Post Reply
Page 1 of 3  •  1 2 3 Next
Switch to Forum Live View East/West views of the fall and state of humans
5 years ago  ::  Nov 12, 2008 - 12:46AM #1
Liriodendron
Posts: 36
In my introduction post Mfjfarrell commented that,
"Our ancestors had a slightly different approach, however. In the Great Schism of the Early Church, those in the Celtic lands leaned more towards Eastern theology than that of Rome. In the East, mankind is seen as an 'icon' of Christ, inherently good but flawed by his selfishness. This is opposed to the Roman/Calvinist view of the 'corruption' of mankind after the Fall."

Do you see this as a deep difference or one of degree?  Both seem to agree that humans were made in God's image and now are messed up.   Is it mostly an issue of which one they focus on?

My feelings about it vary according how I and the people around me are behaving.  Sometimes humanity seems particually rotton; sometimes they just seem to be gone astray.  In either case, I think the Holy Spirit is capable of straightening us out.

Another place where it might make a difference is how you view man's origin.  If you believe in evolution and don't think Adam was a literal individual, would it be hard to believe in the fall of man?
Quick Reply
Cancel
5 years ago  ::  Nov 12, 2008 - 12:46AM #2
Liriodendron
Posts: 36
In my introduction post Mfjfarrell commented that,
"Our ancestors had a slightly different approach, however. In the Great Schism of the Early Church, those in the Celtic lands leaned more towards Eastern theology than that of Rome. In the East, mankind is seen as an 'icon' of Christ, inherently good but flawed by his selfishness. This is opposed to the Roman/Calvinist view of the 'corruption' of mankind after the Fall."

Do you see this as a deep difference or one of degree?  Both seem to agree that humans were made in God's image and now are messed up.   Is it mostly an issue of which one they focus on?

My feelings about it vary according how I and the people around me are behaving.  Sometimes humanity seems particually rotton; sometimes they just seem to be gone astray.  In either case, I think the Holy Spirit is capable of straightening us out.

Another place where it might make a difference is how you view man's origin.  If you believe in evolution and don't think Adam was a literal individual, would it be hard to believe in the fall of man?
Quick Reply
Cancel
5 years ago  ::  Nov 12, 2008 - 9:50AM #3
mfjfarrell
Posts: 236
Dia annseo isteach!
God to all here!

Greetings Lir,

Feel free to call me Marty...

While your questions appear simple on the surface, if we worked in the realm of opinion, the history of the Church reveals much deeper levels of difficulty in answering them, however.  My statement was meant simply to let you become aware of the diversity of backgrounds within CC.  While we are diverse in our backgrounds and outlooks, we are conformed to living this present life in service to the Christ, the Source of all Life.  It is not the conforming of our minds we seek but rather the sharing of the Journey together as we serve Him.

If you would like to do further research on this area, you might want to start with the controversy between Pelagius (St. Morgan) and Augustine.  Both were teachers of the Early Church but Augustine was more politically connected.  Unfortunately, his background comes from Manichean Gnosticism, which holds that all flesh is corrupt and only our spiritual nature can be saved.  The Celts held the opposite view, that Christ is still present in all His Creation, mankind and nature.  These two scholars had a running debate for years which centered on the need for 'infant baptism' but touched on many areas dealing with the nature of man.  Only the Church in Rome accepted Augustine's teachings in this area and hence it entered into Protestant belief as well.  The East rejected his teaching as being too harsh an understanding of the Fall.

In the Early Church there were five seats of authority, Jerusalem, Antioch, Constantinople, Alexandria and Rome.  In the earliest stages of the Church they were united.  As time went on, Rome became a 'rogue element' in its attempts to gain ascendancy.  It was during this particular controversy where the foundations of the later 'Great Schism' began.  The Church in the Celtic Lands followed the Roman rites of service yet held to earlier, Eastern, theology.  Even so, they managed to keep their distinctive 'Celtic' theology until the churches there were suppressed by Rome a few centuries later.

Let me address an issue you brought up in a different post, that of the modern 'Celtic Church'.  You will find a few places that consider themselves a Celtic Church.  In actuality, the Celtic Church was extinguished as an institution after the Synod of Whitby in 664 A.D.  What exists today in a few places are denominational churches that attempt to follow the Celtic rites by including prayers and saints from the Celtic lands.  They are worthwhile organizations if you are looking for 'Celtic Fellowship' but you'll notice it is still very connected to its origins.  Most of us continue to fellowship (or not) in our home churches and keep the Celtic Way as our Source for all we do.  We are sort of 'pilgrims' within our own churches 'perigrini'.  After Whitby, CC continued in the hearts and minds of the people and has survived up to this present day as a way of life.  That is what you have discovered here...

Thanks again for joining us here and please feel free to ask anything you like...

Slan,
Marty
Quick Reply
Cancel
5 years ago  ::  Nov 12, 2008 - 11:25PM #4
Liriodendron
Posts: 36
Wow, you give a through answer.

>"It is not the conforming of our minds we seek but rather the sharing of the Journey together as we serve Him.'<
I'm coming to agree with this more and more - that the mental accuracy of our faith is not as important as having a relationship with Christ and showing love.

I think that there are a lot of people in the protestant tradition that may say they agree with the fall and human depravity but really don't see it that harshly.  I wonder how much it effects the way we look at the world even when we don't realize it.  I would probably be able to make a better assessment if I studied Orthodox Christianity.  The Pelegius/Augustine controversy seems a bit intimidating; however I do someday want to read the different church fathers.

I did know that the Roman church had forced the early Celtic chuches to conform.  I sort of suspected it had continued more as a sub-culture or folk culture - under the radar, so to speak.

I'd like to visit one of the new type Celtic fellowship to see what they are like, but I don't want to leave my people.
Quick Reply
Cancel
5 years ago  ::  Nov 13, 2008 - 11:18AM #5
mfjfarrell
Posts: 236
Dia annseo isteach!
God to all here!

Greetings Lir,

I'd agree that modern Christians are woefully shy about knowing the history of the Church.  I was.. and I taught Bible!! (hehehe)  As I studied more about my people and my heritage, I saw the beauty and wisdom and simplicity of the Celtic Way.  It caused me to seek an understanding of the Early Church and its two modern remnants of Catholicism and Orthodoxy.  All three traditions have their strengths and weaknesses.  You are correct about the need for relationship.  That is the main benefit of Evangelicalism but the rest of the theology 'misses the mark' in a few places.  'Accuracy of understanding' does help us individually but what is more important is the understanding that opinions should never separate us.  Its up to the Holy Spirit to bring us understanding, we need only continue to love all whom He brings into our life.  (whether we agree or not!)

From your post, allow me to respond.  "I wonder how much it effects the way we look at the world ..."  Many in Evangelicalism tend to see mankind and the world as 'fallen', 'corrupted' by the sin of Adam.  They speak of 'The Kingdom', which is yet to come, as the only home to which they now belong.  To the Celtic mind, this present world still holds the beauty and majesty of our Creator!  We look for Him in everything around us and in everyone, saved and unsaved!  Our present task is not to 'convert' everyone to our way of thinking, simply to BE Christ in their midst.  To surrender our life for His and to show His love and understanding the same as He would have done.  That is what I find lacking in the three traditions, they tend to be ethnocentric in their concerns.

I think another thing that might affect your thinking is the 'Immanence' of God.  In the Western traditions, God is far from us and we must work our way to get back to Him. (consequence of the Fall)  To the Celts, He is the Source of all Life.  He is ever present 'within' all life!  Trying to see Him within ourselves is one of the most difficult tasks you will ever perform but it is vital to seeing Him elsewhere!  Once accomplished, though, you can see the connectedness of all life...

Well, I think I've given you are few things to think over for today.  Thanks for your participation...

Slan,
Marty
Quick Reply
Cancel
5 years ago  ::  Nov 13, 2008 - 3:46PM #6
seekerdrd
Posts: 98
Lir,
I'd like to comment on this as well (feel free to call me David). I see the difference in East/West view points as being fairly significant. If one takes the track that says man is inherently wicked/sinful/evil/etc. (Western), then it becomes easier to develop contempt for others, be more judgmental, and to become more "religious" in the sense of having codified rules of behavior that give salvation rather than depending on God's grace. Taking the Eastern track of creation, including mankind, to be good but flawed tends to leand itself to an understanding of one's own flaws and a resulting compassion for others, and it allows us to view creation as something to care for and about rather than being destructive and domineering.

I'm not sure that a non-literal view of the fall of man affects this at all. If you look at all the systems of belief in the world, including atheism, there is an underlying belief that man is flawed and needs correction. Atheists and others have tried to "fix" things through politics, science, etc. Other religions try through things like standard rules and regulations, but only Christianity (at its core) says that something broken cannot fix itself and offers the repair as a gift, the gift of Jesus.

One quick note on the idea of "immanence." This is not to say, as many in the New Age movement would espouse, that we are all divine, nor is it some form of pantheism, but rather it is the idea that God is ever present in creation, and can and does work in and through creation (including people) to achieve God's purpose.

David
Quick Reply
Cancel
5 years ago  ::  Nov 13, 2008 - 10:52PM #7
Liriodendron
Posts: 36
You guys can feel free to call me Lillian.

Marty, when you said you had given me a few things to think over, you weren't kidding.  You both have.
Quick Reply
Cancel
5 years ago  ::  Nov 18, 2008 - 9:20AM #8
SeraphimR
Posts: 8,323
Hello all!

I thought Pelagius was condemned because he taught that we are saved by works, not by grace.

I do know that we Eastern Orthodox are sometimes accused of being semi-Pelagian because we teach that salvation is achieved synergistically through the work of God and human together.

The main difference between the EO and the RCC teachings on the Fall is that the RCC thinks the guilt for Adam's sin is inherited and the EO does not.  That is, the EO does not teach Augustine's notion of "Original Sin".  Consequently, salvation is not a legal process where we are somehow "judged innocent" because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross.  The theology of Substitutionary Atonement is rejected by the EO.

The Bible teaches that we are made in "the image and likeness of God".  Because of the Fall, we retain the "image" but lost the "likeness", and Salvation is recapturing the "likeness" by acquiring the Holy Spirit through prayer, fasting, charity, and participation in the Sacraments.

The EO does recognize both the transcendence of God, and His immanence through the Uncreated Energies which permeate Creation.  The EO understanding can usefully be described as panentheistic, but with significant differences from the panentheism of Whitehead and Hartshorne.
The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.
Quick Reply
Cancel
5 years ago  ::  Nov 18, 2008 - 10:21AM #9
mfjfarrell
Posts: 236
Dia annseo isteach!
God to all here!

Greetings Seraphim,

Welcome to the Celtic Corner of Belief net!  I appreciate your input on EO!

As for Pelagius, yes, he was condemned/anathematized by both branches of the Early Church.  However, within this past decade, his works are being given further consideration and the opinion seems to be turning in his favor.  I think the definitive book on his life and works is "Pelagius: Life and Letters", by B.R. Rees.  Its a hefty book with a price to match!  J. Philip Newell did a very nice chapter explaining his theology in his "Listening for the Heartbeat of God".  Its simple yet accurate but I felt a little overly sentimental.  Pelagius was more of a harsh fundamentalist than anything else!

Where I feel he went off the track a bit was in the need for Grace.  Like most Celts, he believed in the flow of God's Love, both within and around us but he insisted that it was now resident and we are no longer in need of asking God for it!  Everything else he ever taught was completely Scriptural and totally Celtic in its perspective.

Regarding 'original sin'.. this was St Augustine's creation!  It was in this controversy with Pelagius that he developed it.  There's just not anywhere in Scripture that he can justify his doctrine!  Same as some other 'doctrines' of RCC origin!  One of the other things different between both groups is something I found in, I think it was in the 'Orthodox Study Bible', where I read we are created in God's image but not of His 'essence'.  Not sure.. but it is a good source for EO doctrine!

Being that CC stems from the same Early Church as did EO, we have some things much in common in our understandings.  There are a few areas where we diverge, though.  That could be left for a different thread!

Thanks for coming bye and offering us your insights....

Slan,
Marty
Quick Reply
Cancel
5 years ago  ::  Nov 18, 2008 - 3:02PM #10
Liriodendron
Posts: 36
Marty said "From your post, allow me to respond. "I wonder how much it effects the way we look at the world ..." Many in Evangelicalism tend to see mankind and the world as 'fallen', 'corrupted' by the sin of Adam."

That is true.  I do see mankind as mixed up and messed up and with selfish tendencies taking over unless God steps in and helps.  I wonder if Adam and Eve never sinned, would we be free of our selfish tenancies or at least well able to subject them to more important things like love? 

I don't really worry about whether the the guilt for Adam's sin is inherited or not because I think we are all capable of making out own guilt.  What guilt or wrongness is there at birth before we start choosing our own wrong ways is taken care of by Christ, so it doesn't worry me.


David said, "If one takes the track that says man is inherently wicked/sinful/evil/etc. (Western), then it becomes easier to develop contempt for others, be more judgmental, and to become more "religious" in the sense of having codified rules of behavior that give salvation rather than depending on God's grace."

I agree with your observation of what usually happens, but I don't know what that is our reaction.  I would think believing humans are inherently sinful would bring home the need for God's grace.  And if we believe that God's grace and power is as strong as we clain it is, then we would have more hope for change in certain awful people than what we could hope for if change depended on following rules.

Then David said, "only Christianity (at its core) says that something broken cannot fix itself and offers the repair as a gift, the gift of Jesus."    So you do believe something is broken?  How and when do you think it got broken?


Marty also commented, "They speak of 'The Kingdom', which is yet to come, as the only home to which they now belong."
I know many only think of the Kingdom as being what God sets up at the 2nd Coming, but I've grown to think of it as being God's rule in many, many hearts - as in lots and lots of people obeying God and loving each other and how good that would be.
Quick Reply
Cancel
Page 1 of 3  •  1 2 3 Next
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook