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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Orthodox Gnosiology- How We Know and What We are Called to Know

As seen from Carving Ben's Blog.

"Orthodox Gnosiology is not merely an intellectual question, but is also a phenomenological, existential, ontological, personal and mystical one. How can Orthodox theology develop its methodology without reducing itself to a simple philosophical system?

In the beginning was the Word.
And the Word was with God
and the Word was God. John 1:1

The Incarnation was an empirically verifiable presentation of the Uncreated united to the Creature. The Scriptures state that through the Incarnation the Apostles received full assurance (πλεροφορια) of the empirical and historical sort. But the Incarnation led to the confession of Peter that Jesus Christ was the son of the living God- a revelation that was not made by flesh and blood- a revelation that is of the essence of Orthodox gnosiology. It is the Incarnation that gives the beginning point for a complete Orthodox gnosiology. Orthodox gnosiology has as its goal the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of God that we seek is the experiential kind, and of the kind that brings certitude to the whole of our being. Christ stated the goal of our knowledge when he said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by me.” . Christ is for us the Truth that we seek to know. Christ is the way by which we can know the Truth and the end of Truth is that we ‘come’ to the Father. Orthodox gnosiology began in the historical and empirical, visible, revelation of Jesus Christ to the Apostles. It is the Apostolic kerygma, delivered to the ends of the earth, the foolishness of preaching, that brings to the rest of us the possibility of experiential knowledge of the unknowable God, the Father. Orthodox gnosiology is rooted in revelation; it is also subset of Christology for it by the Son that we ‘come’ to the Father.

Incarnation as Interpretive Key for Gnosiology-
Some say that it is the Incarnation that makes theology possible. However, it must be remembered that Scripture itself is theology in that it is the record of men’s experiences with God. It is according to Christ that we interpret the Old Testament. It is according to Christ that we interpret our lives lived in Him today. Thus, the Incarnation is also the interpretive key for a sound gnosiology. 1 John 4:2 “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God”. Therefore, while the Incarnation was the supreme manifestation of God, it is also the interpretative key, and touchstone of validity for all past and future interior experiences ,and exterior expressions, of God. Experience of communion with God begins within and leads to the confession of the Incarnation. Experience of communion with God comes through the agency of the Holy Spirit. The inner experience of God is the fullness of assurance that Scripture states that we are called to receive. Both the inner and outer assurance of Truth co-inhere in Orthodox gnosiology. The fact of the Holy Spirit as the mediator of immediate perception roots Christian gnosiology also within the domain of Pneumatology."

To read the rest please visit Hesychastic Layman



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