St. Isaac, Gehenna and Hope

Probably the most controversial teaching of St. Isaac the Syrian is his teaching on Gehenna, or hell.  Homily 27 begins with the following statement and explanation of St. Isaac’s thoughts on sin, Gehenna and death: Sin, Gehenna and death do not exist at all with God, for they are effects [or acts], not substances.  Sin is the fruit of the will; there was a time when sin did not exist, and there…

Dark Belief

If you don’t mind, I’d like to talk about what someone has called the dark belief. When God turns out not to be who we thought he was, particularly because the circumstances of our life are more painful than the God whom we had imagined would have allowed, cynicism and atheism (or agnosticism, her sister)seem appropriate coping mechanisms. Initially, there is a perverse joy in attributing to others the worst possible motives…