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This way of thinking about God comes to full development in Thomas Aquinas, who went so far as to identify the persons with the relations: personae sunt ipsae relationes Summa Theologica , 1, question 40, article 2.

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Orthodox thinkers find this a very meagre idea of personality. The relations, while designating the persons, in no way exhaust the mystery of each. Latin Scholastic theology, emphasizing as it does the essence at the expense of the persons, comes near to turning God into an abstract idea. He becomes a remote and impersonal being, whose existence has to be proved by metaphysical arguments — a God of the philosophers, not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Such are some of the reasons why Orthodox regard the filioque as dangerous and heretical.

Filioquism confuses the persons, and destroys the proper balance between unity and diversity in the Godhead. The oneness of the deity is emphasized at the expense of His threeness; God is regarded too much in terms of abstract essence and too little in terms of concrete personality. But this is not all.


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Many Orthodox feel that, as a result of the filioque , the Holy Spirit in western thought has become subordinated to the Son — if not in theory, then at any rate in practice. The west pays insufficient attention to the work of the Spirit in the world, in the Church, in the daily life of each man. Orthodox writers also argue that these two consequences of the filioque — subordination of the Holy Spirit, over-emphasis on the unity of God — have helped to bring about a distortion in the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Church.

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Because the role of the Spirit has been neglected in the west, the Church has come to be regarded too much as an institution of this world, governed in terms of earthly power and jurisdiction. And just as in the western doctrine of God unity was stressed at the expense of diversity, so in the western conception of the Church unity has triumphed over diversity, and the result has been too great a centralization and too great an emphasis on Papal authority.

Such in outline is the Orthodox attitude to the filioque , although not all would state the case in such an uncompromising form. In particular, many of the criticisms given above apply only to a decadent form of Scholasticism, not to Latin theology as a whole. But man, made for fellowship with God, everywhere repudiates that fellowship: this is the second fact which all Christian anthropology takes into account. Man was made for fellowship with God: in the language of the Church, God created Adam according to His image and likeness, and set him in Paradise The opening chapters of Genesis are of course concerned with certain religious truths, and are not to be taken as literal history.

Fifteen centuries before modern Biblical criticism, Greek Fathers were already interpreting the Creation and Paradise stories symbolically rather than literally. The Creation of Man. God speaks in the plural: " Let us make man. We shall find that this is a point of vital importance. Image and Likeness. According to most of the Greek Fathers, the terms image and likeness do not mean exactly the same thing.

But the image means more than that. In quotations from the Psalms, the numbering of the Septuagint is followed.


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Some versions of the Bible reckon this Psalm as The image denotes the powers with which every man is endowed by God from the first moment of his existence; the likeness is not an endowment which man possesses from the start, but a goal at which he must aim, something which he can only acquire by degrees. Man at his first creation was therefore perfect, not so much in an actual as in a potential sense. Endowed with the image from the start, he was called to acquire the likeness by his own efforts assisted of course by the grace of God.

Adam began in a state of innocence and simplicity. God set Adam on the right path, but Adam had in front of him a long road to traverse in order to reach his final goal. This picture of Adam before the fall is somewhat different from that presented by Saint Augustine and generally accepted in the west since his time.

According to Augustine, man in Paradise was endowed from the start with all possible wisdom and knowledge: his was a realized, and in no sense potential, perfection. The dynamic conception of Irenaeus clearly fits more easily with modern theories of evolution than does the static conception of Augustine; but both were speaking as theologians, not as scientists, so that in neither case do their views stand or fall with any particular scientific hypothesis.

While many Orthodox have done the same, others would say that since man is a single unified whole, the image of God embraces his entire person, body as well as soul. The fact that man has a body, so Gregory argued, makes him not lower but higher than the angels. Orthodox religious thought lays the utmost emphasis on the image of God in man. This respect for every human being is visibly expressed in Orthodox worship, when the priest censes not only the icons but the members of the congregation, saluting the image of God in each person.

Grace and Free Will. God wanted a son, not a slave. The supreme example of synergy is the Mother of God See p.

Yet in reality the Orthodox teaching is very straightforward. God knocks, but waits for man to open the door — He does not break it down. The grace of God invites all but compels none. The Fall: Original Sin. God gave Adam free will — the power to choose between good and evil — and it therefore rested With Adam either to accept the vocation set before him or to refuse it. He refused it.

Instead of continuing along the path marked out for him by God, he turned aside and disobeyed God. As a result, a new form of existence appeared on earth — that of disease and death. By turning away from God, who is immortality and life, man put himself in a state that was contrary to nature, and this unnatural condition led to an inevitable disintegration of his being and eventually to physical death. We are members one of another, as Saint Paul never ceased to insist, and if one member suffers the whole body suffers.

In virtue of this mysterious unity of the human race, not only Adam but all mankind became subject to mortality. Nor was the disintegration which followed from the fall merely physical. Cut off from God, Adam and his descendants passed under the domination of sin and of the devil. Each new human being is born into a world where sin prevails everywhere, a world in which it is easy to do evil and hard to do good.

Thus far there is fairly close agreement between Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and classic Protestantism; but beyond this point east and west do not entirely concur. Adam fell, not from a great height of knowledge and perfection, but from a state of undeveloped simplicity; hence he is not to be judged too harshly for his error. Orthodox do not say, as Calvin said, that man after the fall was utterly depraved and incapable of good desires.

Compare Decree Faithful to the idea of synergy, Orthodoxy repudiates any interpretation of the fall which allows no room for human freedom. And Orthodox have never held as Augustine and many others in the west have done that unbaptized babies, because tainted with original guilt, are consigned by the just God to the everlasting games of Hell Thomas Aquinas, in his discussion of the fall, on the whole followed Augustine, and in particular retained the idea of original guilt; but as regards unbaptized babies, he maintained that they go not to Hell but to Limbo — a view now generally accepted by Roman theologians.

So far as I can discover, Orthodox writers do not make use of the idea of Limbo. It should be noted that an Augustinian view of the fall is found from time to time in Orthodox theological literature; but this is usually the result of western influence. The Orthodox Confession by Peter of Moghila is, as one might expect, strongly Augustinian; on the other hand the Confession of Dositheus is free from Augustinianism. The Orthodox picture of fallen humanity is far less sombre than the Augustinian or Calvinist view.

Sin blocked the path to union with God. Since man could not come to God, God came to man. Many eastern writers, looking at the Incarnation from this point of view, have argued that even if man had never fallen, God in His love for humanity would still have become man: the Incarnation must be seen as part of the eternal purpose of God, and not simply as an answer to the fall.

Such was the view of Maximus the Confessor and of Isaac the Syrian; such has also been the view of certain western writers, most notably Duns Scotus But because man fell, the Incarnation is not only an act of love but an act of salvation.


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  5. Jesus Christ, by uniting man and God in His own person, reopened for man the path to union with God. The essential elements in the Orthodox doctrine of Christ have already been outlined in Chapter 2:true God and true man, one person in two natures, without separation and without confusion: a single person, but endowed with two wills and two energies. In Orthodox worship and spirituality tremendous emphasis is placed on both these events. As for the Resurrection, its spirit fills the whole life of the Orthodox Church: Through all the vicissitudes of her history the Greek Church has been enabled to preserve something of the very spirit of the first age of Christianity.

    Her liturgy still enshrines that element of sheer joy in the Resurrection of the Lord that we find in so many of the early Christian writings P.

    Orthodox Christian Quotes

    Hammond, The Waters of Marah , p. The theme of the Resurrection of Christ binds together all theological concepts and realities in eastern Christianity and unites them in a harmonious whole O. However great their devotion to the divine glory of Our Lord, Orthodox do not overlook His humanity. Consider for example the Orthodox love of the Holy Land: nothing could exceed the vivid reverence of Russian peasants for the exact places where the Incarnate Christ lived as a man, where as a man He ate, taught, suffered, and died.

    Nor does the sense of Resurrection joy lead Orthodoxy to minimize the importance of the Cross. Representations of the Crucifixion are no less prominent in Orthodox than in non-Orthodox churches, while the veneration of the Cross is more developed in Byzantine than in Latin worship. One must therefore reject as misleading the common assertion that the east concentrates on the Risen Christ, the west on Christ Crucified. If we are going to draw a contrast, it would be more exact to say that east and west think of the Crucifixion in slightly different ways.

    The Orthodox attitude to the Crucifixion is best seen in the hymns sung on Good Friday, such as the following:. Orthodox see not just the suffering humanity of Christ, but a suffering God:. The Crucifixion is not separated from the Resurrection, for both are but a single action. Calvary is seen always in the light of the empty tomb; the Cross is an emblem of victory.

    Quotes collected by Steven Mojsovki and Keith Wilkerson.

    When Orthodox think of Christ Crucified, they think not only of His suffering and desolation; they think of Him as Christ the Victor, Christ the King, reigning in triumph from the Tree: The Lord came into the world and dwelt among men, that he might destroy the tyranny of the Devil and set men free. On the Tree he triumphed over the powers which opposed him, when the sun was darkened and the earth was shaken, when the graves were opened and the bodies of the saints arose. By death he destroyed death, and brought to nought him who had the power of death From the First Exorcism before Holy Baptism.

    Between this approach to the Crucifixion and that of the medieval and post-medieval west, there are of course many points of contact; yet in the western approach there are also certain things which make Orthodox feel uneasy. The west, so it seems to them, tends to think of the Crucifixion in isolation, separating it too sharply from the Resurrection. Orthodox feel thoroughly at home in the language of the great Latin hymn by Venantius Fortunatus , Pange lingua , which hails the Cross as an emblem of victory:.

    They feel equally at home in that other hymn by Fortunatus, Vexilla regis :.