Presentation on theme: "Orthodox Christianity Nine Unspoken Assumptions: 1.The physical world was created with a sacramental capacity. 2.Human beings were created for communion."— Presentation transcript:
Orthodox Christianity Nine Unspoken Assumptions: 1.The physical world was created with a sacramental capacity. 2.Human beings were created for communion with God through the physical world in time and space. 3. Human beings were not created for self-governed independence from God. 4.Communion with God is the only source of life & the only way of being fully human. 5.The simultaneously human and divine Jesus Christ picked up and restored the way of life meant for humans to live. 6.The price of entrance is sacramental (that is, real) death. 7.At the Divine Liturgy, Christians enter into the Kingdom of God & physically receive the eternal life of Christ-God. 8.Life as a true human being is life as a person-by-communion with Father, Son & Holy Spirit, & consequentially, with all others in communion with God. 9.True human life is experienced by entrance into Christ’s own life.
Built 532-537 AD Hagia Sophia – Constantinople (Istanbul) In the Eastern tradition, speech is action and action is liturgical action in synergy with God, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit. The common context of experience in the East is the liturgical context of the Divine Liturgy. It’s important to note that these “assumptions” arise from intentionally taking an analytical perspective from outside of the context of the faith. They do not somehow constitute the faith. That approach is decidedly unOrthodox.
The 9 assumptions expressed arise from [that is, they are “logically prior,” they are not consciously thought or stated prior to] a common context of experience: An Eastern liturgical realism 1.The physical world was created with a sacramental capacity (continuity with Judaism’s experience of sacred history – a physical-spiritual liturgy of meaning. LITURGY: a sacramental procession in time & space. 2. Human beings were created for communion with God through the physical world in time and space. (Judaic) + 202 AD Statements made within this context are YELLOW] “Man is body, soul, & Holy Spirit.” Irenaeus of Lyon
3.Human beings were not created for self-governing independence from God - a Roman assumption based on Augustine’s Ciceronian Stoicism. 4.Communion with God is the only source of life & the only way of being fully human. This was lost by trying to live life from & toward the physical world [ The Fall ] instead of living physical life toward God. (Liturgical Realism) + 202 AD
5. The simultaneously human and divine Jesus Christ picked up and restored the way of life meant for humans to live. He destroyed the power of death and opened an entrance, a door – human on one side & divine on the other (Himself), through which human beings might again enter into communion with God. 6. But the price of entrance is death; the meaning of death having changed, it is now a sacramental real death of the false life-without-God – instead, it is a Baptism into the death & resurrected life of Christ. in the commingling and the union of the soul receiving the spirit of the Father.” “not [merely] a part of man, was made in the likeness of God… the soul and the spirit are certainly a part of the man, but certainly not the man; for the perfect man consists Athanasius + 373 AD
7.In Divine Liturgy, Christians enter into the Kingdom of God – into the real presence of God, even before physical death (inaugurated eschatology). 8. Life as a true human being is life as a person-by-communion with the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit (Doctrine of the Trinity), a sharing in the divine life of God himself. “God became man that Man might become god.”
9.True human life is experienced by entrance into that communion through the human-divine person, Jesus the Christ, incarnate Son of God. This life begins by Baptism into that life. Baptism is, like man, like the new Creation, & like the Church, a liturgical-sacramental reality. Baptism, as a liturgical-sacramental reality – is a real death & resurrection before the separation of body & soul at our “falling asleep” in Christ. Basil the Great “O Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, our God, fountain of life and immortality, Creator of all things visible and invisible; consubstantial and Co- eternal Son of the eternal Father, … + 379 AD
Life continues by fidelity to that life (faith as a lived faithfulness). How? By continual repentance from the old way of life and by continual sacrament of a physical-spiritual sharing in God’s life. The sacrament of receiving the body and blood of Christ is a simultaneously physical and spiritual communion – the central typos of true human life. This simultaneously physical and spiritual living of life from the Father, through Christ, & in the Holy Spirit IS Christian life. Holy Body and Precious Blood, & may have thee, with thy Father and Holy Spirit, dwelling & abiding in me.” …teach me to fulfill holiness in Thy fear, that I may receive a portion of Thy Holy Gifts, and be united to Thy
Fidelity to the living of this life is understood a liturgical-sacramental experience in common among all Christians across generations (Judaic: Holiness is in the people – Christian: Be ye perfect – but only GOD is perfect). John Chrysostom + 407 AD The experience of what it is to live from God, experienced Liturgically, carries over to how life can be lived, with spiritual effort, in the world outside the liturgical service & space made by Christ: the Church is both IN the world, but not of the world.
God, and the meaning of human life, is experienced within a trans-generational context - the Body of Christ. This life includes all Orthodox Christians in a common communion wherein humans are “divinized” – that is, “persons.” The new creation of this sacramental reality – the Church - is the real context of our full humanity. BUT – it is not abstract - never disincarnate – therefore, never “generic.”
Sinai - 6th c. “Person” – is the ultimate reality revealed by the historical incarnation of God as fully -human: the meaning of “saints.” In the West, Renaissance secularization of this sacred reality w/o its sacred context led to a secular “individualism” where humans are thought to be autonomous persons by created nature – even without God. Ravenna - 6th c.
Different Visions of Salvation 1/2 WEST Preference for Latin legal language A&E perfect, self-governed, & legally responsible. Mankind created free to break or obey God’s Law The Fall = breaking Divine Law. All humanity “sinned in Adam” & is “damned en masse (as one). EAST Preference for Semitic/Judaic theology expressed in Greek ideas when necessary (seldom) Mankind created able to sanctify Creation by a life of sacramental action. We lost oneness with God – divine life - the only life there is. God is Life & separation / disorientation from God = death. The Fall = turning from God. Death comes into the world. Each of us sins for ourselves.
Different Visions of Salvation 2/2 WEST Salvation means being set free from our just punishment by accepting Christ’s sacrifice - his crucifixion pays the price of our redemption. We are not able to choose good. God must choose in us. It may even be that God chooses who to save and who not to save. EAST Human life is redeemed, but salvation means an individual re-entrance into God’s own life & “ life as liturgy” (sacrament). Christ “tramples down death by death” – destroys it’s power – death becomes a passage to life. We remain able to choose good, but are born into a world radically broken by the presence of death, where missing the mark (sin) is unavoidable except thru Christ. Death need not dominate our lives IF we “die to ourselves” & enter into Christ. Through him we can co-operate with God in our theosis/divinization” - fulfilling our likeness to God through Christ. Question: To what degree are these visions actually mutually exclusive?