Faith and the Nature of Man
As the Divine Archetype has no limits to His divinity, so the human image has no limits to its humanity, to what it can become by the grace of its Creator. Human nature, therefore, is created by God to grow and develop through participation in the nature of God for all eternity. Man is made to become ever more Godlike forever, even in the Kingdom of God at the end of this age, when Christ will come again in glory to raise the dead and give life to those who love Him.
Thus the holy fathers of the Orthodox faith taught that whatever stage of maturity and development man attains and achieves, whatever his power, wisdom, mercy, knowledge, love, there continually remains before him an infinity of ever-greater fullness of life in the most blessed Trinity to be participated in and lived. The fact that human nature progresses eternally in perfection within the nature of God constitutes the meaning of life for man, and remains forever the source of his joy and gladness for all eternity.
It must be mentioned at this point as well that according to Orthodox Christian doctrine, the fact that humans are created male and female is the direct will of God and is essential for proper human life and activity as reflective of God. In a word, human sexuality is a necessary element in human being and life as made in the image of God. This does not mean that there is any sort of sexuality in God, but it does mean that human life must be sexual—male and female—if it will be what God Himself has made it to be.
The Symbol of Faith
Man and woman, male and female, are created by God to live together in a union of being, life and love. The man is to be the leader in human activities, the one reflecting Christ as the new and perfect Adam. She is a person in her own right, a sharer of the nature of God, a necessary complement to man.
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There can be no man without woman—no Adam without Eve; just as there can be no woman without man. The two exist together in perfect communion and harmony for the fulfillment of human nature and life. The differences between men and women are real and irreducible. They are not limited to biological or physical differences. The male and female are to be in spiritual as well as bodily union.
They are to express together, in one and the same humanity, all of the virtues and powers that belong to human nature as made in the image and according to the likeness of God.
Science, Faith and Society
There are no virtues or powers that belong to man, and not to woman; nor to woman and not to man. All are called to spiritual perfection in truth and in love, indeed in all of the divine virtues of God given to His creatures. They are due rather to sin. There should be no tyranny of men over women; no oppression, no servitude. Just as there should be no striving of women to be men, and to hold the male position in the order of creation. There should be rather a harmony and unity within the community of being with its natural created order and distinctions. THE Riddell Memorial Lectures, given by distinguished men of science, philosophy and theology, provide a pulpit of great value.
One has only to glance through the list of names since the first series was published in to see how powerful this foundation has become. Into this learned company Prof. Polanyi fits extremely well. There is also an appendix dealing with the premises of science and the question of observation. Through all that Prof. Polanyi has to say shines a passionate desire for truth and for full opportunity to realize it.
His background, differing-as it must-from our own in certain ways, is atone with it in its plea for tolerance, and for the inculcation of responsibility in the transmission of tradition.
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By means of a clarification of man's cultural and social purpose, he will be brought-it is claimed-to a revelation of the Divine. An interesting point is made regarding seeming irrelevance.
Scientific genius consists largely in the ability to pounce upon something fundamental and to follow it up relentlessly, consigning the rest to limbo. Indeed, this is the way to the eternal verities, philosophic and otherwise. London: Oxford University Press, Reprints and Permissions.
The Place of Humanity in Creation | Thinking Faith: The online journal of the Jesuits in Britain
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