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Ontology (Being or Non-Being)

“For God had made man…and had willed that he should remain in incorruption. But men, having turned from the contemplation of God to evil of their own devising, had come inevitably under the law of death. Instead of remaining in the state in which God had created them, they were in process of becoming corrupted entirely, and death had them completely under its dominion. For the transgression of the commandment was making them turn back again according to their nature ; and as they had at the beginning come into being out of non-existence, so were they now on the way to returning, through corruption, to non-existence again. The presence and love of the Word had called them into being; inevitably, therefore, when they lost the knowledge of God, they lost existence with it; for it is God alone Who exists, evil is non-being, the negation and antithesis of good.” (St. Athanasius)

“It is highly significant that it is the Spirit who “led” Jesus “into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1). Nothing in the life of Christ is accidental. In all things He is led by His heavenly Father acting through the Holy Spirit, including this “face-to-face” encounter with the evil one. Dostoevsky…refers to the devil as “the dread and intelligent spirit, the spirit of self-destruction and non-being.” (Fr. Stephen Kostoff)

“The concept of “nothingness” is impossible for us to grasp. “Nothingness” suggests a void, an emptiness, bounded by something. Yet nothing existed to circumscribe that void or provide contrast to that emptiness. Nothingness is not just the absence of being; it is its denial, its rejection. It is an absolute negation, immeasurable and incomprehensible. It is non-existence, non-being, a negative power that by its very nature is devoid of all meaning , purpose or hope. As such, nothingness finds its closest human analogy in despair…the eternal Word, who brought all things from non-existence into being, has led us out of our own state of non-being – our nihilistic condition of self-willed emptiness, darkness and sin – and by His resurrection has brought us from an eternal void of meaninglessness and death, into the radiance and joy of the New Creation.” (Fr. John Breck)

 “…forgive everyone for everything…such a goal is overwhelming. How can I forgive everyone for everything? This life of forgiveness, which is nothing other than the life of Christ within us, is our inheritance in the faith. The life of blame, recrimination, bitterness, anger, revenge and the like are not the life of Christ, but simply the ragings of our own egos, the false self which we exalt over our true life which is “hid with Christ in God… forgiveness is not a moral issue. We do not forgive because it is the “correct” thing to do. We forgive because it is the true nature of the life in Christ….the refusal to forgive, the continuation of blame, recrimination, bitterness, etc., are not moral failings. They are existential crises – drawing us away from the life of Christ and Paradise, and ever deeper into an abyss of non-being.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The practical application of contemplating being or non-being is simple. Hamlet famously said, “to be or not to be”. Translated through faith, we could interpret this as “to not sin or to sin.” Every act of true worship, prayer, repentance, love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness or anything else Christ-like, brings us more and more into being, to becoming true human beings in His image and likeness. We are like a light connected to a dimmer switch which we turn and the light becomes brighter and brighter. Sin and evil turns the dimmer switch in the opposite direction until the light ceases and goes dark. It diminishes us to an eventual point of no return.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


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