OrthodoxChristianity.net
July 25, 2014, 05:00:13 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Does God Exist?  (Read 6210 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
truthstalker
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Evangelical Presbyterian
Posts: 166


« on: April 18, 2009, 07:08:16 PM »

I think He exists ("I am") but John Damascene seems to argue that He generates existence, as He is hyperessential (beyond existence). In other places JD seems to maintain God does exist.

Please explain.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2009, 07:09:03 PM by truthstalker » Logged
alexp4uni
Site Supporter
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: kinda practicing theist
Jurisdiction: ecumenical kind
Posts: 329


« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2009, 07:11:54 PM »

Have you attended services yet? Im talking about the whole of the Weeks services?
Logged
truthstalker
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Evangelical Presbyterian
Posts: 166


« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2009, 08:53:35 PM »

Have you attended services yet? Im talking about the whole of the Weeks services?

It's off topic, but no.   I have a lot of work to do before I could be ready to do that. I have not yet studied the DL and I want a good understanding of it before I go.   There is a Greek Orthodox church not too far from me.  I have read its website.

Now, about the topic.....
Logged
Marc Hanna
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox - Coptic/Armenian
Jurisdiction: Canada
Posts: 319



« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2009, 09:11:04 PM »

Yes, God does exist.  He is the source of all existence, and His existence is self-existent not dependent like everything else.  That's why He is the I AM; He is more real than anything else.
Logged
John of the North
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christianity
Jurisdiction: Eparchy of Edmonton and the West
Posts: 3,533


Christ is Risen!

tgild
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2009, 09:14:09 PM »

Have you attended services yet? Im talking about the whole of the Weeks services?

It's off topic, but no.   I have a lot of work to do before I could be ready to do that. I have not yet studied the DL and I want a good understanding of it before I go.   There is a Greek Orthodox church not too far from me.  I have read its website.

Now, about the topic.....

It's impossible to do that without experiencing it. Although, travelling the mystical journey through DL into heaven to worship with the Angels and Saints....it may be impossible to understand.
Logged

"Christianity is not a philosophy, not a doctrine, but life." - Elder Sophrony (Sakharov)
witega
Is it enough now, to tell you you matter?
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Diocese of the South
Posts: 1,614


« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2009, 10:07:22 PM »

I think He exists ("I am") but John Damascene seems to argue that He generates existence, as He is hyperessential (beyond existence). In other places JD seems to maintain God does exist.

Please explain.

This is basic apophatic theology. The Creator is absolutely transcendent over His creation. That is true not only of the 'physical' aspects of creation but the mental as well--that is, our finite, created minds cannot contain or truly comprehend His infinity, nor can our finite, created languages truly express Him.

Because He reveals Himself to us, we can make positive statements about God derived from that revelation. But we must recognize that those statements are at best limited and approximate while He is unlimited and Absolute. Thus, for example, He revealed Himself to Moses in the Burning Bush as the "I am." Based on that, we can certainly say that "He exists": the statement "God exists" is more true than the statement "God does not exist". But at the same time, that statement is only true to the extent that we recognize that God transcends any concept of "existence" that our creaturely minds can conceive. God does *not* exist in the way that you or I exist, or that the Sun exists, or that the concepts of time or justice exist. His 'existence' is of a completely other order, one which we cannot describe, but for which 'I am'/'He exists' is the closest that our minds can conceive.

Thus in St. John of Damascus (or indeed any Orthodox theologian) you will find 'disjunctions' like the one you have found. Speaking strictly, God is 'beyond existence' and in that since does not 'exist' as *we* are capable of defining existence. However, speaking more generally, "God does exist" is the closest our limited abilities can get to an actual true statement and thus is a usable statement.

(And yes, this does relate to your other question about linguistics. Orthodoxy does not privilege any particular language over others in terms of capability, though we do recognize the basic fact that the original language of a text is the best one for studying that text--the Septuagint being a special case not because Koine Greek is superior to Hebrew but because of the Tradition that the Septuagint translation was inspired--and done from more accurate textual tradition than the Masoretic one settled on several centuries later by the post-Christian Jewish community).



Also:
The question about attending a service is somewhat off-topic to this thread but not as much as you think. You appear to believe that you can approach Orthodoxy as an intellectual question and nail down a good understanding of it before attending liturgy. This is, in fact, a misunderstanding of the very concept of Orthodox belief. Orthodox does not reject intellectualism--from Justin Martyr to the Cappadocian Fathers to contemporaries like Vladimir Lossky or Fr. Florovosky easily demonstrate this--but Orthodoxy does reject the idea that the intellectual can exist in a separate space. Christ became fully human (fully human mind, fully human will, fully human body) in order that all aspects of the human existence could be saved. And it is only in this holistic approach in which mind, body, soul and will all approach the Church that one can actually begin to understand the Church. As long as all you have is the answers you can get out of books and off a message board, you will have a very limited understanding of Orthodoxy.
Logged

Ariel Starling - New album

For it were better to suffer everything, rather than divide the Church of God. Even martyrdom for the sake of preventing division would not be less glorious than for refusing to worship idols. - St. Dionysius the Great
Papist
Patriarch of Pontification
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Byzantine
Posts: 12,132


Truth, Justice, and the American way!


« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2009, 11:27:10 PM »

^ Fantastic post!
Logged

Note Papist's influence from the tyrannical monarchism of traditional papism .
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2009, 12:11:34 AM »

^^Witega's post has been nominated as seconded for Post of the Month
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
Irish Hermit
Kibernetski Kaludjer
Warned
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Posts: 10,991


Holy Father Patrick, pray for us


« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2009, 12:37:19 AM »

Christ is Risen!


This is basic apophatic theology. . .

Crist aras!

Witega,  you truly have an apt screen name.

Fr Ambrose
Logged
Alveus Lacuna
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA (Old Calendar)
Posts: 6,789



« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2009, 01:09:55 AM »

^^Witega's post has been nominated as seconded for Post of the Month

And third-ed!
Logged
Riddikulus
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Posts: 4,788



« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2009, 03:11:47 AM »

Excellent post, witega!!
Logged

I believe in One God, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Theodosius Dobzhansky, Russian Orthodox Christian (1900-1975)
truthstalker
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Evangelical Presbyterian
Posts: 166


« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2009, 08:40:25 PM »

I think He exists ("I am") but John Damascene seems to argue that He generates existence, as He is hyperessential (beyond existence). In other places JD seems to maintain God does exist.

Please explain.

This is basic apophatic theology. The Creator is absolutely transcendent over His creation. That is true not only of the 'physical' aspects of creation but the mental as well--that is, our finite, created minds cannot contain or truly comprehend His infinity, nor can our finite, created languages truly express Him.

Because He reveals Himself to us, we can make positive statements about God derived from that revelation. But we must recognize that those statements are at best limited and approximate while He is unlimited and Absolute. Thus, for example, He revealed Himself to Moses in the Burning Bush as the "I am." Based on that, we can certainly say that "He exists": the statement "God exists" is more true than the statement "God does not exist". But at the same time, that statement is only true to the extent that we recognize that God transcends any concept of "existence" that our creaturely minds can conceive. God does *not* exist in the way that you or I exist, or that the Sun exists, or that the concepts of time or justice exist. His 'existence' is of a completely other order, one which we cannot describe, but for which 'I am'/'He exists' is the closest that our minds can conceive.

Thus in St. John of Damascus (or indeed any Orthodox theologian) you will find 'disjunctions' like the one you have found. Speaking strictly, God is 'beyond existence' and in that since does not 'exist' as *we* are capable of defining existence. However, speaking more generally, "God does exist" is the closest our limited abilities can get to an actual true statement and thus is a usable statement.

(And yes, this does relate to your other question about linguistics. Orthodoxy does not privilege any particular language over others in terms of capability, though we do recognize the basic fact that the original language of a text is the best one for studying that text--the Septuagint being a special case not because Koine Greek is superior to Hebrew but because of the Tradition that the Septuagint translation was inspired--and done from more accurate textual tradition than the Masoretic one settled on several centuries later by the post-Christian Jewish community).



Also:
The question about attending a service is somewhat off-topic to this thread but not as much as you think. You appear to believe that you can approach Orthodoxy as an intellectual question and nail down a good understanding of it before attending liturgy. This is, in fact, a misunderstanding of the very concept of Orthodox belief. Orthodox does not reject intellectualism--from Justin Martyr to the Cappadocian Fathers to contemporaries like Vladimir Lossky or Fr. Florovosky easily demonstrate this--but Orthodoxy does reject the idea that the intellectual can exist in a separate space. Christ became fully human (fully human mind, fully human will, fully human body) in order that all aspects of the human existence could be saved. And it is only in this holistic approach in which mind, body, soul and will all approach the Church that one can actually begin to understand the Church. As long as all you have is the answers you can get out of books and off a message board, you will have a very limited understanding of Orthodoxy.

This was indeed a good post, nicely written, etc.  I had not been exposed to apophatic theology.  I just read part of the Orthodox Wiki article on it.  In contrast, "we shall know Him as He is" and "by His light we shall see light."  I think Aquinas would dispute apophatic theology, and most reformers would say things about overemphasizing God as hidden as opposed to "if you have seen me you have seen the Father" - the perfect revelation of God in Christ Jesus.

Nonetheless I concur that there are limits to language, and that there are unsearchable parts of God - things that the Spirit searches, but we cannot track further than a certain distance.  Aquinas goes too far, I think, in asserting that logic will take him where revelation is hushed.  There are limits to the reasoning powers of man, and to his speech, and before certain things we can only bow our heads in reverance.  The sacraments/mysteries of the Church are such.

One of those mysteries is the Incarnation.  God the Son exists in union with mortal man, forever one, one nature of which is beyond existence or thought, the other nature ours, and that one exists. So you could argue the God-Man exists, so God exists.

I will accept that I cannot understand Orthodoxy solely through the limited human expression in books and on the Internet, even through the medium of music - and there is some really good stuff on YouTube - but I have also watched some videos of Orthodox actions that simply leave me cold at best and freaked out at worst.  Someone who never went to a symphony and sat through it patiently might be asked to describe it, and his response might be that the music was fine, but there was this guy threatening them with a stick.  My instincts are that things are very wrong, very very wrong, and it is ingrained.  The robes and incense and foreign songs and strange motions - it is all new, all strange, and I need some intellectual apprehension lest I condemn what I do not understand as the work of the devil.  Icons, it has been drilled into me, are idols, for example, and priestcraft is pagan.
Some of this is beyond rationality, beyond language, and I need to be able to assess it rationally and irrationally in an effective way.  It is not that I regard Christianity as a thing of the mind only, or that Jesus does not meet man in mind and heart and body, it is rather that this is so different that I must fight instinct telling me it is wrong.  Perhaps it is like Gollum could not eat the elven-bread. Or perhaps it is something else.
Logged
Papist
Patriarch of Pontification
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Byzantine
Posts: 12,132


Truth, Justice, and the American way!


« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2009, 09:47:18 PM »



This was indeed a good post, nicely written, etc.  I had not been exposed to apophatic theology.  I just read part of the Orthodox Wiki article on it.  In contrast, "we shall know Him as He is" and "by His light we shall see light."  I think Aquinas would dispute apophatic theology,
No Aquinas wouldn't dispuste apophatic theology. Read my signature.
Logged

Note Papist's influence from the tyrannical monarchism of traditional papism .
truthstalker
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Evangelical Presbyterian
Posts: 166


« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2009, 10:06:56 PM »



This was indeed a good post, nicely written, etc.  I had not been exposed to apophatic theology.  I just read part of the Orthodox Wiki article on it.  In contrast, "we shall know Him as He is" and "by His light we shall see light."  I think Aquinas would dispute apophatic theology,
No Aquinas wouldn't dispuste apophatic theology. Read my signature.

I stand corrected. I think he also said something along the lines of we do not know God as what He is, but as what He is not.
Logged
Marc1152
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Rocor
Posts: 12,514


Probiotic .. Antibiotic


« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2009, 10:41:53 PM »


Also:
The question about attending a service is somewhat off-topic to this thread but not as much as you think. You appear to believe that you can approach Orthodoxy as an intellectual question and nail down a good understanding of it before attending liturgy. This is, in fact, a misunderstanding of the very concept of Orthodox belief. Orthodox does not reject intellectualism--from Justin Martyr to the Cappadocian Fathers to contemporaries like Vladimir Lossky or Fr. Florovosky easily demonstrate this--but Orthodoxy does reject the idea that the intellectual can exist in a separate space. Christ became fully human (fully human mind, fully human will, fully human body) in order that all aspects of the human existence could be saved. And it is only in this holistic approach in which mind, body, soul and will all approach the Church that one can actually begin to understand the Church. As long as all you have is the answers you can get out of books and off a message board, you will have a very limited understanding of Orthodoxy. 


Great point !  This is not Western Christianity. It is not a "Head thing"  as it were. It is not a matter of adding and subtracting all the factoids, drawing conclusions and then signing up ( or not). It is not contractual Christianity, you give your consent and get your salvation.

Instead, Orthodoxy is a "Practice" in a true Eastern sense. You submit by throwing yourself into the Practice and are thus transformed over time and with effort to a greater likeness of God ( Theosis).

If you were interested in Zen Buddhism, reading books about it will do you scant good. You would actually need to meditate, hour after hour under the guidance of a Zen Master to get the benefit of the practice. Same with Orthodox Christianity, practice first, read later.

I realize that approach takes you totally out of your normal game, but that may be a good thing for you.
Logged

Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm
truthstalker
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Evangelical Presbyterian
Posts: 166


« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2009, 11:02:14 PM »


Also:
The question about attending a service is somewhat off-topic to this thread but not as much as you think. You appear to believe that you can approach Orthodoxy as an intellectual question and nail down a good understanding of it before attending liturgy. This is, in fact, a misunderstanding of the very concept of Orthodox belief. Orthodox does not reject intellectualism--from Justin Martyr to the Cappadocian Fathers to contemporaries like Vladimir Lossky or Fr. Florovosky easily demonstrate this--but Orthodoxy does reject the idea that the intellectual can exist in a separate space. Christ became fully human (fully human mind, fully human will, fully human body) in order that all aspects of the human existence could be saved. And it is only in this holistic approach in which mind, body, soul and will all approach the Church that one can actually begin to understand the Church. As long as all you have is the answers you can get out of books and off a message board, you will have a very limited understanding of Orthodoxy. 


Great point !  This is not Western Christianity. It is not a "Head thing"  as it were. It is not a matter of adding and subtracting all the factoids, drawing conclusions and then signing up ( or not). It is not contractual Christianity, you give your consent and get your salvation.

Instead, Orthodoxy is a "Practice" in a true Eastern sense. You submit by throwing yourself into the Practice and are thus transformed over time and with effort to a greater likeness of God ( Theosis).

If you were interested in Zen Buddhism, reading books about it will do you scant good. You would actually need to meditate, hour after hour under the guidance of a Zen Master to get the benefit of the practice. Same with Orthodox Christianity, practice first, read later.

I realize that approach takes you totally out of your normal game, but that may be a good thing for you.

This strikes me as a caricature of Western Christianity, as if it were all head knowledge, and no practice, all doctrine and no obedience, all theory and no sanctification.  George MacDonald spoke of faith as throwing oneself down a dark well: entire commitment.  Justification is emphasized but is intrinsically related to sanctification: without the one the other does not occur. We are not antinomialists.  Faith without works IS dead.

This also smacks of gnosticism, hidden knowledge only acquired on the basis of mystical experience, not on the basis of the Logos, the revealed Word of God. His revelation was rationally stated in the Bible and is discussed rationally by rational men.  Using Zen Bhuddhism to explain Christianity smacks of syncretism. The Romans complain that the East has little immunity against heresy.

My "normal game" is to follow Christ as hard as I can, as much as I can, with all I can, whenever I can, with what I can, by and in and of the grace and faith He gives me.  If you are inviting me to do something else go take a walk.
Logged
John of the North
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christianity
Jurisdiction: Eparchy of Edmonton and the West
Posts: 3,533


Christ is Risen!

tgild
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2009, 11:27:26 PM »


Also:
The question about attending a service is somewhat off-topic to this thread but not as much as you think. You appear to believe that you can approach Orthodoxy as an intellectual question and nail down a good understanding of it before attending liturgy. This is, in fact, a misunderstanding of the very concept of Orthodox belief. Orthodox does not reject intellectualism--from Justin Martyr to the Cappadocian Fathers to contemporaries like Vladimir Lossky or Fr. Florovosky easily demonstrate this--but Orthodoxy does reject the idea that the intellectual can exist in a separate space. Christ became fully human (fully human mind, fully human will, fully human body) in order that all aspects of the human existence could be saved. And it is only in this holistic approach in which mind, body, soul and will all approach the Church that one can actually begin to understand the Church. As long as all you have is the answers you can get out of books and off a message board, you will have a very limited understanding of Orthodoxy. 


Great point !  This is not Western Christianity. It is not a "Head thing"  as it were. It is not a matter of adding and subtracting all the factoids, drawing conclusions and then signing up ( or not). It is not contractual Christianity, you give your consent and get your salvation.

Instead, Orthodoxy is a "Practice" in a true Eastern sense. You submit by throwing yourself into the Practice and are thus transformed over time and with effort to a greater likeness of God ( Theosis).

If you were interested in Zen Buddhism, reading books about it will do you scant good. You would actually need to meditate, hour after hour under the guidance of a Zen Master to get the benefit of the practice. Same with Orthodox Christianity, practice first, read later.

I realize that approach takes you totally out of your normal game, but that may be a good thing for you.

This also smacks of gnosticism, hidden knowledge only acquired on the basis of mystical experience, not on the basis of the Logos, the revealed Word of God. His revelation was rationally stated in the Bible and is discussed rationally by rational men.  Using Zen Bhuddhism to explain Christianity smacks of syncretism. The Romans complain that the East has little immunity against heresy.

I would say the flip side is true. In Protestantism the Bible is held up as the source of all that is neccessary for salvation. If you read it enough, study it enough, and apply it enough to your life; then you are seen as doing well.

In the Orthodox Church, we incorporate the Scriptures into our life. The services reflect the deep mystical reality that is unity with Christ Our God. For us, events such as the Nativity, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and resurrection, they are not merely historical events which we remember with reverence. In reality, we mystically partake in these events through the Church. On Sunday, we were literally present at the Resurrection. It's not a dusty old event, it's a reality. I'm sorry you can't really grasp that if you don't actually attend the services.

My "normal game" is to follow Christ as hard as I can, as much as I can, with all I can, whenever I can, with what I can, by and in and of the grace and faith He gives me.  If you are inviting me to do something else go take a walk.

We are inviting you to do all that in the Church that Christ founded Himself.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2009, 11:39:46 PM by Ukiemeister » Logged

"Christianity is not a philosophy, not a doctrine, but life." - Elder Sophrony (Sakharov)
truthstalker
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Evangelical Presbyterian
Posts: 166


« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2009, 08:27:49 AM »


Also:
The question about attending a service is somewhat off-topic to this thread but not as much as you think. You appear to believe that you can approach Orthodoxy as an intellectual question and nail down a good understanding of it before attending liturgy. This is, in fact, a misunderstanding of the very concept of Orthodox belief. Orthodox does not reject intellectualism--from Justin Martyr to the Cappadocian Fathers to contemporaries like Vladimir Lossky or Fr. Florovosky easily demonstrate this--but Orthodoxy does reject the idea that the intellectual can exist in a separate space. Christ became fully human (fully human mind, fully human will, fully human body) in order that all aspects of the human existence could be saved. And it is only in this holistic approach in which mind, body, soul and will all approach the Church that one can actually begin to understand the Church. As long as all you have is the answers you can get out of books and off a message board, you will have a very limited understanding of Orthodoxy. 


Great point !  This is not Western Christianity. It is not a "Head thing"  as it were. It is not a matter of adding and subtracting all the factoids, drawing conclusions and then signing up ( or not). It is not contractual Christianity, you give your consent and get your salvation.

Instead, Orthodoxy is a "Practice" in a true Eastern sense. You submit by throwing yourself into the Practice and are thus transformed over time and with effort to a greater likeness of God ( Theosis).

If you were interested in Zen Buddhism, reading books about it will do you scant good. You would actually need to meditate, hour after hour under the guidance of a Zen Master to get the benefit of the practice. Same with Orthodox Christianity, practice first, read later.

I realize that approach takes you totally out of your normal game, but that may be a good thing for you.

This also smacks of gnosticism, hidden knowledge only acquired on the basis of mystical experience, not on the basis of the Logos, the revealed Word of God. His revelation was rationally stated in the Bible and is discussed rationally by rational men.  Using Zen Bhuddhism to explain Christianity smacks of syncretism. The Romans complain that the East has little immunity against heresy.

I would say the flip side is true. In Protestantism the Bible is held up as the source of all that is neccessary for salvation. If you read it enough, study it enough, and apply it enough to your life; then you are seen as doing well.

In the Orthodox Church, we incorporate the Scriptures into our life. The services reflect the deep mystical reality that is unity with Christ Our God. For us, events such as the Nativity, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and resurrection, they are not merely historical events which we remember with reverence. In reality, we mystically partake in these events through the Church. On Sunday, we were literally present at the Resurrection. It's not a dusty old event, it's a reality. I'm sorry you can't really grasp that if you don't actually attend the services.

My "normal game" is to follow Christ as hard as I can, as much as I can, with all I can, whenever I can, with what I can, by and in and of the grace and faith He gives me.  If you are inviting me to do something else go take a walk.

We are inviting you to do all that in the Church that Christ founded Himself.

I appreciate the invitation, despite the crabby tone of my last post. There is a certain relationship between the existence of God and that of the Church, a sense in which the Church is beyond existence in its mystical relationship with the Bridegroom.  We do not regard our relationship with God as primarily intellectual.  What you said about the Orthodox Church we would have no problems agreeing with - I wouldn't anyway. Something happens in the Eucharist which is eternal and beyond human reckoning, possibly past the bounds of saying it exists or not, something uncreated.  I know people who are rather casual about it, but I am not (I approach with awe and wonder). But as bearers of the Holy Spirit we are always in contact with that which is beyond existence, no? Are we not always in the presence of God? Christ in us and us in Christ and the Father in both and the Spirit as well, all in each other in a mystical relationship that transcends existence? Does God exist? Do we then have the same problem of existing and being beyond existing?
Logged
Papist
Patriarch of Pontification
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Byzantine
Posts: 12,132


Truth, Justice, and the American way!


« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2009, 10:15:11 AM »



This was indeed a good post, nicely written, etc.  I had not been exposed to apophatic theology.  I just read part of the Orthodox Wiki article on it.  In contrast, "we shall know Him as He is" and "by His light we shall see light."  I think Aquinas would dispute apophatic theology,
No Aquinas wouldn't dispuste apophatic theology. Read my signature.

I stand corrected. I think he also said something along the lines of we do not know God as what He is, but as what He is not.
Exactly. I think people are always very suprised to find apophatic theology in Aquinas. However, I don't want to derail the thread. Glad to see you contributing to the forum.
Logged

Note Papist's influence from the tyrannical monarchism of traditional papism .
witega
Is it enough now, to tell you you matter?
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Diocese of the South
Posts: 1,614


« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2009, 03:36:26 PM »

This was indeed a good post, nicely written, etc.  I had not been exposed to apophatic theology.  I just read part of the Orthodox Wiki article on it.  In contrast, "we shall know Him as He is" and "by His light we shall see light."  I think Aquinas would dispute apophatic theology, and most reformers would say things about overemphasizing God as hidden as opposed to "if you have seen me you have seen the Father" - the perfect revelation of God in Christ Jesus.

I don't see the quoted passages as being in any kind of conflict with the fundamental truth of apophatic theology. In the first place, "we shall know Him as He is" is a future statement specifically looking to the Second Coming, the General Resurrection and the transformations attached thereto--as St. Paul says "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known."

Secondly, and more relevantly while we continue to exist in this world, perception does not equal comprehension. Orthodox sing the passage "by His light shall we see light" at every divine liturgy and that passage underlies the imagery seen in every Orthodox icon. But to quote the troparion of the feast of Transfiguration--Christ revealed the Uncreated Light to the Apostles, "insofar as they were able to bear it." God was certainly perfectly revealed in Christ Jesus--but while Pontius Pilate was face-to-face with God, he had no comprehension at all. The apostles both perceived and comprehended far more, but even St. Paul says "now I know in part." Myself, I comprehend somewhat more than Pilate, but certainly less than St. Paul.

Or to put it another way, I presume that you have the same experience of every other Christian I know--you comprehend God better now than you did when you were 13. And if you continue to apply yourself to the pursuit of the Divine, 20 years from now you will understand more than you do now. But the very progressiveness of that comprehension indicates the ontological gap between the ability of the human mind to learn and develop and the Absolute. A line that progresses towards infinity never *reaches* infinity. Apophatic theology, or the acknowledgement of the ineffability of God, is not an invitation to theological 'know-nothing'-ism. It is rather, a recognition of the absolute transcendence of God and a promise that we never *stop*, we never reach satiation of the knowledge of God but rather continually overflow with the Grace of His revelation.

Quote
I will accept that I cannot understand Orthodoxy solely through the limited human expression in books and on the Internet, even through the medium of music - and there is some really good stuff on YouTube - but I have also watched some videos of Orthodox actions that simply leave me cold at best and freaked out at worst.  Someone who never went to a symphony and sat through it patiently might be asked to describe it, and his response might be that the music was fine, but there was this guy threatening them with a stick.  My instincts are that things are very wrong, very very wrong, and it is ingrained.  The robes and incense and foreign songs and strange motions - it is all new, all strange, and I need some intellectual apprehension lest I condemn what I do not understand as the work of the devil.  Icons, it has been drilled into me, are idols, for example, and priestcraft is pagan.
Some of this is beyond rationality, beyond language, and I need to be able to assess it rationally and irrationally in an effective way.  It is not that I regard Christianity as a thing of the mind only, or that Jesus does not meet man in mind and heart and body, it is rather that this is so different that I must fight instinct telling me it is wrong.  Perhaps it is like Gollum could not eat the elven-bread. Or perhaps it is something else.

I originally came to Orthodox from a fiercely Low-Church, fundamentalist Protestant denomination. As such, I completely understand what you are saying here. I went through that same phase of gut-level "this is wrong. this is idolatry. this is paganism." reaction to many things I now whole-heartedly embrace as the Faith and Practice of the Apostles. And so, yes, I also understand the approach 'let me nail down how this stuff works intellectually before I have an emotional reaction.' And to an extent, I think it's a reasonable approach.

On the other hand, having gone through it myself, I can also tell you that no amount of intellectual preparation is going to make that gut-level reaction go away. You can address your intellectual objections and concerns through intellectual inquiry; but the physical/emotional objections are going to be addressed is to go through the experience. I am *not* here speaking of mystical experience (as got mentioned in another response). Certainly if you are going to look into Orthodoxy you cannot shut yourself off to the mystical as our Church recognizes that aspect of religious experience as well. But I am under no presumption that when you attend a service you will see the Uncreated Light beaming out of the sanctuary or hear the voices of angels sharing in the veneration of the Theotokos (I'm not saying it won't happen either, it's just highly unlikely). Rather I am simply talking about the experience of seeing the icons, the candles, the vestments, smelling the incense, hearing the prayers, perhaps participating in the standing and kneeling, etc all in its entire context--which can't be gained from pictures or videos. You can intellectually understand 'lots and lots of salt water' but no matter how much you understand the chemistry and physics, no matter how many pictures and videos of the sea you look at, no matter how many relaxation tapes you listen to, none of it will ever give you the actual experience of wading out into the ocean.
Logged

Ariel Starling - New album

For it were better to suffer everything, rather than divide the Church of God. Even martyrdom for the sake of preventing division would not be less glorious than for refusing to worship idols. - St. Dionysius the Great
Papist
Patriarch of Pontification
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Byzantine
Posts: 12,132


Truth, Justice, and the American way!


« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2009, 03:52:43 PM »

This was indeed a good post, nicely written, etc.  I had not been exposed to apophatic theology.  I just read part of the Orthodox Wiki article on it.  In contrast, "we shall know Him as He is" and "by His light we shall see light."  I think Aquinas would dispute apophatic theology, and most reformers would say things about overemphasizing God as hidden as opposed to "if you have seen me you have seen the Father" - the perfect revelation of God in Christ Jesus.

I don't see the quoted passages as being in any kind of conflict with the fundamental truth of apophatic theology. In the first place, "we shall know Him as He is" is a future statement specifically looking to the Second Coming, the General Resurrection and the transformations attached thereto--as St. Paul says "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known."

Secondly, and more relevantly while we continue to exist in this world, perception does not equal comprehension. Orthodox sing the passage "by His light shall we see light" at every divine liturgy and that passage underlies the imagery seen in every Orthodox icon. But to quote the troparion of the feast of Transfiguration--Christ revealed the Uncreated Light to the Apostles, "insofar as they were able to bear it." God was certainly perfectly revealed in Christ Jesus--but while Pontius Pilate was face-to-face with God, he had no comprehension at all. The apostles both perceived and comprehended far more, but even St. Paul says "now I know in part." Myself, I comprehend somewhat more than Pilate, but certainly less than St. Paul.

Or to put it another way, I presume that you have the same experience of every other Christian I know--you comprehend God better now than you did when you were 13. And if you continue to apply yourself to the pursuit of the Divine, 20 years from now you will understand more than you do now. But the very progressiveness of that comprehension indicates the ontological gap between the ability of the human mind to learn and develop and the Absolute. A line that progresses towards infinity never *reaches* infinity. Apophatic theology, or the acknowledgement of the ineffability of God, is not an invitation to theological 'know-nothing'-ism. It is rather, a recognition of the absolute transcendence of God and a promise that we never *stop*, we never reach satiation of the knowledge of God but rather continually overflow with the Grace of His revelation.

Quote
I will accept that I cannot understand Orthodoxy solely through the limited human expression in books and on the Internet, even through the medium of music - and there is some really good stuff on YouTube - but I have also watched some videos of Orthodox actions that simply leave me cold at best and freaked out at worst.  Someone who never went to a symphony and sat through it patiently might be asked to describe it, and his response might be that the music was fine, but there was this guy threatening them with a stick.  My instincts are that things are very wrong, very very wrong, and it is ingrained.  The robes and incense and foreign songs and strange motions - it is all new, all strange, and I need some intellectual apprehension lest I condemn what I do not understand as the work of the devil.  Icons, it has been drilled into me, are idols, for example, and priestcraft is pagan.
Some of this is beyond rationality, beyond language, and I need to be able to assess it rationally and irrationally in an effective way.  It is not that I regard Christianity as a thing of the mind only, or that Jesus does not meet man in mind and heart and body, it is rather that this is so different that I must fight instinct telling me it is wrong.  Perhaps it is like Gollum could not eat the elven-bread. Or perhaps it is something else.

I originally came to Orthodox from a fiercely Low-Church, fundamentalist Protestant denomination. As such, I completely understand what you are saying here. I went through that same phase of gut-level "this is wrong. this is idolatry. this is paganism." reaction to many things I now whole-heartedly embrace as the Faith and Practice of the Apostles. And so, yes, I also understand the approach 'let me nail down how this stuff works intellectually before I have an emotional reaction.' And to an extent, I think it's a reasonable approach.

On the other hand, having gone through it myself, I can also tell you that no amount of intellectual preparation is going to make that gut-level reaction go away. You can address your intellectual objections and concerns through intellectual inquiry; but the physical/emotional objections are going to be addressed is to go through the experience. I am *not* here speaking of mystical experience (as got mentioned in another response). Certainly if you are going to look into Orthodoxy you cannot shut yourself off to the mystical as our Church recognizes that aspect of religious experience as well. But I am under no presumption that when you attend a service you will see the Uncreated Light beaming out of the sanctuary or hear the voices of angels sharing in the veneration of the Theotokos (I'm not saying it won't happen either, it's just highly unlikely). Rather I am simply talking about the experience of seeing the icons, the candles, the vestments, smelling the incense, hearing the prayers, perhaps participating in the standing and kneeling, etc all in its entire context--which can't be gained from pictures or videos. You can intellectually understand 'lots and lots of salt water' but no matter how much you understand the chemistry and physics, no matter how many pictures and videos of the sea you look at, no matter how many relaxation tapes you listen to, none of it will ever give you the actual experience of wading out into the ocean.
Man. You are on a role! Another great post.
Logged

Note Papist's influence from the tyrannical monarchism of traditional papism .
ristos87
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 26



« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2009, 11:28:23 AM »

St. Gregory the Theologian wrote this:

Quote
God always was, and always is, and always be be. Our rather, God always Is. For Was and Will be are fragments of our time, and of changeable nature, but He is Eternal Being. And this is the Name that He gives to Himself when giving the Oracle to Moses in the mount. For in Himself He sums up and contains all Being, having neither beginning in the past nor end in the future; like some great Sea of Being, limitless and unbounded, transcending all conception of time and nature, only adumbrated [intimated] by the mind, and that very dimly and scantily.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2009, 11:28:43 AM by ristos87 » Logged
xariskai
юродивый/yurodivy
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 1,250


יהוה עזי ומגני


« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2009, 07:25:41 PM »

The prophet Isaiah describes the apophatic perspective with characteristic beauty in this passage: "For My thoughts are not your thoughts. Neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” -Isaiah 55:8-9

Christ understood how the Father might be known. He did not leave us with a syllogism, or a philosophical treatise, but with men who knew Him, a Gospel, and a path. Walking along that path is an essential aspect of retaining the knowledge of God: "Walk while you have the light, that darkness may not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes." -John 12:35

The way to God revealed by scripture overlaps our cognition because as beings our mind like our body is an inseparable part of our whole person. However it is not reducible to cognition, but how we respond to the grace of God in a manner that is evidenced in our doings:

John 3:19-21: "And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."

"To obtain anything from God, the outward must be joined to the inward; that is to say we must kneel and pray alone, etc. so that proud man, who would not submit to God, may now be subject to the body. To expect any help from this outward act is superstition; a refusal to join it to our inward acts is pride. “  -Blaise Pascal

Notice in particular that practice of the truth, not its mere apprehension, is said in John, to distinguish seekers who come into the light from those who do not. Not those who merely study, but “he who practices the truth comes into the light…” (John 3:21).  Whereas in most Protestant theology practice of the truth is only important after justification in the form of sanctification/fruitbearing, John clearly states practice of the truth is actually integral to our coming into the light before we are actually in the light: “he who practices the truth comes into the light…” (John 3:21). That is why Orthodox emphasize praxis as an essential non-negotiable aspect of coming into the light as well as theosis after one has come into the light. This scriptural truth is not taught in Protestantism.

“FIRE: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of philosophers and scholars. God of Jesus Christ… He can only be found by the ways taught in the Gospel… He can only be kept by the ways taught in the Gospel.” -Blaise Pascal

Apophatic theology emphasizes that God is hidden as well as revealed; God’s hiddeness is affirmed as adamantly in scripture as His self-revelation: “Scripture speaks, which has a better knowledge of the things of God. It says… that God is a hidden God; and that since nature was corrupted He has left men in a blindness from which they can only escape by Jesus Christ, without whom all communication with God is severed. 'Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him' (Matt 11:27). This is what Scripture declares to us when it says in so many places that those who seek God find Him (Matt 7:7). We do not speak thus of a light like the midday sun. We do not say that those who seek the sun at noon, or water in the sea, will find it... And it declares elsewhere: 'Verily thou art a God that hidest Thyself' (Is 45:15)." -Blaise Pascal, Pensees, 366).

From Kallistos Ware's chapter "God as Mystery":

Quote
THE OTHERNESS YET NEARNESS OF THE ETERNAL
“The traveler on the spiritual Way, the further he advances, becomes increasingly conscious of two contrasting facts: of the ‘otherness’ and yet the ‘nearness’ of the Eternal. In the first place he notices more and more that God is mystery. God is ‘the wholly Other’, invisible, inconceivable, radically transcendent, beyond all words, beyond all understanding… As the Greek Fathers insisted, ‘A God who is comprehensible is not God.’ A God, that is to say, whom we claim to understand exhaustively through the resources of our reasoning brain turns out to be no more than an idol, fashioned in our own image. Such a ‘God’ is most emphatically not the true and living God of the Bible and the church. Man is made in God’s image, but the reverse is not true. Yet in the second place this God of mystery is at the same time uniquely close to us, filling all things, present everywhere around us and within us. He is present, not merely as an atmosphere or nameless force, but in a personal way. The God who is infinitely beyond our understanding reveals himself to us as a person: he calls us each by our name and we answer him. Between ourselves and the transcendent God there is a relationship of love similar in kind to that between each of us and those other human beings dearest to us. We know other humans through our love for them, and through theirs for us. So it is with God. In the words of St. Nicholas Cabasilas, God our King is

‘more affectionate than any friend,
more just than any ruler,
more loving than any father,
more a part of us than our own limbs,
more necessary to us than our own heart’

These then are the two ‘poles’ in man’s experience of the Divine, God is both further from us, and nearer to us, than anything else. And we find, paradoxically, that these two ‘poles’ do not cancel one another out: on the contrary, the more we are attracted to the one ‘pole’, the more vividly we become aware of the other at the same time. Advancing on the Way, each finds that God grows ever more intimate and ever more distant, well known and yet unknown –well known in the smallest child, incomprehensible to the most brilliant theologian. God dwells in ‘light unapproachable’, yet man stands in his presence with loving confidence and addresses him as friend… We see that it is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery, God is not so much the object of knowledge as the cause of our wonder… Our theology is to a large extent symbolic. Yet symbols alone are insufficient to convey transcendence and the ‘otherness’ of God. To point at the mysterium we need to use negative as well as affirmative statements, saying what God is not rather than what He is. Without this use of the way of negation, or what is called the apopathic approach our talk about God becomes gravely misleading. All that we affirm concerning God, however correct, however, falls far short of the living truth… In the Creed we do not say ‘I believe that there is a God,’ we say ‘I believe in one God.’ Between belief that and belief in there is a crucial distinction. It is possible for me to believe that someone or something exists, and yet for this belief to have no practical effect on my life… I say to a much-loved friend, ‘I believe in you,’ I am doing far more than expressing a belief that this person exists. ‘I believe in you’ means: I rely upon you, I put my full trust in you and hope in you. And that is what we are saying to God in the Creed.

Faith in God, then, is not at all the same as the kind of logical certainty that we attain in Euclidian geometry. God is not the conclusion to an end process of reasoning, the solution to a mathematical problem. To believe in God is not to accept the possibility of his existence because it has been ‘proved’ but it is to put our trust in the One whom we know and love. Faith is not the supposition that something might be true, but the assurance that someone is there.

ESSENCE AND ENERGIES
“To indicate the two ‘poles’ of God’s relationship to us –unknown and yet well known, hidden yet revealed- the Orthodox tradition draws a distinction between the essence, nature or inner being of God, on the one hand, and his energies, operations or acts of power, on the other.

‘He is outside all things according to his essence’ writes St. Athanasius, ‘but he is in all things through his acts of power.’ ‘We know the essence through the energy’, St. Basil affirms. ‘No one has ever seen the essence of God, but we believe in the essence because we experience the energy.’ By the essence of God is meant his otherness, by the energies, his nearness. Because God is a mystery beyond our understanding, we shall never know his essence or inner being, either in this life or in the Age to come. If we know the divine essence, it would follow that we knew God in the same way he knows himself, and this we cannot ever do, since he is Creator and we are created. But while God’s inner essence is for ever beyond our comprehension, his energies, grace, life and power fill the whole universe, and are directly accessible to us.

“The essence, then, signifies the radical transcendence of God; the energies, his immanence and omnipresence. When Orthodox speak of divine energies, they do not mean by this an emanation from God, an ‘intermediary’ between God and man, or a ‘thing’ or ‘gift’ that God bestows. On the contrary, the energies are God himself in his activity and self manifestation. When a man knows or participates in the divine energies, he truly knows or participates in God himself, so far as this is possible for a created being. But God is God, and we are human; and so, while he possesses us, we cannot in the same way possess him…

Such, then, is our God: unknowable in his essence, yet known in his energies; beyond and above all that we can think or express, yet closer to us than our own heart. Through the apophatic way we smash in pieces all the idols or mental images that we form of him, for we know that all are unworthy of his surpassing greatness. Yet at the same time, through our prayer and through our active services in the world, we discover at every moment his divine energies, his immediate presence in each person, and each thing…

O world invisible, we view thee,
O world intangible, we touch thee,
O world unknowable, we know thee,
Inapprehensible, we clutch thee -Francis Thompson”

-from Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way, Chapt 1: "God as Mystery" pp. 11-23.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” -Isaiah 55:8-9

Aquinas denied long ago that any finite concept was adequate to describe an infinite essence of God. How could a finite concept express the infinitude of the Creator? Univocal predication (100% correspondence) between any attribute common to God and his creatures, said Aquinas, was not possible in principle (Summa Theologica I.13.5). Aquinas held our language about God is “almost equivocal.” Current phenomenological, linguistic, and hermeneutical theories (that is, theories dealing with the human sciences of appearances, language, and meaning respectively) unanimously affirm anything describable in words is in principle more than what can be circumscribed by verbal description. This stricture, it is claimed, applies to all phenomena within human perception, including physical objects. One of the most startling results of the twentieth century was the conclusion that demonstration of univocal predication has even collapsed in basic mathematics! (see Morris Kline, Mathematics:  The Loss of Certainty (Oxford, 1980); cf. Gödel’s Theorem etc.). Pertaining to God, “Either the Creator must be thought of via finite conceptualizations (i.e. purely anthropomorphically) or else the creature will be viewed via infinite concepts. The former is skepticism and the latter is conceptual deification.

Theologically the validity of religious knowledge is contingent,; i.e. it is  not an autonomous human epistemological category but is fundamentally related to God’s ONGOING revelation of Himself correlative to our abiding in Him: "Walk while you have the light, that darkness may not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes." -John 12:35.  Orthodoxy affirms God in his essence is ineffable, but that religious language does have meaning; He has revealed Himself in his apostles, prophets, and in the history, search, and experience of the people of God. Theologically appropriate cognizance of analogical knowledge is contingent (cf. the danger of analogical fallacy in logic); i.e. it is not an autonomous human epistemological category but is fundamentally related to God’s ONGOING revelation of Himself correlative to our abiding in Him: "Walk while you have the light, that darkness may not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes." -John 12:35  Our knowledge of God and the meaning of His self-revelation is never autonomous (cf. also the collapse of Enlightenment foundationalism) and can never be regarded as mere knowledge, as is also well understood by Protestant theologians like Karl Barth, T. F. Torrance, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Donald Bloesch, et al.

The true "Word within the words" is mysterious and revealed to us only by the Spirit as we abide in Him: Psalm 119:18-19 "Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Thy law. I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Thy commandments from me." The true Word of God is Jesus, and we do not perceive the Word of God for us in Scripture without His illumination. Nor do we continue to truly receive who trample it underfoot (John 12:35); "For whoever has, to him shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, 'You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; For the heart of this people has become dull, And with their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes Lest they should see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I should heal them.' But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear" (Matthew 13:12-16).

We should not cease to seek the Word of God through the scriptures which are God's chosen witness to the Living Word (Proverbs 28:9 "He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, Even his prayer is an abomination"); but we should not think ourselves autonomously apart from either the Spirit of God or the necessity of right praxis: "Walk while you have the light, that darkness may not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes." -John 12:35
« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 07:50:32 PM by xariskai » Logged

Silly Stars
Jimmy
Maronite
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Maronite Catholic
Posts: 203


« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2009, 08:26:24 PM »

I think He exists ("I am") but John Damascene seems to argue that He generates existence, as He is hyperessential (beyond existence). In other places JD seems to maintain God does exist.

Please explain.

I think St. John's view is that God's nature is beyond essence, it is super essential.  God does not exist in the way we exist because we are created.  God is beyond all things created and is completely ineffable.  We can contemplate created essences but that which is uncreated is beyond our conceptions.  The only thing we can know of God is what He reveals of Himself through creation, the scriptures, the Incarnation and His Grace. 

That is only my guess of what St. John means though because I haven't read his writings yet.  I have seen the phrase superessential before in some of the other fathers writings and that is my interpretation of the idea.  I am interpreting it with the little knowledge I have of Aristotles epistemology which is what the word superessential brings to mind for me.  Aristotle said basically that we gain knowledge of things through the contemplation of their essences.  So in St. John's conception God is beyond essence and so He is beyond our contemplation. 


Regarding your fear or whatever of the divine liturgy maybe reading some of the writings of Alexander Schmemann would help.  I know that some on this forum probably don't like his writings but I have found them to be very inspiring.  He was a liturgical theologian who wrote books about the different liturgical aspects of the Church.  "For the life of the world" is an excellent book that is essentially a commentary on the liturgy. The books that I have read of his were commentaries on the liturgy.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 08:43:00 PM by Jimmy » Logged
Marc1152
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Rocor
Posts: 12,514


Probiotic .. Antibiotic


« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2009, 03:57:41 PM »

^^Witega's post has been nominated as seconded for Post of the Month

Worthy !!!
Logged

Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm
Get_Behind_Me_Satan
2Cor. 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
Moderated
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Julian Calender
Posts: 160



« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2010, 12:34:38 AM »

What kind of a post is this!
'does God exist?'

uh, well, uh.

YES!!!
Read scriptures much?
Logged

“The testimonies of the western teachers I neither recognize or accept. I surmise that they are corrupted.
There can be no compromise in matters of the Orthodox Faith.”

St Mark Of Ephesus, Doctor of the church. (True Church)

Down with ecumenism!
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Faith: BZZT
Posts: 29,272



« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2010, 12:37:31 AM »

What kind of a post is this!

The kind that went over your head, apparently.
Logged

Optimist: Throw enough ideas at the wall and one is bound to stick.
Pessimist: Throw enough poo at the wall and the room is bound to stink.
Realist: You don't really need to throw things at walls to solve problems.
Get_Behind_Me_Satan
2Cor. 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
Moderated
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Julian Calender
Posts: 160



« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2010, 03:34:20 AM »

What kind of a post is this!

The kind that went over your head, apparently.

He must mean, 'Does God possess matter or form?'

« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 03:34:46 AM by Get_Behind_Me_Satan » Logged

“The testimonies of the western teachers I neither recognize or accept. I surmise that they are corrupted.
There can be no compromise in matters of the Orthodox Faith.”

St Mark Of Ephesus, Doctor of the church. (True Church)

Down with ecumenism!
Bogoliubtsy
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,268



« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2010, 03:37:08 AM »

What kind of a post is this!
'does God exist?'

uh, well, uh.

YES!!!
Read scriptures much?

In a difficult world sometimes it is difficult for people to perceive God. Be gentle with them, as God is gentle with you and all of us.
Logged

"When you give food to the poor, they call you a saint. When you ask why the poor have no food, they call you a communist". - Archbishop Hélder Pessoa Câmara
xariskai
юродивый/yurodivy
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 1,250


יהוה עזי ומגני


« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2010, 02:22:16 PM »

In a difficult world sometimes it is difficult for people to perceive God. Be gentle with them, as God is gentle with you and all of us.
+1

"If this religion boasted of having a clear vision of God, and of possessing Him plain and unveiled, then to say that nothing we see in the world reveals Him with this degree of clarity would indeed be to attack it. But it says, on the contrary, that man is in darkness and far from God, that He has hidden Himself from man's knowledge, and that the name He has given Himself in the Scriptures is in fact The Hidden God (Is 45:15). Therefore if it seeks to establish these two facts: that God has in the church erected visible signs by which those who sincerely seek Him may recognize Him, and that he has nevertheless so concealed them that He will only be perceived by those who seek Him with all their hearts, what advantage can the attackers gain when, while admitting that they neglect to seek for the truth, they yet cry that nothing reveals it? For the very darkness in which they lie, and for which they blame the Church, establishes one of her two claims, without invalidating the other, and also, far from destroying her doctrine, confirms it" -Blaise Pascal

“A religion which does not affirm that God is hidden is not true.” –Blaise Pascal

"To obtain anything from God, the outward must be joined to the inward; that is to say we must kneel and pray alone, etc. so that proud man, who would not submit to God, may now be subject to the body. To expect any help from this outward act is superstition; a refusal to join it to our inward acts is pride. For we must not misunderstand ourselves; we are as much machines as mind. And hence the means by which a man is persuaded are not demonstration alone. How few things are demonstrated! Proofs convince only the mind. It is habit that produces our strongest and most accepted proofs; it guides the machine, which carries the mind with it unconsciously. Who has proved that there will be a morrow and that we will die?" -Blaise Pascal
Logged

Silly Stars
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #30 on: February 20, 2010, 04:30:28 AM »

I just read something in Simone Weil's On Science, Necessity and the Love of God which really resonated with me. Understanding the difference between "believing something exists" and "believing in" something is important to understand what she is saying:

"It is not for man to seek, or even to believe in God. He has only to refuse to believe in everything that is not God...A man has only to persist in this refusal and one day or another, God will come to him."

This resonates with my own experience. I long ago lost faith in capitalism, socialism, ideology, politics, power, humans generally. I love science, but I never had any faith "in" science, since science is about knowing and is not an entity in itself. In other words saying "science has all the answers" is a bit of  a fallacy of reification. When we run out of things to believe in and refuse to bow down to them, I think God finds us as Simone Weil so eloquently puts it.
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
sainthieu
Abstractor of the Quintessence
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 621


« Reply #31 on: March 18, 2010, 11:04:06 PM »

God is a bird in a tree. You can't see Him unless you try to find our where the singing is coming from.
Logged
soufliotiki
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Ecumenical Patriarchate
Posts: 186



« Reply #32 on: March 19, 2010, 03:06:37 AM »

^ Fantastic post!

I second this comment. Brilliant.
Logged

Guide my heart, O Blessed Wisdom, and my tongue will also be guided ...
soufliotiki
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Ecumenical Patriarchate
Posts: 186



« Reply #33 on: March 19, 2010, 03:07:46 AM »

^^Witega's post has been nominated as seconded for Post of the Month

Slightly off topic but:

What does the winning post receive?

A go past "confession" free pass to Holy Communion Huh?
Logged

Guide my heart, O Blessed Wisdom, and my tongue will also be guided ...
John of the North
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christianity
Jurisdiction: Eparchy of Edmonton and the West
Posts: 3,533


Christ is Risen!

tgild
« Reply #34 on: March 19, 2010, 03:38:27 AM »

^^Witega's post has been nominated as seconded for Post of the Month

Slightly off topic but:

What does the winning post receive?

A go past "confession" free pass to Holy Communion Huh?

The winning post just receives recognition of the community. What more do they need??
Logged

"Christianity is not a philosophy, not a doctrine, but life." - Elder Sophrony (Sakharov)
soufliotiki
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Ecumenical Patriarchate
Posts: 186



« Reply #35 on: March 19, 2010, 09:35:39 AM »

^^Witega's post has been nominated as seconded for Post of the Month

Slightly off topic but:

What does the winning post receive?

A go past "confession" free pass to Holy Communion Huh?

I dont know, I was just being humerous ... you know, like in Monopoly you get a Go Past Jail pass ... c'mon dont you get bad humour when you see it (read it that is).

:-)

The winning post just receives recognition of the community. What more do they need??
Logged

Guide my heart, O Blessed Wisdom, and my tongue will also be guided ...
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.158 seconds with 62 queries.