Friday, April 23, 2010

More on Energetic Procession about icons and authority - 4

Continuing with Monk Patrick:

From the essay:
Also, the reason used to deny icons would also mean the denial of the Incarnation. How so? The iconoclasts assume that it is the nature that is portrayed in the icon and that the icon can only represent Christ if both His natures are somehow represented on the icon because he has two natures

Since I deny neither the Incarnation, nor the Hypostatic Union, nor the permissibility to make an image of Jesus in His Incarnation (whereas it IS impermissible to bow down to it and give it religious piety), hopefully you'll commendably break ranks with your other EO brethren and no longer use the idiotic claim that I somehow deny the Incarnation b/c I reject icons.  To do so would be the only honest thing to do, since the arguments I'm using are not cited at this point (or actually, anywhere) in the essay. 
Interestingly, that's exactly what Perry Robinson is doing when he asks whether Thomas' worship of Jesus was "passed on to the divine person".  One hopes (probably in vain) that you'll correct him on that. 



However, Christ and His icon receive the same veneration because they have the same hypostasis even though there is a difference in essence

Here the author jumps to this conclusion w/o the necessary adjoining argument.  Where's the argument that ANY image is due veneration?



This would support then the position of St Theodore that prototypes have an image and the necessity that that image is displayed.

Now you're getting into Platonic realms.  Let me also recommend an essay to you.



Thus, Christ is present in His icon not in essence but in His energies.

Asserted but not argued-for.




the main cause of Protestant iconoclasm may be explained with the association of revelation of the Word with Scripture and hence the impossibility of using images.

No, the main cause is b/c Scripture tells us not to use them in worshipful piety.  So we don't.  Simple as that. 

All in all, an essay that misses the point.  Thanks for the link though.



Attributing evidence to demons in not a sufficient reason, unless you can prove demonic activity on grounds other than the miracle does not support your choice of doctrine.

1) Please provide an argument why it is not sufficient reason.
2) Demonic activity is identified in the Scr in many ways, not least of which is provoking ppl to sinful and idolatrous activities in collusion with groups that deny the Gospel.  Um, yeah, that would be EOC.
3) Category error - you pejoratively describe as "your choice of doctrine" what Scripture actually teaches.  This shows no recognition of the fact the Scripture means things, since words mean things.  If I identify and submit to what Scr teaches, that's hardly "my choice".



I provided the evidence of miracles and you attributed them to demons

I was granting you the miraculous for the sake of argument and asking you to prove that they came from God, not from demons.  Your response so far is indignity, but that's not my problem. 



If you wish to attribute these fruits to demons fell free but Scripture says that a bad tree does not yield good fruit.

1) Good trees don't yield sinful activities such as worshiping pictures of dead ppl.
2) Good trees don't yield sinful activities such as ascribing to a false Gospel.
3) You've not yet made the connection you need to make between the fact of "the icon is weeping myrrh" to the prescriptive command, "You must bow down and worship it".  Get on it.



Exodus 20:4. The text does not say you can make images but not bow down nor worship them. You are inconsistent.

So what's your argument against that very condemnation?  I have some, but I'd like to know yours.  Unless it's "I don't care about the 2nd cmdmt", which wouldn't surprise me.
You said a little lower:  "Making images is not a moral issue and is not forbidden in itself because God commanded them to be created of cherubim."
Correct, I agree, thank you.  Done and done. 
Now, you need to move from "God commanded cherubim be made" to "God thinks it's OK to bow down to and worship pictures of dead people".  Get on it.



How do you mean that no-one had dealt about that with you?

I said it b/c no one has.  You keep dividing up the elements that I've numerous times identified as occurring ALL TOGETHER AT THE SAME TIME in EO dead-people worship.  Don't divide it all up if you think your case is so strong.



Audible or inaudible prayer is irrelevant

Sorry, it's not irrelevant.  You don't talk to other ppl INaudibly.  You talk to dead people INaudibly.  Thus you show that you recognise the diff between the living and the dead, even though you won't admit it now when it's convenient to obfuscate for the sake of the debate. 



The fact that God calls them living means that they can communicate and not only among themselves but with us also.

Please provide the backing exegesis of the relevant Scr psgs to substantiate this.




Read Volume 14 of the Second Series of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Series.

Why would I do that?  What specifically is it answering?



The scenario that you raised about Moses is irrelevant because it is before Christ's incarnation because this changes how the law works.

You who've shown no familiarity with the Epistle to the Hebrews are hardly in a position to tell me that "this changes how the law works". 
Exegesis, please.  Show me where the NT says it's in fact OK to worship pictures of dead people.



You keep saying that we give latreia and doulea to icons because that is what you think these words mean.

I provided plenty of exegesis here.  Anyone can see what I meant. 



The Holy Scriptures are a set canon of Apostolic writings which were accepted as genuine. As such it is a closed canon.

Bishop Kallistos Ware disagrees.  I'm going with him rather than some anonymous blog commenter.
Further, I didn't see anywhere in your comment a specific and infallible canon of Sacred Apostolic Tradition.  You claimed it exists; I'd really like to see it.  Thanks!



This does not mean that other writers are not equally inspired even if we do not include their writings in the Scriptures

If other writings are equally inspired, how is that a closed canon? What is the meaning of "canon" at all if other writings are just as breathed out by God?




Do you submit to all things in the NT Scriptures both personally and corporately in your parish? Please list a few.

List a few what?  I don't understand the question.



Why do you care about obeying the OT in any case? Are you under the law?

If you had any understanding of the NT presentation of one's relationship to the OT Law, you'd know that "under the law" means "under the curse of the law", ie, I am not under the curse of the law b/c I am forgiven in Christ, not by works, not by personal doing good and obeying the Law.  The law condemns me (Gal 3) but Christ forgives sinners. 
The OT moral law is still in effect.  Did you read my post on that?  Sounds like you didn't.  Read it.



Are you not saved by faith alone?

Are you so foolish as not to understand that being justified is not the only goal of the human? 



Do we not believe in Jesus?

You believe in a false Jesus, One Who communicated a flawed revelation, spoke where He in fact did not speak (ie, in "inspired" patristic writings), and Whose work on the Cross requires man's cooperation to become sufficient to save, etc. 



Do we not confess Him as Lord?

"Depart from Me; for I never knew you."

217 comments:

1 – 200 of 217   Newer›   Newest»
Lucian said...

Inaudibly for fleshly ears.

Monk Patrick said...

Rhology,

I am glad to see that you read the essay. I can see a problem in your thinking though. We do not give an image veneration but the person represented in the image. This was not made clear in earlier comments. The person deserves veneration not the materials of the icon. We venerate Christ, who is most certainly NOT a dead person, in an icon of Him, we do not venerate the paint of the icon but Christ and this is most certainly permitted and necessary.

As we agree, we can make an icon of Christ, and we agree that if He is present physically, it is appropriate to venerate Him in the physical position/form that we find Him. In other words we do not turn our back on Him and venerate aimlessly because we know that He is omnipresent. No, we direct our veneration via His physical presence thus confirming His divinity, why we venerate, and His humanity, the physical direction which we venerate, that is facing Him and kissing His body either hand or feet. Because an icon is a physical presence of Him then we are bound to direct our veneration of Him through the icon and kiss it etc. Because the icon is of the person of Christ, He is made present by this icon. A parallel is an US embassy in Europe makes present the US although the US is located on another continent. Even a flag, or another American icon makes the US present in some manner, hence the desire in some parts to remove all such icons in order to remove the presence of the US. With the presence of the person of Christ is also the presence of the Holy Spirit and through this presence things are made sacred and God works miracles.

St Theodore was not going into any Platonic realms, which are not relevant to the argument from which you quoted. Please provide an argument for your assertion, if you think otherwise.

Monk Patrick said...

Attributing miracles to demons is not a sufficient reason, without proof that it is a demon, because it could be levelled at any miracle including those of Christ. The Jews made the same claims against Christ and His works. I pointed to His response because I have the same reasons in response as did He. So, it is at best an excuse to ignore any miracle. While, it is wise to be cautious regarding miracles, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that the miracle is beyond reasonable doubt not of God because you want to deny any miracle being worked through an icon. I only need to show that some miracles are worked by God through icons and so I do not need to prove that every miracle is so worked. You have not done this. By the way, the fruits of the Spirit are outlined in Galatians 5:22-23 and it is to these that I was referring.

What Scripture actually teaches is what is the matter of debate. I disagree with your interpretation and the teaching or doctrine that derives from this. In the context of the debate "your choice of doctrine" is entirely appropriate, although if you are right then of course it is what Scripture actually teaches. If I am right then it is not what Scripture actually teaches. The debate is to determine what Scripture actually teaches.

Whether venerating Christ through an image is sinful is a point of the debate, so you cannot assert it as proof of a sinful action. A false Gospel is also a point of the debate, same problem in asserting it. Myrrh is evidence that God honours an icon. If He honours it then I should also in an manner applicable to a human.

You ask me to make an argument that it is ok to bow down and worship images of dead people. I have said before that we do not bow down and worship images of dead people. We do not worship icons and they are not of dead people. So, why continue to ask me to prove something that we don't do and are can agree with you? Let us concentrate on the venerating the icon of Christ. I accept that the text of Exodus 20:4 forbids venerating images, so it will be better to argue this line. Please identify have an icon is an image forbidden by Exodus 20:4. That is, is the image of something in the heavens, e.g. stars and sun, or on earth or under the sea. Please prove that this needs to be interpreted as referring to God Himself or to angels and not only created material things. Exodus 20:4 can be interpreted that the veneration is only prohibited for images of created material things as an end in themselves, as I mentioned in earlier comments. All other mentions in the OT can be said to refer back to this and understood in the context of the command even if they do not specify what is venerated as does the command. Now, please demonstrate that the icons of Christ, or the Saints are icons of the things prohibited. The icons are not in the likeness of any created material thing in itself, hence the abstraction of the material world in an icon but of a created form that is now a partaker of divine nature. So, creating an icon of such is not forbidden by the plain meaning of the commandment, with which you agree. The prohibition of veneration is only for icons of naturalist things of this cosmos in themselves because the veneration was forbidden to the types of icons described in the commandment. There is no commandment forbidding veneration of icons of Christ nor the Saints. In the OT before Christ's Incarnation all material created things were not partakers of the divine nature but after him material things do partake of divine nature. So, the law changes in accordance with Hebrews 7:12 and 8:13. The law of icons is something changed by Christ's Incarnation.

Monk Patrick said...

I talk to saints both audibly and inaudibly. I don't pry into the mysteries of God to enquire how they hear me. Such an enquiry points to a lack of faith and limiting reality to the material world.

Samuel appeared to Saul and spoke with him. Whether or not it was approved of God is irrelevant to the fact that they could communicate. Jesus after His resurrection communicated to the disciples and after His ascension to Paul and to Peter. The communication issue is not relevant to icons of Christ. So, if you wish to lay aside those of Saints for now and concentrate on that of Christ. (Although you do not believe, there are plenty of cases of the Saints appearing Christians and communicating with them. We are warned to be careful of such things because, as you rightly point out, they can be deceptions of the devil but there are means of ensuring that they are not and so genuine meetings with a Saint.)

The reason for looking at bits of your position is to show that when they are all put together at the same time they do not result in the "sin" that you say they do. Please demonstrate how the whole is inseparable and can only be understood or refuted as a whole.

Volume 14 is referred to you to provide the material that informs you of what is in Sacred Tradition. If you want to know what is Sacred Tradition then read it. I read it on the way of becoming Orthodox and I was convinced that it did not contradict either itself nor Scripture. This was a powerful reason for me to convert; Orthodoxy lived up to its claims.

Bishop Kallistos was not saying that the Canon of the NT can be increased because we find other letters or gospels written by the Apostles or Evangelists. We already have all those which are and can be formally recognised. The Canon of the NT in this regard is therefore closed. As I know Bishop Kallistos personally and not only by his limited quotes, I am sure that I am in an adequate position to comment on his beliefs. Just because the NT canon is closed does not mean other writings are not inspired only that they are not the inspired writings of the Apostles or Evangelists, which were the required qualifications to be in the NT.

Monk Patrick said...

I wanted you to provide evidence to your obedience to the Holy Scriptures by providing evidence of your own and the corporate practice of your parish to show that you live up to your claim in private and corporate worship. Such as do you eat meat with blood, are women expected to cover their heads, do you permit two or three prophets to prophecy, do you permit the speaking in tongues, do you not judge others?

Read Galatians, Corinthians (I quoted relevant parts of the latter for you), 1 Tim 1:9, I think Paul is saying much more than just being free of the curse of the law, which is also included. I did read your post. You still need to prove that the command about icons is moral law and not changed like the Sabbath law. Still seems to me that you are trying to be justified by the law.

"Depart from Me; for I never knew you."

You dare to judge us as Christ? Yet, Christ forbids us to judge others. Paul saying judging those outside the church is for God alone (1 Cor 5:12-13), are you accepting that by your standards we are in fact in the Church? Christ said this in the context of virtues such as clothing the poor. Can you demonstrate that this is not promoted as proper behaviour in the Orthodox Church? I was mentioning these things to enquire about the logic of your own stated believes and those whom you agree by saying that you are part of the Reformed churches.

Please show us where our Creed or formal doctrines in the Councils teach falsely about Christ. You are rather arguing about a false Gospel.

Are you saying that you receive no inspiration of the Holy Spirit to read the Scriptures but do so on you own power and thus your salvation requires your cooperation to correctly understand the Scriptures? Or is understanding any of the Scriptures irrelevant? Where does Christ teach that He would stop inspiring people and leave the Church to its own devices? Where does it say the the Holy Spirit will only lead the Apostles into the truth?

If we are justified are we not also saved? What is the goal of being human?

Rhology said...

Monk Patrick,

We do not give an image veneration but the person represented in the image.

Which makes my intentionally pejorative description "worshiping dead ppl" that much more poignantly valid.



The person deserves veneration not the materials of the icon.

Then why not bow down before the PERSON? Why a picture?
You think God didn't know that was a live possibility? Why did He say not to do that in the OT?



We venerate Christ, who is most certainly NOT a dead person

Never claimed He was.



we can make an icon of Christ, and we agree that if He is present physically, it is appropriate to venerate Him in the physical position/form that we find Him.

Sure, but He's in fact NOT present physically, so there you go. He's in Heaven. To say He's physically present elsewhere is to affirm monophysitism or even Docetism.



we know that He is omnipresent

His physical body is omnipresent? So you're breathing Jesus' body right now? You're typing on Jesus' body? You pooped Jesus' body?
Methinks you should retract that.



Because an icon is a physical presence of Him

1) Please provide evidence of this.
2) Monophysite reasoning, BTW.



Attributing miracles to demons is not a sufficient reason

Just b/c you say so is not a rebuttal. Jesus told us to beware of false workers of miracles, and how to identify them - by their fruits and teaching. There you go.



The Jews made the same claims against Christ and His works.

And they were wrong. But since I'm following Jesus Himself, I'm not wrong b/c Jesus is not wrong.



So, it is at best an excuse to ignore any miracle.

Not at all. Rather, I seek to explain each one biblically. I'm being consistent and submitting everythg to the Word of God. One could only wish you had such a consistent and solid standard to which to compare things, and that you'd be consistent enough to hold to it thru thick and thin. But that's not what we find among the EOx, sadly.


Myrrh is evidence that God honours an icon.

Or it's a demonic act.



By the way, the fruits of the Spirit are outlined in Galatians 5:22-23

1) how does an icon perform fruits of the Spirit?
2) You said "trees", which evokes Matt 7 much more obviously than Gal 5.

Rhology said...

What Scripture actually teaches is what is the matter of debate.

1) What tradition actually teaches is what is the matter of debate. This is a throwaway meaningless line.
2) Make your exegetical argument, then.



The debate is to determine what Scripture actually teaches.

It would help if you'd actually show some familiarity with what it does teach. Like in Hebrews.


We do not worship icons and they are not of dead people.

You are being pretty thickheaded. I keep asking you these questions and you keep ignoring them.
1) Prove (w/o appealing to "intention", which Perry R rightly identified as useless) that your actions are diff than what pagans do before idols.
2) If they're not dead, why do you communicate with them in ways that are totally diff than the ways in which you communicate with live ppl?



Please identify have an icon is an image forbidden by Exodus 20:4.

Ex 20: 4“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

Are icons likenesses of what is in heaven above or on the earth or in water? Um, yup. QED.


Please prove that this needs to be interpreted as referring to God Himself or to angels

1) Angels repeatedly refused worship IN PERSON in the Scr. Are you suggesting that worshiping them in icon is OK?
2) How would you picture the Father, Who cannot be seen (1 John 4:12, 1 Tim 6, John 1:18)?



There is no commandment forbidding veneration of icons of Christ nor the Saints.

Oh, right, b/c neither Christ's body nor the saints were created things. Gotcha.



The law of icons is something changed by Christ's Incarnation.

Easy to assert that. Now all you need is an argument.



I talk to saints both audibly and inaudibly.

Not living ones, though, I'd bet. And expect them to hear you. No, you talk to living ppl AUDIBLY.



Samuel appeared to Saul and spoke with him

And Saul was richly rewarded for that, right?
1 Sam 28:
7Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.”
8Then Saul disguised himself
he said, “Conjure up for me, please, and bring up for me whom I shall name to you.”
9But the woman said to him, “Behold, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off those who are mediums and spiritists from the land.
15Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”
16Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the LORD has departed from you and has become your adversary?

Yes, that was a very godly encounter. Perhaps you'd like to model all EO worship after this?

Rhology said...

Whether or not it was approved of God is irrelevant to the fact that they could communicate.

Yeah, you know, maybe that's why God said not to do so.




Volume 14 is referred to you to provide the material that informs you of what is in Sacred Tradition.

Just break it down for me and give me a page number. You challenged me about my canon, now I'm challenging you for yours. Be precise and specific.



Bishop Kallistos was not saying that the Canon of the NT can be increased because we find other letters or gospels written by the Apostles or Evangelists.

I don't remember saying anything about the NT. The Bible is more than the NT. Please read it again.



As I know Bishop Kallistos personally

Oh, then could you ask him why he thinks the canon ***OF THE OT*** is still an open question? Don't let him off the hook, though - since you claim to want the truth, supply him with his own quotes.
If he says "It is still an open question", you lose the point and should concede.
If he says "I was wrong", then why should I believe ANY EO clergyman? Either way, it stinks to be in your position, but my church will be happy to take you as a member. Just repent of your sin, trust in Christ ALONE, and you too can be saved.



Such as do you eat meat with blood

Have you read Mark 7:1-20 recently?



are women expected to cover their heads? do you permit two or three prophets to prophecy? do you permit the speaking in tongues, do you not judge others?

1) No, read 1 Cor 11 again, that was a cultural question in Corinth.
2) Yes.
3) Yes, biblical tongues. (Which I've never seen in over 6 yrs spent among charismatics.)
4) Actually, if you read Matthew 7 more than the 1st verse, Jesus commands me to judge others.
Looks like you need to read more than just Hebrews; you need to reread 1 Cor 11, Matt 7, Mark 7, and 1 Cor 12-14. Like I said, put down your Palamas, and pick up the Scripture.

BTW, does YOUR church fulfill those things? It's not as if you claim not to follow the Bible.
Do you eat meat with blood, are women expected to cover their heads, do you permit two or three prophets to prophecy, do you permit the speaking in tongues, do you not judge others?



I think Paul is saying much more than just being free of the curse of the law, which is also included.

Given that your biblical understanding has been shown to be very flawed, I see every reason to ask you to provide detailed exegesis supporting this assertion.



You still need to prove that the command about icons is moral law and not changed like the Sabbath law.

Ah, so "don't have homosexual sex" is some other kind of command than moral? Interesting.



Still seems to me that you are trying to be justified by the law.

Then you have no idea what I'm talking about. In what way am I seeking to be justified by the law?



You dare to judge us as Christ?

Absolutely! Christ preached the Gospel, you don't hold to the Gospel, it's my DUTY to warn you and urge you to repent!
2 Cor 5: 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Rhology said...

Paul saying judging those outside the church is for God alone (1 Cor 5:12-13),

Uh oh. Out of context alert!



Please show us where our Creed or formal doctrines in the Councils teach falsely about Christ.

1) By claiming you can gain eternal life partly by works you do.
2) By claiming monophysitism as you have here.




Are you saying that you receive no inspiration of the Holy Spirit to read the Scriptures but do so on you own power and thus your salvation requires your cooperation to correctly understand the Scriptures?

I receive ILLUMINATION.
Saying nothing more than 1 Cor 2:12-16 -
12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
14But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.



Where does Christ teach that He would stop inspiring people and leave the Church to its own devices?

The fact that He appeals to the Scr, which is inspired by God, for judging between good and bad traditions. There has to be a difference between inspired and non-inspired writings.
How do YOU tell the diff, objectively, between inspired and non-inspired writings? Be specific and precise.



If we are justified are we not also saved? What is the goal of being human?

Justification is part of salvation, the first part that leads inexorably to the others.
The goal of being human is to glorify God. What is YOUR goal?

Vox Veritatis said...

Rho,

Nice post and interaction. Regarding the essay you reference, I have the following additional comments:

The author asserts that "Christ and His icon receive the same veneration because they have the same hypostasis even though there is a difference in essence". I would argue that this is nonsensical. I would grant that an icon, plus a contextualizing proposition (stating the identity of the thing represented by the icon) may refer to a hypostasis, but it cannot have a hypostasis. If an icon "has" the hypostasis of Christ, then the hypostatic union of Christ extends not only to the natures of deity and humanity, but also the nature of icon. Christ is not only united to His physical body, but also to every single icon that bears His image. Thus, making an icon is essentially a miniature act of the Incarnation - except instead of the Logos taking on flesh, the Logos is taking on an icon. If the Catholic priest calls Christ down from heaven during the mass, then how much more does the icon-maker call Christ down from heaven and into union with an icon when he manufactures it! That is, of course, if the icon actually has the hypostasis, and doesn't merely represent it. Of course, if it merely represents it, then it is not worthy of veneration, since venerating a representation is not the same as venerating the thing it represents. Either way, the iconodule is left in an untenable position.

The author also asserts that "Christ is present in His icon not in essence but in His energies." This seems to me to be a rather meaningless statement. How exactly is Christ present, "in His energies"? John of Damascus' definition of "energy" is that "energy is the efficient and essential activity of nature." If this is the case, then which activities of Christ's nature are present in the icon? And which activities of which nature are present? Is there a difference between the human activities of Christ and the divine activities of Christ? Is Christ actually present in the icon Himself, or are His energies only present? If the icon is an inanimate object, then how can it have energies within it? If it is not inanimate, then how does it go from being an inanimate collection of raw materials to an animate object? Furthermore, how does one know that those "energies" are in fact the activities of Christ, and not of some other being (such as a demon, as Rho has suggested in another context)? Perhaps there are satisfactory answers to these questions, but they seem to me to be indicative of a problematic and untenable position.

Lvka said...

Vox,


the divine nature is nowhere present in this Universe. Christ's human nature is present in the Eucharist. In icons, only energies are present. Hope this helps.

Lvka said...

It should be noted that Christ is also hypostayically (personally) present in icons.

Jnorm888 said...

Rhology said:
"but my church will be happy to take you as a member. Just repent of your sin, trust in Christ ALONE, and you too can be saved."



Dude, Get serious! Why would Monk Patrick or I ever want to be a Reformed Baptist? And why should we want a foreign Reformed Baptist theology, ecclesiology, soteriology, Christology, Triniterianism, and disconnect to church history and the fathers?


Why in the world would we want ""grape juice"" and crackers over the Divine Mysteries/Sacraments?

Why in the world would we want a symbolic only Romans chapter 6 union with Christ?


When we can have a real Romans chapter 6 union with Christ?


Why in the world would we want a false Nestorian Christology when we can have the real deal over here?

Why in the world would we want a symbolic adult/believers baptism only, when we can have both infant communion and Baptism here? Baptism is more than mere symbolism....it actually is the normal means to unite us with Christ....going back to Romans chapter 6.


Come one now!


Also, in regards to our OT, it all depends on the context, and who defines the terms. If the context is pan-Orthodoxy the answer will be different than if you are only talking about the Byzantine rite/jurisdictions.

When Rome was in communion with us, her OT was slightly different from ours, but she didn't have to defend the OT's of pan-Orthodoxy back then....she just looked at the one within her jurisdiction. In like manner, why must we always defend the OT of pan-Orthodoxy now? Why can't we just defend the one within of our jurisdiction/rite?







Christ is Risen!

Viisaus said...

Lvka:

"It should be noted that Christ is also hypostayically (personally) present in icons."

I personally find testimonies like this - coming from a Romanian cradle Orthodox - a powerful confirmation of the idolatrous/Monophysite nature of icons.

"the divine nature is nowhere present in this Universe. Christ's human nature is present in the Eucharist. In icons, only energies are present."

...and THIS, as proof of the polytheistic/Nestorian nature of the EO divine energies/essence separation!

Thanks for these interesting concessions.

Viisaus said...

Really, when one thinks about it, the EOs cannot afford to "throw stones in glass houses" with accusations of Nestorianism on this or that Protestant idea.

For their own Palamian ideas separate or divide Godhead brazenly enough:


"Orthodoxy prides itself on its Trinitarian theology. But is God really three persons? He may reveal himself as three persons, but that’s a manifestation of his energies, not his essence. Maybe he’s one person rather than three. Or maybe the Son is the fons deitas. For the energies are dissimilar to the essence.

We’re not just talking about the possibility that God’s energies may not correspond to his essence. Rather, if God is unknowable in his essence, then his energies don’t correspond to his essence."

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/09/theological-illusionism.html


Radical EO apophaticism ultimately originates from pagan Neoplatonic sources, largely via the mediation of false prophet Pseudo-Dionysius whom Gregory Palamas called as "an unerring beholder of divine things.".

Monk Patrick said...

Rhology,

Christ was not incarnate in the Old Testament, so at that stage the created material universe was separated from Him. Material things could not be venerated because they were not connected to the divine.

No one knows the Father unless the Son, the Image of God, reveals Him. Thus, the Father is revealed through His image. Until, Christ was incarnate we could not see Him but once He was Incarnate we were able to see Him and through Him know the Father. Christ became Incarnate in the image of God, man, thus showing that man was created to be united to God and that matter could participate in the divine. The image of God both in the Son and in man are means of knowing and venerating God. Since we are both spiritual and material beings we need both spiritual and material images. God prevented icons of material things in the OT because relationship to God is through images, yet, all the images available to man in the OT were not connected to the divine and so false images to know and venerate God; they would be of false gods. Now Christ is incarnate, matter is united to the divine and the divine is manifested through matter, this is clear in the transfiguration. Matter is no longer something separated from God but united to Him. The OT command becomes obsolete in regard of images of material things connected to God. Material images can be used to know the divine. Moreover, images of Christ become a necessary confession of our Faith. We know God through images and we also relate to Him through images, especially the Image, His Son. Knowing and relating to God includes glorifying and venerating Him. Thus, we glorify and venerate Him through images of Him. Denying such, is to deny that we know the Father through the Son, His Image and that matter is now united to the divine and capable of containing God's presence.

Monk Patrick said...

God is omnipresent in all those things that you mentioned are you going to limit His presence? Christ is omnipresent as God and Christ's ascension is not about Him going to some place in the sky but that His humanity is also participating in God's omnipresence. I cannot explain how but then I cannot explain how he could walk on water or appear in a locked room.

When I communicate with people I prefer to do so with an image before me either with their body being present next to me, or through web-cam on Skype or with a photo. It helps to have a more holistic connection. It is why people prefer to look at those to whom they are talking and prefer to have them look back. The image is important. This is the same with Christ, and the Saints. The relationship is just the same.

I told you the volume because all the definitions of Faith and the Canons within are testimonies of Sacred Tradition; you will need to read the lot to now about Sacred Tradition. You can ignore the Acts of the councils, the commentaries and the excursus, as they are not part of the Sacred Tradition. Have you read St Basil, yet? He gives a good outline of a number of aspects of Holy Tradition.

The issue about the OT is not about adding new books to the Canon but at what level the books are to be understood. All the books at issue were known from the time of Christ. As such the canon is closed. These are different questions.

Viisaus said...

Even if New Covenant would permit making pictures of Christ, where's the necessary further proof that those images that EOs worship are THE sort of images God wants us to make?

In other words, who gave the divine stamp of approval to the peculiarly Byzantine taste in art? Why couldn't we make (say) spray-painted impressionist images of Christ and venerate it religiously?

Monk Patrick said...

Have you read Mark 7:1-20 recently?
And have you read Acts 15:28-29?

Corinthians 11 a cultural question? Where does Paul say that? The passage is a clear teaching about Tradition, 11:2, that Christians, almost universally keep until the last century. The Fathers interpret it as such and there is no mention of a culture question. You seem to be selective in what you take at face value and what you interpret based on modern cultural assumptions. This is the problem of Protestantism, there is no rule or commitment to tradition to prevent this or at least guide it. Formally, the Church does teach all the matters that I raised, although this does not mean that they are always followed by myself or others. I am not making a personal claim but your claim cannot be more than personal because you cannot refer to the formal teaching of a church. Your claim to submit to everything in the Bible "What a coincidence! I DO do that. I submit all things, all traditions, to the apostolic teaching found in the Scr." seems to be a claim that to justify your position. Obedience is a work and one must obey a command or law, so a claim that you obey all the Scripture is equivalent to saying that you are justified by your works.

Yes, one may judge others for heresy and those in the same church on serious moral issues. However, it is not appropriate to judge those outside the faith/church on moral issues. Christ's condemnation was about moral issues and so not appropriate to apply to myself, who you regard as a heretic. Now, my point was by what line do you regard is it enough for one to be a believing Christian or not to be? Does the Trinity matter, why, it is not explicitly in the Bible? Does it matter what one teaches about food one way or the other? When does a heresy become important? Are we required to be 100% right but then you condemn yourself as 97%? What about Edwards and Wesley, is one a damned heretic and the other not, why? Are icons bad because you think that in reverencing an icon of Christ we are reverencing a false God? What is your scale for heresy, how do you measure one false teaching contrary to Scripture against another?

How is 1 Cor 5:12-13 out of context?

Gain eternal life partly by works. Faith without works is dead. Is James, therefore, claiming that we gain eternal life partly by works? How is our position any different from that of the inspired James? Your comment reflects a dichotomy between faith and works that we do not have in our Gospel.

Exactly how is illumination different from inspiration? If you make a distinction then how do you know that we do not also? If illumination does not help provide some certainty of understanding the what benefit is it? It is does then why can we not trust the illumination of another?

Inspired writings are consistent with other such writings. The life of the writer demonstrates a high level of holiness. The writings are testified by generations as being authentic and trustworthy. Spiritual men attest to the spiritual inspiration, just as 1 Cor 2:12-16 says. Orthodox are no less critical about what is inspired that you may be except they don't reject that the Holy Spirit continually illumines many writers to guide them in teaching the people of their generation and those to follow.

Our goal is to be children of God, to have Him abide in us and us in Him, to be like Him so that we may share eternal life with Him in love. United to Him as one. From the writings of the Holy Apostle John.

Rhology said...

Lvka,
Christ's human nature is present in the Eucharist. In icons, only energies are present. Hope this helps.

Assertions duly noted.
1) No evidence.
2) And no, it doesn't help particularly.


hypostayically (personally) present in icons.

Thus substantiating Vox's point about the mishmash this doctrine makes of the Hypostatic Union AND the Incarnation.



John,
And Marcion was no spaghetti monster

And how did Marcion know that his canon was correct?


Jnorm888,

Why would Monk Patrick or I ever want to be a Reformed Baptist?

B/c then you might actually have some real arguments for your religious epistemology and wouldn't have to beg questions all the time. that's just for starters.
Also, as a bonus, you'd get the grace of Christ to cover your sins, and the crazy thing is, you might even realise that all your "good" works, no matter how much you may qualify their "necessity" with "grace"-talk, are still worthless before the perfect throne of God.



Why in the world would we want ""grape juice"" and crackers over the Divine Mysteries/Sacraments?

B/c then you wouldn't be enslaved to some bizarre quasi-monophysitism.



Why in the world would we want a symbolic only Romans chapter 6 union with Christ?

Whoever said it's symbolic ONLY?



Why in the world would we want a false Nestorian Christology when we can have the real deal over here?

1) B/c Reformed doctrine isn't Nestorian and you haven't ever shown it to be.
2) B/c you approach monophysitism and sometimes cross the line.



If the context is pan-Orthodoxy the answer will be different than if you are only talking about the Byzantine rite/jurisdictions.

Surprise me and actually answer the question for whichever context you choose, only make sure to justify WHY you chose that context.



In like manner, why must we always defend the OT of pan-Orthodoxy now? Why can't we just defend the one within of our jurisdiction/rite?

1) For the same reason that you constantly ask me to defend all "Protestants".
2) Oh, so now EOC has denominations? What's the functional difference here?
3) But like I said, feel free to show it just for your own "jurisdiction".
4) And feel free to explain how Kallistos Ware doesn't represent your jurisdiction/rite.
5) And you must defend it b/c Monk Patrick asked ME to defend MY canon. So it only makes sense that I ask you the same question.

Rhology said...

Monk Patrick,
Material things could not be venerated because they were not connected to the divine... Now Christ is incarnate, matter is united to the divine and the divine is manifested through matter

Please explain how the Incarnation means that "things are connected to the divine" now. Use quotations from the Bible, preferably.


this is clear in the transfiguration

How, precisely? And where do the biblical authors make this clear?



No one knows the Father unless the Son, the Image of God, reveals Him. Thus, the Father is revealed through His image.

Christ wasn't an IMAGE. He was and is a PERSON. You're equivocating. Again.



Matter is no longer something separated from God but united to Him.

1) I thought Christ's mission was to redeem PEOPLE, not "matter".
2) Romans 8 makes clear the the creation's redemption (ie, "matter") is not accomplished yet. In fact, it's barely begun.



God is omnipresent in all those things that you mentioned are you going to limit His presence?

Don't equivocate. You said JESUS. So I was talking about JESUS.
You also mentioned His physical body. It's not specific enough to say "God took on a physical body" in this context; say "JESUS took on a physical body."
Jesus' physical body is in ONE PLACE at any ONE TIME.
Apparently you believe you excrete Jesus thru your bowels into the toilet. Nice.
Hey Jnorm, there's another reason why you should want to join my church - you wouldn't be taught that you're pooping Jesus.



Christ is omnipresent as God and Christ's ascension is not about Him going to some place in the sky

What a crass way of speaking of Jesus' ascension to Heaven, to the Father's right hand!
It doesn't bother you to approach blasphemy in such a way?



His humanity is also participating in God's omnipresence.

Which is called "Monophysitism". Thanks, bye!



I cannot explain how he could walk on water or appear in a locked room.

That's called a "miracle" - they happen from time to time in the Bible.
And they don't require or demonstrate Jesus in more than one place at any one time.



When I communicate with people I prefer to do so with an image before me either with their body being present next to me, or through web-cam on Skype or with a photo. It helps to have a more holistic connection.

Do you communicate with them INAUDIBLY? Talking inside your head, like you do to the pictures of dead people?



I told you the volume because all the definitions of Faith and the Canons within are testimonies of Sacred Tradition; you will need to read the lot to now about Sacred Tradition.

I didn't ask you for A place where SacTrad can be found. I asked you the same question you asked me - for the specific Canon of your authoritative teachings. I take it from your constant evasions that you can't answer the question. Duly noted.



Have you read St Basil, yet? He gives a good outline of a number of aspects of Holy Tradition.

St Basil is not The EOC. Just go ahead and give me The Official Canon of EOC Authoritative Tradition.

Rhology said...

Have you read Mark 7:1-20 recently?
And have you read Acts 15:28-29?


Yes, and now you're apparently wanting to play the Counter-Citation Contradiction Game.
So, how precisely does the EOC's Authoritative Tradition clarify the teachings found within these two psgs? I have an answer, but my bet is that you can't produce one, and if you can my guess is it won't make any sense. Prove me wrong.



Corinthians 11 a cultural question? Where does Paul say that?

1) That's *FIRST* Corinthians. What the heck does "Corinthians 11" mean? Nobody who's even sort of familiar with the Bible says "Corinthians". Just more evidence that you're biblically illiterate.
2) Read 1 Cor 11:13Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, 15but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering.

Note the uses of non-soteriological language. Judge for yourselves - well, we DO judge for ourselves, and to us it's not a big deal for a woman to have short hair or uncovered head, or for a man to have long hair.
Now, how does YOUR church answer the same question?



You seem to be selective in what you take at face value and what you interpret based on modern cultural assumptions.

It's a little thing we like to call "exegesis".


Obedience is a work and one must obey a command or law, so a claim that you obey all the Scripture is equivalent to saying that you are justified by your works

1) Which is not only evidence you're biblically illiterate but also evidence that you are ignorant of Reformed doctrine.
2) We obey God b/c we love Him, b/c we have been set free from sin. Read Romans 6:1-ff.



However, it is not appropriate to judge those outside the faith/church on moral issues.

That's correct, but you weren't specific when you said "do you judge others?", were you?
I am told to judge their WORKS as evil and their PERSONS as being hellbound. Else, how can I proclaim their guilt under the Law and the freedom Jesus offers thru the Gospel?



Now, my point was by what line do you regard is it enough for one to be a believing Christian or not to be? Does the Trinity matter, why, it is not explicitly in the Bible? Does it matter what one teaches about food one way or the other? When does a heresy become important? Are we required to be 100% right but then you condemn yourself as 97%? What about Edwards and Wesley, is one a damned heretic and the other not, why?

Now, my point was by what line do you regard is it enough for one to be a believing Christian or not to be? Does the Trinity matter, why, it is not explicitly in the Bible? Does it matter what one teaches about food one way or the other? When does a heresy become important? Are we required to be 100% right but then you condemn yourself as 97%? What about Origen and Photius, is one a damned heretic and the other not, why?
See how these questions you're asking are just double-edged? I'm not on trial here, so you need to contribute too. I've asked you questions before - answer them and then we can move on to other ones.

Rhology said...

How is 1 Cor 5:12-13 out of context?

B/c you did not reference the context that the church discipline being performed on the offender is b/c of sexual immorality. If you'd read it, you'd know that, but I don't think you did, b/c you're not a fan of the Bible.



Is James, therefore, claiming that we gain eternal life partly by works?

Read this before yelling "James 2!"


Your comment reflects a dichotomy between faith and works that we do not have in our Gospel.

1) Yes, I know you don't have it in YOUR Gospel, and that's b/c your Gospel is a false one.
2) I suggest you read Ephesians 2:8-10.


Exactly how is illumination different from inspiration?

One is fallible, God helping me understand. The other is infallible, God speaking through the inspired author.
Now, let's ask YOU the same question (even though you're apparently not a fan of answering questions) - Exactly how is a bishop telling you what a Council said different from what a Council said?

You have left many unanswered questions on the table. Answer them, and then we can keep talking. If you won't do so, we're done here.

Anonymous said...

Christ wasn't an IMAGE. He was and is a PERSON. You're equivocating. Again.

Tell that to Paul (Colossians 1:15)

Lvka said...

Viisaus,

your comment/comparison makes no sense.



Rho,

not 'assestions', but explanations of our teachings (which Vox didn't seem to understand).

Lvka said...

Christ is hypostatically present in icons, not just energetically, because He is energetically present everywhere.

Vox Veritatis said...

Lvka,

If I don't "seem" to understand your teachings, it is because they are logically incoherent. Of course, you're welcome to try to prove me wrong on this point, but that would involve actually answering my objections, and not merely making assertions.

Lvka said...

Vox,

your objections may be objections, but I just don't know to what exactly you were objecting. (It wasn't to Orthodoxy, eventhough that's what you honestly thought you were doing).

Vox Veritatis said...

Lvka,

As is plainly stated in my original comment, I was objecting to some statements made in the essay linked to by Monk Patrick. If I was not objecting to Orthodoxy, then those statements are not Orthodox, and thus, by your own admission, the essay itself is not Orthodox.

Monk Patrick said...

Vox,

When an icon is said to have the same hypostasis as the prototype, it means that they have the same hypostasis as their subject. That is the body of Christ has the Jesus Christ as its subject and so does an icon of Christ. In this sense they both "have" the same hypostasis. The reverence goes to the subject, not to the icon or body as ends in themselves and this is true whether Christ is present as prototype or seen in an icon; the essence of the material is not important here but the person, or hypostasis, of the subject.

Regarding the energies, God sustains the world not by the world being God in essence but through His divine power, operations or energies. Thus, He is present in all things without all things being Him. The energies of God are Himself, that is He personally sustains the universe; He does not do so through a created medium with Himself personally absent. Since, He personally sustains the universe, He is personally present throughout the universe. This also applies to presence in an icon. The material of the icon is not the divine essence, so God's presence is in His energies. These energies don't need to animate anything but it does not mean that they are not present and sustaining something, although even a rock at atomic level is moving. An icon gives a concrete focal point of God's presence in the person of the Son of God and as such they can be a focal point of miracles because it is clear that the miracle is from the person of the Son of God. It would be no more an advantage for Satan to work a miracle through an icon of Christ as to cast out demons in the name of Christ. Either way, Christ is getting the honour and glory. It would only benefit Satan if a person thought that the icon was God in essence, which would take veneration from God to the icon as an end in itself. Such a practice though is condemned by Orthodox Christians and opposed to the orthodox theology of icons.

Monk Patrick said...

Vissaus,

Appropriate icons of Christ, would be such that enable the viewer to recognise the icon as being of Christ. Thus, there is a tradition of accepted forms and features in an icon based on the historical form of Christ that should be used in an icon of Christ, so that it can be identified with the same Christ, who entered history and who is the Son of God.

Also, icons should be painted in a style that reflects the union of matter with divinity. This is most clearly seen in the halo, which represents the divine light seen at the Transfiguration. Also, the style should be abstracted, without distorting the physical features identifying Christ or the Saint, so that it is clear that the human nature is not venerated as an end in itself. The icon should also express a holy spirituality in a manner similar to secular images expressing movement or emotion. This spirituality is best expressed with a sense of peace in the icon and a detachment from the world.

There are books that outline these principles more specifically and are used by iconographers to maintain the tradition of painting within it appropriate boundaries but still enabling a diversity of representation. Not maintaining these principles either means the icon cannot be a suitable identification with the historical form of Christ or the Saint or that it incorrectly expresses the theology of the incarnation.

Monk Patrick said...

Rhology,

Colossians 1:16-20 is the Scriptural support for all things being connected to the divine. Matthew 17:2 shows how Christ's clothes also participated in the light. 1 John 1:1-3 and 2 Peter 1:16-19 elaborate on this.

Colossians 1:15, Christ is the Image (Icon) of God.

Are you saying that Jesus is not God? Your answer is evidence of why we say that you are in thought Nestorian, even though you say you accept two natures in one person. You do not follow the logic through properly, at least this is not expressed in your answers. Hence, also the accusations of our monophysitism, such as a only a Nestorian would make.

You are also trapped in worldly thinking that humanity is only capable of time/space life. The point of the Gospel is that this is not the case. We are lifted from this type of life to participate in eternal life beyond time/space. That is why Christ ascended into the heavens (plural) and not to another singular place. Being at the right hand of God is not a place but a status. Christ's humanity reigns with God over all things, all fullness dwells in Him. (Colossians 1:18-20). How is this possible if Christ's humanity does not participate in the life of His divinity? Even, if one does not accept that the humanity of Christ is able to participate in omnipresence, Jesus is present everywhere in His divine nature.

If I could speak to people inaudibly then I would. This is seen in many movies and an accepted means of communication given a means of doing so. So, there is nothing inherently wrong with inaudible communication.

A list of all teachings and practices of Holy Tradition is difficult because a number are still unwritten. However, read Canons 1 and 2 of the Council of Trullo, which are lists of teachings and recognised Canons. St Basil is recognised as an ecumenical teacher of the Church. That means his teachings are recognised as being faithful to the Traditions of the Church; he is a formal representative of the Church. The chapter, to which I referred you is officially recognised as that of Tradition, it lists a number of traditions and is in part a Canon of Tradition. St John Chrysostom is the ecumenical authority on interpreting the Letters of St Paul. His commentary sets that standard for everyone else. Also, the service books of the Church reflect many aspects of Holy Tradition and for others you would may need to see them in practice, although some things are not shared to all.

Monk Patrick said...

You are seem to be condemning EO to hell because of claimed false teachings. I am raising a query as on what basis you claim this within your own framework of belief. Are you being consistent with yourself. 100% Scriptural accuracy is not an option open to you, so by what rule to do judge how much doctrinal accuracy is needed? We have the Creed and the teachings of the Ecumenical Councils as formal rules to decide on heresy. These provide a clear guideline on what one needs to believe to be orthodox. So, what is your necessary rule of belief that one requires to be orthodox and a true believer that allows for one not to be 100% correct regarding Scripture?

Paul in 1 Cor 5:12-13 was applying a general rule to that particular context. Not making the rule for that context.

Your referenced article about James 2 was not entirely relevant because we are not "yelling James 2" as you are critiquing in the article. Nevertheless, although there is some difference in understanding of the nature of faith and works, you can assume that Orthodox are not saying anything beyond what you are saying about faith without works being dead, so your judgement of what we believe is not accurate.

A Bishop telling me what a council said is no different that what the council said.

Please read the commentary of St John Chrysostom on 1 Corinthians 11:13, where he answers the question as an accepted authority of the Church.

John said...

"And how did Marcion know that his canon was correct?"

Can't respond huh? Except to throw out another rabbit warren question.

What amazes me is that you continually throw out the same junk without ever responding to the same rebuttals over and over.

You've been challenged to show where Kallistos says the canon is open, and you keep pointing to a blog article where he says nothing of the sort, nor does he say anything even vaguely like that.

You've been challenged to show where the bible presents a dualistic view of life where some things are a "religious context" and some are not. As you've pretty much conceded, without this unbiblical theory, your objection to the veneration/worship distinction collapses.

You've been shown that the Israelites were permitted to venerate and bow down to the Ark as a tangible proxy for worshipping God, and haven't given any real argument why now that God has revealed himself in human form, why that form should not now be our proxy. Even protestants are most likely visualising God now as a man, in all likelihood as the classic long haired bearded figure which we depict. You just don't manifest the image in your head onto paper. You don't explain why it is different, and how the apostles were to avoid idolatry by praying to Jesus with his image fresh in their head.

Monk Patrick said...

Regards to the exegesis of Mark 7:1-20 and Acts 15:28-29.

This first text seems to make two main points. One about maintaining human traditions over God's law or Tradition. The second is the why goes into a man does not defile him, that is it doesn't matter what he eats.

This text was quoted when I asked whether it is Scripturally acceptable to eat meat with blood. The implication of quoting this text is that the matter of eating blood is a human tradition and this is because all foods are suitable to eat.

The second text used in reply states:
For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to put on you no greater burden except for these necessary things: that you abstain from meat offered to idols, and from blood, and from anything strangled, and from fornication; from which keeping yourselves back, you will do well. Farewell.
This text states that the Holy Spirit with the council in Jerusalem decided that we should not eat blood. This means that the command is not a tradition of men but inspired by God. (Note that God and man decide together on the matter, synergy.) This command appears contrary to the passage in Mark that says food doesn't defile a man. We can assume that God does not contradict Himself, so we must reinterpret the texts to harmonise them. A solution is that the command in Acts is a qualification of the general rule in Mark. As such it has precedence, according to normally accepted rules of legal interpretation. Thus, while all food is acceptable, the food prohibited in this council are excepted for various reasons that are not expressly explained. Another solution is that the reasons for not eating the food are other than dealt with in Mark. These reasons could be that it is not the food itself that is prohibited as food that defiles in itself but because of the symbolic meaning of eating these foods. Thus, knowingly eating food offered to idols implies sharing in the sacrifice to idols. Strangled meat does not drain the blood and can be grouped with the issue of eating blood. Eating blood is symbolic of partaking of the life of whose blood is eaten. Because life is only found in God and in the blood of Christ, all other blood is prohibited to reinforce and underline this truth. So, the command about eating meat with blood, or blood, is a divine command and it is not contrary to Mark because the reason for not eating is not that the foods defile man in of themselves but that the symbolic meaning of the eating is contrary to the faith and worship of One God in Christ.

The quoting of Mark is shown to be irrelevant to the issue in the light of the passage in Acts, hence the reason for referencing it.

Monk Patrick said...

Regarding the situation with Samuel. Saul was rebuked not because he talked to Samuel as such but because he wanted Samuel to tell him what he was to do, that is the Lord's will, even though the Lord had refused to tell him via the other prophets. Saul was rebuked for pressing against the Lord's will. So, this story does not help your case because it does not say that it is wrong, in itself, to talk to those who have died in the flesh.

Vox Veritatis said...

Monk Patrick,

Thank you for your reply and explanation. However, it still seems to me that your position is problematic, for the following reasons.

When an icon is said to have the same hypostasis as the prototype, it means that they have the same hypostasis as their subject. That is the body of Christ has the Jesus Christ as its subject and so does an icon of Christ. In this sense they both "have" the same hypostasis.

Is the manner in which "the Jesus Christ" is the subject of "the body of Christ" the same manner in which He is the subject of "an icon of Christ"? If so, then as I argued previously, the Incarnation is indistinguishable from an "iconization" - in both cases, the hypostasis is being united to a substance - the only difference is that in the Incarnation, the hypostasis is united to a human substance, whereas in "iconization", it is united to the substance of an icon. This expands the hypostatic union to include not just the divine and human substance, but also the substance of icon as well - making Christ a union of three (or more) substances in one hypostasis. If this is not the case, then how does the manner in which the hypostasis is the subject of the body have any essential similarity to the manner in which the hypostasis is the subject of an icon? If it does not have such essential similarity, then it does not logically follow to say that because it is proper to worship Christ according to the former (as did Thomas in Jn. 20:28), that it is proper to worship according to the latter (according to icon). Furthermore, if this is the case, then it is not clear at all how the icon can be said to "have" a hypostasis - it may reference a hypostasis, but it cannot be said to "have" one.


The material of the icon is not the divine essence, so God's presence is in His energies.

The material of Christ's body is not the divine essence, so is God's presence in the body of Christ also through energies only? If so, then God's presence in the icon has no essential difference from the Incarnation. If not, then the principle that "for all objects x, if God is present in x and the essence of x is not the divine essence, then God is present in x in his energies" does not hold, and thus one has no reason to assert that God is present in His energies, simply because the thing in which He is present is not the divine essence.

Vox Veritatis said...

The energies of God are Himself, that is He personally sustains the universe; He does not do so through a created medium with Himself personally absent. Since, He personally sustains the universe, He is personally present throughout the universe. This also applies to presence in an icon

If God is present, through His energies, in all things, and if Christ sustains the world (Col. 1:17, Heb. 1:3), then is not Christ hypostatically present in all things, not just icons? And if this is the case, then why not venerate those other things, since Christ is hypostatically present in them? Why is not nature worship allowed by this theology? After all, one would simply be venerating that in which Christ is present. Furthermore, do all created things which Christ sustains have Christ as their subject? If Christ is present in them and sustaining them, just as He is present in an icon, then it follows that if the icon has Christ as its subject, for this reason, that every other created thing also has Christ as its subject. If this is the case, why is not nature worship allowed? After all, one would simply be venerating that which has Christ as its subject.

An icon gives a concrete focal point of God's presence in the person of the Son of God

What does this mean? What is a "focal point"? Is there a difference between a "focal point" and a "concrete focal point"?

It would be no more an advantage for Satan to work a miracle through an icon of Christ...

Perhaps. But the issue is that if Satan is present in the icon (and thus working miracles through them), and not Christ, would not the veneration of the icon be a veneration of Satan, and not of Christ? How does one know who is present in an icon, if any person is present at all?

Lvka said...

God is omnipresent. This happens through His energies, not through His uncontained and uncontainable nature.


Icons can be made only of persons, not of ideas or abstract concepts. We don't worship divine energies, we worship divine Persons. Nature points to divine energies, not to divine Persons, therefore it can't be an icon.

Lvka said...

The Eucharist is not worshipped: it is Christ's human nature, and natures aren't worshipped, Persons are. (Catholic piety, whether eucharistical or of the Sacred Heart, is in a way Nestorian).

Monk Patrick said...

Vox,

Christ is the same subject(person) for both His body and for an icon. The important thing here is being the subject and not how the subject(person) is connected to the Body or to an icon. The veneration is given to the subject(person) and this is not affected by how it(He) is present or connected to the material object. The issue is to keep clear the distinction between the person and the nature. We are not aiming to venerate the nature of the icon nor the body. This nature is not relevant to the veneration of the subject, which is the person distinct from the nature. So even if the icon is "merely" representational, it is still of the same subject(person) and hence generates the same reverence.

It is legitimate to say the icon "has" the hypostasis as its subject. This is similar to saying that a painting of the Queen has the Queen as its subject. Nothing more needs to or should be read into the phrase.

Monk Patrick said...

Vox,

Christ is in a sense hypostatically present in all things. All things have logoi from the Logos. All things are held together in Him, that is in His person. The fall caused an estrangement between creation and the Son but His incarnation healed this and so matter becomes a legitimate vessel through which to venerate Him. Remember, we do not venerate the things but the person. Thus, we can venerate Christ through all His creation. This is not nature worship because we are not venerating nature in itself but the person of Christ. However, an icon is a better means of veneration because it clearly identifies the person of Christ, whereas other objects do not do so and can be more easily confused as being venerated in and of themselves.

An icon is a concrete focal point as distinct from a focal point in that we can see and touch an icon, so it is concrete. An idea could be a focal point for prayer that is not concrete in the sense of being able to be touched and seen.

Satan is not the subject of an icon, well at least not one venerated by a Christian, so he does not receive the veneration given to the subject of the icon. Also, if Christ is present as the subject then Satan would not be so. We know who is present because we know the subject of the icon by looking at the image and its features, which are there to identify the subject(person). If the icon is of Christ then it is Christ. If it is of St Paul then it is St Paul.

We must be careful of confusing person and nature, that is why I have used the term subject(person) to help clarify this. Your concerns are all because you are beginning to confuse the two. The question is who is the person identified in the icon (i.e. the subject of the icon), if it is Christ then it is right to venerate Him via the icon, if it is of Hitler then we should not venerate it.

Viisaus said...

"If God is present, through His energies, in all things, and if Christ sustains the world (Col. 1:17, Heb. 1:3), then is not Christ hypostatically present in all things, not just icons? And if this is the case, then why not venerate those other things, since Christ is hypostatically present in them? Why is not nature worship allowed by this theology? After all, one would simply be venerating that in which Christ is present."


Good point. We should call out RC/EOs every time they use arguments like this that "prove too much", way too much.

In the process of justifying icons, they end up theoretically excusing all possible sorts of idolatry.

(Even if they themselves would not practice such things.)


And like I asked earlier (without getting answer) what is it that makes the Byzantine-style art so specially sacred? To me, it seems like purely subjective, culture-bound artistic taste that makes EOs think that only certain sort of pictures are "holy".

Why couldn't we worship a spray-painted image of Christ, according to their theology?

Viisaus said...

"You've been challenged to show where the bible presents a dualistic view of life where some things are a "religious context" and some are not. As you've pretty much conceded, without this unbiblical theory, your objection to the veneration/worship distinction collapses."

Dualistic, you say? Well yes, upholding the Biblical distinction between Creator and creature/creation IS INDEED "dualistic"! Christians are positively required to be dualistic in that regard.

If we would NOT uphold the elementary distinction between showing civil courtesy (like taking off one's hat) and worshipful actions, then the floodgates to all possible sorts of idolatry would burst open.

Now, the exact line between these two practices may sometimes be a bit blurry, but even the proverbial innocent child could tell that the line still DOES exist. Paraphrasing the line about pornography, "I know idolatry when I see it."

On the other hand, impious relativists always love to claim that because we cannot always perfectly define moral boundaries, those boundaries therefore do not exist at all.

Thus you are ideologically in a murky company. You are essentially doing apologia for the cause of idolatry, just in order to protect your precious icons. I can thus personally see what evil fruit icon-worship bears.


You like to draw similarities between the respect shown to saints in this life and in the afterlife - but when you ask a living saint to pray for you, you don't do so inaudibly, and you also do not build churches dedicated to living saints either, or bring offerings to them to have your wishes granted (if you have any true sense of spirituality, that is).

This irrefutable logical point remains - you cannot pray (in the full sense of the word) to dead saints without turning them into demi-gods with divine attributes:


"But here rises the insolvable question: How can departed saints hear at once the prayers of so many Christians on earth, unless they either partake of divine omnipresence or divine omniscience? And is it not idolatrous to clothe creatures with attributes which belong exclusively to Godhead? Or, if the departed saints first learn from the omniscient God our prayers, and then bring them again before God with their powerful intercessions, to what purpose this circuitous way?"

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/hcc3.iii.x.xi.html

Viisaus said...

This reminds me - have modern EOs EVER written any long, detailed treatises against the evils of pagan idolatry? Not as much as Protestants have, that's for sure. Sophisticated EO apologetics are aimed against Western Christians instead.


I know people like Athanasius did bash idolatry, but then again, Athanasius did not worship icons (icon cult did not appear until the 6th century):

"3. As to which those who pass for philosophers and men of knowledge among the Greeks, while driven to admit that their visible gods are the forms and figures of men and of irrational objects, say in defence that they have such things to the end that by their means the deity may answer them and be made manifest; because otherwise they could not know the invisible God, save by such statues and rites.

4. While those who profess to give still deeper and more philosophical reasons than these say, that the reason of idols being prepared and fashioned is for the invocation and manifestation of divine angels and powers, that appearing by these means they may teach men concerning the knowledge of God; and that they serve as letters for men, by referring to which they may learn to apprehend God, from the manifestation of the divine angels effected by their means. Such then is their mythology,— for far be it from us to call it a theology."

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2801.htm


Like George Faber sarcastically commented (pp. 353-55):

“The ridicule of the early Ecclesiastical Writers touched the inherent absurdity of the Image-Worship as such: whether that Worship were positive, as it was doubtless practised by the besotted vulgar; or whether it were relative, as the educated Pagans delighted to explain it. Hence, had they themselves been consciously addicted to Image-Worship either positive or relative, they could never have dared to ridicule the self-same practice on the part of the Pagans: or, had they strangely adventured upon so palpable an inconsistency, they could by no possibility have escaped the hearty and joyous laugh of the perfect retort courteous.

“You Christians ridicule OUR Image-Worship forsooth, on the professed ground of its ABSOLUTE and INHERENT absurdity: and yet your own churches are actually crowded with Images, to which you offer up that identical Relative Worship which in OUR case you take upon yourselves to deride. Let Clodius reform himself, ere he kindly undertake the reformation of others”.

Were I an African or a Hindoo, such assuredly would be the answer which I should make to a Latin Missionary; who, with the Tridentine Decision in his mouth and with a Worshipped Crucifix in his hand, should rashly attempt to ridicule the venerable and ancient Image-Worship of my remote fore-fathers.”

http://www.archive.org/details/difficultiesofro00faberich


EOs are today making hardly any converts amongst the pagans (while Protestantism is spreading quickly in Africa and Asia). For an outfit that pretends to be "the only true church", they have been very impotent in missionary work. I wonder why?

John said...

"Well yes, upholding the Biblical distinction between Creator and creature/creation IS INDEED "dualistic"!"

That's not what we're talking about. I'm talking about a claim made by Rhology that the difference between biblical dulia of say King David, and condemnation of dulia of idols has something to do with "religious context".

Of course, Rhology's claim is refuted by biblical cases where dulia is given to men in a religious context, such as 1Chr. 29:20 Then David said to all the assembly, “Now bless the LORD your God.” And all the assembly blessed the LORD, the God of their fathers, and bowed low and did homage to the LORD and to the king.

"If we would NOT uphold the elementary distinction between showing civil courtesy (like taking off one's hat) and worshipful actions, then the floodgates to all possible sorts of idolatry would burst open."

Obviously there IS a distinction, but that distinction has nothing whatsoever to do with Rhology's fantasy of a "religious context".

"impious relativists always love to claim that because we cannot always perfectly define moral boundaries, those boundaries therefore do not exist at all. "

Nobody on our side claims there is no boundary. So much so that we have a specific vocabulary to talk about it.

"This irrefutable logical point remains - you cannot pray (in the full sense of the word) to dead saints without turning them into demi-gods with divine attributes:"

I must have missed the argument presented for that claim.

""But here rises the insolvable question: How can departed saints hear at once the prayers of so many Christians on earth, unless they either partake of divine omnipresence or divine omniscience?"

Hearing many prayers has nothing to do with omnipresence or omniscience. Why would it?

I've got this little thing on my computer here called twitter. I can see the thoughts of thousands of people every hour going down my screen. And it didn't require any divine attributes.

Viisaus said...

"Hearing many prayers has nothing to do with omnipresence or omniscience. Why would it?

I've got this little thing on my computer here called twitter. I can see the thoughts of thousands of people every hour going down my screen. And it didn't require any divine attributes."

LOL, a great example of not getting the point, as well an inept comparison.

A person who could read your mind from heaven - nay, the mind of any person addressing him - is omniscient for all practical purposes.

John said...

"have modern EOs EVER written any long, detailed treatises against the evils of pagan idolatry?"

Why do we need to write something long and detailed? It's not like the bible is particularly detailed on the topic. However the patron saint of the church I was going to (Stephan of Perm, 14th century) is well known for defeating pagan idolatry, and his icon shows him symbolically knocking down pagan idols.

"EOs are today making hardly any converts amongst the pagans (while Protestantism is spreading quickly in Africa and Asia)."

I highly doubt you have any knowledge of what is going on. Here is a video about a growing mission in east Africa. And here is some stuff going on in Sierra Leone. Orthodoxy has various missions and disaster relief operations going on there.

But how much weight do you want to put on the accidents of history? Roman Catholicism has the most impressive history of conversion of pagan countries, mostly because of the expansionist policies of France, Spain and Portugal etc. On the other hand, Orthodoxy has been preoccupied with internal persecutions like Islam and Communism.

Viisaus said...

"I highly doubt you have any knowledge of what is going on. Here is a video about a growing mission in east Africa. And here is some stuff going on in Sierra Leone. Orthodoxy has various missions and disaster relief operations going on there."

Not really all that impressive for the "only true church", as it's nothing what a a small Protestant sect could not also do.

And even this modest missionary movement is a modern, atypical phenomenon - a hundred years ago, Catholic Encyclopedia wrote this about the Greek church (I avoid citing Protestant opinions):

"I have not touched on the religious spirit of the Greek clergy, for as a rule it is sadly deficient; nor on its missions, for there are none; nor its present monastic life, confined to Athos and no more than a recitation of endless prayers interspersed with local intrigues."

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06752a.htm

Rhology said...

Thus, God is present in Satan without Satan being Him. The energies of God are Himself, that is He personally sustains Satan; He does not do so through a created medium with Himself personally absent. Since, He personally sustains Satan, He is personally present throughout Satan. This also applies to presence in an icon.


Also, Monk Patrick, your exegesis of Acts 15 is faulty. The context is the communal life of Gentiles and Jews in the infant church. Though all foods are clean, yet the Council set out a nascent form of what would later be more fully fleshed out in Romans 14 and 1 Cor 8 - the principle of "if eating meat causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again", accommodating the weakness of the Jewish-bkgrd Christians' consciences. In these extremely early stages of the church, before even very much Scripture was available to anyone, the Council told the Gentiles to avoid offending their Jewish-bkgrd brethren by refusing to exercise their freedom to eat meat with blood in it, since all foods are clean (Mark 7 ). I commend you in that you at least attempted exegesis, unlike when you dealt with Hebrews, but bad exegesis is not a whole lot better than no attempt at it.

Anyway, most of your commentary is just repetition of points already refuted. You have many questions that I insist you answer before we interact any more.

John said...

Omniscience is the ability to know everything. The ability to know only the things deliberately communicated to you is nowhere on the scale of omniscience.

John said...

So now you are invoking Papists against us? Do you actually have any comprehension of the upheavals in Greek society in the 19th century immediately prior to this article being written? Even if we took this highly biased article at face value, if we find America in the enslavement of a foreign power for 400 years, lets see how much you get done. And Orthodoxy in one particular country at one particular time is irrelevant. Do you want me to pick out the most problematic Protestant church and extrapolate that to all Protestants? In any case, I see no reason to take a polemical article seriously that cites no sources.

John said...

Rhology, I fail to see how Monk Patrick's exegesis can be accused of being faulty when Acts 15 simply does not tell us their reasoning. You claim that the context indicates the principle of the weaker brother, but the issue of blood is immediately adjacent to a ban on fornication. Is fornication then OK provided it doesn't hurt the weaker brother?

Rhology said...

John,
You must have missed the other passage in discussion that we're harmonising. Can you point out a "thus He declared all fornication clean", as there exists for food in Mark 7?

John said...

The point is Rhology, there is more than one way of reconciling contradictions, as Monk Patrick pointed out.

But if you want to insist on the "all" of Mark 7 being the overriding principle, I could play devil's advocate and find an "all" that applies to fornication, such as 1Cor. 6:12 “Everything is permissible for me”. If you insist that the all must always override the specific, which is a questionable axiom of exegesis, then yes fornication is permissible.

Rhology said...

Oh, I get it. If you ignore other biblical psgs, then you can think up other ways to reconcile things.

In other words, if you don't do harmonisation, then you don't harmonise. Wow, thanks!

John said...

Monk Patrick gave other possible harmonisations, and you've given us no exegetical reason to prefer your solution to the others.

Viisaus said...

"Nobody on our side claims there is no boundary. So much so that we have a specific vocabulary to talk about it."

This boundary of yours is sophistic and legalistic as far as I can see. As long as you just don't simply call saints as "God", you are apparently permitted to address them with as much idolizing exaltation, untoward petitions and revolting flattery as you like.

To give just one example, asking Virgin Mary to provide your armies with victories (like Byzantine emperors did) is to turn her into a tutelary demi-goddess, pure and simple.

John said...

"you are apparently permitted to address them with as much idolizing exaltation, untoward petitions and revolting flattery as you like."

Flattery and exaltation is not a biblical category of distinction between valid behavior to other human beings and idolatry. And in fact the ancient style was to use similar language to living people of high position, it was never divorced from that cultural context.

You simply are so far removed from the middle east context, that you may as well be from another planet. What you find revolting is irrelevant. You can't deal with the behavior of the Israelites who "bowed low and did homage to the LORD and to the king", which you no doubt would find revolting. Putting on display your own cultural foibles and prejudices does not constitute an argument.

Viisaus said...

"Omniscience is the ability to know everything. The ability to know only the things deliberately communicated to you is nowhere on the scale of omniscience."

Such omniscience is more than enough to turn saints into un-human demigods.

You should know that the pagans did not think that their godlings ("lower gods") were perfectly omniscient either - they were not monotheists, after all.

The omnipresence and omniscience implicitly assumed the cult of saints is more than enough to turn them into functional equivalents of tutelary pagan deities.


"Putting on display your own cultural foibles and prejudices does not constitute an argument."

Well, Eastern Orthodoxy has turned the "cultural foibles and prejudices" of medieval Byzantine Greeks into divine institutions. The apotheosis of the cultural tastes of Constantinople.

Simple uncivilized peoples like ancient Russians were undoubtedly awed at the splendor of Byzantine churches. But we moderns are not so easily impressed by mere liturgical razzle-dazzle (which the earliest Christians did not possess), but demand purity of theological content besides the flashy outward form.

John said...

There is no imperfect omniscience any more than there is imperfect perfection. First you complain that the saints are omniscient, then you complain that they are like the pagan gods who are not omniscient. The reason the pagan gods are not omniscient is they are imagined to be exalted human beings. You are essentially criticising us for believing that the saints are human and exalted, to which I reply, so what?

"Well, Eastern Orthodoxy has turned the "cultural foibles and prejudices" of medieval Byzantine Greeks into divine institutions."

If you can show the non-Byzantine Christians of the same era were significantly different, then I'm all ears.

"But we moderns are not so easily impressed by mere liturgical razzle-dazzle"

More stupid ignorant displays of your own predudices. I guess the ancient Jews were sucked into being impressed with razzle dazzle as well.

Viisaus said...

"And in fact the ancient style was to use similar language to living people of high position, it was never divorced from that cultural context."

"If you can show the non-Byzantine Christians of the same era were significantly different, then I'm all ears."

Well, since you asked for it...

That "ancient style" was largely of pagan and idolatrous origin. Let us remember that kingship was originally instituted in Israel against the wishes of YHWH, when Israelites yearned to have a king "as other nations have" (see 1 Samuel 8).


In the Frankish "Caroline Books" written against the 2nd Nicene council, the Byzantine imperial rhetoric was thus reprobated (from Neander's church history, p. 241):

“Although this book appeared under the name of an emperor, yet the Byzantine habit of idolizing royalty was castigated in it with great severity; for the vestiges of the old apotheosis were still retained in the titles and honors bestowed on the Byzantine emperors. The Greek image-worshippers had, in fact, appealed to the custom of prostration, usually observed before the images of the emperor. By this occasion, the emperor Charles was led to express himself strongly against such a custom. 'What madness' — said he — 'to resort to one forbidden thing, for arguments to defend another!'^ He then goes on to represent this custom as having sprung from, and as being a remnant of, that pagan idolatry, which ought to be utterly abolished by Christianity.^ It was the duty of Christian priests to take their stand against customs so repugnant to Christianity. So, too, the mentioning of the empress and emperor in the acts of the council, under the title of "divine" (^ao<), as well as the citation of the imperial rescripts by the name of "divalia" (QOiia yQanfiara) was expressly condemned, as savoring of paganism.^ The low flattery of the bishops who compared the emperors, as restorers of the pure Christian doctrines, with the apostles, is severely reproved; and the occasion is seized for drawing out the contrast in full between the emperors and the apostles.^”

http://www.archive.org/details/generalhistoryc10unkngoog

Thus I am saying only what 8th century Franks were also saying. In Charlemagne's words, 'What madness to resort to one forbidden thing, for arguments to defend another!'


Here's another citation, from Mendham's book - even 9th century Romans were still annoyed by the Byzantine style (the Vatican official here quoted supported image-worship himself):

p. xviii

“But, inasmuch as the Greeks very improperly in this Synod have frequently styled their Patriarch as 'Oecumenical', let your apostleship pardon their flattery, for they are accustomed thus reprehensively to flatter their superiors.”

http://www.archive.org/details/seventhgeneralc00mendgoog

Viisaus said...

"Even if we took this highly biased article at face value, if we find America in the enslavement of a foreign power for 400 years, lets see how much you get done."

If Eastern Orthodox church had been all that what it claims to be, it should have been able to convert Turkish Muslims. I am being serious here - after all, early Christians managed to convert the pagans that persecuted them.

Some of the most missionary-minded Protestants have been the most persecuted ones, like the Moravian Brethren. Being oppressed is no excuse not to spread the Gospel, especially if you think you're the only true church.

The following is from a book written at the end of the 19th century by an ecumenical-minded Protestant who by no means sought to bash EOs, but was forced to observe:

http://www.archive.org/details/fatherjohnofgree00whytiala

pp. 18-19

”But our own Scottish Church, even in her darkest days, was never more dead to her Lord's command to preach the Gospel to every creature than the Russian Church has all along been, and still is. And the stationary, stiff, and almost stone-dead state of the Russian Church, in some respects, is not the outcome of the somewhat stony Russian character only; it is full as much the accumulated result of so many centuries of a selfish and an indolent neglect of one of her first duties to her Lord and to the world. Had the great national Church of the Russian Empire but devised liberal things; had she been what so many small and poor Churches have been both in Scotland and in England and on the Continent and in America; had she, with all her riches, been a generous-hearted, self-denying, world-evangelising Church who can tell how all that might by this time have been paid back to her in spiritual life, as well as in ecclesiastical, and political, and individual liberty? Her Latin sister, with all her faults, did the noblest service to her Master and to the world in the evangelisation of England and Germany in the middle ages. And even when she was nearest to death in Europe, her missions to America and China and India all proved that there was still a living heart left somewhere in her for Jesus Christ and for the spread of His Gospel. And since the Reformation, and notably in our own day, the missionary work of the Evangelical Communions is the brightest page of this whole world's history since the days of the apostles. The Church of Russia alone stands all the day idle, while all her sisters are hard at work in their Master's vineyard. All that Stanley himself can say for her in this respect is this: 'If the Russian Church is not a missionary Church: then, neither is she a persecuting Church.'”

Monk Patrick said...

Alan (aka Rhology),

The context of Council of Acts was whether circumcision and obedience to the Law were required of Gentiles for salvation (Acts 15:1, 5-6). The Council considered this and then set out what was required of the Gentiles (Acts 15:28). The list of things in the Council was of necessary things, setting a minimum standard of behaviour for Gentiles converts to be obeyed by them.

The Council was a direct refutation of the reason of offence that some Jews had regarding obedience to the Law. Having cut out the ground for offence, it would have been contrary to the purpose of the Council to then accommodate the offence taken by some Jews only on one or two particular points while offending them on all the rest, which is the result of your exegesis. Rather it sets out that there are some necessary things from the Law that Gentile converts are to keep because they are important for salvation.

I Cor 8, we can assume is written in the knowledge of the decision of the Council, so perhaps the Christians there were challenging the reason for the command on the grounds of their superior knowledge of things. However, Paul refutes them on effectively the same grounds to what I suggested regarding the reason for including that prohibition in the Council's letter. Anyway, this letter is in the context of a Gentile community and offence to other Gentiles, so it is not relevant to your context of Gentile-Jewish relations. Romans 14 adds nothing more to the issue not already addressed in Mark and 1 Corinthians.

The text or other Scriptures do not support your exegesis and certainly do not support the idea that we are not to obey the commands of this Council, Paul rather reinforces obedience in 1 Cor 8.

zilch said...

Don't any of you guys ever stop and think "maybe all of this stuff is nonsense?" I guess not. It's like people arguing earnestly about whether alien abductors come from Venus or from Mars.

Oh well. Carry on and have fun.

Lunch is on me if any of you are in town.

cheers from springy Vienna, zilch

Rhology said...

zilch,

To be honest, on that question, my overriding response is "meh".

zilch said...

By "meh", Rho, do you mean "it doesn't matter much to me (whether or not it's all nonsense)"? After reading the post you linked to, I can almost believe that. You said there:

So, since it's all the same one way or the other, I'll go with what you think is a grand illusion.

Of course, you are entitled to believe whatever you want. And there might well be pleasures and rewards to be gained from debating monophysitism and hypostasis I will never be privy to. But isn't it frustrating sometimes to talk about issues that have no real-world referents, and thus can never be decided?

Rhology said...

Well, tbh, I do think these things can be decided. One way I can figure that out is reading how my opponents' arguments have been crumbling into inanity, self-referential circularity, and incoherency when the right questions are asked. I am a believer in Jesus and have every reason to think He is The Truth, and so any question that deals with Him is far more assuredly concrete than whatever I suspect my senses might be telling me.

Anyway, by "meh", that's one of the ways I know that all this stuff DOES matter. If it didn't, if atheism were true, there'd be no reason to ascribe value to anything. Thus, meh.

zilch said...

If it didn't, if atheism were true, there'd be no reason to ascribe value to anything.

So you say, Rho, and so say many believers, but it only makes sense to someone who already believes in God. If I believed that "real" value must depend upon God, then I would be one depressed atheist, but hey, then I wouldn't be an atheist, would I?

Monk Patrick said...

Alan,

I seems that you no longer desire to engage in this discussion. However, since the reason that you give is that I am not answering your questions, could you please specify which questions I have not answered?

By the way, St Augustine has the same exegesis as yourself regarding Acts 15 and this seems to have been the common interpretation of the western churches since the middle ages. In the East the Church has formally followed the interpretation that I provided, which was also followed by many in the west until the middle ages. It is interesting seeing how the same thing continues and that both exegesis have merit otherwise neither would have been seriously accepted by so many churches.

Due to my obvious ignorance of the Scriptures, I would like you to point out exactly where you are told to do this: "I am told to judge their WORKS as evil and their PERSONS as being hellbound."

"Else, how can I proclaim their guilt under the Law and the freedom Jesus offers thru the Gospel?" I assume you are converting Jews here because the Scripture is clear that those not under the law, i.e. all the other nations, are not judged by the law. (Romans 2:12). Why would anyone care that Christ grants freedom from the Law or the curse of the Law, when they are not under the Law nor its curse?

We proclaim the gospel of peace and of good things not of condemnation. Jesus came to save the world, not to judge it, at least not the first time. We do not need to judge outsiders to preach the Gospel. When their heart is ready and they believe in the good hope of Christ, then they will convict themselves of sin and repent and be baptised.

Vissaus,

The Orthodox Church converted all Europe, North Africa and made progress into Asia and North America. It continues to preach the Gospel in Africa, the Far East and the Pacific. Sadly, over time many churches and nations feel into various heresies and separated from the Church. Many have tried to destroy it, especially the atheists who slaughtered millions of Christians in Russia and in China or subvert its Traditions through worldly wisdom and materialism. The churches though have survived under the violent yoke of atheists and heretics, especially after the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire. She grows in glory in participating in the sufferings of Christ. In areas of heretics, there is a growing return of people to the Orthodox Faith, even through a multitude of cultural barriers. The pearl of great price is worth it.

John said...

Kind of hard to convert the Turks when they have pushed you out of Turkey AND made it a crime. But if its so easy, why haven't you guys shown the way?

So some Scot writes disparagingly of the Russian church, and this is some kind of authoritative evaluation? This clown is writing in 1898. Between 1890 and 1917 the American diocese of the Russian Orthodox church expanded from 10 parishes to 350 parishes. And as far as converting the pagans, I wouldn't mind taking the bet that there are more Orthodox native Americans in Alaska from Russian evangelisation than Presbyterian native Americans in all America. The Orthodox Church has opened 5 new churches in about the last 10 years in the Anchorage area alone. 4 out of 5 graduates from their seminary are native Americans. Here in Australia one of the priests at my parish is a native Australian. What exactly did the Presbyterians do for native Americans?

Monk Patrick said...

Anyway, Alan, if you do not wish to engage in any further discussion with me, then may God enlighten you to the true Gospel and free you from the deceit of your Nestorian heresy, in which you are deceived to deny but from your comments it is clear that you are caught in this heresy because you clearly state it here:
I said: "God is omnipresent in all those things that you mentioned are you going to limit His presence?"
You replied: Don't equivocate. You said JESUS. So I was talking about JESUS.
You also mentioned His physical body. It's not specific enough to say "God took on a physical body" in this context; say "JESUS took on a physical body."
Jesus' physical body is in ONE PLACE at any ONE TIME.
.

In making the point that I should have said Jesus instead of God means that you deny that Jesus is God or, at least, are saying that the human nature of Christ has a different person (Jesus) than the divine nature (God), Nestorianism. If Jesus is God then saying "God took" or "Jesus took" is the same thing, it is the same person. I could have been more specific by mentioning the Son of God rather than just God but then you would fall into Arianism if you are not to accept that saying Son of God and God mean the same thing in this context because it is clear that we are speaking of the divine person who was incarnated for us. On this count I doubt whether is appropriate to apply the name Christian to you. May God forgive you for anything that you may have said against Him since you have done so in ignorance. May God then open your heart to His love and the joy of communion with Him and all the Saints. Christ is risen!

John said...

"That "ancient style" was largely of pagan and idolatrous origin."

So now you're accusing us of worshipping *each other*?

And you're now again confusing issues. We were talking about the language people us to address each other, not icons, so all your quotes are off on another tangent. Now are you accusing the style of language used to address others as idolatrous? That's about as rational as accusing the English of being idolators because they have "Lords" and their legal language asks the judge "Your honour" with the language of a "prayer for relief". How sickening the legacy of the idolatrous English nation.

Rhology said...

zilch,
If I believed that "real" value must depend upon God, then I would be one depressed atheist, but hey, then I wouldn't be an atheist, would I?

It's my observation from many, many atheists and also from my own atheistic experience that you suppress that urge towards consistency. You suppress it b/c if you were to be consistent all the way thru, you couldn't bear it. God used that, in fact, to bring me to Himself.



Monk Patrick,
could you please specify which questions I have not answered?

You asked me numerous questions. In most cases, I answered them AND posed you the SAME questions to answer. Start with those.


St Augustine has the same exegesis as yourself regarding Acts 15 and this seems to have been the common interpretation of the western churches since the middle age

1) So I'm in line with Tradition. Cool.
2) Why do you feel yourself at liberty to disagree with Tradition? Isn't that very Protestant of you?
3) I take that interp b/c, simply, it harmonises Acts 15 AND Mark 7, BOTH. Finding a position that takes ALL of Scripture into account is a practice I'd commend to you.


It is interesting seeing how the same thing continues and that both exegesis have merit otherwise neither would have been seriously accepted by so many churches.

It is interesting seeing how the Filioque continues and that both exegesis (Filioque and non-Filioque) have merit; otherwise neither would have been seriously accepted by so many churches.


I would like you to point out exactly where you are told to do this: "I am told to judge their WORKS as evil and their PERSONS as being hellbound."

Matthew 23.


I assume you are converting Jews here because the Scripture is clear that those not under the law, i.e. all the other nations, are not judged by the law. (Romans 2:12).

If you go on reading in Romans 2, you who apparently prefer INTENTIONAL ignorance, you'd see that the Gentiles are a law unto themselves, thus they are condemned as sinners thereby.


When their heart is ready and they believe in the good hope of Christ, then they will convict themselves of sin and repent and be baptised.

How does a sinner, dead in sin, an enemy of God, do what is good and believe?


Hence, also the accusations of our monophysitism, such as a only a Nestorian would make.

So, if I were to take the conclusions of the Ecum Council that condemned monophysitism, could I say that? Hence, also the accusations of our monophysitism, such as a only a Nestorian would make. Were those guys all Nestorians too?


In making the point that I should have said Jesus instead of God means that you deny that Jesus is God

Are you really so ignorant to think that I deny Jesus is God?
The point I'm making is that Jesus is not numerically equivalent with God. Jesus is God, yes, in that He has a divine nature and has always been a 'member' of the Trinity, the Godhead. Yet to say Jesus is not to exhaust the depths of Who God is. The Father is God, yet the Son is not the Father. Seriously, either make a logical argument or be silent.



are saying that the human nature of Christ has a different person (Jesus) than the divine nature (God), Nestorianism.

Nope. Totally false.
You guys LOVE to say "You're Nestorian!" Why can't you ever make a logical argument in which you DON'T strawman us when you try to prove it?


On this count I doubt whether is appropriate to apply the name Christian to you.

I'd be fearful if I thought you had any idea what you were talking about.

Rhology said...

Monk Patrick said:
In making the point that I should have said Jesus instead of God means that you deny that Jesus is God or, at least, are saying that the human nature of Christ has a different person (Jesus) than the divine nature (God), Nestorianism. If Jesus is God then saying "God took" or "Jesus took" is the same thing, it is the same person. I could have been more specific by mentioning the Son of God rather than just God but then you would fall into Arianism if you are not to accept that saying Son of God and God mean the same thing in this context because it is clear that we are speaking of the divine person who was incarnated for us. On this count I doubt whether is appropriate to apply the name Christian to you.

From the original post:
Since I deny neither the Incarnation, nor the Hypostatic Union, nor the permissibility to make an image of Jesus in His Incarnation (whereas it IS impermissible to bow down to it and give it religious piety), hopefully you'll commendably break ranks with your other EO brethren and no longer use the idiotic claim that I somehow deny the Incarnation b/c I reject icons. To do so would be the only honest thing to do...


So, what do we conclude from this? Monk Patrick does not read what is put to him, or if he does, he does not remember it and does not take it into account. He is either clumsy and lazy or willfully ignorant and dishonest. Such things are not what one would expect out of a MONK. How will you be good enough to get into Heaven if you can't even interact decently on some third-rate blog like this one? Sounds like you could use some grace, and give up on your own works.

Lucian said...

What exactly did the Presbyterians do for native Americans?


LOL! Didn't you watch any Westerns?
:-)

Lvka said...

The following is from a book written at the end of the 19th century ...


In other words, long before communism... so the following line from your quotation is pathetic:

But our own Scottish Church, even in her darkest days, ...

Her darkest days? Rheally!?

When were 20 million Scotts confined to decades of tortures & imprisonment in Siberian gulags?

When was Scotland the last time under 75 years of atheist oppression, with its sole aim being the total extermination of all believers?

Vox Veritatis said...

Monk Patrick,

I appreciate your explanations, but I do not believe that they alleviate the difficulties in your position.

The important thing here is being the subject and not how the subject(person) is connected to the Body or to an icon.

Even if I grant this, for the sake of argument, the problem still remains of how the icon "has" a hypostasis. It is not necessarily the same to say that "X has Y" and "X has Y as its subject." A painting of a dog may have a particular dog as its subject, but the painting does not "have" that dog. It merely represents the dog. The dog is not present in its painting anymore than the Queen is present in her painting - they are merely represented by their respective paintings. The essay made the point of saying that the icon "has" the hypostasis, not merely that it "has it as its subject." Does it have the hypostasis, or not? And if so, how does this avoid the Incarnational absurdities that are inherent if this is the case?

However, I do think that it is important to question how a subject is "connected" to a particular object. Suppose that a painting is made of a plant. Is that plant "connected" to its painting? What if a wildfire comes through and burns the plant up, such that the plant no longer exists. Is that painting "connected" to anything? It would be absurd to say so, since there is nothing left for it to be "connected" to. Thus, to say that "X represents Y, therefore X is connected to Y" is unfounded. But if X is not connected to Y, then how can Y be venerated through X? Therefore, it is important to establish that X is connected to Y, but if this cannot be done merely on the basis that X represents Y, then it is very important to answer the question of how X is connected to Y, and how we know this to be the case. Otherwise, one is simply making unfounded assumptions and drawing unwarranted inferences.

So even if the icon is "merely" representational, it is still of the same subject(person) and hence generates the same reverence.

It is legitimate to say the icon "has" the hypostasis as its subject. This is similar to saying that a painting of the Queen has the Queen as its subject.


Saying that "X represents Y" begs the question of how we know that X represents Y. The one who paints a representation of a person knows what that painting represents. However, a person coming along years later who has never personally met the subject, or seen what he looks like, will not be able to know that the painting actually represents that particular person. Thus, for the person to assume that the particular painting actually represents a particular subject, without, at the very least, having the eyewitness testimony of the painter that this is the representation of the subject, is simply to make an unfounded assumption about what the icon represents. This is the case with icons, as we have no eyewitness testimony that the icons actually represent the people they are assumed to represent. How does one actually know that the icons represent that which they are supposed to represent? Call this the problem of The Ignorance of the Referent.

Vox Veritatis said...

But that raises another question - how accurate must the representation of an icon be, in order for it to "represent X" or even more strongly, "be connected to" X? A perfect painting of a person X can be said to represent that person. Suppose that the painting of X contains a few wrong visual details, such that a person who knows X can tell that the painting is not 100% accurate, but still represents X more than any other person. Does the painting represent X? Could it "be connected to" X? Suppose that the painting is even further innacurate, such that a most people will not recognize X in the painting at first glance, though a person who knows X well would be able to recognize X in the painting, though only faintly. Does the painting represent X? Could it "be connected to" X? Suppose that the artist is so terrible that no one can recognize that the painting represents X, even those who know X best. Suppose also that the artist insists strongly that the painting does in fact represent X (the stick figures of a 3-year old may be a good case in point here). Does the painting represent X? Could it "be connected to" X? Suppose someone comes along later who knows X, but does not know the artist, or the artist's claims that the painting represents X. Such a person would not recognize X in the painting, and thus would not believe that the painting represents X. In such a case, does the painting represent X? Could it "be connected to" X? How accurate must the painting be in order for it to represent a subject, and "be connected to" its subject? Call this the problem of Imperfect Representation.

But suppose further that a perfectly accurate painting is made of a person X, such that everyone who knows X recognizes X in the painting, and that everyone who sees the painting can immediately recognize X if seen in person. Suppose that X is then involved in a horrific accident, and suffers grotesque disfiguration, such that not even those who know him best can recognize him. Does the painting of X, which used to be a perfect representation of X, still represent X? Could it still "be connected to" X? If so, why would this be the case, given that no one who did not know X before his accident who sees the painting would recognize X as its subject? Call this the problem of The Change of the Referent.

If a painting is ambiguous as to its representation, what does it really represent? Suppose that there are identical twins, and that a painting is made of one of them. Suppose that the painting is sufficiently detailed such that only one or both of the twins would ever be identified as its subject, but that any special distinguishing features of one or both of the twins (which would enable a close friend or relative to distinguish between them) are not present. Different people who know the twins would either not be able to tell which one is represented, or would be mistaken as to which one is represented. Which twin does the painting represent? Does it even represent a specific twin at all? Could it "be connected to" a single twin? Or would it have to "be connected to" both? Or could it not "be connected to" anyone at all? Suppose that the artist believed he was represented a specific twin. Would that make a difference as to which twin the painting represents? Suppose that the artist incorrectly believed that he was representing a specific twin, but what actually representing the other one. Would that make a difference? Suppose that the artist did not have a clue as to which specific twin he was representing. Would that make a difference? Call this the the problem of The Ambiguous Referent.

Vox Veritatis said...

In general, the question here is if X represents Z to one person, and Y to another, what does X really represent? Is there a way to know what X really represents? If so, how? Is representation ontological, or merely doxastic?

If representation is merely doxastic, then a representation represents its referent only insofar as a person believes a particular object (the referent) to exist and have particular properties, and also believes that the representation represents that object. However, if representation is merely doxastic, then how does one escape relativism with respect to the object of representation? If representation is doxastic, and one believes that X is represented by a specific icon, where others believe that Y is represented, in venerating that icon, does the person venerate X or does he venerate Y? Or are two different persons venerated through the same icon? If representation is merely doxastic, then how can a representation "be connected to" the thing it represents? I can believe that X is true of Y, but that does not mean that X is "connected to" Y, at least not in the standard use of language. If representation is merely doxastic, then how does veneration of the representation even make sense? If representation is doxastic, then to venerate a representation is not to venerate its referent, because there is no ontological "connection" between representation and referent. Doxastic representation can account for the problems of The Ignorance of the Referent, Imperfect Representation, The change of the Referent, and The Ambiguous Referent, because the representation simply represents, to a specific person, what that person believes it to represent. Thus, there is no absolute referent of any particular representation, if representation is merely doxastic. Thus, doxastic representation is logically coherent, but makes nonsense of the veneration of icons.

If representation is ontological, then the thing is ontologically "connected" to its representation. Since the representation references the referent according to a similarity of visual features, then it follows that the referent is ontologically "connected" to its representation according to the similarity of visual features. But this falls prey to the problems of Imperfect Representation, The Change of the Referent, and The Ambiguous Referent. If X ontologically represents Y, and Y is destroyed, then what X represents no longer exists. But it is logically incoherent to say that X is ontologically connected to something that doesn't exist. Therefore, ontological representation lapses into into logical incoherence. Furthermore, how does one know what an ontological representation actually refers to? How does one know that such representation are actually ontological, if they are indeed ontological? If a person believes that X is represented by a specific icon, but Y is actually represented, in venerating the icon, does the person venerate X, or Y? If X, then how is this possible, given that Y is actually represented? If Y, then how does this make sense of the fact that the person is actually intending to venerate X? Thus, the Ignorance of the Referent must also be accounted for. Ontological representation makes the veneration of icons conceptually tenable, but itself is logically incoherent.

Vox Veritatis said...

Furthermore, whatever is predicable of the whole being is predicable of the person himself. Thus, venerating Christ, in the flesh, is venerating Christ Himself. This is because the being of Christ contains the human nature, as well as the person of Christ. However, if the icon is not united to the person, then what is predicable of the representation is not predicable of the person itself. If this were not the case, then we could say that "if an icon of Christ is destroyed, then Christ Himself is destroyed." This is nonsense, as Christ cannot be destroyed. Therefore, whatever is predicable of the representation is not necessarily predicable of the referent. But if this is the case, then one cannot say that one is venerating Christ by venerating an icon, simply because the icon represents Christ. This is the case if iconic representation is merely doxastic. However, if iconic representation is ontological, then not only do the logical problems inherent with ontological representation arise, but whatever is predicable of the icon of Christ becomes predicable of Christ Himself. Thus, Christ is an inanimate object (because the icon is inanimate), can be destroyed (because the icon can be destroyed), and a whole host of other absurdities. For these reasons, it seems that the rational and Biblical position is to say that representation is doxastic, not ontological, and thus that the veneration of icons is unbiblical.


The fall caused an estrangement between creation and the Son but His incarnation healed this and so matter becomes a legitimate vessel through which to venerate Him.

What exactly is the nature of this estrangement, and how exactly did the Incarnation "heal" this estrangement?

Thus, we can venerate Christ through all His creation.

So, can Christ be venerated through Satan?

An icon is a concrete focal point as distinct from a focal point in that we can see and touch an icon, so it is concrete. An idea could be a focal point for prayer that is not concrete in the sense of being able to be touched and seen.

This doesn't explain or define what a focal point is. What is a "focal point"?

However, an icon is a better means of veneration because it clearly identifies the person of Christ, whereas other objects do not do so and can be more easily confused as being venerated in and of themselves.

How does it "clearly identify" the person of Christ? This assumes we know what the visual features of Christ are in the first place. How are these known?

This is not nature worship because we are not venerating nature in itself but the person of Christ.

This basically assumes that "for all X, if Y is present in X or Y is represented by X, then Y can be venerated through venerating X." Call this the Principle of Veneration Through Presence or Representation. What, then, is the difference between venerating nature, in itself, and venerating nature in order to venerate Christ? For that matter, what is the difference between venerating the icon, in itself, and venerating the icon, in order to venerate Christ? How does one tell the difference? Furthermore, whence does it follow that venerating X results in venerating Y, if Y is present in X or Y is represented by X? Where is this authoritative principle to be found? Furthermore, this principle faces logical difficulties of its own. Suppose that a painting X represents a plant Y. Suppose further that Y has been destroyed since the composition of X. If the Principle of Veneration Through Presence or Representation holds, then if a person venerates X, that person is also venerating Y. However, Y does not exist when the person venerates X. Therefore, the person is venerating something which does not exist, which is nonsensical. Therefore, the Principle of Veneration Through Presence or Representation does not hold in general. But if it does not hold in general, upon what basis does it hold in the case of Christ?

Vox Veritatis said...

Satan is not the subject of an icon

How do you know? An icon might have, as its visual features, a depiction of a manifestation of Satan at some point in time. Given that we haven't seen the persons supposedly depicted in the icons, how does one know that Satan is not actually being represented in one or more of them? How do you account for the Ignorance of the Referent?

We know who is present because we know the subject of the icon by looking at the image and its features, which are there to identify the subject(person). If the icon is of Christ then it is Christ. If it is of St Paul then it is St Paul

This is viciously circluar. We know the icon is of St. Paul because it has St. Paul's features. We know what St. Paul's features are from his icon. We know that it's St. Paul's icon, because it has his features...

We must be careful of confusing person and nature, that is why I have used the term subject(person) to help clarify this. Your concerns are all because you are beginning to confuse the two

How exactly have I confused the two? Rather, it seems to me that your position engages in wishful thinking, combining ambiguous concepts in such a way that if they were to be disambiguated, the whole would be logically incoherent. I have shown why I believe this to be the case. Why do you believe that I have confused person and nature? What is your argument in this regard?

Monk Patrick said...

Alan,

I attempted to answer most of the questions, which you counter asked. Perhaps because I do not directly quote each question, you did not recognise when I was providing an answer to a particular question. Also, some questions I had either addressed earlier or answered in dealing with another matter. Due to time constraints, there are also questions with which I did not deal. Therefore, it would be helpful for you to re-ask those specific questions that you think are important in the development of this discussion. In return, if the discussion is going to develop meaningfully then I would like you to answer all the questions that I ask, with the same expectation of reasoning as you have of me.

Regarding Augustine, he is not a formal representative of Tradition, as least not for the eastern churches as he became in the West. So, disagreeing with him is not to disagree with Tradition. As John pointed out in his comments, both interpretations have merit and both harmonise (or at least attempt to do so) all Scripture, although each party may object that the other doesn't meet the mark. The interpretation, which I have provided became part of the formal canonical Tradition of the Church. Your interpretation, or one similar to it, while gaining acceptance in the West, was never formalised in any canonical tradition, at least not until western and eastern churches had divided and no longer claimed to follow a shared Tradition. Acceptance by a number of churches does not mean that a position is right, only that it has merit and a large degree of logical consistency. The problem in these cases is largely due to other assumptions upon which the logic is based. I still disagree with your exegesis for the reasons that I gave but I recognise that it has a long heritage and so, on those grounds, there is no point pressing the point and your claim to be consistent with the Bible on that point can stand as reasonably grounded.

Lucian said...

Vox,


feel free to ask Moses all your derailed and bizarre questions.

To answer one of your kilometric posts (which can be reduced to one simple sentence: "How do we know who's represented in the icon?"): that's why icons have the names of the Saints they represent written on them.

Lucian said...

This is viciously circluar. We know the icon is of St. Paul because it has St. Paul's features. We know what St. Paul's features are from his icon.


It's not circular, since it all stops at Saint Paul.

(The early Christians depicted the Apostles in icons, as it says in Eusebius' Church history; then all we had to do was faithfully pass on that image [through tradition] to future generations as a basis for depicting St Paul in icons).

John said...

Vox: Amid all your philosophising about icons and what they represent and who you are worshipping, why don't you tell us how one would establish in 1 Chronicals 29:20, which people were worshipping only God, which ones were worshipping the King, which ones were worshipping God and venerating the King, and which ones were worshipping God and the King? Show us the methodology you would use to figure it out. If it helps you give an answer, you can imagine you are there at the time and can interact with the participants.

Vox Veritatis said...

Lucian,

feel free to ask Moses all your derailed and bizarre questions.

Feel free to read my post more carefully. In so doing, you'll find that answers such as this:

How do we know who's represented in the icon?"): that's why icons have the names of the Saints they represent written on them.

and this

(The early Christians depicted the Apostles in icons, as it says in Eusebius' Church history; then all we had to do was faithfully pass on that image [through tradition] to future generations as a basis for depicting St Paul in icons).

do not address the problems inherent with an ontological iconic representation. All tradition and names serve to demonstrate is that these icons represent what certain people believed the apostles looked like. This does not solve any of the four problems faced by an ontological representation. It does explain a mere doxastic iconic representation (and I would agree that the icons can represent their commonly-held referents in this sense), but such a representation, as I've previously noted, makes nonsense of the veneration of icons.

It's not circular

Uh-huh...and I just saw a pig fly by.



John,

...1 Chronicals 29:20...

What does this have to do with icons, or energetic procession?

Lucian said...

Vox,


try applying your (very bizarre) reasonings to all images and pictures, but most especially to Exodus 25:18, 26:1, etc.

If you can't understand that the Apostles actually existed, and that they weren't invisible, and that people actually saw them, and even made pictures of them, then I'm afraid you're beyond any reasonable help.

Lucian said...

do not address the problems inherent with an ontological iconic representation

Again, feel free to share your complains to Moses (Exodus 25:18, 26:1, etc).


All tradition and names serve to demonstrate is that these icons represent what certain people believed the apostles looked like.

All bible-manuscripts serve to demonstrate is that these scriptures represent what certain people believed the Apostles wrote.


This does not solve any of the four problems faced by an ontological representation.

Then feel free to share your metaphysical anxieties with King Solomon as well. (1 Kings 6:23-35, 2 Chronicles 3:7-14, etc.)


such a representation, as I've previously noted, makes nonsense of the veneration of icons.

Maybe St Paul himself could help? (Hebrews 9:5)

Lucian said...

Viisaus,


here's a little something for you... (And feel free to read this one as well).

Vox Veritatis said...

Lucian,

If you can't understand that the Apostles actually existed, and that they weren't invisible, and that people actually saw them, and even made pictures of them, then I'm afraid you're beyond any reasonable help.

Your comment demonstrates that you have no idea of what I am actually talking about.

Regarding the cherubim, the sculptures represented cherubim, but in a doxastic, not ontological, sense. That is, of course, unless you want to claim that there were some specific cherubim that were hypostatically present in (or "connected to") these specific sculptures.

Lvka said...

Well, I already replied to your ontological questions, so... I don't understand what it is that you don't understand...

Lvka said...

Your comment demonstrates that you have no idea of what I am actually talking about.


Maybe you should pay more attention to your communication skills?..

Lvka said...

BTW, how do we know the cross from your avatar represents the one on which Christ was crucified, and not another? (There were so many of them, you know...)

Lvka said...

And how do we know the image from my avatar represents Luther, and not some other random monk, from the millions out there?

John said...

Vox: "What does this have to do with icons, or energetic procession?"

You're asking philosophical questions about icons and how you know who they relate to with regards to worship and veneration. So I'm asking you a question about how you know who people are worshipping and venerating. I think when you answer the question for yourself, you will have answered for us as well.

John said...

How does Vox know that the cross on the outside of his church represents the cross that Christ died on, and not just some random cross?

Viisaus said...

Lucian:

"Over 527,000 Guatemalans Received Into Orthodoxy"

Sorry, without further evidence or corroboration I just don't believe that. Apparently EOs like to tell pious untruths about conversion figures.

(Many Protestants of low character also like to tell whoppers about their missionary successes.)

Now, Protestantism had made huge advances in Guatemala, as this worried RC article shows, but I haven't heard from anywhere else about over half a million Guatemalan becoming EOs:

"Catholic Church in Guatemala reeling from Evangelical conversions"

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/catholic_church_in_guatemala_reeling_from_evangelical_conversions/

Viisaus said...

Lucian:

I read that piece in detail and see that they count in all "catechumens" and talk about not only Guatemala but southern Mexico as well:

"The OCCG has an approximate membership of 527,000 faithful and catechumens, overwhelmingly indigenous, with 334 churches in Guatemala and southern Mexico"

Still, I'd like to see some confirmation for this.


Lvka:

"In other words, long before communism..."

Precisely, before Communism. During the 19th century, the Russian church would have had free hands, as well as resources, to perform all the missionary work among pagans it wanted, but it did not accomplish much anything beyond converting few Alaskans.

In other words, they hardly stepped outside the bounds of the Russian empire, Alaska once having been part of it.

"When were 20 million Scotts confined to decades of tortures & imprisonment in Siberian gulags?"

Suffering is no excuse not to spread the Gospel. For example, Russian EO exiles could have actually spread across pagan Asia to perform missionary work there, instead of fleeing to heretical Protestant countries like America for shelter.


Monk Patrick:

"The Orthodox Church converted all Europe, North Africa and made progress into Asia and North America."

Needless to say, I do not accept your self-serving claim that the early Christian church or the pre-papal medieval Western church were synonymous with Eastern Orthodoxy.

Viisaus said...

Lucian:

"The early Christians depicted the Apostles in icons, as it says in Eusebius' Church history;"

Please provide us an exact quotation from Eusebius on this.

Eusebius himself was a known opponent of images, and the 2nd Nicene council did not even try to deny it, but rather made an "ad hominem" attack on Eusebius instead, calling him an Arian.

Below is Eusebius' church history online, so please provide us with verse and chapter. Surely you would not try to pass a pious fraud on us?

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2501.htm

Viisaus said...

John:

"This clown is writing in 1898. Between 1890 and 1917 the American diocese of the Russian Orthodox church expanded from 10 parishes to 350 parishes."

Well duh, that increase was almost entirely due to immigration of peoples from the Russian Empire to America, not because of missionary work.

What would EOs want to migrate to heretical lands anyways? Is their own culture not good enough?

Rhology said...

Monk Patrick,

Actually, I'd much prefer that you spend your time on Vox's questions, since they're better than the ones you posed to me and that I thus posed back to you.
The sad thing is, however, that you ask me questions, a mere Reformed layman, with "only" the Scriptures at my disposal, and I answer them. I ask you the same questions and you don't answer them, even with monkish training, Church Tradition, and the resources of many, many more inspired writers at your own disposal. Something's not right here.

A few other things you said:
Regarding Augustine, he is not a formal representative of Tradition

B/c he doesn't agree with modern EO dogma. Yes, I know that, but that wasn't the question I asked. I said:
1) So I'm in line with Tradition. Cool.
2) Why do you feel yourself at liberty to disagree with Tradition? Isn't that very Protestant of you?



disagreeing with him is not to disagree with Tradition

Irenæus was from the West.
The whole point is that you're arbitrary in which early writers/teachers you accept and don't accept.



As John pointed out in his comments, both interpretations have merit and both harmonise (or at least attempt to do so) all Scriptur

ATTEMPTS are not the issue here. Which one DOES harmonise them? That's the question.



although each party may object that the other doesn't meet the mark

Surely you won't be so postmodern to suggest that there's not a way to figure out which one of the parties is right?




Viisaus said:
Eusebius himself was a known opponent of images, and the 2nd Nicene council did not even try to deny it, but rather made an "ad hominem" attack on Eusebius instead, calling him an Arian.

Well, modern EOx like Monk Patrick are much more sophisticated and fair-minded. They'd NEVER accuse ANYONE of being an Arian, especially not w/o evidence and in the face of clear proof to the contrary. We can be thankful for that, at least!

Rhology said...

Oh, wait. Never mind I said that.

John said...

"During the 19th century, the Russian church would have had free hands, as well as resources, to perform all the missionary work among pagans it wanted, but it did not accomplish much anything beyond converting few Alaskans. In other words, they hardly stepped outside the bounds of the Russian empire, Alaska once having been part of it."

Yeah, uh Protestantism didn't do much beyond its own empire too. The Brits hung around the British empire and so forth. The Spanish evangelised the Spanish empire. The French evanglised the French empire. That's why there aren't that many Prots in the mid and South America. Evangelising the vast territories of the expanding Russian empire during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries was no mean feat in itself, becoming the largest territory on earth with more than enough Pagans to convert.

Missions before communism extended into China, Korea and Japan. The Chinese missions goes back to the 17th century. The first Japanese native clergy were ordained in 1875. By 1912 there were 266 congregations. Then progress was stunted with the Communist problem, not only in Russia but in China as well.

I don't see the point of all this one upmanship. The Russians and the Greeks clearly did a lot, which is why it is the 2nd biggest denomination after Roman Catholicm. Anyone can be criticised that they should have or might have done more, but it's hardly a measure of truth. The Mormons and JWs probably do more than anyone.

John said...

"Well duh, that increase was almost entirely due to immigration of peoples from the Russian Empire to America, not because of missionary work."

Roughly 100,000 were converted to Orthodoxy from Roman Catholicism from about 1895 to about 1914. This result was the result of tireless work by various people in the Church.

According to the 1916 US Census of Religious Bodies, "Eastern Orthodoxy" had been the fastest growing denominational family in America in the preceding decade, showing a 25,000 percent increase in number of adherents.

And this is right around the time this clown of a Scotsman said that the Russians don't do anything!

What exactly was Protestantism doing in these decades that is so much more impressive?

"What would EOs want to migrate to heretical lands anyways? Is their own culture not good enough?"

What a stupid, bigoted and ignorant question. Why did you Protestants want to go live in a Pagan nation like the Americas?

zilch said...

It's my observation from many, many atheists and also from my own atheistic experience that you suppress that urge towards consistency. You suppress it b/c if you were to be consistent all the way thru, you couldn't bear it. God used that, in fact, to bring me to Himself.

Once again, Alan, you're reading my mind. Did God give you that power? All I can say is, the truth is more important to me than consistency. If I don't know something, I am willing to admit that I don't know it. Are you willing to admit that you don't know everything, including the contents of my heart?

John said...

Why are you here zilch?

Rhology said...

Of course I don't know everythg. But God does, and He told me what you are thinking. I trust Him more than you, no offense intended.

Lvka said...

Hello, Viisaus!


1) I have noticed something very bothering about you:

first you blatantly deny something in a very self-confident manner, asking (nay, crying out) for proof to the contrary in a rhetoric manner... then, when said proof is actually handed to you with subject and predicate... you deny it ! -- it happened with pre-Constantinian icons in synagogues and early Christian churches... and it happens again now, in the case of Orthodox missionary work...


2) It's beyond pathetic for a man (or a Church) who hasn't the darnest clue to what persecution even means, let alone constant sadistic tortures until extermination, to open his mouth and speak about things he has never experienced, while at the same time mocking and belittling those who actually SUFFERED such heinous torments.


3) Eusebius, as a historian, presents historical facts, as well as offering his personal opinion on them. He was indeed an early iconoclast, as you say, but that hasn't stopped him from presenting history as it was. (i.e., he says, for instance that the early Christians indeed depicted the Holy Apostles in images, but then he goes on to add his own view, that they've probably done it under the influence of surrounding pagan practices; he also recounts the story of King Abgar [Christ's face becoming imprinted on a cloth that was brought to the King and healed him], and of the metal-statue that the woman with the issue of blood raised in memory of her healing [depicting Christ and a woman kneeling in front of Him] -- but he doesn't add any iconoclastic remarks after these two things).


4) Eusebius was rather controversial, and even the introduction of Philip Schaff to Eusebius' Church History has a collection of patristic testimonies both for as well as against Eusebius (though, to be quite frank, those "for" him are actually for his errudition, not for his orthodoxy; those "against" him are against his orthodoxy, not against his errudition). [Schaff I think arrives at the conclusion that he was a very politically-shrewd court-bishop, playing both sides].

In any case, his iconoclasm has nothing to do with his semi-Arianism. [Arians had icons also, as can be seen in a famous former Arian Church in Italy -- (the one that has an icon of an Arian Gothic king, whose name/identity was later replaced with that of a Byzantine Emperor)].


P.S.: I'm not your servant, and it's not like you're paying me any salary, so please stop commanding me to bring to your highness this and that passage on a silver or gold plate: go there and get them yourself! I'm not your mommy, to do your homework for you.

Viisaus said...

Lvka, I'd like to know before I make any further comments: are you and Lucian one and the same person? Since you seem to be answering to an inquiry I addressed to Lucian.

Lvka said...

Why are you here zilch?


Well, because...

he's been searching for somethin'
somethin' so hard to find
it can only be seen
by the eyes of the blind..
..in the middle of the night..

Lvka said...

are you and Lucian one and the same person?


If you watched 'Fight Club', I think you already know the answer.

(And if you didn't watch it, you can still click on the link to my prophile to find out..) :-)

Monk Patrick said...

Alan,

Regarding Romans 2. You wrote Law with a capital "L," thus specifying the Law of the OT this is not that law, which Paul said was in the conscience of the Gentiles, although the two are parallel.

Matthew 23 is about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. I cannot see anything in the text that is prescriptive on how to preach the Gospel.

The Orthodox do not accept a doctrine of absolute depravity, that a man cannot do good nor choose rightly, while not Christians. You framed a question in a manner that cannot be answered directly because it assumes something that we do not believe.

Your charges about Monophysitism being only such that a Nestorian would make is not to say that Orthodox cannot condemn monophysitism but that the evidence for the condemnation is narrower that that which a Nestorian would use. Your charges of monophysitism are based on evidence that a Nestorian would find compelling but a supporter of Ephesus and Chalcedon would not, such as the using the phrase Mother of God.

You seem to have completely failed to grasp my logical argument about Nestorianism to the extent that you did not even understand that I made one. Your response completely misses the point and raises further potential problems with the statement that "Jesus isn't numerically equivalent to God." One Jesus, One God. Also following your reasoning, is it wrong to say that God was manifested in the flesh?

Rhology said...

Your charges of monophysitism are based on evidence that a Nestorian would find compelling but a supporter of Ephesus and Chalcedon would not, such as the using the phrase Mother of God.

Monk Patrick,
If I were to say that EOx think that the Pope is a legitimate patriarch of the church, ergo he is infallible, would that be a correct characterisation of the EO position?
If not, why not?

Also, do everyone a favor and read the article about Calvinism and Nestorianism that I've linked for you at least once and that is linked on my left sidebar near the top.

Monk Patrick said...

Vox,

As the author of the essay, I have stated how "have" is to be understood. We are not discussing the intended meaning of a third party. Please show that this meaning is contrary to how I have used it elsewhere in the essay assuming the same sense of have.

The connection problem is still a matter of confusing nature and person. You are trying to connect the nature of the person to the icon as well as the person.

The tradition, sets of instructions, of how to represent each Saint and the name on an icon overcome most of your proposed problems, especially Imperfect and Ambiguous. The Change of referent is overcome because it is of a saint who is eternally with Christ, even though his body is yet to be resurrected. Thus, the Saint does not change. The Ignorance Referent is also overcome by tradition.

An icon does not need to be exact but only have enough features that with the name are sufficient to identify the Saint. The name is an essential feature and the key to confirming the identity of the Saint, although a number of Saints are clearly recognisable by their features and dress.

Because Saints are known by God, the Holy Spirit's presence also helps to maintain the identity of the Saint and ensure the "connection" of the image to the Saint. The Holy Spirit is not ignorant of the saint.

Some of your reasons are not valid even in the case of secular images. An image of a famous battle is still an image of that battle even though the battle is no longer happening. It retains its connection to the historical event even as a memory. In God, who is not limited by time, events in Him retain an everlasting aspect and can even be said to be present in an icon both in location and time.

By the way, even the word "represent" is consistent with my position, so if icons are merely representative by definition they present the subject, that is make them present.

Monk Patrick said...

Whatever is predicable of the whole being is predicable of the person himself What do you mean by "whole being" and then what do you mean by this in the context of Christ? Your argument continues to confuse nature and person and assumes that the nature is venerated. You are also assuming that the being contains the person rather than the person containing the being. So your statement is not saying anything, that is what is predicable of a person is predicable of a person himself doesn't tell us anything and hence the rest of the argument cannot stand.

Discussion of the nature of the estrangement is rather long for a comment, but man is the link between God and the rest of creation, when man fell this also affected the rest of creation, which likewise feel into a spiral of death and decay being separated from union with the source of life. This union was reenabled when Christ became man and having united man to God, he also reunited the rest of creation through man, which also has its existence in and through the Son. This reunion will be fully realised at the end of time, as will our resurrection in Baptism.

Venerating the person of Satan does not venerate Christ because he is a different person. The angelic nature which Satan has reflects the Son of God in some manner, just as all other angels having the same nature do, whether the angel is personally good or bad. The same applies to humans.

Focal point means something that one can focus on during prayer to help provide the body at physical direction of prayer. This is similar to looking at a person with whom you are talking.

Your remaining arguments repeat previous points. Most of your arguments are based on the confusion of nature and person. This statement is a good example: Thus, venerating Christ, in the flesh, is venerating Christ Himself. This statement only makes sense if you assume that the veneration is given to the flesh of Christ, His nature, rather than the person (Christ), otherwise you are simply saying venerating Christ is venerating Christ Himself. This latter is what the Orthodox would say, so that whatever the context of the veneration, venerating Christ is venerating Christ Himself.

Monk Patrick said...

Alan,

To which Pope are you referring? I assume the Pope of Old Rome. He is no longer recognised as a legitimate Pope (means the same as Patriarch) in the Orthodox Church. Even if he was, he would not be infallible. Orthodox believe that everyone has a free will and as such is potentially capable of error or a fall into sin, although many are protected by God and such a fall into error or sin may be very unlikely. As such no-one can be considered infallible per se apart from God. This does not mean that particular writings, such as the Scriptures, cannot be free of error and not completely reliable and trustworthy testimonies of Christ and His guidance for the Church. Various writings are accepted because they are free from error, trustworthy and the writer wrote faithfully in obedience to the Holy Spirit. The writer himself, though, may not in every other thing that he wrote or said be guaranteed to be without error, that is, infallible. For a human person to be infallible would mean a loss of free will and ceasing to be human.

Monk Patrick said...

Alan,

The Pope of Old Rome, is not considered to be a legitimate Patriarch of the Orthodox Church at the present time. Even if he was, he would not be infallible because he is a human with a free will and as such capable of error and a fall into sin, even though the Holy Spirit can lead people and, so inspired, they are very unlikely to fall into sin or error and they are capable of producing writings that are free from error and completely trustworthy.

Rhology said...

So you would say that my comment about the Pope of Rome and my judgment coming therefrom would be based on a mischaracterisation, a misunderstanding, of the EO position?

zilch said...

John, you ask:

Why are you here zilch?

That is an excellent question. I guess I'm here because either

a) 3.8 billion years of evolution has led to the birth of beings who ask themselves questions, and are curious to hear what others say; and accidents of time and place have chanced to lead me, zilch, here, right now- or

b) God sent me here to educate myself and/or test you.

Lvka- I like your answer for me, but I'm not (yet) blind, nor is it (yet) the middle of the night.

Rho- it's your show here. If I'm not welcome, just say the word and I'm off, obedient to my subjective ungrounded atheistic humanistic desire not to be a pest, if not absolutely necessary.

cheers from cloudy Vienna, zilch

John said...

zilch: do you secretly hope someone here is going to convince you and educate you about God?

Lvka said...

Orthodox,

r u a psychologist by profession?

:-)

zilch said...

John- well, if my secret hope is for someone to convince me that God exists, it's a very well kept secret- even from me. Not that such a thing is impossible. No, at least my conscious rationale for being here is because I figure that I'm sharing this planet with people who believe very differently than I do, so it behooves me to learn how and why they think as they do.

Besides which, I love talking about ultimate knowledge and such, even if I suspect, along with Mose Allison, that "the smartest man in the whole round world really don't know that much". As I've told Alan at least a couple of times, I'm not really interested in conversion, my own or that of others, but I am interested in common grounds that might further our coexistence.

cheers from starry Vienna, zilch

Viisaus said...

Lvka/Lucian:

“If you watched 'Fight Club', I think you already know the answer.”

Well, I can’t say I’m charmed by such confusing semi-sockpuppetry.


On the issue of pre-Constantinian images, I haven’t seen a reason to withdraw my assertions.

You keep showing this dishonest equivocation in calling all the images or pictures of early Christian centuries as “icons”, which they were not, since that word is associated with specific EO cultus-concept.

And this is far from being mere technical quibbling, as we can learn even from how pro-icon fanatics like Theodore of Studion, who specifically rejected any half-hearted compromises with iconoclasts.

These iconodules insisted that it was NOT enough to just have images in the church if they were not “proskuneod” (which was the Western Frankish practice back then); to them, an “icon” that is not properly worshipped is NO REAL ICON AT ALL.

And we can agree on the principle: the Christians (and Jews) of early centuries did not worship or venerate those pictures that they did possess - therefore those pictures are not to be classified as “icons.” Simple as that.


As for the EO missionary work, it simply has not been very energetic for the last 1,000 years (since the conversion of Russia). Small endeavors like the conversion of Alaskan tribes do not change this “big picture”, and we would have a right to expect more from "the only true church" - as big claims call for big evidence.


”2) It's beyond pathetic for a man (or a Church) who hasn't the darnest clue to what persecution even means, let alone constant sadistic tortures until extermination, to open his mouth and speak about things he has never experienced, while at the same time mocking and belittling those who actually SUFFERED such heinous torments.”

As I have written elsewhere, Bible-believing Christians must also consider the possibility that God could have used Muslims and Communists to punish EOs for their sins – like He employed Babylonian and Roman pagans to punish the apostate Israel. We may not assume that the sufferings of EOs are automatically a proof of their religious purity.

Viisaus said...

As for Eusebius, YOU first made this explicit claim: “The early Christians depicted the Apostles in icons, as it says in Eusebius' Church history.”

I demanded to see proof of this. You refused to provide it, with this pathetic evasion:

“P.S.: I'm not your servant, and it's not like you're paying me any salary, so please stop commanding me to bring to your highness this and that passage on a silver or gold plate: go there and get them yourself! I'm not your mommy, to do your homework for you.”

YOU made a specific and strong claim, and then chickened out and shifted the burden on me, forcing ME to do YOUR homework. This is what I found:

“4. Nor is it strange that those of the Gentiles who, of old, were benefited by our Saviour, should have done such things, since we have learned also that the likenesses of his apostles Paul and Peter, and of Christ himself, are preserved in paintings, the ancients being accustomed, as it is likely, according to a habit of the Gentiles, to pay this kind of honor indiscriminately to those regarded by them as deliverers.”

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250107.htm

Is THIS it, Lvka? This is all that Eusebius has to say about these “icons of apostles”?

For it would seem rather clear to me that he is talking about PAGANS ("the ancients") making paintings of apostles, not Christians! After all, we hear also from Irenaeus how half-pagan Gnostic Carpocratian heretics also made pictures of Christ.


“he also recounts the story of King Abgar [Christ's face becoming imprinted on a cloth that was brought to the King and healed him]”

This claim borders on a lie, and makes me suspect your integrity as a debater. Eusebius did NOT mention anything about this myth of “acheiropoieta” image that developed much after his own times, he only mentioned a LETTER:

“Thus we can trace the development of the legend from a letter, but no image in Eusebius, to an image painted by a court painter in Addai; then to a miracle caused by the letter in Procopius, which becomes a miracle caused by a miraculously-created image supernaturally made when Jesus pressed a cloth to his wet face in Evagrius. It was this last and latest stage of the legend that became accepted in Eastern Orthodoxy, the image of Edessa that was "created by God, and not produced by the hands of man".”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_of_Edessa#History_of_the_legend


“and of the metal-statue that the woman with the issue of blood raised in memory of her healing”

Like pointed out above, Eusebius clearly expressed his opinion that this was mere pagan-like folk-superstition, “according to a habit of the Gentiles.”

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250107.htm

Monk Patrick said...

Zilch,

Yes, it is intriguing talking about ultimate knowledge, although any student of quantum physics would agree that even the smartest man could not begin to comprehend the depth of the complexities involved.

So, have you learnt anything from this thread about ultimate knowledge?

About ultimate knowledge, the scientific evidence tends to suggest that the present universe will eventually fade away because there is not sufficient matter to cause it to collapse onto itself and the system is not static nor stable. Thus, the universe cannot be cyclic and it has a beginning and an end. So, what is your take on the beginning of the universe prior to 10 to -43 seconds? It seems unlikely that it is a result of a cyclic collapse, so it just happened of itself. There is no evidence of similar big bangs creating random material universes within our own and, even if we postulate multiple dimensions, we still have the problem that this material universe is unique and there is no evidence of the process repeating itself, so it cannot be merely a random event of existence that happens every so often. Can you coherently argue for space being within another space with "room" for a multitude of universes like ours that don't overlap? So, why waas there a huge energy mass at a single point, effectively defining time/space? It is not eternal nor permanent because it exploded, so it is not something there of necessity and the energy point must also had a beginning. That means there must be something beyond it to cause the beginning. Arguments of reduction to absurdity will lead on to the conclusion that that something must itself be eternal, that is not subject to time/space, stable and capable of causing other things to exist or begin in/with time/space. Nothing we can observe in the material universe is consistent with this, so we must look beyond the material universe for a solution.

You can see where I am leading. Please suggest the fault in the logic or your proposed solution that doesn't result in something beyond the material universe.

I would also like your take on this essay. Although, it may not be particularly convincing, it would still be interesting to see your feedback on the issues raised. Please do so on that blog, if you wish.

Proof of God

Monk Patrick said...

Alan,

The fact that my answer to your earlier question presents a different picture of the Pope that you presented in the question is adequate to answer your last question.

John said...

Zilch: if your stated aim is to find out about Christians, what do you hope to achieve in coming to talk to us that you couldn't find out from well known books about the religion?

And what sort of things do you hope to discover that will "further our coexistence"?

Lvka said...

Yes, V., Eusebius was an iconoclast, that's why he automatically attributes the origins of such paintings and statues to Gentile practices: but to his merit, he at least records them in his church history, and doesn't try to obscure their existence.

(And no, 'ancient' doesn't mean `pagan' by any stretch of the word [especially since it refers to those whom the Apostles have benefited]).

I also "like" your demand of impossible proof, to which you wittily retort when pushed into a corner (i.e., such as whether the early Jews and Christians who had their church- or synagogue-walls wholly covered in icons also venerated them: I mean, what exactly are you expecting to find? An ancient photograph or satelite-image of them doing that? Or an icon of them venerating icons?) :-\


The West converted the Americas because, while we were too busy fighting with the Turks, your ancestors were busy progressing and advancing in all aspects of society (navigating, inventing, learning, discovering, conquering, etc).

John said...

"to them, an “icon” that is not properly worshipped is NO REAL ICON AT ALL. "

I'd like to the quote or justification for this claim. Being Greek speakers, and knowing that icon is the Greek word for image, I can't imagine anyone saying that an image is not an image unless certain conditions are met.

Lvka said...

this pathetic evasion

Well, you better get used to "this pathetic evasion", memorize it well, inscribe it on the sides of your phylacteries, and expect to hear it every single time you ask me for something stupid, like doing your homework for you.


I demanded to see proof of this.

Along with a hamburger and a cup of coffee?..


forcing ME to do YOUR homework

And you managed! Three cheers for V.! (See, it wasn't so hard, now, was it?)

Monk Patrick said...

Vissaus,

Icon simply means image. Are computer icons therefore have an EO cultus-concept? It may have a particular emphasis from representing something in particular and being a visual means to "connecting" to what/who is represented in the icon. For the purpose of the debates taking place it is best to leave the word icon as simply meaning image and then see whether it is appropriate to venerate Christ, or a Saint. by bowing down, kissing, lighting candles before, and incensing an image of the person. If we define it as you suggest we immediately concede your perspective of what it is to venerate Christ via an image.

We do not venerate images or icons, as an end in themselves, even now but the person represented in the image. In the past it is clear that did venerate the persons so represented by the act of creating an image (icon) of them. The connection between icon and veneration is still there.

Your interpretation of Eusebius is not necessarily correct. Yes, he mentions Gentiles and them bringing in the custom of creating images, but he is not talking about those remaining pagans but those who were of the Gentiles but became Christians, that is what is meant by ancients, the earliest Christians, and they used images, as Christians, to honour the Saints. He does not condemn the practice and rightly notes that it came from Gentile customs, because it can't be traced back as a custom of the Jews. This does not mean that icons are not appropriate nor even that they are not necessary, only that the custom of using icons can be historically traced back into Gentile history and not so much into Jewish, although images are not unknown in the OT. One cannot read Eusebius as saying "mere pagan-like folk-superstition" from his comment, which can be read simply to mean the the habit of using images was an earlier Gentile custom as, perhaps, contrary to such a custom not being followed by the Jews. This is only a historical observation, which we readily accept with no difficulty.

zilch said...

Monk Patrick: thanks for the link to your interesting essay. No, I didn't find it particularly convincing. The main problem I found was that words such as something, nothing, time, and space were applied as descriptions of the real world, but handled logically using their classical philosophical definitions. The problem here is that there's no reason to believe, and since relativity and quantum mechanics good reasons not to believe, that our everyday notions of time, space, something, nothing, causality, and infinity are good descriptions of the real world.

As far as what I believe happened before the Big Bang, if "before" has any meaning, I have no idea. But proposing a God to solve the design problem is no solution, but merely buck passing. If the origin of order is a problem for atheists, it's a problem for theists too, who usually seal it off with some trenchant syllogism, such as "the Uncaused Cause", which has no demonstrable real-world referents.

In fact, I think the Design Problem can be reasonably turned on its head for theists: all the evidence tells us that the most complex designs are either evolved beings, or the product of evolved beings. The question is, when, where, and how did God evolve? Seems unlikely that He was just a Cosmic Accident, doesn't it?

Monk Patrick said...

Zilch,

Thanks for your comments. While, I agree that classical definitions have their limit, I don't think that they are necessarily without meaning. Quantum physics and relativity don't deny time/space, something and nothing but only the way in which we consider these concepts and I don't think my essay turns on this rather it can accept that these concepts do break down in terms of ultimate questions. I think that quantum theory and relativity, although these may not be complete theories, tend to confirm "creation" by demonstrating the limits of these things. Thus, space and time are limited and material existence does not function on merely material lines of cause and effect but with ideas of uncertainty and probability, yet it demonstrates a great deal of order, thus implying that the material universe, while perhaps somewhat erratic and unpredictable, allowing for the limits of our ability to observe it, still follows rules, this all fits well with the material universe being sustained by/in a mind. The concept of the relationship of energy and matter fits well with theological ideas of creation being not only caused but sustained by God. The duality of light is also reflects such concepts in theology. The decay of the universe in spite of its apparent evolving complexity is consistent with the universe in a state of fall. The poverty of our ability to describe the universe also points the possibility of it transcending its present apparent limits in a manner which we cannot yet comprehend.

While none of this proves the existence of God it is nevertheless, consistent with His existence and perhaps ironically much as what is to be expected. It also suggests that with uncertainty principles etc that God can work miracles in nature; there is nothing inherent in, or that we can know about, nature that absolutely forbids this. The evidence also points to that while the universe exists in its own complete system, it is nevertheless not absolutely independent of God. So, while one does not need God to make valid scientific observations, the whole system cannot exist without God. God is not filling in the gaps in the material system, we can expect to find a reason within the system, rather His presence is a necessity at the foundation level of the universe existing at all and continuing to exist. This reflects theological ideas of synergy and the union of seemingly incompatible things, such as the union of God and man in Christ. Each complete in itself yet united without confusion.

Monk Patrick said...

While there may be evidence that complex designs "evolved", I believe that this was only possible given the inherent complexity of the universe from its start. This complexity was progressively manifest as the universe matures but the rules by which it works are not getting more complex. Thus, quantum theory is not something that can only be applied to the universe after say billion years because energy and matter were only then able to work according to those "rules", although the full implication of the less complex rules in classical physics may have only be applicable when the universe reached a certain stage. There could be no evolution without the innate complexity that permitted it.

Assigning the term real-world to mean the material universe is misleading and presumes the conclusion of the debate. For some world-faiths, the material universe is not the real-world but an illusion. Christianity, while acknowledging its reality, nevertheless, confesses that its reality is only real in the reality of God. God is reality, the universe reflects His reality.

Your questions about God, almost run contrary to your own comments on the material universe, in that you should know better than to apply material principles to God because they fail to describe His reality. God being eternal and beyond being in terms of our experience of being is not subject to ideas of coming to be or change. As such there is no problem of His existence as we have with our temporal existence. This does not prove that He exists but that His existence does not entail the logical problems that ours does. Not only that, His existence also provides a coherent basis for our existence.

Overall, God is a good fit with the evidence of our universe and is not subject to the problems of the why of our existence, so I think it much more coherent to believe in Him than to deny Him. The only arguments against Him seem to be based on destroying "straw" gods and a perceived lack of evidence for Him. The latter is contradicted by the experience of many, although this evidence often ignored, explained tenuously, or put into the too hard basket to be answered later on the faith that an alternate answer other than God will indeed be found. The former is is countered in that there is a very coherent theology of God that provides good reasons for also rejecting the "straw" gods, they are theologically untenable. I have yet to see a Richard Dawkins manage to properly grasp the theology of God, as maintained by Orthodox theologians, let alone prove it to be incoherent or impossible. Theology can provide a very good basis for setting the limits of what we should know about a real God. You are engaging in theology by rejecting the concept of God but to do so one must be fully aware that they are not rejecting a straw God but overturning every theology of God. I often find that attempts to deny God by atheists show far less ability in the field of theology than those attempting to overturn, say evolution, show in the field of science.

Rhology said...

The fact that my answer to your earlier question presents a different picture of the Pope that you presented in the question is adequate to answer your last question.


Therefore, if you were interested in being consistent and intellectually honest, you'd have to conclude that the fact that my earlier answer to your question presents a different picture of Calvinism vis-à-vis Nestorianism than that which you presented in the question is adequate to answer it.

Or maybe honesty and fair treatment of opponents aren't popular teachings on Mt Athos?

Rhology said...

zilch,

If I'm not welcome, just say the word and I'm off

No, no, please don't misunderstand. All are welcome here, save the pr0|\| spammers and those who restrict themselves to obscene-only vocabulary. I've never moderated my comments and don't intend to. That means that everyone has to be acctable for what they say.

OTOH, retractions are always allowed around here too. :-)

Rhology said...

Vox Veritatis said:

Suppose that X is then involved in a horrific accident, and suffers grotesque disfiguration, such that not even those who know him best can recognize him. Does the painting of X, which used to be a perfect representation of X, still represent X? Could it still "be connected to" X? ...Call this the problem of The Change of the Referent.

Monk Patrick responds:
The Change of referent is overcome because it is of a saint who is eternally with Christ, even though his body is yet to be resurrected

How did you get a glimpse of the way the saint "looks" while eternally with Christ? If he's incorporeal now, how do you represent that in paint? And at what age do you paint him? Do you include scars he got later in life?





Vox Veritatis said:
However, a person coming along years later who has never personally met the subject, or seen what he looks like, will not be able to know that the painting actually represents that particular person...How does one actually know that the icons represent that which they are supposed to represent? Call this the problem of The Ignorance of the Referent.

Monk Patrick said:
The Ignorance Referent is also overcome by tradition.

I'd like to ask you to take 3 icons of your choosing, and then point out and quote precisely in "tradition" where and how that problem is overcome. Do it in real life.
Please include how you know that that "tradition" you're citing is Sacred Apostolic Tradition.



Vox Veritatis said:
An icon might have, as its visual features, a depiction of a manifestation of Satan at some point in time.

Rhology (now) comments: Yes, like 2 Corinthians 11: 14No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Monk Patrick says:
Venerating the person of Satan does not venerate Christ because he is a different person.

How does that help? How can the viewer of the icon know the difference? You think Satan doesn't imitate the work of God on Earth, just with tiny little differences that turn out to be big differences that lead people into darkness? If Satan appears as an angel of light, it sounds like you don't have a recourse to know that the angel depicted is Satan or an elect angel.



Monk Patrick said:
This statement is a good example: Thus, venerating Christ, in the flesh, is venerating Christ Himself. This statement only makes sense if you assume that the veneration is given to the flesh of Christ

That's just nonsense. When Christ is standing before you, and you worship Him, you're worshiping HIM, not His flesh. And you accuse Vox of mixing up person and nature? Please!

Darlene said...

Rhology (Alan),

It's been a while since I've participated on your blog, and I thought I'd come on by just to see what's been happening. :)

In skimming over the comment section here, one of your responses (I think it was to Zilch) jumped out at me. You said,

"Of course I don't know everythg. But God does, and He told me what you are thinking. I trust Him more than you, no offense intended."

Were you actually being serious here or fecetious?

zilch said...

Monk Patrick- I appreciate the time and effort you have put into the explanation of your position, and also your civility: that's a big part of what makes the world a good place to live in, in my book. Please drop me a line if you're ever in Vienna, or in the SF Bay Area in the summer, and lunch is on me.

I'm afraid we must agree to cordially disagree, however. You say:

While there may be evidence that complex designs "evolved", I believe that this was only possible given the inherent complexity of the universe from its start. This complexity was progressively manifest as the universe matures but the rules by which it works are not getting more complex.

While it's true that evolution depends upon having order to work with, the order of chemistry and physics, life is not a "progressive manifestation" of the inherent order, but rather a local increase in order, paid for thermodynamically in the coin of increased entropy globally. Given the right, very special conditions, order can build upon order until we have life and the Internet. We can see it happening, not only in evolution as observed in the lab, in the field, and in the rocks, but also in such things as darwinian computer programs, which have evolved programs better than any human has been able to come up with.

There is no evidence for any "front loading" in our Universe, other than possibly fine tuning: the fact that our Universe has laws that make life possible. I don't know the answer here: whether fine tuning is an artifact of our poor understanding of constraints upon possibility, or whether there are multiple universes, or some completely different and humanly incomprehensible reason. According to my friend John who is an astrophysicist, the jury is still out on this question, so it would be presumptuous of me to tender my opinion.

But in any case, it still boils down to this: there come points in my understanding of the Universe, for instance before the Big Bang, where I must finally admit "I cannot explain this". The same is true of you and everyone else. The difference is that you propose the existence of an infinitely complex and powerful being to explain the existence of the Universe- but then you too, when asked to explain the existence of God, must say "I cannot explain this".

Thus, your explanation is quite a bit more complex, you might say infinitely more complex, than mine, but it does no more work. Saying "God did it" does not tell you any more about how things are in the world than simply saying "Nature did it" or "This is the way it is". I'll stick with my simpler explanation until I see some real-world evidence for God.

zilch said...

Speaking of "real-world" evidence, you say:

Assigning the term real-world to mean the material universe is misleading and presumes the conclusion of the debate. For some world-faiths, the material universe is not the real-world but an illusion.

Should I be politically correct and instead of real world say Maya? In any case, I agree that "real-world" is loaded, but so are Maya and material: they too presume particular worldviews, ones that includes supernatural forces. If you like, where I've said "real-world" substitute "material" or, even better, "the way it is", which I think should be acceptable to atheist, Christian, and Hindu alike.

Your questions about God, almost run contrary to your own comments on the material universe, in that you should know better than to apply material principles to God because they fail to describe His reality. God being eternal and beyond being in terms of our experience of being is not subject to ideas of coming to be or change. As such there is no problem of His existence as we have with our temporal existence. This does not prove that He exists but that His existence does not entail the logical problems that ours does. Not only that, His existence also provides a coherent basis for our existence.

I don't see that our existence entails logical problems: we're here, and if our logic can't encompass that, then so much the worse for our logic. There is such a thing as getting too hung up on words: they are very powerful and have got us where we are today, but seeing gods at the end of syllogisms is taking words beyond their power. And I don't need a coherent basis for my existence beyond the incomprehensibly complex, coherent, confusing, living Universe: here I stand.

Overall, God is a good fit with the evidence of our universe and is not subject to the problems of the why of our existence, so I think it much more coherent to believe in Him than to deny Him.

God is a "good fit with the evidence" only insofar as He is defined, and redefined (as the gaps get smaller), in such a way that He is unverifiable and unfalsifiable. And He is only not subject, in the view of theists, to "why" problems because the "why" problems of His existence are either swept under a rug or waved away with magic. I can do the same with the problem of the existence of the Universe, but without God, and I've explained as much as you have and simpler. But I'll stick with simply admitting that I don't know.

cheers from cool Vienna, zilch

John said...

zilch: "God is a "good fit with the evidence" only insofar as He is defined, and redefined (as the gaps get smaller), in such a way that He is unverifiable and unfalsifiable."

I can agree in so far as clearly God has no intention of allowing himself to be verified in his existence according to some kind of scientific method.

Having agreed that a scientific methodology has little or nothing to say in this area, the question for you is why you will only consider evidence that is of that kind. It's kind of like refusing to know anything about your wife except that which has been proven by room full of men in white coats. It's the wrong approach, even for someone approaching the problem as a skeptic.

zilch said...

John- I don't refuse evidence of any kind. I just haven't seen any for God: He has not spoken to me, the world does not seem like there is any God in it, other than what ideas of God have effected in the world, and I have seen that people invent religions all the time- don't they? People are susceptible to believing in stories people make up- aren't they?

That being the case, I'm skeptical. It seems more likely to me that gods are stories people tell, which have evolved as a way to help put together societies that work.

And no, I don't think that science is the only useful way of looking at the world. But it's the only way of looking at the world which is likely to give us a good picture of what our world is like. That's not all there is to life by any means, but if we want to know the way it is, then we should rather look at the world than put our trust in old stories.

Rhology said...

Darlene,

100% serious.
(I know that it can be hard to tell sometimes, haha. But this time, serious.)

Lvka said...

Well, Zilch, since I see you like to travel a lot, and say you are willing to accept evidence of other kinds, what are your plans for Jan. 19th and April 23rd of next year?

zilch said...

No plans so far, Lvka. What did you have in mind?

Lvka said...

I was planning on suckering you into traveling to the Holy Land for the liturgical celebration of Christ's Baptism and Resurrection, to see the Jordan revert its flow and to attend the ceremony of the Holy Light in Jerusalem.

zilch said...

Hmmm... I'll think about it, Lvka. It would be interesting for sure.

I'm pretty skeptical about stuff with fire, though. I grew up, as probably most people do, learning that you should never touch hot coals because they will burn you badly. Well, guess what? If you're careful, you can even pick them up off the floor and throw them back into the fire. I do it all the time now, if anything falls out of my woodstove, and I've never got burnt.

Of course, maybe I have demons on my side, but I suspect it's just that ashes insulate pretty well- that's why you can walk on hot coals too. I can also fill my hand with butane from a lighter and light it, shooting a big flame out of my fist, and not get burned. Not that I recommend trying this stuff, but believe me, it can be done without miracles (or demons).

Lvka said...

Well... our candles don't work with butane, and you can feel free to keep your hand in the fire as much as you like. (The same goes for your beard, if you still have one[*]: the flame won't burn it).

I mean, regardless of whether you accidentally put yourself on fire and start running around like an idiot yelling "water!! water!!!" from the top of your lungs and make a complete fool of yourself on several national televisions broadcasting the event, or you decide to join us, it's a win-win situation for me. >:) :D -- So, either way, I'm cool with it. :-) ;-)

-------------------------
[*] Or maybe your picture just started growing one all by itself, since images can't shave... and apropos pictures: our pal Vox Veritatis over here would like to know how you know that the picture you keep posting as your avatar is really yours, and it's not actually the devil's in one of his appearences? :-)

zilch said...

... and apropos pictures: our pal Vox Veritatis over here would like to know how you know that the picture you keep posting as your avatar is really yours, and it's not actually the devil's in one of his appearences? :-)

You're right, I can't know that it's not the Devil in my avatar; after all, he hangs around California a lot, and it would be just like him to play a horn of seaweed. I guess I'll just have to add this to another worldview I can't logically dismiss without God, along with Last Thursdayism and Matrixism.

How am I going to find time to live, with so many logical existential holes to plug in my worldview? First Rho, then Steve Hays, and now you, Vox and Lvka. Thanks a bunch, guys.

Monk Patrick said...

Alan,

I am aware of your posts regarding not being Nestorian but these don't help the situation; I am not just calling you Nestorian because I want to label you negatively. I called you such because when you responded to something I said, you did so in a manner that demonstrates a Nestorian logic. So, the accusation is that you are Nestorian in practice, even if not in confession. To defend the charge you need to demonstrate how the logic that I had identified is not indicative of a Nestorian way of thinking. Overall, you seem to have difficulty with saying "Jesus has a human body and Jesus is omnipresent" in the same sentence and that this is the same as saying that "God has a human body" and "God is omnipresent". All are true because it is one person who is both man and God at the same time. You may also be struggling with the distinction between person and nature, which would also cause a similar difficulties.

How do you know the Scriptures speak of what actually happened with Christ between His baptism and His ascension? Did you see it happen? Why apply a higher standard of trust to the tradition of icons than to the tradition of scriptures, except this displays a prejudice? We have evidence of the Scriptures from very early and we have evidence that there were icons from very early. Why should one be preserved better than the other without imposing judgements on them as to their merits?

You accept icons of Christ can be made but not venerated. How do you know that you are not putting up and looking at pictures of Satan? In undermining the Orthodox position you are also undermining your own. We both accept that there can be icons of Christ, so let us concentrate on the legitimacy of venerating them not whether they are legitimate images of whom they claim to be.

Yes, we venerate Him not His flesh when He is standing there. By the same logic, we are venerating Him and not the icon when when kiss an icon of Him and when we offer up hymns in services regardless whether He is present there "in the flesh" we honour or glorify Him and not the walls/ceiling of the church building nor the minister/pastor/priest at the front.

Monk Patrick said...

Zilch,

If I am in Vienna or SF Bay, it would be a pleasure to meet you for lunch.

Yes, we may have to agree to disagree. However, if you would bear with me for a few more thoughts.

I know that there is more evidence for God than you seem to suspect. A friend of mine recently related a childhood story of talking to a monk, whom walked away from him and then into a ruin and when my friend ran after him, he could not find the monk again. Quite some time later my friend recognised the monk in a photo, and discovered that the monk had passed away almost 100 years earlier. Similar, and other, experiences of many people are, I believe, most satisfactorily explainable in the context of God.

The definition of God, with which I am working as an Orthodox Christian, was fairly well settled by the fifth century, although the "model" can be traced back much earlier. As such, it is not being defined or redefined to fit any gaps. Scientific evidence is rather redefining our understanding closer and closer to this definition of God.

Finally, I think you are overplaying the why problems of God's existence or that His existence is more difficult to explain than Him not existing. But what seems obvious to a believer may be rather tenuous to a sceptic. Also I think that while "I don't know" is often a good answer, it is only so in the context of looking for an answer and a good discussion on ultimate questions must surely try to minimise this statement, while always remembering its truth.

Anyway, I doubt that I am likely to change your opinion on the matter but would hope that you take more time, leaving some to live, to think more deeply about the theology and experience of God, especially Orthodox theology, because your answers seem at times rather simplistic from a theologian's point of view, just as some of my scientific or "uncaused cause" arguments may seem simplistic to you. Also, I think that we can go a lot further in dismissing world views than you seem to allow; The devil in everything opinion, expressed at times in this discussion, eventually breaks down and contradicts itself. Good theology is about exposing problematic world-views and showing why they must be rejected.

I hope Vienna warms as summer approaches.

Lucian said...

Thanks a bunch, guys.


Oh, you're welcome, Z.! Always a pleasure messin' with your head!
:-)

Viisaus said...

"Why apply a higher standard of trust to the tradition of icons than to the tradition of scriptures, except this displays a prejudice? We have evidence of the Scriptures from very early and we have evidence that there were icons from very early. Why should one be preserved better than the other without imposing judgements on them as to their merits?"

Protestants are offended by this claim itself - that canonical Holy Scriptures and icons would be somehow of equal value. They're not, by a long shot.

(Already Frankish "Libri Carolini" was provoked into a lengthy rant by such a suggestion.)

And again, Christians did NOT have
icons from "from very early" on. Only from 4th century onwards did pictures at churches become fully accepted (council of Elvira still had doubts), and still around 600 AD pope Gregory the Great rejected any forms of image-adoration.

Lvka said...

V.,


do you want me to remind you of Dura-Europos *again*?

Or to recall Eusebius' (hostile) testimony about early icons of the Apostles, or the bronze statue of Christ healing the sick woman?

Do you want me to quote from the Talmud, about Rabbis who didn't forbid their congregations to adorn the pillars of their local synagogues with sacred images?

Lvka said...

Actually, it's carvings, not images, sorry.

Rhology said...

Monk Patrick,
I called you such because when you responded to something I said, you did so in a manner that demonstrates a Nestorian logic.

I might be otherwise worried, but since you've demonstrated that

refusal to bow down and worship dead people, whatever the reason why = Nestorianism and a denial of the Incarnation

in your mind, I'm afraid there's little more to be said. You're not thinking straight, nor Christologically.



Overall, you seem to have difficulty with saying "Jesus has a human body and Jesus is omnipresent" in the same sentence and that this is the same as saying that "God has a human body" and "God is omnipresent".

Sorry, I don't know what this means. The "and that this is the same" is what is confusing - I don't know what the antecedent to "this" is.
Also, I don't know how many times I have to say this. Jesus is not numerically equivalent with God. Jesus is God. Jesus is also man. It is not true to say that God is Jesus, b/c that's not all God is. God is also Father and Holy Spirit. Just slapping the label "Nestorian" on me b/c you've been taught to and can't think for yourself is not a good rational justification to do so, sorry.



you seem to have difficulty with saying "Jesus has a human body and Jesus is omnipresent"

That's b/c (irony of ironies) *I* happen to believe that Jesus is God AND man at the same time. You know, one person, two natures, that whole Hypostatic Union thing that you apparently either don't understand or hold a heretical view of (it's hard to tell which). How can a man be omnipresent? I take it seriously when the Bible says that He took on flesh (sarx) and was thus found in the form of a man.



You may also be struggling with the distinction between person and nature

Said the guy who apparently can't distinguish between talking about Jesus and God when discussing Incarnational topics.


How do you know the Scriptures speak of what actually happened with Christ between His baptism and His ascension? Did you see it happen?

B/c God said it.
No, I didn't see it. Strangely enough, when God speaks, I listen and believe. B/c my heart has been transformed and regenerated to believe the truth.



Why apply a higher standard of trust to the tradition of icons than to the tradition of scriptures, except this displays a prejudice?

Gosh, you know, I'm gonna have to plead guilty to this one. I do happen to hold Scripture on a higher plane of trust and confidence than I do anything else.



We have evidence of the Scriptures from very early and we have evidence that there were icons from very early.

You have NO evidence from the Scr that God approved of the way you deal with icons, and no evidence from the Scr that the images commanded to be included in the tabernacle/Temple were to be prayed TO.
Marcion was also very early. Antiquity does not equal truth.



You accept icons of Christ can be made but not venerated. How do you know that you are not putting up and looking at pictures of Satan?

That's a great question, and one I hadn't considered before. It may indeed be a great reason to think that I was wrong formerly to think it's permissible to allow pictures of Christ.
See how that goes? You hold a position, someone makes an argument that breaks it down, and then wonder of wonders, you give it up. I commend the practice to you.



Yes, we venerate Him not His flesh when He is standing there. By the same logic, we are venerating Him and not the icon when when kiss an icon of Him

The disconnect in thought you display is amazing. When you kiss an icon, Christ is NOT standing right there. That's kind of the point of an icon. Don't be so dense.

zilch said...

Thanks for your kind thoughts, Monk Patrick. I do think a lot (more than I should, in terms of getting around to work, which I also have to do) about these things, and I do try to keep an open mind.

It is unseasonably cold and rainy at the moment in Vienna, but I'm sure it will warm up again soon. Where are you?

Lvka- as you know, I think your ideas are kind of strange. But you are able to laugh at yourself, something many people, religious or not, have trouble with. And your English is really good- I'm jealous. The only Romanian word I never forget is "Ţuică".

cheers to all from cool Vienna, zilch

Viisaus said...

You can spare us from the regurgitations of your weak arguments, Lvka - especially since you do not answer to my points like the council of Elvira and the position of Gregory the Great.


"Or to recall Eusebius' (hostile) testimony about early icons of the Apostles"

Let's see what he actually wrote:

"4. Nor is it strange that those of the Gentiles who, of old, were benefited by our Saviour, should have done such things, since we have learned also that the likenesses of his apostles Paul and Peter, and of Christ himself, are preserved in paintings, the ancients being accustomed, as it is likely, according to a habit of the Gentiles, to pay this kind of honor indiscriminately to those regarded by them as deliverers."

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250107.htm

Putting aside the question whether Eusebius referred to "Gentiles" who were simply grateful to Jesus or actual Christians here, it's clear that he was talking about some DISTANT, EXOTIC, RARE phenomenon. About something that he himself had not seen, but only indirectly heard about ("we have learned").

Far from proving your point, this passage actually proves mine. Eusebius certainly was not describing the veneration of images (whoever was doing it) as the common practice of the church of his own times, but as an exotic rarity.


"Do you want me to quote from the Talmud, about Rabbis who didn't forbid their congregations to adorn the pillars of their local synagogues with sacred images?"

What nonsense. The ancient Jews did not have anything remotely corresponding to the EO cult of icons. You just keep dishonestly calling all artistic depictions as "icons."

Lvka said...

V.,


if I can "spare" you the "regurgitations" of my "weak" arguments, than I guess you can probably do the same..

The woman with the issue of blood was a Christian, and so were the Gentiles to whom the entire Pauline corpus (including Luke and Acts, but excluding Hebrews) is addressed.

The synagogue and church of Dura-Europos was not "4th century", it was late-2nd-to-early-3rd century.

Second Temple, 1st century: icons; Dura-Europos, 2nd-to-3rd century: icons; Talmud, 2nd-to-5th century: icons; 6th century synagogue: icons; etc. -- it's not looking good for you, V.!


------------------------------

Elvira: an exagerated synod in many aspects:

- it was not enough that neophytes should not become priests, they said that no convert should ever become a priest: by this logic, no Apostle, or early bishop, or early priest was worthy of being either Apostle, or bishop, or priest (since they were all converts, either from Judaism, or from the Nations).

- it was not enough that priests or bishops should abstain from their wives on the days in which they serve at the Altar of God (as was also the case in the OT), but that they should be completely celibate: by this logic a great many of the Holy Apostles, early bishops, and early priests were unworthy of being either Apostles, or bishops, or priests.

- it was not enough to fulfill the second commandment [given by God to Moses], it was also demanded that we pretend that Exodus 25:18 or 26:1 [*also* given by God to Moses] weren't part of the Bible.

Lvka said...

something that he himself had not seen, but only indirectly heard about ("we have learned")


He wasn't 300 years old, if that's what you mean.

Viisaus said...

Lvka, you keep flauting your flimsy evidence as it were incontrovertible rather than very questionable.

Show me any scholarly expert - who is not an EO apologist - who would call the 4th century Christian pictures as “icons.” Or would call Dura-Europos images as icons, or think that those Jews religiously venerated those pictures the same way EOs do theirs.

Against all your obfuscation I must still remind you that "icon" is a very specific theological term for EOs, and it’s mere equivocation to say that any piece of art in the church counts as an icon. For example, Carolingian Renaissance-era Franks richly decorated their churches and still contemptuously rejected the doctrine of 2nd Nicaea.

I cite famous church historian August Neander (who was no fundie Bible-thumper and showed considerable courtesy and understanding towards the arguments of Byzantine iconodules):

http://www.archive.org/details/generalhistoryc03torrgoog

pp. 291-292

“In the course of the fourth century, men began, by degrees, to decorate the churches also with images — a practice, however, which did not become general until near the close of this century. 6

6. In the sermons delivered by Chrysostom at Constantinople, as well as at Antioch, there is not to be found — though he frequently alludes in his figures, metaphors, and comparisons, to the manners and customs of his time — any reference to images in the churches.”

And the 4th century church art that did exist was still merely decorative – as John Haldon says, veneration or worship of images did not really appear until the 6th century.


Even the 2nd Nicene council itself (which btw did not hesitate to cite church fathers brazenly out of context, or even appeal to forged works) could not or would not find any church father earlier than 4th century to quote in support of image-worship! Citing Mendham:

pp. lii-liii

“To find proof from Scripture and the fathers for image-worship was the work especially of the Fourth Session ... Of the proofs brought forward, whether in the Second or Fourth Session, we may take the following account as given in Care's "Historia Literaria.”* He enumerates them in the following order:

— (1). He observes that no treatise of any father previous to the fourth century is quoted, so that the practice of image-worship failed in being proved very primitive: since not one testimony in its favour can be found for three hundred years together.”

http://www.archive.org/details/seventhgeneralc00mendgoog

This is admittedly an argument from silence, but a powerful one: why didn’t the 2nd Nicene council bother to cite any pre-Constantinian era church father in support of their position – or were they simply unable to?

Monk Patrick said...

Alan,

It seems we are getting closer to your theological problem in the incarnation.

That's b/c (irony of ironies) *I* happen to believe that Jesus is God AND man at the same time. You know, one person, two natures, that whole Hypostatic Union thing that you apparently either don't understand or hold a heretical view of (it's hard to tell which). How can a man be omnipresent? I take it seriously when the Bible says that He took on flesh (sarx) and was thus found in the form of a man.

The question "How can a man be omnipresent?" is the key to your incarnation theology being incorrect. You correctly say that Jesus is God and man. Then you asked the rhetorical question above, which derives from the argument that Jesus is man, man in not omnipresent, therefore Jesus is not omnipresent. However, God is omnipresent and Jesus is God, so Jesus is omnipresent. So, Jesus must be both omnipresent an not omnipresent. This is the logic why many could not accept that Jesus was the incarnate Son of God. Your solution effectively means that Jesus stops being God or that we have a new combined nature where God is limited by humanity, or that Jesus is a human person distinct from a divine person, the Son of God. None of these options is acceptable.

The truth we must accept, whether we understand it or not, is that when the Son of God became incarnate He did not change nor become confused between man and God. Thus, He remained omnipresent even though He was found in a time/space body. The union did not limit His divinity. If we wish to avoid the contradiction above then we need to accept that being man does not limit being omnipresent. In a manner man can participate in being omnipresent, which matches us becoming partakers of divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4)

Monk Patrick said...

Vissaus,

You are confusing two issues. One is the tradition of images of Christ and Saints to confirm their accuracy of portrayal and that of venerating the images. There is evidence of images being used from very early suggesting that the images were likely to be accurate depictions of Christ and the Saints by eye-witnesses. The creation of images was in itself considered a means of honouring/venerating the Saints so depicted and so there is reason to believe that the images would be faithfully preserved. There is another issue about whether the acts of kissing, incensing, lighting candles before, and bowing down before were done from the beginning or developed later. The evidence of Lucian, is aimed at proving the former issue, which is to counter the claim that images of Saints were only made later and so could not be accurate of early Saints.

Monk Patrick said...

Viisaus,

Sorry to misspell your name as Vissaus.

Monk Patrick said...

Zilch,

I am in New Zealand at present.

zilch said...

Cool. I'd love to go there someday.

Lucian said...

V.,


my "flaunty" evidence are church- and synagogue-buildings with their walls wholly-covered in sacred images, from both before and after C-tine.


And the descendants of those Franks you keep mentioning like a mantra venerate icons (which would be dubious, since the two Churches broke off soon afterwards: why not add lack-of-icon-veneration along with the papacy and the filioque to their long list of historical heresies, if that was indeed their honestly-held faith? Hmmm?)

Lucian said...

And there's also one more thing you haven't really thought through:

Monophysites and Nestorians also have icons in their churches, they venerate relics and crosses, etc:

since they broke off with us some hundreds of years *prior* to the Council of Niceea II, or even the 6th century, when --according to your sources-- icons became kinda normative, don't you think this to be just a *little* bit odd? :-\

John said...

" or think that those Jews religiously venerated those pictures the same way EOs do theirs."

So you admit they venerated them, just in a different way? :-)

I've yet to meet a Protestant who doesn't venerate icons. They are just very stand-backish while they do it. :-)

Now the descendants of those Jews, they venerate everything they can find, kissing their torah, and their prayer shawls etc. If it sits still, they kiss it. Be odd if these were the one things they didn't kiss.

Rhology said...

So, Jesus must be both omnipresent an not omnipresent.

Or, we could conclude that Jesus is omnipresent in His Spirit (ie, in the Holy Spirit), and NOT in His body, b/c human bodies are not omnipresent.
See, this is the exercise known as "harmonisation", wherein you take 2 true things and put them together to make sense of BOTH of them. This is how you avoid heresy; in your case, you're expressing monophysite thought. I'm quite interested in avoiding both that and Nestorian extremes, which is why I hold to what I hold to. You'd recognise this if you weren't so wedded to your ridiculous precommitments to iconolatric thought and EO Eucharistic thought.


This is the logic why many could not accept that Jesus was the incarnate Son of God.

Like whom? From reading the NT, it would appear that the Jews "looked for a sign" (ie, just one more sign, b/c their hearts were hard) and the Greeks looked for human wisdom.



Your solution effectively means that Jesus stops being God or that we have a new combined nature where God is limited by humanity

Read Philippians 2:6-8 recently? Does the word "kenosis" ring a bell?


when the Son of God became incarnate He did not change nor become confused between man and God.

So why are you making Him, Who is a man, omnipresent in His physicality?


The union did not limit His divinity

Correct. He limited Himself and restricted the independent exercise of His divine prerogatives.
But yet He was one person with two natures, and one of those natures is human, and humans aren't omnipresent. Take BOTH and find the truth.

Monk Patrick said...

Alan,

We are talking about the person of the Son of God, or Jesus, the omnipresence of the person of the Holy Spirit is not relevant on this matter and implies a confusion of the essence and persons of the Holy Trinity to consider that it is relevant.

The omnipresent God united to a time/space man was one of the key matters that the Greeks couldn't accept by their human wisdom.

Philippians 2:6-8 does not say that God stopped being God but that He humbled Himself to also become man and to die for our sake. This in Greek terms was an incredible act from God to be so great and yet so humble as to become a man, especially one who died.

I said Christ is omnipresent in His divinity. Rather it seems that you are confused because you cannot believe that humanity can participate in the divine nature contrary to Scripture (2 Peter 1:4). On what basis are you defining humanity as being defined by being not omnipresent to be human rather than that at present when are limited in time/space but this is not necessarily the permanent state of humanity nor something which is necessary to be human?

The omnipresence of the Son of God is not merely a divine prerogative but something He is because He is God. To restrict/limit His omnipresence would be to deny Himself, which He cannot do (2 Tim 2:13). You are in danger of a type of monophysite belief but with God being absorbed into humanity rather than humanity into divinity.

Vox Veritatis said...

Monk Patrick,

As the author of the essay, I have stated how "have" is to be understood.

In the essay, I found no place where you explicitly defined what it means for an icon to "have" a hypostasis. So what do you mean? Does "have" mean merely to depict a likeness, or does it mean that the hypostasis is present in the icon?

The connection problem is still a matter of confusing nature and person. You are trying to connect the nature of the person to the icon as well as the person.

You've made this assertion on a number of occasions. Please demonstrate its validity.

The tradition, sets of instructions, of how to represent each Saint and the name on an icon overcome most of your proposed problems, especially Imperfect and Ambiguous. The Change of referent is overcome because it is of a saint who is eternally with Christ, even though his body is yet to be resurrected. Thus, the Saint does not change. The Ignorance Referent is also overcome by tradition.

In contrast to my paragraphs of discourse explaining how iconic representation is beset by these problems, your four sentences do not explain how these problems are overcome, but merely assert that they are. I would echo Rhology's comments on this one - perhaps you could demonstrate to the rest of us, by example, how your assertions hold.

Furthermore, I raised a number of general questions concerning the nature of representation in my discourse on the four problems, which you have not answered. If representation in general can overcome these problems, then aren't there answers to these questions? If not, why is iconic representation such a special case? By your own words, however, it appears that iconic representation is not a special case, for you say that "It is the energies...that connect the prototype to the image because of the hypostatic likeness" (emphasis mine). If this is the case, then the four problems apply at a general level, and to evade them without answering them at this level is to engage in special pleading.

An icon does not need to be exact but only have enough features that with the name are sufficient to identify the Saint.

Once again, this is viciously circular. This assumes you know the features in the first place, in order to evaluate the accuracy of the icon. But you only know these features from the icons themselves.

The name is an essential feature and the key to confirming the identity of the Saint, although a number of Saints are clearly recognisable by their features and dress.

Once again, this is viciously circular. Furthermore, the name on the icon says nothing about the accuracy of the icon's representation. It denotes what the icon is intended to represent, not what it actually succeeds in representing.

Because Saints are known by God, the Holy Spirit's presence also helps to maintain the identity of the Saint

How does the Holy Spirit "help"? Does the saint contribute some amount to maintaining his own identity?

the Holy Spirit's presence also helps to ensure the "connection" of the image to the Saint.

I can see how this a nice ad hoc addition to buttress a failing theory, but I don't see any fundamental or authoritative basis upon which such a claim is based.

Vox Veritatis said...

Some of your reasons are not valid even in the case of secular images. An image of a famous battle is still an image of that battle even though the battle is no longer happening. It retains its connection to the historical event even as a memory.

You are conflating doxastic and ontological representation. Your comment, in this case, is consistent with my position, in that representation is merely doxastic. Representations reference thoughts of objects, not objects of thought. Of course, to say that the painting represents (beyond a mere doxastic sense) what once was an actual objects begs the question of how accurate the painting is in the first place. Most battlefield paintings are filled with artistic liberties that have nothing to do with the event in question. So if the painting doesn't represent the event as it happened, how does it actually represent the event itself, if representation is not merely doxastic?

If representation is merely doxastic, then there are no "connections" between representations and their referents, and thus no "connection" between a saint and his icon. If representation is ontological, there are "connections", but only with things that exist. The two are incompatible. So what is the nature of representation, in general, and iconic representation, in particular: doxastic, or ontological?

By the way, even the word "represent" is consistent with my position, so if icons are merely representative by definition they present the subject, that is make them present.

I defined two forms of representation. To which do you refer here? Furthermore, what do you mean by "make them present"? So if I look at a painting of an object that doesn't exist (say of the creature Pegasus), is that object present? How so? How can something that doesn't exist be "made present"?

What do you mean by "whole being"

I define whole being as the sum of the attributes of an entity, both essential and personal. How do you define it? If you have a problem with my definition, then demonstrate that it to leads to a logical contradiction in my position.

You are also assuming that the being contains the person rather than the person containing the being. So your statement is not saying anything, that is what is predicable of a person is predicable of a person himself doesn't tell us anything and hence the rest of the argument cannot stand.

Committing the fallacy of equivocation on the term "being", your argument cannot stand.

Venerating the person of Satan does not venerate Christ because he is a different person

But is not Christ present in the person of Satan? Or does the person of Satan subsist on its own, independent of Christ? If Christ is present in X, then Christ can be venerated in X, right? Or if not, then why does the principle apply to icons, and not to other things sustained by God? This is a case of special pleading.

Vox Veritatis said...

This statement only makes sense if you assume that the veneration is given to the flesh of Christ, His nature, rather than the person (Christ), otherwise you are simply saying venerating Christ is venerating Christ Himself. This latter is what the Orthodox would say, so that whatever the context of the veneration, venerating Christ is venerating Christ Himself.

Your position, as far as I can tell, leaves ambiguous the question of how something is done to a person. Persons are not interacted with abstractly, but through the nature(s) that they possess. The person of Thomas did not worship the person of Christ directly, but rather Thomas, in the capacity of his humanity (i.e., through his body) paid homage to Christ, which was directed to Christ, in the capacity of His human nature (i.e. to His body). Furthermore, whenever something is done to the living body (possessed by a specific person), whatever is done to the body is also said to be done to the person who possesses that body. If I shake your hand, I have technically interacted with your body in a certain manner. Yet, because what is predicable of the person, qua a specific nature, is predicable of the person himself, then if I shake your hand, I have greeted you, the person, and not merely done something to your body. You say quite often that my theology confuses person with nature. Rather, my theology makes sense of the distinction, while it seems to me that yours is ambiguous, leading to various nonsensical propositions. If persons do not interact with other persons through the natures they possess, then perhaps you can explain the principles by which such interactions occur?

Vox Veritatis said...

Monk Patrick,

In addition, you've made some comments to Rhology, regarding the Incarnation, that I have questions about.

If Jesus is God then saying "God took" or "Jesus took" is the same thing, it is the same person.

Is God a person? The orthodox doctrine is that God is a Trinity, a unity of three persons. If God is a trinity, then how is saying "God took" and "Jesus took" the same thing? This only makes sense if one is a unitarian.

You also said:

Your response completely misses the point and raises further potential problems with the statement that "Jesus isn't numerically equivalent to God." One Jesus, One God.

Given these statements above, consider the following arguments, which rely upon the idea that Jesus is identical to (or numerically equivalent to) God:

1. Jesus is God
2. Jesus was tempted.
3. Therefore God was tempted.

Yet, by James 1:13, God cannot be tempted. Hence, a contradiction, if Jesus is identical to God.

1. Jesus is God.
2. Jesus died.
3. Therefore, God died.

So God died? Who resuscitated God, if God died? Is there someone greater than God to resuscitate God when God dies?

1. Jesus is God.
2. Jesus has a body.
3. Therefore, God has a body.

Yet, Jesus said that "God is spirit" (Jn. 4:24). Was He wrong?

1. Jesus is God.
2. The Father is God.
3. The Holy Spirit is God.
4. Therefore, Jesus is the Father.
5. Therefore, Jesus is the Holy Spirit.
6. Therefore, the Father is Jesus.
7. Therefore, the Father is the Holy Spirit.
8. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is the Father.
9. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is Jesus.

This makes nonsense of the Trinity, and reduces to unitarian modalism.

Of course, if "Jesus is God" is a form of essential predication, instead of a statement of identity, then none of the arguments above are valid. But then again, if "Jesus is God" is a form of essential predication, then it doesn't follow that "God took" and "Jesus took" mean the same thing. If "Jesus is God" is a statement of identity, then the absurd conclusions of the above arguments follow, though in that case "God took" and "Jesus took" do mean the same thing. The dilemma is simple: either the argument against Rhology for his supposed "Nestorian-ness" fails, or one is left with theological absurdities.

John said...

"It denotes what the icon is intended to represent, not what it actually succeeds in representing."

You haven't shown us how there could possibly be any distinction here. Are there protestant churches out there with crosses on the steeple that were intended to represent the cross of Christ, but actually they made a mistake and they don't? Of course not.

Lvka said...

Vox,


why do you keep searching for answers to questions in which you personally don't believe in, nor could you ever actually believe them, because they make no sense?


How do you know that the words of the Bible, in some demonic or long-extinct language, don't mean somehting completely different? Maybe even something evil?


You say that grace is a gift, and so is justification, and health, and so on.. but "Gift" means poison in German.. so you've been basically blaspheming against your Creator all this time, by calling His presents to you poisonous, which would then make God a serpent, which is a symbol of the evil one, making you subsequently a devil-worshipper, etc.


Seriously: why *DO* you keep on asking such nonsensical questions?

John said...

"If God is a trinity, then how is saying "God took" and "Jesus took" the same thing?"

Because you failed to read Monk Patrick in context. He said "IN THIS CONTEXT because it is clear that we are speaking of the divine person who was incarnated for us."

"Of course, if "Jesus is God" is a form of essential predication, instead of a statement of identity, then none of the arguments above are valid."

It doesn't have to be one or the other. If I say "The President did XYZ", that tends to be a statement about the identity of someone, even though devoid of context, we could be confused about whether it is Clinton or Bush or Obama. It can refer to identity and it can refer to predication. And we know this because the bible does both.

Monk Patrick said...

Vox,

The word "has" does not mean either of the options that you put forward. Please read my explanation again.

The four sentences were explanations and not assertions. The word "because" indicates this. The answer I provided, I believe, was sufficient to cover all the issues you raised. Most of your questions come from a couple of assumptions and it isn't necessary to deal with each question.

You assert that we only know the features from the icons themselves. Prove this. I argued that the tradition of the features coming from those who knew them counters your claim. You have not proven that this tradition cannot exist.

The Holy Spirit is given to the Church to lead us to all truth (cf. John 16:13). Icons are a form of truth so within the scope of the Spirit's role in the Church.

You are asking me to fit to your categories of doxastic and ontological representation. Prove that this is necessary because they provide a false framework for the situation.

What ambiguity is there in what I said about person and being? I argued that your understanding of the relation between person and being is wrong and so your argument fails. You made no counter argument but merely asserted "equivocation".

The Father is in the Son and the Son in the Father so is the person of the Father the same as the Son? No, they are different. So, the person of Satan is not that of Christ, even if Christ is in Satan.

We are communicating through a medium that is neither of our natures but I am communicating with you and not the computer, nor the air nor wires etc.

All your logical arguments are fallacious. It is true to say A is B and B is C, therefore A is C. But it is not necessarily true to say A is B, A is C so A is C. E.g. The apple is red and the apple is edible does not mean that red is edible, except is was as far as of that apple. Or the apple is red, the apple was eaten doesn't mean that red was eaten, except only as far it was of that apple. This is the form of your logical arguments.

Jesus died, does not mean the divine nature died but that His human nature died. So, what if Satan tried to tempt God? However, he did so because he thought that Jesus was merely a man and therefore could be tempted in his human not divine nature. Jesus has a body means that God has a body as far as the person of Jesus is concerned. Jesus took means that same as God took as far as the person of Jesus, who is God, is concerned.

Monk Patrick said...

Vox,

You accept that Jesus is God. You also accept that Jesus is man. So, God is man and man is God? Why?

Rhology said...

Lvka,

How do you know that the words of the Bible, in some demonic or long-extinct language, don't mean somehting completely different? Maybe even something evil?

Please. How do you know that the words of the EOC, in some demonic or long-extinct language, don't mean somehting completely different? Maybe even something evil? Why *DO* you keep on asking such nonsensical questions?



Monk Patrick,

You assert that we only know the features from the icons themselves. Prove this.

We can know features from the icons themselves, b/c the icons represent sthg, communicate sthg artistically.
It is up to YOU to demonstrate some other means of knowing the features of the referents. Please do so.



I argued that the tradition of the features coming from those who knew them counters your claim. You have not proven that this tradition cannot exist.

It's not up to us to prove a negative, but up to you to demonstrate the assertion. We've both asked you once; I now ask again - please give 3 specific examples of 3 icons in which "tradition" overcomes this problem. Be specific, and cite your "tradition"al sources.



Icons are a form of truth so within the scope of the Spirit's role in the Church.

Special pleading.



What ambiguity is there in what I said about person and being?

He already explained that. Simply asking the same question and ignoring his explanation doesn't get you anywhere.



The Father is in the Son and the Son in the Father so is the person of the Father the same as the Son? No, they are different. So, the person of Satan is not that of Christ, even if Christ is in Satan.

But the Father is not in the Son in the sense of comingling of natures. Or persons. Rather, it's a mystical bond, in purpose, love, coequality, since they share the same divine essence. Each is one person who has the divine nature (ousios) of God.
I don't even know why you said "even if Christ is in Satan". What does that mean? Where have we said that? For that matter, where does EO theology say that?
Rather, we've been trying to explain to you how your ignorance of the referent of the icon makes your defenses of iconolatry untenable, for one thing b/c you can never be sure whether the picture you're bowing down to and worshiping isn't actually a picture of Satan disguised as an angel of light.



So, what if Satan tried to tempt God?

Satan DID try to tempt God. Tried and failed. Jesus is God, tempting Jesus is tempting God.
It's not the same to say, however, that tempting God is tempting Jesus. You have to be more specific the other way around.
(It's also true to say that Satan tempted the man, Jesus. But Jesus is one person, so both are true. You don't seem to get this, and I think that's strange since you're a monk; I'd assume that monks are supposed to have some sort of theological education.)



However, he did so because he thought that Jesus was merely a man and therefore could be tempted in his human not divine nature.

Scripture gives no indication what Satan's motivations and thoughts were concerning his tempting Jesus.



Jesus has a body means that God has a body as far as the person of Jesus is concerned.

No, Jesus has a body and that means that Jesus has a body. To say "God has a body" is to make a more sweeping statement leading to the absurd position that the Father became incarnate and the Holy Spirit became incarnate. You're not a Mormon - try again.



You accept that Jesus is God. You also accept that Jesus is man. So, God is man and man is God?

No. Vox already explained all that; maybe you should read his comments again.

Monk Patrick said...

Alan,

The icons of Christ, Peter and Paul are three examples from Eusebius. Such evidence has already been given in this thread.

Rhology said...

There are several mentions of Eusebius in this thread, all of which have been effectively rebutted by Viisaus.

I only see one mention of it from you, in this comment.
I asked YOU the question, and it was actually quite specific.


Just so you remember the specific question, it went like this:

Vox Veritatis said:
However, a person coming along years later who has never personally met the subject, or seen what he looks like, will not be able to know that the painting actually represents that particular person...How does one actually know that the icons represent that which they are supposed to represent? Call this the problem of The Ignorance of the Referent.

Monk Patrick said:
The Ignorance Referent is also overcome by tradition.

I'd like to ask you to take 3 icons of your choosing, and then point out and quote precisely in "tradition" where and how that problem is overcome. Do it in real life.
Please include how you know that that "tradition" you're citing is Sacred Apostolic Tradition.


So what I'm asking you to do is to prove how your citation of tradition answers that particular question. Also, I didn't see any particular citation of Eusebius on your part, nor an answer to the 2nd part of the question.

Lvka said...

Rho,


I'm glad we agree that that sort of questioning is stupid.

Rhology said...

Then why did you ask the stupid question?

Lvka said...

To show Vox how senseless his line of reasoning and questioning was.

Rhology said...

Every time I think you might have, maybe, hit the bottom of irrationality, you dig a little deeper. You're amazing.

Lvka said...

What's so irrational about showing someone how convoluted and self-contradictory his line of thinking is?

Vox Veritatis said...

John,

You haven't shown us how there could possibly be any distinction here. Are there protestant churches out there with crosses on the steeple that were intended to represent the cross of Christ, but actually they made a mistake and they don't?

Did you read my posts last week? Perhaps you should read them again, but more carefully. If an icon fails to have the same visual features as the subject it claims to represent, then it fails to represent its intended referent. This falls under the problems of Imperfect Representation, Change of the Referent, and Ambiguous Referent. That is, of course, unless you want to claim that visual features are irrelevant to what icons represent, and all that matters is the name on the icon.

Protestants do not claim that a particular cross on a steeple is an accurate representation of the actual cross of Christ, since many are likely the wrong color, size, texture, etc, not to mention that we have no knowledge of the exact original set of visual features possessed by the actual cross. Protestant practice in this regard is consistent with my position on doxastic representation. It is certainly opposed to ontological representation, since protestants do not claim that the actual cross is somehow present in the cross on the steeple.

He said "IN THIS CONTEXT because it is clear that we are speaking of the divine person who was incarnated for us."

So are you willing to accept the premise that insisting upon distinguishing between Jesus and God does not imply Nestorianism?

It can refer to identity and it can refer to predication.

If this is true, then there are instances in which "Jesus is God" is a statement of identity, and in those instances, the above absurdities follow. Thus, there are instances where God died, has a body, was tempted, and is not a Trinity. Is this what you are meaning to imply?

Vox Veritatis said...

Monk Patrick,

The word "has" does not mean either of the options that you put forward. Please read my explanation again.

I'll repeat what I said last time - where does your essay define explicitly what it means for an icon to "have" a hypostasis? Are you averse to defining your terms, or do you simply wish to leave the rest of us in the dark as to what you are talking about?

The answer I provided, I believe, was sufficient to cover all the issues you raised. Most of your questions come from a couple of assumptions and it isn't necessary to deal with each question.

Given that you don't even explain how this is the case, it is hard to believe that your previous explanation was "sufficient" in any meaningful sense.

You assert that we only know the features from the icons themselves. Prove this. I argued that the tradition of the features coming from those who knew them counters your claim.

Show me another means by which you know what those features are (that is, another source that displays the visual features, and asserts the person to whom they belong). If there are none, then you only know those features from the icons themselves. Hence the circularity.

The Holy Spirit is given to the Church to lead us to all truth (cf. John 16:13). Icons are a form of truth so within the scope of the Spirit's role in the Church.

How and why are icons a form of truth? Because they faithfully represent the visual features of the apostles? This is simply begging the question again.

You are asking me to fit to your categories of doxastic and ontological representation. Prove that this is necessary because they provide a false framework for the situation.

This would be clear if you would interact with the paragraphs on the subject that I posted last week. As it is, you've simply engaged in an exercise of hand-waving, asserting vague generalities that do not address the details of the questions that I've raised. Deal with the details of my discourse on the subject, and if it is still unclear how this is the case, then I'll be happy to try to explain it in even more detail.

The Father is in the Son and the Son in the Father so is the person of the Father the same as the Son? No, they are different. So, the person of Satan is not that of Christ, even if Christ is in Satan.

The question is not that of identity, but of that by which Christ can be venerated. Earlier, you said that "we can venerate Christ through all His creation". Satan is a creation of Christ, and Christ sustains the existence of Satan. So why is not Christ venerable through Satan? If He is not, then this is a case of special pleading.

We are communicating through a medium that is neither of our natures but I am communicating with you and not the computer, nor the air nor wires etc.

And this is an explanation for what? This simply begs the question of how the communication gets from the medium to the person himself. What is the process by which this occurs? Do you have an answer as to how persons interact with persons, or do you just have vague generalities that do not address the details involved?

All your logical arguments are fallacious...

Do you understand the difference between essential predication and a statement of identity? Do you understand what it means when I say Of course, if "Jesus is God" is a form of essential predication, instead of a statement of identity, then none of the arguments above are valid?

Vox Veritatis said...

Lucian,

What's so irrational about showing someone how convoluted and self-contradictory his line of thinking is?

This assumes, of course, that you actually understand what my line of thinking is - an assumption that I would not grant at present.

Lvka said...

So ... the fact that the devil might appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) did not stop God from commanding Moses to make images of golden cherubim, but it should stop us from making images of Saints or taking pictures of our grannies, because --WHO KNOWS?-- the devil might've appeared once in a likeness similar to St. X or uncle Joe!

Viisaus said...

"Earlier, you said that "we can venerate Christ through all His creation". Satan is a creation of Christ, and Christ sustains the existence of Satan. So why is not Christ venerable through Satan?"

Let us remember that some significant EO teachers have been fond of universalism. Gregory of Nyssa thought that eventually even Satan would be saved.

So finally even Satan could join EO list of saved saints. Sympathy for the devil!

Viisaus said...

Lvka, since you like to harp on about those Cherubim, here's something for you from Tertullian (Against Marcion, 2:22):

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/03122.htm

"Likewise, when forbidding the similitude to be made of all things which are in heaven, and in earth, and in the waters, He declared also the reasons, as being prohibitory of all material exhibition of a latent idolatry. For He adds: “You shall not bow down to them, nor serve them.” The form, however, of the brazen serpent which the Lord afterwards commanded Moses to make, afforded no pretext for idolatry, but was meant for the cure of those who were plagued with the fiery serpents. Numbers 21:8-9 I say nothing of what was figured by this cure. Thus, too, the golden Cherubim and Seraphim were purely an ornament in the figured fashion of the ark; adapted to ornamentation for reasons totally remote from all condition of idolatry, on account of which the making a likeness is prohibited; and they are evidently not at variance with this law of prohibition, because they are not found in that form of similitude, in reference to which the prohibition is given."


And something from Clement of Alexandria as well (Stromata, 5:6):

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/02105.htm

"But it signifies the repose which dwells with the adoring spirits, which are meant by the cherubim.

For He who prohibited the making of a graven image, would never Himself have made an image in the likeness of holy things. Nor is there at all any composite thing, and creature endowed with sensation, of the sort in heaven. But the face is a symbol of the rational soul, and the wings are the lofty ministers and energies of powers right and left; and the voice is delightsome glory in ceaseless contemplation."

In other words, Clement saw the cherubim as generally symbolical figures - that is, not as depictions of actual PERSONS (which idea is so important for iconolaters).

Lvka said...

The Cherubim are real persons, though angelic, not human; they're not mere symbols. Nor are demons mere personifications or concepts of evil, as some would like to think. Hellenism reduces persons to concepts or ideas, as is evident in Clement and Origen of Alexandria in Egypt. Tertullian was also an African, from Carthage.

John said...

Vox: Icons are very deliberately NOT realistic. Whether it be the false perspective, or the often smaller eyes and mouth, the aim is not accuracy but to provide a spiritual representation. Objections about realism are about as meaningless to us as an objection that Picasso is not realistic or that his paintings don't represent what he claims they do.

If you don't admit that "Jesus is God" can be both identity and predication, you refute the trinity, because the bible usually uses "God" as a form of identity rather than predication. If "God" can only refer to one person, or if it can only refer to the entirety of the trinity, then the bible doesn't teach the trinity, because that's not how it uses the word God. It often uses the word God as identity whilst only referring to one person.

I point you back to the President example, which you haven't dealt with. It's a matter of context.

Monk Patrick said...

Vox,

Sorry, I had not read that part of your argument with enough care and you had rightly pointed out the invalidity of your logic. However, your argument still doesn't refute that one can say 'Jesus took' and then 'God took on humanity' or 'Jesus healed' and 'God healed'. We can modify this into human situations e.g. 'Fred took' replaced with 'a man took' is perfectly valid. The difference being in the latter case I said "a man" rather than just "man" to specify that a particular instance or hypostasis of man did such and such. With God the situation is different. I could have said that 'Jesus took' so 'a God took' but "a God" would point to one God among many. However, there is only one God. The logic for human instances breaks down when we apply it to God because God is Unity in Trinity. The Father is completely God, so is the Son and so is the Holy Spirit without this causing a confusion of the persons. It is wrong to say God is the sum of the three persons and it is correct to say Jesus is God in identity as well as predicate, while saying the Father is God and the Holy Spirit is God in the same manner and yet this does not mean that the Son is the same person as the Father or the Holy Spirt nor the Holy Spirit is the same person as the Father.

When we speak of Jesus then we need to distinguish natures, such as Jesus dies in his humanity not in his divinity. While Jesus was talking to the Samaritan woman next to the well in His humanity, He was omnipresent in His divinity. It is the same person Jesus in both cases. Jesus can still be identified to God without the logic presented causing a problem because He has two natures.

Monk Patrick said...

Vox,

The essay was written for a different audience than yourself, so it was not tailored to you as an audience, which explains why there was no definition of something that the intended audience would and did understand. I offered the essay to Alan to provide a summary of St Theodore's arguments against icons to help prepare the groundwork for this discussion, not as an argument tailored to your particular objections. Again, the phrase 'have the same hypostasis' means (that is, I am now defining it again for you) to 'have the same hypostasis as the subject of its image' and it also can mean to 'have the same hypostatic image', that is the image seen in the body of Christ, as it was seen and touched by the Apostles, corresponds to that seen in the icon. This is reflected in the use later in the paragraph.

Tradition begins from those who had seen Christ or Saints and then painted their image from the visual image stored in their memory. This tradition is then continued through faithfully copying icons. We know that this occurred from the earliest days because the the testimony of Eusebius.

Regarding communication between persons, I mentioned the computer, etc because it was a means of communicating without both parties being physically in the presence of each other, so, veneration can also be given to someone who is not physically present. This was to counter the argument that the difference between venerating Christ standing before us and in an icon is that in the former case Christ is physically present in His human nature, and this is what makes veneration permissible. We know that God and angels can communicate without a physical body or without using a physical means of communicating. We may not know how but we know it is possible, else all our prayers are also useless unless you claim that God is physically present when you pray to Him. Thus, there is nothing in terms of communication "links" between persons nor the need for the physical presence, that prohibits veneration of a Saint represented in an icon from passing to the person of the Saint.

Why is Satan not venerable through Satan? First we venerate persons and to venerate Satan means to venerate his person, which of course would be contrary to venerating the person of Christ. Seeing the logoi of the Logos (that is seeing Christ) in the angelic nature of Satan does not mean venerating the person of Satan but passes back to the person of Christ, from Whom logoi are sourced.

Rhology said...

Why is Satan not venerable through Satan? First we venerate persons and to venerate Satan means to venerate his person, which of course would be contrary to venerating the person of Chri

(I assume you mean "Why is Christ not venerable through Satan?")

Why is Christ not venerable through the creation? First we venerate persons and to venerate the creation means to venerate it, which of course would be contrary to venerating the person of Christ.

In other words, uh oh, you forgot your own argument.

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