Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...

Demetrios G.

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This is the way I view it. The ransom (Christ)is the bait. When Christ offers himself sinless to the devil, the devil didn't know he had a sinless example of a human. the devil took the bait and was bound by doing it. Death was overcome by a sinless example. This is clearly seen when one sees that death is the consequence for sin.
 

ozgeorge

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Demetrios G. said:
This is the way I view it. The ransom (Christ)is the bait. When Christ offers himself sinless to the devil, the devil didn't know he had a sinless example of a human. the devil took the bait and was bound by doing it. Death was overcome by a sinless example. This is clearly seen when one sees that death is the consequence for sin.
I agree. It was a case of deceiving the deceiver. And in the Orthodox Church, we commemorate this on Holy Saturday:

"Today Hades cries out groaning:
I should not have accepted the Man born of Mary.
He came and destroyed my power.
He shattered the gates of brass.
As God. He raised the souls I had held captive.

"Today Hades cries out groaning:
my power has been abolished;
I have received a mortal, as one of the mortals;
but this One, I am completely powerless to contain;
with Him, I have lost all those over which I have ruled. 
For ages I had held them dead;
but behold, He raises them up all.'"
 

lubeltri

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ozgeorge said:
So, again, I ask, to whom was the ransom paid if it is a literal ransom? As St. Gregory says, the one who held us in bondage is the evil one, so did he receive the ransom?
The problem with viewing terms like "ransom" and "atonement" too literally is that doing so imprisons God. Basically, it means God cannot forgive sin unless an atonement is made or a ransom paid.
At least in the usual Catholic understanding, God can do what he wants. He could have remitted all sin freely, but he chose Christ's sacrificial atonement as the way to accomplish it. Anselm thought it was necessary to fulfill the demands of true divine justice, but Abelard and Aquinas and most other Catholic theologians denied it was absolutely necessary.

As for the ransom theory, I thought the Catholic Encyclopedia article had an excellent discussion of it:

The restoration of fallen man was the work of the Incarnate Word. "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself" (2 Corinthians 5:19). But the peace of that reconciliation was accomplished by the death of the Divine Redeemer, "making peace through the blood of His cross" (Colossians 1:20). This redemption by death is another mystery, and some of the Fathers in the first ages are led to speculate on its meaning, and to construct a theory in explanation. Here the words and figures used in Holy Scripture help to guide the current of theological thought. Sin is represented as a state of bondage or servitude, and fallen man is delivered by being redeemed, or bought with a price. "For you are bought with a great price" (1 Corinthians 6:20). "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; because thou wast slain, and hast redeemed to God, in thy blood" (Revelation 5:9). Looked at in this light, the Atonement appears as the deliverance from captivity by the payment of a ransom. This view is already developed in the second century. "The mighty Word and true Man reasonably redeeming us by His blood, gave Himself a ransom for those who had been brought into bondage. And since the Apostasy unjustly ruled over us, and, whereas we belonged by nature to God Almighty, alienated us against nature and made us his own disciples, the Word of God, being mighty in all things, and failing not in His justice, dealt justly even with the Apostasy itself, buying back from it the things which were His own" (Irenaeus Aversus Haereses V, i). And St. Augustine says in well-known words: "Men were held captive under the devil and served the demons, but they were redeemed from captivity. For they could sell themselves. The Redeemer came, and gave the price; He poured forth his blood and bought the whole world. Do you ask what He bought? See what He gave, and find what He bought. The blood of Christ is the price. How much is it worth? What but the whole world? What but all nations?" (Enarratio in Psalm xcv, n. 5).

It cannot be questioned that this theory also contains a true principle. For it is founded on the express words of Scripture, and is supported by many of the greatest of the early Fathers and later theologians. But unfortunately, at first, and for a long period of theological history, this truth was somewhat obscured by a strange confusion, which would seem to have arisen from the natural tendency to take a figure too literally, and to apply it in details which were not contemplated by those who first made use of it. It must not be forgotten that the account of our deliverance from sin is set forth in figures. Conquest, captivity, and ransom are familiar facts of human history. Man, having yielded to the temptations of Satan, was like to one overcome in battle. Sin, again, is fitly likened to a state of slavery. And when man was set free by the shedding of Christ's precious Blood, this deliverance would naturally recall (even if it had not been so described in Scripture) the redemption of a captive by the payment of a ransom.

But however useful and illuminating in their proper place, figures of this kind are perilous in the hands of those who press them too far, and forget that they are figures. This is what happened here. When a captive is ransomed the price is naturally paid to the conqueror by whom he is held in bondage. Hence, if this figure were taken and interpreted literally in all its details, it would seem that the price of man's ransom must be paid to Satan. The notion is certainly startling, if not revolting. Even if brave reasons pointed in this direction, we might well shrink from drawing the concluslon. And this is in fact so far from being the case that it seems hard to find any rational explanation of such a payment, or any right on which it could be founded. Yet, strange to say, the bold flight of theological speculation was not checked by these misgivings. In the above-cited passage of St. Irenaeus, we read that the Word of God "dealt justly even with the Apostasy itself [i.e. Satan], buying back from it the things which were His own." This curious notion, apparently first mooted by St. Irenaeus, was taken up by Origen in the next century, and for about a thousand years it played a conspicuous part in the history of theology. In the hands of some of the later Fathers and medieval writers, it takes various forms, and some of its more repulsive features are softened or modified. But the strange notion of some right, or claim, on the part of Satan is still present. A protest was raised by St. Gregory of Nazianzus in the fourth century, as might be expected from that most accurate of the patristic theologians. But it was not till St. Anselm and Abelard had met it with unanswerable arguments that its power was finally broken.
 

lubeltri

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Demetrios G. said:
This is the way I view it. The ransom (Christ)is the bait. When Christ offers himself sinless to the devil, the devil didn't know he had a sinless example of a human. the devil took the bait and was bound by doing it. Death was overcome by a sinless example. This is clearly seen when one sees that death is the consequence for sin.
That's the "mousetrap" theory of Augustine. Again, the endlessly useful Catholic Encyclopedia:

But it is not only in connection with the theory of ransom that we meet with this notion of "rights" on the part of Satan. Some of the Fathers set the matter in a different aspect. Fallen man, it was said, was justly under the dominion of the devil, in punishment for sin. But when Satan brought suffering and death on the sinless Saviour, he abused his power and exceeded his right, so that he was now justly deprived of his dominion over the captives. This explanation is found especially in the sermons of St. Leo and the "Morals" of St. Gregory the Great. Closely allied to this explanation is the singular "mouse-trap" metaphor of St. Augustine. In this daring figure of speech, the Cross is regarded as the trap in which the bait is set and the enemy is caught. "The Redeemer came and the deceiver was overcome. What did our Redeemer do to our Captor? In payment for us He set the trap, His Cross, with His blood for bait. He [Satan] could indeed shed that blood; but he deserved not to drink it. By shedding the blood of One who was not his debtor, he was forced to release his debtors" (Serm. cxxx, part 2).

---

I think this is also very valid as an approach.
 

Demetrios G.

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There are two aspects when determining how the Orthodox view the matter. As St. Gregory stated. There was a ransom and reconciliation. The ransom was to the devil as stated above. The reconciliation was to the father. One must understand that the word reconciliation doesn't imply that it was a forced union as the west sees it. It means a putting together or reuniting.
  To unite the created with the uncreated a sinless example of a human was needed. To see this more clearly we can go back to the Jewish tradition. What exactly were they trying to accomplish with there offering of a blameless lamb. Since there was no sinless human to offer to god they use to deliver up sinless animals in there place. But the animals are not the temple of the holy spirit.  The union of the uncreated and created can only be accomplished with a vessel of the holy spirit. Only through a man can it be accomplished. When the world sent Christ to the cross. They united human nature with the uncreated. It's wasn't to satisfy an angry God.
 

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So, again, I ask, to whom was the ransom paid if it is a literal ransom? As St. Gregory says, the one who held us in bondage is the evil one, so did he receive the ransom?
I think what St. Gregory the Theologian is saying is the nature of the payment is different.  Unlike the story of Abraham and Isaac, it is not God demanding payment.  In other words this is principally an act of self sacrifice (on the part of Christ) to pay the debt of sin brought about by man's initial transgression of his divine justice.  The sacrifice of the son is directed to the father and through this pays the ransom that we ourselves could not fulfill.  To quote the Catechism of St. Philaret again

His voluntary suffering and death on the cross for us, being of infinite value and merit, as the death of one sinless, God and man in one person, is both a perfect satisfaction to the justice of God, which had condemned us for sin to death, and a fund of infinite merit, which has obtained him the right, without prejudice to justice, to give us sinners pardon of our sins, and grace to have victory over sin and death.

Also, notice in one of the previous posts it is being said again that

The ransom was to the devil as stated above.
.

Something we know can't be the case.

The problem with viewing terms like "ransom" and "atonement" too literally is that doing so imprisons God. Basically, it means God cannot forgive sin unless an atonement is made or a ransom paid.
I think if you look at them simply as metaphors, then you are immediately led to question the necessity of the crucifixion and resurrection itself.  Why was that necessary?  Couldn't God have forgiven us and abolished death without them?  Theoretically he could have I suppose, but it seems to me that if we stick to what has been shown to us in direct revelation; we see the themes of propitiation, satisfaction and sacrifice are consistent with what we know about God and are amply present in the Bible, the Church Fathers and our cathetical materials.

It seems to me again there is a shift away from what the church has historically said about the Atonement.  I think there are multiple reasons why this is so, and none of them are good.
 

Demetrios G.

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:eek:  OK lubeltri. Lets reduce our salvation to an African tribal cult that sacrifices people to an angry god so the volcano doesn't erupt. :D
 

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Furthermore, the whole sacrificial system of the Old Testament points to the eventual coming of the one perfect sacrifice to pay for sins. For it to be argued that Christ's death was in no sense connected to the legal theory of the law and its transgression and the payment for sin in ancient Judaism, runs agains the entire grain of the New Testament, where Christ is the lamb that is slain. He is Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
The problem with that reasoning is that NOT one lamb sacrificed in the Old Testament broke the gates of Hades. If there was no resurrection, Jesus' death on the cross would be no different than the OT passover.  Our NT Pascha is not the OT Pascha--not by a long shot!

Also, Anselm is wrong because he thinks that Christ's death on the cross ALONE saved us all from God's wrath.  That's impossible because any loving father who finds his son ridiculed and murdered would only enrage him--and indeed, The Father was unhappy when Christ died (Luke 22:44).  Moreover, if God was truly "satisfied", why would it be necessary to punish the Jews in 70 AD? 

But of course, we all know that Christ is risen.  Our Lord Jesus Christ went to Hades--the "Ransom" act--and opened its gates AFTER he died on the cross.  And for this reason, the Father is satisfied.

 

ozgeorge

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welkodox said:
I think if you look at them simply as metaphors, then you are immediately led to question the necessity of the crucifixion and resurrection itself.
I'm not sure we have any choice but to view the word "ransom" as a metaphor. If we don't view it as a metaphor- then the ransom must be paid to the one who holds in bondage, i.e., the one who holds to ransom, or the one who has enslaved.
Why can't you just accept this instead of making some song and dance about how it is "not a metaphor"? Why is it so important to you that it is not a metaphor?
 

welkodox

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ozgeorge said:
I'm not sure we have any choice but to view the word "ransom" as a metaphor. If we don't view it as a metaphor- then the ransom must be paid to the one who holds in bondage, i.e., the one who holds to ransom, or the one who has enslaved.
I don't see it either way, A. simply as a metaphor or B. as payment to someone holding us captive.  I see the ransom as an offering, or propitiation, made on our behalf to God the Father by Christ the Son as a voluntary act to release us from the power of death.  I don't believe it was a ransom paid to the devil or bait put forth to ensnare him.

Why can't you just accept this instead of making some song and dance about how it is "not a metaphor"? Why is it so important to you that it is not a metaphor?
What's important to understand to me is why it appears that much of what is being purported as the "Orthodox view" seems radically inconsistent with what the church has taught in the past.  It's also important to me to understand why there is a continual need felt by many Orthodox people to continually construct caricatures of the "western view" or to define what they believe in terms of what they oppose in western theology.  All of the above being interrelated I'm sure.

I also was not aware that I am putting forth a "song and dance" here, so much as actually posting writings that are directly related to the topic at hand.
 

Demetrios G.

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What's important to understand to me is why it appears that much of what is being purported as the "Orthodox view" seems radically inconsistent with what the church has taught in the past.
Your right. The church of the past has always taught us that life eternal is based on communion with Christ. But the Church according to OC net. is teaching us that eternal life belongs to all. ???
The problem is they can't seem to back it up.
 

chris

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Demetrios G. said:
But the Church according to OC net. is teaching us that eternal life belongs to all. ???
Are you going on again regarding the Church teaching that:

1. All will be resurrected; but
2. Some to eternal life, and some to eternal death?

John 5:28-29 (an extract from the Funeral Gospel):
Do not be surprised at this, for the hour is coming when the dead will leave their graves at the sound of his voice: those who did good will come forth to life; and those who did evil will come forth to judgement.
If you're still misunderstanding the Church's teaching, please resurrect the threads dealing with this topic.

Otherwise, please explain clearly what you meant by your last post---I am uncertain of your intent and/or meaning.
 

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I'm going to make what I hope are my last contributions to this thread.  It seems to me that:

The priest who was quoted as saying in effect "there is no dogma" surrounding the Atonement was correct.  There seem to be various theories that may or may not be in harmony with each other, and that may or may not have some possibly contradictory themes or propositions.  One quote may seem to openly discount the Atonement as ransom to the Devil, yet others in fact seem to support that it was a ransom to the Devil.  I believe when C.S. Lewis said "Christ's death redeemed man from sin, but I can make nothing of the theories as to how!" regarding the Atonement he made a statement I very much agree with (along with my appreciation and agreement with many things he said).

This seeming lack of dogma does not seem to stop Orthodox apologists from attacking western theology and creating caricatures of what western theology says about the Atonement (even when you can rather easily show them the things they accuse the west of can readily be found in the words of the church fathers or Orthodox catechisms).  In fact many people it seems cannot help themselves in this regard, and I am coming more and more to realize this myopic view may in fact actually represent something that is alive and well in mainstream Orthodoxy.  In other words this base anti-westernism and narrow view of the faith may not be something limited to the margins of the church.  I must admit this realization is rather unsettling.
 

Demetrios G.

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FrChris said:
Are you going on again regarding the Church teaching that:

1. All will be resurrected; but
2. Some to eternal life, and some to eternal death?

John 5:28-29 (an extract from the Funeral Gospel):
If you're still misunderstanding the Church's teaching, please resurrect the threads dealing with this topic.

Otherwise, please explain clearly what you meant by your last post---I am uncertain of your intent and/or meaning.
I would like to repeat the thoughts of Metropolitan John Zizioulas again concerning this matter.


The only one that is uncreated and has no beginning is God, The Holy Trinity. Everything else that has its beginning in time is created. Uncreated has it's ontological foundation in being, meaning He is Life, and the only Giver of Life. Everything else that is created has no ontological foundation in itself. But because everything was created out of unbeing (ex nihilo). Unbeing is always present in created as a threat. So everything that has its beginning might have an end, meaning it is finite (limited). Because all that is created, has no ontological foundation in being it must be in communion with someone who has/is, that is only God. With free will we can decide to be or not to be in communion with the uncreated. But death, or end, is something that goes together with creation ex nihilo.
 

minasoliman

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A lot of people are making good points here.  Allow me my own personal views.

The definition of Original Sin to me is a curse, a curse caused by Adam's sin falling on all of us, his descendants to have a nature inclined to sin.  When others describe "Original guilt," I've seen the word "guilt" is not taken literally as a result of sin, but as a condition of man's "separateness" from God, a result of the curse, and if that is how it is defined, I see nothing wrong with that.

Well, Christ did get rid of the curse.  I do indeed see Him as a ransom.  But to who or what?

Satan?

To pay something to Satan sounds horrible, but perhaps payment made to Satan can be indeed a "mousetrap," and it's something that I don't object to.  To pay something to Satan is one thing (what St. Gregory objected to), but to pay him while fooling him to his own demise is another.

God?

God is not in need of anything in this at all.  If there's anything God desires, it is something He desires for our own good, not for His.  The language in the OT however makes it interesting.  Incense burning as a sweet-smelling sacrifice to God, sacrifices of animals to God, etc.  It is almost as if God is in need of them.  But this should not, nor should it ever be the case.  That is why I reject any language that has anything to do with "robbing His honor and glory," "necessary" salvation for God, or "Infinite Sin."  If sin was so evil to God, man would have become easily vanished to non-existence, and we would have Sin being an equal and second God, a gnostic dualism.  At the same time, the "wrath of God" should not be taken literally either, as if God is swayed in anthropological emotions.  In fact, I pretty much hold to the idea that "love" and "wrath" are pretty much the same thing in God, in terms of how we react.  I like the analogy of the hell/heaven distinction that some fathers give, that both are filled with Divine Fire, where the saints in heaven are like metal, glowing and reflecting the Divine Light and Heat, whereas the condemned in Hell are like wood and impurities, burning and being destroyed to ashes when exposed to the same Divine Power.

This is not to say God is impersonal, but that His tripersonal nature, along with the incarnation of the Second Person, makes God more than just a "force," but Personal in the truest sense, with a person being sacrificial in the greatest manner.  Christ portrays the Father's wrath is much imagery, you can't help but allow the continuation of describing God in anthropological terms.  And at the same time, He portrays the Trinity's sacrificial nature.  The Father loving the world sacrificing His Only Son, the Son sacrificing Himself for us and in obedience to the Father, and the Holy Spirit, sacrificially allowing Himself to be least mentioned and even prayed to, and in unity with us, prays with us, even though we should pray to Him, in order for us to be in communion with the Trinity.

Therefore, one cannot help but notice that Christ indeed paid something to God, to His obedience, to lift His wrath and magnify His mercy towards us, understood in a manner not like man, but a manner in which the curse is lifted, and in the sacrificial Love Christ has to the Father, as the Father has to God.  He truly paid the price of God's wrath, by destroying sin, so that we don't have to feel that "Loving Wrath."  Christ paid God's Love.

Man?

A price was given to man too, and we continually use this price in the Eucharist, for the sake of being in continual unity with God.  And yet this price is too expensive for something cheap.  For our mere sins that doesn't do anything to God or require necessity with God, God freely pays an Infinite Sacrifice.  It's like paying all you've got for an eraser to erase all the filth on a piece of paper.  Oh the Love of God!

And since we are persons, we too pay back with sacrificial self-renunciation to God, even though God is in no need of anything.  God paid to us Love, and we pay back with more Love.  He gave us talents, and we increase them.

The Law?

Here's something you don't hear everyday.  The fulfillment of the Law.  As the Law requires, it probably prophetically proclaims, and thus, Christ came fulfilling that Law.  The Law was also a curse, as it was abused by the Devil.  Thus, really, if ransom really was truly paid, it was paid to consistently fulfill what the Law required, so that we may not be in need of the Law.  For God made the Law for man, and not for Himself so that man may achieve righteousness in God's eyes, and Satan used the Law to fulfill his own desires to destroy man.  Therefore, really, the Law provided a divine discipline, but also a curse.

I think also this undermines the most important part which Theognosis tries to make.  The ultimate reality behind all of this is that the power of death is destroyed.  None of the OT lambs rose from the dead as did Christ.  However, I like to stress that the OT lambs did take away the sins of whoever sacrificed or presented it.  In the case of Christ, all of the world's mankind have done both present and sacrificed God, represented on both sides, Jews and Gentiles, male and female, slave and free.  Therefore almost in a stepwise fashion, sins taken away, then reconciliation, then unity, then partaking of divine nature, which ultimately is what was the goal, kinda like what St. Isaac the Syrian once said, that the Incarnation of Christ was going happen regardless or not of Adam's sin.  It is this added aspect of ransom that God saw it necessary for man if man is to indeed partake of His nature.

God bless.

PS  The Resurrection of all is a central dogma in any church, even the OO's.  I cannot see how anyone can say that only the righteous will rise from the dead on the Day of Judgment.
 

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What an insane thread. Not only for all the convert bashing but also for the anti-Westernism. Anselm isn't the West - he represents a certain school of thought within 11th c. French speaking Latin literate Norman England. He isn't representative of Humanity, Christianity, the West, England, Western Rite, people from Canterbury, or humans alive in the 11th c. His theology is not (and never has been) universally accepted in 'the West' as the norm. Sure - some may say so, but only to serve their purposes (ie, to say all Westerners should belong to their sect, or to place suspicion upon all Westerners.) So how long must we tolerate such evil words about Orthodox Christians (converts all, and many Westerners)?
 

ozgeorge

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Aristibule said:
What an insane thread. Not only for all the convert bashing but also for the anti-Westernism. Anselm isn't the West - he represents a certain school of thought within 11th c. French speaking Latin literate Norman England. He isn't representative of Humanity, Christianity, the West, England, Western Rite, people from Canterbury, or humans alive in the 11th c. His theology is not (and never has been) universally accepted in 'the West' as the norm. Sure - some may say so, but only to serve their purposes (ie, to say all Westerners should belong to their sect, or to place suspicion upon all Westerners.) So how long must we tolerate such evil words about Orthodox Christians (converts all, and many Westerners)?
This is what I don't get.
Any time anyone questions a particular view of soteriology, such as the literal interpretation of Christ as "ransom", they are "convert bashing" or "anti-Western"....Why? 
If a particular doctrinal interpretation has holes in it, it has holes in it if it is "Western", "Eastern", "Northern" or "Southern".
And if it is not the "universally accepted" Western view, then why should someone who is merely questioning it's correctness be accused of being "anti-Western" or "convert bashing"? Do only Western coverts hold these views?
 

minasoliman

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ozgeorge said:
This is what I don't get.
Any time anyone questions a particular view of soteriology, such as the literal interpretation of Christ as "ransom", they are "convert bashing" or "anti-Western"....Why? 
If a particular doctrinal interpretation has holes in it, it has holes in it if it is "Western", "Eastern", "Northern" or "Southern".
And if it is not the "universally accepted" Western view, then why should someone who is merely questioning it's correctness be accused of being "anti-Western" or "convert bashing"? Do only Western coverts hold these views?
Well, I seem to get the same vibe from many Orthodox Christians.  The Triple A attack (Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas), the scholastic label, and the traditional Western label of Protestants and Roman Catholics as espousers of such views.

If it has "holes," then these are the merits, but if the "holes" are somehow attributable to the West, then Orthodox Christians will use that as a thorn to further their "Orthodox" cause.

Xristos Anesti!
 

Aristibule

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And if it is not the "universally accepted" Western view, then why should someone who is merely questioning it's correctness be accused of being "anti-Western" or "convert bashing"? Do only Western coverts hold these views?
Yeah, let me know when someone is criticizing it without the bashing of the West or converts. Do Western converts hold those views? No - so why does the discussion always have to include convert-bashing and anti-Westernism? So far, I've seen no one 'merely questioning' without the double-barrel shot at converts and the West. Like minas says, discuss the holes - 'converts' aren't the cause of either side (and both sides have been using that one - converts as destroyers of tradition), nor is it attributable to the 'West' as a characteristic (again, Byzantium is the West.)
 

ozgeorge

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welkodox said:
I don't believe it was a ransom paid to the devil or bait put forth to ensnare him.
And I agree with you. All I'm saying is that a literal interpretation of the concept of "ransom" does not permit one to hold this view.
I think that the fact that we were "bought at a price" is a testimony to God's love for us, and it is the way He chose to save us by Divine Economia so that "when I (Christ) am lifted up (on the Cross), I will draw all men to Myself." But I also think that God's infinite love and mercy does not require that a "payment" be made for sin. Christ said: "This is my Blood of the new Covenant which is shed for many to (Gk: "εις") the forgiveness of sin."  To interpret this as saying "in order that sins may be forgiven" in the sense that sins can only be forgiven if someone suffers and dies in "payment" for them or accepts the "punishment" due for them is, in my view, erroneous. Our sins are forgiven because God is merciful, not because He has been paid off like some mafia boss given protection money.

welkodox said:
What's important to understand to me is why it appears that much of what is being purported as the "Orthodox view" seems radically inconsistent with what the church has taught in the past. 
I'm not sure that it is radically different from what the Church has taught in the past. What seems radically different is that some view concepts meant as metaphors as meant to be taken literally- something which the Fathers did not do.

welkodox said:
It's also important to me to understand why there is a continual need felt by many Orthodox people to continually construct caricatures of the "western view" or to define what they believe in terms of what they oppose in western theology.
I think what they are reacting against is the misinterpretation of metaphors as literal doctrine. The fact is that many today think that "God cannot forgive sin unless something bleeds".  I myself have come accross this many times, not only in my Catholic and Protestant friends, but some Orthodox as well. The fact is that this view is absent in Eastern soteriology, since our salvation came about by the "Divine Economia" of the Incarnation.

welkodox said:
was not aware that I am putting forth a "song and dance" here, so much as actually posting writings that are directly related to the topic at hand.
What I am asking is: why is it so important that no one question the literal interpretation of our redemption as being the payment of a ransom? When you said:
welkodox said:
Yes, that is the question.
Yet, if what you say is true, there is no ransom.  Yet, clearly there is a ransom that was paid by Christ on our behalf.  But to whom?
It seems to me there is only one possibility.
It seems to me that the words "clearly there is a ransom that was paid by Christ on our behalf"  leaves no room except for a literal interpretation of "ransom" to mean a payment given to God without which He could not forgive our sin. If I misunderstood, I apologise. But if this is what you meant to say, I could not disagree more.
 

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ozgeorge said:
The fact is that this view is absent in Eastern soteriology, since our salvation came about by the "Divine Economia" of the Incarnation.
I think what you are in essence is saying correctly about God, but God commanded that forgiveness of sins cannot be except without the shedding of blood, according to St. Paul to the Hebrews, or at least God desires that it must be done in that fashion, even though He can do it in other ways.

What exactly is absent in "Eastern" soteriology?  Why do we stress "Eastern" so much?
 

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minasoliman said:
What exactly is absent in "Eastern" soteriology?  Why do we stress "Eastern" so much?
Exactly what I've been asking - and have since perennial rambler brought it up on his blog. The fact is that the language (ransom, atonement, etc.) is not absent from the Scriptures, Liturgy, or Church Fathers. So 'absent' seems a bit strong. Rather, I've had Orthodox clergy explain not that it is 'absent' but simply that it is error to make that the *only* metaphor of what happens, or even to focus on it. Stressing the 'Eastern' is the apophatic way of smearing the West. ;) Of course, Eastern theology includes such luminaries as Arius, Eutyches and Nestorius - which is why the East is always better than the West (with its 'rank heretics' like St. Ambrose, St. Hilary, St. Gregory, St. John Cassian, etc.) ;)
 

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minasoliman said:
What exactly is absent in "Eastern" soteriology?  Why do we stress "Eastern" so much?
Because Eastern theology has maintained the Orthodox Christian view of redemption. Whereas the "Western" view has been typified by the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and are different. See:Summa Theologica: Q48 The efficiency of Christ's Passion
 

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Because Eastern theology has maintained the Orthodox Christian view of redemption. Whereas the "Western" view has been typified by the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and are different. See:Summa Theologica: Q48 The efficiency of Christ's Passion
Eastern theology is also Arian, Nestorian, and Eutychian - as well as many other heresies. However, Aquinas' views were never universal in Western Christianity - in fact, still many today in the West (not just Western Orthodox, but even Traditional Catholics, Anglicans, Methodist Episcopalians, etc.) complain of the Aristotlean nature of Aquinas School and prefer the older Western neo-Platonism (a modern term referring to Patristic Christianity.) So, again - Western isn't Thomistic, Eastern isn't Orthodox: Orthodox can be Eastern or Western just as heresies may be Eastern or Western. The penal satisfaction theory isn't 'Western', though it is an error of focus and emphasis based upon language and understandings that *do* exist in the Orthodox Tradition (Scriptures and Patristics.) I'd like to be able to stop repeating it - but the West *never* has been entirely Thomistic, nor entirely Anselmian.
 

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ozgeorge said:
Because Eastern theology has maintained the Orthodox Christian view of redemption. Whereas the "Western" view has been typified by the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and are different. See:Summa Theologica: Q48 The efficiency of Christ's Passion
That's exactly the problem with many Orthodox.  It's not so much as they're holding a patristic view, but a prideful Patriotic view, almost as if if was phyletic in nature.
 

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ozgeorge said:
What seems radically different is that some view concepts meant as metaphors as meant to be taken literally- something which the Fathers did not do.
I think what they are reacting against is the misinterpretation of metaphors as literal doctrine.
I have already posted excerpts from the Catholic Encyclopedia stating that an overliteral interpretation of "ransom" is a serious error, one that Anselm, Lombard and Aquinas fought against themselves. Anselm, instead, saw it as satisfying the divine justice. Lombard and Aquinas, and pretty much most Catholic theologians afterward, however, have disagreed with Anselm that the divine justice HAD to be satisfied, that the Atonement WAS necessary. It wasn't, but God chose it to be the conduit of his mercy (so, in that context, for us, it is necessary). And it conforms to reason that justice must be done---God is a pretty sensible God, not to mention an incredibly loving one.
 

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My father confessor says it the best I think. " Many of the fathers writings about theology are, no matter the legnth, saying 'I dont know.'"  His point is, we have to look at things through the eyes of Grace.  If we look at such vague issues without forgiveness or with a heart ready to condemn, then we are setting ourselves up for hurtin, killing, and eliminating in the name of a vaguery.  It is fine to debate it, but if this issue is the hinge on which your theological structure rests, then it's best to get a better hinge, because it's flimsy.  Mainly I say this as it relates to the mind of God.  We dont know it in toto.  And when we think we do, other than what he has revealed to us solidly, we get in trouble.  And even then, if we get hung up, we only throw obstacles in the way of our salvation, becoming downright pharasaical about a busness that we dont know fully.  We can agree on some things.  If a person does not believe in the Crucufixion and  Resurection of Jesus Christ our God, then he is not a Christian but a philosopher.  But how this process of salvation by the Cross is accomplished, I'll ask God when  I get there.  It bears no weight on my salvation. 

Peace

Lazarus
 

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Only parts of the East - parts of the East have maintained heresy (Nestorianism, for instance.) And for 'maintained' - there were times when the East didn't, and the continuity of Orthodoxy continued in the West until the East recovered Orthodoxy (such as during Iconoclasm.) Either way, Orthodoxy exists in the West - not just as an 'Eastern import', and much that is heretical in the West is also an Eastern import. More importantly, much of Western Christianity that is Orthodox was maintained in the West as well (even if ever so much in the minority.)
 

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Orthodoxy exists in the West
Not according to what is being said here.  The right and legitimate view is apparently the Eastern one.
 

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Not according to what is being said here.  The right and legitimate view is apparently the Eastern one.
Well, they'll have to have a Council then to condemn the West: then everyone in the West can be anathematized. A canon can be drawn up describing which degree of longitude separates 'East' from 'West' and everyone West of that line will be cut off. Sounds like grand fun. (And those who want to be Nestorian can clap their hands for joy - they're Eastern, and thus back in!)  ::) Islam is Eastern too (as is Judaism - Oriental and Ashkenazic) - also Mandaeanism, Yezidism, Druze. Hooray for East!  ;D
 

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welkodox said:
Not according to what is being said here. The right and legitimate view is apparently the Eastern one.
Please feel free to accuse me of something openly rather than make "general" comments.
Now let me say something openly to you:
Whether you like it or not, East and West are in Schism- and not just any schism, but one which has come to be called "The Great Schism". Nowhere have I suggested that the Church prior to the Great Schism was not one. Nowhere have I suggested that when the Church was one that Orthodoxy was not maintained in the West. But the reality is (much as you seem to wish to deny it) is that the Church is no longer One in East and West.
So despite your snide comments, and despite your's and aristibule's attempts to rest your arguments on the fact that the Western part of the Church was once Orthodox (which no one is arguing, so I fail to see your point in setting up a straw man about it- unless of course, you don't have a better point, which I suspect may be the case), and despite the futile attempts to suggest that the East did not maintain Orthodoxy as "evidenced" by the Nestorians and other heresies which were anathemised and have schismed from the Orthodox Church (which if you think about it about it, makes about as much sense as stating that the existence of Lutheranism "proves" the unorthodoxy of the Roman Catholic Church).......Despite all this, and despite the attempts to suggest that my belief that the Orthodox Church is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is phyletism simply because, post schism, this Church existed only in the "East" (which includes more countries than any of us will probably ever visit in our lifetime, so to suggest that it is "phyletism" which literally means "tribalism" is laughable)....despite all this rudeness, false accusation, misrepresentation, these moot points...not once have I ever said anything "anti-convert" or even "anti-west", I simply pointed out the differences, and stated my belief that the Orthodox Church is the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church- and I've said before, that if you disagree with me, that's fine, I respect that. But don't you ever dare to suggest that my belief is based solely on a form of "phyletism".
 

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Aristibule said:
What an insane thread. Not only for all the convert bashing but also for the anti-Westernism. Anselm isn't the West - he represents a certain school of thought within 11th c. French speaking Latin literate Norman England. He isn't representative of Humanity, Christianity, the West, England, Western Rite, people from Canterbury, or humans alive in the 11th c. His theology is not (and never has been) universally accepted in 'the West' as the norm. Sure - some may say so, but only to serve their purposes (ie, to say all Westerners should belong to their sect, or to place suspicion upon all Westerners.) So how long must we tolerate such evil words about Orthodox Christians (converts all, and many Westerners)?
Nobody is bashing the west. I have just displayed some differences between there theology's. Your taking it to personal. You stated that Anselm isn't the west. But yet your sticking to your guns that it can be Incorporated into the eastern church. It's pretty obvious that it really has no place there.
  If Anselm is what brought you to Christ that that's fine.  Chances are his view has brought many to the church. The whole point is to move on. The eastern church isn't static. It's life breathing. St John Chistostoma stated that are three ways to god. First is the fear of hell, the allure of heaven and finally the love of Christ. Orthodoxy is the love of Christ and clearly is different than the rest because it isn't centered in pride. I hope you can see this.

 
 

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Orthodoxy is the love of Christ and clearly is different than the rest because it isn't centered in pride.
One of the most ironic statements I have come across in a while.
 

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I think it's wrong to say that Redemption is an unexplainable issue that ends with "I don't know."  I think Fr. John Romanides put it best, even though he may take an extreme anti-Western pov, when he said that it would be a shame if a doctor would fight a mysterious disease.

Here's something that I'm reading at the moment:

http://www.romanitas.ru/eng/The%20Mystery%20of%20Redemption.htm

And here's Fr. John Romanides' article:

http://www.romanity.org/htm/rom.10.en.original_sin_according_to_st._paul.01.htm

If anyone else can present articles, more quotes from Holy Fathers, and more new perspectives, it would be nice to use these as resources to study the situation more and be better equipped to debate the issue.

God bless.

Xristos Anesti!
 

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ozgeorge said:
Please feel free to accuse me of something openly rather than make "general" comments.
Now let me say something openly to you:
Whether you like it or not, East and West are in Schism- and not just any schism, but one which has come to be called "The Great Schism". Nowhere have I suggested that the Church prior to the Great Schism was not one. Nowhere have I suggested that when the Church was one that Orthodoxy was not maintained in the West. But the reality is (much as you seem to wish to deny it) is that the Church is no longer One in East and West.
So despite your snide comments, and despite your's and aristibule's attempts to rest your arguments on the fact that the Western part of the Church was once Orthodox (which no one is arguing, so I fail to see your point in setting up a straw man about it- unless of course, you don't have a better point, which I suspect may be the case), and despite the futile attempts to suggest that the East did not maintain Orthodoxy as "evidenced" by the Nestorians and other heresies which were anathemised and have schismed from the Orthodox Church (which if you think about it about it, makes about as much sense as stating that the existence of Lutheranism "proves" the unorthodoxy of the Roman Catholic Church).......Despite all this, and despite the attempts to suggest that my belief that the Orthodox Church is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is phyletism simply because, post schism, this Church existed only in the "East" (which includes more countries than any of us will probably ever visit in our lifetime, so to suggest that it is "phyletism" which literally means "tribalism" is laughable)....despite all this rudeness, false accusation, misrepresentation, these moot points...not once have I ever said anything "anti-convert" or even "anti-west", I simply pointed out the differences, and stated my belief that the Orthodox Church is the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church- and I've said before, that if you disagree with me, that's fine, I respect that. But don't you ever dare to suggest that my belief is based solely on a form of "phyletism".
Christ is Risen!

George, Your honesty and knowledge of Orthodoxy is very evident. You are a clear articulator of the faith.

I do not understand why some want to pretend there is no Great Schism.  ???

 

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Dear Lubeltri or Papist,

What is the RC view of "infinite sin?"  I never found anything in their catechism about it.  Do you have theologians who disagree with the concept?

God bless.
 

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Demetrios G. said:
Nobody is bashing the west. I have just displayed some differences between there theology's. 

Orthodoxy is the love of Christ and clearly is different than the rest because it isn't centered in pride. I hope you can see this.
What an ironic statement!

If you could refrain from creating straw men of "Western" theology, we might have a discussion here. But since you and several others persist in the stereotypes, it's time I left this thread. I feel very, very blessed that I don't have to deal with this kind of strident and very (IMO) uncatholic Anti-doxy on a daily basis. Part of what kept me from entering Orthodoxy, I'm afraid to say, was this incessant refrain I heard from many that "we're not like them." It didn't seem like there was a place in Orthodoxy for a Westerner like me---or at least, many Orthodox don't want it that way.

I have in my hand a brochure put out by St. Justin Martyr Orthodox Church (OCA) in Jacksonville, Florida. It's titled What Ever [sic] Happened to the New Testament Church? Does the Church Peter and Paul worshipped still exist? Come and see!

Inside they have a Church History Snapshot:

- The Church was undivided for the first 1000 years.
- in 1054 the Roman pope "excommunicated" the Orthodox for not accepting his claim to universal headship of the Church.
- in 1517 the Protestant Reformation began against the Roman Church
- According to the United Nations there are now more than 23,000 Protestant denominations worldwide
- the structure, teachings, and worship of the New Testament Church remains unchanged in the Orthodox Church.
- Christ said, "The gates of hell shall never prevail against His Church" [sic] (Matthew 16:16)

Worldwide Orthodoxy is divided only administratively by region and culture. Doctrinally and in practice each church is identical and in full communion with each other.

Orthodoxy has been the last stop for thousands of American Christians looking for a spiritual home where doctrine doesn't change with each new pastor or the latest trend.


I'll spare you the comical and frankly dishonest "Time Line of Christian History" also in the brochure. What was the brochure for, other than to steel sheep instead of evangelize the unchurched, a more difficult but more fruitful task?

Blessings,

Lubeltri
 
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