Truth and Salvation -the existential importance
of the synthesis of the Greek Fathers
Truth and the situation of the fallen existence
importance of sin for the understanding of the truth can be summarized in the
following general observations.
considering the self as the ultimate being, that is, having the demand to be God,
man created a circle of existence, whose center is he. Thus, every being refers
ultimately to man, who perceives it, surrounds it and understands it with his
own mind, his own will and desire. In this way the creation becomes incompetent
to get out of itself because it has to be self-confirmed in man and through man,
that is, in a created being and through it. The relation of man and nature is
overridden and «the entire creation grieves and aches (suffers along with him)
to this day», waiting its salvation through the salvation of mankind (Romans
8,22). This overthrow of the relationship of man with nature, leads man to
moments of weakness, when he admits the excellence of nature over him and
identify existentially the truth to the existence of nature (idololatry). If he
chooses to be released from that, then he has no other choice than return into
himself and accept as the ultimate truth his ability to perceive and understand
reality. This is how truth identifies itself to this, to which human reasoning
cannot doubt: the «adequatio rei et intellectus» becomes the basic definition
of knowledge and the truth has to be adapted to it[i].
term «nature» in the sense of the substance or the thing appears in this way
as the utmost form of truth[ii].
Because the human viewing of things becomes the key to knowledge, should the
truth be objective to be understood or at least for man to be able to meet it[iii].
This meeting creates a correlation between the subject and object of knowledge
and the truth then relies on the mutual proximity of the two «contracting
This meeting or correlation between the subject and the object of knowledge has
important results on gnoseology.
consequence can be discerned in the relation of truth and love. If the truth is
connected to nature or the nature of things and therefore to the relevant
understanding of this individualization of the being, then man can inevitably
end up into a relation of communion with love under the presupposition, that he
acquired the knowledge of the «object» of his love. The «other» -either it
is a «person» or a «thing», it is presented as an object of knowledge,
before a relationship of communion takes place. One can love only what he knows,
because love comes from knowledge, according to Thomas of Aquinas[v];
of this is valid just on our own situation of fall and should not become an
element in our own metaphysical anthropology and even less in our occupation
with the theology regarding the Triad, as it happened with the Aquinate. The
bisection of love and knowledge includes a distance not just between person and
nature, but also between thought and action in the internal of the very human
now the ability of knowledge precedes the action of communion (love) and is
independent of it, then man can separate his thought from his action and falsify
the validity of truth. Man then becomes a hypocrite and, honestly, only human
nature is capable of hypocrisy.
the question on the relationship of truth with action, the practical, the
consequences are clear. To «act the truth» is a biblical point. But this is
exactly what for man is impossible, because in his fallen existence faith and
action can only coincide for "one moment" and this "moment of existence"
is no other than the revelation of that, which existence should basically be,
but isn't. Kierkegaard revealed the authentic moment of existence and added in
this way, into the relationship of subject-object of the truth the greatest
strike in the West; but this led only to the identification of the truth with
the fallen man thus remains open as an only alternative, the identification of
the truth with action, as it happened to Marxism; in this way the truth
identifies with the activity of man in society[vii].
The problem of Greek ontology reappears in this way in its Aristotle form of
dynamism and relevant evolution of the being (a "historical Darwinism", as
one can characterize Marxism). This is rather encountered in the Judean
perception of history as a development towards the future; through the new-testament
understanding of the truth, however, it cannot harmonize itself. The inevitable
collectivism in the Marxist understanding of the truth as action indicates
clearly, that the whole problem concludes in this, which in this chapter we
characterized as individualization of being. This happens because the being is
cut into pieces and individualized, before it refers to the truth. The
connection and the gathering of people is used as a form of an altered community
and the truth effuses from this collectivistic confrontation of the being.
can enumerate a lot more consequences on the truth coming from the
individualization of the being in our fallen nature; the most tragic between
them is the understanding of death. In the ontological level of the truth there
is no more obvious falsification than the word concerning a «dying being». It
is an exceptionally irrational contradiction of terms. The problem of death is
connected to the truth in existence particularly through the identification of
the truth to nature itself and at the same time with individualization and
subdivision of this nature. If this means, that Adam had to die, because he had
fallen with divinate himself, then this means exactly, that "self-divination",
meaning the utmost reference point of being is not just a psychological thing,
but something ontological. Death does not come as a resulting punishment on
disobedience, but as a result if this individualization of nature, to which the
whole world subordinates. In other words: there is an internal relationship
between death and individualization. In this relationship we were all born
through our current form of reproduction and this is exactly what means, that we
have a life, which is not «real life».
salvation from fall actually means, that the truth is fully connected to being
and in this way leads life to being real, meaning not to die.
is why in the fourth Gospel eternal life, that is, a life without end and death
is identified to the truth and knowledge. But this can only be done, if the
individualization of nature is transferred to the community, if, in other words,
community is identified to being. Therefore, community has to be the truth, in
order to be life.
The cartesian philosophy gives a very good example on this subject. When
Kant defines the «adaequatio» as an «agreement to the laws of the mind»
(Kritik der reinen Vernuft, B 350) inserts the exceeding dimension of the
truth. This, of course, does not eliminate the sense of truth from it, which
we characterize as a situation of the fallen existence, because according to
Kant the synthetic unity of the human experience at a final analysis defines
that which truth is (as above, B 197).
See above, footnote 13.
E. Brunner, as above, wants to surpass the structure «subject-object»,
inserting the term «meeting». The problem certainly wants to exist for as
long as the sense «communion» is not used decisively. The same observation
can one make in the matter of the structure «I-You», which M. Buber
See the extended use of the «theory of correlation» in modern day
See Thomas of Aquinas, Summ. Theol. I, II, 4. This returns to Augustine (De
According to Kierkengaard the truth is the action of a person and its base
is the being, but «acting the truth» is an existential paradoxology, which
makes faith and Christianity a sum incompatible to the word.
According to Marx (see for example, the second position on Feuerbach) the
truth emerges from action to its evolution along with society.