By Hieromonk Savatie Bastovoi
I saw ‘Slavery and Love’. It was a new awaken. Just in order to acknowledge this awaken (or maybe to preen for having an opinion!?) I feel like hare with you some opinions. I like to think and I like-just like you like- to believe in God and in His love. I love God. But I still feel cold in my back when I read about the Flood or about His punishment or about unworthy vases (St.Paul ). There is always a ‘but’.. They who talked to God or had a divine experience still talk about His anger.. Can we separate God of the Old Testament from God from New Testament .. isn’t He the same?
I don’t want by all means answers from you because I know that the answers are in my mind and in every human being mind… I only wish to share with you that a ball is round – I know that you know- I only wish to share.. because it is round, the puns give the opportunity of an infinite reverse, answers, cues. Your teachings will always find a match in the atheistic world. I mean that there always will be someone smart enough to take advantage that the ball is round and slam you with a well structured and polished theory which… The evolutionst theory is still a matter of believe scarcely proved, some just want to have monkey among their ancestors… I think that for a human being really important is to feel faith and love and to taste it… At last… they will not accept the fake anymore. But there is a time for
It would be much too sad to believe in God which is love only because we want Him to be like that, while He is not. It would be too sad to wish this, to ove this, to picture this because this is the way our heart feels and wishes, while God is- actually- different. I felt this sorrow and this powerless in your heart, this sorrow you assume to be in other persons mind when you talk about those ‘answers’ you say you have about God.Love God is no other than God from Old Testament. The Flood which shivers you it is not a sign of God anger.
On the contrary, this is a testimony of His incommensurate love, I dare to say- of God incapacity to resist looking at human kind, is one of His ‘weak’ moments. Open the Holy Scripture and see this part- awful in tenderness – about the Flood:“And God saw that evilness of humans increased on earth and all their thoughts and wishes follow the evil all the time. And felt sorry and repent God for creating the human” Just pay attention to what God think and about how Moses said this words, because you can hardly find such a beautiful love story like Flood. Moses said that ‘God repent for creating the human!’ (1.Note of translator) .
Though is a terrible word in the same time it is a tender and gentle word. After that God says ‘I will loss from the earth the human I created.’ This was the first decision of God. God, being hurt with pain, wanted to waste everything, God – we might say- was ready to cancel Himself by making this, because He was close to destroy what He created.
And still God changed His mind. Doesn’t it look shuddering to you that God changed His mind? He changed His mind for loving the human. He decided to let Noah and his family live in order that the human kind to be not wasted. God overcomes Himself, overcomes his Justice, give up all He says and thinks just to gain back human, to save this desperate love between Him and human. Bible doesn’t let us for a moment to believe that the Flood must be perceived other way, the way the atheists and inquisitorial catechismus (from which religion was teached in theological seminaries) perceive it.
One could reproach: ‘Yes, Noah escaped but all the other people died! Weren’t they punished?’ Noah died too, it is true, later but he died. Noah died and went where the ones who died during the Flood went. All the right ones went in that place- named sheol- where they waited for Mesiah. This is how Holy Scripture is teaching us and this is how it was. Now let us see why it is not an inequity for the ones who died during the Flood comparing with Noah.
Saint John Hrisostom believe that death through drown which is slowly and awful was established by God in His incommensurate wisdom.It is awful to see the water raising for 40 days, swallowing people and animals, to see people running over the hills, climbing trees, houses- and finally dying, it is awful to see these and realize that you will die the same way.
Those moments, those days- many days- those people reminded all their sins, cried to God, broke their hearts, recover or best said- came in their minds. In this estate of absolute lucidity, they died. St.John says that God could kill all the people in one moment but He didn’t do it just because He want to let them the possibility of awakening, recovering. Leaving this world for the land of death, they could reckon and welcome our Lord Jesus Christ when He during those three days of His death talked to the ones enslaved in prison.
These are the Christians from before us, these are, probably, the saints about whom St.John the Evangelist says that ‘they opened their graves and raised to heaven ‘ in the times when our Lord Jesus Christ laid dead on His Cross. St. Peter the Apostle talks to us in his first United Epistle about the ones who died in the Flood. St.Peter says that ‘God came down and talked to the souls imprisoned, which were unduteous, in the old times, when long-time forbearance of God was waiting, in times of Noah.’ (I, Peter 3, 19-20). Peter believe that the Flood forepicture The Baptism and that the water was purifying.
All these talk about love – not anger – of God, even about His incapacity in punishing us, because He passed over His justice, His decision to lose all the people, humiliating Himself again and again just to regain them. On the other side, not all the people who did not die in the Flood were saved. One of Lot sons was such a lost soul that he sinned on the ship during the Flood. He also was one of the people who should die, lost by the water God pour, for he was not like Noah-right soul, although he was part of his family.
So this man used nothing from being not drowned, I would say he even missed the chance of recovering, the chance the ones who died in the Flood had. We can not consider as God anger the fact that someone died or was killed, by hard circumstances or by other human. Sure, there were many other cases in Old Testament when the sinners were killed in order to teach, even here there are a lot of things to be said, I rather prefer to limit the discussion to Flood and to what you asked me.
Physical death for us is not by all means a bad thing, many of proorocs were killed, St.Peter and St. Paul were killed. John the Baptist ‘The greatest born by woman ’ was killed by a whore. God Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ was killed by the ones He created, was hang on a cross, naked to be blamed, spitted. So to be killed is not a thing of shame in Bible’s point of view, it is a paying act. We could talk about God cruelty only if He wouldn’t suffer in the end a death much more cruel then any death of sinners punished in the Old Testament.
This is why I say that we have here a wonderful and great Mystery, Mystery of love which we can not share with whatever person because it always will remain hard to understand Why do you say that the ones who talked with God speak about His anger? Just the opposite, all they that saw God are talking only about His love. Take a look at John the Evangelist, he can’t get enough of repeating that God is love and they who love are living in God and only things of this kind. Take a look at St. Simon the Theologist’s hymns, take again a look at our last theologist, starcestvo Siluan the Athonite. St. Siluan, after he saw our Lord Jesus Christ repeats just one thing ‘ God is Love’. He prayed using these simple words, simple just like love: ‘Lord, do that all the people know that You are good and mercyful’. This word have such a depth, such a depth that they seem common.
It is easy to say that God is love and He is good but this is not the same with feeling and knowing that God is love. To know this you must see God. If you know other perceptions about God, tell them to me. It is true when you say that the ball is round and every word can be distorted. I still don’t think at this. I don’t want us to play with the words, just like that. You should know, I wouldn’t have bliss and caressness if I would win a fight with words only, talking with an unbeliever, which could so easy happen.
I would have nothing to gain from this if I myself wouldn’t believe and wouldn’t know that the things I say, before persuading someone, are true. I am glad that true and love are more beautiful and stronger than the words, I am glad that they are staying unchanged and unbroken even when they are powerless. The words are powerless.
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