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#52711 12/15/03 12:54 AM
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daniel n;

You know, it is actually quite interesting to contrast the Western "theology" (I don't buy this as official teaching) you mention above, to Eastern understanding on this subject. To the Fathers, the wage of sin was not death so much as it was life as we know it. They described that prior to the fall, our bodies were pristine and transparent. After the fall, our bodies became polluted by organs as so many accretions; becoming opaque, mortal, and destined to suffer and decompose.

This is the kind of life that requires redemption. The creation of a demi-god type creature who is immune from death does not, would not, participate in this type of existence. And, if they, He/She, do not participate in this existence, they cannot participate in its redemption. This is part of the Arian controversy. (Its amazing but there are really no new heresies, just new people that hold them.)

Furthermore, it is only through death that we are redeemed. It is only by following Christ in his steps that we transcend ourselves.

If Mary did not die, she could not be redeemed by her Son. She would not participate in his ultimate sacrifice and therefore, could not participate in its victory.

If Christ died and Mary did not, that would, in effect, make her superior to Him, hardly a dogmatic proposition!

John

#52712 12/15/03 02:49 AM
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When I say my theological formation was Western, that is only partially true; we did study the Fathers of the Church, Eastern as well as Western. It was so long ago that I can't remember who said it but one of the Fathers said something to the effect that "what was not assumed was not redeemed". I think this is what you are saying.
However, "transparent bodies" and "polluted by organs" sounds like someone was tainted by gnosticism.

#52713 12/15/03 02:10 PM
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Dear Friends,

I really wish this old topic wouldn't get rehashed over and over again as it does.

And we seem to be talking past each other at the best of times.

There really is no difference between East and West on the subject.

The Immaculate Conception was proclaimed as a way, as Kallistos Ware states, to assert that the Mother of God never had any "stain" of sin on her soul.

Thus, it was a way to repudiate the old Augustian notion of "stain of Original Sin" as having ever touched the soul of the Mother of God.

But "sin" in the East means not only personal, sinful stain.

It means, even more importantly, the state of death, concupiscence and inner darkness into which we are born.

The Mother of God and John the Baptist were conceived in holiness, that is, the Holy Spirit already sanctified them and filled them at their Conception.

That is why the East celebrates the feast of their Conception - and this would be liturgically impossible if they were not already saints at their Conception.

In addition, popular Eastern belief holds that John the Theologian, the Prophet Jeremiah and Nicholas the Wonderworker were also similarly conceived in holiness.

That is all that is and the Church, especially in the East, has highly celebrated Mary's All-Holiness from her Conception.

In fact, it seems to be more important to the Eastern Fathers than to the West, as the Anglican quote I transcribed last week indicates.

In Mary's case, this meant that while she was under the law of Original Sin ie. a weakened, mortal human nature, the Grace she received from her Conception and throughout her life mitigated that law.

So she felt no pain at giving birth to Christ, as the liturgy proclaims.

And her death was so light and sweet that we call it a "falling asleep" or Dormition.

I really think we should leave this alone because we come at this issue with different presuppositions that gets us into trouble.

It is no longer an issue between RC and Orthodox theologians who discuss it.

Let's not make it one amongst ourselves.

Alex

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