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Re: [LutheransLookingEast] “Expiation” Rather Th an “Propitiation”

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  • Christopher Orr
    Ben Harju has a related post, too, Vicarious - yes; Satisfaction - huh? : http://paredwka.blogspot.com/2010/07/vicarious-yes-satisfaction-huh.html Christopher
    Message 1 of 7 , Jul 14, 2010
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      Ben Harju has a related post, too, "Vicarious - yes; Satisfaction - huh?":

      http://paredwka.blogspot.com/2010/07/vicarious-yes-satisfaction-huh.html

      Christopher


      On Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 9:52 AM, Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...> wrote:

      > Honestly, these sorts of discussions are above the pay grade of just about
      > all of us - though they are part and parcel with the amateur theologies of
      > Protestantism. Most of us do not have the requisite depth in patristics,
      > philosophy and ancient cultures to be able to accurately understand what The
      > right answer is on such questions. Add to this the fact that Orthodoxy
      > teaches Scipture itself has multiple levels of meaning at the same time, and
      > it wouldn't be surprising to see a similarly Spirit-led multiplicity in
      > patristic and liturgical texts, as well. That is, there isn't necessarily
      > anything wrong with seeing a more 'simplistic' wrath of God view in a given
      > saint or prayer rather than in the more 'exalted' view that wrath is at best
      > an anthropomorphism used poetically to other ends.
      >
      > On this last point see St. John Cassian in his *The Twelve Books on the
      > Institutes of the Coenobia*:
      > **
      >>
      >> Book VIII. Of the Spirit of Anger.
      >>
      >> Chapter I.
      >>
      >> How our fourth conflict is against the sin of anger, and how many evils
      >> this passion produces.IN our fourth combat the deadly poison of anger has to
      >> be utterly rooted out from the inmost comers of our soul. For as long as
      >> this remains in our hearts, and blinds with its hurtful darkness the eye of
      >> the soul, we can neither acquire right judgment and discretion,nor gain the
      >> insight which springs from an honest gaze, or ripeness of counsel, nor can
      >> we be partakers of life, or retentive of righteousness, or even have the
      >> capacity for spiritual and true light: "for," says one, mine eye is
      >> disturbed by reason of anger."1Nor can we become partakers of wisdom, even
      >> though we are considered wise by universal consent, for "anger rests in the
      >> bosom of fools."2Nor can we even attain immortal life, although we are
      >> accounted prudent in the opinion of everybody, for "anger destroys even the
      >> prudent."3 Nor shall we be able with clear judgment of heart to secure the
      >> controlling power of righteousness, even though we are reckoned perfect and
      >> holy in the estimation of all men, for "the wrath of man worketh not the
      >> righteousness of God."4 Nor can we by any possibility acquire that esteem
      >> and honour which is so frequently seen even in worldlings, even though we
      >> are thought noble and honourable through the privileges of birth, because
      >> "an angry man is dishonoured."5 Nor again can we secure any ripeness of
      >> counsel, even though we appear to be weighty, and endowed with the utmost
      >> knowledge; because "an angry man acts without counsel."6 Nor can we be free
      >> from dangerous disturbances, nor be without sin, even though no sort of
      >> disturbances be brought upon us by others; because "a passionate man
      >> engenders quarrels, but an angry man digs up sins."7
      >>
      >> Chapter II.
      >>
      >> Of those who say that anger is not injurious, if we are angry with those
      >> who do wrong, since God Himself is said to be angry.Wig have heard some
      >> people trying to excuse this most pernicious disease of the soul, in such a
      >> way as to endeavour to extenuate it bya rather shocking way of interpreting
      >> Scripture: as they say that it is not injurious if we are angry with the
      >> brethren who do wrong,since, say they, God Himself is said to rage and to be
      >> angry with those who either will not know Him, or, knowing Him, spurn Him,
      >> as here "And the anger of the Lord was kindled against His people;"8 or
      >> where the prophet prays and says, "O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger,
      >> neither chasten me in thy displeasure;"9 not understanding that, while they
      >> want to open to men an excuse for a most pestilent sin, they are ascribing
      >> to the Divine Infinity and Fountain of all purity a taint of human passion.
      >>
      >> Chapter III.
      >>
      >> Of those things which are spoken of God anthropomorphically.For if when
      >> these things are said of God they are to be understood literally in a
      >> material gross signification, then also He sleeps, as it is said, "Arise,
      >> wherefore sleepest thou, O Lord?"10 though it is elsewhere said of Him:
      >> "Behold he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep."11 And He
      >> stands and sits, since He says, "Heaven is my seat, and earth the footstool
      >> for my feet:"12 though He "measure out the heaven with his hand, and holdeth
      >> the earth in his fist."13 And He is "drunken with wine" as it is said, "The
      >> Lord awoke like a sleeper, a mighty man, drunken with wine;"14 He "who only
      >> hath immortality and dwelleth in the light which no man can approach
      >> unto:"15 not to say anything of the "ignorance"and "forgetfulness," of which
      >> we often find mention in Holy Scripture: nor lastly of the outline of His
      >> limbs, which are spoken of as arranged and ordered like a man's; e.g., the
      >> hair, head,nostrils, eyes, face, hands, arms, fingers, belly, and feet: if
      >> we are willing to take all of which according to the bare literal sense,we
      >> must think of God as in fashion with the outline of limbs, and a bodily
      >> form; which indeed is shocking even to speak of, and must be far from our
      >> thoughts.
      >>
      >> Chapter IV.
      >>
      >> In what sense we should understand the passions and human arts which are
      >> ascribed to the unchanging and incorporeal God.And so as without horrible
      >> profanity these things cannot be understood literally of Him who is declared
      >> by the authority of Holy Scripture to be invisible, ineffable,
      >> incomprehensible, inestimable,simple, and uncompounded, so neither can the
      >> passion of anger and wrath be attributed to that unchangeable nature without
      >> fearful blasphemy. For we ought to see that the limbs signify the divine
      >> powers and boundless operations of God, which can only be represented to us
      >> by the familiar expression of limbs: by the mouth we should understand that
      >> His utterances are meant, which are of His mercy continually poured into the
      >> secret senses of the soul, or which He spoke among our fathers and the
      >> prophets: by the eyes we can understand the boundless character of His sight
      >> with which He sees and looks through all things, and so nothing is hidden
      >> from Him of what is done or can be done by us, or even thought. By the
      >> expression "hands," we understand His providence and work, by which He is
      >> the creator and author of all things; the arms are the emblems of His might
      >> and government, with which He upholds, rules and controls all things. And
      >> not to speak of other things, what else does the hoary hair of His head
      >> signify but the eternity and perpetuity of Deity, through which He is
      >> without any beginning, and before all times, and excels all creatures? So
      >> then also when we read of the anger or fury of the Lord, we should take it
      >> not... according to an unworthy meaning of human passion,16 but in a sense
      >> worthy of God, who is free from all passion; so that by this we should
      >> understand that He is the judge and avenger of all the unjust things which
      >> are done in this world; and by reason of these terms and their meaning we
      >> should dread Him as the terrible rewarder of our deeds, and fear to do
      >> anything against His will. For human nature is wont to fear those whom it
      >> knows to be indignant, and is afraid of offending: as in the case of some
      >> most just judges, avenging wrath is usually feared by those who are
      >> tormented by some accusation of their conscience; not indeed that this
      >> passion exists in the minds of those who are going to judge with perfect
      >> equity, but that, while they so fear, the disposition of the judge towards
      >> them is that which is the precursor of a just and impartial execution of the
      >> law. And this,with whatever kindness and gentleness it may be conducted, is
      >> deemed by those who are justly to be punished to be the most savage wrath
      >> and vehement anger. It would be tedious and outside the scope of the present
      >> work were we to explain all the things which are spoken metaphorically of
      >> God in Holy Scripture, with human figures. Let it be enough for our present
      >> purpose, which is aimed against the sin of wrath, to have said this that no
      >> one may through ignorance draw downupon himself a cause of this evil and of
      >> eternal death, out of those Scriptures in which he should seek for
      >> saintliness and immortality as the remedies to bring life and salvation.
      >>
      >
      > Consider this Q&A from Fr. Stephen Freeman's blog, too (
      > http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/more-on-the-justice-of-god/
      > ):
      >
      > Adam <http://adam-metanoia.blogspot.com/> Says:
      >> June 16, 2009 at 10:48 pm<http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/more-on-the-justice-of-god/#comment-29713>
      >>
      >> Father,
      >>
      >> With respect (for I agree with almost EVERYTHING you say), I am not sure I
      >> can agree with the statement that substitutionary views of the atonement are
      >> �not found in the fathers until in the West nearly a thousand years after
      >> the founding of the Church.� As an admittedly new convert, I do not see a
      >> rejection of a substitutionary view in the Fathers. For example:
      >>
      >> �But at the sixth hour the spotless Sacrifice, our Lord and Saviour, was
      >> offered up to the Father, and, ascending the cross for the salvation of the
      >> whole world, made atonement for the sins of mankind, and, despoiling
      >> principalities and powers, led them away openly; and all of us who were
      >> liable to death and bound by the debt of the handwriting that could not be
      >> paid, He freed, by taking it away out of the midst and affixing it to His
      >> cross for a trophy.� (St. John Cassian, Institutes, III.3)
      >>
      >> I have also noted similar statements in the writings of Athanasius,
      >> Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and many others. My primary concern is
      >> this�If we say that words like justice, debt, and wrath are metaphors,
      >> shouldn�t we say the same for words like love, peace, patience and charity?
      >> And at what point do we stop and say that even as words are symbols of
      >> realities, they are the best symbols we have to work with? I realize that
      >> God is not wrathful in the same way we experience a wrath that is tinged by
      >> the passions. It seems to me, though, that those are the best words we have
      >> to describe certain attributes about our Lord and that they have been used
      >> in manner throughout the whole history of the Orthodox faith that assume a
      >> substitutionary element to the atonement (though it is certainly not the
      >> only element).
      >>
      >> I remain open to correction on this, so please don�t assume I write in a
      >> spirit of debate or hostility. Your writings are a very great blessing to
      >> me, and I appreciate your Internet witness.
      >>
      >> In Christ,
      >> Adam
      >>
      >> fatherstephen <http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/> Says:
      >> June 16, 2009 at 11:19 pm<http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/more-on-the-justice-of-god/#comment-29715>
      >>
      >> Adam,
      >>
      >> Forgive me, but the example you gave does not contain a hint of
      >> substitutionary atonement. The habit of seeing it everywhere makes it appear
      >> where it is not. It is hard to undo these things.
      >>
      >> In the quote you give, of course atonement is present, but not
      >> substitutionary atonement. It is the conquering of death, the abolition of
      >> the handwriting against us, but not taking our place to accept a punishment.
      >> This substitutionary theory is not propounded in anything like the form we
      >> know it until Anselm around the year 1000.
      >>
      >> A good book on theories of the atonement and their history is Gustav
      >> Aulen�s (a Swedish Lutheran Scholar of great repute) Christus Victor.
      >>
      >> Gregory Nazianzus once put forward the suggestion of a payment to God and
      >> concluded that the very thought was repugnant and rejected it utterly.
      >> That�s how foreign the idea was to him (which is to say that it had no
      >> currency in the late 4th century). It also finds no place in the anaphora
      >> prayers of St. Basil or St. John where it would be natural if it had any
      >> acceptance.
      >>
      >> The Eastern fathers saw Christ�s atonement as �trampling down death, etc.�
      >> of delivering us from captivity, etc., and uses many images to say this, but
      >> they do not teach that the atonement in any way changed God (He cannot and
      >> does not change). The theory of a justice that must be paid, much less a
      >> justice which �God could not deny� is simply nowhere to be found in the
      >> first millennium.
      >>
      >> St. Anselm does not speak of a justice that is offended, but rather of
      >> God�s �honor� (he uses the feudal system of his century). But his theory is
      >> developed in the West and becomes the modern substitutionary atonement that
      >> plays such a large role in certain Protestant models. Read Kalomiros� The
      >> River of Fire (it�s on my sidebar) article that I�ve referenced. It�s a very
      >> traditional Orthodox piece.
      >>
      >
      > There is definitely a corrective going on in Orthodoxy regarding its (and
      > really, it is more cultural than religious) view of "The West", religiously
      > and culturally. Researchis being done identifying more interaction between
      > Greek/Russian East and Latin/Carolingian/Medieval West. At the same time,
      > Met. Kallistos Ware pointed out long ago that due to persecution and lack of
      > educational facilities under the Turks, the Orthodox often simply used RC
      > arguments against Protestants and Protestant arguments against RCs - after
      > having been forced to study in either RC or Protestant universities abroad
      > to get higher education at all. This is not necessarily indicative (and the
      > now simply historical acceptance of the Council of Bethlehem under Dositheos
      > of Jerusalem is a prime example, also mentioned by Met. Ware) of The
      > Orthodox Position. There has been a bit of a pendulum swing in how
      > Orthodoxy sees the West and there have been different camps over the past
      > 150 years of greater interaction (since the Greek Civil War, the rise of the
      > Russian Empire and its westernization, the various diaspora from eastern
      > Europe and the Balkans and the Middle East, patristic research and a lively
      > back and forth on all such topic within Orthodoxy and between Her and
      > western churches.
      >
      > In short, we all know there is a difference here, but no one has really
      > been able to find the right words and concepts to explain it. This should
      > not be unexpected. It took centuries to settle on the appropriate language
      > and concepts to 'describe' christology dogmatically and accurately. East
      > and West Christendom has only come back in contact with each in any regular
      > way since the early 19th century.
      >
      > Christopher
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 10:03 PM, randall hay <stortford@...>wrote:
      >
      >>
      >>
      >> This article present a nice picture of one perspective of the Fathers on
      >> divine
      >> wrath and punishment. However there is another patristic perspective.
      >>
      >> A couple of examples are found in our morning prayers (the standard set
      >> for all
      >> the Orthodox faithful); in two of these prayers we thank God for not
      >> striking us
      >> down:
      >>
      >> "Arising from sleep I thank Thee...that Thou was not wroth with me;
      >> neither hast
      >> Thou destroyed me in my transgressions." (Prayer I, of St. Basil.)
      >>
      >> "We thank Thee that Thou hast not destroyed us in our transgressions..."
      >> (Prayer
      >> VI, of St. Basil.)
      >>
      >> In our prayer before Holy Communion we pray Christ that His body and blood
      >> be a
      >> "good defense at Thy dread judgment seat." (Prayer I, of St. Basil.)
      >>
      >> St John Chrysostom frequently preaches hair-raising sermons on hell,
      >> decries
      >> universalism and the idea that punishment is not eternal. Here are a
      >> couple of
      >> examples, plus one from the great dogamtics text of St John of Damascus.
      >>
      >> In the first example Chrysostom describes punishment--even a "double
      >> vengeance"--as being inflicted by God. In the second he says that no one
      >> who
      >> despises hell will escape it. St John of Damascus describes the wrath of
      >> God in
      >> very vivid terms.
      >>
      >> R.
      >>
      >> St John Chrysostom, Homily XXIII on I Corinthians (PNF p. 134)
      >>
      >> �For they were overthrown,� saith he, �in the wilderness.� (I Cor. 10:5)
      >> Declaring by this word both the sweeping destruction, and the punishments
      >> and
      >> the vengeance inflicted by God, and that they did not so much as attain to
      >> the
      >> rewards proposed to them. Neither were they in the land of promise when He
      >> did
      >> these things unto them, but without and afar somewhere, and wide of that
      >> country; He thus visiting them with a double vengeance, both by not
      >> permitting
      >> them to see the land, and this too though promised unto them, and also by
      >> actual
      >> severe punishment.
      >>
      >> And what are these things to us? say you. To thee surely they belong.
      >> Wherefore also he adds,
      >> Ver. 6. �Now these things were figures of us.�
      >> For as the gifts are figures, even so are the punishments figures:
      >> and as Baptism and the Table were sketched out prophetically, so also by
      >> what
      >> ensued, the certainty of punishment coming on those who are unworthy of
      >> this
      >> gift was proclaimed beforehand for our sake that we by these examples
      >> might
      >> learn soberness. Wherefore also he adds,
      >> �To the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.�
      >> For
      >> as in the benefits the types went before and the substance followed, such
      >> shall
      >> be the order also in the punishments. Seest thou how he signifies not only
      >> the
      >> fact that these shall be punished, but also the degree, more severely than
      >> those
      >> ancients? For if the one be type, and the other substance, it must needs
      >> be that
      >> the punishments should as far exceed as the gifts.
      >>
      >> St John Chrysostom, Homily II on 2 Thessalonians (PNF p. 383)
      >>
      >> Let us not remember the kingdom so much as hell. For fear has more power
      >> than
      >> the promise. And I know that many would despise ten thousand blessings, if
      >> they
      >> were rid of the punishment, inasmuch as it is even now sufficient for me
      >> to
      >> escape vengeance, and not to be punished. No one of those who have hell
      >> before
      >> their eyes will fall into hell. No one of those who despise hell will
      >> escape
      >> hell. For as among us those who fear the judgment-seats will not be
      >> apprehended
      >> by them, but those who despise them are chiefly those who fall under them,
      >> so it
      >> is also in this case. If the Ninevites had not feared destruction, they
      >> would
      >> have been overthrown, but because they feared, they were not overthrown.
      >> If in
      >> the time of Noah they had feared the deluge, they would not have been
      >> drowned.
      >> And if the Sodomites had feared they would not have been consumed by fire.
      >> It is
      >> a great evil to despise a threat. He who despises threatening will soon
      >> experience its reality in the execution of it. Nothing is so profitable as
      >> to
      >> converse concerning hell. It renders our souls purer than any silver. For
      >> hear
      >> the prophet saying, �Thy judgments are always before me.� For although it
      >> pains the hearer, it benefits him very much.
      >> For such indeed are all things that profit. For medicines too, and food,
      >> at
      >> first annoy the sick, and then do him good.
      >>
      >> John of Damascus
      >>
      >> Exposition of the Orthodox Faith
      >>
      >> His feet and walk are His advent and presence, either for the purpose of
      >> bringing succor to the needy, or vengeance against enemies, or to perform
      >> any
      >> other action, for it is by using our feet that we come to arrive at any
      >> place.
      >> His.oath is the unchangeableness of His counsel, for it is by oath that we
      >>
      >> confirm our compacts with one another. His anger and fury are His hatred
      >> of and
      >> aversion to all wickedness, for we, too, hate that which is contrary
      >> to our mind and become enraged thereat. His forgetfulness and sleep and
      >> slumbering are His delay in taking vengeance on His enemies and the
      >> postponement
      >> of the accustomed help to His own. (I.11)
      >>
      >> But it is because when we sin God is not unjust in His anger against us;
      >> and
      >> when He pardons the penitent He is shewn victor over our wickedness.
      >> (IV.19)
      >>
      >> ________________________________
      >> From: Christopher Orr <xcjorr@... <xcjorr%40gmail.com>>
      >> To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
      >> Sent: Tue, July 13, 2010 9:09:53 AM
      >> Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] �Expiation� Rather Than �Propitiation�
      >>
      >> �Expiation� Rather Than
      >> �Propitiation�<
      >> http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/07/expiation-rather-than-propitiation.html
      >> >by
      >>
      >>
      >> the Very Rev. John Breck
      >>
      >> In the previous column, we stressed the point that God does not �punish�
      >> us
      >> for our sinfulness. If He allows us to know pain and suffering, it should
      >> not be construed as punishment meted out in vengeful anger. Because God in
      >> His very essence is Love, any suffering we may know or any penance we may
      >> be
      >> called to exercise is to be understood as a function of that love. Its
      >> purpose is not to exact retribution, to demand from us some penance or
      >> payment to compensate for offenses we have committed against the divine
      >> righteousness. It is to guide, chasten and purify us, so as to encourage
      >> an
      >> attitude of repentance that alone enables us to reenter the sphere of
      >> God�s
      >> holiness. God does not punish us; He does not condemn us. As the
      >> scripturally based prayer of absolution declares: �God desires not the
      >> death
      >> of a sinner, but that the sinner turn from his evil ways and live.�
      >>
      >> Yet this leaves us with an unavoidable question. How are we to understand
      >> the biblical images of judgment and condemnation that occur in Jesus�
      >> parables and other teachings: images of persons cast into �outer darkness�
      >> (Mt 22:13), or into �unquenchable fire� (Mt 3:12; 18:8), or into
      >> �Hades/Gehenna� (Lk 10:15; 12:5)? What are we to make of the frequent
      >> references, from the Psalms (20:10; 77:31, LXX) to St Paul (Rom 1:18
      >> *passim
      >> *), that speak of divine �wrath,� directed against human sin? Don�t these
      >> references oblige us to look at suffering and death as wages of sin, paid
      >> out by the God of righteousness, who abhors sin and �hates evildoers� (Ps
      >> 5:5)?
      >>
      >> To begin a reply, we need to clarify a few terms that easily lead to
      >> misunderstanding, particularly the notions of �propitiation� and �wrath.�
      >> As
      >> we pointed out in the last column, a great deal of confusion arises from
      >> the
      >> fact that we have adopted a Western notion of �repentance� that sees
      >> penance
      >> as an obligatory payment we must make in order to assuage God�s wrath and
      >> obtain forgiveness of our sin. Under medieval Latin influence, we have
      >> confused �propitiation� and �expiation.� The former implies that since we
      >> ourselves are sinful by nature, we cannot offer a �reasonable sacrifice�
      >> to
      >> God that He will find acceptable. Only the divine Son, sinless and holy,
      >> constitutes a �satisfactory� offering to the holy and righteous God
      >> (Anselm); and God (in His mercy!) accepts the torture and death of His Son
      >> as the means by which those who believe in Him achieve �vicarious
      >> atonement.� Jesus is thus conceived as *our* sacrificial offering,
      >> *our*means of propitiation, in the face of divine judgment.
      >>
      >> The inadequacy of that understanding, however, is clear from Scripture
      >> itself. The biblical terms *ilasmos* and *ilasterion* should be translated
      >> �expiation� rather than �propitiation� (as for example, in 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10;
      >> Rom 3:25). They signify the work of �atonement� in the sense of reparation
      >> for sin by means of God�s self-offering in Christ. It is that divine
      >> initiative, that self-offering by God Himself, which elicits from us faith
      >> manifested as repentance and good deeds. The work of atonement � achieving
      >> redemption and reconciliation between ourselves and God � is wholly God�s:
      >> it is not *our* offering to the Father, but *His* gracious offering to us.
      >> In His boundless mercy and love, �God was in Christ, reconciling the world
      >> to Himself� (2 Cor 5:19). Our response to divine judgment, in other words,
      >> is not to offer propitiation: some payment we make or punishment we suffer
      >> in order to purchase forgiveness and salvation. Our response, rather, is
      >> to
      >> *turn*, to change direction, in an inner movement � inspired and directed
      >> by
      >> the indwelling Spirit of God � that leads us from �works of the flesh� to
      >> �gifts of the Spirit� (Gal 5:16-25), from sin and death to repentance and
      >> faith (which are two sides of the same coin).
      >>
      >> What then of �divine wrath�? Although the ancient Israelites believed in a
      >> God who became angry and vengeful, as well as forgiving and merciful,
      >> Jesus
      >> and the apostolic writers present God as preeminently the God of love. To
      >> St
      >> Paul�s mind, in any case, divine wrath is always directed toward
      >> non-believers, those who have heard the gospel message and have rejected
      >> it.
      >> For the apostle, �divine wrath� is a metaphorical expression (an
      >> �anthropomorphism�) that describes God�s way of responding to unrepentant
      >> sinners: by allowing them �to stew in their own juice.� Like the notion of
      >> punishment, divine wrath is to be understood not as God�s direct action
      >> against us, but as an expression of His silence, His apparent absence in
      >> the
      >> life and experience of those who reject Him. While we are in this state in
      >> which He has seemingly abandoned us, God allows us to suffer the
      >> consequences of our sinful actions, including our refusal to repent. It is
      >> not God who punishes and condemns us; we do it to ourselves (God �gives us
      >> up� to the consequences of the sin for which we are wholly responsible,
      >> Rom
      >> 1:24f). As One whose very nature is Love, God desires that *all* come to
      >> repentance, in order that *all* may enjoy the free, unmerited gift of
      >> eternal life and eternal joy. The way to that life and that joy, once
      >> again,
      >> is repentance: a change of �mind� (*meta-noia*), a conversion and radical
      >> reorientation of our life from slavery in sin to freedom in the Spirit.
      >>
      >> The great spiritual elders of the Church can certainly speak of �the great
      >> anger of God the Judge,�1 and of the spiritual benefits that accrue from
      >> �fear of punishment� for our sins. We need to take these indications very
      >> seriously, for God does manifest Himself as �angered� by our rebellion;
      >> and
      >> as St Symeon declares, �Fear of punishment hereafter and the suffering it
      >> engenders are beneficial to all who are starting out on the spiritual
      >> way.�2
      >> The image of divine anger, and the summons to �fear punishment,� however,
      >> serve a single purpose: to call us to repentance.
      >>
      >> As the Fathers also insist, �When a man abandons his sins and returns to
      >> God, his repentance regenerates him and renews him entirely.�3 This
      >> renewal
      >> restores in us the very image of God: not because we have �become
      >> perfect,�
      >> but because, by humbly confessing our sins and turning from them � again
      >> and
      >> again throughout this life, and only by the grace and mercy of the God who
      >> loves us beyond all we can hope or expect � we �regain our true splendor,
      >> just as the moon after the period of waning clothes itself once more in
      >> its
      >> full light.�4
      >>
      >> *Notes:*
      >>
      >> 1. St John of Sinai (+ 649), *The Ladder of Divine Ascent* 5:32, (Willits,
      >> CA: Eastern Orthodox Books, 1973), p. 108.
      >>
      >> 2. St Symeon the New Theologian (+ 1022), �Practical and Theological
      >> Texts�
      >> #65-66, *The Philokalia IV* (London: Faber & Faber, 1995), p. 37.
      >>
      >> 3. St Isaiah the Solitary (4th-5th c.), �Twenty-Seven Texts on Guarding
      >> the
      >> Intellect� #22, *The Philokalia I* (London: Faber & Faber, 1979), p. 26.
      >>
      >> 4. St John of Karpathos (7th c.?), �One Hundred Texts for the
      >> Encouragement
      >> of the Monks in India� #4, *The Philokalia I*, p. 299.
      >>
      >> Source<
      >> http://www.oca.org/CHRIST-life-article.asp?SID=6&ID=112&MONTH=August&YEAR=2006
      >> >
      >>
      >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >>
      >> ------------------------------------
      >>
      >> Yahoo! Groups Links
      >>
      >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Oruaseht
      Quoting this Father, that Apologist, or those Scriptures - we could all do that till we were blue in the face. However, putting all such debate under the
      Message 2 of 7 , Jul 14, 2010
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        Quoting this Father, that Apologist, or those Scriptures - we could all do that till we were blue in the face. However, putting all such debate under the umbrella of "anthropomorphism" and "we're all too simple to really grasp the fathers" doesn't ever really get us anywhere or bring us to any common, conciliar understanding. How did the church councils ever agree that so and so was truly a heretic? They had to agree on some commonly held truth. So, what is the commonly held Orthodox truth about God's wrath from Tradition? What is the Orthodox mind? Or is there not a systematized response? In that case, we might as well continue quoting this Father, that Apologist, or those Scriptures.

        --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...> wrote:
        >
        > Honestly, these sorts of discussions are above the pay grade of just about
        > all of us - though they are part and parcel with the amateur theologies of
        > Protestantism. Most of us do not have the requisite depth in patristics,
        > philosophy and ancient cultures to be able to accurately understand what The
        > right answer is on such questions. Add to this the fact that Orthodoxy
        > teaches Scipture itself has multiple levels of meaning at the same time, and
        > it wouldn't be surprising to see a similarly Spirit-led multiplicity in
        > patristic and liturgical texts, as well. That is, there isn't necessarily
        > anything wrong with seeing a more 'simplistic' wrath of God view in a given
        > saint or prayer rather than in the more 'exalted' view that wrath is at best
        > an anthropomorphism used poetically to other ends.
        >
        > On this last point see St. John Cassian in his *The Twelve Books on the
        > Institutes of the Coenobia*:
        > **
        > >
        > > Book VIII. Of the Spirit of Anger.
        > >
        > > Chapter I.
        > >
        > > How our fourth conflict is against the sin of anger, and how many evils
        > > this passion produces.IN our fourth combat the deadly poison of anger has to
        > > be utterly rooted out from the inmost comers of our soul. For as long as
        > > this remains in our hearts, and blinds with its hurtful darkness the eye of
        > > the soul, we can neither acquire right judgment and discretion,nor gain the
        > > insight which springs from an honest gaze, or ripeness of counsel, nor can
        > > we be partakers of life, or retentive of righteousness, or even have the
        > > capacity for spiritual and true light: "for," says one, mine eye is
        > > disturbed by reason of anger."1Nor can we become partakers of wisdom, even
        > > though we are considered wise by universal consent, for "anger rests in the
        > > bosom of fools."2Nor can we even attain immortal life, although we are
        > > accounted prudent in the opinion of everybody, for "anger destroys even the
        > > prudent."3 Nor shall we be able with clear judgment of heart to secure the
        > > controlling power of righteousness, even though we are reckoned perfect and
        > > holy in the estimation of all men, for "the wrath of man worketh not the
        > > righteousness of God."4 Nor can we by any possibility acquire that esteem
        > > and honour which is so frequently seen even in worldlings, even though we
        > > are thought noble and honourable through the privileges of birth, because
        > > "an angry man is dishonoured."5 Nor again can we secure any ripeness of
        > > counsel, even though we appear to be weighty, and endowed with the utmost
        > > knowledge; because "an angry man acts without counsel."6 Nor can we be free
        > > from dangerous disturbances, nor be without sin, even though no sort of
        > > disturbances be brought upon us by others; because "a passionate man
        > > engenders quarrels, but an angry man digs up sins."7
        > >
        > > Chapter II.
        > >
        > > Of those who say that anger is not injurious, if we are angry with those
        > > who do wrong, since God Himself is said to be angry.Wig have heard some
        > > people trying to excuse this most pernicious disease of the soul, in such a
        > > way as to endeavour to extenuate it bya rather shocking way of interpreting
        > > Scripture: as they say that it is not injurious if we are angry with the
        > > brethren who do wrong,since, say they, God Himself is said to rage and to be
        > > angry with those who either will not know Him, or, knowing Him, spurn Him,
        > > as here "And the anger of the Lord was kindled against His people;"8 or
        > > where the prophet prays and says, "O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger,
        > > neither chasten me in thy displeasure;"9 not understanding that, while they
        > > want to open to men an excuse for a most pestilent sin, they are ascribing
        > > to the Divine Infinity and Fountain of all purity a taint of human passion.
        > >
        > > Chapter III.
        > >
        > > Of those things which are spoken of God anthropomorphically.For if when
        > > these things are said of God they are to be understood literally in a
        > > material gross signification, then also He sleeps, as it is said, "Arise,
        > > wherefore sleepest thou, O Lord?"10 though it is elsewhere said of Him:
        > > "Behold he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep."11 And He
        > > stands and sits, since He says, "Heaven is my seat, and earth the footstool
        > > for my feet:"12 though He "measure out the heaven with his hand, and holdeth
        > > the earth in his fist."13 And He is "drunken with wine" as it is said, "The
        > > Lord awoke like a sleeper, a mighty man, drunken with wine;"14 He "who only
        > > hath immortality and dwelleth in the light which no man can approach
        > > unto:"15 not to say anything of the "ignorance"and "forgetfulness," of which
        > > we often find mention in Holy Scripture: nor lastly of the outline of His
        > > limbs, which are spoken of as arranged and ordered like a man's; e.g., the
        > > hair, head,nostrils, eyes, face, hands, arms, fingers, belly, and feet: if
        > > we are willing to take all of which according to the bare literal sense,we
        > > must think of God as in fashion with the outline of limbs, and a bodily
        > > form; which indeed is shocking even to speak of, and must be far from our
        > > thoughts.
        > >
        > > Chapter IV.
        > >
        > > In what sense we should understand the passions and human arts which are
        > > ascribed to the unchanging and incorporeal God.And so as without horrible
        > > profanity these things cannot be understood literally of Him who is declared
        > > by the authority of Holy Scripture to be invisible, ineffable,
        > > incomprehensible, inestimable,simple, and uncompounded, so neither can the
        > > passion of anger and wrath be attributed to that unchangeable nature without
        > > fearful blasphemy. For we ought to see that the limbs signify the divine
        > > powers and boundless operations of God, which can only be represented to us
        > > by the familiar expression of limbs: by the mouth we should understand that
        > > His utterances are meant, which are of His mercy continually poured into the
        > > secret senses of the soul, or which He spoke among our fathers and the
        > > prophets: by the eyes we can understand the boundless character of His sight
        > > with which He sees and looks through all things, and so nothing is hidden
        > > from Him of what is done or can be done by us, or even thought. By the
        > > expression "hands," we understand His providence and work, by which He is
        > > the creator and author of all things; the arms are the emblems of His might
        > > and government, with which He upholds, rules and controls all things. And
        > > not to speak of other things, what else does the hoary hair of His head
        > > signify but the eternity and perpetuity of Deity, through which He is
        > > without any beginning, and before all times, and excels all creatures? So
        > > then also when we read of the anger or fury of the Lord, we should take it
        > > not... according to an unworthy meaning of human passion,16 but in a sense
        > > worthy of God, who is free from all passion; so that by this we should
        > > understand that He is the judge and avenger of all the unjust things which
        > > are done in this world; and by reason of these terms and their meaning we
        > > should dread Him as the terrible rewarder of our deeds, and fear to do
        > > anything against His will. For human nature is wont to fear those whom it
        > > knows to be indignant, and is afraid of offending: as in the case of some
        > > most just judges, avenging wrath is usually feared by those who are
        > > tormented by some accusation of their conscience; not indeed that this
        > > passion exists in the minds of those who are going to judge with perfect
        > > equity, but that, while they so fear, the disposition of the judge towards
        > > them is that which is the precursor of a just and impartial execution of the
        > > law. And this,with whatever kindness and gentleness it may be conducted, is
        > > deemed by those who are justly to be punished to be the most savage wrath
        > > and vehement anger. It would be tedious and outside the scope of the present
        > > work were we to explain all the things which are spoken metaphorically of
        > > God in Holy Scripture, with human figures. Let it be enough for our present
        > > purpose, which is aimed against the sin of wrath, to have said this that no
        > > one may through ignorance draw downupon himself a cause of this evil and of
        > > eternal death, out of those Scriptures in which he should seek for
        > > saintliness and immortality as the remedies to bring life and salvation.
        > >
        >
        > Consider this Q&A from Fr. Stephen Freeman's blog, too (
        > http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/more-on-the-justice-of-god/):
        >
        > Adam <http://adam-metanoia.blogspot.com/> Says:
        > > June 16, 2009 at 10:48 pm<http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/more-on-the-justice-of-god/#comment-29713>
        > >
        > > Father,
        > >
        > > With respect (for I agree with almost EVERYTHING you say), I am not sure I
        > > can agree with the statement that substitutionary views of the atonement are
        > > "not found in the fathers until in the West nearly a thousand years after
        > > the founding of the Church." As an admittedly new convert, I do not see a
        > > rejection of a substitutionary view in the Fathers. For example:
        > >
        > > "But at the sixth hour the spotless Sacrifice, our Lord and Saviour, was
        > > offered up to the Father, and, ascending the cross for the salvation of the
        > > whole world, made atonement for the sins of mankind, and, despoiling
        > > principalities and powers, led them away openly; and all of us who were
        > > liable to death and bound by the debt of the handwriting that could not be
        > > paid, He freed, by taking it away out of the midst and affixing it to His
        > > cross for a trophy." (St. John Cassian, Institutes, III.3)
        > >
        > > I have also noted similar statements in the writings of Athanasius,
        > > Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and many others. My primary concern is
        > > this…If we say that words like justice, debt, and wrath are metaphors,
        > > shouldn't we say the same for words like love, peace, patience and charity?
        > > And at what point do we stop and say that even as words are symbols of
        > > realities, they are the best symbols we have to work with? I realize that
        > > God is not wrathful in the same way we experience a wrath that is tinged by
        > > the passions. It seems to me, though, that those are the best words we have
        > > to describe certain attributes about our Lord and that they have been used
        > > in manner throughout the whole history of the Orthodox faith that assume a
        > > substitutionary element to the atonement (though it is certainly not the
        > > only element).
        > >
        > > I remain open to correction on this, so please don't assume I write in a
        > > spirit of debate or hostility. Your writings are a very great blessing to
        > > me, and I appreciate your Internet witness.
        > >
        > > In Christ,
        > > Adam
        > >
        > > fatherstephen <http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/> Says:
        > > June 16, 2009 at 11:19 pm<http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/more-on-the-justice-of-god/#comment-29715>
        > >
        > > Adam,
        > >
        > > Forgive me, but the example you gave does not contain a hint of
        > > substitutionary atonement. The habit of seeing it everywhere makes it appear
        > > where it is not. It is hard to undo these things.
        > >
        > > In the quote you give, of course atonement is present, but not
        > > substitutionary atonement. It is the conquering of death, the abolition of
        > > the handwriting against us, but not taking our place to accept a punishment.
        > > This substitutionary theory is not propounded in anything like the form we
        > > know it until Anselm around the year 1000.
        > >
        > > A good book on theories of the atonement and their history is Gustav
        > > Aulen's (a Swedish Lutheran Scholar of great repute) Christus Victor.
        > >
        > > Gregory Nazianzus once put forward the suggestion of a payment to God and
        > > concluded that the very thought was repugnant and rejected it utterly.
        > > That's how foreign the idea was to him (which is to say that it had no
        > > currency in the late 4th century). It also finds no place in the anaphora
        > > prayers of St. Basil or St. John where it would be natural if it had any
        > > acceptance.
        > >
        > > The Eastern fathers saw Christ's atonement as "trampling down death, etc."
        > > of delivering us from captivity, etc., and uses many images to say this, but
        > > they do not teach that the atonement in any way changed God (He cannot and
        > > does not change). The theory of a justice that must be paid, much less a
        > > justice which "God could not deny" is simply nowhere to be found in the
        > > first millennium.
        > >
        > > St. Anselm does not speak of a justice that is offended, but rather of
        > > God's "honor" (he uses the feudal system of his century). But his theory is
        > > developed in the West and becomes the modern substitutionary atonement that
        > > plays such a large role in certain Protestant models. Read Kalomiros' The
        > > River of Fire (it's on my sidebar) article that I've referenced. It's a very
        > > traditional Orthodox piece.
        > >
        >
        > There is definitely a corrective going on in Orthodoxy regarding its (and
        > really, it is more cultural than religious) view of "The West", religiously
        > and culturally. Researchis being done identifying more interaction between
        > Greek/Russian East and Latin/Carolingian/Medieval West. At the same time,
        > Met. Kallistos Ware pointed out long ago that due to persecution and lack of
        > educational facilities under the Turks, the Orthodox often simply used RC
        > arguments against Protestants and Protestant arguments against RCs - after
        > having been forced to study in either RC or Protestant universities abroad
        > to get higher education at all. This is not necessarily indicative (and the
        > now simply historical acceptance of the Council of Bethlehem under Dositheos
        > of Jerusalem is a prime example, also mentioned by Met. Ware) of The
        > Orthodox Position. There has been a bit of a pendulum swing in how
        > Orthodoxy sees the West and there have been different camps over the past
        > 150 years of greater interaction (since the Greek Civil War, the rise of the
        > Russian Empire and its westernization, the various diaspora from eastern
        > Europe and the Balkans and the Middle East, patristic research and a lively
        > back and forth on all such topic within Orthodoxy and between Her and
        > western churches.
        >
        > In short, we all know there is a difference here, but no one has really been
        > able to find the right words and concepts to explain it. This should not be
        > unexpected. It took centuries to settle on the appropriate language and
        > concepts to 'describe' christology dogmatically and accurately. East and
        > West Christendom has only come back in contact with each in any regular way
        > since the early 19th century.
        >
        > Christopher
        >
        >
        >
        > On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 10:03 PM, randall hay <stortford@...>wrote:
        >
        > >
        > >
        > > This article present a nice picture of one perspective of the Fathers on
        > > divine
        > > wrath and punishment. However there is another patristic perspective.
        > >
        > > A couple of examples are found in our morning prayers (the standard set for
        > > all
        > > the Orthodox faithful); in two of these prayers we thank God for not
        > > striking us
        > > down:
        > >
        > > "Arising from sleep I thank Thee...that Thou was not wroth with me; neither
        > > hast
        > > Thou destroyed me in my transgressions." (Prayer I, of St. Basil.)
        > >
        > > "We thank Thee that Thou hast not destroyed us in our transgressions..."
        > > (Prayer
        > > VI, of St. Basil.)
        > >
        > > In our prayer before Holy Communion we pray Christ that His body and blood
        > > be a
        > > "good defense at Thy dread judgment seat." (Prayer I, of St. Basil.)
        > >
        > > St John Chrysostom frequently preaches hair-raising sermons on hell,
        > > decries
        > > universalism and the idea that punishment is not eternal. Here are a couple
        > > of
        > > examples, plus one from the great dogamtics text of St John of Damascus.
        > >
        > > In the first example Chrysostom describes punishment--even a "double
        > > vengeance"--as being inflicted by God. In the second he says that no one
        > > who
        > > despises hell will escape it. St John of Damascus describes the wrath of
        > > God in
        > > very vivid terms.
        > >
        > > R.
        > >
        > > St John Chrysostom, Homily XXIII on I Corinthians (PNF p. 134)
        > >
        > > "For they were overthrown," saith he, "in the wilderness." (I Cor. 10:5)
        > > Declaring by this word both the sweeping destruction, and the punishments
        > > and
        > > the vengeance inflicted by God, and that they did not so much as attain to
        > > the
        > > rewards proposed to them. Neither were they in the land of promise when He
        > > did
        > > these things unto them, but without and afar somewhere, and wide of that
        > > country; He thus visiting them with a double vengeance, both by not
        > > permitting
        > > them to see the land, and this too though promised unto them, and also by
        > > actual
        > > severe punishment.
        > >
        > > And what are these things to us? say you. To thee surely they belong.
        > > Wherefore also he adds,
        > > Ver. 6. "Now these things were figures of us."
        > > For as the gifts are figures, even so are the punishments figures:
        > > and as Baptism and the Table were sketched out prophetically, so also by
        > > what
        > > ensued, the certainty of punishment coming on those who are unworthy of
        > > this
        > > gift was proclaimed beforehand for our sake that we by these examples might
        > >
        > > learn soberness. Wherefore also he adds,
        > > "To the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted."
        > > For
        > > as in the benefits the types went before and the substance followed, such
        > > shall
        > > be the order also in the punishments. Seest thou how he signifies not only
        > > the
        > > fact that these shall be punished, but also the degree, more severely than
        > > those
        > > ancients? For if the one be type, and the other substance, it must needs be
        > > that
        > > the punishments should as far exceed as the gifts.
        > >
        > > St John Chrysostom, Homily II on 2 Thessalonians (PNF p. 383)
        > >
        > > Let us not remember the kingdom so much as hell. For fear has more power
        > > than
        > > the promise. And I know that many would despise ten thousand blessings, if
        > > they
        > > were rid of the punishment, inasmuch as it is even now sufficient for me to
        > >
        > > escape vengeance, and not to be punished. No one of those who have hell
        > > before
        > > their eyes will fall into hell. No one of those who despise hell will
        > > escape
        > > hell. For as among us those who fear the judgment-seats will not be
        > > apprehended
        > > by them, but those who despise them are chiefly those who fall under them,
        > > so it
        > > is also in this case. If the Ninevites had not feared destruction, they
        > > would
        > > have been overthrown, but because they feared, they were not overthrown. If
        > > in
        > > the time of Noah they had feared the deluge, they would not have been
        > > drowned.
        > > And if the Sodomites had feared they would not have been consumed by fire.
        > > It is
        > > a great evil to despise a threat. He who despises threatening will soon
        > > experience its reality in the execution of it. Nothing is so profitable as
        > > to
        > > converse concerning hell. It renders our souls purer than any silver. For
        > > hear
        > > the prophet saying, "Thy judgments are always before me." For although it
        > > pains the hearer, it benefits him very much.
        > > For such indeed are all things that profit. For medicines too, and food, at
        > >
        > > first annoy the sick, and then do him good.
        > >
        > > John of Damascus
        > >
        > > Exposition of the Orthodox Faith
        > >
        > > His feet and walk are His advent and presence, either for the purpose of
        > > bringing succor to the needy, or vengeance against enemies, or to perform
        > > any
        > > other action, for it is by using our feet that we come to arrive at any
        > > place.
        > > His.oath is the unchangeableness of His counsel, for it is by oath that we
        > > confirm our compacts with one another. His anger and fury are His hatred of
        > > and
        > > aversion to all wickedness, for we, too, hate that which is contrary
        > > to our mind and become enraged thereat. His forgetfulness and sleep and
        > > slumbering are His delay in taking vengeance on His enemies and the
        > > postponement
        > > of the accustomed help to His own. (I.11)
        > >
        > > But it is because when we sin God is not unjust in His anger against us;
        > > and
        > > when He pardons the penitent He is shewn victor over our wickedness.
        > > (IV.19)
        > >
        > > ________________________________
        > > From: Christopher Orr <xcjorr@... <xcjorr%40gmail.com>>
        > > To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
        > > Sent: Tue, July 13, 2010 9:09:53 AM
        > > Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] "Expiation" Rather Than "Propitiation"
        > >
        > > "Expiation" Rather Than
        > > "Propitiation"<
        > > http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/07/expiation-rather-than-propitiation.html
        > > >by
        > >
        > >
        > > the Very Rev. John Breck
        > >
        > > In the previous column, we stressed the point that God does not "punish" us
        > > for our sinfulness. If He allows us to know pain and suffering, it should
        > > not be construed as punishment meted out in vengeful anger. Because God in
        > > His very essence is Love, any suffering we may know or any penance we may
        > > be
        > > called to exercise is to be understood as a function of that love. Its
        > > purpose is not to exact retribution, to demand from us some penance or
        > > payment to compensate for offenses we have committed against the divine
        > > righteousness. It is to guide, chasten and purify us, so as to encourage an
        > > attitude of repentance that alone enables us to reenter the sphere of God's
        > > holiness. God does not punish us; He does not condemn us. As the
        > > scripturally based prayer of absolution declares: "God desires not the
        > > death
        > > of a sinner, but that the sinner turn from his evil ways and live."
        > >
        > > Yet this leaves us with an unavoidable question. How are we to understand
        > > the biblical images of judgment and condemnation that occur in Jesus'
        > > parables and other teachings: images of persons cast into "outer darkness"
        > > (Mt 22:13), or into "unquenchable fire" (Mt 3:12; 18:8), or into
        > > "Hades/Gehenna" (Lk 10:15; 12:5)? What are we to make of the frequent
        > > references, from the Psalms (20:10; 77:31, LXX) to St Paul (Rom 1:18
        > > *passim
        > > *), that speak of divine "wrath," directed against human sin? Don't these
        > > references oblige us to look at suffering and death as wages of sin, paid
        > > out by the God of righteousness, who abhors sin and "hates evildoers" (Ps
        > > 5:5)?
        > >
        > > To begin a reply, we need to clarify a few terms that easily lead to
        > > misunderstanding, particularly the notions of "propitiation" and "wrath."
        > > As
        > > we pointed out in the last column, a great deal of confusion arises from
        > > the
        > > fact that we have adopted a Western notion of "repentance" that sees
        > > penance
        > > as an obligatory payment we must make in order to assuage God's wrath and
        > > obtain forgiveness of our sin. Under medieval Latin influence, we have
        > > confused "propitiation" and "expiation." The former implies that since we
        > > ourselves are sinful by nature, we cannot offer a "reasonable sacrifice" to
        > > God that He will find acceptable. Only the divine Son, sinless and holy,
        > > constitutes a "satisfactory" offering to the holy and righteous God
        > > (Anselm); and God (in His mercy!) accepts the torture and death of His Son
        > > as the means by which those who believe in Him achieve "vicarious
        > > atonement." Jesus is thus conceived as *our* sacrificial offering,
        > > *our*means of propitiation, in the face of divine judgment.
        > >
        > > The inadequacy of that understanding, however, is clear from Scripture
        > > itself. The biblical terms *ilasmos* and *ilasterion* should be translated
        > > "expiation" rather than "propitiation" (as for example, in 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10;
        > > Rom 3:25). They signify the work of "atonement" in the sense of reparation
        > > for sin by means of God's self-offering in Christ. It is that divine
        > > initiative, that self-offering by God Himself, which elicits from us faith
        > > manifested as repentance and good deeds. The work of atonement – achieving
        > > redemption and reconciliation between ourselves and God – is wholly God's:
        > > it is not *our* offering to the Father, but *His* gracious offering to us.
        > > In His boundless mercy and love, "God was in Christ, reconciling the world
        > > to Himself" (2 Cor 5:19). Our response to divine judgment, in other words,
        > > is not to offer propitiation: some payment we make or punishment we suffer
        > > in order to purchase forgiveness and salvation. Our response, rather, is to
        > > *turn*, to change direction, in an inner movement – inspired and directed
        > > by
        > > the indwelling Spirit of God – that leads us from "works of the flesh" to
        > > "gifts of the Spirit" (Gal 5:16-25), from sin and death to repentance and
        > > faith (which are two sides of the same coin).
        > >
        > > What then of "divine wrath"? Although the ancient Israelites believed in a
        > > God who became angry and vengeful, as well as forgiving and merciful, Jesus
        > > and the apostolic writers present God as preeminently the God of love. To
        > > St
        > > Paul's mind, in any case, divine wrath is always directed toward
        > > non-believers, those who have heard the gospel message and have rejected
        > > it.
        > > For the apostle, "divine wrath" is a metaphorical expression (an
        > > "anthropomorphism") that describes God's way of responding to unrepentant
        > > sinners: by allowing them "to stew in their own juice." Like the notion of
        > > punishment, divine wrath is to be understood not as God's direct action
        > > against us, but as an expression of His silence, His apparent absence in
        > > the
        > > life and experience of those who reject Him. While we are in this state in
        > > which He has seemingly abandoned us, God allows us to suffer the
        > > consequences of our sinful actions, including our refusal to repent. It is
        > > not God who punishes and condemns us; we do it to ourselves (God "gives us
        > > up" to the consequences of the sin for which we are wholly responsible, Rom
        > > 1:24f). As One whose very nature is Love, God desires that *all* come to
        > > repentance, in order that *all* may enjoy the free, unmerited gift of
        > > eternal life and eternal joy. The way to that life and that joy, once
        > > again,
        > > is repentance: a change of "mind" (*meta-noia*), a conversion and radical
        > > reorientation of our life from slavery in sin to freedom in the Spirit.
        > >
        > > The great spiritual elders of the Church can certainly speak of "the great
        > > anger of God the Judge,"1 and of the spiritual benefits that accrue from
        > > "fear of punishment" for our sins. We need to take these indications very
        > > seriously, for God does manifest Himself as "angered" by our rebellion; and
        > > as St Symeon declares, "Fear of punishment hereafter and the suffering it
        > > engenders are beneficial to all who are starting out on the spiritual
        > > way."2
        > > The image of divine anger, and the summons to "fear punishment," however,
        > > serve a single purpose: to call us to repentance.
        > >
        > > As the Fathers also insist, "When a man abandons his sins and returns to
        > > God, his repentance regenerates him and renews him entirely."3 This renewal
        > > restores in us the very image of God: not because we have "become perfect,"
        > > but because, by humbly confessing our sins and turning from them – again
        > > and
        > > again throughout this life, and only by the grace and mercy of the God who
        > > loves us beyond all we can hope or expect – we "regain our true splendor,
        > > just as the moon after the period of waning clothes itself once more in its
        > > full light."4
        > >
        > > *Notes:*
        > >
        > > 1. St John of Sinai (+ 649), *The Ladder of Divine Ascent* 5:32, (Willits,
        > > CA: Eastern Orthodox Books, 1973), p. 108.
        > >
        > > 2. St Symeon the New Theologian (+ 1022), "Practical and Theological Texts"
        > > #65-66, *The Philokalia IV* (London: Faber & Faber, 1995), p. 37.
        > >
        > > 3. St Isaiah the Solitary (4th-5th c.), "Twenty-Seven Texts on Guarding the
        > > Intellect" #22, *The Philokalia I* (London: Faber & Faber, 1979), p. 26.
        > >
        > > 4. St John of Karpathos (7th c.?), "One Hundred Texts for the Encouragement
        > > of the Monks in India" #4, *The Philokalia I*, p. 299.
        > >
        > > Source<
        > > http://www.oca.org/CHRIST-life-article.asp?SID=6&ID=112&MONTH=August&YEAR=2006
        > > >
        > >
        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > >
        > > ------------------------------------
        > >
        > > Yahoo! Groups Links
        > >
        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • Christopher Orr
        Dogma and doctrine are not exhaustive things in the Orthodox Church. They are more akin to a necessary fence put up around an estate, rather than the estate
        Message 3 of 7 , Jul 14, 2010
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          Dogma and doctrine are not exhaustive things in the Orthodox Church. They
          are more akin to a necessary fence put up around an estate, rather than the
          estate itself. Dogma is only proclaimed when there is a clear necessity to
          do so, and after the Church as a whole has wrestled back and forth to ensure
          it is proclaiming only that which is recognized conciliarly as the Faith -
          versus a more local tradition. Christology is a prime example of the back
          and forth that took place over centuries; the iconoclast controversy is
          another example (thought this is really just a subset of christology). So,
          there isn't a definitive view, but there are various ways in which the
          Church has, historically, addressed the issue of God's wrath - and these
          ways are and are not different than the ways this wrath has been viewed in
          the West.

          St. Cassian represents a strong, early line of thought in Orthodoxy on this
          topic. St. Gregory the Theologian critiques the idea that God the Father
          somehow needed to be paid off. St. Isaac the Syrian sees heaven and hell as
          the same place - saints experience it as light, sinners experience it as
          wrath and fire. Conversely, one will find language that fits far more with
          a 'traditional' fire and brimstone/wrath perspective. The Catechism of St.
          Philaret of Moscow is often brought forth on this point, as are works from
          the period of Dositheos. However, other examples can be found, too. I
          think the underlying issue to be addressed is that there is not a clear
          demarcation between 'East' and 'West' on every issue, there is far more gray
          to be found culturally and doctrinally, today and in the past.

          *is there not a systematized response?*

          It is always a good bet to expect the opposite of a systematized response in
          Orthodoxy. St. John Damascene offers the one truly accepted attempt at
          systematization in Orthodoxy and it is anything but truly systematic.

          Christopher



          On Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 11:54 AM, Oruaseht <oruaseht@...> wrote:

          >
          >
          > Quoting this Father, that Apologist, or those Scriptures - we could all do
          > that till we were blue in the face. However, putting all such debate under
          > the umbrella of "anthropomorphism" and "we're all too simple to really grasp
          > the fathers" doesn't ever really get us anywhere or bring us to any common,
          > conciliar understanding. How did the church councils ever agree that so and
          > so was truly a heretic? They had to agree on some commonly held truth. So,
          > what is the commonly held Orthodox truth about God's wrath from Tradition?
          > What is the Orthodox mind? Or is there not a systematized response? In that
          > case, we might as well continue quoting this Father, that Apologist, or
          > those Scriptures.
          >
          >
          > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>,
          > Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...> wrote:
          > >
          > > Honestly, these sorts of discussions are above the pay grade of just
          > about
          > > all of us - though they are part and parcel with the amateur theologies
          > of
          > > Protestantism. Most of us do not have the requisite depth in patristics,
          > > philosophy and ancient cultures to be able to accurately understand what
          > The
          > > right answer is on such questions. Add to this the fact that Orthodoxy
          > > teaches Scipture itself has multiple levels of meaning at the same time,
          > and
          > > it wouldn't be surprising to see a similarly Spirit-led multiplicity in
          > > patristic and liturgical texts, as well. That is, there isn't necessarily
          > > anything wrong with seeing a more 'simplistic' wrath of God view in a
          > given
          > > saint or prayer rather than in the more 'exalted' view that wrath is at
          > best
          > > an anthropomorphism used poetically to other ends.
          > >
          > > On this last point see St. John Cassian in his *The Twelve Books on the
          > > Institutes of the Coenobia*:
          > > **
          > > >
          > > > Book VIII. Of the Spirit of Anger.
          > > >
          > > > Chapter I.
          > > >
          > > > How our fourth conflict is against the sin of anger, and how many evils
          > > > this passion produces.IN our fourth combat the deadly poison of anger
          > has to
          > > > be utterly rooted out from the inmost comers of our soul. For as long
          > as
          > > > this remains in our hearts, and blinds with its hurtful darkness the
          > eye of
          > > > the soul, we can neither acquire right judgment and discretion,nor gain
          > the
          > > > insight which springs from an honest gaze, or ripeness of counsel, nor
          > can
          > > > we be partakers of life, or retentive of righteousness, or even have
          > the
          > > > capacity for spiritual and true light: "for," says one, mine eye is
          > > > disturbed by reason of anger."1Nor can we become partakers of wisdom,
          > even
          > > > though we are considered wise by universal consent, for "anger rests in
          > the
          > > > bosom of fools."2Nor can we even attain immortal life, although we are
          > > > accounted prudent in the opinion of everybody, for "anger destroys even
          > the
          > > > prudent."3 Nor shall we be able with clear judgment of heart to secure
          > the
          > > > controlling power of righteousness, even though we are reckoned perfect
          > and
          > > > holy in the estimation of all men, for "the wrath of man worketh not
          > the
          > > > righteousness of God."4 Nor can we by any possibility acquire that
          > esteem
          > > > and honour which is so frequently seen even in worldlings, even though
          > we
          > > > are thought noble and honourable through the privileges of birth,
          > because
          > > > "an angry man is dishonoured."5 Nor again can we secure any ripeness of
          > > > counsel, even though we appear to be weighty, and endowed with the
          > utmost
          > > > knowledge; because "an angry man acts without counsel."6 Nor can we be
          > free
          > > > from dangerous disturbances, nor be without sin, even though no sort of
          > > > disturbances be brought upon us by others; because "a passionate man
          > > > engenders quarrels, but an angry man digs up sins."7
          > > >
          > > > Chapter II.
          > > >
          > > > Of those who say that anger is not injurious, if we are angry with
          > those
          > > > who do wrong, since God Himself is said to be angry.Wig have heard some
          > > > people trying to excuse this most pernicious disease of the soul, in
          > such a
          > > > way as to endeavour to extenuate it bya rather shocking way of
          > interpreting
          > > > Scripture: as they say that it is not injurious if we are angry with
          > the
          > > > brethren who do wrong,since, say they, God Himself is said to rage and
          > to be
          > > > angry with those who either will not know Him, or, knowing Him, spurn
          > Him,
          > > > as here "And the anger of the Lord was kindled against His people;"8 or
          > > > where the prophet prays and says, "O Lord, rebuke me not in thine
          > anger,
          > > > neither chasten me in thy displeasure;"9 not understanding that, while
          > they
          > > > want to open to men an excuse for a most pestilent sin, they are
          > ascribing
          > > > to the Divine Infinity and Fountain of all purity a taint of human
          > passion.
          > > >
          > > > Chapter III.
          > > >
          > > > Of those things which are spoken of God anthropomorphically.For if when
          > > > these things are said of God they are to be understood literally in a
          > > > material gross signification, then also He sleeps, as it is said,
          > "Arise,
          > > > wherefore sleepest thou, O Lord?"10 though it is elsewhere said of Him:
          > > > "Behold he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep."11 And
          > He
          > > > stands and sits, since He says, "Heaven is my seat, and earth the
          > footstool
          > > > for my feet:"12 though He "measure out the heaven with his hand, and
          > holdeth
          > > > the earth in his fist."13 And He is "drunken with wine" as it is said,
          > "The
          > > > Lord awoke like a sleeper, a mighty man, drunken with wine;"14 He "who
          > only
          > > > hath immortality and dwelleth in the light which no man can approach
          > > > unto:"15 not to say anything of the "ignorance"and "forgetfulness," of
          > which
          > > > we often find mention in Holy Scripture: nor lastly of the outline of
          > His
          > > > limbs, which are spoken of as arranged and ordered like a man's; e.g.,
          > the
          > > > hair, head,nostrils, eyes, face, hands, arms, fingers, belly, and feet:
          > if
          > > > we are willing to take all of which according to the bare literal
          > sense,we
          > > > must think of God as in fashion with the outline of limbs, and a bodily
          > > > form; which indeed is shocking even to speak of, and must be far from
          > our
          > > > thoughts.
          > > >
          > > > Chapter IV.
          > > >
          > > > In what sense we should understand the passions and human arts which
          > are
          > > > ascribed to the unchanging and incorporeal God.And so as without
          > horrible
          > > > profanity these things cannot be understood literally of Him who is
          > declared
          > > > by the authority of Holy Scripture to be invisible, ineffable,
          > > > incomprehensible, inestimable,simple, and uncompounded, so neither can
          > the
          > > > passion of anger and wrath be attributed to that unchangeable nature
          > without
          > > > fearful blasphemy. For we ought to see that the limbs signify the
          > divine
          > > > powers and boundless operations of God, which can only be represented
          > to us
          > > > by the familiar expression of limbs: by the mouth we should understand
          > that
          > > > His utterances are meant, which are of His mercy continually poured
          > into the
          > > > secret senses of the soul, or which He spoke among our fathers and the
          > > > prophets: by the eyes we can understand the boundless character of His
          > sight
          > > > with which He sees and looks through all things, and so nothing is
          > hidden
          > > > from Him of what is done or can be done by us, or even thought. By the
          > > > expression "hands," we understand His providence and work, by which He
          > is
          > > > the creator and author of all things; the arms are the emblems of His
          > might
          > > > and government, with which He upholds, rules and controls all things.
          > And
          > > > not to speak of other things, what else does the hoary hair of His head
          > > > signify but the eternity and perpetuity of Deity, through which He is
          > > > without any beginning, and before all times, and excels all creatures?
          > So
          > > > then also when we read of the anger or fury of the Lord, we should take
          > it
          > > > not... according to an unworthy meaning of human passion,16 but in a
          > sense
          > > > worthy of God, who is free from all passion; so that by this we should
          > > > understand that He is the judge and avenger of all the unjust things
          > which
          > > > are done in this world; and by reason of these terms and their meaning
          > we
          > > > should dread Him as the terrible rewarder of our deeds, and fear to do
          > > > anything against His will. For human nature is wont to fear those whom
          > it
          > > > knows to be indignant, and is afraid of offending: as in the case of
          > some
          > > > most just judges, avenging wrath is usually feared by those who are
          > > > tormented by some accusation of their conscience; not indeed that this
          > > > passion exists in the minds of those who are going to judge with
          > perfect
          > > > equity, but that, while they so fear, the disposition of the judge
          > towards
          > > > them is that which is the precursor of a just and impartial execution
          > of the
          > > > law. And this,with whatever kindness and gentleness it may be
          > conducted, is
          > > > deemed by those who are justly to be punished to be the most savage
          > wrath
          > > > and vehement anger. It would be tedious and outside the scope of the
          > present
          > > > work were we to explain all the things which are spoken metaphorically
          > of
          > > > God in Holy Scripture, with human figures. Let it be enough for our
          > present
          > > > purpose, which is aimed against the sin of wrath, to have said this
          > that no
          > > > one may through ignorance draw downupon himself a cause of this evil
          > and of
          > > > eternal death, out of those Scriptures in which he should seek for
          > > > saintliness and immortality as the remedies to bring life and
          > salvation.
          > > >
          > >
          > > Consider this Q&A from Fr. Stephen Freeman's blog, too (
          > >
          > http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/more-on-the-justice-of-god/
          > ):
          > >
          > > Adam <http://adam-metanoia.blogspot.com/> Says:
          > > > June 16, 2009 at 10:48 pm<
          > http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/more-on-the-justice-of-god/#comment-29713
          > >
          >
          > > >
          > > > Father,
          > > >
          > > > With respect (for I agree with almost EVERYTHING you say), I am not
          > sure I
          > > > can agree with the statement that substitutionary views of the
          > atonement are
          > > > "not found in the fathers until in the West nearly a thousand years
          > after
          > > > the founding of the Church." As an admittedly new convert, I do not see
          > a
          > > > rejection of a substitutionary view in the Fathers. For example:
          > > >
          > > > "But at the sixth hour the spotless Sacrifice, our Lord and Saviour,
          > was
          > > > offered up to the Father, and, ascending the cross for the salvation of
          > the
          > > > whole world, made atonement for the sins of mankind, and, despoiling
          > > > principalities and powers, led them away openly; and all of us who were
          > > > liable to death and bound by the debt of the handwriting that could not
          > be
          > > > paid, He freed, by taking it away out of the midst and affixing it to
          > His
          > > > cross for a trophy." (St. John Cassian, Institutes, III.3)
          > > >
          > > > I have also noted similar statements in the writings of Athanasius,
          > > > Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and many others. My primary concern
          > is
          > > > this�If we say that words like justice, debt, and wrath are metaphors,
          > > > shouldn't we say the same for words like love, peace, patience and
          > charity?
          > > > And at what point do we stop and say that even as words are symbols of
          > > > realities, they are the best symbols we have to work with? I realize
          > that
          > > > God is not wrathful in the same way we experience a wrath that is
          > tinged by
          > > > the passions. It seems to me, though, that those are the best words we
          > have
          > > > to describe certain attributes about our Lord and that they have been
          > used
          > > > in manner throughout the whole history of the Orthodox faith that
          > assume a
          > > > substitutionary element to the atonement (though it is certainly not
          > the
          > > > only element).
          > > >
          > > > I remain open to correction on this, so please don't assume I write in
          > a
          > > > spirit of debate or hostility. Your writings are a very great blessing
          > to
          > > > me, and I appreciate your Internet witness.
          > > >
          > > > In Christ,
          > > > Adam
          > > >
          > > > fatherstephen <http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/> Says:
          > > > June 16, 2009 at 11:19 pm<
          > http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/more-on-the-justice-of-god/#comment-29715
          > >
          >
          > > >
          > > > Adam,
          > > >
          > > > Forgive me, but the example you gave does not contain a hint of
          > > > substitutionary atonement. The habit of seeing it everywhere makes it
          > appear
          > > > where it is not. It is hard to undo these things.
          > > >
          > > > In the quote you give, of course atonement is present, but not
          > > > substitutionary atonement. It is the conquering of death, the abolition
          > of
          > > > the handwriting against us, but not taking our place to accept a
          > punishment.
          > > > This substitutionary theory is not propounded in anything like the form
          > we
          > > > know it until Anselm around the year 1000.
          > > >
          > > > A good book on theories of the atonement and their history is Gustav
          > > > Aulen's (a Swedish Lutheran Scholar of great repute) Christus Victor.
          > > >
          > > > Gregory Nazianzus once put forward the suggestion of a payment to God
          > and
          > > > concluded that the very thought was repugnant and rejected it utterly.
          > > > That's how foreign the idea was to him (which is to say that it had no
          > > > currency in the late 4th century). It also finds no place in the
          > anaphora
          > > > prayers of St. Basil or St. John where it would be natural if it had
          > any
          > > > acceptance.
          > > >
          > > > The Eastern fathers saw Christ's atonement as "trampling down death,
          > etc."
          > > > of delivering us from captivity, etc., and uses many images to say
          > this, but
          > > > they do not teach that the atonement in any way changed God (He cannot
          > and
          > > > does not change). The theory of a justice that must be paid, much less
          > a
          > > > justice which "God could not deny" is simply nowhere to be found in the
          > > > first millennium.
          > > >
          > > > St. Anselm does not speak of a justice that is offended, but rather of
          > > > God's "honor" (he uses the feudal system of his century). But his
          > theory is
          > > > developed in the West and becomes the modern substitutionary atonement
          > that
          > > > plays such a large role in certain Protestant models. Read Kalomiros'
          > The
          > > > River of Fire (it's on my sidebar) article that I've referenced. It's a
          > very
          > > > traditional Orthodox piece.
          > > >
          > >
          > > There is definitely a corrective going on in Orthodoxy regarding its (and
          > > really, it is more cultural than religious) view of "The West",
          > religiously
          > > and culturally. Researchis being done identifying more interaction
          > between
          > > Greek/Russian East and Latin/Carolingian/Medieval West. At the same time,
          > > Met. Kallistos Ware pointed out long ago that due to persecution and lack
          > of
          > > educational facilities under the Turks, the Orthodox often simply used RC
          > > arguments against Protestants and Protestant arguments against RCs -
          > after
          > > having been forced to study in either RC or Protestant universities
          > abroad
          > > to get higher education at all. This is not necessarily indicative (and
          > the
          > > now simply historical acceptance of the Council of Bethlehem under
          > Dositheos
          > > of Jerusalem is a prime example, also mentioned by Met. Ware) of The
          > > Orthodox Position. There has been a bit of a pendulum swing in how
          > > Orthodoxy sees the West and there have been different camps over the past
          > > 150 years of greater interaction (since the Greek Civil War, the rise of
          > the
          > > Russian Empire and its westernization, the various diaspora from eastern
          > > Europe and the Balkans and the Middle East, patristic research and a
          > lively
          > > back and forth on all such topic within Orthodoxy and between Her and
          > > western churches.
          > >
          > > In short, we all know there is a difference here, but no one has really
          > been
          > > able to find the right words and concepts to explain it. This should not
          > be
          > > unexpected. It took centuries to settle on the appropriate language and
          > > concepts to 'describe' christology dogmatically and accurately. East and
          > > West Christendom has only come back in contact with each in any regular
          > way
          > > since the early 19th century.
          > >
          > > Christopher
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 10:03 PM, randall hay <stortford@...>wrote:
          >
          > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > > This article present a nice picture of one perspective of the Fathers
          > on
          > > > divine
          > > > wrath and punishment. However there is another patristic perspective.
          > > >
          > > > A couple of examples are found in our morning prayers (the standard set
          > for
          > > > all
          > > > the Orthodox faithful); in two of these prayers we thank God for not
          > > > striking us
          > > > down:
          > > >
          > > > "Arising from sleep I thank Thee...that Thou was not wroth with me;
          > neither
          > > > hast
          > > > Thou destroyed me in my transgressions." (Prayer I, of St. Basil.)
          > > >
          > > > "We thank Thee that Thou hast not destroyed us in our
          > transgressions..."
          > > > (Prayer
          > > > VI, of St. Basil.)
          > > >
          > > > In our prayer before Holy Communion we pray Christ that His body and
          > blood
          > > > be a
          > > > "good defense at Thy dread judgment seat." (Prayer I, of St. Basil.)
          > > >
          > > > St John Chrysostom frequently preaches hair-raising sermons on hell,
          > > > decries
          > > > universalism and the idea that punishment is not eternal. Here are a
          > couple
          > > > of
          > > > examples, plus one from the great dogamtics text of St John of
          > Damascus.
          > > >
          > > > In the first example Chrysostom describes punishment--even a "double
          > > > vengeance"--as being inflicted by God. In the second he says that no
          > one
          > > > who
          > > > despises hell will escape it. St John of Damascus describes the wrath
          > of
          > > > God in
          > > > very vivid terms.
          > > >
          > > > R.
          > > >
          > > > St John Chrysostom, Homily XXIII on I Corinthians (PNF p. 134)
          > > >
          > > > "For they were overthrown," saith he, "in the wilderness." (I Cor.
          > 10:5)
          > > > Declaring by this word both the sweeping destruction, and the
          > punishments
          > > > and
          > > > the vengeance inflicted by God, and that they did not so much as attain
          > to
          > > > the
          > > > rewards proposed to them. Neither were they in the land of promise when
          > He
          > > > did
          > > > these things unto them, but without and afar somewhere, and wide of
          > that
          > > > country; He thus visiting them with a double vengeance, both by not
          > > > permitting
          > > > them to see the land, and this too though promised unto them, and also
          > by
          > > > actual
          > > > severe punishment.
          > > >
          > > > And what are these things to us? say you. To thee surely they belong.
          > > > Wherefore also he adds,
          > > > Ver. 6. "Now these things were figures of us."
          > > > For as the gifts are figures, even so are the punishments figures:
          > > > and as Baptism and the Table were sketched out prophetically, so also
          > by
          > > > what
          > > > ensued, the certainty of punishment coming on those who are unworthy of
          > > > this
          > > > gift was proclaimed beforehand for our sake that we by these examples
          > might
          > > >
          > > > learn soberness. Wherefore also he adds,
          > > > "To the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also
          > lusted."
          > > > For
          > > > as in the benefits the types went before and the substance followed,
          > such
          > > > shall
          > > > be the order also in the punishments. Seest thou how he signifies not
          > only
          > > > the
          > > > fact that these shall be punished, but also the degree, more severely
          > than
          > > > those
          > > > ancients? For if the one be type, and the other substance, it must
          > needs be
          > > > that
          > > > the punishments should as far exceed as the gifts.
          > > >
          > > > St John Chrysostom, Homily II on 2 Thessalonians (PNF p. 383)
          > > >
          > > > Let us not remember the kingdom so much as hell. For fear has more
          > power
          > > > than
          > > > the promise. And I know that many would despise ten thousand blessings,
          > if
          > > > they
          > > > were rid of the punishment, inasmuch as it is even now sufficient for
          > me to
          > > >
          > > > escape vengeance, and not to be punished. No one of those who have hell
          > > > before
          > > > their eyes will fall into hell. No one of those who despise hell will
          > > > escape
          > > > hell. For as among us those who fear the judgment-seats will not be
          > > > apprehended
          > > > by them, but those who despise them are chiefly those who fall under
          > them,
          > > > so it
          > > > is also in this case. If the Ninevites had not feared destruction, they
          > > > would
          > > > have been overthrown, but because they feared, they were not
          > overthrown. If
          > > > in
          > > > the time of Noah they had feared the deluge, they would not have been
          > > > drowned.
          > > > And if the Sodomites had feared they would not have been consumed by
          > fire.
          > > > It is
          > > > a great evil to despise a threat. He who despises threatening will soon
          > > > experience its reality in the execution of it. Nothing is so profitable
          > as
          > > > to
          > > > converse concerning hell. It renders our souls purer than any silver.
          > For
          > > > hear
          > > > the prophet saying, "Thy judgments are always before me." For although
          > it
          > > > pains the hearer, it benefits him very much.
          > > > For such indeed are all things that profit. For medicines too, and
          > food, at
          > > >
          > > > first annoy the sick, and then do him good.
          > > >
          > > > John of Damascus
          > > >
          > > > Exposition of the Orthodox Faith
          > > >
          > > > His feet and walk are His advent and presence, either for the purpose
          > of
          > > > bringing succor to the needy, or vengeance against enemies, or to
          > perform
          > > > any
          > > > other action, for it is by using our feet that we come to arrive at any
          > > > place.
          > > > His.oath is the unchangeableness of His counsel, for it is by oath that
          > we
          > > > confirm our compacts with one another. His anger and fury are His
          > hatred of
          > > > and
          > > > aversion to all wickedness, for we, too, hate that which is contrary
          > > > to our mind and become enraged thereat. His forgetfulness and sleep and
          > > > slumbering are His delay in taking vengeance on His enemies and the
          > > > postponement
          > > > of the accustomed help to His own. (I.11)
          > > >
          > > > But it is because when we sin God is not unjust in His anger against
          > us;
          > > > and
          > > > when He pardons the penitent He is shewn victor over our wickedness.
          > > > (IV.19)
          > > >
          > > > ________________________________
          > > > From: Christopher Orr <xcjorr@... <xcjorr%40gmail.com>>
          > > > To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
          > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
          >
          > > > Sent: Tue, July 13, 2010 9:09:53 AM
          > > > Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] "Expiation" Rather Than "Propitiation"
          > > >
          > > > "Expiation" Rather Than
          > > > "Propitiation"<
          > > >
          > http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/07/expiation-rather-than-propitiation.html
          > > > >by
          > > >
          > > >
          > > > the Very Rev. John Breck
          > > >
          > > > In the previous column, we stressed the point that God does not
          > "punish" us
          > > > for our sinfulness. If He allows us to know pain and suffering, it
          > should
          > > > not be construed as punishment meted out in vengeful anger. Because God
          > in
          > > > His very essence is Love, any suffering we may know or any penance we
          > may
          > > > be
          > > > called to exercise is to be understood as a function of that love. Its
          > > > purpose is not to exact retribution, to demand from us some penance or
          > > > payment to compensate for offenses we have committed against the divine
          > > > righteousness. It is to guide, chasten and purify us, so as to
          > encourage an
          > > > attitude of repentance that alone enables us to reenter the sphere of
          > God's
          > > > holiness. God does not punish us; He does not condemn us. As the
          > > > scripturally based prayer of absolution declares: "God desires not the
          > > > death
          > > > of a sinner, but that the sinner turn from his evil ways and live."
          > > >
          > > > Yet this leaves us with an unavoidable question. How are we to
          > understand
          > > > the biblical images of judgment and condemnation that occur in Jesus'
          > > > parables and other teachings: images of persons cast into "outer
          > darkness"
          > > > (Mt 22:13), or into "unquenchable fire" (Mt 3:12; 18:8), or into
          > > > "Hades/Gehenna" (Lk 10:15; 12:5)? What are we to make of the frequent
          > > > references, from the Psalms (20:10; 77:31, LXX) to St Paul (Rom 1:18
          > > > *passim
          > > > *), that speak of divine "wrath," directed against human sin? Don't
          > these
          > > > references oblige us to look at suffering and death as wages of sin,
          > paid
          > > > out by the God of righteousness, who abhors sin and "hates evildoers"
          > (Ps
          > > > 5:5)?
          > > >
          > > > To begin a reply, we need to clarify a few terms that easily lead to
          > > > misunderstanding, particularly the notions of "propitiation" and
          > "wrath."
          > > > As
          > > > we pointed out in the last column, a great deal of confusion arises
          > from
          > > > the
          > > > fact that we have adopted a Western notion of "repentance" that sees
          > > > penance
          > > > as an obligatory payment we must make in order to assuage God's wrath
          > and
          > > > obtain forgiveness of our sin. Under medieval Latin influence, we have
          > > > confused "propitiation" and "expiation." The former implies that since
          > we
          > > > ourselves are sinful by nature, we cannot offer a "reasonable
          > sacrifice" to
          > > > God that He will find acceptable. Only the divine Son, sinless and
          > holy,
          > > > constitutes a "satisfactory" offering to the holy and righteous God
          > > > (Anselm); and God (in His mercy!) accepts the torture and death of His
          > Son
          > > > as the means by which those who believe in Him achieve "vicarious
          > > > atonement." Jesus is thus conceived as *our* sacrificial offering,
          > > > *our*means of propitiation, in the face of divine judgment.
          > > >
          > > > The inadequacy of that understanding, however, is clear from Scripture
          > > > itself. The biblical terms *ilasmos* and *ilasterion* should be
          > translated
          > > > "expiation" rather than "propitiation" (as for example, in 1 Jn 2:2;
          > 4:10;
          > > > Rom 3:25). They signify the work of "atonement" in the sense of
          > reparation
          > > > for sin by means of God's self-offering in Christ. It is that divine
          > > > initiative, that self-offering by God Himself, which elicits from us
          > faith
          > > > manifested as repentance and good deeds. The work of atonement �
          > achieving
          > > > redemption and reconciliation between ourselves and God � is wholly
          > God's:
          > > > it is not *our* offering to the Father, but *His* gracious offering to
          > us.
          > > > In His boundless mercy and love, "God was in Christ, reconciling the
          > world
          > > > to Himself" (2 Cor 5:19). Our response to divine judgment, in other
          > words,
          > > > is not to offer propitiation: some payment we make or punishment we
          > suffer
          > > > in order to purchase forgiveness and salvation. Our response, rather,
          > is to
          > > > *turn*, to change direction, in an inner movement � inspired and
          > directed
          > > > by
          > > > the indwelling Spirit of God � that leads us from "works of the flesh"
          > to
          > > > "gifts of the Spirit" (Gal 5:16-25), from sin and death to repentance
          > and
          > > > faith (which are two sides of the same coin).
          > > >
          > > > What then of "divine wrath"? Although the ancient Israelites believed
          > in a
          > > > God who became angry and vengeful, as well as forgiving and merciful,
          > Jesus
          > > > and the apostolic writers present God as preeminently the God of love.
          > To
          > > > St
          > > > Paul's mind, in any case, divine wrath is always directed toward
          > > > non-believers, those who have heard the gospel message and have
          > rejected
          > > > it.
          > > > For the apostle, "divine wrath" is a metaphorical expression (an
          > > > "anthropomorphism") that describes God's way of responding to
          > unrepentant
          > > > sinners: by allowing them "to stew in their own juice." Like the notion
          > of
          > > > punishment, divine wrath is to be understood not as God's direct action
          > > > against us, but as an expression of His silence, His apparent absence
          > in
          > > > the
          > > > life and experience of those who reject Him. While we are in this state
          > in
          > > > which He has seemingly abandoned us, God allows us to suffer the
          > > > consequences of our sinful actions, including our refusal to repent. It
          > is
          > > > not God who punishes and condemns us; we do it to ourselves (God "gives
          > us
          > > > up" to the consequences of the sin for which we are wholly responsible,
          > Rom
          > > > 1:24f). As One whose very nature is Love, God desires that *all* come
          > to
          > > > repentance, in order that *all* may enjoy the free, unmerited gift of
          > > > eternal life and eternal joy. The way to that life and that joy, once
          > > > again,
          > > > is repentance: a change of "mind" (*meta-noia*), a conversion and
          > radical
          > > > reorientation of our life from slavery in sin to freedom in the Spirit.
          > > >
          > > > The great spiritual elders of the Church can certainly speak of "the
          > great
          > > > anger of God the Judge,"1 and of the spiritual benefits that accrue
          > from
          > > > "fear of punishment" for our sins. We need to take these indications
          > very
          > > > seriously, for God does manifest Himself as "angered" by our rebellion;
          > and
          > > > as St Symeon declares, "Fear of punishment hereafter and the suffering
          > it
          > > > engenders are beneficial to all who are starting out on the spiritual
          > > > way."2
          > > > The image of divine anger, and the summons to "fear punishment,"
          > however,
          > > > serve a single purpose: to call us to repentance.
          > > >
          > > > As the Fathers also insist, "When a man abandons his sins and returns
          > to
          > > > God, his repentance regenerates him and renews him entirely."3 This
          > renewal
          > > > restores in us the very image of God: not because we have "become
          > perfect,"
          > > > but because, by humbly confessing our sins and turning from them �
          > again
          > > > and
          > > > again throughout this life, and only by the grace and mercy of the God
          > who
          > > > loves us beyond all we can hope or expect � we "regain our true
          > splendor,
          > > > just as the moon after the period of waning clothes itself once more in
          > its
          > > > full light."4
          > > >
          > > > *Notes:*
          > > >
          > > > 1. St John of Sinai (+ 649), *The Ladder of Divine Ascent* 5:32,
          > (Willits,
          > > > CA: Eastern Orthodox Books, 1973), p. 108.
          > > >
          > > > 2. St Symeon the New Theologian (+ 1022), "Practical and Theological
          > Texts"
          > > > #65-66, *The Philokalia IV* (London: Faber & Faber, 1995), p. 37.
          > > >
          > > > 3. St Isaiah the Solitary (4th-5th c.), "Twenty-Seven Texts on Guarding
          > the
          > > > Intellect" #22, *The Philokalia I* (London: Faber & Faber, 1979), p.
          > 26.
          > > >
          > > > 4. St John of Karpathos (7th c.?), "One Hundred Texts for the
          > Encouragement
          > > > of the Monks in India" #4, *The Philokalia I*, p. 299.
          > > >
          > > > Source<
          > > >
          > http://www.oca.org/CHRIST-life-article.asp?SID=6&ID=112&MONTH=August&YEAR=2006
          > > > >
          > > >
          > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          > > >
          > > > ------------------------------------
          > > >
          > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
          > > >
          > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > >
          > >
          > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          > >
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Benjamin Harju
          Sometimes I think that in looking at Orthodoxy from the outside the impression is given that the Orthodox don t really believe in God s wrath. We do. The
          Message 4 of 7 , Jul 14, 2010
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            Sometimes I think that in looking at Orthodoxy from the outside the
            impression is given that the Orthodox don't really believe in God's wrath.
            We do. The question is not over the reality of God's wrath, but the purpose
            of that wrath and its motivation - and Western mischaracterizations of God,
            especially in view of the cross. If the Orthodox seem to play down God's
            wrath, it is because do not want that very real wrath and eschatological
            punishment to be admitted in a context foreign to Orthodoxy. God is too
            often described in ungodly terms. Human passions are too often imputed to
            God. This should not be so. I think the Orthodox are struggling to help
            inquirers and examiners from the West see these things as Orthodoxy means
            them, not as they appear outside Holy Orthodoxy.

            Personally, I think God alone truly knows why sinners *should* be punished
            in torment for all eternity. To us it seems a law of nature that wickedness
            deserves punishment for its own sake. I also think that sinners will find
            themselves experiencing punishment for all eternity because of the
            incompatibility they will experience between being truly raised to life in
            the body, but being separated from blessed communion with the Trinity in
            that same body, all the while being confronted with God's immediate presence
            for eternity upon the Eschaton. They will be locked in their predicament
            through the general resurrection and remain that way forever. Since man's
            problem is rooted in his nature and person being separated from blessed
            communion with God, the eternal punishment in fire (which is made for the
            Devil and his angels, not us by original design) may just have something to
            do with that root problem.

            In Christ,
            Benjamin Harju



            On Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 12:05 PM, Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...> wrote:

            > Dogma and doctrine are not exhaustive things in the Orthodox Church. They
            > are more akin to a necessary fence put up around an estate, rather than the
            > estate itself. Dogma is only proclaimed when there is a clear necessity to
            > do so, and after the Church as a whole has wrestled back and forth to
            > ensure
            > it is proclaiming only that which is recognized conciliarly as the Faith -
            > versus a more local tradition. Christology is a prime example of the back
            > and forth that took place over centuries; the iconoclast controversy is
            > another example (thought this is really just a subset of christology). So,
            > there isn't a definitive view, but there are various ways in which the
            > Church has, historically, addressed the issue of God's wrath - and these
            > ways are and are not different than the ways this wrath has been viewed in
            > the West.
            >
            > St. Cassian represents a strong, early line of thought in Orthodoxy on this
            > topic. St. Gregory the Theologian critiques the idea that God the Father
            > somehow needed to be paid off. St. Isaac the Syrian sees heaven and hell
            > as
            > the same place - saints experience it as light, sinners experience it as
            > wrath and fire. Conversely, one will find language that fits far more with
            > a 'traditional' fire and brimstone/wrath perspective. The Catechism of St.
            > Philaret of Moscow is often brought forth on this point, as are works from
            > the period of Dositheos. However, other examples can be found, too. I
            > think the underlying issue to be addressed is that there is not a clear
            > demarcation between 'East' and 'West' on every issue, there is far more
            > gray
            > to be found culturally and doctrinally, today and in the past.
            >
            > *is there not a systematized response?*
            >
            > It is always a good bet to expect the opposite of a systematized response
            > in
            > Orthodoxy. St. John Damascene offers the one truly accepted attempt at
            > systematization in Orthodoxy and it is anything but truly systematic.
            >
            > Christopher
            >
            >
            >
            > On Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 11:54 AM, Oruaseht <oruaseht@...> wrote:
            >
            > >
            > >
            > > Quoting this Father, that Apologist, or those Scriptures - we could all
            > do
            > > that till we were blue in the face. However, putting all such debate
            > under
            > > the umbrella of "anthropomorphism" and "we're all too simple to really
            > grasp
            > > the fathers" doesn't ever really get us anywhere or bring us to any
            > common,
            > > conciliar understanding. How did the church councils ever agree that so
            > and
            > > so was truly a heretic? They had to agree on some commonly held truth.
            > So,
            > > what is the commonly held Orthodox truth about God's wrath from
            > Tradition?
            > > What is the Orthodox mind? Or is there not a systematized response? In
            > that
            > > case, we might as well continue quoting this Father, that Apologist, or
            > > those Scriptures.
            > >
            > >
            > > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%
            > 40yahoogroups.com>,
            > > Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...> wrote:
            > > >
            > > > Honestly, these sorts of discussions are above the pay grade of just
            > > about
            > > > all of us - though they are part and parcel with the amateur theologies
            > > of
            > > > Protestantism. Most of us do not have the requisite depth in
            > patristics,
            > > > philosophy and ancient cultures to be able to accurately understand
            > what
            > > The
            > > > right answer is on such questions. Add to this the fact that Orthodoxy
            > > > teaches Scipture itself has multiple levels of meaning at the same
            > time,
            > > and
            > > > it wouldn't be surprising to see a similarly Spirit-led multiplicity in
            > > > patristic and liturgical texts, as well. That is, there isn't
            > necessarily
            > > > anything wrong with seeing a more 'simplistic' wrath of God view in a
            > > given
            > > > saint or prayer rather than in the more 'exalted' view that wrath is at
            > > best
            > > > an anthropomorphism used poetically to other ends.
            > > >
            > > > On this last point see St. John Cassian in his *The Twelve Books on the
            > > > Institutes of the Coenobia*:
            > > > **
            > > > >
            > > > > Book VIII. Of the Spirit of Anger.
            > > > >
            > > > > Chapter I.
            > > > >
            > > > > How our fourth conflict is against the sin of anger, and how many
            > evils
            > > > > this passion produces.IN our fourth combat the deadly poison of anger
            > > has to
            > > > > be utterly rooted out from the inmost comers of our soul. For as long
            > > as
            > > > > this remains in our hearts, and blinds with its hurtful darkness the
            > > eye of
            > > > > the soul, we can neither acquire right judgment and discretion,nor
            > gain
            > > the
            > > > > insight which springs from an honest gaze, or ripeness of counsel,
            > nor
            > > can
            > > > > we be partakers of life, or retentive of righteousness, or even have
            > > the
            > > > > capacity for spiritual and true light: "for," says one, mine eye is
            > > > > disturbed by reason of anger."1Nor can we become partakers of wisdom,
            > > even
            > > > > though we are considered wise by universal consent, for "anger rests
            > in
            > > the
            > > > > bosom of fools."2Nor can we even attain immortal life, although we
            > are
            > > > > accounted prudent in the opinion of everybody, for "anger destroys
            > even
            > > the
            > > > > prudent."3 Nor shall we be able with clear judgment of heart to
            > secure
            > > the
            > > > > controlling power of righteousness, even though we are reckoned
            > perfect
            > > and
            > > > > holy in the estimation of all men, for "the wrath of man worketh not
            > > the
            > > > > righteousness of God."4 Nor can we by any possibility acquire that
            > > esteem
            > > > > and honour which is so frequently seen even in worldlings, even
            > though
            > > we
            > > > > are thought noble and honourable through the privileges of birth,
            > > because
            > > > > "an angry man is dishonoured."5 Nor again can we secure any ripeness
            > of
            > > > > counsel, even though we appear to be weighty, and endowed with the
            > > utmost
            > > > > knowledge; because "an angry man acts without counsel."6 Nor can we
            > be
            > > free
            > > > > from dangerous disturbances, nor be without sin, even though no sort
            > of
            > > > > disturbances be brought upon us by others; because "a passionate man
            > > > > engenders quarrels, but an angry man digs up sins."7
            > > > >
            > > > > Chapter II.
            > > > >
            > > > > Of those who say that anger is not injurious, if we are angry with
            > > those
            > > > > who do wrong, since God Himself is said to be angry.Wig have heard
            > some
            > > > > people trying to excuse this most pernicious disease of the soul, in
            > > such a
            > > > > way as to endeavour to extenuate it bya rather shocking way of
            > > interpreting
            > > > > Scripture: as they say that it is not injurious if we are angry with
            > > the
            > > > > brethren who do wrong,since, say they, God Himself is said to rage
            > and
            > > to be
            > > > > angry with those who either will not know Him, or, knowing Him, spurn
            > > Him,
            > > > > as here "And the anger of the Lord was kindled against His people;"8
            > or
            > > > > where the prophet prays and says, "O Lord, rebuke me not in thine
            > > anger,
            > > > > neither chasten me in thy displeasure;"9 not understanding that,
            > while
            > > they
            > > > > want to open to men an excuse for a most pestilent sin, they are
            > > ascribing
            > > > > to the Divine Infinity and Fountain of all purity a taint of human
            > > passion.
            > > > >
            > > > > Chapter III.
            > > > >
            > > > > Of those things which are spoken of God anthropomorphically.For if
            > when
            > > > > these things are said of God they are to be understood literally in a
            > > > > material gross signification, then also He sleeps, as it is said,
            > > "Arise,
            > > > > wherefore sleepest thou, O Lord?"10 though it is elsewhere said of
            > Him:
            > > > > "Behold he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep."11
            > And
            > > He
            > > > > stands and sits, since He says, "Heaven is my seat, and earth the
            > > footstool
            > > > > for my feet:"12 though He "measure out the heaven with his hand, and
            > > holdeth
            > > > > the earth in his fist."13 And He is "drunken with wine" as it is
            > said,
            > > "The
            > > > > Lord awoke like a sleeper, a mighty man, drunken with wine;"14 He
            > "who
            > > only
            > > > > hath immortality and dwelleth in the light which no man can approach
            > > > > unto:"15 not to say anything of the "ignorance"and "forgetfulness,"
            > of
            > > which
            > > > > we often find mention in Holy Scripture: nor lastly of the outline of
            > > His
            > > > > limbs, which are spoken of as arranged and ordered like a man's;
            > e.g.,
            > > the
            > > > > hair, head,nostrils, eyes, face, hands, arms, fingers, belly, and
            > feet:
            > > if
            > > > > we are willing to take all of which according to the bare literal
            > > sense,we
            > > > > must think of God as in fashion with the outline of limbs, and a
            > bodily
            > > > > form; which indeed is shocking even to speak of, and must be far from
            > > our
            > > > > thoughts.
            > > > >
            > > > > Chapter IV.
            > > > >
            > > > > In what sense we should understand the passions and human arts which
            > > are
            > > > > ascribed to the unchanging and incorporeal God.And so as without
            > > horrible
            > > > > profanity these things cannot be understood literally of Him who is
            > > declared
            > > > > by the authority of Holy Scripture to be invisible, ineffable,
            > > > > incomprehensible, inestimable,simple, and uncompounded, so neither
            > can
            > > the
            > > > > passion of anger and wrath be attributed to that unchangeable nature
            > > without
            > > > > fearful blasphemy. For we ought to see that the limbs signify the
            > > divine
            > > > > powers and boundless operations of God, which can only be represented
            > > to us
            > > > > by the familiar expression of limbs: by the mouth we should
            > understand
            > > that
            > > > > His utterances are meant, which are of His mercy continually poured
            > > into the
            > > > > secret senses of the soul, or which He spoke among our fathers and
            > the
            > > > > prophets: by the eyes we can understand the boundless character of
            > His
            > > sight
            > > > > with which He sees and looks through all things, and so nothing is
            > > hidden
            > > > > from Him of what is done or can be done by us, or even thought. By
            > the
            > > > > expression "hands," we understand His providence and work, by which
            > He
            > > is
            > > > > the creator and author of all things; the arms are the emblems of His
            > > might
            > > > > and government, with which He upholds, rules and controls all things.
            > > And
            > > > > not to speak of other things, what else does the hoary hair of His
            > head
            > > > > signify but the eternity and perpetuity of Deity, through which He is
            > > > > without any beginning, and before all times, and excels all
            > creatures?
            > > So
            > > > > then also when we read of the anger or fury of the Lord, we should
            > take
            > > it
            > > > > not... according to an unworthy meaning of human passion,16 but in a
            > > sense
            > > > > worthy of God, who is free from all passion; so that by this we
            > should
            > > > > understand that He is the judge and avenger of all the unjust things
            > > which
            > > > > are done in this world; and by reason of these terms and their
            > meaning
            > > we
            > > > > should dread Him as the terrible rewarder of our deeds, and fear to
            > do
            > > > > anything against His will. For human nature is wont to fear those
            > whom
            > > it
            > > > > knows to be indignant, and is afraid of offending: as in the case of
            > > some
            > > > > most just judges, avenging wrath is usually feared by those who are
            > > > > tormented by some accusation of their conscience; not indeed that
            > this
            > > > > passion exists in the minds of those who are going to judge with
            > > perfect
            > > > > equity, but that, while they so fear, the disposition of the judge
            > > towards
            > > > > them is that which is the precursor of a just and impartial execution
            > > of the
            > > > > law. And this,with whatever kindness and gentleness it may be
            > > conducted, is
            > > > > deemed by those who are justly to be punished to be the most savage
            > > wrath
            > > > > and vehement anger. It would be tedious and outside the scope of the
            > > present
            > > > > work were we to explain all the things which are spoken
            > metaphorically
            > > of
            > > > > God in Holy Scripture, with human figures. Let it be enough for our
            > > present
            > > > > purpose, which is aimed against the sin of wrath, to have said this
            > > that no
            > > > > one may through ignorance draw downupon himself a cause of this evil
            > > and of
            > > > > eternal death, out of those Scriptures in which he should seek for
            > > > > saintliness and immortality as the remedies to bring life and
            > > salvation.
            > > > >
            > > >
            > > > Consider this Q&A from Fr. Stephen Freeman's blog, too (
            > > >
            > >
            > http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/more-on-the-justice-of-god/
            > > ):
            > > >
            > > > Adam <http://adam-metanoia.blogspot.com/> Says:
            > > > > June 16, 2009 at 10:48 pm<
            > >
            > http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/more-on-the-justice-of-god/#comment-29713
            > > >
            > >
            > > > >
            > > > > Father,
            > > > >
            > > > > With respect (for I agree with almost EVERYTHING you say), I am not
            > > sure I
            > > > > can agree with the statement that substitutionary views of the
            > > atonement are
            > > > > "not found in the fathers until in the West nearly a thousand years
            > > after
            > > > > the founding of the Church." As an admittedly new convert, I do not
            > see
            > > a
            > > > > rejection of a substitutionary view in the Fathers. For example:
            > > > >
            > > > > "But at the sixth hour the spotless Sacrifice, our Lord and Saviour,
            > > was
            > > > > offered up to the Father, and, ascending the cross for the salvation
            > of
            > > the
            > > > > whole world, made atonement for the sins of mankind, and, despoiling
            > > > > principalities and powers, led them away openly; and all of us who
            > were
            > > > > liable to death and bound by the debt of the handwriting that could
            > not
            > > be
            > > > > paid, He freed, by taking it away out of the midst and affixing it to
            > > His
            > > > > cross for a trophy." (St. John Cassian, Institutes, III.3)
            > > > >
            > > > > I have also noted similar statements in the writings of Athanasius,
            > > > > Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and many others. My primary concern
            > > is
            > > > > this�If we say that words like justice, debt, and wrath are
            > metaphors,
            > > > > shouldn't we say the same for words like love, peace, patience and
            > > charity?
            > > > > And at what point do we stop and say that even as words are symbols
            > of
            > > > > realities, they are the best symbols we have to work with? I realize
            > > that
            > > > > God is not wrathful in the same way we experience a wrath that is
            > > tinged by
            > > > > the passions. It seems to me, though, that those are the best words
            > we
            > > have
            > > > > to describe certain attributes about our Lord and that they have been
            > > used
            > > > > in manner throughout the whole history of the Orthodox faith that
            > > assume a
            > > > > substitutionary element to the atonement (though it is certainly not
            > > the
            > > > > only element).
            > > > >
            > > > > I remain open to correction on this, so please don't assume I write
            > in
            > > a
            > > > > spirit of debate or hostility. Your writings are a very great
            > blessing
            > > to
            > > > > me, and I appreciate your Internet witness.
            > > > >
            > > > > In Christ,
            > > > > Adam
            > > > >
            > > > > fatherstephen <http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/> Says:
            > > > > June 16, 2009 at 11:19 pm<
            > >
            > http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/more-on-the-justice-of-god/#comment-29715
            > > >
            > >
            > > > >
            > > > > Adam,
            > > > >
            > > > > Forgive me, but the example you gave does not contain a hint of
            > > > > substitutionary atonement. The habit of seeing it everywhere makes it
            > > appear
            > > > > where it is not. It is hard to undo these things.
            > > > >
            > > > > In the quote you give, of course atonement is present, but not
            > > > > substitutionary atonement. It is the conquering of death, the
            > abolition
            > > of
            > > > > the handwriting against us, but not taking our place to accept a
            > > punishment.
            > > > > This substitutionary theory is not propounded in anything like the
            > form
            > > we
            > > > > know it until Anselm around the year 1000.
            > > > >
            > > > > A good book on theories of the atonement and their history is Gustav
            > > > > Aulen's (a Swedish Lutheran Scholar of great repute) Christus Victor.
            > > > >
            > > > > Gregory Nazianzus once put forward the suggestion of a payment to God
            > > and
            > > > > concluded that the very thought was repugnant and rejected it
            > utterly.
            > > > > That's how foreign the idea was to him (which is to say that it had
            > no
            > > > > currency in the late 4th century). It also finds no place in the
            > > anaphora
            > > > > prayers of St. Basil or St. John where it would be natural if it had
            > > any
            > > > > acceptance.
            > > > >
            > > > > The Eastern fathers saw Christ's atonement as "trampling down death,
            > > etc."
            > > > > of delivering us from captivity, etc., and uses many images to say
            > > this, but
            > > > > they do not teach that the atonement in any way changed God (He
            > cannot
            > > and
            > > > > does not change). The theory of a justice that must be paid, much
            > less
            > > a
            > > > > justice which "God could not deny" is simply nowhere to be found in
            > the
            > > > > first millennium.
            > > > >
            > > > > St. Anselm does not speak of a justice that is offended, but rather
            > of
            > > > > God's "honor" (he uses the feudal system of his century). But his
            > > theory is
            > > > > developed in the West and becomes the modern substitutionary
            > atonement
            > > that
            > > > > plays such a large role in certain Protestant models. Read Kalomiros'
            > > The
            > > > > River of Fire (it's on my sidebar) article that I've referenced. It's
            > a
            > > very
            > > > > traditional Orthodox piece.
            > > > >
            > > >
            > > > There is definitely a corrective going on in Orthodoxy regarding its
            > (and
            > > > really, it is more cultural than religious) view of "The West",
            > > religiously
            > > > and culturally. Researchis being done identifying more interaction
            > > between
            > > > Greek/Russian East and Latin/Carolingian/Medieval West. At the same
            > time,
            > > > Met. Kallistos Ware pointed out long ago that due to persecution and
            > lack
            > > of
            > > > educational facilities under the Turks, the Orthodox often simply used
            > RC
            > > > arguments against Protestants and Protestant arguments against RCs -
            > > after
            > > > having been forced to study in either RC or Protestant universities
            > > abroad
            > > > to get higher education at all. This is not necessarily indicative (and
            > > the
            > > > now simply historical acceptance of the Council of Bethlehem under
            > > Dositheos
            > > > of Jerusalem is a prime example, also mentioned by Met. Ware) of The
            > > > Orthodox Position. There has been a bit of a pendulum swing in how
            > > > Orthodoxy sees the West and there have been different camps over the
            > past
            > > > 150 years of greater interaction (since the Greek Civil War, the rise
            > of
            > > the
            > > > Russian Empire and its westernization, the various diaspora from
            > eastern
            > > > Europe and the Balkans and the Middle East, patristic research and a
            > > lively
            > > > back and forth on all such topic within Orthodoxy and between Her and
            > > > western churches.
            > > >
            > > > In short, we all know there is a difference here, but no one has really
            > > been
            > > > able to find the right words and concepts to explain it. This should
            > not
            > > be
            > > > unexpected. It took centuries to settle on the appropriate language and
            > > > concepts to 'describe' christology dogmatically and accurately. East
            > and
            > > > West Christendom has only come back in contact with each in any regular
            > > way
            > > > since the early 19th century.
            > > >
            > > > Christopher
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > > On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 10:03 PM, randall hay <stortford@...>wrote:
            > >
            > > >
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > > This article present a nice picture of one perspective of the Fathers
            > > on
            > > > > divine
            > > > > wrath and punishment. However there is another patristic perspective.
            > > > >
            > > > > A couple of examples are found in our morning prayers (the standard
            > set
            > > for
            > > > > all
            > > > > the Orthodox faithful); in two of these prayers we thank God for not
            > > > > striking us
            > > > > down:
            > > > >
            > > > > "Arising from sleep I thank Thee...that Thou was not wroth with me;
            > > neither
            > > > > hast
            > > > > Thou destroyed me in my transgressions." (Prayer I, of St. Basil.)
            > > > >
            > > > > "We thank Thee that Thou hast not destroyed us in our
            > > transgressions..."
            > > > > (Prayer
            > > > > VI, of St. Basil.)
            > > > >
            > > > > In our prayer before Holy Communion we pray Christ that His body and
            > > blood
            > > > > be a
            > > > > "good defense at Thy dread judgment seat." (Prayer I, of St. Basil.)
            > > > >
            > > > > St John Chrysostom frequently preaches hair-raising sermons on hell,
            > > > > decries
            > > > > universalism and the idea that punishment is not eternal. Here are a
            > > couple
            > > > > of
            > > > > examples, plus one from the great dogamtics text of St John of
            > > Damascus.
            > > > >
            > > > > In the first example Chrysostom describes punishment--even a "double
            > > > > vengeance"--as being inflicted by God. In the second he says that no
            > > one
            > > > > who
            > > > > despises hell will escape it. St John of Damascus describes the wrath
            > > of
            > > > > God in
            > > > > very vivid terms.
            > > > >
            > > > > R.
            > > > >
            > > > > St John Chrysostom, Homily XXIII on I Corinthians (PNF p. 134)
            > > > >
            > > > > "For they were overthrown," saith he, "in the wilderness." (I Cor.
            > > 10:5)
            > > > > Declaring by this word both the sweeping destruction, and the
            > > punishments
            > > > > and
            > > > > the vengeance inflicted by God, and that they did not so much as
            > attain
            > > to
            > > > > the
            > > > > rewards proposed to them. Neither were they in the land of promise
            > when
            > > He
            > > > > did
            > > > > these things unto them, but without and afar somewhere, and wide of
            > > that
            > > > > country; He thus visiting them with a double vengeance, both by not
            > > > > permitting
            > > > > them to see the land, and this too though promised unto them, and
            > also
            > > by
            > > > > actual
            > > > > severe punishment.
            > > > >
            > > > > And what are these things to us? say you. To thee surely they belong.
            > > > > Wherefore also he adds,
            > > > > Ver. 6. "Now these things were figures of us."
            > > > > For as the gifts are figures, even so are the punishments figures:
            > > > > and as Baptism and the Table were sketched out prophetically, so also
            > > by
            > > > > what
            > > > > ensued, the certainty of punishment coming on those who are unworthy
            > of
            > > > > this
            > > > > gift was proclaimed beforehand for our sake that we by these examples
            > > might
            > > > >
            > > > > learn soberness. Wherefore also he adds,
            > > > > "To the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also
            > > lusted."
            > > > > For
            > > > > as in the benefits the types went before and the substance followed,
            > > such
            > > > > shall
            > > > > be the order also in the punishments. Seest thou how he signifies not
            > > only
            > > > > the
            > > > > fact that these shall be punished, but also the degree, more severely
            > > than
            > > > > those
            > > > > ancients? For if the one be type, and the other substance, it must
            > > needs be
            > > > > that
            > > > > the punishments should as far exceed as the gifts.
            > > > >
            > > > > St John Chrysostom, Homily II on 2 Thessalonians (PNF p. 383)
            > > > >
            > > > > Let us not remember the kingdom so much as hell. For fear has more
            > > power
            > > > > than
            > > > > the promise. And I know that many would despise ten thousand
            > blessings,
            > > if
            > > > > they
            > > > > were rid of the punishment, inasmuch as it is even now sufficient for
            > > me to
            > > > >
            > > > > escape vengeance, and not to be punished. No one of those who have
            > hell
            > > > > before
            > > > > their eyes will fall into hell. No one of those who despise hell will
            > > > > escape
            > > > > hell. For as among us those who fear the judgment-seats will not be
            > > > > apprehended
            > > > > by them, but those who despise them are chiefly those who fall under
            > > them,
            > > > > so it
            > > > > is also in this case. If the Ninevites had not feared destruction,
            > they
            > > > > would
            > > > > have been overthrown, but because they feared, they were not
            > > overthrown. If
            > > > > in
            > > > > the time of Noah they had feared the deluge, they would not have been
            > > > > drowned.
            > > > > And if the Sodomites had feared they would not have been consumed by
            > > fire.
            > > > > It is
            > > > > a great evil to despise a threat. He who despises threatening will
            > soon
            > > > > experience its reality in the execution of it. Nothing is so
            > profitable
            > > as
            > > > > to
            > > > > converse concerning hell. It renders our souls purer than any silver.
            > > For
            > > > > hear
            > > > > the prophet saying, "Thy judgments are always before me." For
            > although
            > > it
            > > > > pains the hearer, it benefits him very much.
            > > > > For such indeed are all things that profit. For medicines too, and
            > > food, at
            > > > >
            > > > > first annoy the sick, and then do him good.
            > > > >
            > > > > John of Damascus
            > > > >
            > > > > Exposition of the Orthodox Faith
            > > > >
            > > > > His feet and walk are His advent and presence, either for the purpose
            > > of
            > > > > bringing succor to the needy, or vengeance against enemies, or to
            > > perform
            > > > > any
            > > > > other action, for it is by using our feet that we come to arrive at
            > any
            > > > > place.
            > > > > His.oath is the unchangeableness of His counsel, for it is by oath
            > that
            > > we
            > > > > confirm our compacts with one another. His anger and fury are His
            > > hatred of
            > > > > and
            > > > > aversion to all wickedness, for we, too, hate that which is contrary
            > > > > to our mind and become enraged thereat. His forgetfulness and sleep
            > and
            > > > > slumbering are His delay in taking vengeance on His enemies and the
            > > > > postponement
            > > > > of the accustomed help to His own. (I.11)
            > > > >
            > > > > But it is because when we sin God is not unjust in His anger against
            > > us;
            > > > > and
            > > > > when He pardons the penitent He is shewn victor over our wickedness.
            > > > > (IV.19)
            > > > >
            > > > > ________________________________
            > > > > From: Christopher Orr <xcjorr@... <xcjorr%40gmail.com>>
            > > > > To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%
            > 40yahoogroups.com>
            > > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
            > >
            > > > > Sent: Tue, July 13, 2010 9:09:53 AM
            > > > > Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] "Expiation" Rather Than
            > "Propitiation"
            > > > >
            > > > > "Expiation" Rather Than
            > > > > "Propitiation"<
            > > > >
            > >
            > http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/07/expiation-rather-than-propitiation.html
            > > > > >by
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > > the Very Rev. John Breck
            > > > >
            > > > > In the previous column, we stressed the point that God does not
            > > "punish" us
            > > > > for our sinfulness. If He allows us to know pain and suffering, it
            > > should
            > > > > not be construed as punishment meted out in vengeful anger. Because
            > God
            > > in
            > > > > His very essence is Love, any suffering we may know or any penance we
            > > may
            > > > > be
            > > > > called to exercise is to be understood as a function of that love.
            > Its
            > > > > purpose is not to exact retribution, to demand from us some penance
            > or
            > > > > payment to compensate for offenses we have committed against the
            > divine
            > > > > righteousness. It is to guide, chasten and purify us, so as to
            > > encourage an
            > > > > attitude of repentance that alone enables us to reenter the sphere of
            > > God's
            > > > > holiness. God does not punish us; He does not condemn us. As the
            > > > > scripturally based prayer of absolution declares: "God desires not
            > the
            > > > > death
            > > > > of a sinner, but that the sinner turn from his evil ways and live."
            > > > >
            > > > > Yet this leaves us with an unavoidable question. How are we to
            > > understand
            > > > > the biblical images of judgment and condemnation that occur in Jesus'
            > > > > parables and other teachings: images of persons cast into "outer
            > > darkness"
            > > > > (Mt 22:13), or into "unquenchable fire" (Mt 3:12; 18:8), or into
            > > > > "Hades/Gehenna" (Lk 10:15; 12:5)? What are we to make of the frequent
            > > > > references, from the Psalms (20:10; 77:31, LXX) to St Paul (Rom 1:18
            > > > > *passim
            > > > > *), that speak of divine "wrath," directed against human sin? Don't
            > > these
            > > > > references oblige us to look at suffering and death as wages of sin,
            > > paid
            > > > > out by the God of righteousness, who abhors sin and "hates evildoers"
            > > (Ps
            > > > > 5:5)?
            > > > >
            > > > > To begin a reply, we need to clarify a few terms that easily lead to
            > > > > misunderstanding, particularly the notions of "propitiation" and
            > > "wrath."
            > > > > As
            > > > > we pointed out in the last column, a great deal of confusion arises
            > > from
            > > > > the
            > > > > fact that we have adopted a Western notion of "repentance" that sees
            > > > > penance
            > > > > as an obligatory payment we must make in order to assuage God's wrath
            > > and
            > > > > obtain forgiveness of our sin. Under medieval Latin influence, we
            > have
            > > > > confused "propitiation" and "expiation." The former implies that
            > since
            > > we
            > > > > ourselves are sinful by nature, we cannot offer a "reasonable
            > > sacrifice" to
            > > > > God that He will find acceptable. Only the divine Son, sinless and
            > > holy,
            > > > > constitutes a "satisfactory" offering to the holy and righteous God
            > > > > (Anselm); and God (in His mercy!) accepts the torture and death of
            > His
            > > Son
            > > > > as the means by which those who believe in Him achieve "vicarious
            > > > > atonement." Jesus is thus conceived as *our* sacrificial offering,
            > > > > *our*means of propitiation, in the face of divine judgment.
            > > > >
            > > > > The inadequacy of that understanding, however, is clear from
            > Scripture
            > > > > itself. The biblical terms *ilasmos* and *ilasterion* should be
            > > translated
            > > > > "expiation" rather than "propitiation" (as for example, in 1 Jn 2:2;
            > > 4:10;
            > > > > Rom 3:25). They signify the work of "atonement" in the sense of
            > > reparation
            > > > > for sin by means of God's self-offering in Christ. It is that divine
            > > > > initiative, that self-offering by God Himself, which elicits from us
            > > faith
            > > > > manifested as repentance and good deeds. The work of atonement �
            > > achieving
            > > > > redemption and reconciliation between ourselves and God � is wholly
            > > God's:
            > > > > it is not *our* offering to the Father, but *His* gracious offering
            > to
            > > us.
            > > > > In His boundless mercy and love, "God was in Christ, reconciling the
            > > world
            > > > > to Himself" (2 Cor 5:19). Our response to divine judgment, in other
            > > words,
            > > > > is not to offer propitiation: some payment we make or punishment we
            > > suffer
            > > > > in order to purchase forgiveness and salvation. Our response, rather,
            > > is to
            > > > > *turn*, to change direction, in an inner movement � inspired and
            > > directed
            > > > > by
            > > > > the indwelling Spirit of God � that leads us from "works of the
            > flesh"
            > > to
            > > > > "gifts of the Spirit" (Gal 5:16-25), from sin and death to repentance
            > > and
            > > > > faith (which are two sides of the same coin).
            > > > >
            > > > > What then of "divine wrath"? Although the ancient Israelites believed
            > > in a
            > > > > God who became angry and vengeful, as well as forgiving and merciful,
            > > Jesus
            > > > > and the apostolic writers present God as preeminently the God of
            > love.
            > > To
            > > > > St
            > > > > Paul's mind, in any case, divine wrath is always directed toward
            > > > > non-believers, those who have heard the gospel message and have
            > > rejected
            > > > > it.
            > > > > For the apostle, "divine wrath" is a metaphorical expression (an
            > > > > "anthropomorphism") that describes God's way of responding to
            > > unrepentant
            > > > > sinners: by allowing them "to stew in their own juice." Like the
            > notion
            > > of
            > > > > punishment, divine wrath is to be understood not as God's direct
            > action
            > > > > against us, but as an expression of His silence, His apparent absence
            > > in
            > > > > the
            > > > > life and experience of those who reject Him. While we are in this
            > state
            > > in
            > > > > which He has seemingly abandoned us, God allows us to suffer the
            > > > > consequences of our sinful actions, including our refusal to repent.
            > It
            > > is
            > > > > not God who punishes and condemns us; we do it to ourselves (God
            > "gives
            > > us
            > > > > up" to the consequences of the sin for which we are wholly
            > responsible,
            > > Rom
            > > > > 1:24f). As One whose very nature is Love, God desires that *all* come
            > > to
            > > > > repentance, in order that *all* may enjoy the free, unmerited gift of
            > > > > eternal life and eternal joy. The way to that life and that joy, once
            > > > > again,
            > > > > is repentance: a change of "mind" (*meta-noia*), a conversion and
            > > radical
            > > > > reorientation of our life from slavery in sin to freedom in the
            > Spirit.
            > > > >
            > > > > The great spiritual elders of the Church can certainly speak of "the
            > > great
            > > > > anger of God the Judge,"1 and of the spiritual benefits that accrue
            > > from
            > > > > "fear of punishment" for our sins. We need to take these indications
            > > very
            > > > > seriously, for God does manifest Himself as "angered" by our
            > rebellion;
            > > and
            > > > > as St Symeon declares, "Fear of punishment hereafter and the
            > suffering
            > > it
            > > > > engenders are beneficial to all who are starting out on the spiritual
            > > > > way."2
            > > > > The image of divine anger, and the summons to "fear punishment,"
            > > however,
            > > > > serve a single purpose: to call us to repentance.
            > > > >
            > > > > As the Fathers also insist, "When a man abandons his sins and returns
            > > to
            > > > > God, his repentance regenerates him and renews him entirely."3 This
            > > renewal
            > > > > restores in us the very image of God: not because we have "become
            > > perfect,"
            > > > > but because, by humbly confessing our sins and turning from them �
            > > again
            > > > > and
            > > > > again throughout this life, and only by the grace and mercy of the
            > God
            > > who
            > > > > loves us beyond all we can hope or expect � we "regain our true
            > > splendor,
            > > > > just as the moon after the period of waning clothes itself once more
            > in
            > > its
            > > > > full light."4
            > > > >
            > > > > *Notes:*
            > > > >
            > > > > 1. St John of Sinai (+ 649), *The Ladder of Divine Ascent* 5:32,
            > > (Willits,
            > > > > CA: Eastern Orthodox Books, 1973), p. 108.
            > > > >
            > > > > 2. St Symeon the New Theologian (+ 1022), "Practical and Theological
            > > Texts"
            > > > > #65-66, *The Philokalia IV* (London: Faber & Faber, 1995), p. 37.
            > > > >
            > > > > 3. St Isaiah the Solitary (4th-5th c.), "Twenty-Seven Texts on
            > Guarding
            > > the
            > > > > Intellect" #22, *The Philokalia I* (London: Faber & Faber, 1979), p.
            > > 26.
            > > > >
            > > > > 4. St John of Karpathos (7th c.?), "One Hundred Texts for the
            > > Encouragement
            > > > > of the Monks in India" #4, *The Philokalia I*, p. 299.
            > > > >
            > > > > Source<
            > > > >
            > >
            > http://www.oca.org/CHRIST-life-article.asp?SID=6&ID=112&MONTH=August&YEAR=2006
            > > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            > > > >
            > > > > ------------------------------------
            > > > >
            > > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
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            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            > > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            >
            >
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            >
            >
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            > ------------------------------------
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
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