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Can Sin lead to God taking away His presence/protection from someone?

serb1389

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We know that Sin leads to death, and that sin is the cause of Death.  But we also know that Christ took away sin and death through his Life, Death & Resurrection. 

However, if we do NOT live a life in Christ, does that mean that God then is inclined to take away His protection/Grace/Presence from us? 

I would imagine that this is not the way it works, but it's an interesting question someone asked me and i'm look for other ways of looking at it. 

Any additional thoughts would be most welcome!
 

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Sometimes they say that God already knows everything we will do.

They also sometimes say that we have ‘free will’ and without this free will our choice for God is determined beforehand, so of lesser value than a choice for God in a sacrificial spirit.

So, which is it, pre-determined or not?  Maybe both?

What we should know is that we are limited in our comprehension of things around us.  That includes our comprehension of spiritual realities, the unseen, the mysteries we unthinkingly swim in like fish in water. 

The more a person makes choices (missing the mark, “sin”)that cut them off from gaining greater awareness and respect of those sacred realities, the less they will apprehend God’s protection, grace, presence.  This is why there is a map made by the ascetics, so we will have light to guide our path, another soul with whom we can make the journey.

If someone tells me to leave their house, I leave out of respect for their wishes, but that doesn’t mean I was never there, never made my mark on that person’s life.  Can God completely leave us?

Our morning prayers to God start with a reminder to ourselves that God is “everywhere present and fills all things, treasury of every good and bestower of life….”

Is the fact that we are drawing breath proof that God has not completely abandoned us?  Do we draw even one breath without God?

In that sense, no, God does not remove anything from us, but we can cut our selves off, or become very lost due to people around us exercising their free will to harm us in ways that scars, sometimes open wounds.  They can harm our spirit our soul.  Take something of inestimable value, for example, our sense of our sacred self, the thing that God created, that God who ‘fills all things’, but even moreso fills us, who were created in God’s very image.  When our childlike apprehension of that reality is taken from us, it is the most egregious form of theft because it is our birthright as a human being.  It is taking the fish from the water and leaving it to gasp to death on a sandy shore.

This is co - lateral damage among ourselves.  We learn from each other, and are in some ways limited by each other.  We recognize those who reach beyond and rise above the received limitations as saints.  Maybe what we fail to remember among other things is that perhaps the act of forgiveness places us all among the saints. 

Sometimes people can’t be close to Christ because of the people who call themselves ‘Christians’ who perpetrated atrocities against other people and tried to put their own cultural stamp on everyone.  It happened here in the USA and Canada with genocides, it happens elsewhere as religion is tied in with the projection of economic interest through governmental military power exerted around the world. 

It would seem God, if infinite and understanding beyond our comprehension, knows the greater picture of forces beyond our personal control, about the personal forces of the individuals around us who may lead us to despair of life itself.  He knows this about each soul.  About the perpetrators who listen to the vicious murmuring, about the victims, about those amazingly blinded with pride in their own thoughts.  God knows the perils of being human, how we treat each other, how we become blind thinking our own thoughts are sufficient to live a full life.

So, knowing all this, all our weakness, how could a merciful God abandon us completely  among each other?  "We see you, we see ourselves, and know that we must take the utmost kindness and care in all things" (Harjo, Eagle Poem).


That’s all what I understand / wonder now in my very limited fashion. 


Psalm 138
O Lord, you search me and you know me,
You know my resting and my rising,
You discern my purpose from afar.
You mark when I walk or lie down,
All my ways lie open to you.

Before ever a word is on my tongue
You know it, O Lord, through and through.
Behind and before you besiege me,
Your hand ever laid upon me.
Too wonderful for me, this knowledge,
Too high, beyond my reach.

O where can I go from your spirit,
Or where can I flee from your face?
If I climb the heavens you are there.
If I lie in the grave, you are there.

If I take the wings of the dawn
And dwell at the sea’s furthest end,
Even there your hand would lead me,
You right hand would hold me fast.

If I say: ‘Let the darkness hide me
And the light around me be night,’
Even darkness is not dark for you
And the night is as clear as the day.

For it was you who created my being,
Knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I thank you for the wonder of my being,
For the wonders of all your creation. 

Already you knew my soul,
My body held no secret from you
When I was being fashioned in secret
And moulded in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw all my actions,
They were all of them written in your book;
Every one of my days was decreed
Before one of them came into being.

To me, how mysterious your thoughts,
The sum of them not to be numbered!
If I count them, they are more than the sand;
To finish, I must be eternal , like you.

O God, that you would slay the wicked!
Men of blood, keep far away from me!
With deceit they rebel against you
And set your designs at naught.

Do I not hate those who hate you,
Abhor those who rise against you?
I hate them with a perfect hate
And they are foes to me.

O search me, God, and know my heart.
O test me and know my thoughts.
See that I follow not the wrong path
And lead me in the path of life eternal.
 

minasoliman

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Quick answer is No...later I will explain more why I think so.
 

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It would be hard to read the Scriptures and say it hasn't happened for various reasons. Maybe you'd say God did it for ultimately salvific purposes.
 

Ainnir

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From what I understand, the Orthodox view is that God is Life, and without his general protection/presence/grace we would not exist.  So in that sense, no.  He does not, or we wouldn't be here.  But beyond that there are degrees to which we experience God's grace which relate to how closely we align ourselves with His will. 

As a very base analogy: I feed, clothe, and shelter my precious children no matter what they do.  I love them no matter what.  But the level of freedom and trust they enjoy under my authority depends on how responsible and trustworthy they show themselves to be.  Their decisions have a great impact on their practical existence.  I think expanding that idea to encompass how all of human existence might interact with God is an incredibly complex thing, but in a very simple, basic way...this is how I understand it.  Time and experience may prove me wrong, though.  Always a likelihood.  ;)
 

minasoliman

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God's grace is dynamic, not static.  So He doesn't leave us, even when we make the worst sins.  Instead God's grace works differently, and at times it may feel like God is not there.  The example of St. Silouan is a good one.  A man, a holy man, who probably had higher spiritual state that most people, felt abandoned by God for quite some time.  Can we say that there was some sin that he did that caused the grace and presence of God to leave him?

Christ said He did not come for the righteous, but for sinners.  St. Paul said there is none who is righteous, even those who did not sin.  Before the incarnation, one can say that God's grace was conditional, but even then, God still chose to inspire Gentiles, and still stayed with David despite his severe shortcomings.  After the incarnation, God makes it clear He is here to stay.  We may grieve the Spirit, but He will not take the Spirit from us.  He may turn His face from our sins, but He will not cast His face away from us (Psalm 50).  Even if we make our bed in hell, He is still there.  He engrafted His divine presence in our nature.  That's why there will be a general resurrection, of both the repentant and the non-repentant.  To say that He will take away His grace from us because we sin is to make sin an equal power to God.  God shuns sin, but He does not shun us.  It as at times we sin we need Him the most, and He is longsuffering enough to keep us in Him even when we sin.

That does not mean we should be negligent or abusive of His mercy.  But it does mean there is still hope.  He is still there, and it should move us to do more within ourselves because He is within ourselves still.
 

RaphaCam

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minasoliman said:
God's grace is dynamic, not static.  So He doesn't leave us, even when we make the worst sins.  Instead God's grace works differently, and at times it may feel like God is not there.  The example of St. Silouan is a good one.  A man, a holy man, who probably had higher spiritual state that most people, felt abandoned by God for quite some time.  Can we say that there was some sin that he did that caused the grace and presence of God to leave him?

Christ said He did not come for the righteous, but for sinners.  St. Paul said there is none who is righteous, even those who did not sin.  Before the incarnation, one can say that God's grace was conditional, but even then, God still chose to inspire Gentiles, and still stayed with David despite his severe shortcomings.  After the incarnation, God makes it clear He is here to stay.  We may grieve the Spirit, but He will not take the Spirit from us.  He may turn His face from our sins, but He will not cast His face away from us (Psalm 50).  Even if we make our bed in hell, He is still there.  He engrafted His divine presence in our nature.  That's why there will be a general resurrection, of both the repentant and the non-repentant.  To say that He will take away His grace from us because we sin is to make sin an equal power to God.  God shuns sin, but He does not shun us.  It as at times we sin we need Him the most, and He is longsuffering enough to keep us in Him even when we sin.

That does not mean we should be negligent or abusive of His mercy.  But it does mean there is still hope.  He is still there, and it should move us to do more within ourselves because He is within ourselves still.
Thanks for the response, I agree fully. But I must ask: what about those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit? God's love and presence will still be with them, but will they keep protection and grace?
 

minasoliman

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RaphaCam said:
minasoliman said:
God's grace is dynamic, not static.  So He doesn't leave us, even when we make the worst sins.  Instead God's grace works differently, and at times it may feel like God is not there.  The example of St. Silouan is a good one.  A man, a holy man, who probably had higher spiritual state that most people, felt abandoned by God for quite some time.  Can we say that there was some sin that he did that caused the grace and presence of God to leave him?

Christ said He did not come for the righteous, but for sinners.  St. Paul said there is none who is righteous, even those who did not sin.  Before the incarnation, one can say that God's grace was conditional, but even then, God still chose to inspire Gentiles, and still stayed with David despite his severe shortcomings.  After the incarnation, God makes it clear He is here to stay.  We may grieve the Spirit, but He will not take the Spirit from us.  He may turn His face from our sins, but He will not cast His face away from us (Psalm 50).  Even if we make our bed in hell, He is still there.  He engrafted His divine presence in our nature.  That's why there will be a general resurrection, of both the repentant and the non-repentant.  To say that He will take away His grace from us because we sin is to make sin an equal power to God.  God shuns sin, but He does not shun us.  It as at times we sin we need Him the most, and He is longsuffering enough to keep us in Him even when we sin.

That does not mean we should be negligent or abusive of His mercy.  But it does mean there is still hope.  He is still there, and it should move us to do more within ourselves because He is within ourselves still.
Thanks for the response, I agree fully. But I must ask: what about those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit? God's love and presence will still be with them, but will they keep protection and grace?
Blaspheming the Holy Spirit, as I understand it, is not merely a few words you say against the Holy Spirit, but a form of spiritual suicide.  It's like trying to choke yourself with your own hands.  It takes a lot of effort to blaspheme the Holy Spirit, dare I say an everlasting effort in constantly and directly rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.

But if after all that effort one day the person decided to repent, the person could not blaspheme the Spirit.  He succumbed finally to His presence and longsuffering love.
 

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minasoliman said:
RaphaCam said:
minasoliman said:
God's grace is dynamic, not static.  So He doesn't leave us, even when we make the worst sins.  Instead God's grace works differently, and at times it may feel like God is not there.  The example of St. Silouan is a good one.  A man, a holy man, who probably had higher spiritual state that most people, felt abandoned by God for quite some time.  Can we say that there was some sin that he did that caused the grace and presence of God to leave him?

Christ said He did not come for the righteous, but for sinners.  St. Paul said there is none who is righteous, even those who did not sin.  Before the incarnation, one can say that God's grace was conditional, but even then, God still chose to inspire Gentiles, and still stayed with David despite his severe shortcomings.  After the incarnation, God makes it clear He is here to stay.  We may grieve the Spirit, but He will not take the Spirit from us.  He may turn His face from our sins, but He will not cast His face away from us (Psalm 50).  Even if we make our bed in hell, He is still there.  He engrafted His divine presence in our nature.  That's why there will be a general resurrection, of both the repentant and the non-repentant.  To say that He will take away His grace from us because we sin is to make sin an equal power to God.  God shuns sin, but He does not shun us.  It as at times we sin we need Him the most, and He is longsuffering enough to keep us in Him even when we sin.

That does not mean we should be negligent or abusive of His mercy.  But it does mean there is still hope.  He is still there, and it should move us to do more within ourselves because He is within ourselves still.
Thanks for the response, I agree fully. But I must ask: what about those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit? God's love and presence will still be with them, but will they keep protection and grace?
Blaspheming the Holy Spirit, as I understand it, is not merely a few words you say against the Holy Spirit, but a form of spiritual suicide.  It's like trying to choke yourself with your own hands.  It takes a lot of effort to blaspheme the Holy Spirit, dare I say an everlasting effort in constantly and directly rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.

But if after all that effort one day the person decided to repent, the person could not blaspheme the Spirit.  He succumbed finally to His presence and longsuffering love.
IIRC, some commentators say someone that blasphemed the Holy Spirit couldn't repent because he won't act on their behalf toward repentance anymore, so if one repents whatever seemed like blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, it actually wasn't the case.
 

minasoliman

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Well, use my analogy. If you successfully choke yourself to death, you can't bring yourself back to life.  If you're still alive, you haven't killed yourself.  So I agree :)
 

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minasoliman said:
God's grace is dynamic, not static.  So He doesn't leave us, even when we make the worst sins.  Instead God's grace works differently, and at times it may feel like God is not there.  The example of St. Silouan is a good one.  A man, a holy man, who probably had higher spiritual state that most people, felt abandoned by God for quite some time.  Can we say that there was some sin that he did that caused the grace and presence of God to leave him?
Let's say that St. Silouan felt the absence of God, but it turns out that God, unseen and unfelt, was never really absent (or he was present in the sense that he's sustaining creation, or what have you). Unless God's presence returns and redeems that absence and St. Silouan's suffering because of it (the way Christ illumined past events for the disciples in the breaking of the bread), what reality would this unseen and unfelt presence have for St. Silouan?
 

minasoliman

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It seems to me it centered around the strengthening of some sort of virtue (isn't that generally the story that is shared about him?).  For every person it could be a different purpose or goal.  If one can continually say NO to giving up, it shows a strengthened will consonant with God's will.
 

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minasoliman said:
It seems to me it centered around the strengthening of some sort of virtue (isn't that generally the story that is shared about him?).  For every person it could be a different purpose or goal.  If one can continually say NO to giving up, it shows a strengthened will consonant with God's will.
But it is only understood and felt as such when God returns and acts again.
 

minasoliman

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I don't know.  I would tend to say God "returns" in a relative sense.  He's always there.
 

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I would say it is removed in the same way that the sun removes its light from us when we go down into a cellar.
 

Tzimis

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serb1389 said:
We know that Sin leads to death, and that sin is the cause of Death.  But we also know that Christ took away sin and death through his Life, Death & Resurrection. 

However, if we do NOT live a life in Christ, does that mean that God then is inclined to take away His protection/Grace/Presence from us? 

I would imagine that this is not the way it works, but it's an interesting question someone asked me and i'm look for other ways of looking at it. 

Any additional thoughts would be most welcome!
This is a great question Serb. You know that Judus was forgiven of his sins and yet he decided to not except gods grace. I believe that God forgives everyone but it is our own hearts that condem us. In other words. Sometimes we ourselves are to righteous and prideful that we over compensate beyond even gods measure. Hope that makes sense.
 
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serb1389 said:
We know that Sin leads to death, and that sin is the cause of Death.  But we also know that Christ took away sin and death through his Life, Death & Resurrection. 

However, if we do NOT live a life in Christ, does that mean that God then is inclined to take away His protection/Grace/Presence from us? 

I would imagine that this is not the way it works, but it's an interesting question someone asked me and i'm look for other ways of looking at it. 

Any additional thoughts would be most welcome!
Would not Job be a good example of the danger in believing that way, just as Job was led to think that because of what was allowed by God to happen to Job, but in the end it was about showing off Job's  great faith, God wanted to show Satan.

So we must try to never let Satan win when we are tested this way.
 

serb1389

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minasoliman said:
God's grace is dynamic, not static.  So He doesn't leave us, even when we make the worst sins.  Instead God's grace works differently, and at times it may feel like God is not there.  The example of St. Silouan is a good one.  A man, a holy man, who probably had higher spiritual state that most people, felt abandoned by God for quite some time.  Can we say that there was some sin that he did that caused the grace and presence of God to leave him?

Christ said He did not come for the righteous, but for sinners.  St. Paul said there is none who is righteous, even those who did not sin.  Before the incarnation, one can say that God's grace was conditional, but even then, God still chose to inspire Gentiles, and still stayed with David despite his severe shortcomings.  After the incarnation, God makes it clear He is here to stay.  We may grieve the Spirit, but He will not take the Spirit from us.  He may turn His face from our sins, but He will not cast His face away from us (Psalm 50).  Even if we make our bed in hell, He is still there.  He engrafted His divine presence in our nature.  That's why there will be a general resurrection, of both the repentant and the non-repentant.  To say that He will take away His grace from us because we sin is to make sin an equal power to God.  God shuns sin, but He does not shun us.  It as at times we sin we need Him the most, and He is longsuffering enough to keep us in Him even when we sin.

That does not mean we should be negligent or abusive of His mercy.  But it does mean there is still hope.  He is still there, and it should move us to do more within ourselves because He is within ourselves still.
Yes, but Sin is missing the mark, thereby a separation from God, a distancing from His Presence...and therefore His Grace...no?
 

serb1389

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Tzimis said:
serb1389 said:
We know that Sin leads to death, and that sin is the cause of Death.  But we also know that Christ took away sin and death through his Life, Death & Resurrection. 

However, if we do NOT live a life in Christ, does that mean that God then is inclined to take away His protection/Grace/Presence from us? 

I would imagine that this is not the way it works, but it's an interesting question someone asked me and i'm look for other ways of looking at it. 

Any additional thoughts would be most welcome!
This is a great question Serb. You know that Judus was forgiven of his sins and yet he decided to not except gods grace. I believe that God forgives everyone but it is our own hearts that condem us. In other words. Sometimes we ourselves are to righteous and prideful that we over compensate beyond even gods measure. Hope that makes sense.
Yes, but does that Self-Righteousness/Pride REMOVE the presence of God from us?  Do our sins have that much power/authority?  In a way I would imagine they do because we DO have free will, yet on the other hand God has taken ON our nature, and so we are CONSTANTLY in His presence.  HOWEVER we have to ENACT that presence/grace all the time.  Otherwise we could go into Protestant theologies like undeniable Grace and predestination.
 

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serb1389 said:
minasoliman said:
God's grace is dynamic, not static.  So He doesn't leave us, even when we make the worst sins.  Instead God's grace works differently, and at times it may feel like God is not there.  The example of St. Silouan is a good one.  A man, a holy man, who probably had higher spiritual state that most people, felt abandoned by God for quite some time.  Can we say that there was some sin that he did that caused the grace and presence of God to leave him?

Christ said He did not come for the righteous, but for sinners.  St. Paul said there is none who is righteous, even those who did not sin.  Before the incarnation, one can say that God's grace was conditional, but even then, God still chose to inspire Gentiles, and still stayed with David despite his severe shortcomings.  After the incarnation, God makes it clear He is here to stay.  We may grieve the Spirit, but He will not take the Spirit from us.  He may turn His face from our sins, but He will not cast His face away from us (Psalm 50).  Even if we make our bed in hell, He is still there.  He engrafted His divine presence in our nature.  That's why there will be a general resurrection, of both the repentant and the non-repentant.  To say that He will take away His grace from us because we sin is to make sin an equal power to God.  God shuns sin, but He does not shun us.  It as at times we sin we need Him the most, and He is longsuffering enough to keep us in Him even when we sin.

That does not mean we should be negligent or abusive of His mercy.  But it does mean there is still hope.  He is still there, and it should move us to do more within ourselves because He is within ourselves still.
Yes, but Sin is missing the mark, thereby a separation from God, a distancing from His Presence...and therefore His Grace...no?
I tend not to think this way, because if sin is pushes God away, then what hope is there that I can be saved by the grace of repentance?  Sin rejects the works of grace, but does not push it away.

Yes, there's free will, so grace is not imposing, but it's still there.  We can be prodigal, but the giver of grace always keeps a far eye on us, always calling on to us, always knocking on the doors of our hearts.
 

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In ref to serb1389^^ :    God's presence does not change.  Sin causes us to perceive the distance between His image and likeness and our fallen state more acutely, but His presence remains the same.  As we fall deeper into sin we tend to not wish to experience this painful distance between ourself-yes and our prototokos.  Put in a biblical framework, God allows our hearts to be hardened by our own sin so as to darken our sight.  Put another way, the darkness experienced by one who gouges out his/her own eyes is not the absence of light, but the self mutilation which denies oneself the mechanism/ability to perceive that light, and thus to see things clearly.  The light remains.  What changes is the heart.

The manner in which I understand it; God Himself is Life.  He does not simply bestow Life as external to Himself, but it is a gift maintained only in communion.  We have no life in ourselves.  We are made in His image/likeness.    Remaining in This image and likeness is the relationship which gives us His life by participation in grace.    Sin is falling away from the glory (image and likeness) of God and non-participation in that very thing which Life depends on; God likeness.  I can be present in a room with you and try to have a discussion and give you a gift ---but if you turn you back on me and shut your ears and eyes to participating in relationship with me, I may as well not exist to you.  I cannot bestow my gift upon you nor participate in relationship with you no matter how hard I try without forcing you.  Participation vs non participation I think helps make some sense of this. 
 

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Onesimus said:
In ref to serb1389^^ :    God's presence does not change.  Sin causes us to perceive the distance between His image and likeness and our fallen state more acutely, but His presence remains the same.  As we fall deeper into sin we tend to not wish to experience this painful distance between ourself-yes and our prototokos.  Put in a biblical framework, God allows our hearts to be hardened by our own sin so as to darken our sight.  Put another way, the darkness experienced by one who gouges out his/her own eyes is not the absence of light, but the self mutilation which denies oneself the mechanism/ability to perceive that light, and thus to see things clearly.  The light remains.  What changes is the heart.

The manner in which I understand it; God Himself is Life.  He does not simply bestow Life as external to Himself, but it is a gift maintained only in communion.  We have no life in ourselves.  We are made in His image/likeness.    Remaining in This image and likeness is the relationship which gives us His life by participation in grace.    Sin is falling away from the glory (image and likeness) of God and non-participation in that very thing which Life depends on; God likeness.  I can be present in a room with you and try to have a discussion and give you a gift ---but if you turn you back on me and shut your ears and eyes to participating in relationship with me, I may as well not exist to you.  I cannot bestow my gift upon you nor participate in relationship with you no matter how hard I try without forcing you.  Participation vs non participation I think helps make some sense of this.
Ok, so, if I have fallen away from Glory, and have shut my ears & eyes to God...and then something bad happens to me. Is it because I have distanced myself from His Grace?  Or because He has so willed to NOT protect me because of my unwillingness to be in His Grace?

What are the true CONSEQUENCES of removing ourselves from His Grace, His Presence, etc. through SIN, through willing action.
 

serb1389

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minasoliman said:
serb1389 said:
minasoliman said:
God's grace is dynamic, not static.  So He doesn't leave us, even when we make the worst sins.  Instead God's grace works differently, and at times it may feel like God is not there.  The example of St. Silouan is a good one.  A man, a holy man, who probably had higher spiritual state that most people, felt abandoned by God for quite some time.  Can we say that there was some sin that he did that caused the grace and presence of God to leave him?

Christ said He did not come for the righteous, but for sinners.  St. Paul said there is none who is righteous, even those who did not sin.  Before the incarnation, one can say that God's grace was conditional, but even then, God still chose to inspire Gentiles, and still stayed with David despite his severe shortcomings.  After the incarnation, God makes it clear He is here to stay.  We may grieve the Spirit, but He will not take the Spirit from us.  He may turn His face from our sins, but He will not cast His face away from us (Psalm 50).  Even if we make our bed in hell, He is still there.  He engrafted His divine presence in our nature.  That's why there will be a general resurrection, of both the repentant and the non-repentant.  To say that He will take away His grace from us because we sin is to make sin an equal power to God.  God shuns sin, but He does not shun us.  It as at times we sin we need Him the most, and He is longsuffering enough to keep us in Him even when we sin.

That does not mean we should be negligent or abusive of His mercy.  But it does mean there is still hope.  He is still there, and it should move us to do more within ourselves because He is within ourselves still.
Yes, but Sin is missing the mark, thereby a separation from God, a distancing from His Presence...and therefore His Grace...no?
I tend not to think this way, because if sin is pushes God away, then what hope is there that I can be saved by the grace of repentance?  Sin rejects the works of grace, but does not push it away.

Yes, there's free will, so grace is not imposing, but it's still there.  We can be prodigal, but the giver of grace always keeps a far eye on us, always calling on to us, always knocking on the doors of our hearts.
Repentence brings us back. In all of the handbooks i've seen on Confession it talks about the confession totally bringing the person BACK into Communion through the verbal/physical renouncing of sin, as a final act of Repentence in the process of repentence.

Repentance is the action that changes us universally in order to be in communion with God in a more authentic way...as the other poster above put it...to be more in His likeness. 

However, sin DOES distort that image. i'm just trying to get at how MUCH it distorts and what are the consequences of that distortion.
 

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serb1389 said:
minasoliman said:
serb1389 said:
minasoliman said:
God's grace is dynamic, not static.  So He doesn't leave us, even when we make the worst sins.  Instead God's grace works differently, and at times it may feel like God is not there.  The example of St. Silouan is a good one.  A man, a holy man, who probably had higher spiritual state that most people, felt abandoned by God for quite some time.  Can we say that there was some sin that he did that caused the grace and presence of God to leave him?

Christ said He did not come for the righteous, but for sinners.  St. Paul said there is none who is righteous, even those who did not sin.  Before the incarnation, one can say that God's grace was conditional, but even then, God still chose to inspire Gentiles, and still stayed with David despite his severe shortcomings.  After the incarnation, God makes it clear He is here to stay.  We may grieve the Spirit, but He will not take the Spirit from us.  He may turn His face from our sins, but He will not cast His face away from us (Psalm 50).  Even if we make our bed in hell, He is still there.  He engrafted His divine presence in our nature.  That's why there will be a general resurrection, of both the repentant and the non-repentant.  To say that He will take away His grace from us because we sin is to make sin an equal power to God.  God shuns sin, but He does not shun us.  It as at times we sin we need Him the most, and He is longsuffering enough to keep us in Him even when we sin.

That does not mean we should be negligent or abusive of His mercy.  But it does mean there is still hope.  He is still there, and it should move us to do more within ourselves because He is within ourselves still.
Yes, but Sin is missing the mark, thereby a separation from God, a distancing from His Presence...and therefore His Grace...no?
I tend not to think this way, because if sin is pushes God away, then what hope is there that I can be saved by the grace of repentance?  Sin rejects the works of grace, but does not push it away.

Yes, there's free will, so grace is not imposing, but it's still there.  We can be prodigal, but the giver of grace always keeps a far eye on us, always calling on to us, always knocking on the doors of our hearts.
Repentence brings us back. In all of the handbooks i've seen on Confession it talks about the confession totally bringing the person BACK into Communion through the verbal/physical renouncing of sin, as a final act of Repentence in the process of repentence.

Repentance is the action that changes us universally in order to be in communion with God in a more authentic way...as the other poster above put it...to be more in His likeness. 

However, sin DOES distort that image. i'm just trying to get at how MUCH it distorts and what are the consequences of that distortion.
Perhaps, we can learn the answers to these questions from St. John Cassian and St. John Climacus.  It seems me the extent of injuring the image of God in us depends on the sin and the extent of sinning.

I don't think what you say here disagrees with what I mentioned earlier.  Man tries to separate himself from God, but the Spirit is still there trying to pull man into repentance.  Man "returns" yes.  But more than this, sin separates us from ourselves, let alone God, but that does not mean God removes His presence from us.  The sinner simply constantly is not sober enough to come back to himself as he engages in sin.  But this "separation" from ourselves is simply a lack of realization, I think, of our weaknesses, and the continuation in the bruising of our image and likeness.  Once we "return" to ourselves (Luke 15:17), we are able to begin the road of repentance again.  If we "separate" from ourselves, I think at this point, we understand this "separation" as blindness, not as an actual self-presence that leaves us.  We can try to bury God away from our inner souls, but we know that after baptism, the Holy Spirit is attached to our soul like a limb to our bodies.  That's how close He is.  We "return" to a healing, and to an ever-growing repentance in the presence of God, not merely a metal to a magnet.

Sin is an act of separation, that is we try to separate, but the separation is not actualized to the point of completely leaving His presence.  "His face" is turned away, but not His Spirit.

Perhaps I'm wrong.  I don't know.  But this is the impression I get of our post-baptism journey.
 

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serb1389 said:
Ok, so, if I have fallen away from Glory, and have shut my ears & eyes to God...and then something bad happens to me. Is it because I have distanced myself from His Grace?  Or because He has so willed to NOT protect me because of my unwillingness to be in His Grace?

What are the true CONSEQUENCES of removing ourselves from His Grace, His Presence, etc. through SIN, through willing action.
There is a lot to unpack here.  My assumption is that you've been in conversation with a baptist or Calvinistic Protestant.  But perhaps not.  I was one for a long time...and a lot of what you are saying seems to strike on this.  It is not "distance" from grace but " unreceptiveness" to grace which is perceived as distance.  I can be in the same room wIth my wife, but if we've argued and I am unreceptive to her and cold and indifferent....we are as distant as the earth and the moon, Even when face to face.  She may be trying to love me and seek unity with Me (I.e. grace) but if I will not receive it....a distance is perceived, and I burn within it.  with God, the relationship is a million times beyond this, as I depend on communion and unity with Him for Life and being.  Acts 17:28

  As far as God's will is concerned....there is a sense in which God's permissive will allows for the bad consequences of dEath and suffering to occur....but these are not His perscriptive will. 

Meaning this; God has not created or willed death...but He does use it for good.    Death is an evil foisted onto creation by the Devil and mankind's acquiescence to the lie.  Death is God's enemy (1 Cor 15:26), which he did not create (wisdom 1&2).    Though death is not the will of God, God enters into death in order to destroy it....thus making the very wedge which the devil uses to drive us from God the very tool of his undoing and the method of our salvation in Christ....the true "image" whose "likeness" we pursue by grace.  Suffering and death become redemptive as we follow Christ into them. 

So now one must define grace.  I'm not sure how you are using the word.  We cannot remove ourselves from God's grace....but we can close ourselves off to it in pride, shame, etc...etc.  And this is the true consequence.  Death.    Because when we are shutting our eyes and ears to God through our sin, we are also doing much more.  Because our life is a gift from God which is not in us...but comes directly from Him and communion with Him, when we close ourseLves off from His grace it is as if we hold our breath.  The only result can be death if a person holds their breath or refuses to eat.  John 6:53.  We are all subject to the death of ancestral sin.  Christ undid this First death and it wILL BE REVERSED AT his second coming for ALL people in the resurrection.  The "second death" still is possible...and this is wHat the Holy Spirit is working in us for....  So that we are resurrected unto blessedness and not unto condemnation, and so life eternal is communal love.  The second death is the eternal experience of being closed off to God's grace by selfish pride, but weeping and gnashing of teeth because it is inescapably present.

I have no idea if anything I said will help at all.

I have a personal experience in Afghanistan I can share with you via PM that might help convey what I'm saying.  It is not for public consumption. 
 

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If I may add an Oriental Orthodox perspective, to show that this is not something I personally perceive in myself, but aided by things that I have read.  Our OO Church father St. Philoxenus of Mabbug writes:

Natural light is in the pupil of the eye even when it is closed, but it does not see by its means because the eyelid is stretched over it. But when it is opened, it sees by the light that was in it when it is united to the external light. Thus also, the Spirit lives in our soul as light in the pupil, and if carelessness spreads over it, like the eyelid over the pupil of the eye, although it is in our soul, we do not see by its means. But if strip away inattention from the surface of our mind, and we direct the purity of our will toward the spiritual light in us, immediately light meets light as the light of the sun, the natural light in the eye, and by joining the two, vision receives light. (Memra sur le Saint-Esprit, p. 51, from Chesnut 94)

My reference earlier that the Holy Spirit is attached to us as our limbs is something I read somewhere from St. Gregory Palamas (The Triads, The Classics of Western Spirituality, Paulist Press 1983, p. 83).  St. Philoxenus also says that the Holy Spirit is attached to us as a "soul to our soul" (‘Memra de Philoxène de Mabboug sur l’inhabitation du Saint-Esprit’, ed. A. Tanghe, Le Muséon, 73 (1960), 50-3, from Chesnut 93).

Ancient understanding of how optics works (which of course is not accurate science, but it's good to understand in this context) is that every person has an inner light shining in their pupils.  This light must connect to the external light (whether it be from the sun or from a lamp) so that the eye may be able to see.  It seems to be consonant with the Psalmist's words "In your Light shall we see Light." (Ps. 36:9)  Therefore, sin is likened to our eyelids, or perhaps we can also extend this analogy to a cloud of smoke, or even worse, disfigured eyes that needs extensive healing.

So at the very least, I would say this is the "Philoxenian" idea of the Spirit and sin.  Repentance is opening those eyes again, removing the smoke, having the eyes fixed, but the Light is still is still there.  It's not leaving.  That's the promise of the "rest" or "remain" (John 1:32) that happened in the Theophany.  The Spirit remains in us because it remains in the humanity of Christ.  If we continue in sin, then on Judgment day, Christ will take that limb which made itself gangrenous and cut it off.

Roberta Chesnut source is "Three Monophysite Christologies"
 

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I am really praying that this will not get sent to Politics, which is NOT what I want, but here we go:


The Context of this whole conversation is that I had a very old Greek man in my parish approach me and tell me that the people who died in the night club in Orlando died because "sin leads to death".  I am trying to find a very good argument against that position because something about it is absolutely wrong (innocent people being killed by an evil person), and yet I really do not have a good argument against sin = death.  Also he said that if we sin, we estrange ourselves from God's protection...thereby ALLUDING that becuase the people who died were homosexuals (and in his opinion unrepentant), that God's protection was not upon them, since they had distanced themselves from God, through sin.

There is a part of his argument that makes sense, and yet I have a huge part of me that disagrees with his reasoning. I just don't know why.  That's why i'm asking for help. I feel like this is a REALLY important question as we begin to grapple with situations like this more often. 
 

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serb1389 said:
I am really praying that this will not get sent to Politics, which is NOT what I want, but here we go:


The Context of this whole conversation is that I had a very old Greek man in my parish approach me and tell me that the people who died in the night club in Orlando died because "sin leads to death".  I am trying to find a very good argument against that position because something about it is absolutely wrong (innocent people being killed by an evil person), and yet I really do not have a good argument against sin = death.  Also he said that if we sin, we estrange ourselves from God's protection...thereby ALLUDING that becuase the people who died were homosexuals (and in his opinion unrepentant), that God's protection was not upon them, since they had distanced themselves from God, through sin.

There is a part of his argument that makes sense, and yet I have a huge part of me that disagrees with his reasoning. I just don't know why.  That's why i'm asking for help. I feel like this is a REALLY important question as we begin to grapple with situations like this more often.
Physical death is not the measure of sin, especially those deaths that end up violently.  Otherwise, what of all the martyrs who died similarly?  Did they also lose God's protection?

I think when someone wants to connect violent crimes to "they deserve it", I would imagine Christ's response would be:  "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them."  "He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."  Our job is to lament those who were taken away unjustly and untimely from God's light and sustenance, not to speculate on their unrepentant deaths.  Otherwise, we accrue judgment on ourselves when we end up on that fateful day, and wondering whether we done enough repentance or not.

The unruly death of these people happened wrongly because they were not given a chance to repent.  The one who loses protection is the one who took God's job upon himself, God's plan of salvation for them was taken away by an evil act, and the "martyrization" of this only makes it more difficult.
 

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serb1389 said:
I am really praying that this will not get sent to Politics, which is NOT what I want, but here we go:


The Context of this whole conversation is that I had a very old Greek man in my parish approach me and tell me that the people who died in the night club in Orlando died because "sin leads to death".  I am trying to find a very good argument against that position because something about it is absolutely wrong (innocent people being killed by an evil person), and yet I really do not have a good argument against sin = death.  Also he said that if we sin, we estrange ourselves from God's protection...thereby ALLUDING that becuase the people who died were homosexuals (and in his opinion unrepentant), that God's protection was not upon them, since they had distanced themselves from God, through sin.

There is a part of his argument that makes sense, and yet I have a huge part of me that disagrees with his reasoning. I just don't know why.  That's why i'm asking for help. I feel like this is a REALLY important question as we begin to grapple with situations like this more often.
Luke 13

There were some present at that very time who told him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? 3 I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Silo′am fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
 

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serb1389 said:
I am trying to find a very good argument against that position because something about it is absolutely wrong (innocent people being killed by an evil person), ...
They were not innocent, and neither are we.

and yet I really do not have a good argument against sin = death.
"The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Holy Prophet Ezekiel). "The wages of sin is death" (St. Paul). Sin is indeed what has brought and continues to bring suffering and death into the world; however, we are all sinners.

Also he said that if we sin, we estrange ourselves from God's protection...thereby ALLUDING that becuase the people who died were homosexuals (and in his opinion unrepentant), that God's protection was not upon them, since they had distanced themselves from God, through sin.
Now this I don't think is tenable. Everyone in the world -- indeed, "the whole creation" -- endures the world's state, which because of sin is one of suffering and death. The need for a Savior from this is universal. The desire of God to save is also toward all. If St. Stephen could behold Christ in the heavens and confidently ask Him to forgive those who had "gnashed on him with their teeth" in demonic rage and were stoning him to death, then plainly it is the constant desire of the Savior to save even the most abandoned. (For anyone wondering, yes, stoning a saint to death is worse than dancing at a gay night club.)
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
serb1389 said:
I am really praying that this will not get sent to Politics, which is NOT what I want, but here we go:


The Context of this whole conversation is that I had a very old Greek man in my parish approach me and tell me that the people who died in the night club in Orlando died because "sin leads to death".  I am trying to find a very good argument against that position because something about it is absolutely wrong (innocent people being killed by an evil person), and yet I really do not have a good argument against sin = death.  Also he said that if we sin, we estrange ourselves from God's protection...thereby ALLUDING that becuase the people who died were homosexuals (and in his opinion unrepentant), that God's protection was not upon them, since they had distanced themselves from God, through sin.

There is a part of his argument that makes sense, and yet I have a huge part of me that disagrees with his reasoning. I just don't know why.  That's why i'm asking for help. I feel like this is a REALLY important question as we begin to grapple with situations like this more often.
Luke 13

There were some present at that very time who told him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? 3 I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Silo′am fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
Yah I was thinking about this as well.  Something to add to the mix, for sure.
 
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