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There is no Final Judgement - dogmatic novelty


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#1 Lakis Papas

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 11:18 PM

In the last 30 years a very important theological dogmatic shift took place. Prior to that, there was a solid dogmatic belief that we,Christians, wait for the second coming of Christ to judge all mankind - alive and dead. Hell and Paradise were having a meaning due to active judgment of Christ. This solid dogma is also confessed in the Creed of Nicea.

 

"The river of Fire" by Kalomiros is one of the most famous homilies that publicly began to question the established doctrine of Judgment. Gradually many theologians, priests and bishops started to adopt this novel theological theory that believed that there is no judgment to wait for. According to their explanation, Paradise and Hell are two versions of the subjective acceptance of the Love of God.

 

It seems that modern theologians and clergy follow this new dogmatic declination without asking for a council to confirm its validity.

 

Here are two examples of prayers that are not in compliance with this new dogmatics:

 

  1. BEFORE RECEIVING HOLY COMMUNION: ...May the communion of Thy Holy Mysteries be neither to my judgment, nor to my condemnation, O Lord, but to the healing of soul and body. Amen.

  2. PRAYER FOR THE DEPARTED: O God of spirits and of all flesh, Who hast trampled down death and overthrown the Devil, and given life to Thy world, do Thou, the same Lord, give rest to the souls of Thy departed servants in a place of brightness, a place of refreshment, a place of repose, where all sickness, sighing, and sorrow have fled away. Pardon every transgression which they have committed, whether by word or deed or thought.


 

When we ask God for forgiveness, mercy, compassion, forbearance and generally everything that one judged asks from the judge, we adopt such an ecclesiastical language because we wait for the second coming of Christ to judge all mankind!  All eschatological prayers are centered on the final righteous Judge, that is Christ. The doctrine of Kalomiros has no liturgical reference.

 

Kalomiros’ theological way of thinking makes logical leaps. It sets the assumption that punishment is incompatible with Love. It considers God's punishment proportional to the punishment of man. It takes refuge to new solutions addressing nonexistent deadlocks.

 

Kalomiros asserts that: “Paradise and hell are one and the same River of God, a loving fire which embraces and covers all with the same beneficial will, without any difference or discrimination. The same vivifying water is life eternal for the faithful and death eternal for the infidels; for the first it is their element of life, for the second it is the instrument of their eternal suffocation; paradise for the one is hell for the other.”

 

I think, Kalomiros’ theology is in contradiction with Christ’s words (Matthew 25:41):  “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels”. Hell was specially prepared for devil -  hell and paradise are not the “same River”. Hell was not prepared at the same time with paradise. Hell was prepared by God after the rebellion of devil, until then devil was not in hell and hell was nonexistent. This is not the only contradiction of Kalomiros’ doctrine.

 

Another absurdity of Kalomiros’ doctrine is that Ηell and Paradise are one uncreated reality emanating from God as one real flowing Love and separated into two versions of reality by the people. Thus the peoples become generators of Paradise and Hell and God is the provider of raw material that is neutral.





 


Edited by Lakis Papas, 31 May 2015 - 11:22 PM.


#2 Panayotis

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 05:50 PM

I find it hard to believe that many theologians and bishops teach that there will be no final judgement. If that were the case then we would have encountered a controversy concerning the subject just as we did with other innovations. I see that prior discussion on this forum correctly indicated that when orthodox theologians speak on this subject we need to consider audience, circumstances and purpose. If there is any difference between the "new" teaching and the "old", the difference is in emphasis. In presenting the Church's traditional teaching, the modern theologians that you refer to are simply attempting to combat the heretical and blasphemous view that an angry God will sentence sinners to an eternal frying pan. I don't think I need to show how common this flawed eschatological conception is among both (uniformed) members of the Church and unbelievers.

#3 Father David Moser

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 08:01 PM

At a more or less informal discussion among our diocesan clergy the consensus was that it is indeed incorrect to assume that there is no distinction of place between heaven and hell - that they are not simply differing experiences of one and the same environment. This distinction is clear from every mention of the judgment given by our Lord - e.g. the left and the right sides (sheep and goats); being cast out of the banquet hall into the outer darkness; etc.

 

The icons of the last judgement also shed some light on the topic in that the "river of fire" that proceeds from the judgement seat of Christ does not encompass all standing before the judgement seat, but rather is directed specifically to (and through) the sinners destined for hell while the righteous are untouched by it.  If we all experienced the same "river of fire" why is this then not depicted anywhere in the icons.

 

In general I think that way too much attention is given to the concept of what exactly happens after we die or at the final judgement.  It is enough to know that this will happen and that there will be an accounting for how we have lived our lives.  The specifics are so far beyond our ability to comprehend that at the best we can only speak in iconic images (river of fire, tollhouses, banquet hall, lake of fire, Abraham's bosom, etc.) and even then we must not forget that these are only vague images of the reality that we will face.  More important is to focus on the lives we now lead to avoid torment and enter into paradise.  If thinking on the afterlife does not lead directly to repentance in this life, then we are thinking about it in the wrong way.

 

Fr David Moser



#4 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 11:21 PM

I hope this is not too far from the point but the following saying of St Ambrose of Optina is, to me, very instructive:

 


One who has an evil heart should not despair, for with God’s help, one can correct his heart. He must only remain vigilant and miss no opportunity to help his neighbours. He must open himself up before his elder, and must be as charitable as possible. This, of course cannot be accomplished all at once, but the Lord is very patient. He brings a person’s life to an end only when He sees him ready to depart into eternity or when he sees no hope for his correction. [My emphasis.]

 

To keep this in mind may be a spur to the resistance of temptation.



#5 Lakis Papas

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 07:12 PM

It seems that God has little to do with bringing a person's life to an end: biology and circumstances seem to define timing. Fathers connect all aspects of human life with God's good Will.

#6 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 07:41 PM

I'm afraid I do not follow Lakis's post; it seems self-contradictory, though I'm sure it is not meant to be. If He knows when a sparrow falls to earth, is God not then in charge of our destinies, much as we may not understand His ways?


Edited by Reader Andreas, 02 June 2015 - 07:41 PM.


#7 Lakis Papas

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 08:55 PM

Freedom is the main characteristic of Life which was gifted by Creator to creatures. In a way that remains a Mystery, trajectory of freedom is not destined, yet it converges into uncreated Will of the Father. Knowledge of fall of a sparrow is in compliance to this kind of freedom.

#8 Kosta

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 04:49 PM

I dont think there is any rejection of a final judgement. Nor do I believe there is a new or an old teaching on this. Instead the pendulum swings one way and emphasis is placed on the 'state' of hell characterized as a burning fire, while on the other end of the pendulum emphasis is placed on the distinction of place. The latter is overemphasized at the expense of the former. We can clearly see a distinction of place in scripture likewise we know that Jesus told the repentant thief: TODAY, you will be with me in paradise and descended into Hades.

 

St Gregory the Dialogist writing in 590 ad in his dialogues affirms both positions:

 

GREGORY: Touching this point I dare not rashly define anything: for some have been of opinion that hell was in some place  upon the earth; and others think that it is under the earth: but then this doubt ariseth, for if it be therefore called hell, or an infernal place, because it is below, then as the earth is distant from heaven, so likewise should hell be distant from the earth: for which cause, perhaps, the Prophet saith: Thou hast delivered my soul from the lower hell;  so that the higher hell may seem to be upon the earth, and the lower under the earth: and with this opinion that sentence of John agreeth, who, when he had said, that he saw a book sealed with seven seals: and that none was found worthyneither in heaven, nor in earth, nor under the earth, to open the book, and loose the seals thereof:  he added forthwith: and I wept much: which book, notwithstanding, afterward he saith was opened by a lion of the tribe of Juda. By which book, what else can be meant but the holy scripture, which our Saviour alone did open: for being made man, by his death, resurrection, and ascension, he did reveal and make manifest all those mysteries which in that book were closed and shut up. And none in heaven, because not any Angel; none upon earth, because not man living in body; not any under the earth was found worthy: because neither the souls departed from their bodies could open unto us, beside our Lord himself, the secrets of that sacred book. Seeing, then, none under the earth is said to be found worthy to open that book, I see not what doth let, but that we should believe that hell is in the lower parts, under the earth.

PETER. I beseech you: Is there one fire in hell, or, according to the diversity of sinners, be there so many sorts of fire prepared in that place? (ch 42 bk4)

 

GREGORY. The fire of hell is but one: yet doth it not in one manner torment all sinners. For every one there, according to the quantity of his sin, hath the measure of his pain. For as, in this world, many live under one and the same sun, and yet do not alike feel the heat thereof: for some be burnt more, and some less: so in that one fire, divers manners of burning be found, for that which in this world diversity of bodies doth, that in the next doth diversity of sins: so that although the fire be there all alike, yet doth it not in one manner and alike burn and torment them that be damned.(ch43 bk4)



#9 Lakis Papas

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 07:53 PM

Kosta, I understand things differently. I do not see the swing. I think that modern theology is afraid of being old-fashioned. Modern theology is afraid the answer to the question: why God created hell for devil ? It provides the easy answer: "God loves His creatures". Modern theology is afraid to declare "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”.

#10 Owen Jones

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 12:05 PM

Thanks for an excellent topic which, frankly, most priests shy away from in their sermons.  As a result, the faithful are grossly misled by their own opinions.  A couple of references:  Origen (I know, I know) "God is a consuming fire and according to our inner disposition, He either illuminates or burns."  Now, he is likely referring to the here and now, but that is really the only thing we have in terms of discerning what a future heaven and hell might be like.  Then there is St. Dionysius' exposition of evil in the Divine Names which we need to take seriously, the gist of which is that evil has no separate existence of its own, but is a lack of the Good. 

 

A lot of "modernists" have an agenda, which is to make Orthodoxy more palatable and acceptable to a liberal culture.  Also, a reaction to Calvinism to the absurd point at which they act in denial of any atonement for our sins. 

 

A lady in coffee hour recently interrupted me after I had made a comment about the 4 last things.  She said there is no Hell because God would put us there.  I responded by saying that we put ourselves there.  I think that should be the primary point. 



#11 Lakis Papas

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 01:42 PM

A lady in coffee hour recently interrupted me after I had made a comment about the 4 last things.  She said there is no Hell because God would put us there.  I responded by saying that we put ourselves there.  I think that should be the primary point. 


I have a question.

We put ourselves there ... Can we achieve this by ourselves alone with no God's active energy?

#12 Owen Jones

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Posted 07 June 2015 - 07:22 PM

I certainly would think not!  But rhetorically, it's an important point to be made with people who's concept of God is either that He is a wrathful, hateful, punishing God, or, a loving, forgiving God, because the two are incompatible -- in their minds.  And yet they all had parents!



#13 Deacon John Martin

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 01:25 PM

According to St. Mark of Ephesus, both the righteous and the evil-doers will experience the same fire issuing from God, but will experience the fire in different ways:

 

“Since the saints do not bring with them any evil work or evil mark, this fire manifests them as brighter, as gold tried in the fire, or as the stone amianthus, which, as it is related, when placed in fire it appears as charred, but when taken out of the fire become even cleaner, as if washed with water, as were also the bodies of the Three Youths in the Babylonian furnace. Sinners, however, who bring evil with themselves, are seized as a suitable material for this fire and are immediately ignited by it, and their “work,” that is, their evil disposition or activity, is burned and utterly destroyed and they are deprived of what they brought with them, that is, deprived of their burden of evil, while they themselves are “saved” — that is, will be preserved and kept forever, so that they might not be subjected to destruction together with their evil.” (First Homily on Purgatorial Fire)

 

St. Maximus the Confessor says something similar:

 

“God is the sun of justice, as it is written, who shines rays of goodness on simply everyone. The soul develops according to its free will into either wax because of its love for God or into mud because of its love for matter. Thus just as by nature the mud is dried out by the sun and wax is automatically softened, so also every soul which loves matter and the world and has fixed its mind far from God is hardened as mud according to its free will and by itself advances to its perdition, as did Pharaoh. However, every soul which loves God is softened as wax, and receiving divine impressions and characters it becomes ‘the dwelling place of God in the Spirit.’”



#14 Lakis Papas

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 08:06 PM

Dear John Martin, 

 

St Markus' fire is presented performing one action with different side efects for saints and sinners, but is it evelasting? If it is, why it stays on ?

 

St Maximus' fire is clearly acting during "economy" (before general resurrection) and not at "eschaton" time (after general resurrection).

 

I do not see how they support the duality identification of hell and paradise as one energy of God.



#15 Deacon John Martin

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Posted 26 June 2015 - 02:46 AM

The one energy of God is divided indivisibly, sustaining, glorifying, and chastising according to the individual disposition. If it had the same effect on all, then that would mean that we would all be glorified, for example.

 

St. Mark is not positing a temporary or created fire; that is the Latin position that he was opposing. This fire is by necessity uncreated and eternal. As for St. Maximus, in Ambiguum 65, he presents the eternal eighth day as being the “unalloyed, all-shining presence of God” from which those who have lived according to nature, i.e. the righteous, will receive eternal well-being, but on the other hand, the sinners receive eternal ill-being.

 

And going back to your Eucharist example, clearly it gives the righteous and sinners different effects according to their disposition, being alternately blessing or condemnation.



#16 Ben Johnson

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 02:23 PM

Most posters are using the word "light" in this conversation, but Jesus uses the term "light" and "darkness."  I do not think any of us know what fuels hell.  I agree with the original poster that it is not just a subjective experience of the Lord's light.






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