Three ways to live

Which is your way?

With Osipov on the nature of God – my response

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vitali at 5:01 am on Saturday, June 14, 2008

Osipov’s way of explaining God of justice vs. God of love dilemma is that only the second statement (God is love) is correct, see the earlier post. It turns out this is not necessarily a view that Russian Orthodox church holds. According to my brother Kirill’s comments, Russian Orthodox view is more balanced (God is a God of love and justice at the same time). And this is the view I agree with. However, as Kirill pointed out, there is a grain of truth in Osipov’s view. While God maybe a God of justice and love, he has chosen to treat us, Christians, those who are truly converted, with love only. To true Christians God is a God of love. Hence God never punishes us, only disciplines.

Just in case you are wondering how Protestants explain the paradox, I like Tim Keller’s view, which he mentions again and again in many of his sermons. God is just and loving at the same time. But the whole weight of his justice fell on Jesus so that all we (i.e. those who accept Jesus sacrifice) receive is love.

4 Comments »

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Comment by DD

July 19, 2008 @ 7:09 pm

“Hence God never punishes us, only disciplines.”

I see it this way:

God’s punishment is never punitive. God’s punishment is remedial.

I suppose this is another way to say what you imply. But I like putting it this way because it states clearly that God does punish (or disciplines) but for a purpose and not as an end in itself. Within this context, I feel it is easier to explain God as being primarily Love and within the context of this all encompassing love, is His loving discipline.

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Comment by Vitali

July 20, 2008 @ 6:00 am

I absolutely agree!

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Comment by Edward

July 23, 2008 @ 11:30 pm

Hi,

There could be a danger in always believing that God’s punishment as being merely remedial *always*. This view of God’s love doesn’t explain hell very well and could come dangerously close to some kind of universalism.

regards
Edward

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Comment by Fyodor Soikin

May 25, 2009 @ 11:33 pm

Edward,

The Holy Fathers (the saints that the Orthodoxy bases itself on) offer several explanations for hell.

The one that I like the most goes like this: hell is just another remedial punishment. It will not last “forever”… Although it is not entirely correct to say “forever”, because the very time probably does not exist “there”, or at least has another form. So the expression “eternal hell” does not mean the infinite time of suffering, but something else. What exactly we do not know. We may speculate, but it is useless anyway.

The said saint also warns against kicking back and relaxing in hopes that the hell is not forever, and there will be heaven for everybody anyway. “But let us be careful brothers, – he writes, – for we cannot even imagine what sufferings are prepared for us there”.

Another view on this problem. Even though a given person will suffer in hell forever, this destiny is still better for him than nonexistence. Therefore, the God did create the said person, knowing he will go to hell. The general thought here is: “the God ensures that the destiny of each person will be the best”.

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