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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Death
« on: September 10, 2009, 11:05:04 PM »
Over the last few days, I have not been able to stop thinking about Orthodox Christianity's view of death.  Everything about the modern, scientific worldview tells us that death is normal and natural.  Just today I was observing a banana rotting (dying), and ants carrying it away for their own sustenance.  I say a dead deer on the side of the road and a vulture eating it.  I thought about how when we die, we fertilize the soil and help to bring new vegetation.  In the liturgy we pray for abundant fruits of the earth, so that we can harvest and consume them, but really we are just killing the plant life to stay alive ourselves.

So this notion that death is unnatural just seems so unacceptable.  In fact last year a coworker told me she could never be a Christian because she sees death as a natural and beautiful thing.  And I honestly have a hard time disagreeing.  It seems that we are here for a short time, and that even in death we are simply a part of something larger happening around us.

In the Intelligent Design debates, I see Christians so willing to use the intricacy of the natural world and the interconnectedness of everything as pointing toward God as the creator.  But death is a part of how this beautiful design and order works.  The world would not be beautiful if it were overrun with too many things.  If we imagine a world without 'death' but that still has 'birth', then we can only imagine a world that is too full.  Are we to imagine the new earth as being full to the brim and overflowing (LITERALLY!)?

For example, try to imagine every human being who has ever lived throughout human history all being resurrected at the same time.  It seems preposterous.  Yes, I know, God can do anything, and it's all a mystery, but still.

I can accept the creation myth in the sense that we all have a 'lack' within us, and that sin is a real thing which we bring upon ourselves.  I can believe that this needs to be corrected and made right.  But the idea that death itself is somehow evil or unnatural is just so confusing.  Everything in the order of creation seems to testify to the necessity of death in order to keep everything in balance.  So how am I to deal with these lingering doubts?

Offline Heorhij

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Re: Death
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2009, 11:23:30 PM »
Everything in the order of creation seems to testify to the necessity of death in order to keep everything in balance.  So how am I to deal with these lingering doubts?

What I do is simply persevere. I do not understand it either, brother, and the usual circular reasoning of the "theology" never satisfied me and it does not now. But I am just trying to be an obedient child of the Church. At least in this issue the suffering of other innocent people is not involved, like in the issue of "un-natural-ness" and inherent badness of homosexual sexual relationships even in lifelong commited one-to-one person union.
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Death
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2009, 11:40:05 PM »
Everything in the order of creation seems to testify to the necessity of death in order to keep everything in balance.  So how am I to deal with these lingering doubts?

What I do is simply persevere. I do not understand it either, brother, and the usual circular reasoning of the "theology" never satisfied me and it does not now. But I am just trying to be an obedient child of the Church. At least in this issue the suffering of other innocent people is not involved, like in the issue of "un-natural-ness" and inherent badness of homosexual sexual relationships even in lifelong commited one-to-one person union.
But what does homosexuality have to do with the OP?
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Death
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2009, 12:09:27 AM »
  So how am I to deal with these lingering doubts?

It seems natural to us because it's all we see and know.  But, is this the way life was meant to be?  I don't believe so; I think what we view as 'natural' is really 'unnatural' because we live in a fallen world.  This is not how God wants us to live, but it is the consequences of 'the Fall'.  This is how I understand the Church's teaching, but you're probably better off talking to Fr. P. about it. 
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Offline GammaRay

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Re: Death
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2009, 08:09:59 AM »
But death is natural, if you leave things in the first Six Days only!
See, Adam and Eve (created somewhere in 5.000BC, long after the rest mankind had been) were in the specified state of immortallity because they had entered God's rest (the 7th Day).

Saying that death is natural (i.e.: that the Creator wanted it to exist) is like judging God just from the Hexaemeron. Well, no! There is still one day left and let us not forget the 8th Day that is to come; the Day where everything shall be made new again, it will be a different Nature, an immoral one.


P.S.: I noticed that some others regard certain parts of Genesis to be myths. I don't see how they story of Adam and Eve doesn't fit in the scientific world though.
P.S. 2: In order to understand my post I recommend you to keep on praying for the next weeks, maybe God will grant you such wisdom that you will be able to make out what I'm trying to say...
Though I've walked the valley of the shadow of the death, I've fallen not. Not completely. Not yet.

Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Death
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2009, 12:54:55 PM »
I always thought the "wages of sin is death", which included a physical death as well.  I also thought that the 8th day will come because of the Fall; if there hadn't been a Fall (sin), there wouldn't be a need for the 8th day (rejuvenation).
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Offline jckstraw72

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Re: Death
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2009, 04:41:23 PM »
we cannot use the fallen world to judge what we think God intended. as St. Ignatius Brianchaninov and St. Barsanuphius of Optina tell us that world is gone to us, except through divine revelation. we simply do not know what it was like except for the bits that have been revealed in Scripture and Patristics and the lives of the Saints. God can use death for a positive, that doesn't mean it was always intended to happen or that it itself is good. The Wisdom of Solomon tells us that God does not desire the death of living things (not confined solely to humans) and that is why He took on a body and defeated physical death.

and if physical death is according to the will of God and a good thing, then we shouldn't be sad when a family member, friend, pet, etc dies. Otherwise we're sad that the will of God was done ...
« Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 04:42:06 PM by jckstraw72 »

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Death
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2009, 05:06:37 PM »

We should not be sad to a point.  It's understandably God's will when someone passes away, however, we are allowed to grieve.  After all, Christ wept upon Lazarus's death.

However, when I hear people say that death is not "bad"...that's a bit scary.  Like all the TV shows that tell us that upon death we see our family and the pretty light and blah blah blah.  This paints an inaccurate portrayal of death.  It makes death seem like a goal in itself....it's a beautiful thing.

So, why bother living?  Why not just kill ourselves and go to those flowery fields and live happily ever after?  People don't give "death" enough thought.

While we should not fear death....we should still be wary....for what if it catches us unprepared?

For the sinner, death is not a beautiful thing....and who of us is not a sinner? 

The scriptures tell us not to fear death, but, also not to desire it.

I agree with the previous post...that death is the product of Original Sin.  However, if we live righteously (according to the teachings of the Church) death is not the end.  We have hope of life everlasting.  Now THAT is our worthy goal!


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Offline GammaRay

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Re: Death
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2009, 10:12:53 AM »
Wasn't it Basil the Great who said that the Christian's philosophy is to think about death?
Though I've walked the valley of the shadow of the death, I've fallen not. Not completely. Not yet.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Death
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2009, 02:22:07 PM »
Wasn't it Basil the Great who said that the Christian's philosophy is to think about death?
If I'm not mistaken, it was actually St. Sisoes the Great who said this.

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2009/07/sisoes-great-and-contemplation-of-death.html
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Offline Jetavan

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Re: Death
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2009, 02:31:22 PM »
Over the last few days, I have not been able to stop thinking about Orthodox Christianity's view of death....

I can accept the creation myth in the sense that we all have a 'lack' within us, and that sin is a real thing which we bring upon ourselves.  I can believe that this needs to be corrected and made right.  But the idea that death itself is somehow evil or unnatural is just so confusing.  Everything in the order of creation seems to testify to the necessity of death in order to keep everything in balance.  So how am I to deal with these lingering doubts?
Genesis 1st chapter is quite compatible with the idea that death is a natural process. It's Genesis 2 that is a bit trickier. Notice that the 1st chapter, has Elohim doing the creating. Whereas in Genesis 2, starting with verse 4, it's YHWH Elohim who makes Adam, the garden, and Eve. It seems almost as if YHWH Elohim created a garden that was free of physical death, unlike those of the surrounding regions. The surrounding regions probably had other humans as well, which would explain where Cain got his wife. So, the garden can be seen as a very special location on earth, an oasis of spiritual power in which a very unique man and a very unique woman (types of Christ and the Theotokos) are given a very special gift by YHWH Elohim, the gift of spiritual Life, which includes the gift of immortality in the Body, but the gift of spiritual Life is primarily the gift of the potential for Theosis. Outside of this garden, evolution (birth-and-death, cause-and-effect) rules pretty much unhindered, but the ultimate plan was for this garden to spread its influence across the globe, transforming the earth itself into a divinized, theosized Eden. (This will still happen, when the New Heaven and the New Earth appear.) In fact, one might visualize God's initial plan thusly:

Creation --> Evolution (physical birth-and-death) --> The appearance of the Unique Spiritual Site, Eden, with Adam and Eve --> A & E take evolution to the next level, called "Theosis" --> The Power of Theosis spreads from Eden, across the globe, even across the universe --> New Heaven and New Earth

When Adam and Eve sin, they partially lose their spiritual gift, but not totally. When they sin, spiritual Death (as the counterpart to their spiritual gift of spiritual Life) enters the world. Spiritual Death then leads to Adam and Eve eventually physically dying, but it also causes them to lose direct access to Theosis, which is the primary loss when spiritual Death enters the picture.

Christ incarnates, thus re-initiating the "theosizing" of the cosmos by first uniting divine nature with human nature, kick-starting the process the Adam and Eve halted.

That's how I tend to interpret it, anyways.

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Offline jckstraw72

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Re: Death
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2009, 12:31:02 AM »
Over the last few days, I have not been able to stop thinking about Orthodox Christianity's view of death....

I can accept the creation myth in the sense that we all have a 'lack' within us, and that sin is a real thing which we bring upon ourselves.  I can believe that this needs to be corrected and made right.  But the idea that death itself is somehow evil or unnatural is just so confusing.  Everything in the order of creation seems to testify to the necessity of death in order to keep everything in balance.  So how am I to deal with these lingering doubts?
Genesis 1st chapter is quite compatible with the idea that death is a natural process. It's Genesis 2 that is a bit trickier. Notice that the 1st chapter, has Elohim doing the creating. Whereas in Genesis 2, starting with verse 4, it's YHWH Elohim who makes Adam, the garden, and Eve. It seems almost as if YHWH Elohim created a garden that was free of physical death, unlike those of the surrounding regions. The surrounding regions probably had other humans as well, which would explain where Cain got his wife. So, the garden can be seen as a very special location on earth, an oasis of spiritual power in which a very unique man and a very unique woman (types of Christ and the Theotokos) are given a very special gift by YHWH Elohim, the gift of spiritual Life, which includes the gift of immortality in the Body, but the gift of spiritual Life is primarily the gift of the potential for Theosis. Outside of this garden, evolution (birth-and-death, cause-and-effect) rules pretty much unhindered, but the ultimate plan was for this garden to spread its influence across the globe, transforming the earth itself into a divinized, theosized Eden. (This will still happen, when the New Heaven and the New Earth appear.) In fact, one might visualize God's initial plan thusly:

Creation --> Evolution (physical birth-and-death) --> The appearance of the Unique Spiritual Site, Eden, with Adam and Eve --> A & E take evolution to the next level, called "Theosis" --> The Power of Theosis spreads from Eden, across the globe, even across the universe --> New Heaven and New Earth

When Adam and Eve sin, they partially lose their spiritual gift, but not totally. When they sin, spiritual Death (as the counterpart to their spiritual gift of spiritual Life) enters the world. Spiritual Death then leads to Adam and Eve eventually physically dying, but it also causes them to lose direct access to Theosis, which is the primary loss when spiritual Death enters the picture.

Christ incarnates, thus re-initiating the "theosizing" of the cosmos by first uniting divine nature with human nature, kick-starting the process the Adam and Eve halted.

That's how I tend to interpret it, anyways.



several Fathers actually explicitly taught that the entire earth was paradisiacal -- that nothing died anywhere on earth. additionally, both the 6th and 7th Ecumenical Councils adopted a canon from the Council of Carthage that states that if we believe Adam would have physically died even if he hadn't sinned, then we are anathema.

Offline ignatius

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Re: Death
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2009, 01:08:33 AM »
  So how am I to deal with these lingering doubts?

It seems natural to us because it's all we see and know.  But, is this the way life was meant to be?  I don't believe so; I think what we view as 'natural' is really 'unnatural' because we live in a fallen world.  This is not how God wants us to live, but it is the consequences of 'the Fall'.  This is how I understand the Church's teaching, but you're probably better off talking to Fr. P. about it. 

I wasn't under the impression that death wasn't a natural state of humanity... I was under the impression that the grace of God 'held' that 'natural state' in stasis.
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Death
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2009, 01:27:13 AM »
  So how am I to deal with these lingering doubts?

It seems natural to us because it's all we see and know.  But, is this the way life was meant to be?  I don't believe so; I think what we view as 'natural' is really 'unnatural' because we live in a fallen world.  This is not how God wants us to live, but it is the consequences of 'the Fall'.  This is how I understand the Church's teaching, but you're probably better off talking to Fr. P. about it. 

I wasn't under the impression that death wasn't a natural state of humanity... I was under the impression that the grace of God 'held' that 'natural state' in stasis.

I see you're a member of the RCC; I can only answer as to how I understand the Orthodox Church teaches.
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Offline Jetavan

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Re: Death
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2009, 01:34:59 PM »
Over the last few days, I have not been able to stop thinking about Orthodox Christianity's view of death....

I can accept the creation myth in the sense that we all have a 'lack' within us, and that sin is a real thing which we bring upon ourselves.  I can believe that this needs to be corrected and made right.  But the idea that death itself is somehow evil or unnatural is just so confusing.  Everything in the order of creation seems to testify to the necessity of death in order to keep everything in balance.  So how am I to deal with these lingering doubts?
Genesis 1st chapter is quite compatible with the idea that death is a natural process. It's Genesis 2 that is a bit trickier. Notice that the 1st chapter, has Elohim doing the creating. Whereas in Genesis 2, starting with verse 4, it's YHWH Elohim who makes Adam, the garden, and Eve. It seems almost as if YHWH Elohim created a garden that was free of physical death, unlike those of the surrounding regions. The surrounding regions probably had other humans as well, which would explain where Cain got his wife. So, the garden can be seen as a very special location on earth, an oasis of spiritual power in which a very unique man and a very unique woman (types of Christ and the Theotokos) are given a very special gift by YHWH Elohim, the gift of spiritual Life, which includes the gift of immortality in the Body, but the gift of spiritual Life is primarily the gift of the potential for Theosis. Outside of this garden, evolution (birth-and-death, cause-and-effect) rules pretty much unhindered, but the ultimate plan was for this garden to spread its influence across the globe, transforming the earth itself into a divinized, theosized Eden. (This will still happen, when the New Heaven and the New Earth appear.) In fact, one might visualize God's initial plan thusly:

Creation --> Evolution (physical birth-and-death) --> The appearance of the Unique Spiritual Site, Eden, with Adam and Eve --> A & E take evolution to the next level, called "Theosis" --> The Power of Theosis spreads from Eden, across the globe, even across the universe --> New Heaven and New Earth

When Adam and Eve sin, they partially lose their spiritual gift, but not totally. When they sin, spiritual Death (as the counterpart to their spiritual gift of spiritual Life) enters the world. Spiritual Death then leads to Adam and Eve eventually physically dying, but it also causes them to lose direct access to Theosis, which is the primary loss when spiritual Death enters the picture.

Christ incarnates, thus re-initiating the "theosizing" of the cosmos by first uniting divine nature with human nature, kick-starting the process the Adam and Eve halted.

That's how I tend to interpret it, anyways.


additionally, both the 6th and 7th Ecumenical Councils adopted a canon from the Council of Carthage that states that if we believe Adam would have physically died even if he hadn't sinned, then we are anathema.
I agree. Under the scenario in question, Adam had the gift of spiritual Life, so he would not have physically died, if he had not sinned; but outside the garden, life still went through the birth-and-death process.

Has any council ruled on whether the Garden need have spanned the whole earth?
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Offline Jetavan

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Re: Death
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2009, 02:17:04 PM »
Quote
Theophilus of Antioch (2nd Century) posits that Adam and Eve were created neither immortal nor mortal. They were created with the potential to become either through obedience or disobedience (Romanides, 2002).
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Offline jckstraw72

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Re: Death
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2009, 02:28:24 PM »
Over the last few days, I have not been able to stop thinking about Orthodox Christianity's view of death....

I can accept the creation myth in the sense that we all have a 'lack' within us, and that sin is a real thing which we bring upon ourselves.  I can believe that this needs to be corrected and made right.  But the idea that death itself is somehow evil or unnatural is just so confusing.  Everything in the order of creation seems to testify to the necessity of death in order to keep everything in balance.  So how am I to deal with these lingering doubts?
Genesis 1st chapter is quite compatible with the idea that death is a natural process. It's Genesis 2 that is a bit trickier. Notice that the 1st chapter, has Elohim doing the creating. Whereas in Genesis 2, starting with verse 4, it's YHWH Elohim who makes Adam, the garden, and Eve. It seems almost as if YHWH Elohim created a garden that was free of physical death, unlike those of the surrounding regions. The surrounding regions probably had other humans as well, which would explain where Cain got his wife. So, the garden can be seen as a very special location on earth, an oasis of spiritual power in which a very unique man and a very unique woman (types of Christ and the Theotokos) are given a very special gift by YHWH Elohim, the gift of spiritual Life, which includes the gift of immortality in the Body, but the gift of spiritual Life is primarily the gift of the potential for Theosis. Outside of this garden, evolution (birth-and-death, cause-and-effect) rules pretty much unhindered, but the ultimate plan was for this garden to spread its influence across the globe, transforming the earth itself into a divinized, theosized Eden. (This will still happen, when the New Heaven and the New Earth appear.) In fact, one might visualize God's initial plan thusly:

Creation --> Evolution (physical birth-and-death) --> The appearance of the Unique Spiritual Site, Eden, with Adam and Eve --> A & E take evolution to the next level, called "Theosis" --> The Power of Theosis spreads from Eden, across the globe, even across the universe --> New Heaven and New Earth

When Adam and Eve sin, they partially lose their spiritual gift, but not totally. When they sin, spiritual Death (as the counterpart to their spiritual gift of spiritual Life) enters the world. Spiritual Death then leads to Adam and Eve eventually physically dying, but it also causes them to lose direct access to Theosis, which is the primary loss when spiritual Death enters the picture.

Christ incarnates, thus re-initiating the "theosizing" of the cosmos by first uniting divine nature with human nature, kick-starting the process the Adam and Eve halted.

That's how I tend to interpret it, anyways.


additionally, both the 6th and 7th Ecumenical Councils adopted a canon from the Council of Carthage that states that if we believe Adam would have physically died even if he hadn't sinned, then we are anathema.
I agree. Under the scenario in question, Adam had the gift of spiritual Life, so he would not have physically died, if he had not sinned; but outside the garden, life still went through the birth-and-death process.

Has any council ruled on whether the Garden need have spanned the whole earth?

i dont know about any Councils, but several Fathers taught that the entire earth was incorrupt. Not that the entire earth was the Garden, but that even outside the Garden it was incorrupt. One of them at least, I forget who, said that outside the garden there were trees much like those in the garden, but that those in the garden were in some way more special ... or something like that.

a few relevant passages:

And the animals are named wild beasts [qhria], from their being hunted [qhreuesqai], not as if they had been made evil or venomous from the first--for nothing was made evil by God, but all things good, yea, very good,--but the sin in which man was concerned brought evil upon them. For when man transgressed, they also transgressed with him . . . so in like manner it came to pass, that in the case of man's sin, he being master, all that was subject to him sinned with him. When, therefore, man again shall have made his way back to his natural condition, and no longer does evil, those also shall be restored to their original gentleness. Theophilus to Autolycus Book II.XVII

God did not, as some people think, just give Paradise to our ancestor at the beginning, nor did He make only Paradise incorruptible. No! Instead, He did much more . . . Neither Eve nor Paradise were yet created, but the whole world had been brought into being by God as one thing, as a kind of paradise, at once incorruptible yet material and perceptible. It was this world, as we said, which was given to Adam and to his descendants for their enjoyment. Does this seem strange to you? It should not. St. Symeon the New Theologian, Ethical Discourses 1.1, in On the Mystical Life, vol. 1, p. 21

Doubtless indeed vultures did not look around the earth when living things came to be. For nothing yet died of these things given meaning or brought into being by God, so that vultures might eat it. Nature was not divided, for it was in its prime; nor did hunters kill, for that not yet the custom of human beings; nor did wild beasts claw their prey, for they were not yet carnivores. And it is customary for vultures to feed on corpses, but since there were not yet corpses, nor yet their stench, so there was not yet such food for vultures. But all followed the diet of swans and all grazed the meadows. St. Basil the Great, On the Origin of Humanity 2.6

The earth, created, adorned, blessed by God, did not have any deficiencies. It was overflowing with refinement. "God saw," after the completion of the whole creation of the world, "everything that He had made: and, behold, it was very good." (Gen. 1:31).
   Now the earth is presented to our eyes in a completely different look. We do not know her condition in holy virginity; we know her in the condition of corruption and accursedness, we know her already sentenced to burning; she was created for eternity. . . . Plants were not subjected either to decay or to diseases; both decay and diseases and the weeds themselves, appeared after the alteration of the earth following the fall of man . . . According to its creation, there was on it only the splendid, only the wholesome, there was only that which was suitable for the immortal and blessed life of its inhabitants . . . The beasts and other animals lived in perfect harmony among themselves, nourishing themselves on plant life. St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, Homily on Man

The beautiful things of this world are only hints of that beauty with which the first-created world was filled, as Adam and Eve saw it. That beauty was destroyed by the sin of the first people . . . Thus also did the fall into sin of the first people destroy the beauty of God's world, and there remain to us only fragments of it by which we may judge concerning the primordial beauty. Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, pg. 468

In not wishing to be nourished by Him [God], the first man rightly fell away from the Divine life, and took death as another parent. Accordingly he put on himself the irrational form, and blackened the inconceivable beauty of the Divine, and delivered over the whole of nature as food for death. Death is living on this through the whole of this temporal period, making us his food. St. Maximus, Ambiguum 10.

Commenting on Romans 8:20: What is the meaning of "the creation was made subject to futility"? That it became corruptible. For what cause, and on what account? On account of you, O man. For since you took a body mortal and subject to suffering, so also the earth received a curse, and brought forth thorns and thistles. St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 14.

The creation of all things is due to God, but corruption came in afterwards due to our wickedness and as a punishment and a help. "For God did not make death, neither does He take delight in the destruction of living things" (Wisdom 1:!3). But death is the work rather of man, that is, its origin is in Adam's transgression, in like manner as all other punishments. St. John of Damascus, Exact Exposition 2.28

It is said that when the world was first created it was not subject to flux and corruption. According to Scripture it was only later corrupted and "made subject to futility" -- that is, to man -- not by its own choice but by the will of Him to whom it is subject, the expectation being that Adam, who had fallen into corruption, would be restored to his original state. St. Gregory of Sinai, On Commandments and Doctrines 11

Inasmuch, therefore, as the opinions of certain [orthodox persons] are derived from heretical discourses, they are both ignorant of God’s dispensations, and of the mystery of the resurrection of the just, and of the [earthly] kingdom which is the commencement of incorruption, by means of which kingdom those who shall be worthy are accustomed gradually to partake of the divine nature . . . It is fitting, therefore, that the creation itself, being restored to its primeval condition, should without restraint be under the dominion of the righteous; and the apostle has made this plain in the Epistle to the Romans, when he thus speaks: “For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature has been subjected to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope; since the creature itself shall also be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.” St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5.32.1

For the creation was made subject to futility, [St. Paul] says, and he expects that it will be set free from such servitude, as he intends to call this world by the name of creation. For it is not what is unseen [the angelic world] but what is seen that is subject to corruption. The creation, then, after being restored to a better and more seemly state, remains, rejoicing and exulting over the children of God at the resurrection; for whose sake it now groans and travails, waiting itself also for our redemption from the corruption of the body, that, when when we have risen and shaken off the mortality of the flesh . . . and have been set free from sin, it also shall be freed from corruption and be subject no longer to futility, but to righteousness.  St. Methodios of Olympus and Patara, Discourse on the Resurrection, ANF, vol. 6, p. 366

The fate of visible nature has, from the beginning of its existence, been under the power of the influence of man . . . Organically and mystically connected with man as with a God-like creature of God, nature in the essence of its life depends upon man and always moves strictly commensurately with man. When man chose the path of sin and death as his path through history, all of nature, as the results of its inner dependency on man, followed after him. The fall of man was at the same time the fall of nature, and the curse of man became the curse of nature. And from that time man and nature, like two inseparable twins, blinded by one and the same darkness, deadened by one and the same death, burdened by one and the same curse, go hand in hand through history, through the abysmal wilderness of sin and evil. Together they stumble, together they fall, and together they arise, ceaselessly striving toward the distant conclusion of their sorrowful history. St. Justin Popvich, The Orthodox Philosophy of Truth: The Dogmatics of the Orthodox Church vol. 3 p. 792


Adam was placed as lord and king of all the creatures . . . And so, when he was taken captive, the creation which ministered to and served him was taken captive together with him. For through him death came to reign over every soul. St. Macarius the Great, Homilies 11.5

"Death is not natural; rather it is unnatural. And death is not from nature; rather it is against nature. All of nature in horror cries out: "I do not know death! I do not wish death! I am afraid of death! I strive against death!" Death is an uninvited stranger in nature . . . Even when one hundred philosophers declare that "death is natural!" all of nature trembles in indignation and shouts: " No! I have no use for death! It is an uninvited stranger!" And the voice of nature is not sophistry. The protest of nature against death outweighs all excuses thought up to justify death. And if there is something that nature struggles to express in its untouched harmony, doing so without exception in a unison of voices, then it is a protest against death. It is its unanimous, frantic, and heaven-shaking elegy of death.  St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Selected Writings

As long as Adam loved God and observed His commandment, he dwelt in the Paradise of God and God abode in the paradisiacal heart of Adam. Naked Adam was clothed with the grace of God and, surrounded by the animals, he held and caressed them lovingly, and they, in turn, licked him devoutly, as their Master. When Adam violated God's commandment., he was stripped of the grace of God, clothed with a garment of skin and exiled from Paradise. Grace-filled Adam became wild, and many animals, because of Adam, were also made savage, and instead of approaching him with devoutness and licking him with love, they lashed out at him with rage in order to tear at or bite him. Elder Paisios, Epistles, pg. 203-204

Behold the life of innocent Adam in Eden, the lordship of man over creation, which together with us groans because of our fall and thirsts to be delivered into the "liberty of the children of God" (Rom. 8:21). The Life of St. Paul of Obnora, in the Northern Thebaid

Offline jckstraw72

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Re: Death
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2009, 02:29:32 PM »
Quote
Theophilus of Antioch (2nd Century) posits that Adam and Eve were created neither immortal nor mortal. They were created with the potential to become either through obedience or disobedience (Romanides, 2002).

true. it was only through disobedience, and not his natural state, that Adam would die.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Death
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2009, 01:55:32 AM »
Creation --> Evolution (physical birth-and-death) --> The appearance of the Unique Spiritual Site, Eden, with Adam and Eve --> A & E take evolution to the next level, called "Theosis" --> The Power of Theosis spreads from Eden, across the globe, even across the universe --> New Heaven and New Earth

I suppose the possibility that Adam and Eve were created at a later time in a special environment hadn't occurred to me.  But as far as I know, there is really no president for this idea in Christian theology before you, and even if you could find one or two patristic writings that suggest something similar, I don't see how it could represent the usual teaching of the Church.  Then again, I am still not certain whether I view Adam and Eve as historical persons or mythological archetypes.  Everything in Orthodox theology seems to clearly indicate that physical death is a bad thing and that it needed to be conquered.  I understand that you're trying to come up with a reasonable synthesis of the views, but I don't think it seems very plausible.

Honestly, from what I understand of traditional worship of the goddess Kali in India, it seems to make a lot more sense that Christian ideas about death.  The Hindus dare to worship death itself, because ultimately they see it as another aspect of the divine.  And while she may appear morbid and frightening to the ignorant, this is only because they fail to see the dispassionate beauty of death.

So if we want to couch their concepts in Christian language, then we would say that God is Life, but also that God is Death.  When a life is saved, God is at work, and when thousands are slaughtered at war, God is at work.  In fact, the Old Testament accounts of God doing things like flooding the earth and wiping out almost all of humanity seem to support this.  If God is so opposed to death, then why is He busy killing people?

Offline GammaRay

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Re: Death
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2009, 06:16:48 AM »
I suppose the possibility that Adam and Eve were created at a later time in a special environment hadn't occurred to me.  But as far as I know, there is really no president for this idea in Christian theology before you, and even if you could find one or two patristic writings that suggest something similar, I don't see how it could represent the usual teaching of the Church.
That's mainly because they were not aware of the current scientific findings. I know that our opinion cannot be compared to that of our Church Fathers, but -in case it helps- many Orthodox Christians have been following this lately and I've also seen it in a Greek webpage which is very close to the Greek Church.

Quote
Then again, I am still not certain whether I view Adam and Eve as historical persons or mythological archetypes.  Everything in Orthodox theology seems to clearly indicate that physical death is a bad thing and that it needed to be conquered.
Death is not exactly an unnatural state, but it's just not finished. God intended to create us and let us choose. Thus He created mankind and later approached it; first through Adam's creation and later through Christ's Incarnation.

Quote
The Hindus dare to worship death itself, because ultimately they see it as another aspect of the divine.  And while she may appear morbid and frightening to the ignorant, this is only because they fail to see the dispassionate beauty of death.
That's because of their dualistic views. We view Death as the absence of Life (God), this is why it's not divine for us.

Quote
In fact, the Old Testament accounts of God doing things like flooding the earth and wiping out almost all of humanity seem to support this.  If God is so opposed to death, then why is He busy killing people?
Uhh...okay. Firstly, the Flood was regional and, after all, not that great (this can get very interesting, maybe we should open a new topic). Secondly, did it ever occur to you that when God kills someone (this is how you see it, because -for God- the soul still lives) it is for his own good, so as not to commit any more sins or anything? Notice that this was happening in the Old Testament, the souls coul still be saved later when Christ entered Hades.
Here's a nice parable, by the way. There were once two great ships; a righteous one and an evil one. The righteous was always ready to help the rest people and rescue any animal of the sea. The second, now, was a wicked one. It would pollute the waters, destroy life and kill the innocent. God said to the wicked sailors "Your ship is too old and it has done no good to our world. The ship of the righteous will pass by in a few hours. Jump on it, because I will have to wreck your old and rotten ship.". When the clean ship passed by, they refused to jump on it. Instead, they started fighting it.
Will you blame God for sinking it? Plus, remember that He went "scuba-diving later", found them in the bottom of "the sea" and tried to bring them up back! ;)
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Re: Death
« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2009, 04:56:09 PM »
Creation --> Evolution (physical birth-and-death) --> The appearance of the Unique Spiritual Site, Eden, with Adam and Eve --> A & E take evolution to the next level, called "Theosis" --> The Power of Theosis spreads from Eden, across the globe, even across the universe --> New Heaven and New Earth

I suppose the possibility that Adam and Eve were created at a later time in a special environment hadn't occurred to me.  But as far as I know, there is really no president for this idea in Christian theology before you, and even if you could find one or two patristic writings that suggest something similar, I don't see how it could represent the usual teaching of the Church.
It's not a usual teaching of the Church, but it would not necessarily contradict it either, I would posit.
Quote
Then again, I am still not certain whether I view Adam and Eve as historical persons or mythological archetypes.
There's a third possibility (which I need not argue at this time): Adam and Eve were historical/spiritual beings.
Quote
Everything in Orthodox theology seems to clearly indicate that physical death is a bad thing and that it needed to be conquered.
And yet Jesus conquers Death, but not by avoiding it. Neither does he simply destroy it. Instead, he himself dies, in order to show the way beyond Death. I think Genesis must be read in the light of the life of Christ: Christ uses death for a greater purpose. He doesn't simply annihilate it out of existence in one fell swoop.
Quote
I understand that you're trying to come up with a reasonable synthesis of the views, but I don't think it seems very plausible.

Honestly, from what I understand of traditional worship of the goddess Kali in India, it seems to make a lot more sense that Christian ideas about death.  The Hindus dare to worship death itself, because ultimately they see it as another aspect of the divine.  And while she may appear morbid and frightening to the ignorant, this is only because they fail to see the dispassionate beauty of death.

So if we want to couch their concepts in Christian language, then we would say that God is Life, but also that God is Death.  When a life is saved, God is at work, and when thousands are slaughtered at war, God is at work.  In fact, the Old Testament accounts of God doing things like flooding the earth and wiping out almost all of humanity seem to support this.  If God is so opposed to death, then why is He busy killing people?
Ah, Kali. Swami Vivekananda said that everybody worships Life, but that the Hindus are the only people crazy/brave enough to worship Death. Well, we need not get into the crazy/brave dichotomy here, but it should be pointed out that the Swami's Guru was Sri Ramakrishna, the most famous devotee of Kali of the past 200 years. For Ramakrishna, Kali (the personal Goddess, often depicted with the bloody arms of conquered demons on her waist) and Brahman (the Infinite Being-Awareness-LoveBliss, the source of all) were one and the same. The Death that Kali represents, and the Death that Ramakrishna and other Hindus worship, is the Death of a particular state of being, the Death of separation from God. If Kali simply represented the worship of the death-half of the birth-and-death process, then suicide would be the ultimate act of worship. Instead, sacrifice of amartia, "missing the mark", sacrifice of the ego, of selfish craving, of all that takes one away from God, is true worship.

I think it's important that the Jewish scriptures have these more 'wrathful' pictures of God, reminiscent of Kali on the battlefield, because such 'wrath' is necessary for the sacrifice of amartia. I don't think one need interpret these pictures in a physically literal fashion: a spiritually literal fashion is interpretation enough.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2009, 04:57:17 PM by Jetavan »
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Death
« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2009, 09:33:50 PM »
That's because of their dualistic views. We view Death as the absence of Life (God), this is why it's not divine for us.

How do you mean Hindus are dualistic?  I was referring to a lack of distinction between good and evil in death and life, and that they simply are.  How is that setting up a dualistic dichotomy?

Quote
Uhh...okay. Firstly, the Flood was regional and, after all, not that great.

I also think that the flood in Genesis was a regional flood in Mesopotamia, not some global event.  But I was bringing up the general instances where God clearly commands death and actively seeks to inflict it upon those who disobey.  Yes, it is the fault of the people, but I would not go so far as to call it 'suicide' based upon their choices.  It was still God willing their deaths.

Offline jnorm888

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Re: Death
« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2009, 09:46:57 PM »
  So how am I to deal with these lingering doubts?

It seems natural to us because it's all we see and know.  But, is this the way life was meant to be?  I don't believe so; I think what we view as 'natural' is really 'unnatural' because we live in a fallen world.  This is not how God wants us to live, but it is the consequences of 'the Fall'.  This is how I understand the Church's teaching, but you're probably better off talking to Fr. P. about it. 

I agree, we are born in a fallen world and so this life is all we know. I'm sure that some of my ancestors who were born into slavery thought that slavery was beautiful for that was all they knew, but once one taste freedom, then they are able to see their condition from a different perspective.....a different context.










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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Death
« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2009, 09:52:15 PM »
There's a third possibility (which I need not argue at this time): Adam and Eve were historical/spiritual beings.

I will formally encourage you to post in the thread about the historicity of Adam and Eve and notify me by personal message with a link when you do.  I'm interested.

And yet Jesus conquers Death, but not by avoiding it. Neither does he simply destroy it. Instead, he himself dies, in order to show the way beyond Death. I think Genesis must be read in the light of the life of Christ: Christ uses death for a greater purpose. He doesn't simply annihilate it out of existence in one fell swoop.

But isn't death meant to end for not only humanity, but the whole of the corrupted creation when He makes his final and great return?  It's a victory in progress, so to speak, and we are all waiting around for death to end completely.  The total annihilation of death is one of the ultimate aims of His victory over it.  Of course, the notion of a gradual redemption rubs against Christ's "It is finished," but then again so does theosis...

Ah, Kali. Swami Vivekananda said that everybody worships Life, but that the Hindus are the only people crazy/brave enough to worship Death. Well, we need not get into the crazy/brave dichotomy here, but it should be pointed out that the Swami's Guru was Sri Ramakrishna, the most famous devotee of Kali of the past 200 years. For Ramakrishna, Kali (the personal Goddess, often depicted with the bloody arms of conquered demons on her waist) and Brahman (the Infinite Being-Awareness-LoveBliss, the source of all) were one and the same. The Death that Kali represents, and the Death that Ramakrishna and other Hindus worship, is the Death of a particular state of being, the Death of separation from God. If Kali simply represented the worship of the death-half of the birth-and-death process, then suicide would be the ultimate act of worship. Instead, sacrifice of amartia, "missing the mark", sacrifice of the ego, of selfish craving, of all that takes one away from God, is true worship.

This is helpful on several levels, and I would appreciate any links to literature on Kali worship in its various manifestations.  I realize that there is no monolithic view regarding her role and symbolism in the Hindu paradigm, and I also understand that there is generally not a push for a uniform understanding on issues such as this.  The infinite scope of the divine and the vast differences in interpretation only add to her glory.  If only such a paradoxical embrace could occur in Christianity.  Or should it?  Whatever!

I think it's important that the Jewish scriptures have these more 'wrathful' pictures of God, reminiscent of Kali on the battlefield, because such 'wrath' is necessary for the sacrifice of amartia. I don't think one need interpret these pictures in a physically literal fashion: a spiritually literal fashion is interpretation enough.

I afraid you're sailing over my head with this for whatever reason.  Try rephrasing it and see if that helps.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2009, 09:54:18 PM by Alveus Lacuna »

Offline jnorm888

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Re: Death
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2009, 09:54:41 PM »
I always thought the "wages of sin is death", which included a physical death as well.  I also thought that the 8th day will come because of the Fall; if there hadn't been a Fall (sin), there wouldn't be a need for the 8th day (rejuvenation).


I agree, pay no attention to the secular humanists who are re-interpreting everything to fit with current scientific knowledge. They will have to keep re-interpreting what they already re-interpreted when the current science is up-dated.

Stick to the Patristic interpretation.....that's what I do. We can find all of this other nonsense in liberal protestantism.......been there, done that, seen it all before..........ect.


It's nothing new. It's the same old same old stuff found within other christian groups.









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« Last Edit: September 14, 2009, 10:03:13 PM by jnorm888 »
"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

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Offline GammaRay

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Re: Death
« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2009, 09:46:47 AM »
How do you mean Hindus are dualistic?  I was referring to a lack of distinction between good and evil in death and life, and that they simply are.  How is that setting up a dualistic dichotomy?
They see Death and Life as two things seperate and so do they with Good and Evil, no? But, in the bigger picture, they do believe that even the contradicting and opposing powers are one and may co-exist.

Quote
But I was bringing up the general instances where God clearly commands death and actively seeks to inflict it upon those who disobey. Yes, it is the fault of the people, but I would not go so far as to call it 'suicide' based upon their choices. It was still God willing their deaths.
What if it really was for their own good or if this was the only way for Him to fulfil the plan? Anyway, without providing some verses, there's not much we can do.
Though I've walked the valley of the shadow of the death, I've fallen not. Not completely. Not yet.

Offline Jetavan

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Re: Death
« Reply #26 on: September 15, 2009, 05:00:52 PM »
Ah, Kali. Swami Vivekananda said that everybody worships Life, but that the Hindus are the only people crazy/brave enough to worship Death. Well, we need not get into the crazy/brave dichotomy here, but it should be pointed out that the Swami's Guru was Sri Ramakrishna, the most famous devotee of Kali of the past 200 years. For Ramakrishna, Kali (the personal Goddess, often depicted with the bloody arms of conquered demons on her waist) and Brahman (the Infinite Being-Awareness-LoveBliss, the source of all) were one and the same. The Death that Kali represents, and the Death that Ramakrishna and other Hindus worship, is the Death of a particular state of being, the Death of separation from God. If Kali simply represented the worship of the death-half of the birth-and-death process, then suicide would be the ultimate act of worship. Instead, sacrifice of amartia, "missing the mark", sacrifice of the ego, of selfish craving, of all that takes one away from God, is true worship.

This is helpful on several levels, and I would appreciate any links to literature on Kali worship in its various manifestations.  I realize that there is no monolithic view regarding her role and symbolism in the Hindu paradigm, and I also understand that there is generally not a push for a uniform understanding on issues such as this.  The infinite scope of the divine and the vast differences in interpretation only add to her glory.  If only such a paradoxical embrace could occur in Christianity.  Or should it?  Whatever!

Ramakrishna represents a Vedantic understanding of Kali that is of interest (http://www.kathamrita.org/ ), and some temples in America claim to follow from his teaching (http://www.shreemaa.org/drupal/ ). Rachel McDermott has published translations of devotional poetry to Kali, from the Bengali tradition.

St. Paul talked about this paradox, of dying daily (1st Cor. 15:31), not only in the context of exposing himself to persecution, but also dying to his self, being crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20), so that Christ can live within him.

I think this paradox is also visible in the conjunction of the Hebrew scriptures with the New Testament, with the 'different' images of Deity depicted in various sections. Marcion wanted to reject the Jewish texts, but Marcion lacked an appreciation for paradox. The God who could unleash a Flood is a God not to be trifled with. God's 'wrath' is evident here, and elsewhere, but the 'wrath' need not be seen as 'hate'. There are images of Kali, Krishna, and even Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that are also meant to evoke this divine 'non-hateful-wrath' as something within the practitioner, as powerful means to penetrate the self and die to the self. I agree that such images of God in the Old Testament should not be thought of as indicative of a God who despises humanity and creation. Instead, I see the 'non-hateful-wrath' as a divine Energy, as a part of the process of Theosis. Such non-hateful-wrath would not be directed against other people, against other organism, nor against the world itself. Instead, it would be a necessary component to a life fiercely dedicated to completely dying to self-will. The Flood and the Plagues need not be rejected as historical events; but they could also be seen as events that the Hebrews interpreted as symbolizing this necessary Energy of non-hateful-wrath, an Energy that is needed for the sacrifice of the old, and the birth of the new. Jesus exemplified how this sacrifice, this loving-wrath, was to be accomplished; Jesus embodied the symbolisms contained in the Flood narrative. Every Old Testament catastrophe is fulfilled in the crucifixion, and every Old Testament vision of hope and redemption is fulfilled in the resurrection.

Physical death need not be hoped for, but can't we see it as symbolic of the death to the self, a death that is part of what Theosis is all about?
If you will, you can become all flame.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Death
« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2009, 01:22:56 AM »
This is one of my favorite quotes that is helpful for this subject:

Grudging existence to none therefore, He made all things out of nothing through His own Word, our Lord Jesus Christ and of all these His earthly creatures He reserved especial mercy for the race of men. Upon them, therefore, upon men who, as animals, were essentially impermanent, He bestowed a grace which other creatures lacked—namely the impress of His own Image, a share in the reasonable being of the very Word Himself, so that, reflecting Him and themselves becoming reasonable and expressing the Mind of God even as He does, though in limited degree they might continue for ever in the blessed and only true life of the saints in paradise. But since the will of man could turn either way, God secured this grace that He had given by making it conditional from the first upon two things—namely, a law and a place. He set them in His own paradise, and laid upon them a single prohibition. If they guarded the grace and retained the loveliness of their original innocence, then the life of paradise should be theirs, without sorrow, pain or care, and after it the assurance of immortality in heaven. But if they went astray and became vile, throwing away their birthright of beauty, then they would come under the natural law of death and live no longer in paradise, but, dying outside of it, continue in death and in corruption.

...

By nature, of course, man is mortal, since he was made from nothing; but he bears also the Likeness of Him Who is, and if he preserves that Likeness through constant contemplation, then his nature is deprived of its power and he remains incorrupt. So is it affirmed in Wisdom: "The keeping of His laws is the assurance of incorruption." And being incorrupt, he would be henceforth as God, as Holy Scripture says, "I have said, Ye are gods and sons of the Highest all of you: but ye die as men and fall as one of the princes."

A couple of points St. Athanasius is teaching us:

1.  Man like any creation is made out of nothing.
2.  Anything creation that is made out of nothing is naturally mortal, or impermanent.  In other words, naturally, you will die.
3.  Man unlike other animals received something different from animals, a grace, i.e. the impress of the Image and Likeness of the Logos.
4.  The Image and Likeness is the source of man's sharing with the reasoning, incorruption, and immortality of God.
5.  God removed man from his natural habitat into His Paradise (where the saints who die are in now) so that man's grace may be secured.
6.  If man disobeyed God's commandment, man's grace won't be secured, and he'll return back to his natural habitat, under the natural law of death and corruption with all the other animals.

In St. Athanasius inspired words, I submit.

« Last Edit: September 17, 2009, 01:26:54 AM by minasoliman »
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Offline GammaRay

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Re: Death
« Reply #28 on: September 17, 2009, 01:59:30 PM »
Great, more sources about it! Thanks, minasoliman!

In Athanasius' words we sumbmit! ;D
Though I've walked the valley of the shadow of the death, I've fallen not. Not completely. Not yet.

Offline Jetavan

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Re: Death
« Reply #29 on: September 17, 2009, 08:50:05 PM »

A couple of points St. Athanasius is teaching us:

1.  Man like any creation is made out of nothing.
2.  Anything creation that is made out of nothing is naturally mortal, or impermanent.  In other words, naturally, you will die.
3.  Man unlike other animals received something different from animals, a grace, i.e. the impress of the Image and Likeness of the Logos.
4.  The Image and Likeness is the source of man's sharing with the reasoning, incorruption, and immortality of God.
5.  God removed man from his natural habitat into His Paradise (where the saints who die are in now) so that man's grace may be secured.
6.  If man disobeyed God's commandment, man's grace won't be secured, and he'll return back to his natural habitat, under the natural law of death and corruption with all the other animals.

In St. Athanasius inspired words, I submit.


So the Garden of Eden, into which God placed Adam, was/is Paradise? When Adam and Eve sinned, they were cast out of Paradise?
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Death
« Reply #30 on: September 17, 2009, 09:04:05 PM »

A couple of points St. Athanasius is teaching us:

1.  Man like any creation is made out of nothing.
2.  Anything creation that is made out of nothing is naturally mortal, or impermanent.  In other words, naturally, you will die.
3.  Man unlike other animals received something different from animals, a grace, i.e. the impress of the Image and Likeness of the Logos.
4.  The Image and Likeness is the source of man's sharing with the reasoning, incorruption, and immortality of God.
5.  God removed man from his natural habitat into His Paradise (where the saints who die are in now) so that man's grace may be secured.
6.  If man disobeyed God's commandment, man's grace won't be secured, and he'll return back to his natural habitat, under the natural law of death and corruption with all the other animals.

In St. Athanasius inspired words, I submit.


So the Garden of Eden, into which God placed Adam, was/is Paradise? When Adam and Eve sinned, they were cast out of Paradise?

Yes...here's another quote to reiterate the point:

3For when the mind of men does not hold converse with bodies, nor has mingled with it from without aught of their lust, but is wholly above them, dwelling with itself as it was made to begin with, then, transcending the things of sense and all things human, it is raised up on high; and seeing the Word, it sees in Him also the Father of the Word, taking pleasure in contemplating Him, and gaining renewal by its desire toward Him; 4. exactly as the first of men created, the one who was named Adam in Hebrew, is described in the Holy Scriptures as having at the beginning had his mind to God-ward in a freedom unembarrassed by shame, and as associating with the holy ones in that contemplation of things perceived by the mind which he enjoyed in the place where he was—the place which the holy Moses called in figure a Garden. So purity of soul is sufficient of itself to reflect God, as the Lord also says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

And as the Coptic Church prays in the Basilian Liturgy:

"Agios (Holy), Agios, Agios. Holy, Holy, Holy, truly O Lord, our God, who formed us, created us and placed us in the paradise of joy. When we disobeyed your commandment by the guile of the serpent, we fell from eternal life, and were exiled from the paradise of joy."

Notice how the Coptic Church personalizes Adam's experiences.

God bless.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2009, 09:13:22 PM by minasoliman »
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If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Death
« Reply #31 on: September 18, 2009, 12:15:56 AM »
So the Garden of Eden, into which God placed Adam, was/is Paradise? When Adam and Eve sinned, they were cast out of Paradise?

Yes, Adam and Eve were banished from paradise on earth and were no longer able to participate in communion with God. Such a place is no longer accessible to us in the present life.  In turn, God is creating a new paradise for us to enjoy at the end of ages. (as we were originally intended to do)
« Last Edit: September 18, 2009, 12:16:41 AM by Ortho_cat »

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Re: Death
« Reply #32 on: September 18, 2009, 11:25:05 PM »
So the Garden of Eden, into which God placed Adam, was/is Paradise? When Adam and Eve sinned, they were cast out of Paradise?

Yes, Adam and Eve were banished from paradise on earth and were no longer able to participate in communion with God. Such a place is no longer accessible to us in the present life.  In turn, God is creating a new paradise for us to enjoy at the end of ages. (as we were originally intended to do)

I don't think St. Athanasius specified where Paradise was.  In fact, if anything, even if the possibility might be on earth, St. Athanasius still used a "place" to shield man from falling into corruption, as well as a law.  In other words, if they leave that "place" or break that law, they will fall into the natural law of death and corruption.

With that said, St. Athanasius talked about Paradise as if it was God's own, and in Contra Gentes, he even mentioned this Paradise "typified as the Garden" (in other words, the Garden is an allegory), man's Paradise was also "an association with the Holy Ones."  Angels, saints?  They're holy.  Were/are they on earth?

St. Athanasius implied also that while man did experience immortality by grace, they were the only ones that did, something that animals lacked.  In other words, death outside Paradise was evident.  The Fall of Man involved Man alone.  Man did not take down all of nature with him.  On the contrary, Man's fall resulted in joining Nature instead of transcending it.  That's why it was a "Fall."

So, very well possibly, Paradise was not on Earth, if one studies St. Athanasius' words carefully.

God bless.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2009, 11:33:49 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.