Predestination Long Before John Calvin (Part II)

This is part two of three posts on St Symeon the New Theologian who wrote on the Biblical topics of predestination and fore-ordination. St Symeon reflects the consensus of teaching of the Orthodox Church, long before John Calvin made it the cornerstone of his own unbiblical system  – RAS 

The Fore-Ordained

DoublePredestinationThe Church is the body of Christ, His bride, the world to come, and the Temple of God. The members of his body are all the saints. However, not all the saints who will please God have yet appeared, nor yet is the whole body of Christ thus complete, nor the world to come yet fulfilled. I say this about God’s Church. There are, though, many unbelievers in the world today who will believe in Christ; many sinners and debauched who will repent and change their lives; many undecided who will be persuaded. There are many, a great many, up to the sound of the last trumpet, who will prove well pleasing to God and who have not yet been born. All those who are foreknown by God must be born, come into being, before the world beyond our world, the world of the Church, of the first-born, of the heavenly Jerusalem, is filled up. Then shall the end come and the fullness of the body of Christ be complete, through those who are fore-ordained by God to become conformed to the image of His Son. They are the sons of light and of His day.

These are then the fore-ordained who are inscribed and numbered, who shall be added and joined to the body of Christ. And then, when as it were the whole world is realized, when no member is lacking, then shall it be fulfilled, completed, as in truth it appeared to the apostle Paul when he said:

Until we all attain… a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ… [Ephesians 4:13]… Those whom He foreknew those He also fore-ordained. Whom He forknew, these also He called. Whom He called, He made righteous. Whom He made righteous, these also He glorified, making them conformed to the image of His son. [Romans 8:29 – 30]

Do you see how all the saints are both known beforehand and fore-ordained? Next, then, learn how they are all inscribed. For he says;

You have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable Angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born whose names are enrolled in heaven. [Heb 12:23]

If therefore they are enrolled, it follows that they are numbered. As it is written “the Lord knows His own” [2 Tim 2:19]. And there is another venerable saying “even the hairs of your head” He says, “are numbered.” [Mat 10:30] If even the hairs of our head are numbered by God who knows all things, then how much more are not we? So all the saints are known long beforehand by God, are at once fore-ordained and numbered, as well as enrolled by name in heaven, and are both members of Christ and called to become and complete one body with Him. It is therefore manifest that once they are all gathered into the single body which is Christ, then the higher world, the heavenly Jerusalem itself which is the Church of the firstborn, will be complete. The whole body of the queen, the Church of God and of Christ God, will be realized.

So where are those who, to their own perdition, vainly imagine many mansions outside the kingdom of heaven? Where are those who say: “We do not want to enter the kingdom of heaven, because it is too much to ask, but would rather be sufficed with a place of rest”? All the saints from the beginning must be one body with Christ! Where else do such people think they will go if they are found to be unworthy of His body and cut off from it? When the whole world is renewed by fire, where do they imagine they could ever hide so as to avoid being touched by that fire, and tested by it? Truly: “They have become futile in their thinking, and their senseless hearts have been darkened. Claiming to be wise, they have become fools” [Romans 1:12-22].

From St Symeon “On the Mystical Life : The Ethical Discourses – Vol 1 The Church and the Last Things” (Pgs 50-52)

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