The Spirit, Silouan declares, brought him through torments of doubt to the firm conviction that “Jesus Christ is God.” This Spirit, who bestows the gift of faith, fills every aspect of our life and leads us progressively towards the twin goals of Knowledge of God and Love of Enemies. This is no ordinary knowledge, as he declares; nor is that love the result of human effort, of bending our will and feelings until we no longer react with fear and hostility toward those who threaten us. Knowledge and love, rather, are closely linked gifts of divine grace. If we can know anything at all of God, and even enter into the most intimate communion with Him, it is only because God grants us this mystical knowledge by His Spirit, who dwells within the temple of the heart. If we can love even our enemy, it is only with the compassion and mercy of God Himself, who infuses our heart with the transforming grace of the Spirit. This is a grace that lifts us above our passions—corrupted feelings of victimization and shame, of anxiety and defensive rage—and enable us, in the power of the Spirit, to embrace with love even those who hate us, who threaten us, and who, on a purely human level, inspire our contempt and loathing. (John Breck, Longing for God: Orthodox reflections on Bible, Ethics, and Liturgy, pg 166-167)
Your comments, corrections and reflections are always welcomed.
The last blog on Genesis was Genesis 8:20-22 (c) and there you should find a link which enables you to trace back through all of the blogs on Genesis 8.
You can also find all the comments on Genesis 8 as one PDF document at https://frted.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/genesis-8.pdf
The Bibliography for my reflections on Genesis are at https://frted.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/gqhc_bibliograph.pdf
A Glossary of terms used in my reflections is at https://frted.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/gqhc_glossary.pdf
The Introduction to the entire series is at https://frted.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/gqhc_introduction.pdf
When all of the individual blogs covering Genesis 9 have been published, I will publish the link for where to find the reflections on chapter 9 as a single document.
The reflections on Genesis 4 as one PDF document: https://frted.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/gqhc_gen4.pdf.
The reflection on Genesis 5 as one PDF documentt: https://frted.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/gqhc_gen5.pdf
The reflections on Genesis 6 as ond PDF document: https://frted.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/gqhc_genesis6.pdf
You can find “The Story of the Flood” as one single PDF document at: The Story of the Flood
You can also read as a single PDF document, Reading Noah and the Flood Through the Source Theory Lens, which also contains Genesis 6-9 separated as two stories following Source Theory and then set in parallel columns for comparison.
The reflections on Genesis 7 as ond PDF document: https://frted.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/gqhc_genesis7.pdf
Installation of Iconography at St. Paul Church
As part of the 25th Anniversary Celebration of our parish, additional icons were purchased for the nave of the church and are being installed by our Iconographer Dmitry Shkolnik. There are several places where you can view photos of the installation process in progress, which are all listed below.
Photos of the installation process beginning and actually being done can be viewed at http://picasaweb.google.com/markhpearson/IkonInstallationMay19#
Our official Icon Project Webpage is at http://www.earlham.edu/markp/church_icons/
I have posted a few of my photos of the process and progress of our icon’s being installed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/frted/sets/72157623987413083/
Genesis 8:20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the LORD smelled the pleasing odor, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done. 22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
Noah is the prototype of the man who is to reconcile the fallen world to a holy God. In Ezekiel 14, God is so displeased with the House of Israel that He declares that even if Noah was with them and interceding for Israel, He would not spare them from His pending wrath.
“for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” In Genesis 6:5-6, it is because God realizes that the human heart imagines evil constantly that He become grieved over having created the humans. But after having destroyed His creation in order to rid the earth of sin, God is suddenly pleased with the incense offering of Noah, and appears to remember what He so valued in His creatures when He first looked upon them and saw them as “very good” (Genesis 1:31). The human is capable of doing something pleasing to God, and even if that something is very small – creating scented smoke – it removes from God His grief stricken desire to eliminate humans from the earth.
“…never again…” The Lord’s promise to never again destroy all life may also indicate God will no longer judge humanity as one whole but will treat each person as they deserve based on their own life choices. The promise is unconditional – no matter how wicked humans continue to be God says He will not again curse and totally destroy the earth because of the evil humans do. This may well be the beginning of the notion of hell – a place for the torment and punishment of sinners which does not involve the destruction of the planet. While God’s vow to never again destroy the earth and all the wicked on it may be a sign of His mercy, it also means that as long as the earth exists the wicked will always live alongside those who wish to follow God. If God was not able to eliminate the wickedness in humans through His divine punishments and great mercy, it seems that human efforts through correctional institutions, police, armies, legislation, courts and wars will also never bring an end to all evil either. There is no such thing as a war to end all wars! As long as there are humans in whose hearts evil incubates, there will be wickedness on earth. That is a reality we have to live with.
God promised to NEVER again destroy all humanity, and yet also speaks of a coming Judgment Day. What is holding God back? Why does he wait before visiting His final saving judgment on the people of earth? “Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you this? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by his appearing and his coming. The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12).