OrthodoxChristianity.net
November 29, 2014, 03:30:09 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1 2 »  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Questions about Dr. George H. Bebawi's Teachings  (Read 3780 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,742


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« on: September 10, 2012, 10:34:00 AM »

I want to start a thread on some of the things I listen to by Dr. Bebawi.  For those who do not know who he is, Dr. Bebawi was born from an Egyptian Jewish family, but he himself spent most of his youth in disbelief and atheism.  When his grandmother Sarah (who took care of him and was a major influence in his life)  converted into the Coptic Church, he decided to check out the Orthodox faith and was eventually convinced by HH Pope St. Kyrillos VI, and had a cloud of influential fathers around him, including a priest Fr. Mikhail, a monk spiritual adviser Abba Philemon, and a teacher Fr. Matta el Maskeen.

Dr. Bebawi received theological instruction and became a major theological professor in the Coptic Church in the Seminar.  He has also represented the Coptic Church in ecumenical discussions, most notably, the Roman Catholic-OO dialogues.

Unfortunately, during the papacy of HH Pope Shenouda, controversy ensued, especially between him, HH, and HE Metropolitan Bishoy.  In 1997, the Holy Synod declared that Dr. Bebawy "excommunicated himself" for leaving the Coptic Church and joining the Anglican Church.  At that time however, although, he was indeed in the Anglican Church and was a chaplain for some time, was then received by the late HE Metropolitan Anthony of Sorouzh.  Dr. Bebawi unfortunately has also been the victim of character assassinations, but at the same time has also been used in polemical debates as a reason for the Copts' heterodoxy.  He now serves in an EO Church in Indianopolis, teachin aspects of historical Christianity and dogmas, to any Christian.

The purpose of this thread is to discuss some of what might be Dr. Bebawi's controversial teachings based on the lectures he provides in his site, as well as any other sites one might like to share and discuss.  The purpose is to show that while some faults can be seen in the Coptic Church, some fault can also be seen in Dr. Bebawi, whether it be in his "snappy" behavior at times (as he even admits at various lectures), or his controversies that might cause some scandal.  My goal is not necessarily to discredit Dr. Bebawi, as I consider him a great and influential teacher, but I also would like to use a comparison of him to the likes of the great teachers Origen and St. Augustine, that although they have more good to offer, they were not without their problems.

So this is just an introductory post. The next post will be one controversy.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,742


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2012, 10:41:18 AM »

Week 4 in Christian Tradition:

http://www.georgebebawi.com/2006/12/the-christian-tradition-i/

"Monotheism is one of the biggest blasphemies to God."

In this lecture, Dr. Bebawi talks about the importance of the doctrine of the Trinity, and how we cannot call Christianity "Monotheistic".  Neither can it be called polytheistic.  He wishes to maintain Christianity simply as the revelation of God through Jesus Christ. He gives reasons why Christianity cannot be strictly considered as "Monotheistic", which can be read here:

http://www.georgebebawi.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/churchhistses4.doc

Of course, in his defense, he has said that the OT prophets used Monotheism as a way to combat the sinful polytheism.  Nevertheless, he is quoted as saying that Monotheism is "blasphemous".  I would like to hear what other EOs and OOs would like to think.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
Gorazd
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul and Chambésy
Posts: 1,958



« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2012, 10:49:11 AM »

First of all, in accordance with Egyptian naming conventions, he should be referred to as Dr. George rather than Dr. Bebawi.

Are you sure he is currently EO? I have heard so many different versions of his biography that I stopped counting.

Of course, his choice of words is provocative. But he is right about one thing: It is really not acceptable to present Orthodox Christianity, as if we were monotheist in the same way as Muslims and Jews.

One and three are equally important. The distinction between "one" and "several" is something that exists in creation. But God is not like that. Yes, God is one, but he is one in three hypostases (persons). Yes, god is three, but Father, Son and Holy Spirit are in perfect communion with each other, so that they are one.
Logged
Samn!
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 307


« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2012, 11:01:46 AM »

The very term 'monotheism' seems to have been invented in the 18th century (on this, see Jan Assman's book The Price of Monotheism), and it would be anachronism to say that the prophets of the Old Testament were 'monotheist' in the way we understand the word today. If anything they were more concerned with telling people which of the gods is the correct one to worship (what is called 'henotheism') than denying the existence of all other gods.

It is a point that isn't made enough that Christianity is as far from Islamic 'monotheism' as it is from pagan 'polytheism'.

Logged
Gorazd
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul and Chambésy
Posts: 1,958



« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2012, 08:27:54 PM »

It is a point that isn't made enough that Christianity is as far from Islamic 'monotheism' as it is from pagan 'polytheism'.

Exactly. I always felt that the Muslim God is such a cruel character, because he feels so lonely.

Our God is love. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one.
Logged
Cognomen
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Phyletism Rules, OK
Posts: 1,968


Ungrateful Biped


« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2012, 10:29:34 PM »

I always felt that the Muslim God is such a cruel character, because he feels so lonely.


So was God lonely and just needed a Son to make Him feel better?

Logged

North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).
Samn!
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 307


« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2012, 10:49:38 PM »

Umm..... there wasn't a time when the Son didn't exist......
Logged
Gorazd
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul and Chambésy
Posts: 1,958



« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2012, 11:00:12 PM »

So was God lonely and just needed a Son to make Him feel better?
No, God always was Father, Son and Holy Spirit in perfect communion with each other.

Satan (the one who presented himself as God to Muhammad) is the lonely guy. And that's why the Islamic monotheism is so evil, it is basically Satan presenting himself as God.
Logged
Cognomen
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Phyletism Rules, OK
Posts: 1,968


Ungrateful Biped


« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2012, 12:40:15 AM »

So was God lonely and just needed a Son to make Him feel better?
No, God always was Father, Son and Holy Spirit in perfect communion with each other.

Satan (the one who presented himself as God to Muhammad) is the lonely guy. And that's why the Islamic monotheism is so evil, it is basically Satan presenting himself as God.

Interesting.  But couldn't people easily say (and they obviously do) that our God is pretty cruel, particularly in the OT?  Many Muslims believe God (whether it's their interpretation or not) is not cruel, but merciful.

For what it's worth, I'm just trying to hash this out; I'm not disagreeing with you.
Logged

North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).
Cognomen
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Phyletism Rules, OK
Posts: 1,968


Ungrateful Biped


« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2012, 12:41:13 AM »

Umm..... there wasn't a time when the Son didn't exist......

Yes, but there was also a time when people mistakenly took my comment literally.  But thanks for the Sunday School lesson and missing the point of my comment. 

The point would be that while determining that the Muslim God is cruel (because of loneliness) by reading the Quran, the same could be determined from reading about the Christian God in the Old Testament.  The big change would appear to be the Son taking flesh and so on and so forth.  Or, we can simply ignore what appears as cruelty in the OT and call it wrath for the sake of salvation or what not.  But don't think that Muslims don't do the same thing.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 12:46:20 AM by Cognomen » Logged

North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).
Gorazd
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul and Chambésy
Posts: 1,958



« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2012, 11:16:21 AM »

The OT God is already trinitarian, or to whom does he say "Let us create"? Why does he appear in the form of 3 men to Abraham? etc.
My point refers not to the Incarnation, but to the communion of 3 persons that is in God since all eternity.

Now, the question of God being cruel in the OT, that would need to be discussed on a point-to-point base. What verses were you specifically thinking of?
« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 11:27:58 AM by Gorazd » Logged
sheenj
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Indian/Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Posts: 1,402


St. Gregorios of Parumala, pray for us...


« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2012, 11:48:44 AM »

Why does he appear in the form of 3 men to Abraham? etc.
I agree with the rest of your post but I've been taught that the three "men" were actually The Logos and two angels. I was also taught that these were the same angels who went on to visit Lot in Sodom.
Logged
Gorazd
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul and Chambésy
Posts: 1,958



« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2012, 12:10:47 PM »

Why does he appear in the form of 3 men to Abraham? etc.
I agree with the rest of your post but I've been taught that the three "men" were actually The Logos and two angels. I was also taught that these were the same angels who went on to visit Lot in Sodom.
Well, all I can say is  that the text doesnt say God and two angels, but God. Also, St. Andrei Rublyev's Old Testament Trinity icon is quite important for me:


(source: Wikipedia, no copyright because the author of the work died in 1430)
Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,742


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2012, 12:51:15 PM »

Why does he appear in the form of 3 men to Abraham? etc.
I agree with the rest of your post but I've been taught that the three "men" were actually The Logos and two angels. I was also taught that these were the same angels who went on to visit Lot in Sodom.
Well, all I can say is  that the text doesnt say God and two angels, but God. Also, St. Andrei Rublyev's Old Testament Trinity icon is quite important for me:


(source: Wikipedia, no copyright because the author of the work died in 1430)
From what I understand, most church fathers saw this as the Logos with 2 angels.  I understand that there was a church father who saw this as the Trinity, but I have yet to find a reference.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
Cognomen
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Phyletism Rules, OK
Posts: 1,968


Ungrateful Biped


« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2012, 02:18:46 PM »

The OT God is already trinitarian, or to whom does he say "Let us create"? Why does he appear in the form of 3 men to Abraham? etc.
My point refers not to the Incarnation, but to the communion of 3 persons that is in God since all eternity.

Now, the question of God being cruel in the OT, that would need to be discussed on a point-to-point base. What verses were you specifically thinking of?

I am not arguing against the OT God being already trinitarian.

From where do you derive your knowledge that the God of Islam is cruel?  My point is that there are probably similar ways of reaching the same conclusion about the Christian concept of God.

The OT is full of acts that could be interpreted as cruel.  We choose not to view them this way.  The Quran is similarly filled with acts that could be interpreted as cruel, and many Muslims similarly choose not to view them that way.

Therefore, I believe the following argument, without more development, is fairly unsubstantiated: 

2 factors-Muslim God and Christian God
1 variables-"companionship" and the lack thereof.

                Lonely God of Islam = Cruel
                Not lonely Trinitarian God of Christianity = Content, loving, whatever other positive associations.
                Reason for difference in presence of cruelty (conceding that there is a difference) = loneliness (present or not)
Logged

North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).
Gorazd
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul and Chambésy
Posts: 1,958



« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2012, 03:58:08 PM »

From where do you derive your knowledge that the God of Islam is cruel?  My point is that there are probably similar ways of reaching the same conclusion about the Christian concept of God.
Quite simple, the Quran states that God is the creator of evil and that some people are created only for hellfire.
Where do you see such things in the OT?
Logged
sheenj
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Indian/Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Posts: 1,402


St. Gregorios of Parumala, pray for us...


« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2012, 04:12:30 PM »

From where do you derive your knowledge that the God of Islam is cruel?  My point is that there are probably similar ways of reaching the same conclusion about the Christian concept of God.
Quite simple, the Quran states that God is the creator of evil and that some people are created only for hellfire.
Where do you see such things in the OT?
Perhaps an Orthodox Christian wouldn't see such things but John Calvin sure did when he examined the OT.
Logged
Gorazd
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul and Chambésy
Posts: 1,958



« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2012, 04:40:37 PM »

Perhaps an Orthodox Christian wouldn't see such things but John Calvin sure did when he examined the OT.
In the Quran, it is literally stated. Also, when I say something about Islamic belief, I refer to the classical mainstream Sunni-Ash'ari doctrine, unless explicitely otherwise stated.

If such things are stated in the OT (and I never saw such a thing), then show me in the OT text please.
Logged
sheenj
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Indian/Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Posts: 1,402


St. Gregorios of Parumala, pray for us...


« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2012, 04:59:07 PM »

Perhaps an Orthodox Christian wouldn't see such things but John Calvin sure did when he examined the OT.
In the Quran, it is literally stated. Also, when I say something about Islamic belief, I refer to the classical mainstream Sunni-Ash'ari doctrine, unless explicitely otherwise stated.

If such things are stated in the OT (and I never saw such a thing), then show me in the OT text please.
Like I said, I have no idea how John Calvin came to his conclusion but the fact remains, John Calvin read the OT and concluded that God predestines the majority of humans to eternal damnation and this view is still significant in protestant theology.
Logged
Gorazd
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul and Chambésy
Posts: 1,958



« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2012, 05:27:01 PM »

Excuse me, but I guess all Orthodox Christians would agree that Calvin's doctrines are completely inacceptable and very far from truth. Calvin got his ideas from looking at Old and New Testament btw.

But if anyone wants to state that the Christian God is evil, I invite him to state specific passages of the Bible or Church Fathers, from which he or she makes such a conclusion.
Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,742


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2012, 05:59:50 PM »

When Dr. Bebawi talks about the cruelty of the Muslim concept of God, it's not necessarily the actions God allows that look a lot like OT passages, but he is alluding to the theology.  In Islam, God cannot reside in the heart of man.  God only works through mediators.  It's a Platonic form of God, that God is too pure to work with creation, that only his angels or messengers can give us orders.  According to Dr. Bebawi, Islam is a form of deism, whereas in the Old Testament and in Judaism, God can indeed dwell in the hearts of men.  Because Islam cannot believe in the indwelling of God anywhere in creation, he considers this true cruelty in theology.

The problem I have is simply his choice of words.  Perhaps it would have been better for him to say "true Monotheism" vs. "false Monotheism."
« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 06:01:06 PM by minasoliman » Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
ReturnOrthodoxy
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Alexandria
Posts: 46



« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2012, 07:49:34 PM »

Dr. George is a member of the Russian Orthodox church. The Coptic church is often incorrect in the light with which it portrays those who disagree with their heirarchs. Dr. Bebawi is a genius of his time, and a true theologian.

I read an article by a church member (can't seem to find it at the time) which said that "George has joined the Anglican church in Russia." I literally fell on the floor laughing. Hid teachings are sound, and dependable. "Excommunication of the self" is a funny term. This means that the church excommunicated him. The church did this without a trial of him, or his teachings.

Has anyone read this?

This journal is also very interesting. I recommend it. It is worth the read.

ReturnOrthodoxy
Logged

Pre-Passion: Let's eat, Jesus!
Post-Passion: Let's eat Jesus!
ReturnOrthodoxy
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Alexandria
Posts: 46



« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2012, 07:57:26 PM »

Week 4 in Christian Tradition:

http://www.georgebebawi.com/2006/12/the-christian-tradition-i/

"Monotheism is one of the biggest blasphemies to God."

In this lecture, Dr. Bebawi talks about the importance of the doctrine of the Trinity, and how we cannot call Christianity "Monotheistic".  Neither can it be called polytheistic.  He wishes to maintain Christianity simply as the revelation of God through Jesus Christ. He gives reasons why Christianity cannot be strictly considered as "Monotheistic", which can be read here:

http://www.georgebebawi.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/churchhistses4.doc

Of course, in his defense, he has said that the OT prophets used Monotheism as a way to combat the sinful polytheism.  Nevertheless, he is quoted as saying that Monotheism is "blasphemous".  I would like to hear what other EOs and OOs would like to think.

I would sort of agree with him. If the term mono-theistic is alright, then there should be no reason why the Coptic church objects to the term Monophysite. We believe in one God of three persons. So, we believe in one hypo-stasis of 2 natures. Then why the distinction between being called Mia-Physite rather than Mono-physite.

We reach a problem. Either Monophysite is a permissible name, comparable to Miaphysite, or, there is a difference between Mono and Mia. The way a friend of mine explained it is that the word Mono means single. Technically, we Christians do not believe in a single God. We believe in a triune God. the fact that something is triune does not contradict the fact that it is one. So, the trinity CAN be triune and one at the same time. However, being triune versus being single is a contradiction. To say that God is single, is to deny that he is triune. Thus, Mono-theism can be considered a heresy.

I hope that made even a little sense. It sure did in my head.

ReturnOrthodoxy
Logged

Pre-Passion: Let's eat, Jesus!
Post-Passion: Let's eat Jesus!
Cognomen
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Phyletism Rules, OK
Posts: 1,968


Ungrateful Biped


« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2012, 12:36:33 AM »

Edited out my lengthy, tangential reply to Gorazd.  Suffice it to say that I believe there is ample evidence for cruelty in the Bible (although we do not believe it is cruelty).

But somewhat more on topic, I fail to see how God being triune would affect whether He is cruel or not.  Unless of course, it was an offhand comment/observation that I've taken way too seriously.

Back to the interesting on-topic discussion.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2012, 12:49:17 AM by Cognomen » Logged

North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).
Gorazd
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul and Chambésy
Posts: 1,958



« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2012, 12:40:04 AM »

I guess Orthodoxy (both OO and EO) is miatheistic, rather than monotheistic. We believe in one God, but that one God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Just like miaphysites believe in one nature, but that one nature is divine and human.
Logged
ReturnOrthodoxy
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Alexandria
Posts: 46



« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2012, 12:49:06 AM »

I guess Orthodoxy (both OO and EO) is miatheistic, rather than monotheistic. We believe in one God, but that one God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Just like miaphysites believe in one nature, but that one nature is divine and human.

That is my exact point. God is not three, he is one so we are not polytheistic. God is not single, he is triune, we are not monotheistic. We can call ourselves "miatheistic" but that just gets annoying lol
Logged

Pre-Passion: Let's eat, Jesus!
Post-Passion: Let's eat Jesus!
Cognomen
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Phyletism Rules, OK
Posts: 1,968


Ungrateful Biped


« Reply #26 on: September 13, 2012, 12:51:23 AM »

We can call ourselves "miatheistic" but that just gets annoying lol

Agreed!
Logged

North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,742


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2012, 08:00:08 PM »

That's a slippery slope.  Miatheism is weak.  Why we say "Miaphysitism" and not "Monophysitism" is to show that there are distinguishable elements of the united hypostasis of Christ, i.e. humanity and divinity, unity of two "physes."  But with Miatheism, one has to say there are elements of a united Godhead, unity of three Gods.  Almost a "Tritheism."  It is why the Church fathers used terms like "persons" or "hypostases" to stay away from any idea that they believe in more than One God.

We shouldn't be afraid of the term "Monotheism."  To Dr. George, Monotheism has three "downfalls:"

1.  A sense of anonymity, i.e. inability to identify God.
2.  A sense of negativity, i.e. negating other "gods" around it.
3.  Soleness does not have a relationship in it, and does not lead to a relationship with us.

However, what Dr. George seems to reject, I seem to accept TO A CERTAIN DEGREE.  Without those three characteristics, to me, we may become "Pantheists," like Hinduism.  But at the same time, we do not want to strictly judge God by these three characteristics as in Deism, or Islamic Monotheism.  Let me take each of his criticisms of Monotheism one by one, and talk about them:

1.  Anonymity:  Dr. George referenced Matthew 26:51, where it is mentioned "one of Jesus's followers" cut the ear off.  Who is this "one"?  Of course, we know through the gospel of John it's St. Peter, but taken with this gospel alone, we don't really know.  It's a sign of anonymity.  Nevertheless, while I agree with Dr. George we are not like Islam at all, where there's no chance of knowing God in His identity, nevertheless, it is a central belief in theology we do not know God by His essence.  Therefore, to a certain degree, God is still anonymous.  Only the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit know each other by essence, but we know them by divine grace, and especially even more intimately through the Son Incarnate, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

2.  Negativity:  Dr. George references the Old Testament practice to cure Judaism from the sins of polytheism.  In other words, all other gods are false gods, "I am the Lord your God, ye shall have no other gods besides me."  Of course, later on, right before the incarnation of Christ, it seems the Jews finally had a sense that the other gods do not even exist anyway.  It's understood that Jews went from "Henotheism" to "Monotheism" later in life.  Indeed, if we were to continue to be "Henotheistic," I would agree that this is a sense of negativity.  What good is there to disprove other gods, and yet not talk about your very own God?  So, I sympathize with Dr. George in that keen observation.  Nevertheless, it is not something that we ignore.  Rather than calling it "negativity," I'd rather call it "exclusivity."  And indeed, our God is exclusive.  He is the One True God, and no other gods exist but Him.  He exists in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, it is necessary that when mentioning the Trinity as the True God, and Christianity, the True religion, it is in essence implying exclusivity to itself, negating all other religions around it.  When Christ said, "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE.  NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME," Christ in essence has negated anything else but Him, and has made Himself, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, exclusive.  Therefore, I cannot deny this characteristic that bothers Dr. George either.

3.  Relationship:  Dr. George said that God never said "I AM One," rather God said "I AM WHO I AM."  But that really isn't saying much to me.  Yes, I agree, if you put yourself alone, as a sole figure, there is no relationship in you, and you cut yourself from others.  But God said something much more profound than "I AM One."  He described His nature, His eternity.  Christ described His eternity as well, "Before Abraham was, I AM."  This was blasphemy to the Jews, who wished to stone Him, making Himself equal to God in His eternity.  But while they were blind to see Christ as who He is, the Incarnate I AM, they're not incorrect in their thinking that any human being cannot have the same essence as the Godhead.  Therefore, I think this is a valid point even in the Christian understanding of God, for just as we cannot know God in His essence, we also cannot have a relationship with God in His essence.  It is all through grace, and again, in a much more intimate form through the incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity.

So in conclusion, what Dr. George is describing as the downfalls of Monotheism is to me, not at all downfalls.  If taken to its extreme, then yes, these would be downfalls.  Nevertheless, they are still essential characteristics of the Godhead, and thus, rightly defining Christian theology as essentially Monotheistic based upon these three characteristics of Monotheism that Dr. George doesn't seem to appreciate.  If it was up to me, this is how I would consider it:

1.  God is indeed anonymous in His essence, but contradictory to Islam, He is known by grace, and revealed in Christ.
2.  God is indeed negating all other religions around Him, but more importantly, our love and faith to God especially by grace and in Christ, becomes exclusive.
3.  God is indeed incommunicable in His essence, but contradictory to Islam, we can partake of His divine nature by grace, and in a much more intimate way through Christ.

In conclusion, I believe it is necessary to say Christianity is indeed Monotheistic, but contradictory to Islam, it is also PanENtheistic.

Now I know it may seem like I "refuted" Dr. George, but actually, more than anything, I simply wanted to show perhaps how semantical he has become in this particular argument.  I think this would be one thing that would be quite hurtful for his reputation for those who especially enjoy assassinating his character.  One can see that his choice of words may be just scratching the surface as to see why people in the Coptic Church had problems with him.  Now, I've listened to enough of Dr. Bebawi's lectures to find him very edifying, and I will repeat this, so that I stand out from others who wish to jump to conclusions and call him a heretic.  Nevertheless, he is not without fault in this, even if the essence of his rejection of Monotheism is not heretical.

There's still more in this same lecture to talk about on this same subject of Monotheism.  For instance, one person asked him, "Well, George, would you say we have 3 Gods then?" And Dr. George's answer shocked me, where he pretty much said and I'm paraphrasing, not really quoting verbatim here, "Unlike other Christians, I'm not afraid to say 3 Gods, but of course this is a poor choice of words.  I'd rather say 3 persons."  

In addition, Dr. George in this same lecture also seems to hold an Augustinian view of the Trinity, which I don't see as erroneous in my humble opinion, but limited.  In essence, for those of you who do not know what the Augustinian view of the Trinity is, it is that the Holy Spirit is the reciprocation of love between the Father and the Son.  In another lecture, Week 5, Dr. George even recommends his students to read St. Augustine's work on the Trinity, as he finds it quite a profound and beautiful summation of the doctrine of the Trinity, which I know will make some "anti-Augustinian" Orthodox cry foul.  Again, I'm not condemning Dr. George of heresy, but his poor choice of wording as well as his choice of literature on the Trinity that is conflicts with many Orthodox Christian's choices of writing.

There is more in this particular lecture, but I'll stop here, as I've written too much.  But these are my worthless opinions on the matter, and I'd appreciate it if anyone tells me what they think, and if I erred anywhere.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,742


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2012, 08:05:57 PM »

Dr. George is a member of the Russian Orthodox church. The Coptic church is often incorrect in the light with which it portrays those who disagree with their heirarchs. Dr. Bebawi is a genius of his time, and a true theologian.

I read an article by a church member (can't seem to find it at the time) which said that "George has joined the Anglican church in Russia." I literally fell on the floor laughing. Hid teachings are sound, and dependable. "Excommunication of the self" is a funny term. This means that the church excommunicated him. The church did this without a trial of him, or his teachings.

Has anyone read this?

This journal is also very interesting. I recommend it. It is worth the read.

ReturnOrthodoxy

Yes, but that doesn't mean Dr. George wasn't in communion with the Anglican Church.  It seems like he repeatedly does not deny this in his lectures posted online, and in fact, even says he was a chaplain of the Anglican Church for quite some time, probably before entering the Russian Orthodox Church.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,742


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #29 on: September 13, 2012, 08:18:12 PM »

I also want to add, in addition to my long post, if I had one question to Dr. George, I would probably ask him, "Aren't you invalidating apophatic theology, and exclusively describing God in terms of cataphatic theology"?
« Last Edit: September 13, 2012, 08:34:22 PM by minasoliman » Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
Gorazd
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul and Chambésy
Posts: 1,958



« Reply #30 on: September 14, 2012, 06:56:43 AM »

Was Dr. George "excommunicated" from the Coptic Church, or did he separate from it himself by joining the Anglicans?
Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,742


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #31 on: September 14, 2012, 08:34:35 AM »

Was Dr. George "excommunicated" from the Coptic Church, or did he separate from it himself by joining the Anglicans?
It's one of those funny situations as ReturnOrthodoxy mentioned.  The Holy Synod got together in a grand meeting to sign that Dr. George "excommunicated himself" when joining the Anglican Church. Perhaps they wanted to get together and say that he no longer speaks for the Coptic Church.  Nevertheless the action of the Synod made it look like an official excommunication.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
ReturnOrthodoxy
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Alexandria
Posts: 46



« Reply #32 on: September 14, 2012, 10:35:15 AM »

Hey, minasoliman,

Let me start by saying thanks for that long reply. It is clear that you are well educated about this matter, and that makes for an easier discussion, since it will not be based solely on the fact that our current synod dislikes him. It is good to be around people who look for the truth themselves.

I certainly cannot justify everything by Dr. George. But I can try to clarify what he means. Also, I will be attending a lecture by him on October 8. He will be in one of my local universities, so I will try to attend, and hopefully ask some questions regarding these matters.

Quote
That's a slippery slope.  Miatheism is weak.  Why we say "Miaphysitism" and not "Monophysitism" is to show that there are distinguishable elements of the united hypostasis of Christ, i.e. humanity and divinity, unity of two "physes."  But with Miatheism, one has to say there are elements of a united Godhead, unity of three Gods.  Almost a "Tritheism."  It is why the Church fathers used terms like "persons" or "hypostases" to stay away from any idea that they believe in more than One God.

And why Dr. George wants to remove monotheism, is because he also wants to distinguish between the elements (persons) of the trinity. I guess he wants to stay away from sabellianism in which all three and nothing more than revelations of the same one. It may also be a rejection of islamic monotheism. It may be an extreme point, but it certainly does not seem like an incorrect one. It seems like Dr. George is used to making extreme statements which, though not incorrect, put people on edge. He doesn't seem to mind that. It then seems to come back to the idea that mono means "single" rather than "one." I have NEVER believed in a single God, but in a triune one. In this case, Dr. George is absolutely correct. Like I said before, we cannot use "one" and "single" interchangeably. He is against calling God "single." I would agree with him.

Quote
Anonymity:  Dr. George referenced Matthew 26:51, where it is mentioned "one of Jesus's followers" cut the ear off.  Who is this "one"?  Of course, we know through the gospel of John it's St. Peter, but taken with this gospel alone, we don't really know.  It's a sign of anonymity.  Nevertheless, while I agree with Dr. George we are not like Islam at all, where there's no chance of knowing God in His identity, nevertheless, it is a central belief in theology we do not know God by His essence.  Therefore, to a certain degree, God is still anonymous.  Only the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit know each other by essence, but we know them by divine grace, and especially even more intimately through the Son Incarnate, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dr. George is simply fighting the Islamic idea of God within the Coptic church here. Dr. George was excommunicated for speaking about theosis. To him, this is to say that the church believes that God is distant. He want to say that God is not unknowable, athough he cannot be encapsulated. It comes back to the idea of theoria, or vision of God. We see him, but not in completion. There is no sense of this in Islam. He is trying to say that God is not distant and neither is he an idea, but he is a real person, who is relational to his children. Maybe he is extreme, but again, his main point is clear, and seems to be agreeable.

Quote
Therefore, it is necessary that when mentioning the Trinity as the True God, and Christianity, the True religion, it is in essence implying exclusivity to itself, negating all other religions around it.  When Christ said, "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE.  NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME," Christ in essence has negated anything else but Him, and has made Himself, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, exclusive.  Therefore, I cannot deny this characteristic that bothers Dr. George either.

Great! But I feel this is a matter of wording. You, in that quote of our savior, have shown that Christ made himself exclusive, rather than tell others that they are following falsehoods. There is nothing wrong with saying that Jesus is the only way, but there is certainly something wrong with saying "Jesus is better then Allah, Baal, and whoever else.) The idea is that they don't even exist. So I would agree with you that the idea is we should retain exclusivity, and I don't think that Dr. George would disagree that we only have one God, and He is the only way to salvation.

Quote
Relationship:  Dr. George said that God never said "I AM One," rather God said "I AM WHO I AM."  But that really isn't saying much to me.  Yes, I agree, if you put yourself alone, as a sole figure, there is no relationship in you, and you cut yourself from others.  But God said something much more profound than "I AM One."  He described His nature, His eternity.  Christ described His eternity as well, "Before Abraham was, I AM."  This was blasphemy to the Jews, who wished to stone Him, making Himself equal to God in His eternity.  But while they were blind to see Christ as who He is, the Incarnate I AM, they're not incorrect in their thinking that any human being cannot have the same essence as the Godhead.  Therefore, I think this is a valid point even in the Christian understanding of God, for just as we cannot know God in His essence, we also cannot have a relationship with God in His essence.  It is all through grace, and again, in a much more intimate form through the incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity.

I agree completely, and I don't think Dr. George would disagree with you either. You have not conflicted much of what he says, but have only clarified (thank you for that clarification). So I cannot say Dr. George is wrong, but rather, that as a theologian of the highest degree, he needs someone who understands what he is trying to say (like you). He certainly cannot teach sunday school lol, but he is a great theologian. There are some underlying principles which he assumes his listeners understand, and if they have those underlying views, then what he says s not problematic in the least.

Quote
Now I know it may seem like I "refuted" Dr. George, but actually, more than anything, I simply wanted to show perhaps how semantical he has become in this particular argument.  I think this would be one thing that would be quite hurtful for his reputation for those who especially enjoy assassinating his character.  One can see that his choice of words may be just scratching the surface as to see why people in the Coptic Church had problems with him.  Now, I've listened to enough of Dr. Bebawi's lectures to find him very edifying, and I will repeat this, so that I stand out from others who wish to jump to conclusions and call him a heretic.  Nevertheless, he is not without fault in this, even if the essence of his rejection of Monotheism is not heretical.

Yes, it seems to me that is one fault is his wordiness, and his desire to confuse people who are already against him. Rather than try to explain himself, he would rather get someone else to misunderstand him, then fight that person, and attack him for not understanding properly. This doesn't seem right, but he is by no means a heretic. He is angry, and this anger manifests itself dangerously. But can you blame him? There is not a day in the Coptic church when he is not called a heretic, though he is a genius. That causes anger. The poor man....

Quote
1.  God is indeed anonymous in His essence, but contradictory to Islam, He is known by grace, and revealed in Christ.
2.  God is indeed negating all other religions around Him, but more importantly, our love and faith to God especially by grace and in Christ, becomes exclusive.
3.  God is indeed incommunicable in His essence, but contradictory to Islam, we can partake of His divine nature by grace, and in a much more intimate way through Christ.

I agree. I will try to get  moment with Dr. George, and show him this, and see if we are understanding him correctly.

Regarding the trinity, would you mind finding a link and a time where I can hear this? Not that I don't trust you, just want to hear for myself, and listen to the context and everything.

God Bless,

RetrunOrthodoxy
Logged

Pre-Passion: Let's eat, Jesus!
Post-Passion: Let's eat Jesus!
ReturnOrthodoxy
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Alexandria
Posts: 46



« Reply #33 on: September 14, 2012, 10:41:55 AM »

Dr. George is a member of the Russian Orthodox church. The Coptic church is often incorrect in the light with which it portrays those who disagree with their heirarchs. Dr. Bebawi is a genius of his time, and a true theologian.

I read an article by a church member (can't seem to find it at the time) which said that "George has joined the Anglican church in Russia." I literally fell on the floor laughing. Hid teachings are sound, and dependable. "Excommunication of the self" is a funny term. This means that the church excommunicated him. The church did this without a trial of him, or his teachings.

Has anyone read this?

This journal is also very interesting. I recommend it. It is worth the read.

ReturnOrthodoxy

Yes, but that doesn't mean Dr. George wasn't in communion with the Anglican Church.  It seems like he repeatedly does not deny this in his lectures posted online, and in fact, even says he was a chaplain of the Anglican Church for quite some time, probably before entering the Russian Orthodox Church.

Him not denying it, is not confirmation that it is true. Also, he was the chaplain of a school of the Anglican church. But if you read the letter by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, he clarifies this point. In any case, whether he was or was not Anglican, he is currently Russian Orthodox.

In my opinion, the excommunication was not valid because Dr. George was not given a chance to stand before a trial. That is pitiful. It is an act against the canons of the church, but to be honest, the past synod has often acted against the canons, and has eradicated anyone that posed the slightest threat to them. Dr. George was a victim. Still, if you excommunicate a true theologian, calling him a heretic, it doesn't say much about the theologian (he is correct independent of how he is view) but it does day a lot about the person who excommunicated the truth. This doesn't seem nice, I know, but poor George has been treated so poorly, and by his own fathers, that it sent him into a frenzy. We could have had him lead the theology of the Coptic church back to safety, and we let him go, preferring rather to be lead by psuedo-evangelical clergy influenced by Islam.

ReturnOrthodoxy
Logged

Pre-Passion: Let's eat, Jesus!
Post-Passion: Let's eat Jesus!
Gorazd
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul and Chambésy
Posts: 1,958



« Reply #34 on: September 14, 2012, 10:59:25 AM »

Dr. George was excommunicated for speaking about theosis.
I am really not convinced of this. We know that there is a problem with theosis denial in the Coptic Church. But as I understand it now, the Coptic Church just made it clear that joining or becoming a chaplain in the Anglican Church means separating yourself from the Coptic Church.

Father Matta al-Maskeen, the Coptic campion of Theosis in our time, died in good standing in the Coptic Church, even though his person relation to Pope Shenouda was not the best.
Logged
ReturnOrthodoxy
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Alexandria
Posts: 46



« Reply #35 on: September 14, 2012, 11:07:34 AM »

Quote from: Gorazd
Father Matta al-Maskeen, the Coptic campion of Theosis in our time, died in good standing in the Coptic Church, even though his person relation to Pope Shenouda was not the best.

No he wasn't! He died one of the most hated men by the synod. The reason why they couldn't touch Abouna Matta was that they knew it would cause a schism if they excommunicated him.

Did you read the two things above I posted. This stuff becomes clear if you read them.

ReturnOrthodoxy
Logged

Pre-Passion: Let's eat, Jesus!
Post-Passion: Let's eat Jesus!
Gorazd
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul and Chambésy
Posts: 1,958



« Reply #36 on: September 14, 2012, 11:47:19 AM »

"In good standing" means not excommunicated, defrocked, banned from serving or whatever. That does not prevent Fr. Matta from being personally disliked by the, let's say, non-patristic circles in the Coptic Church.

I think Dr. George was not formally condemnded for heresy (or was he?), only for schism. And indeed, the Church of England is not in communion with Oriental Orthodoxy.

I am glad he finally was received into the EO Church though. While I was living in Egypt for a few months, I have met several former Copts who had become EO. They all shared a great love for the Holy Fathers, both those of the early Church and Fr. Matta, and they all wanted to attain theosis. Unfortunately, some of them were quite bitter about the Coptic Church.

Another interesting case is Fr. Athanasios Henein, former rector of the Coptic parish of Athens. As I understand it, he who was defrocked in the Coptic Church, probably by Met. Bishoy, under mysterious circumstances. He went on to join the Church of Greece (EO) and to talk a lot about the "evil monophysitism" in the Coptic Church.
Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,742


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #37 on: September 14, 2012, 10:10:52 PM »

Yes, it seems to me that is one fault is his wordiness, and his desire to confuse people who are already against him. Rather than try to explain himself, he would rather get someone else to misunderstand him, then fight that person, and attack him for not understanding properly. This doesn't seem right, but he is by no means a heretic. He is angry, and this anger manifests itself dangerously. But can you blame him? There is not a day in the Coptic church when he is not called a heretic, though he is a genius. That causes anger. The poor man....

I think this sums up it pretty well.  I agree with this.

Quote
Regarding the trinity, would you mind finding a link and a time where I can hear this? Not that I don't trust you, just want to hear for myself, and listen to the context and everything.

The same exact link I provided, and click on the Week 4 lecture.  It's about 2 hours, which I listen to as I'm driving, in 30 min intervals as I'm on my way to work, and coming back.  I know it's too much to listen to, but it's in there.  When I talk about another lecture, I'll link it, but the issue of the Augustinian view of the Trinity or his side note about "3 gods" is in the same exact lecture I'm talking about.

--Mina

PS Which university do you go to that Dr. George is going to visit?
« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 10:14:18 PM by minasoliman » Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,742


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #38 on: September 14, 2012, 11:00:04 PM »

Just an added sense of the issue of the word "One" with Dr. George, the Old Testament quote of "the Lord is One", the Hebrew "Akhad" was the same word used in Genesis, where Adam and Eve are two flesh that become "One," or "Akhad."  Therefore, this Akhad was never meant to be sole, but to be a unity.  I find that fascinating, but I wonder if anyone with good Hebrew knowledge can confirm this.

To finish off the Week 4 teachings, the rest of the things he espouses are less controversial.  For instance, he rejects the translation that Christ "became sin."  He said it's more accurate to say he became a "sin offering."  Nevertheless, I'm not sure if this agrees with the Church fathers.  For instance, St. Cyril of Alexandria had to refute one of the Nestorian arguments on the word "became", where Nestorius pretty much said God became man is the same way as it is told He became sin, so as not to confuse divinity and humanity.

Quote from: That Christ is One
B. The Divine Paul writes (they say) of the Son as having BEEN MADE both curse and sin: for he says, Him that knew not sin He made for our sakes sin, and again, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, MADE for our sakes a curse. They say that He was not MADE actual curse and sin, but the holy Scripture is indicating hereby something else: thus they say that And the Word WAS MADE flesh is conceived of by us.

A. And verily as in saying that He WAS MADE a curse and sin, so this that He WAS MADE flesh introduces with it and has in its horizon the conception of what follows thereupon.

B. How say you? for when one says of Him, He that knows not sin has BEEN MADE sin for us, and has bought from the curse of the law also them who were under the law, MADE for their sakes a curse, how should one doubt that this is in the times wherein the Only-Begotten was Incarnate and MADE man?

A. It introduces therefore with the mention of the Incarnation the things too that on account thereof are economically brought upon Him Who underwent the voluntary emptying, as are hunger and weariness. For as He would not have been wearied Whose is all might, neither would He have been said to hunger, Himself the Food and life of all, had He not made His own the body whose nature it is to hunger and be weary: so neither would He ever have been numbered among transgressors (for thus do we say that He WAS MADE sin), He would not have been MADE a curse, enduring the cross for our sakes, had He not been MADE flesh, i. e., been Incarnate and made man, enduring generation like ours in human wise, that I mean through the holy Virgin.

B. I assent, for you deem aright.

A. It is without understanding another respects too to think and to say that the Word was in such sort MADE flesh as He WAS MADE a curse and sin.

B.  What way do you mean?

A. Was He not accursed that He might undo the curse and did not the Father make Him sin that He might end sin?

B. Thus do they too say.

A.   Therefore if it is true, as it is understood by them to mean rightly, that the Word has in such sort been MADE flesh, as He has been MADE both curse and sin; i. e. to the destruction of the flesh; how will He render it incorruptible and indestructible, as having achieved this in His own Flesh first? for He did not leave it to remain mortal and under decay, Adam transmitting to us the punishment for the transgression, but rather as the flesh of the uncorruptible God, Own and His, rendered it superior to death and to decay.

B.  You say well.

Again, I don't think this is a big issue, since whether it says "become sin" or "become sin offering" (2 Cor. 5:21), it's not something I think I disagree with.  But because some in the Coptic Church have upheld strictly to the words of Scripture, this may also have been a reason of dissent.

Around this time he also does not accept the idea that the Father turned away from the Son at the crucifixion, describing it as a 14th-15th century belief.  I think we can all agree with that.  This is a scholastic belief.  Nevertheless, you'd be surprised to see that even Fr. Matta al Maskeen seemed to have believed it too  Shocked :

I got to know the measure of the pain you experienced; the tears, the broken heart, and the fear of what was about to happen. You were forsaken by the Father. It was His will to abandon You, a beloved Son of the Father.

Indeed, I got to know, I was convinced, and the mystery was revealed to me:

Your Father made You bear the full weight of all the sins of mankind, though You were innocent of them all. From the very beginning, in the eternal council chamber of the Father, You accepted the responsibility of bearing them. Because of this, You submitted to the incarnation, and bore it according to Your will and Your Father's will.

It's amazing that such language can get through even in someone who is admired by Dr. George.  It's something that Dr. George has combatted, especially when considering the idea that Christ came and bore the wrath of God, because that itself Dr. George also condemns, and yet Abouna Matta seems to contemplate on it in this prayer essay.

At the same time right after that issue with "became sin", Dr. George said that the word "punishment" is not found anywhere in the New Testament.  Even if true, I would say that punishment is implied, especially in the end times, or in those who lived unrighteous lives, or in His famous "woes" sermon.  How can that be ignored.  It's as if one argues with a Jehovah's Witness, who says that the word "Trinity" is not in the Bible.  Please correct me if I'm wrong here.

Nevertheless, Dr. George makes a very intuitive statement on the theology of salvation in the history of the Church.  He believes that theology in the history of the Church has never really been freed from the politics of its time.  He wishes to remove "punishment" from theology, not at the expense of discipline, since that is a characteristic of love and mercy.  But if you do introduce "punishment," he questions, where do we cross the line?  So, he hammers down the central goal of God in John 3:16, "for God so loved the world."

In any sense, scholasticism has been somewhat embraced by many Copts, which is understandable in the controversy with Dr. George as well.  Dr. George seems to take the "River of Fire" approach to Soteriology, whereas some Copts have taken a strict scholastic approach.  What is really true, in my humble opinion, is a complimentary view of juridical and ontological approaches in God, and not something where it puts both analogies in contradiction to one another.  I think that's another reason why Dr. George had issues with Copts (especially HE Metropolitan Bishoy), where both sides were unable to listen to one another in a dialogue to understand one another.

So this should pretty much cover Week 4 lecture.  I'm open to discussion for a couple of days on this before we move on to Week 5, which I think will be quick.

PS His "3 Gods" reference can be listened to starting 1:42:00.  The Monotheism issue starts at 1:10:00, and the Soteriological talks start at around 50:00 and goes on for about 10 minutes.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 11:09:59 PM by minasoliman » Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
Gorazd
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul and Chambésy
Posts: 1,958



« Reply #39 on: September 15, 2012, 09:26:33 AM »

Just an added sense of the issue of the word "One" with Dr. George, the Old Testament quote of "the Lord is One", the Hebrew "Akhad" was the same word used in Genesis, where Adam and Eve are two flesh that become "One," or "Akhad."  Therefore, this Akhad was never meant to be sole, but to be a unity.  I find that fascinating, but I wonder if anyone with good Hebrew knowledge can confirm this.
Echad is the regular word for one in Hebrew, similar to Greek eis (female form: mia). It can indeed describe a complex unity, for example in Genesis one, evening and morning are described as "one day".

Sole, in the sense of Greek "monos" would be "yachid" in Hebrew.


Quote from: minasoliman
What is really true, in my humble opinion, is a complimentary view of juridical and ontological approaches in God, and not something where it puts both analogies in contradiction to one another.
To some degree, I agree. There are some hints at a juridicial view in the Fathers (maybe we should open another thread to look at them in detail). But we must be careful not to confuse this with Anselmianism. The Fathers never taught that an angry or wrathful God the Father had to be appeased.
Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,742


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #40 on: September 15, 2012, 09:34:40 AM »

Just an added sense of the issue of the word "One" with Dr. George, the Old Testament quote of "the Lord is One", the Hebrew "Akhad" was the same word used in Genesis, where Adam and Eve are two flesh that become "One," or "Akhad."  Therefore, this Akhad was never meant to be sole, but to be a unity.  I find that fascinating, but I wonder if anyone with good Hebrew knowledge can confirm this.
Echad is the regular word for one in Hebrew, similar to Greek eis (female form: mia). It can indeed describe a complex unity, for example in Genesis one, evening and morning are described as "one day".

Sole, in the sense of Greek "monos" would be "yachid" in Hebrew.

Interesting.  What is the Jewish concept of God today?  Do they consider God a unity, an "echad", or are they like Islam, a sole entity, a "yachid"?

Quote from: minasoliman
What is really true, in my humble opinion, is a complimentary view of juridical and ontological approaches in God, and not something where it puts both analogies in contradiction to one another.
To some degree, I agree. There are some hints at a juridicial view in the Fathers (maybe we should open another thread to look at them in detail). But we must be careful not to confuse this with Anselmianism. The Fathers never taught that an angry or wrathful God the Father had to be appeased.

Indeed, I don't want to get too deep into this discussion, so I agree, this should be a different thread on its own.  Just wanted to present another side into the possible controversies Dr. George had to deal with when still in the Coptic Church.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2012, 09:36:19 AM by minasoliman » Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
Gorazd
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul and Chambésy
Posts: 1,958



« Reply #41 on: September 15, 2012, 10:07:50 AM »

Interesting.  What is the Jewish concept of God today?  Do they consider God a unity, an "echad", or are they like Islam, a sole entity, a "yachid"?
Well, they use both "echad" (one) and "yachid" to describe God. In fact, during the middle ages, Maimonides (also known as the Rambam or Musa bin Maimum), who was both an Arab philosopher and a Jewish theologian, fixed the 13 principles of Jewish faith, which are widely accepted until today.

Here is the list in English:
http://www.mesora.org/13principles.html
See the second point, he is basically copying the Muslim definition.
Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,742


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #42 on: September 15, 2012, 10:59:44 AM »

Very interesting.  This contradicts precisely Dr. George's definition of the Hebrew "One."  I wonder if one RO can bring it up to Dr. George and ask him what he thinks of Maimonides.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
ReturnOrthodoxy
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Alexandria
Posts: 46



« Reply #43 on: September 15, 2012, 11:03:33 AM »

I will certainly bring it up if I get to go one on one with him.

The question is why would the Jewish understanding of God matter? They are monotheistic. Christ has revealed the Holy Trinity to us in an explicit way.

There is a lot of good discussion here that I want to chyme into, but for now, I have some Organic chemistry to study. Ill be back later.

Pray for me

RO

Logged

Pre-Passion: Let's eat, Jesus!
Post-Passion: Let's eat Jesus!
Gorazd
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul and Chambésy
Posts: 1,958



« Reply #44 on: September 15, 2012, 06:12:07 PM »

My understanding: Echad just means one. In the OT, of course, we can give numerous examples of that word describing a complex unity. Also Judaism before Christ had a way of speaking about God that was closer to Orthodox Christianity than to later Judaism, which rejected Christ.

The Book of Baruch (in the Septuagint, but rejected by Jews after Chtist) says: "3:35-37 This is our God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of him. He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob his servant, and to Israel his beloved. Afterward did he shew himself upon earth, and conversed with men." Then, later, Philo of Alexandria spoke of the divine Logos in such an impressive way that St. Jogn the Evangelist used his terminology to spoke about Christ.

But of course, when Christ was rejected (and many Jews accepted him also, let's not forget that), there needed to be some theoretical base for that. And that was a hard monotheism. Explaining this hard monotheism in terms of Muslim philosophy came just right for Maimonides, after all he could also prove thereby that he is a loyal subject to the Muslim rulers, and his religion fits the Muslim definition of the "People of the Book".
Logged
Tags: George Bebawi  George H. Bebawi  George H Bebawi  Bebawi 
Pages: 1 2 »  All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.155 seconds with 72 queries.