Heaven can wait

by Andrea Elizabeth

Ambiguum 7, sections on The unity of rational beings, and Rest and motion.

St. Maximus is defending St. Gregory of Originism, which Maximus instead called “a doctrine of the Greeks”, when the former said, “we, who are a portion of God that has flowed down from above”. This idea is that we were at rest, and became restless, and at least wanted to leave, so God punished us by demoting us to corporality to various layers of corruption, from which we must ascend back to God. St. Maximus says that if so, then what’s to prevent an infinite cycle of the same.

The thought that strikes me is that the reason we think heaven might be boring, is that it seems like we’d become couch potatoes. If the only movement is down, then at least one would be moving instead of stagnant because “nothing that moves has yet come to rest, because its capacity for appetitive movement has not yet come to repose in what it ultimately desires, for nothing but the appearance of the ultimate object of desire can bring to rest that which is carried along by the power of its own nature.” He then goes on to talk about how this scheme makes evil necessary in order to teach us that resting in God is better than moving through the pains of evil.

Somehow God isn’t bored with Himself, but I have no idea how He’s fine with His beyond being immovability. We, however, are not made for stagnation. But since God is infinite, we will never have no place to go. Seems there will always be a chase to know him. He talks about the inadequacy of beauty to satisfy, but what if it’s more like those time lapse artist videos where more and more detail is filled in so that you can’t look away. But an artist knows when to stop, then you appreciate the result of proper balance achieved. Then you move on to the next. So maybe there are many many rooms…

But each room builds something in us. The fixity is in moving towards God and not away. Our experience is to become dissatisfied with evil and learn our lesson and turn away from it. But that is because evil happened. The Orthodox say that the fall wasn’t necessarily necessary. Adam was not fixed in Godward movement yet. He didn’t completely know God. The devil was able to distract him. The Orthodox say this was due to immaturity in Adam. But like I wrote recently, sometimes we can get so fixated on something that we forget everything else. It can seem God wasn’t engaging enough. But if there were a loud enough noise in the background. Only very trained soldiers aren’t distracted by very loud noises. Why God allowed the very loud noise is another question. We say because of free will. Or impatience for ecstasy? Divine ecstasy is only a reward for those who choose to wait? We have to prove ourselves worthy, and Satan offered a shortcut.

Perhaps Buddhist make the movement toward passionlessness the goal. But this is not God’s will. He wants us to redirect our passions toward Him, as a dear panteth for the water.