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Clement
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« on: August 30, 2004, 03:51:23 PM »

I have a couple of questions here for you. Please no smart alec "we don't believe in original sin" remarks.  Wink

Do you believe that man is born with will to do righteous works?
Can man do righteous works outside of faith?
Can man choose to accept grace before recieving grace?
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2004, 04:01:19 PM »

Dearest to Christ Clement,

Quote
Do you believe that man is born with will to do righteous works?

Yes.

Quote
Can man do righteous works outside of faith?

Yes.

Quote
Can man choose to accept grace before recieving grace?

Yes.

Just out of curiosity,.. what does this have to do with original sin? Cos I do believe original sin exists and it is only cured by Holy Baptism.

IC XC

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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2004, 04:30:47 PM »

Sorry, perhaps I should give a little background. I'm not used to conversing with those who do not have some knowledge of Augustinian theology.  Tongue

As I have been taught, and believe, one of the effects of original sin is the lack of the will to do spiritual things. So, without grace, one can do outwardly good works, but not works that are pleasing to God, ie, works of faith. Or as it has been said, a good work is that which is done in faith, and a sinfull work is that which is done without faith.

Now, reading what EO say, I get conflicting messages, often from the same person, and even at times, in the same work. I have read one who stated that one of the effects of original sin was the loss of the will to do spiritual things, and then later states that man's will is no different than it was before the fall.


So, in light of the answers you posted, what does the east think of the Council of Orange?
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2004, 04:44:22 PM »

Clement

Hey, anyone with Bruce Campbell as their avatar deserves smart alec responses! Smiley Wink

Quote
Do you believe that man is born with will to do righteous works?

Before I answer that, I must first affirm that I believe the following:

Quote
"...the initiative not only of our actions but also of good thoughts comes from God, who inspires us with a good will to begin with, and supplies us with the opportunity of carrying out what we rightly desire: for 'every good gift and every perfect gift cometh down from above, from the Father of lights,' who both begins what is good, and continues it and completes it in us, as the Apostle says: 'But He who giveth seed to the sower will both provide bread to eat and will multiply your seed and make the fruits of your righteousness to increase.'" - St. John Cassian, Conferences, 13, 3

With the above in mind, I would say that I believe that God wants us (and tries to get us) to want to do good things. I would also say that there is in us a certain longing for God (and for infinity, purpose, etc.), which can only be fulfilled in the long run by good and truth and love; and it is in this union with God that we become "fulfilled" "joyful" "productive" people. However, having entered into a sinful and fallen world, and being a part of that world by nature, we are short sighted and often choose to do and will that which seems to benefit us in the short term, but which is in actuality only a temporary suppression of our need for God, infinity, purpose, etc.; sinful pleasure, pride, disobedience, etc. are always dead-ends, but because of the human condition, they are the things we most often choose.

I have given a lot of thought to this question over the past several weeks, as I've thought about other issues such as grace, schism, etc. The conclusions that I've come to, right or wrong, go something like this. Most people are sincere. Certainly it is a rare thing to find someone who knowingly hates others, knowingly cheats others, etc. Such people are a very small percentage of people. That is because we human beings have an amazing capacity to fool ourselves and believe our own crazy justifications and rationalizations, even when it comes to the people around us. We tend to think better of those people we associate with (whether on a professional or personal level) than those who we have pre-determined to be adversaries; that's psychology 101. In that sense, most people are "sincere," meaning that they really believe that they are following a good course, and that they are trying to do good; and most people believe those they deal with in their day to day lives are sincere.

There is that saying, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions". I think the road to hell is paved with sincerity. That is to say, many people who think themselves sincere will end up in hell, and many people who we think are sincere will end up there as well. Is a person born able to want to do good, and does he want to do good? Yes, insofar as his own pride, sinful tendencies, etc. will allow it. Some people are certainly more selfless than others, and therfore more legitimately sincere. The only people who are really able to intend to do good, and actually do good, are those who let God penetrate deep into their hearts, and such people are very rare. We often say "he's a good person," just as we might say of many people, "he is sincere". The truth is, judged according to God's standards, most of us are evil, insincere fools.

It is only when judged against our fellow man that we speak of people as "good" and "sincere". Most of the time, we're just crawling on the path to heaven or hell, sometimes allowing God to get through to us what we ought to do. I guess my answer to your question is that, yes, it is possible (the Theotokos is a good example), but it's extremely rare that someone is both able to want to do, and in reality do, truly righteous works on a consistent basis. And, again, even then all glory goes to God.
 
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Can man do righteous works outside of faith?

No, all that is done outside of faith is sin, as the Scripture says. However, sometimes men can do things not knowing the extent of their faith, or even that they have faith. After all, how does one become Orthodoxy? They must do a righteous work (converting), and so even though they are not in the true faith yet, they still have faith in some form. The same might be said of grace and truth.

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Can man choose to accept grace before recieving grace?

I'm not sure I can attempt an answer at that question. It is only be God's grace that we breathe a second, or move a muscle, or that our brain begins to formulate a thought. I think there are different ways of receiving grace, though. Sacramental grace is much different than the grace that lets us live our lives without falling into a pile of skin and bones on the ground. Apart from God's grace, we as organic creatures worth less than $5 (literally); but through God's grace, created in his image and sustained by Him every second, we are infinitely precious.

So, if you are asking whether we can choose grace before we have experienced it at all, then I would say no. On the other hand, if you mean to ask whether we can choose to accept some types of grace (e.g., the sacraments) before we actually have experienced them, then I would say yes. God tries to lead us on to better and better things.
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« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2004, 04:39:28 AM »

Here an excerpt from Bp. Kallistos Ware's "The Orthodox Church"

Man: his creation, his vocation, his failure

‘Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.’ (Augustine, Confessions, 1, 1)

Man was made for fellowship with God: this is the first and primary affirmation in the Christian doctrine of man. But man, made for fellowship with God, everywhere repudiates that fellowship: this is the second fact which all Christian anthropology takes into account. Man was made for fellowship with God: in the language of the Church, God created Adam according to His image and likeness, and set him in Paradise (The opening chapters of Genesis are of course concerned with certain religious truths, and are not to be taken as literal history. Fifteen centuries before modern Biblical criticism, Greek Fathers were already interpreting the Creation and Paradise stories symbolically rather than literally). Man everywhere repudiates that fellowship: in the language of the Church, Adam fell, and his fall — his ‘original sin’ — has affected all mankind.

The Creation of Man - "And God said, let us make man according to our image and likeness" (Genesis 1:26). God speaks in the plural: "Let us make man." The creation of man, so the Greek Fathers continually emphasized, was an act of all three persons in the Trinity, and therefore the image and likeness of God must always be thought of as a Trinitarian image and likeness. We shall find that this is a point of vital importance.


Image and Likeness - According to most of the Greek Fathers, the terms image and likeness do not mean exactly the same thing. ‘The expression according to the image,’ wrote John of Damascus, ‘indicates rationality and freedom, while the expression according to the likeness indicates assimilation to God through virtue (On the Orthodox Faith, 2, 12 (P.G. 94, 920B)). The image, or to use the Greek term the icon, of God signifies man’s free will, his reason, his sense of moral responsibility — everything, in short, which marks man out from the animal creation and makes him a person.

But the image means more than that. It means that we are God’s ‘offspring’ (Acts 27:28), His kin; it means that between us and Him there is a point of contact, an essential similarity. The gulf between creature and Creator is not impassable, for because we are in God’s image we can know God and have communion with Him. And if a man makes proper use of this faculty for communion with God, then he will become ‘like’ God, he will acquire the divine likeness; in the words of John Damascene, he will be ‘assimilated to God through virtue.’ To acquire the likeness is to be deified, it is to become a ‘second god,’ a ‘god by grace.’ "I said, you are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High" (Psalm 81:6). (In quotations from the Psalms, the numbering of the Septuagint is followed. Some versions of the Bible reckon this Psalm as 82.).

The image denotes the powers with which every man is endowed by God from the first moment of his existence; the likeness is not an endowment which man possesses from the start, but a goal at which he must aim, something which he can only acquire by degrees. However sinful a man may be, he never loses the image; but the likeness depends upon our moral choice, upon our ‘virtue,’ and so it is destroyed by sin.

Man at his first creation was therefore perfect, not so much in an actual as in a potential sense. Endowed with the image from the start, he was called to acquire the likeness by his own efforts (assisted of course by the grace of God). Adam began in a state of innocence and simplicity. ‘He was a child, not yet having his understanding perfected,’ wrote Irenaeus. ‘It was necessary that he should grow and so come to his perfection (Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, 12). God set Adam on the right path, but Adam had in front of him a long road to traverse in order to reach his final goal.

This picture of Adam before the fall is somewhat different from that presented by Saint Augustine and generally accepted in the west since his time. According to Augustine, man in Paradise was endowed from the start with all possible wisdom and knowledge: his was a realized, and in no sense potential, perfection. The dynamic conception of Irenaeus clearly fits more easily with modern theories of evolution than does the static conception of Augustine; but both were speaking as theologians, not as scientists, so that in neither case do their views stand or fall with any particular scientific hypothesis.

The west has often associated the image of God with man’s intellect. While many Orthodox have done the same, others would say that since man is a single unified whole, the image of God embraces his entire person, body as well as soul. ‘When God is said to have made man according to His image,’ wrote Gregory Palamas, ‘the word man means neither the soul by itself nor the body by itself, but the two together (P.G. 150, 1361C). The fact that man has a body, so Gregory argued, makes him not lower but higher than the angels. True, the angels are ‘pure’ spirit, whereas man’s nature is ‘mixed’ — material as well as intellectual; but this means that his nature is more complete than the angelic and endowed with richer potentialities. Man is a microcosm, a bridge and point of meeting for the whole of God’s creation.

Orthodox religious thought lays the utmost emphasis on the image of God in man. Man is a ‘living theology,’ and because he is God’s icon, he can find God by looking within his own heart, by ‘returning within himself:’ "The Kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21). ‘Know yourselves,’ said Saint Antony of Egypt. ‘GǪHe who knows himself, knows God (Letter 3 (in the Greek and Latin collections, 6)) ‘If you are pure,’ wrote Saint Isaac the Syrian (late seventh century), ‘heaven is within you; within yourself you will see the angels and the Lord of the angels’ (Quoted in P. Evdokimov, L’Orthodoxie, p. 88). And of Saint Pachomius it is recorded: ‘In the purity of his heart he saw the invisible God as in a mirror (First Greek Life, 22).

Because he is an icon of God, each member of the human race, even the most sinful, is infinitely precious in God’s sight. ‘When you see your brother,’ said Clement of Alexandria (died 215), ‘you see God’ (Stromateis, 1, 19 (94, 5)). And Evagrius taught: ‘After God, we must count all men as God Himself (On Prayer, 123 (P.G. 79, 1193C)). This respect for every human being is visibly expressed in Orthodox worship, when the priest censes not only the icons but the members of the congregation, saluting the image of God in each person. ‘The best icon of God is man (P. Evdokimov, L’Orthodoxie, p. 218).


Grace and Free Will - As we have seen, the fact that man is in God’s image means among other things that he possesses free will. God wanted a son, not a slave. The Orthodox Church rejects any doctrine of grace which might seem to infringe upon man’s freedom. To describe the relation between the grace of God and free will of man, Orthodoxy uses the term cooperation or synergy (synergeia); in Paul’s words: "We are fellow-workers (synergoi) with God" (1 Cor. 3:9). If man is to achieve full fellowship with God, he cannot do so without God’s help, yet he must also play his own part: man as well as God must make his contribution to the common work, although what God does is of immeasurably greater importance than what man does. ‘The incorporation of man into Christ and his union with God require the cooperation of two unequal, but equally necessary forces: divine grace and human will (A Monk of the Eastern Church, Orthodox Spirituality, p. 23). The supreme example of synergy is the Mother of God (See p. 263).

The west, since the time of Augustine and the Pelagian controversy, has discussed this question of grace and free will in somewhat different terms; and many brought up in the Augustinian tradition — particularly Calvinists — have viewed the Orthodox idea of ‘synergy’ with some suspicion. Does it not ascribe too much to man’s free will, and too little to God? Yet in reality the Orthodox teaching is very straightforward. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in" (Revelation 3:20). God knocks, but waits for man to open the door — He does not break it down. The grace of God invites all but compels none. In the words of John Chrysostom: ‘God never draws anyone to Himself by force and violence. He wishes all men to be saved, but forces no one’ (Sermon on the words ‘Saul, SaulGǪ’ 6 (P.G. 51, 144)). ‘It is for God to grant His grace,’ said Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (died 386); ‘your task is to accept that grace and to guard it (Catehetical Orations, 1, 4). But it must not be imagined that because a man accepts and guards God’s grace, he thereby earns ‘merit.’ God’s gifts are always free gifts, and man can never have any claims upon his Maker. But man, while he cannot ‘merit’ salvation, must certainly work for it, since "faith without works is dead" (James 2:17).


The Fall: Original Sin - God gave Adam free will — the power to choose between good and evil — and it therefore rested With Adam either to accept the vocation set before him or to refuse it. He refused it. Instead of continuing along the path marked out for him by God, he turned aside and disobeyed God. Adam’s fall consisted essentially in his disobedience of the will of God; he set up his own will against the divine will, and so by his own act he separated himself from God. As a result, a new form of existence appeared on earth — that of disease and death. By turning away from God, who is immortality and life, man put himself in a state that was contrary to nature, and this unnatural condition led to an inevitable disintegration of his being and eventually to physical death. The consequences of Adam’s disobedience extended to all his descendants. We are members one of another, as Saint Paul never ceased to insist, and if one member suffers the whole body suffers. In virtue of this mysterious unity of the human race, not only Adam but all mankind became subject to mortality. Nor was the disintegration which followed from the fall merely physical. Cut off from God, Adam and his descendants passed under the domination of sin and of the devil. Each new human being is born into a world where sin prevails everywhere, a world in which it is easy to do evil and hard to do good. Man’s will is weakened and enfeebled by what the Greeks call ‘desire’ and the Latins ‘concupiscence.’ We are all subject to these, the spiritual effects of original sin.

Thus far there is fairly close agreement between Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and classic Protestantism; but beyond this point east and west do not entirely concur.

Orthodoxy, holding as it does a less exalted idea of man’s state before he fell, is also less severe than the west in its view of the consequences of the fall. Adam fell, not from a great height of knowledge and perfection, but from a state of undeveloped simplicity; hence he is not to be judged too harshly for his error. Certainly, as a result of the fall man’s mind became so darkened, and his will-power was so impaired, that he could no longer hope to attain to the likeness of God.

Orthodox, however, do not hold that the fall deprived man entirely of God’s grace, though they would say that after the fall grace acts on man from the outside, not from within. Orthodox do not say, as Calvin said, that man after the fall was utterly depraved and incapable of good desires. They cannot agree with Augustine, when he writes that man is under ‘a harsh necessity’ of committing sin, and that ‘man’s nature was overcome by the fault into which it fell, and so came to lack freedom’ (On the perfection of man’s righteousness, 4 (9)).

The image of God is distorted by sin, but never destroyed; in the words of s hymn sung by Orthodox at the Funeral Service for the laity: ‘I am the image of Thine inexpressible glory, even though I bear the wounds of sin.’ And because he still retains the image of God, man still retains free will, although sin restricts its scope. Even after the fall, God ‘takes not away from man the power to will — to will to obey or not to obey Him’ (Dositheus, Confession, Decree 3. Compare Decree 14). Faithful to the idea of synergy, Orthodoxy repudiates any interpretation of the fall which allows no room for human freedom.

Most orthodox theologians reject the idea of ‘original guilt,’ put forward by Augustine and still accepted (albeit in a mitigated form) by the Roman Catholic Church. Men (Orthodox usually teach) automatically inherit Adam’s corruption and mortality, but not his guilt: they are only guilty in so far as by their own free choice they imitate Adam.

Many western Christians believe that whatever a man does in his fallen and unredeemed state, since it is tainted by original guilt, cannot possibly be pleasing to God: ‘Works before Justification,’ says the thirteenth of the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, ‘...are not pleasant to God ... but have the nature of sin.’ Orthodox would hesitate to say this. And Orthodox have never held (as Augustine and many others in the west have done) that unbaptized babies, because tainted with original guilt, are consigned by the just God to the everlasting games of Hell

(Thomas Aquinas, in his discussion of the fall, on the whole followed Augustine, and in particular retained the idea of original guilt; but as regards unbaptized babies, he maintained that they go not to Hell but to Limbo — a view now generally accepted by Roman theologians. So far as I can discover, Orthodox writers do not make use of the idea of Limbo. It should be noted that an Augustinian view of the fall is found from time to time in Orthodox theological literature; but this is usually the result of western influence. The Orthodox Confession by Peter of Moghila is, as one might expect, strongly Augustinian; on the other hand the Confession of Dositheus is free from Augustinianism).

The Orthodox picture of fallen humanity is far less sombre than the Augustinian or Calvinist view.

But although Orthodox maintain that man after the fall still possessed free will and was still capable of good actions, yet they certainly agree with the west in believing that man’s sin had set up between him and God a barrier, which man by his own efforts could never break down. Sin blocked the path to union with God. Since man could not come to God, God came to man.

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« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2004, 08:27:49 AM »

Quote
The opening chapters of Genesis are of course concerned with certain religious truths, and are not to be taken as literal history. Fifteen centuries before modern Biblical criticism, Greek Fathers were already interpreting the Creation and Paradise stories symbolically rather than literally.

Not to go off on a tangent (and not to beat a dead horse), but who are these Greek Fathers that spoke of Creation and the Fall as symbolically as opposed to literally?  The only two I recall is Origen and (I think) Clement of Alexandria.  Most quotes I've read from the Fathers regarding Genesis treat the events (while acknowledging the typological significance of these events) as basically historical--they actually took place in time and space.  Just as there was a historical "Second Adam", there was an historical "first Adam" who committed the ancestral transgression.   Which Fathers taught that the events of Creation, the Garden of Eden, and the Fall were not to be interpreted literally, but only symbolically?
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« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2004, 11:15:56 PM »

Orthodoxy, holding as it does a less exalted idea of man’s state before he fell, is also less severe than the west in its view of the consequences of the fall. Adam fell, not from a great height of knowledge and perfection, but from a state of undeveloped simplicity; hence he is not to be judged too harshly for his error. Certainly, as a result of the fall man’s mind became so darkened, and his will-power was so impaired, that he could no longer hope to attain to the likeness of God.


Do you teach that orginal sin's effect on the will is a punishment from God?
It has always been my understanding that it is a result of the fall and man's sin, not a punishment. So it seems to me that Adam's state of knowledge/wisdom/perfection before the fall is rather inconsequential.


Quote
Orthodox, however, do not hold that the fall deprived man entirely of God’s grace, though they would say that after the fall grace acts on man from the outside, not from within. Orthodox do not say, as Calvin said, that man after the fall was utterly depraved and incapable of good desires. They cannot agree with Augustine, when he writes that man is under ‘a harsh necessity’ of committing sin, and that ‘man’s nature was overcome by the fault into which it fell, and so came to lack freedom’ (On the perfection of man’s righteousness, 4 (9)).

The image of God is distorted by sin, but never destroyed; in the words of s hymn sung by Orthodox at the Funeral Service for the laity: ‘I am the image of Thine inexpressible glory, even though I bear the wounds of sin.’ And because he still retains the image of God, man still retains free will, although sin restricts its scope. Even after the fall, God ‘takes not away from man the power to will — to will to obey or not to obey Him’ (Dositheus, Confession, Decree 3. Compare Decree 14). Faithful to the idea of synergy, Orthodoxy repudiates any interpretation of the fall which allows no room for human freedom.
 


If that which is done outside of faith is sin, and man requires at least some help from God in order to come to faith, how then can it be concluded that man has the natural will to do good works?

After all, Augustine did not claim that man could not desire to do good things, as in outwardly good things, but that before he has faith it is all sin. Sure, man can do a selfless act, love his brother as himself, etc., but if this is done because he loves his brother more than God, is it not still a sin?


Quote
Most orthodox theologians reject the idea of ‘original guilt,’ put forward by Augustine and still accepted (albeit in a mitigated form) by the Roman Catholic Church. Men (Orthodox usually teach) automatically inherit Adam’s corruption and mortality, but not his guilt: they are only guilty in so far as by their own free choice they imitate Adam.


1.) Does Bp Ware use unfortunate language here, or is he truly implying that some Orthodox theologians believe in original guilt?

2.) Is man born with or without faith? If without, then does man not sin immediately by failing to love God with all of his heart soul and mind, and moreso for loving himself more than God?


Quote
Many western Christians believe that whatever a man does in his fallen and unredeemed state, since it is tainted by original guilt, cannot possibly be pleasing to God: ‘Works before Justification,’ says the thirteenth of the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, ‘...are not pleasant to God ... but have the nature of sin.’ Orthodox would hesitate to say this. And Orthodox have never held (as Augustine and many others in the west have done) that unbaptized babies, because tainted with original guilt, are consigned by the just God to the everlasting games of Hell


Here is what perplexes me. So far I have two saying that man can do pleasing works before God before he is redeemed, and one saying than works outside of faith are sinfull.


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« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2004, 11:44:22 PM »

Clement,

Quote
Do you teach that orginal sin's effect on the will is a punishment from God? It has always been my understanding that it is a result of the fall and man's sin, not a punishment. So it seems to me that Adam's state of knowledge/wisdom/perfection before the fall is rather inconsequential.

Not a punishment, more like a result. Some would say there is no difference, though I would disagree. I would not call Adam's state before the fall inconsequential, as it is a mark for us to shoot for today; however, today we can go far beyond where Adam was, because of the work of Christ.

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If that which is done outside of faith is sin, and man requires at least some help from God in order to come to faith, how then can it be concluded that man has the natural will to do good works?

If you want to get nit-picky, man doesn't have the "natural" ability to do anything by himself, since everything is allowed through grace. However, this is a predestination-type chasm that obviously the Orthodox avoid. The point is that God gives grace and then allows man to choose on his own what he will, which is his "natural" ability in day to day life. Some say that's a contradiction, I rather think it's a paradox.

Quote
1.) Does Bp Ware use unfortunate language here, or is he truly implying that some Orthodox theologians believe in original guilt?

I'm not sure what you are asking about? What did he say to imply that the Orthodoxy believe in inheriting original guilt? Corruption, yes. Guilt, no.

Quote
2.) Is man born with or without faith? If without, then does man not sin immediately by failing to love God with all of his heart soul and mind, and moreso for loving himself more than God?

It's possible that a man is born without faith. However, God is a righteous judge, and judges us according to our knowledge, station in life, etc. Not everyone is judged according to the same inflexible criteria.

Quote
Here is what perplexes me. So far I have two saying that man can do pleasing works before God before he is redeemed, and one saying than works outside of faith are sinfull.

As I'm sure you know, when I said that works done outside of faith is sinful, I was only referencing the Bible. You would probably see more consistency if you were asking saints, not sinners Wink
« Last Edit: August 31, 2004, 11:45:43 PM by Paradosis » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2004, 01:35:14 AM »

Just a quick note before I go off to bed, my question about Orthodox and original guilt has to do with him saying that "most" Othodoxy theologains reject it. Which seems to imply that some do not.


BTW, I guess my choice of avatar does merit a smart aleck response. Tongue
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« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2004, 05:27:11 AM »

Dearest to Christ Clement,

Quote
Just a quick note before I go off to bed, my question about Orthodox and original guilt has to do with him saying that "most" Othodoxy theologains reject it. Which seems to imply that some do not.

Yes, a few Orthodox theologians have used "original guilt" in their concept of original sin. By far the most of them, however, vehemently reject it. Fr. John Romanides has written a well-argumented biblical treatise on  Original Sin (click) and argues trongly against an "Agustinian" idea of it. I think he summerizes his point here:

" Since death is a consequence of the discontinuation of communion with the life and love of God, and thereby a captivity of man and creation by the devil, then only a real resurrection can destroy the power of the devil. It is inaccurate and shallow thinking to try to pass off as Biblical the idea that the question of a real bodily resurrection is of secondary importance. At the center of Biblical and patristic thought there is clearly a Christology of real union, which is conditioned by the Biblical doctrine of Satan, death and corruption, and human destiny. Satan is governing through death, materially and physically. His defeat must be also material and physical. Restoration of communion must be not only in the realm of mental attitude, but, more important, through creation, of which man is an inseparable part. Without a clear understanding of the Biblical doctrine of Satan and his power, it is impossible to understand the sacramental life of the body of Christ, and, by consequence, the doctrine of the Fathers concerning Christology and Trinity becomes a meaningless diversion of scholastic specialists. Both Roman scholastics and Protestants are undeniably heretical in their doctrines of grace and ecclesiology simply because they do not see any longer that salvation is only  the union of man with the life of God in the body of Christ, where the devil is being ontologically and really destroyed in the life of love. Outside of the life of unity with each other and Christ in the sacramental life of corporate love there is no salvation, because the devil is still ruling the world through the consequences of death and corruption."

Tho to me his pov seems somehwat too limited, even if quite Orthodox.  I am much more comfortable with the formulation of His Grace Hilarion Alfeyev Bishop of Vienna and Austria:

"The consequences of the Fall for the first humans were catastrophic. They were not only deprived of the bliss and sweetness of Paradise, but their whole nature was changed and disfigured. In sinning they fell away from their natural condition and entered an unnatural state of being. All elements of their spiritual and corporeal make-up were damaged: their spirit, instead of striving for God, became engrossed in the passions; their soul entered the sphere of bodily instincts; while their body lost its original lightness and was transformed into heavy sinful flesh. After the Fall the human person ‘became deaf, blind, naked, insensitive to the good things from which he had fallen away, and above all became mortal, corruptible and without sense of purpose’ (St Symeon the New Theologian). Disease, suffering and pain entered human life. Humans became mortal for they had lost the opportunity of tasting from the tree of life."

"The consequences of the Fall spread to the whole of the human race. This is elucidated by St Paul: ‘Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned’ (Rom.5:12). This text, which formed the Church’s basis of her teaching on ‘original sin’, may be understood in a number of ways: the Greek words ef’ ho pantes hemarton may be translated not only as ‘because all men sinned’ but also ‘in whom [that is, in Adam] all men sinned’. Different readings of the text may produce different understandings of what ‘original sin’ means.

If we accept the first translation, this means that each person is responsible for his own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. Here, Adam is merely the prototype of all future sinners, each of whom, in repeating Adam’s sin, bears responsibility only for his own sins. Adam’s sin is not the cause of our sinfulness; we do not participate in his sin and his guilt cannot be passed onto us.

However, if we read the text to mean ‘in whom all have sinned’, this can be understood as the passing on of Adam’s sin to all future generations of people, since human nature has been infected by sin in general. The disposition toward sin became hereditary and responsibility for turning away from God sin universal. As St Cyril of Alexandria states, human nature itself has ‘fallen ill with sin’; thus we all share Adam’s sin as we all share his nature. St Macarius of Egypt speaks of ‘a leaven of evil passions’ and of ‘secret impurity and the abiding darkness of passions’, which have entered into our nature in spite of our original purity. Sin has become so deeply rooted in human nature that not a single descendant of Adam has been spared from a hereditary predisposition toward sin."

"From a rational point of view, to punish the entire human race for Adam’s sin is an injustice. But not a single Christian dogma has ever been fully comprehended by reason. Religion within the bounds of reason is not religion but naked rationalism, for religion is supra-rational, supra-logical. The doctrine of original sin is disclosed in the light of divine revelation and acquires meaning with reference to the dogma of the atonement of humanity through the New Adam, Christ: ‘...As one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous... so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Rom.5:18-21)."


So,.. There is NO Orthodox who can deny the reality of Original Sin, that would be a soul-destroying heresy indeed.

When I answered "yes" to your initial questions, I did so in a conscious opposition to the Calvinist pov.

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Do you believe that man is born with will to do righteous works?

I believe that it is "natural" for man to desire the good, to desire God simply because the Imago De+» that characterizes human existence is indestructable. Sin cannot undo man's creation, it is incapable of eracing humanity from existence, for to be human is precisely to be after the Image of God. Original sin, and sin in general, damage, corrupt, the Imago De+» but do not destroy it all-together. Man is now in a state unnatural to him, to be sick with sin.

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Can man do righteous works outside of faith?

Yes, because even non-believers and athe+»sts are capable of treating each other correctly and courteously, it is possible to perform good deeds or righteous deeds outside of faith. However, if your question means to ask can we perform acts if faith outside of faith,.. than, obviously, "no".  

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Can man choose to accept grace before recieving grace?

Yes, cos grace cannot be forced on us, it must freely accepted and integrated into our  personal lives.

IC XC

Grigorii
« Last Edit: September 01, 2004, 05:29:59 AM by Grigorii » Logged

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