A. “The Teaching of Saint Gregory” contains many theologically concepts as God and Creation, Christology, human Sin and salvation, eschatology and resurrection. Owing to the limited space, I will only explore some key elements which I think are worthy to be discussed.
First, Gregory depicts the God’s attributes – it begins with the faith of Trinity- God created the world and humankind, the Son saved humankind and the Spirit sustained the world (259, 263, 362). There is no one before God and there is no creator (259). God is incomprehensible and almighty (259, 366). God created two kinds of creatures: visible (the creatures in the world) and invisible (angels, include the evil “Follower behind”) (262, 278).
Second, man was created in God’s image–which gave man rational mind and independent will so that man will be aware of God. (273), praise God (261) and live in a good life with God. (Enoch’s life 294).
Third, in Christology, Gregory emphasizes the incarnation of the Son is not a sudden idea, not a phantom (402) but an eternal redemption plan of God. All the prophecies was foreshadowing Christ (342) and concerning Christ (377). Gregory skims the life and teaching of Jesus but emphasizes much in Christ’s death and resurrection. Jesus humbled Himself to the indignity of death (385, 587-595), came to bridge the separated, to build up what was destroyed (591). In Gregory’s view, the cross of Christ is the anti-type of the tower of Babel. The tower stands for scattering, represents God’s wrath of human’s sin; the cross stands for gathering that Jesus redirects people back to God (584, 585). With the promise of God’s spirit dwelling in the believers, Gregory further insists the Martyrs live and intercede for men (596-597) which provides hope and courage in believers’ daily lives.
Forth, the eschatological thought – In the six ages of the world (667), the writer implies they live in the last age of the world and God is going to renew his creation. (671-679) Gregory claims that through the power of the Spirit, the Apostles regenerate the world by baptism (680), bring forth the world afresh by water and the Spirit (681). Gregory also emphasizes the attribute of the Holy Spirit as Fire (638, 676); that the Apostles seasoned everyone by fire (Mk 9:49) (681).
B. To make critics on this book, the best criteria I would adopt is love. It is not only a virtue but in fact it is the commandment that Jesus has given us to obey (Jn 13:34). As Augustine emphasized in the teaching of catechism, “Love is the End”, is the utmost important element to teach in the catechism.
Firstly, Gregory had made good elaboration of God’s attributes and the unity of Trinity. Not like the modalism, He does not say the Father is the only worker in Creation. By quoting “Let us make” (Gen 1:27), Gregory claims the Son and the Spirit are the co-workers in the creation. However, he has not elaborated the loving relation in Trinity. The Gospels tells numerously Jesus loves the...