Archive for the ‘Darwin was a punk’ Category

E PUR NON SI MUOVE

August 5, 2016

The biggest lie after the claim from a man in Rome to be the vicar of Christ is finally exposed!

https://houseofmaedhros.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/a170d-10897910_906658372687235_8438704680130766020_n.jpg?w=445&h=634

Whenever a person even slightly illumined reads the Scriptures or sings psalms he finds in them matter for contemplation and theology, one text supporting another. But he whose intellect is still unenlightened thinks that the Holy Scriptures are contradictory. Yet there is no contradiction in the Holy Scriptures: God forbid that there should be. For some texts are confirmed by others, while some were written with reference to a particular time of a particular person. Thus every word of Scripture is beyond reproach. The appearance of contradiction is due to our ignorance. We ought not to find fault with the Scriptures, but to the limit of our capacity we should attend to them as they are, and not as we would like them to be, after the manner of the Greeks and Jews. for the Greeks and Jews refused to admit that they did not understand, but out of conceit and self-satisfaction they found fault with the Scriptures and with the natural order of things, and interpreted them as they saw fit and not according to the will of God. As a result they were led into delusion and gave themselves over to every kind of evil.

The person who searches for the meaning of the Scriptures will not put forward his own opinion, bad or good; but, as St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom have said, he will take as his teacher, not the learning of this world, but Holy Scripture itself. Then if his heart is pure and God puts something unpremeditated into it, he will accept it, providing he can find confirmation for it in the Scriptures, as St. Antony the Great says. For St. Isaac says that the thoughts that enter spontaneously and without premeditation into the intellects of those pursuing a life of stillness are to be accepted; but that to investigate and then to draw one’s own conclusions is an act of self-will and results in material knowledge.

This is especially the case if a person does not approach the Scriptures through the door of humility but, as St. John Chrysostom says, climbs up some other way, like a thief (cf. John 10:1), and forces them to accord with his allegorizing. For no one is more foolish than he who forces the meaning of the Scriptures or finds fault with them so as to demonstrate his own knowledge — or, rather, his own ignorance. What kind of knowledge can result from adapting the meaning of the Scriptures to suit one’s own likes and from daring to alter their words? The true sage is he who regards the text as authoritative and discovers, through the wisdom of the Spirit, the hidden mysteries to which the divine Scriptures bear witness.

The three great luminaries, St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian and St. John Chrysostom, are outstanding examples of this: they base themselves either on the particular text they are considering or on some other passage of Scripture. Thus no one can contradict them, for they do not adduce external support for what they say, so that it might be claimed that it was merely their own opinion, but refer directly to the text under discussion or to some other scriptural passage that sheds light on it. And in this they are right; for what they understand and expound comes from the Holy Spirit, of whose inspiration they have been found worthy. No one, therefore, should do or mentally assent to anything if its integrity is in doubt and cannot be attested from Scripture. For what is the point of rejecting something whose integrity Scripture clearly attests as being in accordance with God’s will, in order to do something else, whether good or not? Only passion could provoke such behaviour.

St. Peter of Damascus

I think it’s high time to put definitely to rest all the “signs and wonders” of the forerunners and apostles of the Antichrist, which for the most part are fairy tales and stories for boys (even if pompously called “science”), taken seriously only by retarded adults or professional scammers, while the rest are mere technological advancements hindered and mutilated (remember Nikola Tesla) by the greed of the servants of Mammon.

All they have is a GROSS, CRASS LIE and the most formidable propaganda machine ever devised, with which they have been able to deceive, if possible, even the elects.

 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.  And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 

And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

I will not waste my time talking to the wonderful idiots out there who worship the Nothing. God is a logical necessity before all other things, therefore the atheist is a deficient by definition! Neither I will talk to the archons of the wickedness in the high places, the conscious servants of those who “believe and tremble”. They know the Truth and have rejected Him, crucifying the Truth every day since two millennia ago!

I will only say a few words to those who claims to be Christians, as many of them are sincere in their love for the Lord but are led astray by the capillary indoctrination they are subjected to, since the birth, and by lukewarm shepherds and false teachers: you cannot believe a little in Christ and a little in the antichrists! You cannot believe a little in the Word of God and a little in the words of His enemies (and all they have are just words, not a single evidence or fact to support their fabulous claims!).

These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of My mouth.

What does it mean in practice I will make clear in a few examples.

If the Holy Scriptures affirm that God created everything in six days and all the Holy Fathers of the Church (and I mean ALL!) have affirmed a literal meaning of those passages (that does not exclude other meanings, in the Holy Scriptures always coexist diverse layers of meanings and understandings, embedded in every passage, which does not exclude but complete reciprocally), well, that’s exactly what has happened, in that exact order! A Christian cannot think differently and continue to be a Christian! He will not even allow for a figurative interpretation about the word “days”, as if the Almighty would need billions of year to do something. He will not be intimidated by the cacophonic screams of all the scientifically certified lunatics and all the social-correctness possessed. That is his Faith and he has to explain nothing. It’s them who must explain how something can pop out from nothing by itself, how a language (the laws of nature, the biogenetic codes, the word of man) can create itself and have a meaning without an external convention and how exactly a gnat (but not all of them) became a horse.

If the Holy Scriptures talk of a precise genealogy since Adam and tell us the life duration of our forefather and his descendants, and all the Holy Fathers of the Church have always affirmed a literal reading of those passages, well, that means that a Christian knows the age of this world to be approximately seven millennia. He will not be intimidated by the raving laments of all the pathetic nonentities who think to exist only if they parrot the official narrative of their masters, he will just commiserate this sublime condensate of Stockholm syndrome and will plainly refuse to take seriously the Pavlov puppies. That is his Faith and he has to explain nothing. It’s them who must explain how exactly they are seeing the immediate aftermath of something allegedly happened 13.2 billions years ago, how exactly they calculate that time span and why their dating rituals (all based upon false postulates) fail all the time to give the correct answer when the age of the object to be dated is known.

If you are a Christian and do not believe that the Flood took away every living creature upon the Earth but those in the ark at the times of Noah or that the Sodomites were exterminated by fire and brimstone from Heaven, you are calling the Lord a liar (Luke 17, 26-29); you commune unworthily to His Body and Blood!

A few examples, but I hope clear enough.

Indeed, if atheist darwiniacs are just deficient, willing to believe a LOGICAL IMPOSSIBILITY, “Christian” darwiniacs are the ultimate, absolute joke!

Mr. Kalyniuk in this article has not written something unpopular, he’s written something supremely stupid and shamefully blasphemous. Operetta’s Orthodox like him and many others before him and around him, instead of babbling about supposed fundamentalism (demonocratic newspeak to define the unwillingness to compromise the Word of God and the Scriptures and the Church Tradition), should rather explain the Fall in the light of the fables assuming that death (i.e. sin) pre-existed man in the creation for millions years. Why do we need a Saviour? Death is natural, isn’t it? Not only, it’s the way of God to create, by death and sufferings He made us…..

When He looked at His creation and saw that it was good and that it was very good, according to these braying donkeys, He was seeing a perpetual warfare to unfold across the whole spectrum of life, He was blessing a perpetual carnage rewarding the stronger with a few more moments of life to live in perpetual anxiety and with no other purpose.
This is their “god”, a god needing billions years to put something decent together, founded upon a perennial massacre and everlasting suffering, but for sure he is NOT the Christians’ God!

These blasphemous idiots are stating that the Most Sacred Womb, who contained the Uncontainable and gave human flesh to the Word of God, descended by a chimp, so that the ancestors of God once upon a time walked on all fours. Christ is the Son of Man and…the distant great-grandson of an orang-utan.

With Christians like them, who needs the antichrist? May the Lord burn their tongues, if they do not repent!

Every single word of the Genesis account of the creation and all the Holy Fathers of the Church confute their ravings, but in their pursuit of a greater condemnation they are willing to dismiss them all for a “scientific” theory that lacks every single element that makes a theory scientific and it’s an insult to the simple common sense. Yet they claim to be Christians and pretend to judge the Christians! FOOLS!!!

Evolutionary theory is not scientific, it is an enforced religious mythology.

They’d do better to follow the example of those Protestants and Roman Catholics, whose zeal they dismiss so lightly from the heights of their gullibility and delusion. Opposite to them, in their many errors those Protestants and Roman Catholics at least are not ashamed of the Gospel.

I just hope that these zealous brothers in error realize that must be refused the entire paradigm of the godless. This book, for example, is commendable, principally because it disproves their senseless fables using exactly their faked “science”, but it’s useless to know the truth, as the truth cannot be commingled with the falsehood, just as the light cannot be comprehended by the darkness. I repeat it again: you cannot believe a little in Christ and a little in antichrist!

Indeed, to fight and refute their most eclatant lies accepting the rest of their lies is not a service to God, Who must be worshiped in Spirit and Truth, but the making up of the next antithesis in the false and endless  world dialectics to be soon synthesized to his advantage by the owner of all the fabrics of human thesis and antithesis, the prince of this world. You cannot refute evolutionary bullshit accepting all the other paraphernalia of its mad and ludicrous prophets, like their dating rituals and billions years old Earth, just as you cannot refute a revolving Earth still accepting that you live upon a rotating ball with terra firma planets and trillions miles away stars in the outer space, where you can even travel or walk according to holliwoodian science.

You must reject all the signs and wonders of a worldview system meticulously and relentlessly built in the last five centuries with the only purpose to hide God and take over you, His image, to rule His creation and His creatures. A worldview system based entirely upon unsubstantiated fantasies and a capillary indoctrinaction through the control of every cultural production (ultimately, through the control of money), highly successful just because of our apostasy!

You must reject them all, even if only because they come from godless people. Even if you do not understand anything of the matter, the simple fact that it’s an enemy of God who’s talking must be enough for you to reject his words whenever they conflict with God’s revelation. If you are of Christ, stand by the Word of God!

They are of their father, the devil, the murderer since the beginning and the father of lies, all of them, included those who pay lip service to God but refuse His Word with their words and His commandments with their works and deeds, their way of life. They have lied all the time and about everything, they still lie and they will lie, all the time and about everything, unceasingly. They lie even when they (their belly, their lusts) have convinced themselves they are not lying. They lie even when the say something true, because they are saying it only because it’s useful at that moment to deceive you, just as their father when he tempted the Lord quoting the Scriptures.

You must refuse their whole paradigm! All that you have been educated to believe is false, not just this or just that, everything! Everything but God is a lie!

Therefore I offer my repentance to God for my sin, committed in ignorance, and so should you, all of you who love the Lord and fear God.

All the other are kindly invited to abstain from annoying me with their babbling about the elves in their garden, who become invisible everytime someone wants to see them! Before you are allowed to speak about the mythical curvature of the Earth, for instance, you must present at least one real railway engineer who had to take into account that supposed curvature when laying down thousands miles of railroad tracks. Just one! That means that you shut up for eternity….

If you are too comfortable in the Truman show where you live or too terrified to leave it, at least do not disturb the adults outside. Be pampered by that loving nurse called gravity, good for every occasion, resolving every problem, that kind of magic able to keep billions tons of water attached and curved upon a spinning ball and preventing one billion square miles of air to be sucked out by the supposed vacuum of the alleged outer space, placing it at the same time in layers just fine for our not few needs (by chance, moreover….). Do not be worried by that tiny gnat on your walls, which is able to defeat such a gigantic force by a timid movement of its fragile wings, and keep on making fool of yourselves. It’s magic, after all, no need to submit to all the observable laws of physics.

If you want to believe that Hollywood production “Men on the Moon” is reality, you are welcome. Why should I disturb someone who so desperately needs to appear stupid beyond help? Anyway, if you know how it would be possible for a rocket to move in the supposed vacuum of the alleged outer space, indicating also where it could store that enormous quantity of useless fuel that you think is going to propel it in a vacuum, there is a million dollars waiting for you. WARNING: the fact that the idiot box in your living room says so is not an acceptable explanation to cash the prize.

If you are willing to bow your God-given brain to the absurdity of living upon a ball spinning on itself at 1,600 km/h and revolving around the Sun at 107,000 km/h, which is whorling across the galaxy at 800,000,000 km/h, which is shooting across the universe at a gazillion km/h, while all the stars we see stay on their exact daily rotating position all the time since the beginning of time, no problem. If your ambition in life is to be a clown, nobody will disturb you. Just shut up! Because if you dare to open your mouth to point out such idiocy to me, I’ll lock you up in my washing machine and start its program. Let’s see if you feel the spin or not!

The alternative is for you to come out of your cage, open your (God-given) eyes and be welcomed to the (God-created) reality!

Let God be true and every man a liar!

DARWIN WAS A PUNK

February 18, 2016

Dr. Cates, from the play Disinherit the Wind

CATES: It’s a pleasure to meet you Robert. May I call you Robert?

HAWKINS: Not really.

CATES: Okay, Dr. Hawkins, then. It’s still a pleasure. I’m familiar with many of your books, your lectures and interviews.

HAWKINS: And how did you find them?

CATES: Inspirational.

HAWKINS: Really? In what way?

CATES: Oh, much in the way that your King George inspired our Declaration of Independence or that Adolf Hitler inspired the United Nations Charter.

Dr. Cates is Matt Chait.

THE PROBLEM OF INFORMATION

October 19, 2015

The stumbling block for all the “wisdom” of this world.

WONDROUS ARE THE WORKS OF THE LORD

March 26, 2015

Finally, the stirring and profound documentary with geneticist Michael Denton, Privileged Species, is available to see now, free online.

Dr. Denton extends the argument for intelligent design to the ultra-, ultra-fine-tuning of the cosmos for carbon-based life forms like ourselves. You cannot watch these 33 minutes without coming away with the very powerful conclusion that the universe was designed with us very specifically in mind.

The documentary investigates the special properties of carbon, water, and oxygen that make human life and the life of other organisms possible, and it explores some of the unique features of humans that make us a truly privileged species.

Find it at the film’s website, on YouTube, and immediately below.

George Gilder calls it a “masterpiece” that “expounds what is the most important discovery of 20th-century science.” This is definitely one to let all your friends know about.

Dr. Denton himself is currently on a national speaking tour to celebrate the release of the film. Casey Luskin traveled with him in California last week and reported for us, here and here. Denton wrapped up the week with a fantastic presentation to the Westminster Conference on Science and Faith in Philadelphia, to an audience of 500+.

As we noted earlier, he’ll be speaking in Seattle on Thursday.     (Original Article)

THE NATURE OF MAN

March 23, 2015

And now I come to the final and most important question which is raised for Orthodox theology by the modern theory of evolution: the nature of the first-created man, and in particular the nature of the first-created man Adam.  I say that this is the “most important question” raised by evolution because the doctrine of man, anthropology, touches most closely upon theology, and here perhaps, it becomes most possible to identify theologically the error of evolutionism.  It is well known that Orthodoxy teaches quite differently from Roman Catholicism regarding man’s nature and Divine grace, and now I shall attempt to show that the theological view of man’s nature which is implied in the theory of evolution, and which you have explicitly set forth in your letter, is not the Orthodox view of man, but is much closer to the Roman Catholic view; and this is only a confirmation of the fact the theory of evolution, far from being taught by any Orthodox Father, is simply a product of the Western apostate mentality and even, despite the fact that it originally was a “reaction” against Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, has deep roots in the Roman Catholic scholastic tradition.

The view of human nature and the creation of Adam which you set forth in your letter is very much influenced by your opinion that Adam, in his body, was an “evolved beast.”  This opinion you have obtained, not from the Holy Fathers (for you cannot find one Father who believed this, and I have already showed you that the Fathers indeed believe quite “literally” that Adam was created from the dust and not from any other creature), but from modern science.  Let us then look, first of all, at the Orthodox Patristic view of the nature and value of secular, scientific knowledge, particularly in relation to revealed, theological knowledge.
This Patristic view is very well set forth by the great hesychast Father, St. Gregory Palamas, who was forced to defend Orthodox theology and spiritual experience precisely against a Western rationalist, Barlaam, who wished to reduce the spiritual experience and knowledge of hesychasm to something attainable by science and philosophy.  In answering him, St. Gregory set forth general principles which are well applicable in our own day when scientists and philosophers think they can understand the mysteries of creation and man’s nature better than Orthodox theology.  He writes:
The beginning of wisdom is to be sufficiently wise to distinguish and prefer to the wisdom which is low, terrestrial and vain, that which is truly useful, heavenly and spiritual, that which comes from God and conducts toward Him and which renders conformable to God those who acquire it. (Defense of the Holy Hesychasts, Triad I, 2.)
He teaches that the latter wisdom alone is good in itself, while the former is both good and evil:
The practice of the graces of different languages, the power of rhetoric, historical knowledge, the discovery of the mysteries of nature, the various methods of logic… all these things are at the same time good and evil, not only because they are manifested according to the idea of those who use them and easily take the form which is given them by the point of view of those who possess them, but also because the study of them is a good thing only to the degree that it develops in the eye of the soul a penetrating view.  But it is bad for one who gives himself over to this study in order to remain in it until old age. (ibid, Triad I, 6.)
Further, even:
if one of the Fathers says the same thing as do those from without, the concordance is only verbal, the thought being quite different.  The former, in fact, have, according to Paul, “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16), while the latter express at best a human reasoning.  “As the heaven is distant from the earth, so is My thought distant from your thought” saith the Lord (Is. 55:9).  Besides, even if the thinking of these men were at times the same as that of Moses, Solomon, or their imitators, what would it benefit them?  What man of sound spirit and belonging to the Church could from this draw the conclusion that their teaching comes from God?  (Ibid, Triad I, 11.)
From secular knowledge, St. Gregory writes,
we absolutely forbid to expect any precision whatever in the knowledge of Divine things; for it is not possible to draw from it any certain teaching on the subject of God. For “God hath made it foolish.”  (Ibid, Triad I, 12.)
And this knowledge can also be harmful and fight against true theology:
The power of this reason which has been made foolish and non-existent enters into battle against those who accept the traditions in simplicity of heart; it despises the writings of the Spirit, after the example of men who have treated them carelessly and have set up the creation against the Creator. (Ibid, Triad I, 15.)
There could hardly be a better account than this of what modern “Christian evolutionists” have tried to do by thinking themselves wiser than the Holy Fathers, using secular knowledge to reinterpret the teaching of the Sacred Scripture and the Holy Fathers.  Who can fail to see that the rationalistic, naturalistic spirit of Barlaam is quite close to that of modern evolutionism?
But notice that St. Gregory is speaking of scientific knowledge which, on its own level, is true; it becomes false only by warring against the higher knowledge of theology.  Is the theory of evolution even true scientifically?
I have already spoken in this letter of the dubious nature of the scientific evidence for evolution in general, about which I would be glad to write you in another letter.  Here I must say a word specifically about the scientific evidence for human evolution, since here we already begin to touch on the realm of Orthodox theology.
You say in your letter than you are happy not to have read the writings of Teilhard de Chardin and other exponents of evolution in the West; you approach this whole question “simply.”  But I am afraid this is where you have made a mistake.  It is well and good to accept the writings of the Holy Scripture and the Holy Fatherssimply; that is the way they should be accepted, and that is the way I try to accept them.  But why should we accept the writings of modern scientists and philosophers “simply,” merely taking their word when they tell us something is true – even if this acceptance forces us to change our theological views?  On the contrary, we must be very critical when modern wise men tell us how we should interpret the Holy Scriptures.  We must be critical not only with regard to their philosophy, but also with regard to the “scientific evidence” which they think supports this philosophy; for often this “scientific evidence” is itself philosophy.
This is especially true of the Jesuit scientist Teilhard de Chardin; for not only has he written the most thorough and influential philosophy and theology based on evolution, but he was also closely connected with the discovery and interpretation of almost all the fossil evidence for the “evolution of man” that was discovered in his lifetime.
And now I must ask you a very elementary scientific question: what is the evidence for the “evolution of man”?  About this question too I cannot go into in detail in this letter, but I will discuss it briefly.  I can write more in detail later, if you wish.
The scientific fossil evidence for the “evolution of man” consists of: Neanderthal Man (many specimens); Peking Man (several skulls); the “men” called Java, Heidelberg, Piltdown (until 20 years ago), and the recent finds in Africa: all extremely fragmentary; and a few other fragments.  The total fossil evidence for the “evolution of man” could be contained in a box the size of a small coffin, and it is from widely separated parts of the earth, with no reliable indication of even relative (much less “absolute”) age, and with no indication whatever of how these different “men” were connected with each other, whether by descent or kinship.
Further, one of these “evolutionary ancestors of man,” “Piltdown Man,” was discovered 20 years ago to have been a deliberate fraud.  Now it is an interesting fact that Teilhard de Chardin was one of the “discoverers” of “Piltdown Man” – a fact which you will not find in most textbooks or in biographies of him.  He “discovered” the canine tooth of this fabricated creature – a tooth which had already been dyed with the intent to cause deception regarding its age when he found it!  I do not have the evidence to say that Teilhard de Chardin consciously participated in the fraud; I think it more likely that he was the victim of the actual perpetrator of the fraud, and that he was so anxious to find proof for the “evolution of man” in which he already believed that he simply did not pay any attention to the anatomical difficulties which this crudely fabricated “man” presented to any objective observer.  And yet in evolutionary textbooks printed before the discovery of the fraud, Piltdown Man is accepted as an evolutionary ancestor of man without question; his “skull” is even illustrated (even though only fragments of a cranium had been discovered); and it is confidently stated that “he combines human characteristics with others far retarded” (Tracy L. Storer, General Zoology, NY, 1951).  This, of course, is just what is required for a “missing link” between man and ape, and that is why the Piltdown fraud was composed precisely of a mixture of human and ape bones.
Some time later this same Teilhard de Chardin participated in the discovery, and above all in the “interpretation,” of Peking Man.”   Several skulls were found of this creature, and it was the best candidate that had been found until then as the “missing link” between modern man and the apes.  Thanks to his “interpretation” (for by then he had established a reputation as one of the world’s leading paleontologists), “Peking Man” also entered evolutionary textbooks as an ancestor of man in utter disdain of the uncontested fact that modern human bones were found in the same deposit, and to anyone without “evolutionary” prejudices it was clear that this “Peking Ape” had been used for food by human beings (for there was a hole in the base of every skull of “Peking Man” by which the brains had been drawn out).
Teilhard de Chardin was also connected with the discovery and above all the interpretation of some of the finds of “Java Man,” which were fragmentary.   In fact, everywhere he went he found “evidence” which exactly matched his expectations – namely, that man has “evolved” from ape-like creatures.
If you will examine objectively all the fossil evidence for the “evolution of man,” I believe you will find that there is no conclusive or even remotely reasonable evidence whatever for this “evolution.”   The evidence is believed to be proof for human evolution because men want to believe this; they believe in a philosophy that requires that man evolved from ape-like creatures.  Of all the fossil “men” only Neanderthal Man (and of course Cro-Magnon Man, who is simply modern man) seems to be genuine; and he is simply “Homo Sapiens,” no different from modern man than modern men are different from each other, a variation within one definite kind or species.  Please note that the pictures of Neanderthal Man in evolutionary textbooks are the invention of artistswho have a preconceived idea of what “primitive man” must have looked like, based on evolutionary philosophy!
I have said enough, I believe, not to show that I can “disprove” the “evolution of man” (for who can prove or disprove anything with such fragmentary evidence?!), but to indicate that we must be very critical indeed of the biased interpretations of such scanty evidence.  Let us leave it to our modern pagans and their philosophers to become excited with the discovery of every new skull, bone, or even a single tooth, about which newspaper headlines declare: “New Ancestor of Man Found.”  This is not even the realm of vain knowledge; it is the realm of modern fables and fairy tales, of a wisdom which truly has become astonishingly foolish.
Where does the Orthodox Christian turn if he wishes to learn the true doctrine of the creation of the world and man?  St. Basil tells us clearly:
Whence shall I begin my narration?  Shall I refute the vanity of the heathens?  Or shall I proclaim our truth?  The wise men of the Greeks wrote many works about nature, but not one account among them remained unaltered and firmly established, for the later account always overthrew the preceding one.  As a consequence, there is no need for us to refute their words: they avail mutually for their own undoing. (Hexæmeron I,2.)
Like St. Basil,
let us leave the accounts of outsiders to those outside, and turn back to the explanation of the Church. (Hexæmeron III,3.)
Let us, like him,
examine the structure of the world and contemplate the whole universe, beginning, not from the wisdom of the world, but from what God taught His servant when He spoke to him in person and without riddles. (Hexæmeron VI, 1.)
Now we shall see that the evolutionary view of man’s origin not only teaches us nothing in reality of man’s origin, but rather teaches a false doctrine of man, as you yourself prove when you are forced to express this doctrine in order to defend the idea of evolution.
When setting forth your view of man’s nature, based on your acceptance of the idea of evolution, you write: “Man is not naturally the image of God.  Naturally he is an animal, an evolved beast, dust from the ground.  He is the image of God supernaturally.”  And again: “We see that by himself man is nothing, and let us not be scandalized by his natural origin.”  “God’s breath of life transformed the animal to man without changing a single anatomical feature of his body, without changing a single cell.  I would not be surprised of Adam’s body had been in all aspects the body of an ape.”  Again: “Man is what he is, not because of his nature, which is dust from the ground, but because of the supernatural grace given to him by the breath of God.”
Now, before examining the Patristic teaching of man’s nature, I will admit that this word “nature” can be a little ambiguous, and that one can find passages where the Holy Fathers  use the expression “human nature, in the way it is used in common discourse, as referring to this fallen human nature whose effects we observe every day.  But there is a higher Patristic teaching of human nature, a specific doctrine of human nature, given by Divine revelation, which cannot be understood or accepted by one who believes in evolution.  The evolutionary doctrine of human nature, based on a “common sense” view of fallen human nature, is the Roman Catholic, not the Orthodox, teaching.
The Orthodox doctrine of human nature is set forth most concisely in the “Spiritual Instructions” of Abba Dorotheus.  This book is accepted in the Orthodox Church as the “ABC,” the basic textbook of Orthodox spirituality; it is the first spiritual reading which an Orthodox monk is given, and it remains his constant companion for the rest of his life, to be read and re-read.  It is most significant that the Orthodox doctrine of human nature is set forth in the very first page of this book, because this doctrine is the foundation of the entire Orthodox spiritual life.
What is this doctrine?  Abba Dorotheus writes in the very first words of his First Instruction:
In the beginning, when God created man (Gen. 2:20), He placed him in Paradise and adorned him with every virtue, giving him the commandment not to taste of the tree which was in the midst of Paradise.  And thus he remained there in the enjoyment of Paradise; in prayer, in vision, in every glory and honor, having sound senses and being in the same natural condition in which he was created.  For God created man according to His own image, that is, immortal, master of himself, and adorned with every virtue.  But when he transgressed the commandment, eating the fruit of the tree of which God had commanded him not to taste, then he was banished from Paradise (Gen. 3), fell away from the natural condition, and fell into a condition against nature, and then he remained in sin, in love of glory, in love for the enjoyments of this age and of other passions, and he was mastered by them, for he became himself their slave through the transgression.
(The Lord Jesus Christ) accepted our very nature, the essence of our constitution, and became a new Adam in the image of God Who created the first Adam; He renewed the natural condition and made the senses again sound, as they were in the beginning.
The children of humility of wisdom are: self-reproach, not trusting one’s own mind, hatred of one’s own will; for through them a man is enabled to come to himself and return to the natural condition through purifying himself by the holy commandments of Christ.  (Spiritual Instructions, ch. 1)
The same doctrine is set forth by other ascetic Fathers.  Thus Abba Isaiah teaches:
In the beginning, when God created man, He placed him in Paradise, and he had then sound senses, which stood in their natural order; but when he obeyed the one who deceived him, all his senses were changed into an unnatural state, and he was then cast out from his glory. (On the Natural Law, Russian Philokalia, II, 1)
And the same Father continues:
And so, let him who desires to come into his natural condition cut off all his fleshly desires, so as to place himself in the conditionaccording to the nature of the (spiritual) mind. (Ibid., II, 2)
The Holy Fathers  clearly teach that, when Adam sinned, man did not merely lose something which had been added to his nature, but rather human nature itself was changed, corrupted, at the same time that man lost God’s grace.  The Divine services of the Orthodox Church also, which are a foundation of our Orthodox dogmatic teaching and spiritual life, clearly teach that the human nature which we now observe is not natural to us, but has been corrupted:
Healing human nature, which had become corrupted by the ancient transgression, without corruption a child is born anew (Menaion, Dec. 22, Matins, Theotokion of 6th Canticle of the Canon).
And again:
The Creator and Lord, desiring to save from corruption the corrupted human nature, having come to dwell in a womb cleansed by the Holy Spirit, is unutterably formed (Menaion, Jan. 23, Theotokion of the 6th Canticle of the Canon of Matin).
It can be noted in such hymns also that our whole Orthodox conception of the Incarnation of Christ and our salvation through Him is bound up with a proper understanding of human nature as it was in the beginning, to which Christ has restored us.  We believe that we will one day live with Him in a world very much like the world that existed, here in this earth, before the fall of Adam, and that our nature will then be the nature of Adam – only even higher, because everything material and changeable will then be left behind, as the quote already given from St. Symeon the New Theologian clearly indicates.
And now I must show you further that even your doctrine of human nature as it is now in this fallen world, is incorrect, is not according to the teaching of the Holy Fathers.  Perhaps it is a result of careless expression on your part – but I believe it is probably precisely because you have been led into error by believing the theory of evolution – that you write: “Apart from God man is from his nature nothing at all, because his nature is the dust from the ground, like the nature of the animals.”  Because you believe in the philosophy of evolution, you are forced either to believe that human nature is only a low, animal nature, as you indeed express by saying that “man is not naturally the image of God”; or at best (since I think that you do not really believe this, being Orthodox), you divide human nature artificially into two parts: that which is from “nature” and that which is from God.  But the true Orthodox anthropology teaches that human nature is one, it is that which we have from God; we do not have some nature “from the animals” or “from the dust” which is different from the nature with which God created us.  And therefore, even the fallen, corrupted human nature which we have now is not “nothing at all,” as you say, but it still preserves in some degree the “goodness” in which God created it.  Behold what Abba Dorotheus writes of this doctrine:
We have naturally the virtues given to us by God.  For when God created man, He sowed virtues in him, as also He said: “Let us create man in our image and likeness.” (Gen. 2:26)  It is said: “In our image,” inasmuch as God created the soul immortal and with authority over itself, and “in our likeness,” referring to virtues…. By nature God gave us virtues. But passions do not belong to us by nature, for they do not even have any substance or composition…. But the soul in its love of pleasure, having inclined away from virtues instills the passions in itself and strengthens them against itself. (Instruction XII, On the Fear of Future Torment)
Further, these God-given virtues still exercise themselves even in our fallen state.  This is the extremely important Orthodox teaching of St. John Cassian, who thus refuted the error of Blessed Augustine, who indeed believed that man apart from God’s grace was “nothing at all.”  St. Cassian teaches in his Thirteenth Conference:
That the human race after the fall actually did not lose the knowledge of good is affirmed by the Apostle, who says: When the gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature those things that are of the law, these who have not the law are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts. (Rom. 2:14-16)
And again:
To the Pharisees He said that they can know the truth: “Why even of yourselves do ye not judge that which is just?” (Luke 12:57).  He would not have said this if they could not have discerned what is just by their natural reason.  Therefore one should not think that human nature is capable only of evil. (Thirteenth Conference, 12)
Likewise, with regard to the righteous Job, St. Cassian asks whether “he conquered the various snares of the enemy in this battle apart from his own virtue, but only with the assistance of God’s grace,” and he answers:
Job conquered him by his own power. However, the grace of God also did not abandon Job; lest the tempter burden him with temptations above his strength, it (God’s grace) allowed him to be tempted as much as the virtue of the tempted one could bear. (Conference XIII, 14)
Again, with regard to the Patriarch Abraham:
God’s righteousness wished to test the faith of Abraham, not that which the Lord had instilled in him, but that which he showed by his own freedom. (Ibid.)
Of course, the reason why Augustine (and Roman Catholicism and Protestantism after him) believed that man was nothing without grace, was because he had an incorrect conception of human nature, based on a naturalistic view of man.  The Orthodox doctrine, on the other hand, of human nature as it was created in the beginning by God and is even now preserved in part in our fallen state, prevents us from falling into any such a false dualism between what is “man’s” and what is “God’s.”  To be sure, everything good that man has is from God, not the least his very nature, for the Scripture says, “What has thou that thou didst not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7).  Man has no “animal nature” as such and never did have; he has only the fully human nature which God gave him in the beginning, and which he has not entirely lost even now.
Is it necessary to quote for you the multitude of clear Patristic evidence that the “image of God,” which is to be found in the soul, refers to man’s nature and is not something added from without?  Let it suffice to quote the marvelous testimony of St. Gregory the Theologian, showing how man by his constitution stands between two worlds, and is free to follow whichever side of his nature he will:
I do not understand how I became joined to the body and how, being the image of God, I became mixed with dirt…. What wisdom is revealed in me, and what a great mystery!  Was it not for this that God led us into this warfare and battle with the body, that we, being a part of Divinity, [how boldly the Theologian speaks of man’s nature, so boldly that we cannot take his words absolutely literally!], and proceeding from above, might not be haughty and exalt ourselves because of our dignity, and might not disdain the Creator, but might always direct our gaze toward Him, and so that our dignity might keep within bounds the infirmity joined to us? – So that we might know that at the same time we are both immensely great and immensely low, earthly and heavenly, temporal and immortal, inheritors of light and inheritors of fire or darkness, depending upon which side we incline towards?  So was our constitution established, and this, as far as I can see was in order that the earthly dust might humble us if we should imagine to exalt ourselves because of the image of God. (Homily 14, “On Love for the Poor”)
This image of God which man possesses by his nature was not completely lost even among the pagans, as St. John Cassian teaches; it has not been lost even today, when man, under the influence of modern philosophy and evolutionism, is trying to turn himself into a sub-human beast – for even now God awaits man’s conversion, awaits his awakening to the true human nature which he has within him.
And this brings me to the very important point of your interpretation of the teaching of the God-bearing Father of almost our own times, St. Seraphim of Sarov, contained in his famous “Conversation with Motovilov.”
St. Seraphim is my own patron Saint, and it was our Brotherhood of St. Herman that first published the complete text of this “Conversation” in the Russian language in which it was spoken (for the pre-revolutionary edition was incomplete), as well as other of his genuine words which had hitherto been unpublished.  So you may be sure that we do not believe that he taught a false doctrine of the nature of man, one that contradicts that of other Holy Fathers.  But let us examine what St. Seraphim himself says.
As you correctly quote him, St. Seraphim says:
Many explain that when it says in the Bible God breathed the breath of life into the face of Adam the first- created man was created by Him from the dust of the ground, it must mean that until then there was neither human soul nor spirit in Adam, but only the flesh created from the dust of the ground.  This interpretation is wrong, for the Lord created Adam from the dust of the ground with the constitution which our dear little father, the holy Apostle Paul describes: “May your spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes. 5:23).  And all these parts of our nature were created from the dust of the ground, and Adam was not created dead, but an active being like all the other animate creatures of God living on earth.  The point is that if the Lord God had not breathed afterwards into his face the breath of life (that is, the grace of our Lord God the Holy Spirit…), Adam would have remained without having within him the Holy Spirit Who raises him to God-like dignity.  However perfect he had been created and superior to all the other creatures of God as the crown of creation on earth, he would have been just like all the other creatures, which, though they have a body, soul and spirit, each according to its kind, yet have not the Holy Spirit within them.  But when the Lord God breathed into Adam’s face the breath of life, then, according to Moses’ word, Adam became a living soul (Gen. 2:7), that is, completely and in every way like God, and, like Him, forever immortal.
This is the one Patristic quote you give which seems to support your view that man was first a beast, and then (later in time) received the image of God and became man.  This is indeed what you must believe if you accept the theory of evolution, and I am glad to see that you have the courage to express clearly what all “Orthodox evolutionists” actually believe (even if in a rather confused manner) but are often afraid to express openly for fear of offending other Orthodox believers who are “naive” and in their “simplicity” refuse to believe that man in actual fact is “descended from apes” or ape-like creatures.
But here let us remember the words of St. Gregory Palamas which I have already quoted:
If one of the Fathers says the same thing as do those from without, the concordance is only verbal, the thought being quite different.  The former, in fact, have, according to Paul, “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16), while the latter express at best a human reasoning…. What man of sound spirit and belonging to the Church could from this conclude that their teaching comes from God? (Defense of the Holy Hesychasts, Triad I, 11)
And in fact, I must tell you that you have completely misunderstood the teaching of St. Seraphim, who is not at all teaching what the doctrine of evolution teaches.  This I can show by quoting both the clear teaching of other Holy Fathers  and that of St. Seraphim himself.
But first I must explain what might seem to a rationalist to be a “contradiction” between the teaching of St. Seraphim and that of other Fathers.  First, we should be clear that when St. Seraphim speaks of man as being composed of “spirit and soul and body” he is not contradicting those many other Holy Fathers  who speak of human nature as merely “soul and body”; he is merely making a distinction between different aspects of the soul and speaking of them separately, as many Holy Fathers  also speak.  Second, in saying that the “breath of life” which God breathed into the face of Adam is the grace of the Holy Spirit, he is not contradicting the very many Holy Fathers who teach that the “breath of life” is the soul, but is only giving a perhaps more profound and precise interpretation of this passage from Scripture.  But is he actually making the rationalistic distinction which you make between the nature of man which existed “before” this breathing, and the grace which was communicated by it?  Does Orthodox theology accept the rigid dichotomy which Roman Catholic teaching makes between “nature” and “grace,” as though man knew everything there is to know about these two great mysteries?
No; Orthodox theology does not know such a rigid dichotomy, and that is why rationalist scholars find so many “contradictions” between different Orthodox Fathers on this subject, as will be clear from a single example: Does immortality belong to the human soul by nature or by grace?  Different Orthodox Fathers who are of equal authority answer differently on this question, not because they teach differently about man and thus “contradict” each other, but because they approach the question from different sides.  Those who approach the question of man’s nature more from the side of the present corrupted human nature say that man’s soul is immortal by grace; while those (especially the ascetic and mystical Fathers) who begin with the view of man’s nature as it was in the beginning, view the soul rather as immortal by nature.  It may even be that one and the same Father views the question now from one and now from the other side, as does St. Gregory of Nyssa when he says in one place (Answer to Eunomius, Second Book): “That which reasons, and is mortal, and is capable of thought and knowledge, is called ‘man”‘; but in another place he says: “Man did not in the course of his first production have united to the very essence of his nature the liability to passion and to death.” (On Virginity, ch. XII) Does this great Father “contradict” himself? Of course he does not.  (“Answer to Eunomius, Second Book,” p. 299; “On Virginity,” ch. 12, p. 357)
What belongs to first-created Adam by nature and what by grace?  Let us not make false rationalistic distinctions, but let us admit that we do not fully understand this mystery.  Nature and grace both come from God.  The nature of first-created Adam was so exalted that we can only faintly understand it now by our own experience of grace, which has been given to us by the Second Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ; but Adam’s state was also higher than anything we can imagine even from our own experience of grace, for even his high nature was made yet more perfect by grace, and he was, as St. Seraphim says, “completely and in every way like God, and, like Him, forever immortal.”
What is absolutely clear, and what is sufficient for us to know, is that the creation of man – of his spirit and soul and body, in the Divine grace which perfected his nature – is a single act of creation, and it cannot be artificially divided up, as though one part of it came “first,” and another part “later.”  God created man in grace, but neither the Holy Scriptures nor the Holy Fathers teach us that this grace came later in time than the creation of man’s nature.  This teaching belongs to Medieval Latin scholasticism, as I will show below.
St. Seraphim only appears to teach this doctrine, because he speaks in terms of the simple narrative of the sacred text of Genesis.  But it is clear enough, as St. Gregory Palamas says, that “the concordance is only verbal, the thought being quite different.”  To be convinced of this we have only to examine how the Holy Fathers instruct us to interpret the sacred narrative of Genesis at this point.
Fortunately for us, this very question was raised and answered by the Holy Fathers.  This answer is summed up for us by St. John Damascene:
From the earth (God) formed his body and by His own inbreathing gave him a rational and understanding soul, which last we say is the divine image…. The body and the soul were formed at the same time-not one before and the other afterwards, as the ravings of Origen would have it. (On The Orthodox Faith, II, 12)
Here let us be sure again that we understand that although St. John speaks of the inbreathing of God as thesoul, he does not teach a doctrine different from St. Seraphim, who speaks of this inbreathing as the grace of the Holy Spirit.  St. John in fact hardly speaks of grace at all in the creation of man, for it is understood as being present in the whole process of creation, above all in the creation of the image of God, the soul, which he teaches is part of our nature.  St. Gregory of Nyssa likewise speaks of the creation of man without paying special attention to what comes from “nature” and what fro “grace,” only ending his whole treatise with the words:
May we all return to that Divine grace in which God at the first created man, when He said, “Let us make man in our image and likeness.” (On the Creation of Man, 30:34, p. 427)
St. John Damascene and others who speak of the inbreathing of God as the soul view this matter from an aspect slightly different from that of St. Seraphim; but clearly the teaching of all these Fathers regarding the whole creation of man, and in particular regarding the question of whether the narrative of Genesis indicates a difference in time between the “forming” and the “inbreathing” of man – is the same.  St. John Damascene speaks for all the Holy Fathers when he says that they occurred “at the same time – not one before and the other afterwards.”
In saying this, St. John Damascene was refuting in particular the Origenist heresy of the “pre-existence of souls.”  But there was also a heresy opposed to this, which taught the “pre-existence” of the human body, just as it is taught by modern “Christian evolutionists.”  This heresy was specifically refuted by St. Gregory of Nyssa, whom I shall now quote.
After discussing the Origenist error of the “pre-existence of soul” St. Gregory continues”
Others, on the contrary, marking the order of the creation of man as states by Moses, say that the soul is second to the body in order of time, since God first took dust from the earth and formed man, and then animated the being thus formed by His breath: and by this argument they prove that the flesh is more noble than the soul, that which was previously formed than that which was afterwards infused into it: for they say that the soul was made for the body, that the thing formed might not be without breath and motion, and that everything that is made for something else is surely less precious than that for which it is made…  The doctrine of both is equally to be rejected. (On the Creation of Man, 28:1, 8, pp. 419-20)
Specifically refuting the doctrine of the “pre-existence of the body,” St. Gregory says:
Nor again are we in our doctrine to begin by making up man like a clay figure, and to say that the soul came into being for the sake of this; for surely in that case the intellectual nature would be shown to be less precious than the clay figure.  But as man is one, the being consisting of soul and body, we are to suppose that the beginning of his existence is one, common to both parts, so that he should not be found to be antecedent and posterior to himself, if the bodily element were first in point of time, and the other were a later addition…. For as our nature is conceived as twofold, according to the apostolic teaching, made up of the visible man and the hidden man, of the one came first and the other supervened, the power of Him that made us will be shown to be in some way imperfect, as not being completely sufficient for the whole task at once, but dividing the work, and busying itself with each of the halves in turn. (Ibid. 29:1, 2, pp.420-21)
Do I need to point out that the “God” of “Christian evolution” is precisely this kind of God who is not “completely sufficient for the whole task at once”; and the very reason why the doctrine of evolution was invented was to account for the universe on the assumption that God either does not exist or is incapable of creating in six days or bringing the world into existence by His mere word?  EVOLUTION WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN THOUGHT OF BY MEN WHO BELIEVE IN THE GOD WHOM ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS WORSHIP.
The account of the creation of man in the book of Genesis must be understood in a “God-befitting manner.”  Here you have made the mistake of accepting a literal interpretation of the text precisely where the Holy Fathers do not allow this!  How important it is for us to read the Holy Scriptures as the Holy Fathers instruct us, and not according to our own understanding!
It is quite clear that St. Seraphim did not understand the text of Genesis in the way in which you have interpreted it.  Indeed, there are other passages in the same “Conversation with Motovilov” which reveal that St. Seraphim viewed the creation and nature of Adam in precisely the same way as the whole Patristic tradition.
Thus, immediately after the passage which you quote, and which I have reproduced above, there follow these words which you did not quote (the English translation here is not precise, and so I am translating directly from the Russian original):
Adam was created to such an extent immune to the action of every one of the elements created by God, that neither could water drown him, nor fire burn him, nor could the earth swallow him up in its abysses, nor could the air harm him by its action in any way whatsoever.  Everything was subject to him…
This is precisely a description of the incorruption of Adam’s body in a creation subject to laws quite different from today’s “laws of nature” – in which as an “evolutionist” you cannot believe, since you must believe with modern philosophy that the material creation was “natural,” that is, corrupted, even before the fall of Adam!
Again, shortly after this passage, St. Seraphim says:
To Eve also the Lord God gave the same wisdom, strength, and unlimited power, and all the other good and holy qualities.  And He created her not from the dust of the ground but from Adam’s rib in the Eden of delight, in the Paradise which He had planted int he midst of the earth.  (“Conversation of St. Seraphim of Sarov on the Aim of the Christian Life” [original Russian version], p. 82.)
Do you believe in this creation of Eve fro Adam’s rib as an historical fact as all the Holy Fathers do?  No, you cannot, because from the point of view of evolutionary philosophy it is quite absurd: why should “God” evolve Adam’s body from beasts “naturally,” and then create Eve miraculously?  The “God” of evolution does not perfom such miracles!
Let us look now specifically at the Orthodox Patristic view of the body of first-created Adam, which according to the evolutionary doctrine had to be corruptible like the corruptible world from which it “evolved,” and might even have been, as you state entirely that of an ape.
The Holy Scripture explicitly teaches: “God created man incorruptible” (Wisdom 2:23).
St. Gregory the Sinaite teaches:
The body, theologians say, was created incorruptible, which is how it will arise, just as the soul was created passionless: but just as the soul had the freedom to sin, so the body had the possibility to become subject to corruption. (“Chapters on Commandments and Dogmas” 82, Russian Philokalia, vol. 5, p. 195.)
And again:
The incorruptible body will be earthly, but without moisture and coarseness, having been unutterably changed from animate to spiritual, so that it will be both of the dust and heavenly.  Just as it was created in the beginning, so also will it arise, that it may be conformable to the image of the Son of Man by entire participation in deification. (Ibid. 46, p. 188.)
Notice here that the body in the future age will still be “of the dust.”  When looking at the corruptible dust of this fallen world, we are humbled to think of this side of our nature; but when we think of that incorruptible dust of the first-created world out of which God made Adam, how exalted we are by the grandeur of even this, the lowest part of God’ unutterable creation!
St. Gregory the Theologian suggests, giving a symbolic interpretation of the “garments of skins” with which God clothed Adam and Eve after their transgression, that the flesh of our present human body is different from the flesh of first-created Adam:
Adam “is clothed in garments of skin” (perhaps a coarser, mortal, and antagonistic flesh). (Homily 38, “On the Nativity of the Saviour,” p. 528)
Again, St. Gregory the Sinaite says:
Man was created ncorruptible, as also he will arise; but not unchangeable, nor yet changeable, but having the power at his own desire to change or not…. Corruption is the offspring of flesh.  To eat food and excrete the excess, to hold the head proudly, and to lie down to sleep – are the natural attributes of beasts and cattle, into which we also, having become like to the cattle through the transgression, fell away from the God-given food, things natural to us, and became from rational, cattle-like, and from divine, bestial. (“Chapters on Commandments and Dogmas” 8, 9, Russian Philokalia, vol. 5, p. 181.)
Concerning Adam’s state in Paradise, St. John Chrysostom teaches:
Man lived on earth like an angel; he was in the body, but he had no bodily needs; like a king, adorned with purple and a diadem and clothes in royal garb, he took delight in the dwelling of Paradise, having an abundance in everything…. Before the fall men lived in Paradise like angels; they were not inflamed with lust, were not kindled by other passions either, were not burdened with bodily needs; but being created entirely incorruptible and immortal, they did not even need the covering of clothing. (Homilies on Genesis 13:4, p. 107; 15:4, p. 123.)
St. Symeon the New Theologian likewise speaks clearly of first-created Adam in Paradise, and his final state in the future age:
If now, after we transgressed the commandment and were condemned to die, people have multiplied so much, just imagine how many of them there would have been of all who have been born from the creation of the world had not died?  And what a life they would have lived, being immortal and incorrupt, strangers to sin, sorrows, and cares and serious needs?!  And how, having advanced in the keeping of the commandments and in the good ordering of the dispositions of the heart, in time they would have ascended to the most perfect glory and, having been changed, would have drawn near to God, and the soul of each would have become as it were light – shining by reason of the illuminations which would have been poured out upon it from the Godhead!  And this sensual and crudely material body would have become as it were immaterial and spiritual, above every organ of sense; and the joy and rejoicing with which we would then have been filled from contact one with another in truth would have been unutterable and beyond the thought of man…. There life in Paradise was not weighed down by labors and was not made difficult by misfortunes.  Adam was created with a body incorruptible, even though material and not yet spiritual… Concerning our body the Apostle says: “It is sowed a natural body, it will arise” not such as the body of the first-created one was before the transgression of the commandment – that is, material, sensual, changeable, having need of sensual food – but “it will arise a spiritual body” (I Cor. 15;44), and unchangeable, such as was the body, after His Resurrection, of our Lord Jesus Christ, the second Adam, the first-born among the dead, which is incomparably more excellent than the body of the first-created Adam. (Homily 45)
From our experience of our own corruptible body it is not possible for us to understand the state of the incorruptible body of Adam, which had no natural needs as we know them, which ate of “every tree” of Paradise without excreting any excess, and which did not know sleep (until God’s direct action caused him to sleep, so that Eve might be created from his rib).  And how much less are we able to understand the even more exalted state of our bodies in the future age!  But we know enough from the Church’s teaching to refute those who think they can understand these mysteries by scientific knowledge and philosophy.  The state of Adam and the first-created world has been placed forever beyond the knowledge of science by the barrier of Adam’s transgression, which changed the very nature of Adam and the creation, and indeed the nature of knowledge itself.  Modern science knows only what it observes and what may be reasonably inferred from observation; its guesses about the earliest creation have no more and no less validity than the myths and fables of the ancient pagans.  The true knowledge of Adam and the first-created world – as much as is useful for us to know – is accessible only in God’s revelation and in the Divine vision of the Saints

THE PHILOSOPHY OF CREATION

March 11, 2015

One of the most difficult things for moderns to apprehend is the seemingly counter-intuitive worldview of modified Platonism. This reorientation shifts our entire perspective on the outer, external world, rendering it again a sacred space infused with the Divine, as opposed to a brute, “material” realm dominated by chaos, entropy and death. Our contemporaries nonetheless prefer the latter grand narrative (and a depressing narrative it is), proclaiming that we in the other camp are “weak” for choosing older “fictions” like souls, angels and God. To be sure, the materialists and servants of delusion of brute “matter” have their own deity – the impersonal “Forces of Nature,” but we’ll set that aside for the moment.

It is crucial that the psyche undergo this repentance, metanoia in Greek, and reorienting, as the modern attitude is that of fallen man, who views his world as devoid of supernatural under the guise of “science.” While the scientific method is certainly a useful tool, the lack of philosophical education on the part of that community is appalling. Precisely the hubris of fallen man impels the hierophants of the naturalist cult to stamp out all such ideas – even the slightest tendency toward the idea the psyche or mind may not be reduced to chemical reactions must be swiftly punished.

This is why the discoveries and theses proposed in quantum physics are so disturbing to advocates of scientism, despite their good faith in future science to resolve all questions of being with strict rationalism. Never mind the fact that “reason” itself is nonsensical in the deterministic paradigm of Darwinian naturalism; the crusaders of modern empiricism are committed adherents of the Holy Inquisition of Scientism, and no manner of logical argumentation can persuade them otherwise. Those aware of an alternate version of human history, the Biblical narrative, in which man is a fallen creature in rebellion against his Creator, have a perfectly rational (indeed, the only rational) explanation of these events – and can even explain why man himself prefers his own self-imposed servitude, quoting Kant, rather than submission to the doctrine of Creation.

The Eagle Nebula.

Creation is essential because of the implications it conveys for the entirety of how man perceives the world and operates in it. Our worldview will determine the way we act, showing the old adage of lex orandi, lex credendi to be correct. If the universe is a created reality, then the implications for how things like electrons, matter and other natural processes work will have vastly different meanings.  For example, if there is no Creation, and the universe is either eternal or illusory, the way we operate will be dictated accordingly. We can look to history to show us civilizations where such a fundamental presupposition dominated, such as Hindu India or ancient China. In these cultures, the dominance of the Absolute as an impersonal reality, with a multitude of lesser deities to be supplicated, created a vast array of self-destructive practices amongst those populations. Starvation reigned in India while cattle roamed free as divine, and a “divine” emperor held sway in China, where individual subjects had no personal identity. These are merely examples of basic philosophical presuppositions that undergirded a culture and resulted in a praxis consistent therewith.

Precisely because these civilizations were suffused with the notion that time and the universe were eternal, existence itself became a trap. The wheel of time and “materiality” had to be escaped, through meditation, radical asceticism, or some other form of mystical gnosis. If, on the other hand, “material” reality was a created reality, and not a self-subsisting eternal principle of its own, and the fundamental framework of the “stuff” of reality was designed and had begun at a point in time, the implications would be vastly different. The creation account of Genesis, for example, presents a very different narrative of history and its beginnings than these other accounts. Although it has been fashionable for the last few hundred years to dismiss the Genesis narrative as a fictional mythology of numerous blended Ancient Near Eastern cosmologies, the fact remains that the Creation account of Genesis presents a vastly different theology than any other religious creation story, aside from even the Egyptian.

This difference cannot be overstated: The Biblical account posits that time and “matter” are not evils, traps or the source of any fundamentally oppositional principle, but are rather goods – inherently good, due to being created in time by a good God. God, being good, does not “create” evil, as if it had any substantial or ontological being. All being, in the metaphysical sense and the here and now, is created being, and created with the potential to receive the higher divine energies or powers of God.  Creation was such that it was placed in a state in which it might be raised to even higher goods, though not implying creation was therefore “bad,” because its initial state was a lesser good. There is no opposition or dialectic between the good being many, as later western philosophy, Platonism in particular, would posit. This opposition of the good necessarily being absolutely One (the simple monad), was a Platonic idea that would have its precedent in ancient Far Eastern thought.

Even the Hermetica and the Egyptian accounts from the Memphite narrative, for example, include the idea that creation was spoken into existence by virtue of a divine Logos, yet the overall principle, the ultimate Absolute, is not personal, but an immaterial force. At the outset we are presented with only two possible options for this question – is the Absolute (supra) rational and personal, or is the Absolute an impersonal, chaotic force? There are only two possibilities here, and once we consider this basic philosophical question, we can extrapolate Darwinism as a clear manifestation of the second. Though most Darwinian adherents would be at pains to insist there is no ultimate guiding principle, their worldview still tends towards the notion of Forces of Nature determining existence. This determination, however, is ultimately irrational and impersonal, aside from the appearance of order, telos and design. (Note that I am not making a classical teleological argument, but a transcendental version of a teleological argument.)

But there are many, many more problems for positing ultimate reality or the Absolute as an impersonal force. If ultimate reality is impersonal and chaotic, then all localized events, phenomena and objects are also devoid of any ultimate meaning. Language, mathematics, logic, etc., are thus annihilated as merely mental fictions, or at best some cosmic force we do not yet understand.

The high priests of Darwinism, these servants of chaos and the abyss, resemble the proverbial cartoon character who saws off the limb he sits upon to spite his opponent. If ultimate reality is impersonal, then the teleological thread that links all facts, ideas, objects, patterns, etc., is not real. It is a fiction of man’s chaotic, impersonal mental chemical reactions.  There is no order or pattern actually out there in external reality, and the so-called regularity of nature upon which science is built, induction, is merely a mental projection or interpretation.  Such devastating eventualities, of course, are the very reason “science” (or scientism) has chosen to discard philosophy as “useless.”  However, these matters cannot be evaded, and science never determines reality by some will-to-power dismissal of philosophical questions. The mere fact that “scientists” dogmatically mandate that no one can ask questions about why or what happened before the so-called Big Bang only demonstrates how futile and absurd their posturing is.

God has made worlds of worlds, and infinite infinities. He Himself is the Absolute, Personal Infinity, Aleph Nought.

Creation becomes the only logical and philosophically coherent position to explain existence, as it renders the very principle of coherence itself sensible as an objective reality. Despite the insistence of the Darwinian/scientistic rationalists that they alone hold the keys of reason, they have dug a pit they themselves have fallen into, to cite Psalms.  Reason, coherence, pattern recognition, mathematics and logic are not mental constructs, but undeniably operative principles in the objective, external world.  This is how bridges are built, words bring about communication, and the principle of induction makes science possible.  This is also how geometry is math in space, and music is math in time. Precisely because these principles work in the world to build amazing logic machines, like computers, we can see how the basic presuppositions of the reductionist-naturalist are false.

Here we continually return to the question of objective metaphysical principles as the means by which to engage the opponent and modernity as a whole. Our disagreement begins with Creation and what the world is. It is guided by an Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent God, and all the stuff of reality has its ground in a single Divine Mind. Reality is, at base, rational, although that rationality is infinite, and so it transcends our finite reason. Regardless, it does not make God irrational, it makes Him supra-rational, which means there are plenty of things we must learn analogically. In contrast, for the opponent, reality is ultimately irrational, with no meaning, telos, or guiding principle. It just is, and that brute nihilism is something he must continually confront as he seeks to make reason, science and math function as a supposed mental fiction in the external world.

For the unhappy materialist, the world is not something to be ruled as a steward under a good God, but a dark, chaotic, nihilistic, empty place upon which meaning must be imposed, not discovered. This is precisely why scientism has so often succumbed to brutality and the rape of nature, despite its never-ending claim to worship Nature and exalt “environmentalism.” It is the impetus of social Darwinianism to ultimately seek the destruction of nature, as nature is not a sacred manifestation of the Divine Mind and Beauty, but a merely harsh ruler to overthrow, annihilate and “perfect” (through transhumanism and the synthetic rewrite). However, if we in theology are correct, this grand plan is doomed to fail because man is not a god who determines meaning and objective reality. Man is a steward of God, made with the plan to be made divine and immortal in God’s way, and not in fallen man’s rebellious way.

Recent discoveries in quantum physics validate the traditional worldview, moreoever, as its theses consider the fundamental substrate of reality to be information, like we see in DNA research and in quantum perspectives of subatomic reality. Discoveries of the “holographic” model of reality are merely confirmations of the platonic models of psyche and idea as the fundamental substrate of reality.  We are witnessing a revolution that runs completely contrary to the empirical British Royal Society narrative we have so long been fed, truly heralding the fall of the old Enlightenment empiricism. To poison the well and control the narrative, however, New-Agers and the think tanks have jumped on board, and already we have brigades of baloney salesmen attempting to hijack quantum physics for whatever scam the establishment rolls out.

We remind readers that critiques made of absolute impersonalism equally apply to the New-Age syncretists’ hijacking of quantum physics. The fact that the fundamental substrate of humans and “matter” is information, and more specifically energetic information, speaks to a worldview necessitating an infinite, omniscient Mind to order all of reality. Without an infinite Mind linking all the particulars, the connections we make are illusory. For metaphysics and philosophy and science to work, we need a rational, linking principle. We need something to hold all this substrate, all these patterns, all these principles together – and the finite human mind is never enough.

Ancient Tradition in Genesis, a Creation narrative, explains reality as the Creation of a loving God, and as a reflection of eternal principles and archetypes in His mind – called logoi, that are all one in His Logos, or Word. In Genesis 1, the universe is spoken into existence, through divine fiat, and contains within it a fundamental meaning. That fundamental informational meaning, exemplified in something like DNA, is grounded in the eternal, whence its purpose derives. Man, as a creature of God, can thus make advances and learn about the world, even though both he and it are fallen, as they progress back towards union with God and the eventual renewal of all things in God. Only in this paradigm, with these presuppositions, are science, reason, meaning, logic and mathematics even possible and coherent. Our own minds are little mirrors of the one Divine Mind, a microcosmos to contemplate the many.

Jay Dyer

WONDROUS ARE THE WORKS OF THE LORD

March 5, 2015

“Coincidences” in the useless mind of the fools!

We live inside a bubble surrounded by a shooting gallery, but we’ve only realized for a few years how well-designed that bubble is.

The Van Allen radiation belts were detected in 1958 by the Explorer rockets, America’s first satellites to orbit the Earth. Since then, physicists have known they shield the Earth from high-energy particles from the sun, but many questions have remained about the belts’ structure and physical mechanisms — especially, how electrons from the solar wind are accelerated to ultra-relativistic speeds in the belts.

Twin NASA spacecraft, the Van Allen probes, in orbit since 2012, have been revealing new secrets of the Van Allen belts produced by the Earth’s magnetic field. News from MIT describes how “killer electrons” are accelerated to 1,000 kilometers per second inside the belts in mere seconds. Because the probes are one hour apart in their orbit, they were able to watch the process unfold.

On Oct. 8, 2013, an explosion on the sun’s surface sent a supersonic blast wave of solar wind out into space. This shockwave tore past Mercury and Venus, blitzing by the moon before streaming toward Earth. The shockwave struck a massive blow to the Earth’s magnetic field, setting off a magnetized sound pulse around the planet. [Emphasis added.]

Some of the data is analyzed at MIT’s Haystack Observatory, where John Foster acts as associate director. He was surprised at how quickly the particles were accelerated by a factor of 10 in just 60 seconds.

Foster and his colleagues analyzed the probes’ data, and laid out the following sequence of events: As the solar shockwave made impact, according to Foster, it struck “a sledgehammer blow” to the protective barrier of the Earth’s magnetic field. But instead of breaking through this barrier, the shockwave effectively bounced away, generating a wave in the opposite direction, in the form of a magnetosonic pulse — a powerful, magnetized sound wave that propagated to the far side of the Earth within a matter of minutes.

This was “the first time the effects of a solar shockwave on Earth’s radiation belts have been observed in detail from beginning to end.” It was a “relatively small shock,” the article goes on to say. Solar shocks can be much bigger, posing a threat to astronauts and satellites outside the protected zone. The “killer electrons” produced are so energetic, they can zip right through a spacecraft.

What would happen if these high-energy particles reached the Earth? Well, if they can fry a satellite, imagine what they would do to a living cell or DNA molecule. Multiply the shocks over centuries, millennia or longer, and it’s very unlikely any life could survive on the planet, except perhaps in the deepest oceans, or far underground.

Scientists are just beginning to understand how the magnetic field and Van Allen belts work together. A very interesting phenomenon was announced in Nature last fall: a surprisingly thin layer in the Van Allen belts creates “an almost impenetrable barrier through which the most energetic Van Allen belt electrons cannot migrate.” A news item from the University of Colorado calls it a “Star Trek-like invisible shield” thousands of miles above the Earth.

As the first significant discovery of the space age, the Van Allen radiation belts were detected in 1958 by Professor James Van Allen and his team at the University of Iowa and were found to be comprised of an inner and outer belt extending up to 25,000 miles above Earth’s surface. In 2013, [Daniel] Baker — who received his doctorate under Van Allen — led a team that used the twin Van Allen Probes launched by NASA in 2012 to discover a third, transient “storage ring” between the inner and outer Van Allen radiation belts that seems to come and go with the intensity of space weather.

The latest mystery revolves around an “extremely sharp” boundary at the inner edge of the outer belt at roughly 7,200 miles in altitude that appears to block the ultrafast electrons from breeching the shield and moving deeper towards Earth’s atmosphere.

“It’s almost like theses electrons are running into a glass wall in space,” said Baker, the study’s lead author. “Somewhat like the shields created by force fields on Star Trek that were used to repel alien weapons, we are seeing an invisible shield blocking these electrons. It’s an extremely puzzling phenomenon.

Mercury, Venus, the moon, and Mars lack a powerful magnetic field that can generate these belts or the structure they create like the impenetrable shield. It’s no wonder that those bodies are all lifeless. How Earth’s “extremely sharp” protective boundary is generated is somewhat of a mystery:

Nature abhors strong gradients and generally finds ways to smooth them out, so we would expect some of the relativistic electrons to move inward and some outward,” said Baker. “It’s not obvious how the slow, gradual processes that should be involved in motion of these particles can conspire to create such a sharp, persistent boundary at this location in space.”

Here we see a significant factor that must be considered when evaluating the habitability of an exoplanet. It’s not enough that the planet reside in the “circumstellar habitable zone” where liquid water can exist. Life could not survive the barrage of radiation most stars emit constantly. (The sun, interestingly, is a relatively quiet star within its class, which comprises a minority of all stars.)

Think of how many unrelated “coincidences” have “conspired” to create this effect. A magnetic field generated from deep within the Earth creates a multi-level structure that produces a very sharp invisible shield high above the planet. This shield — responding automatically — is strong enough to capture the highest-energy particles from a star that happens to be among the quietest in its class. But the shield does not block useful radiation from reaching the atmosphere to maintain a temperate climate and energy for plants. These factors, moreover, converge on the only rocky planet that “just happens” to reside in the habitable zone, and, in fact, is inhabited by a profusion of diverse living creatures — including intelligent observers who can study the shield and appreciate it.

The “Star Trek” shield is just one of many factors that make a planet habitable. Some of these are discussed in Illustra’s film The Privileged Planetand the book with that title co-authored by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards. Additional amazing “coincidences” of astrophysics are shared in Discovery Institute’s recent masterpiece video, Privileged Species, featuring Michael Denton.

“Privileged” is the right word. We carry on our daily lives, even laying out on the beach in the sunshine, oblivious to all that makes that possible.                     (Original Article)

THE ATHEIST CHURCH AND THEIR FEARFUL ADEPTS

January 29, 2015

by David Klinghoffer

Each year, evolution enthusiasts, evangelizing atheists, and Religious Left activists celebrate Charles Darwin’s birthday, February 12, as “Darwin Day.” They’ve got a spiffy new website with a full calendar of upcoming events. At Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, we also mark the occasion, but our focus is different. We call it Academic Freedom Day. That’s in honor of Darwin’s own wise counsel that in scientific inquiry, “A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.”

Unfortunately many of his modern disciples have abandoned this principle and prefer to suppress the other side in the evolution debate. That is why we established our Censor of the Year (COTY) award, so at least the malefactors should not do their work without fear of any criticism at all. It’s with pleasure, then, that we open this year’s nominations to you, our readers at ENV and anyone else with a censor in mind in need of being condemned.

Think about the events of this past year and send us your nominees at the email link at the top of this page (at EMAIL US). We’re providing more than a full week to give us your nominations, through Monday, February 2. We will then have time to mull our decision and announce a winner, to be formally recognized on February 12.

I want to ask you to think about this in a broad manner.

Last year we presented our first ever Censor of the Year prize. The winner, biologist-blogger Jerry Coyne at the University of Chicago, was instrumental along with his Siamese twin, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, in silencing a young physicist at Ball State University in Indiana. Their victim, Professor Eric Hedin, had provided his students with a list of reading resources on intelligent design, both pro- and con-. Coyne and the FFRF got his course shut down, and may yet succeed in scuttling his career altogether.

Hedin’s case was a lesson to vulnerable scientists and scholars hoping to earn a livelihood in academia: Don’t inform your students about the debate on evolution going on in professional science. Don’t tell them about the case for a scientific alternative to Darwinism. Certainly don’t get involved in controversial research yourself. If you do, you’ll be sorry.

In other words, classic censorship. Orthodoxy maintained by fear.

In nominating your favorite censor, consider casting the net a little wider. Darwinism’s dominance in science and the media depends on intimidation, but also on subtler means: an implicit partnership between science vendors and science consumers to avert one’s eyes from evidence challenging a prestigious idea, Darwinian theory. With that in mind, let’s briefly review the past year.

Thinking of censorship more capaciously, the highlights of 2014 would certainly include the remake of Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson. A slippery character, as we’re not only the ones to have pointed out, Dr. Tyson glibly unspools a narrative of the past, present, and future that erases the role of faith in inspiring scientific inquiry, twists the facts to make it appear that legitimate scientific controversy is a thing of the past, and generally make it appear that a scientific materialist perspective has things pretty much all figured out.

This is censorship by airbrush, and by seduction. We analyze the science behind Cosmos in our bookThe Unofficial Guide to Cosmos: Fact and Fiction in Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Landmark Science Series.Cosmos was aimed at young people, and we expect it to become a staple in public schools, from the intermediate grades on up.

However the elementary grades aren’t safe either. A Boston University psychologist, Deborah Kelemen, advocates indoctrinating younger children. In a remarkable story this past year, the Wall Street Journal saluted her research showing how elementary-school kids can be deprogrammed and redirected from the common-sense recognition of design in the natural world.

Turning to adult education, Casey Luskin reported that the state-run New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science used Darwin Day 2014 to give a forum to atheist groups, simultaneously shutting out dissenting views. When challenged on this, the museum covered up, and decided it would prefer to silence the discussion altogether rather than permit an exchange of ideas on evolution. The museum’s sole event for February 12 this year is a soporific-sounding lecture on “The Rio Grande and its Food Webs,” which they are charging $6 for as if to ward visitors away.

As for more traditional forms of censorship, we’ve documented the uneven manner in which academic freedom is apportioned on campuses. At the University of Washington, for example, evolutionary biologist David Barash brags, in the New York Times no less, about pushing his atheism on students.

He’s not investigated or censured for that. But Coyne and the FFRF got another professor at a public university, Emerson “Tom” McMullen at Georgia Southern University, in boiling hot water for allegedly advocating his own Christian faith in the classroom.

Finally, as Time Magazine sometimes devotes its “Person of the Year” cover story to groups of individuals (“The Ebola Fighters,” “The Protester”), you could think about nominating the American Intellectual, or maybe Pseudointellectual, for our COTY prize. It never fails to amaze us how otherwise thoughtful people, who take pride in their skepticism and critical analysis skills, avoid informing themselves about the Darwin question. They refuse to do their homework and come to grips with an ultimate scientific question, refuse to read a book on intelligent design, placing their faith in clichés, slogans, and a skim of a Wikipedia page or two.

For an illustration, take a look at my exchange with Geoffrey Mitelman and R.P. Nettelhorst here the other day. This is self-censorship, carefully straining the information you allow yourself to take in lest you be tainted by impure thoughts. When it comes to challenges to evolutionary orthodoxy, the attitude is: See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

There you have it, plenty of possibilities for your consideration. But don’t feel at all limited to the abovementioned. Please be in touch, now, and let us know your views on a worthy successor for Professor Coyne.

THE STORAGE OF NONSENSE

December 11, 2014

A singular consequence of the materialist-mechanical metaphysics that permeates our culture and our sciences is that we commonly hold basic beliefs that are abject nonsense. One such belief is the almost ubiquitous one — among ordinary folks as well as neuroscientists and surprisingly many philosophers — that the brain “stores” memories. The fact is that the brain doesn’t store memories, and can’t store memories.

It has been known for the better part of a century that certain structures in the brain are associated with memory. The amygdala and the hippocampus in the temporal lobe, and some adjacent cortical regions, have been shown to be associated with the act of remembering in animals and humans. The research is fascinating and important, and in my own work as a neurosurgeon I have to be aware of these regions (especially the hippocampus and the fornix and mammillary bodies, to which the hippocampus projects). During surgery, injury to these critical structures (if bilateral) can leave a patient incapable of forming new memories, which is a crippling disability.

But these physiological facts do not imply that the brain stores memories in the hippocampus or amygdala or elsewhere. How so?

It’s helpful to begin by considering what memory is — memory is retained knowledge. Knowledge is the set of true propositions. Note that neither memory nor knowledge nor propositions are inherently physical. They are psychological entities, not physical things. Certainly memories aren’t little packets of protein or lipid stuffed into a handy gyrus, ready for retrieval when needed for the math quiz.

The brain is a physical thing. A memory is a psychological thing. A psychological thing obviously can’t be “stored” in the same way a physical thing can. It’s not clear how the term “store” could even apply to a psychological thing.

Now you may believe — as most neuroscientists and too many philosophers (who should know better) mistakenly believe — that although of course memories aren’t “stored” in brain tissue per se, engrams of memories are stored in the brain, and are retrieved when we remember the knowledge encoded in the engram. Indeed neuroscientists believe that they have found things in the brain very much like engrams of some sort, that encode a memory like a code encodes a message.

But that too is nonsense. To see why, consider a hypothetical “engram” of your grandmother’s lovely face that “codes” for your memory of her appearance. Imagine that the memory engram is safely tucked into a corner of your superior temporal gyrus, and you desire to remember Nana’s face. As noted above, your memory itself obviously is not in the gyrus or in the engram. It doesn’t even make any sense to say a memory is stored in a lump of brain. But, you say, that’s just a silly little misunderstanding. What you really mean to say is that the memory is encoded there, and it must be accessed and retrieved, and it is in that sense that the memory is stored. It is the engram, you say, not the memory itself, that is stored.

But there is a real problem with that view. As you try to remember Nana’s face, you must then locate the engram of the memory, which of course requires that you (unconsciously) must remember where in your brain Nana’s face engram is stored — was it the superior temporal gyrus or the middle temporal gyrus? Was it the left temporal lobe or the right temporal lobe? So this retrieval of the Nana memory via the engram requires another memory (call it the “Nana engram location memory”), which must itself be encoded somewhere in your brain. To access the memory for the location of the engram of Nana, you must access a memory for the engram for the location for the engram of Nana. And obviously you must first remember the location of the Nana engram location memory, which presupposes another engram whose location must be remembered. Ad infinitum.

Now imagine that by some miracle (materialist metaphysics always demands miracles) you are able to surmount infinite regress and locate the engram for Nana’s face in your superior temporal gyrus (like finding your keys by serendipity!). Whew! But don’t deceive yourself — this doesn’t solve your problem in the least. Because now you have to decode the engram itself. The engram would undoubtedly take the form of brain tissue — a particular array of proteins, or dendrites or axons, or an electrochemical gradient of some specific sort — that would mean “memory of Nana’s face.” But how can an electrochemical gradient represent a face? Certainly an electrochemical gradient doesn’t look like grandma — and even if it did, you’d have to have a little tiny eye in your brain to see it to recognize that it looked like grandma. Whatever form the engram takes must be a code, and you must then have a key to the code, stored in your brain just like the Nana memory is stored. But then you must remember where the key to the code is stored, which is itself another memory which must be stored and remembered. And to remember the location of a location for the key for the code for the engram requires another engram to remember the location of the location code, which must be located and decoded, which requires another key engram which you now must locate…

And if you think that remembering your grandmother’s face via an engram in your brain entails infinite regress, consider the conundrum of remembering a concept, rather than a face. How, pray tell, can the concept of your grandma’s justice or her mercy or her cynicism be encoded in an engram? The quality of mercy is not strained, nor can it be encoded. How many dendrites and axons for mercy?

You see the nonsense.

To assert that memories are stored in the brain is gibberish. And don’t fall for the materialist invocation of promissory materialism — “It’s just a limitation of our current scientific knowledge, and we promise that science will solve the problem in due time.” The assertion that the brain stores memories is logical nonsense that doesn’t even rise to the level of empirical testability.

How then, you reasonably ask, can we explain the obvious dependence of memory on brain structure and function? While it is obvious that the memories aren’t stored, it does seem that some parts of the brain are necessary ordinarily for memory. And that’s certainly true. But necessary does not mean sufficient. There is a rough correspondence between activity in certain regions of the brain and the exercise of certain mental powers. That is what cognitive neuroscientists properly study. In some cases the correspondence between brain and memory is one of tight necessity — the brain must have a specific activity for memory to be exercised. But the brain activity is not the same thing as the memory nor does it make any sense at all to say the brain activity codes for the memory or that the brain stores the memory.

What this all implies is that only some kind of dualism can provide a coherent understanding of the mind. But dualism is a many-headed hydra, and I don’t think that Cartesian dualism or property dualism or epiphenomenalism or computational theories of the mind (which are inherently dualistic) explain things well either.

I hew to Thomistic dualism, which is a coherent view of the mind that takes an Aristotelian perspective and for which the participation of the brain in memory is not problematic at all. (Alas, almost all the Westerners, even the smartest, are by now totally oblivious of the Spirit! The brain is just an interface through which our spirit gives informations and therefore command the body  – ndM)

Michael Egnor

THE STRANGE LOGIC OF MILES MATHIS

November 7, 2014

I have really loved Mathis’ work! Really!

I think he is one of the most talented thinkers available today, a multifaceted talent, who gives his best in painting.

However, he confines himself in the cage of agnosticism and this prevents him to bring his brilliant arguments to the last logical consequences. In this way, for example, he misses the last mile in his social, political and historical analysis and falls short to take the logical conclusion in the science of nature when it would force him to go out from that cage, as you can see in his recent paper on the theory of evolution.

This last essay is in fact a brilliant and total confutation of that theory, as propagated by the mainstream, and yet rather incomprehensibly he presents it just as a mere amelioration of the theory. Destroying nonsense is surely an amelioration, but not an amelioration of the nonsense. The fact is that agnosticism is a very ambiguous term and in fact it means a little nothing in the concrete dialectical discourse. It’s not a third way between or beyond theism and atheism, because it cannot possibly exist a third possibility in this matter. It is just a confession of ignorance, “I do not know”. Now, that is fully legitimate, but only when you really do not know, when you really are ignorant, when you really have not the means to investigate and analyze the issue, but this is not the case with Miles Mathis. Agnosticism is legitimate when you start investigating something, but it can’t possibly be a conclusion. If your conclusion is still “I don’t know”, you are depriving of any value all your arguments and analysis. Agnosticism is the correct scientific approach to a question, but it has no substantive meaning after the investigation, unless the investigation itself and all of the investigator skills and tools have miserably failed!

In this concrete matter, you must choose between a creator or nothing as the origin of the universe we live in, tertium non datur! The creator in this context has no religious meaning, as we are trying to prove merely his existence, and that is a legitimate scientific task. We are not trying to define him, to answer the question about WHO is he and WHY has he created. Those last answers lie outside any scientific investigation, because we have no analytic ability nor appropriate experimental tools to carry on the task. Everything you will ever know about God is just what God will reveal to you and the Revelation is not scientific knowledge, but much higher wisdom.

But the question about the creator’s existence as causal and functional origin of the universe, in opposition to nothing, i.e. a creation originating by chance, is a legitimate scientific issue and has nothing to do with the religion. The hysterical darwiniacs’ reaction to every suggestion about the existence of a creator is just one more evidence to their madness, when it’s not a show of total and shameless dishonesty. Their claim that if you affirm the existence of a creator you are not talking science but religious superstitions is a little revelation in itself: a revelation about their lacking of even rude analytic skills and about the vacuity of their mind! It’s a blatant attempt to disrupt the discussion, knowing that all they can offer to it are just fairy-tales for retarded adults; so they create a straw-man, in order to deviate from the road leading to their exposition as clueless and conceal the very poor basis on which their dogma rests. Please, do not fall for this petty ruse!

Provided that, even common sense alone would suffice to answer that question. After all, when you pass by the last Mercedes model you do not think that it has assembled by itself; therefore, how can you conclude that something several trillions times more complicated and odd as a single living cell has assembled by itself? Apart from that, logic alone would dictate that every system can base his logical existence only on conventions laid outside the system itself, and the system in which we live is logical, rational. Keeping on, even our mere experiences tell us that nothing comes out from nothing and that order does not come out from disorder, unless an intelligence intervenes and gives command (information) to that purpose. Every task needs information to be carried out. Now, I wish to remember a few certain things about information:

It is impossible to set up, store, or transmit information without using a code.

It is impossible to have a code apart from a free and deliberate convention.

It is impossible to have information without a sender.

It is impossible that information can exist without having had a mental source.

It is impossible for information to exist without having been established voluntarily by a free will.

It is impossible for information to exist without all five hierarchical levels:  statistics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and apobetics [the purpose for which the information is intended].

It is impossible that information can originate in statistical processes

In short, information presupposes a language, and a language is nothing else than a logical convention, whose meanings and origin reside necessarily outside the language itself but are devoid of any necessity in order to their existence. They are established freely, to a purpose.

Nowadays it should be absolutely clear to anyone with a minimum of discernment that (the source of) life is a language, it originates and develops on information, as much as every natural law governing inorganic matter expresses information (it is ordered) and (by consequence) can be expressed by language.

Provided that, the darwiniacs, with their usual disregard of the ridiculous, want us to believe that this language sparked off by itself, nobody invented it, it just happened by chance. That is, they support a LOGICAL IMPOSSIBILITY. 

In his analysis of the astonishing behavior of the enzyme, Mathis rightly dismisses as baseless any pretension that it could be the result of statistical processes, he seems to grasp the problem of information in relation to its logical consequences, yet his conclusions disappointingly fail to draw those inevitable consequences.

Not only he retreat in his cage of agnosticism, whose legitimacy must be contested in this case, as ruling out chance (i.e. nothing) you must necessarily conclude for its opposite (i.e. something) as the source of everything, he even suggests that the origin of the information, this language, could be matter itself. That is, matter is eternal, with an embedded creator inside, which is this language and what this language creates at the same time.

This is nothing new, it’s “the permanent natural bent of the human mind” if left to itself, a belief which originates at the dawn of our centuries, assuming tens of nuances, and has come to be called in the modern era Pantheism. It’s the greatest hit in term of cultural trend, very fashionable, “the perennial and profoundly juvenile desire to enjoy eternity on one’s own terms”: “…ye shall be as gods.”

It’s just a variation on the theme, or better, Darwinism is just a variation on the theme of Pantheism. Whereas Darwinism ultimately gives the creator the name “nothing”, Pantheism gives the creator the name “creature”. In a contest for the assignment of the prize for the most gigantic nonsense ever born from human mind, a judge would have a hard choice between these two contenders. The creator cannot be the creature, as much as Mathis is not the paper he has just produced. Inside his creation there is not him, the creator, but his footprint, the information he has given through a logical language to convey his spirit (in the image of the Highest Wisdom) to the matter which has reacted and transformed accordingly.

Of course, we are just images, personal images, of that Highest Wisdom. The Word of God, conveying His Spirit, expresses perfectly the meaning of everything He wills, so perfectly that He calls the thing in existence just pronouncing it. We, dim images, are not able to create anything, not a single atom, yet our word is indispensable anyway to innovate what has been created, conveying our spirit and guessing the meanings of the things created. Not only that: while the union of the Holy Spirit and the Word with God is perfect, so that the Word expresses always exactly His Spirit when He wills, a Will always perfectly understood, that union in men, never perfect, has been shattered with the Fall and can be restored only in Christ, in the Communion with His Body.

Before the Incarnation of the Word and today, when the apostasy is almost complete, the will of men is undocked, erratic and manipulated at will by the prince of this world, playing masterfully with our pride and lusts and fears, so that a darkened and faded spirit has just a meaningless cacophony of passions to express, so that their words are for the most part idle babbling, scornful blasphemies and filthy, shameless lies.

Now, to claim that a language is born by itself is a logical inconsistency, just as the claim which pretend it born by chance. Both are logical non sequitur, provided that you understand what a language is and what are its inviolable features. A language must be created and the logical conventions which constitute it are external to it, so it cannot be the creator nor can it be eternal. Moreover, the language must have the same creator of all the things which react and execute the information it convenes. Language is the word of the creator, and just in this sense it is eternal.

Therefore, a logical and scientific investigation of life and the universe must conclude that they have a creator. Mathis does not want to do it, but he should!

Not to boast, but Christians have claimed that Life is a language since the end of the first century A.D. (John 1, 1). Alas, superstitious people have always preferred myths, legends and fairy tales.

Actually, we can do even better than that. When Mathis in his paper talks about a “volition” of the enzyme, he is correct, but only in the narrow sense that a software has a “volition”. That volition is not of the software but belongs to its programmer, it carries on the volition of its creator, just as the enzyme does. Its will is not free but reflexive, not conscious but constrained in the boundaries given to it. What makes us different from any other form of life is just our free will and the language, through which we can in turn program and command autonomously to the creation. We are in His image and likeness, indeed, but I don’t want to shock you with the higher wisdom given by the Revelation, so let’s stay at the lower scientific level. It’s a logical impossibility for a creature to have features that his creator does not have, a creator cannot pass to his creation something he does not posses. Therefore, inasmuch as we are creatures, our creator must possess free will too.

Thus, the only logical conclusion is that there is a creator, and He is a Person.

Now, Who is this Person? Only a Christian can give the answer to this question, because the knowledge of God is given only as a revelation to a heart who loves Him. This loving heart belong to a person who has accepted the permanent divine invitation to partecipate in His mode of being, His energies Who substantiate everything, through His Son, the Incarnated Word Who gave Himself as divine nourishment and the only material conduit of His Spirit.

Therefore, the answer is: this Person is the only true God, the Living Triune God of Christianity.

The simplest analogy for the unity and at the same time threeness of the Most Holy Trinity is ourselves, men, the images of God.

Man is one, yet he generates his word, through which proceeds his spirit. His word and his spirit are not something different than him, his essence and substance.
And the word is the only spiritual relation with the creation, again in the image of God.

Of course, our word and our spirit do not exist hypostatically, we are just images of the Most High. The Word of God creates and by His Word His Spirit gives Life to matter. We cannot create nor give, but we can innovate and transmit.

This simultaneous unity and otherness, this distinction which is not separation nor dissimilarity, is impossible to grasp without the understanding of the Orthodox basic theological teaching about the essence and the energies of God, a teaching which contrary to the Western myth is not a novation of St. Gregory Palamas but date back to the beginning of the self-consciousness of the Church.

Therefore, only in the Church a correct understanding of that distinction is granted. The knowledge of God is partecipation, partecipation in His Body. The distinction between the essence and the energies of God is only operational, not substantial. As much as nothing pertaining to God can be other than God and entirely God, just like the fire lighting countless torches is not different from Fire and entirely fire, partaking of the Divine Nature still does not allow us to appropriate that Nature, but only to enjoy His eternal bliss, just like living does not allow us to have life in ourselves nor to know its misteries.

This problematic of essence (as understood in Western theology) in itself implies a definite status of man over and against the truth about God: The first foundation of the truth of God is not achieved through the experience of the Church, which is an experience of personal relationship with the person of the Incarnate Logos, a relationship which is realized in the Holy Spirit and which reveals the Logos as witnessing to the Father. Rather, this first foundation is entirely anthropocentric, with an intellectual leap seeking to understand the divine essence in itself, its attributes and its objective relationships. And this rationalistic conception of essence not only obliges one to an ontic understanding of essence which overlooks the mode of being of the essence, but also leads by logical necessity either to the identification of essence and energy or to the essential separation of nature from the energies. The problematic of energy is reduced to a procedure of logical proof which refers the mystery of divine existence to the syllogistically necessary idea of a creating and moving cause of creation or a causal grace (causalité de Grâce) which contributes to the moral improvement of man.

In Orthodox theology, on the other hand, the problem of the energies is put exclusively in terms of existential experience. The experience of the Church is the knowledge of God as an event of personal relationship, and the question raised is one of witness to and defense of that event, the question of how we come to know God, who is neither intelligible nor sensible, nor at all a being among the other beings.1 The knowledge of God as an event of personal relationship reveals the priority of the truth of the person in the realm of theological knowledge. There is no room for bypassing the reality of the person by means of an intellectual leap directly to the essence: Truth for us is in realities, not in names.2 The person recapitulates the mode of existence of nature; we know the essence or nature only as the content of the person. This unique possibility of knowing nature presupposes its ecstatic recapitulation in terms of a personal reference, i.e. the possibility for nature to stand outside of itself, to become accessible and communicable not as an idea, but as personal uniqueness and dissimilarity. The ecstasis of nature, however, cannot be identified with nature itself, since the experience of relation is itself an experience of non-identification: the ecstasy is the mode, the manner by which nature becomes accessible and known in terms of personal otherness; it is the energy of nature which is identified neither with its bearer nor with its result: The energy is neither the active cause nor the resultant effect.3

It is not possible, of course, to know the energy except through the one who acts; and, again, only through the natural energy can one know the one who acts as personal otherness as well as nature and essence. The will, for example, is an energy of nature. However it is accessible to us only through its personal bearer; we refer to the what of the will only because we know the how of its personal expression.4 The what of the will reveals to us the nature which has the possibility to will, while the how of the will reveals the personal otherness of its bearer.5 The will itself, however, is not identified either with the nature which has the possibility to will or with the person who wills, always in a unique, dissimilar and unrepeatable manner. For this reason we recognize in the will an energy of nature, ontologically (but not ontically) distinguishable from the nature as well as from the person.

Even though we distinguish the energy from the nature and the nature from the persons, we do not attribute any synthetic character to nature itself; we do not divide and we do not fragment the nature into persons and energies: the persons and the energies are neither parts nor components nor passions nor accidents of nature, but the mode of being of nature. The personal expression of each energy recapitulates impartially and wholely the entire nature; it is the existence of nature. The how of the energy of will (or the energy of creativity or of love or whatever other energy) recapitulates the what of the natural energy of will; the possibility of nature to will exists and is expressed only through the otherness of the personal will. Painting, music, sculpture are creative energies of the human nature, but they do not exist except as expressions of personal otherness: as music of Mozart, as painting of Van Gogh, as sculpture of Rodin. Nor is there any other manner of expressing and defining essence or nature outside its active ecstasis in terms of personal otherness. The only way we can name nature is in the personally expressed energy of nature; energy signifies nature: Essence and energy can both receive the same name (λόγος).6

The energies, however, are not the exclusive and only manner of naming nature, for indicating the actor through his activities. The natural energy which is expressed personally represents that possibility of empirical knowledge which comes from a personal participation and communion in the essence or nature — without this communion becoming an identification with nature or with a part of nature. According to the Fathers of the Orthodox East, personal communion makes possible a fulness of knowledge and has no relationship whatsoever with Fr. Garrigues’ rational categories of participation entitative, participation intentionnelle, participation dans la causalité de l’acte d’être.

St. Maximus the Confessor uses as an image and an example of such communion the human voice, which being one is participated in by many, and is not swallowed up by the multitude.7 If by taking this example we can arbitrarily consider human reason as essence, then we can say that the voice represents the energy of the essence of reason, the possibility for us to participate in the essence of reason as the voice reveals and communicates it, to participate, all of us who hear the same voice, in the same essence of the one reason — without this communion becoming our identification with the essence of reason, and without the fragmentation of the essence in as many parts as there are participants in the reason through the voice. Reason, expressed personally, remains unified and indivisible, while at the same time, it is singularly participated by all.

If we should insist on this example of the voice and reason we could clarify one more observation relative to the possibilities of participating in the essence through the energies. The voice certainly represents a revelation of the energy of reason homogenous to the essence of reason and makes possible a direct participation in reason, but a revelation of the energy of reason can also take place from within essences heterogenous to reason: it is possible to formulate into reason other essences such as writing, color, music and marble.

This example indicates that we can speak (together with St. Maximus) about two forms of energy of the same essence or nature: one form which is, as we called it, homogenous to the nature of the one who causes the energy (an ecstatic self-offering of nature in terms of personal otherness); and the other form which reveals itself out of essences heterogenous to the nature of the one who causes the energy, an energy that is effective on things external, according to which the actor acts on objects outside of himself and heterogenous, and obtains a result, which is made up of preexisting matter and is foreign to his own substance.8

Accordingly, God’s homogenous energy (to use St. Maximus’ distinction) is revealed in the Church’s experience of divine grace, which is uncreated (heterogenous to creatures and homogenous to God) and through which God is wholly participated in9 and participated singularly by all,10 remaining simple and indivisible, offering to the communicant that which He (God) possesses by nature except essential identity11 and elevating man to the rank of communicant of the divine nature, according to the word of Scripture (II Peter 1:4). On the other hand, the revelation of God’s energy in essences heterogenous to God is seen in the character of beings as creatures, created by divine energy. The personal logos of these creatures (a logos of power, wisdom and art),12 even though it is characteristic to each one of these creatures, in terms of the infinite variety of essences, reveals the singular wholeness of the one divine energy and witnesses to the one, simple and indivisible God.13

As for man, we can probably say that the concept of homogenous energy is applicable to the power of love and to the erotic ecstasy of self-giving in terms of which the existential truth about man is made known. This is the mystery of the human nature and of the human person as singular otherness — when man totally belongs to the loved one and is willingly embraced by him entirely.14 This homogenous energy, however, interprets also the reality of the human body in terms of the singular otherness of each person: the body is par excellence the personal differentiation of the physical energies,15 the possibility of a meeting and a communion between the created energy of the human essence and the uncreated energy of the Grace of God.16 As for the revelation of the energy of man through the heterogenous essences of man, it concerns the variety of human creations, in the works of human art, wisdom, and power.17

The fundamental fact observed and verified in the distinction of St. Maximus between the homogenous energy of an essence or nature and its heterogenous appearance is that both of these forms of expressing the energy reveal the nature or essence as the singular and unified content of the person. The personal differentiation of the physical energies (the uniqueness and dissimilarity of each human body, as well as the absolute otherness of each erotic event and the differentiation of creative expressions, for example, the music of Bach from the music of Mozart or the painting of Van Gogh from that of Goya) distinguishes the nature without dividing it, it reveals the manner by which nature is — and this manner is its personal singularity and otherness. The energies or distinctions disclose and reveal the catholicity of nature, as content of the person.

In the distinction of nature and energies Orthodox theology sees the very presupposition for a knowledge of God, as well as of man and of the world. If we reject this distinction and if we accept, with the Roman Catholics, the intellectual leap to the essence itself — an active divine essence — then the only possible relation of the world to God is the rational connection between cause and effect, a connection that leaves unexplained the ontological reality of the world, the formation of matter and its essential character.

For Orthodox theology matter is not a reality that simply has its cause in God. Matter is the substantiation of the will of God, the result of the personal energy of God; and it remains active as the revelatory reason of divine energy. St. Gregory of Nyssa says that all things were not reshaped from some subsisting matter into phenomena, but the divine will became the matter and the essence of creation.18 The will of God is an act, and the act of God is His word, for in God the act is word.19 The word of God which expresses His will is substantiated directly as a substance and a formulation of creation.20

Matter, therefore, constitutes the substantiation of the divine will. The logoi of matter, that is to say, its types or forms, reflect the creative logoi of the divine conceptions and volitions.21 In its own organic content, matter is the result of the union of rational qualities whose convergence and union defines the substance of sensory things.22 The rational formulation of matter refutes from the start the ontic autonomous character of things; matter is not the what of physical reality, the material which receives shape and form to reveal the essence, but the convergence of the rational qualities, their coordination into the how of a unique harmony which constitutes the type or the form of things. The whole cosmic reality, the innumerable variety of kinds of essences are not the what of objective observation and rational conception; they are not the abstract effect of a rationally conceived active cause, but the how of the personal harmony of rational qualities, a musical harmony constituting a controlled and sublime hymn to the power which controls the universe.23

This continuously active personal harmony of the world reveals the direct and energetic presence of God in the world as personal will and energy (and not as essence). It is an endlessly active invitation to a personal relationship with the personal God-Logos through the logoi of things. This active invitation is not essentially identified with the one who invites nor with the energy of the caller; the reason and the will of God is not identified with the created things themselves, just as the will of the artist is not identified with the product of his art, with the result of his personal creative energy. But the work of art is the substantiation and incarnation of the personal reason and will of the artist; it is the active call and possibility of a personal relationship with the creator through the logos of his creations. The work of art is in essence and in energy different from the artist (the art in the artistic is one thing, and quite another is the art in the person who undertakes it, as St. Basil points out).24 Therefore, the work of art represents and reveals the unique, the dissimilar and unrepeatable personal logos of the artist. Without personal relation, without a personal acceptance of the logos embodied in the work of art, the latter remains a neutral and uninterpreted object: the logos of the artist remains inaccessible, the truth of the thing uninterpreted, the experience of the personal presence, the personal uniqueness and dissimilarity of the artist unattainable.

It is clear that the inference from the personal harmony and beauty of creation to the personal presence of the creator God-Logos is neither self-evident nor automatic nor simply rational; it is a moral-dynamic movement of participation in the benevolent personal divine energy, an acceptance of the invitation which substantiates the beauty of nature — a moral movement of catharsis, a gradual and dynamic illumination of the mind, to be surprised and to understand … to be lifted up from knowledge to knowledge, and from vision to vision, and from understanding to understanding.25 The end (always endless) of this dynamic vision of the world is a revelation, through beauty, of the triune character of divine energy, beautifying creation triunely.26 The beauty of creation is not the single-dimensional logos of a creative cause, but the revelation of the unified and at the same time triune mode of the divine energy which reflects the mystery of the singular and triune mode of existence of the divine life.27

The problem of the knowledge of God, but also of man and the world — of knowledge as direct personal relationship and existential experience or knowledge as abstract intellectual approximation — depends on the acceptance or the rejection of the distinction between essence and energies. The acceptance and rejection of this distinction represents two fundamentally different visions of truth, two noncoinciding ontologies. This does not mean simply two different theoretical views or interpretations, but two diametrically opposite ways of life, with concrete spiritual, historical and cultural consequences.

The acceptance of this distinction between essence and energies means an understanding of truth as personal relationship, i.e. as an experience of life, and of knowledge as participation in the truth and not as an understanding of meanings that result from intellectual abstraction. It involves the priority of the reality of the person to every rational definition. In the infinite terms of this priority, God is known and communicable through His incomprehensible uncreated energies, remaining in essence unknown and incommunicable. That is to say, God is known only as a personal revelation (and not as an idea of active essence), only as a triune communion of persons, as an ecstatic self-offering of loving goodness. The world also is the result of the personal energies of God, a creation revealing the person of the Logos, witnessing to the Father through the grace of the Spirit, the substantiated invitation of God to relation and communion, an invitation which is personal and therefore substantiated heteroessentially.

On the contrary, the rejection of the distinction between essence and energy means exclusion of catholic-personal experience and priority of the intellect as the way of knowledge, reducing truth to a coincidence of thought with the object of thought (adaequatio rei et intellectus),28 an understanding of nature and person as definitions resulting from rational abstraction: the persons have the character of relations within the essence, relations which do not characterize the persons but are identified with the persons in order to serve the logical necessity of the simplicity of the essence. Thus, finally, God is accessible only as essence, i.e. only as an object of rational search, as the necessary first mover who is unmoved, that is pure energy, and whose existence must be identified with the self-realization of the essence. The world is the result of the first mover, even as the grace of God is the result of divine essence. The only relation of the world with God is the connection of cause and effect, a connection that organically disengages God from the world: the world is made autonomous and subjected to intellectual objectification and to (useful) expediency.

The problem of the distinction between essence and energies determined definitely and finally the differentiation of the Latin West from the Orthodox East. The West rejected the distinction, desiring to protect the idea of simplicity in the divine essence, since rational thought cannot accept the antinomy of a simultaneous existential identity and otherness, a distinction that does not mean division and fragmentation. For the western mind (expressed either with the directness of Thomistic rationalism or with the subordination of the patristic texts to a priori interpretations, as in the case of Fr. Garrigues) God is defined only in terms of His essence; whatever is not essence does not belong to God; it is a creature of God, the result of divine essence. Consequently, the energies of God are either identified with the essence, which is active (actus purus), or else any external manifestation of theirs is regarded as necessarily heteroessential, i.e. a created result of the divine cause.

Christos Yannaras