“For evil must be altogether removed in every way from being, and, as we have said before, that which does not really exist must cease to exist at all. Since evil does not exist by its nature outside of free choice, when all choice is in God, evil will suffer a complete annihilation because no receptacle remains for it.”
(Recounted by Gregory in *On the Soul and the Resurrection*.)
It seems to me that this fits very well with a Wesleyan-Arminian perspective. God is good and eternal. Evil is not eternal. Evil exists because of free choice. As human choices change to being more and more in God, evil becomes eliminated — Macrina actually says “evil will suffer a complete annihilation”.
The alternative view would be… what?
- Evil is eternal and a co-equal principle to good?
- The human creation was neither “good” (ט֑וֹב) or “very good (ט֖וֹב מְאֹ֑ד)?
- Evil is a necessary part of human nature?
It follows that evil will be eliminated in this life or the next — it is not clear to me to which she is referring.
John Wesley said:
“‘But surely we cannot be saved from sin, while we dwell in a sinful body.’A sinful body? I pray observe, how deeply ambiguous; how equivocal, this expression is! But, there is no authority for it in Scripture: the word, sinful body, is never found there. And as it is totally unscriptural, so it is palpably absurd. For no body, or matter of any kind, can be sinful; spirits alone are capable of sin. Pray in what part of the body should sin lodge? It cannot lodge in the skin, nor in the muscles, or nerves, or veins, or arteries; it cannot be in the bones any more than in the hair or nails. Only the soul can be the seat of sin.”— John Wesley, “Christian Perfection” Sermons.
Most of Western Christianity has settled for a view which sees evil as an inherent part of human nature. But, how can this possibly be right? I think Macrina and many others are pointing us in the right direction: evil is a dysfunction.
From United Methodist Communications:
In the late 1860s, before there was an official Mother’s Day holiday in the U.S., a Methodist mom organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation. We asked Harriett Olson, the current head of United Methodist Women, and Donna Miller, archivist at Historic St. George’s United Methodist Church, to tell us more about the women behind the holiday.
Happy St. Nicholas Day!
Well, here’s my annual (when I remember it) Saint Nicholas Day post. Yes, I know, I don’t give any other historic Christian saints this kind of attention, but the figure of Santa Claus is so ubiquitous in this season of the year — I think it’s helpful to refer back to the original source of this myth. I think we can learn much more from the real St. Nick than from his fat, commercialized imposter. (more…)
Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace. Amen.
“Even now,’ declares the LORD, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your hearts and not Your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”
— Joel 2:12, 13
The season of Lent begins this week on Wednesday. It is Ash Wednesday that begins the season of the Church Year called Lent. Historically, the season of Lent is one of the most important seasons of the church year. The season of Lent moves toward Holy Week: the time when we remember the crucifixion. Lent looks toward the Cross — and then beyond it to the miracle of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus.
Ash Wednesday arrives this week: Wednesday March 5.
The history of the season of Lent is interesting for us today. Though we do not celebrate it as people did in the past, a look at the history of Lent can give meaning to this season of the Church year. (more…)
This is a guest post by Derek Ouellette, whose web site is here. If you are not currently following him, you should be.
Derek used to work in marketing and advertising for Cameron’s Bookstore in Windsor, Ontario. That was his job at the time he wrote this. He says: “I’ve worked in the Christian book industry for more than seven years and in spite of the struggles the retail end of the industry has faced recently, I love my job.” He also is a Classics Major at the University of Windsor. His interests include guitar, theology and history.
Derek does some great thinking and writing about the Christian faith and theology. This is a good example. (more…)