Creationism in Russia

I’m just a dumb lawyer. I can go weeks at a time without thinking about the Creationist/Evolutionist controversy. Nothing in it requires my close attention.

What roused from my customary obliviousness toward the controversy is the discovery that Protestant Creationism is making inroads in Russia, including in the Orthodox Church. There’s a desire to reject all things Soviet, and evolution tends to be identified with the Soviet regimes. Further, after 70 years of atheist pressure, some of the Orthodox tradition is still being recovered, and Evangelical missionaries can pass off novelty as clear and historic Christian teaching — perhaps with a boost from the writings of Father Seraphim Rose, and American polymath monk, who wrote a lengthy tome more hostile than friendly toward evolution and whose Russian writings and translations generally made him influential there.

But my whole adult life, even when I was an Evangelical, I’ve rejected “Young Earth Creationism,” seeing ample latitude in the Bible for an older earth and finding creationist explanations of geological matters, for instance, to run counter to Occam’s razor.

I’ve also long (a couple of decades now) believed that evolution has been a very productive scientific theory, and that if one is going to try to work against that theory, one had better be a surpassing genius or independently wealthy. Even if evolution is overturned some day by a startling new theory, for now, it behooves scientists in the affected fields to work with it. Heck, having everyone on the same page was fruitful even when the theory was alchemy.

If, say, a biologist wants to sit very lightly on evolutionary theory, it seems prudent still to embrace it methodologically — to practice methodological if not philosophical materialism.

New Deacon Andrei Kuraev argues that a well-informed Christian can accept evolution, and it has been my experience that the matter generally is not an issue in the American Orthodox Church.

There came a point where I skimmed Deacon Andrei’s article, but what I read was quite interesting and methodical. Suffice that there’s lots of Biblical and traditional reasons not to feel bound to reject evolution. The choice between Creationism and Liberalism is a false dichotomy.

So what if the Soviets embraced evolution? As one of our local judges used to say, “Even a blind pig finds an acorn now and again.”