The Orthodox tradition is silent about whether or not in heaven we will receive any scientific knowledge about proportions in nature that are alleged to correspond to divine forms. In hell, however, we can “live” eternally according to Augustino-Platonic ratios, straining forward in an eternally self-sustaining yet self-consuming effort at solving the ultimate physics equation, namely, “How can I make God fit within man-made concepts deriving from creation?” Dwellers in hell (and may God’s mercy save us from this perdition!) will be eternally self-sustained through contact with God’s life-maintaining energy; this sustenance is also a self-consumption through God’s saving or deifying energy, however. In this way, God is not culpable for man’s choice to experience deifying grace externally, from the outside-in, as it were. We could say that damnation in hell is the mirror-image of deification, but this would risk sacrilege, since deification for the saved is an eternal co-acting of divine energies. In hell, the “deification” of the damned is not fundamentally a co-acting of divine energies; it is rather a continuation of the self-exile from God that was lived in earthly life. The human energies of the damned never cease to resist the unifying and passion-inimical divine energies. It is not because of any limitation of divine power that this purifying soul- and body-wringing goes on eternally, without transforming the condemned into a truly saved being. Human freedom is the precondition for salvation; an unfree creation cannot accept or reject God. An unfree creation would not exist integrally; he would be a phantom, unable either to commune with God or to eternally cast himself away from God.

Hell is a physical and spiritual fire that is the presence of God’s reality within a human being who has gone through the Final Judgement having chosen to be eternally dependent on creation rather than on God. Thus, the actual burning is, in the words of St Maximos, a “self-castigation of witless elements,” or an ongoing rejection of the cure of demonic delusion, though the energies of the Holy Trinity sustain the existence of the wretch, allowing him the type of existence he has chosen. Hellfire is an eternal self-caress that is eternalized and absolutized by coming into contact with the saving energies of God in judgment. The final self-coddling of creation-worship becomes a self-rending that never ends. The damned person is constantly filled with saving energy, but constantly attempts to expel God from his nous, soul and body.

This entry was posted in afterlife, analogia entis, Augustine, divine energies, divine essence, Divine Providence, Eastern Orthodox Theology, eschatology, free will, freedom, heaven, hell, Hellenic Wisdom, logoi, Logos, Nous, Orthodoxy, patristics, perdition, philosophy, Platonic Forms, pronoian, Soteriology, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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