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What We Believe

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by Dorothea, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    Hi, READERJOSEPH,

    I have the copied DVDs, but I had a lot of trouble trying to download them onto my computer a few years ago. I do not have the Inner Life series.
     
  2. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Hello, ReaderJoseph, and welcome to CF, and to TAW!

    I apologize that your post was kind of overlooked - this is a sort of "library" forum for us and so doesn't always get constant attention. I see that Dorothea answered and unfortunately does not have what you are looking for. I do hope that you find it! If I knew of a source, I would let you know. I will keep my eyes open!

    Again, welcome to the forums. And I hope we see more of you soon!
     
  3. ladodgers6

    ladodgers6 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am a convinced Calvinist for many years now. And recently encountered this Orthodoxy of East. Though I will admit it sound strange, I have been doing my homework to find out more. I have been conversing with EOC on a private chat. Which has spark a lot questions for me. I would to ask you these questions, in hoping to finding answers. May I ask you these questions?
     
  4. mark46

    mark46 Well-Known Member

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    I have found the folks here very informative, and very tolerant. You might find that the main EOC board will give you faster responses since it is read much more regularly that this sub-board.
     
  5. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    absolutely, fire away! although I agree on the main board, more folks will prolly respond there.
     
  6. Light of the East

    Light of the East Ukrainian Greek Catholic Supporter

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    Hello, Jesse!!! Wonderful to see you here. These are really good folks with a much better grip on things than I have. Hope this is helpful to you.!
     
  7. ladodgers6

    ladodgers6 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The main question I have is what is Theosis in Eastern Orthodoxy. I have been doing my research on it. I have encountered different answers. So please clear it up for me.
     
  8. ladodgers6

    ladodgers6 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks Ed, I thought you were angry with me, because of my last post. Yea, I have been doing a lot of research since our conversation began. I am utilizing all resources to gain knowledge not just from the Reformed position. That is something I learned a long time ago. To understand both side of aisle in these debates. Gives me more insight into the center of the debates. So, that's why I am here. To get it from the horses mouth.
     
  9. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Oh, just a simple question then. ;)

    LOL, sorry, it made me smile. :)

    Matt can surely answer better than I can, but I want to watch the conversation, and I don't usually come in here.

    Theosis is the process by which we become more and more like Christ - essentially we are being returned to the state which God intended for us from the beginning, healed of the effects of sin, which include the passions (perversions of good desires). That's sort of the nutshell answer, and like I said, I know Matt can explain much better than I can.

    There is the statement often quoted by St. Athanasius - "God became man so that man might become god." But it is very important not to misunderstand this! We can become more and more like Christ - we are "in the image AND likeness of God" as it was in the beginning (except even more so - Adam had not attained maturity in Christ). But God - the uncreated, divine, Being - remains God, and we are and always will be creatures. We never cross any kind of border to "become God" in the same way that God is God.

    It might also be good, if you've heard confusing answers, or those that contradict, to ask about them specifically. There can be a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation, but there can also be cases where we answer a question in a way that seems contradictory. The question may be "Is it a or b?" and our answer may be "yes." Sometimes it is not either/or, but rather it is both/and. But in order to know if that is what has happened, you'd have to give us the particulars.

    I hope that helps a tiny bit. I'm guessing your question is really more than that. And I'm glad Matt caught the thread. :)

    Welcome to TAW, by the way. :) We are glad to have you join us! :)
     
  10. mark46

    mark46 Well-Known Member

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    I trust than Anastasia's post has helped. Perhaps Matt will add more.

    The post below might help with regard to background and how this critical understanding has seen by others.

    BTW, IMHO, theosis (or divinization) was a central part of the faith of us all until the time the West broke from the East. Many of the Fathers spoke of this. Currently, this is central in the West only among Quakers and Methodists.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divinization_(Christian)
     
  11. ladodgers6

    ladodgers6 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am glad I can bring a smile to your face.:amen:
    I have been reading some data from their camp and I am getting mix answers to this thing "THEOSIS". Some say its the believer getting absorb into God's essence. Others say its the energies of God that they become. That we become like gods, sounds weird for me. And what is the differences between Theosis, Union with Christ and Sanctification? I will post what I found very interesting tomorrow on the subject of Theosis.

    But thanks for your time and energy. All in Love, not hate.
     
  12. ladodgers6

    ladodgers6 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes Anastasia gave some good material. I am looking for the specific teaching on it from the East word for word on it. And I would like also to know in the East teaching of Adam; who was he and was he create in Theosis before He sin? And how do people now get to this state of Theosis now?
     
  13. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Smiles are good. :)

    And the Essence and Energies of God is a very good topic.

    But I can say right off that we do NOT "get absorbed into the essence of God".

    There are at least two reasons to object to this. One is the "absorb" part. We do not lose our personhood. We remain ourselves. There is no loss of self or being absorbed into anything. If anything, we become MORE of who we truly are, who God created us to be.

    The second objection is that they mention the essence of God. I'm not going to be able to explain this well, but the ESSENCE of God is His divinity, His "God-ness", His "otherness". It is so deep and profound that this is the part of God we will never be able to fully comprehend to its depths, because we are creatures.

    The Energies of God, on the other hand, are the ways in which He interacts with us. These are basically what we know of Him. BTW, the Orthodox don't view grace as a created "thing" that God bestows like a commodity, but rather we view Grace as the very energies of God (maybe I should say "part of the energies of God" ... I need someone more educated to say for sure).

    Through Theosis, we become like God (specifically like Christ, since He is God revealed to us). It probably does sound weird at first, but it is essentially the same process as what Protestants refer to as sanctification. It's just that Protestants tend to see salvation as a moment-in-time done event, while we tend to view it as a process, which is not complete (salvation that is) until the final judgement. We don't see it as a simple legal transaction, but rather a process. As I understand it, union with Christ would also fall under what we describe as theosis.

    I think the difference is, we see theosis as a process that begins when we are returned to communion with God and continues as a part of our salvation process. Salvation being completed at the final judgement, while theosis can actually continue in eternity - since God is infinite, He will always have "more" that we can grow, learn, be like Him - but since God is infinite, we will never "arrive" in that we will never "be divine gods". That is NOT what we are talking about.

    I welcome correction from my Orthodox brothers and sisters if I've missed on any of the details, but I hope I've properly understood, remembered, and communicated what I've said. :)

    Some of what you said sounds more like non-Christian religions. I'm not sure of the sources you've read, or what their sources were. But definitely some misinformation there.

    Yes, all in love. :) I like your spirit in communication here. :)

    God be with you!
     
  14. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    More good questions. :)

    I can answer less fully about Adam, but I will try.

    Adam was created without sin, of course. All of the creation just described at that point was "very good". But there was a certain immaturity to Adam in the sense that He was not yet what God intended for him to become.

    Was he in the process of theosis? I've never heard that question asked, so I don't know the technical answer. I would guess we can say yes? It makes sense, but better to ask someone who knows more.

    Your other question is a good one too ... I'm debating if it's one I should tackle.

    Ok, I will say this. I am not sure where it's proper to draw actual lines for the terms. But the process has been discussed, and some Church a Fathers may break it down a little differently, and label it differently - I don't think that makes anyone "wrong" since overall the same process is described. I will give you what I know best, which I think is the most common description. Again, please ask if anything seems unclear or questionable, and I welcome correction or clarification from my Orthodox brothers and sisters. :)

    There needs to be some restoration of communion with God. Typically we see this as being initiated or sealed with the sacrament of baptism. I think that is important to mention.

    There is often a process of theosis described in terms of purification, illumination deification. These are not really discrete stages where a person is absolutely finished with one then moves absolutely into the next, never to return. Rather, the transitions involve some overlap.

    One must first come to a knowledge of God. Becoming aware of Him, believing in Him, getting to know His commandments, and so on. One should read the Scriptures, listen to the teachings, spend time in His presence in worship and in prayer. (What I just said one should do - continues of course through all stages.)

    Purification involves effort on our part in cooperation with the help of God. The Church offers disciplines, and teaching to help. This I think is a huge stage for most of us. We purify our thoughts, our actions, our desires. We try to avoid sin, and we try to change those things in us that lead to sin. In the process, we are changed, and become more like Christ. This is not merely an effort on our part, but can be accomplished only with the help of God. But we are not passive.

    When some degree of purity is attained, one begins to receive more illumination, more of the vision of God. One receives insights into creation, the work of God in all things. This effects further change in the person, making them even more like Christ, and helps cement those things attained by way of purification.

    The final stage - deification - is not easy to speak of. I will probably say this in a clumsy way, but the Holy Spirit abides closely in a person at this stage. Sometimes we can describe such a person using some examples from the Saints, and how God has acted through them. I can't really say more.

    I see that I actually said much more than you were asking, in an effort to answer your question, and still failed to answer it.

    The best way to get on the path to theosis - well, since I determined that Orthodoxy was right and I wanted to become Orthodox, I was baptized and received into the Church. I go to Liturgy and receive communion. I keep my prayer rule, and have the benefit of a spiritual father who keeps me on track and recommends reading. I read the Scriptures. I watch my thoughts, actions, and feelings, and try to bring everything into alignment with God's commandments, and when I fail, I ask forgiveness and try again. I keep the fasts (except when medically prevented). I go to confession. Most of all, I try to treat everyone with the love of God, as far as I'm able.

    Ah, I'm STILL saying too much. I don't want it to sound as though we think we "buy" or "merit" salvation through our works. We absolutely do not.

    But we do our best to live a Christian life, and those efforts will change us. Believe it or not, not only our successes, but also our failures, since we learn humility and our absolute need for God's help in them.

    That's really all it is - live a Christian life. Cooperate with God in a process that is absolutely His will for us, since He desires all to be saved.


    But being Orthodox, I am grateful that the Church offers so much assistance and so many tools to help in this, as well as guidance based on many centuries of experience. So for that reason, I include all of the above in my answer.

    I apologize this is so long. You ask questions that are both deep and simple at the same time. The best kind, I think. ;)
     
  15. Light of the East

    Light of the East Ukrainian Greek Catholic Supporter

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    I am glad I can bring a smile to your face.:amen:

    I have been reading some data from their camp and I am getting mix answers to this thing "THEOSIS". Some say its the believer getting absorb into God's essence. Others say its the energies of God that they become. That we become like gods, sounds weird for me. And what is the differences between Theosis, Union with Christ and Sanctification? I will post what I found very interesting tomorrow on the subject of Theosis.

    But thanks for your time and energy. All in Love, not hate.

    Arrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

    HERESY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    As I mentioned to you, the reason it sounds weird is that if you read the Westminster Confession, you will find that from the very start in the Garden, man is spoken of in terms which present him not as son of God (Luke 3:38 - please look it up) but rather as simply a vassal slave put there to tend the Garden and be a good servant. Those are two very different mindsets.

    And in reference to an earlier post you made.... I couldn't be mad at you. I have come to consider you as a good Internet friend and fellow seeker.
     
  16. Light of the East

    Light of the East Ukrainian Greek Catholic Supporter

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    Yes Anastasia gave some good material. I am looking for the specific teaching on it from the East word for word on it. And I would like also to know in the East teaching of Adam; who was he and was he create in Theosis before He sin? And how do people now get to this state of Theosis now?

    I can give you my opinion (and trust me, that's all it is). Perhaps it will give you something good upon which to chew.

    We are told in Scripture that faith is righteousness, correct? (Romans 10:6)

    When I read that many years ago, thinking about the same thing you are asking here, it struck me that the whole of God's commands (law, if you please) was that they gave Adam a chance to express faith (belief, trust in) his Father. Faith is not assent to something. Faith actually does. Faith is a verb, according to James (I will show you my faith by my works).

    Therefore (and again, only my opinion) Adam was created neutral. Therefore, it would be impossible for him to enter into the divine love of God (which we are all invited to enjoy in eternity).

    So the various commands (be fruitful, multiply, take dominion) were designed to help Adam grow in faith by actually doing them. So was the Temptation which came from the evil one. Imagine if you will, the growth in righteousness that Adam would have experienced if he had faced death from combat with the evil one to defend his bride (and this is exactly what Christ did for His Bride, the Church, on the Cross. He faced death and by death defeated death).

    So there is this incredible link between Adam and the Last Adam in their actions. What the first Adam failed to do, the Last Adam did.

    Theosis
    (again, my opinion) is impossible outside of union with Christ. It is our union with Him that begins our journey. Peter says we have been made partakers of the nature of Christ. Is that the end? Once we have partaken, are we finished? Or is it the beginning of a fabulous never-ending journey into God's love, for really, theosis is simply the journey into the sharing of divine love. God is love, and love always wants to share itself with the object of its love. In our case, we are the object.

    Inasmuch as I am not Orthodox .....please dear folks of this board.....correct anything I may have said wrong. I'm just a goofy Eastern Catholic who loves Holy Orthodoxy
     
  17. mark46

    mark46 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, our union with God is a process, not an event.

    Many Protestants have what I would call imprecise language, as well as the difference in doctrine. As a Baptist, I was taught (and taught) that salvation has three parts: justification, sanctification, and glorification. "I was saved when I accepted God; I am being saved as I become more conformed to him each day of my life; and I will be saved (if God wills) on the last day." Wesley (an Anglican priest for all of his life, who founded the Methodists) tried to make clear the importance of sanctification (his understanding was very close to what I have read and discussed as theosis).

    The Eastern understanding of energies and essence makes theosis easier to understand for many.
     
  18. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    I wouldn't have much (as an Orthodox Christian) to debate against what you say here.

    There are different kinds of Baptists of course. And while I'm interested in differences in theology, I know I will never understand the full scope of how things change from one group to another.

    I'll just say briefly though that I was raised Baptist, and I was taught that I was saved when I said the Jesus Prayer (impossible to "lose") and that sanctification was optional but would lead to more rewards in heaven, and glorification was a foregone conclusion since I said the prayer. Salvation was essentially an irrevocable legal contract/covenant that I entered through that prayer, and God was duty-bound to fulfill His part at the final judgement. Sanctification was a side issue. This from a mostly Southern Baptist and various Independent Baptist background. Some decades back. ;)
     
  19. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    think of metal in fire. metal takes on the properties of fire (light, heat, etc) without actually becoming fire.
     
  20. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    but Christ says that in John's Gospel.....

    nothing really.

    no, haha, that is Hinduism.

    no, that is also some weird Hindu fusion. it is by the energies that we become more like God. since God's energies are eternal and God Himself, it is impossible for us to become His energies.
     
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