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Cur Deus Homo VI-VIII: Is God Omnipotent and Wise? (Cath-Orth caucus)
Internet Medieval Source Book ^ | A.D. 1097-1100 | Saint Anselm of Canterbury

Posted on 05/11/2007 4:33:32 PM PDT by annalex

CHAPTER VI.

How infidels find fault with us for saying that God has redeemed us by his death, and thus has shown his love towards us, and that he came to overcome the devil for us.

Boso. This they greatly wonder at, because we call this redemption a release. For, say they, in what custody or imprisonment, or under whose power were you held, that God could not free you from it, without purchasing your redemption by so many sufferings, and finally by his own blood? And when we tell them that he freed us from our sins, and from his own wrath, and from hell, and from the power of the devil, whom he came to vanquish for us, because we were unable to do it, and that he purchased for us the kingdom of heaven; and that, by doing all these things, he manifested the greatness of his love towards us; they answer: If you say that God, who, as you believe, created the universe by a word, could not do all these things by a simple command, you contradict yourselves, for you make him powerless. Or, if you grant that he could have done these things in some other way, but did not wish to, how can you vindicate his wisdom, when you assert that he desired, without any reason, to suffer things so unbecoming? For these things which you bring up are all regulated by his will; for the wrath of God is nothing but his desire to punish. If, then, be does not desire to punish the sins of men, man is free from his sins, and from the wrath of God, and from hell, and from the power of the devil, all which things are the sufferings of sin; and, what he had lost by reason of these sins, he now regains. For, in whose power is hell, or the devil? Or, whose is the kingdom of heaven, if it be not his who created all things? Whatever things, therefore, you dread or hope for, all lie subject to his will, whom nothing can oppose. If, then, God were unwilling to save the human race in any other way than that you mention, when he could have done it by his simple will, observe, to say the least, how you disparage his wisdom. For, if a man without motive should do, by severe toil, a thing which he could have done in some easy way, no one would consider him a wise man. As to your statement that God has shown in this way how much he loved you, there is no argument to support this, unless it be proved that he could not otherwise have saved man. For, if he could not have done it otherwise, then it was, indeed, necessary for him to manifest his love in this way. But now, when he could have saved man differently, why is it that, for the sake of displaying his love, he does and suffers the things which you enumerate? For does he not show good angels how much he loves them, though he suffer no such things as these for them? As to what you say of his coming to vanquish the devil for you, with what meaning dare you allege this? Is not the omnipotence of God everywhere enthroned? How is it, then, that God must needs come down from heaven to vanquish the devil? These are the objections with which infidels think they can withstand us.

 

CHAPTER VII.

How the devil had no justice on his side against man; and why it was, that he seemed to have had it, and why God could have freed man in this way.

MOREOVER, I do not see the force of that argument, which we are wont to make use of, that God, in order to save men, was bound, as it were, to try a contest with the devil in justice, before he did in strength, so that, when the devil should put to death that being in whom there was nothing worthy of death, and who was God, he should justly lose his power over sinners; and that, if it were not so, God would have used undue force against the devil, since the devil had a rightful ownership of man, for the devil had not seized man with violence, but man had freely surrendered to him. It is true that this might well enough be said, if the devil or man belonged to any other being than God, or were in the power of any but God. But since neither the devil nor man belong to any but God, and neither can exist without the exertion of Divine power, what cause ought God to try with his own creature (de suo, in suo), or what should he do but punish his servant, who had seduced his fellow-servant to desert their common Lord and come over to himself; who, a traitor, had taken to himself a fugitive; a thief, had taken to himself a fellow-thief, with what he had stolen from his Lord. For when one was stolen from his Lord by the persuasions of the other, both were thieves. For what could be more just than for God to do this? Or, should God, the judge of all, snatch man, thus held, out of the power of him who holds him so unrighteously, either for the purpose of punishing him in some other way than by means of the devil, or of sparing him, what injustice would there be in this? For, though man deserved to be tormented by the devil, yet the devil tormented him unjustly. For man merited punishment, and there was no more suitable way for him to be punished than by that being to whom he had given his consent to sin. But the infliction of punishment was nothing meritorious in the devil; on the other hand, he was even more unrighteous in this, because he was not led to it by a love of justice, but urged on by a malicious impulse. For he did not do this at the command of God, but God's inconceivable wisdom, which happily controls even wickedness, permitted it. And, in my opinion, those who think that the devil has any right in holding man, are brought to this belief by seeing that man is justly exposed to the tormenting of the devil, and that God in justice permits this; and therefore they suppose that the devil rightly inflicts it. For the very same thing, from opposite points of view, is sometimes both just unjust, and hence, by those who do not carefuIIy inspect the matter, is deemed wholly just or wholly unjust. Suppose, for example, that one strikes an innocent person unjustly, and hence justly deserves to beaten himself; if, however, the one who was beaten, though he ought not to avenge himself, yet does strike the person who beat him, then he does it unjustly. And hence this violence on the part of the man who returns the blow is unjust, because he ought not to avenge himself; but as far as he who received the blow is concerned, it is just, for since he gave a blow unjustly, he justly deserves to receive one in return. Therefore, from opposite views, the same action is both just and unjust, for it may chance that one person shall consider it only just, and another only unjust. So also the devil is said to torment men justly, because God in justice permits this, and man in justice suffers it. But when man is said to suffer justly, it is not meant that his just suffering is inflicted by the hand of justice itself, but that he is punished by the just judgment of God. But if that written decree is brought up, which the Apostle says was made against us, and cancelled by the death of Christ; and if any one thinks that it was intended by this decree that the devil, as if under the writing of a sort of compact, should justly demand sin and the punishment of sin, of man, before Christ suffered, as a debt for the first sin to which he tempted man, so that in this way he seems to prove his right over man, I do not by any means think that it is to be so understood. For that writing is not of the devil, because it is called the writing of a decree of the devil, but of God. For by the just judgment of God it was decreed, and, as it were, confirmed by writing, that, since man had sinned, he should not henceforth of himself have the power to avoid sin or the punishment of sin; for the spirit is out-going and not returning (est enim spiritus vadens et non rediens); and he who sins ought not to escape with impunity, unless pity spare the sinner, and deliver and restore him. Wherefore we ought not to believe that, on account of this writing, there can be found any justice on the part of the devil in his tormenting man. In fine, as there is never any injustice in a good angel, so in an evil angel there can be no justice at all. There was no reason, therefore, as respects the devil, why God should not make use of as own power against him for the liberation of man.

 

CHAPTER VIII.

How, althougth the acts of Christ's condescension which we speak of do not belong to his divinity, it yet seems improper to infidels that these things should be said of him even as a man; and why it appears to them that this man did not suffer death of his own will.

Anselm.. The will of God ought to be a sufficient reason for us, when he does anything, though we cannot see why he does it. For the will of God is never irrational.

Boso. That is very true, if it be granted that God does wish the thing in question; but many will never allow that God does wish anything if it be inconsistent with reason.

Anselm.. What do you find inconsistent with reason, in our confessing that God desired those things which make up our belief with regard to his incarnation?

Boso. This in brief: that the Most High should stoop to things so lowly, that the Almighty should do a thing with such toil.

Anselm.. They who speak thus do not understand our belief. For we affirm that the Divine nature is beyond doubt impassible, and that God cannot at all be brought down from his exaltation, nor toil in anything which he wishes to effect. But we say that the Lord Jesus Christ is very God and very man, one person in two natures, and two natures in one person. When, therefore, we speak of God as enduring any humiliation or infirmity, we do not refer to the majesty of that nature, which cannot suffer; but to the feebleness of the human constitution which he assumed. And so there remains no ground of objection against our faith. For in this way we intend no debasement of the Divine nature, but we teach that one person is both Divine and human. In the incarnation of God there is no lowering of the Deity; but the nature of man we believe to be exalted.

Boso. Be it so; let nothing be referred to the Divine nature, which is spoken of Christ after the manner of human weakness; but how will it ever be made out a just or reasonable thing that God should treat or suffer to be treated in such a manner, that man whom the Father called his beloved Son in whom he was well pleased, and whom the Son made himself? For what justice is there in his suffering death for the sinner, who was the most just of all men? What man, if he condemned the innocent to free the guilty, would not himself be judged worthy of condemnation? And so the matter seems to return to the same incongruity which is mentioned above. For if he could not save sinners in any other way than by condemning the just, where is his omnipotence? If, however, he could, but did not wish to, how shall we sustain his wisdom and justice?

Anselm.. God the Father did not treat that man as you seem to suppose, nor put to death the innocent for the guilty. For the Father did not compel him to suffer death, or even allow him to be slain, against his will, but of his own accord he endured death for the salvation of men.

Boso. Though it were not against his will, since he agreed to the will of the Father; yet the Father seems to have bound him, as it were, by his injunction. For it is said that Christ "humbled himself, being made obedient to the Father even unto death, and that the death of the cross. For which cause God also has highly exalted him;" and that "he learned obedience from the things which he suffered;" and that God spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all." And likewise the Son says: "I came not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me." And when about to suffer, he says; "As the Father has given me commandment, so I do." Again: "The cup which the Father has given me, shall I not drink it? " And, at another time : "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will ." And again: "Father, if this cup may not pass from me except I drink it, your will be done." In all these passages it would rather appear that Christ endured death by the constraint of obedience, than by the inclination of his own free will.

 

... to be continued


Source.

St. Anselm: Proslogium; Monologium: An Appendix In Behalf Of The Fool By Gaunilo; And Cur Deus Homo, Translated From The Latin By Sidney Norton Deane, B. A. With An Introduction, Bibliography, And Reprints Of The Opinions Of Leading Philosophers And Writers On The Ontological Argument, (Chicago, The Open Court Publishing Company,, 1903, reprinted 1926)




TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Orthodox Christian; Theology
KEYWORDS: guinnessisgoodforyou
Cur Deus Homo (Why God Became Man) is the first major theological work in the West that followed the Great Schism of 1054. This book is a major contribution to the theology of Atonement.

I plan to publish it for discussion in short installments as Catholic-Orthodox caucus threads. All Christians as well as non-Christians are very welcome, but I ask all to maintain the caucus discipline: no interconfessional attacks, no personal attacks, and no off-topic posts. Avoid mentioning confessions outside of the caucus for any reason.

Previous: Cur Deus Homo III-V

1 posted on 05/11/2007 4:33:36 PM PDT by annalex
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To: Andrew Byler; Blogger; Forest Keeper; Huber; jo kus; Kolokotronis; kosta50; Mad Dawg; NYer; ...
Write to me if you want in or out on this St. Anselm ping list.

The summary:

***

A skeptical mind finds Christianity illogical. If God is omnipotent, he could release man from the bondage of sin by his Divine will. If, despite that, God chose to send His Son to suffer and die in order to release man, then God did not choose the easiest way to do it and is not wise.

Possibly, God wanted to convict the devil of an injustice before conquering him by Divine power. But both the devil and man in justice should serve God. As the devil and man conspired against God, no further fault needs to be found in the devil than his role in the Fall. They are two disobedient servants.

Possibly, God wanted the devil to torment man as punishment. But that task would not exhonerate the devil, because the devil does not torment man out of obedience to God, but rather the torment is a natural consequence of his disobedience.

Further, there is no contract that God had to honor with respect to the devil, because the torment for sin is something man owes not the devil but God Himself.

The answer to the skeptic is rooted in the dual nature of Christ. The suffering of Christ was fully the will of Jesus the Man; God did not will it:

the Father did not compel him to suffer death, or even allow him to be slain, against his will, but of his own accord he endured death for the salvation of men.

-- How so? -- the skeptic retorts. Wasn't Jesus obedient to the Father?

The answer, only sketched today, will be elaborated upon in the next installment.

2 posted on 05/11/2007 5:00:58 PM PDT by annalex
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To: pharmamom

Pharmamom, welcome to the ping list.


3 posted on 05/11/2007 5:07:54 PM PDT by annalex
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To: annalex

This is SO over my head, but it looks like y’all are having a good time. Cheers!


4 posted on 05/11/2007 6:40:44 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Death is perishable. Faith is eternal.)
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To: Tax-chick

With a crew called Anselm and Boso, was there any doubt?


5 posted on 05/11/2007 7:15:09 PM PDT by annalex
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: kosta50; Andrew Byler; Blogger; Forest Keeper; Huber; jo kus; Kolokotronis; NYer; kawaii
Kosta and all, please avoid references to non-caucus denominations and refer to the doctrines without reference to which confessions actually hold these views. This is a technical Caucus requirement, and I prefer the caucus designation to be maintained if at all possible.

To the substance of your post, I agree that there are several scripturally possible views. I am surprised you do not mention the clean Unlimited Atonement, which says that Christ died for all without exception, but the salvation he offers is efficacious to certain people, and not those who reject His grace.

However, I do not see any basis for advancing any particular theory based on the discourse presented in this installment. Specifically, I do not see why God owes anything to the devil, and you do not clarify what exactly is your disagreement with my summary or, more importantly, with St. Anselm himself.

It is always my fear that I will summarize incorrectly, and I invite comments on that. At the same time, this is a large book by FR thread measure, and perhaps it would we wiser if we limited our comments to what is actually said in the chapters here presented. For an overview of the theories of atonement a good source is Doctrine of the Atonement. Now, if you disagree with the statement you outlined, what are the contractual rights of the devil?

7 posted on 05/12/2007 12:23:46 AM PDT by annalex
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To: annalex; Religion Moderator; Andrew Byler; Blogger; Forest Keeper; Huber; jo kus; Kolokotronis; ...
Thank you, Alex. You are absolutely righth about the caucus-related technicalities. Please accept my apologies. I withdraw any refrences to other confessions.

RM, if you feel that my post #6 is a detriment to this limited caucus thread, please remove it. My mention of other confessions in it was comparative and not meant to invite their input. Thank you.

I am surprised you do not mention the clean Unlimited Atonement, which says that Christ died for all without exception, but the salvation he offers is efficacious to certain people, and not those who reject His grace

Alex, the term "efficacy" is not used by the Orthodox. We always have a choice between God and no-God, so the possibility of our rejection of His grace is always there.

The ransom doctrine only specifies how Christ atoned for our sins and not whether we are under any obligation or guarantee to be saved. Our cooperation with God's grace is always a requirement for "efficacy."

If you don't mind, provide NT references for easier comparison.

Specifically, I do not see why God owes anything to the devil, and you do not clarify what exactly is your disagreement with my summary or, more importantly, with St. Anselm himself

God doesn't owe devil anything. The NT (Mat, Mar, John, 1 John, 2 Tim, Heb) tells us, among other things, that God used this approach (offering Himself as ransom for us), not that He was obliged to do so. St. Anselm's objection to this doctrine suggests that God was somehow obligated to the devil. Rather, it seems God used this approach to trick the devil and destroy his hold on us. Everything is on God's terms and His choosing.

The "efficacy" of God's method is deemed unlimited, i.e. "for all," in some of these NT books (John, 1 John, 2 Tim) and in others as pro multis, "for many" (Mat, Mar, Heb), the former reflecting God's desire, and the latter the reality of our freedom which many use to reject His grace.

Speaking of obligations, with regard to St. Anslem's comment that "there is no contract that God had to honor with respect to the devil" (probably because it "weaknes" God in St. Anslem's eyes), I ask what should we conclude about the idea that He died as "propitiation" (appeasement), which, by the way, is suggested only outside the Gospels? (Rom 3:25, Heb 2:17, 1 John 2:2, 4:10, NAB)

I agree that no one should conclude that God was under any obligation. Rather God, chose the "sting" ransom approach, saying to the devil "Take Me and let My people go," and the devil fell for it and was rendered powerless because now He had God, over Whom he has no power, instead of men.

I see nothing in that doctrine that would oblige God "legalistically" or otherwise, as some suggest.

8 posted on 05/12/2007 5:14:04 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50

Could God have just given us a presidential pardon, with no atonement? I was thinking that the Incarnation and crucifixion were necessary in order for our human nature to be healed and in order for death to be conquered. If God just flat out forgave us and made us perfect, then we would no longer be humans with free will, but robots. But in taking on our human nature, Christ healed everything in us, including our will. By choosing death, he won our victory over death, which is the consequence of our sin. This leaves out the idea of a ransom, but does bring in the idea of reconciling our human nature with the divine. It is more an idea of healing, including healing from death, than of paying for sin.


9 posted on 05/12/2007 5:35:19 AM PDT by pharmamom (Did you steal my tagline? I seem to have misplaced it; I know it was here somewhere...)
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To: kosta50; annalex; pharmamom

“I agree that no one should conclude that God was under any obligation. Rather God, chose the “sting” ransom approach, saying to the devil “Take Me and let My people go,” and the devil fell for it and was rendered powerless because now He had God, over Whom he has no power, instead of men.”

I just can’t resist this:

“Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.

He destroyed Hades when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he said,
“You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below.”

Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.
Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hades, where is thy victory?”


10 posted on 05/12/2007 6:25:51 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis

Thanks. That gave me the shivers.


11 posted on 05/12/2007 6:49:25 AM PDT by pharmamom (Did you steal my tagline? I seem to have misplaced it; I know it was here somewhere...)
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To: pharmamom
This leaves out the idea of a ransom, but does bring in the idea of reconciling our human nature with the divine

Ransom is explicitly the most often used doctrinal position in the NT. (Mat, Mar, Heb, 2 Tim, John, 1 John).

12 posted on 05/12/2007 10:29:25 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Kolokotronis; annalex; pharmamom

You forgot to identiy the piece as St. John Chrysostom’s Paschal Homily.


13 posted on 05/12/2007 10:41:38 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50; Religion Moderator; Andrew Byler; Blogger; Forest Keeper; Huber; jo kus; Kolokotronis
Let me clarify that "Further, there is no contract that God had to honor with respect to the devil, because the torment for sin is something man owes not the devil but God Himself" is my summation of what Boso, the "skeptic", says. This is the relevant passage from the book:

So also the devil is said to torment men justly, because God in justice permits this, and man in justice suffers it. But when man is said to suffer justly, it is not meant that his just suffering is inflicted by the hand of justice itself, but that he is punished by the just judgment of God. But if that written decree is brought up, which the Apostle says was made against us, and cancelled by the death of Christ; and if any one thinks that it was intended by this decree that the devil, as if under the writing of a sort of compact, should justly demand sin and the punishment of sin, of man, before Christ suffered, as a debt for the first sin to which he tempted man, so that in this way he seems to prove his right over man, I do not by any means think that it is to be so understood. For that writing is not of the devil, because it is called the writing of a decree of the devil, but of God. For by the just judgment of God it was decreed, and, as it were, confirmed by writing, that, since man had sinned, he should not henceforth of himself have the power to avoid sin or the punishment of sin; for the spirit is out-going and not returning (est enim spiritus vadens et non rediens); and he who sins ought not to escape with impunity, unless pity spare the sinner, and deliver and restore him. Wherefore we ought not to believe that, on account of this writing, there can be found any justice on the part of the devil in his tormenting man. In fine, as there is never any injustice in a good angel, so in an evil angel there can be no justice at all. There was no reason, therefore, as respects the devil, why God should not make use of as own power against him for the liberation of man.

When Boso speaks were are not to presume that this is the doctrine advanced by St. Anselm. This installments generally, is a large array of objections, to which St. Anselm only begins to answer in the end. All that has been said so far is that the dual nature of Christ makes it possible for God to not command His Passion. I suggest we wait till St. Anselm actually addresses the putative contract with the devil issue. We know that he offers a doctrine different from the ransom doctrine, but so far it has not been addressed.

I am not sure if Catholics use the term "efficacy" either. I was merely struggling to define Unlimited Atonement, which we teach and I know the Orthodox Church teaches. Further, the Catholic Church does not reject the Ransom doctrine, even if it also teaches the atonement by satisfaction. We consider all patristic atonement theories, up to and including Anselm's, theological speculation, as far as I know.

I don't think anything in the text suggests an opposition to the Ransom doctrine, except the remark by Boso that surely God did not owe anything to the devil, and you agreed with that.

14 posted on 05/12/2007 11:43:45 AM PDT by annalex
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To: Kolokotronis


The Resurrection

Note the devil in chains. Incidentally, what Christ is standing on is the "gates of hell" from Matthew 16.

Icon of the Resurrection

15 posted on 05/12/2007 11:49:21 AM PDT by annalex
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To: annalex
I am not sure if Catholics use the term "efficacy" either.

We do. God provides salvation, but it is not "efficient" if it is thrown away by the individual. We, Orthodox and Catholic, believe that we have some say on whether we will accept God's offer or not.

Regards

16 posted on 05/12/2007 11:54:47 AM PDT by jo kus (Humility is present when one debases oneself without being obliged to do so- St.Chrysostom; Phil 2:8)
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To: annalex

“Note the devil in chains. Incidentally, what Christ is standing on is the “gates of hell” from Matthew 16.”

Really????????????? I didn’t know that! /s


17 posted on 05/12/2007 1:05:35 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: kosta50

“You forgot to identiy the piece as St. John Chrysostom’s Paschal Homily.”

Given the number of times I have posted that sermon here on FR, I assumed readers of this thread in particular would recognize it. In other words, “He needs no introduction”! :)


18 posted on 05/12/2007 1:10:22 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis
Given the number of times I have posted that sermon here on FR, I assumed readers of this thread in particular would recognize it. In other words, “He needs no introduction”!
19 posted on 05/12/2007 2:00:41 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Kolokotronis

Correction: But, of course....


20 posted on 05/12/2007 2:01:18 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Kolokotronis

Sometimes, pieces of gate hardware are shown scattered around: nails and hinges.


21 posted on 05/12/2007 8:26:12 PM PDT by annalex
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To: kosta50; annalex; Kolokotronis
Alex, the term "efficacy" is not used by the Orthodox. We always have a choice between God and no-God, so the possibility of our rejection of His grace is always there. ...

The "efficacy" of God's method is deemed unlimited

Efficacy refers to whether or not the desire of God will actually come to pass with regads to the particular case of any given human.

God desires all men to be saved, and gives all men the means to be saved. But some men are not saved, and this is their own fault because they chose not to be among the elect. As to those who are saved, while they certainly willed it, it was God who gave them the will to do so - they can only credit His grace for their salvation, and not themselves. "Without me you can do nothing."

The lists of the elect and damned are closed not because it is impossible for someone to pass from one list to the other, but because nobody would want to.

The atonement was sufficient for all, but efficient only for those who accept it. Christ died for the sins of Judas, but he is still damned because of his perverted will.

22 posted on 05/12/2007 11:36:52 PM PDT by Andrew Byler
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To: Andrew Byler; annalex; Kolokotronis

That is just a convoluted way of saying: "I chose those who will be saved and those who will be damned." Obviously, if God gives the will to some and withholds that will from others, it is not that some won't but it is that they can't make a decision.

What good is offering salvation to all men if some can't choose to accept it because they were never given the will to do so?

This is like giving half of your children the money to buy candy and saying the other half "refused" to buy it!

If God gives will to some and not to others, then God is to be credited for our salvation as well as our damnation. That is not what the Church teaches.

God offers salvation to all. We choose or refuse His gracious offer based on our free will. It is God who saves us; but it is us who decide if we shall take the train that leads us to God or to hell.

God gave free will to all mankind to use or abuse. We are free to make choices not because we merit it, but by God's permission.

Your view makes for a partial God and the Bible tells us in plain language on numerous occasions that God is impartial.

23 posted on 05/13/2007 5:21:11 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: annalex
"Sometimes, pieces of gate hardware are shown scattered around: nails and hinges."

Like this?


24 posted on 05/13/2007 5:26:24 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Andrew Byler; annalex; Kolokotronis
Re: post 23

Correction: the sentence that reads "His gracious offer based on our free will" was garbled up and I missed to notice it in the final review. It was much longer and it was NOT meant to imply that god's offer is based on our free will!

It said that, having received the free will from God, we accept or reject His gracious offer based on our free will.

25 posted on 05/13/2007 5:42:56 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50; Kolokotronis; annalex
Obviously, if God gives the will to some and withholds that will from others, it is not that some won't but it is that they can't make a decision.

You are looking at it backwards. Its not that they can't make the decision, its that God knew they would not want to make the decision.

What good is offering salvation to all men if some can't choose to accept it because they were never given the will to do so?

They are given the will to do so, but they do not want to be saved. God foreknows their not wanting to be saved and creates a world where that happens by their own free choice. You seem to assume that it is a default condition in humans to want salvation, but cursory experience with a cross-section of humanity will quickly reveal this is not so. Surely you have run into people who almost delight at the thought of their own damnation, frequently stating things like "well, I'm going to hell anyway", or "see you in hell", and the like.

What good is offering salvation to all men if some can't choose to accept it because they were never given the will to do so? This is like giving half of your children the money to buy candy and saying the other half "refused" to buy it!

But that isn't what I said!

Lets look at Judas. God made the world knowing Judas would be lost, but giving him sufficient grace that he could have saved himself if he had wanted to, although he did not. That is the meaning of predestination - God made a world foreknowing the salvation of some and the damnation of others - "those he foreknew he also predestined". But He also knew that if Judas had been given certain additional holy inspirations, he would infallibly have been saved. That Judas was lost is not because God did not give him the means. But God made Judas knowing he would be lost by his (Judas') own free choice, and also not chosing to ensure Judas' salvation. God did not choose to make Judas be damned. Judas chose to damn Judas. God did not choose to make Judas unable to be saved. Judas could have been saved if he wished it, although God foreknew he did not wish it. It is Judas who chose to neglect the gifts of God, not God who neglected to give them.

To go to you kids and candy example, think of it this way, with the kids being the 12 Apostles, and the candy being salvation, which costs $1. God gives all the Apostles $1. 11 of them choose to spend it on salvation candy. Judas sticks his in his pocket, because he thinks he can't afford the candy because he always feels short of money, so now that he has some, he's just going to hold onto it, rather than using it like God intended. God could have given Judas $2, so that Judas would feel like he had enough money to both buy the candy and stick some in his pocket, but he doesn't. So God both could have saved Judas had He wanted to make such a world, and Judas could have saved himself, had he used the grace of God wisely. The damnation of Judas, however, is not because God did not provide the means, but because Judas didn't wish it.

The deeper question is why Judas is made such an example of despite the grace of having 3+ years in personal companionship with Jesus on earth. A little thought reveals one possible reason. Watching the actions of the other 11, all but one of them fled and denied Christ in His hour of need, and the whole of Jerusalem came out to revile and mock Him. It seems quite reasonable to suppose that Judas was the next best possible choice after 9 Apostles fleeing and one Apostle fleeing and doubting, and that had anyone else (including ourselves) been made Apostle #12 in the milieu of AD 33, they would only have done worse than Judas managed. One need only look at the early careers of the multitude that would make up the early Church (forming a few weeks earlier a cruel and bloodthirsty mob demanding the mocking and crucifixion of Innocence itself after several failed stonings), or of the great Apostle to the Gentiles (spending years of his life attempting to exterminate the Church and all Christians), or of the general population of the Empire (urgently attempting to send all Christians to an early death for threatening the social structure of paganism).

Your view makes for a partial God and the Bible tells us in plain language on numerous occasions that God is impartial.

In fact, the damnation of Judas is a show of God's impartiality. Judas was given the same sufficient grace that he could have been saved had he wished it. Judas was lost because God was not impartial towards him, giving him the extra graces He knew would be needed to certainly effect his salvation.

God is impartial. St. Paul teaches us of God that He assures us "my grace is sufficient for you". Because of that pledge, the Church prays to God to "number us among the flock of Thy elect". But God also (fore)knows His own, which is why there is a "Book of Life". God has created a world where some people will reconcile themselves with God and others will not. And He is not in suspense as to the outcome because by creating the world He also predetermined the outcome human free will would effect.

God died for Judas, but His death was not efficient for him.

God offers salvation to all. We choose or refuse His gracious offer based on our free will. It is God who saves us; but it is us who decide if we shall take the train that leads us to God or to hell.

I agree, provided you are not asserting that the number of the elect is not fixed, because Jesus assures us of the elect "I will never erase his name from the book of life" (Rev. 3.5), or that their names are not unknown to God from the foundations of the world with certainty because St. John says that the followers of Antichrist are "all those whose names were not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life" (Rev. 13.8). The Semipelagians implied that the universal salvific will of God means that God predestines all, and that the eventual damnation of some is because the number of the elect is not fixed, and that it is only determined by the free will of man, rather than by the election of God.

I say this because you are neglecting to state that God foreknows all that will happen. Because of God's foreknowledge, we are indebted to God to the result if it is good, because we could never have accomplished salvation on our own - it was necessary for God to give us the means to accomplish it (cf. 1 Cor. 4.7). That's why the Church prays:

"Direct, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our actions by Thy holy inspirations, and carry them on by Thy gracious assistance; that every prayer and work of ours may always begin from Thee, and through Thee be happily ended."

But we are indebted to ourselves if it is bad, because we were not lacking the means to be saved, only the good use of them because of our own perverted will.

26 posted on 05/13/2007 9:23:17 PM PDT by Andrew Byler
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To: Andrew Byler; Kolokotronis; annalex
You are looking at it backwards. Its not that they can't make the decision, its that God knew they would not want to make the decision

That's not what you said. I am quoting from your post #22: "As to those who are saved, while they certainly willed it, it was God who gave them the will".

The only conclusion one can draw from this is that those who are not saved is because God did not give them the will. This conclusion is consistent with the notion that all the credit goes to God for everything, but it flies in the face of your earlier statement that "God desires all men to be saved, and gives all men the means to be saved."

They are given the will to do so, but they do not want to be saved

I agree, but that's not the conclusion one can draw from your earlier statements. If you are saying that those who are saved is because God gave them the will, then those who are lost have not been given that will, ergo they cannot choose, can they?

God foreknows their not wanting to be saved

But the only reason they want or don't want to be saved, according to you statment in bold above, is because God either gives or deprives them of the will to want to be saved.

You are still suggesting that God created some of us specifically for salvation and others for perdition simply because those who are saved are given the will to be saved, and those who are lost (by necessity) are not.

God doesn't have "foreknowledge," as He does not exist in time. He simply our choices as everything we do is in His "present." It's like giving your children each a $1 bill and seeing what they did with it.

Surely you have run into people who almost delight at the thought of their own damnation, frequently stating things like "well, I'm going to hell anyway", or "see you in hell", and the like.

They have (unknowingly) been deceived by the master of all lies. They are not lost. They are led to believe they are. Yet God allows their deception.

God made a world foreknowing the salvation of some and the damnation of others

(1) God doesn't have foreknowledge, but simply knoweldge because He is timeless; (2) if the saved are given the will and the lost are not, then our salvation or perdition is God's will (intent) and not "foreknowledge."

The only way that our salvation or damnation is "foreknown" to God is if our will conforms to His will either way, which maskes our free will an oxymoron.

Our end-stage is known to Him because He can see what choices we will have made in our lifetime even before we have made them (and not because he predestined what our choices will be).

But God made Judas knowing he would be lost by his (Judas') own free choice

That's pretty much saying He created Judas so that he may fail!

It is Judas who chose to neglect the gifts of God, not God who neglected to give them.

However, Judas could not have been created with the knowledge that he will fail, or else he failed not because of his free will but because God ordained it so.

If that is true, than we can say the same thing about Adam. He was created with a potential to choose good or evil, but not with a predetermined outcome. Otherwise, Adam's fate is not a result of his choice(s), but of God's will.

God knows the outcome of their choices by looking at time in its totality, not because he ordians what they will choose. By knowing the outcome He "foreknowes" but He does not create us with predestined choices.

In fact, the damnation of Judas is a show of God's impartiality. Judas was given the same sufficient grace that he could have been saved had he wished it.

Impartiality is not always obvious. Infants who die are a perfect example that not everyone is given a chance to choose and use free will. They are either saved or damned by no choice of their own. How impartial is that?

God died for Judas, but His death was not efficient for him

I find that strange, because all indications are that Judas repented.

I agree, provided you are not asserting that the number of the elect is not fixed, because Jesus assures us of the elect "I will never erase his name from the book of life" (Rev. 3.5)

This clearly contradicts biblical statements to the contrary, such as "May they be blotted out of the book of life. And may they not be recorded with the righteous." [Ps 69:28]

27 posted on 05/14/2007 7:01:30 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Andrew Byler; Kolokotronis; annalex
Errata: He simply our choices = He simply knows our choices
28 posted on 05/14/2007 7:12:25 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: annalex
Next: Cur Deus Homo IX-X: Did The Father Wish Christ To Die?
29 posted on 05/14/2007 3:57:30 PM PDT by annalex
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To: kosta50; annalex; Kolokotronis
You are looking at it backwards. Its not that they can't make the decision, its that God knew they would not want to make the decision

That's not what you said. I am quoting from your post #22: "As to those who are saved, while they certainly willed it, it was God who gave them the will".

The only conclusion one can draw from this is that those who are not saved is because God did not give them the will. This conclusion is consistent with the notion that all the credit goes to God for everything, but it flies in the face of your earlier statement that "God desires all men to be saved, and gives all men the means to be saved."

The Apostle clearly teaches that all the credit for whatever good we do rests with God. "Or what hast thou that thou hast not received? And if thou hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" (1 Corinthians 4.7) This necessarily includes the possession of good will, which the Angles at the Nativity state gives peace: "Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will." (St. Luke 2.14). And this is "the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, [to] keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philipians 4.7).

It is very clear in the teaching of the Apostle that we do not have good will upon our own, but only from God. St. Paul teaches: "... with fear and trembling work out your salvation. For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will." (Philipians 2.12-13) And again speaking of the powers of the unassisted human will: "For I do not that good which I will; but the evil which I hate, that I do." (Romans 7.15). And again: "For to will, is present with me; but to accomplish that which is good, I find not. For the good which I will, I do not; but the evil which I will not, that I do." (Romans 7.18-19)

This is why St. John says the work of our theosis is not from ourselves or our natual physical ability, but from God. "But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (St. John 1.12-13)

Good will is from God. If it were from ourselves, then God would not be the author of our salvation, and Pelagius and Co. would be right. I think this point is sufficiently established. And I think we both agree that it is a free response of man, under the impulse of grace, to accept the invitation of God.

Now what of those without good will, since they seem to so greatly trouble you? "For many are called, but few are chosen." (St. Matthew 22.14). You really seem disturbed by the state of fallen man, since what you are questioning is the result of man's actions. God didn't make man to sin, man did that on his own. That some are saved is because God showed mercy upon them, and gave them the will to be good. That some are lost is because men in this world lean to wickedness, and their natural urge is more to sin than to eternal life. The life of the reprobate is meant as a lesson to the elect to elict them to give thanks for their salvation. "For the scripture saith to Pharao: To this purpose have I raised thee, that I may shew my power in thee, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth." (Romans 9.17) And again, "What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction, That he might shew the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he hath prepared unto glory?" (Romans 9.22-23)

Christ really died for all men, and by His dying for their sins, He gave them the opportunity of life eternal. That some insist upon continuing in sin is because of their hardness and perversity, not because God did not die for their sin. God did what was sufficient for their salvation, and if they wanted to be saved, they would have. Does not God implore "... let every man of you return from his evil way, and make ye your ways and your doings good. And they said: We have no hopes: for we will go after our own thoughts, and we will do every one according to the perverseness of his evil heart." (Jeremiah 18.11-12)

The reprobate are not lost because God did not give them good will. They are reprobate and lost because that is what they wished for themselves, and God simply allowed it as being expedient for the greater good of others upon whom He had mercy.

Judas was given the same good things and opportunities as the other Apostles, but he was lost because he wanted things his way, rather than working to make things God's way. God let him have what he wanted.

It is within man's power to know God. "For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable." (Romans 1.20). Knowing God, man should do what is right. But the wicked prefer to ignore and deny God and chase after the pleasures of sense. "And as they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient." (Romans 1.28)

But the only reason they want or don't want to be saved, according to you statment in bold above, is because God either gives or deprives them of the will to want to be saved.

God does not deprive people of good will. They reject it. "Many are called, but few are chosen." They are not elect because they do not want to be. They want the lusts of the flesh and the fate of hell. They say it openly. They want to flee God and immerse themselves in themself, obsessing over their own satisfaction. "Whose end is destruction; whose God is their belly; and whose glory is in their shame; who mind earthly things." (Philipians 3.19)

This is also where we who have faith come into the picture. Man is not the master of his first thoughts. Man cannot bring himself to the delight of knowing Jesus. But we can by sharing our faith and hope with them. The grace of faith for the ungodly is not some distant unobtainable gift God is withholding from them. No, it is a treasure we have that we are not sharing. "Faith then cometh by hearing" (Romans 10.17). And to drive the point home, St. Paul urgently reminds us: "How then shall they call on him, in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe him, of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear, without a preacher?" (Romans 10.14) When you sit back in an easy chair and lament, "Aye, if only those poor sinners were shown mercy", or "If only those poor sinners would repent" you are accusing God of lacking the desire to give them the good things they need. But it is not God who is lacking, but us, who have the truth. God never says, "Hey, you kick back and take it easy, I'll be back in a little while once I've introduced myself to everyone in the world and give them a little grace."

The ordinary conduit for the grace of faith, from which all other graces come and follow, is us. "Brethren, the will of my heart, indeed, and my prayer to God, is for them unto salvation." (Romans 10.1) "Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." (St. Matthew 28.19)

You accuse us of proposing that God is witholding good things from them when really He did what is necessary by dying for their sins, and commissioning us to spread the good news to them. If the failure is to be located anywhere, it is to be seen when we look into the mirror.

God doesn't have "foreknowledge," as He does not exist in time.

God's foreknowledge is spoken of from our perspective within time. He knows our life's end before we have begun to kick the womb of our mother.

They are not lost. They are led to believe they are. Yet God allows their deception.

Again we agree, especially with the last sentence you write. God allows their deception. Meaning He does not have mercy upon them, but allows them to carry out their life of dissolution. And not only does he allow their deception, but he allows it precisely because it provides a good for others and even themselves. "For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections ... men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error." (Romans 1.26-28). How many, for example, have recoiled in horror in the past 30 years from casual sexual sins against the 6th and 9th commandments because of the plague of AIDS visited upon the ungodly? And how many recalcitrant and hardened sodomites have been saved on their deathbed in this time of a overwhelming plague of sodomite impurity, when, recalling the God whom they so long despised, realized in extremis through the ministry of the Church that He alone could deliver them from their afflictions? The AIDS plague has worked marvels in bringing sodomites to God, when they saw the world flee from them in sickness, but the ministers of Christ rush to their side in death.

That's pretty much saying He created Judas so that he may fail!

He did, just as He made a world in which Blessed Mary is perfect.

However, Judas could not have been created with the knowledge that he will fail, or else he failed not because of his free will but because God ordained it so.

But of course. Freedom is everywhere, but foreknowledge rests only with God outside of time, because salvation does not come about but by the movement of the human will in freedom, and the human will would not be free if it knew in advance the actions it was to take. Judas was destined to reprobation by the inscrutible decree of God in his eternal plan. But Judas in his free will made the wicked choices to bring this about without any prompting from God. God merely allowed Judas to pursue what he wished, so that God's plan might be accomplished.

Predestination is not the predetermination of free acts, but the foreknowledge of results. God makes Blessed Mary good with the foreknowledge that by her freely chosen fiat she will become His Mother and bring the Lord Jesus to us. And He makes Judas knowing he will act wicked with the foreknowledge that his freely chosen damnation will bring about the salvation of the world. He chooses to make them knowing their freely willed acts will work towards the unfolding of His divine plan.

Infants who die are a perfect example that not everyone is given a chance to choose and use free will. They are either saved or damned by no choice of their own.

Infants are saved by baptism without any action upon their part. But that they are lost without it is not revealed to us. St. Mark tells us that belief and baptism are necessary for salvation, but that unbelief alone is sufficient for damnation. The lack of baptism in one who could not seek it is not a damnable fault. We do not know whether unbaptized infants are given the opportunity to exercise their will to chose for or against God in a single act, as were the Angels. God has revealed nothing more than that He desires their salvation, and has provided Baptism to accomplish it ordinarily. Sufficient means are available for them, and as to the justice of the fate or the fate itself of those infants deprived of grace by the careless wickedness of others, He tells us nothing.

I find that strange, because all indications are that Judas repented.

What indications? Both the Bible and the Liturgy of the Church state his damnation. "... it were better for him, if that man had not been born." (St. Matthew 26.24) - somethign quite impossible to be true if Judas is saved. And again speaking of Judas, "Those whom thou gavest me have I kept; and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the scripture may be fulfilled." (St. John 17.12). And the Psalmist also prophesies Judas' condemnation in the verses quoted by St. Peter in Acts 1.20: "When he is judged, may he go out condemned; and may his prayer be turned to sin. May his days be few: and his bishopric let another take." (Psalm 108.7-8) And on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, the Church prays: "O God, from whom Judas received the punishment of his sin and the thief the reward of his confession: grant us the effect of thy mercy; that as our Lord Jesus Christ, at the time of His passion, bestowed on both different rewards according to their merits; so having destroyed the old man in us, He may give us grace to rise again with Him." (Collect of Mass)

May they be blotted out of the book of life.

This is an expression of human desire for divine justice, not the actual actions of God, as described in St. John's vision of heaven. As far as its application to Christ during His passion, it is the sentence of His judgement against His persecutors, and its meaning is that the wicked will not be found in the book of life because of their deeds against Him. It has a special application to the Jewish people, in that it is an expression of the taking away of the covenant from them because of their perverse wickedness, and the granting of it to others. I.e., the faithless Jews, who were promised salvation through the covenants of Abraham and Moses are now losing that promise because of their deicide, and the promise is being given to others.

30 posted on 05/14/2007 10:22:12 PM PDT by Andrew Byler
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To: Andrew Byler

Thank you for this excellent post.


31 posted on 05/17/2007 7:21:50 PM PDT by annalex
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