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Author Topic: Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox views on Predestination?  (Read 2235 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 01, 2012, 04:13:24 PM »

What are the EO and OO views on predestination?
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2012, 04:19:04 PM »

I agree with the outline given here Wink  When the Scripture speaks of choosing, or being predestinated (Eph. 1:5, 11), I taken it all in as being part of a larger pot of theological soup. Or put another way, they are just different perspectives written about from fallible people trying to understand a mystery. Each perspective isn't necessarily wrong, so long as people remember that they're not seeing the full picture, and even what they are seeing can be mistaken to some extent.
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2012, 05:06:55 PM »

"This was from me" is a famous letter written by saint Seraphim of Vyritsa that he sent to his spiritual child, a bishop who was in a Soviet prison at that time; this homily "This was from me" is written as a consolation and counsel to the bishop to let him know that God the Creator addresses to the soul of man.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/This_was_from_me



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« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 09:54:25 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2012, 05:51:01 PM »

Vladimir Lossky, Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, pg. 94:

Quote
'God creates by His thought which immediately becomes a work', according to St. John Damascene. 'God', he says, 'contemplated all things before their existence, formulating them in His mind; and each being received its existence at a particular moment, according to His eternal thought and will, which is a predestination (proorismos), and image (ikon), and a model (paradeigma). The tern theletike ennoia (thought-will) is very important. It is the perfect expression of the Eastern doctrine of the divine ideas, or the place which the theology of the Eastern Church gives to the ideas of created things in God.

The predestination is the potentiality which exists in man, to be conformed to the image of God and acquire his likeness. Predestination is equivalent to vocation and purpose, and it is a predestination in as much as man cannot escape what he is by his nature. To go against his nature is to destroy himself. Christ is the predestination, in as much as he is the paradigmatic man, the new Adam, and we are conformed to him in as much as we seek the acquisition of virtue. By our baptism into his body and by our ascetic stuggle, we fulfill our predestination.

If I haven't made it clear in my above response, the Orthodox discourse surrounding predestination, at least for our modern neo-patristic synthesizers like Lossky, is radically different from the Reformed protestant discourse about predestination. Previous Orthodox theologians, using the language of the west, have formulated as the Orthodox view basically what is the Arminian/Wesleyan (to use a protestant category) or modern Catholic view.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 06:11:00 PM by samkim » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2012, 06:02:32 PM »

Vladimir Lossky, Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, pg. 94:

Quote
'God creates by His thought which immediately becomes a work', according to St. John Damascene. 'God', he says, 'contemplated all things before their existence, formulating them in His mind; and each being received its existence at a particular moment, according to His eternal thought and will, which is a predestination (proorismos), and image (ikon), and a model (paradeigma). The tern theletike ennoia (thought-will) is very important. It is the perfect expression of the Eastern doctrine of the divine ideas, or the place which the theology of the Eastern Church gives to the ideas of created things in God.

The predestination is the potentiality which exists in man, to be conformed to the image of God and acquire his likeness. Predestination is equivalent to vocation and purpose, and it is a predestination in as much as man cannot escape what he is by his nature. Christ is the predestination, in as much as he is the paradigmatic man, the new Adam, and we are conformed to him in as much as we seek the acquisition of virtue. By our baptism into his body and our ascesis, we fulfill our predestination.

Not that I disagree with what you're saying, but I think that's about as much jargon as I've seen squeezed into two paragraphs on this board  angel
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 06:03:27 PM by Asteriktos » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2012, 06:10:31 PM »

Vladimir Lossky, Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, pg. 94:

Quote
'God creates by His thought which immediately becomes a work', according to St. John Damascene. 'God', he says, 'contemplated all things before their existence, formulating them in His mind; and each being received its existence at a particular moment, according to His eternal thought and will, which is a predestination (proorismos), and image (ikon), and a model (paradeigma). The tern theletike ennoia (thought-will) is very important. It is the perfect expression of the Eastern doctrine of the divine ideas, or the place which the theology of the Eastern Church gives to the ideas of created things in God.

The predestination is the potentiality which exists in man, to be conformed to the image of God and acquire his likeness. Predestination is equivalent to vocation and purpose, and it is a predestination in as much as man cannot escape what he is by his nature. Christ is the predestination, in as much as he is the paradigmatic man, the new Adam, and we are conformed to him in as much as we seek the acquisition of virtue. By our baptism into his body and our ascesis, we fulfill our predestination.

Not that I disagree with what you're saying, but I think that's about as much jargon as I've seen squeezed into two paragraphs on this board  angel

Translation: It's a mystery. (one of the things that if you think too much about it, your brain will heat up and explode.) I'm not trying to be flippant, but trying to reduce this issue to a simplistic framework online is a tough one.

I still say that the general view among contemporary academics - Orthodox and RC - will not so much differ in meaning as in tone. But that would take a thesis to lay out and I will stick with the mystery answer.
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2012, 06:15:11 PM »

Vladimir Lossky, Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, pg. 94:

Quote
'God creates by His thought which immediately becomes a work', according to St. John Damascene. 'God', he says, 'contemplated all things before their existence, formulating them in His mind; and each being received its existence at a particular moment, according to His eternal thought and will, which is a predestination (proorismos), and image (ikon), and a model (paradeigma). The tern theletike ennoia (thought-will) is very important. It is the perfect expression of the Eastern doctrine of the divine ideas, or the place which the theology of the Eastern Church gives to the ideas of created things in God.

The predestination is the potentiality which exists in man, to be conformed to the image of God and acquire his likeness. Predestination is equivalent to vocation and purpose, and it is a predestination in as much as man cannot escape what he is by his nature. Christ is the predestination, in as much as he is the paradigmatic man, the new Adam, and we are conformed to him in as much as we seek the acquisition of virtue. By our baptism into his body and our ascesis, we fulfill our predestination.

Not that I disagree with what you're saying, but I think that's about as much jargon as I've seen squeezed into two paragraphs on this board  angel

Translation: It's a mystery. (one of the things that if you think too much about it, your brain will heat up and explode.) I'm not trying to be flippant, but trying to reduce this issue to a simplistic framework online is a tough one.

I still say that the general view among contemporary academics - Orthodox and RC - will not so much differ in meaning as in tone. But that would take a thesis to lay out and I will stick with the mystery answer.

Just because it's a mystery does not mean we cannot say anything about it. The whole Orthodox faith is a mystery, but there's still a creed we recite.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 06:24:29 PM by samkim » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2012, 09:29:01 AM »

HG Bishop Youssef of the Coptic diocese of the Southern US answers this question a couple of times, pretty much in simplistic terms, differenetiating between God's foreknowledge and human free will.

From http://www.suscopts.org/q&a/index.php?qid=433&catid=298

Quote
My question is about predestination and the Free will of mankind.. Do we accept the argument that God has already determined who goes to hell and who will be saved? What about our freedom of choice which should be the determining agent for our final destination?

First, the issue of "Predestination" is an often talked about subject. I prefer to explain the terms "Foreknowledge" "Redemption" and "Salvation" when discussing this topic as it is clearly outlined in our Coptic Church.

God is all knowing, so He knows everything even before we do. Also you should know that God is above time since he has created it. There is no  past nor future for Him, but everything is present. So He knows what will happen after million years because this is present before Him right now. This foreknowledge does not interfere with our freedom. So God foreknows what we will do. But this does not mean that we do what God has determined for us to do. There is a big difference between these two concepts.

Redemption is the deliverance of humanity from sin and death by the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ assumed humanity by His Incarnation and conquered sin and death by His life-giving death and His Glorious Resurrection. The Lord Jesus Christ released those who are in captivity to the evil one and united humanity to God by His Glorious Ascension.

The Holy Book of Galations 3:13 states: "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree)."
This verse simply means the Lord Jesus Christ perfectly obeyed the law and accepted its curse. In the Lord, we are redeemed from the curse and participate in His perfect faith and obedience. This is all this verse is saying. Not that we are predestined to be saved.

The third term to think about is "salvation." What is salvation? It  is the fulfillment of humanity in the Lord Jesus Christ. It  is through deliverance from the curse of sin and death, to reach union with God through Christ the Savior. Salvation is not immediate but requires growth of the whole person whereby the sinner is changed into the image and likeness of God. One is saved by faith through Grace. Saving faith is not only belief but it is much more than this. One must have to live the faith by doing God’s Will. How do we as Copts believe one must live in faith? The most important way is to participate in the Sacramental Life of the Church.
Predestination so to speak requires more study than a few paragraphs written to an answer. This is only a beginning to the topic. Some suggested readings include: "Deification in Christ" Holy Book of II Peter 1; "Justification by Faith" Holy Book of Romans 5; and any of the books within the .Mighty Arrows Booklist, which address the Sacramental Life of the Church.

Other q&a of the same topic here:

http://www.suscopts.org/q&a/index.php?catid=298
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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2012, 09:33:57 AM »

Vladimir Lossky, Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, pg. 94:

Quote
'God creates by His thought which immediately becomes a work', according to St. John Damascene. 'God', he says, 'contemplated all things before their existence, formulating them in His mind; and each being received its existence at a particular moment, according to His eternal thought and will, which is a predestination (proorismos), and image (ikon), and a model (paradeigma). The tern theletike ennoia (thought-will) is very important. It is the perfect expression of the Eastern doctrine of the divine ideas, or the place which the theology of the Eastern Church gives to the ideas of created things in God.

The predestination is the potentiality which exists in man, to be conformed to the image of God and acquire his likeness. Predestination is equivalent to vocation and purpose, and it is a predestination in as much as man cannot escape what he is by his nature. Christ is the predestination, in as much as he is the paradigmatic man, the new Adam, and we are conformed to him in as much as we seek the acquisition of virtue. By our baptism into his body and our ascesis, we fulfill our predestination.

Not that I disagree with what you're saying, but I think that's about as much jargon as I've seen squeezed into two paragraphs on this board  angel

Translation: It's a mystery. (one of the things that if you think too much about it, your brain will heat up and explode.) I'm not trying to be flippant, but trying to reduce this issue to a simplistic framework online is a tough one.

I still say that the general view among contemporary academics - Orthodox and RC - will not so much differ in meaning as in tone. But that would take a thesis to lay out and I will stick with the mystery answer.

Just because it's a mystery does not mean we cannot say anything about it. The whole Orthodox faith is a mystery, but there's still a creed we recite.

Sorry I didn't mean to sound dismissive. Of course one can explain these things from an Orthodox pov. However, the differences between the Roman and Eastern understandings are cloaked in a lot of nuance and to explain them coherently doesn't strike me as something that one could easily post here in any kind of summary fashion and do justice to the subject matter, even in a lengthy post. It's more like graduate level course work with a thesis.
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