Author Topic: Hell Beliefs and Orthodoxy  (Read 311 times)

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Offline NewEnglandMan

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Hell Beliefs and Orthodoxy
« on: September 09, 2019, 09:25:00 PM »
Hello everyone,

Summed up: can an Orthodox Christian in good standing believe that God will save all in the end?

The reason for this question is that I think David Bentley's Hart's arguments about damnation and salvation are very convincing. In real life I've heard impassioned pleas that no Orthodox Christian can possibly believe such a thing and be consistent, while at the same time I've read writings by Hilarion of Volokolamsk that argue the exact opposite. Unlike in Roman Catholicism or in the Southern Baptist convention, Orthodox Christians at least appear to be free to believe either way on this subject. At least that's the impression I get.


What do you think?
(note: this isn't about if you think God does save all in the end or if some or most people go to Hell, it's about what is considered acceptable and unacceptable in terms of belief in the Orthodox Church).

Offline isxodnik

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Re: Hell Beliefs and Orthodoxy
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2019, 09:35:03 PM »
can an Orthodox Christian in good standing believe that God will save all in the end?

I forget the name... Apocatastasis! This doctrine is not supported by the Church. Bliss is eternal, and torment is eternal.
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Offline Hawkeye

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Re: Hell Beliefs and Orthodoxy
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2019, 10:09:47 PM »
It has always seemed to me that the hope that all should be saved is Christian but that to hold to the certainty of it is not, insofar as the Church has, despite encountering well this belief, deigned not to profess it explicitly. Moreover, judgment is the Lord's and I fear we are overstepping when we presume His will on such a massive scale.
"Take heed, you who listen to me: Our misfortune is inevitable, we cannot escape it. If God allows scandals, it is that the elect shall be revealed. Let them be burned, let them be purified, let them who have been tried be made manifest among you."   - The Life of the Archpriest Avvakum by Himself

Offline WPM

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Re: Hell Beliefs and Orthodoxy
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2019, 11:05:04 PM »
I don't know.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Hell Beliefs and Orthodoxy
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2019, 12:34:44 AM »
Roman Catholicism allows for private belief that no one will go to eternal conscious torment, according to some Latin priests I've listened to. "You have to believe in Hell, but not that any person is destined to go there eternally" is the general way I've heard it phrased.

I tend toward the belief that all will eventually be restored, but that many will undergo aeons in purgatorial cleansing, much of which will be suffering.

There are also many depicted outside of the gates of the New Jerusalem in the Revelation who are not among those ruling and reigning. Among the saved, some are honored more greatly and others barely make it in. There appear to be many degrees of states in the life to come. I have faith and hope for the best.

The strongest argument to me against apokatastasis is that it is like a reverse version of Calvinism, that it ultimately denies free will by the other extreme, or rather it is the other side of the same deterministic coin that Calvinism is on.

The strongest argument for universal restoration (again, after ages of suffering for some) is that no finite amount of sin, however great, justly receives the reprisal of an infinite punishment.

All of that said, and much else excluded, the idea that any of us can possibly have the answers to these questions securely nailed down, and that God is expecting us to arrive at the correct understanding of such matters in determining our ultimate fates...it honestly just makes God sound petty; smaller than our common sense or perception. It can't be possible for humans to be more reasonable than God. Unless humans are the ones inventing these ideas, and we've just had enough time to poke holes in their best constructions to where they are no longer compelling to us.

Offline isxodnik

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Re: Hell Beliefs and Orthodoxy
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2019, 01:52:12 AM »
It's funny how people draw opposite conclusions from the same premise. They agree that God is great and incomprehensible, and immediately begin to cut It according to human standards )
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Re: Hell Beliefs and Orthodoxy
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2019, 01:58:29 AM »
Just because the final answer is unknown, that doesn't mean that speculation is forbidden. We still have oodles of revelation to work with. And as I quoted from St. Gregory the Theologian the other week, this is exactly the kind of topic where speculation can be done safely, if theological speculation is done at all.

Philosophize about the world or worlds; about matter; about soul; about natures endowed with reason, good or bad; about resurrection, about judgment, about reward, or the Sufferings of Christ. For in these subjects to hit the mark is not useless, and to miss it is not dangerous.

-- St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 27.9

Offline MalpanaGiwargis

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Re: Hell Beliefs and Orthodoxy
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2019, 07:49:49 AM »
Roman Catholicism allows for private belief that no one will go to eternal conscious torment, according to some Latin priests I've listened to. "You have to believe in Hell, but not that any person is destined to go there eternally" is the general way I've heard it phrased.

This seems to be a pretty new thing in the RC, though. The traditional view was that of the Council of Florence: "[The Roman Church] believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the Devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Catholic Church before the end of their lives... and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed his blood in the Name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church." (Cantate Domino, AD 1442) Some modern theologians, beginning mostly in the 19th century, have attempted to define various groups as part of the Church in invisible ways to get around such forthright statements.
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Offline Tzimis

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Re: Hell Beliefs and Orthodoxy
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2019, 05:02:09 PM »
Hell is a condition rather than a place. That said.  It could also be a condition that leads to a place. I think the latter is truer.
What we know is, nobody knows for sure. No dogma on the subject. So feel free to say what you think it is.
DBH is a known universalist so his view isn't Orthodox.  His view is that everybody is saved regardless of the condition of there soul. This certainly isn't Orthodox even if he claims it is.

Offline WPM

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Re: Hell Beliefs and Orthodoxy
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2019, 08:50:01 AM »
Should be some dialogue on the Orthodox view of Salvation.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 08:51:16 AM by WPM »

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Hell Beliefs and Orthodoxy
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2019, 10:11:23 AM »

The Lord is just... and whatever He decides to do with everyone is totally up to Him.

We need only concern ourselves with our own salvation, and if possible, help others along their paths.
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Offline platypus

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Re: Hell Beliefs and Orthodoxy
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2019, 06:29:56 PM »
Summed up: can an Orthodox Christian in good standing believe that God will save all in the end?

I'm pretty sure you can. DBH is in communion with the Church, as far as I know.

Like Hawkeye, I can't say that everyone will be saved but I certainly hope so.
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Offline Ainnir

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Re: Hell Beliefs and Orthodoxy
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2019, 09:53:09 PM »
God has saved all.  Christ Incarnated, died, and rose for all.  He said, "It is finished."  But because we retain our free will and because we have a synergistic view, we might also say salvation won't be realized for everyone, because many do not participate in it, or participate to varying degrees.  I usually end up thinking of the analogy of breathing.  God put oxygen in the air, and He gave us a will.  We can hold our breath, or take tiny little breaths every month or so, or breathe the way He designed us to.  It's up to us.  Clearly, only one of those options will go well.  :)  It seems as correct to say God saved us all as it is to say that not all will be saved.  It depends on which facet one is looking at.

Regarding the salvation of others, particularly heterodox and unbelievers, I find "Lord, have mercy" and "forgive them every transgression they've committed in thought, word, or in deed" to be enough.  He is just and merciful, and my condition is probably worse than theirs, anyway.
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no idea, so there’s that.