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Author Topic: The God of Love  (Read 426 times) Average Rating: 0
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TristanCross
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« on: September 17, 2012, 12:35:41 PM »

I recently read Father James Bernstein's article on the Original Christian Gospel and have a few questions. Father James discusses how God The Father is mistakenly seen as the harsher person of the Trinity who sent the Logos to die on the cross to appease His anger toward man. He explains that God is not angry with us, nor does He have any desire to punish sinners, but that He wants man to turn back to Him because without Him we are dead (for God is the source of Life; life is impossible without communion with God). Father James states that God is Love and has no part in punishing sinners or anything like that. It is fully emphasised that man punishes himself by not attaching himself to the source of Life. He claims God does not kill people...

My question is, why does God use such language within Scripture which suggests wrath, punishment, appeasement, etc? The Old Testament has examples of God commanding the death people (women and children included). St Paul's Epistles also seem to carry the message that Christ died to pay the fine for our sins (for no man can be in communion with God unless His sins be covered). Sooo...what's up? Can anyone explain this all to me? I guess I still retain a very Calvinistic/Reformed view of the Passion and Gospel.

Edit: Here's the article: http://www.pravmir.com/the-original-christian-gospel/
« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 12:39:58 PM by TristanCross » Logged

"Let the mouth also fast from disgraceful speeches and railings. For what does it profit if we abstain from fish and fowl and yet bite and devour our brothers and sisters? The evil speaker eats the flesh of his brother and bites the body of his neighbor. "
— St. John Chrysostom
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2012, 01:09:58 PM »

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


My question is, why does God use such language within Scripture which suggests wrath, punishment, appeasement, etc? The Old Testament has examples of God commanding the death people (women and children included). St Paul's Epistles also seem to carry the message that Christ died to pay the fine for our sins (for no man can be in communion with God unless His sins be covered). Sooo...what's up? Can anyone explain this all to me? I guess I still retain a very Calvinistic/Reformed view of the Passion and Gospel.

Edit: Here's the article: http://www.pravmir.com/the-original-christian-gospel/

Key word: Old Testament (e.g. Old Covenant)

The Old Covenant and accompanying Law was bitter, vindictive, even mercurial.  Saint Paul didn't preach atonement in the legalistic sense, rather in the Spiritual, which is to say that through the Divine Mysteries were are blessed to fullfill in the Law by Grace of God what humanity never could by force of effort or will. The Passion is not redemption in the legalistic sense, but in the spiritual-physical.  Original Sin in the Orthodox ontology is almost a biological corruption and reality more so than a spiritual one.  Human nature in the existential sense (i.e. as a spiritual being) was not tarnished or damaged, rather we are still in God's Image by essense, by nature.  Rather, Sin is a potentiality introduced into our reality, in an almost biological or physical connotation.  The corruption we received from Adam and Eve was the potential and agency to commit sin.  Christ did not have atone for our sins to restore or redeem humanity by nature, rather, through the Incarnation He restored our physicality away from sin towards a new potentiality, that of Grace.  We participate in the Mysteries (Baptism, Confession, Communion) as a gradualized process of healing, of salvation.  Salvation and redepmtion isn't necessarily in instant becoming, it is a process over time (which is why God grants us the chance at eternal life to get it right adjusting to His Grace by His power).  Christ didn't pay the fine for our sins, rather, He renewed the promise which God made at creation, that humans could have the potential for Grace and Mercy.  Original Sin the Orthodox concept is a matter of proximity, not existence.  We are either closer or further away from God's restorative, Life-Giving Grace.  Sin pushes us away, Faith brings us nearer to Him.  We cultivate a relationship with God in the Church to continually get nearer to God as Adam and Eve were initially in the Garden.  When we Sin, we push ourselves away from God, and when we heed His call to repentance He draws us closer to Him.  To be near God is Grace, is Salvation, is Redemption, to be away is Sin, is Corruption, is Death.

stay blessed,
habte selassie 

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10
Marc1152
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2012, 01:16:11 PM »

It may be helpful to remember that in Orthodox Theology whenever the people of Israel interacted with God they were interacting with Jesus Christ who is eternally existing and uncreated. So the voice coming from the burning bush for one example was the voice of the second person of the Trinity, God the Son, Jesus Christ.
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Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm
TristanCross
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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2012, 02:12:01 PM »

Another question: How would you explain the gospel to someone with no knowledge of religion whatsoever?
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"Let the mouth also fast from disgraceful speeches and railings. For what does it profit if we abstain from fish and fowl and yet bite and devour our brothers and sisters? The evil speaker eats the flesh of his brother and bites the body of his neighbor. "
— St. John Chrysostom
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« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2012, 03:03:23 PM »

Another question: How would you explain the gospel to someone with no knowledge of religion whatsoever?

I am often confronted with that situation. I have found that a discussion of life after death is a logical place to start. If we can agree that there is a possibility of survival of death and an afterlife then we can work backwards and discuss what to do about it. Jesus defeated death, our last and biggest enemy, and here's how.
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Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm
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