A Slight Pause

I leave in the morning (July 17) to conduct a youth retreat in S.C. at Sts. Mary and Martha Monastery. I will have some chance, in the evenings to check the blogsite (clear spam and make some responses). Whether I’ll have time to post time will tell. Please don’t take my reduced responses in the next few days for lack of interest. The present topic is of deep interest (I’ve written on it before and will again). Your prayers are invited. I’ll touch base as I can. I should add that this post makes 1,003 since the beginning of Glory to God for All Things. There have been nearly 15,000 comments. Lot of words…

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.





6 responses to “A Slight Pause”

  1. jdalton3au Avatar

    Hello Fr. Stephen, father bless. maybe you can help me. What you have written and the River of Fire article has all totally changed my thinking from my old Protestant days. It has been a 10 year process but gradually the false ideas of a angry God seeking juridical justice has been replaced. But now there’s still one passage i find hard to explain the meaning of, when speaking with my Protestant friends, and even the commentary of St. John Chrysostom seems to contradict what Dr. Kalomiros wrote. maybe there’s Greek translation problems? Can you please explain? Other priests here in Australia could not explain…

    Dr. K wrote” So we see that God punishes as long as there is hope for correction. After the Common Resurrection there is no question of any punishment from God. Hell is not a punishment from God but a self condemnation. As Saint Basil the Great says, “The evils in hell do not have God as their cause, but ourselves.” 40


    One could insist, however, that the Sacred Scriptures and the Fathers always speak of God as the Great Judge who will reward those who were obedient to Him and will punish those who were disobedient, in the day of the Great Judgment (II Tim. 4:6-8). How are we to understand this judgment if we are to understand the divine words not in a human but in a divine manner’? What is God’s judgment?”

    yet St. John specifically says in his commentary on 2 Thess. 1:6-10 (2 separate homilies) that “the vengeance that is immortal, the punishment that is everlasting” etc. as an after-death eternal judgement, and “His coming to some will be Light, and to others vengeance”. He says the opposite to Dr. K about God punishing. And Dr. K even admits the Fathers speak of God as great Judge etc…so is he meaning St John was wrong??

    Seeking genuine answers,

    in Christ,
    Fr. John D’Alton
    Antiochian Orthodox – Australia.

  2. fatherstephen Avatar

    Those Fathers like Basil (or St. Isaac) who are adamant that God does not punish retributively interpret “punish” to mean “punish with His love.” That His love is punishing is dependent upon the state of the one receiving His love. That is the common practice on the topic. Some Fathers just say punish (and perhaps that’s how they understood it – they are not all theological equals). Others pushed further and understood that even the punishment of God is His love.

    As one Father said, “It is as though a blind man blamed the sun for his lack of sight.” The sun only reveals his blindness.

    A key verse for me is from St. John:

    “And this is condemnation: that Light has come into the world and men preferred darkness to the Light for their deeds were evil.” To prefer darkness to the Light when the Light comes is to find oneself in a miserable state – but not because the Light has come to punish. This verse in John is perhaps the closest thing in Scripture to a theological definition of hell. I see it everyday, all around me. And I tremble when I love the dark.

  3. mic Avatar

    …oh, that’s what monastery you are going to.


  4. mic Avatar

    blessed and safe journey Fr. for you and all who attend!

  5. Steve Avatar

    Fr. John D’Alton:

    You ask an incredibly pertinent question here, for, the only thing that matters at all in this present life, is our relationship with (and to) our Sovereign. This relationship defines everything, including, principally, the way we see ourselves.

    (I’m sorry if I didn’t answer your question or if I confused in any way, this was not my intention!)

  6. mary Avatar

    fr.stephen,i’am deeply honored to be able to read all these commits from such learnt minds.i call it a meeting of the minds. thank-you all. mary.

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