Concepts create idols; only wonder grasps anything. - St Gregory of Nyssa

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


My DH and I have questioned how compatible Western Philosophy is with Orthodox Christianity. The materialistic West is in direct conflict with the mystical realities of the Christian faith of the East.

I find this very interesting, in light of our conversations:

From Fr. Ted's blog.

John H. Walton:

...I propose that people in the ancient world believed that something existed not by virtue of its material properties, but by virtue of its having a function in an ordered system. Here I do not refer to an ordered system in scientific terms, but an ordered system in human terms, that is, in relation to society and culture. In this sort of functional ontology, the sun does not exist by virtue of its material properties, or even by its function as a burning ball of gas. Rather it exists by virtue of the role that it has in its sphere of existence, particularly in the way that it functions for humankind and human society. In theory, this way of thinking could result in something being included in the “existent” category in a material way, but still considered in the “nonexistent”   category in functional terms …. In a functional ontology, to bring something into existence would require giving it a function or a role in an ordered system, rather than giving it material properties.   Consequently, something could be manufactured physically but still not ‘exist’ if it has not become functional.”  (Kindle Loc. 210-12, 219-22, 222-32)

If we follow the argument and thinking of Dr. Walton, we can understand how sacramental prayer bestows upon the things of the earth – water, bread, wine marriage – the blessing of functionality.  The sacramental prayers bestow on the things which are being sanctified a holy and godly function.   Thus they become (come into existence)  the mystery of creation which God intended them to be.  We in the church in the sacramental and prayer life become what God intended us a humans to be in His creation:  co-creators with Him of reality.  When we bestow proper functionality on things that exist, we working with God to create the world as God would have it be.  In the fall of humans, our sinfulness took away from us this functionality, and thus creation suffered and has groaned itself because its function had been taken away from it.

Fascinating. Important to think about.

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