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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:13 pm 
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Peregrinator wrote:
"still in hell" ?


Probably, given the severity of their sins and the utter corruption of their natures which led them to do such depraved things. It would seem that just as some sicknesses require extrememly long administrations of medicines and surgeries, so deeply set sins require much work to cleanse the soul.

Hell, however, for Orthodoxy, is not a place. It is the state of being in the presence of God and experiencing His love as torment. A condition, which even Pope John Paul the Great referred to in one of his encyclicals.

And then there is also this:

Mat 5:26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou have paid the last farthing.

Certainly a reference to punishment in the context of Christ's teaching.


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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:15 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Ed, can I ask what Christ's sacrifice does according to your view? I have heard enough from you over the years to know there's much more place for it in your approach than I've seen in DD's, but I'm still curious. It will help my blood pressure if you can avoid comparing it to other views :); I'm looking for a positive statement of your beliefs.


I will happily answer, but only after I have given time to present a sufficient, logical, and clear response. Such might take a few days.


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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 10:06 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Ed, can I ask what Christ's sacrifice does according to your view? I have heard enough from you over the years to know there's much more place for it in your approach than I've seen in DD's, but I'm still curious. It will help my blood pressure if you can avoid comparing it to other views :); I'm looking for a positive statement of your beliefs.


Well, that didn't take as long as I thought it would. Interestingly enough, I found something in the first article that I read that has given me some real interesting food for thought. Nonetheless, I was thinking about what to say this evening, and I will give you my unvarnished answer, then provide a link to that which clarifies Eastern Orthodox thought on the subject.

Adam was created innocent. That is, he was neither righteous nor guilty, but rather, a potentiality with a specific telos in view - divinization (theosis). Created in union with (or in relationship with) God, he had the ability to cooperate with God and through various tests and trials, to grow in righteousness, which is the heart of theosis. Every act of obedience was a growth into godlikeness, an improvement on the nature of God which Adam possessed in an infantile and unformed manner in the beginning.

Adam's disobedience was not a crime. I have constantly heard it described in such terms by both preachers and priests when the Genesis account is spoken of. The casting out of the Garden is spoken of as a punishment, as if a crime was commited. It was actually an act of love by God for His now disobedient and corrupted son, (Luke 3:38) for if Adam and Eve had gone to and eaten of the Tree of Life, they would have remained eternally in the corrupted state they were in after the Fall. God removed them from the Garden to protect them from such a horrible fate.

Sin took Adam from learning self-giving love, expressed in obedience and service to the other (God and Eve) and introduced into man's nature selfishness. Every act of sin is an act of self-centeredness, acting not in the interest of the other, but in the interest of the self. Man's nature was corrupted so that sin became extremely easy to fall into and practice. His understanding became darkened and the eye of his spiritual being blind (Luke 11:34, Matthew 6:23). Devoid of the light of God, man is like the dwarves in C.S. Lewis's THE LAST BATTLE. Blinded to spiritual reality, he falls easily into sin, thinking that he is doing a good (self-interest) when he is in fact harming both himself and the others whom he defrauds. This all comes from a nature that is corrupt.

Christ assumed as perfect man the whole of man's nature, for as Irenaeus of Lyons stated: "That which is not assumed is not healed." We are all the inheritors of the death and corruption that entered into man’s nature at the Fall. St. Gregory Palamas says that, through Adam’s one spiritual death, both spiritual and physical death were passed onto all men. This is because human nature is one: we are all of the family of Adam. It is one mankind, one nature, and one Christ who has restored that nature by His union with it as perfect Man/perfect God.

My nature was healed on the Cross, but it took 22 years for me to access this and to begin to heal and grow in Christ as my nature grew. Much was held back even then as I was unable to access the Sacraments which are the means by which Christ interacts with us, uniting Himself to us in them and through them pouring out His healing grace. (Orthodoxy sees grace as Christ Himself rather than a separate created thing). Without encountering Christ, I grew, but at an agonizingly slow pace, responding only to the preaching of the Bible and the exhortations against sin. After receiving the Eucharist, for instance, within three months I noticed a drastic change in my ability to withstand and rebuke a sin which had for decades chained me.

Without Christ's work on the Cross, all mankind would be still lost, still of a corrupted nature, heaven still closed, and hopeless, since no man left to himself would ever seek God on his own (Council of Orange). Absolute, utter, and complete tragic hopelessness.

If there is a payment made to the Father, it is the debt of obedience, that is, the obedience that Adam, and by extenstion, all mankind owes to the King of heaven. Christ fulfilled this obedience as man like us in every way but sin, thus, as St. Paul says in Romans "taking the writing that was against us and nailing it to the Cross" (Col 2:14 having effaced the handwriting in ordinances which stood out against us, which was contrary to us, he has taken it also out of the way, having nailed it to the cross;)

I reject the Evangelical paradigm with which I grew up, that Christ was our substitute, who took on our behalf the beating we deserve. It is much, much better than that. The Early Fathers called the Eucharist "the medicine of immortality," which medicine is our very participation (Greek = anamnēsis, a remembering as if actually there and participating) in the Cross. The Cross is present in the Eucharist, for the Eucharist is timeless, according to Scripture, it is the sacrifice which took place before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13: 8 - mind-boggling). Outside of time as we know it, ever present to the Father, it was for the sake of the Eucharist that the whole world was not destroyed upon the first sin.

The Cross does not give me legal standing of "Not Guilty" before God. No, it changes my whole being, which is far, far better. I become healed, changed, and able to have a real experience of God. A legal declaration does not do that. But more than that, I need that because God does not fool Himself, declaring me to be righteous when I am ontologically unchanged. I have experienced that change (more especially since receiving the Eucharist) in a manner that is palpable to me.

All of these positives are available to me and working in me only because of the Cross. No Cross - no change. No Cross - condemnation by separation. No Cross - no hope.

I do hope that is a clear and substantive response.

That was my personal response. Here is something I found which has raised a question in my mind which I shall open for discussion down the road.

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/christcross.aspx


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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 10:12 pm 
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Gandalf the Grey wrote:
Denise Dee wrote:
Gandalf, believeing and knowing what you believe and know, are you seriously suggesting that given the choice between choosing eternal suffering or eternal bliss, you might knowingly choose eternal suffering? Are you insane?


Insanity is a cheap cop-out. I'm not insane, but you and I are subject to certain passions that are strong enough to make us willfully blind and causes us to see only the apparent "goods" of things that are objectively evil. That's precisely what concupiscence is(e.g. your defense of homosexual behavior on the other thread."

Quote:
If I thought there was a real possibility that I might choose eternal suffering rather than eternal bliss, I'd be terrified. I'd be so terrified I couldn't function. Are you not terrified, Gandalf? If not, why not?


That says more about you than it suggests anything about me.

All I do is beg God to grant me the daily and hourly graces for my daily and hourly needs and the chips will fall where they may.

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It's only presumptuous to believe that God loves me therefore I can do whatever I want without any consequences.


That's exactly what the doctrine of universalism says. "You can do whatever you want because there are no consequences." Universalism says that there is no such thing as forgiveness, and therefore no such thing as Redemption, because there there's no such thing a sin, only innocent mistakes.

Your conception of a "God of love" is a God that's blind. A "God" who says that "you're fine just as you are." It a God of pop psychology, a God of purely human invention.

It's certainly not the God and Father of Jesus Christ.


Universalism says that Hitler and Germany can slaughter millions.....no matter, they're heaven-bound.

Stalin and the Soviets, Mao's revolutionaries, etc. can slaughter millions more....it was just based on an innocent mistake, they're heaven-bound.(And I'd love you try and attempt the foolish argument that an entire country was collectively, temporarily insane, and didn't know that slaughtering millions of people, or raping, torturing, or starving people to death, and that they didn't know that what they were doing was horribly evil, and didn't know on some level that it merited for them hell.)

If not everyone, at least the vast majority of people, have been in situations where they were dominated by one or more passions and committed some act that when later when sober knew that of itself it was sufficient enough to condemn them to hell. If you haven't, then you're either both lying to others and yourself.


This is why Universalism is as ridiculous a theory in regards to salvation as subjectivism is a ridiculous theory in regards to truth.

It's a "nice" theory to contemplate; no one wants people to suffer in eternal torment.

But I know enough about evil and malevolence to know that what is barely indistinguishable from an indifferentism disguised as sentimentalism and uncritical empathy are foolish substitutes for Christian faith and repentance. They don't challenge you to grow any further beyond your own desires, and they give just enough of a sham facade of moral virtue to make it appear credible.

I simply cannot buy it as a credible theory of anything.

If that's what universalism is, then I am certainly NOT a universalist, never have been, and never will be.

"You can do whatever you want because there are no consequences" is the total opposite of what I believe.

But, of course, that's not what universalism is.


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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 10:19 pm 
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I want to tread carefully here.....

In the article I referenced, the writer says: "We are all the inheritors of the death and corruption that entered into man’s nature at the Fall. St. Gregory Palamas says that, through Adam’s one spiritual death, both spiritual and physical death were passed onto all men. This is because human nature is one: we are all of the family of Adam."

This seems to point to a metaphysical unity which goes beyond our individualism. Human nature is one. When Christ took on the one human nature, did He heal all? I'm not sure, but the idea is intriguing to me from certain aspects, such as when St. Paul states that in the Body, no man sins alone. Our sins negatively affect the Body. We appear to be joined in a manner which we do not totally understand, something deeper than just our fleshly relationships.

So if spiritual and physical death were, according to St. Gregory Palamas, passed onto all men through the corruption of one spiritual nature and its death, then why would not the opposite be true, especially in light of such verses as this:

Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many (all - for all men are sinners) were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many all be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

This seems to point to a unity of mankind, a one single nature shared by all, which we neither experience in this life nor are particularly aware of. And if this is true - IF - then if all mankind is one nature, to have an eternity of souls existing in a corrupted state with corrupted natures would mean that this single nature of mankind will never be completely restored. There will always be a lacking, an incompleteness, a failure of the Cross to heal completely the united nature of man.

As I said......treading lightly here. Just thinking about it, and certainly open to discussion and criticism of this idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 7:04 am 
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Light of the East wrote:
Probably, given the severity of their sins and the utter corruption of their natures which led them to do such depraved things. It would seem that just as some sicknesses require extrememly long administrations of medicines and surgeries, so deeply set sins require much work to cleanse the soul..

How do you understand unpardonable blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?

Code:
Hell, however, for Orthodoxy, is not a place. It is the state of being in the presence of God and experiencing His love as torment.  A condition, which even Pope John Paul the Great referred to in one of his encyclicals.
source?

Quote:
And then there is also this:

Mat 5:26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou have paid the last farthing.

Certainly a reference to punishment in the context of Christ's teaching

Yes. A reference to purgatory.

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-From the introduction to Our Father, "On the feasts of the Lord and other important feasts", Syro Malabar rite


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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:52 am 
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Denise Dee wrote:
If that's what universalism is, then I am certainly NOT a universalist, never have been, and never will be.

"You can do whatever you want because there are no consequences" is the total opposite of what I believe.

But, of course, that's not what universalism is.


Right.... because as I said earlier you're trying to have it both ways.

You want to have all the benefits of the universalist position without having to deal with any of the natural logical conclusions or performative contradictions, such as the inherent pull towards antinomianism.

Not to mention how it even leaves open the question of what would happen if imperfected fallen souls should enter and corrupt heaven and necessitate a second Fall by bringing sin and death with them into heaven. If the assumption is that God's love will just "magically" change them without any repentance, conversion, obedience on their part, you need to demonstrate precisely what you base that assumption on.

The essential question is that if everyone is already saved, why should I bother even being a Catholic Christian? Why shouldn't I just be an atheist like I was? Why shouldn't I be able to take whatever I want, whenever I want, from whomever I want to take it from, and the devil take the hindmost? I'll essentially "get away" with all sorts of injustices and, all things considered, only have to suffer a slight stint in a "pergatorial" holding cell before walking straight into heaven to just continue living and acting like I did on earth?

As it seems to me, according to the universalist perspective, God clearly won't care, or he'll be blissfully blind to it.

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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:06 am 
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Ed-

Then the question, it seems to me, is that is the Redemption instantly and collectively applied to all regardless of the faith and obedience of the individual, or is the Redemption applied individually as they approach the Church to be united to Him Who called them?

And I have a serious problem reconciling the notion that in eternity-whether they are in hell or heaven-that they can and will "change their mind" in regards to God because a defining characteristic of eternity is not only it's non-temporal-ness but also that it's immutable-there is no change(because time is what we use to measure change). That would seem to me to include any change in the state of the will.

The state of eternity is such that it is a fuller state of being than the temporal.

Meaning that if someone loves and accepts God in this life, they're only going to love and accept God more fully in the next; and conversely if soneone despises or rejects God in this life, they're only going despise and reject God more fully, not less, in the next.

Or else you're necessarily allowing the real possibility that in eternity that if someone in hell can "change their mind" and choose heaven, then you'd have to admit that someone in heaven can "change their mind" and chose hell. Or how is it that one can change only in one direction but be irrevocably set against change in the other?

Do you not see that serious difficulty?

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"End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it. White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise."


Last edited by Gandalf the Grey on Fri Jan 03, 2020 11:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:35 am 
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Hell, the lake of fire, was prepared for the Devil and his angels, so in that respect, no, it is not natural for humans.

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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:46 am 
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Pro-Zak wrote:
Hell, the lake of fire, was prepared for the Devil and his angels, so in that respect, no, it is not natural for humans.

It was prepared for those who irrevocably reject God. God knew of man's disobedience from all eternity.

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-From the introduction to Our Father, "On the feasts of the Lord and other important feasts", Syro Malabar rite


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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 12:41 pm 
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Jack3 wrote:
Pro-Zak wrote:
Hell, the lake of fire, was prepared for the Devil and his angels, so in that respect, no, it is not natural for humans.

It was prepared for those who irrevocably reject God. God knew of man's disobedience from all eternity.


Stop and really think about what you are saying here. God knew from all eternity that man would fall, that mankind would immerse itself in sin(s), that because of the nature of sin, a great multitude of mankind (up to as much as 97% according to the visions of some RC saints) would damn themselves to an eternity of unimaginable suffering, that there would never be any relief or mitigation of this suffering, just an unending state of sorrow, misery, pain, and horror. God forknew all this

AND YET

this God, who is love (love which is, by definition, doing that which is BEST for the object of love) and yet says "Meaaaaah, screw it. I'll create them anyway"

Those actions are in no way commiserate with God who is love. There is no way you can possibly make this into love, no matter how much you try to distort the English (and other) language(s).

Only a sociopath and someone with a deep and viriulent hatred of mankind would do something like that.

God IS LOVE.

NOT SOCIOPATHY!!!!

So what you are saying is that the telos of creation is suffering, that the entire intent of creating mankind was that the majority of them would suffer forever.

I'm sorry, but this is absolutely unthinkable to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 1:12 pm 
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Gandalf the Grey wrote:
Ed-

Then the question, it seems to me, is that is the Redemption instantly and collectively applied to all regardless of the faith and obedience of the individual, or is the Redemption applied individually as they approach the Church to be united to Him Who called them?


This would be pretty close to the Eastern understanding of redemption and salvation. If you remember, I have posted before that the work of Christ was the binding of the strong man (Satan) so that Christ entered his house (Hades) and plundered it of the stolen good (souls of men), returning to God the Father what is only and rightfully His. All souls return to the One Who rightfully possesses them by virtue of creating them. ALL. And God pours His love out on every soul that dies and returns to Him. No exceptions

Now......not all are going to like it. Remember when the children of Israel left with Moses and then the Egyptians pursued them into the desert?

Exo 14:19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: 20
And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

Same pillar - two totally different experiences of it. In the same manner, the wicked experience God's love as torment. They don't want it, they hate God and hate His way, and to them He is a torment. But the redeemed experience it as bliss, joy, and all they have ever desired. Same love - different experience of it.

The only question which remains is if the wicked are eternally tormented by being in the presence of God or if that love brings them to repentance through the scourging effect it has on them. I believe that in love and in the wisdom of God, the scourging satisfies the justice of God and changes the souls.

Quote:
And I have a serious problem reconciling the notion that in eternity-whether they are in hell or heaven-that they can and will "change their mind" in regards to God because a defining characteristic of eternity is not only it's non-temporal-ness but also that it's immutable-there is no change(because time is what we use to measure change). That would seem to me to include any change in the state of the will.


That is a theologumen (a theological opinion only). The fact is that we don't know anything about the next life. Nothing. Such musings, such as those of Aquinas (which this appears to be) are opinions. I have just as much right to my opinion on the next life as he or you have to yours. But where I find I have foundation is that Scripture appears to support my opinion. There is no support for an eternal hell unless you do what Protestants do and twist and torture Scripture to make it say what you wish it to say.

Holy Tradition supports my position. For the first five hundred years of the Christian faith, three theological schools taught Apokatastasis. What is most telling about this is that there was not one single council nor word of condemnation to this teaching during that whole time. Not one! If this were heresy or unscriptural, there certainly would have been a council called on such an important matter involving the souls of men and the life after this one.

The teaching of men who have been recognized as saints supports this position. They have never had their status revoked as saints, although their position on Universal Restoration has been clearly known and published.

The Sacred Scriptures support this position. There is no word used for eternal when speaking of the next life and the punishments experienced by the wicked, unless, of course, you accept the wretched (and incorrect) translations which were done from Greek to Latin. There is a reason that the Eastern (Greek speaking) Church has never established a position on eternal hell - because it ain't there!!

But why would the Western Church so easily go towards such an understanding when the Greek is clear that aionios means "age-lasting" (even I can figure that out, being that aeon is the root word and aeon has nothing to do with eternal) and not eternal? Could it be what the thug emperor Justinian said, that if men knew that all would eventually wind up in heaven they would become lazy and indifferent? Could it be to control men be fear, which is such a great tool to get the ignorant and unwashed to do exactly what you want them to do? I think this must certainly have a part to do with all this. And if you look at the world, over 1500 years of preaching hell has not done a real good job anymore of putting fear into people and making them obey God, has it?

Moreover, the Western Church approaches everything from the aspect of crime and punishment (my opinion, of course, but I think I have good reason to say this). The human mind, darkened by sin, is one that seeks revenge and getting even for crimes and offenses. Just a look at the wickedness of the penal system in this country should convince a rational person of this. There is no such thing as rehabilitation, just punishment. Everything about the Western approach to God is paying off a debt for our sins......do so much penance and so much time in Purgatory is reduced, perform so many acts of this or that and you are promised a sure entrance into heaven, even passing Purgatory if you do enough. It is all about crime and punishment and payment. The East does not approach penance like that. Penances, if given (which many priests do not) are not about paying off a debt. They are about doing something that will heal a particular illness of the soul which results in sinful behavior. (Such as if you are a glutton, you may be giving fasting as a penance to help heal you of this).

The state of eternity is such that it is a fuller state of being than the temporal.

Meaning that if someone loves and accepts God in this life, they're only going to love and accept God more fully in the next; and conversely if soneone despises or rejects God in this life, they're only going despise and reject God more fully, not less, in the next.

Quote:
Or else you're necessarily allowing the real possibility that in eternity that if someone in hell can "change their mind" and choose heaven, then you'd have to admit that someone in heaven can "change their mind" and chose hell. Or how is it that one can change only in one direction but be irrevocably set against change in the other?

Do you not see that serious difficulty?


I am shaking my head at that last sentence. Do you really think that the soul, which is oriented towards always selecting that which is a good for itself, would finally see that which is the Ultimate Good, that is, God in all His beauty, love, and joy, and say, "Meeeeeeeaaaaaaah......I think not." Even in this life, people chose sin not thinking of it as evil, but as a postive (albeit wrong) good. The fornicator chooses such sin because of the "good" of the pleasure it gives him/her. The theif sees stealing as a "good' because he/she sees that it fulfills a need - the need for money or food. We all choose sin because we see in the sin we engage in some form of good, and we see this in this manner because like the dwarves in C.S. Lewis's THE LAST BATTLE, we are in darkness and cannot see that which is the real good.

Yet you are saying that a soul would finally see what it has unconsciously desired all its existence and turn from it.

COME ON!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:57 pm 
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Light of the East wrote:
Such musings, such as those of Aquinas (which this appears to be) are opinions. I have just as much right to my opinion on the next life as he or you have to yours.

Actually you don't.

Quote:
But where I find I have foundation is that Scripture appears to support my opinion. There is no support for an eternal hell unless you do what Protestants do and twist and torture Scripture to make it say what you wish it to say.

Except those passages that refer explicitly to everlasting (only God is eternal) hell, yes.

Quote:
Holy Tradition supports my position. For the first five hundred years of the Christian faith, three theological schools taught Apokatastasis. What is most telling about this is that there was not one single council nor word of condemnation to this teaching during that whole time.

Why the arbitrary cut-off? Why don't we look at the first six hundred years of Christianity, and the condemnations of the Apokatastasis in the 6th century A.D.?

Quote:
There is a reason that the Eastern (Greek speaking) Church has never established a position on eternal hell - because it ain't there!!

What bishops do you think condemned the Apokatastasis in the 6th century? Which lung of the undivided Church was that?

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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:53 pm 
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LightOfTheEast wrote:
I am shaking my head at that last sentence. Do you really think that the soul, which is oriented towards always selecting that which is a good for itself, would finally see that which is the Ultimate Good, that is, God in all His beauty, love, and joy, and say, "Meeeeeeeaaaaaaah......I think not." Even in this life, people chose sin not thinking of it as evil, but as a postive (albeit wrong) good.


Either the soul always oriented towards choosing that which is good for itself, or is it susceptible to chosing some things that are objectively good for itself and sone things though which are only apparent "goods" that are really false and it chooses them because it is enslaved to some passion related to the false "good".

You can't have it both ways.

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The fornicator chooses such sin because of the "good" of the pleasure it gives him/her. The theif sees stealing as a "good' because he/she sees that it fulfills a need - the need for money or food. We all choose sin because we see in the sin we engage in some form of good, and we see this in this manner because like the dwarves in C.S. Lewis's THE LAST BATTLE, we are in darkness and cannot see that which is the real good.


Fair enough....

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Yet you are saying that a soul would finally see what it has unconsciously desired all its existence and turn from it.

COME ON!!!!


This is precisely where you go off the rails. Because it's not at all obvious to me that God is something that absolutely every person has unconsciously or consciously desired all it's existence.

As Lewis described in his sermon "The Weight of Glory":
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Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.




And I still think that you seriously underestimate just what effect that sin, especially habitual sin, actually has on the soul.

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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:56 pm 
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Peregrinator wrote:
Light of the East wrote:
Such musings, such as those of Aquinas (which this appears to be) are opinions. I have just as much right to my opinion on the next life as he or you have to yours.


Actually you don't.

Actually, I do. You see, unless something is set out as dogma in either the Sacred Scriptures or the Bible, then it is an opinion. My response was about the idea of the passage of time (or the lack thereof) in the next life. We simply do not know in what form time exists in eternity, or if it exists, or how. So any statement made in regards to time in eternity is mere speculation at best, mine or anyone else's. This gives me the right to have an opinion and discuss it with others.

However, that same option is not open in such an area as the Eucharist being the true Body and Blood of Christ or His deity, to name two. I hope I have clarified the difference.


Quote:
But where I find I have foundation is that Scripture appears to support my opinion. There is no support for an eternal hell unless you do what Protestants do and twist and torture Scripture to make it say what you wish it to say.


Except those passages that refer explicitly to everlasting (only God is eternal) hell, yes.

Kindly name a few passages and let's discuss them. (You must think that those supporters of Apokatastasis are either blind, stupid, or deliberately ignoring them.)

Quote:
Holy Tradition supports my position. For the first five hundred years of the Christian faith, three theological schools taught Apokatastasis. What is most telling about this is that there was not one single council nor word of condemnation to this teaching during that whole time.


Why the arbitrary cut-off? Why don't we look at the first six hundred years of Christianity, and the condemnations of the Apokatastasis in the 6th century A.D.?

Because that council was not discussing Apokatastasis. It was discussing the Three Chapters and the thug emperor, Justinian, interfered with the council (which he had ZERO right to do) and imposed his will on it. The condemnations of Apokatastasis as such were added to the regular canons of the council by Justinian, by force of his will, after the closing of the council and under duress were accepted.

Further proof of this is that the council did not condemn any of the hierarchs prior who had supported Apokatastasis, such as St. Isaac of Syria or St. Gregory of Nyssa. Had this been an overall condemnation of Apokatastasis, these names would have been specifically brought up. What was being condemned in the original canons was the bizarre idea of Origen that souls pre-existed. His Apokatastasis was attached to this belief, therefore it was mentioned.

And recent scholarship and investigation of the council's paperwork has led scholars to believe that there are forgeries involved as well, making the whole thing lie under a cloud of suspicion. Politics, you know. Politicians have never been totally in line with truth that doesn't serve their interests. And Justinian had a lot of interests he was passionately involved with for the "good of the Empire" Anything that got in the way of this plan was dealt with.


Quote:
There is a reason that the Eastern (Greek speaking) Church has never established a position on eternal hell - because it ain't there!!

What bishops do you think condemned the Apokatastasis in the 6th century? Which lung of the undivided Church was that?


It was the Eastern Church under duress from the thug emperor (Yes, I have NOTHING good to say about this man!) who ruled Constantinople. And as I said before, they didn't condemn Apokatastasis, they condemned Origen's ideas of the pre-existence of souls.

Five hundred years with three opinions existing side by side: Apokatastasis, Eternal Conscious Torment, and Annihilation - and not one conflict between them. It appears that in the Church, any of these three teachings were acceptable. Not a single council called. Why, if one or two of them are heresy? Where did the Church ever allow a heresty to continue for more than 100 years? Only once, the iconoclast heresy of the ninth century.

David Bentley Hart, writing in his new book THAT ALL SHALL BE SAVED, wondered allowed at why he was laboring to bring forth his work. He realized that a great many people would read it and promptly toss it in the trash (some have not even had the decency to read his line of argumentation before writing scurrilous things about him). So why bother? And why bother posting here? I'm certainly not going to change any minds.

It's just to say that this is what I have come to believe about the goodness and love of God and these are the reasons I believe it is true.


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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:14 pm 
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Gandalf the Grey wrote:
And I still think that you seriously underestimate just what effect that sin, especially habitual sin, actually has on the soul.


I accept this from you because you and I are not close friends and therefore not aware of what has taken place in my life. You have no idea just how deeply I was involved in habitual sin, how enslaved I was, how determined I was to avoid God at all costs, how much I loved sin, thought it a good, and pursued it with gusto. What I am saying is that I have a very experiential knowledge of what habitual sin does on the soul. And if I had been given my way by God, rather than Him continually seeking me, drawing me, wooing me, and eventually bringing me to the point of realizing that everything I loved was destroying me, thus eliciting a cry for help which He answered, I would be long dead and gone from this earth by now.

The history of mankind is filled with such examples of men and women deeply steeped in the worst of sins and yet coming to that point -by various means - of realizing that the good they were seeking was really in God. When the body dies, there will be no distractions which falsely present themselves as good. The soul will realize it is nothing without God....some sooner, some later. Will God stop loving, stop seeking, stop calling out to the soul after it dies?

I think not. God is love. He does not change. And His approach to all that is does not change. The only difference between us is that you believe (I suppose) that the soul either cannot repent after death or will not repent, even after seeing the beauty of Christ. And I believe anything is possible with an omnipotent and omniscient loving heavenly Father because love wins.


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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 5:55 pm 
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Light of the East wrote:
I reject the Evangelical paradigm with which I grew up, that Christ was our substitute, who took on our behalf the beating we deserve. It is much, much better than that.
Yes, and so does practically everyone else here. You are conflating an evangelical (or more accurately, a Calvinist) notion of penal substitution with the substitutionary atonement taught by the Catholic Church, where Christ indeed is our substitute in that he gave himself on our behalf. And through participation in Him, we are granted his gifts.

Light of the East wrote:
The Cross does not give me legal standing of "Not Guilty" before God. No, it changes my whole being, which is far, far better. I become healed, changed, and able to have a real experience of God.
But if we see Scripture, we see that it uses both legal and medicinal language. It is not either/or. Why create a contradiction were none exist?

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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:33 pm 
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Gandalf the Grey wrote:
The essential question is that if everyone is already saved, why should I bother even being a Catholic Christian?
Everyone is not “already saved”, Gandalf. What you have said is like saying that because everyone is going to die, everyone is already dead. But that’s plainly wrong, there is a lot of living to be done before everyone is dead.

Gandalf the Grey wrote:
...why should I bother even being a Catholic Christian? Why shouldn't I just be an atheist like I was? Why shouldn't I be able to take whatever I want, whenever I want, from whomever I want to take it from, and the devil take the hindmost? I'll essentially "get away" with all sorts of injustices and, all things considered, only have to suffer a slight stint in a "pergatorial" holding cell before walking straight into heaven to just continue living and acting like I did on Earth?

Because you WON’T get away with those injustices, you WILL reap what you sow. I don’t know how many times I have to tell you that, Gandalf.

You believe that we reap what we sow, Gandalf, and I believe that we reap what we sow. So stop pretending that I don’t believe that we reap what we sow. The only difference between what you believe and what I believe is that you believe God never gives up on us until the day we die, whereas I believe that God NEVER gives up on us. His mercy and grace are always available to all of us, and He doesn’t withdraw his mercy and grace just because our physical body dies.

You seem to be thinking that the only reason you don’t take whatever you want, whenever you want, from whomever you want to take it from, is because you think you’d be eternally punished if you did, and that if there was only a “slight” temporary punishment for taking whatever you want, whenever you want, from whomever you want to take it from, then you WOULD take whatever you want, whenever you want, from whomever you want to take it from. If that’s what you think, then you don’t understand what love is.

You seem to believe that if someone lives a sinful life (as we all do, as we are all sinners), there are only two possibilities: they suffer in Hell eternally with no possibility of God’s grace or mercy, or they go to heaven after ‘a slight stint in a "pergatorial" holding cell before walking straight into Heaven’. But that is not what either universalists or traditional Catholics believe. What do you think purgatory is? If you want to understand universalism, stop thinking that those are the only two possibilities!

Why would you assume that the only possible alternative to suffering eternal damnation is merely ‘to suffer a slight stint in a "pergatorial" holding cell before walking straight into heaven’?

You are very determined to misunderstand universalism, Gandalf.

Gandalf the Grey wrote:
...Not to mention how it even leaves open the question of what would happen if imperfected fallen souls should enter and corrupt heaven and necessitate a second Fall by bringing sin and death with them into heaven. If the assumption is that God's love will just "magically" change them without any repentance, conversion, obedience on their part, you need to demonstrate precisely what you base that assumption on.

Why talk about “them”, why not include yourself in that question, Gandalf: what would happen if the imperfected fallen soul of you, Gandalf, should enter and corrupt heaven and necessitate a second Fall by bringing sin and death with them into heaven. If the assumption is that God's love will just "magically" change you, Gandalf, without any repentance, conversion, obedience on your part...

The way that God will allow anyone into Heaven without corrupting Heaven is no different from the way God will allow you or me into Heaven without corrupting Heaven. Why would you think that you are any different from anyone else?


Gandalf the Grey wrote:
...Why shouldn't I just be an atheist like I was?

Because you believe in God! You can’t be an atheist if you believe in God!


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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:59 pm 
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Jack3 wrote:
Pro-Zak wrote:
Hell, the lake of fire, was prepared for the Devil and his angels, so in that respect, no, it is not natural for humans.

It was prepared for those who irrevocably reject God. God knew of man's disobedience from all eternity.

Jack3, I notice that you and other Catholics, such as Pro-Zak, believe that Hell is a lake of fire, an everlasting fire, whereas Obi and other Catholics believe that Hell is eternal separation from God which people choose, but there is no fire, no eternal burning, no physical punishment, no physical suffering, just the pain of being separated from God, and yet you both get your information from the same sources, the Bible and infallible Church teachings. You can’t both be right.


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 Post subject: Re: Is hell the natural fate of man?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:40 pm 
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Closet Catholic wrote:
Light of the East wrote:
I reject the Evangelical paradigm with which I grew up, that Christ was our substitute, who took on our behalf the beating we deserve. It is much, much better than that.
Yes, and so does practically everyone else here. You are conflating an evangelical (or more accurately, a Calvinist) notion of penal substitution with the substitutionary atonement taught by the Catholic Church, where Christ indeed is our substitute in that he gave himself on our behalf. And through participation in Him, we are granted his gifts.

Light of the East wrote:
The Cross does not give me legal standing of "Not Guilty" before God. No, it changes my whole being, which is far, far better. I become healed, changed, and able to have a real experience of God.
But if we see Scripture, we see that it uses both legal and medicinal language. It is not either/or. Why create a contradiction were none exist?


That is both a fair and reasonable question. I don't want to say that the legal does not exist, but that in my experience it has been vastly stressed and the idea of divinization has been almost non-existent. I think what I'm looking for, as you suggest is a balance and cooperation between the two.


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