In English

What is or Who is truth?[1] (Dr. Nikolaos Koios)

19 Οκτωβρίου 2016

The question ‘What is truth?’ would be better posed as ‘Who is truth?’. And the direct answer is: ‘Truth is the personal God Who is known, however, only ‘through communion in existence’. Knowledge of God is experienced as knowledge of the Persona-Person [Christ as a hypostasis of God and a human person] as the bearer of the whole of the Divine Being, though without being confined within Himself, but as ‘living in the other’. For formal logic, however, this is a pointer to the inadequacy of the Persona per se and therefore a denial of its absolute nature. The antinomy of the existential knowledge of the Absolute as person-persona creates the impression among representatives of science and philosophy that Christians are on shaky ground and that they’re dreamers, while at the same time they encourage the impression that they themselves are ‘firmly-grounded’, calling themselves positivists. Apart from this, faith in a personal God has been criticized because, in many instances, it has fostered moral subjugation to an outside power, making the Christian faith a source of authoritarianism.

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For Elder Sophrony, the human mind can, by itself, conceive and come to know only those things which are tangible on the created level of reality. The Truth, Who lies at the foundation of all Being, comes into living and perceptible communion with us through experience. And for Elder Sophrony, this experience means communion in Existence, which we comprehend through our senses and, in particular, through our likeness with and kinship to God. In other words, this empirical knowledge is something entirely different from what is meant by the term ‘positivists’. In an attempt to clarify the difference between the spiritual and rationalistic way of thinking, he says that for many representatives of modern science the starting-point for everything is the hydrogen atom, which, through a course of development of billions of years, has been transformed into what we call today the universe.
Science has not, however, asked itself the question of what existed before the advent of the world and of who organized the astonishing ‘Big Bang’ with such creative wisdom. For a man who had experience of eternity through personal communion with God, the idea that the hydrogen atom, a natural, created element belonging to this world, should be the initial cause of being seemed entirely unacceptable. He saw a tragic end to even the most noble investigations and the most intelligent of minds. Intellectual theories are conceived which go above and beyond the measure of what is achievable in this world, and the mind, which is then convinced of its inability to achieve its initial vision, suffers a profound rift in its spirit and is brought to perdition.

[1] The excerpts are from Nikolaos Koios’ book Θεολογία και Εμπειρία κατά τον Γέροντα Σωφρόνιο, H.G.M. of Vatopaidi, the Holy Mountain, 2007.

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