The necessity of an absolute
It seems to me that most people have forgotten the relationship between existence and truth. Whatever a person gives priority to in terms of
existence, be it matter/energy, Brahman or Christ, will necessarily effect the things below it. When I talk about priority I mean that existence of
one thing precedes another, for example, the existence of my parents takes existential priority over the existence of my brother and myself, assuming
we don't believe in eternal souls or something of that nature.
If you know nothing of the origin of existence, then you know nothing absolutely. If you know nothing absolutely, then you cannot possibly know
anything at all. At the very least knowledge is an acquired truth, but if one knows nothing absolutely, then one can never know what it is to be true
and what it is to be false in any absolute sense of the terms. Said in another way, if there is no absolute knowledge, then no human has access to an
absolute standard of what it is to be true and what it is to be false, and thus knowledge would be impossible. People who think this way are
ultimately nihilist, and nothingness is their God. So with the understanding that something need be absolute less you lose access to knowledge I ask
you what is absolute? What God do you serve? I serve the Triune God of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and it is here that my worldview begins.
What logical consequence does your worldview have on the nature of human beings?
Ontology simply put it is the study of what is real and not real. Anthropology has a domain within philosophy and it studies what is real about human
beings that make them humans and not something else. It studies the essence of what man is, and in Christian theology a man is a body, soul, and
spirit. These three distinctions are real, but they cannot be divide from one another and a man still exists. It's a lot like water. If we break the
bond between two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen we destroy any notion of a water molecule. Once the molecule is destroyed the behavior unique to water
molecules falls away. A body, soul, and spirit are three realities united and immanent within an individual human in the same way hydrogen and oxygen
are different realities that have a bond between them immanent and united in what we call an individual water molecule. It would be rather odd for
Christians to believe that they have a soul, and not know what it is. These three realities operate in harmony to allow human beings to function in
their environment, so the state of the body affects the soul and spirit and vice versa.
The soul and spirit have a relation similar to the body and the eye. The spirit is the eye of the soul so to speak, and it is the deepest part of man
that functions in his heart as a type of attention on spiritual things and in the brain as reason or intellect. Today's reality views man's drive
for pleasure and fear of suffering as rather black and white, but Christians view the body as something to be ruled over and governed by their soul
and spirit. Paul said that the "body wars against" the soul, and that "I buffet my body", to keep it under control. This is a very early reference
to Christian asceticism in which one willfully subjects the body to suffering as they pray so that one may strengthen the power of their soul to
govern the body through prayer. Asceticism is like lifting weights for your soul, and those who don't practice this will have harder time controlling
their body, because they let the bodies impulses rule their mind. The soul is capable of entering into warfare with the impulses of the body as if the
body is something foreign and hostile, and is able to gain victory over their body or suffer defeat. Most people have experienced the desire to do
something due to physical impulses like the desire to overeat because you enjoy the way something taste. In some way most people are familiar with
battles between the soul and the body. It is likely that you have experienced the functions of the soul, but because your anthropology is different
you attribute it to something different from Christians. God has revealed this information to man about himself in three forms of incarnation: through
and in created things, through and in the Scriptures, and through and in the God-man Jesus Christ.
Through and In Created Things
St Maximus formulates, though not in a systematic way, a very advanced view of metaphysics in his doctrine of the Logos and the Logoi. In essence the
image of the Monad
is adapted and changed to make sense of the Christocentric model of
cosmology Maximus has in mind. There are two forms of movement pictured with each radii of the circle one is expansion circumscribed by procession and
the other is contraction circumscribed by a transferring convergence. Each radii of the circle is understood to be expand outward in a procession that
holds together terminating in a hierarchy that mirrors this double movement. In one sense the hierarchy goes from what is common down, but what is
common can only be understood in relation to a community of individuals, and so we have a unity in plurality. The contraction involves the creatures
turning and returning to the center of the circle which represents Christ, and this contraction causes the particulars we find at the perimeter to
converge without confusion as grace is transferred to them in the process of deification. This is the mystery of divine love and all of creation is
centered in this other giving love.
Through and In Scripture
The doctrine of the Logos and the Logoi continues here. It may be good to explain that logos is a singular word while logoi is the plural form of that
word. A Logos is a divine idea that are thought-wills of God the Father. God the Father knows of himself and thus we speak of an eternal generation or
betting of the Logos of God, and in knowing himself God the Father knows himself as distributing his goodness to something other than himself, and it
is here that we have the many ideas of God that are of things other than himself. So in knowing himself, God knows all of creation, it is that unity
in plurality we saw in the previous section. Within the Logos of God, the Logos of God is made incarnate immanent within relations between the many
books and words it contains and the logos of scripture reveals to man the Logos of God as the one who distributes life, being, and goodness down from
Through and In the God-man Jesus Christ
The Logos of God begotten of God the Father was known for eternity not only as God, but as the man he would become incarnate as at the proper moment
so that God may be revealed to man as the gracious giver of life, goodness, and being.
It is through these three forms of incarnation that man is given being, and given access to the divine principles behind reality that allow an
absolute standard of truth to be discerned.
How does your absolute effect the nature of human beings? Given that absolute, would human beings have access to knowledge?