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Author Topic: Is it okay to agree with Immaculate Conception and still be Orthodox?  (Read 35586 times) Average Rating: 0
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #45 on: April 12, 2008, 01:22:01 PM »

My own "dogmatic tradition" was actually the Romanidian view, but then I came around to seeing things differently. That said, I am not convinced that we (me, you, ozgeorge) actually have different views on the subject, I just think there is a stubborn insistence in misreading the Western position and where it is coming from that was not characteristic of Orthodox teachers and theologians in the past.
Actually, I really don't object to the content of Western dogmatic theology as though most of her concepts are nowhere to be found in the Eastern Fathers.  My bone of contention with Western theology is her apparently unbalanced and restrictive dependence on the wisdom and teachings of a select few of the Holy Fathers as though this were the entire breadth of the Patristic Consensus.  I don't doubt that we can find support for a Western view of original sin in such Eastern luminaries as St. Gregory Palamas and St. Nicholas Cabasilas, but this is quite possibly only a small part of the much larger picture that we might actually be ignoring.
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« Reply #46 on: April 12, 2008, 01:26:30 PM »

Human nature was not redeemed in Mary and then passed on to Christ, it was redeemed in Christ.  The only conception that was immaculate was Christ's because as I believe Hipplytus said, he wove humanity into his divine nature as an act of his will. At this point it was purified.

Some here are trying to argue that because various Fathers don't condemn the Immaculate Conception that therefore it's ok to believe. Then they try to find quotes from Eastern Fathers that make it sound like one could extrapolate an immaculate conception doctrine from them. No! It was not taught as the consensus of the Fathers.  People were deified without this doctrine. The faith survived without this doctrine.  No Father has systematized even speculation on this doctrine. There is no need to believe it and speculation on it is dangerous. A friend of mine ended up going into schism and becoming an Eastern Catholic over this speculation. Let's stick with what we know, and not venture to guess on what we don't. Are any of us really qualified to speculate on something our Fathers have not defined?
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« Reply #47 on: April 12, 2008, 01:38:07 PM »

Actually there is no damage done to the gospel because of the Immaculate Conception. You assume that because Mary was concieved free from Original Sin that she is Intrinsically different from the rest of humanity. However that means that you must assume that Original Sin is intrinsic to being human. This is completely fasle. When man was created he was created in the state of original perfection with no OS. OS was added to humanity later so it is actually extrinsic to the human person. Because it is extrinsic if one person does not have OS and another does then they are only extrinsically different and not intrinsically different. Furthermore, to be free from OS does not make some one less human. It actually means that a person has a more fully actualized humanity because OS is not proper to the human person but, rather, a defect imposed by sin. All of us who are concieved with original sin have a broken or damaged human nature. But Mary, because she does not have this broken or damaged human nature is not less human but more. Finally, you assume that because she does not have original sin that she does not have a free will. Again this is an invalid conclusion. Ask your self the following question. Were Adam and Eve created with OS? The answer is a resounding "NO". Yet did that prohibit them from possessing a free will? Absolutely not! We know from the scriptures that they did in fact have a free will and we know this because they did, in fact, choose to sin. Being free from the stain of OS does not mean that one does not have a human free will nor does it mean that one does not still have the free choice to sin or not to sin. In fact, a preson who is concieved with out original sin would have a greater freedom to choose not to sin because such a person who have an undamaged will. Again you claim that

Mary's freedom from OS undermines her free will? Did Adam and Eve's freedom from OS undermine their free will?

Just to clarify what the IC is. It simply means that from the first moment of her existance, Mary, just like Adam and Eve, was free from Original Sin. Is does not mean that she had no free will. It does not mean that the she could not have chosen to sin. It does not mean that she was not humjan. It simply means that she was created with a perfect human nature just as Adam and Eve were.
Uh, I think I asked you only for a correction of my restatement of the text of the Immaculate Conception dogma articulated by Pope Pius IX in 1854.  I didn't ask for a complete RC spiel on how the Immaculate Conception is consistent with the [RC view of the] Gospel of Jesus Christ, particularly because that isn't what the OP requested on this, the [Orthodox] Faith Issues board.
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« Reply #48 on: April 12, 2008, 01:40:48 PM »


Uh, I think I asked you only for a correction of my restatement of the text of the Immaculate Conception dogma articulated by Pope Pius IX in 1854.  I didn't ask for a complete RC spiel on how the Immaculate Conception is consistent with the [RC view of the] Gospel of Jesus Christ, particularly because that isn't what the OP requested on this, the [Orthodox] Faith Issues board.
All I did was correct your misunderstanding. It took some explaining to so but for you to accuse me of more than correction is just silly. Don't start problems where there are none. I think that is called "trolling".
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« Reply #49 on: April 12, 2008, 02:00:22 PM »

All I did was correct your misunderstanding. It took some explaining to so but for you to accuse me of more than correction is just silly. Don't start problems where there are none. I think that is called "trolling".
I asked the question, so it is my prerogative to define and explain my question and what a satisfactory answer to my question is.
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« Reply #50 on: April 12, 2008, 02:03:06 PM »

I asked the question, so it is my prerogative to define and explain my question and what a satisfactory answer to my question is.
If you don't want a complete answer, then don't ask the question.
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« Reply #51 on: April 12, 2008, 02:42:08 PM »

2.  The dogma sets Mary apart from the rest of humanity in a way that is detrimental to the Gospel.  If she was consecrated from her conception for the purpose of bearing the Son of God into the world, and if she was rendered, by God's grace, intrinsically different from the rest of man, then she is not truly and fully human with human free will.  She could not have chosen to obey her calling if she was predestined to do so.  The great example for us and the act that made salvation possible is Mary's free will obedience to God's plan of salvation, when she could very well have said to God, "No, I will not submit to your plan."  She needed to obey out of the freedom of her will, something the dogma of the Immaculate Conception denies her.
Maybe I should reassign the emphases in the above paragraph to make it express my reasoning more clearly, since I misled you into arguing about the affect of freedom from Original Sin on free human will.  Maybe someone is totally free to exercise her own free will, but can she REALLY submit freely to her calling if she is predestined to do so?  The question I really meant to broach regards the interplay between God's sovereign predestination and man's free will.
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« Reply #52 on: April 12, 2008, 06:49:29 PM »

Human nature was not redeemed in Mary and then passed on to Christ, it was redeemed in Christ.  The only conception that was immaculate was Christ's because as I believe Hipplytus said, he wove humanity into his divine nature as an act of his will. At this point it was purified.

Some here are trying to argue that because various Fathers don't condemn the Immaculate Conception that therefore it's ok to believe. Then they try to find quotes from Eastern Fathers that make it sound like one could extrapolate an immaculate conception doctrine from them. No! It was not taught as the consensus of the Fathers.  People were deified without this doctrine. The faith survived without this doctrine.  No Father has systematized even speculation on this doctrine. There is no need to believe it and speculation on it is dangerous. A friend of mine ended up going into schism and becoming an Eastern Catholic over this speculation. Let's stick with what we know, and not venture to guess on what we don't. Are any of us really qualified to speculate on something our Fathers have not defined?

Bravo!
And yes, the Immaculate Conception makes the Virgin Mary the Redeemer of our Fallen Nature.
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« Reply #53 on: April 13, 2008, 12:51:11 AM »

I have had lengthy discussions about this over at Monachos and also at Energetic Procession, and I don't want to rehash it again.

A starting place would be these blogs from Ephrem Hugh Bensusan:

http://razilazenje.blogspot.com/2006/03/original-sin-in-eastern-orthodox.html
http://razilazenje.blogspot.com/2006/12/ancestral-vs-original-sin-false.html
http://razilazenje.blogspot.com/2007/01/original-sin-west-haters-strike-back.html

Right.  Well.....I've noticed for a long time that you are a big fan of Bensusan.  (Your old avatar even came from his blog, if I am not mistaken.Wink)  He makes some good points that should be taken into consideration and given serious thought, but in my opinion it is going too far to say that the West has been unfairly "slandered" when Orthodox theologians have opined that it tends to have different views than the Orthodox do concerning original sin. 

Quite apart from all the opinions voiced here by Peter, Ozgeorge and Anastasios, (which I agree with), I would like to say: lex orandi, lex credendi.....or perhaps "by their fruits you shall know them."  If the West is pretty much the same as the East on the issue of original sin, why is it that the West seems to have had so many more neurotic "hang ups" with hellfire through the ages?  Quite a few Western children have been scared out of their wits by Western clerics and theologians who have threatened them with fire and brimstone because of their innate "wickedness".  Of course, Many Eastern children have been turned off the Orthodox Church as well, but for different inexcusable reasons than the inexcusable reasons that have come to pass in the West, as far as I can tell.  Wink  I'm sure you'll come back now with some quotes from Kalomiros or one of the Eastern Fathers or a hideous icon of the last judgment or tell me that this really has nothing to do with how the doctrine of original sin is perceived.  But I think it does.  I think there is a difference, and the proof is in the pudding, so to speak.
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« Reply #54 on: April 13, 2008, 01:33:30 AM »

Human nature was not redeemed in Mary and then passed on to Christ, it was redeemed in Christ.  The only conception that was immaculate was Christ's because as I believe Hipplytus said, he wove humanity into his divine nature as an act of his will. At this point it was purified.

Some here are trying to argue that because various Fathers don't condemn the Immaculate Conception that therefore it's ok to believe. Then they try to find quotes from Eastern Fathers that make it sound like one could extrapolate an immaculate conception doctrine from them. No! It was not taught as the consensus of the Fathers.  People were deified without this doctrine. The faith survived without this doctrine.  No Father has systematized even speculation on this doctrine. There is no need to believe it and speculation on it is dangerous. A friend of mine ended up going into schism and becoming an Eastern Catholic over this speculation. Let's stick with what we know, and not venture to guess on what we don't. Are any of us really qualified to speculate on something our Fathers have not defined?

I think there has been a misunderstanding. I am not advocating the IC, but am in fact against it. I am only attacking the underpinnings of certain arguments against it (i.e. that it supposedly comes from a false conception of Original Sin).
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« Reply #55 on: April 13, 2008, 01:50:06 AM »

Bravo!
And yes, the Immaculate Conception makes the Virgin Mary the Redeemer of our Fallen Nature.

That does seem to be a good argument against the IC, and one that I hadn't thought of before.
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« Reply #56 on: April 13, 2008, 02:03:02 AM »

Right.  Well.....I've noticed for a long time that you are a big fan of Bensusan.  (Your old avatar even came from his blog, if I am not mistaken.Wink)  He makes some good points that should be taken into consideration and given serious thought, but in my opinion it is going too far to say that the West has been unfairly "slandered" when Orthodox theologians have opined that it tends to have different views than the Orthodox do concerning original sin.

Yes, I do enjoy Ephraim's writings quite a bit, even when I disagree with him (which is less and less, these days). His conclusions appear to me to be pretty much spot on (and I concluded this after much resistance, consideration, and serious thought).

Quote
Quite apart from all the opinions voiced here by Peter, Ozgeorge and Anastasios, (which I agree with), I would like to say: lex orandi, lex credendi.....or perhaps "by their fruits you shall know them."  If the West is pretty much the same as the East on the issue of original sin, why is it that the West seems to have had so many more neurotic "hang ups" with hellfire through the ages?  Quite a few Western children have been scared out of their wits by Western clerics and theologians who have threatened them with fire and brimstone because of their innate "wickedness".  Of course, Many Eastern children have been turned off the Orthodox Church as well, but for different inexcusable reasons than the inexcusable reasons that have come to pass in the West, as far as I can tell.  Wink  I'm sure you'll come back now with some quotes from Kalomiros or one of the Eastern Fathers or a hideous icon of the last judgment or tell me that this really has nothing to do with how the doctrine of original sin is perceived.  But I think it does.  I think there is a difference, and the proof is in the pudding, so to speak.

What is the logical connection between the Western preaching of hell fire and and the Western idea of Original Sin? Huh I'm not seeing it.

Anyway, like you predicted, I will cite an example from the east: St. John Chrysostom preaches hellfire and damnation (and in quite literal terms) probably more than Jonathan Edwards
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« Reply #57 on: April 13, 2008, 02:13:02 AM »

I think there has been a misunderstanding. I am not advocating the IC, but am in fact against it. I am only attacking the underpinnings of certain arguments against it (i.e. that it supposedly comes from a false conception of Original Sin).
Yet you did say in one of your first posts on this thread that you deem it acceptable for Orthodox to believe in the Immaculate Conception as a private theological opinion, even though you personally disagree with the doctrine.

St. Gennadius Scholarius believed in the Immaculate Conception in a very Scotistic sense. I think its wrong and shouldn't be dogmatized, but I have no problem accepting it as a private theological opinion about which men may disagree.
(emphasis mine)

Therefore, I see Anastasios actually understanding you correctly. Wink
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« Reply #58 on: April 13, 2008, 02:21:29 AM »

Yet you did say in one of your first posts on this thread that you deem it acceptable for Orthodox to believe in the Immaculate Conception as a private theological opinion, even though you personally disagree with the doctrine.
(emphasis mine)

Therefore, I see Anastasios actually understanding you correctly. Wink

Yes, but I am not trying to show that the IC can be "extrapolate[d]" from the Eastern Fathers.
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« Reply #59 on: April 13, 2008, 02:22:00 AM »

I found this article regarding St. Irenaeus's view of the original sin quite enlightening.  http://zimmerman.catholic.ac/evolution12.htm

...

Maybe this doesn't address directly the definition of original sin, the Augustinian view that makes Immaculate Conception necessary in the minds of some, and an Orthodox defense against this.  But this does, however, frame our understanding of original sin within the backdrop of a totally different understanding of the narrative of the creation of Man and his fall.  Now, does an Irenaean view of the Fall make an Augustinian view of original sin even possible?
Symeon,

I'm not going to let you ignore the most venerable Father Irenaeus in this discussion.  After reading the article I linked above and some of the accompanying quotes from St. Irenaeus (in the article), what have you to say about his view of original sin?  I think he can be classed as just as Eastern as he is Western, and he was only one or two generations removed from the Holy Apostle John the Theologian, which puts him much closer to the Apostles than any Father you've quoted thus far.
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« Reply #60 on: April 13, 2008, 02:28:10 AM »

Yes, but I am not trying to show that the IC can be "extrapolate[d]" from the Eastern Fathers.
Well, you have tried to show how a Western view of original sin can be extrapolated from the Eastern Fathers.
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« Reply #61 on: April 13, 2008, 02:36:19 AM »

St. Irenaeus doesn't dwell on the subject of Original Sin at length, but he does write of a kind of racial solidarity in Adam's sin.

Against Heresies 5:16:3
Quote
And not by the aforesaid things alone has the Lord manifested Himself, but [He has done this] also by means of His passion. For doing away with [the effects of] that disobedience of man which had taken place at the beginning by the occasion of a tree, “He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross;” rectifying that disobedience which had occurred by reason of a tree, through that obedience which was [wrought out] upon the tree [of the cross]. Now He would not have come to do away, by means of that same [image], the disobedience which had been incurred towards our Maker if He proclaimed another Father. But inasmuch as it was by these things that we disobeyed God, and did not give credit to His word, so was it also by these same that He brought in obedience and consent as respects His Word; by which things He clearly shows forth God Himself, whom indeed we had offended in the first Adam, when he did not perform His commandment. In the second Adam, however, we are reconciled, being made obedient even unto death. For we were debtors to none other but to Him whose commandment we had transgressed at the beginning.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.vii.xvii.html
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« Reply #62 on: April 13, 2008, 02:37:48 AM »

Well, you have tried to show how a Western view of original sin can be extrapolated from the Eastern Fathers.

Yes, but that isn't the same thing as the IC.  Wink
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« Reply #63 on: April 13, 2008, 03:03:16 AM »

St. Irenaeus doesn't dwell on the subject of Original Sin at length,
Of course not, because he held to a totally different view of the sin of Adam and Eve.  Instead of a major fall from a state of perfection through willful rebellion, the sin of our first parents was to Irenaeus the impetuous disobedience of young, inexperienced children.  Instead of the stain of depravity and guilt that comes from an Augustinian view of the Fall, we see in Irenaeus an emphasis on the curse of death and increased human weakness in the face of temptation.  (I'm trying to find specific quotes from his writings to serve as examples, but the web site to which I posted a link earlier today doesn't want to open.)
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« Reply #64 on: April 13, 2008, 04:51:15 AM »

Of course not, because he held to a totally different view of the sin of Adam and Eve.
I think it is primarily because he was refuting the Gnostic madmen and so the subject was not of prime importance.

Quote
Instead of a major fall from a state of perfection through willful rebellion, the sin of our first parents was to Irenaeus the impetuous disobedience of young, inexperienced children.
There may be a small difference of emphasis in patristic views of what Catholics call "Original Justice," but I am primarily interested in the "after," i.e. Original Sin. Men can live like angels, as St. Ambrose says, and still be young and inexperienced. St. Maximus teaches us that it was because of their inexperience that Adam and Eve fell. Their gnomic will needed to be trained in the virtues. For all that, he still holds a very severe view of Original Sin that is almost Augustinian.

Quote
Instead of the stain of depravity and guilt that comes from an Augustinian view of the Fall, we see in Irenaeus an emphasis on the curse of death and increased human weakness in the face of temptation.
Well, like I said, St. Irenaeus also sees a solidarity of all men in Adam's sin.

Quote
(I'm trying to find specific quotes from his writings to serve as examples, but the web site to which I posted a link earlier today doesn't want to open.)
The essay opens fine for me.
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« Reply #65 on: April 13, 2008, 12:20:29 PM »

Peter, however we define Original Sin, we can all agree that at some point at Adam and Eve didn't have it. Nonetheless, they had real and free human wills. The same would be true of the Theotokos if she were born of the IC.

This is my view. Should not be surprise, since I did become a Catholic after considering EO. The IC allowed Our Lady to become the New Eve. It gave her true free will, unimpeded by original sin. She could have sinned, but she chose not to. The IC made her truly free to make that choice. The IC is so important to my understanding of Mary that my belief that she was sinless throughout her life would not hold without it. Romans 3:23: "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Our wills were corrupted by the Fall---we are enslaved in sin, from the beginning. But enough of our wills remain to choose Christ, who "make(s) all things new." Our Lady, bearer of the Christ, also her savior, had a body uninjured by sin, because from her conception she was given the grace to be free to remain pure and undefiled.

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« Reply #66 on: April 13, 2008, 02:41:04 PM »

Maybe I should reassign the emphases in the above paragraph to make it express my reasoning more clearly, since I misled you into arguing about the affect of freedom from Original Sin on free human will.  Maybe someone is totally free to exercise her own free will, but can she REALLY submit freely to her calling if she is predestined to do so?  The question I really meant to broach regards the interplay between God's sovereign predestination and man's free will.
The IC doesn't destroy free will because it does not take away Mary's free will. She, like Adam and Eve, could have chosen to sin if she willed it. She simply did not.
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« Reply #67 on: April 13, 2008, 05:06:13 PM »

Our Lady, bearer of the Christ, also her savior, had a body uninjured by sin, because from her conception she was given the grace to be free to remain pure and undefiled.

But her body was "injured" bys in in the sense that it was still subject to mortality, hence she died (or fell asleep) and was taken up into heaven.

My question to you Lubeltri and Papist, was Mary in need of the cross of Christ as the rest of us?  If so, then she doesn't need to be immaculately conceived. If not, then the Scriptures and Holy Fathers lie when it says that Christ came to save us all.
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« Reply #68 on: April 13, 2008, 05:20:04 PM »

It's not so much that the free will was literally taken, but it raises more questions.

1.  Did she know she was free from Original Sin?
2.  Was she raised to become the Mother of God?  Does that mean knew from birth she would be chosen to be the Mother of God?
3.  Wouldn't that mean that she was pressured to accept being the Mother of God?

This last part is the crucial part.  This is why the free choice debate ensues when it comes to the IC.  It's not so much as the faculty is removed, but that the environment around her forces her to choose something that she may have not even wanted.  Imagine if she didn't accept after all.  Does that mean she's the only human being without Original Sin until God finds another?

Now, we all know God knew she was going to accept, but within human limitations, God had to act accordingly so that no pressure is left upon her to accept such a burdensome responsibility for the sake of all mankind.  In fact, we know very well from St. Luke she had no idea she was being considered as Theotokos.  Thus, it doesn't make any sense how someone who did not know would be given an exemption to the effects of Original Sin.

Consider this passage from Leo of Rome, his 24th Sermon:

Quote
And each one is a partaker of this spiritual origin in regeneration; and to every one when he is re-born, the water of baptism is like the Virgin's womb; for the same Holy Spirit fills the font, Who filled the Virgin, that the sin, which that sacred conception overthrew, may be taken away by this mystical washing.‎

If the Virgin was without sin, why would Leo, the Pope of Rome and leader of Chalcedon, say that the Holy Spirit came just to clean off that sin that the Virgin carried?

God bless.
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« Reply #69 on: April 13, 2008, 07:08:55 PM »

This is my view. Should not be surprise, since I did become a Catholic after considering EO. The IC allowed Our Lady to become the New Eve. It gave her true free will, unimpeded by original sin. She could have sinned, but she chose not to. The IC made her truly free to make that choice. The IC is so important to my understanding of Mary that my belief that she was sinless throughout her life would not hold without it. Romans 3:23: "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Our wills were corrupted by the Fall---we are enslaved in sin, from the beginning. But enough of our wills remain to choose Christ, who "make(s) all things new." Our Lady, bearer of the Christ, also her savior, had a body uninjured by sin, because from her conception she was given the grace to be free to remain pure and undefiled.
But how does this address the question of the OP?  How does this explain how it's possible to hold to belief in the Immaculate Conception and be Orthodox?  (You may have noticed that I haven't yet moved this thread to Orthodox-Catholic Discussions. Wink  The way the OP voiced his question does make this an issue internal to the Orthodox Faith.)
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« Reply #70 on: April 13, 2008, 07:42:34 PM »

Well, like I said, St. Irenaeus also sees a solidarity of all men in Adam's sin.
Which is possible if St. Irenaeus also sees the biblical narrative of the fall of Adam and Eve as an allegory of the fall of all mankind rather than as a literal historical account.

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The essay opens fine for me.
It opened for me when I originally posted the link.  Probably a momentary connection glitch when I tried to open it again hours later.
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« Reply #71 on: April 13, 2008, 08:25:47 PM »

But how does this address the question of the OP?  How does this explain how it's possible to hold to belief in the Immaculate Conception and be Orthodox?  (You may have noticed that I haven't yet moved this thread to Orthodox-Catholic Discussions. Wink  The way the OP voiced his question does make this an issue internal to the Orthodox Faith.)

Sorry about that!  Smiley I got so caught up in this lengthy and interesting discussion that I forgot the OP.

My answer to the OP would be....probably not. At least for me. That's why I became a Catholic and not EO. I didn't think that you EO would accept me if I remained Augustinian. Who knows, maybe I might have chosen EO if I had lived during the Captivity.  Wink
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« Reply #72 on: April 13, 2008, 08:45:40 PM »

My goodness things go wild over the weekend...  Embarrassed

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« Reply #73 on: April 13, 2008, 09:46:53 PM »

I read several books on Orthodox views of Our Blessed Virgin Mother and I appear to continue to hold to the Immaculate Conception. I once thought I read the Bishop Ware stated that it was okay. Is it okay?

I make take some slack for saying this, but my impression of Metropolitan Kallistos is that he places too much emphasis on the distinction between dogma and theologoumena.  In other writings, he has hinted that the only things we are strictly obligated to accept are the dogmatic definitions.  While this may sit well in ecumenism, I don't believe it is a fully accurate presentation of the Orthodox Faith.  While non-dogmatic teachings are in the realm of theologoumena, all theologoumena aren't equal.  Those theological opinions that we are taught in an ordinary fashion that have been affirmed at all times and all places by the faithful, are as much of an obligation for us to believe as are dogmatic definitions.  In fact, dogmas come from this body of universally accepted theologoumena and are meant to be defenses of them. 

The Immaculate Conception of the Theotokos fails to be a teaching held by the faithful of all times and all places, as it began in the West in the 12th century and enjoyed a long period of divided loyalty in the West and even gained some adherents in Orthodoxy.  However, that doesn't change the fact that this teaching is new and innovative and is not and cannot become an Orthodox belief.  At best, it is a speculative, theological opinion, which has much to disprove it and little to support it.  While you cannot be called a heretic for holding to it as an opinion, you may become a heretic once you try to defend it, as it isn't based on sound Orthodox principles. 

God bless,

Adam       
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« Reply #74 on: April 13, 2008, 10:05:20 PM »

I make take some slack for saying this, but my impression of Metropolitan Ware is that he places too much emphasis on the distinction between dogma and theologoumena.  In other writings, he has hinted that the only things we are strictly obligated to accept are the dogmatic definitions.  While this may sit well in ecumenism, I don't believe it is a fully accurate presentation of the Orthodox Faith.  While non-dogmatic teachings are in the realm of theologoumena, all theologoumena aren't equal.  Those theological opinions that we are taught in an ordinary fashion that have been affirmed at all times and all places by the faithful, are as much of an obligation for us to believe as are dogmatic definitions.  In fact, dogmas come from this body of universally accepted theologoumena and are meant to be defenses of them. 

The Immaculate Conception of the Theotokos fails to be a teaching held by the faithful of all times and all places, as it began in the West in the 12th century and enjoyed a long period of divided loyalty in the West and even gained some adherents in Orthodoxy.  However, that doesn't change the fact that this teaching is new and innovative and is not and cannot become an Orthodox belief.  At best, it is a speculative, theological opinion, which has much to disprove it and little to support it.  While you cannot be called a heretic for holding to it as an opinion, you may become a heretic once you try to defend it, as it isn't based on sound Orthodox principles. 

God bless,

Adam       

Thanks Adam for the measured response.
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« Reply #75 on: April 13, 2008, 10:22:38 PM »

Who's this Metropolitan Ware?  I only know of a Metropolitan Kallistos Wink
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« Reply #76 on: April 13, 2008, 10:33:57 PM »

I didn't desire to get everyone in a conflict.
On a discussion board, debate does not necessarily equate to conflict, so don't fret that you started a fight or anything.  It's all good. Wink

Quote
"From the Orthodox point of view, however, the whole question belongs to the realm of theological opinion; and if an individual Orthodox today felt impelled to believe in the Immaculate Conception, he or she could not be termed a heretic for so doing" (Ware, The Orthodox Church, 260).

This is the quote I was familiar with and the one I believe affords me recognition of the Immaculate Conception as acceptable for me to claim.
One thing to remember:  Metropolitan Kallistos may be the most recognizable and most knowledgeable catechist in the Church today, but that doesn't make him an infallible authority on anything.  Every one of us is certainly free to disagree with his theological opinions without forfeiting any level of Orthodoxy.  In fact, he may just be wrong on the statement you quoted.
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« Reply #77 on: April 13, 2008, 10:59:52 PM »

From reading the passage in Metropolitan Kallistos' book, I get the impression that he is not so much encouraging the belief in the Immaculate Conception, but applying brakes to the very real danger of declaring someone who might believe it a heretic. And let's face it, that is a term that is bandied about with much abandon.

Metropolitan Kallistos states;

In the past individual Orthodox have made statement which, if not definitely affirming the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, at any rate approach close to it; but since 1854 the majority of Orthodox have rejected the doctrine, for several reasons. They feel it to be unnecessary; they feel that, at any rate as defined by the Roman Catholic Church, it implies a false understanding of original sin; they suspect the doctrine because it seems to separate Mary from the rest of the descendants of Adam, putting her in a completely different class from all the other righteous men and women of the Old Testament.

It seems to me that this is a question that should be discussed with a priest or one's spiritual father, because of the confusion there might be in any understanding, especially if coming from a Roman Catholic background. Only with discussion could points of confusion be identified and irradicated and the belief brought in line with Orthodox thinking. 
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« Reply #78 on: April 13, 2008, 11:14:05 PM »

Ignatius,

If you click on the audio link below you will hear Fr. Tom Hopko's description of why we do not believe in the IC.
He speaks about it in the first third of this lecture. He came to California in November and delivered a whole retreat to us on, "Who is the Theotokos?" If you are interested you could listen to one lecture an evening for the next week or so. It was a very informative and interesting retreat.

Sincerely, Tamara

http://audio.ancientfaith.com/specials/hopkolectures/theotokos/hopkotheotokos1_2.mp3


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« Reply #79 on: April 15, 2008, 12:07:13 AM »

Which is possible if St. Irenaeus also sees the biblical narrative of the fall of Adam and Eve as an allegory of the fall of all mankind rather than as a literal historical account.

Yes, except that St. Irenaeus, like every early church father (with the moderate exception of Origen), viewed the biblical narrative as literal. We went over this in an earlier thread. Why would he even have a reason not to, btw? There was no "evolution" back then.
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« Reply #80 on: April 15, 2008, 01:15:32 AM »

The Immaculate Conception of the Theotokos fails to be a teaching held by the faithful of all times and all places, as it began in the West in the 12th century and enjoyed a long period of divided loyalty in the West and even gained some adherents in Orthodoxy.  However, that doesn't change the fact that this teaching is new and innovative and is not and cannot become an Orthodox belief.  At best, it is a speculative, theological opinion, which has much to disprove it and little to support it.  While you cannot be called a heretic for holding to it as an opinion, you may become a heretic once you try to defend it, as it isn't based on sound Orthodox principles. 

God bless,

Adam       

This is pretty close to how I feel about the IC.
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« Reply #81 on: April 15, 2008, 01:31:00 AM »

Why would he even have a reason not to, btw? There was no "evolution" back then.
So, because there was no theory of evolution back in the second century, St. Irenaeus had no reason to believe in anything other than a literal interpretation of the Creation of Man narrative?  You mean to say that the theory of evolution is the only reason anyone could understand these narratives as allegory? Roll Eyes  I'm sorry, but that line of anachronistic baloney just doesn't even come close to meeting the standards of intellectual rigor you try to display here.
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« Reply #82 on: April 15, 2008, 01:35:56 AM »

So, because there was no theory of evolution back in the second century, St. Irenaeus had no reason to believe in anything other than a literal interpretation of the Creation of Man narrative? You mean to say that the theory of evolution is the only reason anyone could understand these narratives as allegory? Roll Eyes

Well, it's pretty much the only reason people see the need to do it today. The Fathers "allegorized" the scriptures and drew deeper meaning from them, so to speak, but in doing that they saw no need to disregard the narrative as fictitious and not historical. The only reason Origen did so was because of his theological presuppositions (i.e. preexistence of souls).

Quote
I'm sorry, but that line of anachronistic baloney just doesn't even come close to meeting the standards of intellectual rigor you try to display here.

You can't please everyone.  Wink I think, if anything, forcing the Genesis narrative as pure allegory with no history onto the Fathers is "anachronistic baloney."
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« Reply #83 on: April 15, 2008, 02:02:08 AM »

Well, it's pretty much the only reason people see the need to do it today. The Fathers "allegorized" the scriptures and drew deeper meaning from them, so to speak, but in doing that they saw no need to disregard the narrative as fictitious and not historical. The only reason Origen did so was because of his theological presuppositions (i.e. preexistence of souls).

You can't please everyone.  Wink I think, if anything, forcing the Genesis narrative as pure allegory with no history onto the Fathers is "anachronistic baloney."
Pure allegory... historical narrative...  Which view is Patristic isn't even my point.  Besides, I don't see what this has to with any dogma of Original Sin and/or the Immaculate Conception.
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« Reply #84 on: April 15, 2008, 02:08:44 AM »

Pure allegory... historical narrative...  Which view is Patristic isn't even my point.  Besides, I don't see what this has to with any dogma of Original Sin and/or the Immaculate Conception.

Yes, let's avoid another thread split. Tongue Anyway, you attempted to explain St. Irenaeus' writing of a kind of solidarity of all men in Adam's sin by way of a supposedly allegorical view of Genesis, so how the Fathers viewed this matter is relevant to that at least.
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« Reply #85 on: April 15, 2008, 02:19:22 AM »

The article [http://zimmerman.catholic.ac/evolution12.htm] goes on to show how, OTOH, Irenaeus saw Adam and Eve as mere children in the process of growth and development, children whose sin grew out of their desire to grow up too fast, such that they tasted of experiences for which God had not yet made them ready.  God had already planned to walk with His children and guide them along the path to deification, but sin only made this work more difficult.
Symeon, I'm still not satisfied that you have yet critiqued the above thesis directly.  You've talked about other aspects of St. Irenaeus's theology that can be used to support your point of view on the solidarity of all men in sharing the guilt of Adam and Eve, and you've talked about what other Fathers have to say about the inexperience of Adam and Eve, but you haven't said anything about what Ireneaus had to say about this, which is the subject of the above.  I'm still waiting.
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« Reply #86 on: April 15, 2008, 02:21:37 AM »

Yes, let's avoid another thread split. Tongue Anyway, you attempted to explain St. Irenaeus' writing of a kind of solidarity of all men in Adam's sin by way of a supposedly allegorical view of Genesis, so how the Fathers viewed this matter is relevant to that at least.
I never made it an important point to address Irenaeus's view on the solidarity of all men in Adam's sin.  You did.  (My reply was just a passing comment.)  See the post immediately preceding this to see what I really want to address as important (to this discussion) in Irenaeus's work, and what I'm not going to let you dance around for the sake of your rhetoric.
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« Reply #87 on: April 15, 2008, 03:07:52 AM »

My own Mother memory eternal had a great devotion to the Most Holy Mother of God,,The holy Mother appeared to her on several occasions ....I asked Her once about the immaculate conception she never denied it ...Her devotion and love was so great to the holy Mother Of God.......stanislav
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« Reply #88 on: April 15, 2008, 03:13:24 AM »

Ok, I can address that by saying I agree with it. That Adam and Eve were "mere children in the process of growth and development, children whose sin grew out of their desire to grow up too fast, such that they tasted of experiences for which God had not yet made them ready.  God had already planned to walk with His children and guide them along the path to deification, but sin only made this work more difficult."
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« Reply #89 on: April 15, 2008, 03:42:22 AM »

As to the OP, The Roman dogma of the Immaculate Conception is contrary to the beliefs of Orthodoxy. If Bishop Kallistos Ware's comment in his book, is meant to say that Orthodox christians can hold as an opinion the roman dogma, then he is wrong- once again(he is quite the lousy Orthodox theologian).

The RC definition of the Immaculate Conception is as follows:
"The doctrine which holds that the blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from all stain of original sin in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privelege of Almighty God, in consideration of the MERITS of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, has been revealed by God and must therefore be firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful."

This definition is full of difficulties for Orthodoxy.  First off, we are taught that the Theotokos was concieved by parents  who were spotless themselves,  because they themselves descended from a lineage of ancestors who were all holy.  St John of Damascus writes, "Joachim and Anna, how blessed and spotless a couple! You will be known by the fruit you have born  as the Lord says, 'By their fruits you will know them'. The conduct of your life pleased God and was worthy of your Daughter. For by the chaste and holy life you lead together you have fashioned a jewel of virginity..."  In the Matins of the Birth of The Theotokos we worship, "Ann, the barren and sterile, was not childless before God: For she was foreordained from many generations to become the mother of the pure Virgin, from whom the Maker of all creation sprang in the form of a servant."

A more damaging blow to the IC belief about the Theotokos being "preserved from all stain of original sin in the first instant of her Conception" is found in the Matinal Canon of the Service of the Annunciation, where a dialogue between the Angel Gabriel and the Theotokos takes place. About being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit the Virgin Mary responds:

"The descent of the Holy Spirit has purified my Soul and sanctified my Body, it has made me a Temple that containes God, a tabernacle divinely adorned, a living Sanctuary and the Pure Mother of Life." This event recalls Like 1.35-38

Another un-orthodox aspect of this dogma is the reference to the "merits" of Jesus Christ. That the crucifixion and ressurection of Christ in 33a.d.  actually saved Mary by going backwards thru space and time, thus saving her before it actually happened- is not Orthodox. In fact this belief renders the process of Theosis void.  Instead, as the holy Liturgical texts of the Orthodox church teach us, "O pure Virgin, sprung from mortal loins, thine end was conformable to thy nature..."(Dormition of the Theotokos). Christ Alone is the Immaculate Conception and any definition attempting to establish "when" or "how" the Theotokos remained sinless is futile and is a mystery .
"
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