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Author Topic: The Orthodox teaching on the soul after death.  (Read 824 times) Average Rating: 0
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neon_knights
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« on: June 15, 2012, 12:26:34 AM »

I find some Orthodox teachings on what the soul goes through after dying and how judgement occurs to be completely devoid of the Scriptural teachings of saving grace, and honestly, downright scary. Where is the basis for these teachings in Scripture? Where is the New Testament message of salvation by grace through Christ?

Why are the writings of the Fathers on this matter to be taken as truth? How do the Fathers know what happens after death? Did they know from experience?
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2012, 12:40:23 AM »

Which teachings are you speaking of?  Smiley
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orthonorm
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2012, 12:43:32 AM »

I wish I could respond but I spend most of my time wondering if I have ever been alive and almost certain I lack a soul.

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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2012, 12:46:40 AM »

Perhaps you could be more specific, then we can have a proper conversation.  No one can defend generalities.

I find some Orthodox teachings on what the soul goes through after dying and how judgement occurs to be completely devoid of the Scriptural teachings of saving grace, and honestly, downright scary. Where is the basis for these teachings in Scripture? Where is the New Testament message of salvation by grace through Christ?

Why are the writings of the Fathers on this matter to be taken as truth? How do the Fathers know what happens after death? Did they know from experience?
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 12:52:53 AM »

Nice to see you Father.

Epic avatar!
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neon_knights
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2012, 01:10:32 AM »

Im basically referring to the teachings espoused in Fr. Rose's "The Soul After Death". Teachings that we will be tormented by demons, that we will linger around heaven and hell for 40 days to see what they consist of, that we will have to have our guardian angel bring up our good works in order to counteract the sins that were brought up by the demons(this teaching especially seems very Gnostic, and even reminds me of Islamic teaching), it all just seems devoid of the Gospel message of Christ's healing. Is not Christ our advocate in the moments of our death?

And I agree with orthonorm, killer avatar Fr. G.
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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2012, 04:54:33 AM »

Fr. Seraphim's teaching about the "toll houses" is controversial and not commonly accepted teaching in Orthodoxy.  In fact, it is accepted by a tiny minority in the contemporary church.  There are arguments about the validity of this teaching elsewhere on this forum.  (Watch all the supporters comment hereafter.)

Off the top of my head, here is some of the church's guidance in this regard:

"A Christian ending to our lives, painless, blameless, and peaceful, and a good defense before the awesome judgement seat of Christ, let us ask of the Lord."  The Divine Liturgy, among other lesser services.

"I look for the resurrection of the dead and life of the ages to come," 12th Article of the "Symbol of Faith," (the Creed).

"But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep... For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus...For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven...with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive...shall be caught up together with them...to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus, we shall always be with the Lord."  Epistle Reading for the Funeral Service, 1 Thessalonians 4, 13-17.

The church does not have dogma (teachings that must be believed in order to attain salvation) in regard to what happens upon passing from this life.  There are prayers for the separation of the soul from the body,  for the "blessed repose" of the soul, and its "pardon, forgiveness, and remission of sins. " The church hopes, but does not know, if these prayers are efficacious.  

Dogma in the Orthodox Church is always based on scripture.  There are "theological opinions," known theologically in Greek as "theologoumena," in the Orthodox Church, matters which may or may not be believed by the faithful.  Commonly accepted "theological opinion"  based on writings of the ancient Church Fathers (which I can't cite off hand), in this regard, is that the soul receives a partial judgement upon death, a "foretaste" of their "final judgement," and that the soul does not experience time.  Also commonly accepted, is that the soul's guardian angel argues with the devil, before Christ, citing the belief and good works of the person's life on Earth, in order to secure the foretaste of the final judgement.  Again, this is not required belief for Orthodox Christians, but only a "theological opinion."
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2012, 05:10:11 AM »

The church does not have dogma (teachings that must be believed in order to attain salvation) in regard to what happens upon passing from this life.

Perhaps not but then again I don't think we have dogmas in regard to just about anything else either.
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WeldeMikael
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2012, 05:16:40 AM »

Here

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,36319.90.html
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Basil 320
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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2012, 06:02:13 AM »

The church does not have dogma (teachings that must be believed in order to attain salvation) in regard to what happens upon passing from this life.

Perhaps not but then again I don't think we have dogmas in regard to just about anything else either.

A Concise Summary of the Dogmatic Topics of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church:


Christ is of the "same substance" (homooousios) with the Father.

The Unity of the Holy Trinity, "One God, in three 'hypostases,"  "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Trinity one in essence, and undivided."

The 12 Articles of the "Symbol of Faith" (the Creed).

The Incarnate Christ is a single Person, at once God and Man; Christ is perfect God and perfect Man.

Mary is the "Theotokos," the Mother (or Birthgiver) of God.

There are two perfect natures in the one Person of Christ unified "unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, and inseparably."

There are two wills in Christ, Human and Divine.

"The veneration accorded to an icon is meant for and passes to the prototype [the person it depicts]."

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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2012, 06:50:22 AM »

The church does not have dogma (teachings that must be believed in order to attain salvation) in regard to what happens upon passing from this life.

Perhaps not but then again I don't think we have dogmas in regard to just about anything else either.

A Concise Summary of the Dogmatic Topics of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church:


Christ is of the "same substance" (homooousios) with the Father.

The Unity of the Holy Trinity, "One God, in three 'hypostases,"  "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Trinity one in essence, and undivided."

The 12 Articles of the "Symbol of Faith" (the Creed).

The Incarnate Christ is a single Person, at once God and Man; Christ is perfect God and perfect Man.

Mary is the "Theotokos," the Mother (or Birthgiver) of God.

There are two perfect natures in the one Person of Christ unified "unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, and inseparably."

There are two wills in Christ, Human and Divine.

"The veneration accorded to an icon is meant for and passes to the prototype [the person it depicts]."

Right. So you agree that we don't have dogmas in regard to just about anything while we all still believe in loads of other things too.  Smiley
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Basil 320
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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2012, 07:10:32 AM »

I don't agree that "we don't have dogma in regard to just about anything," what are these topics above, then?  But, I do agree we have many other teachings expressed through various other venues.
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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2012, 07:35:30 AM »

I don't agree that "we don't have dogma in regard to just about anything," what are these topics above, then?  

I was just comparing us to other denominations. Compared to, say, Catholicism or Lutheranism we do have very few dogmas.

Quote
But, I do agree we have many other teachings expressed through various other venues.

This was my point. While I don't want to argue for or against Toll-Houses I do find your original argument against them a little problematic. It doesn't really matter whether they are dogma or not. They could still be part of teaching of the Church even if they aren't a dogma.
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Basil 320
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2012, 09:01:14 AM »

No doubt, in Orthodoxy we do have various sources of teachings, other than dogma, but the respective teaching, whether it comes from a Church Father, a bishop's catechism, a Patriarchal or Synodal Encyclical, or a pan-Orthodox assembly of the heads (primates, first hierarchs) of the Holy Orthodox Churches, must be generally accepted by the church, after a time. The matter of  Fr. Seraphim's "Toll Houses," are controversial, and rejected by many respected clergy in the church.  Acceptance of the matter of the "Toll House" is quite limited. (As to "Toll Houses," this is essentially what I wrote in the first paragraph of Reply No. 6.)

(I have no knowledge of the amount of dogma accepted by other Christian denominations.)
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« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2012, 12:32:45 PM »

I agree that the Church has not proclaimed a dogma in this field, though we have some ideas through inference and the Scriptures.  I do believe Fr. Seraphim's book is unsatisfactory in the sense that he took a very narrow approach to the subject, but his book's primary impact was that he was one of the first to write on the topic in English.

So, I won't defend Fr. Seraphim's book, as I do not believe it accurately reflects the entire Tradition, and I have defended this position elsewhere on the forum.

Perhaps the OP can state what he believes happens at death, they we can better understand where he is coming from.

Glad folks like the avatar.  I made one of those silly obamanation posters a while back.  This is just a tinted version of the original:



When you are this ugly, you'd better be ready to laugh at yourself an awful lot.

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« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2012, 02:19:10 PM »

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

I agree that the Church has not proclaimed a dogma in this field, though we have some ideas through inference and the Scriptures.  I do believe Fr. Seraphim's book is unsatisfactory in the sense that he took a very narrow approach to the subject, but his book's primary impact was that he was one of the first to write on the topic in English.

So, I won't defend Fr. Seraphim's book, as I do not believe it accurately reflects the entire Tradition, and I have defended this position elsewhere on the forum.

Perhaps the OP can state what he believes happens at death, they we can better understand where he is coming from.

Glad folks like the avatar.  I made one of those silly obamanation posters a while back.  This is just a tinted version of the original:



When you are this ugly, you'd better be ready to laugh at yourself an awful lot.



I agree with the father here.  I think that Fr Rose represents a beautifully unique post-modern approach to Orthodox spirituality, asceticism, and theological analysis, however, as to the substance of a lot of his writings, there is often as much to disagree with as to give an Amen towards.  I love Fr Rose, but more so himself rather than his writings.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2012, 08:04:50 AM »

I agree with the father here.  I think that Fr Rose represents a beautifully unique post-modern approach to Orthodox spirituality, asceticism, and theological analysis, however, as to the substance of a lot of his writings, there is often as much to disagree with as to give an Amen towards.  I love Fr Rose, but more so himself rather than his writings.

Interesting choice of word. What makes Fr. Seraphim's approarch post-modern?
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« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2012, 05:53:41 PM »

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

I agree with the father here.  I think that Fr Rose represents a beautifully unique post-modern approach to Orthodox spirituality, asceticism, and theological analysis, however, as to the substance of a lot of his writings, there is often as much to disagree with as to give an Amen towards.  I love Fr Rose, but more so himself rather than his writings.

Interesting choice of word. What makes Fr. Seraphim's approarch post-modern?
Combine optimistic nihilism with a bit of the rational critique method as well as good ol' fashioned conservative sarcasm and I feel you have Fr Seraphim Rose.  Not quite Voltaire or Nietzsche , but definitely a bit more modernist than many other fathers we read, and of course, post-modern because Fr Seraphim was sort of the anti-hero of modern Orthodox.  He brought Orthodox into the modern world of his time while also diving into the past like an anachronism that wasn't Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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