Monday, November 30, 2009

Two Kinds of Faith, an excerpt from “THE ILLNESS AND CURE OF THE SOUL

It is obvious, according to the Holy Fathers, that there are two kinds of faith. The first is rational faith, called faith from hearing, and is introductory faith, simple faith. The second is faith based on the vision of God (theoria); it is the faith of the perfect and that which saves man. There is no antithesis between the two kinds of faith. The former is introductory and the latter the result of the former. Thus we accept the faith of the Holy Fathers of the Church in order to cleanse our hearts from passions and to successfully follow the stage of purification. And when this is achieved, we shall then reach illumination of the nous, which is the second faith, the so-called faith based on theoria. When Adam was created by God, he was at the illumination of the nous. But after the Fall he was subjected to various passions. So, now we need the correct faith in order to reach the faith based on theoria, that is the illumination of the nous, and from there to the vision of God. The first faith opens unto us the way towards cure and the second faith is the fruit and result of man's cure.

James, the brother of God, speaks of the first faith, which, however, needs works to purify man. He says: "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (James 2,26). Both the theoretical acceptance of faith through hearing and the works which it entails are necessary for us so as to be purified and healed. The Apostle Paul speaks of perfect faith, faith based on the vision of God, when he says: "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Rom.3,28). Many Christians think that the brother of God James contradicts the Apostle Paul. Interpreting the Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Romans, Luther, in particular, reached the point of speaking only about faith without works; he was ignorant of the fact that the Apostle Paul means therein the faith from theoria-vision of God, which is beyond the works of the Law. He does not say that there is no need for the works of the Law. Both the first faith and the works are necessary for us to pass the stage of purification of the heart correctly and effectively. When this is accomplished, we reach the illumination of the nous, whose characteristic is noetic ceaseless prayer. This is faith from theoria, which is a surpassing and not an abolishment of the works of the Law.

Thus I do not see any difference between the statements: "Orthodoxy is a therapeutic science and treatment" and "Orthodoxy is faith". They are connected with each other. Detaching one from the other entails a heretical life. We can say precisely the same thing about the term "Orthodox theology."

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