Eastern Orthodox Church

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Orthodox Christians believe in the Trinity. The Father is the cause or origin of the Godhead, from whom the Son is begotten eternally and also from whom the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally. The Holy Trinity is three, distinct, divine persons (hypostases), without overlap or modality among them, who share one divine essence (ousia)—uncreated, immaterial and eternal.[22] Orthodox doctrine regarding the Holy Trinity is summarized in the Nicene Creed (Symbol of Faith).[23]

In discussing God's relationship to His creation, Orthodoxy used the concept of a distinction between God's eternal essence which is totally transcendent and His uncreated energies which is how He reaches us. The God who is transcendent and the God who touches us are one and the same (i.e. These energies are not something that proceed from God or that God produces, but rather they are God himself: distinct, yet inseparable from, God's inner being).[24]

Sin, salvation and the incarnation

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. They reject the Augustinian position that the descendants of Adam and Eve are actually guilty of their sin.[25] As a result of this sin, mankind was doomed to be separated from God. This was mankind’s ultimate dilemma. The solution to this 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, died, and rose again by the power of the Holy Spirit. Through God’s participation in humanity, human nature is changed thus saving us from the fate of hell (Orthodox reject the idea that Christ died to give God "satisfaction," as taught by Anselm, or as a punitive substitute as taught by the Reformers). 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”. The ultimate goal is theosis – an even closer union with God and closer likeness to God than existed in the Garden of Eden. This very process is called Deification or "God became Man that Man might become God".

Resurrection

The Resurrection of Christ is the central event in the liturgical year of the Orthodox Church and is understood in literal terms as a real historical event. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was crucified and died, descended into Hades, rescued all the souls held there through sin; and then, because Hades could not restrain the infinite God, rose from the dead, thus saving the human race. Through these events, Christ released us from the bonds of Hades and then came back to the living as both man and God. According to Orthodox tradition, each human being may partake of this immortality, which would have been impossible without the Resurrection; it is the main promise held out by God in the New Testament.

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