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Author Topic: Degrees Of Materiality As It Relates To The Immaterial  (Read 4056 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: December 31, 2011, 08:57:10 PM »

I'd like to continue some of the conversation that began on this thread, but go in some different directions. Specifically, I'd like to get your thoughts on where these lines of thinking could go that would be helpful, where they could go that would be dubious/faulty, and what problems there are with my underlying assumptions/ideas/approach.

The main idea that I am starting from can be summed up in this passage from St. John of Damascus:

Quote
"all that is compared with God Who alone is incomparable, we find to be dense and material. For in reality only the Deity is immaterial and incorporeal." - Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 2, 3

This seems to indicate to me that there are degrees of materiality--that the materiality of angels is not the same as, say, that of the human body. Moving forward with this idea, other texts seem to corroborate the idea, such as some mentioned by Panayiotis Nellas in his book Deification in Christ:

Quote
Before he dressed himself in the garments of skin man wore a "divinely woven" [99] attire, his psychosomatic dress which had been woven with grace, with the light and glory of God. Our first parents "were clothed in glory from above... the heavenly glory covered them better than any garment could do." [100] This refers to the attire of the "in the image," the prelapsarian human nature formed by the breath of God and endowed with a deiform structure. This attire shone with "the likeness to the divine" which was constituted, not by a "shape" or a "color," but by "dispassion," "blessedness" and "incorruption," the characteristics by which "the divine is contemplated as beauty." [101]

The first man, according to the succinct expression of St Gregory the Theologian, was "naked by virtue of his simplicity." [102] This means, as St Maximos explains, that his body did not contain within it the mutually contradictory "qualities" which now pull it in different directions, scourge it with corruption and make it decay, but it possessed "another temperament which befitted it, a temperament maintained by simple qualities compatible with each other." It was "without flux or wastage," free from "constant change depending  on which quality was predominant," and for this reason was not bereft "of immortality by grace." [103] If we understand the "nakedness" as transparency, we can say that the body of Adam was so simple that it was in reality transparent, open to the material creation without resisting it in any way, and without the world offering any resistance to the body--the world had been surrendered to it. The human body, while maintaining its own peculiar constitution and separate identity with regard to the world, was nevertheless not divided from it at all.

__________________
[99] This is the usual characteristic which hymnology attributes to the prelapsarian human attire: "Thou hast dressed me in a divinely woven attire, O Savior" (canticle 6, troparian 1, Canon of the Sunday of Cheesefare). Cf. Romanos Melodos, Kontakion on Epiphany, Oikos 2. See also the study of the Great Canon below, pp. 173-4. For the general condition of the first human beings before the fall according to St Gregory of Nyssa, see J. Gaith, La conception de liberte chez Gregoire de Nysse, 52 ff.

[100] St John Chrysostom, On Genesis 15,4, PG 53, 123 and 16, 5, PG 53, 131. Cf E. Peterson, Pour une theologie du vetement, 5-9, who also gives references to Sts Irenaeus, Ambrose, and Augustine

[101] St Gregory of Nyssa, On Those Who Have Fallen Asleep, PG 46, 521D

[102] St Gregory of Nazianzus, Oration 45, 8, PG 36, 632C

[103] St Maximos the Confessor, Ambigua, PG 91, 1353AB


--Panayiotis Nellas, Deification in Christ: Orthodox Perspectives on the Nature of the Human Person, pp. 52-53

And then there are Scriptural evidences, such as what St. Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:

Quote
All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?


--1 Cor. 15:39-56

With this in mind, a couple ideas come to mind:

1) There are degrees of materiality, and what we were like in our pre-lapsarian state is not how we are now, nor is how we are now necessary like we will be after we die, nor is how we are after we die necessarily how we will be after the last judgment

2) This seems to go some way in helping understand why things like traumatic brain injuries can so profoundly change us, so that even who we are seems to change almost instantly. That is, there is not such a huge gulf between our souls and bodies, which are usually considered immaterial and material and connected yet totally different in constitution.

3) If our souls are immaterial, and yet compared to God they seem material in some sense, then this puts an explanation point on how completely other God is compared to us. Which leads to...

4) We are reminded of the purpose of the incarnation and it becomes filled out somewhat. Not that we understand it differently, but we are minded of the importance and depth of the idea that the uncreated God became a material man, body, soul and spirit.

5) This also seems to give some support to the idea, mentioned by some Fathers, that Jesus would have come even if humanity had not fallen. If the gaps that needed to be bridged was not just between sin and holiness, or death and life, but also between materiality and immateriality, then Jesus would have come regardless. Jesus came not just to save us from sin and death, but also to facilitate our being in communion with God.

6) This idea of materiality relates to death itself. Adam and Eve were to be immortal by grace, so long as they did not eat of the forbidden fruit. They ate, and God changed them, clothing them with "garments of skin," and thereafter allowing their bodies to deteriorate. Yet there will be a bodily resurrection--our bodies are not merely useless shells that we use until we get spiritualized bodies. This all fits in with the idea of degrees of materiality, by which we could have our bodies, by God's grace, transformed/transfigured without actually changing their base constitution, thus getting at how we can have the same resurrected body and yet it be spiritualized.

7) According to St. Gregory of Nyssa and others, theosis continues on for eternity. If this is so, perhaps part of the process is becoming eternally closer to immateriality, yet never getting there. As we grow infinitely more perfected we grow closer to God, yet we never reach the uncreated immateriality of God.

8) The idea of there not being such a sharp divide between material and immaterial might also impact our understanding of the sacraments. Though I am perhaps getting into more speculative (and risky) territory here.

Thoughts on any of this?
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2011, 09:39:30 PM »

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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2011, 11:03:29 PM »

I just wanted to make a personal comment on #5, just because It has always been my most favorite Orthodox understanding of God's Love for us, and it triggers a cherished memory.

 quite some time ago, sitting behind a church building few children met for bible study in a small group and there was a priest that was sitting with them and he asked them "Why did God became Man? " they thought it was the easiest question to be asked and they said because we sinned and became under the rule of death, so to save us he became one of us. the priest said yes, but that is not the only reason he came for. the children said "but father Jesus came to save us", sure he said he came to save us. the priest says "so is our dying from sin the only reason that God became Man? what does John say ?" one of the children answered ....that God so loved the World ..the priest stops the child and asks so what do you think is the main reason for the Inncarnation? what is the hymn we have learnt about the incarnation last week? one very exited child answers' oh Fiqr sehabo le Wold Hayal emenberu , weAbtseho eske LeMott!/ Love summoned the Mighty Son from His throne and rendered him unto death/ the priest smiles and says yes! even had we not sinned He would have became one of us because he loves us that much and wants an intimate relationship with us, so he empties himself and becomes Man in his act of selfgiving to us. he went on to explain in great depth, but the gist of the matter was the same, His Love is the reason everything came into being, the joyful purpose of our existence, and the reason why he became one of us, entering time and matter, his condensation being our elevation. He that will always love us as we are, and gives us  the freedom to love him back as He is, even allowing us to reject him...

It still remains one of the most profound, and deeply moving thing I have ever heard,( that he would have come even if we had not sinned, and that he came in spite of our sin, all because of his unshakable love for us!) and one of the core reasons of why I remain captivated by the beauty of the Christian Faith! Grin

Peace. Smiley
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Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.
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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2011, 11:08:03 PM »

I just wanted to make a personal comment on #5, just because It has always been my most favorite Orthodox understanding of God's Love for us, and it triggers a cherished memory.

 quite some time ago, sitting behind a church building few children met for bible study in a small group and there was a priest that was sitting with them and he asked them "Why did God became Man? " they thought it was the easiest question to be asked and they said because we sinned and became under the rule of death, so to save us he became one of us. the priest said yes, but that is not the only reason he came for. the children said "but father Jesus came to save us", sure he said he came to save us. the priest says "so is our dying from sin the only reason that God became Man? what does John say ?" one of the children answered ....that God so loved the World ..the priest stops the child and asks so what do you think is the main reason for the Inncarnation? what is the hymn we have learnt about the incarnation last week? one very exited child answers' oh Fiqr sehabo le Wold Hayal emenberu , weAbtseho eske LeMott!/ Love summoned the Mighty Son from His throne and rendered him unto death/ the priest smiles and says yes! even had we not sinned He would have became one of us because he loves us that much and wants an intimate relationship with us, so he empties himself and becomes Man in his act of selfgiving to us. he went on to explain in great depth, but the gist of the matter was the same, His Love is the reason everything came into being, the joyful purpose of our existence, and the reason why he became one of us, entering time and matter, his condensation being our elevation. He that will always love us as we are, and gives us  the freedom to love him back as He is, even allowing us to reject him...

It still remains one of the most profound, and deeply moving thing I have ever heard,( that he would have come even if we had not sinned, and that he came in spite of our sin, all because of his unshakable love for us!) and one of the core reasons of why I remain captivated by the beauty of the Christian Faith! Grin

Peace. Smiley

Awesome! And thank you for putting it much more eloquently than my talk about "facilitating" and such  Cheesy  Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2011, 11:34:00 PM »

I posted this somewhere else, but thought it might have some relevance to this discussion:


Quote
...[W]hen [the creation] will be renewed, it will not again be the same as it was when it was created in the beginning. But it will be such as, according to the word of the divine Paul, our body will also be. Concerning our body the Apostle says: It is sown a natural body,but is raised not as the body of the first-created one was before the transgression of the commandment, that is, material, sensuous, changeable, having need of sensuous food, but it is raised a spiritual body (I Cor. 15:44) and unchanging, such as was the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, the second Adam, after the Resurrection, He being the first-born from among the dead, which body was incomparably superior to the body of first-created Adam. In the same way also the whole creation, according to the commandment of God, is to be, after the general resurrection, not such as it was created, material and sensuous, but it is to be re-created, and to become a certain immaterial and spiritual dwelling, surpassing every sense.
- from The First-Created Man by St. Symeon the New Theologian, Homily 45: "Adam and the First-Created World."

St. Symeon also says we will have "bodiless bodies" so I don't think the term "immaterial" should be taken too literally here.
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« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2011, 11:41:40 PM »

LOL Asteriktos thank you but your words are beautiful and clear. considering the complexity of the subject matter at least for me.  Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2012, 04:54:25 AM »

Iconodule, thank you for the quote. Do you know/remember if there is anything else similar to that in the book? That book's on my to-buy list but I haven't got to it yet.

Hiwot, well anyway, thank you for posting what you did, these kind of posts are definitely helpful/interesting, as opposed to us all getting into a debate about the same thing for the thousandth time  Cheesy Grin
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2012, 05:28:36 AM »

*subscribed and mind blown  Shocked*
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« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2012, 11:03:00 AM »

Did you read this yet?
http://www.fordham.edu/gsas/phil/klima/FILES/Aquinas-on-Soul-and-Intellect.pdf
 Wink

I think the words immaterial and material are devoid of meaning. Rather I say there is only existence. Perhaps we can view immaterial as something that is our inner experiences and materialism is out experiences on the outside. Maybe such a division is rather unneccessary and speculative.

I'm not going to talk about angels because they bother the hell out of me. If we consider angels immaterial from our perspective, but that contradicts with angelic encounters in the NT who seem to come and go from an immaterial state to a material one. I'm going to stop there because I would need someone like NicholasMyra to give me a much better way on how I should view angels.

Now before I get all neoplatonistic here, it just seems so contrary to Orthodox theology to seperate both the body and soul. I think alot of what St John of Damascus describes about God, or in his own words "the Deity", is something that we cannot grasp or comprehend. So he's going to throw out terms like immaterial to get his point across that God is beyond any conceivable materiailistic notion we can give Him or use any sort of language to harness God.

The whole bit about theosis and the Incarnation before the Fall makes plenty of sense. If God is infinite there would be no way we would even get to the most "immaterial" aspect of God. Again I have an issue with the terminology here it doesn't really accurately describe the "process" that goes on. And the Incarnation bit, we need a "material represenatation" of God but somehow I feel this contadicts something St. Paul said about how after the Final Judgment we will see God face to face, which I haven't a clue what he meant when he wrote that.

Anyway I know I contributed nothing here but I honestly have a hard time seeing different degrees of materiality. It either is or isn't IMO.
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« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2012, 12:19:55 PM »


Indeed I did...
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« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2012, 01:06:27 PM »

Thanks for bringing it up again though. I just reread through it... still not relevant to what I'm interested in, but I did jot down a half dozen times some notes about things that sprung to mind while reading it. Maybe some good lead will come of it Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2012, 11:18:21 PM »

Iconodule, thank you for the quote. Do you know/remember if there is anything else similar to that in the book?

Yes, if I remember right. All my books are in boxes at the moment so I can't confirm.
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« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2012, 05:05:19 PM »

Iconodule, thank you for the quote. Do you know/remember if there is anything else similar to that in the book?

Yes, if I remember right. All my books are in boxes at the moment so I can't confirm.

Ok, thanks Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2012, 05:08:12 PM »

I'd be particularly interested in hearing from people knowledgable about the sacraments as to how these ideas about materiality/immateriality would (or decidedly would not) relate to the sacraments? I am not suggesting some type of created/material grace, but only what change takes place in the material (water, bread, etc.) that is used by God.
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« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2012, 05:49:26 PM »

I'd be particularly interested in hearing from people knowledgable about the sacraments as to how these ideas about materiality/immateriality would (or decidedly would not) relate to the sacraments? I am not suggesting some type of created/material grace, but only what change takes place in the material (water, bread, etc.) that is used by God.
It wouldn't change:in the Incarnation Christ's humanity wasn't changed.
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« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2012, 06:00:26 PM »

I'd be particularly interested in hearing from people knowledgable about the sacraments as to how these ideas about materiality/immateriality would (or decidedly would not) relate to the sacraments? I am not suggesting some type of created/material grace, but only what change takes place in the material (water, bread, etc.) that is used by God.
It wouldn't change:in the Incarnation Christ's humanity wasn't changed.

Ok, so when there is something like, say, holy water, the actual water is not holy, it's just sort of ... grace stored in the water? Just trying to understand what happens, so far as we might be able to understand a mystery...
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« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2012, 06:07:37 PM »

I'd be particularly interested in hearing from people knowledgable about the sacraments as to how these ideas about materiality/immateriality would (or decidedly would not) relate to the sacraments? I am not suggesting some type of created/material grace, but only what change takes place in the material (water, bread, etc.) that is used by God.
It wouldn't change:in the Incarnation Christ's humanity wasn't changed.

Ok, so when there is something like, say, holy water, the actual water is not holy, it's just sort of ... grace stored in the water? Just trying to understand what happens, so far as we might be able to understand a mystery...
Electricity, in the end, is as material as anything else not God.  If I dropped the extension cord into the pull, I would take it that you would not go in it, and the charge is stored in the water, although you wouldn't know the water was any different from looking at it.  God, being immaterial, and grace, being God, can quite easily reside in and work through the water.

The Eucharist is something different, as here we are dealing with something material.  Hence why the material of the bread and wine do change.
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« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2012, 06:14:12 PM »

I'd be particularly interested in hearing from people knowledgable about the sacraments as to how these ideas about materiality/immateriality would (or decidedly would not) relate to the sacraments? I am not suggesting some type of created/material grace, but only what change takes place in the material (water, bread, etc.) that is used by God.
It wouldn't change:in the Incarnation Christ's humanity wasn't changed.

Ok, so when there is something like, say, holy water, the actual water is not holy, it's just sort of ... grace stored in the water? Just trying to understand what happens, so far as we might be able to understand a mystery...
Electricity, in the end, is as material as anything else not God.  If I dropped the extension cord into the pull, I would take it that you would not go in it, and the charge is stored in the water, although you wouldn't know the water was any different from looking at it.  God, being immaterial, and grace, being God, can quite easily reside in and work through the water.

The Eucharist is something different, as here we are dealing with something material.  Hence why the material of the bread and wine do change.

Thanks, I think I understand the first paragraph, but then I'd appreciate if you would you clarify the last two statements? Isn't water or oil also something material, and so why then are do they not change? Why are bread and wine particularly special? Just because God happened to choose those?
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« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2012, 06:55:13 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I like the idea of a degree of materiality, but we should keep it in its proper context.  We do not gradually become immaterial in the most literal of sense in that we become the Divine Essence.  However, clearly angels are immaterial in the same concrete sense that we are material in our bodies.  However, in the terms of a spiritual hypostases (which the Angels surely must posses to actually exist) I would say that they are to a degree "material" in the sense that they do actually exist in some inexplicable way by human terms.  Our soul perhaps is similar, in that it is not necessarily concrete like our bodies, but is is no way a "piece" of the Divine Essence similar to the Indian cosmology.  If we are not a piece of God who is the true definition of Immateriality, then we must in someway be completely material even in our souls.  I think is what Paul is referring to about a spiritual body and a physical body in 1 Corinthians 15.  Our spiritual bodies are not the equivalent of the Hypostasis of the Father or the Hol Spirit, and so we can from this in our mind's eye think of even our souls as being somewhat material in comparison to the Absolute Immateriality of the Divine Essence.

I'd be particularly interested in hearing from people knowledgable about the sacraments as to how these ideas about materiality/immateriality would (or decidedly would not) relate to the sacraments? I am not suggesting some type of created/material grace, but only what change takes place in the material (water, bread, etc.) that is used by God.
It wouldn't change:in the Incarnation Christ's humanity wasn't changed.

Ok, so when there is something like, say, holy water, the actual water is not holy, it's just sort of ... grace stored in the water? Just trying to understand what happens, so far as we might be able to understand a mystery...
Electricity, in the end, is as material as anything else not God.  If I dropped the extension cord into the pull, I would take it that you would not go in it, and the charge is stored in the water, although you wouldn't know the water was any different from looking at it.  God, being immaterial, and grace, being God, can quite easily reside in and work through the water.

The Eucharist is something different, as here we are dealing with something material.  Hence why the material of the bread and wine do change.

Thanks, I think I understand the first paragraph, but then I'd appreciate if you would you clarify the last two statements? Isn't water or oil also something material, and so why then are do they not change? Why are bread and wine particularly special? Just because God happened to choose those?

Because the water is ordinary water, and the Bread and Wine become the very Body and Blood of Christ. When discussing this Divine energizing by Grace (the actions of God in the verb sense) we are using the trusty Iron and Heat analogy of Saint Cyril and other fathers.  The water is the iron, the Grace of God is the heat which sanctifies and energizes the Iron or water in this instance.  The heat is separate and outside of the iron, and while the iron becomes hot, it does not remain heated by its own rather is heated by the outside heat source of the Fire, in this case, the Grace of God.  Where as in the Incarnation, while the Humanity of Christ is real and perfect and therefore like the Iron, the Word of God IS the heat source, and so through the Incarnation the Iron of His Humanity BECOMES self-heating by its Unity with the Divine.  So the water, to be Holy, needs to be continually blessed and sanctified by God's Grace, whereas the Humanity of Jesus Christ becomes perpetually sanctified by Itself because of the Union.

Of course, it has also been explained to me that Holy Water in the Ethiopian Tradition becomes the water which was poured out of Jesus' side which I would understand to be part of Him just as the water which is in our own blood is also a natural product of our bodies. so perhaps your line of reasoning is accurate

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2012, 07:00:16 PM »

I'd be particularly interested in hearing from people knowledgable about the sacraments as to how these ideas about materiality/immateriality would (or decidedly would not) relate to the sacraments? I am not suggesting some type of created/material grace, but only what change takes place in the material (water, bread, etc.) that is used by God.
It wouldn't change:in the Incarnation Christ's humanity wasn't changed.

Ok, so when there is something like, say, holy water, the actual water is not holy, it's just sort of ... grace stored in the water? Just trying to understand what happens, so far as we might be able to understand a mystery...
Electricity, in the end, is as material as anything else not God.  If I dropped the extension cord into the pull, I would take it that you would not go in it, and the charge is stored in the water, although you wouldn't know the water was any different from looking at it.  God, being immaterial, and grace, being God, can quite easily reside in and work through the water.

The Eucharist is something different, as here we are dealing with something material.  Hence why the material of the bread and wine do change.

Thanks, I think I understand the first paragraph, but then I'd appreciate if you would you clarify the last two statements? Isn't water or oil also something material, and so why then are do they not change? Why are bread and wine particularly special? Just because God happened to choose those?
It is not that the water or oil is special, but the Divine Presence.  The Spirit is immaterial, so He resides in the material of the Chrism without any problem.  The presence of Christ in the Eucharist is through His Body (in union with His soul and divinity), which is material.  If the bread and wine did not change, we would have two physical entities occupying the same space, which defies the physics of materiality.
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« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2012, 10:33:43 PM »

Ahh, thank you both, very helpful Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2012, 03:38:56 AM »

I'd be particularly interested in hearing from people knowledgable about the sacraments as to how these ideas about materiality/immateriality would (or decidedly would not) relate to the sacraments? I am not suggesting some type of created/material grace, but only what change takes place in the material (water, bread, etc.) that is used by God.
It wouldn't change:in the Incarnation Christ's humanity wasn't changed.

Ok, so when there is something like, say, holy water, the actual water is not holy, it's just sort of ... grace stored in the water? Just trying to understand what happens, so far as we might be able to understand a mystery...
Electricity, in the end, is as material as anything else not God.  If I dropped the extension cord into the pull, I would take it that you would not go in it, and the charge is stored in the water, although you wouldn't know the water was any different from looking at it.  God, being immaterial, and grace, being God, can quite easily reside in and work through the water.

The Eucharist is something different, as here we are dealing with something material.  Hence why the material of the bread and wine do change.

Thanks, I think I understand the first paragraph, but then I'd appreciate if you would you clarify the last two statements? Isn't water or oil also something material, and so why then are do they not change? Why are bread and wine particularly special? Just because God happened to choose those?
It is not that the water or oil is special, but the Divine Presence.  The Spirit is immaterial, so He resides in the material of the Chrism without any problem.  The presence of Christ in the Eucharist is through His Body (in union with His soul and divinity), which is material.  If the bread and wine did not change, we would have two physical entities occupying the same space, which defies the physics of materiality.
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« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2012, 02:06:40 PM »

"HEAVENLY IMMATERIALITY
“The emphasis is laid on immateriality as the characteristic of
the body become divine and restored to its natural splendor,
which does not exclude a certain vigor, both of them implying
lack of any alterance. Becoming heavenly, the body remains
earthly as well because it does not exclude substance, no matter
how transparent it may become by the presence of the
Holy Spirit. The body, transformed in this way, attains the
structure of God embodied after the Resurrection, and this is
the reason why He is named the Son of Man pre-eminently.”

From this article which has a lot of very interesting info:
http://www.koed.hu/mozaik9/cornel.pdf
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« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2012, 11:59:04 PM »

From this article which has a lot of very interesting info:
http://www.koed.hu/mozaik9/cornel.pdf

Thanks for the link! Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2012, 06:34:42 AM »

Quote
Thanks for the link! Smiley

You are welcome! I am always happy to share this link. Smiley
A lot of people try to find the info.  Fr. Dumitru Staniloae in general
wrote a lot on such theological subjects.
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« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2012, 02:15:35 AM »

Quote
Thanks for the link! Smiley

You are welcome! I am always happy to share this link. Smiley
A lot of people try to find the info.  Fr. Dumitru Staniloae in general
wrote a lot on such theological subjects.

Thank you for the recommendation, I do remember reading the first volume of his books on dogmatic theology, but I never got the rest of them... I'll have to add them to my to-buy list!
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« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2012, 02:14:27 AM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Quote
For the bread that is consecrated on the holy tables and mystically transmuted is itself truly the body, the body of him in whose name it was in  fact transmuted, that is of him who voluntarily died and rose for our sakes. But, if it is the body of him who rose, it is plain that it is impassible and immortal. If we do not look at the bread that is mystically transmuted, but at that which comes under the eyes of the senses, and, seeing it broken, do not confess it to be indeed immortal, it is time for us to say that neither is it God's body: for what is seen is indeed bread. By the faith therefore by which we understand and believe it to be the body of God who became incarnate without variation for our sakes, and voluntarily suffered and rose, by the same faith we understand and confess that it is also immortal and impassible, and bestows impassibility and immortality on us. For he who allowed it to be cut and divided, because indeed it was otherwise impossible for us to partake of it, in the same mercifulness also allows God's body which has been already transmuted to appear as bread. And for a confirmation of the transmutation that is accomplished this has been seen by many even with the eyes of their senses themselves, and they have seen bloodstained flesh being broken, not the bread that is laid upon the altar.|
Saint Severus Letter 30

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2012, 09:09:03 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Quote
For the bread that is consecrated on the holy tables and mystically transmuted is itself truly the body, the body of him in whose name it was in  fact transmuted, that is of him who voluntarily died and rose for our sakes. But, if it is the body of him who rose, it is plain that it is impassible and immortal. If we do not look at the bread that is mystically transmuted, but at that which comes under the eyes of the senses, and, seeing it broken, do not confess it to be indeed immortal, it is time for us to say that neither is it God's body: for what is seen is indeed bread. By the faith therefore by which we understand and believe it to be the body of God who became incarnate without variation for our sakes, and voluntarily suffered and rose, by the same faith we understand and confess that it is also immortal and impassible, and bestows impassibility and immortality on us. For he who allowed it to be cut and divided, because indeed it was otherwise impossible for us to partake of it, in the same mercifulness also allows God's body which has been already transmuted to appear as bread. And for a confirmation of the transmutation that is accomplished this has been seen by many even with the eyes of their senses themselves, and they have seen bloodstained flesh being broken, not the bread that is laid upon the altar.|
Saint Severus Letter 30

stay blessed,
habte selassie

If I may... are you posting this just as another quote that is relevant, or do you think this was a definitive statement and that he did not allow room for any materiality at all?
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« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2012, 11:53:02 PM »

greetings in that divine and most precious name of our lord and savior jesus christ
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Quote
For the bread that is consecrated on the holy tables and mystically transmuted is itself truly the body, the body of him in whose name it was in  fact transmuted, that is of him who voluntarily died and rose for our sakes. But, if it is the body of him who rose, it is plain that it is impassible and immortal. If we do not look at the bread that is mystically transmuted, but at that which comes under the eyes of the senses, and, seeing it broken, do not confess it to be indeed immortal, it is time for us to say that neither is it God's body: for what is seen is indeed bread. By the faith therefore by which we understand and believe it to be the body of God who became incarnate without variation for our sakes, and voluntarily suffered and rose, by the same faith we understand and confess that it is also immortal and impassible, and bestows impassibility and immortality on us. For he who allowed it to be cut and divided, because indeed it was otherwise impossible for us to partake of it, in the same mercifulness also allows God's body which has been already transmuted to appear as bread. And for a confirmation of the transmutation that is accomplished this has been seen by many even with the eyes of their senses themselves, and they have seen bloodstained flesh being broken, not the bread that is laid upon the altar.|
Saint Severus Letter 30

stay blessed,
habte selassie

If I may... are you posting this just as another quote that is relevant, or do you think this was a definitive statement and that he did not allow room for any materiality at all?
No no, quite the opposite, from the Oriental perspective which Saint Severus was coming from, the reality of the Miaphysis of Jesus Christ's Incarnation is that the impassible and immortal became tangible, physical, flesh by the hypostatic Union.  I put this quote to point out the through the Holy Communion That which is immaterial takes on temporal materiality.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2012, 12:08:00 AM »

Ahh, yes, thank you, I think I was paying a bit too much attention to what you bolded and underlined, rather than reading the entire passage as a whole. Smiley
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« Reply #30 on: January 19, 2012, 02:15:09 AM »

I've been digging around in the Church Fathers for some stuff, including some passages which match what was said by St. John of Damascus in the original post. Fwiw, here are some of the quotes...

"Wherefore if they pretend to foretell the future, let no one give heed, for often they announce beforehand that the brethren are coming days after. And they do come. The demons, however, do this not from any care for the hearers, but to gain their trust, and that then at length, having got them in their power, they may destroy them. Whence we must give no heed to them, but ought rather to confute them when speaking, since we do not need them. For what wonder is it, if with more subtle bodies than men have, when they have seen them start on their journey, they surpass them in speed, and announce their coming? Just as a horseman getting a start of a man on foot announces the arrival of the latter beforehand, so in this there is no need for us to wonder at them. For they know none of those things which are not yet in existence; but God only is He who knoweth all things before their birth (Sus. 42)" - St. Athanasius, Life of Anthony, 31

"But since this movement of self-contemplation alone could not satisfy Goodness, but Good must be poured out and go forth beyond Itself to multiply the objects of Its beneficence, for this was essential to the highest Goodness, He first conceived the Heavenly and Angelic Powers.  And this conception was a work fulfilled by His Word, and perfected by His Spirit.  And so the secondary Splendours came into being, as the Ministers of the Primary Splendour; whether we are to conceive of them as intelligent Spirits, or as Fire of an immaterial and incorruptible kind, or as some other nature approaching this as near as may be." - St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 38.9

"What say you?  Shall we pause here, after discussing nothing further than matter and visible things, or, since the Word knows the Tabernacle of Moses to be a figure of the whole creation--I mean the entire system of things visible and invisible--shall we pass the first veil, and stepping beyond the realm of sense, shall we look into the Holy Place, the Intellectual and Celestial creation?  But not even this can we see in an incorporeal way, though it is incorporeal, since it is called--or is--Fire and Spirit.  For He is said to make His Angels spirits, and His Ministers a flame of fire [3506] ...though perhaps this "making" means preserving by that Word by which they came into existence.  The Angel then is called spirit and fire; Spirit, as being a creature of the intellectual sphere; Fire, as being of a purifying nature; for I know that the same names belong to the First Nature. But, relatively to us at least, we must reckon the Angelic Nature incorporeal, or at any rate as nearly so as possible." - St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 28.31

"For who is there who has arrived at a comprehension of his own soul? Who is acquainted with its very essence, whether it is material or immaterial, whether it is purely incorporeal, or whether it exhibits anything of a corporeal character; how it comes into being, how it is composed, whence it enters into the body, how it departs from it, or what means it possesses to unite it to the nature of the body; how, being intangible and without form, it is kept within its own sphere, what difference exists among its powers, how one and the same soul, in its eager curiosity to know the things which are unseen, soars above the highest heavens, and again, dragged down by the weight of the body, falls back on material passions, anger and fear, pain and pleasure, pity and cruelty, hope and memory, cowardice and audacity, friendship and hatred, and all the contraries that are produced in the faculties of the soul?" - St. Gregory of Nyssa, Answer to Eunomius' Second Book

"The angel, although not contained in place with figured form as is body, yet is spoken of as being in place because he has a mental presence and energises in accordance with his nature, and is not elsewhere but has his mental limitations there where he energises. For it is impossible to energise at the same time in different places. For to God alone belongs the power of energising everywhere at the same time. The angel energises in different places by the quickness of his nature and the promptness and speed by which he can change his place: but the Deity, Who is everywhere and above all, energises at the same time in diverse ways with one simple energy. Further the soul is bound up with the body. whole with whole and not part with part: and it is not contained by the body but contains it as fire does iron, and being in it energises with its own proper energies. That which is comprehended in place or time or apprehension is circumscribed: while that which is contained by none of these is uncircumscribed. Wherefore the Deity alone is uncircumscribed, being without beginning and without end, and containing all things, and in no wise apprehended. For He alone is incomprehensible and unbounded, within no one's knowledge and contemplated by Himself alone. But the angel is circumscribed alike in time (for His being had commencement) and in place (but mental space, as we said above) and in apprehension. For they know somehow the nature of each other and have their bounds perfectly defined by the Creator. Bodies in short are circumscribed both in beginning and end, and bodily place and apprehension." - St. John of Damascus, Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 1.13

"In this way, then, God brought into existence mental essence, by which I mean, angels and all the heavenly orders. For these clearly have a mental and incorporeal nature: "incorporeal" I mean in comparison with the denseness of matter. For the Deity alone in reality is immaterial and incorporeal. But further He created in the same way sensible essence, that is heaven and earth and the intermediate region; and so He created both the kind of being that is of His own nature (for the nature that has to do with reason is related to God, and apprehensible by mind alone), and the kind which, inasmuch as it clearly falls under the province of the senses, is separated from Him by the greatest interval. And it was also fit that there should be a mixture of both kinds of being, as a token of still greater wisdom and of the opulence of the Divine expenditure as regards natures, as Gregorius, the expounder of God's being and ways, puts it, and to be a sort of connecting link between the visible and invisible natures." - St. John of Damascus, Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 2.12

"For even if spirit is mingled with this crass and solid matter; viz., flesh (as very easily happens), should we therefore believe that it can be united to the soul, which is in like manner spirit, in such a way as to make it also receptive in the same way of its own nature: a thing which is possible to the Trinity alone, which is so capable of pervading every intellectual nature, that it cannot only embrace and surround it but even insert itself into it and, incorporeal though it is, be infused into a body? For though we maintain that some spiritual natures exist, such as angels, archangels and the other powers, and indeed our own souls and the thin air, yet we ought certainly not to consider them incorporeal. For they have in their own fashion a body in which they exist, though it is much finer than our bodies are, in accordance with the Apostle's words when he says: 'And there are bodies celestial, and bodies terrestrial:' and again: 'It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body;' from which it is clearly gathered that there is nothing incorporeal but God alone, and therefore it is only by Him that all spiritual and intellectual substances can be pervaded, because He alone is whole and everywhere and in all things, in such a way as to behold and see the thoughts of men and their inner movements and all the recesses of the soul; since it was of Him alone that the blessed Apostle spoke when he said: "For the word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow; and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart; and there is no creature invisible in His sight, but all things are naked and open to His eyes.' And the blessed David says: "Who fashioneth their hearts one by one;" and again: 'For He knoweth the secrets of the heart;' and Job too: 'Thou who alone knowest the hearts of men.'" - St, John Cassian, Conferences 7.13

"For that which is “made in the image” of the Deity necessarily possesses a likeness to its prototype in every respect; it resembles it in being intellectual, immaterial, unconnected with any notion of weight , and in eluding any measurement of its dimensions ; yet as regards its own peculiar nature it is something different from that other. Indeed, it would be no longer an “image,” if it were altogether identical with that other; but where we have A in that uncreate prototype we have a in the image; just as in a minute particle of glass, when it happens to face the light, the complete disc of the sun is often to be seen, not represented thereon in proportion to its proper size, but so far as the minuteness of the particle admits of its being represented at all." - St. Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection

"Since then, every creature is confined within certain limits of its own nature, and inasmuch as those invisible operations, which cannot be circumscribed by place and bounds, yet are closed in by the property of their own substance; how can any one dare to call the Holy Spirit a creature, Who has not a limited and circumscribed power? because He is always in all things and everywhere, which assuredly is the property of Divinity and Lordship, for: 'The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof.' (Ps. 24:1)" - St. Ambrose of Milan, On the Holy Spirit, 1, 7
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« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2012, 12:07:43 AM »

I wonder how this idea of partial materiality meshes/works with the idea of punishment in the afterlife. Is the punishment in some sense material, as some say? Or is it immaterial in the same way that grace is? Or is grace the punishment, as some say? The only Father I've come across who discusses this is St. Augustine...

Quote
Here arises the question: If the fire is not to be immaterial, analogous to the pain of the soul, but material, burning by contact, so that bodies may be tormented in it, how can evil spirits be punished in it? For it is undoubtedly the same fire which is to serve for the punishment of men and of devils, according to the words of Christ: “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels;” (Matt. 25:41) unless, perhaps, as learned men have thought, the devils have a kind of body made of that dense and humid air which we feel strikes us when the wind is blowing. And if this kind of substance could not be affected by fire, it could not burn when heated in the baths. For in order to burn, it is first burned, and affects other things as itself is affected. But if any one maintains that the devils have no bodies, this is not a matter either to be laboriously investigated, or to be debated with keenness. For why may we not assert that even immaterial spirits may, in some extraordinary way, yet really be pained by the punishment of material fire, if the spirits of men, which also are certainly immaterial, are both now contained in material members of the body, and in the world to come shall be indissolubly united to their own bodies? Therefore, though the devils have no bodies, yet their spirits, that is, the devils themselves, shall be brought into thorough contact with the material fires, to be tormented by them; not that the fires themselves with which they are brought into contact shall be animated by their connection with these spirits, and become animals composed of body and spirit, but, as I said, this junction will be effected in a wonderful and ineffable way, so that they shall receive pain from the fires, but give no life to them. And, in truth, this other mode of union, by which bodies and spirits are bound together and become animals, is thoroughly marvellous, and beyond the comprehension of man, though this it is which is man.

I would indeed say that these spirits will burn without any body of their own, as that rich man was burning in hell when he exclaimed, “I am tormented in this flame,” (Luke 16:24) were I not aware that it is aptly said in reply, that that flame was of the same nature as the eyes he raised and fixed on Lazarus, as the tongue on which he entreated that a little cooling water might be dropped, or as the finger of Lazarus, with which he asked that this might be done—all of which took place where souls exist without bodies. Thus, therefore, both that flame in which he burned and that drop he begged were immaterial, and resembled the visions of sleepers or persons in an ecstasy, to whom immaterial objects appear in a bodily form. For the man himself who is in such a state, though it be in spirit only, not in body, yet sees himself so like to his own body that he cannot discern any difference whatever. But that hell, which also is called a lake of fire and brimstone, (Rev. 20:10) will be material fire, and will torment the bodies of the damned, whether men or devils,— the solid bodies of the one, aerial bodies of the others; or if only men have bodies as well as souls, yet the evil spirits, though without bodies, shall be so connected with the bodily fires as to receive pain without imparting life. One fire certainly shall be the lot of both, for thus the truth has declared.

-- St. Augustine, City of God, 21, 10
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« Reply #32 on: October 14, 2012, 03:40:26 AM »

I wonder how this idea of partial materiality meshes/works with the idea of punishment in the afterlife. Is the punishment in some sense material, as some say? Or is it immaterial in the same way that grace is? Or is grace the punishment, as some say?

*bump*
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« Reply #33 on: October 14, 2012, 04:29:13 PM »

The references to man before the Fall have saddened me greatly. That was when good was actually winning. But then I look at the world now and see how advanced evil has become.
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« Reply #34 on: October 15, 2012, 02:47:42 AM »

I try to keep the beautiful and good in mind...
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« Reply #35 on: October 17, 2012, 12:14:53 PM »

Some thoughts:

Angels are indeed fully incorporeal compared to us. That is, they do not have physical bodies, which means that they do not posses a structure like we do -- not only do we have bodies, but these bodies are the structure in which the soul mysteriously resides. We could go on and say we have a face, a brain, a heart, hands and so on, and all these elements are fully relevant to our souls also. The soul is not meant to function without them; they define who we are. To give an example: we recognize each other by who we are, but also by what we look like. Or, we have a mind, but that's because we have a brain. So, there is this connectedness between the unseen and the physical in man.  Angels have none of that, no faces, no brains, no nothing. They are pure nous, personality, virtue, etc.. Their essence was only thought into being by God, but He did not use matter to make them.

But then why are angels heavy compared to God? I used the word heavy instead of saying that they are corporeal compared to God.
Because God is All-Immaterial, All-Light (as in not heavy), if you wish. It is rather straight-forward to understand that man has body, rather intuitive to understand that angels are immaterial, but when we attempt to describe God's essence, it becomes impossible because we realize a huge paradox -- that God cannot be included in any category known or unknown to us, yet He obviously is. I mean not only do we not know what God's essence is, but we realize that it cannot be anything that can be thought of by us, that we already know both about angelic and human essences -- His essence is purely transcendent. It's as if He exists and doesn't exist at the same time. To give an example: God is Love, Light, Knowledge, Immateriality.  He is these things in themselves. What can be said about angels and humans is that they possess love, light and knowledge, that they are alive, immaterial, but they are not these things in themselves. And if we try to understand what love, knowledge, light, life, peace, etc., are in themselves we obviously can only give ourselves the paradoxical answer -- they are just that (love, light...). So, God is basically All-simple, yet All-Transcendent at the same time. It's as if He touches us, but He has no hand; He is All-Gentle we could say.

Now, the thing about humans is that to say that they have a physical body is not the full picture about humanity because as humans we also share into the spiritual side of things. As the Saints tell us, man is a mixed angel (has both a body and spiritual capabilities). Even more so, man is made in the image and likeness of God so he can actually become god by Grace himself. This can only happen through God sharing His life with man through the Grace of The Holy Spirit. There is this perfect union between God and man, as it is found in The Two Natures of Christ. Again, a paradox -- that man, material as he is, he can be a perfect mirror for God's infinite attributes without ceasing to be physical. Angels, the same, in their own non-physical way. The only thing that cannot happen is for either men or angels to become gods in essence (but again, not necessary -- that's how perfect and unique as creations we are).

Problem is that through the fall, man has lost his direct connection with God. His spiritual side has become opaque to God's Light as the Saints tell us. Sin and the passion act as a sort of barrier between us and God's Light, instead of us being transparent. So, this is our task -- to have God purify us from the passions and unite us with Him, to restore our humanity.

And a last point: Adam and Eve lived in Paradise. Their bodies where incorruptible initially. Water did not drown them, fire did not burn them; all things were a delight to them in an ineffable way. That's because The Grace of The Holy Spirit was with them, enabling them to experience the world in a very different way than what we now experience having lost The Grace of God. Yet, even that Paradise could be considered heavy compared to The Kingdom of Heaven to which we are now called. Since the coming of Christ, and He would have come regardless of the fall into sin, we are now called to function on an even higher level that is even more impossible to describe than paradise. That's why Orthodoxy seems to raise the bar a bit high for us -- it's because man is no longer called to just play in the Garden of Eden, but to start his ascent to being like God Himself (doesn't mean we cease to be as children, though  Smiley)
« Last Edit: October 17, 2012, 12:28:29 PM by IoanC » Logged

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« Reply #36 on: August 19, 2013, 12:10:16 AM »

I've been thinking a bit about this stuff lately (thanks for your post, btw, IoanC!). What follows are some random thoughts, or in some cases half-thoughts, mostly new thoughts or expansions or refinements (ha!) of what I've said before...

- I do not believe my thoughts on materiality are close to similar ones attributed (held by?) Origen, but I need to figure out the specifics on that. I also do not believe that it's a type of monism.

- The degree or type of materiality can change; certainly God can do so actively if he wishes, but I also wonder if it can happen passively, so to speak (if I may use such a misleading term about God).

- Materiality and transport over distances, whether at (traditional story of) the Dormition, or the story of the Ethiopian eunuch, or the stories of demons or angels (e.g. St. Raphael and the demon in Tobit), etc.  What exactly is the connection, if any?

- After the ancestral sin(s) we were given "garments of skin," an image the fathers took as being literal clothing and also symbolic of the changes that happened at the fall (some of which are mentioned explicitly in Genesis, most not). It is an interesting term to use considering that there is also the idea, in some Fathers, that our prelapsarian bodies were very different and spiritualized. What is the connection, if any, between materiality and the "garments" we took on?

- How can spiritual bodies be new, and yet still be our old ones, and at what point in our lives is it our bodies, since we are changing on a moment by moment basis?

- What does the materiality of something like the soul consist of? No one knows, as several Fathers not only say in passing, but use as a rhetorical device to make a point about 1) asking questions which can't be answered, or 2) having wonder and admiration for the creation of God

- Does the connection (mechanism? communion? ?)  between the body and soul/spirit differ in substance or composition? For example, if we say that this or that organ is made up of different cells than bone, could we also say the same in the case regarding body and soul?

- I may have overemphasized the materiality of the soul earlier in this thread in trying to make a point or investigate. Or maybe I didn't go far enough? I have come across passages, then and now, of Church Fathers who make the point that true immateriality is an important mark of divinity, deity, or whatever. Thus saying that true immateriality belongs to God alone is not simply a passing theological point, but gets at the heart of God being totally other, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, immutable, timeless, incomprehensible, good, simple/uncompounded, and perfect. Immateriality has some role in an understanding (or just the being of) all of these attributes traditionally spoke of about God.

- Theosis, incarnation, death, resurrection, etc.. To bridge the gap between materiality and immateriality to some extent so that we could at least begin to partake of the divine nature in a fuller and more active way, having bridged the gap between created and uncreated not simply to save us from something but also because God wanted communion with us out of love. God is the only lover of mankind. Of course one could argue that even before the Christ the grace/energies could already work on us; yet in Christ we find a more profound and deep bridging and communion.

- Salvation requires our soul to be at least partially material or it wouldn't work, or at least not in the same way

- Does materiality mean greater freedom of choice, as opposed to for instance angels, or God who does not change, or is this crazy talk? Certainly God allows some change--e.g. in Eden in spiritualized bodies they were led astray, possibly, and changed afterwards, or even at the very moment.

- In eternity, the more we grow towards immateriality, that is he who is truly immaterial, the less we perceive differences and problems and such, and the more we experience the one triune divinity

- Perhaps God allows saints to experience time (as seen in Revelation?), not as we do but yet according to a condition fitting a subtle materiality to some degree

- Like attracts like. Thus we are attracted to God in his love and perfection and immateriality at least partly because we also have immateriality to some extent; however, we do not have it truly or perfectly, which is one reason we struggle

- Is this all rather too dualistic? Certainly there is good in the material world, for our advantage, use, enjoyment, salvation. I happen to live the material, even the vulgar. Yet is there not something better? I am not trying to push too hard for the spirit vs. flesh type of language. Yet we will indeed be transformed, and we do not know what exactly what that the eternality of then and there will be like, or how it can be a then, or a there.
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« Reply #37 on: August 19, 2013, 03:25:20 PM »

Perhaps I should have limited myself to two or three speculations/thoughts/whatever per post...  Sad Cool angel
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« Reply #38 on: December 01, 2013, 12:16:07 AM »

"For the corruptible body burdens the soul and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns." - Wis. 9:15

How is such apparent dualism to be understood? Is it just a practical fact of life, as for example seen in other places like Matt. 26 ("...the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak... etc.")? To what extent does our grosser material bodies weigh down our souls? We believe (I think) that we have more spiritualized or less material bodies in the afterlife, is that a part of why things like virtue and vice might be different then and there? Can the process begin even now? Is this similar, or even the same thing, as what is meant when we speak of the process of overcoming the passions, or subduing the bodily desires for comfort and such, or bringing the body under submission?

Bump.
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« Reply #39 on: December 01, 2013, 07:54:21 AM »

"For the corruptible body burdens the soul and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns." - Wis. 9:15

How is such apparent dualism to be understood? Is it just a practical fact of life, as for example seen in other places like Matt. 26 ("...the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak... etc.")? To what extent does our grosser material bodies weigh down our souls? We believe (I think) that we have more spiritualized or less material bodies in the afterlife, is that a part of why things like virtue and vice might be different then and there? Can the process begin even now? Is this similar, or even the same thing, as what is meant when we speak of the process of overcoming the passions, or subduing the bodily desires for comfort and such, or bringing the body under submission?

Bump.

After the fall into sin, man is said to have slipped towards a physical existence outside the grace/energies of God. Sin makes man opaque to God's energies and so he loses his spirituality and becomes heavier from a spiritual perspective. This actually burdens the soul, but is fixed through purification from sin and union God through His grace/energies.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 07:55:07 AM by IoanC » Logged

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« Reply #40 on: May 13, 2014, 04:05:21 PM »

"The infinite, inaccessible, uncreated God, through His infinite and inconceivable kindness, embodied Himself, and, if I may say so, diminished Himself from His inaccessible glory, to make it possible for Him to be united with His visible creatures, such as the soul of saints and angels, that they might be enabled to partake of the life of Godhead. For each of these, after its kind, is a body, be it angel, or soul, or devil. Subtle though they are, still in substance, character, and image according to the subtlety of their respective natures they are subtle bodies, even as this body of ours is in substance a gross body." - Pseudo-Macarius, Fifty Spiritual Homilies, 4.9
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