Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Orthodoxy and the Theory of Evolution (St. Justin Popovich)


The God-Man Evolution

By St. Justin Popovich

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Translation by John Sanidopoulos
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