[Orthodoxy] Purgatory

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  • #5000
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Need to do more reading on this, but it appears so far that in reality we don’t really disagree here. Just different terms are used. Could be wrong, but will continue to read.

    ~Victor

    #5014
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    [quote:2yc4qbw6]If one dies with a venial sin on their soul, how does one get into Heaven?[/quote:2yc4qbw6]

    You see, this question doesn’t even make sense to me. We’re using completely different paradigms. Firstly your talk of having venial (a term we do not use) sin on your soul makes it sound as though sin is a crime or a debt. That is not what the Greek word means – it means missing the mark. Missing the mark is not living up to God’s standards, not going as far as we could towards theosis, stumbling off the path if you will. It’s not at all a juridical concept for us. Secondly, you sound as though you feel Heaven to be a place whereas for us it’s more of a state (certainly between now and the last judgement). I’d advise reading an article by Alexander Kalomiros called ‘The River of Fire’ for an explanation, were it not for his rather uncharitable anti-western polemics.

    As for how we ‘get to Heaven’ whilst being less than perfect (who isn’t?) or even having not repented of all our sins – which is quite common I would imagine, especially with sudden death – it is hope in the forgiveness of God who wishes that all men should be saved. And the prayers of those righteous Christians we leave behind (and those who have preceded us, such as our patron saints, the Theotokos, etc.) which Scripture promises us are efficacious, can only help in our attaining such forgiveness.

    James

    #5022
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    After we are dead, we cannot go back and change what we did. Does God jsut immediately and without expiation forgive us all our lesser sins? I would definitely say no.

    #5028
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    [quote:2pswfszv]Secondly, you sound as though you feel Heaven to be a place whereas for us it’s more of a state[/quote:2pswfszv]

    Did you mean to say Purgatory?

    James, what happens if you miss the Mark? Is this equivalent to someone falling from grace in belief system?

    ~Victor

    #5036
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Uncertaindrummer and Victor,

    I’m sorry but I went from Protestant to atheist to Orthodox and I don’t understand what either of you are trying to say exactly. It seems as though we’re speaking a different language.

    UD, you appear to believe that God is something like a human tyrant whose honour must be appeased before forgiveness can be granted. Is that true, or am I misreading you? I see God as a loving Father who will grant forgiveness to those who ask, which is quite different to your apparent view which sounds medieval and I had previously thought was a charicature of RC beliefs. I am a father myself (are you?) and if my son misbehaves I punish him, but not for the sakes of vengeance, not to appease my honour, but merely to teach him. If he is truly sorry he gets forgiven without my demanding ‘satisfaction’. If I am capable of such small mercies what more is God capable of. The onbly good punishment is a pedagogical punishment, vengeance is evil. If you believe God makes non-pedagogical punishments then I’m afraid your concept of God is not all good in my opinion.

    Victor, I want to answer you, but I really don’t have a clue what you mean at all. Could you explain further? All I can say is that to me missing the mark (sin) is failing to meet the standards God asks of us. Even better, it can be seen as stumbling off the narrow path. Whilst we’re off in the darkness to one side or other of the path we can’t even see it with solely human eyes, but if through God’s grace we are shown the path again we can take ourselves back to it and carry on in our journey. There is no crime there, as such, merely error. Does that help at all?

    It seems to me that perhaps the reason we Orthodox and you RCs have so much trouble understanding one another is that you see the Church (metaphorically) as a courtroom with God as both prosecutor and judge. We see the Church as a hospital with God as the head physician. You, therefore see sin as crime whereas we see it as sickness – it reminds me of Samuel Butler’s [i:263epo0l]Erewhon[/i:263epo0l] every time I talk to RCs about sin, actually.

    James

    #5041

    [quote:1wt768vi]It seems to me that perhaps the reason we Orthodox and you RCs have so much trouble understanding one another is that you see the Church (metaphorically) as a courtroom with God as both prosecutor and judge. We see the Church as a hospital with God as the head physician. You, therefore see sin as crime whereas we see it as sickness – it reminds me of Samuel Butler’s [i:1wt768vi]Erewhon[/i:1wt768vi] every time I talk to RCs about sin, actually.[/quote:1wt768vi]
    It could also just be an American vs. European thing. Americans have a different way of looking at the Church.

    #5043
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    [quote:1njgc334][quote:1njgc334]It seems to me that perhaps the reason we Orthodox and you RCs have so much trouble understanding one another is that you see the Church (metaphorically) as a courtroom with God as both prosecutor and judge. We see the Church as a hospital with God as the head physician. You, therefore see sin as crime whereas we see it as sickness – it reminds me of Samuel Butler’s [i:1njgc334]Erewhon[/i:1njgc334] every time I talk to RCs about sin, actually.[/quote:1njgc334]
    It could also just be an American vs. European thing. Americans have a different way of looking at the Church.[/quote:1njgc334]

    Perhaps in some instances, but I’m not really convinced. Most of the RCs I know are European (because I’m here) and ditto Orthodox, but I’ve corresponded with Americans of both faiths online and the differences certainly [i:1njgc334]seem[/i:1njgc334] more closely allied to faith than geography.

    James

    #5047
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    [quote:2m1sgp0r]UD, you appear to believe that God is something like a human tyrant whose honour must be appeased before forgiveness can be granted. Is that true, or am I misreading you? I see God as a loving Father who will grant forgiveness to those who ask, which is quite different to your apparent view which sounds medieval and I had previously thought was a charicature of RC beliefs. I am a father myself (are you?) and if my son misbehaves I punish him, but not for the sakes of vengeance, not to appease my honour, but merely to teach him. If he is truly sorry he gets forgiven without my demanding ‘satisfaction’. If I am capable of such small mercies what more is God capable of. The onbly good punishment is a pedagogical punishment, vengeance is evil. If you believe God makes non-pedagogical punishments then I’m afraid your concept of God is not all good in my opinion. [/quote:2m1sgp0r]

    If there is no need for temporal punishment, I ask again, WHY WAS DANIEL PUNISHED?

    #5056
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    [quote:2mi28spt][quote:2mi28spt]UD, you appear to believe that God is something like a human tyrant whose honour must be appeased before forgiveness can be granted. Is that true, or am I misreading you? I see God as a loving Father who will grant forgiveness to those who ask, which is quite different to your apparent view which sounds medieval and I had previously thought was a charicature of RC beliefs. I am a father myself (are you?) and if my son misbehaves I punish him, but not for the sakes of vengeance, not to appease my honour, but merely to teach him. If he is truly sorry he gets forgiven without my demanding ‘satisfaction’. If I am capable of such small mercies what more is God capable of. The onbly good punishment is a pedagogical punishment, vengeance is evil. If you believe God makes non-pedagogical punishments then I’m afraid your concept of God is not all good in my opinion. [/quote:2mi28spt]

    If there is no need for temporal punishment, I ask again, WHY WAS DANIEL PUNISHED?[/quote:2mi28spt]

    Here’s an idea, as you are once again being completely pig-headed, why don’t you answer my questions and then I’ll answer yours. It’s called discussion. I asked you to explain your position because I don’t understand what you’re saying, so how can you expect me to argue with you?

    Since I’ve come to this forum you, and only you, have been nothing but rude, patronising and bigotted towards any argument that may come from the Orthodox Church. If I’m such an inveterate heretic [i:2mi28spt]stop corresponding with me[/i:2mi28spt]. Your polemics will not convince me and I am not the ignoramous you seem to think I am. Thank goodness most RCs are more reasonable than you are or the only ‘reunion’ either side would be discussing would be forced entry into the Unia a la ‘Saint’ Josaphat Kuntsevich.

    Until you can discuss issues with me rather than preach at me I shall ignore your posts.

    James

    #5058
    #5064
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    [quote:2vd6o0xr]Victor, I want to answer you, but I really don’t have a clue what you mean at all. Could you explain further? All I can say is that to me missing the mark (sin) is failing to meet the standards God asks of us. Even better, it can be seen as stumbling off the narrow path. Whilst we’re off in the darkness to one side or other of the path we can’t even see it with solely human eyes, but if through God’s grace we are shown the path again we can take ourselves back to it and carry on in our journey. There is no crime there, as such, merely error. Does that help at all?[/quote:2vd6o0xr]

    I think I’m beggining to grasp what you are saying. How does one stumble off the narrow path James? By committing several sins? Or just one big one? Or it doesn’t matter the gravity of the sin, one is enough?
    Keep in mind these are not terminologies I’m used to using. Just using this type of language so we can understand each other.

    [quote:2vd6o0xr]It seems to me that perhaps the reason we Orthodox and you RCs have so much trouble understanding one another is that you see the Church (metaphorically) as a courtroom with God as both prosecutor and judge. We see the Church as a hospital with God as the head physician. You, therefore see sin as crime whereas we see it as sickness – it reminds me of Samuel Butler’s Erewhon every time I talk to RCs about sin, actually. [/quote:2vd6o0xr]

    James, we do not see the Church as a courtroom setting. We see it as a family setting. With God as our Father and Judge. Flowing out of Him both Love and Justice. I don’t really think we disagree here.

    I will await your response.

    ~Victor

    #5089
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Forgive me all, but I came by this thread, and I could not help but notice that some of you fail to see why Orthodox Christianity sees Roman Catholic views on salvation as LEGALISTIC, and I thought I might just add my two cents.

    The inability of Orthodoxy to understand purgatory stems from the fact that Orthodoxy bases its teaching of salvation on THEOSIS(SANCTIFICATION), while Roman Catholicism and much of Protetantism bases salvation on SATISFACTION, but James already did a great job in illustrating this. In Orthodoxy, sin is spiritual disease, which is healed when the Incarnated Lord teaches us how to correct our marred image and move again from image to likeness. To become gods by grace, by participating in the Divine Nature, that is truly salvific (2 Peter 1:4).

    The legalisms of Roman Catholicism are clearly apparent. They look at metaphors of salvation as “debt” and “owing” (the Parable that Christ spoke, St. Matthew 18:21-35) and instead of seeing this as one of the MANY metaphors for salvation, the RCC runs with it and sees it as explanation. Christ also likened our salvation to a lost sheep or coin that the owner goes out and finds. Are we going to vainly argue that if we are lost, we wait for God to come and find us? How does this explain the role we play in our own salvation, our SYNERGY with God, where we’re told to Resist the devil, to submit to God, to choose life. These are all ACTIVE, where the metaphor is PASSIVE. Clearly these metaphors are not meant to be in and of themselves, explanations on salvation, but show us the many facets of the Mystery of Salvation.

    Orthodox say that by participating in the Divine Nature, by participating in His grace, which is not created (If I understand correctly, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but RC’s see grace as a created phenomenon.). Through struggle, walking the straight and narrow way, by denying the self, our spiritual disease begins to heal and we move from image to likeness. It’s not a fluke that St. Ignatius of Antioch called the Eucharist, “the MEDICINE OF IMMORTALITY”. It truly IS! It heals our spiritual diseases (sins). If then, the Church is the HOSPITAL of our SOULS, then what we do in the Church IS THERAPEUTIC EXERCISE. We pray, fast, give alms to restore spiritual health.

    Roman Catholic views on salvation stress SATISFACTION. God is somehow offended with us, and we must give back what we owe. But God is love, and that does not change. Yes, God loves the just and the unjust equally, and He allows the rain to fall on both. God is not a respector of persons…He loves all the same. Human actions do not cause God to change–this is absolutely unscriptural. While we were sinners, God took on flesh and INCARNATED!!!! Surely this is NOT a God Who stops loving us when we’re bad.

    But RC’s argue that Christ’s death on the Cross appeased the Father’s will for SATISFACTION, but only removed the Eternal Punishment, leaving what they call the Temporal Punishment. The “temporal punishments” still exist. What are these temporal punishments? Was Christ’s Death not enough to destroy it all? What Roman Catholics would call PUNISHMENT, I think Orthodox call SPIRITUAL MEDICINE. After confession, a spiritual father may counsel the confessed party to pray their prayer rope, or do make prostrations, to read a certain number of chapters of the Bible or some holy writings, etc. This is not A PUNISHMENT!!!! No! This is a means of educating that soul in the ways of humility, of bringing it back to the ways of humility. A penance is NOT making up for sins, or DUE PUNISHMENT, but preparing the spiritual body for receptions of medicine–the Holy Eucharist, and training it to fight off disease (sin) in the future. Surely those sins, and any residues are forgiven when they are confessed and absolved by the priest, who has the authority through Christ. Lessons that God bestows upon us afterward are not punishments, but they are blessings, to help us to understand to walk in a new way. It is good that You have humbled me, that I might learn Thy statutes, we read in the Holy Scriptures.

    God is Love (1 John 4:8). This does not change. Yes, God loves the just and the unjust equally. All are HIS! God does not get angry or offended, nor jealous. These biblical mentions indicate ANTHROPOMORPHISMS–THEY TRY AS MUCH AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE TO ILLUSTRATE GOD WITH WORDS. God is not jealous, this word was used to try to illustrate how God, who loves us so completely, wants us to exclusively love Him. It’s not jealousy the way we understand it, because jealousy is a passion of imperfect men, not of the Most High. While we were sinners, Christ DIED FOR US. This is not a god who stops loving us when we’re bad.

    In Roman Catholicism, salvation requires SATISFACTION, which is a philosophy from Roman public law, to which someone who offends must give restitution, satisfaction for an obligation not met. Tertullian was the first to use this in Christian writing, according to Pelikan’s Emergence, the Christian Tradition, pg. 147.

    According to Rome, sin has a punishment here, and a punishment in the eternal life. Godman’s death on the Cross satisfies God’s anger toward us, but temporal sin remains, even after confession and forgiveness. It is not accidentally, (keeping in line with this theme of satisfaction) that since Vatican II, Penance is now also called “Reconciliation”. The Council at Trent argues that even after FORGIVENESS, one has to work off temporal punishment, a residue of sin, through self imposed penances or the penances of a confessor. (These are not punishments, but Roman Catholics, seeing them as such, call them TEMPORAL PUNISHMENTS). When Christ forgives the sinful woman who weeps at His feet, He doesn’t say, “Your sins are forgiven you…BUT work off your temporal punishment”. YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN YOU, NO SUB CLAUSES OR OUTSTANDING “ACCOUNTS.

    Ofcourse if penance is PUNISHMENT that MUST be served, and not a lesson for the already forgiven, then it has to be expiated even if someone dies. This ushers in purgatory, a place or state clearly unheard of in the Bible, but argued by deduction because a place HAS TO EXIST TO WORK OFF THIS PUNISHMENT. It is the view that penance is punishment that makes PURGATORY necessary. And it is THIS NOTION OF SATISFACTION, that makes RC’s understand penance as PUNISHMENT, which is simply NOT THE CASE.

    What happens with purgatory? Well, if purgatory is a place to expiate outstanding debt, then surely friends and loved ones can help you “PAY WHAT YOU OWE”. Next logical legalistic step: MERIT. One can transfer MERITS they work of their own free will, for a loved one in purgatory. Their merit is transferred to their account. This is a teaching of the Council of Trent.

    And what’s more, is that the Roman Catholic Church does teach that many saints, the Lord Himself, had TOO MUCH MERIT, SUPERABUNDANT MERIT, apparently more than was necessary to ensure their salvation. So what happens? Regardless of the fact that the Scriptures tell us that the virtues and goods of a soul accompany one into eternity (Apocalypse 14:13) to help them, RCC says that God gives back “SPIRITUAL CHANGE” to those who were too VIRTUOUS, so that their extras could be tapped in to those lacking it, who really need the assistance. This is clearly LEGALISTIC, a balance of ledgers, this is not the otherworldliness of Christianity.

    Someone in the forum stated that RC’s don’t care if Orthodox see their theology as too reliant on logic and deduction, and philosophy, and that RC’s see Orthodox theology as TOO MYSTICAL, denying the gifts that God has given us. Well, the Fathers who defined the beliefs of the Mysteries of the Church surely DID use what God had given them, but remembered at the same time, that they were talking about a Church that was OF ITS VERY NATURE MYSTERIOUS and SACRAMENTAL. Surely, there is no such thing as TOO MYSTICAL, because we will never know FULLY how two people become ONE FLESH in matrimony, or how the Gifts become the VERY SAME LORD OF LORDS, or HOW GOD SEES THE HEART WHEN IT COMES TO SALVATION. Knowledge of God is not expiated in this life…we know what God has chosen to reveal, but much remains Mystery.

    [/quote]

    #5090
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #5111
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Sorry Vic, you’re right.

    I wasn’t meaning to be offensive or anything, just wanted to stress what i capitalized. But you’re right, [i:3vb7dc0i]should probably use italics from now on.

    [/i:3vb7dc0i]Sorry about that,
    Ted

    #5113
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    It’s ok, thanks Ted.

    Even lesser then you in Christ <img loading=” title=”Smile” />

    ~Victor

    #5114
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    That’s certainly debatable, but trust me, I got you beat there.

    #5124
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    [quote:nmzv758z]Forgive me all, but I came by this thread, and I could not help but notice that some of you fail to see why Orthodox Christianity sees Roman Catholic views on salvation as LEGALISTIC, and I thought I might just add my two cents.

    The inability of Orthodoxy to understand purgatory stems from the fact that Orthodoxy bases its teaching of salvation on THEOSIS(SANCTIFICATION), while Roman Catholicism and much of Protetantism bases salvation on SATISFACTION, but James already did a great job in illustrating this. In Orthodoxy, sin is spiritual disease, which is healed when the Incarnated Lord teaches us how to correct our marred image and move again from image to likeness. To become gods by grace, by participating in the Divine Nature, that is truly salvific (2 Peter 1:4).

    The legalisms of Roman Catholicism are clearly apparent. They look at metaphors of salvation as “debt” and “owing” (the Parable that Christ spoke, St. Matthew 18:21-35) and instead of seeing this as one of the MANY metaphors for salvation, the RCC runs with it and sees it as explanation. Christ also likened our salvation to a lost sheep or coin that the owner goes out and finds. Are we going to vainly argue that if we are lost, we wait for God to come and find us? How does this explain the role we play in our own salvation, our SYNERGY with God, where we’re told to Resist the devil, to submit to God, to choose life. These are all ACTIVE, where the metaphor is PASSIVE. Clearly these metaphors are not meant to be in and of themselves, explanations on salvation, but show us the many facets of the Mystery of Salvation.

    Orthodox say that by participating in the Divine Nature, by participating in His grace, which is not created (If I understand correctly, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but RC’s see grace as a created phenomenon.). Through struggle, walking the straight and narrow way, by denying the self, our spiritual disease begins to heal and we move from image to likeness. It’s not a fluke that St. Ignatius of Antioch called the Eucharist, “the MEDICINE OF IMMORTALITY”. It truly IS! It heals our spiritual diseases (sins). If then, the Church is the HOSPITAL of our SOULS, then what we do in the Church IS THERAPEUTIC EXERCISE. We pray, fast, give alms to restore spiritual health.

    Roman Catholic views on salvation stress SATISFACTION. God is somehow offended with us, and we must give back what we owe. But God is love, and that does not change. Yes, God loves the just and the unjust equally, and He allows the rain to fall on both. God is not a respector of persons…He loves all the same. Human actions do not cause God to change–this is absolutely unscriptural. While we were sinners, God took on flesh and INCARNATED!!!! Surely this is NOT a God Who stops loving us when we’re bad.

    But RC’s argue that Christ’s death on the Cross appeased the Father’s will for SATISFACTION, but only removed the Eternal Punishment, leaving what they call the Temporal Punishment. The “temporal punishments” still exist. What are these temporal punishments? Was Christ’s Death not enough to destroy it all? What Roman Catholics would call PUNISHMENT, I think Orthodox call SPIRITUAL MEDICINE. After confession, a spiritual father may counsel the confessed party to pray their prayer rope, or do make prostrations, to read a certain number of chapters of the Bible or some holy writings, etc. This is not A PUNISHMENT!!!! No! This is a means of educating that soul in the ways of humility, of bringing it back to the ways of humility. A penance is NOT making up for sins, or DUE PUNISHMENT, but preparing the spiritual body for receptions of medicine–the Holy Eucharist, and training it to fight off disease (sin) in the future. Surely those sins, and any residues are forgiven when they are confessed and absolved by the priest, who has the authority through Christ. Lessons that God bestows upon us afterward are not punishments, but they are blessings, to help us to understand to walk in a new way. It is good that You have humbled me, that I might learn Thy statutes, we read in the Holy Scriptures.

    God is Love (1 John 4:8). This does not change. Yes, God loves the just and the unjust equally. All are HIS! God does not get angry or offended, nor jealous. These biblical mentions indicate ANTHROPOMORPHISMS–THEY TRY AS MUCH AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE TO ILLUSTRATE GOD WITH WORDS. God is not jealous, this word was used to try to illustrate how God, who loves us so completely, wants us to exclusively love Him. It’s not jealousy the way we understand it, because jealousy is a passion of imperfect men, not of the Most High. While we were sinners, Christ DIED FOR US. This is not a god who stops loving us when we’re bad.

    In Roman Catholicism, salvation requires SATISFACTION, which is a philosophy from Roman public law, to which someone who offends must give restitution, satisfaction for an obligation not met. Tertullian was the first to use this in Christian writing, according to Pelikan’s Emergence, the Christian Tradition, pg. 147.

    According to Rome, sin has a punishment here, and a punishment in the eternal life. Godman’s death on the Cross satisfies God’s anger toward us, but temporal sin remains, even after confession and forgiveness. It is not accidentally, (keeping in line with this theme of satisfaction) that since Vatican II, Penance is now also called “Reconciliation”. The Council at Trent argues that even after FORGIVENESS, one has to work off temporal punishment, a residue of sin, through self imposed penances or the penances of a confessor. (These are not punishments, but Roman Catholics, seeing them as such, call them TEMPORAL PUNISHMENTS). When Christ forgives the sinful woman who weeps at His feet, He doesn’t say, “Your sins are forgiven you…BUT work off your temporal punishment”. YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN YOU, NO SUB CLAUSES OR OUTSTANDING “ACCOUNTS.

    Ofcourse if penance is PUNISHMENT that MUST be served, and not a lesson for the already forgiven, then it has to be expiated even if someone dies. This ushers in purgatory, a place or state clearly unheard of in the Bible, but argued by deduction because a place HAS TO EXIST TO WORK OFF THIS PUNISHMENT. It is the view that penance is punishment that makes PURGATORY necessary. And it is THIS NOTION OF SATISFACTION, that makes RC’s understand penance as PUNISHMENT, which is simply NOT THE CASE.

    What happens with purgatory? Well, if purgatory is a place to expiate outstanding debt, then surely friends and loved ones can help you “PAY WHAT YOU OWE”. Next logical legalistic step: MERIT. One can transfer MERITS they work of their own free will, for a loved one in purgatory. Their merit is transferred to their account. This is a teaching of the Council of Trent.

    And what’s more, is that the Roman Catholic Church does teach that many saints, the Lord Himself, had TOO MUCH MERIT, SUPERABUNDANT MERIT, apparently more than was necessary to ensure their salvation. So what happens? Regardless of the fact that the Scriptures tell us that the virtues and goods of a soul accompany one into eternity (Apocalypse 14:13) to help them, RCC says that God gives back “SPIRITUAL CHANGE” to those who were too VIRTUOUS, so that their extras could be tapped in to those lacking it, who really need the assistance. This is clearly LEGALISTIC, a balance of ledgers, this is not the otherworldliness of Christianity.

    Someone in the forum stated that RC’s don’t care if Orthodox see their theology as too reliant on logic and deduction, and philosophy, and that RC’s see Orthodox theology as TOO MYSTICAL, denying the gifts that God has given us. Well, the Fathers who defined the beliefs of the Mysteries of the Church surely DID use what God had given them, but remembered at the same time, that they were talking about a Church that was OF ITS VERY NATURE MYSTERIOUS and SACRAMENTAL. Surely, there is no such thing as TOO MYSTICAL, because we will never know FULLY how two people become ONE FLESH in matrimony, or how the Gifts become the VERY SAME LORD OF LORDS, or HOW GOD SEES THE HEART WHEN IT COMES TO SALVATION. Knowledge of God is not expiated in this life…we know what God has chosen to reveal, but much remains Mystery.

    [/quote:nmzv758z][/quote]

    [b:nmzv758z]That was a good exlaination. I’m starting to understand the Orthodox belief better now. One question though. I understand the idea that any consequense of our sin which causes a result that we would consider a punishment or pennance is meant to aid in our Theosis but if that process is not completed at the time of our death is it then completed after death before the Beatific vision? Is that why Orthodox pray for the faithfully departed?[/b:nmzv758z]

    #5131
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    To discuss the issue of “suffering after death” is difficult, because there is much more involved to this particular issue than meets the eye (as discussion in this thread has thus far indicated.)

    Fundamentally, Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism have two different soteriologies (doctrine of salvation) which need to be understood before one could even begin to talk about “purgatory” as such.

    The “western” position as it now exists (which is common to both Catholicism and Protestantism in it’s different varieties) is summarized in the view articulated by [i:te1az19d]Anselm of Canterbury[/i:te1az19d] – an understanding which basically understands sin as an offence against “God’s honour.” His honour being offended, God demands satisfaction. “Salvation” then, in this view, is being saved [i:te1az19d]from[/i:te1az19d] God.

    This view in some form is so deeply ingrained in the western religious psyche now, that they (and this includes me – to this day I still find myself unlearning this way of thinking) have a difficult time [i:te1az19d]not[/i:te1az19d] reading it into the Holy Scriptures. Thus, when they read of “justification” or “atonement” or “ransom” or “dying for sins”, etc. etc. this all is read through a sort of “Anselmian filter” and is given a meaning which the texts themselves [b:te1az19d]do not require.[/b:te1az19d]

    The deep truth which you’ll find all of the Fathers were keenly aware of, is that God is [i:te1az19d]essentially[/i:te1az19d] unknowable. That means, we cannot know or examine His [i:te1az19d]essence[/i:te1az19d] – He is in this respect unfathomable, beyond our comprehension. What we [i:te1az19d]can[/i:te1az19d] know of Him, is revealed in His activities – the most important of which obviously, is His act of self-expression (revelation) to us. However, even this involves a lot of condescension on His part, employing verbal languages (which always have their limitations, no matter how carefully used), etc. It’s also important to note, that when we speak about God’s revelation, we’re also in the same breath speaking of our own experience of it. So in those respects then, one can say many things which [i:te1az19d]seem[/i:te1az19d] to be on the surface, contradictory, but yet are all 100% true.

    For example, you will read many passages in the Holy Scriptures about God’s “wrath.” We cannot white wash – that is what they say. And this wrath is visited upon sin.

    Yet, more deeply (and this in large part has to do with the superiority of the New Testament – not that the Old is not true, but rather that it is not the deepest of truths, and certainly not in such clarity as came with the revelation of the Son of God), [b:te1az19d]God is love[/b:te1az19d]. This is the profound thing the Lord Jesus Christ was conveying when He spoke as follows…

    [i:te1az19d]That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.[/i:te1az19d] (St.Matthew 5:45)

    What this all means then, is that God’s “wrath” is how those [b:te1az19d]in sin[/b:te1az19d] (whether decidedly, or who still have darkness in parts of them…which is true of most of us here) experience this manifold grace of a fundamentally [b:te1az19d]loving[/b:te1az19d] God. “Gehenna” will be the experience of God of those who have no heart for Him – it is the highest form of salvation that such evil souls are capable of.

    God corrects, He chastises – but it has nothing to do with “offended honour” as the medieval westerners were starting to understand it. Nor does it have to do with God being under some kind of “compulsion” – that He needs to be satisfied with someone’s misery, or that He needs something to forgive.

    Christ’s ransom was Himself, paid to the grave. That’s what a ransom is – the giving over of something to gain captives. Speaking of His “Precious Blood” is a reference to the shedding of His Blood, His Death; again, that ransom. What He offered to His Father, was humanity as it ought to be – perfect obedience, in grace and perfect freedom. This is why, while Orthodoxy does believe the Holy Eucharist is an Oblation, it understands this in an entirely different way than the medieval Latin Church came to.

    Also, while specific sins matter, this is ultimatly tied to the condition of the one committing them. God forgives – boy does He forgive. If someone [i:te1az19d]can[/i:te1az19d] detach themselves from sin (which we believe is the gift of grace – for without Christ we would remain prisoners, dead in sin and the tyranny of satan), and falls before Him, He will not fail to forgive their sins. He knows mens hearts. That is the tyranny of sin though – the place it has in our hearts as an idol. It’s “another master”, and it competes with [i:te1az19d]The[/i:te1az19d] Master. Choosing the right Master, in the depths of our being…that’s the work of a lifetime for most of us.

    The word sin itself is [i:te1az19d]amartia[/i:te1az19d] the Biblical Greek – meaning “missing the mark.” This puts sin in it’s context, as something wanting in us and our loyalties and ability to love God and His creatures properly – and not as something which can wound or do harm to God.

    Besides this, we believe that God would not ask us to practice virtues He Himself does not. According to the Gospels, our Lord taught that we must forgive, continuously. That we must “turn the other cheek” when offended. Aside from the sad truth that few of us can really do this well, or consistantly, is the truth that our Lord would not ask this of us, if He Himself did not do it too. This truth of revelation, is incongruent with the “offended God” motif.

    So in that sense then, we cannot accept the doctrine of Purgatory. Not because we don’t believe people can suffer after death, but because of the judicial paradigm which underlies it. This in turn, begets a false understanding of the value of praying on behalf of the dead.

    Another aspect of this, is also the reality that a specific place/state called “purgatory” that is definately differen than Hades (the Grave) or the Paradise of the Saints, is not to be found in the Divine Revelation. Whatever one might think about such a notion “making sense”, for us, you cannot just “invent” places, however logical they may seem, however neatly they may tie everything together.

    #5143
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I’ve been doing some reading on this site:

    [url:113vdr5g]http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/death/stmark_purg.aspx[/url:113vdr5g]

    I’m failing to see how we exactly disagree. It seems like you guys just don’t like words like [i:113vdr5g]fire[/i:113vdr5g] as being involved in the cleansing from sins after death. As far as I know, no Catholic doctrine requires believing that the term “fire” is a physical fire as opposed to an allegorical description to refer to a spiritual matter. If that is the case, is there really a difference between the teachings of the Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church?

    This part really helped:

    [quote:113vdr5g]When giving in this answer (June 14th), Bessarion explained the difference of the Greek and Latin doctrine on this subject. The Latins, he said, allow that now, and until the day of the last judgment, departed souls are purified by fire, and are thus liberated from their sins; so that, he who has sinned the most will be a longer time undergoing purification, whereas he whose sins are less will be absolved the sooner, with the aid of the Church; but in the future life they allow the eternal, and not the purgatorial fire. Thus the Latins receive both the temporal and the eternal fire, and call the first the purgatorial fire. On the other hand, the Greeks teach of one eternal fire alone, understanding that the temporal punishment of sinful souls consists in that they for a time depart into a place of darkness and sorrow, are punished by being deprived of the Divine light, and are purified that is, liberated from this place of darkness and woe by means of prayers, the Holy Eucharist, and deeds of charity, and not by fire. The Greeks also believe, that until the union of the souls to the bodies, as the souls of sinners do not suffer full punishment, so also those of the saints do not enjoy entire bliss. But the Latins, agreeing with the Greeks in the first point, do not allow the last one, affirming that the souls of saints have already received their full heavenly reward.[/quote:113vdr5g]

    Let me know your thoughts.

    ~Victor

    #5217
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Uncertaindrummer,

    [quote:2lkt37ak]If one dies with a venial sin on their soul, how does one get into Heaven?[/quote:2lkt37ak]

    Simple, he’s sorry for it (since it’s a given that the Almighty will forgive him.)

    We take very seriously the teaching that in prinicple, God has forgiven everyone – or to put it in medieval-western-Christian-speak, “potentially God has forgiven all.”

    There are many metaphors (sometimes ostensibly contradictory – burning on one hand, lonely and in the dark on the other – and being eaten by a worm in another, etc. etc. all being used to describe the fate of those lost to sin), but all of them relate [i:2lkt37ak]ultimatly[/i:2lkt37ak] to the condition of the individual they are applied to.

    People go to hell, precisely because that is all they are capable of, that’s all they’ve assimilated. Stripped of the various temporary protections from reality that this life can afford (various distractions, natural goods, etc.) and left only with themselves as they actually are and God as He really [i:2lkt37ak]is[/i:2lkt37ak], they’re miserable.

    OTOH, there are also those who in varying degrees, really did make a divorce in their hearts from sin through repentence; sufficient that they really do love God, they really do want Him, and that they can be consoled of all of the miseries they had withstood in this life (even those they caused for themselves.)

    What’s particularly interesting, is that none of this has a thing to do with God’s “inability” to love. Even the Divine wrath is the love of God for the soul as He made it, and His love of truth and justice as experienced by those attached to sins. Even the sense in which the Cross served as a source of justification, and justification itself, are understood differently in this light – the feat of salvation is a gift of God to the world, and is the expression of His will to forgive, and to restore creation to it’s original justice/integrity, not the means of making God love us to begin with. Indeed, such an understanding creates all sorts of problems, and even has a certain quasi-Arian import to it (as it implies that the Son and the Father have different wills, which is an Arian thesis.)

    In short, for Orthodox, the Cross is like a sword wielded by God against the devil and all manner of darkness, or a tool for rebuilding and restoring; in the west (most particularly in popular piety) it has become something of a bribe to get God to like us (thus, a weapon against God in a manner of speaking.) This latter understanding, or shades of it, are not only entirely wrong, but blasphemous.

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