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Author Topic: How does one come to know that Christianity is true?  (Read 9938 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 17, 2009, 07:02:53 PM »

Not sure if this is the correct forum but I am curious as to how (from an EO perspective) a person comes to know that God exists and that Christianity is true?
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2009, 08:42:00 PM »

Not sure if this is the correct forum but I am curious as to how (from an EO perspective) a person comes to know that God exists and that Christianity is true?
Praxis, not theoria.
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2009, 10:17:00 AM »

About the existence of the Creator, I am sure know. It's all simply logic, the first cause et cetera.

As for Christianity, I just trust it that the Gospels are not some kind of conspiracy created by Zionists.
Concerning the branches of Christianity? Well, the rest have gone wrong and anti-Biblical, while the Orthodox are still correct.

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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2009, 10:45:32 AM »

Actually, lulling people into believing that the Gospels are not a "Zionist conspiracy" is... a Zionist conspiracy.   Roll Eyes
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2009, 11:12:39 AM »


Can't you "feel" it?

Don't you come from Liturgy feeling energized and filled with gratefulness?

Other faiths "look" for something to believe in, yet, they are in truth empty.

Islam - they do not have a "close" relationship with their god.  To them he is distant and filled with retribution. 
Hinduism - while they preach peace and love for all creation...they are also misled.  They hold creation in such high respect that they have missed the true Creator. 
This is true of all other, non-Christian faiths (even many so called "Christian" denominations).

Even Judaism, which is the foundation of Christianity, is misled.  They still await the Messiah, when He has already come and gone.  They are not fulfilled.

Every other faith is "empty".


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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2009, 12:03:14 PM »

Praxis, not theoria.

Theoria through praxis, kenosis and katharsis.
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2009, 01:10:02 PM »


Can't you "feel" it?

What if other people do not feel the same thing from the same liturgy that you do? 

I do not mean any disrespect, but "feeling" would seem to be to make it subjective to individual people.  What if that "feeling" is lost?  Does that make the previous feeling incorrect or a mistake?  There have been people who have gone from one Church to another and from one religion to another because the feelings of surety, of excitement, that where they were was the "Right" one eventually fade and they decide that it must be wrong or they would feel that way all the time.  So they seek another.

C. S. Lewis wrote of the "dry times" or "troughs" when such good feelings and satisfaction may not be present.  One place was in the Screwtape Letters

Quote
Don't you come from Liturgy feeling energized and filled with gratefulness?

I have felt that after Anglican services.  I have been to a number of EO services and have not experienced the same thing.  I

Quote
Other faiths "look" for something to believe in, yet, they are in truth empty.

Islam - they do not have a "close" relationship with their god.  To them he is distant and filled with retribution. 
Hinduism - while they preach peace and love for all creation...they are also misled.  They hold creation in such high respect that they have missed the true Creator. 
This is true of all other, non-Christian faiths (even many so called "Christian" denominations).

Even Judaism, which is the foundation of Christianity, is misled.  They still await the Messiah, when He has already come and gone.  They are not fulfilled.

Every other faith is "empty".

Have you ever been or known well a practicing, believing Muslim or Jew or Hindu?  How do you *know* that they do not have a "close" relationship?  How do you know that they are "empty" or not "fulfilled"?    This is a very sweeping statement that, I submit, does not touch on the experiences of other human beings who follow other religions besides Christianity. 

Reading such works as those of Rumi or other sufi poets (Muslim) or some by Mirabai (Hindu) show very deep feelings and no "emptiness" in their faith. 

With respect,

Ebor
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2009, 01:37:00 PM »


Actually I am well acquainted with Muslims and Hindus, both.  Have been friends with them for a number of years.

One of my closest friends is a Muslim.  Very devout family.  Follow their faith to the letter.  Strictly been fasting this month of Ramadan. 
However, I find that when we discuss our faiths, theirs simply (appears to me) not to have the "depth" of Christianity.
To them God is a distant figure.  They are often preoccupied with placating Him.  He is someone they worship, and yet "don't know".
"Don't know" in a sense that they do not have the close relationship that Christians have with Christ.
For them God has not been incarnated, has not come to save mankind.   

Again, this is my own personal experience and I do not mean to offend anyone.

I "know" that Christianity is true....sometimes things simply can't be proven.

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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2009, 01:52:39 PM »

Praxis, not theoria.

Theoria through praxis, kenosis and katharsis.
So its more or an existential epistemology?
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2009, 01:53:25 PM »


Actually I am well acquainted with Muslims and Hindus, both.  Have been friends with them for a number of years.

One of my closest friends is a Muslim.  Very devout family.  Follow their faith to the letter.  Strictly been fasting this month of Ramadan. 
However, I find that when we discuss our faiths, theirs simply (appears to me) not to have the "depth" of Christianity.
To them God is a distant figure.  They are often preoccupied with placating Him.  He is someone they worship, and yet "don't know".
"Don't know" in a sense that they do not have the close relationship that Christians have with Christ.
For them God has not been incarnated, has not come to save mankind.   

Again, this is my own personal experience and I do not mean to offend anyone.

I "know" that Christianity is true....sometimes things simply can't be proven.


So we can know Christianity is true based on perception?
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« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2009, 02:01:52 PM »


God cannot be proven.

No religion can be proven or disproven.

It rests with the faithful, based on their own perceptions to find their own way home.





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« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2009, 08:47:45 PM »

Not sure if this is the correct forum but I am curious as to how (from an EO perspective) a person comes to know that God exists and that Christianity is true?

Can we ever really know this? Don't we need to acknowledge that there is a difference between knowing and believing? While I'm not belittling anyone's faith, I do accept that my belief in God's existence and Christianity is conditioned by many things.
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2009, 09:58:48 PM »

Grace and Peace,

By a 'first-hand' encounter with the divine Godhead. Nothing short of that is ultimately going to be a certainty.
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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2009, 10:34:59 PM »

"He who comes to Me shall not hunger.
He who believes in Me shall not thirst."

Tried and true words.
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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2009, 10:58:13 AM »


God cannot be proven.

No religion can be proven or disproven.

It rests with the faithful, based on their own perceptions to find their own way home.






So how do I know that the Christian faith is true rather than the muslim one?
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« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2009, 10:58:55 AM »

"He who comes to Me shall not hunger.
He who believes in Me shall not thirst."

Tried and true words.
But that does not demonstrate that Christianity is true.
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« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2009, 06:43:51 PM »


God cannot be proven.

No religion can be proven or disproven.

It rests with the faithful, based on their own perceptions to find their own way home.






So how do I know that the Christian faith is true rather than the muslim one?

I don't think you can know. The Muslim is just as convinced that he/she knows the true faith. Belief in Christianity (or any other religion) is always going to be subjective; a personal decision dependent on one's experiences in life. If God exists, as we believe Him to, I'm sure He can work with what faith a person has.
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« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2009, 06:55:09 PM »


Actually, lulling people into believing that the Gospels are not a "Zionist conspiracy" is... a Zionist conspiracy.   Roll Eyes

What Zionist content in the Gospels have you identified?
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« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2009, 06:57:35 PM »


I have felt that after Anglican services.  I have been to a number of EO services and have not experienced the same thing.

Hmmm interesting that you say that. I could say the same thing about myself, except that sometimes I have felt it in an EO service. Just not that often.
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« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2009, 07:00:11 PM »

Other than through an experience of divine revelation, one simply cannot know. I don't know why you seem to be insisting that there must be some way that we know instead of just taking it on faith and what seems particularly reasonable to one.
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« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2009, 07:58:57 PM »

"God became man so that man might become God."  Christianity seemed to have become rampant and many converts came simply because Christians proved His existence by becoming Him in grace.  When people see God in you, people will know you're true.

Personally, I use a mixture of rational and experience, but it's personal, and not to anyone else who may not understand it.  I don't think one can get rid of logic completely or one get rid of personal experiences completely.  The fact that Liz describes the Muslim god as distant, while we know our God through Christ is a use of one's logic and rational with experience.  One can't escape that.  But more than that, most of the New Testament seems to be a teaching of how we act, while dogma, although equally important, won't be as understood as much to those who are non-Christian.  The morals of the Bible is something that transcends nature, and if we become transcendent in front of the world, even though we may suffer, it is so that the world may know Who we belong to.

One can say, "But other people of other religions have taught similar morals."  True, and they may be more Christian than we are right now.  Gandhi has the best chance to enjoy time with Christ better than anyone of us right now.  For to enjoy the right dogma and not behave like a Christian is like partaking of the Eucharist unworthily.  It is why you see a growing number of atheists and apathists and converts to other religions.  A lot of us are the cause of the necrosis of parts of the Church.
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« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2009, 09:39:58 AM »

Theoria through praxis, kenosis and katharsis.
I suddenly feel proud for being a Greek. 4/5 words were Greek, haha. Tongue

God cannot be proven.
Since when? Huh

Quote
No religion can be proven or disproven.
What if its doctrines are self-contradicting and cannot exist?

So how do I know that the Christian faith is true rather than the muslim one?
Because we came first, then there is the apostoli succession and the Messiah, who has shown up in our version.


Papist, just being curious; are you having problems with your faith or are you just asking?
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« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2009, 07:53:52 PM »

Praxis, not theoria.

Theoria through praxis, kenosis and katharsis.

dude.......english  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2009, 09:03:01 PM »

Faith is not "security". Faith is Faith.
"I believe in One God...." means precisely that. It means "I believe in One God....". It does not mean  "I know that One God exists....". And ultimately, "knowing" that God exists will not lead to salvation. Even Satan knows that God exists.
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« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2009, 09:57:51 PM »

St. John of Damascus, On the Orthodox Faith Book 1 Chapter 3

Proof that there is a God.

That there is a God, then, is no matter of doubt to those who receive the Holy Scriptures, the Old Testament, I mean, and the New; nor indeed to most of the Greeks. For, as we said(9), the knowledge of the existence of God is implanted in us by nature. But since the wickedness of the Evil One has prevailed so mightily against man's nature as even to drive some into denying the existence of God, that most foolish and woe-fulest pit of destruction (whose folly David, revealer of the Divine meaning, exposed when he said(9), The fool said in his heart, There is no God), so the disciples of the Lord and His Apostles, made wise by the Holy Spirit and working wonders in His power and grace, took them captive in the net of miracles and drew them up out of the depths of ignorance(1) to the light of the knowledge of God. In like manner also their successors in grace and worth, both pastors and teachers, having received the enlightening grace of the Spirit, were wont, alike by the power of miracles and the word of grace, to enlighten those walking in darkness and to bring back the wanderers into the way. But as for us who(2) are not recipients either of the gift of miracles or the gift of teaching (for indeed we have rendered ourselves unworthy of these by our passion for pleasure), come, let us in connection with this theme discuss a few of those things which have been delivered to us on this subject by the expounders of grace, calling on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

All things, that exist, are either created or uncreated. If, then, things are created, it follows that they are also wholly mutable. For things, whose existence originated in change, must also be subject to change, whether it be that they perish or that they become other than they are by act of wills. But if things are uncreated they must in all consistency be also wholly immutable. For things which are opposed in the nature of their existence must also be opposed in the mode of their existence, that is to say, must have opposite properties: who, then, will refuse to grant that all existing things, not only such as come within the province of the senses, but even the very angels, are subject to change and transformation and movement of various kinds? For the things appertaining to the rational world, I mean angels and spirits and demons, are subject to changes of will, whether it is a progression or a retrogression in goodness, whether a struggle or a surrender; while the others suffer changes of generation and destruction, of increase and decrease, of quality and of movement in space. Things then that are mutable are also wholly created. But things that are created must be the work of some maker, and the maker cannot have been created. For if he had been created, he also must surely have been created by some one, and so on till we arrive at something uncreated. The Creator, then, being uncreated, is also wholly immutable. And what could this be other than Deity?

And even the very continuity of the creation, and its preservation and gover, teach us that there does exist a Deity, who supports and maintains and preserves and ever provides for this universe. For how(4) could opposite natures, such as fire and water, air and earth, have combined with each other so as to form one complete world, and continue to abide in indissoluble union, were there not some omnipotent power which bound them together and always is preserving them from dissolution?

What is it that gave order to things of heaven and things of earth, and all those things that move in the air and in the water, or rather to what was in existence before these, viz., to heaven and earth and air and the elements of fire and water? What(5) was it that mingled and distributed these? What was it that set these in motion and keeps them in their unceasing and unhindered course(6)? Was it not the Artificer of these things, and He Who hath implanted in everything the law whereby the universe is carried on and directed? Who then is the Artificer of these things? Is it not He Who created them and brought them into existence. For we shall not attribute such a power to the spontaneous(7). For, supposing their coming into existence was due to the spontaneous; what of the power that put all in orders(Cool ? And let us grant this, if you please. What of that which has preserved and kept them in harmony with the original laws of their existence(9) ? Clearly it is something quite distinct from the spontaneous(1).And what could this be other than Deity(2) ?

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« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2009, 02:43:26 AM »

the disciples of the Lord and His Apostles, made wise by the Holy Spirit and working wonders in His power and grace, took them captive in the net of miracles and drew them up out of the depths of ignorance
I don't think this means that miracles "prove" God's existence.
Exactly 14 years ago today in 1995, statues of Hindu gods around the world began to "drink" milk offered to them, and this phenomenon continued for a few days then suddenly stopped. This has come to be known as the "Hindu Milk Miracle". Is this "proof" of the existence of Ganesh, Durga, Shiva etc?
I think what St. John Damascene means is that Faith in the Living God in an inherent part of Human Nature and that the wonders the Apostles did was a condescension to help rewaken this inherent Faith which had become obscured by the work of the evil one. The miracles themselves do not "cause" Faith, nor should they. In support of this the Saint says: "the knowledge of the existence of God is implanted in us by nature", that is, Faith is natural to Human Nature, but "the wickedness of the Evil One has prevailed so mightily against man's nature as even to drive some into denying the existence of God", that is, the evil one has obscured what is natural to us (i.e. Faith), and "so the disciples of the Lord and His Apostles, made wise by the Holy Spirit and working wonders in His power and grace, took them captive in the net of miracles and drew them up out of the depths of ignorance to the light of the knowledge of God". So the miracles of the Apostles are the "nets" of the Fishermen with which to bring them to their senses and out of ignorance in order to rewaken that Faith which is natural to Man. If our Faith depends on miracles alone, we are doomed since the Antichrist will also work miracles and by them he will deceive many: "He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. " (Revelation 13:13-14)
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« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2009, 10:28:27 AM »

Papist, just being curious; are you having problems with your faith or are you just asking?
No. I am just wanted to see EO epistemology fleshed out. I personally believe that one can prove the existence of God through reason. I also believe that a good historical case can be built for the ressurrection of Jesus.

That being said, I am trying to develop a greater understanding of how EO's can come to believe that Christianity is true as opposed to other religion.

This all being said I know that there is a huge difference between human faith and the saving theological virtue of faith that God infuses into our souls. I think human faith can be aided by reason and developed based on the evidence. A person might believe in God because of a well developed version of St. Thomas Aquinas' proofs or from the evidence of nature. A person might believe that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead based on a historical investigation. This does not necessarily mean that a person is in  God's grace. I believe that supernatural/saving faith, on the other hand, is a gift from God, infused in our souls by the Holy Spirit in baptism. I think human faith coupled with reason can remove intellectual obstacles that might prevent us from receiving supernatural faith, and is thus is useful, but only God can give us the faith that saves.
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« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2009, 07:02:51 PM »

Papist, just being curious; are you having problems with your faith or are you just asking?
No. I am just wanted to see EO epistemology fleshed out. I personally believe that one can prove the existence of God through reason.

The Apostle Paul had the same problem with the men of Athens where Paul persuaded the philosophers and other "deep thinkers" of that time that the Unknown God came down to Earth as Jesus Christ.  Now, if you desire to use medieval philosophy to prove the existence of God, do you have a camel to put through an eye of the needle?   Wink

I also believe that a good historical case can be built for the ressurrection of Jesus.

OK.

That being said, I am trying to develop a greater understanding of how EO's can come to believe that Christianity is true as opposed to other religion.

Medieval Philosophy didn't make it to Constantinople with the daughters of the Holy Roman Emperors that the Byzantine Emperors married.  My focus is solely on what happened before 1054.   Sad

This all being said I know that there is a huge difference between human faith and the saving theological virtue of faith that God infuses into our souls. I think human faith can be aided by reason and developed based on the evidence. A person might believe in God because of a well developed version of St. Thomas Aquinas' proofs or from the evidence of nature. A person might believe that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead based on a historical investigation. This does not necessarily mean that a person is in  God's grace. I believe that supernatural/saving faith, on the other hand, is a gift from God, infused in our souls by the Holy Spirit in baptism. I think human faith coupled with reason can remove intellectual obstacles that might prevent us from receiving supernatural faith, and is thus is useful, but only God can give us the faith that saves.

What you said in the bolded statement sums up why Christianity is true.  There is a prayer during Holy Baptism (in Orthodoxy) which mentions the newly baptized being written in the Book of Life and ultimately the newly baptized person will be held accountable on Judgment Day.

Of course, I may have missed your entire point completely.  For that, I apologize.   angel
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« Reply #28 on: September 21, 2009, 07:23:47 PM »

Papist, just being curious; are you having problems with your faith or are you just asking?
No. I am just wanted to see EO epistemology fleshed out. I personally believe that one can prove the existence of God through reason.

The Apostle Paul had the same problem with the men of Athens where Paul persuaded the philosophers and other "deep thinkers" of that time that the Unknown God came down to Earth as Jesus Christ.  Now, if you desire to use medieval philosophy to prove the existence of God, do you have a camel to put through an eye of the needle?   Wink

I also believe that a good historical case can be built for the ressurrection of Jesus.

OK.

That being said, I am trying to develop a greater understanding of how EO's can come to believe that Christianity is true as opposed to other religion.

Medieval Philosophy didn't make it to Constantinople with the daughters of the Holy Roman Emperors that the Byzantine Emperors married.  My focus is solely on what happened before 1054.   Sad

This all being said I know that there is a huge difference between human faith and the saving theological virtue of faith that God infuses into our souls. I think human faith can be aided by reason and developed based on the evidence. A person might believe in God because of a well developed version of St. Thomas Aquinas' proofs or from the evidence of nature. A person might believe that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead based on a historical investigation. This does not necessarily mean that a person is in  God's grace. I believe that supernatural/saving faith, on the other hand, is a gift from God, infused in our souls by the Holy Spirit in baptism. I think human faith coupled with reason can remove intellectual obstacles that might prevent us from receiving supernatural faith, and is thus is useful, but only God can give us the faith that saves.

What you said in the bolded statement sums up why Christianity is true.  There is a prayer during Holy Baptism (in Orthodoxy) which mentions the newly baptized being written in the Book of Life and ultimately the newly baptized person will be held accountable on Judgment Day.

Of course, I may have missed your entire point completely.  For that, I apologize.   angel
Possibly. I didn't ask why Christianity is true. I asked how a person comes to know its true. As for medeval philosophy, St. Paul said that we can know that God exists based on the things that he made. St. Thomas' proofs are all reducible to this point.
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« Reply #29 on: September 21, 2009, 07:48:05 PM »

I didn't ask why Christianity is true. I asked how a person comes to know its true. As for medeval philosophy, St. Paul said that we can know that God exists based on the things that he made. St. Thomas' proofs are all reducible to this point.

I think we will know after we die. But otherwise - wouldn't absolute, rational knowledge make faith unnecessary? And wouldn't that be a loss? Not to be trite (I hope), but I think that experiencing faith is joyful, in a qualitatively different way from the way that gaining knowledge can be joyful.
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« Reply #30 on: September 21, 2009, 08:00:39 PM »

Possibly. I didn't ask why Christianity is true. I asked how a person comes to know its true. As for medeval philosophy, St. Paul said that we can know that God exists based on the things that he made. St. Thomas' proofs are all reducible to this point.
St. Paul did not say that we can know that God exists based on creation. What he said was that we can understand the Divine Energies and the Divine Nature from creation. Creation does not "prove" that God exists, but rather the logoi of created things reveal the Divine Nature and the Uncreated Energies, since the logoi of created things bear witness to The Logos. St. Paul says:
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His Eternal Power [Uncreated Energies] and Godhead [Divine Nature]; so that they are without excuse."  (Roman 1:20).
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« Reply #31 on: September 22, 2009, 02:09:15 PM »

Possibly. I didn't ask why Christianity is true. I asked how a person comes to know its true. As for medeval philosophy, St. Paul said that we can know that God exists based on the things that he made. St. Thomas' proofs are all reducible to this point.
St. Paul did not say that we can know that God exists based on creation. What he said was that we can understand the Divine Energies and the Divine Nature from creation. Creation does not "prove" that God exists, but rather the logoi of created things reveal the Divine Nature and the Uncreated Energies, since the logoi of created things bear witness to The Logos. St. Paul says:
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His Eternal Power [Uncreated Energies] and Godhead [Divine Nature]; so that they are without excuse."  (Roman 1:20).

I think you area stretching to avoid the clear indication of the passage. We are withoutexcuse because of the evidence of God in nature.
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« Reply #32 on: September 22, 2009, 04:11:06 PM »

I found this in St. John Dasmascus' work "An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith". It is from book one and in the section on the proof for the existence of God. Is it a good translation of the Saint's words?
"All things, that exist, are either created or uncreated. If, then, things are created, it follows that they are also wholly mutable. For things, whose existence originated in change, must also be subject to change, whether it be that they perish or that they become other than they are by act of will. But if things are uncreated they must in all consistency be also wholly immutable. For things which are opposed in the nature of their existence must also be opposed in the mode of their existence, that is to say, must have opposite properties: who, then, will refuse to grant that all existing things, not only such as come within the province of the senses, but even the very angels, are subject to change and transformation and movement of various kinds? For the things appertaining to the rational world, I mean angels and spirits and demons, are subject to changes of will, whether it is a progression or a retrogression in goodness, whether a struggle or a surrender; while the others suffer changes of generation and destruction, of increase and decrease, of quality and of movement in space. Things then that are mutable are also wholly created. But things that are created must be the work of some maker, and the maker cannot have been created. For if he had been created, he also must surely have been created by some one, and so on till we arrive at something uncreated. The Creator, then, being uncreated, is also wholly immutable. And what could this be other than Deity?"

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« Reply #33 on: September 22, 2009, 04:49:09 PM »

I just posted this above.  Is there a reason why you are re-posting it? 

I found this in St. John Dasmascus' work "An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith". It is from book one and in the section on the proof for the existence of God. Is it a good translation of the Saint's words?
"All things, that exist, are either created or uncreated. If, then, things are created, it follows that they are also wholly mutable. For things, whose existence originated in change, must also be subject to change, whether it be that they perish or that they become other than they are by act of will. But if things are uncreated they must in all consistency be also wholly immutable. For things which are opposed in the nature of their existence must also be opposed in the mode of their existence, that is to say, must have opposite properties: who, then, will refuse to grant that all existing things, not only such as come within the province of the senses, but even the very angels, are subject to change and transformation and movement of various kinds? For the things appertaining to the rational world, I mean angels and spirits and demons, are subject to changes of will, whether it is a progression or a retrogression in goodness, whether a struggle or a surrender; while the others suffer changes of generation and destruction, of increase and decrease, of quality and of movement in space. Things then that are mutable are also wholly created. But things that are created must be the work of some maker, and the maker cannot have been created. For if he had been created, he also must surely have been created by some one, and so on till we arrive at something uncreated. The Creator, then, being uncreated, is also wholly immutable. And what could this be other than Deity?"


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« Reply #34 on: September 22, 2009, 05:04:07 PM »

I simply quoted from St. John of Damascus.   I added no commentary.   I don't think St. John is offering it as "proof" either.   However, there are certainly signs that are those that can only be performed by the Lord.  For example, "And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.  Amen" (Mark. 16.19).  Perhaps not "proof," but rather "confirmation" as in Mark 16 is what St. John is suggesting of an already received word through faith?   As for the hindu "miracles," if the Psalms are correct (LXX), and that "gods of the nations are demons," then it is not surprising that they are rewarded by demons for continuing in cow-worship by the appearance of milk to keep them from the living God.   Then again, maybe it is a farce.   Either way, milk appearing cannot be likened to the healings performed by the Apostles, for example.   Even though we didn't "see" these Apostolic signs ourselves yet we behold them in the word, and faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  But I agree, not "proof," yet still maybe "confirmation" of that which is already established in faith is what is being suggested. 

the disciples of the Lord and His Apostles, made wise by the Holy Spirit and working wonders in His power and grace, took them captive in the net of miracles and drew them up out of the depths of ignorance
I don't think this means that miracles "prove" God's existence.
Exactly 14 years ago today in 1995, statues of Hindu gods around the world began to "drink" milk offered to them, and this phenomenon continued for a few days then suddenly stopped. This has come to be known as the "Hindu Milk Miracle". Is this "proof" of the existence of Ganesh, Durga, Shiva etc?
I think what St. John Damascene means is that Faith in the Living God in an inherent part of Human Nature and that the wonders the Apostles did was a condescension to help rewaken this inherent Faith which had become obscured by the work of the evil one. The miracles themselves do not "cause" Faith, nor should they. In support of this the Saint says: "the knowledge of the existence of God is implanted in us by nature", that is, Faith is natural to Human Nature, but "the wickedness of the Evil One has prevailed so mightily against man's nature as even to drive some into denying the existence of God", that is, the evil one has obscured what is natural to us (i.e. Faith), and "so the disciples of the Lord and His Apostles, made wise by the Holy Spirit and working wonders in His power and grace, took them captive in the net of miracles and drew them up out of the depths of ignorance to the light of the knowledge of God". So the miracles of the Apostles are the "nets" of the Fishermen with which to bring them to their senses and out of ignorance in order to rewaken that Faith which is natural to Man. If our Faith depends on miracles alone, we are doomed since the Antichrist will also work miracles and by them he will deceive many: "He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. " (Revelation 13:13-14)
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« Reply #35 on: September 22, 2009, 06:04:56 PM »

I just posted this above.  Is there a reason why you are re-posting it? 

I found this in St. John Dasmascus' work "An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith". It is from book one and in the section on the proof for the existence of God. Is it a good translation of the Saint's words?
"All things, that exist, are either created or uncreated. If, then, things are created, it follows that they are also wholly mutable. For things, whose existence originated in change, must also be subject to change, whether it be that they perish or that they become other than they are by act of will. But if things are uncreated they must in all consistency be also wholly immutable. For things which are opposed in the nature of their existence must also be opposed in the mode of their existence, that is to say, must have opposite properties: who, then, will refuse to grant that all existing things, not only such as come within the province of the senses, but even the very angels, are subject to change and transformation and movement of various kinds? For the things appertaining to the rational world, I mean angels and spirits and demons, are subject to changes of will, whether it is a progression or a retrogression in goodness, whether a struggle or a surrender; while the others suffer changes of generation and destruction, of increase and decrease, of quality and of movement in space. Things then that are mutable are also wholly created. But things that are created must be the work of some maker, and the maker cannot have been created. For if he had been created, he also must surely have been created by some one, and so on till we arrive at something uncreated. The Creator, then, being uncreated, is also wholly immutable. And what could this be other than Deity?"


Yes. If you read the first book, then it appears he is, in fact, trying to provide proof. I mean, I was reading through the first book and it looks like a rough outline of the first part of the Summa Theologica.
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« Reply #36 on: September 22, 2009, 06:05:13 PM »

I'm just gonna go back to the basics:

We read Scripture with eyes He makes to see; the veil is taken away and we see Him in every passage of Scripture as the promised One of God, our Savior, who was crucified and rose from the dead, according to those very same Scriptures.  Once one identifies one's Savior, one fully encounters Him in the breaking of the bread.

This entirely subjective experience, imo, is the only way one can know that Christianity is true.
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« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2009, 06:06:43 PM »

I'm just gonna go back to the basics:

We read Scripture with eyes He makes to see; the veil is taken away and we see Him in every passage of Scripture as the promised One of God, our Savior, who was crucified and rose from the dead, according to those very same Scriptures.  Once one identifies one's Savior, one fully encounters Him in the breaking of the bread.

This entirely subjective experience, imo, is the only way one can know that Christianity is true.
Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, etc. could all make the same claim of their religion.
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« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2009, 07:30:51 PM »

Wow. I've been reading St. John of Damascus and I'm blown away. I think I would like to have a study group that compares his work with the summa. This is cool stuff. I probably would not have stumbled upon his work if it hadn't been for this thread. Thanks guys.  Smiley
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« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2009, 07:45:12 PM »

I'm just gonna go back to the basics:

We read Scripture with eyes He makes to see; the veil is taken away and we see Him in every passage of Scripture as the promised One of God, our Savior, who was crucified and rose from the dead, according to those very same Scriptures.  Once one identifies one's Savior, one fully encounters Him in the breaking of the bread.

This entirely subjective experience, imo, is the only way one can know that Christianity is true.
Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, etc. could all make the same claim of their religion.

Well, not the same claim; Mormons could speak to the "burning in the bosom" experience upon reading the Book of Mormon, but I'm not sure if they have a eucharistic experience.  Muslims of course don't have the latter; I don't know enough about their view of the Quran to know if they can relate to the former experience via Scripture. As for Hindus and Buddhists, well, I'm not sure they could point to their holy writings, but they definitely can't point to a Eucharist, either.

You asked about Christ; I told you how Christ told us we could find Him.  That other faiths have similar (or, at best, similarly subjective) ways of encountering their "deities" has no bearing on the topic as stated.

Did you want to know about how Christianity can be proven to be true, thus negating all other faiths' claims?  That would be another matter.  To that, I would say the following:

Given that one must encounter Christ as I have stated above, there is not an objective way to prove conclusively that Christ is Truth and all other faiths lies (though this is, in fact, what I believe).
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« Reply #40 on: September 22, 2009, 07:49:20 PM »

A slightly different approach: Which of any major religions regards their supreme deity as Father? Only Christianity does. Consider the Lord's Prayer, and Romans 8:15.
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« Reply #41 on: September 22, 2009, 07:53:04 PM »

Not sure if this is the correct forum but I am curious as to how (from an EO perspective) a person comes to know that God exists and that Christianity is true?

I can only answer for myself so I would say........if God's energies are indeed true, then truth is not merely a matter of the mind and thinking about things/ideas.

If God's energies indeed permeate all things, then we can know God and thus Truth through actual experience........through actual interior emperical observation.









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« Reply #42 on: September 22, 2009, 07:53:17 PM »

Judaism? ('Cry abba, father')

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« Reply #43 on: September 22, 2009, 07:53:23 PM »

A slightly different approach: Which of any major religions regards their supreme deity as Father? Only Christianity does. Consider the Lord's Prayer, and Romans 8:15.

LBK,

But how does this prove that Christianity is true? Or that one can know God exists?
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« Reply #44 on: September 22, 2009, 08:02:17 PM »

According to wikipedia (that reliable resource), Sikhs also refer to God as father.
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