Christ, the Unjust Judge
#3
(05-26-2020, 10:57 AM)Melkite Wrote: This is kind of related to St. Isaac of Nineveh, who said something to the effect of "Do not say that God is just.  Never say that God is just!  If God were just, we would be cast into hell the moment we committed our first sin.  Rather, say that God is merciful."

Latins have this mercy is justice and justice is mercy thing with God, and the two are indivisible, and the one cannot cancel the other.  Particularly, that his mercy does not cancel his justice.  We never seem to hear about how his justice does not cancel his mercy.  At any rate, this is something that has been on my mind a lot recently.  I think I've found a way to explain God's mercy being greater than his justice that might make sense from a justice perspective.  Let me know what you think:

Man A commits sin against Man B.  Man A goes to confession, is truly repentant, and is absolved.  But the nature of the sin is one that he cannot in any way undo the effects of the sin he committed against Man B.  He can't mitigate them, he can't repay them.  The effects of the sin are permanent.  Doesn't justice demand that he not be absolved of the debt until he is able to repay it?  Yet he can't.  So Man A is truly forgiven by God, and if he commits no other sin, will go to heaven when he dies.  His conscience has been cleared.  Yet Man B is still owed a debt, one that can never be repaid.  Where is Man B's justice?

One might suggest that Man B will be rewarded for suffering such a debt, and that may be true, but it's far from true justice.  It's more of a consolation prize - you suffered this irreparable loss, so have something else nice instead.  And that's only if he makes it to heaven.  If Man B goes to hell, then he suffers eternal loss, along with the irreparable loss, caused by Man A, eternally.  One might also say that, regardless of the ability to repay, it is one's Christian duty to forgive, or else God will not forgive us, and our sins against him carry a greater debt than anyone can create by sinning against us.  True enough, yet still, justice is not completely served.  

This is unjust, because it is not a true resetting of the balances.  But it is to all of our benefit.  By forgiving that which cannot be re-payed, we become somewhat like God, we're molded into his image, and we receive the mercy of having our own debts forgiven, without having to repay them perfectly.  There is still no true restitution.  There never will be true restitution, because what is irreparable is truly irreparable, in this life and the next.  Man B will never have his debt truly repaid by Man A, and God will never truly have his debt repaid by either Man A or B.  Yet this mercy supercedes justice by allowing both the possibility of reward while debt is still truly owed.  Christ is truly an Unjust Judge, and only because of that are we able to have any hope for ourselves at all.
I confess I rarely think of theology questions anymore and I'm much more at peace.  The scripture story that comes to mind for me is the one where Christ talks about giving the same wages to those that labour for him no matter what time they set out to work.  Between the NT and the beautiful prayers and hymns in the Divine Services its hard for me to truly fall into despair. 

Just like reason alone can not understand the Trinity or how grace works neither can it understand how Mercy and Justice work.  It's a huge mystery, but one that I personally choose not to dabble in or think of too deeply.  Maybe that doesn't work for you but it's all I need. 

When I was younger I'd tie myself in knots thinking of theological and philosophical conundrums till it drove me nearly crazy. I had to take a hiatus where I literally didn't read or think about those things at all and I'm much more at peace.
 
Living fully embodied in the here and now and maintaining a simple faith is what works for me now.  I sit meditation every day, do my Old Rite "Entrance and Exit Bows" and the Jesus Prayer throughout the day and that's it.  No more theology or philosophy for the most part.  

All these years later I've come to appreciate that what a Thai Buddhist monk said about Westerners is true, that Westerners literally "think too much"; there's no learning to get out of our heads and fully inhabit our bodies and trust.  I've come to appreciate that.
Walk before God in simplicity, and not in subtleties of the mind. Simplicity brings faith; but subtle and intricate speculations bring conceit; and conceit brings withdrawal from God. -Saint Isaac of Syria, Directions on Spiritual Training


"It is impossible in human terms to exaggerate the importance of being in a church or chapel before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. I very seldom repeat what I say. Let me repeat this sentence. It is impossible in human language to exaggerate the importance of being in a chapel or church before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. That sentence is the talisman of the highest sanctity. "Father John Hardon
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Messages In This Thread
Christ, the Unjust Judge - by Melkite - 05-26-2020, 10:57 AM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by FultonFan - 05-26-2020, 12:09 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by Melkite - 05-26-2020, 12:33 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by formerbuddhist - 05-26-2020, 12:52 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by formerbuddhist - 05-26-2020, 12:29 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by xsantiagox - 05-26-2020, 12:31 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by Augustinian - 05-26-2020, 01:24 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by Augustinian - 05-26-2020, 01:34 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by Melkite - 05-26-2020, 01:43 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by piscis - 05-26-2020, 02:01 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by Melkite - 05-26-2020, 02:23 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by MagisterMusicae - 05-26-2020, 04:27 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by Melkite - 05-26-2020, 04:44 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by MagisterMusicae - 05-26-2020, 06:20 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by Melkite - 05-26-2020, 06:35 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by MagisterMusicae - 05-26-2020, 10:05 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by Melkite - 05-26-2020, 11:48 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by Daniel-AH - 06-11-2020, 11:47 AM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by xsantiagox - 05-26-2020, 04:32 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by Melkite - 05-26-2020, 04:46 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by ServusDei - 05-26-2020, 08:41 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by josh987654321 - 05-26-2020, 09:03 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by josh987654321 - 05-26-2020, 09:16 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by LionHippo - 05-26-2020, 10:19 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by josh987654321 - 05-26-2020, 11:56 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by josh987654321 - 05-27-2020, 12:24 AM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by Melkite - 06-10-2020, 04:40 PM
RE: Christ, the Unjust Judge - by Augustinian - 06-10-2020, 09:52 PM



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