Adam in St. Gregory Palamas

This is the 10th blog in this series which began with Adam & Sin, Paradise and Fasting.  The previous blog is Adam’s Fall.

“Thus, when the Fathers affirm that man was created incorruptible and immortal, they do not mean that he could not become corrupt and die, but that he had by grace and free choice the possibility not to corrupt himself and die.  In order for his incorruptibility and immortality to be preserved and become permanent aspects of his being, man had to preserve the grace which God had given to him, and remain united to God through the aid of the commandment issued for this purpose (cf Gen 2:16-17).  In the words of St. Gregory Palamas… ‘if man had observed the commandment and benefited from this foretaste, he would have enjoyed through it a still more perfect union with God; he would have become co-eternal with God, clothed with immortality.  … St. Theophilus of Antioch writes: ‘Yet someone will say to us, “But wasn’t death a natural function of human nature?” Not at all! “Was man therefore immortal?”  We do not say that either.  They will then reply, “Do you mean man was nothing at all?”   No, that is not at all what we mean.  Rather, by his nature man was no more mortal than immortal.  If he had been created immortal from the beginning, he would have been created divine.  On the other hand, if he had been created mortal, it would have appeared that God was the cause of his death.  Thus he was created neither mortal nor immortal; rather, he was capable of both mortality and immortality.  Had he chosen the way of immortality in following the divine commandment, he would have received the gift of immortality as a recompense, and thus he would have become like God.  Since instead he turned toward works of death in disobedience to God, he became himself the cause of his own death.  So it is that God created man free and master of his own destiny.’  …

“St Gregory Palamas stipulates: ‘Death entering into the soul by way of the transgression not only corrupts the soul itself, it also afflicts the body with pains and passions, rendering it corruptible and in the end subjecting it to death.  Therefore, following the death of the inner man through the transgression, the earthly Adam heard, ‘You are dust and to dust you shall return.’”  (Jean-Claude Larchet, THE THEOLOGY OF ILLNESS, pp 24-25,29)

Next:  Ancestral Sin

3 thoughts on “Adam in St. Gregory Palamas

  1. Pingback: Adam’s Fall | Fr. Ted's Blog

  2. Pingback: Ancestral Sin | Fr. Ted's Blog

  3. Pingback: Sin and Death | Fr. Ted's Blog

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