My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
Christ is in our midst! He was, is, and ever shall be.
ON GOOD AND EVIL AND RIGHT AND WRONG
In Genesis I, of the Old Testament, it is constantly affirmed "and God saw that it was good" and by doing so it underscores the fundamental goodness of matter and the whole created order. As we understand it "that the created order not only is good but also can be a means for communion with God, by virtue of being created by the All-Good God."
We, as Orthodox Christians, believe that everything the Almighty God and Creator created, including man, is "very good" because God IS GOOD. Nothing He created is therefore evil in itself. So, therefore, human nature is good in itself. But sin ( Gk. hamartia) IS A FREE CHOICE of man’s will, and it is contrary to God’s nature and human nature.
"And the Lord God commanded Adam, saying, "You may eat food from every tree in the garden, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you may not eat, of in whatever day you eat from it, you shall die by death" (Genesis 2:16, 17). In that Adam and Eve did not physically die the day they ate from the tree, the words "you shall die’ indicate A SPIRITUAL DEATH through separation from God.
In our Holy Tradition, the sin of disobedience of Adam and Eve to God’s command is referred to as the Ancestral sin. Adam freely disobeyed the commandment of God and fell from God’s Divine path to perfection, and severing himself from His Maker, the Source of Life. Due to their disobedience and to the Creator Adam and Eve were exiled from Paradise and became subject to mortality along with all mankind.
"Mankind’s strong propensity to commit sin reveals that in the Fall, the image of God in man (Genesis 1:26, 27) is also fallen. However, the ancient Holy Fathers emphasize that the divine image in man has NOT been totally corrupted or obliterated. Human nature remains inherently good after the Fall; mankind is NOT totally depraved. People are still capable of doing good, although bondage to death and the influences of the devil CAN DULL their perception OF WHAT IS GOOD and lead them INTO ALL KINDS OF EVIL."
According to our Holy Faith, through His Death and Resurrection, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ CONQUERED the devil and death, freeing mankind from the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15) and making possible a more complete communion between God and man than ever possible before.
Lucifer or Satan (Evil One)
"How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who rose up in the morning! He who sends for all the nations is crushed to the earth. For you said in your mind, ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will place my throne above the stars of heaven. I will place my throne above the stars of heaven, I will sit on a lofty mountain, on the lofty mountain toward north, I will ascend above the clouds; I will belike the Most High. But now you shall descend to Hades, to the found1,p. 253).ations of the earth" (Isaiah 12:15).
Please note the five times that Lucifer says "I WILL" in this passage. He fully intends to overthrow the One True God. There can be no doubt in the minds of people of the existence of evil in the world.
"The origin of evil. But from where did moral evil appear? God created the world PURE, PERFECT, FREE FROM EVIL. Evil entered the world as consequence of the fall, which occurred, according to the word of God, originally in the world of fleshless spirits, and then in the human race, and was reflected in the whole of living nature."
Saint Diadochus of Photiki writes: "Evil does not exist by nature, nor is any man naturally evil, for God MADE NOTHING THAT WAS NOT GOOD. When in the desire of his heart someone conceives and gives form to what in reality has no existence, then what he desires begins to exist. We should not therefore turn our attention away from the inclination to evil and concentrate iton the REMEMBERANCE OF GOD; FOR GOOD, which exists by nature, is more powerful than our inclination to evil. The one has existence while the OTHER DOES NOT, EXCEPT WHEN WE GIVE IT EXISTENCE THROUGH OUR ACTIONS" (Philokalia, vol 1, p. 253).
(To be continued)
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostom
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministrt),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George