Author Topic: Was Gregory of Nyssa really a Universalist?  (Read 1458 times)

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Apocatastasis

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Was Gregory of Nyssa really a Universalist?
« on: December 17, 2009, 03:29:55 AM »
Was Gregory of Nyssa really a Universalist?

Not according to the emminent Greek theologian, Heirotheos Vlachos. 

Gregory of Nyssa once wrote, "the fire which man will experience in the next life will be different from the fire of the present life. The fire of this life is extinguished in various ways, whereas the fire of the next life remains unextinguished."

Commenting on these words of Gregory, Vlachos writes"

Quote
From this brief presentation of the teaching of St. Gregory about choice and Hell several truths emerge. First, that the grace of the Holy Spirit, through Baptism, does not regenerate the person if choice is not put into action. Therefore a man's choice has great significance. Secondly, that there exists Hell, in which fire and worm which do not resemble sensory realities hold sway. They are uncreated realities. Indeed, the fact that the things of eternal life will not be like the present day, and that the worm "does not die", shows that both the purifying fire and the tormenting action of the worms is the uncreated energy of God, which will be experienced by those who have not been purified in this life. The combination of the pains of the life after death with endlessness shows that there will be no end to purification, as the studies of St. Gregory suggest.


Did you get that?  According to Vlachos, Gregory's coupling of the words 'endless' and 'fire' imply a never-ending purifying process!  Can any of you make sense out of this?  I certianly cannot!



natcat86

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Re: Was Gregory of Nyssa really a Universalist?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2009, 02:37:19 PM »
He could have changed his mind. I think most members on this site once believed and even preached ET.  :happy3:

Offline lomarah

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Re: Was Gregory of Nyssa really a Universalist?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2009, 02:44:59 PM »
Quote
Can any of you make sense out of this?  I certianly cannot!

Nope, neither can I. An "unending" purification process cannot exist, can it? Maybe Gregory meant unextinguished until the purification process is complete? I know from another thread that some believe that everyone will be in the lake of fire and that those who are purified will not be hurt by it...

In any case, there are a few places in the Bible where fire is said to be unquenchable, such as the fire that burned up Sodom and Gomorrah... I don't know if Gregory was speaking in these same terms or not...  :dontknow:
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Offline lomarah

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Re: Was Gregory of Nyssa really a Universalist?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2009, 02:45:36 PM »
He could have changed his mind. I think most members on this site once believed and even preached ET.  :happy3:

Good point. That is also a possibility.  :happy3:
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Offline sven

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Re: Was Gregory of Nyssa really a Universalist?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2009, 09:00:35 PM »
as far as I know, Gregory of Nyssa was an universalist beyond the slightest doubt, an Orthodox clergyman whom I wrote an E-mail and rejects universalism affirmed this.

and even if he were not, which authority is he?- he lived in the 4th century as far as I know.

http://www.biblicaluniversalist.com/QuotesFromGregoryOfNyssa.html

The ancients used words like "eternal", even "endless" in a quite loose sense, which I will show a further example from the NT:

Romans 9:2

οτι λυπη μοι εστιν μεγαλη και αδιαλειπτος οδυνη τη καρδια μου

That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.

adialeiptos is one of the words of which is said that the ancient Jews used to denote everlasting punishment, even this word is used here in a limited sense.

it's foolish in my opinion to focus on the words translated "eternal" or whatever, when the rest of an author's writing clearly shows he believed in universalism (or annihilation in some cases).




« Last Edit: December 17, 2009, 09:11:10 PM by sven »

Offline Doc

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Re: Was Gregory of Nyssa really a Universalist?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2009, 09:15:50 PM »
Was Gregory of Nyssa really a Universalist?

Not according to the emminent Greek theologian, Heirotheos Vlachos. 

Gregory of Nyssa once wrote, "the fire which man will experience in the next life will be different from the fire of the present life. The fire of this life is extinguished in various ways, whereas the fire of the next life remains unextinguished."

Commenting on these words of Gregory, Vlachos writes"

Quote
From this brief presentation of the teaching of St. Gregory about choice and Hell several truths emerge. First, that the grace of the Holy Spirit, through Baptism, does not regenerate the person if choice is not put into action. Therefore a man's choice has great significance. Secondly, that there exists Hell, in which fire and worm which do not resemble sensory realities hold sway. They are uncreated realities. Indeed, the fact that the things of eternal life will not be like the present day, and that the worm "does not die", shows that both the purifying fire and the tormenting action of the worms is the uncreated energy of God, which will be experienced by those who have not been purified in this life. The combination of the pains of the life after death with endlessness shows that there will be no end to purification, as the studies of St. Gregory suggest.


Did you get that?  According to Vlachos, Gregory's coupling of the words 'endless' and 'fire' imply a never-ending purifying process!  Can any of you make sense out of this?  I certianly cannot!




That last bolded statement there is Vlachos assessment and summary of what he took Nyssa to mean. That does not guarantee that Vlachos understood him correctly.
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Jerm

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Re: Was Gregory of Nyssa really a Universalist?
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2009, 03:54:56 AM »
as far as I know, Gregory of Nyssa was an universalist beyond the slightest doubt, an Orthodox clergyman whom I wrote an E-mail and rejects universalism affirmed this.

I took a Patristics course this last semester and our professor also affirmed that Gregory of Nyssa was a universalist.  It becomes pretty clear upon reading some of his other works.

bobf

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Re: Was Gregory of Nyssa really a Universalist?
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2009, 06:58:56 AM »
He was a universalist.

1 Corinthians 15:25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For "He has put all things under His feet." But when He says "all things are put under Him," it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.  

Here are some quotes by St. Gregory of Nyssa regarding the above passage.

The exposition of the term 'subjection' as used here does not mean the forceful, necessary subjection of enemies as is commonly meant; while on the other hand, salvation is clearly interpreted by subjection.

Once the entire kingdom is gathered to himself, Christ hands it over to God and the Father who unites everything to himself. For the kingdom will be handed over to the Father, that is, all persons will yield to God [Christ], through whom we have access to the Father.

When all enemies have become God's footstool, they will receive a trace of divinity in themselves.

A treatise on First Corinthians 15.28 by Gregory of Nyssa
« Last Edit: December 23, 2009, 07:01:59 AM by bobf »