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Ortho_cat
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« on: March 12, 2011, 04:58:39 PM »

I have been discussing with some protestants lately about various topics and the terms "word of God" seem to be getting thrown around quite a bit. They refer to the bible or scripture as "word of God". Yet, we agree that Christ is the Word of God, "and the Word has become flesh". I guess I'm just looking for some Orthodox interpretation regarding this concept. Do we consider the 'word of God' (as pertains to scripture) and the "Word of God" to be related in some way? What is the relation?

Also, many protestants refer to scripture as being 'alive' and speaking to us. What do Orthodox say about such an idea?
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2011, 06:31:01 PM »

I have been discussing with some protestants lately about various topics and the terms "word of God" seem to be getting thrown around quite a bit. They refer to the bible or scripture as "word of God". Yet, we agree that Christ is the Word of God, "and the Word has become flesh". I guess I'm just looking for some Orthodox interpretation regarding this concept. Do we consider the 'word of God' (as pertains to scripture) and the "Word of God" to be related in some way? What is the relation?

The scripture (written word of God) is divinely inspired and reveals to us Christ (the Eternal Word of God).

Quote
Also, many protestants refer to scripture as being 'alive' and speaking to us. What do Orthodox say about such an idea?

It is and does through Holy Tradition.

The same Holy Spirit isn't going to reveal to St Ignatius that the Eucharist is the actual Body and Blood of Christ and obedience to a bishop in communion with all of the other bishops are essential elements of the Christian faith, while in another place and time revealing to a Baptist that the Lord's presence in the Eucharist and obedience to our bishops are contrary to the Christian faith.
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2011, 09:04:19 PM »

I have been discussing with some protestants lately about various topics and the terms "word of God" seem to be getting thrown around quite a bit. They refer to the bible or scripture as "word of God". Yet, we agree that Christ is the Word of God, "and the Word has become flesh". I guess I'm just looking for some Orthodox interpretation regarding this concept. Do we consider the 'word of God' (as pertains to scripture) and the "Word of God" to be related in some way? What is the relation?

Also, many protestants refer to scripture as being 'alive' and speaking to us. What do Orthodox say about such an idea?

But is he literal word of God? Can person's word be another person?

John 1:3 shows Word of God as an instrument, not a Creator, maybe this means something?

Isn't Christ non-literal word and wisdom of God? If he is, then God the Father doesn't have wisdom without Son, that will make him dependable, and yet we know he Himself is Auto-Theos and Fully God.

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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2011, 09:53:14 PM »

But is he literal word of God?

Yes.

Quote
Can person's word be another person?


In the Trinitarian understanding of God as having a Word eternally coming from Himself and a Spirit eternally proceeding from Himself, yes.

Quote
John 1:3 shows Word of God as an instrument, not a Creator, maybe this means something?

Yes, as it also says that the word was with God and was God.

Quote
Isn't Christ non-literal word and wisdom of God?

Christ is the actual Word and Wisdom of God.

Quote
If he is, then God the Father doesn't have wisdom without Son, that will make him dependable, and yet we know he Himself is Auto-Theos and Fully God.

God's Word comes from Himself, this does not make God dependable on anything outside of Himself. This is how God has revealed Himself to us, especially as we that God has revealed Himself as being love. If God is a strict loneness of Himself outside of creation, then that makes God dependable on us to be the love that He is. God being love in and of Himself shows us that God is Trinity.

God is love. Because of this, God must exist in three Persons to be perfect love. Love is focused on the other and not on the self.

If God is only one person, then God can only love Himself outside of creation. This sets God up to be selfish, which is not love, and creates a need for God to have something outside of Himself, which challenges God's self existence.

If God is only two persons, then one person loves the other receives back the love that is given. Giving something for the sake of receiving it right back in return might be focused on the other person, but is not completely free because that love can only be returned to the one who gave it, like a loan and not a gift.

If there is a third person, then one person can love the other two, and those two are free to share that love with one another as they return it to the one who gave it. This makes love a free gift to be shared, and completely selfless.

God must exist as a Trinity in order be perfect self existant love.
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2011, 10:37:13 PM »

I have been discussing with some protestants lately about various topics and the terms "word of God" seem to be getting thrown around quite a bit. They refer to the bible or scripture as "word of God". Yet, we agree that Christ is the Word of God, "and the Word has become flesh". I guess I'm just looking for some Orthodox interpretation regarding this concept. Do we consider the 'word of God' (as pertains to scripture) and the "Word of God" to be related in some way? What is the relation?

Scripture as the "word of God" is true, but it is limited, in the same way that the Atonement theory of salvation is true, but to a limited extent. Protestants take one aspect and run with it, while neglecting far more important things. It is far more important that Christ is the living Word of God, the divine Logos.

The problem is that many Protestants turn scripture into the Word of God, leading to things like practical atheism and bibliolatry. The Word of God is not a simple book, divine though it may be. The Word of God is a Person.

Also, many protestants refer to scripture as being 'alive' and speaking to us. What do Orthodox say about such an idea?

This is the idea that if I sit down and read the Bible, the Holy Spirit will speak through the text. Which is true, but it can't be taken in a "Just Me And Jesus" context, which of course is how most Protestants undertake this activity. In my personal experience, it's not so much about what Christ is trying to teach us, it's about "What it means to me." It's all based on one's personal conviction, and of course nobody can tell anyone else what it means.

When we want to have our own personal Jesus, we tend to create a false Jesus in our image, rather than us being remade in His image. (That was my experience as a Protestant anyway.)

John 1:3 shows Word of God as an instrument, not a Creator, maybe this means something?

Genesis 1 (which is what John 1 reflects) says the Word is the Creator, though. God speaks and things are created, which means the Word of God—Christ—is indeed the Creator.

This meaning is shown in icons of the Creation, which clearly shows the Word of God as Creator:



Isn't Christ non-literal word and wisdom of God? If he is, then God the Father doesn't have wisdom without Son, that will make him dependable, and yet we know he Himself is Auto-Theos and Fully God.

It depends what you mean by "God." If you mean the Trinity, then the Son is indeed the Wisdom of God. That does not mean the Father and Spirit have no attribute of Wisdom unto themselves, because the Trinity cannot be dissected in that way. The Trinity is one in essence and undivided. But Christ has been revealed as such, and since the Father is completely unknowable, we say this in a manner of speaking insofar as the Trinity has been revealed to us.

And yes, the Father is Autotheos and "God unto Himself", but that cannot be taken to the detriment of the Son and Holy Spirit, who are fully divine, fully God, all-wise, etc.
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2011, 10:47:21 PM »

Melodist

Quote
In the Trinitarian understanding of God as having a Word eternally coming from Himself and a Spirit eternally proceeding from Himself, yes.

Then why is God the Father only called Father and not something else, like - emanator of Spirit? If Father was always father in relation to the Son, don't we need other name regarding the Holy Spirit? Don't get me wrong please, I just want to understand this in depth.

Quote
Yes, as it also says that the word was with God and was God.

It says word was of Divine Nature and not the God himself. The Church Father Origen discusses the article well in his commentaries on John.

Quote
Christ is the actual Word and Wisdom of God.

So does God the Father have wisdom himself? Or son is his only wisdom?


Quote
God's Word comes from Himself, this does not make God dependable on anything outside of Himself. This is how God has revealed Himself to us, especially as we that God has revealed Himself as being love. If God is a strict loneness of Himself outside of creation, then that makes God dependable on us to be the love that He is. God being love in and of Himself shows us that God is Trinity.

God is love. Because of this, God must exist in three Persons to be perfect love. Love is focused on the other and not on the self.

If God is only one person, then God can only love Himself outside of creation. This sets God up to be selfish, which is not love, and creates a need for God to have something outside of Himself, which challenges God's self existence.

If God is only two persons, then one person loves the other receives back the love that is given. Giving something for the sake of receiving it right back in return might be focused on the other person, but is not completely free because that love can only be returned to the one who gave it, like a loan and not a gift.

If there is a third person, then one person can love the other two, and those two are free to share that love with one another as they return it to the one who gave it. This makes love a free gift to be shared, and completely selfless.

God must exist as a Trinity in order be perfect self existant love.


This is beautiful logic. Smiley Can you tell me who originated it? I first heard this from Catholic Priest against witness of Jehovah. I learned lot from these sectarians, although I got interested in Church History afterwards and lost connection with them. I never was sectarian, I am agnostic, unbeliever, though I am from Georgia and I am orthodox by baptism.

I have read all Arian letters that have been discovered and I know nearly everything about them. Their doctrine seems illogical by regarding Holy Spirit as creation and servant of God. As well as Catholic Filioque, which I never liked...

bogdan

Thank you for the answer.

The revelation 3:14 says Christ is "beginning of the creation of God" - which seems to divide him from being Creator God himself.

Does the Constantinopolean Creed say Holy Spirit is God? We all know that Lord means - master. And why aren't Son and Holy Spirit called - Allmighty? And what does Apostle Paul mean with 1 Corinthians 8:6, when he speaks of Father as the only God?

I just want to reach the Trinitarian idea from the scripture. Sad
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« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2011, 12:48:07 AM »

Melodist

Quote
In the Trinitarian understanding of God as having a Word eternally coming from Himself and a Spirit eternally proceeding from Himself, yes.

Then why is God the Father only called Father and not something else, like - emanator of Spirit? If Father was always father in relation to the Son, don't we need other name regarding the Holy Spirit? Don't get me wrong please, I just want to understand this in depth.

Because we relate to Him through His Son and become sons of Him by adoption through His Son Jesus Christ.

Quote
Quote
Yes, as it also says that the word was with God and was God.

It says word was of Divine Nature and not the God himself. The Church Father Origen discusses the article well in his commentaries on John.

I'm not familiar with Origen's commentary, but I do know that there are some ideas that are attributed to him that the Church rejects. While his methods of interpreting scripture have been extremely influential in the Church, the conclusions that he arrives at are not always. Being condemned in an ecumenical council, I don't believe that he is considered, at least by the Orthodox, to be a Church father. I do see him quoted occasionally, but I leave it to the discretian of those more educated than I am to discern where he articulated correct doctrine and where he didn't.

Quote
Quote
Christ is the actual Word and Wisdom of God.

So does God the Father have wisdom himself? Or son is his only wisdom?

The Son is the Wisdom of the Father.

Quote
Quote
God's Word comes from Himself, this does not make God dependable on anything outside of Himself. This is how God has revealed Himself to us, especially as we that God has revealed Himself as being love. If God is a strict loneness of Himself outside of creation, then that makes God dependable on us to be the love that He is. God being love in and of Himself shows us that God is Trinity.

God is love. Because of this, God must exist in three Persons to be perfect love. Love is focused on the other and not on the self.

If God is only one person, then God can only love Himself outside of creation. This sets God up to be selfish, which is not love, and creates a need for God to have something outside of Himself, which challenges God's self existence.

If God is only two persons, then one person loves the other receives back the love that is given. Giving something for the sake of receiving it right back in return might be focused on the other person, but is not completely free because that love can only be returned to the one who gave it, like a loan and not a gift.

If there is a third person, then one person can love the other two, and those two are free to share that love with one another as they return it to the one who gave it. This makes love a free gift to be shared, and completely selfless.

God must exist as a Trinity in order be perfect self existant love.


This is beautiful logic. Smiley Can you tell me who originated it?

I remember reading something like that in a book by Vladimir Lossky. I'm sure that he was not the first to articulate this. Even though I would say that while men may try to articulate this, we believe that it originates in God as he has revealed Himself to us.

Quote
I first heard this from Catholic Priest against witness of Jehovah. I learned lot from these sectarians, although I got interested in Church History afterwards and lost connection with them.

While they do believe in dressing modestly and being respectful to others, they believe many things that are not generally considered to Christian in the most general sense of the word. I really wouldn't consider them to be a reliable source of Christian doctrine.

Quote
I just want to reach the Trinitarian idea from the scripture. Sad

I will try to find a solid base for you to do this. I know you accept God as Father. I will try to find verses that relate the Son and the Holy Spirit to the Father as God and find things like being called "Lord" and other signs of being divine. I know it's there, it's just going to take some time to put it in good order for you.
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2011, 12:53:14 AM »

Quote
I just want to reach the Trinitarian idea from the scripture.

The three strangers at the Oak of Mamre.

The Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan.

The Transfiguration of the Lord.

Pentecost.

All in scripture. And they're not the only Trinitarian references.
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2011, 02:47:36 AM »

I guess I don't understand how the 'word of God' and the 'Word of God' can be the same thing. One is in a book, and the other is a person. Does this mean that he is literally present in his word, in a sacramental sense?
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2011, 10:29:51 AM »

I believe the Orthodox interpretation is it's God's love letter to us when it comes to "the Word of God".

Protestants on the other hand think it's infallible and innerant. So it's basically a Quran which is dangerous. I could point to a handful of people on the top of my head who lost their faith because the Bible wasn't perfect.
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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2011, 07:54:08 PM »

I guess I don't understand how the 'word of God' and the 'Word of God' can be the same thing. One is in a book, and the other is a person. Does this mean that he is literally present in his word, in a sacramental sense?

I've heard an anology made before comparing scripture to "a verbal icon". I don't believe Christ is present in scripture in quite the same manner that He is present in the Eucharist, but scripture does reveal Him to us and draw our attention to spiritual realities, and can bring us closer to Him. It is important enough to be worth making the central focus of half of the liturgy, and serves as the base for the hymns and prayers of the other half.
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« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2011, 08:50:04 PM »

I guess I don't understand how the 'word of God' and the 'Word of God' can be the same thing. One is in a book, and the other is a person. Does this mean that he is literally present in his word, in a sacramental sense?

I've heard an anology made before comparing scripture to "a verbal icon". I don't believe Christ is present in scripture in quite the same manner that He is present in the Eucharist, but scripture does reveal Him to us and draw our attention to spiritual realities, and can bring us closer to Him. It is important enough to be worth making the central focus of half of the liturgy, and serves as the base for the hymns and prayers of the other half.

I like the icon analogy. So it can be viewed as a written icon of the Word of God?
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« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2011, 08:57:37 PM »

I guess I don't understand how the 'word of God' and the 'Word of God' can be the same thing. One is in a book, and the other is a person. Does this mean that he is literally present in his word, in a sacramental sense?

I've heard an anology made before comparing scripture to "a verbal icon". I don't believe Christ is present in scripture in quite the same manner that He is present in the Eucharist, but scripture does reveal Him to us and draw our attention to spiritual realities, and can bring us closer to Him. It is important enough to be worth making the central focus of half of the liturgy, and serves as the base for the hymns and prayers of the other half.

I like the icon analogy. So it can be viewed as a written icon of the Word of God?

Many of the other-than-English speaking Orthodox are going to get a kick outta this one.

Not a put down, but a felicitous turn of language.
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« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2011, 04:39:06 PM »

Revisitting this subject, I did a quick survey of many of the Fathers and found in every instance that the phrase *Word of God* is used by them to refer to the Logos, the Son, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.  I could not find any instances where the Scriptures were referred to collectively as the "Word of God".  Do the Fathers *ever* refer to the Scriptures as the "Word of God"?  If so, please do provide quotes, sources, references, etc.
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« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2011, 04:45:33 PM »

I guess I don't understand how the 'word of God' and the 'Word of God' can be the same thing. One is in a book, and the other is a person. Does this mean that he is literally present in his word, in a sacramental sense?

They are not the same thing. Christ is not a collection of writings.

No, He is not present in Scripture in such a way, nor in the His name. That is the name-worshipping  heresy.
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« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2011, 04:48:52 PM »

Revisitting this subject, I did a quick survey of many of the Fathers and found in every instance that the phrase *Word of God* is used by them to refer to the Logos, the Son, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.  I could not find any instances where the Scriptures were referred to collectively as the "Word of God".  Do the Fathers *ever* refer to the Scriptures as the "Word of God"?  If so, please do provide quotes, sources, references, etc.

A good point. This is why it's important to use terms in the proper context, lest one be confused unnnecessarily.
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« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2011, 04:56:44 PM »

I've never read or heard of a Church Father calling the Scriptures the "word of God" since this is a title very uniquely tied to the Son. However, I don't think there is anything inherently wrong in calling the Scriptures that, as they, especially the Gospels, are an icon (in word form) of Christ. Although, I usually do not call them such anymore.
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