Author Topic: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception  (Read 68875 times)

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Offline ag_vn

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #360 on: December 16, 2010, 07:50:23 AM »
Father Ambrose, should we bring up the Orthodox Christians in Romania and Bulgaria who were part of the AXIS?

I doubt if it is much use to debate with a man who has been discusing the Byzantine Enmpire and seems to believe that in the 1940s Romania and Bulgaria were part of Byzantium !!?  But if you wish to speak of them why don't you speak of the heroic Orthodox defence of the Jews and how not one Jew was lost in Bulgaria thanks to the actions of the Orthodox bishops who even laid down on railway lines and stopped the trains shipping Jews off to concentrationn camps.

Or the Patriach, who from the pulpit of his cathedral on Pascha excommunicated the Czar (who was of German origin, hence why he dragged the country into the Axis) if he signed the law implementing the Nurenberg laws in Bulgaria, and anyone who cooperated with them.

Or that Bulgaria ended up with more Jews after the war than it had before.

I think it was Metropolitan Stephen of Sofia, but as far as I know he did not excommunicate the Czar, just threatened him with excommunication if he sent the Jews to Germany. During that time Bulgarian Church wasn't elevated to Patriarchate yet, it was still "Exarchate", so there was no Patriarch, although it did not have Exarch too. Between 1915-1945 there was no Exarch, just Synodal locum tenens, who presided over the Synod. In 1945 Metropolitan Stephen of Sofia was elected Exarch until 1948. Between 1948-1953 there was no Exarch again. On 10 May 1953 the other major ecclesiastical figure in saving the Bulgarian Jews Metropolitan Kyril of Plovdiv was elected Patriarch. So the Bulgarian Patriarchate was restored on 10 May 1953 and recognized immediately by the Patriarchates of Antioch, Moscow, Romania, Georgia and the Churches of Poland and Czechoslovakia, the Patriarchate of Alexandria recognized it in 1954, the Patriarchate of Serbia in 1955 and at last it was recognized by Constantinople in 1961. I don't think the origin of Tsar Boris is so important in bringing Bulgaria to the Axis. I mean he had to choose - death or existence of Bulgaria. After all it was he who cancelled the sending of the Jews to Germany.

Offline Aindriú

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #361 on: December 16, 2010, 09:32:31 AM »
Is "grace" simply an Energy of God?

Yes.

Quote
The distinction between  the  essence and  the energies, which  is  fundamental  for
the Orthodox doctrine of grace, makes  it possible to preserve the real meaning of Saint
Peter’s words “partakers of the divine nature” [2 Peter 1:4]. The union to which we are
called  is  neither  hypostatic—as  in  the  case  of  the  human  nature  of  Christ—nor
substantial, as  in that of the three divine Persons:  it  is union with God in His energies,
or  union  by  grace  making  us  participate  in  the  divine  nature,  without  our  essence
becoming  thereby  the essence of God.  In deification  [theosis] we are by grace  (that  is  to
say,  in  the divine energies), all  that God  is by nature,  save only  identity of nature  .  .  .
according to the teaching of Saint Maximus. We remain creatures while becoming God
by grace, as Christ remained God in becoming man by the Incarnation.10
...
                                                 
10 Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of  the Eastern Church (London: James Clark and Co., 1957), pp.
85-86, 87.
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/non-orthodox_ch2.pdf
If grace is an Energy of God, then to be full of grace would be to be full of an Energy of God, which would imply that one is full of all the Energies of God, that is, Full Theosis.

But didn't some Church Fathers argue that Theosis is a process that continues forever, and is never fully completed, because the Energies of God are infinite?

If so, the doctrine of the IC would violate Orthodoxy's conception of Theosis.

That's a little extreme. That's like saying Mary couldn't have been sinless because "all have sinned".
Doesn't the idea that Mary was "full of grace" imply that she enjoys the maximum intensity of grace, that she can no longer grow in grace?

No.  That is not the Catholic teaching.  That is what it is held up to be and then shot down.  It is a fun exercise and everybody thinks they've done something good.  But it has nothing to do with my reality as a Catholic, never did, never will because, as I said, that is not what the Church teaches.

She is conceived with an illuminated intellect and a will that is inclined toward God, rather than away from him. 

Like the rest of us, she grows in grace, one good choice at a time.

M.

What about if someone said, she was born spiritually dead, but lead the Old Testament prophets (like Enoch and Elijah let's say), one day at a time, she aligned her will with the "prevenient grace" of God until the Holy Spirit descended upon her, purified her, and conceived in her the Logos?

You could, but then you couldn't claim that she was sinless.

I'm going to need this.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #362 on: December 16, 2010, 11:56:49 AM »
Is "grace" simply an Energy of God?

Yes.

Quote
The distinction between  the  essence and  the energies, which  is  fundamental  for
the Orthodox doctrine of grace, makes  it possible to preserve the real meaning of Saint
Peter’s words “partakers of the divine nature” [2 Peter 1:4]. The union to which we are
called  is  neither  hypostatic—as  in  the  case  of  the  human  nature  of  Christ—nor
substantial, as  in that of the three divine Persons:  it  is union with God in His energies,
or  union  by  grace  making  us  participate  in  the  divine  nature,  without  our  essence
becoming  thereby  the essence of God.  In deification  [theosis] we are by grace  (that  is  to
say,  in  the divine energies), all  that God  is by nature,  save only  identity of nature  .  .  .
according to the teaching of Saint Maximus. We remain creatures while becoming God
by grace, as Christ remained God in becoming man by the Incarnation.10
...
                                                 
10 Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of  the Eastern Church (London: James Clark and Co., 1957), pp.
85-86, 87.
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/non-orthodox_ch2.pdf
If grace is an Energy of God, then to be full of grace would be to be full of an Energy of God, which would imply that one is full of all the Energies of God, that is, Full Theosis.

But didn't some Church Fathers argue that Theosis is a process that continues forever, and is never fully completed, because the Energies of God are infinite?

If so, the doctrine of the IC would violate Orthodoxy's conception of Theosis.

That's a little extreme. That's like saying Mary couldn't have been sinless because "all have sinned".
Doesn't the idea that Mary was "full of grace" imply that she enjoys the maximum intensity of grace, that she can no longer grow in grace?

No.  That is not the Catholic teaching.  That is what it is held up to be and then shot down.  It is a fun exercise and everybody thinks they've done something good.  But it has nothing to do with my reality as a Catholic, never did, never will because, as I said, that is not what the Church teaches.

She is conceived with an illuminated intellect and a will that is inclined toward God, rather than away from him. 

Like the rest of us, she grows in grace, one good choice at a time.

M.

What about if someone said, she was born spiritually dead, but lead the Old Testament prophets (like Enoch and Elijah let's say), one day at a time, she aligned her will with the "prevenient grace" of God until the Holy Spirit descended upon her, purified her, and conceived in her the Logos?

You could, but then you couldn't claim that she was sinless.

Well, according to your definition, sin can be interpreted in two ways.  One is spiritual death, and another is personal actions.  For the latter, I can say she's sinless, and she wasn't the first, but rather she lived her sinless life more perfectly than others through greater virtues.  For the former definition, yes, she isn't sinless, like everyone else.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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

Offline Aindriú

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #363 on: December 16, 2010, 12:10:35 PM »
Well, according to your definition, sin can be interpreted in two ways.  One is spiritual death, and another is personal actions.  For the latter, I can say she's sinless, and she wasn't the first, but rather she lived her sinless life more perfectly than others through greater virtues.  For the former definition, yes, she isn't sinless, like everyone else.

You misunderstand. Sin isn't spiritual death. Sin is amartia.

I claim, by spiritual death, one isn't capable of not sinning.

Council of Carthage 418
124. It has further pleased the Council to decree that whosoever should say that the reason why the grace of righteousness has been bestowed upon us is in order that we might through self-mastery be able the more easily and readily to fulfill it through grace, as though indicating that even if the grace had not been given we should still have been able, howbeit not easily and readily, to fulfill the divine commandments without its aid, let him be anathema. For when the Lord was speaking about the fruits of the commandments, He did not say, "Without me ye will have difficulty in doing anything" (cf. John 15:5).
(cc. CXX, CXXI, CXXII, CXXIII, CXXV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).
Interpretation.
This Canon too anathematizes the Pelagians and Celestians for saying that simply because God made us masters of ourselves in respect of being free to do as we please we can execute the commandments even without the aid of divine grace, though not easily, but with difficulty, whereas through the aid afforded by divine grace we are enabled to carry these out more easily, since even the Lord, in speaking about the divine commandments, did not say, "Without me ye can do these only with difficulty," but, instead, He simply said, "Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5) Neither with ease nor with difficulty, that is to say, so that everything depends upon divine grace, and without the latter we can accomplish nothing.


http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/councils_local_rudder.htm#_Toc72635086

I'm going to need this.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #364 on: December 16, 2010, 01:07:09 PM »
Well, according to your definition, sin can be interpreted in two ways.  One is spiritual death, and another is personal actions.  For the latter, I can say she's sinless, and she wasn't the first, but rather she lived her sinless life more perfectly than others through greater virtues.  For the former definition, yes, she isn't sinless, like everyone else.

You misunderstand. Sin isn't spiritual death. Sin is amartia.

I claim, by spiritual death, one isn't capable of not sinning.

Council of Carthage 418
124. It has further pleased the Council to decree that whosoever should say that the reason why the grace of righteousness has been bestowed upon us is in order that we might through self-mastery be able the more easily and readily to fulfill it through grace, as though indicating that even if the grace had not been given we should still have been able, howbeit not easily and readily, to fulfill the divine commandments without its aid, let him be anathema. For when the Lord was speaking about the fruits of the commandments, He did not say, "Without me ye will have difficulty in doing anything" (cf. John 15:5).
(cc. CXX, CXXI, CXXII, CXXIII, CXXV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).
Interpretation.
This Canon too anathematizes the Pelagians and Celestians for saying that simply because God made us masters of ourselves in respect of being free to do as we please we can execute the commandments even without the aid of divine grace, though not easily, but with difficulty, whereas through the aid afforded by divine grace we are enabled to carry these out more easily, since even the Lord, in speaking about the divine commandments, did not say, "Without me ye can do these only with difficulty," but, instead, He simply said, "Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5) Neither with ease nor with difficulty, that is to say, so that everything depends upon divine grace, and without the latter we can accomplish nothing.


http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/councils_local_rudder.htm#_Toc72635086

True.  Hence my mentioning of "prevenient grace," i.e. people aligned their wills to the will of God, and so God would continuously bless them.  Enoch and Elijah, how were they perfect according to God?
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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

Offline Aindriú

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #365 on: December 16, 2010, 01:23:35 PM »
Well, according to your definition, sin can be interpreted in two ways.  One is spiritual death, and another is personal actions.  For the latter, I can say she's sinless, and she wasn't the first, but rather she lived her sinless life more perfectly than others through greater virtues.  For the former definition, yes, she isn't sinless, like everyone else.

You misunderstand. Sin isn't spiritual death. Sin is amartia.

I claim, by spiritual death, one isn't capable of not sinning.

Council of Carthage 418
124. It has further pleased the Council to decree that whosoever should say that the reason why the grace of righteousness has been bestowed upon us is in order that we might through self-mastery be able the more easily and readily to fulfill it through grace, as though indicating that even if the grace had not been given we should still have been able, howbeit not easily and readily, to fulfill the divine commandments without its aid, let him be anathema. For when the Lord was speaking about the fruits of the commandments, He did not say, "Without me ye will have difficulty in doing anything" (cf. John 15:5).
(cc. CXX, CXXI, CXXII, CXXIII, CXXV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).
Interpretation.
This Canon too anathematizes the Pelagians and Celestians for saying that simply because God made us masters of ourselves in respect of being free to do as we please we can execute the commandments even without the aid of divine grace, though not easily, but with difficulty, whereas through the aid afforded by divine grace we are enabled to carry these out more easily, since even the Lord, in speaking about the divine commandments, did not say, "Without me ye can do these only with difficulty," but, instead, He simply said, "Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5) Neither with ease nor with difficulty, that is to say, so that everything depends upon divine grace, and without the latter we can accomplish nothing.


http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/councils_local_rudder.htm#_Toc72635086

True.  Hence my mentioning of "prevenient grace," i.e. people aligned their wills to the will of God, and so God would continuously bless them.  Enoch and Elijah, how were they perfect according to God?

So, if Mary was originally spiritually dead, and then aligned herself with God's Will, then there was a period where she wasn't aligned with God's will (she was more concerned with her will, not God's). If that's true, there was a period of time that she couldn't resist her desire for sin.

I've never heard of Enoch and Elijah as being "sinless".

I'm going to need this.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #366 on: December 16, 2010, 01:33:06 PM »
Well, according to your definition, sin can be interpreted in two ways.  One is spiritual death, and another is personal actions.  For the latter, I can say she's sinless, and she wasn't the first, but rather she lived her sinless life more perfectly than others through greater virtues.  For the former definition, yes, she isn't sinless, like everyone else.

You misunderstand. Sin isn't spiritual death. Sin is amartia.

I claim, by spiritual death, one isn't capable of not sinning.

Council of Carthage 418
124. It has further pleased the Council to decree that whosoever should say that the reason why the grace of righteousness has been bestowed upon us is in order that we might through self-mastery be able the more easily and readily to fulfill it through grace, as though indicating that even if the grace had not been given we should still have been able, howbeit not easily and readily, to fulfill the divine commandments without its aid, let him be anathema. For when the Lord was speaking about the fruits of the commandments, He did not say, "Without me ye will have difficulty in doing anything" (cf. John 15:5).
(cc. CXX, CXXI, CXXII, CXXIII, CXXV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).
Interpretation.
This Canon too anathematizes the Pelagians and Celestians for saying that simply because God made us masters of ourselves in respect of being free to do as we please we can execute the commandments even without the aid of divine grace, though not easily, but with difficulty, whereas through the aid afforded by divine grace we are enabled to carry these out more easily, since even the Lord, in speaking about the divine commandments, did not say, "Without me ye can do these only with difficulty," but, instead, He simply said, "Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5) Neither with ease nor with difficulty, that is to say, so that everything depends upon divine grace, and without the latter we can accomplish nothing.


http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/councils_local_rudder.htm#_Toc72635086

True.  Hence my mentioning of "prevenient grace," i.e. people aligned their wills to the will of God, and so God would continuously bless them.  Enoch and Elijah, how were they perfect according to God?

So, if Mary was originally spiritually dead, and then aligned herself with God's Will, then there was a period where she wasn't aligned with God's will (she was more concerned with her will, not God's). If that's true, there was a period of time that she couldn't resist her desire for sin.

I've never heard of Enoch and Elijah as being "sinless".

Where did I say "then there was a period where she wasn't aligned with God's will (she was more concerned with her will, not God's)?"  I totally didn't say say that, nor do I agree with that.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 01:33:46 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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

Offline Aindriú

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #367 on: December 16, 2010, 01:49:30 PM »
True.  Hence my mentioning of "prevenient grace," i.e. people aligned their wills to the will of God, and so God would continuously bless them.  Enoch and Elijah, how were they perfect according to God?

So, if Mary was originally spiritually dead, and then aligned herself with God's Will, then there was a period where she wasn't aligned with God's will (she was more concerned with her will, not God's). If that's true, there was a period of time that she couldn't resist her desire for sin.

I've never heard of Enoch and Elijah as being "sinless".

Where did I say "then there was a period where she wasn't aligned with God's will (she was more concerned with her will, not God's)?"  I totally didn't say say that, nor do I agree with that.

Then I don't understand what you're saying.

You said:
What about if someone said, she was born spiritually dead, but lead the Old Testament prophets (like Enoch and Elijah let's say), one day at a time, she aligned her will with the "prevenient grace" of God until the Holy Spirit descended upon her, purified her, and conceived in her the Logos?

So, if She was born "spiritually dead" and then "one day at a time aligned herself with the Will of God", there is a beginning spot (spiritually dead), middle (half way to God's Will, to put it quantitatively) and an end (following God's will). Before she is at the end (following God's will), she still desires her own (selfish, literally) will, and thus will sin.

I'm going to need this.

Offline BoredMeeting

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #368 on: December 16, 2010, 01:58:47 PM »
date=1292283309]
Wow. This is all nonsense.
That's ultimately what flows from the false teaching of "original sin."

If you build on error, you end up with error.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #369 on: December 16, 2010, 02:11:09 PM »
True.  Hence my mentioning of "prevenient grace," i.e. people aligned their wills to the will of God, and so God would continuously bless them.  Enoch and Elijah, how were they perfect according to God?

So, if Mary was originally spiritually dead, and then aligned herself with God's Will, then there was a period where she wasn't aligned with God's will (she was more concerned with her will, not God's). If that's true, there was a period of time that she couldn't resist her desire for sin.

I've never heard of Enoch and Elijah as being "sinless".

Where did I say "then there was a period where she wasn't aligned with God's will (she was more concerned with her will, not God's)?"  I totally didn't say say that, nor do I agree with that.

Then I don't understand what you're saying.

You said:
What about if someone said, she was born spiritually dead, but lead the Old Testament prophets (like Enoch and Elijah let's say), one day at a time, she aligned her will with the "prevenient grace" of God until the Holy Spirit descended upon her, purified her, and conceived in her the Logos?

So, if She was born "spiritually dead" and then "one day at a time aligned herself with the Will of God", there is a beginning spot (spiritually dead), middle (half way to God's Will, to put it quantitatively) and an end (following God's will). Before she is at the end (following God's will), she still desires her own (selfish, literally) will, and thus will sin.

How does someone follow God's will and become selfish at the same time?  Elijah and Enoch were considered perfect men.  St. Elizabeth and St. Zacharias were considered blameless before the Lord.  There were many righteous men.  All aligning themselves to the will of God, some more perfectly than others.  The Virgin was the most perfect before Christ came, and that's why she was chosen to be the Theotokos.  So she was purified by the Holy Spirit.

We're all born without God's salvation.  But God does not hide His grace from us.  His grace exists everywhere.  He's trying to pull us through, whether or not Christ was there.  Many prophets and righteous people have answered to the pull, and the most perfect of them all was the Theotokos.

I've been told this "grace" the Catholics call prevenient.  In fact, Marduk, a Catholic, has shown that there were others who were sinless before the Virgin, only he believed the Virgin from her conception received the grace of baptism, which I disagree with.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 02:12:48 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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

Offline Aindriú

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #370 on: December 16, 2010, 02:27:24 PM »
How does someone follow God's will and become selfish at the same time? 

Same way we do. You try to follow God's will, but sometimes you fail.

Elijah and Enoch were considered perfect men.  St. Elizabeth and St. Zacharias were considered blameless before the Lord.  There were many righteous men.  All aligning themselves to the will of God, some more perfectly than others.  The Virgin was the most perfect before Christ came, and that's why she was chosen to be the Theotokos.  So she was purified by the Holy Spirit.

We're all born without God's salvation.  But God does not hide His grace from us.  His grace exists everywhere.  He's trying to pull us through, whether or not Christ was there.  Many prophets and righteous people have answered to the pull, and the most perfect of them all was the Theotokos.

I've been told this "grace" the Catholics call prevenient.  In fact, Marduk, a Catholic, has shown that there were others who were sinless before the Virgin, only he believed the Virgin from her conception received the grace of baptism, which I disagree with.

Do you know where he said this?

I'm going to need this.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #371 on: December 16, 2010, 02:46:43 PM »
How does someone follow God's will and become selfish at the same time? 

Same way we do. You try to follow God's will, but sometimes you fail.

Elijah and Enoch were considered perfect men.  St. Elizabeth and St. Zacharias were considered blameless before the Lord.  There were many righteous men.  All aligning themselves to the will of God, some more perfectly than others.  The Virgin was the most perfect before Christ came, and that's why she was chosen to be the Theotokos.  So she was purified by the Holy Spirit.

We're all born without God's salvation.  But God does not hide His grace from us.  His grace exists everywhere.  He's trying to pull us through, whether or not Christ was there.  Many prophets and righteous people have answered to the pull, and the most perfect of them all was the Theotokos.

I've been told this "grace" the Catholics call prevenient.  In fact, Marduk, a Catholic, has shown that there were others who were sinless before the Virgin, only he believed the Virgin from her conception received the grace of baptism, which I disagree with.

Do you know where he said this?

We've had these discussions before, elsewhere....one of which, you're part of the discussion.  Don't you read a whole thread before you comment?

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29625.msg471827.html#msg471827
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29805.msg472619.html#msg472619

If you're going to support the dogma of the Immaculate Conception as Catholics believe, you have to define spiritual death as sin as well.  That's how they say the Theotokos was without sin from the very moment of her conception.  If it's "missing the mark" so to speak, Catholics too will say spiritual death is a form of "missing the mark."  This discussion is useless unless you know what you're talking about.

I asked a very specific question geared to those who understand the definitions and you're misconstruing what I'm talking about, which shows you know nothing about the Immaculate Conception to begin with.  I've avoided polemics with Catholics only to use their definitions and their understandings to get at a certain point.  I thought you were one of them.  Here's what where the term "prevenient grace" was defined for me, and my response for it.  It was considered a grace that Ghandi probably had due to his apparent perfection:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29805.msg474784.html#msg474784
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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

Offline Aindriú

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #372 on: December 16, 2010, 02:50:20 PM »
How does someone follow God's will and become selfish at the same time? 

Same way we do. You try to follow God's will, but sometimes you fail.

Elijah and Enoch were considered perfect men.  St. Elizabeth and St. Zacharias were considered blameless before the Lord.  There were many righteous men.  All aligning themselves to the will of God, some more perfectly than others.  The Virgin was the most perfect before Christ came, and that's why she was chosen to be the Theotokos.  So she was purified by the Holy Spirit.

We're all born without God's salvation.  But God does not hide His grace from us.  His grace exists everywhere.  He's trying to pull us through, whether or not Christ was there.  Many prophets and righteous people have answered to the pull, and the most perfect of them all was the Theotokos.

I've been told this "grace" the Catholics call prevenient.  In fact, Marduk, a Catholic, has shown that there were others who were sinless before the Virgin, only he believed the Virgin from her conception received the grace of baptism, which I disagree with.

Do you know where he said this?

We've had these discussions before, elsewhere....one of which, you're part of the discussion.  Don't you read a whole thread before you comment?

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29625.msg471827.html#msg471827
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29805.msg472619.html#msg472619

If you're going to support the dogma of the Immaculate Conception as Catholics believe, you have to define spiritual death as sin as well.  That's how they say the Theotokos was without sin from the very moment of her conception.  If it's "missing the mark" so to speak, Catholics too will say spiritual death is a form of "missing the mark."  This discussion is useless unless you know what you're talking about.

No, I don't. I've already dealt with that. Don't you read a whole thread before you comment?

I asked a very specific question geared to those who understand the definitions and you're misconstruing what I'm talking about, which shows you know nothing about the Immaculate Conception to begin with.  I've avoided polemics with Catholics only to use their definitions and their understandings to get at a certain point.  I thought you were one of them.  Here's what where the term "prevenient grace" was defined for me, and my response for it.  It was considered a grace that Ghandi probably had due to his apparent perfection:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29805.msg474784.html#msg474784

Because I'm arguing for an immaculate birth/conception in a different way than you've seen, doesn't mean I'm clueless. Calm down on the nerd rage.

I'm going to need this.

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #373 on: December 16, 2010, 03:02:39 PM »
No, I don't. I've already dealt with that. Don't you read a whole thread before you comment?

Yes, I did, and it's been clear to me you're making up your own faith as you go along that neither agrees with Catholics or Orthodox.

Quote
I asked a very specific question geared to those who understand the definitions and you're misconstruing what I'm talking about, which shows you know nothing about the Immaculate Conception to begin with.  I've avoided polemics with Catholics only to use their definitions and their understandings to get at a certain point.  I thought you were one of them.  Here's what where the term "prevenient grace" was defined for me, and my response for it.  It was considered a grace that Ghandi probably had due to his apparent perfection:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29805.msg474784.html#msg474784

Because I'm arguing for an immaculate birth/conception in a different way than you've seen, doesn't mean I'm clueless. Calm down on the nerd rage.

Sorry if you see that as rage.  But when you see someone with a pattern of making up things as he goes along, it makes sense why you want to make things up that I never wrote down, so you need to be called out on that.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 03:03:00 PM by minasoliman »
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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #374 on: December 16, 2010, 03:05:43 PM »
No, I don't. I've already dealt with that. Don't you read a whole thread before you comment?

Yes, I did, and it's been clear to me you're making up your own faith as you go along that neither agrees with Catholics or Orthodox.

Quote
I asked a very specific question geared to those who understand the definitions and you're misconstruing what I'm talking about, which shows you know nothing about the Immaculate Conception to begin with.  I've avoided polemics with Catholics only to use their definitions and their understandings to get at a certain point.  I thought you were one of them.  Here's what where the term "prevenient grace" was defined for me, and my response for it.  It was considered a grace that Ghandi probably had due to his apparent perfection:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29805.msg474784.html#msg474784

Because I'm arguing for an immaculate birth/conception in a different way than you've seen, doesn't mean I'm clueless. Calm down on the nerd rage.

Sorry if you see that as rage.  But when you see someone with a pattern of making up things as he goes along, it makes sense why you want to make things up that I never wrote down, so you need to be called out on that.

For someone that sees things so clearly, you are apparently incapable of understanding the concept of debate.

I'm going to need this.

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #375 on: December 16, 2010, 03:06:34 PM »
No, I'm fine with debating and discussing.  I hate it when people make things up.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 03:06:50 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #376 on: December 16, 2010, 03:07:48 PM »
No, I'm fine with debating and discussing.  I hate it when people make things up.

Quite an accusation. I guess you don't like being put in a position you can't answer.

I'm going to need this.

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #377 on: December 16, 2010, 03:14:46 PM »
No, I'm fine with debating and discussing.  I hate it when people make things up.

Quite an accusation. I guess you don't like being put in a position you can't answer.

I'm sorry, you believe in an immaculate birth, not a conception, you choose to believe spiritual death is not a sin, and you believe that following God's will is selfish.

Ya, you're right.  You're not making things up.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 03:18:21 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #378 on: December 16, 2010, 03:18:42 PM »
Is "grace" simply an Energy of God?

Yes.

Quote
The distinction between  the  essence and  the energies, which  is  fundamental  for
the Orthodox doctrine of grace, makes  it possible to preserve the real meaning of Saint
Peter’s words “partakers of the divine nature” [2 Peter 1:4]. The union to which we are
called  is  neither  hypostatic—as  in  the  case  of  the  human  nature  of  Christ—nor
substantial, as  in that of the three divine Persons:  it  is union with God in His energies,
or  union  by  grace  making  us  participate  in  the  divine  nature,  without  our  essence
becoming  thereby  the essence of God.  In deification  [theosis] we are by grace  (that  is  to
say,  in  the divine energies), all  that God  is by nature,  save only  identity of nature  .  .  .
according to the teaching of Saint Maximus. We remain creatures while becoming God
by grace, as Christ remained God in becoming man by the Incarnation.10
...
                                                 
10 Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of  the Eastern Church (London: James Clark and Co., 1957), pp.
85-86, 87.
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/non-orthodox_ch2.pdf
If grace is an Energy of God, then to be full of grace would be to be full of an Energy of God, which would imply that one is full of all the Energies of God, that is, Full Theosis.

But didn't some Church Fathers argue that Theosis is a process that continues forever, and is never fully completed, because the Energies of God are infinite?

If so, the doctrine of the IC would violate Orthodoxy's conception of Theosis.

That's a little extreme. That's like saying Mary couldn't have been sinless because "all have sinned".
Doesn't the idea that Mary was "full of grace" imply that she enjoys the maximum intensity of grace, that she can no longer grow in grace?

No.  That is not the Catholic teaching.  That is what it is held up to be and then shot down.  It is a fun exercise and everybody thinks they've done something good.  But it has nothing to do with my reality as a Catholic, never did, never will because, as I said, that is not what the Church teaches.

She is conceived with an illuminated intellect and a will that is inclined toward God, rather than away from him. 

Like the rest of us, she grows in grace, one good choice at a time.

M.

What about if someone said, she was born spiritually dead, but lead the Old Testament prophets (like Enoch and Elijah let's say), one day at a time, she aligned her will with the "prevenient grace" of God until the Holy Spirit descended upon her, purified her, and conceived in her the Logos?

Prevenient grace is all wrong in this context.  I this context the grace would be immediate and directed to keep her simply alive in her nature, but it would not reach to the spiritual cor of the person of the Theotokos, because her will would be weak and her intellect would be darkened.  She might have natural virtue but not graced virtue and there is no way that Orthodoxy could hymn what the do about here prior to the Annunciation.  All those texts would have to be rewritten to fit the new reality of her sinfulness.

M.

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #379 on: December 16, 2010, 03:21:31 PM »
No, I'm fine with debating and discussing.  I hate it when people make things up.

Quite an accusation. I guess you don't like being put in a position you can't answer.

I'm sorry, you believe in an immaculate birth, not a conception, you choose to believe spiritual death is not a sin, and you believe that following God's will is selfish.

You haven't understood anything I've written.

-I stated clearly I was making an argument for the immaculate birth or conception out of necessity of Church definitions (with reference).

-The Eastern Orthodox do not believe spiritual death is personal sin, however the Roman Catholics do (in general). I stated, that it doesn't have to be a sin (original guilt) for and immaculate birth/conception to be necessary.

-I never even got close to the last one. I even restated it, just for you.

Ya, you're right.  You're not making things up.

No, but apparently you are.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 03:22:58 PM by Azurestone »

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #380 on: December 16, 2010, 03:26:41 PM »
Is "grace" simply an Energy of God?

Yes.

Quote
The distinction between  the  essence and  the energies, which  is  fundamental  for
the Orthodox doctrine of grace, makes  it possible to preserve the real meaning of Saint
Peter’s words “partakers of the divine nature” [2 Peter 1:4]. The union to which we are
called  is  neither  hypostatic—as  in  the  case  of  the  human  nature  of  Christ—nor
substantial, as  in that of the three divine Persons:  it  is union with God in His energies,
or  union  by  grace  making  us  participate  in  the  divine  nature,  without  our  essence
becoming  thereby  the essence of God.  In deification  [theosis] we are by grace  (that  is  to
say,  in  the divine energies), all  that God  is by nature,  save only  identity of nature  .  .  .
according to the teaching of Saint Maximus. We remain creatures while becoming God
by grace, as Christ remained God in becoming man by the Incarnation.10
...
                                                 
10 Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of  the Eastern Church (London: James Clark and Co., 1957), pp.
85-86, 87.
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/non-orthodox_ch2.pdf
If grace is an Energy of God, then to be full of grace would be to be full of an Energy of God, which would imply that one is full of all the Energies of God, that is, Full Theosis.

But didn't some Church Fathers argue that Theosis is a process that continues forever, and is never fully completed, because the Energies of God are infinite?

If so, the doctrine of the IC would violate Orthodoxy's conception of Theosis.

That's a little extreme. That's like saying Mary couldn't have been sinless because "all have sinned".
Doesn't the idea that Mary was "full of grace" imply that she enjoys the maximum intensity of grace, that she can no longer grow in grace?

No.  That is not the Catholic teaching.  That is what it is held up to be and then shot down.  It is a fun exercise and everybody thinks they've done something good.  But it has nothing to do with my reality as a Catholic, never did, never will because, as I said, that is not what the Church teaches.

She is conceived with an illuminated intellect and a will that is inclined toward God, rather than away from him. 

Like the rest of us, she grows in grace, one good choice at a time.

M.

What about if someone said, she was born spiritually dead, but lead the Old Testament prophets (like Enoch and Elijah let's say), one day at a time, she aligned her will with the "prevenient grace" of God until the Holy Spirit descended upon her, purified her, and conceived in her the Logos?

Prevenient grace is all wrong in this context.  I this context the grace would be immediate and directed to keep her simply alive in her nature, but it would not reach to the spiritual cor of the person of the Theotokos, because her will would be weak and her intellect would be darkened.  She might have natural virtue but not graced virtue and there is no way that Orthodoxy could hymn what the do about here prior to the Annunciation.  All those texts would have to be rewritten to fit the new reality of her sinfulness.

M.

I believe honestly those texts can be interpreted differently.  Maybe I'm not understanding right but in what way can we say for instance that the prophets Elijah and Enoch were perfect, or Jeremiah and John the Baptist?  Or how were Sts. Zacharias and Elizabeth blameless?

I remember elsewhere someone described that the grace of God to lead to faith is like a magnetic pull, and we align ourselves with this pull, or we pull ourselves away from it.  I think this is a great analogy.  I think when Christ became incarnate, this magnetic pull reached a certain strength and amplified on each and everyone of us.  God's grace allows us to exist, God's grace allows us to believe and to follow Him, God's grace allows us to be alive and to cherish unity with Him.  Perhaps, if the Virgin Theotokos is naturally virtued, she was more inclined to follow His will more than anyone else in history.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #381 on: December 16, 2010, 03:31:31 PM »
I'm reading what you wrote:


So, if Mary was originally spiritually dead, and then aligned herself with God's Will, then there was a period where she wasn't aligned with God's will (she was more concerned with her will, not God's). If that's true, there was a period of time that she couldn't resist her desire for sin.

I've never heard of Enoch and Elijah as being "sinless".

If the Theotokos was spiritually dead, and from the very first day because of the strong upbringing of her pure and immaculate parents, then there was NEVER a period where she hasn't aligned with God's will.  She was consistent all her life using whatever grace of God she can have despite her spiritual state that is no different from anyone else in this world.

I believe St. Gregory Palamas talked about a succession of perfection from generation to generation leading up to the Theotokos.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 03:32:30 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #382 on: December 16, 2010, 03:39:28 PM »
I'm reading what you wrote:


So, if Mary was originally spiritually dead, and then aligned herself with God's Will, then there was a period where she wasn't aligned with God's will (she was more concerned with her will, not God's). If that's true, there was a period of time that she couldn't resist her desire for sin.

I've never heard of Enoch and Elijah as being "sinless".

If the Theotokos was spiritually dead, and from the very first day because of the strong upbringing of her pure and immaculate parents, then there was NEVER a period where she hasn't aligned with God's will.  She was consistent all her life using whatever grace of God she can have despite her spiritual state that is no different from anyone else in this world.

You're not describing the gradual alignment to God's will that you originally claimed.

What about if someone said, she was born spiritually dead, but lead the Old Testament prophets (like Enoch and Elijah let's say), one day at a time, she aligned her will with the "prevenient grace" of God until the Holy Spirit descended upon her, purified her, and conceived in her the Logos?

"One day at a time" denotes a process. Until the process of "following God's will" is complete, there is still some bit that desires selfishness. Think the Ladder of Divine Ascent.

I believe St. Gregory Palamas talked about a succession of perfection from generation to generation leading up to the Theotokos.

He states that all her ancestors were immaculate, as well.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 03:39:49 PM by Azurestone »

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #383 on: December 16, 2010, 03:50:01 PM »
I'm reading what you wrote:


So, if Mary was originally spiritually dead, and then aligned herself with God's Will, then there was a period where she wasn't aligned with God's will (she was more concerned with her will, not God's). If that's true, there was a period of time that she couldn't resist her desire for sin.

I've never heard of Enoch and Elijah as being "sinless".

If the Theotokos was spiritually dead, and from the very first day because of the strong upbringing of her pure and immaculate parents, then there was NEVER a period where she hasn't aligned with God's will.  She was consistent all her life using whatever grace of God she can have despite her spiritual state that is no different from anyone else in this world.

You're not describing the gradual alignment to God's will that you originally claimed.

Yes, I am.  No one as a child is perfect.  A child is trained and taught, and as the child grows they carry out the will of God in a better way.  When she matured, she was perfected.  I did not say anything concerning selfishness.  I simply showed she grew in wisdom and strength in accordance to the will of God by the help of her perfected parents and whatever grace she can attain.

Quote
What about if someone said, she was born spiritually dead, but lead the Old Testament prophets (like Enoch and Elijah let's say), one day at a time, she aligned her will with the "prevenient grace" of God until the Holy Spirit descended upon her, purified her, and conceived in her the Logos?

"One day at a time" denotes a process. Until the process of "following God's will" is complete, there is still some bit that desires selfishness. Think the Ladder of Divine Ascent.

Even when one is sinless, that does not denote the process ended.  Even when we're in Paradise, the process still doesn't end.

Quote
I believe St. Gregory Palamas talked about a succession of perfection from generation to generation leading up to the Theotokos.

He states that all her ancestors were immaculate, as well.

Well, all her immediate ancestors.  If you mean "ALL" would you include Adam, Abraham, Judah, David, Solomon?

But the point of this shows good company leads to good character, and company that strives for the better leads for better character.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 03:51:00 PM by minasoliman »
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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #384 on: December 16, 2010, 03:58:51 PM »
I'm reading what you wrote:


So, if Mary was originally spiritually dead, and then aligned herself with God's Will, then there was a period where she wasn't aligned with God's will (she was more concerned with her will, not God's). If that's true, there was a period of time that she couldn't resist her desire for sin.

I've never heard of Enoch and Elijah as being "sinless".

If the Theotokos was spiritually dead, and from the very first day because of the strong upbringing of her pure and immaculate parents, then there was NEVER a period where she hasn't aligned with God's will.  She was consistent all her life using whatever grace of God she can have despite her spiritual state that is no different from anyone else in this world.

You're not describing the gradual alignment to God's will that you originally claimed.

Yes, I am.  No one as a child is perfect.  A child is trained and taught, and as the child grows they carry out the will of God in a better way.  When she matured, she was perfected.  I did not say anything concerning selfishness.  I simply showed she grew in wisdom and strength in accordance to the will of God by the help of her perfected parents and whatever grace she can attain.

And that's my point. For her to be absolutely sinless, she would have needed to be "perfect" from day one. OR, at least be blessed by God to be receptive to his Will from day one.

Quote
What about if someone said, she was born spiritually dead, but lead the Old Testament prophets (like Enoch and Elijah let's say), one day at a time, she aligned her will with the "prevenient grace" of God until the Holy Spirit descended upon her, purified her, and conceived in her the Logos?

"One day at a time" denotes a process. Until the process of "following God's will" is complete, there is still some bit that desires selfishness. Think the Ladder of Divine Ascent.

Even when one is sinless, that does not denote the process ended.  Even when we're in Paradise, the process still doesn't end.

No, but if someone has to learn to hear God, then they will necessarily stumble before they find God's will.

Quote
I believe St. Gregory Palamas talked about a succession of perfection from generation to generation leading up to the Theotokos.

He states that all her ancestors were immaculate, as well.

Well, all her immediate ancestors.  If you mean "ALL" would you include Adam, Abraham, Judah, David, Solomon?

But the point of this shows good company leads to good character, and company that strives for the better leads for better character.

Don't recall what his full belief was, but I don't agree with him that all her ancestors were immaculate.

I'm going to need this.

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #385 on: December 16, 2010, 04:07:07 PM »
Quote
Yes, I am.  No one as a child is perfect.  A child is trained and taught, and as the child grows they carry out the will of God in a better way.  When she matured, she was perfected.  I did not say anything concerning selfishness.  I simply showed she grew in wisdom and strength in accordance to the will of God by the help of her perfected parents and whatever grace she can attain.

And that's my point. For her to be absolutely sinless, she would have needed to be "perfect" from day one. OR, at least be blessed by God to be receptive to his Will from day one.

Well, yes, blessed, but not immaculately born or conceived.  If blessed, she wasn't the first or only.  Our children are baptized from infancy, but that doesn't remove the need for a good upbringing.  Sinlessness is one thing, salvation is another.

A sinless adult for instance is more perfect than a sinless child because the child doesn't have all the knowledge and maturity of an adult.  So, I'm only contending she's growing "in wisdom and strength."  I am plagiarizing this straight from a Bible verse and using it to describe the Theotokos...hint hint

Quote
Quote
What about if someone said, she was born spiritually dead, but lead the Old Testament prophets (like Enoch and Elijah let's say), one day at a time, she aligned her will with the "prevenient grace" of God until the Holy Spirit descended upon her, purified her, and conceived in her the Logos?

"One day at a time" denotes a process. Until the process of "following God's will" is complete, there is still some bit that desires selfishness. Think the Ladder of Divine Ascent.

Even when one is sinless, that does not denote the process ended.  Even when we're in Paradise, the process still doesn't end.

No, but if someone has to learn to hear God, then they will necessarily stumble before they find God's will.

Not unless she's been sanctified as many prophets before her were, and not unless she had good upbringing.

Quote
Quote
I believe St. Gregory Palamas talked about a succession of perfection from generation to generation leading up to the Theotokos.

He states that all her ancestors were immaculate, as well.

Well, all her immediate ancestors.  If you mean "ALL" would you include Adam, Abraham, Judah, David, Solomon?

But the point of this shows good company leads to good character, and company that strives for the better leads for better character.

Don't recall what his full belief was, but I don't agree with him that all her ancestors were immaculate.

Yes, but the point...the point is the upbringing of the Theotokos.  There's the story that she was brought up in the Temple.  She conversed with angels.  Her parents were perfect and immaculate.  This indicates a process, not a singular act.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 04:07:39 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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

Offline Aindriú

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #386 on: December 16, 2010, 04:36:28 PM »
Quote
Yes, I am.  No one as a child is perfect.  A child is trained and taught, and as the child grows they carry out the will of God in a better way.  When she matured, she was perfected.  I did not say anything concerning selfishness.  I simply showed she grew in wisdom and strength in accordance to the will of God by the help of her perfected parents and whatever grace she can attain.

And that's my point. For her to be absolutely sinless, she would have needed to be "perfect" from day one. OR, at least be blessed by God to be receptive to his Will from day one.

Well, yes, blessed, but not immaculately born or conceived.  If blessed, she wasn't the first or only.  Our children are baptized from infancy, but that doesn't remove the need for a good upbringing.  Sinlessness is one thing, salvation is another.

A sinless adult for instance is more perfect than a sinless child because the child doesn't have all the knowledge and maturity of an adult.  So, I'm only contending she's growing "in wisdom and strength."  I am plagiarizing this straight from a Bible verse and using it to describe the Theotokos...hint hint

Her salvation isn't the concern, nor is her ability to grow spiritually, only her ability unto sinlessness.

Quote
Quote
What about if someone said, she was born spiritually dead, but lead the Old Testament prophets (like Enoch and Elijah let's say), one day at a time, she aligned her will with the "prevenient grace" of God until the Holy Spirit descended upon her, purified her, and conceived in her the Logos?

"One day at a time" denotes a process. Until the process of "following God's will" is complete, there is still some bit that desires selfishness. Think the Ladder of Divine Ascent.

Even when one is sinless, that does not denote the process ended.  Even when we're in Paradise, the process still doesn't end.

No, but if someone has to learn to hear God, then they will necessarily stumble before they find God's will.

Not unless she's been sanctified as many prophets before her were, and not unless she had good upbringing.

Upbringing is only half the battle, GI Joe. The whole point, that you're ignoring, is her spiritual ability to resist sin.

Quote
Quote
I believe St. Gregory Palamas talked about a succession of perfection from generation to generation leading up to the Theotokos.

He states that all her ancestors were immaculate, as well.

Well, all her immediate ancestors.  If you mean "ALL" would you include Adam, Abraham, Judah, David, Solomon?

But the point of this shows good company leads to good character, and company that strives for the better leads for better character.

Don't recall what his full belief was, but I don't agree with him that all her ancestors were immaculate.

Yes, but the point...the point is the upbringing of the Theotokos.  There's the story that she was brought up in the Temple.  She conversed with angels.  Her parents were perfect and immaculate.  This indicates a process, not a singular act.

Were her parents immaculate?

I'm going to need this.

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #387 on: December 16, 2010, 04:47:17 PM »
Her salvation isn't the concern, nor is her ability to grow spiritually, only her ability unto sinlessness.

When Catholics say she was able to be sinless, they also say she had the same grace we receive at baptism, without which one can't be sinless.  How are you defining her immaculateness?

Quote
Upbringing is only half the battle, GI Joe. The whole point, that you're ignoring, is her spiritual ability to resist sin.

There's only one person with the spiritual ability to resist sin, Christ, because He is God.  For others to resist sin, we don't have the spiritual ability, but that comes from upbringing and aligning oneself with God's will.

Quote
Were her parents immaculate?

Yes, although I define immaculate differently from the Roman Catholic understanding.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #388 on: December 16, 2010, 05:14:58 PM »
Is "grace" simply an Energy of God?

Yes.

Quote
The distinction between  the  essence and  the energies, which  is  fundamental  for
the Orthodox doctrine of grace, makes  it possible to preserve the real meaning of Saint
Peter’s words “partakers of the divine nature” [2 Peter 1:4]. The union to which we are
called  is  neither  hypostatic—as  in  the  case  of  the  human  nature  of  Christ—nor
substantial, as  in that of the three divine Persons:  it  is union with God in His energies,
or  union  by  grace  making  us  participate  in  the  divine  nature,  without  our  essence
becoming  thereby  the essence of God.  In deification  [theosis] we are by grace  (that  is  to
say,  in  the divine energies), all  that God  is by nature,  save only  identity of nature  .  .  .
according to the teaching of Saint Maximus. We remain creatures while becoming God
by grace, as Christ remained God in becoming man by the Incarnation.10
...
                                                 
10 Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of  the Eastern Church (London: James Clark and Co., 1957), pp.
85-86, 87.
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/non-orthodox_ch2.pdf
If grace is an Energy of God, then to be full of grace would be to be full of an Energy of God, which would imply that one is full of all the Energies of God, that is, Full Theosis.

But didn't some Church Fathers argue that Theosis is a process that continues forever, and is never fully completed, because the Energies of God are infinite?

If so, the doctrine of the IC would violate Orthodoxy's conception of Theosis.

That's a little extreme. That's like saying Mary couldn't have been sinless because "all have sinned".
Doesn't the idea that Mary was "full of grace" imply that she enjoys the maximum intensity of grace, that she can no longer grow in grace?

No.  That is not the Catholic teaching.  That is what it is held up to be and then shot down.  It is a fun exercise and everybody thinks they've done something good.  But it has nothing to do with my reality as a Catholic, never did, never will because, as I said, that is not what the Church teaches.

She is conceived with an illuminated intellect and a will that is inclined toward God, rather than away from him. 

Like the rest of us, she grows in grace, one good choice at a time.

M.

What about if someone said, she was born spiritually dead, but lead the Old Testament prophets (like Enoch and Elijah let's say), one day at a time, she aligned her will with the "prevenient grace" of God until the Holy Spirit descended upon her, purified her, and conceived in her the Logos?

Prevenient grace is all wrong in this context.  I this context the grace would be immediate and directed to keep her simply alive in her nature, but it would not reach to the spiritual cor of the person of the Theotokos, because her will would be weak and her intellect would be darkened.  She might have natural virtue but not graced virtue and there is no way that Orthodoxy could hymn what the do about here prior to the Annunciation.  All those texts would have to be rewritten to fit the new reality of her sinfulness.

M.

I believe honestly those texts can be interpreted differently.  Maybe I'm not understanding right but in what way can we say for instance that the prophets Elijah and Enoch were perfect, or Jeremiah and John the Baptist?  Or how were Sts. Zacharias and Elizabeth blameless?


I know you do believe and honestly!...and I would believe with you IF you could show me hymns from any other saint that are as fulsome, for example, as the hymns of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple.   Not just with similar words but with the effulgence of praise and veneration.  Do we implore any other saint to save us?  I am not arguing the Immaculate Conception at the moment.  I am looking at the idea that the Mother of God is essentially just like the rest of us...at least until the Annunciation, or that she must be just like us in order to have ever suffered or made a free choice.  Clearly she is not just like us IF we pay close attention to the liturgical texts.  At any rate I don't think I can go farther than this.

M.

Offline Aindriú

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #389 on: December 16, 2010, 05:15:51 PM »
Her salvation isn't the concern, nor is her ability to grow spiritually, only her ability unto sinlessness.

When Catholics say she was able to be sinless, they also say she had the same grace we receive at baptism, without which one can't be sinless.  How are you defining her immaculateness?

Quote
Upbringing is only half the battle, GI Joe. The whole point, that you're ignoring, is her spiritual ability to resist sin.

There's only one person with the spiritual ability to resist sin, Christ, because He is God.  For others to resist sin, we don't have the spiritual ability, but that comes from upbringing and aligning oneself with God's will.

If there is only one person with the spiritual ability to resist sin, then there would be no sinless people besides Jesus. You give too much power to upbringing. Upbringing gives a moral code, it doesn't program us like robots.

And for a reference, since you like to caricature everything you don't agree with, I'll underline.
122. It has pleased the Council to decree that whosoever should declare that the grace whereby we are justified through Jesus Christ our Lord to be effective only for the remission of sins already perpetrated, and not to afford help by way of preventing perpetration of other sins in addition thereto, let him be anathema.
(cc. CXXI, CXXIII, CXXIV, CXXV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.
The Pelagians expressed their heretical views in three propositions. The first proposition was to the effect that by employing only his natural powers and abilities a human being could keep the whole law and be justified, and could persist in righteousness, and enjoy life everlasting. Another proposition was to the effect that a human being does not need any inner or internal grace of God to incite him to do right, or to help him, or to justify him, but that, on the contrary, all he needs for his salvation is self-mastery, the law, training and teaching, and example. And the third proposition was to the effect that although grace is given by God yet it is given for the value of self-mastery. Hence upon this second proposition of theirs depends also this feature which the present Canon decrees, to wit, that the grace of God, which through Jesus Christ justifies a human being in baptism, graciously affords a remission only of previous sins, but not also to help keep one from sinning another time; wherefore it anathematizes all those persons too who say this. For the catholic Church believes wholly the opposite contrary, namely, that the grace bestowed through Jesus Christ in baptism affords both remission of previous sins and power and help to prevent us from further sinning, provided we ourselves do not yield ourselves to sins as a result of negligence. That is why David says: “O God, attend to my help. Ο Lord, hasten to aid me” (Ps. 70:1); and "My help cometh from the Lord" (Ps. 121:2), etc. St. Paul also says along the same line: "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; … the Spirit itself intercedeth in our behalf" (Rom. 8:26). And countless other passages along the same line are to be found in the divine Scriptures.



124. It has further pleased the Council to decree that whosoever should say that the reason why the grace of righteousness has been bestowed upon us is in order that we might through self-mastery be able the more easily and readily to fulfill it through grace, as though indicating that even if the grace had not been given we should still have been able, howbeit not easily and readily, to fulfill the divine commandments without its aid, let him be anathema. For when the Lord was speaking about the fruits of the commandments, He did not say, "Without me ye will have difficulty in doing anything" (cf. John 15:5).
(cc. CXX, CXXI, CXXII, CXXIII, CXXV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.
This Canon too anathematizes the Pelagians and Celestians for saying that simply because God made us masters of ourselves in respect of being free to do as we please we can execute the commandments even without the aid of divine grace, though not easily, but with difficulty, whereas through the aid afforded by divine grace we are enabled to carry these out more easily, since even the Lord, in speaking about the divine commandments, did not say, "Without me ye can do these only with difficulty," but, instead, He simply said, "Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5) Neither with ease nor with difficulty, that is to say, so that everything depends upon divine grace, and without the latter we can accomplish nothing.


http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/councils_local_rudder.htm#_Toc72635086

The ability to resist sin, is not of our own power, but of God's. To think otherwise is Pelagian.

Actual canons from the Council of Carthage 418
Quote
CANON CXII. (Greek cxiij. continued.)

That the grace of Christ gives not only the knowledge of our duty, but also inspires us with a
desire that we may be able to accomplish what we know

ALSO, whoever shall say that the same grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord helps us only
in not sinning by revealing to us and opening to our understanding the commandments, so that
we may know what to seek, what we ought to avoid, and also that we should love to do so, but
that through it we are not helped so that we are able to do what we know we should do, let him
be anathema. For when the Apostle says: "Wisdom puffeth up, but charity edifieth" it were truly
infamous were we to believe that we have the grace of Christ for that which puffeth us up, but
have it not for that which edifieth, since in each case it is the gift of God, both to know what we
ought to do, and to love to do it; so that wisdom cannot puff us up while charity is edifying us.
For as of God it is written, "Who teacheth man knowledge," so also it is written, "Love is of
God."

CANON CXIII. (Greek cxiiii.)
That without the grace of God we can do no good thing.

It seemed good that whosoever should say that the grace of justification was given to us only
that we might be able more readily by grace to perform what we were ordered to do through our
free will; as if though grace was not given, although not easily, yet nevertheless we could even
without grace fulfil the divine commandments
, let him be anathema. For the Lord spake
concerning the fruits of the commandments, when he said: "Without me ye can do nothing," and
not "Without me ye could do it but with difficulty.
"

I'm going to need this.

Offline akimel

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #390 on: December 16, 2010, 06:46:30 PM »
Who is the author of this commentary on the regional councils and when was it written?

Apropos the teaching that Baptism regenerates the state of original justice in all humans, adult, child and infants:
So we can get the Orthodox understanding:
Prolegomena.

The holy regional Council which assembled in Carthage in the year 418 or 419 after Christ, in the twelfth year of the consulship of Emperor Honorius in Rome, and in the eighth year of Emperor Theodosius the Little, according to the secretum of the Church Faustus. The Fathers who distinguished themselves most at this Council were Bishop Aurelius, who presided over all the bishops of Carthage (and who is called a Pope in many places in the minutes of the same C. by the Fathers); Valentinus of the first seat of the country of Numidia; Augustinus the bishop of Hippona and legate of the province of Numidia; and the rest of the legates of all the provinces of Africa. The number of these, according to the minutes of the C. was 217, but according to Photius 225, and according to others 214. But there were present at this C. also legates of the bishop of Rome Zosimus, the names of whom were Faustinus, bishop of Picenum of the Pontetine Church of Italy, and Philip and Asellus, the presbyters. This Council, be it said, was held primarily in order to take action against Pelagius and Celestius his disciple, and against Donatus; and secondarily also to take action against Apiarius the presbyter of Sicca. It lasted six whole years. For beginning in the year 418, it finished in the year 424. It so happened that during this period three Popes held office in Rome, namely, Zosimus, Boniface, and Celestius (although in the minutes of this Council a fourth Pope, Anastasius, is mentioned; and see its c. LXVI). So after the many examinations and tractaisms which it held, it also promulgated one hundred and forty-one Canons relating to the good order and constitution of the Church; they are those which follow, sealed and confirmed definitely and by name in c. II of the holy Sixth Ecumenical Council, but generally and indefinitely by c. I of the 4th, and by c. I of the 7th. Its c. LXXXIX is cited verbatim by the holy Fifth Ecumenical Council; and by virtue of this confirmation they have acquired a force which is in a way ecumenical.

120. It has pleased the Council to decree that whoever calls Adam, the first man created, a mortal man so made that whether he sin or not he is bound to die in the body, that is, to depart from the body, not owing to his deserving this fate by reason of the sin, but because of a necessity inherent in his nature, let him be anathema.
(cc. CXXI, CXXII, CXXIII, CXXIV, CXXV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).
Interpretation.
The present Canon overthrows the heresy of Pelagius, and of his disciple Celestius. For these men (as divine Augustine bears witness in his discourse concerning original sin, chapters 5 and 6), be it noted, were condemned because they believed and held that original sin is not begotten together with the human being, and that it is a mistake, not of his nature, but of his will, and consequently from this they concluded that even Adam died this physical death, not on account of his sin, which was done as a matter of choice, but owing to a necessity inherent in his nature, which was built to be mortal from the very beginning, and was bound to die whether Adam, sinned or did not sin by choice. Hence the present Council, in overthrowing this heretical view, anathematizes those persons who make this assertion For, if Adam actually were mortal by necessity of his nature, then: First’ God, who built it to be so, would have to be also the creator and cause of death. But God did not create death, according to Scripture. Secondly, that flesh which Adam had before the transgression ought not to have been any different from our own, but, on the contrary, would have had to be, like ours, gross and mortal and antitypal; seeing that we too who have been born after that transgression are in accordance with the same necessity of nature mortal, and at all events are destined to die. (Book of Wisdom, 1:13). But St. Gregory the Theologian (in his sermon on the birth of Christ) insists that this gross and antitypal flesh which we ha\e now is such as Adam had only after the transgression, and not before it. And thirdly, if death came from nature, how is it that St. Paul says that "through sin death entered the world" (Rom. 5:12); and Solomon says that "it was by the devil’s envy that death entered the world" (Wisdom 2:24)? So, according to this Canon, God created man not mortal by natural necessity, but by nature immortal. And since it is characteristic of whatever is good not to force anyone to be good, therefore and on this account He created man free and independent with respect to his soul, in order that he might be induced to be good as a matter of choice and remain good, not by the exercise of force and violence, but by virtue of self-mastery and voluntarily; and by thus remaining good, that he might thenceforth maintain also the natural immortality of the body. But inasmuch he himself of his own accord was moved to evil by willful choice and preference, he no longer had the power, or ability, to keep the body in its natural immortality in which it was built; hence there ensued the death of this body. And, to speak more clearly with the great Gregory of Thessalonica, since the superior and higher part of man, the soul, became separated through sin and transgression from the real life, which is the grace of God, and fell into the real death, which is wickedness; therefore and on this account the lower and inferior part, or, more expressly speaking, the body, became separated from the life according to nature, and fell into the death contrary to nature. And just as the soul, being by nature, subject to God, failed to subject itself to Him, so and in like manner the body, subject by nature to the soul, evaded subjection to it with the disorders of its senses, pf its passions, and lastly with its decomposition into the elements of which it was composed, which dissolution is death. In agreement with the present Canon the following seven Canons of the present Council overthrow the heresy of Pelagius and Celestius: these are cc. CXXI, CXXII, CXXIII, CXXIV, CXXV, CXXVI, and CXXVII.

121. It has pleased the Council to decree that whosoever denies the little ones newly born from the wombs of their mothers when they are being baptized, or asserts that they are baptized for the remission of sins, but that they have inherited no original sin from Adam obliging them to be purified in the bath of renaissance (whence it follows that in these persons the form of baptism for the remission of sins is not true, but is to be regarded as factitious), let him be anathema; for no other meaning ought to be attached to what the Apostle has said, viz., "Sin entered the world through one human being" (Rom. 5:12), and thus it passed over into all human beings; wherefore all of them have sinned, than that which the catholic Church diffused and spread abroad every-where has ever understood those words to mean. For it is on account of this Canon of the faith that even the little ones too, who are as yet incapable of committing if any sin of their own to render them guilty of any offense, are truly baptized for the remission of sins, in order that what sin they inherited from the primordial birth may be purified in them through the process of renaissance.
Interpretation.
This view too was a product of the heretical insanity of the Pelagians: this refers to their saying that newly begotten infants are not baptized for the remission of sins, as the Orthodox Church believes and maintains, but, instead, if anyone say that they are baptized for the remission of sins, yet the infants themselves have not incurred any taint from the original (or primordial) sin of Adam, such as to require to be removed by means of baptism (since, as we have said, those men believed that this original sin is not begotten with the human being, simply because this was not any offense of nature, but a mischoice of the free and independent will). So the Council in the present Canon anathematizes the heretics who say this: First, because the form of the baptism for the remission of sins which is given to infants is not true according to them, but false and factitious, since, according to them, those infants have no sins to be pardoned. Secondly, because the Apostle in what he says makes it plain that sin entered the world through a single human being, namely, Adam, and that death entered through sin, and thus death passed into all human beings, since all of them have sinned just like Adam. This passage, I say, cannot be taken to mean anything else than what the catholic Church of the Orthodox has understood and believed it to mean, to wit, that even the newborn infants, notwithstanding the fact that they have not sinned by reason of any exercise of their own free and independent will, have nevertheless entailed upon themselves the original sin from Adam; wherefore they need to be purified through baptism necessarily from that sin: hence they are truly, and not fictitiously, being baptized for the remission of sins.

122. It has pleased the Council to decree that whosoever should declare that the grace whereby we are justified through Jesus Christ our Lord to be effective only for the remission of sins already perpetrated, and not to afford help by way of preventing perpetration of other sins in addition thereto, let him be anathema.
(cc. CXXI, CXXIII, CXXIV, CXXV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).
Interpretation.
The Pelagians expressed their heretical views in three propositions. The first proposition was to the effect that by employing only his natural powers and abilities a human being could keep the whole law and be justified, and could persist in righteousness, and enjoy life everlasting. Another proposition was to the effect that a human being does not need any inner or internal grace of God to incite him to do right, or to help him, or to justify him, but that, on the contrary, all he needs for his salvation is self-mastery, the law, training and teaching, and example. And the third proposition was to the effect that although grace is given by God yet it is given for the value of self-mastery. Hence upon this second proposition of theirs depends also this feature which the present Canon decrees, to wit, that the grace of God, which through Jesus Christ justifies a human being in baptism, graciously affords a remission only of previous sins, but not also to help keep one from sinning another time; wherefore it anathematizes all those persons too who say this. For the catholic Church believes wholly the opposite contrary, namely, that the grace bestowed through Jesus Christ in baptism affords both remission of previous sins and power and help to prevent us from further sinning, provided we ourselves do not yield ourselves to sins as a result of negligence. That is why David says: “O God, attend to my help. Ο Lord, hasten to aid me” (Ps. 70:1); and "My help cometh from the Lord" (Ps. 121:2), etc. St. Paul also says along the same line: "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; … the Spirit itself intercedeth in our behalf" (Rom. 8:26). And countless other passages along the same line are to be found in the divine Scriptures.

123. It has pleased the Council to decree that whosoever should say, with reference to the same grace of God given through our Lord Jesus Christ, that it helps us only to keep from sinning in this respect that the knowledge and cognoscence of sins is revealed to us through it, and enables us to know what to seek after and what to shun, though it does not afford us further help whereby to discern what we ought to do, nor does it further cause us to love and to have the strength to do it, let him be anathema. For in view of the fact that the Apostle says "knowledge puffeth up, whereas love edifieth" (I Cor. 8:1), it is utterly impious to believe that we have the grace of Christ for the purpose of puffing ourselves up, but have it not for the purpose of edifying ourselves, when, as a matter of fact, both are free gifts of God, that of knowing what we must do and that of loving what we must do, in order’that thanks to the edifying power of love knowledge be unable to puff us up, precisely as has been written out of God: "He that teacheth man knowledge" (Ps. 94:10). Thus too it is further written: "Love is of God" (I John 4:7).
(cc. CXX, CXXI, CXXII, CXXIV, CXXV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).
Interpretation.
In the present Canon too the Council anathematizes the Pelagians and Celestians, who used to assert that the grace of God helps us only in this respect to keep from sinning in that it enables us to know what we ought to seek and do, or, in other words, what things are good and right, and what things we ought to shun, or, in other words what things are bad and evil; and not that it graciously bestows upon us also the inclination to love and the strength to do those things which are good and right, as we well know that they are. For both gifts are equally and alike gifts of God, both the knowledge and the love. For as concerning the knowledge David says: "He that teacheth man knowledge" (I.e.), while as concerning love the beloved disciple says: "Love is of God" (I.e.). But in another way too it is impious for us to believe that the grace of God bestows upon us knowledge, which by itself, as St. Paul says, puffeth up, or, in other words, causes presumptuousness; but does not also bestow upon us love, which edifieth and strengtheneth us so as to enable us to do what is good. In sum, just as knowing what we ought to do is a free gift bestowed by divine grace, so and likewise is loving what we ought to do. The knowledge, though, is indeed attributed to the mind, while the love is attributed to the will, the two chief and main faculties, or powers, of the soul.

124. It has further pleased the Council to decree that whosoever should say that the reason why the grace of righteousness has been bestowed upon us is in order that we might through self-mastery be able the more easily and readily to fulfill it through grace, as though indicating that even if the grace had not been given we should still have been able, howbeit not easily and readily, to fulfill the divine commandments without its aid, let him be anathema. For when the Lord was speaking about the fruits of the commandments, He did not say, "Without me ye will have difficulty in doing anything" (cf. John 15:5).
(cc. CXX, CXXI, CXXII, CXXIII, CXXV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).
Interpretation.
This Canon too anathematizes the Pelagians and Celestians for saying that simply because God made us masters of ourselves in respect of being free to do as we please we can execute the commandments even without the aid of divine grace, though not easily, but with difficulty, whereas through the aid afforded by divine grace we are enabled to carry these out more easily, since even the Lord, in speaking about the divine commandments, did not say, "Without me ye can do these only with difficulty," but, instead, He simply said, "Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5) Neither with ease nor with difficulty, that is to say, so that everything depends upon divine grace, and without the latter we can accomplish nothing.

125. It has pleased the Council to decree, what St. John the Apostle said: "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (I John 1:8), that whosoever shall deem that this thought is to be interpretated as meaning that we ought out of humility to refrain from saying that we have no sin, not that it is truly so, shall be anathema. For the Apostle goes on to say in anticipation of such a misinterpretation: "But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (ibid., 1:9). Where it is made quite plain that this was said not only out of humility, but furthermore truthfully. For the Apostle might have said, "if we say that we have no sin, we are exalting ourselves, and there is no humility in us;" but by saying "We are deceiving ourselves, and there is no truth in us," he quite evidently pointed out that anyone asserting that he himself has no sin is not telling the truth, but, on the contrary, is lying.
(cc. CXX, CXXI, CXXII, CXXIII, CXXIV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).
Interpretation.
Inasmuch as the dogmas of the Pelagians agreed in a way with those of the Massalians, in that both the former and the latter placed the beginning of salvation, not primarily in divine grace, but in human power; consequently, since the Massalians too believed wrongly that when the Holy Spirit comes to a human being sensibly and visibly, it frees him from the passions and he no longer needs to engage in fastings or other struggles dear to God, the Pelagians perhaps, entertaining such views as these, were wont to say that what St. John asserted, viz., that if perchance we say that we have no sin, we are deluding ourselves, and are not telling the truth, could not truthfully be said saints (in that the latter, that is to say, having been freed from the passions by the Holy Spirit, thereafter had no sins, nor could commit any), but could be said only out of humility, or on account of humble-mindedness. Hence the present Canon anathematizes those who affirm this heretical view of the passage in question, on the ground that they are misinterpreting it. For the same Apostle John says subsequently that if we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful and just, and will pardon our sins, and will cleanse us from every unrighteousness. From which words it becomes manifest that it was not on account of humility, but as a matter of truthfulness that the saint made the above assertion, since the Apostle could have said, "if we say that we have no sin, we are proud, and there is no humility in us." Hence, by not saying this, he is pointing out that anyone who says that he has no sin, is not telling the truth, but, on the contrary, is lying.

126. It has pleased the Council to decree that whosoever should declare that in the Lord’s prayer the reason why saints say "forgive us our debts" (Matt. 6:12) is not that they are saying this in their own behalf, since this petition is no longer necessary to them, but in behalf of others, of those sinners who are among their people; and that each one of them does not say personally, "forgive me my debts," but, instead, says (vicariously), "forgive us our debts" (Luke 11:4), on the ground that he is to be understood as petitioning the Righteous One in behalf of others, rather than in behalf of himself, let him be anathema, for James the Apostle was a saint and a righteous and just man when he said: "For in many things we all sin" (James 3:2, as translated in this Canon). Since, why is it that the word "all" is added? unless it be, in order that the meaning be in keeping with that of the psalm where it is written: "And enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified" (Ps. 143:2). And in the prayer of most wise Solomon: "There is no human being that has not sinned" (I Kings 8:46). And in the book of St. Job the words: "He stampeth in the hand of every man; in order that every man may know his own weakness" (Job 37:3). (Note of Translator. — The Canon here substitutes for the Greek word in the Septuagint translated in the Authorized Version as "sealeth up" the Greek word semaino, which means "to stamp" "to mark," etc. and which appears to be the true meaning, and not " sealeih up") Hence, furthermore, the saint and righteous man Daniel the Prophet, speaking in the plural number, says the following words: "We have sinned; we have committed iniquity" (Dan. 9:5), and the rest of what he there humbly and truthfully confesses, in order not to have it thought, as some persons understand it, that he was speaking not about his own sins, but rather about those of his people. After this passage he said: "I was praying, and was confessing my sins and the sins of my people to the Lord my God" (ibid., 9:20) He did not want to say, "our sins," but, on the contrary, expressly said that they were sins of his own and of his people, since it would seem that the Prophet could foresee that they were going to understand it wrongly.
(cc. CXX, CXXI, CXXII, CXXIII, CXXIV, CXXV, CXXVII of Carthage.).
Interpretation.
This Canon too discusses insanities of the Pelagians like the ones above. For it anathematizes them for saying that when saints recite the Lord’s prayer, they themselves do not say the words "Forgive us our sins," since they do not need to make any such request, as being passionless and sinless, but they say them for the sins of others. For even St. James the Brother of God says: "All of us commit many offenses." And David says: "Enter not, Ο Lord, into judgment with me thy servant, because no man living can appear righteous in thine eyes.” Solomon, too, in the prayer which he made to God after building the Temple said,: “There is no man in the world who has not sinned." And Job: "He stampeth a seal in the hands of every human being in order that every human being may know his own weakness." Moreover, the prophet Daniel in praying said first in the plural number, "We have sinned; we have committed iniquities;" and afterwards he adds in the singular number: "I was confessing my sins and the sins of my people." And he said this thus clearly in order to prevent anyone from thinking that he was referring to the sins of his people, and not to his own sins, prophetically stopping the mouths of men who would wrongly insist that that was what he meant.

127. It has pleased the Council to decree that any persons whatsoever that would have it that the words in the Lord’s prayer "Forgive us our debts," which we are wont to say, are said by saints because of their humility, and not truthfully, let them be anathema. For who could bear to hear anyone praying, not to men, but to the Lord Himself, lyinglyt one asking only with his lips to be forgiven sins which he is not conscious of having committed?
(cc. CXX, CXXI, CXXII, CXXIIT, CXXIV, CXXV, CXXVI of Carthage.).
Interpretation.
This Canon too anathematizes the Pelagians for saying that the saints do not say in accordance with the truth, "Forgive us our debts," since they have no sins and debts, but only out of humility and modesty. For who, it says, can bear to hear persons supposed to be saints saying this lyingly not to men, but to God, and with their lips asking forgiveness for their sins, but with their heart considering that they have no sins? For this would be deemed to be trifling with God, and not praying, which in regard to saints it would be absurd even to think of.
http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/councils_local_rudder.htm#_Toc72635086


Offline minasoliman

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #391 on: December 16, 2010, 07:13:16 PM »
Is "grace" simply an Energy of God?

Yes.

Quote
The distinction between  the  essence and  the energies, which  is  fundamental  for
the Orthodox doctrine of grace, makes  it possible to preserve the real meaning of Saint
Peter’s words “partakers of the divine nature” [2 Peter 1:4]. The union to which we are
called  is  neither  hypostatic—as  in  the  case  of  the  human  nature  of  Christ—nor
substantial, as  in that of the three divine Persons:  it  is union with God in His energies,
or  union  by  grace  making  us  participate  in  the  divine  nature,  without  our  essence
becoming  thereby  the essence of God.  In deification  [theosis] we are by grace  (that  is  to
say,  in  the divine energies), all  that God  is by nature,  save only  identity of nature  .  .  .
according to the teaching of Saint Maximus. We remain creatures while becoming God
by grace, as Christ remained God in becoming man by the Incarnation.10
...
                                                 
10 Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of  the Eastern Church (London: James Clark and Co., 1957), pp.
85-86, 87.
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/non-orthodox_ch2.pdf
If grace is an Energy of God, then to be full of grace would be to be full of an Energy of God, which would imply that one is full of all the Energies of God, that is, Full Theosis.

But didn't some Church Fathers argue that Theosis is a process that continues forever, and is never fully completed, because the Energies of God are infinite?

If so, the doctrine of the IC would violate Orthodoxy's conception of Theosis.

That's a little extreme. That's like saying Mary couldn't have been sinless because "all have sinned".
Doesn't the idea that Mary was "full of grace" imply that she enjoys the maximum intensity of grace, that she can no longer grow in grace?

No.  That is not the Catholic teaching.  That is what it is held up to be and then shot down.  It is a fun exercise and everybody thinks they've done something good.  But it has nothing to do with my reality as a Catholic, never did, never will because, as I said, that is not what the Church teaches.

She is conceived with an illuminated intellect and a will that is inclined toward God, rather than away from him. 

Like the rest of us, she grows in grace, one good choice at a time.

M.

What about if someone said, she was born spiritually dead, but lead the Old Testament prophets (like Enoch and Elijah let's say), one day at a time, she aligned her will with the "prevenient grace" of God until the Holy Spirit descended upon her, purified her, and conceived in her the Logos?

Prevenient grace is all wrong in this context.  I this context the grace would be immediate and directed to keep her simply alive in her nature, but it would not reach to the spiritual cor of the person of the Theotokos, because her will would be weak and her intellect would be darkened.  She might have natural virtue but not graced virtue and there is no way that Orthodoxy could hymn what the do about here prior to the Annunciation.  All those texts would have to be rewritten to fit the new reality of her sinfulness.

M.

I believe honestly those texts can be interpreted differently.  Maybe I'm not understanding right but in what way can we say for instance that the prophets Elijah and Enoch were perfect, or Jeremiah and John the Baptist?  Or how were Sts. Zacharias and Elizabeth blameless?


I know you do believe and honestly!...and I would believe with you IF you could show me hymns from any other saint that are as fulsome, for example, as the hymns of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple.   Not just with similar words but with the effulgence of praise and veneration.  Do we implore any other saint to save us?  I am not arguing the Immaculate Conception at the moment.  I am looking at the idea that the Mother of God is essentially just like the rest of us...at least until the Annunciation, or that she must be just like us in order to have ever suffered or made a free choice.  Clearly she is not just like us IF we pay close attention to the liturgical texts.  At any rate I don't think I can go farther than this.

M.

The Theotokos holds a unique place as the mother of God, giving birth to our salvation.  So, yes she receives the highest praise no doubt.  So, I'm not sure what quality of church hymns you want to read.  When we say "save us," she gave us that salvation in a unique way, but she's not the only one who "saves us."  I thought it's a clear teaching that we are all co-redeemers in some way.  St. Luke saves us, St. Paul saves us, St. Peter saves us, the angels save us, we save one another.  We take from the Theotokos her example, and use it.  She's a foremost saint.  Just because we give her the most praise doesn't mean she's immaculately conceived, but because she is the Mother of God.

From the Coptic Church, we sing for St. John the Baptist how perfect he is:

"Among those born of women
No one is like you
You are great among the saints
O John the Baptist

You are more than a prophet
Foremost in righteousness
You are the friend of the Bridegroom
The Lamb of God.

You have witnessed to the True Light
Who came into the world
And those who believed in His name
Became children of the Light

Intercede on our behalf..."

In regards of saving, we say this about St. Mark the Evangelist how much he saved us Egyptians:

"You came and enlightened us
Through your gospel
And taught us the Father and the Son
And the Holy Spirit.

You brought us out of darkness
Into the true Light
And fed us the Bread of Life
That came down from heaven.

All the tribes of the earth
were blessed by you
And your sayings have reached
All the ends of the world.

Hail to you, O martyr...
...Mark the beholder of God"

And elsewhere we sing for St. Mark,

"Who is like you, Oh beholder of God?"

And...

"The perfect man, the beloved of Christ, is our apostle, our father Abba Mark.
Hail to the virgin, hail to the apostle, hail to the martyr, our father Abba Mark.
The souls of the righteous, who are in the highest, bless you O the saint, our father Abba Mark.
Likewise the righteous, who are in this world, celebrate you O the saint, our father Abba Mark."

St. Mina is also another saint, who we consider perfect and great with plenty of praise, especially as a patron to Egypt:

"You are a pearl
more choice than gold and silver
O the strong fighter,
Abba Mina of Fayat.

Wherefore the multitude of your miralces
which you performed all the time
You were called the physician
who healed all sicknesses.

...

The meanings of your name,
are the honest and the blessed
for they gave us
gladness and joy.

The good David spoke
About you and claled you
saying: 'wondrous is the Lord God
in His saints'

Pray to the Lord on our behalf"

St. Demiana became a "harbor of salvation" and "chosen" and pure and undefiled; a huge Egyptian saint:

"The wise virgin child
the chosen and right lady
the bride of Christ
Saint Demiana

This is she who from her childhood
was full of wisdom
she hated the worldly
and loved virginity.

She became the head
and harbor of salvation
the mother of forty virgins
in the tower which her father built.

When he denied Christ
his loving daughter Demiana
restored his faith
and he receive martyrdom.

Blessed are you, O Demiana,
the bride of the Bridegroom,
the virgin nun,
the chosen and right martyr.

Pray to the Lord on our behalf."

and another one for St. Demiana:

"Great indeed
is the glory and the honor
with which this wise
virgin was clothed.

The chose, the beloved
the beautiful, the martyr,
the chaste lady
is St. Demiana

This is she whom
Christ the King has chosen
with the forty virgins
who were with her.

Who can speak
of your great honor,
O the chosen bride
St. Demiana?

Hail to the chaste
Hail to the beautiful
Hail to the saint
the chosen Demiana.

Hail to the martyr,
Hail to the pure
Hail to the all-holy
the chosen virgin.

Hail to the virgin
Hail to the undefiled,
Full of blessing,
the bride of the Lam.

Hail to the full of grace,
Since her childhood
Hail to the blessed,
Among the virgins.

Hail to the nun,
who fulfilled the law,
with asceticism,
and martyrdom.

...

Blessed are you,
Oh chosen Demiana
For no one is like you,
in your generation."

Sts. Barbara and Juliana in our hymns are called "brides of Christ", who became a temple of the Holy Spirit "from their childhood."  St. Anthony the Great is called "a harbor of salvation." For every major saint in Egypt, we have many praises and glorifications.

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #392 on: December 16, 2010, 07:15:46 PM »
Azurestone,

You did not have to give me all these quotes.  I didn't contradict them at all:

Yes, I am.  No one as a child is perfect.  A child is trained and taught, and as the child grows they carry out the will of God in a better way.  When she matured, she was perfected.  I did not say anything concerning selfishness.  I simply showed she grew in wisdom and strength in accordance to the will of God by the help of her perfected parents and whatever grace she can attain.

I didn't say she did this without the grace of God.  I'm just saying the measure of grace she partook of was not the same as that of baptism until Christ became incarnate.

I am showing you with synergy, she is the most perfect.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 07:16:40 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #393 on: December 16, 2010, 07:45:50 PM »
Azurestone,

You did not have to give me all these quotes.  I didn't contradict them at all:

Yes, I am.  No one as a child is perfect.  A child is trained and taught, and as the child grows they carry out the will of God in a better way.  When she matured, she was perfected.  I did not say anything concerning selfishness.  I simply showed she grew in wisdom and strength in accordance to the will of God by the help of her perfected parents and whatever grace she can attain.

I didn't say she did this without the grace of God.  I'm just saying the measure of grace she partook of was not the same as that of baptism until Christ became incarnate.

I am showing you with synergy, she is the most perfect.

How can you have anything but natural synergy...the grace to remain a living breathing being...before Baptism?    That is my question on the issue of synergy with respect to the Theotokos?  How can you have spiritual synergy prior to the possibility of illumination?

I hope to be allowed to ask this question, please.

M.

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #394 on: December 17, 2010, 11:16:32 AM »
Fr. Al,

This commentary is from the Pedalion ("The Rudder") and it was compiled at the beginning of the 19th century by St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain. 
"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #395 on: December 20, 2010, 03:20:18 PM »
Was listening to Fr. Larry Richards, who was talking about the Gospel of Luke, and got swerved into the IC.

He stated that the Theotokos "was immaculately conceived because Jesus could not assume sinful flesh...it was because of Him, not her, that she was conceived free from original sin....because her blood would be the blood that flowed in His veins." He then justified this by saying that "God is the eternal now....right now He is creating the world, right now he is bringing the world to the end...He doesn't see things in past, present, and future...just now..."

Well, of course, this all denies that God the Word took the form of a servant in the days of Augustus and Herod, and became sin for us.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Aindriú

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #396 on: December 20, 2010, 03:25:03 PM »
Was listening to Fr. Larry Richards, who was talking about the Gospel of Luke, and got swerved into the IC.

He stated that the Theotokos "was immaculately conceived because Jesus could not assume sinful flesh...it was because of Him, not her, that she was conceived free from original sin....because her blood would be the blood that flowed in His veins." He then justified this by saying that "God is the eternal now....right now He is creating the world, right now he is bringing the world to the end...He doesn't see things in past, present, and future...just now..."

Well, of course, this all denies that God the Word took the form of a servant in the days of Augustus and Herod, and became sin for us.

became sin?

I'm going to need this.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #397 on: December 20, 2010, 03:27:46 PM »
Was listening to Fr. Larry Richards, who was talking about the Gospel of Luke, and got swerved into the IC.

He stated that the Theotokos "was immaculately conceived because Jesus could not assume sinful flesh...it was because of Him, not her, that she was conceived free from original sin....because her blood would be the blood that flowed in His veins." He then justified this by saying that "God is the eternal now....right now He is creating the world, right now he is bringing the world to the end...He doesn't see things in past, present, and future...just now..."

Well, of course, this all denies that God the Word took the form of a servant in the days of Augustus and Herod, and became sin for us.

became sin?

Him, who knew no sin, He hath made sin for us, that we might be made the justice of God in Him. II Cor. 5:21
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #398 on: December 22, 2010, 09:53:15 AM »
Synergy as a spiritual concept sounds more Scientology than Christian.

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #399 on: December 22, 2010, 10:10:17 AM »
Synergy as a spiritual concept sounds more Scientology than Christian.
shouldn't, as the NT uses it.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #400 on: December 22, 2010, 10:14:49 AM »
Her salvation isn't the concern, nor is her ability to grow spiritually, only her ability unto sinlessness.

When Catholics say she was able to be sinless, they also say she had the same grace we receive at baptism, without which one can't be sinless.  How are you defining her immaculateness?

Quote
Upbringing is only half the battle, GI Joe. The whole point, that you're ignoring, is her spiritual ability to resist sin.

There's only one person with the spiritual ability to resist sin, Christ, because He is God.  For others to resist sin, we don't have the spiritual ability, but that comes from upbringing and aligning oneself with God's will.

If there is only one person with the spiritual ability to resist sin, then there would be no sinless people besides Jesus. You give too much power to upbringing. Upbringing gives a moral code, it doesn't program us like robots.

And for a reference, since you like to caricature everything you don't agree with, I'll underline.
122. It has pleased the Council to decree that whosoever should declare that the grace whereby we are justified through Jesus Christ our Lord to be effective only for the remission of sins already perpetrated, and not to afford help by way of preventing perpetration of other sins in addition thereto, let him be anathema.
(cc. CXXI, CXXIII, CXXIV, CXXV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.
The Pelagians expressed their heretical views in three propositions. The first proposition was to the effect that by employing only his natural powers and abilities a human being could keep the whole law and be justified, and could persist in righteousness, and enjoy life everlasting. Another proposition was to the effect that a human being does not need any inner or internal grace of God to incite him to do right, or to help him, or to justify him, but that, on the contrary, all he needs for his salvation is self-mastery, the law, training and teaching, and example. And the third proposition was to the effect that although grace is given by God yet it is given for the value of self-mastery. Hence upon this second proposition of theirs depends also this feature which the present Canon decrees, to wit, that the grace of God, which through Jesus Christ justifies a human being in baptism, graciously affords a remission only of previous sins, but not also to help keep one from sinning another time; wherefore it anathematizes all those persons too who say this. For the catholic Church believes wholly the opposite contrary, namely, that the grace bestowed through Jesus Christ in baptism affords both remission of previous sins and power and help to prevent us from further sinning, provided we ourselves do not yield ourselves to sins as a result of negligence. That is why David says: “O God, attend to my help. Ο Lord, hasten to aid me” (Ps. 70:1); and "My help cometh from the Lord" (Ps. 121:2), etc. St. Paul also says along the same line: "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; … the Spirit itself intercedeth in our behalf" (Rom. 8:26). And countless other passages along the same line are to be found in the divine Scriptures.



124. It has further pleased the Council to decree that whosoever should say that the reason why the grace of righteousness has been bestowed upon us is in order that we might through self-mastery be able the more easily and readily to fulfill it through grace, as though indicating that even if the grace had not been given we should still have been able, howbeit not easily and readily, to fulfill the divine commandments without its aid, let him be anathema. For when the Lord was speaking about the fruits of the commandments, He did not say, "Without me ye will have difficulty in doing anything" (cf. John 15:5).
(cc. CXX, CXXI, CXXII, CXXIII, CXXV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.
This Canon too anathematizes the Pelagians and Celestians for saying that simply because God made us masters of ourselves in respect of being free to do as we please we can execute the commandments even without the aid of divine grace, though not easily, but with difficulty, whereas through the aid afforded by divine grace we are enabled to carry these out more easily, since even the Lord, in speaking about the divine commandments, did not say, "Without me ye can do these only with difficulty," but, instead, He simply said, "Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5) Neither with ease nor with difficulty, that is to say, so that everything depends upon divine grace, and without the latter we can accomplish nothing.


http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/councils_local_rudder.htm#_Toc72635086

The ability to resist sin, is not of our own power, but of God's. To think otherwise is Pelagian.

Actual canons from the Council of Carthage 418
Quote
CANON CXII. (Greek cxiij. continued.)

That the grace of Christ gives not only the knowledge of our duty, but also inspires us with a
desire that we may be able to accomplish what we know

ALSO, whoever shall say that the same grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord helps us only
in not sinning by revealing to us and opening to our understanding the commandments, so that
we may know what to seek, what we ought to avoid, and also that we should love to do so, but
that through it we are not helped so that we are able to do what we know we should do, let him
be anathema. For when the Apostle says: "Wisdom puffeth up, but charity edifieth" it were truly
infamous were we to believe that we have the grace of Christ for that which puffeth us up, but
have it not for that which edifieth, since in each case it is the gift of God, both to know what we
ought to do, and to love to do it; so that wisdom cannot puff us up while charity is edifying us.
For as of God it is written, "Who teacheth man knowledge," so also it is written, "Love is of
God."

CANON CXIII. (Greek cxiiii.)
That without the grace of God we can do no good thing.

It seemed good that whosoever should say that the grace of justification was given to us only
that we might be able more readily by grace to perform what we were ordered to do through our
free will; as if though grace was not given, although not easily, yet nevertheless we could even
without grace fulfil the divine commandments
, let him be anathema. For the Lord spake
concerning the fruits of the commandments, when he said: "Without me ye can do nothing," and
not "Without me ye could do it but with difficulty.
"
Job, Zachariah and Elizabeth are called blameless by Scripture.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #401 on: December 22, 2010, 10:15:51 AM »
Synergy as a spiritual concept sounds more Scientology than Christian.

I have yet to get a clear definition of the concept...since we have no "grace" of our own to offer to the equation...but I think we can ask, even if synergy is not a precise concept, how anything like it on a spiritual plane can happen before the illumination of baptism?  Seems to me there's be no "synergy" between God and the Theotokos as long as her intellect was darkened and her will was weak.

There's much too much credit being given to the human capacity to avoid sin and internalize and actualize virtue.

M.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #402 on: December 22, 2010, 01:38:42 PM »
Azurestone,

You did not have to give me all these quotes.  I didn't contradict them at all:

Yes, I am.  No one as a child is perfect.  A child is trained and taught, and as the child grows they carry out the will of God in a better way.  When she matured, she was perfected.  I did not say anything concerning selfishness.  I simply showed she grew in wisdom and strength in accordance to the will of God by the help of her perfected parents and whatever grace she can attain.

I didn't say she did this without the grace of God.  I'm just saying the measure of grace she partook of was not the same as that of baptism until Christ became incarnate.

I am showing you with synergy, she is the most perfect.

How can you have anything but natural synergy...the grace to remain a living breathing being...before Baptism?    That is my question on the issue of synergy with respect to the Theotokos?  How can you have spiritual synergy prior to the possibility of illumination?

I hope to be allowed to ask this question, please.

M.

Why would God administer and ask people to follow the Law if people were "naturally" unable to follow it?  Why would the wrath of God be revealed on people who are unable to do His will?  If God asked something that people were unable to perfectly do, then wouldn't that be unfair and sadistic?

In the OT, God "hardens hearts."  God also inspired people to repentance and righteousness.  How else were people before illumination called "blameless"?

How could prophets speak through the Holy Spirit if they weren't illuminated?  How did Moses' face get enlightened and how did Moses even help lead God's people?  How did Enoch walk with God or Elijah get raised in heaven in fiery chariots before illumination?  How did the Logos save the three youth from the fire or save Daniel from the den of lions?

To single out the Theotokos and say she alone was conceived immaculately is unconvincing to me.  I see nothing but inconsistency in it.  We call her pure and immaculate, but perhaps that's a mystery like all other stories in the OT.  Maybe they all had some form of grace that is not "fully" revealed until Christ.  The only consistent thing is only after Christ's incarnation can anyone really be "immaculate" in an ontological sense.

Through Christ we are no longer spiritually blind.  Before Christ, when people were spiritually blind, if people were able to listen to God's directions where to go, then that grace of obedience and trust in God's laws doesn't sound all that crazy before illumination.  If they weren't able to trust in God, their hearts would be hardened.

So, synergy back then is not the same as synergy today, since we're not blind people who follow God's directing will, but people who see who ask God to carry us with Him into His will.  The Theotokos was the former before the incarnation, the latter after.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2010, 01:40:10 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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

Offline Aindriú

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #403 on: December 22, 2010, 08:17:08 PM »
Azurestone,

You did not have to give me all these quotes.  I didn't contradict them at all:

Yes, I am.  No one as a child is perfect.  A child is trained and taught, and as the child grows they carry out the will of God in a better way.  When she matured, she was perfected.  I did not say anything concerning selfishness.  I simply showed she grew in wisdom and strength in accordance to the will of God by the help of her perfected parents and whatever grace she can attain.

I didn't say she did this without the grace of God.  I'm just saying the measure of grace she partook of was not the same as that of baptism until Christ became incarnate.

I am showing you with synergy, she is the most perfect.

How can you have anything but natural synergy...the grace to remain a living breathing being...before Baptism?    That is my question on the issue of synergy with respect to the Theotokos?  How can you have spiritual synergy prior to the possibility of illumination?

I hope to be allowed to ask this question, please.

M.

Why would God administer and ask people to follow the Law if people were "naturally" unable to follow it?  Why would the wrath of God be revealed on people who are unable to do His will?  If God asked something that people were unable to perfectly do, then wouldn't that be unfair and sadistic?

Unable to be sinless, but not unable to remain faithful. You raise a good question though.

The rules were for a chosen "people" to shift from the pagan worldview (cosmic conflict) to one that was reverent to the one true God. In this way, they were made capable of receiving God.

In the OT, God "hardens hearts."  God also inspired people to repentance and righteousness.  How else were people before illumination called "blameless"?

How could prophets speak through the Holy Spirit if they weren't illuminated?  How did Moses' face get enlightened and how did Moses even help lead God's people?  How did Enoch walk with God or Elijah get raised in heaven in fiery chariots before illumination?  How did the Logos save the three youth from the fire or save Daniel from the den of lions?

The only sinless/blameless individuals to exist were purposeful in God's plan of bringing back humanity. And they were all graced by God. I can say this because they were prophets, and prophets are listening to God because they have God within them.

I don't think you're saying God didn't show Himself to people before Jesus. And I'm certainly not arguing that.  

To single out the Theotokos and say she alone was conceived immaculately is unconvincing to me.  I see nothing but inconsistency in it.  We call her pure and immaculate, but perhaps that's a mystery like all other stories in the OT.  Maybe they all had some form of grace that is not "fully" revealed until Christ.  The only consistent thing is only after Christ's incarnation can anyone really be "immaculate" in an ontological sense.

I'm not saying no one else was immaculate. But no one else was or needed to be "conceived" immaculate. Blameless still allows for original guilt.

Through Christ we are no longer spiritually blind.  Before Christ, when people were spiritually blind, if people were able to listen to God's directions where to go, then that grace of obedience and trust in God's laws doesn't sound all that crazy before illumination.  If they weren't able to trust in God, their hearts would be hardened.

You can follow laws of guidance, but this doesn't mean a people were avoiding sin. God's grace give extra (supernatural, literally) strength to avoid sin.

I think I've argued that the OT laws were more for changing humanity's lost view on life.

So, synergy back then is not the same as synergy today, since we're not blind people who follow God's directing will, but people who see who ask God to carry us with Him into His will.  The Theotokos was the former before the incarnation, the latter after.

I agree... But probably not in the way your intend.

Bishop Fulton Sheen (RC) made an excellent analogy about our relationship with God.

He explains (in brief), the eastern religions (not Orthodox; Buddhist, Taoist, etc) preach the method of finding the Divine/God in a MAN->GOD relationship. Where man must rid himself of this world by reaching up, so that he can bring God down to himself.

Instead, Christianity speaks of a GOD->MAN relationship. Where God must reach down and bring man up to Him. Where man has no ability to climb that cliff on his own.

(Quick tie in. So the OT Jews had rules to mimic Godly behavior, but except for a select few, whom God talked through, they were still somewhat separated. But even those laws were given from God Himself.)

He further explained this by an analogy to the nature of the world. Minerals->Plants->Animals->Man

In this way, if the Minerals/Chemicals wish to become anything more, the Plants must reach down and pull them up saying "You, too, can achieve my greatness in the universe. To grow and move with the wind". And again, if the plants want to roam the world and see with eyes, the animal must "reach down and pull the plants up" saying "You can be a part of this wonder". And still, if animals want to be cognizant of the universe and contemplate the heavens, man must come and bring the animal "to this world". And of course, if Man wants to achieve more, God must come down and reach man up saying "You too can experience true love and fullness of spirit".

The difference is that only Man is sentient. The Minerals, Plants, and Animals have no choice of their own. Man, on the other hand, has free will to choose or accept this change in "status".

To tie it back together. The OT Jews had rules/laws from God to change the lives of a people and to give direction for a chosen people so as to be able to accept God. After God's presence, man now has means, by building on this foundation, to change more completely and achieve Theosis.

I'm going to need this.

Offline Aindriú

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #404 on: December 22, 2010, 09:10:45 PM »
So I don't completely misrepresent his words:

Bishop Fulton Sheen:
part 1: (the speech I'm talking about starts around 2:50)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZzTjATuF2s&feature=related
part 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPjcTgCzE7k&feature=related

I'm going to need this.