Saints' Discussion Forums
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
September 21, 2020, 07:12:50 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
* Home Help Calendar Mailbox Quotes Prayers Books Login Register
Saints' Discussion Forums  |  Forums  |  Book Study  |  Topic: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: [1] Print
Author Topic: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus  (Read 117 times)
Benedict
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 42


Patron Saint Benedict


View Profile
« 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 .

« Last Edit: August 28, 2020, 12:19:05 AM by Benedict » Logged

All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Benedict
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 42


Patron Saint Benedict


View Profile
« Reply #1 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.
Logged

All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Benedict
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 42


Patron Saint Benedict


View Profile
« Reply #2 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 .
Logged

All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Benedict
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 42


Patron Saint Benedict


View Profile
« Reply #3 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.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2020, 09:31:16 PM by Benedict » Logged

All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Benedict
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 42


Patron Saint Benedict


View Profile
« Reply #4 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 ?[
/center]
« Last Edit: September 01, 2020, 09:23:08 PM by Benedict » Logged

All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Benedict
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 42


Patron Saint Benedict


View Profile
« Reply #5 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.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2020, 04:39:39 AM by Benedict » Logged

All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Benedict
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 42


Patron Saint Benedict


View Profile
« Reply #6 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.
Logged

All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Benedict
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 42


Patron Saint Benedict


View Profile
« Reply #7 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.
Logged

All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Benedict
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 42


Patron Saint Benedict


View Profile
« Reply #8 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 .

Logged

All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Benedict
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 42


Patron Saint Benedict


View Profile
« Reply #9 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!”
« Last Edit: September 10, 2020, 08:09:25 PM by Benedict » Logged

All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Benedict
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 42


Patron Saint Benedict


View Profile
« Reply #10 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.

Logged

All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Pages: [1] Print 
Saints' Discussion Forums  |  Forums  |  Book Study  |  Topic: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by Saint John of Damascus « previous next »
Jump to:  



Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines