Friday, April 19, 2013

Gregory of Nyssa on why God is said to "repent" in the Old Testament

Commenting on 1 Samuel 15, where the Lord is "angry" with Saul and "repents" of making him king, Gregory of Nyssa explains:
“The Lord was angry, and he was grieved because of their sins”; and again, “He repented that he had anointed Saul king”… and besides this, it makes mention of his [God's] sitting, and standing, and moving, and the like, which are not as a fact connected with God but are not without their use as an accommodation to those who are under teaching. For in the case of the too unbridled, a show of anger restrains them by fear. And to those who need the medicine of repentance, it says that the Lord repents along with them of the evil, and those who grow insolent through prosperity it warns, by God’s repentance in respect to Saul, that their good fortune is no certain possession, though it seems to come from God (Answer to Eunomius’ Second Book; ACCS OT, IV, 259-60).


Fr. Larry Gearhart said...

I always assumed such anthropomorphisms were for our benefit.

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