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  #1  
Old Jul 17, '12, 7:43 am
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TrueLight TrueLight is offline
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Default Orthodox View of Heaven and Hell

Oftentimes when we think of reconciliation of the Orthodox and Catholic, we think of issues such as the Filioque and papal infallibility.

I wanted to understand better the East-West Schism of 1054, so I found this really detailed article on Wikipedia.

However, the more I started to read about the theology, the more I noticed greater differences than I had anticipated - like the apparent difference in how both sides view heaven and hell.

Can any Orthodox or ECs chime in with whether this entry is accurate? I'd also like to know if the ECs follow the Western teaching instead when it comes to heaven and hell.


Quote:
Damnation


Eastern Orthodox consider the teaching of punishment in the after life by Western Christianity[160][161] a corruption of the original teaching of the eternal fire.[160] The traditional Orthodox teaching is that "those who reject Christ will face punishment. According to the Confession of Dositheus, persons go immediately to joy in Christ or to the torments of punishment".[154] " This is different from the West's teaching of Damnation.[162]

In Orthodox doctrine there is no place without God. In eternity there is no hiding from God. In Catholic theology, God is present everywhere not only by his power but in himself.[163] Hell is a state of self-selected separation from God. In Orthodoxy torment for the damned is not some created place called Hell, where people are without God. As the English word Hell is not in the Greek bible, although the Greek word κόλασις, which now means "the situation of spiritual punishment after the last judgement of those who died without repenting of their sins"[164] is found in the Greek Bible.[165] The word Hades is not expressed as a place strictly of eternal damnation in the Greek bible either. It as the bosom of Abraham is where both Lazarus and the rich men existed; neither was in a separate place from God or one another.[166][167]

While eastern theology considers the desire to sin, as the result of a spiritual sickness (caused by Adam and Eve's pride), which needs to be cured.[168] One such theologian gives his interpretation of Western theology as follows: "According to the holy Fathers of the Church, there is not an uncreated Paradise and a created Hell, as the Franco-Latin tradition teaches".[169] The eastern Church, believes that hell or eternal damnation and heaven exist and are the same place, which is being with God, and that the very same Divine love (God's uncreated energies) which is a source of bliss and consolation for the righteous (because they love God, His love is Heaven for them), is also a source of torment (or a "Lake of Fire") for sinners (because they don't love God, they will feel His love this way).[170][171][172][173] The Western Church speaks of heaven[174] and hell[175] as states of existence rather than as places. Whereas in Eastern Orthodoxy there is no Hell per se, there is damnation or punishment in eternity for the rejection of God's grace."
Also, I remember reading on an Orthodox forum that some don't believe hell (damnation) is eternal. Is that correct? Does that mean there can come a time when someone in hell can begin to understand God's love and begin to experience his presence as pure bliss?

How can this be reconciled with Western theology?

Thank you.
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  #2  
Old Jul 17, '12, 7:51 am
ConstantineTG ConstantineTG is offline
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Default Re: Orthodox View of Heaven and Hell

Eastern theology views that we all return to God. It is our experience of God that will differ. Those who died in friendship will God will receive eternal bliss from God. Those who lived rejecting God (living in sin) will experience pain and suffering from God's very presence, and this is the gnashing of teeth that Jesus spoke of. It is not that we are in a place totally separated from God, we cannot be separated from God as his creation lest we cease to exist. So hell is not a place, but rather the painful experience of God's love for those that cannot accept it.

Imagine this, you are in a dark room and you step outside to a sunny day. The light temporarily blinds you and may even give you a headache. Such is the experience for those who are living in darkness (sin) and they step into the presence of God (light). And this feeling doesn't last for a few seconds or minutes, it lasts for eternity.
  #3  
Old Jul 17, '12, 7:57 am
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Default Re: Orthodox View of Heaven and Hell

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Originally Posted by ConstantineTG View Post
Eastern theology views that we all return to God. It is our experience of God that will differ. Those who died in friendship will God will receive eternal bliss from God. Those who lived rejecting God (living in sin) will experience pain and suffering from God's very presence, and this is the gnashing of teeth that Jesus spoke of. It is not that we are in a place totally separated from God, we cannot be separated from God as his creation lest we cease to exist. So hell is not a place, but rather the painful experience of God's love for those that cannot accept it.

Imagine this, you are in a dark room and you step outside to a sunny day. The light temporarily blinds you and may even give you a headache. Such is the experience for those who are living in darkness (sin) and they step into the presence of God (light). And this feeling doesn't last for a few seconds or minutes, it lasts for eternity.
That makes sense. I don't think that current official Catholic teaching states that hell is a place per se.

How about the description of heaven as the new Jerusalem. Streets paved in gold, etc...

Also, I don't see any room for purgatory in this type of understanding, unless one can say that those in purgatory experience God less fully. (Yes, I know purgatory is not an Eastern concept).

What do you know about the idea of hell not being eternal? Is this official teaching or just different people's opinions?

I'm trying to see what can be reconciled and what cannot.
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Old Jul 17, '12, 8:12 am
ConstantineTG ConstantineTG is offline
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Default Re: Orthodox View of Heaven and Hell

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Originally Posted by TrueLight View Post
That makes sense. I don't think that current official Catholic teaching states that hell is a place per se.

How about the description of heaven as the new Jerusalem. Streets paved in gold, etc...

Also, I don't see any room for purgatory in this type of understanding, unless one can say that those in purgatory experience God less fully. (Yes, I know purgatory is not an Eastern concept).

What do you know about the idea of hell not being eternal? Is this official teaching or just different people's opinions?

I'm trying to see what can be reconciled and what cannot.
If I am not mistaken, St. Mark of Ephesus (of all people) tried to reconcile this view with the Western view of Purgatory in the Council of Florence but we all know that didn't go well. He said that the same fire of God's divine love is what causes purification for those who otherwise love God but have been defiled. I read that somewhere although I can't find any other place where it gained traction in Orthodox belief.

Perhaps when they talk about hell, they talk about the foretaste that people experience today when they die, prior to the general resurrection. So the belief is when someone dies, they receive particular judgement (same as Catholic belief) and then they are treated to a foretaste of their state at the end of time. Those who lived in sin will experience torment, and those who lived in God's love will experience bliss. But these are all temporary because we all will be resurrected. Perhaps that is why they say hell is not eternal. At the end of time we are reunited with our bodies and that is when there is no more hiding from God, that we are all subjected to the full presence of God and those with no capacity of their own to accept God through the choices they made in their lives will be tormented by this.
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Old Jul 17, '12, 8:23 am
jwinch2 jwinch2 is offline
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Default Re: Orthodox View of Heaven and Hell

I'm not sure that article accurately describes Catholic teaching on Hell, but I could be wrong. I just listened to a series of talks on Eschatology and the discussions on Hell were very similar to how that article presents the Eastern understanding. Of course, different words are used, but the theme was very similar considering that one language does not translate perfectly into another. In addition, a number of theologians have proposed theories on what Hell is and will be like, but I am not sure, other than some generalities as described in the CCC, that there is one "official" interpretation.
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Old Jul 17, '12, 8:31 am
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GaryTaylor GaryTaylor is offline
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Default Re: Orthodox View of Heaven and Hell

Don't know about the official interpretation, this may help. Its two pages.

http://www.google.com/url?q=http://w...X_Ytv7bsfMqIgA
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Old Jul 17, '12, 9:01 am
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Default Re: Orthodox View of Heaven and Hell

There is an interesting movie coming out that explores the many different concepts of hell.

http://www.hellboundthemovie.com/
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Old Jul 17, '12, 9:09 am
Credo ergo sum Credo ergo sum is offline
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Default Re: Orthodox View of Heaven and Hell

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Originally Posted by TrueLight View Post
Also, I remember reading on an Orthodox forum that some don't believe hell (damnation) is eternal. Is that correct?
No. The Orthodox do not believe in the Apokatastasis.
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Old Jul 17, '12, 9:11 am
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Default Re: Orthodox View of Heaven and Hell

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Originally Posted by Credo ergo sum View Post
No. The Orthodox do not believe in the Apokatastasis.
Translation please.
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Old Jul 17, '12, 9:11 am
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Default Re: Orthodox View of Heaven and Hell

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Originally Posted by jam070406 View Post
There is an interesting movie coming out that explores the many different concepts of hell.

http://www.hellboundthemovie.com/
Interesting,.........the run of the mill secular thinking that Christianity invented so everyone obeys the Churcn is pretty common today though.
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"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen." St. Gertrude
  #11  
Old Jul 17, '12, 9:14 am
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Default Re: Orthodox View of Heaven and Hell

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Originally Posted by GaryTaylor View Post
Interesting,.........the run of the mill secular thinking that Christianity invented so everyone obeys the Churcn is pretty common today though.
Very interesting. Is this actually going to play in theaters? I'd expect it to go straight to DVD.
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Old Jul 17, '12, 9:18 am
Credo ergo sum Credo ergo sum is offline
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Default Re: Orthodox View of Heaven and Hell

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Translation please.
A theory held by Origen Adamantius and to some extent St. Gregory of Nyssa that in the end all will be reconciled to God and enter heaven, including the devil.
  #13  
Old Jul 17, '12, 9:21 am
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Default Re: Orthodox View of Heaven and Hell

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Originally Posted by Credo ergo sum View Post
A theory held by Origen Adamantius and to some extent St. Gregory of Nyssa that in the end all will be reconciled to God and enter heaven, including the devil.
Oh I see. Thanks.

Do some believe that some might be reconciled?
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Old Jul 17, '12, 9:22 am
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Default Re: Orthodox View of Heaven and Hell

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Very interesting. Is this actually going to plain theaters? I'd expect it to go straight to DVD.
Looks to be so, gone in about 1-week to DVD, pay for view in two. Pretty sure its the same story told monthly on the History Channel with spin.
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"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen." St. Gertrude
  #15  
Old Jul 17, '12, 9:24 am
Credo ergo sum Credo ergo sum is offline
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Default Re: Orthodox View of Heaven and Hell

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Originally Posted by TrueLight View Post
Oh I see. Thanks.

Do some believe that some might be reconciled?
It is generally condemned. Some Early Fathers flirted with the idea, but people from later ages condemned it, like St. Jerome, Emperor Justinian and St. Photius the Great to mention some. I don't think many Orthodox hold to the apokatastasis, but I'm not sure since I'm not Eastern Orthodox.
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