Author Topic: Man intended to replace the angels who fell?  (Read 662 times)

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Offline Symeon77

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Man intended to replace the angels who fell?
« on: January 20, 2013, 03:47:06 PM »
Perhaps someone could point me to an existing thread dealing with this topic? I remember reading about this theolegoumenon somewhere but I can't remember where. Is it a teaching passed on via O.T. Apocalyptic? Does anyone know which Fathers have discussed this notion, and where?

Thanks in advance for any help with this,

Symeon
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Offline FlickFlack

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Re: Man intended to replace the angels who fell?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2013, 04:04:39 PM »
From Elder Paisios the Athonite?

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Offline Melodist

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Re: Man intended to replace the angels who fell?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2013, 10:36:50 PM »
Mankind is the height of creation, made in God's image and likeness, and having a soul in common with all of spiritual creation and a body in common with all of physical creation as a microcosm of all creation.

Everything Orthodox that I have ever read that describes human nature is summed up by the above. Mankind is not a "replacement" for anything else, but unique with it its own place in creation. The only place that I have ever personally read about mankind as a replacement for the fallen angels is as part of a Protestant teaching called the "gap theory" that is even considered heretical by most Protestants.

Just my experience.
And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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Offline Symeon77

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Re: Man intended to replace the angels who fell?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2013, 12:16:47 AM »
Granted, all of what you say is true; I am not in any way suggesting that this notion stands anywhere near the center of Orthodox anthropology. Simply trying to locate Patristic sources discussing this so as to perhaps ascertain in what sense they may or may not be harmonized with the tradition of the Church.

I did find a reference in St. Augustine's 'Enchiridion', Chapter 9 (NPNF Translation), online at:

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/augustine/enchiridion.chapter9.html

To wit:

CHAPTER IX. The Replacement of the Fallen Angels By Elect Men (28-30); The Necessity of Grace (30-32)
28. While some of the angels deserted God in impious pride and were cast into the lowest darkness from the brightness of their heavenly home, the remaining number of the angels persevered in eternal bliss and holiness with God. For these faithful angels were not descended from a single angel, lapsed and damned. Hence, the original evil did not bind them in the fetters of inherited guilt, nor did it hand the whole company over to a deserved punishment, as is the human lot. Instead, when he who became the devil first rose in rebellion with his impious company and was then with them prostrated, the rest of the angels stood fast in pious obedience to the Lord and so received what the others had not had—a sure knowledge of their everlasting security in his unfailing steadfastness.
29. Thus it pleased God, Creator and Governor of the universe, that since the whole multitude of the angels had not perished in this desertion of him, those who had perished would remain forever in perdition, but those who had remained loyal through the revolt should go on rejoicing in the certain knowledge of the bliss forever theirs. From the other part of the rational creation—that is, mankind—although it had perished as a whole through sins and punishments, both original and personal, God had determined that a portion of it would be restored and would fill up the loss which that diabolical disaster had caused in the angelic society. For this is the promise to the saints at the resurrection, that they shall be equal to the angels of God.


I think I can see how the above could be harmonized with Orthodoxy. There is nothing to suggest such a far-fetched notion that God created man for the purpose of replacing the ranks of fallen angels, nor does it seem to be a statement of anthropology generally. It seems more concerned with eschatology, for as the Lord Himself teaches us '[...] In the resurrection they shall neither marry nor be married; but shall be as the angels of God in heaven.' (Mt. 22:30)

I don't suppose St. Augustine is the only Father to discuss this?

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov alludes to Patristic sources for this in his 'Jacob's Ladder' (pp. 47-49; I quote from pp. 47-48) but, frustratingly, there are no citations given:

     'This is connected with a more general question: could not the devastation in the heavens which was produced by the fall of the angels be reflected in the destinies of the earthly world which in the fallen angels lost its guardian angels and received in their stead hostile hordes of demons? An answer to this question is sometimes given in patristic literature in the sense that humankind was created as it were to replenish the void that was formed after the angels' fall (which is why the number of humans, evidently, must correspond to the number of fallen angels, perhaps deducting those who do not participate in this replenishment because they are predestined to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels from the foundation of the world.) The creation of humankind is considered here to be the results of the angels' fall and is consequently in and of itself an ontological accident, the outcome of the shadow which fell on all creation after the angels' fall. If we talk this thought out to the very end it will turn out that there would be no humans if the angels had not fallen. Of course such a strange and barren concept would not correspond either to the sense of the biblical narrative in Genesis 1-2 or to the general fundaments of Christian anthropology and angelology. Although between heaven and earth a positive congruence exists, there remains at the same time an opposition; hence, the replacement of a part of one world by a part of the other world is generally an ontological misunderstanding. [...]'

Fr. Sergius is clearly referring to teachings beyond those of St. Augustine here. I am simply interested in discovering which 'patristic literature' this may refer to.

    
« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 12:18:02 AM by Symeon77 »
Where Christianity disappears, greed, envy, and lust invent a thousand ideologies to justify themselves.~ Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Abba Anthony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"

Offline Melodist

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Re: Man intended to replace the angels who fell?
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2013, 12:19:08 PM »
'This is connected with a more general question: could not the devastation in the heavens which was produced by the fall of the angels be reflected in the destinies of the earthly world which in the fallen angels lost its guardian angels and received in their stead hostile hordes of demons? An answer to this question is sometimes given in patristic literature in the sense that humankind was created as it were to replenish the void that was formed after the angels' fall (which is why the number of humans, evidently, must correspond to the number of fallen angels, perhaps deducting those who do not participate in this replenishment because they are predestined to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels from the foundation of the world.) The creation of humankind is considered here to be the results of the angels' fall and is consequently in and of itself an ontological accident, the outcome of the shadow which fell on all creation after the angels' fall. If we talk this thought out to the very end it will turn out that there would be no humans if the angels had not fallen. Of course such a strange and barren concept would not correspond either to the sense of the biblical narrative in Genesis 1-2 or to the general fundaments of Christian anthropology and angelology. Although between heaven and earth a positive congruence exists, there remains at the same time an opposition; hence, the replacement of a part of one world by a part of the other world is generally an ontological misunderstanding. [...]'

Fr. Sergius is clearly referring to teachings beyond those of St. Augustine here. I am simply interested in discovering which 'patristic literature' this may refer to.

I've never ran across it in anything Orthodox, perhaps soemone better read in the fathers might be familiar with what you're looking for.
And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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Offline IoanC

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Re: Man intended to replace the angels who fell?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 01:36:42 PM »
I've heard this theme often times. St. Laurentius of Chernigov said it. Elder Cleopa said it. Don't know where they got it from, but Elder Cleopa would only quote the Fathers and Saints. I've also heard from a different source that The Fathers said it.  

I believe it has to do with how things work out perfectly in God's plan. Nothing to do with humanity actually replacing the fallen angels themselves, but perhaps with good "defeating" evil. (not that it wants to, but it does work out that way)

Elder Cleopa also said that demons envy humans because of this. They feel that humans will have what they lost.

I don't think it means too much to humanity since nobody really tried to replace or defeat anybody. Evil defeats itself.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 01:38:04 PM by IoanC »

Offline IoanC

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Re: Man intended to replace the angels who fell?
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2013, 01:44:51 PM »
A question I would have is if humans complete the number of the fallen angels who will complete the number of fallen humans?

Offline Alpo

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Re: Man intended to replace the angels who fell?
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2013, 02:36:36 PM »
There's something beautiful in that idea that I'd like to believe that just because of that.

Offline JamesR

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Re: Man intended to replace the angels who fell?
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2013, 06:23:19 PM »
I thought that man is considered even greater than the Angels because we can be deified and were made in God's image and due to pride, some angels rebelled?
...Or it's just possible he's a mouthy young man on an internet forum.
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Man intended to replace the angels who fell?
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2013, 07:17:15 PM »
I thought that man is considered even greater than the Angels because we can be deified and were made in God's image and due to pride, some angels rebelled?

Scripture says that man was made "a little lower than the angels" (Ps. 8:5; Heb. 2:7), but some saints, such as St. Gregory Palamas, argued that man was higher than the angels. I don't recall what the reconciliation of these opposite views might have been.
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Offline FlickFlack

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Re: Man intended to replace the angels who fell?
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2013, 07:27:01 PM »
If you ask me this idea is perfid and corrupt. (the subject of the topic)

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Offline Symeon77

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Re: Man intended to replace the angels who fell?
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2013, 07:55:12 PM »
If you ask me this idea is perfid and corrupt. (the subject of the topic)




I didn't ask for an opinion, actually. Please refer to my original posts, where I clarify the purpose of my inquiry. And BTW, I think the word you are thinking of is 'perfidious.'?
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Abba Anthony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"

Offline jmbejdl

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Re: Man intended to replace the angels who fell?
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2013, 04:55:22 AM »
I thought that man is considered even greater than the Angels because we can be deified and were made in God's image and due to pride, some angels rebelled?

Scripture says that man was made "a little lower than the angels" (Ps. 8:5; Heb. 2:7), but some saints, such as St. Gregory Palamas, argued that man was higher than the angels. I don't recall what the reconciliation of these opposite views might have been.

In his homily on Sunday, Metropolitan Iosif quoted St. John Chrysostom (I'm pretty sure, but I wasn't taking notes so I could have misremembered) saying that we could become even greater than the angels through union with Christ. Maybe that might reconcile the two views in that we were created lower but can become higher.

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