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Author Topic: The Nature of Hell: Eternal or Not?  (Read 40468 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #360 on: February 08, 2007, 10:19:06 PM »

I am simply insisting that God is ontologically Love and to insist on any contradicting attribute is not only unchristian but also plain wrong. Now I could spend my time giving theological explanations of, for example, the wrath of God, how it is an outgrowth of love and it's purpose is to restore one to a proper alignment towards God. But, of course, I would then be addressing what divine wrath truly was and not what you represent it as. What divine wrath is being represented as is inconsonant with Love and is certainly not a divine attribute.

In nomine Iesu, GiC I offer you continued peace,

Yes, you do appear to be insisting that God is ontologically Love but at the expense of His Righteousness...

But if our injustice commend the justice of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust, who executeth wrath? - Rom 3:5 DRV

Whether God’s Wrath Is Unjust. Origen: Paul says that it is wrong to say that God is unjust for bringing wrath on men. For how will the one who judges the world be thought to be unjust, when his very title of Judge shows that he does nothing without judgment? And where there is judgment, it follows that there will be justice. For the words judge and judgment are both derived from justice.

The idea being expressed here does not accord with God or with the wisdom of God, but with man and with what has just been said, viz.: “All men are liars.”
(See Ps 116:11; Rom 3:4.)

But it is perfectly logical and right to say that justice is the enemy of unrighteousness, just as life is the enemy of death and light is the enemy of darkness. Therefore God, in whom is justice, is said to bring wrath on men, in whom unrighteousness dwells. For justice and unrighteousness are natural enemies. So how could God be regarded as unjust, simply because he is fighting unrighteousness? - Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans.

pax vobiscum
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« Reply #361 on: February 08, 2007, 10:36:29 PM »

In nomine Iesu, GiC I offer you continued peace,

Yes, you do appear to be insisting that God is ontologically Love but at the expense of His Righteousness...

How can righteouness exist independent of Love? That which is unloving is inherently unrighteous.

I see you quote Origen, who here defended the notion of righteousness and justice, yet he also advocated apokatastasis. There will be justice and there is a hell; that does not, however, necessitate an eternal hell...for to inflict an infinite punishment for a finite crime would be inherently both unjust and unrighteous...it is not a Divine Wrath, but a satanic sadism.
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« Reply #362 on: February 08, 2007, 10:57:37 PM »

What if God gives the "sinner of finite crimes" a chance to repent and be with Him after their earthly death but they still choose to turn away from Him?  As I understand the state of Hell in Orthodoxy...it is not our loving Lord who turns from us...in fact he is the Truth and Light that will always be...but to the unrepentant His love and light will pierce and burn their soul.  It is difficult to fathom anyone who would willfully choose to not love God (after death) when His truth will be so clearly revealed. 
   I am a mother of three children who I love dearly and I can't imagine turning away from them.  So the way I imagine our Lord loving us all, He obviously could never stop caring for us.  It is only us who could decide we do not want anything to do with Him. 

Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us all!
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« Reply #363 on: February 08, 2007, 11:30:48 PM »

How can righteousness exist independent of Love? That which is unloving is inherently unrighteous.

Love is not tolerance, acceptance nor does it seek the pleasure of its subject. Universal Love seeks Universal Justice. Only in Justice is Love established for all. You appear to reduce Love to sentimentality and that is a grave error.

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I see you quote Origen, who here defended the notion of righteousness and justice, yet he also advocated apokatastasis.

I believe it is proper to quote Origen when his words share consensus with the Catholic Faith. I have done that but I also must point out that not everything Origen advocated shared this consensus. I speak now of the Second Council of Constantinople when such a position was condemned in the 9th Canon...

Although I understand you exercise a unique privilege to pick and choice which Canons you wish to recognize I do believe that everyone here agrees with such cherry-picking so I offer the Canon in question...

Canon 9: If anyone says or holds that the punishment of the demons and of impious men is temporary, and that it will have an end at some time, that is to say, there will be a complete restoration of the demons or of impious men, let him be anathema.

I do not hold such an opinion and neither do those who uphold a normative interpretation of Sacred Scripture.

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There will be justice and there is a hell; that does not, however, necessitate an eternal hell...for to inflict an infinite punishment for a finite crime would be inherently both unjust and unrighteous...it is not a Divine Wrath, but a satanic sadism.

What evidence do you have that our crimes are finite? To whom do we sin?

And he that sat on the throne, said: Behold, I make all things new. And he said to me: Write. For these words are most faithful and true. And he said to me: It is done. I am Alpha and Omega: the Beginning and the End. To him that thirsteth, I will give of the fountain of the water of life, freely. He that shall overcome shall possess these things. And I will be his God: and he shall be my son. But the fearful and unbelieving and the abominable and murderers and whoremongers and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. - Revelation 21:5-8 DRB

There shall not enter into it any thing defiled or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie: but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb. - Revelation 21:27 DRB

Let us hope and pray that we are 'they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb'.

Truly GiC, you are welcome to believe what you will but I warn you the feel-good philosophies of men do not triumph over the Word of God nor do they yield us leverage to barter on the Last Day when we will give an account of our lives before that Heavenly Throne.

I know that you feel yourself to be a clever lad but all your angles will avail you nothing when you stand before that Almighty Throne.

Pax Vobiscum
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« Reply #364 on: February 09, 2007, 12:20:28 AM »

Love is not tolerance, acceptance nor does it seek the pleasure of its subject. Universal Love seeks Universal Justice. Only in Justice is Love established for all. You appear to reduce Love to sentimentality and that is a grave error.

I reduce love to nothing, I address it for what it is, 'Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.'

Scripture teaches that God will all to be saved, this is a manifestation of Divine Love, and as God is immutable we can know that he shall eternally desire this salvation. To say that man could eternally resist is to say that man can eternally thwart the will of God...to say that man can eternally defeat God; which is to say that man is a greater god than the pre-eternal One.

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I believe it is proper to quote Origen when his words share consensus with the Catholic Faith. I have done that but I also must point out that not everything Origen advocated shared this consensus.

So you believe it's proper to pick and choose what you like, then quote it out of context? If you are going to bring a father into a discussion, it is appropriate to consider his philosophy and thought. Otherwise the words are meaningless.

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I speak now of the Second Council of Constantinople when such a position was condemned in the 9th Canon...

First of all, Constantinople II didn't promulgate canons...though it did promulgate a set of anathemas, then 9th of which actually states,

'If anyone shall say that it was not the Divine Logos made man by taking an animated body with a ψυχή λογική and νοερά, that he descended into hell and ascended into heaven, but shall pretend that it is the Νούς which has done this, that Νούς of which they say (in an impious fashion) he is Christ properly so called, and that he is become so by the knowledge of the Monad: let him be anathema.'

What you quoted wasn't from the Council at all...it was from the personal anathemas of Justinian against Origen; anathemas that while submitted to the Synod and taken into consideration in the decision of the Synod were not ratified by the Synod. The Synod's anathemas lack any condemnation of a non-eternal hell.

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Although I understand you exercise a unique privilege to pick and choice which Canons you wish to recognize I do believe that everyone here agrees with such cherry-picking so I offer the Canon in question...

I guess you could say that, but while I really do like Justinian, a list of anathemas that represent little more than his personal opinion and were never promulgated as either canon or secular law are hardly binding. If we happen to discover that Justinian also disliked poultry, shall we eternally be forbidden from consuming the same?

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I do not hold such an opinion and neither do those who uphold a normative interpretation of Sacred Scripture.

Normative? Perhaps normative to the medieval scholar, but during the first five centuries of christianity your 'normative interpretation' would have been quite novel and in the distinct minority.

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What evidence do you have that our crimes are finite? To whom do we sin?

We are finite beings, our only hope at any existance, much less eternal existance, is our ontological bond to an infinite creator. God alone is infinite, God alone does infinite things, to state that our crimes are infinite is to state that we are Gods.

Quote
And he that sat on the throne, said: Behold, I make all things new. And he said to me: Write. For these words are most faithful and true. And he said to me: It is done. I am Alpha and Omega: the Beginning and the End. To him that thirsteth, I will give of the fountain of the water of life, freely. He that shall overcome shall possess these things. And I will be his God: and he shall be my son. But the fearful and unbelieving and the abominable and murderers and whoremongers and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. - Revelation 21:5-8 DRB

There shall not enter into it any thing defiled or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie: but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb. - Revelation 21:27 DRB

I can quote scripture too, and can even use more reputable books:

'For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight' -- Colossians i. 19-22

'Christ is all, and in all.' -- Colossians iii. 11 (interesting implication I hadn't thought of previously, since Christ fills all his creation, any condemnation of said creation to hell is a condemnation of Christ to hell)

Quote
Truly GiC, you are welcome to believe what you will but I warn you the feel-good philosophies of men do not triumph over the Word of God nor do they yield us leverage to barter on the Last Day when we will give an account of our lives before that Heavenly Throne.

I have no intention to 'barter' before God, as I do not believe I shall stand before a pagan deity that seeks the fulfillment of some contract. Though I can say with certainty that if there is an eternal hell, those who believe themselves entitled to heaven and those who attempt to invoke contracts to avoid hell and all who attempt to 'barter' with God in any manner for the salvation of their soul will be the first to be condemned to the same regardless of their piety, faith, or works...for by reducing the salvific work of Christ to a contract they have blasphemed the Holy Spirit.

Of course, I believe that God is merciful and will forgive even these most vile of sinners; so that even they may some day enter paradise.

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I know that you feel yourself to be a clever lad but all your angles will avail you nothing when you stand before that Almighty Throne.

If may be, as you suggest, the will of God that we be damned...would it not be blasphemous to protest? Do we not pray that His Will, not ours, be done? Who are you to blaspheme God and seek to save your soul when He has demanded vengeance?
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« Reply #365 on: February 09, 2007, 01:36:08 AM »

I reduce love to nothing, I address it for what it is, 'Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.'

Rejoiceth not in iniquity...

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Scripture teaches that God will all to be saved, this is a manifestation of Divine Love, and as God is immutable we can know that he shall eternally desire this salvation. To say that man could eternally resist is to say that man can eternally thwart the will of God...to say that man can eternally defeat God; which is to say that man is a greater god than the pre-eternal One.
I see where you are coming from... This is a sovereignty issue with you. Man's Free-Will vs. God's Will. You are like a reverse Calvinist....

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So you believe it's proper to pick and choose what you like, then quote it out of context? If you are going to bring a father into a discussion, it is appropriate to consider his philosophy and thought. Otherwise the words are meaningless.

No, I believe that a individual can reach exegesis of the text without the error of eisegesis.

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First of all, Constantinople II didn't promulgate canons...though it did promulgate a set of anathemas, then 9th of which actually states,

'If anyone shall say that it was not the Divine Logos made man by taking an animated body with a ψυχή λογική and νοερά, that he descended into hell and ascended into heaven, but shall pretend that it is the Νούς which has done this, that Νούς of which they say (in an impious fashion) he is Christ properly so called, and that he is become so by the knowledge of the Monad: let him be anathema.'

What you quoted wasn't from the Council at all...it was from the personal anathemas of Justinian against Origen; anathemas that while submitted to the Synod and taken into consideration in the decision of the Synod were not ratified by the Synod. The Synod's anathemas lack any condemnation of a non-eternal hell.

You are welcome to exclude the anathemas but they are there and I'm not the only one who recognizes them as valid and binding.

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I guess you could say that, but while I really do like Justinian, a list of anathemas that represent little more than his personal opinion and were never promulgated as either canon or secular law are hardly binding. If we happen to discover that Justinian also disliked poultry, shall we eternally be forbidden from consuming the same?

 Roll Eyes

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Normative? Perhaps normative to the medieval scholar, but during the first five centuries of Christianity your 'normative interpretation' would have been quite novel and in the distinct minority.

So was St. Athanasius' doctrine of the Trinity. Are you so sure that majority during the first five centuries should set the standards for normative? It took longer than the first five centuries to put down the Arian heresy and enforce the declarations of the Council of Nicea not to mention the proper purifying of pagan philosophical traditions into an adequate means of expressing the Divine Revelation of God to the Greeks without confusion and distortion.

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We are finite beings, our only hope at any existence, much less eternal existence, is our ontological bond to an infinite creator. God alone is infinite, God alone does infinite things, to state that our crimes are infinite is to state that we are Gods.

We are made in His likeness and image and our spirits are immortal from the moment of conception. You are conflating the mortality of our fleshly bodies with the immortality of our spirits.

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I can quote scripture too, and can even use more reputable books:

"more reputable books" are you questioning the inspiration of Sacred Scripture?

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'For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight' -- Colossians i. 19-22

You really are a bit of a 'reverse' Calvinist aren't you? Knowing this you should appreciate my position with regards to these passages. St. Paul is not speaking about universal salvation here, but simply universal sovereignty of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

When St. Paul speaks of being in Christ (i.e. being saved), he does not include "those under the earth" (i.e. the lost). However, all persons, saved and unsaved, will one day bow before Christ and acknowledge His universal lordship. But nowhere do the Sacred Scriptures teach that all people will be saved. Jesus will say to many, "Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:41). The Apostle John spoke of the devil, the beast and the false prophet, and all whose names are not written in the Book of Life being cast into the lake of fire forever (Rev. 20:10-15). St. Luke speaks of a great impassible gulf between heaven and hell in which those who have rejected God are living in torment (Luke 16:19-31). St. Paul speaks of punishment on the wicked as "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord" (2 Thes. 1:7-9). Our Lord and Saviour Jesus declared Judas was lost and called him "the son of perdition" (John 17:12). It is evident from these passages that not everyone will be saved my friend.

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'Christ is all, and in all.' -- Colossians iii. 11 (interesting implication I hadn't thought of previously, since Christ fills all his creation, any condemnation of said creation to hell is a condemnation of Christ to hell)

Where there is neither Gentile nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free. But Christ is all and in all. - Colossians 3:11 DRB

This verse is a reference of the Church (i.e. the elect of God... See the next verse) and not a claim of universal salvation through the indwelling of Christ in all people but in all who are one in this mystical body (i.e. the Church).

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I have no intention to 'barter' before God, as I do not believe I shall stand before a pagan deity that seeks the fulfillment of some contract. Though I can say with certainty that if there is an eternal hell, those who believe themselves entitled to heaven and those who attempt to invoke contracts to avoid hell and all who attempt to 'barter' with God in any manner for the salvation of their soul will be the first to be condemned to the same regardless of their piety, faith, or works...for by reducing the salvific work of Christ to a contract they have blasphemed the Holy Spirit.

 Roll Eyes

Quote
If may be, as you suggest, the will of God that we be damned...would it not be blasphemous to protest? Do we not pray that His Will, not ours, be done? Who are you to blaspheme God and seek to save your soul when He has demanded vengeance?

This is a non sequitur as I have not suggested that God will's any to be damned but we have been warned as to what will bring upon us His wrath and we have not excuse to continue in any perversity.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. - Isaiah 1:18-20

Pax Vobiscum
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« Reply #366 on: February 09, 2007, 11:42:55 AM »

I agree with GIC regarding the lords judgement and wrath. These terms have a reversing affect that leaves the divine blamless. There meant to corner you into giving in to the divine. But not that you necessarily have to. In this sense wrath can be viewed as truth and judgement as the affects of that truth. That would lead to self contempt.

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1 Corinthians 11:32
When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

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« Reply #367 on: February 09, 2007, 01:22:39 PM »

greekischristian wrote:

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We are finite beings, our only hope at any existance, much less eternal existance, is our ontological bond to an infinite creator. God alone is infinite, God alone does infinite things, to state that our crimes are infinite is to state that we are Gods.

This looks very 'informed' by Plotinius' emanations of the One from which all things originate and to which all things return Creatio ex Deo. Is this taken from St. Athanasius? It looks like his work... How did he reconcil this with Creatio ex Nihilo?

I'm getting the impression that the early fathers were perhaps pantheists?  Undecided

PS: Sorry for butting into your debate but you're the only person I've found that I can talk to about this stuff...  Embarrassed

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« Reply #368 on: February 09, 2007, 01:46:38 PM »

This looks very 'informed' by Plotinius' emanations of the One from which all things originate and to which all things return Creatio ex Deo. Is this taken from St. Athanasius? It looks like his work... How did he reconcil this with Creatio ex Nihilo?

No, I did not take it from Athanasius, though I do believe it to be consonant with his thought and theology. I would submit that Creatio ex Deo is a better understanding of creation than Creatio ex Nihilo. Of course, Creatio ex Nihilo would be acceptable, because the divine essence is, as plotinus writes, of non-being...thus creation out of Nothing, or the making of Being out of Non-Being is Creation from the One, Creation from God.

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I'm getting the impression that the early fathers were perhaps pantheists?  Undecided

Perhaps the term 'panentheism' would be more appropriate. It's not that all of creation is divine, but that the divine permeates and is in all of creation.

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PS: Sorry for butting into your debate but you're the only person I've found that I can talk to about this stuff...  Embarrassed

No problem at all...this 'debate' has been going in circles for 20 pages now.
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« Reply #369 on: February 09, 2007, 02:07:06 PM »

No, I did not take it from Athanasius, though I do believe it to be consonant with his thought and theology. I would submit that Creatio ex Deo is a better understanding of creation than Creatio ex Nihilo. Of course, Creatio ex Nihilo would be acceptable, because the divine essence is, as plotinus writes, of non-being...thus creation out of Nothing, or the making of Being out of Non-Being is Creation from the One, Creation from God.

Okay, this is very useful for me. Thanks a ton!

But I would say that the One isn't necessarily Non-Being as I've said before Non-Being implies a duality with Being and the One is the cessation of duality.

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Perhaps the term 'panentheism' would be more appropriate. It's not that all of creation is divine, but that the divine permeates and is in all of creation.

Yes, 'panentheism' is what I meant. My mistake!  Embarrassed

So again we're back to Plotinius' cessation of all dualities even with regard to creation...

BTW, is Plotinius required reading in Seminary? He should. He appears to be the foundation in which Christianity was built.

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No problem at all...this 'debate' has been going in circles for 20 pages now.

Yeah, I've read through it some and I'm not overly impressed with the progress. No offense toward anyone!  Lips Sealed
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« Reply #370 on: February 09, 2007, 04:47:33 PM »

I'm going to go with St. Maximos on this one. I think his understanding of the human will makes sense.

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St. Maximos also used the term "apokatastasis", however his view on this was different:
- Image of God was granted to the human nature at the moment of Adam's creation, however the likeness of God is only achievable in future as a result of deification of each hypostasis. After apokatastasis the state of human nature will be superior to it's initial state.
- St. Maximos never considered an abstract human nature as something that exists apart from human hypostases.
- The most important difference lays in understanding of the human will. St. Maximos attributes two kinds of will to men: natural will (that belongs to human nature) and individual will of choice - «gnèmh», that only belongs to individual hypostases. The latter one began to exist only after the fall. (God doesn't have gnemh will, He never hesitates between any choices). The natural will is always in accordance to the God's will and with the God's logos of men. Gnemh will may make a choice either according to the natural will, or against it. Every person is called to live according to his logos and God's will, so that his gnemh would always follow the logos and natural will - this will lead him to deification. In a state of full deification the gnemh will totally dissapear.
- The restoration of the human nature will not include a "compulsive annihilation" of individual gnemh will. There are two states after restoration (resurrection). The first one available to everyone will be the restoration of human being - granting eternal life ( being and ever-being) in a new body and granting communion with God to the whole human nature. The second one is deified state - restoration of goodness and wisdom, annihilation of gnemh will - this will be available only to those who lived in accordance to their logos.
- The state of those who still have their gnemh will rebelling against logos will still be a communion with God, but this will become a torture for them, they will precept God's love and goodnes as absolutely alien to their state of gnemh will.
- The state of paradise, according to St. Maximos, is a state of restoration of both human nature and human hypostasys in an image and likeness of God and in full communion with God. The state of gehenna is a state of restoration of only human nature, with individual gnemh will turned against it's own restored nature and agianst God's will and love.
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« Reply #371 on: February 09, 2007, 11:47:08 PM »

I'm going to go with St. Maximos on this one. I think his understanding of the human will makes sense.

It appears to me that those who hold to apokatastasis are indeed students of Ammonius Saccas and the Alexandrian School and familiar with Plotinus' emanational panentheism which begins in unity, which gives rise to increased multiplicity until being almost reaches the point of nonexistence. Then all returns toward increasingly greater unity, until the greatest unity is reached in the absolute unity of the One. Here one becomes one with the One, an all with the All.

We should all be familiar with this as we find it also within the Mystical teachings of Pagan Tradition, Christian Tradition, Sufi/Islamic Tradition, Hindu Tradition, Buddhist Tradition, Taoist Tradition, Shinto Tradition etc etc etc.

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Hidden beyond the universe
Would appear on the
Mirror of your perception.

~ Rumi

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« Reply #372 on: February 10, 2007, 01:10:11 PM »

Plotinism simply doesn't work. It leaves one without a human will. Or a will that can be manipulate. The human will exists and is separate from the logos will. People can and continue to deny the logos will by not conforming to it. The logos will is the Holy spirit. We are baptized onto the HS. The HS will guide you to deifecation if one allows it to. The truth is written into their hearts. We just have to conform to his will, willingly. This is Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #373 on: February 10, 2007, 02:58:33 PM »

Dear Friends:

I do not have any theological education, and frankly most of your arguments are Greek to me, even though I understand ecclesiatical Greek.

The way my teacher explained this to me was:

God "desires not the death of a sinner".  God *will* save you, if you let him. What God will *not* do, is drag you kicking and screaming into the Kingdom of Heaven if you do not want to go.

The only limit on God's mercy, is our pride and refusal to accept it.

Fr Cleopa of Rumania pointed out that in the 25 th Chapter of Matthew - the last judgement; it says:

"Come, o blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for *you*...  BUT

"Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared * for the Devil and his angels*

In other words, God has prepared Paradise for us, if we will have it.

At least that is what I was taught. In any case, may God grant us *all* to attain to His mercy.

A blessed Fast to you all

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« Reply #374 on: February 11, 2007, 02:39:09 AM »

Plotinism simply doesn't work. It leaves one without a human will. Or a will that can be manipulate.

Only love overcomes the fragmentation of human nature. ~ St. Maximus The Confessor Centuries on Charity

Try not to think of it as leaving one without an independent will but a cessation of all fragmentation with the unity found in the will of the One. All fragmentation eventually finds wholeness in the One.

Quote
The human will exists and is separate from the logos will. People can and continue to deny the logos will by not conforming to it. The logos will is the Holy spirit. We are baptized onto the HS. The HS will guide you to deification if one allows it to. The truth is written into their hearts. We just have to conform to his will, willingly. This is Orthodoxy.

I agree, but it is this separation which is the product of the fall and Christ marks the reversal of this in creation history. The Truth is written into the hearts of every living thing which can contemplate the One. We find evidence of this throughout the Acts of the Apostles.

The fire that is hidden and as it were smothered under th ashes of this world... will blaze out and with its divinity burn up the husk of death.
~ St. Gregory of Nyssa Against Eunomisu

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« Reply #375 on: February 14, 2007, 10:39:30 AM »

Only love overcomes the fragmentation of human nature. ~ St. Maximus The Confessor Centuries on Charity

The Blessed ST. Maximos. One must be able to love before being able to defeat human nature. Itn't it St.Paul that asked to be delivered from this body of death.


Quote
Try not to think of it as leaving one without an independent will but a cessation of all fragmentation with the unity found in the will of the One. All fragmentation eventually finds wholeness in the One.

The quote from ST. Maximos I posted doesn't deny that all will be in communion with the one.  If one's gnemh will isn't in communion. That state will be hell.

Quote
I agree, but it is this separation which is the product of the fall and Christ marks the reversal of this in creation history. The Truth is written into the hearts of every living thing which can contemplate the One. We find evidence of this throughout the Acts of the Apostles.

Theosis is beyond the spiritual state from before the fall. Remember Adam was only capable of drinking spiritual milk. Since we have knowlege of good and evil we eat spiritual meat.

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The fire that is hidden and as it were smothered under th ashes of this world... will blaze out and with its divinity burn up the husk of death.
~ St. Gregory of Nyssa Against Eunomisu


Ahh, The blessed ST Gregory. Yes Christ has defeated death. All will resurrect.



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« Reply #376 on: February 14, 2007, 12:01:02 PM »

I am simply insisting that God is ontologically Love and to insist on any contradicting attribute is not only unchristian but also plain wrong. Now I could spend my time giving theological explanations of, for example, the wrath of God, how it is an outgrowth of love and it's purpose is to restore one to a proper alignment towards God. But, of course, I would then be addressing what divine wrath truly was and not what you represent it as. What divine wrath is being represented as is inconsonant with Love and is certainly not a divine attribute.

It is true that there is a "higher perspective" from which it could be said that what we identify in a "plural" manner with regard to God in fact exists as a unity.  Such would seem to follow from any teaching about God's impassability.

But such doesn't negate revelation, which "is as it is" precisely because human beings in actuality do not perceive things in this way - for us to speak of God's unity is a mental abstraction.  It certainly has little bearing on our actual spiritual journey, save as reassurance that "God is not a man" and as such His ways are far beyond ours and filled with goodness, even if we cannot readily perceive this at all times.  We know God as men, and that is ok - ok to the point that He truly did become man.  The same Lord Who blessed the little ones is also the one Who tore a strip off the Pharisees; the One Who publically forgave an adultress, is the one Who has promised to return to reward His friends and cast away His enemies.  That's some really tangible stuff, and one doesn't need a masters in philosophy to understand it and more to the point, to be on firm dogmatic footing.

This is ultimately the real divide between our perspectives, not this eschatological issue really - the extent to which we accept the reliability of the Scriptures.  Haggling over details when we don't share more basic assumptions isn't going to bring resolution.  Of course, resolution may not be the point; but even if that's the case, we're just going to be talking in circles.  We'll just be offering opinions, because neither of us accepts the same authority as the other.  I put forward Holy Writ, you put forward Origen - it's not even like you dispute my interpretation of the meaning of the Scriptures, but rather you attack their validity.

That being the case, what save our humanity do we even have in common that would serve as a basis for discussion?


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« Reply #377 on: February 14, 2007, 12:47:31 PM »

It is true that there is a "higher perspective" from which it could be said that what we identify in a "plural" manner with regard to God in fact exists as a unity.  Such would seem to follow from any teaching about God's impassability.

But such doesn't negate revelation, which "is as it is" precisely because human beings in actuality do not perceive things in this way - for us to speak of God's unity is a mental abstraction.

While we may never be able to see things exactly as God sees them, we are capable of viewing them with more complex manner than an uneducated first century shepherd.

Quote
This is ultimately the real divide between our perspectives, not this eschatological issue really - the extent to which we accept the reliability of the Scriptures.  Haggling over details when we don't share more basic assumptions isn't going to bring resolution.

Well, I have already put forward the scriptural argument earlier in this thread...I addressed things from that perspective quite thoroughly. However, there is a real difference in our interpretations of Scripture; it was also at the heart of the differences between the catechetical schools of Antioch and Alexandria. You seem to be more of a biblical literalist, viewing it first and foremost as an accurate historical record. Whereas I view it as an allegorical text, the stories (many I would call myths, which is perhaps going a bit further than most in the Alexandrian school did) are intended to reveal moral and theological truths rather than actual historical events. For instance, the purpose of the Creation story is to ensure man that God personally cares for creation and to teach him that the Divine is ontologically involved in all existance and to establish the premise of a relationship between God and creation. Is it a list of events as they actually happened? Of course not...it's really not even close. Much about theology can be learned from Genisis 1-3...but really nothing about the actual act of creation. Genesis, like all scripture, is primarily allegory.
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« Reply #378 on: February 15, 2007, 01:01:12 PM »

GiC,

I'd like to explain to you my basic perspective/mindset on this topic.

I believe in the utility of reason.  It is God given, it is in part what makes us "in His image", in simultude of the Logos Who is the very intelligability and foundation of the cosmos.

However, reason has it's limits.  It can only deal with what it has been given.  In man's current state, reason is generally informed through the senses.  And again, in our current state, those senses only "pick up" the things of the created order, and more often than not only the most crude aspects of said creation.

While it points to higher things, it ultimately can say nothing of our purpose, of our hope, of our end.  It's a closed loop forever turning in and out of itself.  Those things, and very God Himself, are matters of revelation.  His self revelation, as He chooses, on His terms.  The Holy Scriptures are the supreme tradition of this manifestation of God in history.  Given the authority of their authors (who were seers of God), and that which we believe was moving through them (and the pious belief that it is God's will that if the message of these men was not meant for their generation alone, that He would protect their words), that authority falls upon their words.  The Scriptures are authoritative not in some koranic sense as the fundagelicals understand it - they weren't necessarily given in some kind of trance (though there are clearly parts which do constitute "dictation".) Rather these books stand by the God-invested authority of their authors, as their living words unto us here and now.  They ARE Moses, and the Prophets Ezekiel, Isaiah Kings David and Solomon, etc. speaking to us, across the spans of time.  They are preaching, we are hearing...though whether we're hearing them or not is another matter.

As such, if I will have success in eternity, it will be by listening to those men and women who have become receptive to the special grace of God, most especially those lofty figures we call "the Apostles and Prophets".  They show the way.  As such, my excercise of reason must be conformed /corrected by their words, their doctrine.

Now I'm not talking about following them into some cultural slavery - for I do believe that often it is the succeeding generations of the faithful who have understood the import of their (the Apostles and Prophets) words more than they themselves may have appreciated.  But they had the experience of reality, they are forever the fountains - the gates into the Heavenly City, which is, and is coming.  There is no other way - they've been given "the keys", they are the pillars holding us up, etc.  If we forego them, we are nothing but people with opinions (and you know what those are like, right?)

Hence, Orthodoxy - correct opinions.  Who is determining "correct" here?  Ultimately, God Himself.  The Scriptures are records of theoria - who are we to not heed the content of this?

This is why the Scriptures instruct us that "without faith, it is impossible to please God."  This is not just some oft abused fundagelical catch-phrase calling mankind to a vapid pietism.  What it is saying touches this very topic; the relationship of obeidience to God the use of reason.  If we won't listen to He Who alone can instruct us of things we know not (and by nature can never know), we are losers.  "I believe that I may understand" saith the great Augustine (of Hippo.)

And that is the lovely thing about Christian faith - it gives valid premises to reason.

So to say that the "backward shepherd of the 1st century" and his words are not a call for obedience by and to God...well, it's the negation of revelation.  Taken to it's extreme, it's not of God, it's idolatry.  It's put what was unworthy of lordship in the place of the Lord.  "We'll ignore God...let's listen to, I dunno...Plotinus, a pagan anti-Christian reactionary revisionist of Platonism!  Or better yet, whatever I may want to think at any given moment?"  On close examination, it really is luciferian.  "The gods of the nations are devils."  That's the story of kosmic rebellion and fall - the witchcraft of wanting other than what God wants you to have, and in the amount He wants you to have.  It's the drama incarnated in the Jews rejecting a God and Messiah not to their liking; to the point of conspiring against Him, catching Him when they thought Him "weak", and killing Him.  Truly "the Synagogue of Satan."  They started with groaning over the manna in the desert; they finished by rejecting the Bread of Heaven in the world.

My reason can be persuaded to absolutely anything, so long as my will can remain subject to the will/words/Word of God, reigning in and through His Saints, most especially the greatest of them, the Prophets and Apostles.  So I'm not utterly opposed to allegorical interpretations (even perhaps as the primary proper, fullest interpreation) - but not when they become a negation of "the word."  I'm very open to the insights of natural observation ("modern science") - I find it all very riveting, and even fodder for deep contemplation.  But I will not let men who in fact worship themselves and who in such a state will become "cosmic refuse" in the World to Come (precisely because they have rejected the outstretched "hand" of God), and their babbling fill the place of Divine (self) revelation.

You can probably see why I have chosen the name "Augustine", and have such affection for the man of Carthage.  He is great not because he was always right, but because he was always trying to "be right" in submission to the will of God. His naturally lofty soul with it's stupendous powers and zest, still submitted to the Voice of Heaven.  His is a pious rationalism.

Indeed, this is perhaps why the Church has always been able to forgive St. Augustine of his foibles, but not (mere) Origen.  Her inspired conscience could not avoid seeing the difference between the two mindsets and their relationship to Holy Orthodoxy.

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« Reply #379 on: February 15, 2007, 06:04:25 PM »


You can probably see why I have chosen the name "Augustine", and have such affection for the man of Carthage.  He is great not because he was always right, but because he was always trying to "be right" in submission to the will of God. His naturally lofty soul with it's stupendous powers and zest, still submitted to the Voice of Heaven.  His is a pious rationalism.

Indeed, this is perhaps why the Church has always been able to forgive St. Augustine of his foibles, but not (mere) Origen.  Her inspired conscience could not avoid seeing the difference between the two mindsets and their relationship to Holy Orthodoxy.



Greetings, Augustine:

Are you implying that Origen did not wish to submit to the will of God?
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« Reply #380 on: February 15, 2007, 07:06:15 PM »

While we may never be able to see things exactly as God sees them, we are capable of viewing them with more complex manner than an uneducated first century shepherd.

Yet we, in our englightened state and time, still only see the smallest pieces of the puzzle.  Thank goodness our salvation is not dependent upon how close/far one lives from the time of Christ or the Apostles and the "reasonableness" of that certain age! Grin

Genesis, like all scripture, is primarily allegory.

Is Christ's resurrection then merely allegory?  For if Christ did not truly rise from the dead, that is bodily and in spirit and triumphant, then what is the point of anything? 

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« Reply #381 on: February 16, 2007, 12:14:32 PM »

Greetings, Augustine:

Are you implying that Origen did not wish to submit to the will of God?

I imply nothing about his wishes - I won't judge another's servant.  I'm only saying his exegesis of the Scriptures is fundamentally in error.  The Scriptures are not "true myths" whose only real significance is allegorical.
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« Reply #382 on: February 16, 2007, 10:38:31 PM »

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Origen ever said that the ONLY importance of Scripture is allegorical, but rather the MOST important.  And yes, it is pretty important considering all the crazy stuff that goes on in the OT.

"Myths" according to Origen are those things that are ridiculous and impossible when taken literally (like going from "one end of the earth to the other" when the earth is round and has no ends, or when plants were created before the Sun can be "visible" to them), in which the purpose is to look at why they were written, what lesson can you learn from them, hence allegorically.

And he did this for the same reason one might love St. Augustine, because he sought to conform the allegories to God's will, at least that's his desire.  In fact, it probably made the OT more interesting to read from, and more beautiful.

http://tertullian.org/fathers/origen_philocalia_02_text.htm

God bless.

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« Reply #383 on: February 17, 2007, 01:48:09 AM »

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Origen ever said that the ONLY importance of Scripture is allegorical, but rather the MOST important.  And yes, it is pretty important considering all the crazy stuff that goes on in the OT.

That's most certainly true and I did put something of a disclaimer to that in my post. Though I do believe that Origen would not have taken the creation story literally, but neither did many of the fathers, most believed in an instantaneous creation.
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« Reply #384 on: March 08, 2007, 04:10:46 PM »

I believe the word evil that you represented in your Quote of scripture should be translated as calamity. If that is the case (it seems to be so) than your claim that evil is created by God has no scripture backing.
 Sin in Greek is translated as missing the mark. If evil is a distortion of what is good. Our God wouldn't be perfect.

Quote
Of course, as I have pointed out elsewhere on this forum, the scriptural argument is essentially secondary to the Philosophical argument. All things must have their source in God, to establish two sources, one for good and one for evil, is dualistic and opposed to the Christian faith, as is written in the Book of Isaiah 'I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.' So as there is only One God and all things come forth from Him, we must ask ourselves why did he create evil and temptations? He knew that lucifer would fall on account of the pride with which he was created and he knew that this same pride would cause man to fall, so why did he give it to us? Why did he create the choice for evil as well as the choice for good, why not merely create choices for good? Ultimatley God is responsible for sin and evil, unless we are to take the approach of the Gnostics, thus we must ask ourselves why. We can conclude, perhaps, that God desires to see the suffering of some and thus created evil so that some would fall into it. But this is absurd, for we know that God is All-Loving and desires ALL to be Saved. Thus we must take the other approach, that in tasting evil we will better appreciate the purity of Good and thus God has given us evil and hardships so that eternity may be all the more glorious, but as he is a Loving God he will not let man or any other creature to eternally suffer, but will through purification reunite all things to himself.

BTW: Plotinus last words were either "Try to bring back the god in you to the divine in the All" or "I am trying to bring back the divine in us to the divine in the All."
  Would you not consider his last words to be that of a spiritual struggle?
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« Reply #385 on: March 30, 2007, 11:38:30 AM »



   God is love. It is obvious that there must be eventual redemption for all.
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« Reply #386 on: November 25, 2007, 09:13:54 PM »

I believe the word evil that you represented in your Quote of scripture should be translated as calamity. If that is the case (it seems to be so) than your claim that evil is created by God has no scripture backing.
 Sin in Greek is translated as missing the mark. If evil is a distortion of what is good. Our God wouldn't be perfect.

BTW: Plotinus last words were either "Try to bring back the god in you to the divine in the All" or "I am trying to bring back the divine in us to the divine in the All."
  Would you not consider his last words to be that of a spiritual struggle?

Why do we enjoy sin so much?  We fall so easily into it.  We even invite it in to our lives so willingly.  Loving God with all our hearts needs to be on our lips when we see this danger of falling into the abyss.  Get up quickly and ask God's forgiveness and soon this will preceed any temptation to sin.

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« Reply #387 on: July 13, 2008, 08:21:19 PM »

It's true that universalism (Apokatastasis) was a prevailing view in the early Church and some of the great saints believed it. I don't believe there's anything wrong with hoping for the eventual salvation of all mankind, even the most wicked of us; in fact, it would be strange to me if I didn't. But the Church doesn't teach it as doctrine; probably because it could easily be misunderstood as carte blanche permission to sin like crazy and still receive a heavenly reward; without there being consequences to sin. This might not be good for humanity in the long run, though I'm not sure that trying to scare people into heaven works either, especially in this day and age. Personally, I'm inclined to believe that Apokakastasis would be typical of God as I see him, but the danger in teaching that heaven is "automatic" could rob us of striving to be like God and cause more anguish in this life (and the next) than necessary. Just some thoughts of mine and, of course, I could be completely wrong.
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« Reply #388 on: July 14, 2008, 03:07:15 PM »

Would Universalism be, therefore, a theologumen?
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« Reply #389 on: July 14, 2008, 08:49:46 PM »

Could someone give a synopsis of "Dare we hope"?  That very question--did the Early Church believe in universalism and why was it changed to a doctrine of eternal Hell--is what led me into Orthodoxy: I was trying to do research, apart from the universalist sites, to find out if this claim was true or false.  I never did get a definitive answer, but I did find "River of Fire."
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« Reply #390 on: July 14, 2008, 10:17:24 PM »

Hell is not eternal. and not created by God.

"The Eastern Christian tradition has never considered the hell as created by God to punish sinners. God didn’t create the hell, free will of people has created it. It exists not because God wants it, but because people keep it existing. They first create the hell on Earth and then carry it on to the afterworld.....And is it believable that malefactors and monsters, who kill other people and revolt against God and all-hallows will share the paradise with righteous and saints? Is it believable that the paradise will welcome both John the Baptist and Herod, St. Veniamin of Petrograd and Lenin, thousands of the murdered new Russia’s martyrs and confessors and their torturers? It removes division between the good and the evil. Then there’s no difference if you are a saint or a villain, if you do the good or the evil, if you save people from death or kill them.....Any person bears moral responsibility for his actions. And he will answer for the sins of his earthly life in the eternity. St. Isaac the Syrian writes that sinners in the hell are not deprived of God’s love. On the contrary, love is given equally to everyone: to the righteous in the Heavenly Kingdom and to the sinners in Gehenna. But for the righteous it becomes the source of joy and bliss while for sinners it is the source of torture. Thus, God didn’t create the hell for sinners, they did it themselves. God doesn’t send sinners to the hell, but people who oppose God’s will and revolt against God choose the hell themselves. And this choice is made in their earthly life rather than in some distant eschatological prospect. It is right here on Earth that infernal tortures and “the Kingdom of God come with power” begin. The reality of the hell, its existence for sinners and even the possibility of its eternal existence don’t contradict the news of its abolition by Christ resurrected. The hell is really “abolished” in the resurrection of Christ, as it is not inevitable for people anymore and doesn’t have power over them. But those, who consciously oppose God’s will and commit crime and sin, restore destroyed and abolished hell as they don’t want to reconcile with God’s love. I’d like to stress it again: God didn’t create the hell, people created it for themselves, God destroyed and abolished the hell, but people restore it again and again. The hell is re-created every time when the sin is consciously committed and isn’t repented." - Vl. Hilarion (Alfeyev)

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=interview&div=62


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« Reply #391 on: August 06, 2008, 02:01:29 PM »

Yes I am interested in this as well. GiC are you full of it, or can you substantiate these claims?

Study St. Gregory of Nyssa... Nuff'Said
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« Reply #392 on: August 06, 2008, 02:53:29 PM »

What is the actual, documented, historical evidence: Was it the prevailing view until the Empire pressured the church to emphasize eternal Hell?  Or is this just a spurious claim?  Greekischristian, what are the proofs?

Read the first few pages of the thread. GiC replies to your query there.
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« Reply #393 on: August 06, 2008, 06:02:37 PM »

Study St. Gregory of Nyssa... Nuff'Said
Would you care to give us at least a brief synopsis of what St. Gregory said on this subject, together with a smattering of quotes of the saint and references showing us what writings we can read for ourselves? Wink
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« Reply #394 on: August 06, 2008, 08:35:26 PM »

Would you care to give us at least a brief synopsis of what St. Gregory said on this subject, together with a smattering of quotes of the saint and references showing us what writings we can read for ourselves? Wink

Would it be okay if I declined and said it is only my hope that on the Last Day we are all surprised by the breadth of God's Mercy?

I honestly think that sums up St. Gregory as well as can be expected from a 'professional catechuman'.  Embarrassed
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« Reply #395 on: February 12, 2011, 10:12:02 PM »

Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev:

Quote
Isaac gradually leads his reader to the idea of non-eternity of the Gehenna’s torments. To confirm this idea, Isaac refers to Theodore of Mopsuestia’s teaching on the torment that is not unending,[5] and to Diodore of Tarsus’ ideas that torment will last only a short time, whereas the blessing is for all eternity, and that ‘not even the immense wickedness of the demons can overcome the measure of God’s goodness’.[6] It is noteworthy that Isaac does not think that the idea of the end of torment leads to laxity and the loss of the fear of God. Quite the contrary, this idea, according to him, causes love of God in a person, and repentance that comes out of the measureless mercy of the Creator. The notion of God as a careful father gives birth in a person to a filial love for, and adherence to Him, whereas the notion of God as a chastiser can only cause a slavish fear and dread before Him.

            All afflictions and sufferings which fall to everyone’s lot are sent from God with the aim of bringing a person to an inner change. Isaac comes to an important conclusion: God never retaliates for the past, but always cares for our future.

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« Reply #396 on: February 12, 2011, 10:50:41 PM »

Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev:

Quote
Isaac gradually leads his reader to the idea of non-eternity of the Gehenna’s torments. To confirm this idea, Isaac refers to Theodore of Mopsuestia’s teaching on the torment that is not unending,[5] and to Diodore of Tarsus’ ideas that torment will last only a short time, whereas the blessing is for all eternity, and that ‘not even the immense wickedness of the demons can overcome the measure of God’s goodness’.[6] It is noteworthy that Isaac does not think that the idea of the end of torment leads to laxity and the loss of the fear of God. Quite the contrary, this idea, according to him, causes love of God in a person, and repentance that comes out of the measureless mercy of the Creator. The notion of God as a careful father gives birth in a person to a filial love for, and adherence to Him, whereas the notion of God as a chastiser can only cause a slavish fear and dread before Him.

            All afflictions and sufferings which fall to everyone’s lot are sent from God with the aim of bringing a person to an inner change. Isaac comes to an important conclusion: God never retaliates for the past, but always cares for our future.



I wonder if Rafa reads this.
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« Reply #397 on: December 06, 2012, 05:39:57 PM »

When Jesus speaks of the "unquenchable fire", like in Mark 9:43 ("If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out"), He is not necessarily speaking of fire that is "eternally burning", because other parts of the Bible speak of an unquenchable fire that does not refer to fire that is still and eternally burning.

For instance, Jeremiah 7:20, warns of Judah's destruction:

20 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, my anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, upon man and beast, upon the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched.

But, the destruction did not last forever, even though Jeremiah spoke that God's anger and wrath  would "not be quenched."
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« Reply #398 on: December 06, 2012, 09:55:47 PM »

Someone remind me to finish reading this thread.

GiC owns.

Did, does, and will.

Thanks for the bump!
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« Reply #399 on: December 06, 2012, 10:03:36 PM »

Someone remind me to finish reading this thread.

GiC owns.

Did, does, and will.

Thanks for the bump!

Which GiC?
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« Reply #400 on: December 06, 2012, 10:06:35 PM »

Someone remind me to finish reading this thread.

GiC owns.

Did, does, and will.

Thanks for the bump!

Which GiC?

Everyone of them.
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« Reply #401 on: December 29, 2012, 01:09:04 AM »

Many will go to hell, but hell is not eternal...all will eventually be restored to Communion with God.


So do you care to back up your stance with some evidence here ? Scriptures clearly point to eternal death, so I'm curious to as why you have a different take on this. I've heard about this before, that eventually every soul will be restored to God, but I never understood any of it.

eternal death? does that mean they will not exist anymore? Or will they suffer eternally? can someone enlighten me on this?
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« Reply #402 on: January 04, 2013, 01:26:51 PM »

Many will go to hell, but hell is not eternal...all will eventually be restored to Communion with God.


So do you care to back up your stance with some evidence here ? Scriptures clearly point to eternal death, so I'm curious to as why you have a different take on this. I've heard about this before, that eventually every soul will be restored to God, but I never understood any of it.

eternal death? does that mean they will not exist anymore? Or will they suffer eternally? can someone enlighten me on this?
The doctrine of eternal hell has one major purpose: to motivate beings to feel, think, and act with wisdom and compassion
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« Reply #403 on: March 25, 2013, 03:08:52 PM »

subscribed!
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