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Author Topic: Providence  (Read 1339 times) Average Rating: 0
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ignatios
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« on: October 02, 2008, 02:39:33 PM »

Coming from the Reformed tradition, in which everything is caused by God whether good or ill, I'm having some trouble understanding what the exact understanding of divine providence is within Orthodoxy.  Are there any Fathers that specifically address this?  I find myself still trusting God in things, but I'm a little more shaky because, thankfully, I know he doesn't cause all evil and simply call it good.  Help me balance these beliefs.
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tuesdayschild
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2008, 02:57:50 PM »

Here is a reply from an earlier thread on the same topic:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11127.msg151300.html#msg151300
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ignatios
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2008, 11:22:14 AM »

Thanks!

Does anyone know of any Orthodox works on the subject?  Anything from the Fathers, that perhaps explains the difference between God's providence and the "absolute predestination" attributed to him by some Protestant groups?
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zoarthegleaner
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2008, 02:15:45 PM »

Trusting in the providence of God is very Orthodox, indeed it is wholly biblical and Patristic written out in an exact exposition of the Orthodox Faith, the first so called Christian systematic theological work.

The widow trusted God to provide for her future needs when she threw in her last coin and let us not forget our Lord's sermon in Luke.
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Courteous is my name,
and I have always aimed to live up to it.
Grace is also my name,
but when things go wrong
its Courteous whom I blame;
but its Grace who sees me through it.
PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2008, 02:24:39 PM »

Trusting in the providence of God is very Orthodox, indeed it is wholly biblical and Patristic written out in an exact exposition of the Orthodox Faith, the first so called Christian systematic theological work.

The widow trusted God to provide for her future needs when she threw in her last coin and let us not forget our Lord's sermon in Luke.
You might want to go back and read the OP again.  I don't think ignatios was questioning whether we should trust in God's providence; rather, I read him as asking us for an Orthodox definition of Divine providence.
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zoarthegleaner
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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2008, 03:05:21 PM »

"You might want to go back and read the OP again.  I don't think ignatios was questioning whether we should trust in God's providence; rather, I read him as asking us for an Orthodox definition of Divine providence."

I think I offered an exact answer by refering to an Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith which was written by St. John Damascene, albeit I did not name the author.  Oooped me.

Secondly, do we actually need a greater definition than our Lord's words in Luke 11? 

"The life (soul) is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.  Consider the ravens...how much more are ye better than the fowls.  If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest.  Cosider the lilies...If God so clothed the grass,...and seek not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. ...But rather seek ye the kingddom of God; and all these things shall be added unto yu.  Fear not, litle flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."


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Courteous is my name,
and I have always aimed to live up to it.
Grace is also my name,
but when things go wrong
its Courteous whom I blame;
but its Grace who sees me through it.
PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2008, 04:24:41 PM »

"You might want to go back and read the OP again.  I don't think ignatios was questioning whether we should trust in God's providence; rather, I read him as asking us for an Orthodox definition of Divine providence."

I think I offered an exact answer by refering to an Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith which was written by St. John Damascene, albeit I did not name the author.  Oooped me.
Can you quote pertinent passages from this patristic opus for us?

Quote
Secondly, do we actually need a greater definition than our Lord's words in Luke 11? 

...

Yes, in fact we do, since we reject the sola Scriptura principle of the Reformed tradition from which the original poster comes.  A patristic exegesis of these words from our Lord would be helpful.


Besides this, I think the real information the OP desires is a contrast between the Orthodox understanding of providence and the Reformed belief in God's total sovereignty.  (By "Reformed" I'm thinking of a specific thread of the Calvinist branch of Protestantism.  Maybe ignatios could correct me if I'm wrong.)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2008, 04:31:59 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
zoarthegleaner
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2008, 12:09:12 PM »

Can you quote pertinent passages from this patristic opus for us?

Read chapters 25-30 for an exact exposition. 

From chapter 29:  "Providence, then, is the care that God takes over existing things. And again: Providence is the will of God through which all existing things receive their fitting issue. But if Providence is God's will, according to true reasoning all things that come into being through Providence must necessarily be both most fair and most excellent, and such that they cannot be surpassed. For the same person must of necessity be creator of and provider for what exists: for it is not meet nor fitting that the creator of what exists and the provider should be separate persons. For in that case they would both assuredly be deficient, the one in creating, the other in providing. God therefore is both Creator and Provider, and His creative and preserving and providing power is simply His goodwill. For whatsoever the Lord pleased that did He in heaven and in earth, and no one resisted His will. He willed that all things should be and they were. He wills the universe to be framed and it is framed, and all that He wills comes to pass.
 ...Moreover, it is to be observed that the choice of what is to be done is in our own hands: but the final issue depends, in the one case when our actions are good, on the cooperation of God..."

Perhaps then what was being asked is the relationship of God's absolute (total) sovereignty and our free will?  If so, St. John also answers this question.   St. John was not loquacious

I am dubious that we actually need any greater definition of God's Providence than given by the very exegesis of God Himself, but I understand that many converts are impatient and desire to crash course or cliff note the work of the Holy Spirit who will Himself instruct them through attentive attendance in Vigil, Liturgy and all other services of the Church.  I also understand as described by the blessed Augustine explained, heretics read the Scriptures through blinking eyes and thus their expositions of what they see is men walking as trees.

Did the Theotokos need a Patristic commentary to understand Providence? 

The understanding of what Providence is springs up from within the submissive heart where it abides as a seed until the circumstances appear to make manifest God's love.  Nothing and no one is outside of God's Providence, but we may certainly oppose, resist and work against His Providence which is the manifestation of His love.  Even animals experience the Providence of God according to the order, rank or choir of creation in which they abide and as our Lord expounded.
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Courteous is my name,
and I have always aimed to live up to it.
Grace is also my name,
but when things go wrong
its Courteous whom I blame;
but its Grace who sees me through it.
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
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« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2008, 01:10:54 PM »

I am dubious that we actually need any greater definition of God's Providence than given by the very exegesis of God Himself, but I understand that many converts are impatient and desire to crash course or cliff note the work of the Holy Spirit who will Himself instruct them through attentive attendance in Vigil, Liturgy and all other services of the Church.
1.  You are aware that we Orthodox believe that God often speaks to us through the Holy Fathers?  You evidently do, since you cite their authority.
2.  I don't think this is merely a convert vs. cradle thing, for laziness and impatience are just part of the fallen human condition.

Quote
I also understand as described by the blessed Augustine explained, heretics read the Scriptures through blinking eyes and thus their expositions of what they see is men walking as trees.
Okay? Undecided

Quote
Did the Theotokos need a Patristic commentary to understand Providence?
No, but I don't think any one of us right now can say we're even close to attaining to the full measure of our Lady's holiness and knowledge of God.  For us, the Holy Fathers are very helpful.

Quote
The understanding of what Providence is springs up from within the submissive heart where it abides as a seed until the circumstances appear to make manifest God's love.  Nothing and no one is outside of God's Providence, but we may certainly oppose, resist and work against His Providence which is the manifestation of His love.  Even animals experience the Providence of God according to the order, rank or choir of creation in which they abide and as our Lord expounded.
But until we develop that submissive heart through synergistic cooperation with the Holy Spirit, we will continue to rely upon the Holy Fathers as guides to a deeper understanding of Divine Providence.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2008, 02:33:15 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
andronicus
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2012, 08:10:37 AM »

I did not see a specific reference to a patristic work dealing with the Orthodox understanding of God's sovereignty/providence vs
the understanding of the Reformed tradition.  Somebody point it out if I missed it.
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"The continual remembrance of God is a holy thing."  St. Basil
Ashman618
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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2012, 09:13:31 PM »

 "God does not will evil to be done, nor does He force virtue" (JohnDm)

For example, sometimes the Good God, in His boundless love, and in order to provide practice in humility and patience, will take away his Grace from the wife, and she will begin acting outlandishly and treating the husband inconsiderately. Then the husband should not complain, but rather rejoice and thank God for the opportunity to struggle which He has given him. Or, a mother asks God to grant her patience. Her little child then comes in, and as soon as she has the table set for dinner, he pulls on the table cloth and everything spills on the floor. At such times it’s as if the child is saying to his mother: “Mama, be patient!”~elder Paisios

"For this is His providence for us that we might bear all things for the sake of His virtues"

Sorry it's not very patristic but it's all I got , may the Lord bless, pray for my faith I will pray for yours
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