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The Heresy of Theistic Evolution - An Abscess on the Body of the Church

"No matter how authoritative the liar may be, be it the Ministry of Education, the educational system, or the scientific community, we must expose the lie"

"Theistic evolutionism is not just false, but blasphemous teaching. — It is more dangerous than atheistic evolutionism . . . . If we see data that apparently contradicts Scripture, then we have an incorrect interpretation of the data. If there is a contradiction between science and Scripture, it means there is an error in science, in its interpretation of facts."

One of the modern diseases threatening a portion of the modern church's consciousness is theistic evolutionism — a compromise with the theory of evolution. This article aims to reveal this boil on the body of the Church, show the motives and price of this compromise, and underline the untruths of this teaching.

  1. Scriptural Evidence
  2. Empirical Evidence
  3. Stockholm Syndrome
  4. The Principal Untruth
  5. Atavism - Atheistic Education
  6. "Missionary" Justification
  7. A Theological Assessment

    Footnotes

SCRIPTURAL EVIDENCE

First, theistic evolutionism, like the theory of evolution in general, does not correspond to reality.

The testimony of the word of God is about reality.

The provisions of this teaching can be accepted only by resorting to the interpretation of the direct meaning of Scripture, which:

  •  speaks of the days of Creation (Gen. 1:5-31), and not of “periods”;
  •  testifies that God created plants and animals “according to their kind” (Gen. 1:11-25); but of man — from the “dust of the ground” (Gen. 2:7), and not from the nature of the animal;
  •  teaches that "God did not create death and does not rejoice in the destruction of the living" (Wis. 1:13), and that death entered the world through sin (Rom. 5:12), because of man (1 Cor. 15:21);
  •  testifies that the creature was not always in the present state of vanity and corruption (struggle for existence and mortality), which evolutionists are trying to extrapolate to the animal world before the fall, but "submitted to vanity not voluntarily, but by the will of the one who had conquered it, in the hope that the creature will be freed from slavery to decay” (Rom. 8:20-21);
  • distinguishes the present state of the world, in which “all creation groans and is tormented until now” (Rom. 8:22), and the state of the world before the fall of man, when everything was “very good” (Gen. 1:31);
  • indicates the exact age of the world;
  • testifies that the waters of the Flood covered the whole earth, and salvation was only in the Ark.

Theistic evolutionists move away from a direct understanding of this evidence of Scripture. They do not accept them as accurate statements of reality, and ignore or interpret this evidence in accordance with the theory of evolution, contrary to the direct meaning and agreement of the fathers. [1] But it’s obvious that a theory that is at odds with the direct testimony of the Word of God cannot adequately reflect reality, since the Word of God expresses reality.

Here we must draw a line. The fact is that reality is one. There are not two realities. It either has to be one, or the other. It is either like this, or like that. Therefore, in principle, there can be no allowable “alternative reading” of Scripture. There is only one true meaning, and the dilemma is tough.

Theistic evolutionists should honestly admit to themselves that if they accept the evolutionary “reading” of the first chapters of the book of Genesis, then they declare their direct and literal understanding to be false. Are they aware of the seriousness of this choice and the inevitability of this choice? One cannot ignore such a category as reality. Attempts to exchange it for “permissible alternatives" are notorious lies.

Thus, the only consistent way for theistic evolutionists to stay in their positions, is to prove that their evolutionary interpretation is truly "Orthodox." The actual, theological, and dogmatic inconsistency of such attempts is sufficiently shown in writings by priests such as Fr. Seraphim Rose, Fr. Daniel Sysoev, and others.

I want to note that such attempts are fundamentally unjustifiable. After all, it is obvious that the evolutionary interpretation of Scripture is not primary, not independent, and does not follow from the Scripture or Tradition itself, but is a consequence of theistic evolutionists' unwillingness to conflict with the conclusions of the "official science". In other words, it is due to pressure that is external to both Scripture and Tradition.

Obviously, such people consider the position of "official science" to be primary. Their refusal to follow the direct meaning of Scripture is only a consequence of satisfying this “scientific” position, dictated not by the demand of Scripture itself or Tradition, but by this theory, which needs justification.

In other words, they are not simply studying Scripture, which in itself (in the context of Tradition) would never lead to such an interpretation. Rather, they are forcing Scripture to conform to a predetermined theoretical result. This is an attempt to prove that Scripture expresses precisely this view, proceeding not from Scripture itself, but proceeding from the very view which they are trying to prove.

Such an attempt is fundamentally flawed. It’s just as if an accused person questioned the propriety of the prosecution's case, and this question was treated as "proof" that the prosecution's case is sound. The approach itself makes no sense. There are no valid motives for departing from the direct meaning of Scripture, which is contrary to the evolutionary interpretation. Therefore, the evolutionary view does not reflect reality.

EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE

For the believer, the Word of God — Holy Scripture — provides sufficient evidence about reality, and there is no need for other testimonies. Nevertheless, other testimonies do exist.

Over time, more and more empirical data in the fields of paleontology, geology, archeology, biology, embryology, genetics, astronomy, and other fields of science, showing the literal understanding of Scripture to be true, and failing to correspond with the theory of evolution. For example:

  • The Cambrian Explosion does not align with evolutionary theory.
  • Neither does the Ediacaran explosion.
  • There is a stunning lack of transitional forms.
  • The very existence of specific taxa (fossil and living) indicates special creation, and not a gradual and constant metamorphosis, which would have been observed in the case of evolution, without any possibility of classification. By portraying and naming distinct species of animals (both modern and extinct), evolutionists refute themselves.
  • The very existence of fossils in large numbers (for the formation of which an instantaneous cessation of air access is necessary), is explicable only via catastrophic circumstances (such as a flood), and not via geological fossi-bearing layers supposedly forming over millions of years.
  • Polystrata — petrified tree trunks pierce through several "millennial" or "million-year" layers, found in many different places on the planet.
  • The position of the roots in fossil trees (in fossilized and constituting coal seams), indicate the presence of water, revealing that they were not underground prior to burial.
  • There are traces of trilobites in lower layers, which according to geological theories are supposedly more “ancient” than the trilobites themselves.
  • The positions of the bodies of many fossil animals indicate a rapid death and quick burial.
  • There have been mass burials of fossil animals on each of the continents.
  • There are shells and fossils of marine animals located high above sea level on each of the continents (for example, high in the Himalayas).
  • Many fossil graves consist of marine and terrestrial animals buried together.
  • Animals and plants from different so-called "evolutionary eras" are buried together in one geological layer and even in one place (for example, near Los Angeles).
  • There is an increasing blurring of the geological column in terms of the occurrence of fossils as more and more fossils are found. This forces evolutionists to change their classification of “governing fossils”.
  • From the point of view of evolutionism, there are many exceptions and “incorrect” occurrences of fossil remains in the geological layers themselves.
  • Human remains in the geological layers are more “ancient” (according to the evolutionary scale) than the “ancestors” of man assumed by the theory of evolution.

Traces of man and objects of civilization are found in geological layers throughout the geological column, indicating that the formation of these layers was not before, but during the history of mankind. For example:

  • Mortar and pestle in "tertiary" sediments
  • The imprint of the shoe soles in the "Triassic" deposition
  • A gold chain and metal mug in a monolith of coal
  • Concrete blocks and a brick wall in a coal mine
  • An iron nail with a cap in the “Devonian” sandstone
  • An iron hammer embedded in "Ordovician" sandstone
  • A carved and inlaid vase and a metal ball with notches in Precambrian layers
  • Traces of men dwelling simultaneously with animals which wouldn't fit the evolutionary scale — for example, a trail of human soles along with crushed "Cambrian" trilobites
  • The imprints of human feet along with trilobites in layers of coal (Virginia and Pennsylvania).
  • Traces of people and dinosaurs occurring in the same geological layer, mutually intersecting (Texas 1982, Turkmenistan 1983 and 2000)
  • Images of dinosaurs on cave paintings and in cultural monuments of Indians, Australians, and other peoples, indicating the simultaneous dwelling of people and dinosaurs — for example, Peruvian Iki stones with images of both dinosaurs and people, Peruvian Nazca clay products and decorative fabrics with images of dinosaurs, and the bas-relief image of a stegosaurus in Angkor (Cambodia)
  • Cadaveric smell from dinosaur bones (Hell Creek, Montana)
  • The presence in dinosaur bones of undisclosed protein chains (hemoglobin, collagen, elastin), which have not lost the elasticity of blood vessels and red blood cells, the preservation of which is impossible for more than a few thousand years
  • DNA detected in fossils and amber, whose existence is unthinkable for more than a few thousand years
  • Traces of amino acids in fossils
  • Tens of thousands of species of "living fossils" — the identity of living and fossil representatives of flora and fauna (for example, coelacanth, fleshy-shark, ramp, mackerel, perch, tarpon, herring, lamprey, flying fish, turtle, crocodile, trotter, toad, salamander, swordtail, shieldfish, shrimp, lobster, crayfish, octopus, jellyfish, sea lily, graptolite, different types of mollusks, nautilus, blue-green algae, bacteria, freshwater dolphin, platypus, possum, shrew, squirrel, tarsier, flying mouse okapi, hummingbird, bee, butterfly, dragonfly, cicada, beetle, m ha, wasp, ant, termite, roach, spider, fern, oak, willow, magnolia, palm tree, sassafras, amber wood, koelreuteria, the Wollemi pine, ginkgo and many others), clearly suggesting a lack of evolution
  • Live bacteria of modern species and genera in amber, marine sediments, salt deposits, Antarctic ice, and permafrost, being associated with an evolutionary scale of anywhere from 1 million to 250 million years, thus suggesting the lack of evolution and the unlikelihood of dating such formations in the millions of years
  • The absence of evolution in bacterial samples, which exceed the number of generations that would be associated with millions of years in "higher" animals, over the several decades during which ongoing experiments are conducted
  • The presence of no more than 3-5 geological layers at any given location (out of 12 layers which supposedly represent the evolutionary scale) — from which data, according to the theory of evolution, an absurd conclusion would follow, suggesting that millions of years passed in one place without leaving any trace
  • Clear boundaries between geological layers, instead of a gradual transition from one formation to another, which should have been observed in the case of slow and gradual formation over millions of years
  • The parallel plasticity of the bends of geological layers of different "eras", indicating their simultaneous and rapid formation (for example, the Grand Canyon)
  • Rounded granite boulders found hundreds of kilometers away from the primary rock formations, at many locations around the planet, indicating a catastrophic (flood) formation of the earth's surface
  • The presence of meteorites and meteor craters only near the surface of the earth, and their absence in geological layers
  • Almost no spores and pollen in fossil layers.
  • The presence of gold placers only in the "Archean" layers (the antediluvian surface of the earth) and the "Cenozoic", and the absence of them in all other layers between them.
  • The very existence of deposits of coal, the formation of which is possible only with rapid burial and the complete cessation of oxygen access (otherwise the tree rots)
  • The absence of swamps, gradually transforming into coal seams, which should be seen if this process had gone on for millions of years
  • The presence in coal seams of a large number of plant remains which do not grow in marshes, and marine organisms, indicating a catastrophe (flood), and not a million years of (marsh) formation of these deposits
  • The presence of pressurized oil and gas deposits, despite the fact that there are no impermeable rocks
  • The presence of carbon-14 in all natural fossil sources of carbon (in stone, oil, diamonds, wood of the “Upper Permian layers” and other rocks), even though carbon-14 cannot be present in rock that is more than 50 thousand years old
  • The real modern sedimentation rate, showing a value of 100 thousand to 1 million times greater than the value required to stretch this process by billions of years, which would be necessary for evolutionary theory. Given that there are no traces of soil and erosion at the boundary of the layers, this indicates the absence of long interruptions in sedimentation.
  • The existence of the relief of the earth's surface and the ocean floor at the existing rate of erosion, which would be enough to equate the surface of the planet hundreds of times during the time assumed by the theory of evolution. Given that, if erosion had been compensated by mountain building, it would be impossible for the geological layers that evolutionists attribute to millions of years to exist.
  • The soil level and the amount of sludge and sedimentary rocks on the ocean floor, indicating a period of thousands, not millions, of years of their accumulation
  • The size of the deltas of large rivers at the rate of their washing up, which rests on the boundary of no more than several thousand years (the time of the Flood)
  • The absence of dead sequoias
  • Pre-adaptation, that is, the complexity of the structure of any organ and body function and the impossibility of their functioning in the “transitional” stage
  • The origin of the majority of homologous (similar) organs of different animals and humans from different germ cells, with the participation of different genetic material
  • The number of mutations accumulated by living organisms, indicating an age of no more than a few thousand years
  • There is also the degenerative nature of mutations, and the inability of mutation to generate new information. Moreover, the ability of natural selection only to screen out genetic information, but not to add it. From which follows the fundamental impossibility of the transition of microevolution (which is only a natural form of selection, adaptation, separation of the original genotype into populations) into macroevolution.
  • The existence of monomorphic genes encoding vital signs of a species that are the same for all individuals of the same species that are not subject to variation, which are lethal to the organism, that make the boundary between created genera and the transition of microevolution (natural selection) to macroevolution impossible
  • A small amount of helium (a product of radioactive decay of uranium and thorium) in the atmosphere, indicating an age not exceeding 10 thousand or several tens of thousand years. It also shows the inconsistency of radioactive dating methods (from which evolutionists derive age estimates of millions of years, despite the fact that the whole system cannot be much older than 10 thousand years)
  • The rate of accumulation of water on the surface of the earth as a result of eruptions and from space, indicating its absence on earth in the “fish age” proposed by the evolution theory
  • The presence of cosmic dust in the solar system, which should have been swept away in 2.5 million years
  • The presence in lunar stones of unstable isotopes (uranium-236, thorium-230), which have a period of complete decay of not more than 50 thousand years
  • The existence of comets, which for complete evaporation requires from 10 thousand to 1 million years
  • The rate of reduction of the earth’s magnetic field, indicating that the earth’s existence is not more than 10 thousand years
  • Decrease of the sun by 0.1% per century, indicating impossible conditions for life on earth 50 thousand years ago, which would have caused conditions hot enough to make the oceans boil
  • An annual decrease of earth's rotational speed by 1 second per year, which would suggest that billions of years ago the earth would have been in the shape of a disk due to centrifugal force, or else that by now all rotation should have stopped, leaving the earth in a fixed state
  • The moon's gradual retreat from the earth (lunar recession) by 4 cm per year, suggesting that 30 thousand years ago the moon would have collided with earth
  • The rapid speed of rotation of spiral galaxies and spherical clusters of stars, at which speed they could not have preserved their shapes for billions of years

There are many other facts testifying not only the absence of evolution, but its impossibility — about the age of the earth and the universe corresponding to biblical chronology; the rapid (flood) formation of geological layers and fossils; and the absence of millions and billions of evolutionary worlds invented by evolutionists.

STOCKHOLM SYNDROME

The truth is that the theory of evolution has long been refuted by the empirical data. And it is unclear: How can a person ignore such a large number of facts testifying to the accuracy of the biblical narrative? How can theistic evolutionists hold on to this dead, decaying theory, which has been scientifically bankrupt for so long?

However, one should think that not all supporters of theistic evolutionism are convinced apologists of this doctrine. Probably, some have succumbed to the influence of secular education and still cannot free their minds from the consequences of evolutionist propaganda. They cannot believe that this scientific paradigm, to which we are accustomed from school, is a fantasy, a fiction, a decoration, and has no support from the facts. There is a lack of information. So I would advise simply getting acquainted with the works of creation scientists, in which a sufficient amount of factual evidence is collected that does not leave any hope for the theory of evolution [2], some of which are briefly presented in this article.

But there are active collaborators who, instead of rejoicing at the facts that literally confirm the testimony of Scripture, stigmatize the desire to identify such facts. Instead of using these weapons against godless teachings, they, sparing the authority of the godless "official science", prefer to compromise with it, and they criticize scientific creationism itself. The fact is that when a person has already decided to compromise, he hates the very possibility of victory. Therefore, theistic evolutionists actively criticize scientific creationism, which, of course, is the denunciation of not only the theory of evolution itself, but also those who compromised with it. In particular, there are reproaches in content, in origin, in relation to "official science", and to science as such. In the course of the article, the inconsistency and illegitimacy of the charges on each of these points will be shown.

As far as content is concerned, accusations of scientific creationism as “scientific failure” have become the usual tone for evolutionists. However, I would advise in all such cases to pay attention to the specific facts to which each such accusation refers. This is an indication of several local inaccuracies in the works of creationist scientists. Or to facts that initially confirm the theory of evolution, but as the details are studied, which reveal the inconsistency of evolutionary interpretations (for example: the Green River Formation in Wyoming with multiple layers, containing polystrate fossils of fishes and volcanic tuff, refuting the original interpretation of evolutionists about the ostensibly seasonal origin of these layers, and the alleged slow growth rate of corals, which was considered as such until recent observations). Often this is an appeal to the already refuted and outdated "evidence" of evolution, which still fills evolutionist publications and websites (and textbooks!). And it happens that these are only common words, an abstract accusation of “unscientific”, given without any concrete reason at all.

If we compare these accusations (and, most importantly, their foundations) with a huge amount of data that refute the theory of evolution, then the true basis of such accusations becomes apparent - not facts, but a stupid appeal to the authority of “official science”, unwillingness to part with the usual paradigm.

Thus, it turns out that theistic evolutionists do not cling to the theory of evolution. No, they keep it, they do not let it crumble, they keep trying to reanimate the corpse. The corpse of a science-like shell of ideology, which was hostile, and is hostile, to the Church. This is called the Stockholm Syndrome. They are giving in to the already defeated enemy, in this case the enemy of God! They have an internal inability to seek freedom and victory. They exchange victory for a compromise.

So it was with Ahab, the king of Israel, who spared Ben-hadad, the king of Syria, whom the Lord had delivered into his hands. He put him in his chariot and made a covenant with him (1 Kings 20:31-43). So it was with the generation of the Israelites, who were brought out of Egypt, who, already outwardly free, remained slaves in their hearts. This is the state of slavery of the spirit, which in other cases manifests itself as the “Stockholm syndrome” - loyalty to the enemy, tyrant, and rapist, even after his downfall, which is unnatural and is a consequence of sinful damage, a turn of consciousness.

But the fact is that this reversal of consciousness is evident among "Orthodox" theistic evolutionists who “neglect the waters of Siloam, flowing quietly, and admire Retsin and his son Remalin” (Isaiah 8:6), reproach the scientific creationism obedient to the Bible for its so-called “Protestant origin" (due to the insolvency of their critical reasons for the content), while at the same time they do not notice the log in their own eyes, they themselves take the side of a clearly godless teaching which is hostile to Scripture.

Were the founders of the theory of evolution (Darwin, Shardin, Huxley, and others) Orthodox Christians? Or do Orthodox Christians complain about those men less than they complain against Protestants? Or maybe followers of the theory of evolution, such as atheists and communists, are closer to the "Orthodox" theistic evolutionists in spirit, than the Protestants are? If not, then there is a double standard.

At the same time, the accusation of there being a "Protestant origin" is generally absurd, way past the target. We already have an answer from the Savior: “Do not forbid them, for whoever is not against us is for us.” (Luke 9:50). After all, it is clear that the Protestant religion of creationist scientists and the founders of this scientific direction in this case does not play a role, since in creation science we are interested not in the dogmatic, but in the natural-science side of the issue. Solidarity in the field of paleontological, geological, biological, and other discoveries does not at all mean our solidarity with Protestant scholars in the field of dogma. And the natural scientific data of scientific creationism are in excellent agreement with the patristic understanding of Scripture, regardless of the Protestant confession of scholars.

This cannot be said about evolutionism, in which the “scientific” side of the issue contradicts not only the facts, but also Orthodox dogma itself. We also should note the completely non-Orthodox confessions of evolution's founders, which the “Orthodox" theistic evolutionists do not point out.

THE PRINCIPAL UNTRUTH

Theistic evolutionists are wrong not only in fact (in relation to reality), but are also wrong in principle.

The “Stockholm syndrome” mentioned above is a manifestation of a fundamental lie that follows an actual untruth, and is a manifestation of the subjective inability to recognize and overcome it. But there is a more global, initial fundamental lie of theistic evolutionism, which precedes the untruth, is its source, and goes along with it: They trust in human experience more than they trust the testimony of God. As a result, giving priority to "science", and having a critical attitude, they concede to "science" and reject sound theology in the process.

The Place of Science

It is worth explaining — We do not reject science in principle, as the possibility of knowing the created world on the basis of empirical data (we do not identify science with the "official science" accepted by the scientific community at one time or another). After all, the created world, which surrounds us and which science studies, is the very one that God created, in which God acts and which is testified by the Word of God. Thus, we do not accept the false premise that religion and science have different areas of competence that do not overlap. It's a lie. The area of ​​competence is one — the real world.

Hence, from the very beginning we proceed from the fact that reality is exactly as the Word of God testifies to it. Therefore, we expect to see evidence of the testimony of the Word of God in the created world. And we do see them. "His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead" (Romans 1:20). This is the essence of scientific creationism, which is nothing more than finding scientific evidence corresponding to the biblical evidence.

But we, rejoicing in the visible evidence of faith, naturally desiring it, do not rely on it, but solely on the Word of God itself, regardless of the "obviousness" of the moment, because real data are not always obvious (due to the limitations of human experience and knowledge). 

The primary issue is not related to the unreliability of experience, but rather in the fundamental priority of faith over experience, without which faith — which in its essence is “the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1) — loses its value. As Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29).

So even in cases where we cannot rely on experience, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3). Therefore, we reject the priority of science, regardless of its actual fidelity, and affirm the priority of the Word of God.

Accordingly, the Orthodox Christian attitude towards science is built on the axiom: Real data, in a correct interpretation, always confirms Scripture. If we see data that apparently contradicts Scripture, then we have an incorrect interpretation of the data. If there is a contradiction between science and Scripture, it means an error in science, in its interpretation of facts. One must adjust science in submission to Scripture. Only then will it be true, that is, only then will it correspond to reality.

Thus, we distinguish genuine science — that is, real data in a correct interpretation, which in principle cannot contradict Scripture — from modern "official science", which rejected the priority of the Word of God, went the wrong way as a result, and has become pseudoscience. Genuine science is always subject to the Word of God, and is the servant of theology. He who believes that the Word of God expresses reality, cannot think otherwise.

Theistic evolutionists, conforming to this world, rejected the priority of the Word of God and gave priority to "science" instead. They make their understanding of Scripture dependent on the conclusions of science. They agreed with the world that science is a criterion and measure of truth. In fact, they subjected the Word of God to the judgment of science. And this is a fundamental lie, regardless of the actual fidelity of science. In fact, this is idolatry of science.

The Myth of Being "Scientific"

The mark of being "scientific" carries the price of assigning priority to science, which theistic evolutionists distinguish (in their eyes) from their own view. But in this they are deceived. By agreeing with an untruth, a person not only moves away from the truth, but can become deceived in the context of the lie itself. The devil repays with lies.

The same happens with theistic evolutionists, who, mindlessly following the “last word of science”, do not understand that science will never say its “last word”, since

“none of their teachings have remained firm and unshakable; because the subsequent teaching always overthrows the preceding. Therefore, there is no need for us to reprove their teachings; they themselves are sufficient for each other to overthrow themselves”
— St. Basil the Great, Conversations on the Six Days 

This is how it happens in the "scientific world" — one type of evolutionary theory replaces another. Moreover, none of them is consistent with the real facts. Thus, compromise with any scientific theory is like doing a business deal with those who are already bankrupt. Science is not a tree, but grass, which has no permanent trunk, and only has a weak stem that is short-lived. Theistic evolutionists do not enlist the support of all scientific data, as they imagine. Rather, they only accept “official science,” that is, the paradigm that has been adopted in the official scientific community at the present moment. That is, they confuse concepts.

By giving science priority over the Word of God, they deprive science of Scriptural verifications, and they put science itself into the position of "ultimate truth." As a consequence, they exhibit an uncritical attitude towards science in its specific manifestations — that is, they show unjustified trust and an uncritical attitude towards the “official science” that is accepted at any given moment, endowing it with the alleged status of “science in general”.

Accordingly, this leads to the nondiscrimination of the concepts of science as such. They become unable to distinguish between actual science (the fundamental possibility of knowing the created world on the basis of empirical data), and official science (the paradigm currently favored by the mainstream scientific community at any given time). This nondiscrimination of concepts, the identification of a general principle with its particular manifestation, characteristic of evolutionists, already shows the fallacy of their relationship to science.

When they accuse scientific creationists of being "anti-science", simply because of their mistrust for "official science", they make an error based precisely on this confusion of concepts. It is an unfair reproach, used against (for example) a builder who, not trusting the rotten steps of the "official stairs", brought his own staircase.

But the main catch for those who rely on science and claim to be “scientific” in their worldview, is that their ideology lacks coherent roots. The fact is that there is no “pure” science. Like mistletoe, which is parasitic on an oak tree, feeding on it, so science is inevitably rooted in ideology. If evolutionists and representatives of the scientific community say that they are following “pure science,” they are deceiving themselves and others. Any interpretation of the facts, which constitutes the field of science, is based on some axiom. There is no simple "scientific" worldview. Claims of a "scientific" worldview is deception and self-deception. The basis of any worldview is always an axiom, an ideological premise, and the axiom itself cannot be “scientific”, because the axiom itself is unproven. Thus notorious scientism turns out to be a myth.

Modern “official science” also has an axiom in its foundation. It is a belief in the autonomy of the world, without the action of God. Thus, the modern "official science" is not a "pure science" as it claims. Like an unfaithful wife who leaves her husband, she claims to be an “independent woman”, but in fact she simply finds (or seeks) another partner and thus becomes an adulteress. Similarly, the “official science”, which rejected the leadership of the Word of God, is not at all independent and “scientific” in its foundations, but is a prodigal cohabitant of the ideology of atheism.

When they reproach scientific creationists for being "unscientific" in principle, because interpret the facts on the basis of biblical evidence, the evolutionists do not see the plank in their own eye — that they, too, have an ideological foundation to their beliefs, an axiom, which happens to be godless. Thus, simply upon principle, even before considering the facts themselves, it becomes apparent that the theory of evolution is no more "scientific" than creationism, for both are based on prior ideological commitments.

"Orthodox” theistic evolutionists do not notice that they, too, have their basis on this very foundation of godlessness. Theistic evolutionism is not independent, but is a hybrid derived from atheistic evolutionism. Indeed, it is only in the context of atheism that the theory of evolution is relevant, and is at least understandable as an attempt to explain the existence of the world without God. But in the context of faith in God, it is incomprehensible and absurd to submit one's piety to such a theory, especially since the theory itself is based on an axiom which deprives it from having the status of “pure science”. So why would any Christian need this scientific hypothesis which contradicts Scripture?

A Pathos of Faith

So, the "Orthodox" theistic evolutionist accepts this miserable compromise, as it seems, for the following reasons. When there is a lack of information, or when the truth is hidden or distorted, he does not have the resolve to neglect the “obvious” and rely only on his faith in Scripture. He believes "official science" more than he believes the Scriptures. He wants to believe in "official science" more than in the Scriptures. He does not dare to contradict the system, even when the evidence gives grounds for contradicting it.

Because the “foolishness” of the sermon (1 Cor. 1:18-25) does not dare to neglect the recognition of a world enslaved by scientism, the world makes him feel ashamed of the plain meaning of the words of the Lord. He wants to be "modern" and accept the wisdom of this world. He fails to heed the warning from the Word of God: “He who wants to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4). On the other hand, he doesn't realize that such a half-truth will not make him accepted anyway, among people who completely reject the Truth. As the Lord warned, salt which loses its strength is "no longer worth anything" (Matt. 5:13).

Such a person underestimates God, and is not afraid to shame someone who literally believes Him. If God said something about the six days of Creation, then that is what He meant. When the failure of scientism becomes obvious at the Last Judgment, and everything turns out to be just as God said — simply, directly, and literally — then those who lacked trust in the words of the Father will be ashamed.

Such a person loses the unique opportunity of the pathos of faith, the ability to believe His Creator despite the “obvious”, despite everything, without regard to anything, “not conforming to this world” (Rom. 12:2), disregarding all authorities in submission to the authority of the Word of God. Such an opportunity in eternity will never happen again. It is given once — while the person lives on this earth.

Perhaps this worship of the idol of science, this slavery to scientism, is the most bitter lie of “orthodox” evolutionism.

ATAVISM - ATHEISTIC EDUCATION

There is also an objective reason that contributed to the introduction of this error into the fence of the Church. This was a concealment of truth and a lack of information during the Soviet period, when the works of creationist scientists were not available within Russia. Meanwhile, an illustrated science-based lie that filled (and still fills) textbooks seemed very convincing.

In such a situation, when the “evidence” does not seem to confirm the truth, the Christian must disregard the “obvious”, believing only the Word of God. And, I must say, such a choice is rewarded — sooner or later the Lord removes the stones of doubt from a person’s path. Often this happens simply through the discovery of information which had previously been inaccessible. A person in such a situation is required to wait for it, and to endure a period of doubt, regardless of the “obvious”.

I can relate my own experience of faith, when I was still of school age. I believed that God was the Creator, contrary to the “obvious”, contrary to what school textbooks were teaching, contrary to the illustrated lie that seemed at the time to be so scientifically convincing, and which tempted me to doubt. I put a priority on faith, over the "obvious" arguments of reason, and the Lord did not disppoint me. It is the arguments of reason (based on pictures and textbooks) that turned out to be erroneous.

When information on scientific creationism became available, I saw the rotten foundations of what had brought a painful occasion for me to doubt. Although, I must confess, at one time I briefly adopted the idea of ​​theistic evolutionism according to Protopresbyter Stefan Lyashevsky's book, "The Bible and Science" (the first book I ever encountered which opposed atheistic evolutionism), without realizing the complete untruths and dogmatic consequences of this doctrine. I am glad that I was not still of school age when I encountered this book of half-truths, and that it did not prevent me from simply believing contrary to the “obvious”. The evolutionary interpretations in this book confused me, but not for long. This misunderstanding was quickly broken after reading the work of creationist scientists and Orthodox theologians.

When a person is totally dominated by "scientific" lies, is too timid to neglect the "obvious" and rely only on faith, and lacks patience, looking for premature "explanations", such a person tries to combine the evidence of Scripture with the "obvious" scientific data at the moment. Thus, he tries to make faith depend on the imperfect, incomplete, and false information that he has at the time. Since a compromise inevitably involves a concession on both sides. The result of such attempts to put faith in dependence on modern (currently available) knowledge is this chimera, this ugly hybrid called theistic evolutionism. The current problem with such “Michurin” style hybrids created from that theology is that, having the baggage of secular atheistic education, their own work, and their experience of teaching while having a lack of information on this issue, they now — when improved information becomes available — do not have the determination and humility to part with their outdated and flawed knowledge base, to recognize the fallacy of their knowledge on this issue, and so they continue operating on the souls of people with a spoiled instrument. 

Having spent a significant part of their life studying the theory of evolution, and studying various sciences through the prism of this theory, such scientific "rich people" (Matthew 19:23-24) do not dare to leave this burden of delusions at the threshold of the Church, and they try to integrate this atavism of atheistic education into the Orthodox worldview. Such people have estimated their own experience and their own knowledge to be more weighty than the truth.

The ugliness of the situation is aggravated, because the evolutionary apologist is not only harming himself. And that is worthy of our attention. We Orthodox Christians — advocates of a direct and literal understanding of the testimony of Scripture about Creation — recognize theistic evolutionism as heresy. Hence it is clear that we cannot be silent when this false doctrine takes up positions in the Church.

Even theistic evolutionists themselves — even while in disagreement with creationists — have no reason to accuse creationists of heresy, or of retreating from Tradition. What, then, is the basis for such active controversy and persistent preaching on their part?

Why do they always try to impose an evolutionary understanding, if this is just an “alternative" interpretation? Is it because the mere presence of uncompromising truth is an intolerable reproof, for one who is content with half measures? When a man himself does not want to reach the truth, he also wants others to be content with half-truths. This motive is denoted by one word: envy
 
"MISSIONARY" JUSTIFICATION

So, we considered the reasons. But who actually recognizes the reasons for his own delusion? Only the one who has repented of his delusion. Outside of repentance, while a person still remains in error, a person usually invents a reason. In this case, the usual justification is missionary convenience — in particular, the desire to make the truth more convenient for the perception of the listener or reader. And the “convenience” is strategic. One has a desire to speak the same language as society for the sake of its churching. Of course, such approaches are not justified.

If the only cause of teaching an evolutionary interpretation, is just for the sake of “missionary convenience”, and the teacher does not actually believe in it on other grounds, then he consciously lies. Such methodical duality, “lying for the sake of salvation,” is unacceptable. We cannot purchase the path, at the price of losing the goal. We cannot sell half the kingdom, just to provide a more comfortable path to it. Agreeing to a lie, as a means to proclaim the truth, is self destructive, because then it is no longer possible to proclaim the truth, since the slightest lie is a departure from the truth.

The author of the lie is the devil, who “did not stand in the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). You cannot adapt the truth to people's hearts and minds. Rather, people's hearts and minds must submit to the truth. A person can only change to conform to the truth; but in no way can the truth be changed. Accepting the truth should be a clear choice, not "bargaining with discounts". Missionary purpose does not justify a lie.

The human strategy to Christianize the scientific community, or society in general — which thinks in the categories proposed by “official science” — is obviously wrong. Our task is not to church a society, and not any community, but specific people. An attempt to bring the scientific community to the truth, like any other community in the world, is obviously fruitless. This is an attempt to negotiate with the cat so that it does not mark "its" territory; he will not agree to it, because that is his nature.

Similarly, any community other than the Orthodox Church — any community of this world — has a teaching and ideology different from Orthodoxy. That is, it knowingly carries an element of lies. Consequently, remaining itself, in principle, it cannot be Christianized. Attempts at such a “churching” turn into a mockery of the Church, as can be seen from the example of the theater; people's loyalty to the theater gave rise to such an absurd phenomenon as “Orthodox actors”. (There were not enough “Orthodox prostitutes” around, either.) The same is true of "Orthodox evolutionists". Flirting with a worldly community inevitably leads to a compromise. 

We in the Church need to hold a tough position, calling to a specific person, proposing a clear choice - to leave the delusions of their worldly community, and to join the Orthodox Church. In other words, we offer them conversion through repentance. Churching and salvation of entire communities is impossible. What is possible, is the churching and salvation of specific people. So, our task is not to invent a new strategy. Rather, our task is to tactically execute the orders of the Great Strategy. Christ did not agree with the world, but He “conquered the world” (John 16:33). He did not order us to negotiate with the world, but rather to testify of His victory.

And in relation to the strategy of dealing with specific people, the mistake made by preachers of theistic evolutionism is that they underestimate the hearts of people. They do not understand the extent to which a person is ready to hear the truth, no matter how unexpected and unusual it may be. This is a consequence of a more global error, where they take to judge the hearts of people, and try to evaluate whether or not a person is ready to accept the truth. They do this contrary to the commandments of the Lord, who said “Do not judge” (Luke 6:37), but “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

Such preachers do not believe that schoolchildren and students can think outside the system. They confuse the official educational system with an individual person they meet in the context of the system, and they mistakenly identify the person with it. They have no hope that evidence of truth can overcome the array of schooling. They are wrong. They do not understand that one word of truth, which was the correct answer, can resolve a person's doubt — a person can remember that answer during all those years in which he will still have to hear and study the official lies of the educational system. 

Moreover, such preachers do not understand that sometimes a person himself is waiting for such a word, wants to hear such a word, on which one can lean against the surrounding false "evidence". They do not expect that among the recipients of the sermon there are people in whose heart God acts, ready to resist the system, waiting for the slightest excuse not to believe convincing fables about "Java man" and "millions of years". You can not deprive a person of such a reason.

Several times I have given lectures to high school and middle school students, opposing the theory of evolution, using data on scientific creationism. And I do not recall the students being critical of my words. I am convinced that these high school students believed the words of a priest, and specific facts that were provided, more than they believed textbooks and the school curriculum. I do not understand those who, in front of the students, are ashamed of the literal preaching of the Word of God, and who fear "uncomfortable" questions. I assure you, there are no "uncomfortable" questions! A preacher should carefully study the factual material on scientific creationism. Indeed, I even think this topic is interesting both to kids and teachers. 

Therefore, those missionaries and preachers who conceal the sharpness and singularity of truth are doing badly, trying to make it less “scandalous” than it is, as if apologizing for the truth itself. They are lying. They deprive souls of solid support, for which many are ready to grasp, contrary to the expectations of such missionaries themselves. It is just as if matchmakers described a bride’s look to the bridegroom, smoothing out the features they believed to be sharp, despite the fact that the bridegroom might have liked these features.

Students are willing to disbelieve the system. Their minds are not yet ossified in evolutionary ideology, and we have no right to concede this field for a polite compromise. For the sake of politics and good relations with the scientific community and the educational system, we have no right to sacrifice the souls of specific people. We should not spare the liar's authority in the eyes of the younger generation. No matter how authoritative the liar may be, be it the Ministry of Education, the educational system, or the scientific community, we must expose the lie. God now gives us opportunities for this. Today there is enough scientific data to debunk the evolutionary lie, along with the authority of those who support it. We now have the opportunity, simply on the basis of factual data, to destroy the evolutionary myth, at least in the minds of those who want to believe the Church. If we do not use these weapons, then it is worth knowing how the Lord reacted to the act of King Ahab, who, having victory in his hands, shared it with the vanquished.

Thus says the Lord: ‘Because you have let slip out of your hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people.’  (1 Kings 20:42). And do not forget what the judgment of God was on the generation of Israelites, whose hearts were incapable of freedom from slavery, even though they had been granted external freedom (Num. 14:21-35).

A THEOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT

Do not underestimate the danger of this teaching. It is not at all a “permissible alternative" to a literal understanding of Scripture. After all, what could be the “alternative” for reality? It is a concession to pride, which not only causes us to be enslaved by scientism and to avoid proper recognition of this world, it also prevents others from being critical of their experience, and from rejecting baggage of erroneous knowledge. 

Concession to faint-heartedness — causing a person to be ashamed of the plain meaning of the words of his Lord — promotes loyalty to a false system, even after it has collapsed. It is a concession to unbelief, not allowing people to rely completely on faith, not allowing them to overthrow their trust in “official science”. It is a manifestation of idolatry — idolizing science, while rejecting the unique possibility of the pathos of faith. Finally, this teaching simply gives a false impression of reality.

And this false impression does not only apply to the reality of the created world. As mentioned, theistic evolutionism has dogmatic consequences — it affects the field of theology, and it distorts the doctrine of God Himself.

Recognizing the days of Creation as long “periods”, believing that the age of the universe and animal evolution is "billions of years", the theistic evolutionist inevitably recognizes death and the struggle for existence not as a consequence of the fall of man, but as an instrument of God's creation. And this is blasphemy against the Creator, because it represents God as the creator of death and contradicts the doctrine of the Grace of God, who "did not create death and does not rejoice in the destruction of the living, for He created everything for being" (Wisdom 1:13).

In addition, if we accept the possibility of humans originating from the animal world via evolution, this would blur the boundary between human nature and the nature of animals. And this is a blasphemy against Christ, who took human nature upon himself, but did not assume the nature of animals. Accordingly, it is a blasphemy against the Eucharist.

So theistic evolutionism is not only false, but blasphemous teaching.

Atheistic evolutionism is hostile to the Church from the outside. Theistic evolution is more dangerous, because it tramples on Tradition from within the boundaries of the Church. It has infected the minds of some laymen and clergymen, and it is presented in the context of Orthodox teaching, as a poison in wine. It even occupies positions in some official and popular resources used within the ROC. Thus, it is obvious that theistic evolutionism is heresy and is subject to the conciliar attention of the Church. 

In fact, this false teaching is indirectly condemned at various cathedrals [3]. However, given the current activity and its prevalence in the church environment, the Church today needs a conciliar canonical direct condemnation of the theory of evolution, including the theistic version, as heresy.


This article first appeared in Russian: orthoview.ru

Translated by Katie Gleason


Notes:

 [1]
Jerome. Seraphim (Rose): "Being: the creation of the world and the first Old Testament people";
Jerome. Seraphim (Rose): "An Orthodox View of Evolution";
Holy Daniel Sysoev: "Who is like God?";
Holy Daniil Sysoev: “Chronicle of the Beginning”;
Collection "Six Days Against Evolution";
The mission of the educational center "Shestodnev": www.creatio.orthodoxy.ru 

 [2]
Sergey Vertyanov: "The Origin of Life";
Sergey Golovin: “The World Flood. Myth, legend or reality ";
Holy Timofey Alferov: "Orthodox worldview and modern natural science";
Karl Wieland: "Stones and Bones";
Jonathan Sarfati: "The failure of the theory of evolution";
Ben Hobrink: "The Christian view of the origin of life";
Vance Ferrell: "Time vs. Evolution";
The collection "Orthodox understanding of the creation of the world" (various issues);
The Almanac "Creation";
Almanac "Divine Revelation and Modern Science";
Site "Reasonable Thought": www.origins.org.ua
and many other works and sites on scientific creationism.
 [3]
Daniel Sysoev: “Evolutionism in the light of Orthodox teaching” (collection “Six Days Against Evolution);
Daniel Sysoev: “The Dogma of the Creation of the Visible World in the Teaching of the Ecumenical Councils” (collection “Orthodox Understanding of the Creation of the World”, issue 5);
Orthodox society for the protection and disclosure of the patristic doctrine of the creation of the world. Brotherhood of St. Mark of Ephesus: "Appeal to Orthodox scholars and educators" (the anthology "Divine Revelation and Modern Science", issue 1).
 
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