Limbo and the fate of unbaptised
#11
(10-04-2017, 11:31 AM)BC Wrote:
(10-04-2017, 03:36 AM)Ravenonthecross Wrote: I have had Eastern Orthodox friends debate me saying that it is unjust and unmerciful for those unbaptised or who perish with only original sin on their souls to go to Hell. Yet, the Council of Florence dogmatically states that "those with mortal sin or in original sin only, go to Hell; although to be punished with varying punishments." I have had Catholic friends become Orthodox over this. This is a major issue for me as well. How is this remotely just or even merciful for say an unborn, unbaptised child to go to 'Hell' or Limbo; to be deprived forever from God's face through no fault of their own; rather, only through mere unhappy circumstance? :(

Do the Easterners assert that unbaptized children achieve the Beatific Vision by default?

And if so, then what was the point of the Cross? If original sin doesn't keep anyone out of heaven, why did we need a redeemer?
Reply
#12
Original sin is one of those issues where the EO started opposing it in the 19th century just because its development was taken up first by the Latin Fathers (because they were the ones dealing with Pelagianism first).

They never had a problem with St. Augustine or the concept of original sin prior--the Latin position was well known, yet it was never a point of contention (for instance, at the reunion councils it was never an issue that was debated at all, whereas various other much more minor things, like literal purgatorial fire, were).

For example, the EOs explicitly professed it as part of the profession faith issued by their Council of Jerusalem in 1672 (what we would now call a pan-Orthodox council)--they even cite Augustine:

We believe Holy Baptism, which was instituted by the Lord, and is conferred in the name of the Holy Trinity, to be of the highest necessity. For without it none is able to be saved, as the Lord says, “Whoever is not born of water and of the Spirit, shall in no way enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens.” {John 3:5} And, therefore, baptism is necessary even for infants, since they also are subject to original sin, and without Baptism are not able to obtain its remission. Which the Lord showed when he said, not of some only, but simply and absolutely, “Whoever is not born [again],” which is the same as saying, “All that after the coming of Christ the Savior would enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens must be regenerated.” And since infants are men, and as such need salvation, needing salvation they need also Baptism. And those that are not regenerated, since they have not received the remission of hereditary sin, are, of necessity, subject to eternal punishment, and consequently cannot without Baptism be saved. So that even infants should, of necessity, be baptized. Moreover, infants are saved, as is said in Matthew; {Matthew 19:12} but he that is not baptized is not saved. And consequently even infants must of necessity be baptized. And in the Acts {Acts 8:12; 16:33} it is said that the whole houses were baptized, and consequently the infants. To this the ancient Fathers also witness explicitly, and among them Dionysius in his Treatise concerning the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy; and Justin in his fifty-sixth Question, who says expressly, “And they are guaranteed the benefits of Baptism by the faith of those that bring them to Baptism.” And Augustine says that it is an Apostolic tradition, that children are saved through Baptism; and in another place, “The Church gives to babes the feet of others, that they may come; and the hearts of others, that they may believe; and the tongues of others, that they may promise;” and in another place, “Our mother, the Church, furnishes them with a particular heart.”

Now the matter of Baptism is pure water, and no other liquid. And it is performed by the Priest only, or in a case of unavoidable necessity, by another man, provided he is Orthodox, and has the proper intention to Divine Baptism. And the effects of Baptism are, to speak concisely, firstly, the remission of the hereditary transgression, and of any sins of any kind that the baptized may have committed. Secondly, it delivers him from the eternal punishment, to which he was liable, as well for original sin and for mortal sins he may have individually committed. Thirdly, it gives to the person immortality; for in justifying them from past sins, it makes them temples of God. 
http://www.crivoice.org/creeddositheus.html
[Image: catherinesiena-1.jpg]
[-] The following 1 user Likes SaintSebastian's post:
  • BC
Reply
#13
(10-04-2017, 05:14 AM)Ravenonthecross Wrote: Isn't it unjust and unmerciful to deprive a soul from Heaven because they committed no personal sin?

No, because we have no right to heaven, and it can't be unjust for someone not to have what he has no right to. It's only through God's mercy that any of us make it into heaven; if it were only His justice, we all deserve hell.

I see it kind of like this: suppose a man is given a large amount of money, enough to provide everything his family would ever need for generations. But instead of saving it, or investing it wisely, he goes out and spends it all on himself, and gambles excessively, and ends up with nothing. Is it then unjust that his children and grandchildren grow up in poverty, instead of the life they could have had? If it is unjust, then does that mean that have a right to the lifestyle they would have had, and if it's a right, then that means someone has the duty to supply it. But no society expects that, and while Church teaches charity for the poor, we don't have to buy a poor person a mansion and five cars because great-grandpa spent all the money before he was even born. It would be merciful to do so, but it isn't unmerciful not to. The choices and actions of our parents have consequences, and it's no less true with Adam's sin.
Reply
#14
(10-04-2017, 10:35 AM)BC Wrote: St. Augustine expands on this:

"..Before all decision to create the world, the infinite knowledge of God presents to Him all the graces, and different series of graces, which He can prepare for each soul, along with the consent or refusal which would follow in each circumstance, and that in millions of possible combinations ... Thus, for each man in particular there are in the thought of God, limitless possible histories, some histories of virtue and salvation, others of crime and damnation; and God will be free in choosing such a world, such a series of graces, and in determining the future history and final destiny of each soul. And this is precisely what He does when among all possible worlds, by an absolutely free act, he decides to realize the actual world with all the circumstances of its historic evolutions, with all the graces which in fact have been and will be distributed until the end of the world, and consequently with all the elect and all the reprobate who God foresaw would be in it if de facto He created it."  [The Catholic Encyclopedia Appleton, 1909, on Augustine, pg 97]


This is patently absurd when one thinks about it.  If what Augustine said were true, it would mean that of all the possible universes that could have existed, God thought the best one was the one where humanity was fallen and the vast majority would go to hell.  That could only be the best in the mind of a god who actively desires people to burn in hell.  A God who wills that all should be saved would have found to be best one of the potential universes where Adam and Eve never fell, and every human that came into existence likewise rejected temptation at every turn.
Reply
#15
(10-04-2017, 05:14 AM)Ravenonthecross Wrote: Isn't it unjust and unmerciful to deprive a soul from Heaven because they committed no personal sin? They have original sin as  condition into which they were made but had no choice in the matter. Yet, through NO FAULT of their own, they are arbitrarily deprived perpetually of Heaven? Doesn't this notion, like Calvinism, make God into a monster; arbitrarily consigning to Hell those who had no option or choice in the matter? God is just; but He is also merciful.
God's not depriving them of anything, they never had sanctifying grace to begin with and God is under no obligation to give anyone His grace. The state which the unbaptized just are in which we call limbo is probably what humanity would have been like had God never given Adam and Eve grace but continued to hold them in existence. God does not "consign" them anywhere, that is simply their natural state of being. Heaven is the exception to the rule.

It is especially neither unjust nor unmerciful for God is Justice and He is Mercy. Within God Justice and Mercy are the same so its wrong to consider them to be opposite one another or to say that mercy is preferable to justice.

Lastly, under NO circumstances are we to call God a "monster". This is a grave blasphemy and to even consider it proves that you perhaps have a very faulty understanding of God's Will.
Surréxit Dóminus vere, Alleluia!
Reply
#16
(10-04-2017, 11:52 AM)Melkite Wrote: The Eastern understanding is that what the West means by the Beatific Vision is something reserved for God alone, and that no human, even perfectly sinless, sees God in his essence.

I hope that's a mischaracterization of the Eastern notion, because it's heretical.

We have St. Paul, clearly saying we will see God as he is, face to face : "We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known." (1 Cor 13.12).

We have St. John saying : "When He shall appear we shall be like to Him, because we shall see Him as He is." (1 Jn 3.2)

It was defined by Pope Benedict XII (against the erroneous opinion of John XXII) in his Benedictus Deus (Dz 530 / DzS 1000) :

Quote:By this Constitution which is to remain in force for ever, we, with apostolic authority, define ... since the passion and death of the Lord Jesus Christ, these souls [of the blessed] have seen and see the divine essence with an intuitive vision and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature by way of object of vision; rather the divine essence immediately manifests itself to them, plainly, clearly and openly, and in this vision they enjoy the divine essence . Moreover, by this vision and enjoyment the souls of those who have already died are truly blessed and have eternal life and rest. Also the souls of those who will die in the future will see the same divine essence and will enjoy it before the general judgment.

St. Thomas Aquinas explains why the idea that we cannot see God's essence, but instead in the Beatific Vision see something else, is untenable.

Since man's intelligence is his highest and most perfect faculty, if it does not attain to God Himself (which is to say God, in His Essence), then it must attain something else. If something else, though, then something other than God is man's happiness. If so, then since the ultimate perfection of a thing is to be united to it's principle (i.e. efficient cause), then man's principle or efficient cause is not God. But that is absurd.
[/quote]
[-] The following 2 users Like MagisterMusicae's post:
  • BC, jovan66102
Reply
#17
(10-05-2017, 12:32 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: I hope that's a mischaracterization of the Eastern notion, because it's heretical.

We have St. Paul, clearly saying we will see God as he is, face to face : "We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known." (1 Cor 13.12).

We have St. John saying : "When He shall appear we shall be like to Him, because we shall see Him as He is." (1 Jn 3.2)


Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the Orthodox position, but that is always the impression that I got.  It usually comes up when talking about the concept of divinization.  It is emphasized that when it is said that we will become by grace what Christ is by nature, it is not meant that we will participate in the inner life of the Trinity, that that is reserved to God alone.  Maybe we'll get to see it as mere observers, but the way the Orthodox write about it, I am under the impression that we don't from their perspective.
Reply
#18
This is just an impression but the Orthodox view seems to be that if we participate in God's inner life / see His Essence, then we would become God in our substance. (to use Latin terms). Of course we wouldn't say that. We remain human because our substance doesn't change even when we see God face to face... I think this relates to other theological differences too.

Regarding Limbo... it wouldn't contain any of the sufferings of hell.. it seems some medieval theologians thought that the infants would miss the Beatific Vision, and others thought that they wouldn't (like we don't know what we're missing), and would hence have no suffering of any sort. The others thought this might be the only suffering but just thinking about it, they'd have perfect natural happiness, so they'd be happier than we are on earth.

Do we say though that Limbo is technically part of hell, NOT in terms of suffering/presence of demons/etc but just the absence of the Beatific Vision? (in a similar way, some might say that Purgatory is a part of hell?). The reason I'm asking is because I read a quote (from a council or something or other) saying that we DON'T believe in an "in between" separate place. So is it "part" of something, even if it's really different in terms of the experience?
totus tuus
Reply
#19
(10-06-2017, 04:08 PM)little_flower10 Wrote: Do we say though that Limbo is technically part of hell, NOT in terms of suffering/presence of demons/etc but just the absence of the Beatific Vision? (in a similar way, some might say that Purgatory is a part of hell?). The reason I'm asking is because I read a quote (from a council or something or other) saying that we DON'T believe in an "in between" separate place. So is it "part" of something, even if it's really different in terms of the experience?

I would say that purgatory is part of heaven, not hell.  You could look at it as the front porch where you get cleaned off before you go into the house.  If purgatory were a part of hell, there would be no way for a person to cross from purgatory to heaven.  The parable of Abraham and Lazarus shows that no crossing is possible, if that detail is to be taken literally.
Reply
#20
(10-06-2017, 04:08 PM)little_flower10 Wrote: This is just an impression but the Orthodox view seems to be that if we participate in God's inner life / see His Essence, then we would become God in our substance. (to use Latin terms). Of course we wouldn't say that. We remain human because our substance doesn't change even when we see God face to face... I think this relates to other theological differences too.

Regarding Limbo...  it wouldn't contain any of the sufferings of hell.. it seems some medieval theologians thought that the infants would miss the Beatific Vision, and others thought that they wouldn't (like we don't know what we're missing), and would hence have no suffering of any sort. The others thought this might be the only suffering but just thinking about it, they'd have perfect natural happiness, so they'd be happier than we are on earth.

Do we say though that Limbo is technically part of hell, NOT in terms of suffering/presence of demons/etc but just the absence of the Beatific Vision? (in a similar way, some might say that Purgatory is a part of hell?). The reason I'm asking is because I read a quote (from a council or something or other) saying that we DON'T believe in an "in between" separate place. So is it "part" of something, even if it's really different in terms of the experience?

I personally believe the infants do not suffer from their lack of Beatific Vision not out of ignorance but because they will have perfect understanding of their own condition. So not so much because they don't know what they are missing but rather because they are motivated by human virtue and understand and do not see it as an injustice. 

When it comes to "parts" of Hell and Heaven things get complicated because these are more states of being than actual physical places. Of course then comes the fact that at the resurrection we will regain our bodies so we need somewhere to put them. Ultimately we just don't know. I personally would classify Limbo as Hell but in the region of least suffering.
Surréxit Dóminus vere, Alleluia!
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)