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Author Topic: Concerning Original Sin  (Read 14028 times) Average Rating: 0
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cothrige
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« on: December 19, 2006, 10:45:04 PM »

I have been rereading Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Father Michael Pomazansky, which I recall having found profitable a while back, and have found some things relating to original sin that confuse me.  Beginning on page 160 he says this:

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By original sin is meant the sin of Adam, which was transmitted to his descendants and weighs upon them.  The doctrine of original sin has great significance in the Christian world-view, because upon it rests a whole series of other dogmas."

Further on he adds:

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The common faith of the ancient Christian Church in the existence of original sin may be seen in the Church's ancient custom of baptizing infants.  The Local Council of Carthage in 252, composed of 66 bishops under the presidency of St. Cyprian, decreed the following against heretics: "Not to forbid (the baptism) of an infant who, scarecely born, has sinned in nothing apart from that which proceeds from the flesh of Adam.  He has received the contagion of the ancient death through his very birth, and he comes, therefore, the more easily to the reception fo the remission of sins in that it is not his own but the sins of another that are remitted."

And:

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In the history of the ancient Christian Church, Pelagius and his followers denied the inheritance of sin (the heresy of Pelagianism).  Pelagius affirmed that every man only repeats the sin of Adam, performing anew his own weak will.  However, his nature remains the same as when it was created, innocent and pure, the same as that of the first-created Adam.  Moreover, disease and death are characteristic of this nature from the creation, and are not the consequences of original sin.

I was instantly struck by what sounded just like Roman Catholic doctrine.  Here are statements like a sin which was "transmitted to [Adam's] descendants and weighs upon them" and which is seen "the Church's ancient custom of baptizing infants."  Looking in the Catechism I found this:

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Following St. Paul, the Church has always taught that the overwhelming misery which oppresses men and their inclination towards evil and death cannot be understood apart from their connection with Adam's sin and the fact that he has transmitted to us a sin with which we are all born afflicted, a sin which is the "death of the soul". Because of this certainty of faith, the Church baptizes for the remission of sins even tiny infants who have not committed personal sin.

Further on Father Michael comments on the Roman teaching in these words:

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Roman Catholic theologians consider that the consequence of the fall was the removal from men of a supernatural gift of God's grace, after which man remained in his "natural" condition, his nature not harmed but only brought into disorder because of flesh, the bodily side, has come to dominate over the spiritual side; original sin in this view consists in the fact that the guilt before God of Adam and Eve has passed to all men.

This sounded like an okay, though not exact, description of original sin as we see it, or at least as far as I am knowledgeable of it.  However, I have never really heard or read of such an emphasis on "flesh" as such, though perhaps carnality, and the concept of "removal" may be overstated.  But, more interesting, is the last statement which seems entirely removed from the rest of the paragraph.  What above implies any passing on of guilt?  There is a wounded nature, separated from the supernatural gift of grace, but no mention of guilt.  As a matter of fact, the description first given by Father Michael describing the Orthodox view of original sin sounded more like guilt, when he said original sin was "transmitted to his [Adam's] descendants and weighs upon them."

I looked in the Catechism and found no reference to guilt at all.  I did find this:

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By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state.  It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called "sin" only in an analogical sense: it is a sin "contracted" and not "committed" - a state and not an act.

Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence". Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

If we compare to the final statment of Father Michael we see this:

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Thus, original sin is understood by Orthodox theology as a sinful inclination which has entered into mankind and become its spiritual disease.

Is this not identical to what we are taught as Catholics?  Father Michael rejects this about the Roman view:

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The foundation of the Roman Catholic teaching lies in (a) an understanding of the sin of Adam as an infinitely great offense against God; (b) after this offense there followed the wrath of God; (c) the wrath of Gold was expressed in the removal of the supernatural gifts of God's grace; and (d) the removal of grace drew after itself the submission of the spiritual principle to the fleshly principle, and a falling deeper into sin and death.

But, is any of this Catholic teaching?  I looked in the Catechism again and found these statements as they relate to the above charges:

a. Adam's infinitely great offense. ---  Phrase or similar seems not to occur.
b. Wrath of God, and (c) the removal of the supernatural gifts of God's grace.

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Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness. They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image - that of a God jealous of his prerogatives.

The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul's spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination. Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man. Because of man, creation is now subject "to its bondage to decay". Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will "return to the ground", for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history.

Nothing about wrath or even punishment at all.  Rather, a series of unfortunate natural consequences due to a rejection of God's grace.  God did not "remove" the supernatural gifts, but we rejected them and separated ourselves from them.  And notice above that one result of the sin is a distorted image of God as one "jealous of his prerogatives."  That "distorted" image of God actually seems close to what Father Michael has charged us with believing, which would seem untrue in this instance.

(d) The submission of the spiritual principle to the fleshly principle, and a falling deeper into sin and death.

There is a reference to lust, but that is in the context of the relationship between man and woman.  Other than that nothing I could find listed in the Catechism as a result of the original sin, either in Adam or his offspring, seems to be directly tied to a flesh vs. spirit equation.  Some effects are spiritual and some carnal, but I could not find anything overarching in that regard.  On the contrary we find the above statement that original sin transmitted to us is 'a sin which is the "death of the soul"' which certainly indicates more than a flesh against spirit situation.

Where this all left me was wondering several things.  One, is Father Michael's position indicative of Orthodoxy in general?  Has he misrepresented or misunderstood the Orthodox faith and its position towards original sin?  If not, are the alleged differences between our Church's position on this issue one of either semantics or an ignorance on the part of the Orthodox concerning the Catholic belief in this regard?  What was suggested by Father Michael concerning the Catholic faith seemed either exaggerated or foreign to what I have heard, and I could not find it in the Catechism.  Basically, I came away thinking that the author had done a decent job describing the Roman Catholic teaching on this issue, only he called it Orthodox.

I would very much appreciate any help in understanding this better.  Just what do the Orthodox object to in our belief, and where are we really different?

Patrick
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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2006, 10:52:13 PM »

Just what do the Orthodox object to in our belief

For many, I think simply that it's a convenient way to say "hey, look how western we're not".  Of course I think such people also end up sounding like they are in complete contradiction of what the church has always taught.  There seems to be a convergance on this front of some marginal Greek theologians and some Protestant converts in the United States.  You'll probably find these useful.

http://www.bensusan.net/razilazenje/2006/03/24/orthodoxy-and-original-sin/
http://www.bensusan.net/razilazenje/2006/12/11/hughes-ancestral-vs-original-sin/
http://www.bensusan.net/razilazenje/2006/12/14/original-sin-the-west-haters-strike-back/
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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2006, 11:23:43 PM »

Excellent posts, both of you. I've also always been puzzled by the false dichotomy between original and ancestral sin.
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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2006, 11:58:37 PM »

For many, I think simply that it's a convenient way to say "hey, look how western we're not".  Of course I think such people also end up sounding like they are in complete contradiction of what the church has always taught.  There seems to be a convergance on this front of some marginal Greek theologians and some Protestant converts in the United States.  You'll probably find these useful.

http://www.bensusan.net/razilazenje/2006/03/24/orthodoxy-and-original-sin/
http://www.bensusan.net/razilazenje/2006/12/11/hughes-ancestral-vs-original-sin/
http://www.bensusan.net/razilazenje/2006/12/14/original-sin-the-west-haters-strike-back/

Many thanks for the links.  A very interesting take on these things, and he seems to be discussing much of what I noticed in the above book.  Unfortunately, the author of these websites and those commenting seem of a markedly higher scholarship than myself.  For that reason, much of the discussion, such as that regarding Photios, is well over my head.  It would seem that at the bare minimum there is some disagreement on the use of the word "nature" though why escapes me.

It is interesting that a large portion of this argument seems to center on the much beleaguered St. Augustine, whose view I really don't think is necessarily representative of the West overall.  I am sure much of our thought can be seen in him, but I have never noticed a tendency to see his positions as de fide in any generalized way.  And while I am not overly familiar with each statement he has made regarding original sin, if he has maintained some idea of imputed guilt than I am confident that the Catholic Church has not received that idea as doctrinal.  Which continues to leave me wondering where exactly we differ on this.  Is it in the use of the word nature?  If so, how is that objectionable?

Thanks again for the information,

Patrick
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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2006, 12:05:46 AM »

Yeah, St. Augustine is a favorite whipping boy of the anti-western Orthodox from what I've seen.  I'm glad I didn't run across any of this stuff until well after I converted.
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« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2006, 12:34:13 AM »

Yeah, St. Augustine is a favorite whipping boy of the anti-western Orthodox from what I've seen.  I'm glad I didn't run across any of this stuff until well after I converted.

Do you think it would have turned you off from converting?  Or do you mean that you might have been set on a wrong path concerning these ideas?

And, not to derail a thread I started  Smiley but, in reading the pages you linked I followed another link from the author during an exchange in the comments section and found some interesting comments.  The page concerned the Orthodox veneration of the Blessed Virgin and somewhat down the page are some comments on the Immaculate Conception.

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WHEN THOSE WHO censured the immaculate life of the Most Holy Virgin had been rebuked, as well as those who denied Her Evervirginity, those who denied Her dignity as the Mother of God, and those who disdained Her icons-then, when the glory of the Mother of God had illuminated the whole universe, there appeared a teaching which seemingly exalted highly the Virgin Mary, but in reality denied all Her virtues.

This teaching is called that of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, and it was accepted by the followers of the Papal throne of Rome. The teaching is this- that "the All-blessed Virgin Mary in the first instant of Her Conception, by the special grace of Almighty God and by a special privilege, for the sake of the future merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin" (Bull of Pope Pius IX concerning the new dogma). In other words, the Mother of God at Her very conception was preserved from original sin and, by the grace of God, was placed in a state where it was impossible for Her to have personal sins.

How does this follow?  And how does it "deny all her virtues?"  I can understand a rejection of the Immaculate Conception, on quite possibly a number of grounds, not least of which is the method of promulgation.  However, I cannot see anything like what is suggested above.  According to this a person born without original sin cannot commit any act of personal sin.  So, how did Adam and Eve pull it off?  And a person without original sin would have no virtue.  So, we want to have original sin otherwise we are automatons without the ability to sin, but somehow also without the virtue of not sinning.  I found it a very interesting statement.  I won't even comment on how that might affect the Lord, btw.

I am comfortable with disagreement and that the Orthodox do not accept our view.  But, what view is it that is rejected, and is it really "our" view at all?  Surely, the above kind of stuff does no service at all to any real discussion or debate, and as a Catholic how could I find the "error" I am guilty of if straw men like that are all I can find?

Patrick
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« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2006, 12:47:01 AM »

Do you think it would have turned you off from converting?  Or do you mean that you might have been set on a wrong path concerning these ideas?

It wouldn't have discouraged me.  My contact with Orthodoxy and my decision were made before I had any contact or understanding of some parts of convert culture in this country.  In the end it probably would have made no difference either way, still for some reason I'm glad it happened in the order it did.

Regarding Mary, I believe she was without sin throughout her life.
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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2006, 12:54:26 AM »

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It wouldn't have discouraged me.  My contact with Orthodoxy and my decision were made before I had any contact or understanding of some parts of convert culture in this country.

Actually, almost every person of note that I've seen speak against Augustine (and "the west" generally) were not converts. Fr. John Romanides, Michael Azkoul, Dr. Kalomiros, George Gabriel, etc. are all cradle Orthodox as far as I know. The American converts were mostly just the unwitting pawns in that theological skirmish, and have no real influence. Of course, this is not to attack cradles and defend converts.
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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2006, 01:06:34 AM »

Actually, almost every person of note that I've seen speak against Augustine (and "the west" generally) were not converts. Fr. John Romanides, Michael Azkoul, Dr. Kalomiros, George Gabriel, etc. are all cradle Orthodox as far as I know. The American converts were mostly just the unwitting pawns in that theological skirmish, and have no real influence. Of course, this is not to attack cradles and defend converts.

Those are the marginal Greek theologians I was speaking of.  Some of the convert crowd have simply appropriated their arguments, such as with an awful piece on the Atonement written by Khouria Matthewes-Green.  The single worst piece I've read is the Kalomiros one.  I've actually run across people who take it seriously.
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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2006, 01:40:51 AM »

In his book "Byzantine Theology" Fr. Meyendorff also rejects the Western (Augustinian) view of the original sin, but I suppose he too is simply a "marginal" theologian.  My question is this:  Who is it that determines who is or who is not a "marginal" theologian? 

Based upon what has been said so far in this thread, it sounds like the category of "marginal" theologian is a purely subjective classification used in order to discount the work of theologians that say things that some people do not like.

God bless,
Todd

P.S. - It is not "anti-Western" to disagree with the doctrines that developed under the influence of the Scholastic philosophers of the medieval period in the Western Church.
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« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2006, 01:46:23 AM »

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In his book "Byzantine Theology" Fr. Meyendorff also rejects the Western (Augustinian) view of the original sin, but I suppose he too is simply a "marginal" theologian.

I can't speak for anyone else, but for my own part, the theologians I mentioned did not just speak against Augustine's view of, say, free-will, but were men who attacked the very sainthood of Augustine. That was what I, for my part, was speaking about. Even defenders of Augustine (e.g., Fr. Seraphim Rose) admit that no saint, including Augustine, was perfect in their theology.
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« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2006, 01:56:08 AM »

Indeed, even the Catholics do not accept everything Augustine wrote. Augustine himself did not accept everything he wrote. Of course, that does not stop some from using Augustine as a club to beat over the head of the Church.
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« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2006, 01:57:22 AM »

Certainly people should be able to distinguish between St. Augustine the man, and his ideas.
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« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2006, 03:12:54 AM »

I have been rereading Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Father Michael Pomazansky, which I recall having found profitable a while back, and have found some things relating to original sin that confuse me. 

Some posters on this board, among them Anastasios and Nektarios, may recall my complaints over the past couple of years regarding Fr. Michael's book cited here.  I do not understand why several who have posted on this board are so appreciative of this work; no doubt they have their reasons.  Others who do not post here, some being quite influential Orthodox figures in certain circles, have also expressed great appreciation for this book.  Again, I am perplexed as to the reasons why.  From what I can recall of the book, I would say that it has dangerous anti-intellectual and ahistorical tendencies.  I am at the point where I would like to acquire my own copy in order to develop a more refined critique of its contents.  I would posit that some of its appeal must lie in the fact that it was apparently written with genuine spiritual fervour.  I am not criticising this, or Fr. Michael's sincerity. 

I would agree with Welkodox in his assesment of some of the Greek theologians named as being marginal, though I am not familiar with all of them.  I think it's probably unfair to refer to Romanides in this way (regarding some of his work, anyway), although to me it seems that he is inclined to be paranoid and reactionary at times. 

Lubeltri et al, make no mistake about it.  There is a definite shading of difference in tendencies in the way the Latin Church and the Orthodox Church have historically viewed original sin or ancestral sin.  This difference is not tiny but significant, and can't be ignored.  If I had more time, I would offer different sources to speak for this.  I think someone mentioned Meyendorff?  Even Kallistos Ware comes to mind.
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« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2006, 10:20:42 AM »

In his book "Byzantine Theology" Fr. Meyendorff also rejects the Western (Augustinian) view of the original sin, but I suppose he too is simply a "marginal" theologian.  My question is this:  Who is it that determines who is or who is not a "marginal" theologian?

Why, who else but me!  Grin

I would not consider Fr. Meyendorff marginal.  You heard it here first.

Quote
Based upon what has been said so far in this thread, it sounds like the category of "marginal" theologian is a purely subjective classification used in order to discount the work of theologians that say things that some people do not like.

Subjective yes, but my labelling of them as marginal is not to discount what they say simply because I don't like it.  What I have read of them, or people like "Archbishop" Lazar Puhalo, has shown me they are marginal because they don't actually engage in their arguments in a balanced way.  They appear to me to be guided by prejudice and in some cases paranoia, and instead of actually taking on what western theology really teaches, they build up and knock down straw men.

Quote
P.S. - It is not "anti-Western" to disagree with the doctrines that developed under the influence of the Scholastic philosophers of the medieval period in the Western Church.

No, but it is anti-western to simply start with the premise of distancing oneself from western theology and then finding all kinds of creative ways to do so.  It's almost like when people proof text from the Bible, because when you read their arguments, you know you're not getting the whole picture.  In the end, it doesn't get to the real tradition of the church, it deprecates it.  The sad thing is many former Evangelical Protestant converts, who somehow seem to want to either invalidate or escape their past, have appropriated the theories and arguments of these marginal theologians.  What you end up with is absurd pieces like this - http://www.frederica.com/writings/the-meaning-of-christs-suffering.html, that are passed off as being the "Orthodox view".  I've seen people actually say "the Orthodox don't believe in Original Sin".

It's sad, and I think it makes us look foolish.
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« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2006, 11:23:30 AM »

In his book "Byzantine Theology" Fr. Meyendorff also rejects the Western (Augustinian) view of the original sin, but I suppose he too is simply a "marginal" theologian.

This is fine, but what I would like to know is what view of original sin did he reject?  Is it the one Father Michael rejects in Orthodox Dogmatic Theology?  If so, then he rejects a straw man.  Father Michael detailed as "Orthodox" what I a Roman Catholic have been taught and believe, and what can be found in the Catechism as our faith, and then rejects some other idea as "Western."  I am very comfortable with disagreement, and I can accept that you or the Orthodox in general or theologians in particular will reject what we believe, but I can't seem to find out what about our concept of original sin you actually reject.

Patrick
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« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2006, 12:13:46 PM »

This is fine, but what I would like to know is what view of original sin did he reject?  Is it the one Father Michael rejects in Orthodox Dogmatic Theology?  If so, then he rejects a straw man.  Father Michael detailed as "Orthodox" what I a Roman Catholic have been taught and believe, and what can be found in the Catechism as our faith, and then rejects some other idea as "Western."  I am very comfortable with disagreement, and I can accept that you or the Orthodox in general or theologians in particular will reject what we believe, but I can't seem to find out what about our concept of original sin you actually reject.

Patrick
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« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2006, 08:08:12 PM »

This is fine, but what I would like to know is what view of original sin did he reject?  Is it the one Father Michael rejects in Orthodox Dogmatic Theology?  If so, then he rejects a straw man.  Father Michael detailed as "Orthodox" what I a Roman Catholic have been taught and believe, and what can be found in the Catechism as our faith, and then rejects some other idea as "Western."  I am very comfortable with disagreement, and I can accept that you or the Orthodox in general or theologians in particular will reject what we believe, but I can't seem to find out what about our concept of original sin you actually reject.

Though I may have at one point had a sufficent understanding of your notions of Original Sin to answer your question, I fear I no longer do. But I will say that the standard of Orthodox Theology on this issue tends to be St. John Cassian, the theology of Augustine is only accepted as Orthodox insofar as it agrees with Cassian who avoids the (heretical?) extremes of both Augustine and Pelegius.

Now, ultimately, what Cassian says is that man is perfectly capable of, by his own will, beginning the process of salvation, though not completing it without the assistance of God. Though it may be able to be argued that man still has a sinful nature, only one that he is, by his own means, capable of overcoming, though I would tend to support the more logical path that says that man does not have any natural tendency towards sin (let alone, heaven forbid, share in any guilt of another's sin and the radical applications of this, such as a condemnation of unbaptized babies, should be condemned as a heresy of the worst kind). I would argue that man's tendency towards sin is not natural but experiential, we live in a sinful world and thus learn to sin from our youth, thus it may seem natural but it's ultimately learned. Now I fear I do not know exactly what the latins mean by Original Sin, but if it claims mankind had a natural tendency towards sin it should be looked upon with suspicion, if it says that man is born in a condemned state and incapable of doing good without divine intervention, it should be condemned as a heresy based on the writings of St. John Cassian.
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« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2006, 08:39:45 PM »

Though I may have at one point had a sufficent understanding of your notions of Original Sin to answer your question, I fear I no longer do. But I will say that the standard of Orthodox Theology on this issue tends to be St. John Cassian, the theology of Augustine is only accepted as Orthodox insofar as it agrees with Cassian who avoids the (heretical?) extremes of both Augustine and Pelegius.

I am unfamiliar with St. John Cassian's writings and positions.  I will have to do some reading, if I can find something available covering what he has said on this.

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Now, ultimately, what Cassian says is that man is perfectly capable of, by his own will, beginning the process of salvation, though not completing it without the assistance of God. Though it may be able to be argued that man still has a sinful nature, only one that he is, by his own means, capable of overcoming, though I would tend to support the more logical path that says that man does not have any natural tendency towards sin (let alone, heaven forbid, share in any guilt of another's sin and the radical applications of this, such as a condemnation of unbaptized babies, should be condemned as a heresy of the worst kind). I would argue that man's tendency towards sin is not natural but experiential, we live in a sinful world and thus learn to sin from our youth, thus it may seem natural but it's ultimately learned. Now I fear I do not know exactly what the latins mean by Original Sin, but if it claims mankind had a natural tendency towards sin it should be looked upon with suspicion, if it says that man is born in a condemned state and incapable of doing good without divine intervention, it should be condemned as a heresy based on the writings of St. John Cassian.

I am not aware of any position in the Catholic Church saying that a person can do no good without divine intervention, though we could certainly take that too far.  I am curious about the position you are describing here.  Are you saying that at birth a person is identical in condition to that of Adam before the fall?   If so, is that the common understanding of the Orthodox?

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« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2006, 09:03:39 PM »

I am not aware of any position in the Catholic Church saying that a person can do no good without divine intervention, though we could certainly take that too far.

I was not entirely certain as to Rome's position on the matter...the Calvinists would take it that far and further, though while Rome and the Calvinists share many presuppositions in matters of soteriology, I know the former doesn't go quite as far as the latter.

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I am curious about the position you are describing here.  Are you saying that at birth a person is identical in condition to that of Adam before the fall?   If so, is that the common understanding of the Orthodox?

In terms of nature and will, yes, I would essentially argue that. This is not to say that the fall was without effect, for it broke a relationship between God and man (and established one between Satan and man), leading to a world in which the inhabitants were inclined to sin by their environment. This relationship was healed with the incarnation, which occurred in the context of an unfallen state through the sinlessness of our Lady (a state created by her human will and her human efforts, not divine intervention, overcomming the fallen world in which she was born). As to how common this understanding is in Orthodoxy? It's not an issue that is discussed often enough nor with enough clarity for me to say for sure. It's fairly common, though I couldn't tell you how universal.
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« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2006, 09:36:05 PM »

I was not entirely certain as to Rome's position on the matter...the Calvinists would take it that far and further, though while Rome and the Calvinists share many presuppositions in matters of soteriology, I know the former doesn't go quite as far as the latter.

Calvinists routinely accuse us Catholics of being Pelagians for this reason. My father's favorite theologian, John MacArthur (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._MacArthur), says that Catholics who believe Catholic teaching on salvation are headed for damnation. Obviously this would cause some problems between me and my father (who STILL sends me MacArthur books for Christmas  Undecided ).

There is quite a gulf between Catholics and even Arminians, who like the Calvinists believe in total depravity (but not double predestination and perseverence of the saints).



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« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2006, 09:57:14 PM »

I was not entirely certain as to Rome's position on the matter...the Calvinists would take it that far and further, though while Rome and the Calvinists share many presuppositions in matters of soteriology, I know the former doesn't go quite as far as the latter.

Well, perhaps the clearest statement would be from the Catechism, which in brief says this:

"Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence". Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle."

Further more can be seen by a brief comparison:

"The Church's teaching on the transmission of original sin was articulated more precisely in the fifth century, especially under the impulse of St. Augustine's reflections against Pelagianism, and in the sixteenth century, in opposition to the Protestant Reformation. Pelagius held that man could, by the natural power of free will and without the necessary help of God's grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence of Adam's fault to bad example. The first Protestant reformers, on the contrary, taught that original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom; they identified the sin inherited by each man with the tendency to evil (concupiscentia), which would be insurmountable. The Church pronounced on the meaning of the data of Revelation on original sin especially at the second Council of Orange (529) and at the Council of Trent (1546)."

(All emphasis is mine.)

This would incline me to thinking that the extremity of the Protestant position is rejected.  I certainly have never been taught or read anything as extreme as what many Protestants seem to believe.

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In terms of nature and will, yes, I would essentially argue that. This is not to say that the fall was without effect, for it broke a relationship between God and man (and established one between Satan and man), leading to a world in which the inhabitants were inclined to sin by their environment. This relationship was healed with the incarnation, which occurred in the context of an unfallen state through the sinlessness of our Lady (a state created by her human will and her human efforts, not divine intervention, overcomming the fallen world in which she was born).

As regards the sinlessness of our Lady I would think the Catholic position is not far from what you are saying.  Many seem to think that the Immaculate Conception means that Mary was prevented from sinning by God, but that is not true.  It means that Mary never had the stain of original sin which doesn't negate her free will.  Just as Adam and Eve could choose sin in the garden, or you or I can after baptism which also erases the stain of original sin, Mary could choose.  For instance, she said yes to God in her fiat and by her own free will.  If she were acting from compulsion what value would there be?  Also, we can say the same of her Son who of course was free from any stain of original sin, but was not deprived of free will either.  More to the point, if the Church believed that being free from the stain of original sin meant that Mary could not sin then neither could Adam and Eve, who were certainly not stained with original sin before they had even committed it, and therefore there would be no fall at all.  An interesting paradox that would suggest, I am sure.

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As to how common this understanding is in Orthodoxy? It's not an issue that is discussed often enough nor with enough clarity for me to say for sure. It's fairly common, though I couldn't tell you how universal.

I would certainly like to know more about the Orthodox view.  In this instance, I would perhaps have to agree with Papist's earlier statements, which at the time I disputed, that the East is so unwilling to dogmatize that we cannot tell what she believes.  Whereas the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding the original sin and its effects is fairly clear, if not without some necessary mystery or question, I am having a very hard time being sure that the East are in agreement on this at all.  This has powerful consequences as original sin is often listed as one of the Western ideas rejected by the East.  If the East rejects our position there will have to be an alternative "truth" suggested, and so far that seems hard to figure out.

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« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2006, 10:16:49 PM »

...This relationship was healed with the incarnation, which occurred in the context of an unfallen state through the sinlessness of our Lady (a state created by her human will and her human efforts, not divine intervention, overcomming the fallen world in which she was born). As to how common this understanding is in Orthodoxy? It's not an issue that is discussed often enough nor with enough clarity for me to say for sure. It's fairly common, though I couldn't tell you how universal.
That sounds like contradicting St. John Damascene:

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We confess(3), then, that He assumed all the natural and innocent passions of man. For He assumed the whole man and all man's attributes save sin. For that is not natural, nor is it implanted in us by the Creator, but arises voluntarily in our mode of life as the result of a further implantation by the devil, though it cannot prevail over us by force. For the natural and innocent passions are those which are not in our power, but which have entered into the life of man owing to the condemnation by reason of the transgression; such as hunger, thirst, weariness, labour, the tears, the corruption, the shrinking from death, the fear, the agony with the bloody sweat, the succour at the hands of angels because of the weakness of the nature, and other such like passions which belong by nature to every man. (Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Ch. XX)
Christ had a fallen human nature (with some exceptions) - and so did His mother - after all they both died, No?
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« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2006, 10:39:44 PM »

That sounds like contradicting St. John Damascene:
Christ had a fallen human nature (with some exceptions) - and so did His mother - after all they both died, No?

I dont believe that I am...I am not saying that our Lord or our Lady were somehow of a different nature than the rest of the humanity, only that they better preserved it than your average person, for they abstained from sin, they represented human nature in its fullest sense. As far as death, I would be careful about linking physical death to the fall...after all, even in your quote St. John Damascene does not attach physical death to the fall, but rather 'shrinking from death.'
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« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2006, 10:55:52 PM »

Well, perhaps the clearest statement would be from the Catechism, which in brief says this:...

Well, in that case, while I disagree with the position of your Church, I don't believe it is quite extreme enough to warrent throwing anathemas around, though the position of the Calvinists is. There is, however, one element of your catechism that gives me a bit of concern:

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Pelagius held that man could, by the natural power of free will and without the necessary help of God's grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence of Adam's fault to bad example.

While this is true, it was not the essence of what made Pelagius a heretic, more importantly, not only did Pelagius say that man could live a morally good life by his own accord (which I would actually agree with), he went further and said that by doing so man could obtain salvation without any need for God to play a role (something I would most certainly object to). Perhaps the author was simply trying to simplify the debates for the benifit of the reader, though I believe this to be an important distinction to make.

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This would incline me to thinking that the extremity of the Protestant position is rejected.  I certainly have never been taught or read anything as extreme as what many Protestants seem to believe.

It would appear that the text has a fairly specific condemnation of Calvinism...if I recall properly a similar condemnation is found in the Council of Trent, though I cannot recall the extend of the condemnation.

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As regards the sinlessness of our Lady I would think the Catholic position is not far from what you are saying.  Many seem to think that the Immaculate Conception means that Mary was prevented from sinning by God, but that is not true.  It means that Mary never had the stain of original sin which doesn't negate her free will.  Just as Adam and Eve could choose sin in the garden, or you or I can after baptism which also erases the stain of original sin, Mary could choose.  For instance, she said yes to God in her fiat and by her own free will.  If she were acting from compulsion what value would there be?  Also, we can say the same of her Son who of course was free from any stain of original sin, but was not deprived of free will either.  More to the point, if the Church believed that being free from the stain of original sin meant that Mary could not sin then neither could Adam and Eve, who were certainly not stained with original sin before they had even committed it, and therefore there would be no fall at all.  An interesting paradox that would suggest, I am sure.

I believe that our mariology is comprable on this matter the one notable difference is in general soteriological...we would say that everyone had the same opportunity to live a sinless life as the Theotokos (and that a few other did, such as Enoch, Elijah, and the Holy Forerunner), thus there was no need for a special grace as is said to be bestowed by the immaculate conception.

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I would certainly like to know more about the Orthodox view.  In this instance, I would perhaps have to agree with Papist's earlier statements, which at the time I disputed, that the East is so unwilling to dogmatize that we cannot tell what she believes.  Whereas the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding the original sin and its effects is fairly clear, if not without some necessary mystery or question, I am having a very hard time being sure that the East are in agreement on this at all.  This has powerful consequences as original sin is often listed as one of the Western ideas rejected by the East.  If the East rejects our position there will have to be an alternative "truth" suggested, and so far that seems hard to figure out.

Good luck Wink As I said, the soteriology I put forward is probably the most common, though I can't promise that the language used will be comprable. Of course, because we have not dogmatized the issue, there is room for disagreement, and there will certainly be people who disagree. Though there was a time when I wish the Church would be clearer and stricter about certain theological issues, I have come to appreciate her approach; my adopting of a theological position that, while once the majority opinion, is now in the minority probably led to my gaining of this appreciation Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2006, 10:59:20 PM »

...As far as death, I would be careful about linking physical death to the fall...after all, even in your quote St. John Damascene does not attach physical death to the fall, but rather 'shrinking from death.'

What is wrong with linking physical death to the fall? Wasn't death (the separation of body and soul following the corruption of the former) a product of the fall? Adam would not have died if he had kept the commandment, no? On the other hand there's something special about the death of Christ, in that His body did not experience corruption:
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The word corruption(1) has two meanings(2). For it signifies all the human sufferings, such as hunger, thirst, weariness, the piercing with nails, death, that is, the separation of soul and body, and so forth. In this sense we say that our Lord's body was subject to corruption. For He voluntarily accepted all these things. But corruption means also the complete resolution of the body into its constituent elements, and its utter disappearance, which is spoken of by many preferably as destruction. The body of our Lord did not experience this form of corruption, as the prophet David says, For Thou will not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine holy one to see corruption(3).

Wherefore to say, with that foolish Julianus and Gaianus, that our Lord's body was incorruptible, in the first sense of the word, before His resurrection is impious. For if it were incorruptible it was not really, but only apparently, of the same essence as ours, and what the Gospel tells us happened, viz. the hunger, the thirst, the nails, the wound in His side, the death, did not actually occur. But if they only apparently happened, then the mystery of the dispensation is an imposture and a sham, and He became man only in appearance, and not in actual fact, and we are saved only in appearance, and not in actual fact. But God forbid, and may those who so say have no part in the salvation(4). But we have obtained and shall obtain the true salvation. But in the second meaning of the word "corruption," we confess that our Lord's body is incorruptible, that is, indestructible, for such is the tradition of the inspired Fathers. Indeed, after the resurrection of our Saviour from the dead, we say that our Lord's body is incorruptible even in the first sense of the word. For our Lord by His own body bestowed the gifts both of resurrection and of subsequent incorruption even on our own body, He Himself having become to us the firstfruits both of resurrection and incorruption, and of passionlessness(5). For as the divine Apostle says, This corruptible must put an incorruption(6). (Ch. XXVIII)
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« Reply #26 on: December 21, 2006, 11:12:16 PM »

What is wrong with linking physical death to the fall? Wasn't death (the separation of body and soul following the corruption of the former) a product of the fall?

I dont believe so, I believe spiritual death (the separation of humanity from God) was the result of the fall.

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Adam would not have died if he had kept the commandment, no? On the other hand there's something special about the death of Christ, in that His body did not experience corruption:

Wouldn't he have? I'm not so sure I would agree. Our physical death is not a curse, rather it is the next step in our sanctification; physical death will bring us closer to God, which is a blessing; thus it makes sense to me that St. John Damascene only refered to fear of death, rather than death itself, being a result of the fall.

Of course, we are now talking about the effect of the fall and/or sin on the body, not on the human nature or will Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2006, 11:49:23 PM »

I dont believe so, I believe spiritual death (the separation of humanity from God) was the result of the fall... Wouldn't he have? I'm not so sure I would agree.

Well, read the first quote I provided. How can a nature that is not subject to hunger, thirst... corruption, die?

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Our physical death is not a curse, rather it is the next step in our sanctification; physical death will bring us closer to God, which is a blessing;

I agree, post-fall.

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...thus it makes sense to me that St. John Damascene only referred to fear of death, rather than death itself, being a result of the fall.

What did he mean by corruption then?

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Of course, we are now talking about the effect of the fall and/or sin on the body, not on the human nature or will Smiley

And isn't the body part of our human nature? Btw the soul was also affected by the fall. For one thing it lost the vision of God (being expelled from Paradise) and was subjected to temptations and evil thoughts from within (the thorns and thistles of the earth (Gen 3:18)). (cf. St. Maximus, To Thalasius Q. 5)
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« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2006, 12:23:27 AM »

Well, in that case, while I disagree with the position of your Church, I don't believe it is quite extreme enough to warrent throwing anathemas around, though the position of the Calvinists is. There is, however, one element of your catechism that gives me a bit of concern:

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Pelagius held that man could, by the natural power of free will and without the necessary help of God's grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence of Adam's fault to bad example.

While this is true, it was not the essence of what made Pelagius a heretic, more importantly, not only did Pelagius say that man could live a morally good life by his own accord (which I would actually agree with), he went further and said that by doing so man could obtain salvation without any need for God to play a role (something I would most certainly object to). Perhaps the author was simply trying to simplify the debates for the benifit of the reader, though I believe this to be an important distinction to make.
...
I believe that our mariology is comprable on this matter the one notable difference is in general soteriological...we would say that everyone had the same opportunity to live a sinless life as the Theotokos (and that a few other did, such as Enoch, Elijah, and the Holy Forerunner), thus there was no need for a special grace as is said to be bestowed by the immaculate conception.

Firstly, I would say that the special grace of the Immaculate Conception was not about her living a sinless life, but rather was about the stain of original sin.  As for the sinless life that followed, that was also by the grace of God, but is not the Immaculate Conception.  And while I am not too sure how far I would personally go in this, I would say that I would have no real problem accepting that there may have been exceptional people who managed to avoid personal sin.  While I am not sure of it, certainly John the Baptist would be the number one contender in that area.  I do seem to recall some Scripture texts, can't recall which though, that seemed to indicate that such had likely occurred.  Again, though, I would be quick to say that if it happened, it was not without the grace of God.  That is not to say that it would mean that a person was prevented from sinning by God, which would deny free will and that is impossible, but rather that for a person to avoid personal sin would require the help of God.  Again, looking in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I find this relating to our Lady:  "By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long."

That would likely be the meaning of the earlier statement on leading a "morally good life."  How good is morally good?  Likely, what is meant here is that to be perfect would require God's grace, and that cannot be done by man alone.  Basic morality is within man's reach, but not goodness in any real sense.  Even Jesus asked why a person called Him good when there was only one good, and that was God.

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Good luck Wink As I said, the soteriology I put forward is probably the most common, though I can't promise that the language used will be comprable. Of course, because we have not dogmatized the issue, there is room for disagreement, and there will certainly be people who disagree. Though there was a time when I wish the Church would be clearer and stricter about certain theological issues, I have come to appreciate her approach; my adopting of a theological position that, while once the majority opinion, is now in the minority probably led to my gaining of this appreciation Smiley

That has been my experience overall.  With matters Eastern things have not been layed out so neatly as we in the West like them.  Information is often uncategorized and unlisted for us and so it is tricky to be sure just what is going on.  Overall that is no trouble, but it becomes difficult in things like this.  For instance, you say this has not been dogmatized, and if that is so, then why do so many say that this is a reason to reject possible unity with the West?  I am okay with that if there is something we teach that is definitively wrong, by your teaching.  But, to say that we are definitively wrong on something you have not even defined, well that doesn't seem quite to make sense, if you know what I mean.

Thanks for the clarifications,

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« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2006, 07:58:59 AM »

That has been my experience overall.  With matters Eastern things have not been layed out so neatly as we in the West like them.  Information is often uncategorized and unlisted for us and so it is tricky to be sure just what is going on.  Overall that is no trouble, but it becomes difficult in things like this.  For instance, you say this has not been dogmatized, and if that is so, then why do so many say that this is a reason to reject possible unity with the West?  I am okay with that if there is something we teach that is definitively wrong, by your teaching.  But, to say that we are definitively wrong on something you have not even defined, well that doesn't seem quite to make sense, if you know what I mean.

I believe one of the problems is that the west has dogmatized it, and they manner in which they dogmatized does not sit well with us. The concept of Original Sin you present is not so extreme as to be easily condemned, but neither is it in line without our traditional understanding of the Nature. If this was not a dogma, but a theologumena of the west, we would probably have fewer problems with it and simply relegate the issue to one of private belief.
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« Reply #30 on: December 22, 2006, 01:30:43 PM »

I believe one of the problems is that the west has dogmatized it, and they manner in which they dogmatized does not sit well with us. The concept of Original Sin you present is not so extreme as to be easily condemned, but neither is it in line without our traditional understanding of the Nature. If this was not a dogma, but a theologumena of the west, we would probably have fewer problems with it and simply relegate the issue to one of private belief.

In nomine Iesu, GiC I offer you continued peace,

What would you say differs between your view of Original Sin and say that of Pelagian?

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« Reply #31 on: December 22, 2006, 01:45:18 PM »

What would you say differs between your view of Original Sin and say that of Pelagian?

I dont think the major difference between our views and those of Pelagius are on the issue of original sin, but rather related to soteriology proper. While I would not disagree with Pelagius' claim that we can live a moral life without divine intervention, I, and all of Orthodoxy, would disagree with his assertion that salvation can be gained by these means alone; as it is not merely works nor mearly faith which saves us, but the two working together in synergy. Salvation is obtained not merely by living a good life but also in the context of a relationship with God.
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« Reply #32 on: December 22, 2006, 02:31:47 PM »

I dont think the major difference between our views and those of Pelagius are on the issue of original sin, but rather related to soteriology proper. While I would not disagree with Pelagius' claim that we can live a moral life without divine intervention, I, and all of Orthodoxy, would disagree with his assertion that salvation can be gained by these means alone; as it is not merely works nor mearly faith which saves us, but the two working together in synergy. Salvation is obtained not merely by living a good life but also in the context of a relationship with God.

In nomine Iesu I offer you continued peace,

Original Sin was directly denied by the Pelagians, who taught: a) The sin of Adam is transmitted to posterity not by inheritance but through imitation (imitatione, non propagatione). So from the Pelagian perspective, there simply is no need to articulate a Dogma of Original Sin because until one commits 'personal' sin the error of Adam's Sin has simply not been imitated.

In the West, this 'imitation' denies the salvific action of Baptism and the necessity of the incorporation of man into the Church by said Baptism. From the Western Church point-of-view, the denial of an inherant defect (i.e. wounded) nature due by Adam's Sin creates a pelagianistic denial of the necessity of the Work of the Church through the life-giving Sacraments (i.e. Mysteries).

Pelagius denied the inherent defect of Adam's Sin in man and the necessity of man's participation in God's Plan of Salvation (which is through the Body of Christ, the Church) to renew his nature to a prefall state. This error was combated chiefly, in the Western Tradition, by St. Augustine and was condemned by the Church at the Synods of Milieve 416, Carthage 418, Orange 529 and in later times by the Council of Trent 1546.

It would appear, in the East, that Pelagius' views have been left unchallenged except for their soteriological conclusions. From a Western point-of-view this looks more like messy theology than any larger exercise of wisdom on the part of the Eastern Patriarchs. Is it your opinion that the natural state of fallen man lacks sanctifying Grace (i.e. is in a state of damnation in need of redemption through the Sacraments of the Church)? It has been the oppinion, in the Western Church, that the nature of prefall and postfall man differs primarily by the presence of sanctifying Grace (i.e. communion with the Word - Athanasius).

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« Reply #33 on: December 22, 2006, 02:49:11 PM »

I believe one of the problems is that the west has dogmatized it, and they manner in which they dogmatized does not sit well with us. The concept of Original Sin you present is not so extreme as to be easily condemned, but neither is it in line without our traditional understanding of the Nature. If this was not a dogma, but a theologumena of the west, we would probably have fewer problems with it and simply relegate the issue to one of private belief.

Could you elaborate on your understanding of "the Nature" and how it relates to this?  How would you say the position I have taken would be incompatible with that understanding and how is it out of line?  I think this might go a long ways to helping me see the differences at work here.

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« Reply #34 on: December 22, 2006, 02:52:15 PM »

GIC

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But I will say that the standard of Orthodox Theology on this issue tends to be St. John Cassian...

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While I would not disagree with Pelagius' claim that we can live a moral life without divine intervention, I, and all of Orthodoxy, would disagree with his assertion that salvation can be gained by these means alone

What then would you make of the claims of Paul and those found in the works of John Cassian, that even our good intentions are the product of God's grace? Don't get me wrong, for obvious reasons I agree with you that people can live moral lives without divine intervention, I'm just curious as to what you think about God's grace acting on us even before we act.

"'For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do according to good will.' (Phil 2:13; cf 1 Cor. 3:9, 19; Heb. 13:20-21) What could well be clearer than the assertion that both our good will and the completion of our work are fully wrought in us by the Lord?" - John Cassian, Conferences, 3, 15

"...the initiative not only of our actions but also of good thoughts comes from God, who inspires us with a good will to begin with, and supplies us with the opportunity of carrying out what we rightly desire: for 'every good gift and every perfect gift cometh down from above, from the Father of lights,' (James 1:17) who both begins what is good, and continues it and completes it in us, as the Apostle says: 'But He who giveth seed to the sower will both provide bread to eat and will multiply your seed and make the fruits of your righteousness to increase.' (2 Cor. 9:10)" - John Cassian, Conferences, 13, 3

"Whence human reason cannot easily decide how the Lord ...draws men against their will to salvation, takes away from those who want to sin the faculty of carrying out their desire, in His goodness stands in the way of those who are rushing into wickedness." - John Cassian, Conferences, 13, 9
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« Reply #35 on: December 22, 2006, 03:02:17 PM »

Salvation is obtained not merely by living a good life but also in the context of a relationship with God.

But you believe in universal salvation, do you not?
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« Reply #36 on: December 22, 2006, 03:23:45 PM »

But you believe in universal salvation, do you not?

In nomine Iesu, lubeltri I offer you continued peace and much filial affection,

I do believe that GiC is attempting to be objective and present the position of Orthodoxy 'sans theologumena'.

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« Reply #37 on: December 22, 2006, 03:41:13 PM »

It would appear, in the East, that Pelagius' views have been left unchallenged except for their soteriological conclusions. From a Western point-of-view this looks more like messy theology than any larger exercise of wisdom on the part of the Eastern Patriarchs.

And from an eastern point of view the west is over anxious to dogmatize everything and because of the theological differences between east and west, many of the things the west dogmatizes were traditionally disputed positions in the history of the Church. Rest assured, the east has always been uncomfortable with the legalistic and, shall we say judaizing, approach to theology seen in Augustine.

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Is it your opinion that the natural state of fallen man lacks sanctifying Grace (i.e. is in a state of damnation in need of redemption through the Sacraments of the Church)?

Yes, it is my opinion that man in any state, fallen or unfallen, lacks the sanctifying grace needed for redeption in and of himself; man in both a fallen and unfallen state is dependent on God for this grace, we were not gods before we fell and we did not become them after the fall.

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It has been the oppinion, in the Western Church, that the nature of prefall and postfall man differs primarily by the presence of sanctifying Grace (i.e. communion with the Word - Athanasius).

Communion, or a specific relationship with God...which is the point I've been trying to make all along, the change in humanity following the fall was not natural or thelemic in essence, it did not change the nature or the will of man, it was a relational change...it had no effect on humans as independent entities, the effect was in the relationship between God and humanity.
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« Reply #38 on: December 22, 2006, 03:52:59 PM »

Could you elaborate on your understanding of "the Nature" and how it relates to this?  How would you say the position I have taken would be incompatible with that understanding and how is it out of line?  I think this might go a long ways to helping me see the differences at work here.

Patrick

By 'the Nature' I ment human nature; to expand on that somewhat, that which is common to all mankind the source of a common will, or inclination, within each person.
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« Reply #39 on: December 22, 2006, 03:56:29 PM »

GIC

What then would you make of the claims of Paul and those found in the works of John Cassian, that even our good intentions are the product of God's grace? Don't get me wrong, for obvious reasons I agree with you that people can live moral lives without divine intervention, I'm just curious as to what you think about God's grace acting on us even before we act...

I would say that the statements are essentially rhetorical. Yes, a certain grace is needed for man (fallen or unfallen) to do good, a grace comprable to that which is necessary for him to even exist. But it is a grace given to all mankind by God, before and after the fall. We were not somehow gods prior to the fall without any need of God. We were as dependent on him for these ontological necessities then as we are now, this need is certainly not the result of some 'original sin.'
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« Reply #40 on: December 22, 2006, 04:02:18 PM »

But you believe in universal salvation, do you not?

Yes, of course I do, though I don't believe that really need have a direct impact on this discussion. Apokatastasis is a universal restoration to the primordial conditions, to communion with God; it is not an instant entering into eternal bliss, regardless of one's life and faith, upon death. The process of salvation still applies to all, the fathers that taught Apokatastasis simply taught that all of creation would, eventually, go through that salvific process, the communion between God and all creation would eventually be restored. Here we are simply discussing the salvific process, whether or not all will go through it or only a few is a related but different issue.
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« Reply #41 on: December 22, 2006, 04:15:48 PM »

GIC,

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I would say that the statements are essentially rhetorical. Yes, a certain grace is needed for man (fallen or unfallen) to do good, a grace comprable to that which is necessary for him to even exist.

Good point. So would you define "divine intervention" as something like a specific act on a specific person for a specific reason? (EDIT--I realise that this might seem obvious, but to me it implies a rather passive role for God most of the time, like maybe the occasional miracle...?)

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But it is a grace given to all mankind by God, before and after the fall. We were not somehow gods prior to the fall without any need of God. We were as dependent on him for these ontological necessities then as we are now, this need is certainly not the result of some 'original sin.'

I'm guessing that you are not speaking about a divine foreknowledge--"God foreknew what we'd need"--type of thing, but you are saying that we all had an actual prelapsarian existence? If so, how do you justify this view of Origen and a few others, when the rest of your Church seems to reject it?
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« Reply #42 on: December 22, 2006, 04:32:51 PM »

And from an eastern point of view the west is over anxious to dogmatize everything and because of the theological differences between east and west, many of the things the west dogmatizes were traditionally disputed positions in the history of the Church. Rest assured, the east has always been uncomfortable with the legalistic and, shall we say judaizing, approach to theology seen in Augustine.

What you criticize as 'judaizing' one might suggest is simply 'clarity'. It was not in their observance of the Law which our Lord and Saviour criticized the Pharisees but their hypocracy in their personal actions void of the 'charity' which the Law was meant to inspire.

Our Lord and Saviour is not 'against' Law, Moses' or otherwise, but fulfills the Law through it's intended mode of operation 'charity'.

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Yes, it is my opinion that man in any state, fallen or unfallen, lacks the sanctifying grace needed for redeption in and of himself; man in both a fallen and unfallen state is dependent on God for this grace, we were not gods before we fell and we did not become them after the fall.

By definition, our unfallen nature 'is' a nature in communion with God which by definition, asserts the presence of sanctifying grace from God. Sanctification (i.e. Deification) will only be completed at the resurrection where we will 'see face to face what we only see dimly now'. I might get the impression from your post that you are confusing Complete Sanctification (i.e. Deification) with the restoration of our unfallen state (redemption).

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Communion, or a specific relationship with God...which is the point I've been trying to make all along, the change in humanity following the fall was not natural or thelemic in essence, it did not change the nature or the will of man, it was a relational change...it had no effect on humans as independent entities, the effect was in the relationship between God and humanity.

Correct me if I am wrong but you appear to discard the role that relationship had on our nature and will as well as on that of the mundane world. The restoration of that relationship is redemptive not merely on our will but upon our nature and upon the mundane world was well. Do you reject our likeness with God as a true and real potentiality of 'full communion' with the Divine Nature? Do you reject that this potentiality is more that merely relational?

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« Reply #43 on: December 22, 2006, 04:38:01 PM »

By 'the Nature' I ment human nature; to expand on that somewhat, that which is common to all mankind the source of a common will, or inclination, within each person.

So, I am supposing, that at the bare minimum you would object to what we in the West see as a fallen human nature, wounded by original sin?  Your position would be that man is the same before and after the fall, is that right?

But, and this is just a curiosity, in the context of how you view things what would you make of this statement from the CCC:

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Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence". Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

Yes, we say that our nature is fallen, but perhaps we have something different in mind with that you you?  I would suggest that we cannot, or do not, see human nature apart from the sanctifying grace of God.  For instance, consider the following, also from the CCC:

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By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state. It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called "sin" only in an analogical sense: it is a sin "contracted" and not "committed" - a state and not an act.

Notice that the sin affected the "human nature ... transmitted in a fallen state" which would seem to indicate that the state is changed, and not necessarily the very substance of man's nature.  Again, we are told that it is a "transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice and is a "state."  All of this would indicate to me, and I am only presuming to read what is meant and have no greater or deeper knowledge to claim on this, that the basic nature of man, as you might see it, is the same but our relationship to God is changed.  However, we cannot presume to see the nature of man apart from that relationship and sanctifying grace.  That grace goes to our nature and changes us.

The CCC says this about how we view grace:

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Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life...

Grace is a participation in the life of God...

Sanctifying grace is an habitual gift, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love.

From this we can see, that at least in the West, we view this grace as that which "perfects the soul" and makes us "partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life."  For this reason I think we can say that by "fallen human nature" we may be saying much more, and perhaps less, than you may be thinking we do.   Above you said this:

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Communion, or a specific relationship with God...which is the point I've been trying to make all along, the change in humanity following the fall was not natural or thelemic in essence, it did not change the nature or the will of man, it was a relational change...it had no effect on humans as independent entities, the effect was in the relationship between God and humanity.

I find this very interesting as you make a statement that we in the West, at least I think we in the West, would be very hesitant to make.  That is "it had no effect on humans as independent entities..."   I don't think we could ever really try to imagine man as "independent entities" as we are wholly dependent on God.  That is what salvation, I would say, consists primarily of, a restoration of the life of grace in man which returns us to our original nature as God intended, i.e. restores our relationship with God.  This seems to confirm what I am thinking and that by human nature you are meaning one thing, and we are meaning another.  What would you make of all of this?

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« Reply #44 on: December 22, 2006, 06:21:24 PM »

Good point. So would you define "divine intervention" as something like a specific act on a specific person for a specific reason?

Or even to a group of people, but God's sustaining of Creation and the corresponding Graces are not so much intervention as the nature of existance, as our Ontology. Certainly not something changed, one way or the other, by the fall.

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(EDIT--I realise that this might seem obvious, but to me it implies a rather passive role for God most of the time, like maybe the occasional miracle...?)

I would agree, is not that the testimony of our history and our lives? At least I don't see the dead rising and amputated limbs regrowing on a daily basis. Maybe others have had a substantially different experience interacting with the physical world than I...but for me at least, gravity always tends to pull the strongest towards the largest objects.

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I'm guessing that you are not speaking about a divine foreknowledge--"God foreknew what we'd need"--type of thing, but you are saying that we all had an actual prelapsarian existence? If so, how do you justify this view of Origen and a few others, when the rest of your Church seems to reject it?

I'm speaking about human nature as the nature we hold in common, a nature which certainly had a prelapsarian existence. I'm not quite going so far as to proclaim a physical pre-existance of souls (only a pre-existance in mind of God); though I am sympathetic to the doctrine and believe it holds some merit, though can certainly be taken too far, I am content to, at least for the time being, limit my beliefs to those which the Church has not officially condemned in the context of an Oecumencial Synod. (While Origen was, of course, a better philosopher and theologian, with a vastly better understanding of the Christian Faith, than anyone present at Constantinople II, I will proclaim with the Synod, as is demanded by custom and law, anathema to the former.)
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« Reply #45 on: December 22, 2006, 07:00:59 PM »

What you criticize as 'judaizing' one might suggest is simply 'clarity'. It was not in their observance of the Law which our Lord and Saviour criticized the Pharisees but their hypocracy in their personal actions void of the 'charity' which the Law was meant to inspire.

That was Arius' defence as well (whose main purpose for his theology was to defend the Church against Sabellianism), it is fortunate for Augustine that he fared better.

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By definition, our unfallen nature 'is' a nature in communion with God which by definition, asserts the presence of sanctifying grace from God. Sanctification (i.e. Deification) will only be completed at the resurrection where we will 'see face to face what we only see dimly now'. I might get the impression from your post that you are confusing Complete Sanctification (i.e. Deification) with the restoration of our unfallen state (redemption).

I don't believe so, I think our chronology of justification and sanctification differs. You are suggesting that one is redeemed or justified and then afterwards may reach towards sancitification. I would say that until one is sanctified they cannot be justified. All mankind was redeemed at the cross and there is nothing more we need to do for that redemption, but much must be done before we can be justified before God, we must still first overcome personal sin. And as an interesting theological note, it was when our Lady achieved sanctification through her own acts, even in the context of an unredeemed humanity (meaning a break in the communion between humanity as a whole and God, personal relationships with God were still possible, as is seen with the Righteous of the Old Testament), that God gave her Justification in the form of the Christ child, and thus through her all the world was redeemed (the breach in our corporate relationship with God was repaired)

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Correct me if I am wrong but you appear to discard the role that relationship had on our nature and will as well as on that of the mundane world. The restoration of that relationship is redemptive not merely on our will but upon our nature and upon the mundane world was well. Do you reject our likeness with God as a true and real potentiality of 'full communion' with the Divine Nature? Do you reject that this potentiality is more that merely relational?

The relationship effects them in every observable way, but does not change their essence. Our nature after the fall is the same as our nature before the fall, what changed is how we, and God, interacted with said nature. Of course, with the Crucifixion and Resurrection this relationship was repaired.
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« Reply #46 on: December 22, 2006, 08:26:04 PM »

So, I am supposing, that at the bare minimum you would object to what we in the West see as a fallen human nature, wounded by original sin?  Your position would be that man is the same before and after the fall, is that right?

That man, in and of himself, is the same before and after the fall...but in his relationship to God and through that relationship in his relationship to other men, there is a change.

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But, and this is just a curiosity, in the context of how you view things what would you make of this statement from the CCC:

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Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence". Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

Concerning the part you bolded, provided it is understood that there was no ontological change to the essence of the nature, and that the corruption only has to do with the relationship of the nature to God, then I see how it could be interpreted in an acceptable manner, though if this is the intent the language is rather sloppy. However, further down it says that Baptism erases 'original sin,' this I do take issue with, the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ removed the curse of the Fall, to say otherwise is to teach that the Sacrifice of Christ was without effect. I would argue that Baptism is for the erasing of personal sin (both past and future).

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I find this very interesting as you make a statement that we in the West, at least I think we in the West, would be very hesitant to make.  That is "it had no effect on humans as independent entities..."   I don't think we could ever really try to imagine man as "independent entities" as we are wholly dependent on God.

I am aware that the statement is somewhat sloppy, but I was trying to convey an idea and I did not know whether or not my referring to the 'essence or ontological elements of the nature' would have accomplished that goal. Of course the relation of our nature to God is as essential as the essence of our Nature, both of which have a profound impact on who we are and what we do. But for the sake of theological discussion I believe it helpful (if not essential) to differentiate between the two.

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That is what salvation, I would say, consists primarily of, a restoration of the life of grace in man which returns us to our original nature as God intended, i.e. restores our relationship with God.  This seems to confirm what I am thinking and that by human nature you are meaning one thing, and we are meaning another.  What would you make of all of this?

I think we've started to work through some of the soteriological issues between our Churches, and I am optimistic that the official dialogue could work all the way through them, provided both sides are willing to show a bit of tolerance...which is why this issue has never been regarded as the most significant dividing us.
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« Reply #47 on: December 22, 2006, 08:58:20 PM »

Concerning the part you bolded, provided it is understood that there was no ontological change to the essence of the nature, and that the corruption only has to do with the relationship of the nature to God, then I see how it could be interpreted in an acceptable manner, though if this is the intent the language is rather sloppy.

No, I think the intent is to convey the truth of what original sin is.  It is a wounded nature in which we have lost sanctifying grace and are inclined to sin.  I only wish to show that by nature we in the West could  no sooner discuss our nature apart from God's grace than we could the Father without the Son and Holy Spirit.  For that reason, we seem to say nature not to describe some theoretical aspect of man apart from his relationship with God and God's grace.   I can't help but think that is an essential part of seeing the Western mind on this, and in the distinction, I think it may help me see the Eastern view.

I am also seeking to nail down just exactly how you are seeing the effects of the fall in our lives as well as how you view our definitions.  I am chiseling away at first one and then another just to get a full dimensional idea.  This began, recall, by my reading a book which defined the EO view of original sin in terms very like our own, and then contrasted these to some idea of original sin I had never heard of but was being called the Catholic one.  I am trying to discover the truth about what you believe, and think we believe.

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However, further down it says that Baptism erases 'original sin,' this I do take issue with, the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ removed the curse of the Fall, to say otherwise is to teach that the Sacrifice of Christ was without effect. I would argue that Baptism is for the erasing of personal sin (both past and future).

But, we cannot separate the Cross and Baptism.  We know "we are buried together with him by baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life."  It is by Baptism that we live in Christ and so it certainly does nothing like teaching that the Sacrifice of Christ is without effect.  It simply makes clear that it is in Christ that we find life, and nowhere else.

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I am aware that the statement is somewhat sloppy, but I was trying to convey an idea and I did not know whether or not my referring to the 'essence or ontological elements of the nature' would have accomplished that goal. Of course the relation of our nature to God is as essential as the essence of our Nature, both of which have a profound impact on who we are and what we do. But for the sake of theological discussion I believe it helpful (if not essential) to differentiate between the two.

I am finding this very interesting as an exchange, and I must thank you for taking all this time to straighten out my understanding of your position.  But, I must ask you, what exactly is the point of such theological curiosities concerning the nature of man apart from God?  Why an insistence, such as that above, "that there was no ontological change to the essence of the nature, and that the corruption only has to do with the relationship of the nature to God?"  What does this acheive?  It sounds to me something like arguing over how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.  I really cannot imagine what is to be gained by insisting on beliefs that theoretically see us apart from God, and so wonder how essential such an insistence could be?

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I think we've started to work through some of the soteriological issues between our Churches, and I am optimistic that the official dialogue could work all the way through them, provided both sides are willing to show a bit of tolerance...which is why this issue has never been regarded as the most significant dividing us.

I do pray that our Church's can work things out for some good for all of us.  However, I of course am just trying to learn a little and see the East in a better and clearer way.  Unfortunately, I am never quite sure if I am hearing the Eastern approach, or just one Eastern approach.  I wonder if the fine men discussing this between our Churches struggle with that lack of confidence?  Considering that the thread opened because I was confused by Father Michael Pomazansky's statements, and he seems to disagree with you on this issue, I am still a bit in the dark.  But, at least I am getting a grip on where you come from, if not your people.  Wink

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« Reply #48 on: December 22, 2006, 10:21:53 PM »

No, I think the intent is to convey the truth of what original sin is.  It is a wounded nature in which we have lost sanctifying grace and are inclined to sin.  I only wish to show that by nature we in the West could  no sooner discuss our nature apart from God's grace than we could the Father without the Son and Holy Spirit.  For that reason, we seem to say nature not to describe some theoretical aspect of man apart from his relationship with God and God's grace.   I can't help but think that is an essential part of seeing the Western mind on this, and in the distinction, I think it may help me see the Eastern view.

But we do discuss the Father as Father and the Son as Son and the Holy Spirit as Holy Spirit...not that we say they are different Gods, but we differentiate for the purpose of theology. At least I presume you wouldn't insist that saying the Son is begotten of the Father is tantamount to saying the Father is begotten of the Father.

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But, we cannot separate the Cross and Baptism.  We know "we are buried together with him by baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life."  It is by Baptism that we live in Christ and so it certainly does nothing like teaching that the Sacrifice of Christ is without effect.  It simply makes clear that it is in Christ that we find life, and nowhere else.

Here we are going to disagree, but I will confess that there is disagreement in the Orthodox Church as to the exact effect and necessity of Baptism. On this matter, my belief in Apokatastasis obviously shapes my theology; I believe it is a good and consistant theology, and it was taught by several fathers of the Church, but it is not universally accepted. However, with that said, I see a real problem with making the effectiveness of the Divine Sacrifice on the Cross dependent on the human act of Baptism. As in one man all died, in one man all were made alive, it seems clear to me that the Cross eternally eliminated all that resulted from the fall and to say otherwise is to diminish the effect of Christ's resurrection...though I will admit there are those who would disagree with me (though their soteriology doesn't seem entirely consistant to me).

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I am finding this very interesting as an exchange, and I must thank you for taking all this time to straighten out my understanding of your position.  But, I must ask you, what exactly is the point of such theological curiosities concerning the nature of man apart from God?  Why an insistence, such as that above, "that there was no ontological change to the essence of the nature, and that the corruption only has to do with the relationship of the nature to God?"  What does this acheive?  It sounds to me something like arguing over how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.  I really cannot imagine what is to be gained by insisting on beliefs that theoretically see us apart from God, and so wonder how essential such an insistence could be?

I think it's quite important, it speaks to who we are and it assures us that we were always in the image and likeness of God, even in our most fallen state. It also speaks to the limitations of man, his inability to effect his own Ontology, and the absoluteness of God's power control in that realm. If we taught that humanity could fundamentally and ontologically alter something that was created by God we are ascribing to humanity divine capabilities that would make us gods. Issues of ontology and their dependency on God are essential to Christian theological thought.
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« Reply #49 on: December 22, 2006, 11:29:09 PM »

But we do discuss the Father as Father and the Son as Son and the Holy Spirit as Holy Spirit...not that we say they are different Gods, but we differentiate for the purpose of theology. At least I presume you wouldn't insist that saying the Son is begotten of the Father is tantamount to saying the Father is begotten of the Father.

I probably miscommunicated my idea in this.  Let me try to clear my own jumbled words up.  I think it would be clearer to say, for me, thinking of human nature as independent of God's grace is like thinking of the Son independent of the Father.  Is the Son independent of the Father?  No, which makes it something of a strange curiosity to try to consider.  For the Son to be conceived as 'independent' of the Father, it would be the same as saying "This is what the Son would be if there were no Father" but there is a Father, and the Son gets all he has from the Father, and so it is a rather vain thought.  Something of a vain speculation, I would think.

In a similar way man's nature cannot be seen independent of the Creator.  Sanctifying grace, which is lost in the fall, changes our relationship to God, and that impacts on our nature.  To try to define what we are apart from God or his grace is simply beyond the scope of what is or what can be.  If it can be done, and I don't know that it really can, I can't really see what it would prove.  I am not trying to nullify your concerns, but rather I am speaking of why your focus on that aspect of a definition seems to be something of an oddity to me.  Why would we as Christians want to define what we are independent of God or his grace?  What relevance would it really have?

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Here we are going to disagree, but I will confess that there is disagreement in the Orthodox Church as to the exact effect and necessity of Baptism. On this matter, my belief in Apokatastasis obviously shapes my theology; I believe it is a good and consistant theology, and it was taught by several fathers of the Church, but it is not universally accepted. However, with that said, I see a real problem with making the effectiveness of the Divine Sacrifice on the Cross dependent on the human act of Baptism. As in one man all died, in one man all were made alive, it seems clear to me that the Cross eternally eliminated all that resulted from the fall and to say otherwise is to diminish the effect of Christ's resurrection...though I will admit there are those who would disagree with me (though their soteriology doesn't seem entirely consistant to me).

Okay, I think I understand where you are coming from, and yes, I agree.  We will disagree.  Smiley   Though, at least I can see your point on it. 

Quote
I think it's quite important, it speaks to who we are and it assures us that we were always in the image and likeness of God, even in our most fallen state. It also speaks to the limitations of man, his inability to effect his own Ontology, and the absoluteness of God's power control in that realm. If we taught that humanity could fundamentally and ontologically alter something that was created by God we are ascribing to humanity divine capabilities that would make us gods. Issues of ontology and their dependency on God are essential to Christian theological thought.

Okay, I think I can see what you are getting at.  But, really, who is suggesting that we are wielding godlike powers?  I don't see anything in the view we have of the fall, and such has never even crossed my mind, that we are trying to ascribe to man some supernatural powers.  Instead, I would see what we profess to be just what it is, and that is that original sin is the lack of original holiness and sanctifying grace intended by our Creator for us.  Whether we use the word nature or not, I don't think we should read into it some further ideas of godlike powers.

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« Reply #50 on: December 24, 2006, 12:34:04 AM »

That was Arius' defence as well (whose main purpose for his theology was to defend the Church against Sabellianism), it is fortunate for Augustine that he fared better.

I'm not sure I find any value in pursuing these allusions of yours in this topic concerning Original Sin. It appears to be distracting and just a touch rhetorical...

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I don't believe so, I think our chronology of justification and sanctification differs. You are suggesting that one is redeemed or justified and then afterwards may reach towards sancitification. I would say that until one is sanctified they cannot be justified. All mankind was redeemed at the cross and there is nothing more we need to do for that redemption, but much must be done before we can be justified before God, we must still first overcome personal sin. And as an interesting theological note, it was when our Lady achieved sanctification through her own acts, even in the context of an unredeemed humanity (meaning a break in the communion between humanity as a whole and God, personal relationships with God were still possible, as is seen with the Righteous of the Old Testament), that God gave her Justification in the form of the Christ child, and thus through her all the world was redeemed (the breach in our corporate relationship with God was repaired)

Okay. At this point I might suggest that you have ceased to be an objective voice of Orthodoxy and have 'merged' the image and likeness into one. At least according to Bishop Ware, the Greek Fathers who drew a line between image and likeness agreed that the former is static and the latter is dynamic. Ware writes that the image "denotes man's potentiality for life in God, the likeness his realization of that potentiality. It would appear that your theology merges the two as one static 'realization' due to the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour.

I would argue that, before Christ's resurrection, there was simply no hope of such a 'realization' due to man's wounded nature in the fall. This realization was 'closed' to man. Now it has been opened by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ but it awaits our response. Yes, the way is now open but we must walk through the door.

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The relationship effects them in every observable way, but does not change their essence.

Define what you mean by essence here? Are you rejecting the uncreated energies?

Quote
Our nature after the fall is the same as our nature before the fall, what changed is how we, and God, interacted with said nature. Of course, with the Crucifixion and Resurrection this relationship was repaired.

Would suggest that this is normative Orthodox teaching on the Crucifixion and Resurrection or your own theology again? Can you afford us Latins a little more objectivity and share with us what the normative position might be?

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« Reply #51 on: December 24, 2006, 09:36:15 AM »

Okay. At this point I might suggest that you have ceased to be an objective voice of Orthodoxy and have 'merged' the image and likeness into one. At least according to Bishop Ware, the Greek Fathers who drew a line between image and likeness agreed that the former is static and the latter is dynamic. Ware writes that the image "denotes man's potentiality for life in God, the likeness his realization of that potentiality. It would appear that your theology merges the two as one static 'realization' due to the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour.

There is that view within Orthodoxy...though I do not know that it is in the majority (perhaps, but if so not by much); likeness and image are also viewed as ontological properties, and therefore would be unchanged by the fall. Though the position you describe above does exist within some circles (patristic and modern)

Quote
I would argue that, before Christ's resurrection, there was simply no hope of such a 'realization' due to man's wounded nature in the fall. This realization was 'closed' to man. Now it has been opened by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ but it awaits our response. Yes, the way is now open but we must walk through the door.

Here, of course, we are going to disagree.

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Define what you mean by essence here? Are you rejecting the uncreated energies?

I was refering to the essence of human nature, not of the Divine.

Quote
Would suggest that this is normative Orthodox teaching on the Crucifixion and Resurrection or your own theology again? Can you afford us Latins a little more objectivity and share with us what the normative position might be?

Oh, that is standard Orthodox Theology. With the possible exception of a small handful 19th century russian theologians, strongly influenced by western theology, you will find the relational, rather than natural, explanations of the fall to be fairly standard within Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #52 on: December 24, 2006, 03:42:16 PM »

There is that view within Orthodoxy...though I do not know that it is in the majority (perhaps, but if so not by much); likeness and image are also viewed as ontological properties, and therefore would be unchanged by the fall. Though the position you describe above does exist within some circles (patristic and modern)

In nomine Iesu, GiC I offer you continued peace,

So, from your prespective, and that of Holy Orthodoxy, the fall was not a fall at all? Is there no distinction between carnal and divine, sin and righteousness, etc?

Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: Neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers: Nor the effeminate nor liers with mankind nor thieves nor covetous nor drunkards nor railers nor extortioners shall possess the kingdom of God. And such some of you were. But you are washed: but you are sanctified: but you are justified: in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God. - 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 DRB

Again let me ask you, is there a necessity for the Church at all in Orthodoxy? There appears to be no real need. As you assert, Christ's work is done, we are everyone saved. What, then, is the purpose of the Church and the Sacraments; like Baptism, Exorism, Unction?

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I was refering to the essence of human nature, not of the Divine.

I get the impression that you confuse our 'freewill' with God's Will. You appear to conclude that because human nature, at it's 'ground of being' is found in God's Purpose that this, in and of itself, liberates man from responsibility. I might even suggest that you have not yet shaken the hold that Calvinism once had on you. Is this at all possible?

Quote
Oh, that is standard Orthodox Theology. With the possible exception of a small handful 19th century russian theologians, strongly influenced by western theology, you will find the relational, rather than natural, explanations of the fall to be fairly standard within Orthodoxy.

Does not the entire principle of Theosis challenge this limit to the relational, rather than natural? I still don't fully understand what you mean by 'natural'. Please elaborate...

BTW, I wish you a most Merry Christmas.

Pax Vobiscum
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« Reply #53 on: December 28, 2006, 07:07:53 PM »

In nomine Iesu, GiC I offer you continued peace,

I know that this is a very ecumenically incorrect thing to say. We are used to accepting that the Eastern Orthodox have their own valid way of expressing the fall of Adam and its effects on humanity.

We all know that the Eastern Orthodox are stalwart defenders of the first Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Church. However, two of these Ecumeical Councils (Ephesus in 430 and Nicea II in 787) received the explicitly Augustinian conciliar canons of the Council of Carthage in AD 418.

This Council of Carthage canonized nine beliefs to be received by the Church. These nine statements were put forth to deny the errors of Pelagius. They are as follows:

1. Death came from sin, not man's physical nature.
2. Infants must be baptized to be cleansed from original sin.
3. Justifying grace covers past sins and helps avoid future sins.
4. The grace of Christ imparts strength and will to act out God's commandments.
5. No good works can come without God's grace.
6. We confess we are sinners because it is true, not from humility.
7. The saints ask for forgiveness for their own sins.
8. The saints also confess to be sinners because they are.
9. Children dying without baptism are excluded from both the Kingdom of heaven and eternal life.

Every canon was accepted as a universal belief of the Church and banished all Pelagians from Italy. These Carthaginian canons were accepted by the Church at the Ecumenical Council in AD 431. There were received yet again at the Seventh Ecumenical Council (the Second Council of Nicea) in AD 787.

This occurred when the Seventh Council ratified the Canons of Trullo (also called the Quinsext Council), which had received the Canons of the African Code which include those of the Carthaginian conciliar condemnations of AD 418.

Sooooo...it looks to me that Eastern Orthodox are bound to accept the nine beliefs put forward by the Council of Carthage of 418, which states that infants must be baptized and "cleansed from original sin."

I am looking for some solid Orthodox theologians out there to prove me wrong. I'd be happily corrected. But it seems that the Augustinian tradition is not something peculiar to the West, but something canonized by the Conciliar tradition.

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« Reply #54 on: December 28, 2006, 07:18:59 PM »

I dont read too many modern theologians, so I can't help you too much there, though you might give Romanides a try...he's a bit more Augustinian than I'm comfortable with, but he's pretty good.

As for the Synods of Carthage, the Oecumenical Synods don't say which ones are accepted and which ones are not, they refer simply to 'those (canons) in Carthage.' The traditional practice in the Orthodox Church is to accept the disciplinary canons of Carthage while ignoring, if not rejecting, the theological decisions. The council of 418 has never been looked upon with much favour, especially such things as the blasphemous position that children dying without baptism are excluded from the kingdom of heaven.
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« Reply #55 on: December 28, 2006, 07:37:02 PM »

I dont read too many modern theologians, so I can't help you too much there, though you might give Romanides a try...he's a bit more Augustinian than I'm comfortable with, but he's pretty good.

As for the Synods of Carthage, the Oecumenical Synods don't say which ones are accepted and which ones are not, they refer simply to 'those (canons) in Carthage.' The traditional practice in the Orthodox Church is to accept the disciplinary canons of Carthage while ignoring, if not rejecting, the theological decisions. The council of 418 has never been looked upon with much favour, especially such things as the blasphemous position that children dying without baptism are excluded from the kingdom of heaven.

In nomine Iesu, GiC I offer you continued peace,

I continue to posit that 'modern-day' Eastern Orthodox Theology does a good job of dancing around 'traditional' council positions in order to assert what I argue is a more 'generous' i.e. upbeat theology in order to distance herself from the Catholic Church. Frankly, since Vatican II even the Catholic Church could be cited for doing this as well but I would argue not as much.

I am a bit of an 'old' Catholic Soul so I don't dispute that Theologians, in the West, grappled a great deal with the 'apparent' innocence of infants and the justice of condemning them but it would explain why Exorcism, Baptism as well as Holy Chrismation followed by the Eucharist was done with great care on every infant to insure that they were armed with every grace possible by the East. I know that 'modern' theologians have a 'wonderful' way of dancing around these canons but I honestly believe that such is a form of 'cafeteria' Theology.

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« Reply #56 on: December 28, 2006, 07:45:12 PM »

I am a bit of an 'old' Catholic Soul so I don't dispute that Theologians, in the West, grappled a great deal with the 'apparent' innocence of infants and the justice of condemning them but it would explain why Exorcism, Baptism as well as Holy Chrismation followed by the Eucharist was done with great care on every infant to insure that they were armed with every grace possible by the East. I know that 'modern' theologians have a 'wonderful' way of dancing around these canons but I honestly believe that such is a form of 'cafeteria' Theology.

I don't believe it 'is a form of "cafeteria" Theology' as you suggest, because I can find little evidence that these doctrinal positions were ever widely accepted in the east. Rather, what it points to is the fluid nature of patristic theology, multiple, often conflicting, opinions were frequently held to be acceptable. The differences between Augustine and Cassian can be pointed to on this issue...Cassian was condemned as a semi-pelagian in the west whereas he was upheld as a standard of Orthodoxy and canonized as a Saint in the East. The patristic consensus is a myth, and the more you look into patristics and church history the less and less uniform you will find Christian theology to have traditionally been.
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« Reply #57 on: December 28, 2006, 07:48:29 PM »

Quote
Sooooo...it looks to me that Eastern Orthodox are bound to accept the nine beliefs put forward by the Council of Carthage of 418, which states that infants must be baptized and "cleansed from original sin."

Well, I'm not a theologian, but the Orthodox Councils have accepted canons which contradict each other, so by merely saying "We accept the canons of Basil... we accept the canons of Carthage... etc." that does not mean that they necessarily accept everything to the letter. For example, the canons of Athanasius (39th Epistle) specifically excludes the so-called deuterocanonical books from the Bible canon, and says that they are only to be read for edification. On the other hand, the Council of Carthage (Canon 32) specifically includes the so-called deuterocanonical books in it's Old Testament Canon. The 6th Ecumenical accepts both the canons of Athanasius and Carthage, without bothering to specify which particular Biblical canon they are meaning to endorse.

As another example of what I mean, none of the canons of the 1st Ecumenical Council have ever been formally rejected by an Orthodox Church, so far as I know. Yet almost no one has followed Canon 15 (clergymen are not to wander from place to place). Indeed, the semi-Arians were so hard pressed to dislodge Gregory the Theologian from Constantinople that they brought up this canon to demonstrate that he was not following the canons. Technically the "heretics" were right, and the "Saint" was uncanonical; but the Church certainly didn't side with the semi-arians, as well they shouldn't, since (like I said) almost no one followed this canon. Those who accepted the Nicene formula weren't about to lose one of their most eloquent and brilliant speakers based on something as minor as a disregarded canon from the 1st Ecumenical Council.
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« Reply #58 on: December 28, 2006, 11:14:41 PM »

I don't believe it 'is a form of "cafeteria" Theology' as you suggest, because I can find little evidence that these doctrinal positions were ever widely accepted in the east. Rather, what it points to is the fluid nature of patristic theology, multiple, often conflicting, opinions were frequently held to be acceptable. The differences between Augustine and Cassian can be pointed to on this issue...Cassian was condemned as a semi-pelagian in the west whereas he was upheld as a standard of Orthodoxy and canonized as a Saint in the East. The patristic consensus is a myth, and the more you look into patristics and church history the less and less uniform you will find Christian theology to have traditionally been.

In nomine Iesu, GiC I offer you continued peace,

When I read The 3rd and 4th parts of the 37th Homily of St. Symeon The New Theologian titled 'A Man is Sinful From His Very Conception' and 'And Man is Reborn By The Holy Spirit In Holy Baptism' I simply can't for the life of me concur with your claims.

Modern Orthodox Theologians have to 'dance' and 'contort' far too much for me to believe that this is the truth of Holy Orthodoxy. When I am aboard I simply don't encounter this kind of liberalism of the Canons of the Councils and discussion of the faith. As much as I admire your very learned and eloquent arguments they simply don't fit together with the whole deposit of faith. I simply 'must' take St. Symeon over you just as Metropolitan Stephen was overshadowed by the depth of St. Symeon's insights.

No disrespect intended.

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« Reply #59 on: December 28, 2006, 11:24:21 PM »

Well, I'm not a theologian, but the Orthodox Councils have accepted canons which contradict each other, so by merely saying "We accept the canons of Basil... we accept the canons of Carthage... etc." that does not mean that they necessarily accept everything to the letter. For example, the canons of Athanasius (39th Epistle) specifically excludes the so-called deuterocanonical books from the Bible canon, and says that they are only to be read for edification. On the other hand, the Council of Carthage (Canon 32) specifically includes the so-called deuterocanonical books in it's Old Testament Canon. The 6th Ecumenical accepts both the canons of Athanasius and Carthage, without bothering to specify which particular Biblical canon they are meaning to endorse.

In nomine Iesu, Asteriktos I offer you continued peace,

I believe the name 'deutero-canonical' says it all...   Grin

Of course, the Council of Trent has spoken on this for us Latins so it's not much of an issue over here.

Quote
As another example of what I mean, none of the canons of the 1st Ecumenical Council have ever been formally rejected by an Orthodox Church, so far as I know. Yet almost no one has followed Canon 15 (clergymen are not to wander from place to place). Indeed, the semi-Arians were so hard pressed to dislodge Gregory the Theologian from Constantinople that they brought up this canon to demonstrate that he was not following the canons. Technically the "heretics" were right, and the "Saint" was uncanonical; but the Church certainly didn't side with the semi-arians, as well they shouldn't, since (like I said) almost no one followed this canon. Those who accepted the Nicene formula weren't about to lose one of their most eloquent and brilliant speakers based on something as minor as a disregarded canon from the 1st Ecumenical Council.

With regard to this I guess we would have to know what 'wander' means...  Any ideas?

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« Reply #60 on: December 28, 2006, 11:38:06 PM »

I realise that the issue is settled for the Catholics, but I think it still points to a vagueness and state of flux among the Orthodox on a lot of things, even very important things like the exact number of books in Scripture.

Fwiw, I believe that "wander" in that canon spoke of bishops who went from area to area seeking better "positions," so to speak. The Fathers who were at the Council (if I remember correctly) was basically of the opinion that once you became a bishop somewhere, you were wed to that bishopric in ecclesiastical marriage. Gregory hated his original position, and was quite frank about how he didn't like being in such a backwater place. I don't personally think that Gregory sought out honors and fame (I'm almost certain that he was of an exactly opposite temperament), but I doubt he minded moving out of his original place. The main point, though, is that almost no one followed the canon, and it was a sort of last resort of heretics. And, the practice of bishops changing their ecclesiastical spouse has continued into the present day; I think one (or more) of the Patriarch's of Constantinople in the early 20th century was a bishop in Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Constantinople.
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« Reply #61 on: December 29, 2006, 12:38:24 AM »

I realise that the issue is settled for the Catholics, but I think it still points to a vagueness and state of flux among the Orthodox on a lot of things, even very important things like the exact number of books in Scripture.

In nomine Iesu, Asteriktos I offer you continued peace,

I can see your point. The simply fact that a clarification at the Council of Trent was necessary speaks volumes doesn't it?

Quote
Fwiw, I believe that "wander" in that canon spoke of bishops who went from area to area seeking better "positions," so to speak. The Fathers who were at the Council (if I remember correctly) was basically of the opinion that once you became a bishop somewhere, you were wed to that bishopric in ecclesiastical marriage. Gregory hated his original position, and was quite frank about how he didn't like being in such a backwater place. I don't personally think that Gregory sought out honors and fame (I'm almost certain that he was of an exactly opposite temperament), but I doubt he minded moving out of his original place. The main point, though, is that almost no one followed the canon, and it was a sort of last resort of heretics. And, the practice of bishops changing their ecclesiastical spouse has continued into the present day; I think one (or more) of the Patriarch's of Constantinople in the early 20th century was a bishop in Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Constantinople.

I do believe that your word choice is admirable (ecclesiastical marriage). The Bishop was, in effect, the 'spiritual' Head of a 'spiritual' Family. His transfer was seen as distasteful and possbly harming to the 'spiritual' growth of the community. So I can understand the point made by the Arians but I would suggest that 'not wandering' is very vague language and clearly up to interpretation and doesn't necessarily suggest that one could 'never' be reassigned but that one should exercise 'restraint' when such is requested and have concern for the 'spiritual' well-being of the community.

Such doesn't suggest to 'me' that 'any' transfer meant one broke Canon Law. The Canon is meant to be exercised with wisdom by the ecclesial head of the Church.  Wink

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« Reply #62 on: December 29, 2006, 02:07:11 AM »

In nomine Iesu, GiC I offer you continued peace,

When I read The 3rd and 4th parts of the 37th Homily of St. Symeon The New Theologian titled 'A Man is Sinful From His Very Conception' and 'And Man is Reborn By The Holy Spirit In Holy Baptism' I simply can't for the life of me concur with your claims.

Modern Orthodox Theologians have to 'dance' and 'contort' far too much for me to believe that this is the truth of Holy Orthodoxy. When I am aboard I simply don't encounter this kind of liberalism of the Canons of the Councils and discussion of the faith. As much as I admire your very learned and eloquent arguments they simply don't fit together with the whole deposit of faith. I simply 'must' take St. Symeon over you just as Metropolitan Stephen was overshadowed by the depth of St. Symeon's insights.

No disrespect intended.

Dominus Vobiscum

Perhaps you should read more of the fathers, if the issue is studied in any depth you will notice a lack of consensus; our theologians today have simply adopted the patristic soteriology more inline with the values and high theology of the Orthodox Faith:

'You have seen how numerous are the gifts of baptism.  Although many men think that the only gift it confers is the remission of sins, we have counted its honors to the number of ten. It is on this account that we baptize even infants, although they are sinless, that they may be given the further gifts of sanctification, justice, filial adoption, and inheritance, that they may be brothers and members of Christ, and become dwelling places of the Spirit.' -- St. John Chrysostom, Baptismal Instruction 3:6

'Moreover the precept, which teaches this, is law, that we, holding by it, may walk in light: and the transgression of this precept is sin, and this continues to exist on account of the assault of the devil and our unconstrained and voluntary reception of it.' -- St. John Damascene, An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith Book IV, Chapter 22

'For we should not hold that God made man such that he can never will or be capable of what is good: or else He has not granted him a free will, if He has suffered him only to will or be capable of evil, but neither to will or be capable of what is good of himself.' -- St. John Cassian, Conference 13, Chapter 12
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« Reply #63 on: December 29, 2006, 02:30:18 AM »

Perhaps you should read more of the fathers, if the issue is studied in any depth you will notice a lack of consensus; our theologians today have simply adopted the patristic soteriology more inline with the values and high theology of the Orthodox Faith:

In nomine Iesu, GiC I offer you continued peace,

Are you suggesting that St. Symeon the New Theologian is not patristic? That he is not Orthodox? Are you serious?

Quote
'You have seen how numerous are the gifts of baptism.  Although many men think that the only gift it confers is the remission of sins, we have counted its honors to the number of ten. It is on this account that we baptize even infants, although they are sinless, that they may be given the further gifts of sanctification, justice, filial adoption, and inheritance, that they may be brothers and members of Christ, and become dwelling places of the Spirit.' -- St. John Chrysostom, Baptismal Instruction 3:6

'Moreover the precept, which teaches this, is law, that we, holding by it, may walk in light: and the transgression of this precept is sin, and this continues to exist on account of the assault of the devil and our unconstrained and voluntary reception of it.' -- St. John Damascene, An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith Book IV, Chapter 22

'For we should not hold that God made man such that he can never will or be capable of what is good: or else He has not granted him a free will, if He has suffered him only to will or be capable of evil, but neither to will or be capable of what is good of himself.' -- St. John Cassian, Conference 13, Chapter 12

Okay from the first quote of St. John Chrysostom I can see a contradiction but these other quotes don't appear to be relevant?

Could you point me to a link with them 'in context' so that I could get a grasp of what they are discussing?

BTW, you continue to suggest that the Fathers have no consensus. By that I take it that you mean that there is no Deposit of Faith in which they draw. I might agree that there are 'saints' who are not Theologians or God-Seers but I tend to give Theologians greater weight as well as the Councils.

While we'll at it could you address my questions as to the 'necessity' of a Church at all? What is the purpose of a Body of Christ if we are all saved?

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« Reply #64 on: December 29, 2006, 02:55:25 AM »

What is the purpose of a Body of Christ if we are all saved?
Not that I am decided on the issue of apokatasis, but it could be argued that according to St. Paul, the Church is part of the plan to unite all things in Christ; it is the vehicle by which all are saved in the fullness of time and has the purpose of sanctifying the cosmos for this end.
"Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us [i.e. the Church]accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him[i.e. apokatasis]" (Ephesians 1:5-10)
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« Reply #65 on: December 29, 2006, 03:05:12 AM »

In nomine Iesu, GiC I offer you continued peace,

Are you suggesting that St. Symeon the New Theologian is not patristic? That he is not Orthodox? Are you serious?

Oh, he's Orthodox and a father, but I submit that if his soteriology is what you suggest (and I'm not entirely certain, he's a bit too late for my philosophical tastes (though I enjoy the law from that era) so I haven't read much of him) it is not necessarily as good of a soteriology as that presented by certain other fathers, primarily for the reason that the soteriology you present conflicts with our high theology and understanding of both the personal and natural attributes of the Divine.

Quote
Okay from the first quote of St. John Chrysostom I can see a contradiction but these other quotes don't appear to be relevant?

The quote by St. John Damascene demonstrates his belief that we have no inclination towards sin, but rather our reception of sin is 'unconstrained and voluntary.' And the quote by St. John Cassian demonstrates (as does the entire 12th Chapter of the 13th Conference) that he taught that we are capable of righteousness independent of divine grace.

Quote
Could you point me to a link with them 'in context' so that I could get a grasp of what they are discussing?

I gave references, I'm sure a google search would bring up the texts, provided they're online.

Quote
BTW, you continue to suggest that the Fathers have no consensus. By that I take it that you mean that there is no Deposit of Faith in which they draw. I might agree that there are 'saints' who are not Theologians or God-Seers but I tend to give Theologians greater weight as well as the Councils.

My readings of the fathers, even those who are regarded as 'theologians' demonstrates that there is no 'Deposit of the Faith in which they draw.' Rather, the development and evolution of theology is a messy thing with contradictory ideas being presented, consensuses being reached, and even contradictory ideas being simultaneously adopted. The history of Dogma is a history of conflict, contradiction, and eventual compromise (or simply agreement to disagree or not dogmatize an issue).

Quote
While we'll at it could you address my questions as to the 'necessity' of a Church at all? What is the purpose of a Body of Christ if we are all saved?

It gives man the best possible context in which he can form a relationship with God and move towards the final restoration that all men will eventually reach, though not necessarily in the same manner or in the same time.
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« Reply #66 on: December 29, 2006, 12:28:55 PM »

The quote by St. John Damascene demonstrates his belief that we have no inclination towards sin, but rather our reception of sin is 'unconstrained and voluntary.'

Do you mean this quote: 'You have seen how numerous are the gifts of baptism.  Although many men think that the only gift it confers is the remission of sins, we have counted its honors to the number of ten. It is on this account that we baptize even infants, although they are sinless, that they may be given the further gifts of sanctification, justice, filial adoption, and inheritance, that they may be brothers and members of Christ, and become dwelling places of the Spirit.' -- St. John Chrysostom, Baptismal Instruction 3:6

I fear that I see nothing of what you say in that.  Further, if perhaps you see a denial of what we in the west call original sin I also cannot agree. It is clear that he is saying that infants are free of sin, but I would say he means personal or actual sin.  He goes on to speak in terms very near, if not identical, to what we in the west would say of remission of original sin, i.e. "that they may be given the further gifts of sanctification, justice, filial adoption and inheritance..."  We state that original sin is not actual sin, nor personal fault, but rather a lack of sanctifying grace and original holiness. 

Now, taken out of context, and together with my ignorance of this father's writings, I will not try to build any case that this is so, but I only would suggest that the quote as you presented it seems to say nothing itself in regard to 'inclination to sin' or such, and does seem to speak to the need, even in innocent infants, of sanctification, which I would understand as sanctifying grace.  I personally would not rule out 'filial adoption and inheritance' either as they speak of the institution of a relationship with the divine, wich is obviously lacking otherwise, and so one can see the reversal of the effects of Adam's sin in us.  So, as it stands, I cannot say that I see any denial of a concept of original sin here, if that was your intent, and instead must say that at first reading it seems very in line with what a Catholic may say in regards to baptism and how it erases original sin.

Patrick
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« Reply #67 on: December 29, 2006, 12:45:18 PM »

Do you mean this quote:...

No, that is the quote from St. John Chrysostom, the commentary you quoted related to the quote from St. John Damascene. All that Chrysostom quote demonstrates is that children are sinless and in no need of remission of sins. That they need a special sanctifying grace for salvation is no doubt true, but it was no less true of Adam before the fall. These children are born into the same state that Adam was created.
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« Reply #68 on: December 29, 2006, 02:18:05 PM »

Oh, he's Orthodox and a father, but I submit that if his soteriology is what you suggest (and I'm not entirely certain, he's a bit too late for my philosophical tastes (though I enjoy the law from that era) so I haven't read much of him) it is not necessarily as good of a soteriology as that presented by certain other fathers, primarily for the reason that the soteriology you present conflicts with our high theology and understanding of both the personal and natural attributes of the Divine.

In nomine Iesu, GiC I offer you continued peace,

Well, I would highly encourage you to read The First-Created Man by St. Symeon The New Theologian. You will find your entire assertion cast on it's ear and you will be forced to conclude that St. Symeon is a Latin Spy enbedded in the courts of Constantinople to undermine it's 'high' theology.  Wink

BTW, what do you mean by 'high' theology...

Quote
The quote by St. John Damascene demonstrates his belief that we have no inclination towards sin, but rather our reception of sin is 'unconstrained and voluntary.' And the quote by St. John Cassian demonstrates (as does the entire 12th Chapter of the 13th Conference) that he taught that we are capable of righteousness independent of divine grace.

Let us assume that your assertion concerning St. John Damascene is correct for the moment. Given that sin is voluntary:

Who can say: My heart is clean, I am pure from sin? - Proverbs 20:9 DRB

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. - Isaiah 64:6-7 DRB

Oh, dear GiC if St. John Damascene posits, as you have said, that sin in our current state is voluntary, truly we are loathsome creatures to be sure...

Upon reflection of this I can only say that the evidence suggests that St. John Damascene's position is not true and that the 'current' state of man is one of bondage to the enemy until we are made whole.

Quote
I gave references, I'm sure a google search would bring up the texts, provided they're online.

I was only hoping that you had them handy.

Quote
My readings of the fathers, even those who are regarded as 'theologians' demonstrates that there is no 'Deposit of the Faith in which they draw.' Rather, the development and evolution of theology is a messy thing with contradictory ideas being presented, consensuses being reached, and even contradictory ideas being simultaneously adopted. The history of Dogma is a history of conflict, contradiction, and eventual compromise (or simply agreement to disagree or not dogmatize an issue).

Isn't it 'heresy' to posit 'the development and evolution of theology' in Orthodoxy?

Quote
It gives man the best possible context in which he can form a relationship with God and move towards the final restoration that all men will eventually reach, though not necessarily in the same manner or in the same time.

"It gives man 'the best' possible context"...

Be it known to you all and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God hath raised from the dead, even by him, this man standeth here before you, whole. This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.
- Acts 4:10-12 DRB

I would argue it is the only possible context for salvation.

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« Reply #69 on: December 29, 2006, 02:39:35 PM »

BTW, what do you mean by 'high' theology...

Simply theology proper, that study which relates to the personal, hypostatical, and natural aspects of the Divine. It is the most important and significant element of theological studies and all other beliefs should be subjugated to the same.

Quote
Oh, dear GiC if St. John Damascene posits, as you have said, that sin in our current state is voluntary, truly we are loathsome creatures to be sure...

Poetic expressions of humility aside objective observation should demonstrate that while humanity is not perfect, it is generally good.

Quote
Upon reflection of this I can only say that the evidence suggests that St. John Damascene's position is not true and that the 'current' state of man is one of bondage to the enemy until we are made whole.

What do you mean until? Do we not worship a crucified and risen Christ? Has not death been vanquished? Or do you doubt the the resurrection or believe it to be without effect?

Quote
Isn't it 'heresy' to posit 'the development and evolution of theology' in Orthodoxy?

No, it's a common sense objective analysis of historical reality. To say otherwise is to mislead either deliberately or in ignorance.

Quote
"It gives man 'the best' possible context"...

Be it known to you all and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God hath raised from the dead, even by him, this man standeth here before you, whole. This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.
- Acts 4:10-12 DRB

I would argue it is the only possible context for salvation.

Your verse demonstrates merely that Christ brings salvation to all the world, which was done at the resurrection...it does not mean that there is no salvation outside the Church, such is a position that was never widely accepted in the east and today is even rejected in the west.
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« Reply #70 on: December 29, 2006, 03:15:00 PM »

No, that is the quote from St. John Chrysostom, the commentary you quoted related to the quote from St. John Damascene.

Oh, yes.  Now I notice you said Damascene and not Chrysostom.  I misread you, sorry.

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That they need a special sanctifying grace for salvation is no doubt true, but it was no less true of Adam before the fall. These children are born into the same state that Adam was created.

An interesting take.  I can at least see a certain elegance in that approach, though I find that a belief that we are each born in the same state as Adam before the fall seems to leave many scriptures less than understandable.  I sense an overall idea of a fall in humanity leaving us in a state much lower than that which was intended, and Adam is almost always cited in that regard.  For that reason I could never comfortably go as far as you do in this regard.  But, I won't deny it is still a very fascinating approach.

Thanks for the clarification,

Patrick
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« Reply #71 on: December 29, 2006, 03:33:05 PM »

Excellent posts, both of you. I've also always been puzzled by the false dichotomy between original and ancestral sin.

It's a false dichotomy.  I didn't read past page 1 of the thread, so I don't know what's been discussed in between then and this post.

Unfortunately there are Orthodox people who will tell you with a straight face that Orthodoxy doesn't believe in Original Sin.  It's sad, and it speaks to the low state of many of the writings put out now and given to inquirers to the faith who are told such works are "the Orthodox view".
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« Reply #72 on: December 29, 2006, 04:22:51 PM »

It's a false dichotomy.  I didn't read past page 1 of the thread, so I don't know what's been discussed in between then and this post.

Unfortunately there are Orthodox people who will tell you with a straight face that Orthodoxy doesn't believe in Original Sin.  It's sad, and it speaks to the low state of many of the writings put out now and given to inquirers to the faith who are told such works are "the Orthodox view".

So, to go back to the original page and topic, would you say that the position given by Father Michael in Orthodox Dogmatic Theology is accurate as regards the position of at least most of Orthodoxy?  And what would your take on his view of the Western position be?  I have maintained that basically what he defines as Orthodox is also what we in the West believe, and that his summary of the Western view is flawed in its foundation.  Would you disagree with that?  I ask as I am still trying to get a fair idea of both what the East thinks we do believe, and what the East itself basically holds to be true.

Patrick
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« Reply #73 on: December 29, 2006, 04:37:52 PM »

Simply theology proper, that study which relates to the personal, hypostatical, and natural aspects of the Divine. It is the most important and significant element of theological studies and all other beliefs should be subjugated to the same.

In nomine Iesu, GiC I offer you continued peace,

So you have managed to place the Divine in these nice little catagories... interesting.

A humble knowledge of yourself is a surer way to God than an extensive search after knowledge. - Thomas a Kempis

I do believe you are too much of a Philosopher and not enough of a God-Seer.

Quote
Poetic expressions of humility aside objective observation should demonstrate that while humanity is not perfect, it is generally good.

Poetic expressions sometimes hide the greatest truths. But again I ask:

Who can say: My heart is clean, I am pure from sin? - Proverbs 20:9 DRB

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. - Isaiah 64:6-7 DRB

But you would argue that we are 'generally' good...  Roll Eyes

Quote
What do you mean until? Do we not worship a crucified and risen Christ? Has not death been vanquished? Or do you doubt the the resurrection or believe it to be without effect?

I have complete confidence in the gospel; it is God's power to save all who believe, first the Jews and also the Gentiles. For the gospel reveals how God puts people right with himself: it is through faith from beginning to end. See Romans 1:16-17.

The resurrection isn't a 'free ticket', it's an 'invitation'. We must claim it as our own through faith which worketh within us to wholeness and perfection which is the sharing of the Divine Nature as 'adopted sons'.

Every baptized Christian is obliged by his baptismal promises to renounce sin and to give himself completely, without compromise, to Christ, in order that he may fulfill his vocation, save his soul, evnter into the mystery of God, and there find himself perfectly "in the light of Christ."

As St. Paul reminds us (1 Cor. 6:19), we are "not our own." We belong entirely to Christ. His Spirit has taken possession of us at baptism. We are the Temples of the Holy Spirit. Our thoughts, our actions, our desires, are by rights more his than our own. But we have to struggle to ensure that God always receives from us what we owe him by right. If we do not labor to overcome our natural weaknes, our disordered and selfish passions, what belongs to Gos in us will be withdrawn from the sanctifying power of his love and will be corrupted by selfishness, blinded by irrational desire, hardened by pride, and will eventually plunge into the abyss of moral nonetity which is called sin.

Sin is the refusal of spiritual life, the rejection of the inner order and peace that come from our union with the devin nature. In a word, sin is the refusal of God's will and of his love. It is not only a refusal to 'do' this or that things willed by God, or a determination to do what he forbides. It is more radically a refusal to be what we are, a rejection of our mysterious, contingent, spiritual reality hidden in the very mystery of God. Sin is our refusal to be waht we were created to be (i.e. sons of God, images of God). Ultimately sin, while seeming to be an assertion of freedom, is a flight from the freedom and the responsibility of divine sonship. Every Christian is therefore called to sanctity and union with Christ, by keeping the commemendments of God.

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No, it's a common sense objective analysis of historical reality. To say otherwise is to mislead either deliberately or in ignorance.

Perhaps it is not a 'common' sense which is needed?

Quote
Your verse demonstrates merely that Christ brings salvation to all the world, which was done at the resurrection...it does not mean that there is no salvation outside the Church, such is a position that was never widely accepted in the east and today is even rejected in the west.

The Church of Christ is not an institution, it is a new life with Christ and in Christ, guided by the Holy Spirit. - Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov

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« Reply #74 on: December 29, 2006, 04:52:18 PM »

Patrick, what I think is the church was one for a thousand years and that since the schism no major changes to the understanding of Original Sin have come about on the two sides.  I think it's a big argument over nothing.
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« Reply #75 on: December 29, 2006, 04:53:29 PM »

In nomine Iesu, I offer you all peace,

Perhaps we should get back to 'the fall'... What did St. Athanasius teach:

4. But knowing once more how the will of man could sway to either side, in anticipation He secured the grace given them by a law and by the spot where He placed them. For He brought them into His own garden, and gave them a law: so that, if they kept the grace and remained good, they might still keep the life in paradise without sorrow or pain or care besides having the promise of incorruption in heaven; but that if they transgressed and turned back, and became evil, they might know that they were incurring that corruption in death which was theirs by nature: no longer to live in paradise, but cast out of it from that time forth to die and to abide in death and in corruption....

Thus, then, God has made man, and willed that he should abide in incorruption; but men, having despised and rejected the contemplation of God, and devised and contrived evil for themselves (as was said in the former treatise), received the condemnation of death with which they had been threatened; and from thenceforth no longer remained as they were made, but were being corrupted according to their devices; and death had the mastery over them as king. For transgression of the commandment was turning them back to their natural state, so that just as they have had their being out of nothing, so also, as might be expected, they might look for corruption into nothing in the course of time....

6. For man is by nature mortal, inasmuch as he is made out of what is not; but by reason of his likeness to Him that is (and if he still preserved this likeness by keeping Him in his knowledge) he would stay his natural corruption, and remain incorrupt;


Your thoughts...
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« Reply #76 on: December 29, 2006, 05:40:14 PM »

Patrick, what I think is the church was one for a thousand years and that since the schism no major changes to the understanding of Original Sin have come about on the two sides.  I think it's a big argument over nothing.

Many thanks for the extra information.

Patrick
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« Reply #77 on: December 29, 2006, 06:13:19 PM »

I agree. The real change came with Luther and Calvin.
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« Reply #78 on: December 29, 2006, 08:16:52 PM »

I agree. The real change came with Luther and Calvin.

Hear, hear!  Let's blame those guys!  Wink
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« Reply #79 on: December 29, 2006, 09:59:15 PM »

I don't know if this will help; an excerpt from "The Orthodox Church", by Bishop Kallistos Ware. http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/11/1/6.aspx#n2

Man: his creation, his vocation, his failure
‘Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.’ (Augustine, Confessions, 1, 1) Man was made for fellowship with God: this is the first and primary affirmation in the Christian doctrine of man. But man, made for fellowship with God, everywhere repudiates that fellowship: this is the second fact which all Christian anthropology takes into account. Man was made for fellowship with God: in the language of the Church, God created Adam according to His image and likeness, and set him in Paradise (The opening chapters of Genesis are of course concerned with certain religious truths, and are not to be taken as literal history. Fifteen centuries before modern Biblical criticism, Greek Fathers were already interpreting the Creation and Paradise stories symbolically rather than literally). Man everywhere repudiates that fellowship: in the language of the Church, Adam fell, and his fall — his ‘original sin’ — has affected all mankind.

The Creation of Man.
"And God said, let us make man according to our image and likeness" (Genesis 1:26). God speaks in the plural: "Let us make man." The creation of man, so the Greek Fathers continually emphasized, was an act of all three persons in the Trinity, and therefore the image and likeness of God must always be thought of as a Trinitarian image and likeness. We shall find that this is a point of vital importance.

Image and Likeness.
According to most of the Greek Fathers, the terms image and likeness do not mean exactly the same thing. ‘The expression according to the image,’ wrote John of Damascus, ‘indicates rationality and freedom, while the expression according to the likeness indicates assimilation to God through virtue (On the Orthodox Faith, 2, 12 (P.G. 94, 920B)). The image, or to use the Greek term the icon, of God signifies man’s free will, his reason, his sense of moral responsibility — everything, in short, which marks man out from the animal creation and makes him a person. But the image means more than that. It means that we are God’s ‘offspring’ (Acts 27:28), His kin; it means that between us and Him there is a point of contact, an essential similarity. The gulf between creature and Creator is not impassable, for because we are in God’s image we can know God and have communion with Him. And if a man makes proper use of this faculty for communion with God, then he will become ‘like’ God, he will acquire the divine likeness; in the words of John Damascene, he will be ‘assimilated to God through virtue.’ To acquire the likeness is to be deified, it is to become a ‘second god,’ a ‘god by grace.’ "I said, you are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High" (Psalm 81:6). (In quotations from the Psalms, the numbering of the Septuagint is followed. Some versions of the Bible reckon this Psalm as 82.).

The image denotes the powers with which every man is endowed by God from the first moment of his existence; the likeness is not an endowment which man possesses from the start, but a goal at which he must aim, something which he can only acquire by degrees. However sinful a man may be, he never loses the image; but the likeness depends upon our moral choice, upon our ‘virtue,’ and so it is destroyed by sin.

Man at his first creation was therefore perfect, not so much in an actual as in a potential sense. Endowed with the image from the start, he was called to acquire the likeness by his own efforts (assisted of course by the grace of God). Adam began in a state of innocence and simplicity. ‘He was a child, not yet having his understanding perfected,’ wrote Irenaeus. ‘It was necessary that he should grow and so come to his perfection (Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, 12). God set Adam on the right path, but Adam had in front of him a long road to traverse in order to reach his final goal.

This picture of Adam before the fall is somewhat different from that presented by Saint Augustine and generally accepted in the west since his time. According to Augustine, man in Paradise was endowed from the start with all possible wisdom and knowledge: his was a realized, and in no sense potential, perfection. The dynamic conception of Irenaeus clearly fits more easily with modern theories of evolution than does the static conception of Augustine; but both were speaking as theologians, not as scientists, so that in neither case do their views stand or fall with any particular scientific hypothesis.

The west has often associated the image of God with man’s intellect. While many Orthodox have done the same, others would say that since man is a single unified whole, the image of God embraces his entire person, body as well as soul. ‘When God is said to have made man according to His image,’ wrote Gregory Palamas, ‘the word man means neither the soul by itself nor the body by itself, but the two together (P.G. 150, 1361C). The fact that man has a body, so Gregory argued, makes him not lower but higher than the angels. True, the angels are ‘pure’ spirit, whereas man’s nature is ‘mixed’ — material as well as intellectual; but this means that his nature is more complete than the angelic and endowed with richer potentialities. Man is a microcosm, a bridge and point of meeting for the whole of God’s creation.

Orthodox religious thought lays the utmost emphasis on the image of God in man. Man is a ‘living theology,’ and because he is God’s icon, he can find God by looking within his own heart, by ‘returning within himself:’ "The Kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21). ‘Know yourselves,’ said Saint Antony of Egypt. ‘…He who knows himself, knows God (Letter 3 (in the Greek and Latin collections, 6)) ‘If you are pure,’ wrote Saint Isaac the Syrian (late seventh century), ‘heaven is within you; within yourself you will see the angels and the Lord of the angels’ (Quoted in P. Evdokimov, L’Orthodoxie, p. 88). And of Saint Pachomius it is recorded: ‘In the purity of his heart he saw the invisible God as in a mirror (First Greek Life, 22).

Because he is an icon of God, each member of the human race, even the most sinful, is infinitely precious in God’s sight. ‘When you see your brother,’ said Clement of Alexandria (died 215), ‘you see God’ (Stromateis, 1, 19 (94, 5)). And Evagrius taught: ‘After God, we must count all men as God Himself (On Prayer, 123 (P.G. 79, 1193C)). This respect for every human being is visibly expressed in Orthodox worship, when the priest censes not only the icons but the members of the congregation, saluting the image of God in each person. ‘The best icon of God is man (P. Evdokimov, L’Orthodoxie, p. 218).

Grace and Free Will.
As we have seen, the fact that man is in God’s image means among other things that he possesses free will. God wanted a son, not a slave. The Orthodox Church rejects any doctrine of grace which might seem to infringe upon man’s freedom. To describe the relation between the grace of God and free will of man, Orthodoxy uses the term cooperation or synergy (synergeia); in Paul’s words: "We are fellow-workers (synergoi) with God" (1 Cor. 3:9). If man is to achieve full fellowship with God, he cannot do so without God’s help, yet he must also play his own part: man as well as God must make his contribution to the common work, although what God does is of immeasurably greater importance than what man does. ‘The incorporation of man into Christ and his union with God require the cooperation of two unequal, but equally necessary forces: divine grace and human will (A Monk of the Eastern Church, Orthodox Spirituality, p. 23). The supreme example of synergy is the Mother of God (See p. 263).

The west, since the time of Augustine and the Pelagian controversy, has discussed this question of grace and free will in somewhat different terms; and many brought up in the Augustinian tradition — particularly Calvinists — have viewed the Orthodox idea of ‘synergy’ with some suspicion. Does it not ascribe too much to man’s free will, and too little to God? Yet in reality the Orthodox teaching is very straightforward. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in" (Revelation 3:20). God knocks, but waits for man to open the door — He does not break it down. The grace of God invites all but compels none. In the words of John Chrysostom: ‘God never draws anyone to Himself by force and violence. He wishes all men to be saved, but forces no one’ (Sermon on the words ‘Saul, Saul…’ 6 (P.G. 51, 144)). ‘It is for God to grant His grace,’ said Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (died 386); ‘your task is to accept that grace and to guard it (Catehetical Orations, 1, 4). But it must not be imagined that because a man accepts and guards God’s grace, he thereby earns ‘merit.’ God’s gifts are always free gifts, and man can never have any claims upon his Maker. But man, while he cannot ‘merit’ salvation, must certainly work for it, since "faith without works is dead" (James 2:17).

The Fall: Original Sin.
God gave Adam free will — the power to choose between good and evil — and it therefore rested With Adam either to accept the vocation set before him or to refuse it. He refused it. Instead of continuing along the path marked out for him by God, he turned aside and disobeyed God. Adam’s fall consisted essentially in his disobedience of the will of God; he set up his own will against the divine will, and so by his own act he separated himself from God. As a result, a new form of existence appeared on earth — that of disease and death. By turning away from God, who is immortality and life, man put himself in a state that was contrary to nature, and this unnatural condition led to an inevitable disintegration of his being and eventually to physical death. The consequences of Adam’s disobedience extended to all his descendants. We are members one of another, as Saint Paul never ceased to insist, and if one member suffers the whole body suffers. In virtue of this mysterious unity of the human race, not only Adam but all mankind became subject to mortality. Nor was the disintegration which followed from the fall merely physical. Cut off from God, Adam and his descendants passed under the domination of sin and of the devil. Each new human being is born into a world where sin prevails everywhere, a world in which it is easy to do evil and hard to do good. Man’s will is weakened and enfeebled by what the Greeks call ‘desire’ and the Latins ‘concupiscence.’ We are all subject to these, the spiritual effects of original sin.

Thus far there is fairly close agreement between Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and classic Protestantism; but beyond this point east and west do not entirely concur. Orthodoxy, holding as it does a less exalted idea of man’s state before he fell, is also less severe than the west in its view of the consequences of the fall. Adam fell, not from a great height of knowledge and perfection, but from a state of undeveloped simplicity; hence he is not to be judged too harshly for his error. Certainly, as a result of the fall man’s mind became so darkened, and his will-power was so impaired, that he could no longer hope to attain to the likeness of God. Orthodox, however, do not hold that the fall deprived man entirely of God’s grace, though they would say that after the fall grace acts on man from the outside, not from within. Orthodox do not say, as Calvin said, that man after the fall was utterly depraved and incapable of good desires. They cannot agree with Augustine, when he writes that man is under ‘a harsh necessity’ of committing sin, and that ‘man’s nature was overcome by the fault into which it fell, and so came to lack freedom’ (On the perfection of man’s righteousness, 4 (9)). The image of God is distorted by sin, but never destroyed; in the words of s hymn sung by Orthodox at the Funeral Service for the laity: ‘I am the image of Thine inexpressible glory, even though I bear the wounds of sin.’ And because he still retains the image of God, man still retains free will, although sin restricts its scope. Even after the fall, God ‘takes not away from man the power to will — to will to obey or not to obey Him’ (Dositheus, Confession, Decree 3. Compare Decree 14). Faithful to the idea of synergy, Orthodoxy repudiates any interpretation of the fall which allows no room for human freedom.

Most orthodox theologians reject the idea of ‘original guilt,’ put forward by Augustine and still accepted (albeit in a mitigated form) by the Roman Catholic Church. Men (Orthodox usually teach) automatically inherit Adam’s corruption and mortality, but not his guilt: they are only guilty in so far as by their own free choice they imitate Adam. Many western Christians believe that whatever a man does in his fallen and unredeemed state, since it is tainted by original guilt, cannot possibly be pleasing to God: ‘Works before Justification,’ says the thirteenth of the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, ‘...are not pleasant to God ... but have the nature of sin.’ Orthodox would hesitate to say this. And Orthodox have never held (as Augustine and many others in the west have done) that unbaptized babies, because tainted with original guilt, are consigned by the just God to the everlasting games of Hell (Thomas Aquinas, in his discussion of the fall, on the whole followed Augustine, and in particular retained the idea of original guilt; but as regards unbaptized babies, he maintained that they go not to Hell but to Limbo — a view now generally accepted by Roman theologians. So far as I can discover, Orthodox writers do not make use of the idea of Limbo. It should be noted that an Augustinian view of the fall is found from time to time in Orthodox theological literature; but this is usually the result of western influence. The Orthodox Confession by Peter of Moghila is, as one might expect, strongly Augustinian; on the other hand the Confession of Dositheus is free from Augustinianism). The Orthodox picture of fallen humanity is far less sombre than the Augustinian or Calvinist view.

But although Orthodox maintain that man after the fall still possessed free will and was still capable of good actions, yet they certainly agree with the west in believing that man’s sin had set up between him and God a barrier, which man by his own efforts could never break down. Sin blocked the path to union with God. Since man could not come to God, God came to man.

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« Reply #80 on: December 29, 2006, 11:23:59 PM »

In nomine Iesu, Riddikulus I offer you peace,

Thank you for the post and link. Due to St. Augustine's enfluence there is a Western tradition of guilt (culpa) associated with Original Sin but there is also a Western traditions which challenges this associated guilt (culpa) starting with Abelard.

We find in beloved St. Thomas Aquinas the rejection of material torment (poena sensus) to all who lack Actual Sin but the West continued to assert the pain of loss (poena damni) of the Beatific Vision (i.e. separation from God) for those still in the state of Original Sin. I believe this position was shared by the Greek Fathers at the time, but it appears that both East and West are challenging this in our modern era.

The current Pope Benedict XVI chaffs at the hypothesis of Limbo (i.e. a region in Hell void of material torment) and so rejects the poena damni of unbaptized infants.

Theology is fun isn't it?  Cheesy

Dominus Vobiscum
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« Reply #81 on: December 29, 2006, 11:37:30 PM »

In nomine Iesu, Riddikulus I offer you peace,

Thank you for the post and link. Due to St. Augustine's enfluence there is a Western tradition of guilt (culpa) associated with Original Sin but there is also a Western traditions which challenges this associated guilt (culpa) starting with Abelard.

We find in beloved St. Thomas Aquinas the rejection of material torment (poena sensus) to all who lack Actual Sin but the West continued to assert the pain of loss (poena damni) of the Beatific Vision (i.e. separation from God) for those still in the state of Original Sin. I believe this position was shared by the Greek Fathers at the time but it appears that both East and West are even challenging this in our modern era.

The current Pope Benedict XVI chaffs at the the hypothesis of Limbo (i.e. a region in Hell void of material torment) and so rejects the poena damni of unbaptized infants.

Theology is fun isn't it?  Cheesy

Dominus Vobiscum

Pax, Francis-Christopher,

Theology is only fun when it doesn't give one a headache!!  Cheesy

Bishop Kallistos is one of my favourite Theologians, though. For me, at least, he states theology in manner more easily grasped.
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« Reply #82 on: December 30, 2006, 01:30:15 AM »

In nomine Iesu, I offer you all peace,

Perhaps we should get back to 'the fall'... What did St. Athanasius teach:...

It's an interesting proposition, that the natural state of man is corrupt and that the fall was essentially a return to our natural state. However, I have issues with this for philosophical reasons, the natural state of all creation, including nothingness, is orientated towards the divine. Now while I can see God introducing corruption through nothingness this is not the natural orientation of nothingness. At best this soteriology of Athanasios is sloppy. However, if interpreted that man is naturally corrupt in a relative manner I would have no objections to the essence of Athanasios' soteriology, for it implies a consistant human nature before and after the fall, with the only changes being presented in terms of justifying grace. He is sufficiently prudent as to avoid any indication of ontological change from the fall.

While Athanasios was a great theologian from the School of Alexandria, he was a bit late in said school and as such a few judaizing influences can be found in his thought, which were absent in his intellectual predecessors.

Of course, I'm sure you could find several fathers to support your position if you look hard enough, and I can find several to support mine. Ultimately, this is not a dogmatic issue as it was not clearly defined in the Oecumenical Synods. These are issues of theologumena...so even though I find the opinion that unbaptized babies do not inherit the kingdom of God to be more blasphemous and less palatable than human sacrifice, I dont get to anathematize you for it Wink
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« Reply #83 on: December 30, 2006, 01:46:12 AM »

In nomine Iesu, GiC I offer you continued peace,

So you have managed to place the Divine in these nice little catagories... interesting.

A humble knowledge of yourself is a surer way to God than an extensive search after knowledge. - Thomas a Kempis

I do believe you are too much of a Philosopher and not enough of a God-Seer.

I am honoured by your granting me the most revered title of Philosopher; however, though I strive towards that goal I doubt I have yet reached it.

But, of course, that is the context of this, or any, theological discussion...if your concern is spirituality I suggest you stop debating the details of theology, soteriology, and eschatology and, instead, dedicate your time to prayer and fasting...leave the debates to the seculars, as they have traditionally been.

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Poetic expressions sometimes hide the greatest truths. But again I ask:

Yes, they do, but I submit to you that these poetic expressions contain more truths about humility than soteriology.

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But you would argue that we are 'generally' good...  Roll Eyes

I dont believe I need make an argument, it seems self evident. Ignore your theology and religious biases for one second and look at the world at large, sure there is evil, but people generally do that which is good, regardless of religion, philosophy, or culture.

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I have complete confidence in the gospel; it is God's power to save all who believe...

And I have complete confidence in the Gospel; that all will eventually come to eternal life...and I would even go so far as to say that if God can not effect this He is not God, or at the very least that He is not a God worthy of our respect or worship.

Of course, now we're getting into the issue of Apokatastasis.

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Perhaps it is not a 'common' sense which is needed?

If your religious beliefs contradict our observed reality, I would strongly recommend reconsidering your religious beliefs. I do not believe that our God is so weak as to be dependent on lies and half-truths.
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« Reply #84 on: December 30, 2006, 01:47:32 AM »

Of course, I'm sure you could find several fathers to support your position if you look hard enough, and I can find several to support mine. Ultimately, this is not a dogmatic issue as it was not clearly defined in the Oecumenical Synods. These are issues of theologumena...so even though I find the opinion that unbaptized babies do not inherit the kingdom of God to be more blasphemous and less palatable than human sacrifice, I dont get to anathematize you for it Wink

In nomine Iesu, GiC I offer you continued peace,

Be content in knowing that the 'official' position in the Catholic Church is:

The faithful are permitted "to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism" (CCC 1261).

I can quote all the Latin Fathers throughout history but it all ends right there... with hope.

Gratia et pax, me amice.
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« Reply #85 on: December 30, 2006, 01:58:54 AM »

In nomine Iesu, GiC I offer you continued peace,

Be content in knowing that the 'official' position in the Catholic Church is:

The faithful are permitted "to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism" (CCC 1261).

I can quote all the Latin Fathers throughout history but it all end right there...

Gratia et pax, me amice.

From your perspective that is true, but then from my perspective these statements are irrelevant as they are not from my Church, and the Orthodox Church has relegated this issue to one of theologumena.
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« Reply #86 on: December 30, 2006, 02:05:51 AM »

From your perspective that is true, but then from my perspective these statements are irrelevant as they are not from my Church, and the Orthodox Church has relegated this issue to one of theologumena.

As the Catholic Church has---limbo, after all these centuries, remains only a theological opinion.

We don't define and dogmatize EVERYTHING.  Wink

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« Reply #87 on: December 30, 2006, 02:11:47 AM »

From your perspective that is true, but then from my perspective these statements are irrelevant as they are not from my Church, and the Orthodox Church has relegated this issue to one of theologumena.

What is theologumena other than one mans hope not denied by another?
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« Reply #88 on: December 30, 2006, 02:14:37 AM »

As the Catholic Church has---limbo, after all these centuries, remains only a theological opinion.

We don't define and dogmatize EVERYTHING.  Wink

And if I recall properly, His Holiness the Pope has not spoken favourably of this particular 'theological opinion.' While we may not agree on matters of original sin, it would appear that my belief concerning the salvation of unbaptized infants is far closer to the current opinion of Rome than that of other posters here Wink
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« Reply #89 on: December 30, 2006, 02:24:17 AM »

You're right, Benedict is not very keen on damnation or limbo of unbaptized infants.
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« Reply #90 on: December 30, 2006, 02:31:46 AM »

You're right, Benedict is not very keen on damnation or limbo of unbaptized infants.

In nomine Iesu, lubeltri I offer you continued peace and much filial affection,

I am an old Catholic Heart. The 'new' theology of the past four popes is going to have to rip Limbus Patrum and Limbus infantium out of my cold dead hands.  Angry

jj  Grin

Pax
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« Reply #91 on: December 30, 2006, 02:32:31 AM »

You're right, Benedict is not very keen on damnation or limbo of unbaptized infants.

I had the impression from Catholic friends that not many Catholics are keen on such a doctrine (Is it an actual dogma?) In fact, one forum I was on the Catholics were actually doing battle with the Calvinists over this.

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« Reply #92 on: December 30, 2006, 02:40:22 AM »

No, it is not a dogma. It's an opinion. The Church never came to a consensus on it.

I honestly have no idea about limbus infantium---I only hope, as I hope for the other unbaptized.

I am a believer in the limbus patrum, though.
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« Reply #93 on: December 30, 2006, 02:41:45 AM »

I had the impression from Catholic friends that not many Catholics are keen on such a doctrine (Is it an actual dogma?) In fact, one forum I was on the Catholics were actually doing battle with the Calvinists over this.

In nomine Ieus, Riddikulus I offer you continued peace,

Well, it depends with whom you ask. Old Traditionalists would quote Canon, as I've done above, and then quote St. Augustine, Abelard, St. Anselm and finally St. Thomas Aquinas to build a case that such is the only 'logical' position to hold with any consistency.

For many Latins the Eastern Orthodox Theological Position is not consistent with either Sacred Scripture or Sacred Tradition but I do believe that a lot of that began to thaw with Vatican II and the ‘orthodox-friendly’ Catechism of The Catholic Church.

Pax Vobiscum
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« Reply #94 on: December 30, 2006, 02:51:33 AM »

In nomine Ieus, Riddikulus I offer you continued peace,

Well, it depends with whom you ask. Old Traditionalists would quote Canon, as I've done above, and then quote St. Augustine, Abelard, St. Anselm and finally St. Thomas Aquinas to build a case that such is the only 'logical' position to hold with any consistency.

For many Latins the Eastern Orthodox Theological Position is not consistent with either Sacred Scripture or Sacred Tradition but I do believe that a lot of that began to thaw with Vatican II and the ‘orthodox-friendly’ Catechism of The Catholic Church.

Pax Vobiscum

et cum spiritu tuo,

Come to think of it... after many years of water under the bridge... I do remember a Catholic boyfriend's Mum and Dad getting very anxious that his sister was taking so long to have her baby baptised/christened. And then I turn around after a few decades and things seem to have changed! Shocked

 

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« Reply #95 on: December 30, 2006, 02:59:08 AM »

et cum spiritu tuo,

Come to think of it... after many years of water under the bridge... I do remember a Catholic boyfriend's Mum and Dad getting very anxious that his sister was taking so long to have her baby baptised/christened. And then I turn around after a few decades and things seem to have changed! Shocked

In nomine Iesu, Riddikulus I offer you continued peace,

Yes I've seen that myself but I wonder is it the same way in Orthodoxy since there is really no necessity in Infant Baptism?

Dominus Vobiscum
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« Reply #96 on: December 30, 2006, 03:03:31 AM »

In nomine Iesu, Riddikulus I offer you continued peace,

Yes I've seen that myself but I wonder is it the same way in Orthodoxy since there is really no necessity in Infant Baptism?

Dominus Vobiscum

Et cum spiritu tuo,

I'm not sure what you mean by "really no necessity".  Undecided

Eirini pasi
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« Reply #97 on: December 30, 2006, 03:08:32 AM »

In nomine Iesu, Riddikulus I offer you continued peace,

Yes I've seen that myself but I wonder is it the same way in Orthodoxy since there is really no necessity in Infant Baptism?

Dominus Vobiscum

No, no necessity as in it being imperative for salvation, infact I had a liturgics professor who suggested that it might be a prudent move for the Church to postpone Baptism until adolescence for catechetical purposes...not that there's anything wrong with infant baptism, but from our perspective it simply isn't as big important as it is to you in the west. If infant baptism was that important I have no doubt that the tradition to baptize immediately would have been adopted, rather than waiting until after the Churching, a delay that would ensure that many would die without baptism throughout the history of the Church.
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« Reply #98 on: December 30, 2006, 03:13:43 AM »

Whether because of cultural factors or theological ones, there can indeed be pressure from Orthodox people to baptize your baby. While most Orthodox would probably not claim that an unbaptized infant would go to hell (or limbo), that doesn't mean that it isn't considered an obligation. Since the Orthodox Church does the baptism, excorcism, chrismation, and gives communion to a newborn (not to mention churching the Mother and Child), it is considered their entrance into the Church, and the beginning of their spiritual journey.

EDIT--I just noticed GIC's post before posting this. Apparently we have had different experiences.
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« Reply #99 on: December 30, 2006, 03:19:24 AM »

Whether because of cultural factors or theological ones, there can indeed be pressure from Orthodox people to baptize your baby. While most Orthodox would probably not claim that an unbaptized infant would go to hell (or limbo), that doesn't mean that it isn't considered an obligation. Since the Orthodox Church does the baptism, excorcism, chrismation, and gives communion to a newborn (not to mention churching the Mother and Child), it is considered their entrance into the Church, and the beginning of their spiritual journey.

EDIT--I just noticed GIC's post before posting this. Apparently we have had different experiences.

The experience you cite is the one generally encountered, though I thought I'd throw out a notable exception to demonstrate that it is not universal.
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« Reply #100 on: December 30, 2006, 03:25:02 AM »

No, no necessity as in it being imperative for salvation, infact I had a liturgics professor who suggested that it might be a prudent move for the Church to postpone Baptism until adolescence for catechetical purposes...not that there's anything wrong with infant baptism, but from our perspective it simply isn't as big important as it is to you in the west. If infant baptism was that important I have no doubt that the tradition to baptize immediately would have been adopted, rather than waiting until after the Churching, a delay that would ensure that many would die without baptism throughout the history of the Church.


If one of the purposes of Holy Baptism is to remove the consequences of the 'original sin'. (ie to re-open communication/flow of Grace between God and man) what would be the point of delaying for catechism? Seeing as another purpose is to unite the person to "The Body of Christ" (that is, the Church), and to open the door of salvation and eternal life to said person it's ontological rather than intellectual.

And I'm not so sure that we Orthodox believe that leaving children unbaptised is ok, anyway.  (If that is what anyone is saying). There was an incident at our Parish where a two-year-old was killed in a terrible car accident. There was a huge panic on that the child might not be permitted an Orthodox funeral, because he wasn't baptised. According to the priest of the time, the leighway isn't that great before it is considered that a child is willfully sinning and needs baptism to be in the Church to receive the sacraments and I assume be assured of salvation.

Edit: I don't like that I said "be assured of salvation". Perhaps better to say be in the process of sanctification?

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« Reply #101 on: December 30, 2006, 03:29:05 AM »

Et cum spiritu tuo,

I'm not sure what you mean by "really no necessity".  Undecided

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In nomine Iesu, Riddikulus I offer you continued peace,

As GiC explained the state of a Child is one in common with Adam before the Fall. Completely sinless and with no essential enmity (i.e. separation) between the child and God (i.e. lack of sanctifying grace) there is no necessity for Baptism (i.e. second birth in the Spirit). So I ask why the rush to baptize an infant in Orthodoxy? There is simply no rationale…

If we look toward Judaism for clues we find that pagan converts to Judaism were submerged in a Mitzveh observed by three witnesses. The Mitzveh or ‘ritual cleansing or bath’ was the ‘putting on of the Covenant of God’ after which one was a member of the Covenant. This was sealed with the outward sign of Circumcision for men.

We know through Sacred Scripture that Baptism was the ‘putting on of the New Covenant of God’ as a ‘spiritual circumcision’ but it was always thought of as a ‘cleansing ritual’ (i.e. Jewish Mitzveh). Christian Theology of Original Sin was the natural understand of the necessity of that ‘ritual cleansing’ to, in effect, put on the ‘new man’ Christ by shedding the ‘old man’.

What is the rationale for Baptism in Orthodoxy if the state of man at birth is already in union with God (i.e. sanctified)?

Gratias
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« Reply #102 on: December 30, 2006, 03:46:51 AM »

In nomine Iesu, Riddikulus I offer you continued peace,

As GiC explained the state of a Child is one in common with Adam before the Fall. Completely sinless and with no essential enmity (i.e. separation) between the child and God (i.e. lack of sanctifying grace) there is no necessity for Baptism (i.e. second birth in the Spirit). So I ask why the rush to baptize an infant in Orthodoxy? There is simply no rationale…

If we look toward Judaism for clues we find that pagan converts to Judaism were submerged in a Mitzveh observed by three witnesses. The Mitzveh or ‘ritual cleansing or bath’ was the ‘putting on of the Covenant of God’ after which one was a member of the Covenant. This was sealed with the outward sign of Circumcision for men.

We know through Sacred Scripture that Baptism was the ‘putting on of the New Covenant of God’ as a ‘spiritual circumcision’ but it was always thought of as a ‘cleansing ritual’ (i.e. Jewish Mitzveh). Christian Theology of Original Sin was the natural understand of the necessity of that ‘ritual cleansing’ to, in effect, put on the ‘new man’ Christ by shedding the ‘old man’.

What is the rationale for Baptism in Orthodoxy if the state of man at birth is already in union with God (i.e. sanctified)?

Gratias

Well, surely we can acknowledge that baptism is more than the remission of sins.  Now, as a Catholic I do believe that it is the remission of all sin, actual and original, but it is also the initiation into the Church.  It is the definitive act which makes us Christian and counts as us members of Christ.  So, even if I were to accept that original sin in no way was a factor I would think that infant baptism would still be both proper and necessary.  I just think it is even more proper and necessary.

But, speaking of baptism perhaps somebody here can fill me in on something.  Who, in the Orthodox Church, can perform a valid baptism?  I ask since surely there are times when what we in the west might call "emergency baptisms" would need to be performed.  Auto accidents, plane crashes and so on.  I have to say that I clearly agree with the Catholic view on original sin and baptism, but the fact that it is also an initiation seems to cause a contradiction in our position, and that has always nagged at me a bit.  We technically allow anyone to perform a baptism, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to me.  How can a Muslim, or athiest, or Satanist, initiate a Christian into the Church, I don't care whether he intends to do what the Church does or not.  As far as I am concerned, he or she cannot intend to do something he thinks is bogus in the first place.  Further, initiations are always performed by one already initiated, aren't they?  I can't think of any instance when a community or organization has allowed non-members to initiate new members.  It just seems very counterintuitive.  That has always troubled me, and so I would like to know what the Orthodox say in that regard?

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« Reply #103 on: December 30, 2006, 04:13:09 AM »

In nomine Iesu, Riddikulus I offer you continued peace,

As GiC explained the state of a Child is one in common with Adam before the Fall. Completely sinless and with no essential enmity (i.e. separation) between the child and God (i.e. lack of sanctifying grace) there is no necessity for Baptism (i.e. second birth in the Spirit). So I ask why the rush to baptize an infant in Orthodoxy? There is simply no rationale…

If we look toward Judaism for clues we find that pagan converts to Judaism were submerged in a Mitzveh observed by three witnesses. The Mitzveh or ‘ritual cleansing or bath’ was the ‘putting on of the Covenant of God’ after which one was a member of the Covenant. This was sealed with the outward sign of Circumcision for men.

We know through Sacred Scripture that Baptism was the ‘putting on of the New Covenant of God’ as a ‘spiritual circumcision’ but it was always thought of as a ‘cleansing ritual’ (i.e. Jewish Mitzveh). Christian Theology of Original Sin was the natural understand of the necessity of that ‘ritual cleansing’ to, in effect, put on the ‘new man’ Christ by shedding the ‘old man’.

What is the rationale for Baptism in Orthodoxy if the state of man at birth is already in union with God (i.e. sanctified)?

Gratias

I see that you use the word "sanctified" which carries with it a sense of completedness. I think this could be why you are not quite understanding the Orthodox view on the state of the newborn and the need for baptism. I need to be careful here, because I am not a theologian, so bear with me.

Quoting from "The Orthodox Church".

"But although Orthodox maintain that man after the fall still possessed free-will and was still capable of good actions, yet they certainly agree with the west in believing that man’s sin had set up between him and God a barrier, which man by his own efforts could never break down. Sin blocked the path to union with God. Since man could not come to God, God came to man."

While the newborn is not guilty of personal sin, it is not possible for it to remain so. As Bishop Ware states, "sin blocked the path to union with God"; so it is for the growing child. The babe won't remain sinless. The consequence of original sin is death and sin. I remember reading somewhere that while Adam died because of sin, subsequent generations sin because of death; we sin because we are dying and our ability to attain the likeness of God is marred. There is the need for a Saviour and sanctification through Grace. It's not a done deal. Hense the need for baptism.

The purpose of Holy Baptism is;
1. To remove the consequences of the 'original sin'. (see http://home.it.net.au/~jgrapsas/pages/original.htm)
2. To wash away all other sins committed before the time of Baptism if the person is beyond the age of infancy.
3. To unite the person to "The Body of Christ" (that is, the Church), and to open the door of salvation and eternal life to him or her.

I hope that my explanation, though brief, isn't too clumsy and laughable. As I said, I'm not a theologian.

Pax Vobiscum

 
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« Reply #104 on: December 30, 2006, 01:14:12 PM »

Hello there,
Excuse me for jumping in during your extended debate here but I wanted to ask a question. (I am especially interested in GiC's response to this).   Some people already know that I am a fairly recent convert to the Orthodox Church (grew up a RC).   I have three children (one of which is 5 mos. old).  I  attend a GOA in town but my spiritual father is a monk /abbot at a nearby GOA monastery.  Anyway, my question is this....Why would my spiritual father request that my infant be baptised as soon after she was "churched" (40 days after birth) unless it was not important?  Granted he is a monk from Mount Athos which some may consider ultra conservative but I think that there is a discrepancy between some clergy in the Orthodox Church about baptism.  Although I personally believe that God is merciful towards infants who are unbaptized however I think that there is a grace given with the sacrament that would be wrong to withhold from an infant.  Anyway it seems to me that the monastery's view on the sacrament is somewhere between the RC and GiC's version.
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« Reply #105 on: December 30, 2006, 01:24:40 PM »

I see that you use the word "sanctified" which carries with it a sense of completedness. I think this could be why you are not quite understanding the Orthodox view on the state of the newborn and the need for baptism. I need to be careful here, because I am not a theologian, so bear with me.

Quoting from "The Orthodox Church".

"But although Orthodox maintain that man after the fall still possessed free-will and was still capable of good actions, yet they certainly agree with the west in believing that man’s sin had set up between him and God a barrier, which man by his own efforts could never break down. Sin blocked the path to union with God. Since man could not come to God, God came to man."

While the newborn is not guilty of personal sin, it is not possible for it to remain so. As Bishop Ware states, "sin blocked the path to union with God"; so it is for the growing child. The babe won't remain sinless. The consequence of original sin is death and sin. I remember reading somewhere that while Adam died because of sin, subsequent generations sin because of death; we sin because we are dying and our ability to attain the likeness of God is marred. There is the need for a Saviour and sanctification through Grace. It's not a done deal. Hense the need for baptism.

The purpose of Holy Baptism is;
1. To remove the consequences of the 'original sin'. (see http://home.it.net.au/~jgrapsas/pages/original.htm)
2. To wash away all other sins committed before the time of Baptism if the person is beyond the age of infancy.
3. To unite the person to "The Body of Christ" (that is, the Church), and to open the door of salvation and eternal life to him or her.

I hope that my explanation, though brief, isn't too clumsy and laughable. As I said, I'm not a theologian.

Pax Vobiscum

In nomine Iesu, Riddikulus I offer you continued peace,

Let me say that you are kind, considerate and always come across as genuinely humble and, personally speaking, I believe you always shed light when you share your faith with us.

Unfortunately, it always sounds 'so' Catholic that we Latins have a great deal of difficulty making a distincition between your understanding of the Sacrament (i.e. Mystery) of Baptism and our own.

Pax Vobiscum
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« Reply #106 on: December 30, 2006, 03:14:08 PM »

Hello there,
Excuse me for jumping in during your extended debate here but I wanted to ask a question. (I am especially interested in GiC's response to this).   Some people already know that I am a fairly recent convert to the Orthodox Church (grew up a RC).   I have three children (one of which is 5 mos. old).  I  attend a GOA in town but my spiritual father is a monk /abbot at a nearby GOA monastery.  Anyway, my question is this....Why would my spiritual father request that my infant be baptised as soon after she was "churched" (40 days after birth) unless it was not important?  Granted he is a monk from Mount Athos which some may consider ultra conservative but I think that there is a discrepancy between some clergy in the Orthodox Church about baptism.  Although I personally believe that God is merciful towards infants who are unbaptized however I think that there is a grace given with the sacrament that would be wrong to withhold from an infant.  Anyway it seems to me that the monastery's view on the sacrament is somewhere between the RC and GiC's version.
Juliana Smiley

There are many good reasons for infant baptism, and I personally do not believe that the sacrament should be put off, for not only is it for the remission of past and future sins but it is also the rite of initiation into the Church and eucharistic communion with God and your fellow man is of substantial importance. I would argue that the importance of entering the child directly into this eucharistic communion is more important than the catechetical opportunities that would present themselves by waiting. But the common (if not universal)Orthodox belief in the importance of infant baptism is more concerned with giving the child the Eucharist than the remission of some non-existant original sin.
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« Reply #107 on: December 30, 2006, 03:27:06 PM »

I thank you GiC for your response which was quite eloquent.   blessings,  Juliana
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« Reply #108 on: December 30, 2006, 04:11:29 PM »

In nomine Iesu, Riddikulus I offer you continued peace,

Let me say that you are kind, considerate and always come across as genuinely humble and, personally speaking, I believe you always shed light when you share your faith with us.

Unfortunately, it always sounds 'so' Catholic that we Latins have a great deal of difficulty making a distincition between your understanding of the Sacrament (i.e. Mystery) of Baptism and our own.

Pax Vobiscum

To be honest with you, I don't believe there as great a gulf between us on many issues as at first appears. Some historian-theologians have claimed that Western-Eastern differences widened to the point of schism largely because of language differences. That being the case, one has to wonder if that is highlighted today when we find it difficult (and I do believe that this thread has shown that) to establish a "big deal" out of our doctrinal differences in English.

I'm not saying that the different paradigms don't come into play and make our theology different, and our basic understanding of the doctrine of Original/Ancestral Sin is at the root of it. But is it so diverse that we couldn't find some common ground for agreement? Much of the time, it really seems to be semantics.

Now, this could, of course, come down to the fact that English-speaking Orthodox have some difficulty in expressing Orthodox doctrine as suitably "different" because of our common tongue and the accompanying presumptions that each side brings to discussions of this sort. Perhaps it is a case that we are simply talking apples and oranges, and because we are using terminology that each side is understanding in a different light, the real crux of the matter is lost. We simply could be talking past the issue rather than actually addressing it. If this is so, discussion might be quite useless unless there is some re-education undertaken on both sides to truly understand the terminology we use from the point of view of each other's mindset.

You might find http://www.orlapubs.com/AR/TOC.html particulary interesting. The gentleman who owns the site is a linguist and I believe his insights are most valuable.

Pax Vobiscum.   

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« Reply #109 on: December 31, 2006, 12:30:33 AM »

Many thanks for the extra information.

Patrick

No problem.  The sad fact is many Orthodox will do whatever they can to distance themselves as much as possible from Roman Catholics.  So if it means saying absurd things like they don't believe in Original Sin, that the Theotokos was not sinless, etc.  They will do it.  Even if it makes them sound like Protestants (of course many who adopt this line of thinkging were Protestants at one time).

That's where we're at right now.
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« Reply #110 on: December 31, 2006, 12:45:19 AM »

Welkodox,
Accoding to Orthodox theology, the Theotokos did inherit the consequences of "Original Sin". It's just that according to Orthodoxy, these consequences do not include culpability. The only people who can be held accountable for the guilt of Original Sin are Adam and Eve. So when you hear some Orthodox say "I don't believe in Original Sin", this is probably what they mean- i.e. that no one is born culpable of it.
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« Reply #111 on: December 31, 2006, 12:50:44 AM »

Welkodox,
Accoding to Orthodox theology, the Theotokos did inherit the consequences of "Original Sin". It's just that according to Orthodoxy, these consequences do not include culpability.

Read the catechism, Catholics don't believe people inherit personal culpability either.


Quote
The only people who can be held accountable for the guilt of Original Sin are Adam and Eve. So when you hear some Orthodox say "I don't believe in Original Sin", this is probably what they mean- i.e. that no one is born culpable of it.

Unfortunately I've had this conversation with a number of people, online and in the real world.  There are varying degrees of opinion I have seen.  Some rely on the false original/ancestral sin thing and some say the only effect of Original Sin was the introduction of mortality in to the world.

The three links I posted earlier in the thread had a good summary of the absurd arguments bandied about as the "Orthodox" position, but the site appears to be down now.
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« Reply #112 on: December 31, 2006, 12:54:42 AM »

Read the catechism, Catholics don't believe people inherit personal culpability either.
Read the Catechism. Catholics reject the idea that the Theotokos inherited the consequences of Original Sin.....Why?
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« Reply #113 on: December 31, 2006, 01:25:14 AM »

Well, I wouldn't say that. One of the consequences of original sin is physical death. Mary may have succombed, and Christ certainly did (his victory over death, of course, followed).

Now in terms of the effect of original sin on human nature, yes, Mary was made immaculate of that by a special grace of God in preparation for the Incarnation. She still had freedom, of course, but she trusted God, unlike Eve.

However, the culpability of original sin is not a dogma of the Church---in fact, the Catechism states:

404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam "as one body of one man". By this "unity of the human race" all men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state. It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called "sin" only in an analogical sense: it is a sin "contracted" and not "committed" - a state and not an act.

405 Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence". Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

406 The Church's teaching on the transmission of original sin was articulated more precisely in the fifth century, especially under the impulse of St. Augustine's reflections against Pelagianism, and in the sixteenth century, in opposition to the Protestant Reformation. Pelagius held that man could, by the natural power of free will and without the necessary help of God's grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence of Adam's fault to bad example. The first Protestant reformers, on the contrary, taught that original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom; they identified the sin inherited by each man with the tendency to evil (concupiscentia), which would be insurmountable. The Church pronounced on the meaning of the data of Revelation on original sin especially at the second Council of Orange (529) and at the Council of Trent (1546).

http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p1s2c1p7.htm#III
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« Reply #114 on: December 31, 2006, 04:52:08 AM »

"Original Holiness"?
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« Reply #115 on: December 31, 2006, 01:29:33 PM »

Read the Catechism. Catholics reject the idea that the Theotokos inherited the consequences of Original Sin.....Why?

Could you elaborate on this?  What do you mean by "consequences?"  Mary was kept free from the "stain" of original sin, which means she at the very moment of her conception was infused with sanctifying grace.  I am unsure of usage of terms like "consequences."  Are you thinking of death and such?  If so I would say that there is no Catholic teaching at all that Mary did not die, and two thousand years of teaching that she did.  The very constitution that defined the Assumption as a binding dogma on all Catholics, Munificentissimus Deus, spoke several times of her death and seemed to take it for granted.  Anyone who denies that she did is speaking only from their own speculation and can make no claim on historical teaching at all.

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« Reply #116 on: December 31, 2006, 03:43:01 PM »

Could you elaborate on this?

Correct me if I'm wrong ozgeorge, but I believe the question is that if there are no consequences from Original Sin what is the point of the Immaculate Conception.

From my perspective, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is nothing more than an attack on the sanctity and greatness of our Lady; to say anything other than that our Lady lived a perfect and sinless life by her own power and through her own will and nature, without any special divine aid or special grace or intervention that was not given to all of humanity, is blasphemy against the saints. Salvation may be through God alone, but it did not come to humanity by God alone, it was a synergy between God and Man. The perfection of one 'fallen' human in a 'fallen' state was essential for the incarnation being willfully received, in a completely uncoerced state, by humanity. Had our Lady been, in any way, forced or changed (or given a 'special grace') in a way that inclined her towards perfection (or away from imperfection) or even accept her role in the Incarnation by the Divine then the Incarnation would be little more than an act of rape and violence against our Lady in particular and the human race in general.
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« Reply #117 on: December 31, 2006, 04:36:00 PM »

Correct me if I'm wrong ozgeorge, but I believe the question is that if there are no consequences from Original Sin what is the point of the Immaculate Conception.

Excuse me for jumping in, but there are consequences.  Or, perhaps I am misunderstanding you.

Quote
From my perspective, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is nothing more than an attack on the sanctity and greatness of our Lady; to say anything other than that our Lady lived a perfect and sinless life by her own power and through her own will and nature, without any special divine aid or special grace or intervention that was not given to all of humanity, is blasphemy against the saints.  Salvation may be through God alone, but it did not come to humanity by God alone, it was a synergy between God and Man. The perfection of one 'fallen' human in a 'fallen' state was essential for the incarnation being willfully received, in a completely uncoerced state, by humanity. Had our Lady been, in any way, forced or changed (or given a 'special grace') in a way that inclined her towards perfection (or away from imperfection) or even accept her role in the Incarnation by the Divine then the Incarnation would be little more than an act of rape and violence against our Lady in particular and the human race in general.

I think your language is much too strong here, and that you are a bit closer to pelagianism than I would ever be comfortable with.  I just cannot accept that one could be "perfect" without grace.  And I completely disagree with concepts like "forced" as it is not part of our faith at all.  The Immaculate Conception is a belief that Mary was infused with sanctifying grace beginning from her conception.  This is the same sanctifying grace we believe we receive in the sacraments, most especially baptism.  Do you believe that we are "forced" in some way by partaking in the grace in the sacraments?  Do you think we are being "raped" by God in the sacraments?  But, I will emphatically agree that we are "inclined towards perfection" by our participation in grace.  If you reject that then I cannot imagine what view you have of either grace or the sacraments themselves.

Patrick
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« Reply #118 on: December 31, 2006, 05:57:23 PM »

From New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11312a.htm#VI

As I'm not sure as to the reliability of this overview, I wonder if those more knowledgeable in Catholic Doctrine might like to comment.

ORIGINAL SIN
I. MEANING

Original sin may be taken to mean: (1) the sin that Adam committed; (2) a consequence of this first sin, the hereditary stain with which we are born on account of our origin or descent from Adam.

From the earliest times the latter sense of the word was more common, as may be seen by St. Augustine's statement: "the deliberate sin of the first man is the cause of original sin" (De nupt. et concup., II, xxvi, 43). It is the hereditary stain that is dealt with here. As to the sin of Adam we have not to examine the circumstances in which it was committed nor make the exegesis of the third chapter of Genesis.

II. PRINCIPAL ADVERSARIES

Theodorus of Mopsuestia opened this controversy by denying that the sin of Adam was the origin of death. (See the "Excerpta Theodori", by Marius Mercator; cf. Smith, "A Dictionary of Christian Biography", IV, 942.) Celestius, a friend of Pelagius, was the first in the West to hold these propositions, borrowed from Theodorus: "Adam was to die in every hypothesis, whether he sinned or did not sin. His sin injured himself only and not the human race" (Mercator, "Liber Subnotationem", preface). This, the first position held by the Pelagians, was also the first point condemned at Carthage (Denzinger, "Enchiridion", no 101-old no. 65). Against this fundamental error Catholics cited especially Rom., v, 12, where Adam is shown as transmitting death with sin. After some time the Pelagians admitted the transmission of death -- this being more easily understood as we see that parents transmit to their children hereditary diseases- but they still violently attacked the transmission of sin (St. Augustine, "Contra duas epist. Pelag.", IV, iv, 6). And when St. Paul speaks of the transmission of sin they understood by this the transmission of death. This was their second position, condemned by the Council of Orange [Denz., n. 175 (145)], and again later on with the first by the Council of Trent [Sess. V, can. ii; Denz., n. 789 (671)]. To take the word sin to mean death was an evident falsification of the text, so the Pelagians soon abandoned the interpretation and admitted that Adam caused sin in us. They did not, however, understand by sin the hereditary stain contracted at our birth, but the sin that adults commit in imitation of Adam. This was their third position, to which is opposed the definition of Trent that sin is transmitted to all by generation (propagatione), not by imitation [Denz., n. 790 (672)]. Moreover, in the following canon are cited the words of the Council of Carthage, in which there is question of a sin contracted by generation and effaced by generation [Denz., n. 102 (66)]. The leaders of the Reformation admitted the dogma of original sin, but at present there are many Protestants imbued with Socinian doctrines whose theory is a revival of Pelagianism.

III. ORIGINAL SIN IN SCRIPTURE

The classical text is Rom., v, 12 sqq. In the preceding part the apostle treats of justification by Jesus Christ, and to put in evidence the fact of His being the one Saviour, he contrasts with this Divine Head of mankind the human head who caused its ruin. The question of original sin, therefore, comes in only incidentally. St. Paul supposes the idea that the faithful have of it from his oral instructions, and he speaks of it to make them understand the work of Redemption. This explains the brevity of the development and the obscurity of some verses. We shall now show what, in the text, is opposed to the three Pelagian positions:

The sin of Adam has injured the human race at least in the sense that it has introduced death -- "Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men". Here there is question of physical death. first, the literal meaning of the word ought to be presumed unless there be some reason to the contrary. Second, there is an allusion in this verse to a passage in the Book of Wisdom in which, as may be seen from the context, there is question of physical death. Wis., ii, 24: "But by the envy of the devil death came into the world". Cf. Gen., ii, 17; iii, 3, 19; and another parallel passage in St. Paul himself, I Cor., xv, 21: "For by a man came death and by a man the resurrection of the dead". Here there can be question only of physical death, since it is opposed to corporal resurrection, which is the subject of the whole chapter.
Adam by his fault transmitted to us not only death but also sin, "for as by the disobedience of one man many [i.e., all men] were made sinners" (Romans 5:19). How then could the Pelagians, and at a later period Zwingli, say that St. Paul speaks only of the transmission of physical death? If according to them we must read death where the Apostle wrote sin, we should also read that the disobedience of Adam has made us mortal where the Apostle writes that it has made us sinners. But the word sinner has never meant mortal, nor has sin ever meant death. Also in verse 12, which corresponds to verse 19, we see that by one man two things have been brought on all men, sin and death, the one being the consequence of the other and therefore not identical with it.
Since Adam transmits death to his children by way of generation when he begets them mortal, it is by generation also that he transmits to them sin, for the Apostle presents these two effects as produced at the same time and by the same causality. The explanation of the Pelagians differs from that of St. Paul. According to them the child who receives mortality at his birth receives sin from Adam only at a later period when he knows the sin of the first man and is inclined to imitate it. The causality of Adam as regards mortality would, therefore, be completely different from his causality as regards sin. Moreover, this supposed influence of the bad example of Adam is almost chimerical; even the faithful when they sin do not sin on account of Adam's bad example, a fortiori infidels who are completely ignorant of the history of the first man. And yet all men are, by the influence of Adam, sinners and condemned (Romans 5:18, 19). The influence of Adam cannot, therefore, be the influence of his bad example which we imitate (Augustine, "Contra julian.", VI, xxiv, 75).
On this account, several recent Protestants have thus modified the Pelagian explanation: "Even without being aware of it all men imitate Adam inasmuch as they merit death as the punishment of their own sins just as Adam merited it as the punishment for his sin." This is going farther and farther from the text of St. Paul. Adam would be no more than the term of a comparison, he would no longer have any influence or causality as regards original sin or death. Moreover, the Apostle did not affirm that all men, in imitation of Adam, are mortal on account of their actual sins; since children who die before coming to the use of reason have never committed such sins; but he expressly affirms the contrary in the fourteenth verse: "But death reigned", not only over those who imitated Adam, but "even over them also who have not sinned after the similitude of the transgression of Adam." Adam's sin, therefore, is the sole cause of death for the entire human race. Moreover, we can discern no natural connexion between any sin and death. In order that a determined sin entail death there is need of a positive law, but before the Law of Moses there was no positive law of God appointing death as a punishment except the law given to Adam (Genesis 2:17). It is, therefore, his disobedience only that could have merited and brought it into the world (Romans 5:13, 14). These Protestant writers lay much stress on the last words of the twelfth verse. We know that several of the Latin Fathers understood the words "in whom all have sinned", to mean, all have sinned in Adam. This interpretation would be an extra proof of the thesis of original sin, but it is not necessary. Modern exegesis, as well as the Greek Fathers, prefer to translate "and so death passed upon all men because all have sinned". We accept this second translation which shows us death as an effect of sin. But of what sin? "The personal sins of each one", answer our adversaries, "this is the natural sense of the words `all have sinned.'" It would be the natural sense if the context was not absolutely opposed to it. The words "all have sinned" of the twelfth verse, which are obscure on account of their brevity, are thus developed in the nineteenth verse: "for as by the disobedience of one man many were made sinners." There is no question here of personal sins, differing in species and number, committed by each one during his life, but of one first sin which was enough to transmit equally to all men a state of sin and the title of sinners. Similarly in the twelfth verse the words "all have sinned" must mean, "all have participated in the sin of Adam", "all have contracted its stain". This interpretation too removes the seeming contradiction between the twelfth verse, "all have sinned", and the fourteenth, "who have not sinned", for in the former there is question of original sin, in the latter of personal sin. Those who say that in both cases there is question of personal sin are unable to reconcile these two verses.

IV. ORIGINAL SIN IN TRADITION

On account of a superficial resemblance between the doctrine of original sin and and the Manichaean theory of our nature being evil, the Pelagians accused the Catholics and St. Augustine of Manichaeism. For the accusation and its answer see "Contra duas epist. Pelag.", I, II, 4; V, 10; III, IX, 25; IV, III. In our own times this charge has been reiterated by several critics and historians of dogma who have been influenced by the fact that before his conversion St. Augustine was a Manichaean. They do not identify Manichaeism with the doctrine of original sin, but they say that St. Augustine, with the remains of his former Manichaean prejudices, created the doctrine of original sin unknown before his time. It is not true that the doctrine of original sin does not appear in the works of the pre-Augustinian Fathers. On the contrary, their testimony is found in special works on the subject. Nor can it be said, as Harnack maintains, that St. Augustine himself acknowledges the absence of this doctrine in the writings of the Fathers. St. Augustine invokes the testimony of eleven Fathers, Greek as well as Latin (Contra Jul., II, x, 33). Baseless also is the assertion that before St. Augustine this doctrine was unknown to the Jews and to the Christians; as we have already shown, it was taught by St. Paul. It is found in the fourth Book of Esdras, a work written by a Jew in the first century after Christ and widely read by the Christians. This book represents Adam as the author of the fall of the human race (vii, 48), as having transmitted to all his posterity the permanent infirmity, the malignity, the bad seed of sin (iii, 21, 22; iv, 30). Protestants themselves admit the doctrine of original sin in this book and others of the same period (see Sanday, "The International Critical Commentary: Romans", 134, 137; Hastings, "A Dictionary of the Bible", I, 841). It is therefore impossible to make St. Augustine, who is of a much later date, the inventor of original sin.

That this doctrine existed in Christian tradition before St. Augustine's time is shown by the practice of the Church in the baptism of children. The Pelagians held that baptism was given to children, not to remit their sin, but to make them better, to give them supernatural life, to make them adoptive sons of God, and heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven (see St. Augustine, "De peccat. meritis", I, xviii). The Catholics answered by citing the Nicene Creed, "Confiteor unum baptisma in remissiomen peccatorum". They reproached the Pelagians with introducing two baptisms, one for adults to remit sins, the other for children with no such purpose. Catholics argued, too, from the ceremonies of baptism, which suppose the child to be under the power of evil, i.e., exorcisms, abjuration of Satan made by the sponsor in the name of the child [Aug., loc. cit., xxxiv, 63; Denz., n. 140 (96)].

V. ORIGINAL SIN IN FACE OF THE OBJECTIONS FROM REASON

We do not pretend to prove the existence of original sin by arguments from reason only. St. Thomas makes use of a philosophical proof which proves the existence rather of some kind of decadence than of sin, and he considers his proof as probable only, satis probabiliter probari potest (Contra Gent., IV, lii). Many Protestants and Jansenists and some Catholics hold the doctrine of original sin to be necessary in philosophy, and the only means of solving the problem of the existence of evil. This is exaggerated and impossible to prove. It suffices to show that human reason has no serious objection against this doctrine which is founded on Revelation. The objections of Rationalists usually spring from a false concept of our dogma. They attack either the transmission of a sin or the idea of an injury inflicted on his race by the first man, of a decadence of the human race. Here we shall answer only the second category of objections, the others will be considered under a later head (VII).

(1) The law of progress is opposed to the hypothesis of a decadence. Yes, if the progress was necessarily continuous, but history proves the contrary. The line representing progress has its ups and downs, there are periods of decadence and of retrogression, and such was the period, Revelation tells us, that followed the first sin. The human race, however, began to rise again little by little, for neither intelligence nor free will had been destroyed by original sin and, consequently, there still remained the possibility of material progress, whilst in the spiritual order God did not abandon man, to whom He had promised redemption. This theory of decadence has no connexion with our Revelation. The Bible, on the contrary, shows us even spiritual progress in the people it treats of; the vocation of Abraham, the law of Moses, the mission of the Prophets, the coming of the Messias, a revelation which becomes clearer and clearer, ending in the Gospel, its diffusion amongst all nations, its fruits of holiness, and the progress of the Church.

(2) It is unjust, says another objection, that from the sin of one man should result the decadence of the whole human race. This would have weight if we took this decadence in the same sense that Luther took it, i.e. human reason incapable of understanding even moral truths, free will destroyed, the very substance of man changed into evil. But according to Catholic theology man has not lost his natural faculties: by the sin of Adam he has been deprived only of the Divine gifts to which his nature had no strict right, the complete mastery of his passions, exemption from death, sanctifying grace, the vision of God in the next life. The Creator, whose gifts were not due to the human race, had the right to bestow them on such conditions as He wished and to make their conservation depend on the fidelity of the head of the family. A prince can confer a hereditary dignity on condition that the recipient remains loyal, and that, in case of his rebelling, this dignity shall be taken from him and, in consequence, from his descendants. It is not, however, intelligible that the prince, on account of a fault committed by a father, should order the hands and feet of all the descendants of the guilty man to be cut off immediately after their birth. This comparison represents the doctrine of Luther which we in no way defend. The doctrine of the Church supposes no sensible or afflictive punishment in the next world for children who die with nothing but original sin on their souls, but only the privation of the sight of God [Denz., n. 1526 (1389)].

VI. NATURE OF ORIGINAL SIN

This is a difficult point and many systems have been invented to explain it: it will suffice to give the theological explanation now commonly received. Original sin is the privation of sanctifying grace in consequence of the sin of Adam. This solution, which is that of St. Thomas, goes back to St. Anselm and even to the traditions of the early Church, as we see by the declaration of the Second Council of Orange (A.D. 529): one man has transmitted to the whole human race not only the death of the body, which is the punishment of sin, but even sin itself, which is the death of the soul [Denz., n. 175 (145)]. As death is the privation of the principle of life, the death of the soul is the privation of sanctifying grace which according to all theologians is the principle of supernatural life. Therefore, if original sin is "the death of the soul", it is the privation of sanctifying grace.

The Council of Trent, although it did not make this solution obligatory by a definition, regarded it with favour and authorized its use (cf. Pallavicini, "Istoria del Concilio di Trento", vii-ix). Original sin is described not only as the death of the soul (Sess. V, can. ii), but as a "privation of justice that each child contracts at its conception" (Sess. VI, cap. iii). But the Council calls "justice" what we call sanctifying grace (Sess. VI), and as each child should have had personally his own justice so now after the fall he suffers his own privation of justice. We may add an argument based on the principle of St. Augustine already cited, "the deliberate sin of the first man is the cause of original sin". This principle is developed by St. Anselm: "the sin of Adam was one thing but the sin of children at their birth is quite another, the former was the cause, the latter is the effect" (De conceptu virginali, xxvi). In a child original sin is distinct from the fault of Adam, it is one of its effects. But which of these effects is it? We shall examine the several effects of Adam's fault and reject those which cannot be original sin:

Death and Suffering.- These are purely physical evils and cannot be called sin. Moreover St. Paul, and after him the councils, regarded death and original sin as two distinct things transmitted by Adam.
Concupiscence.- This rebellion of the lower appetite transmitted to us by Adam is an occasion of sin and in that sense comes nearer to moral evil. However, the occasion of a fault is not necessarily a fault, and whilst original sin is effaced by baptism concupiscence still remains in the person baptized; therefore original sin and concupiscence cannot be one and the same thing, as was held by the early Protestants (see Council of Trent, Sess. V, can. v).
The absence of sanctifying grace in the new-born child is also an effect of the first sin, for Adam, having received holiness and justice from God, lost it not only for himself but also for us (loc. cit., can. ii). If he has lost it for us we were to have received it from him at our birth with the other prerogatives of our race. Therefore the absence of sanctifying grace in a child is a real privation, it is the want of something that should have been in him according to the Divine plan. If this favour is not merely something physical but is something in the moral order, if it is holiness, its privation may be called a sin. But sanctifying grace is holiness and is so called by the Council of Trent, because holiness consists in union with God, and grace unites us intimately with God. Moral goodness consists in this that our action is according to the moral law, but grace is a deification, as the Fathers say, a perfect conformity with God who is the first rule of all morality. (See GRACE.) Sanctifying grace therefore enters into the moral order, not as an act that passes but as a permanent tendency which exists even when the subject who possesses it does not act; it is a turning towards God, conversio ad Deum. Consequently the privation of this grace, even without any other act, would be a stain, a moral deformity, a turning away from God, aversio a Deo, and this character is not found in any other effect of the fault of Adam. This privation, therefore, is the hereditary stain.

VII. HOW VOLUNTARY

"There can be no sin that is not voluntary, the learned and the ignorant admit this evident truth", writes St. Augustine (De vera relig., xiv, 27). The Church has condemned the opposite solution given by Baius [prop. xlvi, xlvii, in Denz., n. 1046 (926)]. Original sin is not an act but, as already explained, a state, a permanent privation, and this can be voluntary indirectly- just as a drunken man is deprived of his reason and incapable of using his liberty, yet it is by his free fault that he is in this state and hence his drunkenness, his privation of reason is voluntary and can be imputed to him. But how can original sin be even indirectly voluntary for a child that has never used its personal free will? Certain Protestants hold that a child on coming to the use of reason will consent to its original sin; but in reality no one ever thought of giving this consent. Besides, even before the use of reason, sin is already in the soul, according to the data of Tradition regarding the baptism of children and the sin contracted by generation. Some theosophists and spiritists admit the pre-existence of souls that have sinned in a former life which they now forget; but apart from the absurdity of this metempsychosis, it contradicts the doctrine of original sin, it substitutes a number of particular sins for the one sin of a common father transmitting sin and death to all (cf. Romans 5:12 sqq.). The whole Christian religion, says St. Augustine, may be summed up in the intervention of two men, the one to ruin us, the other to save us (De pecc. orig., xxiv). The right solution is to be sought in the free will of Adam in his sin, and this free will was ours: "we were all in Adam", says St. Ambrose, cited by St. Augustine (Opus imperf., IV, civ). St. Basil attributes to us the act of the first man: "Because we did not fast (when Adam ate the forbidden fruit) we have been turned out of the garden of Paradise" (Hom. i de jejun., iv). Earlier still is the testimony of St. Irenaeus; "In the person of the first Adam we offend God, disobeying His precept" (Haeres., V, xvi, 3).

St. Thomas thus explains this moral unity of our will with the will of Adam. "An individual can be considered either as an individual or as part of a whole, a member of a society.....Considered in the second way an act can be his although he has not done it himself, nor has it been done by his free will but by the rest of the society or by its head, the nation being considered as doing what the prince does. For a society is considered as a single man of whom the individuals are the different members (St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 12). Thus the multitude of men who receive their human nature from Adam is to be considered as a single community or rather as a single body....If the man, whose privation of original justice is due to Adam, is considered as a private person, this privation is not his `fault', for a fault is essentially voluntary. If, however, we consider him as a member of the family of Adam, as if all men were only one man, then his privation partakes of the nature of sin on account of its voluntary origin, which is the actual sin of Adam" (De Malo, iv, 1). It is this law of solidarity, admitted by common sentiment, which attributes to children a part of the shame resulting from the father's crime. It is not a personal crime, objected the Pelagians. "No", answered St. Augustine, " but it is paternal crime" (Op. imperf., I, cxlviii). Being a distinct person I am not strictly responsible for the crime of another, the act is not mine. Yet, as a member of the human family, I am supposed to have acted with its head who represented it with regard to the conservation or the loss of grace. I am, therefore, responsible for my privation of grace, taking responsibility in the largest sense of the word. This, however, is enough to make the state of privation of grace in a certain degree voluntary, and, therefore, "without absurdity it may be said to be voluntary" (St. Augustine, "Retract.", I, xiii).

Thus the principal difficulties of non-believers against the transmission of sin are answered. "Free will is essentially incommunicable." Physically, yes; morally, no; the will of the father being considered as that of his children. "It is unjust to make us responsible for an act committed before our birth." Strictly responsible, yes; responsible in a wide sense of the word, no; the crime of a father brands his yet unborn children with shame, and entails upon them a share of his own responsibility. "Your dogma makes us strictly responsible for the fault of Adam." That is a misconception of our doctrine. Our dogma does not attribute to the children of Adam any properly so-called responsibility for the act of their father, nor do we say that original sin is voluntary in the strict sense of the word. It is true that, considered as "a moral deformity", "a separation from God", as "the death of the soul", original sin is a real sin which deprives the soul of sanctifying grace. It has the same claim to be a sin as has habitual sin, which is the state in which an adult is placed by a grave and personal fault, the "stain" which St. Thomas defines as "the privation of grace" (I-II:109:7; III:87:2, ad 3), and it is from this point of view that baptism, putting an end to the privation of grace, "takes away all that is really and properly sin", for concupiscence which remains "is not really and properly sin", although its transmission was equally voluntary (Council of Trent, Sess. V, can. v.). Considered precisely as voluntary, original sin is only the shadow of sin properly so-called. According to St. Thomas (In II Sent., dist. xxv, Q. i, a. 2, ad 2um), it is not called sin in the same sense, but only in an analogous sense.

Several theologians of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, neglecting the importance of the privation of grace in the explanation of original sin, and explaining it only by the participation we are supposed to have in the act of Adam, exaggerate this participation. They exaggerate the idea of voluntary in original sin, thinking that it is the only way to explain how it is a sin properly so-called. Their opinion, differing from that of St. Thomas, gave rise to uncalled-for and insoluble difficulties. At present it is altogether abandoned.

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« Reply #119 on: December 31, 2006, 07:08:51 PM »

Could you elaborate on this?  What do you mean by "consequences?"  Mary was kept free from the "stain" of original sin, which means she at the very moment of her conception was infused with sanctifying grace. 
And I think therein lies a major difference. To the RC, Original Sin is a barrier which blocks access to sanctifying grace, and the only way sanctifying grace can reach us is if Original Sin is wiped out. The Orthodox View is that Original Sin is not so much a barrier as a hurdle.
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« Reply #120 on: January 01, 2007, 12:17:00 AM »

And I think therein lies a major difference. To the RC, Original Sin is a barrier which blocks access to sanctifying grace, and the only way sanctifying grace can reach us is if Original Sin is wiped out. The Orthodox View is that Original Sin is not so much a barrier as a hurdle.

Actually I would probably think it is not a barrier so much as the actual lack of that grace.  Once the grace is restored the stain is gone because that is the stain.  That is how I have understood it anyway, and will trust that someone more informed will correct me if I should be wrong about it.  The consequences though I would say are different, and are things like pain in childbirth and death.  I know of nothing in the Church dogmas to suggest that she did not suffer these consequences, and to the contrary much would certainly seem to say that she at least died.  BTW, I have read in a couple of places that many Orthodox believe that Mary did not suffer pain in childbirth, which is an interesting thought.  I am not aware of anything serious or definitive at all in that regard in Catholicism.

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« Reply #121 on: January 01, 2007, 12:33:29 AM »

Quote
BTW, I have read in a couple of places that many Orthodox believe that Mary did not suffer pain in childbirth, which is an interesting thought.  I am not aware of anything serious or definitive at all in that regard in Catholicism.

Fwiw, I've heard a number of Catholics interpret Rev. 12 as speaking of Mary. When I point out that many Orthodox wouldn't accept such an interpretation, because they believe that Mary didn't have birth pains, I get a "No, you're wrong, we've looked into this, we're right" type of response (similar to the response you get if you mention what the Orthodox think of purgatory). Maybe it's just because Mary is a sensitive subject in chat rooms, since some seem to derive intense pleasure from attacking the Catholic views of Mary. But they do seem to be rather sure of their interpretation of Genesis. (I think Andrew Of Caesarea mentions that some in the early Church held to that interpretation, but not the majority... someone with the book on Revelation by Averky/Rose could confirm this).
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« Reply #122 on: January 04, 2007, 07:52:58 PM »

I found this on the web>

http://romanity.org/htm/rom.10.en.original_sin_according_to_st._paul.01.htm
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« Reply #123 on: January 09, 2007, 11:29:41 PM »


In nomine Iesu, ignatius I offer you continued peace,

If I had to reflect deeply and make a case against Original Sin I would look not further than Sacred Scripture and the Patristic Notes of Epiphanius The Latin:

But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. - Matthew 19:14-15

Why did the disciples keep the children back? Not because of the children’s wickedness but because it was not the right time. They did not want the Lord to be tired by the great crowd. To them he said, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” For children are ignorant of wickedness. They do not know how to return evil for evil or how to do someone an injury. They do not know how to be lustful or to fornicate or to rob. What they hear, they believe. They love their parents with complete affection. Therefore, beloved, the Lord instructs us that what they are by the gift of nature, we should become by the fear of God, a holy way of life and love of the heavenly kingdom; for unless we are alien to all sin just like children, we cannot come to the Savior. - Epiphanius The Latin: Interpretation of the Gospels 25

It is enough to to reflect deeply on these words to understand the hope which has blossomed in the West of those babes who die without being 'born again' or 'born of water and the spirit'.

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