This is our goal as human beings, to be attained through God’s grace and our efforts. Yet since the beginning, mankind has tried to become ‘a new creation’ through his efforts alone or with help from the dark powers - through magic, science, technology, demonic/Satanic rites, and such as these.
The evil pride inherent in the latter efforts is on display yet again in a recent report on creepy transhumanism and ‘synthetic biology’:
Synthetic biology goes well beyond engineering our food. Geneticist Craig Venter is a pioneer in the field of synthetic biology. In 2010 the media hailed his team’s success in creating “the first self-replicating species we’ve had on the planet whose parent is a computer.”
Currently, companies cannot patent naturally occuring DNA. Synthetic biology will allow syn-bio companies a loophole through patent laws. “One could theoretically upload a DNA sequence onto a computer, “print out” an exact copy of that DNA sequence, and patent the synthetic DNA sequence as an invention,” Gene Watch reports.
Google founder Larry Page met with Craig Venter in
at the Edge billionaires meeting in 2010. Also present were representatives from the State department, Bill Gates, Anne Wojcicki, Bill Joy and dozens of other tech company CEO’s and scientists. California
The Edge Billionaire meetings have discussed the future of genetic engineering, biocomputation and re-designing humanity in a transhumanist era. Physicist Freeman Dyson described the individuals leading this group as having god-like power to create entirely new species on earth in a “New Age of Wonder”. He describes them as:
“…a new generation of artists, writing genomes as fluently as Blake and Byron wrote verses, might create an abundance of new flowers and fruit and trees and birds to enrich the ecology of our planet.”
In the societal divide that will inevitably ensue over the development of these technologies, Fred Charles Ikle, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy under President Reagan, sees a possibility of “Annihilation from Within.” “The prospect is that in the decades ahead, biotechnology – together with other sciences – may fundamentally change the human species and thus pose an elemental threat to democracy, the world order, and indeed to all civilizations,” writes Ikle.
The technological elite are engaged in a mission to attain full spectrum dominance over life and its complex processes, and in the process re-write the genetic code of the planet.
Source: http://www.infowars.com/new-form-of-gmo-sneaking-into-food-supply-this-year/, posted 17 March 2014, accessed 27 March 2014
But this is not the path of salvation, the way to rise above our current fallen, limited condition, to ascend to God. It is the way to destruction, to torment, to hell. Ours must be the way of St Gregory Palamas and that of the other Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church who have kept without blemish the Faith given by Christ to His Holy Apostles:
On the second Sunday of Great Lent, there is a great feast in the blessed city of
Thessalonika, . It is the feast of St. Gregory Palamas. On this day, the holy relics of the saint are taken from the Greece in a procession throughout the city, escorted by bishops, priests, sailors, policemen, and thousands of faithful. One wonders why his earthly remains are still held in such great veneration. How could his bones remain incorruptible more than six hundred years after his death? Indeed, St. Gregory’s life clearly explains these wondrous facts. It illustrates the inspired words of the apostles that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 6:19) and that we are "partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). Church of St. Gregory
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Living the Spiritual Experience of the Church
In Athos, the novice Gregory took as his spiritual guide St. Nicodemos of Vatopedi Monastery. This holy man of prayer guided Gregory on the path of ascetic labor: prayers, vigils, fasting, continuous repentance, and monastic obedience. The young novice Gregory was especially attached to the prayer of the heart, also known as the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (see Luke 18:38).
The experienced practice of the Jesus Prayer, requiring solitude and silence combined with physical exercises and breathing methods, is called "hesychasm" (from the Greek hesychos, meaning inner stillness, peace, or silence). Those practicing it are called "hesychasts." Inner silence of this kind makes us capable of listening to the whispers of the divine within us. "The
is within you" (Luke 17:21). Therefore, the Jesus Prayer is the prayer of the whole person, involving the human body, mind, soul, and heart. kingdom of God
The hesychasts spoke and wrote about their unique experience. They taught people to pray without ceasing, as the Apostle Paul commands allChristians to do (1 Thessalonians 5:17). They explained that in prayer, man is filled from within with the eternal glory, with the divine light beheld at the Transfiguration of Christ on
. The hesychast Gregory explains: Mount Tabor
For, on the day of the Transfiguration, that Body, source of the light of grace, was not yet united with our bodies; it illuminated from outside those who worthily approached it, and sent the illumination into the soul by the intermediary of the physical eyes; but now, since it is mingled with us and exists in us, it illuminates the soul from within. (
3.38) Triads I.
The Jesus Prayer is not a mantra, as in Eastern religions, and it cannot be taken as such. The prayer’s call for “mercy” involves inner repentance and change. It is also a prayer practiced within the sacramental life of the Church, a prayer combined with Holy Communion, confession, reading the Word of God, fasting, loving one’s neighbor, and so forth. Finally, it is not a prayer using “vain repetitions” or babble, but a prayer recited again and again, in persistence (Luke 18:1), from the inner heart of man reaching the divine heights of glory, confessing Christ as the Lord and Savior, in sincerity, humility, and faith.
For that prayer (the Jesus Prayer) is true and perfect. It fills the soul with Divine grace and spiritual gifts. As chrism perfumes the jar the more strongly the tighter it is closed, so prayer, the more fast it is imprisoned in the heart, abounds the more in Divine grace. . . . By this prayer the dew of the Holy Spirit is brought down upon the heart, as Elijah brought down rain on
Mount Carmel. This mental prayer reaches to the very throne of God and is preserved in golden vials. . . . This mental prayer is the light which illumines man's soul and inflames his heart with the fire of love of God. It is the chain linking God with man and man with God. (Palamas, “Homily on how all Christians in general must pray without ceasing,” in E. Kadloubovsky and G. E. H. Palmer, Early Fathers of the Philokalia, London: Faber and Faber, 1981, pp. 412–415)
Such prayer was practiced from the early Christian period. The hesychasts were drawn by God's unconditional graceful love (Romans 5:15) to fill a certain human need around them. Many hesychasts abandoned their solitude to serve their brothers, “since he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:21). Some cared for the sick in hospitals, like St. Basil the Great in Caesarea; others helped the poor, like St. John the Almsgiver in
; and yet others welcomed the faithful for confession. Nevertheless, they did not abandon the Jesus Prayer and their inner silence. In this sense, all Christians are called to follow this hesychast way leading to salvation. Alexandria
Let no one think, my brother Christians, that it is the duty only of priests and monks to pray without ceasing, and not of laymen. No, no; it is the duty of all of us Christians to remain always in prayer . . . every Christian in general should strive to pray always, and to pray without ceasing . . . this very name of our Lord Jesus Christ, constantly invoked by you, will help you to overcome all difficulties, and in the course of time you will become used to this practice and will taste how sweet is the name of the Lord. . . . For when we sit down to work with our hands, when we walk, when we eat, when we drink we can always pray mentally and practice this mental prayer—the true prayer pleasing to God. (“Homily on how all Christians in general must pray without ceasing”)
In addition to his spiritual practice and daily scriptural readings, St. Gregory studied the works of the great Fathers, theologians, and ascetics of the Church. Just as a scientist builds on the evidence and data provided to him by his predecessors, Gregory made a fascinating synthesis of the scriptural and patristic teaching on the prayer of the heart, combined with his personal experience.
Although the monk Gregory in his youth had diligently studied Greek philosophy, he was not influenced by its views on matter. Ancient Greek philosophy believes that the body imprisons the soul, and thus it detests matter. Christians respect the body, since Christ made the flesh a source of sanctification, and matter (water, oil, etc.) a channel of divine grace. In his writings, St. Gregory affirmed that man, united in body and soul, is sanctified by Jesus Christ, who took a human body at the Incarnation. “When God is said to have made man according to His image,” wrote St. Gregory, “the word man means neither the soul by itself nor the body by itself, but the two together.” In another place, he added:
Thus the Word of God took up His dwelling in the Theotokos in an inexpressible manner and proceeded from her, bearing flesh. He appeared upon the earth and lived among men, deifying our nature and granting us, after the words of the divine Apostle, “things which angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:12). (A Homily on the Dormition of the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary)
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The Presence of God in Prayer
In his Triads, Palamas interpreted the experience of the Church by presenting logical arguments, based on the Scripture and the writings of the Fathers. Addressing the question of how it is possible for humans to have knowledge of a transcendent and unknowable God, he drew a distinction between knowing God in His essence, or nature, and knowing God in His energies, actions, or the means by which He acts.
To elaborate more, he made a comparison between God and the sun. The sun has its rays, God has His energies (among them, grace and light). By His energies, God creates, sustains, and governs the universe. By His energies, He transforms creation and deifies it, that is, He fills the new creation with His energies as water fills a sponge. These actions or energies of God are the true revelation of God Himself to humanity. So God is incomprehensible and unknowable in His nature or essence, but knowable in His energies. It is through His actions out of His love to the whole creation that God enters into a direct and immediate relationship with mankind, a personal confrontation between creature and Creator.
Towards the year 1340 the Athonite ascetics, with St. Gregory’s assistance, compiled a general reply to the attacks of Barlaam, the so-called Hagiorite Tome. Since the heated arguments flared everywhere in the churches, a general council was held at
Constantinople in the year 1341. In front of hundreds of bishops and monastics, St. Gregory Palamas held an open debate with Barlaam in the halls of the Great Church of Hagia Sophia. On May 27, 1341, the council accepted the position of St. Gregory Palamas that God, unapproachable in His essence, reveals Himself through His energies, which are directed towards the world and are able to be perceived, like the light of Tabor, but which are neither material nor created. The teachings of Barlaam were condemned as heresy, and he himself was anathematized and returned to . Calabria
Source: http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/69170.htm, posted 16 March 2014, accessed 27 March 2014
But let no one be deceived: This grace that transforms us, as St Gregory says above, is not something apart from God or other than God, as Catholics and Protestants maintain. It is God Himself, His uncreated energies. Salvation for man is union with God:
The statement by St. Athanasius of Alexandria, "The Son of God became man, that we might become god", [the second g is always lowercase since man can never become a God] indicates the concept beautifully. II Peter 1:4 says that we have become " . . . partakers of divine nature." Athanasius amplifies the meaning of this verse when he says theosis is "becoming by grace what God is by nature" (De Incarnatione, I). What would otherwise seem absurd, that fallen, sinful man may become holy as God is holy, has been made possible through Jesus Christ, who is God incarnate. Naturally, the crucial Christian assertion, that God is One, sets an absolute limit on the meaning of theosis - it is not possible for any created being to become, ontologically, God or even another god.
Source: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Theosis, accessed 27 March 2014
In all love and humility, we encourage our friends in the churches of the West, Protestant and Catholic, to explore what grace really is and how to attain it, that we all might have ‘a good account before the awesome judgment seat of Christ’ (from ‘The Petitions’ of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/liturgy_hchc, accessed 27 March 2014).