Divine Contingency: Theologies of Divine Embodiment in Maximos the Confessor and Tsong kha pa by Thomas Cattoi (Gorgias Eastern Christian Studies 7: Gorgias Press) [978-1-59333-970-8] The purpose of this work is to explore the points of contact, as well as the differences, between the distinct notions of divine embodiment developed by Maximos the Confessor (580-662), one of the greatest Greek Fathers, and Tsong kha pa (1357-1419), perhaps the most important thinker in the history of Tibetan Buddhism. Both authors develop a spiritual theology where natural contemplation and the practice of the virtues are invested with a transformative value and are construed as a response to a cosmic intelligence, which sustains the universe, but also becomes manifest in history. The Christocentric vision of Maximos, which refines and completes the Chalcedonian paradigm, and the Buddhological reflection of Tsong kha pa, which compounds centuries of Mahayana speculation on the Buddha bodies, share an appreciation for the propedeutic value of the created order, in all its variety and difference. At the same time, the two systems rest on divergent presuppositions as to the ontological nature of the cosmos and the ultimate value of individual identity.
This work outlines how Maximos and Tsong kha pa developed their respective positions in response to the Origenist school and the tradition of rDzogs chen, whose understanding of the spiritual life they considered problematic. Finally, it explores how a comparison between Maximos’ participatory ontology and Tsong kha pa’s construal of Buddhahood illumines the Chalcedonian understanding of incarnation, and helps us articulate a Christocentric theology of religions that appreciates the value of religious difference.
Thomas Cattoi is Assistant Professor of Christology and Cultures at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, which is part of the Graduate Theological Union. He holds degrees in Economics and Philosophy from Oxford and London Universities, as well as a PhD in Systematic Theology from Boston College. His main interests are in the fields of Greek Patristics and Tibetan Buddhism.
Excerpt: The thought of Jean Paul Sartre is perhaps an unlikely starting point for a reflection on Christology and spirituality in a multicultural, multireligious world. The French philosopher had little patience with organized religion, or indeed, with religion of any kind. His thought gave it for granted that faith in a God or a First Maker was a relic of the past—a relic which bolstered an unjust and ultimately doomed social structure. Sartre's profound pessimism leaves nothing beyond the reach of its suffocating embrace: friendship and love are absent from his gloomy and depressing world, where interpersonal relationships are inevitably marked by exploitation and hostility.
If we turn to Sartre's work La Nausée, the worldview we find is unrelentingly bleak. The main character, a man called Roquentin, experiences feelings of repulsion and disgust when he looks at the roots of a chestnut tree. Everything is obscene and threatening; the world is "brute and nameless," the superabundance of its elements is sickening and overwhelming. Despite all our attempts to penetrate its significance, the world's utter pointlessness persists relentlessly, almost mockingly. For Sartre, the only redeeming quality of this epiphany of the absurd is that it sets Roquentin apart from the "bourgeois fools" whose consciousness is "dulled," and who cannot help seeing the world as "solid." The bourgeois is perfectly at home in the world; Roquentin's horror for le visqueux saves him at least from a destiny of inauthenticity and bad faith.'
In her work Sartre: Romantic Rationalist, the British novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch wonders whether Roquentin's pose of moral superiority is actually justified. He might well be more sensitive than the superficial bourgeoisie; but why is it that the "contingent superabundance" of the world must be seen as nauseating? Roquentin deplores the utilitarian attitude that sees the world only as "material," but he is incapable of offering any constructive solution, and he retreats into an attitude of aristocratic hauteur. Murdoch ascribes Sartre's contempt for the contingent to a morbidly defensive egocentricity; it is no surprise, then, if Pen, c'est les autres. But perhaps, Murdoch suggests, the superabundance of the world might be experienced differently; it might even be a source of joy. Murdoch suggests that contingent reality is more fruitfully approached as a lesson in the insignificance of the observer, who eventually realizes that she is not at the center of the world.
This Copernican revolution often begins in rather unexpected ways. In her novel Bruno's Dream, Murdoch suggests that it is through the experience of love that many people are ripped out of their egocentric cocoon, until even the experience of earthly love is left behind) One eventually learns to "be in love with the separate world and the separate people it contains," even if this love is somehow less ardent, and less personal. If one is truly capable of love, one does not need to withdraw from the world's 'messiness', or fear the indeterminacy of one' consciousness, besieged by contingency on all sides. To counter Sartre's obsession with viscosity, Murdoch resorts to an analogous aqueous metaphor: to face the world with balance and inner detachment is like jumping into water, surrendering to creation's "mysteriously supportive properties." Becoming an authentically spiritual person is perhaps like learning to swim: one must "surrender a rigid, nervous attachment to the upright position," and abandon oneself to the surrounding waters.
For the Christian theologian, Sartre's fear of contingency indicates his ultimate contempt for our creaturely condition. After all, the serpent's temptation in the garden, "you shall be like God, knowing good from evil," suggests an analogous desire to escape from our condition, marked by unavoidable illness, old age and death. As a consequence of the fall, the created order becomes a menace, something that threatens our survival and against which we need protection. In this uncertain world, the power of ergs offers little solace: earthly love is fickle, it is often marred by conflict and strife. Murdoch's intuition that "love" was the answer was right: but where can one find a love which is so strong that nothing in the world will overshadow or extinguish it?
It is not within ourselves that we shall find the medicine to heal Roquentin's nausée, but in the pages of Paul's Letter to the Philippians. There, we are told that Christ, "though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped," but "emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, corning in human likeness." Surely, there can be no better example of "surrender of one's upright position" than Christ's own kenosis. He was not repelled by our creaturely condition, but freely chose to embrace it, and to die on the cross: he swam in the ocean of contingency, but ultimately was not swallowed by it. The incarnation signals that Christ opts for finitude over infinity, suffering over impassibility, agapic love for one's suffering neighbor over self-absorption; he shows us that the way towards a more fulfilled humanity necessarily goes through marginality and asceticism.
The same apostle Paul tells us in 1 Cor 2:14-15 that the "spiritual man" (an& pneumatikos) is not someone looking for recherché inner states, or seeks refuge in a proudly independent interiority. Rather, what "he" sets out to do is to serve the community and its needs; spirituality is not something that one does, but something that one is. Roquentin and Paul's "spiritual man" are the paradigms of two different types of spirituality: one which refrains from contingency and companionship, the other which embraces them and turns them into channels of divine grace. Christ's incarnation shows that salvation is the result of a prolonged work of self-purification which cannot be accomplished in isolation, but actually culminates in what Iris Murdoch terms the "ethics of unselfing."
The temptation to look in the depths of the soul for shelter from a menacing world has perhaps never been as strong as today. Unfortunately, one quickly realizes that the soul is more a labyrinth than a refuge, and all too often its twists and turns conceal unconfessed yearnings and desires, which turn our best intentions to their service. Instead of serving our neighbor in her needs, we expect tributes from the outside world; instead of letting our reason control our passions, we allow the latter to subjugate the former. The agony at Gethsemani shows us that Christ could accomplish what no one had ever been able to do: turn our will finally and permanently towards God. Our desires for radical independence make us less than human; our submission to God makes us partake of the divine. In this way, paradoxically, the promise of the serpent is fulfilled: at the end, erimus sicut Deus. The malaise engendered by Roquentin's chestnut is not cured by the tree of good and evil; it is the tree of the cross that bears the fruit of immortality.
This study explores the way in which the Christian understanding of incarnation presupposes and sustains a theology of contingency, or, in other words, a belief in the salvific import of the created order in its infinite variety and difference. Our starting point is the Christology of Maximos the Confessor (580-662), a Greek Father who lived towards the end of the Patristic period, and whose writings offer us a remarkable synthesis of the theological controversies of the first centuries. The question will then be: what is it that makes Maximos' theology of contingency specifically Christian? How does it differ from other theological or philosophical systems that view contingent reality as intrinsically meaningful and valuable? In order to answer this question, Cattoi engages in a comparative experiment, and juxtapose Maximos' Christology to the Buddhological speculation of Tsong kha pa (1359-1427), a Tibetan master who authored some of the most important systematic expositions of Buddhist doctrine. Both Maximos and Tsong kha pa favored a form of spirituality that was deeply appreciative of the created order, in the case of the former, and of conventional reality, in the case of the latter. A joint reading of these two authors will enable Christian theologians to rediscover how the teaching of incarnation invests the created order with a salvific dignity that is not paralleled by any other tradition. This study thus adumbrates the contours of a Christian theology of contingency, and, in line with Frank Clooney's injunctions in Hindu God, Christian God, the resulting theology will be systematic, constructive, and comparative.
In her early novel The Bell, Iris Murdoch's voice speaks through the voice of one of her characters, who claims that "all failures are ultimately failures in love." Our inability to appreciate the contingent, and the retreat into an attitude of rarefied disdain, is most likely such a failure. The voice of Maximos the Confessor tells us that an exclusive focus on the interior life may be a temptation, perhaps even an affront to the kenotic outpouring of agape that began in the incarnation. Our world bears the marks of sin, but this is no justification to abandon it to its doom. The bombed city of London that is the theatre of many scenes in Murdoch's Under the Net is a metaphor for the redundant contingency of our world, which is wounded, chaotic, often lacking in harmony and beauty. During one of his peregrinations in this novel, the protagonist Jack Donaghue blurts out: "I hate contingency. I want everything in my life to have a sufficient reason." Unfortunately, or more likely fortunately, we will never get altogether rid of contingency; thus, it might be worthwhile to see whether contingency does not have a sufficient reason already. This reason we might be unable to see, but a reason nonetheless, thanks to which whatever we fail to understand becomes an encouragement, a comfort, a gift.
The incarnation is the reason why Christians continue to hope beyond hope in a possible redemption of this world, even when everything seems to point in the opposite direction. It is quite apposite that Murdoch's quip should concern a city; a city is the dwelling place of a multitude, and it is the celestial city of Jerusalem, not the Garden of Eden, which descends from heaven in the Book of Revelation. In this city, "arrayed like a bride," God and his lamb dwell eternally with humanity, and all of creation is united in a celestial liturgy, where everything is where it should be, and goes where it Cattoi’s particular project, which seeks to uncover the distinctive character of a Christian theology of contingency, presupposes that speculative reflections from other traditions on the salvific value of the natural order illumine and deepen our understanding of how God interacts with humanity even outside the boundaries of Christianity. Tsong kha pa's reflection on the soteriological import of conventional reality and the central role in his system of the teaching of the Buddha bodies may be taken as engaging God's impersonal and personal dimension in a way which Heim's original model would be at pains to accommodate. Yet, even as the Trinity remains the lynchpin of this approach to theology of religions, the central role of divine embodiment in both Maximos the Confessor and Tsong kha pa forces us to reconfigure our comparison, and to view it as the locus where the differences between the two systems will come to the fore. The Chalcedonian teaching of hypostatic union that is the backbone of Maximos' reflections induces us to view Tsong kha pa's theology of conventional reality as a form of attenuated, or weaker, sacramentalism, than the one sustained by Maximos' vision.
In this perspective, what distinguishes the two approaches is not that Maximos' spiritual theology fosters a personal relationship with the divine, while Tsong kha pa's understanding of practice acquaints practitioners with God's impersonal aspect. Rather, both approaches engage the dialectic of personal and impersonal that characterize the divine life, but they do so in different ways; it is the task of the comparative theologian to explore in what ways these approaches overlap, and in which ways they differ. At the end of my comparison, we should be able to argue for the ultimate coherence of the Christian vision, while also appreciating the integrity of the Tibetan "religious end" as a spiritual reality that yields an insight into the divine life.
DIVINE EMBODIMENT AND RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY: TOWARDS A CHALCEDONIAN THEOLOGY OF RELIGIOUS DIFFERENCE
In Models of Revelation, Avery R. Dulles distinguishes different modalities of divine self-disclosure, which identify revelation with, respectively, a set of doctrines, salvation history, inner experience, God's own dialectical presence in His Word, or a new, transformative awareness of reality.1 The first two models tend to oppose a "general" or "natural" revelation, which has an introductory character, to the particular or "supernatural" revelation of the Old and the New Testament; at the same time, they are disinclined to acknowledge the revelatory character on other religions. The fourth model, which is exemplified by the work of Karl Barth, radicalizes this position, and affirms explicitly that God's Word revealed in Christ is the only channel of revelation. The third and the fifth model, finally, find it easier to acknowledge the presence of revelation in other religions, though, as Dulles points out, they often do so by relativizing traditional Christian claims. Dupuis' critique of Dulles' approach emphasizes how the exclusivism characterizing more traditional models of revelation stems from their tendency to interpret reality in dichotomous terms: "the natural" is opposed to "the supernatural," the salvific history of Jews and Christians is set apart from other salvation narratives, and an ontological chasm is opened between the content of revelation (Jesus Christ) and its recipients.
The emphasis on "inner experience" and "awareness" in the third and fifth paradigm is of course contested by supporters of more traditional approaches. Karl Rahner, for his part, claimed that God's self-disclosure modifies the way in which we perceive the world, and as such revelation cannot take place without an experience of inner trans formation. The risk, of course, is that we may focus on what goes on in our soul, and forget that revelation puts us in touch with an external reality. At the same time, this approach enables one to break out of traditional exclusivism, and to envisage other religions as bearing some form of witness to God's self-disclosure. Any individual or community, to the extent that they are "grounded in the divine," can become "pointers" towards God's "culminating gift" in Jesus Christ. In the history of 20th century Catholicism, this form of qualified inclusivism was given magisterial support with the conciliar declaration Nostra Aetate. In this document, Catholicism abandoned the attitude of unqualified suspicion that had long characterized its relation with other religions, and asserted its readiness to welcome "whatever there was of just and right" in other confessions of faith. Great care was taken to reassert the unique salvific value of Christian revelation, but fragments of the truth were said to exist in other traditions as well
If we turn to Rahner's Foundations, we see clearly that Rahner's vision echoes Maximos', as both thinkers regard the hypostatic union as the lynchpin of their theology. Admittedly, Maximos operated centuries after Christianity had become the established religion, and, unlike Athanasius, was never compelled to discuss non-Christian religions. On the other hand, the notion of "anonymous Christian" enables Rahner to view the religious experience of different traditions as something valuable, but as something that derives its ultimate value from the salvation wrought by Christ. In this perspective, the sacred writings of all cultures contain passages that suggest the divine inspiration of their authors, even if it is only in the case of the Old and the New Testament that this inspiration encompassed the entirety of the text? In this way, the dialectic between the Logos and the logoi put forth by Maximos is applied to the relationship between Christianity and other religions. On one hand, Rahner seems to say, we can no longer credibly assert that the Wisdom of God is operative only in the Judeo-Christian tradition, but on the other hand, if the soteriological impact of the incamation is truly universal, everything which Nostra Aetate sees as truly valuable in other religions must be somehow related to Christ. Any other solution would amount to admitting a plurality of salvific mediations.
If we reflect for a moment, we see that what Rahner is doing is to repropose in different terms the notion of logoi spermatikoi that informed the theology of Maximos. If the logoi of Scripture and the logoi of nature are all grounded in Christ, how are we to deny that other religions are also mysteriously tied to the mystery of the incarnation through their logoi? If the shining vestments of the transfigured Christ symbolize the logoi of inspired Scripture, perhaps, one might find snatches of the Legs Wad sNying po among the folds. In this perspective, all religious traditions of humanity find a meaning and a purpose in the event of the incarnation, which transcends them in a way that the resources of these very same traditions are unable to articulate. Our earlier discussion of the ratification of ontological boundaries in the Chalcedonian model can then become the foundation of a theology of religions, where religious pluralism is not a deplorable instance of diairesis, but a diaphora setting the framework for dialogue between a plurality of traditions. A Christocentric theology of the sacramental value of contingency becomes a Christocentric theology of religious difference. Within an Origenist model to inter-religious dialogue, the existing plurality of religious traditions would have to be regarded as a result of the fall, destined to disappear in the eschaton as the original noetic unity is restored. Even within a Mahayana model, religious difference would only belong to the conventional level, a helpful instance of skillful means that dissolves into the dharmakaya. Maximos' Christocentric paradigm, on the other hand, could assert the dignity and the salvific value of each tradition, even as they are all seen as participating in the unique divine Wisdom.
One may object that even this way of engaging different religious identities is not truly respectful of their particularity, and that even this Chalcedonian reading of "religious contingency" is just one more oppressive metanarrative. Perhaps, some would say, we should simply engage in dialogue with members of other religions, and see where this dialogue takes us. With inter-religious strife a constant presence on the world stage, indulging in the construction of meta-narratives (which no-one believes anyway) is a luxury we cannot afford; the only way forward is then to go ahead and actually talk to each other. For others, on the contrary, inter-religious dialogue is ultimately pointless, given that Christianity possesses the fullness of the truth, and, as such, talking with other traditions ultimately serves no purpose. Can we then just hope for a civilized form of suspicion? Civilized suspicion, however, is not the attitude displayed by Abraham towards his visitors at Mamre; advocates of inter-religious dialogue could do better than just accept the theoretical legitimacy of "inter-religious hospitality," and begin to put this principle in practice.
In response to these considerations, one might perhaps concede that our historical circumstances leave us little time for a theology of religions, but if our dialogue is going to be fruitful, at some stage a theology of religions is going to be necessary. Engaging in a discussion with another tradition saying that the latter, being different, helps us gain a better understanding of our beliefs because it is different will not lead us very far; at some point, we will need to discuss in what way it is different, and in what way this difference illumines our belief. Different religious systems have a different take on the ultimate nature of reality, and if one chooses to be a Christian, one must be able to explain why he or she believes that the Christian take on ultimate reality is better than its counterpart in Mahayana Buddhism, or, say, African traditional religions. The question is how we can engage the particular claims of the other traditions and how these different claims are ultimately related.
At this point, we find ourselves at a cross-road. Either we decide a priori how the non-Christian religions are related to Christianity, and develop a hierarchy of beliefs based on their perceived closeness to the latter; or we set out to engage the different ways in which humanity has come to interpret ultimate reality, weighing their respective claims, and striving to move towards the truth by trial and error. In the latter perspective, we cannot say in advance in what way a particular doctrine is related to, or falls short of, or even makes it easier to understand a particular aspect of Christianity. Maximos' understanding of the divine Wisdom incarnate in Christ as encompassing all expressions of wisdom would then be particularly well suited to provide this endeavor with a theoretical bedrock. The Christological dialectic between universality and particularity does not submerge the latter into the former, but views the logoi in terms of a dynamic which avoids the chaos and the disorder of a purposeless plurality, as well as the forced homogenization of a Christianity that sees other traditions with suspicion, or worse, dread. The philosophical insights of Tsong kha pa, but also the teachings of the Quran, or the traditions of Jewish Cabbalism, can then be regarded as logoi. This is the answer to Roquentin's nausea at the superfluity of reality, or to Iris Murdoch's claim that contingent reality forces us to cry for a reason: contingency (even religious contingency) finds its ground in the incarnation.
Some will object of course that the claims made by different traditions are contradictory, and as such they cannot be held in a higher synthesis. Yet, the fact that a variety of claims exists, and that they do contradict each other, could be regarded as providential, inasmuch as we are then forced to engage their contradictions and come to a conclusion. In this perspective, the notion of perichoretic exchange underpinning the doctrine of the incarnation and the Mahayana notion of emptiness are both logoi, and engaging the two doctrines will lead us to a better understanding of the Logos because, after appraising them, we are going to embrace the latter, and reject the former as flawed. Judgments of this sort are ultimately going to be necessary, since one cannot claim that Christianity has a better take on ultimate reality and simultaneously assert that there is more than one ultimate truth.
Maximos' incarnational model envisaged divinity taking over humanity and the variety of created reality without suppressing them, but actually developing their potential to the full. Applied to the problem of religious pluralism, the same model suggests that the eternal Logos does not suppress other religious traditions, but underscores their hidden Christocentric significance. Downplaying the centrality of the incarnation and dissolving the logoi in the undifferentiated nous, an Evagrian model of religious pluralism would construe different religious views as ultimately unrelated to the transcendent reality that religions seek to reach.
Could one use a non-Chalcedonian model to accomplish the same feat? Instead of a Christological approach, could we not choose to map the different religious traditions onto a Trinitarian template, or perhaps, echoing the calls for a Mahayana reading of the incarnation, view them as components of the Buddha's janna-dharmakaya? Let us begin with the first possibility, which is the central theme of Mark Heim's The Depth of the Riches. The purpose of this work is to develop a Trinitarian theology of "religious ends," on the assumption that different religious practices pursue different religious goals, and that these "goals" are authentic and eschatologically valid. Heim's model classifies religious traditions into three different categories: those enabling practitioners to cultivate a familiarity with God's impersonal dimension (such as Buddhism and Hinduism); those relating the individual to God's personal dimension in an extrinsic manner, so that religious practice consists largely in following divine commands (such as Judaism and Islam); and those enabling religious practitioners to enter into communion with God's personal dimension, which is the ultimate goal of Christianity. At the risk of oversimplification—Hasidic and Sufi traditions, for instance, strive to attain communion with the divine no less than the Christian mystics—this approach establishes a system of correspondences between non-Christian religious traditions and the mystery of the Christian God. The Trinity becomes the locus and source of religious experience in all its aspects, and only a spirituality grounded in the Trinitarian God can embrace and transcend what non-Christian traditions accomplish. In this perspective, for instance, Tsong kha pa's approach to practice would develop our relationship with the divine ousia in its interaction with the natural order, but the agapic dialogue between creator and creation would be beyond its reach.
Heim observes that "if God is Trinity," the various dimensions of the divine life "are a seamless unity in the communion of the three persons"; as such "the various relations with God" outlined above "are themselves irreducible," and none of them "need be or can be eliminated in favor of the other." But is this approach truly respectful of the particularity of the religious other? For Heim, a linear progression from the impersonal to the iconic to the personal appears a logical implication of the system. A theology of religions based on Maximos' Chalcedonian paradigm, on the contrary, would envisage the logoi of non-Christian religions as pointers towards the mystery of Christ, but it would stop short of asserting in which way, or which aspects of the mystery they reveal. Different traditions would be seen as participating in the same Wisdom, without attempting an explicit hierarchy of religious practices. All forms of theoria and praxis would lead to the mystery of Christ, which sustains and guides them all. We would not try to develop an a priori narrative establishing connections between particular logoi and particular facets of the eternal Logos. All we could say is that the wisdom of non-Christian traditions is itself disclosive, and effectively participates, in the divine mystery.
It is its adoption of a Christocentric ontology of participation that would set a Chalcedonian theology of religions apart from other possible approaches. Of course, the Mahayana doctrine of skillful means could seemingly serve as an apposite framework for a theology of the religions. The dharmah of the jnana-dharmakaya could include the four gospels as well as the Lam rim then mo, and in the perspective of the Legs bShad sNying po, the statements of non-Christian scriptures could be grouped with the neyartha teachings of the Svatantrika Madhyamikas, paving the way for the higher insights of Prasangika philosophers. Viewing Christian beliefs as nitartha statements would be "unskillful," reflecting an in-built reluctance to face reality's impermanence. At the same time, these beliefs could be viewed as part of the "gift" of conventional reality that the Buddha's compassion has devised to sustain our spiritual practice. In this way, a theology of religions based on Tsong kha pa's understanding of Buddhahood would have a more appreciative view of religious pluralism than an Evagrian approach, as it could establish a positive rationale for religious difference. At the same time, it would stop short of developing an a priori narrative connecting different practices to different aspects of ultimate reality, since the very emptiness of ultimate reality would entail that no such connection can be made.
An overarching Buddhist ontology might undercut the natural tendency towards hierarchical categorization of religions, but we might also wonder whether presenting all religious traditions as belonging to the conventional realm is not the most totalizing of all possible metanarratives. If the svdbhdvikakaya is an insight into emptiness, engaging the religious other in its own terms shall not increase our understanding of ultimate reality; the moment of awakening necessarily transcends even the most comprehensive understanding of other religious traditions. If theoria comes to include the engagement of the logoi of different religions, inter-religious dialogue would then become an integral part of religious practice, and hence of spiritual growth; but if the dharmah do not disclose the ultimate insight, merely leading practitioners towards it, their value is again provisional, and engaging them shall not modify our ultimate condition. In this way, Maximos explodes the dichotomy between "extrinsic" and "intrinsic" models of revelation which is implicit in Dulles' account, noting that "revelation" emerges from the personal engagement with the God's self-disclosure in history and in contingent, created reality.
The conclusion drawn in relation to the sacramentality of matter can be repeated here: the dichotomy between conventional and ultimate reality ensures that inter-religious dialogue can at most be regarded as upayakausalya, whereas the participation of all logoi in the Logos would view it as granting us a glimpse into the divine mystery. Wittgenstein is famous for claiming that the mystery towards which reality is ordered can never be expressed by language. Tsong kha pa and Maximos would certainly have concurred. Thanks to the incarnation of the Logos, however, contingent reality offers us an insight into the mystery, which will outlast even the passing of this world.
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