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Distinction of persons and unity of humans


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#1 Mina Mounir

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 03:53 PM

peace,
on what base could we understand the unity of humans ?
it's mentioned in many books that the sin damaged this unity and caused a kind of " individualism ".
so , what is that unity ?

#2 Moses Ibrahim

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 05:12 PM

peace,
on what base could we understand the unity of humans ?
it's mentioned in many books that the sin damaged this unity and caused a kind of " individualism ".
so , what is that unity ?


I believe only those who are truly united to Christ can speak of that kind of unity since they have united themselves to the Creator and are then able to unite themselves with other creatures. But for us sinners, we separate ourselves from one another through envy and malice (etc.) but we can strive to unite ourselves by attending Church and partaking of our Lord. If we all strive to partake of the Eucharist with fear and trembling as a community (praying for and forgiving one another), certainly this unity can be achieved as we long to be in each others presence, ultimately in the "presence" of God. I speak in theory only as I don't have much experience.

#3 Fabio Lins

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 09:39 PM

Presently, I am under the impression that because we are the image and likeness of God, that there is only one human nature and that each of us is a hypostasis of this one human nature.

I believe this because the condemned human beings and the saved human beings are all "human beings" not ceasing to be this. The condemned, the sinner, reject not only God, but our human nature itself, already saved when it was united to God in the Person of the Son. These rebelious hypostasis instead of participating in God's energies through the Son where our nature meets Him, strive to participate in lesser things. Now, these lesser things, like animal nature, are not suffering in themselves. A dog does not suffer for participating in its "canine nature". Our suffering comes precesily from the tension of forcing our nature to fit something that is "smaller" than it. By indulging in the passions we are attacking our own very nature by forcing it to participate in what is inferior to its own nature while at the same time denying the possibility of participating in something infinitely more superior.

I don't know, though, if this understanding of mine would be acceptable to the Fathers or where I should change it.

#4 Moses Ibrahim

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 02:55 AM

I don't know, though, if this understanding of mine would be acceptable to the Fathers or where I should change it.


I think what you are saying is acceptable with the Fathers.

Saint Irenaeus of Lyons:

How then will you be a god, when you are not yet made human? How perfect, when only recently begun? How immortal, when in mortal nature you do not obey the Creator? It is necessary for you first to hold the rank of human, and then to participate in the glory of God. For you do not create God, but God creates you. If, then, you are the work of God, await the Hand of God, who does everything at the appropriate time-the appropriate time for you, who are being made. Offer to Him your heart, soft and pliable, and retain the shape with which the Fashioner shaped you, having in yourself in yourself his Water, lest you turn dry and lose the imprint of his fingers. By guarding this conformation, you will ascend to perfection; the mud in you will be concealed by the art of God. His Hand created your substance; it will gild you, inside and out, with pure gold and silver, and so adorn you that the King himself will desire your beauty. But if, becoming hardened, you reject his art and being ungrateful towards him, because he made you human, ungrateful, that is, towards God, you have lost at once both his art and life. For to create is the characteristic of the goodness of God; to be created is the characteristic of the nature of human beings. If, therefore, you offer to him what is yours, that is, faith in him and subjection, you will receive his art and become a perfect work of God. But if you do not believe in him, and flee from his Hands, the cause of imperfection will be in you who did not obey, and not in him who called you. For he sent messengers to call people to the feast; but those who did not obey deprived themselves of his royal banquet [cf. Mt 22.3].

*This quote was taken from the book Against the Heresies, by St. Irenaeus of Lyons.

#5 Peter S.

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 08:16 PM

By guarding this conformation, you will ascend to perfection; the mud in you will be concealed by the art of God. His Hand created your substance; it will gild you, inside and out, with pure gold and silver, and so adorn you that the King himself will desire your beauty.

St. Paul says that Christ lives in him Gal 2:20. I think this is the same as st. Irenaeus speaks about of "the King" here.

As we know st. Athanasios speaks about God becoming man so that man can become a god. St. Paul, st. Irenaeus and st. Athanasios lives in Christ and are united through this, but still they keep their integrity in heaven. In heaven I suppose. This union is not understood within mathematics I think, but maybe I am wrong here.

They are good friends and One in Christ, the new Adam. We must not separate what God has united... Matt 19:6. As you can see I think this saying of Jesus also can be used to show that we must not separate the theology/ies and minds of these three saints and human beings. Although Jesus was mainly speaking of marriage here. Maybe I am on thin ice but I think this is according to the tradition of the Church, because we will be one in Christ. God is our goal.

Peter

#6 Peter S.

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 08:38 PM

I must say in connection to st. Athanasios saying of becoming a god, that I dont wish to become a god, because I dont know what this means. I wish to be a close friend of Jesus. In my experience I can presume I have loved Christ so I can say this.

But maybe these two things are the same. : )

#7 RichardWorthington

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 11:40 AM

As we know st. Athanasios speaks about God becoming man so that man can become a god. St. Paul, st. Irenaeus and st. Athanasios lives in Christ and are united through this, but still they keep their integrity in heaven. In heaven I suppose. This union is not understood within mathematics I think, but maybe I am wrong here.

They are good friends and One in Christ, the new Adam. We must not separate what God has united... Matt 19:6


I must say in connection to st. Athanasios saying of becoming a god, that I dont wish to become a god, because I dont know what this means. I wish to be a close friend of Jesus. In my experience I can presume I have loved Christ so I can say this.

But maybe these two things are the same. : )


Peter!!!

Is friendship all you desire with God and Christ and the saints?

"I dont wish to become a god, because I dont know what this means": then tell me about being a partaker of the divine nature?!? Tell me about becoming Light as God is Light!

We are not ignorant of our salvation!! I do not have patristic quotations to hand at present (and am going away soon - to Florence for a week!), but this is what I have been taught by my Athonite spiritual father, Archimandrite Maximos Lavriotes:

We are not called to friendship with God - but to union. This is what we expect in the sharing of the Eucharist: that we may all become one.

I in Christ, you in Christ, Christ in me, Christ in you - and I in you and you in me - in Christ. Union goes beyond friendship - the saints in heaven are not 'friends' with each other - but are united without destroying their uniqueness. But union goes beyond friendship and 'showing affection'.

The experience of deification shows as 'mud' our everyday experiences of who we are: our capacity for thinking and feeling and so on will pass away with the old heaven and old earth. Yet nothing is lost, but all is gain, for there will be a new heaven and a new earth - and our whole inner being shall be transfigured into the one Light. Yet clearly I shall remain Richard and you as Peter. Here we see only division (which is a corruption of distinction), with an emotional attachment to 'friendship' and such things. There both distinction and union will be seen one in the other.

When thinking of the "Distinction of persons and unity of humans" be careful not to fall into the trap of Augustine of Hippo and the Western Church and consider our existence as WYSIWYG - "What You See Is What You Get". (This is where the evolutionists and creationists are falling over each other in trying to explain our existence.) "What if you were to see the Son of Man ascend to where He was before" "We shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is"

Peter - rejoice "O Israel, happy are we - for things that are pleasing to God are revealed to us!"

Richard
:)

#8 Father David Moser

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 03:41 PM

The experience of deification shows as 'mud' our everyday experiences of who we are: our capacity for thinking and feeling and so on will pass away with the old heaven and old earth.


This assertion is a bit troubling to me. While I do agree that the "mud" of our fallen nature will pass away, our capacity to think and feel are not part of this "mud" but rather are aspects of the soul which are also transformed and glorified along with the rest of the soul and the body as a part of our union with Christ. The intellective (mind) and incensive (heart) aspects of the soul are most certainly "caked with mud" and impaired in this fallen state, however, in themselves they are not part of our fallenness. They will be cleared of the "mud" of our fallen nature, but they themselves will become glorified, transformed and filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Fr David Moser

#9 RichardWorthington

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 04:06 PM

The experience of deification shows as 'mud' our everyday experiences of who we are: our capacity for thinking and feeling and so on will pass away with the old heaven and old earth.

This assertion is a bit troubling to me. While I do agree that the "mud" of our fallen nature will pass away, our capacity to think and feel are not part of this "mud" but rather are aspects of the soul which are also transformed and glorified along with the rest of the soul and the body as a part of our union with Christ. The intellective (mind) and incensive (heart) aspects of the soul are most certainly "caked with mud" and impaired in this fallen state, however, in themselves they are not part of our fallenness. They will be cleared of the "mud" of our fallen nature, but they themselves will become glorified, transformed and filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Fr David Moser


Fr David - "My father, my father - the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!"

Yes, of course I agree with you! That is why I write immediately afterwards:

Yet nothing is lost, but all is gain, for there will be a new heaven and a new earth - and our whole inner being shall be transfigured into the one Light.


If our inner being shall be transfigured then it must still exist!

It is one thing for Fr Maximos to say something to me, another for me to put something down quickly: I should have taken more thought on this.

Yet in the deified state I am sure I have been told that we will not actively be engaged in producing thoughts and responding to feelings. These are things of this world. That is why to prepare for this state we are to take every thought captive to Christ, crucify the flesh with its passions and desires, and cut off our own will (i.e. leave behind our freedom of choice as we look unto Jesus: in heaven we will retain our capacity to choose, but it will never be activated as we will love God with all our heart ...).

Perhaps in trying to be too compact in my writing somethings got a bit lost!

I hope this clarifies things. I can contact Fr Maximos, but will be going on hols soon.

Richard
:)

Edited by RichardWorthington, 11 February 2009 - 04:07 PM.
clarifying the clarification


#10 Peter S.

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 10:52 PM

Is friendship all you desire with God and Christ and the saints?

"I dont wish to become a god, because I dont know what this means": then tell me about being a partaker of the divine nature?!? Tell me about becoming Light as God is Light!

Dear Richard.

You are so right. I hope to be glorified. Hoping for things I have not seen, as it says in the Bible. Maybe I am afraid of things I dont know.

My mouth was too full... I just wrote something. But hope is something different from a wish.

I have heard that we humans are one man. Adam was firstly a combination of man and woman and so all humans are one.

There are One humankind and many personalities in heaven I suppose. Or do we adopt the personality of Christ in heaven? Maybe this is not what we are discussing here.

Peter

#11 Peter S.

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 07:12 PM

The experience of deification shows as 'mud' our everyday experiences of who we are: our capacity for thinking and feeling and so on will pass away with the old heaven and old earth. Yet nothing is lost, but all is gain, for there will be a new heaven and a new earth - and our whole inner being shall be transfigured into the one Light. Yet clearly I shall remain Richard and you as Peter. Here we see only division (which is a corruption of distinction), with an emotional attachment to 'friendship' and such things. There both distinction and union will be seen one in the other.
----------------
Yet in the deified state I am sure I have been told that we will not actively be engaged in producing thoughts and responding to feelings. These are things of this world. That is why to prepare for this state we are to take every thought captive to Christ, crucify the flesh with its passions and desires, and cut off our own will (i.e. leave behind our freedom of choice as we look unto Jesus: in heaven we will retain our capacity to choose, but it will never be activated as we will love God with all our heart ...).Richard



This assertion is a bit troubling to me. While I do agree that the "mud" of our fallen nature will pass away, our capacity to think and feel are not part of this "mud" but rather are aspects of the soul which are also transformed and glorified along with the rest of the soul and the body as a part of our union with Christ. The intellective (mind) and incensive (heart) aspects of the soul are most certainly "caked with mud" and impaired in this fallen state, however, in themselves they are not part of our fallenness. They will be cleared of the "mud" of our fallen nature, but they themselves will become glorified, transformed and filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit. Fr. David


I have thought a bit on what you wrote Richard and I am troubled with your saying "Here we only see division.....,with emotional attachment to 'friendship' and such things."

It is not anything wrong with friendship as it in a way seemed you are saying. (I am not sure you mean that.) I agree that our "emotional attachment to friendship" can be sinful. But.... Friendship includes love. As Paul says love will remain. Our kind of love in our friendship will be transformed or transfigured as you say to something more "true": union. Love.

However in what way will the old pass away?? Or: in what way are the saints engaged in true love here on this side of death? What is transformation? It will be something new and better, we know that.

I use the language from the world I myself are used with.., and say "They are close friends in heaven", but from what you wrote and quoted by Fr. Maximos I understand I missed something. For me that shows that I have a long way to go to salvation. If I not even think about union when I think about heaven... I knew theosis was union and partaking in divine nature btw. Long time since I read "Partakers in divine nature" by archimandrite C. Stavropoulos...

Happy holyday! ;)

Peter

#12 Mina Mounir

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 10:26 AM

... Adam was firstly a combination of man and woman and so all humans are one.

There are One humankind and many personalities in heaven I suppose. Or do we adopt the personality of Christ in heaven? Maybe this is not what we are discussing here.

Peter


Dear Peter, actually this is the only what I was discussing ... and I would ask people to comment or discuss more this point coz it is not clear enough for me ... what are the dimensions of this unity ? is it symbolic and just moral , or is it mystical or is it biological ... how can we understand this unity ... I believe if we understand this unity we will be able to determine the grave consequences of sin , which is recognized as " split and individualism " ... what do u think , friends ?

#13 Paul Cowan

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 01:03 AM

Adam was firstly a combination of man and woman and so all humans are one


I don't know much, but this does not "sound" right to me.

God made Adam from the dust. He made a new creation called man. He then took from Adam a rib and created a new creation called woman. Yes, from these two new creations all mankind have been born. But these first two creations were not one from another, but one by another.

I don't accept an ambryo is both male and female. If this were the case, Darwin wins. We each have our own genetic material from conception. Not all of this material bursts into active growth immediately and some may actually be dormant for some period of time, but a male embryo is not a female embryo. We each are a distinct entity at conception based on sex. We are also united in the human race by our original 2 created ancestors.

Distinct yet the same and the same yet distinct. I fear many of the thoughts running around are 21st century over thinking of something very basic. God made things very simple for us. Humans tend to make things much too difficult.

Paul

#14 Peter S.

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 08:30 PM

I don't know much, but this does not "sound" right to me.

God made Adam from the dust. He made a new creation called man. He then took from Adam a rib and created a new creation called woman. Yes, from these two new creations all mankind have been born. But these first two creations were not one from another, but one by another.

I don't accept an ambryo is both male and female. If this were the case, Darwin wins. We each have our own genetic material from conception. Not all of this material bursts into active growth immediately and some may actually be dormant for some period of time, but a male embryo is not a female embryo. We each are a distinct entity at conception based on sex. We are also united in the human race by our original 2 created ancestors.

Distinct yet the same and the same yet distinct. I fear many of the thoughts running around are 21st century over thinking of something very basic. God made things very simple for us. Humans tend to make things much too difficult.

Paul


I dont know hebrew, but I think the word for man is "isch" and for woman "ischa". Very similar words. "Adama" is dust.

I am not sure if this has something to do with what I have heard that Gen 2:4-17 is the creation of a human being/man, and Gen 2:18-24 is the creation of a woman (and man). Verse 24 says that they are one. And originally they were one body. But it sounds strange for me too.

Peter

#15 Peter S.

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 08:25 PM

Peter!!!

Is friendship all you desire with God and Christ and the saints?

"I dont wish to become a god, because I dont know what this means": then tell me about being a partaker of the divine nature?!? Tell me about becoming Light as God is Light!

We are not ignorant of our salvation!! I do not have patristic quotations to hand at present (and am going away soon - to Florence for a week!), but this is what I have been taught by my Athonite spiritual father, Archimandrite Maximos Lavriotes:

We are not called to friendship with God - but to union. This is what we expect in the sharing of the Eucharist: that we may all become one.

I in Christ, you in Christ, Christ in me, Christ in you - and I in you and you in me - in Christ. Union goes beyond friendship - the saints in heaven are not 'friends' with each other - but are united without destroying their uniqueness. But union goes beyond friendship and 'showing affection'.


Peter - rejoice "O Israel, happy are we - for things that are pleasing to God are revealed to us!"

Richard
:)


I stumbled over this, and remembered what we wrote about friendship and Heaven. Friendship is something big.

... Symeon recounts the great joy that is this union with God, as he warmly remembers being borne up in the Light and drawn into his Saviour.

I cried and lived in an ineffable joy, to have seen You, You the Creator of the universe.32

You judged me, the prodigal, worthy to hear Your voice. / And now I converse with You, the Master, as a friend to a friend.33

This is the heart of Symeon’s theology of Light: the restoration of man to knowledge of and communion with his Saviour; that the two which have unnaturally become strangers might once again exist in union as friends.

St. Symeon the New Theologian: On the divine Light




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