Total contemplation of God is our goal in life, and this comes with full communion (complete unity) with God. This means union with Christ's body and mind and the Trinity. To achieve this you must submit to all truth presented to you. This does not mean you must understand all things, but you must react in concord with God's will to every experience, for this shows unity with Christ. This is not just a matter of self-willed choices, it is also a matter of accepting the guidance of the Spirit, a Spirit who doesn't force, but convinces, one to submit to this guidance. This will lead you into a state where you acquire Christ's mind and vision of God, thus total contemplation of God.
On some level of consciousness the soul perceives all time simultaneously. When the soul perceives death as the future, it subconsciously avoids the future, and when it perceives heaven in it's future it strives for this. Christ provides the vision of heaven and this is what saves a person, because even though you still must struggle through death, you gain the capacity to survive death through the vision provided by Christ.
Christ empties himself in death and unites with the dead. In death he becomes blind to himself but regains his sight of himself within three days and is thus resurrected. His Church must spread their awareness of this resurrection throughout mankind to enable people to partake of it.
God seeks for us to use our free will to choose to follow Him. God may not seem to be a compelling choice for some because of what God offers them, for what God offers them may not satisfy them in particular ways (not enough status), or be acceptable for them (accept responsibility and accept struggle). These souls are weeded out, as they weed themselves out with their own choices.
Co-operation with evil begins with accepting lies and deceptions as a means of acquiring undeserved benefits (material or spiritual goods, status). This can lead to the extreme of knowingly or unknowingly causing the corruption and death of others.
The fall of Adam diiminishes free will because the deceptions of evil cause blindness to the consequences of choices.
Guilt leads you to flee God by denying God. Accepting forgiveness from God leads you to seek His presences, thus seek to do His will.
God gives us free choice, but life in this world demonstrates to us why we need God's counsel in exercising the gift of free choice. By exercising it properly, which ultimately requires us to consult God in our choices, we acquire the right to call ourselves children of God, and to the dignity that comes with this title.
God distains man's arrogance and demands true humility. Abuse of free will amplifies pain, fear, and conflict, above necessary normal levels.
One needs to be sanctified and to follow the law to be saved. Good works, while they don't sanctify, reveal that a person has God's law written in their hearts, and this will eventually lead them to sanctification in Christ.
Only in the Spirit can one know how to follow the law without fully understanding the law. Full understanding of the law is Christ's alone, but obedience to Christ enables us to follow the law.
Natural law includes the laws of created metaphysical (spiritual) reality.
We are not totally devoid of our sense of right and wrong due to the fall, as Protestant theology generally states; we are simply impaired. St. Paul expresses this when he states that through law we can come to know the difference between good and evil, though through the Law we don't gain the spiritual strength to refrain from sinning.
Preparation in terms of natural law, and preparation in terms of Mosaic law, which includes preparation for proper worship, are essential to the purpose of proper Christian understandings and practice.
Not severing the logic of natural law from the logic of God's law is imperative to God's purposes, as all law is meant to prepare people for empowerment in Christ. A man can be a law unto himself (Roman, ch. 3), for this is intrinsic to the logic underlying God's Creation, but man still needs Christ for comprehensive understanding and perfect action.
Explaining logical inter-relationships within the law are important in bringing people to Christ. This is why good actions by non-Christians are to be respected, for they reveal respect for God's truth which can be helpful in revealing the value of belief in Christ.
Natural law can and should be used as an evangelical tool, though in the last five hundred years or so it has mainly been used to undermine faith. This is due to the arrogance of philosophers and the neglect of the faithful.
Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.This means fear of offending God with sin. This should lead to a struggle against sin, which will include an inquiry as to what sin is. Some come to know what sin is to a degree through obedience to parents and authorities, who may have learned from scripture or natural reasoning. Some inquire themselves. Ultimately the battle for truth can only be won with Christ, who leads mankind to a fuller understanding of sin and also provides guidance through obedience for those who can't understand well, and also provides the spiritual strength to turn away from sin (with faith, experiencing of the Holy Spirit, and through deeper understanding).
God allows errors to run their course in order to teach lessons. In other words, He has created a system where you will reap what you sow, in order to reveal the consequences of your actions.
As heaven becomes more inevitable to a soul's future, and this comes from conforming to God's will, that soul perceives heaven to an amplifed degree whenever it experiences metaphysical (spiritual) reality. Before this though, a soul can have terrible experiences when perceiving metaphysical reality, and this is because in God's design perception of future possibilities is a key restraining guide to the exercise of free-will, so if someone perceives hell as a possible future for themself, they may have an experience of hell when they consciously perceive the spiritual realm.
The threat of the possibility of a condemnation to an eternal hell, as opposed to a temporary hell with inevitable redemption, is necessary because of the degree of power that God allows man through free willed pursuits.
There are Four types of sinners:
1) the righteous, who partially succeed in the struggle to do the right thing as far as they know, but sin because they don't have perfect understanding of right and wrong or perfect strength of will.
2) Those who clearly fail in their struggle against sin, but have a conscious or sub-conscious sense of guilt.
3) The self- righteous, who in their arrogance are blind to their own sin.
4) The malevolent, who know they seriously sin and are content with it.
Jesus freely chooses to follow man into death so that man can follow Jesus out of death and into Heaven.
Paul points out that Jesus' resurrection gives us freedom from death, which means freedom from a fear of death, a key concept.
Original sin brings death because man needs to learn to fear death in order to refrain from actions that cause death, then learn that fidelity to Christ overcomes death because through Christ one learns how, and is empowered, to not sin.
God seeks for us to have the insight to see the truth, the wisdom to know when to act, and the strength of will to act. This wisdom can only be acquired in the Spirit because only God sees His plan in fullness.
Seeing the truth includes seeing that God empowers evil in order to punish those who empower evil by choosing evil over good. When does one seek to destroy evil if God is using evil to achieve his purposes, which includes teaching people the consequences of choosing evil? When God gives the go ahead to do so, this coming through the wisdom of Christ and the Holy Spirit.
The offer of forgiveness by God is given unconditionally, meaning it is not earned by mankind through actions they have taken. It is earned by Christ through his choice of living and dying among men.Forgiveness requires that you accept responsibility for your actions. Some may never, especially if those actions are atrocious.
Christ and the Spirit restore God's justice Justification in specific instances, such as for wealth, is ultimately tied to true faith because true faith enlightens one to purposes and strengthens one against corruption. Ultimately it is only in a completely developed faith that one becomes incorruptible.
Sanctification of the soul is the first priority, and the body follows. This was an essential message of St. Paul and of the monastic movement in the Church.
Those who are corrupted in the soul, as all are at a one time or another, may face horrific spiritual experiences upon the approach of death, (not necessarily final judgment), and this is one reason why material wealth can be a curse, as it seduces a person into ignoring or trivializing spiritual matters. Sanctification of the soul, on the other hand, does not require a complete denial of physical needs, but a proper ordering of them. We are meant to be complete human beings, in body and spirit. Eventually, the Holy Spirit leads one to learn how to properly satisfies physical as well as spiritual needs.
Through Christ one obtains a full measure of the Spirit. Though it is the Spirit who leads one to Christ, before one embraces Christ in a full manner and not just in name, meaning one's intent is to truly follow Christ, one does not acquire a full measure of the Spirit, for this could be dangerous, as the Spirit empowers, but does not impede free will. The way the Spirit leads one to Christ is through indirect guidance. Before Christ, Moses was the man who had the most direct access to the Spirit, but this was still indirect. In Christ one has a guide to proper free willed choices, both conveying the word of God and also in expressing the love of God.
When one becomes empowered through the Spirit, one develops a powerful spirit of one's own. If one does not properly exercise one's free will, this requiring the guidance of Christ through the heart and intellect, one can feely choose to turn away from God and then use one's own powerful spirit to make war on God by undermining His truth and destroying life. This is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and is unforgivable.
Even before accepting Christ, through a partial and indirect influence of the Spirit one can develop a strong spirit of one's own and turn against God. This is also blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, for it is a blasphemy against the Spirit of truth and the Giver of life.
The nature of Adam's sin is fundamentally different than Satan's; Satan's intent was destruction, Adam's was not. This is also true in regards to the sins of Judas relative to the other disciples. He sought to destroy life and love, while the others acted out of ignorance and fear. God's challenge is to reveal these differences to man, as man is duped by evil people into not seeing their evil intentions. This is one reason why Christ allowed Judus to carry out his plan of betrayal; to reveal Judas' true nature to the other disciples, whom he had completelely deceived. God does whatever is necessary in order to reveal evil intentions so that people can understand His judgments when He makes them (Psalm 50 states, "so that thou shall prevail when thou are judged").
Christ needs to become united with man's sin in order to break the power of sin over man, and He accomplishes this by allowing Himself to be treated and condemned as a sinner guilty of the most serious of sins, of claiming to be equal to God. Once it is revealed through the fact of his resurrection (though not all are aware of this immediately) that He is equal to God, thus was falsely condemned, the power of sin over man is broken, because Satan's authority to control sinners, which God had given him, is broken (Rev. ch.12, ln.10 "the accuser of our brethren is cast down"). Thus, Satan's false accusations, condemnation, execution and spiritual imprisonment of the innocent Christ destroys his authority over sinners.
The crucifixion of Christ makes Satan guilty of both deicide and of knowingly murdering the Messiah. This is why the crucifixion of Christ is necessary before final judgment, so that God can condemn Satan for these sins without condemning most men and angels whose sins are less severe. If God were to condemn Satan simply for lesser sins, many others would be lost also since, in fairness, if one is condemned by a sin, all who commit that same sin must also be condemned. Consequently, Christ is not crucified for the purpose of satisfying God's demand for retribution, as certain Roman theologians (St. Anslem) have proposed, but instead to satisfy the demands of the Law in condemning Satan. Satan, who is conscious of the power of the Law, becomes impotent and destroyed when he realizes that his sin is worse than mans', since he knows his sin enables God to condemn him under the Law without condemning man. His consciousness of the fact that he has acted in such a way that he deserves to be, and will be, eternally condemned undermines his power. Satan comes to know he can no longer hold man hostage to their sins (though he can still deceive man into believing he still has authority). He becomes aware that God will forgive mans' sins but not his. His awareness of this truth comes about when he finally learns that Christ is actually God incarnate, a truth he only learns gradually through history as he slowly comes to realize that Christ has truly been resurrected. Satan, unaware of Christ's resurrection when it happens, initially possesses only a vision of Christ's soul bound in hell, with all the rest of the dead. He believes he has Christ imprisoned in death because he believes that Christ was only meant to be the Messiah of the Jews and was mistaken, and rightly condemned, when he claimed to be equal to God. The Churches' witness to Christ's resurrection baffles Satan. He believes Christ's disciples have been perpetrating a lie when they claim He has been resurrected. It is only in the Endtimes, when Christ returns in full spiritual and physical form to His Church that Satan realizes that he has not been privy to full reality, but only trapped in the illusion that Christ had not been resurrected and was still imprisoned in death. This is the point where Satan is cast from Heaven on his way to eternal hell.
I believe that Judas is the most misunderstood character is Christian history. He was nothing but a snake in the grass who jealously turned on Christ when he realized he was excluded from Christ's inner circle of companions, which included Peter, James, and John. He then concocted a plan to secretly betray Christ with the expectation that Christ would be killed, and he then could take over the leadership (for he contemptuously and secretly saw the others as fools) of Christ' followers and lead them into an armed revolt against Rome, with the intent of eventually becoming King of the Jews. Christ undermined this plan by revealing Judas as His betrayer and stopping an armed response to His arrest by ordering Peter to sheath his sword, and then submitting passively to His death.
Peter didn't deny Christ out of just fear, but also out of anger, because Christ did not allow him to fight for Him.
Here are the consequences of the two errors of the Church (filioque in the West and anti-natural law in the East). The Roman Catholic Christ is artificial and detached, this caused by a merging of Father and Son and the development in perception of Christ that is overly influenced by platonic idealism. Orthodox perceptions of Christ include the heart of Christ but not always His mind. Old line Protestants dismiss the supernatural and spiritual aspect of Christ's humanity with "faith alone"? New Evangelical Protestants replace true spirituality with a psychological highs and delusion.
Historically, power and influence of the Church has grown from the community of common men and women, eventually becoming accepted by the state, then co-existing and sharing power with the state, and then losing power to the state. The state then becomes the instrument of power for people and special interests. The influence of philosophy on this process has been both good and bad. Good in terms of promoting practical ethics and scientific achievement. Bad in terms of promoting arrogance and blindness to metaphysical factors.
Civil law is mandatory upon members of a diverse community, thus should be determined and applied differently than religious law, which is voluntarily submitted to by assenting members.
The spirit of the anti-Christ advocates false Christian teachings. Modern western society is a society heavily influenced by the anti-Christ. It is a society of hypocrisy, dominated by greed and pride all the while claiming to be Christian. Western culture promotes and exploits inordinate desires and passions, mainly to the purpose of self-glorification and monetary profit. On the one hand you have liberals who advocate personal freedom devoid of personal responsibility and on the other, hard-hearted conservatives with perverted values dominated by greed and self-righteousness.
Combination of old Protestant world view and new Evangelical Protestant world view leads to dominance of the anti-Christ because the power of the anti-Christ is exercised through civil offices (such as the Roman emperor), with false religion promoting illusions that lead to exaggerated reverence for secular leaders.
It can be difficult to realize how thoroughly our society is corrupted because the corruption isn't always revealed in the nature of what is done but by the character of how things are done and perceived. For example, the desire and pursuit of entertainment is natural; the utter glorification of sports heroes and movie and rock stars is perverse, but promoted and thoroughly accepted within this society, all in the name of vanity and profit.
Reason and spirit lead to Christ and Church. Church leads to fuller reason and spirit, and acquisition of Holy Spirit, which then leads to perfected reasoning, reflective of Christ's wisdom.
Christ guides the intellect and inspires emotion. The Spirit inspires the intellect and guides emotion.; The Spirit sanctifies and protects the soul and energizes the mind and body. A person must hear Christ's guiding voice to ensure that they don't become deceived by a false spirit, one which mimics the Holy Spirit's actions. Be weary of false teachers and false spirits.
If the physical Universe is determined and not probabilistic, then it must have been designed because of the underlying unity of it's physical laws, with this unity revealing that from the moment the Universe came into being man was predestined to exist. If it is designed, there must be a designer. If there is a benevolent designer he must have designed in free will for man, since all the cruelty that exists in this life shows that either free willed beings are causing an amplification in the pain of this life or the designer is cruel, since the amplified pain has no purpose if all experience is predetermined. Man must have a free willed soul in order to have free will in a predetermined physical world.
If a soul exists, care of the soul is more important than care of the body, and if the soul exists, metaphysical reality exists and must be in some type of union with the physical world.