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elijahmaria
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« on: May 17, 2010, 02:39:48 PM »

Can anyone tell me if this is Orthodox teaching?

++++++++++++++++++++++++

http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/5_1#CONSEQUENCES_OF_ADAM%E2%80%99S_SIN

PRIMORDIAL HUMANITY BEFORE THE FALL

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

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

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

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

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

THE FALL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONSEQUENCES OF ADAM’S SIN

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

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

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

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

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

From a rational point of view, to punish the entire human race for Adam’s sin is an injustice. But not a single Christian dogma has ever been fully comprehended by reason. Religion within the bounds of reason is not religion but naked rationalism, for religion is supra-rational, supra-logical. The doctrine of original sin is disclosed in the light of divine revelation and acquires meaning with reference to the dogma of the atonement of humanity through the New Adam, Christ: ‘...As one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous... so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Rom.5:18-21).
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elijahmaria
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2010, 02:44:23 PM »

Can anyone tell me if this is Orthodox teaching?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

http://www.gocanada.org/catechism/catorsin.htm


Original Sin And Its Consequences

The disobedience and transgression of Adam and Eve is called Original Sin. What happened? As we have previously said, God gave Adam and Eve permission to eat the fruit of all trees except the fruit of the tree "of the knowledge of good and evil." Here is what the Bible says: "You may freely eat of every tree of the Garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die"(Genesis 2:16-17). In other words, God said to Adam and to Eve, "You may eat the fruit of all of the trees that are in the Garden and that are edible; it is only the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that you should not eat. On the day that you do eat it, you shall die."

A guilty person wants an accomplice. Satan, who had been an angel and had disobeyed God, becoming Satan, felt guilty and terribly alone. He could keep company only with the other Satans, the demons. His nature had been perverted; he was unable and is unable ever to think about goodness. He always thinks and desires evil. He always seeks evil for others. He was jealous of man. He saw that he was so very happy in Paradise in the company of God. So he put his evil plans into action. As the spirit that he is, he entered the body of a snake. Then he climbed the tree of "the knowledge of good and evil." He waited there. Eve came and peered at the tree. Satan intruded upon her curiosity. He asked her, "Tell me, Eve, is it true that God told you not to eat the fruit of all of the trees?" Eve answered, "No. He told us to eat the fruit of all the trees except the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because if we did we would die." The serpent said, "You shall not die. God knows that on the day that you eat of that fruit, your eyes will open and you will become as gods. You will know good and evil." Eve liked Satan's sweet and slanderous words. She stretched out her hand. She took a fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She ate some, and she also gave some to her mate, Adam. They ate together. Immediately, "their eyes were opened" and they realized that they were naked (Genesis 3:1-7).

Because many people say that the Bible is being metaphorical and that by the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil the Bible refers to the sexual relationship of Adam and Eve, we repeat here that this is not true. God had decreed the sexual relationship of Adam and Eve when he told them to "increase and multiply." Then what shall we say is the original sin? It is the denunciation of God. If you will, it is the attempt of man to disenthrone God and to enthrone himself in His place, to become God in the place of God. It is not merely that he ate fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. St. John Chrysostom says about Eve, "She was filled with grandiose imaginings, hoping to be equal to God." Hoping to be equal to God, she lost her senses.

That is original sin. And its consequences? A.) Spiritual death. That is, the separation of man from God, the source of all goodness. B.) Bodily death. That is, the separation of the body from the soul, the return of the body to the earth. C.) The shattering and distortion of the "image." That is, darkness of mind, depravity and corruption of the heart, loss of independence, loss of free will, and tendency towards evil. Since then "the imagination of man's heart is evil "(Genesis 8:21). Man constantly thinks of evil. D.) Guilt. That is, a bad conscience, the shame that made him want to hide from God. E.) Worst of all, original sin is hereditary. It did not remain only Adam and Eve's. As life passes from them to all of their descendants, so does original sin. We all of us participate in original sin because we are all descended from the same forefather, Adam. This creates a problem for many people. They ask, Why should we be responsible for the actions of Adam and Eve? Why should we have to pay for the sins of our parents? they say. Unfortunately, this is so, because the consequence of original sin is the distortion of the nature of man. Of course, this is unexplainable and belongs to the realm of mystery, but we can give one example to make it somewhat better understood. Let us say that you have a wild orange tree, from which you make a graft. You will get domesticated oranges, but the root will still be that of the wild orange tree. To have wild oranges again, you must regraft the tree. This is what Christ came for and achieved for fallen man, as we shall see in the following sections.

Our Creator and Maker, ours is the fault. Adam and Eve, listening to Satan, blasphemed. Out of egotism, they allowed themselves to be misled. They distorted the "image." They darkened the beauty of the soul. They weakened the nature of mankind. Because of them, we became unrecognizable. "The imagination of our heart is evil." We constantly think of evil. We feel so guilty. We are so far away from You. We have been grafted to evil. We have lost our self-control and our free will to do good. We thank You for Your love, and for sending Your Only-begotten Son to regraft us to goodness. For giving us the possibility of returning to You. You, Lord "want every man to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." Do not deprive us of this. Do not deprive anyone of salvation. We thank You Lord.

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elijahmaria
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2010, 08:44:56 PM »

People here seem quick to tell me about what the Catholic Church teaches concerning original sin, so it is curious to me that I can't find anyone to tell me if this catechetical teaching is actually Orthodox?

M.

Can anyone tell me if this is Orthodox teaching?

++++++++++++++++++++++++

http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/5_1#CONSEQUENCES_OF_ADAM%E2%80%99S_SIN

PRIMORDIAL HUMANITY BEFORE THE FALL

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

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

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

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

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

THE FALL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONSEQUENCES OF ADAM’S SIN

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

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

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

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

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

From a rational point of view, to punish the entire human race for Adam’s sin is an injustice. But not a single Christian dogma has ever been fully comprehended by reason. Religion within the bounds of reason is not religion but naked rationalism, for religion is supra-rational, supra-logical. The doctrine of original sin is disclosed in the light of divine revelation and acquires meaning with reference to the dogma of the atonement of humanity through the New Adam, Christ: ‘...As one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous... so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Rom.5:18-21).
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2010, 09:06:08 PM »

The first one doesn't appear to me to be unorthodox... provided it's understood in an Orthodox context.  police
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tgild
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2010, 09:10:40 PM »

People here seem quick to tell me about what the Catholic Church teaches concerning original sin, so it is curious to me that I can't find anyone to tell me if this catechetical teaching is actually Orthodox?

M.

Demanding, demanding. Nothing really jumps out at me as being way off, but I did raise an eyebrow over some things at the end.
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elijahmaria
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2010, 09:43:58 PM »

People here seem quick to tell me about what the Catholic Church teaches concerning original sin, so it is curious to me that I can't find anyone to tell me if this catechetical teaching is actually Orthodox?

M.

Demanding, demanding. Nothing really jumps out at me as being way off, but I did raise an eyebrow over some things at the end.

Heh!...I actually do appreciate your meeting the "demand"...

Yes.  I was thinking that those last paragraphs would give some people pause.  It is not an unheard of teaching in Orthodoxy but it is not one that is common today.  So I was hoping to get a few of the folks here to tell me what they think, or recognize or not.

No trick question.  I use his text to catechize eastern Catholics, so I was curious how the Orthodox respond to his book.

Mary
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2010, 09:44:29 PM »

The first one doesn't appear to me to be unorthodox... provided it's understood in an Orthodox context.  police

Can you give me specifics?

Mary
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2010, 10:04:47 PM »

People here seem quick to tell me about what the Catholic Church teaches concerning original sin, so it is curious to me that I can't find anyone to tell me if this catechetical teaching is actually Orthodox?

M.

Demanding, demanding. Nothing really jumps out at me as being way off, but I did raise an eyebrow over some things at the end.

Heh!...I actually do appreciate your meeting the "demand"...

Yes.  I was thinking that those last paragraphs would give some people pause.  It is not an unheard of teaching in Orthodoxy but it is not one that is common today.  So I was hoping to get a few of the folks here to tell me what they think, or recognize or not.

No trick question.  I use his text to catechize eastern Catholics, so I was curious how the Orthodox respond to his book.

Mary

"From a rational point of view, to punish the entire human race for Adam’s sin is an injustice."

This sentence is where my main issue lies, as it contradicts the Metropolitan's other teachings on the matter.

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« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2010, 12:16:59 AM »

Dear Elijahmaria,

You have asked us to compare it with "the age old Catholic teaching of original sin."  So before we can proceed, you will need to define that for us.
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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2010, 08:11:11 AM »

People here seem quick to tell me about what the Catholic Church teaches concerning original sin, so it is curious to me that I can't find anyone to tell me if this catechetical teaching is actually Orthodox?

M.

Demanding, demanding. Nothing really jumps out at me as being way off, but I did raise an eyebrow over some things at the end.

Heh!...I actually do appreciate your meeting the "demand"...

Yes.  I was thinking that those last paragraphs would give some people pause.  It is not an unheard of teaching in Orthodoxy but it is not one that is common today.  So I was hoping to get a few of the folks here to tell me what they think, or recognize or not.

No trick question.  I use his text to catechize eastern Catholics, so I was curious how the Orthodox respond to his book.

Mary

"From a rational point of view, to punish the entire human race for Adam’s sin is an injustice."

This sentence is where my main issue lies, as it contradicts the Metropolitan's other teachings on the matter.



Can you be more specific please?  I would have to presume too much to just respond to what you've said.

Mary
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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2010, 08:12:27 AM »

Dear Elijahmaria,

You have asked us to compare it with "the age old Catholic teaching of original sin."  So before we can proceed, you will need to define that for us.


I can do that at some point but I'd really like to get a response to the teaching offered by Metropolitan Hilarion.

M.
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2010, 08:26:55 AM »

Dear Elijahmaria,

You have asked us to compare it with "the age old Catholic teaching of original sin."  So before we can proceed, you will need to define that for us.


I can do that at some point but I'd really like to get a response to the teaching offered by Metropolitan Hilarion.

M.

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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2010, 08:47:24 AM »

Perhaps my initial question was too open ended and this inquiry has the wrong header I fear and is probably in the wrong room.  However I will try again and be more specific.

I am told here that Orthodoxy teaches that all human beings are immaculately conceived.

Can you tell me, based on the teaching that all human beings are immaculately conceived,  how this teaching then of Metropolitan Hilaron is not heretical?  I have highlighted the pertinent text below.

Mary

http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/5_1#CONSEQUENCES_OF_ADAM%E2%80%99S_SIN

PRIMORDIAL HUMANITY BEFORE THE FALL

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

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

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

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

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

THE FALL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONSEQUENCES OF ADAM’S SIN

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

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

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

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

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

From a rational point of view, to punish the entire human race for Adam’s sin is an injustice. But not a single Christian dogma has ever been fully comprehended by reason. Religion within the bounds of reason is not religion but naked rationalism, for religion is supra-rational, supra-logical. The doctrine of original sin is disclosed in the light of divine revelation and acquires meaning with reference to the dogma of the atonement of humanity through the New Adam, Christ: ‘...As one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous... so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Rom.5:18-21).
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« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2010, 08:59:56 AM »


Perhaps my initial question was too open ended and this inquiry has the wrong header I fear and is probably in the wrong room.  However I will try again and be more specific.

I am told here that Orthodoxy teaches that all human beings are immaculately conceived.


Grief!  That all members of the human race have the merits of Christ on the Cross applied to them at the moment of conception?!  Would that not do away with the need for Baptism?

Mary, I think they're pulling your leg.   laugh
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« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2010, 09:22:33 AM »


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

I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?
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« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2010, 09:56:03 AM »


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


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary
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« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2010, 10:18:04 AM »


Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....

I'd have to say that the "Orthodox" with whom you associate are like no Orthodox I have encountered anywhere on the planet.  But it does help to explain many of the unusual things and the misunderstandings on other threads where you attempt to engage the Orthodox.
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« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2010, 10:24:49 AM »


Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....

I'd have to say that the "Orthodox" with whom you associate are like no Orthodox I have encountered anywhere on the planet.  But it does help to explain many of the unusual things and the misunderstandings on other threads where you attempt to engage the Orthodox.

That is an curious comment Father since we tend to interact with said Orthodox in many of the same venues and I know I've never seen you correct that assertion at any time until now.

Mary
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« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2010, 10:27:43 AM »


Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....

I'd have to say that the "Orthodox" with whom you associate are like no Orthodox I have encountered anywhere on the planet.  But it does help to explain many of the unusual things and the misunderstandings on other threads where you attempt to engage the Orthodox.

That is an curious comment Father since we tend to interact with said Orthodox in many of the same venues and I know I've never seen you correct that assertion at any time until now.

Mary

Mary,

I have never encountered, anywhere, the contention that humans are immaculately conceived. That is something I would remember, not least because I would have spent half an hour laughing.   laugh laugh
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« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2010, 10:33:26 AM »

I have never encountered, anywhere, the contention that humans are immaculately conceived. That is something I would remember, not least because I would have spent half an hour laughing.   laugh laugh

I must say---I have never heard of such a teaching in Orthodox circles.  Huh
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« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2010, 10:43:28 AM »


Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....

I'd have to say that the "Orthodox" with whom you associate are like no Orthodox I have encountered anywhere on the planet.  But it does help to explain many of the unusual things and the misunderstandings on other threads where you attempt to engage the Orthodox.

That is an curious comment Father since we tend to interact with said Orthodox in many of the same venues and I know I've never seen you correct that assertion at any time until now.

Mary
What does it mean to be immaculately conceived, in Catholic theology? It seems to mean, among other things, to be conceived without having to die.

Thus, from what I've read, Catholics believe that Mary was conceived in such a way that she did not have to die. However, a Catholic may believe that Mary did die, from her own free choice to follow her Son's example.

My understanding is that the Orthodox, however, do not believe that anyone, other than Christ, is conceived in such a way that he or she is free from the necessity of dying.
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« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2010, 10:47:41 AM »

Thank you both for this clarification.  I will keep it in mind and note the references. 

Can you then answer the question as I ask it finally below then?

How does the teaching by Archbishop Hilarion comport with the Orthodox teaching that mankind is not conceived with any stain of original sin?

Mary


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


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary
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« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2010, 10:50:37 AM »

I am told here that Orthodoxy teaches that all human beings are immaculately conceived.

Where on earth did you get this from?

Oh, now I get it! this must be the elusive Orthodox teaching of the immaculate conception of the Mother of God - we're ALL conceived immaculately, so, therefore, so was she!  laugh laugh laugh

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« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2010, 10:55:32 AM »

Bump

Thank you both for this clarification.  I will keep it in mind and note the references. 

Can you then answer the question as I ask it finally below then?

How does the teaching by Archbishop Hilarion comport with the Orthodox teaching that mankind is not conceived with any stain of original sin?

Mary


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


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary
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« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2010, 11:05:17 AM »

Thank you both for this clarification.  I will keep it in mind and note the references. 

Can you then answer the question as I ask it finally below then?

How does the teaching by Archbishop Hilarion comport with the Orthodox teaching that mankind is not conceived with any stain of original sin?

Mary


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


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary

You'll need to offer your definition of "stain."

But I would think that the general teaching of the Orthodox is that the "stain" of ancestral sin bequeaths to us a distortion of our human nature - the distortion includes a weakening of the will, a darkening of the intellect, an inclination for disordered pleasure, sickness, physical death.

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« Reply #25 on: May 26, 2010, 11:11:34 AM »

Thank you both for this clarification.  I will keep it in mind and note the references. 

Can you then answer the question as I ask it finally below then?

How does the teaching by Archbishop Hilarion comport with the Orthodox teaching that mankind is not conceived with any stain of original sin?

Mary


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


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary

You'll need to offer your definition of "stain."

But I would think that the general teaching of the Orthodox is that the "stain" of ancestral sin bequeaths to us a distortion of our human nature - the distortion includes a weakening of the will, a darkening of the intellect, an inclination for disordered pleasure, sickness, physical death.

By this it would seem to me that there is no conflict between Catholic teaching and Orthodox teaching on Original Sin.

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« Reply #26 on: May 26, 2010, 11:18:34 AM »

Thank you both for this clarification.  I will keep it in mind and note the references. 

Can you then answer the question as I ask it finally below then?

How does the teaching by Archbishop Hilarion comport with the Orthodox teaching that mankind is not conceived with any stain of original sin?

Mary


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


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary

You'll need to offer your definition of "stain."

But I would think that the general teaching of the Orthodox is that the "stain" of ancestral sin bequeaths to us a distortion of our human nature - the distortion includes a weakening of the will, a darkening of the intellect, an inclination for disordered pleasure, sickness, physical death.

By this it would seem to me that there is no conflict between Catholic teaching and Orthodox teaching on Original Sin.



Such being the case, it is immediately apparent why the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is nonsensical.

Unless of course, Pope Pius IX had his own differing definition of original sin?
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« Reply #27 on: May 26, 2010, 11:29:59 AM »

Thank you both for this clarification.  I will keep it in mind and note the references. 

Can you then answer the question as I ask it finally below then?

How does the teaching by Archbishop Hilarion comport with the Orthodox teaching that mankind is not conceived with any stain of original sin?

Mary


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


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary

You'll need to offer your definition of "stain."

But I would think that the general teaching of the Orthodox is that the "stain" of ancestral sin bequeaths to us a distortion of our human nature - the distortion includes a weakening of the will, a darkening of the intellect, an inclination for disordered pleasure, sickness, physical death.

By this it would seem to me that there is no conflict between Catholic teaching and Orthodox teaching on Original Sin.



Such being the case, it is immediately apparent why the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is nonsensical.

Unless of course, Pope Pius IX had his own differing definition of original sin?

The other possibility is, of course, that you do not comprehend the teaching.

Mary
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« Reply #28 on: May 26, 2010, 11:35:11 AM »

Thank you both for this clarification.  I will keep it in mind and note the references. 

Can you then answer the question as I ask it finally below then?

How does the teaching by Archbishop Hilarion comport with the Orthodox teaching that mankind is not conceived with any stain of original sin?

Mary


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


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary

You'll need to offer your definition of "stain."

But I would think that the general teaching of the Orthodox is that the "stain" of ancestral sin bequeaths to us a distortion of our human nature - the distortion includes a weakening of the will, a darkening of the intellect, an inclination for disordered pleasure, sickness, physical death.

By this it would seem to me that there is no conflict between Catholic teaching and Orthodox teaching on Original Sin.



Such being the case, it is immediately apparent why the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is nonsensical.

Unless of course, Pope Pius IX had his own differing definition of original sin?

The other possibility is, of course, that you do not comprehend the teaching.

Mary

Huh!?  You have just said that our teachings are identical?!

Do you wish to change that?
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« Reply #29 on: May 26, 2010, 11:42:54 AM »

Thank you both for this clarification.  I will keep it in mind and note the references.  

Can you then answer the question as I ask it finally below then?

How does the teaching by Archbishop Hilarion comport with the Orthodox teaching that mankind is not conceived with any stain of original sin?

Mary


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


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary

You'll need to offer your definition of "stain."

But I would think that the general teaching of the Orthodox is that the "stain" of ancestral sin bequeaths to us a distortion of our human nature - the distortion includes a weakening of the will, a darkening of the intellect, an inclination for disordered pleasure, sickness, physical death.

By this it would seem to me that there is no conflict between Catholic teaching and Orthodox teaching on Original Sin.



Such being the case, it is immediately apparent why the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is nonsensical.

Unless of course, Pope Pius IX had his own differing definition of original sin?

The other possibility is, of course, that you do not comprehend the teaching.

Mary

Huh!?  You have just said that our teachings are identical?!

Do you wish to change that?

Apparently there is a disconnect somewhere because I do not see any conflict between the teaching on original sin offered by Bishop Hilarion and the teaching of the Immaculate Conception.

You and Father Kimel seem to me to think there is some kind of inherent conflict between the Orthodox teaching on Original Sin and the Catholic teaching of the Immaculate Conception.  

Father Kimel has asserted, it seems to me, that there is some scholastic teaching, of which I am unaware, upon which the Immaculate Conception doctrinally depends that is in conflict with or different from Orthodox teaching on Original Sin.

Using the very clear teaching by Archbishop Hilarion, I hope that either one of both of you can demonstrate the inherent conflict and the alternative basis for the teaching of the Immaculate Conception.

Mary
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« Reply #30 on: May 26, 2010, 11:55:12 AM »

Fr Kimel is Byzantine Catholic, right? elijahmaria is Byzantine Catholic, right? Two Byzantine Catholics, one a priest, the other a learned laywoman, disagree on their church's teaching and definition on Original Sin, right?

Seems to me both can't be right. So, for the purposes of continuing a meaningful discussion, would it not make sense for these two to sort out their differences, so that the rest of us have a chance to compare apples with apples, not with oranges?  Smiley
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« Reply #31 on: May 26, 2010, 12:12:17 PM »

Father Kimel is a Roman Catholic (Latin Rite) priest.
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« Reply #32 on: May 26, 2010, 12:23:37 PM »

Thanks for the correction.  Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: May 26, 2010, 12:25:00 PM »

Fr Kimel is Byzantine Catholic, right? elijahmaria is Byzantine Catholic, right? Two Byzantine Catholics, one a priest, the other a learned laywoman, disagree on their church's teaching and definition on Original Sin, right?

Seems to me both can't be right. So, for the purposes of continuing a meaningful discussion, would it not make sense for these two to sort out their differences, so that the rest of us have a chance to compare apples with apples, not with oranges?  Smiley

Dear LBK,

I apologize for the frustration we cause you, and especially for my part in it of course.

Father Al is not a Byzantine Catholic.  But I am not sure that is entirely significant.  Father Al certainly presents a perspective on the Church and formal teaching that is significantly different in focus and emphasis from the one that I have learned over the decades, but I am not entirely sure that he and I are entirely at odds.

Perhaps this is an opportunity for us to explore those perspectives, I don't know with any certainty but I am hopeful.

I beg your patience, and commend to your consideration the following document so that you may see the font of wisdom from which I take my perspective on the Schola Theologorum.  It is not too far apart from the natural and healthy Orthodox caution against placing ratio/reason above divine illumination.  It would please me to discuss the document in another thread with you, if you find anything worthy of discussion.

Please know that I don't dislike you at all.  We've clashed and may clash again but I bear no animus and certainly do not see you as some sort of misguided dumbell!!...sometimes stubborn yes...but that would be the worst of it.  You really are working to see and I respect that.

Mary

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19900524_theologian-vocation_en.html
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« Reply #34 on: May 26, 2010, 03:55:35 PM »

Father Al certainly presents a perspective on the Church and formal teaching that is significantly different in focus and emphasis from the one that I have learned over the decades, but I am not entirely sure that he and I are entirely at odds.

Actually, Mary, I don't think we are very much at odds at all.  I'm not sure why you think that we are.  I have attempted to explain in an earlier comment my fallible, and therefore provisional, understanding of why I believe that the 19th century dogma of the Immaculate Conception presupposes 2nd millennium scholastic understandings of grace and original sin.  I do not believe that what I have written is particularly controversial from a Catholic point of view.  After all, most 19th century Catholic theologians were scholastics of various sorts.  This doesn't mean that the core meaning of the dogma cannot be translated into other conceptualities.  I have quoted Karl Rahner and Edward Yarnold precisely for that purpose.  But it does mean that historical exegesis of the IC dogma must take into account the scholastic understandings of grace and original sin that were prevalent in the 19th century.  For example:  if Pius IX, following post-Tridentine scholastics, understood original sin as the privation of sanctifying grace, then it would be improper to read back into the dogma a 5th century Augustinian understanding of original sin.  Indeed, this is precisely what so many Orthodox and Protestant critics of the IC dogma seem to want to do.  The dogma must be understood in its 19th century terms.  Only then can we proceed to identify its trans-cultural, trans-historical dogmatic significance. 

The translation of the Immaculate Conception into terms comprehensible in non-scholastic theological systems is neither easy nor obvious.  You and I both agree that Catholic theology classically describes original sin as the privation of sanctifying grace, but the scholastic category of sanctifying grace is itself a product of 2nd millennium Western theological reflection.  It is by no means clear how one translates the notion into terms comprehensible to Eastern theologians who operate within a theological system like Gregory Palamas's that distinguishes between the uncreated being and uncreated energies of God.  Within Palamite theology, the scholastic construal of sanctifying grace as a "created gift of God which inheres in the soul as a perduring reality that perfects the spirit of man" (John Hardon, History and Theology of Grace, p. 137) may not make much immediate sense.  So how does one talk about the privation of sanctifying grace within an Eastern framework?  Will you not agree that there is a problem and challenge here?     



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« Reply #35 on: May 26, 2010, 05:57:49 PM »

Father Al certainly presents a perspective on the Church and formal teaching that is significantly different in focus and emphasis from the one that I have learned over the decades, but I am not entirely sure that he and I are entirely at odds.

Actually, Mary, I don't think we are very much at odds at all.  I'm not sure why you think that we are.  I have attempted to explain in an earlier comment my fallible, and therefore provisional, understanding of why I believe that the 19th century dogma of the Immaculate Conception presupposes 2nd millennium scholastic understandings of grace and original sin.  I do not believe that what I have written is particularly controversial from a Catholic point of view.  After all, most 19th century Catholic theologians were scholastics of various sorts.  This doesn't mean that the core meaning of the dogma cannot be translated into other conceptualities.  I have quoted Karl Rahner and Edward Yarnold precisely for that purpose.  But it does mean that historical exegesis of the IC dogma must take into account the scholastic understandings of grace and original sin that were prevalent in the 19th century.  For example:  if Pius IX, following post-Tridentine scholastics, understood original sin as the privation of sanctifying grace, then it would be improper to read back into the dogma a 5th century Augustinian understanding of original sin.  Indeed, this is precisely what so many Orthodox and Protestant critics of the IC dogma seem to want to do.  The dogma must be understood in its 19th century terms.  Only then can we proceed to identify its trans-cultural, trans-historical dogmatic significance. 

The translation of the Immaculate Conception into terms comprehensible in non-scholastic theological systems is neither easy nor obvious.  You and I both agree that Catholic theology classically describes original sin as the privation of sanctifying grace, but the scholastic category of sanctifying grace is itself a product of 2nd millennium Western theological reflection.  It is by no means clear how one translates the notion into terms comprehensible to Eastern theologians who operate within a theological system like Gregory Palamas's that distinguishes between the uncreated being and uncreated energies of God.  Within Palamite theology, the scholastic construal of sanctifying grace as a "created gift of God which inheres in the soul as a perduring reality that perfects the spirit of man" (John Hardon, History and Theology of Grace, p. 137) may not make much immediate sense.  So how does one talk about the privation of sanctifying grace within an Eastern framework?  Will you not agree that there is a problem and challenge here?     

Thank you, Father. 

I'd like to say first that I did not mean to make it appear, in my note just above your own here, as though you endorse elevating ratio/reason above divine inspiration while I do not.   I don't know if anyone made that connection but I did not intend my comments to indicate that comparison at all.  So this is just a warning away from that line of thinking for anyone tempted to follow it.

I tend not to think that the issue of sanctifying grace is a problem or a challenge in any negative sense.  I'll be able to explain that in a bit more detail with references after I get the yard work finished for the week.  Clearly one does not need 2nd millennium Thomistic categories to account for a grace that sanctifies.  First millennium scholastic categories and forms will work just fine  Smiley

If I have the energy later to do more, I will.  If not I'll look to tomorrow.  I'd rather move slowly with this and be more thorough rather than less.  We'll see how it goes.

M.

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« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2010, 06:11:11 PM »

So how does one talk about the privation of sanctifying grace within an Eastern framework?

What is the difference in an infant before and after baptism?

More specifically, how does this relate to the consequences of original sin?

Was Mary conceived in the same spiritual state as a newly baptized infant?
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« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2010, 08:49:06 PM »

Quote
Dear LBK,

I apologize for the frustration we cause you, and especially for my part in it of course.

Apology accepted.  Smiley

Quote
Father Al is not a Byzantine Catholic.  But I am not sure that is entirely significant. 


It should be. If anything, Fr Alvin's being Latin RC works against you, as he would be representing Roman theology, whereas you, as a Byzantine Catholic, should supposedly be espousing the Orthodox view. Wasn't that the point of "Orthodoxy in communion with Rome", and the reason why doctoring Orthodox liturgical texts (apart from papal commemorations) was forbidden by papal decree?

Quote
Father Al certainly presents a perspective on the Church and formal teaching that is significantly different in focus and emphasis from the one that I have learned over the decades, but I am not entirely sure that he and I are entirely at odds.

One's theology on such a crucial matter should be either consistent with Rome or Orthodoxy. It is not possible to be a little bit pregnant. A hybrid theology would be heretical for both Rome and Orthodoxy.

Quote
I beg your patience, and commend to your consideration the following document so that you may see the font of wisdom from which I take my perspective on the Schola Theologorum.  It is not too far apart from the natural and healthy Orthodox caution against placing ratio/reason above divine illumination.


Did you use the same caution against placing reason above illumination which informed so many of your posts where you used your own erroneous reason/reckoning to conclude that the fulsome liturgical language used for the Mother of God in Orthodoxy leads to the conclusion that she was immaculately conceived?

Quote
Perhaps this is an opportunity for us to explore those perspectives, I don't know with any certainty but I am hopeful.

My primary guides to understanding the Orthodox faith are its liturgical and iconographic deposits. Without absorbing these, properly interpreting patristics and other sources of Holy Tradition is fraught with risk. Or so it seems to a mere pleb like me.

Quote
Please know that I don't dislike you at all.  We've clashed and may clash again but I bear no animus and certainly do not see you as some sort of misguided dumbell!!...sometimes stubborn yes...but that would be the worst of it. 


Such praise is unwarranted. Though I quite agree on the "stubborn" part - a legacy of my ancestry.

Quote
You really are working to see and I respect that.

No, I'm defending Orthodoxy as best I can against attempts to distort it. If you knew of the battles I've fought defending canonical iconography (such as those who think it's OK to show St Joseph the Betrothed holding the Christ-child as His mother does in icons, or criticising the "ark of salvation" image beloved of schismatic Orthodox), you might understand me a little better. Try this:
 
To a non-Orthodox person, it is iconography which is the single most visible and definitive element which distinguishes the Orthodox Church from all others. It is our responsibility to ensure this holy and priceless treasure of our Church is preserved and defended against the influx of elements foreign to Orthodox belief and doctrine. The iconodules who suffered and often paid with their lives during the iconoclastic upheavals of past centuries deserve nothing less in their honour.

It is not difficult to extrapolate this statement to apply to other matters of faith.

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« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2010, 09:07:08 PM »

 Smiley  Then we will have our work cut out for us.

I want you to know that I will not be responding to you very much.  There will be no point to it given what you say here.

I am a Catholic in Communion with other Catholics.  That makes me a heretic in your eyes in any event.

So I will draw from the well of the long tradition of the Catholic Church in its fullness, and you may do as you like.

Mary


Quote
Dear LBK,

I apologize for the frustration we cause you, and especially for my part in it of course.

Apology accepted.  Smiley

Quote
Father Al is not a Byzantine Catholic.  But I am not sure that is entirely significant. 


It should be. If anything, Fr Alvin's being Latin RC works against you, as he would be representing Roman theology, whereas you, as a Byzantine Catholic, should supposedly be espousing the Orthodox view. Wasn't that the point of "Orthodoxy in communion with Rome", and the reason why doctoring Orthodox liturgical texts (apart from papal commemorations) was forbidden by papal decree?

Quote
Father Al certainly presents a perspective on the Church and formal teaching that is significantly different in focus and emphasis from the one that I have learned over the decades, but I am not entirely sure that he and I are entirely at odds.

One's theology on such a crucial matter should be either consistent with Rome or Orthodoxy. It is not possible to be a little bit pregnant. A hybrid theology would be heretical for both Rome and Orthodoxy.

Quote
I beg your patience, and commend to your consideration the following document so that you may see the font of wisdom from which I take my perspective on the Schola Theologorum.  It is not too far apart from the natural and healthy Orthodox caution against placing ratio/reason above divine illumination.


Did you use the same caution against placing reason above illumination which informed so many of your posts where you used your own erroneous reason/reckoning to conclude that the fulsome liturgical language used for the Mother of God in Orthodoxy leads to the conclusion that she was immaculately conceived?

Quote
Perhaps this is an opportunity for us to explore those perspectives, I don't know with any certainty but I am hopeful.

My primary guides to understanding the Orthodox faith are its liturgical and iconographic deposits. Without absorbing these, properly interpreting patristics and other sources of Holy Tradition is fraught with risk. Or so it seems to a mere pleb like me.

Quote
Please know that I don't dislike you at all.  We've clashed and may clash again but I bear no animus and certainly do not see you as some sort of misguided dumbell!!...sometimes stubborn yes...but that would be the worst of it. 


Such praise is unwarranted. Though I quite agree on the "stubborn" part - a legacy of my ancestry.

Quote
You really are working to see and I respect that.

No, I'm defending Orthodoxy as best I can against attempts to distort it. If you knew of the battles I've fought defending canonical iconography (such as those who think it's OK to show St Joseph the Betrothed holding the Christ-child as His mother does in icons, or criticising the "ark of salvation" image beloved of schismatic Orthodox), you might understand me a little better. Try this:
 
To a non-Orthodox person, it is iconography which is the single most visible and definitive element which distinguishes the Orthodox Church from all others. It is our responsibility to ensure this holy and priceless treasure of our Church is preserved and defended against the influx of elements foreign to Orthodox belief and doctrine. The iconodules who suffered and often paid with their lives during the iconoclastic upheavals of past centuries deserve nothing less in their honour.

It is not difficult to extrapolate this statement to apply to other matters of faith.


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« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2010, 11:05:58 PM »

So how does one talk about the privation of sanctifying grace within an Eastern framework?

What is the difference in an infant before and after baptism?  More specifically, how does this relate to the consequences of original sin?  Was Mary conceived in the same spiritual state as a newly baptized infant?

Melodist, I think these are very helpful questions and point us in the right direction.  Rather than attempting to first "define" each Church's respective understanding of original/ancestral sin, perhaps it might be more helpful to discuss baptism.  What do we believe happens at baptism?  Do we believe that the person is changed in some way?  Do we believe that God comes to inhabit or indwell that person in a new way? etc., etc.

Consider, e.g., this passage on baptism from St Theophan the Recluse:

Quote
[i[If anyone be in Christ, he is a new creature[/i], teaches the Apostle (II Cor. 15:17).  This new creature a Christian becomes in baptism.  From the font a man comes out not at all the way he went in.  As light is to darkness, as life is to death, so is a baptized man opposed to one who is unbaptized.  Conceived in iniquities and born in sins, a man before baptism bears in himself all the poison of sin, with all the weight of its consequences.  He is in a condition of God's disfavor; he is by nature a child of wrath.  He is ruined, disordered in himself with relation to his parts and powers, which are directed primarily towards the multiplication of sin  He is in subjection to the influence of satan, who acts in him with power by reason of the sin which dwells in him.  As a result of all this, after death he is unfailingly the child of hell, where he must be tormented together with its prince and his helpers and servants.

Baptism delivers us from all these evils.  It takes away the curse by the power of the Cross of Christ and returns the blessing.  Those who are baptized are the children of God, as the Lord Himself has given them the right to be: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17).  The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the baptied person already by virture of his baptism.  He is taken away from the dominion of satan, who now loses authority over him and the power to act arbitrarily in him.  By entrance into the Church--the house of refuge--satan is denied access to the newly baptized one.  He finds himself here as in a safe enclosure.

All these are spiritually outward privileges and gifts.  But what happens inwardly?  The healing of the affliction and injury of sin.  The power of grace penetrates within and restores here the divine order in all its beauty.  It treats the disorder in the structure and relationship of the powers and parts, as well as changing the chief orientation from oneself to God--to pleasing God and increasing one's good deeds.

Therefore, Baptism is a rebirth or a new birth which puts a man in a renewed condition.  The Apostle Paul compares all the baptized with the resurrected Savior, giving us to understand that they also have the same bright nature in their renewal as was possessed by the human nature of the Lord Jesus through his resurrection in glory (Romans 6:4).  And that the orientation of activity in a baptized person is changed may be seen in the words of the same Apostle, who says in another place that they already should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose again (II Cor. 5:15).  For in that He died, he died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God (Rom. 6:10).  We are buried with Him by baptism into death (Rom. 6:4); and: Our old man is crucified with Him that henceforth we should not serve sin (Rom. 6:6).  And so, the whole activity of a man by the power of Baptism is turned away from oneself and sin, and towards God and righteousness.  [The Path to Salvation, pp. 36-37]

May all the above be said to be true of the baptism of infants, who are not capable of repentance and faith?  Yes, says St Theophan:

Quote
Grace descends upon the soul of an infant and produces in it exactly the same result as if its freedom had participated in this, but only on the condition that in the future the infant, who was not then aware of himself and did not act personally, when he comes to awareness, will himself willingly dedicate himself to God, will receive out of his own desire the grace which has shown its activity in him, will be glad that it exists, will give thanks that this was done for him, and will confess that if, at the moment of his Baptism, understanding and freedom had been given to him, he would not have acted otherwise than he did act and would not have wished otherwise.  For the sake of this future free dedication of himself to God and the coming together of freedom and grace, divine grace gives  everything to the infant and even without him it produces everything in him that is natural for it to produce, with the promise that the essential desire and dedicating of himself to God will be performed without fail. ... And thus through Baptism the seed of life in Christ is placed in the infant and exists in him; but it is as though it did not exist: it acts as an educating power in him.  Spiritual life, conceived by the grace of Baptism in the infant, becomes the property of the man and is manifest in its complete form in accordance not only with grace, but also with the character of the rational creature, from the time when he, coming to awareness, by his own free will dedicates himself to God and appropriates to himself the power of grace in himself by receiving it with desire, joy, and gratitude.  Up to this time, also, the true Christian life is active in him, but it is as if without his knowledge; it acts in him, but it is as if it is not yet his own.  But from the minute of his awareness and choosing, it becomes his own, not by grace only but also by freedom.  [pp. 38-39

I read St Theophan's presentation of baptism and find myself saying, Amen, Amen, Amen.  I do not find here anything with which a Catholic would disagree.  Clearly St Theophan believes that the baptized Christian, including the baptized infant, is changed by the action of God in the sacrament: he is reborn in the Holy Spirit and made a new creation; he is delivered from the power of Satan; he is filled with grace and oriented away from sin to God. 

If Orthodox Christians believe what St Theophan believes, then Orthodox and Catholics do indeed share a profound unity in the faith.  Perhaps the way the respective traditions verbalize the nature of original/ancestral sin differ at points, but the deeper unity is demonstrated in what we confess about the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.   

 
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Mickey
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« Reply #40 on: May 27, 2010, 08:45:37 AM »

Consider, e.g., this passage on baptism from St Theophan the Recluse:

Did St Theophan believe that The Most Holy Theotokos was immaculately conceived?
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« Reply #41 on: May 27, 2010, 09:23:34 AM »

Consider, e.g., this passage on baptism from St Theophan the Recluse:

Did St Theophan believe that The Most Holy Theotokos was immaculately conceived?

Not that I know of. 
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« Reply #42 on: May 27, 2010, 09:28:28 AM »

Consider, e.g., this passage on baptism from St Theophan the Recluse:

Did St Theophan believe that The Most Holy Theotokos was immaculately conceived?

It is difficult to tell with Russians.  Do you have evidence that says he rejected the teaching?

To me the more cogent question is whether or not St. Theophan believed in infant baptism!!

I found this interesting exchange last night:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Unbaptised infants...

Printed from: Eastern Orthodox Christian Forum
Topic URL: http://www.orthodoxforum.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1739
Printed on: 05/27/2010

Topic:

Topic author: parascheva1014
Subject: Unbaptised infants...
Posted on: 11/09/2009 21:29:02
Message:

I need a citation for the fact that we believe that unbaptised infants who die go to heaven...

Also do we agree with the RC's that people lack sanctifying grace from birth and are given this at baptism? I don't think we do but I can't prove it.

Replies:

Reply author: alexey
Replied on: 11/10/2009 15:38:37
Message:

I've heard the following, none of eastern Fathers declare that unbaptized infants will be deprived of salvation, except st. Augustinus (who was westerns, by the way). Unfortunately do not have required citation in English just now.


"Also do we agree with the RC's that people lack sanctifying grace from birth and are given this at baptism?"


Because they believe in their wrong doctrine, which is "ex opere operatî" ("from the work done"). We believe that the grace of baptism has no effect on infants by itself without their free of will, which has not yet manifested.

Anyway the persistent practice that we have in Russian Church is somewhat inconsistent - everyone wants to baptize their babies ASAP. And now it's a point of controversy here, since it is not that originally eastern tradition, but rather western one.

And of course (again just for clarity) we cant accept the Catholic idea of the absolute primacy of God's grace over human freedom (concerning baptizm too). We insist on the concept of synergy in the relationship between God and human.

In Constantinople, for example, children was baptized when they were 4 or 5 years old.

(Bellow is just a translation what we have from fathers)

St. Gregory the Theologian and all the other Eastern Fathers understood that baptism by itself, without any reciprocal movement of the human free will, still remains just external consecration, not inured internally. He speculates that unbaptized babies would "not be neither glorified nor punished with righteous Judge". "For true glory befits only winners and heroes; all the others, which have not done free effort, do not achieve such fame, however, not punished, i.e., not die."

Ven. Ephrem the Syrian, even expressed the belief that all the dead babies, regardless of whether baptized or not, all of them will get full of eternal bliss.

I think it is sufficiently authoritative opinions.
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« Reply #43 on: May 27, 2010, 09:48:15 AM »


"Blessed be God, who alone does wonderful things! You have seen how numerous are the gifts of baptism. Although many men think that the only gift it confers is the remission of sins, we have counted its honours to the number of ten. It is on this account that we baptize even infants, although they are sinless, that they may be given the further gifts of sanctification, justice, filial adoption, and inheritance, that they may be brothers and members of Christ, and become dwelling places for the Spirit".

St. John Chrysostom, Third Baptismal Instruction, no. 6

Interesting that he makes no mention of cleansing infants from original sin.

-oOo-

Maybe someone will ferret out the ancient canons which speak very harshly of parents who delay the baptism of infants?
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« Reply #44 on: May 27, 2010, 09:48:45 AM »

Quote
We believe that the grace of baptism has no effect on infants by itself without their free of will, which has not yet manifested.

This person has got it badly, badly wrong. Even a cursory look at the Orthodox baptismal service will easily show he is in serious error. As for infants unable to express themselves, that's one reason Godparents are chosen: to speak for the infant.

Link to the baptismal service:

http://www.anastasis.org.uk/baptism.htm

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