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Beyond the Anthropic

Principle: St Maximus
Protopresbyter Dr Doru Costache
Greek Orthodox Youth Fellowship of Kogarah
10 November 2014

Recapitulation: The anthropic cosmological
principle is a complex philosophical and
scientific narrative, which proposes the
integration of all aspects of reality - as
perceived by modern culture - namely, human,
biological and cosmic. And because human
conscience can no longer be ignored as
significant in the making of reality, meaning
and purposefulness can no longer be ignored.

Final Anthropic
Recapitulation: FAP entails a melioristic universe. Whats
that? Two answers:
A space where the human existence and progress are
possible, and which ensures the permanence of the
human phenomenon
A space that is, or rather will be, transformed by the
human existence, ethical progress and technological
Barrow and Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle

The Limitations of
To say that intelligent life has some global
cosmological significance is to say that
intelligent life will some day begin to transform
and continue to transform the Universe on a
cosmological scale. (Barrow and Tipler, The
Anthropic Cosmological Principle 615)
No sense of the human (non-technological)
impact in the here and now

Traditional Perspectives
Points made last time (27 Oct 2014)
The universe is made for humankind (St Gregory of Nyssa, On the
Structure of Humankind 2)
God makes and remakes the universe in relation to humankind
(St Maximus, The Mystagogy 7; St Symeon the New Theologian, The
First Ethical Discourse 2)
The universe takes the form of our inner state (St Symeon the New
Theologian, The First Ethical Discourse 2; John Moschos, The
Spiritual Orchard 18)
Furthering the discussion: The universe is built around humankind
and will one day be wholly humaniform (St Maximus the Confessor,
Difficulty 41)


From the Divisions of Reality to the

Humaniform Universe

within reality
1 Reality:
Uncreated & Created

2 Creation:
Noetic & Sensorial
3 The Visible:
Sky & Earth

4 Earth:
Paradise & Civilisation

Humankinds Ascent

5 Humankind:
Male & Female

St Maximus the Confessor, The Book

of Difficulties 41.

Difficulty 41
The unifying process: Being provided with a unifying potential due to the
characteristic of its own parts of being related to all the extremities, [the human
being] naturally mediates between all the extremities. In this fashion the mode of
creation of the divided things is completed in accordance with the [divine] cause,
[humanity] being destined to manifest within itself the great mystery of the divine
intention in an obvious way, namely, the reciprocal union of the extremities
pertaining to beings into a harmonious manner. [This union] keeps advancing
upwards from things closer to those far off and from those inferior to those
superior, ending in God. For this purpose humankind had to be finally introduced
among the [created] beings like a grace and like a natural bond of sorts that
mediates between the extremities of the universe by way of its own parts. [Indeed,
the human being] brings to unity within itself the things that are naturally separated
from one another by a great distance, so that all are gathered together into a union
with God, their cause. Thus, firmly beginning with the first or its own division [the
human being] advances in stages and in order through the intermediate ones
towards God, in whom it finds the limit of the supreme and unifying ascension
through all things, and in whom there is no division. (my translation)

Difficulty 41
The human being and the five syntheses. In referring to virtue, grace and
God (Who designed the universe in order to be united within itself and
with Him), the Maximian contemplation of reality proposes a
theanthropocosmic perspective.








Paradise Civilisation








Divine virtue
Leading a holy life


Identity with the angels


in relation to virtue


Identity with the angels


in relation to knowledge


Love and grace


Difficulty 41
Christ and the humaniform end of the universe: First of all, he united us to
ourselves within himself by removing the difference between male and
female. Instead of men and women, in which the manner of the division is
primarily observed, he showed us chiefly and truly as human beings only,
fully shaped like him and bearing his image properly and entirely unsullied,
within which by no means is bound any of the known features of decay.
Thus, together with us and for us, he is the one that embraced the
extremities of the whole of creation as his own parts, through those in the
middle. [More precisely,] he indissolubly bound to one another around
himself the paradise and the inhabited land, the sky and the earth, the
sensible beings and the intelligible beings, given that he possessed a body, a
sensory capacity, a soul and a mind, just as we do. In line with the given
manner, through appropriating each extremity [of reality] by its
corresponding part, he recapitulated all things within himself in a divine
manner. This way, he pointed out that the whole of creation exists as one,
like another human being . . . (my translation)

More Specifically
For St Maximus, there are three unifying agents of
all reality: Christ, the saints and the Church (cf. my
doctoral thesis, in Romanian, Logos and Creation:
From the Anthropic Cosmological Principle to the
Theanthropocosmic Perspective, University of
Bucharest, 2000)
In all three cases, it seems that the process of
unification ends as a mystical transformation of the
universe into a makranthropos (large human being)

A New Alliance
Restating my original proposition: Insofar as it discloses the
meaningfulness of a universe conditioned by/toward our existence,
with or without it being endowed with theological connotations the
anthropic cosmological principle opens up new avenues for the
dissemination of the Christian worldview and values today.
The major Christian additions to the modern anthropic thinking are
the involvement of God in the human and cosmic algorithms
(hence the term theanthropocosmic)
the conviction that human life, together with its existential
parameters, already impact the universe
the future state of the universe consists in a theanthropic
transformation (an aspect suggested by St Maximus in To
Thalassius 60)

Looking Back
The slides of the previous three
lectures on the anthropic principle
can be retrieved at