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Evolution is the popular name for a set of scientific theories which aim to explain the
apparent similarity of different species and the appearance of complex species later in the
fossil record. In short, evolution means that all life on earth shares a common ancestry which
can traced back to a single species. Orthodox Christians have divergent views on how to react
to this development in science.

In general Orthodox responses can be grouped into two large categories, which we might
label Compatibilism and Incompatibilism.

Compatibilists hold that science and theology are compatible and view them as
complementary revelations of God. As God is the source of both his specific revelation of
himself in the Christian faith and the source of the general revelation of himself in nature, the
findings of science and theology cannot really contradict; the contradictions must be merely
apparent and a resolution possible which is faithful to the truth of God's revelation.

Incompatibilists hold that science can be incompatible with faith. They usually argue either
that science is philosophically based on a kind of naturalism or that God's specific revelation
is infallible and therefore trumps the findings of human reason in the case of any conflict
between them. This is often based on a suspicion of human reason to arrive at reliable
conclusions in the first place.

The development of modern science dates to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, so no
ecumenical council has ever addressed how to integrate it with divine revelation in a coherent
and consistent worldview. As a result, there is not a dogmatic treatment examining how to
resolve conflicts, whether apparent or real, when scientific findings appear to contradict
divine revelation. Many early fathers were happy to use the primitive science of their day to
divine purposes, perhaps suggesting to modern Christians a compatibilist resolution to the
question. Other fathers, however, clearly see conflicts and contradictions which they resolve
in favor of their understanding of Christian revelation.



Reardon, Archpriest Fr. Patrick Henry, Creation and the Patriarchal Histories: Orthodox
Christian Reflections on the Book of Genesis. Conciliar Press, 2008. ISBN 9781888212969

— According to the review by Fr. Hans Jacobse, editor of, the author
writes that the structures of philosophical materialism (evolutionary theory and its flip-side,
scientific creationism), both miss the point; that Genesis reveals that the creation is logo-
centric -- it was created by the Word of God, and it is held together by the Word of God's
power. The word of Scripture, then, is primarily a literary text, not history (itself a narrative)
or a scientific tract.

Rose, Fr Seraphim, Genesis, Creation, and Early Man — Contains a detailed examination of
Patristic teaching related to the discussion of evolution and argues along the lines of modern
creation science. Incompatibilist

Woloschak, Gayle, Beauty and Unity in Creation: The evolution of life. (Minneapolis: Light and
Life, 1996) — Primer on the relationship between evolutionary biology and Orthodoxy by a
scientist. ISBN 1880971275 Compatibilist


Vlachos, Hierotheos, "Orthodox Theology and Science" From the Greek Orthodox Theological
Review. Brookline: Spring 1999. Vol. 44, Iss. 1-4; pg. 131, 19 pgs. A useful introduction to
the broader relationship between science and Orthodox Christianity.


Boojamra, Dr. John, "The Orthodox Idea of Creation" The Word, June 1999, pp.31-34 An
overview of Orthodox cosmology, intended for teachers and youth leaders as a background
for discussion of various educational segments related to creation. Concise and useful for a
general understanding of Orthodox cosmology.

Breck, Archpriest John V. "Ex Nihilo" Life in Christ, February 2008 #1.

Fritts, Kevin Basil, "On the Dogma of Creation" The author is a contributor to this
OrthodoxWiki article.

Hallam, Fr. Gregory, "Orthodoxy and Creationism"

Kalomiros, Dr. Alexandre, "The Six Dawns"

Kuraev, Fr. Deacon Andrey, "Can an Orthodox Become an Evolutionist?"

Kuraev, Fr. Deacon Andrey, "Orthodoxy and Creationism"

Maletis, John P., "Let There Be Light: An Orthodox Christian Theory of Human Evolution for
the 21st Century". Theandros Vol. 5 No. 3.

Metallinos, V. Rev. Prof. Dr. George, "Faith and Science in Orthodox Gnosiology and
Methodology" Very briefly mentions evolution, but overall states the traditional Orthodox
position of separation between divine and earthly knowledge.

Mileant, Bishop Alexander of Buenos Aires and South America (ROCOR). The Origins of the
World and Mankind: An Attempt to Reconcile the Biblical Account with Scientific Discoveries.
Transl. by Karyn and Michael Grigoriev. Ed. by Natalia Semyanko. Holy Trinity Orthodox
Mission, La Canada, California, 2004.

Nicozisin, Fr. George, "Creationism versus Evolution"

Smith, Allyne, H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., Edward Hughes, and J. Henry, "Orthodoxy", in The
History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition (2000): 268-273.

Theokritoff, George, with Elizabeth Theokritoff, "Genesis and Creation: Towards a debate"
(PDF) — Review of Seraphim Rose, Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian
Vision, in St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly, Volume 46, Number 2 (2002). George
Theokritoff is a paleontologist and Elizabeth is a theological scholar, author and editor of The
Cambridge Companion to Orthodox Christian Theology (ISBN 0521683388).

Voino-Yasenetsky, St Luke, "Science and Religion"

Ware, Metropolitan Kallistos, "Orthodoxy and Evolution", video: answer to a question asked in
a forum at Seattle Pacific University.

Bensusan, Ephrem Hugh, "Orthodox Christianity and the Post-Christian Intelligentsia: A

Response to Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo): Part 1" Bensusan deals with the Archbishop's
acceptance of evolution.

Bufeev, S. V, "Why an Orthodox Christian cannot be an evolutionist"

Christensen, Fr. Damascene, "Interview with Fr. Damascene" Hieromonk Damascene speaks
about creation with reference to patristic literature.

Gascoigne, Fr. Serafim "Evolution" A New Fundamentalism" from

Rose, Fr. Seraphim, "Genesis, Creation and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision" This
page presents several chapters from Fr. Seraphim's book on creation.

Rose, Fr. Seraphim, "Genesis and Early Man: The Orthodox patristic understanding"

[Old Believing -- Orthodoxy and Creationism] [1] an Orthodox blogger has compiled Patristic
quotes pertaining to timelines and chronologies in the Old Testament, as well as the witness
of modern Orthodox Saints and Holy Elders about evolution and Genesis

[Old Believing -- Genesis, Creation, and Early Man][2] an Orthodox blogger offers a critique
of George Theokritoff's review of Fr. Seraphim Roses's Genesis, Creation and Early Man, which
is linked above, in the compatibilist section.

[Old Believing -- the Entire Creation was Created Incorrupt] [3] an Orthodox blogger offers a
compilation of quotes demonstrating that the entire creation was created incorrupt, and not
only man.

[Old Believing -- Adam and Eve were literally the first people and were created uniquely from
all other creatures and subsequent people[ [4] an Orthodox blogger offers a compilation of
quotes demonstrating that Adam and Eve were literally the first people and that they were
created in a manner unique from the rest of creation.

See also

Byzantine Creation Era

External links


Creatio. Shestodnev Orthodox Mission Center in Russia dedicated to defending creationism

against evolution by reference to patristic texts.


Pontifical Gregorian University. International Conference on "Biological Evolution: Facts and

Theories": A critical appraisal 150 years after "The Origin of Species". Pontifical Gregorian
University, Rome, 3-7 March 2009.

Evolution at Conservapedia

Theory of evolution at CreationWiki.