06 November 2006

Another Patristic quote for the Day

You, however, admit that you are justified through Christ. Then do you object to your having received sentence through Adam? And do you complain that the penalty due to another man has also hurt you – you who see that the injustice of another man has helped you? Is not the whole tree contained in the seed? Therefore, a defect of the seed is a defect of the whole tree. If the nature itself had been able to help itself through its own power, the Creator Himself would never have assumed this nature to work its repairing...Therefore, brethren, let us acquiesce in the fact that death has reigned through one man and because of one man’s sin, if all of us wish to be set free through One Man, and to have our very being through Christ. For, he who lives owes it to Christ, not to himself; and he owes to Adam the fact that he must die. (St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 111, Original Sin, p. 178-180)

4 comments:

Fr. Hank said...

Thanks for the post.
Is there a brief way you can explain to me why folks get their knickers in a knot over the (false) assumption of the Orthodox denying a concept of Original Sin?
That rhetoric has of course reared its ugly head again on the occasion of Fr. Fenton's recent change of affiliation,,,,,, as you know.

William Weedon said...

I think the problem is that some Lutherans, feeling threatened by the conversions that have taken place, simply react to various comments of the Orthodox without attempting the hard work of understanding. I have a good friend who has written a paper on this and I hope he publishes it soon.

If one wishes to critique the Orthodox, I would not suggest trying to find the difficulty in justification, theosis, or even original sin (though some Orthodox do teach differently about that under the influence of Romanides et al.; it is significant that in the dialogs with the Lutherans in the 16th century, the Orthodox and Lutherans agreed on original sin!). Rather, the place to focus would be: the cult of the saints, chrismation, the notion that the priesthood is passed on solely by bishops in apostolic succession, the forbiding of marriage to priests after ordination, the forbiding of married bishops (so much for St. Peter), and such matters. My $.02.

Fr. Timothy May said...

fr. hank,

It is probably because of the emphasis on justification/forgiveness of sins in Lutheranism - sin leads to, or results in, death. For Lutherans the certainty of the forgiveness of sins is central to the understanding of justification. If I understand Orthodox soteriology salvation is equal to life and sin is equal to death. Thus the Orthodox talk about being saved from death and given life in Christ and some Lutherans do not understand that because there is little mention of sin. In other words, sin is understood in the word "death." (?) Straighten me out if I misunderstand. Actually, Luther's Small Catechism talks of "forgiveness of sins, life and salvation" all going together - in Christ, but there is hesitancy among Lutherans to go beyond focus on the "forgiveness of sins" although the Scriptures give many pictures of what salvation in Christ means. (I think it is to contrast the certainty of salvation with the supposed uncertainty of the Roman Church's approach.)

Fr. Hank said...

We Augsburg Catholics,,,,,, Westerners to the core, need to stand in awe and thanksgiving for the survival of our Eastern brethern,,,, Islamic dimmi, Monguls, annialation by the Imperial Chinese, the Turkocratic tyranny, the Soviet supressions,,, not to mention smothering by Romanov czars.
It's humbling to behold.
They've got to be doing more than a few things right.
We Western barbarians would be wise to, as the Liturgy goes, "Wisdom, let us attend!" when meeting the East.