• For users new and old: the forum rules were streamlined when we transitioned to the new software. Please ensure that you are familiar with them. Continued use of the forum means that you (a) know the rules, and (b) pledge that you'll abide by them. For more information, check out the OrthodoxChristianity.Net Rules section. (There are only 2 threads there - Rules, and Administrative Structure.)

Unconditional Love

Asteriktos

Strategos
Joined
Oct 4, 2002
Messages
39,563
Reaction score
316
Points
83
Alpo said:
Asteriktos said:
akimel said:
That's what the doctrine of the Trinity is all about:  God is love.  It's not about resolving a metaphysical conundrum about how one can be three and three be one.  This is one reason why the East will always need St Augustine.  Whatever flaws his Trinitarian reflections may have had, he understood that the doctrine of the Trinity is all about love.  Fortunately, St Gregory Palamas assimilated his insights into his own trinitarian reflections (without attribution, however).  It's all about unconditional love.  Nothing else is worth preaching.    
I'm not sure that I can go along with the implications of this, Father. Are we to say that until someone got around to translating St. Augustine into Greek, or perhaps even until the late time of St. Gregory Palamas, that Orthodox theology was somehow distorted or wrong and in need of a counter-balance or corrective?  ???
So St. Augustine is not part of "Orthodox theology"?
For most of the history of the Greek/Russian/etc. speaking parts of the Church? No. Maybe a stray text here or there was translated every few centuries. St. Augustine is a towering figure in Orthodoxy--just not in the Greek/Russian/etc. speaking parts of it. The implication of what Fr. said seems to be that those who weren't familiar with St. Augustine's theology were somehow lacking, at least until they read Sts. Augustine or Gregory Palamas. I find this position confusing...
 

Shanghaiski

Merarches
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Messages
8,009
Reaction score
17
Points
38
Age
41
Location
Wisconsin, USA
orthonorm said:
Everything in the created order is conditioned.

Turn off the Lifetime and put away the Hallmark cards.
And the love of God is his uncreated energies.
 

Hiwot

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Jun 26, 2011
Messages
1,934
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
44
Location
USA
akimel said:
Several years ago I wrote a blog article titled "Finding the God Who is Love."  I referred to the writings of a well known Catholic theologian, Herbert McCabe, but I could just as easily have invoked St Isaac the Syrian. 

Of course God's love for humanity is unconditional.  If it weren't, there wouldn't be a good reason to be a Christian, except for fear of damnation.  But the gospel is not about terrorism, despite what the Old Testament may sometimes lead us to believe.

That's what the doctrine of the Trinity is all about:  God is love.  It's not about resolving a metaphysical conundrum about how one can be three and three be one.  This is one reason why the East will always need St Augustine.  Whatever flaws his Trinitarian reflections may have had, he understood that the doctrine of the Trinity is all about love.  Fortunately, St Gregory Palamas assimilated his insights into his own trinitarian reflections (without attribution, however).  It's all about unconditional love.  Nothing else is worth preaching.   
Father a beautiful article thank you for sharing it. We are in agreement in all those things the article mentions and the ones you mention here as it relates to the love of God towards mankind. The main reason of that agreement being operating within the specific meaning we assign to the words condition and unconditionally. when we are saying ‘ conditional’ if we are referring to meritability  then God’s love can never be earned or lost by what humans do or fail to do. That is the Truth in the Gosple. We can not earn God’s love or lose it by what we have done. in that sense ( i.e. the conditions being our actions and or inactions) God’s love towards mankind is unconditional. We must ask then why it is so? Then we see that God loves us because  we come from Him who is Eternaly in Loving communion with Himself  he loves all the works of His hands, he Loves us because He is our Creator, Our Father. He is the Condition, Love is the Condition of the un-conditionality of Love. I will try to explain what I mean :)

The word condition in our daily usage, when it refers to love is so associated with merit of the person's action being aligned with sin and/or sanctity that it is very hard to separate ourselves emotionally at least from such self-centered perspective(ie under such perspective we dont belong we do not give,rather we accquire, we buy,we earn). Under normal circumstances a mother is said to love her child unconditionally, whether that child acts good/bad. Now we can be satisfied with this explanation and say the mother’s love is unconditional! However that would be missing the one obvious condition of such love’s existence namely: the mother child bond, that reality of the mother being connected to the child with that maternal bond in exclusion of all the children of others. She loves her child because that is her child he belongs to her as she belongs to him. think 'my Beloved is Mine and I am His'.This perspective becomes a bit helpful when we look at our relationship with God as well. God is Love, and because of Who He is, He created us to make us His Family. He is Our Father; We are created in His Image and Likeness. Capable to respond to Love, to have free will etc we are created out of the creative power of the Triune Communion of Love and we are made by Wisdom for the purpose of sharing in that Communion to the extent we can in our nature.

We take great pride if pride is necessary as the Apostle says :) , in this condition of our relationship with God that we are His Children and He , Our Father. so here when we speak of God’s love being conditional we are not speaking about our actions, rather His action (His Love) that made Him our Father, and we His Children. Because the Triune God loves, He Creates and that He Creates He loves because He created them. that is the Condition of His Love.He loves the works of His hands because they are the works of His hands. Our being belongs to Him, and He cannot hate himself because at the core we remain unaltered, our nature remains what He has given us,no matter what we might have done or fail to do i.e both the sinner and the saint remain human although the saint is in the path that makes humans Truly humans, fulfilling the purpose of creation itself : the Union with God through Grace. In the face of the suffering of the misguided sinner who rejects his purpose and potential for the ultimate good, the Creator suffers yet allows what love must allow: freedom and not tyranny over the beloved.

If by condition we are referring to merit, then It is true we can only preach the unconditional love of God towards mankind as God’s love is not circumscribed by the actions of man, no matter how highly man thinks of himself ( in either being a sinner or a saint) mankind cannot shake or alter the Love of the Creator towards Creation. However if by Condition we are referring to the reason for our Loving relationship and our very existence, then we see that He will forever with unshakable love will love us because we are the works of His hands.


Thank you father for reading this far.asking your blessings.
 

akimel

High Elder
Joined
Dec 21, 2009
Messages
523
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Website
afkimel.wordpress.com
Asteriktos said:
I'm not sure that I can go along with the implications of this, Father. Are we to say that until someone got around to translating St. Augustine into Greek, or perhaps even until the late time of St. Gregory Palamas, that Orthodox theology was somehow distorted or wrong and in need of a counter-balance or corrective?  ???
I confess I was being wickedly provocative with that line; but I do object to suggestions that Orthodoxy does not need and has nothing to learn from the Latin Fathers.  I find this attitude more sectarian than catholic.  Please know that I am not speaking of you personally.  I am speaking generally about a not uncommon phenomenon.

I do not know of any Church Father, whether East or West, who preached more beautifully, more profoundly, more powerfully on the love and grace of God than St Augustine (see Lewis Ayres' article "Augustine on God as Love and Love as God." 

Someone needs to do a doctoral dissertation to trace out the development within the doctrine of the Trinity of God as an eternal communion of love.  This way of speaking has become fairly commonplace in Orthodoxy (I'm thinking, for example, of Fr Dumitru Staniloae and Met John Zizioulas); but has it always been such?  Who of the Eastern Fathers spoke this way?  I am not asking rhetorically.  I do not know the answer.  For the last seven months I have been immersed in St Gregory the Theologian.  I do not find this notion in him, nor I suspect do the other Cappadocians speak this way.  Perhaps St Cyril of Alexandria.  I don't know.  Is it not possible that St Gregory Palamas's or the Russian appropriation of St Augustine impacted the Orthodox understanding and articulation of the Holy Trinity as a communion of love? 

But until we understand and can articulate the doctrine of the Trinity in terms of love, until we understand that the point of the doctrine is to proclaim "God is love" and he is love even if he had never created the world (God does not need creatures to be love), then our theological formulations will always be in need of further development. 

So why would any Eastern Orthodox believer want to deprive himself of some of the most beautiful and powerful homilies within the Holy Tradition?  One thing I can say for sure:  if Catholic and Orthodox preachers would spend more time reading, say, St Augustine's homilies on the first letter of John, they would be better preachers. 
 

Romaios

Archon
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Messages
2,940
Reaction score
0
Points
0
akimel said:
Someone needs to do a doctoral dissertation to trace out the development within the doctrine of the Trinity of God as an eternal communion of love.  This way of speaking has become fairly commonplace in Orthodoxy (I'm thinking, for example, of Fr Dumitru Staniloae and Met John Zizioulas); but has it always been such?   Who of the Eastern Fathers spoke this way? 
http://www.news.va/en/news/deus-caritas-est-translating-the-pope-into-latin
 

KBN1

High Elder
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Messages
888
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Minneapolis
orthonorm said:
God's love might be extra or supraconditional, but unconditional is just lazy use of language.
Supraconditional.  Thank you.  This makes sense to me. 
 

Asteriktos

Strategos
Joined
Oct 4, 2002
Messages
39,563
Reaction score
316
Points
83
akimel said:
I confess I was being wickedly provocative with that line; but I do object to suggestions that Orthodoxy does not need and has nothing to learn from the Latin Fathers.   I find this attitude more sectarian than catholic.  Please know that I am not speaking of you personally.  I am speaking generally about a not uncommon phenomenon.

I do not know of any Church Father, whether East or West, who preached more beautifully, more profoundly, more powerfully on the love and grace of God than St Augustine (see Lewis Ayres' article "Augustine on God as Love and Love as God." 
...
..
.
etc.
Thank you for posting this, I understand now what you were getting at :)
 

IoanC

Archon
Joined
Nov 5, 2011
Messages
2,468
Reaction score
0
Points
0
God's love is unconditional and unending for everybody including those who hate Him. However, the acceptance of His love is conditioned by the will of every person. As we know, many do not accept God's love.
 
Top