Dear brother Mina,
I expressed most of these points that you have been discussing with Father Kimel in the old Immaculate Conception thread. It’s a wonder we kept talking past each other in that thread. In any case, I would like to address just a few items.
Because of Adam's sin, all died (both spiritually and physically) and all "sinned" (spiritual death) even those who had not sinned (not broke the Law). Notice, St. Augustine does not exclude the Theotokos from this.Actually, in another place (perhaps Fr. Kimel can provide it), St. Augustine specifically asserts that he excludes Mary from any statements he may have on sin. The dogma of the IC does not exclude Mary from physical death, but only the spiritual death.
Which is why it is not logically consistent with the whole of Orthodox Catholic Apostolic theology.
The rejoinder given in the old IC thread (I’m not sure if it was from you) was that one cannot separate spiritual death from physical death. I responded that this cannot be the case because at Baptism, spiritual death is removed, yet physical death remains. I forget if there was ever a reply to that.
Dear brother Isa,
P.S. I haven't read your REALLY long post yet. Perhaps in a few days when I have more time. Thanks for your patience.
The Graces Mary received at the Annunciation are different - these particular Graces affected her very body
WAIT A MINUTE! You were the one claiming that the IC only affected the Theotokos' soul, not her body. Are you saying that the "grace of the IC" is not connected to the grace of the Annuciation now?
Unfortunately for you, your Vatican's "infallible documents" connect the IC to her immortality and incoruptibilty, as I pointed out when you tried to get the body of the Theotokos out of the IC:
In the Decree on Original Sin at the Council of Trent, the Church defined that in Baptism, mankind is "made innocent, without stain, pure...beloved sons of God."Your fine distinction in the IC are not found in Ineffibilus Deus. Are they a refinement?
Do you see the word "stain" in the definition, Father? Do you see the connection? "Stain" refers to the SPIRITUAL consequences of original sin, NOT the physical/tactile consequences (unless your innovative polemics are now going to claim that the Catholic Church teaches that Baptism means we can no longer die).
So when the dogma of the IC states that Mary was preserved from all STAIN of original sin, it is referring exclusively to the SPIRITUAL consequences of original sin, and is not making any reference to the physical/tactile consequences. In other words, the dogma of the IC is not claiming that the Graces Mary received at the moment of the Immaculate Conception somehow freed her from death, or physical/emotional infirmities, or bodily corruption, etc.
If any grace was withheld, than the all-or-nothing argument of the eisogesis of the IC into Luke 1:28 falls apart.
Anyway, I don’t want to hijack this thread, and I’ll defer to Fr. Kimel’s judgment if this conversation on the IC is doing so..
Perhaps then on this thread?http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20612.msg328462/topicseen.html#msg328462
I took a quick skim through it, and your questions were answered. Many times. But if you see something unaddressed, revive that thread or link here and I'll see to remedying that, Lord willing.
I'd like to ask one question to Marduk or anyone else. What's the difference between the "grace of sinlessness" and the "grace of salvation"? I thought the "grace of salvation" is what she received that which lead to her "sinlessness."Thank you for this opportunity to explain.
The Grace of salvation is what unites us to God, making us children of God. It is otherwise known as the Grace of Justification. It is the same Grace we receive from the Sacrament of Baptism.
The Grace of sinlessness is the Grace to fight the power of sin in our lives. It is otherwise known as the Grace of Sanctification. This is the same Grace we receive from the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is the Grace of sinlessness/Sanctification which, through our free-will cooperation with it, allows us to maintain the Grace of salvation/Justification in and for ourselves.
Mary received the Grace of Salvation/Justification from the first moment of her existence (in other words, she was united to God, a child of God, since the first moment of her existence). According to Tradition, it seems she received the Grace of sinlessness/Sanctification while living at the Temple having been dedicated to that vocation by her holy parents. It’s also possible, of course, that she received the Grace of sinlessness/Sanctification at her conception. I think this is a common belief among the Latins. In either case, Mary’s sinlessness throughout her life was due to her free-will cooperation with that Grace of sinlessness/Sanctification that we ourselves receive at fro, the Sacrament of Confirmation.
But there is also something unique about Mary that distinguishes her from the rest of humanity (well, aside from her role as Theotokos, of course) by virtue of the fact that she had never been separated from God since the first moment of her existence. Since Mary had never been touched by the stain of sin (i.e., separation from God/spiritual death), then she never acquired concupiscence.
I know that there are many, many people who understand concupiscence as “the tendency to sin.” But that is not its primary definition according to Pope St. Athanasius. Our father Athanasius taught that concupiscence is simply the disordered use of reason.
Can you give us a quote, as "disordered" is a favorite term of the Vatican, and a search of St. Athanasius' works herehttp://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf204.html
didn't turn up a single instance of the term that I could see. PLEASE! let us see what St. Athanasius says, not your paraphrase of what you think he says, or what the Vatican tells you he says. Then we can tell if your argument is based on Pope St. Athanasius or merely invoking his name.
Now, does not having concupiscence mean Mary did not have the possibility of sinning? Does it mean that she could not be tempted? Does it mean she could not experience sorrow, or pain, or longing or any of the other effects by virtue of our human nature? Not at all. For if not having concupiscence is equated to the incapability to sin, then Adam and Eve could not possibly have sinned. So Mary was indeed like us in all things, except in those things which was required by the Divine plan for her to be the Mother of God.
"‘I say nothing of what has gone before, that ye have outraged Him, Him that had done you no wrong, Him that had done you good, that He exacted not justice, that He is first to beseech, though first outraged; let none of these things be set down at present. Ought ye not in justice to be reconciled for this one thing only that He hath done to you now?’ And what hath He done? (I Cor. 5:21) “Him that knew no sin He made to be sin, for you.” For had He achieved nothing but done only this, think how great a thing it were to give His Son for those that had outraged Him. But now He hath both well achieved mighty things, and besides, hath suffered Him that did no wrong to be punished for those who had done wrong. But he did not say this: but mentioned that which is far greater than this. What then is this? “Him that knew no sin,” he says, Him that was righteousness itself. “He made sin,” that is suffered as a sinner to be condemned, as one cursed to die. “For cursed is he that hangeth on a tree.” (Gal. iii. 13.) For to die thus was far greater than to die; and this he also elsewhere implying, saith, “Becoming obedient unto death, yea the death of the cross.” (Philip. ii. 8.) For this thing carried with it not only punishment, but also disgrace. Reflect therefore how great things He bestowed on thee. For a great thing indeed it were for even a sinner to die for any one whatever; but when He who undergoes this both is righteous and dieth for sinners; and not dieth only, but even as one cursed; and not as cursed [dieth] only, but thereby freely bestoweth upon us those great goods which we never looked for; (for he says, that “we might become the righteousness of God in Him;”) what words, what thought shall be adequate to realize these things? ‘For the righteous,’ saith he, ‘He made a sinner; that He might make the sinners righteous.’ Yea rather, he said not even so, but what was greater far; for the word he employed is not the habit, but the quality itself. For he said not “made” [Him] a sinner, but “sin;” not, ‘Him that had not sinned’ only, but “that had not even known sin; that we” also “might become,” he did not say ‘righteous,’ but, “righteousness,” and, “the righteousness of God.” For this is [the righteousness] “of God” when we are justified not by works, (in which case it were necessary that not a spot even should be found,) but by grace, in which case all sin is done away. And this at the same time that it suffers us not to be lifted up, (seeing the whole is the free gift of God,) teaches us also the greatness of that which is given. For that which was before was a righteousness of the Law and of works, but this is “the righteousness of God.”
Reflecting then on these things, let us fear these words more than hell; let us reverence the things [they express] more than the kingdom, and let us not deem it grievous to be punished, but to sin. For were He not to punish us, we ought to take vengeance on ourselves, who have been so ungrateful towards our Benefactor. Now he that hath an object of affection, hath often even slain himself, when unsuccessful in his love; and though successful, if he hath been guilty of a fault towards her, counts it not fit that he should even live; and shall not we, when we outrage One so loving and gentle, cast ourselves into the fire of hell? Shall I say something strange, and marvellous, and to many perhaps incredible? To one who hath understanding and loveth the Lord as it behoveth to love Him, there will be greater comfort if punished after provoking One so loving, than if 335not punished. And this one may see by the common practice. For he that has wronged his dearest friend feels then the greatest relief, when he has wreaked vengeance on himself and suffered evil. And accordingly David said, “I the shepherd have sinned, and I the shepherd have done amiss; and these the flock, what have they done? Let Thy hand be upon me, and upon my father’s house.” (2 Sam. xxiv. 17. LXX.) And when he lost Absalom he wreaked the extremest vengeance upon himself, although he was not the injurer but the injured; but nevertheless, because he loved the departed exceedingly, he racked himself with anguish, in this manner comforting himself. Let us therefore also, when we sin against Him Whom we ought not to sin against, take vengeance on ourselves. See you not those who have lost true-born children, that they therefore both beat themselves and tear their hair, because to punish themselves for the sake of those they loved carries comfort with it. But if, when we have caused no harm to those dearest to us, to suffer because of what hath befallen them brings consolation; when we ourselves are the persons who have given provocation and wrong, will it not much rather be a relief to us to suffer the penalty and will not the being unpunished punish? Every one in a manner will see this. If any love Christ as it behoveth to love Him, he knoweth what I say; how, even when He forgiveth, he will not endure to go unpunished; for thou undergoest the severest punishment in having provoked Him. And I know indeed that I am speaking what will not be believed by the many; but nevertheless it is so as I have said. If then we love Christ as it behoveth to love Him, we shall punish ourselves when we sin. For to those who love any whomsover, not the suffering somewhat because they have provoked the beloved one is unpleasing; but above all, that they have provoked the person loved. And if this last when angered doth not punish, he hath tortured his lover more; but if he exacts satisfaction, he hath comforted him rather. Let us therefore not fear hell, but offending God; for it is more grievous than that when He turns away in wrath: this is worse than all, this heavier than all. And that thou mayest learn what a thing it is, consider this which I say. If one that was himself a king, beholding a robber and malefactor under punishment, gave his well-beloved son, his only-begotten and true, to be slain; and transferred the death and the guilt as well, from him to his son, (who was himself of no such character,) that he might both save the condemned man and clear him from his evil reputation. ; and then if, having subsequently promoted him to great dignity, he had yet, after thus saving him and advancing him to that glory unspeakable, been outraged by the person that had received such treatment: would not that man, if he had any sense, have chosen ten thousand deaths rather than appear guilty of so great ingratitude? This then let us also now consider with ourselves, and groan bitterly for the provocations we have offered our Benefactor; nor let us therefore presume, because though outraged He bears it with long-suffering; but rather for this very reason be full of For amongst men too, when one that hath been smitten on the right cheek offers the left also, he more avengeth himself than if he gave ten thousand blows; and when one that hath been reviled, not only revileth not again but even blesseth, he hath stricken [his adversary] more heavily, than if he rained upon him ten thousand reproaches. Now if in the case of men we feel ashamed when offering insults we meet with long-suffering; much rather, in respect to God, ought they to be afraid who go on continually sinning yet suffer no calamity. For, even for evil unto their own heads is the unspeakable punishment treasured up for them. These things then bearing in mind, let us above all things be afraid of sin; for this is punishment, this is hell, this is ten thousand ills. And let us not only be afraid of, but also flee from it, and strive to please God continually; for this is the kingdom, this is life, this is ten thousand goods. So shall we also even here obtain already the kingdom and the good things to come; whereunto may we all attain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ; with Whom to the Father, with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen."-St. John Chrysostomhttp://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf112.v.xi.html
How do you fit the IC in all that?
And furthermore, the way in which I interpreted some passages by St. Jacob of Serugh (a non-Chalcedonian saint) seemed to fortify my beliefs that words like "immaculate" or "pure" or "undefiled" speak of her actions, not necessarily of her soul. I will share these words with you, in which Marduk interpreted them differently as a "second purification," which I find very confusing to understand personally.I don’t believe I ever used the words “second purification.” I think that was your interpretation of what I stated. I may have used it (it’s been so long ago), but if I did, I would never have intended it to mean that the first purification was exactly like the second purification. As explained in previous posts, the Holy Spirit gives different Graces, and the Grace received by Mary at her conception is different than other Graces she received later in life.
That sort of negates the "full of grace" argument of your "infallible" statement of the 'singular" grace of the IC:
When the Fathers and writers of the Church meditated on the fact that the most Blessed Virgin was, in the name and by order of God himself, proclaimed full of grace by the Angel Gabriel when he announced her most sublime dignity of Mother of God, they thought that this singular and solemn salutation, never heard before, showed that the Mother of God is the seat of all divine graces and is adorned with all gifts of the Holy Spirit. To them Mary is an almost infinite treasury, an inexhaustible abyss of these gifts, to such an extent that she was never subject to the curse and was, together with her Son, the only partaker of perpetual benediction.
As far as St. Jacob is concerned, I remember telling you in the old IC thread that reading his work simply reinforced my belief in the IC. I do not remember if I fully explained my position with respect to St. Jacob’s work. I don’t think I did, so permit me to do so right now.
There are glaring inconsistencies in St. Jacob’s statements if one interprets it as how I perceive you do. For example: In the first set of statements, he writes:
“He observed her, how exalted and pure from evil,
nor stirs in her an impulse inclined to lust”
And in the second set of statements that you interpret as a description of the Annunciation, he writes:
”He sanctified her body and made her without hateful lusts,
as the virgin Eve had been until she lusted.
The sin which entered Adam's race with impulses of desire,
the Holy Spirit cast out from her when He came within her.”
But one has to ask, how is it that the Holy Spirit at the Annunciation (according to your interpretation) could remove “impulses of desire and lusts” from her, when he had previously written that God observed her and chose her because she had no impulses inclined to lust?
Again, in the first set of statements, St. Jacob writes:
“If there had been a spot in her soul or a defect,
He would have sought for Himself another mother in whom there is no blemish.”
And in the second set of statements that you interpret as a description of the Annunciation, he writes:
”He sanctified her, purified her, and made her blessed among women;”
But one has to ask, how is it that the Holy Spirit at the Annunciation (according to your interpretation) needed to sanctify or purify her, when he had previously written that God chosen her because she was pure, with no spot or defect or blemish?
The only way to overcome these apparent inconsistencies in St. Jacob’s writing is to understand his work not as some literally chronological relation of events, but rather as a poetic masterpiece, which has as its main purpose to relate salient truths about Mary’s divine maternity, utilizing poetic license in the chronology of events.
So what you interpret as actions of the Holy Spirit on Mary at the Annunciation should rather be seen as actions of the Holy Spirit on Mary at both her Annunciation and at some other time much earlier than her Annunciation.
Now the reason that reading these passages from St. Jacob reinforced my belief in the IC was because whereas before I believed that Mary indeed received all Graces at the Annunciation, St. Jacob showed me that this is not true – that she indeed received many Graces before the Annunciation.
For example, though he acclaims her beauty of soul due to her free will, he nevertheless affirms that her beauty was from God. And while extolling her use of free will, he simultaneously affirms that her will was perfected through “glorious graces.” Though he does not answer when Mary received these graces, the fact that it was certainly before the Annunciation opened up my conscience to accept the greater possibility of the Truth of the IC.
I'll defer to Mina having first crack to reply, as you are basing yourself on how you think he views the poetry of the saint.
P.S. Are you aware that St. Severus’ anthropology – that physical death is not so much a punishment, but rather part of our nature - comes from Pope St. Athanasius? This position (which I have always held) really helped in my understanding of the IC. I believe I shared this in the old IC thread with you. Would you like a quick recap of my thoughts on the matter?
Can you supply some quote from both, because as presented here, they would both be wrong. Death is not the nature of man, as he was created for eternity. Neither of them were proto-Calivinists: they held the fall occured in history, but not in essence.
Of course, the defense of the IC shows that history isn't your strong point.Fixed quote tags -PtA