Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Orthodox View on God's Love For The World

6 comments:

Athanasios Boeker said...

Friends,

Before we talk about God's Love, I would like to ask, "What is Love."

I see that in our modern age, and America in particular, we often translate Love as tolerance for any type of wicked behavior that our hearts can muster. So I ask a question, "How do we define Christian Love(Agape)?" Are we going to define it as anything goes, or is it a love that Chastises people for their sins when necessary?"

Athanasios

Ignatius said...

True love says "no" sometimes. Our children may want to cross the street without looking both ways. Our children may want to touch a hot stove. Our children may want to sit and eat candy all night. As parents and being much wiser, we understand these things would not benefit our children and more than likely, cause harm. God disciplines those he loves. And God tells us to "love others". We are never told to condemn others. We are told however, to avoid fellowship with certain people who practice certain things. It is all because God knows what is best and loves us.

DEP said...

I think God's love is best expressed when he does not answer every prayer we utter. Sometimes what we pray for is not in our best interests. Therefore, God in his loving way tells us "NO". Some conclude God's love is so powerful it is without consequence. They rationalize their behavior under the auspices of "He really loves me despite what I do".

Athanasios Boeker said...

In my former faith, I remember believing that God literally became angry, and that He needed to get even with those that slighted Him. In other words I believed that God had to punish, to get vengence. When I came to Orthodoxy, it seemed as though the term punishment was a strictly forbidden in Orthodox theology. It was not until later, after much patristic study, that I came to realize that the term "God's punishment" is used all over the place in the Fathers, but it is used in terms of chastisment (pedagogical) God's loving punishment. A means of correction.

Athanasios

DEP said...

athanasios,

I think we went to the same church. God wasn't just angry he was righteously indignant and I was the sole cause of his anger. If I so much as breathed without permission I felt guilty. When I left my old church it was because the pastor of the church I now attend spoke about God's infinite love. The concept seemed foreign at first considering my previous conditioning.

Athanasios Boeker said...

Dep,

As the Apostle says, "God is Love."

Somehow I think paganism has poured over into "Some" Christian Faith communites. I get the impression from some preachers that they are not talking about YHWH, they are talking about Zeus or some Polynesian volcano god.

Any god that demands his pound of flesh in order to be assuaged, or gets P.O.ed every time someone eats one calorie more than they should have(legalism), cannot be the True God.

Athanasios