Written by Vladimir Moss



     Pope Francis has recently declared that he believes in evolutionary theory and the Big Bang.“God is not a divine being or a magician,” he said to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, “but the Creator who brought everything to life. Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”


     With these words the Pope has completed a process in Roman Catholicism that began at the Second Vatican Council, when the door was opened to all kinds of modernist ideas.[1] Pope John-Paul II took this process a giant step forward by immersing Roman Catholicism in the ecumenical movement, and by declaring that evolution was true as regards the body of man, but not as regards his soul. It appears that Pope Francis has removed even this qualification…


     The soul is of course the greatest stumbling-block to any evolutionist theory, however modified and upgraded. According to Orthodoxy, the soul is not made of organic or inorganic matter, was breathed into man’s body by God at the time of his creation, and remains fully functional and immortal after the death of the body. There is no way this teaching can be harmonized with the evolutionist theory accepted by most modern scientists. For how could an immortal soul derive from corruptible matter, rationality from irrationality, freewill from necessity? The answer is: they can’t; for these are incompatible categories.


     However, there are several other dogmatic teachings of the Church that are incompatible with evolutionism. Thus evolutionism rests on the idea of chance; but the Holy Fathers from St. Basil the Great to St. Ignaty Brianchaninov all rejected this idea. “Theological evolutionists” try to combine the ideas of chance and Divine creation. But an event is either “caused” by chance or it is caused by God – it cannot be both! Even if “chance” is redefined in terms of probability and conditionality, as some evolutionists try to do, this does not make nature any the less a chance phenomenon. But if we accept that nature came into being by chance, we are denying that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. Creation and chance, however redefined, are incompatible categories.


     In order to give their theories even a semblance of plausibility, the theological evolutionists have to make a distinction between an initial act of creation and the later development of that act, its consequences in history. So God produced the Big Bang, they say, but evolution developed the consequences of the Big Bang into the universe we see before us now. This appears to be what the Pope is doing when he says, on the one hand, that God brought everything to life, and on the other, that these creatures then evolved…


     In essence, this is simply a variation on the theory of the eighteenth century Deists, who compared the universe to a clock that God creates and winds up, but which he then allows to tick away without any further intervention from Himself. Theoretically, he might interfere occasionally in the form of miraculous events, but in practice the Deists did not believe in miracles… Similarly, while the Pope allows that God caused the Big Bang, he does not see the need for any further miracles – after all, “God is not a magician”…


     Deism at least has the virtue of clearly delineating where God’s creativity begins and where it ends: that is, He creates at the very beginning, but abstains thereafter. And theological evolutionists claim support for this view from the fact that, according to Genesis, God rested from His works on the seventh day…  However, the Orthodox interpretation of this seventh day is that it signifies God’s ceasing to create any new species. Man, created on the sixth day, is the last stage and crown of His creation, and He did not create anything essentially new thereafter. But this does not mean that He has ceased to create at all, and He maintains and develops  what He created in the first six days in accordance with His creative Power and Wisdom; for as the Creator Himself said: “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (John 5.17?


     Some idea of creation in the beginning will probably continue to remain on the table of human thought, if only because not even evolutionists can explain how the initial ball of matter that exploded, supposedly, 13.8 billion years ago, came into being, let alone how it produced the vast variety and complexity of the universe, including the Works of Shakespeare and even the Theory of Evolution. For nothing comes from nothing: only God can produce something out of nothing. But what seems common sense to the ordinary human being is anything but to today’s scientists. Thus according to the most famous of contemporary scientists, Stephen Hawking, the universe owes its origin to a chance quantum fluctuation. Thus David Wilkinson, a physicist and Methodist minister, in a book on Stephen Hawking writes that the universe arose by “a chance quantum fluctuation from a state of absolute nothing… Quantum theory deals with events which do not have deterministic causes. By applying quantum theory to the universe, Hawking is saying that the event that triggered the Big Bang did not have a cause. In this way, science is able not only to encompass the laws of evolution but also the initial conditions.”[3]


     The idea that the whole, vast, infinitely varied universe should come from a chance quantum fluctuation is unbelievable (and certainly undemonstrable). But still more unbelievable is the idea that the quantum fluctuation itself should come out of absolute nothing. For we repeat: nothing comes from nothing. To say that the quantum fluctuation is not deterministically caused is just a play with words that does not resolve the problem. Existing things can owe their existence only to “The One Who Exists” (Exodus 3.14) par excellenceess, Who is “the Beginning of every beginning(I Chronicles 29.12) and Who said: “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8.58)





     The introduction of some Scriptural quotations brings us up with the question: to what degree, if at all, is Holy Scripture compatible with evolution?


     Now Orthodox Christians – unlike post-Vatican II Roman Catholics and Protestants – have the obligation to interpret Holy Scripture, not in accordance with their own ideas, but strictly in accord with the writings of the Holy Fathers. For, as St. Peter says: “No scripture is of private interpretation” (II Peter 1.20). And as far as the teaching of the Holy Fathers is concerned, Fr. Seraphim Rose in his excellent book, Genesis and the Creation of Man, has clearly demonstrated that their interpretation of the creation story is incompatible with that of the evolutionists, including the theological evolutionists and their pseudo-allegorical interpretations.


     Nevertheless, for the sake of those who are not familiar with the patristic interpretation of Genesis, or who are inclined to think that the Holy Fathers were uneducated men who were led astray by their ignorance of science, let us approach the question from a purely commonsensical, logical point of view, without referring to patristic interpretations.


     There are several basic problems that any attempt to reconcile Holy Scripture with evolutionism come up against:


(a)Holy Scripture says that “God did not create death” (Wisdom 1.13), that He created all species as “very good” from the beginning and so did not need to keep changing them by means of evolution over billions of years. Death was not there in the beginning, and appeared only as the result of the sin of Adam: “Through one man sin entered the world, and through sin death” (Romans 5.12). So without sin, and without the possibility of the commission of sin by a free, morally responsible man, death would not have appeared (animals cannot sin). Evolutionism, on the other hand, asserts that death was there immediately there appeared organic matter that was capable of dying (for inorganic matter is already dead), and that death was the very engine of evolution insofar as mutation and natural selection are in essence destructive, death-dealing processes. So for Holy Scripture life proceeded from Life, and death intervened only when the man turned away from Life, whereas for evolutionism life proceeded from death, the creation of life from the destruction of life. To the present writer’s knowledge, no attempt to reconcile this contradiction has yet been made that is in the slightest degree plausible. From a commonsensical, logical point of view, it makes much more sense to suppose that life proceeds from Life, rather than that life comes from death…


(b)At a certain point, according to both Holy Scripture and evolutionism, the first fully human man appeared on earth. For Holy Scripture, he was made from clay, water and the inbreathing of God. For the evolutionists, however, he must have appeared through the sexual intercourse of two apes (or Neanderthals). The contradiction is obvious, and cannot be obviated by supposing that the clay and water of the Scriptural account were in fact the embryo of the first man in the womb of his mother. Moreover, for the continuance of the new species, Homo Sapiens, it was necessary, according to the evolutionist account, for both a male and a female of the new species to come into being at the same time and place in order to mate and produce offspring. But, taking into account the fact the creation of a male of the new species requires very many specific genetic changes (mutations), and that the creation of a female of the species equally requires very many specific genetic changes – but different ones, ones that must be complementary to those of the male, the likelihood of this ever happening by chance – that is, all the complementary genetic changes of both the male and the female in one generation – is extraordinarily small. If all these multiple and complementary genetic changes do not take place in one generation, then the reproductive process cannot take place and the species dies out immediately. Moreover, we are talking here only about the very many differences between the sexual reproductive apparatus of the higher apes and man. As we know, there are very many other differences – not least in the size and capacity of the human brain – that distinguish the two species and which have to come into being at the same time and place in both a male and a female of the old species. Generally speaking, sexuality is one of the most powerful arguments against evolutionism. By comparison, the Scriptural account of the creation of Eve from Adam by parthenogenesis (a process found in other animal species) looks much simpler and more plausible.


(c)  The difficulties of harmonizing the Scriptural account of the creation of man with the evolutionist account are so great that most theological evolutionists abandon the idea that Adam and Eve were specific people. However, it is clear from the Scriptures that Christ, St. Paul and St. John all believed in Adam and Eve as real people and not as abstractions for male and female humanity. The question then becomes a question of authority: whose authority is greater: that of Christ and the Apostles, or that of Darwin and his followers? For a Christian who believes that Christ is none other than the Way, the Truth and the Life, God incarnate, there is only one possible answer. To think that Christ could be mistaken about anything whatsoever is equivalent to rejecting Christianity altogether…


(d)If Adam and Eve were not real people, as most theological evolutionists are forced to conclude, then the further question arises: when did the roll-call of names in the genealogy of Luke 3, for example, cease to refer to abstractions or fictions and begin to refer to real people? With Noah? Or Abraham? Or Moses? But again, the Lord, the Truth incarnate, referred to Noah, Abraham and Moses as real people. And the Apostles John and Jude referred to Cain and Abel, and to Enoch, as real people… It seems that the evolutionist who does not reject the early chapters of Genesis or Luke 3 as no more than an instructive fairy-tale has to draw an entirely arbitrary line beyond which symbols and abstractions suddenly became real people…


(e)The case of Noah and the universal flood of his time – confirmed as fact by the Lord and the Apostle Peter – is especially critical, because the existence of the flood provides a much simpler and more comprehensive account of the fossil evidence than does Darwinism. Moreover, the plausibility of Darwinism rests on the assumption of uniformitarianism, that is, on the idea that no universal, cataclysmic events like the flood have taken place since the earth was formed. For if such events did occur, then the dating methods the evolutionists use to date the fossils have to be discarded, since they rest on uniformitarian assumptions… But St. Nektary of Optina (+1928) pointed out that fossils had been found on the tops of the mountains, which appears to presuppose the existence of a universal flood that deposited them there. And creationist scientists in our time have pointed to a mass of evidence from various scientific disciplines that confirms the historicity of the flood.




     But let us return to the greatest stumbling block to evolution, the soul, and to those attributes of the soul that make it wholly incommensurable with anything in the material created universe: rationality, freedom and morality. It is these attributes above all that are referred to by the Holy Spirit when He says that God created man “in His own image” (Genesis 1.26). For only God, being completely beyond space, time and matter, can be said to be truly rational, free and good; and man is said to be made in His image precisely because he, unlike the rest of material creation, partakes in these truly Divine attributes.


     It was the implicit denial of the rational, free and moralizing soul that particularly shocked the early critics of Darwinism. For as Darwinism rapidly evolved from a purely biological theory of origins into universal evolutionism going back to what scientists now call the Big Bang, the image of man that emerged was not simply animalian but completely material: man was made in the image, not of God, but of dead matter. Moreover, evolutionism turned out to be a “new” explanation of the origins of the universe that was in fact very old and very pagan. For "all things were made" now, not by God the Word (“the Word” or “Logos” here can also be translated as “Reason”), but by blind mutation and "natural selection" (i.e. death). These were the two hands of original Chaos, the father of all things - a conception as old as the pre-Socratic philosophers Anaximander and Heraclitus and as retrogressive as the pre-Christian religions of Egypt and Babylon.


     Darwin’s idea of species evolving into and from each other also recalls the Hindu idea of reincarnation. A more likely contemporary influence, however, was Schopenhauer’s philosophy of Will. For both Schopenhauer and Darwin the blind, selfish Will to live was everything; for both there was neither intelligent design nor selfless love, but only the struggle to survive; for both the best that mankind could hope for was not Paradise but a kind of Buddhist nirvana.



     Schopenhauer in metaphysics, Darwin in science, and Marx in political theory formed a kind of unholy consubstantial trinity, whose essence was Will.[4] Marx liked Darwinism because it appeared to justify the idea of class struggle as the fundamental mechanism of human evolution. "The idea of class struggle logically flows from 'the law of the struggle for existence'. It is precisely by this law that Marxism explains the emergence of classes and their struggle, whence logically proceeds the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Instead of racist pre-eminence class pre-eminence is preached."[5]


     However, Darwinism was also congenial to Marxism because of its blind historicism and implicit atheism. As Richard Wurmbrand notes: "After Marx had read The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, he wrote a letter to Lassalle in which he exults that God - in the natural sciences at least - had been given 'the death blow'".[6] "Karl Marx," writes Hieromonk Damascene, "was a devout Darwinist, who in Das Kapital called Darwin's theory 'epoch making'. He believed his reductionist, materialistic theories of the evolution of social organization to be deducible from Darwin's discoveries, and thus proposed to dedicate Das Kapital to Darwin. The funeral oration over Marx's body, delivered by Engels, stressed the evolutionary basis of communism: 'Just as Darwin discovered the law of evolution in organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of evolution in human history.'"[7]


     "The years after 1870," writes Gareth Stedman Jones, "were dominated by the prestige of the natural sciences, especially that of Darwin. Playing to these preoccupations, Engels presented Marx's work, not as a theory of communism or as a study of capitalism, but as the foundation of a parallel 'science of historical materialism'. Socialism had made a transition from 'utopia' to 'science'"...[8]


     Not only Marxism, but also its ideological rival, capitalism, found support in Darwinism. For Darwinism can be seen as the application of the principles of capitalist competition to nature. Thus Bertrand Russell writes: "Darwinism was an application to the whole of animal and vegetable life of Malthus's theory of population, which was an integral part of the politics and economics of the Benthamites - a global free competition, in which victory went to the animals that most resembled successful capitalists. Darwin himself was influenced by Malthus, and was in general sympathy with the Philosophical Radicals. There was, however, a great difference between the competition admired by orthodox economists and the struggle for existence which Darwin proclaimed as the motive force of evolution. 'Free competition,' in orthodox economics, is a very artificial conception, hedged in by legal restrictions. You may undersell a competitor, but you must not murder him. You must not use the armed forces of the State to help you to get the better of foreign manufacturers. Those who have the good fortune to possess capital must not seek to improve their lot by revolution. 'Free competition', as understood by the Benthamites, was by no means really free.


     "Darwinian competition was not of this limited sort; there were no rules against hitting below the belt. The framework of law does not exist among animals, nor is war excluded as a competitive method. The use of the State to secure victory in competition was against the rules as conceived by the Benthamites, but could not be excluded from the Darwinian struggle. In fact, though Darwin himself was a Liberal, and though Nietzsche never mentions him except with contempt, Darwin's 'Survival of the Fittest' led, when thoroughly assimilated, to something much more like Nietzsche's philosophy than like Bentham's. These developments, however, belong to a later period, since Darwin's Origin of Species was published in 1859, and its political implications were not at first perceived…"[9]


     And yet the repulsive moral implications of Darwin’s theory were obvious to contemporary Orthodox saints. For example, St. Barsanuphius of Optina:  “The English philosopher Darwin created an entire system according to which life is a struggle for existence, a struggle of the strong against the weak, where those that are conquered are doomed to destruction and the conquerors are triumphant. This is already the beginning of a bestial philosophy…”[10]


     Again, St. Nectarios of Aegina wrote in 1885: “The followers of pithecogeny [the derivation of man from the apes] are ignorant of man and of his lofty destiny, because they have denied him his soul and Divine revelation. They have rejected the Spirit, and the Spirit has abandoned them. They withdrew from God, and God withdrew from them; for, thinking they were wise, they became fools… If they had acted with knowledge, they would not have lowered themselves so much, nor would they have taken pride in tracing the origin of the human race to the most shameless of animals. Rightly did the Prophet say of them: ‘Man being in honour, did not understand; he is compared to the dumb beasts, and is become like unto them.”[11]


     As for the political implications of Darwin's book, they are obvious from its full title: On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the struggle for life. Darwin did not mean by "races" races of men, but species of animals. However, the inference was easily drawn that certain races of men are more “favoured” than others; and this inference was still more easily drawn after the publication of The Descent of Man in 1871. Very soon different races or classes or groups of men were being viewed as if they were different species. "Applied to politics," writes Jacques Barzun, "[Darwinism] bred the doctrine that nations and other social groups struggle endlessly in order that the fittest shall survive. So attractive was this 'principle' that it got the name of Social Darwinism."[12] Thus Social Darwinism may be defined as the idea that "human affairs are a jungle in which only the fittest of nations, classes, or individuals will survive".[13]


     Social Darwinism leads to the conclusion that certain races are congenitally superior to others. "Only congenital characteristics are inherited," writes Russell, "apart from certain not very important exceptions. Thus the congenital differences between men acquire fundamental importance." [14] As Fr. Timothy Alferov writes: "The ideas of racial pre-eminence - racism, Hitlerism - come from the Darwinist teaching on the origin of the races and their unequal significance. The law of the struggle for existence supposedly obliges the strong races to exert a strong dominance over the other races, to the extent of destroying the latter. It is not necessary to describe here the incarnation of these ideas in life in the example of Hitlerism, but it is worth noting that Hitler greatly venerated Darwin."[15]


     However, while appearing to widen the differences between races of men, Social Darwinism also reduces them between men and other species - with some startling consequences. Thus Russell writes: "If men and animals have a common ancestry, and if men developed by such slow stages that there were creatures which we should not know whether to classify as human or not, the question arises: at what stage in evolution did men, or their semi-human ancestors, begin to be all equal? Would Pithecanthropus erectus, if he had been properly educated, have done work as good as Newton's? Would the Piltdown Men have written Shakespeare's poetry if there had been anybody to convict him of poaching? A resolute egalitarian who answers these questions in the affirmative will find himself forced to regard apes as the equals of human beings. And why stop at apes? I do not see how he is to resist an argument in favour of Votes for Oysters. An adherent of evolution should maintain that not only the doctrine of the equality of all men, but also that of the rights of man, must be condemned as unbiological, since it makes too emphatic a distinction between men and other animals."[16]


   Arthur Balfour, who became British Prime Minister in 1902, described the world-view that universal evolutionism proclaimed as follows: "A man - so far as natural science is able to teach us, is no longer the final cause of the universe, the Heaven-descended heir of all the ages. His very existence is an accident, his story a brief and transitory episode in the life of one of the meanest of the planets. Of the combination of causes which first converted a dead organic compound into the living progenitors of humanity, science indeed, as yet knows nothing. It is enough that from such beginnings famine, disease, and mutual slaughter, fit nurses of the future lords of creation, have gradually evolved after infinite travail, a race with conscience enough to feel that it is vile, and intelligent enough to know that it is insignificant. We survey the past, and see that its history is of blood and tears, of helpless blundering, of wild revolt, of stupid acquiescence, of empty aspirations. We sound the future, and learn that after a period, long compared with the individual life, but short indeed compared with the divisions of time open to our investigation, the energies of our system will decay, the glory of the sun will be dimmed, and the earth, tideless and inert, will no longer tolerate the race which has for a moment disturbed its solitude. Man will go down into the pit, and all his thoughts will perish…"[17]


     A truly melancholy philosophy – but fortunately there is no reason to believe in it. C.S. Lewis wrote: "By universal evolutionism I mean the belief that the very formula of universal process is from imperfect to perfect, from small beginnings to great endings, from the rudimentary to the elaborate, the belief which makes people find it natural to think that morality springs from savage taboos, adult sentiment from infantile sexual maladjustments, thought from instinct, mind from matter, organic from inorganic, cosmos from chaos. This is perhaps the deepest habit of mind in the contemporary world. It seems to me immensely implausible, because it makes the general course of nature so very unlike those parts of nature we can observe. You remember the old puzzle as to whether the owl came from the egg or the egg from the owl. The modern acquiescence in universal evolutionism is a kind of optical illusion, produced by attending exclusively to the owl's emergence from the egg. We are taught from childhood to notice how the perfect oak grows from the acorn and to forget that the acorn itself was dropped by a perfect oak. We are reminded constantly that the adult human being was an embryo, never that the life of the embryo came from two adult human beings. We love to notice that the express engine of today is the descendant of the 'Rocket'; we do not equally remember that the 'Rocket' springs not from some even more rudimentary engine, but from something much more perfect and complicated than itself - namely, a man of genius. The obviousness or naturalness which most people seem to find in the idea of emergent evolution thus seems to be a pure hallucination…"[18]




     So: “immensely implausible” and “pure hallucination” was the verdict of this most gifted and learned of Western Christian writers on evolutionism, a verdict shared today by increasing numbers of scientists from various disciplines… And yet the great majority of contemporary mankind, including most Christians and most scientists, still believes in this foundation myth of our age. In searching for an explanation of this fact, we should remember the words of the Lord: “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God” (John 7.17). In other words, truth is given to those who practice the good as far as they are able. “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3.20).


     And if it be objected that these words cannot be applied to many evolutionists, who are very moral and honourable people, then it should be remembered that even such “respectable” sins as conformism and wanting to be honoured by others is sufficient to alienate us from the truth. For “how can you believe, who receive honour from one another and do not seek the honour that comes from the only God?” (John 5.44). For why is it that the vast majority of men, even the most intelligent, accept the prevailing belief-system of their age, even when its falsehood is so evident to succeeding generations? Because they “receive honour from one another”, and fear to lose that honour (and perhaps also positions and salaries) if they depart from the prevailing consensus, or look too closely into its shaky foundations. For most men are like the parents of the blind man whom Christ healed, “who said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was the Christ he would be put out of the synagogue” (John 9.22).  


     The synagogue of those who hold the prevailing belief-system is extremely powerful in any age, not least in our own, which, while seeming to honour freedom, creativity and non-conformism, actually restricts them within very definite limits. Nor is it necessary to imprison or physically abuse non-conformists in order to bring them into line. Thus those who believe that homosexuality is immoral and unnatural (which is obvious) are considered to be haters of men, lacking in compassion, bigots. And those who reject evolution are considered to be unintelligent, flat-earthers, “behind the times”, “unscientific”, even enemies of progress. In practice we see that very few are able to resist such social pressures.


     Which brings us to the fundamental reason why evolutionists accept the lie: “because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved”. It is because of this lack of love of the truth above all that God “sends them a strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” (II Thessalonians 2.10-11). For in the last resort those who do not believe in God the Creator are, as St. Paul says, “without excuse” (Romans 1.20).


     So how are we to classify the false teaching of evolutionism, bearing in mind that it is not only atheists who believe in it, but also Christians, and even those who call themselves Orthodox Christians? The best answer would seem to be: as a form of scientism, that is, the belief that certain knowledge of the most important truths is attainable only through science, and not through the Word of God. And scientism in turn is a form of rationalism, that is, the belief that human reasoning is a surer method of reaching truth than Divine Revelation


     People are impressed – overawed would perhaps be a better word – by the fact that science, alone among major human activities, appears always to be making progress. This is not to say that scientists never make mistakes but that in the end science will always, perhaps after a period of meandering along dark, misleading paths, drag itself out of error and bring us onto the sunlit uplands of truth. In other words, individual scientists and scientific hypotheses may be wrong, but the scientific project as such is never wrong: on the contrary, it is the only sure path to truth. Science, it is granted condescendingly, cannot provide certain emotional satisfactions, such as knowing the meaning of life: for these, it is better to resort to other activities such as religion or art. But the implication is that these other activities are not actually concerned with objective truth: for that there is no substitute for science; it alone can tell us what life and the universe is, was and shall be.


     The basic problem with what we can call the heresy of scientism is that it defines objective reality as exclusively that which can be studied by empirical scientific method. And since scientific method can study only visible objects existing in space and time, this by definition precludes from the realm of objective reality not only invisible things, such as God, angels and the soul, but also things that cannot be located in space and time, such as love. Now the early theorists of science, such as Francis Bacon, and the greatest scientists of the spring-time of science, such as Isaac Newton, accepted the existence of these things while at the same time accepting that they were not objects for scientific research. That is why, as recent research has shown, Newton spent as much time on the study of the Bible, especially the prophetic books, as he did on pure science. But later science became increasingly scientistic, as opposed to strictly scientific; that is, it decided – completely arbitrarily – that that which cannot be investigated by science ipso facto does not exist…


     Scientific method is also restricted to the study only of those events which are – in principle, at any rate – repeatable; for hypotheses are tested through experimentation, and experimentation must be replicable. But this again precludes from the realm of objective reality such unreplicable events as the beginning of the world… Scientism, however, refuses to be so restricted, and universal evolutionism is therefore not science in the strict sense of the word, but metaphysical speculation…Even that more down-to-earth part of the theory that we call Darwinism is virtually metaphysical. For while mutations and the emergence of species are in principle visible and repeatable events, nobody has yet witnessed a single such an event, whether in the wild or in a laboratory!


     Again, scientific method proceeds through the discovery of scientific laws and conducts its experiments on the assumption that some explanation of any phenomenon that is being studied can eventually be found within the context of already discovered or still-to-be-discovered laws of nature. There is nothing wrong with such an assumption for particular cases, and it has, of course, proved very fruitful in stimulating the progress of science. Scientism, however, goes further and declares with complete generality that everything that happened in the past, that is happening now and will happen in the future can be explained by the laws of nature. In other words, miracles, the irruption into our world of space, time and matter of forces from another realm, are impossible. However, as C.S. Lewis proved conclusively in his great book Miracles, this again is a metaphysical assumption that cannot be proved from the nature of science itself.


     The fact is, as Horatio said to Hamlet, there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in the rationalist philosophy of scientism… Science has indeed made great progress as long as it has stayed within its proper bounds and remained faithful to the principles of empiricism. But as soon as it has strayed beyond the bounds of empirical science and entered the realm of metaphysics, as in the theory of evolution, it has gone badly astray, becoming “half-science” as Dostoyevsky called it in his novel, The Devils. In our time, this has led to the construction of a huge quasi-religious myth encompassing the whole history of the universe from beginning to end which, apart from contradicting established scientific fact in very many particulars, also contradicts the only reliable source of knowledge we have for these matters – the Revelation of God. So let us return in humility to His Word as spoken through the wise Solomon: “We can hardly guess at what is on earth, and what is at hand we find with labour; but who has traced out what is in the heavens, and who has learned Thy counsel, unless Thou give him wisdom, and send Thy Holy Spirit from on high?” (Wisdom 9.17)


October 18/31, 2014.

Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke.








[1] According to one source (http://time.com/3545844/pope-francis-evolution-creationism), the process goes still further back, to Pope Pius XII’s 1950 encyclical “Humani Generis”. However, real change in the consciousness of ordinary Catholics only began after Vatican II.


[3] Wilkinson, God, Time and Stephen Hawking, London: Monarch Books, 2001, p. 104.

[4]Marx's task was "to convert the 'Will' of German philosophy and this abstraction into a force in the practical world" (A.N. Wilson, After the Victorians, London: Hutchinson, 2005, p. 126).

[5]Fr. Timothy Alferov, Pravoslavnoe Mirovozzrenie i Sovremennoe Estestvoznanie (The Orthodox World-View and the Contemporary Science of Nature), Moscow: "Palomnik", 1998, p. 158.

[6]Wurmbrand, Was Karl Marx a Satanist?, Diane Books (USA), 1976, p. 44.

[7]Hieromonk Damascene, in Fr. Seraphim Rose, Genesis, Creation and Early Man, Platina, Ca.: St. Herman of Alaska Press, 2000, p. 339, note.

[8]Gareth Jones, "The Routes of Revolution", BBC History Magazine, vol. 3 (6), June, 2002, p. 36.

[9] Russell, A History of Western Philosophy, London: George Allen and Unwin, 1946, pp. 807-808

[10] Victor Afanasyev, Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, Platina: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2000, p. 488.

[11] St. Nectarios, Sketch concerning Man, Athens, 1885.

[12] Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence, 1500 to the Present, New York: Perennial, 2000, pp. 571-572.

[13] Norman Davies, Europe, London: Pimlico, 1997, p. 794.

[14] Russell, op. cit., p. 753.

[15] Alferov, Pravoslavnoe Mirovozzrenie i Sovremennoe Estesvoznanie (The Orthodox World-View and the Contemporary Science of Nature), Moscow: "Palomnik", 1998, pp. 157-158.

[16] Russell, op. cit., p. 753. A British television programme once seriously debated the question whether apes should have the same rights as human beings, and came to a positive conclusion...  See Joanna Bourke, What it Means to be Human, London: Virago, 2011.

[17]Balfour, The Foundations of Belief, 1895, pp. 30-31; in Wilson, The Victorians, London: Hutchinson, 2002, p. 557.

[18]Lewis, "Is Theology Poetry?", in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, New York: Macmillan, 1949.

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