Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person – the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.
An undignified Trinity
Once upon all the time, there’s God. And from some time there’s human beings. But the reports coming from Earth about the state of humankind are increasingly distressing. The human race is going from bad to worse, despite all God’s efforts, through the various representatives whom He’s sent from time to time to bring it back to its senses.
In the face of this anomalous situation, the Holy Trinity meets. It decides to hear the views of people themselves on the subject and to discuss suggestions on how to get round the predicament.
In a few days, the representative of humankind arrived, an outstanding personality, a wise Counsellor of the Emperor, who enjoyed great prestige among ordinary people. Flattered by his selection for the mission, he soon plucked up courage and started making known his views on how the problem should be solved.
‘I suggest drastic measures’.
‘Send angels with fiery swords to make them see reason’.
‘But what’ll happen to their freedom?’
‘Given the good that’ll come of it, it doesn’t matter if it’s suspended, temporarily’.
‘But can anything be good if it’s good without freedom?’
The venerable Counsellor was at something of a loss. So he retracted. He wanted to be liked so he suggested something he thought God would be pleased with.
‘Send representatives to advise them’.
‘We’ve tried that repeatedly, and it hasn’t worked’.
The venerable Counsellor knitted his brows. Then a new idea popped into his mind.
‘Grant them a general amnesty. Go out on heaven’s balcony and proclaim to people that You forgive them for their gratuitous insult and that You’re writing off their sins’.
‘I can’t do that, because I don’t feel offended at their actions. But even if I did grant a general amnesty, as you suggest, would it do them any good? I don’t think so. The problem isn’t restoring My relationship with people. That never broke down in the first place. They’ve got to repair the relationships among themselves. But in that case, any measures from the outside aren’t going to help as much as a change within themselves will. People need to have the right attitude to themselves’.
The Counsellor was now at a complete loss. Then he thought of employing the old, tried and tested tactic he’d used before at difficult moments.
‘So what do you suggest?’ he asked, with feigned innocence.
‘I’m thinking of sending my Son to earth’.
‘No way!’, the words escaped him. He immediately felt he’d behaved inappropriately, so he quickly tried to put things right.
‘Perhaps I was a bit hasty in my judgement there. I really don’t have anything against the idea. But He’ll have to be presented in an imposing way that’s in keeping with His position.
‘Such as what?’
‘Well, endow Him was an astral body and surround Him with a host of angels’.
‘But won’t that violate people’s conscience?’
‘We’re back to that, are we?’, thought the Counsellor, who was more than a little annoyed. He returned to his old tactic.
‘So how do You see this mission, then?’
‘I thought He should become human’.
‘What did you say? Human. But that’s totally at odds with His standing’. He couldn’t hold back. ‘It’s undignified’. Again he lost it. ‘How could you think such a thing?’
‘When I say “become human”, I don’t mean that He should have the appearance of a human being. He should really be human, be born of a mortal woman’.
‘Is He kidding me?’ the Counsellor wondered, obviously put out. ‘Is He testing my intelligence?’
‘I can’t follow Your thinking’, he said, with wounded dignity. You mean He should go through the stages of life in the womb, birth in infancy from…’ He stopped in horror. He recovered somewhat at the thought that God was probably having a joke. He regarded Him with a meaningful look. He didn’t want to lose face.
God understood the man’s state. Like everyone else, he was confined within his own little world. A servant, concerned only with ‘the things of Caesar’. But He continued to unveil His thinking.
‘I think you’ve got the gist. I’m saying He should be born of a mortal woman, and, in fact, not in the capital city, nor in a palace, but in an insignificant town, Bethlehem, let’s say. In a stable’.
Things had gone too far for the Counsellor. He felt he was being made a fool of. At least he’d try to protect his dignity. He adopted his most serious tone and said:
‘In my own name and in that of the whole of humankind, I wish it to be recorded in the minutes that I disagree with Your proposal’
With this, the meeting came to a close. God stood up, accompanied him to the door, bade him farewell and thanked him for his co-operation.
The Counsellor took his leave, very distraught and dismayed. All the way back, he kept asking himself the same question: How could God think that, up, even as a joke?
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OCN has partnered with Pemptousia. A Contemporary post-modern man does not understand what man is. Through its presence in the internet world, Pemptousia, with its spirit of respect for beauty that characterizes it, wishes to contribute to the presentation of a better meaning of life for man, to the search for the ontological dimension of man, and to the awareness of the unfathomable mystery of man who is always in Christ in the process of becoming, of man who is in the image of divine beauty. And the beauty of man springs from the beauty of the Triune God. In the end, “beauty will save the world”.