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Author Topic: Was human nature corrupted by the Fall?  (Read 7774 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 21, 2011, 12:35:02 AM »

I had a discussion Friday with a Roman Catholic attending a Byzantine Catholic Church who is strongly considering converting to Eastern Orthodoxy (either through the OCA or the GOA). He had some interesting and unusual things to say about original sin. The most intriguing of these to me was his assertion that Eastern Orthodoxy teaches that human nature was not corrupted by the Fall. Man's nature was always good, but because man was born into a fallen world where it was possible that he die, man was inclined to sin.

So, in contrast to the Latin teaching that Adam fell, his nature was corrupted, and he passed a corrupted nature onto his children, which Christ then purified through his Incarnation, man's nature was never corrupted but merely the world in which men lived was corrupted.

Furthermore, he insisted that there was no belief in concupiscence in Orthodoxy - man is only inclined to sin because he is born into a fallen world where he is mortal.

Is this really Eastern Orthodoxy's teaching on original sin? It would be nice if I could tell him he is becoming a heretic to both our religions . . .

Hence, most simply, after Adam's sin, was human nature corrupted or was it not?

For clarity, Catholics acknowledge that human nature is, in itself, good, as it is a creation of God and God the Son assumed a human nature - meaning that it obviously cannot be an evil, however, because of the fall, man receives a human nature which is good, but at the same time corrupted.

As an anecdote, before serving in Great Vespers last night, I was praying from a booklet, "Orthodox Prayers before Communion" published by the Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery (we have them in the pews here), and I noticed that in St. Basil's prayer before communion he said, " . . . and through Your own Blood You have renewed our human nature which is corrupted by sin."

So, please, it would be most helpful to me if I could gain some Orthodox perspectives on this.
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« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2011, 10:09:07 AM »

I had a discussion Friday with a Roman Catholic attending a Byzantine Catholic Church who is strongly considering converting to Eastern Orthodoxy (either through the OCA or the GOA). He had some interesting and unusual things to say about original sin. The most intriguing of these to me was his assertion that Eastern Orthodoxy teaches that human nature was not corrupted by the Fall. Man's nature was always good, but because man was born into a fallen world where it was possible that he die, man was inclined to sin.

My priest just preached about this yesterday. He didn't say it's "possible" for us to die, but "inevitable". To answer your question, yes the fall corrupted human nature, that is why the Word became flesh to heal our nature.

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I noticed that in St. Basil's prayer before communion he said, " . . . and through Your own Blood You have renewed our human nature which is corrupted by sin."

There's your answer.
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« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2011, 10:28:03 AM »

I had a discussion Friday with a Roman Catholic attending a Byzantine Catholic Church who is strongly considering converting to Eastern Orthodoxy (either through the OCA or the GOA). He had some interesting and unusual things to say about original sin. The most intriguing of these to me was his assertion that Eastern Orthodoxy teaches that human nature was not corrupted by the Fall. Man's nature was always good, but because man was born into a fallen world where it was possible that he die, man was inclined to sin.

So, in contrast to the Latin teaching that Adam fell, his nature was corrupted, and he passed a corrupted nature onto his children, which Christ then purified through his Incarnation, man's nature was never corrupted but merely the world in which men lived was corrupted.

Furthermore, he insisted that there was no belief in concupiscence in Orthodoxy - man is only inclined to sin because he is born into a fallen world where he is mortal.

Is this really Eastern Orthodoxy's teaching on original sin? It would be nice if I could tell him he is becoming a heretic to both our religions . . .
why would that be nice?

Hence, most simply, after Adam's sin, was human nature corrupted or was it not?

For clarity, Catholics acknowledge that human nature is, in itself, good, as it is a creation of God and God the Son assumed a human nature - meaning that it obviously cannot be an evil, however, because of the fall, man receives a human nature which is good, but at the same time corrupted.

As an anecdote, before serving in Great Vespers last night, I was praying from a booklet, "Orthodox Prayers before Communion" published by the Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery (we have them in the pews here), and I noticed that in St. Basil's prayer before communion he said, " . . . and through Your own Blood You have renewed our human nature which is corrupted by sin."

So, please, it would be most helpful to me if I could gain some Orthodox perspectives on this.
Not sure that the St. Basil prayer necessarily gives you what you are looking for:actual sin (versus ancestral sin) corrupts as well.
ORIGINAL SIN ACCORDING TO ST. PAUL - by the late V. Rev. Fr. John S. Romanides
http://romanity.org/htm/rom.10.en.original_sin_according_to_st._paul.01.htm
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« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2011, 10:29:12 AM »

St Cyril is very clear that we do not inherit a corrupted nature, but that it is mortal and corruptible.
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« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2011, 10:57:25 AM »

St Cyril is very clear that we do not inherit a corrupted nature, but that it is mortal and corruptible.

Care to cite him or point out in what book/letter/whatever he is talking about the issue?
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« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2011, 11:00:14 AM »

Can't at the moment as I am working, but will do later if no-one else does.
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« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2011, 12:07:54 PM »

Fr. Peter's more familiar with St. Cyril's corpus so hopefully he'll be able to supply the exact quote, but that lines up with what I recall from On the Incarnation. With the Fall, human nature was separated from the Divine. Being separate from the Divine makes human nature corruptible (St. Paul's 'subject to the law of Sin and Death') but not inherently corrupt--that is, the corruption itself is not part of human nature but something that occurs at an individual level because our nature is corruptible.
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« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2011, 12:41:22 PM »

Can't at the moment as I am working, but will do later if no-one else does.
Thank you, Father. I much appreciate it.
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« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2011, 12:48:59 PM »

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« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2011, 12:57:51 PM »

St Cyril is very clear that we do not inherit a corrupted nature, but that it is mortal and corruptible.

I found this quote on the web: http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/dogmatics/golubov_rags_of_mortality.htm

Quote
It can be said that while we have not inherited the guilt of Adam's personal sin, because his sin is also of a generic nature, and because the entire human race is possessed of an essential, ontological unity,[12] we participate in it by virtue of our participation in the human race. "The imparting of Original Sin by means of natural heredity should be understood in terms of the unity of the entire human nature, and of the homoousiotitos [13] of all men, who, connected by nature, constitute one mystic whole. Inasmuch as human nature is indeed unique and unbreakable, the imparting of sin from the first-born to the entire human race descended from him is rendered explicable: 'Explicitly, as from the root, the sickness proceeded to the rest of the tree, Adam being the root who had suffered corruption'" [St. Cyril of Alexandria].[14]

I do not understand the distinction. I honestly feel like the Orthodox reaction against this is a well-meaning attack of the straw-man of total depravity, which John Calvin taught. This quote, from Archpriest Golubov, seems to agree that the entirety of humanity has been corrupted - which is what I understood Latins to mean when we say that human nature was corrupted. Not that the state of being human became an evil, but that all men, while men, of which being one is good, also were twisted to be inclined to sin and evil and were born lacking communion with the divine - a situation which needs rectification.

No Catholic teaches that the state of being human is evil - humans are not totally depraved and unable to please God (thanks for that one, Calvin).
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« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2011, 01:51:15 PM »

I honestly feel like the Orthodox reaction against this is a well-meaning attack of the straw-man of total depravity, which John Calvin taught.alvin).

Touché. That's how most of the anti-Latin Orthodox polemics are. In the end we both believe that due to the Fall something happened to mankind. And that something was more than bodily mortality. Modern EOs just refuse to call it as "Original sin" or "corrupted nature".

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« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2011, 02:57:22 PM »

That's how most of the anti-Latin Orthodox polemics are.

Actually no one but the OP has really phrased this is an 'anti-' or even 'compared to' Latin thing. Most of the responses have simply focused on discussing what the actual Orthodox/Patristic teaching is--and neither St. Cyril nor St. Athanasius were influenced by Anti-Latin or Anti-Calvin concerns.

As for what difference if Original Sin= 'corruptible' vs. 'corrupt' makes:
If the impact of the Fall is simply that human nature was divided from the Divine -- which seperation results in corruptibility (at both a physical and moral level), then that means Christ as perfect God and perfect man, in His single Person wipes out that divide. He's not subject to Original Sin by definition.

If Original Sin=human nature is inherently corrupt, then additional intellectual exercises are necessary to explain how Christ could assume *our* human nature but His human nature was not corrupt.


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« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2011, 02:58:37 PM »

St Cyril is very clear that we do not inherit a corrupted nature, but that it is mortal and corruptible.
Pelegianism?
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« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2011, 03:06:58 PM »

St Cyril is a Pelagian?

What?!
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« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2011, 03:39:35 PM »

St Cyril is very clear that we do not inherit a corrupted nature, but that it is mortal and corruptible.
Pelegianism?

The Catholic Church teaches that the stain of original sin is a darkened intellect [nous] and a weakened will [concupiscence].   

Other results of the fall are that we are susceptible to pain and suffering, drawn to the vices with dishonesty and lust being ones that are mentioned directly, open to death and corruptibility, and out of sorts with nature:  Lions lie down with us to have us for lunch, hurricanes take our houses and our lives, etc.

I am not sure what you are saying here.

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« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2011, 04:11:14 PM »

Actually no one but the OP has really phrased this is an 'anti-' or even 'compared to' Latin thing. Most of the responses have simply focused on discussing what the actual Orthodox/Patristic teaching is--and neither St. Cyril nor St. Athanasius were influenced by Anti-Latin or Anti-Calvin concerns.

I wasn't referring to this discussion but overall atmosphere when discussing about differences of EOs and RCs. This thread is delightingly civilized for the time being.

Quote
If Original Sin=human nature is inherently corrupt, then additional intellectual exercises are necessary to explain how Christ could assume *our* human nature but His human nature was not corrupt.

Agreed. However nobody but Calvinists are saying that human nature is inherently corrupted in the sense that you seem to mean.
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« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2011, 04:59:04 PM »

St Cyril is very clear that we do not inherit a corrupted nature, but that it is mortal and corruptible.
Pelegianism?

The Catholic Church teaches that the stain of original sin is a darkened intellect [nous] and a weakened will [concupiscence].   

Other results of the fall are that we are susceptible to pain and suffering, drawn to the vices with dishonesty and lust being ones that are mentioned directly, open to death and corruptibility, and out of sorts with nature:  Lions lie down with us to have us for lunch, hurricanes take our houses and our lives, etc.

I am not sure what you are saying here.

M.
If St. Cyril is teaching that human's are merely corruptible, not corrupted, and merely susceptible to death, not sentenced to die, then it places us all on equal footing with Adam and Eve, who before the fall, were corruptible, and susceptible to death, as obviously the serpent (and thus the Enemy) tricked them, causing them to be corrupted.

If we are on an equal footing as them as far as our relation to God and sin when we are born, it means that Pelagius was right.
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« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2011, 05:07:22 PM »

St Cyril is very clear that we do not inherit a corrupted nature, but that it is mortal and corruptible.
Pelegianism?

The Catholic Church teaches that the stain of original sin is a darkened intellect [nous] and a weakened will [concupiscence].   

Other results of the fall are that we are susceptible to pain and suffering, drawn to the vices with dishonesty and lust being ones that are mentioned directly, open to death and corruptibility, and out of sorts with nature:  Lions lie down with us to have us for lunch, hurricanes take our houses and our lives, etc.

I am not sure what you are saying here.

M.
If St. Cyril is teaching that human's are merely corruptible, not corrupted, and merely susceptible to death, not sentenced to die, then it places us all on equal footing with Adam and Eve, who before the fall, were corruptible, and susceptible to death, as obviously the serpent (and thus the Enemy) tricked them, causing them to be corrupted.

If we are on an equal footing as them as far as our relation to God and sin when we are born, it means that Pelagius was right.

This is make-it-up-as-you-go theology. 

This is not at all Catholic teaching and I'll be darned if I can find it in Orthodoxy either.

I am not trying to be nasty but you need to go back to some very fundamental building blocks of Catholic teaching before this gets so far along you can't cut it loose.
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« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2011, 05:11:33 PM »

St Cyril is very clear that we do not inherit a corrupted nature, but that it is mortal and corruptible.
Pelegianism?

The Catholic Church teaches that the stain of original sin is a darkened intellect [nous] and a weakened will [concupiscence].   

Other results of the fall are that we are susceptible to pain and suffering, drawn to the vices with dishonesty and lust being ones that are mentioned directly, open to death and corruptibility, and out of sorts with nature:  Lions lie down with us to have us for lunch, hurricanes take our houses and our lives, etc.

I am not sure what you are saying here.

M.
If St. Cyril is teaching that human's are merely corruptible, not corrupted, and merely susceptible to death, not sentenced to die, then it places us all on equal footing with Adam and Eve, who before the fall, were corruptible, and susceptible to death, as obviously the serpent (and thus the Enemy) tricked them, causing them to be corrupted.

If we are on an equal footing as them as far as our relation to God and sin when we are born, it means that Pelagius was right.

This is make-it-up-as-you-go theology. 

This is not at all Catholic teaching and I'll be darned if I can find it in Orthodoxy either.

I am not trying to be nasty but you need to go back to some very fundamental building blocks of Catholic teaching before this gets so far along you can't cut it loose.
Okay, I feel like you did not understand what I was saying. I do not agree with what I was saying, I was merely explaining how what Father Peter said may have sounded like Pelagianism to Papist (and to me).
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« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2011, 05:23:46 PM »

Our problem is not that we sin, but that we are separated from God.

There is no excuse for us to sin. We do not need to. We are not corrupt, we are corruptible. But we also lack the indwelling grace of God which was given to Adam and Eve. We are not in the same situation at all.

But we don't need to sin. Yet, even if we did not, we would still be separated from God and be spiritually dead.

Our problem is especially that we are separated from God in a living death, but secondarily, we are also personally liable to judgement and punishment because of our personal sin.
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« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2011, 05:29:38 PM »

Our problem is not that we sin, but that we are separated from God.

There is no excuse for us to sin. We do not need to. We are not corrupt, we are corruptible. But we also lack the indwelling grace of God which was given to Adam and Eve. We are not in the same situation at all.

But we don't need to sin. Yet, even if we did not, we would still be separated from God and be spiritually dead.

Our problem is especially that we are separated from God in a living death, but secondarily, we are also personally liable to judgement and punishment because of our personal sin.
So, being born separated from God and spiritually dead isn't a state of corruption?
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« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2011, 05:34:48 PM »

Our problem is not that we sin, but that we are separated from God.

There is no excuse for us to sin. We do not need to. We are not corrupt, we are corruptible. But we also lack the indwelling grace of God which was given to Adam and Eve. We are not in the same situation at all.

But we don't need to sin. Yet, even if we did not, we would still be separated from God and be spiritually dead.

Our problem is especially that we are separated from God in a living death, but secondarily, we are also personally liable to judgement and punishment because of our personal sin.
So, being born separated from God and spiritually dead isn't a state of corruption?

I do not think that the teaching is that we are born "dead" spiritually.  I think it is that we are born with a darkened intellect/nous...and in that way are not able to receive God's saving graces, for as I noted elsewhere, our very breath is a grace from God. 

So in that sense we are born blocked spiritually, which is not the same thing that is meant by "corruption"...The idea of corruption is that the body can feel pain, die and rot.  Baptism does not heal that...but Baptism does illuminate the eye of the soul so that we can receive and respond to God's saving graces.

M.
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« Reply #22 on: November 21, 2011, 06:05:10 PM »

Corruption does not mean that we can feel etc. That is corruptibility.

We are surely born spiritually dead because we lack the indwelling grace of God which is our life. This does not mean that we do not have a spirit, but life is only truly life in relation to God, otherwise it is mere existence, slowly experiencing dissolution.

To be physically alive is a gift of God, but is not the same as the indwelling grace of the Holy Spirit which Adam possessed.
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« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2011, 06:15:26 PM »

Corruption does not mean that we can feel etc. That is corruptibility.

We are surely born spiritually dead because we lack the indwelling grace of God which is our life. This does not mean that we do not have a spirit, but life is only truly life in relation to God, otherwise it is mere existence, slowly experiencing dissolution.

To be physically alive is a gift of God, but is not the same as the indwelling grace of the Holy Spirit which Adam possessed.

I don't think we disagree on corruption and corruptibility. 

I don't know if we would see eye to eye on the meaning of "nature"...that seems to be something of a moving target even within the Catholic system of theology, much less between OO and EO theologies.  That might impact on our understanding of corruption.

I hesitate to say that we are born spiritually dead, since Baptismal theology, east and west, weighs in so heavily with the idea that in the Baptismal waters, we go down into death with Christ and arise with him into illumination.  We die in Baptism only to be re-born in Christ.

If we are already dead, well then, there's no place to go.  So I prefer the idea that we are born with a darkened intellect.  I think that is also patristic in its origins but I don't know about the Oriental Orthodox.

I think I've made the distinction between the graces that save and the graces that animate here and in another thread.  It's a good point that bears repeating.

M.
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« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2011, 06:54:06 PM »

Corruption does not mean that we can feel etc. That is corruptibility.

We are surely born spiritually dead because we lack the indwelling grace of God which is our life. This does not mean that we do not have a spirit, but life is only truly life in relation to God, otherwise it is mere existence, slowly experiencing dissolution.

To be physically alive is a gift of God, but is not the same as the indwelling grace of the Holy Spirit which Adam possessed.
Ok. Now, can you explain to me how the Catholic teaching is different from this? Because from what I can tell you just explained exactly what I have been taught as a Catholic.
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« Reply #25 on: November 21, 2011, 07:00:38 PM »

Corruption does not mean that we can feel etc. That is corruptibility.

We are surely born spiritually dead because we lack the indwelling grace of God which is our life. This does not mean that we do not have a spirit, but life is only truly life in relation to God, otherwise it is mere existence, slowly experiencing dissolution.

To be physically alive is a gift of God, but is not the same as the indwelling grace of the Holy Spirit which Adam possessed.
Ok. Now, can you explain to me how the Catholic teaching is different from this? Because from what I can tell you just explained exactly what I have been taught as a Catholic.

If you read the CCC on original sin I think you'd have a hard time saying that the Catholic Church teaches that we are born spiritually "dead"...

Also there are theologies of Baptism which also mitigate against saying we are born "dead" in any way...otherwise we would not be illuminated and washed clean in Baptism...we'd be raised up from the dead instead...

M.
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« Reply #26 on: November 21, 2011, 08:02:20 PM »

I'm not sure about the way "corrupted" is being distinguished from "corruptible". We are responsible for our sins, but we were not subject to passions before the Fall. So something did change to our nature after the Fall. That could be what is meant by "corruptible", but often I have heard the term "corrupted" used to describe this state, and rejecting that term I think can lead to confusion. But I imagine we can all agree that our nature did not become evil in essence, if in fact that is what Calvin was teaching (not that I'm sure it was).

Fr Peter, when you get a chance, could you provide something from St Cyril?
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« Reply #27 on: November 21, 2011, 08:06:58 PM »

Corruption does not mean that we can feel etc. That is corruptibility.

We are surely born spiritually dead because we lack the indwelling grace of God which is our life. This does not mean that we do not have a spirit, but life is only truly life in relation to God, otherwise it is mere existence, slowly experiencing dissolution.

To be physically alive is a gift of God, but is not the same as the indwelling grace of the Holy Spirit which Adam possessed.
Ok. Now, can you explain to me how the Catholic teaching is different from this? Because from what I can tell you just explained exactly what I have been taught as a Catholic.

If you read the CCC on original sin I think you'd have a hard time saying that the Catholic Church teaches that we are born spiritually "dead"...

Also there are theologies of Baptism which also mitigate against saying we are born "dead" in any way...otherwise we would not be illuminated and washed clean in Baptism...we'd be raised up from the dead instead...

M.

Note:  It is true that there are theologies of baptism that speak of us dying with Christ and rising with him...the steps in the ancient baptismal fonts, and the emphasis on submersion are powerful symbols...But they are not symbols for the dead but for the living wounded.
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« Reply #28 on: November 21, 2011, 08:28:45 PM »

Corruption does not mean that we can feel etc. That is corruptibility.

We are surely born spiritually dead because we lack the indwelling grace of God which is our life. This does not mean that we do not have a spirit, but life is only truly life in relation to God, otherwise it is mere existence, slowly experiencing dissolution.

To be physically alive is a gift of God, but is not the same as the indwelling grace of the Holy Spirit which Adam possessed.
Ok. Now, can you explain to me how the Catholic teaching is different from this? Because from what I can tell you just explained exactly what I have been taught as a Catholic.

If you read the CCC on original sin I think you'd have a hard time saying that the Catholic Church teaches that we are born spiritually "dead"...

Also there are theologies of Baptism which also mitigate against saying we are born "dead" in any way...otherwise we would not be illuminated and washed clean in Baptism...we'd be raised up from the dead instead...

M.
Wait . . . so now the Oriental Orthodox are the Calvinists?
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« Reply #29 on: November 21, 2011, 08:42:46 PM »

Corruption does not mean that we can feel etc. That is corruptibility.

We are surely born spiritually dead because we lack the indwelling grace of God which is our life. This does not mean that we do not have a spirit, but life is only truly life in relation to God, otherwise it is mere existence, slowly experiencing dissolution.

To be physically alive is a gift of God, but is not the same as the indwelling grace of the Holy Spirit which Adam possessed.
Ok. Now, can you explain to me how the Catholic teaching is different from this? Because from what I can tell you just explained exactly what I have been taught as a Catholic.

If you read the CCC on original sin I think you'd have a hard time saying that the Catholic Church teaches that we are born spiritually "dead"...

Also there are theologies of Baptism which also mitigate against saying we are born "dead" in any way...otherwise we would not be illuminated and washed clean in Baptism...we'd be raised up from the dead instead...

M.
Wait . . . so now the Oriental Orthodox are the Calvinists?

This is well in advance of the discussion, I'd say, and not accurate t'boot.

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« Reply #30 on: November 21, 2011, 08:53:46 PM »

It all depends upon what is meant by the word "corruption"? 

As I see, the word "corruption" refers to human mortality after the fall, but of course being mortal does not mean that a human being has inherited Adam's guilt or personal sin (see St. John Chrysostom, Third Baptismal Instruction, no. 6).
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« Reply #31 on: November 21, 2011, 09:06:15 PM »

It all depends upon what is meant by the word "corruption"? 

As I see, the word "corruption" refers to human mortality after the fall, but of course being mortal does not mean that a human being has inherited Adam's guilt or personal sin (see St. John Chrysostom, Third Baptismal Instruction, no. 6).

Why would we raise the question of personal sin guilt since neither the Catholic Church nor Orthodoxy teach or have ever taught that we carry the personal guilt of the Ancestor's sins...

It is one thing to indicate that the consequences of the fall pass on to each one of us personally, but that is NOT the same thing as speaking of personal guilt.

Sometimes that needs to be said in discussions such as these.

M.
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« Reply #32 on: November 21, 2011, 09:08:32 PM »

It all depends upon what is meant by the word "corruption"? 

As I see, the word "corruption" refers to human mortality after the fall, but of course being mortal does not mean that a human being has inherited Adam's guilt or personal sin (see St. John Chrysostom, Third Baptismal Instruction, no. 6).

Why would we raise the question of personal sin guilt since neither the Catholic Church nor Orthodoxy teach or have ever taught that we carry the personal guilt of the Ancestor's sins...

M.
I simply defined what the word "corruption" refers to, and made it clear that it does not refer to guilt or sin in the sense intended by the Council of Trent in its decree on "original sin."
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« Reply #33 on: November 21, 2011, 09:11:37 PM »

It all depends upon what is meant by the word "corruption"? 

As I see, the word "corruption" refers to human mortality after the fall, but of course being mortal does not mean that a human being has inherited Adam's guilt or personal sin (see St. John Chrysostom, Third Baptismal Instruction, no. 6).

Why would we raise the question of personal sin guilt since neither the Catholic Church nor Orthodoxy teach or have ever taught that we carry the personal guilt of the Ancestor's sins...

It is one thing to indicate that the consequences of the fall pass on to each one of us personally, but that is NOT the same thing as speaking of personal guilt.

Sometimes that needs to be said in discussions such as these.

M.

It's because the question of whether we inherit sin from Adam, or what it means to say we inherit sin from Adam, is his theological hobby-horse.
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« Reply #34 on: November 21, 2011, 09:20:53 PM »

It all depends upon what is meant by the word "corruption"? 

As I see, the word "corruption" refers to human mortality after the fall, but of course being mortal does not mean that a human being has inherited Adam's guilt or personal sin (see St. John Chrysostom, Third Baptismal Instruction, no. 6).

Why would we raise the question of personal sin guilt since neither the Catholic Church nor Orthodoxy teach or have ever taught that we carry the personal guilt of the Ancestor's sins...

It is one thing to indicate that the consequences of the fall pass on to each one of us personally, but that is NOT the same thing as speaking of personal guilt.

Sometimes that needs to be said in discussions such as these.

M.

It's because the question of whether we inherit sin from Adam, or what it means to say we inherit sin from Adam, is his theological hobby-horse.

I am aware.  And he claims for the western Church things that were never intended. 

Note: gratuitous nasty remark removed...sorry, Todd, I am trying to see you in a better light but old habits die hard.
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« Reply #35 on: November 21, 2011, 10:11:05 PM »

It all depends upon what is meant by the word "corruption"? 

As I see, the word "corruption" refers to human mortality after the fall, but of course being mortal does not mean that a human being has inherited Adam's guilt or personal sin (see St. John Chrysostom, Third Baptismal Instruction, no. 6).

Why would we raise the question of personal sin guilt since neither the Catholic Church nor Orthodoxy teach or have ever taught that we carry the personal guilt of the Ancestor's sins...

It is one thing to indicate that the consequences of the fall pass on to each one of us personally, but that is NOT the same thing as speaking of personal guilt.

Sometimes that needs to be said in discussions such as these.

M.

It's because the question of whether we inherit sin from Adam, or what it means to say we inherit sin from Adam, is his theological hobby-horse.
Not at all.  I simply reject the notion that sin or guilt can be inherited because those things are personal and not natural.  That said, I have not accused you of having a theological "hobby-horse" and I would appreciate the same courtesy.

Do I believe that the Latin bishops at Trent were correct when they asserted that a man inherits guilt (either as reatum or culpa) or sin?  Nope.
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« Reply #36 on: November 22, 2011, 01:16:16 AM »

It all depends upon what is meant by the word "corruption"? 

As I see, the word "corruption" refers to human mortality after the fall, but of course being mortal does not mean that a human being has inherited Adam's guilt or personal sin (see St. John Chrysostom, Third Baptismal Instruction, no. 6).

Why would we raise the question of personal sin guilt since neither the Catholic Church nor Orthodoxy teach or have ever taught that we carry the personal guilt of the Ancestor's sins...

It is one thing to indicate that the consequences of the fall pass on to each one of us personally, but that is NOT the same thing as speaking of personal guilt.

Sometimes that needs to be said in discussions such as these.

M.

It's because the question of whether we inherit sin from Adam, or what it means to say we inherit sin from Adam, is his theological hobby-horse.
Not at all.  I simply reject the notion that sin or guilt can be inherited because those things are personal and not natural.  That said, I have not accused you of having a theological "hobby-horse" and I would appreciate the same courtesy.

Do I believe that the Latin bishops at Trent were correct when they asserted that a man inherits guilt (either as reatum or culpa) or sin?  Nope.

It's especially irritating when a Catholic tries to show he's more Orthodox than the Orthodox. "Latin" bishops, indeed! Face it, they are YOUR bishops. If you think they're so heretical, just join us already! Wink

But actually I don't agree with you that we have to reject the idea of inheriting sin. There is just too much patristic support for it. What you could say is that the Church never taught that anyone is born with personal guilt or responsibility for original sin. Original sin is not an individual transgression that all newborns are held to be juridically guilty of, but it is a definitely sinful condition that requires cleansing in Baptism. I know elsewhere you have argued that Baptism does not cleanse sins in the case of newborns, but I don't think you produced any patristic evidence for this, and there is nothing in the Baptismal prayers that would lead anyone to conclude that newborns were not being cleansed of sin, and we have the decision of the Council of Carthage (which was accepted by the whole Church, lest you try to wriggle out of it by saying it was "Western" or "Augustinian") which says that anyone who denies babies are born in sin and require the cleansing of Baptism are under anathema.
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« Reply #37 on: November 22, 2011, 04:00:43 AM »

There is lots of patristic material which insists that infants are not being baptised for any sins at all. St Severus, following St Cyril, is clear that a child cannot be baptised for any other persons sins, and has no sins of his own to be baptised for.

I will try to sort out references for my comments today, but I am having a busy period. I know that some Fathers taught that a child was not liable for sin until many years old.

As far as I am aware the Fathers are clear that we are born mortal but not sinful, corruptible but not corrupted. That does not mean, as far as I can see, that the physical/mental aspects of our nature are not also affected by our environment.

We bear the consequences of the judgement passed against Adam. We are separated from God and devoid of the indwelling Holy Spirit and left to our natural mortality we are experiencing dissolution. But there is nothing sinful or inherently liable to judgement in our natural condition at birth. The problem is that we lack the Holy Spirit and even if we never sinned we would still lack the Holy Spirit, which is surely why St Seraphim urges us to acquire the Holy Spirit as the essence of the meaning of salvation?   
 
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« Reply #38 on: November 22, 2011, 09:27:06 AM »

We bear the consequences of the judgement passed against Adam. We are separated from God and devoid of the indwelling Holy Spirit and left to our natural mortality we are experiencing dissolution.

How does the nature of the condition of our nature that you describe not "miss the mark"?

We're not born responsible for our condition, but we are still born in this condition that came about as a result of our first parents transgression. The only way we can be healed of this condition is through Christ, into Whom we are baptized. We were seperated from God, we are united to Him in baptism. We were devoid of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, part of an Orthodox baptism is being "sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit". We were left to mortality and dissolution, we are given the promise of the resurrection having been buried with Him in baptism.

Unless you think that seperation from God, being devoid of the Holy Spirit, and death and dissolution is the "mark" that God has set for us. The fact is this is all sin. It's a condition and not an act, but it is still against the will of the God who "wills that none should perish".
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« Reply #39 on: November 22, 2011, 09:41:21 AM »

How can being born as we were created be 'missing the mark'?

We were created mortal. It is no sin to be mortal. It is no sin to be corruptible. This is how we were created. This is how Adam was created.

But he received the Holy Spirit, and the presence of the Holy Spirit granted immortality and incorruptibility. This was lost when Adam fell. But his nature was not corrupted, it simply returned to its natural state.

How can a state imposed by God be sin? The Fathers are clear. We are born mortal not sinful. The Fathers even state that it might be possible for a man to live all his life without sin, but that would not be the same as being saved.

A person who commits a crime may be put into prison. But they are guilty because of their crime, not where they are. Being in prison doesn't make a person guilty. A baby may be born to such a criminal and live in a prison under the restrictions of prison life, but it doesn't make the baby guilty of anything at all. If the baby grows and commits crimes then we could imagine that it might be considered guilty and not leave the prison on account of its own crimes. But if it does no crime at all it could still not leave the prison. It is in a state that is not dependent on itself but on the will of those with authority over it. It would not be guilty of crime, but it would be stuck in a state of penality.

You state 'this is all sin', but on what basis. Merely stating it is so does not make it so. If it were so then Christ is a sinner. The argument you make is in fact the same argument that Julian of Halicarnassus used.

How can our condition 'miss the mark' when it is God who imposed it? And he imposed it for our salvation and out of his love for us, as the Fathers teach. Sin has no existence apart from as an act of will. Therefore there is not a sinful condition apart from sinful acts.

We are born mortal, not sinful. We are born corruptible, not corrupted. We do that ourselves.

Most of the Fathers I have studied seem entirely positive about the state of babies before God. They need to be baptised to be united with Christ in his resurrection and NOT because they are considered sinful at all. I think one Father I found considered that the age of sin could be as late as 10, because sin is a matter of will and the unformed will of a child is not the same as that of an adult.
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« Reply #40 on: November 22, 2011, 11:31:23 AM »

Death isn't a possibilty that may or may not happen to us. It is a certainty. God didn't create Adam with the certainty of death, but only the possibility depending on his actions. We inherited Adam's fallen nature, not his pre-fallen nature. This doesn't make us personally responsible or willfull participants in the fall, but we bear the consequences. I'm not saying we're born with a willfull intent on rebellion or destined to eternal hell before being able to "earn" our way there, but we are born destined to die. We are born corrupted, babies born with diseases caused by their parents actions are still born with that disease regardless of who's fault it is. We're not born "sinful" (I didn't use that exact word), but receiving "the wages of sin".

What does it mean for Him Who knew no sin to become sin?

What does it mean for death to be the last enemy?

How is the last enemy defeated?

Are you saying that God wants for us to be seperated from Him, devoid of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and subject to death and dissolution? Are you saying that it is ok for a person to be in this situation as long as it's not their fault, and the lack of fault somehow changes the reality of their situation?

A person who commits a crime may be put into prison. But they are guilty because of their crime, not where they are. Being in prison doesn't make a person guilty. A baby may be born to such a criminal and live in a prison under the restrictions of prison life, but it doesn't make the baby guilty of anything at all. If the baby grows and commits crimes then we could imagine that it might be considered guilty and not leave the prison on account of its own crimes. But if it does no crime at all it could still not leave the prison. It is in a state that is not dependent on itself but on the will of those with authority over it. It would not be guilty of crime, but it would be stuck in a state of penality.

Exactly. To use your analogy, salvation is our release from the penalty (which would include acquitting us from any personal crimes we have for the purpose of accomplishing our release), and in order to do this, He had to, without committing a crime, endure the penalty and be released from it Himself. Baptism is where our name gets attached to His release papers (without any record of crimes that we may or may not have committed). (And this is why everyone hates analogies. I promise I'm not Protestant.)
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« Reply #41 on: November 22, 2011, 12:07:13 PM »

Adam was created mortal. All created beings are mortal. It is a widely used definition of the Fathers.

Adam was given a gift, the breath of life, the Holy Spirit.

But this did not mean that he was not naturally mortal.

I am not sure what you mean by some of the post. This human situation is not culpable, until we sin, but it is a separation from God, and the Fathers insist that this situation was granted to us out of God's love. It is not OK. Did I say it was? But it is part of God's will for the restoration of communion with him. The Fathers say that our human spirit was preserved in immortality so that seeing the heavens in the distance it might always seek after God. This is God's will, that being separated from Him we might seek Him.

If you think that we are born corrupted, well I can only say this is not what the Fathers teach. Being destined to die is the definition of mortality. Which is what the Fathers teach. We are born mortal not sinful, corruptible and not corrupted.
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« Reply #42 on: November 22, 2011, 12:25:31 PM »

Do the fathers really teach that Adam was destined to die regardless of whether or not he personally sinned and ate the forbidden fruit?
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« Reply #43 on: November 22, 2011, 12:29:20 PM »

Sorry for breaking this up into two posts, I hit the post button and then saw something else. I didn't want to modify my post in case anyone was looking at or responding to my first post.

This human situation is not culpable, until we sin, but it is a separation from God,

Is this how Adam was created?
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« Reply #44 on: November 22, 2011, 12:30:53 PM »


We were created mortal. It is no sin to be mortal. It is no sin to be corruptible. This is how we were created. This is how Adam was created.


Here's the problem I think.  I don't know enough about Oriental Orthodox teachings to know if this is part of it but it certainly is not part of Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic teaching as I have learned them.

This is not a personal criticism of you Father.  I am sorry to be in a position to counter your assertion.

M.
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