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Author Topic: Annihilationism and disbelief in immaterial souls  (Read 9723 times) Average Rating: 0
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Aeschere
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« Reply #135 on: September 25, 2013, 06:26:31 PM »

You do realize that, seeing the Scriptures as a product of the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church and the life of the Church guided by the Holy Spirit, we Orthodox don't believe in sola scriptura, as you appear to do? The Scriptures are truly foundational to our doctrines, but only when understood within their context as a product of the life of the Church.


My understanding is that the Eastern Orthodox Church is Prima Scriptura, which means that church doctrines cannot directly contradict scripture.  Is that correct?
We do indeed believe that Church doctrine cannot contradict Scripture, but that's not the definition of prima scriptura in that we also believe that one's interpretation of Scripture cannot contradict Church doctrines.
Yes. You need to be able to interpret scripture to understand what it says. If you don't know what scripture says, you can't know if it's contradicting anything.

Do you think you may be following the same path most Protestants follow as regards your approach to the Scriptures? Look to the Scriptures as little more than a source text to support the development of your philosophies/doctrines?
Why shouldn't I base my worldview in scripture? I'm a Christian, right?
I'm not talking about basing your world view on Scripture. I'm talking about using Scripture as a source text for whatever philosophy you wish to construct. These two approaches are very different.
...You seem to be suggesting that basing philosophies and doctrines off scripture is bad...

ISTM that you have defined "life" to be synonymous with "existence", such that eternal life means eternal existence. Is this the right way to define "life"?
I'm not sure whether death has to entail cessation of existence among the other qualifications, but I do know that life entails existence. I don't think that life is synonymous with existence, however.

Anyway, I don't think I said that "life" means exactly the same thing as "existence." I said that life means life, and death means death (ceasing to live/ceasing to be conscious, able to make decisions, able to have emotions, growing, etc.)
Recursive definitions are useless as anything but an exercise in tautology. A definition must use words other than the word you seek to define for it to be effective.
Life is consciousness, ability to grow, metabolize, have feelings, act, etc. Death means lack of consciousness, no ability to act or make decisions, having no feelings or mental capacity, no growth, no metabolism, etc. It may also include cessation of existence, but I'm not sure.  Either way, eternal conscious torment is out.

I have heard the explanation that perishing can mean being apart from God.  And it does mean that.  People who don’t exist can certainly be considered apart from I Am.  But interpreting a word like “perish” in such a straightforward context as meaning 'Living forever (but in a horrifyingly painful place)' is simply bad hermeneutics.
How so?

The interpretation doesn't make sense for the word and its context.  

(Sorry if the quote formatting is weird.  I'm new to this kind of forum.)
How, then, do you know that your hermeneutics are good?
Because it makes sense for the word and its context.
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TheTrisagion
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« Reply #136 on: September 25, 2013, 08:01:54 PM »

Essentially the argument is: There are thousands of different interpretations of Scripture, why should we believe yours over anyone elses?  For the Orthodox, it is simple, we don't trust yours or our own interpretation, we trust the interpretation of the Church which Christ established.  Christ never promised any one individual would not succumb to falsehood, but He did promise the Church would.  St. Paul never professed to be personally infallible even when he was writing Scripture, but he did profess the Church would be the pillar of truth.
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« Reply #137 on: September 26, 2013, 01:27:56 AM »

Let's not let this potentially interesting thread get killed by the diversionary tactic of invoking "the Church's authority" over Scripture.

Aeschere is here to discuss conditionalism and annihilationism.

Annihilationism is definitely not an Orthodox doctrine.

As for conditional immortality, this gets hairy. I will take a closer look at the thread tomorrow.

Do Orthodox believe in the immortality of the lost? I would say that the implicit answer is a definite No.

I think there's a number of other questions that need to get asked before one can start asking about the ultimate fate of souls, but whaddya gonna do?

I hope this thread continues.
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #138 on: September 26, 2013, 03:22:17 AM »

You do realize that, seeing the Scriptures as a product of the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church and the life of the Church guided by the Holy Spirit, we Orthodox don't believe in sola scriptura, as you appear to do? The Scriptures are truly foundational to our doctrines, but only when understood within their context as a product of the life of the Church.


My understanding is that the Eastern Orthodox Church is Prima Scriptura, which means that church doctrines cannot directly contradict scripture.  Is that correct?
We do indeed believe that Church doctrine cannot contradict Scripture, but that's not the definition of prima scriptura in that we also believe that one's interpretation of Scripture cannot contradict Church doctrines.
Yes. You need to be able to interpret scripture to understand what it says. If you don't know what scripture says, you can't know if it's contradicting anything.

Do you think you may be following the same path most Protestants follow as regards your approach to the Scriptures? Look to the Scriptures as little more than a source text to support the development of your philosophies/doctrines?
Why shouldn't I base my worldview in scripture? I'm a Christian, right?
I'm not talking about basing your world view on Scripture. I'm talking about using Scripture as a source text for whatever philosophy you wish to construct. These two approaches are very different.
...You seem to be suggesting that basing philosophies and doctrines off scripture is bad...
Do you not understand what I'm trying to communicate? If not, why not?

BTW, have you read this article from an interview with Dr. Ben Witherington? http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/november/23.66.html This gives the foundation for my question. It seems to me you're doing the same thing he criticized in this interview.

ISTM that you have defined "life" to be synonymous with "existence", such that eternal life means eternal existence. Is this the right way to define "life"?
I'm not sure whether death has to entail cessation of existence among the other qualifications, but I do know that life entails existence. I don't think that life is synonymous with existence, however.

Anyway, I don't think I said that "life" means exactly the same thing as "existence." I said that life means life, and death means death (ceasing to live/ceasing to be conscious, able to make decisions, able to have emotions, growing, etc.)
Recursive definitions are useless as anything but an exercise in tautology. A definition must use words other than the word you seek to define for it to be effective.
Life is consciousness, ability to grow, metabolize, have feelings, act, etc. Death means lack of consciousness, no ability to act or make decisions, having no feelings or mental capacity, no growth, no metabolism, etc. It may also include cessation of existence, but I'm not sure.  Either way, eternal conscious torment is out.
On what do you base your definition?

I have heard the explanation that perishing can mean being apart from God.  And it does mean that.  People who don’t exist can certainly be considered apart from I Am.  But interpreting a word like “perish” in such a straightforward context as meaning 'Living forever (but in a horrifyingly painful place)' is simply bad hermeneutics.
How so?

The interpretation doesn't make sense for the word and its context.  

(Sorry if the quote formatting is weird.  I'm new to this kind of forum.)
How, then, do you know that your hermeneutics are good?
Because it makes sense for the word and its context.
Makes sense to whom? It seems to me that you're engaging in some circular reasoning here.
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Rufus
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« Reply #139 on: September 26, 2013, 02:41:08 PM »

^^PtA, not only are you killing the discussion, but your objections are totally illogical.
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #140 on: September 26, 2013, 02:48:33 PM »

^^PtA, not only are you killing the discussion,
Aeschere is answering my questions, so I would say your assessment needs some tweaking.

but your objections are totally illogical.
They're not meant to be logical. They're questions meant to help Aeschere articulate a more logical point of view.
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Rufus
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« Reply #141 on: September 26, 2013, 03:47:10 PM »

I suppose this goes around the Greek word apollymi, which has the root meaning of "utterly destroy," as in eternal destruction/perdition. Interestingly, it also has the meaning of "lose," e.g. to apololos probaton, "the lost sheep." The corresponding Latin word perdo has the same two meanings.

How are the two meanings connected?? I'm thinking of the English expression "we lost a man," being a circumlocuitous way of saying a man died.

Dow we have a Hebraeologist here?
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Aeschere
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« Reply #142 on: September 29, 2013, 04:07:43 PM »

You do realize that, seeing the Scriptures as a product of the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church and the life of the Church guided by the Holy Spirit, we Orthodox don't believe in sola scriptura, as you appear to do? The Scriptures are truly foundational to our doctrines, but only when understood within their context as a product of the life of the Church.


My understanding is that the Eastern Orthodox Church is Prima Scriptura, which means that church doctrines cannot directly contradict scripture.  Is that correct?
We do indeed believe that Church doctrine cannot contradict Scripture, but that's not the definition of prima scriptura in that we also believe that one's interpretation of Scripture cannot contradict Church doctrines.
Yes. You need to be able to interpret scripture to understand what it says. If you don't know what scripture says, you can't know if it's contradicting anything.

Do you think you may be following the same path most Protestants follow as regards your approach to the Scriptures? Look to the Scriptures as little more than a source text to support the development of your philosophies/doctrines?
Why shouldn't I base my worldview in scripture? I'm a Christian, right?
I'm not talking about basing your world view on Scripture. I'm talking about using Scripture as a source text for whatever philosophy you wish to construct. These two approaches are very different.
...You seem to be suggesting that basing philosophies and doctrines off scripture is bad...
Do you not understand what I'm trying to communicate? If not, why not?

BTW, have you read this article from an interview with Dr. Ben Witherington? http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/november/23.66.html This gives the foundation for my question. It seems to me you're doing the same thing he criticized in this interview.
I don't understand what you're trying to say.

ISTM that you have defined "life" to be synonymous with "existence", such that eternal life means eternal existence. Is this the right way to define "life"?
I'm not sure whether death has to entail cessation of existence among the other qualifications, but I do know that life entails existence. I don't think that life is synonymous with existence, however.

Anyway, I don't think I said that "life" means exactly the same thing as "existence." I said that life means life, and death means death (ceasing to live/ceasing to be conscious, able to make decisions, able to have emotions, growing, etc.)
Recursive definitions are useless as anything but an exercise in tautology. A definition must use words other than the word you seek to define for it to be effective.
Life is consciousness, ability to grow, metabolize, have feelings, act, etc. Death means lack of consciousness, no ability to act or make decisions, having no feelings or mental capacity, no growth, no metabolism, etc. It may also include cessation of existence, but I'm not sure.  Either way, eternal conscious torment is out.
On what do you base your definition?
Those were the standard definitions of "life" and "death." I don't really see the problem here...

I have heard the explanation that perishing can mean being apart from God.  And it does mean that.  People who don’t exist can certainly be considered apart from I Am.  But interpreting a word like “perish” in such a straightforward context as meaning 'Living forever (but in a horrifyingly painful place)' is simply bad hermeneutics.
How so?

The interpretation doesn't make sense for the word and its context.  

(Sorry if the quote formatting is weird.  I'm new to this kind of forum.)
How, then, do you know that your hermeneutics are good?
Because it makes sense for the word and its context.
Makes sense to whom? It seems to me that you're engaging in some circular reasoning here.
A hermeneutic is considered good if it takes into consideration context, the standard meaning of a word, other possible meanings of a word, and word usage. For the word meaning, biblewebapp.com is a good resource (except for in some instances, when it assumes eternal conscious torment)

For the context, the death of the wicked is contrasted (often in the same paragraph or even verse) with the eternal life of the saved. Furthermore, immortality/eternal life in scripture is portrayed as a gift of God to the righteous, and so the wicked would not have eternal life.  Also, the Biblical vision of eternity is one where sin and evil are no more, and everyone is united under Christ. How could that be if the wicked are living forever, separate from God? There is no real support of an eternal duality of horror and bliss in the Bible. Jesus' atoning death is another source of context. Jesus was a substitute for us, bearing our punishment on our behalf. What did he bear? Death. Isaiah 53:8-9 says that He was "cut off from the land of the living" and that "they made his grave with the wicked." Romans 5:6 says that "Christ died for our sins." 1 Peter 3:18 says that it was by physical death that Christ became our substitute. 
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #143 on: September 29, 2013, 04:45:47 PM »

You do realize that, seeing the Scriptures as a product of the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church and the life of the Church guided by the Holy Spirit, we Orthodox don't believe in sola scriptura, as you appear to do? The Scriptures are truly foundational to our doctrines, but only when understood within their context as a product of the life of the Church.


My understanding is that the Eastern Orthodox Church is Prima Scriptura, which means that church doctrines cannot directly contradict scripture.  Is that correct?
We do indeed believe that Church doctrine cannot contradict Scripture, but that's not the definition of prima scriptura in that we also believe that one's interpretation of Scripture cannot contradict Church doctrines.
Yes. You need to be able to interpret scripture to understand what it says. If you don't know what scripture says, you can't know if it's contradicting anything.

Do you think you may be following the same path most Protestants follow as regards your approach to the Scriptures? Look to the Scriptures as little more than a source text to support the development of your philosophies/doctrines?
Why shouldn't I base my worldview in scripture? I'm a Christian, right?
I'm not talking about basing your world view on Scripture. I'm talking about using Scripture as a source text for whatever philosophy you wish to construct. These two approaches are very different.
...You seem to be suggesting that basing philosophies and doctrines off scripture is bad...
Do you not understand what I'm trying to communicate? If not, why not?

BTW, have you read this article from an interview with Dr. Ben Witherington? http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/november/23.66.html This gives the foundation for my question. It seems to me you're doing the same thing he criticized in this interview.
I don't understand what you're trying to say.
What I'm saying is that you appear to have already crafted your world view without prior reference to the Scriptures and are only searching the Scriptures for texts that prove the world view you've already created.

ISTM that you have defined "life" to be synonymous with "existence", such that eternal life means eternal existence. Is this the right way to define "life"?
I'm not sure whether death has to entail cessation of existence among the other qualifications, but I do know that life entails existence. I don't think that life is synonymous with existence, however.

Anyway, I don't think I said that "life" means exactly the same thing as "existence." I said that life means life, and death means death (ceasing to live/ceasing to be conscious, able to make decisions, able to have emotions, growing, etc.)
Recursive definitions are useless as anything but an exercise in tautology. A definition must use words other than the word you seek to define for it to be effective.
Life is consciousness, ability to grow, metabolize, have feelings, act, etc. Death means lack of consciousness, no ability to act or make decisions, having no feelings or mental capacity, no growth, no metabolism, etc. It may also include cessation of existence, but I'm not sure.  Either way, eternal conscious torment is out.
On what do you base your definition?
Those were the standard definitions of "life" and "death." I don't really see the problem here...
"Standard"... What standard?

I have heard the explanation that perishing can mean being apart from God.  And it does mean that.  People who don’t exist can certainly be considered apart from I Am.  But interpreting a word like “perish” in such a straightforward context as meaning 'Living forever (but in a horrifyingly painful place)' is simply bad hermeneutics.
How so?

The interpretation doesn't make sense for the word and its context.  

(Sorry if the quote formatting is weird.  I'm new to this kind of forum.)
How, then, do you know that your hermeneutics are good?
Because it makes sense for the word and its context.
Makes sense to whom? It seems to me that you're engaging in some circular reasoning here.
A hermeneutic is considered good
Considered good by whom?

if it takes into consideration context, the standard meaning of a word, other possible meanings of a word, and word usage. For the word meaning, biblewebapp.com is a good resource (except for in some instances, when it assumes eternal conscious torment)

For the context, the death of the wicked is contrasted (often in the same paragraph or even verse) with the eternal life of the saved. Furthermore, immortality/eternal life in scripture is portrayed as a gift of God to the righteous, and so the wicked would not have eternal life.  Also, the Biblical vision of eternity is one where sin and evil are no more, and everyone is united under Christ. How could that be if the wicked are living forever, separate from God? There is no real support of an eternal duality of horror and bliss in the Bible. Jesus' atoning death is another source of context. Jesus was a substitute for us, bearing our punishment on our behalf. What did he bear? Death. Isaiah 53:8-9 says that He was "cut off from the land of the living" and that "they made his grave with the wicked." Romans 5:6 says that "Christ died for our sins." 1 Peter 3:18 says that it was by physical death that Christ became our substitute. 
Again, you do realize that your approach to the Scriptures is foreign to Orthodox Christianity?
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Rufus
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« Reply #144 on: October 01, 2013, 07:37:19 PM »

if it takes into consideration context, the standard meaning of a word, other possible meanings of a word, and word usage. For the word meaning, biblewebapp.com is a good resource (except for in some instances, when it assumes eternal conscious torment)

For the context, the death of the wicked is contrasted (often in the same paragraph or even verse) with the eternal life of the saved. Furthermore, immortality/eternal life in scripture is portrayed as a gift of God to the righteous, and so the wicked would not have eternal life.  Also, the Biblical vision of eternity is one where sin and evil are no more, and everyone is united under Christ. How could that be if the wicked are living forever, separate from God? There is no real support of an eternal duality of horror and bliss in the Bible. Jesus' atoning death is another source of context. Jesus was a substitute for us, bearing our punishment on our behalf. What did he bear? Death. Isaiah 53:8-9 says that He was "cut off from the land of the living" and that "they made his grave with the wicked." Romans 5:6 says that "Christ died for our sins." 1 Peter 3:18 says that it was by physical death that Christ became our substitute. 
Again, you do realize that your approach to the Scriptures is foreign to Orthodox Christianity?

Peter,

1) Can you articulate what an Orthodox approach to Scripture would actually entail in this situation?

2) Do you believe that her argument would be invalidated by being foreign to Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #145 on: October 01, 2013, 07:45:08 PM »

if it takes into consideration context, the standard meaning of a word, other possible meanings of a word, and word usage. For the word meaning, biblewebapp.com is a good resource (except for in some instances, when it assumes eternal conscious torment)

For the context, the death of the wicked is contrasted (often in the same paragraph or even verse) with the eternal life of the saved. Furthermore, immortality/eternal life in scripture is portrayed as a gift of God to the righteous, and so the wicked would not have eternal life.  Also, the Biblical vision of eternity is one where sin and evil are no more, and everyone is united under Christ. How could that be if the wicked are living forever, separate from God? There is no real support of an eternal duality of horror and bliss in the Bible. Jesus' atoning death is another source of context. Jesus was a substitute for us, bearing our punishment on our behalf. What did he bear? Death. Isaiah 53:8-9 says that He was "cut off from the land of the living" and that "they made his grave with the wicked." Romans 5:6 says that "Christ died for our sins." 1 Peter 3:18 says that it was by physical death that Christ became our substitute.  
Again, you do realize that your approach to the Scriptures is foreign to Orthodox Christianity?

Peter,

1) Can you articulate what an Orthodox approach to Scripture would actually entail in this situation?

2) Do you believe that her argument would be invalidated by being foreign to Orthodoxy?
I hope she will ask her own questions to show that she really wants to know more. Right now she seems inclined to do nothing more than defend her point of view.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 07:46:11 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #146 on: October 01, 2013, 11:44:58 PM »

if it takes into consideration context, the standard meaning of a word, other possible meanings of a word, and word usage. For the word meaning, biblewebapp.com is a good resource (except for in some instances, when it assumes eternal conscious torment)

For the context, the death of the wicked is contrasted (often in the same paragraph or even verse) with the eternal life of the saved. Furthermore, immortality/eternal life in scripture is portrayed as a gift of God to the righteous, and so the wicked would not have eternal life.  Also, the Biblical vision of eternity is one where sin and evil are no more, and everyone is united under Christ. How could that be if the wicked are living forever, separate from God? There is no real support of an eternal duality of horror and bliss in the Bible. Jesus' atoning death is another source of context. Jesus was a substitute for us, bearing our punishment on our behalf. What did he bear? Death. Isaiah 53:8-9 says that He was "cut off from the land of the living" and that "they made his grave with the wicked." Romans 5:6 says that "Christ died for our sins." 1 Peter 3:18 says that it was by physical death that Christ became our substitute.  
Again, you do realize that your approach to the Scriptures is foreign to Orthodox Christianity?

Peter,

1) Can you articulate what an Orthodox approach to Scripture would actually entail in this situation?

2) Do you believe that her argument would be invalidated by being foreign to Orthodoxy?
I hope she will ask her own questions to show that she really wants to know more. Right now she seems inclined to do nothing more than defend her point of view.

LOL! I'm sure you'd rather she wanted to defend your point of view instead!

Give me a break.
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« Reply #147 on: October 02, 2013, 12:15:37 AM »

if it takes into consideration context, the standard meaning of a word, other possible meanings of a word, and word usage. For the word meaning, biblewebapp.com is a good resource (except for in some instances, when it assumes eternal conscious torment)

For the context, the death of the wicked is contrasted (often in the same paragraph or even verse) with the eternal life of the saved. Furthermore, immortality/eternal life in scripture is portrayed as a gift of God to the righteous, and so the wicked would not have eternal life.  Also, the Biblical vision of eternity is one where sin and evil are no more, and everyone is united under Christ. How could that be if the wicked are living forever, separate from God? There is no real support of an eternal duality of horror and bliss in the Bible. Jesus' atoning death is another source of context. Jesus was a substitute for us, bearing our punishment on our behalf. What did he bear? Death. Isaiah 53:8-9 says that He was "cut off from the land of the living" and that "they made his grave with the wicked." Romans 5:6 says that "Christ died for our sins." 1 Peter 3:18 says that it was by physical death that Christ became our substitute.  
Again, you do realize that your approach to the Scriptures is foreign to Orthodox Christianity?

Peter,

1) Can you articulate what an Orthodox approach to Scripture would actually entail in this situation?

2) Do you believe that her argument would be invalidated by being foreign to Orthodoxy?
I hope she will ask her own questions to show that she really wants to know more. Right now she seems inclined to do nothing more than defend her point of view.

LOL! I'm sure you'd rather she wanted to defend your point of view instead!
I know what I'm doing. You only think you know what I'm doing. Therefore, I'd like you to do me a favor and cease your peanut gallery comments long enough to see how Aeschere responds to my probing.

Give me a break.
Why? Do you have any special role in this discussion that I need to have your approval on everything I post here?
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 12:16:00 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #148 on: October 02, 2013, 12:21:18 AM »

Let's not let this potentially interesting thread get killed by the diversionary tactic of invoking "the Church's authority" over Scripture.

Aeschere is here to discuss conditionalism and annihilationism.

Annihilationism is definitely not an Orthodox doctrine.

As for conditional immortality, this gets hairy. I will take a closer look at the thread tomorrow.

Do Orthodox believe in the immortality of the lost? I would say that the implicit answer is a definite No.

I think there's a number of other questions that need to get asked before one can start asking about the ultimate fate of souls, but whaddya gonna do?

I hope this thread continues.

I am suing you for syntax infringement!
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« Reply #149 on: October 02, 2013, 12:23:57 AM »

For the Orthodox, it is simple, we don't trust yours or our own interpretation

It is simple, you trust your own. It's the only understand you can constitutionally trust. You literally have no recourse to any other understanding. This is something that grates around here and anyone who has reflected for a moment on understanding or taken a course or two beyond middle school would understand.

There is no interpretation of the Church as such.

For evidences: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 12:31:14 AM by orthonorm » Logged

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« Reply #150 on: October 02, 2013, 12:26:00 AM »

Give me a break.
Why? Do you have any special role in this discussion that I need to have your approval on everything I post here?

Last time I checked, voicing one's opinion wasn't against forum rules.   police  Rufus is entitled to have his say just as everyone else is.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 12:27:25 AM by LBK » Logged
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« Reply #151 on: October 02, 2013, 12:29:47 AM »

I suppose this goes around the Greek word apollymi, which has the root meaning of "utterly destroy," as in eternal destruction/perdition. Interestingly, it also has the meaning of "lose," e.g. to apololos probaton, "the lost sheep." The corresponding Latin word perdo has the same two meanings.

How are the two meanings connected?? I'm thinking of the English expression "we lost a man," being a circumlocuitous way of saying a man died.

Dow we have a Hebraeologist here?

A voice in the wilderness. I would interested in your expanding on your reasons for saying the Orthodox not believing in the immortality of the lost.

I think that phrasing could be understood in a number of way.

Only if you have the time and inclination of course! Not looking to argue here, as I am rather agnostic on the matter.
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« Reply #152 on: October 02, 2013, 12:30:50 AM »

Give me a break.
Why? Do you have any special role in this discussion that I need to have your approval on everything I post here?

Last time I checked, voicing one's opinion wasn't against forum rules.   police  Rufus is entitled to have his say just as everyone else is.

Wait for the strange loop . . .
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« Reply #153 on: October 02, 2013, 01:56:59 AM »

Give me a break.
Why? Do you have any special role in this discussion that I need to have your approval on everything I post here?

Last time I checked, voicing one's opinion wasn't against forum rules.   police  Rufus is entitled to have his say just as everyone else is.
Last time I checked, LBK, I am just as entitled to voice my opinion as Rufus is to voice his, even if he doesn't know what he's talking about.

So now I have to ask, LBK, don't you have something better to do than play Mrs. Moderator? I notice you haven't posted anything else to this thread. Maybe you would actually like to address the original topic of this discussion with something of substance.
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« Reply #154 on: October 02, 2013, 02:11:54 AM »

FWIW, I think this criticism of tactics off topic and irrelevant to the discussion. Rufus has in mind an approach he would like to implement--one I have never criticized, BTW. I have in mind a different approach I would like to implement. There's room for both approaches in this discussion. Ultimately, however, Aeschere's responses will dictate which approach works better, which is why I have asked Rufus to stop his pointless critique of my tactics in favor of just sitting back and watching how Aeschere responds. Who knows? Maybe my tactic won't work, and I'll be forced to try another. In the end, though, this will be determined by how Aeschere responds and not by some comments from a fellow who has no desire to know what I'm thinking.
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« Reply #155 on: October 02, 2013, 03:02:17 AM »

I suppose this goes around the Greek word apollymi, which has the root meaning of "utterly destroy," as in eternal destruction/perdition. Interestingly, it also has the meaning of "lose," e.g. to apololos probaton, "the lost sheep." The corresponding Latin word perdo has the same two meanings.

How are the two meanings connected?? I'm thinking of the English expression "we lost a man," being a circumlocuitous way of saying a man died.

Dow we have a Hebraeologist here?

A voice in the wilderness. I would interested in your expanding on your reasons for saying the Orthodox not believing in the immortality of the lost.

I think that phrasing could be understood in a number of way.

Only if you have the time and inclination of course! Not looking to argue here, as I am rather agnostic on the matter.

I think there is a double aspect to it. For one thing, death and destruction is definitely the fate of the lost, while eternal life is something reserved for the saved. For evidence, see all those places in the Bible that Aesch... has referenced. She makes a very convincing argument from Scripture.

Look at Orthodox liturgical texts. What is Holy Communion for? "Eternal life" for the partaker. The implication is that others are deprived of eternal life. Not once in any Orthodox text I have ever seen, including the Bible, does it speak of the lost as having life.

But we are not annihilationists: we believe that the torment is eternal. And I believe that this view* is scripturally warranted, even if it's never explicitly spelled out.

So eternal life is not merely eternal existence, nor is the destruction of the lost an annihilation. The problem is that this paradox canNOT be resolved  by contemporary popular anthropology, because we do not have a sufficiently refined understanding of what life and death are. So ultimately, this becomes an anthropological problem.

For about a decade now, I have been concerned that the latent anthropological beliefs people hold as well as certain metaphysical and logical notions have sucked us all into a death-spiral. How we are going to get out of it, I don't know. Christian theology will have to make some nifty moves in order to avoid being swallowed up by it.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my mental meanderings.


*EDIT: "this view" = eternal torment, as opposed to annihilation.
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« Reply #156 on: October 02, 2013, 03:15:51 AM »

I suppose this goes around the Greek word apollymi, which has the root meaning of "utterly destroy," as in eternal destruction/perdition. Interestingly, it also has the meaning of "lose," e.g. to apololos probaton, "the lost sheep." The corresponding Latin word perdo has the same two meanings.

How are the two meanings connected?? I'm thinking of the English expression "we lost a man," being a circumlocuitous way of saying a man died.

Dow we have a Hebraeologist here?

I'm not one, but this seems relevant:

Quote from: Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
ABADDON [Heb ʾăbaddôn (אֲבַדֹּון)]. Derived from Heb ʾābad, “became lost,” “be ruined, destroyed,” “perish,” Abaddon has a variety of nuanced meanings.

A poetic synonym for the abode of the dead, meaning “Destruction,” or “ (the place of) destruction.” Abaddon occurs in parallel and in conjunction with Sheol (Job 26:6 and Prov 15:11; 27:20). It is also found in conjunction with Death (Job 28:22) and in parallel with the grave (Ps 88:12—Eng 88:11). Although a place of mystery which is hidden from human eyes, Abaddon is clearly known by God (Job 26:6; Prov 15:11). It is twice personified: (1) along with Death, it speaks (Job 28:22); and (2) along with Sheol, it is insatiable (Prov 27:20). It is also remote: in Job 31:12, adultery becomes “a fire that consumes unto [as far as] Abaddon.” See also DEAD, ABODE OF THE.

In Rev 9:11, the word “Abaddon” is personified as “the angel of the bottomless pit.” It is also identified as the king of the demonic “locusts” described in Rev 9:3, 7–10, and is explained for Greek-speaking readers as Apollyon (Gk apollyōn), “destroyer.”
The LXX usually translates Heb ʾabaddon as Gk apōleia, “destruction”; the Vg renders it as Latin perditio, “ruin, destruction” (whence Eng “perdition,” which ordinarily means “hell”); in Syr (Peshitta), the cognate word means “destruction,” and is sometimes used in the Psalms to render “the Pit,” which is another OT synonym of Sheol.

In rabbinic literature, the word has come to mean the place of punishment reserved for the wicked. Current English versions render this word variously in the OT: “Abaddon,” “Destruction/destruction,” “the place of destruction,” “Perdition/perdition,” “the abyss,” “the world of the dead.” In the single NT occurrence, the word is consistently transliterated as “Abaddon.”

Luke 15:32 in Hebrew: akhikha zeh haya met vehine chazar lachayim, avad vehine nimtsa.

Aramaic (Peshitto): hono achukh mitho hwo wachyo, wavidho hwo weshtkach.

("This brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.")

Lost sheep: tson 'ovdot (from the same root 'bd in Hebrew), but 'edhbe dt'aw in Syriac.
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« Reply #157 on: October 02, 2013, 03:18:19 AM »

I suppose this goes around the Greek word apollymi, which has the root meaning of "utterly destroy," as in eternal destruction/perdition. Interestingly, it also has the meaning of "lose," e.g. to apololos probaton, "the lost sheep." The corresponding Latin word perdo has the same two meanings.

How are the two meanings connected?? I'm thinking of the English expression "we lost a man," being a circumlocutious way of saying a man died.

Dow we have a Hebraeologist here?

Norm, do you know if the 'Deg might be able to give us a clue here? even an indirect one?
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« Reply #158 on: October 02, 2013, 03:32:08 AM »

Also, Fr. Pavel Florensky has a very interesting chapter (8 IIRC) on the Gehenna in The Pillar and Ground of the Truth: An Essay in Orthodox Theodicy in Twelve Letters.
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« Reply #159 on: October 02, 2013, 07:36:08 AM »

Here it is (re-translated from Romanian, so excuse the clumsiness - especially that of the philosophical jargon):

Quote from: Fr. Pavel Florensky, The Pillar and Ground of the Truth: An Essay in Orthodox Theodicy in Twelve Letters, 8th Letter - The Gehenna
Definitive fates! But who ignores that nowadays a more or less vulgar origenism has crept into each soul, the secret conviction that God “will forgive eventually”? People of various conditions and extractions admit this so often, that one inadvertently begins to think “there is an imminent  core of truth to this”. The conscience starts from the idea of God as Love. Love cannot create in order to destroy, cannot build knowing that destruction will follow. Love cannot not forgive. Just as the rays of the all-victorious sun dispels mists, the brightness of God’s endless love dissipates any idea of retribution for His creature and all that pertains to it. From the vantage point of Eternity, everything is forgiven, everything is forgotten: May “God be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28). In short, the impossibility of universal salvation is impossible.     

This is what things look like from the loftiness of the idea of God. But if we consider the polar and conjugated perspective, starting not from God’s love for His creature, but from the creature’s love for God, the same conscience unavoidably reaches the opposite conclusion. Now the conscience cannot concede that there can be salvation without responding to God’s love. And, since one cannot admit that love could lack freedom, that the Father could force His creature to love Him, the imminent conclusion is this: it is possible that God’s love does not meet a corresponding response from His creature, therefore the impossibility of universal salvation is possible.
   
The thesis: the impossibility of universal salvation is impossible and the antithesis: the impossibility of universal salvation is possible constitute an obvious antinomy. As long as God’s love is acknowledged, the thesis is unavoidable; as long as the creature’s liberty is admitted as a logical consequence of the same love of God, the antithesis is also unavoidable. The idea of a Triune God as Essential Love related to the idea of creature is developed in the mutually exclusive terms of forgiveness and retribution, salvation and perdition, love and merit, Redeemer and Punisher, thus in aspects which – from a rational point of view – are as incompatible as trinity and unity in intra-divine life. This way rigorous monarchianism and temperate tritheism appeared in history.

If man’s liberty is the authentic freedom of self-determination, then forgiving ill will becomes impossible, since it is a deliberate product of this liberty. To not consider ill will as evil would be to deny the authenticity of freedom. But if liberty is not authentic, it follows that God’s love for His creature is not authentic either; if there is no real freedom for the creature, there is no real delimitation of the Godhead in the act of creation, there is no “emptying”, and thus no love. And if there is no love, there is no forgiveness.
 
To the contrary, if there is divine forgiveness, there is also divine love, and consequently the authentic liberty of the creature exists. If there is real freedom, its consequence is also imminent, namely the possibility of ill will and, consequently, the impossibility of forgiveness.

Denying the antithesis negates the thesis as well; affirming the antithesis affirms the thesis, and vice-versa. Thesis and antithesis are inseparable, like the object and its shadow. The antinomic character of the dogma of final destinies is obvious from the logical perspective. Actually not only from a logical point of view: it is obvious psychologically as well. The soul prays for the forgiveness of all, it yearns for universal salvation, it hopes “for the peace the entire world”. But, given the perverted and damned ill will, which chooses evil for the sake of evil, given the will which denies God for the sake of denial and hates Him just because He is Love, in short, given the cynicism, the “love of evil” and in E.A. Poe’s words, “the demon of perversity”, the soul curses the very forgiveness of God, it denies and refuses it. “Never do people do as much evil and with as much pleasure – says Pascal – as when they do it consciously.” Thus: “for these hell is already embraced and insatiable; they are already voluntary martyrs. They damned themselves by cursing God and cursing life. They feed on their own pride as one who is starving in the desert, who started drinking his own blood. But they are insatiable unto the ages of ages and they refuse to be forgiven by God, who calls them. They cannot contemplate the living God without enmity and they demand that the God of life exist no more, that God should annihilate Himself and destroy His creation. And they will forever be consumed by the fire of their rage, they will forever thirst for death and nothingness. And death they will not have…” This is what Elder Zosima says in Dostoevsky. It’s not God who refuses to be reconciled with His creature and to forgive an evil soul, filled with hatred, but the very soul would not be reconciled with God. To constrain him to be reconciled, to forcefully make him love God, He would have had to deprive him of liberty, that is He Himself should have stopped loving and started hating. But being Love, He abolishes nobody’s freedom, because “those who of their own will deny Him, He separated from Himself, granting them what they themselves have chosen.”     

God’s Love, from which one previously deduced the unavoidable character of forgiveness, now becomes an obstacle for it. If previously we demanded universal salvation, now we are “revolted” by it.

Within the limits of reason there is no solution to this aporia. The solution can only consist of the effective transformation of the reality itself, where the synthesis of thesis and antithesis is experienced as a fact, as a direct consequence of experience, relying for its justification on the Tri-hypostatic Truth. In other words, the synthesis can only be given definitively in the living out of the final destinies of the creature,  that is in the complete renewal of the world; before that, the synthesis is experienced in the Mysteries, where we are granted a personal regeneration (you understand what I mean).
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« Reply #160 on: October 02, 2013, 07:46:14 AM »

Quote from: Fr. Pavel Florensky, The Pillar and Ground of the Truth: An Essay in Orthodox Theodicy in Twelve Letters, 8th Letter - The Gehenna
Being created by God, and therefore holy and having a certain intrinsic value in its core, the person has a free and creative will, which manifests itself as a system of actions, which is to say an empirical character. In this sense, the person is (a) character.

But a creature of God is a person and must be saved;  yet the wicked character is precisely what precludes the salvation of the person. Hence the clear conclusion is that salvation implies the separation of person and character, the individualization of both. What is one must become distinct. How so? Just as three is one in God, the One par excellence, the I (ego) is split: while remaining him/her-self, it also stops being him/her. Psychologically, this means that the ill will of man, which takes the forms of passions and a prideful character, is split from man himself, acquiring an independent and non-substantial situation in existence and, at the same time, being an absolute nothing “for another” (after the fashion of “you”, which is the metaphysical synthesis of “I” and “him” in the divided person). In other words, the “in oneself” of the person, being essentially holy  (according to the “he” paradigm), is split from its “for oneself” (according to the “I” paradigm), because the latter is wicked.   

The moments of one’s existence acquire an independent meaning, being split from one another, and my “for myself”, since it is evil, abandons my “in myself”, departing into “the outer darkness”, that is outside God, in the “impenetrable darkness” which lies “outside God”, where He “does not reach”, in the metaphysical place where there is no God. The Three-One is the Light of Love, where He is Existence; outside Him there is the darkness of hatred, and thus eternal annihilation. “The Trinity is the unshakable power” and the Ground of all stability. Denying the Most-Holy Trinity, apostasy and isolation from Her, cuts  aseity (this “in myself”) from its power source and condemns it to revolve around itself. For the Gehenna is the negation of the Trinitary dogma. It is not for nothing that at the core of the evil art of magic lies the denial of the trinitarian nature of the symbol “three”. I once happened to hear that a Father asked a wizard during confession how he does his craft; he admitted that he only said: “Three is not three, nine is not nine”.

The meaning of this blaspheming formula is clear: three is the sacred number of Truth, and nine – the same Trinity amplified, “potentialized” (at least this is its significance in symbolic arithmology) – is again a number of Truth. The Trinity is being refused its trinitarian nature, Nineness is being refused its character, that is the numbers of Truth are being refused that which makes them numbers of Truth, their veracity. Thus the spell of “Three is not three, nine is not nine” is an impotent attempt to demolish the “Pillar of Truth”, that is the affirmation of lie as Lie, of evil as Evil, ugliness as Ugly, that is Satan himself. For the essence of evil consists only of a negation of ομοούσιος. In the “outer darkness”, where my “for myself” is cast, that is my aseity, by my negation of ομοούσιος, by the obstinate repetition of “Three is not three, nine is not nine”, the aseity, separated from God, is simultaneously existence and nothingness. Malignant aseity, deprived of any objectivity (because the source of objectivity is the Light of God), becomes crude subjectivity, which exists and always retains its liberty, but only for itself, that is - a non-existent freedom. And my “in myself”, after a mysterious fission, turns into pure objectivity, always real, but only “for another”, to the extent to which it did not act for itself in loving aseity; therefore, being real “for another”, the “in oneself” is eternally real.           

The malignant and wicked “for oneself” is perpetual agony, a continual and impotent attempt at getting out of the state of nude aseity ( “for oneself” only) and therefore it endlessly burns in the inextinguishable fire of hatred. This is one of the aspects of the self perception of the evil creature, a living picture, frozen in its subject-less unreality. It is the void identity of the ego with the self, who cannot overcome the limits of the single, eternal moment of sin, torment and rage against God, against its own impotence, the one demential  εποχή extended into eternity. It is an endless effort, which only proves its own impotence, an impotence of making the effort. On earth, the εποχή still retains a creative character, but εποχή in the next world is utterly passive. On the other hand, good “in itself” is an always beautiful object of contemplation, a part of another, inasmuch as this other is good for himself also, thus being capable of contemplating in his turn the good of another. For he who loves transforms everything he loves in himself; but he who hates doesn’t even belong to himself: “whosoever will save his self/soul, shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his self/soul for My sake shall find it” (Mt. 10, 39; cf. Mt. 16, 25; Mk. 8, 35; Lk. 9, 24; 17, 33; Jn. 12, 25).
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« Reply #161 on: October 02, 2013, 07:47:42 AM »

Romeo,

Are these your translations?
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« Reply #162 on: October 02, 2013, 07:50:13 AM »

Quote from: Fr. Pavel Florensky, The Pillar and Ground of the Truth: An Essay in Orthodox Theodicy in Twelve Letters, 8th Letter - The Gehenna
The above is a mere rephrasing in ontological language of the “Parable of the talents”. The “talent” is the spiritual faculty with which God endows each human, to create his/her own person, or “the image of God”. In the case of “God’s image”, just as with capital, an effort is required for its multiplication. But the increase of capital depends on the scale of the proprietor’s action, so there is no point in providing him with capital which he will not use; the same is true of the soul: each has its own “increase rate” and therefore everyone is given the adequate spiritual capital. According to the vital development of God’s image which is incumbent on himself, according to his own “type” of spiritual growth and prosperity, everyone receives their talent from God: one is given a single talent, another two, another five – “to each according to his possibility or capacity” -  εκάστω κατά την ιδίαν δύναμιν (Mt. 25:15). Yet through His holy gift, God does not wish to constrain man, by imposing “heavy burdens, grievous to be borne” (Mt 23:4, Lk. 11:46).    

The one who received five talents gained another five; the one who got two – another two. But what do the words of this parable signify? If the talents are God’s image, how can man, by his own effort, by his own devices, increase his existence after God’s image, by doubling the same? It is self-evident that man cannot create it, but only double it, just as the vital force of the organism does not create its food, but only assimilates it. Man does not increase his person, he has no δύναμις for this, but he assumes it by receiving in himself God’s image from the other people. Love – here is that δύναμις through which everyone is enriched and increases, by absorbing another.  How? By giving itself to another. But man only receives as much as he gives of himself; and, when he completely gives himself in love, he receives himself back, but grounded, affirmed, deepened in the other, that is he doubles his existence. Thus, he who got five talents, added as many to them, he who got two added another two, no more, no less (Mt. 25:16-17).  

This doubling of the self is “being faithful over a few things” (επί ολίγα ης πιστός - Mt. 25:21-23), over that which each was granted, over the piece of the Celestial Jerusalem which was given to each for safekeeping. But it’s not just his own joy that awaits the “good and faithful servant”; this great and infinite joy would be but a small and insignificant droplet as compared to the infinite ocean of spiritual joy which is prepared for the faithful servant by “the depth of the riches of the wisdom and the knowledge of God” (Romans 11:33). What awaits him is “entering in the joy of his Lord” (είσελθε εις την χαράν του κυρίου σου - Mt. 25:23), that is sharing the divine beatitude, the joy of the Trinity for the perfection of the Lord’s entire work, resting with God’s rest, which He enjoyed after accomplishing by His grace the creation of the world.  

But joy is only accessible to the one who is aware of his own person, who has worked, that is to the servant who is “faithful over few things”. The one who did not ground his person, who did not earn what was given to him, is blinded by the brightness of the Tri-hypostatic Godhead, he chokes on  the odour of heavenly incense, is deafened by the praises of the heavenly hosts. Such a man cannot bear the face of God, he flees the All-seeing and rejects His immortal gifts. Thus, the servant of the parable who got one talent and did nothing to increase it, that is he added nothing to what was given to him by his own effort, tells his master: “Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou didst not sow, and gathering where thou didst not scatter; and I was afraid, and went away and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, thou hast thine own!” (Mt. 25, 24-25). Hatred for the good master rings in these words; with scorn and pride the servant rejects the precious gift he was given. He wants to be “on his own”. And then, granting the wicked and slothful servant his wish, wicked as it might be, but eternally free by God’s mercy, the Master commands the talent which he refused to be taken from him and to be given to the one who has ten talents, “for unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away”  (Mt. 25, 29; cf. Mt. 13, 12; Mc. 4, 25; Lk. 8, 18; 19, 26). If man is slothful and negligent of his spiritual work and wickedly seeks reassurance, justifying his sloth by burying in himself God’s image which he possesses; if, when asked about the same image, he rushes to scornfully reject it, then what he refused is confiscated. But for the sin of one man who refused, God does not punish the entire creation, depriving it of His gift. The rejected divine image ceases to exist only for him who rejected it, not absolutely. The innocent, who entered in the joy of their Lord, rejoicing in every divine image He ever created, receive God in this joy, also assimilating this rejected gift of God; the wicked servant is excluded from the joy of his Master, he isolates himself outside Him, in that which is outside God, “in the outer darkness” (Mt. 25:30)  
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« Reply #163 on: October 02, 2013, 07:51:02 AM »

Romeo,

Are these your translations?

Yup, they are. 
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« Reply #164 on: October 02, 2013, 07:53:49 AM »

Romeo,

Are these your translations?

Yup, they are. 

Just cause I want to feel inferior, do you have lying around in translation or are just do this translation on fly?

I hope it is former and you are cutting and pasting.
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« Reply #165 on: October 02, 2013, 07:56:41 AM »

Romeo,

Are these your translations?

Yup, they are. 

Just cause I want to feel inferior, do you have lying around in translation or are just do this translation on fly?

I hope it is former and you are cutting and pasting.

It's the latter - I've been cropping this up for the past couple of hours or so.  Embarrassed

I had the Romanian text in digital format, so that made it easier.
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« Reply #166 on: October 02, 2013, 07:58:59 AM »

Romaios is the biggest badass on the internet.  Who else translates old Church texts for an internet forum debate?

*crawls in hole and bemoans wasted life*
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« Reply #167 on: October 02, 2013, 08:05:59 AM »

Romaios is the biggest badass on the internet.  Who else translates old Church texts for an internet forum debate?

*crawls in hole and bemoans wasted life*

You'd have to be bored and, literally, have no other talent.

Life can be wasted in innumerable ways - this is just my own.  Wink

Actually, I translated these bits because of the content, not to harvest praises. But I'd be a hypocrite not to admit that some appreciation is always nice.  Tongue
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« Reply #168 on: October 02, 2013, 08:09:18 AM »

Romaios is the biggest badass on the internet.  Who else translates old Church texts for an internet forum debate?

*crawls in hole and bemoans wasted life*

You'd have to be bored and, literally, have no other talent.

Life can be wasted in innumerable ways - this is just my own.  Wink

Actually, I translated these bits because of the content, not to harvest praises. But I'd be a hypocrite not to admit that some appreciation is always nice.  Tongue

I know.  That is what makes it all the more badass.
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« Reply #169 on: October 02, 2013, 08:11:32 AM »

Romeo,

Are these your translations?

Yup, they are. 

Just cause I want to feel inferior, do you have lying around in translation or are just do this translation on fly?

I hope it is former and you are cutting and pasting.

It's the latter - I've been cropping this up for the past couple of hours or so.  Embarrassed

I had the Romanian text in digital format, so that made it easier.

Interesting. I'll stop the pointless questions centered around my self-loathing.

Thanks.

If you and / or Cyrilic ever decide to redo the travesty committed by Pearse, let me know.
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« Reply #170 on: October 02, 2013, 08:14:00 AM »

Actually, I translated these bits because of the content, not to harvest praises.

Get over yourself, this is about me hating myself thus being closer to being Godlike.
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« Reply #171 on: October 02, 2013, 08:16:14 AM »

Actually, I translated these bits because of the content, not to harvest praises.

Get over yourself, this is about me hating myself thus being closer to being Godlike.
I can see theosis setting in already.
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« Reply #172 on: October 02, 2013, 09:06:27 AM »

If you and / or Cyrilic ever decide to redo the travesty committed by Pearse, let me know.

You mean the Aeneid? I haven't tried my hand at poetry since 7th grade or so, but sure, why not?

We'll dedicate our version to Achronos.  laugh
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« Reply #173 on: October 02, 2013, 09:07:20 AM »

Actually, I translated these bits because of the content, not to harvest praises.

Get over yourself.

Easier said than done...
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« Reply #174 on: October 02, 2013, 09:16:17 AM »

If you and / or Cyrilic ever decide to redo the travesty committed by Pearse, let me know.

You mean the Aeneid? I haven't tried my hand at poetry since 7th grade or so, but sure, why not?

We'll dedicate our version to Achronos.  laugh

No that unreadable English translation of the "Early Church Fathers":

http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html

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« Reply #175 on: October 02, 2013, 09:29:42 AM »

No that unreadable English translation of the "Early Church Fathers":

http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html

I thought there were dozens of translations of those in English already.  Huh
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« Reply #176 on: October 02, 2013, 09:34:07 AM »

Back on topic, everyone.
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« Reply #177 on: October 02, 2013, 11:36:37 AM »

Wow, there's been a lot of replies since I last checked in.  Was I really gone that long?
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« Reply #178 on: October 02, 2013, 12:18:22 PM »

You do realize that, seeing the Scriptures as a product of the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church and the life of the Church guided by the Holy Spirit, we Orthodox don't believe in sola scriptura, as you appear to do? The Scriptures are truly foundational to our doctrines, but only when understood within their context as a product of the life of the Church.


My understanding is that the Eastern Orthodox Church is Prima Scriptura, which means that church doctrines cannot directly contradict scripture.  Is that correct?
We do indeed believe that Church doctrine cannot contradict Scripture, but that's not the definition of prima scriptura in that we also believe that one's interpretation of Scripture cannot contradict Church doctrines.
Yes. You need to be able to interpret scripture to understand what it says. If you don't know what scripture says, you can't know if it's contradicting anything.

Do you think you may be following the same path most Protestants follow as regards your approach to the Scriptures? Look to the Scriptures as little more than a source text to support the development of your philosophies/doctrines?
Why shouldn't I base my worldview in scripture? I'm a Christian, right?
I'm not talking about basing your world view on Scripture. I'm talking about using Scripture as a source text for whatever philosophy you wish to construct. These two approaches are very different.
...You seem to be suggesting that basing philosophies and doctrines off scripture is bad...
Do you not understand what I'm trying to communicate? If not, why not?

BTW, have you read this article from an interview with Dr. Ben Witherington? http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/november/23.66.html This gives the foundation for my question. It seems to me you're doing the same thing he criticized in this interview.
I don't understand what you're trying to say.
What I'm saying is that you appear to have already crafted your world view without prior reference to the Scriptures and are only searching the Scriptures for texts that prove the world view you've already created.
Two can play at this game, though for now I'll just ask you why you think I'm an eisegete. 

Scripture says that eternal life is a gift of God only for the righteous, and though I'll agree that scripture doesn't say that eternal life is only eternal existence (it's also communion with God, etc.), it doesn't follow that death is therefore only figurative.  Even though the Bible sometimes compares those without God to the dead, it doesn't follow that therefore their final punishment (the second death) is the same as their state now (separation from God/spiritual death). If it were like that, then why would it be called the "Second Death"? Did they rise to spiritual life and get to know God in between deaths? Furthermore, according to that view, their spiritual death started before their actual first death, so not only is the final punishment not a second death like the Bible says, it actually started before the first death!

ISTM that you have defined "life" to be synonymous with "existence", such that eternal life means eternal existence. Is this the right way to define "life"?
I'm not sure whether death has to entail cessation of existence among the other qualifications, but I do know that life entails existence. I don't think that life is synonymous with existence, however.

Anyway, I don't think I said that "life" means exactly the same thing as "existence." I said that life means life, and death means death (ceasing to live/ceasing to be conscious, able to make decisions, able to have emotions, growing, etc.)
Recursive definitions are useless as anything but an exercise in tautology. A definition must use words other than the word you seek to define for it to be effective.
Life is consciousness, ability to grow, metabolize, have feelings, act, etc. Death means lack of consciousness, no ability to act or make decisions, having no feelings or mental capacity, no growth, no metabolism, etc. It may also include cessation of existence, but I'm not sure.  Either way, eternal conscious torment is out.
On what do you base your definition?
Those were the standard definitions of "life" and "death." I don't really see the problem here...
"Standard"... What standard?
Languages have standard meanings of words, or else it would be impossible to communicate.  If you said "I would like a banana," I could think that you meant "That ship is a barquentine," without being considered insane.

I have heard the explanation that perishing can mean being apart from God.  And it does mean that.  People who don’t exist can certainly be considered apart from I Am.  But interpreting a word like “perish” in such a straightforward context as meaning 'Living forever (but in a horrifyingly painful place)' is simply bad hermeneutics.
How so?

The interpretation doesn't make sense for the word and its context.  

(Sorry if the quote formatting is weird.  I'm new to this kind of forum.)
How, then, do you know that your hermeneutics are good?
Because it makes sense for the word and its context.
Makes sense to whom? It seems to me that you're engaging in some circular reasoning here.
A hermeneutic is considered good
Considered good by whom?
By those who have knowledge about the scriptures and how to interpret them (theologians, Biblical scholars, etc.).

What's wrong with looking at a text's context and the meaning of the words that are used in it? That's literally how we understand each other in day to day life. 

if it takes into consideration context, the standard meaning of a word, other possible meanings of a word, and word usage. For the word meaning, biblewebapp.com is a good resource (except for in some instances, when it assumes eternal conscious torment)

For the context, the death of the wicked is contrasted (often in the same paragraph or even verse) with the eternal life of the saved. Furthermore, immortality/eternal life in scripture is portrayed as a gift of God to the righteous, and so the wicked would not have eternal life.  Also, the Biblical vision of eternity is one where sin and evil are no more, and everyone is united under Christ. How could that be if the wicked are living forever, separate from God? There is no real support of an eternal duality of horror and bliss in the Bible. Jesus' atoning death is another source of context. Jesus was a substitute for us, bearing our punishment on our behalf. What did he bear? Death. Isaiah 53:8-9 says that He was "cut off from the land of the living" and that "they made his grave with the wicked." Romans 5:6 says that "Christ died for our sins." 1 Peter 3:18 says that it was by physical death that Christ became our substitute. 
Again, you do realize that your approach to the Scriptures is foreign to Orthodox Christianity?
So you don't consider context and word meanings when you read the Bible? Eh?
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« Reply #179 on: October 02, 2013, 12:44:05 PM »

Scripture says that eternal life is a gift of God only for the righteous, and though I'll agree that scripture doesn't say that eternal life is only eternal existence (it's also communion with God, etc.), it doesn't follow that death is therefore only figurative.  Even though the Bible sometimes compares those without God to the dead, it doesn't follow that therefore their final punishment (the second death) is the same as their state now (separation from God/spiritual death). If it were like that, then why would it be called the "Second Death"? Did they rise to spiritual life and get to know God in between deaths? Furthermore, according to that view, their spiritual death started before their actual first death, so not only is the final punishment not a second death like the Bible says, it actually started before the first death!

Do you buy into the distinction between physical and spiritual death?

Quote
Again, you do realize that your approach to the Scriptures is foreign to Orthodox Christianity?
So you don't consider context and word meanings when you read the Bible? Eh?

The Odox have some of the weirdest hermeneutics you could ever encounter--brace yourself.
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