Wednesday, January 16, 2013
St John of Damascus-on the Orthodox Faith Chp 7
Chapter 7. Concerning the Holy Spirit, a reasoned proof.
Moreover the Word must also possess Spirit. For in fact even our word is not destitute of spirit; but in our case the spirit is something different from our essence.
For there is an attraction and movement of the air, which is drawn in and poured forth that, the body may be sustained. And it is this, which in the moment of utterance becomes the articulate word, revealing in itself the force of the word.
But in the case of the divine nature, which is simple and uncompounded, we must confess in all piety that there exists a Spirit of God, for the Word is not more imperfect than our own word.
Now we cannot, in piety, consider the Spirit to be something foreign that gains admission into God from without, as is the case with compound natures like us. Nay, just as, when we heard of the Word of God, we considered it to be not without subsistence, nor the product of learning, nor the mere utterance of voice, nor as passing into the air and perishing, but as being essentially subsisting, endowed with free volition, and energy, and omnipotence: so also, when we have learned about the Spirit of God, we contemplate it as the companion of the Word and the revealer of His energy, and not as mere breath without subsistence.
For to conceive of the Spirit that dwells in God as after the likeness of our own spirit, would be to drag down the greatness of the divine nature to the lowest depths of degradation. But we must contemplate it as an essential power, existing in its own proper and peculiar subsistence, proceeding from the Father and resting in the Word, and showing forth the Word, neither capable of disjunction from God in Whom it exists, and the Word Whose companion it is, nor poured forth to vanish into nothingness , but being in subsistence in the likeness of the Word, endowed with life, free volition, independent movement, energy, ever willing that which is good, and having power to keep pace with the will in all its decrees, having no beginning and no end.
For never was the Father at any time lacking in the Word, nor the Word in the Spirit.
Thus because of the unity in nature, the error of the Greeks in holding that God is many, is utterly destroyed: and again by our acceptance of the Word and the Spirit, the dogma of the Jews is overthrown: and there remains of each party only what is profitable.
On the one hand of the Jewish idea we have the unity of God's nature, and on the other, of the Greek, we have the distinction in subsistences and that only.
But should the Jew refuse to accept the Word and the Spirit, let the divine Scripture confute him and curb his tongue.
For concerning the Word, the divine David says, Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in heaven. And again, He sent His Word and healed them. But the word that is uttered is not sent, nor is it for ever settled.
And concerning the Spirit, the same David says, You send forth Your Spirit, they are created. And again, By the word of the Lord were the heavens made: and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
Job, too, says, The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty has given me life. (Job 33:4)
Now the Spirit which is sent and makes and establishes and conserves, is not mere breath that dissolves, any more than the mouth of God is a bodily member. For the conception of both must be such as harmonizes with the Divine nature.
St John of Damascus
Posted by Maria_Dorfman at 5:56 PM