Sunday, September 12, 2010

Purity, Theology and True Intelligence

Some further reflections on the subject of knowledge, faith and some thoughts as to what comes from what. I have used knowledge and theology in a specific sense, not as it is commonly understood. I ran into this interesting passage by Alexander Kalimoros:

Knowledge is the vision of God and of His creation in a heart purified by divine grace and the struggles and prayers of man. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”.

Truth is not a series of definitions, but God Himself, “Who appeared
concretely in the person of Christ, Who said: “I am the Truth”.
Certainty is not a matter of intellectual harmony; it is a deep
assurance of the heart. It comes to man after inner vision and is
accompanied by the warmth of divine grace. Intellectual harmony, which is the outcome of a logical ordering of things, is never accompanied by this assurance.

The only way to knowledge is purity of heart. It alone permits the
indwelling of the Holy Trinity in man. In this way alone is God and
His whole creation known, without being conceptualized. He is known as He really is without becoming comprehensible and without being diminished in order to fit into the stiffing limits of the human intellect. Thus the mind (nous) of man, living and uncomprehending, comes into union with the living and incomprehensible God. Knowledge is the living contact of man with the Creator and His creation, in mutual love.
We see the same sentiments in Vladimir Lossky, for whom theology is communion, not primarily academic pursuit. "A theology that constitutes itself into a system is always dangerous. It imprisons in the enclosed sphere of thought the reality to which it must open thought." He then goes on to explain the relationship between faith and knowledge:

Christian adherence to a presence which confers certitude, in such a way that certitude here is first...What one quests is already present, precedes us, makes possible our question itself."Through faith, we comprehend (we think), how the ages have been produced" (Hebrews 11:3) Thus faith allows us to think, it gives us true intelligence. Knowledge is given to us by faith, that is to say, by our participatory adherence to the presence of Him Who reveals Himself.

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