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Author Topic: Should We Fear God?  (Read 2125 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: October 15, 2009, 07:02:17 PM »

Should we fear God? On the one hand there are passages like these:

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" - Prov. 1:7

"Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king." - 1 Pet. 2:17

On the other hand you can come across a passage like this one:

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." - 1 Jn. 4:18
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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2009, 08:08:20 PM »

Should we fear God? On the one hand there are passages like these:

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" - Prov. 1:7

"Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king." - 1 Pet. 2:17

On the other hand you can come across a passage like this one:

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." - 1 Jn. 4:18
 it has.

I think any confusion arises due to the different definitions of the word "fear". I'm not sure if an online dictionary is the best place to look, but these definitions seem right to me. http://www.answers.com/fear

fear
n.

1 a:A feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.
   b:A state or condition marked by this feeling: living in fear.
2: A feeling of disquiet or apprehension: a fear of looking foolish.
3: Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power.
4: A reason for dread or apprehension: Being alone is my greatest fear.

I believe that definition 3 is the correct one for how one "fears" God.
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2009, 08:55:05 PM »

That's probably the answer. I guess what nags at me is some of the things that happened in the Bible, and particularly the Old Testament. For example there was the time when the ark of the convenant was about to tip over, and one of the guys grabbed it so as to prevent it from falling, and the guy died because he touched it. That sort of example seems to me to muddy the waters as to whether we are to have reverence/awe or something more approaching real fear (at least at times). If I saw something like that happen, I'd be straight-out afraid to go anywhere near the ark!
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« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2009, 08:58:06 PM »

Can anyone enlighten us on the uses of 'fear' in the above scriptural references in Greek manuscripts?  Are they the same word, or are their different, more nuanced forms of 'fear' in Greek as with different forms of 'love'?
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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2009, 09:20:35 PM »

Can anyone enlighten us on the uses of 'fear' in the above scriptural references in Greek manuscripts?  Are they the same word, or are their different, more nuanced forms of 'fear' in Greek as with different forms of 'love'?

Well, I think the word is nuanced in Greek as it is in English; ie it has definitions. At least I would assume that to be the case. However, it is the derivitive of same word - Φόβος - phovos in both places.
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« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2009, 09:31:44 PM »

I think option three in Riddikulus' post sounds the closest I've had it explained to me.  I wonder how many people love God though? 
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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2009, 09:46:34 PM »

It is important to remember that God is not a Being to be trifled with; hence fear. I liken loving and fearing God to loving and fearing the sun; without it, we would have no life or warmth, but at the same time looking directly at it could make us blind.

Psalm 2:11
Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
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« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2009, 11:50:34 PM »

I fear God all the time, even when I consciously sin.   angel

However, everything that has befallen me has had a blessing somewhere along the line.  I neither think nor accept that God has it in for me....
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« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2009, 12:02:50 AM »

Should we fear God? On the one hand there are passages like these:

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" - Prov. 1:7

"Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king." - 1 Pet. 2:17

On the other hand you can come across a passage like this one:

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." - 1 Jn. 4:18

The way it was taught to me, although I can't verify using linguistics, is the "fear" in the first two verses describes and extremely high form of respect, but at the same time it doesn't mean being "afraid."  I fear my parents, not that I am afraid of them, but I respect them highly, and I give due honor and respect.

A philosophy professor also spoke about the two different Greek words that are both translated as "fear" (I don't know if the same distinction exists for Hebrew).  One meaning the unimaginably high respect for a person and the other meaning frightened.
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« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2009, 12:06:45 AM »

For me, personally, yes. I fear God. Not that I regard Him as threatening, vengeful or something like that - but I do regard myself as wicked, miserable, failed creature that has no chance standing against His perfection and His perfect measuring standard. That does put me into a state I call "fear."
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« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2009, 12:10:22 AM »

Should we fear God? On the one hand there are passages like these:

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" - Prov. 1:7

"Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king." - 1 Pet. 2:17

On the other hand you can come across a passage like this one:

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." - 1 Jn. 4:18

The way it was taught to me, although I can't verify using linguistics, is the "fear" in the first two verses describes and extremely high form of respect, but at the same time it doesn't mean being "afraid."  I fear my parents, not that I am afraid of them, but I respect them highly, and I give due honor and respect.

A philosophy professor also spoke about the two different Greek words that are both translated as "fear" (I don't know if the same distinction exists for Hebrew).  One meaning the unimaginably high respect for a person and the other meaning frightened.

The same word is used in both NT passages, Mina, so the case could be made that if it speaks of being afraid in 1John, it is the same in 1Peter. However, like you, I have been led to believe that the fear you speak of as regard to parents is the fear we have for God; being in awe of Him. This is what made me think that the word had definitions, much like our own word "fear".

Where's a Greek scholar when you need one?
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« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2009, 12:10:37 AM »

Grace and Peace,

I believe we would be wise to fear that which will ultimately be our Judge but alas I fail to fear Him enough to be obedient nor love Him enough to obey His Commandments. So I stand in a kind of anxiousness and know the motivation of those who do not fear or love because they do not believe enough. I find it one of my greatest disappointments and perhaps in that I have hope.

My Last Hour is at hand. Grant, O Lord, that I may repent and, thus protected, accomplish the dreaded crossing after Death. ~ Blessed Ephraim the Syrian
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« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2009, 12:12:01 AM »

For me, personally, yes. I fear God. Not that I regard Him as threatening, vengeful or something like that - but I do regard myself as wicked, miserable, failed creature that has no chance standing against His perfection and His perfect measuring standard. That does put me into a state I call "fear."
Exactly. Which is why I despise the "God is my buddy" point of some (but not all) Protestant churches.
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« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2009, 12:15:28 AM »

Grace and Peace,

I believe we would be wise to fear that which will ultimately be our Judge but alas I fail to fear Him enough to be obedient nor love Him enough to obey His Commandments. So I stand in a kind of anxiousness and know the motivation of those who do not fear or love because they do not believe enough. I find it one of my greatest disappointments and perhaps in that I have hope.

My Last Hour is at hand. Grant, O Lord, that I may repent and, thus protected, accomplish the dreaded crossing after Death. ~ Blessed Ephraim the Syrian

Yes, but to fear by what definition?

1 a:A feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.
   b:A state or condition marked by this feeling: living in fear.
2: A feeling of disquiet or apprehension: a fear of looking foolish.
3: Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power.
4: A reason for dread or apprehension: Being alone is my greatest fear.


IMO, of these four only the third seems to apply to all verses; because the others would have a negative impact on love.
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« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2009, 12:15:58 AM »

Lex orandi lex credendi,

From the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom:

Priest: "In the fear of God, with faith and love draw near."

I think definition #3 applies. Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2009, 12:16:36 AM »

Exactly. Which is why I despise the "God is my buddy" point of some (but not all) Protestant churches.

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« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2009, 12:58:19 AM »

When the priest brings out the Eucharist, he says "With faith, fear and love of God, draw near."  Faith then is not the same as love, but I think it is the fear that makes us realize that we are not God that we are mortal and have limitations. just mho.
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« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2009, 09:52:45 AM »

Can anyone enlighten us on the uses of 'fear' in the above scriptural references in Greek manuscripts?  Are they the same word, or are their different, more nuanced forms of 'fear' in Greek as with different forms of 'love'?

There are definitely a number of words related to "fear", especially in Homeric Greek (and thus also in later poetry). There's phobos, tarbos, deima -- and even sebomai.

The older the Greek, the more likely that it means something like "alarm, fear, terror" -- the kind that makes you run away. For example, in the Iliad, after offending the gods and facing an onslaught of Trojans, the Greek warriors get phobos -- i.e. they run away to the ships.

By the time of the LXX, you pretty much only see phobos and sebomai (and their derivatives).

phobos is the most common, and thus has the widest range of meanings. It can be used as just straight forward "fear or dread" and, in religious usage, "awe or reverence." Even in traditional English, "awe" isn't a "happy" emotion. It's profound, deep wonder that inspires a sense of fear and reverence. Most Scriptural references use phobos.

sebomai is more exclusively religious and does show up occasionally (e.g. in Acts). It usually means "I show awe, reverence to God" or even "I am pious, God-fearing, reverent", but it can also be "I show fear or dread of something". Today, it's actually the root of the title for a Metropolitan (we say "Your Eminence" in English, but in Greek it's actually "Your Most Reverend/God-fearing/Pious One").
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« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2009, 11:34:07 AM »

For me, personally, yes. I fear God. Not that I regard Him as threatening, vengeful or something like that - but I do regard myself as wicked, miserable, failed creature that has no chance standing against His perfection and His perfect measuring standard. That does put me into a state I call "fear."
Exactly. Which is why I despise the "God is my buddy" point of some (but not all) Protestant churches.

And I've come to be wary of the "Jesus is NOT my buddy" point of view of some in the Apostolic Churches. (particularly Orthodoxy) Many Orthodox Christians within Protestant society seem to make a point of saying "Jesus is NOT your friend" to the point that I often feel like I cannot approach God at all because of my "unworthiness" ....there is a danger in both extremes. On the one hand the "hangin' with Mr. Jesus" crowd where Jesus is just "one of the boys" is just weird, but itself is a reaction to a perceived problem within more traditional Churches where Christ is perceived to be far, distant and unapproachable because we're nothing but filthy sinners who have to grovel at the feet of Jesus and beg forgiveness each morning, and even THEN, we're not sure He's really near to us.  Both of these extremes I've experienced and seen others experience and both are dangerous in their own ways. There's a balance that seems pretty clear in the Scriptures, where there is a time for begging forgiveness, and a time for simply "being with Jesus" ...problems arise when ONE side becomes a Church's theology when in reality there is room for both. The story of the Transfiguration is a perfect example...one minute Peter James and John are "hanging out" with Jesus, (though I'm sure not in a modern sense, like the 'Jesus Buddy' which I can't imagine any serious person even doing with other people in the real world, let alone Jesus Christ) the next they're on their faces humbled before Christ.

even our hymnology refers to Christ is "friend" of mankind, so it's not unprecedented language even in Orthodoxy. But indeed some of the extremes we see in America are a little weird, but I've found those "theologies" are usually a reaction to something they were previously taught that was the opposite extreme. As silly as some of that language sounds, usually they mean well though, so while I can be hard on some Evangelical Protestant points of view, this is one I have quite a bit of sympathy for. But that's just me.




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« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2009, 12:02:19 PM »

Whatever word we use for fear - i.e.  fovos or some other, I don't believe it's a question of semantics but of attitude.  I fear to upset the one I love not before they might attack me or not give me a reward but out of love?

We should fear ourselves, not God for in the next life are we going to have to stand in the Light?  That's my concern.
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« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2009, 12:21:51 PM »

Here's a cliche...what do the Church fathers say  Wink
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« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2009, 07:13:07 PM »

Here's a cliche...what do the Church fathers say  Wink

Please stop being so practical! Angry

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« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2009, 07:30:03 PM »

Whatever word we use for fear - i.e.  fovos or some other, I don't believe it's a question of semantics but of attitude.  I fear to upset the one I love not before they might attack me or not give me a reward but out of love?

We should fear ourselves, not God for in the next life are we going to have to stand in the Light?  That's my concern.

This is more along the lines of what I was thinking; when you love someone you fear doing something which will hurt them.  This is how I view "fear of God."  It is also as someone mentioned awe, reverence and respect. 
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« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2009, 08:28:20 PM »

Harmony of Thunder, Program 24 : St. Dorotheos of Gaza “On the Fear of God”
"In the Divine Liturgy, when the priest summons the people to holy communion, he sings, “With fear of God, and faith, and love draw ye near.”  Does it seem odd to you that the first thing mentioned is fear?  I have had people ask me about this a number of times, because it seems that the scriptures call us to overcome fear – we’ll speak about this in a moment – and because it just doesn’t seem right to fear God, who loves us and wants what’s best for us.

In his sermon “On the Fear of God,” St. Dorotheos of Gaza agrees with the words of the liturgy, he explores the need of all Christians to fear God.  This great desert saint wanted to impart to the monks under his care the supreme importance of understanding what it meant to fear God as a part of the spiritual life.  Today we’re going to take a look at what he had to say...

If you heard my earlier programs on this preacher, St. Dorotheos of Gaza, you know that I’m really impressed by the way he used scripture.  When he addressed a topic, he often spent some time looking at passages of scripture that seemed to actually contradict the point he was trying to make.  In that way, his listeners then (and now) knew that he was not trying to pull the wool over our eyes, he was not spouting monastic niceties without having struggled with them and made them his own.  Did I just say “monastic niceties?”  Perhaps “monastic platitudes” would be better. Anyway, St. Dorotheos began his sermon with one such passage: “Saint John in one of his epistles says, ‘Perfect love drives out fear’.  What does the holy man signify to us by this?  What sort of love and what sort of fear is he talking about?  The palmist says, ‘Fear the Lord all you who love him’, and we find thousands of similar sayings in Holy Scripture.  If therefore, the saints who so loved him feared him, how can he say, ‘Love casteth out fear’?  St. John wishes to show us that there are two kinds of fear: one preliminary, the other perfect…”

Here’s the answer – there are two kinds of fear.  But the two kinds of fear cannot be called “good” fear and “bad” fear.  Rather, they are like the same attitude exercised in a continuum, one fear coming after the other. Listen to the preacher: “One forms a desire of God through fear of condemnation; this is, as we have said, the starting point.  His starting point is not ‘what is good’ but the fear of torments.  Another forms a desire for God because he loves God himself, loves him and knows what is acceptable to God.  Such a man is goodness itself, knowing what it is to be with God.”

That’s a great quote of the day: “Such a man is goodness itself, knowing what it is to be with God.”

When my children were little, I sometimes said things to them that made them fearful.  I did this because fear is a great motivator, and there are times when you want a child to learn a lesson by listening to you, the parent, and not by experiencing the pain of making a bad mistake.  A little fear is a very good thing.  Then, later on, when they were older, I was able to say things to my children that motivated them not through fear, but through love.  When they were young, I might say, “If you don’t get up right now and get ready for school, you’ll have to sit for two hours in my study when you get home this afternoon.”  That was a great motivator, because they all thought my study was the most un-fun place in the world.  If the child said, ‘Dad I’m bored’, I’d say, ‘then here’s a book to read’ and give him something in ancient Hebrew.  But as the children got older, I could say, “get up and get ready for school because I want you to do well in school and make me proud,” the child would respond to that, and rise up not in fear, but in love.  But could I have simply started with the “make me proud” maneuver when they were little children?  No, not at all.  Fear is the more childish motivator, and love the more mature.

So with the fear of God.  As St. Dorotheos says: “…perfect fear cannot come about if a man has not the preliminary fear.  For Scripture says, ‘The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord’, and again, ‘The beginning and the end is the fear of God’ (incidentally, I had a tough time finding any passage of the Bible that says this, but I’ll go on).  He calls the beginning that preliminary fear” which is followed by the final perfect fear, that of the saints."


Continued at...http://www.myocn.net/index.php/200909111932/Harmony-of-Thunder/On-the-Fear-of-God.html
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« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2009, 08:36:31 PM »

To add to what Riddikulus has provided, I did a search of some of the works of Church Fathers, and here are the most relevant passages that I came up with...

St. John Chrysostom, Homily 8 on Philippians

"Let us then set ourselves in order, let us delight in the fear of God; for if we live here without fear of Him, His coming will surprise us suddenly, when we are neither careful, nor looking for Him." - St. John Chrysostom, Homily 34 on John

"For that is indeed rest, where 'pain, sorrow and sighing are fled away' (Is. 35:10): where there are neither cares, nor labors, nor struggle, nor fear stunning and shaking the soul; but only that fear of God which is full of delight." - St. John Chrysostom, Homily 6 on Hebrews

"Yet, if any one wished to learn military affairs, of necessity he must learn the military laws. And if any one sought to learn navigation or carpentry or anything else, of necessity he must learn the [principles] of the art. But in this case they will not do anything of the kind, although this is a science which needs much wakeful attention. For that it too is an art which needs teaching, hear the prophet saying, 'Come, ye children, hearken unto me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord.' (Ps. 34:11) It follows therefore certainly that the fear of God needs teaching." - St. John Chrysostom, Homily 8 on Hebrews

"And although I know that our brotherhood there, assuredly fortified by your foresight, and besides sufficiently cautious by their own vigilance, cannot be taken nor deceived by the poisons of heretics, and that the teachings and precepts of God prevail with them only in proportion as the fear of God is in them; yet, even although needlessly, either my solicitude or my that Antichrist is near, prepares the soldiers for the battle, not only by the urgency of his speech and his words, but by the example of his faith and courage." - St. Cyprian of Carthage, Epistle 54

"'The beginning' of our salvation and the safeguard of it is, as I said, 'the fear of the Lord.' (Prov. 9:10) For through this those who are trained in the way of perfection can gain a start in conversion as well as purification from vices and security in virtue... And when [humility] has once been genuinely secured, then at once it leads you on by a still higher step to love which knows no fear; (cf 1 John 4:18) and through this you begin, without any effort and as it were naturally, to keep up everything that you formerly observed not without fear of punishment; no longer now from regard of punishment or fear of it but from love of goodness itself, and delight in virtue." - St. John Cassian, Institutes, 4, 39

"And lastly the prophet Jeremiah, speaking in the person of God, clearly testifies that even the fear of God, by which we can hold fast to Him, is shed upon us by the Lord: saying as follows: 'And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear Me all days: and that it may be well with them and with their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them and will not cease to do them good: and I will give My fear in their hearts that they may not revolt from Me.' (Jer. 32:39-40)" - St. John Cassian, Conferences, 3, 18

"Since the mind which every moment wanders off vaguely, when it is brought back to the fear of God or spiritual contemplation, before it is established in it, darts off and strays" - St. John Cassian, Conferences, 7, 3

"Truly blessed is the soul, which by night and by day has no other anxiety than how, when the great day comes wherein all creation shall stand before the Judge and shall give an account for its deeds, she too may be able easily to get quit of the reckoning of life. For he who keeps that day and that hour ever before him, and is ever meditating upon the defence to be made before the tribunal where no excuses will avail, will sin not at all, or not seriously, for we begin to sin when there is a lack of the fear of God in us.  When men have a clear apprehension of what is threatened them, the awe inherent in them will never allow them to fall into inconsiderate action or thought.  Be mindful therefore of God.  Keep the fear of Him in your heart, and enlist all men to join with you in your prayers, for great is the aid of them that are able to move God by their importunity. Never cease to do this." - St. Basil the Great, Letter 174
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« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2009, 11:56:29 PM »

Grace and Peace,

I believe we would be wise to fear that which will ultimately be our Judge but alas I fail to fear Him enough to be obedient nor love Him enough to obey His Commandments. So I stand in a kind of anxiousness and know the motivation of those who do not fear or love because they do not believe enough. I find it one of my greatest disappointments and perhaps in that I have hope.

My Last Hour is at hand. Grant, O Lord, that I may repent and, thus protected, accomplish the dreaded crossing after Death. ~ Blessed Ephraim the Syrian

Yes, but to fear by what definition?

1 a:A feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.
   b:A state or condition marked by this feeling: living in fear.
2: A feeling of disquiet or apprehension: a fear of looking foolish.
3: Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power.
4: A reason for dread or apprehension: Being alone is my greatest fear.


IMO, of these four only the third seems to apply to all verses; because the others would have a negative impact on love.

Grace and Peace,

I have heard the arguments which struggle to displace a sense of dread of the Judgement with the awe of God. Personally, I simply remain ignorant of what might be acceptable beyound my own lack of progress in the spiritual life. My own failure to be profittable in those Graces given me by God. Regardless, I possess neither... "The fear of the Lord driveth out sin: for he that is without fear cannot be justified" (Ecclus. 1:27). I find very little solace in debating whether this fear is ultimately draw from dread or respect if the 'fruit' of that 'fear' is lacking within me. This whole discussion then becomes academic and void of any real spiritual value for us.
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« Reply #26 on: October 17, 2009, 01:27:05 AM »

On the one hand the "hangin' with Mr. Jesus" crowd where Jesus is just "one of the boys" is just weird...

This post was hilarious!  Were you referencing "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper"?  I seriously doubled-over in laughter!  Cheesy

There's a balance that seems pretty clear in the Scriptures, where there is a time for begging forgiveness, and a time for simply "being with Jesus" ...problems arise when ONE side becomes a Church's theology when in reality there is room for both.

I absolutely agree!  Orthodoxy exists between the point of two extremes.  Too much in either direction amounts to heterodoxy and heteropraxis.  Much like the Buddhist madhyamā-pratipad (Middle Path), extremity in familiarity or distance actually drives us away from God.

Even our hymnology refers to Christ is "friend" of mankind, so it's not unprecedented language even in Orthodoxy.

Actually, I'm more accustomed to the even more scandalous "Lover of Mankind."  In the Greek, is this love related to eros, meaning an erotic love?  If so, watch out Orthodox Stiff-Squad!
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« Reply #27 on: October 17, 2009, 11:01:50 AM »

That's probably the answer. I guess what nags at me is some of the things that happened in the Bible, and particularly the Old Testament. For example there was the time when the ark of the convenant was about to tip over, and one of the guys grabbed it so as to prevent it from falling, and the guy died because he touched it. That sort of example seems to me to muddy the waters as to whether we are to have reverence/awe or something more approaching real fear (at least at times). If I saw something like that happen, I'd be straight-out afraid to go anywhere near the ark!
Maybe his death was mis-interpreted by the Hebrews to be due to God?
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« Reply #28 on: October 17, 2009, 02:41:35 PM »

I finally found the verse that I was thinking of. I couldn't find it yesterday, but today I did an online search of "ark" in the Old Testament and so finally found it:

"And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart. And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God. And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perezuzza to this day. And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me? So David brought not the ark home to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite. And the ark of God remained with the family of Obededom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house of Obededom, and all that he had." - 1 Chr. 13:7-14
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« Reply #29 on: October 18, 2009, 01:39:44 AM »

Here's some quotes from St. Cyril of Alexandria, all from his commentaries on the Gospel of Luke:

But that God greatly rejoices in those whose minds are thus disposed, He assures us by one of the holy prophets, thus saying, "And on whom shall I look, except upon the humble and meek, and that trembleth at My words?" For just as our fathers after the flesh feel pleasure in those sons whose choice it is to perform the things that are good and agreeable to them, and who wish to accord with them in mind, so also the God of all loves the obedient, and deigns His mercy to him who thoroughly hearkens to Him. And the converse also is true: that he rejects him who is disobedient and untractable. For He also blamed the Jews who fell into this wickedness, saying, "A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if I then am a father, where is My honour? and if I am a master, where is My fear? saith the Lord Almighty." For either we ought to fear the Lord of all as a master, or to honour Him at least as a father,----a thing which is far greater and better than the former: for love casteth out fear.

AGAIN is the gang of the Pharisees inflamed with unbridled rage: they draw the bow of their envy; they gnash their teeth at Him Who calls them to life; they savagely attack Him Who seeks to save, and Who humbled Himself from His supreme and godlike glory to our estate; and they plot His death Who became man that He might abolish death. And the sole cause which hindered their shameless audacity, the wise Evangelist shows us by saying, that "they feared the people." He understood therefore that they were restrained by no feeling whatsoever of piety towards God; the commandment given by Moses, which plainly says, "You shall not kill the holy and the just," put no bridle upon their violence: but they had regard to the fear of man far more than to the reverence due to God.

THE blessed Moses impressed the fear of God upon the Israelites by saying, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God: for our God is a consuming fire." And another holy prophet has also said concerning Him, "His wrath consumes the princes, and the rocks are melted at Him." Moreover the blessed David says of Him somewhere in the Psalms, "You are to be feared, and who shall rise up before You at Your wrath?" For what power of man, or of ought whatsoever that is created, can stand against the irresistible force of Almighty God? But His wrath does not descend upon any righteous man whatsoever;----for God does not commit injustice;----but upon those rather whose sins are numerous and intolerable, and their wickedness beyond bounds. ...

...  Let us beware therefore of provoking God to anger: for it is a fearful thing to fall into His hands. But to those who believe in Christ He is merciful; even to those who praise Him; who call Him their Redeemer and Deliverer; who minister to Him with spiritual service, and by all virtuous conduct: for if so we act and speak, Christ will make us His own; by Whom and with Whom to God the Father be praise and dominion, with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, Amen.

What, then, was the Saviour's answer? "Leave the dead burying their dead: but go thou, preach the kingdom of God." For there were, no doubt, other guardians and relatives of his father: but as I consider dead, because they had not yet believed in Christ, nor been able to receive the new birth by holy baptism unto the life incorruptible. Let them, He says, bury their dead, because they also have within them a dead mind, nor as yet have been numbered among those who possess the life that is in Christ. From this, then, we learn, that the fear of God is to be set even above the reverence and love due to parents. For the law of Moses also, while it commanded, in the first place, that "thou shalt love the Lord God with all thy soul, and all thy might, and all thy heart:" put as second to it the honour due to parents, saying, "Honour thy father and thy mother."

Leaves us with a mix of being afraid and reverence it seems.

God bless.

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« Reply #30 on: October 18, 2009, 06:42:54 AM »

We should fear God because to fear anything more than God is to make that thing our god instead of God.
Fear of God releases me from every other fear and gives me the courage to act freely.
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If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
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