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#21 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 31 July 2016 - 03:29 PM

So far, I too find the pre-lapsarian position convincing for the reasons so far set forth. Does  the Church in fact have a clear teaching? It seems too important a matter to be left to theses one way and another.



#22 Anna Stickles

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Posted 31 July 2016 - 06:49 PM

Hello all, 

 

There is a good discussion starting here, and since this is the topic of my thesis for the pastoral school I thought I would chime in.

 

First about Fr Emmanuel's book, on pg. 26 he states, "Hereto, the debate has centered on the question, 'Has the divine Logos assumed a fallen or a pre-fallen human nature?' However this question cannot provide entirely the correct answer, because it is stated incorrectly. In a way both positions contain elements of truth, yet both are wrong." 

 

Much of this book is well done. It has lots of quotes from the Fathers and, if somewhat repetitively, covers well one of the main points of the debate, which is that Christ assumed the consequences of the fall, but unlike us He assumes these willingly, not under necessity.

 

What Fr. Emmanuel struggles with in this book is that he at times goes on to fall away from the above position in a few particular chapters and starts to put forward a modified pre-lapsarian position.  The pre-lapsarian doctrine has human nature being a finished product, incorrupt by nature rather than incorrupt through completion in and communion with Christ. In a way it is a Christological equivalent of the immaculate conception. Fr. E. often mentions Christ having a perfect humanity (whereas the Fathers talk about him having a complete manhood) and while admitting in practice that Christ willingly suffered the blameless passions, his way of talking about this denies the ontological and soteriological aspects that Lakis brings up in post #15. 

 

I need to go to work soon, but I will try to collect some of my quotes from St Maximos. In Amb 42:

 

"He was compounded according to and from out of both of these conditions of ours and became a completely new Adam, bearing within Himsef the first Adam, undiminished in both conditions."   the two conditions being one the creaturely origin of being made in God's image which is a permanent, essential part of human logos, and two the mode (telos) according to God's economy wherein he takes on human birth with its liability to the passions (see also Ad Thalass 21) and he takes this on precisely as God to overcome it. He overcomes it,  but not by virtue of divine fiat, rather by virtue of his existence as a man.


Edited by Anna Stickles, 31 July 2016 - 06:52 PM.


#23 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 31 July 2016 - 08:30 PM

[Note my use of physical throughout is in the original sense of pertaining to phyisis not the modern sense of physical as in only the body.]

 

Can we really talk of pre-fall (prelapsarian) and post-fall (postlapsarian) human nature? Was human nature (physis) altered physically by the fall or was it the human condition? Those characteristics we say are natural to man such as breathing, eating, drinking, sleeping, reasoning, praying ect... these exist before the fall and afterwards though in a different manner. Those which we say are unnatural, being a result of sin, are death and those things connected therewith, frailty, illness ect... Do the later, post-fall, form part of human nature in a physical sense or do they pertain to the human condition. We know that all men know die, yet Christ was not naturally subject to death, He died because He willed to undergo death, to undergo our condition in order to liberate us from it. Likewise can we not say the same for the rest of his assumption of the human condition, undergoing pain and torment before his crucifixion? If this is so then there is then no issue, for if we were to say Christ assumed a pre-fallen human nature then it could be said: then how was He fully man? For we all without exception are found with post-fallen human nature. But if the change is not to man's nature per se but to its condition then there is no issue from a difference in nature. To use an analogy the body is normally healthy but when it is diseased it becomes unhealthy, this is not a change of the body from one nature to another but from one condition to another; the Physician does not have to assume the condition of illness (become ill) in order to heal the disease, but he may voluntarily assume some of the patients condition such as sleeplessness by abiding with and caring for the one who is ill. So Christ suffers with us, dies with us in our condition but being God redeems that condition, He undergoes death and destroys its power. Now the holy martyrs gain life through undergoing death, now the holy passion bearers gain healing through suffering, now the holy ascetics gain wealth through poverty. 

 

In Christ.

Daniel,



#24 Lakis Papas

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Posted 31 July 2016 - 09:48 PM

Regarding the post of Rd Daniel: the prefall human nature is different from the afterfalll human nature. That is due to ontological change that occurred in the created human nature. I repeat that st Athanasius wrote that: human nature after the fall was attracted to nothingness from where it was its origin.

The human nature is complex and composite being composed by synthesis which in itself is lifeless. Only the Grace of God provides the potential for retaining the capacity of human nature to live. Here, we should understand life as not just the capacity for animation. Life is an uncreated gift for God. It is the participation into God's uncreated energies.

The main afterfall alternation of human nature is that human nature was found naked from this participation to uncreated energies. St Athanasius wrote: "For men having fallen into the unreasonableness of their passions and pleasures, and unable to see anything beyond pleasures and lusts of the flesh, inasmuch as they keep their mind in the midst of these irrational things, they imagined the divine principle to be in irrational things, and carved a number of gods to match the variety of their passions".

Human nature after the fall lost its reference point and became blind. Church fathers use the phrase "their mind was blind". Patrestic mind is the seat of logic located in the heart.

Human nature after the fall became blind and irrational. But it kept its spiritual eye and mind as non properly fuctioning organs.

#25 Lakis Papas

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Posted 31 July 2016 - 09:56 PM



and two the mode (telos) according to God's economy wherein he takes on human birth with its liability to the passions (see also Ad Thalass 21) and he takes this on precisely as God to overcome it. He overcomes it, but not by virtue of divine fiat, rather by virtue of his existence as a man.


This is important to clarify, thank you. Else, real temptation by Satan would be impossible.

#26 Anna Stickles

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Posted 01 August 2016 - 10:49 AM

Lakis,

 

This brings up an interesting issue. I think you and Rd. Daniel are fairly close in what you are saying.  I think we would all agree that man's essential nature as created has not changed, but that what changed is our ontological condition. This change in condition has in some sense changed our nature, but not in essence.

 

"Human nature after the fall lost its reference point and became blind." 

 

Maybe a more accurate way of saying this is. "Humanity after the fall...." in English when we talk about "human nature" this usually references not humanity per say, but rather the essence or core of what man is - ie man's nature as known and willed, as created by God. The word nature when used in this way would be similar I think to St. Maximos' idea of the logos of each created thing.   When we use the word humanity, then what we are referring to is our shared existence as men. My spiritual father commented to me one time, and you see this often in the writings of the saints that we all are in mystical communion with each other wherein the thoughts and feelings of each affect all like invisible waves in the sea of our shared humanity.  Through the sinful inclination of Adam the "sea of human existence" we live in contains an inclination to sin.   

 

This is really where the post or pre lapsarian construct begs the question.  It is concerned with nature as an abstract idea of what man is.  We understand that the Word adopted the whole of what man is, undistorted by sin.  And yet, He also truly entered as a man into this sea of human existence and felt the waves that have been generated by the Fall,  and yet, as the God man, stilled them, reversing and reharmonizing the sin driven currents of our existence/nature. 

 

If we can use the analogy of our "nature" as this ocean -this is our common, our shared existence.  Within each man's body and soul are the currents and effects of what other men are doing.  So maybe one way to look at this is that the ocean didn't change what it was essentially at the fall, but that rather something entered in that caused the conditions of it's existence (its "currents and flows") to change.

 

When St. Maximos talks about Christ what he says is that He has in Himself our natural liability to passion but not the inclination to sin.  Without the former, He could not engage with or touch the sinful currents in man, really he would not be a man.  However as God, encountering these currents, He calms the storm and restores harmony, the proper pattern or currents so to speak.



#27 Anna Stickles

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Posted 01 August 2016 - 11:11 AM

'The wicked one , then, made his assault from without, not by thoughts prompted inwardly,
just as it was with Adam. For it was not by inward thoughts, but by the
serpent that Adam was assailed. But the Lord repulsed the assault and
dispelled it like vapour, in order that the passions which assailed him
and were overcome might be easily subdued by us, and that the new Adam
should save the old.' - Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, III.20.

Met Anthony in talking about the story where Christ was sleeping in the boat, and the disciples become fearful and wake him up and he calms the storm says,

 

"In the case of Peter and the other apostles, they had allowed the storm not only to rage around them, but to enter into them; the storm had become an internal experience; it had conquered. In Christ it remains outside himself; it is conquered. In a passage of St John's Gospel, the Lord says ' the Prince of this world has nothing in him which he can use to kill.'  They are not His words, but the implication is that He is free, He has overcome the world; he can project on it the measurement, the categories of eternity, stability, serenity, salvation, security, not the precarious and frail security of the little boat, but another security, not the peace, the naive peace of those who say 'that will never happen to me'.... but the peace of one who has said, ' It may happen, it will happen, it has happened, and yet because I have lost all human hope, I stand firm and unshakable in divine hope.'  (God and Man, "Doubt and the Christian Life)

 

The theological currents which Fr Emmanuel is addressing arose in postwar Germany, and the Metropolitan living as he did in the same time and philosophical currents as Moltmann, Tillek, Barth, etc. has something particularly relevant to contribute I think. He experienced the same conditions as these theologians but responds from within our tradition.


Edited by Anna Stickles, 01 August 2016 - 11:14 AM.


#28 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 01 August 2016 - 05:37 PM

'The theological currents which Fr Emmanuel is addressing arose in postwar Germany, and the Metropolitan living as he did in the same time and philosophical currents as Moltmann, Tillek, Barth, etc. has something particularly relevant to contribute I think. He experienced the same conditions as these theologians but responds from within our tradition.'

Anna, I assume by 'Metropolitan', you mean Met. Kallistos. I am not clear what you mean when you say he - Met. Kallistos - 'has something particularly relevant to contribute': what is that? And in what way did he respond from the Orthodox Tradition if our Tradition teaches a pre-Fall human nature?



#29 Anna Stickles

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Posted 01 August 2016 - 05:57 PM

Sorry, for the confusion, I  meant Met Anthony Bloom whom I  was  quoting 

 

I don't  have  a  big problem  with the bolded part of the earlier Met Kallistos  quote, there is an aspect of our fallen nature which Christ takes on, - man's liability to passions was not present prefall, but where he srarts to impute internal conflict to Christ - I  think  this  is  problematic because it goes beyond liability to active passion


Edited by Anna Stickles, 01 August 2016 - 06:08 PM.


#30 Antonios

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Posted 01 August 2016 - 06:10 PM

Sorry, for the confusion, I meant Met Anthony Bloom whom I was quoting

I don't have a big problem with the bolded part of the earlier Met Kallistos quote, there is an aspect of our fallen nature which Christ takes on, - man's liability to passions was not present prefall, but where he srarts to impute internal conflict to Christ - I think this is problematic because it goes beyond liability to active passion

But isn't that where the problem begins? To ascribe Christ with a fallen human nature, then this would imply internal conflict, no?

Edited by Antonios, 01 August 2016 - 06:10 PM.


#31 Lakis Papas

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Posted 01 August 2016 - 10:28 PM

St Gregory of Nyssa:
He [Christ] who has been tempted in all things and is without sin [Heb 4.15] holds converse with us in our human nature. He who assumed our weakness showed us a way out of evil through the infirmities of his human nature.

#32 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 12:29 AM

I am wondering if there is a distinction between Christ assuming human nature - pre-Fall human nature- and willingly experiencing the blameless passions, suffering and death? In other words, is there a valid distinction between 'assuming' and 'bearing' (or 'carrying' - cf Isaiah 53:4 - οὗτος τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν φέρει καὶ περὶ ἡμῶν ὀδυνᾶται)?



#33 Antonios

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 12:41 AM

St Gregory of Nyssa:He [Christ] who has been tempted in all things and is without sin [Heb 4.15] holds converse with us in our human nature. He who assumed our weakness showed us a way out of evil through the infirmities of his human nature.


Does St. Gregory mean the infirmities of the blameless passions which He assumed voluntarily, or as it seems to be written above, implying that Christ's human nature was infirm ontologically? How is this to be correctly understood?

#34 Antonios

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 12:52 AM

I am wondering if there is a distinction between Christ assuming human nature - pre-Fall human nature- and willingly experiencing the blameless passions, suffering and death? In other words, is there a valid distinction between 'assuming' and 'bearing' (or 'carrying' - cf Isaiah 53:4 - οὗτος τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν φέρει καὶ περὶ ἡμῶν ὀδυνᾶται)?

On page 179 of the book, it quotes St. Hilary:

"Sharing our common weakness He prayed the Father to save him so that He might teach us that He was born man under all the conditions of man's infirmity. This is why He was hungry and thirsty, slept and was weary, shunned the assemblies of the ungodly, was sad and wept, suffered and died. And it was in order to make it clear that He was subject to all of these conditions, not by his nature, but by assumption..."

And a little later in the paragraph, I believe Father Emmanuel touches upon what you are asking:

"In these significant words we have an explanation as to how the blameless passion were assumed: not by a divine fiat a divine alone, nor by a single decision imposed upon Christ's humanity, or by being born in the predicament of fallen humanity. Rather, the blameless passions were assumed by a continuous act of His deified human will, submitting in total freedom to the divine will."

Edited by Antonios, 02 August 2016 - 12:52 AM.


#35 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 11:29 AM

So, assuming and bearing/carrying are the same thing?



#36 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 12:18 PM

The OED definitions are not quite the same: to assume is to take upon oneself and to bear is to carry.



#37 Lakis Papas

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 12:20 PM

Christ's incarnation signifies a new creation. He is the New Adam. But we can not isolate Jesus as man, He is God-man. When we talk about the nature of a man, we usually do this by abstraction, we never talk about the specific man. We do not care for the specific man. This is not so for Christ.

St John of Damascus wrote the following: "Along with the Father and the Holy Spirit we worship the Son of God, Who was incorporeal before He took on humanity, and now in His own person is incarnate and has become man though still being also God. His flesh, then, in its own nature, if one were to make subtle mental distinctions between what is seen and what is thought, is not deserving of worship since it is created. But as it is united with God the Word, it is worshipped on account of Him and in Him. For just as the king deserves homage alike when un-robed and when robed, and just as the purple robe, considered simply as a purple robe, is trampled upon and tossed about, but after becoming the royal dress receives all honour and glory, and whoever dishonours it is generally condemned to death: and again, just as wood in itself is not of such a nature that it cannot be touched, but becomes so when fire is applied to it, and it becomes charcoal, and yet this is not because of its own nature, but because of the fire united to it, and the nature of the wood is not such as cannot be touched, but rather the charcoal or burning wood: so also the flesh, in its own nature, is not to be worshipped, but is worshipped in the incarnate God Word, not because of itself, but because of its union in subsistence with God the Word. And we do not say that we worship mere flesh, but God's flesh, that is, God incarnate."

#38 Lakis Papas

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 01:02 PM

So, assuming and bearing/carrying are the same thing?

When Jesus, as a man, slept, it was a natural function. Yet, it was not the nature that slept, it was Christ. His human nature, inherited from His Mother, was suitable for sleep, but Christ was free of need of sleeping as God-man. He slept because He wanted to honor the specific natural capacity of His human nature. The difference is that we have to sleep because we are humans, but Christ did what was not obliged to do so as God-man.

By honoring the human capacities of His human nature He provided the proof that human nature is blameless for Adam's fall. He also provided the paradigm on how to be active humans without sin. This path was supposed to be followed by Adam, but Adam failed. Christ succeeded as He carried the same human nature, energized on all sinless natural operations, as Adam carried.

There is one difference: Adam carried human nature's functions as a man - that is by necessity - while Christ did it as a Godman - that is by volition.

So, the biblical situation that Anna mentioned, where Christ slept on a sailing boat during a storm, is a perfect example of how natural functions were active on His life. Metropolitan's explanation is perfect as it is described in Anna's post.

Edited by Lakis Papas, 02 August 2016 - 01:10 PM.


#39 Anna Stickles

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 02:03 PM

Antonios, These are the questions I am working through. The issue is not entirely clear. but as far as it goes this is what I understand:  When St Maximos the Confessor says that Christ assumes the liability to passions, and St Gregory and St Hilary both talk about how Christ was born under the conditions of man's infirmity - yes, this reflects how Christ assumed our nature in its "post-fallen" condition of mortality, and tendency to corruption/disolution, etc. This condition of mortality is an ontological change of condition that happened at the fall.

 

The problem is that the original context of the pre/post lapsarian debate is that it circles around whether Christ assumed a sinless or sinful nature with the former being equated with pre-fall and the latter being associated with post-fall. This is a completely wrong context that does not fit with the Patristic view at all.

 

The Orthodox position is that sin is not a condition of nature, but a mode of operation of the will. There is a lot here that I have not pulled together yet, but St Maximos talks about how Christ, while having the liability to passion like us, unlike us does not have an inclination to sin.   The inclination to sin comes from our separation from God. In a sense it is natural in how Adam's sinful inclination has continued to be present in the whole man, and thus is an inclination we all feel. But it is this unnatural condition of the will that we must struggle to repent of. 

 

The healing of our will comes from struggling toward God in our weakened condition. This is what brings us to repentance through continually reminding us and teaching us our dependence on God.  When we are baptized we renounce Satan and all his pomp and all his pride - the only way that this pride is healed and driven out and we re-learn our dependence on and true relationship to God is through struggle in this condition of weakness.

 

The Word made flesh of course does not need to learn dependence, he is not in our sinful condition of accepting Satan's poison of self-dependence, self-creation, yet he fully takes on our weakness so as to be present fully with us in the condition God has given us for our salvation. This presence in our true current condition heals us and provides an example for us.  St Gregory the Theologian attempts to articulate this in Oration 30 on the Son.

 

 

  1. 36 “My God, my God, look upon me, why have you forsaken me?”37 seems to me to have the same
    kind of meaning. He is not forsaken either by the Father or, as some think, by his own Godhead, which shrank in
    fear from suffering, abandoning the sufferer. Who applies that argument either to his birth in this world in the first place or to his ascent of the cross?
    No, in himself, as I have said, he expresses our condition. We had once been the forsaken and disregarded; then we were accepted and now are saved by the sufferings of the impassible. He made our thoughtlessness and waywardness his own, just as the psalm, in its subsequent course, says38—since the Twenty-First Psalm clearly refers to Christ.

        Connected with this general view are the facts that he “learned obedience by the things which he suffered,” his “strong crying” and “tears,” the fact that he “entreated,” that he “was heard” and that he was “God-fearing.”39 These things are a marvelously constructed drama dealing with us. As Word he was neither obedient nor disobedient—the terms apply to amenable subordinates or inferiors who deserve punishment. But as the “form of a slave”40 he comes down to the same level as his fellow-slaves; receiving an alien “form” he bears the whole of me, along with all that is mine, in himself, so that he may consume within himself the meaner element, as fire consumes wax or the Sun ground mist, and so that I may share in what is his through the intermingling.

 

 


 

Basil Fasting and Feasts p. 29 “As fire come to be in iron: not by a change of place, but by a sharing of itself. For fire does not go out of itself and into the iron; rather, while remaining in is place, it shares its own power with the iron. It is in no way diminished when it shares itself, and the whole of it fills whatever shares in it. So it is in this way too that God the Word did not move out of himself when ‘he dwelt among us’ Nor did he undergo a change when the ‘word became flesh’….   “ As fire does not share the distinguishing marks of the iron….so too it is with the human flesh of the Lord: it shares the in the divinity, yet it does not impart its own weakness to the divinity. God is in flesh that he may kill the death that lurks therein. For as harm caused by poisonous drugs can be overcome by antidotes when they are assimilated by the body, and as darkness in the house is dissolved by the introduction of light, so too the death that dominates in human nature is obliterated by the presence of divinity….death rules until the advent of Christ, but when the ‘saving grace of God appears’ and the ‘sun of righteousness rises’ ‘death is swallowed up in victory,’ unable to bear the visitation of true life. ” p. 30


One thing that you have to be careful with in reading the Jesus Fallen book is that often Fr. E. slips into a true prelapsarian position, denying that Christ took on our weakened and now mortal condition of nature.  He offers quotes to this effect, (even quotes from Calving and Thomas Aquinas!) but I feel that he is taking the Patristic quotes out of context.  This causes a number of inconsistencies in his presentation. (Just looking at the St Basil's quote - why even be concerned with the issue of imparting human weakness to the divine if Christ's human nature was not weak?)

 

Thus Fr. E. says "Rather, the blameless passions were assumed by a continuous act of His deified human will, submitting in total freedom to the divine will." and throughout the book he sees the blameless passions being assumed in this kind of external way as an add on to an incorrupt and unweakened nature, rather than part of the actual conditions of the nature Christ took on.  When we talk about Christ's nature being deified, this does not mean in itself it is outside the conditions of the fall, but that rather in whatever condition it is in it subsists in God.  What we see is that Christ came to us economically in the conditions in which He finds us, He does not come to us in conditions which are no longer present - this is an abstract impossibility.


Edited by Anna Stickles, 02 August 2016 - 02:16 PM.


#40 Antonios

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 03:04 PM

Thank you all for the great posts above.  Very thought provoking!  I look forward to reading more!  






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