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Category: St. Dionysius

Hierarchy vs. Anarchy

by Andrea Elizabeth

In light of the two previous posts on St. Dionysius’s hierachy, despite the title referring to Bishop Alexander, and St. Symeon’s individual conscience, Bishop Alexander (Golitzin) discusses the tension in Hierarchy vs. Anarchy.

“Jan Koder, editor of the Sources chretiennes edition of Symeon’s Hymns, wonders how for example Nicetas could have placed himself in the “paradoxical position of defending simultaneously both the anarchical mysticism of Symeon and the unilateral theoritician of hierachy,” Dionysius.

…Father John’s [Meyendorff] emphasis on what we might call the “charasmatic principle” is certainly one clue to Symeon’s conscious use of Dionysius, but there are others as well. I have in mind particularly the note of “apostolic authority” struck above and, even more importantly (and never mentioned in the literature), the idea of the hierachy – and so the whole Church at worship – as the icon of the inner man. The latter is a notion that has common roots for both Symeon and Dionysius in the Macarian and Evangrian writings….”

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Further down and further out

by Andrea Elizabeth

Having finished the Celestial Hierarchies, let me just note what I suppose are the Platonic forms so represented.

Let us, if you are so disposed, now relax our mental vision from the effort of the contemplation of the sublimity of the Angels, and descend to the particularized, all-various expanse of the manifold diversity of forms in angelic images; and then return analytically from them, as from symbols, ascending again to the simplicity of the Celestial Intelligences. But first let me point out clearly to you that the explanations of the sacred likenesses represent the same Orders of Celestial Beings sometimes as leading, and again being led, and the last leading and the first being led, and the same ones, as has been said, having first, middle and last powers. But there is nothing unreasonable in the account, according to the following method of unfoldment.

The two things that give me pause are, 1) the idea of diminishment as one moves down the chain. And 2) The indirectness of God’s help in using such a chain.

What these two problems assume is that the grace imparted, diminished and indirect, is something apart and detached from God Himself. If I seek confirmation of this in Scripture, then I think of the passage explaining that God made man a little lower than the angels. And I don’t doubt that Moses’ face after the burning bush was less bright than Christ’s at the Transfiguration. And it is also explained somewhere that to each a measure of grace (actually, faith) is given. If we understand that this grace is a living part of God Himself, then it doesn’t seem so detached, even if it is given at the hands of someone else. One must learn to be content no matter where one is placed around the table. Just be glad you’re there, or at least under it searching for dispersed, increasingly particularized fallen crumbs, at all.

Natural Law in St. Dionysius?

by Andrea Elizabeth

From Celestial Hierarchies, Chapter XIII:

The reason why the prophet Isaiah is said to have been purified by the Seraphim.

Moreover, It is revealed to all Intellectual Natures in due proportion, and bestows the radiance of Its Light upon the most exalted beings through whom, as leaders, It is imparted to the lower choirs in order according to their power of divine contemplation; or to speak in more simple terms, by way of illustration (for although natural things do not truly resemble God,who transcends all, yet they are more easily seen by us), the light of the sun passes readily through the first matter, for this is more transparent, and by means of this it displays more brightly its own brilliance; but when it falls upon some denser material it is shed forth again less brightly because the material which is illuminated is not adapted for the transmission of light, and after this it is little by little diminished until it hardly passes through at all. Similarly, the heat of fire imparts itself more readily to that which is more adapted to receive it, being yielding and conductive to its likeness; but upon substances of opposite nature which are resistant to it, either no effect at all or only a slight trace of the action of the fire appears; and what is more, when fire is applied to materials of opposite nature through the use of other substances receptive to it the fire first heats the material which is easily made hot, and through it, heats proportionately the water or other substance which does not so easily become hot.
Thus, according to the same law of the material order, the Fount of all order, visible and invisible, supernaturally shows forth the glory of Its own radiance in all-blessed outpourings of first manifestation to the highest beings, and through them those below them participate in the Divine Ray. For since these have the highest knowledge of God, and desire pre-eminently the Divine Goodness, they are thought worthy to become first workers, as far as can be attained, of the imitation of the Divine Power and Energy, and beneficently uplift those below them, as far as is in their power, to the same imitation by shedding abundantly upon them the splendour which has come upon themselves; while these, in turn, impart their light to lower choirs. And thus, throughout the whole Hierarchy, the higher impart that which they receive to the lower, and through the Divine Providence all are granted participation in the Divine Light in the measure of their receptivity.

It strikes me how much the Fathers use reason in their discourse. Modern Orthodox de-emphasize reason citing it as the culprit in modern humanism and the enlightenment, and how the Catholics got off course post-schism. Apophatic theology is said to be the surer route since God is above knowing, and we can only know through revelation. I’m considering that it’s both. St. Dionysius in the above relies on revelation as revealed in the Bible. What the Bible says about Isaiah’s testimony in the above chapter is a given. What conclusions can be drawn out of this given? We trust that the Orthodox Fathers were able to come to proper conclusions. To say that modern man doesn’t is full of implications.

Contra humanism, are we devolving? Was the immediate post Christian era the culmination of human evolution? The Greeks mastered philosophy, and the first millennium Christians used their method in their milieu to come to Christian conclusions? One can say that the west started to veer off with Augustine (and maybe Tertullian), but at the same time, perhaps even their veering is more impressive than modern cogitations?

Yet, in the next millenium, western evolution became dominant. Impressive things in the east that occurred since then can be said to be influenced, if not tainted, by the west. The eastern Church has spent most of its energy since then trying to maintain Orthodoxy despite the western influence, with the challenge of applying it in an eastern way, fighting context. It’s just the way it is. We can’t pretend it didn’t happen, nor that it had no effect.

Whether the west’s veering caused the worldwide devolution, or whether people lost the ability to purely, which is required to find Truth, apply themselves for some other degenerative reason, we still have to ground ourselves in the ancient Church. We can’t reinvent it according to our modern reason, but somehow some are still able to recognize it in them.

If you doubt that the west has lost the ability to discern truth because of respect for some modern great thinkers, then I will paradoxically say that moderns like Lewis, Derrida, Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky, and Dickens are right in admitting the modern condition of ignorance in understanding the things of God. They are more pessimistic than Dionysius and Nyssa about men’s abilities.

A reading detour

by Andrea Elizabeth

Inspired by a recent Facebook conversation, I have picked St. Dionysius the Areopagite back up again. Since there was a link to an ebook of his Celestial Hierachy, I have begun there. It is a little hard for me to grasp how we are to see the Divine as above all matter and understanding, and yet like things on earth as is explained by metaphors and similes. St. Dionysius says that at the same time, created things, even inanimate objects participate in the heavenly beauties, so they cannot be cast aside as non-divine. But the Divine Spirit Himself is above light, and thus dwells in darkness to us. This can seem lonely and remote, but I think I’ve heard someone besides C.S. Lewis in his space trilogy, maybe it was Dr. David Bradshaw, say that it is a most full darkness. But I can’t dwell on that for more than a second because at my stage in life I need to sense God’s presence in actual sunlight and candle light. And St. Dennys hasn’t explained the consecrated physical gifts in the Eucharist yet. He is not separate from them. They, like Christ, possess a unique unity of created and uncreated. I have heard of several people seeing the gifts actually glow. And it seems that the uncreated light is visible to us, so it’s not exactly darkness. I just don’t think we are to let go of this sensible earth completely, as it seems a necessary part of union with God. Detaching ourselves from a passionate dependence on it is another matter that St. Dionysius, as well as St. Maximus, talks quite a lot about. Since St. Dionysius precedes and influences St. Maximus, I am reading this ahead of A Eucharistic Ontology for the time being. And I’m also getting a lot out of The Arena, speaking of detachment, which we are reading in a class at Church. And Dostoyevsky’s Idiot is still calling me.

Who do you say that I am (2)

by Andrea Elizabeth

After an interesting tour in gnosticism, on page 65 of God, History and Dialectic by Dr. Joseph Farrell, we get back to the heresy of subordinationism of the Son to the Father. Athenagoras of Athens combats the Gnostic’s dualism, but leaves Christ open to being an energy of the Father instead of a person in that he says Christ dwelt in the Father’s mind, being called Logos, or Reason, before He became the firstborn of creation, which made Him a creature. Dr. Farrell then criticizes St. Justin Martyr’s philosophy of not doing  much different, though unbeknowingly. Here is his summary of St. Justin’s thought:

(1) God is absolutely unoriginate (aggenhtoV);149
(2) He is preeminently Father, therefore, because He is the Creator of
all;150
(3) Thus, by implication, the Word, as Son, is originate, as is Creation,
and therefore the Son is a creature, and not divine;
(4) God the Father is thus utterly transcendant,151
(5) The Logos is an Emanation(proodoV) of the Father to the Word,
bridging the gap between the Father’s utter transcendence and the
world: “Just as we see happening in the case of a free [fire?], which is not
lessened when it has been kindled but remains the same, and that
which has been kindled by it likewise appears to exist by itself, not
diminishing that from which it was kindled.”152

The last point again focuses the dilemma, for on the one hand, the
illustration of the fire clearly is to be understood as an illustration of the full
deity of the Logos; on the other hand, Utter Transcendence itself would
seem to be the distinguishing attribute of deity in Justin’s system, and
therefore, the Logos, as imanating from that Transcendence, would seem
to be less than divine. (p. 68)

First I note that #3, the most serious “implicat”ed charge, is unfootnoted, and not a necessary one, imo, by what he says in his commentary underneath and the additional quote. If the Father is like a fire and transcendent, then the Son’s fire-ness can also be transcendent and not less than divine. At least he says, “seems to”. I don’t think St. Justin would be a Saint if the Church Fathers thought he seemed to say that. Next Dr. Farrell asks some interesting questions.

(1) If the Divine Logos which inspires philosophy and theology is one
and the same Logos, does this justify Christians making use of
whatever individual fragments or particular truths philosophy may
possess, i.e is the fragment true in and of itself, or only in the
context of the fullness and completeness of the Logos, which is
what St. Justin seems to imply?
(2) On the other hand, if one rejects St. Justin’s conception of the
Logos, then is not one denying the unity and consistency of truth,
and therefore, does not one deny the whole basis of Christian
theology, that which we encountered from its beginning, i.e., that
there is a relationship between what God does in Creation and
what He does in Redemption, for it is on account of the former that
He is recognized for Who He is in the latter;
(3) But if Christ is “the Logos in everyman”, what exactly distinguishes
the Logos in Christ from the Logos in everyman? It would appear
that Justin is implying that the distinction is not “qualitative” but
merely quantitative”, that there is something called “Logos” which
Christ has more of than anybody else. (p. 69, 70)

Before #1, Dr. Farrell quoted St. Justin as saying that the ancient Greeks “borrowed from the Old Testament”, so to me that puts that worry to rest, what they got right, they got from revelation, not that revelation is incompatible with reason. Perhaps he is setting up a false dialectic between humanity and deity. Humanity is in God’s image, but God is above being, and therefore His reason is above, not “more” than, ours, and not opposed to it. Which reminds me that I need to get back into St. Dionysius. Regarding #2, in my mind this speaks to my delimma with St. Maximus’ explanation of Recapitulation being all-encompassing whether one is an orthodox Christian or not. He makes the distinction between ever-living well, and ever-living ill in Christ’s redemptive work in immortalizing man, but living well has to do with acting in natural human fashion, of which the virtues are a part, and not so much about being baptized. Even so, he also talks glowingly about baptism, so it is obviously not unnecessary or of no effect. I’m a maximalist, so I wouldn’t risk not living right nor not being in the right Church, Christ’s Body.

More Athens and Jerusalem

by Andrea Elizabeth

In the section, ‘Marius Victorinus’ of the chapter, “The Plotinian heritage in the West”, in Aristotle East and West, Dr. Bradshaw shows how this Christian philosopher understood the first two of the Triad including the One and the Intellect as a way to describe the Father and the Son, the first two persons of the Trinity. I’ll be looking to see if somehow the Soul or the World Soul gets compared to the Spirit, who as we sing is “everywhere present and fills all things”.

He also compares the Father/One to essence and the Son to One-Being.

What then is the relationship between the esse which is the Father and the öν[One-Being?] which is the Son? The answer lies in the second of the passages from the New Testament, the opening words of the Gospel of John: in principio erat verbum, et verbum erat apud deum. For Victorinus the verbum is of course the Son; more suprisingly, the principium is the Father, the beginning of all things. In saying that the verbum was in principio and apud deum (“in the bosom of the Father,” verse 18), St. John asserts that “initially” – that is, in the order of ontological priority – the Son  is present in potentiality in the Father. This potential öν comes forth as actual öν, and in so doing becomes the Logos. To say that the Logos is τò öν does not mean that the source of the Logos is not being (τò μη` öν) in any absolute sense, but only that it exists in a way other than that characteristic of τò öν. (p. 110)

So, does that mean that the voice coming from the burning bush to Moses was the pre-incarnate Word who is “I am”? This would solve the inconsistency regarding the existence of the Father who is above being, or beyond beingly being (Dr. John D. Jones), or now, being in another way, as Dr. Bradshaw put it above.

The Fathers’ Emphasis on Unity

by Andrea Elizabeth

[T]he Trinity constitutes the inexhaustible fruitfulness of Unity. From the Trinity comes all unification and all differentiation. That is so, despite the fact that – as Dionysius insists elsewhere (Divine Names, II, 11) – unity, in God, is always stronger than distinctions, so that ‘distinctions remain indivisible and unified’.

God, the divine Origin, is praised in holiness:

whether as Unity, on account of the character of simplicity and unity proper to this Individible whose unifying power unifies us ourselves and assembles our different natures in order to lead us together … to that unification which is modelled on God himself;

or as Trinity, because of the thrice personal manifestation of this superessential fruitfulness whence all fatherhood in heaven and on earth receives its being and its name;

or as Love for man, because… the godhead has been fully imparted to our nature by one of its Persons calling humanity and raising it to himself, for Jesus mysteriously took flesh, and the eternal was thus introduced into time and by his birth penetrated the utmost depth of our nature.

Dionysius the Areopagite Divine Names, I,4

– Olivier Clement, The Roots of Christian Mysticism p. 62,63)

When reading Sts. Dionysius and Maximus on God’s sourcehood, sustaining power, in and through all-ness, and Cosmic Recapitulation, one can get a sense of universalism – God is all in all. Despite others’ insistence on a separate place for the damned, I tend toward’s C.S. Lewis’ view illustrated in The Great Divorce. That the ones in “hell” are ones who separate themselves further and further away from God, and who as a result become smaller and smaller. One of his guys even disappeared – I’m not sure I go that far. Many teach that this type of hell is existential, because there is no “place” where God is not. Their separation is like a figment of their imagination (tormenting though that be) because they separate themselves from reality – God.

Despite the ovewhelming universal passages so far in Clement’s book, there is this one section that admits there is something (or at least some sense of otherness) other than God (not in the Divine Simplicity sense).

By the Ascension the Body of Christ, woven of our flesh and of all earthly flesh, entered the realms of the Trinity. Henceforward the creation is in God, it is the true ‘burning bush’ according to Maximus the Confessor. At the same time it remains buried in the darkness of death and separation because of humanity’s hatred and cruelty and irresponsibility. To become holy is to clear away this weight of ashes and to uncover the glowing fire beneath, to allow life, in Christ, to swallow up death. It is to anticipate the manifest coming of the Kingdom by disclosing its secret presence. To anticipate, and therefore to prepare and to hasten.

Christ, having completed for us his saving work and ascended to heaven with the body which he had taken to himself, accomplishes in his own self the union of heaven and earth, of material and spiritual beings, and thus demonstrates the unity of creation in the polarity of its parts.

Maximus the Confessor Commentary on the Lord’s Prayer

Christ in his love unites created reality with uncreated reality – How wonderful is God’s loving-kindness towards us! – and he shows that through grace the two are become one. The whole world enters wholly into the whole of God and by becoming all that God is, except in identity of nature, it receives in place of itself the whole God.

Maximus the Confessor Ambigua

(RoCM, p. 54,55)

Getting to know the originals

by Andrea Elizabeth

I don’t know why I’ve put off reading St. Athansius’ On the Incarnation for so long. I’ve read about it and even quoted parts of it but haven’t gotten around to reading it. Sometimes when I’ve heard so much about something, I think I already know it and then don’t have the curiosity that usually motivates me to read it. C.S. Lewis explains another reason why people don’t read classical originals in the Introduction,

There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books. Thus I have found as a tutor in English Literature that if the average student wants to find out something about Platonism, the very last thing he thinks of doing is to take a translation of Plato off the library ashelf and read the Symposium. He would rather read some dreary modern book ten times as long, all about “isms” and influences and only once in twelve pages telling him what Plato actually said. The error is rather an amiable one, for it springs from humility. The student is half afraid to meet one of the geat philosophers face to face. He feels himself inadequate and thinks he will not understand him. But if he only knew, the great man, just because of his geatness, is much more intelligible than his modern commentator. The simplest student will be able to understand, if not all, yet a very great deal of what Plato said; but hardly anyone can understand some modern books on Platonism. It has always therefore been one of my main endeavours as a teacher to persuade the young that first-hand knowledge is not only more worth acquiring than second-hand knowedge, but is usually much easier and more delightful to acquire.

This mistaken preference for the modern books and this shyness of the old ones is nowhere more rampant than in theology. Wherever you find a little study circle of Christian laity you can be almost certain that they are studying not St. Luke or St. Paul or St. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas or Hooker or Butler, but M. Berdyaev or M. Maritain or M. Niebuhr or Miss Sayers or even myself.

Eight pages into the original and I’m entranced. I am seeing foreshadowing of St. Dionysius as St. Athanasius talks about God’s creation ex nihilo, and am very much appreciating how he frames why Christ assumed humanity. Dr. (?) Lewis also says, “When I first opened his De Incarnatione I soon discovered I was reading a masterpiece… for only a master mind could have written so deeply on a subject with such classical simplicity.”

There’s also a quote from The Shepherd from Hermas that I recognize in the Divine Liturgy, “Believe thou first and foremost that there is One God Who created and arranged all things and brought them out of non-existence into being.” (Book II) p. 28

I’m glad I read Dr. Jones’s lengthy intro to St. Dionysius though, since his Corpus isn’t as simply written. It may be more simply written than Dr. Jones writes, but as I’ve shared before, I had a significant block to the Saint’s use of non-being in reference to God. I had to work through that with Dr. Jones. I’m still reading The Divine Names, but I don’t know if I’ll quote much of it. Now that my blockage has been removed, I’m just going to try to absorb it.

The end of the Introduction

by Andrea Elizabeth

There are a few movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Bicentennial Man, and Unbreakable which move so slowly that I get antsy waiting for them to move on and for all the problems to hurry up and get resolved. They had enough moments of interest to keep me sitting there though, ants and all. Other than these, it’s pretty easy for me to suspend my disbelief with cinematic story-telling and to get caught up in the ride.

I used to be that way with books. Before I was ever married I could pick up a book and sit through it as easily as popping a DVD into the little slot and fastening my seatbelt. Nowadays I only have very rare moments where I am not conscious of every black and white word on the page. Reading them is almost like counting them. I am very interested in the content of the books I’ve shared on this blog, so I’m also conscious of it while I stare at all of the black letters on the many white pages. Being conscious of both is uncomfortable, but I recognize the value in learning, and I am curious, so I keep going. It is thus with a sense of hard-won accomplishment that I am happy to say, I finished the Introduction to St. Dionysius’ Divine Names and Mystical Theology by Dr. John D. Jones!

I would like to now explore one paragraph in his last section on “Negative Theology”,

Yet in the denial of all that is and in the denial of affirmative theology and metaphysics, one does not declare affirmative theology to be false, nor does one regard all that is as mere illusion. For, in the denial of beings and the logos which manifests these beings, one goes away from all and is indifferent to all beings and all logos. Thus we completely misunderstand the character of negative (mystical) theology if we regard it as a knowledge which is competitive with affirmative theology, or as if it were something which takes up a standpoint opposed to the standpoint of affirmative theology. (p. 101)

This is a nice reconciliation, for any mistaken notion of opposition that is. However, the word, “indifferent” needs clarification. It can sound like one is supposed to be apathetic to all that is. St. Maximus uses the word, “detached”. To defend them against gnosticism, I’ll explain this away by saying that one has to not put all their hope and trust in princes and the sons of men, one should not be too attached to wealth, entertainment, comfort, etc., and one should not dream about better earthly circumstances. There is also a selfish love where one looks to positions and things as a way to gain status, or to people to make them feel needed, wanted and loved. Stoicism can perhaps be criticized as a violent and forceful cutting off of these desires and emotions that seems to leave one with a void, or a sort of alternate happiness in feeling oneself a strong, virtuous person. One gains self-esteem and maybe pride by being stoic. One can feel smug about being strong enough to not succumb to the petty cares of mere mortal men. But I’ve not studied Zeno so these are preliminary impressions. Apathy seems a depressed sort of uncaring. One probably has to be a Saint to achieve true, loving dispassion, if not impassibility.

How is evil?

by Andrea Elizabeth

As we will see, this will allow us to locate some failure among beings to be completely good in the logoi of those beings; and this in turn will entail that not all failure to be completely good is evil.

[…]Let me explicate the sense of this distinction in more detail, by contrasting the all-good angels with the more or less good beings subject to matter. An angel is “… an image of God, a manifestation of the unmanifested light, a pure mirror, what is most clear, without flaw, undefiled, and unsustained so that it receives the whole richness of the good-formed divine idea.” (D.N. IV)

[…]On the other hand, the whole order of beings which are changing and subject to matter are only more or less good or incompletely good. Such beings can never be completely good precisely because they are naturally only more or less good. Their failure to be completely good is due to their logos (nature); it is an essential aspect of their being. However, such failure to be completely good is not evil, for it is in conformity with the temporal natures of these beings.

[…] The licentious man, however, is an echo of the good through his failure to be human. Human being as such, far from merely existing, possesses life and wisdom and is capable of becoming one with the divinity through mystical contemplation. This, however, presupposes that one be morally virtuous and live in conformity with reason. The licentious man fails to do this because of the tyrannical presence of various bodily desires and the absence of reason as the “master” of his soul which reason should be there. The licentious man fails to be rational; he fails to be according to his logos. His re-sounding of the good present to him is disorderly and evil. The licentious man is unnaturally among the last of beings.

[…]When does evil arise? It arises when a being possesses a way of be-ing which is incompatible with its nature, or when it lacks a way of be-ing which is incompatible with its nature, or when it lacks a way of be-ing which is necessary for it to completely function in conformity with its nature. Evil arises, if you will, in an apple tree which is incapable of bearing fruit.

[…] For Pseudo-Dionysius, “disease is a lack of order, but not of every order. For if this were so, the disease itself would not subsist. Yet the disease is and abides by having being with the least possible order; it subsists along with the order.: A disease is (thus it is good); yet when it subsists in a body it can render the body incapable of be-ing according to its nature; thus the body suffers an evil. Yet it is neither the body itself, nor the disease itself, nor even the presence of the disease in a body which “is” the evil in a diseased body. The evil “is” the incompatibility of the disease and the body; it is the contrariness to what subsists.

[…] “Why should there be evil at all?”

Such a question asks for a cause of evil and, indeed, for the ultimate cause and source of evil. Yet the ultimate cause of evil would be evil itself. But evil itself – be-ing in no manner whatever – “is” wholly devoid of power and unity; thus, it cannot be a source or a cause, for every source and cause empowers being to be by making them one. The question “Why is there evil at all?” is a mistaken question; for, it seeks an ultimate cause where there is none. However, in denying the legitimacy of this question we do not seek to explain evil away; rather, we indicate that evil is uncaused and unexplainable. (Dr. Jones’ Intro to D.N. and M.T. p. 80-87)

He then goes on to explain how this is different than Plato’s idea of the Demiurge.

I have questions about clarity vs. opacity, such as matter possesses, exhibiting a completeness or incompleteness of good. How can God Incarnate be less than completely good? Also, evil not having a cause gives pause.

Nevertheless, I can go along enough to see his points, gnostic though they may seem at present. If God is the ultimate good, then unless one subscribes to Christ always being Incarnate in some timeless sense, created matter exhibits a step down from how God is. Even with the Incarnational eternal perspective, Christ could be said to be further down in the hierarchy of the Trinity since He is caused. His eternal and divine nature is a gifts. Then matter would also be given the gift of some sort of eternity through  Christ. Not in the Mormon or Origenism sense though. So if opacity is less-than, Christ redeemed it. Justification and imputation comes to mind, but not in the Protestant sense. Christ’s resurrected body is truly pure, not just called pure, and so must ours become.

Regarding the cause of evil, much is said about the fall, but not by St. Dionysius apparently. Evil happened in the angelic realm when Satan and the angels fell, and in creation, when Adam and Eve disobeyed. I think he is saying that “evil” did not cause these falls. If a being’s reality is to be or become good, then its turning to evil is unexplainable. He says the licentious man listens to his bodily appetites rather than reason. Diseased reason justifies this. It puts an incompatibility between appetites and the person. At the fall our reason became diseased. But why would A&E who desired good listen to Satan rather than God? Why would Satan choose Godless good? An incompatibility between God’s energies and essence? To desire separated energies, to be jealous of God’s essence and source-hood. To resent God’s above beingliness. Since it is invisible, it can be easy to ignore. Remembering Him takes an act of the will. We have to will Him to exist? Oh my. “Thy will be done.”