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The Basis of the Eastern Orthodox Church Today - Research Paper Example

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The paper describes the three different standards. They are literal, symbolic, and spiritual interpretation. When using literal, symbolic, and spiritual interpretation, the Bible makes more sense according to Origen. Literal examples in the Bible are events that actually happened…
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The Basis of the Eastern Orthodox Church Today
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Thesis ment: When using literal, symbolic, and spiritual interpretation, the Bible makes more sense according to Origen. Hugh T. Kerr edited Readings in Christian Thought. In this book Kerr looks at “Origen on First Principles.” The Eastern Orthodox Church is one of three major Christian branches, along with the Catholic and Protestant. Origen was an early Eastern Orthodox Church scholar from Egypt that interpreted the scriptures. Instead of literal or spiritual interpretations of the scriptures, Origen taught the Bible should be read using a different standard for each element. The three different standards are literal, symbolic, and spiritual interpretation. When using literal, symbolic, and spiritual interpretation, the Bible makes more sense according to Origen.
Literal examples in the Bible are events that actually happened. These literal things can be proven beyond a shadow of doubt. “We must assert, therefore, that in regard to some things we are clearly aware that the historical fact is true ... [e.g.] that Jerusalem is the chief city of Judea, in which a temple of God was built by Solomon; and thousands of other facts” (Kerr). These facts can be proven. Jerusalem still exists. The Western Wall of the Temple is still standing. Thousands of other literal facts exist in the Bible. The laws passed down from generation to generation is still being followed by the Jews in the belief these laws are literal. Thus the Bible contains literal facts that can be proven.
Symbolic examples in the Bible also are found in the passages. For example, “when God is said to ‘walk in the paradise in the cool of the day’ and Adam to hide himself behind a tree, I do not think anyone will doubt that these are figurative expressions which indicate certain mysteries through a semblance of history and not through actual events (Genesis 3:8)” (Kerr). This type of language is symbolic in nature. The symbols are God’s disappointment in man’s sin, and man’s shame at having committed the Original Sin. Symbols like the Jonah and the whale come to mind. This story symbolized Jesus’ coming, death, and resurrection. The sacrificial lamb symbolized the Christ’s arrival. Symbolic and figurative language is sprinkled throughout the Bible. These symbolic examples are not to be taken literally.
Spiritual interpretation examples in the Bible include terms like the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, and other spiritual instances are recorded in the Bible. “But since there are certain passages of scripture which, as we shall show in what follows, have no bodily [literal] sense at all, there are occasions when we must seek only for the soul and the spirit, as it were, of the passage” (Kerr). These passages are not to be taken literally, but spiritually. The passages concerning the spiritual interpretation feed the soul.
Origen cautions readers of the Bible, “For our contention with regard to the whole of divine scripture is, that it all has a spiritual meaning, but not all a bodily [literal] meaning; for the bodily meaning is often proved to be an impossibility. Consequently the man who reads the divine books reverently, believing them to be divine writings, must exercise great care” (Kerr). If interpreted literally, the Bible would be proven false. If taken spiritually alone, the truths of the Bible would have to be ignored. Thus a three prong approach of literal, symbolic, and spiritual interpretations, the Bible makes sense. Origen thought the Bible needed to be seen through literal, symbolic, and spiritual terms. This technique allows the Bible make sense to the common man, which was Origen’s intent. I personally liked Origen’s thoughts on how to read the Bible. This type of approach makes the Bible believable. God’s message can come across without losing the message in literal, symbolic, or spiritual terms. Origen’s thoughts created the basis of the Eastern Orthodox Church today.
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Kerr, Hugh T. ed. “Origen on First Principles.” Readings in Christian Thought. Nashville,
TN: Abingdon Press, 1966, pp. 45-7 Read More
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