By Apostolos Makrakis.
We have noted that the nature and destiny of man inevitably call for the incarnation and revelation of the Logos, because man in no other way could have attained perfection and reached his destiny. Now it remains to investigate the correlation between the nature and destiny of man, and the revelation of the Logos in the world for our salvation and perfection. The creation of man is a moral act of God, springing as it does from His good will, for God, of His goodness, created the world and made man in His own likeness.
Also, the re-creation of man through the Logos is a moral work of God, for an act of God is moral which has as its cause the good will of God. Moreover, the act of re-creation through the Logos is a consequence of the creation of man through the Logos, because if man had not been created in the first place, he could not have been re-created. Thus the re-creation of man is a necessary consequence of his creation, for if God had not created man in the beginning, He could not have re-created him.
But moral acts lead to moral obligation, never to physical compulsion, because their root cause is the will of a free person. After God created man, He could not have neglected man when he erred because of imperfection and inexperience. For the same reason He could not have failed either to satisfy man’s deep longing for theosis, or to point out to man the good by which life, immortality, perfection, and happiness become a reality for him.
The creation of man is an act of God which is morally necessary, because God functions freely according to the dictates of His good will, and this will is eager to share the goodness which fills it with some other creature, outside itself, endowed with free will that mirrors and represents God and His good will in creation. If God, who is good, had no wish to make a being apart from Himself in His own likeness, would He not have created a being which was the antithesis of His own good nature and will? Again, if He were to make a creature of the opposite of His nature and will, would He not appear jealous, as if He did not want to see another creature, apart from Himself, filled with goodness?
But if the divine were jealous, how could it be good? Obviously, because God is good both by nature and by choice, He cannot belie His good will unless He denies His good nature also. He cannot fail to make man or another being, apart from Himself, capable of receiving the goodness of which God is full. Surely, then, the work of the creation of man is a task which is morally desirable and is impressed upon the will of God by the goodness of His nature. God willed to make man because He is by nature good. The will of God always does what is consistent with His perfect nature, and never what is contrary to it.
The re-creation of man also is a work of God which is morally necessary, because God fulfills His own nature freely in it also, for He is obeying His own law which is good by nature, and guides His acts. By this re-creation, God seeks three results:
- To raise up man who has fallen – to heal him and cleanse him, to sanctify him;
- To illuminate him with the light of truth;
- To guide him into the path of upright action, free from sin. which leads him to his final end.
Let us determine if these three tasks of God, which make up the single work of man’s re-creation, are in harmony and consistent both with the original nature and with the destiny of man. Let us further determine if the single work of the recreation of man is consistent with the work of his original creation.
Considered as a work of God, the creation of man is fundamentally complete, because by it, man is made, male and female, having a structure which is complete and perfect, and yet being also imperfect. Man is perfect in that from the beginning he has a structure and a nature corresponding to his destiny and he possesses the desire to pursue goodness, but he also is imperfect in that he is not completely steeped in goodness, though designed to achieve it by his free action – under the guidance of the Logos through whom all things were made. The nature of the first men to be created corresponded to their destiny. Their destiny was their likeness to God; consequently, their nature was in harmony with this.
Likeness to God consists of acquiring those divine attributes or qualities which constitute the infinite, perfect nature of God. The qualities of God are summarized in three perfect attributes:
- Complete wisdom;
- Complete power;
- Complete goodness.
The possession of these qualities brings with it for man his likeness to God, who by nature has these infinite characteristics. The destiny of man is the final milestone toward which man, in his likeness to God, is pressing. It lies outside man and does not exist within him. Man first must acquire a concept and an understanding of this goal, which knowledge of God brings with it. After he has acquired a concept of it, he must act accordingly; he must order his life in harmony with his conception. But in order to understand his objective, he must be intelligent, and in order to aspire to it and to realize it, he needs freedom of action.
Therefore, the nature of man initially was created intelligent, capable of exercising willpower, and was free. From the very beginning, man’s nature was endowed with longing to reach the goal for which he was created. From the beginning he received from God the spirit of knowledge, of will, and of conscience. Man’s nature, which was created in the beginning intelligent and capable of willpower and of feeling, needed truth and law.
Even more than these, man required a savior and redeemer whose purpose was to save him from eternal death and to cleanse him from the transgression which in his case had supervened as sin. This was the only way for man to obtain his objective.
By nature man lacks knowledge, but also by nature he is filled with longing to know and to learn all of which he is ignorant. By nature man is unable to create anything, yet by nature he longs for the power to do so. By nature man lacks life, but by nature he also desires life. He desires to acquire knowledge, ability, and life, and to possess them in perfection; he desires perfect knowledge, perfect ability, and perfect life. But perfection is the special characteristic of infinity, and man by nature has in himself the desire for infinity. Hence the possession of these qualities in man brings with it the likeness to God. It would have been by nature impossible for the completed being, man, to desire infinity, if he had not in him the spirit of God as a third element in his composition.
The infinite in man is the potentially infinite, but this potentiality is destined to become infinite in fact also – by an infinite means. This infinite means must be consistent both with. the nature and with the destiny of man, and must lie between the nature and the goal, between God and man. It also must focus in itself the potentially infinite nature of man and the actually infinite nature of God. Moreover, it must know the nature and goal of man and have the ability to combine human nature with the divine, thus bringing man to perfection as equal with God and like Him. This is the means by which what is lacking in our nature is made good, and God made it manifest to man by a marvelous act, even the revelation of His Logos in the world, which took place almost two thousand years ago.
This action of God is worthy of our wonder, because infinite wisdom is revealed by it, wisdom which arouses the admiration of those who accept the revelation of the Logos of God and give it serious thought. As a revelation through which our nature needed to become perfect, there is nothing strange or marvelous about it. No, it is natural . . . most natural . . . a revelation of the Logos in the world for the success and accomplishment of the will of God, which only the Logos could achieve. We marvel at the method of the revelation of the Logos in that it is incomprehensible to us, but comprehensible to God. Yet we do not marvel at all at the necessity of ·the revelation of · the Logos; we agree that the revelation of the Logos is natural.
If God created man through the Logos, and made him potentially infinite and filled with longing for the infinite, when he fell into sin, God could not have restored him and granted him the precious gift of theosis – except through the Logos. If it is admitted that man’s nature is potentially infinite and that the goal to which he presses is infinity, it also necessarily must he admitted that the Logos must be revealed in the world for man to reach perfection.
Thus the Logos is not only savior, but also teacher and ruler among mankind. He is not only the healer and physician of the sins of our souls, but also the guide, standard, and law, both in thought and in deed – the light of the world, life, and truth. Thus the Logos was revealed not only for the correction of what happened afterward – sin and death – but also, importantly, to nourish man and bring him to perfection, which was impossible without the Logos.
Indeed, even if man had not sinned, which is the antithesis of human imperfection and freedom, but desired perfection, the Logos would have had to be revealed and become a guide for man, leading him to his goal. It follows that we have need of the Logos not only as sinners needing salvation, but also because we lack knowledge and desire perfect knowledge. We long for perfect, eternal life, and yearn for the perfect good by which the inadequacy of our nature is remedied.
When we compare our nature and our destiny with the nature of the Logos, we discover a correlation and balance between them, and we express our opinion in the name of science, that if the Logos had not been revealed, the whole of creation would have been in chaos, for our nature and destiny would have been incomprehensible and inexplicable. There would have been no reason behind the existence of the world. We may represent this marvelous correlation and balance between the nature and destiny of man, and the Logos, in the following manner:
The Logos is found in the center between human nature, potentially infinite, and human destiny, actually infinite. The concentration of these two elements in the substance (hypostasis) of the Logos consists firstly, of human nature, deficient, but longing for the infinite, though in this case sinless and pure, and secondly, of divine nature, infinite, in no means deficient, but full and perfect. Thus the divine nature in its infinity consummates, fulfills, and perfects good human nature in its deficiency.
In the incarnation of the Logos, human nature is made perfect because it has added to it the qualities of the divine nature, while the infinite divine nature remains unchanged and undiminished. From this association, human nature is elevated to God, and becomes infinite in fact, as the divine nature, while the divine nature abides the same – unaltered and unchanged. Therefore, as the Logos is in the process of revelation in order to make good the deficiency of human nature through its association with the divine nature, so the Logos unites in His infinite substance (hypostasis) the infinite divine nature with finite human nature, potentially infinite, but currently deficient.
In God the Logos, after the revelation, perfect man and perfect God came together – the copy with its prototype – and their identification is marvelous. A diagram of their un· paralleled union expresses it thusly:
The Logos so understood is perfect God and perfect man, but we still are human, imperfect, and striving for perfection. The Logos is Theanthropos, in one substance (hypostasis), but two natures, united without confusion or variation. The Logos is one, double in nature, but not in hypostasis. The eternal Logos is Jesus Christ, who not only is our saviour, hut also is our teacher and professor, our ruler and king.
O divine Logos! The more I understand Thee, the more I love Thee. The more my soul contemplates Thee, the more my heart is opened in Thy presence. The more my mind studies Thy nature, incomprehensible as it is, the more, holy Logos, my love is turned toward Thee, even Theanthropos alone.
I gaze upon Thee, suffering upon the Cross for my sake, and my soul is filled with gratitude toward Thee. I reflect upon Thee, ministering the truth unto the crowds, and my heart, too, finds rest in Thy words.
I meditate upon Thee ruling in the will of all who consecrate their lives to Thee, and I rejoice in the righteousness and graciousness of Thy just yoke.
I lift up mine eyes and witness Thee – the eternal high priest in the temple, the unerring professor in the university, and the righteous king in the state.
In Thee alone do I contemplate the unity of mankind as it will be.
I see Thee, the Logos, and I see the whole of creation, because without Thee, nothing can exist. Yet this vision which I possess of Thee, my divine Logos, is imperfect. I shall gain perfection by unceasing, profound contemplation of Thy works, by meditation on Thy conduct of the universe, and on Thy sinlessness, holiness, and righteousness.
Thou art, my Logos, my pride and my boast, and weak as I am, I am glorified in Thee, for Thou art the harmony between my nature and my destiny. And in Thee, O holy One, God and man are manifested in perfect and glorious balance.
Wherefore, O most holy and perfect Logos, the only hope of my salvation, everlasting glory and worship be unto Thee, Amen.