Three ways to live

Which is your way?

With Osipov on the nature of God

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vitali at 7:54 am on Saturday, May 31, 2008

According to Osipov, understanding of the nature of God is a core difference between Western and Orthodox Christianity. At the heart of the question is an apparent inconsistency that many notice when reading the Bible. From the Old Testament, God most often often appears as a judge, punishing sinners and upholding the righteous. Yet, from the New Testament we see God as a God of love, willing to sacrifice his own son for us. Jesus, himself, willingly dies for people who don’t deserve it. Does not look like the God of Old Testament.

This tension many find difficult to resolve. In human wisdom, absolutely righteous God cannot be loving, God who is absolutely loving cannot be righteous. Today’s Christians offer several ways to resolve this paradox.

Orthodox view, according to Osipov, is that the Jews simply misunderstood God in the Old Testament. They thought of him as a God of justice, but God shows his true nature only in the New Testament, and it is love. On the other hand, Western Christianity (again in Osipov’s interpretation) still sees God as more of a judge, maybe a loving judge, but still a judge.

I will post my response in a few days.



Comment by Kirill Zagorodnov

May 31, 2008 @ 8:24 am

Seeing the God more judging or loving I think depends more not on the doctrine (Western or Eastern) but on the defenite man. As the Lord is your loving father, so how can we see now anything else, than he actually feels about us? These relationships are the core of prayer life of a man.
The Lord can be extremely loving and extremely judging. We cannot hide any of these sides of his personality. And their interconnection is a secret and that’s what we cannot perceive and we cannot invent an algorithm of our actions or feelings in respect to other people. They both are present in him fully.
I can even say that Eastern Church emphasises both love and judge and tries to obstain from particular feelings (that is opposite to what Western Church often does).
During the Orthodox Liturgy the songs and prayers almost always are sung or said in a neutral way, without any expression so that they not impose any external feelings on a visitor of a church.


Comment by Vitali

June 1, 2008 @ 7:16 am

Hmm, great to see you here, Kirill!

So what you are saying then is that Osipov’s view does not faithfully represent the Orthodox view. Hmm, he does claim to speak for the church though. But in any case, nice to know.

I agree with you first statement, but will elaborate more on it in my official response.

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