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    STUDIA THEOLOGIA ORTHODOXA - Issue no. 2 / 2013  

Authors:  VALER BEL.
  Abstract:  The present article was presented at the 4th International Symposium of Dogmatic Orthodox Theology held in Sophia from the 22nd until the 25th of September 2013, its theme being: Dogma and Terminology in the Orthodox Tradition Today. God’s Revelation is in creation and indicates the very sense of existence, but it is general and impersonal. It remains ambiguous and insufficient for it doesn’t confirm the existence of God as a Person, the ultimate target of supreme existence. The revelation in the act creation was accompanied from the very beginning – first in the life of the people in general, then especially in the life of the people of Israel – by the historical Revelation. It becomes God’s dialogue – through acts, words and images – with the people, and through it He directly reveals Himself leading the man to the achievement of the sense of his existence, in eternal communion with Him. God’s supernatural acts, together with words and images, create a spiritual ascension representing the history of salvation. Jesus Christ represents the final step of historical Revelation and God’s plan to save the world. This is done through a sum of new acts, for which mankind was not ready yet. Therefore, the historical Revelation coincides with the history of salvation. It consists not only of the discovery of new theoretical knowledge about God enclosed in His transcendence, but of the His act of lowering onto the man and of man’s rising to the maximal union in Christ, as a foundation for the extension of the union between God and all the people that believe in Him. Christianity, without Revelation understood as such, cannot exist. Also, a theological language, which would try to adapt Christianity, would no longer express the content of these acts of revelation, would no longer be a Christian theological language, which would be the equivalent, in the end, of leaving Christianity. The Christian dogmas of faith are the doctrinarian expression of God’s Revelation and of His plan to save the world and deify the man, revealed and realized in Jesus Christ, enriched in and through the Church. Revelation receives this way a religious aspect, the doctrinarian expressions become the dogmas of the Church. Dogmas are definitions or strict delimitations, boundaries (horoi) of the revealed truth. They express in a very concise form God’s self communion with men, which has as a final aim man’s salvation and deification. In the general and paradoxical formula of the dogma the fundamental structures of the work of salvation are defined, in the relation God has with His creature. Any form of neglect towards one of these two aspects in the explanation of the dogma would lead to the neglect of the mystery of salvation and to the alteration of faith. In theology, as a means of permanent explanation of the dogma, we see the renewal of the of the tradition of the Church, taking into consideration the evolution of the language and the need of understanding of the faithful, as determined by their stage of spiritual development, in order to make accessible the message of the Gospel in the context of that time, and still maintain the fundamental dogmatic terms as a control criteria of the orthodox faith.

Keywords: revelation, Church, dogma, faith, understanding, theology, terminology.
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