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Author Topic: Loving God Question  (Read 1562 times) Average Rating: 5
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« on: May 29, 2011, 03:58:35 AM »

I started to learn about Christianity just by reading on line. Before that all i knew was that Jesus was a baby in a crib at Christmas. I never even knew that he grew up i knew he died but thought he might have died as a baby. Anyway...... i go on one other forum where i have been for a few months reading stuff ppl write and they're all different. Pentecostals, Catholics, Baptists, Atheists, Anglicans, Weirdos who just sign up to argue and be rank and this one Russian Orthodox bloke who makes more sense than any when i ask a question i get answers from all different perspectives and his always seem to be more balanced. I don't know if that's just because of his personality with straight direct answers or if its because the faith makes more sense. I can't tell. So i signed up here where everyone is Orthodox so i can ask some more questions.

So my question is about love. If all the major Christian faiths are centered on loving God and you are a person that love don't come easy to and even if you believed all the doctrine and liked the philosophy of Orthodoxy but still knew that you didn't even think you could say that you love God and be genuine about it....what the heck do you do? ? ? When a person loves God is that similar to loving in any other relationship or is it rli different? ? ? Sorry if comparing it with a human love is insulting i don't mean to be. Not that a person would hate God either but just that they didn't feel anything about God either way.

How do you end up loving God so much as some people seem to??

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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2011, 04:16:07 AM »

If all the major Christian faiths are centered on loving God and you are a person that love don't come easy to and even if you believed all the doctrine and liked the philosophy of Orthodoxy but still knew that you didn't even think you could say that you love God and be genuine about it....what the heck do you do? ? ? When a person loves God is that similar to loving in any other relationship or is it rli different? ? ? Sorry if comparing it with a human love is insulting i don't mean to be. Not that a person would hate God either but just that they didn't feel anything about God either way.

How do you end up loving God so much as some people seem to??


We love Him because He first loved us. We need to know and experience His love. Even in a human relationship, the love that lasts a lifetime takes time to grow and develop. What would I do? I would spend time with God, spend time talking to God in prayer, spend time reading God's word, that sort of thing.
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2011, 05:45:20 AM »

Firstly, welcome to the forum and I am truly glad that you are looking into Orthdoxy.  Secondly, remember that there are some people on the board who aren't Orthodox, we have Catholics and Protestants, and at least one Jew.  However, the majority are Orthdox or in the process of becoming Orthodox (such as myself).

Thirdly, and to anwer your question, one important thing to remember is that love and infatuation are not the same.  Frequently when people say "love" they mean by that, that they have butterflies in their stomach every time the person they are talking about walks by, and that sort of feeling is much more infatuation (frequently at least) than love.

When we say we love God, I believe we mean we want to draw closer to Him, constantly.  It means we want to be filled with Him, and to know Him.  However, we can't force these feelings.  I'd recommend praying frequently (not solely to love God more, but also prayers for other reasons, including glorifying Him).  I'd also recommend you start to go to an Orthodox Church on a regular basis, if at all possible, and let a priest there know where you're coming from and where you're hoping to get to. 

Everyone who comes to Orthdoxy comes with something, some of us a bigger something and/or more of something than others, but we all come with something, that we need to work on.  Some of us have little interest in the Theotokos (a technical term that just means birth-giver of God, and refers to Mary, that she gave birth to Christ), but through coming into the life of the Church, see a relationship with her starting and growing.  Others don't use icons and don't really care for them at first, but over time they begin to.  Others have severe doubts about something or another in Orthodoxy, but through coming to Church and praying, grow past those concerns and learn to have faith.

So my point is, I recommend you begin - if you haven't already started - trying to pray daily and also start coming to Church as frequently as possible.
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2011, 07:34:28 AM »

Thanks yous two

So prayer then it is. I have got the Prayers by the Lake ones to read and some of them are rli interesting.
I have started to go to Saint Elias which has different priests take their service. I stand at the back but its not in English its in Greek so i don't have a clue what the singing is or when the Priest talks at the end. But i do like it and the icons are rli special even just to look at while its all going on. I always forget to turn around when the Priest walks around swinging his incense only because he disappears from the front then comes out where i am at the back!!!! I didn't go this morning though. I like that some of the women wear lacey head wraps i think it shows respect. I have been to a Baptist once and a pentecostal once as well but they were weird and i didn't like the service, the vicars or the stereotypes or anything there rli. Anyways thanks i am doing all the right things then its just time i suppose.
Oh and i have a Orthodox bible as well.


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« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2011, 05:19:05 PM »

Thanks yous two

So prayer then it is. I have got the Prayers by the Lake ones to read and some of them are rli interesting.
I have started to go to Saint Elias which has different priests take their service. I stand at the back but its not in English its in Greek so i don't have a clue what the singing is or when the Priest talks at the end. But i do like it and the icons are rli special even just to look at while its all going on. I always forget to turn around when the Priest walks around swinging his incense only because he disappears from the front then comes out where i am at the back!!!! I didn't go this morning though. I like that some of the women wear lacey head wraps i think it shows respect. I have been to a Baptist once and a pentecostal once as well but they were weird and i didn't like the service, the vicars or the stereotypes or anything there rli. Anyways thanks i am doing all the right things then its just time i suppose.
Oh and i have a Orthodox bible as well.



If it is St. John Chrisostom's liturgy, then that is online. http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/liturgy_hchc
This has the translation. If they use a diff liturgy, (I'm practically a newb myself) then that might be online too. When the people in church say "Kyrie Eleison", that is "Lord have mercy."  And yes, it does take time. Keep doing what you are doing: you will get there.
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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2011, 01:56:44 AM »

It took time for me to get used to the Greek, as well, but don't give up. My parish has booklets and service books with Greek and English. Perhaps the church you visited will, as well?

I am glad you are interested and hope it goes well for you.   Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2011, 03:06:24 AM »

Welcome!
When a person loves God is that similar to loving in any other relationship or is it rli different? ? ? Sorry if comparing it with a human love is insulting i don't mean to be. Not that a person would hate God either but just that they didn't feel anything about God either way.
Loving God is like loving a person because God is Person, but love is not a feeling. Love is an act of will.
When you love someone, you will gladly do seemingly impossible things for their sake. You can "feel" as much "love" as you like, but unless you act it's not love. You can't "love" someone and treat them badly. So how do we act lovingly towards God? As Jesus said: "If you love Me, keep My commandments."
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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2011, 09:33:35 AM »

God is love.
once we get to know Him then we understand love.
we are not expected to understand Him first.

Jesus said 'come to me all you who are tired and heavy laden and I will give you rest' (matthew 11:28).
so, in order to come to God, we just need to be tired and needy.
i suppose we can all fulfill that requirement!

read matthew, mark, luke and john from the Bible, go to church, pray, ask lots of questions.
God bless u  Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2011, 10:43:31 AM »

Welcome!
When a person loves God is that similar to loving in any other relationship or is it rli different? ? ? Sorry if comparing it with a human love is insulting i don't mean to be. Not that a person would hate God either but just that they didn't feel anything about God either way.
Loving God is like loving a person because God is Person, but love is not a feeling. Love is an act of will.
When you love someone, you will gladly do seemingly impossible things for their sake. You can "feel" as much "love" as you like, but unless you act it's not love. You can't "love" someone and treat them badly. So how do we act lovingly towards God? As Jesus said: "If you love Me, keep My commandments."

Ozgeorge, you once again give an astoundingly intelligent thought, in an exceedingly concise post. 
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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2011, 02:36:56 PM »

So prayer then it is.

Prayer is good. Try to develop a steady routine for when you pray (morning, night, meals, etc), even if it is only a short prayer or two.

[/quote]
I stand at the back but its not in English its in Greek so i don't have a clue what the singing is or when the Priest talks at the end.[/quote]

Have you looked to see if there is a church in your city that does the liturgy in english?
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« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2011, 04:29:02 PM »

Hey thanks everyone. Yeah of course i've looked i dont mind the Greek one so much as i be moving soon though.

Question for the ozgeorge.... ok so how can you motivate to act to love when the feelings aren't there?? That's like a catch 22. Is it obedience??? because thats all im relying on thas needed. I can be obedient to rules thats the easy part. The feelings is the hard part. Prayers are hard as well because i have to find ones with words that i do believe so that im not lieing when i say the words.
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« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2011, 05:14:32 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


So my question is about love. If all the major Christian faiths are centered on loving God and you are a person that love don't come easy to and even if you believed all the doctrine and liked the philosophy of Orthodoxy but still knew that you didn't even think you could say that you love God and be genuine about it....what the heck do you do? ? ? When a person loves God is that similar to loving in any other relationship or is it rli different? ? ? Sorry if comparing it with a human love is insulting i don't mean to be. Not that a person would hate God either but just that they didn't feel anything about God either way.

How do you end up loving God so much as some people seem to??

You're right on the money.  No, human love is the only source of love that humans have in any real way, and so it is the way in which we love God in return for His gift of the superior Divine Love.  Our own experiences with love (in a very physical and spiritual way) from the depths of our hearts (as opposed to our minds or our loins Wink ) is the way in which we also learn in time to grow and experience God.  Love is built and cultivated, it does not necessarily exist in humans spontaneously.  True, the initial sparks of love are instant, however the depth and profundity of the love of the human heart which transcends reason and thinking and moves humanity towards the better aspects of ourselves takes time to build, form, and react.

What Orthodox does is allows as an institutionalized pathway to learn as humans to further cultivate this loving relationship directly with God.  We have Traditions, Canons, Calendars, Liturgies, Sacraments, the Eucharist, Hymns, Icons, Incense, Apostolic Succession, etc etc but all these are tools which God has instituted in the Apostolic Church for us to readjust our lives towards this loving relationship. When we fall in love with each other or build of the love we have for our children or siblings, it is through the experiences we share over time with each other, and the Church facilitates these same opportunities through the Church experience.  Seriously, approach the Church like a first date, curious, honest, flirtatious, and even a bit afraid or nervous but with the genuine interest in getting to develop a relationship out of the encounter. 
A very very good read would be



Don't approach the Church like an arithmetic formula to be learned intellectually, rather come to the Church from your heart to experience something new and discover an entirely new relationship with God Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2011, 09:34:52 AM »

Question for the ozgeorge.... ok so how can you motivate to act to love when the feelings aren't there?? That's like a catch 22. Is it obedience??? because thats all im relying on thas needed. I can be obedient to rules thats the easy part. The feelings is the hard part. Prayers are hard as well because i have to find ones with words that i do believe so that im not lieing when i say the words.
Thats right. To quote a famous ad: "Just Do It"! Obey Christ's commandments by giving alms, visiting the sick and imprisoned, giving food to the hungry, clothing the naked. Because on the Day of Judgement, that is exactly what He is going to ask whether you did. He is not going to ask you what you "felt".
What you actually have is a wonderful gift. so many people find it easy to pray, fast and give alms when they are "feeling good", but when the spiritually dry times come along, it all becomes too hard. But there is more value in obeying the commandments when you "don't feel like it".
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« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2011, 10:00:16 AM »

Sweet!!!

Cheers ppl.... you all are rli encouraging.

Ok one more q on love.... where it says that .....perfect love casts out all fear... in the bible. I read that love and fear are opposites (and not love and hate) because of the action movement of them.... ie... love embraces (even a negative thing) and moves forward and fear makes ppl reject and run away either by fighting (rejection) or by literally running away or avoiding something...... is that what that means??? That explaination is from a woman i know who explained it to me that way.

ps....habtesallasie.... thnx for your great post. Arithmetic formula/intellect is all i got at the moment. my heart is going nowhere until i got this all worked out. Even the bible says guard your heart. Tenacity will have to plug the gap until then.
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« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2011, 04:38:37 PM »

i understand where u r coming from.
u want to check it's ok before using up any emotions on it.
i can be like that sometimes.
it's ok to carry on as u r, but don't be surprised one day when God engages with yr emotions before u thought u were ready!
 Wink
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« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2011, 05:15:00 PM »

How did love get so distorted and broken anyway?? I know sin did that but how??
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« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2011, 05:33:41 PM »

How did love get so distorted and broken anyway?? I know sin did that but how??

Our ability to truly love comes from our being made in the Image and Likeness of God. Mankind's image of God within became distorted, and it lost the likeness of God. Christ made it possible for us to restore that likeness and un-cloud that image through communion with Him.
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« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2011, 05:40:43 PM »

so basically when people lost touch with God they lost touch with love and as generations went on it got further away from God.
Thats true i guess because if i had to define it i could give you the Disney version and then my version but God's version is sketchy i would have to probably just say sacrificial but i know that would be to simplistic.
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« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2011, 06:09:55 PM »

but God's version is sketchy i would have to probably just say sacrificial but i know that would be to simplistic.
I'm not sure what you mean here.
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« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2011, 02:03:17 PM »

But there is more value in obeying the commandments when you "don't feel like it".

Thinking of marriage as an analogy, love, real love, is what happens when you don't feel like it.
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« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2011, 03:56:41 PM »

Sorry nicholas i just meant that i didn't know what God's version (of love) was properly except to say that it is sacrificial in nature.

Thanks Katherine..... Yeah i think that's been the whole opinion all through the answers, just do what you know is right to do and that is acting in love.

Cheers ppl
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« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2011, 04:55:02 PM »

In the context of marriage the Orthodox church views marriage as more akin to martyrdom than sacrifice. It may seem like a minute difference, but it does make a difference in the context of living out that love. A sacrifice can be given willingly/freely, or begrudgingly. Martyrdom is the voluntary laying down of your life/will. This doesn't always mean that you agree, or even like something, just that you are doing so willingly.

In marriage we often encounter situations where we disagree. The difference between martyrdom and sacrifice comes starkly into play in these situations. If we disagree I can sacrificially give into my husband. But that doesn't mean that I am doing so out of anything but just "giving in," I could be angrily giving in or I could be trusting the other person on this issue. The difference comes when the idea of the leading person falls thru. Do we then point out how we were right, how if they had just sacrificed instead it would have been better? Or if we see marriage as a willing give/take we will approach a bad decision differently. We trust that whatever the outcome is bad/good that we did things to the best of our ability. We don't turn off our brains and blindly give in either. It is a delicate dance that changes/adjusts daily. My husband is the head of the household, but he isn't supposed to rule with an iron fist. I submit to him, but that doesn't mean that I mindlessly follow and obey. It is give/give not give/take.
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« Reply #22 on: June 14, 2011, 07:14:28 AM »

In the context of marriage the Orthodox church views marriage as more akin to martyrdom than sacrifice. It may seem like a minute difference, but it does make a difference in the context of living out that love. A sacrifice can be given willingly/freely, or begrudgingly. Martyrdom is the voluntary laying down of your life/will. This doesn't always mean that you agree, or even like something, just that you are doing so willingly.

In marriage we often encounter situations where we disagree. The difference between martyrdom and sacrifice comes starkly into play in these situations. If we disagree I can sacrificially give into my husband. But that doesn't mean that I am doing so out of anything but just "giving in," I could be angrily giving in or I could be trusting the other person on this issue. The difference comes when the idea of the leading person falls thru. Do we then point out how we were right, how if they had just sacrificed instead it would have been better? Or if we see marriage as a willing give/take we will approach a bad decision differently. We trust that whatever the outcome is bad/good that we did things to the best of our ability. We don't turn off our brains and blindly give in either. It is a delicate dance that changes/adjusts daily. My husband is the head of the household, but he isn't supposed to rule with an iron fist. I submit to him, but that doesn't mean that I mindlessly follow and obey. It is give/give not give/take.

Martyrdom!!?? I understand your point about laying down your will but to me that's not love. Love is about sharing not subjecting yourself to another persons will because that's how unequal relationships can start and how people can get walked on and even used badly.

On your point about disagreement, while i respect your relationship and don't want to comment on that because that's your thing.... surely if it's a bad decision then why would the other person give in?? Under any circumstances..... isn't it about who's right and then both rolling with that??

I think the way a woman loves God and the way a woman loves her husband is different and should be different because ..... as much as she might love him.... he isn't God haha...

ps......thanks for giving allot to me in your answer, i rli appreciate it.
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« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2011, 08:33:06 AM »

In my opinion love to God and love to people are two different meanings.
We love wife/husband, children, parents, relatives and other neighbors, we even couldn’t love our parents like children and so on.  So, we don`t have to compare love between people with physical and other relationship.
Remember words of St. Paul:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered,
it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails”
Love to God may be fulfilled not just loving all our owns and neighbors but also by keeping God`s Commandments.
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« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2011, 08:46:41 AM »

Martyrdom is love. It's love that is greater than the fear of one's own loss. In Orthodoxy there are three kinds of martyrdom:

White Martyrdom - marriage (sacrificing your own life and desires for the sake of your spouse)

Black Martyrdom - monasticism (sacrificing your own life and desires for the sake of repentance and for your monastic brothers/sisters)

Red Martyrdom - actually dying for the Faith (the highest form of martyrdom and love of God; these martyrs are sanctified completely by their suffering and are saints)

Almost everyone is called to one of these. This is because Christ calls us to die to ourselves so we can really live.
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« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2011, 10:58:10 AM »

Remember words of St. Paul:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered,
it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails”
Love to God may be fulfilled not just loving all our owns and neighbors but also by keeping God`s Commandments.


Marriage is martyrdom. See above. But it is also a means of grace and a path to salvation.
An Orthodox priest once told me to turn and look at my husband, and for my husband to do likewise.
"This is the person that God Himself has given you to help you on the path to salvation. This is also the person that God Himself has given you to help them on the path to salvation."
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« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2011, 09:47:23 AM »

I have heard the  Martyrdoms also called:
Marriage - Green Martyrdom - Living in the world to the Glory of God
Monastacism - White Martyrdom- Living the Angelic Life to the Glory of God
Dying for the faith - Red Martyrdom - Giving up of one's life to the Glory of God

Thomas
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« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2011, 02:18:12 PM »

i used to understand sacrifice in marriage as one person getting totally walked on and bullied.
many people think that in order not to get bullied, you have to be really strong and never give in.
but the truth is somewhere in between.

the better you get to know God, the more you realise that God loves you (it means He is never mean, never pushing you to fail and always saying something nice). to really understand what God's love is, read 1 corinthians 13, and then go to church for a year or two (sorry, it takes time to understand it!).
the more you realise God accepts you, the more you accept yourself.
eg. i would say, 'i am a bit proud, but i'm quite kind to people but also a bit irritating' and i accept that this is how i am, and with God's help, i can get better. so if someone yells at me for being irritating, i say, 'yeah, sorry, i'm working on it'. but if someone says i am really mean, i check to see what they are talking about coz i know i'm not like that. i don't need to always try to please the other person when he/she is being mean and unreasonable, i just say, 'well, i don't see this the way you do, we will have to accept we disagree on this'. that way we don't get into a fight, but also i don't get bullied. (i used to be bullied a lot at school and work)

the more you accept yourself, the more you see that other people are not perfect either, and you accept them as they are and respect them (this is half way to love). then if you get married, you want the best for your husband, even if it means hard work like getting up early to make a coffee, but at the same time, you don't get bullied all the time, because you gently discuss any differences and make your point and listen to his point.

so when people take about martyrdom in marriage, they don't mean it's a really good think for one person to be an evil bully, they mean that it's generally hard being married because you have to care for someone and think of them as very important and try to help them in everything.
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« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2011, 05:27:11 PM »

Thanks mabsoota. You got a real gentle way about you.

The Love is verse that someone quoted to me from the bible. That is about God only or describing God because at the end of the long list it says love never fails and that's not possible for any human to do
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« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2011, 05:38:41 PM »

Thanks mabsoota. You got a real gentle way about you.

The Love is verse that someone quoted to me from the bible. That is about God only or describing God because at the end of the long list it says love never fails and that's not possible for any human to do
But we can participate in, and be conduits of, that very unfailing love.

Even if we humans fail it sometimes. Or a lot.
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« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2011, 05:53:31 PM »

and anyway, if God doesn't fail in his llove and he doesn't change then what is it when he has killed people in the past..... is that a failure to love??? What about the jews his chosen people that he disguarded and went after "other sheep" that they knew not of??? And now are they unloved by God??? What about where it says that my spirit will not contend with a man forever??? I KNOW i read that in the bible and also what about grieving the holy Spirit isn't that a fail as far as love goes??? I would call those a major FAIL.
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« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2011, 06:11:12 PM »

what about grieving the holy Spirit isn't that a fail as far as love goes?
Why?

What about the jews his chosen people that he disguarded and went after "other sheep" that they knew not of?
The Jews disregarded God, God didn't disregard them. And if they turn back to Him, He welcomes them like the Prodigal Son.

and anyway, if God doesn't fail in his llove and he doesn't change then what is it when he has killed people in the past..... is that a failure to love?
Well, there are different instances. In Exodus, God killed the Egyptian first-borns. He surely didn't torture them, and the book does not pronounce upon their fate; God retrieved his Ruach, his breath, from their beings.

It should also be noted that the OT is more a war between YHWH and the gods/idols than it is between sinners and God. That's the important theological meaning of warlike/violent passages. And we also must remember that God revealed himself gradually in the OT, and the full revelation of who he is came in Christ.

What about where it says that my spirit will not contend with a man forever?
This meant that God's breath, his Ruach, his Holy Spirit, would leave men when they died. St. Irenaeus believed that God imposed physical death as an act of mercy, to stop man from becoming more and more corrupt because of his fallen-ness.


All this said, it is true that God does damage humans and permit suffering. But he does so because of man's free will, how man chooses to either make himself compatible or incompatible with the source of life himself. He also does it for the ultimate purpose of humanity's salvation, through his divine economia (plan/dispensation) which we cannot yet understand, and may never understand. There are things we must struggle to understand and we must do this without reservation.

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« Reply #32 on: June 15, 2011, 07:23:52 PM »

what about grieving the holy Spirit isn't that a fail as far as love goes?
Why?
Quote
and he doesn't change then what is it when he has killed people in the past..... is that a failure to love?
He surely didn't torture them

(1) well because its unforgivable
(2) TO A JUDGE...."well you see its like this your honour.... i didn't torture him, i only killed him " haha.... yeah really!!!

Too funny NicholasMyra too funny!!!
« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 07:26:08 PM by Poppy » Logged
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« Reply #33 on: June 16, 2011, 01:20:13 AM »

(2) TO A JUDGE...."well you see its like this your honour.... i didn't torture him, i only killed him " haha.... yeah really!!!
There's a big difference between the SAW movies and a lethal injection.

(1) well because its unforgivable

Oh, that's blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. I've heard that this is the rejection of God's forgiveness, which, of course, because of human freedom, would not be forgivable. But you should ask someone more knowledgeable than I.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2011, 01:21:12 AM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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