Friday, October 03, 2008
Heaven, or hell?
"If during the Middle Ages a similar effect [audience shock value] was often provoked by references to the burning flames of hell, in patristic writers the attempt to enhance the devotional zeal for spiritual life and the commitment to Christ was carried out by no less shocking, but significantly more positively oriented, affirmations. Not eternal punishment as retribution for sinful life was emphasized, but rather eternal life in God, divine therapeutic forgiveness, and the restored harmony of the whole creation. Emphasis was placed not on what would happen to people if they did not obey the divine commandments, but rather on what awaits them if they reconcile themselves with God."—Vladimir Kharlamov in Partakers of the Divine Nature, pages 127-128.