pg. 140

One could ask why the Word of God delayed His descent to the earth and His incarnation to save fallen humanity. But before the middle of the 6th millennium since the fall of Adam, it was not possible to find a virgin pure in body as well as in spirit. There was only one such, unique by her spiritual and bodily purity who was worthy to become the Church and the temple of the Holy Spirit. (the Church’s calendar says that Christ was born in the 6th millennium since the creation of the world, not just since Adam).

St. Dionysius the Aereopagite, On the Divine Names 4.4

… and the light is both measure and number of hours, days, and all our time. For it is the light itself, even though it was then without form, which the divine Moses declared to have fixed that first Triad  of our days.

— Elder Cleopa, Elder Cleopa of Sihastria by Archimandrite Ioanichie Balan (New Varatec Publishing 2001), pg. 154

The Savior Christ came, not only to teach us what we need to do, but to endure suffering, ridicule, spitting, beating and death upon the Cross for us, so that He would deliver the race of Adam from hades where they had stayed for 5508 years from the time of the first Adam till the coming of the new Adam – Christ.

(this date of 5508 comes from the Byzantine Creation Era calendar which says that the world was created in 5508 BC, thus Elder Cleopa is saying that the world and Adam were created in the same year)

— Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Monastic Wisdom, p. 50

This is truly the sickness that plagues us men of the eighth millennium: we fail to recognize one another’s gifts.

p. 241

No one loves you more than I do, nor does anyone dare to tell you the plain truth, if he sees it. From all those people you have met until now, you have heard only flattery, trickery, and the teachings of the eighth millennium—everything false and commonplace. Whereas you, as a tender little shoot, need spiritual wisdom and the plain truth.

p. 363

But He does not send angels to help him, because the nature of men of the eighth millennium cannot endure it, nor does He give him His grace when he is alone, as in the beginning, so that he cannot say that he was given grace because of his own patience and struggle.

— Elder Paisios, With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man, pg. 295

“Someone else asked me, ‘Adam had two sons, Abel and Cain; how did Cain’s wife get there?’ But if one should read a little further in the Old Testament it says clearly that after Seth, Adam had other sons and daughters. Cain had left his home and wandered in the mountains after his brother’s murder and did not know that the wife he took was actually his sister. God provided that men should descend from one tribe to prevent malice and crime. This way they would reason, ‘We all come from the same father and mother, Adam and Eve;’ and perhaps this thought would put the break on human malice. But that’s not what happened. Our world is full of malice!”

— Elder Porphyrios, Wounded by Love, pg. 210

Egotism evicted man from Paradise; it is a great evil. Adam and Eve were simple and humble; that’s why they lived in Paradise. They didn’t have egotism. They did, however have the ‘primal nature,’ as we call it in theological language. When we say ‘primal nature’ we mean the gifts of grace that God bestowed on man in the beginning when He created him, namely, life, immortality, consciousness, freedom of will, love, humility, etc. Through flattery, however, the devil managed to delude them.

— St. Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion 1

1. For at the beginning Adam was brought to life on the sixth day, after being formed from earth and infused with God’s breath. He was not begun on the fifth day, as some think, and finished on the sixth; the notion of those who say this is mistaken. He was unspoiled and innocent of evil and had no other name, for he had no surname referring to an opinion, a belief, or a distinction of his mode of life. He was simply called “Adam,” which means “man.” 2. A wife like him was formed for him out of himself – out of the same body, by the same breath. Adam had male and female children. And after 930 years of life he died.

St. Ephraim of Syria, Commentary on Genesis 1, pg. 282

No one should think that the Creation of Six Days is an allegory; it is likewise impermissible to say that what seems, according to the account, to have been created in six days, was created in a single instant, and likewise that certain names presented in this account either signify nothing, or signify something else. On the contrary, we must know that just as the heaven and the earth which were created in the beginning are actually the heaven and the earth and not something else understood under the names of heaven and earth, so also everything else that is spoken of as being created and brought into order after the creation of heaven and earth is not empty names, but the very essence of the created natures corresponds to the force of these names.

Pg. 287

Although both the light and the clouds were created in the twinkling of an eye, still both the day and the night of the First Day continued for twelve hours each.

—- Epistle of Barnabas, chapter 15

Further, also, it is written concerning the Sabbath in the Decalogue which [the Lord] spoke, face to face, to Moses on Mount Sinai, “And sanctify ye the Sabbath of the Lord with clean hands and a pure heart.”And He says in another place, “If my sons keep the Sabbath, then will I cause my mercy to rest upon them.” The Sabbath is mentioned at the beginning of the creation [thus]: “And God made in six days the works of His hands, and made an end on the seventh day, and rested on it, and sanctified it.” Attend, my children, to the meaning of this expression, “He finished in six days.” This implieth that the Lord will finish all things in six thousand years, for a day is with Him a thousand years. And He Himself testifieth, saying, “Behold, to-day will be as a thousand years.” Therefore, my children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, all things will be finished. “And He rested on the seventh day.” This meaneth: when His Son, coming [again], shall destroy the time of the wicked man, and judge the ungodly, and change the-sun, and the moon, and the stars, then shall He truly rest on the seventh day.

Eusebius of Caesarea, Preparation for the Gospel 13:12, literal days

But what is clearly stated by the Law, that God rested on the seventh day, means not, as some suppose, that God henceforth ceases to do anything, but it refers to the fact that, after He has brought the arrangement of His works to completion, He has arranged them thus for all time.

‘For it points out that in six days He made the heaven and the earth and all things that are therein, to distinguish the times, and predict the order in which one thing comes before another: for after arranging their order, He keeps them so, and makes no change. He has also plainly declared that the seventh day is ordained for us by the Law, to be a sign of that which is our seventh faculty, namely reason, whereby we have knowledge of things human and divine.

–The Gospel Commentary, In Which Are Contained Lessons Taken from the Holy Gospel and from Many of the Divine Writings of Our Father among the Saints, John Chrysostom, trans. By Hieromonk German Ciuba, Russian Orthodox Church of the Nativity, Erie, PA (2002), title page

“Translated from the Greek tongue into the Slavonic in the Year 6851, in the 11th Indiction”

— St. Gregory Palamas, Homily 22, On the Same Feast [Ascension], Referring Also to Passions and Virtues

It is attested that Adam’s son Abel seemed well-pleasing and acceptable to God in the very beginning (cf. Gen. 4:4). Then not long after our fall, Enos “hoped to call upon the Lord” (cf. Gen. 4:26 LXX). As for Enoch, he not only pleased God but was also taken by Him (Gen. 5:24), becoming a clear sign of His compassions towards us fallen men. Once more sin gained momentum, and once more God turned away from the human race and we were justly given over to a universal flood. But yet again His wrath was not unmitigated, nor His judgment merciless. God found Noah righteous in his generation (Gen. 6:9ff), and miraculously preserved him as a second root of mankind, as if He were providentially pruning the human race as it ran wild, but not destroying it by cutting it down or uprooting it.

Topics of Natural and Theological Science21-22, Philokalia 4, pp. 345-55

In Six Days He allotted its own proper and appropriate rank to each of His creatures that together constitute His world. He differentiates each by command alone, as though bringing forth from hidden treasuries the things stored within, given them form, and disposing and composing them harmoniously, with perfection and aptness, one to the other, each to all and all to each.

— St. Gregory the Theologian, Homily 44, “On the New Week, Spring, and the Commemoration of the Martyr Mamas,”

Just as the creation begins with Sunday (and this is evident from the fact that the seventh day after it is Saturday, because it is the day of repose from works) so also the second creation begins again with the same day [i.e. the day of the Resurrection]

Homily 44,

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.

He did not display this light in the beginning, in my opinion, through some instrument like the sun. It was disembodied, unconnected with a sun; only later was the sun given the work of shedding light on the whole world. For while, in the case of other creatures, he brought matter into being first and created form later, limiting each thing by order and shape and size, in this case – to work a still greater wonder – he caused the form to exist without the matter (for light is the form of the sun), and after this added the matter, creating the sun as the shining eye of day. So one thing is numbered first in the list of days, another second and third and so on, until we reach the seventh day, which brings work to an end. The events of creation are divided up by these days, ordered in accord with God’s ineffable reasons, and not attributed all at once to the omnipotent Word, to whom merely thinking or speaking is a work completed

— St. Hippolytus of Rome, On Genesis

Gen. I. 5. And it was evening, and it was morning, one day.

Hippolytus. He did not say3 “night and day,” but “one day,” with reference to the name of the light. He did not say the “first day; “for if he had said the “first” day, he would also have had to say that the “second” day was made. But it was right to speak not of the “first day,” but of “one day,” in order that by saying “one,” he might show that it returns on its orbit and, while it remains one, makes up the week.

Gen. I. 6. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the water.

Hipp. On the first day God made what He made out of nothing. But on the other days He did not make out of nothing, but out of what He had made on the first day, by moulding it according to His pleasure.

On Daniel, 4

But that we may not leave our subject at this point undemonstrated, we are obliged to discuss the matter of the times, of which a man should not speak hastily, because they are a light to him. For as the times are noted from the foundation of the world, and reckoned from Adam, they set clearly before us the matter with which our inquiry deals. For the first appearance of our Lord in the flesh took place in Bethlehem, under Augustus, in the year 5500; and He suffered in the thirty-third year.

— St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 5.28.3

For in as many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded. And for this reason the Scripture says: “Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all their adornment. And God brought to a conclusion upon the sixth day the works that He had made; and God rested upon the seventh day from all His works.”247 This is an account of the things formerly created, as also it is a prophecy of what is to come. For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years;248 and in six days created things were completed: it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand year.

— St. Isaac of Syria, Homily 19 (Russian Edition), Homily 29 (English p. 143)

Before Christ “for five thousand years five hundred and some years God left Adam (i.e., man) to labor on the earth.”

— St. Isidore of Seville, Chronicon, 1st Age of the World

1. God created everything in six days. On the first day he fashioned light; on the second, the firmament of heaven; on the third, the land and the sea; on the fourth, the stars; on the fifth, the fish and the birds; on the sixth, the animals and the beasts of burden and finally the first man, Adam, in his image.

6th Age of the World

121. 5,814 years have passed from the beginning of the world to the present era 654 [616 AD], that is, to the fifth year of the imperium of Heraclius and the fourth of the most glorious prince Sisebut.

— Schema-Abbot John (Alekseyev), Elder of Valaam, Letters of the Valaam Elder Schema-Abbot John, 1996, pp. 86-87

An academy student and missionary said to me that by God’s creation in days one must understand millions of years. You poor missionary – you represent the omnipotent Creator as being very weak and attribute millions of years to Him. That’s how your reason speaks, but I believe that, as the Lord said, “And the evening and the morning were the first day,” one must understand days and not millions of years. For the Lord said, “And it was so.” With a word He divided the water from the land, and the water, with a noise, stood in its indicated places: there were seas, the rivers and streams began to flow, and across the whole earth there were warm waters and cold springs. The Lord said, “Let there be forests,” and there were forests across the whole earth in perfect form – one kind in the north, and another kind in the south – and then they began to gradually grow. So also the birds were created by God’s word: they immediately flew across the whole earth and were of various kinds; and all the rest of creation, as it is said in the Bible. The more I consider nature, the more I am amazed and come to know the omnipotence of the Creator.

— St. John Chrysostom, Homily “On the Cross and the Thief” 1:2.

says clearly in his Homily “On the Cross and the Thief“, that Christ: “opened for us today Paradise, which had remained closed for some 5000 years.”

Homily 3.10, p. 44

so Sacred Scripture speaks in that way, showing considerateness for the limitations of our hearing when it said,” God saw that the light was good,” and added, “God separated light from darkness; he called the light day and he called the darkness night,” allotting to each its own particular area and establishing limits for each right from the beginning so that they could keep to them permanently without interference. Everyone in his right mind can understand this, how from that time till this the light has not surpassed its limits, nor has darkness exceeded its due order, resulting in confusion and disruption. Really, this fact alone should suffice to oblige people obdurate in their lack of response to come to faith and obedience to the words of Sacred Scripture so as to imitate the order in the elements, respecting as they do their course uninterruptedly, and not overstep their own limitations but rather recognize the extent of their own nature. 11. Then, when he had assigned to each its own name, he linked the two together in the words, “Evening came, and morning came: one day.” He made a point of speaking of the end of the day and the end of the night as one, so as to grasp a certain order and sequence in visible things and avoid any impression of confusion.

— St. John of Damascus, Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 2.7

In the beginning, then, that is to say on the first day, God created light, the ornament and glory of the whole visible creation. For take away light and all things remain in undistinguishable darkness, incapable of displaying their native beauty. And God called the light day, but the darkness 23bHe called night17141714 Gen. i. 5.

. Further, darkness is not any essence, but an accident: for it is simply absence of light. The air, indeed, has not light in its essence17151715 Basil, Hom. 2, in Hexaëmeron.

. It was, then, this very absence of light from the air that God called darkness: and it is not the essence of air that is darkness, but the absence of light which clearly is rather an accident than an essence. And, indeed, it was not night, but day, that was first named, so that day is first and after that comes night. Night, therefore, follows day. And from the beginning of day till the next day is one complete period of day and night. For the Scripture says, And the evening and the morning were one day

— St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ (1971), pg. 269

God is inexhaustible in His gifts to men. During already 7403 years He abundantly feeds all creatures.

Pg. 290-291

Why did not the Almighty create the world at once, but in six days? In order to teach man by deeds to perform his work gradually, not hurriedly, but with consideration. If you pray, pray without hurrying; if you read the Gospel, or, in general, any religious or worldly books, do not read them hurriedly, but read with consideration and with a true view of the material. If you are learning a lesson, do not hurry to finish it quickly, but penetrate into the subject deeply and consider it well. If you are doing work, do it without hurrying, with consideration quietly. Even the world was not created instantaneously but in six days. The Lord shows us an example in everything; let us follow His steps

— Julius Africanus, Chronology Fragment, I

For why should I speak of the three myriad years of the Phoenicians, or of the follies of the Chaldeans, their forty-eight myriads? For the Jews, deriving their origin from them as descendants of Abraham, having been taught a modest mind, and one such as becomes men, together with the truth by the spirit of Moses, have handed down to us, by their extant Hebrew histories, the number of 5500 years as the period up to the advent of the Word of salvation, that was announced to the world in the time of the sway of the Caesars.


Adam, when 230 years old, begets Seth; and after living other 700 years he died, that is, a second death. Seth, when 205 years old, begot Enos; from Adam therefore to the birth of Enos there are 435 years in all. Enos, when 190 years old, begets Cainan. Cainan again, when 170 years old, begets Malaleel; And Malaleel, when 165 years old; begets, Jared; And Jared, when 162 years old, begets Enoch; And Enoch, when 165 years old, begets Mathusala; and having pleased God, after a life of other 200 years, he was not found. Mathusala, when 187 years old, begot Lamech. Lamech, when 188 years old, begets Noe.

— St. Justin Martyr, 1st Apology, chapter 67

But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead.

Fragments, XI

When God formed man at the beginning, He suspended the things of nature on his will, and made an experiment by means of one commandment. For He ordained that, if he kept this, he should partake of immortal existence; but if he transgressed it, the contrary should be his lot. Man having been thus made, and immediately looking towards transgression, naturally became subject to corruption.

Lactantius, Divine Institutes 7.14

Plato and many others of the philosophers, since they were ignorant of the origin of all things, and of that primal period at which the world was made, said that many thousands of ages had passed since this beautiful arrangement of the world was completed; and in this they perhaps followed the Chaldeans, who, as Cicero has related in his first book respecting divination,106 foolishly say107 that they possess comprised in their memorials four hundred and seventy thousand years; in which matter, because they thought that they could not be convicted, they believed that they were at liberty108 to speak falsely. But we, whom the Holy Scriptures instruct to the knowledge of the truth, know the beginning and the end of the world, respecting which we will now speak in the end of our work, since we have explained respecting the beginning in the second book. Therefore let the philosophers, who enumerate thousands of ages from the beginning of the world, know that the six thousandth year is not yet completed, and that when this number is completed the consummation must take place, and the condition of human affairs be remodelled for the better, the proof of which must first be related, that the matter itself may be plain. God completed the world and this admirable work of nature in the space of six days, as is contained in the secrets of Holy Scripture, and consecrated the seventh day, on which He had rested from His works. But this is the Sabbath-day, which in the language of the Hebrews received its name from the number,109 whence the seventh is the legitimate and complete number. For there are seven days, by the revolutions of which in order the circles of years are made up; and there are seven stars which do not set, and seven luminaries which are called planets,110 whose differing and unequal movements are believed to cause the varieties of circumstances and time.

— St. Leo the Great, Sermon 27 On Nativity, chapter 5

For as it is now day time and now night time, so the Creator has constituted divers kinds of luminaries, although even before they were made there had been days without the sun and nights without the moon16 . But these were fashioned to serve in making man, that he who is an animal endowed with reason might be sure of the distinction of the months, the recurrence of the year, and the variety of the seasons, since through the unequal length of the various periods, and the clear indications given by the changes in its risings, the sun doses the year and the moon renews the months. For on the fourth day, as we read, God said: “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, and let them shine upon the earth, and let them divide between day and night, and let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be in the firmament of heaven that they may shine upon earth.”

Sermon 64.2

. . . so that, since it is He through whom all things were made and without whom nothing was made, and who enlivened man, shaped from the slime of the earth, with the breath of rational life, the same would restore our nature, fallen at the beginning of time, to its lost dignity . . . Since, therefore, the whole posterity of the first man was felled by one and the same grievous wound, and no merits of the saints were able to alleviate the condition of that mortal injury, the one only Physician came from heaven. For He alone was born son of the Blessed Virgin and without guilt, not outside the human race, but a stranger to sin . . . when He became the only one of Adam’s progeny in whom the Devil would have nothing to call his own.

St. Macarius the Great, Homily 26:9

If one man, by being with another, knows about him, and you, who are twenty years old, know the affairs of your neighbour, can Satan, who has been with you from your birth, fail to know your thoughts? He is six thousand years old.

St. Maximus the Confessor, Ambigua 10.31a

[Speaking of the Transfiguration] … Or everything that is after God and ahs come into being from God, that is the nature of beings and time, these appear together, so far as is possible, with God Who appears as cause and maker. And of these, the type of time is Moses, not only as the teacher of time and of number in accordance with time (for he was the first to count time from the creation of the world), or as one who instituted temporal worship, but also as not entering bodily into rest with those whom he had instructed before the divine promise . . . Equally anyone who says that the intelligible and sensible creation of the fashioner Word is understood through Moses and Elijah does not utterly stray from the truth. Of these Moses offers the meaning [logos] of the sensible, that it is subject to change and corruption, as his history of it clearly shows, declaring its origination and death.

— St. Methodios of Olympus, Discourses, III.2

For it is a dangerous thing wholly to despise the literal meaning,5 as has been said, and especially of Genesis, where the unchangeable decrees of God for the constitution of the universe are set forth, in agreement with which, even until now, the world is perfectly ordered, most beautifully in accordance with a perfect rule, until the Lawgiver Himself having re-arranged it, wishing to order it anew, shall break up the first laws of nature by a fresh disposition.

Discourses, VII.5

In addition to these matters, there is this also to be considered, so that nothing may escape us of things which are necessary, why He said that the queens were sixty, and the concubines eighty, and the virgins so numerous as not to be counted from their multitude, but the spouse one. And first let us speak of the sixty. I imagine that He named under the sixty queens, those who had pleased God from the first-made man in succession to Noah, for this reason, since these had no need of precepts and laws for their salvation, the creation of the world in six days being still recent. For they remembered that in six days God formed the creation, and those things which were made in paradise; and how man, receiving a command not to touch15 the tree of knowledge, ran aground, the author of evil having led him astray.16 Thence he gave the symbolical name of sixty queens to those souls who, from the creation of the world, in succession chose God as the object of their love, and were almost, so to speak, the offspring of the first age, and neighbours of the great six days’ work, from their having been born, as I said, immediately after the six days. For these had great honour, being associated with the angels, and often seeing God manifested visibly, and not in a dream. For consider what confidence Seth had towards God, and Abel, and Enos, and Enoch, and Methuselah, and Noah, the first lovers of righteousness, and the first of the first-born children who are written in heaven,17 being thought worthy of the kingdom, as a kind of first-fruits of the plants for salvation, coming out as early fruit to God. And so much may suffice concerning these.

— St. Nilus the Myrrh-streaming, The Posthumous Prophecies of St. Nilus the Myrrh-streamer of Athos, chapter 19 in A Ray of Light

For these reasons I tell you… When the seventh number of years shall pass, and five more rising half way toward the eighth, there, halfway to the fifth number, what confusion there will be from the fourth to the fifth (after the passing of 7,400 years from the creation of the world, then between the fourth and fifth centuries, or, during the course of the present 20th century) What plundering there will then be! What sensualism, adultery, incest, and debauchery will then take place!

–Origen, Against Celsus 1.19

After these statements, Celsus, from a secret desire to cast discredit upon the Mosaic account of the creation, which teaches that the world is not yet ten thousand years old, but very much under that, while concealing his wish, intimates his agreement with those who hold that the world is uncreated.

—- Fr. Philotheos Zervakos, Paternal Counsels vol. 2 (Orthodox Kypseli Publications), pg. 41

He who wishes to become a monk if he is cowardly or hesitant should not become a monk. Because from the moment that he leaves the world he goes out to battle not against men, against flesh and blood but against the rulers and authorities of darkness, against the invisible demons who have been tried well in battle, because for 7,500 years they have fought men and monastics even more so.

Sulpitius Severus, History 1.2.1

The world was created by God nearly six thousand years ago, as we shall set forth in the course of this book … After the formation of the world man was created, the male being named Adam, and the female Eve. Having been placed in Paradise, they ate of the tree from which they were interdicted, and therefore were cast forth as exiles into our earth.

—- St. Symeon the New Theologian, Ethical Discourses 1.1

God did not, as some people think, just give Paradise to our ancestors at the beginning, nor did He make only Paradise incorruptible. No! Instead, He did much more. Before Paradise He made the whole earth, the one which we inhabit, and everything in it. Nor that alone, but He also in five days brought the heavens and all they contain into being. On the sixth day He made Adam and established him as lord and king of all the visible creation. Neither Eve nor Paradise were yet created, but the whole world had been brought into being by God as one thing, as a kind of paradise, at once incorruptible yet material and perceptible. It was this world, as we said, which was given to Adam and to his descendants for their enjoyment. Does this seem strange to you? It should not. Pay attention to our argument, and it will show you clearly how this is so from the holy Scripture. It is written there: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void.” Next, the remaining creative works of God are given in exact detail, and then, after “there was evening and morning the fifth day, “ Scripture adds: “Then God said, “Let us make man after our image, in our likeness . . . male and female He created them [1:26-27]. Male and female, it says, not as though Eve had already come into being, but instead as she was still in Adam’s side, co-existing with him.

— Terullian, An Answer to the Jews, Chapter 2

But—as is congruous with the goodness of God, and with His equity, as the Fashioner of mankind—He gave to all nations the selfsame law, which at definite and stated times He enjoined should be observed, when He willed, and through whom He willed, and as He willed. For in the beginning of the world He gave to Adam himself and Eve a law, that they were not to eat of the fruit of the tree planted in the midst of paradise; but that, if they did contrariwise, by death they were to die.

A Treatise on the Soul, chapter 37

But inasmuch as birth is also completed with the seventh month, I more readily recognize in this number than in the eighth the honour of a numerical agreement with the sabbatical period; so that the month in which God’s image is sometimes produced in a human birth, shall in its number tally with the day on which God’s creation was completed and hallowed. Human nativity has sometimes been allowed to be premature, and yet to occur in fit and perfect accordance with an hebdomad sevenfold number, as an auspice of our resurrection, and rest, and kingdom.

— Theodoret of Cyrus, Dialogues II

Orth.-And how many days after the creation of heaven and earth are we told that Adam was formed?

Eran.-On the sixth day.

— St. Theophilus of Antioch, To Autolycus, 3.16

But I wish now to give you a more accurate demonstration, God helping me, of the historical periods, that you may see that our doctrine is not modern nor fabulous, but more ancient and true than all poets and authors who have written in uncertainty. For some, maintaining that the world was uncreated, went into infinity; and others, asserting that it was created, said that already 153, 075 years had passed. This is stated by Apollonius the Egyptian. And Plato, who is esteemed to have been the wisest of the Greeks, into what nonsense did he run? For in his book entitled The Republic, we find him expressly saying: “For if things had in all time remained in their present arrangement, when ever could any new thing be discovered? For ten thousand times ten thousand years elapsed without record, and one thousand or twice as many years have gone by since some things were discovered by Daedalus, and some by Orpheus, and some by Palamedes.” And when he says that these things happened, he implies that ten thousand times ten thousand years elapsed from the flood to Daedalus. And after he has said a great deal about the cities of the world, and the settlements, and the nations, he owns that he has said these things conjecturally. For he says, “If then, my friend, some god should promise us, that if we attempted to make a survey of legislation, the things now said,” etc., which shows that he was speaking by guess; and if by guess, then what he says is not true.


And from the foundation of the world the whole time is thus traced, so far as its main epochs are concerned. From the creation of the world to the deluge were 2242 years. And from the deluge to the time when Abraham our forefather begat a son, 1036 years. And from Isaac, Abraham’s son, to the time when the people dwelt with Moses in the desert, 660 years. And from the death of Moses and the rule of Joshua the son of Nun, to the death of the patriarch David, 498 years. And from the death of David and the reign of Solomon to the sojourning of the people in the land of Babylon, 518 years 6 months 10 days. And from the government of Cyrus to the death of the Emperor Aurelius Verus, 744 years. All the years from the creation of the world amount to a total of 5698 years, and the odd months and days.

— Vladimir Lossky, Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, 116-117

In fact, the Biblical narrative gives no precise account of the nature of the image; but it does present the whole creation of man as an act apart, different from the creation of other beings. Like the angels, who, as St. Isaac the Syrian puts it, were created ‘in silence,’ man was not formed by a divine command addressed to the earth. Rather God Himself fashioned him from the dust of the earth with His own hands; that is to say, according to St. Ireneus, with the Word and the Holy Spirit, and breathed the breath of life into him. St. Gregory Nazianzen interprets the passage in Genesis in the following way: ‘The Word of God taking a portion of the newly created earth, has with his own immortal hands fashioned our frame, and imparted life to it; since the spirit which he breathed into it, is an effluence of the invisible Divinity. Thus out of the dust, and out of the breath, man was created in the image of the Immortal, for in both the spiritual nature reigns supreme.

— Victorinus, On the Creation of the World,

To me, as I meditate and consider in my mind concerning the creation of this world in which we are kept enclosed, even such is the rapidity of that creation; as is contained in the book of Moses, which he wrote about its creation, and which is called Genesis. God produced that entire mass for the adornment of His majesty in six days; on the seventh to which He consecrated it …with a blessing. . . . In the beginning God made the light, and divided it in the exact measure of twelve hours by day and by night, for this reason, doubtless, that day might bring over the night as an occasion of rest for men’s labours; that, again, day might overcome, and thus that labour might be refreshed with this alternate change of rest, and that repose again might be tempered by the exercise of day. “On the fourth day He made two lights in the heaven, the greater and the lesser, that the one might rule over the day, the other over the night,”2the lights of the sun and moon and He placed the rest of the stars in heaven, that they might shine upon the earth, and by their positions distinguish the seasons, and years, and months, and days, and hours.

Saints and Holy Elders who have lived since Darwin

— Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow, editor’s preface to Pravoslavnoye osmysleniye tvoreniya mira I sovremennaya nauka, vol. 4 (2008), p. 3

A polarity of worldviews poses the task today of introducing students to a wide range of views on fundamental questions. Such questions traditionally refer to the problems of the origin of life, the origin of the universe, and the appearance of man. And no harm will be done to a schoolboy if he knows the Biblical theory of the origin of the world. Man’s realization that he is the crown of God’s creation will only elevate him; if someone wants to think that he has descended from apes, let him think that way, but let him not thrust it on someone else.

— St. Ambrose of Optina, Sovety suprugam I roditelyam (Counsels to spouses and parents) (2009), evolution is nonsense

Don’t believe at face value all kinds of nonsense without investigation: that something can come into being [of itself] from dust, and that people used to be apes.

— Elder Amphilochios of Patmos, Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit, pg. 60

With the prayer man becomes like a child. It brings him back to the simplicity and innocence that Adam had in Paradise before the fall. With the prayer one acquires blessed, holy dispassion


— St. Barsanuphius of Optina, Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, pg. 280

Look – what a picture! … This is left to us as a consolation. It’s no wonder that the Prophet David said, “Thou hast gladdened me, O Lord, by Thy works” (Ps. 91:3). “Thou hast gladdened me,” he says, this is only a hint of that wondrous beauty, incomprehensible to human thought, which was originally created. We don’t know what kind of moon there was then, what kind of sun, what kind of light . . . All of this changed after the fall.


Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, pg. 468

The beautiful things of this world are only hints of that beauty with which the first-created world was filled, as Adam and Eve saw it. That beauty was destroyed by the sin of the first people . . . Thus also did the fall into sin of the first people destroy the beauty of God’s world, and there remain to us only fragments of it by which we may judge concerning the primordial beauty.

Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, pg. 488 (St. Herman’s Press)

The English philosopher Darwin created an entire system according to which life is a struggle for existence, a struggle of the strong against the weak, where those that are conquered are doomed to destruction and the conquerors are triumphant. This is already the beginning of a bestial philosophy, and those who come to believe in it wouldn’t think twice about killing a man, assaulting a woman, or robbing their closest friend — and they would do all this calmly, with a full recognition of their right to commit these crimes.

Fr. Constantine Bufeyev (Moscow priest, doctor of geology and mineralogy, founder of Shestodnev), editor’s preface to Pravoslavnoye osmysleniye tvoreniya mira I sovremennaya nauka, vol. 4 (2008), p. 5

In the work of the Shestodnev center, we have always set down as a principle to base ourselves, in the realm of science, only on trustworthy and verified facts. In theology we prefer to use primarily Patristic sources, and allow no departure from dogmatic Orthodox teachings. In this we are trying to be continuers of the work of Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of blessed memory, who, it seems to us, has set forth the only right direction in the theological interpretation of the problems posed by the modern unchurched world.

— Elder Cleopa, Elder Cleopa of Sihastria by Archimandrite Ioanichie Balan (New Varatec Publishing 2001), pg. 154

The Savior Christ came, not only to teach us what we need to do, but to endure suffering, ridicule, spitting, beating and death upon the Cross for us, so that He would deliver the race of Adam from hades where they had stayed for 5508 years from the time of the first Adam till the coming of the new Adam – Christ. (this date of 5508 is taken from the Byzantine Creation Era calendar which says that the world was created in 5508 BC — here is the Wiki article about this calendar

Hieromartyr Fr. Daniel Sysoev: Chronicle of the Beginning (1999): deals with bost theological and scientific issues related to the doctrine of creation

The Hexameron vs. Evolution, edited by Deacon Daniel Sysoev (2000): anthology of articles by Fr. Constantine Bufeyev, Fr. Daniel Sysoev, and other authors.

“Who is Like God?” or, How Long Did a Day of Creation Last? (2003): A theological investigation of creation and evolution, and an analysis of the attempts to reconcile them. Contains many Patristic citations, from the first to the twentieth centuries, on the Six days of creation.

— Fr. Dumitru Staniloae, The Experience of God: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: Vol. 2: The World: Creation and Deification, pg. 1

The economy of God, that is, his plan with regard to the world, consists in the deification of the created world, something which, as a consequence of sin, implies also its salvation. The salvation and the deification of the world presuppose, as primal divine act, its creation. Salvation and deification undoubtedly have humanity directly as their aim but not a humanity separated from nature, rather one that is ontologically united with it. For nature depends on man or makes him whole, and man cannot reach perfection if he does not reflect nature and is not at work upon it. Thus by ‘world” both nature and humanity are understood; or when the word “world” is used to indicate one of these realities, the other is always implied as well.

Pg. 12

The successive appearance of other humans from the first human is no longer a creation like that in the beginning, for all remains on the same plane.

— Archimandrite Ephraim of Vatopaidi, Creation and the End of Ages,

The Lord first created the spiritual, invisible world, which includes the myriads of angels and then the material world, which became visible through His Word. Finally, He created man, the crown of creation, who as St John of Damascus says, is made of visible and invisible substance. For this reason St Gregory Palamas describes man as “the major in a small world”.

Human nature was not created by command like the rest of the visible and invisible creation where the Lord “spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm” (Psalm 33:9). In order to create man all three Persons of the Holy Trinity came together and said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). Thus the Lord and Creator Himself took dust from the ground and created the body and breathed into his nostrils ‘the breath of life’, namely divine Grace, His uncreated deifying energies.


… According to Christian anthropology, Adam, the first man, having been placed in Paradise, was given the command to ‘work and keep it’ and govern over the entire material creation ‘freely’. In order to preserve the necessary reliance on the Lord- Creator, man was issued with a prohibition; namely not to eat from a certain fruit, in order to test his free will. Adam, being free, did not keep this command and as theology says ‘the forefathers sinned’ or ‘fell’.
… After the fall, the forefathers, Adam and Eve, ‘were clothed with garments of skins’ (Genesis 3:21); namely with corruption, mortality and with the blameless passions: hunger, thirst, sleep and pain. The powers of their soul were also diffused.


… The fall of man, who was the ‘crown of creation’, has caused the fall of the entire creation which “has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth” (Romans 8″22). This explains the main teaching of our Church, which views the creation as a whole, which is being guided towards perfection and deification; man and nature together. Man and nature are not distinct in the design of the creation. Therefore man has a duty to maintain a good relationship with the rest of the creation. The fact that man remains in the fallen condition perilously prolongs the world enduring in the same condition. Thus man contributes to the perversion and degradation of nature. Therefore, the fall has not only distorted man existentially and morally but also his very same environment.

In His Second Coming, Christ will not only restore human nature but the entire creation. Since the rest of the creation fell because of man, it will be regenerated by the sanctified man. When man attains sanctification, his surrounding environment is also sanctified. We find many such examples in the lives of the saints. A lion was attending the needs of St Gerasimos of Jordan; St Seraphim of Sarov was feeding a bear as if it was a tame lamb; Elder Paisios the Hagiorite was known to be keeping company with snakes and other wild animals.

Along with the resurrection and regeneration of man, nature will also be absolved of corruption. According to St Symeon the New Theologian, nature will become non-material and eternal. “During the regeneration, nature will become a non-material abode, beyond human perception” (St Symeon The New Theologian: Moral Issues, 1, 5).

— St. Gabriel Igoshkin (hieroconfessor), Lives of the 20th Century Russian New Martyrs and Confessors of the Moscow Diocese: Sept-Oct) (2003) (by Met. Juvenaly of Krutitsa and Kolomena),

Accused by Soviets of ignoring science: “That is not true. I love science. I have studied all my life and advise others to study, for knowledge is light and ignorance is darkness … [but] about the creation of life on earth and man I have said that it is as it is written in the Holy Scriptures, and I cannot say otherwise.”

– Fr. George Calciu, Christ is Calling You!, pg. 26

You have been told that you descend from apes, that you are a beast which must be trained; but now you discover an astonishing thing: that you are the temple of God, and in you dwells the Spirit of God. You are being called, young friend, back to your dignity as a metaphysical being; you are raised up from the low place in which false education has sunk you to the sacred office of being the temple in which God dwells.

pg. 33-34,

Tell me, young man, how much have you believed the statements which you have heard repeatedly to the point of obsession – at school, on the radio, on television, in the newspapers and at young people’s meetings – that you descend from apes? And how honored did this revelation make you feel? Noam Chomsky has said that the most stupid human beings can learn to speak, but the most intelligent ape has never reached such a height of achievement.

And now, behold, a voice from heaven addresses you: “You are my son!” And again, the voice confirms it for you, as it did before for Jesus when He lived in the world,  I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again (cf. John 12:28).

You are heaven and earth; darkness and light; sin and grace. I know, friend, that you are tortured by questions concerning the meaning of your life in this world, and on the purpose of the world in general. Do the ready-made authoritarian statements in answer to your limited question satisfy you: namely that “heaven is fiction, matter is everything, and it is matter speaking to you through your internal and external senses”? Matter organized its own structure and evolution by certain laws of great complexity before even the slightest rudiment of the human brain was formed. Thus once the higher brain of man appeared – the only means by which matter organizes itself – it could no longer recognize itself. And from that time until now human intelligence has been struggling in a sterile and vain effort to discover the laws which heedless matter fixed in a period when there was nothing but darkness and unconsciousness!

What do you think of this game of non-intelligence which annuls all human intelligence, even that of the collective one? Do you not see that the most elementary logic obliges you to admit the presence of an intelligence outside the world?

But I call you to a much higher flight; to total abandonment; to an act of courage which defies reason. I call you to God. I call you to the One that transcends the world so that you might know an infinite heaven of spiritual joy, the heaven which you presently grope for in your personal hell and which you seek even while in a state of unplanned revolt.

This heaven, with its divine hierarchy and its divine light gradually descending only to return to its source which is God, does not count us in twos or fives or tens. For, my friend, in the eyes of heaven you are not a piece in a machine which drives you around; in the eyes of heaven you are a soul, a whole being, so free in your actions, so priceless in your worth, that God Himself, in the guise of the Second Person of the Trinity, came into the world to be crucified for you.

How ridiculous it seems to you now – the curse of the poet who believed so much in heaven that he needed to have a chorus of children to hide behind as a shield! Do not believe, my friend, in the all-powerful nature of matter. This earth is finite. We can destroy matter in minutes through fission and achieve oblivion if we do not admit the presence of God. The absolute claims of materialism are supported on a limited premise. You realize that the attributes of matter – such as infinity, eternity, and self-creation – are purely spiritual notions. To deny the existence of heaven is to deny all existence which does not fall into the orbit of my feelings. To deny the spirit means to admit that, for those moments when I close my eyes or block my ears, the world becomes non-existent.

pg. 152, 154-155,

I read in the newspapers just a few days ago that the Pope made a statement – did you read it?

That he believes in the theory of evolution.

Yes. He tried to justify his statement by saying that only the soul of man is made by God. But until the appearance of man – what did God do – did He sleep? When did He start to make the soul of man and why? If you accept that the body of man and the body of animals are not created by God, that they are the result of evolution, then why did God begin to make the soul of man? . . . And now he is speaking about evolution – limiting God to a being that could only make a soul from time to time. I think he is in the hands of freemasonry. I cannot explain it otherwise. Either that or he has lost his mind.

There was a professor of Apologetics at the seminary. He said that now is the time for science to be in accord with theology – not theology with science. And that is right! We have discovered many things, and all these things induce us to accept that energy comes before matter – spirit before matter. And the Pope says that God has no role in the creation of the world? That matter created itself without having any brain to organize the laws of the universe? And now human beings, who do have brains, are unable to discover the laws of the universe made by matter without a brain? And God only created the soul of a man? If we accept the theory of evolution as the Pope said we should, it would mean accepting that in the beginning was a cell, and only afterwards a man. When, then, did God decide to give man a soul? To Neanderthal man or to modern man? Thus it is absolutely stupid for a Pope to say a thing like that.

Well, there are even many Catholics and other Christians who are “pro-choice” – who are supporting the slaughter of unborn babies. They just do not see this fight between God and the devil that you have spoken of.

What is surprising to me is that more and more the church sides with the devil in this fight. If the Pope now supports the devil, what will happen to the souls of the millions of Catholics? Until now, some bishops have supported evolution, but there had been no decision with the synaxis of bishops saying: yes, evolution is right. But the Pope has said it? For this reason I suppose that he is, to a certain extent, in the hands of Masonry. He is very inclined toward the Catholic worldly empire; he travels often. He tries to make the church stronger, but he completely forgets the spiritual life.

— Dr. George Mantzaridis, Universality and Monasticism, foreword to Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit, p. 27

The fall into sin destroyed man internally and divided the human race into egocentric individuals. Man’s distancing from the source of life, God, killed him and estranged him from his neighbor and from the world. Man’s subjection to the law of decay and death left him egocentric and selfish. In this way, the unity of humanity was undermined at its base and division became the rule.

— Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos, Prologue for the English Edition of Counsels from the Holy Mountain – Elder Ephraim

I thank God that his book is now translated into English, because I believe that it will give another perspective to those who desire their rebirth in Christ and want to overcome the great problems that torment man today: death and the duality of pleasure and pain.

The Twelve Feasts of the Lord 7:17, evolution is from man to God, not ape to man

The Fathers, speaking of the Transfiguration of Christ and the partaking of divine glory, speak of the personal ascent on the mount of the vision of God. It is the constant cry of the Church: “Make Thine everlasting light shine forth also upon us sinners.” And in a related prayer in the first hour we feel the need to ask Christ: “O Christ, the true Light, which illumineth and sanctifieth every man who cometh in the world! Let the light of Thy countenance be shown upon us, that in it we may behold the light ineffable.” Continual ascent and evolution are needed.

In the Church we speak of man’s evolution, not from ape to man, but from man to God. And this “ecclesiastical theory” of evolution which the Church has, gives an understanding of life and satisfies all of man’s inner and existential anxieties.

St. Maximus the Confessor teaches that Christ is not shown to all in the same way, but to beginners he is shown in the form of a servant, while to those who are ascending the mountain of the vision of God He is shown “in the form of God”.

— Met. Hilarion Alfeyev, interview by Dmitry Didrov and Dmitry Gubin, Temporarily Open, ATV, May 1, 2009 [in Russian]

Darwin’s theory contradicts Biblical revelation, because this theory proposes to us … that man developed from some kind of animal state by way of gradual evolution to the point that people have reached now. The Biblical picture is quite different. The Bible states that God created man perfect, and that the imperfection of today’s human life is bound up first of all with sin.

— St. Hilarion Troitsky (Abp. of Verey, heiromartyr), The Incarnation and Humility, in Moscow Church Herald 1913, nos. 51-52, reprint in There is no Christianity Without the Church (2007), p. 349

Through the misuse of his freedom man has so corrupted his nature that he is only left to cry out: “Wretched man am I, poor me! I cannot save myself.” We require a new creation, we need an infusion of a new energy of grace. This is precisely what all mankind should say in order to believe in the incarnate Son of God. Such a humble admission, such a lowly confession of one’s frailness, of one’s guilt before God’s handiwork – is this in the spirit of the modern man? On the contrary, the contemporary conscience is saturated with the idea of evolution, the idea of progress, i.e., the very idea that nourishes human pride. Christianity demands a humble conscience. There was perfect Adam, my forefather; and I, mankind, have only been involved in sin and corruption. The Church calls us to humility when she calls Adam our ancestor. But evolution? Descent from a monkey? No matter how modestly someone may judge himself, still he cannot avoid thinking with some pride: at least I am not a monkey, at least some progress has been realized in me. This is how evolution, by calling a monkey our ancestor, feeds our pride. If a monkey is our benchmark then one can pride oneself in progress, but if we compare ourselves to the sinless Adam, this external progress will lose its value. The external progress is at the same time a refinement of sin. If humanity is moving forward in its development, then we can rely on ourselves. We can create ourselves. But the Church says the opposite. “We could not become incorrupt and immortal if the Incorruptible and Immortal One had not first become what we are now.” To believe in the Incarnation means to confess that without God all of mankind is nothing.

The Church through the ages carries the ideal of deification. This is a very high ideal and it demands much from man. It is unthinkable without the Incarnation; it forces man to first of all be humbled. Humanity rejects this high ideal and it no longer needs the Incarnation of the Son of God. An infinitely lowered ideal of life allows mankind to speak about progress; it gives it the opportunity to feel proud about its achievements. Precisely these two thought-patterns comprise the two worldviews: the ecclesiastical and the secular. The ecclesiastical: the descent of perfect Adam, the fall, the need for the Incarnation – humility. The secular: the ascent from the monkey, progress, the needlessness and denial of the Incarnation – pride.

— St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, Homily on Man

The earth, created, adorned, blessed by God, did not have any deficiencies. It was overflowing with refinement. “God saw,” after the completion of the whole creation of the world, “everything that He had made: and, behold, it was very good.” (Gen. 1:31). Now the earth is presented to our eyes in a completely different look. We do not know her condition in holy virginity; we know her in the condition of corruption and accursedness, we know her already sentenced to burning; she was created for eternity. . . . Plants were not subjected either to decay or to diseases; both decay and diseases and the weeds themselves, appeared after the alteration of the earth following the fall of man . . . According to its creation, there was on it only the splendid, only the wholesome, there was only that which was suitable for the immortal and blessed life of its inhabitants . . . The beasts and other animals lived in perfect harmony among themselves, nourishing themselves on plant life.

— Ioan Vladuca, About Evolutionism,

The atheist evolutionism is the hypothesis that states that the species of animals turned one into another, from the first unicellular to the monkey and human being, in billions of years, through accidental processes; it also states that the species of plants evolved from unicellular forms to the plants with flowers. The evolutionism comes from the ancient pagan believes.

In the Sumerian mythology, men and gods appeared out from the mixture of sweet water and salt water.
Anaximandre (610-546 a. Chr.) believed that the animals appeared from the sea, due to the sun warmth: that at the beginning they were covered by a thorn crust they lost.
According to Empedocle (483-423a. Chr.), life was born from the heated silt from which came out segments of living beings, isolated members, eyes lacking the head, etc. he believed that the living beings were obtained from the random associations of those segments.
Democrite (460-370 A. Chr.) considered that man was leavened, like a wormlig, out of silt.
Aristotle (384-322 a.Chr.) considered that there was a spontaneous transition from unliving to living through intermediary elements. He also thought that plants are intermediary links between lifeless objects and animals.
Teophrast of Eresos (370-287 a. Chr.) believed that plants can spontaneously metamorphosis.
Lucretiu (98-55a. Chr.) stated that species appeared from the accidental mixture of some elements.
Albertus Magnus (1193-1280) was convinced that plants can pass from one species to another under the influence of the soil, of the nourishment, of the grafting. He believed that barley can turn into wheat, and the oak into vineyard.
The medieval philosophers tried to obtain mice out of wheat flour and dirty rags.
Buffon (1707-1788) supposed that out of rotten stuff can be born tape worms, caterpillars, beetles and lice.
Diderot (1713-1784) believed that the living creatures appear spontaneously by accidental chemical combinations.
Lamark (1744-1829) considered that the living beings appeared spontaneously and then they evolved from simple to complex.
Cabanis (1757-1808) thought that the matter in motion may generate forms of life.
Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), Charles Darwin’ grandfather, also thought that life appeared spontaneously. He also believed that living creature evolved due to their wish and their efforts of will. In those times many people were convinced that animals with teeth appeared out of those without teeth because of their wish to chew the food. In this context was formed (that is to say deformed) Charles Darwin’ outlook., considered as “the father of the evolutionism”. He believed that man comes from a hairy mammalian, with tail and sharp ears, living in trees. Charles Darwin used his theory to explain the progress of the society. He considered that the fight for the existence has a decisive role. That is why, indignant at the concern that people showed for the sick men, he stated that “anyone who dealt with the reproduction of the domestic animals knows, with no shadow of a doubt, how harming can be this perpetuation of the weakly beings”. Both the communists and the capitalists developed this conception because of political and economical interests.
All the strange ideas, presented above are to be found nowadays in the evolutionary biology taught in schools, secondary schools and universities. Pupils are taught that ” the living matter is the result of evolution, in certain conditions, of the lifeless matter” and that “life is a step superior in point of quality in the evolution of the forms of motion of the matter”. They are also told that life appeared spontaneously, in the aquatic medium, through accidental chemical combinations, in the presence of the sun light. Pupils are taught that plants and animals evolved from unicellular to pluricellular, from inferior to superior. Fish are said to have turned into amphibians, amphibians into reptiles, reptiles into birds and mammalians, from monkey to man. In the 12th grade pupils learn that ” the species of hominides lost the fur-coat proper to the monkey, becoming a nude monkey”.
Graver than the atheist biologists’ statements are those of some contemporary philosophers with theological pretensions. these ones believing that the theory of the evolutionism is correct, hurried to interpret it theologically, mixing it with the teaching of the Orthodox Church. Thus, they came to the conclusion that Adam had animal ancestors, that man comes from blessing from a mammalian, etc. in this way appeared the theist evolutionism, used by the New Age.

— Schema-Abbot John (Alekseyev), Elder of Valaam, Letters of the Valaam Elder Schema-Abbot John, 1996, pp. 86-87

An academy student and missionary said to me that by God’s creation in days one must understand millions of years. You poor missionary – you represent the omnipotent Creator as being very weak and attribute millions of years to Him. That’s how your reason speaks, but I believe that, as the Lord said, “And the evening and the morning were the first day,” one must understand days and not millions of years. For the Lord said, “And it was so.” With a word He divided the water from the land, and the water, with a noise, stood in its indicated places: there were seas, the rivers and streams began to flow, and across the whole earth there were warm waters and cold springs. The Lord said, “Let there be forests,” and there were forests across the whole earth in perfect form – one kind in the north, and another kind in the south – and then they began to gradually grow. So also the birds were created by God’s word: they immediately flew across the whole earth and were of various kinds; and all the rest of creation, as it is said in the Bible. The more I consider nature, the more I am amazed and come to know the omnipotence of the Creator.

— St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ

“The Holy Scriptures speak more truly and more clearly of the world than the world itself or the arrangement of the earthly strata; the scriptures of nature within it, being dead and voiceless, cannot express anything definite. “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?” Were you with God when He created the universe? “Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counseller, hath taught Him?” And yet you geologists boast that you have understood the mind of the Lord, in the arrangement of strata, and maintained it in spite of Holy Writ! You believe more in the dead letters of the earthly strata, in the soulless earth, than in the Divinely-inspired words of the great prophet Moses, who saw God.”

p. 70

When you doubt the truth of any person or event described in Holy Scripture, then remember that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God,” as the Apostle says and is therefore true, and does not contain any imaginary persons, fables, and tales, although it includes parables, which everyone can see are not true narratives, but are written in figurative language. The whole of the word of God is single, entire, indivisible truth; and if you admit that any narrative, sentence, or word is untrue, then you sin against the truth of the whole of Holy Scripture and its primordial truth, which is God Himself. “I am the truth,” said the Lord; “Thy word is truth,” said Jesus Christ to God the Father. Thus, consider the whole of the Holy Scripture as truth; everything that is said in it has either taken place or takes place.

p. 95 (1971)

The human race is one great tree of God; spreading and growing over the whole earth, and covering the whole earth with its branches. To the original rotten root – fallen Adam – God in His great wisdom and mercy has grafted a new living root – the Lord Jesus Christ – from Whom Christians derive their origin, as a shoot from the whole tree . . . Heathens are the unregenerate, inanimate shoot coming from the rotten root – Adam.

p. 269 (1971)

God is inexhaustible in His gifts to men. During already 7403 years He abundantly feeds all creatures.

p. 290-291

Why did not the Almighty create the world at once, but in six days? In order to teach man by deeds to perform his work gradually, not hurriedly, but with consideration. If you pray, pray without hurrying; if you read the Gospel, or, in general, any religious or worldly books, do not read them hurriedly, but read with consideration and with a true view of the material. If you are learning a lesson, do not hurry to finish it quickly, but penetrate into the subject deeply and consider it well. If you are doing work, do it without hurrying, with consideration quietly. Even the world was not created instantaneously but in six days. The Lord shows us an example in everything; let us follow His steps.

My Life in Christ, qtd. in Orthodox Word no. 2, p. 54

Before his fall Adam was entirely concentrated interiorly by the Divine grace present in him and turned in his creative activity toward God in perfect love for Him and in fulfillment of His Divine will. He was entirely in a state of communion with and contemplation of God. In him all manifestation of the tripartite composition of the human being (i.e., spirit, soul, and body) were harmoniously united and hierarchically subordinated to the higher principle in man – his spirit. The spirit ruled over all, turning all toward a single higher aim. The first-created man was entirely penetrated with the grace of the Holy Spirit and entirely illuminated. The elements of the world could not harm man, and he was immortal.

Novyye groznye slova (New stern sermons) (1908), p. 13, 91

Half-educated people and over-educated people do not believe in a personal, righteous, omnipotent, and unoriginate God, but believe in an impersonal origin and in some kind of evolution of the world and all beings … and therefore they live and act as thought they will not have to give an answer to anyone for their words and deeds, making gods of themselves, their reason, and their passions … In their blindness they reach the point of insanity, deny the very existence of God, and maintain that everything stems from blind evolution (the teaching that everything comes into being of itself, without the participation of a Creative power). But he who has an intellect does not believe in such insane ravings.

— Fr. John Romanides, Original Sin According to St. Paul (

St. Paul strongly affirms the belief that all things created by God are good. Yet, at the same time, he insists on the fact that not only man, but also all of creation has fallen.Both man and creation are awaiting the final redemption.  Thus, in spite of the fact that all things created by God are good, the devil has temporarily become the “god of this age.” A basic presupposition of St. Paul’s thought is that although the world was created by God and as such is good, yet now there rules in it the power of Satan. The devil, however, is by no means absolute, since God has never abandoned His creation.

Thus, according to St. Paul, creation as it is is not what God intended it to be—”For the creature was made subject to vanity…by reason of him who hath subjected the same.” Therefore, evil can exist, at least temporarily, as a parasitic element alongside and inside of that which God created originally good. A good example of this is one who would do the Good according to the “inner man,” but finds it impossible because of the indwelling power of sin in the flesh. Although created good and still maintained and governed by God, creation as it is is still far from being normal or natural, if by “normal” we understand nature according to the original and final destiny of creation. governing this age, in spite of the fact that God Himself is still sustaining creation and creating for Himself a remnant, is the devil himself.

To try to read into St. Paul’s thought any type of philosophy of a naturally well balanced universe with inherent and fixed moral laws of reason, according to which men can live with peace of mind and be happy, is to do violence to the apostle’s faith. For St. Paul, there is now no such thing as a natural world with an inherent system of moral laws, because all of creation has been subjected to the vanity and evil power of Satan, who is ruling by the powers of death and corruption


. . . It is he [Satan] who led man and all of creation into the path of death and corruption. The power of death and corruption, according to Paul, is not negative, but on the contrary, positively active. “The sting of death is sin,” which in turn reigns in death. Not only man, but all creation has been yoked under its tyrannizing power  and is now awaiting redemption. Creation itself shall also be delivered from the slavery of corruption. Along with the final destruction of all the enemies of God, death—the last and probably the greatest enemy—will be destroyed. Then death will be swallowed up in victory. For St. Paul, the destruction of death is parallel to the destruction of the devil and his forces. Salvation from the one is salvation from the other.

. . . In spite of the fact that creation is of God and essentially good, the devil at the same time has parasitically transformed this same creation of God into a temporary kingdom for himself. The devil, death, and sin are reigning in this world and not in another. Both the kingdom of darkness and kingdom of light are battling hand to hand in the same place. For this reason, the only true victory possible over the devil is the resurrection of the dead. There is no escape from the battlefield. The only choice possible for every man is either to fight the devil by actively sharing in the victory of Christ, or to accept the deceptions of the devil by wanting to believe that all goes well and everything is normal.

. . . On the other hand, it is a grave mistake to make the justice of God responsible for death and corruption. Nowhere does Paul attribute the beginnings of death and corruption to God. On the contrary, nature was subjected to vanity and corruption by the devil, who through the sin and death of the first man managed to lodge himself parasitically within creation, of which he was already a part but at first not yet its tyrant. For Paul, the transgression of the first man opened the way for the entrance of death into the world, but this enemy is certainly not the finished product of God. Neither can the death of Adam, or even of each man, be considered the outcome of any decision of God to punish. St. Paul never suggests such an idea.

. . . St. Paul claims that death is the enemy which came into the world and passed unto all men through the sin of one man. Not only many, but all of creation became subject to corruption. The subjugation of man and creation to the power of the devil and death was obviously a temporary frustration of the original destiny of man and creation. It is false to read into Paul’s statements about the first and second Adams the idea that Adam would have died even though he had not sinned, simply because the first Adam was made eis psychen zosan—which expression, according to St. Paul’s usage within the context, clearly means mortal. Adam could very well have been created not naturally immortal, but if he had not sinned there is no reason to believe that he would not have become immortal by nature. This is certainly implied by the extraordinary powers St. Paul attributes to death and corruption.

The Ancestral Sin, p. 41-42

When philosophical systems try to explain the phenomena of things and the presence of evil in them on the basis of what is known about nature, it is absolutely natural for them to confuse the idea of the creation of mater with its fall. If we begin with philosophical and scientific observations of the material world, it is logically impossible to arrive at a distinction between the creation of the world and its fall. Quite simply, this is because the reality before our eyes presents nature as it is now, after the fall … Philosophy is unable to bridge [its] dualism between matter and reality because it is impossible for natural man to distinguish between the wholly positive creation of the world and the fall of the world. Man cannot know this division except by revelation.

p. 48

The dualism of matter and reality is largely based on the idea that death is both a natural and phenomenal fact since matter and the material world in general are without permanent reality, something that belongs to a different dimension. In contrast to the philosophical method, through the divine revelation given to the Prophets, the special people of God learned to distinguish clearly between the world’s creation and the world’s fall, as well as between the present age, which is under the sway of the devil and death, and the future age of the resurrection and the incorruptibility of matter.

— Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Monastic Wisdom, p. 50

This is truly the sickness that plagues us men of the eighth millennium: we fail to recognize one another’s gifts.

p. 241

No one loves you more than I do, nor does anyone dare to tell you the plain truth, if he sees it. From all those people you have met until now, you have heard only flattery, trickery, and the teachings of the eighth millennium—everything false and commonplace. Whereas you, as a tender little shoot, need spiritual wisdom and the plain truth.

p. 363

But He does not send angels to help him, because the nature of men of the eighth millennium cannot endure it, nor does He give him His grace when he is alone, as in the beginning, so that he cannot say that he was given grace because of his own patience and struggle.

— St. Justin Popovich, Orthodox faith and life in Christ, pg. 192-193, quoting St. Nikolai of Zicha:

Critiquing Europe as secular humanists and ecumenists who have fled far from God, St. Justin writes:

“Christ then asks with sorrow:

How can you people live with only your imperialistic, material interests, that is to say, only with animalistic desires for your bodily appetites? I wanted to make you gods and sons and daughters of God but you go away from Me and try to become like a pack of animals?

To this Europe answers:

You are old-fashioned. In place of your Gospel we discovered biology and zoology. And now we know that we are not descended from You and Your heavenly Father, but from orangutans and gorillas, that is to say, apes. And we are perfectly able to become gods because we do not recognize any other god than ourselves.

To this Christ says:

You are more obstinate than the ancient Jews were. I raised you up from the darkness of barbarism to the heavenly light, but you have gone back to the darkness like a water buffalo goes into the mud. I shed My blood for your sake. I showed My love to you, when all of the Angels turned their faces away from you because they could not stand the smell of hell that came from you. When you were all darkness and smelly, I was the only One Who stayed to clean you and illuminate you. Now stop being unbelievers, because you will only return to tat unbearable darkness and stench again.

To this Europe mockingly shouts:

Get away from us. We do not recognize you. We follow European civilization and culture, and the Greek philosophers. We want to be free. We have universities. Science is the start that guides us. Our slogan is: freedom, brotherhood, equality. And our mind is the god of all gods. You are an Asiatic. And we reject You. You are only an old myth our grandmothers and grandfathers believed in.

With tears in His eyes, Christ says:

Behold now I am leaving, but you will see. You have left God’s road and you are following Satan’s. Blessings and happiness have been taken away from you. Your life is in My hands, because I was crucified for you. And yet in spite of all this I will not punish you, but your own sins and your apostasy from Me your Savior, shall punish you. I revealed the love of My Father to everyone, and with love I wanted to save all of you.

Europe then says:

Love? Our agenda only includes a hardy and manly hatred for everyone who disagrees with us. Our love is only a fable. And in place of this fable we have raised up the flag: of ethnicity, of internationalism, of the state, of progress, of evolution, of trans-oceanism, and of cultism. Our salvation is found in these, so get away from us.

My brothers, the debate ended in our times. Christ went far away from Europe, as He did at one time from the land of the Gadarenes, when the Gadarenes asked Him to.

— On the Divine-Human Path (1980), p. 215-216; also: The God-man Evolution,Found at Mystagogy by John Sanidopoulos

You ask me to answer the question, whether the scientific understanding of the evolution of the world and man can coexist with the traditional Orthodox experience and knowledge. Also, you ask, what is the position of the Fathers on this issue, and whether there is a general need for such a coexistence. In a short summary, I write the following:

The anthropology of the New Testament stands or falls on the anthropology of the Old. The entire Gospel of the Old Testament: Man – the image of God! The entire Gospel of the New Testament: the God-man – image of man! Whatever is heavenly, divine, eternal, immortal and unchangeable in humans is the image of God, the godlikeness of man.

This godlikeness of man was assaulted by the voluntary sin of the same, in partnership with the devil, by means of sin and death which stems from the transgression. That is why God became man, in order to restore His corrupt image from sin. That is why He incarnated and lived in the world of man as the God-man, as the Church, to offer the image of God – man – all the necessary means so that this deformed God-formed man can be able in the God-man body of the Church, with the help of Sacred Mysteries and virtues, to mature “to a perfect man, to the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). This is the God-man anthropology. The purpose of godlike beings known as humans is one: to become gradually perfect as God the Father, to become a god by grace, to attain theosis, deification, Christification, Trinitification. According to the Holy Fathers, “God became man, that man may become a god” (Athanasius the Great).

But the so-called “scientific” anthropology does not recognize the godlikeness of human existence. With this, they deny the advancement of the God-man evolution of the human being.

If man is not the image of God, then the God-man and His Gospel is something unnatural for such a man, something mechanical and unattainable. Then the God-man Jesus is a robot built by other robots. The God-man becomes a bully because he wants from people, forcibly, to become a perfect being like God. In essence we are talking about a forensic utopia, an illusion and an unattainable “ideal”. In the end, it is reduced to a myth, a narrative.

If man, therefore, is not a godlike being, then the God-man himself is unnecessary because the scientific theories of evolution do not accept sin, nor the Savior from sin. In the secular world of “evolution” everything is natural and there is no room for sin to exist. That is why it is a joke to speak of a Savior and salvation from sin. In the final analysis everything is natural: sin, evil and death. For, if everything in man occurs and is the result of evolution, then there is nothing that needs to be saved in him since nothing is immortal and unchangeable within him, but all is earthly and clay and as such are transient, perishable and perceptible.

In such a world of “evolution” there is no place for the Church, which is the body of the God-man Christ. The theology which again bases itself on the anthropology of the “scientific” theory of evolution is nothing more than a self-negation. In essence it is a theology without God and an anthropology without man. If man is not immortal, eternal and a God-man image of God, then all theologies and all anthropologies are nothing but a silly joke, a tragic comedy.

Orthodox theology and the relationship we have with the Holy Fathers is the way for our ascent to the God-man, the Orthodox All-truth. This is something in need of analysis, and is for those dealing with issues of the gospel on the planet. All the problems of the gospel are essentially focused on the problem of man. And all the problems of man are focused on one issue, that of the God-man. Only the God-man is the universal solution to the enigma called man. Without the God-man and outside of the God-man, man is always – consciously or not – transformed into something sub-human, a human effigy, a superman, a devil-man. Proof and evidence for this? The entire history of mankind.

Pravoslavna Crkva I Ekumenizam (The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism) (1974), pp. 37-38, trans. Benjamin Emmanuel Stanley, p. 25

The infallible Apostle advises and directs Christians: “Be not carried about with diverse and strange doctrines, for it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace” (Heb. 13:9). More often involuntarily than voluntarily, people deceive themselves with their various sciences. They deceive themselves by sin, which has become their intellectual power through habit, and has become so natural and human that it is not felt or recognized by those guided and led by sin in their reasonings and sciences. Through sin we come to the creator of sin, the principal logic of sin: the devil. He has countless and very skillful and subtle ways of infiltrating his lies into the human sciences, alienating men from the only true God. Moreover, he introduces all his wiles by the logic of sin into these human sciences, artfully deceiving men with his blasphemy, so that they, in their self-delusion, deny God, reject God, are blind to God, or fence themselves off from Him.

— St. Luke of Simferopol, Science and Religion, Trinity Word, 2001, pp. 41-42

Darwinism, which declares that man, by means of evolution, has developed from the lower species of animals, and is not a product of the creative act of the Godhead, has turned out to be merely a supposition, a hypothesis, which has become obsolete even for science. This hypothesis has been acknowledged as contradictory not only to the Bible, but to nature itself, which jealously strives to preserve the purity of each species, and knows of no transition even from a sparrow to a swallow. There are no known facts of a transition of an ape into a man.

— St. Maria Skobtsova, “Types of Religious Life,” Essential Writings, p. 146

How widespread was this kind of ecclesiastical psychology? Certainly, one ought not to imagine that this was the only type of religious consciousness, but without a doubt any other kind would have to be searched for diligently, since the “official” type was so overpowering. This is especially clear if we take into account that alongside such an understanding of ecclesiastical life and religious ways, we developed our own intense form of atheism. These people, as Soloviev accurately observed, laid down their souls for their friends while believing that man evolved from apes. Thus it was possible to find an outlet for love, sacrifice, and heroic deeds outside church walls.

— Archimandrite Naum (elder of Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra), About Paschalia (

God had created the world and time itself out of nothing, and our Saviour chose this very time of creation as the time of renewal, when He suffered and gave the commandment – “This do in remembrance of Me” – to yearly celebrate Easter – the Resurrection of Christ. This creation of the world and the beginning of Being took place in the spring period, in the month of March, 5508 B.C. On Friday, the sixth day of creation at noon, man was created. Of this period, the beginning of the Being of the universe, we read in the Procedural Psalmbook, which contains, apart from psalms, the prayer-book and various service procedures, also the articles of faith and pascal tables:

“The month of March (of holy martyr St.Eudokia), the day having 12 hours and the night having 12 hours. This is the first month among months, for therein was created this visible world of the beginning of Being, and Adam — the first man from God — was created and all creatures for his sake; and introduced to Heaven and, for transgression, banished. In this same month, God, without leaving His Majestic throne, descended from heaven to His love of man, as rain onto fleece, by Archangel’s annunciation in the Pure womb of Holy Virgin Mary through the Holy Ghost incarnated unfathomably, only He knows how. On this day, by voluntary passion of His flesh and by His death, He overcame death and by His radiant Lifegiving Resurrection was Adam and the whole Humankind from hell delivered and to the original state restored, so as to inherit heaven. For this reason, from its first day begin all circles of the sun and moon, and the leap-year, and the equinox are established thereby, etc.”

St. Nektarios, Sketch Concerning Man (1893), p. 87-88, quoted in Constantine Cavarnos’ Biological Evolutionism, p. 63-65 (or 28-29?)

“The two volumes of the work Philosphie zoologique are in their entirety intended to uphold the degrading evolutionary theory regarding man. The first volume seeks to prove that the human organism evolved from that of an ape, as a result of chance circumstances. And the second volume seeks to prove that the distinctive excellences of the human mind are nothing but an extension of a power which the animals have, differing only in degree. Having weak and badly set foundations . . . Lamarck claims to prove that in earlier times nature produced through marvelous evolution one species from another, earlier one. He seeks to establish a gradual chain having successive (not contemporaneous) links and thus to produce finally the human species through a metamorphosis that is the reverse of the truth, and not less marvelous than the transformations one reads about in myths! . . . the Darwinian theories imagined that they arrived at the solution of the anthropological question by accepting the model of evolution. These theories, not being based on sound foundations, instead of solving the problem rendered it more enigmatic; because they denied the validity of revealed truth, viewed man as belonging to the same order as the irrational animals, denied his spiritual origin and attributed to him a very lowly origin. Their failure had as its chief reason the negation of his lofty origin and of his spiritual nature, which is altogether alien to matter and to the physical world. In general, without the acceptance of revealed truth, man will remain an insoluble problem. The acceptance of this principle is the firm and safe foundation upon which every inquirer about man must base himself. It is from this that he must begin in order to rightly solve the various parts of the question and learn the truth through true science.”

Study concerning the Immortality of the Soul and the Holy Memorial Service (1901), p. 65, quoted in Constantine Cavarnos’ Modern Greek Philosophers on the Human Soul, 2nd Ed. (1987), p. 85

Those who deny the immortality of the soul undermine both the moral law and the foundations of societies, which they want to see collapsing into ruins, in order that they might prove that man is an ape, from which they boast that they are descended.

— St. Nicholas Pokrovsky, New Martyrs of the St. Petersburg Diocese (2003) (by Hiermonk Nestor Kumysh), p. 209

I am a religious man. I have never denied and never will deny my convictions despite the fact that religion and science have parted ways. To take the question of the origin of man, I prove to believers and am myself convinced that man was created by God, [though] science says the opposite.

— St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Homilies, 11 for Meatfast Sunday, pg. 116

Our life is short and our days are numbered, but time is long – counted in hundreds and thousands of years.

Pg. 116

One and One only, has spoken to us clearly and definitely about all that will come to pass at the end of time: the Lord Jesus Christ. Were anyone soever to say what He said about the end of the world, we would not believe him, though he were the greatest sage living. Were he to speak from his human understanding, and not from God’s proven revelation, we would not believe him. For human understanding and human logic, however great they may be, are too puny to reach to the world’s beginning and its end. Understanding is useless where vision is needed. We need a seer, who sees as clearly as the sun – to see the whole world, from its beginning to its end, and the beginning and the end themselves. There has only ever been one such: the Lord Jesus Christ.

Homilies Vol. 2, trans. Mother Maria (1998), p. 280

How can a twisted spine be straightened without breaking? How can a stiffened neck move without remaining a source of pain? It takes a million years, say the ignorant minds of our day, for a monkey’s spine to become straight and a monkey to become a man. Thus they speak, not knowing the power and the might of the living God. It took just a second, at one word from the Lord Jesus, for the woman’s spine, which was much more bent than that of a monkey, to be straightened. But how is a spine straightened? How is a neck unstiffened? … Do not ask about all this, but thank God as this woman did.

Through the Prison Window (1985), qtd. In St. Justin Popovich, The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism, trans. Benjamin Emmanuel Stanley, p. 163

If the history of the last three centuries – the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth – could be given one true name, no name would be more suitable than the Proceedings of the Court Case between Europe and Christ. For nothing has occurred in Europe over the last three hundred years that has not had a significant connection with Christ our God.

The case between Christ and Europe develops like this:

… Christ asks sadly: “How can you men live by imperialism alone, that is, by material interests, by bestial greed for bodily food? I intended to make you gods and sons of God, but you resist and hurry to make yourselves equal to beasts of burden.”

Europe replies: “You are outdated. In the place of your Gospel, we have discovered zoology and biology. Now we know that we are not descended from your or your Father in heaven, but from orangutans, gorillas, and monkeys. We are now grooming ourselves to be gods. We do not recognize any other gods but ourselves.”

p. 43-44 (same page in St. Justin’s work)

For this reason God has given them up to shameful pleasures [cf. Rom. 1:26], so that they find pleasure only in things of the earth and not in heaven, and only in what provokes laughter from the demons and tears from Christ’s angels. They take pleasure in looking after their bodies, in plundering the property of others, in stealing from the small and weak, in multiplying their earthly treasures and extending their states and their rule, in the wicked usurpation of the homelands of others, in merriment and dancing, in the rejection of every faith as superstition, in the denying of God, in a totally biological life, in shamelessly calling monkeys their ancestors, in the drowning of anthropology in zoology.

Selected Writings

“Death is not natural; rather it is unnatural. And death is not from nature; rather it is against nature. All of nature in horror cries out: “I do not know death! I do not wish death! I am afraid of death! I strive against death!” Death is an uninvited stranger in nature . . . Even when one hundred philosophers declare that “death is natural!” all of nature trembles in indignation and shouts: “No! I have no use for death! It is an uninvited stranger!” And the voice of nature is not sophistry. The protest of nature against death outweighs all excuses thought up to justify death. And if there is something that nature struggles to express in its untouched harmony, doing so without exception in a unison of voices, then it is a protest against death. It is its unanimous, frantic, and heaven-shaking elegy of death.

Prologue from Ochrid, December 10

Noah lived among men given over to unrighteousness and evil. For five hundred years he lived among them, and yet remained righteous in the eyes of God . . . When the universal flood befell the human race, God did not abandon Noah, His faithful servant, nor leave him to the destruction with the others, but saved him and glorified him, making him the progenitor of the new human race. The splendid example of Noah, my brothers, teaches us that each one of us can please God even when surrounded by sinners – if we want to.

The Universe as Symbols and Signs: An Essay On Monasticism in the Eastern Church, XVII.2

Just as on the eve of the universal flood, even so on the eve of the world’s end the thoughts of men will be continually evil.

Inspired Orthodox Positions,

While Christ says: “without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), the heretic world in thousands of ways expresses the following saying: “Without Christ we can do everything”. The entire contemporary culture is turned against Christ. All the modern sciences compete in seeing who will succeed in serving the hardest blow to Christ’s teaching. It is a revolution of the vulgar servants against the mistress of the house, a revolution of worldly science against the heavenly science of Christ. However, this whole revolution in our days boils down to what has been written with such clarity: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools (Rom 1:22).”

Elder Paisios,Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos: Epistles, pg. 203-204

As long as Adam loved God and observed His commandments, he dwelt in the Paradise of God and God abode in the paradisiacal heart of Adam. Naked Adam was clothed with the grace of God and surrounded by all the animals, he held and caressed them lovingly, and they, in turn, licked him devoutly, as their master. When Adam violated God’s commandment, he was stripped of the grace of God, clothed with a garment of skin and exiled from Paradise. Grace-filled Adam became wild, and many animals, because of Adam, were also made savage, and instead of approaching him with devoutness and licking him with love, they lashed out at him with rage in order to tear at or bite him. – (Holy Monastery “Evangelist John the Theologian” Souroti, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2002)


With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man, pg. 295

“Someone else asked me, ‘Adam had two sons, Abel and Cain; how did Cain’s wife get there?’ But if one should read a little further in the Old Testament it says clearly that after Seth, Adam had other sons and daughters. Cain had left his home and wandered in the mountains after his brother’s murder and did not know that the wife he took was actually his sister. God provided that men should descend from one tribe to prevent malice and crime. This way they would reason, ‘We all come from the same father and mother, Adam and Eve;’ and perhaps this thought would put the break on human malice. But that’s not what happened. Our world is full of malice!”

With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man pg. 327-329

The nonsense we hear in schools these days about Darwin’s theory and the rest! Even the teachers themselves do not believe what they are teaching; but they go ahead, because they want to pollute the minds of our youth and take them away from the Church. This is what someone told me, “Let’s say that the soil contained various substances and mirco-organisms, and God took these and created man …” “You mean,” I replied, “that if those elements did not exist in the soil, God would not have been able to create man? It would have been really difficult for Him!” “Well, let’s say,” he continued, “that He took some things from the monkey and perfected them; couldn’t that be how it happened?” “Are you trying to say,” I answered, “that God cannot create a perfect creature, that he cannot create a human being, even after dedicating a whole day to that? What should He have done? Go get spare parts? Why don’t you read the prophecy of Job (38:14) from the Scripture readings of Holy Thursday? Now science does not accept all of their own claims about our kinship with monkeys. How long has it been since man went to the moon? In all these years, have monkeys evolved enough to build a bicycle or at least a skateboard? Have you ever seen a monkey on a skateboard? Of course you can teach him to do that, but that’s not the same thing …” But the man would not give up. He would insist, “Let’s assume this,” or “let’s say that …” “Well, let’s just say that you will not say a thing,” I finally told him, “this way you’ll find the certainty you want.”

The theory of evolution was being taught by a professor I knew at the University. Once, I said to him, “In time and with proper care a green bean plant will become a better green bean plant, the eggplant a better eggplant. If you feed and take care of a monkey, he will become a better monkey, but he will not turn into a human being. If a white man moves to a warm climate and is always in the sun, his complexion may change somewhat, but he will still be a white man.” And then, there’s this to think about. Christ was born of a human being, the Panaghia! Are we supposed to believe that His ancestors were monkeys? What blasphemy! And those who support this theory don’t realize that they are blaspheming. They throw a stone and do not check to see how many heads they have cracked. All you will from them is, “Mine went farther than the other fellow’s.” That’s what they are all about these days; they marvel at who will throw a stone the farthest. But they care nothing about those who are passing by and the many heads their stones will crack.

-Geronda, some people think that these theories will help bring Marxists to Church.

-Well, perhaps, a few Marxists might come to Church at first. But then, they will want to organize as a party and start giving dictates to others. “Now you must go to Church; now you may not. Now do this, now do that.” They will have rules for everything. And in the end, they will start telling people, “Who told you that there is a God? There is no God! The priests are making it all up to deceive you.” This is what will happen; the Marxists will use these good willing folks to achieve their goal. Marxists with a good will and disposition will come back to the Church, repent, and go to confession. But those who have no good disposition, they will never change.

Spiritual Awakening, trans. Fr. Peter Chamberas (2008), p. 65

“Geronda, some devout young men are troubled while serving their military duty by those who are abusive and curse. What should they do?”

Elder Paisios: “This requires discernment and patience. God will help. The wireless operator that I worked with in the army was a blasphemous, unbelieving doctor. Every day he would come to the administrative unit to brainwash me with his ideas! He talked to me about Darwin’s theory of evolution, and other such things; things entirely blasphemous.

pp. 294-296

One day a neighbor named Kostas said to my brother, “I will make him change his way of thinking, throw away those books he is reading, and give up his fasting and prayer.” He found me – I was about fifteen years old then – and he started talking to me about Darwin’s theory. He started talking, and went on and on and was making my head spin. In my haze, I headed for the forest, to the Chapel of St. Barbara. I went in and began praying to Christ, “My Christ, if You exist, reveal Yourself to me in some way,” I kept saying, while constantly doing prostrations for a long time. It was summer. The sweat was running down my body, and I was drenched and completely exhausted. But I didn’t hear or see anything. Nor did God help me in any way with even a small sign, some sound, some shadow; I was only a child, after all. Even if one were to look at this from a human and logical perspective, one could say, “My God, what a shame for the poor child. From eleven years old, he has been going up to the hills to live ascetically, and how his doing through a crisis. That man made his head spin with some foolish theories. At home, he has difficulties with his brother. He ran to the forest to seek help from You …” And yet nothing, nothing, nothing! Exhausted from the many prostrations, I sat down for a while. Then I thought, “All right, when I asked Kostas what he thought about Christ, what did He tell me? He told me that Christ was the best, most righteous man, Who proclaimed righteousness and had so offended the Pharisees that they crucified Him out of envy.” Then I said, “If Christ was such a good man, so righteous, and no other man had ever appeared like Him, and others killed Him out of envy, then it is right of me to do for this man far more than I have done, even to die for him.” As soon as I looked at it this way, Christ appeared to me in a great light – the chapel was full of light – and told me, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He that believeth in Me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25-26). These same words I could also read in the open Gospel which He held in one hand. There was such an inner transformation in me that I found myself saying constantly, “Come here now, Kosta, to discuss if there is or there isn’t a God.” You see, for Christ to appear He waited for my philotimo-filled response. Now, if Christ requires such a response from even a young child, can you imagine how much more He would expect from a mature adult.

— Elder Paisius (Olaru) of Sihastira and Sihla, “Teachings of Elder Paisius,” Orthodox Word, no. 271 (2010), p. 121,

What do you mean you don’t believe? Hold your tongue! Who is it that brought you to the monastery? These are the thoughts of the devil. Why do you listen to what the enemy says? The devil’s aim is to make people doubt and believe that there is no God. Because if there is no God, then neither is there any sin, and people can do anything. Doubt is halfway to the renunciation of God; that is why the devil tempts us. The Savior says that the days will come – and, look, they have come (cf. Luke 18:8). Some people say that mean was made from an ape. It was a madman who said this; man is the image and likeness of God.

St. Paul Andreyev (Hiermoartyr), Martyrs, Confessors, and Ascetics of piety of the Russian Orthodox Church of the 20th Century: Biographies and Material on Them, Book 7 (2002) (by Abbot Damascene Orlovsky), p. 162

Witness says about St. Paul’s “anti-Soviet” views: The priest Andreyev … said that the Soviet authorities preach the teaching of Darwin, that man proceeded from apes, but that this is a blasphemy and lie.

–Patriarch Pavle, Clarifying Some Questions About Our Faith, vol 1 [in Serbian], p. 16

There is no doubt that God could have created a wife for Cain in the same way that He created Adam from earth and Eve from Adam, but He did not do that. Instead, He allowed that Cain and Seth take their sisters as wives.

Fr. Philotheos Zervakos, Paternal Counsels vol. 2 (Orthodox Kypseli Publications), pg. 41

He who wishes to become a monk if he is cowardly or hesitant should not become a monk. Because from the moment that he leaves the world he goes out to battle not against men, against flesh and blood but against the rulers and authorities of darkness, against the invisible demons who have been tried well in battle, because for 7,500 years they have fought men and monastics even more so.

Elder Porphyrios, Wounded by Love, pg. 210

Egotism evicted man from Paradise; it is a great evil. Adam and Eve were simple and humble; that’s why they lived in Paradise. They didn’t have egotism. They did, however have the ‘primal nature,’ as we call it in theological language. When we say ‘primal nature’ we mean the gifts of grace that God bestowed on man in the beginning when He created him, namely, life, immortality, consciousness, freedom of will, love, humility, etc. Through flattery, however, the devil managed to delude them.

— Mother Raphaela, Living in Christ, pg. 2

Thus creation is no longer wholly beautiful and good. Though most of us seem to be born with an innate sense of the goodness of creation, and desire to enjoy it, we have chosen to side with the forces of destruction and death.

– Fr. Schmemann, Great Lent, pg. 40

The “continuous reading” of Genesis, Isaiah, and Proverbs has its origin at the time when Lent was still the main pre-baptismal season of the Church and lenten services were predominantly catechetical in their character, i.e., dedicated to the indoctrination of the catechumen. Each of the three books corresponds to one of the three basic aspects of the Old Testament: the history of God’s activity in Creation, prophecy, and the ethical or moral teachings. The Book of Genesis gives, as it were, the “framework” of the Church’s faith. It contains the story of Creation, of the Fall, and finally that of the promise and the beginning of salvation through God’s covenant with his chosen people. It conveys the three fundamental dimensions of the Church’s belief in God as Creator, Judge, and Savior. It reveals the roots of the Christian understanding of man as created in the “image and likeness of God,” as falling away from God, and as remaining the object of divine love, care, and ultimately salvation. It discloses the meaning of history as the history of salvation leading to and fulfilled in Christ. It announces the mystery of the Church through the images and realities of the People of God, Covenant, Ark, etc.


p. 43

Lent is exactly the opposite; it is a return to the “normal” life, to that “fasting” which Adam and Eve broke, thus introducing suffering and death into the world.

Pg. 64

With a unique art, St. Andrew interwove the great biblical themes – Adam and Eve, Paradise and Fall, the Patriarchs, Noah and the Flood, David, the Promised Land, and ultimately Christ and the Church – with confession of sin and repentance. The events of sacred history are revealed as events of my life, God’s acts in the past as acts aimed at me and my salvation, the tragedy of sin and betrayal as my personal tragedy. My life is shown to me as part of the great and all-embracing fight between God and the powers of darkness which rebel against Him . . . Thus, for four evenings the nine odes of the Canon tell me again and again the spiritual story of the world which is also my story. They challenge me with the decisive events and acts of the past whose meaning and power, however, are eternal because every human soul – unique and irreplaceable – moves, as it were, through the same drama, is faced with the same ultimate choices, discovers the same ultimate reality. Scriptural examples are more than mere “allegories” as many people think, and who therefore find this Canon too “overworked,” too loaded with irrelevant names and episodes. Why speak, they ask, of Cain and Able, of David and Solomon, when it should be so much simpler just to say: “I have sinned”?

Pg. 72-73

Because of sin and betrayal, the joyful day of Creation [Saturday] has become the day of death; for Creation, by “subjecting itself to futility” (Rom. 8:20), has itself become death. But Christ’s Death restores the seventh day, making it the day of re-creation, of the overcoming and destruction of that which made this world a triumph of death. And the ultimate purpose of Lent is to restore in us the “eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God” which is the content of the Christian faith, love, and hope.

 pg. 93

It is important, therefore, to discern the uniquely Christian content of fasting. It is first of all revealed to us in the interdependence between two events which we find in the Bible: one at the beginning of the Old Testament and the other at the beginning of the New Testament. The first event is the “breaking of the fast” by Adam in Paradise. He ate of the forbidden fruit. This is how man’s original sin is revealed to us. Christ, the New Adam – and this is the second event – begins by fasting. Adam was tempted and he succumbed to temptation; Christ was tempted and He overcame that temptation. The result of Adam’s failure is expulsion from Paradise and death. The fruits of Christ’s victory are the destruction of death and our return to Paradise.

Great Lent, pg. 94

God, we are told, “created no death.” He is the Giver of Life. How then did life become mortal? Why is death and death alone the only absolute condition of that which exists? The Church answers: because man rejected life as it was offered and given to him by God and preferred a life depending not on God alone but on “bread alone.”

Great Lent, pg. 94-95

The unfathomable tragedy of Adam is that he ate for its own sake. More than that, he ate “apart” from God in order to be independent of Him. And if he did it, it is because he believed that food had life in itself and that he, by partaking of that food, could be like God, i.e., have life in himself. To put it very simply: he believed in food, whereas the only object of belief, of faith, of dependence is God and God alone. World, food, became his gods, the sources and principles of his life. He became their slave. Adam – in Hebrew – means “man.” It is my name, our common name. Man is still Adam, still the slave of “food.” He may claim that he believes in God, but God is not his life, his food, the all-embracing content of his existence. He may claim that he receives his life from God but he doesn’t live in God and for God. His science, his experience, his self-consciousness are all built on that same principle: “by bread alone.” We eat in order to be alive but we are not alive in God. This is the sin of all sins. This is the verdict of death pronounced on our life.”

The Eucharist, pg. 61

Any consecration in the Church is not a creation of “sacred objects,” by their sanctity contraposed to the “profane,” i.e. the unconsecrated, but their referral to their original and at the same time ultimate meaning – God’s conception of them. For the entire world was created as an “altar of God,” as a temple, as a symbol of the kingdom. According to its conception, it is all sacred, and not “profane,” for its essence lies in the divine “very good” of Genesis. The sin of man consists in the fact that he has darkened the “very good” in his very being and as such has torn the world away from God, made it an “end in itself,” and therefore a fall and death.

But God has saved the world. He saved it in that he again revealed its goal: the kingdom of God; its life: to be the path to this kingdom; its meaning: to be in communion with God, and in him with all creation. And therefore,  in contrast to the pagan “sanctification,” which consists in the sacralization of separate parts and objects of the world, the Christian sanctification consists in the restoration to everything in the world of its symbolic nature, its “sacramentality,” in referring everything to the ultimate aim of being. All our worship services therefore are an ascent to the altar and a return back to “this world” for witness to “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Co 2:9)

–Fr. Sebastian Dabovich, Preaching in the Russian Church, p. 101

Had Adam and Eve not sinned: “there would be no need of the plow and the laboring oxen, the planting of seed, the watering shower, the mutual change of the seasons of the year, the winter binding in fetters and the summer opening up all things.

Fr. Seraphim Rose, Letters from Fr. Seraphim by Fr. Alexey Young, pg. 75

Thus, “theistic evolution,” as I understand its motives, is the invention of men who, being afraid that physical evolution is really “scientific,” stick “God” in at various points of the evolutionary process in order not to be left out, in order to conform “theology” to the “latest scientific discoveries.” But this kind of artificial thinking is satisfactory neither for theology nor science, but just mixes the two realms up.

Letters from Fr. Seraphim, pg. 75

… the whole purpose and intent of the theory of physical evolution is to find an explanation of the world without God; i.e., physical evolution is by its nature atheistic, and its only ridiculous when “theologians” run after the latest “scientific” theory in order not to be left behind by the times. Further, the “God” of theistic or spiritual evolution is not the God of Orthodox Christianity!

— Fr. Sophrony, Principles of Orthodox Asceticism, in The Orthodox Ethos, 1964, pg. 273-274

The educated man of the present day, with his developed critical approach, is incomparably less fitted for the ascetic exercise of obedience than the man of a simple turn of mind who is not seduced by intellectual curiosity. The cultured man, enamoured of his own critical intelligence, which he is accustomed to consider his principal dignity and the one solid foundation of his ‘personal’ life, has to renounce this wealth of his before becoming a novice, or it will be difficult for him to enter into the Kingdom. But how is this to be done? Is not the man into whose hands we must put our will just another human being likes ourselves – one, indeed, who many sometimes seem to us to stand lower than we do? The disciple begins to argue within himself: ‘Is this staretz an oracle, then? And how does he know God’s will? God gave us our reason and we must do our reasoning ourselves. For instance, there is no sense at all in what the staretz has just told me. It is all rubbish.’ And so on. This sort of attitude makes the novice doubtful and hesitant about his spiritual father’s every word, his every directive; and so he forgets that God’s will in this world expresses itself in the very same outward forms as serve to manifest both the natural will of man and the demoniacal will, when this last is made manifest through man. He judges by outward appearances, after the manner of the ‘reasoning’ man, and therefore does not find the path to the living faith . . . In the presence of divine truth the novice finds himself profoundly convinced of the imperfection of his own reasoning powers. This marks an important stage in his ascetic life. In mistrusting his intelligence the monk frees himself from the nightmare in which all mankind lives . . . By this renunciation of his will and judgment, for the sake of cleaving to the divine will which surpasses any human wisdom, the novice is in fact renouncing nothing else than his own egocentric will, het product of the passions, and his feeble little intelligence, and thereby showing true wisdom and superior will. In this manner the novice lightly – and imperceptibly to himself – advances to a height which men of the greatest intellectual culture cannot attain, or even apprehend. This height is purity of mind in God, as we have said earlier.

it is explained earlier that “novice” in this context refers to any Christian who turns to a spiritual father for guidance


Videt’ Boga kak On est’ (To See God as He Is) (2006), p. 238

For many of the representatives of modern science, “in the beginning was a hydrogen atom,: and from it, by the path of evolution, over the course of an unspecified number of billions of years, arose everything that now exists … The idea is absurd to us, that from “accidental” combinations, unexpected by the first atom itself, could arise human thought, with its quests for THE ORIGIN.

— St. Thaddeus Uspensky (Abp. of Tver, hieromartyr), Rejoice! (1998), p. 164

A man who does not believe in God wants to explain, from the gyrations of the cosmic dust, the origin of the world, whereas in every blade of grass, in the structure and life of even the tiniest beings there is enclosed so much information [payЗM: literally, reason, intellect, mind] that it is beyond human understanding. The many centuries of human wisdom have not been able to create one living grain, and meanwhile unbelief tries to explain all the wondrous variety in the world by unconscious movements of matter.

On the Sermons of Vladika Thaddeus Uspensky/Patriarch Tikhon and the History of the Russian Church Disturbance (1994), p. 352

Life, as they say, is an enormous, complex mechanical process, brought into being they know not when, by whom, or for what purpose … But if life is a mechanical process, then one must renounce the soul, thought, will, and freedom.

— St. Theophan the Recluse, St Feofan Zatvornik, Nastavleniya v duhovnoi zhisni. – Pskov-Pechery Monastery of Holy Dormition: Mosc. Patriarchate Publ., 1994,

“The positive teaching of the Church serves to know whether a concept is from the Truth. This is a litmus test for all teachings. Whatever agrees with it, you should accept it, whatever does not- – reject. One can do it without further deliberations.”

Sozertsanie I razmyshlenie. Moscow, Pravilo very, 1998,

“Science goes forward fast, let it do so. But if they infer something inconsistent with the Divine Revelation, they are definitely off the right path in life, do not follow them.”

The Spiritual Life and How to be Attuned to It, pg. 65-66

Thus, put entirely out of your mind the idea that there are people who do not acknowledge the existence of God. There are some scientists who think they can do without God, and who talk and write books as if He did not exist. But while their tongues and pens weave such empty words, their hearts say something else. They make themselves out to be nonbelievers, but very uncertainly, so as to successfully get away with it in their own conscience.

Thoughts for Each Day of the Year According to the Daily Church Readings from the Word of God, trans. Lisa Marie Baranov (2010), pp. 127-128

What ought we to preach? We should cry to all, ‘Sons of the Kingdom [of Heaven]! Don’t run from the Kingdom into bondage and slavery’ – for they are in fact running. Some are captivated by freedom of mind. They say, ‘We don’t want the bonds of faith and the oppression of authority, even Divine authority; we’ll figure things out and make up our minds for ourselves.’ So they have made up their minds. They have built fables in which there is more childishness than in the mythology of the Greeks – and they magnify themselves … Others are enticed by the broad path of the passions. They say, ‘We don’t want to know positive commandments or the demands of conscience – this is all abstract: we need tangible naturalness.’ And they have gone after it. What has come of it? They have bowed down before dumb beasts. Has not the theory that man originated from animals arisen from this moral fall? This is where they have gone! And everyone runs from the Lord, everyone runs …”

pp. 227-228

The truth of God is simple; can a proud mind study it? Such a mind would rather think up its own thing: sensational things, although empty and as weak as a spider’s web. To see that this is so, look at the current theories of the creation of the world: they are like a somnambulistic or drunken delirium. And yet how good they seem to those who invented them! How much energy and time are wasted on this – and all in vain! The deed was accomplished simply: ‘He spake and they cam to be. He commanded and they were created’ (Ps. 148:5). No one can think up anything better than this solution.

pp. 272-273

The Sadducees had a seemingly insoluble objection to the resurrection; but the Lord resolved it with a few words to them, and so clearly that everyone understood and acknowledged the Sadducees to have been beaten by the truth of His word. What the Sadducees were then, unbelievers of all sorts are now. They have heaped up a multitude of fanciful suppositions for themselves, elevated them to the status of irrefutable truths and plumed themselves on them, assuming that nothing can be said against them. In fact, they are so ungrounded that it is not even worthwhile speaking against them. All of their sophistry is a house of cards – blow on it and it flies apart. There is no need to refute it in its parts; it is enough to regard it as one regards dreams. When speaking against dreams, people do not prove the absurdity in their composition or in their individual parts, but only say, ‘It’s a dream,’ and with that they resolve everything. It is the same with the theory of the formation of the world from a nebula and its supports, with the theory of abiogenesis and Darwin’s origin of genera and species, and with his last dream about the descent of man. It is all like delirium. When you read them you are walking in the midst of shadows. And scientists? Well, what can you do with them? Their motto is ‘If you don’t like it, don’t listen, but don’t prevent me from lying.”

Sozertsaniye i razmyshleniye (Contemplations and Reflections) (1998) p. 146

These days many nihilists of both sexes, naturalists, Darwinists, Spiritists, and Westernizers in general have multiplied among us. All right, you’re thinking – would the Church have been silent, would it not have proferred its voice, would it not have condemned or anathematized them if there had been something new in their teaching? To be sure – a council would have done so without doubt, and all of them, with their teachings, would have been given over to anathema. To the current Rite of Orthodoxy only the following item would have been added: ‘To Büchner, Feuerbach, Darwin, Renan, Kardec, and all their followers – anathema! But there is no need, either for a special council or for any kind of addition. All of their false teachings were anathematized long ago. At the present time, not only in principal cities but in all place and churches the Rite of Orthodoxy ought to be brought in and celebrated, so that all the teachings contrary to the word of God might be collected and that it might be proclaimed to everyone what they must fear and from what teachings they must flee, and all might know. Many are seduced intellectually only through ignorance, and therefore a public condemnation of pernicious teachings would save them from destruction. If the action of an anathema is terrible to someone, then let him avoid the teachings that lead to it. Let him who is afraid of it for the sake of others bring them back to a healthy teaching. If you who are not favorably disposed to this action are Orthodox, then you are going against yourself; and if you have already lost sound teaching, then what business do you have concerning what is done in the Church that supports it? After all, you’ve already separated yourself from the Church and have your own convictions, your own way of looking at things – well, live with them then. It’s all the same whether or not your name and your teaching are uttered under the anathema: you are already under anathema if you philosophize against the Church and persist in this philosophizing.

Sobraniye pisem (Collected Letters) Vol. 2, (1994) p. 112

There is not a single science which could be established solidly on its own principles. Something can be obtained from all the sciences. But this is not something that gives one the right to cite sciences as a decisive authority. It is not science itself [that is the problem], but scientists who twist science however they want. Consequently, there are only the conjectures and inferences of scientists.

Vol. 2, p. 117

A believer has the full right to insinuate himself with spiritual things into the material realm, while materialists crawl with their matter, without a twinge of conscience, into the spiritual realm. Right-mindedness is on our side, while incoherence is on theirs. And this is not because every sandpiper praises its own swamp; rather, it is to the point. Matter cannot be either a power or a purpose. Both are outside of it. Matter can only be a means and a field for spiritual powers, in accordance with the spiritual origin (the Creator) of all things.


vol. 7, pp. 144-45

People have suddenly had a thought and have started to write about preserving faith. But they don’t want to block the source of unbelief. This source is the spread of the teaching that world formed by itself, according to which there is no need for God and the soul does not exist – it’s all atoms and chemistry, nothing more. This is being preached at [university] rostrums and in literature. He who breathes these fumes is inescapably stupefied, and loses his senses and faith … Until these books are destroyed; until professors and literary men are forced not only not to hold to this theory, but even to demolish it – until then – faithlessness will grow and grow, and with it, self-will and the destruction of the present government. That’s the way the French Revolution went.

Slova na Gospodskiye, Bogorodichnyye, i torzhestvennyye dni (Homilies on Feasts of the Lord and the Theotokos, and festal days) (1883), p. 5

In vain do people think highly about the world and its laws, about nature and its forces, as if there were something untouchable, indisputable and inviolable in them. Under the appearance of science they are devising for themselves an idol-worship that is more destructive than the mythological idol-worship of the ancient Greeks. No, brethren – it is not by the laws and forces of nature that the life of each one of us is upheld, but by the power of God acting within us. The Lord, ‘upholding all things by the word of His power’ (Heb. 1:3), bears each one of us by the same word of His power.

Let us maintain this thought in our mind and imprint it in our heart. The all-0active power of God bears us over the abyss of nothingness, and ‘we live, and move, and have our being’ (Acts 17:28). If He takes away His Spirit, if He removes His hand, we will disappear and will no longer be remembered among the living. But if the Lord holds us, then He touches us. He does not merely see us mentally; no, He touches, as one hand touches another or as the air touches one’s body. How consoling and awesome!

p. 196

A pure spirit [nous] contemplates God and receives from Him knowledge of mysteries. But even the spirit, combined with the body, after the diversity of the creations of the visible world has been revealed to it through the senses, have been enlightened by the same inward illumination from above, must contemplate in these creations all the mysteries of the knowledge of God, and the mysteries of God’s making and governing of the world, so that even when faced with this great amount of knowledge it can remain unperturbed in the same single Divine contemplation. But, having fallen, a person is captivated by the diversity of created things and even overwhelmed by impressions from them, which supplant within him the very thought of God. Studying created things, he goes no further than what he sees in them – their composition and interrelations – and, not receiving illumination from above, does not see in them the clear reflection of God and the Divine mysteries. The world has become for him a tarnished mirror, in which nothing can be seen but the mirror itself. Hence a great amount of knowledge suppresses within him the knowledge of the one thing; it turns him away from it, makes him cold toward it. Such is the price and such is the fruit of science in a fallen state.

— Fr. Thomas Hopko, The Lenten Spring, pg. 20

We have wasted what our good God has given us. We have ruined our lives and our world. We have polluted the air, the water and the earth. The birds and the fish, the plants andthe animals grieve because of our wickedness . . . we have lost our divine legacy as children of God. And the whole cosmos suffers with us in our affliction.


p. 26

It [the fall of Adam and Eve] tells of the most tragic event in human experience: the rebellion of the creature against the Creator and the transformation of the world as paradise with God into a garbage heap of dead men’s bones. It describes this death-bound, demon-riddled, rat-racing world that we call human civilization, which is the result of the futile strivings of self-centered creatures.

Pg. 30

And we experience evil for ourselves, by our own volition, and bring corruption to our total being: mind, soul, heart and body.

— St. Varlaam Nikol’sky (hieromartyr), Martyrs, Confessors, and Ascetics of piety of the Russian Orthodox Church of the 20th Century: Biographies and Materials on Them, Book 6 (2002) (by Abbot Damascene Orlovsky, p. 313

Soviet interrogator: Did you try to conduct religious propaganda among schoolchildren? In particular, did you say that in the schools they do not correctly explain the origin of man?

St. Varlaam: Last year I was walking past a school, and a student of the school addressed me with the question of where man came from, saying that the teacher had said in the lesson that man originated from apes. He asked me what I thought, and I answered that man came from God.

— St. Vladimir Bogoyavlensky (Met. of Kiev and Gallich, hieromartyr of Bolshevik Yoke), Gd istinoye shchast’ye: V vere ili neverii? (Where is true happiness? In faith or unbelief?), (1905), pp. 6-18

Only at the present time ha such an audacious philosophy found a place for itself, which overthrows human worth and tries to give its false teaching a wide dissemination … Man did not originate from God’s hands, it says; in an endless and gradual transition from imperfection to perfection he developed from the animal kingdom, and as little soul as animals have, so little does man have … How immeasurably deeply does all this degrade and insult man! From the highest step in the progression of creation he is reduced to the same level as the animals … There is no need to refute such a teaching on a scientific basis, although it would not be difficult to do so, since unbelief has far from proved its position … But if such a teaching finds more and more followers at the present time, this is not because the teaching of unbelief has supposedly become inarguably true, but because it does not hinder a corrupt heart that is inclined to sin from giving itself over to its passions. For if man is not immortal, if he is nothing more than the attainment of the highest development of the animals, then he has no business with God … Brethren, do not listen to the pernicious, poison-bearing teaching of unbelief, which lowers you to the level of animals and, depriving you of human worth, promises you nothing but despair and an inconsolable life.

– Vladimir Lossky, Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, 104

Thus in the condition of mortality which is the consequence of the coming of sin, the spiritual nature of the soul maintains a certain link with the disunited elements of the body, a link which it will find again at the moment of the resurrection in order that the parts may be transformed into a “spiritual body,” which is indeed our true body, different from the grossness of those we now have, the “garments of skin” which God made for Adam and Eve after their sin.

Pg. 104-105

Having no philosophical references, 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 [Sermons and Discourses, Moscow, 1877]. 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 . . .

Pg. 107

In the same way, the creation of man was not, as with the rest of the living creatures, the result of an ordinance given to the earth: in this case God did not ordain, but said in His eternal Counsel ‘let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’

Pg. 109, 110, 112-113

It was the divinely appointed function of the first man according to St. Maximus, to unite in himself the whole of created being; and at the same time to reach his perfect union with God thus grant the state of deification the whole of creation . . . The deification of man and of the whole created universe would thus be accomplished. Since this task which was given to man was not fulfilled by Adam, it is in the work of Christ, the second Adam, that we can see what it was meant to be . . . Man is not a being isolated from the rest of creation; by his very nature he is bound up with the whole of the universe, and St. Paul bears witness that the whole creation awaits the future glory which will be revealed in the sons of God (Rom. vii, 18-22) . . . The world was created from nothing by the sole will of God – this is its origin. It was created in order to participate in the fullness of the divine life – this is its vocation. It is called to make this union a reality in liberty, in the free harmony of the created will with the life of God – this is the mystery of the Church inherent in creation. Throughout all the vicissitudes which followed upon the fall of humanity, and the destruction of the first Church – the Church or paradise – the creation preserved the idea of its vocation and with it the idea of the Church, which was at length to be fully realized after Golgotha and after Pentecost, as the Church properly so-called, the indestructible Church of Christ.

Pg. 111

Man was created last according to the Greek Fathers, in order that he might be introduced into the universe like a king into his palace. “As a prophet and a high priest,” added Philaret of Moscow, [G. Florovsky, op. cit. p. 179] giving an ecclesiological accent to the cosmology of the Bible. For this great theologian of the last century, the creation is already a preparation for the Church, which was to begin to exist in the earthly paradise, with the first men. The books of God’s Revelation are for him a sacred history of the world, beginning with the creation of the heavens and the earth, and ending with the new heaven and the new earth of the Apocalypse. The history of the world is a history of the Church which is the mystical foundation of the world.

Pg. 116

Finally, as in St. Ireneus, St. Gregory of , and St. Gregory of Palamas, not only the soul, but also the body of man shares in the character of the image, being created in the image of God. “The word Man,” says St. Gregory Palamas, “is not applied to either soul or body separately, but to both together, since together they have been created in the image of God.” [also St. Justin Martyr]

Pg. 116-117

In fact, the Biblical narrative gives no precise account of the nature of the image; but it does present the whole creation of man as an act apart, different from the creation of other beings. Like the angels, who, as St. Isaac the Syrian puts it, were created ‘in silence,’ man was not formed by a divine command addressed to the earth. Rather God Himself fashioned him from the dust of the earth with His own hands; that is to say, according to St. Ireneus, with the Word and the Holy Spirit, and breathed the breath of life into him. St. Gregory Nazianzen interprets the passage in Genesis in the following way: ‘The Word of God taking a portion of the newly created earth, has with his own immortal hands fashioned our frame, and imparted life to it; since the spirit which he breathed into it, is an effluence of the invisible Divinity. Thus out of the dust, and out of the breath, man was created in the image of the Immortal, for in both the spiritual nature reigns supreme.

Pg. 133

By way of the human will, evil has become a power infecting the whole creation’ ‘cursed is the ground for thy sake’ (Gen. iii, 17). The universe which still reflects the majesty of God, has at the same time acquired a sinister character . . . Sin has been introduced where grace should reign, and instead of the divine plenitude, a gaping abyss has opened in God’s creation, the gates of hell opened by the free will of man.

— Way of a Pilgrim (Image Books, Doubleday, 1978), pg. 34-35

The teacher responded, “Though you have not been exposed to higher learning, you must have studied the history of the Old and New Testaments, published for schools in the form of questions and answers. Do you recall that, when the first man Adam was in his innocent state, all creation was subject to him and that the animals approached him with fear and he named them? The elder to whom this rosary [prayer rope] belonged was a holy man, and holiness is nothing else than the sinner’s return from his sinful state to the innocent state of the first man by means of self-discipline. When the soul of a man becomes holy, then the body is holy also. And the rosary which was constantly in the hands of the holy elder became empowered by his touch and spirit; it acquired, so to speak, the power of the first man’s innocence. This is what we mean by a spiritual mystery of nature! And all animals in natural succession, even to this day, feel that power through the sense of smell, since the nose is the chief sensory organ in animals.

Fr. Zacharias, The Hidden Man of the Heart, pg. 18-19

Man is the true lord of the kingdom of the world, the crown of the whole creation . . . And at that moment, his dreadful fall took place, as the Scriptures relate, and this was a universal misfortune . . . So did man become unmindful of his Maker, delivering himself up to sin and to its wages of  corruption and death . . . When man banishes God and his neighbour from his heart, he loses his sovereignty over God’s creation, bestowed on him by virtue of his likeness to God. In other words, he fails in what he has been designed for – to oversee the world with justice and, being enlarged by the spirit of prophecy, to bring all creation to God.

pg. 20

However, God’s call is irrevocable and ‘steadfast’ (cf. Rom. 11:29). Furthermore, death is an illegitimate enemy, for the will of God, the basis of man’s original issuing forth, has foreordained that man should live eternally ‘in immortality’ (Wisd. 2:23). Death must therefore be destroyed (cf. 1 Cor. 15:26), for which reason the Son of God Himself came into the world to blot it out and to ‘destroy the works of the devil’ (1 John 3:8). Man’s mortality is therefore a phenomenon that runs counter to his nature in that it opposes that for which he has been designed. This is precisely why the human soul is restless: if life leads only to death, then nothing can ever be meaningful.

However, God, Who abides unto the ages and has no pleasure in the death of the sinner, does all He can that ‘the wicked [might] turn from his way and live’ (Ezek. 33:11). He summons the dissolute from the blindness of their desolation, intensifying by His grace the cruel spectacle of mortality, which entered the whole creation through man’s fall into sin. God increases the threat of death by keeping before man’s eyes this terrible spectacle. He opens the eyes of the soul that it might behold the mark of corruption and mortality on every created thing. Man then hears the groaning of a universe which has delivered itself up to vanity from which there is no escape. The soul is then granted the grace of perceiving the dark veil of death, corruption, and despair which envelop mankind and all life on earth. This spiritual phenomenon, unknown to modern psychology, is called ‘mindfulness of death’ in Orthodox ascetic terminology. It has nothing to do with the psychological awareness that we shall die some day; it is more like a deep knowledge, accompanied by a wondrous sensibility of the heart, which perceives clearly ‘the futility of any and every acquisition on earth’, and that ‘all is vanity’ (Eccles. 1:2).

— Pg. 75

At the same time, this grace creates his personal communion with God and with all men, for they are like unto himself. He is also united with the whole of creation, which groans under the same condemnation to death.


  1. “If you really consider the theological implications that evolution would have for Orthodoxy, rather than just throwing it in as a different beginning, and read what the Fathers have to say about Genesis, you will clearly see that evolution is in fact wholly incompatible with Orthodox Christianity.”

    Evolutionary biology is in fact wholly incompatible with every religion ever invented. Darwin, and the thousands of biologists who came after Darwin, have made the god hypothesis obsolete.

    The solution is either throw out all religions or throw out 150 years of scientific discoveries and human progress.

    Educated people have thrown out their ancient superstitions. Cowardly people continue hiding from reality, preferring the Dark Ages.

    • well Human Ape, we obviously completely disagree, but I do appreciate your honesty! it does really drive me kinda crazy when religious people are willing to compromise their long-held beliefs in order to harmonize them with the latest scientific findings. and it equally drives me nuts when evolutionists try to make it out like the theory has no religious implications. its good to hear from people who see beyond these ideas.

  2. This is some great info. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. I think it is unfair to so arrogantly condemn those who seek to harmonize science and faith. If we pick through the Church Fathers, could we not find many who felt that the earth was at the center of the universe? Or other demonstrably false aspects of how the natural world functions? Many once believed illness was caused by demons, not microbes. Are the Church Fathers infallible? All knowing? Or should this not rightly be reserved for God alone? Tradition is central in Orthodoxy, but one must take care not to idolize it, or any member of the faith. Men, and their ideas, are corrupt. “Only God is good.”

    Therefore, to dismiss the sincere efforts of Christians whose minds see scientific discoveries, such as the age of the universe, the place of earth in the cosmos, and the evolution of life as “certainties” little different than 2+2=4, to mock their efforts to harmonize faith and what we now know about the world, is to harshly judge. And such judgments, as our Lord said, will be measured to you (in ways perhaps we do not foresee).

    It is clear that the idea of a harsh, painful, seemingly cruel evolutionary world, even more so, a universe in which the Earth is so astoundingly insignificant that it is very hard to apprehend, poses challenges to traditional theology. However, so did Christ. He stumped them all. And it is perhaps far more humble to assume that we grasp very little of the majesty of God or God’s creation than to assume we do.

    It is clear that given the new knowledge of the universe that we possess, a radically broader and different theology of it needs to be articulated. The challenge for the Orthodox Christian is not to hide from truth, but to redeem it, to contextualize it in the faith.

    Either that or one must argue that all of modern science – astronomy, physics, geology, paleontology, biology – all of it is a diabolical deception of the highest, the most extreme, magnitude, akin to the ultimate LSD trip (including all the effects of technology that we see on a daily basis that are intimately tied into the science). This of course is one possibility.

    The other is that our understanding of God and God’s creation is meager, and constantly growing. That we must be careful not to worship a God of our own mind’s creation, an idol, and not the awesome God that is so beyond us that without His mercy, the full revelation would surely destroy us. The neat cosmology of simpler ages does not reflect, to my mind, such a Mystery.

    Perhaps one of the unintended gifts of often atheistic science has been the near mysticism of its development in the last 100 years. As the physicist Richard Feynmann said once: “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” Humanity now describes the universe increasingly in ridiculous terms, even as it affords greater and greater predictive power. We are at the limits of our abilities, our minds. The “priests” of this power lord it over us. But, for anyone with wisdom, nothing but abject humility should come from this.

    I believe one of the great intellectual challenges of the Orthodox faith in the modern age is to recast theology in light of this new information. Not to change its essence, its truths. But to see these truths in the world. Not to compromise beliefs! To use the mind to contextualize and redeem our understanding of the world! God made this universe. If you do not have faith that God’s truths are in it, you do not believe, and are forever shackled in the ability to discern truth. Whether we understand at present how to explain things says little about God or the truth, and much about us.

    Of course, as in all ages, knowledge is not salvation. The Devil will always be a better theologian and scientist than any of us, to paraphrase A.W.Tozer, but is still the Devil. The greatest challenge is far more about love. Matthew 25:31-46 is a harsh lesson in this, but our Lord’s words about what brings forgiveness and salvation all center on very personal choices regarding, firstly Him, and through Him, others.

    God is love.

    • “I believe one of the great intellectual challenges of the Orthodox faith in the modern age is to recast theology in light of this new information. Not to change its essence, its truths. But to see these truths in the world. Not to compromise beliefs!” I am working on meeting this challenge, but I’m just starting out. Have you been working on this?

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    writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

  13. One of the problems here is the presupposition of “science” proving the evolutionary claims. Also the presupposition of “science” having a say in our origins. “Science” cannot claim anything, people do. True science is a discipline a tool that is limited to that which we can observe and test. The discipline of science cannot answer anything about history or our origins it can only participate in the study of it. Theology is the discipline that determines our origins.

    Another problem here in the comments is the presupposition of believing that religious people had all kinds of supersticious beliefs until “science” came along and saved everyone. In all actuality most of the time it was the scientists of that time that had the incorrect belief about the world and the universe. If you study the history and the names you would catch that one. For example Galileo’s problems did not come from the religious people it came from the scientist who claimed that he was trying to make a scientific claim without all of the evidence. The Pope acutally allowed him to stay at the papal palace. It wasn’t until Galileo made some religious claims that were in error that the Church took issue with him. Again, the modern myth’s prevail in creating a “religion v science” argument that is not true to acutal history.

  14. Inxpiring story there. What happened after? Takee care!

  15. Reblogged this on basilkaf.

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