May 1, 2010 15 Comments
“He, the Eternal King, recapitulates everything in himself” (Adversus haereses, III, 21,9)
By: Jay Dyer
For a long time I assumed that the Eastern notions of the eschaton sounded universalist and heretical. This was based on my staunchly Latin view of the eternal state, based in turn on what I had accepted as understood in the Augustinian and medieval milieu. I want to thank Steven Kaster for taking the time to explain things to me much better. When I first read “River of Fire” by Kalomiros, I was struck by how unbiblical it sounded. It still does to me. Kalomiros proposes that no one has understood what “justice” means in the west. That’s hard to accept.
As I read further, I encountered Isaac the Syrian and Basil in more depth, as well as soaking in St. Maximus, Von Balthasar and others, and the Nyssan-Maximian notions of perpetual progress in the eschaton. More recently, reflection upon Anslem’s ideas of the meaning of the atonement have become increasingly ridiculous, too. Pope Benedict XVI wrote of how incoherent this view was back in 1968 in Introduction to Christianity, sharing many of the standard Eastern criticisms of the Latin ideas. This is also the basis for the controversial Vatican Declaration on Limbo from a few years ago. And you can see from its footnotes it’s relying on Eastern Fathers. Read more of this post