August 11, 2010

St. Maximus the Confessor: 18 Spiritual Interpretations of the Transfiguration (4)

Continued from Part Three

B. Lest I appear to any to be more curious than is necessary, another great and divine mystery, I think, is revealed to us in the divine Transfiguration, more radiant than what I have just said. For I think that the divinely-fitting events that took place on the mount at the Transfiguration secretly indicate the two universal modes of theology: that is, that which is pre-eminent and simple and uncaused, and through sole and complete denial truly affirms the divine, and fittingly and solemnly exalts its transcendence through speechlessness, and then that which follows this and is composite, and from what has been caused magnificently sketches out [the divine] through affirmation. By these, so far as it is within human capacity, the knowledge that hovers above concerning God and the divine leads us through symbols naturally fitted to us to both these modes [of theology], through reverent understanding of both kinds of beings establishing their logoi, and teaching that every symbol that transcends the senses belongs to the first mode [of theology], and educating us that the accumulated mighty works of the sensible order belong to the second. For from the symbols that transcend the senses we believe only the truth that transcends reason and mind, barely daring to investigate or to form an idea of what and how and of what kind it is, and where and when, avoiding what is irreverent in the undertaking. And from those things on the sensible level, so far as is possible to us, from thought alone we plainly form conjectures concerning the knowledge of God and say that He is all that we can deduce from the fact that He is the cause of all that he has made.

Continued Part Five