Theology

On the Truth of God – 2

As it says in scripture: Anyone who is upright through faith will live. The retribution of God from heaven is being revealed against the ungodliness and injustice of human beings who in their injustice hold back the truth. For what can be known about God is perfectly plain to them, since God has made it plain to them: ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind’s understanding of created things. And so these people have no excuse.

They knew God and yet they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but their arguments became futile and their uncomprehending minds were darkened. While they claimed to be wise, in fact they were growing so stupid that they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an imitation, for the image of a mortal human being, or of birds, or animals, or crawling things. That is why God abandoned them in their inmost cravings to filthy practices of dishonoring their own bodies – because they exchanged God’s truth for a lie and have worshiped and served the creature instead of the Creator who is blessed for ever. Amen.

That is why God abandoned them to degrading passions: why their women have exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural practices; and the men, in a similar fashion, too, giving up normal relations with women, are consumed with passion for each other, men doing shameful things with men and receiving in themselves due reward for their perversion. In other words, since they would not consent to acknowledge God, God abandoned them to their unacceptable thoughts and indecent behavior. And so now they are steeped in all sorts of injustice, rottenness, greed and malice; full of envy, murder, wrangling, treachery and spite, libelers, slanderers, enemies of God, rude, arrogant and boastful, enterprising in evil, rebellious to parents, without brains, honor, love or pity. They are well aware of God’s ordinance: that those who behave like this deserve to die – yet they not only do it, but even applaud others who do the same” (Rom 1:17-32).

On the Truth of God – 1

Do you not realize that people who do evil will never inherit the kingdom of God? Make no mistake – the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, the self-indulgent, sodomites, thieves, misers, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers, none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. Some of you used to be of that kind: but you have been washed clean, you have been sanctified and you have been justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and through the Spirit of our God. ‘For me everything is permissible;’ maybe, but not everything does good. True, for me everything is permissible, but I am determined not to be dominated by anything.

Foods are for the stomach and the stomach is for foods; and God will destroy them both. But the body is not for sexual immorality; it is for the Lord and the Lord is for the body. God raised up the Lord and He will raise us up too by His power. Do you not realise that your bodies are members of Christ’s body? Do you think one can take parts of Christ’s body and join them to the body of a prostitute? Out of the question! Or do you not realise that anyone who attaches himself to a prostitute is one body with her, since the two, as it is said, become one flesh. But anyone who attaches himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

Keep away from sexual immorality. All other sins that people may commit are done outside the body; but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Do you not realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you and whom you received from God? You are not your own property, then; you have been bought at a price. So use your body for the glory of God (1 Cor 6:9-20).

The Almighty God is Father, not mother – Response to a repeated question

The question keeps being repeatedly and insistently asked, “Can Almighty God be a mother?” The answer is that the Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Begetter not the Begotten, the first Person of the Holy Trinity is Father, not mother. Numerous instances throughout Scripture, too lengthy to be all cited here, attest to this immutable fact, although He can certainly be as tender as a mother when needed (Is 39:15).

Jesus Christ Himself, the only-begotten Son of the Almighty, called Him “Abba” (Mk 14:36) – Father, and the Lord’s Prayer which He taught us commences with “Our Father, Who art in heaven” (Mt 6:9-13), not “Our mother who art in heaven.” It is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ, who is our Mother by virtue of having been given to us by Her Son when He was dying (Jn 19:26), not God the Almighty Father.

Here are further succint explanations and explications of why God the Almighty Creator, the first Person of the Holy Trinity, is Father and not mother:

Almighty God is Father not mother – 3

The Father is greater than I (Jn 14:28)

“The very center of a saving faith is the belief not merely in God, but in God as a Father; not merely in Christ, but in Christ as the Son of God; in Him not as a creature, but as God the Creator, born of God . . . because there is a Father, we know that there is a Son . . . The Father is greater because He is Father (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity) – The Father has His being from none other than Himself (Anselm of Canterbury, Monologium): but the Son, because He is Son, is not less . . . The Father is greater, for the Son prays to Him to render glory to manhood He has assumed. The Son is not less, for He receives back His glory with the Father . . . [Thus You are] our “Father and Father of God the Only-Begotten . . . [And] those who shall be baptized [will be baptized] in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost . . . [Thus] they have the true Names, and that those Names involve the truth” (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity).

“We can no more separate fatherhood from the Father or sonship from the Son than we can deny the existence in the Holy Ghost of that gift which we receive. Yet men of distorted mind plunge the whole matter in doubt and difficulty, fatuously reversing the clear meaning of words, and depriving the Father of His fatherhood because they wish to strip the Son of His sonship . . . We must proclaim exactly as we shall find them in the words of Scripture, the majesty and functions of Father, Son and Holy Spirit . . . This is a true statement of the mystery of that unfathomable nature which is expressed by the Name ‘Father’ . . . He has, in ‘Father’ a name to indicate His nature; He is a Father unconditioned. He does not, as men do, receive the power of paternity from an external source. He is unbegotten, everlasting, inherently eternal . . . God can never be anything but love, or anything but the Father . . . [for] He Who is Father, is wholly and entirely Father. This name admits of no compromise . . . [Therefore, restore] the Author of the Godhead to His place, while proclaiming that He has a Companion” (ibid.).

Almighty God is Father not mother – 2

“There never was a time when the Father was and the Son was not, but always the Father and always the Son, Who was begotten of Him, existed together. For He could not have received the name Father apart from the Son: for if He were without the Son, He could not be the Father: and if He thereafter had the Son, thereafter He became the Father, not having been the Father prior to this, and He was changed from that which was not the Father and became the Father . . . [Moreover] He is also the Father of all His creatures, for God, who brought us into being out of nothing, is in a stricter sense our Father than are our parents who have derived both being and begetting from Him” (John of Damascus, De fide orthodoxa).

The Almighty God is Father not mother – 1

As some keep asking the same question, whether willfully or out of lack of sufficient knowledge, here is the first repost of some posts on why God the first Person of the Holy Trinity is Father and not mother:

Israel has not known Me and My people have not understood Me (Is 1:3)

It has become common these days, especially among modernists and feminists, to conceive of God the first Person of the Holy Trinity as mother rather than Father, even using the term “She” rather than “He.” However, regardless of who may write it, say it or claim it, such socio-theological revisionism is not based in fact, being therefore an implicit if not explicit distortion of both doctrine and the deposit of Faith, because “the Father therefore establishes the Son in eternity by His integral self-giving, while the Son continually affirms the Father as Father from all eternity by the fact that He both accepts His own coming into existence through the Father and also gives Himself to the Father as Son” (Staniloae, D. 1994. The experience of God: Revelation and knowledge of the Triune God, p. 257).

Jesus Christ specifically referred to God the first Person as Father and even Abba throughout Scripture (e.g., Mt 6:9-13, 11:27, 25:34, 26:39-42; Mk 14:36; Lk 2:49, 10:22, 11:2-4, 22:42, 23:46, 24:49; Jn 12:27, 17:1, 17:6, 17:25, 20:17) – in Aramaic tradition, an intimate name that only a natural son or daughter would use in relation to their father. Christ also referred specifically to the Virgin Mary as Mother whom She really was. Moreover, God the first Person Himself specifically expressed His desire to be known as and called Father by His human creatures, namely “I thought you would call me, ‘my Father’ (Jer 3:19) and as confirmed by the Apostle Paul (Gal 4:6; Rom 8:15, 8:29).

Is Hell only for Satan? – Response to a question

The question was asked, “Is Hell reserved only for Satan?” The answer is in the negative. Hell is a place of pain and punishment for infinity that has been reserved not only for Satan and his demons, but also for all those of us who die in unrepented of and unabsolved mortal sin – that is why the latter is called “mortal.” You can learn more about mortal sin here and here, as well as about Hell here. You can also read about being in mortal sin and the great mercy, tenderness and love of God our Father.

In brief, when one has a mortal sin or sins on their soul, they may, to all intents and purposes, be alive in the flesh, but they are dead in the spirit. In other words, they are walking sepulchres. However, when one dies with even just a single mortal sin on the soul, they condemn themselves instantly to Hell, not Purgatory, because since the Holy Trinity is pure and immaculate, They cannot reside in and where the darkness of sin resides in full.

On deification – 6

Deification and theology

Theology is theoria – the vision of God (Gregory Palamas).

All truly dogmatic work has a basis in mystical experience . . . all mystical work is connected to the realm of dogma, in that it expresses and exposes the content of the experiences of divine things (Lossky, 1967/1974).

To end, deification turns man into a theologian not because he has studied theology academically and intellectually, but because he attains theoria. At this stage of the spiritual life, man

communes with the angelic powers…approaches the uncreated Light and the depths of God are revealed to him through the Spirit. This man knows many things which are hidden from others, including mysteries that exist in Holy Scripture (N. Stithatos in Vlachos, 2010).

On deification – 5

Deification and Theosis

Suddenly the Almighty reveals Himself in boundless humility. The vision floods our entire being and instinctively we bow in adoration…Prayer to this God of love and humility rises from the depths of our being…Brought from nothingness into life, man is drawn by His Creator into the fullness of divine life (Arch. Sophrony, 1997).

Only those found worthy of seeing the uncreated Light are able to gain true knowledge of God (Vlachos, 2010).

When deification occurs, it is not solely the soul which takes part in theoria but also the body, for man sees the divine light and hears the voice of God after both his soul and the physical senses have been transformed by divine grace (Vlachos, 2010). Theoria is defined as seeing the glory of God through union with Him and deification.  (more…)

On deification – 4

Illumination and Deification

He who enjoys illumination is greater and receives more that he who only tastes, for he has within himself the assurance of his visions (Maximus the Confessor, Hom. 7,5-6, PG 34, col.527).

The Divine One purifies the man who desires Him: by this purification, He creates men of divine character, conversing as with friends with those who have attained this state; and uniting Himself as God with gods, and making Himself known to them perhaps to the same extent that He knows those who are known to Him (Gregory of Nazianzus, Hom, XLV.3, PG XXXVI, 625C-628A).

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God (Mt 5:8).

Union with God became discontinuous after the fall because man became imperfect. Therefore, man can become deified and attain theoria – start seeing God – only insofar as his nous has first been healed by the trials of purification and reopened by the illumination which occurs through baptism in the Holy Spirit (Vlachos, 2005, 2010). The phrase ‘baptism in the Spirit’ as used herewith refers to it as historically understood throughout Christian tradition (e.g., Kontzevich, 1989).  (more…)

How is God the Father if Jesus came from the Virgin Mary? – Response to a question

The question was asked, “How is God the Father if Jesus (Christ) came from the Virgin Mary?” The answer is simple and also refers to the previous post. Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word, was begotten by God the Father before any creature – human or otherwise – was created:

In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things came to be, not one thing had its being but through Him. All that came to be had life in Him and that life was the light of men (Jn 1:1-4).

Jesus was, in His divinity, in His Father’s Divine Heart before His human mother, the Virgin Mary was created in the flesh. In fact, in the very beginning there was God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (the Holy Trinity) – and silence. Nothing else; no one else. God the Father always was, is, and will be (more…)

On deification – 3

Deification versus Salvation

He was made man that we might become god (Athanasius of Alexandria, De Inc, 54.3). 

Through Christ, the Word made flesh, man has access to the Father in the Holy Spirit and comes to share in the divine nature (Paul VI, 1965).

Many, especially in Western Christianity, tend to commingle the terms deification and salvation as though they have the same meaning, but this manifests poor understanding of the two terms as originally meant by the Fathers of the Church. In fact, when the language and context of deification and theosis are replaced with the language and context of salvation, Patristic theology becomes, in effect, displaced by Reformation language (Kharlamov, 2010), with the consequent loss of the original meanings. Salvation is part of deification, but

(more…)

On deification – 2

Is it not written in your Law: I said, you are gods? (Jn 10:34).

He has given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature (2 P 1:4).

Two kinds of deification exist. The first kind refers to the

elevation of man to the highest level of his natural powers, or to the full realization of man…[when] the divine power of grace is active in him…[The second kind refers to the] progress which man makes beyond the limits of his natural powers, beyond the boundaries of his nature, to the divine and supernatural level (D. Staniloae, 2002, p. 363).

For man to pass from the first kind of deification which is well-known, to the second (more…)

On deification – 1

What is deification?

Deification is the attaining of likeness to God and union with Him so far as is possible (Dionysus the Aeropagite, EH 1.3, PG 3.376a).

God, you see, wants to make you a god; not by nature, of course, like the One whom He begot but by His gift and by adoption (Augustine of Hippo, Serm. 166.4).

Deification can be defined as “God’s perfect and full penetration of man” (Staniloae, 2002, p. 362). The deification or divinization of man is not “an identification with God; it is only an assimilation, a very eminent restoration of the original divine likeness…[whereby one] participates by grace in the perfections that God possesses by nature . . . (more…)

Where in Scripture is the Heart of the Father? – Response to a question

The question was posed, “Where in Scripture does it talk about the Heart of the Father?” The answer was already posted early last year, so it is herewith reposted as follows:

The Heart of God the Father in Christianity is indicated by 27 specific references in Sacred Scripture (Bartolo-Abela, 2012), with 26 of these references being in the Old Testament whereas one of the references in in the New Testament (Bovenmars, 1991). Many of these references exist in all three major sources of Scripture as shown below: namely, the Septuagint (LXX), the Masoretic text and the Latin Vulgate. A few of the references could be considered doubtful because of their presence in only one of the aforementioned sources. The 27 references in Scripture which speak about the Heart of the Father are:  (more…)

What is the Heart of God the Father in Christianity? – Response to a question

The Heart of God the Father in Christianity is indicated by 27 specific references in Sacred Scripture, with 26 of these references being in the Old Testament whereas one of the references in in the New Testament (Bovenmars, 1991). Many of these references exist in all three major sources of Scripture as shown below: namely, the Septuagint (LXX), the Masoretic text and the Latin Vulgate. A few of the references could be considered (more…)

What is deification? – Response to a question

Deification is the attaining of likeness to God and union with Him so far as is possible (Dionysus the Aeropagite, EH 1. 3, PG 3. 376a).

God, you see, wants to make you a god; not by nature, of course, like the One whom He begot but by His gift and by adoption (Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 166.4).

Deification or the “divinization of the Christian is not an identification with God [but] an assimilation, a very eminent restoration of the original divine likeness [through a process where one] participates by grace in the perfections that God possesses by nature” (Gross, 1936/2003). Deification results (more…)

Why we were created – 3 – To become deified by God our Father

“The highest expression of the dignity and vocation of man, according to the Christian vision, is crystallized in the doctrine of the divinization of man . . . The Greek Fathers, surmounting all the encumbrances that the pagan use had accumulated on the concept of deification (theosis), made it the fulcrum of their spirituality . . . ‘The aim of life for Greek Christians — one reads in the (more…)

Seeing God the Father – 3 – From the Core of the Father’s Divine Heart

Those who have not seen this light have not seen God: for God is Light (Symeon the New Theologian)

“Divine love descends from above as a fire over a sacrifice passively laying on a mountain peak or on an altar before the unseen God. Then divine love can ravish it that it might by itself go beyond the curtains of darkness which hide God from men . . . The mind which no longer sees even itself (more…)

The reference point for God’s existence is His Fatherhood not His essence – 3

“The Father derives from Himself His being, nor does He derive a single quality from another. Rather He is Himself the beginning and cause of the existence of all things both as to their nature and mode of being. All then that the Son and the Spirit have is from the Father, even their very being: and unless the Father is, neither the Son nor the Spirit is. And unless the Father possesses a (more…)

I am He who remains faithful – Thought for the day

“This personal Absolute is the God of history, a God who takes seriously the engagement He demands of men, for He commits Himself by entering into relationship with those whom He chooses” (Lossky, V. 1974. In the image and likeness of God, p. 130).

The reference point for God’s existence is His Fatherhood not His essence – 2

For in worshiping ‘God of God’ we both confess the distinction of Persons and abide by the Monarchy (Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, 18; PG 32).

The source of power is the Father; the power is the Son; the spirit of power is the Holy Spirit (Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratione 23, 11; PG 35).

“In Greek patristic literature, one often finds the idea of causality applied to the person of the Father. The Father is called the cause of the hypostases of the Son and the Holy Spirit, or even the ‘Godhead-source.’ Sometimes He is designated simply as ‘God’ . . . the Father is the personal principle of unity (more…)

The reference point for God’s existence is His Fatherhood not His essence

The Father willed His own hypostasis (Athanasius the Great, Third discourse against the Arians)

A single God because a single Father (Athanasius the Great).

“The ultimate and the foremost point of reference for the existence of God is not the Essence, it is the Father . . . you cannot proceed from the essence of God in order to subsequently reach the Father. You start from the Father, and, because He claims to be a Person and not an essence, He bears the characteristic of not being ‘only;’ whereas essence can be understood as something on its (more…)

God the first Person is Father not mother – 4

Why is it more fitting to call God the first Person of the Trinity as ‘Father’ and the second Person as ‘Son,’ rather than as mother and daughter?

“It is more consistent to call the supreme Spirit Father than mother, for this reason, that the first and principal cause of offspring is always in the father. For, if the maternal cause is ever in some way (more…)