SPECIAL METHOD OF PHILOSOPHY
In our “Introduction to Philosophy” the general method of philosophy was pointed out, in accordance with which the object of philosophy, which is unknown at the start, is first sought and discovered by means of all the sciences and especially the philosophical sciences; and then, after it has been found, it is studied and a thorough knowledge of it is gained in order that everything that is unknown may be comprehended through comprehension of it. Now, however, that the object of philosophy has been discovered and proved by means of the philosophical sciences, that special method is naturally to be sought whereby philosophy is to study and comprehend its own object, just as each science by the method peculiar to it studies and comprehends its own knowable object. To discover and trace out this method, we reason as follows:
Admittedly, the object of philosophy knows Himself and all beings, has perfect self-knowledge and knowledge of all things, and Himself declares by speech whatever true consciousness and knowledge He has concerning Himself. The object of philosophy in the form of a perfect man lived in the midst of men, bore true witness to Himself, taught, did miracles, suffered, died on the cross, was buried, and rose from the dead after three days, was taken up into the heavens, was preached to the heathen by His disciples and apostles, and founded a new community having Him as its head and foundation, which has been named the Church on the ground that some of all the nations and people of the earth have been called round it. Therefore, the object of philosophy is studied and known from the words of His mouth, and from the deeds of His hands; He is studied and known from the testimonies of the Spirit of God, which spoke of Him through the prophets and through the apostles, through the Ecumenical Synods and the genuine hierarchies and teachers of the Christian Church. Philosophy, who loves knowledge of this object, studies and learns Him thoroughly, by listening to the words of His mouth and by seeing all the works of His hands, by listening to the testimonies of the Holy Spirit concerning Him and by seeing the Church that has been fashioned out of His body and spirit, that keeps His name, and struggles in behalf of His reign over all things.
The method by which philosophy must study and thoroughly learn its object, the object Himself, the all-scienced and all-wise Logos, or Rationale, Christ the Son of the living God, has been formulated and pointed out in the following words: “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). If the words that Christ spoke are spirit and life, when listened to as words of truth and believed they instill into the soul spirit and life and the ability to know the speaker of them – that is, the ability to know the object of philosophy. On this account He said to the Jews who had believed in Him: “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). According to these words, hearing and constantly keeping in memory the words of Christ is what brings knowledge of the truth – that is, knowledge of Christ Himself – and the unenslaved freedom of the soul from all evil and from all error. Therefore, philosophy, which has for its object a knowledge of Christ and yearns to comprehend Him, has nothing else to do but to listen to His words and retain them and remain in the belief of them. By this process or method His first disciples and apostles also came to know Christ, as Peter acknowledged, saying: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6: 68). Wherefore Christ said in His own prayer to His own Father:
- I have manifested thy name unto the men whom thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me [John 17: 6-8].
Therefore, knowledge of the object of philosophy is to be obtained from the words of His mouth, and the philosopher who wishes to know this object must listen to the words that Christ spoke and that the apostles who heard them wrote down and delivered to the Church, which is the house of the living God, a pillar and support of the Truth. In addition, he must listen to the words of the Holy Spirit that were spoken through the prophets and apostles and Ecumenical Synods, and besides hearing the words look into the works of His hands, for all things have been made through Him in wisdom, bearing witness to the all-wise Creator. With such a rational and unerring method, philosophy studies and comprehends its own object, and goes forward with the aim of perfecting itself, becoming more and more wise and perfect with the passage of time, in proportion as it studies and comprehends its own object. It is necessary, however, to make the distinction between the knowledge of the object of philosophy in parables and the knowledge of the same object in plain terms; the former being obtained here, while the latter is obtained in the life to come. This distinction was made by Christ, who told His disciples: “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father” (John 16:25). The knowledge, therefore, of
Christ which we receive here in proverbs in proportion to our power of understanding and the perfect knowledge in plain terms which we shall be vouchsafed in the future are two different things. This knowledge in plain terms is promised by Christ to those who love Him, where He says: “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). This manifest knowledge fulfills the yearning of philosophy, and the latter approaches it through the proverbial and flimsy knowledge.
WORDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THE OBJECT OF PHILOSOPHY ANNOUNCING HIS NATURE
- “I am the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16)
- “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” (Matt. 11: 27)
- “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me .” (John 6: 38)
- “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8 :58)
- “No man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven.” (John 3:13)
- “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” (John 16:28)
- “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30)
- “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” (John 14:9)
- “I am in the Father, and the Father is in me.” (John 14:10)
- “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:15)
- “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
- “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
- “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26)
- “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
- “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.” [Jn. 6: 5_1].
- “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”(John 7:37-38)
- “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (Rev. 22:13)
- “I am the first and the last; I am he that liveth, and was dead: and, behold, I am alive for evermore, and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Rev. 1:17-18)
- “I am the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” (Rev. 3:14)
- “I am he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth.” (Rev. 3: 7)
- “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” (Rev. 22:16)
- “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8)
- “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” (John 18:37)
True philosophy and the true philosopher hears the voice of the Logos, and are informed that He is the corresponding object of the philosophical yearning to know; they are informed that the Logos, being eternally perfect, God-born of perfect God, became in the course of time perfect man, conjoining in Himself the human with the divine nature, and surnames God-man as a result of this conjunction and union. Having for its object such knowledge of this object, and loving to study and to comprehend Him, philosophy resorts to the method of division, in order that from the knowledge of the mentally divisible particles of the essence and nature of its object it may ascend to the entire knowledge of Him, so far as it can; and through the entire knowledge of Him understand and explain all beings and the relations connecting them. For he that has seen the Logos and comprehended Him, has seen and comprehended at the same time through Him all things, because He is the principle, the true image and representation of the universe.
THE DIVISION OF PHILOSOPHY
The object of philosophy is assumed and acknowledged to be perfect God and perfect man. Hence, He is first examined with respect to His divine and eternal essence and nature, and secondly with respect to the human nature acquired in the course of time. Out of this double nature and examination of the object of philosophy are born two sciences, distinct from each other: the theology of the Logos, and the anthropology of the Logos. The theology of the Logos is a single science of an indivisible object. The anthropology of the Logos is subdivided according to the division of man into soul and body, and according to the division of the nature of the soul into rational and moral and passional nature. In the anthropology of the Logos are included the psychology of the Logos as a partial science; His logic, which has for its object only the reason, or rational faculty, of His soul; and His ethics, which has for its object only His will. Therefore, according to the natural division of its object, philosophy is divisible into four sciences: the theology of the Logos, and the Logic, the Psychology, and the Ethics, or the anthropology, of the Logos. By means of these four sciences philosophy studies and thoroughly learns its own object, and through this object it contemplates at the same time God, man, and world, and the relations between them. Just as the object of philosophy is equivalent to all the knowable objects of science, so is philosophy equivalent to all the sciences of all objects; and, comprising every science in itself; it is justly accorded the title of science of sciences, and rules every one of them, surpassing all of them. Our new philosophical system, in fact, is wonderfully formulated by means of objective and scientific equations as follows:
God, man, world = God-man, Jesus Christ.
Theology, Psychology, Logic, Ethics = Philosophy.
Philosophy = Theology, Psychology, Logic, Ethics.
According to this division of the object of philosophy, philosophy is analyzed into four distinct sciences, by which one and the same object is studied and comprehended: universal Truth, the Logos of the universe, the substantial Wisdom of God, our Lord Jesus Christ.