Author Topic: Epectasis !  (Read 777 times)

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Offline Феофан

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Epectasis !
« on: December 13, 2012, 05:45:14 PM »
Quote from: Fr. Mark Hodges
The Greek word, epectasis, conveys this Orthodox view.  It means “eternal stretching or straining forward.”  Jon Soellner explains, “Epectasis is used to describe man in heaven.  The idea is that man never stops changing, moving or growing even in the age to come.  We are constantly growing in communion with God.  God is limitless and His love can never be extinguished... Such is God’s love for us.  As St Irenaeus said, ‘God always has more to teach us and we always have more to learn.’  St Gregory of Nyssa received this revelation: that even in heaven man is constantly growing and changing.  There is no stagnation in heaven.  We are constantly growing in love with God."
I was surprised a search of the forum yielded nothing about epectasis. Do you think it's an essential or indispensable orthodox truth?  If so it would have important implications (in my opinion).  For instance, I won't get it completely right in this life time (or even the next!) no matter what I do or don't do.  However close I get to God, He might remain infinitely beyond me.  No matter how much the Holy Spirit may fill my heart that amount might always be relatively nothing compared to the infinite amount more there is to receive.  My heart might ache forever more and more, but not in a bad way, more like the herald of perpetually immanent and increasing good!  
« Last Edit: December 13, 2012, 06:09:07 PM by Theophan_C »
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Offline Nephi

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Re: Epectasis !
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2012, 01:13:28 AM »
Quote from: Fr. Mark Hodges
The Greek word, epectasis, conveys this Orthodox view.  It means “eternal stretching or straining forward.”  Jon Soellner explains, “Epectasis is used to describe man in heaven.  The idea is that man never stops changing, moving or growing even in the age to come.  We are constantly growing in communion with God.  God is limitless and His love can never be extinguished... Such is God’s love for us.  As St Irenaeus said, ‘God always has more to teach us and we always have more to learn.’  St Gregory of Nyssa received this revelation: that even in heaven man is constantly growing and changing.  There is no stagnation in heaven.  We are constantly growing in love with God."
I was surprised a search of the forum yielded nothing about epectasis. Do you think it's an essential or indispensable orthodox truth?  If so it would have important implications (in my opinion).  For instance, I won't get it completely right in this life time (or even the next!) no matter what I do or don't do.  However close I get to God, He might remain infinitely beyond me.  No matter how much the Holy Spirit may fill my heart that amount might always be relatively nothing compared to the infinite amount more there is to receive.  My heart might ache forever more and more, but not in a bad way, more like the herald of perpetually immanent and increasing good!  
I've never heard the word "epectasis," but I've always heard that definition explained alongside theosis.

I think it makes sense. After all, God is an infinite being. Yet we're called to grow in communion with him. So we're going to infinitely grow in communion with him.

Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Epectasis !
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2012, 05:49:55 AM »
It's an interesting word and in deep contrast with some western views that postulate that after death Man becomes somehow "frozen", all his potentialities have been actualized in his lifetime and therefore, there is no change whatsoever.

Quote from: Fr. Mark Hodges
The Greek word, epectasis, conveys this Orthodox view.  It means “eternal stretching or straining forward.”  Jon Soellner explains, “Epectasis is used to describe man in heaven.  The idea is that man never stops changing, moving or growing even in the age to come.  We are constantly growing in communion with God.  God is limitless and His love can never be extinguished... Such is God’s love for us.  As St Irenaeus said, ‘God always has more to teach us and we always have more to learn.’  St Gregory of Nyssa received this revelation: that even in heaven man is constantly growing and changing.  There is no stagnation in heaven.  We are constantly growing in love with God."
I was surprised a search of the forum yielded nothing about epectasis. Do you think it's an essential or indispensable orthodox truth?  If so it would have important implications (in my opinion).  For instance, I won't get it completely right in this life time (or even the next!) no matter what I do or don't do.  However close I get to God, He might remain infinitely beyond me.  No matter how much the Holy Spirit may fill my heart that amount might always be relatively nothing compared to the infinite amount more there is to receive.  My heart might ache forever more and more, but not in a bad way, more like the herald of perpetually immanent and increasing good!  
I've never heard the word "epectasis," but I've always heard that definition explained alongside theosis.

I think it makes sense. After all, God is an infinite being. Yet we're called to grow in communion with him. So we're going to infinitely grow in communion with him.
Many energies, three persons, two natures, one God, one Church, one Baptism.

Offline Феофан

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Re: Epectasis
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2012, 04:52:15 PM »
I've been considering this endless and eternal longing for God and wonder if it partially explains why saints consider themselves the 'worst of sinners'?  Could it be because they have the closest relation to God and therefore perceive their relative unworthiness the most clearly?  After all, wouldn't any limitation seem unbearable if it were filled with the Unlimited?  But if this particular pain is endless why would that be a good thing?  Why would we want to experience endless pain?  Maybe it's because the longing or love experienced is actually the Holy Spirit's love in us for God?  Here's a quote supporting such a notion ...
Quote from: Fr. Dimitru Staniloae
Through grace the Spirit eliminates the distance between our 'I' and His 'I', creating between us and the Father through grace, the same relationship He has by nature with the Father and the Son.
Who wouldn't want to be involved in experiencing even the tiniest bit of this relation regardless of the cost (losing 'our' life perhaps) ?
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Offline Ruprecht

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Re: Epectasis !
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2012, 05:52:30 PM »
From 10th grade English, I will always remember the quote from Robert Browning:  “Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?”  Although the quote doesn't refer to striving for perfection after death, it does provide one with a reason for the search for theosis in this life.  It stuck with me, for 50 years!!

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Epectasis
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 02:34:52 PM »
..
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 02:35:58 PM by orthonorm »
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Epectasis
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2013, 02:35:39 PM »
Weird, my post got posted to the wrong thread!
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