Thursday, September 05, 2013

Is God Mad At You?

"Moreover, the very concept of "anger" in relation to God is conditional and anthropomorphic, as we learn from the teaching of Saint Anthony the Great, who says: "God is good, dispassionate and immutable. Now someone who thinks it reasonable and true to affirm, that God does not change, may well ask how in that case, it is possible to speak of God as rejoicing over those who are good and showing mercy to those who honor Him, while turning away from the wicked and being angry with sinners. To this it must be answered that God neither rejoices nor grows angry, for to rejoice and to be offended are passions; nor is He won over by the gifts of those who honor Him, for that would mean He is swayed by pleasure...He is good, and He only Bestows blessings and never does harm, remaining always the same. We men, on the other hand if we remain good through resembling God, are united to Him; but if we become evil through not resembling God, we are separated from Him. By living in holiness, we cleave to God, we are separated from Him. By living in holiness, we cleave to God; but by becoming wicked we make Him our enemy. It is not that He grows angry with us in an arbitrary way, but it is our own sins that prevent God from shining within us, and expose us to the demons that punish us. And if through prayer and acts of compassion we gain release from our sins, this does not mean that we have won God over and have made Him change, but that through our actions and our turning to God we have cured our wickedness and so once more have enjoyment of God's goodness. Thus to say that God turns away from the wicked is like saying the sun hides itself from the blind" (Philokaloa, Vol 1, Text 150; Engl. tr. by Palmer-Sherrard-Ware, p. 352). (Entire excerpt from Orthodox Dogmatic Theology p. 350, by Father Michael Pomazansky, Transated and Edited by Heirmonk Seraphim Rose)

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