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#21 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 14 November 2016 - 11:08 PM

Just to be clear, Lakis, are you talking about people who have not been baptised and chrismated? I ask because we receive God into our hearts, our whole being, at these sacraments.



#22 Lakis Papas

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Posted 15 November 2016 - 06:18 PM

On the issue of free will:  most Church Fathers use the Greek word "αυτεξούσιον"  (man's self conditioning ability) - with this word Church Fathers declare that men have the privilege of kings, that is to make decisions for themselves and to condition the way they live their lives based on these decisions. Unfortunately I do not know of an English word with this meaning, so I will use the phrase "free will".
 
The "free will" is a necessary complement of the noetic and together constitute the meaning of the phrase that "man was created in the image of God".
The noetic is considered as the gift of skill and ability to judge right about all things and to understand what is the will of God.
The "free will" is the privilege of man to decide by himself alone whether to act in pursuit of God's will. With these two, noetic and "free will", man becomes self-conscious and self-governed being. "free will" is expressed through human mind, because the mind is the path through which the soul is expressed.
 
The proper use of noetic and "free will" guides man to become consious of his destiny to become like God and to become enpowered to follow his destiny, by asking synergy with God for this goal.
 
We all start will our fallen human state, with no "free will" power and with disoriented mind. Certainly, we make choices and we think logically (most of the times), but we do not have the privilage to make decision alone for ourselves, nor we understand what God's will is.
 
Maybe we think that st Mary of Egypt made a decision to follow Christ, and that was a one time decision - this is not the case when we read how about her life.
 
Or, maybe we think that Holy Virgin was asked to become Mother of God unexpectedly - this is not the case when we understand her way of life and her preparation for years, before she was visited by the Archangel, or when we understand her reply to the Archangel.
 
Both, "free will" and mind are faculties inherited by human nature but, for that, they are subjected to perfection and decadence. It is true, that in the Baptism man is gifted with many gifts from the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, because we are created beings, these gifts are gradually become inactive, or unused. We need to mature spiritually for their reactivation, or first time activation.


#23 Anna Stickles

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 03:42 PM

Just some random thoughts. Proper study of tradition looks at tradition in its wholeness. It is always a dangerous proposition to try to conform the Truth to ideas we get in our mind without looking at the wider picture. These ideas or symbols can be helpful in touching upon one aspect of tradition, but usually fall short in other areas. This is why the Fathers always use numerous different symbolic pictures to communicate with us.

 

In some of the word pictures created by the Fathers it does speak of the heart as closed to God, that God is "outside of it".  More often we see our situation pictured as us being closed to God who indeed is already present -He is waiting outside the door, He is the light which is everywhere present and the reason we are dark is that we have closed our eyes. God does condescend to our state - He does not try to force our will, but leads it, works to persuade it.

 

And a last thing, that I will put as a question: while Christ knows when the answer is going to be "no" why He waits for a vain attempt outside of the door?

 

This is not a vain knocking, the knocking itself is Christ's engagement with trying to get our attention. His waiting is not in vain, but has the purpose of calling us to open the door. We may not respond immediately to the call, as my spiritual father once said, the heart is not a light switch, but his engagement with us gradually gets our attention.

 

He initiates the contact, and waits for us to respond. This back and forth goes through many different stages from some initial contact  that "gets our attention" and starts us struggling toward him* (St Theophan calls this a grace filled awakening), to leading us toward what is needed to abandon sin and commit ourselves wholly to God, to a more intense struggle to wholly purify ourselves and become transparent to God, becoming as we say of the saints "windows" or icons in which His character and will and likeness is wholly present and visible in a living and active way.

 

*St Theophan also talks about how this initial contact, this "knocking", can have a sudden response like with St Mary, but in most cases it is quite gradual and goes through many stages, especially the beginning of which may not be noticeable to the person experiencing it.


Edited by Anna Stickles, 18 November 2016 - 03:56 PM.


#24 Anna Stickles

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 03:47 PM

I understand the issue of "free will", but we also must understand that a human with a heart full of passions is not free. It is not our will that will keep the door closed, it is our ontological status that keeps the door closed.

 

This is true to some extent. I would say that our ontological status keeps us from being wholly transparent to God. But a large portion of the Father's writings teach precisely that our will is the problem.  The will is not wholly free, but it is partially free and never wholly enslaved, so there is always the cooperation with God possible that will gradually lead the will to more freedom.  The root of this freedom lies in how the image of God in man is never wholly erased, man always retains some ability to recognize and move toward what is good and holy.



#25 Lakis Papas

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 10:08 PM

Anna, seems like God is continually occupied with man's salvation. (This is not sarcasm). After judgment day, when salvation will be completed, God may rest.




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