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Title: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on August 27, 2020, 09:20:40 PM
CHAPTER I
THAT THE DEITY IS INCOMPREHENSIBLE, AND THAT WE OUGHT NOT TO PRY INTO AND MEDDLE WITH THE THINGS WHICH HAVE NOT BEEN DELIVERED TO US BY THE HOLY PROPHETS, AND APOSTLES, AND EVANGELISTS

No one hath seen God at any time; the Only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him .
The Deity, therefore, is ineffable and incomprehensible.
For no one knoweth the Father, save the Son, nor the Son, save the Father .
And the Holy Spirit, too, so knows the things of God as the spirit of the man knows the things that are in him .
Moreover, after the first and blessed nature no one,
not of men only, but even of supramundane powers,
 and the Cherubim, I say, and Seraphim themselves,
 has ever known God, save he to whom He revealed Himself.
God, however, did not leave us in absolute ignorance.
For the knowledge of God’s existence has been implanted by Him in all by nature.
This creation, too, and its maintenance, and its government, proclaim the majesty of the Divine nature .
Moreover, by the Law and the Prophets in former times and afterwards by His Only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ,
 He disclosed to us the knowledge of Himself as that was possible for us.
All things, therefore, that have been delivered to us
by Law and Prophets and Apostles and Evangelists we receive, and know, and honour , seeking for nothing beyond these.
For God, being good, is the cause of all good, subject neither to envy nor to any passion .
For envy is far removed from the Divine nature, which is both passionless and only good.
As knowing all things, therefore, and providing for what is profitable for each,
He revealed that which it was to our profit to know;
 but what we were unable to bear He kept secret.
With these things let us be satisfied, and let us abide by them,
 not removing everlasting boundaries, nor overpassing the divine tradition .



Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on August 30, 2020, 05:17:41 AM
Reflection on Chapter 1:
The Godhead is beyond comprehension and because of this theology should not attempt to pry into and meddle with the things which have not been deliver to us by the Holy Prophets, Apostles, And Evangelists.

John 1:18
No one at any time ever had seen God, the Only Begotten Son of God, who is Himself God and is beside the Father, Who showed the Way.

This Way was deliver to us by the Holy Prophets, the Holy Apostles and the Holy Evangelists.

The Godhead cannot be described by words nor comprehended with the mind.

Matthew 11:27
For all things have been given into My hands by My Father: and none recognizes the Son, except the Father and none recognizes the Father, except the Son and those that the Son chooses to reveal Him.

1 Corinthians 2:11
For who among men can perceive the thoughts of a man, except the spirit which is him? Thus as only a man can know his own thoughts it is impossible to know God's thoughts which are known by the Spirit of God.

And this blessed nature is revealed in the Law, the Prophets, the Gospel and the Epistles to be Goodness, Truth, Light, Righteousness, Mercy, Divine Love and Wisdom; to list 7 attributes.

It was the Goodness of God that made us in His image and likeness; making us free and rational, capable of possessing knowledge and kindness.
God has implanted or written His Truth upon our hearts, our faith and our ability to believe and love God is a divine gift.
God has sown the seed of Righteousness as Light whereas the enemy has sown the seed of darkness.
For by God's Light we shall see all things as they are, transfigured in His glory, all things become clear.
God has shown His Righteous by making the universe (heaven and earth), casting out Adam and Eve with a blazing sword and angels, accepting Abel's sacrifice but rejecting Cain's, translating Enoch and flooding the earth, warning Noah, calling Abram, saving Isaac, blessing Jacob, preserving Joseph, delivering Moses, electing Joshua, forgiving David, hearing the prayers and cries of His people Israel throughout history.
In the Law the Divine and Holy Commandments are given to safeguard eternal life.
The Prophets revealed Mercy was more acceptable than sacrifice.
Our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ revealed God's Love and Wisdom to us that at the fullness of time we might receive the Wisdom of God and the Love of God might be poured into our hearts from God the Father by the Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus.

God revealed Himself in manners that were acceptable to be understood by the individual receiving the revelation.
Through the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church all things have been delivered to us by the Fathers and the Saints and the Doctors.
Just as we honor the Holy Prophets, the Holy Apostles and the Holy Evangelists, we honor their work as inspired by the Spirit of God for our salvation and instruction.
For God being Good, is the Source of All Goodness, neither becomes envious or passionate, though He described as a Jealous God.
For envy is a sin and the opposite of the Divine Nature, which is both Immaculate and only Good.
As Wise, knowing all things, God provides for what is profitable to each person, He revealed what was profitable for us to know through the Prophets, Apostles and Evangelists.
What we can not bear nor understand God has kept secret, for it is the glory of God to conceal a matter but the glory of the King to reveal it.
Therefore, be satisfied with what the Holy Church has preserved through Tradition and do not become dissatisfied but abide in the Truth.


Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on August 31, 2020, 02:45:23 AM
CHAPTER II
 CONCERNING THINGS UTTERABLE AND THINGS UNUTTERABLE, AND THINGS KNOWABLE AND THING UNKNOWABLE

It is necessary, therefore, that one who wishes to speak or to hear of God
 should understand clearly that like in the doctrine of Deity and in that of the Incarnation,
 neither are all things unutterable nor all utterable; neither all unknowable nor all knowable .

But the knowable belongs to one order, and the utterable to another;
 just as it is one thing to speak and another thing to know.
Many of the things relating to God, therefore, that are dimly understood cannot be put into fitting terms,
 but on things above us we cannot do else than express ourselves according to our limited capacity;
 as, for instance, when we speak of God
we use the terms sleep, and wrath, and regardlessness, hands, too, and feet, and such like expressions.

We, therefore, both know and confess that God is without beginning, without end, eternal and everlasting,
 uncreate, unchangeable, invariable, simple, uncompounded, incorporeal,
 invisible, impalpable, uncircumscribed, infinite, incognisable, indefinable,
 incomprehensible, good, just, maker of all things created, almighty, all-ruling,
 all-surveying, of all overseer, sovereign, judge; and that God is One, that is to say, one essence ;

and that He is known , and has His being in three subsistences, in Father, I say, and Son and Holy Spirit;
 and that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one in all respects,
 except in that of not being begotten, that of being begotten, and that of procession;

 and that the Only-begotten Son and Word of God and God, in His bowels of mercy, for our salvation,
 by the good pleasure of God and the co-operation of the Holy Spirit, being conceived without seed,
 was born uncorruptedly of the Holy Virgin and Mother of God, Mary, by the Holy Spirit, and became of her perfect Man;

 and that the Same is at once perfect God and perfect Man, of two natures, Godhead and Manhood,
and in two natures possessing intelligence, will and energy, and freedom, and, in a word,
perfect according to the measure and proportion proper to each, at once to the divinity,
I say, and to the humanity, yet to one composite person ;

 and that He suffered hunger and thirst and weariness, and was crucified,
and for three days submitted to the experience of death and burial,
 and ascended to heaven, from which also He came to us, and shall come again.
 And the Holy Scripture is witness to this and the whole choir of the Saints.

But neither do we know, nor can we tell, what the essence of God is, or how it is in all,
or how the Only-begotten Son and God, having emptied Himself, became Man of virgin blood,
made by another law contrary to nature, or how He walked with dry feet upon the waters .

It is not within our capacity, therefore, to say anything about God or even to think of Him,
beyond the things which have been divinely revealed to us,
whether by word or by manifestation,
by the divine oracles at once of the Old Testament and of the New .


Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on September 01, 2020, 05:08:22 PM
Chapter 2 Reflection
Not everything has a word to describe it in its fullness. The Logos is ineffable, yet through the Holy Spirit, the Logos became human and dwelt among us.
This much we know and are certain of, that Jesus Christ, the Word of God, became fully God and fully man, perfect in divinity with respect to the Father and perfect in humanity with respect to His Virgin Mother.
The Word, being born a Virgin from a Virgin, is called by the great doctors, the miracle of miracles, is also God from God, and Light from Light, Truth from Truth, True God from True God, begotten ineffably before the world by the Father and begotten in time substantial through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.
What is unknowable is to explain any of these miracles, the Virgin Birth, the Incarnation, the Holy Trinity, revealed Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and yet God has made the unknowable knowable by Divine Revelation through faith in Jesus Christ.
As to the nature of the the birth of the child, this is also unknowable, given that its ineffable beauty, stillness, peace and light can be felt during Adventide and Christmastide.
But as to the things knowable, the Evangelists have given a clear order of events, with the heavenly choir singing glory to God, peace to all people and goodwill towards all mankind for that day a Savior was born in the city of David.
What is unknowable concerns what the appearance of the angelic choir that appeared and the glory of the Godhead wrapped in swaddling cloth, a babe and yet king.
Many of these things, such as the Incarnation, the Nativity, and the Childhood of the Lord are veiled behind a sacred veil, for it is not for us to know all things, only those that are necessary and proper.
Neither can we fitly put all things into terms that understandable by faith.
The God of Israel neither sleeps nor slumbers, His wrath burns the mountains at His presence, the hands of God fashioned all things, the earth is God's footstool, and heaven is God's throne.
God is the beginning and the end.
The Eternal and Everlasting God.
The Uncreated and Unchanging God.
The Invariable and Simple God.
The Uncompounded and Incorporeal God.
The Invisible and Impalpable God.
The Good and Just God.
The Maker of All and Almighty God.
The All-Ruling and All-Seeing God.
The Overseer of All and Sovereign God.
The Judge and God that is One.
One in Essence and Godhead.
Revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit
One God, without equal in Holiness, in Word or Spirit.
One in All Respects, except the Father being unbegotten, the Son being begotten and the Holy Spirit proceeding.

Concerning the Incarnation;
that the Only-begotten Son and Word of God,
in His compassion and mercy,
became flesh for our salvation,
by the good pleasure of God the Father and the unity of the Holy Spirit,
being conceived without mortal perishable seed,
but with the imperishable seed which is the Word of God,
God's Word took flesh from the Immaculate All Holy Most Blessed And Glorified Lady,
the Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary who gave birth without corruption to the True Word of God,
Mary, by the power God Almighty, conceived the All Holy Saviour of Mankind,
by the active will of faith and the declaration "Let it be done to me according your Word."
Mary, being Perfect Woman and Perfect Human, was without original sin, being the new creation of God.
Christ Jesus, the Word of God, in time was born of a Perfect Virgin, became Perfect Man,
 and the Word of God, being ineffably begotten before time began, was Perfect God.

Thus in the Person Immanuel,
who is the Only Begotten Son of God,
 in unity of Essence and receiving all things from God,
possessed both Godhead and Manhood in perfection and unity of two distinct natures, one perfect divinity, one perfect humanity.
Without conflict between Christ's perfect Godhead and perfect humanity, Jesus possesses intellectual power and freedom, which is perfect in every measure and respect proper to both divinity and to humanity, yet in the unity of One Hypostatic Person.
According to the fourth Holy Ecumenical Counsel in Chalcedon, one must recognize both the humanity and the divinity as simultaneously existing without confusion or mixture or diffusion of one into the other.
Furthermore that our Lord Jesus Christ is perfect God in every respect, and as God He is eternally born from God the Father. As man, and in the fullness of time, God's Word became Incarnate and was born of the Holy Virgin, who is to be honor as Theotokos or God-bearer/Mother of God. And that Jesus in His humanity is like us in every respect except that of sin. His divinity and humanity are united in Him as a single Person, infused and immutable; indivisible and inseparable.
According to the sixth Holy Ecumenical Counsel in Constantinople because there are two natures of Christ there are two wills, one human and one divine, and that the human will of Christ is not against the divine will but rather is submissive to His Divine will.
Thus accounting for a positive unity between the human and divine by the voluntary submission seen in the same faith of Mary who said "Let it be done to me according to Thy Word."
In all natural phenomena Jesus underwent, growth, hunger, thirst, weariness, and ultimately death by crucifixion.  
Three days in the tomb, though these days were shortened for the sake of the elect, for by the second day His soul had returned to His body and by the third day He had risen.
Yet in that Holy Saturday, Jesus Christ the Lord Almighty descended with great power into hades and destroyed death by True Life.
And not only did the Lord descend into the lower realm, but John the Baptist had preached and prepared the people of Hades already for this glorious day of salvation.
For all those who had waited for the coming of Christ and had not seen His day were purified by His Radiance.
As the Ancient Homily says
"He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep.
Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death,
He has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. "
"The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory.
At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone:
“My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.”
He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
"I am your God, who for your sake have become your son.
Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth,
all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise.
I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.
Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image.
Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.
For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave;
I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth.
For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead.
For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you.
See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image.
On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back.
See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side.
My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell.
The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise.
I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven.
I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you.
I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God.
The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager.
The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open.
The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity."

Rise they did, at the Word of the Lord, and returning to God their Creator they left the darkness of Hades to enter into the Eternal Light of the Kingdom of the Father of Light.
Christ, knowing all things by the Wisdom of the Godhead, did not ascend to heaven without preparing the Apostles and informing them of the Mission of the Church: the Great Commission.
Ascending to Heaven, He blessed His Apostles and His disciples and was lifted up into heaven to the acclaim of the entire choir of heaven and the ransomed souls of Hades.

Concerning God's Essence, it is better to say nothing, to observe with Holy Silence all the Glories of the Lord which satisfy the soul in their greatness and give peace to heart and mind of those who accept them as Truth.


Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on September 01, 2020, 07:33:49 PM
CHAPTER III
 PROOF THAT THERE IS A GOD

That there is a God, then, is no matter of doubt to those who receive the Holy Scriptures, the Old Testament, I mean, and the New; nor indeed to most of the Greeks.
For, as we said , the knowledge of the existence of God is implanted in us by nature.
But since the wickedness of the Evil One has prevailed so mightily against man’s nature as even to drive some into denying the existence of God,
 that most foolish and woe-fulest pit of destruction
(whose folly David, revealer of the Divine meaning, exposed when he said , The fool said in his heart, There is no God),
so the disciples of the Lord and His Apostles, made wise by the Holy Spirit and working wonders in His power and grace,
took them captive in the net of miracles and drew them up out of the depths of ignorance to the light of the knowledge of God.
In like manner also their successors in grace and worth, both pastors and teachers, having received the enlightening grace of the Spirit,
 were wont, alike by the power of miracles and the word of grace, to enlighten those walking in darkness and to bring back the wanderers into the way.
 But as for us who are not recipients either of the gift of miracles or the gift of teaching
(for indeed we have rendered ourselves unworthy of these by our passion for pleasure),
come, let us in connection with this theme discuss a few of those things which have been delivered to us on this subject by the expounders of grace,
 calling on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All things, that exist, are either created or uncreated.
 If, then, things are created, it follows that they are also wholly mutable.
 For things, whose existence originated in change, must also be subject to change,
 whether it be that they perish or that they become other than they are by act of will .
But if things are uncreated they must in all consistency be also wholly immutable.
For things which are opposed in the nature of their existence must also be opposed in the mode of their existence,
 that is to say, must have opposite properties: who, then, will refuse to grant that all existing things,
 not only such as come within the province of the senses, but even the very angels,
 are subject to change and transformation and movement of various kinds?
For the things appertaining to the rational world, I mean angels and spirits and demons, are subject to changes of will,
 whether it is a progression or a retrogression in goodness, whether a struggle or a surrender;
while the others suffer changes of generation and destruction, of increase and decrease, of quality and of movement in space.
 Things then that are mutable are also wholly created. But things that are created must be the work of some maker,
and the maker cannot have been created. For if he had been created, he also must surely have been created by some one,
 and so on till we arrive at something uncreated. The Creator, then, being uncreated, is also wholly immutable.
And what could this be other than Deity? And even the very continuity of the creation, and its preservation and government,
 teach us that there does exist a Deity, who supports and maintains and preserves and ever provides for this universe.
 For how could opposite natures, such as fire and water, air and earth, have combined with each other so as to form one complete world,
and continue to abide in indissoluble union, were there not some omnipotent power which bound them together and always is preserving them from dissolution?
 What is it that gave order to things of heaven and things of earth, and all those things that move in the air and in the water, or rather to what was in existence before these,
 viz., to heaven and earth and air and the elements of fire and water? What was it that mingled and distributed these?
What was it that set these in motion and keeps them in their unceasing and unhindered course ?
Was it not the Artificer of these things, and He Who hath implanted in everything the law whereby the universe is carried on and directed?
Who then is the Artificer of these things? Is it not He Who created them and brought them into existence.
For we shall not attribute such a power to the spontaneous .
 For, supposing their coming into existence was due to the spontaneous; what of the power that put all in order ?
 And let us grant this, if you please. What of that which has preserved and kept them in harmony with the original laws of their existence ?
 Clearly it is something quite distinct from the spontaneous . And what could this be other than Deity ?[
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Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on September 02, 2020, 10:43:28 PM
Chapter 3 reflection
Truly, there is a God, above all so called ‘gods’; just as there is a King above all whom call themselves “kings”.
For it is written in the Book of Isaiah “I am the LORD, the HOLY ONE, the CREATOR, ISRAEL’S KING” Isaiah 43:15
And in the Letter to Timothy Paul wrote “To the Eternal King, Who Is Immortal, Invisible and the One and Only God, honor, and glory forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17
And in the Gospel of Matthew it is written “Where is the One who was born KING OF THE JEWS? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:2
And in the Gospel of Luke it is written “BLESSED IS THE KING COMING IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, in heaven peace and glory in the highest” Luke 19:38
And in the Gospel of John it is written “Rabbi, you are the SON OF GOD; you are the KING OF ISRAEL” John 1:49
And in the Revelation of Jesus Christ it is written “And they sang the Song of Moses, the Servant of God, and the Song of the Lamb, saying ;
 Great and wonderful are Thy works Lord God the Almighty! Righteous and true is Thy Way, O King of the Nations.” Revelation 15:3

Truly it is the gift of God that we are given the knowledge of His existence, the faith in His Goodness and the love of His Holy Perfection.
 Our very nature groans for the fullness of divinity found in God;
for we who are clothed in corruption desire with all righteousness to put on Christ and to put off the old man.
For by the wickedness of the evil serpent of old, mankind had been deceived into death and chaos.
It is due to the darkness of the dragon that men’s minds are shrouded in unbelief, denying the very source of their existence they destroy all knowledge of goodness by their unbelief.
But this was not so with the disciples of the Lord and His Holy Apostles,
for these were made wise by the immense Wisdom of the Spirit of Holiness
and by the power of God these same followers of Christ in the strong Name of Jesus performed miracles in the power and grace of the Holy Spirit.
 These illustrious Apostles took captive the world by a net of miracles and drew up an enormous number of souls.
 Bringing souls out of the depth of ignorance into the glorious Light of Truth and the knowledge of God.
In a similar manner, the successors of the Apostles through grace and merit, worked as both pastors and teachers,
receiving the enlightening grace of the Spirit, through miracles and words of grace,
enlightened those walking in darkness and brought back those who were wandering into the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Of all things that exist, we may divide into two categories, created and uncreated.
All things created are created by God and all things uncreated come directly from God.
Angels are created immortal intelligences where as grace is uncreated energy directly given from God.
Angels who are composed of super mundane light, where as grace is the direct gift of God’s self which acts directly in us.
Angels can be good or bad depending on their fidelity to the Lord whereas God’s grace is all sufficient and always good.
God’s grace is the energy that empowers the believer to recognize God as Sovereign and enables believers to love God in Spirit and Truth and to do good works out of that pure love.
God’s uncreated grace acts on all people, but to those who have chosen to accept the good graces of God, God’s grace is the sweetness of heaven and the power of God to save sinners.
Good angels are committed as guardians of the souls of all, which are ministers of the grace of God for the salvation of humans.
The Blessed Virgin Mary was called Full of Grace or Fullness of Grace, she whom sin found no place for fullness of God’s divine grace in her heart prevented the devil from ever sowing any of his evil seeds into her heart.
For some say that the grace of God is created. Yet how can God’s energy, whose substance is God’s power, be called created?
Is God’s power created? God’s grace is what saves a man, not the Law or Circumcision.
For the Tablets that were given to Moses were made by God but the grace that shown upon the face of the Prophet was not created.
Even though the Tablets were smashed, God’s grace still resided in Moses and His Law imprinted upon the heart of the Prophet apart from the Tablets.
How can God’s grace be created? For if anyone is the cause of grace it is God alone. And if God alone can create grace then He makes it from nothing.
If grace is made from nothing and has no substance or properties how can it save and justify sinful humanity?
But the substance of God’s grace is His infinite Love, it is God’s unmerited gift of divine revelation which God predestined to those who He has foreknown before the ages.
It is precisely the grace of God that God has reserved for the elect to receive with joy and thanksgiving.
It is the grace of God that we receive from Jesus Christ whose death and resurrection has cancelled out the debt and bondage with which we were held captive by the pride of the world, the pleasure of the flesh and the lies of the devil.
It is this grace that can restore what sin corrupted to the fullness of beauty and virtue that God has always desired mankind to abide in.
For the Godhead is uncreated, and dwells in unapproachable Light. This unapproachable Light is also uncreated as it is the direct emanation of the Divinity.
It is the same action of God to enlighten as it is the action of God to give grace.
For whoever receives the grace of God is enlightened, because they who receive willingly and joyfully the grace of God through Jesus Christ receive God Himself into their being.
It is God’s grace by which He condescends to our earthly habitation and dwells within our fleshly tabernacle.
God’s presence also is uncreated, for the presence of God is the Holy Spirit and the Glory of the Lord is the same Holy Spirit.
Though God’s presence may move and change forms, God Himself does not change.
Thus while God’s grace produces limitless different gifts and opportunities
it is always God, patiently and faithfully, guiding and helping by the incognizable and ineffable condescension of His grace.
 For the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit are not three different things but one and the same.
For it is by the grace of God that any is saved, and it is the grace of God that any have faith and it is the grace of God that any love God and it is the grace of God to commune with the Holy Spirit.
The endless unspeakable qualities of God’s grace which flow directly from the Godhead can by no means be created in any sense, for grace can not be perverted only received in vain.


Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on September 03, 2020, 03:54:11 PM
CHAPTER IV
 CONCERNING THE NATURE OF DEITY: THAT IT IS INCOMPREHENSIBLE

It is plain, then, that there is a God. But what He is in His essence and nature is absolutely incomprehensible and unknowable.
For it is evident that He is incorporeal.
For how could that possess body which is infinite, and boundless, and formless, and intangible and invisible, in short, simple and not compound?
How could that be immutable which is circumscribed and subject to passion?
And how could that be passionless which is composed of elements and is resolved again into them?
For combination is the beginning of conflict, and conflict of separation, and separation of dissolution, and dissolution is altogether foreign to God .
Again, how will it also be maintained that God permeates and fills the universe?
as the Scriptures say, Do not I fill heaven and earth, saith the Lord ?
For it is an impossibility that one body should permeate other bodies without dividing and being divided,
and without being enveloped and contrasted, in the same way as all fluids mix and commingle.
But if some say that the body is immaterial,
in the same way as the fifth body of which the Greek philosophers speak (which body is an impossibility),
 it will be wholly subject to motion like the heaven.
For that is what they mean by the fifth body.
Who then is it that moves it?
For everything that is moved is moved by another thing.
And who again is it that moves that? and so on to infinity till we at length arrive at something motionless.
For the first mover is motionless, and that is the Deity.
And must not that which is moved be circumscribed in space?
The Deity, then, alone is motionless, moving the universe by immobility .
So then it must be assumed that the Deity is incorporeal.
But even this gives no true idea of His essence,
 to say that He is unbegotten, and without beginning, changeless and imperishable,
and possessed of such other qualities as we are wont to ascribe to God and His environment .
For these do not indicate what He is, but what He is not .
But when we would explain what the essence of anything is, we must not speak only negatively.
In the case of God, however, it is impossible to explain what He is in His essence,
 and it befits us the rather to hold discourse about His absolute separation from all things .
For He does not belong to the class of existing things: not that He has no existence ,
but that He is above all existing things, nay even above existence itself.
For if all forms of knowledge have to do with what exists,
 assuredly that which is above knowledge must certainly be also above essence :
and, conversely, that which is above essence will also be above knowledge.
God then is infinite and incomprehensible and all that is comprehensible about Him is His infinity and incomprehensibility.
But all that we can affirm concerning God does not shew forth God’s nature, but only the qualities of His nature .
For when you speak of Him as good, and just, and wise, and so forth, you do not tell God’s nature but only the qualities of His nature .
Further there are some affirmations which we make concerning God which have the force of absolute negation:
for example, when we use the term darkness, in reference to God, we do not mean darkness itself,
 but that He is not light but above light: and when we speak of Him as light, we mean that He is not darkness.


Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on September 05, 2020, 10:24:20 PM
Reflection 4
It is plainly know by faith that there is One God, the Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Ruler of the Universe, the Eternal All Glorious All Blessed All Holy Most Beautiful Truly Wise Truly Good Most Gracious Most Merciful Most Loving Most Kind Most Adorable God, who is Gentle and Compassionate, Clement and Sweet, Beyond Compare More Perfect than all creatures, for it is worshipful that the Creator be infinitely more glorious than His Creation, as good or even very good as it may be. To be very good is nothing compared to infinite perfection. Someone with “perfect vision” can see better than others; but their vision does perpetually and unendingly increase until they can see beyond the image into the very fabric of reality and the destination and future of all things. God has hidden all things beyond a sacred veil, or a fabric which has descended down from heaven. We see only that which we are capable of seeing, some see not at all, others see quiet well, and still others see beyond sight. There are those who not knowing the greatness of God declare themselves to be great. There are others who knowing the greatness of God declare that they are but a worm and no man at all, but merely a vapor which will dissipate with time. Yet, the Fathers always taught us of the peculiar circumstance of the soul; which may attain to unending bliss with God. To this end, they directed their eyes to heaven, their hearts to Jesus and their minds and conversations to that of heaven, only drawn away momentarily to defend the faith and correct error. For it is the continual prayer of the Saints that made them the recipients of such great graces from our Lord.
I do not profess to know how to explain in words God’s essence nor can I attempt to communicate to you the divine nature through words. It is very clear to those who have faith that God is Spirit and that God’s Spirit is incorporeal.
While the Word took a body, the Father and the Holy Spirit remain bodiless, yet were within the Son, the Spirit within the Father and the Father within the Son and the Word within the Spirit.
Yet it is true that God holds all things in His hands. God holds in one hand the souls of the just, in the other hand God holds the entire Universe. Nobody can take anyone from God’s hand. For it is God’s will to save mankind from eternal destruction.
God’s Spirit fills and permeates the entire Universe as the Heavenly King prayer says
“Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, who art everywhere present and permeates all things, treasury of blessings and giver of life, come and dwell in us and cleanse us of all impurity and save our souls O Good One.” None can escape God, for God is Almighty and Ever-present, Undivided and All Glorious.
God is infinite and incomprehensible and all that is comprehensible about Him is His infinity and incomprehensibility.
For none know the Father except the Son and nobody knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
God is Good and Light, transcending all goodness and surpassing all light, hidden beyond darkness, veiled beyond vision, impenetrablely veiled behind clouds of mystery.
Christ revealed that He was the True Light on Mount Tabor to Peter, James and John.
Moses and Elijah appeared in glory to speak of the Exodus Jesus was to cause from Jerusalem.
Then the Father was heard speaking “This is My Beloved Son, listen to Him.”
And a cloud of glory enfolded Jesus and hid Him from the sight of the disciples.


Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on September 06, 2020, 07:47:57 PM
CHAPTER V
 PROOF THAT GOD IS ONE AND NOT MANY
We have, then, adequately demonstrated that there is a God, and that His essence is incomprehensible.
But that God is one and not many is no matter of doubt to those who believe in the Holy Scriptures. For the Lord says in the beginning of the Law:
I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt. Thou shalt have no other Gods before Me .
And again He says, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord .
And in Isaiah the prophet we read, For I am the first God and I am the last, and beside Me there is no God. Before Me there was not any God, nor after Me will there be any God, and beside Me there is no God .
And the Lord, too, in the holy gospels speaketh these words to His Father, And this is life eternal, that they may know Thee the only true God .
But with those that do not believe in the Holy Scriptures we will reason thus.
The Deity is perfect , and without blemish in goodness, and wisdom, and power, without beginning, without end, everlasting, uncircumscribed , and in short, perfect in all things.
Should we say, then, that there are many Gods, we must recognise difference among the many.
For if there is no difference among them, they are one rather than many. But if there is difference among them, what becomes of the perfectness?
For that which comes short of perfection, whether it be in goodness, or power, or wisdom, or time, or place, could not be God.
But it is this very identity in all respects that shews that the Deity is one and not many .
Again, if there are many Gods, how can one maintain that God is uncircumscribed?
For where the one would be, the other could not be .
Further, how could the world be governed by many and saved from dissolution and destruction, while strife is seen to rage between the rulers?
For difference introduces strife .
And if any one should say that each rules over a part, what of that which established this order and gave to each his particular realm? For this would the rather be God.
Therefore, God is one, perfect, uncircumscribed, maker of the universe, and its preserver and governor, exceeding and preceding all perfection.
Moreover, it is a natural necessity that duality should originate in unity .



Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on September 09, 2020, 03:30:47 AM
Reflection 5
Hear O Israel, the Lord is God, the Lord is One.
These statements alone could have been contained on two tablets
The Lord is God is what they cried upon Mount Carmel after Elijah showed them the pillar of fire that came from the True God.
The Lord is Mighty, the Lord is Unity
The Lord is Judge, the Lord is First
The Lord is God, Truly He is the Living God and the Everlasting King
The Lord our God is One Holy God, Almighty, Living and True.
Heaven and Earth He made and revealed their creation to Moses.
The Lord is God, the Lord’s First Commandment
You shall have no other foreign gods.
For the Lord is a zealous God, whose Name is Holy and Sublime.
Jesus, our Savior, Holy and Divine, blessed offspring of blessed parents, Father God and Blessed Virgin Mary.
Fully human, suffering and knowing temptation as we do.
Fully God, overcoming all things miraculously and always doing what is right
Blessed disciples of Christ-Love, know that just as Christ is One and not another, neither are the Father nor the Holy Spirit any other.
For the only other father is the devil, and the only other spirit is the spirit of this world  and the only other christ is the anti christ.
Therefore, flee the devil and run to God the Father who will give you rest, flee the spirit of this world and take refuge in the Holy Spirit who will heal you, and run to Christ Jesus our Lord and He will show you the Way and bring you into the Light.
Who has performed this and carried it out?
Calling forth and the Word of God from the beginning in the Godhead.
“I am Lord, the First and the Last, I am He”
The First is that the Lord is God
The Last is that the Lord is One
God was in the beginning when the only begotten Son of God was ineffably begotten.
God is in the last judgment, when all the wicked have been judged, the righteous rejoicing and living with God forever.
The Lamb is the Light for them in the New Jerusalem.
For us, the Commandments are a light to our feet.
Though we walk through the world of darkness, Christ’s light shines through us.
For the heavenly discourse on the mountain declared to us that “We are the light of the world”
We are the recipients of the True Light, we have found the True Faith.
This is what we declare, in the Divine Liturgy after receiving Holy Communion
“We have seen the true light, we have welcomed the heavenly Spirit, we have found the true faith worshipping the undivided Trinity: for It has saved us.”
God alone can save us and God alone has saved us.
“Blessed be our God.”
“May our lips be filled with Thy praise, O Lord, so that we may sing Thy glory, because Thou hast vouchsafed to make us partakers of Thy holy, divine, immortal and life-giving mysteries.
Keep us in Thy holiness so that all da long we may be mindful of Thy justice. Alleluia,Alleluia,Alleluia!”


Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on September 10, 2020, 01:11:29 AM
CHAPTER VI
 CONCERNING THE WORD AND THE SON OF GOD: A REASONED PROOF

So then this one and only God is not Wordless .
And possessing the Word, He will have it not as without a subsistence, nor as having had a beginning, nor as destined to cease to be.
For there never was a time when God was not Word: but He ever possesses His own Word, begotten of Himself,
not, as our word is, without a subsistence and dissolving into air,
 but having a subsistence in Him and life and perfection,
 not proceeding out of Himself but ever existing within Himself .
 For where could it be, if it were to go outside Him?
For inasmuch as our nature is perishable and easily dissolved, our word is also without subsistence.
But since God is everlasting and perfect, He will have His Word subsistent in Him, and everlasting and living, and possessed of all the attributes of the Begetter.
For just as our word, proceeding as it does out of the mind, is neither wholly identical with the mind nor utterly diverse from it (for so far as it proceeds out of the mind it is different from it, while so far as it reveals the mind, it is no longer absolutely diverse from the mind, but being one in nature with the mind, it is yet to the subject diverse from it), so in the same manner also the Word of God in its independent subsistence is differentiated from Him from Whom it derives its subsistence : but inasmuch as it displays in itself the same attributes as are seen in God, it is of the same nature as God. For just as absolute perfection is contemplated in the Father, so also is it contemplated in the Word that is begotten of Him.



Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on October 07, 2020, 02:26:34 AM
CHAPTER VII
CONCERNING THE HOLY SPIRIT, A REASONED PROOF
Moreover the Word must also possess Spirit . For in fact even our word is not destitute of spirit; but in our case the spirit is something different from our essence .
For there is an attraction and movement of the air which is drawn in and poured forth that the body may be sustained.
And it is this which in the moment of utterance becomes the articulate word, revealing in itself the force of the word .
But in the case of the divine nature, which is simple and uncompound, we must confess in all piety that there exists a Spirit of God, for the Word is not more imperfect than our own word.
Now we cannot, in piety, consider the Spirit to be something foreign that gains admission into God from without, as is the case with compound natures like us.
Nay, just as, when we heard of the Word of God, we considered it to be not without subsistence, nor the product of learning, nor the mere utterance of voice, nor as passing into the air and perishing,
but as being essentially subsisting, endowed with free volition, and energy, and omnipotence: so also, when we have learnt about the Spirit of God,
we contemplate it as the companion of the Word and the revealer of His energy, and not as mere breath without subsistence.
For to conceive of the Spirit that dwells in God as after the likeness of our own spirit, would be to drag down the greatness of the divine nature to the lowest depths of degradation.
But we must contemplate it as an essential power, existing in its own proper and peculiar subsistence, proceeding from the Father and resting in the Word , and shewing forth the Word,
neither capable of disjunction from God in Whom it exists, and the Word Whose companion it is, nor poured forth to vanish into nothingness ,
but being in subsistence in the likeness of the Word, endowed with life, free volition, independent movement, energy, ever willing that which is good, and having power to keep pace with the will in all its decrees ,
having no beginning and no end. For never was the Father at any time lacking in the Word, nor the Word in the Spirit.
Thus because of the unity in nature, the error of the Greeks in holding that God is many, is utterly destroyed: and again by our acceptance of the Word and the Spirit, the dogma of the Jews is overthrown:
and there remains of each party only what is profitable .
 On the one hand of the Jewish idea we have the unity of God’s nature, and on the other, of the Greek, we have the distinction in subsistences and that only .
 But should the Jew refuse to accept the Word and the Spirit, let the divine Scripture confute him and curb his tongue.
For concerning the Word, the divine David says, For ever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven .
And again, He sent His Word and healed them .
But the word that is uttered is not sent, nor is it for ever settled .
And concerning the Spirit, the same David says, Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, they are created .
And again, By the word of the Lord were the heavens made: and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth .
Job, too, says, The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life .
Now the Spirit which is sent and makes and stablishes and conserves, is not mere breath that dissolves, any more than the mouth of God is a bodily member.
For the conception of both must be such as harmonizes with the Divine nature .


Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on October 10, 2020, 10:02:26 PM
CHAPTER VIII
 CONCERNING THE HOLY TRINITY

We believe, then, in One God, one beginning , having no beginning, uncreate, unbegotten, imperishable and immortal, everlasting, infinite, uncircumscribed,
boundless, of infinite power, simple, uncompound, incorporeal, without flux, passionless, unchangeable, unalterable, unseen, the fountain of goodness and justice,
 the light of the mind, inaccessible; a power known by no measure, measurable only by His own will alone (for all things that He wills He can ),
creator of all created things, seen or unseen, of all the maintainer and preserver, for all the provider, master and lord and king over all, with an endless and immortal kingdom:
having no contrary, filling all, by nothing encompassed, but rather Himself the encompasser and maintainer and original possessor of the universe,
occupying all essences intact and extending beyond all things, and being separate from all essence as being super-essential and above all things and absolute God,
 absolute goodness, and absolute fulness : determining all sovereignties and ranks, being placed above all sovereignty and rank, above essence and life and word and thought:
 being Himself very light and goodness and life and essence, inasmuch as He does not derive His being from another, that is to say, of those things that exist:
 but being Himself the fountain of being to all that is, of life to the living, of reason to those that have reason; to all the cause of all good:
perceiving all things even before they have become: one essence, one divinity, one power, one will, one energy, one beginning, one authority, one dominion, one sovereignty,
made known in three perfect subsistences and adored with one adoration, believed in and ministered to by all rational creation , united without confusion and divided without separation (which indeed transcends thought).
 (We believe) in Father and Son and Holy Spirit whereinto also we have been baptized .
For so our Lord commanded the Apostles to baptize, saying, Baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit .
(We believe) in one Father, the beginning , and cause of all: begotten of no one: without cause or generation, alone subsisting: creator of all:
but Father of one only by nature, His Only-begotten Son and our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and Producer of the most Holy Spirit.
And in one Son of God, the Only-begotten, our Lord, Jesus Christ: begotten of the Father, before all the ages: Light of Light, true God of true God:
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father, through Whom all things are made: and when we say He was before all the ages we shew that His birth is without time or beginning:
for the Son of God was not brought into being out of nothing , He that is the effulgence of the glory, the impress of the Father’s subsistence , the living wisdom and power , the Word possessing interior subsistence ,
the essential and perfect and living image of the unseen God. But always He was with the Father and in Him , everlastingly and without beginning begotten of Him.
 For there never was a time when the Father was and the Son was not, but always the Father and always the Son, Who was begotten of Him, existed together.
For He could not have received the name Father apart from the Son: for if He were without the Son , He could not be the Father:
and if He thereafter had the Son, thereafter He became the Father, not having been the Father prior to this, and He was changed from that which was not the Father and became the Father.
This is the worst form of blasphemy . For we may not speak of God as destitute of natural generative power: and generative power means, the power of producing from one’s self,
that is to say, from one’s own proper essence, that which is like in nature to one’s self . In treating, then, of the generation of the Son,
 it is an act of impiety to say that time comes into play and that the existence of the Son is of later origin than the Father.
For we hold that it is from Him, that is, from the Father’s nature, that the Son is generated. And unless we grant that the Son co-existed from the beginning with the Father, by Whom He was begotten,
 we introduce change into the Father’s subsistence, because, not being the Father, He subsequently became the Father .
For the creation, even though it originated later, is nevertheless not derived from the essence of God, but is brought into existence out of nothing by His will and power, and change does not touch God’s nature.
For generation means that the begetter produces out of his essence offspring similar in essence.
But creation and making mean that the creator and maker produces from that which is external, and not out of his own essence, a creation of an absolutely dissimilar nature .
Wherefore in God, Who alone is passionless and unalterable, and immutable, and ever so continueth, both begetting and creating are passionless .
For being by nature passionless and not liable to flux, since He is simple and uncompound, He is not subject to passion or flux either in begetting or in creating, nor has He need of any co-operation.
But generation in Him is without beginning and everlasting, being the work of nature and producing out of His own essence, that the Begetter may not undergo change,
and that He may not be God first and God last, nor receive any accession: while creation in the case of God , being the work of will, is not co-eternal with God.
For it is not natural that that which is brought into existence out of nothing should be co-eternal with what is without beginning and everlasting.
There is this difference in fact between man’s making and God’s. Man can bring nothing into existence out of nothing , but all that he makes requires pre-existing matter for its basis ,
and he does not create it by will only, but thinks out first what it is to be and pictures it in his mind, and only then fashions it with his hands, undergoing labour and trouble ,
and often missing the mark and failing to produce to his satisfaction that after which he strives.
But God, through the exercise of will alone, has brought all things into existence out of nothing. Now there is the same difference between God and man in begetting and generating.
For in God, Who is without time and beginning, passionless, not liable to flux, incorporeal, alone and without end , generation is without time and beginning, passionless and not liable to flux,
 nor dependent on the union of two : nor has His own incomprehensible generation beginning or end. And it is without beginning because He is immutable: without flux because He is passionless and incorporeal:
 independent of the union of two again because He is incorporeal but also because He is the one and only God, and stands in need of no co-operation:
 and without end or cessation because He is without beginning, or time, or end, and ever continues the same. For that which has no beginning has no end:
but that which through grace is endless is assuredly not without beginning, as, witness, the angels .
Accordingly the everlasting God generates His own Word which is perfect, without beginning and without end, that God, Whose nature and existence are above time, may not engender in time.
But with man clearly it is otherwise, for generation is with him a matter of sex, and destruction and flux and increase and body clothe him round about , and he possesses a nature which is male or female.
For the male requires the assistance of the female. But may He Who surpasses all, and transcends all thought and comprehension, be gracious to us.
The holy catholic and apostolic Church, then, teaches the existence at once of a Father: and of His Only-begotten Son, born of Him without time and flux and passion,
in a manner incomprehensible and perceived by the God of the universe alone: just as we recognise the existence at once of fire and the light which proceeds from it:
for there is not first fire and thereafter light, but they exist together. And just as light is ever the product of fire, and ever is in it and at no time is separate from it,
so in like manner also the Son is begotten of the Father and is never in any way separate from Him, but ever is in Him . But whereas the light which is produced from fire without separation,
 and abideth ever in it, has no proper subsistence of its own distinct from that of fire (for it is a natural quality of fire), the Only-begotten Son of God,
begotten of the Father without separation and difference and ever abiding in Him, has a proper subsistence of its own distinct from that of the Father.
The terms, Word’ and effulgence,’ then, are used because He is begotten of the Father without the union of two, or passion, or time, or flux, or separation :
and the terms Son’ and impress of the Father’s subsistence,’ because He is perfect and has subsistence and is in all respects similar to the Father, save that the Father is not begotten :
 and the term Only-begotten’ because He alone was begotten alone of the Father alone. For no other generation is like to the generation of the Son of God, since no other is Son of God.
For though the Holy Spirit proceedeth from the Father, yet this is not generative in character but processional.
This is a different mode of existence, alike incomprehensible and unknown, just as is the generation of the Son.
Wherefore all the qualities the Father has are the Son’s, save that the Father is unbegotten , and this exception involves no difference in essence nor dignity , but only a different mode of coming into existence .
We have an analogy in Adam, who was not begotten (for God Himself moulded him), and Seth, who was begotten (for he is Adam’s son), and Eve, who proceeded out of Adam’s rib (for she was not begotten).
These do not differ from each other in nature, for they are human beings: but they differ in the mode of coming into existence .
For one must recognise that the word ageneton with only one n’ signifies “uncreate” or “not having been made,” while agenneton written with double n’ means “unbegotten.”
According to the first significance essence differs from essence: for one essence is uncreate, or ageneton with one n,’ and another is create or genete.
But in the second significance there is no difference between essence and essence. For the first subsistence of all kinds of living creatures is agennetos but not agenetos.
For they were created by the Creator, being brought into being by His Word, but they were not begotten, for there was no pre-existing form like themselves from which they might have been born.
 So then in the first sense of the word the three absolutely divine subsistences of the Holy Godhead agree : for they exist as one in essence and uncreate .
But with the second signification it is quite otherwise. For the Father alone is ingenerate , no other subsistence having given Him being.
And the Son alone is generate, for He was begotten of the Father’s essence without beginning and without time.
And only the Holy Spirit proceedeth from the Father’s essence, not having been generated but simply proceeding .
For this is the doctrine of Holy Scripture. But the nature of the generation and the procession is quite beyond comprehension.
And this also it behoves us to know, that the names Fatherhood, Sonship and Procession, were not applied to the Holy Godhead by us: on the contrary, they were communicated to us by the Godhead,
as the divine apostle says, Wherefore I bow the knee to the Father, from Whom is every family in heaven and on earth .
But if we say that the Father is the origin of the Son and greater than the Son, we do not suggest any precedence in time or superiority in nature of the Father over the Son (for through His agency He made the ages ),
or superiority in any other respect save causation. And we mean by this, that the Son is begotten of the Father and not the Father of the Son, and that the Father naturally is the cause of the Son:
just as we say in the same way not that fire proceedeth from light, but rather light from fire. So then, whenever we hear it said that the Father is the origin of the Son and greater than the Son,
let us understand it to mean in respect of causation. And just as we do not say that fire is of one essence and light of another, so we cannot say that the Father is of one essence and the Son of another:
but both are of one and the same essence . And just as we say that fire has brightness through the light proceeding from it, and do not consider the light of the fire as an instrument ministering to the fire,
 but rather as its natural force: so we say that the Father creates all that He creates through His Only-begotten Son,
not as though the Son were a mere instrument serving the Father’s ends, but as His natural and subsistential force .
And just as we say both that the fire shines and again that the light of the fire shines, So all things whatsoever the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise .
But whereas light possesses no proper subsistence of its own, distinct from that of the fire, the Son is a perfect subsistence , inseparable from the Father’s subsistence, as we have shewn above.
For it is quite impossible to find in creation an image that will illustrate in itself exactly in all details the nature of the Holy Trinity. For how could that which is create and compound, subject to flux and change,
circumscribed, formed and corruptible, clearly shew forth the super-essential divine essence, unaffected as it is in any of these ways? Now it is evident that all creation is liable to most of these affections,
 and all from its very nature is subject to corruption. Likewise we believe also in one Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life: Who proceedeth from the Father and resteth in the Son:
the object of equal adoration and glorification with the Father and Son, since He is co-essential and co-eternal : the Spirit of God, direct, authoritative , the fountain of wisdom, and life, and holiness:
 God existing and addressed along with Father and Son: uncreate, full, creative, all-ruling, all-effecting, all-powerful, of infinite power, Lord of all creation and not under any lord : deifying, not deified :
filling, not filled: shared in, not sharing in: sanctifying, not sanctified: the intercessor, receiving the supplications of all: in all things like to the Father and Son: proceeding from the Father and communicated through the Son,
 and participated in by all creation, through Himself creating, and investing with essence and sanctifying, and maintaining the universe:
having subsistence, existing in its own proper and peculiar subsistence, inseparable and indivisible from Father and Son, and possessing all the qualities that the Father and Son possess, save that of not being begotten or born.
For the Father is without cause and unborn: for He is derived from nothing, but derives from Himself His being, nor does He derive a single quality from another .
Rather He is Himself the beginning and cause of the existence of all things in a definite and natural manner.
But the Son is derived from the Father after the manner of generation, and the Holy Spirit likewise is derived from the Father, yet not after the manner of generation, but after that of procession.
And we have learned that there is a difference between generation and procession,
but the nature of that difference we in no wise understand. Further, the generation of the Son from the Father and the procession of the Holy Spirit are simultaneous.
 All then that the Son and the Spirit have is from the Father, even their very being : and unless the Father is, neither the Son nor the Spirit is.
And unless the Father possesses a certain attribute, neither the Son nor the Spirit possesses it:
 and through the Father , that is, because of the Father’s existence , the Son and the Spirit exist , and through the Father, that is, because of the Father having the qualities,
the Son and the Spirit have all their qualities, those of being unbegotten, and of birth and of procession being excepted .
For in these hypostatic or personal properties alone do the three holy subsistences differ from each other, being indivisibly divided not by essence but by the distinguishing mark of their proper and peculiar subsistence.
Further we say that each of the three has a perfect subsistence, that we may understand not one compound perfect nature made up of three imperfect elements,
 but one simple essence, surpassing and preceding perfection, existing in three perfect subsistences .
For all that is composed of imperfect elements must necessarily be compound. But from perfect subsistences no compound can arise.
Wherefore we do not speak of the form as from subsistences, but as in subsistences .
But we speak of those things as imperfect which do not preserve the form of that which is completed out of them. For stone and wood and iron are each perfect in its own nature,
but with reference to the building that is completed out of them each is imperfect: for none of them is in itself a house.
The subsistences then we say are perfect, that we may not conceive of the divine nature as compound. For compoundness is the beginning of separation.
And again we speak of the three subsistences as being in each other , that we may not introduce a crowd and multitude of Gods .
Owing to the three subsistences, there is no compoundness or confusion: while, owing to their having the same essence and dwelling in one another,
and being the same in will, and energy, and power, and authority, and movement, so to speak, we recognise the indivisibility and the unity of God.
For verily there is one God, and His word and Spirit. Marg. ms. Concerning the distinction of the three subsistences: and concerning the thing itself and our reason and thought in relation to it.
One ought, moreover, to recognise that it is one thing to look at a matter as it is, and another thing to look at it in the light of reason and thought.
In the case of all created things, the distinction of the subsistences is observed in actual fact. For in actual fact Peter is seen to be separate from Paul.
But the community and connection and unity are apprehended by reason and thought. For it is by the mind that we perceive that Peter and Paul are of the same nature and have one common nature .
For both are living creatures, rational and mortal: and both are flesh, endowed with the spirit of reason and understanding . It is, then, by reason that this community of nature is observed.
For here indeed the subsistences do not exist one within the other. But each privately and individually, that is to say, in itself, stands quite separate, having very many points that divide it from the other.
For they are both separated in space and differ in time, and are divided in thought, and power, and shape, or form, and habit, and temperament and dignity, and pursuits,
and all differentiating properties, but above all, in the fact that they do not dwell in one another but are separated. Hence it comes that we can speak of two, three, or many men.
And this may be perceived throughout the whole of creation, but in the case of the holy and superessential and incomprehensible Trinity, far removed from everything, it is quite the reverse.
For there the community and unity are observed in fact, through the co-eternity of the subsistences, and through their having the same essence and energy and will and concord of mind ,
and then being identical in authority and power and goodness—I do not say similar but identical—and then movement by one impulse .
For there is one essence, one goodness, one power, one will, one energy, one authority, one and the same, I repeat, not three resembling each other.
But the three subsistences have one and the same movement. For each one of them is related as closely to the other as to itself:
that is to say that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one in all respects, save those of not being begotten, of birth and of procession.
But it is by thought that the difference is perceived .
For we recognise one God: but only in the attributes of Fatherhood, Sonship, and Procession, both in respect of cause and effect and perfection of subsistence, that is, manner of existence, do we perceive difference .
For with reference to the uncircumscribed Deity we cannot speak of separation in space, as we can in our own case.
For the subsistences dwell in one another, in no wise confused but cleaving together, according to the word of the Lord, I am in the father, and the father in Me :
nor can one admit difference in will or judgment or energy or power or anything else whatsoever which may produce actual and absolute separation in our case.
Wherefore we do not speak of three Gods, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but rather of one God, the holy Trinity, the Son and Spirit being referred to one cause ,
and not compounded or coalesced according to the synaeresis of Sabellius. For, as we said, they are made one not so as to commingle, but so as to cleave to each other,
and they have their being in each other without any coalescence or commingling. Nor do the Son and the Spirit stand apart, nor are they sundered in essence according to the diaeresis of Arias .
For the Deity is undivided amongst things divided, to put it concisely: and it is just like three suns cleaving to each other without separation and giving out light mingled and conjoined into one.
When, then, we turn our eyes to the Divinity, and the first cause and the sovereignty and the oneness and sameness, so to speak, of the movement and will of the Divinity,
and the identity in essence and power and energy and lordship, what is seen by us is unity . But when we look to those things in which the Divinity is, or, to put it more accurately,
which are the Divinity, and those things which are in it through the first cause without time or distinction in glory or separation, that is to say, the subsistences of the Son and the Spirit, it seems to us a Trinity that we adore .
The Father is one Father, and without beginning, that is, without cause: for He is not derived from anything. The Son is one Son, but not without beginning, that is, not without cause:
for He is derived from the Father. But if you eliminate the idea of a beginning from time, He is also without beginning: for the creator of times cannot be subject to time.
The Holy Spirit is one Spirit, going forth from the Father, not in the manner of Sonship but of procession; so that neither has the Father lost His property of being unbegotten because He hath begotten,
nor has the Son lost His property of being begotten because He was begotten of that which was unbegotten (for how could that be so?), nor does the Spirit change either into the Father or into the Son because He hath proceeded and is God.
For a property is quite constant. For how could a property persist if it were variable, moveable, and could change into something else? For if the Father is the Son, He is not strictly the Father: for there is strictly one Father.
And if the Son is the Father, He is not strictly the Son: for there is strictly one Son and one Holy Spirit. Further, it should be understood that we do not speak of the Father as derived from any one, but we speak of Him as the Father of the Son.
 And we do not speak of the Son as Cause or Father, but we speak of Him both as from the Father, and as the Son of the Father. And we speak likewise of the Holy Spirit as from the Father, and call Him the Spirit of the Father.
And we do not speak of the Spirit as from the Son : but yet we call Him the Spirit of the Son. For if any one hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His , saith the divine apostle.
And we confess that He is manifested and imparted to us through the Son. For He breathed upon His Disciples, says he, and said, Receive ye the Holy Spirit .
It is just the same as in the case of the sun from which come both the ray and the radiance (for the sun itself is the source of both the ray and the radiance), and it is through the ray that the radiance is imparted to us,
and it is the radiance itself by which we are lightened and in which we participate. Further we do not speak of the Son of the Spirit, or of the Son as derived from the Spirit .


Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on October 30, 2020, 03:20:55 PM
Reflection on Chapter 8 part 1
O Mystery of mysteries! O Light of lights! O Holy of holies! I call to Thee!
One God who is One in the beginning, who is Eternal without beginning, who having created all things is Uncreated, who having Begotten the Word is Himself Unbegotten, who having made all things to perish is Imperishable, who having made mortals is Himself Immortal, who having made that which shall not last for ever is Himself Everlasting, who having made that which is finite is Himself Infinite, who having circumscribed the universe is Himself is Uncircumscribed, whom the heavens themselves cannot contain, who having set a boundary for all things to differentiate them from one another, is Himself Boundless, He is the Infinite Power who made the powers of heaven, He whose creation is complex is Himself Simple and One, He who made all things subject to change and to flux is Immutable, He who subjects all the living to passions is Himself passionless, He who subjects all things to time is Unchanging, He who made all things visible and invisible is Unseen, He who formed the springs of water is the Fountain of Goodness, He who gave the Commandments is Justice, He who gave humanity the light of reason is the Light of the Mind, He whom nothing is beyond His reach is Himself Inaccessible and beyond all comprehension; His power is not fully known even by the greatest Angel or the holiest Saint, neither is there any comparison to Him that is truly fitting for God is alone Incomparable in every regard, whose full measure is known only by His own will, for He who can do all things as He wills most surely knows Himself even when no other knows Him fully.
God is the Creator of all created things, both visible and invisible.
God is the Maintainer, Preserver, and Provider for all.
God is Master of masters, Lord of lords, and King of kings over all the living and the dead; whose Kingdom is endless and immortal: having no opposite; equaled only by Himself; who fills all things, and is not encompassed by anything.
Rather God is Himself the Encompasser and Maintainer and Original Possessor of the Universal; surpassing all things yet occupying the very inner essence of all things intact and extending beyond all things.
Yet God is separate from all essence being super-essential and Transcendent and above all things, the Most High.
He is Absolute God, Absolute Goodness, Absolute Fullness : determining all sovereignties and ranks prior to their existence in time, being high above all sovereignty and rank, above essence and life and word and thought.
God Himself is True Light, True Goodness, True Life, True Essence, inasmuch as He does not derive or originate His being from another that exists.
But God Himself, is the Fountain of Being, to all that is, He is the Life of the Living, He is the Logos of those that have reason; the First Cause of all good: perceiving all things from all angles, without eyes, without limitations to vision, without the need of light, perfectly seeing and perceiving all things for all things are within Himself and God knows Himself perfectly, yet is apart from all things that are contained within Himself for that which is created came into existence through Him who is Uncreated and God perceived all things even prior to their existence in time.
God is One Essence, One Divinity, One Power, One Will, One Energy, One Beginning, One Authority, One Dominion, One Sovereignty: made known in three perfect subsistences or persons, yet adored as One in adoration, believed in and ministered to by all rational creation.
God is united without confusion and divided without separation (which indeed transcends thought) for though we may distinguish the subsistences our distinguishing is by revelation and not division, for though recognized as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we confess that each is united and within the other in an ineffable and undivided unity.
We believe in Father and Son and Holy Spirit, wherefore also we have been baptized.
For so our Lord Jesus commanded the Apostles to baptized thus saying Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We believe in One God, the Father, the Beginning and Cause of all: Unbegotten: Uncaused, Ungenerated, alone subsisting: Creator of all things:
but Father of only one by nature, His Only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ; the Father is Producer of the Most Holy Spirit.


Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: eschator83 on October 31, 2020, 03:24:22 PM
It is a struggle for me to try to digest this, but I am enjoying the effort and greatly appreciate your efforts.  Best regards.


Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on October 31, 2020, 05:42:22 PM
It is a struggle for me to try to digest this, but I am enjoying the effort and greatly appreciate your efforts.  Best regards.
Yes, that is because you are still a babe in the faith, you need the pure milk of the Gospel and are not ready for strong meat, but it is ok. Read the Gospels every day, pray the Rosary, meditate on the Mysteries.
If you want something more, read the Psalms, the Proverbs and then Isaiah.
With time, God will open your mind to the sublime understanding of Theology. I have spent a couple years dedicating myself every day to the study of God's Word and the Theology of the Fathers.
The Fathers are indeed the strong meat that is spoken of for the perfect.
Hebrews 5:13-14 "13For every one that is a partaker of milk, is unskillful in the word of justice: for he is a little child. 14But strong meat is for the perfect; for them who by custom have their senses exercised to the discerning of good and evil."
But it is enough to be humble, to do the works, to keep the faith, to confess Jesus before men, and to frequent the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion. Pray is better than reading, but prayer and reading are good together.
I will be here, to help. You may ask me whatever questions come to mind and I will do my best to answer them, quoting from the Scripture, the Fathers and the Catechism as need be.
I will also continue to break up this chapter, because it is one of my favorites from Saint John of Damascus's Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith.


Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on November 02, 2020, 03:59:07 PM
Reflection on Chapter 8 part 2
Beauty beyond sight! Voice without sound! True Brightness, True Light, True Life! Holy God, hear our prayers!
We believe in the One and the Only-begotten Son of God, our Lord, Jesus Christ: begotten of the Father, before all the ages: Light of Light, true God of true God:
Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God, who is Lord and Savior and Redeemer: Begotten of the Father's substance before all ages, the Divine Expression of the Pure Mind of God, Light from Light, True God from True God:
Begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father, through Him all things are made:
When we say He was before all the ages we shew that His birth is without time or beginning we speak of the ineffable generation of the Word of God in the Perfect Mind of God the Father:  
Ineffably begotten, not made, of one essence or substance with the Father and the Holy Spirit, being the Word of God, all things were made through Him:
We say that He eternally Was, and forever Is, and always Will Be, being Eternal from the Eternal, for we say that He was before all ages we express that His generation or "birth" is without time or beginning.
For we do not say that there ever was a time when the Son was not, nor was there ever a time when the Father did not produce the Holy Spirit, for the Trinity is eternally unchanging, immutably rooted in the simplicity and eternity of the Godhead.
The Only-begotten Son of God was not brought into being or created out of nothingness, for Jesus Christ, the Word of God is the effulgence of the glory of the Father, the impress of the Father, the image of the Invisible God.
For God always possessed Wisdom and did not require time to come to a conclusion nor did God need to consider, for those who consider do not know, but God being the Prime Knower, knew prior to the existence of what was known:
This Primal Wisdom generated the Divine Expression and the Divine Expression of Primal Wisdom acted out the Holy Will of God creating heaven and earth and all things in them.
Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God and Word of God is the Virtue and Wisdom of the living God, the Truth and Light of God, the Christ and Gift of the Father, existing within the Holy Trinity while possessing Divine Personhood..
The Word possessed interior subsistence or personhood, distinguishable from God, being from God, but undivided from the Godhead, being one in substance and eternally united to the Father and the Holy Spirit in Supreme Unity without confusion or dissolution of the persons.
The Word is the essential and living image of the unseen God, the power of God to act via fiat, for God thinks, and His thought is spoken and His Word is accomplished without any delay between, thought, speech and action,
for it is the supreme omnipotence of God to directly will and to accomplish without fail His divine will. For the Word and the Holy Spirit are of the same will as God whom they have their being from.
Jesus Christ is the essential and perfect and living image of the unseen God.
The Word is always with the Father and the Holy Spirit and in the Father and the Holy Spirit and the Father and the Holy Spirit are always with and in the Word.
Jesus who is the Beginning and the End is from the Beginningless and the Endless One.
The Word is eternal and begotten of the Father, who is the Father of Lights, the Father of Truth, the Father of Love, the Father of Peace, the Father of Goodness, the Father of Beauty, the Father of all Divine Attributes.
There never was a time when the Father was and the Son was not, nor a time when the Father was and the Holy Spirit was not, nor a time when the Father and the Son were but the Holy Spirit was not.
Nor was there a time when the Spirit did not proceed from the Father nor a time when the Spirit did not dwell within the Word.
For there was always the Father and always the Son and always the Holy Spirit: the Word was begotten of the Father, existed together with the Father and the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit was produced by the Father and existed together with the Father and the Son.
The Father could not be called Father without the Son; for a parent without offspring is no parent at all.
For the Father could not have received the name Father apart from the Son: for if Father were without the Son, He could not be the Father:
Neither do we impiously say that Christ was adopted at His baptism, for Christ Jesus, the Word of God made flesh, was truly the Son of the Father even prior to the Incarnation.
And if we say that Jesus Christ thereafter became the Son of the Father, thereafter the Father became the Father, not having been the Father prior to this, and God was changed from that which was not the Father and became the Father.
And if the Father at some point later had the Son, then the Father became the Father, not having been the Father prior to this, and then we introduce into God change from He who was was not the Father and became the Father.
This is the worst form of blasphemy to introduce change into the Immutable Godhead.


Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on November 06, 2020, 03:34:48 PM
Chapter 8 reflection part 3
All praise be to God! All Glory be to God! All thanksgiving be to God! O ineffable One! Thee we acclaim! Thee do we worship! Father, Son and Holy Spirit! The Undivided Trinity and Supreme Unity: whom Angels adore and Saints proclaim!
We may not speak of God as lacking anything nor does God lack natural generative power: and generative power means, the power of producing from one’s self.
For it is the nature of a natural father and mother to generate with mutual cooperation, a child, thus God, who is greater than all things, who needed no cooperator, generated the Son ineffably before all ages.
God being independent of the necessity of the natural union of two complementary genders because He is incorporeal but also because He is the one and only God, and stands in need of no co-operation:
When we speak of generation we speak of production from one’s own proper essence, that which is like in nature to one’s self.
Generation means that the begetter produces out of his essence offspring similar in essence.
For a deer begets a deer, a fish begets a fish, a man begets a man, and True God begets True God; True Light begets True Light; hence why we say Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten, not made, One in Essence with the Father
Concerning the generation of the Son, it is an act of impiety to say that time comes into play and and it is foolishness to insist that the existence of the Son's origin is later in time than that the of Father who is without beginning.
For the Son is the Beginning from the Beginning, the Father who is beginning less is the beginning of the Son and the Father is without origin in time.
For we hold that it is from God, that is, from the Father’s nature, that the Son is generated and it is from the Father's nature that the Holy Spirit is produced and proceeds, from the Father and received through the Son, in whom the Spirit lives and abides in love and wisdom. 
We profess that the Son co-existed from the beginning with the Father, by Whom He was begotten.
We deny any attempt to introduce change into the Father’s person, because then by foolishness we would insist wrongly, that God not being the Father, He subsequently became the Father.
Furthermore God's creation, even though it originated later, is nevertheless not derived from the essence of God as some fools have speculated.
God's creation is brought into existence out of nothing by God's will and power, and does not introduce change into God nor touch or affect God’s nature.
But creation and making mean that the creator and maker produces from that which is external, and not out of his own essence, a creation of an absolutely dissimilar nature.
Wherefore in God, Who alone is passionless and unalterable, and immutable, and ever so continueth, both begetting and creating are passionless.
God is perfect in glory and in peace, all His works declare His glory and those who trust in God He rewards with His presence and peace.
God is without end, never ceasing to act or to be because He is without beginning, or time, or end, and ever continues the same.
For that which has no beginning has no end: but that which through grace is endless is assuredly not without beginning, as, witness, the angels who have no end but began in time.
Accordingly the everlasting God generates His own Word which is perfect, without beginning and without end, that God who is One and Holy, Whose nature and existence are above time, may not beget in time.
But with man clearly it is otherwise, for generation is with him a matter of sex, and destruction and flux and increase and body clothe him round about , and he possesses a nature which is male or female.
For it is certain that the male requires the assistance of the female to bear his child.
But may God, our Father Who surpasses all, and transcends all thought and comprehension, be gracious to us and grant to us the Eternal Kingdom where we may dwell with the Lord Christ Jesus, in the Holy Spirit. Amen


Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on June 24, 2021, 06:17:53 PM
Chapter 8 reflection part 4
Undivided Trinity, Supreme Unity, All-Holy One Who surpasses all, and transcends all thought and comprehension, be gracious to us and shine Thy Light upon our hearts and minds and souls that we may ascend to Thee.
The holy catholic and apostolic Church, then, teaches the existence at once of One God the Father Almighty: and of One Lord Jesus Christ His Only-begotten Son, who is the Word of God born of the Father before all ages.
The Son was born prior to the creation of the universe and thus we say that it He is eternally begotten and thus always existed with the Father being without time and without flux and without passion.
Truly in an unspeakable mystery and in a manner incomprehensible and perceived by the God of the universe alone:
the Word of God was generated without delay by the Supreme Mind and uttered without delay by the Supreme Voice
The eye recognises the existence at once of fire and the light which proceeds from it: and the hand cannot see the fire but feels the warmth which proceeds from the fire
for there is not first fire and thereafter light, nor is there fire and thereafter heat but they exist together as one reality, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
And just as light is ever the product of fire, and ever is in it and at no time is separate from it, so in like manner also the Son is begotten of the Father and is never in any way separate from Him, but ever is in Him.
But whereas the light which is produced from fire without separation, and abides ever in it, has no proper person of its own distinct from that of fire (for it is a natural quality of fire to produce light),
Our Lord Jesus Christ the Only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father without separation and difference and ever abiding in Him, has a proper subsistence of its own distinct from that of the Father.
For the Son has received all from the Father except that of being the Father and thus the Father and the Son are distinct in their persons but united in will and essence.


Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on March 23, 2022, 07:38:48 PM
CHAPTER IX
 CONCERNING WHAT IS AFFIRMED ABOUT GOD
The Deity is simple and uncompound. But that which is composed of many and different elements is compound.
If, then, we should speak of the qualities of being uncreate and without beginning and incorporeal and immortal and everlasting and good and creative and so forth as essential differences in the case of God, that which is composed of so many qualities will not be simple but must be compound. But this is impious in the extreme.
Each then of the affirmations about God should be thought of as signifying not what He is in essence,
but either something that it is impossible to make plain, or some relation to some of those things which are contrasts or some of those things that follow the nature, or an energy .
It appears then that the most proper of all the names given to God is “He that is,” as He Himself said in answer to Moses on the mountain,
Say to the sons of Israel, He that is hath sent Me . For He keeps all being in His own embrace , like a sea of essence infinite and unseen.
Or as the holy Dionysius says, “He that is good .” For one cannot say of God that He has being in the first place and goodness in the second.
The second name of God is ho Theos, derived from theein , to run, because He courses through all things, or from aithein, to burn:
For God is a fire consuming all evil : or from theasthai, because He is all-seeing : for nothing can escape Him, and over all He keepeth watch.
For He saw all things before they were, holding them timelessly in His thoughts;
 and each one conformably to His voluntary and timeless thought, which constitutes predetermination and image and pattern, comes into existence at the predetermined time .
The first name then conveys the notion of His existence and of the nature of His existence: while the second contains the idea of energy.
Further, the terms without beginning,’ incorruptible,’ unbegotten,’ as also uncreate,’ incorporeal,’ unseen,’ and so forth, explain what He is not:
 that is to say, they tell us that His being had no beginning, that He is not corruptible, nor created, nor corporeal, nor visible .
Again, goodness and justice and piety and such like names belong to the nature , but do not explain His actual essence.
Finally, Lord and King and names of that class indicate a relationship with their contrasts:
for the name Lord has reference to those over whom the lord rules,
and the name King to those under kingly authority,
and the name Creator to the creatures,
and the name Shepherd to the sheep he tends.


Title: Re: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus
Post by: Benedict on May 30, 2022, 09:36:51 PM
CHAPTER X
 CONCERNING DIVINE UNION AND SEPARATION
Therefore all these names must be understood as common to the Godhead as a whole, and as containing the notions of sameness and simplicity and indivisibility and union: while the names Father, Son and Spirit, and causeless and caused, and unbegotten and begotten, and procession contain the idea of separation: for these terms do not explain His essence, but the mutual relationship and manner of existence .
When, then, we have perceived these things and are conducted from these to the divine essence, we do not apprehend the essence itself but only the attributes of the essence: just as we have not apprehended the essence of the soul even when we have learnt that it is incorporeal and without magnitude and form: nor again, the essence of the body when we know that it is white or black, but only the attributes of the essence.
Further, the true doctrine teacheth that the Godhead is simple and has one simple energy, good and energising in all things, just as the sun’s ray, which warms all things and energises in each in harmony with its natural aptitude and receptive power, having obtained this form of energy from God, its Maker.
But quite distinct is all that pertains to the divine and benignant incarnation of the divine Word. For in that neither the Father nor the Spirit have any part at all, unless so far as regards approval and the working of inexplicable miracles which the God-Word, having become man like us, worked, as unchangeable God and son of God .