Author Topic: The Holy Spirit  (Read 1158 times)

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Offline andrewlya

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The Holy Spirit
« on: February 24, 2013, 07:03:19 PM »
Dear brothers and sisters,
When Jesus was predicting of coming of the Holy Spirit, He referred to the Comforter as "He".

John 14:15-17:
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you."
If it's a "He", could it be a human person? As the Muslims claim by the Comforted Jesus meant the Prophet Muhammad.

We can't see the Holy Spirit,touch or smell, we can only feel His guidance,but the Holy Spirit can't be a person like Jesus was for example? Ive also spoken to a Greek Priest and he said that in Greek Bible the Holy Spirit is referred to as "It" not a "He". But in all English translations it seems to be translated that the Holy Spirit is a "He".

I believe in one God the Father and His Son the Messiah, the Savior of all people.

Offline akimel

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2013, 07:15:30 PM »
Dear brothers and sisters,
When Jesus was predicting of coming of the Holy Spirit, He referred to the Comforter as "He".

John 14:15-17:
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you."
If it's a "He", could it be a human person? As the Muslims claim by the Comforted Jesus meant the Prophet Muhammad.

We can't see the Holy Spirit,touch or smell, we can only feel His guidance,but the Holy Spirit can't be a person like Jesus was for example? Ive also spoken to a Greek Priest and he said that in Greek Bible the Holy Spirit is referred to as "It" not a "He". But in all English translations it seems to be translated that the Holy Spirit is a "He".

English translations use the masculine pronoun because "it" it is too impersonal.  But this does not mean that the Spirit is to be understood as male, female, or whatever.  This is a problem only posed by the differences between a language like English, which uses natural gender, and Greek, which uses grammatical gender.  God transcends all gender, all sex, all corporeality.  St Gregory the Theologian makes fun of all this in Oration 31.7. 

Offline andrewlya

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2013, 07:41:13 PM »
Dear brothers and sisters,
When Jesus was predicting of coming of the Holy Spirit, He referred to the Comforter as "He".

John 14:15-17:
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you."
If it's a "He", could it be a human person? As the Muslims claim by the Comforted Jesus meant the Prophet Muhammad.

We can't see the Holy Spirit,touch or smell, we can only feel His guidance,but the Holy Spirit can't be a person like Jesus was for example? Ive also spoken to a Greek Priest and he said that in Greek Bible the Holy Spirit is referred to as "It" not a "He". But in all English translations it seems to be translated that the Holy Spirit is a "He".

English translations use the masculine pronoun because "it" it is too impersonal.  But this does not mean that the Spirit is to be understood as male, female, or whatever.  This is a problem only posed by the differences between a language like English, which uses natural gender, and Greek, which uses grammatical gender.  God transcends all gender, all sex, all corporeality.  St Gregory the Theologian makes fun of all this in Oration 31.7. 

So, the Holy Spirit is neutral having no male or female gender?
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Offline akimel

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2013, 08:15:42 PM »
The Holy Spirit is God.  Creaturely distinctions like male, female, neuter, etc., do not apply.  God transcends the world he has made.  He is radically different.

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2013, 08:43:13 PM »
Creaturely distinctions like male, female, neuter, etc., do not apply. 
Oh?
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Offline Ersaia

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2013, 09:15:54 PM »

Ive also spoken to a Greek Priest and he said that in Greek Bible the Holy Spirit is referred to as "It" not a "He".

true

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2013, 10:53:50 PM »
Dear brothers and sisters,
When Jesus was predicting of coming of the Holy Spirit, He referred to the Comforter as "He".

John 14:15-17:
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you."
If it's a "He", could it be a human person? As the Muslims claim by the Comforted Jesus meant the Prophet Muhammad.

We can't see the Holy Spirit,touch or smell, we can only feel His guidance,but the Holy Spirit can't be a person like Jesus was for example? Ive also spoken to a Greek Priest and he said that in Greek Bible the Holy Spirit is referred to as "It" not a "He". But in all English translations it seems to be translated that the Holy Spirit is a "He".

English translations use the masculine pronoun because "it" it is too impersonal.  But this does not mean that the Spirit is to be understood as male, female, or whatever.  This is a problem only posed by the differences between a language like English, which uses natural gender, and Greek, which uses grammatical gender.  God transcends all gender, all sex, all corporeality.  St Gregory the Theologian makes fun of all this in Oration 31.7. 

So, the Holy Spirit is neutral having no male or female gender?

It's not correct to ascribe gender (as in the nature of human males and females, animals, and reproduction) to the Godhead. Certain archetypes have been applied. We call God, "Our Father," but the Father is also referred to, IIRC, with motherly attributes in the Old Testament. In Syriac, IIRC, the Holy Spirit is given a female pronoun.
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Offline LBK

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2013, 12:52:08 AM »
.... and the Greek for Holy Trinity, I Aghia Trias (or Triada) is of feminine grammatical gende, as the word for trinity is feminine in that language.

Grammatical genders are just that, grammatical forms. No Greek-speaker would even contemplate the neuter gender of the Holy Spirit as in any way irreverent or dismissive. The peculiarity of English with its lack of grammatical gender can confuse people.
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Offline erimos

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2013, 08:52:23 AM »
The Holy Spirit is He. He must not be denigrated as an it of an inferior. Can you see God the Father? do you see God the Son, and do you see God the Holy zspirit? In the iconography of the Orthodox Church, the Three Persons are God are represented as the Three Angels who visited Abraham. These Angels represent the Three divine Persons or Hypostases. Neither of them are an 'IT'. Also, the Trinity is expressed in various forms during the Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Church, such as, "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal..."

In the Nicene Creed, we recite:
We believe in one God ....

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made...

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

So, the Holy Spirit is the Lord, not an "it".

Offline Ersaia

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2013, 10:15:49 AM »
.... and the Greek for Holy Trinity, I Aghia Trias (or Triada) is of feminine grammatical gende, as the word for trinity is feminine in that language.


yes but we don't concider that they are "feminine"
it's just 3 same things, we can use it as " i trias of stamps" (or triada)
it's a way of counting something, tetras (or tetrada) is for 4 same things  and dodekada(=dozen) for 12 (dozen eggs)

it's like a group of same things
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 10:17:39 AM by Ersaia »

Offline jmbejdl

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2013, 10:24:21 AM »
.... and the Greek for Holy Trinity, I Aghia Trias (or Triada) is of feminine grammatical gende, as the word for trinity is feminine in that language.


yes but we don't concider that they are "feminine"
it's just 3 same things, we can use it as " i trias of stamps" (or triada)
it's a way of counting something, tetras (or tetrada) is for 4 same things  and dodekada(=dozen) for 12 (dozen eggs)

it's like a group of same things

That's actually what LBK was saying as well - grammatical gender is not equivalent to natural gender. It's like German where the word for girl is neuter whilst the girl herself is quite clearly feminine. It is something, however, that I've noticed that English speakers who don't also speak languages with grammatical genders often struggle to grasp.

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Offline akimel

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2013, 01:14:26 PM »
Perhaps this article that I co-authored some 20 years ago might be of helpful.  Somewhere in the piece we briefly talk about the Spirit:  "Is God a He?"

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2013, 04:41:03 PM »
Perhaps this article that I co-authored some 20 years ago might be of helpful.  Somewhere in the piece we briefly talk about the Spirit:  "Is God a He?"

Oh,that's interesting, thank you.
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Offline Romaios

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2013, 06:32:53 PM »
In Hebrew/Aramaic the Holy Spirit (ruach haqodesh/rukha d'qudsha) is feminine grammatically. 

IIRC St. Basil mentions this in one of his letters. Someone knowledgeable in Syriac had told him that, in the Semitic original, the image of the Holy Spirit hovering on the primordial waters (Genesis 1) resembled that of the mother hen hatching her eggs. 

Offline mike

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2013, 06:36:09 PM »
Is it important in any way?
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Offline Romaios

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2013, 06:40:10 PM »
Is it important in any way?

It could be important for feminist "theology" - or against it. 

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2013, 06:43:50 PM »
Must be the Spirit that follows directly after the joint-meeting between the Catholic Pope and the EP.

Offline IoanC

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2013, 11:28:06 AM »
Why did Christ take on male human nature and not female?

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2013, 12:26:01 PM »
It's not correct to ascribe gender (as in the nature of human males and females, animals, and reproduction) to the Godhead. Certain archetypes have been applied. We call God, "Our Father," but the Father is also referred to, IIRC, with motherly attributes in the Old Testament. In Syriac, IIRC, the Holy Spirit is given a female pronoun.
We do not apply human archetypes to God.

We apply Divine archetypes to humans.

The Scriptures do not read: "We will be made in man's image, and in his likeness", but rather "We will make man in Our image..."
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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2013, 12:31:16 PM »
Why did Christ take on male human nature and not female?
He took on all of human nature.

But becoming human requires accepting limitations, circumscriptions, like being one gender and not the other, from one birth family, from one region on earth, etc.

And he had to be a male human being in order to become King of Israel and fulfill the Law, and receive the inheritance of the Firstborn Son, just to name a few reasons.
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Offline Romaios

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2013, 02:29:12 PM »
Why did Christ take on male human nature and not female?

In order to become the New Adam: “The first man, Adam, became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven" (1 Corinthians 15:45-49).

Offline akimel

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2013, 06:44:14 PM »
As noted above, St Gregory the Theologian makes fun of the suggestion that the Holy Spirit has a sexual identity:

Quote
Do you take it, by the token, that our God is a male, because of the masculine nouns "God" and "Father?  Is the Godhead a female, because in Greek the word is feminine?  Is the word "Spirit" neuter in Greek, because the Spirit is sterile?  If you want to take the joke further you could say, as the trashy myths of old did, that God coupled with his own will and fathered the Son.  We should then be faced with the bisexual God of Marcion, who pictured those outlandish aeons. (31.7)

I am presently blogging on Oration 31.  Check out the first article:  "Scripture and the 'unbiblical' God."

Offline orthonorm

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2013, 07:50:20 PM »
The Holy Spirit is God.  Creaturely distinctions like male, female, neuter, etc., do not apply.  God transcends the world he has made.  He is radically different.

He cannot be or He would be unencouterable, which of course is what much of the excess of the "Orthodox theology" around here would invariably have you believe.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2013, 07:53:24 PM »
Another reason to relegate gender back to language for the most part and use sex when dealing with persons.

Gender is nonsense. I don't have a gender. I am sexed. And yes you x-studies types sex IS socially constructed, you don't have to make up a false dichotomy by inventing a relatively new use in the English language which only shores of the very metaphysics you would seek to undo.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2013, 07:57:48 PM »
The Holy Spirit is God.  Creaturely distinctions like male, female, neuter, etc., do not apply.  God transcends the world he has made.  He is radically different.

Let me pick up the other glaring problem you managed in fit into a two sentence post:

One can transcend while being that which one transcends.

A simple recourse to any personal existence would show as much. Horizons of being first come into their full measure and limitation once they've been transcended.

I am me and yet I am never ever merely myself.

This is Trinitarianism 101, if you want to use Orthodox language. The Persons of the Trinity are not synchronized monads.

« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 07:58:00 PM by orthonorm »
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Offline akimel

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2013, 08:29:18 PM »
The Holy Spirit is God.  Creaturely distinctions like male, female, neuter, etc., do not apply.  God transcends the world he has made.  He is radically different.

He cannot be or He would be unencouterable, which of course is what much of the excess of the "Orthodox theology" around here would invariably have you believe.

All I can say is that you have not understood what it means for God to be God.  On this point both Eastern and Latin theology agree.  ;

Offline IoanC

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #26 on: March 01, 2013, 10:47:07 AM »
Let me pick up the other glaring problem you managed in fit into a two sentence post:

One can transcend while being that which one transcends.

A simple recourse to any personal existence would show as much. Horizons of being first come into their full measure and limitation once they've been transcended.



I am me and yet I am never ever merely myself.

This is Trinitarianism 101, if you want to use Orthodox language. The Persons of the Trinity are not synchronized monads.



I sort of agree with this. The theology that I've read talks about The Father, Son and Holy Spirit being in a sort of relationship that the words imply, though not the same kind of idolatrous way that can exist between human parents and children. I mean even though the divine essence is all-immaterial/spiritual, this should not prevent God from being a Father, a Son and a Holy Spirit. I guess I am seeking a middle of the road approach so that God does not become too abstract and some sort of transcendent force that replaces everything that we know. I believe that to transcend is not to cancel, but to fulfill, just like Christ did not cancel the Old Testament, but fulfilled it. So,to not call God your Father, etc., would be a rather cold thing. There must be a sort of familial relationship as we are sons and daughters of the Most High. To go further, we know that the Son is born of the Father and the Spirit is proceeded. This is a hint because The Father does not give birth to two sons, nor proceeds two spirits, or even two other fathers. The relationship between them is clear -- who is Father and who is Son and who is Holy Spirit.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 10:48:46 AM by IoanC »

Offline akimel

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #27 on: March 01, 2013, 11:13:57 AM »

I sort of agree with this. The theology that I've read talks about The Father, Son and Holy Spirit being in a sort of relationship that the words imply, though not the same kind of idolatrous way that can exist between human parents and children. I mean even though the divine essence is all-immaterial/spiritual, this should not prevent God from being a Father, a Son and a Holy Spirit. I guess I am seeking a middle of the road approach so that God does not become too abstract and some sort of transcendent force that replaces everything that we know.

I think the distinction you are looking for is God as he is apart from creation and God as he has communicated himself in creation and the economy of salvation.  That God is radically transcendent does not mean that he cannot freely reveal and communicate himself to the creatures he has made ex nihilo.  But even in his self-communication, even as he draws us into his triune life, God remains radically transcendent, radically other, radically different.  This was the contentious point between St Gregory Palamas and Barlaam in the 14th century.

It is precisely because God is radically transcendent that he can also be radically immanent.  

« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 11:14:22 AM by akimel »

Offline IoanC

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2013, 11:38:09 AM »

I sort of agree with this. The theology that I've read talks about The Father, Son and Holy Spirit being in a sort of relationship that the words imply, though not the same kind of idolatrous way that can exist between human parents and children. I mean even though the divine essence is all-immaterial/spiritual, this should not prevent God from being a Father, a Son and a Holy Spirit. I guess I am seeking a middle of the road approach so that God does not become too abstract and some sort of transcendent force that replaces everything that we know.

I think the distinction you are looking for is God as he is apart from creation and God as he has communicated himself in creation and the economy of salvation.  That God is radically transcendent does not mean that he cannot freely reveal and communicate himself to the creatures he has made ex nihilo.  But even in his self-communication, even as he draws us into his triune life, God remains radically transcendent, radically other, radically different.  This was the contentious point between St Gregory Palamas and Barlaam in the 14th century.

It is precisely because God is radically transcendent that he can also be radically immanent.  



God is transcendent, but Father, Son and Holy Spirit, being born and proceeded are not just mere language for humans to understand; it is the truth. I am not talking about God's essence, or His "gender", but the relationship of The Holy Trinity. God is above gender, but at the same time He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To me, this the beauty of transcendence. The extreme that I am worried about is that God is a sort of a transcendent force that is vague, not all-encompassing (regardless of His distinct nature), and cannot have a familial relationship. (not familial in earthly fallen terms, but divine ones).

Understanding human gender is also an issue for fallen humanity because our understanding of ourselves has been affected by the fall and masculinity and femininity are being over-separated. But, both man and woman are able to fully become god, thus gender is not a barrier. The spiritual side, our deification, can transcend our gender without cancelling it.

Offline orthonorm

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #29 on: March 01, 2013, 11:55:56 AM »
The Holy Spirit is God.  Creaturely distinctions like male, female, neuter, etc., do not apply.  God transcends the world he has made.  He is radically different.

He cannot be or He would be unencouterable, which of course is what much of the excess of the "Orthodox theology" around here would invariably have you believe.

All I can say is that you have not understood what it means for God to be God.  On this point both Eastern and Latin theology agree.  ;

Eastern and Latin theology agree that I have not understood what it means for God to be God?

Awesome. Glad I am the bridge to some consensus in the world.

Frankly, I find your grasp of theology to be rather facile on the whole. But you are in good company.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2013, 11:58:30 AM »

I sort of agree with this. The theology that I've read talks about The Father, Son and Holy Spirit being in a sort of relationship that the words imply, though not the same kind of idolatrous way that can exist between human parents and children. I mean even though the divine essence is all-immaterial/spiritual, this should not prevent God from being a Father, a Son and a Holy Spirit. I guess I am seeking a middle of the road approach so that God does not become too abstract and some sort of transcendent force that replaces everything that we know.

I think the distinction you are looking for is God as he is apart from creation and God as he has communicated himself in creation and the economy of salvation.  That God is radically transcendent does not mean that he cannot freely reveal and communicate himself to the creatures he has made ex nihilo.  But even in his self-communication, even as he draws us into his triune life, God remains radically transcendent, radically other, radically different.  This was the contentious point between St Gregory Palamas and Barlaam in the 14th century.

It is precisely because God is radically transcendent that he can also be radically immanent.  



Being radically transcendent (which I am as well) doesn't mean you are radically other. Radically other would mean to be unencounterable.

Since you like to mix philosophy and theology I would suggest you reread the early Platonic dialogues for the beginning of the explication of this problem within Western thought.
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Offline akimel

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #31 on: March 01, 2013, 01:29:06 PM »

Frankly, I find your grasp of theology to be rather facile on the whole. But you are in good company.

That's alright.  Facile is my middle name.  But that the transcendent Creator is "unencounterable" by creatures apart from his self-communication is, I would think, one of those ecumenical truths upon which both Eastern and Western theologians would quickly and uncontroversially agree.  Certainly the one theologian in whose writings I have been immersed for the past nine months, St Gregory of Nazianzus, would agree that God cannot be known and encountered, by creaturely beings unless he freely makes himself known and incorporates us into his trinitarian life--and even when he does, all we encounter is God's backside (Oration 28).  This is what I mean by "radical transcendence."  I certainly do not believe that to say that divine transcendence means that God is so trapped in his divine nature that he cannot freely reveal himself.  I do not know any orthodox theologian who would say that.         

Offline akimel

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #32 on: March 01, 2013, 03:12:43 PM »

God is transcendent, but Father, Son and Holy Spirit, being born and proceeded are not just mere language for humans to understand; it is the truth. I am not talking about God's essence, or His "gender", but the relationship of The Holy Trinity. God is above gender, but at the same time He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To me, this the beauty of transcendence. The extreme that I am worried about is that God is a sort of a transcendent force that is vague, not all-encompassing (regardless of His distinct nature), and cannot have a familial relationship. (not familial in earthly fallen terms, but divine ones).

I completely share your concern that God not become in our minds a "transcendent force."  Some Orthodox expressions of apophaticism concern me precisely for this reason.  But may I re-suggest that the distinction you are looking for is the distinction between theology and economy--or as contemporary Western theologians like to put it, between the immanent and economic Trinities.  Our preaching and teaching needs to be firmly grounded in the biblical story, the story of Jesus and his Father and their Holy Spirit.  If the immanent Trinity gets divorced from the economic Trinity, then the living God becomes an abstraction.     

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #33 on: March 01, 2013, 06:35:41 PM »
It's not correct to ascribe gender (as in the nature of human males and females, animals, and reproduction) to the Godhead. Certain archetypes have been applied. We call God, "Our Father," but the Father is also referred to, IIRC, with motherly attributes in the Old Testament. In Syriac, IIRC, the Holy Spirit is given a female pronoun.
We do not apply human archetypes to God.

We apply Divine archetypes to humans.

The Scriptures do not read: "We will be made in man's image, and in his likeness", but rather "We will make man in Our image..."

Okay...
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Offline IoanC

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Re: The Holy Spirit
« Reply #34 on: March 02, 2013, 02:01:32 AM »

God is transcendent, but Father, Son and Holy Spirit, being born and proceeded are not just mere language for humans to understand; it is the truth. I am not talking about God's essence, or His "gender", but the relationship of The Holy Trinity. God is above gender, but at the same time He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To me, this the beauty of transcendence. The extreme that I am worried about is that God is a sort of a transcendent force that is vague, not all-encompassing (regardless of His distinct nature), and cannot have a familial relationship. (not familial in earthly fallen terms, but divine ones).

I completely share your concern that God not become in our minds a "transcendent force."  Some Orthodox expressions of apophaticism concern me precisely for this reason.  But may I re-suggest that the distinction you are looking for is the distinction between theology and economy--or as contemporary Western theologians like to put it, between the immanent and economic Trinities.  Our preaching and teaching needs to be firmly grounded in the biblical story, the story of Jesus and his Father and their Holy Spirit.  If the immanent Trinity gets divorced from the economic Trinity, then the living God becomes an abstraction.    

I still don't think that we are actually saying the same thing.  :)

You are saying that the Trinity is transcendent, and that our language in addressing God, such as Father, Son, Holy Spirit, being born, proceeded, is merely economy for us "limited" humans and not theology? I don't agree. While theology is not replacement for direct experience of God, it must not be treated as totally useless, "limited".

The problem I see, as I said before, is our understanding of our humanity, gender included. The important thing about humans is not that we are physical, and male and female, but that we are all persons in the image and likeness of God Himself. That's why to say that angels are genderless and that God transcends even genderlessness does not meant that He is radically different than us (as Orthonorm said). We are all personal entities that share in common the exact same image of God, of a Personal God.

So, yes, God is transcendent, but spending too much effort trying to place Him in an infinitely different category will alienate us from Him. Or, rather, placing ourselves in an infinitely lower category than Him, which is not true at all.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 02:07:20 AM by IoanC »