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Created for God?


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#1 Byron Jack Gaist

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 08:12 AM

Dear all,

I'm wondering what the notion that we are created 'for God' means. For example St Paul, in 1 Corinthians 8:1-7,

there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Also in Blessed Augustine, Confessions (Lib 1,1-2,2.5,5: CSEL 33, 1-5)

You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You

There are probably many other quotations suggesting God made us for Himself. But what does that mean? If we answer that we are created for God, because we are built in such a way as to be able to find peace and salvation only in union with God, that may be correct Christian anthropology, but it surely begs the question - why are we created like that? What did God want in creating us in the first place, and then calling us to union with Him? What could we possibly have to give Him? And if He created us purely out of superabundant love, then in what sense is it truly loving that we are created for Him, as opposed to, say, for ourselves? Wouldn't it have been more loving to have created us for ourselves?

God and the Devil are often presented as fighting for man's soul. I think we know that the Devil wants our soul to stoke the fires of hell with; but what does God want our soul for? Does it give Him pleasure to see us having a good time in heaven? Then why charge an entrance fee?

Forgive me if these questions sound irreverent; I don't mean them as such.

In Christ
Byron

#2 Kusanagi

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 09:53 AM

St John Chrysostom said we were created out of the love from God and wanted his creation to share in this love and understand it and to return this love to Him.

He wrote an article about the reason for our being.

#3 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 02:00 PM

God created us so that He can love us, therefore He created us for Himself. That is why we are here.

Seems relatively simple to this bear of admittedly little brain

Herman the simple Pooh

#4 Byron Jack Gaist

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 11:09 AM

Dear Kusanagi and Herman,

Thanks for your replies. As I said in my initial post,

And if He created us purely out of superabundant love, then in what sense is it truly loving that we are created for Him, as opposed to, say, for ourselves? Wouldn't it have been more loving to have created us for ourselves?

Or indeed, to have asked us if we wanted to be created? It seems like a love which obliges the Other into being. I'm sure it's not like that, but I'd like to hear something about the possible nature of divine love.

In Christ, Byron

#5 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 12:31 PM

Or indeed, to have asked us if we wanted to be created?

How could we be asked whether we wanted to be created if we were not created to ask?

And if He created us purely out of superabundant love, then in what sense is it truly loving that we are created for Him, as opposed to, say, for ourselves? Wouldn't it have been more loving to have created us for ourselves?

No for God is the Author of Life partaking in the life of the Uncreated Trinity through God the Word our Lord Jesus Christ is far more than living for ourselves living for ourselves would only give us so much by living for God He gives us far more.

In Christ.
Daniel,

#6 Jan Sunqvist

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 12:34 PM

I am not exactly sure what you meant by this question although it reminds me of my struggle with some teachings on Hell, as it seems to me sometimes, perhaps in less than my best moments, that God gave us, weak and fallible creatures too big a responsibility to choose our ETERNAL destiny. But in better moments, what Herman wrote, seems like the only important truth really.

#7 Father David Moser

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 03:00 PM

Or indeed, to have asked us if we wanted to be created? It seems like a love which obliges the Other into being. I'm sure it's not like that, but I'd like to hear something about the possible nature of divine love.

Byron,

Did you ask to be born? Do your parents love you? or if you are a parent Do you love your children? Did you ask them if they wanted to be born? I think that we don't even need to look to the divine level if we are to see that there is no real meaning to that assertion.

Fr David

Edited by Olga, 30 July 2011 - 03:06 PM.
Corrected quote box formatting


#8 Jan Sunqvist

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 06:09 PM

Byron,

Did you ask to be born? Do your parents love you? or if you are a parent Do you love your children? Did you ask them if they wanted to be born? I think that we don't even need to look to the divine level if we are to see that there is no real meaning to that assertion.

Fr David



Matthew 26:24 'The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born'

This one is hard to digest.

#9 Paul Cowan

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 08:12 PM

Why? Judas was welcomed into the inner circle. He heard and saw the exact same things the other 11 did. He Chose to do what he did. It was his choice. Compare his betrayal to Peter's. They both betrayed Him. Only Peter handled it 'better'. Just because God has prior knowledge of what we will do does not mean He is obligated to stop us. The devil does NOT control us. We still have free will.

#10 Thomas Brunson

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 11:57 PM

Hi Byron, I think that we can discuss many such issues, but my question is what do we profit from this discussion. The more important thing we must do is respond to the love of God who created us out of love and wanted to share His beautiful creation with us and strive to have union and communion with God, that is of course if we are serious about living with Him in His Heavenly Kingdom, as we know that we have "free will" and can choose not to. God gave us free will because true love is reciprocal, not forced or demanded. We cannot make anyone love us, (truly love us) and God wants our love but will not force Himself on us. If we spend our energies truly seeking God we would be making much better use of our time. +Thomas

#11 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 01:20 AM

Matthew 26:24 'The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born'

This one is hard to digest.


Perhaps this may aid your digestion. The specific term is "hyperbole". Christ also said it is better to pluck out your eye and cut off your hand but I don't think we refer to those verses as "commands".

Herman the hyperbolic Pooh

#12 Byron Jack Gaist

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 09:35 AM

Dear all,

Thank you for all these interesting responses.

Daniel, you write

living for ourselves would only give us so much by living for God He gives us far more.

This seems like one good reason why the Lord chose to create us for Himself. If we can trust there is neither selfishness nor guile in Him, then surely the fact of our being created for Him is to our benefit. "For Thou art the Offerer and the Offered, the Receiver and the Received". If God is sacrificing Himself and receiving Himself from us in the Eucharist, I wonder if this relates also to the purpose of our creation? Kallistos Ware says we are eucharistic beings...how do we benefit from the thanks we are giving Him with the flesh he took from us, whom He created? What else do you think we may be receiving 'more' of by being created for God?

Thomas writes

my question is what do we profit from this discussion

Surely nothing, Thomas, if our intention is to slight God in some way, but I'm hoping that in trying to understand His 'motives' - which will, I trust, be much purer than any human motives - we may come closer to Him. He has nothing to lose, and we everything to gain!

Fr. David, you write

Did you ask to be born? Do your parents love you? or if you are a parent Do you love your children? Did you ask them if they wanted to be born? I think that we don't even need to look to the divine level if we are to see that there is no real meaning to that assertion.

On the contrary Fr David, I think you've brought my question even closer to home and 'hit the nail on the head' in terms of its potential meaning! I have frequently commented in frustration that I did not ask to be born into such a cruel world; and I had many misgivings about having children, and having done so I'm not always sure I did the best by them! Was I motivated by pure love, or were biological nature and social pressure at the helm? I certainly love my children now, but the question of what my motives were in 'creating' them, as well as that of my own parents in 'creating' me, is a potent one!

To Herman the reply is simple:

God created us so that He can love us, therefore He created us for Himself. That is why we are here.

Alas, not all of us have such a clear picture of what God was about in creating man; especially when considering the paradox of freedom and suffering. I fundamentally agree with this Herman, but I think it is worth exploring further, if only to avoid taking it as a pat response...was God lonely? What a place to keep His guests!

In Christ
Byron

#13 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 12:34 PM

I am not God, I don't claim to be able to plumb the depths of His Wisdom. But I do not believe that Orthodoxy teaches that God was/is/can be "lonely". God is totally encompassing, nothing exists outside of God, so to think He could be "missing" something just doesn't sound orthodox. What God made was "good", the mess we have made of it; not so much. I guess He could have created us as robots or puppets that merely do what He wants, there are many who believe such, but somehow this bear of admittedly little brain thinks otherwise. He gives us (if we let Him) so much, and we can really give Him nothing in return except our love. Does God need our love? No, that is what makes His FREE GIFT that much more so incredible.

Why do we need a reason? The God of Job is indeed incomprehensible. Trying to totally figure Him out is going to be an exercise in frustration. I leave such activities to bigger minds than mine.

Herman the Pooh

#14 Byron Jack Gaist

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 06:38 AM

Dear Herman,

Why do we need a reason? The God of Job is indeed incomprehensible. Trying to totally figure Him out is going to be an exercise in frustration. I leave such activities to bigger minds than mine.


You're right, the God of Job is incomprehensible. I certainly do not aim to "figure Him out", or even to "plumb the depths of His Wisdom". As I said previously, I begin any quest to understand God's 'motives' on the assumption that His motives, if He has any, are so pure that whatever conclusions there are to draw, will ultimately tell us more about ourselves and where we need to be, rather than about God and where He really is. It seems to me that's partly what theology is about - where, for example, you say that we can give Him nothing in return except our love, which He also doesn't need, there you too are making a statement about God; one which I and probably other Orthodox Christians would agree with. So is there any harm in asking how we've come to know this about the Lord? Is it even harmful to try to imagine what His non-need may be about, provided we acknowledge that we are merely speculating? If God is a "Receiver" as the Eucharist suggests, then His receiving in non-need must be very different to the way someone in need may receive...

Perhaps this issue is irritating to some, or even irreverent to others. I apologize if that's so, that's not my intention, and I'm willing to let it rest!

In Christ
Byron

#15 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 01:16 PM

"For Thou art the Offerer and the Offered, the Receiver and the Received". If God is sacrificing Himself and receiving Himself from us in the Eucharist, I wonder if this relates also to the purpose of our creation?

I think so I know not nor how to speak of it.

Kallistos Ware says we are eucharistic beings...how do we benefit from the thanks we are giving Him with the flesh he took from us, whom He created?

I spose that giving thanks to God is part of our relationship with God. It is like as a man who is given many gifts by his lord not just what he needs to survive but to overflowing, he gives thanks to show his gratitude and thankfulness, that he is glad both in that which his lord gave him and his lord's kindness. But again it is more as a man's very life is dependent on God both that he was created and that God is Life without him there is nothingness.

How does man benefit I now not but even the man giving thanks to his lord he benefits within himself and grows nearer to his lord, how much more with the Lord of Glory, the Lord of all men and all creation, who is both Healer of all.

What else do you think we may be receiving 'more' of by being created for God?

I'm not sure what you mean, living for God, partaking in the Life of the Holy Trinity is all there can be nothing better.

Perhaps this issue is irritating to some, or even irreverent to others.

For me it is just too hard to answer we are starting to look at thinks that are beyond my comprehension they are to be believed but mayhap not explained. Maybe there are some of the Holy Father's that look at this in more depth?

Also I'm sure you meant no disrespect but it is better when speaking of his Excellency to say Metropolitan Kallistos [Ware] and not just Kallistos Ware.

In Christ.
Daniel,

Edited by Herman Blaydoe, 01 August 2011 - 01:57 PM.
fixed quote tag


#16 Byron Jack Gaist

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 05:42 AM

Dear Daniel,

Thanks for your response.

Also I'm sure you meant no disrespect but it is better when speaking of his Excellency to say Metropolitan Kallistos [Ware] and not just Kallistos Ware.

I didn't mean any disrespect. Metropolitan Kallistos [Ware] has helped me and thousands of other Orthodox in sorting through what we hold to be true, and what we cherish.

I think you are right, the mind kind of stops at certain points in the Liturgy, doesn't it? Growing nearer to God and partaking in the life of the Holy Trinity. Maybe further words are unnecessary...but I can just hear the voice of a philosophical sceptic inside me: "oh, so you are created for God in order to get closer to God? That's a tautology young man! What is it supposed to mean?" :-)

In Christ
Byron

#17 Thomas Brunson

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 03:41 PM

Jack, when Adam and Eve were created by God, before the fall they were intrinsically part of God in a way that we are not now. It was Adam who named all the animals and gave them appropriate names according to their kind. Adam and Eve walked in the garden with God. Adam and Eve lived in an angelic state and had direct communion and union with God as they could actually be in His presence. After the fall, all that was lost, hence during Great Lent we hear that Adam was sitting outside the garden wailing and lamenting what he had lost. So if you wonder what it means to get closer to God, think and ponder what Adam and Eve had prior to their fall from Grace. +Thomas

#18 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 07:38 PM

I didn't mean any disrespect. Metropolitan Kallistos [Ware] has helped me and thousands of other Orthodox in sorting through what we hold to be true, and what we cherish.

I did not think you did but I want to make sure he (and all other bishops) is addressed rightly.

I think you are right, the mind kind of stops at certain points in the Liturgy, doesn't it? Growing nearer to God and partaking in the life of the Holy Trinity. Maybe further words are unnecessary...but I can just hear the voice of a philosophical sceptic inside me: "oh, so you are created for God in order to get closer to God? That's a tautology young man! What is it supposed to mean?" :-)

I find it goes beyond me to think to much about this reason is only so much use faith goes beyond. What you have to remember is being created for God and getting closer to God are for our benefit as God Is then to be created for Him is the best thing for us. What is better communion with the created or the Uncreated?

In Christ.
Daniel,

#19 Byron Jack Gaist

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 05:42 AM

Dear Daniel and Thomas,

You are both right. Many thanks for your postings.

In Christ
Byron




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