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'Felix culpa'


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#1 Byron Jack Gaist

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 08:02 AM

What is the Orthodox approach to the Roman Catholic doctrine of the "fortunate fall" or Felix Culpa? It is basically the idea that the Fall had to occur in order for man to experience Divine grace and in order for our choices for good or evil to be meaningful - The Fall of Man.

Also, can someone clarify whether the Felix Culpa refers to the sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge, or to the Crucifixion, or to both?

In Christ
Byron


#2 Theopesta

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 06:59 PM

brother Byron I am trying to study more the original sin and the concequences of the falling.
but if it is "fortune fall" why the death enter to the creation? and why the bitterness of the passions contaminate every thing? I think GOD's will is a thing differ from GOD's permission

GOD's will always every holy and good and innocent

but as god creates man with free will HE permits to man to make what he want after HE gives him many gifts according to our nature bear

I wait response to learn more

#3 Theopesta

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 07:28 PM

the original text says:

Felix Culpa (the fortunate fall)

One interpretation of the doctrine of the fall is that it is necessary in order human's might benefit from God's grace. It includes the notion that, had mankind not been given the capacity for evil, our choice through free will to either serve God or not would not have been as meaningful. For example:

"A fall it might seem, just as a vicious man sometimes seems degraded below the beasts, but in promise and potency, a rise it really was" (Sir O. Lodge, "Life and Matter", p. 79

There is, however, a second interpretation of 'felix culpa.' If Eve had not given the fruit to Adam to eat, none of us would be here to enjoy this wonderful world.}

1- I feel this interpretaion not the upright and neutral about the falling and the redemption

2- we not enjoy in wonderful life this opposite to what GOD say to adam and eve after the falling

3- when the logos incarnated although he is the mighty ONE HE not enjoyed he suffer --paradox of the incarnation of GOD

4- I do not know if I deviate from the core of the original Q

5- if there is any err in the expressions, please correct and clarify to me

#4 Guest_Michael Howard Lake

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 08:01 PM

Dear Sister Theopesta and Mr. Gaist,

I believe that your intuitions are correct, Sister. "Felix Culpa" is not part of Orthodox soteriology.

Augustine's doctrine assumes that our final end, that is, union with Christ, is greater now that Adam and Eve sinned and Jesus became incarnate, suffered, died, and rose that we too might rise above sin. Augustine believed that Adam and Eve, without the Fall, would never have merited a portion of Christ's mystical Life that we have through the Eucharist.

The Fathers of the East would agree with what you have written, Sister, concerning the needless suffering the Fall has brought with it. There is absolutely no reason that Christ would not have incarnated if the Fall had never occurred. This means that our beatitude is not therefore dependent on the Fall. God forbid!

This is one reason why some Orthodox writers question Augustine's appellation as "Saint." Of course, Father Seraphim Rose of happy memory warns us not to disparage Augustine's sanctity just because some of his theology was faulty.

I remain ever

Your brother in IHC XPC,

Michael


#5 Guest_Zavulon

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 09:52 PM

Dear Byron,=20

The best orthodox answer about original sin and the cause of death can = be found here.

= http://www.romanity....g_to_st._paul.= 01.htm

Zavulon.


#6 Byron Jack Gaist

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 10:52 AM

Dear Sr Theopesta, Mr Lake and Zavulon

Thank you all for your responses.

Zavulon, the above link is not functional, but I have previously read the article you refer to, and it is indeed very enlightening.

The idea of the "Felix Culpa" also seems to me to be a misinterpretation of the events of the Fall, and could perhaps lead to a false overestimation of the purpose of sin in salvation - as if we ought to sin, in order to be saved (one sect, the Khlysty, did believe this). What do others think about this?

Also, can someone clarify whether, from a Roman Catholic perpective,the Felix Culpa refers to the sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge, or to the Crucifixion, or to both?

in Christ
Byron


#7 Byron Jack Gaist

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 10:58 AM

BTW Sr Theopesta, you make an important distinction between God's Will and His Permission. One of the difficulties I have with this, is in imagining a Perfect Being, but what He, omniscient God, wills is not the same as what He permits: in other words, if He has permitted it, has He not also willed it?

In Christ
Byron


#8 Theopesta

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 11:23 AM

1- please br. byron you can feel free and any one else to say theopesta without adressing

2- to be honest I take this distinction from a lecture to H.H. the alexdandrian coptic patriark and after considering it strike me very mach

3- what the mean of: BTW

4- if Iam not mistaken we not lose our free will after falling also our will not as god will
the illness enter to the will by the sin the grace of god not work without our freedom if we not want the holy will GOD not perish us although HE can but HE permits to us to make our will which is not his own

welcome with any corrections
in one christ theopesta

#9 Theopesta

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 12:09 AM

dear celestial friends:

I find this poem to:William Blake(1757-1827) in the same issue but I can not understand what he want to say:

The Garden of Love (1794)

I went to the Garden of Love
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And "Thou shalt not" writ over the door,
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore;

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be;
And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.

in the link www.k-state.edu/english/baker/english233/Blake-Garden_of_Love.htm

#10 Theopesta

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 01:24 AM

as I understand the felix culpa = fortunate fall
this dogma speak about the predestination of the fall or original sin which lead the incarnation
but this mean: negation of the whole idea of free will also, I think it may lead to pelagianism, as man not make the original sin with his complete free will according to the doctrine of the felix culpa .

Is GOD fair in condemning man and then saving him?!
Can any one give excusation about the sin?

the word fortunate fall not in harmony with ROM 5: 12- 21
there is contradiction!

also, I feel this dogma is one of the consequences of the catholic dogma about original justice and the human i.e preternatural and supernatural gifts.

I will warmly welcome the more clarification or correction
IN ONE CHRIST
theopesta
p.s. I apologise about the repeated posts 273, 274


#11 Theopesta

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 01:46 AM

Br. Byron:

many thanks for this intelligent thread, while waiting the knowledgables' response I find these interested links:

[www.geocities.com/magdamun/white.html]
[www.iasm.info/main/iasmdocs/kir-mormonfelixculpa.html]
[www.k-state.edu/english/baker/english233/g-felix_culpa.htm]
[www.answers.com/topic/paradise-lost?method=5&linktext=Paradise]

many thanks

#12 Guest_Michael Howard Lake

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 05:35 PM

Dear Sister Theopesta,

All of these links you have posted certainly say something about "felix culpa." As an English teacher and sometime scholar, I am acquainted with the literature of both Milton and Blake. It is interesting how Milton, the hyper-Augustinian Arian, and Blake, the alchemistical disciple of Boehme and sexual deviant, dealt with the question of the Fall and the "happy fault" of sin and redemption. I found the link by the Seventh Day Adventist who was lambasting both the Mormons and the Roman Catholics quite laughable, though.

Felix culpa does depend upon the Western church's more juridical approach to the whole "mystery of iniquity" since Adam's sin. Hence, we see in the poem by Blake you posted first the dichotomy between "sin" and the law. Blake is saying that if what he calls in another poem the "mind-forged manacles" of social prohibition or taboo were lifted, all people would naturally fornicate without a hint of guilt. Perhaps he is saying here that the "culpa" isn't really "felix" after all.

But then, this leads to another question: How does Orthodoxy deal with the potentially anti-nomian interpretations of St. Paul's saying that "without the law I would not know sin"? The West is drowning in the effects of sins committed as acts of personal liberation.

Your brother in IHC XPC,

Michael


#13 Guest_Klod

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 05:40 PM

There is no "fortunate" fall. Not, at least, in the orthodox church. Neither can it be found, I think, in the Fathers.

The way I think about it, is that coming into existence within God's creation is a fortunate thing in itself. Man's being and living is a fortunate thing, a divine gift, a positive position, which can be overturned by the free will of Man. Even if it will be overturned, it will be so in relation to Man, without efecting God's positive disposition toward Man. On the contrary, God USES Man's unfortunate fall to raise him up again to his previous fortunate state, actually to a higher one, which he had before fall.

God doesnt need things and ways which do not belong to His nature, as are Fall, death, illness etc, to make Man understand His greatness and Grace. Man can experience Grace in fullness without falling, because Man is created in God's image, which is his ability to achive God's likeness.

There were only the dualists and gnostics who used to think that sin is necessary to bring grace, because they failed to see in creation and in Man's being the Hand of the One Triune God.

#14 Theopesta

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 03:48 AM

dear celestial father and brothers:

"I had not known sin but by the law" rom 7:7

in understanding to the language of st. paul I think we not take one text, as he say also:

"Why the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." so on till vs 25

before the law the sin is present and condemned and known by the people as in case of Joseph and his brothers also, cain ... but the sin present as a guilt and evil not as transgression to the law

the law is the expression of what god will and determine the wrong and right

when st.paul say: "I had not known sin but by the law" not about the general nature of sin here he speak about the violation of the law of god

also those that not have law they conscience is their law rom 2: 11- 16

I am interested to know more about these point and to any correction

#15 Byron Jack Gaist

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 05:48 AM

Dear All,

Thank you Sr Theopesta (or shall I just write "Theopesta"? It seems proper to address you in your position as a nun). Thank you both for the interest you've shown in this question and for the insights you've offered into it. My thanks also go to other posters on this thread.

BTW=By The Way

BTW, noone has clarified whether, from a Roman Catholic perpective,the Felix Culpa refers to the sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge, or to the Crucifixion, or to both? Most of us are talking about the Fall, but I've also heard this expression used in reference to the Crucifixion, which is why I'm asking.

Mr Lake, I am not a Blake scholar, as far as I know Blake was not a sexual deviant, though he did have a wish to have polyamorous affairs, which he never actualised because his wife didn't agree to it. He spent a long, and as far as I know again, happy monogamous marriage with her. But I do stand to be corrected, as I also know he had revolutionary ideas, and I may be mistaken about his ultimate fidelity in his marriage. The poem posted by Sr Theopesta on the "Garden of Love" seems to point precisely to this dillemma of Blake's, namely that somehow free, natural, innocent humanity has become "filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be" by "Priests in black gowns...binding with briars my joys and desires". I think Sr Theopesta may be right in pointing to a kind of pelagianism in this viewpoint (human nature is untainted by the Fall & man can save himself by his own efforts), but I'm not sure I understand where the felix culpa comes into it, which seems to be stating the opposite of Pelagius, namely that the Fall is absolutely necessary so that man may experience grace and the choice between good and evil may be meaningful. Mmmhm...come to think of it again, perhaps the felix culpa implies pelagianism in the sense that, if the Fall is necessary, then humans are not to blame for their choice of evil over good?

In Christ
Byron


#16 Scott Pierson

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 11:53 AM

I think blessed Augustine didnt take into account what many of the Fathers said... That Christ would have become Incarnate and brought about our deification even if sin or the fall never took place. God didnt need us to sin to bring that about. Christ did work to bring good out of evil but he could have done so without the evil arising in the first place.

#17 Ken McRae

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 01:15 PM

... many of the Fathers said ... That Christ would have become Incarnate and brought about our deification even if sin or the fall never took place.


Which Fathers said this? Perhaps I am mistaken, but it seems to me that the First Adam was created in a deified state, and enjoyed a blessed union and communion with God in Eden; and from this sinless and deified state of grace he fell into corruption and mortality (death). I cannot recall any Fathers who taught the Incarnation of Christ would have occured despite the Fall. If many Fathers taught this, as you say, that man was not created in a deified state, then it should be relatively easy for you to produce a few direct quotes. I'd very much appreciate that! Thanks.

#18 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 06:56 PM

I think blessed Augustine didnt take into account what many of the Fathers said... That Christ would have become Incarnate and brought about our deification even if sin or the fall never took place.


Which Fathers said this?


Theophilus, Justin, Irenaeus, Cyril of Jerusalem, Cyril of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa, Isaac of Syria, ...... :-)

INXC, Matthew

#19 Ken McRae

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 08:45 PM

Thanks Matthew, but I'd still like to see some quotes, if possible, as it seems to me the statement, "That Christ would have become Incarnate and brought about our deification even if sin or the fall never took place," implies that the First Adam was not originally created in a deified state of grace. How do you bring about the deificiation of a man that is already deified, who has never fallen from his original state of grace, or ever lost his "original" divine likeness?

#20 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 08:48 PM

Dear Theophilus, you wrote:

Thanks Matthew, but I'd still like to see some quotes, if possible, as it seems to me the statement, "That Christ would have become Incarnate and brought about our deification even if sin or the fall never took place," implies that the First Adam was not originally created in a deified state of grace. How do you bring about the deificiation of a man that is already deified, and has never fallen from his first state of grace, but has retained his original deified state of grace?


If you use the forum search system to explore a bit, you'll find that this topic has in fact been discussed quite a bit here before - and if I recall correctly, with amply quotations and references. The archives of past conversations are becoming quite a resource through the years.

The classic passages in the early Church are Irenaeus Adversus haereses 4.38.1-3 (among many other passages in this text); Theophilus Ad Autolycum 2.25.

INXC, Matthew




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