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Romans 8:28-30, Predestination of Souls


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#1 Rob Bergen

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 05:43 PM

Dearest Members of the Orthodox Community!

I was wondering if anyone can point me to specific sources that exegete "predestination" verses in an Orthodox manner. That is, I am looking for Patristic commentaries on Romans 8 and Ephesians 1 and 2, etc. I found a few resources, and specifically a commentary by St. John Chrysostom on the book of Romans. I am writing an in-depth article on Reformed Christianity and Predestination, and I am looking for sources to convince Calvinists the error of their ways. I have also looked into the assumption that Blessed Augustine was responsible for the idea of predestination (the Protestant view), and it does not seem to hold much weight. If anyone can point me to some of Augustine's writings on his ideas leading to predestination that would be helpful as well.

Thank you all very kindly, in His name!

Rob

#2 Sacha

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 08:32 PM

I'm not orthodox, but fwiw: calvinists are quick to jump to v 30 to proof text their doctrine of election. But as with all of their other proof texts, they fail to give the text its proper context, resulting in a pretext for argument. The context of those who are called, justified and glorified is found in v 28, namely 'we know that all things for good to them who love God". The greek is agaposin, in the present tense active voice, in other words, transliterated those who are loving God. Our participation in that process, those of us who are loving God on an ongoing basis, is implicit in Paul's reassuring statement in v 30.

So one cannot read the perseverance of the saints or calvinistic predestination into the verse. He was not talking about predestination in chapter 8 but instead life in the Spirit, and the results of that life, which he expresses so beautifully in v 30.

#3 Rob Bergen

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 09:01 PM

Thank you for the response Sacha! It is much appreciated.

#4 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 09:07 PM

From St. Ambrose (Of the Christian Faith):
God is not a respecter of persons. Wherefore also the apostle says: "Whom He did fore know, He also foreordained." He did not predestinate them before He knew them, but He did foreordain the reward of those whose merits He foreknew.

From St. Symeon the New Theologian (On the Mystical Life: The Ethical Discourses):
God knows all things beforehand, both past and present at once, and everything which is going to happen in the future up to the end of the world. He sees them as already present, because in and through Him all things hold together [Col. 1:17]…. It is not God's foreknowledge of those who by their free choice and zeal, will prevail which is the cause of their victory, just as, again, it is not His knowing beforehand who will fall and be vanquished which is responsible for their defeat….

All those who have believed in Christ are foreknown and foreordained, and become conformed to the image of the Son of God. And all of them, as foreordained, are called; and, as called, they are also justified; and, as justified, they are glorified. Because, while those perish who, after being baptized and believing in Christ, and becoming conformed to the image of the Son of God, do not keep themselves in this state, all who abide in it are saved….

God said, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance [Mt. 9:13]", but the lazy and unwilling contradict Him, and make such excuses as these, "Those who are going to repent were foreordained, but I am not one of them, so let them repent whom God foreknew and whom He also foreordained….my efforts would be in vain." O what shamelessness of soul!…. As it is written, "I came not that I might judge the world, but that I might save the world [Jn. 12:47]."

#5 Anna Stickles

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 11:08 PM

Try City of God Bk 5 ch 9-10 and Bk 7 ch 30 for some thoughts by Bl Augustine on predestination. As Bl Augustine is so careful to go into here, the problem is not a belief in predestination, but rather when particular conceptions of predestination do not allow for man's freedom. Beyond this, I think trying to go into too much detail is more likely to lead to error then resolve it. And maybe Bl. Augustine does not entirely avoid this mistake all the time in all of his writings.

It is not possible, I think, for us to know or even talk about what it means that for God past and future exist as a holistic, all encompassing present. About all we can say is that this does not mean that our actions are predetermined.

Even when talking about God's foreknowledge I think we have to remember that God does not know in the way that we know. So when we talk about His foreknowledge of future events this cannot be imagined to be like someone knowing the script of a movie that is already written. Imagining that God knows things in this way is anthropomorphizing in a way which takes away man's freedom, it is the same as saying that our actions are already predetermined.

#6 Antonios

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 08:15 AM

Hi Rob,

This website lists a lot of resources in regards to Calvinism and the doctrines of that faith with an Orthodox response to them. http://www.orthodox-...gory/calvinism/

I hope this helps!

#7 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 01:11 PM

Also there is a reference to this issue in St John of Damascus' Exposition of the Orthodox Faith; Book 2; Chap 30.

This whole book is one of the best reference books on Orthodoxy.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#8 Rob Bergen

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 06:28 PM

Thank You infinitely!

I was especially looking for the older sources of commentary, and all your responses help. Also, I found Energetic Procession, Perry Robinson's blog, to be a rich resource.

In the name of the Thrice Holy Trinity, One God!

Rob

#9 Rob Bergen

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 06:41 PM

Herman,

Where can I find St. Ambrose' response? What I mean is, do you have a reference to Book and Chapter of each of these? I was looking through the both, but seemed to have trouble finding your quotations. If you do not have a reference, don't worry, I am sure I will find them with persistence!

From St. Ambrose (Of the Christian Faith):
From St. Symeon the New Theologian (On the Mystical Life: The Ethical Discourses):


Rob

#10 Clinton Turner

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 10:35 PM

Hi Rob,

This website lists a lot of resources in regards to Calvinism and the doctrines of that faith with an Orthodox response to them. http://www.orthodox-...gory/calvinism/

I hope this helps!


This is a great resource!

Recently I had a conversation with a Calvinist about predestination. Apparently he believes John 3:16 is a passage that is cited only by heretics who teach a false gospel. :)

#11 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 11:30 PM

Herman,

Where can I find St. Ambrose' response? What I mean is, do you have a reference to Book and Chapter of each of these? I was looking through the both, but seemed to have trouble finding your quotations. If you do not have a reference, don't worry, I am sure I will find them with persistence!

Rob


Of the Christian Faith Book V., Chapter 6, § 82, 294
On the Mystical Life: The Ethical Discourses Volume 1, Second Discourse, 86-89

#12 Rob Bergen

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 10:29 PM

Many thanks! It helps to narrow down the longer works a bit.




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