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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:31 pm 
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The idea that any act of God could be described as random or without reason is completely abhorrent. Of course, so is the idea that God needs "reasons" like, "Oh, I foresee that Bob would freely elect to accept graces offered, and so I hereby decide to Elect him."

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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:48 pm 
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gherkin wrote:
The idea that any act of God could be described as random or without reason is completely abhorrent. Of course, so is the idea that God needs "reasons" like, "Oh, I foresee that Bob would freely elect to accept graces offered, and so I hereby decide to Elect him."


I'm just reporting what I observed somewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:09 pm 
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Light of the East wrote:
gherkin wrote:
The idea that any act of God could be described as random or without reason is completely abhorrent. Of course, so is the idea that God needs "reasons" like, "Oh, I foresee that Bob would freely elect to accept graces offered, and so I hereby decide to Elect him."


I'm just reporting what I observed somewhere.

Yes, but what you reported is a ridiculous caricature (sorry to say this, Ed, but on these subjects that's your usual thing). The fact is that you asked a question about Molina that was predicated on the notion that Molina's view is a response to a view according to which Election is "random" or "without seeming reason." As though some Catholic had ever held that election was random, and consequently had to be corrected on that point by Molina. It's absurd. Especially since the obvious opponent here is St. Thomas.

Here's what we know. Predestination is real. Hell is real. There are people in it. (At the very least, Satan and his angels, and the Church has pretty much always held that a pretty good number of human beings are there, too.) God is love. All of these things are difficult to harmonize, and impossible to fully understand. And they're all revealed to us by God himself, who is also Truth.

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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:58 pm 
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People who are confused and trying to figure things out, especially hard to understand items, do tend to make ridiculous caricatures as they blunder through life.


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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:41 pm 
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It may be a bit self-serving, but can I suggest the book in my signature? I wrote the text on divine simplicity explicitly to help people get a better grasp on the basic metaphysical issues that you don't really ever hear about (except MAYBE passing) with respect to the classical view of God. Ultimately I want to add an appendix that addresses the Eastern Orthodox nuances specifically, but I think even what is already there fits within the broad contours of the essential tradition of the Church (eastern or western). Just a thought to maybe help clarify some of that confusion.

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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:58 pm 
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theJack wrote:
General question for perspective--doesn't the fact that Christ is Victor mean He is victorious over someone? I mean, I know we personify things like death and evil more generally and speak of those things as enemies. But an enemy, it seems to me, is strictly speaking a person. Cancer isn't really my "enemy" except by analogy (even if a good one!). So either Christ as Victor is just analogy or we mean that He really conquered someone. And in this case, it seems that Christ really does conquer the Evil One, and indeed, not merely that one Evil One, but all evil ones. I wonder if, on some level, the problem isn't in some strange sense with the idea as Christ as Victor itself. Maybe we don't want a Victorious Christ these days so much as we want a Forgiving Christ or Merciful Christ. We don't want a Christ would defeats His enemies. We want a Christ who has no enemies, such that all His enemies today are "magically" persuaded to stop being His enemies. And while there would be nothing wrong with such a picture, there does seem to me a real sense in which if Christ does not truly conquer any enemies then a real sense of His glory and might and even holiness remain unrevealed. Or am I off in left field here?


The empty Hell error is not at issue here.

By Christus Victor I mean descriptions of the resurection as an act of plundering hell or of casting off the yoke of tyrant.

Unfortunately the majority of humanity will not be stolen from hell, nor will they be freed for the tyrant's yoke. Again this does not infringe on the goodness of God, his mercy etc.

But I'm not sure why Eastern liturgists phrase it like this

"With His life-giving hand* Christ our God, the Giver of life.* raised all the dead from the murky abyss and bestowed resurrection on all humanity ..." Kontakion Tone 6

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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:07 pm 
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I'm sure it's frustrating that some of Ed's concerns have hijacked your thread, FF. For what it's worth, I don't at all that you're attracted to any of the universalist oriented errors. And I certainly can't address the Eastern quote you've referenced. Maybe it is trying to in some sense recall that language at the end of Romans 5? Or maybe it's just wrong? I've never seen it -- you found it, so what do you think?

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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:12 pm 
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theJack wrote:
I'm sure it's frustrating that some of Ed's concerns have hijacked your thread, FF. For what it's worth, I don't at all that you're attracted to any of the universalist oriented errors. And I certainly can't address the Eastern quote you've referenced. Maybe it is trying to in some sense recall that language at the end of Romans 5? Or maybe it's just wrong? I've never seen it -- you found it, so what do you think?


Maybe it's one of those usage of "all" for "many" and vice versa that occurs in Scripture sometimes.

I found it by attending liturgy at a Byzantine Catholic parish and I assume there's at least some theological oversight to their liturgy.

I don't know maybe there is a sense I am missing where the slavery to Satan was really ended for all people. We do sing about it in the West "Good Christian men take heart today, the devil's rule is done" (Huron Carol)

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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:03 am 
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Light of the East wrote:
People who are confused and trying to figure things out, especially hard to understand items, do tend to make ridiculous caricatures as they blunder through life.

And so you think it's AOK to ridiculously caricature the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Common Doctor of the Catholic Church, up to and including accusing him of malice?

These are hard to understand items, Ed, and if trying to figure them causes you so much difficulty-----stop. This is precisely why I listed the little group of mysteries that we're sure of as Catholics. We don't need to try to understand them. Especially if we're laypeople without the philosophical or theological training to really allow us to make a serious effort at it. Stop trying to do complicated theology--go read Dom Chautard. Or, go check out a book I found really wonderful but have now unfortunately gotten away from working with ("too busy" :roll: )--The Ways of Mental Prayer by Dom Vitalis Lehodey. Or anything by Dom van Zeller, Bl. Columba Marmion, or Father Faber. Yes, they're all Latin Rite, but as much as I hate to say it, your dealings with schismatics is obviously causing you intellectual problems. What good is that doing your soul? Why not take a break for awhile from that stuff?

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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:44 pm 
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This is absolutely Western thinking and is foreign to the Eastern Orthodox mind. When Augustine's writings, which are the foundation stone of the Calvinist idea of "election," reached Constantinople, the Fathers who studied what he wrote were shocked and appalled at it, but by that time (news being very slow without the Internet) the ideas had spread like wildfire in the West and taken a root that would never be pulled up.


You’ve made this assertion before. Can you provide a citation? I’ve read quite a bit of the Eastern Fathers and have found no such reference. As demonstrated in a prior thread, even Photius didn’t bring it up. Neither did Caerularius. I can’t even find Mark of Ephesus making such statements.

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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:35 pm 
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HalJordan wrote:
Quote:
This is absolutely Western thinking and is foreign to the Eastern Orthodox mind. When Augustine's writings, which are the foundation stone of the Calvinist idea of "election," reached Constantinople, the Fathers who studied what he wrote were shocked and appalled at it, but by that time (news being very slow without the Internet) the ideas had spread like wildfire in the West and taken a root that would never be pulled up.


You’ve made this assertion before. Can you provide a citation? I’ve read quite a bit of the Eastern Fathers and have found no such reference. As demonstrated in a prior thread, even Photius didn’t bring it up. Neither did Caerularius. I can’t even find Mark of Ephesus making such statements.


No. Because as you mention, it is not in the Eastern Fathers that I know of. I found that quote on a Christian history site.


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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:35 am 
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This wiki seems balanced to me and offers a few references:

https://orthodoxwiki.org/Augustine_of_Hippo

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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:08 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Maybe I can and should explain further.

We are justified in drawing inferences from the fact that God is love, but they remain inferences, subject to refutation if it can be shown that our understanding of what it means to say that "God is love" is inconsistent with things we already know to be true. So we need not conclude from the true statement the "God is love" that Hell doesn't exist because it would be unloving of God if it is; we can also conclude that our understanding of "God is love" is inadequate.

The same problem applies to the true statements that God is just, God is merciful, etc. They can give us valid insights into God, but those insights are always contingent on an adequate understanding of justice, mercy, etc. We must check those insights against things that have been revealed definitively, and when there is a conflict, we must conclude that it was our insight that was in error.

You might proceed to claim (and I think you do) that the eternity of Hell has not been definitively revealed. That is a topic for another post and another time. My only purpose here is to demonstrate that "God is love" is not sufficient to prove the point, even if it were open to debate.

If we cannot understand that "God is love", in any normal sense, then how can we understand anything in the bible? If we cannot accept the meaning of "God is love" at face value, then what confidence can we have in anything the Bible says? Your argument, Obi, is Orwellian - war is peace, slavery is freedom, love is who knows what, it can mean anything. If we don't understand what "God is love" means, why would John say it? It would have been better not to have said it and therefore not to have misled us, if it doesn't mean what we think it obviously means. I love my daughter, I know what that means. If "God is love" then it must mean something along the lines of how I love my daughter, only more so, for everyone, it can't have an opposite meaning. If we can't take the meaning of "God is love" at face value, then we can't take anything in the bible at face value, and anything can mean anything, which leads only to agnosticim.


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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:53 pm 
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Denise Dee wrote:
If "God is love" then it must mean something along the lines of how I love my daughter, only more so, for everyone, it can't have an opposite meaning.


You forget that the Holy Scriptures were not written in 21st-century English. In the case of St. John's Gospel, the oldest known copies are written in Greek, IIRC (Fr. Kenobi, please correct me if I am wrong). First century AD Greek has not one, but FIVE words that are translated into the English word "love." So it is quite possible that St. John's meaning is different from your interpretation.

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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:35 pm 
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Denise Dee wrote:
If "God is love" then it must mean something along the lines of how I love my daughter, only more so, for everyone, it can't have an opposite meaning.


But it does not mean the opposite, no one says it does.

Father is saying that the way in which God loves is different from us in ways we can't understand.

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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:45 pm 
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theJack wrote:
This wiki seems balanced to me and offers a few references:

https://orthodoxwiki.org/Augustine_of_Hippo


This helps, thank you. It also seems to establish that the Church Fathers held no such opinions, since all we have from the patristic period are praiseworthy items from the councils cited. That some schismatic bishops in 1360 and onward took negative views on Augustine is hardly surprising. That said, I think it’s dishonest to cast this perspective as held by “the Fathers” of the East.

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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:09 am 
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HalJordan wrote:
theJack wrote:
This wiki seems balanced to me and offers a few references:

https://orthodoxwiki.org/Augustine_of_Hippo


This helps, thank you. It also seems to establish that the Church Fathers held no such opinions, since all we have from the patristic period are praiseworthy items from the councils cited. That some schismatic bishops in 1360 and onward took negative views on Augustine is hardly surprising. That said, I think it’s dishonest to cast this perspective as held by “the Fathers” of the East.



After further research, I would agree with that last sentence. Most of the Orthodox writers I have looked at have great respect for Augustine as a person, even if they express that some of his "theologuma" were incorrect. There were some few men who disagreed with Augustine when he was alive, which caused Prosper of Aquitaine, who was a defender of Augustine and an adviser to Pope Leo the Great, to write a book in defense of Augustine's viewpoints.

It is notable that we know who Augustine is - we have no idea who were his detractors while he was alive.

I shall endeavor to be more circumspect in the future in my discussions of Augustinian theology, while at the same time maintaining that there are things he said which are problematic and are used to defend Calvinism by the Calvinists.


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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:22 am 
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Lots of things said by St. Paul are used to defend Lutheranism and Calvinism (et al). So what's the inference there? Are those things problematic? Or are they just being used badly?

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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:48 am 
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gherkin wrote:
Lots of things said by St. Paul are used to defend Lutheranism and Calvinism (et al). So what's the inference there? Are those things problematic? Or are they just being used badly


According to the sites I read last night as I did my due diligence on Augustine and Orthodox thought, the problem is that Augustine's approach to the Scriptures was out of sync with that which the Fathers were saying. The claim is that he was heavily influenced by ne0-Platonism and that this took him away from the consensus thought of the Early Fathers of the East.

I would say that is fairly different from the Calvinists and Protestants, who have a nasty habit of A.) ignoring that which they don't like, such as "This IS my Body" (a charge you certainly cannot lay at the feet of Augustine) and B.) ignore the Greek and its meanings in order to support the theology that Calvin developed, such as their wretched treatment of the Greek word "Logisomai" and twisting that to mean that God "imputes" the righteousness of Christ to utterly depraved sinners who can do no good at all. (And by doing so, also ignore yards of Scripture which talk about people in the OT and call them "righteous.) and C.) ignore and/or twist the words of the Early Fathers and pull quotes out of context, which is more typical of cultists than students of the Bible.

Come back in about a year or so when I have done more study and maybe I'll have a better apologia on this issue.


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 Post subject: Re: The Medieval Mind and Hell
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:52 am 
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There is no doubt of the neo-Platonic influence. Whether this was truly out of sync with the Eastern Fathers, I don't know. Certainly Origen was Platonic, with a vengeance.

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