Author Topic: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?  (Read 15218 times)

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Offline Jetavan

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Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« on: December 29, 2010, 10:20:15 AM »
Does Orthodoxy hold that belief in the Virgin Birth is as important as many evangelicals believe?

Albert Mohler, Southern Baptist:

"Even if the Virgin Birth was taught by only one biblical passage, that would be sufficient to obligate all Christians to the belief. We have no right to weigh the relative truthfulness of biblical teachings by their repetition in Scripture. We cannot claim to believe that the Bible is the Word of God and then turn around and cast suspicion on its teaching.

Millard Erickson states this well: “If we do not hold to the virgin birth despite the fact that the Bible asserts it, then we have compromised the authority of the Bible and there is in principle no reason why we should hold to its other teachings. Thus, rejecting the virgin birth has implications reaching far beyond the doctrine itself.”

Implications, indeed. If Jesus was not born of a virgin, who was His father? There is no answer that will leave the Gospel intact. The Virgin Birth explains how Christ could be both God and man, how He was without sin, and that the entire work of salvation is God’s gracious act. If Jesus was not born of a virgin, He had a human father. If Jesus was not born of a virgin, the Bible teaches a lie.

Carl F. H. Henry, the dean of evangelical theologians, argues that the Virgin Birth is the “essential, historical indication of the Incarnation, bearing not only an analogy to the divine and human natures of the Incarnate, but also bringing out the nature, purpose, and bearing of this work of God to salvation.” Well said, and well believed."

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2010, 10:27:25 AM »
The evangelicals are correct here & if only they could accept that the Theotokos is ever virgin.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2010, 10:52:30 AM »
I would say perhaps even moreso, since the dogma of the Virgin birth of Christ is enshrined not only in Scripture, but in the liturgical texts and, I think, also the dogmatic canons and Synodikon of Orthodoxy, as is the ever-virginity of the Theotokos.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2010, 12:22:11 PM »
To the OP: We should.
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Offline Xenia

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2010, 12:30:40 PM »
If there is no virgin birth then Christ is the son of somebody else and not the Son of God.

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2010, 01:00:04 PM »

Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?  Yes.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2010, 01:04:39 PM »
No Virgin Birth, no Salvation.  Belief in the Virgin Birth is critical to being a Christian.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2010, 01:09:42 PM »
Even Islam teaches the Virgin birth of Jesus, yet strangely fails to infer much from this.  I always thought that odd.

As others have stated, this is a crucial tenet of Christianity.  Without this, it questions many teachings of the church and the religion, including the divinity of Christ.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2010, 02:08:53 PM »
Does Orthodoxy hold that belief in the Virgin Birth is as important as many evangelicals believe?

More than they do, since we accept all the logical implications (the incarnation of the Son of God, a member of the Holy Trinity of the One Godhead, which opened the door of theosis to us, etc.) more than they do.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2010, 02:11:18 PM »
Well, the only other option would be that God entered man at one point (for example, at Jesus' baptism). I know this is a heresy that was condemned a long time ago, but how does this belief affect our salvation?
« Last Edit: December 29, 2010, 02:11:31 PM by Ortho_cat »

Offline Russell

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2010, 05:52:47 PM »
The Virgin birth is important
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Offline Theophilos78

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2010, 06:00:50 PM »
The tenet of the Virgin Birth is fundamental to our faith.

It was declared explicitly in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke whilst implicitly in the Gospel of Mark and John.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2010, 06:11:23 PM »
The Virgin birth is important

A lot of things are important in the Christian faith, but do you think that this dogma is obligatory?

As Fr. George has already said, the logical implications from the virgin birth that are core fundamental dogmas of the Church would make that answer "yes."
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2010, 06:29:57 PM »
Yes. I am surprised that the question would even be posed to us as Orthodox Christians.

Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2010, 07:49:46 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Does Orthodoxy hold that belief in the Virgin Birth is as important as many evangelicals believe?

Albert Mohler, Southern Baptist:



Albert Mohler aside, from my experience I'm not quite sure the Virgin Birth is really that fundamental or important in Protestant/Pentecostal/Baptist theology.  In their vitriolic fear of anything even remotely Popish or Mariolatry, these tend to under-emphasize any significance of Our Lady, even in the context and discussions of the Virgin Birth.  When you discuss it, most Baptists especially will go out of their way to make note of the insignificance of Our Lady in this regard, it is heavy on their collective conscience.  Essentially, many will outright say that while Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, that after this miraculous birth She became irrelevant and even unnecessary and almost discarded.  When we discuss the infinity of this Virgin Birth, and that in the divine miraculousness of our God, Jesus Christ was not born only once of a Virgin, but in all His Manifestations is perpetually being born of a Virgin, and that in all His revelations to us the Virgin Birth is continually dawning on the darkness of our confusion, they quickly discredit this concept.  Remember, Christ has been largely relegated to symbolism in the Protestant churches.

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Thou art the golden
candlestick and dost hold
the brilliant Light at all
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the Light of Lights which
had no beginning, verily
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coming He shed light
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feet upon the path of
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mystery of His holy
wisdom. And because of
this
from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Wedassie Maryam (praises/hymns of Mary)

Essentially, the Protestant mind-set can't cope with or understand the concept of Our Lady being (in the present and future tense) called "thou ART the candlestick" where as they concede perhaps that She WAS the candlestick.  We understand in Orthodox theology that Our Lady remains forever the candlestick which holds the Illuminating Light of Jesus Christ, She did not just hold Him once for a short time in the past, but theologically, metaphysically and cosmologically is always holding Him up in such  a way, in absolute perpetuity, which is why we ascribe Honor and Blessings upon Her.

This is not to limit or deny the sincerity of Protestants and their some-what affection for Her, many do in fact enjoy the idea of Our Lady cradling the Infant Christ, but they limit themselves in embracing the concept of Our Lady being Jesus' eternal mother, rather than simply temporary.  We in Orthodox, always embrace Our Lady as the present-tense, not just the past.



stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: December 29, 2010, 07:57:39 PM by HabteSelassie »
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2010, 09:44:21 PM »
If we don't believe in the Virgin birth, then our faith is a farce.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2010, 10:54:54 PM »
What about the argument that St. Paul never mentioned the Virgin Birth?
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2010, 11:06:44 PM »
What about the argument that St. Paul never mentioned the Virgin Birth?

So what?  We're not Protestants.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2010, 11:15:47 PM »
What about the argument that St. Paul never mentioned the Virgin Birth?

St Luke mentioned it and he was close to St Paul. They both mention each other in their writings that have been preserved in Scripture. I doubt that St Paul was ignorant of the virgin birth, only emphasized Christ's death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit living in us as a result, the practical implications of that in our lives, and the hope that we have in the future because of this.
And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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Offline Melodist

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2010, 11:17:46 PM »
What about the argument that St. Paul never mentioned the Virgin Birth?

So what?  We're not Protestants.

I've never heard a protestant use that argument, just about every protestant that I know holds firmly to the virgin birth. It's usually non-Christians that use that argument.
And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2010, 11:39:27 PM »
What about the argument that St. Paul never mentioned the Virgin Birth?

St. Paul never mentioned a lot of things that are in the Gospels. 
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2010, 11:39:50 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
What about the argument that St. Paul never mentioned the Virgin Birth?

So what?  We're not Protestants.

I've never heard a protestant use that argument, just about every protestant that I know holds firmly to the virgin birth. It's usually non-Christians that use that argument.

I do believe the intention of that first comment was to imply that Orthodox are not Scripturalists, and that we do not rely solely on the Bible as Protestants tend to.  For most Protestants, if it is not in the Bible it is not true, real, or Divine, which is why in ignorance they largely reject the Apostolic and Holy Traditions, even though most of the Tradition is in fact widely mentioned in the Scriptures, including the veneration of Saints, Liturgical worship, the Real Presence, and the Heirarchy of priests, all which are openly and defiantly rejected according to most Protestant theology.

Even Islam teaches the Virgin birth of Jesus, yet strangely fails to infer much from this.  I always thought that odd.

As others have stated, this is a crucial tenet of Christianity.  Without this, it questions many teachings of the church and the religion, including the divinity of Christ.

Quote
Although there is this common ground, notice that Islam attaches no theological significance to the Virgin birth; Surah 3:59 states: "Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is." Muslims often state that Adam's creation was a greater miracle, since he had no parents at all! Moreover, there does not seem to be any compelling reason for the virgin birth in the Qur'an, since Islam denies original sin; the miracle is merely an arbitrary act of God's will, an expression of His power. However, one interesting point in the Hadith, the narrations of Muhammad (the second source of authority for Muslims), indicates the uniqueness of Christ's birth: Narrated by Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "When any human being is born, Satan touches him at both sides of the body with his two fingers, except Jesus, the son of Mary, whom Satan tried to touch but failed, for he touched the placenta-cover instead." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.506)
http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0053.xml

Quote
"How can I give birth to a son if no man has touched me?"; receiving the answer; "Just so! God creates what he wants: when he decides something, it is enough that he should say: let it be! and it is" (III, 147; XIX, 203). A version that confirms the typically Islamic sense of the absolute authority and power of God, and the complete submission of man to his will.

The Koran gives no details about the birth of Jesus. It at once presents Mary who, returning among her people and showing them the Child, becomes the object of terrible slanders. The episode, brief but dramatic, is suddenly solved when the Infant, speaking unexpectedly from the cradle, takes his Mother's defence and exonerates her from all blame (XIX, 30-33). This miracle, to which the Koran refers more than once (e.g. III, 46; V, 113), is among those that have made most impression on the imagination of Moslem believers and that are still alive in their conscience. The episode, however, has also a kerigmatic importance for Islamic theology , since the fact that the Child speaks from the cradle is a violation of natural laws and therefore bears witness to the greatness of the Spirit that is in him.

The Koran does not give us any other information on the Virgin's life, while tradition recalls various and partly conflicting versions of the last years of her earthly presence and of her ascension to heaven. But neither the Koran nor tradition give the story of the Transitus Mariae.
Those who do not know the Islamic religion may be surprised to learn that Mahomet defended Mary's virginity, or that he recognized her as the woman chosen by God for a function that was to be unique in history. Mahomet's commitment to defend her and exalt her, also explains his harsh condemnation of the Jews (e.g. V, 156), guilty of persisting in the slander and in refusing to admit Mary's unique role. It is necessary to clarify, however, that, also for Mahomet, Mary is unimaginable if dissociated from her Son: the divine election and the purity of the Mother are directly proportioned to the qualities of the Son; the moment of their interdependence is greatly felt, therefore, since the historical greatness of Mary is conditioned by that of her Son, and the Son in his turn depends on his Mother, who constitutes the indispensable promise for his presence on earth. In the Koran Christ is called repeatedly Issa ibn Maryam—"Jesus son of Mary" (V, 19, 75, 81, 113; XIX, 34)—a name which if it will become perhaps the best known one in the Islamic world, will also be the one that characterizes most the figure of Christ. This correlation, which has led Moslem religious thought to affirm the indissolubility of the dual concept Mary-Jesus and to base its refutation of Christian doctrine on it, seems to have its foundation in the principle of necessity. The negation of Christ's divinity finds its reason, in fact, precisely in Mary's human nature; that is, in the genetic relationship which, entailing the transmission of properties, would exclude a leap of quality from Mother to Son.

This conception, in which there is also inherent the idea of the primacy of the female line over the male line (in the Koran narration of Mary's life, while the person of Zacharias, the Virgin's uncle and guardian, is thwarted by the constant presence of the Angel of the Lord, that of Joseph is completely ignored), is due, in our opinion, more than to the influence of the apocrypha, to an ancient way of feeling that is characteristic of the Semites of Arabia. It is a way of feeling which, is also alive in Mahomet and which leads to mental operations of the analogical type, to a thought geared less to speculation than to the pursuit of parallelisms, to the concordance of diverse but congruent elements, and therefore to the vision of a firm reality, because it is founded on perfect and therefore immutable relationships, which seem to exclude the possibility of gradual evolution. What Mahomet and his commentators failed to grasp intellectually, is the concept that the presence of God can come about in different ways, realizing itself as a circumstantial and determined presence, without causing for this reason any alternation in God himself. This presence, furthermore, may have the character of a gradual and growing manifestation; and may mark a new temporal effect at the very moment in which God sets up a new relationship with his creatures. That Islamic theology should find it so difficult to grasp this concept, seems almost incomprehensible when it is remembered that Mahomet himself, in addition to affirming with unusual forcefulness the omnipotence of God, also perceived a certain development God's manifestation of himself through his "messengers", and recognized Moses, and particularly Jesus and himself, as having a role which, though not well defined theoretically, seems superior to that of the other prophets.
http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/marykran.htm

In Islam the Virgin Birth is essential as a function of a true miracle, to demonstrate the power of God, just as Moses was found in the basket.  For Islam, tangible, extraordinary miracles are signs of God's activity, and a confirmation of faith.  However, since Islam rejects the divinity of Jesus Christ, rather embracing the Prophet Issa as indeed the Biblical Messiah, but defining such in more Judaic concepts rather then Christian.  Interestingly, as the article points out above, Islam theology, much like in the Orthodox, in fact defines the fully Human Nature of Jesus Christ in context of His birth from the purely human Virgin Mary, and as such reject any divinity of Jesus Christ precisely because of His human ancestry through the Virgin Mary.
We should note that Mohammad was heavily influenced by his experience with early Christians, both in positive and negative ways.  He admired our fasting culture, our ritualized prayer routines, and tendency towards pilgrimages, and as such made these exact practices fundamental pillars of Islam, and he openly explained the Christian influence.  In the negative, Islam became so antagonistically iconoclastic in a cultural reaction to the Iconography of Christianity. A particular colloquial story tells of Mohammad giving the riot act to Ethiopian Christians he stayed a decade with while in exile in Ethiopia over the abundance of Icons and religious imagery which was a crucial part of Ethiopian public and private devotion and worship.  Further, as the article above mentioned, Mohammed was also influenced by the various "heretical" and sectarian branches of Christians from the region, and also specifically favored a lot of Christian influence to counter the Jews who in Arabian peninsula and North/East Africa were a potent political and economic powerhouse who fought many wars in 5th-9th centuries until Christians and Muslims came to dominate politics.
stay blessed,
habte selassie

« Last Edit: December 29, 2010, 11:46:32 PM by HabteSelassie »
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2010, 12:56:59 AM »
What about the argument that St. Paul never mentioned the Virgin Birth?
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2010, 01:29:26 AM »
This is somewhat of a personal contemplation, but I feel that St. Paul does show some knowledge of the virgin birth, although this is not all that clear from the follow chapter:

From Galatians 4:
Quote
21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.
 24 These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written:

   “Be glad, barren woman,
   you who never bore a child;
shout for joy and cry aloud,
   you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
   than of her who has a husband.”

 28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

I wonder if that free woman is the Theotokos.  I wonder if she's the "desolate woman" who now has more children "than of her who has a husband."  I wonder if by this, this shows a new birth, a new creation, and a new form of pro-creation, where one does not have to be married to have children, since we have godmothers, godfathers, spiritual mothers and church "fathers".  St. Paul had children too, not biologically, but spiritually, and continues to bear them today.  For St. Paul teaches we are heirs to Abraham's promise through Christ.  Does not this mean we are also children of the Theotokos, the true free woman?
« Last Edit: December 30, 2010, 01:31:40 AM by minasoliman »
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2010, 01:38:40 AM »
Why not?

Offline Theophilos78

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2010, 03:28:15 AM »
As for St. Paul's not mentioning the Virgin Birth in his epistles, he does not talk about John the Baptist either.

However, in his letter to the Galatians St. Paul overtly referred to Christ's incarnation when he said that the Son of God was born of a woman under the Law when the appointed time came. This implicitly points at the virgin birth.

More to the point, St. Luke highlighted the amazing parallelisms between Christ's baptism and His birth. For instance, Jesus started His prophetic ministry when He was baptized by John and the Holy Spirit came upon Him whilst He started His human life when He was born of a virgin upon whom the Holy Spirit came.

Luke even inserted Jesus' genealogy into his Gospel after the account of Jesus' baptism unlike Matthew, who placed Jesus' genealogy in the account of His nativity and infancy.

« Last Edit: December 30, 2010, 03:40:17 AM by Theophilos78 »
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2011, 08:44:12 AM »
Is the making of Eve from Adam's rib, a reversed 'foretelling' of the virigin birth? In both instances, we have non-sexual reproduction, one gender producing - miraculously - a person of the opposite gender.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2011, 01:29:39 PM »
Is the making of Eve from Adam's rib, a reversed 'foretelling' of the virigin birth? In both instances, we have non-sexual reproduction, one gender producing - miraculously - a person of the opposite gender.

Several Fathers teach that man would have reproduced asexually were it not for the Fall, and the Virgin Birth is, in part, a restoration of this reality (I say "in part" because only Mary gives birth to the God-Man).
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Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2011, 01:34:06 PM »
Is the making of Eve from Adam's rib, a reversed 'foretelling' of the virigin birth? In both instances, we have non-sexual reproduction, one gender producing - miraculously - a person of the opposite gender.

Although I've never heard this from any theologian, it would make sense. Christ is the new Adam, the Theotokos is the New Eve. Through Adam and Eve the relationship with God was damaged (I won't say destroyed, as God never forsook His creation), and through Christ and the Theotokos it is restored.

God told Moses of His promises for Jews through the burning bush; through the Theotokos, the "new" burning bush, that which contained the uncontainable, the promise for Israel was fulfilled.
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Offline Theophilos78

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2011, 06:16:58 AM »
Is the making of Eve from Adam's rib, a reversed 'foretelling' of the virigin birth? In both instances, we have non-sexual reproduction, one gender producing - miraculously - a person of the opposite gender.

This is a traditional Islamic teaching on Christ's miraculous birth.
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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2011, 04:26:39 PM »
Is the making of Eve from Adam's rib, a reversed 'foretelling' of the virigin birth? In both instances, we have non-sexual reproduction, one gender producing - miraculously - a person of the opposite gender.

This is a traditional Islamic teaching on Christ's miraculous birth.

No reason why we can't share this interpretation...thanks Muhammad! ;)

Offline Theophilos78

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #31 on: January 04, 2011, 03:45:14 AM »
Is the making of Eve from Adam's rib, a reversed 'foretelling' of the virigin birth? In both instances, we have non-sexual reproduction, one gender producing - miraculously - a person of the opposite gender.

This is a traditional Islamic teaching on Christ's miraculous birth.

No reason why we can't share this interpretation...thanks Muhammad! ;)

Muhammad referred to Adam's direct creation to deny that Christ's miraculous birth pointed at His divine personality. He also taught in the Qur'an that Jesus was similar to Adam in terms of direct creation and claimed that Adam's creation without a father and mother was far superior to Jesus' creation without a father only. Can you thank him for these teachings as well?  ::)

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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #32 on: January 04, 2011, 03:51:51 AM »
Is the making of Eve from Adam's rib, a reversed 'foretelling' of the virigin birth? In both instances, we have non-sexual reproduction, one gender producing - miraculously - a person of the opposite gender.

This is a traditional Islamic teaching on Christ's miraculous birth.

No reason why we can't share this interpretation...thanks Muhammad! ;)

Muhammad referred to Adam's direct creation to deny that Christ's miraculous birth pointed at His divine personality. He also taught in the Qur'an that Jesus was similar to Adam in terms of direct creation and claimed that Adam's creation without a father and mother was far superior to Jesus' creation without a father only. Can you thank him for these teachings as well?  ::)



Well no, but can we not still consider it as a reverse fore-shadowing, as Jetavan says, without twisting it to depricate the virgin birth as Muhammad did?

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #33 on: January 04, 2011, 04:04:23 AM »

Well no, but can we not still consider it as a reverse fore-shadowing, as Jetavan says, without twisting it to depricate the virgin birth as Muhammad did?

IMHO, no. Eve was not literally born of Adam. There was no pregnancy. In Jesus' case, however, we have a regular course of an irregular pregnancy.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #34 on: June 26, 2014, 05:14:20 PM »
I know that this is an old thread, but it's the closest one I found to the topic.

This is the kind of article that gives me doubts about the virgin birth. Some of its claims I disagree with.

I can deal with or discard the claims made up to the 11th paragraph, which says:

Quote
They appear to be legends recorded by later Jewish-Christian apologists who were attempting to explain the origins of a man whom they considered divine. In this sense, the authors employed the familiar Jewish practice of the time known as "midrash" to illustrate and prove their points; that is to say, they liberally interpreted and expanded on texts and prophesies in the Jewish scriptures.

Matthew claims that the birth of Jesus occurred during the reign of Herod the Great of Judea, a puppet king of the Romans, whom we know died in 4 B.C. Luke also tells us that Jesus' birth happened during Herod's reign. Luke even adds what appears to be detailed and historical evidence of the period. He writes that Jesus was born during a census or registration of the populace ordered by emperor Augustus at the time that Quirinius (Cyrenius) was Roman governor of Syria (Luke 2:1-3). In reality, this has to be a fabrication because Quirinius was not governor of Syria and Judea during Herod's kingship. Direct Roman rule over the province of Judea, where Bethlehem was located, was not established until 6 A.D. In other words, ten years separated the rule of Quirinius from Herod. If the census did take place, it was in the year 6 CE, long after Herod's death. Therefore, Matthew's stories of the Wise Men's visit to Herod and the Christchild, and Herod's massacre of the innocents which caused the holy family to flee to Egypt, are all historically impossible. Moreover, it should be noted that Luke also got his facts wrong about the census of Augustus. Such an imperial census would only apply to Roman citizens of the empire, not to Joseph, a Galilean who was not under direct Roman rule.

As for the hometown of Jesus' parents, neither gospel can agree where it was. Matthew has them residing in Bethlehem in Judea, while Luke says they lived in Nazareth in Galilee. Incredibly, Luke has Joseph take his wife Mary, in the last stages of her pregnancy, on an arduous four day journey by foot to Bethlehem because of the census. This assumes that the "census" (i.e. a registration which was to assist in levying a poll or a property tax) was conducted in a most peculiar way. According to Luke, illiterate peasants had to somehow trace their tribal and family heritage back to their ancestral birthplace, and then to report there for registration. The confusion and mass movement of population this would entail was, in fact, contrary to the sensible Roman practice of registering men (women had no political or property rights) for the head tax at their current dwelling place or the chief town of the local taxation district.
http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_lib.htm
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #35 on: June 26, 2014, 05:46:03 PM »
I know that this is an old thread, but it's the closest one I found to the topic.

This is the kind of article that gives me doubts about the virgin birth. Some of its claims I disagree with.

I can deal with or discard the claims made up to the 11th paragraph, which says:

Quote
They appear to be legends recorded by later Jewish-Christian apologists who were attempting to explain the origins of a man whom they considered divine. In this sense, the authors employed the familiar Jewish practice of the time known as "midrash" to illustrate and prove their points; that is to say, they liberally interpreted and expanded on texts and prophesies in the Jewish scriptures.

Matthew claims that the birth of Jesus occurred during the reign of Herod the Great of Judea, a puppet king of the Romans, whom we know died in 4 B.C. Luke also tells us that Jesus' birth happened during Herod's reign. Luke even adds what appears to be detailed and historical evidence of the period. He writes that Jesus was born during a census or registration of the populace ordered by emperor Augustus at the time that Quirinius (Cyrenius) was Roman governor of Syria (Luke 2:1-3). In reality, this has to be a fabrication because Quirinius was not governor of Syria and Judea during Herod's kingship. Direct Roman rule over the province of Judea, where Bethlehem was located, was not established until 6 A.D. In other words, ten years separated the rule of Quirinius from Herod. If the census did take place, it was in the year 6 CE, long after Herod's death. Therefore, Matthew's stories of the Wise Men's visit to Herod and the Christchild, and Herod's massacre of the innocents which caused the holy family to flee to Egypt, are all historically impossible. Moreover, it should be noted that Luke also got his facts wrong about the census of Augustus. Such an imperial census would only apply to Roman citizens of the empire, not to Joseph, a Galilean who was not under direct Roman rule.

As for the hometown of Jesus' parents, neither gospel can agree where it was. Matthew has them residing in Bethlehem in Judea, while Luke says they lived in Nazareth in Galilee. Incredibly, Luke has Joseph take his wife Mary, in the last stages of her pregnancy, on an arduous four day journey by foot to Bethlehem because of the census. This assumes that the "census" (i.e. a registration which was to assist in levying a poll or a property tax) was conducted in a most peculiar way. According to Luke, illiterate peasants had to somehow trace their tribal and family heritage back to their ancestral birthplace, and then to report there for registration. The confusion and mass movement of population this would entail was, in fact, contrary to the sensible Roman practice of registering men (women had no political or property rights) for the head tax at their current dwelling place or the chief town of the local taxation district.
http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_lib.htm
I remember reading something somewhere that stated that Luke actually got his facts right, that there was another Quirinius who governed Syria during the reign of King Herod.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #36 on: June 26, 2014, 05:56:56 PM »
I remember reading something somewhere that stated that Luke actually got his facts right, that there was another Quirinius who governed Syria during the reign of King Herod.
Thanks for clearing that up.

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #37 on: June 26, 2014, 06:32:37 PM »
I remember reading something somewhere that stated that Luke actually got his facts right, that there was another Quirinius who governed Syria during the reign of King Herod.
Thanks for clearing that up.


Some further food for thought:

http://www.comereason.org/bibl_cntr/con100.asp
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #38 on: June 26, 2014, 06:59:11 PM »

... In their vitriolic fear of anything even remotely Popish or Mariolatry, these tend to under-emphasize any significance of Our Lady, even in the context and discussions of the Virgin Birth.  When you discuss it, most Baptists especially will go out of their way to make note of the insignificance of Our Lady in this regard, it is heavy on their collective conscience.  Essentially, many will outright say that while Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, that after this miraculous birth She became irrelevant and even unnecessary and almost discarded.  When we discuss the infinity of this Virgin Birth, and that in the divine miraculousness of our God, Jesus Christ was not born only once of a Virgin, but in all His Manifestations is perpetually being born of a Virgin, and that in all His revelations to us the Virgin Birth is continually dawning on the darkness of our confusion, they quickly discredit this concept.  Remember, Christ has been largely relegated to symbolism in the Protestant churches. ...

And, traditionally, their misogyny.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #39 on: June 26, 2014, 07:01:44 PM »
I know that this is an old thread, but it's the closest one I found to the topic.

This is the kind of article that gives me doubts about the virgin birth. Some of its claims I disagree with.

I can deal with or discard the claims made up to the 11th paragraph, which says:

Quote
They appear to be legends recorded by later Jewish-Christian apologists who were attempting to explain the origins of a man whom they considered divine. In this sense, the authors employed the familiar Jewish practice of the time known as "midrash" to illustrate and prove their points; that is to say, they liberally interpreted and expanded on texts and prophesies in the Jewish scriptures.

Matthew claims that the birth of Jesus occurred during the reign of Herod the Great of Judea, a puppet king of the Romans, whom we know died in 4 B.C. Luke also tells us that Jesus' birth happened during Herod's reign. Luke even adds what appears to be detailed and historical evidence of the period. He writes that Jesus was born during a census or registration of the populace ordered by emperor Augustus at the time that Quirinius (Cyrenius) was Roman governor of Syria (Luke 2:1-3). In reality, this has to be a fabrication because Quirinius was not governor of Syria and Judea during Herod's kingship. Direct Roman rule over the province of Judea, where Bethlehem was located, was not established until 6 A.D. In other words, ten years separated the rule of Quirinius from Herod. If the census did take place, it was in the year 6 CE, long after Herod's death. Therefore, Matthew's stories of the Wise Men's visit to Herod and the Christchild, and Herod's massacre of the innocents which caused the holy family to flee to Egypt, are all historically impossible. Moreover, it should be noted that Luke also got his facts wrong about the census of Augustus. Such an imperial census would only apply to Roman citizens of the empire, not to Joseph, a Galilean who was not under direct Roman rule.

As for the hometown of Jesus' parents, neither gospel can agree where it was. Matthew has them residing in Bethlehem in Judea, while Luke says they lived in Nazareth in Galilee. Incredibly, Luke has Joseph take his wife Mary, in the last stages of her pregnancy, on an arduous four day journey by foot to Bethlehem because of the census. This assumes that the "census" (i.e. a registration which was to assist in levying a poll or a property tax) was conducted in a most peculiar way. According to Luke, illiterate peasants had to somehow trace their tribal and family heritage back to their ancestral birthplace, and then to report there for registration. The confusion and mass movement of population this would entail was, in fact, contrary to the sensible Roman practice of registering men (women had no political or property rights) for the head tax at their current dwelling place or the chief town of the local taxation district.
http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_lib.htm
I remember reading something somewhere that stated that Luke actually got his facts right, that there was another Quirinius who governed Syria during the reign of King Herod.

Yes, I heard that too.

Luke was writing when these things were in living memory.   If he'd screwed up political authorities he'd have been called out on it.  Far more likely that he had access to far more complete records than survived the many sacks of Rome.

Plus, even today the Swiss register your heimat (hometown) as your ancestral village, the place where your ancestors registered in the late 1700s.  If they could do that for centuries with illiterate peasants, why couldn't the Romans do the same?   And it wasn't hard given the tribal pride among the Jews of that era.  Any of them could tell you which tribe he was even after thousands of years.  Even today the Jewish men who descend from Aaron or Levi and are priests account for this and know it.  Their tombstones are different from the rest and are engraved with hands lifted up in blessing.  

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #40 on: June 26, 2014, 07:29:15 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
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Offline katherine 2001

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #41 on: June 26, 2014, 08:02:49 PM »
Exactly.  The Virgin Birth is dogma and is not something that we are free to reject.   If we don't believe in the Virgin Birth, then how do we know that Jesus is the Son of God?  He could just as well just Son of Man and not Son of God.

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #42 on: June 26, 2014, 09:43:13 PM »
As far as I can tell, the fact that the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple is a Great Feast of the church calendar indicates that the Church takes as historical the account presented in the Protoevangelium of James. That is, Mary entered into the Temple of Jerusalem as a child, and even after being required to leave, remained dedicated to the Lord under a vow of celibacy. So to deny the Virgin Birth is to claim that God chose to be incarnated through an act of fornication by a nun transgressing her vows, and that we are to honour such a sin as the means by which God came to us.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #43 on: June 26, 2014, 10:10:28 PM »
As far as I can tell, the fact that the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple is a Great Feast of the church calendar indicates that the Church takes as historical the account presented in the Protoevangelium of James. That is, Mary entered into the Temple of Jerusalem as a child, and even after being required to leave, remained dedicated to the Lord under a vow of celibacy. So to deny the Virgin Birth is to claim that God chose to be incarnated through an act of fornication by a nun transgressing her vows, and that we are to honour such a sin as the means by which God came to us.

Our Lady was not a nun.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #44 on: June 26, 2014, 10:13:42 PM »
Not that I'm presenting this as if to question the Virgin Birth as dogma (I don't think he is questioning the dogma of it anyway, but his words might make it seem so), but to show forth an interesting perspective that Christ came with the element of surprise.

http://youtu.be/ekgAYczUqn0

I do want to point out that the most important reason for the Virgin Birth is that Christ wants to show us He is the firstborn of all creation.  This in itself convinces me there is no way out of believing it.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #45 on: June 26, 2014, 10:32:52 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #46 on: June 26, 2014, 10:41:25 PM »
Since when can you dictate what people can post, outside of breaches of forum rules? Am I the first to post such advice as I have given to the OP on this forum? No? So spare me the high-handedness, PtA.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 10:42:25 PM by LBK »
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #47 on: June 26, 2014, 10:44:05 PM »
Since when can you dictate what people can post, outside of breaches of forum rules? Am I the first to post such advice as I have given to the OP on this forum? No? So spare me the high-handedness, PtA.
Since when can you dictate what people can post and what people must do when they're not online? Am I the first to post such advice as I have given to you on this forum? No. So spare me the high-handedness, LBK.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 10:51:26 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #48 on: June 26, 2014, 10:50:08 PM »
Since when can you dictate what people can post, outside of breaches of forum rules? Am I the first to post such advice as I have given to the OP on this forum? No? So spare me the high-handedness, PtA.
Since when can you dictate what people can post and what people must do away from this forum? Am I the first to post such advice as I have given to you on this forum? No. So spare me the high-handedness, LBK.

If you're honest, you should say the same to everyone here who has ever advised that a poster speak to his priest about certain things, and everyone here who has ever defended teachings which the Church has proclaimed as central and inviolate.

Go on, do a search on all these posts, and admonish every forum member who has posted in such ways. If you can't or won't, then back off and let people have their say.
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #49 on: June 26, 2014, 10:55:02 PM »
Since when can you dictate what people can post, outside of breaches of forum rules? Am I the first to post such advice as I have given to the OP on this forum? No? So spare me the high-handedness, PtA.
Since when can you dictate what people can post and what people must do away from this forum? Am I the first to post such advice as I have given to you on this forum? No. So spare me the high-handedness, LBK.

If you're honest, you should say the same to everyone here who has ever advised that a poster speak to his priest about certain things, and everyone here who has ever defended teachings which the Church has proclaimed as central and inviolate.

Go on, do a search on all these posts, and admonish every forum member who has posted in such ways. If you can't or won't, then back off and let people have their say.
LBK, I did not modify your post. I did not give you a warning. I did not state in any way formal or informal that you could not say what you said to rakovsky. You were always free to ignore my imperative if you wanted to, given as it was in the black text of a mere poster. So stop whining about how I'm "dictating to you what you can post". I am doing no such thing.

BTW, do you not appreciate the irony that you are in fact dictating to me what I can and cannot say to you, which is exactly the behavior of which you accuse me? If you have the freedom to give such advice as you gave to rakovsky, then I have no less freedom to give you such advice as I just gave to you.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 11:00:56 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #50 on: June 26, 2014, 11:01:29 PM »
Stop playing silly semantic games. Out of the blue, you singled out my post for criticism. Others have posted in similar vein as I have, yet you chose mine to criticize. It's not the first time you've done this, either.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #51 on: June 26, 2014, 11:03:21 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.

Well, nobody would have to in this case. The Virgin Birth is a central and non-negotiable belief. It's in the Creed. If rakovsky is struggling with this particular aspect, why is it wrong of her to suggest that he speak to a priest?

I don't understand the issue here.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #52 on: June 26, 2014, 11:03:57 PM »
Stop playing silly semantic games. Out of the blue, you singled out my post for criticism. Others have posted in similar vein as I have, yet you chose mine to criticize. It's not the first time you've done this, either.
You know, LBK, when the only tool you have in your kit is a hammer, the only tool anyone ever sees in your hand is a hammer.
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #53 on: June 26, 2014, 11:04:35 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.

Well, nobody would have to in this case. The Virgin Birth is a central and non-negotiable belief. It's in the Creed. If rakovsky is struggling with this particular aspect, why is it wrong of her to suggest that he speak to a priest?

I don't understand the issue here.
I don't think rakovsky's struggling anywhere near as much as LBK makes him out to be. Can a person not express occasional doubts without the doctrine police jumping all over him with billy clubs telling him to go see a priest about his heresy?
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 11:05:51 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #54 on: June 26, 2014, 11:05:01 PM »
Not that I'm presenting this as if to question the Virgin Birth as dogma (I don't think he is questioning the dogma of it anyway, but his words might make it seem so), but to show forth an interesting perspective that Christ came with the element of surprise.

http://youtu.be/ekgAYczUqn0

Just in case people were confused the "he" in this post is the Jesuit priest on YouTube, not Rakovsky
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 11:05:56 PM by minasoliman »
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Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #55 on: June 26, 2014, 11:05:53 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.

Well, nobody would have to in this case. The Virgin Birth is a central and non-negotiable belief. It's in the Creed. If rakovsky is struggling with this particular aspect, why is it wrong of her to suggest that he speak to a priest?

I don't understand the issue here.
I don't think rakovsky's struggling anywhere near as much as LBK makes him out to be.

Pure speculation on your part.

so why don't we get back to either discussing the -issue- or not.....since that will clarify things..
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Offline ZealousZeal

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #56 on: June 26, 2014, 11:07:09 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.

Well, nobody would have to in this case. The Virgin Birth is a central and non-negotiable belief. It's in the Creed. If rakovsky is struggling with this particular aspect, why is it wrong of her to suggest that he speak to a priest?

I don't understand the issue here.
I don't think rakovsky's struggling anywhere near as much as LBK makes him out to be.

Really? Did you miss this thread? But even if you are correct, and his struggle is not as severe as it seems, I still don't quite understand why you perceive it to be out of place for LBK to suggest he speak with a priest.
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #57 on: June 26, 2014, 11:09:58 PM »
God bless!

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #58 on: June 26, 2014, 11:10:21 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.

Well, nobody would have to in this case. The Virgin Birth is a central and non-negotiable belief. It's in the Creed. If rakovsky is struggling with this particular aspect, why is it wrong of her to suggest that he speak to a priest?

I don't understand the issue here.
I don't think rakovsky's struggling anywhere near as much as LBK makes him out to be.

Pure speculation on your part.
And I agree that it is. But LBK's judgment that rakovsky appeared to be looking for reasons to deny the Virgin Birth was just as much speculation. Would you not agree? I don't see him indicating any such thing.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 11:10:49 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #59 on: June 26, 2014, 11:12:49 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.

Well, nobody would have to in this case. The Virgin Birth is a central and non-negotiable belief. It's in the Creed. If rakovsky is struggling with this particular aspect, why is it wrong of her to suggest that he speak to a priest?

I don't understand the issue here.
I don't think rakovsky's struggling anywhere near as much as LBK makes him out to be.

Pure speculation on your part.
And I agree that it is. But LBK's judgment that rakovsky appeared to be looking for reasons to deny the Virgin Birth was just as much speculation. Would you not agree? I don't see him indicating any such thing.

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Offline Punch

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #60 on: June 26, 2014, 11:13:28 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.

Well, nobody would have to in this case. The Virgin Birth is a central and non-negotiable belief. It's in the Creed. If rakovsky is struggling with this particular aspect, why is it wrong of her to suggest that he speak to a priest?

I don't understand the issue here.
I don't think rakovsky's struggling anywhere near as much as LBK makes him out to be.

Really? Did you miss this thread? But even if you are correct, and his struggle is not as severe as it seems, I still don't quite understand why you perceive it to be out of place for LBK to suggest he speak with a priest.

If you don't believe "born of the Virgin Mary" in the Creed, what good will talking to a priest do you?  Just asking. I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with anyone here.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #61 on: June 26, 2014, 11:13:43 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.

Well, nobody would have to in this case. The Virgin Birth is a central and non-negotiable belief. It's in the Creed. If rakovsky is struggling with this particular aspect, why is it wrong of her to suggest that he speak to a priest?

I don't understand the issue here.
I don't think rakovsky's struggling anywhere near as much as LBK makes him out to be.

Really? Did you miss this thread? But even if you are correct, and his struggle is not as severe as it seems, I still don't quite understand why you perceive it to be out of place for LBK to suggest he speak with a priest.
There are reasons for my response to LBK that go much deeper and much farther back than just what you see on this thread.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 11:16:00 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #62 on: June 26, 2014, 11:13:51 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.

Well, nobody would have to in this case. The Virgin Birth is a central and non-negotiable belief. It's in the Creed. If rakovsky is struggling with this particular aspect, why is it wrong of her to suggest that he speak to a priest?

I don't understand the issue here.
I don't think rakovsky's struggling anywhere near as much as LBK makes him out to be.

Pure speculation on your part.
And I agree that it is. But LBK's judgment that rakovsky appeared to be looking for reasons to deny the Virgin Birth was just as much speculation. Would you not agree? I don't see him indicating any such thing.


I know that this is an old thread, but it's the closest one I found to the topic.

This is the kind of article that gives me doubts about the virgin birth.


doubting is no longer the same as trying to deny?

 :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:


All opinions expressed by myself are quite tragically my own, and not those of any other poster or wall hangings.

Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #63 on: June 26, 2014, 11:14:54 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.

Well, nobody would have to in this case. The Virgin Birth is a central and non-negotiable belief. It's in the Creed. If rakovsky is struggling with this particular aspect, why is it wrong of her to suggest that he speak to a priest?

I don't understand the issue here.
I don't think rakovsky's struggling anywhere near as much as LBK makes him out to be.

Really? Did you miss this thread? But even if you are correct, and his struggle is not as severe as it seems, I still don't quite understand why you perceive it to be out of place for LBK to suggest he speak with a priest.
There are reasons for my response to LBK that go much deeper than just what you see on this thread.


AHA....and this is the crux of it.

You are not staying on topic...you are the one deciding that past history allows you to question a perfectly reasonable comment by her, just because you were peeved in the past.


All opinions expressed by myself are quite tragically my own, and not those of any other poster or wall hangings.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #64 on: June 26, 2014, 11:20:10 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.

Well, nobody would have to in this case. The Virgin Birth is a central and non-negotiable belief. It's in the Creed. If rakovsky is struggling with this particular aspect, why is it wrong of her to suggest that he speak to a priest?

I don't understand the issue here.
I don't think rakovsky's struggling anywhere near as much as LBK makes him out to be.

Really? Did you miss this thread? But even if you are correct, and his struggle is not as severe as it seems, I still don't quite understand why you perceive it to be out of place for LBK to suggest he speak with a priest.
There are reasons for my response to LBK that go much deeper than just what you see on this thread.


AHA....and this is the crux of it.

You are not staying on topic...you are the one deciding that past history allows you to question a perfectly reasonable comment by her, just because you were peeved in the past.
Pure speculation on your part, Denise. ;) There's much more to this than meets your eye, much of which you're not even privileged to know. The only thing you need to know is that I don't see LBK making that perfectly reasonable a comment.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 11:21:47 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline ZealousZeal

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #65 on: June 26, 2014, 11:23:14 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.

Well, nobody would have to in this case. The Virgin Birth is a central and non-negotiable belief. It's in the Creed. If rakovsky is struggling with this particular aspect, why is it wrong of her to suggest that he speak to a priest?

I don't understand the issue here.
I don't think rakovsky's struggling anywhere near as much as LBK makes him out to be.

Really? Did you miss this thread? But even if you are correct, and his struggle is not as severe as it seems, I still don't quite understand why you perceive it to be out of place for LBK to suggest he speak with a priest.

If you don't believe "born of the Virgin Mary" in the Creed, what good will talking to a priest do you?  Just asking. I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with anyone here.

Well, in rakovsky's case specifically, it seems that he wants to not struggle with this, so maybe his priest who knows him personally would have better insight on how to help him than we internet strangers. But really, I have no idea, I'm not a priest.  ;) It just didn't seem like a totally bananas thing to suggest to me.
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Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #66 on: June 26, 2014, 11:23:47 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.

Well, nobody would have to in this case. The Virgin Birth is a central and non-negotiable belief. It's in the Creed. If rakovsky is struggling with this particular aspect, why is it wrong of her to suggest that he speak to a priest?

I don't understand the issue here.
I don't think rakovsky's struggling anywhere near as much as LBK makes him out to be.

Really? Did you miss this thread? But even if you are correct, and his struggle is not as severe as it seems, I still don't quite understand why you perceive it to be out of place for LBK to suggest he speak with a priest.
There are reasons for my response to LBK that go much deeper than just what you see on this thread.


AHA....and this is the crux of it.

You are not staying on topic...you are the one deciding that past history allows you to question a perfectly reasonable comment by her, just because you were peeved in the past.
Pure speculation on your part, Denise. ;) There's much more to this than meets your eye--much of this you're not even privileged to know. The only thing you need to know is that I don't see LBK making that perfectly reasonable a comment.


If its some modatorial info, which you keep hinting at...then turn your green print on.

Otherwise, act like a 'normal' poster and get over yourself.

Using that info to slam someone continually as a 'private citizen' is not germane nor the way to treat a fellow Orthodox Christian.
All opinions expressed by myself are quite tragically my own, and not those of any other poster or wall hangings.

Offline SolEX01

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #67 on: June 26, 2014, 11:24:29 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.

Well, nobody would have to in this case. The Virgin Birth is a central and non-negotiable belief. It's in the Creed. If rakovsky is struggling with this particular aspect, why is it wrong of her to suggest that he speak to a priest?

I don't understand the issue here.
I don't think rakovsky's struggling anywhere near as much as LBK makes him out to be.

Really? Did you miss this thread? But even if you are correct, and his struggle is not as severe as it seems, I still don't quite understand why you perceive it to be out of place for LBK to suggest he speak with a priest.
There are reasons for my response to LBK that go much deeper than just what you see on this thread.


AHA....and this is the crux of it.

You are not staying on topic...you are the one deciding that past history allows you to question a perfectly reasonable comment by her, just because you were peeved in the past.
Pure speculation on your part, Denise. ;) There's much more to this than meets your eye, much of which you're not even privileged to know. The only thing you need to know is that I don't see LBK making that perfectly reasonable a comment.

The point of contention is LBK's use of ASAP - implying urgency.

Can forum members communicate urgency if necessary - without this exercise of mental gymnastics?   ???

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #68 on: June 26, 2014, 11:28:03 PM »
I think we need some good ol' fashioned beer diplomacy here.

God bless!

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #69 on: June 26, 2014, 11:43:25 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.

Well, nobody would have to in this case. The Virgin Birth is a central and non-negotiable belief. It's in the Creed. If rakovsky is struggling with this particular aspect, why is it wrong of her to suggest that he speak to a priest?

I don't understand the issue here.
I don't think rakovsky's struggling anywhere near as much as LBK makes him out to be.

Really? Did you miss this thread? But even if you are correct, and his struggle is not as severe as it seems, I still don't quite understand why you perceive it to be out of place for LBK to suggest he speak with a priest.
There are reasons for my response to LBK that go much deeper than just what you see on this thread.


AHA....and this is the crux of it.

You are not staying on topic...you are the one deciding that past history allows you to question a perfectly reasonable comment by her, just because you were peeved in the past.
Pure speculation on your part, Denise. ;) There's much more to this than meets your eye--much of this you're not even privileged to know. The only thing you need to know is that I don't see LBK making that perfectly reasonable a comment.


If its some modatorial info, which you keep hinting at...then turn your green print on.

Otherwise, act like a 'normal' poster and get over yourself.

Using that info to slam someone continually as a 'private citizen' is not germane nor the way to treat a fellow Orthodox Christian.
Denise, you speak of things you know nothing about. It would be good for you, then, to not be so quick to jump into this fray.
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #70 on: June 26, 2014, 11:46:40 PM »
to show forth an interesting perspective that Christ came with the element of surprise.
http://youtu.be/ekgAYczUqn0
I do want to point out that the most important reason for the Virgin Birth is that Christ wants to show us He is the firstborn of all creation.
I liked the priest's explanation, as well as yours, Mina: the idea of the Virgin birth is neat because people thought of the Messiah as a literal descendant of David, and it is easier to think of a person as only poetically a Son of God, and the idea of the virgin birth flips that. And like you said, the Virgin birth would be a reflection that the Logos was not born of an earthly father.

I remember how, when I was researching the Old Testament prophecies, I was unsure whether they predicted that the Messiah would be killed and resurrect, especially Isaiah 53, since the modern rabbis say that the sufferer in it was the Israelites, not the Messiah. It was exciting to analyze it to discover that it really was about the Messiah's death and resurrection, despite the "conventional wisdom". It was like "opening up" a treasure chest.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 11:51:17 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #71 on: June 26, 2014, 11:47:00 PM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.

Well, nobody would have to in this case. The Virgin Birth is a central and non-negotiable belief. It's in the Creed. If rakovsky is struggling with this particular aspect, why is it wrong of her to suggest that he speak to a priest?

I don't understand the issue here.
I don't think rakovsky's struggling anywhere near as much as LBK makes him out to be.

Really? Did you miss this thread? But even if you are correct, and his struggle is not as severe as it seems, I still don't quite understand why you perceive it to be out of place for LBK to suggest he speak with a priest.
There are reasons for my response to LBK that go much deeper than just what you see on this thread.


AHA....and this is the crux of it.

You are not staying on topic...you are the one deciding that past history allows you to question a perfectly reasonable comment by her, just because you were peeved in the past.
Pure speculation on your part, Denise. ;) There's much more to this than meets your eye--much of this you're not even privileged to know. The only thing you need to know is that I don't see LBK making that perfectly reasonable a comment.


If its some modatorial info, which you keep hinting at...then turn your green print on.

Otherwise, act like a 'normal' poster and get over yourself.

Using that info to slam someone continually as a 'private citizen' is not germane nor the way to treat a fellow Orthodox Christian.
Denise, you speak of things you know nothing about. It would be good for you, then, to not be so quick to jump into this fray.

And unless you put that in green, I can continue to express my opinion that using information -not- from this thread, to imply someone should not post to a thread.....

I frankly don't care what 'things i don't know about'.....I know that you are using those things out of context of THIS thread.

Pity you let your personal gripe get the better of you.
All opinions expressed by myself are quite tragically my own, and not those of any other poster or wall hangings.

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #72 on: June 26, 2014, 11:47:41 PM »
There are reasons for my response to LBK that go much deeper than just what you see on this thread.


AHA....and this is the crux of it.

You are not staying on topic...you are the one deciding that past history allows you to question a perfectly reasonable comment by her, just because you were peeved in the past.
Pure speculation on your part, Denise. ;) There's much more to this than meets your eye--much of this you're not even privileged to know. The only thing you need to know is that I don't see LBK making that perfectly reasonable a comment.


If its some modatorial info, which you keep hinting at...then turn your green print on.

Otherwise, act like a 'normal' poster and get over yourself.

Using that info to slam someone continually as a 'private citizen' is not germane nor the way to treat a fellow Orthodox Christian.
Denise, you speak of things you know nothing about. It would be good for you, then, to not be so quick to jump into this fray.

It would also be good not to hint at things and then use them against people when they pick up on them.   
Quote
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #73 on: June 26, 2014, 11:54:57 PM »
I think we need some good ol' fashioned beer diplomacy here.



I'm up for that, brother.
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Offline ZealousZeal

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #74 on: June 26, 2014, 11:55:15 PM »
Denise, you speak of things you know nothing about. It would be good for you, then, to not be so quick to jump into this fray.

Well, as someone else who knows nothing about whatever it is you know about but aren't saying, all I have to say is this: it's no secret to those of us who frequent OC.net that you and LBK don't see eye to eye on many things. Fine. You don't have to like everybody. And, sometimes threads veer off-topic. It's to be expected. But now this thread has nothing to do with belief in the Virgin Birth for no other reason than you have an axe to grind. We've established that LBK's comment was not some crazy, out-of-left-field thing to suggest, but you claim there's something "deeper" that you have no compunction about referencing but that we, apparently, aren't privileged to know which has made you respond as you have.

And all the while, someone is struggling with belief in the Virgin Birth and probably should speak to his priest, but the thread is now a hot mess.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #75 on: June 27, 2014, 12:02:15 AM »
Denise, you speak of things you know nothing about. It would be good for you, then, to not be so quick to jump into this fray.

Well, as someone else who knows nothing about whatever it is you know about but aren't saying, all I have to say is this: it's no secret to those of us who frequent OC.net that you and LBK don't see eye to eye on many things. Fine. You don't have to like everybody. And, sometimes threads veer off-topic. It's to be expected. But now this thread has nothing to do with belief in the Virgin Birth for no other reason than you have an axe to grind. We've established that LBK's comment was not some crazy, out-of-left-field thing to suggest, but you claim there's something "deeper" that you have no compunction about referencing but that we, apparently, aren't privileged to know which has made you respond as you have.

And all the while, someone is struggling with belief in the Virgin Birth and probably should speak to his priest, but the thread is now a hot mess.
And you failed to notice the vitriol in LBK's reply to me? And you failed to notice how a team of other posters, yourself included, took up LBK's defense by ganging up on me? Why, then, am I the only guilty party in this thread derailment? ISTM that I had a lot of help.
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #76 on: June 27, 2014, 12:06:55 AM »
...

I remember how, when I was researching the Old Testament prophecies, I was unsure whether they predicted that the Messiah would be killed and resurrect, especially Isaiah 53, since the modern rabbis say that the sufferer in it was the Israelites, not the Messiah. It was exciting to analyze it to discover that it really was about the Messiah's death and resurrection, despite the "conventional wisdom". It was like "opening up" a treasure chest.

Hurrah! I love this story and have to cheer this. :)
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #77 on: June 27, 2014, 12:08:47 AM »
There are reasons for my response to LBK that go much deeper than just what you see on this thread.


AHA....and this is the crux of it.

You are not staying on topic...you are the one deciding that past history allows you to question a perfectly reasonable comment by her, just because you were peeved in the past.
Pure speculation on your part, Denise. ;) There's much more to this than meets your eye--much of this you're not even privileged to know. The only thing you need to know is that I don't see LBK making that perfectly reasonable a comment.


If its some modatorial info, which you keep hinting at...then turn your green print on.

Otherwise, act like a 'normal' poster and get over yourself.

Using that info to slam someone continually as a 'private citizen' is not germane nor the way to treat a fellow Orthodox Christian.
Denise, you speak of things you know nothing about. It would be good for you, then, to not be so quick to jump into this fray.

It would also be good not to hint at things and then use them against people when they pick up on them.   

You should see what I have on LBK. I'll gladly show mine. I can see why PTA might be put off by her. Maria did have point recently about certain members and their backbiting emails which inform their corporate behavior here.

Thing is people leak like sieves and never imagine person x might just have a soft spot for bullied good ol' orthonorm or know that I just enjoy reading silly stuff by people leading very small lives.

Watching the side shows and being privy to the backstage dramas is what allows this place to remain somewhat entertaining. Outside you, Punch, JamesR, Opus, Alveus, and other oc.net stars.

Me and mine were never secretive about our disdain for certain folks. And heck overtime some of those I had disdain for I've broken bread with in RL or had some heart to hearts over the phone.

Others, like LBK, would want to enjoy some notion of dispassion and removal on the board while nursing resentments and encouraging others to do the same spanning decades. I quit caring after a while I guess cause it just seems sad.

Oh, and when I am being mean it is also never average and at least more than two are laughing and in the end so absurd as to render my comments as ridiculous in their veracity as the idiot delivering them.

But back to something we can all agree on. If you don't believe the Virgin Birth or not trying to do so, you are no odox.

And rakovsky is one interesting fellow.



Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #78 on: June 27, 2014, 12:09:12 AM »
Not that I'm presenting this as if to question the Virgin Birth as dogma (I don't think he is questioning the dogma of it anyway, but his words might make it seem so), but to show forth an interesting perspective that Christ came with the element of surprise.

http://youtu.be/ekgAYczUqn0

I've seen him on TV before.  I like him.  

Quote
I do want to point out that the most important reason for the Virgin Birth is that Christ wants to show us He is the firstborn of all creation.  This in itself convinces me there is no way out of believing it.

Would you expand on this?
Quote
The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

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Offline Alpo

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #79 on: June 27, 2014, 12:23:31 AM »
I think we need some good ol' fashioned beer diplomacy here.



I'm up for that, brother.

I prefer broom diplomacy myself.

But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:34

Offline rakovsky

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #80 on: June 27, 2014, 12:34:42 AM »
You should see what I have on LBK. I'll gladly show mine. I can see why PTA might be put off by her. Maria did have point recently about certain members and their backbiting emails which inform their corporate behavior here.

Thing is people leak like sieves and never imagine person x might just have a soft spot for bullied good ol' orthonorm or know that I just enjoy reading silly stuff by people leading very small lives.

Watching the side shows and being privy to the backstage dramas is what allows this place to remain somewhat entertaining. Outside you, Punch, JamesR, Opus, Alveus, and other oc.net stars.

Me and mine were never secretive about our disdain for certain folks. And heck overtime some of those I had disdain for I've broken bread with in RL or had some heart to hearts over the phone.

Others, like LBK, would want to enjoy some notion of dispassion and removal on the board while nursing resentments and encouraging others to do the same spanning decades. I quit caring after a while I guess cause it just seems sad.

Oh, and when I am being mean it is also never average and at least more than two are laughing and in the end so absurd as to render my comments as ridiculous in their veracity as the idiot delivering them.

But back to something we can all agree on. If you don't believe the Virgin Birth or not trying to do so, you are no odox.

And rakovsky is one interesting fellow.
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Offline Gunnarr

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #81 on: June 27, 2014, 12:41:09 AM »
blahblahblah

anyway, yes, I agree with the other posters, you must believe in the Virgin Birth. You must believe the creed to be Orthodox correct? Or then do you refuse to read it in church?, and the creed states:

"and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary"
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #82 on: June 27, 2014, 12:57:19 AM »
Not that I'm presenting this as if to question the Virgin Birth as dogma (I don't think he is questioning the dogma of it anyway, but his words might make it seem so), but to show forth an interesting perspective that Christ came with the element of surprise.

http://youtu.be/ekgAYczUqn0

I've seen him on TV before.  I like him.  

Quote
I do want to point out that the most important reason for the Virgin Birth is that Christ wants to show us He is the firstborn of all creation.  This in itself convinces me there is no way out of believing it.

Would you expand on this?

He seems like a fun priest to listen to.  A Coptic Catholic shared this on his Facebook page once, so I thought it might help Rakovsky a bit.

We confess Our Lord as the Second Adam.  He is the recapitulation of all things the first Adam has done.  St. Irenaeus as we all know also extended this honor of the recapitulation to the Theotokos by calling her the Second Eve.  Poetically, St. Jacob of Serugh has used this in a manner to show that she being a Virgin recapitulates Eve's disobedience while she was a Virgin by her obedience.  After the disobedience of Eve she propagates the human nature under exile by man, in recapitulative reversal, the new Eve obeys and propagates the new human nature under grace by God.  In this manner, she is also the mother of new creation, because Christ was born of her, who is the first-born of salvation.  It is therefore important that she being a virgin, we have our origin not in the seed of man, but in the seed of the Father, the Holy Spirit.  It recapitulates the old Adam's creation by the Holy Spirit in us through Christ by making us once again direct sons of God as Adam was considered, as Luke records in his record of genealogy.  Therefore, by being incarnate without seed, Christ demonstrates we become by grace born of the Father.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #83 on: June 27, 2014, 01:03:25 AM »
...

I remember how, when I was researching the Old Testament prophecies, I was unsure whether they predicted that the Messiah would be killed and resurrect, especially Isaiah 53, since the modern rabbis say that the sufferer in it was the Israelites, not the Messiah. It was exciting to analyze it to discover that it really was about the Messiah's death and resurrection, despite the "conventional wisdom". It was like "opening up" a treasure chest.

Hurrah! I love this story and have to cheer this. :)
It's true. There are websites and academics that propose that the Old Testament doesn't say that the Messiah would be killed, and many Christians- including myself for a long time - don't know what those Old Testament prophecies are. There is even a Protestant Bible that notes that Isaiah 53 is just talking about the Israelites, not a suffering Messiah. So knowing that we are asked to believe the prophecies, not knowing the prophecies, and seeing that it is a debated question that is not immediately clear - hence the nature of visions and prophecy - can create a lot of uncertainty.

This is why it was uplifting and enjoyable to learn that the prophecies really said this. For a long time, maybe a year, I worked the puzzle of the prophecies in my mind.

One of the clearer ways to see that Isaiah was talking about the Messiah - and there are many, is that in Isaiah 52, God tells the Israelites:
Quote
13. Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
14. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
15. So shall he sprinkle many nations
The words "As many were .... So shall..." sets up a comparison between two things. Here, God contrasts His "servant" with "thee", the Israelites. This shows the reader that the servant and the Israelites are two different things.

It would be better if everyone of the Abrahamic faiths realized this key Truth about the scriptures and the predicted Messiah. It is something few followers of modern Judaism or Islam realize.

I would love to have a similar experience "opening up" and writing at length about the other key elements of our faith that I have doubts or uncertainty about (eg. the resurrection, incarnation, and virgin birth), but I worry that I do not have the time, energy, and willpower for it.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 01:08:29 AM by rakovsky »
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Offline LBK

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #84 on: June 27, 2014, 01:06:36 AM »
Quote
I would love to have a similar experience "opening up" the other key elements of our faith that I have doubts or uncertainty about (eg. the resurrection, incarnation, and virgin birth), but I worry that I do not have the time, energy, and willpower for it.

You don't need to do all that work for yourself. The Church has done it all for you, most clearly expressed in her liturgical services, hymns, prayers and icons.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 01:06:53 AM by LBK »
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #85 on: June 27, 2014, 01:09:44 AM »
I would love to have a similar experience "opening up" and writing at length about the other key elements of our faith that I have doubts or uncertainty about (eg. the resurrection, incarnation, and virgin birth), but I worry that I do not have the time, energy, and willpower for it.

My dear Rakovsky,

If I would have known of your struggles, I would have wished that you would concentrate more on these areas for yourself than debate and discuss the terminologies of the EO/OO divide  ;)
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #86 on: June 27, 2014, 01:14:42 AM »
...
It's true. There are websites and academics that propose that the Old Testament doesn't say that the Messiah would be killed, and many Christians- including myself for a long time - don't know what those Old Testament prophecies are. There is even a Protestant Bible that notes that Isaiah 53 is just talking about the Israelites, not a suffering Messiah.

Well, sure, this is the scholarship of our time. Academics propound any number of things contrary to the faith; I'd find it hard to think of much upon which they and the faith agree. Studious believers who don't grasp this are going to have a bad time.

Quote
It would be better if everyone of the Abrahamic faiths realized this key Truth about the scriptures and the predicted Messiah. It is something few followers of modern Judaism or Islam realize.

There's a reason they do not realize it: it is contrary to their faiths; their dogma and apologetics are configured to "realize" something opposite.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #87 on: June 27, 2014, 02:16:23 AM »
Just wanted to chime in and make it clear that I do want to stay on topic.  Please no side talk about who has what against who or how the criticism is unfair or unwarranted, etc.  Let's try to keep it about "Must we believe in the Virgin Birth" and any small corollary that leads to the answer to this question.

Thank you and God bless!

Mina
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Offline hecma925

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #88 on: June 27, 2014, 07:29:42 AM »
The Virgin birth is true, otherwise Jesus is not God.
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #89 on: June 27, 2014, 08:52:58 AM »
The Virgin birth is true, otherwise Jesus is not God.
/end thread

and +1 to my post count.  ;D
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #90 on: June 27, 2014, 10:26:17 AM »
Rakovsky, ISTM you're looking for any reason possible to deny the virgin birth. This is unhealthy and serious. It's a central and non-negotiable Orthodox belief. No ifs, no buts. You need to speak to a priest. ASAP.
Chill out, LBK. 8) Nobody made you the forum's chief of doctrine police.

Well, nobody would have to in this case. The Virgin Birth is a central and non-negotiable belief. It's in the Creed. If rakovsky is struggling with this particular aspect, why is it wrong of her to suggest that he speak to a priest?

I don't understand the issue here.
I don't think rakovsky's struggling anywhere near as much as LBK makes him out to be.

Really? Did you miss this thread? But even if you are correct, and his struggle is not as severe as it seems, I still don't quite understand why you perceive it to be out of place for LBK to suggest he speak with a priest.

I have to say that by phrasing the topic "Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?" as opposed to say "Why do we believe in the Virgin Birth", the "OP" opened the door to LBK' s seemingly "harsh" comment. The former question logically leads one to assume selective doubt is behind it while the latter appears  simply as a request for clarification or elucidation. Perhaps I am looking at this through the prism of my mind (being accustomed to the importance of how a question is phrased through trial law experience), but if the former is the case, a priest - not arm chair online pontificators (mea culpa) - needs to be contacted.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #91 on: June 27, 2014, 02:10:57 PM »
I thought people on the forum did a good job criticizing the claim that the census would have been conducted differently and at a different time.

Researching scholars' views on the Old Testament prophecies showed me that scholars can be wrong, even when they make assertions intending to disprove Christian views in a confident-sounding way.

The other two things that sounded somewhat to me from the article were that a star would not naturally "point" to a specific cave or building, going west to Jerusalem, and then back south-east to Bethlehem. What I could more easily imagine is that the magi would be following the star and happen by chance to stay at the inn and get lodged in the cave with the other tenants, the Holy Family.

The other thing is the disparity between angelic annunciations of the virgin birth and later skepticism about Jesus:
Quote
in Luke, the angel Gabriel explains it all to Mary, but not Joseph, before she has conceived Jesus (Luke 1:26-34). Yet later on, both Mary and Joseph are strangely astonished by the shepherds' tale about the heavenly host (Luke 2:18), and inexplicably puzzled by Simeon's affirmation that Jesus is the Messiah (Luke 2:33).

...in other gospel passages Mary shows little or no understanding of Jesus' special role. According to Luke, the message of the angel Gabriel made it clear to Mary that Jesus was ordained to be the messiah, the king and savior of Israel. This message was also reinforced by the prophesies of Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:34,38). Surely, such predictions and the miracle of her virginal conception would have indicated to Mary that Jesus was someone special, if not divine.

It is also hard to believe that despite the supposedly extraordinary events surrounding Jesus' birth - from annunciations by herald angels and the heavenly host, to shepherds and magi seeking out the messiah, to Herod's wrath - that from the beginning, Jesus was not recognized by the rest of his family as God's anointed one (Mk. 6:4).
http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_lib.htm
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #92 on: June 27, 2014, 02:29:26 PM »
What a cartoonishly tendentious quote. Takes us back to the hobby-skeptics ("village infidels") of the early Victorian era.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #93 on: June 27, 2014, 02:43:41 PM »
What a cartoonishly tendentious quote. Takes us back to the hobby-skeptics ("village infidels") of the early Victorian era.tendentious
I'm not gonna lie. I googled the word 'tendentious'
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #94 on: June 27, 2014, 03:06:08 PM »
What a cartoonishly tendentious quote. Takes us back to the hobby-skeptics ("village infidels") of the early Victorian era.tendentious
I'm not gonna lie. I googled the word 'tendentious'

My work here is done.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline rakovsky

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #95 on: July 05, 2014, 06:22:32 PM »
Quote
Parthenogenesis in mammals is not possible but it does happen rarely. In 1956 the medical journal Lancet published a report of 19 cases of virgin birth among women in England. It was self fertilization (a very, very, very rare phenomenon) where the women have male sex glands within her system. It is very, very rare and if at all a child is born through parthenogenesis the offspring can only be a female.
http://www.cityharvestagchurch.org/Sermons/Jesus-virgin-birth-myth-or-reality


Quote
Eleven of these did not profess that no father existed, but were under the mistaken impression that the search was for a hymen intact after conception (but long since broken in birth).

The remaining eight pairs were examined by Balfour-Lynn (1956), who blood typed mothers and daughters and found antigens present in six daughters that were absent in their mothers, clear evidence of genetic differences. In another pair, the mother had blue eyes and the daughter brown eyes, indicating genetic differences. In the single remaining case, "Mrs. Alpha and daughter," there was apparent genetic identity in blood groups and several other genetically determined traits including electrophoretic analysis of serum. The probability of such a close match between a mother and daughter produced by heterosexual reproduction was less than one chance in a hundred (P < .01).

As a final check, reciprocal skin grafts were carried out. The transplant from daughter to mother was rejected (shed) in about 4 weeks, while the one from mother to daughter remained healthy for 6 weeks before it was removed. Balfour-Lynn (1956) considered these skin graft results obscure, but Beatty (1967) interpreted them to mean that the daughter possessed antigens not present in the mother, and therefore could not be parthenogenetic. Autoimmune responses are known that result in rejection of grafts of one own's skin. Clearly, the jury is still out on this intriguing question: further studies like this one should be undertaken. By now, "Mrs. Alpha's daughter" may well have daughters of her own that could be tested by modern techniques such as DNA fingerprinting.
http://www.zo.utexas.edu/courses/THOC/VirginBirth.html

Quote
Nowadays, of course, we wouldn’t have to rely on such proxy methods of testing as skin grafts: we can look into our genomes, using our knowledge of DNA to run things like paternity testing. If we had Emmimarie and Monica’s skin, or blood or saliva samples today, there would be no room for doubt as to whether or not she had a father. Furthermore, in 1984, geneticists finally discovered a mechanism wrapped around our DNA that made natural virgin birth in humans – and all mammals – an absolute impossibility. Some of the genes that we inherit from our mother are locked so as to be unreadable, and these restrictions mean no female mammal could simply pass on all of her genes to create a child that was 100 per cent her own. Half of our code must come from a male. The one thing that seems clear, however, is that Emmimarie must have believed her claims. To doctors and journalists alike, she came across as a highly sincere, well-adjusted human being. It also seems unlikely she would have persisted with a virgin-birth hoax once she learned of the long battery of tests that she and her daughter would have to submit to. Were she a con artist, she would also need to have genuinely believed that she could pull the wool over the eyes of a panel of esteemed doctors – or risk being exposed as a fraud. But how did Emmimarie fall pregnant in the first place? We shall never know for certain, but surely the most likely explanation is that she was taken advantage of, perhaps under sedation, during her long stay in hospital.
https://web.archive.org/web/20120820060435/http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/9466588/The-modern-day-virgin-birth.html
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Offline LBK

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #96 on: July 05, 2014, 08:33:55 PM »
Quote
Parthenogenesis in mammals is not possible but it does happen rarely. In 1956 the medical journal Lancet published a report of 19 cases of virgin birth among women in England. It was self fertilization (a very, very, very rare phenomenon) where the women have male sex glands within her system. It is very, very rare and if at all a child is born through parthenogenesis the offspring can only be a female.
http://www.cityharvestagchurch.org/Sermons/Jesus-virgin-birth-myth-or-reality


Quote
Eleven of these did not profess that no father existed, but were under the mistaken impression that the search was for a hymen intact after conception (but long since broken in birth).

The remaining eight pairs were examined by Balfour-Lynn (1956), who blood typed mothers and daughters and found antigens present in six daughters that were absent in their mothers, clear evidence of genetic differences. In another pair, the mother had blue eyes and the daughter brown eyes, indicating genetic differences. In the single remaining case, "Mrs. Alpha and daughter," there was apparent genetic identity in blood groups and several other genetically determined traits including electrophoretic analysis of serum. The probability of such a close match between a mother and daughter produced by heterosexual reproduction was less than one chance in a hundred (P < .01).

As a final check, reciprocal skin grafts were carried out. The transplant from daughter to mother was rejected (shed) in about 4 weeks, while the one from mother to daughter remained healthy for 6 weeks before it was removed. Balfour-Lynn (1956) considered these skin graft results obscure, but Beatty (1967) interpreted them to mean that the daughter possessed antigens not present in the mother, and therefore could not be parthenogenetic. Autoimmune responses are known that result in rejection of grafts of one own's skin. Clearly, the jury is still out on this intriguing question: further studies like this one should be undertaken. By now, "Mrs. Alpha's daughter" may well have daughters of her own that could be tested by modern techniques such as DNA fingerprinting.
http://www.zo.utexas.edu/courses/THOC/VirginBirth.html

Quote
Nowadays, of course, we wouldn’t have to rely on such proxy methods of testing as skin grafts: we can look into our genomes, using our knowledge of DNA to run things like paternity testing. If we had Emmimarie and Monica’s skin, or blood or saliva samples today, there would be no room for doubt as to whether or not she had a father. Furthermore, in 1984, geneticists finally discovered a mechanism wrapped around our DNA that made natural virgin birth in humans – and all mammals – an absolute impossibility. Some of the genes that we inherit from our mother are locked so as to be unreadable, and these restrictions mean no female mammal could simply pass on all of her genes to create a child that was 100 per cent her own. Half of our code must come from a male. The one thing that seems clear, however, is that Emmimarie must have believed her claims. To doctors and journalists alike, she came across as a highly sincere, well-adjusted human being. It also seems unlikely she would have persisted with a virgin-birth hoax once she learned of the long battery of tests that she and her daughter would have to submit to. Were she a con artist, she would also need to have genuinely believed that she could pull the wool over the eyes of a panel of esteemed doctors – or risk being exposed as a fraud. But how did Emmimarie fall pregnant in the first place? We shall never know for certain, but surely the most likely explanation is that she was taken advantage of, perhaps under sedation, during her long stay in hospital.
https://web.archive.org/web/20120820060435/http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/9466588/The-modern-day-virgin-birth.html

Rakovsky, are you still not satisfied that the virgin birth is a necessary and essential Orthodox belief?
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #97 on: July 05, 2014, 09:09:14 PM »
Rakovsky, are you still not satisfied that the virgin birth is a necessary and essential Orthodox belief?
Hello, LBK.
Thanks for asking.
It is something that I pray about. I find Christ's story to be inspiring, and something that appeals to a human need. I think that God exists. The Bible and our Church say that the Virgin birth occurred. Isaiah 7 tells Ahaz that the maiden would give birth as a sign. What is to say that this was fulfilled in Ahaz's time as some critics propose? And not only that, but the Old Testament suggests that the Messiah would be God (eg. in Zech. 12). The Incarnation and Resurrection are not things that I reject, but rather look for.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #98 on: July 06, 2014, 05:25:34 AM »
Quote
Isaiah 7 tells Ahaz that the maiden would give birth as a sign. What is to say that this was fulfilled in Ahaz's time as some critics propose?

Is Orthodoxy the faith of the apostles, saints and Fathers, or the intellectual musings of modern "scholars", many of whom are not even Christian?

Quote
And not only that, but the Old Testament suggests that the Messiah would be God (eg. in Zech. 12).

What does the Nicene Creed say about it? What do innumerable hymns, prayers and icons say about it?

Quote
The Incarnation and Resurrection are not things that I reject, but rather look for.

Both have already happened. Both are commemorated and proclaimed by the Church at every single Orthodox service. Is it really necessary for this to be spelled out to you?

Really, Rakovsky, you need to speak to your priest, and soon, about all these things.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 05:26:00 AM by LBK »
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Offline Nicene

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #99 on: July 06, 2014, 08:47:04 AM »
If we reject the virgin birth, we ought reject just about everything else. This is what some churches have done. If we deny the virgin birth why ought we accept the feeding of the five thousand? If we reject the miraculous birth of John why ought we believe Christ healed people? If we reject one miracle and believe another, how do we accept someone being raised from the dead?

The liberals have at least remained consistent in their rejection of any of these things happening, that is the Spongs of the world.
Thank you.

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #100 on: July 06, 2014, 08:57:03 PM »
Dear LBK,

Thank you for writing back. I like reading your thoughts about these things. You gave some good advice:
Really, Rakovsky, you need to speak to your priest, and soon, about all these things.
Unfortunately, my priest retired last year and we have not had a constant replacement. I did talk about it with a few priests, who recommended that I pray about it, particularly while going to communion. They also recommended reading the Church fathers and talking with other Orthodox and clergy. It's good advice.

I think that normally what is supposed to happen is that the person is told the story of Christ and it inspires them, and helped along with some evidence, like the ancient spiritual poets' beautiful, hopeful predictions, they ask God in prayer whether it's true. Then they have a far stronger, unusual feeling of inspiration, an extremely appealing "presence", or even a vision in a few cases, after which they become strong believers in the story of Christ.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 08:57:30 PM by rakovsky »
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #101 on: July 06, 2014, 09:40:48 PM »
Nicene,

You write:
If we reject the virgin birth, we ought reject just about everything else. This is what some churches have done. If we deny the virgin birth why ought we accept the feeding of the five thousand? If we reject the miraculous birth of John why ought we believe Christ healed people? If we reject one miracle and believe another, how do we accept someone being raised from the dead?

The liberals have at least remained consistent in their rejection of any of these things happening, that is the Spongs of the world.
I find it easier to believe in the miraculous healings and some other important things than in the Virgin birth. Miraculous healings continue to be reported in Christianity and in other religions. The body has been known to heal itself in surprising ways, and I believe that God can help with this. The feeding of the five thousand might not be so hard to believe if people, including some fisherman, actually brought food with them and were inspired to share it. Some people have had near death experiences whereby they revived after being "clinically" dead, and so Christ's resurrection or re-vival is not as normally unlikely as a virgin birth, although the accounts about the resurrected Christ eating fish sound normally more unlikely.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #102 on: July 06, 2014, 09:50:33 PM »
I find it easier to believe in the miraculous healings and some other important things than in the Virgin birth. Miraculous healings continue to be reported in Christianity and in other religions. The body has been known to heal itself in surprising ways, and I believe that God can help with this. The feeding of the five thousand might not be so hard to believe if people, including some fisherman, actually brought food with them and were inspired to share it. Some people have had near death experiences whereby they revived after being "clinically" dead, and so Christ's resurrection or re-vival is not as normally unlikely as a virgin birth, although the accounts about the resurrected Christ eating fish sound normally more unlikely.

But by explaining the miracles away with natural explanations, you're still denying them. This is the very same as claiming that Christ had a human father. Christ did not resuscitate (come back to life such that he would die again), he rose glorified and cannot die again.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 09:51:33 PM by The Fool »
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #103 on: July 06, 2014, 10:22:37 PM »
The Virgin birth is true, otherwise Jesus is not God.

This is the crux of the matter.  If He were of the seed of Man, He would be a sinner from birth like the rest of us.  If He is the God-Man as Orthodox believe (as well as all Christians), then He would have been born of a virgin.  Whether or not Mary remained a virgin after birth, or whether or not he suffered the pains of birth is immaterial.  That is why the ever-virginity is not part of the Creed.  But the virgin birth is since it is fundamental to Christ being fully God and fully Man.  Without this single item of Faith, nothing else matters.  If Christ was not God and Man, His life was a waste as was His death.  And forget about resurrection.  Only God can rise from the dead.  This mystery has only recently been denied by those claiming to be Christian in other denominations.  Prior to the 20th Century, there were no major denominations of Christians that would even think to question the virginity of Mary at the time of her conception, and of her conception by the Holy Spirit and not by man.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #104 on: July 07, 2014, 12:11:47 AM »
Hello, Punch.

It's nice to write with you, as always.

Orthodoxy does not say that people are born with Original Sin, and yet Christ fully shared in our humanity. Thus, while we are not born as sinners, it is part of the fallen world, sadly. Thus, being born of man (and He was at least born of a woman) does not decide whether He was a sinner:
If He were of the seed of Man, He would be a sinner from birth like the rest of us.
However, we can say that He would likely have sinned were He born a mortal.

Quote
If He is the God-Man as Orthodox believe (as well as all Christians), then He would have been born of a virgin.  But the virgin birth is since it is fundamental to Christ being fully God and fully Man.  
He could have divinized, which is what the Ebionites thought, as I understand it. But Orthodoxy is not the Ebionite idea, I know.

Quote
If Christ was not God and Man, His life was a waste as was His death.

It was not a waste spiritually, even if the gospels were incorrect factually.

Quote
And forget about resurrection.  Only God can rise from the dead.

He could resurrect people as He allowed Elijah to revive a child.

Quote
This mystery has only recently been denied by those claiming to be Christian in other denominations.  Prior to the 20th Century, there were no major denominations of Christians that would even think to question the virginity of Mary at the time of her conception, and of her conception by the Holy Spirit and not by man.
The lack is understandable. One practically has to accept that the gospels were mistaken factually in order to claim that. One would probably have to claim that the Virgin birth stories were later inserted, and then that Christ divinized and resurrected.

Some scholars have probably also allegorized the Resurrection. But I don't think that those events were meant as allegories, as Paul also denies that. So this suggests that either the Evangelists were right or that they along with the apostles made "cunningly devised fables", which Peter denies (2 Peter 1:16). Granted, even if that were true, they would still be an interesting group of individuals. Their writings are intelligent and inspiring.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 12:27:35 AM by rakovsky »
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #105 on: July 07, 2014, 01:38:15 AM »
... So this suggests that either the Evangelists were right or that they along with the apostles made "cunningly devised fables", which Peter denies (2 Peter 1:16). Granted, even if that were true, they would still be an interesting group of individuals. Their writings are intelligent and inspiring.

Wow. I'm not sure I like the feeling of knowing how your mind works.
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #106 on: July 07, 2014, 01:46:26 AM »
Rakovsky, don't you think you might be overthinking things a tad?
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #107 on: July 07, 2014, 02:11:30 AM »
... So this suggests that either the Evangelists were right or that they along with the apostles made "cunningly devised fables", which Peter denies (2 Peter 1:16). Granted, even if that were true, they would still be an interesting group of individuals. Their writings are intelligent and inspiring.
Wow. I'm not sure I like the feeling of knowing how your mind works.
Christianity teaches people to have mercy even on the cruel, and to always forgive. This is a major teaching the world needs. There is so much bitterness in the world that it is like acid that eats through almost everything. Their teachings at least have important and major spiritual value. I will love Jesus and the apostles either way. It was through Christianity that many people in the world came to know about God.

What if it turned out that some of the weeping ikons and ikons "made without hands", etc. were made intentionally? The iconographers could still be considered noteworthy, even if we disagree with their failure to inform people. What if everyone found out that the Holy Fire in Jerusalem was made by a special lamp or artificial process as some Orthodox writers have claimed? The ritual could still be appealing.

Speaking of the Holy Fire though, perhaps this can be more evidence for Christianity, if we were to research it more.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 02:16:24 AM by rakovsky »
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #108 on: July 07, 2014, 02:13:14 AM »
Rakovsky, don't you think you might be overthinking things a tad?
May it be so!
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #109 on: July 07, 2014, 03:06:14 AM »
Rakovsky, don't you think you might be overthinking things a tad?
May it be so!

It is so. Stop thinking, and start believing.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #110 on: July 07, 2014, 03:50:40 AM »
Sir.

You keep saying 'Christianity teaches....'

There is a problem in saying that for someone doubting the Virgin birth.

Without Christ, there is no Christianity.

Without the Theotokos and the Virgin Birth there is no Christ.

You cannot divorce that event from the later ones and simply turn things into some philosophy of living.

All opinions expressed by myself are quite tragically my own, and not those of any other poster or wall hangings.

Offline john_mo

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #111 on: July 07, 2014, 06:11:26 AM »
I've never understood why this is the issue that becomes so difficult for some Christians to believe in.  If you already believe in the existence of a personal all-powerful God who created the world ex-nihilo, and who became incarnate to walk among us to die and become resurrected to grant us eternal life.  Plus, it's written right there in the Bible.

I've known several former Christians whose road away from Christianity began with skepticism of the virgin birth.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 06:12:50 AM by john_mo »
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #112 on: July 07, 2014, 09:17:07 AM »
I've never understood why this is the issue that becomes so difficult for some Christians to believe in.  If you already believe in the existence of a personal all-powerful God who created the world ex-nihilo, and who became incarnate to walk among us to die and become resurrected to grant us eternal life.  Plus, it's written right there in the Bible.

I've known several former Christians whose road away from Christianity began with skepticism of the virgin birth.

QFT.  However, IME, non-belief in the Virgin Birth is a consequence of questioning the reality of the Resurrection.
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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #113 on: July 07, 2014, 11:11:24 AM »
Quote
Hello, Punch.

It's nice to write with you, as always.

Consider the pleasure mutual.  I find these discussions of more use to our Salvation than what we eat or who and when we screw.

Quote

Orthodoxy does not say that people are born with Original Sin, and yet Christ fully shared in our humanity. Thus, while we are not born as sinners, it is part of the fallen world, sadly. Thus, being born of man (and He was at least born of a woman) does not decide whether He was a sinner:

This may be the error (and possibly the only error) that has caused your doubts.  In fact, the Orthodox Church does believe in Original Sin (in the form of ancestral sin).  The Orthodox Church does not believe in original guilt, nor does it believe in the total depravity of Man.  The basis for ancestral sin is set out in the writings of Irenaeus against the Gnostic heretics.  Cyprian and Ambrose also expressed some belief in ancestral sin.  Augustine, a pupil of Ambrose, had some more emphatic views of Original Sin, and these were picked up and expanded upon by Martin Luther.  Cassian probably had a view that is most like my own, and one that was held by Melanchthon, even though he was not able to express it as much until the passing of Luther. 

The doctrine of ancestral sin states that we have inherited the effects of sin, but not the guilt.  The Orthodox Church, like St. Cassian, is synergistic in its view that while we are tainted and damaged by ancestral sin, we still maintain our free will and can choose to follow God or to reject Him.  The main thing that we inherited, and the point that most requires the Virgin Birth, is death.  No man can escape death.  Since Christ was not born of man’s seed, but by the Holy Spirit, He was born immortal, something that applies to no man born of man’s seed.  Christ’s death was a voluntary death for our Salvation.  It would have been no show of divine Love if He was just going to die anyway, or if He could be killed against His will.  And because of His immortality, He was able to destroy Hell and Death, and therefor gain Salvation for all Mankind.  The other men that Christ rose from the dead later died again, as is necessary for man.  Even the two old testament men who did not die will come to earth again during the last days and die as men.

None of the above would be possible without the Virgin Birth.  That the effects of sin are passed by the seed of man is why there is no need for the ridiculous Latin heresy of the Immaculate Conception.  Mary was fully human, and through Mary’s egg, Christ was fully human.  Yet His conception by the Holy Spirit also made Him fully God, something that Mary was not, and had no need to be.

This is actually a rather rough condensing of the doctrine.  I will see if I can find actual references from the Fathers that explain this in better detail than I can.  But perhaps this will help you understand why the Virgin Birth is necessary if anything else in Christianity is to make any sense. 
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #114 on: July 07, 2014, 11:32:33 AM »
Quote
Hello, Punch.

It's nice to write with you, as always.

Consider the pleasure mutual.  I find these discussions of more use to our Salvation than what we eat or who and when we screw.

Quote

Orthodoxy does not say that people are born with Original Sin, and yet Christ fully shared in our humanity. Thus, while we are not born as sinners, it is part of the fallen world, sadly. Thus, being born of man (and He was at least born of a woman) does not decide whether He was a sinner:

This may be the error (and possibly the only error) that has caused your doubts.  In fact, the Orthodox Church does believe in Original Sin (in the form of ancestral sin).  The Orthodox Church does not believe in original guilt, nor does it believe in the total depravity of Man.  The basis for ancestral sin is set out in the writings of Irenaeus against the Gnostic heretics.  Cyprian and Ambrose also expressed some belief in ancestral sin.  Augustine, a pupil of Ambrose, had some more emphatic views of Original Sin, and these were picked up and expanded upon by Martin Luther.  Cassian probably had a view that is most like my own, and one that was held by Melanchthon, even though he was not able to express it as much until the passing of Luther. 

The doctrine of ancestral sin states that we have inherited the effects of sin, but not the guilt.  The Orthodox Church, like St. Cassian, is synergistic in its view that while we are tainted and damaged by ancestral sin, we still maintain our free will and can choose to follow God or to reject Him.  The main thing that we inherited, and the point that most requires the Virgin Birth, is death.  No man can escape death.  Since Christ was not born of man’s seed, but by the Holy Spirit, He was born immortal, something that applies to no man born of man’s seed.  Christ’s death was a voluntary death for our Salvation.  It would have been no show of divine Love if He was just going to die anyway, or if He could be killed against His will.  And because of His immortality, He was able to destroy Hell and Death, and therefor gain Salvation for all Mankind.  The other men that Christ rose from the dead later died again, as is necessary for man.  Even the two old testament men who did not die will come to earth again during the last days and die as men.

None of the above would be possible without the Virgin Birth.  That the effects of sin are passed by the seed of man is why there is no need for the ridiculous Latin heresy of the Immaculate Conception.  Mary was fully human, and through Mary’s egg, Christ was fully human.  Yet His conception by the Holy Spirit also made Him fully God, something that Mary was not, and had no need to be.

This is actually a rather rough condensing of the doctrine.  I will see if I can find actual references from the Fathers that explain this in better detail than I can.  But perhaps this will help you understand why the Virgin Birth is necessary if anything else in Christianity is to make any sense. 

THIS! ;D This, I believe, is a much better approach to rakovsky's problem than merely saying, "Belief in the Virgin Birth is a necessary and essential Orthodox belief, so stop thinking and start believing."
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Offline john_mo

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #115 on: July 07, 2014, 11:40:02 AM »
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Hello, Punch.

It's nice to write with you, as always.

Consider the pleasure mutual.  I find these discussions of more use to our Salvation than what we eat or who and when we screw.

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Orthodoxy does not say that people are born with Original Sin, and yet Christ fully shared in our humanity. Thus, while we are not born as sinners, it is part of the fallen world, sadly. Thus, being born of man (and He was at least born of a woman) does not decide whether He was a sinner:

This may be the error (and possibly the only error) that has caused your doubts.  In fact, the Orthodox Church does believe in Original Sin (in the form of ancestral sin).  The Orthodox Church does not believe in original guilt, nor does it believe in the total depravity of Man.  The basis for ancestral sin is set out in the writings of Irenaeus against the Gnostic heretics.  Cyprian and Ambrose also expressed some belief in ancestral sin.  Augustine, a pupil of Ambrose, had some more emphatic views of Original Sin, and these were picked up and expanded upon by Martin Luther.  Cassian probably had a view that is most like my own, and one that was held by Melanchthon, even though he was not able to express it as much until the passing of Luther. 

The doctrine of ancestral sin states that we have inherited the effects of sin, but not the guilt.  The Orthodox Church, like St. Cassian, is synergistic in its view that while we are tainted and damaged by ancestral sin, we still maintain our free will and can choose to follow God or to reject Him.  The main thing that we inherited, and the point that most requires the Virgin Birth, is death.  No man can escape death.  Since Christ was not born of man’s seed, but by the Holy Spirit, He was born immortal, something that applies to no man born of man’s seed.  Christ’s death was a voluntary death for our Salvation.  It would have been no show of divine Love if He was just going to die anyway, or if He could be killed against His will.  And because of His immortality, He was able to destroy Hell and Death, and therefor gain Salvation for all Mankind.  The other men that Christ rose from the dead later died again, as is necessary for man.  Even the two old testament men who did not die will come to earth again during the last days and die as men.

None of the above would be possible without the Virgin Birth.  That the effects of sin are passed by the seed of man is why there is no need for the ridiculous Latin heresy of the Immaculate Conception.  Mary was fully human, and through Mary’s egg, Christ was fully human.  Yet His conception by the Holy Spirit also made Him fully God, something that Mary was not, and had no need to be.

This is actually a rather rough condensing of the doctrine.  I will see if I can find actual references from the Fathers that explain this in better detail than I can.  But perhaps this will help you understand why the Virgin Birth is necessary if anything else in Christianity is to make any sense. 

THIS! ;D This, I believe, is a much better approach to rakovsky's problem than merely saying, "Belief in the Virgin Birth is a necessary and essential Orthodox belief, so stop thinking and start believing."

Agreed.  I would also add that it would be appropriate to replace the word "stop" with "start".
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #116 on: July 07, 2014, 01:08:13 PM »
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Consider the pleasure mutual.  I find these discussions of more use to our Salvation than what we eat
Nice. Someone I can talk with.

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This may be the error (and possibly the only error) that has caused your doubts.
That would make things simple and easy, but I am afraid it isn't. The issue has to do not necessarily with theory, but with skepticism about reality.

The Orthodox Church, like St. Cassian, is synergistic in its view that while we are tainted and damaged by ancestral sin, we still maintain our free will and can choose to follow God or to reject Him.  The main thing that we inherited, and the point that most requires the Virgin Birth, is death.  No man can escape death.  Since Christ was not born of man’s seed, but by the Holy Spirit, He was born immortal, something that applies to no man born of man’s seed.  Christ’s death was a voluntary death for our Salvation.
Even if a Virgin birth occurred, I doubt that the person would be immortal. In the scientific study I mentioned, the journal considered that the person might have been born of a virgin. The thing is that even women's DNA has the process of aging and dying written into it, sadly. There are jellyfish that don't have death written into their DNA, but this is rare. So if a woman's DNA were reproduced into her child's virgin born DNA, it would still copy over the DNA about aging and death.

Granted, you added another fact: that the person Christ was born of the Holy Spirit too. I am not sure why that would not add immortality if Christ was born only of a father and the Holy Spirit (assuming the birth process could be achieved, say, even by artificial means). If Christ really was born immortal, then what would biologically have allowed for Him to be killed, unless by immortal you mean that aging and death were not written into His DNA?

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That the effects of sin are passed by the [male] seed of man is why there is no need for the ridiculous Latin heresy of the Immaculate Conception.
Or they could just think that the guilt of sin is not passed down by inheritance and thus Christ was still immaculate "without sin", even if He suffered from His effects. In any case, Christ did suffer from its effects (hunger, being tempted by the Devil, sorrow, etc.), although you might see all of them as willful suffering on His part.

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It would have been no show of divine Love if He was just going to die anyway, or if He could be killed against His will.
It would lessen it, but it would still be Divine Love. If God made Him so that He could be killed against His will, then the sacrifice involved would still exist based on the initial decision to create Him susceptible to death. That is, the Logos being sent to die would still reflect Divine Love, even if the specific act of being killed was not consensual.

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And because of His immortality, He was able to destroy Hell and Death, and therefor gain Salvation for all Mankind.

How exactly does God's immortality function to destroy death? If people's bodies and souls are united with God, I can see that they would resurrect, because He did, like a rescuer taking people who hold into Him out of water. Is that what you mean?

But how does it actually happen that people's bodies and souls are united with God? Does simply having faith in God somehow work to combine your soul into God's being?

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The other men that Christ rose from the dead later died again, as is necessary for man.  Even the two old testament men who did not die will come to earth again during the last days and die as men.
That sounds unnecessary. If they are in heaven, I don't see why God couldn't transform them there.

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None of the above would be possible without the Virgin Birth... But perhaps this will help you understand why the Virgin Birth is necessary if anything else in Christianity is to make any sense.  
It's interesting, actually. I did not think of that way of looking at it- that the virgin birth could make Him immaculate in a way that a normal birth would not be. But I am not sure about this claim as I mentioned.

I see that the Virgin birth can reflect that Christ was God incarnate. For me, it's not just an issue of theory, but whether it really happened- something I would of course prefer.

The other thing is that being God, I am not really sure if He had to suffer, as opposed to finding a non-suffering way to save us. I suppose it's comforting that God loved us so much that He would do this. But it's also sad for us that Christ, who we love, would undergo something bad.

I do think the "necessity" argument you are making is a noteworthy one in favor of Christianity. Christ mentioned it, as He said "thus it was necessary and thus it was written" for the Messiah to suffer. (Luke 24) But still, it is uncertain to me whether this was the only way or whether there were alternatives, and also whether this actually occurred, particularly in this specific place and time. A rescuer may find different ways to save people, like throwing a life preserver, rather than going in the water himself.

I admit that belief in salvation from death, along with the idea of a personal rescuer fills what is sometimes an extreme human psychological need. I feel it when I think about repented criminals, like the Thief, who are executed by a largely unmerciful society. Unfortunately for me, that a claim meets my acute psychological need does not mean that the described fulfillment occurred in fact.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 01:18:38 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #117 on: July 07, 2014, 01:31:23 PM »
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Hello, Punch.

It's nice to write with you, as always.

Consider the pleasure mutual.  I find these discussions of more use to our Salvation than what we eat or who and when we screw.

Quote

Orthodoxy does not say that people are born with Original Sin, and yet Christ fully shared in our humanity. Thus, while we are not born as sinners, it is part of the fallen world, sadly. Thus, being born of man (and He was at least born of a woman) does not decide whether He was a sinner:

This may be the error (and possibly the only error) that has caused your doubts.  In fact, the Orthodox Church does believe in Original Sin (in the form of ancestral sin).  The Orthodox Church does not believe in original guilt, nor does it believe in the total depravity of Man.  The basis for ancestral sin is set out in the writings of Irenaeus against the Gnostic heretics.  Cyprian and Ambrose also expressed some belief in ancestral sin.  Augustine, a pupil of Ambrose, had some more emphatic views of Original Sin, and these were picked up and expanded upon by Martin Luther.  Cassian probably had a view that is most like my own, and one that was held by Melanchthon, even though he was not able to express it as much until the passing of Luther. 

The doctrine of ancestral sin states that we have inherited the effects of sin, but not the guilt.  The Orthodox Church, like St. Cassian, is synergistic in its view that while we are tainted and damaged by ancestral sin, we still maintain our free will and can choose to follow God or to reject Him.  The main thing that we inherited, and the point that most requires the Virgin Birth, is death.  No man can escape death.  Since Christ was not born of man’s seed, but by the Holy Spirit, He was born immortal, something that applies to no man born of man’s seed.  Christ’s death was a voluntary death for our Salvation.  It would have been no show of divine Love if He was just going to die anyway, or if He could be killed against His will.  And because of His immortality, He was able to destroy Hell and Death, and therefor gain Salvation for all Mankind.  The other men that Christ rose from the dead later died again, as is necessary for man.  Even the two old testament men who did not die will come to earth again during the last days and die as men.

None of the above would be possible without the Virgin Birth.  That the effects of sin are passed by the seed of man is why there is no need for the ridiculous Latin heresy of the Immaculate Conception.  Mary was fully human, and through Mary’s egg, Christ was fully human.  Yet His conception by the Holy Spirit also made Him fully God, something that Mary was not, and had no need to be.

This is actually a rather rough condensing of the doctrine.  I will see if I can find actual references from the Fathers that explain this in better detail than I can.  But perhaps this will help you understand why the Virgin Birth is necessary if anything else in Christianity is to make any sense. 

THIS! ;D This, I believe, is a much better approach to rakovsky's problem than merely saying, "Belief in the Virgin Birth is a necessary and essential Orthodox belief, so stop thinking and start believing."

Agreed.  I would also add that it would be appropriate to replace the word "stop" with "start".
Not when I'm quoting someone else. ;)
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Offline Punch

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #118 on: July 07, 2014, 01:45:29 PM »

That would make things simple and easy, but I am afraid it isn't. The issue has to do not necessarily with theory, but with skepticism about reality.

Sadhu Sundar Singh wrote that Christ is Reality.  He also went into great detail explaining why he felt this way.  His book “At the Master’s Feet” provides a relatively short, but surprisingly complete explanation.  It may be of some use for you to read since Singh was 1) not a member of the Orthodox Church and 2) was not a big fan of theology and the watered down Christ that most of man’s wisdom has given us. 

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Even if a Virgin birth occurred, I doubt that the person would be immortal. In the scientific study I mentioned, the journal considered that the person might have been born of a virgin. The thing is that even women's DNA has the process of aging and dying written into it, sadly. There are jellyfish that don't have death written into their DNA, but this is rare. So if a woman's DNA were reproduced into her child's virgin born DNA, it would still copy over the DNA about aging and death.

There is no woman on this Earth, including the Theotokos, who was not born of man.  Therefor every woman contains the evidence of the fall of man in her DNA.  Discussing a virgin birth outside of the Holy Spirit provides not real benefit because the is no proof that such a birth has ever occurred outside of the Gospels.  But it is not the Virgin’s DNA that we are discussing.  Mary died as all mankind does.  Christ would not have had the effects of sin in his DNA for the reasons that I discussed.

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In any case, Christ did suffer from its effects (hunger, being tempted by the Devil, sorrow, etc.), although you might see all of them as willful suffering on His part.

These are not the physical effects of sin.  Man was made to eat, which is why they could eat of any fruit in the garden other than the one that was commanded to them not to eat.  Adam and Eve were immortal prior to the fall, yet they were tempted (Eve by Satan and Adam by Eve).  One cannot have true love without a choice, and Christ was given the choice just like Adam and Eve.  Sorrow?  Do you think that God looks upon this world, which He made good, and does not feel sorrow?  Sorrow is not the effect of sin, but is in the nature of man.  There can be no joy unless there is sorrow. 

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I do think the "necessity" argument you are making is a noteworthy one in favor of Christianity.[/b] Christ mentioned it, as He said "thus it was necessary and thus it was written" for the Messiah to suffer. (Luke 24) But still, it is uncertain to me whether this was the only way or whether there were alternatives, and also whether this actually occurred, particularly in this specific place and time. A rescuer may find different ways to save people, like throwing a life preserver, rather than going in the water himself.

It was probably not the only way that it could have been done.  But it is the way that God chose to do it.  That is part of the problem with us trying to understand these things.  We are not capable of being able to fully understand God.  However, that does not mean that you sin by asking the questions.  Asking means that you still care enough to want to know the answer, and I believe that God will, in His time, answer your questions.  This is why it is good to read some of the writings of the Fathers on this subject as they thought long and hard about these things, and were tempted by the same doubts that your are.  And these doubts are a major reasons for the things that I dislike about our religion, and why I still cling to some of my earlier Protestantism.  Yes, Faith is necessary.  But God has also revealed much to us in the writings of His prophets and apostles and Fathers.  Yet where are these writings?  Where are the hymns based upon them?  Why have the canons been cut from the services?  Why have the services been cut from the calendar?  We care more about the vain show of religion than we do for the hearts of those that cry out to God to know Him better, and we will pay for that one day. I will try to find writings from the Fathers that address the things that you question.  I don’t expect you to believe them just because of who they are, but because they do a better job of explaining that matter than I am able to on the internet.  I believe that God will show you what you are looking for.  But like Adam, you must recognize them and make the choice to believe them or not.  In the end, He cannot make you believe.  But also, keep this in mind.  There is a difference in rejection and admitting that you do not understand.  Your line of questioning causes me to believe that you lay in the latter group.  There is nothing wrong with not understanding.  If we understood everything, there would be no need for Faith.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #119 on: July 07, 2014, 01:46:28 PM »
How exactly does God's immortality function to destroy death?
God is not merely immortal; He is Life Himself. Death is the absence of life. How can death exist where life is present?
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 01:47:03 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #120 on: July 07, 2014, 02:33:42 PM »
Sadhu Sundar Singh wrote that Christ is Reality.  He also went into great detail explaining why he felt this way.  His book “At the Master’s Feet” provides a relatively short, but surprisingly complete explanation.  It may be of some use for you to read since Singh was 1) not a member of the Orthodox Church and 2) was not a big fan of theology and the watered down Christ that most of man’s wisdom has given us.  
I found it online:
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/singh/feet.toc.html
Let me know if there is a certain passage you want me to pay attention to. I skimmed the first section of the book, about God's manifestation in the world.

I feel that many theological commentaries, including some from the Church fathers, are a bit like what I skimmed- they will have a premise- like Christ being the Second Person of the Trinity, and then they will write commentaries that flow from this premise. They expound on what the implications of this thesis are. But they are not necessarily set out to prove the thesis that Christ is God, but rather to explain what this means in moral and personal terms.

I do not really find the idea that the Being who performed the World's creation could then insert Himself into the world He created to be an irrational or nonsensical claim. It's more a question of whether it happened or not and if so then in this specific instance or not.

My Protestant minister and a deacon at the congregation had recommended Wright and Borg to come to belief in the resurrection. They also like CS Lewis. I did not read them yet, but would like to if what they wrote was convincing.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 02:43:08 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #121 on: July 07, 2014, 03:07:49 PM »
... My Protestant minister and a deacon at the congregation had recommended Wright and Borg to come to belief in the resurrection. ...

Lord, deliver us.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #122 on: July 07, 2014, 03:14:42 PM »
There is no woman on this Earth, including the Theotokos, who was not born of man.  Therefor every woman contains the evidence of the fall of man in her DNA.  Discussing a virgin birth outside of the Holy Spirit provides not real benefit because the is no proof that such a birth has ever occurred outside of the Gospels.  But it is not the Virgin’s DNA that we are discussing.  Mary died as all mankind does.  Christ would not have had the effects of sin in his DNA for the reasons that I discussed.
Punch,
I don't have a serious theological opposition to what you are saying about the effects of sin on the infant Christ, but it is perhaps the first time I have heard this. Every woman you say has the fall of man in her DNA. Taking His DNA from the Theotokos, a person normally born of a virgin would also include that fallen aspect of the DNA in His own. Thus, God decided that man would live no more than 120 years, and this appears in the DNA through the aging process. Things get dangerously weak as one approaches 120. Cells die off more in aging. Christ, being fully man, would have had this in DNA, although I suppose He could have mutated. Or, being God, perhaps His body would not naturally collapse at 120 even when He became very aged, which might be what you are saying. But Christ was mortal. At some point, something would give. Maybe the world would fold into the sun in a few billion years or something, and Christ with it. Or maybe He would fly away and not need oxygen before that happened. It seems more likely that He was, being fully man, was also mortal, even though, being God, He would resurrect naturally too.

As for virgin birth outside the gospels, they at least exist in nature, as animals have had virgin births, and the children die, since this is part of nature, except I suppose for some Jellyfish.


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In any case, Christ did suffer from its effects (hunger, being tempted by the Devil, sorrow, etc.), although you might see all of them as willful suffering on His part.

These are not the physical effects of sin.  Man was made to eat, which is why they could eat of any fruit in the garden other than the one that was commanded to them not to eat.  Adam and Eve were immortal prior to the fall, yet they were tempted (Eve by Satan and Adam by Eve).  One cannot have true love without a choice, and Christ was given the choice just like Adam and Eve.  Sorrow?  Do you think that God looks upon this world, which He made good, and does not feel sorrow?  Sorrow is not the effect of sin, but is in the nature of man.  There can be no joy unless there is sorrow.  
And what are the effects of sin physically? Hunger, suffering, feeling broken inside, being mortal, being able to be wounded? Christ bore those things, being fully human.

In other words, the Virgin Birth, in Orthodox thinking, might not really have been necessary to create an Immaculate person, since all people are immaculately born in our thinking- I have heard this as an explanation of why Orthodox don't believe in the concept of Mary's unique Immaculate Conception. Because their idea of the Immaculate Conception is based on a view of sin's guilt being passed down that Orthodox don't believe. It isn't just that sin passes through the male line. In Orthodox thought, sin's guilt doesn't pass through the male line at all. Rather, due to the Fall, all creation suffers the consequences of Sin, including people - as Paul wrote: Through Adam's sin, sin entered the world, and with it, death. Christ, being fully human, was also mortal, which was one of the effects of Sin, although He bore this effect voluntarily once He entered the world as man.


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It was probably not the only way that it could have been done.  But it is the way that God chose to do it.  That is part of the problem with us trying to understand these things.  We are not capable of being able to fully understand God.  However, that does not mean that you sin by asking the questions.  Asking means that you still care enough to want to know the answer, and I believe that God will, in His time, answer your questions.  This is why it is good to read some of the writings of the Fathers on this subject as they thought long and hard about these things, and were tempted by the same doubts that your are.
Thanks for saying you will let me know if you find something.
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And these doubts are a major reasons for the things that I dislike about our religion, and why I still cling to some of my earlier Protestantism.  Yes, Faith is necessary.
I don't know that Orthodoxy does such a worse job in this field than Protestantism. As a school of thought, Orthodoxy is more mystical and Protestantism is more systematic, but that's true of Catholicism too. Our minds are programmed to be educated and question things. Eventually Greece and Russia would develop to the point where they would also as civilizations raise these academic questions, and in fact we do find Russian theologians, and also skeptics like Tolstoy, engaging in such discussions.

Also, I don't think Orthodoxy proposes substantive answers that are worse than Protestantism's, since they both accept the Incarnation, Virgin Birth, and Resurrection. Unlike Orthodoxy, Protestantism in its mainstream forms is more questioning and in the case of some people is rejecting of Christianity's main claims, a rejection that for better or worse is actually a contradiction of Christianity.



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But God has also revealed much to us in the writings of His prophets and apostles and Fathers.  Yet where are these writings?  Where are the hymns based upon them?  Why have the canons been cut from the services?  Why have the services been cut from the calendar?  We care more about the vain show of religion than we do for the hearts of those that cry out to God to know Him better, and we will pay for that one day. I will try to find writings from the Fathers that address the things that you question.  I don’t expect you to believe them just because of who they are, but because they do a better job of explaining that matter than I am able to on the internet.  I believe that God will show you what you are looking for.  But like Adam, you must recognize them and make the choice to believe them or not.  In the end, He cannot make you believe.  But also, keep this in mind.  There is a difference in rejection and admitting that you do not understand.  Your line of questioning causes me to believe that you lay in the latter group.  There is nothing wrong with not understanding.  If we understood everything, there would be no need for Faith.
I don't seriously reject the claims, because I was not there when and where they happened physically. I don't have a video camera trained on the Theotokos at her conception, or on the Tomb. Some of the Resurrection and Ascension stories remind me of the stories of the Marian Apparitions, and in those cases, witnesses differed sometimes about whether they saw something special or nothing at all. Being Orthodox, I am skeptical about the Marian Apparitions more than about the Resurrection, but I don't rule them out. They could be mental imaginings that people yearn for, or else they could be real. Hallucinations that appear real happen.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 03:22:47 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline Punch

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #123 on: July 07, 2014, 03:31:16 PM »
I don't have a serious theological opposition to what you are saying about the effects of sin on the infant Christ, but it is perhaps the first time I have heard this. Every woman you say has the fall of man in her DNA. Taking His DNA from the Theotokos, a person normally born of a virgin would also include that fallen aspect of the DNA in His own.

You are missing the connection.  Mary's DNA was corrupted from her father.  Yet Jesus had no earthly father.  If the defect is passed from the human male, there no defect would have been passed to Jesus.  He would have been like Adam.  Indeed, He is called the new Adam.  However, I will grant you that this is based on a premise that may not be agreed to by all.  I mean, when it comes right down to it, God could have created Jesus from a rock.  He follows His rules, not ours.  But then again, that is why I believe.  Since He follows His own rules, and He is perfect and I am not, it does not bother me to find that there are things about His plan that I do not know and do not understand.  In fact, I would get very suspicious if I did understand everything.  To me, it would just mean that someone made it all up.  The fact that something is believed by so many for so long with no ability to prove that it is so gives me some comfort.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #124 on: July 07, 2014, 03:47:35 PM »
I don't have a serious theological opposition to what you are saying about the effects of sin on the infant Christ, but it is perhaps the first time I have heard this. Every woman you say has the fall of man in her DNA. Taking His DNA from the Theotokos, a person normally born of a virgin would also include that fallen aspect of the DNA in His own.

You are missing the connection.  Mary's DNA was corrupted from her father.  Yet Jesus had no earthly father.  If the defect is passed from the human male, there no defect would have been passed to Jesus.
So what is the defect that we are talking about?
The guilt for sin? Orthodoxy doesn't accept that it is passed down, even through males.
A physically defective DNA? Everything in the world has been affected by sin, bringing death. Even asexual plants and animals who are not descended from Adam have this. A virgin born of a mother whose DNA was earthly would naturally inherit her mortal DNA. Christ also was mortal.
And if the DNA is physically defective, then what are the properties of the defect?
Suffering and death? Christ, being man fully, suffered and died.

Granted, I believe I heard an Orthodox lecture saying that unlike other people, Christ did not have a Nature and Will that was corrupted by Sin, even though His Will and Nature was fully human. I heard something along those lines, but forgot exactly how it went. I rationalized this as reflecting that Christ, having chosen never to sin, was not corrupted by the guilt of sin.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 03:47:57 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Must we believe in the Virgin Birth?
« Reply #125 on: July 07, 2014, 03:49:19 PM »
Whom we truly love and whom we trust tend to go hand in hand. If you burn spiritually for St. John then you tend to trust what he burns to report. ... By contrast, for whom or what we feel a decayed love tends to go hand in hand with mendacity of all kinds. If you lust for the comfort of your Reddit buddies' approval, then you tend to heap up the sophistries you need to become a supporter of their claimed outlook.

So, again, life's affairs are not nearly so simple as to yield to pure rationalism. There is much before and behind reasoning that is not or cannot be reasonable.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy