The Salvation of the World: Triumphing over Evil

“The Mosaic religion was born along with the idea of salvation. the first commandment of the Decalogue reminds us that Yahweh liberated his people from the slavery in which they languished. The general masses always understood salvation entirely concretely, as liberation from enemies and natural disasters. the Prophets inspired this hope, inserting into it eschatological contents. According to the Bible, the world has long existed in a fallen state and stands in need of healing. Human life is as short as a dream, and it is spent in fruitless struggle. People are immersed in vanity. ‘Being born in sin,’ they are drawn inexorably to destruction. This kingdom of darkness and suffering is most unlike the consummation of God’s will. Many philosophers of the West and East came to similar conclusions. In their opinion, mortal man is a plaything of blind passions and circumstances; implacable fate lords it over all, condemning the Universe to struggle along in a closed circular path.  Awareness of the imperfection of the world led to the development of ‘salvation doctrines,’ which can be grouped into three types. For some (Plato), the exit consisted in the best organization of society, for others (the Buddha), in mystical reflection and flight from life. Both solutions, however, were united by a common assumption: neither man nor God is capable of introducing radical changes in the structure of the world. It is only possible to achieve a partial easing of suffering and hope for the annulment of existence itself. The third type of soteriology arose in Israel and in Iran. only in those places did there exist a confidence that evil is surmountable, that there would come a great change, which is the highest goal of human life.”    (Father Alexander Men,   Son of Man, pg. 120)