Vladimir Lossky

16 07 2009

I am now working on a research paper for my systematic theology class.  It’s an extremely short research paper (10 pages), which at this point I am quite thankful for.  We were basically given free range on what we want to write about… basically it just needs to deal with Christology (study of Christ) or Pneumatology (study of the Spirit) in some way.  I’ve decided to try to compare two theologians – Vladimir Lossky and John Wesley… specifically their understandings of atonement.

Chances are you know who John Wesley is… but Lossky?  In case you are unfamiliar with him (as I was before this class), he was an Eastern Orthodox theologian (1902-1958).  I’ve just started reading bits of his book, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church.  So far it has been an interesting read – and hopefully I’ll be able to pick it up again and read it more carefully when I have some free time.

Here’s a brief exerpt:

“A perfect nature has no need of choice, for it knows naturally what is good.  Its freedom is based on this knowledge.  Our free choice indicates the imperfection of fallen human nature, the loss of the divine likeness.  Our nature being overclouded by sin no longer knows its true good, and usually turns to what is ‘against nature’; and so the human person is always faced with the necessity of choice; it goes forward gropingly.  This hesitation in our ascent towards the good, we call ‘free will.’  The person called to union with God, called to realize by grace the perfect assimilation of its nature to the divine nature, is bound to a mutilated nature, defaced by sin and torn apart by conflicting desires.  It knows and wills by means of this imperfect nature, and is in practice blind and powerless.  It can no longer choose well, and too often yields to the impulses of a nature which has become a slave to sin.  So it is, that that in us which is made in the image of God is dragged into the abyss, though always retaining its freedom of choice, and the possibility of turning anew to God.” (125-126)

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