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Author Topic: The proper place of God’s righteousness in Orthodoxy  (Read 2189 times) Average Rating: 0
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TheTrisagion
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« Reply #45 on: May 14, 2014, 06:23:12 PM »

Just on comment on the "limiting God" phrase.  IMHO, there is a right way and a wrong way to understand this concept.

There are many limitations (if you wish to call them that) to God. God cannot act against His nature (ie. sinning, cease to exist, etc). God cannot perform logical impossibilities (ie. make round squares, create a rock to big for Him to push up a hill, etc). God cannot be a contradiction to that which makes Him God. (ie. He cannot be a lesser being of an alternate or other universe, the Mormon concept of God).

These are not so much "limitations" as they are clarifications of who God is.

It would, however, be correct to say that you cannot limit God by saying something like, God cannot kill me because He loves me or God cannot save a person who has not accepted Him.  To make those type of statements, you are attempting to place restrictions on the authority of God.  God tells us what the consequences of sin are and warns us of the dangers of failing to avoid sin, but if God permits some path to salvation outside of what He has told us, He is not contradicting Himself, He is merely not revealing His entire plan to us which is His prerogative as God.

I'm afraid I disagree with Dan regarding the option that God chose.  I believe God's plan is the best possible one of all options for us.  I can't imagine a scenario where God would say "This is the best way to reconcile man to myself, but I'm going to pick the 2nd best option". Perhaps it could happen, but it wouldn't make any sense to me.
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« Reply #46 on: May 14, 2014, 06:35:17 PM »

Just on comment on the "limiting God" phrase.  IMHO, there is a right way and a wrong way to understand this concept.

There are many limitations (if you wish to call them that) to God. God cannot act against His nature (ie. sinning, cease to exist, etc). God cannot perform logical impossibilities (ie. make round squares, create a rock to big for Him to push up a hill, etc). God cannot be a contradiction to that which makes Him God. (ie. He cannot be a lesser being of an alternate or other universe, the Mormon concept of God).

These are not so much "limitations" as they are clarifications of who God is.

God can do all that. And one of the proofs in that direction is the paradox of the Incarnation.

Quote
I'm afraid I disagree with Dan regarding the option that God chose.  I believe God's plan is the best possible one of all options for us.  I can't imagine a scenario where God would say "This is the best way to reconcile man to myself, but I'm going to pick the 2nd best option". Perhaps it could happen, but it wouldn't make any sense to me.

There is no 2nd best with God. Everything he does is perfect, because He is perfect or something Smiley
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« Reply #47 on: May 14, 2014, 06:45:28 PM »

Just on comment on the "limiting God" phrase.  IMHO, there is a right way and a wrong way to understand this concept.

There are many limitations (if you wish to call them that) to God. God cannot act against His nature (ie. sinning, cease to exist, etc). God cannot perform logical impossibilities (ie. make round squares, create a rock to big for Him to push up a hill, etc). God cannot be a contradiction to that which makes Him God. (ie. He cannot be a lesser being of an alternate or other universe, the Mormon concept of God).

These are not so much "limitations" as they are clarifications of who God is.

God can do all that. And one of the proofs in that direction is the paradox of the Incarnation.

You believe that God can sin?  Huh
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« Reply #48 on: May 15, 2014, 02:54:46 AM »

Just on comment on the "limiting God" phrase.  IMHO, there is a right way and a wrong way to understand this concept.

There are many limitations (if you wish to call them that) to God. God cannot act against His nature (ie. sinning, cease to exist, etc). God cannot perform logical impossibilities (ie. make round squares, create a rock to big for Him to push up a hill, etc). God cannot be a contradiction to that which makes Him God. (ie. He cannot be a lesser being of an alternate or other universe, the Mormon concept of God).

These are not so much "limitations" as they are clarifications of who God is.

God can do all that. And one of the proofs in that direction is the paradox of the Incarnation.

You believe that God can sin?  Huh

Sin is a human concept. God killed people in the OT, is killling everybody he makes them rape, etc. Jesus "broke" the OT Law. So "yes".

It is NOT Orthodox Theology or Theolugumen that The Most Holy Trinity/ God can sin or does sin.Please refrain from teaching false doctrine.  
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« Reply #49 on: May 15, 2014, 03:02:15 AM »

Not to mention God break his own laws (of nature) by the resurrection, liberation from hades. and will break them again at the general resurrection when the collision of the realms will take place.
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« Reply #50 on: May 15, 2014, 08:42:51 AM »

How exactly do you define sin?  The Orthodox view is that sin is "missing the mark".  How does God "miss the mark"?
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« Reply #51 on: May 15, 2014, 10:43:00 AM »

How exactly do you define sin?  The Orthodox view is that sin is "missing the mark".  How does God "miss the mark"?

Exactly, there is no definition of sin... but even Christ agonised in the Garden of Ghetsemani. The point is, that you cannot limit God by anything, not even by Himself(Absurd thinking) as God is not limiting in anything, the divine qualities are infinitesimal, and cannot be bound to anything. The Divine cannot be bound. At least this is my understanding, you are free to disagree or correct me. But this topic is not about me.
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« Reply #52 on: May 15, 2014, 02:13:46 PM »

Just on comment on the "limiting God" phrase.  IMHO, there is a right way and a wrong way to understand this concept.
There are many limitations (if you wish to call them that) to God. God cannot act against His nature (ie. sinning, cease to exist, etc). God cannot perform logical impossibilities (ie. make round squares, create a rock to big for Him to push up a hill, etc). God cannot be a contradiction to that which makes Him God. (ie. He cannot be a lesser being of an alternate or other universe, the Mormon concept of God).
These are not so much "limitations" as they are clarifications of who God is.
God can do all that. And one of the proofs in that direction is the paradox of the Incarnation.
You believe that God can sin?  Huh
Sin is a human concept. God killed people in the OT, is killling everybody he makes them rape, etc. Jesus "broke" the OT Law. So "yes".
Hello Dan-Romania, the paradox of the incarnation displays God being able to become man.  The essence of God remains the same.  (I may be confusing essence and energies again, so please feel free to correct me.) 
Secondly, I question your statement that sin is a human concept.  Can you please provide Scripture/Church Tradition that substantiates this comment. 
Third, you have equated killing with sin.  However, there is a distinction between murder and killing.  Murder is called sin, killing is not necessarily so.
Fourth, can you give an example of Jesus breaking the OT law? Remember to distinguish between the OT law and pharisee's law of 2nd Temple Judaism.

There is a serious consequence here.  God is either righteous, or he is unrighteous.  There is no middle ground.  If, as has been discussed in this thread, Love is the ultimate righteousness and God is unrighteous, how then can God be love?  If you say God is not love, then I worship a different God.

Fifth, please be patient with me.  Your comments appear to run contrary to all I have been taught and seen lived out by those I know who seek God.  I will try to remain teachable.
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« Reply #53 on: May 15, 2014, 03:27:46 PM »

Just on comment on the "limiting God" phrase.  IMHO, there is a right way and a wrong way to understand this concept.
There are many limitations (if you wish to call them that) to God. God cannot act against His nature (ie. sinning, cease to exist, etc). God cannot perform logical impossibilities (ie. make round squares, create a rock to big for Him to push up a hill, etc). God cannot be a contradiction to that which makes Him God. (ie. He cannot be a lesser being of an alternate or other universe, the Mormon concept of God).
These are not so much "limitations" as they are clarifications of who God is.
God can do all that. And one of the proofs in that direction is the paradox of the Incarnation.
You believe that God can sin?  Huh
Sin is a human concept. God killed people in the OT, is killling everybody he makes them rape, etc. Jesus "broke" the OT Law. So "yes".
Hello Dan-Romania, the paradox of the incarnation displays God being able to become man.  The essence of God remains the same.  (I may be confusing essence and energies again, so please feel free to correct me.)  
Secondly, I question your statement that sin is a human concept.  Can you please provide Scripture/Church Tradition that substantiates this comment.  

As TheTrisagion said sin in Orthodoxy is "missing the mark". Sin it is mostly seen as a disease than a transgression of a certain strict law. Orthodoxy uses as little penal language as possible. Orthodoxy deals with the individual, with the actual problem of the sin which is veneric , infecting, harming and poisoning. As Paul says "everything is permissible" (1Cor 6:12).

What I meant is that sin in penal ways is more of a human construct from my POV. Legalism compels and inhibates the soul.

Quote
Third, you have equated killing with sin.  However, there is a distinction between murder and killing.  Murder is called sin, killing is not necessarily so.

potato - potatoe , relative morals already?

Quote
Fourth, can you give an example of Jesus breaking the OT law? Remember to distinguish between the OT law and pharisee's law of 2nd Temple Judaism.

Perhaps He didn't. But that is not the point. The point is God is limitless. A God that can be put into a box is no longer God, something like that (paraphrasing).
Quote
There is a serious consequence here.  God is either righteous, or he is unrighteous.  There is no middle ground.  If, as has been discussed in this thread, Love is the ultimate righteousness and God is unrighteous, how then can God be love?  If you say God is not love, then I worship a different God.

Fifth, please be patient with me.  Your comments appear to run contrary to all I have been taught and seen lived out by those I know who seek God.  I will try to remain teachable.


As I said God is beyond such concepts as "righteous/unrighteous".

I don't believe I am the best person to advice you or the most knowledgeable of what Orthodoxy is, so I might risk misrepresenting it, and if/when I do that I beg the others who see my post to correct me.
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« Reply #54 on: May 16, 2014, 11:36:32 AM »

Just on comment on the "limiting God" phrase.  IMHO, there is a right way and a wrong way to understand this concept.
There are many limitations (if you wish to call them that) to God. God cannot act against His nature (ie. sinning, cease to exist, etc). God cannot perform logical impossibilities (ie. make round squares, create a rock to big for Him to push up a hill, etc). God cannot be a contradiction to that which makes Him God. (ie. He cannot be a lesser being of an alternate or other universe, the Mormon concept of God).
These are not so much "limitations" as they are clarifications of who God is.
God can do all that. And one of the proofs in that direction is the paradox of the Incarnation.
You believe that God can sin?  Huh
Sin is a human concept. God killed people in the OT, is killing everybody he makes them rape, etc. Jesus "broke" the OT Law. So "yes".
Hello Dan-Romania, the paradox of the incarnation displays God being able to become man.  The essence of God remains the same.  (I may be confusing essence and energies again, so please feel free to correct me.) 
Secondly, I question your statement that sin is a human concept.  Can you please provide Scripture/Church Tradition that substantiates this comment. 

As TheTrisagion said sin in Orthodoxy is "missing the mark". Sin it is mostly seen as a disease than a transgression of a certain strict law. Orthodoxy uses as little penal language as possible. Orthodoxy deals with the individual, with the actual problem of the sin which is veneric , infecting, harming and poisoning. As Paul says "everything is permissible" (1Cor 6:12).

What I meant is that sin in penal ways is more of a human construct from my POV. Legalism compels and inhibates the soul.

Quote
Third, you have equated killing with sin.  However, there is a distinction between murder and killing.  Murder is called sin, killing is not necessarily so.

potato - potatoe , relative morals already?

Quote
Fourth, can you give an example of Jesus breaking the OT law? Remember to distinguish between the OT law and pharisee's law of 2nd Temple Judaism.

Perhaps He didn't. But that is not the point. The point is God is limitless. A God that can be put into a box is no longer God, something like that (paraphrasing).
Quote
There is a serious consequence here.  God is either righteous, or he is unrighteous.  There is no middle ground.  If, as has been discussed in this thread, Love is the ultimate righteousness and God is unrighteous, how then can God be love?  If you say God is not love, then I worship a different God.

Fifth, please be patient with me.  Your comments appear to run contrary to all I have been taught and seen lived out by those I know who seek God.  I will try to remain teachable.


As I said God is beyond such concepts as "righteous/unrighteous".

I don't believe I am the best person to advice you or the most knowledgeable of what Orthodoxy is, so I might risk misrepresenting it, and if/when I do that I beg the others who see my post to correct me.

I must say that I am wary of moral relativism.  I'll grant that a lot of issues are relative, but taken to its final conclusion it leads into disturbing places.

However, something has occurred to me.  My point of view has been that sin is contrasted against righteousness/justice/morality.  I then naturally draw the conclusion that if righteous is called a relative matter, then sin is called a relative matter.  But that does not appear to be the case here. 

Please correct me if I'm wrong... your point of view is that sin is contrasted with Life.  Sin is not a question of right and wrong but of life and death.  The ancient writing of the Didache teaches: "There are two ways, one of life and one of death; and between the two ways there is a great difference. Now, this is the way of life: 'First, you must love God who made you, and second, your neighbor as yourself.' And whatever you want people to refrain from doing to you, you must not do to them... But the way of death is this: First of all, it is wicked and thoroughly blasphemous..." (Didache in Early Church Fathers, ed. C. Richardson, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia.  1:1-2; 5:1a. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/richardson/fathers.viii.i.iii.html).

Is this distinction of point of views accurate?

Righteousness, no longer being contrasted to sin, is solely a matter of Law and therefore has taken on a purely legalistic tone distinct from sin.  The Law is a teacher of life and death but is itself not equal to life and death.  Now law was created for humanity (for example, man was not created for the Sabbath but the Sabbath for man), as such it has become subject to the whims of humanity distinguishing itself further from the spiritual matters of life and death.  Because you see righteousness as a matter of law made for man and unconnected to the life and death nature of sin, you can say that God is beyond matters of righteousness and unrighteousness. 

At the same time, the Way of Life is the substance of what the law is supposed to teach(Gal 4:1-3): Love, the highest of virtues that encompasses all other virtues. 

From my protestant point of view, I equate righteousness with the "substance of what the law is supposed to teach" = love = life. 
On the other hand from your point of view, righteousness seems to be a dependent function of the law, a mere matter of the law.   As such it is separated from the matter of sin, of life and death.  The "substance of what the law is supposed to teach" (that is Love) however remains as the Orthodox way of life.

Have I miss-represented anything or totally confused the issue?

The limitlessness of God appears to be a philosophical issue - one exacerbated by different view points, terminology, and the mystery of God. 

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« Reply #55 on: May 17, 2014, 05:23:17 AM »

Just on comment on the "limiting God" phrase.  IMHO, there is a right way and a wrong way to understand this concept.
There are many limitations (if you wish to call them that) to God. God cannot act against His nature (ie. sinning, cease to exist, etc). God cannot perform logical impossibilities (ie. make round squares, create a rock to big for Him to push up a hill, etc). God cannot be a contradiction to that which makes Him God. (ie. He cannot be a lesser being of an alternate or other universe, the Mormon concept of God).
These are not so much "limitations" as they are clarifications of who God is.
God can do all that. And one of the proofs in that direction is the paradox of the Incarnation.
You believe that God can sin?  Huh
Sin is a human concept. God killed people in the OT, is killing everybody he makes them rape, etc. Jesus "broke" the OT Law. So "yes".
Hello Dan-Romania, the paradox of the incarnation displays God being able to become man.  The essence of God remains the same.  (I may be confusing essence and energies again, so please feel free to correct me.)  
Secondly, I question your statement that sin is a human concept.  Can you please provide Scripture/Church Tradition that substantiates this comment.  

As TheTrisagion said sin in Orthodoxy is "missing the mark". Sin it is mostly seen as a disease than a transgression of a certain strict law. Orthodoxy uses as little penal language as possible. Orthodoxy deals with the individual, with the actual problem of the sin which is veneric , infecting, harming and poisoning. As Paul says "everything is permissible" (1Cor 6:12).

What I meant is that sin in penal ways is more of a human construct from my POV. Legalism compels and inhibates the soul.

Quote
Third, you have equated killing with sin.  However, there is a distinction between murder and killing.  Murder is called sin, killing is not necessarily so.

potato - potatoe , relative morals already?

Quote
Fourth, can you give an example of Jesus breaking the OT law? Remember to distinguish between the OT law and pharisee's law of 2nd Temple Judaism.

Perhaps He didn't. But that is not the point. The point is God is limitless. A God that can be put into a box is no longer God, something like that (paraphrasing).
Quote
There is a serious consequence here.  God is either righteous, or he is unrighteous.  There is no middle ground.  If, as has been discussed in this thread, Love is the ultimate righteousness and God is unrighteous, how then can God be love?  If you say God is not love, then I worship a different God.

Fifth, please be patient with me.  Your comments appear to run contrary to all I have been taught and seen lived out by those I know who seek God.  I will try to remain teachable.


As I said God is beyond such concepts as "righteous/unrighteous".

I don't believe I am the best person to advice you or the most knowledgeable of what Orthodoxy is, so I might risk misrepresenting it, and if/when I do that I beg the others who see my post to correct me.

I must say that I am wary of moral relativism.  I'll grant that a lot of issues are relative, but taken to its final conclusion it leads into disturbing places.

However, something has occurred to me.  My point of view has been that sin is contrasted against righteousness/justice/morality.  I then naturally draw the conclusion that if righteous is called a relative matter, then sin is called a relative matter.  But that does not appear to be the case here.  

Please correct me if I'm wrong... your point of view is that sin is contrasted with Life.  Sin is not a question of right and wrong but of life and death.  The ancient writing of the Didache teaches: "There are two ways, one of life and one of death; and between the two ways there is a great difference. Now, this is the way of life: 'First, you must love God who made you, and second, your neighbor as yourself.' And whatever you want people to refrain from doing to you, you must not do to them... But the way of death is this: First of all, it is wicked and thoroughly blasphemous..." (Didache in Early Church Fathers, ed. C. Richardson, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia.  1:1-2; 5:1a. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/richardson/fathers.viii.i.iii.html).

Is this distinction of point of views accurate?
You catch hard. Smiley

Quote
Righteousness, no longer being contrasted to sin, is solely a matter of Law and therefore has taken on a purely legalistic tone distinct from sin.  The Law is a teacher of life and death but is itself not equal to life and death.  Now law was created for humanity (for example, man was not created for the Sabbath but the Sabbath for man), as such it has become subject to the whims of humanity distinguishing itself further from the spiritual matters of life and death.  Because you see righteousness as a matter of law made for man and unconnected to the life and death nature of sin, you can say that God is beyond matters of righteousness and unrighteousness.  

At the same time, the Way of Life is the substance of what the law is supposed to teach(Gal 4:1-3): Love, the highest of virtues that encompasses all other virtues.  

From my protestant point of view, I equate righteousness with the "substance of what the law is supposed to teach" = love = life.  
On the other hand from your point of view, righteousness seems to be a dependent function of the law, a mere matter of the law.   As such it is separated from the matter of sin, of life and death.  The "substance of what the law is supposed to teach" (that is Love) however remains as the Orthodox way of life.

Have I miss-represented anything or totally confused the issue?

How can righteousness be a dependent function of the law if (as sin) it is a matter of Life, not of law? Smiley I previously said in page 1 that righteousness is a state of the soul. This righteousness is not a penal imputation. Righteousness is not about imputation but about being.

Quote
The limitlessness of God appears to be a philosophical issue - one exacerbated by different view points, terminology, and the mystery of God.  



My friend this is spiritual meat. I already sense that you are not liking and it is displeasing to you. I used to be the same. Smiley I never believed I could find Orthodoxy appealing and recognise it as truth by my life, to me this were more like theories, empty words, trying to show off as different, etc. My opinion is that Orthodox depths are not for everyone at any time. Better talk to a priest and take it slowly. Step by step. Orthodoxy is too complex and what I have to offer you it might shock your entire spiritual life. As you said it is contrary to everything you are used to and believed Smiley. Nevertheless for the sake of discussion I am willing to continue.
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« Reply #56 on: May 18, 2014, 08:00:48 PM »

Quote
analogizing sin as a crime or transgression is merely one way of explaining it.
Ah, there's a difference in analogies which have evolved into different ontological realities for the respective parties.  You are calling "sin a crime (aka breaking God's law)" a mere analogy.  My protestant teachers taught this as a reality through giving examples of this in Holy Scripture (from the protestant point of view of course).  In my limited exposure thus far, Orthodoxy also presents sin in ontological language as well, "sin is a disease"  instead of "sin is like a disease".  That explains some of my confusion.

By calling this an analogy, it weakens the definition and creates the opportunity to allow another analogy to fill in the gaps.  Unfortunately anyone can create an analogy, many analogies can co-exist, and all analogies are imperfect, though some are better than others.  For this reason I consciously avoid basing what I believe on the shifting sand of analogies.  But obviously I have been doing so unconsciously.

I understand where the analogy of "sin as a crime" comes from.  Can someone give a basis for the analogy of "sin as a disease"? 

I'm also curious to know: If sin is not disobedience...
1. how should I interpret the commands of God in Scripture? If as a simple command then assuming all commands come with an implied punishment, (just ask any parent what happens when a command is issued and disobedience not punished) we are back in the protestant paradigm again.
2. what do I call humanity's disobedience to those commands?
3. what term is used to describe God's action towards humanity's disobedience (say for example Korah's rebellion in Numbers 16)?

Thank you all who have posted, and I ask for your continued patience.  I am hoping that if I keep asking questions it will make sense one day.  This reminds me of the foggy confusion I had when learning about Greek participles; hopefully this will be just as temporary.

1. The (Old Testament) Law was given as a tutor, guidance, prescription to the theandrical Christ which is her end(pinnacle, purpose, what is suppose to extract and bring to). The purpose of the Law was(is) to educate and discipline man into the theandrical(Christ). Because men were derailing too much from the divine Law (which ≠ Old Testament Law or any other Law besides the Law of being, the Living Chris)t the Old Testament Law was given to bring us back. As the author of the Galatians says "the law was added because of transgression" , "the law is our tutor to Christ" and "if a law would have given so that it would impart life".

Everything in the Old Testament must be taken pedagogically, weather it literally happened or not because the Law is our guardian to Christ. The Jews refer to the entire body of the Old Testament as the "Law". You can also see Jesus referring to the Psalms as Law.

The purpose of the Law was to instruct people into virtues. To work upon the virtuos life. The Law was given against chaos and for discipline. It is not good in life to live without discipline.

2. I think one must see the Old Testament Law as disciplinary, through the eyes of civil governing(taking in considerence that Israel wanted to pass as a theocracy). Like any civil law that is today  and that is meant for discipline and keeping order. Again what I would stress upon is civil order and security perhaps at a primitive level. Without order and discipline there would be chaos.

3. "Judgement" ? Perhaps those were set as examples, to show God's judgement(as in discernment of righteousness, the divine law, pedagogy, obedience,etc ) favour and disfavour, likes and dislikes.
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« Reply #57 on: May 19, 2014, 03:30:31 PM »

Hello Dan-Romania,
Quote
μαθητης: However, something has occurred to me.  My point of view has been that sin is contrasted against righteousness/justice/morality.  I then naturally draw the conclusion that if righteous is called a relative matter, then sin is called a relative matter.  But that does not appear to be the case here. 

Please correct me if I'm wrong... your point of view is that sin is contrasted with Life.  Sin is not a question of right and wrong but of life and death.  The ancient writing of the Didache teaches: "There are two ways, one of life and one of death; and between the two ways there is a great difference. Now, this is the way of life: 'First, you must love God who made you, and second, your neighbor as yourself.' And whatever you want people to refrain from doing to you, you must not do to them... But the way of death is this: First of all, it is wicked and thoroughly blasphemous..." (Didache in Early Church Fathers, ed. C. Richardson, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia.  1:1-2; 5:1a. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/richardson/fathers.viii.i.iii.html).

Is this distinction of point of views accurate?
Dan-Romania: You catch hard.
Does that mean I am correct or that I missed it again?

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« Reply #58 on: May 19, 2014, 03:39:04 PM »

Hello Dan-Romania,
Quote
μαθητης: However, something has occurred to me.  My point of view has been that sin is contrasted against righteousness/justice/morality.  I then naturally draw the conclusion that if righteous is called a relative matter, then sin is called a relative matter.  But that does not appear to be the case here. 

Please correct me if I'm wrong... your point of view is that sin is contrasted with Life.  Sin is not a question of right and wrong but of life and death.  The ancient writing of the Didache teaches: "There are two ways, one of life and one of death; and between the two ways there is a great difference. Now, this is the way of life: 'First, you must love God who made you, and second, your neighbor as yourself.' And whatever you want people to refrain from doing to you, you must not do to them... But the way of death is this: First of all, it is wicked and thoroughly blasphemous..." (Didache in Early Church Fathers, ed. C. Richardson, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia.  1:1-2; 5:1a. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/richardson/fathers.viii.i.iii.html).

Is this distinction of point of views accurate?
Dan-Romania: You catch hard.
Does that mean I am correct or that I missed it again?



It looks OK to me.
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« Reply #59 on: May 19, 2014, 03:59:35 PM »

Hello Dan-Romania,
Quote
μαθητης: However, something has occurred to me.  My point of view has been that sin is contrasted against righteousness/justice/morality.  I then naturally draw the conclusion that if righteous is called a relative matter, then sin is called a relative matter.  But that does not appear to be the case here. 

Please correct me if I'm wrong... your point of view is that sin is contrasted with Life.  Sin is not a question of right and wrong but of life and death.  The ancient writing of the Didache teaches: "There are two ways, one of life and one of death; and between the two ways there is a great difference. Now, this is the way of life: 'First, you must love God who made you, and second, your neighbor as yourself.' And whatever you want people to refrain from doing to you, you must not do to them... But the way of death is this: First of all, it is wicked and thoroughly blasphemous..." (Didache in Early Church Fathers, ed. C. Richardson, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia.  1:1-2; 5:1a. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/richardson/fathers.viii.i.iii.html).

Is this distinction of point of views accurate?
Dan-Romania: You catch hard.
Does that mean I am correct or that I missed it again?


Dan-Romania:It looks OK to me.
Good, I at least got that part right.  The rest seems to have become a tangled mess.

What term(s) do you use to distinguish the way of life from the way of death?

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« Reply #60 on: May 19, 2014, 04:08:14 PM »

Hello Dan-Romania,
Quote
μαθητης: However, something has occurred to me.  My point of view has been that sin is contrasted against righteousness/justice/morality.  I then naturally draw the conclusion that if righteous is called a relative matter, then sin is called a relative matter.  But that does not appear to be the case here. 

Please correct me if I'm wrong... your point of view is that sin is contrasted with Life.  Sin is not a question of right and wrong but of life and death.  The ancient writing of the Didache teaches: "There are two ways, one of life and one of death; and between the two ways there is a great difference. Now, this is the way of life: 'First, you must love God who made you, and second, your neighbor as yourself.' And whatever you want people to refrain from doing to you, you must not do to them... But the way of death is this: First of all, it is wicked and thoroughly blasphemous..." (Didache in Early Church Fathers, ed. C. Richardson, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia.  1:1-2; 5:1a. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/richardson/fathers.viii.i.iii.html).

Is this distinction of point of views accurate?
Dan-Romania: You catch hard.
Does that mean I am correct or that I missed it again?


Dan-Romania:It looks OK to me.
Good, I at least got that part right.  The rest seems to have become a tangled mess.

What term(s) do you use to distinguish the way of life from the way of death?



righteousness? Smiley
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« Reply #61 on: May 19, 2014, 04:36:09 PM »

Hello Dan-Romania,
Quote
μαθητης: However, something has occurred to me.  My point of view has been that sin is contrasted against righteousness/justice/morality.  I then naturally draw the conclusion that if righteous is called a relative matter, then sin is called a relative matter.  But that does not appear to be the case here. 

Please correct me if I'm wrong... your point of view is that sin is contrasted with Life.  Sin is not a question of right and wrong but of life and death.  The ancient writing of the Didache teaches: "There are two ways, one of life and one of death; and between the two ways there is a great difference. Now, this is the way of life: 'First, you must love God who made you, and second, your neighbor as yourself.' And whatever you want people to refrain from doing to you, you must not do to them... But the way of death is this: First of all, it is wicked and thoroughly blasphemous..." (Didache in Early Church Fathers, ed. C. Richardson, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia.  1:1-2; 5:1a. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/richardson/fathers.viii.i.iii.html).

Is this distinction of point of views accurate?
Dan-Romania: You catch hard.
Does that mean I am correct or that I missed it again?


Dan-Romania:It looks OK to me.
μαθητης:Good, I at least got that part right.  The rest seems to have become a tangled mess.
What term(s) do you use to distinguish the way of life from the way of death?

Dan-Romania:righteousness? Smiley
Good enough for me. Smiley

Thank you Dan-Romania, TheTrisagion, and all the rest who have contributed!
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« Reply #62 on: May 19, 2014, 09:37:28 PM »

Without the shedding of blood, it is just that there is no forgiveness because “the wages of sin is death”.  To reject or redefine to oblivion the idea that “the wages of sin is death” has great repercussions for interpreting scripture. 

The wages of sin is death because...?
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« Reply #63 on: May 20, 2014, 09:50:46 AM »

Without the shedding of blood, it is just that there is no forgiveness because “the wages of sin is death”.  To reject or redefine to oblivion the idea that “the wages of sin is death” has great repercussions for interpreting scripture.

The wages of sin is death because...?
Romans 6:23.  If you need more scripture references where this principle can be seen, let me know - but this passage states it most succinctly. 
For an actual reason you'll need to ask the Apostle Paul since he wrote it. 
Do you reject this statement that the wages of sin is death?
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« Reply #64 on: May 20, 2014, 10:01:58 AM »

Without the shedding of blood, it is just that there is no forgiveness because “the wages of sin is death”.  To reject or redefine to oblivion the idea that “the wages of sin is death” has great repercussions for interpreting scripture.

The wages of sin is death because...?
Romans 6:23.  If you need more scripture references where this principle can be seen, let me know - but this passage states it most succinctly. 
For an actual reason you'll need to ask the Apostle Paul since he wrote it. 
Do you reject this statement that the wages of sin is death?



It's often a risky business to take quotes out of context. If one reads the entire chapter, I think there is the idea that sin and death are inextricably linked. Both in the sense of one's own bad actions and also the human condition in a fallen world. Sort of the result of sin is death. However St. Paul spends a lot of time making parallels with life given by God.
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« Reply #65 on: May 20, 2014, 11:20:12 AM »

Without the shedding of blood, it is just that there is no forgiveness because “the wages of sin is death”.  To reject or redefine to oblivion the idea that “the wages of sin is death” has great repercussions for interpreting scripture.

The wages of sin is death because...?
Romans 6:23.  If you need more scripture references where this principle can be seen, let me know - but this passage states it most succinctly. 
For an actual reason you'll need to ask the Apostle Paul since he wrote it. 
Do you reject this statement that the wages of sin is death?


It's often a risky business to take quotes out of context. If one reads the entire chapter, I think there is the idea that sin and death are inextricably linked. Both in the sense of one's own bad actions and also the human condition in a fallen world. Sort of the result of sin is death. However St. Paul spends a lot of time making parallels with life given by God.

I agree context is important.  The language of death in Paul's discourse begins in chapter 5. You are correct IMHO that sin and death are inextricably linked (in both senses you mention).  And you are also correct IMHO that there is a parallelism St. Paul describes between sin and death and life given by God.  I believe you have correctly identified the context of Paul's statement.  How does it change anything?

I am confused by your statement, "Sort of the result of sin is death" 
I am confused as to why it is necessary to deny or water down the "cause and effect" concept of sin and death?  Is it because of the point of view that sin = death ontologically?  If so, I'm not sure how these view points contradict. In my opinion they are rather complimentary.
More importantly, where in either scripture or church Tradition is this concept that "the wages of sin is death" denied?

Please do not interpret this as argumentative, but as a student humbly asking questions in the search for understanding.
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« Reply #66 on: May 20, 2014, 12:43:57 PM »

Do you reject this statement that the wages of sin is death?
No, I don't.

I just think there's a reason why the wages of sin is death.
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« Reply #67 on: May 20, 2014, 12:56:37 PM »

Do you reject this statement that the wages of sin is death?
No, I don't.

I just think there's a reason why the wages of sin is death.
Its a question I've not really thought of. I'd be interested to hear what you think.
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« Reply #68 on: May 20, 2014, 12:59:20 PM »

Do you reject this statement that the wages of sin is death?
No, I don't.

I just think there's a reason why the wages of sin is death.
Its a question I've not really thought of. I'd be interested to hear what you think.


Me too.
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« Reply #69 on: May 20, 2014, 01:12:21 PM »

I think it is necessary to redefine St. Paul as a man equipped with and obsessed by Protestant special vocabulary before his writing can be made to serve Protestant purposes; a circular process. In other words, that Western interpretations of him simply project on him, and that, in order to make this seem reasonable, they tacitly leave begging the important question of what Paul meant by his vocabulary. When he wrote "I belong to Flesh, sold as a slave to Error," or "The wages of Erring is Death," he was using common old Greek vocabulary in a vivid way, painting a picture of rare new truths, yes, but nothing the Church of his time could not understand and make use of by the Holy Spirit without any vast analytical theology required. Really was the world in darkness until Calvin et al.? The West's hyperspecialization is contemptuous of average human experience, which is really to say, destructive of the human soul. I guess all I am saying is how refreshing it is to find the East, Orthodoxy, instead to care realistically and holistically for the human soul.
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« Reply #70 on: May 20, 2014, 03:15:36 PM »

I think it is necessary to redefine St. Paul as a man equipped with and obsessed by Protestant special vocabulary before his writing can be made to serve Protestant purposes; a circular process. In other words, that Western interpretations of him simply project on him, and that, in order to make this seem reasonable, they tacitly leave begging the important question of what Paul meant by his vocabulary. When he wrote "I belong to Flesh, sold as a slave to Error," or "The wages of Erring is Death," he was using common old Greek vocabulary in a vivid way, painting a picture of rare new truths, yes, but nothing the Church of his time could not understand and make use of by the Holy Spirit without any vast analytical theology required. Really was the world in darkness until Calvin et al.? The West's hyperspecialization is contemptuous of average human experience, which is really to say, destructive of the human soul. I guess all I am saying is how refreshing it is to find the East, Orthodoxy, instead to care realistically and holistically for the human soul.

Oh, yes - that's what I meant to say!  Wink
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« Reply #71 on: May 20, 2014, 03:29:30 PM »

μαθητης--I am a bit confused with your insistent drilling down on this subject. Why are you doing so?
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« Reply #72 on: May 20, 2014, 04:08:21 PM »

μαθητης--I am a bit confused with your insistent drilling down on this subject. Why are you doing so?
Though it took 61 posts, my question has been answered (for now anyway). But then NicholasMyra asked a question and KathrineofDixie made an interesting comment...
Part of the problem was asking the right question in the right way.  I believe this finally happened in reply #38 after which TheTrisagion and Dan-Romania offered their different opinions.  After that, I attempted to understand Dan-Romania's perspective, but as he aptly stated this is deep stuff and my journey is long.

The more I post, the more I am convinced of my own ignorance.
The more questions I ask, the more I learn.
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« Reply #73 on: May 20, 2014, 04:46:51 PM »


I am confused by your statement, "Sort of the result of sin is death" 
I am confused as to why it is necessary to deny or water down the "cause and effect" concept of sin and death?  Is it because of the point of view that sin = death ontologically?  If so, I'm not sure how these view points contradict. In my opinion they are rather complimentary.
More importantly, where in either scripture or church Tradition is this concept that "the wages of sin is death" denied?

Please do not interpret this as argumentative, but as a student humbly asking questions in the search for understanding.

I said "sort of" because first of all, I like to leave room for other folks' opinions and second, because I had not looked up the Greek text. Also it is not in the sense of "I do bad things and God punishes me with death," but in the sense of "sin and death entered the world together." That is, death is a "natural" consequence of sin.
An analogy might be useful (or not!), as was explained to me to get across the difference in understanding of sin, Protestant vs. Orthodox: think about if we lived in a place where our ancestors had clearcut forests and dumped dangerous chemicals in the water supply. (I know, crazy, right?). Although we may now be environmentally careful and are doing our best to clean up the mess, we still have to live with the consequences.
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« Reply #74 on: May 20, 2014, 05:12:37 PM »


I am confused by your statement, "Sort of the result of sin is death" 
I am confused as to why it is necessary to deny or water down the "cause and effect" concept of sin and death?  Is it because of the point of view that sin = death ontologically?  If so, I'm not sure how these view points contradict. In my opinion they are rather complimentary.
More importantly, where in either scripture or church Tradition is this concept that "the wages of sin is death" denied?

Please do not interpret this as argumentative, but as a student humbly asking questions in the search for understanding.

I said "sort of" because first of all, I like to leave room for other folks' opinions
Fair enough

Quote
and second, because I had not looked up the Greek text. Also it is not in the sense of "I do bad things and God punishes me with death," but in the sense of "sin and death entered the world together." That is, death is a "natural" consequence of sin.
An analogy might be useful (or not!), as was explained to me to get across the difference in understanding of sin, Protestant vs. Orthodox: think about if we lived in a place where our ancestors had clearcut forests and dumped dangerous chemicals in the water supply. (I know, crazy, right?). Although we may now be environmentally careful and are doing our best to clean up the mess, we still have to live with the consequences.

I completely agree that death is a "natural" consequence of sin and I have no problem with your analogy.

I'm lost at why "the sense of 'I do bad things and God punishes me with death,'" is the wrong opinion.
Please also be careful with English translations.  "bad things" and "error" do not always equal αμαρτια (the Greek root translated "sin" in Rom 6:23.
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« Reply #75 on: May 20, 2014, 05:47:07 PM »

Do you reject this statement that the wages of sin is death?
No, I don't.

I just think there's a reason why the wages of sin is death.
Its a question I've not really thought of. I'd be interested to hear what you think.

To fulfill righteousness is to fulfill the God-appointed telos (purpose or end) for us. That purpose is to offer creation back to God in thanksgiving and glorification as divine high priests. Our wills must be aligned with God's in order to follow this God-appointed purpose; God's creative energies shine forth in us for this purpose.

Now, God did not merely create humans; God also conserves, or sustains, humans through time. For example: If God withdrew his creative energies from me, I would not be. Because God is merciful, he never allows us to cease to be because of our wickedness; nevertheless, when we turn from our God-appointed telos, we contravene the purpose for which the creative energies of God shine forth in us, the purpose for which we were created. This results in a break in free communion with God, and we are oriented away from God and toward death. This is why we experience deadly corruption. To sin is to defy the very divine creative energies which sustain us, and we are dragged down to death. That is how I understand "the wages of sin is death".
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« Reply #76 on: May 20, 2014, 06:27:59 PM »

Gosh, Nicholas, hearing things put in such a whole and harmonious fashion really heals my heart. I don't mean just your post but whenever I encounter the ancient religion well put.

Protestantism amounts to a kind of schizophrenia of religion, which, in its doctrines, becomes an obsessive fragmentation. At least in my case, this then produced an actual fragmentation of personality that became unbearable (its wages were death?). This thread brings the memory of all that rushing back.

Coming to yield to the ancient religion is proving to be the cure -- obedience and its freedom is the cure.
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« Reply #77 on: May 20, 2014, 07:07:31 PM »

Gosh, Nicholas, hearing things put in such a whole and harmonious fashion really heals my heart. I don't mean just your post but whenever I encounter the ancient religion well put.

Protestantism amounts to a kind of schizophrenia of religion, which, in its doctrines, becomes an obsessive fragmentation. At least in my case, this then produced an actual fragmentation of personality that became unbearable (its wages were death?). This thread brings the memory of all that rushing back.

Coming to yield to the ancient religion is proving to be the cure -- obedience and its freedom is the cure.

One of the paradoxes of Orthodoxy - obedience is freedom!
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« Reply #78 on: May 21, 2014, 09:17:04 AM »

Do you reject this statement that the wages of sin is death?
No, I don't.

I just think there's a reason why the wages of sin is death.
Its a question I've not really thought of. I'd be interested to hear what you think.

To fulfill righteousness is to fulfill the God-appointed telos (purpose or end) for us. That purpose is to offer creation back to God in thanksgiving and glorification as divine high priests. Our wills must be aligned with God's in order to follow this God-appointed purpose; God's creative energies shine forth in us for this purpose.

Now, God did not merely create humans; God also conserves, or sustains, humans through time. For example: If God withdrew his creative energies from me, I would not be. Because God is merciful, he never allows us to cease to be because of our wickedness; nevertheless, when we turn from our God-appointed telos, we contravene the purpose for which the creative energies of God shine forth in us, the purpose for which we were created. This results in a break in free communion with God, and we are oriented away from God and toward death. This is why we experience deadly corruption. To sin is to defy the very divine creative energies which sustain us, and we are dragged down to death. That is how I understand "the wages of sin is death".
Thanks for sharing Nicholas

Well folks, its been fun.  My question has been answered so I will no longer be following this thread.  Thanks to all who have participated.
- μαθητης

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« Reply #79 on: May 21, 2014, 09:23:47 AM »

Do you reject this statement that the wages of sin is death?
No, I don't.

I just think there's a reason why the wages of sin is death.
Its a question I've not really thought of. I'd be interested to hear what you think.

To fulfill righteousness is to fulfill the God-appointed telos (purpose or end) for us. That purpose is to offer creation back to God in thanksgiving and glorification as divine high priests. Our wills must be aligned with God's in order to follow this God-appointed purpose; God's creative energies shine forth in us for this purpose.

Now, God did not merely create humans; God also conserves, or sustains, humans through time. For example: If God withdrew his creative energies from me, I would not be. Because God is merciful, he never allows us to cease to be because of our wickedness; nevertheless, when we turn from our God-appointed telos, we contravene the purpose for which the creative energies of God shine forth in us, the purpose for which we were created. This results in a break in free communion with God, and we are oriented away from God and toward death. This is why we experience deadly corruption. To sin is to defy the very divine creative energies which sustain us, and we are dragged down to death. That is how I understand "the wages of sin is death".

+1

this notions have a different meaning in their original language and semantics; for example "sin = amatia"; that is why etymology is important to theology.
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