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It completely destroys death, having earlier removed sin which, as it is said, held dominion over all mankind. Furthermore, it is the same sort of explanation Gregory himself gives elsewhere in his Nativity Homily: The rest of the beast’s body, dispersed in human life, as long as mankind is motivated by evil, always roughens life with the scales of sin. What can we conclude from the preceding? For nearly two thousand years Paul's suggestion at the end of 1 Corinthians 15 that God will be 'all in all' has appealed to those who hold a 'wider hope' that eventually no person will be lost from God's love. It is those who participate in the life of Christ, God Himself. Commenting on these words of Gregory, Vlachos writes" Quote . However, as a highly original and sophisticated thinker, Gregory is difficult to classify, and many aspects of his theology are contentious among both conservative Eastern Orthodoxtheologians and Western academic scholarship. The divine, pure goodness will contain in itself every nature endowed with reason; nothing made by God is excluded from his kingdom once everything mixed with some elements of base material has been consumed by refinement in fire. Timothy, who as much as he could, was also imitating his teacher; there are other persons not quite like him who, one after another, suffer little, by little a loss of goodness and are found to follow behind certain people, who are always ready to anticipate and lead until the followers, by continual imitations, resemble (, reach) their leaders in whom there is little good because evil abounds, me way, there is a conformity that comes from those who are less flawed and, , as a consequence, turn from those who excel in evil by following their own inclinations and who ar, e driven back from better things until at the last gasp of evil, growth in goodne, ss achieves the destruction of evil. Once the entire kingdom is gathered to himself, Christ hands it over to God and the Father who unites everything to himself. Gregory of Nyssa on future punishment. Christians, who were once “enemies” and at “enmity with God” (cf Rom 8:7) have been reconciled so that death no longer has authority over them. When he argues that God pervades all things “and by this penetration of the whole keeps the world in a state of being,” he uses this as a leaping off point on how God restores everything to goodness. If it is too rigidly “reactionary” in its interpretation, this is because in this day and age we have failed to get enough people seriously interacting with the work under the presumption it is actually orthodox and internally consistent. Change ). His goodness neither goes up or down—it is constant. Change ). Or something else? Gregory continues in his exegesis to the same effect: Those, then, whose reasoning powers have never been exercised and who have never had a glimpse of the better way soon use up on gluttony in this fleshly life the dividend of good which their constitution can claim, and they reserve none of it for the after life; but those who by a discreet and sober-minded calculation economize the powers of living are afflicted by things painful to sense here, but they reserve their good for the succeeding life, and so their happier lot is lengthened out to last as long as that eternal life. It consists in saying that. Gregory’s interest in the salvation of Christians. While the universalists may cling to the statement pertaining “those who are now excluded,” their zeroing in on this statement actually disproves their whole notion. Is Mark Galli a Calvinist? This is often due to the lack of systematic structure and the presence of terminological inconsistencies i… lived with men accomplishes intercession. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. It is not coincidence that Orthodox universalist tend to also be ecumenists and western in their epistemological orientation. "By the days of Gregory of Nyssa it (Universalism), aided by the unrivaled learning, genius and piety of Origen, had prevailed, and had succeeded in leavening, not the East alone, but much of the West. Questioning Gregory of Nyssa’s Universalism: Life of Moses (an Addendum) Book II of Life of Moses contains Saint Gregory of Nyssa’s exegesis of the Book of Exodus. This purgation, though with earlier precedent and later ascribed by other Orthodox saints, was probably a minority opinion of its time due to its obscure treatment in the Scriptures. Get this from a library! In this way **evil will ****completely**** disappear**, when all are recalled to life through the resurrection: the righteous will immediately be transported to celestial bliss, while those held in the grip of sins will be consigned to the fire of Gehenna. Without skipping anything Gregory wrote in what was previously quoted, he contrasts the preceding group of people (Christians) with the wicked: And, on the other hand – I say this as an example – there is Timothy, who as much as he could, was also imitating his teacher; but there are other persons not quite like him who, one after another, suffer little by little a loss of goodness and are found to follow behind certain people who are always ready to anticipate and lead until the followers, by continual imitations, resemble (reach) their leaders in whom there is little good because evil abounds. She asks whether this idea of universal salvation is a truly Christian concept. One is united to God by having faith in Him and becoming sanctified through “participation” in the Christian life. It is by repenting and believing in Christ that one is saved. For example: So it is that, when the change is made into the impalpable Unseen, not even then will it be possible for the lovers of the flesh to avoid dragging away with them under any circumstances some fleshly foulness; and thereby their torment will be intensified, their soul having been materialized by such surroundings. The story makes the sensual pleasure-loving man, when he sees that his own case is one that admits of no escape. While the doctrine of annihilation has practically disappeared, Universalism has established itself, has become the prevailing opinion, even in quarters antagonistic to the school of Alexandria. But what does Gregory actually means takes place when evil is “completely annihilated.” Does this mean universalism? In this story of the Rich and the Poor Man we are taught another doctrine also, which is intimately connected with our former discoveries. Those who have faith and live such a life are in the Church and therefore united to God Himself. It is obviously concerned with Theosis and what it means to be in subjection to God. Therefore, after the man in Christ, who became the first fruits of our human nature, received in himself the divinity, He became the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep and the first born from the dead once the pangs of death have been loosened. For one, Gregory’s treatise is hardly “bold” in its approach to universalism because it never even talks about universalism. However, is this the only way to read the work? [Morwenna Ludlow] In speaking of this purgation, which we can agree from the above parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is not applicable literally to every individual, the vagaries of language certainly give off an air of universalism. In the next paragraph, Gregory makes this even more explicit: Christ eternally builds himself up by those who join themselves to him in faith. The man who has once chosen pleasure in this life, and has not cured his inconsiderateness by repentance, places the land of the good beyond his own reach; for he has dug against himself the yawning impassable abyss of a necessity that nothing can break through…. Therefore, the sense of Paul’s words becomes clear – the Son’s subjection to his Father signifies that he knows our entire human nature and has become its salvation. In the next paragraph, Gregory teaches that the saving unity between God and men belongs to Christ’s disciples: The words contained in the Gospel then add, “The glory which you have given to me I have given to them” [vs. 22]. This is hardly a prooftext for universalism! How would you address the existence of patristic testimonies effectively abscribing these erroneous views to St. Gregory? Subjection to God then refers to Christ dwelling in us. St. Gregory of Nyssa, the younger brother of St. Paul looked to the true good al. the Son’s body. Has this website blessed you? But while the latter proceeded, on the subject of the soul, as far in the direction of supposed consequences as the thinker pleased, we are not entitled to such licence, I mean that of affirming what we please; we make the Holy Scriptures the rule and the measure of every tenet; we necessarily fix our eyes upon that, and approve that alone which may be made to harmonize with the intention of those writings…we will adopt, as the guide of our reasoning, the Scripture, which lays it down as an axiom that there is no excellence in the soul which is not a property as well of the Divine nature…we will speak upon these points by making our study of them so far as we can follow the chain of Scriptural tradition. Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335 – 390s) Gregory ... Universalism was brought to the North American colonies in the early 18th century by the English-born physician George de Benneville, who was attracted by Pennsylvania's Quaker tolerance. the sacraments or quasi-sacramental realities]. When faith is added, the apostle says, “Let us attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” [Eph 2.13]. Two paragraphs later, we have another passage which the universalists will cling to, because (when taken out of context) it can be consistent with their false doctrine: Christ’s body, as it is often said, consists of human nature in its entirety to which he has been united. He who is in the Father. The work styles itself as highly Biblicist and critical of Hellenistic syllogistic philosophy. Close. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” [Gal 2.20], good works of the Gospel are not his; rather, he attributes them to the grace of Christ dwelli, . from earlier in this paragraph and the one preceding it. Because of this, Christ is named Lord by Paul, as mediator between God and man [1 Tim 2.5]. Gregory of Nyssa on future punishment. Purgatorial Universalism was the belief of some of the early church fathers, especially Greek-speaking ones such as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Gregory of Nyssa. Evil was destroyed along with sin, as well as the death which resulted; for death is simply the. Explicitly, the “Church” is the subject being discussed. Second, it is also obvious that those obsessed with universalism spend more time reading the introduction (which is longer than the treatise) and focusing on a few lines of the work, than actually reading the work itself. constant. Within the context, it is clear that “all persons” is a reference to the “we” (i.e. He continues in the same vein in the next paragraph, quoting that “they may be one as we are one” (John 17:21): For it cannot be otherwise – “that all may be one as we are one”- unless the disciples, being separated from everything dividing them from each other, are united together “as we are one,” that “they might be one, as we are one.” How can it be that “I am in them?” For “I alone cannot be in them unless you also are in them, since both I and you are one. This is shown by Paul saying, “Death will be destroyed,” a clear statement that the power of evil will be utterly removed: persons are called enemies of God by disobedience, while those who have become the Lord’s friends are persuaded by Paul saying, “We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: ‘Be reconciled to God [2 Cor 6.20] . In so doing, this implicitly equates the teaching found in the following parable with his doctrine on universal restoration: …it is impossible to make the framework of the narrative correspond with the truth, if we understand it literally; we can do that only by translating each detail into an equivalent in the world of ideas. So then, after this person has completely separated himself from sin and has utterly denied in himself the power of death and destroyed its lordship and authority and might…if anyone like Paul may be found who became a mighty imitator of Christ in his rejection of evil…such a person will fall in behind the first fruits at Christ’s coming. It is fascinating how much ground the early Church shares with Plato and the Greek philosophers, and yet how much of Greek philosophy is rejected or corrected. As we continue reading the work, it becomes clear that what universalists are confusing as Origen-lite apokatastasis is in fact Gregory simply teaching on the existence of purgation in Hades after death for a limited class of people. (The Greek Anthology, book I … Hence, they see these statements about “trace of divinity” and become utterly lost. Theosis). Their building of one another up leads to Christ uniting these disparate members to Himself, divinizing them: If the head, in turn, builds up the body, it joins, connects and brings together everything else for which it was born according to the measure of its function, such as the hand, foot, eye, ear or any other part completing the body in proportion to each person’s faith. Really makes you think…. Get this from a library! About "If one should ask what we are worshipping and adoring, the answer is ready: we are honouring love." Evil is not found among the faithful, because God does not unite to Himself wickedness as His goodness neither increases or decreases (as we stated previously). Therefore. The supreme good is subjection to God. In fact, the Seventh General Council of the Church held in the year 787 honored Gregory by naming him “Father of the Fathers.” by the following words: “I have loved them as you have loved me” [Jn 17.23]. 100, 101) where, in speaking of the punishment by fire assigned to souls after death, he compares it to the process whereby gold is refined in a furnace, through being separated from the dross with which it is alloyed. If they had Orthodox epistemic leanings, they would more easily be able to interpret Gregory’s writing. What we see here is nothing else than Gregory describing Theosis. ( Log Out /  ing of one another up leads to Christ uniting these disparate members to Himself, divinizing them: If the head, in turn, builds up the body, it joins, connects and brings together everything else fo, r which it was born according to the measu, re of its function, such as the hand, foot, eye, ear or any other part complet, ing the body in proportion to each person’s faith. Hence, the text says, “The glory which you have given me, given through the Holy Spirit to me might be given to you through me.”, e continues in the same vein in the next paragraph, quoting, For it cannot be otherwise – “that all may be one as we, , being separated from everything dividing them from each other, are united together “as we are one,”, e are one.” How can it be that “I am in them?” For “I alone cannot be in them unless you also. Hence, from the whole preceding discussion, there is not a whiff that universalism is being seriously discussed or even implied. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. In fact, we have indications that the “we” who are saved are Christians and in Gregory’s “universalist” poetic flourish, he announces that this is proof that “, ese teachings which we have accepted from the great Saint P. l. It is time now to quote the apostle himself on these matters. Clearly, because we recognize these are classes of people, this betrays the existence of yet another class: “those” who are not saved. When we are removed from evil in imitation of the first fruits [Christ], our entire nature is mixed with this selfsame fruits. This is why I painfully noted that I was quoting things in the adjacent paragraph or immediately before and after a statement given. I wanted to show that I was twisting nothing out of context. . Gregory connects the idea from the previous passage, that we become the ex, , and shows that those who follow after Chri, Ironically, this is the opposite of the wicked who, increase in wickedness by following a wicked example. Gregory of Nyssa and the Concept of Divine Persons, Lucian Turcescu (2005) Gregory of Nyssa, Ancient and (Post)modern, Morwenna Ludlow (2007) Barth, Origen, and Universal Salvation, Tom Greggs (2009) Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and the Transformation of Divine Simplicity, Andrew Radde-Gallwitz (2009) This fact which occurred in one person [Paul, rd says, “the Gospel will be preached throughout the world”, the old man with its deeds and desires have received the Lord, The highest of all good things is salvation effected, However, we are separated from evil for no other reason, than for being united to God through subjection. By so carrying out these functions, the body builds itself up as Paul says above. (p. 7). As every being is capable of attracting its like, and humanity is, in a way, like God, as bearing within itself some resemblances to its Prototype, the soul is by a strict necessity attracted to the kindred Deity. By so carrying out these functions, the body builds itself up as Paul says above. the grace of God and what the grace of God is. Here Paul calls subjection reconciliation, one term indicating salvation by another word. In this article, we will briefly summarize the argumentation in Il Illud and prove that the heretical reading is incorrect. For the kingdom will be handed over to the. Has this article blessed you? On this note, Gregory immediately continues, has been subjected to God, he is brought to the One who lives, speaks and effects goo. Again, it is clear Gregory is speaking of Christians, not the universal salvation of Mithras worshippers, Hindus, Buddhists, and whatever else. You’re no scholars. … All who have rejected the old man with its deeds and desires have received the Lord who, of course, effects the good done by them. Christ makes everyone as limbs of his own body – even if there are many such limbs, the body is one. Hindus are not being invoked here. He does not make any menti, on of anything that pertains to universalism. the prevailing opinion, and still more of Scripture teaching, He gave him his choice, to have the one or the other of those things, good or, they reserve none of it for the after life, he has dug against himself the yawning impassable abyss of a necessity that nothing can break through, In this way **evil will ****completely**** disappear**, while those held in the grip of sins will be consigned to the fire of Gehenna, Questioning Gregory of Nyssa’s Universalism: The Great Catechism, Questioning Gregory of Nyssa’s Universalism: On the Soul and Resurrection, View OrthodoxChristianTheology’s profile on Facebook, Gregory of Nyssa Is Not a Universalist: An Introduction – Orthodox Christian Theology, Donations for the Orthodox Church in Cambodia, The Orthodox Doctrine of Justification versus Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, The Orthodox Doctrine of Justification: The Biblical Teaching, Is Roman Catholicism Schismatic? 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