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God’s Presence in Matter II: Great Cloud of Witnesses

 

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“The doctrine of uncreated grace, which was first adumbrated by the Cappadocians, was a solution to the problem of how God could remain utterly transcendent and yet at the same time be active in an intimate way in the material world. For the iconophiles God, who is holy by nature, is present as a deifying energy in every human saint and as a sanctifying energy in the saint’s image. Veneration by the faithful ascends through the icon of the saint or of Christ to the prototype; sanctifying grace descends through the icon to the venerator. For the iconoclasts the fundamental problem concerning the veneration of icons was the idea of participation in the divine energies. They held that the immense gulf between the material and the spiritual, the created and the uncreated, could not be bridged by any sanctified matter apart from the Eucharistic body of Christ. This suggests that they could not admit a real distinction between divine essence and divine energy” – Henry Chadwick’s Foreword to “Images of the Divine – The Theology of Icons at the 7th Ecumenical Council” by Ambrosios Giakalis

In a neighbourhod on the English speaking Orthosphere of Facebook, the above quote started a conversation/debate on God’s sacramental relation to matter. The first part of the discussion where I conversed with the individual in question can be found here. However while part 1 deals more with the sacraments, part 2 deals with communion of saints. It is no surprise to me that the conversation headed that direction, as I find the two topics are well related. My Friend Daniel Palomino, a well knowledge and well balanced Orthodox Christian, is at the forefront of this conversation. It highlights well some of the underlying assumptions and problems some people have the doctrine of Communion of Saints. Daniel has a post where he shows the Christological basis for this doctrine which titled The Incarnation and Intercession of Saints. Some of what he covers in there comes up in the conversation. Hopefully the conversation will be of much help to many who wish to see a good Orthodox answer to some of the objections.

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Me:  We are not Gnostics. God isn’t here to just relate mentally or apart from our physicality. But with the entirety of our being. Which includes the material. This relationship is not one primarily of propositional knowledge or me saying a few words here and then. But complete union. Which is demonstrated by the transfiguration and the and resurrection of Christ. The sacraments of the Church as participating in Christ, anticipate the New Heavens and New Earth where matter and spirit work as one, because Christ is the beginning of the New Creation.
You actually have it in reverse. God is not so far that we need physical intermediaries. He is so close that even in the physical we can connect with Him. Creation and God are not opposed. Rather it is sin that brings about the disunity of matter and spirit, which the incarnation and resurrection resolved.

 

Guy: I never proposed an order, but rather a relationship, and we agree that creation is not opposed to GOD. Think about it, instead of kissing and contemplating my wife’s pictures, now I have her in front of me. The relationship is all richer since I have direct access to her and we can connect by simply talking.

The is a difference between connecting to him *through* somebody else/something material and connecting with him directly through prayer. But I know you have an excuse for that one.

 

Daniel: We actually do participate in the divinity through the sacramental life of the Church (such as the Eucharist). Per 1 Peter 1:4. Through doesn’t entail an agent in between but a both/and. Think of Christ’s saying how when one clothed the naked they clothed him. For the Orthodox Iconography is a means by which the divine activity is participated in. Ergo it is quite a direct relationship (though not the only means to interact).

 

Guy: When I clothe somebody I am not thinking whether I am clothing Christ. Any act of obedience by faith is by default a service to Christ. And well, I don’t hold to your interpretation of the Eucharist. But I agree that the Church is a means, sometimes. The problem starts when we start kissing the icon. Sure you have no problem with that.

We praise through the Holy Spirit, as the only means to reach GOD. At this point you are saying that there is another link between us and GOD. A very subtle one..

 

Daniel: <<When I clothe somebody I am not thinking whether I am clothing Christ. Any act of obedience by faith is by default a service to Christ.>>

“Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’” ~ Matthew 25:37-40 [ESV]

<<And well, I don’t hold to your interpretation of the Eucharist. But I agree that the Church is a means, sometimes. The problem starts when we start kissing the icon. Sure you have no problem with that.>>

Sure we differ, but my point is conceptually, the Eastern Orthodox already hold to a direct participation within the life of the divine persons, through numerous means, be it Christ’s own flesh & blood, to iconography. While you may disagree with the major premise (we participate in the divine life through these things), the minor premise holds (that we conceptually still maintain a direct personal participation in the Trinity).

 

Guy: Do you participate in the essence or the energies?

 

Daniel: <<We praise through the Holy Spirit, as the only means to reach GOD. At this point you are saying that there is another link between us and GOD. A very subtle one…>>

Only if we grant that God presence necessarily excludes material manifestation. I can argue that you posit another link by postulating true worship is through reading of Scripture, because Scripture is not part of the divine nature, ergo it is a mediatory between God and man.

To your question of participation, we participate in the energia (divine activities) of the three persons.

 

Guy: Are you saying GOD is *now* materially present? There is a reason Hebrews used a very particular definition of faith. Seems to me, that you need something material to *trigger* your faith. But perhaps I am missing something with the Eastern Orthodox.

 

Daniel: Materially present? Well sure, in the Eucharist, it is true matter (Body & Blood) of Christ’s glorified humanity present. If you mean the divine energia, you are respectfully, conflating ousia with an activity. Secondly, one need not only have matter to “trigger” faith; many of the ascetics prayed in the wilderness without any per se, formal ecclesiastical rites (which is one reason why the Iconophiles defended iconography; namely the Presence of God is not constrained solely to certain rites). The fact one can worship God mentally, does not entail the lack of God’s presence through material means.

As for what the Spirit uses, the Spirit pervades and enlivens the Body of Christ; using people, Scripture, the Eucharist, as well as the glorified Saints, as means of grace. Tradition (be it Reformed or Orthodox) details as to what Scripture entails true worship to be; though again, there is a hidden premise in your critique, of the RPW, which I do not hold.

 

Guy: True faith is not triggered by physical means, true faith comes by the Spirit. I don’t need physicality to remind me of GOD and his importance on my life. Perhaps it is for you. But it is certainly not a necessary condition as true worship is what Jesus told to the woman at the well. Daniel, where does Scripture say the saints are glorified already? Are where does it say they (saints in heaven) are means of grace?

 

Daniel: True faith is manifested through real and symbolic manifestation of the Spirit in reality (and not solely immaterial virtues such as faith). Hence St. John records Christ speaking of the need to be born of the water & Spirit (John 3:5) to enter the kingdom of heaven. This is reinforced in other passages such as Titus 3:5, which speaks of baptism being a regeneration & renewing of the Spirit. Sure seems to imply God does use material means to be immanent with his people (not to mention the Incarnation of all things).

The Saints are glorified in so far as their immaterial soul is void of sin and fixed will in the good. Hebrews 12:1-3 establishes we are surrounded by the Saints and that we join these witnesses when we “fought the good fight” (2 Timothy 4:7) (1 Corinthians 9:23-25). By “good and necessary consequence” (Westminster Confession of Faith, Chp 1, Of the Holy Scripture, Prt VI) we can deduce they are not in the realm of sin, and thus have become per their soul, like Christ (though they await the Resurrection of the Body).

As for them being a means of grace, Revelation 8:4 and Hebrews 11, establishes the Saints can be a means of grace in intercessory prayer as well as models to emulate. Paul himself told the Corinthians to emulate himself (1 Corinthians 4:16, 1 Corinthians 7:7, 1 Corinthians 11:1).

 

Guy: Those verses are far from proving baptismal regeneration. If that is what you intended.

And Daniel, they are models, but there isn’t a single example of Paul as model praying to peeps in heaven. Remembering them, sure, but not praying to them,and there is avast sea of difference.

Revelation 8:4 says nothing about those prayers being of the saints in heaven, but rather they are from the us, here on Earth (Psalm 141:2, Acts 10:4, Philippians 4:18). And Hebrews 11 says nothing, absolutely nothing, about prayers to saints being a means of grace. And between prayer to them, as seeing them as models, there is a great distance as is between the Earth and the Sun. Also, can the saints in heaven know when I pray in silence?

In Romans 8:26-27 Paul tells us that the Spirit intercedes for us, does this mean that the Spirit reaches the saints in heaven, and then the saints to Christ or the Father? Complicated logistics for sure.

 

Daniel: While the verses may be in contention, my point is to demonstrate that in my understanding, the Spirit’s work in materiality is not an either/or contention (as if Creation is in a Zero-Sum game with the Creator). Rather the presence of the Spirit can be manifest through creation.

Praying is simply that of requesting viz a vi two agents. 1 Timothy 2:1-5 speaks how Christians are continually to pray and give intercession (I don’t think this is voided in heaven). Secondly, we see the admonission to pray for one another (Romans 15:30-32 & James 5:16). I bring up Revelation 8:4, as a demonstration the Saints are not unaware of the martyr’s deaths but bring them forward as a testament to God. I might as well add the concept of intercession based on holiness (standing before God) in the person of Abraham and Moses, as an OT typology of how the prayers of a righteous man avail much (James 5:16). Ergo, asking those Christians who departed to pray for us, is not contrary to the commandments of God.

As for who can they hear us in silence, how does Christ hear of your prayers in his human mind when you pray in silence? If he is the New Adam and the Saints are in an already/but not yet of what he is (at least in their immaterial components), then it follows their cognitive capabilities are sufficient to hear our prayers. Did not the Spirit illumine Paul of the plight of the Macedonians?

 

Guy: <<1 Timothy 2:5 speaks how Christians are continually to pray and give intercession (I don’t think this is voided in heaven).>>

It speaks about Christ being the only intercessor. Perhaps you meant another verse as this doesn’t support your premise.

<<I might as well add the concept of intercession based on holiness (standing before God) in the person of Abraham and Moses>>

They were types of Christ. Hebrews refutes this, clearly.

<<I bring up Revelation 8:4, as a demonstration the Saints are not unaware of the martyr’s deaths but bring them forward as a testament to God.>>

They are certainly unaware (Revelation 6:10). And, exegetically, using Tota Scriptura, the prayers in the verse you cited are from us, on Earth.

<<Ergo, asking those Christians who departed to pray for us, is not contrary to the commandments of God.>>

It does not follow as they are unaware of what’s going on here on Earth. If I use implications, as you do, Revelation 6:10 is a great support for me.

<<As for who can they hear us in silence, how does Christ hear of your prayers in his human mind when you pray in silence?>>

Because he is divine. Communication Idiomatum. Unless you want to claim that the saints in heaven now inherit the incommunicable attributes. But that creates problems.

<<Did not the Spirit illumine Paul of the plight of the Macedonians?>>

The Spirit, bingo! But we are never promised to be omniscient. That is an implication of your tradition and not Scripture. Does this mean, that in heaven, I will be able to read your mind and know what you think at all times? Think about it…

 

Daniel: I meant it to be 1 Timothy 2:1-5

Secondly, being a type of Christ does not refute that humans could intercede through prayer for other humans. What they could not do, by such intercession, is fix the problem of sin. Hence one did not need a perfect man, but deity itself to resolve this human-caused problem. Unless you think Abraham & Moses did not actually intercede, it does not follow because Christ is the sole Mediator*, that there are not many intercessors (his body united to His Head).

Revelation 6:10 does not establish they are ignorant of the matyrs, but ignorant when God will judge and avenge them. Revelation 8:4, are indeed our prayers (we agree „smile“-Emoticon ) but not only ours on earth, but the entire Body of Christ. The Angel offers “the prayers of all the saints”.

So Christ in his humanity, takes upon divine properties to enable him to hear such? Because unless you are holding to that version of the communication idomatum, the classic Reformed view is that Christ’s humanity can be said it takes on divine properties in so far as the names are exchanged to the person, but the Reformed deny his humanity ever actually takes on divine properties (hence they deny contra the Lutherans, Christ’s Body & Blood being in the Eucharist objectively, because Christ’s humanity is restrained in heaven by its natural limitations). But if you are holding to a Lutheran/Orthodox view of the Communication Idomatum, than if Christ’s humanity is deified, the Saints by being consubstantial with him are also deified.

As for omniscience, you do not need to be omniscience to hear all the prayers on earth. Certainly your cognitive capabilities need to be greatly expanded, but omniscience is an infinite category. By your implication, Superman is omnipotent if he is strong enough to move a planet. But that reduces omnipotence to a certain finite category, instead of as it is actually understood, a denial of categorical limitations on one’s powers. Likewise I can affirm the Saints can hear the prayers of many, without entailing they have no limit on their cognitive powers.

But if the Spirit illumines as he wills, they he will grant privy to those Saints the need and prayers of the Church. I certainly judge the Spirit to grant my prayers to the rest of the Body in a correct manner, no?

 

Guy: << I meant (and edited) to be 1 Timothy 2:1-5>>

Still, in context, Paul is admonishing us, here on Earth. You have to imply that this applies also to those on heaven, which is eisegesis, as you have to assume they read Paul’s letters.

<<Secondly, being a type of Christ does not refute that humans could intercede through prayer for other humans. What they could not do, by such intercession, is fix the problem of sin. Hence one did not need a perfect man, but deity itself to resolve this human-caused problem. Unless you think Abraham & Moses did not actually intercede, it does not follow because Christ is the sole Mediator*, that there are not many intercessors (his body united to His Head).>>

Physiologically, each member of the body talks directly to head, and not through other members. Again, Moses and others were a type of the *ultimate* mediator. While I can tell you to pray for me, I cannot tell my grandma in heaven to pray for me, she is not aware of me at all. You have to assume, unbiblically that somehow she is able.

<<Revelation 8:4, are indeed our prayers (we agree „smile“-Emoticon ) but not only ours on earth, but the entire Body of Christ. The Angel offers “the prayers of all the saints”.”>>

You cannot conclude that from the verse alone. You are introducing an idea from tradition. Using Tota Scriptura, I can prove how does “all” is defined. And even if “all” includes saints in heaven, you still have to assume they are praying particularly (in response to our prayers) and not generally, as we pray for others around the world. Many assumptions, which makes you conflate the trees for the forest.

<<So Christ in his humanity, takes upon divine properties to enable him to hear such?”>>

The person is deified, not the nature. Christ’s human body is at xyz within space time, whereas he can also be everywhere according to his divinity. I don’t hold that Christ knows everything because he is a glorified human, but because he is GOD the Son, and this is communicated to the person.

<<I can affirm the Saints can hear the prayers of many, without entailing they have no limit on their cognitive powers.>>

I don’t think the saints in heaven have the power to be able to “hear prayers on earth”. At this point your assumptions are no better than mine. At this point, we are using our views about the CI to derive these conclusions.

<<I certainly judge the Spirit to grant my prayers to the rest of the Body in a correct manner, no?>>

Yes, but you pray according to what you know. You are assuming the saints of heaven actually have this ability. But it is not a dogma, and it certainly conflates with Scripture. At this point, Jesus taught us how to pray. And the way is a Trinitarian approach, were we don’t pray for others to pray (contra asking others to pray for us, notice the difference). And certainly the Apostles never taught such a thing.

 

Daniel: Sure, Paul admonishes us on earth, because he is writing a letter to saints that are on Earth. I mean, I am not arguing that his intention is that the letter got to Heaven. However, his commandment is of a general kind, that we all (the Body) ought to pray and have intercession for all people. If humans on earth can pray/intercede for one another and for others on earth, that establishes in principle, humans can be intercessors through prayer. This is not even going to into if those living with Christ can. Now I would argue it applies to heaven, because we see the Saints praying (even if generally in Revelation 8:4 and not specifically) for many things. Ergo, they still have the command to pray for others and ask for intercession.

In regards to members speaking to the head directly, sure they can, but they do speak to the head through other members. How? I ask you to pray for me for X thing, and you do. Ergo, my request was that you pray for me. In that sense, the grace of God can be mediated by one’s prayer for another (just as Abraham prayers for Sodom & Gomorah were answered, or Paul’s admonition for Christians to pray for him while he is in prison). You presume your grandmother cannot hear you, but that is because we differ in our Christology/Triadology and thus our understanding of the afterlife

I could conclude from the passage of Revelation 8, that it is the Saints entirely. I don’t see anywhere in the text, where “all the saints” is restricted entirely to those on Earth, especially when verse 3-4, is speaking of the general “prayer of the saints” which mirrors the language of Chapter 5:6-14, in which the Saints are seen as a class of their own, along with all living creatures and angels speaking thanksgiving to God. So far I am not even appealing to tradition (despite you alleging so), but the merits of the text alone. Now as to whether the Saints can here us, that is linked to the Christology which I will get to next.

If the person is deified, that would only work if you consider the person to have not be deified prior. Do you see the hypostasis of Christ as a non-deified hypostasis, who is later deified? Secondly, if the ousia of humanity is not deified, that would entail Christ in his human faculties would be completely ignorant of your very existence (given you deny the Saints cannot in their human faculties know anything specific about us on Earth, only generalities. If you deny they know anything happening on Earth, then it would apply to Christ). I hold Christ knows everything already because he is a deified person by nature (he is an uncreated person). However I am not saying as to whether Christ knows all things (he does qua his divinity), but whether he is in perpetual ignorance about his people in his humanity.

As to our assumptions being no better, I would disagree because mines assumes a biblical Christology, and from that flows what is a correct view of glorification of creation. Secondly you are conflating prayer qua deity, with prayer qua intercession. Prayer is simply to request; read Shakespeare it is the problem of older English

“I pray thee, cease thy counsel,
Which falls into mine ears as profitless
As water in a sieve: give not me counsel;
Nor let no comforter delight mine ear” ~ Much Ado about Nothing.

Obviously Shakespeare is not speaking to God, so the use of prayer can entail a variety of understandings in the English language. Ergo in modern English we say we are praying (conceptually, requesting) the Saints on Earth & Heaven to pray for us viz a vi God.

 

Guy: <<If humans on earth can pray/intercede for one another and for others on earth, that establishes in principle, humans can be intercessors through prayer.>>

As I told you, there is a difference between praying for somebody to pray, and asking (verbally or written) somebody to pray for us. I don’t pray to my wife to pray for me, I tell (or write her) to do so.

<<This is not even going to into if those living with Christ can. Now I would argue it applies to heaven, because we see the Saints praying (even if generally in Revelation 8:4 and not specifically) for many things. “Ergo, they still have the command to pray for others and ask for intercession.>>

Again, there is a difference between particular prayers (which you are advocating, i.e. My grandma in heaven prays that I get a job) and general prayers (i.e. save those being persecuted). There is a problem of knowledge and information.

<<Ergo, my request was that you pray for me. In that sense, the grace of God can be mediated by one’s prayer for another (just as Abraham prayers for Sodom & Gomorah were answered, or Paul’s admonition for Christians to pray for him while he is in prison).>>

Same as above.

<<You pressume your grandmother cannot hear you, but that is because we differ in our Christology/Triadology and thus our understanding of the afterlife>>

Again, this is based on presuppositions. You assume those in heaven, somehow know. I deny.

<<I could conclude from the passage of Revelation 8, that it is the Saints entirely. I don’t see anywhere in the text, where “all the saints” is restricted entirely to those on Earth, especially when verse 3-4, is speaking of the general “prayer of the saints” which mirrors the language of Chapter 5:6-14, in which the Saints are seen as a class of their own, along with all living creatures and angels speaking thanksgiving to God. So far I am not even appealing to tradition (despite you alleging so), but the merits of the text alone. Now as to whether the Saints can here us, that is linked to the Christology which I will get to next.>>

Still, relying on tradition. As I have show, there are verses throughout Scripture which demonstrate prayers “ascend”, and this is what John is referring in Revelation, that the prayers *ascend*. The prayers of the saints in heaven don’t ascend, they are up there.

<<Do you see the hypostasis of Christ as a non-deified hypostasis, who is later deified?”
Christ’s glorification is completed. Ours is not, it will happen at the second coming.>>

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2).

<<Secondly, if the ousia of humanity is not deified, that would entail Christ in his human faculties would be completely ignorant of your very existence (given you deny the Saints cannot in their human faculties know anything specific about us on Earth, only generalities. If you deny they know anything happening on Earth, then it would apply to Christ).>>

That is a non-sequitur. Does this mean Christ’s is physically present right now with me, occupying the same space-time I am? No, his body is in xyz, while I am in abc.

<<I hold Christ knows everything already because he is a deified person by nature (he is an uncreated person). However I am not saying as to whether Christ knows all things (he does qua his divinity), but whether he is in perpetual ignorance about his people in his humanity.>>

Christ didn’t know things during Earth. How did he? Through the Spirit. After risen, he ate and walked. Surely he could now break space-time, with boundaries concerning his human body. But implying that qua humanity he knows everything is a stretch. Does this mean he sustains the universe qua humanity?

<<As to our assumptions being no better, I would disagree because mines assumes a biblical Christology, and from that flows what is a correct view of glorification of creation. Secondly you are conflating prayer qua deity, with prayer qua intercession. Prayer is simply to request; read Shakespeare it is the problem of older English.>>

We pray to GOD; we can ask others to pray for us, but never to pray for prayer. We pray to GOD. Praying 101. According to you, the Spirit, who prays for us (Romans 8), prays to others, which then he empowers them to pray to GOD. You are adding a link and breaking the Trinitarian way of praying. Simple as that.

<<Ergo in modern English we say we are praying (conceptually, requesting) the Saints on Earth & Heaven to pray for us viz a vi God.>>

This still applies to any language, not just English. An Christian prayer is a particular type of request. In this way, we request to GOD directly, as we have access to GOD directly.

One question though, do the saints never err in heaven? And if not, what if you pray to them, for something contrary to the will of GOD? Will they pray it anyways? Will they modify the prayer and try to deduce what you really want, maybe aided by the Spirit?

Your problem is this:

1) You have misinterpreted 2 Peter 1:4. You think the saints in heaven have some sort of special powers (thanks to the Alexandrian school of thought, no wonder Bavinck was right, too much mysticism around here). But they haven’t been glorified per Paul’s definition, that will happen at the second coming.

2) 2 Peter 1:4 applies to us as well. Does this mean, that a certain point, I will unlock a new attribute I didn’t have before? Let’s say, start listening to prayers? Is this some sort of level game, where I get new weapons instead of having them all at my disposition as 2 Peter 1:3 says?

 

Daniel: As I said on the part of Shakespeare, praying to someone is simply to request. If you want, I can easily modify my wording to say, we can request the Saints in heaven to pray for us. In old English, you could pray to your wife to pray for you, as individuals understood the word “pray” differs in intention.

In regards to particular/general prayer, see my upcoming paragraph on Christology. My presupposition is based off of Christology. See upcoming debate.

Simply saying “tradition” doesn’t do any work. You could argue, I interpret it incorrectly. You don’t even show where in tradition I would cite that interpretation. Regarding your view of the prayers ascending, uhm maybe because the metaphor is that the prayers are an incense which rises to the Lord? No matter where one is be it in heaven and earth, the prayers of the Church are akin to “incense rising to God”, which fits Revelation’s imagery of Heaven as the Temple/Mount motif (you can see Kline and Beale on that, both Reformed btw). The language of prayer and offering be “like incense” is seen in Deuteronomy 33:10, or Psalm 141:2, or Malachi 1:11. So no, I do not see how the prayers “rising with the incense” to the throne of God, demonstrates it is only of earth. All f creation’s activities and worship (creation including heaven & earth) rises up to God, because he is the highest point of ascension in the Temple motif.

Regarding my question of Christ being a deified hypostasis, you avoided my question. Of course we both agree Christ’s is glorified. However you denied his humanity is the thing glorified but his person. Respectfully, if his person is already that of the Logos, how can the Logos be glorified more so? It only makes sense if it is of his humanity. Secondly I agree that ours is not complete. Hence the waiting for the Last Resurrection.

I don’t see how it is a non-sequitur. I have not argued that the Saints are corporeally present; what I have argued is that given Christ’s glorification of his humanity, he can hear and understand our prayers not only in his divine mind but his human faculties as well. Thus if Christ is the New Adam and we become like he is per 1 Corinthians 15:35-52, particlarly vs 49.

The fact Christ did not know things on Earth is fine, because I grant (as did the “mystical-Alexandrian” and other half-polemic terms you have – tradition) ignorance to the Logos in his human faculties prior to the Resurrection. However even during his Incarnation prior to the Cruxifiction, Christ demonstrate divine power to forgive Sins, Heal, Cast out Demons, and Rise from the dead, on account of his Divine power, granted to him by the Father for being the eternally begotten Son. Why is it a stretch though, for his humanity to know everything? He is the perfect High Priest? At the bare minimum, you would grant that as a High Priest, one must know who and for what they are mediating for, no? How can the Incarnate Logos do that in heaven, if he is ignorant in his human faculties of anything specific happening? And yes, he does maintain the universe through his humanity, because his humanity is a means by which his divine power is manifest. Hence St. Paul holds him as the New Adam, that brings life to all (Romans 5:12-17), juxtaposing him to Adam who let death enter and corrupt all of creation. We might add Ephesians 1:10, which holds the Incarnation is the means by which all things are united to the Logos.

Regarding your question of the Saints in heaven never erring, no I do not believe they err and sin in heaven. If I prayed to them that was contrary to God’s will, they would pray for that which is in accordance with God’s will. See Numbers 22-23, in which King Balak request that Balaam curse Israel, but the Spirit of the Lord enabled Balaam only to intercede on behalf of Israel. If it is the Spirit that enables them to hear our prayers, it will be the Spirit that guides the Saints as to what to pray for.

As for my problems:

To 1) Special Power? First you have not established how I have misinterpreted 2 Peter 1:4, only asserted it. Secondly you make an ad-hominen based off of Bavink’s supposed critique of the Alexandrians. Nothing what I have said is limited to the Alexandrians; I can cite plenty within the Syrian or Cappadocian tradition to justify the belief that humanity can truly participate in the divine life, and not just through a created-analogous union. Thirdly, mystical does no work with me. I know for you and some of the Reformed, it looks like a K.O. Too bad your guy Calvin, Horton, Bavink, and plenty of others have talked about the Reformed view of the “mystical union with Christ”. Pot meet Kettle. What you need to do is actually move beyond assertions and catch-phrases and actually delineate what type of mysticism my view holds and how that is contrary to the Scripture. Thirdly, the full glorification has not happened till the Resurrection of the Body, I agree. That does not entail a partial one for those in heaven, per St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:49, which speaks of us having the image of Christ in heaven as well as in the General Resurrection. Unless you think that we in heaven are still sinning, corruptible, and going to die.

To 2) Yes, 2 Peter 1:4 applies to us. As to unlocking a new attribute, it is better worded, the more you are faithful to Christ, the more you exemplify the divine life. Which is, per Galatians 5:22-23, the Fruits of the Spirit, as a normative set. As for being able to demonstrate what we consider to be miraculous deeds, the history of the Church has records of many a Sainted man doing wonder-working activity by the grace of God and not their own desire. It should not be consider folly, given the Apostles demonstrate it. St. Piasos was famed for knowing intimate details of those who would come to visit him on Mt. Athos without knowing or meeting them. I don’t see how he, the other Saints, let alone the Apostles and Christ would consider participating in the divine life a type of video game. The Spiritual life is not about utilitarian capability derived from violence; rather is uses the analogy of the athlete, who as he persists in the race and stays faithful to Christ, grows spiritually in Christ (1 Corinthians 9:23-25).

If you want a more interesting take on the Spiritual Life

“”Every time he used his gift of discernment, (diakrisis) the hidden thoughts of the human mind were revealed to him. He was able, through the grace of God, to see the past, the present and the future all at the same time. He confirmed that God is all-knowing and all-powerful. He was able to observe and touch all creation, from the edges of the Universe to the depth of the human soul and history. St. Paul’s phrase “One and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1.Cor.12:11) certainly held true for Elder Porphyrios. Naturally, he was a human being, and received divine grace, which comes from God. This God who for reasons of His own sometimes did not reveal everything. Life lived in grace is an unknown mystery for us. Any more talk on the matter would be a rude invasion into matters we don’t understand. The Elder always pointed this out to all those who attributed his abilities to something other than grace. He underlined this fact, again and again, saying “It’s not something that’s learnt. It’s not a skill. It is GRACE.” “” ~ http://www.abbamoses.com/porphyriosbio.html

 

Guy: <<If you want, I can easily modify my wording to say, we can request the Saints in heaven to pray for us.>>

Again, it breaks the Trinitarian way of prayer. So long gone your alleged Trinitiarian view of everything for the sake of kissing shiny and beautiful icons.

<<All f creation’s activities and worship (creation including heaven & earth) rises up to God, because he is the highest point of ascension in the Temple motif.>>

Once again, you keep dancing around implications and extra-biblical ground. At this point, you must presuppose that saints in heaven listen to your prayer and then they pray for you. But this means that the Spirit prays to saints, who then (empowered by the Spirit himself) pray to GOD. Again, bye bye Trinitarian prayer.

<<However you denied his humanity is the thing glorified but his person. Respectfully, if his person is already that of the Logos, how can the Logos be glorified more so?>>

I didn’t avoid it. That is why I asked you whether Christ upholds the creation qua humanity. Is Christ physically present with me, at xyz or is he physically at abc? Or how does that work?

<<I don’t see how it is a non-sequitur. I have not argued that the Saints are corporeally present; what I have argued is that given Christ’s glorification of his humanity, he can hear and understand our prayers not only in his divine mind but his human faculties as well. Thus if Christ is the New Adam and we become like he is per 1 Corinthians 15:35-52, particlarly vs 49.>>

Christ is *wholly* glorified. The saints in heaven are not. There is a vast sea of difference. Also, does this mean the saints in heaven gain any new faculties (in themselves,, not just the absence of sin)? Is this biblical?

<<Hence St. Paul holds him as the New Adam, that brings life to all (Romans 5:12-17), juxtaposing him to Adam who let death enter and corrupt all of creation. We might add Ephesians 1:10, which holds the Incarnation is the means by which all things are united to the Logos.>>

I don’t deny all things are united through the Logos. That doesn’t mean that earthly creatures obtain the same benefits or somehow get new abilities infused in them, such as listening to prayers from peeps on earth invoking them and kissing their icons. Also, the purpose of Paul is about what Christ *accomplished*, not whether he gained new abilities qua humanity.

<<Regarding your question of the Saints in heaven never erring, no I do not believe they err and sin in heaven. If I prayed to them that was contrary to God’s will, they would pray for that which is in accordance with God’s will. See Numbers 22-23, in which King Balak request that Balaam curse Israel, but the Spirit of the Lord enabled Balaam only to intercede on behalf of Israel. If it is the Spirit that enables them to hear our prayers, it will be the Spirit that guides the Saints as to what to pray for.>>

Again, assuming that saints in heaven, somehow, have gained new abilities already. Giving me examples of people on earth vs heaven is a long stretch. You have been implying the same thing over and over. Do you have any biblical example of praying to people in heaven, anything? Or is everything a conclusion somebody reached?

<<To 1) Special Power? First you have not established how I have misinterpreted 2 Peter 1:4, only asserted it. Secondly you make an ad-hominen based off of Bavink’s supposed critique of the Alexandrians. Nothing what I have said is limited to the Alexandrians; I can cite plenty within the Syrian or Cappadocian tradition to justify the belief that humanity can truly participate in the divine life, and not just through a created-analogous union. Thirdly, mystical does no work with me. I know for you and some of the Reformed, it looks like a K.O.>>

As I said, tradition. Nothing else.

<<Too bad your guy Calvin, Horton, Bavink, and plenty of others have talked about the Reformed view of the “mystical union with Christ”. Pot meet Kettle.??

As I’ve told you before, what the reformers meant with “mystical” is different from what you mean by it. I mean, for us is a mystery as we don’t know all the details. For you, some gain special abilities, such as listening to others prayers just because you are already in heaven.

<<What you need to do is actually move beyond assertions and catch-phrases and actually delineate what type of mysticism my view holds and how that is contrary to the Scripture.>>

Again, praying to saints is heaven is extra-biblical conclusion, as there is no explicit verse which states so. Ergo, mysticism. Unless you biblically prove that the Spirit prays to other humans, and from there unto GOD, you have destroyed what you are proud the most, the Trinity and its unity.

<<That does not entail a partial one for those in heaven, per St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:49, which speaks of us having the image of Christ in heaven as well as in the General Resurrection.>>

Verse 49 says nothing about having the image *in* heaven just because we happen to be there. It says we will have the image of the man *of* heaven. ἐπουρανίου is an adjective, and it doesn’t describe an spatial position, but rather a condition, that the noun belongs to heaven.

<<Unless you think that we in heaven are still sinning, corruptible, and going to die.>>

Not at all, but I also deny, against any presuppositions, that saints in heaven have some sort of special abilities for the sake of intercession.

<<To 2) Yes, 2 Peter 1:4 applies to us. As to unlocking a new attribute, it is better worded, the more you are faithful to Christ, the more you exemplify the divine life. Which is, per Galatians 5:22-23, the Fruits of the Spirit, as a normative set. As for being able to demonstrate what we consider to be miraculous deeds, the history of the Church has records of many a Sainted man doing wonder-working activity by the grace of God and not their own desire. It should not be consider folly, given the Apostles demonstrate it. St. Piasos was famed for knowing intimate details of those who would come to visit him on Mt. Athos without knowing or meeting them. I don’t see how he, the other Saints, let alone the Apostles and Christ would consider participating in the divine life a type of video game. The Spiritual life is not about utilitarian capability derived from violence; rather is uses the analogy of the athlete, who as he persists in the race and stays faithful to Christ, grows spiritually in Christ (1 Corinthians 9:23-25).>>

You are missing the key ingredient in sanctification (theosis for you), since growing in Christ is not about gaining abilities, but about a stronger relationship with GOD. Somehow, you keep thinking that saints in heaven, gained special abilities. The thing is, they are closer to GOD in a physical sense, although we all have Christ in us.

<<Every time he used his gift of discernment, (diakrisis) the hidden thoughts of the human mind were revealed to him.>>

I don’t deny this kind of special miracles, as needed here on Earth for certain purposes. Although I am careful with this as well.

<<He was able, through the grace of God, to see the past, the present and the future all at the same time.>>

I doubt a creature could grasp eternity, which is what was just said. We are bound to time, even the saints in heaven. We will always move linearly. Since we have a beginning, we are, and will be bound to time, forever.

<<He confirmed that God is all-knowing and all-powerful.>>

Why do I need him to confirm it? Didn’t the law and the prophets did so long ago? Doesn’t Scripture affirm this? Do I need extra confirmation to believe it? Oh my…

<<He was able to observe and touch all creation, from the edges of the Universe to the depth of the human soul and history.>>

I doubt he was able to be at Mexico at the same time he was in Mt. Athos. But I get the message of such inspiring words.

<<St. Paul’s phrase “One and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1.Cor.12:11) certainly held true for Elder Porphyrios. Naturally, he was a human being, and received divine grace, which comes from God. This God who for reasons of His own sometimes did not reveal everything.>>

But somehow it is a must in heaven. He must reveal it to saints in heaven because he prays to them, according to Romans 8, who then, aided by himself, pray to GOD.

<<Life lived in grace is an unknown mystery for us. Any more talk on the matter would be a rude invasion into matters we don’t understand. The Elder always pointed this out to all those who attributed his abilities to something other than grace. He underlined this fact, again and again, saying “It’s not something that’s learnt. It’s not a skill. It is GRACE.>>

Indeed, it is grace. Long stretch to say it is a given constant in heaven. But oh, we make saints out of holy people!

At this point, the Trinitiarian way of prayer is gone. You have:

Us praying (through the Spirit wording it) to others -> Others (aided by the Spirit) pray to GOD -> Finally, the prayer reached GOD.

The biblical account is, per Christ and Paul:
Us praying (through the Spirit wording it) -> The prayer reached GOD.

I’ll take the shortest route. But that is just my opinion based on Hebrews 10:19 – Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus.

 

Daniel: I wrote a quite lengthy reply only to lose it. So this one will be much shorter.

In regards to your first statement, putting aside the condescending remark about icons, our prayers to the Saints are Trinitarian. We ask them to pray to the Trinity for our sake (as we ask our brothers and sisters here to do the same thing). You are viewing communication with immaterial individuals as all part and parcel under communication with the divine. By that logic, when the Saints in heaven communicate with each other, they must be doing an action only reserve to divine persons. That is rather silly. Secondly, our communication is recognize as only possible by a Trinitarian act in which the Spirit enables the Son’s Body to pray to the Father. Sounds pretty Trinitarian in implicit and explicit structure.

In regards to extra-biblical ground, all these motifs can be found within the OT and are reinforced by individuals like Kline, Biel, James Jordan, Vos, and other Reformed greats on Biblical Theology proper. Furthermore, the Spirit praying (communicating/enabling) the Saints to pray for each other is hardly foreign to Scripture. Romans 8:26 as well as Acts 16:9-15, shows the Spirit communicates to others about the prayer and needs of others in the Body so they can respond. Praise be to God, the Spirit sustains and informs the Son’s Body, all in the glory of the Father. Sounds Trinitarian.

Christ not be corporeally present with you does not really answer anything. Christ’s humanity is not under the limits of time/space but is united to the divine person. How does it work? Uhm, his divine person deified his humanity, empowering it to overcome sin and death that is present in this world. Communication of properties?

Christ is wholly glorified in his body and soul; I agree. The Saints aren’t, which I agree as well since they don’t have their bodies. The difference has to do with their bodies, not with their human ousia. If so, then we have another category of humans who are somehow impeccable, incorruptible, immortal (in their soul), yet are not glorified one bit? As for gaining new faculties, they are participating in the divine activities of incorruptibility, immortality, etc. They are in heaven no, and as such, experiencing a foretaste of the divine life (for they do not have their bodies yet).

As for earthly creatures obtaining the same benefits, if you want to go against your own tradition’s gloss on adoption and inheriting from Christ’s his gifts, have at it. But it is clear even in the Reformed tradition, that creation itself receives immortality and incorruptibility from the Logo’s work through his humanity (if not through his humanity, then why the Incarnation, if the Logos can just grant immortality and incorruptibility via fiat)? You keep speaking of new abilities, but I think that misses my point; it is not new abilities per se, but a greater participation in the divine nature. Paul’s narrative of what Christ accomplished only makes sense if Paul had a good sense of who and what Christ is in his economia. Hence his juxtapositon in 1 Corinthians 15:45-55, that Christ is superior to the Old Adam, not only in what he did, but in virtue of who he is.

As for assuming my points on Balak & Balaam, no, I do not assume, I argue for it based off my understanding of Christ as the perfect High Priest and New Adam. I am arguing from good and necessary consequence that (1) it is allowed to ask those who are with Christ to pray for us (2) Christ in his humanity knows what occurs on earth as part of being the perfect High Priest as man (3) the Saints are consubstantial and become what Christ is by nature, for they are rooted in the New Adam (First Fruits of a New Creation). Ergo they can know and understand us. (4) The Saints are never let off for praying for creation and are seen in Revelation as doing so.

To your reply of my point 1), your dismissal is telling. You do not interact with anything, saying only “tradition”. Uhm, if you are going to make historical claims, it is not “tradition”, but “historical fact” that you have misread Tradition (and possibly Bavink , if he made such a sloppy mistake) on seeing only the Alexandrian tradition as “mystical” (which by the way, defended the deity of Christ and the unity of his person contra the Arians). The “mystical” is not tied solely to the Alexandrians, but found in plenty of the patristic from the Latins, Syrians, and Cappadocians. It is not a matter of being ‘tradition’ because one can be a non-believer and still see the critique is bunk on historical grounds.

As for the Reformers gloss on mysticism, of course they mean diffirently, but you are willing to say they are not crazy hippies/irrationalist for using the word. Likewise you can and should grant the same measure of charity towards others who use the word. The Orthodox do not believe mystical entails gaining new special abilities to listen to prayers just because you are in heaven *and not under the power of sin, ya know, a minor thing in Reformed thought. I will quote a friend of mine demonstration of the Orthodox view of mysticism.

“It is necessary to dispel a common misconception regarding the Orthodox Church and her theology. I remember people telling me that I was too “western” or “logical” to grasp Orthodox theology. After all it is mystical (as if being so made it incompatible with being rational). Such an attitude has a grain of truth in it but it sacrifices it by essentially rejecting the Incarnation. The problem is not my geography or that I use my brain. Christ after all is the Logos, the Wisdom or Reason of God and Christ himself has a human mind and soul. Echoing Chesterton, God likes the mind, he made lots of them. Such appeals to mystery or the mystical are not sufficiently incarnational and should therefore be rejected. Moreover, illegitimate appeals to mystery often come when a theological model runs out of explanatory gas and that is what makes such appeals illegitimate and arbitrary. If a theological model is to be coherent, then there must be an explanation that is not ad hoc, but integral to the system itself as to why we cannot proceed further. If not, then the appeal to mystery is ad hoc and the entire system seems to be arbitrary and capricious and therefore rationally unjustified and unjustifiable.

And one needs to keep in mind Louis Bouyer’s discussion of mysticism. There is the Buddhist or Hindu notion of the mystical which aims to bring about the annihilation of the person through absorption into the impersonal One. Personhood is essentially tied to suffering so that the only means of “salvation” from suffering entails the obliteration of the person. Here reason cannot operate within the One since reason requires relations between conceptual objects and within a completely singular and absolutely simple One, relations are not simply possible. Logic is something to be transcended not enshrined or embraced. And certainly this is not what the Eastern Church means by mystical theology since salvation is the salvation of persons. Rather the Church’s theology is mystical not because it is rationally deficient but because first and foremost God is not being and as such, Aristotle’s categories of being (Individual, time, quantity, quality, relation, etc) cannot be predicated of God essentially. For the same reason, God cannot be essentially described as pure act or activity since act and potency are ways of individuating being. The analogy of being is not applicable because God is no being at all. For the East, God as the Good is “on the other side of being” or beyond being. The divide between creator and creature could never be construed in epistemological way since none of the ways we know being can be truly applied to God’s essence since God in himself is not being in any way. Apophatic theology (Negative theology or the way of negation) then is grounded in a principled reason why God ad intra cannot be directly known. All possibly creaturely modes of knowing cannot be applied to God since those modes of knowing are grounded in being and God is not a being of any kind. The East’s apophatic theology is therefore grounded in a more robust form of realism. A note of caution here needs to be added. I am not arguing for hard and fast divisions between east and west as to theological method. It is often times a matter of more or less by participants on either side. In most cases historical representatives end up confessing the same statements, though what they end up amounting to are often different if people are consistent in their thinking. The fact that they are not shows that they should either drop the dogmatic statements or own their implications, unless of course a third way can be demonstrated

“Secondly, the Orthodox Church’s theology is mystical because its’ theology is grounded in experience and by the latter term I have a definite idea in mind. For the East God is not just his essence but more than his essence. God’s nature is logically wider than his essence. God’s activities, intentions, powers, plans, wisdoms, are just as much uncreated and deity as God’s essence is deity and uncreated. This is a metaphysical and not an epistemological distinction. That is, it is not a distinction about how we thinkabout God but how God is. What we know of God directly (Cataphatic theology or the positive way) is his energies or activities. (Omnipotence, Omniscience, Atemporality, Simplicity, etc.) Consequently omnipotence for example is not an attribute of God since it is not a judgment of our mind to a fundamentally singular and absolutely simple being. We do not attribute these things to God, rather they are things that are God-they are properties-real, concrete, distinct and deity. God’s eternal and economic activities therefore do not exhaust his essential nature-there is always literally something more to God. It is by these activities (Romans 1) that we know God. Creation’s purpose and the purpose of every created thing is nothing more than God’s intentions or energies. What God intends a dog to be just is his particular energy or activity regarding or as dogness. (The divine ideas then are not identical with God’s essence but metaphysically external to it.) This is what the Orthodox mean by God’s predestinations. God’s predestinations are uncreated and eternal intentions for created natures. They are its’ purpose and distinct goal for its’ own distinct nature. Predestination is therefore in regards to natures, not persons. The denial of absolute simplicity in God is also a denial of absolute simplicity in the essences of created persons. A person is more than just an instance of a nature. The essence of created persons is really constituted by God’s intention, predestination, logoi or activity in it. The idea is pretty much Aristotle’s notion of an intellechi, or internal plan. (So much for eschewing Aristotle.) This is why the essences of creatures are not simple instances of a kind either. There is then a direct link between God and creation while maintaining the metaphysical gulf between creator and creation. These energies are the divine vestiges of deity in creation so that when we truly and correctly experience creation we are in some very real sense experiencing God. Since the energies in part constitute the essences of created objects but are not identical to them, there is no worry here of pantheism. Quite the contrary, the distinction between essence and energies in God along with then non-identity of God’s energies with the essences of physical objects guarantees in principle that pantheism is logically precluded. This is what makes Eastern theology experiential and hence mystical. It does not eschew reason in any way but in principle acknowledges the limits of reason and directs it to its’ proper objects for knowing the divine. Natural theology then for the Orthodox is essentially experiential but not in the sense of empiricism where we reason from the objects that we experience to some similarity or analogy of being in God. The West’s theology is rationalistic precisely because it views God as the Good as being itself. This is the tradition that Augustine conveys to the West from Marius Victorinus’ reading of the Platonic tradition. Scholars on all sides freely admit and know that Augustine and his descendents follow this gloss of the Good as being, where being is a verb and not a noun. It is not a point in dispute. This is why there is in the western tradition the beatific vision where God’s essence becomes accessible to human reason however partial or limited that access ends up being for each individual in the eschaton. This is the grain of truth as to why western theology is rationalistic. It applies the categories of being to God, albeit in a refined way, thereby subsuming God in himself as expressible by human reason. Thus westerners have found another reason to justify the patristic belief that God is in himself incomprehensible, namely that all our ideas of God are garnered from composite objects and God is absolutely simple.” ~https://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/…/anglicans…/

In regards to something being extra-biblical conclusion/lack of explicit verse stating so, thus mysticism, that deduction does not work. I can think of many extra-biblical conclusions that are on the other end of mysticism, more like rationalistic. Try Jeffersonian Deism for one, or Kant’s conception of God. Secondly, I don’t carry the need to provide an explicit verse stating doctrine X, because I do not maintain that hermeneutic that everything must be explicit to be true. Heck even the Reformers did not maintain that standard.

In regards to your response to my response of your 2), no I did not claim that growing in Christ is about gaining *supernatural* abilities (though I would argue doing virtue is seemingly very supernatural compared to the state of the world currently wink emoticon ). I said that the normative set of sanctification are the fruit of the Spirit per Galatians 5:22-23. Most Christians, of any stripe, are not doing miraculous things, nor do they bear a brunt for that. That works fine by Scripture given not all are called to that.

That being said, what I have argued is that given the Saints have finished the race, they are cleansed of sin (while on earth we still must fight against our passions to reorient to Christ). The Saints do not gain new abilities, they just are able to participate more deeply in the divine life than we do on earth, under the consequence of Original Sin. While we all have Christ within us, we vary as to how close we are relationally with him. I do not know about you my friend, but I concede I am quite the sinner and distracted, and not able to worship continually as the Saints do in heaven. Prima Facie, their personal relationship is much stronger than mines and a model to emulate.

In regards to your reply concerning Elder Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia, I am glad you are not a hard cessationist and I do agree with you on the need for discernment (Orthodoxy is hardly a fan of Pentecostalism). As to grasping eternity, that is not what the text says. For the Orthodox, time & eternity are two different things; to grasp moments in the past/present/future at one time, would not be to grasp eternity itself. I reject that we will be bound by time forever, because we enter eternity with the Logos (hence why the wills of the damned and the saints are fixed in their eternal choice). As it says in Isaiah 57:15, the Lord inhabits eternity and we are to join in union with him for “eternity”.

In his confirmation that God is omnipresence/omnipowerful, the text is not arguing you needed him to confirm it, only that he confirmed the truth. Your pittiness to an innocent statement is rather extreme. It be akin to you reacting to “my mother showed me the love of God when I was very young” to you arguing “why do you need your mother to show you that God is love? The Law and prophets and all of Scripture affirmed it. Oh my…”. It is showing you are totally missing the point lol.

And while you may think his observation is inspiring, the text does not lend itself to that take. You may think it is improbable, but with the Spirit, Philip was whisked away from one place to the other, and St. Paul saw the 3rd Heaven. Odder things have happened.

As for it being a must in heaven, yes, simply because even Elder Prophyrios would confess he was a sinner and under the consequences of Original Sin. In Heaven, we will be like Christ is partially (till the fullness of the already/not yet if fulfilled in the Resurrection). Unless you think the Spirit enables people to become impeccable while in earth, you would agree that while the Spirit grants individuals gifts to the Church, no one exemplifies it perfectly till after death. Hence why it is constant, because those united to Christ are experiencing the divine glory consistently, while we do intermediately because of our sinful unfaithfulness. It is a given constant in heaven. But oh, we make saints out of holy people!

As for your comparison of prayer, it is not an either or. One can pray to the Saint to ask them to pray for you, but you are also responsible to pray to the Trinity. Hence the Jesus Prayer is the prayer of the monastics and the Orthodox. You view it as a zero-sum game between Christ vs. his Body (or that is the impression at least).

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This entry was posted on April 1, 2016 by in Incarnation, Theology and tagged , , , , , , .
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