"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
C. S. Lewis

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Justic of God


Justice is an important issue, most specifically among politicians seeking reelection, and to mankind in general as well. And yet, when we speak of justice it is most typically concerning the other person... not ourselves. Somehow we human beings typically fail to see our own culpability concerning the demands of justice. As is often said, “Everyone wants to go to heaven... just not right now!”
According to John Rawls, the late American philosopher and a leading figure in moral and political philosophy, "Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought." The Church, however, and contrary to the thinking of many, is decidedly not simply a social institution. The Church is a gathering, a coming together, of a people who live, ostensibly at least, by an unearthly or supra-earthly code. Not a list of codes or Commandments do Christians live by, but by something much more demanding, somewhat confusing, and summed up in the words of Jesus Christ when He said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment and the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
We ought always look to the Saints of the Church as living examples of Christianity. And so, I quote here from Saint Silouan the Athonite, by Archimandrite Sophrony.
“The Staretz himself always spoke only of God’s love, never of His Justice, but I purposely got him to talk about this, and here approximately is what he said:
“‘One cannot say that God is unjust – that there is injustice in Him – but neither can one say that He is just in our sense of the word. St. Isaac of Syria wrote, 'Do not presume to call God just, for what sort of justice is this – we sinned, yet He gave up Hid only-begotten Son on the cross.' To which we could add, we sinned, yet God appointed His holy angels to minister unto our salvation. But the angels, filled with love as they are, themselves desired to wait upon us and thereby accept affliction in our service. And the Lord surrendered the animals and the rest of the created world to the law of corruption because it was not proper for them to remain immune when man, for whose sake they were created, through his own sin became a slave to corruption. So, willingly or unwillingly, 'the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now,' in compassion for man. And this is not the law of justice – it is the law of love.’
“Christ-like love, as Divine Strength, as the gift of the One Holy Spirit, working all and in all, makes all men ontologically one. Love takes to itself the life of the loved one. He who loves God is drawn into the life of the Godhead. He who loves his brother encloses in his own hypostatic being the life of his brother. The one who loves the whole world, in spirit will embrace the whole world.”
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(from Saint Silouan the Athonite, by Archimandrite Sophrony, Monastery of St. John the Baptist: Essex, 1991, p. 122-123)

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