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Human Nature

“There is no second uncaused causal principle, parallel to God, no principle of the existential fact that is evil by nature, nor a second pole of evil antagonistic to the goodness of God.” (Christos Yannaras)

“Evil has no natural existence and no-one is evil by nature. Because God did not make anything evil. If people desire evil, then what’s not actually there is called into existence, because that’s what they want. So, by the remembrance of God, we have to disregard the habit of evil. Because the nature of good is more powerful than the habit of evil. That’s because good exists, whereas evil doesn’t, except when we do it…An evil man is not evil by nature. For if he were, he could not correct and discipline himself. He does evil things by the wrong use of his free will, which is often energized by arrogance, one of the worst of the vices. Those who know themselves know they are good by nature, and they will use this God-given wisdom to remove the deceptions of sin.” (Saint Diadokhos of Fotiki, Orthodox Study Bible, Proverbs 13:11)

“Lies inevitably create a web of false narratives. In many ways, it’s a metaphor for sin itself. Sin begets sin that begets sin and the web ensnares us into a world of un-truth. A single thread of a spider’s web is tiny and weak. However, the combination of hundreds of such threads works to effectively hold its prey. The odd “nature” of evil is that it is nothing. Evil has no being. Only God can give anything the gift of being. All that God has created is, thus, inherently good in its nature. Evil, according to the Fathers, is a parasite, a distortion of the good, a mis-direction. Every lie shares this aspect of nothingness (it is even less than a strand of spider-silk). Nevertheless, lies, taken together, have a way of weaving a false reality.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Human nature contains in itself an irreducible and inseparable diversity of divine and human, earthly and heavenly, material and spiritual elements and because of these human beings have as their vocation the uniting of the created world with its uncreated God. This mediatonal vocation of human personhood is realized in its fullest possible manner in Jesus Christ, in whom humanity and creation are forever united with God by the grace of the Holy Spirit. For this reason Christ is the archetype of what it means to be human, the mirror in which one sees reflected one’s own true face and vocation.” (Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Clapsis)

“It is worth noting, as an aside, that the Genesis account is not the story of how human beings became “evil.” Terrible distortions have plagued theology across the centuries, particularly those that view humanity as fundamentally flawed at its very core. Some of the darkest regimes in history have subscribed to this view and left a disturbing legacy of violence and abuse as they sought to control and manage a population viewed as inherently evil.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“In [Genesis 1]verses 26-27, there is a significant pause in the narrative as God reflects within Himself, i.e., among the three divine Persons. Up to this point God simply creates by saying, “Let there be” (vs. 14) or “Let the earth bring forth” (vs. 24). Whatever He names then comes into being. However, in these two verses God first proposes (“Let Us make man” - vs. 26) and then acts: “So God made man” (vs. 27). The use of the pronoun “Us” further reveals creation as the work of an interpersonal and relational Being. God proposes, deliberates, and communicates among the Persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Three Persons, in a relationship of communion with one another, is an appropriate description of God the Creator…God discloses Himself as personal and in relationship to man, who is made in his Creator’s image. Man, therefore, is also a person capable of relationships – a being with whom God, the Ruler of all, shapes the dominion of what He has brought into being.” (Dynamis 3/16/2021)

“Since man is fashioned in the image of God, these facts concerning God’s nature have immense consequence for us as relational beings. When man is made in the image of God,… “he exists, he takes on God’s ‘way of being.’ God’s way of being is not a moral attainment, something that man ‘accomplishes.’ It is a way of ‘relationship’ with the world, with other people, and with God, an event of communion… Because God is both communion and diversity, we are complete only in relationship. We are made for communion…we do not find completion merely in physical union but in spiritual communion with God.” (Metropolitan John Zizoulas, Dynamis 3/16/2021)

“All of life is relational. Beginning in the womb, we receive all that we have, all that we are, and all that we are becoming from one another…We were created in love by God and for God. God reveals this to us at the beginning of the Bible in Genesis when He creates Eve so Adam would have both an equal and a helper as the Scripture states. Even with God by his side in paradise with the animals and nature, Adam felt alone without other human beings. God then created Eve. All humans came from the union of man and woman and depend on that relationship. God created all of us to both help each other and receive help in this life. He made us relational to live in loving community just as He is relational within Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” (Bishop John Michael Botean, Sacramental Living)

“The word “religion” literally means “relationship”, “binding relationship”, or “a relationship that binds us back to our Creator.” (Peter Kreeft)

“Broken, fractured, divisive, and hateful relationships are antithetical to our faith and to God Himself. We are all guilty of them at times and we are sacrilegious when doing so. God is relational within Himself. His relational holiness is embedded within in all of creation. This lofty theological truth is expressed in the common ordinary relationships we have with family, friends, and others. Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). This is why Christ tells us to love one another as He loves us (John 13:34, 15:12). When doing so, we are in communion with God and others and acting according to our true created nature.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


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