Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The parable of divine love

19th Century Russian Icon

I'm not sure I understand this but it makes me think. And that, I would submit, is valuable:

Christ does not save us by acting a parable of divine love; He acts the parable of divine love by saving us. That is the Christian faith.

-- Austin Farber


  1. It seems to me that what Farber is saying is a reiteration of orthodoxy. What I hear in this quote is a defense of substitutionary atonement. For a good deal of my life that doctrine left me feeling guilty. Eventually, for me, it came to sound manipulative, painting a view of God that I find offensive: that God’s grace is defined by the rules of ancient cultures in which balance could be brought to the scales of an offense against a monarch by the suffering of anyone, whether or not that person had committed the offending act.

    I believe what Farber appears to reject, that Jesus saves us by drawing us to imitate the divine love that we see manifested in his life and in his selflessness; that salvation comes to us not because Jesus suffered but because he loved so much that he was willing to suffer and die rather than deny the poor, the poor of spirit, the sick, the despised and the rejected; because Jesus made his life about loving God and loving others rather than about himself or about being religiously, culturally or politically correct. That, I believe constitutes Jesus' claim to be Christ.

    Salvation then is nothing more or less than seeking to be Christ with Jesus. Grace is that God loves us and permits us to become one with the Christ because we love enough to try to love more. If we only seek to love I believe that God's Grace comes to us no matter how inadequate our love or how often we fail adequately to love. Finally, I believe Jesus/Christ is an avenue rather than the only avenue toward divine love. Tom

  2. This is a thoughtful reflection. Thanks, Tom!

  3. No comment. I had to fill this box to check off the
    e-mail follow up

  4. I also replied to you comment on the posting entitled, "For Your Contemplative Practice".

    I'll email it to you.


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