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Did Christ have a fallen human nature?


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#21 John Charmley

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 11:16 PM

Dear Athanasius, Dear Matt,

Some very interesting points being made here, but isn't the central one the question of 'human nature'. We are taught, surely, that he was like unto us in everything save sin, and that was because His human nature was surely the image of God that is imprinted upon us, but whose contours are distorted by the consequences of the Fall? If that be so, then He assumes our nature as it was meant to be, not as it has become.

That certainly seems to be what St. Cyril teaches, and St. Philoxenos of Mabbogh says:

The complete man was redeemed in God. Since the whole of Adam had come under the curse and been deprived, the whole of him was taken by God and renewed. The Lord who became incarnate gave His body unto death for the sake of everybody, and His soul for the salvation


St. Clement of Alexandria explains the Saviour's role in the renewal of our
nature, as he said:

For this He came down, for this He assumed human nature, for this
He willingly endured the sufferings of man, that by being reduced to the measure of our weakness He might raise us to the measure of His power ... The Word of God, became man just that you may learn from a man how it may be that man should become god.


I hope this will help us to find the way forward here.

In Christ,

John

#22 Athanasius Abdullah

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 12:15 AM

Dear John,

We are taught, surely, that he was like unto us in everything save sin, and that was because His human nature was surely the image of God that is imprinted upon us, but whose contours are distorted by the consequences of the Fall? If that be so, then He assumes our nature as it was meant to be, not as it has become.


The fundamental point here is that ontologically there is no difference between human nature before the fall and human nature subsequent to the fall. The notion, for example, that the Lord Christ assumed a humanity that was not naturally susceptible to mortality because He assumed pre-fall humanity which itself was naturally immortal, is an anthropological error. Before the fall, Adam and Eve were indeed mortal (and this principle is in fact Athanasian; St. Severus directly quotes St. Athanasius' On the Incarnation to this effect--one of the fruits of St. Severus is that he was a great Patristic scholar; his works are replete with patristic references, particularly to Sts. Athanasius and Cyril and the Cappadocian Fathers), they were simply safeguarded from being victim to such mortality because of their Union with the Divine Grace.

Notice that in the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil according to the Coptic Rite, the priest chants that God, "created man in incorruption", as opposed to saying that God "created man incorrupt". Man experienced a state of incorruption by virtue of his union with the Divine Grace in the Paradise of Joy, but he was not, in his humanity, incorrupt.

In XC
-Athanasius

#23 John Charmley

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 07:02 AM

Dear Athansius,

Many thanks for this explanation - and for the quotation from St. Severus. You make a very important point.

In his epistle to the Magnesians, St. Ignatius writes:

I remark, that two different characters are found among men — the one true coin, the other spurious. The truly devout man is the right kind of coin, stamped by God Himself. The ungodly man, again, is false coin, unlawful, spurious, counterfeit, wrought not by God, but by the devil. I do not mean to say that there are two different human natures, but that there is one humanity, sometimes belonging to God, and sometimes to the devil. If any one is truly religious, he is a man of God; but if he is irreligious, he is a man of the devil, made such, not by nature, but by his own choice.


Writing to the Philippians he says of Satan:

the cross of Christ was the beginning of his condemnation, the beginning of his death, the beginning of his destruction. Wherefore, also, he works in some that they should deny the cross, be ashamed of the passion, call the death an appearance, mutilate and explain away the birth of the Virgin, and calumniate the [human] nature itself as being abominable. He fights along with the Jews to a denial of the cross, and with the Gentiles to the calumniating of Mary, who are heretical in holding that Christ possessed a mere phantasmal body.


All of which go to the point you are making about human nature.

Again, thank you for making it so clear.

In Christ,

John

#24 Mina Soliman

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 02:56 PM

Thanks again everyone. In light of what Athanasius wrote about Julian and Severus' criticism, would it be accurate to say that both views, the one that John of Damascus had (who seems to have believed that Christ only assumed the non-fallen aspects of man) and the one that Severus had (that Christ assumed all of fallen human nature) are both permissible in Orthodoxy, as long as you don't end up preaching an incorruptible Christ? This confuses me as well! Mina said,



So if St. John had the same premises and differed on corruptibility, then he must have believed Christ assumed some aspects of fallen nature but not all. How could Christ be exempt from some of original sin but not all of it? How could He have a human body that could be subject to corruption but not a corrupted will? It seems to me if Christ had a corrupted will, like us, He would have sanctified it by resisting the temptations of it. I really am just trying to understand.


The point is, the point that is made very clearly by Fr. Subdeacon Peter and Athanasius, that although St. John of Damascus rejected the incorruptibility of the flesh that Julian taught, he seemed to have not defined it the same way as St. Severus did. He still went on to believe, as Julian believed, that it is not normal for humanity to be hungry, to feel pain, to be mortal, etc. This was the premises by which St. John supported, or at least how Fr. VC Samuel read in him.

I personally cannot really comment any further because I haven't really delved into the Severus/Julian debate. While the debate makes sense to support St. Severus, and I do lean towards St. Severus, there are a lot of questions in my mind, and I wish that we can have a discussion in the Christological section on this part, but I think we should get to the point of answering your original post.

Let us believe what St. Athanasius believed. Man was created like any other creature, "out of nothing." Thus, as creatures, we are susceptible to "nothingness," and thus we are NATURALLY corrupt. Man, unlike any other animal, has both the intellectual ability to know God and to acknowledge His Lordship through the Image and Likeness inscribed in him that no other animal has. Because of this, God in direct communion with man brought man to something that is BEYOND his own nature, to escape the natural laws that affect man and other creatures (fatigue, hunger, death).

Man however disobeyed God and joined the world with all its natural corruption. Now here's an interesting case that St. Athanasius makes. Man not only joins the world in corruption, but makes himself and the world a worse place, and goes beyond what is naturally corrupt, to a point of true bloodthirsty evilness. The inclination to such evil via man's will, according to St. Athanasius, seems to be unnatural on man's part. Man has gone MAD, and that is not normal.

The idea in Orthodox Christology is that Christ bore what is natural, and therefore did not bear a will that is inclined to sin. A will inclined to sin therefore is not natural, but it is something that man allows under the direction of Satan. It is as unnatural as a pathology. Christ confronted the MADNESS inflicted by Satan without fear both through the toughest temptations and through man's mad actions against Him, and conquered them with weapons that man never expected: love, humility, faith, and the power of the Resurrection.

Now, one can argue that a predisposition to sin can occur because of human nature as much as because of the environment. But as I said earlier, while it happens, it's probably due to a pathological part of man, an abnormal part of man. Just as a side note, this is probably why St. Athanasius believed that Christ did not bear illnesses or diseases, because he probably felt that such are not normal in human nature.

I stand corrected if I said something wrong, as this is something that I am still understanding.

God bless.

Mina

#25 Tim Grass

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 06:55 PM

Maybe someone should point out that in the Orthodox Church, Severus of Antioch is not commemorated as a saint.....

--Tim

#26 Macarius

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 06:57 PM

Greetings,

I do not wish to undermine all of the wonderful points made in this thread by those learned much more than I, but if we could examine the words of St. Paul

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.


How do the words of St. Paul relate to the view that Christ did not bear a will inclined to sin. I am not saying that they are contradictory, I am simply looking for an explanation; specifically for "in all points tempted as we are."

God Bless,
Michael

#27 Peter Farrington

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 07:42 PM

Hi Michael

To be tempted is not to be culpable. We see even in the temptations of Christ in the desert that he was tempted with food, with power and with fame, just as we are tempted, yet he was not attracted by these temptations because His will was not aimlessly drifting this way and that, as our is, but being united with the Word, the human will functioned entirely in conformity with the Divine will of the one who had assumed it.

Christ did not become man, while remaining what He is, so that He might find out what a tough life we have, as it were, rather He became what we are so that He might infuse our humanity with His Life and Power. He came to save us, not to sympathise with us. (Though of course He sympathises.)

A drowning man does not need another drowning man to rescue him, but he does need someone strong and confident and a powerful swimmer to enter into his circumstances and get wet and cold, so to speak.

I think this is why some of the Old English materials (and elsewhere) describe Christ as a young warrior. We need a Saviour to stand with us, but we don't need someone weak like us, we need someone who enters into our situation but in his own strength changes our situation for the better.

So He faces our temptations in our humanity, but He is not like us because He (the person who has become fully and perfectly man) is in fact God. He alone has the power of His divine life to renew the divine spark as it were in our humanity. He is the Second Adam who does things properly this time in obedience to the Father. He is both in continuity with us in our weak humanity that grows tired and hungry, but there is a discontinuity because He is also God. He does not have a human will which is bound or liable to make wrong choices because it is not completely united to God as in our case, like a cheap compass that doesn't consistently face North, rather His human will, united to His Divine will, is like a magnet always facing North without fail. Because He who wills in both His humanity and Divinity is the Word.

As has been written:

His human will follows and that not as resisting and reluctant, but rather as subject to his divine and omnipotent will. For it was right that the flesh should be moved but subject to the divine will, according to the most wise Athanasius. For as his flesh is called and is the flesh of God the Word, so also the natural will of his flesh is called and is the proper will of God the Word, as he himself says: “I came down from heaven, not that I might do mine own will but the will of the Father which sent me!” where he calls his own will the will of his flesh, inasmuch as his flesh was also his own. For as his most holy and immaculate animated flesh was not destroyed because it was deified but continued in its own state and nature (ὄρῳ τε καὶ λόγῳ), so also his human will, although deified, was not suppressed, but was rather preserved according to the saying of Gregory Theologus: “His will [i.e., the Saviour’s] is not contrary to God but altogether deified.”


So He always says No to sin. He always has His united human and Divine will fixed on doing the will of the Father. And His No to sin is a Yes to life because Sin is a negation of life. His very becoming flesh begins to transform His humanity because it is deified even while it remains complete humanity.

He is tempted in all things as we are, but He overcomes temptation in His humanity, there is no dilly-dallying with temptation. He just says no! He didn't come to allow temptation to have a foothold in our hearts and minds, as we so often do, he came to crush the power of Satan.

He is a mighty warrior, assuming the weakness of our flesh, but as we see at the Transfiguration He is filled with all the fulness of the Godhead. He comes to destroy all the works of the enemy, and He does so, in His flesh, so that the power of the enemy can be broken in all flesh by union with Him.

He was 'tempted' as we are, but He did not 'give in' to temptation as we do. Just as a life-guard might be wet and cold as we are if we are drowning, but he is not drowning Himself or we are both lost, and Christ, the God-man, never falls under temptation, or He is lost as we are.

Peter

#28 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 08:07 PM

The point is, the point that is made very clearly by Fr. Subdeacon Peter and Athanasius, that although St. John of Damascus rejected the incorruptibility of the flesh that Julian taught, he seemed to have not defined it the same way as St. Severus did. He still went on to believe, as Julian believed, that it is not normal for humanity to be hungry, to feel pain, to be mortal, etc. This was the premises by which St. John supported, or at least how Fr. VC Samuel read in him.



Minas,

St John of Damascus in his Orthodox Faith Book 3 writes:

The word destruction (fthora) has two meanings. Thus it means human sufferings such as hunger, thirst, weariness, piercing with nails, death- that is separation of the soul from the body- and the like. In this sense we say that the Lord's body was destructible, because He endured all these things freely. Destruction, however, also means the complete dissolution of the body and its reduction to the elements of which it was composed. By many this is more generally called corruption (thiafthora). This the Lord's body did not experience.

Therefore it is impious to say with the insane Julian [of Halicarnassus]
and Gaianus that before the resurrection the Lord's body was indestructible in the first sense. For, if it was thus incorruptible, then it was not consubstantial with us, and the things such as hunger, the thirst, the nails, the piercing of the side, and the death which the Gospel says happened did not really happen, but only seemed to. But if they only seemed to happen, then the mystery of the Incarnation is a hoax and a stage trick; it was in appearance and not in truth that He was made man and in appearance and not in truth that we have been saved.



If in relation to man's present condition after the Fall we are saying that,

it is not normal for humanity to be hungry, to feel pain, to be mortal, etc.



then this statement is not correct. It is the contrary of St John of Damascus' position. Yes, man did not suffer these things before the Fall- before the Fall these things were not 'normal' to him. However after the Fall man does suffer these things without this involving personal sin; ie the blameless passions. After the Fall these things are now 'normal' to man. This is the human nature which Christ assumed in its fullness. With more or less stress this is the standard Orthodox position.

Granted there is a very subtle and even mysterious point here that I tried to raise yesterday. When we say Christ assumed human nature but without sin we do not mean entirely removed from the effects of the Fall.

But how does this not mean assuming sinful nature as it seems our friend a few days ago asked?

I have always personally liked St Cyril of Alexandria's description of Christ's assuming human nature because it suggests that Christ in His Divine nature freely engages with man in his (ie man's) fullness.

Thus it is not as if Christ can save us because as God He is infinitely removed from us even as He assumes our nature. But rather that as God He is divinely free to engage with our fallen humanity and to save it.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#29 Peter Farrington

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 08:47 PM

Dear Father

Thus it is not as if Christ can save us because as God He is infinitely removed from us even as He assumes our nature. But rather that as God He is divinely free to engage with our fallen humanity and to save it.


Yes, absolutely. The Word freely assumes our humanity with His own purpose, that of saving us, not out of any necessity at all. He is never bound to necessity by our humanity but always He is found to be freely acting as He wills for our salvation.

I sometimes sense that folk are trying to bring God down to our level and limit Him within our experience. But just as there is a freedom in the spirit of those who are saintly, which we sense when we meet them, and just as the greatest saints have the greatest sense of freedom about them, so our Lord, being the Word made flesh, has such freedom almost without limit within the integrity of His humanity.

If I consider the experience of Christ, the Word incarnate, as far as is possible for me, I might say that he does not struggle with temptation as I do, but this is not a weakness and imperfection of His incarnation, rather it shows how far I have to travel to even begin to be fully human in our present circumstances. His is the true freedom of the saints, a liberty of spirit, but even more than is found in the saints because in them it is a gift of grace, and in Christ it is own.

Jesus Christ is a man truly alive, in one sense, and it was for this that He became incarnate.

Peter

#30 Mina Soliman

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 09:05 PM

Father bless,

Perhaps, you are right. Like I said, I really couldn't comment further, since this is something I haven't delved into. What was more important for me was to understand the theological correctness.

I think I would agree that saying something as normal or not normal might not be enough. For example, while man is normally susceptible to death, we can say it was not normal because God intended for man to stay alive. In this, if St. John of Damascus believes so, then I would say this is something I find Orthodox.

Now, perhaps, Fr. V.C. Samuel was confused at the time of writing this. I wish I owned a copy of this, but in the minutes of Aarhus, the very first unofficial consultation between our "families our Orthodoxy", it was this very issue of Julianism that he was forced to clarify in a paper he wrote. I forget exactly what it was he wrote, since I didn't understand much about Julianism at the time, but I do remember Fr. John Romanides questioning the use of the words "corruptible" and "incorruptible" as in they could mean just about anything if used in the correct context, just as you used the words "normal" and "not normal," which got Fr. V.C. Samuel to clarify and change a few things in his paper.

God bless.

Mina

#31 Athanasius Abdullah

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 10:15 PM

Dear Tim,

Is this where we get into the whole, "You're not Orthodox we are", "Nah, we are!", "No way, get out, I said it first!" match? I'm not going there.

How's this for objectivity?: Insofar as Non-Chalcedonian Orthodoxy is concerned, St. Severus of Antioch is a great Saint, insofar as Chalcedonian Orthodoxy is concerned, he is anathematised for a position which, as far as the Non-Chalcedonian Orthodox are concerned, he evidently never held (a position that is slowly but surely being recognised by reputable heirarchs and theologians of your Church--even if the converse applies to certain others).

I realise (and respect) that this forum has a Chalcedonian Orthodox bias to it, but I don't think we Oriental Orthodox participants should (nor do I think it is expected that we) not give due honour to our own Saints when speaking of them. I have gone out of my way to give due honour to yours, of my own accord and out of respect for the bias of this particular forum.

I did not bring up St. Severus of Antioch as if to impute his authority on Chalcedonian Orthodox readers, but simply because his works and Christology are substantially relevant to the subject of this thread and, I would argue, to the development of Orthodox Christological thought on the particular matter in question.

In XC
-Athanasius

#32 M. Markewich

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 10:30 PM

After reading Mourad's and Peter's post, I have concluded that my definition of inclination to sin must be off. When I say the phrase, I mean, "the preference of doing wrong over right", not as sin of the heart. For example, I may be walking down the street, see a nice looking girl, and be tempted to lust for her (because the demons tempt me), but I can say "no". So I was inclined to sin, but decided not to; I didn't even let the lust go on in my head, but stopped the idea immediately. This is what I thought Christ inherited - the demons tried to tempt Him, too, but He never gave them ground.

I think the inclination to sin, the way I now see it is actually defined, Christ could not have inherited; and I believe neither did humans, otherwise we'd be born with sin. I think now knowing the real definition, it seems obvious we learn how to be inclined to sin, in the true sense of the phrase, through our experience.

#33 John Charmley

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 12:21 AM

[Tim]Maybe someone should point out that in the Orthodox Church, Severus of Antioch is not commemorated as a saint.....


[Athanasius]I realise (and respect) that this forum has a Chalcedonian Orthodox bias to it, but I don't think we Oriental Orthodox participants should (nor do I think it is expected that we) not give due honour to our own Saints when speaking of them. I have gone out of my way to give due honour to yours, of my own accord and out of respect for the bias of this particular forum.


Dear Tim, Dear Athanasius,

What interesting contrasts on our fallen human nature these quotations provide.

In XC

John

#34 Macarius

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 03:02 AM

Peter,

I sometimes sense that folk are trying to bring God down to our level and limit Him within our experience. But just as there is a freedom in the spirit of those who are saintly, which we sense when we meet them, and just as the greatest saints have the greatest sense of freedom about them, so our Lord, being the Word made flesh, has such freedom almost without limit within the integrity of His humanity.
Jesus Christ is a man truly alive, in one sense, and it was for this that He became incarnate.


Wonderful words, an important point for all to recognise.

I just want to reinforce that although Christ's Will never wavered before temptation, He was tempted in every way that we are tempted, He simply never fell.

#35 Athanasius Abdullah

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 06:43 AM

Dear Mina and Fr. Raphael,

Fr. V.C. Samuel states:

John of Damascus who, in agreement with Severus, admits that Julian and Gaianos were wrong in ascribing incorruptibility to our Lord’s body before the resurrection seems to agree with Julian in maintaining that natural and blameless passions like hunger, thirst, fatigue, pain, the shrinking from death, and so on, ‘which are not under our control’ ‘have come into our life
as a result of the condemnation occasioned by his fall’ [fn. 891].


The question is, did St. John the Damascene teach that man, both before and subsequent to the fall, was ontologically susceptible to hunger, thirst, mortality etc., yet, by virtue of his union with the Divine Grace in Paradise, only experienced them subsequent to the fall? Or did St. John teach that hunger, thirst, mortality etc., were ontologically as much as they were experientially alien to man before the fall?

The passages brought forth by both Fr. V.C. Samuel and Fr. Raphael do not seem to very clearly address such questions.

In XC
-Athanasius

#36 Mourad Mankarios

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 07:10 AM

After reading Mourad's and Peter's post, I have concluded that my definition of inclination to sin must be off. When I say the phrase, I mean, "the preference of doing wrong over right", not as sin of the heart. For example, I may be walking down the street, see a nice looking girl, and be tempted to lust for her (because the demons tempt me), but I can say "no". So I was inclined to sin, but decided not to; I didn't even let the lust go on in my head, but stopped the idea immediately. This is what I thought Christ inherited - the demons tried to tempt Him, too, but He never gave them ground.


If you were tempted by the girl then you have sinned. A person who is perfectly free from sin is not even tempted and so scripture says about God that He is neither tempted nor tempts anyone. This was perfect dispassion that the monastics strived for. So that they could not distinguish between gold and stone, a man and a woman, or praise and contempt.

There are different levels of temptation, from the external to the mind to the heart to the actual action or sin itself.

With Christ the temptation was external, never internal.

I think the inclination to sin, the way I now see it is actually defined, Christ could not have inherited; and I believe neither did humans, otherwise we'd be born with sin. I think now knowing the real definition, it seems obvious we learn how to be inclined to sin, in the true sense of the phrase, through our experience.


Actually, as St Maximus and the fathers teach man is born with an inherent inclination towards sin (the gnomic will) that is he inherits a predisposition for sin. However, for a child this could not be accounted for sin since it is only the potential for such which a person does not realise until they reach an age of reason and accountability.

#37 Tim Grass

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 09:11 AM

With all due respect to individuals here, who have quickly gone and taken general comments as personal attacks.... and to John C.'s pretty uncharitable comment above.... I think the point is still valid. In this thread, Severus's position has been hugely leaned on..... so I don't think it's out of place or wrong to at least note that in the Chalcedonian Orthodox Church (and this forum is, after all, Chalcedonian Orthodox) Severus is not commemorated as a saint.

I haven't spoken against the main or what he wrote.... and I haven't said anything against anyone's Orthodoxy. But this thread's mentioning Severus a lot, so it seems reasonable to at least bring this into things. It can't *not* be of relevance.

--tim

#38 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 01:08 PM

Dear Mina and Fr. Raphael,

Fr. V.C. Samuel states:



The question is, did St. John the Damascene teach that man, both before and subsequent to the fall, was ontologically susceptible to hunger, thirst, mortality etc., yet, by virtue of his union with the Divine Grace in Paradise, only experienced them subsequent to the fall? Or did St. John teach that hunger, thirst, mortality etc., were ontologically as much as they were experientially alien to man before the fall?

The passages brought forth by both Fr. V.C. Samuel and Fr. Raphael do not seem to very clearly address such questions.

In XC
-Athanasius


Dear Athanasius,

Just so that we're on the same page here we probably both see that the hunger, thirst, fear of death that St John speaks of refers to the suffering in man's nature which results from the Fall. In other words we're not referring to natural desires like partaking in what surrounds us or being alive. Rather we're speaking of the ways in which the Fall distorts these things. Which is probably why the list is often not too clear since in fact no hard & fast line can be drawn between these desires.

In any case, before the Fall man was not susceptible to hunger, thirst, or fear of death. But it is very important in terms of the present discussion to see that we mean this in the sense referred to above where St John does not mean that before the Fall man had no natural desires. Before the Fall man still desired to have communion with that which surrounded him & to eat and drink in that sense. But after the Fall a distortion of these natural desires arises. Thus the hunger and thirst which St John refers to.

At least this is how I see it.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#39 Nina

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 02:37 PM

From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 197):

"As the evil one procured our twofold death by means of his single spiritual death, so the good Lord healed this twofold death of ours through His single bodily death, and through the one Resurrection of His Body gave us a twofold resurrection. By means of His bodily death He destroyed him who had power over our souls and bodies in death, and rescued us from his tyranny over them both. The evil one clothed himself in the serpent to deceive man, but the Word of God put on man's nature to trick the trickster. He received this nature in its undeceived and pure state, and kept it so to the end, offering it as first fruits to the Father for sanctification from ourselves for ourselves."

#40 M. Markewich

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 04:21 PM

If you were tempted by the girl then you have sinned. A person who is perfectly free from sin is not even tempted and so scripture says about God that He is neither tempted nor tempts anyone. This was perfect dispassion that the monastics strived for. So that they could not distinguish between gold and stone, a man and a woman, or praise and contempt.

There are different levels of temptation, from the external to the mind to the heart to the actual action or sin itself.

With Christ the temptation was external, never internal.

I thought I had just provided an example of external temptation, though. My example said the demons push me to think about it, but I don't allow it to take ground in my mind. The demons (or at least, the devil himself) tried to tempt Christ similarly into becoming an earthly king. I honestly just don't see the difference.

Actually, as St Maximus and the fathers teach man is born with an inherent inclination towards sin (the gnomic will) that is he inherits a predisposition for sin. However, for a child this could not be accounted for sin since it is only the potential for such which a person does not realise until they reach an age of reason and accountability.


So, if the inclination to sin is actually sinful itself, and we have it from the moment we are conceived, wouldn't God be making something that wasn't "very good", and the fetus would already be a sinner, but God is just not going to hold him/her accountable yet? And if we Orthodox hold this view of the inclination to sin, then aren't we really in agreement with the Roman Catholics, who say we are all born guilty, but popular belief says that babies will be going to Heaven anyway, since thy have not reached an age of accountability?

Also, doesn't this cause a problem if you believe Mary was morally pure from birth, since Mary also reached an age of accountability and therefore her inclination to sin would have been realized?




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