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Cause and Effect

“The law of cause and effect is most convincing to human understanding and reasoning, and by it the human mind arrives at very definite conclusions…some conclusions are correct, others are not. This is why we can trust our rational thinking only to a point. Our rational thinking serves us best when we subjugate it to God rather than elevate it in our thought to the status of the supreme power in the universe (God tells us He will both reason with us while also telling us that His thoughts are way beyond our thoughts (Isaiah 1:18 and 55:8-9). It dangerous to equate human intelligence with Divine Wisdom. It’s much better to understand human intelligence as a gift that we use to seek God who is far beyond it.” (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, Sacramental Living Ministries)

“In the Book of Job, Job’s friends who are supposed to be a comfort to him in suffering instead propose rational reasons it, all of which are wrong and cause Job more anguish. Perhaps the worst is Bildad’s argument that basically says Job somehow brought this on himself. A temporal perspective, which is what people have who don’t believe in God or don’t understand much about God, is what Bildad had versus Job who had an eternal perspective…The prophet unmasks the weakness of Bildad’s simplistic, cause-and-effect theory of God’s providence (Job 21:8-16) by addressing the issue of God’s justice in judgment (vss. 17-20). In verses 29-33, he suggests seeking the wisdom of the saints in the matter, which leads him to speak of eternal judgment…Cause-and-effect theology can mislead us most dangerously.” (Sacramental Living Ministries, Dynamis 8/13/2019)

“We live in a culture and era which is extremely materialistic. We perceive the things, and even the events…as essentially spiritually neutral, the result of blind chains of cause and effect… Things simply happen, sometimes they happen to us, and when we pray, much of our prayer is consumed with asking God to cause certain things to happen for us, or that He will not allow certain other things to happen to us. When we look at our fellow human beings, we evaluate them based on how they treat us. If they treat us at least benignly, we consider them to be good people. If they mistreat us or behave in ways that we don't like, then they are bad people, and we either avoid them, or do whatever we think we can to stop their unwelcome behavior…What the Apostle is reminding us today [in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12] that the world is not spiritually neutral.” (Father Stephen De Young)

“In a psychological culture, morality and psychology are the only human realities we acknowledge. We do not see nor understand the nature of spiritual things. We are locked in a world of cause and effect and presume that everything works in such a manner. The landscape of psychological causes (and effects) is the world as we choose to see it. But it does not see the landscape of the Kingdom of God – that which is birthed in believers in their Baptism. One of the great challenges…is making the transition from psychology to true spirituality. Some teachers suggest that many will fail to do so – and will thus fail to realize the reality of their birthright in Christ.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The relationship between the obedience of God’s people and the triumph of God’s cause is not a relationship of cause and effect but one of cross and resurrection.” (John Howard Yoder)

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