Reflections on an edifying article
Fr. Dan Bădulescu

We write some personal reflections on the edifying article "The Roots of the controversy between science and religion." This is actually a transcript of a radio show on Radio Logos (Craiova) in 2007, a series in which Gabriela Voinea interviewed hieromonk Gregory, professor of genetics, on "Science and religion - along the path of Truth". Later, these materials have appeared in the form of a book printed by the Metropolitan of Oltenia. The opening article bearing the above title, is a very useful introduction, from which we chose some passages on which we allowed, with humility and appreciation for Father Gregory, certain reflections. We put quotes around the words of Father Gregory followed by our brief comments. "Before coming to deny Him, they have defined God as their deductions, but not as God has revealed Himself. As the advance in time the departure from the origins fade the memories of the primary revelation made to man, and the fallen man, unable to reach contemplation, did not complete any longer by the intuition the gap achieved, the reason had a free field for fiction. And how this fictional God did not work, did not meet expectations, people have come first to ignore Him and then deny the true God. Instead, the devils rushed to respond, as hard as they could, to any calls, with their illusion it was okay and so came into being the worship of idols." "Before coming to deny Him, they have defined God as their deductions, but not as God has revealed Himself." At the same time, it begun also the redefinition of God's creation according to their

2 deductions, and not as was revealed by God to his right people. For example the composition and movements of the cosmos: we have a traditional answer to this question, which can be called apocryphal, contained in the books of church chronology called "Chronograph" left by the living Tradition of the Holy Orthodox mentality, kept by the collective memory and then recorded from the written. According to these trustworthy sources, the first man who received the discovery of settlement and movement of heavenly bodies, so the cosmology and astrology, was Seth, around the year 300 from creation of the world: "And Seth was chosen, <a man> gentle, kind and wise and just to God. This one <Seth, with his> wisdom gave names to the seven planets of the sky and get it and how the sky turns around." (Chronograph – 17th century) "Set, into his kidnapping by the angel, saw the settlement of Upper creature, the beauty of heaven and of those movements. The running the sun and moon and stars, the settlement of the heavenly signs, which are called planets, and their works he knew and saw things unseen and the unknown he knew, forty days being taught by that angel... This is also to be believed, that Adam and Seth after the wisdom and knowledge that were given them from God, set the year in days and weeks and months and has taught the men the science of year cycle and counting the days and weeks and months and years." (Chronograph - 16th century). He who initiates Seth would have been the discoverer of mysteries, the harbinger of joy, the Archangel Gabriel. Notice also the supernatural way of this initiation, the ascension being also an observation point necessary to the sensory perception, not only to the spiritual and mental. "As the advance in time the departure from the origins fade the memories of the primary revelation made to man, and the fallen man, unable to reach contemplation, did not complete any longer by the intuition the gap achieved, the reason had a free field for fiction [...] It is sufficient that they trust their reason. Just like that was the starting point. Before the experimental sciences the philosophers worked with reason. They were not performing material experiments, but using their reason they generated mental materialistic concepts. Think of the ancients Leucippus and Democritus. The dialogue of them who listened to the whisper of the enemy could nod be anything but a controversy when addressing those who listened to the whisper of the Spirit. ...It is time when that man put reason before anything, sufficient even as explanation of his existence. We recognize here the famous sentence of Descartes: Cogito, ergo sum – I think, therefore I am. About the same time Occam and Bacon put the theoretical foundations of experimental science approach. It is time that history has held her under the name of "enlightenment." But enlightenment means lightning from outside. With it, the man turned off the light inside him and seek truth from within his dark mind. So dark that it defines wrongly even what is searched. [...] But even the no skeptical people have looked without knowing why. For if they knew, they would found, as the Savior promised: "He who seeks, finds." All the light of the Renaissance was not only out to light in the ancient medieval of old ideas entered into obscurity. Now, they bared a fruit for which the old conditions were not met: through Aristotelianism and materialism they have now opened the way to science, which has become a major rival to religion, by then sole master in the world." A small nuance: the Renaissance had actually prepared a challenge to Aristotelianism, namely Aristotelian physics and astronomy. From Copernicus and Nicholas Cusanus, but especially during Galileo's postrenascentistã period (17th century), the concepts of Aristotelian physics and astrophysics are removed step by step, to be annihilated. Example: "Tycho Braché started this process of destabilization. Galileo followed [...] Unlike Aristotle, it was now known that the moon is not that beautiful smooth sphere, which moves by virtue of its perfection. Galilei chuckle thinking about the

3 prospect of giving a lesson to Aristotelianism followers. In a letter dated 1612, he forecast with delight "or rather the end of the funeral proceedings and finally the pseudo-philosophy (that of Aristotle!)1. See also Galilei Dialogue between the two main systems of the world. "In the Byzantine world and the remaining Orthodox countries, the believer has not come to doubt his capacity as lord over God's creation by even the God-Creator’s will and he thinks that he can fully exercise it through spiritualization. That’s why he did not seek to become master over creation through scientific knowledge. This non interest caused also in this area lagging behind the Western world, where scholasticism was based on human reason to get him to rule the world through knowledge and ordering. This has got to give great credit to science. With a God withdrew from creation and in the absence of the uncreated energies of the grace, surely some unorthodox scientists have gradually come to explain everything through the laws they discovered." "Some unorthodox scientists"! An elegant formulation of Father Gregory. At the time we are speaking - Renaissance - as scientists there are only heterodox: Catholic, Protestant and Arabs (and Hebrew, but not many). Orthodoxy has virtually no concern in this respect, contenting themselves with the past ... Aristotelian science! "From here to there to say that God does not exist was only a step and some people made it, completing the error." From Enlightenment science become maybe no. 1 weapon of atheism! Philosophy and ideology would not even win anything without the scientific support that settled with "evidence" that is no God. "Even among those who have not gone so far, were some who have promoted the idea that God created the world through evolution, as science says." But what science? This is a theistic evolutionist point of view, which occurred exactly at the time of intersection of these very fashionable and politically correct "dialogue of science with religion." Here's an example in this respect of the Roman Catholic perspective, as it was recently presented at a symposium: "The Catholic Church accepts evolution, but sees it as part of the divine plan…. Last month, the Vatican said the theory of evolution was compatible with the Bible but there was no need for a posthumous apology to Charles Darwin, who, in the 19th century, was attacked by the Church of England for theories which contradicted the Biblical account of the Creation." It is well-known the dispute of Father Seraphim Rose with Dr. Al. Kalomiros about 'Christian theistic evolution.2" This dispute was not resolved between them, but already polarized in two opposite directions between the
1 2

J-P. Longchamp, The Galileo Affair http://orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/evolution_frseraphim_kalomiros.aspx

4 1980 Orthodox theologians, some of them and us. (For exemplary refutation of this position see Fr. Seraphim Rose Genesis, Creation and Early Man3). But, as Galileo said, it's actually about two completely incompatible systems, in which "science" supports evolution by chance, without God and "religion" (Orthodox Christianity) receive no way the concept of "evolution." "The saying ("Believe and do not search") has not occurred within the confines of orthodoxy. Keeping the spirit in which St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians "prove all things; hold fast that which is good." The Orthodox Church never opposed scientific research directed towards any part of creation. But she point out that we can not explore with our minds on God and His works, which He can do without the use of laws that He placed in creation. I have never found written somewhere that someone else from the Catholic or Protestant area explicitly said "believe and do not search", but medieval Inquisition acted quite in this spirit. This error was then made on behalf of the whole Church. At least to the Orthodox Church is a great injustice when they bring this charge against." And yet we find in Scripture passages with that call, but given in a different spirit than the one put forward by atheists: "Those heavier than thou are those stronger than thou do not search. What was commanded to thee, these are to be thought, because thou do not need what is hidden to thee. Do not search more than thou have, because more than human understanding was shown to thee. For that many were deluded by their thought, and the evil judgement confused their minds."(Wisdom of Jesus Sirach, 3:20-23). "I do not think that it should be counted among believers those who dare to discuss some of these, for failing to sharpen the words: "Those heavier than thou are those stronger than thou do not search'" (Blessed Theodoret of Cyrus). St. John Chrysostom says: "Let us welcome it with much gratitude the words of Scripture; let us not exceed our measure does, nor searched (i.e. researching! Na) those above us, as happened to the enemies of truth, who, wanting to explore everything with their own thoughts, did not thought that it is impossible to man to know fully the creation of God... When you hear "He did", do not search anything more, but look down and believe what they say.... If Paul, the man so great and so worthy, said that His judgments, i.e. the His ordinances and leadership, are impossible to research, and did not say misunderstood, but impossible to research, that he receives no research to be, and the follow of His ways, he says, that is impossible to found..." The same speak also Saints Gregory of Nyssa, Basil the Great, Blessed Augustine, John Damascene, Athanasius of Paros and Theophanes the Recluse. In other words, "believe and do not search" means the following: God has revealed mysteries and other works, teachings about Self, world, angels, the cosmos, man. All these are useful and edifying to salvation. But there is also a limit, a hindrance like that of the Garden of Eden: do not even try to discover and investigate/search what God has left covered.



5 Here's the difference between the blessed research of the Saints and that lacking of Lord’s approval practiced by the atheist scientists. Again, the latter, forcing the hindrance and wanting at any cost the fruit of knowledge, will find and know what they want, describing a world with physical, chemical and social laws desired and perceived by human conceptions. Therefore this knowledge is so uncertain and fickle, constantly changing, which the scientists call "scientific development". "Etymologically, controversy means the maintaining of a contrary version and it cannot be proved that the versions advanced by science and religion on the origin of the universe, in general, and life, in particular, are identical. I met myself people who think that there is no controversy between science and religion. Maybe it's just their testimony that for them there is nothing controversial topic of discussion; or they want to say that such thing should not exist or that this objectively does not exist. I also accept that it should not be, because remaining true, the findings of science does not exclude God. It is also my belief that science and religion can go hand in hand, that they can fit together both in the world and in our heart and mind. We will see in the future why, however, this controversy parasites the relationship of science with religion, a relationship that could be much better." This human science can never find the lasting and eternal Truth, and even will enter into conflict with it permanently. And this despite any claims by which science and religion (theology) would complement each other, even would need each other. This state of harmony existed as we saw, but ceased a few hundred years ago, and no signs of recovery are seen at all. For this to happen it would be that "science" perform a radical process of metanoia, to deny completely its militant methods and theories which are contrary to God and revelation, which is not possible except in exceptional blessed personal circumstances, and not in the institutional framework. Instead it provides negotiation and compromise on the tray like theistic evolutionism or astrophysical paradigm like "big bang", "anthropic principle", "intelligent design", welcomed by (naive?) representatives of "religion" in this table "peace talks" as being "building bridges between science and the Church Fathers." This kind of science-religion dialogue is seen to be as sterile as the ecumenical dialogue between religions or between religions, and we find that it was inspired from the beginning by the spirits of deception.

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