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Spiritual and Material

“… that the whole tendency to differentiate material, secular, or natural things, on the one hand; from supernatural, spiritual, divine things on the other hand, is a hopelessly misguided theology, and a corrupt form of Christianity. In the case of Christ incarnate we see God made flesh. In the case of the saint at prayer we see nature for what it really is meant to be in Christ – materiality suffused with divine light so as to be radiant with the very divinity and presence of the Lord.” (John McGuckin)

“…Man is a blend, a mixture, a creature formed together from matter and spirit, body and soul…Man is body, and he gains the Kingdom of Heaven with his body. Man’s purpose and task is not to ignore his material nature, but to strive and to struggle to use his body as a priceless gift from God. Man is positioned midway between the material and immaterial worlds. Because he participates in both simultaneously, he forms the bridge and point of contact for the whole of God’s creation. Thus human nature, because it is a composite of matter and spirit, possesses greater potentialities even than the nature of the angels.” (Anestis Keselopoulos)

“Activities as natural as walking and breathing are spiritual activities – the labor of love of the soul (biblically the same Hebrew word is used to mean spirit, wind or breath which gives us a sense of how intertwined the physical and spiritual really are). Such thinking helps get rid of dualistic ideas which oppose the spiritual to the physical. As humans we are both physical and spiritual (or soulful) and any activity in one of these spheres affects the other sphere.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“It is important to stress that, since as human beings we are a body-mind-spirit unity, everything we do with our bodies affects our spiritual reality. Everything we do with our minds affects our spiritual reality. In the end, every act, every thought, every way we indulge our desires leads us closer either to heaven or to hell. That is, either to an eternity where we participate in the very life of God, or to an eternity where I am totally cut off from God and closed in on myself and my own pain.” (Andrew Williams)

“What our thoughts betray is a deep disconnect between the material world and the world of our thoughts. Ideas, with all of their abstract qualities, are seen as the stuff of reality, while material things are somehow superficial and devoid of content. What matters for us is not matter itself – but the ideas that we associate with it. Thus nothing has any inherent meaning – only imputed meaning. Things are only valuable and important because we think they are. This creates an inner disconnect. We imagine that we live in a material world of inert, meaningless objects. Their worth, their value, their association with good or evil are completely dependent on our thoughts. As such, the entire universe depends on what we think of it. It is little wonder that we stand on the edge of an existential abyss! One false thought and the universe passes into oblivion!” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“In the material world there are many things that correspond to those of the spiritual world, because the material world is also the creation of the Spirit…we have a physical existence every much a part of who we are as is our spiritual existence: we are being redeemed both in body and soul." (St. John of Krondstat, Father Spyridon Baily)

“Most of the countless books, videos, and training programs that guarantee successful life management ask you to use your God-given dynamism in a way that separates the material and spiritual realities of your life. When these two realities become distinct categories with no connection, we live our lives in delusion and fail to see and hear God in everyday life.” (Kevin Scherer)

“We were never meant to divide the spiritual from the physical. This separation is a result of the Fall. The spiritual and the physical are all part of God’s creation and reflect His glory. When we separate them, we create all sorts of practical barriers to authentic faith and practice. In essence, we assert we believe, but don’t put that belief into practice.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

“We have a habit of abstracting things (particularly in our modern era). We constantly read texts about things and immediately want to leap to the ideas that they raise. Somehow, we never seem to understand that the ideas are actually embodied in the things.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

"...the Church’s perspective is not dualistic, but rather sees that the spiritual and material parts of man are both in need of transfiguration and redemption. Man is not saved without the body; through the body he has his being and life. Our quest is not a mental salvation that we seek in the Church through our thoughts about God; such thinking is rationalistic Scholastic theology and can result in a schism of soul and body, perverting our perception of reality." (Archimandrite Sergius)

“The truth about Jesus is that He is both God and man, both spiritual and physical; and the salvation that He offers is both for the soul and the body. Any group or teaching that emphasizes soul at the expense of body, or body at the expense of soul, is in danger of distorting Jesus’ Good News.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 9:2)

“As the man consists of a soul and body, so, correspondingly, there are double means for supporting his life - spiritual and bodily ones. Those for supporting the bodily life are air, food, drink, light and warmth, and those for supporting the spiritual life, prayer (like air), reading the word of God, the life-giving Sacrament, and pious meditations.” (St. John of Krondstat)

“The universe exists as an act of communion. Communion is the proper form of true existence…Spirit is not the opposite of matter, and material is not the opposite of spiritual. Creation is not the mere arena of our salvation – it is an eager participant, groaning for its fulfillment (Romans 8:21-23)…For creation itself is icon and sacrament, God’s gift in a good world.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“...I do not see how we could have come to know the greatness of God without that hint furnished by the greatness of the material universe.” (C. S. Lewis)

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