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Apokatastasis: heresy or no?

idontlikenames

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Okay....I want the pro's and con's here: is Apokatastasis really incompatible with the Church's teaching?  Does the Ecumenical Patriarch really subscribe to this doctrine?  Are the anathema's of Emperor Justinian against Origen's universalist teachings really part of Constantinople 553....or are they added from the Home Synod of Constantinople 543?.......

discuss....
 

idontlikenames

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....sorry, just thought I'd like to enlarge my list of potential repliers to this thread by explaining what I am talking about....

"Apokatastasis" is the belief in the universal restoration of all beings...i.e. all sinners and demons  >:D(including Satan :flame:) suffering the torments of fire will be released after an indefinite amount of time to be let into God's glorious Presence O0.  Origen, St. Clement of Alexandria, and St. Gregory of Nyssa, apparently, all held to this doctrine.  The catch scriptural slogan is "God will be all in all".

It seems that this doctrine was explicitly condemned by Emperor Justinian in his 9th Anathema against Origen at the Fifth Ecumenical Council in 553....but there is some controversy surrounding this.  Some scholars say that this entire section of the Acts of Constantinople II was added on to this council from a previous local synod of Constantinople in 543.  Other scholars vehemently deny this.  Both sides, apparently, have good arguments. 

"greekischristian"...your input would be greatly appreciated.
 

Sabbas

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Apokatasis goes against Scripture. It is as simple as that. Yes people like to speculate about eternity but I am not God and people have Free Will. If God can somehow force everyone to accept Him what is the point of free will?
 

BrotherAidan

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Universalism has always been a part of the "minority report" in Church history and has been esposed by some pretty heavy hitters! Three pretty good "cleanup" hitters having been mentioned above.

There is some scriptural basis for it. It requires some "reaching" at points.

Perhaps, if true, it doesn't violate free will. I was once a Calvinist and saw gallons of ink were poured to try to explain an unexplainable mystery. What I love about Orthodoxy is that it doesn't spill alot of ink trying to define precisely what free will is and how it interfaces with divine sovereignty. It simply recognizes both phenomena as scriptural and part of our experience and embraces both. Perhaps eons of suffering is intrinsically reformatory.

The other thing I like about Orthodoxy is that we are all modified or conditional universalists. We would all say that it is not for us to judge the heterodox and that God will deal justly and mercifully with them, just as he will with a group of pagans in some remote place not yet exposed to the Chrisitan faith.
 

Sabbas

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How is Origen a cleanup hitter? He was an undoubtedly great writer and did write much that is still useful and was highly regarded by the Fathers. The first Philokalia was a compilation of his writings drawn up by the Cappadocian Fathers. But still he taught some very unChristian beliefs and cannot be said to represent Church in the area of the Final Judgment.
St.Matthew 25:46 says it all. Some will go into eternal punishment. As I said before God can do whatever He wants but He has given us free will and how can we say that definitely everyone will Him?
 

BrotherAidan

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He is one of the great seminal thinkers of the Church. Almost no discussion of Christian thought in that era can take place without a reference to him one way or another.

I don't agree with alot of Augustine either, but he too is a heavy hitter. Augustine is a saint of both East and West, yet there might be more in Origen that we would agree with than in Augustine.

But there are passages such as "God is not willing that any should perish"; Christ being "all and in al"l; "every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Christ is Lord" -etc.

I'm not saying I agree, just that it is not completely outside the bounds of biblical interpretation or completely outside the bounds of the Church (Clement and Gregory).

 

Sabbas

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BrotherAidan said:
He is one of the great seminal thinkers of the Church. Almost no discussion of Christian thought in that era can take place without a reference to him one way or another.

I don't agree with alot of Augustine either, but he too is a heavy hitter. Augustine is a saint of both East and West, yet there might be more in Origen that we would agree with than in Augustine.

But there are passages such as "God is not willing that any should perish"; Christ being "all and in al"l; "every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Christ is Lord" -etc.

I'm not saying I agree, just that it is not completely outside the bounds of biblical interpretation or completely outside the bounds of the Church (Clement and Gregory).
I agree with everything you just said but my argument mainly stems from the fact that Origen was subject to very specific anatemas at the Fifth Ecumenical Council. Though we can ague that some were false attributions and that Emperor Justinian's Anathemas may not have originally been part of the Council it is true that Fathers and recent Elder's, such as Cleopa of Sihastria, considered all these Anathemas as genuine.
With Origen we have teachings that are just so far out on some areas of doctrine that it is important to be extra careful when quoting him as an authority particularly in the area of the Final Judgment.

As for St.Augustine I would say that he definitely overstepped the bounds of the Church by teaching irresistible Grace but that is perhaps as far as he ever went. But ultimately St.Augustine never asserted such ideas as reincarnation and that we will be ultimately be made fully one with God in a way that negates personality. Also teaching that Christ is somehow less than God really makes his teachings rather shaky and his title as a Christian shaky as well. We face the same problem with Tertullian as well. All I am saying is that these men were great writers but not Saints and there is good reason to be careful in quoting them in areas in which they are at loggerheads with many in the Church.
 

idontlikenames

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I have heard that the Ecumenical Patriarch holds to Apokatastasis as a personal, non-dogmatic opinion....can anyone verify whether or not this is true?
 

nstanosheck

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idontlikenames said:
Okay....I want the pro's and con's here: is Apokatastasis really incompatible with the Church's teaching? Does the Ecumenical Patriarch really subscribe to this doctrine? Are the anathema's of Emperor Justinian against Origen's universalist teachings really part of Constantinople 553....or are they added from the Home Synod of Constantinople 543?.......

discuss....
Many OEcumenical Councils ratified (whole or partial) canons and anathemas from previous local councils and making them their own does not make them any less valid canons or anathemas. Hence, while one can privately pray and hope that all would be saved, to teach it would be considered heretical.
 
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