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Meaning of life


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#1 Jan Sunqvist

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 02:50 AM

Are gnosis (knowledge) and pistis (faith) inherently at odds with each other?

Science claims we are the only species on this planet that has the ability to be self-aware. It seems that man has been asking himself about the meaning of life since the earliest of times.

Is our wondering about the meaning of life a gift through which man can grow in understanding and approach the Truth, or is our very wondering a reflection of our fallen nature, in the sense that because we have lost the direct communion with the Creator, we now ask ourselves such questions?

#2 Scott F

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 01:43 AM

Are gnosis (knowledge) and pistis (faith) inherently at odds with each other?

Science claims we are the only species on this planet that has the ability to be self-aware. It seems that man has been asking himself about the meaning of life since the earliest of times.

Is our wondering about the meaning of life a gift through which man can grow in understanding and approach the Truth, or is our very wondering a reflection of our fallen nature, in the sense that because we have lost the direct communion with the Creator, we now ask ourselves such questions?


Another way I think to ask this is to say "what greater meaning is my life a part of? "

#3 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 06:38 PM

Your question boils down to this:

Were we omniscient (pantognostes?) before the Fall? I have been taught that only God is omniscient. At no time have I come across one of the Fathers (even among the Latins, who can be a bit "effusive" in ascribing powers to Adam before the Fall) claiming that Adam was ever omniscient. Thus, if even Adam before the Fall is not to be taken to have been omniscient, I would say that we have always had to "ask".

#4 Jan Sunqvist

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 07:06 PM

I am not sure how to ask this question more clearly, but it is something that I have struggled with for a long time and still something I struggle with, having once upon a time bitten into non-Orthodox 'way of thinking'.

I am not asking if Adam was omniscient before the Fall. It seems clear to me that he was not. And I do believe that only God is truly and completely omniscient.

I guess I am struggling with understanding rightly the opening of the Book of Genesis- the very Fall, the snake and the two Trees in relation to Man's understanding of himself and the rest of Creation, but also to his spiritual health and potential for Theosis.

I am not well read in Patristics. If someone can sense what I am struggling with, since I cannot articulate it very well, please suggest to me what I could read that would help me with this question.

Edited by Jan Sunqvist, 07 April 2011 - 07:27 PM.


#5 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 08:36 PM

I don't know if this even comes close to answering the question, but it seems to this bear of admittedly little brain that the reason we are here is so that God can love us.

That's it. Because some people don't like that answer, we go to great lengths to come up with other answers, which ultimately do not satisfy because they are not THE answer. But I think that is the answer.

What you decide to do about it is another matter altogether.

Herman the Pooh

#6 Jan Sunqvist

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 09:41 PM

Herman,

thank you for your response. I don't for a second doubt that that is THE answer. In it's simplicity it rings true, and makes me look at my question in a different light. In fact, it makes me laugh at myself at my own 'thinking' and 'questioning'.

On the other hand, as I find myself continually and repeatedly in a place of confusion and sin and even worse, the fact that there is a possibility that this very answer may burn me if I don't truly and fully accept it in my heart... I don't feel like laughing at myself anymore.

#7 J.J. Morris

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 01:20 AM

Are gnosis (knowledge) and pistis (faith) inherently at odds with each other?


Science claims we are the only species on this planet that has the ability to be self-aware. It seems that man has been asking himself about the meaning of life since the earliest of times.

I'm not speaking from a Christian or Orthodox view, as I'm not really inclined to just accept that gnosis—as it pertains to whether or not God exists—is actually possessed by anyone in the sense of the Church beliefs about it. I don't intend to derail this thread with that tired and worn topic though.


As for knowledge and faith being inherently at odds with each other, in the sense that I live: What I consider knowledge, I don't necessarily regard at the same time that it is by definition absolute and taking account of all other potentialities. In that sense, I believe knowledge and faith are compatible. If so, does this mean that they cannot be at odds? Not as I see it. There has to be a point where things can possibly be at odds which could incite me to have a change of mind/heart.


As I said I can't speak from the Orthodox view, but a few words about it might do some good: I think every person is going to hold incompatible beliefs. Does this mean that a set of beliefs such as the Orthodox beliefs are not internally consistent? I can't honestly remark on that, which is basically the message I would want to get across. So whether the discussion about it will help to assert a consistency and compatibility of gnosis and pistis or not, it's always good to be able too look at ourselves and cast out the log from our own eyes. Be very astute in your studies of anything you want to know. Anyone who has not resolved to do this: Making this promise to yourself will greatly help yourself as well as others.


Sidenote: Dolphins have the ability to be self-aware. There is actually starting to be (serious) discussion from scientists about legally classifying them as "non-human persons" due to the amount of collaborative work we can, have, and will continue to do with them. I still take your sentiment as having much merit though, in perusing the overall context of the thread.


Is our wondering about the meaning of life a gift through which man can grow in understanding and approach the Truth, or is our very wondering a reflection of our fallen nature, in the sense that because we have lost the direct communion with the Creator, we now ask ourselves such questions?

It might just be the direct impact of being self-aware and having unstructured consciousness as humans do. What we specifically become aware of will always have its part in determining what we want to know afterwards. Could it be that the cycle of life itself lays ground work for many of the most asked questions? When a baby is born, what we see is precious. At least, the baby is seen as precious; sometimes all that other stuff people aren't always seeing the beauty in. Haha. I guess I'm asking if sometimes we have values that start to inform our minds as to what mysteries are so incredible to us?


Blessings to you.




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