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Man created free, yet also with 'rules'?


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#1 S. David

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 05:16 AM

Hi,

When God created man, His pupose was for the man to be god in Grace, right? So He set some rules for him to reach that goal out of his free will. But I see contradiction here: a set of rules, and free will. In other words: God created us free-will beings, but we should use this free-will toward a specific target, otherwise, we are lost.

Is my understanding correct? I appreciate if someone corrects me if I am wrong.

Thanks

#2 Myles Lane

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 05:42 AM

One cannot be free if one stives to be what he cannot be, or strives to be what he is meant to be in ways that do not lead to that end.
these rules define in portions, making a whole picture by acquiring experience of them, what and how it is to be like God and live in God as gods by Grace. So they do not impede on free will but enable the will to express freedom by lifting us out of ignorance, showing us in portions how to fulfill our purpose. That is, become what we are meant to be. Within these rules we find that becoming gods by grace is truly an act of grace and not law.

that is my short version understanding. In the second chapter of Sirach it's said, "if you wish to be wise, keep the commandments." Elsewhere Christ says that his words are​ truth and life.

#3 Julia Hayes

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 06:21 AM

If there were no rules that man could break, there would be no test of his freedom. We are only free when we have a choice. Man could choose to obey God's rule and continue living in communion with him and progressing towards theosis, or he could choose to disobey God's rule and separate himself from God. Without the rule man would not be free to choose to live in communion with God or not.

#4 Kusanagi

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 10:56 AM

St Maximos the Confessor said that man's free will needed to be tested so God set him the rules as to what tree he could eat from. It is located in the book about free choice and it is an excellent read and you can learn so much about free will and why man fell.
Once the rules were in place it is down to Adam and Eve to choose whether to obey or not much like when disciplining children.

#5 Owen Jones

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 01:53 PM

Are you suggesting that we don't have free will if we are governed by the laws of gravity and centripetal force?

#6 S. David

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 03:17 PM

No, of course man has free will, but my point is that: God created us to fulfill our goal with free will, right?. But this free will must work toward Theosis, otherwise you will be punished. Like one says: you must do this but with your free will. It is seems to me it is kind of enforcement to the free will to act in a certain way, because God created man in a certain way with a certain goal, i.e.: he is designed according to this purpose.

#7 Myles Lane

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 05:49 PM

Telling a person that their purpose for being created is to be in full relationship with God doesn't infringe on the freedom of choice. Telling a person that there is only one true form of love, that is like Christ, does not infringe on free will either. Gods commandments don't infringe on free will any more than being forced to eat if we wish to live does.

#8 Owen Jones

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 07:10 PM

Nobody is saying that free will is absolute. Free will functions, first of all, only in a spiritual healthy soul. We all I am sure have examples of friends or family members who act impulsively and obsessively, always reacting, never actually rationally choosing. It all gets back to choices they have made, but also being receptive to evil influences. But there is no doubt that their free will is seriously impaired. So free will always functions within certain limited boundaries.
Also, we must not confuse free will with doing whatever we want, whenever we want. Nor is it simply a matter of: or else you will be punished. There are certain laws at work here, both natural and spiritual.

#9 S. David

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 07:22 PM

I feel I am not clear, or I do not understand what you all saying. Let us take Lanes's example of eating: we must eat or we will die. Now you are free to eat or not, but to live you have to eat. In other words, you have to use your free will to eat to remain alive. The same thing can be said to the free will of man and his purpose, where he has to use his free will toward specific direction or he will die.

#10 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 08:40 PM

I think in my opinion that free will can not be thought of as it is popular to think of it in the modern world rather it is the freedom to choose Life to "Do good, seek peace and pursue it." or not to. God is the only one who we might say has absolute freedom to do as He wills.

Also I think it is not so much that God set us rules to follow or we are punished so much as God is Life , He upholds all creation when we are in Communion with Him we have life, should we choose not to be, should we choose to reject Him and fall away from Life, we return towards no-creation towards nothing, death. It is only by God's mercy that we do not fall away into nothingness. I would suggest reading Saint Athanasius and the other Holy Fathers who wrote regarding this.

That's my two pence anyhow.

In Christ.
Daniel,

#11 Myles Lane

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 08:49 PM

I feel I am not clear, or I do not understand what you all saying. Let us take Lanes's example of eating: we must eat or we will die. Now you are free to eat or not, but to live you have to eat. In other words, you have to use your free will to eat to remain alive. The same thing can be said to the free will of man and his purpose, where he has to use his free will toward specific direction or he will die.

Yes, that is the most simple idea of our freedom. We are granted the ability to choose God, or Satan. Choose the way of life or the way of death. We have freedom of choice but not the freedom to create from nothing. We cannot just make bread appear when are hungry nor can we fly just because we wish. That kind of freedom belongs only to God, but we have been made in his image and likeness and in that we have the freedom of choice. That is, the ability to make use of what is in different ways. But, there are consequences according to the nature of existence and creation. So man is free in that he can choose for or against his own created nature.

#12 Owen Jones

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 12:33 AM

Free will is paradoxical. Creation itself is grounded in paradox. Live with it. Love it.

#13 Georgije Z.

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 06:20 PM

Hi,

When God created man, His pupose was for the man to be god in Grace, right? So He set some rules for him to reach that goal out of his free will. But I see contradiction here: a set of rules, and free will. In other words: God created us free-will beings, but we should use this free-will toward a specific target, otherwise, we are lost.

Is my understanding correct? I appreciate if someone corrects me if I am wrong.

Thanks

 

First, you say "He set some rules". How do you prove it? When you say "rules" it sounds like 'commands'.

The free will, our free will, is infinite since the creation of God is infinite, at least. 

So imagine an endless world (in all aspects possible to measure) and than you will understand the free will.

 

Human free will which correspondences with the truth is mirrored in a moral life. God doesn't need slaves, rule-respects, etc. 

 

To understand the free will i will explain it by describing a society which is perfectly moral.

It is a society where there is a top-power controlling all people on the earth. When you are born, you are recorded and followed and by doing the rules made by top-power you will never make any mistake. If a mistake happens than you are eliminated from the society (disappear).

It is a fictitious story which could be true if NWO takes over. It is actually the society which Jewish expected by Messiah, as Berdyaev described it well.

The only problem there is that you don't have the free will.

 

So, as you see, the true free will is only possible in a life in correspondence with the truth. 

 

Sorry if I missed something.



#14 Owen Jones

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 02:39 AM

Forgive me, but reflection on this truth is not something that can be achieved ex nihilo through analytical logic alone.  It requires the guidance of the Church.  In a sense, a true Christian voluntarily becomes an indentured servant of Christ.  St. Paul called himself a slave (doulos) to Christ.  When we become slaves to Christ, that is when we discover true freedom.  It changes us and allows our rational mind to function properly according to its created purpose.  There is very much useful wisdom in the Church on the true nature and function of the rational mind, but it is clouded.  So, through a step by step process of obedience and training, our minds become unclouded, we become illumined, and things that were confusing to us before become clear.  And it the risk of repeating myself, free will is paradoxical.  By surrending to God we become free.  The most obvious paradox, which needs to be stated because people these days studiously avoid the obvious, is that God created a world that He knew in advance He would have to save.  There is no overcoming that paradox through some kind of analytics.  Instead, we have faith that God knew what he was doing, and any attempt on our part to try to get into God's mind in the matter is the same sin that Adam and Eve were guilty of. 

 

Oh, and by the way, creation is not infinite in any respect.  It has a beginning and an end.  And all creation, moment by moment, has only contingent existence. 



#15 Lakis Papas

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 09:04 AM

I aggree with Mr Jones.
 
Let me add that the "free will" is based on two points: one is the nature, the other is the rational ability. For example, to want to eat is based on my nature, to want to fly on the air is based on my logic. The rational capability is not limited in making reasonable calculations and combinational evaluations, it involves a transcendental element (wanting to fly is a small example of the transcendental mode of logic). Logic creates a transcendental context of looking at things and giving meaning to things in which man wishes to go beyond the limits of nature. Thus, the "free will" is not simply the ability to select one option among many, but it reaches the point of creating selectable features that are not available from our nature.
 
Eve was caused by the devil to break the command to become "like God" (something that is trully transcendental):

Genesis 3:2-5
The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die. '"
 
"You will not certainly die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

 

 
After the breach, God said:

Genesis 3:21-22 22
And the Lord God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever. "So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

 

 
We see that the challenge of the devil was real and confirmed by God: 
devil-> "your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" 
God -> "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil". 
 
Also, the continuation of eating from the "tree of life" would be the result of man "to live forever", as God said, and was foretold by the devil. Here, the words of the devil were confirmed by God after the disobedience: eating from the tree provided the knowledge of good and evil, and the ability "to live forever". But these results were created for first created exclusively in distinction from God.
 
The logic of Eve, which created the transcendental context in which she wanted to follow the exhortation "to be like God", led her not just to exercise "free will" in order to choose one option among others. The following excerpt from the letter of St. Paul helps us to understand both the command and the failure of Eve (1 Corinthians 11:17-34):

Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.
 
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me. "In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying," This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.
 
Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
 
Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

 

As is prohibitive for Christians to commune Christ "in an unworthy manner" (and the violation of this prohibition leads to physical illness and even death), in an analogous way it was disastrous for Adam and Eve to eat from from the tree of life. It was not because the tree produced bad fruits, nor because God intended to exclude feeding His creatures from the fruits of the tree. But because it was a prerequisite to fast before eating. As the apostle Paul says: "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup".

Edited by Lakis Papas, 23 March 2013 - 09:08 AM.


#16 Georgije Z.

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 04:52 PM

Forgive me, but reflection on this truth is not something that can be achieved ex nihilo through analytical logic alone.  It requires the guidance of the Church.  In a sense, a true Christian voluntarily becomes an indentured servant of Christ.  St. Paul called himself a slave (doulos) to Christ.  When we become slaves to Christ, that is when we discover true freedom.  It changes us and allows our rational mind to function properly according to its created purpose.  There is very much useful wisdom in the Church on the true nature and function of the rational mind, but it is clouded.  So, through a step by step process of obedience and training, our minds become unclouded, we become illumined, and things that were confusing to us before become clear.  And it the risk of repeating myself, free will is paradoxical.  By surrending to God we become free.  The most obvious paradox, which needs to be stated because people these days studiously avoid the obvious, is that God created a world that He knew in advance He would have to save.  There is no overcoming that paradox through some kind of analytics.  Instead, we have faith that God knew what he was doing, and any attempt on our part to try to get into God's mind in the matter is the same sin that Adam and Eve were guilty of. 

 

Oh, and by the way, creation is not infinite in any respect.  It has a beginning and an end.  And all creation, moment by moment, has only contingent existence. 

I agree on many postulates here.

Particularly on pointing the paradox of the mind or logic.

However, I will try to confront some thoughts with yours and please correct me if possible.

 

The truth requires the guidance of the Church, I agree completely. But how can we answer to people who never heard about Christ? It could be the pre-christian period or people who really live/d isolated. However what will happen with people atheists who ignore the Church? The complete truth can't be achieved just by logic alone ex nihilo but a moral life could be. On how it will be judged I leave free to answer.

 

I want to confront the last postulate.

From God's perspective there is an ontological and eschatological frame of the creation, but bearing in mind that we really have a free will (in Christ) than I immanently feel that the creation is infinite. There is a strong meaning in the "life forever" or "to be in the hell forever"; or to say "now and forever and to the ages of ages". Maybe it is about the world which will come, not our world.

But it would be really hard to imagine for me that God has created a limited world: any limitation of the creation leads to non-functionality of itself.

Here I would remember your point about the paradox: the world as we know is created and it will be end of the world, but it is infinite since we don't have the proper understanding of these edges.

 

Hope for more correction if possible.



#17 Owen Jones

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 07:51 PM

Infinite is a mathematical abstraction that is required to account for certain number series.  It does not apply to the physical world.  If you have in mind the Orthodox doctrine of theosis, it does not refer to an infinitizing of human existence. 



#18 Lakis Papas

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 11:48 PM

The term "Infinite" has a place in orthodox worship and theology. 
 
Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (The Prayer of the First Antiphon): 
 

O Lord our God, whose might is beyond compare, whose glory is incomprehensible, whose mercy is infinite, and whose love toward mankind is ineffable: do thou thyself, O Master, in thy tender compassion look upon us and upon this holy house, and grant to us and those who pray with us thy rich mercies and compassion's. For unto thee are due all glory, honor, and worship: to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit: now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.


#19 Owen Jones

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 12:19 PM


Well, first of all, in this case, infinite is being applied to God, not the world, not creation.  But little ole me still wishes we would avoid the term, even when applied to God, because it is at best analogical (nothing intrinsically wrong with that), and its only reference point is, as I mentioned, as a mathematical abstraction.  The history of the term applied theologically hasn't been good.  Same with the term absolute when used theologically.  The problem is that, historically, infinite and absolute gets applied to creation, with all kinds of disastrous results.  You don't need God if the astro physical universal is infinite/absolute.  And the same problem then gets extended to human intellect.  So the prevailing dogma is that human intellect is infinite in its potentiality.  So I would prefer more concrete analogies to God.  Unknowable, incomprehensable, Beyond.  These are good.  Infinite, bad.  I know what unknowable, incomprehensible and Beyond mean, because I can experience it.  These are concrete reference points to common experience.  Nobody can have an experience of infinity.  It's an intellectual abstraction that is required only to account for certain series of numbers that are the result of specific equations, like 3.1416...



#20 Lakis Papas

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 02:17 PM

Dear Mr Jones, 
 
Infinity originates from the latin 'infinitas'. The meaning of 'infinitas' is composite: in = not + finis =  the end, the boundary.  So the true meaning of 'infinity' is that which has no end, no limit, no boundary. (the same is true for the respective Greek word "απειρον")
 
Although the quantitative interpretation of infinity is correct, it is not complete. Infinity is defined primarily by a qualitative interpretation. The endless and  unlimited is certainly impossible to be counted. But what sets the concept of infinity is a topological definition. Infinity is unlimited and at the same time it permits the existence of entities which are not included in it.
 
Indeed, man is the only creature that captures mentally the unnatural concept of infinity. This is because man has within him a divine inspiration.
 
You say: " If you have in mind the Orthodox doctrine of theosis, it does not refer to an infinitizing of human existence", and then: "I know what unknowable, incomprehensible and Beyond mean, because I can experience it. These are concrete reference points to common experience. Nobody can have an experience of infinity."
 
I think st Gregory of Nyssa was the first theologian to argue for the infinity of God. St Gregory argues that since God is infinite he cannot be comprehended. He uses the story of Moses to make his theological point: Moses first meets God in the burning bush, a theophany of light and illumination, but then he meets him again in the cloud, where he realizes that God cannot be seen by the eyes. Ascending Mount Sinai, he finally comes to the "divine darkness", and realizes that God cannot be known by the mind either.
 
st Gregory of Nyssa writes (this is his point which he calls "epektasis" = "constant progress") :

"And so every desire for the Beautiful which draws us on in this ascent is intensified by the soul’s very progress towards it. And this is the real meaning of seeing God: never to have this desire satisfied. But fixing our eyes on those things which help us to see, we must ever keep alive in us the desire to see more and more. And so no limit can be set to our progress towards God: first of all, because no limitation can be put on upon the Beautiful, and secondly because the increase in our desire for the Beautiful cannot be stopped by any sense of satisfaction."

 

 
From the book "The Brill dictionary of Gregory of Nyssa", according to St Gregory:

Infinity is the ultimate reason why it is not possible to understand God. The knowledge of the limitless God cannot mediated by a concept but can occur only through the continuous abandonment of all concepts of God that have been found.
 
Infinity as the absence of an end is also something extremely valuable for the human beings, as a being oriented towards the future. Because of this orientation, the adiastematic eternity of God without beginning or end appears to the human diastematic knowledge above all as the absence of every end.

 

 

(I think that the issue of "infinity' is not off topic)


Edited by Lakis Papas, 24 March 2013 - 02:28 PM.





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