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Saturday, January 28, 2006

6 Days? It ain't necessarily so!

As a curtain raiser on a lecture I shall be giving at Manchester Metropolitan University in February, here are some quotes from the Church Fathers directly relevant to Creationism and Intelligent Design.

St. Augustine

"Even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds as being certain from reason and experience.

Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.

The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.

If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?"

[Saint Augustine, On the Literal Meaning of Genesis, Book 1, Chapter 19]

Other Witnesses Ancient and Modern

“Scripture gives the common name of wisdom to all the earthly sciences and arts generally, everything that the human mind can achieve… for every art and every knowledge comes from God.”

[Clement of Alexandria]

“Just as in subtle musical harmony every string produces a different sound, one high, another low, so also the Artist and Creator-Word, having installed different inventors for various occupations and arts, has given everything in the possession of all those who wish in order to tie us by the bonds of fellowship and love of man and make our life more civilised.”

[St. Gregory the Theologian]

“Every one who has an intellect recognises scholarship as a primary blessing for us. And not only this noble scholarship of our own, which… has as its subject only salvation and the beauty of what is contemplated by the mind, but also the external scholarship which many Christians abhor out of ignorance as unreliable, dangerous and diverting from God”.

[St. Gregory the Theologian]

“external sciences are not without use”

[St. Basil the Great]

“The faith in Christ is not in conflict with the true knowledge, because it is not in union with ignorance”.

[St. Philaret of Moscow]


jay lassiter said...

that pic is HILARIOUS!
followed by some good analysis!

Mike the Geek said...

The picture is going on my cubicle "wall," and the quotes are going in my toolkit. Thanks!

ooze addai said...

It nice to hear an Orthodox cover this. I first heard this message from evangelical Astrophyicist Hugh Ross. Who did a good job, and then after that I read a good paper on it published in the Orthodox newspaper, "The Christian Activist", which had an essay writen by a Greek Orthodox scientist and lay theologian. It was quite excellent. So much, I made sure to hang onto it since this topic comes up now and again with Protestants.

th said...

Gobbly Goop!

Richard Selby said...


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