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Contradiction

“Saint John the Theologian declares, “No one has seen God at any time” (1 Jn 4:12). Yet in another place the evangelist records Christ’s words to Philip: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). Somehow both statements are true, despite the fact that they seem contradictory. Taken together, the two expressions balance the truth concerning vision of God. On the one hand, the vision of God in glory has to be terrifying for fallen, sinful humanity – an unbearable sight…On the other hand, we must not overlook Saint John the Theologian’s assertion concerning Christ, who existed before time and yet became incarnate as a man whom “we have seen with our eyes…we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life [who] was manifested, and we…bear witness” (1 Jn 1:1-2).” (Dynamis 8/5/2019)


“God establishes our faith by working within the hearts of His servants. To certain blessed ones He reveals in advance what He will do – and then He carries out what He foretold through these prophetic stirrings. God first promises, and then He fulfills. He may often surprise His people, but He never contradicts what He has revealed beforehand. This divine consistency allows the faithful to live in the midst of apparent contradictions while retaining peace of mind and heart; they leave anything not understood up to God.” (Dynamis 4/13/2021)


“God remains the same whatever humans do…God does not contradict Himself. We should recognize the implication of this insight into the faithfulness of God. Though our denial does not affect the Eternal, it affects us. We error if we believe that Paul is saying that God’s trustworthiness means that He will remain faithful to us even though we are unfaithful to Him…We should realize that God’s Word is absolutely and eternally true…God is truth. He cannot tell an untruth. If He did, He would reverse Himself. God does not change in Word or deed. To alter what He says or does would be to contradict Himself…we can trust the promise of the Almighty’s goodness…On the other hand, if his promises are everlasting, His judgements are also unchanging.” (Fr. Basil)


“Paradox and contradiction, hiddenness and mystery are all inherent means of saving knowledge. Their presence within Scripture and the liturgical tradition are not mere styles of communication. They provide an access into a form a knowledge that cannot be communicated in any other manner. They are not mere screens shielding wonderful knowledge from our view, a knowledge that once revealed can then be shared without reference to the mystery. Because the kind of knowledge that is saving knowledge both causes and requires an inner transformation, it cannot be shared in a manner other than that through which it was first acquired…The acceptance of paradox and contradiction is vital to the honesty of any artist. This is why fundamentalist Christianity is so damaging to the culture—it does not have the ability to see paradox or humility.” (Father Stephen Freeman, Jonathan Jackson)


“Doubtless, the most devastating practice with regard to the Scriptures is ridding them of contradiction. Today, this is done regularly, and from a number of directions. Apparently, human beings dislike contradiction and have a passion-driven instinct to minimize it. This diminution of reason goes by many names – some of them being so bold as to claim that this is reason itself. It is not. True reason is at home with contradiction.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


#Dynamis #FrBasil #FatherStephenFreeman #JonathanJackson