The Perversion of the Possibility of Communion

H/T: Sabornost (here) St. Maximus the Confessor’s Contribution to the Problem of Transcending the Createdness, by Bishop Maxim Vasilijevic
“….  man, who is endowed with the ability to relate and to participate, desires (consciously or unconsciously) his “being” (τὸ εἶναι) to be a permanent and continuous possibility (εὖ ἀεὶ εἶναι) and not just a phenomenal presence. He desires to actively experience the participation in life without death, in a true existence that is incorrupt, in a life, which does not go hand in hand with the “natural” course of existence. What are the limiting factors, which prevent man’s “existence” from participating in a perfect loving communion? For one, that he is a created thing, and secondly, man’s fall. Let us take a look at the second factor. According to Maximus, the crucial factor alongside the fall is the perversion of the possibility of communion, since the ecstatic movement of man, having become limited to created things, does not allow for the entire creation or nature to be ecstatic towards something outside itself, that is, toward the Creator. Everything man does (his every movement) is ecstatic, however, the present diseased ecstatic condition does not lead out of the whirlpool of death. Maximus considers that the current disposition of the human spirit, the irrational yearning of the soul, nature’s direction toward itself, and man’s going astray, is a direct result of this. Hence, the fall did not destroy the nature of things, but rather impaired its communion with God; the fall caused differences ( διαφορὰ ) to become separations ( διαίρεσις) and persons to become individuals. (“Division”, a critical notion in Maximus’s thought, designates fragmentation and separation.) Similarly, now theosis refers not to the deification of the natural being, but rather to the transformation of the “pathogenic” mode of its being (a transformation which entails not more or less than a “new birth”), offering divine participation. In a word, creation on its own can no longer commune with God because of its natural limitations as well as its own fall, which generates opposition to God.


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