Crooked Finger (crookedfingers) wrote,
Crooked Finger

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faith becomes vision

"Certainly, by accentuating the will in the act of faith, we don't want to say that faith doesn't contain some evidence. It isn't an intellectual attitude which functions apart from the will. A Roman Catholic theologian says: "In the light of faith the same divine names which the philosophers pronounce receive an unquestionable dimension; they are deepened in content. Their meaning become analogous to new powers." Concepts referring to God, which natural reason has, gain by faith a new brilliance, unknown to metaphysics and the natural man. Thus faith sheds new evidence on certain rational truths, referring to God. It is an evidence which grows gradually, so that with time, faith becomes vision. But even from the beginning it brings a plus of evidence to certain truths which reason also has, and this means at the same time the stabilization of reason on various certainties. Catholicism considers that faith has the certitude of various divine truths even before faith. Orthodoxy is less optimistic in this regard; she recognizes that natural reason can decipher various truths about God from the contemplation of the world; but she considers that an absolute assurance in them is lacking. In Catholics a plus of certitude, a plus of strength in the decision of standing beside these truths.

Where does this plus come from? Even if it means an increase of rational evidence, it doesn't come from it, but from above. Orthodoxy applies here her doctrine of the uncreated energies of God. An uncreated energy of God penetrates the mind as a light. This is why we said that faith doesn't depend only on the will, but it is also facilitated by the internal evidence and by the powers of our spirit so that it can grasp the reality of God. But if it must be grasped by our powers they must also make an effort even if it helped by divine influence. Therefore will is necessary too-not to create this evidence, but to bring it out into the open. By the voluntary laziness of reason, it was darkened; by voluntary efforts of reason, helped by divine grace to overcome laziness, it is illuminated again. On the one hand in faith there is an element of the strengthening of will and reason, of their stimulation; on the other hand, the will contributes to the emphasi on the evidence from faith produced by grace. . ." pg.126,127 Orthodox Spirituality by Dumitru Staniloae

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