Presentation on theme: "II. Historical Context [a history of contexts] - Apostles used the Greek Hebrew Scriptures (the Septuagint) From Hellenistic Judaism to a Christian Hellenism."— Presentation transcript:
II. Historical Context [a history of contexts] - Apostles used the Greek Hebrew Scriptures (the Septuagint) From Hellenistic Judaism to a Christian Hellenism Apostles wrote Letters & Gospels in Greek Liturgy celebrated in Greek but also Arabic, then Slavonic, English, et cetera... Following St Paul, the Ancient Councils would use the precision of Greek thinking to protect Apostolic teachings from pagan misunderstanding: “splitting hairs” over the divinity & humanity of Christ-God #2.. “Christian Hellenism”
325 AD - First Ecumenical Council held at Nicea Called by Constantine to settle disputes over Arius' teaching about the person of Christ. The creed of the council of Nicea (1 st part of the Ancient Creed): 381AD - 2nd Ecumenical Council held at Constantinople to settle dispute over Macedonius’ teaching against the person of the Holy Spirit. Held in the Church of St. Eirene, still stands today in “Istanbul” Turkey.
The Western part of the Empire fell to the barbarians beginning at the end of Augustine’s lifetime – 430 AD. He died the year before the 3rd Council. In the East no single person ever dominated Christian thinking across the ages as Augustine would in the West. The West “forgot” the East and moved on. For this reason, there is still this missing half to the Western memory of Christianity. Next we look at Eastern understandings of the Fall, Redemption, & Salvation st  & 2nd  Councils - Defended the divinity of Christ & the Holy Spirit 3 3rd  Council - Defined Christ as Incarnate Word & Mary as “Theotokos” 4th  Council - Defended Christ as Fully God & Perfect / Fully Man 5th  Council - Re-affirmed doctrines of Trinity & identity of Christ 6th  Council - Affirmed humanity of Christ by insisting on the reality of His human will & action. 7th  Council - Affirmed icons as showing reality of incarnation The Eastern part of the Empire continued until the time of Columbus.
The Fall of Adam & Eve 1. The Fall of Adam & Eve Latin West (Augustine): We are Fallen from Perfection & Autonomy Shows Augustine’s preference for legal language: The Fall = Breaking Divine Law. A&E were “free” – meaning self-governed (autonomous), legally responsible. Augustine's opinions never influenced the East. Having chosen to break God’s Law: we are justly guilty & punishable. All Men sinned in Adam, therefore, all inherit his guilt, are “born in sin” & are now incapable of co-operation (synergy) with God. We lost Adam’s ability to choose good over evil. we are all “damned en masse” before our birth.
Christian East: We are Fallen from oneness with God We were not created for a life separate, independent, or autonomous from God. “That they may be one even as we are one.” we must be one with God to be fully Human. We inherit (by being born into it) a world fallen from oneness with God but each one of us sins for ourselves we are NOT guilty for Adam’s sin. We were created as two sexes - male & female free to participate in God’s life & grow from “glory to glory” in a humanity at one with God’s own divinity. A&E tried to live by fruit of the Created world, instead of from God. This choice changed Creation: the result of the Fall has real not legal consequences: death enters the world. We are fallen into a world where death runs through life like dark veins of impurity in white marble, where choosing good often means real pain & suffering. We remain capable of co-operation with God, but oneness with Him - Eternal Life - is beyond us until God becomes incarnate & changes the world by destroying the power of death over us - but only in Christ. - from sharing His Divine Life
2. 2. Redemption / Salvation According to Western Christianity: Augustine’s legal language explains everything well enough... WESTERN CHRISTIAN AIM: legal “justification” before God Jesus Christ dies on Cross and “pays the price” (redeems), guilty & condemned Adam & Eve & all mankind, so we can be set free (saved) from a just punishment (our eternal damnation). All we can do is accept this redemption. By this, the… Medieval Roman Church meant: accept sacraments & teaching authority of the Church / Pope. Protestant Reformers meant: accept Christ’s payment by making your own declaration.
Christian East: One part of this action, our Redemption, is spread out through the single divine act that is Christ’s birth, life, death, resurrection, & ascension. That is a life only He could live, but He did so at one with our humanity so that we might share in His sacramental life at one with His divinity The Redemption part is God’s whole gathering together (recapitulation) of all the acts that need doing that we cannot do if we are going to be able to live life as He meant for human beings to be able to live it. The other part of this action is our Salvation. This action is one that we must share in by living our life “in Christ.” Only Christ, the God-man, could make this possible, but now our life is there - given to us to be lived! This part is the actual content of our life. We do it together with others, in spiritual struggle, prayer, & fasting, for the repentance to live that life with our brothers & sisters in the community that is the New Creation. For the next five slides we’ll use icons to see how Eastern Christians understand God has made this possible. Redemption & Salvation are an act of God accomplished by Christ who is fully God and fully man -- a divine action spread out in time -- so as to include & bring us into that action.