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.
Eastern Orthodox consider the teaching of punishment in the after life by Western Christianity a corruption of the original teaching of the eternal fire. 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”. " This is different from the West’s teaching of Damnation.
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. 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” is found in the Greek Bible. 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.
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. 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”. 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). The Western Church speaks of heaven and hell 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?