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Author Topic: Proof-text for Pre-existence?  (Read 2619 times) Average Rating: 0
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Beavis
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« on: November 10, 2005, 01:47:41 PM »

I believe the doctrine of the Pre-existence of Souls was condemned at Constantinople II in 553 (by the way, has the OO Church ever condemned this doctrine?).ÂÂ  But, for the first time in my life ( Embarrassed) I've been reading the deutero-canonicals.ÂÂ  Right now I'm at the Wisdom of Solomon and came across the following verse (Wisdom of Solomon 8:17-20):

17: "When I considered these things inwardly, and pondered in my heart that in kinship with wisdom there is immortality,
18: "and in friendship with her, pure delight, and in the labors of her hands, unfailing wealth, and in the experience of her company, understanding, and renown in sharing her words, I went about seeking how to get her for myself.
19: "As a child I was naturally gifted, and a good soul fell to my lot;
20: "or rather, being good, I entered an undefiled body."

What do you all make of this?ÂÂ  What do the Fathers make of this?ÂÂ  Any help would be greatly appreciated.ÂÂ  Thanx.

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« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2005, 02:03:19 PM »

Yes, the Fifth Ecumenical Council did indeed condemn Origen for the doctrine of Pre-existence of Souls. Tertullian's view of traducianism (the body and sould come from the parents) seems to be dominant in Orthodox thought.

As for the passage in Wisdom, no idea what the patristic understanding is. It is very clearly talking about the Pre-Existance of Souls, but perhaps this is a case where the Bible just recorded it as being thought (as we have Satan's words in Job)?
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« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2005, 02:15:58 PM »

, but perhaps this is a case where the Bible just recorded it as being thought (as we have Satan's words in Job)?

But the context makes it clear that this is the Wise Solomon's own belief.
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« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2005, 02:28:48 PM »

But the context makes it clear that this is the Wise Solomon's own belief.

The Wise Solomon, yes, not the Inerrant Solomon  Wink
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« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2005, 04:28:26 PM »

Or the inerrant Solomon - rather the Holy Spirit speaking in him - but not the inerrant interpreters. The verse above is a prophecy about Christ (cf. Gregory of Nyssa, "Testimonia adversus Judaeos").

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« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2005, 04:35:07 PM »

Well, how exactly is it prophecy? I am not understanding that. It seems to me that Solomon is just getting a little self-centered in his dialogue and made some mistakes, being human. But I'd be interested to hear more of the prophecy view.
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« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2005, 05:07:45 PM »

It couldn't be a prophecy about Christ, because earlier in the chapter he says that he is born of the seed of a man Cool
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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2005, 05:15:04 PM »

....sorry, my bad.  That verse was actually several chapters ago.  It would still seem odd that this is prophecy about Christ ONLY.  Every OT Prophecy that I know of about Christ has a double fulfillment in both the inspired speaker (e.g. King David, Isaiah, etc.) and the future Messiah.  So even if it IS a prophecy about Christ, it would STILL have to apply to King Solomon himself.
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« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2005, 06:05:39 PM »

(by the way, has the OO Church ever condemned this doctrine?)

It's not conciliary condemned as far as I know, but as with many other heresies that exist or have existed, it's simply axiomatically understood as false by the Church - it's opposed to Her established Tradition. Fr. Tadros Malaty of the Coptic Orthodox Church discusses the idea of the pre-existence of the soul under the heading of "False Doctrines Attributed to Origen" (The School of Alexandria, Book 2, Chapter 4, "Origen and Origenism")

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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2010, 02:13:49 PM »

Five years later and a lot of new people... anyone with thoughts on the question in the OP? I don't think that it's been satisfactorily answered yet...
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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2010, 04:04:00 PM »

Five years later and a lot of new people... anyone with thoughts on the question in the OP? I don't think that it's been satisfactorily answered yet...
Sure it has. As a Prophecy of Christ, it is self explanitory. Coupled with the preceding verse, about a soul falling to his lot (if you are reading it as Solomon), it rules out pre-existence. It merely views the human being from both the perspective of the soul and body, and rules out gnostic views about the division between the two (also related to pre-exsitence).
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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2010, 04:40:22 PM »

Could the Prophesy of Christ explaination be expanded on to make it more clear for us novices, please?
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2010, 05:04:33 PM »

Could the Prophesy of Christ explaination be expanded on to make it more clear for us novices, please?
The Person of the Son, the Logos, pre-exists His incarnation as Christ.
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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2010, 06:55:31 PM »

Could the Prophesy of Christ explaination be expanded on to make it more clear for us novices, please?
The Person of the Son, the Logos, pre-exists His incarnation as Christ.

So is the undefiled body the Virgin Mary?

Maybe I am in error elsewhere in my understanding. Man was dust and God breathed life into us. Our soul is from God and thus God is in all of us. My soul is that part of me which came from God and lives forever.

Is this correct?
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« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2010, 07:44:50 PM »

Could the Prophesy of Christ explaination be expanded on to make it more clear for us novices, please?
The Person of the Son, the Logos, pre-exists His incarnation as Christ.

So is the undefiled body the Virgin Mary?

No, the flesh He took from her "the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us."

Maybe I am in error elsewhere in my understanding. Man was dust and God breathed life into us. Our soul is from God and thus God is in all of us. My soul is that part of me which came from God and lives forever.

Is this correct?

No. The soul is not a part of God, nor is our spirit.  The Energy of God breathes his (not His) spirit (not Spirit) into a man to become a living being.  Human sould and spirits are not immortal by nature, nor consubstantial with God.

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« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2010, 03:52:28 PM »

Reconciling the two points:
The soul is not a part of God. It is not the essence of God. The soul did come from God through the uncreated energies of God. The human soul is not immortal by nature but is immortal by the Grace of God. God is in us.

Genesis 2:7
1 Corinthians 15:52-57
John 10:33-36
John 17:20-23

Pre-existence of the soul as taught by Plato in relation to the return to its perfect state through one earthly life without the need to know Christ, as taught by Origen in 250 AD in relation to multiple reincarnations or as taught by John Calvin in the 16th century in relation to predestination are all heresies.

The pre-existence of the soul in regards to Orthodox theology has not been directly explained to my knowledge. If all Old Testament references in this regard are to Christ alone and do not extend to man then there is little evidence for the pre-existence but likewise there is little evidence against it?

How would the pre-existence of the soul effect any other theological tenets of Orthodoxy? Could the pre-existence of the soul coincide within Orthodox theology?
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« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2010, 09:54:41 PM »

Jeremiah 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
       before you were born I set you apart;
       I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."


Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

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« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2010, 06:30:29 PM »

Jeremiah 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
       before you were born I set you apart;
       I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."


Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:


But how are these verses not "proof" texts for God's infinite foreknowledge? Why do you see them as proofs for the pre-existence of the soul?
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« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2010, 08:26:00 PM »

Jeremiah 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
       before you were born I set you apart;
       I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."


Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:


But how are these verses not "proof" texts for God's infinite foreknowledge? Why do you see them as proofs for the pre-existence of the soul?

I see them as relevant to the thread. I have not found an Orthodox answer to the question. In fact, I have found all three theories (traducianism, creationism, and pre-existence) as being attributed to Orthodoxy by various sources. Likewise both traducianism and creationism to Roman Catholics and all three to Protestants also.

This one
Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

clearly is not foreknowledge but rather creationism or pre-existence.

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« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2010, 09:04:25 PM »

If we had eternal souls, wouldn't that mean that our souls were part of God, i.e. not created?
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« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2010, 09:09:38 PM »

Jeremiah 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
       before you were born I set you apart;
       I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."


Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:


But how are these verses not "proof" texts for God's infinite foreknowledge? Why do you see them as proofs for the pre-existence of the soul?

I see them as relevant to the thread. I have not found an Orthodox answer to the question. In fact, I have found all three theories (traducianism, creationism, and pre-existence) as being attributed to Orthodoxy by various sources. Likewise both traducianism and creationism to Roman Catholics and all three to Protestants also.

This one
Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

clearly is not foreknowledge but rather creationism or pre-existence.


How is this so clear?
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« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2010, 10:23:03 PM »

This page makes an effort to debunk the LDS use (abuse?) of ancient patristics in favour of the concept.
http://seanhyland.wordpress.com/2009/01/04/pre-existence-in-mormonism-and-platonism/

There is something of an irony that they claim that Christianity apostasized, in part, by embracing Greek philosophy, yet the LDS religion embraces Platonic positions that were rejected centuries ago such as the eternity of matter or the pre-existence of souls.
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« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2010, 02:20:17 AM »

If we had eternal souls, wouldn't that mean that our souls were part of God, i.e. not created?
traducianism- soul comes from parents just like our flesh
creationsim- soul comes from God either directly or through the Holy Spirit at conception/birth
pre-existence- soul was in existence prior to conception

Our soul being eternal just means God's Grace has made it so but does not clarify as to when it happened before/after/during conception/birth

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« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2010, 02:22:22 AM »

Jeremiah 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
       before you were born I set you apart;
       I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."


Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:


But how are these verses not "proof" texts for God's infinite foreknowledge? Why do you see them as proofs for the pre-existence of the soul?

I see them as relevant to the thread. I have not found an Orthodox answer to the question. In fact, I have found all three theories (traducianism, creationism, and pre-existence) as being attributed to Orthodoxy by various sources. Likewise both traducianism and creationism to Roman Catholics and all three to Protestants also.

This one
Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

clearly is not foreknowledge but rather creationism or pre-existence.


How is this so clear?
By definition. If you have a different understanding then express it.
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« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2010, 02:29:31 AM »

Jeremiah 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
       before you were born I set you apart;
       I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."


Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:


But how are these verses not "proof" texts for God's infinite foreknowledge? Why do you see them as proofs for the pre-existence of the soul?

I see them as relevant to the thread. I have not found an Orthodox answer to the question. In fact, I have found all three theories (traducianism, creationism, and pre-existence) as being attributed to Orthodoxy by various sources. Likewise both traducianism and creationism to Roman Catholics and all three to Protestants also.

This one
Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

clearly is not foreknowledge but rather creationism or pre-existence.


How is this so clear?
By definition. If you have a different understanding then express it.

Try accepting the uniqueness and origin of one's soul as a mystery which cannot be comprehended by man and stop trying to accuse Orthodox Christians of heresy when one attempts to describe this mystery with words.

Edited for content.  Please do not quote what was redacted, thanks.
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« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2010, 02:39:11 AM »

This page makes an effort to debunk the LDS use (abuse?) of ancient patristics in favour of the concept.
http://seanhyland.wordpress.com/2009/01/04/pre-existence-in-mormonism-and-platonism/

There is something of an irony that they claim that Christianity apostasized, in part, by embracing Greek philosophy, yet the LDS religion embraces Platonic positions that were rejected centuries ago such as the eternity of matter or the pre-existence of souls.

Thank you for the link.

OK so we can add to what was stated above:
Pre-existence of the soul as taught by Plato in relation to the return to its perfect state through one earthly life without the need to know Christ, as taught by Origen in 250 AD in relation to multiple reincarnations as taught by John Calvin in the 16th century in relation to predestination or as taught by LDS in relation to man's soul being the same essence of God are all heresies.

But we still do not have an answer between the three theories.
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« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2010, 02:44:18 AM »

Jeremiah 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
       before you were born I set you apart;
       I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."


Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:


But how are these verses not "proof" texts for God's infinite foreknowledge? Why do you see them as proofs for the pre-existence of the soul?

I see them as relevant to the thread. I have not found an Orthodox answer to the question. In fact, I have found all three theories (traducianism, creationism, and pre-existence) as being attributed to Orthodoxy by various sources. Likewise both traducianism and creationism to Roman Catholics and all three to Protestants also.

This one
Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

clearly is not foreknowledge but rather creationism or pre-existence.


How is this so clear?
By definition. If you have a different understanding then express it.

Try accepting the uniqueness and origin of one's soul as a mystery which cannot be comprehended by man and stop trying to accuse Orthodox Christians of heresy when one attempts to describe this mystery with words.  If you want to discuss reincarnation theories of Buddhism and Hinduism, try another thread and I won't be there because I'm not interested in the teachings of reincarnation regardless of how they are disguised.   Angry

Could you provide the citation for it being a mystery.
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« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2010, 02:46:08 AM »

Jeremiah 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
       before you were born I set you apart;
       I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."


Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:


But how are these verses not "proof" texts for God's infinite foreknowledge? Why do you see them as proofs for the pre-existence of the soul?

I see them as relevant to the thread. I have not found an Orthodox answer to the question. In fact, I have found all three theories (traducianism, creationism, and pre-existence) as being attributed to Orthodoxy by various sources. Likewise both traducianism and creationism to Roman Catholics and all three to Protestants also.

This one
Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

clearly is not foreknowledge but rather creationism or pre-existence.


How is this so clear?
By definition. If you have a different understanding then express it.

Try accepting the uniqueness and origin of one's soul as a mystery which cannot be comprehended by man and stop trying to accuse Orthodox Christians of heresy when one attempts to describe this mystery with words.

Could you provide the citation for it being a mystery.

Human Conception - a mystery, why require further citation?

If you insist, you can read what Metropolitan Hierotheos of Napkatos has to say about "what the soul is?"

Quote
Soul is the life that exists in man, and it is also every man who has life. Soul is also the life which is expressed within the spiritual element in our existence, it is that spiritual element in our existence. Since the term `soul' has many meanings, there are many places where things have not been clarified.
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« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2010, 02:58:34 AM »

Jeremiah 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
       before you were born I set you apart;
       I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."


Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:


But how are these verses not "proof" texts for God's infinite foreknowledge? Why do you see them as proofs for the pre-existence of the soul?

I see them as relevant to the thread. I have not found an Orthodox answer to the question. In fact, I have found all three theories (traducianism, creationism, and pre-existence) as being attributed to Orthodoxy by various sources. Likewise both traducianism and creationism to Roman Catholics and all three to Protestants also.

This one
Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

clearly is not foreknowledge but rather creationism or pre-existence.


How is this so clear?
By definition. If you have a different understanding then express it.

Try accepting the uniqueness and origin of one's soul as a mystery which cannot be comprehended by man and stop trying to accuse Orthodox Christians of heresy when one attempts to describe this mystery with words.

Could you provide the citation for it being a mystery.

Human Conception - a mystery, why require further citation?  
The earthly/material part of conception is science and already documented. The spiritual part of conception is made known to man through revelation of the Holy Spirit. If the official Orthodox Church position is that this remains a mystery than cite it. If you simply do not know and are speaking for yourself that is fine. I am just trying to distingiush between some guy on the internet and the revelations of the Holy Spirit to the Church.

I am sure you appreciate why someone would like to make the distinction.


Thank you for the note on souls you added. The question is not what souls are but when they come into existence and by whom.
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« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2010, 03:07:14 AM »

The earthly/material part of conception is science and already documented. The spiritual part of conception is made known to man through revelation of the Holy Spirit. If the official Orthodox Church position is that this remains a mystery than cite it. If you simply do not know and are speaking for yourself that is fine. I am just trying to distingiush between some guy on the internet and the revelations of the Holy Spirit to the Church.

I am sure you appreciate why someone would like to make the distinction.

The soul is expressed within the spiritual part of our existence; as cited in the quote from Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos.  If you have questions, go visit His Eminence's website.
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« Reply #30 on: November 01, 2010, 03:11:28 AM »

The earthly/material part of conception is science and already documented. The spiritual part of conception is made known to man through revelation of the Holy Spirit. If the official Orthodox Church position is that this remains a mystery than cite it. If you simply do not know and are speaking for yourself that is fine. I am just trying to distingiush between some guy on the internet and the revelations of the Holy Spirit to the Church.

I am sure you appreciate why someone would like to make the distinction.

The soul is expressed within the spiritual part of our existence; as cited in the quote from Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos.  If you have questions, go visit His Eminence's website.
Thank you. But I am already familiar with his website and have not found an answer to the question posed. If you are unable to give a citation that is fine. Those of us interested will continue to look.

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« Reply #31 on: November 01, 2010, 03:15:17 AM »

The earthly/material part of conception is science and already documented. The spiritual part of conception is made known to man through revelation of the Holy Spirit. If the official Orthodox Church position is that this remains a mystery than cite it. If you simply do not know and are speaking for yourself that is fine. I am just trying to distingiush between some guy on the internet and the revelations of the Holy Spirit to the Church.

I am sure you appreciate why someone would like to make the distinction.

The soul is expressed within the spiritual part of our existence; as cited in the quote from Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos.  If you have questions, go visit His Eminence's website.
Thank you. But I am already familiar with his website and have not found an answer to the question posed. If you are unable to give a citation that is fine. Those of us interested will continue to look.

I'm sorry that I couldn't answer your question as I believe life (from conception through death and beyond death) as a mystery, including the spiritual component of it.  If you believe differently, well, that's OK and I apologize if I came across as "testy."    angel Smiley  angel
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« Reply #32 on: November 01, 2010, 03:34:24 AM »

The earthly/material part of conception is science and already documented. The spiritual part of conception is made known to man through revelation of the Holy Spirit. If the official Orthodox Church position is that this remains a mystery than cite it. If you simply do not know and are speaking for yourself that is fine. I am just trying to distingiush between some guy on the internet and the revelations of the Holy Spirit to the Church.

I am sure you appreciate why someone would like to make the distinction.

The soul is expressed within the spiritual part of our existence; as cited in the quote from Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos.  If you have questions, go visit His Eminence's website.
Thank you. But I am already familiar with his website and have not found an answer to the question posed. If you are unable to give a citation that is fine. Those of us interested will continue to look.

I'm sorry that I couldn't answer your question as I believe life (from conception through death and beyond death) as a mystery, including the spiritual component of it.  If you believe differently, well, that's OK and I apologize if I came across as "testy."    angel Smiley  angel

Apology accepted
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #33 on: November 01, 2010, 12:09:24 PM »

Jeremiah 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
       before you were born I set you apart;
       I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."


Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:


But how are these verses not "proof" texts for God's infinite foreknowledge? Why do you see them as proofs for the pre-existence of the soul?

I see them as relevant to the thread. I have not found an Orthodox answer to the question. In fact, I have found all three theories (traducianism, creationism, and pre-existence) as being attributed to Orthodoxy by various sources. Likewise both traducianism and creationism to Roman Catholics and all three to Protestants also.

This one
Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

clearly is not foreknowledge but rather creationism or pre-existence.


How is this so clear?
By definition. If you have a different understanding then express it.
By definition? What do you mean?
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Dart
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« Reply #34 on: November 11, 2010, 01:20:17 AM »

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,31118.msg490955.html#msg490955

This thread seems relevant to the topic
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