Eternity

“…to all eternity it lies in man’s power to reject God… eternity signifies unending progress, a never-ceasing advance. As J. R. R. Tolkien has said, ‘Roads go ever ever on’ …The Age to come is not simply a return to the beginning, a restoration of the original state of perfection in Paradise, but it is a fresh departure. There is to be a new heaven and a new earth; and the last things will be greater than the first. ‘Here below”, says Newman, “to live is to change and to be perfect is to have changed often.’ But is this the case only here below? St. Gregory of Nyssa believed that even in heaven perfection is growth. In a fine paradox he says that the essence of perfection consists precisely in never becoming perfect, but always reaching forward to some higher perfection that lies beyond. Because God is infinite, this constant ‘reaching forward’ or epektasis, as the Greek Fathers termed it, proves limitless. The soul possesses God, and yet still seeks him; her joy is full, and yet grows always more intense. God grows ever nearer to us, yet he still remains the Other; we behold him face to face, yet we still continue to advance further and further into the divine mystery. Although strangers no longer, we do not cease to be pilgrims. We go forward ‘from glory to glory’ (2 Cor 3:18), and then to a glory that is greater still. Never in all eternity, shall we reach a point where we have accomplished all that there is to do, or discovered all that there is to know. ‘Not only in this present age, but also in the Age to come,’ says St. Irenaeus, ‘God will always have something more to teach man, and man will always have something more to learn from God'” (Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way, pp 135-138).
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2 thoughts on “Eternity

  1. robstroud February 7, 2012 / 3:11 am

    Citing Tolkien and the Church Fathers, a post can’t possibly go wrong! Thanks.

    Like

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