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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:31 pm 
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Closet Catholic wrote:
Before people reply to your question on repentance, rako, could you please define the word?

Closet Catholic:
I feel that I've answered my own question Okay in my earlier Reply above, saying that there are a range of views among Catholic writers on whether one can repent in the afterlife, and that the answer could depend on the nature of the repentance. The Catholic Answers Q&A radio program for example, says that the righteous do continue to repent in the afterlife, since they are aware of their past absolved sins and regret them. But it says that they don't feel the guilt of it because the sins were absolved. (https://www.catholic.com/video/why-cant ... ell-repent)

I was referring to the word repentance in II Clement when he said that we should repent now on earth while there is still time because afterwards it will be like a clay pot in the oven, whereby if it breaks, the potter can't fix it.

Bear in mind that II Clement was writing in Greek within about a century of the writing of the New Testament. The Biblical term is Metanoia, which you can find in Strong's Dictionary: (https://biblehub.com/greek/3341.htm)
Quote:
Usage: repentance, a change of mind, change in the inner man.

μετάνοια, μετανοίας, ἡ (μετανοέω), a change of mind: as it appears in one who repents of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done, Hebrews 12:17 on which see εὑρίσκω, 3 ((Thucydides 3, 36, 3); Polybius 4, 66, 7; Plutarch, Peric c. 10; mor., p. 26 a.; τῆς ἀδελφοκτονιας μετάνοια, Josephus, Antiquities 13, 11, 3); especially the change of mind of those who have begun to abhor their errors and misdeeds, and have determined to enter upon a better course of life, so that it embraces both a recognition of sin and sorrow for it and hearty amendment, the tokens and effects of which are good deeds (Lactantius, 6, 24, 6 would have it rendered in Latin byresipiscentia)

(A. V. repentance): Matthew 3:8, 11; Luke 3:8, (16 Lachmann); Luke 15:7; Luke 24:47; Acts 26:20; βάπτισμα μετανοίας, a baptism binding its subjects to repentance (Winer's Grammar, § 30, 2 β.), Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 13:24; Acts 19:4; (ἡ εἰς (τόν) Θεόν μετάνοια, Acts 20:21, see μετανοέω, at the end); διδόναι τίνι μετάνοιαν, to give one the ability to repent, or to cause him to repent, Acts 5:31; Acts 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25; τινα εἰς μετάνοιαν καλεῖν, Luke 5:32, and Rec. in Matthew 9:13; Mark 2:17; ἄγειν, Romans 2:4 (Josephus, Antiquities 4, 6, 10 at the end); ἀνακαινίζειν, Hebrews 6:6; χωρῆσαι εἰς μετάνοιαν, to come to the point of repenting, or be brought to repentance, 2 Peter 3:9 (but see χωρέω, 1 at the end); μετάνοια ἀπό νεκρῶν ἔργων, that change of mind by which we turn from, desist from, etc. Hebrews 6:1 (Buttmann, 322 (277)); used merely of the improved spiritual state resulting from deep sorrow for sin, 2 Corinthians 7:9f (Sir. 44:16: Wis. 11:24 (23)

Maybe the Biblical usage is a one-time act, wherein the person committed sin and was dedicated to the sin, but then changed his mind and heart ("repented"), so that he no longer was dedicated to the sin. Once you have performed the action of repenting or changing your mind, you are no longer changing your mind about / "repenting of" your past action, as you have already changed your mind/repented.

If my understanding of the Biblical term above is true, II Clement could be expressing the idea that (A) for the righteous person all of whose sins are absolved, he no longer repents (changes his mind), as he doesn't have anything to repent of; and (B) the wicked person in the afterlife doesn't repent or change his mind due to the state of the soul in the afterlife, which is like a clay pot in the potter's oven that can't be remolded any more.

My response to this would be that (A) Maybe a pious person could still continue to "change their mind" about their acceptance to their past sins, as they continue to be in the state of repentance of those sins. The Biblical concept of repentance could include a state of repentance according to Strong's Dictionary. At Absolution, a priest can ask if the person is sorry for, regrets, repents of their sins, and the person says Yes, that they do in fact regret and turn away from their past sins. They have changed their minds and they continue to be in the state of a changed mind. As for (B), the wicked, it looks like there is a range of views among Catholics on the topic, with some like Aquinas saying that they have repented/changed their mind in the afterlife about the practical wisdom of their actions. This implies that the mind at least, in the afterlife, is able to change and is not in such a fixed state as clay in an oven, as it can reevaluate past decisions. Further, if the person didn't feel remorse in this life in their heart, but does feel major remorse in the afterlife as Blessed Faustina says, then it appears that the person has changed the state of their heart regarding their sin in the afterlife, ie. that their heart feels remorse/regret.

Also regarding (B) I don't remember reading modern Catholic writers specifying that the regret involved mental recognition of the immorality of the sinful acts. But it seems conceivable, and those Orthodox who have a version of Apokastasis would probably include it in their theory.


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:09 am 
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rako wrote:
Maybe the Biblical usage is a one-time act, wherein the person committed sin and was dedicated to the sin, but then changed his mind and heart ("repented"), so that he no longer was dedicated to the sin. Once you have performed the action of repenting or changing your mind, you are no longer changing your mind about / "repenting of" your past action, as you have already changed your mind/repented.

If my understanding of the Biblical term above is true, II Clement could be expressing the idea that (A) for the righteous person all of whose sins are absolved, he no longer repents (changes his mind), as he doesn't have anything to repent of; and (B) the wicked person in the afterlife doesn't repent or change his mind due to the state of the soul in the afterlife, which is like a clay pot in the potter's oven that can't be remolded any more.
Yes, that is the biblical definition of repentance. Repentance does not just mean 'I am sorry for my sins' but 'I am sorry for my sins AND I turn away from them to God (by his grace).'

rako wrote:
My response to this would be that (A) Maybe a pious person could still continue to "change their mind" about their acceptance to their past sins, as they continue to be in the state of repentance of those sins. … They have changed their minds and they continue to be in the state of a changed mind.
But that's a logical self-contradiction. Repentance is the act of turning away, not its result (i.e. being of a changed mind). Once you have repented, you no longer need to repent, unless you fall back into sin and need again to turn away from sin. You are confusing categories here.


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 10:14 am 
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rako wrote:
If my understanding of the Biblical term above is true, II Clement could be expressing the idea that (A) for the righteous person all of whose sins are absolved, he no longer repents (changes his mind), as he doesn't have anything to repent of; and (B) the wicked person in the afterlife doesn't repent or change his mind due to the state of the soul in the afterlife, which is like a clay pot in the potter's oven that can't be remolded any more.


This is entirely Clement's opinion, which, unless it can be proved that he received this from divine revelation, I do not have to ascribe to.

I find it interesting to think about this issue. When people say that the sinner is "stuck in his sins and cannot change in the next life," my response would be "Based on what?" The fact that we pray for the dead shows us that the possibility of change exists in the next life. Furthermore, the descriptions we see of heaven itself show us that in some sense, there must be change or passage of time. Take the book of the Apocalypse, for example. We see the heavenly beings chanting "Holy, holy, holy." In order to do that, there has to be the possibility of change of time or existence. If there was not, they would be stuck on one note forever. To make music, you must change from one note to the next, from one word to the next.

Only God is immutable and above time.

Then there is the idea that sinners become so hardened that they cannot repent. Really? Harder than some of the worst sinners who ever lived on this earth? I have a dog in this fight because between 18 & 22, I was the most despicable, evil, sin-loving being you could imagine. I loved my sin and couldn't get enough of it, coming close to death a couple of times in my rampant excesses. Or what of St. Mary of Egypt, who also loved sin, yet is now a saint because of her life of deep repentance an ascesis? Is there a number of sins that God cannot overcome?

Then there is the issue of His love. To read certain authors in regards to eschatology, one would think that God is love until you die, and then He becomes the angry, vindictive Judge who no longer acts in love, but rather in displeasure. Do such authors even consider what they are writing? Do they ever stop to meditate on what the word "immutable" means in light of "God is love?" I don't think so. I think they are more colored in their thinking by presuppositions which have been uncritically handed down over the centuries by men who found it easier to promote them than to enter into critical thinking about these issues.

These are only my opinions, and certainly if Clement's opinions are open to question, then so are mine. Yet the one verse "God is love," continues to color and change my whole outlook on both life and the next life, so that when I hear anything from any source, including my own thoughts (as my spiritual director admonishes me) I run it past that one reality....

God IS LOVE.


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:28 pm 
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Which you understand as, "God does what I think I would do if I were God, based on how I understand love." You don't understand God, and you don't understand love, and you submit everything to a test based on what you don't understand.


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:02 pm 
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Closet Catholic wrote:
rako wrote:
Maybe the Biblical usage is a one-time act, wherein the person committed sin and was dedicated to the sin, but then changed his mind and heart ("repented"), so that he no longer was dedicated to the sin. Once you have performed the action of repenting or changing your mind, you are no longer changing your mind about / "repenting of" your past action, as you have already changed your mind/repented.

If my understanding of the Biblical term above is true, II Clement could be expressing the idea that (A) for the righteous person all of whose sins are absolved, he no longer repents (changes his mind), as he doesn't have anything to repent of; and (B) the wicked person in the afterlife doesn't repent or change his mind due to the state of the soul in the afterlife, which is like a clay pot in the potter's oven that can't be remolded any more.
Yes, that is the biblical definition of repentance. Repentance does not just mean 'I am sorry for my sins' but 'I am sorry for my sins AND I turn away from them to God (by his grace).'

rako wrote:
My response to this would be that (A) Maybe a pious person could still continue to "change their mind" about their acceptance to their past sins, as they continue to be in the state of repentance of those sins. … They have changed their minds and they continue to be in the state of a changed mind.
But that's a logical self-contradiction. Repentance is the act of turning away, not its result (i.e. being of a changed mind). Once you have repented, you no longer need to repent, unless you fall back into sin and need again to turn away from sin. You are confusing categories here.

Closet Catholic:
The act of turning away (rotating) can be expressed in the same terms as its result, being in a turned state. Hence the expression of turning or changing one's mind is not in contradiction to being in a turned or changed state.
On the other hand, I think that your expression, "Once you have repented, you no longer need to repent, unless you fall back into sin" is also one that many or most people would agree with. Let me illustrate the two expressions below.

Regarding category (A) the repentant righteous, I was reading the Shepherd of Hermas today, and in Commandment IV, Chp. 3, it shares the idea that there is no "repenting" of past absolved sins, due to the absolution:
Quote:
For he who has received remission of his sins ought not to sin any more, but to live in purity.
...
For those who have now believed, and those who are to believe, have not repentance for their sins; but they have remission of their previous sins. For to those who have been called before these days, the Lord has set repentance. For the Lord, knowing the heart, and foreknowing all things, knew the weakness of men and the manifold wiles of the devil, that he would inflict some evil on the servants of God, and would act wickedly towards them. The Lord, therefore, being merciful, has had mercy on the work of His hand, and has set repentance for them; and He has entrusted to me power over this repentance.

In the passage above, the person no longer repents, either because repenting is a one-time act, like the act of rotating the body and stopping, or because "repenting" is limited to sins for which one remains guilty, and here, the person's sins are absolved.

Sometimes in the Bible, repenting can be an ongoing action, as in Luke 17:4, where Jesus discusses a brother's repenting of sinning against another action:
Quote:
And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

In the verse above, the brother may have already turned away in his mind and heart from a particular sin that he committed by the time that he announces to his harmed brother, "I repent". But since the turning away or repenting is an ongoing action, he can use the word in the present sense, comparable to "I walk", "I turn", etc. Similar word usage can be found where the terms "regret" or "repent" can be used interchangeable. Thus HELPS Word Studies says:
Quote:
metanoéō (from 3326 /metá, "changed after being with" and 3539 /noiéō, "think") – properly, "think differently after," "after a change of mind"; to repent (literally, "think differently afterwards").

Thayer's Greek Lexicon says:
Quote:
to change one's mind, i. e. to repent (to feel sorry that one has done this or that...)

So on one hand, forgiven, pious penitents do not repent in the sense of performing a one-time act of turning from sins of which they bear a burden of guilt.
But on the other hand, the forgiven penitents do repent in the sense that they continue to be in a state of repentance (hence "penitents") in the ongoing action of turning or being turned away from their past sin. To use the Word Study above, they continue to "think differently after" ("meta-noieo") their sin.
This use of the term continues in modern terms, since as I mentioned, the Catholic Answers Radio program said that the righteous do "repent" in the afterlife, since they are aware of their past absolved sins and regret them. But it says that they don't feel the guilt of it because the sins were absolved. ("Why Can't the Souls in Hell Repent?" https://www.catholic.com/video/why-cant ... ell-repent).


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:28 pm 
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rako wrote:
The act of turning away (rotating) can be expressed in the same terms as its result, being in a turned state.
No, it cannot, because it would be a self-contradiction. Turning away and being turned away is not the same thing, just like eating and having eaten or driving and having driven is not the same thing. One is an act, the other the result of said act. We cannot repent of an act already repented for.

rako wrote:
Hence the expression of turning or changing one's mind is not in contradiction to being in a turned or changed state.
Self-contradictions doesn't stop being self-contradictions just because we want them to.


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:40 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Which you understand as, "God does what I think I would do if I were God, based on how I understand love." You don't understand God, and you don't understand love, and you submit everything to a test based on what you don't understand.


1Co 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

Mat 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

If an eternal burning hell of fire is true, a fire that never ends because God is ever angry with the wicked, a fire that gives God and the saints pleasure in watching the torment of the damned as they suffer, then all the above is a lie. Here is your definition of love - not mine - God'S! And He Himself is subject to that which He has described as love because He is love.

Your insult of me is noted. I don't think I deserved that comment.


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 10:27 pm 
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I didn't intend to insult you. Everything I said about understanding applies to me too. If that wasn't what you meant, please tell me what it was so I can either clarify or withdraw it.


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:24 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I didn't intend to insult you. Everything I said about understanding applies to me too. If that wasn't what you meant, please tell me what it was so I can either clarify or withdraw it.


Okay. That is certainly much clearer. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that God's love is not the same as our love, and our attempts to describe it in our understanding fail. Did I get that correctly?

Yet within the boundaries of human language, knowledge, and understanding, God has given us in the Scriptures I posted something upon which we can set a foundation of what love is. It is not left to our vain imaginations. If it were, being broken and sinful human beings, we would say things like "Beating my child senseless when he does wrong is the way I show love to him." Or something just as off the wall. God has given us this definition in Scripture which certainly must apply to Him as well as us.


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 1:16 pm 
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If I understand you correctly, you are saying that God's love is not the same as our love, and our attempts to describe it in our understanding fail. Did I get that correctly?
Yes.

In a strict sense, most theologians will hold that it's impossible to make accurate positive statements about God because God is always more unlike anything in our experience than He is like it. (This is called "apophatic theology," and it's at least as popular in the East as in the West.) For example, when we say that God is one, what we mean is that God has no parts, because God is one in a way that transcends our experience of unity; when we say that God is omnipresent, what we mean is that there are no limits to God's presence; etc.

Less strict theologians will hold, reasonably (IMHO) that it's possible to make positive statements about God that are true by analogy, but a key point about analogies is that they always fail at some point.

Which means that it's dangerous to take one principle, no matter how true, and run an entire theology through it, because we're always running the risk of missing something important.


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 2:37 pm 
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LotE - how do you guard against placing God under necessity in your scheme?


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:52 pm 
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theJack wrote:
LotE - how do you guard against placing God under necessity in your scheme?


This is an excellent question. I have asked a compatriot, a priest, about this, and am awaiting an answer.


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:13 pm 
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Light of the East wrote:
theJack wrote:
LotE - how do you guard against placing God under necessity in your scheme?


This is an excellent question. I have asked a compatriot, a priest, about this, and am awaiting an answer.

Has your compatriot responded, yet?


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:38 pm 
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theJack wrote:
Light of the East wrote:
theJack wrote:
LotE - how do you guard against placing God under necessity in your scheme?


This is an excellent question. I have asked a compatriot, a priest, about this, and am awaiting an answer.

Has your compatriot responded, yet?


He responded with what I consider to be a very wise statement which I really should take heed to:

Quote:
My suggestion is to avoid the theological disputes about Apocatastasis, especially on the internet with your fellow Roman Catholics. They will not listen to you because in their judgment you are espousing a position contrary to the infallible teaching of the Church (i.e., heresy). Hence they will never listen to your arguments. Your best strategy is to exclusively focus your comments on the absolute and unconditional love of God and to keep posing that challenge. By God's grace perhaps someone will see the deep meaning of the gospel affirmation that God is Love.

I truly believe that online disputation is largely worthless and destructive to the souls of those who engage in it. I understand the attraction of it, but it will only damage you in the long run.


I think at this point I would be wise to refrain from further commentary on this whole issue. I am certainly not going to change anyone's mind and it is, as Fr. Aiden states, damaging both to friendships and spirituality.


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:04 pm 
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That's fine, but I'm not asking about apocatastasis per se. I'm asking about your theology proper. I'm sure you respect St Maximus the Confessor. Have you read his Dispute with Phyrrus? He goes into great detail on important doctrinal points precisely because some of those points would have placed God under necessity.

I'm sure you recognize that if you hold a position that places God under necessity, there must be something wrong with your statement, or else it must be nuanced in such a way that it does not, in fact, so place Him. So I am asking you to address that--not to prove that no one goes to hell. I'm simply taking your views as true for the sake of argument and asking how they don't imply heresies regarding the Godhead Itself.

So, again, I ask: how does your view not place God under necessity, thereby denying the Divinity Itself?


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:09 pm 
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theJack wrote:
That's fine, but I'm not asking about apocatastasis per se. I'm asking about your theology proper. I'm sure you respect St Maximus the Confessor. Have you read his Dispute with Phyrrus? He goes into great detail on important doctrinal points precisely because some of those points would have placed God under necessity.

I'm sure you recognize that if you hold a position that places God under necessity, there must be something wrong with your statement, or else it must be nuanced in such a way that it does not, in fact, so place Him. So I am asking you to address that--not to prove that no one goes to hell. I'm simply taking your views as true for the sake of argument and asking how they don't imply heresies regarding the Godhead Itself.

So, again, I ask: how does your view not place God under necessity, thereby denying the Divinity Itself?

Could that argument not be applied both ways?


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:14 pm 
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Anyway, I understand what 'God is love' means. I understand that I'm only scraping the surface of my understanding of 'God is love', but I understand enough to KNOW that 'God is love' does not mean the opposite of what any sane and sensible person understands love to be.

Extreme intellectualising about God's love does not help in understanding God's love. It's not an intellectual thing. Intellectually trying to understand 'God is love' is like intellectually trying to understand what a mango tastes like. No need for intellectualising when you actually taste it.


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:43 pm 
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theJack wrote:
That's fine, but I'm not asking about apocatastasis per se. I'm asking about your theology proper. I'm sure you respect St Maximus the Confessor. Have you read his Dispute with Phyrrus? He goes into great detail on important doctrinal points precisely because some of those points would have placed God under necessity.

I'm sure you recognize that if you hold a position that places God under necessity, there must be something wrong with your statement, or else it must be nuanced in such a way that it does not, in fact, so place Him. So I am asking you to address that--not to prove that no one goes to hell. I'm simply taking your views as true for the sake of argument and asking how they don't imply heresies regarding the Godhead Itself.

So, again, I ask: how does your view not place God under necessity, thereby denying the Divinity Itself?


Rather than try to immediately answer this question (which is a bit above my pay grade because I have not studied the issue of divine necessity) let me see if I can get a handle on your concerns by asking a question.

What problem do you see with God being under divine necessity? I think I know the answer, but I would like to hear your view.


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:19 pm 
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You seem to present the idea of eternal damnation in an almost moral context, as if it would violate some moral law for God condemn people to an eternal, conscious hell. Secondly, you seem to hold that a world in which everyone is saved is objectively better, even from God's point of view, than a world in which few or even any are saved, and that God would thereby prefer the former to the latter. Both of these views place God under necessity by requiring Him to act in accordance with something outside of His own will.


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 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:33 pm 
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Euthyphro? Is that you?


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