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Fr. Tobias, your words are gorgeous.

I do not jettison the imagery of tribunal and anger. But a theology that proposes God acting juridically -- which presumes a law external to God and -- or God acting in anger -- which presumes God subject to necessity -- is not something that I preclude, but Orthodox theology precludes.

The references to wrath should be interpreted as anthropomorphisms as much as the biblical idioms which mention God having a right hand, or repenting of His creation of man. God is absolutely indeterminate and rests in apatheia, never subject to any necessity.

I would prefer to understand Anselm's reassertion of His honor for the sake of re-establishing beauty precisely not in response to injury or necessity. And I suppose the meaning God's wrath can be the subjective experience, in the unrepentant, of God's love,

Which is precisely the Orthodox doctrine about perdition, and which is certainly not the doctrine of a created hell or penal punishment.

By all means, the image of hell, with all its concrete imagery, along with the opening of books, the tribunal and judgment seat, should persist, because all our words are at best symbols that indicate the truth.

That is one thing. But to say that God really operates via a judicial tribunal, that there really is an external "book" that registers every deed (as if God's omniscience were insufficient, and a witness other than the resurrected memory of the person were necessary to make the case), or -- for that matter -- a the word "case" is even meaningful in an ineffable context ... all of this is quite another thing, and runs contrary to traditional triadology and christology.

"It is not a courtroom setting -- that kind of scene is a Western invention, and is not what the Apostles taught. More importantly, Judgment is not the Lord being angry or wrathful with people and “needing” to let His anger out, or needing to have justice done or His honor restored. These, again, are ideas that were invented in the West long after the Apostles, and outside of Holy Tradition and away from the Orthodox Church Fathers."

And yet, the imagery of the Tribunal, the opening of the books, and the Divine wrath, is rich and strong and thought-provoking in the stikhiry for Meatfare.

When St John the Golden Mouth attempts to explain what the Apostle called "the anger of God coming on the children of disobedience" to Theodore of Mopsuestia, he says that this is "not by way of avenging Himself on account of our former deeds, but because He wishes to release us from our former disorder".

Likewise, Anselm, who is venerable to the Latins, conceives of God’s honour as (borrowing the words of Fr Oliver Herbel) "the universe correctly ordered around him and worshiping him and living in harmony with him. So, when the fall occurs, humanity acts in rebellion and God must assert his honor, not in response to some sort of injury, but in order to re-establish the harmony, order and beauty (yes, beauty is an important term for Anselm) of the created cosmos."

Just a respectful plea, then, if I may, not to jettison the honourable place of a balanced and traditional imagery of tribunal and anger (perhaps, "cosmic zeal"?), which is by no means a Western or Latin monopoly as far as this sinner can tell.

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