• Creation, God and Modern Scientists


  • The Knowledge of Modern Science and the Knowledge of Adam


  • Fr. Seraphim's Education for the Young


  • Reading Requirements at Platina


  • The Presuppositions for “An Orthodox Survival course”


  • Metaphysics of the Western Mind


  • Thinking in the Middle Ages


  • The “Charismatic Revival” is Not the Spirit of Orthodoxy

Creation, God and Modern Scientists

[Fr. Seraphim] showed that all the Fathers taught that the first man Adam and likewise the first creatures “appeared in a way different from all their descendants”: they appeared not by natural generation but by the word of God....

“The doctrine of evolution attempts to understand the mysteries of God's creation by means of natural knowledge and worldly philosophy, not even allowing the possibility that there is something in these mysteries which places them beyond its capabilities of knowing: while the book of Genesis is an account of God's creation as seen in Divine vision by the God-seer Moses, and this vision is confirmed also by the experience of later Holy Fathers....

“I believe that modern science in most cases knows more than St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, St. Ephraim, and other Fathers about the properties of fishes and such specific facts; no one will deny this. But who knows more about the way in which God acts: modern science, which is not even sure that God exists, and in any case tries to explain everything without Him; or these God-bearing Holy Fathers?” (p. 518-519)


The Knowledge of Modern Science and the Knowledge of Adam

“The state of Adam and the first-created world,” Fre Seraphim wrote, “has been placed forever beyond the knowledge of science and by the barrier of Adam's transgression, which changed the very nature of Adam and the creation, and indeed the very nature of knowledge itself. Modern science knows only what it observes and what may be reasonably inferred from observation.... The true knowledge of Adam and the first-created world – as much as is useful for us to know – is accessible only in God's revelation and in the Divine vision of the saints.” (p. 519)


Fr. Seraphim's Education for the Young

... he was receiving his education from Fr. Seraphim, who took time out to instruct him in the necessary subjects, from history to world literature. With his great love for the stars, he bought a telescope so he could teach astronomy to Theophil and other boys. Over the years Fr. Seraphim was even to teach Theophil how to read and translate the Divine Services from Church Slavonic. (p.532-533)


Reading Requirements at Platina

The books read in church were all of monastic inspiration: The Lausaic History, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, the Spiritual Counsels of Abba Dorotheos, and the account of St. Pachomius and his disciples (found in The Paradise of the Fathers). According to tradition, the Homilies of St. Ephraim the Syrian were also to be red during the services, but since no English translation was available, the fathers substituted a classic text of Western Orthodoxy, the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great. For their private spiritual reading, the brothers read such books as Unseen Warfare, the Institutes of St. John Cassian, the Rule of St. Pachomius, and The Northern Thebaid. Fr. Seraphim, as we have seen, tried to reread Blessed Augustine's Confessions every Lent, in addition to other books. (p. 568)


The Presuppositions for “An Orthodox Survival course”

“This course will concentrate on the most important movements and most important writers who helped form the mentality which we have today. If one is not aware of all this, one can still be Orthodox, of course, but one is running a great danger, because the movements of thought around one, which have been formed over the last eight centuries, affect one directly, and one cannot know how to answer them without knowing where they are right, where they are wrong, and how they have arisen. One can be in a very precarious position, even in the position of an 'Orthodox fundamentalist' who simply sits in his corner and says, 'Oh, I believe this and everything else is evil.' This, of course, is very unrealistic because you have to have contact with the world: your children are going to school, you read newspapers, you have contact with people who believe different things and even with Orthodox people who don't know what they believe. If you are not aware of what's going on, your Orthodoxy will be infected, without your even knowing it, by all kinds of modern ideas. You will be going to church on Sunday, and the rest of the week living by some kind of different standard, which can be disastrous.... In order to avoid this we must follow the advice of St. Basil (the Great) and begin to learn to take from the world around us wisdom where there is wisdom, and where there is foolishness to know why it it is foolishness.” (p. 588-589)


Metaphysics of the Western Mind

Quoting at length from Kireyevsky's philosophy, Fr. Seraphim traced the modern apostasy, which began with the Schism of Rome, to a special characteristic of the Western mind: the conviction that outward rationalism outweighs the inwards essence of things. (p. 590)


Thinking in the Middle Ages

In the Scholasticism of the Middle Ages, Christian teaching becomes “systematized” and subordinate to logic. As Fr. Seraphim observed, “logicalness becomes the first test of truth, and the living sources of faith second. Under this influence, Western man loses a living relationship to truth. Christianity is reduced to a system, to a human level.... It is an attempt to make by human efforts something better that Christianity. Anselm's proof of God's existence is an example – he is 'cleverer' than the ancient Holy Fathers.” (p. 591)


The “Charismatic Revival” is Not the Spirit of Orthodoxy

In the concluding chapter of [“Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future”], Fr. Seraphim acknowledged that “there may be those who will doubt that the 'charismatic revival' is a form of mediumism; that is only a secondary question of the means or technique by which the 'spirit' of the 'charismatic revival' is communicated. But that this 'spirit' has nothing to do with Orthodox Christianity is abundantly clear. (p. 648)



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