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Author Topic: Semipelagianism, Original Sin and Ancestral Sin  (Read 22035 times) Average Rating: 0
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AlexanderOfBergamo
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« on: June 08, 2009, 08:38:46 AM »

Dear brethren,
in the recent and still on-going discussion on the Immaculate conception, it came as a result that the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian views on sin are noticeably different. For the sake of clarifying this point of view, I propose to face this topic again – hoping that this might interest you and also clarify our position, especially in regards to our denial of the immaculate conception without getting off-topic on that thread...
As a result of the discussion with our Eastern Catholic brother Marduk, Orthodoxy came to be accused of Pelagianism.
Now, Pelagianism was invented by Pelagius, who thought that man at conception is entirely immaculate and needs no intervention of God's grace: free will is the only instrument of salvation, and anyone can merit salvation through his own efforts. Bringing to strong anti-Christian conclusions, this doctrine, manipulated by Celestius was condemned and anathematized as heresy in the decrees of the 3rd Ecumenical Council held at Ephesus in 431 AD. This included an excommunication, deposition and condemnation of Celestius in Canon 4. Also, there's also the condemnation of Pelagius at the local Council of Carthage, which is among the synods confirmed at the Council of Trullo, whose canonicity is clarified at the 7th Ecumenical Council. So, no doubt the ideas of Pelagius have been authoritatively and infallibly condemned by the Universal church.
Now, it must be said, no Ecumenical Council of the Orthodox Church mentions directly the opposite view, namely Augustinism. Augustine believed in the total depravity of humanity. Even if the Second Vatican Council mitigated this concept, it is well known that according to Augustine of Hippo men are conceived in a condition of total disgrace and can't be saved except by God's will and grace. This position held by the African Church was never adopted officially by Eastern Christianity, nevertheless Augustine's contribution occurred to be useful in the condemnations of Pelagius and Celestius.
A third school of thought emerged, anyway, in Gaul. It is called Semipelagianism, but this name was a later Western invention. The theory was initially proposed as a condemnation both of Pelagianism and of Augustinism by st. John Cassian, and was even supported by st. Vincent of Lérins and his monastery in Marseille. This doctrine was never officially anathematized in the Ecumenical Councils, but only in the Second Council of Orange, a French local synod approved by papal signature in 529 AD. No Ecumenical council ever listed this synod as “canonical” so the Orthodox are not bound to its decrees.
Semipelagianism teaches a limited depravity view. In other words, as an Orthodox theologian admitted, "if Latin babies are born blind, and Pelagian babies are born with 20/20 vision, then Greek babies are born in need of spectacles". Since the Roman Catholic Church affirms papal infallibility, the decrees of the Second Council of Orange – being signed by the pope – constitute at least an official statement and, I think, also a proclamation de fide and ex cathedra. The Latin Church is bound to believe this theory as dogma. On the contrary, the position of the Orthodox Church seems to be more similar to Semipelagianism then to Augustine's view, yet none of them is “official” in our interpretation of the Scriptures. A position similar to Semipelagianism was held not only by the aforementioned John Cassian and Vincent of Lérins, but also by Irenaus, Origen, Justin Martyr and Ignatius. I'll copy and paste this citations from Wikipedia of these Fathers:
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"If a man were created evil, he would not deserve punishment, since he was not evil of himself, being unable to do anything else than what he was made for." Justin Martyr (First Apology Chap. 43)
"If anyone is truly religious, he is a man of God; but if he is irreligious, he is a man of the devil, made such, not by nature, but by his own choice." Ignatius (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume One, p. 61)
"The Scriptures…emphasize the freedom of the will. They condemn those who sin, and approve those who do right… We are responsible for being bad and worthy of being cast outside. For it is not the nature in us that is the cause of the evil; rather, it is the voluntary choice that works evil." Origen (A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs by David Bercot, p. 289, published by Hendrickson Publishers)
"Those who do not do it [good] will receive the just judgment of God, because they had not work good when they had it in their power to do so. But if some had been made by nature bad, and others good, these latter would not be deserving of praise for being good, for they were created that way. Nor would the former be reprehensible, for that is how they were made. However, all men are of the same nature. They are all able to hold fast and to do what is good. On the other hand, they have the power to cast good from them and not to do it." Irenaeus (A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs by David Bercot, p. 287, published by Hendrickson Publishers)
Now, the doctrine outlined here is what we call “Ancestral Sin” (in Greek προπατορικό αμάρτημα) and was also held by st. Gregory Palamas.
In other words, while Augustine's "Original Sin" doctrine has never been condemned and can be confessed by Orthodox theologians (as it seems its been in some cases), in general Semipelagian Ancestral Sin seems to be more "in line" with modern Orthodoxy, as it was never canonically anathematized by the Ecumenical Councils.

In conclusion of this long and, I hope, clarifying personal study I'm glad to partake and discuss with you all, I hope this might have dissolved the misunderstandings from the Roman Catholic members.

In Christ,    Alex
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"Also in the Catholic Church itself we take great care that we hold that which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and properly Catholic" (St. Vincent of Lérins, "The Commonitory")
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2009, 10:15:53 AM »

Working our way back, a modern Orthodox exposition, from Bp. Hilarion of the Church of Mosocw:
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THE ORIGIN OF EVIL

At the dawn of creation, before God made the visible world, but after the creation of the angels, there was a great catastrophe, of which we have knowledge only by its consequences. A group of angels opposed itself to God and fell away from Him, thereby becoming enemies of all that was good and holy. At the head of this rebellion stood Lucifer, whose very name (literally meaning ‘light-bearing’) indicates that originally he was good. By his own will he changed from his natural state into one which was unnatural; he opposed himself to God and fell away from good into evil. Lucifer, also called the devil (Greek diabolos — ‘divider’, ‘separator’, ‘slanderer’), belonged to one of the highest ranks in the angelic hierarchy. Together with him other angels also defected, as the Book of Revelation tells us metaphorically: ‘And a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch... and a third of the stars was struck, so that a third of their light was darkened’ (Rev.8:10, 12). Some commentators therefore say that along with the morning star a third of the angels fell away.

By exercising their own free will the devil and his demons found themselves in darkness. Every reasonable living creature, whether angel or human being, possesses free will: the right to choose between good and evil. Free will is the property of everyone so that we can, by practicing good, become an ontological part of that good. In other words, goodness was never meant to be granted externally to us but must become our very own possession. If God imposed goodness as a necessity or an inevitability, then no one could ever become a perfectly free person. ‘Nobody has ever become good by force’, says St Symeon the New Theologian. Through unceasing growth in virtue the angels were meant to ascend to the plenitude of perfection, to the point of utter assimilation to the God of supreme goodness. Yet some of them chose to reject God and thereby sealed their own fate and the fate of the universe, which from that moment onwards became an arena for two contending polar (yet not equal) principles and powers: the Divine and the demonic, God and the devil.

The problem of the origin of evil has always been a challenge for Christian theology as it has often had to contend with overt or hidden manifestations of dualism. According to some dualistic sects, the entirety of being is made up of two realms which have forever existed together: the kingdom of light filled with many good aeons (angels), and the kingdom of darkness, filled with evil aeons (demons). Spiritual reality is subject to the god of light, while the god of darkness (Satan) has unlimited dominion over the material world. Matter itself is a sinful and evil entity: the humans should by all means possible mortify their bodies in order to be liberated from matter and return to the non-material world of good.

Christian theology viewed the nature and origin of evil differently. Evil is not a primeval essence that is coeternal and equal to God; it is a falling away from good, it is a revolt against good. In this sense it would be wrong to call evil a ‘substance’, as it does not exist in its own right. As darkness or shadow are not independent beings but are simply the absence or lack of light, so evil is merely the absence of good. ‘Evil’, writes St Basil the Great, ‘is not a living and animated substance, but a condition of the soul which is opposed to virtue and which springs up in the slothful because of their falling away from Good. Do not, therefore, contemplate evil from without; and do not imagine some original nature of wickedness, but let each one recognize himself as the first author of the vice that is in him’.

God did not create anything evil: both angels and humans, as well as the material world, are good and beautiful by nature. However, rational creatures, possessing free will, can direct their freedom against God and thereby engender evil. This is precisely what happened: the light-bearing morning star (Lucifer), originally created good, abused his freedom, defaced his own virtuous nature and fell away from the Source of goodness.

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THE EVIL-DOER

Without intrinsic substance or being, evil materialized into an active agent of destruction when it was ‘hypostasized’, that is, when it became a reality in the form of the devil and the demons. Fr Geogres Florovsky speaks of evil as ‘nothingness’, as ‘a pure negation, a privation or a mutilation’. Evil is primarily a lack, an absence of goodness. Compared with the Divine being, the operation of evil is illusory and imagined: the devil has no power where God does not allow him to operate.

Yet, as being a slanderer and a liar, the devil uses falsehood as his main weapon: he deceives his victim into believing that within his hands are concentrated great power and authority. The truth is that he does not have this power at all. As Vladimir Lossky emphasizes, in the Lord’s Prayer we do not ask God to deliver us from a general evil, but to deliver us from the evil one, from the evil-doer, a concrete person that embodies evil. This ‘evil-doer’, whose nature was originally good, is the bearer of that deadly non-being, non-life, which leads to his own death and the death of his victim.

Most assuredly, God is not a party to evil, yet evil is somehow under His control: it is God Who sets the boundaries in which evil can operate. As the opening of the book of Job shows, there is a certain direct and personal relationship between God and the devil (cf. Job 1-2); the nature of this relationship is, however, unknown to us. According to the mysterious ways of His Providence, and for purposes of edification, God allows evil to act as a means of setting people aright. This is evident from those parts of Scripture where God is recorded as visiting evil upon people: thus God hardened the heart of Pharaoh (Ex.4:21; 7:3; 14:4); God visited Saul with an evil spirit (1 Sam.16:14; 19:9); God gave the people ‘statutes that were not good’ (Ezek.20:25); God gave the people up to ‘impurity’, ‘dishonourable passions’ and a ‘base mind’ (Rom.1:24-32). In all of these instances it is not God Who is the source of evil: in possessing utter power over both good and evil, God can allow evil to operate in order to transform it into a source of virtue and to direct it towards good consequences. He can also use it to deliver people from a yet greater evil.

The obvious question still remains: why does God allow evil and the devil to exist? Why does He permit evil? St Augustine confessed that he could not answer this question: ‘I am unable to penetrate the depths of this ordinance and I confess that it is beyond my powers’, he wrote. St Gregory of Nyssa answered the question in a more optimistic manner: God permits the devil to act for a certain time only, yet there will come a time when evil will be ‘finally obliterated by the long cycle of ages’ and when ‘nothing outside of good will remain, but the confession of Christ’s lordship will be unanimous even from the demons’. The belief in the final restoration of the demons and the devil into their initial state was held also by St Isaac of Nineveh, as well as by some other early church writers. However, this opinion has never become a magisterial teaching of the Church.

The Church knows that evil is neither co-eternal with God nor equal to Him. That the devil rebelled against God and even became the king and ruler of hell does not mean that his kingdom will last for ever. On the contrary, Christian eschatology, as we shall see later, is profoundly optimistic and strongly holds faith in the final victory of good over evil, God over the devil, Christ over the Antichrist. Yet, what this victory will entail and what the final outcome of the existence of evil will be still remains unclear in Christian teaching. Pondering on this, the human mind once more falls silent in the presence of the mystery, powerless to delve into the depths of Divine destinies. As God says in the book of Isaiah, ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways’ (Is.55:8-9 in Septuagint translation).

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THE HUMAN PERSON

Human beings constitute the crown of creation, the peak of the creative process of the Divine Trinity. Before creating Adam, the three Persons took counsel together: ‘Let Us make man in Our own image, after Our likeness’ (Gen.1:26). The ‘Pre-eternal Counsel’ of the Three was necessary first because humans were a higher creature with reason, will, and dominion over the visible world, and second, because, being free and independent, humanity would break the commandment and fall away from the bliss of Paradise. The Son’s sacrifice on the Cross would then be required to show humans the way back to God. In creating human beings God knew their subsequent destiny, for nothing is hidden from the gaze of God Who sees the future as much as He sees the present.

God formed Adam ‘of dust from the ground’, that is, from matter. Thus he was flesh of the flesh of the earth from which he was moulded by the hands of God. Yet God also ‘breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being’ (Gen.2:7). Being material or earthly, Adam received a Divine principle, a pledge of his communion with the Divine being. ‘The breath of life’ can be taken to mean the Holy Spirit. The human person partakes of the divine nature by the very act of creation and is thereby utterly different from other living beings: he does not simply assume a higher position in the hierarchy of animals but is a ‘semi-god’ set over the animal kingdom. The church Fathers call the human being a ‘mediator’ between the visible and invisible worlds, a ‘mixture’ of both worlds.

As the heart of the created world, combining within himself both the spiritual and the corporeal, the human being in a certain sense surpasses the angels. It was not the angel but the human being who was created by God in His own image. And it was not angelic, but human nature that was assumed by God in the Incarnation.

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IMAGE AND LIKENESS

‘So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them’ (Gen.1:27). Because a solitary egocentric monad is incapable of love, God created not a unit but a couple with the intention that love should reign among people. And because the love of the couple is not yet the perfection of love and being, God commands: ‘Be fruitful and multiply’ (Gen.1:28). From two human beings the third, their child, must be born: the perfect family — husband, wife and child, is the reflection of divine love in three Hypostases. Indeed one cannot but notice the affinity of the interchange between the singular and plural when the Bible speaks of God (‘Let Us make man in Our image’ — ‘God created man in His own image’) and the singular and plural when it speaks of humans (‘created him’ — ‘created them’). This interchange emphasizes the unity of the nature of the human race even when there is a distinction between the hypostases of each individual person.

The theme of image and likeness is central to Christian anthropology: to a greater or lesser extent it was addressed by nearly all early church writers. The Fathers of the Church usually equated ‘the image of God’ to the rational and spiritual nature of the human person. ‘What is after the image if not our intellect?’ asks St John of Damascus. ‘We are created in the image of the Maker, we possess reason and the faculty of speech, which comprise the perfection of our nature’, writes St Basil the Great.

‘The image of God’ has been understood by some Fathers as our free will and self-determination. ‘When God in His supernal goodness creates each soul in His own image, He brings it into being endowed with self-determination’, says St Maximus the Confessor. God created the person absolutely free: in His love He wishes to force him neither into good nor evil. In return, He does not expect from us blind obedience but love. It is only in our being free that we can be assimilated to God through love for Him.

Other Fathers identified as ‘the image of God’ the human person’s immortality, his dominant position in the world and his striving towards good.

Our ability to create, as the reflection of the creative ability of the Maker Himself, is also regarded as being ‘in God’s image’. God is the ‘worker’: ‘My Father is working still, and I am working’, says Christ (John 5:17). The human person was also commanded to ‘till’ the garden of Eden (Gen.2:15), that is, to labour in it and to work the land. While the human person is unable to create ex nihilo (‘out of nothing’), he can create from material given to him by God, and this material is the entire earth, over which he is lord and master. The world has no need to be improved by people; rather, humans themselves need to apply their creative abilities in order to be assimilated to God.

Some church Fathers distinguish ‘image’ from ‘likeness’ by identifying the image as that which had been originally fixed by the Creator in the human person, and the likeness as that which is to be attained through a life of virtue: ‘The expression according to the image indicates that which is reasonable and endowed with free will, while the expression according to the likeness denotes assimilation through virtue, in as far as this is possible’ (St John of Damascus). The human person is called upon to realize all of his creative abilities in ‘tilling’ the world, in creativity, in virtue, in love, so that he can be assimilated to God. For, as St Gregory of Nyssa says, ‘the limit of a life of virtues is the assimilation of God’.

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SOUL AND BODY

All ancient religious tradition maintain that humans are composed of both material and spiritual elements; but the correlation between the two has been understood in different ways. The dualistic religions view matter as originally evil and hostile towards humanity: the Manichaeans even believed that Satan was the maker of the material world. Classical philosophy regards the body as a prison in which the soul is kept captive or incarcerated. Indeed Plato deduces the word soma (body) from sema (tombstone, tomb): ‘Many people believe that the body is like a tombstone concealing the soul buried beneath it in this life... The soul endures punishment... while the flesh does duty as its fortress so that it can be healed, while located in the body as in a torture chamber’.

The ancient Indian philosophies speak of the transmigration of souls from one body to another, even from a human being to an animal (and vice versa). The doctrine of metempsychosis (reincarnation) was rejected by early church tradition as incompatible with divine revelation. It was proclaimed senseless and erroneous on the basis of the assertion that a human being, who possesses reason and free will, cannot be transformed into an unintelligible animal, since all intelligible being is immortal and cannot disappear. Moreover, what is the point of someone’s being punished for sins committed in an earlier life if he does not know why he has to endure it (after all, it is impossible to recollect one’s previous ‘existence’)?

The church Fathers, basing themselves on Scripture, teach that the soul and the body are not foreign elements united temporarily in the individual, but are bestowed simultaneously and for all time in the very act of creation: the soul is ‘betrothed’ to the body and is inseparable from it. Only the totality of soul and body together comprises a complete personality, a hypostasis. St Gregory of Nyssa calls the unbreakable link between soul and body an ‘inclination of affection’, ‘commixture’, ‘community’, ‘attraction’ and ‘acquaintance’, which are preserved even after death. Such a concept is far removed from Platonic and Eastern dualism.

Christianity is quite falsely accused of preaching that the flesh should be despised and the body be treated with contempt. A contempt for the flesh was held by a number of heretics (the Gnostics, Montanists, Manichaeans), as well as by some Greek philosophers, the views of whom were subjected to rigorous criticism by church Fathers.

In Christian ascetical literature, whenever we encounter questions of enmity between flesh and spirit — beginning with St Paul: ‘For the desires of the flesh are against the spirit, and the desires of the spirit are against the flesh’ (Gal.5:17) — they concern sinful flesh as the totality of passions and vices and not the body in general. Also, when we read in monastic sources of the ‘mortification of the flesh’, this is about the putting to death of sinful proclivities and ‘lusts of the flesh’, not contempt for the body as such. The Christian ideal is not to debase the flesh, but to purify it and transfigure it, to liberate it from the consequences of the Fall, to return it to its primordial purity and make it worthy of assimilation to God.

Christian tradition has always held an exceptionally elevated view of the human person. What is a human being from the point of view of an atheist? An ape, only with more developed abilities. What is a human being as perceived by a Buddhist? One of the reincarnations of the soul, which before its abode in a human body could have existed in a dog or a pig, and which following bodily death could again find itself within an animal. Buddhist teaching denies the very concept of personal existence: the human being is regarded not as the totality of body and soul, but as a type of transient stage in the wandering of the soul from body to body.

Christianity alone presents an exalted image of the human being. In Christianity each of us is regarded as a personality, a person created in the image of God, an icon of the Creator.

When God created human nature, He created it not only for us but also for Himself, since He knew that one day He would Himself become a human being. Thus, He fashioned something adequate to Himself, something possessing an infinite potential. St Gregory Nazianzen calls the human person a ‘created god’. The human person is called to become god. In his potential man is a god-man.

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PRIMORDIAL HUMANITY BEFORE THE FALL

Materialists claim that in the early developmental stages of the human race people were like animals and led a bestial way of life: they neither knew God nor did they possess concepts of morality. Opposed to this are the Christian beliefs in the bliss of the first humans in Paradise, their subsequent fall and their eventual expulsion from Eden.

According to the Book of Genesis, God creates Adam and brings him into Paradise, where he lives in harmony with nature: he understands the language of the animals, and they obey him; all of the elements are subject to him as if to a king.

God brings to Adam all of the animals ‘to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name’ (Gen.2:19). Adam gives a name to every animal and bird a name: by doing so he demonstrates his ability to know the meaning, the hidden logos (reason) of every living creature. By giving Adam the right to name to the whole of creation, God brings him into the very heart of His creative process and calls him to co-creativeness, to co-operation.

God brings the primordial man into existence to be a priest of the entire visible creation. He alone of all living creatures is capable of praising God verbally and blessing Him. The entire universe is entrusted to him as a gift, for which he is to bring a ‘sacrifice of praise’ and which he is to offer back to God as ‘Thine own of Thine own’. In this unceasing eucharistic offering lies the meaning and justification of human existence. The heavens, the earth, the sea, the fields and mountains, the birds and the animals, indeed the whole of creation assign humans to this high priestly ministry in order that God may be praised through their lips.

God allows Adam and Eve to taste of all the trees of Paradise, including the tree of life which grants immortality. However, He forbids them to taste of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because ‘to know evil’ is to become party to it and to fall away from bliss and immortality. Adam is given the right to choose between good and evil, even though God makes him aware of the correct choice and warns him of the consequences of falling from grace. In choosing evil, Adam falls away from life and ‘dies a death’; in choosing good, he ascends to perfection and attains the highest goal of his existence.

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THE FALL

The biblical story of the Fall prefigures the entire tragic history of the human race. It shows us who we were and what we have become. It reveals that evil entered the world not by the will of God but by fault of humans who preferred diabolical deceit to divine commandment. From generation to generation the human race repeats Adam’s mistake in being beguiled by false values and forgetting the true ones — faith in God and verity to Him.

Sin was not ingrained in human nature. Yet the possibility to sin was rooted in the free will given to humans. It was indeed freedom that rendered the human being as an image of the Maker; but it was also freedom that from the very beginning contained within itself the possibility to fall away from God. Out of His love for humans God did not want to interfere in their freedom and forcibly avert sin. But neither could the devil force them to do evil. The sole responsibility for the Fall is borne by humans themselves, for they misused the freedom given to them.

What constituted the sin of the first people? St Augustine believes it to be disobedience. On the other hand, the majority of early church writers say that Adam fell as a result of pride. Pride is the wall that separates humans from God. The root of pride is egocenticity, the state of being turned in on oneself, self-love, lust for oneself. Before the Fall, God was the only object of the humans’ love; but then there appeared a value outside of God: the tree was suddenly seen to be ‘good for food’, ‘a delight to the eyes’, and something ‘to be desired’ (Gen.3:6). Thus the entire hierarchy of values collapsed: my own ‘I’ occupied the first place while the second was taken by the object of ‘my’ lust. No place has remained for God: He has been forgotten, driven from my life.

The forbidden fruit failed to bring happiness to the first people. On the contrary, they began to sense their own nakedness: they were ashamed and tried to hide from God. This awareness of one’s nakedness denotes the privation of the divine light-bearing garment that cloaked humans and defended them from the ‘knowledge of evil’. Adam’s first reaction after committing sin was burning sensation of shame. The second reaction was his desire to hide from the Creator. This shows that he had lost all notion of God’s omnipresence and would search for any place where God was ‘absent’.

However, this was not a total rupture with God. The Fall was not a complete abandonment: humans could repent and regain their former dignity. God goes out to find the fallen Adam; between the trees of Paradise He seeks him out asking ‘Where are you?’ (Gen.3:9). This humble wandering of God through Paradise prefigures Christ’s humility as revealed to us in the New Testament, the humility with which the Shepherd seeks the lost sheep. God has no need to go forth and look for Adam: He can call down from the heavens with a voice of thunder or shake the foundations of the earth. Yet He does not wish to be Adam’s judge, or his prosecutor. He still wants to count him as an equal and puts His hope in Adam’s repentance. But instead of repenting, Adam utters words of self-justification, laying the blame for everything on his wife: ‘The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate’ (Gen.3:12). In other words, ‘It was You who gave me a wife; it is You who is to blame’. In turn, Eve lays the blame for everything on the serpent.

The consequences of the Fall for the first humans were catastrophic. They were not only deprived of the bliss and sweetness of Paradise, but their whole nature was changed and disfigured. In sinning they fell away from their natural condition and entered an unnatural state of being. All elements of their spiritual and corporeal make-up were damaged: their spirit, instead of striving for God, became engrossed in the passions; their soul entered the sphere of bodily instincts; while their body lost its original lightness and was transformed into heavy sinful flesh. After the Fall the human person ‘became deaf, blind, naked, insensitive to the good things from which he had fallen away, and above all became mortal, corruptible and without sense of purpose’ (St Symeon the New Theologian). Disease, suffering and pain entered human life. Humans became mortal for they had lost the opportunity of tasting from the tree of life.

Not only humanity but also the entire world changed as a result of the Fall. The original harmony between people and nature had been broken; the elements had become hostile; storms, earthquakes and floods could destroy life. The earth would no longer provide everything of its own accord; it would have to be tilled ‘in the sweat of your face’, and would produce ‘thorns and thistles’. Even the animals would become the human being’s enemy: the serpent would ‘bruise his heel’ and other predators would attack him (Gen.3:14-19). All of creation would be subject to the ‘bondage of decay’. Together with humans it would now ‘wait for freedom’ from this bondage, since it did not submit to vanity voluntarily but through the fault of humanity (Rom.8:19-21).

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CONSEQUENCES OF ADAM’S SIN

After Adam and Eve sin spread rapidly throughout the human race. They were guilty of pride and disobedience, while their son Cain committed fratricide. Cain’s descendants soon forgot about God and set about organizing their earthly existence. Cain himself ‘built a city’. One of his closest descendants was ‘the father of those who dwell in tents and have cattle’; another was ‘the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe’; yet another was ‘the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron’ (Gen.4:17-22). The establishment of cities, cattle-breeding, music and other arts were thus passed onto humankind by Cain’s descendants as a surrogate of the lost happiness of Paradise.

The consequences of the Fall spread to the whole of the human race. This is elucidated by St Paul: ‘Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned’ (Rom.5:12). This text, which formed the Church’s basis of her teaching on ‘original sin’, may be understood in a number of ways: the Greek words ef’ ho pantes hemarton may be translated not only as ‘because all men sinned’ but also ‘in whom [that is, in Adam] all men sinned’. Different readings of the text may produce different understandings of what ‘original sin’ means.

If we accept the first translation, this means that each person is responsible for his own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. Here, Adam is merely the prototype of all future sinners, each of whom, in repeating Adam’s sin, bears responsibility only for his own sins. Adam’s sin is not the cause of our sinfulness; we do not participate in his sin and his guilt cannot be passed onto us.

However, if we read the text to mean ‘in whom all have sinned’, this can be understood as the passing on of Adam’s sin to all future generations of people, since human nature has been infected by sin in general. The disposition toward sin became hereditary and responsibility for turning away from God sin universal. As St Cyril of Alexandria states, human nature itself has ‘fallen ill with sin’; thus we all share Adam’s sin as we all share his nature. St Macarius of Egypt speaks of ‘a leaven of evil passions’ and of ‘secret impurity and the abiding darkness of passions’, which have entered into our nature in spite of our original purity. Sin has become so deeply rooted in human nature that not a single descendant of Adam has been spared from a hereditary predisposition toward sin.

The Old Testament writers had a vivid sense of their inherited sinfulness: ‘Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me’ (Ps.51:7). They believed that God ‘visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation’ (Ex.20:5). In the latter words reference is not made to innocent children but to those whose own sinfulness is rooted in the sins of their forefathers.

From a rational point of view, to punish the entire human race for Adam’s sin is an injustice. But not a single Christian dogma has ever been fully comprehended by reason. Religion within the bounds of reason is not religion but naked rationalism, for religion is supra-rational, supra-logical. The doctrine of original sin is disclosed in the light of divine revelation and acquires meaning with reference to the dogma of the atonement of humanity through the New Adam, Christ: ‘...As one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous... so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Rom.5:18-21).
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2009, 10:23:53 AM »

Now from the other side, from the CCC:
Quote
Paragraph 6. MAN

355 "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them."218 Man occupies a unique place in creation: (I) he is "in the image of God"; (II) in his own nature he unites the spiritual and material worlds; (III) he is created "male and female"; (IV) God established him in his friendship.

I. "IN THE IMAGE OF GOD"

356 of all visible creatures only man is "able to know and love his creator".219 He is "the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake",220 and he alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God's own life. It was for this end that he was created, and this is the fundamental reason for his dignity:
What made you establish man in so great a dignity? Certainly the incalculable love by which you have looked on your creature in yourself! You are taken with love for her; for by love indeed you created her, by love you have given her a being capable of tasting your eternal Good.221

357 Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. and he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give in his stead.

358 God created everything for man,222 but man in turn was created to serve and love God and to offer all creation back to him:
What is it that is about to be created, that enjoys such honour? It is man that great and wonderful living creature, more precious in the eyes of God than all other creatures! For him the heavens and the earth, the sea and all the rest of creation exist. God attached so much importance to his salvation that he did not spare his own Son for the sake of man. Nor does he ever cease to work, trying every possible means, until he has raised man up to himself and made him sit at his right hand.223

359 "In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear."224

St. Paul tells us that the human race takes its origin from two men: Adam and Christ. . . the first man, Adam, he says, became a living soul, the last Adam a life-giving spirit. the first Adam was made by the last Adam, from whom he also received his soul, to give him life... the second Adam stamped his image on the first Adam when he created him. That is why he took on himself the role and the name of the first Adam, in order that he might not lose what he had made in his own image. the first Adam, the last Adam: the first had a beginning, the last knows no end. the last Adam is indeed the first; as he himself says: "I am the first and the last."225

360 Because of its common origin the human race forms a unity, for "from one ancestor (God) made all nations to inhabit the whole earth":226

O wondrous vision, which makes us contemplate the human race in the unity of its origin in God. . . in the unity of its nature, composed equally in all men of a material body and a spiritual soul; in the unity of its immediate end and its mission in the world; in the unity of its dwelling, the earth, whose benefits all men, by right of nature, may use to sustain and develop life; in the unity of its supernatural end: God himself, to whom all ought to tend; in the unity of the means for attaining this end;. . . in the unity of the redemption wrought by Christ for all.227

361 "This law of human solidarity and charity",228 without excluding the rich variety of persons, cultures and peoples, assures us that all men are truly brethren.

II. "BODY AND SOUL BUT TRULY ONE"

362 The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. the biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that "then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."229 Man, whole and entire, is therefore willed by God.

363 In Sacred Scripture the term "soul" often refers to human life or the entire human person.230 But "soul" also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him,231 that by which he is most especially in God's image: "soul" signifies the spiritual principle in man.

364 The human body shares in the dignity of "the image of God": it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit:232

Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honour since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day 233

365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the "form" of the body:234 i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.

366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God - it is not "produced" by the parents - and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection.235

367 Sometimes the soul is distinguished from the spirit: St. Paul for instance prays that God may sanctify his people "wholly", with "spirit and soul and body" kept sound and blameless at the Lord's coming.236 The Church teaches that this distinction does not introduce a duality into the soul.237 "Spirit" signifies that from creation man is ordered to a supernatural end and that his soul can gratuitously be raised beyond all it deserves to communion with God.238

368 The spiritual tradition of the Church also emphasizes the heart, in the biblical sense of the depths of one's being, where the person decides for or against God.239

III. "MALE AND FEMALE HE CREATED THEM"

Equality and difference willed by God

369 Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. "Being man" or "being woman" is a reality which is good and willed by God: man and woman possess an inalienable dignity which comes to them immediately from God their Creator.240 Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity "in the image of God". In their "being-man" and "being-woman", they reflect the Creator's wisdom and goodness.

370 In no way is God in man's image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes. But the respective "perfections" of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband.241

"Each for the other" - "A unity in two"

371 God created man and woman together and willed each for the other. the Word of God gives us to understand this through various features of the sacred text. "It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him."242 None of the animals can be man's partner.243 The woman God "fashions" from the man's rib and brings to him elicits on the man's part a cry of wonder, an exclamation of love and communion: "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh."244 Man discovers woman as another "I", sharing the same humanity.

372 Man and woman were made "for each other" - not that God left them half-made and incomplete: he created them to be a communion of persons, in which each can be "helpmate" to the other, for they are equal as persons ("bone of my bones. . .") and complementary as masculine and feminine. In marriage God unites them in such a way that, by forming "one flesh",245 they can transmit human life: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth."246 By transmitting human life to their descendants, man and woman as spouses and parents co-operate in a unique way in the Creator's work.247

373 In God's plan man and woman have the vocation of "subduing" the earth248 as stewards of God. This sovereignty is not to be an arbitrary and destructive domination. God calls man and woman, made in the image of the Creator "who loves everything that exists",249 to share in his providence toward other creatures; hence their responsibility for the world God has entrusted to them.

IV. MAN IN PARADISE

374 The first man was not only created good, but was also established in friendship with his Creator and in harmony with himself and with the creation around him, in a state that would be surpassed only by the glory of the new creation in Christ.

375 The Church, interpreting the symbolism of biblical language in an authentic way, in the light of the New Testament and Tradition, teaches that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were constituted in an original "state of holiness and justice".250 This grace of original holiness was "to share in. . .divine life".251

376 By the radiance of this grace all dimensions of man's life were confirmed. As long as he remained in the divine intimacy, man would not have to suffer or die.252 The inner harmony of the human person, the harmony between man and woman,253 and finally the harmony between the first couple and all creation, comprised the state called "original justice".

377 The "mastery" over the world that God offered man from the beginning was realized above all within man himself: mastery of self. the first man was unimpaired and ordered in his whole being because he was free from the triple concupiscence254 that subjugates him to the pleasures of the senses, covetousness for earthly goods, and self-assertion, contrary to the dictates of reason.

378 The sign of man's familiarity with God is that God places him in the garden.255 There he lives "to till it and keep it". Work is not yet a burden,256 but rather the collaboration of man and woman with God in perfecting the visible creation.

379 This entire harmony of original justice, foreseen for man in God's plan, will be lost by the sin of our first parents.

IN BRIEF

380 "Father,. . . you formed man in your own likeness and set him over the whole world to serve you, his creator, and to rule over all creatures" (Roman Missal, EP IV, 118).

381 Man is predestined to reproduce the image of God's Son made man, the "image of the invisible God" (⇒ Col 1:15), so that Christ shall be the first-born of a multitude of brothers and sisters (cf ⇒ Eph 1:3-6; ⇒ Rom 8:29).

382 "Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity" (GS 14 # 1). the doctrine of the faith affirms that the spiritual and immortal soul is created immediately by God.

383 "God did not create man a solitary being. From the beginning, "male and female he created them" (⇒ Gen 1:27). This partnership of man and woman constitutes the first form of communion between persons" (GS 12 # 4).

384 Revelation makes known to us the state of original holiness and justice of man and woman before sin: from their friendship with God flowed the happiness of their existence in paradise.





--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
218 ⇒ Gen 1:27.


219 GS 12 # 3.


220 GS 24 # 3.


221 St. Catherine of Siena, Dialogue IV, 13 "On Divine Providence": LH,
   Sunday, week 19, OR.


222 Cf. GS 12 # 1; 24 # 3; 39 # 1.


223 St. John Chrysostom, In Gen. sermo 2, 1: PG 54, 587D-588A.


224 GS 22 # 1.


225 St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermo 117: PL 52, 520-521.


226 ⇒ Acts 17:26; cf. ⇒ Tob 8:6.


227 Pius XII. Enc. Summi pontificatus 3; cf. NA 1.


228 Pius XII Summi pontificatus 3.


229 ⇒ Gen 2:7.


230 Cf. ⇒ Mt 16:25-26; ⇒ Jn 15:13; ⇒ Acts 2:41


231 Cf. ⇒ Mt 10:28; ⇒ 26:38; ⇒ Jn 12:27; ⇒ 2 Macc 6 30.


232 Cf. ⇒ I Cor 6:19-20; ⇒ 15:44-45.


233 GS 14 # 1; cf. ⇒ Dan 3:57-80.


234 Cf. Council of Vienne (1312): DS 902.


235 Cf. Pius XII, Humani generis: DS 3896; Paul VI, CPC # 8; Lateran
   Council V (1513): DS 1440.


236 1 Th 5:23.


237 Cf. Council of Constantinople IV (870): DS 657.


238 Cf. Vatican Council I, Dei Filius: DS 3005; GS 22 # 5; Humani generis:
   DS 3891.


239 Cf. ⇒ Jer 31:33; Dt 6:5; 29:3; ⇒ Is 29:13; ⇒ Ezek 36:26; ⇒ Mt 6:21; ⇒ Lk 8:15; ⇒ Rom 5:5.


240 Cf. ⇒ Gen 2:7, ⇒ 22.


241 Cf. ⇒ Is 49:14-15; ⇒ 66: 13; ⇒ Ps 131:2-3; ]⇒ Hos 11:1-4; ⇒ Jer 3:4- 19.


242 ⇒ Gen 2:18.


243 ]⇒ Gen 2:19-20.


244 ⇒ Gen 2:23


245 ⇒ Gen 2:24


246 ⇒ Gen 1:28.


247 Cf. GS 50 # 1.


248 ⇒ Gen 1:28.


249 Wis 11:24.


250 Cf. Council of Trent (1546): DS 1511.


251 Cf. LG 2.


252 Cf. ⇒ Gen 2:17; ⇒ 3:16, ⇒ 19.


253 Cf. ⇒ Gen 2:25.


254 Cf. I ⇒ Jn 2:16.


255 Cf. ⇒ Gen 2:8.


256 ⇒ Gen 2:15; cf. ⇒ 3:17-19
Quote
Paragraph 7. THE FALL

385 God is infinitely good and all his works are good. Yet no one can escape the experience of suffering or the evils in nature which seem to be linked to the limitations proper to creatures: and above all to the question of moral evil. Where does evil come from? "I sought whence evil comes and there was no solution", said St. Augustine,257 and his own painful quest would only be resolved by his conversion to the living God. For "the mystery of lawlessness" is clarified only in the light of the "mystery of our religion".258 The revelation of divine love in Christ manifested at the same time the extent of evil and the superabundance of grace.259 We must therefore approach the question of the origin of evil by fixing the eyes of our faith on him who alone is its conqueror.260

I. WHERE SIN ABOUNDED, GRACE ABOUNDED ALL THE MORE

The reality of sin

386 Sin is present in human history; any attempt to ignore it or to give this dark reality other names would be futile. To try to understand what sin is, one must first recognize the profound relation of man to God, for only in this relationship is the evil of sin unmasked in its true identity as humanity's rejection of God and opposition to him, even as it continues to weigh heavy on human life and history.

387 Only the light of divine Revelation clarifies the reality of sin and particularly of the sin committed at mankind's origins. Without the knowledge Revelation gives of God we cannot recognize sin clearly and are tempted to explain it as merely a developmental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the necessary consequence of an inadequate social structure, etc. Only in the knowledge of God's plan for man can we grasp that sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are capable of loving him and loving one another.

Original sin - an essential truth of the faith

388 With the progress of Revelation, the reality of sin is also illuminated. Although to some extent the People of God in the Old Testament had tried to understand the pathos of the human condition in the light of the history of the fall narrated in Genesis, they could not grasp this story's ultimate meaning, which is revealed only in the light of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.261 We must know Christ as the source of grace in order to know Adam as the source of sin. the Spirit-Paraclete, sent by the risen Christ, came to "convict the world concerning sin",262 by revealing him who is its Redeemer.

389 The doctrine of original sin is, so to speak, the "reverse side" of the Good News that Jesus is the Saviour of all men, that all need salvation and that salvation is offered to all through Christ. the Church, which has the mind of Christ,263 knows very well that we cannot tamper with the revelation of original sin without undermining the mystery of Christ.

How to read the account of the fall

390 The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man.264 Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.265

II. THE FALL OF THE ANGELS

391 Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy.266 Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called "Satan" or the "devil".267 The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: "The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing."268

392 Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels.269 This "fall" consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter's words to our first parents: "You will be like God."270 The devil "has sinned from the beginning"; he is "a liar and the father of lies".271

393 It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable. "There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death."272

394 Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls "a murderer from the beginning", who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father.273 "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil."274 In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God.

395 The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God's reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries - of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature - to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but "we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him."275

III. ORIGINAL SIN

Freedom put to the test

396 God created man in his image and established him in his friendship. A spiritual creature, man can live this friendship only in free submission to God. the prohibition against eating "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" spells this out: "for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die."276 The "tree of the knowledge of good and evil"277 symbolically evokes the insurmountable limits that man, being a creature, must freely recognize and respect with trust. Man is dependent on his Creator, and subject to the laws of creation and to the moral norms that govern the use of freedom.

Man's first sin

397 Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of.278 All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.

398 In that sin man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good. Created in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully "divinized" by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to "be like God", but "without God, before God, and not in accordance with God".279

399 Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness.280 They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image - that of a God jealous of his prerogatives.281

400 The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul's spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination.282 Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man.283 Because of man, creation is now subject "to its bondage to decay".284 Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will "return to the ground",285 for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history.286

401 After that first sin, the world is virtually inundated by sin There is Cain's murder of his brother Abel and the universal corruption which follows in the wake of sin. Likewise, sin frequently manifests itself in the history of Israel, especially as infidelity to the God of the Covenant and as transgression of the Law of Moses. and even after Christ's atonement, sin raises its head in countless ways among Christians.287 Scripture and the Church's Tradition continually recall the presence and universality of sin in man's history:

What Revelation makes known to us is confirmed by our own experience. For when man looks into his own heart he finds that he is drawn towards what is wrong and sunk in many evils which cannot come from his good creator. Often refusing to acknowledge God as his source, man has also upset the relationship which should link him to his last end, and at the same time he has broken the right order that should reign within himself as well as between himself and other men and all creatures.288

The consequences of Adam's sin for humanity

402 All men are implicated in Adam's sin, as St. Paul affirms: "By one man's disobedience many (that is, all men) were made sinners": "sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned."289 The Apostle contrasts the universality of sin and death with the universality of salvation in Christ. "Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men."290

403 Following St. Paul, the Church has always taught that the overwhelming misery which oppresses men and their inclination towards evil and death cannot be understood apart from their connection with Adam's sin and the fact that he has transmitted to us a sin with which we are all born afflicted, a sin which is the "death of the soul".291 Because of this certainty of faith, the Church baptizes for the remission of sins even tiny infants who have not committed personal sin.292

404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? the whole human race is in Adam "as one body of one man".293 By this "unity of the human race" all men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state.294 It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. and that is why original sin is called "sin" only in an analogical sense: it is a sin "contracted" and not "committed" - a state and not an act.

405 Although it is proper to each individual,295 original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence". Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

406 The Church's teaching on the transmission of original sin was articulated more precisely in the fifth century, especially under the impulse of St. Augustine's reflections against Pelagianism, and in the sixteenth century, in opposition to the Protestant Reformation. Pelagius held that man could, by the natural power of free will and without the necessary help of God's grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence of Adam's fault to bad example. the first Protestant reformers, on the contrary, taught that original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom; they identified the sin inherited by each man with the tendency to evil (concupiscentia), which would be insurmountable. the Church pronounced on the meaning of the data of Revelation on original sin especially at the second Council of Orange (529)296 and at the Council of Trent (1546).297

A hard battle. . .

407 The doctrine of original sin, closely connected with that of redemption by Christ, provides lucid discernment of man's situation and activity in the world. By our first parents' sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free. Original sin entails "captivity under the power of him who thenceforth had the power of death, that is, the devil".298 Ignorance of the fact that man has a wounded nature inclined to evil gives rise to serious errors in the areas of education, politics, social action299 and morals.

408 The consequences of original sin and of all men's personal sins put the world as a whole in the sinful condition aptly described in St. John's expression, "the sin of the world".300 This expression can also refer to the negative influence exerted on people by communal situations and social structures that are the fruit of men's sins.301

409 This dramatic situation of "the whole world [which] is in the power of the evil one"302 makes man's life a battle:

The whole of man's history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God's grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity.303

IV. "YOU DID NOT ABANDON HIM TO THE POWER OF DEATH"

410 After his fall, man was not abandoned by God. On the contrary, God calls him and in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall.304 This passage in Genesis is called the Protoevangelium ("first gospel"): the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer, of a battle between the serpent and the Woman, and of the final victory of a descendant of hers.

411 The Christian tradition sees in this passage an announcement of the "New Adam" who, because he "became obedient unto death, even death on a cross", makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience, of Adam.305 Furthermore many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the "Proto-evangelium" as Mary, the mother of Christ, the "new Eve". Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ's victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.306

412 But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning? St. Leo the Great responds, "Christ's inexpressible grace gave us blessings better than those the demon's envy had taken away."307 and St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, "There is nothing to prevent human nature's being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, 'Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more'; and the Exsultet sings, 'O happy fault,. . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!'"308

IN BRIEF

413 "God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. . . It was through the devil's envy that death entered the world" (⇒ Wis 1:13; ⇒ 2:24).

414 Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God.

415 "Although set by God in a state of rectitude man, enticed by the evil one, abused his freedom at the very start of history. He lifted himself up against God, and sought to attain his goal apart from him" (GS 13 # 1).

416 By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings.

417 Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called "original sin".

418 As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called "concupiscence").

419 "We therefore hold, with the Council of Trent, that original sin is transmitted with human nature, "by propagation, not by imitation" and that it is. . . 'proper to each'" (Paul VI, CPG # 16).

420 The victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessings than those which sin had taken from us: "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (⇒ Rom 5:20).

421 Christians believe that "the world has been established and kept in being by the Creator's love; has fallen into slavery to sin but has been set free by Christ, crucified and risen to break the power of the evil one. . ." (GS 2 # 2).





--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
257 St. Augustine, Conf. 7, 7, 11: PL 32, 739.


258 2 Th 2:7; I Tim 3:16.


259 Cf. ⇒ Rom 5:20.


260 Cf. ⇒ Lk 11:21-22; ⇒ Jn 16:11; ⇒ I Jn 3:8.


261 Cf. ⇒ Rom 5:12-21.


262 ⇒ Jn 16:8.


263 Cf. ⇒ I Cor 2:16.


264 Cf. GS 13 # 1.


265 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1513; Pius XII: DS 3897; Paul VI: AAS 58
   (1966), 654.


266 Cf. ⇒ Gen 3:1-5; Wis 2:24.


267 Cf ⇒ Jn 8:44; ⇒ Rev 12:9.


268 Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 800.


269 Cf. ⇒ 2 Pt 2:4.


270 ⇒ Gen 3:5.


271 ⇒ I Jn 3:8; ⇒ Jn 8:44.


272 St. John Damascene, Defide orth. 2, 4: PG 94, 877.


273 ⇒ Jn 8:44; cf. ⇒ Mt 4:1-11.


274 I ⇒ Jn 3:8.


275 ⇒ Rom 8:28.


276 ⇒ Gen 2:17.


277 ⇒ Gen 2:17.


278 Cf. ⇒ Gen 3:1-11 ; ⇒ Rom 5:19.


279 St. Maximus the Confessor, Ambigua: PG 91, 1156C; cf. ⇒ Gen 3:5.


280 Cf. ⇒ Rom 3:23.


281 Cf. ⇒ Gen 3:5-10.


282 Cf. ⇒ Gen 3:7-16.


283 Cf. ⇒ Gen 3:17, ⇒ 19.


284 ⇒ Rom 8:21.


285 ⇒ Gen 3:19; cf. ⇒ 2:17.


286 Cf. ⇒ Rom 5:12.


287 Cf. ⇒ Gen 4:3-15; ⇒ 6:5, ⇒ 12; ⇒ Rom 1:18-32; ⇒ I Cor 1-6; ⇒ Rev 2-3.


288 GS 13 # 1.


289 ⇒ Rom 5:12, ⇒ 19.


290 ⇒ Rom 5:18.


291 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1512.


292 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1514.


293 St. Thomas Aquinas, De malo 4, I.


294 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1511-1512


295 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1513.


296 DS 371-372.


297 Cf. DS 1510-1516.


298 Council of Trent (1546): DS 1511; cf. ⇒ Heb 2:14.


299 Cf. John Paul II, CA 25.


300 ⇒ Jn 1:29.


301 Cf. John Paul II, RP 16.


302 I ⇒ Jn 5:19; cf. ⇒ I Pt 5:8.


303 GS 37 3 2.


304 Cf. ⇒ Gen 3:9, ⇒ 15.


305 Cf. ⇒ I Cor 15:21-22, ⇒ 45; ⇒ Phil 2:8; ⇒ Rom 5:19-20.


306 Cf. Pius IXs Ineffabilis Deus: DS 2803; Council of Trent: DS 1573.


307 St. Leo the Great, Sermo 73, 4: PL 54, 396.


308 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, I, 3, ad 3; cf. ⇒ Rom 5:20.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2009, 10:25:08 AM by ialmisry » Logged

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and urgent strife sheds blood.
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2009, 10:29:43 AM »

So that there can be a complete comparison between the two modern Catechism, from the CCC on the invisible creation, and the origin of evil:
Quote
Paragraph 4. THE CREATOR

279 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."116 Holy Scripture begins with these solemn words. the profession of faith takes them up when it confesses that God the Father almighty is "Creator of heaven and earth" (Apostles' Creed), "of all that is, seen and unseen" (Nicene Creed). We shall speak first of the Creator, then of creation and finally of the fall into sin from which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to raise us up again.

280 Creation is the foundation of "all God's saving plans," the "beginning of the history of salvation"117 that culminates in Christ. Conversely, the mystery of Christ casts conclusive light on the mystery of creation and reveals the end for which "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth": from the beginning, God envisaged the glory of the new creation in Christ.118

281 And so the readings of the Easter Vigil, the celebration of the new creation in Christ, begin with the creation account; likewise in the Byzantine liturgy, the account of creation always constitutes the first reading at the vigils of the great feasts of the Lord. According to ancient witnesses the instruction of catechumens for Baptism followed the same itinerary.119

I. CATECHESIS ON CREATION

282 Catechesis on creation is of major importance. It concerns the very foundations of human and Christian life: for it makes explicit the response of the Christian faith to the basic question that men of all times have asked themselves:120 "Where do we come from?" "Where are we going?" "What is our origin?" "What is our end?" "Where does everything that exists come from and where is it going?" the two questions, the first about the origin and the second about the end, are inseparable. They are decisive for the meaning and orientation of our life and actions.

283 The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers. With Solomon they can say: "It is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists, to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements. . . for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me."121

284 The great interest accorded to these studies is strongly stimulated by a question of another order, which goes beyond the proper domain of the natural sciences. It is not only a question of knowing when and how the universe arose physically, or when man appeared, but rather of discovering the meaning of such an origin: is the universe governed by chance, blind fate, anonymous necessity, or by a transcendent, intelligent and good Being called "God"? and if the world does come from God's wisdom and goodness, why is there evil? Where does it come from? Who is responsible for it? Is there any liberation from it?

285 Since the beginning the Christian faith has been challenged by responses to the question of origins that differ from its own. Ancient religions and cultures produced many myths concerning origins. Some philosophers have said that everything is God, that the world is God, or that the development of the world is the development of God (Pantheism). Others have said that the world is a necessary emanation arising from God and returning to him. Still others have affirmed the existence of two eternal principles, Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, locked, in permanent conflict (Dualism, Manichaeism). According to some of these conceptions, the world (at least the physical world) is evil, the product of a fall, and is thus to be rejected or left behind (Gnosticism). Some admit that the world was made by God, but as by a watch-maker who, once he has made a watch, abandons it to itself (Deism). Finally, others reject any transcendent origin for the world, but see it as merely the interplay of matter that has always existed (Materialism). All these attempts bear witness to the permanence and universality of the question of origins. This inquiry is distinctively human.

286 Human intelligence is surely already capable of finding a response to the question of origins. the existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason,122 even if this knowledge is often obscured and disfigured by error. This is why faith comes to confirm and enlighten reason in the correct understanding of this truth: "By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear."123

287 The truth about creation is so important for all of human life that God in his tenderness wanted to reveal to his People everything that is salutary to know on the subject. Beyond the natural knowledge that every man can have of the Creator,124 God progressively revealed to Israel the mystery of creation. He who chose the patriarchs, who brought Israel out of Egypt, and who by choosing Israel created and formed it, this same God reveals himself as the One to whom belong all the peoples of the earth, and the whole earth itself; he is the One who alone "made heaven and earth".125

288 Thus the revelation of creation is inseparable from the revelation and forging of the covenant of the one God with his People. Creation is revealed as the first step towards this covenant, the first and universal witness to God's all-powerful love.126 and so, the truth of creation is also expressed with growing vigour in the message of the prophets, the prayer of the psalms and the liturgy, and in the wisdom sayings of the Chosen People.127

289 Among all the Scriptural texts about creation, the first three chapters of Genesis occupy a unique place. From a literary standpoint these texts may have had diverse sources. the inspired authors have placed them at the beginning of Scripture to express in their solemn language the truths of creation - its origin and its end in God, its order and goodness, the vocation of man, and finally the drama of sin and the hope of salvation. Read in the light of Christ, within the unity of Sacred Scripture and in the living Tradition of the Church, these texts remain the principal source for catechesis on the mysteries of the "beginning": creation, fall, and promise of salvation.

II. CREATION - WORK OF THE HOLY TRINITY

290 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth":128 three things are affirmed in these first words of Scripture: the eternal God gave a beginning to all that exists outside of himself; he alone is Creator (the verb "create" - Hebrew bara - always has God for its subject). the totality of what exists (expressed by the formula "the heavens and the earth") depends on the One who gives it being.

291 "In the beginning was the Word. . . and the Word was God. . . all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made."129 The New Testament reveals that God created everything by the eternal Word, his beloved Son. In him "all things were created, in heaven and on earth.. . all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."130 The Church's faith likewise confesses the creative action of the Holy Spirit, the "giver of life", "the Creator Spirit" (Veni, Creator Spiritus), the "source of every good".131

292 The Old Testament suggests and the New Covenant reveals the creative action of the Son and the Spirit,132 inseparably one with that of the Father. This creative co-operation is clearly affirmed in the Church's rule of faith: "There exists but one God. . . he is the Father, God, the Creator, the author, the giver of order. He made all things by himself, that is, by his Word and by his Wisdom", "by the Son and the Spirit" who, so to speak, are "his hands".133 Creation is the common work of the Holy Trinity.

III. "THE WORLD WAS CREATED FOR THE GLORY OF GOD"

293 Scripture and Tradition never cease to teach and celebrate this fundamental truth: "The world was made for the glory of God."134 St. Bonaventure explains that God created all things "not to increase his glory, but to show it forth and to communicate it",135 for God has no other reason for creating than his love and goodness: "Creatures came into existence when the key of love opened his hand."136 The First Vatican Council explains:

This one, true God, of his own goodness and "almighty power", not for increasing his own beatitude, nor for attaining his perfection, but in order to manifest this perfection through the benefits which he bestows on creatures, with absolute freedom of counsel "and from the beginning of time, made out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal. . ."137

294 The glory of God consists in the realization of this manifestation and communication of his goodness, for which the world was created. God made us "to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace",138 for "the glory of God is man fully alive; moreover man's life is the vision of God: if God's revelation through creation has already obtained life for all the beings that dwell on earth, how much more will the Word's manifestation of the Father obtain life for those who see God."139 The ultimate purpose of creation is that God "who is the creator of all things may at last become "all in all", thus simultaneously assuring his own glory and our beatitude."140

IV. THE MYSTERY OF CREATION

God creates by wisdom and love

295 We believe that God created the world according to his wisdom.141 It is not the product of any necessity whatever, nor of blind fate or chance. We believe that it proceeds from God's free will; he wanted to make his creatures share in his being, wisdom and goodness: "For you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."142 Therefore the Psalmist exclaims: "O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all"; and "The LORD is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made."143 God creates "out of nothing"

296 We believe that God needs no pre-existent thing or any help in order to create, nor is creation any sort of necessary emanation from the divine substance.144 God creates freely "out of nothing":145

If God had drawn the world from pre-existent matter, what would be so extraordinary in that? A human artisan makes from a given material whatever he wants, while God shows his power by starting from nothing to make all he wants.146

297 Scripture bears witness to faith in creation "out of nothing" as a truth full of promise and hope. Thus the mother of seven sons encourages them for martyrdom:

I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws. . . Look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being.147

298 Since God could create everything out of nothing, he can also, through the Holy Spirit, give spiritual life to sinners by creating a pure heart in them,148 and bodily life to the dead through the Resurrection. God "gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist."149 and since God was able to make light shine in darkness by his Word, he can also give the light of faith to those who do not yet know him.150

God creates an ordered and good world

299 Because God creates through wisdom, his creation is ordered: "You have arranged all things by measure and number and weight."151 The universe, created in and by the eternal Word, the "image of the invisible God", is destined for and addressed to man, himself created in the "image of God" and called to a personal relationship with God.152 Our human understanding, which shares in the light of the divine intellect, can understand what God tells us by means of his creation, though not without great effort and only in a spirit of humility and respect before the Creator and his work.153 Because creation comes forth from God's goodness, it shares in that goodness - "and God saw that it was good. . . very good"154- for God willed creation as a gift addressed to man, an inheritance destined for and entrusted to him. On many occasions the Church has had to defend the goodness of creation, including that of the physical world.155

God transcends creation and is present to it

300 God is infinitely greater than all his works: "You have set your glory above the heavens."156 Indeed, God's "greatness is unsearchable".157 But because he is the free and sovereign Creator, the first cause of all that exists, God is present to his creatures' inmost being: "In him we live and move and have our being."158 In the words of St. Augustine, God is "higher than my highest and more inward than my innermost self".159

God upholds and sustains creation

301 With creation, God does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end. Recognizing this utter dependence with respect to the Creator is a source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence:

 

For you love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it. How would anything have endured, if you had not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved? You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living.160

V. GOD CARRIES OUT HIS PLAN: DIVINE PROVIDENCE

302 Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. the universe was created "in a state of journeying" (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call "divine providence" the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection:

By his providence God protects and governs all things which he has made, "reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and ordering all things well". For "all are open and laid bare to his eyes", even those things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures.161

303 The witness of Scripture is unanimous that the solicitude of divine providence is concrete and immediate; God cares for all, from the least things to the great events of the world and its history. the sacred books powerfully affirm God's absolute sovereignty over the course of events: "Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases."162 and so it is with Christ, "who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens".163 As the book of Proverbs states: "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will be established."164

304 And so we see the Holy Spirit, the principal author of Sacred Scripture, often attributing actions to God without mentioning any secondary causes. This is not a "primitive mode of speech", but a profound way of recalling God's primacy and absolute Lordship over history and the world,165 and so of educating his people to trust in him. the prayer of the Psalms is the great school of this trust.166

305 Jesus asks for childlike abandonment to the providence of our heavenly Father who takes care of his children's smallest needs: "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?". . . Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well."167

Providence and secondary causes

306 God is the sovereign master of his plan. But to carry it out he also makes use of his creatures' co-operation. This use is not a sign of weakness, but rather a token of almighty God's greatness and goodness. For God grants his creatures not only their existence, but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus of co-operating in the accomplishment of his plan.

307 To human beings God even gives the power of freely sharing in his providence by entrusting them with the responsibility of "subduing" the earth and having dominion over it.168 God thus enables men to be intelligent and free causes in order to complete the work of creation, to perfect its harmony for their own good and that of their neighbours. Though often unconscious collaborators with God's will, they can also enter deliberately into the divine plan by their actions, their prayers and their sufferings.169 They then fully become "God's fellow workers" and co-workers for his kingdom.170

308 The truth that God is at work in all the actions of his creatures is inseparable from faith in God the Creator. God is the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes: "For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."171 Far from diminishing the creature's dignity, this truth enhances it. Drawn from nothingness by God's power, wisdom and goodness, it can do nothing if it is cut off from its origin, for "without a Creator the creature vanishes."172 Still less can a creature attain its ultimate end without the help of God's grace.173

Providence and the scandal of evil

309 If God the Father almighty, the Creator of the ordered and good world, cares for all his creatures, why does evil exist? To this question, as pressing as it is unavoidable and as painful as it is mysterious, no quick answer will suffice. Only Christian faith as a whole constitutes the answer to this question: the goodness of creation, the drama of sin and the patient love of God who comes to meet man by his covenants, the redemptive Incarnation of his Son, his gift of the Spirit, his gathering of the Church, the power of the sacraments and his call to a blessed life to which free creatures are invited to consent in advance, but from which, by a terrible mystery, they can also turn away in advance. There is not a single aspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil.

310 But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better.174 But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world "in a state of journeying" towards its ultimate perfection. In God's plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.175

311 Angels and men, as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and preferential love. They can therefore go astray. Indeed, they have sinned. Thus has moral evil, incommensurably more harmful than physical evil, entered the world. God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil.176 He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it:

For almighty God. . ., because he is supremely good, would never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in his works if he were not so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil itself.177

312 In time we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil, caused by his creatures: "It was not you", said Joseph to his brothers, "who sent me here, but God. . . You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive."178 From the greatest moral evil ever committed - the rejection and murder of God's only Son, caused by the sins of all men - God, by his grace that "abounded all the more",179 brought the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our redemption. But for all that, evil never becomes a good.

313 "We know that in everything God works for good for those who love him."180 The constant witness of the saints confirms this truth:

St. Catherine of Siena said to "those who are scandalized and rebel against what happens to them": "Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind."181
St. Thomas More, shortly before his martyrdom, consoled his daughter: "Nothing can come but that that God wills. and I make me very sure that whatsoever that be, seem it never so bad in sight, it shall indeed be the best."182
Dame Julian of Norwich: "Here I was taught by the grace of God that I should steadfastly keep me in the faith... and that at the same time I should take my stand on and earnestly believe in what our Lord shewed in this time - that 'all manner (of) thing shall be well.'"183

314 We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God "face to face",184 will we fully know the ways by which - even through the dramas of evil and sin - God has guided his creation to that definitive sabbath rest185 for which he created heaven and earth.

IN BRIEF

315 In the creation of the world and of man, God gave the first and universal witness to his almighty love and his wisdom, the first proclamation of the "plan of his loving goodness", which finds its goal in the new creation in Christ.

316 Though the work of creation is attributed to the Father in particular, it is equally a truth of faith that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit together are the one, indivisible principle of creation.

317 God alone created the universe, freely, directly and without any help.

318 No creature has the infinite power necessary to "create" in the proper sense of the word, that is, to produce and give being to that which had in no way possessed it to call into existence "out of nothing") (cf  DS 3624).

319 God created the world to show forth and communicate his glory. That his creatures should share in his truth, goodness and beauty - this is the glory for which God created them.

320 God created the universe and keeps it in existence by his Word, the Son "upholding the universe by his word of power" (⇒ Heb 1:3), and by his Creator Spirit, the giver of life.

321 Divine providence consists of the dispositions by which God guides all his creatures with wisdom and love to their ultimate end.

322 Christ invites us to filial trust in the providence of our heavenly Father (cf ⇒ Mt 6:26-34), and St. Peter the apostle repeats: "Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you" (⇒ I Pt 5:7; cf. ⇒ Ps 55:23).

323 Divine providence works also through the actions of creatures. To human beings God grants the ability to co-operate freely with his plans.

324 The fact that God permits physical and even moral evil is a mystery that God illuminates by his Son Jesus Christ who died and rose to vanquish evil. Faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit an evil if he did not cause a good to come from that very evil, by ways that we shall fully know only in eternal life.





--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
116 ⇒ Gen 1:1.


117 GCD 51.


118 ⇒ Gen 1:1; cf. ⇒ Rom 8:18-23.


119 Cf. Egeria, Peregrinatio at loca sancta 46: PLS 1, 1047; St. Augustine,
   De catechizantis rudibus 3, 5: PL 40, 256.


120 Cf. NA 2.


121 Wis 7: 17-22.


122 Cf. Vatican Council I, can. 2 # I: DS 3026.


123 ⇒ Heb 11:3.


124 Cf. ⇒ Acts 17:24-29; ⇒ Rom 1:19-20.


125 Cf. ⇒ Is 43:1; ⇒ Pss 115:15; ⇒ 124:8; ⇒ 134:3.


126 Cf. ⇒ Gen 15:5; ⇒ Jer 33:19-26.


127 Cf. ⇒ Is 44:24; ⇒ Ps 104; ⇒ Prov 8:22-31.


128 ⇒ Gen 1:1.


129 ⇒ Jn 1:1-3.


130 ⇒ Col 1:16-17.


131 Cf. Nicene Creed: DS 150; Hymn Veni, Creator Spiritus; Byzantine
   Troparion of Pentecost Vespers, "O heavenly King, Consoler".


132 Cf. ⇒ Pss 33 6; ⇒ 104:30; ⇒ Gen 1:2-3.


133 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 2, 30, 9; 4, 20, I: PG 7/1, 822, 1032.


134 Dei Filius, can. # 5: DS 3025.


135 St. Bonaventure, In II Sent. I, 2, 2, 1.


136 St. Thomas Aquinas, Sent. II, prol.


137 Dei Filius I: DS 3002; cf Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 800.


138 ⇒ Eph 1:5-6.


139 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 20, 7: PG 7/1, 1037.


140 AG 2; cf. I Cor 15:28.


141 Cf. Wis 9:9.


142 ⇒ Rev 4:11.


143 ⇒ Pss 104:24; ⇒ 145:9.


144 Cf. Dei Filius, cann. 2-4: DS 3022-3024.


145 Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 800; cf. DS 3025.


146 St. Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolycum II, 4: PG 6, 1052.


147 2 Macc 7:22-21, 28.


148 Cf. ⇒ Ps 51:12.


149 ⇒ Rom 4:17.


150 Cf. ⇒ Gen 1:3; ⇒ 2 Cor 4:6.


151 Wis 11:20.


152 ⇒ Col 1:15, ⇒ Gen 1:26.


153 Cf. ⇒ Ps 19:2-5; ⇒ Job 42:3.


154 ⇒ Gen 1:4, ⇒ 10, ⇒ 12, ⇒ 18, ⇒ 21, ⇒ 31.


155 Cf. DS 286; 455-463; 800; 1333; 3002.


156 ⇒ Ps 8:1; cf. ⇒ Sir 43:28.


157 ⇒ Ps 145:3.


158 ⇒ Acts 17:28.


159 St. Augustine, Conf: 3, 6, 11: PL 32, 688.


160 Wis 11:24-26.


161 Vatican Council I, Dei Filius I: DS 3003; cf. Wis 8:1; ⇒ Heb 4:13.


162 ⇒ Ps 115:3.


163 ⇒ Rev 3:7.


164 ⇒ Prov 19:21.


165 Cf. ⇒ Is 10:5-15; ⇒ 45:51; Dt 32:39; ⇒ Sir 11:14.


166 Cf. ⇒ Pss 22; ⇒ 32; ⇒ 35; ⇒ 103; ⇒ 138; et al.


167 ⇒ Mt 6:31-33; cf ⇒ 10:29-31.


168 Cf. ⇒ Gen 1:26-28.


169 Cf. ⇒ Col 1:24.


170 I Cor 3:9; I Th 3:2; ⇒ Col 4:11.


171 ⇒ Phil 2:13; cf. ⇒ I Cor 12:6.


172 GS 36 # 3.


173 Cf. ⇒ Mt 19:26; ⇒ Jn 15:5; ⇒ 14:13


174 Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I, 25, 6.


175 Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, SCG III, 71.


176 Cf. St. Augustine, De libero arbitrio I, 1, 2: PL 32, 1221- 1223; St.
   Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 79, 1.


177 St. Augustine, Enchiridion II, 3: PL 40, 236.


178 ⇒ Gen 45:8; ⇒ 50:20; cf. Tob 2:12 (Vulgate).


179 Cf. ⇒ Rom 5:20.


180 ⇒ Rom 8:28.


181 St. Catherine of Siena, Dialogue IV, 138 "On Divine Providence".


182 The Correspondence of Sir Thomas More, ed. Elizabeth F. Rogers
   (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1947), letter 206, lines 661-663.


183 Julian of Norwich, the Revelations of Divine Love, tr. James Walshe
   SJ (London: 1961), ch. 32, 99-100.


184 ⇒ I Cor 13:12.


185 Cf. ⇒ Gen 2:2.
Logged

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
ialmisry
There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
Warned
Hypatos
*****************
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Faith: جامعي Arab confesssing the Orthodox Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church
Jurisdiction: Antioch (for now), but my heart belongs to Alexandria
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2009, 11:05:39 AM »

I was wondering.  Do you have Father Justin's "Dogmatika"?   My copy is out on loan.  I cannot recall how he approaches the question.

There are Internet sources which are probably useful...

Rags of Mortality: Original Sin and Human Nature
by Archpriest Alexander Golubov, Ph.D.
http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/dogmatics/golubov_rags_of_mortality.htm


Original Sin According to St. Paul
by Fr. John S. Romanides
http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/frjr_sin.aspx
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2009, 12:14:01 PM »

Dear ialmisry,
i must admit i almost had a heart attack looking at your citations...  Grin but I'll try and read it (I'll take a lot of time, but I guess it's worth do it, huh?)
In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2009, 12:53:11 PM »

Here is my stand : My opinion is that people are born being more inclined to evil than good , and without knowing the good in it`s own essence.This is a consequece of the ancestral sin. Look for example at sectars wich don`t baptise children , look at the way they are.I believe the ancestral sin is a corruption of the good conscience.I incline more to the Augustine`s view about the Ancestral Sin. Also in the psalm of repentance David says : in sin i was born and in sins had my mother conceived me.That is why the ancestors of Abraham needed to be circumcised. But the righteouss that comes from the Law is not like the righteouss that comes from Grace.The circumcision was a prefiguration of the baptize.But the circumcision did not have the same effect of baptize.That is why God gave the Law , cause it was very hard to understand the grace of God being in a fallen state.Look what is says in Tit :  []KJV[] Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
[]KJV[] Titus 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
[]KJV[] Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

That is why the state of grace the righteouss from the Law achieved is not the same as the state of grace wich comes from faith and Jesus Christ.That is why he says the renewing of the Holy Spirit wich now comes abundantly.So I do believe we are all born in a fallen and denigrated state , trough Adam wich affects our good conscience but not entirely.As Romans say : In Adam all die , but in Jesus Christ all are made alive.
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2009, 12:56:46 PM »

This:
A position similar to Semipelagianism was held not only by the aforementioned John Cassian and Vincent of Lérins, but also by Irenaus, Origen, Justin Martyr and Ignatius.

Is why this:

A third school of thought emerged, anyway, in Gaul. It is called Semipelagianism, but this name was a later Western invention. The theory was initially proposed as a condemnation both of Pelagianism and of Augustinism by st. John Cassian, and was even supported by st. Vincent of Lérins and his monastery in Marseille.

needs correction.

The theory was not 'initially proposed' by St. John Cassian. Rather St. John (and St. Vincent) defended the consensus of the most ancient Fathers (i.e., the Holy Tradition), against both the innovation of Pelagius *and* the reactionary innovation of St. Augustine. (i.e., St. Augustine was right to have a negative reaction to and oppose Pelagius. But in doing so, he ended up taking an extreme, and innovative, position himself.)
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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2009, 01:28:38 PM »

Dear ialmisry,
i must admit i almost had a heart attack looking at your citations...  Grin but I'll try and read it (I'll take a lot of time, but I guess it's worth do it, huh?)
In Christ,   Alex

LOL.  I just posted the material for reference so we can start out with authoritative material.  You, know, before the accusations of misrepresentations start flying.
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2009, 01:34:47 PM »

LOL I know I know  Wink
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2009, 01:39:30 PM »

Alexander, you really are (again) mischaracterizing Catholic teaching. The Catholic Church does not believe in total depravity of the soul after the Fall. In fact, after it was proposed by the Protestants, the Council of Trent condemned it:

CANON V.-If any one saith, that, since Adam's sin, the free will of man is lost and extinguished; or, that it is a thing with only a name, yea a name without a reality, a figment, in fine, introduced into the Church by Satan; let him be anathema.

CANON VII.-If any one saith, that all works done before Justification, in whatsoever way they be done, are truly sins, or merit the hatred of God; or that the more earnestly one strives to dispose himself for grace, the more grievously he sins: let him be anathema.

CANON VIII.-If any one saith, that the fear of hell,-whereby, by grieving for our sins, we flee unto the mercy of God, or refrain from sinning,-is a sin, or makes sinners worse; let him be anathema.

CANON IX.-If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.


http://history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/ct06.html

Now, the Jansenists in the 17th century came to believe in the heresy of total depravity, but their belief and related heretical beliefs were condemned by Pope Clement XI in his Apostolic Constitution Unigenitus in 1713.

-

I also submit that you should read the text of the Council of Orange (BTW, not an ecumenical council), which, though it (correctly) affirms that all good in the human soul is the result of grace, explicitly condemns the double predestination which some view St. Augustine as espousing.

--------

You must understand that the Catholic position is quite different than what you characterize, which is why Reformed theologians have been accusing us Catholics as being semi-Pelagians for centuries. We do not subscribe to semi-Pelagianism, and I submit that Orthodoxy historically has not either, despite your claims---I think both Churches have always taught that grace is involved at every step of the way---no doubt our wills were grievously wounded by the Fall, but there always remained some latent grace which allows all of us to choose restoration and eternal life (though only ever in cooperation with grace and not separated from it---we are nothing apart from God, before and after the Fall).

-

I finally submit that this online-forum armchair theology debate by laypeople is quite useless. We should leave such disputation to the theologians.
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2009, 01:47:37 PM »

In fact I'm waiting for the help of people greater then me and you in this aspect. Can you clarify what difference passes from Roman Catholic position, Semipelagianism and total depravity? that would clear all doubts out.
I thank you in advance
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2009, 01:49:13 PM »

Dear ialmisry,
i must admit i almost had a heart attack looking at your citations...  Grin but I'll try and read it (I'll take a lot of time, but I guess it's worth do it, huh?)
In Christ,   Alex

LOL.  I just posted the material for reference so we can start out with authoritative material.  You, know, before the accusations of misrepresentations start flying.

See what I mean?

Alexander, you really are (again) mischaracterizing Catholic teaching.

LOL I know I know  Wink
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2009, 01:52:50 PM »

I finally submit that this online-forum armchair theology debate by laypeople is quite useless. We should leave such disputation to the theologians.
Isn't that what Isodore of Kiev said at Florence?
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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2009, 01:55:38 PM »

I`m of the opinion that debating theologicall aspects , can help us improve our theology.
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« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2009, 05:38:45 PM »

Let's see if I have this understood correctly:

Pelagius: man does not need grace to be saved

Catholicism: man needs grace
Orthodoxy: man needs grace
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« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2009, 07:53:05 PM »

Let's see if I have this understood correctly:

Pelagius: man does not need grace to be saved

Catholicism: man needs grace
Orthodoxy: man needs grace

Bingo. Don't ask me why this thread exists. Let the theologians debate the minutiae.
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« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2009, 09:35:06 PM »

Let's see if I have this understood correctly:

Pelagius: man does not need grace to be saved

Catholicism: man needs grace
Orthodoxy: man needs grace

Bingo. Don't ask me why this thread exists.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20612.0.html

Quote
Let the theologians debate the minutiae.

Better yet, let certain theologians cease to create more minutiae.
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« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2009, 12:17:13 PM »

Let's see if I have this understood correctly:

Pelagius: man does not need grace to be saved

Catholicism: man needs grace
Orthodoxy: man needs grace

Bingo. Don't ask me why this thread exists.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20612.0.html

Quote
Let the theologians debate the minutiae.

Better yet, let certain theologians cease to create more minutiae.

Good answer to the reason why this thread exists. We want to consider why we are legitimate to object to the Immaculate Conception. Since the Roman position on the hereditary sin of Adam and Eve incredibly minute in each aspect, and our theology is slightly simplier, I want to understand the distinctions between Original Sin and Ancestral sin, and also to know how near are both theories to Semipelagianism, which is half-way between the extreme position of Celestius and the extreme position of Jansen. I hoped for the help of both Roman Catholic and Orthodox Catholic members, but it seems there's some resistence on this since the beginning. Maybe my intentions were not so clear?

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2009, 03:18:53 PM »

Let's see if I have this understood correctly:

Pelagius: man does not need grace to be saved

Catholicism: man needs grace
Orthodoxy: man needs grace

Bingo. Don't ask me why this thread exists.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20612.0.html

Quote
Let the theologians debate the minutiae.

Better yet, let certain theologians cease to create more minutiae.

Good answer to the reason why this thread exists. We want to consider why we are legitimate to object to the Immaculate Conception. Since the Roman position on the hereditary sin of Adam and Eve incredibly minute in each aspect, and our theology is slightly simplier, I want to understand the distinctions between Original Sin and Ancestral sin, and also to know how near are both theories to Semipelagianism, which is half-way between the extreme position of Celestius and the extreme position of Jansen. I hoped for the help of both Roman Catholic and Orthodox Catholic members, but it seems there's some resistence on this since the beginning. Maybe my intentions were not so clear?

In Christ,   Alex

It seems to me that (perhaps) the Orthodox objection to the dogma of the IC, has its roots in differing notions regarding the grace needed for salvation. Both Catholics and Orthodox believe grace is needed for salvation. But now the question becomes: salvation from what, exactly? It seems that the Catholics say: salvation from physical death itself (thus, the implication in Catholicism that Mary did not die, or did not have to die). Whereas Orthodoxy seems to say: salvation is salvation from spiritual death (thus, Mary, though saved, did indeed die).

And then there's the concept of salvation itself. Is salvation the state of being (1) totally incapable of even thinking about sinning; or (2) capable of thinking about sin, but having the free-will to resist the temptation and to always choose the good? Regarding Mary, it seems to me that Catholics, following the IC, tend to suggest the first choice; whereas Orthodoxy seem to argue the second choice. (Though I'm probably mistaken Shocked)

I also think that the very term "semi-Pelagianism" is something that Augustinians might use in a derogatory manner, so I would prefer to replace the term with something else.
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« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2009, 05:42:39 PM »

It is a derogatory term to them, not to me. Afterall, we don't find strange to use filioquists and ultramontanists as epithetes for them...
Personally I don't think the word semi-pelagianism is so strange, but if you want I'll use the more neutral expression "Ancestral Sin according to John Cassian" or i could invent the term "Cassianism" laugh
Different words don't change the concepts, as well as "Papal infallibility" doesn't mean RC's believe anything but ultramontanism.

In Christ,   Alex

PS: it seems the question of Assumption has already been treated; not all RC's have the same interpretation of her death or non-death, so we can't extract theological differences from it.
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« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2009, 05:04:07 AM »

Dear brother AlexanderofBergamo,

I think there is much misunderstanding of Augustine (and the Catholic teaching) on this matter.  I don't have too much time right now, but I will say this.  Semi-Pelagianism is not what you think it is.  The essence of semi-Pelagianism is the idea that ABSOLUTELY NO DIVINE GRACE IS NEEDED for the initial movement of Faith.  The orthodox teaching is that Grace is necessary for any action.  Grace exists before, during and after the initial free will response of Faith.  Faith, at any stage, is always a free-will response to Grace. It seems you are confusing the Catholic teaching with the Calvinist teaching.  It is Calvinism that teaches total depravity, not Catholicism nor Augustine.  Calvinism (twisting the Augustinian teaching) asserts that the free will of a sinful man before baptism is not involved at all in the initial response of Faith.  Augustine and Catholicism, as well as Orthodoxy, teaches that though man's will is damaged by concupiscence, it IS indeed involved in the initial response to Faith.

Though Augustine taught that humanity is indeed depraved by sin, and so depraved that he could not come out of his sinfulness without Grace, he at least taught that the human will can indeed be aided by Grace to respond to the initial Gift of Faith. Augustine taught explicitly in several places that Free Will is not destroyed by the necessity of Grace.  IN CONTRAST, the heretical teaching on Total Depravity insists that not even human will is involved in the initial Gift of Faith, but is TOTALLY dependant on the Grace of God.

I hope that helps you to understand it a bit more.

In any case, what I have a question on is your idea that nothing is washed away at infant Baptism.  Let's focus our discussion on that.  Why do you believe that nothing is washed away at Infant Baptism?

Blessings
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« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2009, 05:41:48 AM »

Here is Canon 110 of the African Code that was accepted by the Third Ecumenical Council (in their condemnation of Pelagius and Celestius) and the Sixth and Seventh Ecumenical Councils:

Likewise, it seemed good that whosoever denies that infants newly from their mother's wombs should be baptized, or says that baptism is for remission of sins, but that they derive from Adam no original sin, which needs to be removed by the laver of regeneration, from whence the conclusion follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins, is to be understood as false and not true, let him be anathema.

How can you possibly reconcile this with the modern EO teaching that infants are only baptized for actual sin (since they soon, as you claim, begin to sin after birth), and not original sin?

Blessings

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« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2009, 06:40:49 AM »

Here is Canon 110 of the African Code that was accepted by the Third Ecumenical Council (in their condemnation of Pelagius and Celestius) and the Sixth and Seventh Ecumenical Councils:

Likewise, it seemed good that whosoever denies that infants newly from their mother's wombs should be baptized, or says that baptism is for remission of sins, but that they derive from Adam no original sin, which needs to be removed by the laver of regeneration, from whence the conclusion follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins, is to be understood as false and not true, let him be anathema.

How can you possibly reconcile this with the modern EO teaching that infants are only baptized for actual sin (since they soon, as you claim, begin to sin after birth), and not original sin?

Blessings



Weren't you just the one who said that canonical anathema's weren't part of Faith and Morals, and hence not infallible?
Yes, you claim this often: any thing to substantiate the claim?
Aren't you aware of the object of infallibility?  FAITH AND MORALS.  It does not include ecclesiastical censures, or matters of discipline
I knew you were.

Let's consult a modern Orthodox (different from any other Orthodox of any age only by living in our days), Bp. Hilarion:
Quote
BAPTISM

The sacrament of Baptism is the door into the Church, the Kingdom of grace. It is with Baptism that Christian life begins. Baptism is the frontier that separates the members of Christ’s Body from those who are outside it. In Baptism the human person is arrayed in Christ, following the words of St Paul which are sung as the newly-baptized is led around the baptismal font: For as many of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ’ (Gal.3:27). In Baptism the human person dies to his sinful life and rises again to new spiritual life.

The sacrament of Baptism was instituted by Christ Himself: ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Matt.28:19). Christ’s commandment already contains the basic elements of the baptismal rite: preliminary teaching (‘catechization’), without which the adoption of faith cannot be conscious; immersion in water (Greek baptismos, literally ‘immersion’); and the formula ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. In the early Church Baptism was accomplished through complete immersion in water. However, at an early date special pools (baptisteries) were built and into these the candidates for baptism were plunged. The practice of pouring water over the person or sprinkling him with water existed in the early Church, though not quite as a norm.

At the time of Constantine (fourth century) adult baptism was more common than the baptism of infants, the emphasis being laid on the conscious acceptance of the sacrament. Some postponed the sacrament until the end of their life in the knowledge that sins were forgiven in Baptism. The Emperor Constantine was baptized just before his death. St Gregory the Theologian, a son of a bishop, was baptized only when he reached maturity. Saints Basil the Great and John Chrysostom were baptized only after completing their higher education.

However, the practice of baptizing infants is no less ancient — the apostles baptized whole families which might well have included children (cf/ Acts 10:48). St Irenaeus of Lyons (second century) says: ‘Christ came to save those who through Him are reborn into God: infants, children, adolescents and the elderly’. Origen in the third century calls the custom of baptizing infants an ‘apostolic tradition’. The local Council of Carthage (third century) pronounced an anathema upon those who rejected the necessity of baptizing infants and newly-born children.

The sacrament of Baptism, like all other sacraments, must be received consciously. Christian faith is the prerequisite for the validity of the sacrament. If an infant is baptized, the confession of faith is solemnly pronounced by his godparents, who thereby are obliged to bring the child up in the faith and make his Baptism conscious. An infant who receives the sacrament cannot rationally understand what is happening to him, yet his soul is fully capable of receiving the grace of the Holy Spirit. ‘I believe’, writes St Symeon the New Theologian, ‘that baptized infants are sanctified and are preserved under the wing of the All-Holy Spirit and that they are lambs of the spiritual flock of Christ and chosen lambs, for they have been imprinted with the sign of the life-giving Cross and freed completely from the tyranny of the devil’. The grace of God is given to infants as a pledge of their future belief, as a seed cast into the earth: for the seed to grow into a tree and bring forth fruit, the efforts both of the godparents and of the one baptized as he grows are needed.

Immediately after Baptism or in the days that follow, the newly-baptized, irrespective of age, receives Holy Communion. In the Roman Catholic Church Chrismation (Confirmation) and First Communion take place after the child has reached the age of seven, but the Orthodox Church admits children to these sacraments as early as possible. The understanding behind this practice is that children ought not to be deprived of a living, even if not a fully conscious, contact with Christ.

The sacrament of Baptism occurs only once in a person’s life. In Baptism the human person is granted freedom from original sin and forgiveness of all his personal transgressions. However, Baptism is only the first step in the human person’s ascent towards God. If it is not accompanied by a renewal of one’s entire life and a spiritual regeneration, it might be fruitless. The grace of God, received in Baptism as a pledge or as a seed, will grow within the person and be made manifest throughout his whole life so long as he strives towards Christ, lives in the Church and fulfills God’s commandments.
http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/5_1#BAPTISM

Can you give us a quote so we know what YOU are talking about?
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« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2009, 07:26:09 AM »

Weren't you just the one who said that canonical anathema's weren't part of Faith and Morals, and hence not infallible?
No. I said ecclesiastical censures are not matters of Faith and Morals, but, typical of your tactics, you simply neglect the other part where I said that the doctrinal teaching upon which the canon is based is indeed infallible.  I guess you were not aware that ecclesiastical censures are against people. Roll Eyes

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I knew you were.
Nah.  As usual, it's all in your imagination.  laugh

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Can you give us a quote so we know what YOU are talking about?
Ask Alexander.  He's the one that said it.  Or did you skip that part, too?

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« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2009, 08:11:30 AM »

...

Likewise, it seemed good that whosoever denies that infants newly from their mother's wombs should be baptized, or says that baptism is for remission of sins, but that they derive from Adam no original sin, which needs to be removed by the laver of regeneration, from whence the conclusion follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins, is to be understood as false and not true, let him be anathema.

...


When quoting the first paragraph of canon 110 of Carthage here in English, one should also note introductory remark http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xv.iv.ii.html
Quote
...This is impossible and therefore, interesting as the field would be, I have been compelled to restrain my pen, and rather than give a scant and insufficient annotation, I have contented myself with providing the reader with as good a translation as I have been able to make of the very corrupt Latin (correcting it at times by the Greek), and have added the Ancient Epitome and the quaint notes in full of John Johnson from the Second Edition, of 1714, of his “Clergyman’s Vade-mecum,” Pt. II., which occupy little space, but may not be easily reached by the ordinary reader.  The student will find full scholia on these Canons in Van Espen in the Latin, and in Zonaras and Balsamon in the Greek.  These latter are in Beveridge’s Synodicon.

Therefore, it should read:

Likewise, it seemed good that whosoever denies that infants newly from their mother's wombs should be baptized, or says that baptism is for remission of sins, but that they derive nothing from Adam's no original sin which needs to be removed by the laver of regeneration, from whence the conclusion follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins, is to be understood as false and not true, let him be anathema.
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« Reply #26 on: June 10, 2009, 08:29:14 AM »

...

Likewise, it seemed good that whosoever denies that infants newly from their mother's wombs should be baptized, or says that baptism is for remission of sins, but that they derive from Adam no original sin, which needs to be removed by the laver of regeneration, from whence the conclusion follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins, is to be understood as false and not true, let him be anathema.

...


When quoting the first paragraph of canon 110 of Carthage here in English, one should also note introductory remark http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xv.iv.ii.html
Quote
...This is impossible and therefore, interesting as the field would be, I have been compelled to restrain my pen, and rather than give a scant and insufficient annotation, I have contented myself with providing the reader with as good a translation as I have been able to make of the very corrupt Latin (correcting it at times by the Greek), and have added the Ancient Epitome and the quaint notes in full of John Johnson from the Second Edition, of 1714, of his “Clergyman’s Vade-mecum,” Pt. II., which occupy little space, but may not be easily reached by the ordinary reader.  The student will find full scholia on these Canons in Van Espen in the Latin, and in Zonaras and Balsamon in the Greek.  These latter are in Beveridge’s Synodicon.

Therefore, it should read:

Likewise, it seemed good that whosoever denies that infants newly from their mother's wombs should be baptized, or says that baptism is for remission of sins, but that they derive nothing from Adam's no original sin which needs to be removed by the laver of regeneration, from whence the conclusion follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins, is to be understood as false and not true, let him be anathema.

Thanks for the new translation, but ... How does that exactly change the context of it?  Are you telling us that Adam's sin is not the Original Sin?  Huh ???In any case, something was derived from Adam that is removed by Baptism.  It can't be physical death, so what else is removed? Huh
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« Reply #27 on: June 10, 2009, 08:38:10 AM »

Let's consult a modern Orthodox (different from any other Orthodox of any age only by living in our days), Bp. Hilarion:
BAPTISM
I don't see anything here that opposes the Catholic teaching on Original Sin.  You and certain other EO (though not all EO) always claim there is.  Please point it out.  Thanks.
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« Reply #28 on: June 10, 2009, 11:58:36 AM »

Alexander, you really are (again) mischaracterizing Catholic teaching. The Catholic Church does not believe in total depravity of the soul after the Fall. In fact, after it was proposed by the Protestants, the Council of Trent condemned it:

CANON V.-If any one saith, that, since Adam's sin, the free will of man is lost and extinguished; or, that it is a thing with only a name, yea a name without a reality, a figment, in fine, introduced into the Church by Satan; let him be anathema.

CANON VII.-If any one saith, that all works done before Justification, in whatsoever way they be done, are truly sins, or merit the hatred of God; or that the more earnestly one strives to dispose himself for grace, the more grievously he sins: let him be anathema.

CANON VIII.-If any one saith, that the fear of hell,-whereby, by grieving for our sins, we flee unto the mercy of God, or refrain from sinning,-is a sin, or makes sinners worse; let him be anathema.

CANON IX.-If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.


http://history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/ct06.html

Now, the Jansenists in the 17th century came to believe in the heresy of total depravity, but their belief and related heretical beliefs were condemned by Pope Clement XI in his Apostolic Constitution Unigenitus in 1713.

-

I also submit that you should read the text of the Council of Orange (BTW, not an ecumenical council), which, though it (correctly) affirms that all good in the human soul is the result of grace, explicitly condemns the double predestination which some view St. Augustine as espousing.

--------

You must understand that the Catholic position is quite different than what you characterize, which is why Reformed theologians have been accusing us Catholics as being semi-Pelagians for centuries. We do not subscribe to semi-Pelagianism, and I submit that Orthodoxy historically has not either, despite your claims---I think both Churches have always taught that grace is involved at every step of the way---no doubt our wills were grievously wounded by the Fall, but there always remained some latent grace which allows all of us to choose restoration and eternal life (though only ever in cooperation with grace and not separated from it---we are nothing apart from God, before and after the Fall).

-

I finally submit that this online-forum armchair theology debate by laypeople is quite useless. We should leave such disputation to the theologians.


Back when I was protestant, I would hear Calvinistic protestants say that Rome changed her mind at the council of Trent.

We can look at Trent later, but what some on this thread have said in regards to the local council of 2nd Orange was true. The Jansenists and Calvinists were just following Saint Augustine's teachings in his older years. 2nd Orange didn't go as far as Saint Augustine did, and Trent modified it even more.

But what you call "total depravity" is really known as "total inability". This is what the doctrine really is. "TOTAL INability". And it comes from Saint Augustine's later teachings.

I was never a Calvinist, but I use to hold to "total inability" in my protestant years as a classical Arminian. So I know about this issue very well. I also know about the different interpretations that Roman Catholics have about it in regards to the Molinist vs Congruent vs Thomistic vs Augustinian divide.

And depending on what school of thought the Roman Catholic is from will determine how he/she will interpret Roman Catholic doctrine........especially in this area.




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« Reply #29 on: June 10, 2009, 12:02:56 PM »

...

Likewise, it seemed good that whosoever denies that infants newly from their mother's wombs should be baptized, or says that baptism is for remission of sins, but that they derive from Adam no original sin, which needs to be removed by the laver of regeneration, from whence the conclusion follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins, is to be understood as false and not true, let him be anathema.

...


When quoting the first paragraph of canon 110 of Carthage here in English, one should also note introductory remark http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xv.iv.ii.html
Quote
...This is impossible and therefore, interesting as the field would be, I have been compelled to restrain my pen, and rather than give a scant and insufficient annotation, I have contented myself with providing the reader with as good a translation as I have been able to make of the very corrupt Latin (correcting it at times by the Greek), and have added the Ancient Epitome and the quaint notes in full of John Johnson from the Second Edition, of 1714, of his “Clergyman’s Vade-mecum,” Pt. II., which occupy little space, but may not be easily reached by the ordinary reader.  The student will find full scholia on these Canons in Van Espen in the Latin, and in Zonaras and Balsamon in the Greek.  These latter are in Beveridge’s Synodicon.

Therefore, it should read:

Likewise, it seemed good that whosoever denies that infants newly from their mother's wombs should be baptized, or says that baptism is for remission of sins, but that they derive nothing from Adam's no original sin which needs to be removed by the laver of regeneration, from whence the conclusion follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins, is to be understood as false and not true, let him be anathema.

Even the translation that you provide supports the Catholic view of Origninal sin. Are you now a Catholic apologists? Wink
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« Reply #30 on: June 10, 2009, 01:09:43 PM »

Weren't you just the one who said that canonical anathema's weren't part of Faith and Morals, and hence not infallible?
No. I said ecclesiastical censures are not matters of Faith and Morals, but, typical of your tactics, you simply neglect the other part where I said that the doctrinal teaching upon which the canon is based is indeed infallible.  I guess you were not aware that ecclesiastical censures are against people. Roll Eyes

I saw that too. If such a "tactic" (as you describe it) was purposeful (as I suspect it is), I would suggest you ignore him from now on, as he is not interested in truth here but in polemics at the expense of truth.
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« Reply #31 on: June 10, 2009, 01:16:24 PM »

Thanks for the new translation, but ... How does that exactly change the context of it?  Are you telling us that Adam's sin is not the Original Sin?  Huh ???In any case, something was derived from Adam that is removed by Baptism.  It can't be physical death, so what else is removed? Huh

Indeed. If you consult the New Testament, you see that baptism ain't washing off carbuncles.  Wink

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« Reply #32 on: June 10, 2009, 01:25:19 PM »


Back when I was protestant, I would hear Calvinistic protestants say that Rome changed her mind at the council of Trent.

Rome did no such thing. If Rome believed as the Calvinists did before Trent, do you think the Calvinists would have left the Catholic Church in the first place?

You are right that the Catholics have never accepted all of St. Augustine's theological ideas---and neither did St. Augustine! He had an enormous and sometimes conflicting body of work over many decades, and he offered all of it up for correction.

As for "total inability"---such is true in the absence of grace. But Catholics believe latent grace IS present for all to make that first movement of will.
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« Reply #33 on: June 10, 2009, 01:33:49 PM »

Weren't you just the one who said that canonical anathema's weren't part of Faith and Morals, and hence not infallible?
No. I said ecclesiastical censures are not matters of Faith and Morals, but, typical of your tactics, you simply neglect the other part where I said that the doctrinal teaching upon which the canon is based is indeed infallible.  I guess you were not aware that ecclesiastical censures are against people. Roll Eyes

I saw that too. If such a "tactic" (as you describe it) was purposeful (as I suspect it is), I would suggest you ignore him from now on, as he is not interested in truth here but in polemics at the expense of truth.

Quote
The Definition of Faith [of the Sixth Ecumenical Council]

The holy and Ecumenical Synod further says, this pious and orthodox Creed of the Divine grace would be sufficient for the full knowledge and confirmation of the orthodox faith.  But as the author of evil, who, in the beginning, availed himself of the aid of the serpent, and by it brought the poison of death upon the human race, has not desisted, but in like manner now, having found suitable instruments for working out his will (we mean Theodorus, who was Bishop of Pharan, Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul and Peter, who were Archbishops of this royal city, and moreover, Honorius who was Pope of the elder Rome, Cyrus Bishop of Alexandria, Macarius who was lately bishop of Antioch, and Stephen his disciple), has actively employed them in raising up for the whole Church the stumbling-blocks of one will and one operation in the two natures of Christ our true God
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xiii.x.html
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« Reply #34 on: June 10, 2009, 01:37:15 PM »

I would suggest you ignore him from now on, as he is not interested in truth here

Which of Markudm's "truths" do you think are being ignored?  Huh
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« Reply #35 on: June 10, 2009, 01:37:36 PM »

Sorry brethren for my absence in the last few days.
I still repeat that I'm not accusing or misinterpreting, but I've received support but my brethren on this forum that we don't accept Original Sin as a doctrine. How can you RCs say that we must believe it when no proof comes from our Tradition?
The words "original sin" are completely foreign to our religion.
I still think that the first step comes from humans, and that God's grace cooperates after conversion. I don't think grace was already upon those who converted to Christianism for the first time. They were pagans... they had no grace. Jesus said: "Repent and believe in the Gospel". That's our first step: we must repent and believe. It's us who must accept God's grace first, as if it were a gift. Accuse me of being Semipelagianist... maybe I am, but until I don't receive an accusation from my brethren on this point, I'll keep professing this idea. I don't believe humans can't accept grace by their own as if God determined who would be saved or not.
On the question of baptism: I still believe that Adam's sin (not original sin) is a spiritual infection we inherit when we get out of mom's womb. We bare the consequences of death and concupiscence, but not immediately guilt. You can say whatever you want, RC brethren, but if one is cursed he must be guilty. Is a new-born child guilty so that he's cursed by God? Or can the guilt of another one be worth a curse to his innocent heirs?

When we approach the matter of Original Sin we must discuss: 1) who's the guilt? Adam's? Ours by nature? Ours but only by our personal sins?
2) what consequences does Adam's sin on our lives? 3) how strong is the effect of Adam's sin in our relationship with God? 4) is the acceptance of grace an act of faith by the individual, a cooperation between God and man, or an act of God's will alone? 5) what does baptism solve regarding our fallen condition - in other words, which sin(s) does it repair?
I'd like to have answers from both sides, so that we can have a valid and "scientifical" confrontation between the different RC and OC positions.
I hope you like better this approach. I'm waiting for your answers. If u like, you can also provide magisterial documents (for RC)/ ecclesiastical canons (OC).

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #36 on: June 10, 2009, 08:04:37 PM »

Dear brother Alex,

Sorry brethren for my absence in the last few days.
I still repeat that I'm not accusing or misinterpreting, but I've received support but my brethren on this forum that we don't accept Original Sin as a doctrine. How can you RCs say that we must believe it when no proof comes from our Tradition?
I don't know how you can claim the canon I quoted is not part of your Tradition. Huh  Huh

Quote
The words "original sin" are completely foreign to our religion.
If you just want to focus on "words," and not meaning, then is there any purpose for this discussion?

Quote
I still think that the first step comes from humans, and that God's grace cooperates after conversion. I don't think grace was already upon those who converted to Christianism for the first time. They were pagans... they had no grace. Jesus said: "Repent and believe in the Gospel". That's our first step: we must repent and believe. It's us who must accept God's grace first, as if it were a gift. Accuse me of being Semipelagianist... maybe I am, but until I don't receive an accusation from my brethren on this point, I'll keep professing this idea. I don't believe humans can't accept grace by their own as if God determined who would be saved or not.
I pray you reconsider, because these very words of yours was one of the condemnations against Pelagius by the Third Ecumenical Council. Canon 113 (114 in Greek) of the African Code adopted by the Third Ecumenical Council (and two other subsequent Ecumenical Councils) in its condemnation of Pelagius and Celestius:
"It seemed good that whosoever should say that the grace of justification [IOW, the initial Gift of Faith] was given to us only that we might be able more readily by grace to perform what we were ordered to do through our free will as if though grace was not give, although not easily, yet nevertheless we could even without grace fulfill the divine commandments, let him be anathema.  For the Lord spake concerning the fruits of the commandments, when he said: "Without me you can do nothing," and not "Without me ye could do it but with difficultly."

I am asking this sincerely out of concern for you - Why should you care that you have been supported by some of your brethren in your ideas? Should you rather not be more concerned with what the Scripture and the Church Fathers have taught us?

I know that it is against Forum policy to say anything bad about EO'xy, and I don't think I am violating the rules by stating that what you are proposing here is not historic Traditional Eastern Orthodox teaching.

Quote
On the question of baptism: I still believe that Adam's sin (not original sin) is a spiritual infection we inherit when we get out of mom's womb. We bare the consequences of death and concupiscence, but not immediately guilt. You can say whatever you want, RC brethren, but if one is cursed he must be guilty. Is a new-born child guilty so that he's cursed by God? Or can the guilt of another one be worth a curse to his innocent heirs?

When we approach the matter of Original Sin we must discuss: 1) who's the guilt? Adam's? Ours by nature? Ours but only by our personal sins?
2) what consequences does Adam's sin on our lives? 3) how strong is the effect of Adam's sin in our relationship with God? 4) is the acceptance of grace an act of faith by the individual, a cooperation between God and man, or an act of God's will alone? 5) what does baptism solve regarding our fallen condition - in other words, which sin(s) does it repair?
I am having a discussion with brother DeusVeritasEst on this matter at the "Immaculate Conception" thread right now.  Please have a look over there.  Thanks.

Quote
I'd like to have answers from both sides, so that we can have a valid and "scientifical" confrontation between the different RC and OC positions.
I hope you like better this approach. I'm waiting for your answers. If u like, you can also provide magisterial documents (for RC)/ ecclesiastical canons (OC).
I provided you a canon with Ecumenical authority on the matter.

Blessings,
Marduk
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« Reply #37 on: June 10, 2009, 10:21:49 PM »

I don't think grace was already upon those who converted to Christianism for the first time. They were pagans... they had no grace.

Is the idea that pagans lack grace (of any sort) Patristic?
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« Reply #38 on: June 10, 2009, 10:39:00 PM »

I still think that the first step comes from humans, and that God's grace cooperates after conversion. I don't think grace was already upon those who converted to Christianism for the first time.

"...no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."

1 Corinthians 12:3
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« Reply #39 on: June 10, 2009, 10:48:39 PM »

I still think that the first step comes from humans, and that God's grace cooperates after conversion. I don't think grace was already upon those who converted to Christianism for the first time.

"...no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."

1 Corinthians 12:3


"Not everyone who keeps saying to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will get into the kingdom of heaven...."

-- Matthew 7:21
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« Reply #40 on: June 10, 2009, 11:48:27 PM »

Let's consult a modern Orthodox (different from any other Orthodox of any age only by living in our days), Bp. Hilarion:
BAPTISM
I don't see anything here that opposes the Catholic teaching on Original Sin.  You and certain other EO (though not all EO) always claim there is.  Please point it out.  Thanks.
No response?  Good.  I guess that means we can get rid of the notion that one can use this false dichotomy between the EO and Latin teaching on Original Sin as a basis for disunity.  Thank you.

Blessings
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« Reply #41 on: June 10, 2009, 11:53:46 PM »

Dear brother Jetavan,

I still think that the first step comes from humans, and that God's grace cooperates after conversion. I don't think grace was already upon those who converted to Christianism for the first time.

"...no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."

1 Corinthians 12:3


"Not everyone who keeps saying to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will get into the kingdom of heaven...."

-- Matthew 7:21
Are you trying to say that Scripture is contradicting itself?  It seems to me, given the CONTEXT of the passages, that all it is saying is that one whose gift of faith does not flower into good works, then that faith is really dead.

Blessings
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« Reply #42 on: June 11, 2009, 12:07:14 AM »

I don't think grace was already upon those who converted to Christianism for the first time. They were pagans... they had no grace.

Is the idea that pagans lack grace (of any sort) Patristic?
Alls I know as an Oriental and Catholic is that God offers the Grace of salvation TO ALL OF HUMANITY.  The offer itself is a different Grace than the Grace of salvation.  To Catholics, this offer is known as "prevenient Grace."  People have free will to respond positively or negatively to this Grace.

Blessings
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« Reply #43 on: June 11, 2009, 12:12:05 AM »

I don't think grace was already upon those who converted to Christianism for the first time. They were pagans... they had no grace.

Is the idea that pagans lack grace (of any sort) Patristic?
Alls I know as an Oriental and Catholic is that God offers the Grace of salvation TO ALL OF HUMANITY.  The offer itself is a different Grace than the Grace of salvation.  To Catholics, this offer is known as "prevenient Grace."  People have free will to respond positively or negatively to this Grace.

Blessings

Yes, John Wesley was a big fan of prevenient grace.
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« Reply #44 on: June 11, 2009, 12:15:39 AM »

Dear brother Jetavan,

I still think that the first step comes from humans, and that God's grace cooperates after conversion. I don't think grace was already upon those who converted to Christianism for the first time.

"...no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."

1 Corinthians 12:3


"Not everyone who keeps saying to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will get into the kingdom of heaven...."

-- Matthew 7:21
Are you trying to say that Scripture is contradicting itself?

Nope, I'm saying verses have to be properly understood. The Corinthians verse is not to be literally interpreted, whereas the Matthew verse is.
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« Reply #45 on: June 11, 2009, 12:17:06 AM »

Let's consult a modern Orthodox (different from any other Orthodox of any age only by living in our days), Bp. Hilarion:
BAPTISM
I don't see anything here that opposes the Catholic teaching on Original Sin.  You and certain other EO (though not all EO) always claim there is.  Please point it out.  Thanks.
No response?  Good.  I guess that means we can get rid of the notion that one can use this false dichotomy between the EO and Latin teaching on Original Sin as a basis for disunity.  Thank you.

Blessings

No, it just means I didn't have the time to parse out the gibberish.  Maybe later.
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« Reply #46 on: June 11, 2009, 01:02:55 AM »

The Corinthians verse is not to be literally interpreted, whereas the Matthew verse is.
How come the Corinthian's verse can't be interepreted literally?  To me, it demonstrates that Faith in Jesus is at the very least a movement of the Holy Spirit in us, and not something we can do without Him.  How do you interpret it?

Blessings
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« Reply #47 on: June 11, 2009, 01:47:09 AM »

The Corinthians verse is not to be literally interpreted, whereas the Matthew verse is.
How come the Corinthian's verse can't be interepreted literally?  To me, it demonstrates that Faith in Jesus is at the very least a movement of the Holy Spirit in us, and not something we can do without Him.  How do you interpret it?

Blessings

Quote
"...no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."

1 Corinthians 12:3

If the verse were literally true, then the verse would mean that anyone who says Jesus is Lord, actually means it (because the Holy Ghost inspired him to say it).

Of course, not everyone who says Jesus is Lord, really means it (as the Matthew verse indicates).
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« Reply #48 on: June 11, 2009, 02:21:47 AM »

No, it just means I didn't have the time to parse out the gibberish.  Maybe later.
Brother Alex, in the OP, pointed out that he started this thread because he wants info on how the Eastern Byzantine teaching on Original Sin can be used as an argument against the IC.  So far his personal understanding of the matter has only been demonstrated to contradict the teaching of the Ecumenical Councils.  So you should probably help him out, if only so we can settle this once and for all.
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« Reply #49 on: June 11, 2009, 02:29:41 AM »

The Corinthians verse is not to be literally interpreted, whereas the Matthew verse is.
How come the Corinthian's verse can't be interepreted literally?  To me, it demonstrates that Faith in Jesus is at the very least a movement of the Holy Spirit in us, and not something we can do without Him.  How do you interpret it?

Blessings

Quote
"...no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."

1 Corinthians 12:3

If the verse were literally true, then the verse would mean that anyone who says Jesus is Lord, actually means it (because the Holy Ghost inspired him to say it).
Read the context of I Cor 12:3.  It's talking about those who are given the Holy Spirit, not just "anyone."

Quote
Of course, not everyone who says Jesus is Lord, really means it (as the Matthew verse indicates).

Grace does not force us to do anything.  Even those with the Holy Spirit can resist His Grace at any time and not show any fruits despite their profession of Faith in Jesus as Lord.  Look at the context of the Matthean verse.  It's not just about "meaning it."  It's about the evidence of the Spirit in you.

In any case, let's assume your own interpretation of "meaning it."  Would you agree that those who say "Jesus is Lord" and MEANS IT, has been moved by the Holy Spirit to make that confession?

Or do you think that we can, by the power of our own will without the Grace of the Holy Spirit, have the ability to make such a statement and MEAN it?

Blessings
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« Reply #50 on: June 11, 2009, 03:03:45 AM »

Let me add yet another modern Orthodox theologian, St. John Damascene

http://www.orthodox.net/fathers/exactiv.html#BOOK_IV_CHAPTER_IX

Quote
Concerning Faith and Baptism.

We confess one baptism for the remission of sins and for life eternal. For baptism declares the Lord's death. We are indeed "buried with the Lord through baptism(Cool," as saith the divine Apostle. So then, as our Lord died once for all, we also must be baptized once for all, and baptized according to the Word of the Lord, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit(9), being taught the confession in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Those(1), then, who, after having been baptized into Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and having been taught that there is one divine nature in three subsistences, are rebaptized, these, as the divine Apostle says, crucify the Christ afresh. For it is impossible, he saith, for those who were once enlightened, &c., to renew them again unto repentance: seeing they crucify to themselves the Christ afresh, and put Him to an open shame(2). But those who were not bap-

tized into the Holy Trinity, these must be baptized again. For although the divine ApoStle says: Into Christ and into His death were we baptized(3), he does not mean that the invocation of baptism must be in these words, but that baptism is an image of the death of Christ. For by the three immersions(4), baptism signifies the three days of our Lord's entombment(5). The baptism then into Christ means that believers are baptized into Him. We could not believe in Christ if we were not taught confession in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit(6). For Christ is the Son of the Living God(7), Whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit(Cool: in the words of the divine David, Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows(9). And Isaiah also speaking in the person of the Lord says, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He hath anointed me(1). Christ, however, taught His own disciples the invocation and said, Baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit(2). For since Christ made us for incorruption(3)(4), and we transgressed His saving command. He condemned us to the corruption of death in order that that which is evil should not be immortal, and when in His compassion He stooped to His servants and became like us, He redeemed us from corruption through His own passion. He caused the fountain of remission to well forth for us out of His holy and immaculate side(5), water for our regeneration, and the washing away of sin and corruption; and blood to drink as the hostage of life eternal. And He laid on us the command to be born again of water and of the Spirit(6), through prayer and invocation, the Holy Spirit drawing nigh unto the water(7). For since man's nature is twofold, consisting of soul and body, He bestowed on us a twofold purification, of water and of the Spirit the Spirit renewing that part in us which is after His image and likeness, and the water by the grace of the Spirit cleansing the body from sin and delivering it from corruption, the water indeed expressing the image of death, but the Spirit affording the earnest of life.

For from the beginning the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters(Cool, and anew the Scripture witnesseth that water has the power of purification(9). In the time of Noah God washed away the sin of the world by water(1). By water every impure person is purified(2), according to the law, even the very garments being washed with water. Elias shewed forth the grace of the Spirit mingled with the water when he burned the holocaust by pouring on water(3). And almost everything is purified by water according to the law: for the things of sight are symbols of the things of thought. The regeneration, however, takes place in the spirit: for faith has the power of making us sons (of God(4)), creatures as we are, by the Spirit, and of leading us into our original blessedness.

The remission of sins, therefore, is granted alike to all through baptism: but the grace of the Spirit is proportional to the faith and previous purification. Now, indeed, we receive the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit through baptism, and the second birth is for us the beginning and seal and security and illumination s of another life.

It behoves as, then, with all our strength to steadfastly keep ourselves pure from filthy works, that we may not, like the dog returning to his vomit(6), make ourselves again the slaves of sin. For faith apart from works is dead, and so likewise are works apart from faith(7). For the true faith is attested by works.

Now we are baptized(Cool into the Holy Trinity because those things which are baptized have need of the Holy Trinity for their maintenance and continuance, and the three subsistences cannot be otherwise than present, the one with the other. For the Holy Trinity is indivisible.

The first baptism(9) was that of the flood for the eradication of sin. The second(1) was through the sea and the cloud: for the cloud is the symbol of the Spirit and the sea of the water(2). The third baptism was that of the Law: for every impure person washed himself with water, and even washed his garments, and so entered into the camp(3). The fourth(4) was that of John(5), being preliminary and leading those who were baptized to repent-once, that they might believe in Christ: I,

certainly return unto thee at this time hereafter, and Sarah thy wife shall have a son(6) ; and afterwards the Lord said to Him, I will not conceal from Abraham My servant the things that I will do(7) ; and again, Moreover the Lord said, The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is filled up, and their sins are exceeding great(Cool. Then after long discourse, which for the sake of brevity shall be omitted, Abraham, distressed at the destruction which awaited the innocent as well as the guilty, said, In no wise wilt Thou, Who judgest the earth, execute this judgment. And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes(9). Afterwards when the warning to Lot, Abraham's brother, was ended, the Scripture says, And the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire f rom the Lord out of heaven(1) ; and, after a while, And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and did unto Sarah as He had spoken, and Sarah conceived and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him(2). And afterwards, when the handmaid with her son had been driven from Abraham's house, and was dreading lest her child should die in the wilderness for want of water, the same Scripture says, And the Lord God heard the voice of the lad, where he was, and the Angel of God child to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What is it, Hagar? Fear not, for God hath heard the voice of the lad from the place where he is. Arise, and take the lad, and hold his hand, for I will make him a great nation(3).

26. What blind faithlessness it is, what dulness of an unbelieving heart, what headstrong impiety, to abide in ignorance of all this, or else to know and yet neglect it! Assuredly it is written for the very purpose that error or oblivion may not hinder the recognition of the truth. If, as we shall prove, it is impossible to escape knowledge of the facts, then it must be nothing less than blasphemy to deny them. This record begins with the speech of the Angel to Hagar, His promise to multiply Ishmael into a great nation and to give him a countless offspring. She listens, and by her confession reveals that He is Lord and God. The story begins with His appearance as the Angel of God; at its termination He stands confessed as God Himself. Thus He Who, while He executes the ministry of declaring the great counsel is God's Angel, is Himself in name and nature God. The name corresponds to the nature; the nature is not falsified to make it conform to the name. Again, God speaks to Abraham of this same matter; he is told that Ishmael has already received a blessing, and shall be increased into a nation; I have blessed him, God says. This is no change from the Person indicated before; He shews that it was He Who had already given the blessing. The Scripture has obviously been consistent throughout in its progress from mystery to clear revelation; it began with the Angel of God, and proceeds to reveal that it was God Himself Who had spoken in this same matter.

27. The course of the Divine narrative is accompanied by a progressive development of doctrine. In the passage which we have discussed God speaks to Abraham, and promises that Sarah shall bear a son. Afterwards three men stand by him; he worships One and acknowledges Him as Lord. After this worship and acknowledgment by Abraham, the One promises that He will return hereafter at the same season, and that then Sarah shall have her son. This One again is seen by Abraham in the guise of a man, and salutes him with the same promise. The change is one of name only; Abraham's acknowledgment in each ease is the same. It was a Man whom he saw, yet Abraham worshipped Him as Lord; he beheld, no doubt, in a mystery the coming Incarnation. Faith so strong has not missed its recognition; the Lord says in the Gospel, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he saw it, and was glad(4). To continue the history; the Man Whom he saw promised that He would return at the same season. Mark the fulfilment of the promise, remembering meanwhile that it was a Man Who made it. What says the Scripture? And the Lord visited Sarah. So this Man is the Lord, fulfilling His own promise. What follows next? And God did unto Sarah as He had said. The narrative calls His words those of a Man, relates that Sarah was visited by the Lord, proclaims that the result was the work of God. You are sure that it was a Man who spoke, for Abraham not only heard, but saw Him. Can you be less certain that He was God, when the same Scripture, which had called Him Man, confesses Him God? For its words are, And Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, and at the set time of which God had spoken to him. But it was the Man who had promised that He would come. Believe that He was nothing more than man; unless, in fact, He Who came was God and Lord. Connect the incidents. It was, confessedly, the Man who promised that He would come that Sarah might con-

and omnipotence and truth and wisdom and justice, he will find all things smooth and even, and the way straight. But without faith it is impossible to be saved(2). For it is by faith that all things, both human and spiritual, are sustained. For without faith neither does the farmer(3) cut his furrow, nor does the merchant commit his life to the raging waves of the sea on a small piece of wood, nor are marriages contracted nor any other step in life taken. By faith we consider that all things were brought out of nothing into being by God's power. And we direct all things, both divine and human, by faith. Further, faith is assent free from all meddlesome inquisitiveness(4).

Every action, therefore, and performance of miracles by Christ are most great and divine and marvellous: but the most marvellous of all is His precious Cross. For no other thing has subdued death, expiated the sin of the first parent(5), despoiled Hades, bestowed the resurrection, granted the power to us of contemning the present and even death itself, prepared the return to our former blessedness, opened the gates of Paradise(6), given our nature a seat at the right hand of God, and made us the children and heirs of God(7), save the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. For by the Cross s all things have been made right. So many of us, the apostle says, as were baptized into Christ, were baptized into His death(9), and as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ(1). Further Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God(2). Lo! the death of Christ, that is, the Cross, clothed us with the enhypostatic wisdom and power of God. And the power of God is the Word of the Cross, either because God's might, that is, the victory over death, has been revealed to us by it, or because, just as the four extremities of the Cross are held fast and bound together by the bolt in the middle, so also by God's power the height and the depth, the length and the breadth, that is, every creature visible and invisible, is maintained(3).

This was given to us as a sign on our forehead, just as the circumcision was given to Israel: for by it we believers are separated and distinguished from unbelievers. This is the shield and weapon against, and trophy over, the devil. This is the seal that the destroyer may not touch you(4), as saith the Scripture. This is the resurrection of those lying in death, the support of the standing, the staff of the weak, the rod of the flock, the safe conduct of the earnest, the perfection of those that press forwards, the salvation of soul and body, the aversion of all things evil, the patron of all things good, the taking away of sin, the plant of resurrection, the tree of eternal life.

So, then, this same truly precious and august tree(5), on which Christ hath offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sakes, is to be worshipped as sanctified by contact with His holy body and blood; likewise the nails, the spear, the clothes, His sacred tabernacles which are the manger, the cave, Golgotha, which bringeth salvation(6), the tomb which giveth life, Sion, the chief stronghold of the churches and the like, are to be worshipped. In the words of David, the father of God(7), We shall go into His tabernacles, we shall worship at the place where His feet stood(Cool. And that it is the Cross that is meant is made clear by what follows, Arise, O Lord, into Thy Rest (9). For the resurrection comes after the Cross. For if of those things which we love, house and couch and garment, are to be longed after, how much the rather should we long after that which belonged to God, our Saviour(1), by means of which we are in truth saved.

Moreover we worship even the image of the precious and life-giving Cross, although made of another tree, not honouring the tree (God forbid) but the image as a symbol of Christ. For He said to His disciples, admonishing them, Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven(2), meaning the Cross. And so also the angel of the resurrection said to the woman, Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth which was crucified(3). And the Apostle said, We preach Christ crucified(4). For there are many Christs and many Jesuses, but one crucified. He does not say speared but crucified. It behoves us, then, to worship the sign of Christ(5). For wherever the sign may be, there also will He be. But it does not behove us to worship the material of which the image of the Cross is composed, even though it be gold or precious stones, after it is destroyed, if that should happen. Everything, therefore, that is dedicated to God we worship, conferring the adoration on Him.

The tree of life which was planted by God in Paradise pre-figured this precious Cross.

For since death was by a tree, it was fitting that life and resurrection should be bestowed by a tree(6). Jacob, when He worshipped the top of Joseph's staff, was the first to image the Cross, and when he blessed his sons with crossed hands(7) he made most clearly the sign of the cross. Likewise(Cool also did Moses' rod, when it smote the sea in the figure of the cross and saved Israel, while it overwhelmed Pharaoh in the depths; likewise also the hands stretched out crosswise and routing Amalek; and the bitter water made sweet by a tree, and the rock rent and pouring forth streams of water(9), and the rod that meant for Aaron the dignity of the high priesthood(1): and the serpent lifted in triumph on a tree as though it were dead(2), the tree bringing salvation to those who in faith saw their enemy dead, just as Christ was nailed to the tree in the flesh of sin which yet knew no sin(3). The mighty Moses cried(4), You will see your life hanging on the tree before your eyes, and Isaiah likewise, I have spread out my hands all the day unto a faithless and rebellious people(5). But may we who worship this(6) obtain a part in Christ the crucified. Amen. 
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« Reply #51 on: June 11, 2009, 03:55:19 AM »

Let me add yet another modern Orthodox theologian, St. John Damascene

http://www.orthodox.net/fathers/exactiv.html#BOOK_IV_CHAPTER_IX

Quote
Concerning Faith and Baptism.
Thank you, brother.  As the Damascene clearly indicates, Original Sin is a real sin requiring expiation.  That is what the Catholic Church teaches - that Original Sin is a real sin (i.e., a real separation from God) that needs to be expiated (IOW, washed away at Baptism).  It is a stain on the soul just as any other sin (i.e., actual sin) that needs to be washed away at Baptism.  As I stated earlier, this seems to be merely a matter of difference in theological expression and terminological definitions, not a difference in FAITH between East and West/Orient.

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« Reply #52 on: June 11, 2009, 12:44:03 PM »

Please allow this Anglican to chime in....

Semi-Pelagianism is not what you think it is.  The essence of semi-Pelagianism is the idea that ABSOLUTELY NO DIVINE GRACE IS NEEDED for the initial movement of Faith.  The orthodox teaching is that Grace is necessary for any action. 
This has been my understanding of "semi-Pelagianism" as well.

Quote
Grace exists before, during and after the initial free will response of Faith.  Faith, at any stage, is always a free-will response to Grace.
I agree with both of these statements, and I think these two truths distinguish orthodox synergism from semi-Pelagianism. 

Quote
It seems you are confusing the Catholic teaching with the Calvinist teaching.  It is Calvinism that teaches total depravity, not Catholicism nor Augustine.  Calvinism (twisting the Augustinian teaching) asserts that the free will of a sinful man before baptism is not involved at all in the initial response of Faith.  Augustine and Catholicism, as well as Orthodoxy, teaches that though man's will is damaged by concupiscence, it IS indeed involved in the initial response to Faith.
I believe Luther but especially Calvin (and, even more so, Beza after him) took some of Augustine's later more monergistic teachings to their logical and extreme conclusions.

Quote
Though Augustine taught that humanity is indeed depraved by sin, and so depraved that he could not come out of his sinfulness without Grace, he at least taught that the human will can indeed be aided by Grace to respond to the initial Gift of Faith. Augustine taught explicitly in several places that Free Will is not destroyed by the necessity of Grace.  IN CONTRAST, the heretical teaching on Total Depravity insists that not even human will is involved in the initial Gift of Faith, but is TOTALLY dependant on the Grace of God.
I guess the one main problem with Augustine I have is that he seemed to posit a separate type of perservering grace that God allegedly gave to some of the regenerated (ie the elect) but not to others.  If I'm not mistaken this is one of the Augustinian concepts that Molina and his followers reacted against.
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« Reply #53 on: June 11, 2009, 01:15:37 PM »

In any case, let's assume your own interpretation of "meaning it."  Would you agree that those who say "Jesus is Lord" and MEANS IT, has been moved by the Holy Spirit to make that confession?

Yes, that's my point. Anyone can say Jesus is Lord. But those who actually mean it, are inspired by the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #54 on: June 11, 2009, 10:45:01 PM »

The following quotation is from Fr. Meyendorff's book entitled:  "Byzantine Theology" pages 143-146.


Original Sin in the Byzantine Tradition

In order to understand many major theological problems, which arose between East and West both before and after the schism, the extraordinary impact upon Western thought of Augustine’s polemics against Pelagius and Julian of Eclanum must be fully taken into account. In the Byzantine world where Augustinian thought exercised practically no influence, the significance of the sin of Adam and of its consequences for mankind was understood along quite different lines.

We have seen that in the East man’s relationship with God was understood as a communion of the human person with that, which is above nature. "Nature" therefore designates that, which is, in virtue of creation, distinct from God. But nature can and must be transcended; this is the privilege and the function of the free mind made "according to God’s image."

Now, in Greek patristic thought, only this free, personal mind can commit sin and incur the concomitant "guilt" — a point made particularly clear by Maximos the Confessor in his distinction between "natural will" and "gnomic will." Human nature as God’s creature always exercises its dynamic properties (which together constitute the "natural will" — a created dynamism) in accordance with the divine will, which creates it. But when the human person, or hypostasis, by rebelling against both God and nature misuses its freedom, it can distort the "natural will" and thus corrupt nature itself. It is able to do so because it possesses freedom, or "gnomic will," which is capable of orienting man toward the good and of "imitating God" ("God alone is good by nature," writes Maximos, "and only God’s imitator is good by his gnome"); it is also capable of sin because "our salvation depends on our will." But sin is always a personal act and never an act of nature. Patriarch Photios even goes so far as to say, referring to Western doctrines, that the belief in a "sin of nature" is a heresy.

From these basic ideas about the personal character of sin, it is evident that the rebellion of Adam and Eve against God could be conceived only as their personal sin; there would be no place, then, in such an anthropology for the concept of inherited guilt, or for a "sin of nature," although it admits that human nature incurs the consequences of Adam’s sin.

The Greek patristic understanding of man never denies the unity of mankind or replaces it with a radical individualism. The Pauline doctrine of the two Adams ("As in Adam all men die, so also in Christ all are brought to life" [1 Co 15:22]) as well as the Platonic concept of the ideal man leads Gregory of Nyssa to understand Genesis 1:27 — "God created man in His own image" — to refer to the creation of mankind as a whole. It is obvious therefore that the sin of Adam must also be related to all men, just as salvation brought by Christ is salvation for all mankind; but neither original sin nor salvation can be realized in an individual’s life without involving his personal and free responsibility.

The scriptural text, which played a decisive role in the polemics between Augustine and the Pelagians, is found in Romans 5:12 where Paul speaking of Adam writes, "As sin came into the world through one man and through sin, death, so death spread to all men because all men have sinned [eph ho pantes hemarton]." In this passage there is a major issue of translation. The last four Greek words were translated in Latin as in quo omnes peccaverunt ("in whom [i.e., in Adam] all men have sinned"), and this translation was used in the West to justify the doctrine of guilt inherited from Adam and spread to his descendants. But such a meaning cannot be drawn from the original Greek — the text read, of course, by the Byzantines. The form eph ho — a contraction of epi with the relative pronoun ho — can be translated as "because," a meaning accepted by most modern scholars of all confessional backgrounds. Such a translation renders Paul’s thought to mean that death, which is "the wages of sin" (Romans 6:23) for Adam, is also the punishment applied to those who like him sin. It presupposed a cosmic significance of the sin of Adam, but did not say that his descendants are "guilty" as he was unless they also sinned as he did.

A number of Byzantine authors, including Photios, understood the eph ho to mean "because" and saw nothing in the Pauline text beyond a moral similarity between Adam and other sinners in death being the normal retribution for sin. But there is also the consensus of the majority of Eastern Fathers, who interpret Romans 5:12 in close connection with 1 Corinthians 15:22 — between Adam and his descendants there is a solidarity in death just as there is a solidarity in life between the risen Lord and the baptized. This interpretation comes, obviously, from the literal, grammatical meaning of Romans 5:12. Eph ho, if it means "because," is a neuter pronoun; but it can also be masculine referring to the immediately preceding substantive thanatos ("death"). The sentence then may have a meaning, which seems improbable to a reader trained in Augustine, but which is indeed the meaning which most Greek Fathers accepted: "As sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, so death spread to all men; and because of death, all men have sinned..."

Mortality, or "corruption," or simply death (understood in a personalized sense), has indeed been viewed since Christian antiquity as a cosmic disease, which holds humanity under its sway, both spiritually and physically, and is controlled by the one who is "the murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44). It is this death, which makes sin inevitable and in this sense "corrupts" nature.

For Cyril of Alexandria, humanity after the sin of Adam "fell sick of corruption." Cyril’s opponents, the theologians of the School of Antioch, agreed with him on the consequence of Adam’s sin. For Theodore of Mopsuestia, "by becoming mortal, we acquired greater urge to sin." The necessity of satisfying the needs of the body — food, drink, and other bodily needs — are absent in immortal beings; but among mortals, they lead to "passions," for they present unavoidable means of temporary survival. Theodoret of Cyrus repeats almost literally the arguments of Theodore in his own commentary on Romans; elsewhere, he argues against the sinfulness of marriage by affirming that transmission of mortal life is not sinful in itself, in spite of Psalm 51:7 ("my mother conceived me in sin"). This verse, according to Theodoret, refers not to the sexual act but to the general sinful condition of mortal humanity: "Having become mortal, [Adam and Eve] conceived mortal children, and mortal beings are a necessarily subject to passions and fears, to pleasures and sorrows, to anger and hatred."

There is indeed a consensus in Greek patristic and Byzantine traditions in identifying the inheritance of the Fall as an inheritance essentially of mortality rather than of sinfulness, sinfulness being merely a consequence of mortality. The idea appears in Chrysostom, who specifically denies the imputation of sin to the descendants of Adam; in the eleventh-century commentator Theophylact of Ohrida; and in later Byzantine authors, particularly in Gregory Palamas. The always-more-sophisticated Maximos the Confessor, when he speaks of the consequences of the sin of Adam, identifies them mainly with the mind’s submission to the flesh and finds in sexual procreation the most obvious expression of man’s acquiescence in animal instincts; but as we have seen, sin remains, for Maximos, a personal act, and inherited guilt is impossible. For him, as for the others, "the wrong choice made by Adam brought in passion, corruption, and mortality," but not inherited guilt.

The contrast with Western tradition on this point is brought into sharp focus when Eastern authors discuss the meaning of baptism. Augustine’s arguments in favor of infant baptism were taken from the text of the creeds (baptism for "the remission of sins") and from his understanding of Romans 5:12. Children are born sinful, not because they have sinned personally, but because they have sinned "in Adam"; their baptism is therefore also a baptism "for the remission of sins." At the same time, an Eastern contemporary of Augustine’s, Theodoret of Cyrus, flatly denies that the creedal formula "for the remission of sins" is applicable to infant baptism. For Theodoret, in fact, the "remission of sins" is only a side effect of baptism, fully real in cases of adult baptism, which is the norm, of course, in the early Church and which indeed "remits sins." But the principal meaning of baptism is wider and more positive: "If the only meaning of baptism is the remission of sins," writes Theodoret, "why would we baptize the newborn children who have not yet tasted of sin? But the mystery [of baptism] is not limited to this; it is a promise of greater and more perfect gifts. In it, there are the promises of future delights; it is a type of the future resurrection, a communion with the master’s passion, a participation in His resurrection, a mantle of salvation, a tunic of gladness, a garment of light, or rather it is light itself."

Thus, the Church baptizes children not to "remit" their yet nonexistent sins, but in order to give them a new and immortal life, which their mortal parents are unable to communicate to them. The opposition between the two Adams is seen in terms not of guilt and forgiveness but of death and life. "The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven; as was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven" (1 Corinthians 15:47-48). Baptism is the paschal mystery, the "passage." All its ancient forms, especially the Byzantine, include a renunciation of Satan, a triple immersion as type of death and resurrection, and the positive gift of new life through anointing and Eucharistic communion.

In this perspective, death and mortality are viewed, not so much as retribution for sin (although they are also a just retribution for personal sins) but as means through which the fundamentally unjust "tyranny" of the devil is exercised over mankind after Adam’s sin. From this, baptism is liberation, because it gives access to the new immortal life brought into the world by Christ’s Resurrection. The Resurrection delivers men from the fear of death and, therefore, also from the necessity of struggling for existence. Only in the light of the risen Lord does the Sermon on the Mount acquire its full realism: "Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?" (Matthew 6:25).

Communion in the risen body of Christ, participation in divine life, sanctification through the energy of God, which penetrates true humanity and restores it to its "natural" state rather than justification, or remission of inherited guilt, — these are at the center of Byzantine understanding of the Christian Gospel.
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« Reply #55 on: June 11, 2009, 10:48:36 PM »

Here is what St. John Chrysostom said about the baptism of infants:

"Blessed be God, who alone does wonderful things! You have seen how numerous are the gifts of baptism. Although many men think that the only gift it confers is the remission of sins, we have counted its honors to the number of ten. It is on this account that we baptize even infants, although they are sinless, that they may be given the further gifts of sanctification, justice, filial adoption, and inheritance, that they may be brothers and members of Christ, and become dwelling places for the Spirit" [St. John Chrysostom, Third Baptismal Instruction, no. 6].
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« Reply #56 on: June 11, 2009, 10:58:20 PM »

Here is what St. John Chrysostom said about the baptism of infants:

"Blessed be God, who alone does wonderful things! You have seen how numerous are the gifts of baptism. Although many men think that the only gift it confers is the remission of sins, we have counted its honors to the number of ten. It is on this account that we baptize even infants, although they are sinless, that they may be given the further gifts of sanctification, justice, filial adoption, and inheritance, that they may be brothers and members of Christ, and become dwelling places for the Spirit" [St. John Chrysostom, Third Baptismal Instruction, no. 6].

Thanks, and more importantly, nice to see you again Apotheum.
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« Reply #57 on: June 11, 2009, 11:01:00 PM »

The following quotation is from Fr. Meyendorff's book entitled:  "Byzantine Theology" pages 143-146.

Original Sin in the Byzantine Tradition
In order to understand many major theological problems....

So, in the Byzantine Tradition, baptism does not do anything to "Adam's sin/Original Sin/Ancestral Sin" because Adam is dead and buried and his sin is his own. What baptism does is introduce Life to we who suffer from death.

Correct?
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« Reply #58 on: June 11, 2009, 11:11:58 PM »

Compare with CCC 404:

Quote
404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam "as one body of one man". By this "unity of the human race" all men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state.

Of course, the CCC rejects that humanity inherits the guilt or personal fault of this transmitted original sin (that is, original sin is contracted by us, not committed by us), but still this original sin of Adam/Eve is somehow transmitted to humanity.

This is different from the Eastern-Byzantine view, which seems to say that what is transmitted is the tendency to death, which then produces the tendency to sin.
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« Reply #59 on: June 12, 2009, 02:10:56 AM »

The following quotation is from Fr. Meyendorff's book entitled:  "Byzantine Theology" pages 143-146.

Original Sin in the Byzantine Tradition
In order to understand many major theological problems....

So, in the Byzantine Tradition, baptism does not do anything to "Adam's sin/Original Sin/Ancestral Sin" because Adam is dead and buried and his sin is his own. What baptism does is introduce Life to we who suffer from death.

Correct?
Correct.  Sin is by definition personal, and so no one can inherit another's sins.

As far as Adam and Eve are concerned, the icon of the resurrection depicts their salvation, for Christ is shown pulling them up out of the grave into life everlasting.
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« Reply #60 on: June 12, 2009, 02:13:39 AM »

Compare with CCC 404:

Quote
404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam "as one body of one man". By this "unity of the human race" all men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state.

Of course, the CCC rejects that humanity inherits the guilt or personal fault of this transmitted original sin (that is, original sin is contracted by us, not committed by us), but still this original sin of Adam/Eve is somehow transmitted to humanity.

This is different from the Eastern-Byzantine view, which seems to say that what is transmitted is the tendency to death, which then produces the tendency to sin.

Sin is not natural, nor can it be a "state of being," and so there can be no such thing as a "sin contracted" but not committed.  Sin is always a personal action.  That said, the teaching of the West seems to be in flux, as it no longer asserts that the descendants of Adam are born "guilty," and this change is a good thing.
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« Reply #61 on: June 12, 2009, 04:45:54 AM »

Dear brother Apotheoun,

Wow, am I glad to see your handle hear.  From my past discussions with you, I know you are one able to stay on topic, so I'm certain your contribution here will be fruitful.

Here is what St. John Chrysostom said about the baptism of infants:

"Blessed be God, who alone does wonderful things! You have seen how numerous are the gifts of baptism. Although many men think that the only gift it confers is the remission of sins, we have counted its honors to the number of ten. It is on this account that we baptize even infants, although they are sinless, that they may be given the further gifts of sanctification, justice, filial adoption, and inheritance, that they may be brothers and members of Christ, and become dwelling places for the Spirit" [St. John Chrysostom, Third Baptismal Instruction, no. 6].
I don't see how you think this quote from St. John Chrysostom distinguishes the Latin and Oriental understanding from the Eastern/Byzantine understanding.  It is obvious that by "sinless," he means ACTUAL sin, but does that mean he is denying Original Sin as understood by the Latins and Orientals?  Look again at his statement.  He states that children (who don't COMMIT sin), require, through baptism, the gift of JUSTICE.  This is the missing piece in the modern EO understanding of Original Sin that the Latins and Orientals have faithfully maintained (though I am certain not all EO have this modern understanding, but rather that there are many who still adhere to the Traditional and historic EO understanding on Original Sin, such as - among those here - brother Dan).

Look what else he writes:
"It is the saying that through the offence of one many were made sinners. For the fact that when he had sinned and become mortal, those who were of him should be so also, is nothing unlikely.  But how would it follow that from his disobedience another would become a sinner? For at this rate a man of this sort sort will not even deserve punishment, if, that is, it was not from his own self that he became a sinner. What then does the word "sinners" mean? To me it seems to mean liable to punishment and condemned to death...And for this reason after showing that the punishment too was brought in by one upon all..." Commentary on Romans, X, ver.19.

This contradicts your own definition of sin, which you gave in another post, that it is not "a state of being."  As mentioned, St. John Chrysostom taught that even infants, though they don't commit actual sin, need the Grace of Original Justice in the eyes of God, which they obtain at Baptism.

Blessings,
Marduk

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« Reply #62 on: June 12, 2009, 05:02:00 AM »

Correct.  Sin is by definition personal, and so no one can inherit another's sins.
Sin is by definition personal (agreed).  But that is not the only, much less the important, part of the definition of sin (in fact, something can be personal, yet be inherited).  The Catholic Church defines sin as the state which lacks holiness and justice - or, more simply, spiritual death/separation from God.  It is, as St. John Chrysostom stated, a state of liability to punishment in God's eyes (which is why even infants require the Grace of Justice - which they acquire at Baptism).  This is why the CC and the OO baptize children, even though they commit no sin.  This is why we (Catholics and Orientals) preach and teach that Baptism remits not only actual sin, but also Original Sin.  Recall brother OrthodoxLurker's quotation of the Damascene, who taught that Original sin is EXPIATED.   And I am certain that there are many more Fathers (in fact, a unanimous Tradition) that can be called on to testify to the common heritage of Catholics and Oriental Orthodox on this matter (to which I am certain even many EO will agree is a part of their own heritage).

Blessings,
Marduk
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« Reply #63 on: June 12, 2009, 05:13:39 AM »

Sin is not natural, nor can it be a "state of being," and so there can be no such thing as a "sin contracted" but not committed.  Sin is always a personal action.  That said, the teaching of the West seems to be in flux, as it no longer asserts that the descendants of Adam are born "guilty," and this change is a good thing.
Sin is not natural to us.  Agreed.  That is why it is called a blemish or stain or filth or a darkness on our divine image (these last two are St. Athanasius' descriptions).  But, no.  The teaching of the Latins is not in flux.  It may not use the word "guilt" explicitly anymore, but the meaning of it has been retained - a moral obligation that satisfies divine Justice.  It is what they have always taught and is consistent with the unanimous teaching of the Fathers on the matter, and of the Eastern Church herself, at least as far as St. Gregory Palamas (and beyond, perhaps). 

Blessings,
Marduk 
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« Reply #64 on: June 12, 2009, 02:26:35 PM »

Dear Apotheoun,
I thank you for quoting that text. I found it interesting and enlightening...

Dear Marduk,
Can I ask you some clarification for this?
Quote
It may not use the word "guilt" explicitly anymore, but the meaning of it has been retained - a moral obligation that satisfies divine Justice.  It is what they have always taught and is consistent with the unanimous teaching of the Fathers on the matter, and of the Eastern Church herself, at least as far as St. Gregory Palamas (and beyond, perhaps). 
Can you find for me some citations on the use of "guilt" according to your definition by the Church Fathers and, especially, its adoption to describe the condition of all humans, including infants? Sincerely, if you find inequivocable citations from BOTH Western and Eastern Fathers on the subject (at least a few, otherwise no "consent of the Fathers" can be taken in consideration) then I'll reconsider my position. Up to now, I can find no reason to change my mind... but at least the differences from the EO and the RC positions is emerging.

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #65 on: June 12, 2009, 03:28:40 PM »

Dear Marduk,
Can I ask you some clarification for this?
Quote
It may not use the word "guilt" explicitly anymore, but the meaning of it has been retained - a moral obligation that satisfies divine Justice.  It is what they have always taught and is consistent with the unanimous teaching of the Fathers on the matter, and of the Eastern Church herself, at least as far as St. Gregory Palamas (and beyond, perhaps). 
Can you find for me some citations on the use of "guilt" according to your definition by the Church Fathers and, especially, its adoption to describe the condition of all humans, including infants? Sincerely, if you find inequivocable citations from BOTH Western and Eastern Fathers on the subject (at least a few, otherwise no "consent of the Fathers" can be taken in consideration) then I'll reconsider my position. Up to now, I can find no reason to change my mind... but at least the differences from the EO and the RC positions is emerging.
Will do, brother.  Can you wait 2 or 3 days?  I will be terribly busy with some real world obligations.  Rest assured, if you do change your mind, you will simply be adhering to the historic and Traditional position of the early Church (and I understand that even that claim by me is contingent upon my giving  you those quotes).

For now, will you at least agree that St. John Chrysostom, as explained above, is one early Church Father who taught that Original Sin comes with a moral obligation in view of Divine Justice (in his words, "liability to condemnation")?

And will you also agree that the Damascene held the same view given his statement that Original Sin is EXPIATED?  BTW, the Webster's unabridged English Dictionary defines "expiate" as: "to atone for; to make amends or reparation for guilt."

I will give you several more in a few days.

Blessings,
Marduk
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« Reply #66 on: June 12, 2009, 03:33:49 PM »

Up to now, I can find no reason to change my mind... but at least the differences from the EO and the RC positions is emerging.

I think you have yet to demonstrate that your interpretation is the traditional EO position.
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« Reply #67 on: June 12, 2009, 04:44:05 PM »

Quote
Will do, brother.  Can you wait 2 or 3 days?  I will be terribly busy with some real world obligations.  Rest assured, if you do change your mind, you will simply be adhering to the historic and Traditional position of the early Church (and I understand that even that claim by me is contingent upon my giving you those quotes).
For now, will you at least agree that St. John Chrysostom, as explained above, is one early Church Father who taught that Original Sin comes with a moral obligation in view of Divine Justice (in his words, "liability to condemnation")?
And will you also agree that the Damascene held the same view given his statement that Original Sin is EXPIATED?  BTW, the Webster's unabridged English Dictionary defines "expiate" as: "to atone for; to make amends or reparation for guilt."
I'll be waiting for ya. Anyway, since I'm Italian, I looked in my dictionary and found the word liability. It defines it with two different translations, i.e. "peso" (burden) and "responsabilità" (responsibility). I don't know what the Greek original uses for "liability", and I'm no Greek expert, so I can't state with certainty. I hope any Greek-learned member might help distinguish.
Quote
This contradicts your own definition of sin, which you gave in another post, that it is not "a state of being."  As mentioned, St. John Chrysostom taught that even infants, though they don't commit actual sin, need the Grace of Original Justice in the eyes of God, which they obtain at Baptism.
Don't see any contradiction there. Grace might be present in new-born children until they sin. Just a supposition, since you supported prevenient grace. If God offers grace to ALL, why shouldn't he offer it to infants too, no matter that they had the responsibility for sin or not? I repeat, Jesus said we should be like children to enter the Kingdom of God... that means children are 'pure' enough to accept grace and be saved (of course, until they haven't sinned).
On st. John Damascene's words, I think he might mean that Adam and Eve's sin has been expiated - and thus also our sins that we acquire when we sin. I ask you to bring a testimony at least from three differents schools: the Latin school (no Augustine, please), the Antiochian school and the Alexandrian school. Since they can be opposed on some subjects, if an agreement is reached on the Roman position by "all" three schools, then we might say you are right.

Quote
I think you have yet to demonstrate that your interpretation is the traditional EO position.
Have I ever said that Orthodoxy is Semipelagian *with certainty*? I just said that I'm inquiring in the OP. I want to know what Orthodoxy and Catholicism teach on the subject. I'm 25 and have no theological preparation except the 5 years of personal studies that brought me to Orthodoxy. I opened this topic precisely to better know your opinions on the subject. Anyway, whatever the result of this thread: I might change my mind (since I *can* believe in RC Original Sin even in Orthodoxy) but not my church, so don't expect a conversion back to Rome (where I would not be allowed freedom of opinion on the matter).

In Christ,    Alex
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« Reply #68 on: June 13, 2009, 02:06:00 AM »

Hi brother Alex,

Haven't done MUCH research yet, but let me respond to your latest post anyway.

Quote
For now, will you at least agree that St. John Chrysostom, as explained above, is one early Church Father who taught that Original Sin comes with a moral obligation in view of Divine Justice (in his words, "liability to condemnation")?
Anyway, since I'm Italian, I looked in my dictionary and found the word liability. It defines it with two different translations, i.e. "peso" (burden) and "responsabilità" (responsibility). I don't know what the Greek original uses for "liability", and I'm no Greek expert, so I can't state with certainty. I hope any Greek-learned member might help distinguish.
I would think his explicit teaching that God gives the Grace of Justice even to new-born infants would settle it.  See below for a further comment on the matter.

Quote
On st. John Damascene's words, I think he might mean that Adam and Eve's sin has been expiated - and thus also our sins that we acquire when we sin.

Yes, that would be a legitimate interpretation - if taken in isolation from the rest of his writings. Unfortunately, brother Orthodoxlurker did not give a very complete quotation of the Damascene.  You might have noticed a break in the quotation he gave.  Here is an utterly important section of that missing part:
"Further, observe that by baptism we cut off all the covering which we have worn since birth, that is, to say ,sin, and become spiritual Israelites and God's people."
I don't know what more you need.  the Damascene specifically teaches that SINCE BIRTH, we are covered IN SIN, that must be expiated by baptism.

Quote
Quote
This contradicts your own definition of sin, which you gave in another post, that it is not "a state of being."  As mentioned, St. John Chrysostom taught that even infants, though they don't commit actual sin, need the Grace of Original Justice in the eyes of God, which they obtain at Baptism.
Don't see any contradiction there. Grace might be present in new-born children until they sin. Just a supposition, since you supported prevenient grace. If God offers grace to ALL, why shouldn't he offer it to infants too, no matter that they had the responsibility for sin or not? I repeat, Jesus said we should be like children to enter the Kingdom of God... that means children are 'pure' enough to accept grace and be saved (of course, until they haven't sinned).
That's altogether strange to me - I mean that God gives a person a certain Grace that just sits around until it is needed. Huh  Huh  Why would God give something to a new-born child he/she does not need?  Can you show me a single place from Scripture or Tradition (modern EO sources don't count) that supports your idea?  You say, they don't need it even though they have it.  The problem is that one gets this Grace of Justice at the Sacrament of Confession once they grow up enough to have ACTUAL sin.  We get a Grace because we NEED IT.  It's not something that sits around as some kind of useless ornament.  For God to give it to a child through Baptism means the child needed it.  It was something LACKING in the child.

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I think you have yet to demonstrate that your interpretation is the traditional EO position.
Anyway, whatever the result of this thread: I might change my mind (since I *can* believe in RC Original Sin even in Orthodoxy) but not my church, so don't expect a conversion back to Rome (where I would not be allowed freedom of opinion on the matter).
I am not sure if your own opinion here can be counted as "Orthodox."  Just because some EO writers have promoted it in the past 100 years does not mean it is actually "Orthodox," if by Orthodox one means being faithful to the Tradition of the Fathers.  I mean, you obviously find it important for yourself, and I respect that.  But I admit I don't understand in the least the use of "freedom of opinion" as a criterion for choosing which Church to belong to.  Personally, I consider solid Truth, not "freedom of opinion," as the standard by which to "test" a Church.  But that is my own personal belief, and it is one of the reasons I am Catholic.

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I ask you to bring a testimony at least from three differents schools: the Latin school (no Augustine, please), the Antiochian school and the Alexandrian school. Since they can be opposed on some subjects, if an agreement is reached on the Roman position by "all" three schools, then we might say you are right.
Thanks for the guidelines.  TBH, I am not exactly sure what you consider can be counted as "Antioch."  Would you consider the Damscene and Chrysostom above to be sufficient representatives of the Antiochene School?

Blessings,
Marduk
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« Reply #69 on: June 13, 2009, 02:15:59 AM »

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I think you have yet to demonstrate that your interpretation is the traditional EO position.
Have I ever said that Orthodoxy is Semipelagian *with certainty*? I just said that I'm inquiring in the OP. I want to know what Orthodoxy and Catholicism teach on the subject. I'm 25 and have no theological preparation except the 5 years of personal studies that brought me to Orthodoxy. I opened this topic precisely to better know your opinions on the subject. Anyway, whatever the result of this thread: I might change my mind (since I *can* believe in RC Original Sin even in Orthodoxy) but not my church, so don't expect a conversion back to Rome (where I would not be allowed freedom of opinion on the matter).
I have come upon some EO who claim that the EOC is "semi-pelagian."  I don't know what those people are thinking.  I have noticed, however, that people who make that claim are the same ones who like to widen the gap between Catholicism and EO'xy as much as possible.  In their eyes, since Semi-Pelagianism was condemned by the Latins, then that means it must be OK to claim that descriptive for EO'xy.  In their unthinking anti-Catholicism, these people completely neglect the fact that the feature that caused Semi-Pelagianism to be condemned by the Catholic Church is one of the very features for which the patristic and historic Catholic and Orthodox Church condemned Pelagianism.

As a brother exhortation, I would ask you to read more of the Fathers, and less of the interpretative efforts of modern theologians (Catholic or Orthodox).  Go back to the sources.

Blessings,
Marduk
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« Reply #70 on: June 13, 2009, 02:27:58 AM »

I have come upon some EO who claim that the EOC is "semi-pelagian."  I don't know what those people are thinking.  I have noticed, however, that people who make that claim are the same ones who like to widen the gap between Catholicism and EO'xy as much as possible.  In their eyes, since Semi-Pelagianism was condemned by the Latins, then that means it must be OK to claim that descriptive for EO'xy.  In their unthinking anti-Catholicism, these people completely neglect the fact that the feature that caused Semi-Pelagianism to be condemned by the Catholic Church is one of the very features for which the patristic and historic Catholic and Orthodox Church condemned Pelagianism.

As a brother exhortation, I would ask you to read more of the Fathers, and less of the interpretative efforts of modern theologians (Catholic or Orthodox).  Go back to the sources.

I would suggest the same, that the Orthodox look at the Fathers.   In this case we find a Western Father St. John Cassian who expressed a position whiich is sometimes called, derogatively, semi-Pelagianism but which is in line with Eastern understanding.


See St. John Cassian on Grace and Free Will: his famous Conference XIII.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf211.toc.html

St. John Cassian was a contemporary of St. Augustine in Gaul. Though living in the West he was in heart and mind a Father of the East. He was the first to respectfully object to certain of Saint Augustine's theological imprecisions concerning grace and free will.   He was supported in his anti-Augustine stance by the monasteries of southern France.

Conference XIII is a superb statement of the Orthodox doctrine of synergy (wrongly dubbed "semi-Pelagianism" by modern Western writers): God working with man to effect his salvation.

One should also read two "books" in St. John's treatise Against the Nestorians which deal with the heresy of Pelagianism: Book I and Book V (at the above URL.)
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« Reply #71 on: June 13, 2009, 03:09:05 AM »

I have come upon some EO who claim that the EOC is "semi-pelagian."  I don't know what those people are thinking.  I have noticed, however, that people who make that claim are the same ones who like to widen the gap between Catholicism and EO'xy as much as possible.  In their eyes, since Semi-Pelagianism was condemned by the Latins, then that means it must be OK to claim that descriptive for EO'xy.  In their unthinking anti-Catholicism, these people completely neglect the fact that the feature that caused Semi-Pelagianism to be condemned by the Catholic Church is one of the very features for which the patristic and historic Catholic and Orthodox Church condemned Pelagianism.

As a brother exhortation, I would ask you to read more of the Fathers, and less of the interpretative efforts of modern theologians (Catholic or Orthodox).  Go back to the sources.

I would suggest the same, that the Orthodox look at the Fathers.   In this case we find a Western Father St. John Cassian who expressed a position whiich is sometimes called, derogatively, semi-Pelagianism but which is in line with Eastern understanding.


See St. John Cassian on Grace and Free Will: his famous Conference XIII.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf211.toc.html

St. John Cassian was a contemporary of St. Augustine in Gaul. Though living in the West he was in heart and mind a Father of the East. He was the first to respectfully object to certain of Saint Augustine's theological imprecisions concerning grace and free will.   He was supported in his anti-Augustine stance by the monasteries of southern France.
Can you please point out exactly what about St. John Cassian's teaching is anti-Augustine?  The only difference I find is that St. Augustine stated that Grace is NECESSARY for the initial Gift of Faith AT ALL TIMES, whereas St. Cassian stated that Grace is only SOMETIMES necessary for the initial Gift of Faith.

You'll notice that the heresy is called Semi-Pelagianism, not "Cassianism."  The Catholic Church only condemns that part of St. Cassian's writing (that man does not need Grace to move him in the initial act of justification) that an Ecumenical Council had ALREADY condemned in Pelagius.

Quote from:
Conference XIII is a superb statement of the Orthodox doctrine of synergy (wrongly dubbed "semi-Pelagianism" by modern Western writers): God working with man to effect his salvation.
Yes, I agree it is wrongly dubbed.  Now, my question is, does the idea of synergy claim that man can come to the initial act of justification ON HIS OWN?  If so, then that is a heresy as defined by the Ecumenical Councils, and by Scripture (since man can do NOTHING without God, as our Lord Himself explicitly taught - reflected in the Council's dogmatic decree on the matter).  From my understanding of synergy, man and God are ALWAYS working together (which is also the Latin and Oriental teaching), not that there is one instance where man might be working alone for his salvation.

There is indeed much in St. John Cassian's writings that are worthy, perhaps 99% of it.  But in that ONE area, can you, claiming to be faithful the Ecumenical Councils, agree with St. John Cassian that one can come to the initial act of justificiation ON ONE'S OWN WITHOUT THE GRACE OF GOD?
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« Reply #72 on: June 13, 2009, 03:50:30 AM »

I would just like to stress two things on this issue of St. John Cassian.

First, I want to stress the fact that St. Cassian INDEED ADMITS St. Augustine's teaching that Grace is necessary for the initial act of justificiation.  In that, he is completely in line with the Catholic Church and with the Ecumenical Councils.

Second, the only problem is that St. Cassian claims that this is not the case ALL THE TIME.  He claims there are CERTAIN people who do not need this initial act of justification, but can come to justificiation ON THEIR OWN, and uses Zacchaeus and the Good Thief on the Cross as examples.  I believe St. Cassian was in error to think that God was not at work in these examples to move them to their acts that led Jesus to proclaim their salvation.  Grace never cancels Free Will, as St. Augustine taught in several places in his works.

On the second point, it cannot be claimed that St. John Cassian was in line with the Ecumenical Councils or the Catholic Church (and I am awating anyone's response on whether St. Cassian's view properly reflects "synergy").  I suspect that there was a misunderstanding between the monks in Gaul and St. Augustine.  St. Augustine wrote a response to the monks where he explicitly asserts that Free Will is not obliterated by the necessity of Divine Grace, so obviously, the whole issue was the Free Will.  I don't know why that explanation was not sufficient for the monks and St. John Cassian.  Maybe they were simply put off by the language of St. Augustine on the depravity of man.  I guess "depravity" was too strong a word for them? Huh

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« Reply #73 on: June 13, 2009, 04:01:09 AM »


There is indeed much in St. John Cassian's writings that are worthy, perhaps 99% of it. 

And in Saint Augustine's writings on these matters, a far lesser percentage is worthy.  Indeed much is heretical and was rejected by the Church in the West.

However, I do not really want to start engaging you, and I have not yet read through this thread.  I simply wanted to point out to Orthodox readers that the position which the West calls "semi-Pelagianism" is the position of the Orthodox Church.  It is the doctrine of synergy.



Saint John Cassian, Saint Hilary of Arles and Saint Vincent of Lerins joined in the rebuttal of Saint Augustine.  These Saints found quite a number of issues in Auguistine's teachings which neded refutation ~

~ his doctrine of sin and grace

~ his assertion that the will is in total bondage

~ his teaching on the irresistibility of grace

~ predestinarian thought - the creme de la creme of the horrors of Augustine's thought.

These Saints did agree with Saint Augustine partially, concerning the seriousness of sin.  But in their minds the doctrine of predestination was new and alien to the Faith of the Church.  It conflicts with the Tradition and it is deeply dangerous because it renders all human efforts ineffectual.

In opposition to Saint Augustine, Cassian and the Western monks taught that while a sickness is transmitted by Adam's sin, human free will still exists and it has not been entirely obliterated. Divine grace is indeed indispensable for salvation, but it does not of necessity need to precede a free human choice, because, despite the weakness of the human will, the will can and does take the initiative toward God. In other words, Cassian is saying (as do the Orthodox today) that divine grace and human free will must work together for salvation ~ synergy.   In opposition to the stark and cruel predestinarianism of the Bishop of Hippo, Cassian upheld the doctrine of God's universal and all-encompassing will to save all humankind and not just an arbitrairily chosen portion of it.   


In the case of predestination to salvation or damnation/reprobation Saint Augustine was unfortunately just as fierce and just as heretical as John Calvin 1000 years kater.  Calvin was simply re-presenting the Augustinian teaching which the Church of the West had wisely laid to one side and ignored.

See this EWTN article
by Fr William Most.

ST. AUGUSTINE ON GRACE AND PREDESTINATION Fr. William Most
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 http://www.ewtn.com/library/THEOLOGY/AUGUSTIN.HTM

The article deals with Augustine's teaching of the "Massa damnata et damnabilis." 

We remember that when Saint Photios of Constantinople began to read Augustine in Greek translation he found these and other ideas so heretical that he assumed, very charitably, that Augustine cannot have been responsible for them.  He thought that heretics in later centuries had corrupted Saint Augustine's text.

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« Reply #74 on: June 13, 2009, 04:16:21 AM »


There is indeed much in St. John Cassian's writings that are worthy, perhaps 99% of it. 

And in Saint Augustine's writings on these matters, a far lesser percentage is worthy.  Indeed much is heretical and was rejected by the Church in the West.

However, I do not really want to start engaging you, and I have not yet read through this thread.  I simply wanted to point out to Orthodox readers that the position which the West calls "semi-Pelagianism" is the position of the Orthodox Church.  It is the doctrine of synergy.
OK, then, that is settled.  As far as YOU are concerned, you believe that there is a moment in a person's life where that person can do something for the sake of salvation WITHOUT THE GRACE OF GOD.  That's heresy according to the Ecumenical Councils and Scripture.  Sorry, I do not believe you that this is the position of the Eastern Orthodox Church.   No matter what YOU call it, it is still heresy.

It's still possible, however, that you define "semi-pelagianism" differently than the Catholic Church does.
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« Reply #75 on: June 13, 2009, 04:31:22 AM »

OK, then, that is settled.  As far as YOU are concerned, you believe that there is a moment in a person's life where that person can do something for the sake of salvation WITHOUT THE GRACE OF GOD. [/i][/u]

You have always have had an annoying propensity to place words into other people's mouths.   Angry

An understanding of the doctrine of synergy requires a bit more time and study than is possible on a venue of this nature, and it is complicated for such as Catholics and Lutherans by preconceived notions of sin and grace and justification.

As I said, I do not want to engage you.  I simply wanted to make sure that no Orthodox are led astray.  I recommend a reading of the relevant passges from Saint John Cassian and a web search should bring up trustworthy Orthodox articles.
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« Reply #76 on: June 13, 2009, 04:44:11 AM »

OK, then, that is settled.  As far as YOU are concerned, you believe that there is a moment in a person's life where that person can do something for the sake of salvation WITHOUT THE GRACE OF GOD. [/i][/u]

You have always have had an annoying propensity to place words into other people's mouths.   Angry
No, you're confusing me with two other EO posters here.  Grin  I ALREADY explained to you what it was about Semi-Pelagianism that the Catholic Church rejects - it is one of the points that the Ecumenical Councils decreed is also to be rejected about Pelagianism, a point that I quoted earlier (canon 113).  Yet you STILL have the audacity to claim that the Orthodox position is Semi-Pelagian.  I'm not putting words in anybody's mouth.  I gave you a SPECIFIC definition for the heresy, and you EXPLICITLY stated AFTERWARDS that it is the position of Orthodoxy by stating that it is Semi-Pelagian.

If you want to reject your position now, great.  But don't go around throwing ad hominems to cover up your own error.  In any case, I stand by my statement that your position (even after I gave you the definition of the heresy) cannot possibly be the official position of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

What would be deceptive (and unholy) is for you to try to pass off Semi-Pelagianism as orthodox by claiming it is the same thing as synergy, thereby inducing people to believe in a heresy.  Note:  I am not saying that synergy is a heresy.  I am saying that Semi-Pelagianism is a heresy.  You are the one in error by claiming that they are the same.

A NOTE TO READERS:  IT IS NOT TRUE THAT THE CHURCH AS A WHOLE HAS NEVER CONDEMNED SEMI-PELAGIANISM.  The essence of Semi-Pelagianism that is condemned by the Catholic Church is simply that ONE FACET of Pelagianism that the Ecumenical Councils have ALREADY condemned.  Don't be deceived by others trying to pass off Semi-Pelagianism as Eastern Orthodox doctrine.
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« Reply #77 on: June 13, 2009, 08:33:22 AM »

Sorry but you insist in accusing st John Cassian of heresy.
Synergy is not heresy, according to you... then why don't you RCs adopt it as official dogma? until you don't, EO won't never accept your position on original sin.
Secondly, I thank Irish hermit for his support. He is indeed one of the most positive contributors on this site to the Orthodox cause.
Thirdly, why dont' RCs explicitly condemn the wrong and pessimistic words of Augustine concerning depravity as what they are - i.e. heresy?

I now explain what I think is my position on synergy once and for all. I think of God's grace as a magnet attracting our hearts to him. Only those of us who have their free will oriented in the right polarity are attracted to God. Since one determines his own orientation pro or contra God by free will, only those who do this are effectively attracted by the universal magnetism of God's grace. Is that acceptable? I think st. John Cassian might have understood Ancestral Sin that way (of course he couldn't use this parable... laugh).

It is curious that in general I never accused you of heresy, while you insist calling us heretic. That's a disparity. I already said that "your" position can be admitted in Orthodoxy although generally not believed, while YOU say that our position is heresy so a Roman Catholic "can't" embrace a more moderate and less pessimistic position on human nature.
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« Reply #78 on: June 13, 2009, 09:45:42 AM »

Dear brother Apotheoun,

Wow, am I glad to see your handle hear.  From my past discussions with you, I know you are one able to stay on topic, so I'm certain your contribution here will be fruitful.

Here is what St. John Chrysostom said about the baptism of infants:

"Blessed be God, who alone does wonderful things! You have seen how numerous are the gifts of baptism. Although many men think that the only gift it confers is the remission of sins, we have counted its honors to the number of ten. It is on this account that we baptize even infants, although they are sinless, that they may be given the further gifts of sanctification, justice, filial adoption, and inheritance, that they may be brothers and members of Christ, and become dwelling places for the Spirit" [St. John Chrysostom, Third Baptismal Instruction, no. 6].
I don't see how you think this quote from St. John Chrysostom distinguishes the Latin and Oriental understanding from the Eastern/Byzantine understanding.  It is obvious that by "sinless," he means ACTUAL sin, but does that mean he is denying Original Sin as understood by the Latins and Orientals?  Look again at his statement.  He states that children (who don't COMMIT sin), require, through baptism, the gift of JUSTICE.  This is the missing piece in the modern EO understanding of Original Sin that the Latins and Orientals have faithfully maintained (though I am certain not all EO have this modern understanding, but rather that there are many who still adhere to the Traditional and historic EO understanding on Original Sin, such as - among those here - brother Dan).

Look what else he writes:
"It is the saying that through the offence of one many were made sinners. For the fact that when he had sinned and become mortal, those who were of him should be so also, is nothing unlikely.  But how would it follow that from his disobedience another would become a sinner? For at this rate a man of this sort sort will not even deserve punishment, if, that is, it was not from his own self that he became a sinner. What then does the word "sinners" mean? To me it seems to mean liable to punishment and condemned to death...And for this reason after showing that the punishment too was brought in by one upon all..." Commentary on Romans, X, ver.19.

This contradicts your own definition of sin, which you gave in another post, that it is not "a state of being."  As mentioned, St. John Chrysostom taught that even infants, though they don't commit actual sin, need the Grace of Original Justice in the eyes of God, which they obtain at Baptism.

Blessings,
Marduk


There is no real contradiction; instead, there is only a contradiction in your mind, because you read the texts you have quoted in a Latin way, which I refuse to do.  Thus, by Adam's sin all men became mortal, but not sinful.  To say that one is born sinful is to embrace the Manichaean heresy, which -- unlike you -- I refuse to do.  There is no "state of sin" or "sinful being."
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« Reply #79 on: June 13, 2009, 10:28:48 AM »

Dear brother Alex,

Sorry but you insist in accusing st John Cassian of heresy.
Synergy is not heresy, according to you... then why don't you RCs adopt it as official dogma? until you don't, EO won't never accept your position on original sin.
Secondly, I thank Irish hermit for his support. He is indeed one of the most positive contributors on this site to the Orthodox cause.
Thirdly, why dont' RCs explicitly condemn the wrong and pessimistic words of Augustine concerning depravity as what they are - i.e. heresy?

I now explain what I think is my position on synergy once and for all. I think of God's grace as a magnet attracting our hearts to him. Only those of us who have their free will oriented in the right polarity are attracted to God. Since one determines his own orientation pro or contra God by free will, only those who do this are effectively attracted by the universal magnetism of God's grace. Is that acceptable? I think st. John Cassian might have understood Ancestral Sin that way (of course he couldn't use this parable... laugh).

It is curious that in general I never accused you of heresy, while you insist calling us heretic. That's a disparity. I already said that "your" position can be admitted in Orthodoxy although generally not believed, while YOU say that our position is heresy so a Roman Catholic "can't" embrace a more moderate and less pessimistic position on human nature.
Why should it surprise you that a saint can teach something that is wrong?  Did not St. Gregory of Nyssa explicitly teach the apokatastasis, which was condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Council?  But we do not charge St. Gregory of being a heretic, because in St. Gregory’s time, the teaching had not yet been dogmatically condemned by the Church yet.  The same with St. John Cassian.  His Semi-Pelagianism was heresy, but we do not charge him with heresy thereby because Semi-Pelagianism (and Pelagianism) had not yet been dogmatically condemned by the Third Ecumenical Council yet.

But we know that Semi-Pelagianism IS heretical.  And it is condemned by Canon 113 (Greek 114) of the African Code.  Of the Nine Canons (Canons 108 – 116) accepted by the Third Ecumenical Council to condemn the heresies of Pelagius and Celestius, St. John Cassian adhered to the teaching condemned by Canon 113. 

It is wrong for Catholics to claim that the EO are Semi-Pelagian.  Likewise, it is wrong, for Father Ambrose to make the claim as if there was nothing heretical about Semi-Pelagianism.  Semi-Pelagianism was condemned by the Third, Sixth and Seventh Ecumenical Councils.  It was condemned along with Pelagianism, because Semi-Pelagianism is simply a subset of the teachings that comprise Pelagianism.  Semi-Pelagianism has nothing to do with the teachings of St. John Cassian that are Catholic and Orthodox.  But there is nevertheless a portion of his writings that adheres to one of the points that was eventually condemned by the Third Ecumenical Council – namely, the idea that a person can, WITHOUT THE GRACE OF GOD, acquire the Grace of initial justification.

Synergy is NOT the same as Semi-Pelagianism.  It is simply wrong for Father Ambrose to claim that.  Synergy does NOT teach that there is a single point in time that a human being can ever have the power ON HIS OWN WITHOUT THE GRACE OF GOD to be able to do something for the sake of his salvation.  Synergy teaches that our actions of salvation are ALWAYS a cooperation between God’s Grace and the human will.

From your current description of synergy with the magnet analogy, it seems you’ve got it right now. I congratulate you.  But what you need to understand is that while the magnet analogy you gave is a proper description of synergy, that is NOT what Semi-Pelagianism is, nor is it a correct description of St. John Cassians’ FULL teaching on the matter.  Let’s use your magnet analogy to describe exactly what St. John Cassian’s actual teaching is (IOW, what Semi-Pelagianism is).  To properly describe St. Cassian’s teaching, you must imagine that the magnet has a switch, and you have the power to turn the switch on.  After you turn the switch on, THEN you start to feel the pull of the magnet. That is not the Catholic and Orthodox teaching.

Here is a comparison of Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism, and the Catholic/Orthodox teaching on the matter using your magnet analogy:

Pelagianism – the switch is always off.  There is no pull of a magnet, but you have the power on your own.
Semi-Pelagianism (St. Cassian’s teaching) – You have the power to turn on the switch.  Only after you turn on the switch do you feel the pull of the magnet.

The Catholic/Orthodox teaching – the magnet is ALWAYS on, but you have the power to resist or give in to the pull of the magnet.

What Father Ambrose has asked you to read is that portion of St. Cassian’s writings where (using the magnet analogy) the switch has already been turned on.  Thus, it does not seem like there is a difference between his teaching (Semi-Pelagianism) and the Catholic/Orthodox teaching.  But that is not all there is to St. Cassian’s teaching on the matter.

Finally, I don’t know how you can possibly accuse me of “calling us heretic.”  I am the one defending the integrity of Eastern Orthodoxy by combating Father Ambrose’s false claims that EO’xy can properly be described as “Semi-Pelagian.”

I hope that has helped.

Blessings,
Marduk
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« Reply #80 on: June 13, 2009, 10:41:44 AM »

There is no real contradiction; instead, there is only a contradiction in your mind, because you read the texts you have quoted in a Latin way, which I refuse to do.  Thus, by Adam's sin all men became mortal, but not sinful.  To say that one is born sinful is to embrace the Manichaean heresy, which -- unlike you -- I refuse to do.  There is no "state of sin" or "sinful being."
I know there are different terminologies used between the Traditions, but I didn't know that the "Grace of Justice" was one of those where there was a difference.  Perhaps you can apprise us of the difference?  I mean, at least I've explained my position.  You claim that my interpretation is Manichean, but you didn't explain.  I guess you are not aware of the fundamental difference between Manicheaism and the historic/patristic teaching on Original Sin.  The Catholic teaching on Original Sin (which is basically the Alexandrine Tradition) is that man is bascially good, and that sin (including original sin) is a blemish on our nature, something UNnatural.  On the contrary, Manicheaism taught that matter is inherently and naturally evil.  I hope to still have a good discussion with you on the matter devoid of empty, unexplained claims.  I don't mind if you accuse Catholicism of something, but at least give a valid reason. Don't base your criticism merely on false analogies.

Blessings,
Marduk
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« Reply #81 on: June 13, 2009, 12:08:19 PM »

Sincerely, I think Father Ambrose just uses a *positive* understanding of st. John Cassian's words. Optimism is a typical aspect of our world view... The words of st Cassian are at least *less pessimistic* then those of Augustine regarding human nature, especially when a comparison is made with the more mystical and less legalistic approach of Eastern theology. Words such as "satisfaction of divine justice" or the idea of sin as a rebellion, for example, are foreign to the peculiarily ascetical approach of the Eastern Church Fathers on the matter. Using more concrete/legalistic/scholastic technicalities as the Latins do just complicates the understanding of your concepts.
Anyway, after all, only the concept of "liability" still remains untouched.
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« Reply #82 on: June 13, 2009, 02:35:20 PM »

Correct.  Sin is by definition personal, and so no one can inherit another's sins.
Sin is by definition personal (agreed).  But that is not the only, much less the important, part of the definition of sin (in fact, something can be personal, yet be inherited).  The Catholic Church defines sin as the state which lacks holiness and justice - or, more simply, spiritual death/separation from God.  It is, as St. John Chrysostom stated, a state of liability to punishment in God's eyes (which is why even infants require the Grace of Justice - which they acquire at Baptism).  This is why the CC and the OO baptize children, even though they commit no sin.  This is why we (Catholics and Orientals) preach and teach that Baptism remits not only actual sin, but also Original Sin.  Recall brother OrthodoxLurker's quotation of the Damascene, who taught that Original sin is EXPIATED.   And I am certain that there are many more Fathers (in fact, a unanimous Tradition) that can be called on to testify to the common heritage of Catholics and Oriental Orthodox on this matter (to which I am certain even many EO will agree is a part of their own heritage).

Blessings,
Marduk

When you say "Original sin" in this quote.....do you mean, "original separation"? I am asking because you keep talking about Baptism and why babies are Baptized....eventhough they didn't commit any personal sins.

I could be wrong, and everyone can correct me if I am, but I thought EO believes that babies are Baptized to be united to the body Christ. So Baptism is for both the expiation of personal sins as well as to unite us with Christ.


We are not Baptized for some "original guilt".......nor are Babies baptized for some "original guilt".




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« Reply #83 on: June 13, 2009, 02:49:58 PM »

OK, then, that is settled.  As far as YOU are concerned, you believe that there is a moment in a person's life where that person can do something for the sake of salvation WITHOUT THE GRACE OF GOD. [/i][/u]

You have always have had an annoying propensity to place words into other people's mouths.   Angry
No, you're confusing me with two other EO posters here.  Grin  I ALREADY explained to you what it was about Semi-Pelagianism that the Catholic Church rejects - it is one of the points that the Ecumenical Councils decreed is also to be rejected about Pelagianism, a point that I quoted earlier (canon 113).  Yet you STILL have the audacity to claim that the Orthodox position is Semi-Pelagian.  I'm not putting words in anybody's mouth.  I gave you a SPECIFIC definition for the heresy, and you EXPLICITLY stated AFTERWARDS that it is the position of Orthodoxy by stating that it is Semi-Pelagian.

If you want to reject your position now, great.  But don't go around throwing ad hominems to cover up your own error.  In any case, I stand by my statement that your position (even after I gave you the definition of the heresy) cannot possibly be the official position of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

What would be deceptive (and unholy) is for you to try to pass off Semi-Pelagianism as orthodox by claiming it is the same thing as synergy, thereby inducing people to believe in a heresy.  Note:  I am not saying that synergy is a heresy.  I am saying that Semi-Pelagianism is a heresy.  You are the one in error by claiming that they are the same.

A NOTE TO READERS:  IT IS NOT TRUE THAT THE CHURCH AS A WHOLE HAS NEVER CONDEMNED SEMI-PELAGIANISM.  The essence of Semi-Pelagianism that is condemned by the Catholic Church is simply that ONE FACET of Pelagianism that the Ecumenical Councils have ALREADY condemned.  Don't be deceived by others trying to pass off Semi-Pelagianism as Eastern Orthodox doctrine.

What the local latin council of 2nd Orange comdemned was the idea that the free will of "some" men can preceed the grace of God.

Saint John Cassian was a great man of the Faith. He made a small mistake in 1 or 2 places in his work called the Conferences where he spoke about the possibility of the free will of "some" people being able to preceed the grace of God. He mostly tought in most places that the grace of God preceeds the will of man.

 I get upset with Both Roman Catholics and certain Reformed protestants for seeing Saint Augustine as some great hero with no flaws in his writings, but demonize Saint John Cassian for 1 or 2 flaws.

Most of what Saint John Cassian wrote is Orthodox and sound doctrine. And if you can overlook the many theological flaws of Saint Augustine then why not overlook a few minor flaws of Saint John Cassian?







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« Reply #84 on: June 13, 2009, 03:15:49 PM »

A virtual applause echoes out of my heart for what you said, dear jnorm888... What a great saint was John Cassian... and what great mistakes did blessed Augustine introduce in his theology...

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« Reply #85 on: June 13, 2009, 08:11:51 PM »

When you say "Original sin" in this quote.....do you mean, "original separation"? I am asking because you keep talking about Baptism and why babies are Baptized....eventhough they didn't commit any personal sins.
Yes, that is exactly how the Catholic Church defines Original Sin.  It is the state of "separation from God" or "death of the soul." (note here that the "death of the soul" is not the "annihilation of the soul," but rather "separation from God."  Here is a quote from the Council of Trent:
"If anyone asserts that Adam's sin was injurious only to Adam and not to his descendants, and that it was for himself along that he lost the holiness and justice which he had received from God, and not for us also; or that after his defilement by the sin of disobedience, he transmitted to the whole human race only death and punishmet of the body but not sin itself which is the death of the soul: Let him be anathema.

Quote
I could be wrong, and everyone can correct me if I am, but I thought EO believes that babies are Baptized to be united to the body Christ. So Baptism is for both the expiation of personal sins as well as to unite us with Christ.
I can't speak for the EO, but the Catholic Church believes that being united to the body of Christ is ONE of the benefits of Baptism that babies receive.  Babies and adults both receive the SAME benefits of baptism, except that infants don't have ACTUAL sin.

Quote
We are not Baptized for some "original guilt".......nor are Babies baptized for some "original guilt".
There is no such thing as "original guilt," if by that you mean "Adam's guilt passed down to us."  The things that Adam passed down are 1) Death and corruptibility of the body (which is simply part of our nature, anyway);  Death of the soul (i.e., separation from God due to a loss of Original Holiness and Justice; this is the "Sin" part of the term "Original Sin" according to the Catholic teaching); concupisence.  Adam did not pass down his guilt.  Our guilt comes NOT from Adam, but from our own PERSONAL moral responsibility to satisfy Divine Justice due to (1) our natural separation from God (original sin) and (2) actual sin.  Both sins (remember the definition of "sin" above) are PERSONAL, and both, as the Church has CONSTANTLY taught and believed, are expiated by Baptism.

Blessings,
Marduk
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« Reply #86 on: June 13, 2009, 08:22:27 PM »

Dear brother Jnorm,

Saint John Cassian was a great man of the Faith. He made a small mistake in 1 or 2 places in his work called the Conferences where he spoke about the possibility of the free will of "some" people being able to preceed the grace of God. He mostly tought in most places that the grace of God preceeds the will of man.
Yes, that is exactly what I stated earlier.  The problem is that some don't want to acknowledge his mistakes, and thereby mistakenly claim that the EOC is "semi-Pelagian."

Quote
I get upset with Both Roman Catholics and certain Reformed protestants for seeing Saint Augustine as some great hero with no flaws in his writings, but demonize Saint John Cassian for 1 or 2 flaws.

Most of what Saint John Cassian wrote is Orthodox and sound doctrine. And if you can overlook the many theological flaws of Saint Augustine then why not overlook a few minor flaws of Saint John Cassian?
Whoa!  John Cassian is a Saint in the Catholic Church.  Where do you get the idea that we demonize him? Huh  Huh  Huh  And where do you get the idea that we "overlook" the theological flaws of Augustine?  Every teaching of St. Augustine that can be condemned was condemned by the Council of Trent.  Likewise, the part of St. Cassian's writings that can be condemned was condemned at the Council of Orange.  I can't see the distinction you are making between the Catholic Church honoring St. Augustine, and your Church honoring St. Cassian.  I am not aware of ANY Catholic who dishonors St. Cassian by not calling him a Saint.  However, there are certainly many EO who do not call St. Augustine a saint.  So if you want to talk about demonizing someone, I think the EO have a lot more on their plate than the Catholics do.

Blessings
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« Reply #87 on: June 13, 2009, 08:34:07 PM »

Sincerely, I think Father Ambrose just uses a *positive* understanding of st. John Cassian's words. Optimism is a typical aspect of our world view... The words of st Cassian are at least *less pessimistic* then those of Augustine regarding human nature, especially when a comparison is made with the more mystical and less legalistic approach of Eastern theology. Words such as "satisfaction of divine justice" or the idea of sin as a rebellion, for example, are foreign to the peculiarily ascetical approach of the Eastern Church Fathers on the matter. Using more concrete/legalistic/scholastic technicalities as the Latins do just complicates the understanding of your concepts.
Anyway, after all, only the concept of "liability" still remains untouched.
An HONEST positive understanding of a Saint does not seek to overlook their faults.  The Catholic Church honors St. Augustine greatly, but we do not thereby overlook the fact that some of his teachings are excessive and to be rejected.  Honoring St. Cassian should likewise not mean that we overlook his faults.  Wouldn't you agree?

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« Reply #88 on: June 13, 2009, 08:54:00 PM »

The Beginnings of a Western and Eastern Reassessment of Pelagius

"Pelagius: To Demetrias"
by Deacon Geoffrey Ó Riada
[now Russian Orthodox priest in France]

http://web.archive.org/web/20040102171014/www.nireland.com/orthodox/pelagius.htm

Contents
Introduction
A Brief Life of Pelagius
The Letter to Demetrias
History and Text
Content and Analysis

Introduction

Few churchmen have been so maligned as Pelagius in the Christian West. For nearly 1,500 years, all that anyone has known of the British monk's theology has come from what his opponents said about him — and when one's opponents are as eminent as Augustine and Jerome, the chance of getting a fair hearing is not great. Consequently, it has been easy to lay all manner of pernicious heresies at Pelagius's doorstep. Only in the last couple of decades have scholars been able to recover and examine Pelagius's works directly. What they have found is that very little of what has historically passed for "Pelagian" heresy was actually taught by him.

This "rehabilitation" of Pelagius by Western scholars calls for an Orthodox Christian response. Indeed, through ecumenical contact and dialogue with Western Christians, Orthodox theologians have come to appreciate the immense impact that Augustine has had in shaping the landscape of Western Christianity; and the divergence of the Augustinian trajectory of theology from the Apostolic and Patristic Tradition has been carefully charted. It is surely time, then, for an evaluation of Augustine's chief opponent, Pelagius. We may even find in the British monk's criticism of Augustinian ideology a voice sympathetic to Orthodox concerns.

There is no denying that Orthodox Christians have traditionally called Pelagius a heretic. Yet no Eastern Fathers were acquainted with him, and condemnations of Pelagianism were included in the Oecumenical Synod of Ephesos only under Western influence. As we shall see, on the couple of occasions during his lifetime that Pelagius was actually tried at local councils in the East, the evaluation was positive. This paper picks up where those councils left off, though a thorough evaluation of Pelagius lies well beyond its scope.

Remainder of article :: http://web.archive.org/web/20040102171014/www.nireland.com/orthodox/pelagius.htm
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« Reply #89 on: June 13, 2009, 09:35:37 PM »

Dearest Father Ambrose,

I think the article has a lot of good points, and some bad points.  For now, I just want to point out one of these bad points:

Quote from:
Yet no Eastern Fathers were acquainted with him, and condemnations of Pelagianism were included in the Oecumenical Synod of Ephesos only under Western influence.
If he means by this that the Fathers at the Third Ecum did not truly and fully understand what they were condemning, then no single Oriental will even pay attention to him.  No Oriental would ever admit that Pope St. Cyrill was so lackadaisical in his duty as a shepherd of the Church that he would sign on to a condemnation of a teaching without full and due deliberation, and not merely under "the influence" of someone. 

The 9 canons from the African Code accepted by the Third Ecumenical Council under the presidency of Pope St. Cyrill to condemn Pelagius and Celestius are the infallible and dogmatic TEACHINGS of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.  It might very well be the case that the PERSON of Pelagius can be rehabilitated as more information surfaces, but the TEACHING known as Pelagianism/Semi-Pelagianism will always and forever remain a heresy in the eyes of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
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« Reply #90 on: June 13, 2009, 10:16:42 PM »

Marduk,

You keep saying that the position of St. John Cassian was condemned by an Ecumenical Council. This is simply not the case. And the fact that you think canon 111-113 of the canons of Carthage apply show the degree to which you do not understand the teaching of St. John or the Eastern idea of synergy.

Yes. St. John, and the Orthodox Fathers in general, accept that as man has free will, man has the ability to turn towards God without a specific act of Grace on God's part. What Orthodoxy does not teach (and what is condemned in those canons) is that man, having turned his will towards God, can accomplish anything at all without the extension of Grace by the Godhead--of course that Grace is always extended and so as soon as man desires God, God is there to fulfill that desire.

Or, to put it another way, Orthodoxy recognizes that the God has given the Grace of salvation to *all* men already. Therefore, the argument of Augustine and Pelagius was slightly beside the point (not that Pelagius wasn't a heretic, but St. Augustine got it wrong by allowing Pelagius to define the terms of the argument). God has made salvation available to all. His Grace (which is His Divine Energies) fills all the earth. All it waits on is for the motion of the human will to submit to it. All achievement that comes thereafter, is done by the Grace of God--as the canons say--but it remains the part of the human will to submit. One can put it that the submission itself is possible through Grace--but only if one recognizes that that Grace is available to *everyone*, both those who avail themselves of it, and those who do not. Or on can say that the submission occurs 'freely', in the sense that since Grace is available to all, one cannot say that 'he received Grace, and therefore was save' and 'he did not receive Grace, and therefore was damned'. Rather, they both received Grace, and 'he chose to submit, and he chose not to, and each reaped the consequences of their choic'.
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« Reply #91 on: June 13, 2009, 10:25:41 PM »

Marduk,

You keep saying that the position of St. John Cassian was condemned by an Ecumenical Council. This is simply not the case. And the fact that you think canon 111-113 of the canons of Carthage apply show the degree to which you do not understand the teaching of St. John or the Eastern idea of synergy.

Yes. St. John, and the Orthodox Fathers in general, accept that as man has free will, man has the ability to turn towards God without a specific act of Grace on God's part.

I don't think that is quite correct, as nothing exists without the logoi within in them, which exist by the energies of God, i.e. Grace Himself.

Quote
What Orthodoxy does not teach (and what is condemned in those canons) is that man, having turned his will towards God, can accomplish anything at all without the extension of Grace by the Godhead--of course that Grace is always extended and so as soon as man desires God, God is there to fulfill that desire.

Or, to put it another way, Orthodoxy recognizes that the God has given the Grace of salvation to *all* men already. Therefore, the argument of Augustine and Pelagius was slightly beside the point (not that Pelagius wasn't a heretic, but St. Augustine got it wrong by allowing Pelagius to define the terms of the argument). God has made salvation available to all. His Grace (which is His Divine Energies) fills all the earth.

Now you're talking!

Quote
All it waits on is for the motion of the human will to submit to it. All achievement that comes thereafter, is done by the Grace of God--as the canons say--but it remains the part of the human will to submit. One can put it that the submission itself is possible through Grace--but only if one recognizes that that Grace is available to *everyone*, both those who avail themselves of it, and those who do not. Or on can say that the submission occurs 'freely', in the sense that since Grace is available to all, one cannot say that 'he received Grace, and therefore was save' and 'he did not receive Grace, and therefore was damned'. Rather, they both received Grace, and 'he chose to submit, and he chose not to, and each reaped the consequences of their choic'.
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« Reply #92 on: June 13, 2009, 10:29:56 PM »

Sorry but you insist in accusing st John Cassian of heresy.
Synergy is not heresy, according to you... then why don't you RCs adopt it as official dogma? until you don't, EO won't never accept your position on original sin.
Secondly, I thank Irish hermit for his support. He is indeed one of the most positive contributors on this site to the Orthodox cause.
Thirdly, why dont' RCs explicitly condemn the wrong and pessimistic words of Augustine concerning depravity as what they are - i.e. heresy?

Especially since St. Augustine himself said "You have created us restless, O Lord, and we are restless until we rest in You."  If we can only find rest in Him, we can't be totally depraved.
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« Reply #93 on: June 13, 2009, 11:06:42 PM »

You keep saying that the position of St. John Cassian was condemned by an Ecumenical Council. This is simply not the case. And the fact that you think canon 111-113 of the canons of Carthage apply show the degree to which you do not understand the teaching of St. John or the Eastern idea of synergy.
Where did I say that St. Cassian was condemned by an Ecumenical Council?  Please point it out.  What I stated was that Semi-Pelagianism was condemned by an Ecumenical Council, as reflected by Canon 113. 

Quote
Yes. St. John, and the Orthodox Fathers in general, accept that as man has free will, man has the ability to turn towards God without a specific act of Grace on God's part.
If that is what Eastern Orthodoxy teaches, then it was SPECIFICALLY condemned by Canon 113 (114 in Greek).  And please be careful about your use of the word "Orthodox." On this website which caters to both EO and OO, it would be incorrect to imply that the OO would ever participate in this belief.  Feel free to ask our OO brethren in the OO Section.

Quote
What Orthodoxy does not teach (and what is condemned in those canons) is that man, having turned his will towards God, can accomplish anything at all without the extension of Grace by the Godhead--of course that Grace is always extended and so as soon as man desires God, God is there to fulfill that desire.
On this point we agree, but not on your prior statement.

Quote
Or, to put it another way, Orthodoxy recognizes that the God has given the Grace of salvation to *all* men already.
Again, careful with your use of the word "Orthodoxy."  OO would never make this claim. The Grace of salvation is given only to those who accept it.

Quote
God has made salvation available to all.
Agreed.  But this is wholly different from your prior statement that "the Grace of salvation was given to all men ALREADY."

Quote
His Grace (which is His Divine Energies) fills all the earth.
Agreed

Quote
All it waits on is for the motion of the human will to submit to it.
Agreed.  The difference is that I believe that not only does God make the Grace of salvation available to all men, but also that if a man accepts that Grace, he was moved by Grace to do so.  That movement itself is a different Grace from the Grace of salvation, but it is Grace nevertheless.  Men have the power to respond to or otherwise reject this Grace of movement, whereby the Grace of Salvation becomes effective.  But, as stated, if he DOES respond positively, that positive response itself was AIDED by Grace.  That is the Catholic and patristic teaching.  It is the OO teaching, and I suspect it is also the EO teaching.  But there seems to be a segment of EO'xy which teaches otherwise.

Quote
All achievement that comes thereafter, is done by the Grace of God--as the canons say--but it remains the part of the human will to submit. One can put it that the submission itself is possible through Grace--but only if one recognizes that that Grace is available to *everyone*, both those who avail themselves of it, and those who do not. Or on can say that the submission occurs 'freely', in the sense that since Grace is available to all, one cannot say that 'he received Grace, and therefore was save' and 'he did not receive Grace, and therefore was damned'. Rather, they both received Grace, and 'he chose to submit, and he chose not to, and each reaped the consequences of their choic'.
The rest of this is fine.

Blessings
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« Reply #94 on: June 13, 2009, 11:08:51 PM »

Sorry but you insist in accusing st John Cassian of heresy.
Synergy is not heresy, according to you... then why don't you RCs adopt it as official dogma? until you don't, EO won't never accept your position on original sin.
Secondly, I thank Irish hermit for his support. He is indeed one of the most positive contributors on this site to the Orthodox cause.
Thirdly, why dont' RCs explicitly condemn the wrong and pessimistic words of Augustine concerning depravity as what they are - i.e. heresy?

Especially since St. Augustine himself said "You have created us restless, O Lord, and we are restless until we rest in You."  If we can only find rest in Him, we can't be totally depraved.
Good point.  The Catholic Church rejects the heresy of total depravity, which is a Protestant invention.

Blessings
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« Reply #95 on: June 15, 2009, 09:55:48 AM »

Men have the power to respond to or otherwise reject this Grace of movement, whereby the Grace of Salvation becomes effective. 

This "grace of movement" of which you speak---I am unable to find the RC definition?
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« Reply #96 on: June 15, 2009, 03:08:16 PM »

A man by himself working and toiling at freedom from sinful desires achieves nothing. But if he plainly shows himself to be very eager and earnest about this, he attains it by the addition of the power of God. God works together with willing souls. But if the person abandons his eagerness, the spirit from God is also restrained. To save the unwilling is the act of one using compulsion; but to save the willing, that of one showing grace. 190 AD St. Clement of Alexandria
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« Reply #97 on: June 15, 2009, 03:40:32 PM »

In my research for Orthodox sources on Ancestral vs Original Sin, I found this interesting essay by Rev. Anthony Hughes

http://www.antiochian.org/assets/asset_manager/da42e6049df1d08bff1865c1ac19e759.pdf

I especially loved this words from the essay:

Quote
Ancestral sin has a specific meaning. The Greek word for sin in this case,
amartema, refers to an individual act indicating that the Eastern Fathers assigned full
responsibility for the sin in the Garden to Adam and Eve alone. The word amartia, the
more familiar term for sin which literally means “missing the mark”, is used to refer to
the condition common to all humanity (Romanides, 2002). The Eastern Church, unlike its
Western counterpart, never speaks of guilt being passed from Adam and Eve to their
progeny, as did Augustine. Instead, it is posited that each person bears the guilt of his or
her own sin. The question becomes, “What then is the inheritance of humanity from
Adam and Eve if it is not guilt?” The Orthodox Fathers answer as one: death. (I
Corinthians 15:21) “Man is born with the parasitic power of death within him,” writes Fr.
Romanides (2002, p. 161). Our nature, teaches Cyril of Alexandria, became
“diseased…through the sin of one” (Migne, 1857-1866a). It is not guilt that is passed on,
for the Orthodox fathers; it is a condition, a disease.

In a side note he also adds this definition of Pelagianism and Semi-pelagianism from an EO perspective:
Quote
Pelagius is regarded as a heretic in the East (as is the case in the West). He elevated the human will and
the expense of divine grace. In fairness, however, the Orthodox position is expressed best by John
Cassian—who is often regarded as “semi-Pelagian” in the West. The problem—to the Orthodox
perspective—is that both Pelagius and Augustine set the categories in the extreme—freedom of the will
with nothing left for God versus complete sovereignty of God, with nothing left to human will. The
Fathers argued instead for “synergy,” a mystery of God’s grace being given with the cooperation of the
human heart.

I also loved this study on the word "justice" (diakosuni) in the New Testament:
Quote
The Greek word diakosuni ‘justice’, is a translation of the Hebrew word
tsedaka. The word means ‘the divine energy which accomplishes man’s
salvation.’ It is parallel and almost synonymous with the word hesed
which means ‘mercy’, ‘compassion’, ‘love’, and to the word emeth
which means ‘fidelity’, ‘truth’. This is entirely different from the juridical
understanding of ‘justice’.

What do you think, Marduk? Still thinking Semipelagianism is an heresy to the EO? I don't think so; admitting that st. John Cassian's words were condemned at the 2nd Council of Orange would be to admit that a local council with no ecumenical value is binding for the entire church only because of its approvation by an "infallible" (my teeth tremble in horror) pope of Rome? Also, it seems all the greatest theologians of our time are persuaded that st. John Cassian's affirmations are perfectly in line with the Orthodox understanding of ancestral sin...

In Christ,    Alex
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« Reply #98 on: June 16, 2009, 03:30:06 AM »

If we don`t inherit anything , any guilt from Adam and Eve , then why is the sacramental of baptism necessary ?
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« Reply #99 on: June 16, 2009, 07:04:10 AM »

Baptism is given so that we might be free from the burden of death and given new life in Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour.
Cfr Romans 6:4
I also imagine ancestral sin more or less as an exile. Adam and Eve were guilty and were exiled from the Garden of Eden. We are just the descendants born in exile of Adam and Eve. At birth we have no guilt; yet we are still in exile like our parents. God wants us to get back home in Paradise, and offers us the instrument (grace) so that we might be able to merit this occasion to have that primordial life in Heaven we have lost because of our ancestors. Of course, everytime we sin we sign for our exclusion from the Garden, but God still works for our salvation. He even sent his own Son in exile among us, so that he might have opened the gates of Paradise once again...

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #100 on: June 17, 2009, 02:05:57 AM »

Baptism is given so that we might be free from the burden of death and given new life in Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour.

Well, we are certainly not in an Indiana Jones movie---it doesn't free us from physical death.

So we must conclude that is frees us from spiritual death.

We have a word for spiritual death. It is called sin.
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« Reply #101 on: June 17, 2009, 08:36:44 AM »

Well, we are certainly not in an Indiana Jones movie---it doesn't free us from physical death.

1 Cor 15:21-22

For by a man came death, and by a man the resurrection of the dead.  And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.
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« Reply #102 on: June 17, 2009, 09:22:46 AM »

Well, we are certainly not in an Indiana Jones movie---it doesn't free us from physical death.

1 Cor 15:21-22

For by a man came death, and by a man the resurrection of the dead.  And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.

After our physical death, of course.
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« Reply #103 on: June 17, 2009, 11:28:22 AM »

After our physical death, of course.
Pysical death and ancestral sin no longer has power over us when we put on Christ.
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« Reply #104 on: June 17, 2009, 11:53:30 AM »

After our physical death, of course.
Pysical death and ancestral sin no longer has power over us when we put on Christ.

You're totally missing my point.
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« Reply #105 on: June 17, 2009, 12:01:54 PM »

You're totally missing my point.
Then perhaps you should try to explain further.
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« Reply #106 on: June 17, 2009, 12:13:44 PM »

You're totally missing my point.
Then perhaps you should try to explain further.

Sin is the death of the soul. Baptism, as Alexander says, saves us from death of the soul. Baptism, then, saves us from sin.

I would hope this is not something I would need to debate on an Orthodox Christian forum. That baptism is for the forgiveness of sins comes from the Creed.

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« Reply #107 on: June 17, 2009, 12:32:01 PM »

Sin is the death of the soul. Baptism, as Alexander says, saves us from death of the soul. Baptism, then, saves us from sin.

The soul lives on after physical death. When we put on Christ we are saved from the consequences of ancestral sin---death---and we have the power to wage spiritual warfare against the passions. 

After physical death, we can have eternal life in the heavenly realm.

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« Reply #108 on: June 17, 2009, 02:12:14 PM »

Dear lubeltri,
every Sunday the church sings thus:
"I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins"
In the original Greek this sentence reads "Ὁμολογῶ ἓν βάπτισμα εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν."
In that sentence, 'ἁμαρτιῶν' is a form of 'ἁμαρτια' which, as I have already reported in my previous post, means in Greek "missing the mark" and is thus understood as "personal sin". If baptism were for the remission of Adam and Eve's sin, which according to you we are responsible for since conception, then why didn't the inspired Church Fathers in the Council of Constantinople adopt the more precise word 'ἁμαρτεμα', which the Church Fathers adopted exclusively for the guilt of Adam and Eve?
Baptism for infants is given in anticipation for the future sins we're all going to contract in life because of ancestral sin. That's why we still need the Sacrament of Confession, which is nothing but a restoration, time after time, of the perfect spiritual condition we inherit at baptism.
Death is of course BOTH physical and spiritual. We don't split (as you do) the human being in two substances. Soul, spirit and body equally share in the same curse of death - a curse Adam and Eve willingly introduced in the world, and of which we unfortunately and unwillingly experience the consequences...

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #109 on: June 17, 2009, 03:07:36 PM »

Am I the only one who fail to see the difference between the different parties of this discussion? Both Catholic and Orthodox participants agree that we are not personally guilty to the sin of Adam and Eve and both Catholic and Orthodox participants agree that even the infants are in need of salvation and that's why they are baptised. The Orthodox seem to be chronically allergic to talk of sin but still they agree that something went wrong in the Fall and that baptism is part of the repairment process of the Fall. What's the difference?
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« Reply #110 on: June 17, 2009, 03:34:21 PM »

Since Marduk has written this:
Quote
It may not use the word "guilt" explicitly anymore, but the meaning of it has been retained - a moral obligation that satisfies divine Justice.  It is what they have always taught and is consistent with the unanimous teaching of the Fathers on the matter, and of the Eastern Church herself, at least as far as St. Gregory Palamas (and beyond, perhaps).
...many of us are trying to counter-attack this idea. Yes, definitely he believes that guilt is implied... so we don't agree on that point. I can't se any "moral obligation to satisfy divine Justice" in new-born children.

In Christ,  Alex
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« Reply #111 on: June 17, 2009, 04:01:49 PM »

The Orthodox seem to be chronically allergic to talk of sin

Huh?
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« Reply #112 on: June 17, 2009, 04:53:40 PM »

I would also clarify that we don't refuse to talk of sin (this thread, and those on purgatory and the immaculate conception respond exhaustively to that topic) but we prefer not to mention it with RCs is maybe because the Orthodox don't agree with the meaning of 'sin' as used by RCs. As we see 'sin' as an illness, we have a therapeutic idea of sin which is entirely different from the idea that sin is an offence to God. Technically, the only offence taken by God for our sins is that we refuse continuously to be cured by His grace... Fortunately, God always offers his medicine to whoever wants it anytime during our life, so...
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« Reply #113 on: June 17, 2009, 05:26:53 PM »

The Orthodox seem to be chronically allergic to talk of sin

Huh?
That basically meant that I've had an impression that talk of sin of infants and that baptism washes away the sin of infants arouses an uncomfortable feeling in the EO.
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« Reply #114 on: June 17, 2009, 06:10:05 PM »

The fact that baptism washes away "somebody else's sin" is a little bit at odds with at least "my" mindset. And it seems I'm not alone. On the contrary, it seems strange that you're Finnish Orthodox but talk of your brothers in faith as a different group of people... But maybe I'm wrong...
Anyway, it's midnight here in Italy and I'm leaving the conversation for now.
Blessings,

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #115 on: June 18, 2009, 07:07:51 AM »

On the contrary, it seems strange that you're Finnish Orthodox but talk of your brothers in faith as a different group of people...
That is due to the fact I'm still only a Catechumen. And secondly, talk of sin of infants etc doesn't make feeling uncomfortable.

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« Reply #116 on: June 18, 2009, 07:22:04 AM »

I'm not unconfortable with this argument, as I opened this thread myself. I just don't think that newborn child could be called "guilty of sin". Otherwise, why should we call the babies killed by Herod "Innocents"? Because babies are victims of a sin they are not responsible for.
I didn't notice you were a catechumen, anyway catecumens are to be felt as members of the Church in many cases... Maybe you should consider yourself a member of Orthodoxy as I am trying to do. Just a suggestion of course...

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #117 on: June 18, 2009, 07:54:27 AM »

I just don't think that newborn child could be called "guilty of sin"
I'm not saying that either. I'm saying basically the same thing in reply #99. We inherit the exile from Adam and Eve, which means something more than only a physical mortality, and God repairs that through baptism. And if someone wants to call that the sin of infants, that's fine by me.
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« Reply #118 on: June 18, 2009, 08:59:50 AM »

I'm glad you hold our position. I'm only insisting, in fact, on two ideas: that of guilt (sin is one thing, guilt is another) and that of synergy. Since these points or not entirely common between RCism and Oxy we need to clear out all doubts on the matter.

In Christ, your unworthy brother Alex
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« Reply #119 on: June 18, 2009, 04:59:32 PM »

I'm not unconfortable with this argument, as I opened this thread myself. I just don't think that newborn child could be called "guilty of sin".

Babies born from AIDS-infected mothers are not immune from contracting HIV, through no fault of their own.

The effects of the contraction may not be visible for an extended period of time, but they will eventually show themselves.
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« Reply #120 on: June 18, 2009, 08:38:47 PM »

When you say "Original sin" in this quote.....do you mean, "original separation"? I am asking because you keep talking about Baptism and why babies are Baptized....eventhough they didn't commit any personal sins.
Yes, that is exactly how the Catholic Church defines Original Sin.  It is the state of "separation from God" or "death of the soul." (note here that the "death of the soul" is not the "annihilation of the soul," but rather "separation from God."  Here is a quote from the Council of Trent:
"If anyone asserts that Adam's sin was injurious only to Adam and not to his descendants, and that it was for himself along that he lost the holiness and justice which he had received from God, and not for us also; or that after his defilement by the sin of disobedience, he transmitted to the whole human race only death and punishmet of the body but not sin itself which is the death of the soul: Let him be anathema.

Quote
I could be wrong, and everyone can correct me if I am, but I thought EO believes that babies are Baptized to be united to the body Christ. So Baptism is for both the expiation of personal sins as well as to unite us with Christ.
I can't speak for the EO, but the Catholic Church believes that being united to the body of Christ is ONE of the benefits of Baptism that babies receive.  Babies and adults both receive the SAME benefits of baptism, except that infants don't have ACTUAL sin.

Quote
We are not Baptized for some "original guilt".......nor are Babies baptized for some "original guilt".
There is no such thing as "original guilt," if by that you mean "Adam's guilt passed down to us."  The things that Adam passed down are 1) Death and corruptibility of the body (which is simply part of our nature, anyway);  Death of the soul (i.e., separation from God due to a loss of Original Holiness and Justice; this is the "Sin" part of the term "Original Sin" according to the Catholic teaching); concupisence.  Adam did not pass down his guilt.  Our guilt comes NOT from Adam, but from our own PERSONAL moral responsibility to satisfy Divine Justice due to (1) our natural separation from God (original sin) and (2) actual sin.  Both sins (remember the definition of "sin" above) are PERSONAL, and both, as the Church has CONSTANTLY taught and believed, are expiated by Baptism.

Blessings,
Marduk


If you are not an advocate of "original guilt" then why are we arguing? It's already too late to tell me that "original guilt" doesn't exist as a teaching in the western world. As a former protestant that argues alot.........I already know that alot of different protestant groups still teach it........as well as Roman catholic individuals I either saw on EWTN or met online.

So the teaching does exist.......it is tought by alot of different groups. But if you are not defending this idea then why are we arguing?

We shouldn't be arguing for there is no need if you don't believe in original guilt.






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« Reply #121 on: June 18, 2009, 08:58:33 PM »

When you say "Original sin" in this quote.....do you mean, "original separation"? I am asking because you keep talking about Baptism and why babies are Baptized....eventhough they didn't commit any personal sins.
Yes, that is exactly how the Catholic Church defines Original Sin.  It is the state of "separation from God" or "death of the soul." (note here that the "death of the soul" is not the "annihilation of the soul," but rather "separation from God."  Here is a quote from the Council of Trent:
"If anyone asserts that Adam's sin was injurious only to Adam and not to his descendants, and that it was for himself along that he lost the holiness and justice which he had received from God, and not for us also; or that after his defilement by the sin of disobedience, he transmitted to the whole human race only death and punishmet of the body but not sin itself which is the death of the soul: Let him be anathema.

Quote
I could be wrong, and everyone can correct me if I am, but I thought EO believes that babies are Baptized to be united to the body Christ. So Baptism is for both the expiation of personal sins as well as to unite us with Christ.
I can't speak for the EO, but the Catholic Church believes that being united to the body of Christ is ONE of the benefits of Baptism that babies receive.  Babies and adults both receive the SAME benefits of baptism, except that infants don't have ACTUAL sin.

Quote
We are not Baptized for some "original guilt".......nor are Babies baptized for some "original guilt".
There is no such thing as "original guilt," if by that you mean "Adam's guilt passed down to us."  The things that Adam passed down are 1) Death and corruptibility of the body (which is simply part of our nature, anyway);  Death of the soul (i.e., separation from God due to a loss of Original Holiness and Justice; this is the "Sin" part of the term "Original Sin" according to the Catholic teaching); concupisence.  Adam did not pass down his guilt.  Our guilt comes NOT from Adam, but from our own PERSONAL moral responsibility to satisfy Divine Justice due to (1) our natural separation from God (original sin) and (2) actual sin.  Both sins (remember the definition of "sin" above) are PERSONAL, and both, as the Church has CONSTANTLY taught and believed, are expiated by Baptism.

Blessings,
Marduk


If you are not an advocate of "original guilt" then why are we arguing? It's already too late to tell me that "original guilt" doesn't exist as a teaching in the western world. As a former protestant that argues alot.........I already know that alot of different protestant groups still teach it........as well as Roman catholic individuals I either saw on EWTN or met online.

So the teaching does exist.......it is tought by alot of different groups. But if you are not defending this idea then why are we arguing?

We shouldn't be arguing for there is no need if you don't believe in original guilt.






Jnorm888

On EWTN I remember a brother speaking about Churching woman, and it explicitely said, right up front and first, that the reason was for mourning that sinfulness had been increased, because another sinner was brought into the world through sin,....

(to be fair to the Vatican, years later I saw him speaking to Scott Hahn or some such person, and he mentioned in passing that the Vatican didn't elect to publish his dissertation (on what it was I don't recall)).
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« Reply #122 on: June 18, 2009, 09:03:38 PM »

Dear brother Jnorm,

Saint John Cassian was a great man of the Faith. He made a small mistake in 1 or 2 places in his work called the Conferences where he spoke about the possibility of the free will of "some" people being able to preceed the grace of God. He mostly tought in most places that the grace of God preceeds the will of man.
Yes, that is exactly what I stated earlier.  The problem is that some don't want to acknowledge his mistakes, and thereby mistakenly claim that the EOC is "semi-Pelagian."

Quote
I get upset with Both Roman Catholics and certain Reformed protestants for seeing Saint Augustine as some great hero with no flaws in his writings, but demonize Saint John Cassian for 1 or 2 flaws.

Most of what Saint John Cassian wrote is Orthodox and sound doctrine. And if you can overlook the many theological flaws of Saint Augustine then why not overlook a few minor flaws of Saint John Cassian?
Whoa!  John Cassian is a Saint in the Catholic Church.  Where do you get the idea that we demonize him? Huh  Huh  Huh  And where do you get the idea that we "overlook" the theological flaws of Augustine?  Every teaching of St. Augustine that can be condemned was condemned by the Council of Trent.  Likewise, the part of St. Cassian's writings that can be condemned was condemned at the Council of Orange.  I can't see the distinction you are making between the Catholic Church honoring St. Augustine, and your Church honoring St. Cassian.  I am not aware of ANY Catholic who dishonors St. Cassian by not calling him a Saint.  However, there are certainly many EO who do not call St. Augustine a saint.  So if you want to talk about demonizing someone, I think the EO have a lot more on their plate than the Catholics do.

Blessings

In the western world semi-pelagianism is seen to have come from Saint John Cassian, Saint Vincent, and another in whom I forgot the name, but his(the guy I can't name....I wanna say Robert, rob.....but I need to be sure) nonstop arguments is what prompted the advocates of Saint Augustine to convene 2nd Orange. And eventhough 2nd Orange advocated a moderate form of Augustinianism, it was still anti-John Cassian in many ways.

And in the western World the word "semi-pelagian" is a bad word. The Dominicans(it could of been them or another order....I forgot) used it against the Molinists(Jesuits), and in the protestant world the Calvinists used that term against the Arminians.

And even today.......it is a bad word in the western world.......but the term "semi-Augustinian"(In America) is not a bad word.


Also, I could be wrong, but I thought that only France saw John Cassian as a saint. Most roman catholics in America (that I know) don't call him a saint. He is a Saint in Eastern Orthodoxy. And that's why I called him a Saint.

I can't speak for other countries, but in America, Saint Augustine is held up pretty high........especially if you are a Reformed Protestant......and alot of american english speaking Roman Catholics do as well.

But I will agree with you that there are Orthodox that don't see Augustin as a Saint. ....but like I said before......Saint Augustine had alot of errors while Saint John Cassain had very few.





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« Reply #123 on: June 18, 2009, 09:07:35 PM »

When you say "Original sin" in this quote.....do you mean, "original separation"? I am asking because you keep talking about Baptism and why babies are Baptized....eventhough they didn't commit any personal sins.
Yes, that is exactly how the Catholic Church defines Original Sin.  It is the state of "separation from God" or "death of the soul." (note here that the "death of the soul" is not the "annihilation of the soul," but rather "separation from God."  Here is a quote from the Council of Trent:
"If anyone asserts that Adam's sin was injurious only to Adam and not to his descendants, and that it was for himself along that he lost the holiness and justice which he had received from God, and not for us also; or that after his defilement by the sin of disobedience, he transmitted to the whole human race only death and punishmet of the body but not sin itself which is the death of the soul: Let him be anathema.

Quote
I could be wrong, and everyone can correct me if I am, but I thought EO believes that babies are Baptized to be united to the body Christ. So Baptism is for both the expiation of personal sins as well as to unite us with Christ.
I can't speak for the EO, but the Catholic Church believes that being united to the body of Christ is ONE of the benefits of Baptism that babies receive.  Babies and adults both receive the SAME benefits of baptism, except that infants don't have ACTUAL sin.

Quote
We are not Baptized for some "original guilt".......nor are Babies baptized for some "original guilt".
There is no such thing as "original guilt," if by that you mean "Adam's guilt passed down to us."  The things that Adam passed down are 1) Death and corruptibility of the body (which is simply part of our nature, anyway);  Death of the soul (i.e., separation from God due to a loss of Original Holiness and Justice; this is the "Sin" part of the term "Original Sin" according to the Catholic teaching); concupisence.  Adam did not pass down his guilt.  Our guilt comes NOT from Adam, but from our own PERSONAL moral responsibility to satisfy Divine Justice due to (1) our natural separation from God (original sin) and (2) actual sin.  Both sins (remember the definition of "sin" above) are PERSONAL, and both, as the Church has CONSTANTLY taught and believed, are expiated by Baptism.

Blessings,
Marduk


If you are not an advocate of "original guilt" then why are we arguing? It's already too late to tell me that "original guilt" doesn't exist as a teaching in the western world. As a former protestant that argues alot.........I already know that alot of different protestant groups still teach it........as well as Roman catholic individuals I either saw on EWTN or met online.

So the teaching does exist.......it is tought by alot of different groups. But if you are not defending this idea then why are we arguing?

We shouldn't be arguing for there is no need if you don't believe in original guilt.






Jnorm888

On EWTN I remember a brother speaking about Churching woman, and it explicitely said, right up front and first, that the reason was for mourning that sinfulness had been increased, because another sinner was brought into the world through sin,....

(to be fair to the Vatican, years later I saw him speaking to Scott Hahn or some such person, and he mentioned in passing that the Vatican didn't elect to publish his dissertation (on what it was I don't recall)).

interesting, I wonder what his dissertation was about?



Jnorm888
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« Reply #124 on: June 18, 2009, 09:40:10 PM »

I'm not unconfortable with this argument, as I opened this thread myself. I just don't think that newborn child could be called "guilty of sin".

Babies born from AIDS-infected mothers are not immune from contracting HIV, through no fault of their own.

The effects of the contraction may not be visible for an extended period of time, but they will eventually show themselves.

We believe death, decay, and the tendency to sin all was passed on to us when Adam and Eve sinned, but their guilt stayed with them. We will be judged for our own guilt.






Jnorm888
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« Reply #125 on: June 18, 2009, 09:46:30 PM »

Mardukm,


The grace of God is freely givin to all.....to say it's not is to deny the universal presence of the Divine Energia of God.

And this is where synergy comes to play. Do you also deny "synergy"?






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« Reply #126 on: June 21, 2009, 04:36:10 AM »

Marduk,
I suppose you can't answer jnorm888's question and you couldn't find any prooftext from the Church Fathers on "guilt" at conception/birth as a consequence of Adam and Eve's sin...
I think this makes my Orthodox faith even stronger then before!

In Christ,    Alex
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« Reply #127 on: June 21, 2009, 08:37:38 PM »

Marduk,
I suppose you can't answer jnorm888's question and you couldn't find any prooftext from the Church Fathers on "guilt" at conception/birth as a consequence of Adam and Eve's sin...
I think this makes my Orthodox faith even stronger then before!

Personally, I think arguments and "prooftexts" have very little to do with faith, which is a supernatural gift.

So I'm not quite sure what you mean by that.

And I thought we Catholics were supposed to be the legalistic ones.  Wink
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« Reply #128 on: June 22, 2009, 07:36:46 AM »

We are the non-legalistic, in fact.
We hold to the Tradition that was given to us once and for all... The consent of the Fathers and the doctrines of the Ecumenical Councils are the base for our understand of Christianity. We are the non-legalistic ones because we don't draw philosophical conclusions from premises (as on concepts such as "All are sinners by nature, Mary was all-holy, so Mary was sinless by nature" which is implied in the Immaculate conception theory). In fact, if personal guilt at conception for Adam and Eve's sin was directly stated by the consent of the Church Fathers, we wouldn't "draw conclusions" from that... we would only state it as a doctrine and witness the mystery of original sin... Since the premise (original guilt inherited by generation) is not stated or directly and inequivocally implied in the Scriptures, in the Ecumenical Councils and in the consent of the Fathers, then we can't affirm it. Now, when the church defines something (in the Ecumenical Councils, or in the local canons confirmed by the EC), then all doubts are cleared and certainty prevails. So, we have no doubt on the denial of the Filioque clause, for example, since we have the witness of the "our" Constantinople IV, whose canons and decisions (especially st. Photios' reinstatement as Patriarch) were approved even by your Patriarch of the West, and it had an imperial convocation. It's clear that the two churches have different sources of Faith, and so we come to be entirely different on issues such as this. Our principle is: If a doctrine can't be derived by Tradition, then it must be either unnecessary or false...
In Christ,  Alex
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« Reply #129 on: June 22, 2009, 08:13:31 AM »

Whatever floats your boat, Alexander.

Odd as it seems, some of us have looked at the same things and have come to different conclusions than you.

If Catholic theology were as you characterize it, I would never be a Catholic.
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« Reply #130 on: June 22, 2009, 01:42:35 PM »

Nobody's asking you to become an Orthodox. I think we don't need latinizing Orthodox in our church...
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« Reply #131 on: June 23, 2009, 07:12:37 AM »

Dear brother Alex,

Marduk,
I suppose you can't answer jnorm888's question and you couldn't find any prooftext from the Church Fathers on "guilt" at conception/birth as a consequence of Adam and Eve's sin...
I think this makes my Orthodox faith even stronger then before!

In Christ,    Alex
Sorry I haven't been around.  My real-world responsibilities are taking longer than I thought.  And, TBH, I got stuck in a debate on two other forums. Currently, I am debating a papalist Latin Catholic in CAF who thinks the Pope has absolute power in the Church (a position which I, as an Oriental and a Catholic reject).  I'll be back as soon as I am able in this forum, and I'll offer a response for the Faith once for all delivered to the Saints.

For now, I will say that I am happy that you are strengthening your Orthodox faith.  My only purpose here is to prove that the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox understanding on this matter we are discussing in this thread are not opposed, as some try to falsely portray.  We need to be strengthened in Truth, not on divisive misinterpretations of each others' Faith, I hope you'll agree.

Blessings,
Marduk
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« Reply #132 on: June 23, 2009, 07:16:18 AM »

Men have the power to respond to or otherwise reject this Grace of movement, whereby the Grace of Salvation becomes effective. 

This "grace of movement" of which you speak---I am unable to find the RC definition?
The Catholic Church calls it, specifically, PREVENIENT GRACE.  You can look up the definitions you require under that title. It is a Grace given to ALL men, and it is different from the Grace of salvation.  As a former Catholic, I'm surprised you did not know that.  I assume there are a lot of other things you did not know about the Faith you say you left.

Blessings
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« Reply #133 on: June 23, 2009, 07:30:11 AM »

Hi Marduk,
I'm happy you give us some signals of presence! I clearly understand your difficulty... being an Eastern Catholic must be a hard thing, trying to confront with both Eastern Orthodox and Latin Catholics at the same time  Wink
Anyway, I agree that misinterpretations are a danger. I also believe, anyway, that RC and EO teachings on the inheritance of Adam and Eve's sin is a doctrine we have only partially in common. I don't accuse you of being heretic on this matter... I'm just not of the same opinion as yours (you=Catholic Magisterium) on the subject. Orthodoxy allows for this greater freedom. There are infact Byzantinizing apologists such as Dr Hughes (whose essay I partially quoted above) who affirm a position similar to st. John Cassian and deny the transmission of guilt; yet there are also some Orthodox catechisms sometimes allowing/alluding to an Augustinian (yet mitigated) interpretation of Original Sin. I have no problem with either; I just can't embrace the RC Original Sin doctrine because I feel I'm more comfortable with the EO interpretation of it.

I repeat st. Vincent of Lérins motto on the concept of Catholicity... I strongly believe it with all of my heart!
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"Also in the Catholic Church itself we take great care that we hold that which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and properly Catholic" (St. Vincent of Lérins, "The Commonitory")

In Christ,    Alex
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« Reply #134 on: June 23, 2009, 08:41:29 PM »

Well, Alexander, with that we are in agreement.  Smiley
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« Reply #135 on: July 27, 2009, 01:49:17 AM »

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

After following the entire thread, one important thing is missing:

"We believe Holy Baptism...to be of the highest necessity.  For without it none is able to be saved...And therefore, it is necessary even for infants, since they also are subject to original sin, and without Baptism are not able to obtain its remission.  And forasmuch as infants are men, and as such need salvation, since they have not received the remission of hereditary sin, are, of necessity, subject to eternal punishment, and consequently cannot without Baptism be saved." 

-Decree XVI, The Confessions of Dositheus from the Sixth Chapter of Acts and Decrees of the Synod of Jerusalem 1672. 

If not because of "inherited guilt/sin from Adam" why are the babies in danger of hellfire if unbaptized? 

K

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« Reply #136 on: July 27, 2009, 03:33:58 AM »

Kaste, could you please provide a more descriptive citation?  If it is from a book, page number.  If it is from a website, a URL.  Also, translator, etc.  Anything that can help others pinpoint the exact version you are drawing from.

Thanks,

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« Reply #137 on: July 27, 2009, 07:49:35 AM »

Quote
Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

After following the entire thread, one important thing is missing:

"We believe Holy Baptism...to be of the highest necessity.  For without it none is able to be saved...And therefore, it is necessary even for infants, since they also are subject to original sin, and without Baptism are not able to obtain its remission.  And forasmuch as infants are men, and as such need salvation, since they have not received the remission of hereditary sin, are, of necessity, subject to eternal punishment, and consequently cannot without Baptism be saved."

-Decree XVI, The Confessions of Dositheus from the Sixth Chapter of Acts and Decrees of the Synod of Jerusalem 1672.

If not because of "inherited guilt/sin from Adam" why are the babies in danger of hellfire if unbaptized?

K

Your indicated source has no meaning and force of dogma to us, since it is well known that the Decrees of the Synod of Jerusalem are a fruit of the so-called "Western Captivity". At the time, many Orthodox clergymen studied theology in Catholic seminaries when leaving in the West, so the cultural influence of Roman Catholicism on Orthodoxy was at its peak. Also, this council was held against the un-orthodox teachings of Patriarch Cyril Lucaris, who was introducing Calvinist ideas in Orthodoxy from his highly influential position: I think we should understand as 'good' only the 'negative' pronouncements (that is the anathemas against unorthodox Calvinist theories) rather then the positive theological conclusions of that local Council - its Panorthodoxy can also be easily discussed, since most of the results of the 1672 Synod have been widely rejected by many Orthodox theologians and clergy, or have never been applied in concrete. For example, the same word 'transsubstantiation' has been immediately rejected by the Orthodox and has never entered our official theology, since it expresses a Roman Catholic approach to the Mystery of Holy Eucharist which is foreign to EO. I think that most of modern Orthodox will state that this Synod has a good authority but no infallibility; the only certain Synods which issued infallible statements are the fist seven Ecumenical Councils common to RCism (even when confirming the decisions of the previous local synods), plus the Eigth Ecumenical Council of 879/880 AD (since it was signed by the five Patriarchs). Even the highly authoritative and generally accepted canons and doctrines of Costantinople V (the so-called Palamite Synod) are not "infallible": in this case, they are just in agreement with the Faith of the Church (which doesn't mean they're infallible statements!). To give you an example: the writings of the Church fathers are not infallible (as Holy Scripture is) on matters of faith, yet they have a high degree of authority. It's the agreement of a Father with the living and experienced Faith of the Church which seals those writings as correct and authoritative to us. The same can be said of the Ecumenical Councils: these are infallible in content, language and decisions, and are exact pronunciations of faith on the same level as the Holy Bible and the Liturgical Life of the Church, while the local councils can be fallible and yet have some authority. What's important with the Council of Jerusalem is its rejection of Calvinism, that's it!

In Christ,   Alex

PS: In case you might think the Church is not infallible because it accepted fallible statements in the Council of Jerusalem: the hierarchy is made of fallible human beings, it's the consent of the Church in its entirety which forms the Holy-Spirit enlightened conscience of the Orthodox Church. This is true especially if you give a look at the acceptance of iconoclasm by most hierarchs at the time before the 7th Ecumenical Council... its the faith of the laymen believers which prevailed after all: this is the true force of Orthodoxy!
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« Reply #138 on: July 27, 2009, 10:58:26 AM »

Nebel:
http://catholicity.elcore.net/ConfessionOfDositheus.html

Alexander:

Don't you think it odd that only the first 7 councils are infallible? 

And are you really pursuaded that "Western Captivity" is an acceptable excuse for the Church to teach error?  Seems a Church worth its salt would have not been seduced by error be it from Platonists, Mohammedans, or so-called Latins. 

K
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« Reply #139 on: July 27, 2009, 11:53:47 AM »

Nebel:
http://catholicity.elcore.net/ConfessionOfDositheus.html

Alexander:

Don't you think it odd that only the first 7 councils are infallible?


First, they aren't the first councils the Church held.  The 7 refer to others, parts of which they adopted.

Why do you think it odd that the 7 are infallible?

Quote
And are you really pursuaded that "Western Captivity" is an acceptable excuse for the Church to teach error?

What do you mean by teach error?

The Infallibility of the Councils is the antiobody the Body of Christ develop to repel heretical infection.  As your source notes:
Quote
The Orthodox authorities gathered for the Synod of Jerusalem alleged the 1629 Confession to have been a forgery by Calvinists. Chapter I. quotes widely from Cyril’s homilies, to contradict each chapter of the 1629 Confession. Chapters II. and III. give other evidences and reasons to dispute Cyril’s authorship of the 1629 Confession, and, more importantly, to demonstrate that it was not an official act of an Orthodox patriarch. Chapter IV. explains why the faith of the Eastern Church has never been Calvinistic, particularly concerning the Holy Eucharist as Real Presence and true sacrifice. Chapter V. incorporates acts, decrees, and letters of previous synods against the 1629 Confession. Chapter VI. sets forth the Orthodox faith in eighteen decrees and four questions, commonly known as The Confession of Dositheus, corresponding precisely to the chapters and questions in the 1629 Confession
In other words they were responding to something OUTSIDE the Church.  The Definitions of the Ecumenical Councils are only for those within the Church. Not, as the Confession of Dositheus explicitely is, a polemic against those outside the Church, as it's epilogue states:
Quote
But concerning all these things it hath been treated at large and most lucidly in what is called The Confession of the Eastern Church, by George, of Chios, from Coresius in his [treatises] concerning the Mysteries, and of predestination, and of grace, and of free-will, and of the intercession and adoration of Saints, and of the adoration of Eikons, and in the Refutation composed by him of the illicit Synod of the heretics holden on a certain occasion in Flanders, and in many other [treatises]; by Gabriel, of Peloponnesus, Metropolitan of Philadelphia; and by Gregory Protosyncellus of Chios in his [treatises] concerning the Mysteries; by Jeremias, the Most Holy Patriarch <171> of Constantinople, in three dogmatic and Synodical Letters to the Lutherans of Tubingen in Germany; by John, Priest, and Economus of Constantinople, surnamed Nathaniel; by Meletius Syrigus, of Crete, in the Orthodox Refutation composed by him of the Chapters and Questions of the said Cyril {Lucar ELC}; by Theophanes, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in his dogmatic Epistle to the Lithuanians, and in innumerable other [Epistles]. And before these hath it been spoken most excellently of these matters by Symeon, of Thessalonica, and before him by all the Fathers, and by the Œcumenical Synods, by ecclesiastical historians too; and even by writers of secular history under the Christian Autocrats of Rome, have these matters been mentioned incidently {sic ELC}; by all of whom, without any controversy, the aforesaid were received from the Apostles; whose traditions, whether by writing, or by word, have through the Fathers descended until us. Further, the argument derived from the heretics also confirmeth the aforesaid. For the Nestorians after the year of Salvation, 428, the Armenians too, and the Copts, and the <172> Syrians, and further even the Ethiopians, who dwell at the Equator, and beyond this towards the tropics of Capricorn, whom those that are there commonly call Campesii, after the year ... {The date is wanting in the text. JNWBR} of the Incarnation broke away from the Catholic Church; and each of these hath as peculiar only its heresy, as all know from the Acts of the Œcumenical Synods. Albeit, as concerning the purpose and number of the Sacred Mysteries, and all what hath been said above — except their own particular heresy, as hath been said — they entirely believe with the Catholic Church; as we see with our own eyes every hour, and learn by experience and conversation, here in the Holy City of Jerusalem, in which there either dwell, or are continually sojourning, vast numbers of them all, as well learned, such as they have, as illiterate.

Let, therefore, prating and innovating heretics keep silence, and not endeavour by stealing some sentences, [as] against us, from the Scriptures and the Fathers, to cunningly bolster up falsehood, as all apostates and heretics have ever done; and let them say <173> this one thing only, that in contriving excuses {cf. Psalm 140:4} for sins they have chosen to speak wickedness against God, {cf. Psalm 74:6} and blasphemies against the Saints.

Let us briefly suffice for the reputation of the falsehoods of the adversaries, which they have devised against the Eastern Church, alleging in support of their falsehoods the incoherent and impious Chapters of the said Cyril  And let it not be for a sign to be contradicted {cf. Luke 2:34} of those heretics that unjustly calumniate us, as though they spake truly; but for a sign to be believed, that is for reformation of their innovations, and for their return to the Catholic and Apostolic Church; in which their forefathers also were of old, and assisted at those Synods and contests against heretics, which these now reject and revile. For it was unreasonable on their part, especially as they considered themselves to be wise, to have listened to men that were lovers of self; and profane, and that spake not from the Holy Spirit, but from the prince of lies, <174> and to have forsaken the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, which God hath purchased with the Blood of His own Son; {cf. Acts 20:28} and to have abandoned her. For otherwise there will overtake those that have separated from the Church the pains that are reserved for heathens and publicans; but the Lord who hath ever protected her against all enemies, will not neglect the Catholic Church; to Him be glory and dominion unto the ages of the ages. Amen

Answering a fool in his folly, which is what answering those outside the Church with their own theology is, sometimes foolish things are said.


Quote
Seems a Church worth its salt would have not been seduced by error be it from Platonists, Mohammedans, or so-called Latins. 


Seems any Church worth its salt would be visible.

Seduced by error.  Hardly, the Church didn't become Calvinist, which is error, nor driven into the arms of the Vatican (Dositheus also composed, as your source quotes the Encyclopedia Britannica Dosítheos’ "largely compilations from the Greek Fathers. They were directed against the Roman Catholic church and the Eastern Catholics").  Your source states: It was formally transmitted by the Eastern Patriarchs to the Russian Church in 1721, and through it to certain Bishops of the Church of England, as an ultimatum to be received without further question or conference by all who would be in communion with the Orthodox Church.

That being said, what specific error are you holding ias contained in the quote?
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« Reply #140 on: July 27, 2009, 12:48:11 PM »

Quote
And are you really pursuaded that "Western Captivity" is an acceptable excuse for the Church to teach error?  Seems a Church worth its salt would have not been seduced by error be it from Platonists, Mohammedans, or so-called Latins.
Let Jesus Christ (may he forgive all heresiarchs and unbelievers) answer for me to your question:
Quote
For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect.

Thus, I consider it an honour and a proof of bliss for the Church that the Orthodox leaders sometimes taught error but Orthodoxy survived, because it is a symptom that the Orthodox Church is truly the Apostolic Community elected by Jesus. The false Christs and false prophets of the Papacy and the Western cancer have seduced with great power the hierarchs of our church; many of them were deceived, proclaimed falsities as truths from revelation, and even gave our Church as food for the Roman beasts, like the first Christians biten by lions; yet we have survived and truth has prevailed, for those we considered to be elect apostatised and reveled to the True Church the paths of Satan!

In Christ,  Alex

PS: For the rest, my brother ialmisry answered exhaustively to your innuendo, and I have nothing to say but a small correction: I said there are EIGHT Ecumenical Councils, and not Seven. The use of saying Seven is exclusively for the sake of ecumenism, so that a dialogue with Rome might still be brought forth; truly, I am not glad of this, for if I were in our predecessors, I would have deposed the first heretic Pope and replaced him with an Orthodox one (only the political power of the Holy Roman Empire made this idea an impossibility). I don't believe in any restauration of the Holy See of Peter until Judgment Day. My personal opinion, of course, and I pray God for better times when Rome will abandon error and come back to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #141 on: July 27, 2009, 01:22:51 PM »

Quote
And are you really pursuaded that "Western Captivity" is an acceptable excuse for the Church to teach error?  Seems a Church worth its salt would have not been seduced by error be it from Platonists, Mohammedans, or so-called Latins.
Let Jesus Christ (may he forgive all heresiarchs and unbelievers) answer for me to your question:
Quote
For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect.

Thus, I consider it an honour and a proof of bliss for the Church that the Orthodox leaders sometimes taught error but Orthodoxy survived, because it is a symptom that the Orthodox Church is truly the Apostolic Community elected by Jesus. The false Christs and false prophets of the Papacy and the Western cancer have seduced with great power the hierarchs of our church; many of them were deceived, proclaimed falsities as truths from revelation, and even gave our Church as food for the Roman beasts, like the first Christians biten by lions; yet we have survived and truth has prevailed, for those we considered to be elect apostatised and reveled to the True Church the paths of Satan!

In Christ,  Alex

PS: For the rest, my brother ialmisry answered exhaustively to your innuendo, and I have nothing to say but a small correction: I said there are EIGHT Ecumenical Councils, and not Seven. The use of saying Seven is exclusively for the sake of ecumenism, so that a dialogue with Rome might still be brought forth; truly, I am not glad of this, for if I were in our predecessors, I would have deposed the first heretic Pope and replaced him with an Orthodox one (only the political power of the Holy Roman Empire made this idea an impossibility). I don't believe in any restauration of the Holy See of Peter until Judgment Day. My personal opinion, of course, and I pray God for better times when Rome will abandon error and come back to Orthodoxy.
Just for clarification: I'm not dogmatic on the 8th Council, except that every Orthodox who does not accept it as Ecumenical, fully accepts its decrees.  It also contrasts with the Synod of Jerusalem, in that I don't know of any Orthodox ever who claimed that the Synod of Jerusalem was Ecumenical, including the Synod, whose Acts refer to it as a local council, and I don't recall it claiming the title "Ecumenical."

The full Acts of the Synod of Jerusalem are available in English, btw:
http://books.google.com/books?id=G1h5ijh3YcwC&printsec=frontcover&dq=synod+of+Jerusalem
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« Reply #142 on: July 27, 2009, 02:28:25 PM »

Ialmisry:

The error, according to the Orthodox on this thread who do not subscribe to the concept of inherited guilt, is that which  Dositheus and 1672 Council of Jerusalem taught: unbaptized babies go to hell because they are born with "hereditary transgression" and "hereditary sin".  Why else would they be damned? 

I think it odd Orthodox only accept 7 councils as infallible because it too perfectly coincides with its break with Rome.  I find it unpursuasive that after Rome was jettisoned it just so happened no further infallible councils were needed.  Smells fishy.

Alexander:

It is not so easy to throw out the 1672 Council of Jerusalem under pretense of "Western Captivity."  That council was called precisely to purify the Orthodox Church of Calivinist and Latin tendencies.  Yet it affirmed the Latin concept of hereditary sin. 

So I ask you, what council can you provide that is equal or above the 1672 Council that "corrected" this so-called Latin concept of hereditary sin? 

K
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« Reply #143 on: July 27, 2009, 02:39:45 PM »

It is well known that the canons of Constantinople V considered itself Ecumenical, that the Pope of Rome and the Patriarchs of the East accepted it, and that since 1014 AD these canons were followed by both East and West equally (in 1014 the Pope violated the Horos through the Filioque addition). It is also known that Rome claimed that Constantinople V was a Robber Ecumenical Council, which is a clear demonstration that the East granted it equal ecumenicity as the other ones. I just wonder: what does Constantinople V has LESS then the other Ecumenical Councils, so that there's somebody denying its ecumenicity? For:

1) It happened to be approved before the West-East Schism
2) Considered itself Ecumenical
3) Was approved by all the Eastern Patriarchs
4) Pope John VIII applied its Horos restoring Patriarch Photios on his legimitate chair in Constantinople, thus showing approval of its contents
5) The decrees of the Council had been preserved in the Roman archives until they decided to annul its validity and approve the Robber Council of 869/879 AD
6) Its formulations of faith against the Filioque clause are still a part of Orthodox belief and are a base for condemning the Pope of heresy
7) It is its decrees which sanctioned the 3rd Council of Constantinople as ecumenical even for Rome who originally doubted of its contents
Cool It was signed by lots of bishops from the East and also by Papal delegates as representatives of the West
9) It does defend and confess the original doctrine of faith of the Church Fathers as the Orthodox Church has received it
10) It even had an imperial convocation
11) Many contemporary theologians regard it as Ecumenical, and RCs are aware that the Eastern Patriarchs regarded it as such in their Encyclical to Rome. No single authority in the Church also never discussed this official pronounciation of the Eastern Patriarchs, AFAIK.
To add support to this, I also quote from OrthodoxWiki:
Quote
This council is not regarded as ecumenical by all Orthodox Christians, but some major voices in the Orthodox world do so, including 20th century theologians Fr. John S. Romanides and Fr. George Metallinos (both of whom refer repeatedly to the "Eighth and Ninth Ecumenical Councils"), as well as Fr. George Dragas and Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpaktos.
Further, the Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs refers explicitly to the "Eighth Ecumenical Council" regarding the synod of 879-880 and was signed by the patriarchs of Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria as well as the Holy Synods of the first three.
I think that it's the Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs to reflect its correct use as an Ecumenical Council at best. Maybe a common statement from the Orthodox Church of today would put an end to the issue... let's hope for some clarification...

To Kaste: there's no need of another council to be convocated against it. Can I ask you what denomination are you from? Maybe we can understand each other if I know this. And another question: do you think that new born children are willfully guilty? Do you think that an infant should be regarded as a criminal who voluntarily shows hatred towards God and commits acts contrary to divine law?


In Christ,  Alex
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« Reply #144 on: July 27, 2009, 03:06:15 PM »

Ialmisry:

The error, according to the Orthodox on this thread who do not subscribe to the concept of inherited guilt, is that which  Dositheus and 1672 Council of Jerusalem taught: unbaptized babies go to hell because they are born with "hereditary transgression" and "hereditary sin".  Why else would they be damned?


No Orthodox subscribe to inherited guilt. It was one of the problems St. Augustine's Orthodox contempories had with his thought, which infected the West.

Quote
I think it odd Orthodox only accept 7 councils as infallible because it too perfectly coincides with its break with Rome.


Perfectly?  Constantinople IV was held nearly two centuries before Cardinal Umberto excommunicated himself from the Catholic Church.

Quote
I find it unpursuasive that after Rome was jettisoned it just so happened no further infallible councils were needed.

No problem that for nearly three centuries before Constantine none were needed?

Either Constantinople IV (879) was needed and held as Ecumenical, and the Vatican excommunicated itself by abandoning it, or it was not needed and held, in which case the Church went for nearly the same amount of time without the need for a Council as she did before Constanine.  Its not our fault the Vatican found itself further and further mired in heresy after it left Orthodoxy.


 
Quote
Smells fishy.

Sure it's not you?

Quote
Alexander:

It is not so easy to throw out the 1672 Council of Jerusalem under pretense of "Western Captivity."  That council was called precisely to purify the Orthodox Church of Calivinist and Latin tendencies.  Yet it affirmed the Latin concept of hereditary sin.  


LOL. That "council" was called to reconsecrate the new Church of the Nativity.  And it wasn't intended to purify of Latin tendencies, but to adapt (not adopt) Trent's attack (the decrees of that council was available) on its Calvinist sibling.  Since Calvinism didn't arise in the Church, there was no Church parameters to deal with it.

Quote
So I ask you, what council can you provide that is equal or above the 1672 Council that "corrected" this so-called Latin concept of hereditary sin? 

Equal to Jerusalem.  My, you set the bar rather low.
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« Reply #145 on: July 27, 2009, 03:30:58 PM »

Yes, I was taught that unbaptized babies got to "hell", but which one? Gehenna or Hades? Hades, Sheol, Abraham's bosom, Limbo - a theologically vague "waiting room" where souls can neither go to heaven nor hell. Baptism opens the doors to heaven. Abraham's bosom is where the souls of the old testament patriarchs and dead believers went, and when Jesus died and "descended to hell" (eg. Sheol) he opened those doors and they came to paradise with him.

None of these babies "sinned". But they need baptism to go to heaven. I think there are some noises now in Rome that God in his infinite mercy would eventually take these sinless souls to heaven. While this is not official doctrine, I think it's a common belief. Still, there's a couple of points to remember, among them the necessity of baptism for salvation and the mercy of God. That's certainly been my understanding.

As for Hades/Sheol and Purgatory, I'm sure that's another discussion, but I think it touches on the same issues. Maybe we should treat it in the same category as "limbo" as its another waiting place.
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« Reply #146 on: July 27, 2009, 04:06:20 PM »

Quote
Perfectly?  Constantinople IV was held nearly two centuries before Cardinal Umberto excommunicated himself from the Catholic Church.
"excommunicated himself"... sounds good! LOL
Anyway, that's talking, ialmisry!

After these claims from you, Kesle, I'm guessing you might be Roman Catholic, since you seem to take a position in favore of the Frankish apostate Popes here. Or maybe do you belong to some kind of non-denominational church, trying to say the Orthodox are heretic just like Catholics? I tremble in fear with these words.

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #147 on: July 27, 2009, 10:10:10 PM »

I will post it once more and hope for an answer that shows a later council equal or above that corrects the 1672 Jerusalem Council's idea of inherited guilt damning unbaptized babies: 

"And forasmuch as infants are men, and as such need salvation, since they have not received the remission of hereditary sin, are, of necessity, subject to eternal punishment, and consequently cannot without Baptism be saved."  Council of Jerusalem 1672

John:
We cannot assume Limbo because the 1672 council says they are eternally punished.  The Orthodox here must ask themselves why babies are damned if there is no concept of inherited guilt. 

Iamisery:
No, Orthodox did accept the concept of inherited guilt.  Please pay attention to the quote. 

Alexander:
Please show me where I can read the Constantinople Council of 879.
It seems fishy that the Orthodox never produced an infallible council after the break with Rome (or perhaps they did produce infallible statements just not in councils?), which begs the question, deep down inside, perhaps the Orthodox know they need Rome if they were ever to produce anything infallible again.





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« Reply #148 on: July 27, 2009, 10:11:44 PM »


Thanks.
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« Reply #149 on: July 27, 2009, 10:57:18 PM »

Quote
We cannot assume Limbo because the 1672 council says they are eternally punished.  The Orthodox here must ask themselves why babies are damned if there is no concept of inherited guilt. 

Well, that's absurd notion, and you'd be hard pressed to find someone to repeat that in 2009. I did come across something semi-official a few years ago to the effect that they don't know where these souls go. "Whoah, what about those old pre-Vatican II catechisms." They were willing to look at the entire corpus of documents on limbo too.

Ah... found the quote, from Joseph Ratzinger:

Quote
“This state people called limbo. In the course of our century, that has gradually come to seem problematic to us. This was one way in which people sought to justify the necessity of baptizing infants as early as possible, but the solution is itself questionable. Finally, the pope made a decisive turn in the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, a change already anticipated by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, when he expressed the simple hope that God is powerful enough to draw to himself all those who were unable to receive the sacrament.” (God and the World, Ignatius Press, 2002, p. 401)

I don't think Limbo was anything other than theological speculation, a kind of counter-reaction to the views stated earlier in the thread. Ratzinger, despite his reputation as a "conservative" in the press on moral issues, was considered a theological liberal at Vatican II and has been demonized on some traditionalist sites - who don't like anything in the past 60 years. Personally I think he's just what the Church needs, just like his predecessor. I can live without either Limbo or babies going to hell.
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« Reply #150 on: July 27, 2009, 10:59:54 PM »

I will post it once more and hope for an answer that shows a later council equal or above that corrects the 1672 Jerusalem Council's

Anything that bears the signature of the EP, the Pope of Alexandria, the Patriarch of Antioch, along with other patriarchs would fit the bill. The Decree has the signature of Dositheus as Patriarch of Jerusalem and ends with the signature of a former Patriarch of Jerusalem.  But inbetween there is no signature of any other primate of an Orthodox Church, nor an official representative of them, although there are clerics from as far as Russia and Georgia among the signers:
http://books.google.com/books?id=G1h5ijh3YcwC&pg=PA174&dq=acts+of+synod+of+jerusalem+Parthenius+Nazareth


Quote
idea of inherited guilt damning unbaptized babies: 

"And forasmuch as infants are men, and as such need salvation, since they have not received the remission of hereditary sin, are, of necessity, subject to eternal punishment, and consequently cannot without Baptism be saved."  Council of Jerusalem 1672

John:
We cannot assume Limbo because the 1672 council says they are eternally punished.  The Orthodox here must ask themselves why babies are damned if there is no concept of inherited guilt. 

No, we don't.  You Vatican and Calvinist types can argue among yourselves over it.

Btw, have you read the whole council?

Quote
Iamisery:
No, Orthodox did accept the concept of inherited guilt.  Please pay attention to the quote.

I do. It doesn't say anything about inherited guilt.  Nowhere in the article you quote:
Quote
We believe Holy Baptism, which was instituted by the Lord, and is conferred in the name of the Holy Trinity, to be of the highest necessity. For without it none is able to be saved, as the Lord saith, “Whosoever is not born of water and of the Spirit, shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens.” {John 3:5} And, therefore, it is necessary even for infants, since they also are subject to original sin, and without Baptism are not able to obtain its remission. Which the Lord shewed when he said, not of some only, but simply and absolutely, “Whosoever is not born [again],” which is the same as saying, “All that after the coming of Christ the Saviour would enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens must be <140> regenerated.” And forasmuch as infants are men, and as such need salvation; needing salvation, they need also Baptism. And those that are not regenerated, since they have not received the remission of hereditary sin, are, of necessity, subject to eternal punishment, and consequently cannot without Baptism be saved; so that even infants ought, of necessity, to be baptised. Moreover, infants are saved, as is said in Matthew; {Matthew 19:12} but he that is not baptised is not saved. And consequently even infants must of necessity be baptised. And in the Acts {Acts 8:12; 16:33} it is said that the whole houses were baptised, and consequently the infants. To this the ancient Fathers also witness explicitly, and among them Dionysius in his Treatise concerning the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy; and Justin in his fifty-sixth Question, who saith expressly, “And they are vouchsafed the benefits of Baptism by the faith of those that bring them to Baptism.” And Augustine saith that it is an Apostolical tradition, that children are saved through Baptism; and in another place, “The Church giveth to babes <141> the feet of others, that they may come; and the hearts of others, that they may believe; and the tongues of others, that they may promise;” and in another place, “Our mother, the Church, furnisheth them with a particular heart.”

Now the matter of Baptism is pure water, and no other liquid. And it is performed by the Priest only, or in a case of unavoidable necessity, by another man, provided he be Orthodox, and have the intention proper to Divine Baptism. And the effects of Baptism are, to speak concisely, firstly, the remission of the hereditary transgression, and of any sins whatsoever which the baptised may have committed. Secondly, it delivereth him from the eternal punishment, to which he was liable, as well for original sin, as for mortal sins he may have individually committed. Thirdly, it giveth to such immortality; for in justifying them from past sins, it maketh them temples of God. And it may not be said, that any sin is not washed away through Baptism, which may have been previously committed; but to remain, though not imputed. For <142> that were indeed the height of impiety, and a denial, rather than a confession of piety. Yea, forsooth, all sin existing, or committed before Baptism, is blotted out, and is to be regarded as never existing or committed. For the forms of Baptism, and on either hand all the words that precede and that perfect Baptism, do indicate a perfect cleansing. And the same thing even the very names of Baptism do signify. For if Baptism be by the Spirit and by fire, {Matthew 3:11} it is manifest that it is in all a perfect cleansing; for the Spirit cleanseth perfectly. If it be light, {Hebrews 6:4} it dispelleth the darkness. If it be regeneration, {Titus 3:5} old things are passed away. And what are these except sins? If the baptised putteth off the old man, {Colossians 3:9} then sin also. If he putteth on Christ, {Galatians 3:27} then in effect he becometh free from sin through Baptism. For God is far from sinners. This Paul also teacheth more plainly, saying: “As through one [man] we, being many, were made sinners, so through one [are we made] righteous.” {Romans 5:19} And if righteous, then free from sin. For it is not <143> possible for life and death to be in the same [person]. If Christ truly died, then remission of sin through the Spirit is true also. Hence it is evident that all who are baptised and fall asleep while babes are undoubtedly saved, being predestinated through the death of Christ. Forasmuch as they are without any sin; — without that common [to all], because delivered therefrom by the Divine laver, and without any of their own, because as babes they are incapable of committing sin; — and consequently are saved. Moreover, Baptism imparteth an indelible character, as doth also the Priesthood. For as it is impossible for any one to receive twice the same order of the Priesthood, so it is impossible for any once rightly baptised, to be again baptised, although he should fall even into myriads of sins, or even into actual apostacy from the Faith. For when he is willing to return unto the Lord, he receiveth again through the Mystery of Penance the adoption of a son, which he had lost.
http://catholicity.elcore.net/ConfessionOfDositheus.html

Nor  in the Calvinsit confession that Dositheus is refuting:
Quote
We believe that Baptism is a Sacrament instituted by the Lord, and unless a man has received it, he has no communion with Christ, from whose death, burial, and glorious resurrection the whole virtue and efficacy of Baptism proceeds; therefore, we are certain that to those who are baptized in the same form which our Lord commanded in the Gospel, both original and actual sins are pardoned, so that whosoever has been washed in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit are regenerate, cleansed, and justified. But concerning the repetition of it, we have no command to be rebaptized, therefore we must abstain from this indecent thing.


Quote
Alexander:
Please show me where I can read the Constantinople Council of 879.
http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/dragas_eighth.html
The Horos/Definition:
Quote
Jointly sanctifying and preserving intact the venerable and divine teaching of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, which has been established in the bosom of our mind, with unhesitating resolve and purity of faith, as well as the sacred ordinances and canonical stipulations of his holy disciples and Apostles with an unwavering judgement, and indeed, those Seven holy and ecumenical Synods which were directed by the inspiration of the one and the same Holy Spirit and effected the [Christian] preaching, and jointly guarding with a most honest and unshakeable resolve the canonical institutions invulnerable and unfalsified, we expel those who removed themselves from the Church, and embrace and regard worthy of receiving those of the same faith or teachers of orthodoxy to whom honor and sacred respect is due as they themselves ordered. Thus, having in mind and declaring all these things, we embrace with mind and tongue (τῇ διανοίᾳ καὶ γλώσσῃ) and declare to all people with a loud voice the Horos (Rule) of the most pure faith of the Christians which has come down to us from above through the Fathers, subtracting nothing, adding nothing, falsifying nothing; for subtraction and addition, when no heresy is stirred up by the ingenious fabrications of the evil one, introduces disapprobation of those who are exempt from blame and inexcusable assault on the Fathers. As for the act of changing with falsified words the Horoi (Rules, Boundaries) of the Fathers is much worse that the previous one. Therefore, this holy and ecumenical Synod embracing whole-heartedly and declaring with divine desire and straightness of mind, and establishing and erecting on it the firm edifice of salvation, thus we think and loudly proclaim this message to all:

"I believe in One God, Father Almighty, ... and in One Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God... and in the Holy Spirit, the Lord ... who proceeds from the Father... [the whole Creed is cited here]

Thus we think, in this confession of faith we were we baptized, through this one the word of truth proved that every heresy is broken to pieces and canceled out. We enroll as brothers and fathers and coheirs of the heavenly city those who think thus. If anyone, however, dares to rewrite and call Rule of Faith some other exposition besides that of the sacred Symbol which has been spread abroad from above by our blessed and holy Fathers even as far as ourselves, and to snatch the authority of the confession of those divine men and impose on it his own invented phrases (ἰδίαις εὑρεσιολογίαις) and put this forth as a common lesson to the faithful or to those who return from some kind of heresy, and display the audacity to falsify completely (κατακιβδηλεῦσαι ἀποθρασυνθείη) the antiquity of this sacred and venerable Horos (Rule) with illegitimate words, or additions, or subtractions, such a person should, according to the vote of the holy and Ecumenical Synods, which has been already acclaimed before us, be subjected to complete defrocking if he happens to be one of the clergymen, or be sent away with an anathema if he happens to be one of the lay people."

Quote
It seems fishy that the Orthodox never produced an infallible council after the break with Rome (or perhaps they did produce infallible statements just not in councils?), which begs the question,

Speaking of questions, I've noticed that you have evaded Alexander's:
Can I ask you what denomination are you from?

Would you care to point out some need we would have for an Ecumenical Council after Nicea II or Constantinople IV?

Quote
deep down inside, perhaps the Orthodox know they need Rome if they were ever to produce anything infallible again.

LOL.  Tell the EP, he's making all these plans for a Great Council.  Your intervention can save us so much trouble. Roll Eyes

During the 60's there was discussion about having a Council like the Vatican had just had.  The preliminary investigation found no need, and when the chaos of Vatican II was coming to full fruit, the interest waned.

Of course for the Orthodox who believe in a 9th Council, Constantinople V, your point is mute.  And they are in communion with the rest of us Orthodox.
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« Reply #151 on: July 28, 2009, 07:22:06 AM »

Dear ialmisry,
I'm glad you also noticed how Kaste skipped my question.
Anyway, I feel like to answer to your previous question, dear Kaste, still hoping that you will be so courageous to come out and show us which Church you belong to, so that we can continue this discussion in a more lucid way. In fact, you can control our documents and confessions of faith to argument against them, while we can't do the same with you, and thus this is definitely a strange and unequal way to conduct a debate, don't you think?

It is of necessity to say that the Ecumenical Councils share a point in common which I forgot to add in my list: its content. All the Ecumenical Councils have mainly a triadological/christological content (and the two matters are the two sides of theology strictu sensu). In fact:

-Nicaea I defined Christ's nature as related to God the Father, condemning all heresies denying Christ's full divinity (christology/triadology)
-Constantinople I defined the Holy Spirit's relationship to God the Father, condemning pneumatomachism (triadology)
-Ephesus defined the hypostatic union in Christ, i.e. how the two persons are fully and perfectly united in one hypostasis and prosopon (christology)
-Chalcedon defined the distinction of natures in Christ, condemning monophysitism as a misunderstanding of the hypostatic union (christology)
-Constantinople II and III refined the relationships of divinity and humanity as far as wills and energies are concerned (christology)
-Nicaea II reaffirmed the previous doctrines on Christ and in conclusion affirmed the validity of iconography as a result of the hypostatic union (christology)
- Constantinople IV (Ecumenical?, I think so)clarifies that the the Holy Ghost doesn't proceed from the Son (triadology)
- Constantinople V (Ecumenical? - possibly) clarifies the distinction between God's essence and God's energies (triadology)

Definitely, no council after the aforementioned Constantinople V touched matters of triadology and christology, and since the Church Fathers have worked hard for some 1300 years to discuss these points, I don't think of a need for further Ecumenical Councils (still a Great Panorthodox Synod would truly be welcome, of course).

Hope this helps in understanding the Orthodox position.
In Christ,    Alex
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« Reply #152 on: July 29, 2009, 10:30:39 AM »

I will try this one final time:

"And forasmuch as infants are men, and as such need salvation, since they have not received the remission of hereditary sin, are, of necessity, subject to eternal punishment, and consequently cannot without Baptism be saved."  Council of Jerusalem 1672

Iamisry:

Why would your 1672 Council say unbaptized babies are damned? 

Alexander:

This error, that unbaptized babies are damned, was taught by 1672 Council of Jerusalem.  I will ask one final time for you to show me a council equal or above that corrected this.
   
Alexander and Iamisry:  You desire to know what visible Church I subscribe to:  Do not fret, all will be revealed soon. 

K
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« Reply #153 on: July 29, 2009, 11:03:09 AM »

I will try this one final time:

"And forasmuch as infants are men, and as such need salvation, since they have not received the remission of hereditary sin, are, of necessity, subject to eternal punishment, and consequently cannot without Baptism be saved."  Council of Jerusalem 1672

I don't know how much you know about Orthodoxy, but we don't do mantras.  No matter how much something is repeated, it doesn't make it.

Quote
Iamisry:

Why would your 1672 Council say unbaptized babies are damned? 


That has already been posted:

Iamisery:
No, Orthodox did accept the concept of inherited guilt.  Please pay attention to the quote.

I do. It doesn't say anything about inherited guilt.  Nowhere in the article you quote:
Quote
...And, therefore, it is necessary even for infants, since they also are subject to original sin, and without Baptism are not able to obtain its remission. Which the Lord shewed when he said, not of some only, but simply and absolutely,...And forasmuch as infants are men, and as such need salvation; needing salvation, they need also Baptism. And those that are not regenerated, since they have not received the remission of hereditary sin, are, of necessity, subject to eternal punishment, and consequently cannot without Baptism be saved; so that even infants ought, of necessity, to be baptised. Moreover, infants are saved, as is said in Matthew; {Matthew 19:12} but he that is not baptised is not saved. And consequently even infants must of necessity be baptised...And the effects of Baptism are, to speak concisely, firstly, the remission of the hereditary transgression, and of any sins whatsoever which the baptised may have committed. Secondly, it delivereth him from the eternal punishment, to which he was liable, as well for original sin, as for mortal sins he may have individually committed. Thirdly, it giveth to such immortality; for in justifying them from past sins, it maketh them temples of God. And it may not be said, that any sin is not washed away through Baptism, which may have been previously committed; but to remain, though not imputed. For that were indeed the height of impiety, and a denial, rather than a confession of piety. Yea, forsooth, all sin existing, or committed before Baptism, is blotted out, and is to be regarded as never existing or committed. For the forms of Baptism, and on either hand all the words that precede and that perfect Baptism, do indicate a perfect cleansing. And the same thing even the very names of Baptism do signify. For if Baptism be by the Spirit and by fire, {Matthew 3:11} it is manifest that it is in all a perfect cleansing; for the Spirit cleanseth perfectly. If it be light, {Hebrews 6:4} it dispelleth the darkness. If it be regeneration, {Titus 3:5} old things are passed away. And what are these except sins? If the baptised putteth off the old man, {Colossians 3:9} then sin also. If he putteth on Christ, {Galatians 3:27} then in effect he becometh free from sin through Baptism. For God is far from sinners. This Paul also teacheth more plainly, saying: “As through one [man] we, being many, were made sinners, so through one [are we made] righteous.” {Romans 5:19} And if righteous, then free from sin. For it is not possible for life and death to be in the same [person]. If Christ truly died, then remission of sin through the Spirit is true also. Hence it is evident that all who are baptised and fall asleep while babes are undoubtedly saved, being predestinated through the death of Christ. Forasmuch as they are without any sin; — without that common [to all], because delivered therefrom by the Divine laver, and without any of their own, because as babes they are incapable of committing sin; — and consequently are saved. Moreover, Baptism imparteth an indelible character, as doth also the Priesthood. For as it is impossible for any one to receive twice the same order of the Priesthood, so it is impossible for any once rightly baptised, to be again baptised, although he should fall even into myriads of sins, or even into actual apostacy from the Faith. For when he is willing to return unto the Lord, he receiveth again through the Mystery of Penance the adoption of a son, which he had lost.
http://catholicity.elcore.net/ConfessionOfDositheus.html

Quote
Alexander:

This error, that unbaptized babies are damned, was taught by 1672 Council of Jerusalem.  I will ask one final time for you to show me a council equal or above that corrected this.

As I've already posted, not hard, as Dositheus was the only Patriarch to sign it.

Btw, you haven't answered my question on whether you have read the whole Council, for instance, what it says for prayers for the departed and purgatory.

Quote
Alexander and Iamisry:  You desire to know what visible Church I subscribe to:  Do not fret, all will be revealed soon. 
Not sure it isn't already.  But we won't have to wait till the second coming for your announcement, will we?
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« Reply #154 on: July 29, 2009, 01:50:57 PM »

http://www.pravoslavieto.com/history/20/1934_mitr_Kallistos_Ware/The_Orthodox_Church_Kallistos_Ware.htm

FWIW here's Bishop Ware's description of the council.

Google unearthed additional material here:
http://www.crivoice.org/creeddositheus.html
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« Reply #155 on: July 29, 2009, 02:21:03 PM »

Discussing with you, Kaste, is as speaking to a wall (with a better chance that the wall will answer our questions).
Shall I answer to your question? Ok, I do.
The Council of Jerusalem was an heretic council held by two non fully orthodox Patriarchs without the consent and participation of the other two. Yes, many Orthodox have been and still are heretic. The Church is not formed of hierarchs, it's formed by laymen and clergymen together. There's no need to convoke a council to condemn every other single council held by heretics and heterodox. There have been hundreds of false councils in the past, and the Ecumenical Councils often just ignored them. Why should we make a council for those who abandoned the church with their errors? Since the first instant they embraced heresy, they were automatically heretic, and weren't anymore church members at all, even if they continued acting as if they were. Even the Popes were heretic at least since 1014 AD, yet they still claimed to belong to the Orthodox Church even until 1054 AD (and effectively exercised that ministry unworthily).
As for the matter of your faith: you must be a sectarian, some kind of Jehovah's Witness, since you are unequivocably trying to explain that the Church can't use Councils to confess the true faith. You evidently are heretic, as you confess that children merit suffering, tortures, death, damnation; you confess that a child willingly rejects and hates God even if he doesn't even know the difference between good and evil... you and your heresies have no interest in me, so I will ignore your posts until you don't specify which parasynagogue of Satan you are from.

In Christ, feeling death in my heart for your blindness,

Alex
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« Reply #156 on: July 29, 2009, 07:44:02 PM »

Kallistos Ware in the link provided by John:

"Jeremias, however, in his three Answers to the Tübingen theologians (dated 1576, 1579, 1581), adhered strictly to the traditional Orthodox position and showed no inclination to Protestantism...The Patriarch’s Answers are important as the first clear and authoritative critique of the doctrines of the Reformation from an Orthodox point of view."

Here is what Patriarch Jeremias said on the topic of original sin: 

Writing to the Lutherans in the late 1570's: "Your second article contains the assertion that every man is guilty of original sin.  We also affirm that this is, indeed, the truth."  -Augsburg and Constantinople by Mastrantonis p36.

Yet one more proof Orthodoxy traditionally subscribed to the concept of inherited guilt, just as Latins do. 

So we have the Council of Jerusalem in 1672 affirming the inherited guilt concept as well as the EP one hundred years before.  Not to mention the various Russians who neo-Orthodox like to throw out as under "Western Captivity." 

Let it be known to all thinking men and women here that the Orthodox Church taught unbaptized babies were damned.  Why would it do this?  Could it be that the Church believed what its own EP Jeremias clearly stated: that every man is guilty of original sin? 

Ialmisry: Despite the fact there was only one Patriarch involved in the important and legitimate 1672 Council, the Orthodox Church has an obligation to correct its error with a council equal or superior to 1672 and state plainly that at the very least unbaptized babies may not be damned, and thereby clarify that babies are not born with inherited guilt.  Even if this was to be done, there is no getting around the fact "inherited guilt" has been a strong teaching in the Orthodox Church. 

John: Good link to the intelligent Ware's book.

As for Alexander, I ought to ring your nerdy little neck for such rude comments cowardly sent behind the protection of your computer.  Grow up.

K



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« Reply #157 on: July 29, 2009, 08:10:24 PM »

Kallistos Ware in the link provided by John:

"Jeremias, however, in his three Answers to the Tübingen theologians (dated 1576, 1579, 1581), adhered strictly to the traditional Orthodox position and showed no inclination to Protestantism...The Patriarch’s Answers are important as the first clear and authoritative critique of the doctrines of the Reformation from an Orthodox point of view."

Here is what Patriarch Jeremias said on the topic of original sin: 

Writing to the Lutherans in the late 1570's: "Your second article contains the assertion that every man is guilty of original sin.  We also affirm that this is, indeed, the truth."  -Augsburg and Constantinople by Mastrantonis p36.

Yet one more proof Orthodoxy traditionally subscribed to the concept of inherited guilt, just as Latins do. 

So we have the Council of Jerusalem in 1672 affirming the inherited guilt concept as well as the EP one hundred years before.  Not to mention the various Russians who neo-Orthodox like to throw out as under "Western Captivity." 

Let it be known to all thinking men and women here that the Orthodox Church taught unbaptized babies were damned.  Why would it do this?  Could it be that the Church believed what its own EP Jeremias clearly stated: that every man is guilty of original sin? 

Ialmisry: Despite the fact there was only one Patriarch involved in the important and legitimate 1672 Council, the Orthodox Church has an obligation to correct its error with a council equal or superior to 1672 and state plainly that at the very least unbaptized babies may not be damned, and thereby clarify that babies are not born with inherited guilt.  Even if this was to be done, there is no getting around the fact "inherited guilt" has been a strong teaching in the Orthodox Church. 

John: Good link to the intelligent Ware's book.

As for Alexander, I ought to ring your nerdy little neck for such rude comments cowardly sent behind the protection of your computer.  Grow up.

K






Kaste,



I don't know how many times we have to say this, but we don't believe in "original guilt". You have to look at that local council in the context of eastern clergy being educated and learning their theology from the west, so they used western terminology at times. But in no way is "original guilt" Orthodox,..........nor is that local council a euceminical council. "Original guilt" is error........no if's and's or but's about it.

Also, just because some Orthodox may use Roman Catholic and Protestant terminoligy at times, doesn't mean they mean it in the same way........or understand it the same way a Roman Catholic or a Protestant understands those same words. You said we have an obligation to do something, but we have no obligation......we don't have to do anything.........we know what the faith teaches, so we know what the correct interpretation is..........so there is no need for anything.


Also, why are you afraid to mention your protestant denomination?








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« Reply #158 on: July 29, 2009, 11:57:46 PM »

Kallistos Ware in the link provided by John:

"Jeremias, however, in his three Answers to the Tübingen theologians (dated 1576, 1579, 1581), adhered strictly to the traditional Orthodox position and showed no inclination to Protestantism...The Patriarch’s Answers are important as the first clear and authoritative critique of the doctrines of the Reformation from an Orthodox point of view."

Here is what Patriarch Jeremias said on the topic of original sin: 

Writing to the Lutherans in the late 1570's: "Your second article contains the assertion that every man is guilty of original sin.  We also affirm that this is, indeed, the truth."  -Augsburg and Constantinople by Mastrantonis p36.

For one thing, check your translation:
(Tibbs - Patriarch Jeremias II, the Tübingen Lutherans, and the Greek Version of the Augsburg Confession)
Quote
The Greek Version of the Augsburg Confession

Professor Ernst Benz of Marburg was the first to call attention to this curious document.  His publication of Wittenberg und Byzanz, "Die grechische Übersetzung der Confession Augustana aus dem Jahre 1559" in 1949 is used as the basis for much contemporary research on the topic.  Georges Florovsky cites Benz as calling this Greek Version of the Augsburg Confession, or Augustana Graeca "a document of very peculiar character."[28]  As a significant part of his Doctoral Dissertation entitled "The Augustana Graeca and the Correspondence Between the Tübingen Lutherans and Patriarch Jeremias: Scripture and Tradition in Theological Methodology" Wayne James Jorgensen translated the Augustana Graeca into English and calls it, "The greatest variata of them all."    Jorgensen describes the Augustana Graeca as:

...in a class by itself, markedly departing from all Latin or German versions of the Confession and far surpassing them in the scope and purpose of its changes.   It addresses itself to readers who are not immediately familiar with the issues which resulted in the fashioning of this statement of faith and to whom its basic concepts and formations must be repeated and frequently emphasized


Purpose of the Augustana Graeca

Two significant questions immediately come to mind about this unusual document.  Who translated it and what purpose did its translator intend it to serve?  Given the reign of humanism in the academic world at that time, it is not at all exceptional that a Lutheran would be inspired to produce a Greek translation as the symbol of his faith.   The translation of the Augustana Graeca is attributed to Paul Dolscius,[30] a renowned Greek scholar.  His dedication only appears as a preface in the rare 1559 edition of the Augsburg Confession in which he states "I have rendered it in a very simple way... as a translator should, adding nothing of his own to that which he has undertaken to translate into a foreign language."[31]  But Jorgensen's studies reveal that this is simply not true.  In response to Dolscius' preface he notes:

Yet every word of the Augustana Graeca belies this remark!  The preface is surely a red herring, serving to camouflage the real purpose of the enterprise.  It is not a "simple" translation; nor is it intended for intra-eccleiastical purpose in Germany.  The author is in fact adding much of his own..... The document is clearly an ecumenical overture to readers who are unfamiliar with the religious developments of sixteenth-century Germany."...

Nuances in the Text of the Augustana Graeca

As stated previously, the Greek rendering of the Augsburg Confession is not merely a translation but a revision, no doubt in the interest of building a bridge between the East and West.  Terms of the Greek Liturgy were employed not only to make matters clear to the Greek mind, according to Korte, but very often to remove theological obstacles which hindered union....Chapter Two "on Original Sin" is two brief paragraphs in the Confession and became over a page in the Augustana Graeca...Lutheran theologian, Berthold Korte, believes that adapting the language to suite the reader was not only acceptable, but necessary, in order to counter the vast differences between the Greek and Roman mind:

In all justice to the translator of the Augsburg Confession into Greek, we must see the great difficulties he encountered.  These involved differences in language and piety.  The Latin language was formed by the Roman mind, its laws, and its institutions, and these Roman conceptions were transferred to the religious realm.[39]

With regard to soteriological ideas, the translators either knew that the Lutheran conception of justification as a forensic act of God was hardly comprehensible to the East, or that the East fully understood this Augustinian-based view, and simply disagreed.  In either event, Korte believes that the Lutheran ideas were diluted in order to be more palatable to the reader in the East:

Besides, Eastern piety circled around the three divine attributes, life, love, and light.  Sin and forgiveness of sin were only secondary, contributory factors.  Man is saved by the healing process of divine grace.  Christ is the great physician whose healing power causes man to be saved.  To meet this Eastern conception something had to be done: justification had to be sacrificed in favor of reconciliation.

According to Travis, clearly, the intent of the Greek version of the Augsburg Confession was to connect Lutheran doctrine with patristic tradition, which remained a constant and deep conviction throughout the correspondence.
http://www.stpaulsirvine.org/html/lutheran.htm

The English translation of the Augustana Graeca (words only in the Greek in bold, words with a significant difference from the Latin underlined):
Quote
They also teach that, after the transgression of Adam­ the first-formed, all men from father and mother are born sinners by nature, that is, without fear of God, without trust in Him, but with concupiscence and disorder, and that they are clothed in innate worthlessness and wretchedness. In consent and in accordance with the opinion and teaching of the holy Fathers and all the orthodox and pious in the Church, they state that the innate worthlessness and wretchedness of­ ­­human nature is the liability and subjection to eternal damnation for all men, through the transgression of the first-formed, in which every man by nature is born a child of the wrath of God, subject to and under the power of eternal death; moreover, they teach that the corruption of human nature is implanted in everyone from Adam, and it comprises the deprivation or the deficiency of original justice, and of integrity or of obedience, and concupiscence.

This deficiency is a terrible blindness, and ignorance of God, an obscuring or overshadowing of divine illumination and knowledge of God, which would have radiated in human nature were it still undamaged and unstumbled, and it is a distortion of rectitude: that is, a corruption of the unchangeable and uninterrupted obedience, and of the undis­guised and unmixed and unsurpassed love of God, and of things similar to these impressed by God on the untarnished human nature before the fall. They say that this affliction or wickedness of the corrupted human nature is truly sin, sentencing to eternal death all men up to the present who have not been born again through baptism and the Holy Spirit.

Thinking and teaching in this way, they condemn the so-called Pelagians and the others, moreover, who, to the dishonour of the redemption and the good works of Christ, deny that wretchedness and worthlessness from birth is sin, and they contend and say that man by his own powers of the soul can fulfil the law of God and be justified before Him.
http://www.acta-et-scriptura.dk/Engl-transl.htm
http://www.acta-et-scriptura.dk/acta6.htm
http://www.acta-et-scriptura.dk/acta7.htm

Compare the original Augsburg Confession:
Quote
Art. II.—Of Original Sin.
Also they teach that, after Adam's fall, all men begotten after the common course of nature are born with sin; that is, without the fear of God, without trust in him, and with fleshly appetite; and that this disease, or original fault, is truly sin, condemning and bringing eternal death now also upon all that are not born again by baptism and the Holy Spirit.
 
(Item docent, quod post lapsum Adæ omnes homines, secundum naturam propagati, nascantur cum peccato, hoc est, sine metu Dei, sine fiducia erga Deum, et cum concupiscentia; quodque hic morbus, seu vitium originis vere sit peccatum, damnans et afferens nunc quoque æternam mortem his, qui non renascuntur per Baptismum et Spiritum Sanctum.) 

They condemn the Pelagians, and others, who deny this original fault to be sin indeed; and who, so as to lessen the glory of the merits and benefits of Christ, argue that a man may, by the strength of his own reason, be justified before God.

(Damnant Pelagianos et alios, qui vitium originis negant esse peccatum, et, ut extenuent gloriam meriti et beneficiorum Christi,disputant hominem propriis viribus rationis coram Deo justificari posse).
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/creeds3.iii.ii.html

The Vatican condemned this article at Augsburg:
Quote
In the second article we approve their Confession, in common with the Catholic
 Church, that the fault of origin is truly sin, condemning and bringing eternal
 death upon those who are not born again by baptism and the Holy Ghost. For in
 this they properly condemn the Pelagians, both modern and ancient, who have
 been long since condemned by the Church. But the declaration of the article,
 that Original Sin is that men are born without the fear of God and without
 trust in God, is to be entirely rejected, since it is manifest to every
 Christian that to be without the fear of God and without trust in God is
 rather the actual guilt of an adult than the offence of a recently-born
 infant, which does not possess as yet the full use of reason, as the Lord says
 "Your children which had no knowledge between good and evil," Deut 1:39.
 Moreover, the declaration is also rejected whereby they call the fault of
 origin concupiscence, if they mean thereby that concupiscence is a sin that
 remains sin in a child even after baptism. For the Apostolic See has already
 condemned two articles of Martin Luther concerning sin remaining in a child
 after baptism, and concerning the fomes of sin hindering a soul from entering
 the kingdom of heaven. But if, according to the opinion of St Augustine, they
 call the vice of origin concupiscence, which in baptism ceases to be sin, this
 ought to be accepted, since indeed according to the declaration of St. Paul,
 we are all born children of wrath (Eph. 2:3), and in Adam we all have sinned
 (Rom.5:12).
http://www.ctsfw.edu/etext/boc/ap/confut/conf02.asc

To the defense of this Article, Melanchthon, who may have been responsible for the Augustana Graeca, writes:
Quote
Article II (I): Of Original Sin.
1] The Second Article, Of Original Sin, the adversaries approve, but in such a way that they, nevertheless, censure the definition of original sin, which we incidentally gave. Here, immediately at the very threshold, His Imperial Majesty will discover that the writers of the Confutation were deficient not only in judgment, but also in candor. For whereas we, with a simple mind, desired, in passing, to recount those things which original sin embraces, these men, by framing an invidious interpretation, artfully distort a proposition that has in it nothing which of itself is wrong. Thus they say: "To be without the fear of God, to be without faith, is actual guilt;" and therefore they deny that it is original guilt.

2] It is quite evident that such subtilties have originated in the schools, not in the council of the Emperor. But although this sophistry can be very easily refuted; yet, in order that all good men may understand that we teach in this matter nothing that is absurd, we ask first of all that the German Confession be examined. This will free us from the suspicion of novelty. For there it is written: Weiter wird gelehrt, dass nach dem Fall Adams alle Menschen, so natuerlich geboren werden, in Suenden empfangen und geboren werden, das ist, dass sie alle von Mutterleibe an voll boeser Lueste und Neigung sind, keine wahre Gottesfurcht, keinen wahren Glauben an Gott von Natur haben koennen. [It is further taught that since the Fall of Adam all men who are naturally born are conceived and born in sin, i.e., that they all, from their mother's womb, are full of evil desire and inclination, and can have by nature no true fear of God, no true faith in God.] 3] This passage testifies that we deny to those propagated according to carnal nature not only the acts, but also the power or gifts of producing fear and trust in God. For we say that those thus born have concupiscence, and cannot produce true fear and trust in God. What is there here with which fault can be found? To good men, we think, indeed, that we have exculpated ourselves sufficiently. For in this sense the Latin description denies to nature [even to innocent infants] the power, i.e., it denies the gifts and energy by which to produce fear and trust in God, and, in adults [over and above this innate evil disposition of the heart, also] the acts, so that, when we mention concupiscence, we understand not only the acts or fruits, but the constant inclination of the nature [the evil inclination within, which does not cease as long as we are not born anew through the Spirit and faith].

4] But hereafter we will show more fully that our description agrees with the usual and ancient definition. For we must first show our design in preferring to employ these words in this place. In their schools the adversaries confess that "the material," as they call it, "of original sin is concupiscence." Wherefore, in framing the definition, this should not have been passed by, especially at this time, when some are philosophizing concerning it in a manner unbecoming teachers of religion [are speaking concerning this innate, wicked desire more after the manner of heathen from philosophy than according to God's Word, or Holy Scripture].

5] For some contend that original sin is not a depravity or corruption in the nature of man, but only servitude, or a condition of mortality [not an innate evil nature, but only a blemish or imposed load, or burden], which those propagated from Adam bear because of the guilt of another [namely, Adam's sin], and without any depravity of their own. Besides, they add that no one is condemned to eternal death on account of original sin, just as those who are born of a bond-woman are slaves, and bear this condition without any natural blemish, but because of the calamity of their mother [while, of themselves, they are born without fault, like other men: thus original sin is not an innate evil, but a defect and burden which we bear since Adam, but we are not on that account personally in sin and inherited disgrace]. 6] To show that this impious opinion is displeasing to us, we made mention of "concupiscence," and, with the best intention, have termed and explained it as "diseases," that "the nature of men is born corrupt and full of faults" [not a part of man, but the entire person with its entire nature is born in sin as with a hereditary disease]

7] Nor, indeed, have we only made use of the term concupiscence, but we have also said that "the fear of God and faith are wanting." This we have added with the following design: The scholastic teachers also, not sufficiently understanding the definition of original sin, which they have received from the Fathers, extenuate the sin of origin. They contend concerning the fomes [or evil inclination] that it is a quality of [blemish in the] body, and, with their usual folly, ask whether this quality be derived from the contagion of the apple or from the breath of the serpent, and whether it be increased by remedies. With such questions they have suppressed the main point. 8] Therefore, when they speak of the sin of origin, they do not mention the more serious faults of human nature, to wit, ignorance of God, contempt for God, being destitute of fear and confidence in God, hatred of God's judgment, flight from God [as from a tyrant] when He judges, anger toward God, despair of grace, putting one's trust in present things [money, property, friends], etc. These diseases, which are in the highest degree contrary to the Law of God, the scholastics do not notice; yea, to human nature they meanwhile ascribe unimpaired strength for loving God above all things, and for fulfilling God's commandments according to the substance of the acts, nor do they see 9] that they are saying things that are contradictory to one another. For what else is the being able in one's own strength to love God above all things, and to fulfil His commandments, than to have original righteousness [to be a new creature in Paradise, entirely pure and holy]? 10] But if human nature have such strength as to be able of itself to love God above all things as the scholastics confidently affirm, what will original sin be? For what will there be need of the grace of Christ if we can be justified by our own righteousness [powers]? For what will there be need of the Holy Ghost if human strength can by itself 11] love God above all things, and fulfil God's commandments? Who does not see what preposterous thoughts our adversaries entertain? The lighter diseases in the nature of man they acknowledge, the more severe they do not acknowledge; and yet of these, Scripture everywhere admonishes us, and the prophets constantly complain ( as the 13th Psalm, and some other psalms say, Ps. 14:1-3,5:9,140:3,36:1 ), namely, of carnal security, of the contempt of God, of hatred toward God, and of similar faults born with us. [For Scripture clearly says that all these things are not blown at us, but born with us.] 12] But after the scholastics mingled with Christian doctrine philosophy concerning the perfection of nature [light of reason], and ascribed to the free will and the acts springing therefrom more than was sufficient, and taught that men are justified before God by philosophic or civil righteousness (which we also confess to be subject to reason, and, in a measure, within our power), they could not see the inner 13] uncleanness of the nature of men. For this cannot be judged except from the Word of God, of which the scholastics, in their discussions, do not frequently treat.

14] These were the reasons why, in the description of original sin, we made mention of concupiscence also, and denied to man's natural strength the fear of God and trust in Him. For we wished to indicate that original sin contains also these diseases, namely, ignorance of God, contempt for God, the being destitute of the fear of God and trust in Him, inability to love God. These are the chief faults of human nature, conflicting especially with the first table of the Decalog.

15] Neither have we said anything new. The ancient definition understood aright expresses precisely the same thing when it says: "Original sin is the absence of original righteousness" [a lack of the first purity and righteousness in Paradise]. But what is righteousness? Here the scholastics wrangle about dialectic questions; they do not explain what original righteousness is. 16] Now in the Scriptures, righteousness comprises not only the second table of the Decalog [regarding good works in serving our fellow-man], but the first also, which teaches concerning 17] the fear of God, concerning faith, concerning the love of God. Therefore original righteousness was to embrace not only an even temperament of the bodily qualities [perfect health and, in all respects, pure blood