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Author Topic: OO Interpretation of St. Luke 23:43  (Read 3182 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« on: May 05, 2009, 12:53:30 AM »

I am curious to know the OO interpretation of St. Luke 23:43, where Our Lord tells the thief on the Cross, "Today you will be with me in Paradise." How could the thief be with Jesus in Paradise "today" when Jesus did not rise from the tomb until three days later?

I have usually answered this question by saying that since God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are One, then therefore the thief was going to be with Christ in Paradise since he would be with the Father, because Jesus says in St. John 10:30, "I and my Father are one."

But this answer does have its difficulties, and is perhaps not an Orthodox explanation. Some Protestant sects also make a distinction between "Paradise" and "Heaven," which I am also curious about.

I would be grateful for some input on this.

Thanks.

Selam
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2009, 01:53:49 AM »

I am curious to know the OO interpretation of St. Luke 23:43, where Our Lord tells the thief on the Cross, "Today you will be with me in Paradise." How could the thief be with Jesus in Paradise "today" when Jesus did not rise from the tomb until three days later?

I would say that it's not the Gospel of Logic.  You're right, it doesn't make sense in a literal, logical way.  But you know what does make sense?  God having grace on this poor thief for the condition of his heart and his faith.  It is a lesson to us about forgiveness, not an airtight ontological lockdown.  The Holy Scriptures are full of factual errors and inconsistencies, but that doesn't mean they do not contain the Truth.

For example (out of many such examples):

What did the Lord instruct his disciples to take with them on their travels while preaching repentance and healing the sick?  In Matthew 10:10, He instructs them to take nothing with them, and he specifies that this should not include staffs or sandals.  However, according to Mark 6:8-9, He instructs them to take nothing with them except for staffs and sandals.

My point is just that it doesn't matter if it doesn't make perfectly logical sense.  The above contradiction doesn't matter because the point is that they were sent out with little provisions.  It was a difficult decision, and they were deprived of many creature comforts.

Likewise, the point of the story you are asking about is that the thief was saved from his sins by God's grace, despite the life he had lived.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 01:55:06 AM by Alveus Lacuna » Logged
EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2009, 02:20:28 AM »

Christ is Risen!

GMK,

Basically, at the moment of Christ's Life-giving death His Soul separated from His Body (whilst His Divinity remained inseparably united to both His Soul and His Body). In the three day interim between His Life-giving death and Bodily Resurrection, Christ's Soul (in union with His Divinity) immediately descended into Hades to liberate the imprisoned Saints. He then ascended (again, by His Soul in union with His Divinity) with them to Paradise; the Righteous Thief would have been in their company I would assume.

The Coptic Orthodox Rite of the 'Paschal Re-enactment' confirms the above. You can read my account of this Rite and its implications in my article 'Christ is Risen, and the Angels Rejoice.'
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 02:21:05 AM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2009, 04:12:24 AM »

How could the thief be with Jesus in Paradise "today" when Jesus did not rise from the tomb until three days later?

Once I came across an EO explanation that here "Paradise" is yet another name for the Bosom of Abraham, that is the part of Sheol/Hades which was reserved for the righteous.
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2009, 04:15:44 AM »

I am curious to know the OO interpretation of St. Luke 23:43, where Our Lord tells the thief on the Cross, "Today you will be with me in Paradise." How could the thief be with Jesus in Paradise "today" when Jesus did not rise from the tomb until three days later?

I would say that it's not the Gospel of Logic.  You're right, it doesn't make sense in a literal, logical way.  But you know what does make sense?  God having grace on this poor thief for the condition of his heart and his faith.  It is a lesson to us about forgiveness, not an airtight ontological lockdown.  The Holy Scriptures are full of factual errors and inconsistencies, but that doesn't mean they do not contain the Truth.

For example (out of many such examples):

What did the Lord instruct his disciples to take with them on their travels while preaching repentance and healing the sick?  In Matthew 10:10, He instructs them to take nothing with them, and he specifies that this should not include staffs or sandals.  However, according to Mark 6:8-9, He instructs them to take nothing with them except for staffs and sandals.

My point is just that it doesn't matter if it doesn't make perfectly logical sense.  The above contradiction doesn't matter because the point is that they were sent out with little provisions.  It was a difficult decision, and they were deprived of many creature comforts.

Likewise, the point of the story you are asking about is that the thief was saved from his sins by God's grace, despite the life he had lived.

Thank you for this answer. I completely agree that we are not dealing with the "Gospel of Logic," but rather the "Godpel of Truth." And yet, God is the Author of Logic and so His Holy Scriptures are not illogical. I am also wary of saying that the Bible is full of contradictions; perhaps this is the residue of my Protestant background. I'm afraid that if we believe that the Bible contradicts itself, then we lose any objective basis for believing anything it teaches. Personally I would say that the Bible contains what appear to be contradictions to the finite logic of the mortal mind; but these contradictory hallucinations shall be eviscerated in the Light of Eternal Truth.

But you are correct in saying that the Truth of this Gospel narrative is that the grace of God redeemed a sinner through the Cross of Our Lord.

Selam
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2009, 04:18:14 AM »

How could the thief be with Jesus in Paradise "today" when Jesus did not rise from the tomb until three days later?

Once I came across an EO explanation that here "Paradise" is yet another name for the Bosom of Abraham, that is the part of Sheol/Hades which was reserved for the righteous.

Thanks. I think this is a good explanation that I have heard before, but I had forgotten. It makes sense. Thank you for bringing it back to mind.

Selam
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2009, 06:54:36 AM »

There is no Law , grace is above all , grace is beyond nature sometimes , and God is beyong nature . The arm of God wich build all the seen and unseen , could not have done that , or others greater ? Grace is above all . God is upon all , and above all . Blessed be God , and the One that IS , that Was and the One who comes in the name of the Lord , the Word of God .
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2009, 07:03:23 AM »

The thief is the first who enter into heaven "Today you will be with me in heaven" that is what He said as God , He said : None enter into Heaven except the one who descended from Heaven the Son of man Who is in heaven  . The thief dine in heaven with God in the same day , he was the first who entered in heaven . He manage to "steal" the kingdom of heaven .
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2009, 07:04:59 AM »

The one who descended from heaven and who is in heaven is Jesus .
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2009, 09:32:25 AM »

Christ is Risen!

GMK,

Basically, at the moment of Christ's Life-giving death His Soul separated from His Body (whilst His Divinity remained inseparably united to both His Soul and His Body). In the three day interim between His Life-giving death and Bodily Resurrection, Christ's Soul (in union with His Divinity) immediately descended into Hades to liberate the imprisoned Saints. He then ascended (again, by His Soul in union with His Divinity) with them to Paradise; the Righteous Thief would have been in their company I would assume.

The Coptic Orthodox Rite of the 'Paschal Re-enactment' confirms the above. You can read my account of this Rite and its implications in my article 'Christ is Risen, and the Angels Rejoice.'

The Eastern Orthodox have the same view. 

After finishing the Proscomedia (the Oblation) and before commencing the Liturgy the priest censes about the Holy Table, saying:

In the grave with the body,
In Hell with the soul as God,
In Paradise with the thief,
and on the Throne with the Father and the Spirit,
art Thou, O Christ our God, Who fillest all things
and art Thyself uncontainable.

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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2009, 09:37:53 AM »

Quote
In the grave with the body,
In Hell with the soul as God,
In Paradise with the thief,
and on the Throne with the Father and the Spirit,
art Thou, O Christ our God, Who fillest all things
and art Thyself uncontainable.
Beautiful, just beautiful.
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2009, 10:14:48 AM »

Quote
In the grave with the body,
In Hell with the soul as God,
In Paradise with the thief,
and on the Throne with the Father and the Spirit,
art Thou, O Christ our God, Who fillest all things
and art Thyself uncontainable.
Beautiful, just beautiful.

AMEN. What more can possibly be said than this?!

Selam
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Don't enlist. Don't deploy.
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