Articles Jesse Dominick

A Patristic Perspective on a Crucified Mind: Fr. Seraphim Rose and the Doctrine of Creation

The 1970s was a time of overlooked theological discussions. Is it not amazing that in America, as once in Byzantium, representatives of different theological schools discussed things like whether the soul would pass through Heavenly Toll Houses after leaving the body or the place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church? These schools were represented by: Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY; St. Herman of Alaska Hermitage, Platina, CA; Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA; Deacon Lev Puhalo. We want to present to our readers Jesse Dominick’s work dedicated to a theologian of the Russian Church Abroad, Priestmonk Seraphim (Rose, d. 1982), who was an important part of these discussions.

From the Author

Fr. Seraphim Rose is a well-known American who embraced the Orthodox faith, and became a hieromonk of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, who reposed in 1982. He was a prolific translator and author, contributing innumerable articles to the journal, The Orthodox Word, in addition to his several books and personal letters. Fr. Seraphim is widely read and venerated throughout the Orthodox world, especially in Eastern European countries, in Greece and on Mt. Athos. In America, however, his reputation is more varied. Many loves and venerate him as a saint, while others view him as a fanatical zealot, too obsessed with controversial topics, and some even consider him to be a heretic. Thus, it is important, especially for Orthodox Americans, to gain a greater knowledge and understanding of the life and theology of Fr. Seraphim Rose.

The purpose of this thesis is to look especially at one of Fr. Seraphim’s major works, Genesis, Creation, and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision, in which he examines the philosophical and scientific theory of evolution and its theological implications as compared to the Patristic understanding of the creation of the world, the creation of man, and the Fall of man and the world. In doing so, I hope to demonstrate that Fr. Seraphim was not inspired by mere intellectual pursuits or a polemical spirit but rather that he was reasonable, pastoral, and willing and able to crucify his mind in submission to the teachings of the Orthodox Church. Before his conversion and discipleship under St. John Maximovitch (during the last three and a half years of St. John’s life), Fr. Seraphim had personally experienced the depth of the American academic intellectual life and had wholly believed in the theory of evolution, and thus he offers a unique and valuable Orthodox perspective.

In addition to Fr. Seraphim’s Genesis, Creation, and Early Man, primary sources will include his personal letters, collected and published by Fr. Alexey Young (Hieroschemamonk Ambrose) as Letters from Father Seraphim, and Patristic sources relevant to the Creation and Fall of the world, and to the well-known Creation-evolution question. On this theme references will include, but not be limited to, St. Ephraim the Syrian, St. Gregory the Theologian, St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Ambrose of Milan, St. John Chrysostom, St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Gregory the Sinaite, and St. Gregory Palamas. Secondary sources will include his biography, Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, by Hieromonk Damascene (Christensen), as well as personal interviews and reminiscences from friends and spiritual children of Fr. Seraphim, and other works from modern Orthodox Saints and elders (including, but not limited to, St. John of Kronstadt, St. John Maximovitch, St. Nikolai Velimirovich, St. Justin Popovich, Elder Sophrony, and Elder Paisios) and authors (including, but not limited to, Fr. George Calciu, Constantine Cavarnos, Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, and Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos) concerning Fr. Seraphim and/or the theological topics of Creation.

This thesis is dedicated to Hieromonk Seraphim Rose, of blessed memory, who taught me the beauty of the Orthodox theology of man and creation, who showed me the depths of the American soul, and whose zeal according to knowledge kept me in the Orthodox Church during a time of uncertainty.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

There are many people who deserve thanks for helping me in the completion of this thesis. Firstly I would like to thank my thesis advisor, Dr. Christopher Veniamin, for his patient guidance and his many helpful corrections and suggestions, and his theological expertise which has greatly enriched this work, as well as my entire seminary experience. I would also like to thank Dr. David Ford for also reading my paper and making helpful corrections, and for his love and passion for the Church and for teaching.

I am greatly indebted to and offer my sincere thanks to Abbot Hilarion and the entire brotherhood of St. Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina, CA for blessing me to live with them for seven weeks in the summer of 2012 and offering me the opportunity to be near to Fr. Seraphim both physically and spiritually, and to struggle in prayer and physical labor in the same wilderness where Fr. Seraphim struggled.

I would also like to sincerely thank all the living links to Fr. Seraphim who keep his memory alive and who graciously shared their reminiscences of him with me. This includes his monastic co-laborer Fr. Herman Podmoshensky, his first Godson Fr. John Campbell (Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville) and his spiritual children Hieroschemamonk Ambrose Young (Entrance of the Theotokos Skete, Hayesville, OH), his biographer and editor Hieromonk Damascene Christensen (St. Herman of Alaska Monastery), Abbess Theadelphi (Entrance of the Theotokos Skete), Mary Mansur, Solomonia Nelson, John Hudanish, Seraphim and Martha Nichols, and Subdeacon Martinian Prince. I would also like to thank all those around the world who revere and continue the work and memory of Fr. Seraphim.

I am also grateful to our Rector, His Grace Bishop Michael, our Dean of Students, Fr. Nilus Lerro, and our Choir Director, Benedict Sheehan and his family for their interest in my thesis and for their support and encouragement on this work and throughout my seminary experience. Much thanks is also due to Fr. Igumen Sergius, abbot of St. Tikhon’s Monastery, for blessing with me his patient and longsuffering spiritual guidance during my four years at St. Tikhon’s.

Thank you to Marius Nitu of Bucharest, Romania for translating various Romanian sources for this work.

Immense gratitude to Ksenia Nemtsov, for having Fr. Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works on her book shelf at Penn State back in 2005!

All thanks, and all glory, honor, and worship is due to our God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit for blessing me to enter into the Holy Orthodox Church and to have this blessed time at St. Tikhon’s Seminary. May this present work be glorifying to God.

ABBREVIATIONS

ACW — Ancient Christian Writers: The Works of the Fathers in Translation. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1946—.

ANF — A. Roberts and J. Donaldson, eds. Ante-Nicene Fathers. 10 vols. Buffalo NY: Christian Literature, 1885-1896. Reprint, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1951-1956. Reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994.

Dobrotolyubiye — St. Theophan the Recluse, trans. “Dobrotolyubiye v Russkom perevode, dopolnennoye” (The Philokalia in Russian translation, supplemented). 5 vols. Moscow: Athonite Russian Monastery of St. Panteleimon, 1877-1889. 2nd ed., 1883-1900. 3rd ed., 1913.

FC — The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1947—.

GCEM — Rose, Fr. Seraphim. Genesis, Creation, and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision. Ed. Hieromonk Damascene. 2nd ed. Platina, CA: Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2011.

NPNF — P. Schaff et al., eds. A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. 2 series (14 vols. each). Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature, 1887-1894. Reprint, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1952-1956. Reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994.

PG — J.-P Migne, ed. Patrologia Cursus Completus, Series Graeca. 166 vols. Paris: Migne, 1857-1886.

Philokalia — G. E. H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Kallistos Ware, trans. The Philokalia: The Complete Text, compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain and St. Makarios of Corinth. London: Faber and Faber, 1979—.

PL — J.-P Migne, ed. Patrologia Cursus Completus, Series Latina. 221 vols. Paris: Migne, 1844-1864.

PPS — Popular Patristics Series. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1977—.

SC — H. de Lubac, J. Daniélou et al., eds. Sources Chrétiennes. Paris: Editions du Cerf, 1941—.

Chapter One: A Crucified Mind

“Do not worry about my philosophical nature,
When I became Christian I voluntarily crucified my mind,
and all the crosses that I bear have been only a source of joy for me.
I have lost nothing and gained everything”. [1] Eugene Rose, Letter to Gleb Podmoshensky, as found in Hieromonk Damascene, Fr. Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works (2010), p. 340.

These words of Fr. Seraphim Rose encapsulate his life as a convert to Orthodox Christianity. Born Eugene Dennis Rose on August 13, 1934, into a Protestant household in San Diego, he is known as a Russian Orthodox monk and priest who labored for twelve years until his repose on September 2, 1982, in the American “desert” of Northern California, at St. Herman’s Monastery which co-founded with the blessing of St. John Maximovitch (1896–1966), the Russian Orthodox Archbishop of San Francisco. Even before formally entering the Church he understood the true path of the Orthodox Christian life: “Let not us, who would be Christians, expect anything else from it than to be crucified. For to be Christian is to be crucified… If we would rise with Christ, we must first be humbled with Him — even to the ultimate humiliation, being devoured and spit forth by the uncomprehending world… God give us the strength to pursue the path to crucifixion; there is no other way to be a Christian”. [2] Journal of Eugene Rose, May 19, 1961, as found in His Life and Works p. 159.

And not only was Fr. Seraphim able to correctly formulate the course of Orthodox spirituality, but his life demonstrates that he also lived the Orthodox path of crucifixion, in pursuit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As Hieromonk Damascene (Christensen) depicts in his biography of his spiritual father, [3]Fr. Damascene was a spiritual child of Fr. Seraphim during the last year of his life. He was baptized while Fr. Seraphim lie dying in the hospital, and Fr. Seraphim is buried in his baptismal … Continue reading Fr. Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, Fr. Seraphim’s life was always one of suffering, but in encountering Christ his suffering became united to His and became, as he himself said, “only a source of joy.”

Alison Harris, Eugene/Fr. Seraphim’s greatest friend, whom he met in November, 1952 while a student at Pomona College in Southern California, remembers of him: “He was very, very passionate. I mean that not in a worldly sense, but in a spiritual sense. He was an all-or-nothing kind of person; he never did anything halfway”. [4] His Life and Works, p. 43. He had a great love for Christianity and a great knowledge of the Scriptures in his youth, and in eighth grade he was baptized into the Methodist Church of his own accord. His acute and perceptive intelligence and academic interest was also evident from an early age however — he would even spend his summers studying zoology — and in high school his zeal for biology, algebra, trigonometry, and so on, replaced his zeal for religion. He graduated in June of 1952 at the top of his class and entered Pomona College, one of California’s top private colleges, in the fall. However, the typical frivolities of American, and especially college life, held no interest for Eugene, and his main objective soon became to understand reality and his purpose in it.

He undertook a serious study of Western philosophy, and at the end of his freshman year he wrote a paper in which he rejected the notion of a personal God in favor of the impersonal universe, because the tools he had at his disposal — his own logic and reasoning, and mathematics and science — could not provide evidence for God. He wrote: “I believe in the findings of science that point to the existence of the Universe; I reject the concept of an independent God for insufficient evidence”, and he concluded that the purpose of life is to find happiness. [5] Ibid., p. 23. He was attracted to the intellectual tradition of Zen Buddhism as well as its denial of dogma and ritual, and he soon began practicing meditation, but this in fact did not lead him to the happiness that he sought. During this time he confided to Alison that he was suicidal and felt rejected by people. Zen had showed him that he needed something, but in its rejection of a personal God it could not provide him with any answers. One night, in a drunken outburst, his “all-of-nothing” spirit showed forth and he loudly proclaimed to his friend that “there is no God!” and he cursed God and even dared Him to damn him to hell. As Fr. Damascene writes, so desperate was Eugene to grasp reality that he felt it would be worth eternal damnation just to empirically know that God does indeed exist. [6] Ibid., p. 46.

Following in the footsteps of Nietzsche, Eugene explored the depths of nihilism, insanity, and hedonism. He consciously lived against the commandments of God and he later said of this time: “I was in hell. I know what hell is”. [7] Ibid., p. 59. He also had periods of interest in Tibetan Buddhism and Taoism, but his sharp mind and his deep hunger for the truth showed him the shortcomings of these traditions. As a student at the Academy of Asian Studies in San Francisco, Eugene came across the writings of the French metaphysician Rene Guenon (1886-1951), which had an inestimable impact on his spiritual journey. Guenon examined the problems of Western society more deeply than Eugene had found in Zen, and he argued that the problem is not the West itself but rather the modernist spirit that plagues it. Through this he taught Eugene to appreciate the orthodox forms of world religions as purer, although their teachings were being more and more obscured by the spirit of the age. Whereas Eugene once trusted wholly in science to grant him knowledge of reality, through Guénon’s influence he came to view science as a legitimate source of knowledge, but “of the lowest, commonest sort.” [8]Eugene Rose, “Christian Realism and Worldly Idealism,” The Orthodox Word, no. 128 (1986), p. 133, as found in Ibid. p. 65. Dr. Jean-Claude Larchet (1949), a French Orthodox doctor of philosophy … Continue reading In following Nietzsche, Eugene had felt the power of Antichrist, and Guenon showed him this power at work in the world, obscuring the traditions that lead men to truth. Eugene knew the existence of evil before he knew that of good. He later that said he first knew Antichrist, and from there he knew that the One Whom the Antichrist opposes must also exist.

Eugene appreciated Orthodoxy as the orthodox form of Christianity, and he attended his first service in 1957 at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” on Fulton Street in San Francisco. There his heart found the surprising and overwhelming sense that he was “home,” although it would take some time before he could truly understand this. His continued experiences in Orthodox churches softened his heart and he began to realize that his search for truth with his mind was futile, for the truth is beyond the mind. Whereas once he had derided the belief in a personal God, his newfound experiences led him to the conclusion that truth is in fact known and even loved not by the mind but by the heart, for Truth is a Person — the Person of Jesus Christ. Eugene now began to undertake the suffering of dying to the old man and living to Christ, but now his suffering was filled with profound meaning and joy. Whereas before his life had been ruled by the power of his own keen mind, he now recognized the call to submit his mind to that of Christ in His Church, and to his heart. Now his suffering became his crucifixion.

However, it would be five years until Eugene formally entered the Orthodox Church. In the meantime, in 1959 he conceived of a massive undertaking that came to be called The Kingdom of Man and the Kingdom of God, which aimed to be a general analysis of the apostasy from Orthodox truth and modern man’s vain pursuits to fill his natural need for religion. In his exhaustive research he examined several modern “pseudo-religions” and “idols” that pervert mankind. Among these idols he wrote of modern science which he compared to magic: “their viewpoint is the same. Both are preoccupied with phenomena and their manipulation, with wonders, with results.” [9] His Life and Works, p. 139. He also examined what he called “the root of the revolution of the modern age” — Nihilism [10]The chapter on Nihilism was the only to be fully completed, and was posthumously published in 1994 as Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age by the Fr. Seraphim Rose Foundation, and … Continue reading — which, following Nietzsche, he defined as the idea that there is no truth, which he saw as characterizing much of modern life. Eugene had deeply experienced the life of the modern academic and the modern nihilist and so he could write: “We have been brought to the edge of the abyss of nothingness, stand on thin soil above it, and … we will … be engulfed in it beyond all hope of redemption — unless we cling, in full and certain faith (which, doubting, does not doubt), in Christ, without Whom we are truly nothing.” [11] Notes of Eugene Rose, July 1960, as found in His Life and Works, p. 155.

With his newfound faith Eugene wanted nothing more than to serve Christ. In 1961 he was suffering from an intestinal disorder which he believed was a fatal malady. In intense pain he cried out to the Mother of God: “Make sense out of my life. I still have talents — let them not be wasted. Grant me to enter your Son’s Church, His saving enclosure, into the heart of hearts. Grant me to serve your Son!” [12] Ibid., p. 164. Whereas once he had cried out from the depths of his soul for God to damn him, in a beautiful change of heart he now called out from the depths of his soul for God to spare him and to grant him to be a faithful servant, and not long after this incident, in November of 1961 he met Gleb Podmoshensky (the future Fr. Herman) with whom he would serve God through their Fr. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, which would eventually give rise to the St. Herman of Alaska Monastery. Eugene was finally received into the Church on the day of his patron, St. Eugene of Alexandria — Sunday, February 12/25, 1962, which was also the Sunday of the Prodigal Son — a fitting day of reception for a man who had abandoned his childhood faith in Christ and wandered through the barren deserts of the Far Eastern traditions. [13]For other moving stories of New Age and Far Eastern seekers who eventually found their final homes in the Orthodox Church see Dionysios Farasiotis’ The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios, … Continue reading When he received the holy Eucharist for the first time he knew a deep peace, and felt an indescribable taste in his mouth for over a week. As Fr. Damascene writes: “Some years before, he had felt the taste of hell; now, in a most literal way, he was given to know the taste of heaven.” [14] His Life and Works, p. 200.

At the end of 1962, something happened to Eugene that would profoundly impact the rest of his life, perhaps more than anything else that ever happened to him – he met the holy and great wonderworker St. John Maximovitch, who came to serve as the Archbishop of San Francisco, until his repose in 1966. Eugene saw in St. John a reflection of Christ Himself and he considered him to be the noblest man he ever met. He internalized the example of St. John and learned to seek for the inner essence of Orthodoxy and to develop a loving heart, and St. John took a great personal interest in Eugene. He personally invited Eugene to serve on the kliros and in the altar, and also to give lectures and write lay sermons for the local newsletter Orthodox Tidings. [15] These sermons were posthumously published by the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood in 1984 as Heavenly Realm: Lay Sermons. It was noticed by many that St. John had a special love for Eugene, and in December of 1965 he even proposed that Eugene become an English-language hieromonk for the Russian cathedral. St. John also blessed Eugene and Gleb in all their work in their Fr. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, which he saw as a reflection of the great Russian Valaam Monastery, and which was dedicated to bringing timeless Orthodox truths to America and to propagating the memory and veneration of the Valaam missionary to Alaska, which helped to bring about his canonization on July 27/August 9, 1970. The Brotherhood was formed in 1963, also with the blessing of Archimandrite Sophrony (1897–1993), the saintly disciple of St. Silouan the Athonite (1866–1938), who wrote: “may the Lord bless your beginning, and may He grant you strength for the creation of this Brotherhood, and inspiration throughout your life.” [16] Letter to the Fr. Herman Brotherhood, Feb. 11, 1964, as found in His Life and Works, p. 272. In March 1964 they opened their “Orthodox Christian Books and Icons,” and in September 1964, St. John blessed them to begin printing a journal which he entitled “The Orthodox Word.” The first issue contained a “mission statement” which is descriptive of the rest of Eugene/Fr. Seraphim’s life in holy Orthodoxy: “THE ORTHODOX WORD has one single reason for existing: to preach the truths of Orthodox Christianity, and in so doing to draw together those of like mind so as to offer a united witness of these truths. It is addressed to Orthodox of all nationalities, to converts to the Orthodox faith, and to those outside the Church who desire to learn more of her faith and practice.” [17]“The Orthodox Word,” The Orthodox Word vol. 1, no. 1 (Jan. – Feb. 1965), p. 17. Eugene and Gleb also knew many other “living links” to Orthodox Tradition in the Russian community in San … Continue reading

Desiring to leave the world and to pursue the Lord in monastic struggles, Eugene and Gleb bought a piece of forested mountain land near the northern California town of Platina, and and in August of 1969 the brothers moved to their “desert.” Being surrounded so closely by God’s creation, Eugene wrote that he lived in “a veritable paradise.” [18] Letter of Eugene Rose to Fr. Neketas Palassis, July 12, 1970, as found in His Life and Works, p. 395. Here his love of nature and science could truly bloom, and he kept records of the weather and flora and fauna with scientific exactitude. Here his love of Christ was also free to fully blossom, and the brothers gave their lives to God in monastic tonsure on October 14/27, 1970, with Eugene being named for one of the greatest Russian Saints, St. Seraphim of Sarov (1754-1833). For the next twelve years until his repose on September 2, 1982, Fr. Seraphim’s life was a podvig — a cross of ascetic labor. As monastics the brothers celebrated the daily cycle of services and undertook a breathtaking amount of work in a monastery with no running water or electricity. In addition to the daily upkeep of the monastery Fr. Seraphim wrote and printed innumerable articles for The Orthodox Word, concerning Patristic writings, lives of ancient and modern Saints, miracle-working icons, current Orthodox events, and so on. He also dedicated himself to translating many spiritual texts which were not yet available in English, and he also authored several books addressing current theological issues. He was ordained to the holy Priesthood on April 11/24, 1977, and began to serve at the monastery and in missions elsewhere in California and in Oregon, and became a spiritual father to many, guiding souls to cultivate the humble Orthodox heart he had seen in St. John. Although St. John had reposed in 1966, Fr. Seraphim remained his devoted disciple, continually being inspired by his apostolic zeal and love, and he continually exhorted others to follow the example of St. John and to seek his heavenly intercessions.

However, as a monastic, his greatest labors were prayer and repentance. The Jesus Prayer was his constant companion, and he was merciless with himself, waging strict battle on his thoughts. When he became a Christian he left behind his once debaucherous life, and he spent his years in the monastery repenting of the sins that had cast him into the flames of hell even in this life. He once remarked to Fr. Herman: “I thank God for every day that I can kill myself for Orthodoxy” [19] Ibid., p. 648. and when asked what he most remembered about Fr. Seraphim, Fr. Herman excitedly replied that it was his fervent desire for пустыня (pustinya) — the “desert life.” [20] This was communicated directly to this author by Fr. Herman on Friday August 17, 2012. From St. John he had learned to accept in humble obedience the entirety of the Orthodox Tradition, and so he voluntarily gave his mind over to the mind of Christ in His Church. Abbess Theadelphi of the Entrance of the Theotokos Skete in Hayesville, OH, who had been a spiritual child of Fr. Seraphim, has said: “he himself strove, and urged others also to strive, to subdue opinions, subjective individual opinions because its unhealthy for spiritual life,” and Hieroschemamonk Ambrose Young (1944- ), who was his spiritual child for twelve years, continues: “Fr. Seraphim carried this to, really, what I thought then and still think was an amazing degree.” [21] This was communicated directly to this author in an interview with Mother Theadelphi and Fr. Ambrose on May 6, 2012, at the Entrance of the Theotokos Skete.

The crucifixion of his mind is paralleled to other great “themes” of Fr. Seraphim’s life. In submitting his mind, he found an “Orthodoxy of the heart,” which was to be his constant word for others in the last years of his life. He understood that true Christianity is not just about having right beliefs, but “it is something first of all of the heart, not just the mind, something living and warm, not abstract and cold, something that is learned and practiced in life, not just in school.” [22] “Orthodoxy in the USA,” Orthodox Word, no. 94 (1980), p. 217, as found in His Life and Works, p. 830. This flowed from his steadfast belief in truth not as a concept but as a Person. He also spoke of this in terms of a “suffering Orthodoxy” whereby a loving heart was formed by uniting one’s suffering to Christ. He exhorted believers to seek the “savor of Orthodoxy” on the “Royal Middle Path,” avoiding the extremes of liberalism on the left and loveless Pharisaism on the right. [23] See note 27 below. One manifestation of this struggle was his work The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church, serialized in The Orthodox Word and first published separately in 1983, in which he defended Augustine’s place among the Saints (despite his theological errors) against the attacks of some extremists who denied his Sainthood and labeled him a heretic. In his other works, including Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future (1975), in which he critically analyzes modern spiritual trends, and The Soul After Death (1980), in which he examines modern “out-of-body” and “after-death” occult experiences in light of the Orthodox Tradition.

Fr. Seraphim also strove to transmit the wisdom and “savor” of the Church and apply it practically to challenges faced by Orthodox Christians in the modern world. And his God’s Revelation to the Human Heart, which is a transcription of a lecture given in May, 1981, at the University of California, Santa Cruz, published posthumously in 1987, is a clear and concise presentation of his “crucified mind-orthodoxy of the heart” teaching, which leads to spiritual rebirth. [24] This is but a bare sketch of the life and works of Fr. Seraphim Rose. For a much fuller picture, see Hieromonk Damascene’s Fr. Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works.

Chapter Two: Fr. Seraphim’s Interest in Studying Genesis, and His Interpretive Method

One of, if not the most substantial contribution that Fr. Seraphim has made to 20th and 21st century Orthodoxy is his treatment of the highly-debated Creation/evolution question. Fr. Seraphim addressed this issue in writing, including personal letters, and through public lectures over the course of nine years, until his repose in 1982. Much of his output was posthumously compiled, edited, and published by the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood under the title of Genesis, Creation, and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision (2000, 2011), [25]Referring to the first edition which appeared in 2000, Thomas C. Oden, General Editor of volume 1 of the “Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture” series, on Genesis 1-11 writes in the … Continue reading which has received a varied response within the American Orthodox community. Several letters addressing the issue can also be found in Fr. Alexey Young’s (now the aforementioned Hieroschemamonk Ambrose) compilation Letters from Father Seraphim. Additionally, evolution is discussed in his Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, and he also translated several homilies of St. Symeon the New Theologian dealing with the Creation, the Fall, and the awaited restoration of the cosmos, originally published by the St. Herman’s Brotherhood as The Sin of Adam and Our Redemption in 1979, and now published as The First-Created Man.

Fr. Seraphim was initially prompted to address the issue following the publication of an article critiquing evolution in the small journal of his spiritual child Alexey Young, Nikodemos (vol. 2, #2, Mar-Apr 1973). [26]Alexey wrote his article in answer to the ignorance of many parents whom he encountered as a school teacher to the often-deliberate use of evolution as a philosophical means to undermine … Continue reading He and Fr. Herman were surprised to receive a letter from a priest

of the Russian Church Abroad under the spiritual direction of the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, MA (which was at that time within the ROCOR jurisdiction), who objected strongly to Alexey’s article. This was later followed by a nationally circulated open letter from monks of the monastery itself. The fathers of the monastery considered evolution to be an unassailable fact and any discussion of the issue to be inappropriate. Of more concern than this objection was the manner in which the fathers of the monastery and those under their spiritual direction objected. Alexey and his journal were slandered and subscriptions were withdrawn. [27]His Life and Works, pp. 522-24. The Boston monastery was at the center of this major theme of Fr. Seraphim’s life – his struggle for the “Royal Middle Path” against “Super-Correctness” … Continue reading As Fr. Seraphim writes: “they had formed a political party within [the] Church, and those who do not agree with the ‘party line’ are dismissed and regarded as non-existent, and people are even warned about the ‘dangers’ of having contact with such ones.” [28] Letter of Fr. Seraphim Rose to Fr. Roman Lukianov, Nov. 14, 1979, as found in His Life and Works, p. 524.

Fr. Seraphim was also taken aback by the seeming ignorance of the dangers of evolutionism amongst so many in the Orthodox Church – both clergy and laity. He himself had once believed “entirely” in evolution because it had always been presented as irrefutable fact to which every learned person gives assent, but upon deeper thinking he had begun to distinguish between scientific facts and scientific philosophy, concluding that evolution is actually an example of the latter. [29] Letter of Fr. Seraphim Rose to Dr. Alexander Kalomiros, 5th Week of Great Lent, 1974, as found in GCEM p. 421. In his extensive research for his shelved project The Kingdom of Man and the Kingdom of God, Fr. Seraphim traced the development of the apostasy of the western world from the truth of Orthodox Christianity and found a form of chiliasm to be the undergirding philosophy. For Fr. Seraphim, this term indicates not necessarily the strict meaning of a belief in a literal millennial reign of Christ on earth, but in a broader sense that “history is to reach its culmination in an indefinite state of earthly blessedness, a perfected mankind living in perfect peace and harmony.” [30] Letter of Eugene Rose to Daniel Olson, April 7, 1971, as found in His Life and Works, p. 406. Archimandrite Sophrony also takes note of this as a pervading philosophy: “The   tragedy   of   our   times   lies   in   our   almost   complete   unawareness, or unmindfulness, that there are two kingdoms, the temporal and eternal. We would build the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, rejecting all idea of resurrection or eternity. Resurrection is a myth, God is dead.”[31] His Life is Mine, p. 37. In this light, Fr. Seraphim found that the foundations for evolution had been laid by philosophy long before there was any scientific “evidence” in favor of it, and that evolution itself constitutes a philosophy, [32]GCEM, p. 428. For Fr. Seraphim’s considerable writings on evolution as a philosophy and the strange doctrines of several Christian and Orthodox evolutionists, see GCEM, Part III: The Philosophy of … Continue reading one that comprises a “rival thought-pattern to orthodoxy.”[33] Letter of Fr. Seraphim Rose to Alexey Young, April 5/18, 1973, as found in Ibid., p. 35 and His Life and Works, p. 538. The highly-respected traditional Orthodox author Dr. Constantine Cavarnos (1918-2011), who earned his PhD. in philosophy from Harvard, founded the Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, and ended his days as a schemamonk of St. Anthony’s Monastery in Florence, AZ, strongly argues the same in his lecture Biological Evolutionism. Having majored in biology and philosophy he found that “the theories of biological evolution are philosophical in nature and should be treated as such.”[34] Biological Evolutionism, p. 7. For more information on the life of Schemamonk Constantine, see the encomium in his honor posted online at the blog Mystagogy.

Having undertaken in-depth studies of the movement of apostasy, Eugene’s knowledge was later supplemented with the theological truths of Orthodoxy through a three-year course offered by the great wonderworker St. John Maximovitch and those chosen by him, which Fr. Herman believes St. John designed specifically for Eugene. Among several other courses, St. John’s faithful priest Fr. Leonid Upshinsky presented from several Patristic commentaries on the first several chapters of Genesis. Eugene eventually graduated at the top of the class. [35]His Life and Works, pp. 277, 523; GCEM, p. 29. The courses were conducted in the basement of the St. Tikhon’s orphanage where St. John lived, and included courses on Liturgics, Patristics, Old … Continue reading Following his conversion to Christ, he saw evolution as part of the American intellectual baggage which he was called to leave behind as he submitted his mind to the wisdom of the Church, [36]It is commonly asserted that to stand against evolution is a peculiarly American Fundamentalist position, but Fr. Seraphim saw the issue from quite the opposite perspective. The stance of modern … Continue reading and so he was genuinely taken aback by Orthodox Christians who either fully and uncritically accepted evolutionism or did not believe it to be an important issue. [37]Letter of Fr. Seraphim to Alexey Young, April 5/18, 1973, as found in GCEM, p. 36. Around the time of Alexey’s Nikodemos article, other articles appeared in Orthodox sources that argued in favor of … Continue reading According to the teaching of St. Gregory Palamas (1296-1359), the archbishop of Thessaloniki, secular knowledge, including history, science, logic, and so forth, can be either good or evil according to the purpose of those who use it, and so for Fr. Seraphim simple acceptance of the theory of evolution was not an option. [38]In Defense of the Holy Hesychasts (The Triads) 1.1.6, p. 20, ed. and trans. [Fr.] Jean Meyendorff [French translation]. Fr. Seraphim quotes this passage on p. 466 in GCEM. The Russian philosopher and … Continue reading Following the controversy surrounding Alexey Young’s article, Fr. Seraphim made his own in-depth study of Patristic commentaries on Genesis, and of the theory of evolution. [39] The Patristic sources that he studied and later used in his own presentations are listed further on. He found that, despite common claims to the contrary, the Church has handed down a wealth of harmonious teaching on Creation, the first-created world, the first-created man, the Fall of man, and so forth.

The importance of Fr. Seraphim’s work, the bulk of which was originally presented as a series of lectures at the “New Valaam Theological Academy” pilgrimages at St. Herman’s Monastery in the summers of 1981 and 1982, is that it was the first, and remains the only Orthodox work to present an in-depth and detailed look at Genesis specifically in the Creation/evolution context, with the aim of presenting and upholding the Patristic teaching. [40]Dr. Peter Bouteneff’s 2008 work Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives also examines Christian accounts of Creation with the aim of determining how literally we … Continue reading In looking to the Fathers, Fr. Seraphim was adhering to an essential principle of Orthodox hermeneutics: one must live according to the Scripture in order to understand them. One’s ability to interpret the Scriptures depends on one’s spiritual state, for the Scriptures themselves are the product of Divine inspiration. In his essay “How to Read the Bible and Why” the great Serbian luminary of modern times, St. Justin Popovich (1894-1979), writes: “It is a book that must be read with life — by putting it into practice. One should first live it, and then understand it,”[41] As found in The Struggle for Faith, Vol. IV, A Treasury of Serbian Orthodox Spirituality, pp. 74-85, and also found online at the Orthodox Christian Information Center. and Fr. Seraphim writes in his own guide to reading the Scriptures: “For our reading of Scripture to be fruitful, to help save our souls, we must ourselves be leading a spiritual life in accordance with the Gospel. The Scripture are addressed precisely to those who are trying to lead a spiritual life.” [42]“How to Read the Holy Scriptures,” as found in the 2ί12 St. Herman’s Calendar, p. 3. Fr. Seraphim also quotes St. Basil, from his introduction to his commentary on the Prophet Isaiah, stating … Continue reading

One of the major themes of Fr. Seraphim’s work on Genesis is that the first-created world, as it existed before the Fall of man, was radically different from what we know today, and so cannot be investigated through modern science, but rather is only known to man as revealed by the Saints who taught from experience and Divine vision. To Dr. Alexander Kalomiros (1931-1993), [43]Fr. Seraphim had been referred to Dr. Kalomiros as a prominent and knowledgeable Orthodox proponent of evolution, and so he took up a correspondence with him to learn more about the theistic … Continue reading a Greek medical doctor and author of the well-known work against ecumenism, Against False Union, and the controversial talk, The River of Fire, he wrote: “The interpretation of the Divinely inspired Scripture is clearly the work of God- bearing theologians, not of natural scientists, who ordinarily do not know the very first principles of such interpretation … The state of Adam and the first-created world has been placed forever beyond the knowledge of science by the barrier of Adam’s transgression, which changed the very nature of Adam and the Creation, and indeed the nature of knowledge itself” (emphasis in original). [44]GCEM, pp. 449, 489. It is curious that theistic evolutionists often argue that Genesis not a science book, and yet it is to scientists that they turn for its interpretation. Fr. Seraphim instead … Continue reading

Fr. John Romanides (1927-2001), a prominent priest and theologian of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Church of Greece, taught the same in his Ancestral Sin: “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 … 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.” [45]Ancestral Sin pp. 41-42. Similarly, His Grace Bp. Michael Dahulich (OCA-NY-NJ) (1950- ) writes that “the entire Bible has nothing else as its purpose than to describe divine actions in the worldly … Continue reading

Thus, any attempted scientific investigation into the creation of the world and the time before man’s sin necessitates the assuming away of the once paradisaical world, and the subsequent Fall. Thus, as this work attempts to demonstrate, in order to “harmonize” this “science” with Orthodox Patristic theology, one or the other or both must be seriously compromised.

Fr. Seraphim’s conclusions about obtaining knowledge of the prelapsarian world were not simply his own, but in this he was harmonious with the Fathers of the Church, who spoke quite explicitly. St. Theophilus, a second century (c. 120-190) successor to St. Peter the Apostle at the See of Antioch and early apologist, writes: “Of these six days’ work no man can give a worthy explanation and description of all its parts,” even though he had ten thousand years to speak of it, “not even so could he utter anything worthy of these things, on account of the exceeding greatness and riches of the wisdom of God which there is in the six days’ work,” “but it is a succinct account of it which holy Scripture gives.” [46] To Autolycus 2.12, 2.18, as found in ANF vol. 2, pp. 99, 101. St. Ambrose, the fourth century (c. 340-397) bishop of Milan, well known for baptizing St. Augustine of Hippo, in his Paradise cautions us to humility: “we are unable, owing to human weakness, yet to know and understand the reason for the creation of each and every object. Let us, therefore, not criticize in holy Scripture something which we cannot comprehend. There are very many things which must not be subjected to the judgment of our intellect. Rather, these should be surveyed from the lofty heights of Divine Providence and from the intentions of God Himself, [47]Paradise 2.7, FC vol. 42, p. 290. The danger of applying human intellect and reasoning to matters of the faith is a consistent concern in the Fathers. For instance, St. John Chrysostom states in his … Continue reading which is accomplished within Christ’s Church through union and communion with Him.”

Thus, Orthodox interpretation of Genesis follows that of the Fathers, who experienced visions of Creation, and even greater, a vision of and union with the Risen and glorified Christ. Fr. Seraphim quotes the Ninevite bishop St. Isaac the Syrian (d. c. 700) speaking of such vision: “And from this one is already exalted in his mind to that which preceded the composition of the world, when there was no creature, nor heaven, nor earth, nor angels, nothing of that which was brought into being, and to how God, solely by His good will, suddenly brought everything from non-being into being, and everything stood before Him in perfection.” [48] Ascetical Homilies 21, Tvoreniya, p. 108, as found in GCEM, pp. 127, 458, 562. He also refers to St. Gregory the Sinaite (c. 1265-1346), the hesychastic contemporary of St. Gregory Palamas, who in his On Commandments and Doctrines 130 enumerates eight principal forms of contemplation, the third of which is “the composition of visible things.” Asking why this is included among other purely theological contemplations, Fr. Seraphim answers: “Is it not because there is an aspect and state of creatures beyond the sphere of scientific knowledge?”  (emphasis  in original). [49] GCEM, p. 458. This theology corresponds to that of the earlier and inestimable giant of Orthodoxy, St. Maximus the Confessor (c. 580-662), who wrote of contemplating the logoi, “the intelligible model (λόγος) according to which things have been made.” [50] Ambiguum 7, 1077C, as found in On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, p. 54. He writes that the one who is engaged in this “natural contemplation” comes to understand the God-given purpose for His creation, and seeks out the cause itself — that is, Christ, [51]The Four Hundred Chapters on Love 1.98-99, as found in Maximus Confessor: Selected Writings, p. 46. See also his Ad Thalassium 2, and before him The Divine Names 5.8-10 of St. Dionysius the … Continue reading and so the Saint has a greater and deeper understanding of creation than is possible from scientific studies. [52]Fr. Damascene writes that Fr. Seraphim, having attained sobriety and dispassion, was granted to share in the experience of the Saints of contemplating the original and final states of man and the … Continue reading And in fact, Archimandrite Zacharias (1946- ), the spiritual child of Elder Sophrony and spiritual grandchild of St. Silouan, writes that all of modern science is the result of Medieval monks who, suffering from despondency, forsook prayer and pursued worldly knowledge. [53] Enlargement of the Heart, p. 30. But speaking of the fruit of prayerful visions, St. Silouan writes that “The Saints speak of that which they have indeed seen and know. They do not speak of what they have not seen. The Saints say naught of their own devising.”[54] Archimandrite Sophrony, St. Silouan the Athonite, p. 90. And even nearer to our own times St. Nikolai Velimirović (1880-1956) the bishop of Žiča, writes of noetic vision: “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.” [55]“Homily for Meatfast Sunday,” in Homilies vol. 1, p. 116. For more sources concerning the unknowability of the prelapsarian world see also St. Justin Martyr (c. 100-168), Hortatory Address to the … Continue reading

Although the great Fathers of the Church were highly educated and understood the value of secular education, St. Basil (c. 330-379), the bishop of Neo-Caesarea known as “the Great,” one of the Three Holy Hierarchs, [56] Together with Sts. Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom, the Three Holy Hierarchs are commemorated on January 30. and the author of an Hexaemeron which is widely considered the Church’s classic text on the six days of Creation, declares, as Fr. Seraphim quotes: “We are proposing to examine the structure of the world and to contemplate the whole universe, beginning not from the wisdom of the world, but from what God taught His servant when He spoke to him in person and without riddles” (emphasis in Fr. Seraphim). [57] Hexaemeron 6.1, FC 46, p. 83, as found in GCEM, p. 137. Thus, Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos of Nafpaktos (1945- ), a distinguished theologian of the Greek Church, can declare in his The Person in the Orthodox Tradition that St. Basil the Great did not simply accept any scientific theory of his day, but rather judged all theories by the criteria of theology [58]The Person in the Orthodox Tradition, p. 46. Fr. Michael Pomazansky (1888-1988), a preeminent priest, theologian, and teacher at Holy Trinity Seminary at Jordanville, who was trained in … Continue reading — a principle which was earlier stated by St. Theophan the Recluse (1815-1894), the bishop of Tambov and giant of 19th century Russian orthodoxy. He writes: “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,” and, “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.” [59]Nastavleniya v duhovnoi zhisni and. Sozertsanie I Razmyshlenie; both quoted in the article “Why an orthodox Christian Cannot Be an Evolutionist” by S. V. Bufeev, founder of the Russian Shestodnev … Continue reading Likewise, St. Gregory Palamas points to the authoritative source: “Furthermore, we see none of the first writers on any subject whatever surpassing the account of the beginning of the world and of time, as Moses recorded it.” [60] The One Hundred and Fifty Chapters 1, as found in Sinkewicz, Robert E., trans., The One Hundred and Fifty Chapters, p. 83. Therefore it is not accurate to say that the Fathers’ interpretations of Genesis were simply limited by their primitive scientific knowledge, because they openly profess that it was not to science and human reasoning which they looked for their understanding of the acts of God recorded in Genesis, and, as will be seen, their interpretations are often, in fact, in direct contrast to our everyday experience of the fallen world which science investigates. If the Fathers’ interpretation of Genesis is in fact limited by the science of their day, then they were not even aware of wherefrom they derived their beliefs, having confused science with theology.

Because he had personally experienced the dregs of the 20th century “intellectual” life and because he had willingly crucified his keen mind before the mind of the Church, Fr. Seraphim was able to accept and follow the Patristic interpretations of the book of Genesis, regardless of how they compared to modern scientific theories. But although he understood the snares of fallen human reason and wisdom, it is important to note that he did not go to the extreme of being anti-intellectual, or anti-science, as is often accused of those who oppose the theory of evolution. Solomonia Nelson, who worked at St. Herman’s Monastery daily for several years in the mid-1970’s — early 1980’s, has emphasized that, although he crucified his mind, he did not obliterate it. He loved his work and he loved his research, to which he applied the strength of his mind, [61] This was personally communicated to this author on Sept. 1, 2ί12, at St. Herman’s monastery at the pilgrimage commemorating the 30th anniversary of the repose of Fr. Seraphim. and Hieroschemamonk Ambrose (Fr. Alexey Young) concurs: “He was by no means anti-intellectual at all a very cultured, very refined man.” [62] Interview with Fr. Ambrose, May 6, 2012. Fr. Seraphim himself states: “let us remember that God is the Author of all truth, and anything genuinely true in Scripture cannot contradict anything that is genuinely true in science,” [63] GCEM, p. 116. but he is rightly cautious in applying modern science to the Divine Scriptures: “If we ourselves think we can add something to the understanding of the text for our days (perhaps based on the findings of modern science), let it be done cautiously and with full respect for the integrity of the text of Genesis and the opinions of the Holy Fathers,” and he continues, “And we should always be humble in this attempt – the science of our own days also has its fallings and mistakes, and if we rely too much on it we maв find ourselves with wrong understandings.” [64] Ibid., p. 118. Here he is in accord with the method of St. Basil the Great and the principle articulated by St. Theophan the Recluse.

Fr. Seraphim began by addressing “why” we should study Genesis, and “how” to approach it. To those who question why we should think about the beginning and end of creation, he answers that our behavior is directly linked to our understanding of our origins, and our behavior reveals our desire or lack thereof for salvation and eternal life, to which Genesis, as a book of Scripture, points us. Here he references a homily of Fr. George Calciu (1925-2006), a Romanian confessor who suffered for many years in Communist gulags, in which he talks about the Communists teaching that men are descended from apes in order to justify treating one another as animals. This had been foreseen by St. Barsanuphius of Optina (1845-1913) who wrote that Darwin’s idea of survival of the fittest “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.” [65] Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, p. 488. Likewise, Archimandrite Sophrony writes: “To conduct our lives fittingly, it is of cardinal importance to know that before the very creation of the world we were intended to be perfect. To belittle God’s initial idea for us is not just mistaken: it is a sin. Because we do not see in ourselves, and still less in our fellow men, any permanent virtue, we behave towards each other like jungle beasts.” [66] His Life Is Mine, p. 72. Furthermore, Fr. Seraphim writes that a vague understanding of the future age of blessedness, leaving men open to chiliastic theories of a “paradise on earth,” is due in large part to a poor understanding of the origin of man and the universe. [67] Introduction to St. Simeon’s The First-Created Man, p. 12.

Regarding “how” to approach Genesis, Fr. Seraphim urges the reader to approach with humility and, as far as is possible, without bias towards any particular scientific theory – we ought to come to the text simply seeking what it has to teach us and not looking to justify our preconceived notions. He dismisses, as not taking the text of Genesis seriously, the view that religion and science are working within two wholly separate spheres and thus have no impact or implications for one another. [68]GCEM, p. 110. Met. Kallistos Ware (1934- ), the titular Bishop of Diokleia and former lecturer at Oxford University, professes this common mistaken view in a lecture delivered at Seattle Pacific … Continue reading Such a notion would betray a certain dualism that Orthodoxy has never accepted, for the body of man, and indeed all of creation, is intended to be a vessel for grace, which transfigures the physical creation, and so to properly understand the corporeal creation necessitates also an understanding of the incorporeal creation. In the aftermath of Darwin’s The Descent of Man, the great and holy luminary St. Nektarios (1846-1920), the Metropolitan of Pentapolis, wrote: “The one-sided inquiry of the body [seen in the evolutionist theory] can lead to very imperfect and erroneous conclusions, which differ little from superficial observation. In order to be known, man must be examined in depth, not on the surface. We must come to know his spiritual powers, his spiritual life, his way of life, his relations to the universe and to his Creator. We must examine the purpose of his appearance in the world, his destiny. In this manner we shall be able to know him according to his dignity, in this manner we shall be able to make declarations about him.” [69]Sketch Concerning Man (Hypotyposis peri Anthropou), pp. 1-10, as found in Cavarnos, Biological Evolutionism, pp. 27-28. Science can only speak of the natural world and of the physicality of man and … Continue reading

Speaking of this connection, Archimandrite Zacharias of Essex writes: “In the primordial state before the Fall, God fed the spirit of man, and the spirit of man fed his soul, and the soul passed the energy of God even to the body.” [70] Enlargement of the Heart, p. 238. Following the same theology Fr. Seraphim thus recognizes the overlap of theology and science and notes that “God is the Author of all truth, and anything genuinely true in Scripture cannot contradict anything that is genuinely true in science.” [71] GCEM, p. 116. See also pp. 118-119. However, for him this does not mean that any scientific premise can be simply declared to be harmonious with Orthodoxy, but it must be thoroughly scrutinized in light of Orthodoxy in order to discern whether it is actually true. As we have already seen, St. Theophan the Recluse teaches that the Tradition of the Church is the standard against which all ideas must be judged. And successfully avoiding the false dichotomy between religion and science, the Saint writes: “Material things can be neither the power nor the purpose. They are just the means and the field of activity of spiritual powers by the action of the spiritual beginning of all things ([the] Creator).” [72] Nastavleniya v duhovnoi zhisni, as found in S.V. Bufeev “Why an Orthodox Christian Cannot be an Evolutionist.”

In order to humbly align ourselves with the Orthodox truth, Fr. Seraphim of course proposes that we adhere to the Patristic interpretations of Genesis, for “there is no problem of our confused times which cannot find its solution by a careful and reverent reading of the Holy Fathers.” [73] Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose), The Holy Fathers: Sure Guide to True Christianity, p. 29. Fr. Seraphim understood the wisdom of the Church to be the summit of all knowledge and thus an illumination for all of life. He lays out a wide range of sources that he will use in his presentation, including the homilies on Genesis of the Archbishop of Constantinople St. John Chrysostom (347-407) and the hymnographer and theologian St. Ephraim the Syrian (c. 306-379); the Hexaemerons of St. Basil the Great and St. Ambrose of Milan; St. Basil’s On the Origin of Man; [74] Two discourses “On the origin of Humanity” are published in St. Vladimir Seminary Press’s “Popular Patristic Series” volume entitled On the Human Condition. St. Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335-384), the noted opponent of the later Arians’ On the Making of Man; the great theologian and defender of the icons St. John Damascene’s (c. 676-749) On the Orthodox Faith; the great monastic St. Symeon the New Theologian’s (949-1022) The Sin of Adam and Our Redemption; and many others. And we will compare Fr. Seraphim’s use of the Fathers with the teaching of other Fathers that he did not pull from, as well as other modern Saints and elders of whose teaching he was unaware.

It should again be noted that St. Basil’s Hexaemeron, from which Fr. Seraphim draws heavily, is generally considered to be the classic Orthodox text on the matter. Of this work his brother St. Gregory of Nyssa proclaims that “everyone treasures [it] as not being inferior to what Moses had taught,” and “there is nothing contradictory in what the saintly Basil wrote about the creation of the world since no further explanation is needed. They should suffice and alone take second place to the divinely inspired Testament.” [75] St. Gregory of Nyssa, Hexaemeron, pp. 2, 5 of an English translation available for download at Scribd, an online digital library. His friend, the archbishop of Constantinople, St. Gregory the Theologian (c. 329-3κλ), offers exalted praise: “Whenever I handle his Hexaemeron, and take its words on my lips, I am brought into the presence of the Creator, and understand the words of creation, and admire the Creator more than before, using my teacher as my only means of sight.” [76] Oration 43, Funeral Oration for St. Basil, Chapter 67, NPNF 2, vol. 7, pp. 417-418. Fr. Michael Pomazansky (1888-1988), a noted theologian trained in pre-Revolutionary Russia, concurs: “His Hexaemeron stands out as a bright and exalted system which reveals the meaning of Genesis, and reigns above the former [theories] as a bird soar above the creatures which are able to move only along the earth.” [77] “Talks on the Six Days by St. Basil the Great and Talks on the Days of Creation by St. John of Kronstadt,” p. 41, as found in GCEM, p. 504. It is with such an attitude of reverence that Fr. Seraphim approaches St. Basil’s work, and that of the other great Fathers from whom he draws. It should also be noted that in prayerfully seeking for the mind of the Church, Fr. Seraphim prayed to the Holy Fathers and came to feel especially close to St. Basil. [78] GCEM, p. 30.

Fr. Seraphim pinpoints the fundamental issue for the Creation/evolution discussion: how literally ought we to read Genesis? Are symbolic interpretations mutually exclusive from a literal interpretation. The orthodox “Creationist” [79]By this term I do not intend to link Fr. Seraphim to the Fundamentalistic “Young-Earth Creationism” view. As we have seen, Fr. Seraphim did not believe that the text of Genesis should be tied to … Continue reading position of course includes the literal reading of Genesis, but in no way excludes complementary symbolic readings, whereas the evolutionist position cannot allow for the literal reading of Genesis. Of course, Orthodox evolutionists assert that God is the Creator, but the Genesis narrative cannot be harmonized with the theory of evolution if read literally, as evolutionists readily admit. Fr. Seraphim provides several examples that demonstrate the general Patristic attitude. St. Basil the Great writes: “Those who do not admit the common meaning of the Scriptures … have attempted by false arguments and allegorical interpretations to bestow on the Scripture a dignity of their own imagining. But theirs is the attitude of one who considers himself wiser than the revelations of the Spirit and introduces his own ideas in pretense of an explanation. Therefore, let it be understood as it has been written.” [80] Hexaemeron 9.1, FC 46, pp. 135-36, as found in GCEM, p. 121.

And the Fathers do not present this approach as merely hypothetical, but rather as a definitive teaching. St. Ephraim the Syrian writes that it is “impermissible” to interpret the Six Days of creation allegorically, [81]Commentary on Genesis 1, Tvoreniya 6 p. 282, [FC 91m o, 74 (1.1)], as found in GCEM, p. 121. He further writes that the day and the night of the First Day continued for twelve hours each, in … Continue reading and against those who reject the plain meaning of Genesis, St. John Chrysostom exhorts: “let us pay no heed to these people, let us stop up our hearing against them, and let us believe the Divine Scripture, and following what is written in it, let us strive to preserve in our souls sound dogmas.” [82] Homilies on Genesis 13.4, Tvoreniya 4, p. 107 [FC 74, pp. 177-178 (13.15-16)], as found in GCEM, p. 122. For him, to reject the plain meaning is to disbelieve in Scripture and endanger the soul. Fr. Seraphim also provides two important examples of complementary literal and mystical interpretations. He quotes St. Macarius the Great who teaches that the Cherubim guarding Paradise with a flaming sword (Gen. 3:24) indicates that every soul has lost Paradise, and yet of the angel with the sword “we believe that in visible fashion it was indeed just as it is written.” [83] On Patient Endurance and Discrimination 5 (Seven Homilies 4.5), in Dukhovniya besedy, poslaniye i slova (Spiritual discourses, epistles, and homilies), p. 385, as found in GCEM, pp. 119-120. He also notes that St. Gregory the Theologian understood the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as “Contemplation,” but St. Gregory Palamas says of this: Gregory the Theologian has called the tree of knowledge of good and evil “contemplation” … but it does not follow that what is involved is an illusion or a symbol without existence of its own. For the divine Maximus [the Confessor] also makes Moses the symbol of judgment, and Elijah the symbol of foresight! Are they too then supposed not to have really existed, but to have been invented “symbolically”. [84]The Theologian wrote of this in his Oration 38: On the Theophany, or On the Nativity of Christ 12, and St. Gregory Palamas is quoted from In Defense of the Holy Hesychasts (The Triads) [French … Continue reading

Furthermore, although St. Paul uses Sarah and Hagar allegorically in Galatians 4, there is no indication that he therefore believes that they never truly existed in history.

Other Fathers whom Fr. Seraphim did not quote here also agree. In his article, “Children in Paradise: Adam and Eve as ‘Infants’ in Irenaeus of Lyons,” M. C. Steenberg (now Archimandrite Irenei) (1978- ), the dean and founder of the Sts Cyril & Athanasius Institute for Orthodox Studies in San Francisco, [85]Archimandrite Irenei is the former head of Theology & Tutor for Graduates and Fellow in Patristic Theology and Early Church History at the University of Oxford. For the rest of his highly … Continue reading notes that St. Irenaeus of Lyons (130-202), the “spiritual grandchild” of the Apostles (he was a disciple of St. Polycarp of Smyrna [c. 69/81 – c. 155/67], who was himself a disciple of St. John the Theologian) takes situations and events in the Creation account as literally as possible as a response to the Gnostic delight to allegorize and mythologize. [86] See his “Children in Paradise: Adam and Eve as ‘Infants’ in Irenaeus of Lyons,” p. 9. St. Methodios, the bishop of Olympus (d. c. 311) writes that it is a “precarious procedure” to deny the literal meaning of Genesis; [87] The Symposium: A Treatise on Chastity 3.2, p. 60. “This is Methodius’ clear declaration against the extreme allegorism of the Alexandrian school,” p. 197, n. 6. St. Cyril the Patriarch of Alexandria (c. 378-444), known as the “seal of the Fathers,” says that he who rejects the historical meaning of Scripture forfeits his ability to interpret rightly; [88] Commentary on the Prophet Isaiah 1.4, PG 70.192AB, as found in GCEM, p. 123n. In this work St. Cyril sets out to provide first the literal sense, and then the spiritual. and St. Nilus the Sinaite (d. c. 430), a disciple of St. John Chrysostom known as “the Faster,” emphatically states that to draw spiritual meanings from the text in no way indicates a rejection of the historical level of the text. [89] Letter 2.223, PG 79.316BC, as found in GCEM, p. 123n. That this attitude was pervasive throughout the entirety of the Church is evidenced by the pre-eminent western Fathers, St. Augustine (354-430), who is often misused in favor of evolution, [90]See a discussion of this at Creationism and the Early Church, a website of Patristic research by Rob Bradshaw, who holds a Cambridge Diploma in Religious Studies from Mattersey Hall, an Assemblies of … Continue reading who writes that one who interprets Genesis wholly literally is “a leading and highly praiseworthy interpreter,” [91]On Genesis: The Refutation of the Manichees 2.2.3, FC 84, p. 95. St. Augustine had been a Manichean “hearer” for nine years from 373 to 382 before converting to Christianity. In this work he is … Continue reading and the English monk and varied scholar the Venerable Bede (672-735) who cautions: “But it must be carefully observed, as each one devotes his attention to the allegorical senses, how far he may have forsaken the manifest truth of history by allegorical interpretation” (emphasis added). [92] On Genesis, p. 69. Nearer our own times, since the advent of Darwinism, St. John, the wonder-working priest of Kronstadt (1829-1908), writes: “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 … everything that is said in it has either taken place or takes place.” [93] My Life in Christ, p. 70. As Fr. Seraphim takes his cue from the Fathers, so the Fathers took their cue from Scripture itself which declares that God spoke to Moses, not in dark sayings and riddles but face-to-face as a friend (Num. 12:6-8), [94]Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Ambrose specifically mentioning this point in his Hexaemeron 12, FC 42, pp. 6-7, as found in GCEM, pp. 127, 129. St. Basil also refers to this Scriptural passage in his … Continue reading and thus Moses is not simply a relater of information but he writes what he has seen in Divine vision. [95]St. Justin Martyr says that men can learn of the beginning and end of all things from the prophets who were “witnesses to the truth above all demonstration,” Dialogue with Trypho 7, ANF 1, p. … Continue reading

Interestingly, in a critical review of the first edition of Genesis, Creation, and Early Man, which acknowledges several strong points in Fr. Seraphim’s work but ultimately lends its weight towards theistic evolution, George and Elizabeth Theokritoff [96] George is a paleontologist and Elizabeth studied Modern Greek and wrote a thesis on hymnography at Oxford, and is author and editor of The Cambridge Companion to Orthodox Christian Theology. write that “The Fathers assume that Genesis has a basis in historical fact,” and therefore “Fr. Seraphim is commendably honest in recognizing that if one believes, as he does, that we must read Genesis exactly as the Fathers did, one is committed then to a thorough-going young earth creationism,” which gives credence to the historical level of the Genesis text. Of this they state: “Fr Seraphim’s approach is fundamentally honest and his arguments usually precise and coherent.” [97] “Genesis and Creation: Towards a Debate,” pp. 366, 367. However, throughout the review the Theokritoffs attempt to demonstrate supposed contradictions in the Fathers’ interpretation of Genesis, which contradicts their admission that Fr. Seraphim is correct in discerning a consistent view in the Fathers. As we have seen, Fr. Seraphim was deeply convinced that the Holy Fathers are our proper guide to understanding God and His creation, and it is this approach with which the Theokritoffs do not fully agree. Quoting Fr. Seraphim, they write: “he seems to have supreme confidence in the precision of ‘that knowledge of the first and last things which God has revealed to His chosen people, the Orthodox Christians’ (376). It is not always easy to share this confidence.” [98] Ibid., p. 372. Whereas Fr. Seraphim believed that a careful reading of the Fathers in prayerful pursuit of the mind of the Fathers is our trustworthy guide for our troubled times, the Theokritoffs ask: “Are the Fathers giving us the last word – or contributing to an understanding which we must then bring to bear on problems quite foreign to them?” but as Fr. Seraphim demonstrates throughout his commentary, the theological issues that arise from theistic evolution have already been dealt with in depth by the Fathers.

In his approach Fr. Seraphim is in accord with St. Silouan, one of the greatest Saints of the 20th century. Fr. Sophrony attests that he taught that the Scriptures, being written by the Holy Spirit, “cannot be understood through scientific research which can only provide surface aspects and details, never the substance.” [99] St. Silouan the Athonite, p. 90. Dr. John Mark Reynolds, associate professor of philosophy at Biola University and an Orthodox Christian, concurs with the Theokritoffs’ initial statement: “The Fathers from the first century forward overwhelmingly took a young-earth, global-flood view,” but in harmony with Fr. Seraphim’s approach he states: “Simply discarding the views of the Fathers is not an option for any thoughtful Christian.” [100]Moreland and Reynolds, ed., Three Views on Creation and Evolution, p. 97. Some, like the Theokritoffs, admit that their evolutionary view is inconsistent with the Fathers, while others insist that … Continue reading The Theokritoffs do not in any way advocate the discarding of the Fathers, but they certainly approach them as less reliable sources than does Fr. Seraphim.

Chapter Three: An Excursus on Time

Although Fr. Seraphim defends a generally literal interpretation of Genesis, the Theokritoffs’ words about young-earth Creationism do need to be qualified, in that Fr. Seraphim intentionally does not concentrate on the question of the exact length of the days of Creation and of the age of the earth. He mentions both the Fundamentalist view that the literal interpretation of Genesis rests on the length of the days being twenty-four hours, and the evolutionist view which rests upon the length of the “days” being millions or billions of years, and concludes: “I think we can safely say that both these views miss the mark,” [101] GCEM, p. 134. for the length of the days, in and of itself, establishes neither Creationism nor evolutionism. He is not unaware of the Patristic interpretation on this matter, but he does not emphasize this decidedly secondary issue, but rather points his audience to the much more important question of “what happened during those days?” and at the Fall of man? In a letter to Alexey Young, he writes: “By the way, on rereading the Hexaemeron, I find that Saint Basil does mention 24-hour days! But for us, this is still not a central issue.” [102] Feb. 1/14, 1974, Letters From Fr. Seraphim, p. 107. It should also be noted that in referring to “evolution,” Fr. Seraphim is not attempting to dismantle such a great breadth of scientific work, but rather has in mind specifically evolution as a “cosmogony” — a “universal theory that attempts to explain the origin of the world and of life,” which he notes can only be as speculative as any other theory unless it has its origin in Divine revelation. [103] GCEM, p. 133. Of course, no man has or can directly observe the creation of the world apart from spiritual vision, but it can only be guessed at by extrapolating from the modern world that we do experience. Only God Himself observed in real time the creation of the world and therefore only God can reveal the un-speculative truth of it to man.

Although Fr. Seraphim does not dwell on how the long the days of Creation were, it is nevertheless a much-debated question today, for if the days of Creation are in fact literal, then the earth is less than 10,000 years old, and there simply has not been nearly enough time for evolution to have occurred. The Scriptures themselves give no indication that the days are anything other than literal days, made up of an evening and a morning each. Twice God specifically says that the Israelites are to rest on the seventh day because He Himself created the world in six days and rested on the seventh (Ex. 20:11, 31:17). The oft-quoted verse in this context, 2 Peter 3:8 (“one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”) gives no indication that it refers to the days of Creation any more than it does to Christ’s three days in the tomb, and it certainly would be strange to interpret this verse literally (which would constrain God within time) but not the Genesis Creation account. But as Fr. Seraphim himself would say, we cannot rely on our own rational understanding of the Holy Scriptures, but we must instead ask how the holy Fathers have understood the days of Creation.

Dr. Georgios I. Mantzaridis (b. 1935), professor of ethics and sociology at the Theological School of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, in his Time and Man writes that there is no Biblical concept of “time as an absolute on which the events of history are to be recorded, but it is the events themselves and their unfolding that are the constituents of time,” but this does not mean, as some argue, that the Scriptures are not speaking of actual events within time, for he also writes that the Scriptures speak of a linear time with a definite beginning and a definite coming end. [104] pp. 4-5. The well-known Greek theologian Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamon (1931- ) notes that historians roundly agree that the Hebrew mind in fact attached great importance to history, for it is in and through history that God reveals Himself to man, [105] “Preserving God’s Creation: Three lectures on Theology and Ecology,” p. 2. and this emphasis is clearly seen in the Old Testament with its frequent genealogies. [106]Fr. Seraphim notes that because the theory of evolution requires hundreds of thousands of years of human history, its proponents cannot accept the Old Testament genealogies as literal genealogies, … Continue reading

As we have seen, the Fathers specifically upheld the historical understanding of the Scriptures and took much interest in it. From earliest times Christian writers were interested in the age of the earth. St. Theophilus of Antioch wrote in the second century that “all the years from the creation of the world amount to a total of 5698 years, and the odd months and days.” [107] To Autolycus 3.28. See also 3.25-26. His calculations were followed by that of several others, as well as several different calendars such as the “Alexandrian Era” which dated from the creation of the world. In 691 the Church and Empire settled on the “Byzantine Creation Era” calendar which calculated the creation of the world to 5509 BC and is indirectly referenced in Canon 3 of the Quinisext Council of 692, and which is still used in the Church today. In commenting on Genesis 5:1-21, the genealogy from Adam to Noah through Seth, Fr. Seraphim references the Byzantine Creation Era calendar, for which the date of the creation of the world was arrived at by tracing human genealogies in Scripture, and thus it demonstrates that the Church teaches that from the creation of the world until the creation of Adam less than one year transpired at the most. [108] GCEM, pp. 314-315. For more information on the Byzantine Creation Era calendar and its predecessors, see the article “Byzantine Creation Era” online at OrthodoxWiki.

St. Basil the Great, whose Hexaemeron lifts men to God, has much to say about time, especially in that work and in his Against Eunomius. He mocks the Arian Eunomius who believed that time is dependent upon the motion of the heavenly bodies, asking, “What, then, will this expert in astronomical phenomena declare is the interval from the coming-to-be of heaven and earth until the making of the stars? For the one who in the power of the Spirit recorded the cosmogony clearly said that the great lights and the rest of the stars came to be on the fourth day.” For St. Basil, time as we know it did not come into existence only with the creation of the heavenly bodies, for they were given as signs for measuring time and not as the source of time, for “time is the extension coextensive with the existence of the cosmos,” [109] Against Eunomius 1.21, FC vol. 122, p. 122. and in his Hexaemeron he writes that “in the beginning” (Gen. 1:1) means, “in the beginning of time.” [110]Hexaemeron 1.5, NPNF 2 vol. 8, p. 55. St. Cyril of Alexandria writes that the heavenly luminaries were created “only for the purpose of lighting what is on earth, to mark the moments of time, the … Continue reading He also writes that it was fitting for beings subject to change to exist within the analogous succession of time, for “is not this the nature of time, where the past is no more, the future does not exist, and the present escapes before being recognized?” [111] Ibid., p. 54. As St. Athanasius (c. 296-373), argues, the cosmos is subject to change simply by virtue of being created ex nihilo, out of nothing, and so the succession of time is “coextensive” with the origin of the cosmos. [112]See especially his On the Incarnation of the Word 2-4, and Fr. Georges Florovsky’s article “The Concept of Creation in Saint Athanasius,” in Studia Patristica, reproduced in Aspects of Church … Continue reading Thus, for Sts. Dionysius the Areopagite and Maximus the Confessor, time is the measure of sensible things, from the creation of the world. [113] St. Dionysius, On the Divine Names 5.8, PG 4, 336AB; St. Maximus Various Texts 5.47, PG 90, 1368B, both as referenced in Mantгaridis’ Time and Man p. 9.

Thus, measurable time, a created thing, truly began “in the beginning,” and the Fathers do not distinguish in length between the days before and after the creation of the sun. St. Basil does distinguish between the first day of Creation, and the following six, calling it “a day apart,” “which is not counted in the same order as the others,” [114] Hexaemeron 3.1, NPNF 2, vol. 8, p. 65. but it is a distinction of honor, precisely because the first day was laid down as a pattern for all subsequent days. Taking note that the Scriptures say, “And the evening and the morning were one day,” (Gen. 1:5), rather than “the first day,” as the subsequent days were termed second, third, fourth, and so on, St. Basil argues that: “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 … 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,” [115] Hexaemeron 2.8, NPNF 2, vol. 8, p. 64. but lest it be thought that he is therefore saying that a day depends upon the revolution of the sun, he also says of the first three days of Creation: “at that time it was not after the movement of the sun, but following the primitive light spread abroad in the air or withdrawn in a measure determined by God, that day came and was followed by night.” [116] Ibid. St. John Damascene teaches the same in Exact Exposition 2.7. St. Hippolytus the bishop of Rome (c. 170-235), had already made the same argument in his On Genesis, as does St. Ambrose of Milan in his Hexaemeron 1.37, and St. John Chrysostom in his Homily 3.10-11, [117] This homily of St. John Chrysostom can be found in The Christianity Reader, p. 34, which can be previewed online using Google Books. and St. Gregory Palamas in his Homily 17.

In defining “one day,” the first day also serves as an image of eternity, the “time” wherein the angelic powers abide, [118] Cf. St. John Damascene’s Exact Exposition 2.1. for this “one day” revolves upon itself seven times to produce the week, which God wished to give as a measure of time, while eternity revolves upon itself endlessly. Thus, St. Basil concludes that Scripture refers to the first “one day,” which he identifies as Sunday, [119]The first day of Creation was also identified as Sunday by St. Justin Martyr, First Apology 67, and St. Gregory the Theologian Homily 44.5: On the New Week, Spring, and the Commemoration of the … Continue reading the day of the Lord’s Resurrection, in order to raise our minds to that future coming age which shall be a day without evening or succession, as eternity. [120] Hexaemeron 2.8. Thus, for St. Basil, the first day is distinct and unique in honor, but precisely because it possesses the same twenty-four hours as all subsequent days. Similarly, St. Symeon the New Theologian writes that the seven days of Creation cyclically move upon themselves to produce weeks, years, and centuries, but the Garden of Eden was planted after the seven days to serve as an image of eternity, which has no cyclic movement. [121] Homily 45.1 as found in The First-Created Man, pp. 89-90.

St. Maximus the Confessor also presents a profound connection between time and eternity, “for eternity is time when it stops moving, and time is eternity when it is measured as it is borne by movement, so that I arrive at the all-embracing definition of eternity as being time deprived of movement, and time as eternity measured by movement.” [122] De Ambiguis, PG 91,114BC, as found in Mantzaridis, Time and Man, p. 9 n. 39. Thus the angels, who exist within “eternity,” move with succession but are not subjected to time, for being subject to the change induced by time is a state of existence. St. Maximus teaches that time is measured from the creation of the world and that man’s nature, as subjected to change, unfolds in time. But he also teaches that when man is united to God, as was Adam before his Fall, he is freed from the subjection to change brought on by time, [123] To Thalassios, PG 90,760A; Various Texts, 5,48, PG 90, 1368D-1369A, as referenced in Time and Man, p. 9. although he continues to live within the linear time that began “in the beginning.” Thus, Mantzaridis states: “Man’s temporality is a function of his created and mutable nature. The deification which is offered in Christ, and represents the final goal of man’s existence, does not revoke his created nature and his mutability, but transforms them.” [124] Time and Man, p. 46. Thus, when St. Maximus writes that in Adam our human nature fell “at the instant he/it was created” (ἂμα τῷ γίνεσθαι), [125] Ambiguum 42, and Ad Thalassium 61, in On the Cosmic Mystery of Christ, pp. 85, 131. this does not mean that Adam’s prelapsarian existence was never an historical reality, but rather that, being united to God, Adam was in a state not subjected to the mutability of time. As Fr. Damascene notes, St. Maximus speaks in his Ambiguum 45, and elsewhere, of Adam’s unfallen state as an actuality in a temporal framework with a time lapse between his creation and the Fall. [126]GCEM, p. 701n. M.C. Steenberg concludes in his “Children in Paradise” that the Irenean teaching of Adam and Eve as infants in the Garden of Eden is ultimately elusive. Although it is clear that … Continue reading From a temporal viewpoint, St. Maximus is most likely rebutting the Origenist notion of an extended prelapsarian state, and so translator Paul M. Blowers writes that the phrase “at the instant he/it was created” ought not to be interpreted strictly literally, but is “a significant nuance … Fallenness has been the dilemma of humankind virtually from the beginning.” [127] On the Cosmic Mystery of Christ, p. 85, n. 10. Fr. Damascene follows this interpretation as well. See GCEM, p. 701n.

Although Fr. Seraphim did not concentrate on the question of the length of the days of Creation, he did recognize that the Fathers understood the days as literal days. In an outline of a proposed study he writes: “Twenty-four-hour days: is this some kind of defect in the Fathers, a ‘fundamentalism’ before its time, a captivity of pre-modern science?” [128] GCEM, p. 675. and in an earlier series of lectures, known as the Orthodox Survival Course, first delivered beginning June 26, 1975, he states: “And as a matter of fact, if you look at the Holy Fathers, even though it looks as though it might be terribly fundamentalistic to say it, they do with one voice say that those days were twenty-four hours long. St. Ephraim the Syrian even divides them into two periods, twelve hours each,” [129] The ecclesiastical author Victorinus of Pettau (d. c. 303) wrote the same in his On the Creation of the World. and then he references St. Basil’s teaching about the “one day,” [130] An Orthodox Survival Course p. 368, unpublished manuscript. specifying that from the beginning days are periods of twenty-hour hours. [131] Hexaemeron 1.37. The Venerable Bede writes of the first day that it was “without doubt a day of twenty-four hours.” [132]On Genesis, p. 75. As Fr. Seraphim taught, the Fathers consistently spoke plainly of the six days of Creation. See, for example, St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5.28.3; Clement of Alexandria, The … Continue reading Additionally, in passages not quoted by Fr. Seraphim, St. Theophilus of Antioch and the Christian father of chronography, Julius Africanus (c. 160 – c. 240), specifically argue against the pagan notions of an “old earth,” older than that given by the Old Testament genealogies, [133] To Autolycus 3.16; Chronology Fragment 1. as does St. Augustine who writes quite forcefully: “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?” [134] City of God 18.40, NPNF 1, vol. 2, p. 384.

Chapter Four: God in Genesis

The Creation-Fall account in Genesis is teeming with foundational Orthodox theology. Much is revealed about the creation, and particularly man in creation, and also about the Creator Himself, and the Fathers have handed us no small corpus of commentaries on these issues, and the Church’s hymnography continually refers to Adam and his Fall. Therefore, it is impossible to coherently proclaim, as many do today, that the interpretation of Genesis is inconsequential. Fr. Seraphim offers little of his own words — the vast majority of his presentation is substantial Patristic quotes — so his understanding is mainly revealed through those passages that he decides to quote. Theology directly concerning God is generally not disputed in the Creation/evolution debate — as Fr. Seraphim notes, the most important questions are the nature of the pre-fallen world and especially the nature of pre-fallen man [135] GCEM, p. 450. — but as he also notes, the first and foremost purpose of Genesis is to inform and foster the spiritual life, [136] Ibid., pp. 107-8. which largely sets him apart from Fundamentalist Young-Earth Creationists, and so he gives a broad presentation of Patristic commentaries, not only touching upon those issues directly involved in the Creation/evolution question. Here, the Theokritoffs misrepresent Fr. Seraphim’s work by claiming that “in Fr. Seraphim’s commentary, the literal interpretation becomes the main point.” [137] “Genesis And Creation: Towards A Debate,” p. 366. True, much of his commentary is focused on the literal interpretation, because that is the key difference between Creationist and evolutionist interpretations of Genesis, but he is clear that Genesis is about the spiritual life. They even earlier note that Fr. Damascene, as editor of Fr. Seraphim’s Genesis, Creation, and Early Man, writes that Fr. Seraphim became bored in presenting Patristic commentaries solely as they relate to evolution, [138] Ibid., p. 366. but as Fr. Seraphim’s life bears witness, he never became bored with the spiritual struggle that Genesis helps to guide Orthodox Christians through.

The Fathers see in the Creation-Fall account several references to the Holy Trinity, in God’s creating by “speaking,” the hovering of the Spirit over the waters, and the references to God as “us.” [139] Gen. 1:26, 3:22, see GCEM, pp. 195, 197, 276. Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Basil: “…introducing God as commanding and speaking, it indicates silently Him to Whom He gives the command and to Whom He speaks … This way of speaking has been wisely and skillfully employed so as to rouse our mind to an inquiry of the Person to Whom the words are directed,” [140] Hexaemeron 3.2, FC 46, pp. 38-38, as found in GCEM, p. 146. demonstrating that Christ is the co-equal Creator, which agrees with the teaching of John 1, Eph. 3:9, Col. 1:16, and traditional iconography which shows Christ as the Creator – many examples of which are presented in the 2000 and 2011 editions of Genesis, Creation, and Early Man. [141] For example, the icons on the front cover and spine of the 2011 edition, from the Sucevita Monastery in Moldavia, Romania, from 1595-1596. “Of course, it is the Trinity as a whole that creates; the Father commands, the Son creates,” [142] GCEM, p. 146. and “It was fitting for the Holy Spirit to hover as a proof that in creative power He is equal to the Father and the Son … thereby clearly showing that all was brought into being and accomplished by the Trinity.” [143] St. Ephraim the Syrian, Commentary on Genesis 1, Tvoreniya 6, p. 286, as found in GCEM, p. 147. The Trinity did not create out of any natural necessity, but rather, creation is a product of God’s will and His good pleasure, in which all things are created ex nihilo, out of nothing, for the good of man. God did not fashion the earth out of pre-existing matter but called all out of non-existence. [144] GCEM pp. 136, 142, 155-158, 165, 189, 199, 210-211, 229. Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Ambrose giving a teaching that is relevant for modern cosmogonies: “He [Moses] did not look forward to a late and leisurely creation of the world out of a concourse of atoms,” [145] Hexaemeron 1.7, FC 42, p. 7, as found in GCEM, p. 139. and he continues: “Being a man full of wisdom, he noticed that the substances and the causes of things visible and invisible were contained in the divine mind. He did not hold, as the philosophers teach, that a stronger conjunction of atoms furnished the cause of their continuous duration.” [146] Hexaemeron 1.7, FC 42, p. 7. St. Basil teaches the same. Speaking of the “vanity” of the Gentiles and the infirm and shakable theories of the Greek philosophers, he writes: “Some had recourse to material principles and attributed the origin of the Universe to the elements of the world. Others imagined that atoms, and indivisible bodies, molecules and ducts, form, by their union, the nature of the visible world. Atoms reuniting or separating, produce births and deaths and the most durable bodies only owe their consistency to the strength of their mutual adhesion: a true spider’s web woven by these writers who give to heaven, to earth, and to sea so weak an origin and so little consistency! It is because they knew not how to say “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” [147] Hexaemeron 1.2, NPNF 2, vol. 8, p. 53.

Creation also shows the goodness and orderliness of God. Every day of creation ends with God’s solemn proclamation that what He created is “good” and even “very good.” God created the world, writes St. John Damascene, because “by a superabundance of goodness He saw fit that there should be some things to benefit by and participate in this goodness.” [148] On the Orthodox Faith 2.2, FC 37, p. 205, as found in GCEM, p. 189. Fr. Seraphim notes that there is an orderly sequence of creative acts, of which St. Gregory the Theologian writes: “To the days [of creation] is added a certain firstness, secondness, thirdness, and so on to the seventh day of rest from works, and by these days is divided all that is created, being brought into order by unutterable laws.” [149] Oration 44, FC 107, p. 232, as found in GCEM, p. 141. Likewise, as we have seen, St. Symeon the New Theologian writes that God “arranged the whole creation in order and in an orderly sequence, and He assigned seven days that they might be an image of the ages which were subsequently to pass in time … for they, moving cyclically, produce so many weeks, years, and centuries.” [150] The First-Created Man, pp. 89-90. St. John of Kronstadt also takes note of the orderliness of God’s acts and sees in it a profound exhortation to work, pray, read the Gospel, and so forth in patient consideration and not hurriedly for “even the world was not created instantaneously but in six days. The Lord shows us an example in everything let us follow His steps.” [151]My Life in Christ, p. 529. See also the ecclesiastical author Cassiodorus (c. 490-583), Commentary on Psalm 6, pp. 98-99, who also sees significance in God creating over the course of six days, … Continue reading

Although the Lord has endowed creation with an image of His goodness and order, it is essential to Orthodox theology to understand the absolute distinction between the created and the Uncreated Creator.  Fr.  Seraphim quotes St. John Chrysostom saying: “Certain senseless ones, being drawn away by their own conceptions, without thinking of anything in a God-befitting manner … dare to say that the soul has proceeded from the Essence of God. O frenzy! O Folly! How many paths of perdition has the devil opened up for those who will serve him,” [152] Homilies on Genesis 13.2, Tvoreniya 4, p. 103 [FC 74, pp. 72-73], as found in GCEM, p. 216. and in reference to the famous passage in Job in which God asks “Where wast thou when I founded the earth?” (Job 28:4-14, LXX), Fr. Seraphim writes: “Perhaps no part of Scripture expresses so well the awe-inspiring majesty of God in His creation, and man’s nothingness in comparison, as does the passage in which God speaks to Job out of the whirlwind.” [153] GCEM, pp. 189-190.

Taking care to understand Genesis in a “God-befitting manner,” as St. John Chrysostom warns, Fr. Seraphim notes the difficulties with the Fundamentalist insistence that the entirety of the text of Genesis be accepted literally. He writes, “such a view places us in some impossible difficulties … we don’t even have words, for example, to describe ‘literally’ how something can come out of nothing. How does God ‘speak’ – does He make a noise which resounds in an atmosphere that doesn’t yet exist? This explanation is obviously a little too simple – the reality is more complex.” [154]GCEM, p. 109. Fr. Seraphim deals with the specific examples of God “speaking,” God’s “hands,” God’s “walking” in the Garden, God’s “repentance” at the time of the Flood, and so … Continue reading Human language is ultimately insufficient to accurately describe God and must resort to imagery that gives an approximate understanding.

While the Fundamentalist position may require some correction, the evolutionist position also incorrectly portrays God in at least one way. For the Fathers, God’s creative acts of each of the six days were instantaneous, and this is a great sign of God’s mighty power and incomprehensibility. St. Ambrose writes, “And fittingly [Moses] added: ‘He created,’ lest it be thought there was a delay in creation. Furthermore, men would see also how incomparable the Creator was Who completed such a great work in the briefest moment of His creative act, so much so that the effect of His will anticipated the perception of time.” [155] Hexaemeron 1.5, FC 42, p. 8, as found in GCEM, p. 139. The Venerable Bede testifies to the same: “But God, whose ability to complete his work is unlimited, he who, as it is written, has done all things whatsoever he would, had no need of delay of time. Hence it is well said that In the beginning God created heaven and earth, in order that it may be clearly understood that he did both simultaneously, although it could not be said simultaneously in human language.” [156] On Genesis, p. 68. Refuting the notion that either the soul or body of man pre-existed the other, St. Gregory of Nyssa writes, “if the one came first and the other supervened, the power of Him that made us will be shown to be in some way imperfect, as not being completely sufficient for the whole task at once …” [157]On the Making of Man 29.2, NPNF 2, vol. 5, p. 421, as found in GCEM, p. 219. In his Ambiguum 42 St. Maximus the Confessor also teaches that the body and soul of man were created instantaneously. See … Continue reading

Theistic evolution, on the other hand, presents quite a different picture. With this theory there cannot even be six distinct creative acts of God — for example, there is no instantaneous moment when all animals are called into existence, such as St. Athanasius teaches in his Four Discourses Against the Arians [158]2.19.48; 2.22.60, NPNF 2, vol. 4, p. 381: “… it having been shewn to be true in an earlier part of this book, that no one creature was made before another, but all things originate subsisted at … Continue reading — but all life slowly ascends over billions of years out of one initial creation (and of course to apply “creation” to the theory of evolution makes it scientifically tenuous), and the body of man necessarily predates the soul which he receives only once the body has reached the proper state. Fr. Seraphim writes that our God is so powerful that we need not doubt that He created the heaven and the earth in a single, instantaneous moment, [159] GCEM, pp. 173-174. but to Dr. Alexander Kalomiros he asks, “Do I need to point out that the ‘God’ of ‘Christian evolutionism’ is precisely this kind of God who is not ‘completely sufficient for the whole task at once’ … EVOULTION WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN THOUGHT OF BY MEN WHO BELIEVE IN THE GOD WHOM ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS WORSHIP” (emphasis is Fr. Seraphim’s). [160] GCEM, p. 485 Another holy elder, closer to our own times, Schema-Abbot John (Alekseyev), Elder of Valaam, is in agreement. Speaking of a missionary who taught that God created over millions of years he says, “You poor missionary – you represent the omnipotent Creator as being very weak” and by the days of Creation, “one must understand days and not millions of years. For the Lord said, ‘And it was so.’” [161] Pis’ma valaamskogo startsa skhiigumena Ioanna (Letters of the Valaam Elder Schema-Abbot John), pp. 86-87, as found in GCEM, p. 807. In his simple acceptance, the Valaam Elder is following the interpretive principle of Sts. Basil, John Chrysostom, Ephraim the Syrian, and many other Fathers, of accepting the Genesis text “as is.”

Concerning the instantaneous creation of God, and the six distinct creative acts of God, it is necessary to note that several Fathers speak of God creating all things at once on the first day of Creation, or that He created the matter from which the subsequent creations would be made. The Theokritoffs call attention to this in their review, [162] “Genesis and Creation: Towards a Debate,” pp. 374, 390. and Dr. Alexander Kalomiros makes much of it in his 1993 work The Six Dawns, claiming that all things came from one initial seed and thus have a natural hereditary kinship. [163]This work first appeared in Greek and was translated into English in 1997 by George Gabriel for his periodical “The Ark” (Ridgewood, NJ). The English translation is available for download from … Continue reading Fr. Seraphim points to a few such passages, and in response to works such as Kalomiros’, Fr. Damascene addresses the issue in footnotes on pages 155 and 157. Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Ambrose speaking of God as an architect Who first laid the foundation of the cosmos and afterwards designed the various parts of the “building,” and also Sts. Ambrose and Ephraim the Syrian speaking of the Holy Spirit moving upon the earth on the first day to endow it with fertility. [164]St. Ambrose, Hexaemeron 1.7, FC 42, pp. 26, 28-29; Ibid., pp. 32-33; St. Ephraim, Commentary on Genesis 1, Tvoreniya 6, pp. 286-287 [From A Collection of Interpretations of Genesis of our Holy Father … Continue reading And Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Ephraim the Syrian elucidating what it means for God to lay this foundation: “Thus, according to the testimony of Scripture, heaven, earth, fire, air, and the waters were created out of nothing … while everything else was created out of what had already been created out of nothing,” [165] Commentary on Genesis 1, Tvoreniya 6, p. 293 [FC 91, p. 85 (1.14.1-1.15.1)], as found in GCEM, p. 154. and therefore Fr. Seraphim comments that “the work of the next five days is less ‘radical’ than that of the First Day – it is rather a ‘shaping’ than a ‘creation’ in the strict sense.” [166] GCEM, p. 155. That God fashioned subsequent creations from the materials created on the first day is also taught by several other prominent Fathers. [167]See St. Hippolytus, Fragments on Genesis, and The Refutation of All Heresies 10.28-29; St. Basil the Great, Hexaemeron 2.3; St. Ambrose, On the Decease of His Brother Satyrus 2.85, and Hexaemeron … Continue reading

Thus, when St. Gregory of Nyssa writes that “all beings are established at once by God’s ineffable power; ‘beginning’ as used by Moses which is understood as ‘head’ is taken as the existence of all things,” and “God’s power over all things in the beginning came into existence by one impulse of creation, for his power seminally contained every created being and came into existence through one initiative,” [168] Hexaemeron, pp. 7, 11. and when St. Gregory Palamas writes that on the first day of Creation “God brought forth everything out of nothing all at once,” [169] Homily 17.2: “Explaining the Mystery of the Sabbath and of the Lord’s Day,” as found in The Homilies, p. 135. it ought to be understood as the potentiality for all creations, and indeed the great hesychast elsewhere writes that “God created the heavens and the earth as a kind of all-embracing material substance with the potentiality of giving birth to all things,” [170] Topics of Natural and Theological Science 21, Philokalia vol. 4, p. 354. and St. Gregory of Nyssa goes on to speak of the ordered sequence of the creation of each individual creation following the one initial creation. And again, St. Gregory Palamas writes: “At the creation first one thing was brought into existence, then another, then another and so on in turn,” [171] Homily 6.10: “To Encourage Fasting,” in The Homilies, p. 45. thus demonstrating that not all things literally existed from the first creative act of God’s will. This was earlier taught by St. Basil the Great, the illuminator of the six days of Creation, whose work his brother St. Gregory of Nyssa praised as being equal to Moses’ account, containing no errors. St. Basil writes:

When He said: “Let it bring forth,” (the earth) did not produce what was stored up in it, but He Who gave the command also bestowed upon it the power to bring forth. Neither did the earth, when it heard, “let it bring forth vegetation and the fruit trees,” produce plants which it had hidden in it; nor did it send up to the surface the palm or the oak or the cypress which had been hidden somewhere down below in its womb. On the contrary, it is the Divine Word that is the origin of all things made. “Let the earth bring forth”; not, let it put forth what it has, but, let it acquire what it does not have, since God is enduing it with the power of active force. [172] Hexaemeron 8.1, FC 46, p. 117, as found in GCEM, p. 181.

Thus he also specifically states that in the very beginning, that the earth was “invisible and unfinished” (Gen. 1μ2 LXX) indicates that all that which would come to adorn it — all kinds of plants, trees, corn, grass sweet scents and colors, and so on — had not yet been created, but rather the earth was awaiting the Divine command at the appointed time to bring forth such creations, [173] Hexaemeron 2.1, 3. and St. Gregory of Nyssa writes that it indicates that the earth “had not yet became dense with corporeal properties.” [174] Hexaemeron, p. 11. That the earth could bring forth life of its own power by a natural process is derided by St. Basil as a Manichean “execrable doctrine.” [175] Hexaemeron 8.1, NPNF 2, vol. 8, p. 95. Thus, it is clear that the Fathers did not teach that God created all things from a literal initial seed which would link all of creation in hereditary descent, but rather each creation was endowed with its own nature through the fashioning of the material elements with the cooperation of the Divinely-given fertility of the earth.

All things could exist in potential seed-form from the moment of creation because the “idea” of all of creation, including the nature, origin and intended end (telos) of every being pre-eternally existed in the mind of God. This theology of the logoi is typically associated with St. Maximus the Confessor, although the teaching certainly existed before him. In demonstrating the full divinity of Christ the Word of God, against the Arians, St. Athanasius taught that the Logos created and ordered all things, and holds all things in unity while maintaining the distinctions in creation. [176] Against the Heathen 40-41; On the Incarnation of the Word 3-5. Likewise, in his Hexaemeron St. Gregory of Nyssa writes: “Thus everything came into being by this word (logos), and anything erroneous (alogos), random and unintentional has nothing to do with God. However, it compels us to believe that each being has a reason, wisdom and creation, a fact better suited to our insight.” [177] Hexaemeron, p. 8.

In a work aimed against the cosmology of Origen, Ambiguum 7, St. Maximus expands upon what St. Athanasius had written. Speaking of the logoi which are, as we have seen, “the intelligible model according to which things have been made,” he writes: “the one logos is many logoi[.] This is evident in the incomparable differences among created things. For each is unmistakably unique in itself and its identity remains distinct in relation to other things.” [178] Ambiguum 7, as found in On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, p. 54. And he specifically notes that not all things came into existence at once, but rather “each was created in an appropriate way according to its logos at the proper time according to the wisdom of the maker, and each acquired concrete actual existence in itself. For the maker is always existent Being, but they exist in potentiality before they exist in actuality.” Once created, all things move towards their beginning, that is, towards the Logos in whom all things will find their ultimate restoration. [179] Ibid., pp. 56-57. For more on St. Maximus’ theology of the logoi see his Ambigua 41 and 42 and his Ad Thalassium 2. Fr. Vincent Rossi, the former director general of the Holy Order of MANS who led 750 members into Orthodoxy as the Christ the Savior Brotherhood, largely by the influence of Fr. Seraphim’s writings, argues in his “Clash of Paradigms: The Doctrine of Evolution in the Light of the Cosmological Vision of St. Maximos the Confessor” [180] Epiphany vol. 13, no. 4 (Summer Annual 1993), pp. 37-50. that this cosmology of St. Maximus is profoundly antithetical to the theory of evolution. He argues that evolution presents the cosmos as evolving from randomness to order but with no teleological purpose and no stability of essences or natures, whereas St. Maximus envisions a cosmos that is preceded by the perfect ordering in the mind of God and is designed to find its end in the Logos, Who holds all things together in unity while preserving their distinctions – ensuring the stability of kinds while allowing for variation. [181] See note 199 below. Whereas some have looked for commonality between St. Maximus and evolution, Fr. Rossi strongly argues that the two could not be more opposed.

Chapter Five: The Creation of the World in Genesis

The Creation account in Genesis tells us much about God and demonstrates that in some ways the theory of evolution provides a distorted picture of God from the Patristic point of view. But even more, Patristic commentaries on the nature of the first-created world present an understanding that is consistently at odds with the theory of evolution. As Fr. Seraphim stated during a 1975 lecture of the Orthodox Survival Course, “Genesis offers spiritual truths through several layers of meaning, but only rarely is the literal meaning done away with completely.” [182] GCEM, p. 556. As he demonstrates, the Fathers were committed to understanding the text in its plain sense. Whereas the “Creationist” view of Genesis easily accommodates all levels of meaning, for any symbolic meanings need not negate the literal meaning, the theistic evolution view cannot allow for the literal meaning of the text, as will become obvious, for the literal meaning presents an experience that is wholly unknown to fallen man and is thus beyond the reaches of science, as Fr. John Romanides and so many Patristic authorities have taught. Whereas evolutionists seek to offer intricate details about the rise of life forms past and present, Fr. Seraphim follows the Patristic respect for the mysterious nature of that which God has not presented to us in Scripture. St. Ambrose notes that that which is not laid out in the clear Scripture account “I pass over as a mвsterв,” [183] Hexaemeron 3.3, FC 42, p. 78, as found in GCEM, p. 164. and St. Gregory of Nyssa exhorts: “As for the question, how any single thing came into existence, we must banish altogether from our discussion … even inspired and saintly men have deemed such questions insoluble.” [184] On the Soul and Resurrection, NPNF 2, vol. 5, pp. 457-458, as found in GCEM, p. 165.

As previously stated, God’s creative acts of each day were instantaneous according to several major Fathers. What this means is that, for example, on the third day when God called the earth to bring forth vegetation, all plants immediately shot forth in a mature state. God did not create seeds that eventually became plants, but rather He created plants. The same is true of the heavenly bodies, water animals, land animals, etc. Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Athanasius the Great, the archbishop of Alexandria and great opponent of the arch-heretic Arius: As to the separate stars or the great lights, not this appeared first, and that second, but in one day and by the same command, they were all called into being. And such was the original formation of the quadrupeds, and of birds, and fishes, and cattle, and plants … No one creature was made before another, but all things originate subsisted at once together upon one and the same command. [185] Four Discourses Against the Arians 2.48, 60, NPNF 2, vol. 4, pp. 374, 381, as found in GCEM, p. 139.

Commenting on the creations of each of the six days, Fr. Seraphim also quotes St. Basil, St. Ambrose, St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Ephraim the Syrian attesting to the instantaneous nature of each of God’s creative acts. [186] GCEM pp. 166-167, 177, 179, 188. See also Venerable Bede, On Genesis, pp. 79-80, 89; and St. Gregory Palamas, Topics of Natural and Theological Science 1, 21-22, Philokalia vol. 4, pp. 346, 354-355. Commenting on the first day, St. Ephraim is especially lucid concerning the timeline involved: “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.” [187] Commentary on Genesis 1, Tvoreniya 6, p. 287 [FC 91, p. 80 (1.8.2)], as found in GCEM, p. 138. St. Cyril of Alexandria too speaks of the incomprehensible swiftness of creation: “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.” [188] Against Julian the Apostate 2.27.

The editors of the Orthodox Study Bible too note that “the Church Fathers also consistently affirm that each species of the animate creation came into existence simultaneously, at the command of God, with its seed within itself.” [189] Thomas Nelson (2008), p. 2. The discrepancy here is obvious — whereas evolutionists believe that all life is related, emerging over billions of years, the Fathers accepted simply the words of Moses which reveal that God created all plants, all aquatic animals, all land animals, and so forth, separately and simultaneously within the week of Creation, and thus cannot be linked hereditarily.

As the various plants and animals did not arise one from another, so they do not change from one kind into another. In a lengthy examination of the Scriptural teaching that God created plants and animals “each according to its kind” (Gen. 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25), Fr. Seraphim demonstrates that the Fathers understood the natures of each “kind” to be fixed – not giving way to any other kind, whatever the precise definition of “kind” may be. All of the “kinds” that we know today were created in the initial six days of Creation, and the attributes of those kinds continue uninterrupted until today. In his letter to Dr. Kalomiros he references The Fount of Knowledge by St. John Damascene in which he presents as a preliminary to comprehending Orthodox theology an Orthodox “philosophy” of Creation divided into different beings with their own substances and natures which are not confused with one another. [190] GCEM, p. 551. St. Basil also says with conviction: “There is nothing truer than this, that each plant either has seed or there exists in it some generative power. And this accounts for the expression “of its own kind.” For the shoot of a reed is not productive of an olive tree … The nature of existing objects, set in motion by one command, passes through creation without change, by generation and destruction, preserving the succession of the kinds through resemblance, until it reaches the very end (emphasis added).” [191] Hexaemeron 5.2, FC 46, p. 69; 9.2, p. 137, as found in GCEM, p. 182.

Fr. Seraphim also quotes St. Ambrose and St. Gregory of Nyssa teaching the same. [192]GCEM, pp. 183-188. Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Gregory from his On the Soul and Resurrection, but St. Gregory also writes in his Hexaemeron: “Rather, the divine eye looks not to the beauty of generated … Continue reading Among those whom Fr. Seraphim does not quote are St. Athanasius: “but each of the things made according to its kind exists and remains in its own essence, as it was made,” [193] Four Discourses Against the Arians 2.19, NPNF 2, vol. 4, pp. 358-359. and St. Luke the Russian archbishop of Simferopol (1877-1961), a distinguished medical doctor, university professor, world-famous pioneering surgeon, and Hiero-confessor under the Communist yoke, who lived after the advent of Darwinism, categorically declares that

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. [194] “Nauka i religiya” (Science and Religion), Troitskoye slovo (Trinity Word), 2001, pp. 41-42, as found in GCEM, p. 809.

Another great Russian Saint of modern times, John of Kronstadt, also writes: “Even till now all kinds of fish and birds, having propagated themselves infinitely, exactly preserve the appearance, temperaments and habits of their own kinds, not mixing themselves in the slightest with other ones,” and, also bearing witness to the relatively young age of the creation, he continues: “Every kind of fish and bird, and every kind of reptile, remain also the same even now such as they were several thousand years ago, with the same characteristics which they received from the Creator in the beginning.” [195] Talks on the Days of Creation, in Complete Collected Works [in Russian] vol. 1, p. 79, as found in GCEM, p. 184n.

Interestingly, St. Gregory of Nyssa rejects the transmigration of souls on the grounds that it logically leads to the idea that “one single nature runs through all beings,” which is the evolutionary idea put forth by Erasmus Darwin, the grandfather of Charles – that one single filament runs through all life forms. [196]On the Soul and the Resurrection NPNF 2 5, p. 454, as found in GCEM, p. 187. Fr. Damascene quotes Erasmus Darwin: “would it be too bold to imagine, that all the warm-blooded animals have arisen … Continue reading Of course, neither Fr. Seraphim nor the Fathers are therefore denying the minor variations in nature that are plainly observable, but they are convicted that each “kind” remains within its own limits. Fr. Seraphim writes to Dr. Kalomiros: “I do not at all deny the fact of change and development in nature. That a full- grown man grows from an embryo; that a great tree grows from a small acorn; that new varieties of organisms are developed, whether “races” of man or different types of cats and dogs and fruit trees – but all of this is not evolution: it is only variation within a definite kind or species; it does not prove or even suggest (unless you already believe this for non-scientific reasons) that one kind or species develops into another and that all present creatures are the product of such a development from one or a few primitive organisms.” [197] GCEM, p. 424.

St. Basil, encouraging Christians to overcome sin, writes: “Let no one, therefore, who is living in vice despair of himself, knowing that, as agriculture changes the properties of plants, so the diligence of the soul in the pursuit of virtue can triumph over all sorts of infirmities.” [198] Hexaemeron 5.7. As virtue does not change human nature into another, so agricultural variations do not constitute a change of nature in plants. [199]Fr. Vincent Rossi argues in his “Clash of Paradigms: The Doctrine of Evolution in the light of the Cosmological Vision of St. Maximos the Confessor” that the pre-existent logoi which exist in the … Continue reading

Fr. Seraphim begins his commentary on the creation of the sun on the fourth day strongly: “The Fourth Day of Creation is a source of great embarrassment for those who would like to fit the Six Days into an evolutionary framework. There is absolutely no way this can be done if the sun was actually created on the Fourth Day,” and returning again to his foundational principle of humble obedience he calls us not to rearrange the Days to fit our own theories, but simply to ask “How did [the Holy Fathers] understand the Fourth Day?” [200] GCEM, p. 169. As with the rest of the Genesis narrative, the Fathers accept the text simply, and as is. St. Ephraim notes that the light created on the first day “was not enclosed in a single definite place” [201] Commentary on Genesis 1, Tvoreniya 6, pp. 287-288 [FC 91, pp. 81-82 (1.8.3-1.9.2)], as found in GCEM, p. 152. and thus it is not synonymous with the sun. Fr. Seraphim further references St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil, and St. Ambrose specifically noting that the sun came into existence only on the fourth day of creation. [202] GCEM, pp. 171, 173. Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Basil commenting on the fourth day: “At the time [the First Day] the actual nature of light was introduced, but now this solar body has been made ready to be a vehicle for that first-created light …” [203] Hexaemeron 6.2, as found in GCEM, p. 171. St. Gregory the Theologian likewise states of the original light: “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.” [204] Oration 44: For New Sunday, as found online at John Sanidopoulos’ Mystagogy blog, under the title “St. Gregory the Theologian: The Original light of Creation.”

To these can be added St. Theophilus of Antioch, St. Athanasius, Pope St. Leo the Great (c. 391- 461), and St. John Damascene, among others. [205] To Autolycus 2.15; Four Discourses Against the Arians 2.16.19; Sermon 27.5: On Nativity; On the Orthodox Faith 2.7, FC 37, pp. 215-216.

Several Fathers even comment that God chose to create the sun only on the Fourth Day because in His foreknowledge He knew that man would fall away from Him and instead worship the sun as the author of all life. Thus God revealed through His Church that, in fact, life predates the sun – an idea that is wholly incompatible with the naturalistic theory of evolution. On this, Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Ambrose: “do not believe that object to be a god to which the gifts of God are seen to be preferred. Three days have passed. No one, meanwhile, has looked for the sun, yet the brilliance of light has been in evidence everywhere. For the day, too, has its light which is itself the precursor of the sun.” [206] Hexaemeron 4.1, as found in GCEM, p. 173. See also his Hexaemeron 3.6. Earlier, St. Theophilus of Antioch had written:

On the fourth day the luminaries were made; because God, who possesses foreknowledge, knew the follies of the vain philosophers, that they were going to say, that the things which grow on the earth are produced from the heavenly bodies, so as to exclude God. In order, therefore, that the truth might be obvious, the plants and seeds were produced prior to the heavenly bodies, for what is posterior cannot produce that which is prior. [207] To Autolycus 2.15.

It may be objected that the first three days cannot actually be days, as the sun did not yet exist, but, as we have seen, several Fathers comment that the sun is also not the author of time, but is rather given for man to measure time. Fr. Seraphim quotes St. John Chrysostom: “He created the sun on the Fourth Day so that you might not think that it produces the day,” [208] Homilies on Genesis 6.4, Tvoreniya 4, p. 45 [FC 74, p. 85 (6.14)], as found in GCEM, p. 171. and St. Basil: “’Let them serve,’ He says, ‘for the fixing of days,’ not for making days, but for ruling the days. For day and night are earlier than the generation of the luminaries,” [209] Hexaemeron 6.8, as found in GCEM, p. 171. and St. Ambrose. [210] GCEM, pp. 171, 173. Of particular interest is an aforementioned passage of St. Basil which Fr. Seraphim does not quote. In his Against Eunomius 1.21 St. Basil ridicules Eunomius’ idea that time is dependent upon the motion of the heavenly bodies, asking “What, then, will this expert in astronomical phenomena declare is the interval from the coming-to-be of heaven and earth until the making of the stars? For the one who in the power of the Spirit recorded the cosmogony clearly said that the great lights and the rest of the stars came to be on the 4th day.” [211] FC vol. 122, pp. 121-23; the direct quote is on p. 122. St. Leo the Great also writes that both day and night existed before the sun, for the heavenly luminaries are not the source of time, but rather the means whereby man may measure time. [212] Sermon 27.5 on Nativity. See also Victorinus, On the Creation of the World. With or without the sun, time began on the first day – “in the beginning” – and on the fourth day the heavenly bodies were created whereby man may measure time. And if the days could not truly be days before the creation of the sun, then they surely cannot be millions or billions of years, which are made up of many, many days.

Fr. Seraphim’s commentary runs verse by verse, and so he covers many other topics, [213]Notably, on pp. 159-1θ3 he examines the “firmament” created on the second day and demonstrates that neither Genesis nor St. Basil, in his Hexaemeron 3, teach that there was a “hard crystal … Continue reading but the most important issue concerning the created world is the question of the origin of corruption and death, for it is this which Christ came to overthrow. The Scriptures state that God is not the author of death. Among theistic evolutionists it is sometimes argued that man alone was immortal until Adam and Eve sinned, but that the rest of creation was always in a state of decay and corruption. This means that the Fall was not a cosmic event, but is limited only to mankind. However, this is contradictory to Scripture which states: “For God made not death: neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living. For he created all things, that they might have their being: and the generations of the world were healthful; and there is no poison of destruction in them, nor the kingdom of death upon the earth” (Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-14, emphasis added), and that the creation was plunged into corruption as a consequence of man’s movement away from God: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Rom. 8:22). [214]Cf. Rom. 5:12: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”. 1 Cor. 15:21: “For since by man came death, … Continue reading

St. Basil explains that this is in keeping with the nature of God. Referring to death as evil, he writes: “It is equally impious to say that evil has its origin from God; because the contrary cannot proceed from its contrary. Life does not engender death; darkness is not the origin of light; sickness is not the maker of health.” Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 – 215) writes that the Gnostic heretics Valentinus and Basilides believed that God is the author of death, [215] The Stromata 4.13, ANF vol. 2, p. 425. but God alone possesses life within Himself and is therefore not the maker of His contrary, death. Death is evil and not a creation of God, for all that God created is good. It “is not a living animated essence; it is the condition of the soul opposed to virtue, developed in the careless on account of their falling away from good.” Evil and death are anousios, and therefore St. Basil exhorts: “Do not then go beyond yourself to seek for evil, and imagine that there is an original nature of wickedness.” [216]Hexaemeron 2.4, 5. NPNF 2, vol. 8, pp. 60-62. St. Gregory Palamas writes that “deadness has no essential existence,” (Homily 31.12, p. 248), and on this Dr. Christopher Veniamin comments that … Continue reading This is precisely why our incarnate Lord voluntarily underwent death, “the last enemy that shall be destroyed” (1 Cor. 15:26), for in daring to take captive Life, death was taken captive and destroyed.

That Adam’s sin was a cosmic event which brought death to the entire creation is consistently attested to by the Fathers of the Church. [217] Many Patristic quotes to this effect can be found at this author’s WordPress Old Believing blog at the post “the entire creation was created incorrupt.” Summing up the Patristic tradition, Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos writes decisively: “It is a clear teaching of the Church that the creation is the work of God, that it was corrupted through the fall of man and that it will also be freed from this corruption” (emphasis added), and commenting on Rom. 8:19-22, he writes: creation was subjected to corruption, not of its own will, since creation has no will or freedom, but because of the fall of man. Man swept the whole of creation into corruption. Thirdly, creation groans and travails with man and yearns and hopes for liberation. Fourthly, the earnest expectation of it refers to the revelation of the sons of God. In so far as man was the cause of its fall, its renewal should come by man. [218] Life After Death, pp. 318, 320. 219 St. Silouan the Athonite, p. 122. 220 Ancestral Sin, p. 48.

Elder Sophrony likewise writes: “And the Lord surrendered the animals and the rest of the created world to the law of corruption because it was not proper for them to remain immune when man, for whose sake they were created, through his own sin became a slave to corruption. So, willing or unwilling, ‘the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now’ in compassion or man,” and although this may seem cruel to some, the Elder continues: “And this is not the law of justice – it is the law of love,” for love always lays down its life for the other. [219] St. Silouan the Athonite, p. 122.

The belief that death is a natural phenomenon, which is a logical necessity of evolution, is in fact a philosophical assumption that is in opposition to holy Orthodoxy. Referring again to the humanly unbridgeable gap between the pre- and postlapsarian world, Fr. John Romanides writes: “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.” [220] Ancestral Sin, p. 48.

Fr. Seraphim quotes both St. John Damascene and St. John Chrysostom identifying Paradise as the abode of man in particular, with irrational beasts living outside, [221] On the Orthodox Faith 2.11, FC 37, p. 230; On the Creation of the World 6.1, Tvoreniya 6, p. 799 [trans. Robert C. Hill, p. 73], as found in GCEM, pp. 234-235. but even the creation outside of Eden was in a paradisaical state. St. Symeon the New Theologian speaks clearly on this: “This whole creation in the beginning was incorrupt and was created by God in the manner of Paradise. But later it was subjected by God to corruption, and submitted to the futility of men.” [222] Homily 45.4, in The Sin of Adam, p. 75, in The First-Created Man p. 103, as found in GCEM, p. 209. Thus, St. Theophilus of Antioch writes that although the trees of Paradise are superior because they were directly planted by God, nevertheless the rest of creation contained plants like them. [223] To Autolycus 2.24. Neither the vegetation of the Garden nor that outside was in need of any sun, rain, or tilling, for it produced spontaneously by the command of God. [224] Concerning man’s responsibility to “till and to keep” the Garden (Gen. 2μ1η), more will be said later. As Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Symeon, “Adam was made with a body that was incorrupt, although material and not yet spiritual, and was placed by the Creator God as an immortal king over an incorrupt world, not only over Paradise, but also over the whole of creation which was under the heavens …” [225]Homily 45.4, as found in GCEM, p. 209. See also Victorinus, On the Creation of the World; St. Macarius the Great (295-392), the disciple of St. Anthony the Great, Homilies 11.5; St. Gregory of Nyssa, … Continue reading And St. Symeon asks: “Does this seem strange to you?” and replies “it should not,” for that is precisely the teaching of Scripture. [226] Ethical Discourses 1.1, as found in St. Symeon the New Theologian, On the Mystical Life: The Ethical Discourses: Vol. I: The Church and the Last Things, p. 21. Thus, any scientific theory that enshrines corruption and death as “natural” is what is truly strange.

Counter to this is the common argument, put forth for example, by the well-known Russian Deacon Andrei Kuraev, [227]Dn. Andrei is a professor of theology at St. Tikhon’s Theological Institute in Moscow, and a Senior Research Assistant in the Religious Philosophy and Religious Affairs Department within the … Continue reading that the Garden was in fact a protection for the incorrupt Adam and Eve against the “wild uncultivated nature” outside, for, as he argues, the Hebrew word for “garden” – “gun” – is best translated as “fenced and protected place.” [228] From an article entitled: “Dn. Kuraev: Can an Orthodox Become an Evolutionist?” posted on the American Orthodox Institute’s Observer blog. The evolutionist claim is that science proves that death existed billions of years before man emerged, let alone before man sinned, and thus Dn. Andrei is attempting to reconcile the supposedly necessary existence of death with the Scriptural account of a paradisaical earth. But science knows of no exception that allows for incorruptible human beings amidst a decaying world, and as we have seen, the Fathers teach that the entire creation was a Paradise. But as death and Paradise are mutually exclusive, neither the “scientific” nor the orthodox position can be faithfully held when they are amalgamated. Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Basil plainly stating that animals were herbivores before the fall of man because there was at yet no meat to be found: “nothing of what had received designation or existence had yet died so that the vultures might eat them. Nature had not yet divided … But all followed the way of the swans, and all grazed on the grass of the meadow…” [229] On the Origin of Man 2.6-7, as found in GCEM, p. 208. Furthermore, it is necessary to note that St. Ephraim the Syrian, who was fluent in Hebrew, explicitly comments that the Garden was fenced in and protected only after the transgression of man: “And from what did [Adam] guard it since there were no thieves to enter it? Indeed, the fence that was erected after the transgression of the commandment bears witness that as long as Adam kept the commandment, no guard was required.” [230] Commentary on Genesis 2.7.2, FC 91, pp. 101-102.

Expressing a rather different vision from Dn. Andrei’s, the holy and great modern Athonite geronda, Elder Paisios, writes of the primeval unity of man with the beasts: “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.” [231] Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos: Epistles, pp. 203-204. As with all true theology, the elder is certainly not speculating, but rather speaking from his personal experience of grace. Another contemporary Athonite elder, Archimandrite Ephraim, abbot of Vatopaidi Monastery, writes that Elder Paisios “was known to be keeping company with snakes and other wild animals,” as St. Gerasimos was attended to by a lion, and St. Seraphim of Sarov fed “a bear as if it was a tame lamb.” [232] “Creation and the End of Ages,” found online at the blog Mystagogy.

St. Basil also writes of when and why the diet of animals changed: “But when the human being changed his habits and went outside the limit given to him, after the flood, the Lord, knowing the humans to be profligate, granted them the enjoyment of all foods. ‘Eat all these things as you do green vegetables’ [Gen. 9:3]. By this concession the rest of living beings also received the freedom to eat,” On the Origin of Humanity, Discourse 2.6, as found in On the Human Condition, p. 53.

See also St. Theophilus of Antioch, To Autolycus 2.17; St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5.33.4; St. Macarius the Great, Homilies 11.5; St. Maximus the Confessor, Ad Thalassium 6.1; the Venerable Bede, On Genesis, pp. 93-94; the Russian bishop St. Ignatius Brianchaninov (1807-1867), Homily On Man; and Fr. Nikita Grigoriev, former professor of Apologetics at Holy Trinity Seminary at Jordanville (1983-2006), Faith and Delusion, pp. 9-10 for references specifically to animals. Many more references could be given for references to the entire creation in general existing in incorruption before the fall of man.

For The Northern Thebaid: Monastic Saints of the Russian North, Frs. Seraphim and Herman translated the life of St. Paul of Obnora (1317-1429), a disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh, who was seen with flocks of birds perched upon his head and shoulders, feeding from his hand, and a bear awaiting his food, with foxes and rabbits and other smaller beasts running around in peace and without fear of the bear. Upon seeing this sight, St. Sergius of Nurma declared: “behold the life of innocent Adam in Eden.” [233]The Northern Thebaid, pp. 43, 45. For more information concerning blessed relations between man and animals, including numerous lives of Saints depicting such a relationship, see Animals and Man: A … Continue reading This Edenic state is also seen with Noah and the many animals on his ark. Fr. Seraphim writes: “Noah is like a second Adam, in whose presence the wild beasts become meek and obedient. For the same reason, the animals did not attack each other. Just as Adam was a righteous man and therefore the animals were at peace with one another around him, so too with Noah … The Holy Fathers say that is exactly what happened with Noah. The lion would not eat the lamb because Noah was a righteous man. With a righteous man the laws of nature change.” [234] GCEM, p. 333.

Fr. Seraphim here explains the Orthodox concept of a prepodobny (or osios in Greek, meaning “after/toward the likeness” [235]Liturgically, this concept is applied to those Saints known as “Venerable,” and can be seen in the common Troparion formula for such Saints, which reads: “The image of God was truly preserved … Continue reading), which is a Saint who has become like prelapsarian Adam, in whose presence animals who are enemies become peaceful. He offers the examples of his heavenly patron St. Seraphim of Sarov, as well as St. Paul of Obnora, and the monastery’s patron, the great missionary St. Herman of Alaska (1756-1837). Here Fr. Damascene quotes St. John Chrysostom marveling that Noah lived peacefully with so many ferocious animals. He says that Noah calls to mind the esteem enjoyed by Adam before his fall, and that God has raised up Noah to correct that fallen image and “placed him once more in his pristine position of esteem, as if to teach us through this procedure the extent of the authority Adam had before the fall … once more the wild animals recognized their subordination.” [236] Homilies on Genesis 25.5, FC 82, p. 136 [25.16] as found in GCEM, in a note on pp. 333-334. Likewise, St. Ephraim the Syrian writes that God “established a state of peace between the predatory animals and those who are preyed upon … This is a wonderous thing that no lion remembered its jungle and no species of beast or bird visited its customary haunt!” [237] Commentary on Genesis 6.10.2, FC 91, p. 140. For his commentary on the peace between animals and between animals and Adam before his sin, see p. 103 in his Commentary. Fr. Seraphim himself is also known to have had peaceful relations with the monastery’s many animals, including cats, dogs, hens, and the deer of the surrounding forest. [238] See chapter 68, “Adam’s Friends,” in His Life and Works, pp. 584-590. If the Genesis narrative is not an historical account, and the first- formed Adam never existed in harmony with the beasts, then the concept of a “prepodobny” becomes meaningless and fanciful, and in any case, it is completely beyond the ability of rational science to even fathom, let alone explain.

Fr. Seraphim also comments upon the state of plants before the Fall. He quotes St. John Chrysostom, commenting on Gen. 2:4-6: “the earth produced its seeds by the word and command of the Lord and began to give birth without needing either the cooperation of the sun, nor the moisture of rain, nor the tilling of man, who was not yet created … All this is so that we might know that the earth, for the germination of its seeds, had no need of cooperation of other elements, but the command of the Creator was sufficient for it.” [239] Homilies in Genesis 12.2, Tvoreniya 4, pp. 95-96 [FC 74, pp. 158-160 (12.4-6)], as found in GCEM, pp. 210-211. Addressing what constituted man’s vocation to “till and to keep” the Garden (Gen. 2μ1η), he again quotes St. John Chrysostom, who notes that this is an instance where the Genesis text is in fact not literal but rather refers to man’s spiritual work: “’To till.’ What was lacking in Paradise? … The ‘tilling’ [or ‘working’] of God consisted in tilling and keeping the commandment of God,’ for ‘There were no thieves, no passersby, no one of evil intent,’ and so Adam and Eve were called to ‘keep Paradise for [themselves], observing the commandment.’” [240] On the Creation of the World 5.5, Tvoreniya 6, p. 791 [trans. Robert C. Hill, p. 67], as found in GCEM, p. 226.

Fr. Seraphim also quotes several Fathers who open up a deeper meaning of man’s Paradisaical work. St. Gregory the Theologian writes that God placed Adam in Paradise to “till the immortal plants, by which is perhaps meant the Divine conceptions, both the simpler and the more perfect,” [241] Oration 45: Second Oration on Pascha 8, NPNF 2, 7, p. 245, as found in GCEM, p. 226. and following this St. Paisius Velichkovsky (1722-1794), the great hesychastic father who was largely responsible for the monastic flourishing in the late 18th century as well as the compiling of the spiritual classic The Philokalia, whose biography, Blessed Paisius Velichkovsky: The Man Behind the Philokalia, Fr. Seraphim translated (which was published by St. Herman’s Monastery in 1976), writes that the tilling of the immortal gardens of Paradise is “the most pure, exalted, and perfect Divine thoughts, according to St. Gregory the Theologian. And this means nothing else than that he remained, as being pure in soul and heart, in contemplative, grace-filled prayer, sacredly working in the mind alone, that is, in the sweetest vision of God.” [242] The Scroll, Six Chapters on Mental Prayer 2, in The Orthodox Word, no. 48 (1973), pp. 18-19 [Little Russian Philokalia vol. 4, p. 31], as found in GCEM, p. 227. And following the teaching of his patron, St. Nilus of Sora (c. 1433-1508), the great non-Possessor Russian monastic, writes that St. Nilus the Sinaite understood tilling and keeping to be prayer and guarding against evil thoughts after prayer. [243]The Skete Rule 9, Prepodobnyy NТl Sorski pervoosnovatel’ skitskago zhitiya v Rossii, I ustav ego o zhitel’stve skitskom (St. Nilus of Sora, Founder of Skete Life in Russia, and His Rule of Skete … Continue reading It is important to note here that the Saints always follow and explain and expand upon the teachings of other Saints, for they speak from the same Holy Spirit Who is never the author of confusion.

Fr. Seraphim further quotes St. Gregory the Sinaite “who visited Paradise in the same state of Divine vision as St. Paul” [244] GCEM, p. 222. and stated that it is between corruption and incorruption, in which mature plants are converted into fragrant earth without any hint of corruption, for “The presently existing creation was not originally created corruptible; but afterwards it fell under corruption” (emphasis in Fr. Seraphim). [245]On Commandments and Doctrines 10, Dobrotolyubiye 5, 2nd ed. (1900), p. 181 [Philokalia vol. 4, p. 213], as found in GCEM, pp. 223, 456; On Commandments and Doctrines 11, Philokalia vol. 4, p. 214, as … Continue reading Speaking of the qualitatively different nature of vegetation before the Fall, St. Symeon the New Theologian writes that the trees which God planted for man were “bearing every kind and variety of fruit, fruit which is never spoiled or lacking but always fresh and ripe, full of sweetness, and providing our ancestors with indescribable pleasure and enjoyment. For their immortal bodies had to be supplied with incorruptible food.” [246] Ethical Discourses 1.1, as found in On the Mystical Life, p. 26. In a letter to Dr. Kalomiros, Fr. Seraphim asks, considering our Church services’ continual lamentations for the corrupted creation, how God could declare the creation to be “good” following each creative act if in fact His creation was filled with the death of the evolutionary process? [247] See GCEM, pp. 451-457. It is only upon the sin of man that the creation is cursed and begins to experience corruption. [248] Gen. 3:17-19, GCEM pp. 269-274. Hieromonk Damascene’s first appendix to the 2011 edition, “Created in Incorruption” (pp. 689-786), also provides a very useful and systematic view of this question. [249]For other references to the qualitatively different pre-fallen nature of the earth and vegetation which contained nothing poisonous or hurtful to man, see St. Theophilus of Antioch, To Autolycus … Continue reading

Dr. Alexander Kalomiros offers a different evolutionary interpretation. He accepts the Church’s teaching that all of creation is fallen because of the sin of man, but he also believes, as the theory of evolution forces him to, that all of creation was in a state of corruption from its foundation, before Adam and Eve ever sinned. He writes that this can be so because Adam’s fall penetrated the universe in time as well as space due to the supposed ontological unity of all creation, although those of us living in time cannot truly understand this because we expect a cause to precede its effect. “But for God who is out of time this fact [of Adam’s fall] existed also before, it is a reality from one chronological end to the other,” and so Adam’s fall is a “leaven” that affects all time, past and future. And not only is this, but the resurrection of Christ is also such a “leaven” which “ferments” the entire creation, past and future. [250] “God’s Breath in Ape’s Body: From a Letter to Fr. Seraphim Rose on the Evolution of Man,” p. 22. He offers no Patristic support for either of these points. In his The Six Dawns he argues the same and even states that because God is outside of time, the appearances of Christ in the Old Testament are of the Incarnate Christ. He writes: The appearances of the Incarnate Word of God to the righteous of the Old Testament are of the same nature as that of Christ’s appearances to His disciples after His resurrection. The encounters of the Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, and Myrrh Bearers with the Risen Christ are the mystical communication of corruptible human nature with the incorruptible, with the human nature that the Son of God took on Himself and made incorruptible. They are encounters with the Divine Person of the Word in His human nature, because it is impossible for man to approach the divine nature of the Word. They are encounters with Christ’s resurrected nature. [251] The Six Dawns 2.

But unfortunately, Dr. Kalomiros’ argumentation is inconsistent. If the effects of the Fall of Adam predate the Fall, then why do not the effects of Christ’s Resurrection predate His Resurrection? St. Paul tells us that the righteous of the Old Testament could not receive the promise of salvation or be made perfect (Heb. 11:39-39), precisely because the Incarnation of Christ awaited the “fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4). And following Dr. Kalomiros’ reasoning, since God is outside of time, then the outcome of His Second Coming should also be in effect already, overriding the effects of the Fall, but for this we must also await the “fullness of times” (Eph. 1:10). He is of course correct that God is outside the bounds of time, but creation is not, and the Fall and the Incarnation and Resurrection happen within creation and within time. If, as he argues, the Incarnation is timeless, then human nature must in fact be timeless, and therefore Uncreated, and if Uncreated then Divine and incorrupt by nature, and so the whole economy of Creation becomes meaningless. Playing on the mysterious nature of time, Kalomiros has forsaken the linear time that is consistently upheld by the Fathers, and he goes against the teaching of the Scriptures and the Church that the appearances of God in the Old Testament are in fact those of the pre-Incarnate Christ. As Fr. John Romanides writes, “the Old Testament is Christocentric since Christ is the pre-incarnate Angel of the Lord and of the Great Counsel, the Lord of Glory, and the Lord of Sabbaoth in Whom the patriarchs and prophets see and hear God and through Whom they receive grace, succor, and forgiveness.” [252]“The Lord Yahweh of Glory in the Old and New Testaments Part 2,” as found online at the website dedicated to the works of Fr. John Romanides, www.romanity.org. See St. John Damascene’s Exact … Continue reading Thus, in an attempt to harmonize Orthodoxy with evolution, Dr. Kalomiros has seriously erred in both cosmology and Christology, which highlights the danger of formulating doctrine apart from the teaching of the God-bearing Fathers.

Chapter Six: The Creation of Man in Genesis

While God cares benevolently for all of creation, it is certain that man has a unique role as the king and crown of creation. This is evident from the fact that man alone is made according to the image of God and with God’s own “hands” and “breath,” and that the Logos Himself became incarnate as man. And this is why all of creation awaits the “manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:18-23). Thus, the most important question regarding Genesis, as Fr. Seraphim states, is the nature of man. Fr. Seraphim draws the classic distinction between the “image” and the “likeness” of God and quotes St. Basil teaching that the image is given to man at his creation and cannot be lost, but the likeness is to be attained by the movement of our free will towards seeking perfection in God. [253] On the Origin of Man 1.16-17, Sc 160.207-11 [PPS 30, pp. 43-45], as found in GCEM, p. 200. He notes that Fathers have pointed to different aspects of the image of God in man, including his dominion over the lower creation, his reason, and his freedom, and he quotes St. Gregory of Nyssa giving a concise explanation of what it means to be made in the image of God:

He creates man for no other reason than that He is good; and being such, and having this as His reason for entering upon the creation of our nature, He would not exhibit the power of His goodness in an imperfect form, giving our nature some one of the things at His disposal, and grudging it a share in another: but the perfect form of goodness is here to be seen by His both bringing man into being from nothing, and fully supplying him with all good gifts: but since the list of individual good gifts is a long one, it is out of the question to apprehend it numerically. The language of Scripture therefore expresses it concisely by a comprehensive phrase, in saying that man was made “in the image of God”: for this is the same as to say that He made human nature participant in all good; for if the Deity is the fulness of good, and this is His image, then the image finds its resemblance to the Archetype in being filled with all good. [254] On the Making of Man 16.10, NPNF 2, vol. 5, p. 405, as found in GCEM, pp. 199-200.

St. Gregory continues, “Thus there is in us the principle of all excellence, all virtue and wisdom, and every higher thing that we conceive: but pre-eminent among all is the fact that we are free from necessity, and not in bondage to any natural power.” [255]On the Making of Man 16.11, NPNF 2, vol. 5, p. 405. While the Fathers as a whole attribute the image of God to the spiritual nature of man, as God is incorporeal, it is nevertheless necessarily bound … Continue reading But can the evolutionary understanding of man be reconciled to this Patristic understanding? In responding to this same query, St. Justin Popovich illuminates the great importance of this question. He writes vigorously: “The New Testament anthropology stands and falls with the Old Testament anthropology. The entire Gospel of the Old Testament: man — the icon of God; the entire Gospel of the New Testament: the God-man — the icon of man. Heavenly, divine, immortal, everlasting, and unchangeably human is the icon of God in many godlikeness.” [256]Na Bogocovecanskom putu (On the Divine-Human Path), pp. 215-216, as found in GCEM, pp. 810-811; also found online as “St. Justin Popovich: Orthodoxy and the Theory of Evolution: The God-man … Continue reading

As the entirety of the Scriptures speak to Christians of Christ and thus are intricately linked, it cannot simply be assumed that to introduce a new Creation narrative unknown to the Fathers will have no detrimental impact on the Church’s New Testament vision and theology. The matter must be seriously examined, as Fr. Seraphim does. Science can only interpret the past through remains left behind by corruption and death, and so, as we have seen, it has no ability to investigate the prelapsarian world which knew only life. For scientists, death, the great aberration, is the great source of information, whereas the Saints are granted knowledge, wisdom, and vision by He Who is Life. St. John of Kronstadt, writing in the aftermath of Darwin, made this same observation, chastising those scientists who have forsaken the prophetic vision of Moses: “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?” [Job 38:4] Were you with God when He created the universe? “Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counseller, hath taught Him?” [Isaiah 40:13] 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.” [257] My Life in Christ, pp. 41-42.

Thus, looking to lifeless remains to unravel the past, when scientists place man into the evolutionary line, it is modern, fallen man and not man as he originally existed, because as we have seen, science can know nothing of Adam and his original, pristine nature. But is man’s nature as initially created by God the same as it is now, or did the fall into sin disfigure his nature? Fr. Seraphim’s commentary, drawing widely again upon Patristics, demonstrates that man’s original condition of nature and his fallen condition of nature are in fact radically different.

Evolution is understood to occur not within individuals but within populations. [258] See Q and A #3 at the online “TalkOrigins Archive” page “Frequently Asked Questions.” Thus, many theistic evolutionists do not believe in the historicity of Adam and Eve as literally the first human beings, but rather interpret them as symbols for the first human population. Others propose that once the evolutionary forerunners of human beings attained the proper physical state, God called out two of them to receive souls, who became the first humans, Adam and Eve.

Fr. Seraphim mentions such ideas in his talks, [259] GCEM, p. 219. which had been expressed to him in a letter by Dr. Alexander Kalomiros, who wrote: “Adam is the evolved beast who receives in its innermost being the divine breath … then the evolved beast became a logical creature, being transformed from the inside, and in its depths, not anatomically but spiritually, by the grace of the Holy Spirit” (emphasis in original). [260] “God’s Breath in Ape’s Body,” pp. 14, 15. Dr. Alexander draws his sole Patristic support for his view from a passage of A Conversation of St. Seraphim of Sarov with N. A. Motovilov in which St. Seraphim seemingly teaches that man was a beast like unto other beasts, later becoming a human at the inbreathing of the Holy Spirit. However, in his reply letter, Fr. Seraphim goes to great lengths to demonstrate that St. Seraphim is in fact in harmony with the other Fathers who teach that Adam’s bodв and soul were created simultaneously, as aforementioned (and which will be addressed further on). [261]“Genesis as Primary Vision: Fr. Seraphim Rose’s Response to Dr. Kalomiros,” pp. 54-60. Also in GCEM, pp. 479-489; cf. pp. 215, 624-626, 628. The Scriptures themselves seemingly teach that the … Continue reading As always, Fr. Seraphim prostrated his mind before that of the Church and sought for the Spirit-breathed harmony of the Fathers, rather than seeking the apparent “contradictions” which fuel academic studies, or passages that could be perverted to fit his own theories.

Dr. Kalomiros twice introduces a dualism into the constitution of man. The claim that Adam’s body predates his soul means it thus has its own particular existence apart from the soul and thus divides the integral unity of the hypostasis of man; and the claim that Adam is an evolved beast who received the breath of God necessitates that there would have thus been other animals, from which Adam was taken, that are physically identical to human beings but lacking the spiritual nature of man. Dr. Kalomiros writes: “I would not be surprised if Adam’s body had been in all aspects the body of an ape.” [262] “God’s Breath in Ape’s Body,” p. 16. This logically leads to the strange conclusions that either the irrational beasts possessing the same physical body as Adam are half-humans, or that the human body is not truly “human,” as it is possessed also by irrational beasts, and so humanity is found only in the spiritual nature of man. This is little different from the erroneous philosophical notion of the anathematized Alexandrian theologian Origen (184-254) that pre- existent human souls fell into bodies which are not truly part of the human constitution – a belief which compelled the Fathers to write strongly on the simultaneous creation of the human body and soul.

In the case of Vladimir De Beer, a doctoral student dealing with Creationism and evolutionism from an Orthodox perspective, [263]De Beer received his MA from the University of South Africa, with a dissertation concerning the ontology of John Scottus Eriugena. His status as a doctoral student is current as of May 25, 2010, as … Continue reading humanity seems to be defined solely by the physical body. Seeking to harmonize the Scriptures with the “scientific evidence” that mankind has existed for 200,000 years, he draws a divide between the two Creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2, and sees Genesis 1 as a description of the descent of homo sapiens from hominid ancestors, and Genesis 2 as the granting of a “God-consciousness” to Adam and Eve. [264]In his “The Origins of the World and Mankind: An Attempt to Reconcile the Biblical Account with Scientific Discoveries,” Bishop Alexander (Mileant) of Buenos Aires (ROCOR) (1938-2005) draws upon … Continue reading This granting of a spiritual nature does not even separate Adam and Eve from the irrational beasts, for he says “By the time of Adam and Eve, the human species had been living on Earth for approximately two thousand centuries” – so the irrational beasts, and Adam and Eve who possess the spiritual awareness of God are of the same human species in his system. [265]In his The Six Dawns 1ί, Dr. Kalomiros goes this far as well. He writes: “When we add up the years of Adam’s life and of his descendants, we find that Adam must have lived very recently, that … Continue reading For him, the granting of a spiritual nature perhaps brings man into a new mode of existence, but De Beer continues to classify Adam and Eve with the beasts from which they were called. And this “God- consciousness” is spread not only through the offspring of Adam and Eve but also by a “spiritual diffusion” to other parts of the world, already inhabited by human beings. [266] “Genesis, Creation, and Evolution,” orthodoxyToday.org. De Beer offers neither Patristic nor scientific support for this hypothesis, for it is not a true harmonization of the two, but is a sacrifice of both Orthodox theology and evolutionism for the sake of an amalgamation that is in the end no more scientifically viable and verifiable than Fr. Seraphim’s Patristic presentation, for if man is truly a product of evolution, then so also is his rationality and tendency towards spirituality.

Precisely what De Beer is attempting to explain by the action of God, evolutionary scientists attempt to explain through purely naturalistic reasonings – that belief in a higher power is evolutionarily advantageous because it leads to behavior modification, social cooperation, and so on. [267]See, for instance, Alix Spiegel’s article “Is Believing In God Evolutionarily Advantageous?” found online at the NPR website. Spiegel writes: “In the history of the world, every culture in … Continue reading The introduction of God at this point in the evolutionary chain offers nothing that materialism does not also claim to offer. Fr. James Coucouzis (1911-2005), the future Abp. Iakovos, primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America (1959-1996), takes note of this. He states that while Spiritualists reject the body as merely an image or prison of the spirit, “Materialists, on the other hand, try to attribute the spiritualistic qualities in man to the gray matter which is sheltered under our skull,” and thus he concludes: “Needless to say, the Greek Orthodox Church pays little attention to the existing findings and theories of Charles Darwin, which claim that man is not the creation of God, but the final process of a series of metamorphoses and changes, developments and evolutions of the primitive cell of life.” [268]Dean James A. Coucouzis as a Model of Priesthood: Archbishop Iakovos’ Ministry at the Annunciation Cathedral of New England (1942-1954), pp. 460-461, as found online at the blog Mystagogy as … Continue reading And Fr. Seraphim concludes: “If man ‘evolves’ solely according to the laws of nature, then his rational nature, his soul, the image of God, differs not qualitatively but only quantitatively from the beasts; he is then a creature only of the earth, and there is no room for the Patristic view that he is partly of earth and partly of heaven.” [269] GCEM, p. 219. Additionally, St. Nektarios says of Philosphie Zoologique, the 1809 work of the French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, that it degrades man by placing him among the beasts and describing his superior mental capacities as a mere difference of degree. [270] Sketch Concerning Man, pp. 87-88, as found in Constantine Cavarnos’ Biological Evolutionism, pp. 28-29.

As Fr. Seraphim demonstrates, none of these theories — that Adam is merely symbolic of all humanity or that Adam and Eve are the first humans called out from a population of lower beasts, or that they are simply the first humans to receive a “God-consciousness” — are compatible with Patristic Orthodoxy. St. Nikolai Velimirović writes precisely of those who take pleasure “in shamelessly calling monkeys their ancestors,” that they engage in “the drowning of anthropology in гoology.” [271] Through the Prison Window? pp. 39-40, as found in St. Justin Popovich, The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism, p. 162. The Tradition of the Church is quite consistent that Adam and Eve were literal people, that they were the only human beings until they had children, and that they were created uniquely from the rest of creation, and thus were not merely descendants of lower creatures. M. C. (now Archimandrite Irenei) Steenberg argues in his aforementioned article that for St. Irenaeus, in contrast to the allegorizing whims of the Gnostics, for Adam and Eve to have any symbolic value, such as some evolutionists would ascribe to them, they must be literal, historical persons whom we read of in an historical narrative. [272]See his “Children in Paradise: Adam and Eve as ‘Infants in Irenaeus of Lyons,” particularly the section “Iconic and Symbolic Value Through Factual History” on pp. 9-10, where he concludes: … Continue reading Many other Fathers who write of the Creation accounts, with their strict adherence to the historicity of Genesis, attest to the same. [273]Many canonical and Patristic quotes referring to Adam and Eve are available at this author’s Old Believing blog at the post “Adam and Eve were literally the first people and were created uniquely … Continue reading In writing of Adam and Eve the Fathers are not offering apologetics for their literal existence, but rather seem to take it for granted and simply speak of Adam and Eve as actual people, as any Christian would have believed. That even Origen, well known for his extravagant allegorization of Genesis which led to his anathematization, understood Adam and Eve to be literal people strongly suggests that their historical existence was never questioned and thus never needed to be addressed apologetically. In the Preface to his De Principiis, Origen writes of Apostolic doctrine: “First, that there is one God, who created and arranged all things, and who, when nothing existed, called all things into being — God from the first creation and foundation of the world — the God of all just men, of Adam, Abel, Seth, Enos, Enoch, Noe [Noah], Sere [Serug], Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the twelve patriarchs, Moses, and the prophets.” [274]“What the Allegorist Origen Taught About Adam and Eve,” found online at the Mystagogy blog. This article examines several passages wherein Origen mentions Adam and Eve and shows that he routinely … Continue reading

On this question the liturgical life of the Church is decisive. In response to a writing from Fr. Anthony Kosturos [275] Fr. Anthony, born in 1925, served the Holy Trinity parish in San Francisco from 1955 until his repose in 2004. See his entry at sanfranciscogreeks.com by Jim Lucas. in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese’s Orthodox Observer (Feb. 6, 1974) in which he proclaims that the dawn of human history — whether it consists in a literal first couple or multiple clusters of people — is a mystery, Fr. Seraphim asks: “And what of the Orthodox theology of Adam the first-created man? What of the Orthodox feast devoted to Adam and the other Forefathers?” [276]His response to Fr. Anthony is on pp. 564-566, in a section of GCEM entitled “Christian Evolutionism” which is not from the New Valaam Theological Academy talks, but is a composite drawn from an … Continue reading As Fr. Damascene notes in a footnote, Adam, as well as Eve and many of their descendants, are commemorated as Saints on the Feast of the Holy Forefathers of the Old Testament, celebrated on the Sunday that falls between December 11 and 17, on which the Church sings: “Adam the first let us revere, who was honored by the hand of the Creator and was the forefather of all” (Canon, Canticle 1). They are also remembered on the following Sunday (Dec. 18-24), and their son, the Righteous Abel, is also commemorated on March 20. Their names are also included in the Church’s Synaxaria on these dates. [277]See The Synaxarion: The Lives of the Saints of the Orthodox Church vol. 2: November, December, by Hieromonk Makarios of Simonos Petra, p. 469. Fr. Makarios, speaking of them as literal people, notes … Continue reading St. Irenaeus even teaches in his Against Heresies 1.28 that the idea that Adam and Eve are not among the Saints is actually the teaching of heretical Gnostics (and so how much more problematic is the teaching that they never truly existed?). As Fr. Damascene also notes, Cheese-Fare (Forgiveness Sunday) is dedicated to the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise on which the Church’s hymnography continually refers to the man Adam, as it does throughout the liturgical year. Additionally, Fr. Seraphim asks, “What of those who have Adam for their patron Saint?” and Adam and Eve and their descendants also appear in iconography with halos, as Saints — many examples of which are printed in both editions of Genesis, Creation, and Early Man. [278] See also the article “Was Adam an actual or a symbolic figure, according to the Fathers of the Church?” from the Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries website.

The number of the angels has been fixed from the moment of their creation in eternity, and so when 1/3 of the angels rebelled against God not all angels fell because they are not descendent one of another, [279]And furthermore, St. John Damascene writes: “Whether they are equals in essence or differ from one another we know not. God, their Creator, Who knoweth all things, alone knoweth,” Exact … Continue reading but when Adam fell all of human nature fell with him, because all of human nature originated in him and it is from him that we all receive our nature as his descendants. St. Ambrose notes that God created Eve “from the rib of Adam himself … For God willed to settle one nature upon mankind, and starting from the origin of this creature, he snatched away the possibility of numerous and disparate natures.” [280] Paradise 10.48, FC vol. 42, p. 327. Similarly, St. Augustine writes that of our first parent God “was pleased to create alone, that all men might be derived from one, and that they might thus be admonished to preserve unity among their whole multitude.” [281] City of God 12.27, NPNF 1, vol. 2, p. 244. In his appendix “Created in Incorruption,” Fr. Damascene quotes St. Cyril of Alexandria: “Hence all were made sinners, not as co-transgressors with Adam (for they did not yet exist then), but because they were of his nature, which had fallen under the law of sin,” and St. Gregory Palamas: “The same ancestral curse and condemnation poured out on all of us from our single forefather, as if it had sprung from the root of the human race and was the common lot of our nature.” And St. Maximus the Confessor writes: “All those born of Adam are ‘conceived in iniquities,’ thus coming under the forefather’s sentence.” [282]St. Cyril, Commentary on Romans 5:18-19, as found in GCEM, p. 713; St. Gregory, Homily 5.1, as found in GCEM, p. 725; St. Maximus, Questions and Answers 3, PG 788B, in “The Mystery of Marriage in a … Continue reading Scripture itself interprets Genesis in the same way. In the book of Tobit it reads: “You it was who created Adam, you who created Eve his wife to be his help and support; and from these two the human race was born” (8:6).

As Fr. Seraphim states, “the idea of the ‘evolution’ of man from a lower animal cannot be harmonized with the Patristic and Scriptural view of man’s creation, but requires a sharp break with it.” [283] GCEM p. 219. Some early Fathers even directly denied the idea that man arose from animals. The father of Latin Christianity, Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 225), writes of the twisted arguments of the philosopher Laberius who conjectured, following Pythagoras, that man arose from a mule, [284] Apology 48 pp. 52-53. and St. Hippolytus of Rome, in his Refutation of All Heresies 1.5, notes that the philosopher Anaximander believed that man was once similar to a fish. [285]Professor Ioan Vladuca (1970- ), a Romanian Orthodox biomathematician, professor of Apologetics at the University of Bucharest between 1997 and 2005, and monastic novice (as of June 2012), who is a … Continue reading In our own times, Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos writes that “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.” [286] The Twelve Feasts of the Lord: An Introduction to the Twelve Feasts and Orthodox Christology, pp. 171-172. In general, the Patristic conviction that each kind reproduces only after its own kind necessarily precludes the possibility of lower beasts giving way to human beings. Clement of Alexandria writes: “But nobility is itself exhibited in choosing and practicing what is best. For what benefit to Adam was such a nobility as he had? No mortal was his father; for he himself was father of men that are born,” [287] Stromata 2.19, ANF vol. 2, p. 369. thus Adam has no ancestor, whether man or animal. Of attempts at a theistic evolutionary theory on the origin of man, Fr. Seraphim thus writes that they “[present] no consistent Christian outlook, mixing scientific speculations with ‘revealed’ knowledge in a most haphazard way.” [288] GCEM, p. 219. As always, it is to the Fathers that we must look to properly understand man’s origins; therefore it is to the Fathers that Fr. Seraphim points us.

That man was created uniquely is essential to Orthodox anthropology, for only man is created according to the image and likeness of God. This is indicated by the consultation between the Persons of the Trinity, and the fact that God made man with His very own “hands” and “breath.” of course, if man is simply an evolutionary descendent of a lower beast, then his creation is in fact not unique, and cannot even be said to be its own particular instance of creation, thus removing from man’s origins any indication of his exalted status within creation. Fr. Seraphim writes: “In the Patristic-Scriptural view, the entire Six Days of Creation is a series of Divine acts in the uniformitarian scientific view, the origins of things … are nothing but natural processes. These two views are as opposed as any two views can be, and any mixture of the two must be purely arbitrary and fanciful.” [289] Ibid. He quotes St. Basil, commenting on this “deliberation” of God: “Recognize the dignity that belongs to you. He did not cause your origin by a commandment, but there was a consultation in God in order to know how to introduce into life this living being worthy of honor.” [290] On the Origin of Man 1.3, as found in GCEM, p. 195. St. John Chrysostom teaches the same in his Eight Homilies on Genesis: “There was counsel, deliberation, and communication, not because God has need of counsel – may this not be! – but in order by the very means of expression to show us the dignity of what is created.” [291] 2.1-2, as found in GCEM p. 197. Regarding God’s creating of man from the dust with His own “hands,” Theodoret of Cyrus states that this indicates God’s care for mankind above the rest of creation, [292]Theodoret of Cyrus quoted in Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow and Kolomena, Pravoslavno-dogmaticheskoye bogosloviye (Orthodox Dogmatic Theology), vol. pp. 430-443, as found in GCEM, p. 212. See also … Continue reading and St. Basil again writes: “If the verse had simply said that God created, you could have believed that He created [man] as He did the beasts, the wild animals, the plants, the grass. This is why, to avoid your placing him in the class of wild animals, the Divine word has made known the particular art which God has used for you: God took of the ‘dust from the earth’” (emphasis added). [293] On the Origin of Man 2.4, SC 260.233 [PPS 30, p. 51], as found in GCEM, p. 212.

Later Scriptures also understand man to have been literally formed from the dust. In the book of Job, God explains to Job that he cannot know all His ways and asks of him: “Or didst thou take clay of the ground, and form a living creature, and set it with the power of speech upon the earth?” (38:14 LXX). In contrast, the well-known and well-respected evolutionist database Talk Origins Archive places modern man, homo sapiens sapiens, within the Hominidae family which is part of the ape “superfamily,” and “which consists of all species on our side of the last common ancestor of humans and living apes,” and includes twenty other species. [294] From the article “Hominid Species.”

Furthermore, as with the rest of creation, and as has been already noted, the creation of man in his entirety was simultaneous, and thus his fashioning from the dust of the earth and the inbreathing of his soul occurred instantaneously and simultaneously. In the Patristic conception, man’s material nature was not prepared through a laborious process of evolution, but rather was formed immediately by the all-powerful creative act of God. On this point Fr. Seraphim comments that the account of man’s creation is interpreted by the Fathers not chronologically but rather ontologically – the entirety of man came into existence instantaneously. [295] GCEM, p. 218. Thus we see that Fr. Seraphim does not adopt or teach a hermeneutic of strict and absolute literalism, but rather advocates following the Fathers into whatever depths they may plunge. He quotes St. John Damascene who writes: “From the earth He formed his body and by His own inbreathing gave him a rational and understanding soul, which last we say is the divine image … The body and the soul were formed at the same time – not one before and the other afterwards, as the ravings of Origen would have it,” [296] On the Orthodox Faith 2.12, FC 37, p. 235, as found in GCEM, p. 218. by which he refers to the philosopher-theologian’s aforementioned theory of pre-existent souls which, when they cooled in their ardor in contemplating the Logos, fell into material bodies. [297]The person of Origen was anathematized by the Church in Canon 11 of the 5th Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 553. This particular teaching was also anathematized in the first of the fifteen … Continue reading

St. Gregory of Nyssa ridicules the idea that man is both antecedent and posterior to himself and the god who would create in such a manner: “Nor again are we in our doctrine to begin by making up man like a clay figure, and to say that the soul came into being for the sake of this; for surely in that case the intellectual nature would be shown to be less precious than the clay figure. But as man is one, the being consisting of soul and body, we are to suppose that the beginning of his existence is one, common to both parts, so that he should not be found to be antecedent and posterior to himself, as if the bodily elements were first in point of time, and the other were a later addition … For as our nature is conceived as twofold, according to the apostolic teaching, made up of the visible man and the hidden man, if the one came first and the other supervened, the power of Him that made us will be shown to be in some way imperfect, as not being completely sufficient for the whole task at once, but dividing the work, and busying itself with each of the halves in turn (emphasis added).” [298] On the Making of Man 29.1-2; as found in GCEM, pp. 218-219.

St. Maximus the Confessor devotes considerable space to this question in his Ambiguum 7, and emphasizing the unity of man’s hypostasis he concludes: Soul and body came into being at the same moment and their essential difference from each other in no way whatsoever impairs the logoi that inhere naturally and essentially in them. For that reason it is inconceivable to speak of the soul and body except in relation to each other. It is only as they come together to form a particular person that they exist. If either existed before the other, it would have to be understood as the soul or the body of the one to which the other belongs. The relation between them is immutable. [299] As found in On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, pp. 73-74.

For Elder Basil of Poiana Marului (1692-1767), the spiritual father of St. Paisius Velichkovsky, this doctrine is a necessity for practicing noetic prayer. He argues that if anyone desires to control his senses and develop in prayer he must believe that in the creation of the body and soul “there was no distinction in time, but they were both created together with an intelligent purpose, even though Origen held a different opinion about this.” And he continues: “Likewise then, the guarding of our physical senses and the reconciliation of our conscience with God are accomplished together in an intelligent manner through mental attentiveness.” [300]Introduction to the Book of the Blessed Hesychios, as found in Elder Basil of Poiana Marului: Spiritual Father of St. Paisy Velichkovsky, pp. 76-77. See also St. Peter of Alexandria, Fragment VI – … Continue reading The evolutionary scheme in which man’s body necessarily predates his soul falls into these origenistic “ravings,” and implies the notion, mentioned before, that God is not powerful enough to create man all at once, and undermines the anthropological foundation for noetic prayer by which man may see Christ. Speaking of the creation of man and the awe-inspiring power of God, His Grace Bishop Michael Dahulich (OCA-NY-NJ) (1950- ) demonstrates that the interconnectedness of all Orthodox theology, and the dangerous implications of denying any aspect of the Church’s Divine teachings: “The creation of man appears as revealing the wonders of God, in the same way as the Covenant with Abraham and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those who deny one nearly deny the other.” [301] SCR 5301: Israel’s Origins (Fall 2010), St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, class handouts, p. 104.

As may be expected, the Fathers also understood the creation of Eve from Adam’s rib (Gen. 2:21-22) quite literally, as they did Adam’s creation from the dust. Fr. Seraphim sees this passage as a “touchstone of our interpretation of the whole book” – if the reader is able to understand this passage “as it is written,” as did the Fathers, then the rest of the Creation-Fall account will be easy to accept as well. But, as Fr. Seraphim notes, our modern minds want to rebel against the simple interpretation of this and other passages. That the first woman actually came from the rib of the first man is obviously incongruous with the theory of evolution which depicts man as developing slowly over time and being birthed from non-human female beasts, as Fr. Seraphim argues, [302] GCEM, p. 240. but 1 Timothy 2:13 reads: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Ephraim the Syrian commenting on the miraculous and instantaneous creation of Eve: “in the twinkling of an eye the rib was taken out, and likewise in an instant flesh took its place, and the bared bone took on the full appearance and all the beauty of a woman – then God brought and presented her to Adam.” [303]Commentary on Genesis 2, Tvoreniya 6, p. 315 [FC 91, p. 105 (2.12.1)], as found in GCEM, p. 245. On the creation of Eve from Adam’s rib, Fr. Seraphim also quotes on pages 240-245 a passage of St. … Continue reading As Fr. Seraphim writes, this took place on the sixth day of Creation. The Venerable Bede sees in her creation a beautiful foreshadowing of the Church:

“In regard to the fact that the woman was made from the side of the man, we can suppose that it was proper for it to be done in this way for the sake of commending the strength of that union. But the fact that it happened to the man while he was sleeping, that after the bone was removed flesh was filled up in its place, was done for the sake of a deeper mystery. For it was signified that the sacraments of salvation were to come out from the side of Christ on the cross by the death of the sleeping one, namely the blood and water, from which his bride, the Church, would be founded. For if so great a sacrament were not to be prefigured in the creation of the woman, what need was there for Adam to have slept, so that God might take his rib from which to make the woman, who could do the same thing to him while he was both awake and not suffering? [304]On Genesis, p. 122. See also St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue With Trypho 84; Tertullian, A Treatise On the Soul 43; St. Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion 1.2; St. Augustine, City of God 12.27; St. Gregory … Continue reading

It should be noted that, drawing on certain passages from St. Gregory of Nyssa, it is precisely in the creation of man that Dr. Kalomiros, and others, see evolution in the Scriptures. In a letter to Fr. Seraphim he quoted from St. Gregory’s On the Creation of Man (earlier cited as On the Making of Man): “It is for this reason that man was created last after the plants and the animals, because nature is following a path which leads gradually to perfection;” “Thus, it is as if by steps that nature is making its ascent in life properties, from the least to the perfect;” and, “If then the Scripture says that man was created last after all the other living creatures, there is in that nothing else but the philosophy of the soul by the lawgiver, who sees, by a certain necessary order sequence the perfect in the last” (emphasis in Kalomiros). [305]All translations were made from the Greek by Dr. Kalomiros, but the corresponding passages can be found in On the Creation of Man Chapter H’ P.G. 33 145C, 148B-C, and 148 B’. These quotes are as … Continue reading Then he asks: “What is all this if not evolution?” and declares that the first chapter of Genesis describes Creation according to modern evolutionary theories, only with fewer words. [306] Ibid. However, as we have seen there were several early predecessors to Darwin, such as Anaximander and Aristotle, and if Genesis and the Fathers were truly teaching evolution then they could have drawn upon the works of these philosophers to illustrate their points; but as we have seen, the Fathers in fact spoke against primitive forms of evolution.

Fr. Seraphim pointed to such passages in his public lectures to demonstrate how the Fathers can be misused to “prove” a point. To see Darwinian evolution in such passages is to read a great deal into them. That God created in an ordered sequence does not necessitate that man is thus descendant of lower creations, and neither the Scriptures nor St. Gregory says any such thing. St. Gregory’s “ascent by steps” does not concern the history of man, but rather his nature, which partakes in the nutritive and sentient aspects shared by all earthborn creatures. [307] GCEM, pp. 142-144. Furthermore, as we have seen, St. Gregory taught that man’s body and soul were created simultaneously, he opposed the notion of one nature running through all things, and he also explicitly taught that Adam was created uniquely, as did so many other Fathers. In his reply to Dr. Kalomiros, Fr. Seraphim quotes him: “The first man, and the man born from him, received their being in a different way; the latter by copulation, the former from the molding of Christ Himself” (emphasis in Fr. Seraphim), and also teaching that Abel came into existence by generation, but Adam without generation. [308] Against Eunomius 1.34, NPNF 2, vol. 5, p. 81; Answer to Eunomius’ Second Book, NPNF 2, vol. 5, p. 299, both as found in GCEM p. 430. See also the footnote on GCEM p. 144. Thus, Fr. Seraphim demonstrated the importance of reading the Fathers in context and seeking for the harmony between them, and not deriving doctrine from a few select passages, and not approaching the Fathers with any scientific bias already in mind. Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Gregory Palamas stating a crucial principle to remember: “If one of the Fathers says the same thing as do those from without, the concordance is only verbal, the thought being quite different. The former, in fact, have, according to Paul, ‘the mind of Christ’ (1 Cor. 2:16), while the latter expresses at best a human reasoning,” and he writes that from secular wisdom: “we absolutely forbid to expect any precision whatever in the knowledge of Divine things; for it is not possible to draw from it any certain teaching on the subject of God. For ‘God hath made it foolish.’” [309] In Defense of the Holy Hesychasts (The Triads) [French translation], 1.1.11, p. 34, and 1.1.12, p. 36; as found in GCEM, pp. 466-467.

Chapter Seven: Man’s Nature Before the Fall and the Origin of Death

Man’s original nature, before the Fall, is a considerable subject, well-treated by Fr. Seraphim and Fr. Damascene. In “Created in Incorruption,” Fr. Damascene demonstrates that, according to the teachings of many Fathers, before the Fall Adam and Eve were free of the bodily need for shelter, clothing, food, and sleep; they knew no difficulties, sicknesses, or ailments; they were not subject to the elements; they knew no sexual passions, etc. [310] GCEM, p. 694. Fr. Damascene’s article proceeds thematically and so treats of these qualities in a more in-depth way than does Fr. Seraphim’s verse-by-verse commentary, as the Genesis text does not explicitly mention these characteristics. Nevertheless, the Fathers who have beheld the Creation in Divine vision and who have regained the life of Paradise have described human nature as it was originally created. Summarizing the state of Adam and Eve in the garden, Fr. Seraphim quotes from his venerable patron, St. Seraphim of Sarov:

“Adam was created to such an extent immune to the action of every one of the elements created by God, that neither could water drown him, nor fire burn him, nor could the earth swallow him up in its abysses, nor could the air harm him by its action in any way whatsoever. Everything was subject to him as the beloved of God, as the king and lord of creation, and everything looked up to him, as the perfect crown of God’s creatures.’’ [311]Conversation of St. Seraphim of Sarov on the Aim of the Christian Life 5, Little Russian Philokalia vol. 1, pp. 81- 82 [5th ed., p. 90], as found in GCEM, p. 250. Fr. Seraphim also quotes St. John … Continue reading

Of these qualities, it is especially interesting that the Fathers teach that the marital state and sexual procreation were given by God to man only after the Fall, and that before that man was called to multiply in a way unknown to us in our fallen state. This is the undoubted consistent teaching of the Church. On this point Fr. Seraphim quotes St. John Chrysostom, who also writes highly in praise of marriage: “Thus, in the beginning life was virginally but when, because of the carelessness (of the first people) disobedience appeared and sin entered the world, virginity fled away from them, since they had become unworthy of such a great good, and in its place there entered into effect the law of married life.” [312] Homilies on Genesis 18.4, Tvoreniya 4, pp. 160-161 [FC 82, pp. 10-11 (18.12)], as found in GCEM, p. 204. See also his Homilies on Genesis 15.14, FC 82, pp. 202-203, and his On Virginity 14. He also quotes St. John Damascene: “Virginity was practiced in Paradise … After the fall … to keep the race from dwindling and being destroyed by death, marriage was devised, so that by the begetting of children the race of men might be preserved … if they had kept the commandment unbroken forever, God could have increased the race by some other means.” [313] On the Orthodox Faith 4.24, FC 37, p. 394, as found in GCEM, p. 204. In his “Created in Incorruption” Fr. Damascene also quotes from St. Athanasius, commenting on Ps. 50:5: “The original intention of God was for us to generate not by marriage and corruption. But the transgression of the commandment introduced marriage on account of the lawless act of Adam, that is, the rejection of the law given him by God. Therefore, all of those born of Adam are ‘conceived in iniquities.’” [314]Commentary on the Psalms (Psalm 50:5), PG 27.240CD, as found in GCEM, p. 722. As Fr. Damascene writes in a note on GCEM, p. 722, St. Maximus repeated this interpretation of St. Athanasius verbatim in … Continue reading

St. Gregory of Nyssa points to the Lord’s words that in the coming age there will be no marriage (Mt. 22:30, Mk. 12:25, Lk. 20:35), and seeing the eschatological reality as a restoration of the prelapsarian world, he teaches that virginity reigned in Paradise. [315] On the Making of Man 17.1-3. Fr. Seraphim quotes from this passage in GCEM, p. 251. This question is Christological for St. Maximus the Confessor. He teaches that at the Fall, the principle of pleasure and pain enters man’s existence, and as men are conceived in the pleasure of sexual reproduction, they are brought forth in the pain of childbirth. This highlights precisely the point of Christ’s virgin birth – in being conceived without pleasure, He is brought forth without pain, and thus breaks the pleasure-pain dialectic that had ruled man since the time of Adam. [316]Ad Thalassium 61, in On the Cosmic Mystery of Christ. The pleasure-pain principle had earlier been taught by St. Gregory of Nyssa in his Sermon on Easter, PG 46, 601- 604, quoted in Callinicos, … Continue reading Many other Saints have attested to this same teaching, that Adam and Eve were originally virginal, and it has been preserved throughout the life of the Church. [317]See also St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3.22.4; Tertullian, Against Marcion 4.38; St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 40.2: On Holy Baptism; St. Jerome, Against Jovinian 1.16; Theodoret of Cyrus, … Continue reading In our modern times it has been taught by Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra Monastery (1934- ), among others: “When did marriage begin? When man sinned. Before that, there was no marriage, not in the present-day sense. It was only after the Fall, after Adam and Eve had been expelled from paradise that Adam ‘knew’ Eve (Gen 4.1) and thus marriage began.” [318] The Church at Prayer: The Mystical Liturgy of the Heart, p. 124. It is also important to note that Fr. Seraphim, who had many married spiritual children, also emphasizes that although marriage is postlapsarian, it is in no way sinful, and he quotes St. Gregory of Nyssa exhorting: “Let no one think that we depreciate marriage as an institution. We are well aware that it is not a stranger to God’s blessing.” [319] On Virginity 8 NPNF 2, vol. 5, pp. 352-352, as found in GCEM, p. 205. This teaching is significant because if man were originally intended to be virginal, then he surely could not fit into the evolutionary scheme which necessitates sexual reproduction.

These qualities, enumerated by Frs. Seraphim and Damascene, are alone enough to demonstrate that man’s true nature is sorely misunderstood by secular science, but it is the teaching that man, like the rest of creation, was created immortal that is most significant. It is the undoubted teaching of the Church that God did not create man liable to either physical or spiritual death (Wisdom of Solomon 1:13: “For God made not death: neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living” 2:23: “God created man incorruptible”), and that death only entered the world upon the misuse of man’s free will. [320] See p. 64 and n. 214 above. Both the Council of Trullo and the Seventh Ecumenical Council ratified the canons of the local Council of Carthage (418 or 419). Canon 120 of Carthage (109 of the African Code) reads: “It has pleased the Council to decree that whoever calls Adam, the first man created, a mortal man so made that whether he sin or not he is bound to die in the body, that is, to depart from the body, not owing to his deserving this fate by reason of the sin, but because of a necessity inherent in his nature, let him be anathema.” [321] The Rudder, p. 673. Thus the Church, following the Scriptures and the Fathers, has ecumenically declared that man is not naturally susceptible to death. In fact, this canon was originally composed against the errors of the western heresiarch Pelagius (c. 354 – c. 418). It is significant to read what St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite (c. 1749-1809), the great compiler of the Church’s ecumenical canons, says of this canon:

The present Canon overthrows the heresy of Pelagius, and of his disciple Celestius. For these men (as divine Augustine bears witness in his discourse concerning original sin, chapters 5 and 6), be it noted, were condemned because they believed and held that original sin is not begotten together with the human being, and that it is a mistake, not of his nature, but of his will, and consequently from this they concluded that even Adam died this physical death, not on account of his sin, which was done as a matter of choice, but owing to a necessity inherent in his nature, which was built to be mortal from the very beginning, and was bound to die whether Adam, sinned or did not sin by choice. Hence the present Council, in overthrowing this heretical view, anathematizes those persons who make this assertion.

Turning to an argument initially put forth by the second century apologist St. Theophilus of Antioch (To Autolycus 2.24, 27), he continues: “For, if Adam actually were mortal by necessity of his nature, then: First, God, who built it to be so, would have to be also the creator and cause of death. But God did not create death, according to Scripture.” And answering the question earlier posed as to whether man’s prelapsarian nature is identical to the postlapsarian, he writes:

Secondly, that flesh which Adam had before the transgression ought not to have been any different from our own, but, on the contrary, would have had to be, like ours, gross and mortal and antitypal; seeing that we too who have been born after that transgression are in accordance with the same necessity of nature mortal, and at all events are destined to die (Book of Wisdom, 1:13). But St. Gregory the Theologian (in his sermon on the birth of Christ) insists that this gross and antitypal flesh which we have now is such as Adam had only after the transgression, and not before it.

And turning to Scripture, he summarizes: “And thirdly, if death came from nature, how is it that St. Paul says that ‘through sin death entered the world’ (Rom. 5:12); and Solomon says that “it was by the devil’s envy that death entered the world” (Wisdom 2:24)?  So, according to this Canon, God created man not mortal by natural necessity, but by nature immortal.” [322] Ibid., p. 674. If man is not naturally mortal, as he was originally created, then he surely is not part of a natural process that necessitates mortality, such as evolution.

Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Gregory the Theologian commenting on man as a combination of the spiritual and physical worlds: “king of all upon the earth, but subject to the King above; earthly and heavenly; temporal and yet immortal,” [323] Oration 45: Second Oration on Pascha 7, NPNF 2 vol. 7, p. 425, as found in GCEM, p. 198. and St. Symeon, commenting on the paradisaical state of the entire creation, states: “Adam was made with a body that was incorrupt, although material and not yet spiritual, and was placed by the Creator God as an immortal king over an incorrupt world.” [324] Homily 45.4, as found in GCEM, p. 209. Writing on the material and spiritual aspects of Paradise, St. John Damascene writes that Adam and Eve were wrapped about with grace and engaged in Divine contemplation which “communicates a life uninterrupted by death to them that partake of it.” [325] On the Orthodox Faith 2.11, FC 37, p. 232, as found in GCEM, p. 228. Speaking of the Fall of man, Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Ambrose commenting on God’s call to Adam “Where art thou?” in Gen. 3:9: “From what condition of goodness, beatitude, and grace, He means to say, have you fallen into this state of misery? You have forsaken eternal life. You have entombed yourself in the ways of sin and death.” [326] Paradise 14, FC 42, p. 348, as found in GCEM, p. 263.

Fr. Seraphim also provides many quotes from St. John Chrysostom. He writes: “What means ‘for the creation was made subject to futility [Rom. 8:20]’? It became corruptible. What, and by what cause? By your fault, O man. Because you received a body mortal and subject to sufferings,” and “What armed death against the whole universe? The fact that only one man tasted of the tree.” [327] Homilies on Romans 14.5, Tvoreniya 9, p. 665, as found in GCEM, pp. 271-272; Ibid. 10.2, p. 595, as found in GCEM, p. 272. St. Macarius the Great states: “through [Adam] death came to reign over every soul” [cf. Rom. 5:12]. [328] Fifty Spiritual Homilies 11.5, in Dukhovniya besedy, poslaniye I slova, p. 86, as found in GCEM, p. 272. And to Dr. Kalomiros, Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Gregory the Sinaite: “The body, theologians say, was created incorruptible, which is how it will arise, just as the soul was created passionless; but just as the soul had the freedom to sin, so the body had the possibility to become subject to corruption” (emphasis is Fr. Seraphim’s). [329] On Commandments and Doctrines 82, Dobrotolyubiye 5, 2nd ed. (1900), p. 195 [Philokalia vol. 4, p. 228], as found in GCEM, pp. 486-487. Many other Fathers whom Fr. Seraphim did not quote also attest to man’s original immortality, including St. Cyril, the Archbishop of Jerusalem (315-386) and great catechist, who draws a connection between Eve and the Theotokos: “Death came through a virgin, Eve. It was necessary that life also should come through a virgin, so that, as the serpent deceived the former, so Gabriel might bring glad tidings to the latter.” And St. Gregory Palamas, drawing upon thirteen centuries of Church teaching and emphasizing the connection between the corruption of the soul and of the body, writes:

We should inquire and learn about the origin of physical death. God, Who is Life-itself, fullness of life, and the Cause of all life in time and eternity, and indeed of the pre-eternal and Godlike life, neither gave us bodily death, nor created, nor commanded it to exist … Because our ancestors agreed with Satan against the Creator’s will and stripped off the garments of life and heavenly radiance, they became, sad to say, spiritually dead like Satan. Satan is not just a dead spirit, but brings death upon all who draw near to him. Both of those who shared in his state of death [i.e., Adam and Eve] had bodies through which the deadening counsel which they had put into practice finished its work. Once their spirits had died and become sources of death they passed on their deadness to their bodies. [330] Homily 13.12-13, pp. 247-248, as found in “Created in Incorruption” in GCEM, pp. 741-742.

That man is naturally immortal is a foundational teaching of the Orthodox Church as witnessed to by a great many Church Fathers. [331] Again, see the many Patristic and modern quotes are gathered at this author’s Old Believing blog at the post “the entire creation was created incorrupt.”

That man is not meant to die physically is also confirmed by the Incarnation of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, and His resurrection in the flesh whereby the power of death was shattered and which is the guarantee of our eternal physical life. The ascetic ethos of the Church, which calls us to a mindfulness of death, is built upon the foundational belief that death is our enemy (1 Cor. 15:26), not intended by our good God Who is Life. [332] See Archimandrite Zacharias, The Hidden Man of the Heart, p. 20. Fr. Zacharias of Essex teaches that the prophetic word of God opens man to the reality that all that is within us which resists Christ is because of the presence of death in us, [333] Enlargement of the Heart, p. 168. which corresponds to St. Paul’s word that it is the fear of death that keeps man in bondage all his life (Heb. 2:15). Christ our Creator, Who desires the salvation of all, did not endow us with that which would necessarily lead us away from Him. Furthermore, the Fathers teach that God providentially allowed death to enter creation following our sin, as a mercy. Fr. Seraphim writes that God gives us death that we might not live immortally in a state of sin, and that “death puts an end to sin.” [334]GCEM, p. 273. Fr. Damascene quotes this teaching from St. Ephraim the Syrian, Commentary on Genesis 2.34.1, FC 91, p. 122, on GCEM, p. 276n; and in “Created in Incorruption,” pp. 743-74θ he … Continue reading Thus the notion of death existing before sin is theologically absurd. Despite the clear and consistent teaching of the Church concerning the entrance of death into the world, evolutionists, who are forced by their position to believe that all life is physically mortal, for that is the only condition that science can experience, take up the Pelagian position against that of the Church.

In response to Dr. Alexander Kalomiros, Fr. Seraphim focuses on an important question: were these qualities (of knowing no difficulties, sicknesses, ailments, sexual passion, corruption, death, and so on) originally part of man’s nature itself, or was man’s original nature akin to how we know him now in his fallen state, but sustained by a grace added to his nature? That is, at the Fall, did man’s nature change, or did it revert to its natural state by a loss of grace? Taking up the position which logically results from evolutionary belief, Dr. Kalomiros had written: “Man is not naturally the image of God. Naturally he is an animal, an evolved beast, dust from the ground. He is the image of God supernaturally,” and “God’s breath of life transformed the animal to man without changing a single anatomical feature of his body … I would not be surprised if Adam’s body had been in all aspects the body of an ape.” [335] As found in GCEM p. 472. However, as Fr. Seraphim maintains, based on his reading of Patristic sources, the Orthodox Church proclaims that man’s pre-fallen existence is in fact the natural state of man – according to nature (kata physin). In the Fall he did not return to his natural state, but rather fell below, against, or contrary to his nature (para physin). Emphasizing that human nature is a single whole which cannot be divided into separate entities created at various times, he writes:

What belongs to first-created Adam by nature and what by grace? Let us not make false rationalistic distinctions, but let us admit that we do not fully understand this mystery. Nature and grace both come from God. The nature of first-created Adam was so exalted that we can only faintly understand it now by our own experience of grace, which has been given to us by the Second Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ … What is absolutely clear, and what is sufficient for us to know, is that the creation of man – of his spirit and soul and body, in the Divine grace which perfected his nature – is a single act of creation, and it cannot be artificially divided up, as though one part of it came “first,” and another part “later.” God created man in grace, but neither the Holy Scripture nor the Holy Father teach us that this grace came later in time than the creation of man’s nature. [336]GCEM, p. 482. What Fr. Seraphim writes here broadly corresponds to St. Maximus’ understanding of “natural contemplation,” mentioned earlier – that the spiritually illumined man discerns the … Continue reading

In his famous essay Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, Vladimir Lossky (1903-1958), a traditional theologian amongst the Parisian émigrés, also makes this essential point, that to speak of man’s nature apart from grace is not orthodox – that there is no orthodox concept of “pure nature,” for the very action of creation necessarily implies grace – “Nature and grace do not exist side by side, rather there is a mutual interpenetration of one another, the one exists in the other.” [337] Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, p. 101, 126, as found in GCEM, p. 482n. Thus man’s original state, which surely was one suffused with grace, is his natural state.

It is true that some Fathers, such as St. Athanasius the Great, spoke of man as “naturally” mortal and “corrupt” – that is, subject to change, as he is a composite being and was brought into existence out of nothing – which is the greatest change. [338] Against the Heathen 41, On the Incarnation of the Word 3-5. On the surface this seems to contradict so many other Fathers, but as the Saints speak from the same Holy Spirit, there is a deeper, inner harmony which Fr. Seraphim always sought. [339]See Fr. Damascene’s treatment of the “Orthodox evolutionist” use of St. Athanasius in the footnote on GCEM, pp. 494-495, as well as his discussion of man’s original nature in his “Created … Continue reading In this context “nature” is used in a strict sense, meaning only the created components of man – body and soul – irrespective of his mode of living. The great Alexandrian Archbishop writes that as the nature of created things is brought into being out of nothing it is weak and mortal and will return to nothing, “if composed of itself only” (emphasis added). However, as we have seen, nature and grace are not so easily divided, and so he continues that God Who possesses existence within Himself by His very nature, desiring the continued existence of creation created and orders all by His Word Who “derives true existence from the Father.” By partaking of the Word, creation is given “substantive existence” and is “enabled to abide always securely.” [340] Against the Heathen 41, NPNF 2 vol. 4, p. 26. Additionally, in his On the Incarnation St. Athanasius gives a full and clear exposition of his teaching on the matter: “God has made man, and willed that he should abide in incorruption” – thus broadening the view of his nature to include mode of existence. Demonstrating that death is not found inherently in creation, he continues: “but men, having despised and rejected the contemplation of God, and devised and contrived evil for themselves … received the condemnation of death with which they had been threatened; and from thenceforth no longer remained as they were made” (emphasis added). [341] On the Incarnation of the Word 4, 5, NPNF 2 vol. 4, p. 38. St. Athanasius expounded this theology in the face of the threat of Arius who taught that the Son and Word of God is also a creature. Thus he drew a sharp distinction between the inherently immutable and incorrupt existence of God, and the mutable and corruptible flux of the cosmos which had existence and order superimposed on it by the Word of God Who possessed Life within Himself by His very nature, as He is the exact image of the Father. [342] Against the Heathen 41. See also Fr. Georges Florovsky’s article “The Concept of Creation in St. Athanasius.”

St. Maximus the Confessor also speaks of man’s nature in this way. In his Ambiguum 7 he states that the body of man is naturally mortal, but it is so “because of how it came to be,” [343] As found in On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, p. 73. that is, out of nothing. However, elsewhere he considers man’s mode of existence as naturally a vessel of grace sustained by God: “Man came into being adorned with the God-given beauty of incorruptibility and immortality,” but having turned his desire towards sensible things he reaped the capacity to undergo change, the tendency towards the passions, and ultimately corruption and death, [344] Ambiguum 8, as found in Ibid., p. 76. thus demonstrating the harmony between the two understandings of “nature.” Speaking of God as alone impassible, he defines two meanings of “passibility”: “the passibility spoken of in this connection does not refer to change or corruption of one’s power; passibility here indicates that which exists by nature in beings. For everything that comes into existence is subject to movement, since it is not self-moved or self-powered.” [345] Ambiguum 7, as found in Ibid., p. 50. As St. Athanasius had done, St. Maximus is in fact distinguishing between two meanings of “corruption” – the change which is inherent in being called into existence out of nothing (although we are sustained in existence by the Logos), and that which leads to decay and decomposition and is the result of the misuse of Adam’s will – his spiritual death which led to physical death, which we inherit.

As all Orthodox theology is seamlessly connected, pointing us to the Person of Christ, so this distinction in “corruptions” is of Christological significance. St. John Damascene writes that the Incarnate Christ was subjected to the corruption of the blameless passions – those passions which are not preceded by an act of will but are inherited by birth – such as hunger, thirst, weariness, shrinking from death, the agony with the bloody sweat, physical death, and so on. But it is important to note that He voluntarily accepted such corruption in order to be like us in all ways except sin and to sanctify all. His assumption of our blameless passions was voluntary, for by virtue of His virgin birth – He alone was not “conceived in iniquities” – He was wholly free from corruption, and thus He can say: “I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself” (John 10:17-18). But our Lord, being the Hypostasis of the Word of God, of course never experienced the blameworthy passions that arise from a misuse of the will, for His natural human and Divine wills were always in perfect harmony. St. John also writes that He did not experience the second corruption which leads to the “complete resolution of the body into its constituent elements, and its utter disappearance,” also known as “destruction.” [346] Exact Exposition 3.20, 28, NPNF 2 vol. 9, pp. 68-69, 72. As St. Gregory Palamas writes, this is manifested in Christ’s earthly life in that He matured but “completely dispel[led] the process of growing old,” which Adam experienced only after sinning. [347] Homily 16.5: “On Holy and Great Saturday,” p. 117. See also especially notes Dr. Christopher Veniamin’s notes 208 and 209 on pp. 559-560.

It must be noted that other Fathers, such as St. Theophilus of Antioch, wrote of man being created neither naturally mortal, for this would lay the blame for death at God’s door, nor naturally immortal, for this would make man equal to God. [348] To Autolycus 2.24,27. The same argument is later presented by St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite. See p. 101 above. In this sense he is viewing man from the point of view of his free will – and it remained to be seen which way Adam would incline. However, he also teaches that it was man’s disobedience that brought death. The Venerable Bede writes similarly. At first he declares Adam to have been originally immortal: “Adam was certainly created immortal,” but he qualifies this statement: “in the sense that he could not die if he did not sin; but if he sinned he would die,” and he concludes: “Therefore the flesh of the first human beings was created immortal and incorruptible so that they might preserve that same immortality and incorruptibility of theirs by keeping the commands of God.” [349] On Genesis, p. 95. Bede also examines Adam from the point of view of his free will, but prefers to speak of him as initially immortal. Thus, whether the Fathers spoke of man as naturally immortal, mortal, or in-between, they are all describing the same reality – that man was created out of nothing but naturally abiding in grace, and death is a direct result of sin – not a part of man’s original existence, as God intended him to live.

Thus, man’s original, immortal condition is his natural state. To this effect Fr. Seraphim quotes Abba Dorotheos, who he says provides us with the most concise exposition of human nature in his Spiritual Instructions: “In the beginning, when God created man, He placed him in Paradise and adorned him with every virtue [350]Dr. Christopher Veniamin, commenting on Homily Forty-Six of St. Gregory Palamas, writes that “the natural state (kata physin), in which Adam was created [was], although not yet perfect (not yet … Continue reading… And thus he remained there in the enjoyment of Paradise: in prayer, in vision, in every glory and honor, having sound senses and being in the same natural condition in which he was created.” St. Dorotheos goes on to say that when man fell he “fell into a condition against [contrary to] nature,” and that the salvific work of Christ “renewed the natural condition” (emphasis in Fr. Seraphim). [351] Teachings Profitable for the Soul 1, in Dushepoleznya poucheniya, pp. 19-20, 22, 28, as found in GCEM, pp. 472-473. Fr. Seraphim quotes Abba Isaiah the Solitary (4th C.) teaching the same: “In the beginning, when God created man, He placed him in Paradise, and he had then sound senses, which stood in their natural order; but when he obeyed the one who deceived him, all his senses were changed into an unnatural state, and he was then cast out from his glory” (emphasis in Fr. Seraphim). [352]St. Abba Isaiah the Solitary, Homilies to the Disciples 2.1, “On the Natural Law,” Dobrotolyubiye 1, 2nd ed. (1883), p. 293 [trans. John Chryssavgis and Pachomius (Robert) Penkett, p. 43], as … Continue reading

As a faithful monastic, Fr. Seraphim knew well the hymnography of the Church, which he often turned to as a witness to Church doctrine. Further supporting the teaching that the loss of grace at the Fall corrupted human nature itself, he quotes from the Menaion “Healing human nature, which had become corrupted by the ancient transgression, without corruption a child is born anew” (emphasis in Fr. Seraphim). [353]Dec. 22, Matins, Theotokion of the Sixth Canticle of the Canon, as found in GCEM, p. 474. On the same page he also quotes from the Menaion for Jan. 23, Matins, Theotokion of the Fifth Canticle of the … Continue reading Elsewhere, commenting on Gen. 3:21, and following St. Gregory of Nyssa, Fr. Seraphim notes that the putting on of the “coats of skins,” in addition to its literal meaning, figuratively indicates that Adam and Eve took on a different, more fleshly mode of flesh – “that is, their nature was changed.” [354]GCEM, p. 275. In the footnote on pp. 275-6, Fr. Damascene references many Fathers who interpret the “coats of skin” literally, and figuratively as representing man’s newfound corruptibility and … Continue reading St. Gregory Palamas applies the “coats of skin” both physically and spiritually as “our infirm mortal bodies beset with pain,” and “the earthy and carnal ways of thinking.” [355] Homily 31.1, in The Homilies p. 242; Homily 35.18: On the Transfiguration II, p. 281. Another modern elder, Archimandrite Ephraim of Vatopaidi, notes the same: “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.” [356]Creation and the End of Ages, at the blog Mystagogy. It is said that the previous abbot of Vatopaidi, the Elder Joseph (1921-2009), a spiritual child of the great Elder Joseph the Hesychast … Continue reading Thus, Fr. Artemy Vladimirov (1961- ), a well-respected modern missionary priest in Moscow, can state without hesitation despite the rise of Darwinism: “Our natural state [in fallenness] is not natural, it is subnatural.” [357] Bright Faith: Father Artemy Vladimirov Talks with Western Orthodox Christians p. 70.

Many other great and holy Fathers of the Church whom Fr. Seraphim did not quote in this context also teach the same. Speaking in the context of the fallenness of animals which resulted from man’s sin, St. Theophilus of Antioch writes: “When, therefore, man again shall have made his way back to his natural condition, and no longer does evil, [the animals] also shall be restored to their original gentleness.” [358] To Autolycus 2.17. The wise St. Maximus the Confessor writes that God did not create man with the capacity for either sensible pleasure or pain, but rather for noetic pleasure. But in turning his mind towards objects of sense [i.e., the Tree of Knowledge] he “began to experience pleasure in a way which is contrary to nature,” and this contrary pleasure leads to death: “Whereupon God in His providential care for our salvation implanted pain in us as a kind of chastising force; and so through pain the law of death was wisely rooted in the body.” [359]Various Texts on Theology, the Divine Economy, and Virtue and Vice: Fourth Century, 33, as found in Philokalia vol. 2, p. 243. St. Maximus speaks of that which is “according to nature” and that … Continue reading Speaking of the soul, St. John Damascene writes that it is a: “living essence, simple, incorporeal, invisible in its proper nature to bodily eyes, immortal, reasoning and intelligent, formless,” and so on. Demonstrating the inherent link between nature and grace, he continues: “All these qualities according to nature it has received of the grace of the Creator, of which grace it has received both its being and this particular kind of nature.” [360] Exact Exposition 2.12, NPNF 2 vol. 9, p. 31b. That which is given by grace is possessed by nature. St. Theodoros the Great Ascetic (d. 848), the bishop of Edessa, writes: “sin entered us through our negligence and introduced into us what is contrary to nature,” [361]A Century of Spiritual Texts 1, as found in Philokalia vol. 2, p. 14. Many works in The Philokalia, including those of St. Makarios of Egypt, St. Isaiah the Solitary, St. Mark the Ascetic (b. 5th … Continue reading and St. Gregory Palamas, in his Homily 16: On Holy and Great Saturday, says that upon sinning Adam “grew old and fell into what is contrary to nature.” [362] Homilies, p. 117, §5. A great luminary of the 20th century, St. Nikolai Velimirović, expressing poetically the Patristic tradition, writes strongly: “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,” and responding to the prevailing beliefs of the times, he continues: “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.” [363]Selected Writings, as found in the Orthodox ‘zine Death to the World 18, p. 15. That the incorrupt state of creation before the Fall is according to nature and that the condition of fallen man, and … Continue reading

Fr. Zacharias, the spiritual grandchild of St. Silouan, concurs. Referring to the teaching of the Wisdom of Solomon 2:23 that God intended creation to live eternally in immortality, he writes: “man’s mortality is therefore a phenomenon that runs counter to his nature in that it opposes that for which he has been designed.” He continues: “This is precisely why the human soul is restless: if life leads only to death,” as is logically the case if the materialistic theory of evolution is true, “then nothing can ever be meaningful.” [364] Fr. Zacharias, Hidden Man of the Heart, p. 20. See also his Enlargement of the Heart, p. 27. Fr. Seraphim had expressed the same firm conviction in an early essay, “The Philosophy of the Absurd:” “Nothing in the world — not love, not goodness, not sanctity — is of any value, or indeed even has any meaning, if man does not survive death.” [365] This essay is appended to his Nihilism (2009), p. 110.

The life in the Church is one of repentance, which Fr. Seraphim himself strictly undertook in his desire to turn from his sins and grow in the likeness of Christ. Thus, he was keenly aware of that which could endanger this redemptive work, and he saw that a proper understanding of Adam’s pre-fallen nature is a necessary foundation for the ascetic life, which is the call of every Orthodox Christian. He writes:

The awareness that Adam’s state in Paradise was the natural human condition, and the one to which we may hope to return by God’s grace, is one of the greatest spurs to ascetic struggle. This awareness is thus of the most practical benefit to Orthodox Christians who hope to inherit God’s Kingdom. With the fall of man, Paradise ceased to be a reality of this earth and was placed out of our reach; but through the grace of God made available to Christians through the Second Adam, Christ, we may still hope to attain it. [366] GCEM, p. 252. He expresses the same idea in his introduction to St. Symeon’s, The First-Created Man (2001), p. 15.

In fact, many Saints have spoken of the redemption of the cosmos as a restoration to the condition before the Fall of man. [367]St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 5.32.1; St. Macarius the Great, On the Freedom of the Nous 150, in Philokalia vol. 3, p. 353; St. Basil the Great, On the Origin of Man 2.6-7; St. Gregory of … Continue reading If evolution is true, and corruption and death have always been a part of the created order, then a restoration to this state becomes meaningless, because we are still in that same state now. Fr. Seraphim continues: “Actually, through Christ we are able not only to gain back the state of Adam before the fall, but to attain a state even higher than that: the state which Adam would have attained had he not fallen.” [368] GCEM, p. 252. Although Adam, in his state according to nature (kata physin) was incorrupt and possessed every virtue, he was called to attain a state yet higher, growing ever more in the likeness of Christ, to a state in fact above nature (hyper physin), which Christ offers to us through His Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension.

Fr. Seraphim labored during the last nine years of his life to discern, both prayerfully and academically, the Orthodox Patristic teaching on the Creation and Fall of the world, and how this interacts with modern theories of evolution. During this time he compiled a great breadth of sources and knowledge, and so his posthumous work, Genesis, Creation, and Early Man addresses many more issues than can be dealt with here. The topics that have been discussed here are dealt with in greater depth and with greater clarity by Fr. Seraphim, and many other topics are covered as well, such as the condition of life outside of Paradise for Adam and Eve and their children, who was Cain’s wife, and notably Noah’s Flood, which is typically seen as a local flood by modern scientists. Following the Fathers, Fr. Seraphim teaches that the Flood was in fact a “cosmic catastrophe” covering the whole earth, and that if it was not a universal flood and indeed left survivors behind then the whole account is meaningless for “the whole point here is the totally new beginning of mankind that occurs with it.” [369]See especially GCEM, pp. 333-33κ, including Fr. Damascene’s footnote on p. 33ι in which he refers to the teaching of St. Theophilus of Antioch, St. Justin Martyr, St. Irenaeus, St. Gregory the … Continue reading His Patristic commentary also covers the dispersion of the peoples following the Tower of Babel. In other sections he also briefly addresses evolution from a scientific standpoint, evolution as a chiliastic philosophy, the writings of various “Christian evolutionists,” and so on, and although these topics are only briefly mentioned in this work, Fr. Seraphim’s work on these topics is highly recommended. [370]The 2011 edition of GCEM also includes several helpful appendices, some quoted from in this paper, including Fr. Damascene’s “Created in Incorruption,” “Modern Saints and Elders on … Continue reading

Chapter Eight: Modern Saints, Elders, and Theologians on Creation and Evolution
and Fr. Seraphim’s Pastoral Approach

Although Fr. Seraphim’s teaching on the question of Creationism and evolutionism is more voluminous and in-depth than others who have addressed this issue, certainly in modern times in the English language, it is also important to note that he is undoubtedly not alone in his understanding of Genesis. Among other contributors to the question who follow a similar, if not the same, line of thought are to be found many Saints, holy elders, and prominent clergymen of the 19th and 20th centuries, who have interpreted Genesis in a more literal manner, and have spoken explicitly against the theory of evolution. This is of paramount importance because the non-evolutionist approach to Genesis is often presented as an American phenomenon, influenced by a certain Protestant Fundamentalist mentality, [371]For instance, Dn. Andrei Kuraev’s aforementioned article “Can an Orthodox Become an Evolutionist?” begins by attributing the Russian movement against Darwinism to the influence of Protestant … Continue reading although it has in fact had a considerable and consistent Orthodox voice since the advent of Darwinism, wherefrom the only notable person from America and having any history in Protestantism is Fr. Seraphim himself. Fr. Seraphim’s views are in keeping with those of the modern Saints and elders who have spoken about evolution, even though in most cases there is no evidence that he was even aware of their words on the subject. [372]The only other modern voices that Fr. Seraphim refers to are those of St. Nektarios of Pentapolis (pp. 495, 497, 618) and Fr. George Calciu (p. 107). He specifically mentions that he had seen neither … Continue reading It is interesting, then, that Fr. Seraphim, following Patristic interpretation of Genesis, finds himself in line with the great representatives of Orthodox interpretation in our modern age.

Several notable Saints and revered elders refer to the traditional age of the earth as established by the Byzantine Creation Era Calendar, rather than the evolutionary age of billions of years. St. John of Kronstadt writes that “During already 7403 years [God] abundantly feeds all creatures;” Elder Cleopa writes that from the first Adam to the Second Adam was a span of 5508 years (the Byzantine Creation Era Calendar fixed the creation of the world at 5508 BC); Elder Joseph the Hesychast says several times that we are in the eighth millennium of history; the well- known Greek elder and spiritual son of St. Nektarios of Pentapolis, Archimandrite Philotheos Zervakos (1884-1980), states that demons have battled men for 7500 years; and Archimandrite Naum of Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra writes that God created the world in the spring of 5508 BC. [373]See pp. 37-38 and n. 108 above. St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ, p. 509; Elder Cleopa, Elder Cleopa of Sihastria, p. 154; Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Monastic Wisdom, pp. 50, 241, 363; Fr. … Continue reading Many Saints, elders, and clergymen have also plainly stated that evolution is in contradiction to the Scriptural revelation possessed and known within the Church. It is important to note that these holy men are not speaking only of atheistic evolution, but in their zeal for the Church they are commenting precisely on how evolution engages with theology, and what it has to say about man and about God and His Christ. For instance, Fr. George Calciu speaks on the acceptance of the theory of evolution by the Pope, stating that he seeks to make the Church stronger by leaning towards the world but he forgets the spiritual life, and surely Fr. George understands that the Pope is not an atheist. [374] Christ is Calling You!, pp. 152, 154-155. Several Russian Saints were even willing to endure persecution, exile, and execution under the Soviet regime for speaking against evolution. Accused by Soviets of ignoring science (as often happens to Creationists), Hiero-confessor St. Gabriel Igoshkin (1888-1959) replied: “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.” [375] Lives of the 20th Century Russian New Martyrs and Confessors of the Moscow Diocese: Sept-Oct (2003) (by Met. Juvenaly of Krutitsa and Kolomena),as found in GCEM, p. 804. Likewise, the Hieromartyr St. Varlaam (Nikol’sky) (1872-1937), in the interrogation that led to his execution, confessed that man comes from God rather than apes, Hieromartyr St. Nicholas Pokrovsky (1895-1937) confessed the same, and the Hieromartyr St. Paul Andreyev (1880-1937) exclaimed that the Darwinian origin of man “is a blasphemy and a lie.” [376] GCEM, pp. 802-804.

As aforementioned, the medical doctor St. Luke of Simferopol states that the Darwinian hypothesis is contradictory to the Bible and even nature itself. [377] See p. 59 and n. 194 above. While American evolutionists fight vigorously to keep “Creationism” and even Intelligent Design out of the classroom, Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow (1929-2ίίκ) puts forth the exact opposite sentiment: “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.” [378] Fr. Constantine Bufeyev, Editor’s preface to Pravoslavnoye osmysleniye tvoreniya mira I sovremennaya nauka, vol. 4 (2008), p. 3, as found in GCEM, p. 70. And Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokalamsk (1966- ) states plainly: “Darwin’s theory contradicts Biblical revelation.” While Darwinism pictures man as gradually developing from an animal state, “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.” [379] Met. Hilarion Alfeyev, interview by Dmitry Didrov and Dmitry Gubin, Temporarily Open, ATV, May 1, 2009 [in Russian], as found in GCEM, pp. 70-71n.

Those who stand against evolutionism, Fr. Seraphim in particular, are often heavily criticized and ridiculed for their views. For instance, retired Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo), who as a deacon was defrocked by ROCOR in 1980, but was subsequently elevated up the ranks to archbishop by four separate schismatic jurisdictions, [380] See “Lazar (Puhalo) of Ottawa” online at OrthodoxWiki. who believes that science provides definitive and indisputable conclusions, believes Creationism to be so absurd as to require no serious response, and ridicules its adherents as holding to a mythology equivalent to “dancing with unicorns.” [381]“Dancing with Unicorns: Creationism,” on YouTube. On his uncritical acceptance of “science,” see also his video “Reality of Transgender 1/1” on YouTube, in which he argues the dualistic … Continue reading However, Fr. Seraphim, who was very concerned about the political party- mindset of the pro-evolution faction within ROCOR which was centered around Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston, [382] See p. 13 and n. 27 above. writes and speaks with much more restraint and pastoral love. To his spiritual child Alexey Young he wrote: “What we must keep in mind and get across, I think, is not really evolution as a heresy or wrong idea, on the same level with other ideas, and therefore go out fighting with the ordinary weapons of polemics.” He recognizes that most theistic evolutionists are not consciously distorting the faith: “Evolution is not that kind of idea – but rather a kind of deep-seated primordial force which seems to capture people quite apart from their conscious attitudes and reasoning.” While taking a firm stand against evolution, he also recognized that it originated from outside the church. To Dr. Kalomiros he wrote: “The sophisticated, worldly-wise laugh at those who call evolution a ‘heresy.’ True, evolution is not strictly speaking a heresy; neither is Hinduism, strictly speaking, a heresy.” [383] GCEM, pp. 613, 497.

Although Fr. Seraphim is sometimes maligned amongst American Orthodox for his views and sometimes presented as an over-zealous fanatic, he was in fact always concerned first and foremost with approaching all people with a loving and forgiving heart and bringing them to the fullness of truth, rather than driving them away. Mary Mansur, who worked at St. Herman’s Monastery together with the aforementioned Solomonia Nelson, has said of Fr. Seraphim: “It was the heart that should be developed. A loving heart to him was more important than anything else. A loving Christian heart – if you could have that then you could go on from there. But so many, he saw in the modern world, do not have that.” [384] Mary’s words are from a series of reminiscences shared at St. Herman’s Monastery on Sept. 2, 2012, at the pilgrimage in honor of the 30th anniversary of Fr. Seraphim’s repose. Fr. Seraphim’s spiritual child, Hieroschemamonk Ambrose (formerly Fr. Alexey Young), has said that Fr. Seraphim taught him that what American Orthodoxy needs is not so much people with academic degrees, although degrees are not bad, but rather “what he said is needed is a suffering heart and a sensitive heart.” [385] Interview with Fr. Ambrose, May 6, 2012. In his “Living the Orthodox Worldview,” a talk given not long before his repose, he warned against a “hardness that has crept into orthodox life today” wherein people are often heard saying “that man is a heretic; don’t go near him;” “that one is Orthodox, supposedly, but you can’t really be sure.” [386] The Orthodox Word, vol. 18, no. 4 (105), July-August 1982, pp. 160-176. Available online from the Orthodox Christian Information Center. An example of this “hardness” can be found in En Arche: Evolution, Genesis and the Church Fathers by Fr. Michael Azkoul: “I suspect that evolutionists have no interest in or acquaintance with the faith of our Church Fathers. There would seem to be no reason to read them inasmuch as they are thought to be theologians with a fatal attraction to the supernatural – and Greek philosophy. Nevertheless, they offer a treatment of Genesis – the “six days” or periods of creation (hexaemeron) of which Darwinists are disdainful.” [387]En Arche, p. xii. Fr. Michael Azkoul has also aimed such comments at Fr. Seraphim in his work The Toll-House Myth: The Neo- Gnosticism of Fr Seraphim Rose. He began as a priest in the Antiochian … Continue reading

Fr. Seraphim’s pastoral approach may be seen, for example, in his exchanges with and his attitude towards Dr. Kalomiros. Although he is in agreement with Fr. Michael Azkoul that Orthodoxy and evolution are incompatible, he would never have so boldly claimed that evolutionists have no interest in, and have disdain for the holy Fathers. In fact, he began his correspondence with Dr. Kalomiros precisely because he respected him as a man who loves the Fathers. [388] See the opening of his reply to Dr. Kalomiros as found in GCEM, p. 419. Although he fundamentally disagreed with him on the issue of evolution, he also possessed the pastoral sensitivity and discernment to not therefore dismiss the man and all his works. He appreciated Dr. Kalomiros’ Against False Union and he also quoted him approvingly in his Orthodox Survival Course talks, [389] GCEM, p. 44; Orthodox Survival Course, unpublished manuscript, pp. 50-51. and to a certain “Fr. I” he wrote that in corresponding with Dr. Kalomiros he would simply address his misinterpretation of Patristic sources while holding back his general impressions – that he was scientifically, philosophically, and theologically unprepared to discuss the issue in any meaningful depth – so as not to personally offend him. [390] GCEM, p. 639. Fr. Seraphim also had great respect for I. M. Andreyev, professor at Holy Trinity Seminary, whose 1955 work Orthodox Apologetic Theology, printed by the St. Herman’s Brotherhood in 1995, contains the teaching that the days of Creation were indefinitely long periods, and that the Church’s reckoning of years from the creation of the world actually means just the years of the history of mankind. [391]Orthodox Apologetic Theology, pp. 124, 126-127. See Fr. Damascene’s note about this teaching of Andreyev on p. 112 of GCEM. Despite this error, Andreyev was no evolutionist, as is evidenced from … Continue reading The Brotherhood had previously printed Andreyev’s Russia’s Catacomb Saints: live of the New Martyrs in 1982, for which  Fr. Seraphim wrote a short biography of Andreyev (which was also printed in Orthodox Apologetic Theology), entitled “True Orthodox Convert from the Russian Intelligentsia.”

Although Fr. Seraphim takes an unwavering stance against evolution, and he does not shy away from speaking about the many problems of the theory, he in fact speaks much more mildly than do many other modern Saints and elders who have spoken on the issue. Many other great modern Saints and elders have also spoken quite vigorously against the theory of evolution, often less reservedly than did Fr. Seraphim. The great St. Nektarios of Pentapolis says that evolution is a degrading theory which makes man equal to the animals, and which by denying his unique and spiritual origin undercuts the moral foundation of society. He sees the imagined biological transformations of evolution as no less marvelous than those read of in mythology. [392]Sketch Concerning Man, pp. 87-88, as found in Constantine Cavarnos’ Biological Evolutionism, pp. 28-29; Melete peri tes Athanasias tes Pysches (Study Concerning the Immortality of the Soul and … Continue reading St. Ambrose of Optina (1812-1891) says that the idea that man came from apes is “nonsense,” and as we have seen, St. Barsanuphius of Optina calls evolution “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.” [393]St. Ambrose of Optina, Sovety suprugam I roditelyam (Counsels to spouses and parents), as found in GCEM, p. 787; St. Barsanuphius of Optina, Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, p. 488. St. Barsanuphius’ … Continue reading St. John of Kronstadt preached that it is over-educated men who accept the “insane ravings” of the impersonal origin taught by evolutionists, and that such men deify themselves and live as if God did not exist. [394] St. John of Kronstadt, Novyye groznye slova (New stern sermons), p. 91, as found in GCEM, p. 795. Also recognizing that such men have deified themselves, St. Nikolai of Žiča argues that Europe has traded in the Gospel for science, and “in shamelessly calling monkeys their ancestors,” and “in the drowning of anthropology in zoology,” they have given themselves over to shameful pleasures. [395] Through the Prison Window, pp. 43-44, 91-92, as found in St. Justin Popovich, The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism, pp. 163, 172. St. Justin Popovich writes that men who have lost love look for their origins among animals, and that it is Satan who deceives them through modern science, causing them to move away from God. In denying man’s creation at the hands of God and by making sin, evil, and death natural, evolution in fact destroys any need for Christ and His Church. [396]Commentary on 1 John, as found online at Classical Christianity as “On Love, Hate and the Origin of Man” Pravoslavna Crkva I Ekumenizam (The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism) (1974), pp. 37-38, p. … Continue reading As we have seen, Hieromartyr St. Paul Andreyev proclaimed evolution to be a blasphemy and a lie, and likewise Elder Paisios the Athonite says that Darwinism is nonsense that makes God appear weak, and the notion that Christ is descendant from a monkey is blatantly blasphemous. He also speaks of how Darwinism was used to try to brainwash him and drive him away from Christ, which caused him great grief as a young man. [397] With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man, pp. 327-329; Spiritual Awakening, pp. 65, 294-296. Elder Paisios (Olaru) of Sihla and Sihastria (1897-1990) refers to Darwin as a “madman,” for man is the image and likeness of God, not originating from an ape. [398] Elder Paisius (Olaru) of Sihastria and Sihla, “Teachings of Elder Paisius,” Orthodox Word, no. 271 (2010), p. 121, as found in GCEM, p. 813. Elder Joseph the Hesychast once smelled a foul odor on an Orthodox theologian which through hearing his confession he realized was a result of the man’s belief in the Darwinian evolution of mankind. [399] An Athonite Gerontikon: Sayings of the Holy Fathers of Mount Athos, p. 329. Elder Sophrony says that the belief that all things, and especially man with his spiritual quest, arose over billions of years from an hydrogen atom is “absurd,” and St. Vladimir Bogoyavlensky (1848-1918), Metropolitan of Kiev and Gallich, Hieromartyr of the Bolshevik Yoke, says that evolution is an audacious philosophy which degrades and insults man. He warns sternly: “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.” [400]Videt’ Boga kak On est’ (To See God as He Is), p. 238, as found in GCEM, p. 814; St. Vladimir Bogoyavlensky, Gde istinoye shchas’ye: v vere ili neverii? (Where is true happiness?  In faith or … Continue reading

Perhaps the most fervent Orthodox voice in this regard is that of St. Theophan the Recluse. He writes that science in our fallen state leads us away from God and towards mythological idolatry, and thus he calls for the demolition and abolition of the theory of evolution. In the quest for amoral naturalism man has turned from God and invented an origin that is even more childish than Greek mythology. Speaking of Darwin’s theory of origins and the descent of man, he writes that is a “drunken delirium” and elsewhere: “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.’” And perhaps most strongly, he writes that “nihilists of both sexes, naturalists, Darwinists, Spiritists, and Westernizers” have crept into the Church, and had their teachings not already been anathematized long ago, then Darwin and his followers, among others, would be added to the anathemas in the Rite of Orthodoxy – “To Büchner, Feuerbach, Darwin, Renan, Kardec, and all their followers – anathema!” – which he argues should be celebrated everywhere in order to deter people from such false teachings. [401]Slova na Gospodskiye, Bogorodichnyye, i torzhestvennyye dni (Homilies on Feasts of the Lord and the Theotokos, and festal days), pp. 5, 196; Sobraniye pisem (Collected Letters), vol. 7, p. 145; Mysli … Continue reading Clearly, Fr. Seraphim is not alone in his concern over the theory of evolution and its implications for Orthodox theology. In following the Patristic interpretations of Genesis which he had learned from St. John Maximovitch’s theological courses and through his own study and prayer, Fr. Seraphim found himself in agreement with the greatest Saints and elders of our times in rejecting evolution.

Chapter Nine: By Way of Conclusion

Fr. Seraphim’s lectures on Genesis were among the last great achievements of his life. He presented his commentary on Genesis 1-3 at the “New Valaam Theological Academy” pilgrimage in the summer of 1981, and in 1982 he presented on Genesis 4-11. Within two weeks of the close of the pilgrimage he unexpectedly fell ill with a rare intestinal disorder and within another week he had reposed in the Lord, on August 20/September 2, 1982. As he suffered in the hospital his room was filled with visitors keeping prayerful vigil for him, and the ICU was flooded with calls from across the country inquiring about his health. On Mt. Athos monks were praying for his recovery. Despite the intense pain he must have been feeling as his intestines were dying, there was a feeling of peace about him. Once Fr. Herman read the Gospel to him before giving him Communion, and as he blessed him with it, in an action that well-describes his “all-or-nothing” life, “suddenly Fr. Seraphim, exerting every last bit of strength in his dying, convulsing frame, raised himself up to kiss that sublime Book that had given him life. As he fell back on the bed, his eyes were filled with tears.” [402] His Life and Works, p. 1024.

Suffering had been Fr. Seraphim’s constant companion throughout his life, and now the Lord had given him one final cross for his purification. One of his spiritual sons later observed: “To Fr. Seraphim, the modern obsession with comfort through technology was as dangerous to the soul as any heresy. It seemed to many of us who were present at his final illness and death that the demonic forces themselves were attempting to take revenge on him for his exposing the truth, by literally crucifying him with modern technology. He was stripped, connected to all manner of tubes and machines, and forced to endure a week of medical torture.” [403] Ibid., p. 1023. This was a fitting end for a man who had so voluntarily embraced suffering as a monastic and who had voluntarily crucified his sharp intellect and humbly accepted the unbroken Orthodox Tradition, and in accepting his fatal illness he made voluntary that which is involuntary and suffered for the sake of the Lord.

Fr. Anthony Kosturos, the priest whose article in the Orthodox Observer Fr. Seraphim had critiqued, also wrote in response to a reader: “How man was created and how man procreated initially is a mystery. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Our Church gives you the opportunity to ponder the subjects you mention and come up with your own speculation about them,” [404] “Questions and Answers,” Orthodox Observer, Feb. 20, 1974, as found in GCEM, p. 566. and this is what we have seen from Dr. Kalomiros, Dn. Andrei Kuraev, and Vladimir De Beer who theologize creatively but problematically. Fr. Seraphim, on the other hand, was never one to indulge private opinions and speculations, because, as Fr. Ambrose recalls: “he had no ambition. He had absolutely no ambition” and he continues that in him “I saw almost no ego … he wasn’t trying to be a teacher in the Church – wasn’t trying to be somebody.” [405] Interview with Fr. Ambrose, May 6, 2012.

Thus, as we have seen, Fr. Seraphim stuck closely to the Fathers and drew near to them in prayer. He followed the Patristic teaching that spiritual knowledge is superior to scientific knowledge and can be used to judge science, as well as St. Gregory Palamas’ warnings against combining Divine revelation and secular knowledge. As Vladimir Lossky writes, the Church may use science and philosophy for apologetic purposes but it has no stake in defending such “relative and changing truths” which give the Church no reason to change its abiding doctrinal truths or the narrative of Genesis itself. [406] Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, pp. 104-105. Whereas evolutionists cannot simply accept the Genesis text as the Fathers exhort us to do, but rather search for contradictions in the Scripture and Fathers, Fr. Seraphim always sought for the God-inspired harmony born out of Divine vision. He allowed the Fathers to shape his mind, rather than his mind to shape his opinion of the Fathers.

In his Triads St. Gregory Palamas writes of three kinds of theologians. The first and truest kind is those who know of the energies of the Spirit by experience, and the second is those who trust in those who have experience. The third category is those who have no experience of their own but also do not trust those who do have Divine experience. [407] The Triads, Paulist Press (1983), E.3.1.32, p. 87. They are not theologians at all. As Fr. Seraphim’s work on Genesis demonstrates, and as those who knew him personally attest, he is certainly at least of the second order of theologian. But it is also important to note that his beloved spiritual father, St. John Maximovitch, appeared to him several times after his own repose in 1966, including while Fr. Seraphim lay dying in the hospital, and in these heavenly visitations Fr. Seraphim was granted to behold the glory of God that is manifested in His Saints. [408] See His Life and Works, pp. 331, 356, 361, 980, 1020. Also, there is at least one account of Fr. Seraphim glowing with the Uncreated Light while serving before the holy altar, [409] Ibid., p. 981. and as we have seen, Fr. Damascene writes of Fr. Seraphim contemplating the beginning and end of all things and the Uncreated logoi of created beings. [410] See n. 52 above. And in his prayerful study of the Orthodox doctrine of Creation he drew especially close to St. Basil the Great whose Hexaemeron is the definitive text on the six days of Creation.

Through his extensive study of Patristic commentaries on Genesis and the nature of man and the cosmos, Fr. Seraphim distinguished several points of Orthodox doctrine that are incompatible with the theory of evolution, as we have seen. But there are two points that are especially noteworthy and must be highlighted. It is essential for any Orthodox Christian considering the Creation/evolution question to remember, as Fr. Seraphim teaches, following the Fathers, that the prelapsarian world is wholly inaccessible to both science and philosophy. As Fr. Romanides states, those disciplines can go back to the Fall itself but have no ability to break through to the other side into Paradise. The only means for man to have any knowledge of the paradisaical world is to experience it in Divine vision, as did the holy Prophet Moses, the holy Apostle St. Paul, St. Euphrosynos the Cook, St. Gregory the Sinaite, and so many others, and for man to draw near to Christ in repentance and to be purified, thus regaining the life that Adam and Eve knew in Paradise. While theistic evolutionists frame the question as one of science, which allows them to disagree with the Fathers whose scientific knowledge is not as advanced as that of modern man, Fr. Seraphim correctly reframed the issue as one of theology and Scriptural interpretation. As he stated, the interpretation of Scripture and the creative acts of God belongs to God-bearing theologians, and not to natural scientists who have access only to the fallen world, studied through the remains of corruption and death.

As Fr. Seraphim argues, the question of the origin of death and the original nature of man is precisely the main issue to be addressed in the Creation/evolution debate. He had once rejected any belief in God because his modern scientific mind had been trained to believe that science and evolution proved Him unnecessary, but this atheistic life, so closed in and focused on his own mind, led him into great suffering and despairing thoughts of suicide. But Fr. Seraphim came to know the Personal God and came to know Him as Life itself. Christ had granted him spiritual rebirth and also had preserved his physical life from a fatal malady in the 1960’s. Whereas the pre-Christian Eugene suffered for not knowing God and the meaning of his life, the servant of God Fr. Seraphim suffered voluntarily for Him by striving for the knowledge of God and His purpose for the creation and man, by applying himself to his monastic ascetic struggle, for he knew that suffering was precisely for the purpose of overcoming death, our great enemy which Christ had defeated through His Crucifixion and Resurrection. In Christ Fr. Seraphim had found abundant life and he knew that such a God is not the author of death, but rather that the existence of pain, suffering, corruption, and death in the world is due to man’s sin alone. Whereas man sought for sensual pleasure, God allowed the entrance of suffering and death to remind us of what we lost and to call us back to Him. But if God had created the earth through the process of evolution which necessarily includes death, then death would be a great good, for all that God created is good. And if death is good then for Christ to destroy death on the Cross would be meaningless, and even contradictory and antithetical to His own creation. In calling death “natural” and thus making God the author of death, the theory of evolution in fact blasphemes greatly against God. St. Justin Popovich also drew a connection between Old Testament and New Testament anthropology. [411] See p. 78 and n. 256 above. To change the understanding of Adam is necessarily to change the understanding of Christ. This is an aspect of Creation theology that ought to be investigated and developed more in further works.

In his monastic labors Fr. Seraphim dedicated nine years to prayerful study of the Orthodox doctrine of Genesis, which he had first learned in the theological studies put together by St. John Maximovitch. Fr. Seraphim had experienced the abyss of American intellectual life and so he labored to the point of self-sacrifice to help keep others from the precipice. In doing so he found himself in alignment with the greatest Fathers of past centuries and the great Saints and holy elders of our own times. Like them, he approached the spiritual life with a primary concern for cultivating a loving and forgiving heart, and a deep desire to avoid judgmentalism that leads to divisions within the Church. Noting that Dr. Kalomiros would be speaking on the creation of man and the world at a 1981 ROCOR conference, Fr. Seraphim expresses his concern not that evolution would be taught, but rather that Kalomiros’ presence “will only promote the spirit of ‘criticism; which is poisoning our Church so much.” [412] Letter to Bishop Gregory, Nov. 22/Dec. 5, 1980, as found in GCEM, p. 644. Also, when he heard that his correspondence with Dr. Kalomiros was to be published by a priest associated with Holy Transfiguration Monastery he wrote to that priest:

I am absolutely opposed to the publication of my correspondence with Dr. Kalomiros on this subject. I can only see it as an attempt to cause more disputes among Orthodox Christians and to sow discord among the small flock of Christ … My only concern is to avoid an unnecessary public ‘fight’ between members of one and the same Orthodox Church. [413] Letter of Fr. Seraphim to Fr. –, Sept. 3, 1981, as found in His Life and Works, p. 913 (the priest’s name is not given in the notes of His Life and Works).

And he in fact often spoke more mildly than did many others, although he also did not shy away from proclaiming the Orthodox truth to a culture that is antithetical to it.

In doing so, he has become an authority even within traditional Orthodox nations, and has inspired anti-evolution work within Orthodox nations. In 2000 the Orthodox Missionary Center Shestodnev (“Six Days”) was founded with the blessing of Patriarch Alexei II by Fr. Constantine Bufeyev, a priest in Moscow, doctor of geology and mineralogy, lecturer at the St. Nicholas- Ugresh Seminary, and a member of the International Academy of Science (Russian Section), after one of his parishioners received a failing grade on a paper in an Orthodox school for accepting the Patristic doctrine of Creation over the theory of evolution. Striving to make the Orthodox teaching more widely known he has said:

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. [414]Editor’s preface to Pravoslavnoye  osmysleniye tvoreniya mira I sovremennaya  nauka,  vol.  4 (2008), p. 5, as found in GCEM, p. 66. Fr. Damascene’s appendix “Created in Incorruption” is … Continue reading

Likewise, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada, and Australia has described Genesis, Creation, and Early Man as: “A presentation of the traditional, Patristic understanding of Genesis, which at the same time bravely exposes the lie of the modern philosophy of evolution. This is a vital, pathfinding work, which can serve as a true foundation for all sides in future discussions.” [415] GCEM, back cover.

Metropolitan Joseph had also arranged for the Bulgarian edition of Fr. Seraphim’s biography to be printed, and on September 3, 2007 he read aloud his preface to that edition at the pilgrimage in honor of the 25th anniversary of Fr. Seraphim’s repose, in which he lauded Fr. Seraphim with great praise. He said that Fr. Seraphim reminds Bulgarians to carry their crosses without grumbling and to see themselves as they truly are and he said of him: “Fr. Seraphim is a gift of God to our Orthodox Church, a source of pride for America, a zealous evangelist of the Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Holy Fathers, a true witness to friendship with Christ, a confessor of holiness.” [416] “Fr. Seraphim Rose: A Gift of God to the Orthodox Church”, The Orthodox Word, Vol. 43, No. 3 (254), May-June, 2007, pp. 134-135. Speaking of his own personal experience of Christ he said: “As an Orthodox bishop – Orthodox from the womb of my mother and baptized as a baby in our right Faith – I didn’t have a serious attitude at my first encounter with the books, articles, sermons, and lectures of Fr. Seraphim. I thought that, as a convert to my Faith, he would not present me with anything new. And what happened? I found that the path which Fr. Seraphim walked in receiving the Faith and the sufferings that he experienced for his confirmation in it were unfamiliar to me, and my experience in comparison to his was insignificant. I even reached the state of being ashamed of myself, that as an Orthodox Christian from birth, having attained the episcopal office, I did not have the strong internal quest or the experiences through which Fr. Seraphim passed until he came to Christ the Savior. This seeker of the true Faith captivated me. He changed my life, as he has changed the lives of thousands of people who have read his books all over the world. [417] Ibid., p. 140.

Additionally, His Grace Bp. Daniil (1972- ), also of the Bulgarian Diocese under Metropolitan Joseph, spoke at the pilgrimage in honor of the 30th anniversary of Fr. Seraphim’s repose. He spoke of Fr. Seraphim’s popularity in Bulgaria when people began to return to the Church after Communism, and how they were surprised to find someone from America exposing the lie of modern western culture, including that of the “false teaching of evolution.” He also spoke of Fr. Seraphim as “the very presence of Christ” and “an example for us all.” [418] Homily delivered at the Divine Liturgy on Saturday, September 1, 2ί12, at St. Herman’s Monastery.

Interestingly, it seems that Fr. Seraphim is controversial only in his homeland of America, whereas the people of traditional Orthodox nations have embraced him as a true teacher and struggler and one of their own. Publications and Internet sources in English, and personal conversations, demonstrate quite a varied response to the man and his works in America – ranging from those who revere him as a Saint, to those who believe him to be a heretic.

However, overseas in Orthodox nations there is quite a different attitude. It is not uncommon to find his books and even icons of him in bookstores in Orthodox nations, and for the people to excitedly ask visiting Americans about Fr. Seraphim Rose. In her reminiscences of Fr. Seraphim Mary Mansur spoke of a trip to Russia in 1983, just one year after Fr. Seraphim’s repose, where she found that many people had been reading samizdat copies of his works and his name was already well known. One novice excitedly asked her, “do you know Fr. Seraphim Rose?!” Hieroschemamonk Ambrose writes the same of a trip to Russia in 1998, when some zealous youth in St. Petersburg asked him about Fr. Seraphim and declared: “You know, Fr. Seraphim is really for us young Russians.” [419] “Preface,” His Life and Works, p. XII. This author has personally experienced the same devotion in Romania, Greece, on Mt. Athos, and especially in Serbia, where it seemed anyone active in the Church knew of and revered Fr. Seraphim, [420]Ryassaphore Nun Natalia of Holy Cross Skete in CA has written of a trip to Serbia that she met many monks at the Decani Monastery who had been converted and led to monasticism by the writings of Fr. … Continue reading and has been told of the same happening in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Poland, and Ukraine. On websites from traditional Orthodox lands Fr. Seraphim is routinely categorized with great Saints and elders such as St. Silouan, Elder Sophrony, Elder Paisios, Elder Porphyrios (1906-1991), and Elder Cleopa of Sihastria, among many others, and his works, including that on Genesis, are highly promoted. Additionally, pilgrims come from all over the orthodox world to venerate Fr. Seraphim’s relics at St. Herman’s Monastery.

His books and articles have been translated into many languages, including Russian, Romanian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Greek, Polish, Latvian, German, French, Italian, Malayalam (South Indian), and Chinese. [421] For a full list of Fr. Seraphim’s works translated into other languages, see the bibliography in His Life and Works. The Kiev Caves Lavra bookstore has a section specifically dedicated to the works of Fr. Seraphim. In 2010 there appeared in Russia a collection of writings by and about Fr. Seraphim entitled “Американский просветитель русского народа” (“American Educator of the Russian People”), and in the Serbian language there is a work about him entitled “светлост са запада” (“Light From the West”), sold at Chilandar Monastery on Mt. Athos and in bookstores in Serbia. Chilandar Monastery has also published a three-volume collection of his biography translated into Serbian, and the Greek volumes of his biography feature Prologues written by monks of the Holy Mountain – Archimandrite Parthenios of St. Paul’s Monastery, and Archimandrite Philotheos of Karakallou. In a lecture on Orthodoxy in America, Protopriest Theodoros Zisis, Professor of the Theological School of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, spoke of both St. John and Fr. Seraphim as holy men, and he recommended Greeks to read their books. [422]The talk can be viewed on the website “ΑΠΑΝTΑ ΟΡΘΟΞΟΞΙΑ΢” at the posting “http://apantaortodoxias.blogspot.com/2010/03/blog-post_4202.html (Orthodoxy in America with Fr. Theodore … Continue reading On June 10, 2009, Fr. Peter Alban Heers published a podcast on his “Postcards From Greece” for the website Ancient Faith Radio entitled “Fr. Seraphim Rose in Greece.” [423] Fr. Peter’s podcast, with a full transcript can be heard on Ancient Faith Radio. He spoke of Fr. Seraphim’s rising popularity and veneration in Greece over the previous ten years and noted that it was his The Soul After Death that first made him known, and that he has even become a theological authority for other Greek writers to cite. Fr. Peter comments that this is interesting because it is precisely this book which is the most controversial in America, but in the traditional Orthodox country of Greece there is no controversy over him or this book. [424] The controversy centers on the “toll house” doctrine that Fr. Seraphim teaches, following St. Ignatius Brianchanninov and many other holy Fathers. The same is true in Russia where The Soul After Death has been hugely influential, and in Georgia and other Orthodox nations. And on his life and works, Fr. George Calciu, the Romanian confessor, has said: “Fr Seraphim Rose changed himself in a very good way and became one of the promoters of Orthodoxy in the Western World, in America. His books are full of spirituality and visions.” [425] Interview with Fr. George Calciu (in Romanian), available online. The section concerning Fr. Seraphim Rose was translated by Marius Nitu of Bucharest, Romania.

Fr. Peter Heers states that Fr. Seraphim’s veneration in the orthodox world should be a great source of joy for us, because he was true to the Tradition, and his life and teachings are akin to that which is found in the old countries. [426] “Postcards from Greece.” Fr. George Calciu sees him as someone who “gave a fresh impulse to Orthodoxy in America.” [427] Interview with Fr. George (in Romanian). However, it is precisely Fr. Seraphim’s traditional views and strict adherence to the Orthodox Tradition that makes him controversial in America. His life was one of suffering and so the millions of Orthodox Christians who suffered under Communism in the twentieth century found a kindred spirit in him, but in modern America we are generally very lazy and want only comfort, doing everything we can to avoid suffering. Speaking of why the teaching set forth in The Soul After Death is not wholly accepted in America, Fr. Seraphim wrote: The Orthodox teaching on life after death is rather severe and demands a very sober response on our part, full of the fear of God. But mankind today is very pampered and self-centered and would rather not hear of such stern realities as judgment and accountability for sins. One can be much more ‘comfortable’ with an exalted teaching of ‘hesychasm’ that tells us that God is not ‘really’ as stern as the orthodox ascetic tradition has described Him … The true orthodox teaching on life after death, on the other hand, fills one precisely with the fear of God and the inspiration to struggle for the Kingdom of Heaven against all the unseen enemies who oppose our path. All Orthodox Christians are called to this struggle, and it is a cruel injustice to them to dilute the Orthodox teaching to make them more ‘comfortable.’ [428] The Soul After Death (1993), pp. 259-260.

This analysis can also apply to the rejection of Fr. Seraphim himself amongst some Americans. We pride ourselves on our intellect and all the comfort we have achieved through modern science and technology. To have someone like Fr. Seraphim Rose in our midst, who calls us to crucify our minds before the mind of the Church and to faithfully and humbly accept the Orthodox Tradition, even when that Tradition makes us appear foolish to the world, such as is the case with the Orthodox interpretation of Genesis, and to ascetically repent and struggle for the likeness of God, is a judgment on us. To have such dedicated men is a blessing, but it forces us to face our own weaknesses and sinfulness. Fr. Seraphim approached all that he did with an “all-or-nothing” attitude, and he calls us to the same. In living such a life “He came and stole Paradise from us,” as Bp. Nectary Kontzevitch (1905-1938), the Optina disciple who dearly loved the Platina fathers has stated, [429] His Life and Works, p. 1037. and in the hearts of many he became America’s first podvizhnik, or righteous struggler, as his own bishop, Archbishop Anthony Medvedev (1908- 2000) of Western America and San Francisco stated not long after Fr. Seraphim’s repose. [430] Hieroschemamonk Ambrose, “Preface,” His Life and Works, p. XI. His life was always concerned with the beginning and end of all things, and in giving himself wholly to Christ in His Church he came to understand both and to have a truly blessed end. For many, these words of Elder Sophrony about his own spiritual father, St. Silouan, are also applicable to Fr. Seraphim Rose:

Since the time of St. John the Divine throngs of such witnesses [to Divine love] have proceeded down the nineteen centuries but this latest is especially dear to us because he was our contemporary. Often remarked in Christians is the desire – an entirely natural desire – for visible tokens of our faith. Otherwise, hope falters and accounts of miracles in days of long ago take on the nature of myth. This is why the recurrence of comparable testimony is so important; why this new witness is so dear to us, in whom we can see the most precious manifestation of our faith. We know that only a few will believe in him, just as not many believed in the witness of previous fathers; and this not because the testimony is false but because faith entails ascetic striving. [431] St. Silouan the Athonite, pp. 1-2.

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References

References
1 Eugene Rose, Letter to Gleb Podmoshensky, as found in Hieromonk Damascene, Fr. Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works (2010), p. 340.
2 Journal of Eugene Rose, May 19, 1961, as found in His Life and Works p. 159.
3 Fr. Damascene was a spiritual child of Fr. Seraphim during the last year of his life. He was baptized while Fr. Seraphim lie dying in the hospital, and Fr. Seraphim is buried in his baptismal garment. Soon after Fr. Seraphim’s repose in 1982, Fr. Damascene joined the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, and through his devotion to Fr. Seraphim’s memory he has become the editor of his works and his biographer, amassing a great wealth of knowledge on Fr. Seraphim. Throughout this present work reference will be made to contributions that Fr. Damascene has made as editor of Fr. Seraphim’s Genesis, Creation, and Early Man, both in footnotes and in his own appendices.
4 His Life and Works, p. 43.
5 Ibid., p. 23.
6 Ibid., p. 46.
7 Ibid., p. 59.
8 Eugene Rose, “Christian Realism and Worldly Idealism,” The Orthodox Word, no. 128 (1986), p. 133, as found in Ibid. p. 65. Dr. Jean-Claude Larchet (1949), a French Orthodox doctor of philosophy and theology writes in his “Patristic Views on the Nature and Status of Scientific Knowledge” that as scientific knowledge is limited solely to the realm of appearances within nature, St. Isaac the Syrian (7th C.), the ascetical bishop of Nineveh, also relegates it to the lowest form of knowledge (Ascetical Homilies 62 and 63), and St. Maximus the Confessor (c. 580-662) concurs, seeing knowledge according to sensible appearances alone as a result of the Fall of man. See Dr. Larchet’s article online as translated by John Sanidopoulos at his well-known and well-respected Mystagogy blog.
9 His Life and Works, p. 139.
10 The chapter on Nihilism was the only to be fully completed, and was posthumously published in 1994 as Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age by the Fr. Seraphim Rose Foundation, and in 2001 by the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood. Although the rest of his work was never published, it greatly informed his Orthodox Survival Course lectures delivered in the summer of 1975 and his Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, first published by the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood in 1976.
11 Notes of Eugene Rose, July 1960, as found in His Life and Works, p. 155.
12 Ibid., p. 164.
13 For other moving stories of New Age and Far Eastern seekers who eventually found their final homes in the Orthodox Church see Dionysios Farasiotis’ The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios, Klaus Kenneth’s Born to Hate, Reborn to Love: A Spiritual Odyssey From Head to Heart, Phillip Charles Lucas’ The Odyssey of a New Religion: The Holy Order of MANS From New Age to Orthodoxy, and Veronica Hughe’s The Pearl of Great Price: The Spiritual Journey of a New Age Seeker to the Light of Christ and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Fr. Seraphim and the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood play prominent roles in the latter two stories.
14 His Life and Works, p. 200.
15 These sermons were posthumously published by the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood in 1984 as Heavenly Realm: Lay Sermons.
16 Letter to the Fr. Herman Brotherhood, Feb. 11, 1964, as found in His Life and Works, p. 272.
17 “The Orthodox Word,” The Orthodox Word vol. 1, no. 1 (Jan. – Feb. 1965), p. 17. Eugene and Gleb also knew many other “living links” to Orthodox Tradition in the Russian community in San Francisco, including St. John’s predecessor, Abp. Tikhon Troitsky (d. 1λθ3), a spiritual son of St. Gabriel of Kazan (d. 1915); the Abbess Ariadna of the Convent of the Vladimir Mother of God, who knew St. John when he was still serving in Shanghai; Bp. Nektary Kontzevitch (1905-1983), the vicar to St. John, and his brother Ivan (1893-1965), who had been disciples of St. Nektary of Optina (c. 1853-1λ2κ)ν Ivan’s wife Helen (1κλ3-1989) who had known St. Anatole of Optina (d. 1922), and was a spiritual child of Archbishop Theophan of Poltava (1874-1940) who was the spiritual father of the Royal Martyrs; Archimandrite Spyridon Efimov (1902-1984), whose family had been close to St. John of Kronstadt and was a close disciple of St. John Maximovitch; and Archimandrite Mitrophan Manuilov (1900-1986), another close disciple of St. John, who in Russia had been the spiritual child of Archpriest Mitrophan Buchnev, an Optina disciple who became one of Russia’s New Martyrs. From all these luminaries Eugene learned the ways of the Orthodox spiritual life.
18 Letter of Eugene Rose to Fr. Neketas Palassis, July 12, 1970, as found in His Life and Works, p. 395.
19 Ibid., p. 648.
20 This was communicated directly to this author by Fr. Herman on Friday August 17, 2012.
21 This was communicated directly to this author in an interview with Mother Theadelphi and Fr. Ambrose on May 6, 2012, at the Entrance of the Theotokos Skete.
22 “Orthodoxy in the USA,” Orthodox Word, no. 94 (1980), p. 217, as found in His Life and Works, p. 830.
23 See note 27 below.
24 This is but a bare sketch of the life and works of Fr. Seraphim Rose. For a much fuller picture, see Hieromonk Damascene’s Fr. Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works.
25 Referring to the first edition which appeared in 2000, Thomas C. Oden, General Editor of volume 1 of the “Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture” series, on Genesis 1-11 writes in the introduction: “We are grateful for the massive labors of Fr. Rose, from which our efforts have been belatedly benefited … his work has directed us to selections we would otherwise have bypassed,” p. lii.
26 Alexey wrote his article in answer to the ignorance of many parents whom he encountered as a school teacher to the often-deliberate use of evolution as a philosophical means to undermine Christianity. See His Life and Works, p. 522.
27 His Life and Works, pp. 522-24.

The Boston monastery was at the center of this major theme of Fr. Seraphim’s life – his struggle for the “Royal Middle Path” against “Super-Correctness” – what he saw as a spiritual disease wherein cold calculation and strict adherence to the “correct” party line took a superior role to Christian love. Their “Super-Correctness” manifested itself in many issues including evolution, and the supposedly Latin-influenced veneration of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church. This group also took an imbalanced stand against “Ecumenism” and eventually schismed from ROCOR on Dec. 12, 1986, claiming the Synod had become soft on Ecumenism – a lamentable act which Fr. Seraphim had foreseen and tried to prevent, which can be seen throughout his personal letters to Fr. Alexey Young, published by Nikodemos Orthodox Publication Society (Richfield Springs, NY) in 2001 as Letters from Father Seraphim.  For more information on Fr. Seraphim’s struggle against this Pharisaism, see especially chapter 69: “Super-Correctness,” in His Life and Works.

28 Letter of Fr. Seraphim Rose to Fr. Roman Lukianov, Nov. 14, 1979, as found in His Life and Works, p. 524.
29 Letter of Fr. Seraphim Rose to Dr. Alexander Kalomiros, 5th Week of Great Lent, 1974, as found in GCEM p. 421.
30 Letter of Eugene Rose to Daniel Olson, April 7, 1971, as found in His Life and Works, p. 406.
31 His Life is Mine, p. 37.
32 GCEM, p. 428. For Fr. Seraphim’s considerable writings on evolution as a philosophy and the strange doctrines of several Christian and Orthodox evolutionists, see GCEM, Part III: The Philosophy of Evolution on pp. 501-602.
33 Letter of Fr. Seraphim Rose to Alexey Young, April 5/18, 1973, as found in Ibid., p. 35 and His Life and Works, p. 538.
34 Biological Evolutionism, p. 7. For more information on the life of Schemamonk Constantine, see the encomium in his honor posted online at the blog Mystagogy.
35 His Life and Works, pp. 277, 523; GCEM, p. 29. The courses were conducted in the basement of the St. Tikhon’s orphanage where St. John lived, and included courses on Liturgics, Patristics, Old Testament, New Testament, Apologetics, Church History, Pastoral Theology, Church singing, and Russian literature, among others.
36 It is commonly asserted that to stand against evolution is a peculiarly American Fundamentalist position, but Fr. Seraphim saw the issue from quite the opposite perspective. The stance of modern Saints and elders from traditionally Orthodox nations will be examined towards the end of this study.
37 Letter of Fr. Seraphim to Alexey Young, April 5/18, 1973, as found in GCEM, p. 36. Around the time of Alexey’s Nikodemos article, other articles appeared in Orthodox sources that argued in favor of evolution. The newspaper of the Greek Archdiocese, The Orthodox Observer, ran an article entitled “Evolution: A Heresy?” by Panagiotis Trempelas (Aug. 8, 1973), and the OCA’s Concern magazine for teenagers ran “Evolution: God’s Method of Creation,” by Theodosius Dobzhansky (Spring, 1973). In his article, Dobгhansky approvingly quotes the Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, whom Fr. Seraphim had identified as one of the key figures in the chiliastic philosophical movement of evolution. Fr. Seraphim addresses both men at length in a section on “Christian Evolutionism” in GCEM, pp. 573-602. In a letter to Alexey Young, dated Bright Wednesday, 1973 (Letters from Fr. Seraphim pp. 86-91), Fr. Seraphim writes that it seems that the followers of Fr. Panteleimon of the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston do not consider evolution to be a very important issue, but that he agrees with Alexey that it is an important question with implications for the Faith.
38 In Defense of the Holy Hesychasts (The Triads) 1.1.6, p. 20, ed. and trans. [Fr.] Jean Meyendorff [French translation]. Fr. Seraphim quotes this passage on p. 466 in GCEM. The Russian philosopher and disciple of St. Macarius of Optina (1788-1860), Ivan Kireyevsky (1806-1856), whom Fr. Seraphim greatly respected, likewise wrote that science belongs equally to the pagan and Christian worlds, and is only distinguished by the philosophy applied to it, and Orthodoxy alone can give science a proper foundation. See his Polnoye sobraniye sochineniy (Complete Collected Works), vol. 1, pp. 118-19. Fr. Seraphim quotes this passage on p. 506 in GCEM.
39 The Patristic sources that he studied and later used in his own presentations are listed further on.
40 Dr. Peter Bouteneff’s 2008 work Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives also examines Christian accounts of Creation with the aim of determining how literally we ought to read the Genesis Creation texts. However, he does not consider any specific scientific claims and how they interact with Patristic theology, as does Fr. Seraphim. In the last few pages of the book he hastily concludes that although the Fathers consistently uphold the literal meaning of Genesis, which is actually well demonstrated throughout his book, this level of interpretation is actually not very important, and can be dismissed because modern science now disproves it anyway.
41 As found in The Struggle for Faith, Vol. IV, A Treasury of Serbian Orthodox Spirituality, pp. 74-85, and also found online at the Orthodox Christian Information Center.
42 “How to Read the Holy Scriptures,” as found in the 2ί12 St. Herman’s Calendar, p. 3. Fr. Seraphim also quotes St. Basil, from his introduction to his commentary on the Prophet Isaiah, stating that to properly understand Scripture requires “great and assiduous care” in order to be led to understanding by the Holy Spiritν “How to Read the Holy Scriptures,” p. 5.
43 Fr. Seraphim had been referred to Dr. Kalomiros as a prominent and knowledgeable Orthodox proponent of evolution, and so he took up a correspondence with him to learn more about the theistic evolutionist position.
44 GCEM, pp. 449, 489. It is curious that theistic evolutionists often argue that Genesis not a science book, and yet it is to scientists that they turn for its interpretation. Fr. Seraphim instead looks to the Saints of the Church to interpret Scripture.
45 Ancestral Sin pp. 41-42. Similarly, His Grace Bp. Michael Dahulich (OCA-NY-NJ) (1950- ) writes that “the entire Bible has nothing else as its purpose than to describe divine actions in the worldly realm,” and therefore, “Biology and paleontology have nothing to do with this. They cannot explain to us what man is in his being any more than they can clarify the mystery of his origin,” SCR 5301: Israel’s Origins (Fall 2010), St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, class hand-outs, p. 104.
46 To Autolycus 2.12, 2.18, as found in ANF vol. 2, pp. 99, 101.
47 Paradise 2.7, FC vol. 42, p. 290. The danger of applying human intellect and reasoning to matters of the faith is a consistent concern in the Fathers. For instance, St. John Chrysostom states in his Homily 2 on II Timothy, NPNF 1, vol. 13, p. 479 “There is nothing worse than that man should measure and judge of divine things by human reasonings.”
48 Ascetical Homilies 21, Tvoreniya, p. 108, as found in GCEM, pp. 127, 458, 562.
49 GCEM, p. 458.
50 Ambiguum 7, 1077C, as found in On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, p. 54.
51 The Four Hundred Chapters on Love 1.98-99, as found in Maximus Confessor: Selected Writings, p. 46. See also his Ad Thalassium 2, and before him The Divine Names 5.8-10 of St. Dionysius the Areopagite.
52 Fr. Damascene writes that Fr. Seraphim, having attained sobriety and dispassion, was granted to share in the experience of the Saints of contemplating the original and final states of man and the cosmos, as well as the Uncreated logoi of created beings, GCEM, p. 86.

And looking especially at the notable early ecclesiastical author Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 – c. 215), St. Maximus the Confessor, St. Isaac the Syrian, and St. Gregory Palamas, Dr. Jean-Claude Larchet argues in his “Patristic Views on the nature and Status of Scientific Knowledge” that the Fathers always understood the spiritual knowledge of natural contemplation to be a superior source of information on creation, and “Faith thus includes, as a matter of principle, all the knowledge of science.” See note 8 above.

53 Enlargement of the Heart, p. 30.
54 Archimandrite Sophrony, St. Silouan the Athonite, p. 90.
55 “Homily for Meatfast Sunday,” in Homilies vol. 1, p. 116. For more sources concerning the unknowability of the prelapsarian world see also St. Justin Martyr (c. 100-168), Hortatory Address to the Greeks 8; St. Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 130-202), Against Heresies 2.18; Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215), The Stromata 6.9; St. Gregory the Theologian (329-391), Oration 28.5; St. Augustine (354-430), City of God 12.24; St. Cyril of Alexandria (378-444), Against Julian the Apostate 2.27; St. Barsanuphius of Optina (1845-1913), Elder Barsanuphius of Optina pp. 280, 468.
56 Together with Sts. Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom, the Three Holy Hierarchs are commemorated on January 30.
57 Hexaemeron 6.1, FC 46, p. 83, as found in GCEM, p. 137.
58 The Person in the Orthodox Tradition, p. 46. Fr. Michael Pomazansky (1888-1988), a preeminent priest, theologian, and teacher at Holy Trinity Seminary at Jordanville, who was trained in pre-Revolutionary Russia, says of St. Basil: “St. Basil acknowledges all the scientific facts of natural science. But he does not accept the philosophical conceptions, or the interpretations of the facts … St. Basil the Great knew how to raise himself above the theories contemporary to him concerning the basic principles of the world.” “Talks on the Six Days by St. Basil the Great and Talks on the Days of Creation by St. John of Kronstadt,” Pravoslavny put’ (The Orthodox Way) annual, 1958, p. 39, 41, as found in GCEM, pp. 503- 504.
59 Nastavleniya v duhovnoi zhisni and. Sozertsanie I Razmyshlenie; both quoted in the article “Why an orthodox Christian Cannot Be an Evolutionist” by S. V. Bufeev, founder of the Russian Shestodnev (“Six Days”) Mission Center, found online at an English-language website of the Shestodnev Center.

Similarly, Clement of Alexandria wrote in his Stromata 6.9 that the true Christian is preeminent in scientific knowledge and knows of the beginning and end of the world directly from God because he is free of perturbation of soul. St. Augustine writes in The City of God 1κ.4ί, NPNF 1, vol. 2, p. 3κ4μ “But we, being sustained by divine authority in the history of our religion, have no doubt that whatever is opposed to it is most false, whatever may be the case regarding other things in secular books, which, whether true or false, yield nothing of moment to our living rightly and happily.”

60 The One Hundred and Fifty Chapters 1, as found in Sinkewicz, Robert E., trans., The One Hundred and Fifty Chapters, p. 83.
61 This was personally communicated to this author on Sept. 1, 2ί12, at St. Herman’s monastery at the pilgrimage commemorating the 30th anniversary of the repose of Fr. Seraphim.
62 Interview with Fr. Ambrose, May 6, 2012.
63 GCEM, p. 116.
64 Ibid., p. 118.
65 Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, p. 488.
66 His Life Is Mine, p. 72.
67 Introduction to St. Simeon’s The First-Created Man, p. 12.
68 GCEM, p. 110. Met. Kallistos Ware (1934- ), the titular Bishop of Diokleia and former lecturer at Oxford University, professes this common mistaken view in a lecture delivered at Seattle Pacific University, available in part on Youtube. Speaking of the theory of evolution, he states: “There need not be any conflict between religion and science if each is properly understood, because they are answering different kinds of questions.” Dr. Peter Bouteneff makes the same distinction in his Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings on the Biblical Creation Narratives, p. 183. Even if science and religion are answering different kinds of questions, it is another matter to say that Orthodoxy and evolution, both properly understood, will therefore have no conflict, implying that they have no overlap whatsoever. Because different kinds of questions can and do overlap with one another, we can only conclude that Orthodoxy and evolution do not conflict after thoroughly examining the issue.
69 Sketch Concerning Man (Hypotyposis peri Anthropou), pp. 1-10, as found in Cavarnos, Biological Evolutionism, pp. 27-28. Science can only speak of the natural world and of the physicality of man and so it is necessarily dualistic, because man, and all of creation, is created to be a receptacle for grace, which determines its physical condition. By looking only at the physical side, scientists thereby forfeit the ability to see even the physical side correctly. For instance, as we shall see, man sleeps, eats, feels pain, and so forth because of his spiritual condition.
70 Enlargement of the Heart, p. 238.
71 GCEM, p. 116. See also pp. 118-119.
72 Nastavleniya v duhovnoi zhisni, as found in S.V. Bufeev “Why an Orthodox Christian Cannot be an Evolutionist.”
73 Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose), The Holy Fathers: Sure Guide to True Christianity, p. 29.
74 Two discourses “On the origin of Humanity” are published in St. Vladimir Seminary Press’s “Popular Patristic Series” volume entitled On the Human Condition.
75 St. Gregory of Nyssa, Hexaemeron, pp. 2, 5 of an English translation available for download at Scribd, an online digital library.
76 Oration 43, Funeral Oration for St. Basil, Chapter 67, NPNF 2, vol. 7, pp. 417-418.
77 “Talks on the Six Days by St. Basil the Great and Talks on the Days of Creation by St. John of Kronstadt,” p. 41, as found in GCEM, p. 504.
78 GCEM, p. 30.
79 By this term I do not intend to link Fr. Seraphim to the Fundamentalistic “Young-Earth Creationism” view. As we have seen, Fr. Seraphim did not believe that the text of Genesis should be tied to any particular scientific view, nor that the typical Protestant Fundamentalist position is wholly accurate. This term is simply used to distinguish from any Orthodox evolutionist position.
80 Hexaemeron 9.1, FC 46, pp. 135-36, as found in GCEM, p. 121.
81 Commentary on Genesis 1, Tvoreniya 6 p. 282, [FC 91m o, 74 (1.1)], as found in GCEM, p. 121. He further writes that the day and the night of the First Day continued for twelve hours each, in Commentary on Genesis 1, Tvoreniya 6, p. 287 [FC 91, p. 80 (1.8.2)], as found in GCEM, p. 138.
82 Homilies on Genesis 13.4, Tvoreniya 4, p. 107 [FC 74, pp. 177-178 (13.15-16)], as found in GCEM, p. 122.
83 On Patient Endurance and Discrimination 5 (Seven Homilies 4.5), in Dukhovniya besedy, poslaniye i slova (Spiritual discourses, epistles, and homilies), p. 385, as found in GCEM, pp. 119-120.
84 The Theologian wrote of this in his Oration 38: On the Theophany, or On the Nativity of Christ 12, and St. Gregory Palamas is quoted from In Defense of the Holy Hesychasts (The Triads) [French translation] 2.3.22, p. 432, as found in GCEM p. 120.
85 Archimandrite Irenei is the former head of Theology & Tutor for Graduates and Fellow in Patristic Theology and Early Church History at the University of Oxford. For the rest of his highly impressive biography see the article dedicated to him on OrthodoxWiki.
86 See his “Children in Paradise: Adam and Eve as ‘Infants’ in Irenaeus of Lyons,” p. 9.
87 The Symposium: A Treatise on Chastity 3.2, p. 60. “This is Methodius’ clear declaration against the extreme allegorism of the Alexandrian school,” p. 197, n. 6.
88 Commentary on the Prophet Isaiah 1.4, PG 70.192AB, as found in GCEM, p. 123n. In this work St. Cyril sets out to provide first the literal sense, and then the spiritual.
89 Letter 2.223, PG 79.316BC, as found in GCEM, p. 123n.
90 See a discussion of this at Creationism and the Early Church, a website of Patristic research by Rob Bradshaw, who holds a Cambridge Diploma in Religious Studies from Mattersey Hall, an Assemblies of God Bible College in Mattersey, England.
91 On Genesis: The Refutation of the Manichees 2.2.3, FC 84, p. 95. St. Augustine had been a Manichean “hearer” for nine years from 373 to 382 before converting to Christianity. In this work he is refuting the Gnostic dualism of the Manichees who believed that the world is the result of both uncreated good and evil.
92 On Genesis, p. 69.
93 My Life in Christ, p. 70.
94 Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Ambrose specifically mentioning this point in his Hexaemeron 12, FC 42, pp. 6-7, as found in GCEM, pp. 127, 129. St. Basil also refers to this Scriptural passage in his Hexaemeron 1.1, noting that God imparted to Moses “words of truth written without the help of the ‘enticing words of man’s wisdom’ by the dictation of the Holy Spirit; words destined to produce not the applause of those who hear them, but the salvation of those who are instructed by them.,” NPNF 2, vol. 8, p. 52.
95 St. Justin Martyr says that men can learn of the beginning and end of all things from the prophets who were “witnesses to the truth above all demonstration,” Dialogue with Trypho 7, ANF 1, p. 198, and St. Gregory Palamas writes: “Then on the seventh day God rested from all His works, as we are taught by Moses (Gen. 2:2), who was born later, but beheld the foundation of the world long before his time,” Homily 17.2, as found in St. Gregory Palamas: The Homilies p. 134.
96 George is a paleontologist and Elizabeth studied Modern Greek and wrote a thesis on hymnography at Oxford, and is author and editor of The Cambridge Companion to Orthodox Christian Theology.
97 “Genesis and Creation: Towards a Debate,” pp. 366, 367.
98 Ibid., p. 372.
99 St. Silouan the Athonite, p. 90.
100 Moreland and Reynolds, ed., Three Views on Creation and Evolution, p. 97. Some, like the Theokritoffs, admit that their evolutionary view is inconsistent with the Fathers, while others insist that the Fathers did not believe in the historicity of Genesis and that therefore their views can be harmonized with evolution.
101 GCEM, p. 134.
102 Feb. 1/14, 1974, Letters From Fr. Seraphim, p. 107.
103 GCEM, p. 133.
104 pp. 4-5.
105 “Preserving God’s Creation: Three lectures on Theology and Ecology,” p. 2.
106 Fr. Seraphim notes that because the theory of evolution requires hundreds of thousands of years of human history, its proponents cannot accept the Old Testament genealogies as literal genealogies, whether arguing for “gaps” between the Patriarchs, or that some of the Patriarchs are not literal historical figures, but the Holy Fathers are unanimous in accepting them as precisely literal genealogies, above all because they are the genealogies of Christ. There can be no doubt that the Orthodox Church believes the Patriarchs to be literal people because the righteous Patriarchs of the Old Testament are also celebrated as Saints in the Church, on the two Sundays prior to the Nativity of Christ. See GCEM, pp. 308, 314, 386, 637.
107 To Autolycus 3.28. See also 3.25-26.
108 GCEM, pp. 314-315. For more information on the Byzantine Creation Era calendar and its predecessors, see the article “Byzantine Creation Era” online at OrthodoxWiki.
109 Against Eunomius 1.21, FC vol. 122, p. 122.
110 Hexaemeron 1.5, NPNF 2 vol. 8, p. 55. St. Cyril of Alexandria writes that the heavenly luminaries were created “only for the purpose of lighting what is on earth, to mark the moments of time, the days, the years!” Against Julian the Apostate 2.28, which can be read online at the tertullian.org “Early Church Fathers – Additional Texts” website.
111 Ibid., p. 54.
112 See especially his On the Incarnation of the Word 2-4, and Fr. Georges Florovsky’s article “The Concept of Creation in Saint Athanasius,” in Studia Patristica, reproduced in Aspects of Church History (vol. IV in the Collected Works).
113 St. Dionysius, On the Divine Names 5.8, PG 4, 336AB; St. Maximus Various Texts 5.47, PG 90, 1368B, both as referenced in Mantгaridis’ Time and Man p. 9.
114 Hexaemeron 3.1, NPNF 2, vol. 8, p. 65.
115 Hexaemeron 2.8, NPNF 2, vol. 8, p. 64.
116 Ibid. St. John Damascene teaches the same in Exact Exposition 2.7.
117 This homily of St. John Chrysostom can be found in The Christianity Reader, p. 34, which can be previewed online using Google Books.
118 Cf. St. John Damascene’s Exact Exposition 2.1.
119 The first day of Creation was also identified as Sunday by St. Justin Martyr, First Apology 67, and St. Gregory the Theologian Homily 44.5: On the New Week, Spring, and the Commemoration of the Martyr Mamas.
120 Hexaemeron 2.8.
121 Homily 45.1 as found in The First-Created Man, pp. 89-90.
122 De Ambiguis, PG 91,114BC, as found in Mantzaridis, Time and Man, p. 9 n. 39.
123 To Thalassios, PG 90,760A; Various Texts, 5,48, PG 90, 1368D-1369A, as referenced in Time and Man, p. 9.
124 Time and Man, p. 46.
125 Ambiguum 42, and Ad Thalassium 61, in On the Cosmic Mystery of Christ, pp. 85, 131.
126 GCEM, p. 701n. M.C. Steenberg concludes in his “Children in Paradise” that the Irenean teaching of Adam and Eve as infants in the Garden of Eden is ultimately elusive. Although it is clear that for St. Irenaeus “children” did not simply mean inexperienced adults, it is however unclear if he envisioned Adam and Eve as infants, prepubescent youths, or humans of some other physiology. But however he understood them, his teaching of our forefathers’ “infancy” is rooted precisely in their creation as material beings subjected to temporality. On pp. 19-21 he writes: “This root [of their existence as infants] is … their essence as beings having been created in and of matter, and thus having been bound to the progressive history of the material universe. Adam and Eve are infants due to their materiality; they must pass through infancy due to their temporal novelty.”
127 On the Cosmic Mystery of Christ, p. 85, n. 10. Fr. Damascene follows this interpretation as well. See GCEM, p. 701n.
128 GCEM, p. 675.
129 The ecclesiastical author Victorinus of Pettau (d. c. 303) wrote the same in his On the Creation of the World.
130 An Orthodox Survival Course p. 368, unpublished manuscript.
131 Hexaemeron 1.37.
132 On Genesis, p. 75. As Fr. Seraphim taught, the Fathers consistently spoke plainly of the six days of Creation. See, for example, St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5.28.3; Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata 4.25, 5,6, 6.16; St. Archelaus of Cascus (d.c. 280) The Acts of the Disputation With the Heresiarch Manes 31; Eusebius of Caesarea, Preparation for the Gospel 13:12; St. Athanasius, Four Discourses Against the Arians 2.19; St. Epiphanius of Salamis (c. 310-403), Panarion 1:1; St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Genesis 3.11-12; St. Leo the Great, Sermon 27.5: On the Feast of the Nativity; Isidore the Archbishop of Seville (c. 560-636), Chronicon, 1st Age of the World 1; St. John Damascene, Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 2.7; St. Gregory Palamas, Topics of Natural and Theological Science 21-22.
133 To Autolycus 3.16; Chronology Fragment 1.
134 City of God 18.40, NPNF 1, vol. 2, p. 384.
135 GCEM, p. 450.
136 Ibid., pp. 107-8.
137 “Genesis And Creation: Towards A Debate,” p. 366.
138 Ibid., p. 366.
139 Gen. 1:26, 3:22, see GCEM, pp. 195, 197, 276.
140 Hexaemeron 3.2, FC 46, pp. 38-38, as found in GCEM, p. 146.
141 For example, the icons on the front cover and spine of the 2011 edition, from the Sucevita Monastery in Moldavia, Romania, from 1595-1596.
142 GCEM, p. 146.
143 St. Ephraim the Syrian, Commentary on Genesis 1, Tvoreniya 6, p. 286, as found in GCEM, p. 147.
144 GCEM pp. 136, 142, 155-158, 165, 189, 199, 210-211, 229.
145 Hexaemeron 1.7, FC 42, p. 7, as found in GCEM, p. 139.
146 Hexaemeron 1.7, FC 42, p. 7.
147 Hexaemeron 1.2, NPNF 2, vol. 8, p. 53.
148 On the Orthodox Faith 2.2, FC 37, p. 205, as found in GCEM, p. 189.
149 Oration 44, FC 107, p. 232, as found in GCEM, p. 141.
150 The First-Created Man, pp. 89-90.
151 My Life in Christ, p. 529. See also the ecclesiastical author Cassiodorus (c. 490-583), Commentary on Psalm 6, pp. 98-99, who also sees significance in God creating over the course of six days, noting that Christ was crucified on the sixth day.
152 Homilies on Genesis 13.2, Tvoreniya 4, p. 103 [FC 74, pp. 72-73], as found in GCEM, p. 216.
153 GCEM, pp. 189-190.
154 GCEM, p. 109. Fr. Seraphim deals with the specific examples of God “speaking,” God’s “hands,” God’s “walking” in the Garden, God’s “repentance” at the time of the Flood, and so forth on pp. 14η-146, 211-212, 243, 259, 323, 342, 363, 445.
155 Hexaemeron 1.5, FC 42, p. 8, as found in GCEM, p. 139.
156 On Genesis, p. 68.
157 On the Making of Man 29.2, NPNF 2, vol. 5, p. 421, as found in GCEM, p. 219. In his Ambiguum 42 St. Maximus the Confessor also teaches that the body and soul of man were created instantaneously. See also St. Nikolai Velimirović, “Homily for the Twenty-Seventh Sunday after Pentecost” in Homilies vol. 2, p. 280. Fr. Seraphim also demonstrates that God did not create seeds and infant animals, but rather fully-formed vegetation and mature animals. He quotes St. Basil commenting on the third day of creation: “At this saying all the dense woods appeared; all the trees shot up … all came into existence in a moment of time, although they were not previously upon the earth,” and commenting on “Let the earth bring forth” he writes. “This brief command was immediately a mighty nature and an elaborate system which brought to perfection more swiftly than our thought the countless properties of plants,” Hexaemeron   5.6, 10, FC 46, pp. 74, 82, as found in GCEM, p. 138. See also pp. 139, 144, 166-167, 177, 179, 188, 483-485.
158 2.19.48; 2.22.60, NPNF 2, vol. 4, p. 381: “… it having been shewn to be true in an earlier part of this book, that no one creature was made before another, but all things originate subsisted at once together upon one and the same command.”
159 GCEM, pp. 173-174.
160 GCEM, p. 485
161 Pis’ma valaamskogo startsa skhiigumena Ioanna (Letters of the Valaam Elder Schema-Abbot John), pp. 86-87, as found in GCEM, p. 807.
162 “Genesis and Creation: Towards a Debate,” pp. 374, 390.
163 This work first appeared in Greek and was translated into English in 1997 by George Gabriel for his periodical “The Ark” (Ridgewood, NJ). The English translation is available for download from the online digital library Scribd.
164 St. Ambrose, Hexaemeron 1.7, FC 42, pp. 26, 28-29; Ibid., pp. 32-33; St. Ephraim, Commentary on Genesis 1, Tvoreniya 6, pp. 286-287 [From A Collection of Interpretations of Genesis of our Holy Father Ephraim the Syrian and Jacob, Bishop of Edessa, p. 116. For more information on this work in Syriac see endnote 3 on GCEM, p. 957 and its bibliography entry on p. 1002), both as found in GCEM, p. 150.
165 Commentary on Genesis 1, Tvoreniya 6, p. 293 [FC 91, p. 85 (1.14.1-1.15.1)], as found in GCEM, p. 154.
166 GCEM, p. 155.
167 See St. Hippolytus, Fragments on Genesis, and The Refutation of All Heresies 10.28-29; St. Basil the Great, Hexaemeron 2.3; St. Ambrose, On the Decease of His Brother Satyrus 2.85, and Hexaemeron 1.7; St. John Damascene, Exact Exposition 2.5, 2.7, 2.9-10, 2.12; and St. Gregory Palamas Topics on Natural and Theological Science 21-22.
168 Hexaemeron, pp. 7, 11.
169 Homily 17.2: “Explaining the Mystery of the Sabbath and of the Lord’s Day,” as found in The Homilies, p. 135.
170 Topics of Natural and Theological Science 21, Philokalia vol. 4, p. 354.
171 Homily 6.10: “To Encourage Fasting,” in The Homilies, p. 45.
172 Hexaemeron 8.1, FC 46, p. 117, as found in GCEM, p. 181.
173 Hexaemeron 2.1, 3.
174 Hexaemeron, p. 11.
175 Hexaemeron 8.1, NPNF 2, vol. 8, p. 95.
176 Against the Heathen 40-41; On the Incarnation of the Word 3-5.
177 Hexaemeron, p. 8.
178 Ambiguum 7, as found in On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, p. 54.
179 Ibid., pp. 56-57. For more on St. Maximus’ theology of the logoi see his Ambigua 41 and 42 and his Ad Thalassium 2.
180 Epiphany vol. 13, no. 4 (Summer Annual 1993), pp. 37-50.
181 See note 199 below.
182 GCEM, p. 556.
183 Hexaemeron 3.3, FC 42, p. 78, as found in GCEM, p. 164.
184 On the Soul and Resurrection, NPNF 2, vol. 5, pp. 457-458, as found in GCEM, p. 165.
185 Four Discourses Against the Arians 2.48, 60, NPNF 2, vol. 4, pp. 374, 381, as found in GCEM, p. 139.
186 GCEM pp. 166-167, 177, 179, 188. See also Venerable Bede, On Genesis, pp. 79-80, 89; and St. Gregory Palamas, Topics of Natural and Theological Science 1, 21-22, Philokalia vol. 4, pp. 346, 354-355.
187 Commentary on Genesis 1, Tvoreniya 6, p. 287 [FC 91, p. 80 (1.8.2)], as found in GCEM, p. 138.
188 Against Julian the Apostate 2.27.
189 Thomas Nelson (2008), p. 2.
190 GCEM, p. 551.
191 Hexaemeron 5.2, FC 46, p. 69; 9.2, p. 137, as found in GCEM, p. 182.
192 GCEM, pp. 183-188. Fr. Seraphim quotes St. Gregory from his On the Soul and Resurrection, but St. Gregory also writes in his Hexaemeron: “Rather, the divine eye looks not to the beauty of generated beings and does not call their color and form beautiful; rather, each one by itself has a perfect nature. A horse is certainly not a cow; the nature and properties of each is conserved, not by a corruption of nature but by the power of their conservation.”
193 Four Discourses Against the Arians 2.19, NPNF 2, vol. 4, pp. 358-359.
194 “Nauka i religiya” (Science and Religion), Troitskoye slovo (Trinity Word), 2001, pp. 41-42, as found in GCEM, p. 809.
195 Talks on the Days of Creation, in Complete Collected Works [in Russian] vol. 1, p. 79, as found in GCEM, p. 184n.
196 On the Soul and the Resurrection NPNF 2 5, p. 454, as found in GCEM, p. 187. Fr. Damascene quotes Erasmus Darwin: “would it be too bold to imagine, that all the warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament … possessing the faculty of continuing to improve by its own inherent activity, and of delivering down those improvements by generation to its posterity, world without end?” Zoonomia, p. 572, as found in GCEM, p. 516n.
197 GCEM, p. 424.
198 Hexaemeron 5.7.
199 Fr. Vincent Rossi argues in his “Clash of Paradigms: The Doctrine of Evolution in the light of the Cosmological Vision of St. Maximos the Confessor” that the pre-existent logoi which exist in the mind of God, defining the mode of origin and essence of all created things, preserve the stability of kinds, while the tropos hyparxeos, or “mode of existence” of created beings, which can be in harmony with or counter to the logos phuseos, allows for the variation within species observed in nature. See pp. 54-55 above.
200 GCEM, p. 169.
201 Commentary on Genesis 1, Tvoreniya 6, pp. 287-288 [FC 91, pp. 81-82 (1.8.3-1.9.2)], as found in GCEM, p. 152.
202 GCEM, pp. 171, 173.
203 Hexaemeron 6.2, as found in GCEM, p. 171.
204 Oration 44: For New Sunday, as found online at John Sanidopoulos’ Mystagogy blog, under the title “St. Gregory the Theologian: The Original light of Creation.”
205 To Autolycus 2.15; Four Discourses Against the Arians 2.16.19; Sermon 27.5: On Nativity; On the Orthodox Faith 2.7, FC 37, pp. 215-216.
206 Hexaemeron 4.1, as found in GCEM, p. 173. See also his Hexaemeron 3.6.
207 To Autolycus 2.15.
208 Homilies on Genesis 6.4, Tvoreniya 4, p. 45 [FC 74, p. 85 (6.14)], as found in GCEM, p. 171.
209 Hexaemeron 6.8, as found in GCEM, p. 171.
210 GCEM, pp. 171, 173.
211 FC vol. 122, pp. 121-23; the direct quote is on p. 122.
212 Sermon 27.5 on Nativity. See also Victorinus, On the Creation of the World.
213 Notably, on pp. 159-1θ3 he examines the “firmament” created on the second day and demonstrates that neither Genesis nor St. Basil, in his Hexaemeron 3, teach that there was a “hard crystal dome in which the stars are embedded and above which there is a fictitious store of water,” (p. 159) but rather that it is a natural barrier or filter between levels of moisture in the atmosphere, which preserved a mild temperature over the earth. St. Basil even explicitly states that the firmament is not of a firm and solid nature, and that it is foolish to compare it to ice, or crystal, or rock, for piety does not allow us to wildly speculate beyond what the Scriptures teach. In a footnote on p. 161, Fr. Damascene notes that St. Ambrose, St. John Chrysostom and Theodoret the bishop of Cyrus (c. 393-457) give a similar interpretation. St. John Damascene provides variant teachings on the nature of the firmament, including that of St. Basil who taught that it is “delicate as smoke,” and concludes that “whether it is this way or that,” all things have been made by God (Exact Exposition 2.6, NPNF 2, vol. 9, pp. 21-22). Fr. Seraphim again addresses the firmament in a Q and A session, as found in GCEM, pp. 404-405.
214 Cf. Rom. 5:12: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”. 1 Cor. 15:21: “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.”
215 The Stromata 4.13, ANF vol. 2, p. 425.
216 Hexaemeron 2.4, 5. NPNF 2, vol. 8, pp. 60-62. St. Gregory Palamas writes that “deadness has no essential existence,” (Homily 31.12, p. 248), and on this Dr. Christopher Veniamin comments that “Death, which has no original existence, but is the result of the rejection of true life, is thus but a distortion and perversion of life,” The Homilies, p. 589.
217 Many Patristic quotes to this effect can be found at this author’s WordPress Old Believing blog at the post “the entire creation was created incorrupt.”
218 Life After Death, pp. 318, 320. 219 St. Silouan the Athonite, p. 122. 220 Ancestral Sin, p. 48.
219 St. Silouan the Athonite, p. 122.
220 Ancestral Sin, p. 48.
221 On the Orthodox Faith 2.11, FC 37, p. 230; On the Creation of the World 6.1, Tvoreniya 6, p. 799 [trans. Robert C. Hill, p. 73], as found in GCEM, pp. 234-235.
222 Homily 45.4, in The Sin of Adam, p. 75, in The First-Created Man p. 103, as found in GCEM, p. 209.
223 To Autolycus 2.24.
224 Concerning man’s responsibility to “till and to keep” the Garden (Gen. 2μ1η), more will be said later.
225 Homily 45.4, as found in GCEM, p. 209. See also Victorinus, On the Creation of the World; St. Macarius the Great (295-392), the disciple of St. Anthony the Great, Homilies 11.5; St. Gregory of Nyssa, On the Making of Man, chapter 2; the Venerable Bede, On Genesis, p. 89; St. John Damascene, Exact Exposition 2.10; the great Russian Saint Seraphim of Sarov (1754-1833), Conversation on the Aim of the Christian Life 5, in Little Russian Philokalia vol. 1, pp. 82-82 (5th ed., p. 90); the theologian of the Parisian St. Sergius Institute, Vladimir Lossky, Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, p. 111; and the disciple of Elder Sophrony, Archimandrite Zacharias, The Hidden Man of the Heart, p. 18.
226 Ethical Discourses 1.1, as found in St. Symeon the New Theologian, On the Mystical Life: The Ethical Discourses: Vol. I: The Church and the Last Things, p. 21.
227 Dn. Andrei is a professor of theology at St. Tikhon’s Theological Institute in Moscow, and a Senior Research Assistant in the Religious Philosophy and Religious Affairs Department within the Department of Philosophy at Moscow State University.
228 From an article entitled: “Dn. Kuraev: Can an Orthodox Become an Evolutionist?” posted on the American Orthodox Institute’s Observer blog.
229 On the Origin of Man 2.6-7, as found in GCEM, p. 208.
230 Commentary on Genesis 2.7.2, FC 91, pp. 101-102.
231 Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos: Epistles, pp. 203-204.
232 “Creation and the End of Ages,” found online at the blog Mystagogy.
233 The Northern Thebaid, pp. 43, 45. For more information concerning blessed relations between man and animals, including numerous lives of Saints depicting such a relationship, see Animals and Man: A State of Blessedness by Joanne Stefanatos, D.V.M. (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine).
234 GCEM, p. 333.
235 Liturgically, this concept is applied to those Saints known as “Venerable,” and can be seen in the common Troparion formula for such Saints, which reads: “The image of God was truly preserved in you, O Father (Mother), / for you took up the Cross and followed Christ …” For examples, see Venerable Isidore of Pelusium on February 4, Venerable Martha the Mother of the Venerable Simeon Stylites the Younger on July 4, and Venerable Abramius the Recluse of Mesopotamia on October 29.
236 Homilies on Genesis 25.5, FC 82, p. 136 [25.16] as found in GCEM, in a note on pp. 333-334.
237 Commentary on Genesis 6.10.2, FC 91, p. 140. For his commentary on the peace between animals and between animals and Adam before his sin, see p. 103 in his Commentary.
238 See chapter 68, “Adam’s Friends,” in His Life and Works, pp. 584-590.
239 Homilies in Genesis 12.2, Tvoreniya 4, pp. 95-96 [FC 74, pp. 158-160 (12.4-6)], as found in GCEM, pp. 210-211.
240 On the Creation of the World 5.5, Tvoreniya 6, p. 791 [trans. Robert C. Hill, p. 67], as found in GCEM, p. 226.
241 Oration 45: Second Oration on Pascha 8, NPNF 2, 7, p. 245, as found in GCEM, p. 226.
242 The Scroll, Six Chapters on Mental Prayer 2, in The Orthodox Word, no. 48 (1973), pp. 18-19 [Little Russian Philokalia vol. 4, p. 31], as found in GCEM, p. 227.
243 The Skete Rule 9, Prepodobnyy NТl Sorski pervoosnovatel’ skitskago zhitiya v Rossii, I ustav ego o zhitel’stve skitskom (St. Nilus of Sora, Founder of Skete Life in Russia, and His Rule of Skete Life) [trans. George A. Maloney, p. 105], as found in GCEM, p. 226.
244 GCEM, p. 222.
245 On Commandments and Doctrines 10, Dobrotolyubiye 5, 2nd ed. (1900), p. 181 [Philokalia vol. 4, p. 213], as found in GCEM, pp. 223, 456; On Commandments and Doctrines 11, Philokalia vol. 4, p. 214, as found in GCEM, p. 456.
246 Ethical Discourses 1.1, as found in On the Mystical Life, p. 26.
247 See GCEM, pp. 451-457.
248 Gen. 3:17-19, GCEM pp. 269-274.
249 For other references to the qualitatively different pre-fallen nature of the earth and vegetation which contained nothing poisonous or hurtful to man, see St. Theophilus of Antioch, To Autolycus 2.19; St. Ephraim the Syrian, Commentary on Genesis 2.7; St. Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion 52.2, trans. Frank Williams, vol. 2, p. 69; St. Basil the Great, Hexaemeron 3.6; the Venerable Bede, Commentary on Genesis 1:29-30, ACW, p. 131; St. Nilus of Sora, The Skete Rule 9; St. Paisius Velichkovsky, The Scroll, 6 Chapters on Mental Prayer, chap. 2; St. Philaret the Metropolitan of Moscow (1782-1867), Commentary on the Book of Genesis, p. 42; St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, Slovo o cheloveke (Homily on Man), p. 19, as found in GCEM, p. 708; the Serbian-American missionary-priest Fr. Sebastian Dabovich (1863-1940), Preaching in the Russian Church, p. 101; Archimandrite Ephraim, Creation and the End of Ages; and Fr. Nikita Grigoriev, Faith and Delusion, pp. 9-10.
250 “God’s Breath in Ape’s Body: From a Letter to Fr. Seraphim Rose on the Evolution of Man,” p. 22.
251 The Six Dawns 2.
252 “The Lord Yahweh of Glory in the Old and New Testaments Part 2,” as found online at the website dedicated to the works of Fr. John Romanides, www.romanity.org. See St. John Damascene’s Exact Exposition 1.11 in which he argues that the things said about God in the Old Testament as though He had a body are in fact symbols for His immaterial energies, and serve as foreshadowings of the coming Incarnation. They are not describing the flesh of the timeless Logos as Kalomiros argues. And St. Peter Damascene quotes a hymn of St. John from the Octoechos (Tone 4, Sunday Matins, Canon to the Theotokos, Ode 8, Troparion): “In the tent Abraham saw the mystery that is in you, O Mother of God; for he received your Son fleshless,” Book II: Twenty-Four Discourses, XIII: Knowledge of the Angelic Order, as found in Philokalia vol. 3, p. 251. See also Archimandrite Zacharias’ The Enlargement of the Heart p. 202, where he specifically states that when the Logos appeared to the three holy youths in the furnace (Dan. 3:24-25), He was not yet incarnate, and thus without flesh, and was like an angel, as the Old Testament refers to Him as “the Angel of Great Counsel” (Isa. 9:6 LXX).
253 On the Origin of Man 1.16-17, Sc 160.207-11 [PPS 30, pp. 43-45], as found in GCEM, p. 200.
254 On the Making of Man 16.10, NPNF 2, vol. 5, p. 405, as found in GCEM, pp. 199-200.
255 On the Making of Man 16.11, NPNF 2, vol. 5, p. 405. While the Fathers as a whole attribute the image of God to the spiritual nature of man, as God is incorporeal, it is nevertheless necessarily bound up with the physical nature of man, for being created according to the image of God and being called to attain the likeness of God makes man naturally a vessel of grace, and the soul mediates this grace to the body which is also called to be transfigured, and this is why the Church preserves and venerates the relics of the Saints.
256 Na Bogocovecanskom putu (On the Divine-Human Path), pp. 215-216, as found in GCEM, pp. 810-811; also found online as “St. Justin Popovich: Orthodoxy and the Theory of Evolution: The God-man Evolution” at the blog Mystagogy.
257 My Life in Christ, pp. 41-42.
258 See Q and A #3 at the online “TalkOrigins Archive” page “Frequently Asked Questions.”
259 GCEM, p. 219.
260 “God’s Breath in Ape’s Body,” pp. 14, 15.
261 “Genesis as Primary Vision: Fr. Seraphim Rose’s Response to Dr. Kalomiros,” pp. 54-60. Also in GCEM, pp. 479-489; cf. pp. 215, 624-626, 628. The Scriptures themselves seemingly teach that the man’s body was created before his soul, but this is in fact not the teaching of the great Saints of the Church.
262 “God’s Breath in Ape’s Body,” p. 16.
263 De Beer received his MA from the University of South Africa, with a dissertation concerning the ontology of John Scottus Eriugena. His status as a doctoral student is current as of May 25, 2010, as provided at the bottom of his article “Genesis, Creation and Evolution” on the website orthodoxytoday.org.
264 In his “The Origins of the World and Mankind: An Attempt to Reconcile the Biblical Account with Scientific Discoveries,” Bishop Alexander (Mileant) of Buenos Aires (ROCOR) (1938-2005) draws upon the Hebrew Scriptures to make the same argument. He notes that Gen. 1:27 states that God created (bara) man, meaning to create from nothing, while Gen. 2:7 states that God formed (asa) man, meaning to form from pre-existing materials. Identifying Adam as one of a larger population, he concludes that the Scriptures speak of “First, the making of his physical human-like form, and then the endowment of a soul to one of them, who became the historical Adam[.]” This work is available online at his www.fatheralexander.org site. It should be noted that the distinction between the “creation” and “formation” of man is legitimate, and is spoken of by St. Basil the Great, but the conclusion drawn from it by Bishop Alexander, with no Patristic support — that Adam was called out from a population of beasts — is illegitimate. St. Basil writes: “God created the inward man, and fashioned the outward man. Fashioning is suited to the clay, and creation to that which is in the image. Thus, the flesh was fashioned, but the soul was created” (On the Origin of Man 2.3, SC 160.233 [PPS 30, p. 50], as found in GCEM, p. 213). But whereas Bishop Alexander sees man’s formation from the dust as an evolutionary process indistinct from the formation of lower beasts, it is precisely this miraculous formation from the dust, by the “hands” of God, that makes man unique in the teaching of St. Basil. Elsewhere in the same work he writes: “Above, the text says that God created; here it says how God created. If the verse had simply said that God created, you could have believed that He created [man] as He did the beasts, the wild animals, the plants, the grass. This is why, to avoid your placing him in the class of wild animals, the Divine word has made known the particular art which God has used for you: God took of the “dust from the earth” (2.4, SC 260.233 [PPS 30, p. 51], as found in GCEM, p. 212). Furthermore, St. Basil’s conviction that each creative act of God is accomplished instantaneously, seen throughout his Hexaemeron indicates that he also understands the creation of man, body and soul, to be simultaneous, as is taught by other Fathers.
265 In his The Six Dawns 1ί, Dr. Kalomiros goes this far as well. He writes: “When we add up the years of Adam’s life and of his descendants, we find that Adam must have lived very recently, that is, about five thousand, five hundred years before Christ. It is a very late period in human history. Outside of Paradise, therefore, there existed not only other people, but many other people. Why, then, do we call Adam the ‘first-made’ man? What does first- made mean? There were two Adams, the first and the second. The first one begot us unto corruptibility. The second one begot us unto incorruptibility. Neither was the first one chronologically first, however, nor was the second one chronologically last. Each of them was preceded and followed by many people.” For him, human history existed before Adam, and Adam is our forefather only symbolically, in the sense of being the first to sin. For this he offers no Patristic support.
266 “Genesis, Creation, and Evolution,” orthodoxyToday.org.
267 See, for instance, Alix Spiegel’s article “Is Believing In God Evolutionarily Advantageous?” found online at the NPR website. Spiegel writes: “In the history of the world, every culture in every location at every point in time has developed some supernatural belief system. And when a human behavior is so universal, scientists often argue that it must be an evolutionary adaptation along the lines of standing upright. That is, something so helpful that the people who had it thrived, and the people who didn’t slowly died out until we were all left with the trait.”
268 Dean James A. Coucouzis as a Model of Priesthood: Archbishop Iakovos’ Ministry at the Annunciation Cathedral of New England (1942-1954), pp. 460-461, as found online at the blog Mystagogy as “Archbishop Iakovos on Spiritualism, Materialism and Darwinism.”
269 GCEM, p. 219.
270 Sketch Concerning Man, pp. 87-88, as found in Constantine Cavarnos’ Biological Evolutionism, pp. 28-29.
271 Through the Prison Window? pp. 39-40, as found in St. Justin Popovich, The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism, p. 162.
272 See his “Children in Paradise: Adam and Eve as ‘Infants in Irenaeus of Lyons,” particularly the section “Iconic and Symbolic Value Through Factual History” on pp. 9-10, where he concludes: “There is symbolism to be had in the histories, but the symbolism is lost if the history did not in actuality take place as history.”
273 Many canonical and Patristic quotes referring to Adam and Eve are available at this author’s Old Believing blog at the post “Adam and Eve were literally the first people and were created uniquely from all other creatures and subsequent people.”
274 “What the Allegorist Origen Taught About Adam and Eve,” found online at the Mystagogy blog. This article examines several passages wherein Origen mentions Adam and Eve and shows that he routinely speaks of them as literal people.
275 Fr. Anthony, born in 1925, served the Holy Trinity parish in San Francisco from 1955 until his repose in 2004. See his entry at sanfranciscogreeks.com by Jim Lucas.
276 His response to Fr. Anthony is on pp. 564-566, in a section of GCEM entitled “Christian Evolutionism” which is not from the New Valaam Theological Academy talks, but is a composite drawn from an Orthodox Survival Course lecture in 1λιη, a chapter on “Christian Evolutionism” written in cooperation with Alexey Young, and Fr. Seraphim’s notes on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1κκ1-1955), the French Jesuit, paleontologist and geologist, who took part in the discoveries of Peking Man and Piltdown Man.
277 See The Synaxarion: The Lives of the Saints of the Orthodox Church vol. 2: November, December, by Hieromonk Makarios of Simonos Petra, p. 469. Fr. Makarios, speaking of them as literal people, notes that although Adam and Eve caused the fall of the cosmos God did not withhold His mercy from them.
278 See also the article “Was Adam an actual or a symbolic figure, according to the Fathers of the Church?” from the Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries website.
279 And furthermore, St. John Damascene writes: “Whether they are equals in essence or differ from one another we know not. God, their Creator, Who knoweth all things, alone knoweth,” Exact Exposition 2.3, NPNF 2, vol. 9, p. 19b.
280 Paradise 10.48, FC vol. 42, p. 327.
281 City of God 12.27, NPNF 1, vol. 2, p. 244.
282 St. Cyril, Commentary on Romans 5:18-19, as found in GCEM, p. 713; St. Gregory, Homily 5.1, as found in GCEM, p. 725; St. Maximus, Questions and Answers 3, PG 788B, in “The Mystery of Marriage in a Dogmatic Light” by Bishop Artemy (Rantosavlievich) in Divine Ascent: A Journal of Orthodox Faith vol. 1, nos. 3-4. See also Tertullian, A Treatise on the Soul 40; the Hieromartyr St. Cyprian of Carthage (c. 200-258), Epistle to Fidus (68) chapter 5; St. Pacian of Barcelona (c. 310-391), whose holiness is eulogized by St. Jerome, Discourse on Baptism, Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church 17 (1842) pp. 378-384, found online at the tertullian.org site “Early Church Fathers – Additional Texts” Theodoret of Cyrus, Questions on Genesis 43, Library of Early Christianity 1, p. 93; Venerable Bede, On Genesis, p. 92; Form of a Last Will and Testament, included by St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite (c. 1749-1809) in the book of ecclesiastical canons, The Rudder.
283 GCEM p. 219.
284 Apology 48 pp. 52-53.
285 Professor Ioan Vladuca (1970- ), a Romanian Orthodox biomathematician, professor of Apologetics at the University of Bucharest between 1997 and 2005, and monastic novice (as of June 2012), who is a well known speaker on many topics, including evolution, has written of several pre-Darwinian “evolutionists.” His work “About Evolutionism” can be read online at the Romanian Orthodox website “Orthodox Advices.” He also wrote an article specifically on Fr. Seraphim, defending him against the accusations of Abp. Lazar Puhalo and Dr. Alexander Kalomiros. This work, “In Defense of the Venerable Fr. Seraphim” is available online. The word in the original Romanian translated as “venerable” — “cuviosuly” is the equivalent of the Russian “prepodobny” and the Greek “osios.” See pages 70-71 above.
286 The Twelve Feasts of the Lord: An Introduction to the Twelve Feasts and Orthodox Christology, pp. 171-172.
287 Stromata 2.19, ANF vol. 2, p. 369.
288 GCEM, p. 219.
289 Ibid.
290 On the Origin of Man 1.3, as found in GCEM, p. 195.
291 2.1-2, as found in GCEM p. 197.
292 Theodoret of Cyrus quoted in Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow and Kolomena, Pravoslavno-dogmaticheskoye bogosloviye (Orthodox Dogmatic Theology), vol. pp. 430-443, as found in GCEM, p. 212. See also St. Theophilus of Antioch, To Autolycus 2.18.
293 On the Origin of Man 2.4, SC 260.233 [PPS 30, p. 51], as found in GCEM, p. 212.
294 From the article “Hominid Species.”
295 GCEM, p. 218.
296 On the Orthodox Faith 2.12, FC 37, p. 235, as found in GCEM, p. 218.
297 The person of Origen was anathematized by the Church in Canon 11 of the 5th Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 553. This particular teaching was also anathematized in the first of the fifteen anathemas against Origen, and in the first of nine anathemas against Origen written by St. Justinian the Emperor (483-565).
298 On the Making of Man 29.1-2; as found in GCEM, pp. 218-219.
299 As found in On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, pp. 73-74.
300 Introduction to the Book of the Blessed Hesychios, as found in Elder Basil of Poiana Marului: Spiritual Father of St. Paisy Velichkovsky, pp. 76-77. See also St. Peter of Alexandria, Fragment VI – On the Soul and Body, ANF vol. 6, p. 283.
301 SCR 5301: Israel’s Origins (Fall 2010), St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, class handouts, p. 104.
302 GCEM, p. 240.
303 Commentary on Genesis 2, Tvoreniya 6, p. 315 [FC 91, p. 105 (2.12.1)], as found in GCEM, p. 245. On the creation of Eve from Adam’s rib, Fr. Seraphim also quotes on pages 240-245 a passage of St. Ambrose already quoted in this work, Paradise 10.48, FC vol. 42, p. 327 (see p. 87 and n. 280 above) as well as St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386), Catechetical Lectures 12.29, NPNF 2, vol. 7 p. 80; and St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Genesis 15.2-3, Tvoreniya 4, pp. 121-122 [FC 74, pp. 198, 200 (15.6-7, 11)], and On the Creation of the World 5.8, Tvoreniya 6, p. 796 [trans. Robert C. Hill, p. 71]; and on p. 486 he quotes St. Seraphim of Sarov, Conversation on the Aim of the Christian Life 5, p. 26 in Little Russian Philokalia vol. 1, pp. 82-82 (5th ed., p. 90). In a footnote on p. 245, Fr. Damascene also points to other passages from St. John Chrysostom and St. Ephraim the Syrian, as well as St. John Damascene, On the Orthodox Faith 4.24, FC 37, p. 394. See also pages 281n, 303n, 410, 431n, 432, 432- 433n, 436, 443-445, 446n, 486, 489, 643, 672-673.
304 On Genesis, p. 122. See also St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue With Trypho 84; Tertullian, A Treatise On the Soul 43; St. Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion 1.2; St. Augustine, City of God 12.27; St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 31.11: Fifth Theological Oration; St. Gregory the bishop of Tours (c. 538-593/4), History of the Franks 1.1; St. Sophronios (c. 560-638), the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Synodical Letter 2.4.3: Profession of Creation, found online as “St. Sophronius on Creation” at Classical Christianity. St. Photius the Great (c. 810- c. 893), the Patriarch of Constantinople, Homily 9: On the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God 5 pp. 167-168, as found in GCEM p. 433; St. Symeon the New Theologian, Ethical Discourses 1.1; St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite, Interpretation of Canon 17 of the Council of Gangra, found in The Rudder, p. 529; Patriarch Pavle of Serbia (1914-2009), Clarifying Some Questions About Our Faith, vol. 1 [in Serbian], p. 16, as found in GCEM, p. 30.”
305 All translations were made from the Greek by Dr. Kalomiros, but the corresponding passages can be found in On the Creation of Man Chapter H’ P.G. 33 145C, 148B-C, and 148 B’. These quotes are as found in “God’s Breath in Ape’s Body,” p. 12.
306 Ibid.
307 GCEM, pp. 142-144.
308 Against Eunomius 1.34, NPNF 2, vol. 5, p. 81; Answer to Eunomius’ Second Book, NPNF 2, vol. 5, p. 299, both as found in GCEM p. 430. See also the footnote on GCEM p. 144.
309 In Defense of the Holy Hesychasts (The Triads) [French translation], 1.1.11, p. 34, and 1.1.12, p. 36; as found in GCEM, pp. 466-467.
310 GCEM, p. 694.
311 Conversation of St. Seraphim of Sarov on the Aim of the Christian Life 5, Little Russian Philokalia vol. 1, pp. 81- 82 [5th ed., p. 90], as found in GCEM, p. 250. Fr. Seraphim also quotes St. John Chrysostom who writes that Adam and Eve “were not weighed down by bodily needs,” Homilies on Genesis 15.4, Tvoreniya 4, pp. 123-124 [FC 74, pp. 202-203 (15.14)], as found in GCEM, p. 247.
312 Homilies on Genesis 18.4, Tvoreniya 4, pp. 160-161 [FC 82, pp. 10-11 (18.12)], as found in GCEM, p. 204. See also his Homilies on Genesis 15.14, FC 82, pp. 202-203, and his On Virginity 14.
313 On the Orthodox Faith 4.24, FC 37, p. 394, as found in GCEM, p. 204.
314 Commentary on the Psalms (Psalm 50:5), PG 27.240CD, as found in GCEM, p. 722.

As Fr. Damascene writes in a note on GCEM, p. 722, St. Maximus repeated this interpretation of St. Athanasius verbatim in his Questions and Doubts I.3 (Corpus Christianorum. Series Graeca. 1-:138-139, trans. Despina D. Prassas, pp. 141-142). The connection of the Davidic line “conceived in iniquities” with sexual reproduction is also made by St. Augustine the Archbishop of Canterbury (d. c. 604), as recorded by the Venerable Bede in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, London: Penguin Books, 1990, pp. 85-86; the Byzantine commentator on the Psalms, Euthymius Zigabenos (d. c. 1118), Commentary on the Psalter [in Russian], p. 401, as found in Archimandrite  Luke  (Holy  Trinity,  Jordanville, NY),  “New  Age  Philosophy, Orthodox  Thought,  and Marriage,” Orthodox Life no. 3, 1997, as found online at the Orthodox Christian Information Center; and St. Gregory Palamas in his Homily 5, 14, 16, 43, and 52 in Homilies, pp. 36, 102, 117, 342. 410.

315 On the Making of Man 17.1-3. Fr. Seraphim quotes from this passage in GCEM, p. 251.
316 Ad Thalassium 61, in On the Cosmic Mystery of Christ. The pleasure-pain principle had earlier been taught by St. Gregory of Nyssa in his Sermon on Easter, PG 46, 601- 604, quoted in Callinicos, Constantine. Our Lady the Theotokos, p. 49, and is also found in St. Hesychios the Priest (c. 8th C.), Sermon on the Presentation, PG 93, 1469 as quoted in Ibid., p. 50; and St. John Damascene, Exact Exposition 4.14.
317 See also St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3.22.4; Tertullian, Against Marcion 4.38; St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 40.2: On Holy Baptism; St. Jerome, Against Jovinian 1.16; Theodoret of Cyrus, Questions on Genesis 37.2; St. Diadachos of Photiki (c. 400 – c. 486), On Spiritual Knowledge and Discrimination: One Hundred Texts, in Philokalia vol. 1, p. 269; St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent Step 15; St. Symeon the New Theologian, The Ethical Discourses 13, p. 167; George of Zadonsk (1789-1836), Letters…, Saint Petersburg, “Letter #115,” p. 110, as found in Archimandrite Luke, “New Age Philosophy, Orthodox Thought, and Marriage” Dr. Christopher Veniamin, St. Gregory Palamas: The Homilies, p. 557 n. 194.
318 The Church at Prayer: The Mystical Liturgy of the Heart, p. 124.
319 On Virginity 8 NPNF 2, vol. 5, pp. 352-352, as found in GCEM, p. 205.
320 See p. 64 and n. 214 above.
321 The Rudder, p. 673.
322 Ibid., p. 674.
323 Oration 45: Second Oration on Pascha 7, NPNF 2 vol. 7, p. 425, as found in GCEM, p. 198.
324 Homily 45.4, as found in GCEM, p. 209.
325 On the Orthodox Faith 2.11, FC 37, p. 232, as found in GCEM, p. 228.
326 Paradise 14, FC 42, p. 348, as found in GCEM, p. 263.
327 Homilies on Romans 14.5, Tvoreniya 9, p. 665, as found in GCEM, pp. 271-272; Ibid. 10.2, p. 595, as found in GCEM, p. 272.
328 Fifty Spiritual Homilies 11.5, in Dukhovniya besedy, poslaniye I slova, p. 86, as found in GCEM, p. 272.
329 On Commandments and Doctrines 82, Dobrotolyubiye 5, 2nd ed. (1900), p. 195 [Philokalia vol. 4, p. 228], as found in GCEM, pp. 486-487.
330 Homily 13.12-13, pp. 247-248, as found in “Created in Incorruption” in GCEM, pp. 741-742.
331 Again, see the many Patristic and modern quotes are gathered at this author’s Old Believing blog at the post “the entire creation was created incorrupt.”
332 See Archimandrite Zacharias, The Hidden Man of the Heart, p. 20.
333 Enlargement of the Heart, p. 168.
334 GCEM, p. 273. Fr. Damascene quotes this teaching from St. Ephraim the Syrian, Commentary on Genesis 2.34.1, FC 91, p. 122, on GCEM, p. 276n; and in “Created in Incorruption,” pp. 743-74θ he dedicates a section to “Why God Allowed the Entrance of Death and Suffering,” in which he quotes from St. John Chrysostom, St. Irenaeus of Lyons, St. Gregory the Theologian, St. Mark the Ascetic, St. Maximus the Confessor, Theodoret of Cyrus, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Basil the Great.
335 As found in GCEM p. 472.
336 GCEM, p. 482. What Fr. Seraphim writes here broadly corresponds to St. Maximus’ understanding of “natural contemplation,” mentioned earlier – that the spiritually illumined man discerns the entire creation to be bound together in and moving towards the Divine Logos and is thus drawn towards the Divine Logos. See Dr. Christopher Veniamin, St. Gregory Palamas: The Homilies p. 534, n. 27.
337 Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, p. 101, 126, as found in GCEM, p. 482n.
338 Against the Heathen 41, On the Incarnation of the Word 3-5.
339 See Fr. Damascene’s treatment of the “Orthodox evolutionist” use of St. Athanasius in the footnote on GCEM, pp. 494-495, as well as his discussion of man’s original nature in his “Created in Incorruption,” in GCEM, pp. 738- 741.
340 Against the Heathen 41, NPNF 2 vol. 4, p. 26.
341 On the Incarnation of the Word 4, 5, NPNF 2 vol. 4, p. 38.
342 Against the Heathen 41. See also Fr. Georges Florovsky’s article “The Concept of Creation in St. Athanasius.”
343 As found in On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, p. 73.
344 Ambiguum 8, as found in Ibid., p. 76.
345 Ambiguum 7, as found in Ibid., p. 50.
346 Exact Exposition 3.20, 28, NPNF 2 vol. 9, pp. 68-69, 72.
347 Homily 16.5: “On Holy and Great Saturday,” p. 117. See also especially notes Dr. Christopher Veniamin’s notes 208 and 209 on pp. 559-560.
348 To Autolycus 2.24,27. The same argument is later presented by St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite. See p. 101 above.
349 On Genesis, p. 95.
350 Dr. Christopher Veniamin, commenting on Homily Forty-Six of St. Gregory Palamas, writes that “the natural state (kata physin), in which Adam was created [was], although not yet perfect (not yet Christlike in every way), was one full of virtue,” in Homilies, p. 610 n .696.
351 Teachings Profitable for the Soul 1, in Dushepoleznya poucheniya, pp. 19-20, 22, 28, as found in GCEM, pp. 472-473.
352 St. Abba Isaiah the Solitary, Homilies to the Disciples 2.1, “On the Natural Law,” Dobrotolyubiye 1, 2nd ed. (1883), p. 293 [trans. John Chryssavgis and Pachomius (Robert) Penkett, p. 43], as found in GCEM, p. 473.
353 Dec. 22, Matins, Theotokion of the Sixth Canticle of the Canon, as found in GCEM, p. 474. On the same page he also quotes from the Menaion for Jan. 23, Matins, Theotokion of the Fifth Canticle of the Canon.
354 GCEM, p. 275. In the footnote on pp. 275-6, Fr. Damascene references many Fathers who interpret the “coats of skin” literally, and figuratively as representing man’s newfound corruptibility and mortality.
355 Homily 31.1, in The Homilies p. 242; Homily 35.18: On the Transfiguration II, p. 281.
356 Creation and the End of Ages, at the blog Mystagogy. It is said that the previous abbot of Vatopaidi, the Elder Joseph (1921-2009), a spiritual child of the great Elder Joseph the Hesychast (1897-1959), was granted a vision of Creation, in which he beheld the acts of God exactly as Moses and the Fathers have described them. See, for instance, the comment posted by Fr Patrick (Priest-monk Patrick), who has been a long-term visitor to Vatopaidi, on February 29, 2012 at 12:38 pm at the article “Cosmological/Geological Age, Evolution, Physical laws and Biblical time lines,” on Perry C. Robinson’s Energetic Procession blog. This has also been communicated directly to the author from another visitor to Vatopaidi.
357 Bright Faith: Father Artemy Vladimirov Talks with Western Orthodox Christians p. 70.
358 To Autolycus 2.17.
359 Various Texts on Theology, the Divine Economy, and Virtue and Vice: Fourth Century, 33, as found in Philokalia vol. 2, p. 243. St. Maximus speaks of that which is “according to nature” and that “contrary to nature” continually throughout these “five centuries.”
360 Exact Exposition 2.12, NPNF 2 vol. 9, p. 31b.
361 A Century of Spiritual Texts 1, as found in Philokalia vol. 2, p. 14. Many works in The Philokalia, including those of St. Makarios of Egypt, St. Isaiah the Solitary, St. Mark the Ascetic (b. 5th C.), St. John Damascene, St. Ilias the Presbyter (late 11th-early 12th C.), St. Peter Damascene (12th C.), and St. Gregory of Sinai, among others refer to the “according to-contrary to nature” paradigm.
362 Homilies, p. 117, §5.
363 Selected Writings, as found in the Orthodox ‘zine Death to the World 18, p. 15. That the incorrupt state of creation before the Fall is according to nature and that the condition of fallen man, and indeed of all creation is contrary to nature, see also St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 3.23.5 and Proof of Apostolic Preaching 14; Caelius Sedulius (Italian priest and poet, d. c. 450), Carmen Paschale 2:28-34; St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite’s interpretation of the previously mentioned Canon 120 of Carthage, in The Rudder pp. 673-674; St. Hilarion Troitsky (Abp. of Verey, Hieromartyr, 1886-1929), “The Incarnation and Humility,” in Moscow Church Herald 1913, nos. 51-52, reprint in There is no Christianity Without the Church (2007), p. 349, as found in GCEM, pp. 799-801; Vladimir Lossky, Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, pp. 101, 126; and Fr. John Romanides, Original Sin According to St. Paul, from St. Vladimir’s Seminary Quarterly, Vol. IV, Nos. 1 and 2, 1955-1956, found online at The Orthodox Christian Information Center.
364 Fr. Zacharias, Hidden Man of the Heart, p. 20. See also his Enlargement of the Heart, p. 27.
365 This essay is appended to his Nihilism (2009), p. 110.
366 GCEM, p. 252. He expresses the same idea in his introduction to St. Symeon’s, The First-Created Man (2001), p. 15.
367 St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 5.32.1; St. Macarius the Great, On the Freedom of the Nous 150, in Philokalia vol. 3, p. 353; St. Basil the Great, On the Origin of Man 2.6-7; St. Gregory of Nyssa, On the Making of Man 17; the author of the Great Canon read in Lent, St. Andrew of Crete (c. 650 – c. 740), Homily I on the Nativity, PG 87, 809; St. Gregory of Sinai, On Commandments and Doctrines 82.11, Philokalia vol. 4, p. 228; Archimandrite Ephraim of Vatopaidi, Creation and the End of Ages; and Archimandrite Naum (elder of Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra), ed. About Paschalia, quoted in the article “Orthodox Calendar” found online at the The Voice of Russia website.
368 GCEM, p. 252.
369 See especially GCEM, pp. 333-33κ, including Fr. Damascene’s footnote on p. 33ι in which he refers to the teaching of St. Theophilus of Antioch, St. Justin Martyr, St. Irenaeus, St. Gregory the Theologian, St. Ambrose, St. Macarius the Great, St. Epiphanius of Salamis, St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, St. Cyril of Alexandria, the Venerable Bede, St. Symeon the New Theologian, and St. Gregory Palamas that the flood was indeed a universal event. See also the Patristic research concerning the flood at Rob Bradshaw’s Creationism and the Early Church website.
370 The 2011 edition of GCEM also includes several helpful appendices, some quoted from in this paper, including Fr. Damascene’s “Created in Incorruption,” “Modern Saints and Elders on Evolutionism,” “Biological Evidence and the Neo-Darwinian Paradigm” by Yuri Zharikov, Ph.D. a biologist and zoologist, and “The Age of the Earth and the Rate of Geological Processes” by Alexander Lalomov, Ph.D., a geologist, as well as a section on suggested Patristic and scientific resources.
371 For instance, Dn. Andrei Kuraev’s aforementioned article “Can an Orthodox Become an Evolutionist?” begins by attributing the Russian movement against Darwinism to the influence of Protestant Fundamentalism, without reference to a single Orthodox Saint who has spoken against evolution, although Russia has seen many.
372 The only other modern voices that Fr. Seraphim refers to are those of St. Nektarios of Pentapolis (pp. 495, 497, 618) and Fr. George Calciu (p. 107). He specifically mentions that he had seen neither the Hexaemeron of St. John of Kronstadt, nor the Commentary on the Book of Genesis by St. Philaret of Moscow (pp. 115-116). The appendix of twenty “Modern Saints and Elders on Evolutionism,” in the 2ί11 edition of GCEM (pp. ικι-821) compiled by Fr. Damascene, and the many other modern witnesses as provided by Fr. Damascene in footnotes throughout the work demonstrate that Fr. Seraphim was of one mind with the greatest Saints and elders of our times.
373 See pp. 37-38 and n. 108 above. St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ, p. 509; Elder Cleopa, Elder Cleopa of Sihastria, p. 154; Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Monastic Wisdom, pp. 50, 241, 363; Fr. Philotheos Zervakos, Paternal Counsels vol. 2, pg. 41; Archimandrite Naum, About Paschalia.

That God created in the spring is also written by St. Ephraim the Syrian, Commentary on Genesis 1, Tvoreniya 6, p. 287 [FC 91, p. 80 (1.8.1)]; St. Ambrose, Hexaemeron 1.13, FC 42, p. 13, as found in GCEM, p. 194; the Venerable Bede, On Genesis, pp. 79-80; and St. John Damascene, Exact Exposition 2.7. Well-known ROCOR priest, Fr. Alexander Lebedeff (1950- ) even argues that the Church typikon is based on Adam having been created on Friday March 1, 5508 BC. See his “The Late, Great Typikon,” at the website of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Washington, D.C.

374 Christ is Calling You!, pp. 152, 154-155.
375 Lives of the 20th Century Russian New Martyrs and Confessors of the Moscow Diocese: Sept-Oct (2003) (by Met. Juvenaly of Krutitsa and Kolomena),as found in GCEM, p. 804.
376 GCEM, pp. 802-804.
377 See p. 59 and n. 194 above.
378 Fr. Constantine Bufeyev, Editor’s preface to Pravoslavnoye osmysleniye tvoreniya mira I sovremennaya nauka, vol. 4 (2008), p. 3, as found in GCEM, p. 70.
379 Met. Hilarion Alfeyev, interview by Dmitry Didrov and Dmitry Gubin, Temporarily Open, ATV, May 1, 2009 [in Russian], as found in GCEM, pp. 70-71n.
380 See “Lazar (Puhalo) of Ottawa” online at OrthodoxWiki.
381 “Dancing with Unicorns: Creationism,” on YouTube. On his uncritical acceptance of “science,” see also his video “Reality of Transgender 1/1” on YouTube, in which he argues the dualistic notion that a person’s identity, contained in the mind, can be one gender while their body is another.
382 See p. 13 and n. 27 above.
383 GCEM, pp. 613, 497.
384 Mary’s words are from a series of reminiscences shared at St. Herman’s Monastery on Sept. 2, 2012, at the pilgrimage in honor of the 30th anniversary of Fr. Seraphim’s repose.
385 Interview with Fr. Ambrose, May 6, 2012.
386 The Orthodox Word, vol. 18, no. 4 (105), July-August 1982, pp. 160-176. Available online from the Orthodox Christian Information Center.
387 En Arche, p. xii. Fr. Michael Azkoul has also aimed such comments at Fr. Seraphim in his work The Toll-House Myth: The Neo- Gnosticism of Fr Seraphim Rose. He began as a priest in the Antiochian jurisdiction but later moved to ROCOR where he became closely associated with the aforementioned Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston. He followed them into schism in 1λκι into their “Holy Orthodox Church of North America” (HOCNA), and most recently he has joined the Synod of Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and All Greece (The Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of America). His letter announcing his departure from HOCNA can be read online at NFTU (Notes from the Underground), a site for “True Orthodox news,” as “HOCNA Departure letter of Fr. Michael Aгkoul.”
388 See the opening of his reply to Dr. Kalomiros as found in GCEM, p. 419.
389 GCEM, p. 44; Orthodox Survival Course, unpublished manuscript, pp. 50-51.
390 GCEM, p. 639.
391 Orthodox Apologetic Theology, pp. 124, 126-127. See Fr. Damascene’s note about this teaching of Andreyev on p. 112 of GCEM. Despite this error, Andreyev was no evolutionist, as is evidenced from his section “The Biblical Teaching on Man,” on pp. 124-129.
392 Sketch Concerning Man, pp. 87-88, as found in Constantine Cavarnos’ Biological Evolutionism, pp. 28-29; Melete peri tes Athanasias tes Pysches (Study Concerning the Immortality of the Soul and the Holy Memorial Service), p. 65, as found in Constantine Cavarnos’ Modern Greek Philosophers on the Human Soul, p. 85.
393 St. Ambrose of Optina, Sovety suprugam I roditelyam (Counsels to spouses and parents), as found in GCEM, p. 787; St. Barsanuphius of Optina, Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, p. 488. St. Barsanuphius’ words, of course, came true with Nazism and Communism, both of which were influenced by Darwinism.
394 St. John of Kronstadt, Novyye groznye slova (New stern sermons), p. 91, as found in GCEM, p. 795.
395 Through the Prison Window, pp. 43-44, 91-92, as found in St. Justin Popovich, The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism, pp. 163, 172.
396 Commentary on 1 John, as found online at Classical Christianity as “On Love, Hate and the Origin of Man” Pravoslavna Crkva I Ekumenizam (The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism) (1974), pp. 37-38, p. 25, as found in GCEM, pp. 809-810; On the Divine-Human Path (1980), pp. 215-216, as found in GCEM, pp. 810-812, and also found online at Mystagogy.
397 With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man, pp. 327-329; Spiritual Awakening, pp. 65, 294-296.
398 Elder Paisius (Olaru) of Sihastria and Sihla, “Teachings of Elder Paisius,” Orthodox Word, no. 271 (2010), p. 121, as found in GCEM, p. 813.
399 An Athonite Gerontikon: Sayings of the Holy Fathers of Mount Athos, p. 329.
400 Videt’ Boga kak On est’ (To See God as He Is), p. 238, as found in GCEM, p. 814; St. Vladimir Bogoyavlensky, Gde istinoye shchas’ye: v vere ili neverii? (Where is true happiness?  In faith or unbelief?), pp. 6-18, as found in GCEM, p. 796.
401 Slova na Gospodskiye, Bogorodichnyye, i torzhestvennyye dni (Homilies on Feasts of the Lord and the Theotokos, and festal days), pp. 5, 196; Sobraniye pisem (Collected Letters), vol. 7, p. 145; Mysli na kazhdyy den’ goda po tserkovnym’chteniyam iz slova  Bozhiya  (Thoughts for  Each Day of the Year  According to the Daily Church Readings from the Word of God), pp. 127-128, 227-228, 273; Sozertsaniye i razmyshleniye (Contemplations and Reflections), p. 146; all as found in GCEM, pp. 787-794.
402 His Life and Works, p. 1024.
403 Ibid., p. 1023.
404 “Questions and Answers,” Orthodox Observer, Feb. 20, 1974, as found in GCEM, p. 566.
405 Interview with Fr. Ambrose, May 6, 2012.
406 Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, pp. 104-105.
407 The Triads, Paulist Press (1983), E.3.1.32, p. 87.
408 See His Life and Works, pp. 331, 356, 361, 980, 1020.
409 Ibid., p. 981.
410 See n. 52 above.
411 See p. 78 and n. 256 above.
412 Letter to Bishop Gregory, Nov. 22/Dec. 5, 1980, as found in GCEM, p. 644.
413 Letter of Fr. Seraphim to Fr. –, Sept. 3, 1981, as found in His Life and Works, p. 913 (the priest’s name is not given in the notes of His Life and Works).
414 Editor’s preface to Pravoslavnoye  osmysleniye tvoreniya mira I sovremennaya  nauka,  vol.  4 (2008), p. 5, as found in GCEM, p. 66.

Fr. Damascene’s appendix “Created in Incorruption” is adapted from a talk given at the 2ίίκ Conference of the Shestodnev Center on January 30, 2008. It is also noteworthy that Fr. Daniel Sysoev served as the society’s secretary from its inception. Fr. Daniel was a well-known missionary priest, especially active in mission to Muslims, who was martyred in his own parish on November 19, 2009. Before his death he wrote two books, and edited two anthologies and gave many talks on the subject of Creation-evolution. See GCEM, pp. 66-67.

See also the Center’s website at http://shestodnev.ortox.ru/, and Fr. Constantine’s article “Why an Orthodox Christian Cannot be an Evolutionist,” at the Center’s English website.

415 GCEM, back cover.
416 “Fr. Seraphim Rose: A Gift of God to the Orthodox Church”, The Orthodox Word, Vol. 43, No. 3 (254), May-June, 2007, pp. 134-135.
417 Ibid., p. 140.
418 Homily delivered at the Divine Liturgy on Saturday, September 1, 2ί12, at St. Herman’s Monastery.
419 “Preface,” His Life and Works, p. XII.
420 Ryassaphore Nun Natalia of Holy Cross Skete in CA has written of a trip to Serbia that she met many monks at the Decani Monastery who had been converted and led to monasticism by the writings of Fr. Seraphim Rose. Her pilgrimage journal is found in The Orthodox Word nos. 193-194, pp. 71-100 and is also available online at the website of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren.
421 For a full list of Fr. Seraphim’s works translated into other languages, see the bibliography in His Life and Works.
422 The talk can be viewed on the website “ΑΠΑΝTΑ ΟΡΘΟΞΟΞΙΑ΢” at the posting “http://apantaortodoxias.blogspot.com/2010/03/blog-post_4202.html (Orthodoxy in America with Fr. Theodore Zisis),” and an article about it can be read on the blog Mystagogy” as “Fr. Theodoreo Zisisμ Orthodoxy in America.” On this page the author, John Sanidopoulos, comments that Fr. Theodore speaks of the sainthood of both St. John and Fr. Seraphim.
423 Fr. Peter’s podcast, with a full transcript can be heard on Ancient Faith Radio.
424 The controversy centers on the “toll house” doctrine that Fr. Seraphim teaches, following St. Ignatius Brianchanninov and many other holy Fathers.
425 Interview with Fr. George Calciu (in Romanian), available online. The section concerning Fr. Seraphim Rose was translated by Marius Nitu of Bucharest, Romania.
426 “Postcards from Greece.”
427 Interview with Fr. George (in Romanian).
428 The Soul After Death (1993), pp. 259-260.
429 His Life and Works, p. 1037.
430 Hieroschemamonk Ambrose, “Preface,” His Life and Works, p. XI.
431 St. Silouan the Athonite, pp. 1-2.