Jonah Paffhausen

Natural Contemplation in St. Maximus the Confessor and St. Isaac the Syrian

translated by: Владимир Пекић

pages: 149-164


When we speak about man’s relation to creation, about environment, in contemporary world objectifying attitude to nature that is present, which has its own climax in egoistic and destroying usage of environment and its resources for realization of individualistic pleasure both personal and entire mankind. Reason is that man observes the world, and everything that is outward him, in rationalistic manner. Our western civilization tend to make terms which are in domain of spiritual and noetic, such as nous (νοῦς), theoria (θεωρία) and others, into concrete objects, ideas and processes.

On the other hand, Christian theology sees the world in holistic way, and the man as one who, trough spiritual contemplation of creation, reaches the God thereby recognizing that he is inseparable part of creation. That kind of perception is founded on ascetic experience of the Church fathers, especially expressed in St. Maximus the Confessor and St. Isaac the Syrian. In these fathers we find understanding of reality is indissolubly based on purification from passions, liberation from conceptual and dialectical understanding of the world so that mind (nous) can, trough apophatic theology (via negativa), reading the Scriptures enters in contemplation which reveals the beauty both the sensual and spiritual reality. According to the St. Maximus and St. Isaac, all of that is for man achieve unity and knowledge of God trough love an personal (hypostatic) relation with Him. As Christians, we should practice this way of life as our response on contemporary ecological issues because this ascetical way of life radically changes our experience of nature and being.




27-1 Исак Сирин, свети

27-1 Максим Исповедник, свети

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