Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 19

+ Revd Dr Doru Costache &

Dr Guy Freeland

University of Sydney,
Coptic Orthodox
Fellowship

16 September 2009

Genesis and/or Evolution?


Addressing the ambiguity from
within the logic of the included
middle
+
+
The topic at hand

 The reductionist approach to Genesis and


Evolution, in terms of mutual inconsistency
(the logic of the excluded middle: either/or)
+
The goal

 The reinterpretation of Genesis and Evolution


as two autonomous and incommensurable
representations of reality that function beyond
antagonism – cf. the transdisciplinary notions
of the levels of perception & the logic of the
included middle
+
Genesis as a subject matter of
the warfare of science and
religion

 Religious
fundamentalism: Genesis
is divine science and
there is no need of the
secular one
+
Genesis as a subject matter of
the warfare of science and
religion

 Ideologicalscientism:
there is no valid
knowledge outside
secular sciences
+
Pondering the origins of the
conflict

 Latermedieval theologians of the


West attacked the new emerging
sciences (cosmology, biology) 
Genesis as a scientific textbook,
endorsed by Aristotelian science
+
Pondering the origins of the
conflict

 Modern scientists marginalised


medieval theology – Genesis as a
collection of myths, reflecting a pre-
critical representation of reality
+
Looking beyond the conflict

 Theignored solution: St Gregory


Palamas, One Hundred and Fifty
Chapters 1-29: the autonomy of
science and theology
+
What is Genesis?

A liturgical poem composed by the


Jewish priests during the Babylonian
exile, as a metaphor of divine wisdom
reflected in creation
+
What is Genesis?

 As a liturgical poem, it cannot serve as a source of scientific


knowledge (genre criticism)
 Its main focus is theological, not cosmographical
 The symmetrical structure of the poem
+
What is Genesis?

The symmetrical structure of the poem (form


criticism)

1 light   luminaries 4

2 atmosphere   ocean life & birds 5

& ocean

3 dry land   earthly animals 6

& plants & humanity


+
What is Genesis?
The symmetrical structure of the poem (form
criticism)
1 one   one 4
commandment commandment
2 one   one 5
commandment commandment
3 two   two 6
commandments commandments
+
Patristic approach

 The human vestments of


the text: not just culturally
conditioned but also to
correspond to the ‘earthly
minds’ of the first readers
St Ephrem the Syrian,
+
Commentary on Genesis 1:4

[Moses] wrote about the true commandments that


had become forgotten, while adding those that
were necessary for the infantile state of the
people.
St John Chrysostom,
+
Homilies on Genesis 2:7

[Moses did not speak of angels] since he was


speaking to Jews, people quite wrapped up in the
world about them and incapable of forming any
spiritual notion…
+
What is Evolution?

A naturalistic explanation of
reality that by definition has
nothing to say with
reference to God
+
Are they in conflict?

 Applying the transdisciplinary principle of


the levels of reality and perception 
Genesis and Evolution refer to different
levels of reality by making use of different
methods
+
Are they in conflict?

 Genesis: interpretation of reality in light of


the Logos or divine wisdom
 Evolution: description of reality in its
natural unfolding