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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Wrath of God II

This is part 2 from the podcast Speaking the Truth in Love by Fr. Thomas Hopko

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Alot to Chew on!

Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus

Nigula's Orthodox Bible Canon(s) list

The links:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Jehovah Witnesses & Protestant Restorationism

This is from the HCR forums.

The video in question: (part 1)

Originally Posted by djnoyze View Post
I'm not a Church History buff, but some of this stuff is absolutely wrong.

There's 7 parts I think... They even make it seem like they're carrying on the work started by reformers...

I'll check it out for you.
Synergy My Blog The Brotherhood

The others can comment about the work of the Reformers. But some Restorationists in general try to piggy back off the protestant Reformation. What they would say is that they restored some truth but they didn't go far enough.

To them, the Reformers were nothing more than Reformed Catholics. Meaning, they never wanted to really leave the Roman Catholic church, they just wanted to Reform it to an earlier Roman Catholic era.

The protestant Restorationist would say that what is needed is not a Reform but a Restoration. They would see Roman Catholicism as not sick but dead.

And so a Protestant Restorationist would teach that total apostasy happened right away shortly after the death of the last Apostle. And only restored when their restorationist leader/founder brought it back.

A Protestant Reformationist would say that either total or partial Apostasy happened slowly and later in time. And only Reformed when their leader/founder straightened it all out.

And so it's a difference in degree. Also, what is seen as being apostasy to one protestant group may not be seen as being one by another. It's pretty subjective.
Synergy My Blog The Brotherhood

Last edited by jnorman888; 11-29-2010 at 10:43 PM..

I watched all 7 videos.

In regards to the first video:

Read chapters 20 to 42. Tertullian answered this back in 197A.D. about 101 years after the death of the Apostle John or about 130 something years after the deaths of the Apostles Peter and Paul.

Later in the video(part 1) they talk specifically about Roman Catholicism.....they probably don't even know that the Orthodox exist. And so I will give a Roman Catholic link that adresses the issue from their perspective.

Episode 6 – Ecclesial Deism

or simply Download the mp3

The article from which the podcast was made.

In regards to the other 6 videos, I will say that every group on the planet has a history. A beginning in how they were formed. The JW's come from the millerite movement, those in the millerite movement were also called Second Adventists because their focus was on the second advent of Christ.

Those from the millerite movement are:

1.) Seventh Day Adventist (they formed their group after the Adventist Christian Church formed theirs)

2.) Advent Christian Church (1st day Adventist)

3.) The World Wide Church of God (they split from the SDA's)

There are about a few dozen more millerite break off groups I didn't name, but the ones up above are the big 3 or main 3.

The JW's stem from group # 2

What most millerites have in common are their doctrines about:

1.) Soul sleep
2.) The rejection of the immortal soul doctrine
3.) Jesus being the Archangel Micheal
4.) Date setting.....jesus coming but when the date passed they either changed their mind, set up a new date, or spiritualized the error. Like Jesus coming back spiritually in 1844 or in 1917.....etc.

Early on the Seventh Day Adventists had a hard time embracing the doctrine of the Trinity. Some of them embraced it while others didn't. Eventually they came around to officially embrace the doctrine. Some of the more radical SDA off shoots still reject it.

The World Wide Church of God taught Biniterianism. Meaning, they only believed the Father and Son to be God. They didn't believe the Holy Spirit to be God. They taught the idea of Him being a force. In the 1990's, the main body officially embraced the doctrine of the Trinity. However, it caused a split within the group and so the more radical break off groups still teach Biniterianism.

The JW's (Jehovah Witnesses) are Unitarians. They only see the Father as God, the son a creature and the Holy Spirit a force.

In the 19th century of New England you had the rise of liberalism and Unitarianism in general, and so I wouldn't be surprised to see that the JW's borrowed alot from other people and groups. And so they are a mixture of their own unique ideas as well as the ideas of others. A denominational mutt or tossed salad.

From watching all 7 videos I couldn't help but compare it to the yoga copyright lawsuit of some years ago. This Indian guy started a franchise of certain yoga positions from his homeland, and he sued others who used his method and style of patterns.

In a similar way, it seems as if the JW's are nothing more than a franchise of how one man understood Scripture. The video made it seem as if they are a franchise of how one man did Bible Study. It's his methods of Scriptural interpretation and his methods of what pattern to take in understanding Scripture. He borrowed alot of patterns, methods and ideas from other people and mixed it with his own original ideas.

The end result was the JW's organization.

As far as their truth claims go......I would say that they are not the only Restorationists in town. The Mormons are restorationists, the same with the Churches of Christ, Seventh Day Adventists, Amish, some World Wide Churches of god break off groups, as well as some Pentecostal groups.

And so what makes them so special from the truth claims of all these other groups? The JW's teach that a total apostasy happened as soon as the last Apostle died.

So how can they be so sure that god chose their group to bring thee true faith back over against another group that claims the same thing? Why should anyone listen to them and not the Mormons, Amish, SDA's, Churches of Christ, some World Wide Church of god groups, and some Pentecostal groups? Shoot! You might even have some Baptist groups like that, and so why should anyone trust their claims over and against their competitors?

What makes them so special?

Also, if they are wrong about total apostasy when the last Apostle died, then what right do they have to even exist? They should disband and join what Jesus and the Apostles really started.
Synergy My Blog The Brotherhood
Sunday, November 28, 2010

Calvinism and Human Responsibility

This is from the HCR forums. I was trying to help a Word of Faith protestant in the area of how to understand certain aspects of Calvinism.

Originally Posted by djnoyze View Post
What role does our faith play in salvation and is our faith important in this business of salvation?
They(the Calvinists) believe that ever-since the fall of Adam and Eve everyone is unable to respond in a positive way to God. And so, what must happen is a regeneration before faith.

What this means is that as everyone is running on their way to Hell. God will select some by putting a new heart and mind in them. Once they have this new heart and mind they are now able to stop, turn around and choose God. They are now able to have faith in God. Once this happens, God responds by declaring them righteous.

Ricky and the others can correct me if I am wrong, but they believe man to be passive in Justification and Salvation in general.
Synergy My Blog The Brotherhood

Originally Posted by djnoyze View Post
I understand that, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around why it is so impossible for people to believe that it is God's word in and of itself that he has infused with the power to break up the hard-heartedness of man's heart... And that this word, when preached or when used as directed is the medicine for what ails any sin sick soul?

“But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” —Ephesians 2:13 NET
Because they would see that as being semi-pelagianism. Well, to be honest, their scholars probably don't know that the classical semi-pelagains took that position, and so they probably wouldn't know because they don't generally read them. They just read each others books about the issue in passing and so they normally get the classical semi-pelagian view wrong. But what you argued up above is what the Eastern Christians and western semi-pelagains argued.

When a sinner hears that Word of God spoken out of the mouth of a man (word made flesh), he may or may not believe it, but it is his believing that qualifies him to be included or "chosen" or "elected", right? Or am I still in error?
Some of the followers of Saint Augustine advocated a view of an outer call vs an inner call..... I will have to re-read Augustine again because it could of came from him......To them, only those who have the inner call from God will respond in a positive way. Those who only get the outercall will resist and respond in a negative way.

You and I believe differently. We believe that the same call is given to all, and that call has the power to give all hearers the ability to respond in a positive way.

That's what I get for reading passages like...“Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” —Acts 2:38–41 ESV

I only say this because Jehovah Witnesses believe that only some of them are chosen or "anointed" too, and it seems to me to be a doctrine of the devil to suggest that some are chosen and others aren't as if Jesus' blood is somehow selective.

Historically speaking, JW's come from the Millerite movement. The millerite movement was a 19th century restorationist movement. Well wait, maybe I shouldn't say the word restorationist. I will have to re-read some things just to make sure. But it was a 19th century eschatological movement that taught that Jesus was gonna come back around 1843 or 1844. When it didn't happen that is when the group split into first day adventist and 7th day adventist. My history could be a little off because It's been years since I looked into this issue.

But the JW's come from the 1st day adventist branch of the millerite movement. I could be wrong again, but I always thought the millerite movement to be heavily Arminian in flavor. And so, the JW's shouldn't have a Calvinistic view of things. If they believe in election and predestination then it should be in an Arminian fashion in where free will and Divine foreknowledge is included.

I think what you are getting at is their idea of only a 144,000 only being able to go to heaven while the rest stay on this planet. Is this what you are getting at?

Am I wrong for reading these passages with the "implied subject" You

No you are not wrong, but the Calvinists have a different understanding of what "You" means. They don't have the common meaning of what everyone else has. Do you have a remote control car? Have you ever driven a remote control car? What about a video game? Have you ever played video games?

Let's try Super Mario Brothers. When you push the a button to make Mario jump,

is that you making him jump? Or is that Mario making himself jump?

Now every Calvinist I know will reject what I just said. They will see this as a caricature of their view. They don't like it when people like myself say stuff like this. But the reason why we say stuff like this is because from our perspective, this is what their view looks like. However, from their perspective their view doesn't look like this.

We have two different views. In our eyes their view of free will and human responsibility changes what free will and human responsibility commonly means. It changes what it normally looks like and so we say that they don't really believe in free will nor in human responsibility.

They turn around and say that we don't really believe in God's Sovereignty.

And so, we see their view as being:

Pushing the "a" button would be like god decreeing that so and so will jump.

When Mario jumps into the bullet, that would be what they would call human responsibility. Now they will reject this example because they hate how we look at their view as being robotic. But from our perspective that's how we see their view.

The only thing Mario could do was jump into the bullet because internally from the button, to the wire to the software, it said jump. And since that was an internal influence, that is what he wanted to do. He wanted to jump into the bullet. However, he had no other choice but to do that because the influence was internal. He wanted to jump and so he jumped, but it was the person who pushed the button that caused him to jump.

To most of them(Calvinists), the blame is on Mario for jumping into the bullet. To most Calvinists, the human responsibility is on Mario.

Most of them will not point the finger at the one who pushed the "a" button. Some of them seem to want to do that by saying god creates evil. Now we will say that these Calvinists are more consistent than the other ones, but they all would have the same logical tendency underneath. And this is why alot of people accuse them of making god the author of evil/sin.
Synergy My Blog The Brotherhood
Friday, November 26, 2010

This will come in handy!

The link:

As seen from the website:
" is a growing collection of over 43,870 adherent statistics and religious geography citations: references to published membership/adherent statistics and congregation statistics for over 4,200 religions, churches, denominations, religious bodies, faith groups, tribes, cultures, movements, ultimate concerns, etc. The religions of the world are enumerated here.

Basically, researchers can use this site to answer such questions as "How many Lutherans live in Wisconsin?", "What are the major religions of India?", or "What percentage of the world is Muslim?" We present data from both primary research sources such as government census reports, statistical sampling surveys and organizational reporting, as well as citations from secondary literature which mention adherent statistics.

Famous and influential: also has detailed lists of influential and famous adherents of over 100 different religious groups (famous Methodists, famous Jews, famous Catholics, famous Zoroastrians, famous Jehovah's Witnesses, famous Theosophists, etc.), and lists of prominent people (actors, politicians, authors, U.S. presidents, artists, musicians, Supreme Court justices, film directors, etc.) classified by religious affiliation. These lists are linked to thousands of detailed religious/spiritual biographies."
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

They are all connected now

I had a hard time finding all five parts on the blog. I needed part 4 for something, but all I could find was parts 2 and 3. Now they are all connected and so if I find one I will find them all.

Did the Apostles Do A Lousy Job? Part 1

Did the Apostles Do A Lousy Job? Part 2

Did the Apostles Do A Lousy Job? Part 3

Did the Apostles Do A Lousy Job? Part 4

Did the Apostles Do A Lousy Job? Part 5
Saturday, November 20, 2010

Predestination, Providence, and Prayer

This is from the podcast Speaking the Truth in Love by Fr. Thomas Hopko

As seen from AncientFaith Radio:

"Fr. Thomas Hopko explains how our acts, especially our prayers, are included in God's predestination based on His foreknowledge, and how our free-will actions, particularly our prayers, contribute to God's providence in our lives."

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A Mission from God: the Two Essentials to Building a Strong Mission

This is from AncientFaith Radio. The address was given by Fr. Peter Gillquist

Play Audio
Thursday, November 18, 2010

British Press & Middle Eastern Christians

I found out about this from the Notes on Arab Orthodoxy blog.

The actual news article:

Orthodoxy and Mysticism

As seen by AncientFaith Radio from the podcast special Eastern Orthodoxy and Mysticism: The Transformation of the Senses by Hieromonk Irenei Steenberg

Part 1:
Play Audio

To listen to the rest please visit AncientFaith Radio
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

There is a way-NewWorldson

I am starting to like NewWorldSon more and more. The mp3 podcast interview and unplugged live performance. From the KLove website:

A youtube video of the song:

Early Church Fathers and Early Christian Witnesses on the issue of Foreknowledge: Part II

For storage purposes: It was too long to say early church fathers, witnesses, schismatics and heretics on the issue of such and such.

Address to the Greeks
chapter 7

"Chapter VII.—Concerning the Fall of Man.

For the heavenly Logos, a spirit emanating from the Father and a Logos from the Logos-power, in imitation of the Father who begat Him made man an image of immortality, so that, as incorruption is with God, in like manner, man, sharing in a part of God, might have the immortal principle also. The Logos, too, before the creation of men, was the Framer of angels. And each of these two orders of creatures was made free to act as it pleased, not having the nature of good, which again is with God alone, but is brought to perfection in men through their freedom of choice, in order that the bad man may be justly punished, having become depraved through his own fault, but the just man be deservedly praised for his virtuous deeds, since in the exercise of his free choice he refrained from transgressing the will of God. Such is the constitution of things in reference to angels and men. And the power of the Logos, having in itself a faculty to foresee future events, not as fated, but as taking place by the choice of free agents, foretold from time to time the issues of things to come; it also became a forbidder of wickedness by means of prohibitions, and the encomiast of those who remained good. And, when men attached themselves to one who was more subtle than the rest, having regard to his being the first-born, and declared him to be God, though he was resisting the law of God, then the power of the Logos excluded the beginner of the folly and his adherents from all fellowship with Himself. And so he who was made in the likeness of God, since the more powerful spirit is separated from him, becomes mortal; but that first-begotten one through his transgression and ignorance becomes a demon; and they who imitated him, that is his illusions, are become a host of demons, and through their freedom of choice have been given up to their own infatuation.

Clement of Alexandria
The Stromata, or Miscellanies: Book II

But there being but one First Cause, as will be shown afterwards, these men will be shown to be inventors of chatterings and chirpings. But since God deemed it advantageous, that from the law and the prophets, men should receive a preparatory discipline by the Lord, the fear of the Lord was called the beginning of wisdom, being given by the Lord, through Moses, to the disobedient and hard of heart. For those whom reason convinces not, fear tames; which also the Instructing Word, foreseeing from the first, and purifying by each of these methods, adapted the instrument suitably for piety.

Clement of Alexandria
The Stromata, or Miscellanies: Book 7

"But if one say to us, that some sinners even obtain according to their requests, [we should say] that this rarely takes place, by reason of the righteous goodness of God. And it is granted to those who are capable of doing others good. Whence the gift is not made for the sake of him that asked it; but the divine dispensation, foreseeing that one would be saved by his means, renders the boon again righteous. And to those who are worthy, things which are really good are given, even without their asking.

Whenever, then, one is righteous, not from necessity or out of fear or hope, but from free choice, this is called the royal road, which the royal race travel. But the byways are slippery and precipitous. If, then, one take away fear and honour, I do not know if the illustrious among the philosophers, who use such freedom of speech, will any longer endure afflictions."

Fragments from the lost writings of Irenaeus

The will and the energy of God is the effective and foreseeing cause of every time and place and age, and of every nature. The will is the reason (λόγος) of the intellectual soul, which [reason] is within us, inasmuch as it is the faculty belonging to it which is endowed with freedom of action. The will is the mind desiring [some object], and an appetite possessed of intelligence, yearning after that thing which is desired.

Justin Martyr
Dialogue with Trypho a Jew
Chapter 16

For the circumcision according to the flesh, which is from Abraham, was given for a sign; that you may be separated from other nations, and from us; and that you alone may suffer that which you now justly suffer; and that your land may be desolate, and your cities burned with fire; and that strangers may eat your fruit in your presence, and not one of you may go up to Jerusalem.’ For you are not recognised among the rest of men by any other mark than your fleshly circumcision. For none of you, I suppose, will venture to say that God neither did nor does foresee the events, which are future, nor foreordained his deserts for each one. Accordingly, these things have happened to you in fairness and justice, for you have slain the Just One, and His prophets before Him; and now you reject those who hope in Him, and in Him who sent Him—God the Almighty and Maker of all things —cursing in your synagogues those that believe on Christ.

Against Heresies: Book 3

"Matthew might certainly have said, “Now the birth of Jesus was on this wise;” but the Holy Ghost, foreseeing the corrupters [of the truth], and guarding by anticipation against their deceit, says by Matthew, “But the birth of Christ was on this wise;” and that He is Emmanuel, lest perchance we might consider Him as a mere man: for “not by the will of the flesh nor by the will of man, but by the will of God was the Word made flesh;” and that we should not imagine that Jesus was one, and Christ another, but should know them to be one and the same.

Against Heresies: Book 3

"Long-suffering therefore was God, when man became a defaulter, as foreseeing that victory which should be granted to him through the Word."

The Epistle of Barnabas

"Behold, therefore, we have been refashioned, as again He says in another prophet, “Behold, saith the Lord, I will take away from these, that is, from those whom the Spirit of the Lord foresaw, their stony hearts, and I will put hearts of flesh within them,” because He was to be manifested in flesh, and to sojourn among us. For, my brethren, the habitation of our heart is a holy temple to the Lord.

Clement of Alexandria
The Stromata: Book 2
Chapter 13

He, then, who has received the forgiveness of sins ought to sin no more. For, in addition to the first and only repentance from sins (this is from the previous sins in the first and heathen life—I mean that in ignorance), there is forthwith proposed to those who have been called, the repentance which cleanses the seat of the soul from transgressions, that faith may be established. And the Lord, knowing the heart, and foreknowing the future, foresaw both the fickleness of man and the craft and subtlety of the devil from the first, from the beginning; how that, envying man for the forgiveness of sins, he would present to the servants of God certain causes of sins; skilfully working mischief, that they might fall together with himself.

Clement of Alexandria
Who is the Rich man that shall be saved?

He was asked respecting those things on account of which He descended, which He inculcates, which He teaches, which He offers, in order to show the essence of the Gospel, that it is the gift of eternal life. For He foresaw as God, both what He would be asked, and what each one would answer Him. For who should do this more than the Prophet of prophets, and the Lord of every prophetic spirit?


"In order, therefore, that man might have a goodness of his own, bestowed, on him by God, and there might be henceforth in man a property, and in a certain sense a natural attribute of goodness, there was assigned to him in the constitution of his nature, as a formal witness. of the goodness which God bestowed upon him, freedom and power of the will, such as should cause good to be performed spontaneously by man, as a property of his own, on the ground that no less than this. would be required in the matter of a goodness which was to be voluntarily exercised by him, that is to say, by the liberty of his will, without either favour or servility to the constitution of his nature, so that man should be good just up to this point, if he should display his goodness in accordance with his natural constitution indeed, but still as the result of his will, as a property of his nature; and, by a similar exercise of volition, should show himself to be too strong in defence against evil also (for even this God, of course, foresaw), being free, and master of himself; because, if he were wanting in this prerogative of self-mastery, so as to perform even good by necessity and not will, he would, in the helplessness of his servitude, become subject to the usurpation of evil, a slave as much to evil as to good. Entire freedom of will, therefore, was conferred upon him in both tendencies; so that, as master of himself, he might constantly encounter good by spontaneous observance of it, and evil by its spontaneous avoidance; because, were man even otherwise circumstanced, it was yet his bounden duty, in the judgment of God, to do justice according to the motions of his will regarded, of course, as free. But the reward neither of good nor of evil could be paid to the man who should be found to have been either good or evil through necessity and not choice. In this really lay. the law which did not exclude, but rather prove, human liberty by a spontaneous rendering of obedience, or a spontaneous commission of iniquity; so patent was the liberty of man’s will for either issue.

The Five Books Against Marcion: Book 3

Now there are two conditions of prophetic announcement which I adduce, as requiring the assent of our adversaries in the future stages of the discussion. One, that future events are sometimes announced as if they were already passed. For it is consistent with Deity to regard as accomplished facts whatever It has determined on, because there is no difference of time with that Being in whom eternity itself directs a uniform condition of seasons. It is indeed more natural to the prophetic divination to represent as seen and already brought to pass, even while forseeing it, that which it foresees; in other words, that which is by all means future."

On Repentance

"These poisons of his, therefore, God foreseeing, although the gate of forgiveness has been shut and fastened up with the bar of baptism, has permitted it still to stand somewhat open."

On Idolatry

"These things, therefore, the Holy Spirit foreseeing from the beginning, fore-chanted, through the most ancient prophet Enoch, that even entrances would come 71into superstitious use. For we see too that other entrances"

An Answer to the Jews

"For God, foreseeing that He was about to give this circumcision to the people of Israel for “a sign,” not for salvation, urges the circumcision of the son of Moses, their future leader, for this reason; that, since He had begun, through him, to give the People the precept of cir154cumcision, the people should not despise it, from seeing this example (of neglect) already exhibited conspicuously in their leader’s son."

Minucius Felix
The Octavius of Minucius Felix

"“Neither let any one either take comfort from, or apologize for what happens from fate. Let what happens be of the disposition of fortune, yet the mind is free; and therefore man’s doing, not his dignity, is judged. For what else is fate than what God has spoken of each one of us? who, since He can foresee our constitution, determines also the fates for us, according to the deserts and the qualities of individuals. Thus in our case it is not the star under which we are born that is punished, but the particular nature of our disposition is blamed. And about fate enough is said; or if, in consideration of the time, we have spoken too little, we shall argue the matter at another time more abundantly and more fully. But that many of us are called poor, this is not our disgrace, but our glory; for as our mind is relaxed by luxury, so it is strengthened by frugality. And yet who can be poor if he does not want, if he does not crave for the possessions of others, if he is rich towards God? He rather is poor, who, although he has much, desires more.

Origen Against Celsus: Book II
Chapter 25

"The Saviour, foreseeing the sufferings which the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem were to undergo in requital of the wicked deeds which the Jews had dared to perpetrate upon Him, from no other motive than that of the purest philanthropy towards them, and from a desire that they might escape the impending calamities, gave utterance to the prayer, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me.”

Origen Against Celsus: Book 6
Chapter XLV
"For God, comprehending all things by means of His foreknowledge, and foreseeing what consequences would result from both of these, wished to make these known to mankind by His prophets, that those who understand their words might be familiarized with the good, and be on their guard against its opposite."

Of First Principles: Book 3

"in the same way, God also, who knows the secret things of the heart, and foresees future events, in His long-suffering, permits (certain events to occur), and by means of those things which happen from without extracts the secret evil, in order to cleanse him who through carelessness has received the seeds of sin, that having vomited them forth when they came to the surface, although he may have been deeply involved in evils, he may afterwards obtain healing after his wickedness, and be renewed."

Of first principles: Book 3
chapter 1

"Now were it not for the words that are added, “Lest perhaps they should be converted, and their sins be forgiven them,” we might be more inclined to return the answer, that the Saviour was unwilling that those individuals whom He foresaw would not become good, should understand the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and that therefore He spoke to them in parables; but as that addition follows, “Lest perhaps they should be converted, and their sins be forgiven them,” the explanation is rendered more difficult."

Origen against Celsus: Book II
Chapter XVIII.

After this the Jew makes another silly remark, saying, “How is it that, if Jesus pointed out beforehand both the traitor and the perjurer, they did not fear him as a God, and cease, the one from his intended treason, and the other from his perjury?” Here the learned Celsus did not see the contradiction in his statement: for if Jesus foreknew events as a God, then it was impossible for His foreknowledge to prove untrue; and therefore it was impossible for him who was known to Him as going to betray Him not to execute his purpose, nor for him who was rebuked as going to deny Him not to have been guilty of that crime. For if it had been possible for the one to abstain from the act of betrayal, and the other from that of denial, as having been warned of the consequences of these actions beforehand, then His words were no longer true, who predicted that the one would betray Him and the other deny Him. For if He had foreknowledge of the traitor, He knew the wickedness in which the treason originated, and this wickedness was by no means taken away by the foreknowledge. And, again, if He had ascertained that one would deny Him, He made that prediction from seeing the weakness out of which that act of denial would arise, and yet this weakness was not to be taken away thus at once

Origen against Celsus: Book II
Chapter XX

"Chapter XX.

Let us see how he continues after this: “These events,” he says, “he predicted as being a God, and the prediction must by all means come to pass. God, therefore, who above all others ought to do good to men, and especially to those of his own household, led on his own disciples and prophets, with whom he was in the habit of eating and drinking, to such a degree of wickedness, that they became impious and unholy men. Now, of a truth, he who shared a man’s table would not be guilty of conspiring against him; but after banqueting with God, he became a conspirator. And, what is still more absurd, God himself plotted against the members of his own table, by converting them into traitors and villains!” Now, since you wish me 440to answer even those charges of Celsus which seem to me frivolous, the following is our reply to such statements. Celsus imagines that an event, predicted through foreknowledge, comes to pass because it was predicted; but we do not grant this, maintaining that he who foretold it was not the cause of its happening, because he foretold it would happen; but the future event itself, which would have taken place though not predicted, afforded the occasion to him, who was endowed with foreknowledge, of foretelling its occurrence. Now, certainly this result is present to the foreknowledge of him who predicts an event, when it is possible that it may or may not happen, viz., that one or other of these things will take place. For we do not assert that he who foreknows an event, by secretly taking away the possibility of its happening or not, makes any such declaration as this: “This shall infallibly happen, and it is impossible that it can be otherwise.” And this remark applies to all the foreknowledge of events dependent upon ourselves, whether contained in the sacred Scriptures or in the histories of the Greeks. Now, what is called by logicians an “idle argument,” which is a sophism, will be no sophism as far as Celsus can help, but according to sound reasoning it is a sophism. And that this may be seen, I shall take from the Scriptures the predictions regarding Judas, or the foreknowledge of our Saviour regarding him as the traitor; and from the Greek histories the oracle that was given to Laius, conceding for the present its truth, since it does not affect the argument. Now, in Ps. cviii., Judas is spoken of by the mouth of the Saviour, in words beginning thus: “Hold not Thy peace, O God of my praise; for the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me.” Now, if you carefully observe the contents of the psalm, you will find that, as it was foreknown that he would betray the Saviour, so also was he considered to be himself the cause of the betrayal, and deserving, on account of his wickedness, of the imprecations contained in the prophecy. For let him suffer these things, “because,” says the psalmist, “he remembered not to show mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man.” Wherefore it was possible for him to show mercy, and not to persecute him whom he did persecute. But although he might have done these things, he did not do them, but carried out the act of treason, so as to merit the curses pronounced against him in the prophecy.

And in answer to the Greeks we shall quote the following oracular response to Laius, as recorded by the tragic poet, either in the exact words of the oracle or in equivalent terms. Future events are thus made known to him by the oracle: “Do not try to beget children against the will of the gods. For if you beget a son, your son shall murder you; and all your household shall wade in blood.”
Now from this it is clear that it was within the power of Laius not to try to beget children, for the oracle would not have commanded an impossibility; and it was also in his power to do the opposite, so that neither of these courses was compulsory. And the consequence of his not guarding against the begetting of children was, that he suffered from so doing the calamities described in the tragedies relating to Œdipus and Jocasta and their sons. Now that which is called the “idle argument,” being a quibble, is such as might be applied, say in the case of a sick man, with the view of sophistically preventing him from employing a physician to promote his recovery; and it is something like this: “If it is decreed that you should recover from your disease, you will recover whether you call in a physician or not; but if it is decreed that you should not recover, you will not recover whether you call in a physician or no. But it is certainly decreed either that you should recover, or that you should not recover; and therefore it is in vain that you call in a physician.” Now with this argument the following may be wittily compared: “If it is decreed that you should beget children, you will beget them, whether you have intercourse with a woman or not. But if it is decreed that you should not beget children, you will not do so, whether you have intercourse with a woman or no. Now, certainly, it is decreed either that you should beget children or not; therefore it is in vain that you have intercourse with a woman.” For, as in the latter instance, intercourse with a woman is not employed in vain, seeing it is an utter impossibility for him who does not use it to beget children; so, in the former, if recovery from disease is to be accomplished by means of the healing art, of necessity the physician is summoned, and it is therefore false to say that “in vain do you call in a physician.” We have brought forward all these illustrations on account of the assertion of this learned Celsus, that “being a God He predicted these things, and the predictions must by all means come to pass.” Now, if by “by all means” he means “necessarily,” we cannot admit this. For it was quite possible, also, that they might not come to pass. But if he uses “by all means” in the sense of “simple futurity,” which nothing hinders from being true (although it was possible that they might not happen), he does not at all touch my 441argument; nor did it follow, from Jesus having predicted the acts of the traitor or the perjurer, that it was the same thing with His being the cause of such impious and unholy proceedings. For He who was amongst us, and knew what was in man, seeing his evil disposition, and foreseeing what he would attempt from his spirit of covetousness, and from his want of stable ideas of duty towards his Master, along with many other declarations, gave utterance to this also: “He that dippeth his hand with Me in the dish, the same shall betray Me.”

Origen against Celsus: Book 7

"Celsus supposes that we may arrive at a knowledge of God either by combining or separating certain things after the methods which mathematicians call synthesis and analysis, or again by analogy, which is employed by them also, and that in this way we may as it were gain admission to the chief good. But when the Word of God says, “No man knoweth the Father but the Son, 630and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him,” He declares that no one can know God but by the help of divine grace coming from above, with a certain divine inspiration. Indeed, it is reasonable to suppose that the knowledge of God is beyond the reach of human nature, and hence the many errors into which men have fallen in their views of God. It is, then, through the goodness and love of God to mankind, and by a marvellous exercise of divine grace to those whom He saw in His foreknowledge, and knew that they would walk worthy of Him who had made Himself known to them, and that they would never swerve from a faithful attachment to His service, although they were condemned to death or held up to ridicule by those who, in ignorance of what true religion is, give that name to what deserves to be called anything rather than religion. God doubtless saw the pride and arrogance of those who, with contempt for all others, boast of their knowledge of God, and of their profound acquaintance with divine things obtained from philosophy, but who still, not less even than the most ignorant, run after their images, and temples, and famous mysteries; and seeing this, He “has chosen the foolish things of this world” —the simplest of Christians, who lead, however, a life of greater moderation and purity than many philosophers—“to confound the wise,” who are not ashamed to address inanimate things as gods or images of the gods. For what reasonable man can refrain from smiling when he sees that one who has learned from philosophy such profound and noble sentiments about God or the gods, turns straightway to images and offers to them his prayers, or imagines that by gazing upon these material things he can ascend from the visible symbol to that which is spiritual and immaterial. But a Christian, even of the common people, is assured that every place forms part of the universe, and that the whole universe is God’s temple. In whatever part of the world he is, he prays; but he rises above the universe, “shutting the eyes of sense, and raising upwards the eyes of the soul.” And he stops not at the vault of heaven; but passing in thought beyond the heavens, under the guidance of the Spirit of God, and having thus as it were gone beyond the visible universe, he offers prayers to God.

The Treatises of Cyprian
Chapter 7

"In the first place, martyrdom is not in your power, but in the condescension of God; neither can you say that you have lost what you do not know whether you would deserve to receive. Then, besides, God the searcher of the reins and heart, and the investigator and knower of secret things, sees you, and praises and approves you; and He who sees that your virtue was ready in you, will give you a reward for your virtue. Had Cain, when he offered his gift to God, already slain his brother? And yet God, foreseeing the fratricide conceived in his mind, anticipated its condemnation. As in that case the evil thought and mischievous intention were foreseen" by a foreseeing God, so also in God’s servants, among whom confession is purposed and martyrdom conceived in the mind, the intention dedicated to good is crowned by God the judge. It is one thing for the spirit to be wanting for martyrdom, and another for martyrdom to have been wanting for the spirit. Such as the Lord finds you when He calls you, such also He judges you; since He Himself bears witness, and says, “And all the churches shall know that I am the searcher of the reins and heart.” For God does not ask for our blood, but for our faith


"9. Besides, that the indications of the divine providence may be more evidently manifest, proving that the Lord, prescient of the future, takes counsel for the true salvation of His people, when one of our colleagues and fellow-priests, wearied out with infirmity, and anxious about the present approach of death, prayed for a respite to himself; there stood by him as he prayed, and when he was now at the point of death, a youth, venerable in honour and majesty, lofty in stature and shining in aspect, and on whom, as he stood by him, the human glance 474could scarcely look with fleshly eyes, except that he who was about to depart from the world could already behold such a one."

Basil the great
The Hexaemeron
Homily III: On The Firmament

"Therefore the prodigious mass of waters was spread around the earth; not in proportion with it and infinitely larger, thanks to the foresight of the supreme Artificer, Who, from the beginning, foresaw what was to come, and at the first provided all for the future needs of the world. "

Basil the Great
Dogmatics: Against Eunomius

"It is urged that if the Son is first begotten, He cannot be only begotten, and that there must needs be some other, in comparison with whom He is styled first begotten. Yet, O wise objector, though He is the only Son born of the Virgin Mary, He is called her first born. For it is said, ‘Till she brought forth her first born Son.’ There is therefore no need of any brother in comparison with whom He is styled first begotten. “It might also be said that one who was before all generation was called first begotten, and moreover in respect of them who are begotten of God through the adoption of the Holy Ghost, as Paul says, ‘For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren.’”
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