August 10, 2010

St. Maximus the Confessor: 18 Spiritual Interpretations of the Transfiguration (3)

Continued from Part Two

7. Or they learnt, too, through these that everyone lives to God and no one at all is dead with Him, but that one kills oneself through sin and, through the willing turning towards the passions, cuts oneself off from the Word.

8. Or again they received illumination that the types of the mysteries exist in relation to and are referred to the Word, which is the truth, and are brought into agreement with It, as the beginning and end of the legal and prophetic work.

9. Or everything that is after God and has come into being from God, that is the nature of beings and time, these appear together, so far as is possible, with God who appears as cause and maker. And of these, the type of time is Moses, not only as the teacher of time and of number in accordance with time (for he was the first to count time from the creation of the world), or as one who instituted temporal worship, but also as not entering bodily into rest with those whom he had instructed before the divine promise. For such is time, not overtaking or accompanying in movement those whom it is accustomed to escort to the divine life of the age to come. For it has Jesus as the universal successor of time and eternity. And if otherwise the logoi of time abide in God, then there is manifest in a hidden way the entry of the law given through Moses in the desert to those who receive the land of possession. For time is eternity, when movement is stilled, and eternity is time, when it is measured by movement, since, by definition, eternity is time deprived of movement, and time is eternity measured by movement. Elijah, however, is the type of nature, not only as guarding inviolate the logoi within himself, and keeping the intention according to inclination in them free from any change due to passion, but also as educating in judgment, like the natural law, those who use nature unnaturally. For such is nature, punishing as much those who are set to corrupt it, as those who aim to live contrary to nature, who do not acquire the whole power of nature naturally, and cause its soundness to deteriorate, and are therefore fit to be punished, since they thoughtlessly and mindlessly provide themselves with a deficiency of being through their inclination towards non-being.

10. Equally anyone who says that the intelligible and sensible creation of the fashioner Word is understood through Moses and Elijah does not utterly stray from the truth. Of these Moses offers the meaning [logos] of the sensible, that is subject to change and corruption, as his history of it clearly shows, declaring its origination and death. For the sensible creation is such as to have a beginning known in coming to be, and to look for an end determined by destruction. Elijah [offers the meaning] of the intelligible, neither declaring its coming to be in his account of it, as if it had been generated, nor defining it as looking for corruption through death, as if it were to die. For the intelligible creation is such as to have no beginning of its coming to be that is manifest to human beings, and if it comes to be and commences and passes from non-being to being, it does not await an end of its existence defined by corruption. For it is naturally imperishable, having received this from God who willed to create it such.

Continued Part Four