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Author Topic: Satisfaction: East and West  (Read 1552 times) Average Rating: 0
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chrisb
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« on: May 10, 2006, 09:35:09 AM »

Grace and Salve (how do you say 'grace' in greek?)  Embarrassed

Anyways I was reading through some of the threads on 'faith Issues' and I would like to inquire about Satisfaction. It came up in the neverending debate about Hell there but I noticed this was a big concern with the Orthodox crowd.

Growing up Baptist I have a pretty straight forward interpretation of the Bible. It might even be consider naive but as most protestants go we don't believe that it take a philosopher or a scholar to read the word of God (i.e. Bible). If fact we tend to think such intellectual pursuits could actually hamper one's understanding of the Gospel (greekischristian might come to mind  Tongue). No offense my mental giant!  Grin

So my question is, and I've asked this before, Why did Jesus Christ have to die?

From what I tend to gather is that Orthodox offer up what Protestants might suggest is a mythologized or spiritualized answer to this question but it looks like it that answer is more informed by philosophy than it is Biblical. Without devolving into a feud over this could someone help me tackle this?

As I see it, and I'll keep simple. Christ died for us on the Cross to pay the price of sin. In that act he continues to be a mediator for us who are sinful with God The Father who is Holy. At least that is what one can draw from the Bible without too much effort on the ole brain pan. So is that death satisfaction to God The Father for our sin? Well it sure looks like it to me. If not why do we need a mediator? Couldn't we simply come before God and just 'repent'? That is the argument that most Muslims throw on us Christians anyway. How would you guys address this?

Salve!
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2006, 11:03:23 AM »

(First: The equivalent of "Salve" in Greek is "Xaire", but neither one really means "Grace", since they are imperatives built off of distinct verbal roots -- salveo and xaireo. Rather, they mean "Howdy," or, if one likes to be over-literal, "Rejoice" or "Be happy/well")

Second: What you describe is indeed a Scriptural account for Christ's salvific work. However, as I'm sure you are aware, that is only one of many Scriptural reasons given for Christ's economy. Protestantism likes to emphasis the forensic justification/atonement model for a variety of reasons (many of which have to do with inheriting such preoccupations from Roman Catholicism), while Orthodoxy, along with most of the ancient Fathers, likes to emphasize Christ's death as the destruction of death (think Romans 5:12, et al.). Also, Orthodox theology has not tended to strictly divorce justification from sanctification (there are major Protestant theologians who do likewise).

Here's a question: What is salvation? Is it primarily getting out of Hell? (Such tends to be the unfortunate result of over-emphasis on forensic justification). Or is it about eternal life in Christ, an on-going relationship that moves from "grace to grace"? And what is the difference (if any) between saying that Christ's sacrifice "gets us out of Hell by satisfying Divine Wrath" and saying, as St. John does in his account of Doubting Thomas, that the gospel was written so that one might have life?
« Last Edit: May 10, 2006, 12:28:09 PM by pensateomnia » Logged

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chrisb
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2006, 01:19:11 PM »

(First: The equivalent of "Salve" in Greek is "Xaire", but neither one really means "Grace", since they are imperatives built off of distinct verbal roots -- salveo and xaireo. Rather, they mean "Howdy," or, if one likes to be over-literal, "Rejoice" or "Be happy/well")

Salve! (That is like saying "howdy" right?) Please note I know nothing about greek except what I can find in Strong's...ÂÂ  Grin

Quote
Second: What you describe is indeed a Scriptural account for Christ's salvific work. However, as I'm sure you are aware, that is only one of many Scriptural reasons given for Christ's economy. Protestantism likes to emphasis the forensic justification/atonement model for a variety of reasons (many of which have to do with inheriting such preoccupations from Roman Catholicism), while Orthodoxy, along with most of the ancient Fathers, likes to emphasize Christ's death as the destruction of death (think Romans 5:12, et al.). Also, Orthodox theology has not tended to strictly divorce justification from sanctification (there are major Protestant theologians who do likewise).

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned - Romans 5:12

Well this does seem to established the fact that 'all face death through sin' but I'm not sure I follow your point in mentioning it? What does this verse have to do with Christ's death as the destruction of death? I'm not trying to be argumentative here I'm just trying to understand your point concerning Orthodoxy.

Justification in Orthodoxy means what?

Quote
Here's a question: What is salvation? Is it primarily getting out of Hell? (Such tends to be the unfortunate result of over-emphasis on forensic justification). Or is it about eternal life in Christ, an on-going relationship that moves from "grace to grace"? And what is the difference (if any) between saying that Christ's sacrifice "gets us out of Hell by satisfying Divine Wrath" and saying, as St. John does in his account of Doubting Thomas, that the gospel was written so that one might have life?

In one sense you almost appear to be arguing sematics here. Does it matter?

Salvation to me is eternal life in Christ but such is a state that I didn't naturally have so I tend to see the whole thing from the perspective of natural man which tends to throw a pretty dark blanket on man's natural state in the universal. I can appreciate the Orthodox positivist spin but from the perspective of natural man his and his natural state of sin we see eternity as pretty grim without the possibility of Salvation through Christ. So natural man's state of death is ultimately the penalty of sin be it Original or otherwise. So if we are unable to make ourselves 'justified' before God in order to earn eternal life then it stands to reason that we are 'justified' through someone ease (i.e. Jesus). Justification is simply the explanation of 'why' one sinner 'has' it and another sinner 'don't'. At least that is how I understand the connection between Justification and Salvation. Of course I would argue that it's all pretty Biblical and needs no rationale outside of Revelation.

How does Orthodoxy see this state of man?

Any more help here would be appreciated. Thanks.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2006, 01:20:25 PM by chrisb » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2006, 01:59:53 PM »

In one sense you almost appear to be arguing sematics here. Does it matter?

Not semantics. I was using theological code words, though, which I just assumed you would be familar with (the ideas I expressed in my last post weren't exclusively Orthodox...there are long-established biblically-based protestants who have similar theologies)...I have an appointment that I'm late for, so I can't explain now...

Quote
Salvation to me is eternal life in Christ but such is a state that I didn't naturally have so I tend to see the whole thing from the perspective of natural man which tends to throw a pretty dark blanket on man's natural state in the universal. I can appreciate the Orthodox positivist spin but from the perspective of natural man his and his natural state of sin we see eternity as pretty grim without the possibility of Salvation through Christ. So natural man's state of death is ultimately the penalty of sin be it Original or otherwise. So if we are unable to make ourselves 'justified' before God in order to earn eternal life then it stands to reason that we are 'justified' through someone ease (i.e. Jesus). Justification is simply the explanation of 'why' one sinner 'has' it and another sinner 'don't'. At least that is how I understand the connection between Justification and Salvation. Of course I would argue that it's all pretty Biblical and needs no rationale outside of Revelation.

That's certainly a READING of the biblical texts, but the Bible has more to say on the topic than that...

More soon.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2006, 02:00:57 PM by pensateomnia » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2006, 02:00:40 PM »

Regarding Salvation: taken from here
The Orthodox do not believe it happens at one particular time: the altar call, the time of decision, whatever.ÂÂ  In this, they are more akin to Calvinists and Lutherans, who recognize the Spirit's work in a person before he actually believes.ÂÂ  That makes the altar call useless.ÂÂ  In Orthodoxy, salvation means you've been saved, "being joined to Christ in baptism"; you're being saved, basically being sanctified; and you will be saved at the Last Judgment (p. 348, The Orthodox Study Bible).ÂÂ  "Salvation, for Orthodox Christians, is seen as deliverance from the curse of sin and death, which makes it possible for us to enter into union with God through Christ the Savior. Salvation includes a process of growth of the whole person whereby the sinner is transformed into the image and likeness of God. One is saved by faith through grace, although saving faith involves more than belief.ÂÂ  Faith must be active and living, manifested by works of righteousness, whereby we cooperate with God to do His will.ÂÂ  Hence, if one is 'being saved,' one is on the way to one's ultimate goal: eternal union with God and participation in the divine nature, as Saint Paul writes."
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This is a good article from orthodoxinfo.org regarding Salvation by Christ.

Blessings,
Panagiotis
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2006, 02:26:27 PM »

Good questions (and answers), pto.

chris,

I grew up Baptist, too, and this was definitely one of the more mind-blowing issues as a convert to Orthodoxy that I had to deal with.ÂÂ  I appreciate the humble, inquisitive tone you're taking; it's better than the know-it-all one I threw in my priest's face when I first tackled the issue!ÂÂ  Embarrassed

Your take on salvation is familiar; it's the one I grew up with, as I said.ÂÂ  I'll comment on each part as we go.ÂÂ  The first two are just sort of a clarification on how the Evangelical view is not so much wrong as it is incomplete.ÂÂ  The third one tells why it’s important to us to have the whole story of Christ’s sacrifice when dealing with God the Father.ÂÂ  Here goes:

Christ died for us on the Cross to pay the price of sin.

Yes, He did.ÂÂ  What was that price we would have had to pay?ÂÂ  Death, of course: the wages of sin.ÂÂ  Whose sin?ÂÂ  We would ultimately say Adam's and Eve's, since by their sin, they were cut off from communion with God who is our Life, and therefore death entered the world and spread to all of us, as can be seen, since we've all sinned (Rom. 5:12).ÂÂ  For us, the reality of death--the end result of sin--is the ultimate reason Christ died; He came to "free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death" (Heb. 2:15).ÂÂ  To say that the sin itself--the legal transgression against the holiness of God--is the ultimate reason He died seems to stop short of full salvation; our leger is cleaned off, but we're still death-bound.

Quote
In that act he continues to be a mediator for us who are sinful with God The Father who is Holy.

Ehhh...yes and no.ÂÂ  Yes, He's the mediator between us and God.ÂÂ  No, it's not how you're thinking.ÂÂ  For us, the distinction as “mediator” that Christ has for the Orthodox is not only one of “pleading our case before the Father” (though that is in there), but, just as we hold death to be the ultimate enemy and not just sin (which would be only part of what we need to be saved from), so we hold Christ’s mediation to be not just one of a cleanser of our sins, but of a defeater of our human nature’s mortality.ÂÂ  It’s not enough to be declared “saved” by the Father; we need to actually have our human nature renewed and brought to life again by being united to the actual, physical Body of Christ (which we believe happens in baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which we call the Eucharist), who was raised from the dead, as well as by following His commands.ÂÂ  He’s not only our Mediator, then, who stands in the place of “us who are sinful with God The Father who is Holy,” but also our Mediator who stands in the place of “us who are dead with God The Father who is Life.”

Quote
So is that death satisfaction to God The Father for our sin? Well it sure looks like it to me. If not why do we need a mediator? Couldn't we simply come before God and just 'repent'?

So we’ve talked about (or, rather, I’ve written about) how we’re not only saved from the legal transaction of sins counted against us, but also (and more importantly) from the death that reigns in our members and needs to be destroyed.ÂÂ  In our mind, God is not the angry, stern, or even “Just” God that the satisfaction theory makes Him out to be, the one who demands that we “pay Him back” for offending Him.ÂÂ  To us, if God could be offended as if He had lost something and felt angered by this, He would be able to be manipulated and, thus, not God.ÂÂ  If He were more concerned about our being righteous enough for Him to let us into “His Heaven” than whether or not we actually came into His Heaven, His main objective would be self-serving and not done out of love for us.

Rather, instead of demanding something of us, He will simply appear one day as our Life once again, and we who have died and risen with Christ in baptism and have united themselves to Christ throughout their lives will also live with Him in glory (Col. 3:3-4)--those who are still dead in their bodies will feel the full force of He who Is Love, Life, Peace and all the rest of it, and it will be hell for those who are not renewed in Christ.ÂÂ  The flames of hell, we believe, are really the flames of the Consuming Fire that is our God, only felt as torment by those who are not Christ’s.

All that to say this: The issue of salvation from sin and death is now man’s decision, not God’s.  God is always loving, always forgiving, always steadfast--nothing we do could ever “offend” Him as we are offended.  He will do what He always has planned to do--save us through love and reveal Himself at the end to us in love--and this takes the issue away from “God being the “bad cop” and demanding repayment because He’s just and holy and concerned about whether or not to let us into heaven,” to “God destroying our last enemy out of love for us and revealing Himself to us in love...and we need to be ready for it.”  

I do hope this hasn’t taxed the ol’ brain pan too much and has actually helped.ÂÂ  Let us know if you have any other questions.

Peace of Christ to you,

Pedro, Global Mod
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2006, 04:26:01 PM »

I have posted this on a different thread in the past, so you may have seen it, but it gives a good idea of the complexity and variety of Scriptural understanding of soteriology.

The ARCIC report on "The Church and Salvation" states: The concept of salvation has the all-embracing meaning of the deliverance of human beings from evil and their establishment in that fulness of life which is God's will for them (e.g. Luke 1:77; John 3:16-17; cf. John 10:10).  The understanding of salvation as reconciliation and forgiveness stresses the restoration of broken relationships (e.g. 2 Cor. 5:18ff; Eph. 2.13-18).  The language of expiation or propitiation (hilasterion, etc.), drawn from the context of sacrifice, denotes the putting away of sin and reestablishment of right relationship with God (e.g. Rom. 3:25; Heb.2:17; 1 John 2:2, 4:10).  To speak of redemption or liberation is to talk of rescue from bondage so as to become God's own possession, and of freedom bought for a price (e.g. Mark 10:45; Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18ff).  The notion of adoption refers to our new identity as children of God (e.g. Rom. 8:15-17,23; Gal. 4:4ff).  Terms like regeneration, rebirth and new creation speak of God's work of re-creation and the beginning of new life (e.g. John 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:17; 1 Pet. 1:23).  The theme of sanctification underlines the fact that God has made us his own and calls us to holiness of life (e.g. John 17:15ff; Eph. 4f:25ff; 1 Pet.1:15ff).  The concept of justification relates to the removal of condemnation and to a new standing in the eyes of God (e.g. Rom. 3:22ff, 4:5, 5:1ff; Acts 13:39).  Salvation in all these aspects comes to each believer as he or she is incorporated into the believing community.

Now, the question is how do we reconcile these various things into a "systematic" theology? (Or, perhaps, do we want to, especially since the Ecumenical Synods have not done so?)
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« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2006, 09:39:35 AM »

Salve.

Thank you everyone for the material!  Cheesy

I'm wading through it all links so bare with me. Panagiotis! Shocked

Kudos for Pedro and pensateominia for the indepth posts.  Smiley

So I will post my responses soon...
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