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Rebellion

“That first human sin was about turning away from God. He had explicitly told Adam and Eve not to eat of that tree, and yet they did it anyway. They joined the demons’ rebellion against the God who had created them, loved them, and given them to each other. Indeed, He had given them the whole world so they could participate in His divine rule. In eating of the forbidden tree, they did the one thing they knew would harm and disrupt their communion with Him, and this act harmed themselves. Sin has consequences that go far beyond deliberate punishment…Sin is, simply, “missing the mark,” but it is not the same as making a mistake. It is rebellion against God and the law that He wrote into the creation. Because sin is rebellion, because it is harmful, sinners have victims. Being a sinner means I’m harming others and also myself. Sin does not mean merely breaking rules but actually causing harm, including harm we may not perceive.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)


“…for a human person or a human community to live in a way that is unjust, which runs against the way in which God is operative within His created order, is to produce corruption. This rebellion is also transformative and produces a state of curse. When someone or something is cursed, it is removed or broken out of the system of relationships that constitute justice in the world. So Cain, after committing murder, is cursed from the earth and is no longer able to interact with created nature in agriculture (Gen 4:11-12). Throughout the Old Testament, curse entails banishment from the community and the place where God dwells.” (Fr. Stephen De Young)


“Let us first consider self-denial. The serious Christian undertakes such practices as fasting, vigil, prayer, and almsgiving with a specific end in mind. According to Saint Paul, we deny ourselves that we “may gain Christ and be found in Him” (Phil 3:8-9). Standing in the way of this undertaking is our self-will – the rebellious soul that wants its own way. Our inner self can be likened to a raging, 2,500-pound bull – no one is prepared to control such a self…Salvation lies in our persistent efforts to tame the raging bull...Still, we endeavor to throw down this rebellious self a thousand times over “for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus [our] Lord” (Phil 3:8). And God, in His mercy, has revealed to us a superior opportunity to master our rebellious self in order to gain Christ’s will as our own…“if you endure the daily ascesis, every time you coerce your soul to bear a cold word, a derision, a reproach, you become a confessor. Every time you have patience, you receive a crown, and it is considered by God to be a daily martyrdom for you.” (Dynamis 3/19/2023, Elder Joseph the Hesychast)


“What sort of peace is it that Jesus asks them to pronounce upon entering each house? And what kind of peace is it of which the angels sing [in Lk 2:14], “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace”? And if Jesus came not to bring peace, why did all the prophets publish peace as good news? Because this more than anything is peace: when the disease is removed. This is peace: when the cancer is cut away. Only with such radical surgery is it possible for heaven to be reunited to earth. Only in this way does the physician preserve the healthy tissue of the body. The incurable part must be amputated. Only in this way does the military commander preserve the peace: by cutting off those in rebellion.” (St. John Chrysostom)


“Those who adhere to the “propriety” of religious practice, but whose hearts are rebellious, will be judged harshly; while those who may not follow the “proper” rules, but who love God as far as they are able, will be accepted by Him.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Amos 5:21-27) 


“The story of Christianity is the story of humanity’s rebellion against God.” (John Moriarty)


“It is possible to find those who consider themselves enemies of God. But most people would deny it. Instead, many may admit that “God” does not mean much to them. They harbor no ill will toward God as long as He doesn’t interfere with their lives…this attitude is the bedrock of human sinfulness. From the initial sin of Adam and Eve, humankind has declared its independence from its Creator. But this desire to be one’s own god has led humanity farther and farther away from the source of life and goodness. Indifference is a benign form of the rejection of God and everything that He represents. The hatred that underlies this uncaring attitude was revealed whenever God tried to win humans back to Him. When the Creator has tried to reveal His good for human persons, they have bristled with indignation. Accordingly, Paul said, “By the law comes knowledge of sin” (OSB Romans 3:20). The law commands, corrects, and holds humans accountable to the divine will. And so, it stirs up animosity. Man willfully subjects himself to corruption rather than acknowledge His dependence on and responsibility to His Creator.” (Fr. Basil)


“God is intimately involved in the created order. His grace, His working in the world, permeates the entirety of the creation which He is transfiguring and bringing to perfection. Sin came into existence through evil spiritual powers that have rebelled against their creator. Human persons who join in their rebellion mediate their evil into the created order as humanity was created to mediate between the invisible and visible creations. That humanity is not irredeemably demoniac and damned living in a creation transformed into a literal hell on earth is purely the gracious work of God. God has done all that He has done, preeminently the incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension in glory of Jesus Christ, in order to redeem the created order and humanity in particular. He has given us this life for repentance. He makes use of the rebellious spiritual powers which hate him in order to bring about the repentance, healing, and restoration of human persons. It is for this reason that he handed all of humanity over to death (Gen 3:2-23). It is to restrain man’s evil that his life is foreshortened (Gen 6:3).” (Father Stephen De Young)


“The prophet Jonah was not the only one to rebel against such incomparable freedom and generosity. Jonah is joined by apostles, and later, by many theologians, clergy, and laity. The church’s history is littered with conflicts precisely over the outrageous compassion of God…How many of us still recoil from the Father’s unreasonable forgiveness to the prodigal son? How natural it is, like the other, “good son,” to despise the feast celebrated for the returned runaway, the reconciliation and resolution of all in the great wedding banquet of the Lamb. Thankfully, there have also always been other voices who were able to receive such a tremendous gift—the absurd lovingkindness of God.” (Father Michael Plekon)


“Those who accept and appropriate Christ's love are reconciled to God, being restored to peace and communion with Him. God has not ceased to be our Friend, for He is unchangeable. We are the ones who have changed and thus need changing. So while we were still rebellious enemies of God, God was working in His love to restore us.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Romans 5:10)


“Genesis 1-11 narrates three “falls.”  There are three distinct times described when human persons joined with spiritual beings in rebellion against God. The first of these, in Genesis 3, led to the devil being cast into the underworld and humanity’s expulsion from Paradise, the presence of God. Through Adam’s sin, death laid claim to the human race. The second rebellion is described in Genesis 4-6. Cain and his descendants join with rebellious angelic powers to bring sin and corruption into the world, culminating in acts of demonic sexual immorality which produced clans of gigantic tyrants. This resulted in the cleansing of the world by the waters of the flood. Finally, humanity’s sin at the tower of Babel resulted in Yahweh, the true God, distancing himself from the nations, placing them under the governance of intermediaries who rebelled and enslaved them as the principalities and powers opposed to Christ and his Church.” (Father Stephen De Young)


“The human race created by God was united as humanity. Originally, humanity in its entirety was created alike as children of God. However, humanity lost this unity in its rebellion against God's will (that is, the fall), which resulted in the division of people into different races and nations.” (George C. Papademetriou)


“The earliest people of God (Israel and Judah) and the Church share a continuous history, with each generation resisting or embracing God’s call to communion. Assaults against us are constant and peaceful times rare. The ferocity of the attack varies, for the warfare is experienced inside our souls as well as externally in the form of battles and all-out war. The underlying cause of this unending conflict is evil and sin, the first and continuing plague…Because we live in a world in constant rebellion against God, Christ is urgently concerned with protecting our hearts and souls.” (Dynamis 8/31/2019, 6/24/2020)


“Holy Scripture reduces the choices of which dynamic will govern our lives to just two: the true God, and, not the true God: the true God, or any number of false idols, usually manifestations of the fallen self. Relinquishing the spirit of rebellion that haunts the human heart is the hard work of Christian life. In fact, many who become Christian – or, after baptism into the Church – notice that while part of us moves eagerly toward the light, another part folds the arms, scowls, and insists on being immovable.” (Fr. John Oliver)


“This spiritual journey for the Christian is the time for him to leave behind all the excess baggage he may have brought from the secular world, as well as to shed all vestiges of rebellion and idolatry.” (Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver)


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