22-04-2009, 05:30 PM
This is a good question Donald.
I would say that our Church Fathers do not pass over any of these issues, but will answer them according to the theological framework in which they operate, which is usually not an Augustinian one.
St Cyril of Alexandria, as an example, would almost certainly wish to be known as an exegete rather than a controversialist, and felt that controversy was rather thrust upon him and took him away from his study of the Scriptures.
You can find St Cyril's commentary on the Gospel of St John online here..
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/">http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/</a><!-- m -->
and he addresses the passages you point to.
In relation to the first passage he says..
Quote:It did not behove the Lord simply to say, Ye have both seen Me and believe not, but it was necessary that He should bring in besides the reason of their blindness, that they might learn that they had fallen under the Divine displeasure. Therefore as a skilful physician He both shews them their weakness, and reveals the cause of it, not in order that they on learning it may remain quiet in it, but that they may by every means appease the Lord of all, Who is grieved at them, i. e., for just causes. For He would never be grieved unjustly, nor would He Who knows how to give righteous judgment have given any such judgment upon them, were not reason calling Him thereto, from all sides hasting unto the duty of accusal.
You can see that it is not at all the case that Scripture is plainly understood to have one meaning, and that in this case St Cyril does not avoid the passage but does not understand it to relate to predestination at all.
In relation to the other passages, he says..
Quote:He says that they cannot attain unto Him, save drawn by the teaching of the Father.
So again, he does not avoid the passage but does not find predestination in it.
The commentaries of St Cyril are wonderful volumes that require a very slow, considered reading. They are deeply theological. I wonder what you think of St Cyril's explanation.
Let me ask you in return, what does it mean when the patristic consensus is not the same as the Augustinian/Calvinist consensus? Where do we go from such a divergence?
Best wishes and God bless
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 - admin - 22-04-2009 05:30 PM