OrthodoxChristianity.net
December 21, 2014, 01:24:27 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Hell And God's Love: An Alternative, Orthodox View  (Read 2313 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Jetavan
Argumentum ad australopithecum
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Science to the Fourth Power
Jurisdiction: Ohayo Gozaimasu
Posts: 6,580


Barlaam and Josaphat


WWW
« on: September 13, 2010, 08:18:18 PM »

Quote
Hell in this view is understood as the presence of God experienced by a person who, through the use of free will, rejects divine love. He is tortured by the love of God, tormented by being in the eternal presence of God without being in communion with God. God's love is the fire that is never quenched, and the disposition and suffering of the soul in the presence of God who rejects him is the worm that does not die. Whether one experiences the presence of love as heaven or hell is entirely dependent on how he has resolved his own soul to be disposed towards God, whether communion or separation, love or hatred, acceptance or rejection.

Hell, then, is not a place where God sends people in his wrath, or where God displays anger, but rather, it is the love of God, experienced by one who is not in communion with him. The figurative, spiritual fire of God's love is transcendent joy to the person purified and transfigured by it through communion in the body of Christ, but bottomless despair and suffering to the person who rejects it, and chooses to remain in communion with death.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2010, 08:18:44 PM by Jetavan » Logged

If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.
Jonathan Gress
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOC/HOTCA
Posts: 3,911


« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2010, 10:00:08 PM »

Where is this from? It sounds like Kalomiros.

Those who believe God does not punish sinners in a retributive fashion should maybe read something from the other side:

"The fire prepared in punishment for
the devil and his angels is divided by the voice of the Lord. Thus, since there
are two capacities in fire, one of burning and the other of illuminating, the
fierce and punitive property of the fire may await those who deserve to burn,
while its illuminating and radiant part may be reserved for the enjoyment of
those who are rejoicing."

This is from St Basil (commentary on Psalm 28:6). Although the holy Father allows that the illuminating and burning fire are from the same source, he nevertheless makes it clear that the fire is punitive for the unrepentant (note also the word 'deserve'). Those who say that God does not intend any punishment, and that the torment is of a purely subjective nature, are reading that into the Fathers.

Archbishop Theophan of Poltava put it best:

"In essence
the wrath of God is one of the manifestations of the love of God, but of the
love of God in its relation to the moral evil in the heart of rational creatures in
general, and in the heart of man in particular."

Both wrath and love are true with respect to God. It is merely rationalization to try to reduce it all to 'love', so that we don't feel so scared of the Dread Judgment. Rather, we should feel very afraid, since only when we understand that God is willing to send us into everlasting torment for our sins will we be motivated to repent from the heart.

As for Hell not being a distinct place, remember that we will be judged in our souls AND bodies, and that our souls and bodies together will be sent to the everlasting reward, or to everlasting punishment.
Logged
Alveus Lacuna
Moderated
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,968



« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2010, 10:19:36 PM »

All of these differing images point to the same reality, and the more layers of imagery that are added only help to fill out the dimensions. But I agree that excluding punishment from the imagery is not necessarily helpful, and we certainly find it in the Holy Scriptures.
Logged
deusveritasest
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: None
Jurisdiction: None
Posts: 7,528



WWW
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2010, 03:45:17 AM »

Quote
Hell in this view is understood as the presence of God experienced by a person who, through the use of free will, rejects divine love. He is tortured by the love of God, tormented by being in the eternal presence of God without being in communion with God. God's love is the fire that is never quenched, and the disposition and suffering of the soul in the presence of God who rejects him is the worm that does not die. Whether one experiences the presence of love as heaven or hell is entirely dependent on how he has resolved his own soul to be disposed towards God, whether communion or separation, love or hatred, acceptance or rejection.

Hell, then, is not a place where God sends people in his wrath, or where God displays anger, but rather, it is the love of God, experienced by one who is not in communion with him. The figurative, spiritual fire of God's love is transcendent joy to the person purified and transfigured by it through communion in the body of Christ, but bottomless despair and suffering to the person who rejects it, and chooses to remain in communion with death.

This is almost exactly what I was saying to a friend a couple of days ago.
Logged

I stopped posting here in August 2011 because of stark disagreement with the policies of the administration and moderating team of the forums. If you desire, feel free to PM me, message me on Facebook (link in profile), or email me: cddombrowski@gmail.com
deusveritasest
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: None
Jurisdiction: None
Posts: 7,528



WWW
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2010, 03:45:17 AM »

It is merely rationalization to try to reduce it all to 'love', so that we don't feel so scared of the Dread Judgment.

That obviously isn't the purpose. The damned will be tormented either way.
Logged

I stopped posting here in August 2011 because of stark disagreement with the policies of the administration and moderating team of the forums. If you desire, feel free to PM me, message me on Facebook (link in profile), or email me: cddombrowski@gmail.com
xariskai
юродивый/yurodivy
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 1,440


יהוה עזי ומגני


« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2010, 09:16:02 PM »

The contemporary view of hell as a cosmic torture chamber is largely influenced by medieval literature such as Dante's Inferno. There is nothing in scripture to require it. There is an important difference between viewing hell as a place of torment, and viewing God as a Cosmic Torturer, as Calvinists who emphasize the supposed deep hatred of God for the non-elect (or double elected) often suppose.
Quote from: Metropolitan Kallistos Ware
“Christ is the judge; and yet, from another point of view, it is we who pronounce judgment upon ourselves. If anyone is in hell, it is not because God has imprisoned him there, but because that is where he himself has chosen to be. The lost in hell are self-condemned, self-enslaved; it has rightly been said that the doors of hell are locked from the inside. How can a God of love accept that even a single one of the creatures whom he has made should remain for ever in hell? There is a mystery here which, from our standpoint in this present life, we cannot hope to fathom. The best we can do is to hold in balance two truths, contrasting but not contradictory. First, God has given free will to man, and so to all eternity it lies in man’s power to reject God. Secondly, love signifies compassion, involvement, and so, if there are any who remain eternally in hell, in some sense God is also there with them. It is written in the Psalms, ‘If I go down to hell, thou art there also’ (139:7); and St. Isaac the Syrian says, ‘It is wrong to imagine that sinners in hell are cut off from the love of God.’ Divine love is everywhere, and rejects no one. But we on our side are free to reject divine love; we cannot however, do so without inflicting pain on ourselves, and the more final our rejection the more final our suffering” (Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way, pp. 135-136).

The Orthodox perspective is making inroads in evangelical thought:
Quote from: Donald Bloesch
“Man is in hell not because God is absent but because he is present, and therefore man is constantly reminded of his guilt and infamy. Hell is exclusion from communion with God, but not exclusion from the presence of God (we interpret 2 Thess 1:9 as referring to an exclusion from man’s side but not from God’s side. Man shuts himself off from the salvation of the Lord and from the glory of his might, but he cannot escape from this glory (Phil 2:9-11). Cf. Revelation 14:10 which speaks of sinners in hell being tormented ‘in the presence of the Lamb…’”

“The metaphor that most nearly describes hell is not a concentration camp presided over by the devil, but a sanitorium for sick souls who are ministered to by Jesus Christ… His light still shines even in the darkness of man’s hell… We can rest assured that those in hell are in the hands of a God who is both righteous and merciful, and we can trust that his mercy as well as his justice will be manifest among them, though this does not mean final universal salvation.”

“While he saw hell as a necessary concomitant of the justice of God, Thomas Aquinas did not divorce God’s justice from his love. The divine love is related to hell for the purpose of mitigating the sufferings of the damned. In his view the purpose of hell is not exclusively retributive. Moreover, it serves as a deterrent to evil and as a basis for moral order in the universe…”

“Hell is not outside of the compass of God’s mercy nor the sphere of his kingdom, and in this sense we call it the last refuge of the sinner… only rejection of the grace of God keeps us in hell… the only sin that is unforgivable is the sin against the Holy Spirit, rejecting and refusing the offer of divine grace (cf. Mt 12:31, 32; Mk 3:28, 29; Heb 12:25).”

“Hell will not be seen as an evil, but as the place where those who reject Christ are still cared for by Christ –and not simply as Lord and Judge but as Savior and Healer… we should not forget that God placed upon Cain a sign for his protection, even though he was condemned to wander in a far country… God will punish our transgressions, but he will not remove from us his steadfast love or be false to his faithfulness (Ps 89:31-34)” (“Heaven and Hell” in Bloesch, Donald, Essentials of Evangelical Theology, Vol. 2, pp. 211-234)

Quote
“Thou grantest grace even to those who will forever experience the rigor of they justice” –Francois Fenelon


« Last Edit: September 14, 2010, 09:23:35 PM by xariskai » Logged

Silly Stars
Jetavan
Argumentum ad australopithecum
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Science to the Fourth Power
Jurisdiction: Ohayo Gozaimasu
Posts: 6,580


Barlaam and Josaphat


WWW
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2010, 09:19:58 PM »

Where is this from? It sounds like Kalomiros.


Eric Simpson, Associate Editor, "In Communion: The Journal of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship"
Logged

If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.
Jonathan Gress
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOC/HOTCA
Posts: 3,911


« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2010, 09:43:07 PM »

It is merely rationalization to try to reduce it all to 'love', so that we don't feel so scared of the Dread Judgment.

That obviously isn't the purpose. The damned will be tormented either way.

I understand that it is still accepted that there will be torment. That this is a rationalization unwarranted by the patristic consensus and the traditional teaching of the Church on the Last Things is clear enough, however. Yes, I know St Isaac the Syrian talks about sinners in hell being tormented by God's love, but you have to read St Isaac in the context of the other Fathers, who speak of God's retributive justice without ambiguity. And I certainly think that part of the unspoken psychological motivation behind this rationalization is the desire to escape from a proper fear of God by reducing His Judgment to one's subjective reaction to His love. If God is really rewarding us all, whether we are psychologically prepared for that reward or not, then it definitely makes judgment less fearful. If we accept, as the Church teaches, that God truly punishes unrepentant sinners, as much as He rewards the repentant, then we will prepare for Judgment with the proper fear and trembling.
Logged
deusveritasest
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: None
Jurisdiction: None
Posts: 7,528



WWW
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2010, 08:54:32 PM »

That this is a rationalization unwarranted by the patristic consensus and the traditional teaching of the Church on the Last Things is clear enough, however. Yes, I know St Isaac the Syrian talks about sinners in hell being tormented by God's love, but you have to read St Isaac in the context of the other Fathers, who speak of God's retributive justice without ambiguity. And I certainly think that part of the unspoken psychological motivation behind this rationalization is the desire to escape from a proper fear of God by reducing His Judgment to one's subjective reaction to His love. If God is really rewarding us all, whether we are psychologically prepared for that reward or not, then it definitely makes judgment less fearful. If we accept, as the Church teaches, that God truly punishes unrepentant sinners, as much as He rewards the repentant, then we will prepare for Judgment with the proper fear and trembling.

What you are saying makes no sense. You are saying that torment, if it is not intended to be torment, is not to be feared. That just sounds totally absurd. Torment is torment.
Logged

I stopped posting here in August 2011 because of stark disagreement with the policies of the administration and moderating team of the forums. If you desire, feel free to PM me, message me on Facebook (link in profile), or email me: cddombrowski@gmail.com
deusveritasest
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: None
Jurisdiction: None
Posts: 7,528



WWW
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2010, 08:54:32 PM »

Besides, what greater or more intense source of torment could there be besides the presence of the Almighty God?
Logged

I stopped posting here in August 2011 because of stark disagreement with the policies of the administration and moderating team of the forums. If you desire, feel free to PM me, message me on Facebook (link in profile), or email me: cddombrowski@gmail.com
tweety234
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Ask the Answer
Jurisdiction: Greek
Posts: 628



« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2012, 10:40:45 PM »

Besides, what greater or more intense source of torment could there be besides the presence of the Almighty God?

do you hate the presence of God? why do you call it a torment?
Logged

“God has no religion.”
― Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
choy
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,316


« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2012, 12:07:26 AM »

Besides, what greater or more intense source of torment could there be besides the presence of the Almighty God?

do you hate the presence of God? why do you call it a torment?

It torments those who cannot accept God's love.  Wasn't it when we were young we fall in love with someone and we love this person but the person does not love us back.  If we persist in our love the person eventually despises us.  I mean, who wouldn't want someone who's always there for you and ready to do anything for you?  Yet despite that the other person just starts despising you that your very presence is a source of (emotional) pain for that person.  In today's world, you might even be classified a stalker and get a court order to stay away, despite the purity of your intention.
Logged
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.082 seconds with 38 queries.