Does God Punish?

So much good stuff to read and so little time…

I have just finished reading an excerpt from the writings of St. John Chrysostom relating to the punishment of God.

“For if the wrath of God were a passion, one might well despair as being unable to quench the flame which he had kindled by so many evil doings. But since the Divine nature is passionless, even if He punishes, even if He takes vengeance, he does this not with wrath, but with tender care, and much loving-kindness.” St.John Chrysostom (c.347-407): An exhortation to Theodore after his fall, 1, 4.

It raises the thorny question of language. The Scriptural language and extra-Scriptural language of our faith can be dangerous to our salvation. Our proclamation must, since our faith language is paradoxical and highly approximate, be accompanied with instruction and a context in which what is attempting to be communicated can be more deeply explored and lived out. Thus, the Holy Tradition…

I highly recommend reading the condensed version of Chrysostom’s reflection on the powerful and easily misunderstood theme of “divine punishment” and the comments that are being generated as a result of it, here. Thanks to Mark Armitage for making it available to all of us via his blog, Enlarging the Heart.


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