The Knowledge and Vision of God

“The true knowledge and vision of God consists in this – in seeing that God is invisible, because what we see lies beyond all knowledge, being wholly separated by the darkness of incomprehensibility…What is the significance of the fact that Moses went right into the darkness and saw God there?  At first sight, the account of this vision of God seems to contradict the earlier one. For whereas on that occasion the divine was seen in light, this time the divine is seen in darkness. But we should not regard this as involving any inconsistency at the level of the mystical meaning which concerns us. Through it the Word is teaching us that in the initial stages religious knowledge comes to people as illumination. So what we recognize as contrary to religion is darkness, and escape from that darkness is achieved by participation in the light. From there the mind moves forward; by its ever-increasing and more perfect attention it forms an idea of the apprehension of reality. The closer it approaches the vision of God, the more it recognizes the invisible character of the divine nature.”    (St. Gregory of Nyssa, quoted in John Chryssavgis, The Way of the Fathers, pgs.72-73)

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