Evolutionism, humanism, and ecumenism can be likened to three poisonous fruits from one branch of a deadly tree. Whichever fruit you eat, you perish. These worldviews are not rooted in biblical Revelation, are not sanctified by the patristic Tradition, and are godless in essence.
It is easy to see that scientists in this case speak of faith in evolution as a universal law that defines all the phenomena and processes of world life, including the processes of philosophical and religious ideas. The emergence of any idea “out of nothing”, without the preceding phases of development, is inconceivable to the mind imbued with faith in the universality of the law of evolution.
— L.A. Tikhomirov
Evolutionism is the doctrine of the gradual development of the world from an initial primitive state to a more complex, perfect, and diverse one. Humanism is a worldview according to which a person is the highest value and measure of everything, so that his rights and interests should always be put in the first place in everything. Ecumenism is a desire for the worldwide unification of existing religious faiths, while ignoring dogmatic differences in creeds.
What connects these phenomena relating to different genres of human activity?
Evolutionism is a certain worldview that expresses a view of animate and inanimate nature, containing a fundamental attitude to the beginning of the material or physical.
Humanism, in the Explanatory Dictionary of the Russian Language by S.I. Ozhegova, is defined as "a progressive movement of the Renaissance, aimed at the liberation of man from the ideological enslavement of the times of feudalism." The last phrase can be understood as “liberation from the yoke of Christianity”, and in general, liberation from any religious tradition. In any case, humanism is a system of views on a person as a spiritual being.
The apologists of ecumenism consider various religious associations, which they call “churches”, as public organizations, from which the “natural” possibility of church division and unification, new generation and death, and branching is derived. It should be noted that ecumenists consider the “churches” in the social aspect not because they manage to reflect the truth, but because of their limitations and inability to judge the spiritual. The theme of the Church of Christ undoubtedly represents a spiritual subject. Ecumenists themselves unwittingly confirm this when they constantly start talking about God, prayer, salvation, and other spiritual things.
The common thread among these three concepts is that they represent a substitute for the traditional attitude of a Christian towards being — towards the world, man, and the Church. All three concepts are a distortion of the Orthodox view of the physical, mental, and spiritual principles that exist in creation. The adoption of evolutionism, humanism, and ecumenism compels us to abandon the content of the apostolic trichotomy: body - soul - spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23) and rethink church teaching, redrawing it according to the godless laws of this world. These worldviews are not rooted in biblical Revelation, are not sanctified by the patristic Tradition, and are godless in essence.
In fact, biblical creationism was confessed in the Church from the beginning, that is, the doctrine of God’s six-day creation of the world according to the Mosaic Pentateuch: “And God finished His work on the sixth day, that which He had created” (Genesis 2:2). All the ancient Christian interpretations of six days that have come down to us understand the days of creation literally. St. Ephraim wrote:
“No one should think that the Creation of Six Days is an allegory; it is likewise impermissible to say that what seems, according to the account, to have been created in the course of six days, was created in a single instant, and likewise that certain names presented in this account either signify nothing, or signify something else. On the contrary, one must know that just as the heaven and the earth which were created in the beginning are actually the heaven and the earth and not something else understood under the names of heaven and earth, so also everything else that is spoken of as being created and brought into order after the creation of heaven and earth is not empty names, but the very essence of the created natures corresponds to the force of these names.”
— St. Ephraim the Syrian, Commentary on Genesis, Ch. 1
The book “Six Days Against Evolution” shows that, in the teaching of evolutionism, this traditional church view is replaced by a completely pagan point of view, according to which evolution rules the world as a driving force. In the view of evolutionists, it is not God — a free and rational Creator — who created the world in its diversity, but evolution performed this function. The Bible speaks of the instantaneous creation of the world, life, and man: “You spoke, and it was; You commanded, and it came to pass" (Psalm 33:9). Evolutionists argue that the development of biological species took millions and billions of years: "You commanded, and it is evolving."
The Bible speaks of the simultaneous appearance of all plants on earth on the third day, then of the same sudden appearance of all creatures from the water on the fifth day, and then of the similar appearance of land animals according to the Word of God on the sixth day. So wrote St. Basil the Great, and all the Holy Fathers like him. Instead, evolutionism offers a theory according to which the time of creation is calculated not in days, but in astronomical and geological eras, in which God supposedly acts — and in fact, it is not God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, but only the laws of the world, caused by the mechanism of evolution.
If, as in the interpretation of the “teleological evolutionist” T. Chardin, we are talking about God, then this is clearly not the Almighty, who creates a free world according to His plan and mind, but some kind of crazy invalid-god, the switchman of the Great Evolution.
Unlike the Orthodox tradition, humanism considers a person as an un-fallen spiritual being. “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:14). The patristic anthropology is affirmed on a biblical basis, boiling down to the fact that Adam was created in the image and likeness of God, and after the fall was redeemed by the holy blood of the incarnated Son of God on the Cross of Calvary. The humanistic worldview completely circumvents the questions of creating a person from the dust of the earth in the image of the Creator, and of restoring our fallen sinful nature by the voluntary sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Humanism does not mention the Creator and Redeemer at all. The Serbian theologian St. Justin (Popovic) gives this assessment of the essence of European culture:
“Man is exhausting its program and purpose, its means and content. Humanism is its chief architect, all of it is built on the sophistic principle: man is the measure of all things, and besides, it is a European man. He is the supreme creator and distributor of values. Truth is what he proclaims truth to be; the meaning of life is whatever he considers the meaning of life to be; good and evil — that which he considers to be good and evil.”
Humanism rejects the Orthodox doctrine of the synergy of God and man, replaces the humble Christian worldview with a bold, godless philosophy in many of its modifications.
Ecumenism does the same with the Orthodox concept of the Church, as evolutionism does with the doctrine of creation, and humanism does with the doctrine of man. In Orthodoxy, the apostolic doctrine has been preserved, recognizing the uniqueness of the Church as the body of Christ: “His body is the Church” (Colossians 1:24). Moreover, the One Lord is the One Head of His one Church. Ecumenism distorts the doctrine of the Church — about itself, about its divine origin, and about its special position in the world — proceeding from the assumption that there are supposedly many equal “churches” called to conduct a constructive dialogue among themselves on an equal footing. Such “sister churches” can be divided and united at the will of the people belonging to them. The ecumenical view perceives the Church as one of many social, national, public, and similar corporations.
Such a view, obviously, ignores the Orthodox idea that the Church is not merely a human invention, but a divine-human establishment. The Church was born by the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles in the form of tongues of fire (see Acts chapter 2). The Church is the one Bride of the One Bridegroom of Christ, as the angel said in Revelation: “Come, I will show you the Bride of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:9). Our stay in the Church is not described by the laws of this world, and the Church itself is not of this world. Ecumenism professes a completely earthly view of the Church, which fundamentally contradicts the Orthodox faith in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. God's work is replaced by human reasoning about it.
We see that evolutionism, humanism and ecumenism are the three main manifestations of apostasy. Every deviation from the apostolic patristic teaching finds expression in them: in evolutionism - about the world as God's creation; in humanism - about man as a special creation created in the image and likeness of God; in ecumenism - about the Church as a new divine-human creation. All three of these spiritual phenomena, each in its own sphere, challenge God, trying to abolish Him, belittle Him, and fight with Him.
In all three cases, the value of God is belittled so that the Creator, in the minds of people, becomes completely unnecessary. As rightly pointed out by L.A. Tikhomirov, “an exaggerated concept of the meaning of man is born at every derogation of the concept of Divinity, and reaches its maximum if the meaning of God reaches zero”. In the three worldview systems we are considering, there is not just heresy, but more than heresy. Here there is not some particular distortion of the revealed Divine Truth, but its direct denial. In this general quality of total theological struggle, evolutionism, humanism, and ecumenism are quite similar to one another.
It is impossible to name any other manifestations of the spirit of antichrist, comparable to these three teachings. When St. Barsanuphius of Optina called evolutionism “bestial philosophy”, he was right, and his definition should no less be attributed to ecumenism and humanism. St. Theophan the Recluse evaluated humanism to be a “godless doctrine”, and this statement can also be applied to evolutionism and ecumenism. The expression of St. Justin (Popovich) that ecumenism is a "heresy of heresies" can justly be said of both humanism and evolutionism.
Since, each in their own field, all three doctrines diminish the significance of God, all three — in their totality and each individually — can be called the new Arianism. Arianism, debunked at the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea, claimed that God the Father is not equal in honor and is not consubstantial in nature to the Son, but is infinitely far from Him. New Arianism, a synthesis of evolutionist-humanistic-ecumenical pseudo-Christianity, claims that God is not the direct Creator of the universe, nor of man (the crown of creation), nor of the Church (new creation).
The Orthodox Church sings with the psalmist David: “Thy hands have made me and fashioned me” (Psalm 119:73), and evolutionists deprive themselves of the honor of being called God's direct creation. For them, nothing existing in heaven and on earth is the direct work of God's hands, but is a product of endless evolution. Thus, they generally deprive the Lord of the honor of being called the Creator. According to the logic of new Arianism, the Creator, or at least the demiurge, should be recognized as Evolution, which “created” all visible and invisible forms of being, including Homo sapiens together with its social structures, including churches. Such a teaching is fundamentally incompatible with the Orthodox faith.
At the same time, the total harmony in the worldview of evolutionism, humanism, and ecumenism, their peculiar trinity, should be recognized. They mutually complement and strengthen each other. A person who has accepted one of the teachings, with logical inevitability must accept the other two.
The evolutionist believes that the world has come from nothingness and chaos itself, to the state of beauty and wealth of plant and animal forms. Then nothing prevents one from recognizing that man is a product of evolution, which in turn continues to “evolve” in its “evolving” society. Having “evolved” to its present state, a person should naturally have his own egoistic — that is, humanistic — principles (not monkey, not brush-fish and blue-green-algae!) to put at the forefront. The adoption of the philosophy of humanism becomes inevitable. Along with this, a society “evolving” from a primitive state, which has reached a “Christian” or “post-Christian” level in its development, is quite easy to describe in a scheme like the Protestant “branch theory”. Thus, along with humanism, ecumenism organically follows from evolutionism. Archimandrite Justin (Popovic) wrote convincingly about this:
In this earthly world of “evolution”, everything is natural; there is no place for sin. Therefore, it is unnecessary to talk about the Savior and salvation from sin. In the final analysis, everything is natural: sin, evil, and death. For if everything comes to man and is given to him through evolution, then nothing needs to be saved in him, because there is nothing immortal and lasting in him. Everything is from the earth, and as such is transient, smoldering, mortal. In such a world of “evolution” there is no place for the Church, which is the Body of the God-man, Christ. That theology, which bases its anthropology on the theory of “scientific” evolution, is nothing but a contradiction in the definition. In fact, it is theology without God, and anthropology without man. If a person is not an immortal, eternal, divine-human icon of God, then all theologies and anthropologies are nothing but tragic nonsense.
— St. Justin (Popovic)
An ecumenist who is obsessed with the idea of uniting all religious faiths into a single spiritual family, cannot but be saturated with the ideas of spiritual and moral relativism, liberalism, and pluralism. That is, he is a ready-made humanist. If we also recall the expression of the holy martyr Cyprian of Carthage: “No one can have God for his Father, who does not have the Church for his mother,” it will become clear why it is so natural for him not to “insist” on a strict Orthodox understanding of the bible, but to profess evolutionist relativism. The ecumenists adhere to the essentially evolutionary theory of the development of dogmas. So the ecumenist always gravitates towards evolutionism and humanism.
The humanist is convinced that it is not the Living God, but man that contains the meaning and criterion of truth. In church life he will see only that which is human. Thus, he naturally will accept the slogans of ecumenism as completely humane, civilized, and progressive. A consistent humanist will not be able to accept the biblical testimony of the creation of the world in six days. This was rightly written by the American creationist scientist Henry Morris: “In the world, there are really only two main religions. One has God in the center, the other - man. So, the choice is limited: either monotheistic (one God) creationism, or evolutionary (everything is God) humanism.” So, every humanist (even an unbeliever) has an undisguised sympathy for ecumenism in the religious sphere and for evolutionism in the fields of science and history.
It would hardly be advisable to attempt distinguishing one of these three spiritual diseases as primary and basic, and to remove the other two from it. In a philosophical, scientific, and theological sense, evolutionism, humanism, and ecumenism are completely equal and equitable (equally dishonest). When we read from Monk Justin (Popovich) that ecumenism contains "the essence of all kinds of humanism with papism at the head", we agree. And at the same time, we are ready to admit the opposite statement — that the basis of all ecumenism is the universal human principle.
Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) made a helpful observation:
Evolutionism is an ideology deeply alien to Orthodox Christian teaching, and it draws into so many wrong teachings and opinions that it would be much better if it were just a heresy that could be easily recognized and struck. Evolutionism is closely intertwined with the entire apostolic mentality of rotten “Western Christianity”; it is an instrument of “new spirituality” and “new Christianity”, in which Satan now seeks to immerse the last true Christians.
— Fr. Seraphim Rose
Evolutionism, humanism, and ecumenism can be likened to three poisonous fruits from one branch of a deadly tree. Whichever fruit you eat, you perish.
The Gospel tells us that Christ was tempted by Satan in the wilderness in three ways: physical temptation (bread), psychological temptation (miracle) and spiritual temptation (offering to bow to the devil). The Savior overcame all three temptations as the Conqueror, disgracing the crafty enemy. These same three temptations exist as worldview positions — scientific, philosophical, and theological concepts are offered to modern man under the seductive guise of evolutionism, humanism, and ecumenism. The validity of our comparison can be found in the Resolution on the Ecumenical Movement and the Orthodox Church of the 1948 Moscow Pan-Orthodox Conference, in which the heads and representatives of all autocephalous Orthodox Churches unanimously declared:
“The creation of the Ecumenical Church, as an international influential force, is how we would fall before the temptation rejected by Christ in the wilderness, and the Church’s deviation on the path of capturing the souls of men in the midst of Christ by non-Christian means.”
Accordingly, a physical, mental, and spiritual decline is committed by one who accepts these harmful worldviews, instead of accepting the Church-inspired teachings on the world, man, and the Church. Such a person involuntarily dissolves his consciousness in the fact that there is “carnal lust and worldly pride, not from the Father, but of this world” (1 John 2:16). In evolutionism, humanism, and ecumenism, the worst thing is that behind the external mask of decency, an unsettling animal grin is visible.
Indeed, evolutionism teaches that God is not the direct Creator of every creature, but animal species came from one another. Consequently, the Intelligent Man also has lower animals as his ancestors. Such a worldview can rightly be called "scientific totemism". The Church's tradition, rooted in Divine Revelation, does not allow the sacrilegious thought that Adam had ancestors of monkeys. Adam didn’t have any “parents” at all, but was created directly by God from the dust of the earth: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7)
If we further develop the evolutionary assumption that Adam had primordial ancestors among the lower animals, then we will inevitably have to profess direct blasphemy. Logically, these same “ancestors” should be ascribed to the Son of Man, our Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover, one would also have to assume that all this distant "kin" was redeemed by the precious blood of the Savior. This is a real blasphemy, from which you can only shudder. The mask is removed, and the bestial face of the antichrist is clearly seen.
Humanism is silent about the Living God, about the high calling of a person to serve Him, and about the honor granted to us to receive in Holy Baptism the grace of divine sonship. Thus, humanism puts man himself and “universal values” on the highest pedestal, thereby absolutizing our fallen nature. All our bestial passions, sinful inclinations and vices are also on this pedestal. An animal mask always appears where the divine face is erased.
The spiritual content of ecumenism is of the same nature. Ecumenists see in the life of the Church not the action of the Holy Spirit, but quite spontaneous, and therefore imperfect human development, similar to the swarming of bees or the separation of a herd of monkeys when a new male leader appears. Such use of analogies is blasphemous and inappropriate when it comes to the Church — the Bride of Christ! From here renewalism is born, striving to reform the "sick Church." However, it is not for nothing that the Holy Fathers inherited from the apostles the conciliar motto: “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” (Acts 15:28), while the ecumenists clearly lost the gift of discerning spirits (1 Cor. 12:10).
To recognize the affinity of the teachings of evolutionism, humanism, and ecumenism in their trinity would be very useful for those who firmly became convinced of the destructiveness of at least one of these antichristian temptations offered to man in our last times.
Indeed, evolutionism particularly lies when it teaches that man is — in the flesh — similar to other animal species. The apostle Paul taught otherwise: “All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.” (1 Cor. 15:39). That is how all the Holy Fathers understand this question. One is also forced to admit that honest science has not witnessed a single instance of the formation of a new kind of flora or fauna from the old.
It is appropriate to recall St. Theophan's judgment regarding evolutionary scientists: "They heaped on themselves many dreamy assumptions, elevated them to irrefutable truths and are considered to be those who believe that there is nothing to say against them. In fact, they are so empty that you should not speak against them. All their wisdom is a house of cards; Dun, and scatter. In parts, there is no need to refute them, but it is enough to treat them as dreams. Speaking against dreams, they do not prove inconsistencies in the composition or parts of sleep, but only say: this is a dream - and so they decide everything. This is exactly the theory of the formation of the world from foggy spots, with its coasters - the theory of the arbitrary origin and Darwinian origin of genera and species and with his last dream of the origin of man. Everything is nonsense, sleepy. Reading them, you walk among the shadows. But scientists - what can you do with them? Their motto: If you do not like it - do not listen, and do not bother to lie."
Without a doubt, it is not at all befitting for the Orthodox Christian to admit that man is a product of evolution, but it must be professed that man is God's creation, bearing in himself the image and likeness of the Creator. And if this is recognized as true, then no godless humanism can satisfactorily describe a person who has accepted the breath of life from the Almighty Himself. The Orthodox, brought up with a biblical creationist worldview, can never become a consistent humanist.
Likewise, a person who accepts the Church’s interpretation of Moses’s testimony of the six day creation, will easily accept the apostolic testimony of God's new creation — the Church, which appeared on the day of Pentecost. And he who believes in the One Apostolic Church will never be able to accept the lies of ecumenism.
Orthodox theological thought expressed a fundamental attitude towards ecumenism. At the Moscow Pan-Orthodox Conference of 1948, Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) gave this spiritual assessment:
“Here is a departure from the Orthodox faith, betrayal and betrayal of Christ, which we should avoid in every way”
In the Resolution of the same Conference, the heads and representatives of the Orthodox Churches noted that ecumenism “reduces Christian doctrine to only that faith, which, according to the Apostle, is accessible to demons”. In 1972, the Patriarch spoke in agreement with these judgments:
I condemn ecumenism, and I consider it not just heresy, but pan-heresy - the receptacle of all heresies and evil deeds. We are well aware of the anti-Christian forces that control ecumenism behind the scenes ... Ecumenism is directed against Orthodoxy. It poses the greatest danger today, along with the unbelief of our era, deifying material attachments and pleasures.
— Patriarch Nicholas VI
As we can see in the quote above, the Patriarch of Alexandria condemns ecumenism, comparing it with unbelief and material attachments — which are expressed primarily in the principles of humanism and evolutionism. It is quite natural for an anti-ecumenist to be an adversary of humanism, since the notorious humanistic principle of priority of universal values prevails in both movements.
Atheistic humanism, like no other teaching, took into itself the seduction of the original snake-tempter — "you will be like gods" (Genesis 3:5) — and elevated these words into a fundamental principle. But humanism could not exist if it were not based on the ideology of evolutionism. Denying God as the root cause of one's being, one has to look for it in matter — and here evolutionism becomes the only refuge for humanists. It is impossible to deny humanism, once you accept evolutionism. If the ideology of humanism is discarded by us as opposed to Christianity, ecumenism will immediately appear as the naked king, since humanism is its only cover.
It is hardly possible to convince heretics. This is becoming all the more difficult to do, because — inspired by the devil — they began hiding behind claims of Orthodoxy. These are the so-called “Orthodox evolutionists”, “Orthodox humanists”, and “Orthodox ecumenists”. They are equipped with a powerful arsenal of scientific, philosophical and theological concepts. But there is something they all lack: faith in Divine Revelation, and standing in the patristic tradition. Orthodox Christians — anti-evolutionists, opponents of ecumenism and humanism — sing the psalm of King David: “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will call upon the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 19:8).
Source: Holy Fire (Russian)
Translated by Kimberly Gleason