St. Ephrem on Creation

St. Ephrem the Syrian ca. 306-373

No one should think that the Creation of Six Days is an allegory; it is likewise impermissible to say that what seems, according to the account, to have been created in six days, was created in a single instant, and likewise that certain names presented in this account either signify nothing, or signify something else. On the contrary, we must know that just as the heaven and the earth which were created in the beginning are actually the heaven and the earth and not something else understood under the names of heaven and earth, so also everything else that is spoken of as being created and brought into order after the creation of heaven and earth is not empty names, but the very essence of the created natures corresponds to the force of these names. (Commentary on Genesis)


  1. This is a great passage from St. Ephrem. I feel comforted that from early on there is proof that Christians did not believe in a six day creation allegory. I have no issue believing that the earth is old, but I have always had problems with Christians who try to squeeze macro-evolution into the creation story. My question to you is how can any Orthodox Christian believe in macro-evolution when there is so little proof that it has ever happened and that it conflicts with how the Church has always taught? It seems to be a faith in something that is contrary to scripture and tradition (not to mention spotty and questionable scientific research). Don’t get me wrong, I am not passing judgment on those who believe in macro-evolution. I just don’t understand the mindset

    I am sorry if I am whacking a hornets nest with a stick here.

  2. Most Orthodox who believe in macro-evolution would say that this issue extends beyond the scientific knowledge available to the Fathers. I agree with you; I don’t buy it. I believe that macro-evolution is explicitly denied by Tradition (Scripture, Fathers, etc.) and the saints who have lived recently.

    More Links, these compilations and quotes also include Orthodox saints who lived after Darwin:

  3. I love this. Thank you for this courageous stand for the Truth. I think all too often the mentality of many is to distance themselves in any way possible from the beliefs of Evangelicals, and at the same time to try to garner respect from the intellectual community. But here as you have so boldly shown from this God-illumined Father, as well as from many others whose spirits beheld these ineffable mysteries, macro-evolution and Darwinian “geologic time” are an atheist creation-myth. It is a misguided attempt based upon assuming the Universe has already operated in the same way. I suppose we can sympathize with that, while at the same time knowing better, based upon the testimony of the Scriptures and the consensus of the fathers which took them as conveying both historical and spiritual truth.

  4. You’re very welcome brother. I’m glad to see there are people like you out there ready to stand with us.

  5. Who knows were this amazing icon is?

  6. Who knows were this amazing icon is depicted?

  7. This icon is at Sucevita Monastery, in Romania.

  8. Does anyone know where this quote is taken from in the Saint’s writings? Is it part of a work of his that has been translated into English? Any leads would be very helpful. Thank you.


  9. Yes. It’s from his commentary on Genesis.

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