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Author Topic: To sin or not to sin  (Read 1933 times) Average Rating: 0
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Matthew79
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« on: November 04, 2013, 12:17:06 PM »

How much does original sin/ancestral curse affect our ability to sin or not to sin? How many of us, if we are honest with ourselves, can go even 1 day without sinning? Is it even possible?

There are specific thoughts that have inspired this question, but I want to keep it general first and see where things go.
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2013, 12:28:55 PM »

If it isn't possible, then even God is a sinner.  While it's certainly possible, it's by no means probable. 
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2013, 12:30:45 PM »

Sin(fulness) is an illness, an entire state of being. It's not a matter of how many sins, but how deep the condition is. And, only God can restore us to our normal state through His direct intervention or Grace.
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2013, 12:39:54 PM »

Ah, the Western idea of sin.  No, it is not possible to be without sin since only God is perfect.  Even if you were not to commit any act that violated the Commandments, you would still be sinful because you are not perfect.  Only God is perfect.
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2013, 12:42:47 PM »

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Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

1 John 3:4-9

It might be more fruitful to focus on how to abide in Him than how NOT to sin.
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2013, 12:44:50 PM »

Then why does Christ tell us to be perfect like our Father in heaven is perfect?  Was He playing a practical joke?  It has to be possible (I believe it to be, although every difficult for me), otherwise this whole Christianity thing is a farce.
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2013, 12:57:47 PM »

Ah, the Western idea of sin.  No, it is not possible to be without sin since only God is perfect.  Even if you were not to commit any act that violated the Commandments, you would still be sinful because you are not perfect.  Only God is perfect.

If we did not break any of the commandments, did not sin, how would we not be perfect? What is the opposite of sinful? What is the definition of "perfect"?
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« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2013, 12:59:53 PM »

If it isn't possible, then even God is a sinner.  While it's certainly possible, it's by no means probable. 

God would be the exception, being born without a sin nature, and being God
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« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2013, 01:04:23 PM »

How much does original sin/ancestral curse affect our ability to sin or not to sin? How many of us, if we are honest with ourselves, can go even 1 day without sinning? Is it even possible?

There are specific thoughts that have inspired this question, but I want to keep it general first and see where things go.

This where the RCs were almost right, it's not that we are ontologically guilty from day one, but rather conditionally so.

You cannot not sin. Period.

No one dies an innocent, not even an aborted fetus.

How the conditional intersects with the ontological is another discussion.

EDIT: This was the first reply. So it doesn't reflect any of the other replies above it. Some happened or something.
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« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2013, 01:05:00 PM »

If it isn't possible, then even God is a sinner.  While it's certainly possible, it's by no means probable. 

God wouldn't be included in this equation, since the context is the nature of man, not the nature of God.  Is it possible for man to go even one day without sinning?
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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2013, 01:10:23 PM »

If it isn't possible, then even God is a sinner.  While it's certainly possible, it's by no means probable. 

God wouldn't be included in this equation, since the context is the nature of man, not the nature of God.  Is it possible for man to go even one day without sinning?

Be careful how you tread. Did not God become a man?
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« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2013, 01:12:58 PM »

Then why does Christ tell us to be perfect like our Father in heaven is perfect?  Was He playing a practical joke?  It has to be possible (I believe it to be, although every difficult for me), otherwise this whole Christianity thing is a farce.

To loosely quote our favorite German: there was only one Christian, and we crucified him.
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« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2013, 01:26:41 PM »

Then why does Christ tell us to be perfect like our Father in heaven is perfect?  Was He playing a practical joke?  It has to be possible (I believe it to be, although every difficult for me), otherwise this whole Christianity thing is a farce.

It is true, man is capable of perfection. However, in the current conditions, he needs to gets rid of the illness of sin and he becomes without sin as well, and then can resemble God through His Grace/Energies.
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« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2013, 01:34:24 PM »

Ah, the Western idea of sin.  No, it is not possible to be without sin since only God is perfect.  Even if you were not to commit any act that violated the Commandments, you would still be sinful because you are not perfect.  Only God is perfect.

Are you stating the "western idea of sin" cause your argument goes to ontology, which I don't think holds much water. I am not sure what these arguments amount to since you and I would end up with the same conclusion.
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« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2013, 01:43:32 PM »

If it isn't possible, then even God is a sinner.  While it's certainly possible, it's by no means probable. 

God wouldn't be included in this equation, since the context is the nature of man, not the nature of God.  Is it possible for man to go even one day without sinning?

What I had in mind is what hecma925 posted above.  If God wills us not to sin, commands us not to sin, and it's not even remotely possible, then he's a liar or a monster or something. 

Our Lady never sinned. 

So again, it is possible.  But probable?  I can't think of more than two instances in human history.
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« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2013, 01:44:45 PM »

To loosely quote our favorite German: there was only one Christian, and we crucified him.

 Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2013, 01:47:03 PM »

To loosely quote our favorite German: there was only one Christian, and we crucified him.

 Smiley

Yes, we were all sinners and we crucified the One who wasn't. That would be the end of this world, except He resurrected and now the gates of Heaven are open.
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« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2013, 01:57:57 PM »

If it isn't possible, then even God is a sinner.  While it's certainly possible, it's by no means probable. 

God wouldn't be included in this equation, since the context is the nature of man, not the nature of God.  Is it possible for man to go even one day without sinning?

What I had in mind is what hecma925 posted above.  If God wills us not to sin, commands us not to sin, and it's not even remotely possible, then he's a liar or a monster or something. 

Our Lady never sinned. 

So again, it is possible.  But probable?  I can't think of more than two instances in human history.

You could probably tack on Enoch and Elijah who were good enough for God to allow them not to even die.
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« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2013, 02:01:24 PM »

You could probably tack on Enoch and Elijah who were good enough for God to allow them not to even die.

Our Lady died.  Christ died.  So not dying does not necessarily imply sinlessness. 

And I'm unaware of our tradition regarding Enoch and Elijah as having never sinned. 
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« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2013, 02:04:10 PM »

If it isn't possible, then even God is a sinner.  While it's certainly possible, it's by no means probable. 

God wouldn't be included in this equation, since the context is the nature of man, not the nature of God.  Is it possible for man to go even one day without sinning?

What I had in mind is what hecma925 posted above.  If God wills us not to sin, commands us not to sin, and it's not even remotely possible, then he's a liar or a monster or something. 

Our Lady never sinned. 

So again, it is possible.  But probable?  I can't think of more than two instances in human history.

Mary sinned. This is where the Orthodox show their own lack of understanding of sin. But this has been here about 300 times already?

So Mary isn't sinless. She can't have been. She lived and she died. Due to the causes and conditions greater than her she wasn't perfect.

The real nut to crack when it comes to sin, if you don't wish to go the easy ontological route, is to explain HOW Jesus didn't sin.

Let me know if you know of any good writings on that, cause I've seen none. Too much jibber jabber on the whys (which usually end up to be begging the question writ large), not much on the hows.
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« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2013, 02:04:58 PM »

You could probably tack on Enoch and Elijah who were good enough for God to allow them not to even die.

Our Lady died.  Christ died.  So not dying does not necessarily imply sinlessness. 

And I'm unaware of our tradition regarding Enoch and Elijah as having never sinned. 

Not dying isn't the absence of sin, but if you want to St. Paul seriously, the wages of sin IS death. And unless God pays people unjustly . . .
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« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2013, 02:05:58 PM »

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So again, it is possible.  But probable?  I can't think of more than two instances in human history.

Sounds like a farce to me...
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« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2013, 02:13:29 PM »

Mary sinned. This is where the Orthodox show their own lack of understanding of sin. But this has been here about 300 times already?

If I've understood you correctly, can you recommend one of those 300 or so threads so that I don't waste anyone's time here? 
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« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2013, 02:18:06 PM »

If it isn't possible, then even God is a sinner.  While it's certainly possible, it's by no means probable. 

God would be the exception, being born without a sin nature, and being God

He was born a man only in the person of Christ.
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« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2013, 02:18:54 PM »

Mary sinned. This is where the Orthodox show their own lack of understanding of sin. But this has been here about 300 times already?

If I've understood you correctly, can you recommend one of those 300 or so threads so that I don't waste anyone's time here? 

Really?

You can see a bit here:

https://www.google.com/#q=site:orthodoxchristianity.net+mary+sinless
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« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2013, 02:19:57 PM »

I am reminded of the rich young ruler who was about as perfect as any man can get. Jesus said that in order to be completely perfect he had to sell all he had, give it to the poor, and follow Him- kind of like a vagabond. Then Jesus said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

So, the fact that he couldn't give up his riches for the sake of Christ, wouldn't that be idolatry? We could say the young man's understanding of the 10 commandments was a bit shallow. We can't not sin... unless God saves us and empowers us with His Spirit.

Does not our sin nature hold us in bondage, and cause us to sin, until we place our faith in Christ?

If Jesus wasn't born with a sin nature, (which I believe he wasn't) then could he have sinned if he wanted to? I would say no because, being God, He is the standard of what is holy and what is sinful
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« Reply #26 on: November 04, 2013, 02:20:26 PM »

If it isn't possible, then even God is a sinner.  While it's certainly possible, it's by no means probable. 

God would be the exception, being born without a sin nature, and being God

Weird to see so many see sin as an ontological state who are in EO.

But what do you people mean by nature? I guess some have arguing over this since, as long as we can remember.
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« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2013, 02:20:36 PM »

Looks like I missed a whole lot of fun between 2006 and 2013!
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« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2013, 02:24:03 PM »


He was born a man only in the person of Christ.


yeah, sorry, that's what I meant.
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« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2013, 02:24:57 PM »

Weird to see so many see sin as an ontological state who are in EO.

But what do you people mean by nature? I guess some have arguing over this since, as long as we can remember.

It's a good point, I don't think we're all using the same words in the same way.  For my part, I think it would be useful if you explained "sin as an ontological state" or what you mean by that, as well as your (and/or the Orthodox) understanding of sin which, apparently, many of us misunderstand.    
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« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2013, 02:31:47 PM »

Sin as an ontological state means that man's nature is corrupted and obscured by sin so that he is not as transparent to God's energies. Man is not functioning as he should, according to his true ontology (in God).
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« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2013, 02:43:33 PM »

Weird to see so many see sin as an ontological state who are in EO.

But what do you people mean by nature? I guess some have arguing over this since, as long as we can remember.

It's a good point, I don't think we're all using the same words in the same way.  For my part, I think it would be useful if you explained "sin as an ontological state" or what you mean by that, as well as your (and/or the Orthodox) understanding of sin which, apparently, many of us misunderstand.    

What else could I mean by ontological? That which pertains to being. I can't correct thousands of years of misunderstanding regarding being if folks are suffering under that. I can only point the way. But that is really never much a problem till discussions get rather technical.

Sin? Pretty simple. Being out of communion with God and neighbor. Silly stuff like intent, acts, etc. are not necessary to be in sin. However it is not an ontological state of what call the human person.

Really, I am not as cryptic as those would paint me to be. They just refuse to think for a few seconds after reading what I write.
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« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2013, 02:45:08 PM »

Ah, the Western idea of sin.  No, it is not possible to be without sin since only God is perfect.  Even if you were not to commit any act that violated the Commandments, you would still be sinful because you are not perfect.  Only God is perfect.

Are you stating the "western idea of sin" cause your argument goes to ontology, which I don't think holds much water. I am not sure what these arguments amount to since you and I would end up with the same conclusion.

What I am saying is that "sin" is not the acts that we commit, it is the fallen state that we are in.  We can never become anything but human.  That is why God came down and became one of us.  We can become, by Grace, what He is by nature. But we can never become "perfect" (without sin) because "in sins did my mother concieve me".  Death is the only way to perfection.
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« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2013, 02:50:17 PM »

Sin as an ontological state means that man's nature is corrupted and obscured by sin so that he is not as transparent to God's energies. Man is not functioning as he should, according to his true ontology (in God).

What is man's nature?

Man certainly isn't a being toward sin. Man's relationship to world might be affected by sin, this clearly isn't necessarily so, if allow yourself to believe Christian teaching.

Being doesn't function, except maybe nowadays when people are so taken with such notions of like the mathematical scientific explanation for everything. Only then does being become so denuded of what is allows to be to be reduced so quickly to something like "functions".
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« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2013, 02:53:04 PM »

Ah, the Western idea of sin.  No, it is not possible to be without sin since only God is perfect.  Even if you were not to commit any act that violated the Commandments, you would still be sinful because you are not perfect.  Only God is perfect.

Are you stating the "western idea of sin" cause your argument goes to ontology, which I don't think holds much water. I am not sure what these arguments amount to since you and I would end up with the same conclusion.

What I am saying is that "sin" is not the acts that we commit, it is the fallen state that we are in.  We can never become anything but human.  That is why God came down and became one of us.  We can become, by Grace, what He is by nature. But we can never become "perfect" (without sin) because "in sins did my mother concieve me".  Death is the only way to perfection.

I think state is problematic as it goes quickly back to something being, unless people really can hear the notions of stance within the world.

Like I said, I think we will in conclusion if not on the way there.

Except, I am not sure perfection post mortem is a solid Christian teaching.
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« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2013, 02:59:37 PM »

What else could I mean by ontological? That which pertains to being. I can't correct thousands of years of misunderstanding regarding being if folks are suffering under that. I can only point the way. But that is really never much a problem till discussions get rather technical.

Sin? Pretty simple. Being out of communion with God and neighbor. Silly stuff like intent, acts, etc. are not necessary to be in sin. However it is not an ontological state of what call the human person.

Really, I am not as cryptic as those would paint me to be. They just refuse to think for a few seconds after reading what I write.

My original interaction with this thread was rather simple, and based on the presumption that "sin" was being used here in terms of acts, words, or thoughts which violate the divine commandments (i.e., "silly stuff").  If I asked for definitions, it's only because I sensed the conversation had moved to another, more serious level, and I needed to catch up if I (and perhaps others) was going to continue in it.    

If sin is not an ontological state of the human person, how is it that "one cannot not sin"?  
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« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2013, 03:05:52 PM »

What else could I mean by ontological? That which pertains to being. I can't correct thousands of years of misunderstanding regarding being if folks are suffering under that. I can only point the way. But that is really never much a problem till discussions get rather technical.

Sin? Pretty simple. Being out of communion with God and neighbor. Silly stuff like intent, acts, etc. are not necessary to be in sin. However it is not an ontological state of what call the human person.

Really, I am not as cryptic as those would paint me to be. They just refuse to think for a few seconds after reading what I write.

My original interaction with this thread was rather simple, and based on the presumption that "sin" was being used here in terms of acts, words, or thoughts which violate the divine commandments (i.e., "silly stuff").  If I asked for definitions, it's only because I sensed the conversation had moved to another, more serious level, and I needed to catch up if I (and perhaps others) was going to continue in it.    

If sin is not an ontological state of the human person, how is it that "one cannot not sin"?  

As I said, this goes to the interaction between the ontological and conditional (or what I would rather call ontic, but that throws some off too much).

But as I was alluding to above, if we are willing to hear state for what it is, then I am willing to say that sin about be an ontological state in so far as it is manner of relating to the world in which we STAND. Stand here being taken so figuratively as to rerender it literally.

But if we are getting into ontological states of being which are like tinker toy sticks, no thank you.
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« Reply #37 on: November 04, 2013, 03:12:02 PM »

What else could I mean by ontological? That which pertains to being. I can't correct thousands of years of misunderstanding regarding being if folks are suffering under that. I can only point the way. But that is really never much a problem till discussions get rather technical.

Sin? Pretty simple. Being out of communion with God and neighbor. Silly stuff like intent, acts, etc. are not necessary to be in sin. However it is not an ontological state of what call the human person.

Really, I am not as cryptic as those would paint me to be. They just refuse to think for a few seconds after reading what I write.

My original interaction with this thread was rather simple, and based on the presumption that "sin" was being used here in terms of acts, words, or thoughts which violate the divine commandments (i.e., "silly stuff").  If I asked for definitions, it's only because I sensed the conversation had moved to another, more serious level, and I needed to catch up if I (and perhaps others) was going to continue in it.    

If sin is not an ontological state of the human person, how is it that "one cannot not sin"?  

That is silly stuff, as it what mostly causes people to misunderstand sin. You can do fine and likely better concerning yourself with silly stuff in life, but I don't think the OP was asking whether or not I could go a lifetime without masturbating.

Yes, I could.

And then go through lists of sins and decide whether or not some one could do that.

I would answer no they can't. Since in our world we are all murders in the minimum and perhaps gay in the least. But this stance of ours is a conditional one. We even have an explaination for this condition, it is called the OT.

Basically, people decided to take wrongs stands over and over for silly stuff and things got worse and worse. But some people did take proper stands over and over for silly stuff and someone like Mary was possible, not perfect, not without sin, but capable of being in communion with God in such a deep manner as to survive the most intimate communion with God. The most intimate communion with God we know of for a human person outside that of her son.  
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« Reply #38 on: November 04, 2013, 03:38:47 PM »

If it isn't possible, then even God is a sinner.  While it's certainly possible, it's by no means probable. 

God wouldn't be included in this equation, since the context is the nature of man, not the nature of God.  Is it possible for man to go even one day without sinning?

Except that God became Man, and therefore must be included in the equation.
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« Reply #39 on: November 04, 2013, 03:42:23 PM »

Ah, the Western idea of sin.  No, it is not possible to be without sin since only God is perfect.  Even if you were not to commit any act that violated the Commandments, you would still be sinful because you are not perfect.  Only God is perfect.

Are you stating the "western idea of sin" cause your argument goes to ontology, which I don't think holds much water. I am not sure what these arguments amount to since you and I would end up with the same conclusion.

What I am saying is that "sin" is not the acts that we commit, it is the fallen state that we are in.  We can never become anything but human.  That is why God came down and became one of us.  We can become, by Grace, what He is by nature. But we can never become "perfect" (without sin) because "in sins did my mother concieve me".  Death is the only way to perfection.

St. Athanasius would seem to disagree with you.
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« Reply #40 on: November 04, 2013, 03:49:36 PM »

Mor,

Btw, I think the best theological argument for an ontological understanding of sin is from the Metropolitan John Zizioulas.

But this is in the realm of theology. I am not sure how well it holds up once you remove the theological from it.
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« Reply #41 on: November 04, 2013, 03:50:28 PM »

Mor,

You didn't answer my question about any writings on how not why Christ didn't sin.

I am not saying you know the answer, just making I am not missing out on something.
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« Reply #42 on: November 04, 2013, 03:52:04 PM »

What else could I mean by ontological? That which pertains to being. I can't correct thousands of years of misunderstanding regarding being if folks are suffering under that. I can only point the way. But that is really never much a problem till discussions get rather technical.

Sin? Pretty simple. Being out of communion with God and neighbor. Silly stuff like intent, acts, etc. are not necessary to be in sin. However it is not an ontological state of what call the human person.

Really, I am not as cryptic as those would paint me to be. They just refuse to think for a few seconds after reading what I write.

My original interaction with this thread was rather simple, and based on the presumption that "sin" was being used here in terms of acts, words, or thoughts which violate the divine commandments (i.e., "silly stuff").  If I asked for definitions, it's only because I sensed the conversation had moved to another, more serious level, and I needed to catch up if I (and perhaps others) was going to continue in it.    

If sin is not an ontological state of the human person, how is it that "one cannot not sin"?  

That is silly stuff, as it what mostly causes people to misunderstand sin. You can do fine and likely better concerning yourself with silly stuff in life, but I don't think the OP was asking whether or not I could go a lifetime without masturbating.

Yes, I could.

And then go through lists of sins and decide whether or not some one could do that.

I would answer no they can't. Since in our world we are all murders in the minimum and perhaps gay in the least. But this stance of ours is a conditional one. We even have an explaination for this condition, it is called the OT.

Basically, people decided to take wrongs stands over and over for silly stuff and things got worse and worse. But some people did take proper stands over and over for silly stuff and someone like Mary was possible, not perfect, not without sin, but capable of being in communion with God in such a deep manner as to survive the most intimate communion with God. The most intimate communion with God we know of for a human person outside that of her son.  

Also Mor, given the literary reference in the subject, I didn't think we were in the realm of the ontological. Being being the question and all.
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« Reply #43 on: November 04, 2013, 04:23:23 PM »

Btw, I think the best theological argument for an ontological understanding of sin is from the Metropolitan John Zizioulas.

But this is in the realm of theology. I am not sure how well it holds up once you remove the theological from it.

I haven't read much by Met. John other than what was required for class (and then, not all of it), so I can't remember if I've ever read anything by him on this matter.  

Mor,

You didn't answer my question about any writings on how not why Christ didn't sin.

I am not saying you know the answer, just making I am not missing out on something.

I'm sorry, both for not having responded earlier and for not having any book/article recommendations.  Actually, if you or anyone has them (including for what's directly above), I'd love to make note of them and get to them eventually...among theological disciplines, theology proper is not one of my areas of expertise, so I'm much more likely to listen/ask questions than to answer unless I'm fairly confident I know what I'm talking about.

Also Mor, given the literary reference in the subject, I didn't think we were in the realm of the ontological. Being being the question and all.
   

Honestly, I'm not sure how we got into ontology.  I'm only getting to my daily coffee now, Mondays are always fuzzy.  

The OP contains three questions, and I think I focused on the last two and kept things on a simpler level.  Perhaps those who factored in the first question raised the level of discussion and I was left behind.  Until my coffee kicks in, that's what I'm going with.  Tongue
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« Reply #44 on: November 04, 2013, 04:26:27 PM »

Btw, I think the best theological argument for an ontological understanding of sin is from the Metropolitan John Zizioulas.

But this is in the realm of theology. I am not sure how well it holds up once you remove the theological from it.

I haven't read much by Met. John other than what was required for class (and then, not all of it), so I can't remember if I've ever read anything by him on this matter.  

Mor,

You didn't answer my question about any writings on how not why Christ didn't sin.

I am not saying you know the answer, just making I am not missing out on something.

I'm sorry, both for not having responded earlier and for not having any book/article recommendations.  Actually, if you or anyone has them (including for what's directly above), I'd love to make note of them and get to them eventually...among theological disciplines, theology proper is not one of my areas of expertise, so I'm much more likely to listen/ask questions than to answer unless I'm fairly confident I know what I'm talking about.

Also Mor, given the literary reference in the subject, I didn't think we were in the realm of the ontological. Being being the question and all.
   

Honestly, I'm not sure how we got into ontology.  I'm only getting to my daily coffee now, Mondays are always fuzzy.  

The OP contains three questions, and I think I focused on the last two and kept things on a simpler level.  Perhaps those who factored in the first question raised the level of discussion and I was left behind.  Until my coffee kicks in, that's what I'm going with.  Tongue

My problem is that I haven't had any caffeine today and my head is killing me. Maybe I should remedy the first and hope it takes care of the second.
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