Islam meets Orthodoxy

"Christ, who is the truth about both God and man, gives foretastes of His incarnation in all more fragmentary truths."
-Fr. Alexander Schmemann

Do Christians, Muslims, and Jews worship the same God?

Submitted by Krishan:

Asalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu,

So according to the Orthodox Christian tradition, do Christian, Muslims, and Jews worship the same deity.

Obviously, Muslims and Jews don’t worship the Holy Trinity and don’t acknowledge the Divinity of the Christ.

However, although both Islam and modern Rabbinical Judaism deny the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, as opposed to the faith of Ancient Israel which espoused Orthodoxy, they both have origins in heretical offshoots from Orthodoxy and strive to worship the God of Abraham/Ibrahim/Avraham.

Wa3laykum a-salaam!

I do believe Christians, Muslims, and Jews worship the same God. That is not to say we all share the same faith or that we all worship the same God in spirit and in truth. Obviously all faiths outside of Orthodox Christianity view God through a broken lens, and while some lens are clearer than others the only way to truly worship in Spirit and in Truth is to worship within the Church that is animated by the Spirit and founded on the Truth.

Blessings,
Ioanna

canonizedandotherwise:

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
(Revelation 1:8)

canonizedandotherwise:

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

(Revelation 1:8)

(Source: copticegypt.weebly.com, via marie-madeleinehasablog)

A soul that is nurtured by hatred toward man can not be at peace with God, Who has said: If you forgive not men their sins, neither shall your Father forgive your sins (Matt. 6:15). If a man does not want to be reconciled, you must at least guard yourself from hating, praying with a pure heart for him, and speaking no evil of him.
— St. Maximus the Confessor

(Source: musingsoflove, via desertmanian)

Did any Eastern Christians criticize the West for use of the Filioque before Photius? It seems like he was the first one with the exception of Paul the Monothelite. The West had the Filioque in their theology for centuries prior to Photius. Augustine, Ambrose, Jerome, Gregory the Great, and Hilary all believed in it. More names could be added to this list. Why wasn't this a controversy until Photius? Thanks and God Bless!

Anonymous

Salaam,

The history of the Filioque controversy is not exactly black and white. You are correct—to an extent!—that the Latin West prior to Photius taught the Filioque. But, aside from St. Augustine, the Fathers you listed did not teach the Filioque as understood by the West today (i.e. a hypostatic procession of the Spirit from the Son). As I stated in my previous answer, the language of double procession is not against Orthodox teaching—it is the nature of that procession that the East and West currently disagree on.

Also, the issue did come up before St. Photius—St. Maximus actually defends the Latins against the Greek East when they are criticized for saying that the Spirit proceeds from both Father and Son. Maximus’ defense of the West during his time (7th century) is actually the focal point of ecumenical dialogue between East and West today. Was Maximus defending the Filioque as it is understood by the West today? The Orthodox would argue that he is not and that, in fact, his defense of the Latin West is a defense of an eternal energetic procession of the Spirit through the Son—which is what the East teaches today!

My paper on St. Maximus and the Filioque should be up within the week if you’re interested! Also, I would strongly recommend Edward Siecienski’s and Aristeides Papadakis’ works on the Filioque controversy. 

Blessings,
Ioanna

Do you agree with St. Photius that belief in the Filioque leads to Sabellianism and polytheism?

Anonymous

Salaam,

I have not read St. Photius’ Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit, so I do not know what his reasoning is for linking the Filioque with polytheism, but I can see the argument for Sabellianism. St. Gregory Palamas makes the same argument against them in his work on the Filioque. I do agree with both Palamas and Photius, having the Father and Son share in a hypostatic property (causality) that is supposed to be unique to the Father confuses their Persons and makes them the same hypostasis. The West does respond to this, though. Aquinas answers this objection in his Summa and argues that (1) we do not distinguish the persons because of properties unique to themselves and (2) the persons are only distinct in as far as they are related to each other.

I think this Thomistic train of though is quite dangerous though. Ceasing to understand the Persons as distinct in and of themselves and reducing them to mere relations completely disregards the work of the Cappadocians who fought valiantly to defend the ousia-hypostasis distinction. Not recognizing the ousia-hypostasis distinction as it has traditionally been understood not only goes against the Faith handed down to us by the Apostles and Fathers, but it blends the Persons and leaves no room for one to speak of them as distinct, but what you say of one you must say of all (outside of the realm of relations).

I would also like to point out that this does not mean the East completely rejects any sort of eternal relationship between the Son and the Spirit. I recently finished a paper on this exact subject and would be happy to post it after my professor has sent it back with her commentary/suggested edits.

Blessings,
Ioanna