Saturday, June 19, 2010

Reading Group, 5g


a. It was co-suffering love for sinful mankind that accomplished redemption. The juridical understanding was that Christ took upon Himself God’s wrath.

b. If Christ had descended to hell after his spiritual suffering, but without the Cross, would anyone be able to imagine the depth of those sorrows and to understand the inner union of His soul with the whole of human nature?

c. If there were on Christian who knew only of the Savior’s spiritual suffering and another who knew of His physical torments, the latter would likely mourn His death with greater compunction.

d. This is because our nature is so coarse that it is very difficult for it to enter into the concept of the purely spiritual torments of Christ.

e. Christ’s bodily suffering and death were primarily necessary so that believers would value His spiritual suffering as incomparably greater.

f. Christ’s cleansing Blood, saving Cross, life-giving Tomb and healing wounds are all expressions and images which are substituted fro the general concept of Christ’s redeeming Passion. We are far from insisting that the only meaning of our Lord’s bodily suffer and, in particular, of His crucifixion and death was to provide the faithful with a way of conceiving His spiritual grief.

g. It may be objected that such an interpretation is unheard of.

h. Salvation is our conscious process of perfection and communion with God; therefore, the truths of revelation united with it should be bound to out inner experience and not be allowed to remain as if completely incomprehensible mysteries which we do not understand.

i. The author is convinced that the explanation of the truth of the doctrine of redemption which have been here expounded is in accord with the teaching of the Church, but is even more firmly convinced of the Church’s infallibility so that, if it were proved that this explanation does not coincide with her teaching, he would consciously renounce his views on this dogma.
  1. What do you make of the accusations leveled against this essay that: a) it introduces a novel doctrine into the Church; b) that it underemphasizes Christ’s human fear at Gethsemane; and that c) it shifts the locus of Christ’s redemption from the Cross to Gethsemane? How would Metropolitan Anthony himself reply to these charges?


Anonymous said...

1.A. To say that Met. Antony introduces a novel ( doctrine would take a bit more than a comment to prove or disprove but this is also the point of those who have retaliated to this essay. What do I think?

B. It would not seem to me that Christ’s fear would be underemphasized in Gethsemane. The Metropolitan compares Christ’s sufferings with the multitude of martyrs’ death to say that it is comparative. As well, the focal point is the suffering in the soul and not in the body as Met. Antony says why would He fear torture and dying only to be risen again. The true suffering was in His soul as it would have been on the cross as well, but for him it was in Gethsemane.

C. Again, this relates more to A. above and is fairly lengthy. Instead I would offer these two comments that came up during this chapter.

Because Metropolitan Antony was a Holy Metropolitan and I am a sinful layman what can I say? He is learned. I am being schooled. Because he has such great love for everyone and because he was a good teacher who, it seems to me, would not mind the brazenness of some student to try to retort to what he says in order that we both may learn, or else that I would be shown or encouraged to think more clearly, I offer the following reply.

I. It does not seem to me that Christ’s suffering in the Garden was in light of His anguish in the Garden but was directed to the spiritual and physical anguish that would take place on the cross for three reasons:
i) In the words of our Lord, “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me,” let us cite the rest of this passage from Matthew 26:39, “nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” This is also found in Mark 14:36 and Luke 22:42. This makes me wonder about the Metropolitan’s exegesis as the rest of the passage sheds light on the subject showing not that Christ wants the cup to pass and therefore we are to expect something to pass because of His asking. Instead, we see that Christ is making a plea to the Father and then adds that despite what He asks for, may only the will of the Father be accomplished. Therefore, the rest of the passage reveals the submission of the human will of Christ to the Divine will and is a revelation of the human nature of the God-man. Herein we are not expecting a change in circumstances but a submission to the Divine will although the human will might shy away from it.
ii) What do we make of the angel who comes to strengthen Christ? The angel is there to strengthen Him for the crucifixion.
iii) In reflecting on Christ words while on the cross, “My God, My God. Why have You forsaken me?” I wonder how Metropolitan Antony interprets this. What is happening here that Christ should say such things? Surely He is in need of great strengthening beforehand if such a situation was to come upon Him that He would cry our these words?

(cont'd) Matthew

Anonymous said...

II. Met. Antony says on p. 178: “Specifically, these theologians assert that, supposedly, the Jews (as also the pagans) viewed the killing of a sacrificial animal as the execution of an innocent being in place of [vicariously for] a sinful person or nation. I dare say that it is impossible to support this view of sacrifice with a single verse or with reference to a single event in the Old Testament…”

I thought that this is exactly what the Apostle Paul says in Hebrews ch. 9+10:
“For if the blood of bulls and of goats and ashes of a heifer, sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctifieth to the purity of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of the Christ, Who through the eternal spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works in order to worship the living God? And for this cause He is Mediator of a new testament, so that by means of a death which took place for redemption from the transgressions under the first testament, they who have been called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance” (9:13-15)

He through me for a loop with these last comments on there not needing to be a sacrifice but instead a gift. He made me scrutinize a bit more what I thought in this area as well as to re-think many verses that immediately popped into my head; the above being one of the first. If any body knows of some patristic commentary relating to this I’m all eyes.


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