Love and Enemies

No man would have any conception of belief in the Holy Trinity

unless God Himself had revealed this truth; so too, love for one’s

enemies would be incomprehensible unless Christ had manifested

it to the world at His death on the Cross. Christ prayed for His

enemies and gave His life for them in a definitive, eternal and

absolute fashion. What the Lord accomplished once and for all

through the power of His Spirit remains the perfect way of union

between man and God.

 

The commandment to love one’s enemies, and the New

Testament teaching about this love, do not merely manifest the

spirit of the New Testament as superior to that of the Old; they

also demonstrate the uniqueness of the truth revealed by God’s

incarnation. Christ’s death on the cross is the “folly” of God’s love

for His enemies, which clearly sets out the demarcation line

between what is true and eternal and what is human and deluded.

This love is inherent in the commandment of love for one’s

neighbor, and is its highest expression…. By man’s attitude

toward his enemies all human states are judged and defined, from

the lowest, unnatural states to the loftiest and holiest.

God is love. If someone does not have love for God and his

brother, he does not know God and his being is impoverished. He

remains opaque to the grace of the Holy Spirit, and outside the

light of Life. To fall away from God’s love lays man waste,

enslaving him to the fear of death and to the basest requirements

of his nature. It makes him proud and uncompassionate,

incapable of communion with God or his neighbor. The absence

of love opens the door to hatred, which shuts man up in the prison

of his passions and the melancholy of self-centeredness….

The commandments God gave to man envisage nothing other

than his healing. St. Isaac the Syrian underlined that Christ

“demands not the doing of the commandments, but the soul’s

amendment, because of which He gave His commandments to

rational beings. Hence, too, the Apostle Paul in his turn observed

that the law is not for the righteous, but for the transgressors.

The Lord showed forth the application of His teachings as the

sure path to His Person. According to His Gospel, authentic

knowledge of God, and communion with Him, are attained through

the keeping of His word and His commandments. Full knowledge

of God becomes accessible through the practice of the two great

commandments of love. The commandment to love one’s

enemies constitutes the summit of both commandments….

- Archim. Zacharias: “Christ, Our Way and Our Life” -

He has some good points,but strays away from my personal beliefs in various areas.all in all,a good read.

---"Christ prayed for His enemies and gave His life for them in a definitive, eternal and absolute fashion. What the Lord accomplished once and for all through the power of His Spirit remains the perfect way of union
between man and God."

So, did Christ actually accomplish this goal or not?
Are is enemies in fact "saved?" If not...it would seem an empty boast.

Prof.

In a sense yes.  Christ saved all of mankind from death and disintegration.  People sometimes miss the profundity of this idea because they take it for granted that we were always somehow destined to go to heaven or hell when we died.  But that is not a biblical idea.  The conquering of death as a key aspect of the Incarnation is ignored too much in western Christianity, but it is very apparent in the NT. 



The question is why would a person who is given new life and a chance to live eternally in a communion of love not in a state to enjoy that gift? 

Prof,



 
Here is an excerpt from an article titled "The Difference Between East and West" by John Romanides:



Let us turn our attention to those aspects of differences between Roman and Frankish theologies which have had a strong impact on the development of differences in the doctrine of the Church. The basic differences may be listed under diagnosis of spiritual ills and their therapy.

According to the Orthodox Church, the "East Romans," Glorification is the vision of God in which the equality of all men and the absolute value of each man is experienced. God loves all men equally and indiscriminately, regardless of even their moral status. God loves with the same love, both the saint and the devil. To teach otherwise, as Augustine and the Franks did, would be adequate proof that they did not have the slightest idea of what glorification was.


According to the Orthodox, God multiplies and divides himself in His uncreated energies undividedly among divided things, so that He is both present by act and absent by nature to each individual creature and everywhere present and absent at the same time. This is the fundamental mystery of the presence of God to His creatures and shows that universals do not exist in God and are, therefore, not part of the state of illumination as in the Augustinian (Frankish Latin) tradition.


According to the Orthodox, God himself is both heaven and hell, reward and punishment. All men have been created to see God unceasingly in His uncreated glory. Whether God will be for each man heaven or hell, reward or punishment, depends on man's response to God's love and on man's transformation from the state of selfish and self-centered love, to Godlike love which does not seek its own ends.


One can see how the Frankish understanding of heaven and hell poetically described by Dante, John Milton, and James Joyce are so foreign to the Orthodox tradition (but in keeping with the "Latin" tradition).


According to the Orthodox, since all men will see God, no religion can claim for itself the power to send people either to heaven or to hell. This means that true spiritual fathers prepare their spiritual charges so that vision of God's glory will be heaven, and not hell, reward, and not punishment. The primary purpose of Orthodox Christianity then, is to prepare its members for an experience which every human being will sooner or later have.





 /o:p

Thoughts Prof?

Will get back soon.

  • forP.

Ridgeback,

I'll have to confess that, while I appreciate you wished to enlighten me in response, I don't have the interest to carry on much about this particular subject. For me it strays more into strict theology, which I'm not terribly interested in.

These days, I tend to become interested in religious ideas insofar as they might have moral or practical consequences, especially between believer and non-believer.

This doesn't seem to be such a case so I just have to say to any Christian "have fun with it...sorry I'm not into it."

Cheers, and sorry.

Prof.

But Prof. you asked whether or not Christ accomplished his goal.  I also think that the difference on behavior is profound when you compare these two very different visions of God's nature and the afterlife.  If we conceive of God as vengeful and capable of having favorites then in some sense we feel like we can be the same way.  If we conceive of God as equally loving to all creatures regardless of their actions then we know that our goal in life is to achieve at least a facsimile of that level of love.  I think the behavior of fundamentalists is heavily conditioned by their theology.