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Quinault
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« on: November 22, 2009, 06:30:08 PM »

My husband should be home on Wednesday. But he wanted to discuss a couple questions he had while in Afghanistan and I thought I would start the questions so that by the time he can get on here the discussion will already be going (hopefully). He will be speaking with our priest on Saturday about these two questions, but I thought that he could have an interesting discussion on here as well.


Humanity has been around a long time. Why did Christ come only so recently?


Why are so many of the symbols associated with the Theotokos also associated with various pagan gods? (I apologize for being vague about which pagan gods, I forgot which ones he mentioned)


« Last Edit: November 22, 2009, 06:43:06 PM by Quinault » Logged
ozgeorge
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« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2009, 06:55:03 PM »

Humanity has been around a long time. Why did Christ come only so recently?
Christ was always there from the begining. Here's a picture to prove it:


Why are so many of the symbols associated with the Theotokos also associated with various pagan gods?
What symbols? Virginity is not a symbol. Womanhood is not a symbol. Motherhood is not a symbol.
The only symbol I can think of are the three stars on her shoulders and forehead in her Icons representing the Trinity and her virginity (before, during and after giving birth), but I don't think any  pagan god is associated with these.
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« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2009, 07:30:56 PM »

Humanity has been around a long time. Why did Christ come only so recently?

St. Paul says that Christ came 'in the fullness of time'. There's a fair amount of Patristic ink spent on what that means, certainly more than can be covered in a message board post, but the short form is along the lines of 'human religious development'. God chose out Abraham and then throughout the Old Testament worked to bring them to a level that when Christ did come at least some of them would be prepared to accept His message and carry it to the rest of the world.

And by some of them, many Fathers specifically emphasize the Theotokos, the very best that humanity had to offer God as His mother.
(or in other words, even shorter form, Christ came when He did because that's when His mother lived--He may be unbounded by time and capable of Incarnating at any point in time, but as His mother was to be human, she was a specific person living in a specific time and place).



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Why are so many of the symbols associated with the Theotokos also associated with various pagan gods? (I apologize for being vague about which pagan gods, I forgot which ones he mentioned)

Like Ozgeorge, I'd have to know what symbols to be able to respond because nothing in particular spring to mind.

I will say more generally, that the Church did not have a problem borrowing symbols and language from the cultures it encountered when doing so helped to communicate the Christian message--as one example, when the Church chose to set the Feast of the Nativity on the day of the Winter solstice. The Fathers were perfectly aware of the pagan significance of the date, and appropriated the day because that symbolism was compatible with the reality of what Christ's birth meant.
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« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2009, 07:33:41 PM »

Humanity has been around a long time. Why did Christ come only so recently?
Christ was always there from the begining. Here's a picture to prove it:



I'm convinced! Smiley  We have this icon in our baptistery area.
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ytterbiumanalyst
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« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2009, 09:04:54 PM »

I'm convinced! Smiley  We have this icon in our baptistery area.
That's a good place for it.

"...all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death" (Romans 6:3).

"...death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many" (Romans 5:14-15).
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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2009, 01:34:50 AM »


Humanity has been around a long time. Why did Christ come only so recently?

According to Eusebius and a number of other early Christian historians, Christ came only when the Roman Empire had political dominance over the known world and thus the peace that ensued would allow for the Gospel to be spread unhindered by wars and such.  Thus Eusebius and Tertullian among others had to justify the existence of the Roman Empire and therefore its persecutions because, in their mind, it worked out for Christ's Gospel.
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2009, 11:52:36 AM »

This may be my former Protestant mind coming out...as I've never actually studied the Orthodox view of whether the Christ has always been there or not - but from what I understand, in the beginning, Christ was essentially "The Word".  He was there from the beginning and will always be here.  However, in the realm of humanity, Christ became man at the fullness of time.  In the human sense of time, there were things that needed to happen before humanity was ready to encounter Jesus as a human (both 100% human and 100% divine).  So Christ, the Word, has been here always.  Christ Incarnate came later...at the time necessary and right.

Come to think of it, though...God's version of time is very different than human's.  Perhaps the Christ Incarnate has in the heavenly version of time been here always, but in the human version only been here for the past ~2000 years?  I'll watch this thread for more information...
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2009, 06:08:30 PM »

I think Christ's timing was just perfect.
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