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Author Topic: John 1:3 question  (Read 476 times) Average Rating: 0
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Andrew Crook
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« on: June 05, 2011, 11:17:09 PM »

Hey everyone,

 police Smiley  Huh I am slightly confused on something.  Does the holy Mother Orthodox Catholic Church teach that we are created from nothing, that we are creatio ex nihilo?  Because I've been reading this verse in John that says "All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made."  Now I've heard some New Agers try to make the claim that the Bible is stating that we all come from God's essence, God's being -- and that "no part of God could ever be apart from God".  I know that according to St. Gregory Palamas, the essence, the ousia, is undescribable and beyond comprehension.  We can only know the ousia of God through the Three Hypostases of the Holy Trinity, which emit their energies.  This all may seem very confusing, but what is the Orthodox teaching on the subject -- and how does the Holy Mother Church interpret this verse, in regards to how we were made..?  police Smiley Huh
« Last Edit: June 05, 2011, 11:18:48 PM by AveChriste11 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2011, 11:24:32 PM »

When it says "through Him" it is saying that the Father created everything through His eternal Word (Christ/the Son), not that creation somehow proceeds from God's essence.

My understanding, at least.
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2011, 11:29:47 PM »

πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν ὃ γέγονεν.

I am no expert, but I take the "through" here ("δια") to mean something close to "by", eg: "I wrote the letter by hand".
« Last Edit: June 05, 2011, 11:31:54 PM by akimori makoto » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2011, 11:34:49 PM »

A clay pot made through a potter's skill is made from clay.
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2011, 11:39:25 PM »

I figured as much Ozgeorge, that probably makes the most sense.  Therefore, in Orthodoxy -- since we did not come from God's essence, or being.. it would make no sense to be reabsorbed back into that essence.   I suppose then, even when we are resurrected and experience the "Last Things".. we will always have our individualities and will continue to have a separate sense of self from everyone and everything else.  It's interesting how Orthodoxy has many similarities with the Eastern philosophies, but they are definitley not the same.
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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2011, 11:45:14 PM »

Twice in the Liturgy every Sunday it says that God "has brought us from non-existence into being." 

2 Maccabees 7:28 I beseech thee, my son, look upon the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, and consider that God made them of things that were not; and so was mankind made likewise.
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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2011, 12:28:07 AM »

The way I was taught in Orthodoxy was basically using a couple of passages in John.

First passage: John 1:1-5
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Second passage: John 1:14
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

The word = Christ
If you substitute "word" in John 1

In the beginning was Christ, and Christ was with God, and Christ was God. HE was with God in the beginning.  Through HIM all things were made, with out HIM nothing was made that has been made.  In HIM was life, and that life was the light of all mankind ("I am the light of the world" John 8:12)

In Genesis "Let us make man in OUR image".

That's basically how the church taught me of those scriptures.

Now, I'm not positive what you are asking but I think you are asking if "everything is the essence of God", and what the church teaches about it?  Like basically is a chair, a car, or a marble an "essence of God?".

I know the creed states of Jesus is "of one essence with the Father through whom all things were made" which is a church teaching. I have not heard anything about "all things that were made" being an essence or part of God ever in Orthodoxy.  I've only heard it as "things which God made" and not "things that are God's essence".   However, I know that the Eucharist is considered God (the body and blood of whom is of one essence with the Father) which is also part of the creation which was transmuted.

The only way that I could PERSONALLY conclude this is to use the Eucharist as an example. The Eucharist is God because Jesus is of one essence.  If any object of creation was really of one essence would it be considered as important as the Eucharist itself?  Though I've never heard it in Orthodox teaching directly, I haven't witnessed candles, books, cars, food, or the church itself, even remotely held to the magnitude of the Eucharist which is of one essence.



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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2011, 12:46:00 AM »

^It is not the one essence but the one person of Christ who is both divine and human that makes the Eucharist what it is. 
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« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2011, 12:56:45 AM »

I think that the closest one could get to the idea that we are "part" of God, is that, while not created out of God in a material way (we never merge back into God as in some Eastern religions) the entire creation, in some sense, is a projection of the mind of God.  He had to conceive us in the process of creating us, i.e. He knew what He was making.  A possible analogy would be an artist painting or a writer writing.  The artist is not identical to the material he works with, in this case paint.  We are created by the mind of God, but the material that creation is made of does not come out of God, it is created out of nothing by God.
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2011, 02:46:51 AM »

I figured as much Ozgeorge, that probably makes the most sense.  Therefore, in Orthodoxy -- since we did not come from God's essence, or being.. it would make no sense to be reabsorbed back into that essence.   I suppose then, even when we are resurrected and experience the "Last Things".. we will always have our individualities and will continue to have a separate sense of self from everyone and everything else.

Essentially, yes. God is certainly present among and within us, but we ourselves are not made of the essence of God.
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