Kosta50, thank you for the link to the Dogmatic Faith of the Orthodox Church. I now understand your position on the Bible, since for the Orthodox the source of doctrine is Tradition, and the Bible is part of that Tradition; as opposed to the Roman Catholic which speaks of a twofold deposit of Faith: Scripture and Tradition; or the position of many Protestants of sola scriptura which I find very unbiblical.
In the article on the Orthodox Faith what I suspected to be the case was confirmed, namely the emphasis of the Orthodox on the theosis (communion with God or deification) of man through the Incarnate Logos, as opposed to a hyper-emphasis in the West (seemingly or really) on atonement.
Under Section IV, The Doctrine of the Church, there are the following beautiful statements:
Christ saved humankind through what He is, and through what He did for us. Beginning with St. Irenaeos, the Greek Fathers continually reiterate the statement that the Incarnate Son of God "became what we are (a human being) so that we may be deified," says St. Athanasios. By assuming our human nature, the Incarnate Logos, a divine person, brought this humanity to the heights of God. Everything that Christ did throughout His earthly life was based on the presupposition that humanity was already saved and deified, from the very moment of His conception in the womb of Mary, through the operation of the Holy Spirit. (Section IV, a).
I agree wholeheartedly. In my opinion, or according to my theologoumenon :) , this lends itself well to the position of Scotus because the primary mission of Christ here is not seen as the redemption, but rather the bringing of man into communion with God ( theosis )after the fall, sin becomes an obstacle to that mission and thus redemption becomes a necessary part of this mission. From this perspective the mission of Christ as Mediator uniting God and man through his hypostatic union is quite capable of standing on its own, even if sin never entered the world.
In fact a little further on the article goes on to say: Jesus had the following obstacles to overcome in order for Him to accomplish the work for which He came (theosis): the obstacle of nature, the obstacle of sin, the obstacle of death, and the dominion of the devil. The obstacle of nature was overcome with His Incarnation; the obstacle of sin and death was overcome by the Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus. The dominion of the devil was overcome by Christ's descent into Hades (Hell). (Section IV, c).
From this perspective the primary reason for Christ's coming is theosis, man's communion with the Triune God. The article rightly mentions "the obstacle of nature" which would still exist if sin had not entered the world. In other words, man can not enter communion with the Infinite God except by a Mediator who possesses the divine and human nature. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus, "the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6).
Mind you, Im not trying to dogmatize my opinioneven if I am relentless;-) it still remains my opinion. However, I must that I am edified by the fact that the Orthodox Christian perspective, which is far more positive in terms of Christs loving mission to elevate man into theosis, tends to be more coherent with the position of John Duns Scotus who, as a Franciscan, underscored Divine Love and the faculty of the will (love) in both God and man. Scotus often gets a bad rap because some of his so-called disciples (Ockham, for instance) were what we now call voluntarists and unfortunately gave rise to the Protestant revolution of the sola fide doctrine, something which Scotus would never have accepted (see the short video on this subject by Fr. Peter Fehlner, FI.
I wonder if the western focus on redemption among Catholics isn't in part the result of the Roman Catholic Church's situation after the 16th century with all the Anglicans, Lutherans, Calvinists and their offspring. Just a thought, I'm no theologian, but I'm even less an historian.
Correct. The faith was before the NT was. The life of the Church existed before the NT was written. Therefore the NT reflects the life of the Church and not the other way around. The NT is a product of the Church; the Church is not a product of the NT; the Church wrote it, the Church recognized it , the Church canonized it. Therefore, the NT, and the OT which is appended to it, reflect the faith that already existed. The faith gave rise to the scriptures, not the other way around.
The West eventually invented (or should I say returned to) the legalistic reasons of Judaism and applied them to God's atonement, neglecting to see that law and love are essentially different and mutually excusive, and that law cannot express or replace love.
This is reflected in the Gospels when Jesus "overrides" the law to save a man's life on a Sabbath, and +Paul reflects the same teachings in his Epistles regarding the issue of grace versus the law.
Theosis is rather accurately summarized in Wikipedia as
"[S]alvation from unholiness by participation in the life of God. According to this conception, the holy life of God, given in Jesus Christ to the believer through the Holy Spirit, is expressed beginning in the struggles of this life, increases in the experience of the believer through the knowledge of God, and is later consummated in the resurrection of the believer when the power of sin and death, having been fully overcome by God's life, will lose hold over the believer forever. This conception of salvation is historically foundational for Christian understanding in both the East and the West, as it has been developed directly from the apostolic and early Christian teachings concerning the life of faith."
Christ made it possible for mankind to be saved. In order for him to die on the cross for our sins, he had to become man. Thus his Incarnation was intended for our theosis, which is salvation, thorugh the atonment for our sins mad epossible by his death. Notice that there is nothing legalistic in all this.
But let us not neglect the intent. Legalistic western Christianity sees it as obedience to sovereignty of God, rather than attachment we feel for someone we love. If we struggle in our theosis, it must be out of love and not our selfish reasons or legal obligations.
Now, no one can be made to love someone. Forced love is no love. That has to come from the heart. And some people are good at imitating love, and even pretending to love for selfish reason, but that is not love.
How many people would love God just because he is God if there were no promises of rewards? How many people would go to church only to glorify his name if there was nothing in it for us?
Mind you, Ima not trying to dogmatize my opinioneven if I am relentless
Your attempts to connect John Duns Scotus to Orthodoxy is comparing apples and oranges. All you see is that they are both fruit! Actually, Scotus represents that (scholasticism) which Orthodoxy soundly rejected through hesichastic fathers and, in particular, thanks to St. Gregory Palamas.
He was decidedly Aristotelian in philosophy, which is not the basis for the East.
Also, Scotus' theology is basically Augustinian, and Augustinian theology was likewise rejected by the East. So, any attempts to link Scotus to Orthodoxy is a non-starter.
Finally, Scotus' logical works works are heavily disputed, save for four books. He may have been influential in the western Church, but that in an of itself doesn't make him right.
Thanks for the video link. I must note that the concept of will, as described, is something I wholly disagree with. Will is a result of a "need." If all our needs are satisfied we have no reason to will. That "need" results either from an unconscious or conscious perception of either a lack or excess of something. Reason does not give rise to will. Reason usually attenuates the will.