Skip to comments.Heresy Gets Things Done
Posted on 02/10/2013 6:24:05 AM PST by don-o
Q: Okay, so weve worked our way through the uncounted millennia between the emergence of man and the first glimmers of revelation, then the six-thousand-something years it took God to gradually tease out what he had in mind for mankind. On the face of it, the whole thing seems suspicious. Why go through all these fits and starts? Why feed us a series of tantalizing hints, to spice up a steady diet of red herrings and dead ends? Whyif God is so simple, perfect, and benevolentdid he reveal himself to mankind through a series of clues it would take Sherlock Holmes to figure out? Or, if it pleases you, Father Brown?
A: Elementary, my dear godson. What weve derived so far from considering revelation is (a) that God is in Himself a perfect unity, but also (b) that His essence is in some sense refracted, as if one ray of light were passing through three distinct lenses, each of which is a Person. That tells us that the primitive rational insight into Gods unity was true but incomplete. Likewise the original revelation of the One God to the Israelites. Within the very essence of God is a nexus of relationships, which He revealed is one of love between a Father, a Son, and a Spirit Who proceeds from their interaction. Already, then, theres something embedded in the very essence of things that tests our brains till they bleed. Add in the intellectual jiu-jitsu required to account for Christs divine and human naturesa doctrine thatll tackle us laterand it almost seems as if Gods purpose all along in revealing Himself to man was to provoke complex heresies, interminable Church councils, and impenetrable tomes in Greek and Latin devoted to explaining the inexplicable.
No wonder so many different sects emerged over the centuries, each devoted to seizing one piece of each of these mysteries and making sure it wasnt forgottenat the cost of denying something else of equal importance. Remember the joke about the blind men describing the elephant? One grabs the trunk and declares it a snake, the next the leg and calls it a tree, et cetera? That joke was first told at the Council of Chalcedon by Bishop Pachasinus of Lilybaeum to Anatolius, patriarch of Constantinople.
Disclaimer: As an Orthodox Christian, I would not agree with all the detail (procession, etc) but the broad strokes are rich and thought provoking.
The message Jesus and his apostles preached required no “intellectual jiu-jitsu” and I dare say any that does is a corruption of that message.
The author is babbling nonsense.
The author is babbling nonsense.
Exactly...And what that author spews is the biggest heresy of all; that only a select few intellectuals can actually know what God says...
That is necessarily the conclusion that one draws when the first thousand years of church history is blithely dismissed.
I read it all and missed that part.
It takes no Greek philosophers with cleverly worded formulas with their absurd contradictions of Scripture or this silly
intellectual jiu-jitsu to understand Jesus’ message.
But anything on a blog to sell a book, I guess.
An interesting way to look at it, thanks.
I think just from reading about it we can see that men can turn into animals instead of the other way around.
And all we have to do is look at what is happening to this nation to see that men can not deal with having to much at one time, they go nuts.
“Our theologians used the best tool at hand, Greek philosophy, to tease out the real-world implications of what God had told us about Himself, to figure out how we should pray and to whom.”
All Christians had to do was to recall Jesus’ words about who God was and when and how and to whom to pray. He was pretty clear without resort to the confused musings of the philosophers.
Pretty easy to say in 2013. Not so easy in 213. All of the heretics had Scripture to back their heresy. They still do.
You've surely read some Greek philosophy, maybe a bit of Philo, so if you agree please tell me what Greek philosophy would have been a help c.213 in understanding Matthew 6:5-16 or John chapter 17.
The true “heretics” have never been satisfied with the Scriptures, hence the Gnostics, the pseudo Gospels and reliance on pagan philosophies and traditions of men. Both Jesus and Paul warned of the inroads that were and would be made so why are their words on the subject so “blithely dismissed”?
Or why did He give us minds and say, "Love me with them"?
Not that we'll fathom Him, but that we will find ever deeper and wider dimensions and more brilliant intricacies of Him
"...whose beauty is past change:
But you fail to really address his comments or how I'm being “unnecessarily negative”.
A simply question is whether pagan Greek philosophy really was, as the author asserts, was the best way at hand to explain God and prayer.
Why not speak to that instead of mammoths and lambs?
Yes...In spite of the fact that God warns us about philosophers and man's wisdom, they claim that those very things are what's needed to know what God says...God says NO...
That the backwardness of it...Just as this piece points out, Catholics rely on philosophers to understand and teach the words of God...
The words of God were kept hidden from the lay people and the lesser of the priesthood of the early Catholic religion so they couldn't see what God said...
And those that did/do get their hands on some scripture and believed it, you call heretics...The Apostle Paul had the same problem...
Act 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
There seems to be a sudden silence on the thread. What happened? Maybe they’re off reading the Greek philosophers they put so much trust into.
Was it the comments about human philosophies I wonder.
I can’t figure out what to say to those who refuse to acknowledge the patrimony of the Christian faith that is contained in the seven Ecumenical Councils. If all I get is protest that those are only the words of men, I find to place to engage that.
I will ask a question: If the Greek language , Greek concepts and Greek philosophy is not fit to express the faith, then what is? Recall how Paul engaged that culture on Mars Hill.
Greek philosophy is unavoidable when you've got a Greek New Testament in one hand and a Koine lexicon in the other. In a language with such a vast body of text behind it, every word is allusive to those words; every word a link to hypertext.
I'm not telling you anything radical or new. That's just the way language works: the meaning of key words of the NT (like "Logos" and "Ousios") is understood by the way in which they were used in a Hellenistic social and intellectual context, especially by their best speakers/writers, the poets and philosophers.
"Pagan" Greek philosophy, recast in the discourse of Christian believers, becomes Christian Greek philosophy. It is an Areopagus moment: Acts 17:28 "For in him we live, and move, and have our being". as certain also of your own poets have said " For we are also his offspring."
So pagan Greek poets words, too, are in the Word.
You are always going to be in dialogue with these Greek philosophers if you are pondering what NT words mean. So, my friend, if you are reading Biblical (Koine) Greek, you are already, in a sense, "speaking with Aristotle." The words were shaped by Hellenic clusters of ideas, years before they flowed from the pen of John the Evangelist, let alone the 300+ bishops of Nicaea, who came from three continents, and all worshipped one Lord Jesus Christ, in more or less the language of Epimenides and Aratus.
Read John 1:1. If you try to figure out the implications of θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος, you're already in dialogue with Greek metaphysics.
All Christians, whether they realize it or not, are deeply indebted to that.
Lambs and mammoths too.
Full points + a Hershey’s with Almonds. xoxoxo