Essays in theological epistemology
Life and speech, theory and practice, are unified aspects of faith and the life of the Church. Speech, as a means of communication, expression and reflection in the Greek world, was utilized by the Church as the language of the gospel message. If, however, the word of Greek philosophy is worldly and impersonal, the Word of the Church is a living person, which calls for relationship and dialogue. Because the rationality of beings does not derive from their created existence but from their uncreated creator. If the word of ancient Greek thought investigates and interprets the world and man, the Word of the Holy Bible, without belonging to the world, comes not to interpret it but to save it through specific events in the history of salvation.
In the New Testament, the Word does not simply resonate - it becomes incarnate. Every Being in the measure of its truth is a living word, which God the Word uttered, when He called it from non-being to being. With the theory of the reasons of beings, not only a theological view of the world and man is expressed; it is mainly expressed a spiritual and priestly experience, according to which man sees the greatness and glory of God in every created being, supervises and considers the deepest reason for creation but also the ultimate reason for its existence. In the end, the concept of speech does not simply express an attribute of the being, but the very personal existence of both God and man, insofar as speech is a basic feature of the person.
The theology of the Church as experience and life does not imprison God in his unknown transcendence, but reveals a God who shares his personal life through the humanized Word. Participating in the event of Christ is not related to an intellectual and disembodied spirituality. Through the sacramental life of the Church, life in Christ becomes an embodied experience. Eucharistic experience and ascetic experience are the aspects of a single theological epistemology in the life of the Church. The ascetic and hesychastic experience of the monastics is not selectively distinguished from the mystical life of the faithful in the everyday life of the world. In the work of the Greek Fathers of the Church, experience is harmoniously composed with speech, gift and experience with the conceptual expression of its truth. The patristic tradition and Saint Gregory Palamas, expanding the same theological interpretation, will powerfully express the theology of created energies as a development of the Christology of the two natures and energies of Christ. This theology of the active Word led the paternal thought and ascetic practice of the Orthodox East to a secret or mysterious theology and experience, where life and speech, theory and practice, are transformed in the Holy Spirit into communion and sight of the incarnate Word, transforming man and because of him the world and history.