Archive for October, 2010

What do you see?

October 5, 2010 Leave a comment

If you see a tree on fire, then please read on, for in nature, it is fire that saves the community of trees (to use that metaphor again) from the choking, dead undergrowth. This to my mind, is what Fr. Stephen seems to suggest in his latest blogpost Even if I descend into Hell…. I daresay I can use this metaphor too, borrowed as it is from St. Silouan the Athonite.

I should also like to add, at this juncture, that not everyone is as enlightened as the Holy Fathers are, as to the proper use of metaphor in holy scripture . There have always been those who miss the message, or, worse, change its emaning — as Heinrich Heine suggests in his  famed (but fictional) account, Almansor. I’ve not read the book, but the account draws on history, as much as it is predictive:

We heard that Ximenes the Terrible
in Granada, in the middle of the market-place
— my tongue refuses to say it!—cast the Koran
into the flames of a burning pyre!


That was only a prelude; where they burn books
they will, in the end, burn human beings too.

(Almansor, 1821, p. 15)

To be sure, also in the Jewish faith world, Christ has taken his place as Pinchas Lapide recounts faith is as much a matter for the community as the individual:

When I say that for me Jesus the Nazarene is immortal, I mean that in a twofold sense of the word. He is immortal in his visible, perceptible, and far reaching influence – you Christians are the best evidence of this ongoing influence – through a community of salvation that spans five continents. He is however also immortal since according to rabbinical teaching all the just who die for the God of Israel (and without doubt Jesus did) live on with God.

(Jewish Monotheism and Christian Trinitarian Doctrine, 1979, p.60)

Nevertheless, Archimandrite Zacharias of St. John the Baptist monastery in Essex, England, gives an excellent account of the authentic Christian faith experience in his presentation on a book on St. Silouan (very commendable and places Eastern Orthodoxy in a particular position within the family of Christian Churches).

Of course, the essence of knowing God has remained unchanged throughout the ages God has always condescended to reveal Himself to mankind and remains utterly undiminished even by the holy laws that sanctify creation.

I would also point readers (by way of introduction to the subject of monotheism), to Jewish Monotheism and Christian Trinitarian Doctrine, a dialogue by Pinchas Lapide and Jürgen Moltmann, available on Amazon, here.

Categories: Religion