- Sep 17, 2008
- Reaction score
- Missouri, USA
I think I'm beginning to understand that the main issue here surrounds "justice" and whether or not God can forgive freely. I was missing this element before in the debate.ozgeorge said:Is St Isaac the Syrian also a heretic and a pagan? Because he says exactly the same thing as I do:
“Do not call God just, for His justice is not manifest in the things concerning you. And if David calls Him just and upright, His Son revealed to us that He is good and kind. ‘He is good’, He says ‘to the evil and to the impious.’ How can you call God just when you come across the Scriptural passage on the wage given to the workers? … How can a man call God just when he comes across the passage on the prodigal son who wasted his wealth with riotous living, how for the compunction alone which he showed, the father ran and fell upon his neck and gave him authority over all his wealth? Where, then, is God’s justice, for while we are sinners Christ died for us!” — St. Isaac of Syria, Ascetical Homilies, 51
"Does God need blood? Is He bloodthirsty and requires a full stomach of sacrifice to be appeased?"
It would seem obvious that the clear answer is no. However, the Old Testament is full of references to sacrifices sending up a sweet and pleasing aroma to God. Does God have nostrils? No, he does not, but he still asked for burnt offerings.
I am coming back with a quote by St. Ephraim the Syrian:
"O God of mercies Who refreshed Noah, he too refreshed Your mercies. He offered sacrifice and stayed the flood; he presented gifts and received the promise. With prayer and incense he propitiated You: with an oath and with the bow You were gracious to him; so that if the flood should essay to hurt the earth, the bow should stretch itself over against it, to banish it away and hearten the earth. As You have sworn peace so do You maintain it, and let Your bow strive against Your wrath!
Stretch forth Your bow against the flood, for lo! It has lifted up its waves against our walls!
In revelation, Lord! It has been proclaimed, that that lowly blood which Noah sprinkled, wholly restrained Your wrath for all generations; how much mightier then shall be the blood of Your Only Begotten, that the sprinkling of it should restrain our flood! For lo! It was but as mysteries of Him that those lowly sacrifices gained virtue, which Noah offered, and stayed by them Your wrath. Be propitiated by the gift upon my altar, and stay from me the deadly flood. So shall both Your signs bring deliverance, to me Your cross and to Noah Your bow! Your cross shall cleave the sea of waters; Your bow shall stay the flood of rain." - St. Ephraim the Syrian, Nisibene Hymns I: 1-2.
I'm beginning to think that either the nuances of the issue are beyond my ability to grasp intellectually, or that the whole debate is some kind of a constructed war against "Western" theology which is, at its root, not really an issue at all. Aren't all of these explanations as to in what way Christ reconciles us to God only inadequate attempts to conceptualize the unfathomable? Even if we dismiss the notion of his "justice" being appeased, we cannot deny many references to His "wrath" being appeased.
There was division with God and man because of sin, and the Blood of Christ reconciled us to God. How did it do this, and why did it need to be done this way? I don't know that there is an adequate answer to this question.
Most Holy Mother of God, pray for us, that we might understand!