Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
Admittedly, this theory (and it is deservedly called theory, hypothesis and not a demonstrated conclusion) has gone through a lot of revises from its apparition till nowadays. What actually cannot be accepted is the fact that for many times, overcoming its limits – using not very scrupulous ways – it has tried to earn the title of “proved principle” and thus – what it is even worse – to become a way of exploitation and a weapon in the hands of atheists and materialists used to fight against the teachings of Bible. At the beginning of the 80s with the occasion of some archeological discoveries and the anniversary of 100 years from the death of Charles Darwin (1882) its first supporter, this theory came back in the headlines. In Greece, unfortunately, the one who spread it was a cleric who more or less started to claim that man at its origins evolved from a monkey! In order to avoid the disagreement of his parishioners and reprimand or even the disposure by the Church, he tried through techniques of interpretation to reconcile his beliefs with the writings of the Old Testament.
Blessed Paisios suffered a lot not only for his wander but also for the danger of deception whereat due to his position and his sophistic talent led the unarmed souls. The elder reacted by answering and fighting against those wrong interpretations and also by impelling the skilled ones – clerics and theologians – to take a stand and protect the believers from wanders. He gathered some fragments from the Holy Bible and from other patristic interpretations that referred to that matter. He multiplied them and spread to the pilgrims in order to help them and to not be deceived. When Father Paisios found out that the respective cleric did not repent, he then started to speak sharply against him and he prevented him that if he continued he would suffer the pedagogic intervention of God. In the following, we will write a few cases we preserved to better reveal the position of the elder.
Once he went to a cell to celebrate, together with other fathers close to him, the Rising of Lord that happened to be also the titular celebration name of that cell. Before the reading from the Acts, the abbot insisted and firmly spoke about this subject that was much disputed in those times. Then he highlighted especially the following fragment from the Book of Job, read during the Liturgy on Holy Thursday but that, despite its timely meaning, passed unnoticed by all those who were present there: If he were to decide to do so, that is, to take back to himself his spirit and breath of life, every living thing would die all at once and mankind would return to dust. ”Or did you take clay of the ground and form a living creature and set with the power of speech upon the earth?” (Job 38, 14). The abbot pointed out especially two things: “clay of the ground” and “living creature”. Hence it is very clear that the creation of the man was performed directly from the clay of the ground”.
Another time, somebody used the following sophistic argument: – The origin of man from monkey does not oppose the story from Genesis, as long as we could understand from the verse: “And God formed the man out of dust from the ground” (Genesis 2,7) that the “dust from ground” God used to create the man was the monkey (!). Then the abbot, with holy indignation against it immediately answered with the following three arguments:
God does not need “change pieces” to create the man.
The way the man was created – “Then God said: Let us make man in Our image…” (Genesis 1, 26) and “and God formed man…”(Genesis 2,7) – differs a lot from the way the animals were created – “Then God said: Let the waters bring forth creatures having life, and let birds fly…let the earth bring forth the living creatures according to its kind the quadrupets…” (Genesis 1, 20-25) – and this difference proves God’s special care for his creation (man).
The Word of God, when He incarnated, incarnated in a human body and not in monkey!!!
Beyond these, the elder, foreseeing the disastrous consequences that the aforementioned wile syllogism could have, few days after that discussion, explained to two fathers the followings: “Now at the very beginning they say: ‘We deny neither God nor the Bible. In order to no give the impression that we oppose the statements asserted by important scientists, we symbolically understand the dust and say that God used a monkey for the flesh and he blew over it the breath of life.’ You will see that after many Christians will accept this, interpreting the things according to their mind, they will say: ‘Well, did He really blow on him breath of life? Do we discuss now about breath, about air? Let’s be serious! As long as the monkey was alive, it means it had breath of life… This the soul, the life.’ And after few years, when “Christians” accept this as well, they will say: ’Which God of Adam and Eve? Isn’t everything made by itself? That a superior power exists, the nature’ (!!!) Thus, eventually they will say that: ‘There is neither soul nor God!’
A theologian, someone that the elder knew, entitled his book referring to man, ‘Deified animal’. The abbot saddened a lot and he expressed his contrariety. Of course, the two words come from a text of Saint Gregory the Theologian, but they were used totally separated from the original context. Father Paisios explained that the two words, as they were taken from the text and then joined together, ‘can be exploited to support these theories for perdition, that some spread nowadays. Saint Gregory, if he lived today, he would have differently expressed himself” (to not give the opportunity for misinterpretations).
A young monk read some rational opinions referring to the biblical story about genesis that indirectly questioned the divine inspiration of that story. In other words, they claimed that Prophet Moses used different older oral traditions and the knowledge of those times to write the Book. The monk was influenced by the fact that the author of that book was a cleric as well, famous for his in general orthodox and traditionalistic opinions. During a discussion with Father Paisios he told him those opinions. Then the abbot manifestly saddened, answered: – Dear child! “Being covered by the divine grace, the stutterer…” I am surprised! You sing them yourselves (to be mentioned that during those days the feast of Pentecost was celebrated, when the aforementioned catavasia was sang) and you do not pay attention to what you sing!”
Another time, cheerfully juggling but in a brilliant way, the respective theories about the creation of man through the automatic auto-evolution of organisms from the deficient ones to the more evolved ones, he said: ‘If eight says he’s nine, I will give him a ten (excellent)”, obviously highlighting the difference between the animals lacking the rational and the rational man. [Meaning that meanwhile number 8 – as all the mindless animals – from his creation by God till nowadays was not able to not at least progress and evolve (respectively number 8 to become 9), on the contrary the rational man was bestowed by God with the possibility to permanently progress and evolve.].