Theosophy: Can we agree that tormenting people for all time is wrong no matter what?

Discussion in 'Alternative' started by Nick the Pilot, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Re: Theosophy: Can we agree that tormenting people for all time is wrong no matter w

    Hi all -

    I have determined not get involved in issues other than direct questions on Christian (specifically Catholic) doctrine, but as the framing of the question itself indicates a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of said doctrine, I thought I'd drop in with a more concise view.

    I am not offering a critique of Theosophy or any other belief system, rather this is addressed to those who might assume something of Christian doctrine, based on an erroroneous presentation.

    And it is a common assumption that within the Christian paradigm, suffering is visited on man by God as some order of punishment, and an uninstructed reading of Scripture would seem to indicate as much ... however the assumption that every and any intellect can fathom the meaning let alone the depths of Scripture unaided is itself an error often overlooked.

    That being said, Scripture should be approached from the insight of the over-arching hermeneutic, from the perspective of a treaditionbal commentary, as what is often overlooked is that the tradition predates the Scripture, not the other way round.

    +++

    One appraoch to this question from a Christian perspective, is the understanding that God is Absolute, and therefore absolutely free, that is under no limitation nor constraint, no containment nor condition, is subject to no prior nor anterior determination.

    Man, having been made in the divine image (cf Genesis 1:26, 2:7), is also free, and although his freedom is not absolute, but according to the limitation of his nature (man is not God); man is the manifestation of contingent being (a logoi of the Logos), able to partake in the Absolute by grace, according to the doctrine called theosis or divinisation.

    +++

    it is this aspect of 'absoluteness' that provides the solution to a problem. Simply put:
    God is free (infinite and unlimited)
    Man is free (within the limitations of finitude)

    Man is free in the sense that although created, and thus subsistent, he is not obliged to acknowledge his Creator. This, in fact, is the ontology of 'freedom' and the only metaphysically real 'freedom' that man possesses — to acknowledge or deny his nature and his creatureliness.

    +++

    God, being Absolute, transcends the created and cosmological order, 'eternal' does not so much mean timeless, as outside or beyond time altogether (and similarly space, and thus all cosmological determination).

    The beatific vision, or the Christian idea of heaven, is also thereby timeless and metacosmic — great error ensues when people assume that what Christianity means by the term heaven is the same as what a Daoist or a Buddhist or, in the current context, what a Theosophist, means by the term.

    Likewise in Christian terms the notion of 'freedom' lies in the ability to accept or deny God, or in other terms the ability to accept or deny the Real, the True, etc.

    For this reason, if Christian freedom lies ontologically in the Absolute, then there must necessarily be an ontological dimension of resistence, the free will to choose that which is other than the Real, the True, the Good, and so on.

    The notion of an eternal hell then, of eternal suffering, is nothing other than the notion of separation from the Real, the True and and Good, or in other words a separation from the Absolute, and as such must allow for a dimension of such a separation absolutely if it is to be a complete metaphysical expression of the Christian paradigm — if not then truth becomes conditional, and the whole thing is inverted.

    The idea of an 'eternal punishment' is therefore 'natural' and coherent according to the idea of a Deity who is Absolute, and thereby 'consistent' and 'unchanging' — in God justice is neither blind nor chance, but ordered precisely and infallibly according to the Real, the True and the Good.

    This idea of Divine Justice is tempered by the idea of Divine Mercy, which is itself founded in the Absolute Freedom of God.

    The Christian then, trusts in God's justice, and has faith in God's mercy, and hopes thereby that not one soul be lost.

    Thomas
     
  2. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Re: Theosophy: Can we agree that tormenting people for all time is wrong no matter w

    Let's not forget, however, that it is an assumption, and many of us believe an incorrect & unfounded assumption, to say that INTELLECT is mankind's greatest, or crowning FACULTY of consciousness. In other words, there are faculties of awareness beyond the mind, for those patient enough, and willing enough, to develop them ...

    The Catholic Church may not officially teach or admit anything like the Buddhi of Theosophy, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. ... yet there are clear and obvious reasons why this is so. How would it do, after all, for the authorities to have to accept that indeed, the common man CAN gain insight, DIRECTLY, into the nature of God, into the deepest meanings of Scripture, and into the true state of his own Soul?

    Why, then we might actually be able to tend to the matter of our own Salvation ... WITHOUT the Church! :eek:

    No no no - I can't see the least potential for conflict of interest there!!! No way at all this could become political, or lead to things like SUPPRESSION of Truth! :rolleyes:

    Ah well, no wonder the true Gnostics have been persecuted so much (tormented, I should say!) down through the ages ... and no wonder certain of us here must feel obliged, at every opportunity, to pass judgment on those pseudo-gnostics, and psuedo-esoterists of every ilk - SAVE, of couse, THE CATHOLIC.

    ~-~-~-~

    Penetrate behind what the Church would prefer that you did not know, and you will begin to see even an objective basis for why doing unto another REALLY SHOULD be just as you would have him do unto you.

    What goes around, comes around. You do it to him, he WILL "do it" unto you. Pretty much that simple.

    It's just that Christian theology cannot help but insert an imaginary God-figure in there, where none need exist ... indeed, where none DOES exist.


    Let us remember the witty saying of Voltaire, which of course, in itself, proves nothing:
    If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.​
    And which one of God's ten fingers and toes will twitch, as he compels one or two of here to compose a response? :rolleyes: :p

    I assure you, no scholarly learning from any University, will provide an answer. ;)
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Re: Theosophy: Can we agree that tormenting people for all time is wrong no matter w

    Hi Andrew —

    I have not said it is not possible, I have simply stated that just because one can read, does not thereby imply one understands fully what one has read.

    As a matter of fact, in the Christian paradigm, Scripture is not just words on the page, but a form of sacrament in itself, a prayerful reading engages one in a dialogue with the Logos, which we call lectio divina ... at which point one moves beyond the boundaries of intellectual comprehension, what is made known then rests on what God chooses to unveil to the eye of the soul, and what God chooses to remain veiled.

    Well as is evident, man has many and diverse ideas as to what comprises 'salvation' ... the Church is just one of them.

    Please, Andrew, I specifically said I am speaking from the Christian perspective, and am not passing judgement or making opinions on any other tradition, nor have I engaged in a critique of Theosophic doctrine presented in this thread. I have simply put a view from within a Christian paradigm if you will, purely for the sake of balance (the question having arisen in reference to Christianity), with regard to a point of Christian doctrine.

    Your anti-Catholic feeling has been well advertised on this forum, but I did consider my post in the light of not causing offence. I would be obliged if you could do the same.

    If that were the case, please do me the service of not impuning my religion ... I have not impuned yours.

    Again, as I said at the outset, I am speaking from a Christian paradigm, in which the existence of God is axiomatic ... indeed, the Abrahamic traditions would be a nonsense were this not so.

    If you do not believe in God, then that is your freedom so to do, but I am equally free to believe. Live and let live, as the saying goes, or do unto others, as you yourself have said ... please do not hound or abuse me for my beliefs ...

    Again ... please ... abuse and insult gets us nowhere.

    Thomas
     
  4. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    ~(='.'=)~

    Thomas, you said,
    "And it is a common assumption that within the Christian paradigm, suffering is visited on man by God as some order of punishment...."
    --> Clearly, this is what I assume, after reading Genesis 3:16.
    "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."
    --> I suppose we could argure the difference between punishment and sorrow, but I think it is not necessary.
    "And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life...." (Genesis 3:17)
    --> Technically, man was not cursed, only the ground he walks on. (I do not see a difference.)
    "...an uninstructed reading of Scripture would seem to indicate as much...."
    --> How would you instruct the reading of Genesis 3:16-17? Are you instructing us that suffering is not visited on man by God as some order of punishment?
     
  5. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    ~(='.'=)~

    "I have not impuned yours."
    --> Why, it seems like only yesterday you called Blavatsky a liar, and insinuated that Theosophy is nothing but a pack of lies. Clearly, you dance the dance of impuners.

    You can trick Andrew into losing debates by getting him mad and losing focus. Such techniques do not work with me.
    "I specifically said I am speaking from the Christian perspective...."
    --> This is the value of this Forum. Christianity sees Hell as eternal, while Theosophy sees it as temporary. It is for each reader to listen to both sides of the story, and make their own decision.
     
  6. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Re: Theosophy: Can we agree that tormenting people for all time is wrong no matter w

    Thomas can, with his ego glowing a bit too brightly, best me in a few logical arguments ... yet I like to think I know him better than even he realizes.

    Am I anti-Catholic, Thomas, or am I just opposed to the AUTHORITARIANISM which YOUR Church tries to impose upon ALL OTHERS?

    Am I not - simply opposed to your insistence upon Domine Iesus ... and your refusal, as you toe the party line, to accept that in fact the Savior has been known UNIVERSALLY, to all cultures and religions, and is equally accessible BY ALL?

    For example ...
    I have never disputed that Salvation is attainable via the Christian, or Roman Catholic, Church. Yet I will dispute with my last, dying breath that this is the ONLY way to Salvation (or even that it is the most expedient, or that it is God's most recent REVELATION to mankind).

    Now you see, in response, what we hear from Thomas, is nothing but SLANDER and CALUMNY of HPB's good name, of her Work and her works, and even the ridiculous assertion that she somehow converted to Christianity, or Catholicism (HAH!) upon her deathbed!

    Good God! That's proof enough that you, Sir Thomas, are about fifteen bricks shy of a load!

    And yet you go on ... you go further, Thomas, and draw up all kinds of arguments, suggesting that Esoteric Science is "metaphysically unsound," and referring to anyone who does not toot your Roman-Catholic horn as a "pseduo-gnostic" or "pseudo-esoterist."

    I have been impressed, actually, at the resolve you have shown in refraining from your usual insult, Thomas, either veiled or more direct, for the past month or so. Often we have seen the DIRECT type of insult, in regular discussions, yet we also see these jabs plainly enough, when any of us who DARE to approach God, and Christ, though one of your non-official, Roman-Catholic-authoritatively sanctioned channels gets labeled the "pseudo-Mystic," or "pseudo-Occultist."

    Since when was it acceptable, at C-R, or in ANY polite conversation, to essentially say to a person, "Oh, btw, all this nonsense you believe in ... it is ILL-FOUNDED, it is metaphysically unsound, your FOUNDER was a deluded FRAUD ... and thus YOU ALL, are a bunch of misguided TWITS" !?! :eek: :mad:

    Indeed, Thomas, who is dishing out the insults, and who is quaffing the usual cup of poison, prepared AS IS CUSTOM ... or, TRADITION. :eek:
     
  7. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Re: Theosophy: Can we agree that tormenting people for all time is wrong no matter w

    Although I am short on time, I will even beat you to the punch, Thomas.

    Let us try the shoe ON THE OTHER FOOT, eh?

    Have I declared CHRIST, the proper Founder of the Christian Faith or religion, to be A FRAUD?

    I have not.

    Have I said, that EVERY Catholic authority, or recogized Saint, or Mystic, was deluded, or was, essentially, FULL OF IT, and that their theology was, for lack of a better word, a CROCK?

    I have not. In fact, I quite admire the writings of several of the Mystics, I am interested in the contributions of several of the `authorities,' or `experts' ... but I WILL KEEP MY OWN JUDGMENT on what is authoritative, and who is EXPERT. When I am out of my depth, I am not afraid to admit it.

    I was a Christian, after some manner, for the first 13 years of my life. Nor have I thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

    Do I say that the Christian teachings are metaphysically unsound, or that proper, TRUE Revelation is lacking therein?

    I DO NOT. I have never said this. I have simply said that 99 out of 100 people do not even begin to understand their deeper and hidden meanings. This is the closest that you and I will come to an agreement here, Thomas, yet what you simply cannot bring yourself to accept is that a THEOSOPHIST might have a deeper experience (than a Catholic or a Christian), via the precise lectio divina which you mention, of YOUR OWN Holy Scriptures! :eek:

    My my, what a rude awakening some folks are in for! All of us, sooner or later ... but especially those of us who wrestle so, with HUMILITY. And I won't deny it. Will YOU, Sir Thomas? ;)
     
  8. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    ~(='.'=)~

    Muslimwoman,

    Theosophy agrees with Christianity over the idea of a Father-Mother-Son Trinity. Does Islam teach the idea of a Trinity?
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Re: ~(='.'=)~

    Hi Nick —
    Precisely my point.

    It is the Christian belief that man is the entry point of suffering into the world.

    Thomas
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Re: ~(='.'=)~

    I don't think I ever put it in quite those words, nor do I think anything I have said matches the venom that has been directed at the Church.

    Certainly on this occasion, I have made no such comments to deserve the response received, but I am willing to acknowledge that perhaps I have been somewhat too forthright for some sensibilities.

    Shall we continue walking in circles, or shall we move on?

    Thomas
     
  11. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Re: ~(='.'=)~

    Well this is well and good. Finite cause, finite reward ... or punishment. INFINITE Cause, Infinite Reward ... or punishment, though we know this is not the case.

    Finite cause cannot produce Infinite reward ... or punishment.
     
  12. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Re: ~(='.'=)~

    Hi Nick,
    Just a gentle flag, lest anyone else be confused, this is not the Trinity of Christian understanding.

    But I'm sure you were aware of that ...

    Thomas
     
  13. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    ~(+_+)~

    Thomas, you said,
    "I don't think I ever put it in quite those words...."

    --> I think you did. As a matter of fact, I remember it quite clearly.
    "...nor do I think anything I have said matches the venom that has been directed at the Church."

    --> What happens between you and Andrew is one thing. Your accusing of HPB of being a liar is something else entirely. You may accuse someone of being a liar and just walk away, if you wish. I cannot. Rather, I see it as my job to point out such things, especially from you, a symbol of Christianity.
    "I have made no such comments to deserve the response received..."

    --> You called Blavatsky a liar, and you insinuated that Theosophy is nothing but a pack of lies. My declaring you an impuner is quite justified.
    "Shall we continue walking in circles, or shall we move on?"

    --> You were going to instruct us in how God's curse and God-inflicted sorrow is not God's punishment?
    "It is the Christian belief that man is the entry point of suffering into the world."
    --> It is the Theosophical belief that man does not suffer from the divine punishment as outlined in Genesis 3:16-17.

    I see a great deal of animal suffering around me. Theosophy teaches that plants also suffer. (This has since been confirmed by lie-detector tests conducted on plants.) Finally, the consciousness that ensouls minerals is not said to suffer, but it does experience selfish desire of the strongest type. Theosophy, then, does not believe man is the entry point of suffering into the world. It also occurs at lower levels of consciousness, levels of consciousness we all experienced before we became humans.

    And, for anyone who is interested, Theosophy gives quite a different interpretation of the divine punishment as outlined in Genesis 3:16-17. The events of those days were just as horrible as described in Genesis, but they were human-caused, not divinely-caused. I think the Theosophical interpretation of the horrors of those days makes a lot more sense.
     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Re: ~(='.'=)~

    But an error, even a finite one, can result in separation from the Infinite — in the same way that a lie is infinitely other than the True, or illusion is infinitely other than the Real?

    In the Christian paradigm, which as I have tried to make evident is ordered toward the Absolute, we (by which I mean the Christian) have to account for both succession and simultaneity, that is we have to take into account the world, as governed by space and time — and perhaps more significantly by cause and effect — and its transcendance.

    Succession by the very nature of finite existence, and simultaneity by the belief that Salvation is possible within one's lifetime.

    The key to this understanding is the notion of 'sleep in Christ' which addresses the condition of the relation of subsistent logoi — 'being' in all its determinations — and the eternal Logos. Whether one is 'asleep' or 'awake' to one's ontological and therefore eschatalogical subsistence 'by, through, in and with' the Logos (to quote our most ancient liturgies) in the eschaton is determined by one's actions in this life, and by the Will of God.

    I rest my faith in Him, according to His word:
    "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
    1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

    If I were to speculate, I would treat 'sleep' in its widest metaphysical context, which, by the Grace of God, covers a multitude of sins!

    In this I draw strength from Julian of Norwich: "But All Shall be Well, and All Shall be Well and All Manner of Things Will be Well."

    Thomas
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Re: ~(+_+)~

    In the Christian paradigm, when man fell He disrupted the Unity of the Kosmos, and where there is disunity, there is the absence of harmony, which 'resonates' throughout the fabric of the Kosmos, and is thereby necessarily and inescapably suffered by all.

    +++

    Really Nick, if I address the title of this thread "Theosophy: Can we agree that tormenting people for all time is wrong no matter what?" my answer is, it's up to you, I am not a Theosophist.

    All I intended was to address certain distortions of the picture with regard to Christian doctrine.

    Thomas
     
  16. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    ~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~

    Thomas,

    Theosophy teaches that there were three Falls, not one Fall. I will address the human Fall, as you have mentioned.


    You said,
    "In the Christian paradigm, when man fell He disrupted the Unity of the Kosmos...."

    --> According to Theosophy, when man fell, he made quite a mess of things, but the ensuing disaster was limited only to happenings on Earth. We do not see this Fall as having kosmic (or cosmic, Theosophy makes a distinction) ramifications. (The first Fall did.)
    "...and is thereby necessarily and inescapably suffered by all."
    --> I agree the human race is still negatively impacted by the events of those days.
    "All I intended was to address certain distortions of the picture with regard to Christian doctrine."
    --> I do want to hear how God's curse and God-inflicted sorrow is not God's punishment. Have I distorted this doctrine?
     
  17. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Re: ~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~

    I didn't know that.

    Christianity teaches one. This, I think, shows up the paradigmatic difference between our respectie outlooks.

    Thomas
     
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Re: ~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~

    I thinks it's a matter of balance. As in all things Christian, one has to pursue the ontological principle of things, and for us the principle of divine punishment is a derivative of the principle of divine justice, and justice in this sense is tied to the ratio, or right-relationship, of all things — which exists in the Logos, and in which all things find their perfection and their rest.

    Anaximander said it most profoundly:
    "Whence things have their origin, Thence also their destruction happens, According to necessity; For they give to each other justice and recompense For their injustice In conformity with the ordinance of Time."

    The Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament addresses the question of suffering constantly, and the Book of Job is an extended and inspired contemplation on just that — and by the way which remains invariably optimistic in the face of such apparent adversity.

    The St Luke, on the other hand, offers a wonderful testimony to the tempering of Justice according to the Mercy of the Father, in his parable of the Prodigal Son — and the Parables of the Kingdom witness such blessed relief — but as I understand it, Theosophy discounts the possibility of the forgiveness of sin (according to our discussions on karma) ... such being the case, I can fully understand how a Theosophist can only view Christianity in a negative light which must colour one's outlook.

    To the Christian, Christ came to save, not to condemn, so for us the message of hope of Salvation in Him outweighs the despair all too evident in this vale of tears.

    Faith, hope and love ... and above all love.

    Thomas
     
  19. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Re: Theosophy: Can we agree that tormenting people for all time is wrong no matter w

    I would only add, that for the Esotericist, Christ eventually saves all Souls ... and in this, I would think there is cause for great hope, and also for a wealth of gratitude. How soon, and in what ways, we choose to show this gratitude - is up to us!

    I wonder, does it serve some kind of gap in one's personal theology (or the theology one has been obliged to accept or adopt) ... to cling to the idea of some kind of wrathful deity? That is, must we - in order to somehow feel like WE are part of some privileged group - insist on believing that THOSE people (whoever they are ... the `lowest of the low') will suffer horribly, miserably, in some eternal hell?

    Something I do not miss from Christian theology, and the kinds of discussions that folks in Bible groups seem so fixated upon, is all this talk of eternal pain, and torment, and suffering. Sounds like quite a bit of misery, and things gone terribly, terribly wrong ... for such a Loving, wonderful God. :(

    The esotericism I've come to know, also has room for things gone quite a bit `wrong,' but it also teaches a kind of Perspective, allowing room for several Humanities evolving around EVERY star in the sky ... AND there is a Merciful God - or rather, JUSTICE ... AND everyone gets `saved' ... AND everyone must learn Responsibility ... AND none of this defies logic, or makes appeal to the Absolute, save in acknowledging that there is One (sic).

    In apologies to Bertrand Russell, I think I could turn one of his best-known titles into a fifty-volume treatise. But I'll stop here ... ;) :)
     
  20. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    -----====ooo000ooo====-----

    Thomas, several posts ago, you said,
    "And it is a common assumption that within the Christian paradigm, suffering is visited on man by God as some order of punishment...."
    --> I thought we were having this immediate discussion to consider the idea that suffering is not visited on man by God as some order of punishment. I do not see in your most recent post anything that negates the idea that suffering is visited on man by God as some order of punishment.

    You said,
    "...the principle of divine punishment is a derivative of the principle of divine justice, and justice in this sense is tied to the ratio, or right-relationship, of all things — which exists in the Logos, and in which all things find their perfection and their rest."
    --> It still sounds like we are talking about punishment, divine or otherwise.
    "According to necessity; For they give to each other justice and recompense For their injustice In conformity with the ordinance of Time."
    --> It still sounds like punishiment, due to injustice.
    "...which remains invariably optimistic in the face of such apparent adversity."
    --> It still sounds like punishiment, this time made optimistic.
    "The St Luke, on the other hand, offers a wonderful testimony to the tempering of Justice according to the Mercy of the Father, in his parable of the Prodigal Son...."
    --> This speaks of tempering via mercy. I see no mercy in Genesis 3:16-17.
    "Theosophy discounts the possibility of the forgiveness of sin..."
    --> So the punishment of Genesis 3:16-17 is not really punishment, because it can be forgiven later? That is too much of a stretch, I would say.
    "To the Christian, Christ came to save, not to condemn...."
    --> And God came to give curses and sorrow?
    "...so for us the message of hope of Salvation in Him outweighs the despair all too evident in this vale of tears."
    --> I just do not think we are communicating at all. I see God as punishing humanity in Genesis 3:16-17. Nothing you have said here indicates anything different.

    ~~~

    According to Christianity, then, suffering is visited on man by God as some order of punishment. Theosophy teaches against such an idea.
     

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