19 March 2011

The Unfolding Revelation of the Tao in Human History: Part One of Two

Departure From The Way: The Primordial Departure

When man, in wrongly using his free will, first departed from the Way (Tao), he corrupted his primal simplicity and became fragmented. Divested of the primal glory, of the garment of Uncreated Light that had enveloped him, he now found himself "naked" (Genesis 3:7). His spiritual corruption and death made him subject to physical corruption and death.

"After his transgression," writes St. Macarius of Egypt (†A.D. 390), "man's thoughts became base and material, and the simplicity and goodness of his mind were intertwined with evil worldly concerns." His will became divided. Now his "natural will," which remained incline to follow the Way in all things, was set against his "free will," which had now taken on itself an inclination to depart from the Way.

Before his primordial departure from the Way, man had experienced only that which was natural to him. Now, however, he also experienced what was unnatural to him. Thus he self-willfully usurped the "knowledge of good and evil," destroying the primal simplicity and bringing duality into the world.

Before, man ha been spontaneous, like a child. At every step, he freely chose, without thinking, to act according to nature, according to the Way. Now, however, at every step he ha to stop and think, to calculate: "Should I follow the Way or not?" Thus he became a complex being, inwardly divided, an always vacillating.

Only God is self-existent. when man began to fall under the illusion of being a self-existent individual, he was essentially making himself into a little god. This was the meaning of the primordial trap into which he fell: "Knowing good and evil, you will be as gods." (Genesis 3:5)

Man had been created to rise, in his simple and uncompounded nature, in noetic contemplation of the simple and uncompounded God. To rise in love, and to unite all of creation with himself in love, raising it also to the Creator. Instead of regarding the Way, however, he choose to regard what was easier and closer at hand: his own visible self. Instead of rising with God, he fell in love with himself.
 ...All evil in the world can be traced to... self-love... 
Because of all this, God allowed suffering to enter the world. he did this not out of vengeance, but out of love for man, so that through suffering arising from self-love... ...and the resulting desire for created things, man might see through the illusion of his self-sufficiency and return to his original designation: the state of pristine simplicity and communion with the Way.

To be continued here...

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