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Can I get a heresy check here, please? #391804
03/04/13 11:03 PM
03/04/13 11:03 PM
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I got into a discussion of the phrase "O Happy Fault" that is recited during this season. One of the people who answered me said this:

Quote
The theological reasoning behind this is that the state of redeemed humanity is greater than that we enjoyed in the state of original innocence. Humanity has been united to God in the Hypostotatic Union and offered back to God as a sacrifice.


To which I wrote:

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But it was not necessary that Adam fall in order to bring about this state of greater humanity (at the expense of all those in eternal torment). Theosis (deification) was always the intent of God for the human race.


And that threw the cookies into the fan!!

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1) According to whom?
2) There is a long tradition that argues that the restoration of fallen humanity is a greater show of God's power, goodness, and mercy than the original act of creation was. Since God cannot avoid the Law of Noncontradiction, He had to permit the Fall if He wanted to make more known His power, good, and mercy.
3) There is also a long tradition of arguing over whether the Incarnation would have happened even if Adam and Eve had not sinned; the solid weight of opinion is that it would not have, meaning that our human nature would not have attained the dignity of the closeness to God brought about by the Hypostatic Union.


Now the fun really begins as I wrote:

Quote
If theosis was not the intent of God for the human race, then God would have left Adam and Eve in the state of innocency and not have allowed the temptation to take place.

What was the purpose of the temptation? Did God somehow turn His back and the serpent slipped into Eden under the radar? I hardly think so. We get a clue from Romans chapter 4 where it speaks of the righteousness of faith. In Romans, faith is defined as synonymous with righteousness.

Quote:
Rom 4:5 ¶ But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Rom 4:13 ¶ For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, [was] not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.


But in order for their to be faith, there must be test. Adam and Eve could not have grown in faith at all unless there was a test of their faith. Think of what would have happened if Adam had turned to the serpent and rebuked him with the Word of the Lord. "Begone, serpent, for God has said that we are not to eat of the fruit of this tree."

That act of faith would have made Adam righteous, according to what I see in Romans. And what would the intent of such a response be? What would God have had in mind?

I think it instructive to look at the temptation of our Lord after His baptism. He is driven into the wilderness and as the Last Adam, takes up the fallen mantle and defeats Satan. I think that was a seminal moment in the development of Christ's faith (from a human only standpoint). Our Lord, as perfect man, had to be tested just as was Adam. We see in Christ what Adam could have become.

Where do we see this?

Quote:
Mat 17:2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.


This is mankind experiencing the fullness of union in righteousness with God. This is also what awaits for each one of us who persevere to the end. Why do I think that?

Quote:
2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.


I believe that this partaking of the divine nature was in the offering for Adam and Eve. The restoration of mankind to God through the Cross work of Christ brings that offer back to mankind as a reality. We are to grow into godlike beings. As St. Athanasius said "God became man in order that man might be made god."

And why would God give that to us if He did not have that as the original intent for all mankind? Christ restored the plan of God, therefore, as I see that the plan of God includes sharing in the divine nature and theosis, I must conclude that this was the original plan, which has now been restored.


The other writer responded:

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Faith does not require a test.

Adam and Eve possessed righteousness already (in the case of Adam, at least, that's de fide; righteousness is one of the things he forfeited by sinning).

Even after divinization, divinity is not hypostatically united to the Elect as it is in Christ, so your Transfiguration example doesn't work.

Note also that your quote from St. Anselm requires the Incarnation, and as noted above, it's an open question if the Incarnation would have occurred at all without the Fall, and the answer to that is more likely "No" than "Yes."


Next I get this:

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If any one does not confess that the first man, Adam, when he had transgressed the commandment of God in Paradise, immediately lost the holiness and justice wherein he had been constituted; and that he incurred, through the offence of that prevarication, the wrath and indignation of God, and consequently death, with which God had previously threatened him, and, together with death, captivity under his power who thenceforth had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil, and that the entire Adam, through that offence of prevarication, was changed, in body and soul, for the worse; let him be anathema.
Canons of the Council of Trent, Sess. V, canon 1. The word translated here as "justice" is "justicia," which is the same word used in the Vulgate in Rom. 4:5.


And my final reply:

Quote
I will admit that Adam lost both holiness and justice, but not a state of righteousness which had not been full developed.

What is holiness? Is it the same thing as faith?

I do not believe so. Here's why: (again, I can be very wrong on this, but I think the scriptures bear me out).

Holiness does not involve either reason or the excercise of the will. We see in scripture that the articles of the Tabernacle were described as "holy unto the Lord." These items were not sentient objects. They were "holy" because they were set aside unto the Lord (as opposed to regular and ordinary use). As such, one could also say that the Creation was holy in that it was set apart for God. And when the Creation fell in Adam, both he and all Creation became unholy.

The Fall was also an offense against justice. Adam's betrayal of his Father was indeed the most unjust act that could have been committed.

Righteousness, on the other hand, is not seen in scripture as a passive state. It is associated with action, that is, the CHOICE to obey God.

Quote:
Gen 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.


Action of the will. A choice made, not a passive state as can be in holiness.

Quote:
Lev 19:15 ¶ Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: [but] in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.


Righteousness again identified with doing, with making a choice. How could Adam be considered righteous until he had made a choice? That was the purpose of the temptation. The result was not happy. It was lamentable. It was so lamentable in fact, that God said the following in regards to the human race:

Quote:
Gen 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.


That don't sound like a Happy Meal to me.

Quote:
Deu 6:25 And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us.


Action taken.

Quote:
Deu 24:13 In any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the LORD thy God.


That's more than enough. I could fill several pages with quotes from scripture that connect righteousness with our actions.

Now before all here rush to the computer to accuse me of casting slander upon the Lord, save your time. I am not saying that God was not right in all that He did. Our God in all His actions is perfect, even when we, puny human beings that we are, do not understand those actions. It is not God's work that I am questioning. It is man stating that the Fall was a "happy fault" when it results in countless millions suffering eternal torment. That descriptive phrase is what bothers me.

I wish that no man would be damned, but we must be accountable for our actions. That is just and right of God to hold us as such.


Okay. Have I stepped into the realm of heresy with my answers?

Re: Can I get a heresy check here, please? [Re: Irish_Ruthenian] #391823
03/05/13 02:48 AM
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Irish Ruthenian,

I doubt it. But I am a little uncertain about why you all are arguing about this with such seriousness. It's a matter for theological opinion. The 'felix culpa' is a striking extravagance--it makes sense not because of some exacting calculus but because the Incarnation is a gift beyond deserving, a gift--that while most certainly a remedy--exceeds and outmatches its medicinal value.


Re: Can I get a heresy check here, please? [Re: eastwardlean?] #391878
03/06/13 02:22 PM
03/06/13 02:22 PM
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The problem I have with the "felix culpa" is that it isn't exactly a happy fault for the millions (billions) of folks who are in eternal torment right now.

For me to say "O Happy Fault" because I am saved from sin and apppreciate it, while others are bound for torment, strikes me as being very self-centered on my part. Would that the fault had never happened, that all men and women ever born from the union of Adam and Eve were inheritors of eternal life and theosis, rather than the sad fact that so many will end up apart from the love of God.

If something is happy for me at the expense of your happiness, then is it really a happy thing?

I struggle with this thought.

Re: Can I get a heresy check here, please? [Re: Irish_Ruthenian] #391879
03/06/13 02:25 PM
03/06/13 02:25 PM
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BTW -- Theologically speaking, my statement regarding the necessity of faith being tested to produce righteousness is the statement that got such a negative response from those on the other board. That is where I was asking for the heresy check.

I simply don't believe that Adam and Eve were created righteous. Innocent, yes. Righteous, no. My resoning for this is that it appears from scripture that righteousness comes from the action of faith rather than from a legal decree given in a state of inaction.

That is what the Protestants believe -- that God decrees one righteous apart from anything that one does, yet the very passaged in Romans that they point to in order to prove this fallacy shows that Abraham was DOING SOMETHING (raising the knife to kill his son).

Comments?

Last edited by Irish_Ruthenian; 03/06/13 02:34 PM.
Re: Can I get a heresy check here, please? [Re: Irish_Ruthenian] #391881
03/06/13 04:22 PM
03/06/13 04:22 PM
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Noah was a just man, righteous among the people of his time (Gen 6:9). Noah was declared righteous by God before any expression of faith.

Re: Can I get a heresy check here, please? [Re: Irish_Ruthenian] #391894
03/07/13 08:45 AM
03/07/13 08:45 AM
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Gregory of Nyssa said that the Cross is where we see the consummation of the Incarnation - where the union of humanity and divinity was finalised.

While the process of theosis may not appear to need a sacrificial locus, without felix culpa, there would have been no cause for the Crucifixion, and so the ultimate manifestation the Union of natures.

Re: Can I get a heresy check here, please? [Re: Slavophile] #391896
03/07/13 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Slavophile
Gregory of Nyssa said that the Cross is where we see the consummation of the Incarnation - where the union of humanity and divinity was finalised.

While the process of theosis may not appear to need a sacrificial locus, without felix culpa, there would have been no cause for the Crucifixion, and so the ultimate manifestation the Union of natures.


Thankyou for your post, Father. This is something beautiful to contemplate.

Re: Can I get a heresy check here, please? [Re: Dr. Henry P.] #391933
03/08/13 01:35 AM
03/08/13 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Henry P.
Noah was a just man, righteous among the people of his time (Gen 6:9). Noah was declared righteous by God before any expression of faith.


With great respect I ask the following question (I am probably not theologically astute enough to carry the briefcase of anyone here).

It seems that you are saying that there is an assumption of Noah being righteous without reference to his deeds, yet there is really no mention of his life prior to that statement. Other passages with regards to the lives of other men who were reported as righteous speak of the deeds of faith they did.

I find it hard to conceive of righteousness apart from a faith that does good works. The idea of an "imputed righteousness" has more to do with the juridical view of justification which created the Protestant Reformation rather than the ontological view in which God declares what really is, rather than assigning an arbitrary justification to a person who has done nothing out of faith.

Re: Can I get a heresy check here, please? [Re: Irish_Ruthenian] #392045
03/10/13 04:40 PM
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Still hoping for an answer to my question.

Anyone?

Last edited by Irish_Ruthenian; 03/10/13 04:41 PM.
Re: Can I get a heresy check here, please? [Re: Irish_Ruthenian] #392060
03/11/13 08:41 PM
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How about the fact that God declared him Rightious....that is enough for me.....sometimes that is all it is ...a declaration from God. No deed is necessary for God to proclaim somone rightious.


Renee

Re: Can I get a heresy check here, please? [Re: renee harris] #392103
03/12/13 11:23 PM
03/12/13 11:23 PM
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Thank you, but God does not declare that which is not. It is a matter of ontological honesty. What you are saying sounds dangerously close to the Protestant Calvinist heresy of imputed righteousness (God declares the unrighteous to be righteous and POOOF! they are righteous!)

Re: Can I get a heresy check here, please? [Re: Irish_Ruthenian] #392132
03/13/13 05:17 PM
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Heb 11:7 (NIV) By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

Re: Can I get a heresy check here, please? [Re: Dr. Henry P.] #392319
03/17/13 12:13 AM
03/17/13 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Henry P.
Heb 11:7 (NIV) By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.


I'm kinda hoping that what you are showing me is in agreement with my statement. Righteousness comes by faith, and faith is not sitting around saying "I believe in God." It is doing that which we are commanded to do.


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