Soteriology: The Eastern Orthodox View

adam eve

At some point in the beginnings of human existence man was faced with a choice, to learn the difference between good and evil through observation or through participation. The biblical story of Adam and Eve represents this choice by mankind to participate in evil. This event is commonly referred to as “the fall of man” and it represents a fundamental change in human nature. When Orthodox Christians refer to Original Sin what they mean is this adoption of evil into human nature.

As a result of this sin, mankind was doomed to be separated from God – it was our fate, because of evil, to be condemned to hell. This was mankind’s ultimate dilemma. The solution to this horrible problem was for God to effect another change in human nature. Orthodox Christians believe that Christ Jesus was both God and Man absolutely. He was born, lived and died.

Through God’s participation in humanity, human nature is changed thus saving us from the fate of hell. The effective change included all those who had died from the beginning of time – saving everyone including Adam and Eve. This process, to Orthodox Christians is what is meant by “Salvation”. Sin is no longer a blemish on the soul but rather a simple mistake made, that can be corrected simply by learning from it.
We strive to become perfect and we do not count our failings but rather, when we fail, we get back up again and continue. The ultimate goal is theosis – an even closer union with God and closer likeness to God than existed in the Garden of Eden.

Think about this view and consider how it may differ from your own. Attempt to engage with its strengths and weaknesses as a theological position.

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