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Author Topic: do spouses go to Heaven or hell together?  (Read 3354 times) Average Rating: 0
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erracht
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« on: April 29, 2004, 06:25:37 AM »

In a book I recently read, I found the statement of I think, an Optina elder, that one spouse cannot be saved without the other. I believe this is because spouses somehow become "one". An example is given by the book. In Tsarist Russia, there was a woman whose husband, an officer called Andrej, died drunk or something like that. She then became a "fool for Christ", and started going around in his uniform, calling herself Andrej and I guess praying for redemption until she got a divine message that he was saved. The story is like that more or less.

Now this is just strange. However spouses become one - "one flesh" in the Bible - they seem to continue to act like 2 people. What if one spouse is holy and the other a sinner? Will they both go to hell if the other doesn't repent? What exactly are the mechanics of this? Anyone know more?
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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2004, 09:55:23 AM »

I think logically it just doesn't make sence... especially in the cases of forced or arranged marriages.  Even though you become "one flesh" there are still 2 wills, and one person can not control what the other person is repentant for.
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« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2004, 10:52:37 AM »

I believe that the case you cite is that of St. Xenia (of St. Petersburg?).  It read to me like the wife was praying and in some way making penance/sacrifices to intercede for her husband.  Not that she thought that she was d*mned because he'd died in bad circumstances.

Seems to me that the context of "one flesh" does not mean that the man and woman cease to be individuals with Free Will and separate souls.  

It was the "one flesh" arguement that was used at times to say that married women should not have the Vote, since the husband would do it for her as well as in English law to keep certain legal rights away from her.  

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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2004, 06:50:24 AM »

Right - St. Xenia of St. Petersburg. Here is a good Life of her:

http://www.lillian-csernica.com/ST_XENIA.HTM
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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2004, 04:48:55 PM »

Erracht (you endearing literalist, you!  Smiley),

I think you're missing the Optina elder's point, and the point of St. Xenia's prophetic message.  It's not meant to be taken literaristically.  The point is that, as a Russian proverb puts it, "We are all saved, or damned, together."

I believe Dostoievsky has Fr. Zossima, whose character was based largely on St. Ambrose of Optina, say something like that in *The Brothers Karamazov.*  Could that be what you're thinking of?

In any case, the point is, I think, simply a renunciation of the popular (especially in the West) fallacy of the "self-made" or fully "independant man."  Orthodoxy emphasizes that we are formed in community, and the true saints are all the more in communion with their fellow creatures.  It's not supposed to mean that we can stop working out our salvation.  Quite the opposite; in the words of St. Seraphim of Sarov:  "Acquire the Holy Spirit, and a thousand souls around you will be saved."
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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2004, 10:48:52 AM »

Here is what the book said (my tr. from Serbian, in turn tr. from Russian). May not be 100% correct:

"Let husband and wife know for all times that they have no salvation one without the other...Either will spouses go together with faith on the sea of life or, if they doubt, neither will be saved from sinking. They will either enter the Kingdom of God together, or neither will enter. For can one body (I.E. the spouses no longer being two, but one flesh) be divided and one part being saved and the other perishing? Let us use a saying regarding marriage of the last Elder of Optina, the Blessed Nikon (Bielayev): "Spouses, your salvation or your damnation depends on your relation toward your spouse!" "
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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2004, 01:58:00 PM »

Here is what the book said (my tr. from Serbian, in turn tr. from Russian). May not be 100% correct:

"Let husband and wife know for all times that they have no salvation one without the other...Either will spouses go together with faith on the sea of life or, if they doubt, neither will be saved from sinking. They will either enter the Kingdom of God together, or neither will enter. For can one body (I.E. the spouses no longer being two, but one flesh) be divided and one part being saved and the other perishing? Let us use a saying regarding marriage of the last Elder of Optina, the Blessed Nikon (Bielayev): "Spouses, your salvation or your damnation depends on your relation toward your spouse!" "

Neb/Erracht,

How's Prague treating you?  Smiley

Now, it seems the actual quote from Blessed Nikon does not neccessarily lead to the conclusion that husbands are wives are either damned or saved as a pair. It seems the elder is basically saying: How you relate to (or treat) your spouse will affect your salvation.  Who wrote the first section of what you translated?
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2004, 08:44:47 AM »

Prague's so good, Peter, that I'm planning on returning long-term/permanently in August or September (I return to Toronto in June)!

The first part was written I think by a modern author from Russia. The book is about women in the Church.
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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2004, 01:09:01 PM »

I concur, Bogo, on your interpretation. And considering the translation x 2, there could be nuances that you're missing, Erracht.

Ebor
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« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2004, 01:26:53 PM »

Maybe I am off on this, but doesn't Jesus' answer to the Sadducees (Matt. 22:23-34) kinda answer this question?

23 The same day Sad'ducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection; and they asked him a question,

24 saying, "Teacher, Moses said, `If a man dies, having no children, his brother must marry the widow, and raise up children for his brother.'

25 Now there were seven brothers among us; the first married, and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother.

26 So too the second and third, down to the seventh.

27 After them all, the woman died.

28 In the resurrection, therefore, to which of the seven will she be wife? For they all had her."

29 But Jesus answered them, "You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God.

30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God,

32 `I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not God of the dead, but of the living."

33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sad'ducees, they came together.

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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2004, 04:51:06 PM »

Well...the point could be made from that, TomS, that we won't relate TO our spouses once we reach heaven the way we do here, but that really doesn't have to do with what was said above...don't you think?

The Optina elder just said our love for our spouses in this life determines our capacity to love, period, which determines our response to God.  Whether or not we actually are still "married" TO the spouse once in heaven is another thing.
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« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2004, 06:04:52 PM »

Well...the point could be made from that, TomS, that we won't relate TO our spouses once we reach heaven the way we do here, but that really doesn't have to do with what was said above...don't you think?

No. The question asked was:

"In a book I recently read, I found the statement of I think, an Optina elder, that one spouse cannot be saved without the other."

My point is that in heaven there is no concept of "spouse"; it is part of the corporeal world and has nothing to do with the spiritual world.
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2004, 01:42:34 PM »

No. The question asked was:

"In a book I recently read, I found the statement of I think, an Optina elder, that one spouse cannot be saved without the other."

My point is that in heaven there is no concept of "spouse"; it is part of the corporeal world and has nothing to do with the spiritual world.

Mmm.  Right, there's no concept of spouse in heaven, but would we not already be saved once heaven is a reality?  I think the point, illustrated by the part you quoted, was that one cannot truly ARRIVE AT that salvation without first having learned to live in love with one's spouse in this life.  Or, as Bogo put it, "It seems the elder is basically saying: How you relate to (or treat) your spouse will affect your salvation."
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« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2004, 03:36:12 AM »

This question is also dealt with in Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 7:

15   Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.
16   For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? (NASB)

Paul would not exhort us to allow the unbeliever leave (in sorrow and regret, of course) if that would destroy all chance for eternal life.
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« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2009, 11:15:24 PM »

God desires that two, one man and one woman should become one Flesh. 

There are spouses in heaven, the Kingdom of God is like a wedding with a wedding feast.

The Church is herself a bride.

The relationship between a husband and wife is an ICON of Christ and the Church.

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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2009, 12:06:20 AM »

Quote
Maybe I am off on this, but doesn't Jesus' answer to the Sadducees (Matt. 22:23-34) kinda answer this question?

23 The same day Sad'ducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection; and they asked him a question,

24 saying, "Teacher, Moses said, `If a man dies, having no children, his brother must marry the widow, and raise up children for his brother.'

25 Now there were seven brothers among us; the first married, and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother.

26 So too the second and third, down to the seventh.

27 After them all, the woman died.

28 In the resurrection, therefore, to which of the seven will she be wife? For they all had her."

29 But Jesus answered them, "You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God.

30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God,

32 `I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not God of the dead, but of the living."

33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sad'ducees, they came together

QFT.
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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2009, 12:29:46 AM »

In a book I recently read, I found the statement of I think, an Optina elder, that one spouse cannot be saved without the other. I believe this is because spouses somehow become "one". An example is given by the book. In Tsarist Russia, there was a woman whose husband, an officer called Andrej, died drunk or something like that. She then became a "fool for Christ", and started going around in his uniform, calling herself Andrej and I guess praying for redemption until she got a divine message that he was saved. The story is like that more or less.

Now this is just strange. However spouses become one - "one flesh" in the Bible - they seem to continue to act like 2 people. What if one spouse is holy and the other a sinner? Will they both go to hell if the other doesn't repent? What exactly are the mechanics of this? Anyone know more?
LOL. If I died and saw my ex wife, I'd worry about where I was. Not that life with her on this side was any picnic.

I remember one time my ex was horrified because her mother (the parents lived with us) said she didn't care if her husband, my ex's father, made it to heaven.  It was very interesting to see that dynamic: I had know by ex nearly ten years by then, and I could count on one hand the number of times she had said anything positive about her father, and at least half of those wasn't to praise him but to damn me.

My son last week was expressing his concern about his mother going to hell (they seem quite sure of that).  We went over the power of intercessory prayer, and the "save yourself and a thousand around you will be saved."  It would stand to reason that your spouse would be the first in that line.
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2009, 02:43:10 AM »

God desires that two, one man and one woman should become one Flesh. 

There are spouses in heaven, the Kingdom of God is like a wedding with a wedding feast.

The Church is herself a bride.

The relationship between a husband and wife is an ICON of Christ and the Church.


Since you revived a long-dormant thread with this post, I have to ask this question:  How does this apply to the subject of the thread you just resurrected?
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