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Tzimis
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« on: June 08, 2006, 07:58:55 AM »

Presuming we enter heaven after death. Will we still be marriedÂÂ  to our spouses in the after life?
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2006, 08:49:45 AM »

Presuming we enter heaven after death. Will we still be marriedÂÂ  to our spouses in the after life?

Depends on what you mean by "marriage." I believe there was a recent thread on this. In reality, we don't know what "marriage" will actually be like in heaven. On the one hand, it has become a very wide-spread theologoumenon that marriage is eternal, but what does that eternality actually mean? (Will I have a nice little apartment with my wife in heaven and go on dates to the Throne of God?) On the other hand, the Holy Fathers are quite emphatic that the physicality of marriage does not continue in heaven (based on various Scriptures). Thus, marriage may be eternal (whatever that means), but not in a carnal way. And if not in a carnal way, what way? Certainly, one would imagine one would recognize one's spouse, but the character, nature and scope of one's relationship with him or her is obviously different than what we participate in right now.

I've been thinking about this a lot recently, because according to the canonical tradition of the Church (which obviously contains records of the time when the Church did not even consider the wedding ceremony to be a sacrament -- which makes the typical modern line about the sacramental eternality of marriage rather difficult, doesn't it?), the death of a spouse constitutes automatic grounds for ecclesiastical "divorce" and re-marriage. Of course, the Holy Fathers exhort widows and widowers to remain as such (or, even better, to become monastics), but their reasoning is never that the marriage itself requires such action because of its ontologically eternal nature. Rather, their main concern is the moral importance of monogamy, which the Fathers define not only as having one spouse at a time, but as having only one sexual partner in the course of one's life. (See how important the sexual factor is in the early Church? Thus, in many writers' mind, it seems that if sex doesn't continue in heaven, then neither does "marriage" per se -- at least as we know it. That's how many Fathers interpret Christ's words to the Samaritan women, at any rate.)

Now that we celebrate marriage as a sacrament, however, we have different questions. If the sacrament constitutes an ontological change, it would seem, wouldn't it, that that change would continue forever? Such seems to be the logic behind the current theologoumenon, but it doesn't seem that the thinking has been developed any further and, thus, we have more questions than answers.

Anyway, I'm doing research on this right now. I'm compiling all the early Patristic references to marriage from the TLG and hope to find some answers. In general, it seems to me at this point that those theologians who originally began to develop strong ideas about the eternality of marriage were possibly thinking that marriage has eternal consequences. One's relationship to one's spouse obviously influences one's salvation, since that relationship constitutes the context in which one lives (and, thus, lives in Christ). Otherwise, what does an ontological change mean?
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2006, 09:11:46 AM »

I think the response to this question is quite simple and straightforward:

"For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like  angels of God in heaven." (Mt 22:30; Mk 12:25)
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2006, 09:25:38 AM »

I think the response to this question is quite simple and straightforward:

"For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are likeÂÂ  angels of God in heaven." (Mt 22:30; Mk 12:25)

Indeed. But then one has to know what "resurrection" means and how "angels of God in heaven" exist. Does this verse mean that we will be ethereal as the angels are? Such wouldn't make much sense according to what we know about the bodily resurrection. Clearly the comparison to angels is a simile (as the syntax reveals).

Prooftexts (especially this one) require interpretation and application.

As I mentioned already, the Fathers interpret this verse to mean that we will not have carnal relationships (and in this sense be like the angels), but how else do the angels relate to each other? Do they interact? Recognize each other? Have a platonic relationship? Or are they simply vessels for God's will, unaware of anything else? Is that what we'll be "like"?

The prooftext doesn't answer any of these questions, nor does it make sense of the sacramental elements of marriage, especially in the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox tradition -- and, to a lesser degree, in the Roman Catholic tradition.
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2006, 11:14:34 AM »



Prooftexts (especially this one) require interpretation and application.

As I mentioned already, the Fathers interpret this verse to mean that we will not have carnal relationships (and in this sense be like the angels), but how else do the angels relate to each other? Do they interact? Recognize each other? Have a platonic relationship? Or are they simply vessels for God's will, unaware of anything else? Is that what we'll be "like"?

The prooftext doesn't answer any of these questions, nor does it make sense of the sacramental elements of marriage, especially in the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox tradition -- and, to a lesser degree, in the Roman Catholic tradition.

I agree completely.

The prooftext trotted out regarding marriage can lead many others to confusion regarding our salvation. Some people use this to imply that we become angels after our death, or some other such nonsense.

The fact is that the Incarnation means that we will be back in our bodies---eventually. Otherwise there is no reason for the Mysteries of the Church. To indicate otherwise is to deny the link between mind, body, and soul that we as Orthodox uphold.

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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2006, 12:58:21 PM »

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The fact is that the Incarnation means that we will be back in our bodies---eventually. Otherwise there is no reason for the Mysteries of the Church. To indicate otherwise is to deny the link between mind, body, and soul that we as Orthodox uphold.

 Your saying we will eventually become flesh again. Just like Adam and eve. Just like when Christ arose Lazarus from the dead?ÂÂ  I wish it were true because this is basically the only life we really know and understand.

This makes sense.  Didn't Christ say he is preparing a place for us. If we are only to exist in spirit than we wouldn't need a place.
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2006, 01:20:09 PM »

Your saying we will eventually become flesh again. Just like Adam and eve. Just like when Christ arose Lazarus from the dead?ÂÂ  I wish it were true because this is basically the only life we really know and understand.

Yes, indeed. This is a standard doctrine of the Christian faith. It is called the "general resurrection of the flesh," and it's what we are talking about at the end of the Creed when we say: I await the resurrection of the dead; and the life of the ages to come. Amen. Offers a pretty amazing significance to Pascha, doesn't it? Not to mention the Second Coming of our Lord! (That said, I don't know exactly what you mean about Adam and Eve. Perhaps you are thinking of the Icon of the Anastasis. That is an allegorical depiction of what Christ's resurrection means: That all have been freed from the clutches of Hades and, ultimately, will raise in a manner like unto Christ's resurrection. Adam and Eve, who represent humanity, haven't literally been resurrected in a bodily form -- yet! — but they have been delivered from captivity.)

For this doctrine's Scriptural basis, see, among many instances, Romans 8:11 and especially 1 Thessalonians 4:12-16, which is the text we read at Orthodox funerals (and which describes the general resurrection of the flesh).

That aside, we should note that our resurrection is paradoxical. On the one hand, each individual is raised as he was. Yet, on the other hand, he is raised with some kind of new and perfected flesh. Think of Christ. He was raised (and was the same) and yet he was different, i.e. his body had different capabilities and properties.

I believe the Catholic encyclopedia has a decent entry on this: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12792a.htm
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2006, 01:26:48 PM »

Your saying we will eventually become flesh again. Just like Adam and eve. Just like when Christ arose Lazarus from the dead?ÂÂ  I wish it were true because this is basically the only life we really know and understand.


Well, it's not just me who is saying this...it's the Dogma of the Church!

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8038.asp

(The article was written by Metropolitan MAXIMOS of Pittsburgh, former Dogmatics instructor at Holy Cross. The excerpt is from the General Resurrection section of this article):

Quote
The resurrection of the dead is a miracle that will happen at the second coming of the Lord. According to the Creed: "I await the resurrection of the dead." This resurrection will be a new creation. However, our physical bodies as we know them now will be restored, in a spiritualized existence like that of the Lord after His Resurrection.


Out of curiousity...when you repeated the phrase in the Creed about the dead resurrecting, what was your understanding of this?

(I'm not trying to be sarcastic or anything. I'm trying to find out how people understand things like this, so that hopefully in catechesis we can better communicate the lesson.  Smiley )
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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2006, 01:42:51 PM »

Out of curiousity...when you repeated the phrase in the Creed about the dead resurrecting, what was your understanding of this?

(I'm not trying to be sarcastic or anything. I'm trying to find out how people understand things like this, so that hopefully in catechesis we can better communicate the lesson.  Smiley )


I shocked my adult catechism class a few months ago by telling them we won't actually be angels when we go to heaven (a la "It's a Wonderful Life"). They were even more surprised to hear that there was a difference between one's "heavenly" existence before the Final Judgment and one's existence afterwards in the New Heaven and New Earth. Most had never realized that Christ would come again, that everyone would be bodily raised, and that all would be judged in such a state. When we sing about Christ’s work redeeming all of creation, we mean it!

So, first lesson. People are not angels. In fact, through Christ's Messianic work, people are called to become greater and more honored than the angels!
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2006, 01:47:17 PM »

I shocked my adult catechism class a few months ago by telling them we won't actually be angels when we go to heaven (a la "It's a Wonderful Life"). ...

I had similar circumstances, which is why I really am interested in ways to effectively catechize people.
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2006, 02:13:13 PM »

Quote
Out of curiousity...when you repeated the phrase in the Creed about the dead resurrecting, what was your understanding of this?

I really never thought about it until you mentioned it.  BTW: I am pretty new at this. Sort of like a born again type. So bare with me until I get back up to speed. You guys are amazing. The dialog used and the quick responses. Thanks.
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2006, 02:17:20 PM »

I really never thought about it until you mentioned it.  BTW: I am pretty new at this. Sort of like a born again type. So bare with me until I get back up to speed. You guys are amazing. The dialog used and the quick responses. Thanks.

Thanks for your answer! I was kinda concerned when I asked the question that you might think I was trying to be mean or something, and I am glad to read that you answered my question.

Also, there's no need to apologise for us 'bearing with you until you get up to speed'. You're doing fine right now, and every post helps not just you but anyone else with the same question who is not as bold as you are!
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2006, 03:40:52 PM »

I have learned a few things in my day. One being that fear is what clenches the heart. Fear of what others will think. Or fear of being judged. I always try to look at it from two perspectives. If I was the Christian on the other side I would be sinning by my judgement. This is the cycle of love Christ talks about. One must be able to overcome fear through love.
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2006, 04:21:50 PM »

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I don't know exactly what you mean about Adam and Eve.

I wasn't referring to a resurrection of some sort. I was referring to their state in paradice before their sins.
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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2006, 10:09:54 PM »

Late getting into this, but it is an interesting question.

As for me, under present circumstances, I sincerely hope not.  Besides, what about folks say like my grandma, who was married again after my grandpa died? Or any other widow/er type situation, or divorce or whatever?

and also, if we come back to the flesh eventually, though changed (this is the gist of what i got from this thread so far) how do present relationships translate into that new existence, or would the slate be wiped clean in a manner of speaking?
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« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2006, 10:22:55 PM »

Since no one has linked to it yet, this was the other thread on the topic: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=8880.0

To answer your question, Aurelia, I think it would depend on if it was a real marriage or not. There is some debate as to what constitutes this, but basically if you have been married in an Orthodox Church, you are without a doubt married.
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« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2006, 12:53:15 PM »

As for me, under present circumstances, I sincerely hope not.ÂÂ  Besides, what about folks say like my grandma, who was married again after my grandpa died? Or any other widow/er type situation, or divorce or whatever?

Right. It certainly doesn't make a lot of sense. On the other hand, it's a mystery. As I said, I think the Church's original intent was to uphold Christ's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage (i.e. one should only have one spouse and one marriage) and to highlight the obvious fact that marriage has eternal consequences.

As for Christ's response to the Sadducees (quoted above) that we will be like angels in heaven, we must remember the context of his statement. Perhaps he was specifically describing exactly what we will be like in heaven (although he uses a simile), but, within the context of the conversation, he's really just saying: "You ignorant and heretical Sadducees! You are wrong about the resurrection of the body, and your attempt to prove your doctrine's validity by presenting me with a difficult hypothetical case is irrelevant." (The Sadducees were insinuating that faith in the resurrection of the body leads one to a doctrine of "heavenly polyandry" for women who had been married more than once -- a reductio ad absurdum that the Sadducees believed should "prove" that the doctrine of the resurrection of the body itself can't be true, since its consequences would be contrary to God's law. Jesus, obviously, rejects this sophistic attempt. At any rate, the passage is actually about the resurrection of the body as a legitimate doctrine, and thus doesn't really fully address the exact nature of our bodies or our marriages after that resurrection.)

and also, if we come back to the flesh eventually, though changed (this is the gist of what i got from this thread so far) how do present relationships translate into that new existence, or would the slate be wiped clean in a manner of speaking?

IF we come back to the flesh!!? I assume that "if" is just the protasis of a hypothetical question, since the general bodily resurrection is an absolute doctrine of all Christian confessions (Protestant, Orthodox, Catholic), being part of our most foundational Creed and Scripture. If that's how you mean it (protasis), then the answer is: We don't know.
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« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2006, 08:12:48 AM »

I have learned a few things in my day. One being that fear is what clenches the heart. Fear of what others will think. Or fear of being judged. I always try to look at it from two perspectives. If I was the Christian on the other side I would be sinning by my judgement. This is the cycle of love Christ talks about. One must be able to overcome fear through love.

Good luck to you.... remember, God did not place us on earth to please people .... if you try to live under God and not under people thoughts of you then will you find peace in mind, soul and heart. Of course my opinion, that I wanted to pass to you.

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« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2006, 02:42:03 PM »

Quote
Good luck to you.... remember, God did not place us on earth to please people .... if you try to live under God and not under people thoughts of you then will you find peace in mind, soul and heart. Of course my opinion, that I wanted to pass to you.

In Christ,
Hadel


Thank you Hadel. Your words are inspiring.
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« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2006, 06:12:34 PM »

To answer your question, Aurelia, I think it would depend on if it was a real marriage or not. There is some debate as to what constitutes this,

And what might other definitions of "real marriage" might there be, one wonders.  Or is the claim being made that EO has some kind of 'ownership' on Marriage?  Then again, some RC seem to think that they are the only group that can make a "real" marriage".  Friends of mine were married in an Episcopal Church (bride was, Groom was RC.)  Advance years to when their first child was born and they were going to get her baptized.  The RC priest (they'd moved as he was Navy) asked if they wouldn't like to have an RC wedding.  Wife asked if he was daring to suggest that she had been living in sin and bearing a child out of wedlock?!? 

Marriage (speaking as one who has been for 16+ years) is also dependent on the couple and their commitment.

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« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2006, 06:14:55 PM »

Good luck to you.... remember, God did not place us on earth to please people

But He did put us here with the commands to love one another and to "do unto others as we would have others do unto us."ÂÂ  A helpful thing to remember.

Ebor

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« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2006, 08:49:00 PM »

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But He did put us here with the commands to love one another and to "do unto others as we would have others do unto us."  A helpful thing to remember.

Indeed he did.
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« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2007, 06:50:50 PM »

Is marriage just for procreation because being near Pentacostal and watching "inspired pastors" and leaders literally saying that they were/still are virgins and can't wait to get married to have sexual intercourse all the time!
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« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2007, 11:17:46 PM »

Is marriage just for procreation because being near Pentacostal and watching "inspired pastors" and leaders literally saying that they were/still are virgins and can't wait to get married to have sexual intercourse all the time!
I think your question presents both extremes of the spectrum of attitudes Christians have toward marriage.  Both of these poles are unhealthy and must be avoided.  The former I need not address here, since it is currently the topic of another parallel thread (Were Adam and Eve "material," made of chemical elements, "substances," etc.?).  The latter sees marriage as an excuse to throw away all self-control--slavery to the passion of erotic lust is never good, even within the confines of marriage.
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« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2008, 04:36:56 PM »

Do you mean to ask: Is an Orthodox Marriage just for procreation?

As to your question as asked:

Certainly some people believe and act as if marriage were only for procreation.  Many royal weddings have been proported to be for that purpose.  And many people (some women, some men) value their children above and over their marriages which also makes a marriage to only serve procreation.

The whole idea that marriage is "just" for procreation seems silly and not very well thought out.  Is the marriage dissolved when one or both parties fail to be able to procreate?  What if both parties out live their virility? 

My wife has just reminded me that St. John Chrysostom instructs us that marriage is given to us to escape being burnt and procreation is a secondary result.

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« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2008, 10:16:11 AM »

I think the Orthodox answer to this question is "no, marriage is for theosis."

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« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2008, 10:43:58 AM »

"no, marriage is for theosis." 

Bingo!

My wife has just reminded me that St. John Chrysostom instructs us that marriage is given to us to escape being burnt and procreation is a secondary result. 

Yes, he did indeed say that.

I think Fr. John Chryssavgis' book on Love, Marriage, and Sexuality may address some of these issues, too.
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« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2008, 02:48:54 PM »

Theosis?    That sounds profound, but such an answer requires more than just a snipit of theological shorthand as an answer, don't you think?   

For Theosis?  What isn't?

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« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2008, 03:01:03 PM »

Theosis?    That sounds profound, but such an answer requires more than just a snipit of theological shorthand as an answer, don't you think?

I know, it does sound too broad... Maybe it would help if we narrow it somewhat... Maybe by saying that marriage is not a "remedy" or "fix" ("I am childless, so I'll get a spouse and get children," or "I have sexual needs, so I'll get married and quench them," etc.), but a way of life, a way to learn how to love.  

For Theosis?  What isn't?

Sin. Passions.

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« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2008, 04:18:33 PM »

Theosis?    That sounds profound, but such an answer requires more than just a snipit of theological shorthand as an answer, don't you think?   

Something more like "The purpose of marriage is the salvation of its participants through the growth of love and commitment to Christ, realized through the process of focusing the various unitive energies (spiritual, emotional, physical, etc.) on a Christ-directed, selfless love for the other person and, eventually, through the broadening of this love towards others, both related and unrelated.  Marriage also continues its unique role as a means of reflecting the divine Love of the Trinity, manifest through the unity of love and will despite a diversity of role and relationship, and furthermore acting as an agent of the same Trinity in the act of creation through the mystical union when two become one flesh."

Is that better?
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« Reply #30 on: September 29, 2008, 07:59:47 PM »

Thank-you for both replies. 

Is the quote from Fr. John Chryssavgis' book?  When was his book published?  The quote is easy to agree with even if it seems a little wordy.

I like Hieromonk Alexy (Young's) statement that marriage is for adults.  Unfortunately, adulthood is more a matter of age than maturity of wisdom. 

Abraham wisely did not seek a wife for his only-begotten son until Isaac was 40 years old, but I don't reference the fact to establish anykind of rule.  Yet, it certainly seems in contrast to the idea expressed as belonging to some "inspired pastors" and leaders literally saying that they were/still are virgins and can't wait to get married to have sexual intercourse all the time!"

I tend to doubt that our sexually active culture is that much different from that of the first century.  Many (most) pagan temples engaged in temple prostitution.  I recall reading Gibbons History of the decline of the Roman Empire and being aghast at some of his descriptions of sexual behavior.  Certainly we are overwhelmed by media means not available then, but the accepted practice of using boys had to be addressed even by the Ecumenical Councils, and sadly it remains a subject still in need of being exposed and condemned.

Marriage (as I read the Scriptures and Fathers) clearly was established to fix something...i.e., "it is not good for man to be alone."   But I don't write this to disagee with others, only to modify.
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« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2008, 08:50:14 PM »

Coming in a little late, but this is a dear subject to me, as dear as my wife so I will venture to add my own thoughts.

What is marriage?  The answer has always appeared plain to me in the Scriptures even before I discovered the beauty of the Orthodox Church/faith.   I doubt my thoughts are original (indeed I pray they are not), but have no precise quotes from which to build my statement (which doesn't mean I like quotations).

The place I choose to start is the story of Moses striking the rock a second time.  We are familiar with how God corrected Moses action because in doing so Moses failed to achieve that one thing necessary to see God, i.e., holiness.  Moses anger did not convey the Holiness of God, an important thing every man should recall when leading his household into the Kingdom of God.

St. Paul makes mention of this action in one of his epistles to the Corinthians.    He tells us that the Rock was Christ and some have pointed out that Moses actions failed to achieve theological correctness (i.e., holiness).  St Paul tells us in the epistle to the Hebrews that the marriage bed is holy, and his words (again found in his epistle to the Corinthians) about children of a mixed marriage being holy seems to be to establish the same point of fact.

It seems to me, that this holiness of marriage elevates every aspect of the marriage, i.e., physical, mental, emotional, spiritual (and any other) out of the profane and corrupt passing fashion of this world.  It elevates Marriage into something wholly incomprehensible to those who are outside of Christ.  Moses struck a rock, but that rock was a type of Christ.  In some same way, marriage in some mysterious way through the Incarnation of the Son of God communicates Christ in a type.  This typological nature of Marriage is something both Old and New and even consist of some aspects which are passing away. 

It is typological, but not in the same way as the rock which Moses struck.  Marriage is actually an IMAGE of Christ.  This should strike fear into every Orthodox Christian, fear of profaning the Holiness of Christ and His Church.  An Orthodox Christian marriage becomes one with Christ through partaking of the Holy Eucharist, for it is only then that any of us can truly be of one mind, heart, and spirit.  We become bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh and that is what transforms marriage from an institution for taxation (with or without representation) into the living Christ on earth.  Marriage is an IMAGE of Christ, and because of that it can make manifest the Love of the Father by whom all families receive their name (Eph.).

It is through this Orthodox Christian marriage that we are given a new name.  This is illustrated in the story of Abram and Sari whose new names had the breath of God breathed into them by Christ, i.e., Abra ha m, and Sar ah when he visited them. 

I could go on, but this is enough at this posting.




 
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« Reply #32 on: September 29, 2008, 09:12:37 PM »

Post script: OOPed me!

I wrote "(which doesn't mean I like quotations).

This should have read

which doesn't mean I lack quotations.

One further thought:  I fail to understand the enchantment some have in finding the argument that the rubrics and Theological revelation as set forth in the Marriage service were later than the first century.   It seems a kind of questionable fact, by which I mean the correctness of the fact does not prove the point being argued from it by some, i.e., that it was therefore not a mystery/sacrament in the first century.  This latter term is used to convey in a kind of theological shorthand of the experience of the Church in elevating in the minds of Christians into living as a citizen of the New Creation.   The information might make good history lessons, but fails IMO to communicate anything edifying when used to raise doubt about the place of marriage in the Church.   
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« Reply #33 on: September 29, 2008, 10:51:23 PM »

I just merged this more recent thread on marriage into another older thread of the same title, which had just recently been resurrected.  It's just too confusing to have active at the same time two threads discussing the same subject and bearing the same title.
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« Reply #34 on: September 30, 2008, 11:26:15 AM »



Prooftexts (especially this one) require interpretation and application.

As I mentioned already, the Fathers interpret this verse to mean that we will not have carnal relationships (and in this sense be like the angels), but how else do the angels relate to each other? Do they interact? Recognize each other? Have a platonic relationship? Or are they simply vessels for God's will, unaware of anything else? Is that what we'll be "like"?

The prooftext doesn't answer any of these questions, nor does it make sense of the sacramental elements of marriage, especially in the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox tradition -- and, to a lesser degree, in the Roman Catholic tradition.

I agree completely.

The prooftext trotted out regarding marriage can lead many others to confusion regarding our salvation. Some people use this to imply that we become angels after our death, or some other such nonsense.

The fact is that the Incarnation means that we will be back in our bodies---eventually. Otherwise there is no reason for the Mysteries of the Church. To indicate otherwise is to deny the link between mind, body, and soul that we as Orthodox uphold.



I, too, agree completely. However, some - or maybe even many - Fathers of the Church were Platonists and, having the inherent Platonist trend to oppose "good" ideas, mind, nous, soul to "bad" matter, did not believe that our bodies NOW are the same as our bodies after resurrection will be.

St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote a lot about this. I have a book of his writings at home, in Russian translation, published by a Moscow-based Orthodox publishing house in the 2000-s. In one of the chapters of this book (I believe it is his dialogue with his sister Macrina), St. Gregory makes a huge emphasis on that NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING of what we experience now will be with us "over there." Our current "thick, animal-like, disgustingly substance-composed" bodies will be replaced by "thin," angel-like, ethereal bodies.

(I will find the exact quote and present it here in the Russian translation from that book, and then give my own word-to-word English translation.)

Unfortunately, some people would dissmiss everything that Fr. Chris wrote above and, beating you with St. Gregory like with a club, would say that you are a heretic, a Satanist and a faithful servant of the Anti-Christ.  Tongue
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« Reply #35 on: September 30, 2008, 12:42:06 PM »

"Fathers of the Church were Platonists and, having the inherent Platonist trend to oppose "good" ideas, mind, nous, soul to "bad" matter, did not believe that our bodies NOW are the same as our bodies after resurrection will be."

And why do you think that the quote summited proves your statement that the Fathers of the Church were Platonist (I will presume you meant neo-platonist)?

And why do you believe the fact that our bodies will not be the same as they are now after the Ressurection proves they were Platonist?

This assertion has often been repeated, but I doubt the evidence to be satisfactory.


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« Reply #36 on: September 30, 2008, 12:51:50 PM »

And why do you think that the quote summited proves your statement that the Fathers of the Church were Platonist (I will presume you meant neo-platonist)?
Read Heorhij's post more closely.  He didn't say THE Fathers of the Church were Platonist (as if to implicate ALL the Fathers); he said only that SOME of the Fathers were Platonist (meaning that some were not).

Quote
And why do you believe the fact that our bodies will not be the same as they are now after the Ressurection proves they were Platonist?

This assertion has often been repeated, but I doubt the evidence to be satisfactory.
The fact itself (if it is indeed a fact) proves nothing about the apparent Platonistic nature of what some Fathers taught about the "fact".  Now, if you were to ask why Heorhij believes that the fact that some of the Fathers taught a particular doctrine proves that they were Platonist, maybe your question would make more sense.
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« Reply #37 on: September 30, 2008, 01:28:07 PM »

OK Doky (dokie), 





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« Reply #38 on: September 30, 2008, 02:11:39 PM »

Here, found the St. Gregory - St. Macrina dialogue in English, and here's this passage about bodies (with comments), http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf205.x.iii.ii.html:

**************
First let us get a clear notion as to the scope of this doctrine; in other words, what is the end that Holy Scripture has in view in promulgating it and creating the belief in it. Well, to sketch the outline of so vast a truth and to embrace it in a definition, we will say that the Resurrection is “the reconstitution of our nature in its original form

[Comment:   The actual language of this definition is Platonic (cf. Sympos. p. 193 D), but it is Gregory’s constant formula for the Christian Resurrection; see De Hom. Opif. c. 17; In Ecclesiast. I. p. 385 A; Funeral Oration for Pulcheria, III. p. 523 C; Orat. de Mortuis, III. p. 632 C; De Virginitate, c. xii. p. 358..” ]

But in that form of life, of which God Himself was the Creator, it is reasonable to believe that there was neither age nor infancy nor any of the sufferings arising from our present various infirmities, nor any kind of bodily affliction whatever. It is reasonable, I say, to believe that God was the Creator of none of these things, but that man was a thing divine before his humanity got within reach of the assault of evil; that then, however, with the inroad of evil, all these afflictions also broke in upon him. Accordingly a life that is free from evil is under no necessity whatever of being passed amidst the things that result from evil. It follows that when a man travels through ice he must get his body chilled; or when he walks in a very hot sun that he must get his skin darkened; but if he has kept clear of the one or the other, he escapes these results entirely, both the darkening and the chilling; no one, in fact, when a particular cause was removed, would be justified in looking for the effect of that particular cause. Just so our nature, becoming passional, had to encounter all the necessary results of a life of passion: but when it shall have started back to that state of passionless blessedness, it will no longer encounter the inevitable results of evil tendencies. Seeing, then, that all the infusions of the life of the brute into our nature were not in us before our humanity descended through the touch of evil into passions, most certainly, when we abandon those passions, we shall abandon all their visible results. No one, therefore, will be justified in seeking in that other life for the consequences in us of any passion. Just as if a man, who, clad in a ragged tunic, has divested himself of the garb, feels no 124more its disgrace upon him, so we too, when we have cast off that dead unsightly tunic made from the skins of brutes and put upon us (for I take the “coats of skins” to mean that conformation belonging to a brute nature with which we were clothed when we became familiar with passionate indulgence), shall, along with the casting off of that tunic, fling from us all the belongings that were round us of that skin of a brute; and such accretions are sexual intercourse, conception, parturition, impurities, suckling, feeding, evacuation, gradual growth to full size, prime of life, old age, disease, and death. If that skin is no longer round us, how can its resulting consequences be left behind within us? It is folly, then, when we are to expect a different state of things in the life to come, to object to the doctrine of the Resurrection on the ground of something that has nothing to do with it. I mean, what has thinness or corpulence, a state of consumption or of plethora, or any other condition supervening in a nature that is ever in a flux, to do with the other life, stranger as it is to any fleeting and transitory passing such as that? One thing, and one thing only, is required for the operation of the Resurrection; viz. that a man should have lived, by being born; or, to use rather the Gospel words, that “a man should be born

[Comment:   ἐγεννηθη. S. John xvi. 21]

 into the world”; the length or briefness of the life, the manner, this or that, of the death, is an irrelevant subject of inquiry in connection with that operation. Whatever instance we take, howsoever we suppose this to have been, it is all the same; from these differences in life there arises no difficulty, any more than any facility, with regard to the Resurrection. He who has once begun to live must necessarily go on having once lived

[Comment:    τὸν γὰρ τοῦ ζῆν ἀρξάμενον, ζῆσαι χρὴ πάντως. The present infinitive here expresses only a new state of existence, the aorist a continued act. The aorist may have this force, if (as a whole) it is viewed as a single event in past time. Cf. Appian. Bell. Civ. ii. 91, ἦλθον, εἶδον, ἐνίκησα.]

after his intervening dissolution in death has been repaired in the Resurrection."
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« Reply #39 on: September 30, 2008, 05:42:28 PM »

I seems to me he is using platonic ideas which were current and perhaps prevalent as a vehicle for communicating something foreign to that prevalent idea and that does not prove that he was actually a (neo-)platonist.   The quote seems suggest to me that he was correcting and converting Platonic ideas about personhood so as to make it Christian.    It seems to me, had he been a true Platonist, he would have argued that there was no change to the body after the Resurrection, no?  My point being that the resurrection does not simply return us to the pre-fall condition as some kind of ideal static perfection, but that one of the characteristics of our human nature is to change and that change is always towards Perfection, but God alone changes not, no?

And in that the Church endorsed the point of view of (some) of these Fathers it then becomes normative in our interpretation of Scripture, no? 





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« Reply #40 on: September 30, 2008, 06:34:43 PM »

^I am not really sure. I am not an expert in philosophy, so I just repeat what I heard from people - that Plato saw matter as inferior to "pure mind" or "idea," and that in his philosophy, matter had some sort of hierarchy, where "thick" matter was considered inferior to "thin," or ethereal, matter. St. Gregory of Nyssa seems to see us as creatures who, because of our fall into sin, acquired a body made of "thick matter" ("skins of the brutes"), because our passions changed what used to be "ethereal." After the resurrection, we get rid of these "skins of the brutes" and therefore become again "thin-ethereal," not having any growth, any desire, any want, any change.

As for "normative" - oh, I do hope St. Gregory of Nyssa never becomes a source of church doctrine. BTW, in St. John Chrysostomos's "Homilies on Genesis" there is also a thought that humans had no passions before the Fall and will not have them after the resurrection, BUT there is a totally different interpretation of the "skins of the brutes." St. John does not talk about the human body becoming "thick" and "beast-like." Rather, he sees the "skins" as real skins, and a sign that God had mercy on the guilty fallen humans, and gave them dress to wear. Smiley
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« Reply #41 on: October 02, 2008, 11:31:53 AM »

As for "normative" - oh, I do hope St. Gregory of Nyssa never becomes a source of church doctrine.


My reply is to suggest reading The Orthodox Doctrine of the Person  by Fr Theophanes (Constantine) who is an Orthodox monk.  Here is a link. http://timiosprodromos.blogspot.com/2006/01/volume-i-table-of-contents.html

I quote one paragraph under the vocation of man.

St John,(ed. Damascene) still quoting St Gregory (ed. the Theologian), now draws his conclusions: Man is ‘in the middle between greatness and humbleness’. What do St John and St Gregory mean? Man’s greatness arises from his spiritual nature, from his partaking of and manifesting the invisible creation to which he is linked by his soul. Man’s humbleness, however, arises from his earthy nature, from his partaking of and manifesting the visible, material creation to which he is linked by his body. Hence man is ‘in the middle between greatness and humbleness’ because he links the spiritual and material creations in his own duality of being: he is both ‘spirit and flesh’. Why was he made thus? He was made ‘flesh on account of pride; spirit on account of Grace: the former so that he suffer and, suffering, that he remember and be chastened; the latter so that he abide and glorify the Benefactor’. The earthy body is both man’s humbleness—for he is dust of the earth—and his means of attaining humility: he was made ‘flesh on account of pride’, that is, so that he humble himself on account of the dust of the earth that he is and so that he not be puffed up by his kingship over the things of the earth and by his spiritual grandeur as the connecting link between the sensible and intelligible creations. That is why he was made flesh, ‘so that he suffer and, suffering, that he remember and be chastened’, in a word, that he be humbled. Note that this applies to Adam and Eve in Paradise but surely also to man today in his condition after the Fall.


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« Reply #42 on: October 02, 2008, 01:39:03 PM »

St. Gregory of Nyssa is not the same person as St. Gregory the Theologian (a.k.a. St. Gregory Nazianzen). St. Gregory of Nyssa was a younger brother of St. Basil of Cesarea (a.k.a. St. Basil the Great). St. Gregory Nazianzen (or St. Gregory the Theologian) was a close friend of the two brothers.
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