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After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways ... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church. ~St. Philaret of NY

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Is Evolutionism a Heresy?


Fr. Seraphim said that evolutionism "by itself" is not a heresy.

From Bufeev: his article, which is included on the Shestsodnev website [and posted below 10/2, four posts back]:
In the non-Christian evolutionism, which denies the Revealed Truth, there is no danger for Christians: them that are without God judgeth (1Cor 5:13).  However, when it comes under the false pretences of Christianity, it becomes extremely dangerous and therefore it must be called a heresy.

The editor of Genesis, Creation and Early Man wrote in his preface to the 2nd edition:
"...a vital point made by Fr. Seraphim:  that our understanding of Genesis and creation affects the whole of our faith as Orthodox Christians, and thus when this understanding is undermined by the modern secular faith of evolutionism, our entire faith is compromised."

To me evolutionism fits the definition of heresy.  It is a false teaching.  It originated in the world, outside the boundaries of our Church, and crept into our Church through a back door.

As Fr. Seraphim said, "by itself" evolutionism is no more a heresy than communism or marxism – we can't go chasing after and anathematizing the errors of the world.  It is not in our jurisdiction.  But when an error, which concerns our dogma and our salvation, enters into our Church and begins to be taught by our own people; then we can call it a heresy.   And we must not ignore it.  Fr. Seraphim did not ignore it.  And neither does Fr. Constantine Bufeyev, owner of the Shestsodnev website.  He started his labors for the true Genesis teaching when one of his student-parishioners in an Orthodox school was given a failing grade on a paper for accepting the Patristic teachings.  His labors have had an effect.  Now there is a Creation-based textbook [blessed by MP Pat. Alexey] which has been approved to supplement the curriculum in Russia's public schools.  Of course it would be nice if MP Pat. Alexey had replaced, rather than supplemented, the Darwinian textbook.  The reluctance of the MP chief hierarchy to denounce Darwinism altogether is apparent, but MP Met. Hilarion  did say, "The time has come to end the monopoly of Darwinism...";  to have equal time/consideration given to the Creation is a monumental step for a country where Creation teachings were recently outlawed.  If only it were so good in America.

In our country we can look back now on Dr. Alexander Kalomiros and see him as a "bad guy" – one of them who wore a black hat.  He was a teacher of Christian evolutionism.  To his further and continued discredit, he is associated even today with the defrocked and scandalous Lev Puhalo [what's the saying?  "Apples don't fall far from the tree" – just run a Google search to see what I mean...].

The editor of  Genesis, Creation and Early Man wrote in his preface to the 2nd edition about the Orthodox evolutionists [remember he is in world Orthodoxy and mainly addressing world Orthodox]:  
Nowadays the "Orthodox evolutionists," in addition to being faced with a growing public awareness of the flaws of evolutionism from the perspective of natural science, must confront a greater awareness among Orthodox Christians that evolutionism is in conflict with Patristic teaching.  Thanks in large part to Fr. Seraphim's work, it is more difficult now than in former times to make such blanket statements as "the Holy Fathers read Genesis not as history but as allegory," or "Patristic teaching is compatible with evolutionism" without being called to account.  To be sure, there are still "Orthodox evolutionists" who make such claims, backing them up with a few Patristic quotes one-sidedly interpreted and ignoring the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  But for those evolutionists who take up the challenge raised by Fr. Seraphim's exposition and actually reckon with the sum of Patristic teaching, such facile evasions are not possible.  If they wish to retain their evolutionary ideas, it seems there remain but two ways to deal with the obvious incompatibility that exists between the Patristic and evolutionary worldviews:  [1] try to find contradictions and errors in the Patristic teaching on Genesis and creation, thereby undermining the Fathers' authority so that it can be replaced by the authority of modern scientism; and [2] frankly acknowledge that the Fathers did regard the Genesis narrative as history and did have a very non-evolutionary view of origins, but that now we must adopt a different views, since we as moderns know better than they.

As should be evident from our previous discussion, both of these closely related methodologies are poles apart from Fr. Seraphim's reverent reception of Patristic wisdom.  The present book is intended for those who, along with Fr. Seraphim, find the modern attitude of "knowing better" unsatisfactory or even repugnant, who are looking for an exposition that embraces the "whole Patristic teaching," not one that distorts or attenuates it in order to make it compatible with the modern secular worldview.  For believers such as these, this book does not aim to be the last word on the subject of Genesis and creation, but rather a primer, an inspiration, and a guidepost for further study and contemplation.  In the words of Fr. Constantine Bufeyev quoted above ...

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 we 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.

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