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It would seem indeed that a lot of theology, serious issues like papal supremacy
and the filioque aside, are nothing but politics of identity and even nation in
disguise.Something like this drove the monophysite/miaphysite deviation also.
It is one thing to say that all of man's nature has been impacted ergo corrupted
by the fall. It is another to say that therefore there is no more free will at all,
and that all of man's nature has been entirely corrupted.
that we as individuals can't be guilty of Adam's sin is one thing, to deny that
we come into existence as individuals, from the egg and sperm, in a
condition of corruption of our nature and inclinations, which is why we
eventually have personal sins is another entirely.
But to claim that this transmission of original sin or ancestral sin or whatever
distinction without a difference we Orthodox are plugging for this week, is
through the concupiscence that is involved in sexual intercourse, is
On that basis, if you surgically extracted egg and sperm under anesthesia,
without the sperm coming from ejaculation after masturbation as is the
usual mode of collection, and united the egg and sperm the resulting
in vitro child would be without the ancestral sin.
More reasonably it is transmitted in the normal heredity, incl. passing on
of soul stuff, the invisible side of being human, try traducianism for a
change, a notion not universally held in Orthodoxy any more, but far more
Biblically correct, and more consistent with the Orthodox affirmation of
the physical creation contra the gnostic rejection of creation, than is the
idea of a soul placed into the physical body at some point, whether at
conception or later.
Augustine has problems. but though it is popular now to abominate him,
he is technically Blessed (EO lingo for saint) Augustine, commemoration
day being June 15th as per Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, and the
Russian synaxarion of saints as per him.
The chapter that shows, that St. Gregory Palamas was influenced by him,
and even fell into the error of viewing The All Holy Spirit as being the love
between The Father and The Son, which, unless I misunderstand the
meaning of this, seems perilously near to reducing The All Holy Spirit
from being a Person to being an energy of God, is especially interesting.
St. Gregory Palamas obviously did not go so far as to espouse the
filioque, neither does anyone who holds to such Augustinian nonsense
even incl. the filioque deny the Personhood of The All Holy Spirit.
In any case, the argument that St. Augustine's failure to distinguish
between energy and essence makes theosis impossible, fails twice.
First, because theosis is a participation in God's nature by grace,
not by nature. We do not cease to be only creatures. Only Jesus Christ
is both human and divine. What the EO calls divinizing or theosis, is
not becoming God in any real sense, like the New Agers and other
pantheists and so forth, but becoming what the evangelicals call godly
and regeneration the restoration of the image of God in man, damaged
in the fall, to its pre fall condition, something not accomplished in
perfection until after The Second Coming.
Therefore it doesn't matter if we distinguish God's essence from His
energies or actions or not.
And St. Gregory Palamas, the penultimate defender of this distinction,
was himself drawing on St. Augustine's De Trinitate in one of his
(before someone snarls about plagiarism vis a vis this use of ideas
without credit, intellectual property is a modern recent notion. If
something is true, it is not an invention. If it is an invention, then it is
categorically false and to be avoided. )
I think I might try to buy or borrow a copy of this book.