Tag Archives: Doru Costache

Genesis Theology: Patristic Understandings

by Doru Costache

In my early days in the University of Bucharest, I was confronted by the opinion of many colleagues and students that the Orthodox must side with creationism against evolution. This meant presenting Genesis 1–2 literally, as a scientifically accurate report on the universe. I begged to differ and ended up quite isolated. After my relocation to Sydney, I discovered that many “first world” Orthodox reasoned much the same way and that, once again, my rejection of creationism looked suspicious. My attempts to show that, surreptitiously, Orthodox creationists largely borrow from denominational backgrounds which they traditionally despised fell on deaf ears. This prompted me to continue my work of patristic exploration, particularly seeking how Genesis was read in the early Christian centuries. In what follows, I refer to several findings that contradict the creationist view of Genesis as a scientific report, even though the authors I mention here unceasingly proclaimed the sublimity of the Genesis creation narrative. There was no biblical “science” of creation for them, no creationism. Instead, Genesis was a theological account of the mystery of the universe as God’s creation.

Before I turn to examples, a few words about the current understanding of the Genesis narrative are in order. It does not read like a regular story, from head to tail, instead adopting the symmetrical pattern of chiastic structures. Continue reading

Person, Nature, and Personhood Theology

by Doru Costache

For contemporary Orthodox theology, irrespective of the terms used throughout the centuries, ecclesial anthropology focuses on the mystery of personhood. This amounts to saying that Orthodox anthropology, with its markedly spiritual and/or ascetic dimension, is person-centered and not nature-centered. Building on the distinction without division between person and nature, this focus shows a certain preference in the representation of an otherwise complex reality. The sphere of personhood is likewise prominent in the Orthodox representation of the Holy Trinity and Christ. Personhood theology is therefore at the heart of contemporary Orthodox theology. In all three cases, traditional ideas and concepts are currently given personalist, existential, and phenomenological connotations. In so doing, personhood theology does more than to undertake a work of conceptual translation; it circumscribes the mysteries of the faith from viewpoints specific to the Orthodox experience in contemporary world. Given recent commotions about these developments, a question must be asked: cui bono? For what purpose? Continue Reading…