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Light on Creation

Ancient Commentators in Dialogue and Debate
on the Origin of the World

edited by
Geert Roskam and Joseph Verheyden

Mohr Siebeck
E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission.

Geert Roskam, born 1973, PhD in Classics 2001, is currently Associate Professor at the Faculty
of Arts KU Leuven.
Joseph Verheyden, born 1957, DTheol KU Leuven 1987, is currently Professor of New
Testament Studies at the KU Leuven.

ISBN 978-3-16-154314-2
ISSN 1436-3003 (Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum)

The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliographie;
detailed bibliographic data is available on the Internet at

© 2017 Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, Germany.
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by Gulde Druck in Tübingen.
Printed in Germany.

E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission.

. . . . . . . . . . . The Middle. . Table of Contents Preface . . . . . . . 31 Gerd Van Riel How Can the Perceptible World be Perceptible? Proclus on the Causes of Perceptibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .and Neoplatonic Tradition Mauro Bonazzi Middle Platonists on the Eternity of the Universe . . II. . . . . . . . . Dusenbury Judaic Authority in Nemesius of Emesa’s De natura hominis (390 CE) . . . 157 E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. . . 63 Volker Henning Drecoll The Use of Scripture in Basil’s Homilies in Hexaemeron . . . . 8) . . . V I. . 17 Lorenzo Ferroni Proclus. . . . 105 David L. . . . .24 Diehl. . . . . . . 127 Benjamin Gleede Christian Apologetics or Confessional Polemics? Context and Motivation of Philoponus’ De opificio mundi . . . in Timaeum. . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Sarah Klitenic Wear The Position and Function of the Demiurge in Syrianus’s Cosmos . . . . . . The Christian Tradition David C. . . . hom. . . . .14–341. . . . . 87 Samuel Pomeroy Representing the Jews: John Chrysostom’s Use of Exegetical and Theological Traditions for Gen 1:26a (In Gen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340. . 49 II. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DeMarco Basil of Caesarea’s Exegesis of the Heavens in Homiliae in hexaemeron 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Some Textual Remarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 312 E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .X Table of Contents Paul M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259 Gerard P. . . . . . . . . . . 289 Index of Ancient Texts and Authors . . . . 295 Index of Biblical References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . An Epic Commentary on Creation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243 Claudio Moreschini Calcidius between Creatio Ex Nihilo and Platonism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sterling “The Most Perfect Work”: The Role of Matter in Philo of Alexandria . . . . . 225 III. . Blowers From Nonbeing to Eternal Well-Being: Creation ex nihilo in the Cosmology and Soteriology of Maximus the Confessor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Some Other Voices Gregory E. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187 Dimitrios Zaganas The Debate on Gen 1:1–3 According to Anastasius Sinaita’s Hexaemeron . . Luttikhuizen Gnostic Views on the Origin and the Nature of the Universe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169 Clement Kuehn Christ Hero. . 277 Index of Modern Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

From Nonbeing to Eternal Well-Being Creation ex nihilo in the Cosmology and Soteriology of Maximus the Confessor Paul M. Blowers In approaching the functions of the principle of creation ex nihilo in Maximus the Confessor (580–662). 67–71. E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. S. 1983). Evans. 2012). to exploit its latent meanings and to take the principle in some new directions of his own. 1997). 2 For discussion with citations. the Hexaemeron. see Edward Watts. I am starting from two premises. and who presupposed much from the earlier interpretive tradition. the Byzantine poet laureate George of Pis- idia. John Philoponus’s New Definition of Prime Matter: Aspects of Its Background in Neoplatonism and the Ancient Commentary Tradition (Leiden: Brill. J. 2006). Creation and the Continuum (Ithaca. Only fifty years before Maximus was born. J. 197–9. A. The Age of Justinian: The Circumstances of Imperial Power (London: Routledge. draws on the doctrine of the Creator’s command of the world’s disorderly elements (and with it the Christian victory over pagan cosmology) as the prime analogy for the reordering of uni- versal political and military chaos by the heroic Emperor Heraclius. Not that creation ex nihilo had at last been fully settled philosophically and theologically. no longer fixated on the need to defend the coherence of the doctrine. while in Alexandria Philoponus found himself battling Neoplatonists and Aristotelians alike on the eternity of the world. 249. 111–203. I shall argue. see Paul Blowers. which in turn freed him. Drama of the Divine Economy: Creator and Creation in Early Christian Theology and Piety (Oxford: OUP. NY: Cornell University Press. esp.1 Nor had creation ex nihilo been thoroughly “domesticated” within Christian culture – though we see an attempt to do so in Maximus’s contemporary. 134–5. we are dealing with a synthetic theologian who had not composed his own Hexaemeral commentary. 1996). Frans A. Time. CA: University of California Press. City and School in Late Antique Athens and Alexandria (Berkeley. First.2 Maximus. remaining confident that he had the sanction of his pre- 1  On these developments. moreover. lived on the cusp of a whole new age of Byzantine scholasticism in which quasi-secularizing philosophers would subject the time-honored cos- mological and metaphysical claims of the theologians to refreshed Aristotelian and Neoplatonic standards. de Haas. who in one of his great epics. Richard Sorabji. But Maximus was thoroughly secure that creation ex nihilo was idiomatic for a Christian cosmology. Justinian had to close down the Neoplatonic school in Athens because of the resilience of pagan (especially Proclean) cosmol- ogy. .

91. Shepherd of Hermas 26. 1972).8 (PTS 33:186–7).170 Paul M.5 (Parable 9. ll. Athanasius.1 (SC 294:26). not Enclosed: The Early Christian Doctrine of God’. Early Christian Literature and the Clas- sical Intellectual Tradition (Paris: Beauchesne. 75–86. Creation ex nihilo had never been a purely philosophical. cf. Poemata arcana 5 (De providentia).5 (PG 33:460A–B). Dionysius the Areopagite. Ernest Evans (Oxford: OUP. De Trinitate 1. 648). In patristic usage its purpose was also to enhance Christian imagination of the beginning and end of the world by recasting and “re-mythologizing” biblical witnesses to the triune Creator who both inaugurated  – and was working to sustain – his covenant with the contingent and now “groaning” creation. De divinis nominibus 5. Catecheses 4. Sykes (Oxford: OUP. ‘Enclosing. . 1971). De in- carnatione 3.6 (PG 90:1085A–B). ed.30.5. E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. of an enriched trinitarian and christocentric metanarrative integrating the protological. 2. Robert Thomson (Oxford: OUP. and confessional discourse of creation within Genesis 1 and other definitive biblical creation texts. apologetical.). that the Creator who formed the world from nothing contains but is not contained by the universe he has made. 22. Maximus and the Polyvalence of Creation ex nihilo 1.5–6 (SC 443:212–16).15.2–3. Claudio Moreschini. Gregory Nazianzen. Tertullian. 4. trans. I shall not dwell on these resonances at length but they are first principles for his own speculations. and mythos being the cultivation. soteriological. 140.3.3 in addition 3  Capita theologica et oeconomica 1.1. Adversus Marcionem 1. mythopoeic. going all the way back to the Shepherd of Hermas and repeat- ed by numerous patristic authors.9 (SC 294:320). or polem- ical proposal. in William Schoedel – Robert Wilken (eds. Earlier. Athanasius. ed.20. Christian reconstruc- tions of creation ex nihilo had developed hermeneutically and theologically in a progressive “spiral” of logos and mythos: logos being the pursuit of a rationally defensible explanation of the origins and constitution of creation on the basis of the primarily narrative. 504. for example. the axiom. Hilary of Poitiers. Origen. See also William Schoedel.5. or an issue only for the theologians and metaphysicians. 2. Irenaeus.1–2 (Mandate 1.2 (SC 100:628). in line with that logos. I. and tel- eological (or eschatological) dimensions of Christian understanding of creation. My second premise is that well before Maximus’s time. 505). suggesting that the Creator “bears the universe within (ἐντός) himself while being himself above (ὕπερθεν) it all”. and especially the Cappadocians and Dionysius the Areopagite.3 (Grant. De principiis 1. Blowers cursors.14. Ad Autolycum 1. 1997). Cyril of Jerusalem. Theophilus of Antioch. 6–8. D.1–2. 2–3. Holmes. A.3 (SC 252:146–8). He reiterates. 1979). especially in works from his early and middle career before he was em- broiled in the monothelete controversy. 24). Irenaeus. ed. First Principles of Creation ex nihilo in Maximus Traditional teaching on creation ex nihilo resonates fairly consistently in Max- imus. doxological. Adversus haereses 2. Holmes. 38.

9 other than the internal constraint of his own love and philanthropia. . 64 (CCSG 22:237).2 (PG 90:1084A). as active in relation to the passive creation. 10  Amb. Maxi- mus echoes the early rejection of Greek theories of the eternal preexistence of matter.8 (PTS 33:187). 18 (1232C–1233C). a divine investment in the wholeness and goodness of the world that the infinite Creator transcends. 27. et oecon. 1. 1.”  4 Ambigua ad Johannem 7 (PG 91:1080A). 10 (PG 91:1204D–1205A). and teleological progress. 11 Amb. 22.8 In other words.  5 See Blowers. he says. middle. in the register of oikonomia. 29). all its internal dynamics of movement. Con- versely. E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. 21. theol.4 This is the “closed-world” cosmological paradigm that early Christian thinkers opposed to the “infinite universe” mod- els they observed in pre‑ and post-Socratic Greek thought. Jo. 12   E.7 (1085B). 20–4. 47). Amb. the Creator cannot be defined merely as a circum- scribing boundary of the creation.10 So too creation ex nihilo is ipso facto an act of divine providence. God not only contains the creation on- tologically. in the restricted sense of his generosity in granting both being and well-being to creatures. he cannot be named the “beginning. “middle” as Provider. including the principle that creation ex nihilo is an act of sheer divine freedom. 5 (CCSG 48:20. and nurtures. describing the Logos as one who. is indeed “beginning” as Creator. Jo. in the register of theologia. 1. along with incomprehensible intuitions of his proper divinity. 26. et oecon. De divinis nominibus 5. g. however.5 Maximus adds his own nuances. claiming. a world that constitutes in itself a complex theophany. interaction. theol. 42 (1329C–D). he also contains and superintends. Cf. “bore in himself. 10 (PG 91:1184A–B). 10 (PG 91:1188B–1193C).7 In other words. and end” of all that is since he is not constrained by the category of relation (ἡ σκετικὴ κατηγορία). Elsewhere Maximus appropriates early doctrinal emphases familiar from Ire- naeus and other pre-Nicene sources. theol.4 (PG 90:1084B–C). and “end” as the goal to which creation aspires. Thal. 23. God is “moved” to create. From Nonbeing to Eternal Well-Being 171 to containing the logoi of all creatures.12 but there is no sustained criticism since he sees the issue as settled.10 (1085D–1088A). Maximus posits that if Pyrrhus accepts the idea that the energeia in Christ was a function only of his hypostasis. cf.” Also Q. Dionysius. and Ambigua ad Thomam 1 (CCSG 48:7). he develops in tremendous depth the principle that the logoi of created beings do preexist in God (the Logos) and give form to “what is not.  7 Cap. 1. then as pre-incarnate God he must have been under compulsion when he created the world (τετυράννηται … δημιουγήσας). in his benevolence. Jo. 17 (PG 91:1229D–1232C).11 In the same vein. Amb.  9 Amb. that God. with no necessity imposed on the Cre- ator.  6 Cf. 10 (PG 91:1188A–C). circumscribes. Jo. And yet Maximus simultaneously affirms. et oecon. the natural principles (λόγοι) of all phenomenal and intelligible beings. In the Disputatio cum Pyrrho (PG 91:340D).  8 Cap. Drama of the Divine Economy. that because the Creator is beyond being (and essence6). Quaestiones ad Thalassium 35 (CCSG 7:239). Jo. though beyond essence and Creator of all things. Cap. Expositio orationis dominicae (CCSG 23:42.

1348D). 1308A). . Basil. 44). 15 (1217C). like Maximus. This especially holds true for the mysterious text of Genesis 1:2. 28). E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. Jo. Maximus’s counter-argument. 41 (PG 91:1304D–1305A). 17 (PG 91:1232B). and the frontier that both induces creatures’ progressive movement toward God and conditions and delimits that movement. which challenged Christian interpreters both to expound the “void” or “abyss” out of which God formed the world. 2006). see Amb.15 In the monothelete controversy. 17 E.16 2. Maximus does not reveal an extensive knowledge of patristic Hexaemeral commentary. 42 (1345B. cf. 67 (1397B). Mystagogia 5 (CCSG 69:25). 14  Maximus declares God as “adiastemic” (ἀδιάστατον) in Amb. The “Nothing” from which the Creator Creates With the exception perhaps of Gregory of Nyssa’s Hexaemeron. See also Antoine Lévy. Posturing himself as a neo-Chal- cedonian moderate on Christ’s volition and activity. Though he is aware of certain classic exegetical problems in the early chapters of Gene- sis. 15 Amb.Amb. into the creation. g. 635). 10 (PG 91:1157A). the divine “rest” (Q. positively. the deposed Patriarch of Constantinople. is precisely that a single energy functioning solely from Christ’s hypostasis would violate the distinction between his uncreated and created natures. 2). g. (PG 91:341A). Jo. Origen.14 Indeed. the divine plural in Gen 1:26 and 11:7 (Q. 16  Disp. Le créé et l’incréé: Maxime le Confesseur et Thomas d’Aquin (Paris: Vrin. 41 (PG 91:1305B–1308C). and the identity of the “spirit” hovering over it.13 As in the Cappadocians and espe- cially Gregory of Nyssa. creation ex nihilo also becomes for Maximus virtually synonymous with the strict ontological and epistemic divide – the διάστημα and διαίρεσις – that separates uncreated and created reality. which shows up in his Disputation with Pyrrhus. sought to establish the true meaning of Dionysius the Areopagite’s “one theandric energy” in Christ. Theodore had grounded the single energy of Christ in his hypostasis rather than in his two natures. 43). Thal. as it were. 13  E. Blowers Given his keen attention to Cappadocian cosmology in its service to trinitarian theology. but also. Theodore. 17 (1132A). the Creator’s own bridge. 28.172 Paul M. furthermore. anthropomorphism (Q. Thal. Pyrr.17 he does not dwell on textual issues that exercised Hexaemeral commenta- tors like Philo. Jo. Jo. Ambrose. the precise meaning of the two trees of paradise (Q. 570–ca. Thal. as when he refutes the position assumed by the Sinaite bishop Theodore of Pharan (ca. the vocation of the human creature is precisely to partici- pate in Christ’s mediation of the various divisions within the creation and of the ultimate polarity between Creator and creation. Maximus further applies the strict divide between uncreated and created reality christologically. the diastêma constitutes not only the basis of a strict cognitive and linguistic apophaticism. 41 (1305C. Thal. and Augustine. On diastêma as designating spatio-temporal extension. 67–9.

E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission.1–6.156–9. realizing that Gnostic cosmogonies had to be com- batted at the level of mythos and not just logos. strictly speaking. . 33. 193–252. Maximus nonetheless added his own voice to a long tradition of philosophical and theological speculation on the “nothing” from which God created the cosmos. The fact was hardly lost on patristic interpreters that the mythos of a primordial nothingness or resurgent chaos in the early chapters of Genesis was a theme recurrent in the Bible and developed well beyond the primeval history. Amb. 19  Contra Hermogenem 29. was not bound up exclusively with polemics against pagan cosmology or with defining the precise ontological matrix of the orderly cosmos on the basis of the mysterious primeval image in Genesis 1:2. 1983). citing Isaiah’s claim that the Creator did not create “in vain” (Isa 45:18) as proof that the matter created ex nihilo was not intrinsically formless but only apparently so until divinely appointed light illumined it. Irenaeus is exemplary here.19 Closer to Maximus and one of his most cherished authorities. all opted for a seemingly opposite view by affirming. still to equate the nothing with formless matter that had been antecedently and miraculously produced by the Creator – an option osten- sibly embraced by Ephrem the Syrian in his prose Commentary on Genesis con- troverting Bardaisan’s teaching on the preexistence of the elements. It was possible. 67 (PG 91:1397A). 20 Gregory Nazianzen. the “noth- ing” could be. There is 18 Lucretius. 16).”18 Justin. and the Continuum: Theories in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (Ithaca. 307–18. cf. Tied exegetically to the “void” in Genesis 1:2. the pure ontological vacuum from which God first produced matter before forming it into a universe – a perspective taken by early apologists like Theophilus of Antioch in defiance not only of pagan notions of the preexistence of matter but to uphold divine omnipotence against prover- bial philosophical claims that “nothing comes from nothing. Creation. of course. On the pervasiveness of this axiom in pagan cosmology. Poemata arcana 4 (De mundo) (Moreschini. He cited Genesis 1:2 only once. From Nonbeing to Eternal Well-Being 173 That said. Various interpretive options were in play from early on in the commentary tradition. in a polemical aside and without theological commentary on the void. likewise maintained in his poem Περὶ κοσμοῦ that God created matter already with form.20 but this did not stop Gregory from asserting as well that matter carried with it a vestigial chaos (τὸ ἄτακτον) always needing to be tamed and reordered. NY: Cornell University Press. The doctrine of creation ex nihilo. Time. Jo.1 (SC 439:140–50). I shall return to this point later because it takes on considerable importance for Maximus. Maximus. Clement of Alexandria. that the nothingness was a preexistent substratum of formless matter at the Creator’s disposal when he fashioned heaven and earth. The liability of this option was ascribing to God the creation of an originally chaotic state of things. however. DRN 1. a deficiency of order. and Tertullian’s Christian Platonist opponent Hermogenes. from a philosophically “liter- al” reading of Genesis 1:2. Already Tertullian had anticipated this problem. see Richard Sorabji. Gregory Nazianzen.

God not only produces and shapes matter and bodies. 21 See Adversus haereses 2.21 More important to my purposes here. In creating. 112–14). sustaining of what has come into being.4 (SC 294:90). 20–2): ποιητικὴ τῶν ὄντων. 22 Contra gentes 41 (Thomson.174 Paul M. its ontological poverty and vulnerability apart from an immanently sustaining grace. inventive of what is not. and foreseeing of what is yet to be. the power of the Creator-Logos is “creative of what is. was God’s act of granting creatures “the strength to come into existence. Irenaeus reads creation ex nihilo in a strongly teleological rather than protological key. he seems not to have embraced Theophilus’s two-staged creation ex nihilo. fall. 24  Oratio catechetica (GNO 3/4:16. 23 Contra gentes 3–5 (Thomson. . Nothingness now becomes the enduringly potential oblivion of the cosmos perennially conquered by the condescension of the Savior: first in creating. and climactically in dying for the creation. creation ex ni- hilo takes its true meaning only in terms of creation’s historical “becoming” and eschatological outcome. 1994). 8–14). 142–8). signaling the potentiality belonging to the Logos’s creative resourcefulness. with the notion of primordial nothingness now reintroduced in terms of the utterly contingent existence of the world. from unfulfilled potential. negatively either as a pure on- tological void. believing instead that the creation of matter and its formation into a world were one and the same act of the omnipotent Creator. and Jacques Fantino. As Gregory of Nyssa adds. the “what is not” (τὰ μὴ ὄντα) has taken on a fully teleological meaning. then in a host of epiphanies.23 In Irenaeus and Athanasius we thus see creation taking on a soteriological meaning from the outset.25 It informs “what is yet to be” (τὰ μελλόντα). Blowers nothing much on nothingness in Irenaeus. On the one hand. De incarnatione 4–6 (Thomson.”24 Notably here. because he reads it rather purely as a prelude to the narratives of the creation. he already saves them from nonbeing. What Maximus inherited from these major forbears was effectively a dialectics of logos and mythos concerning creation ex nihilo. though as Jacques Fantino rightly observes. To grant existence itself is to grant creatures the hope of having a progressively graced future. La théologie d’Irénée: Lecture des Écritures en réponse à l’exégèse gnostique: Une approche trinitaire (Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf. ll. ἡ εὐρητικὴ τῶν μὴ ὄντων. as opposed to “what [absolutely] has no existence” (τὰ οὐκ ὄντα) – is quite deliberate.10. 25 Obviously Gregory’s choice of terms – “what is not” (τὰ μὴ ὄντα). says Athanasius. or a state of formlessness awaiting order. ἡ προορατικὴ τῶν μελλόντων. ἡ συνεκτικὴ τῶν γεγονότων. or more positively as the nascent state of formed matter awaiting architectural development into a cosmos. Indeed. In Athanasius this perspective is further intensified.”22 for which reason the human fall and sin itself effectively constitute a relapse into nothingness. the inter- pretive tradition had tried to explain Genesis 1:2. and redemption of humanity. E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. 276–9. Creation. and even more basically from the perspective of the “recapitulation” (ἀνακεφαλαίωσις) of all things in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

20. cf. and that “the Divine who transcends being is the being of all that is. there is one more significant meaning of the “nothing” from which God created the world that Maximus not only acknowledged but embraced. being and nonbeing. and the very substance and form of things. Apologia in Hexaemeron 7 (GNO 4/1:15–16). Ep. . For since it is necessary that we understand correctly the difference between God and creatures. From Nonbeing to Eternal Well-Being 175 On the other hand. then the affirmation of superbeing must be the negation of beings. 30  De divinis nominibus 7. In fact both names. In this way he can in no way be associated by nature with any being and thus because of his superbeing is fittingly referred to as nonbeing. Gregory of Nyssa tries to fill this gap by proposing that matter has no existence apart from divinely willed “qualities” (ποιότητα). But before I address Maximus’s unique contributions to this dialectical tra- dition. asserts that God has brought the universe into being out of his sheer goodness. 4. Much later. haer. This is the writer who. De anima et resurrectione (GNO 3/3:93–4). 8. 29 De caelesti hierarchia 4. often mistaken by later critics as emanationist.3 (PTS 33:198). the tradition sought to cultivate a mythos of creation which insinuated the origins of the world into the larger providential economy of the redemption and transformation of creation. in the same passage.28 Creation could be ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ in this narrow sense. who even fights and suffers for it. and far more influential. Irenaeus stated that God drew matter.1 (SC 100:626). 28  De hominis opificio 24 (PG 44:212D–213C). 27 Cf. and the affirmation of beings must be the negation of superbeing. In a more or less philosophically innocent sense. 2. De hominis opificio 24 (PG 44:212D–213C). It is the highly nuanced equation of ex nihilo and ex Deo. and though advising restraint on overspeculating about the origins of matter. Closer to Maximus. “from himself ” (a semetipso) by willing the creation into being. through whom everything is and becomes but who by himself never is nor becomes in any way anything that ever is or becomes in any manner.30. are to be reverently applied to him although not at all properly.26 He leaves the precise ontological dynamics of this a mystery.” 29 To this seemingly adventurous language. and which did interpretive justice to biblical imagery of a Creator who nurtures and sustains his vulnerable creation.”30 Maximus himself appropriates exactly this apophatic nuance in the prologue to his Mystagogia in extolling the Creator … … who is and who becomes all for all beings (1 Cor 9:22). E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. Dionysius adds the crucial caveat that God is creatures’ being only in the sense of their relative participation in him.1 (PTS 36:20). In one sense they are both proper 26 Adv. was Dionysius the Areopagite’s dialectical identification of creation ex nihilo with creation ex Deo. and that the God who “is all things in all (1 Cor 15:28) is no-thing among any existent.1 (PTS 36:173–4). 27 he allows the possibility that there was a mysterious substratum (ὑποκείμενον) “in” God tantamount to God’s ineffable intellection of those qualities that give matter its being.9 (SC 294:318).

60 (CCSG 22:77). NY: Paulist Press. 185 (altered). the other completely denying in him the being which all being have. Q. with. Cf. . 32  Cf. and eschatology. 1084B). 42 (1325B–C. 237). which provide exemplary paradigms of all created things in the manner of the Platonic forms. Amb. 64 (CCSG 22:235. 106–19). And it is hermeneutically and epistemo- logically instrumental. George Berthold. 2 (CCSG 7:51). Making Something of Nothing: Logos and Logoi Even a cursory survey of secondary studies of Maximus’s cosmology indicates that the object of greatest focus has been his doctrine of the logoi – and rightly so.31 This juxtaposing of apophatic and kataphatic perspectives. Thal. g. And yet at bottom there is one crucial underlying and unifying factor. 60 (CCSG 22:80). 7 (PG 91:1073C. one affirming the being of God as cause of being.176 Paul M. His theory of logoi is the tissue that interconnects his teachings on creation. 33 On the logoi as causal or purposive principles of created things. Cap. and immanence in. Reason’s “analytical” function in relation to the logoi is suggested in Q. Amb. see esp. is more than a propriety of theological language. 37 (PG 91:1293A–C). and for his creation. based on his preeminence as cause. Jo. trans. Amb. Blowers to him. from a Giver who can be praised and worshipped but not truly conceived or known. the logoi as the spiritual meanings of scriptural revelation. and as the spiritual “meanings” of Scripture. Thal.33 The risk in interpreting Maximus’s doctrine of the logoi is to take too nar- row an approach. II. ll. 49.4 (PG 90:1084B–C). Maximus Confessor: Selected Writings. Thal. 65 (1392A–B). insofar as Maximus subtly coordinates between the logoi as causal and purposive “principles” of all created things. prooemium (CCSG 69:9. For Maximus it sets in dramatic relief the being – and not only being (τὸ εἶναι) but “well-being” (τὸ εὖ εἶναι) and “eternal well-being” (τὸ ἀεὶ εὖ εἶναι)32 – which come to creatures as sheer gift. to fail to see all its overlapping functions and nuances in his thought. 1985). which is the Logos’s own sourcing of. Maximus on the Logos and Mythos of Creation ex nihilo 1. and the logoi constituting the powers of reason and intuition in human beings. Jo. Capita de caritate 3. et oecon. pure 31 Mystagogia. 7 (PG 91:1077C–1085A). Classics of Western Spirituality (New York. E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. of God’s radical transcendence of essence itself and his extraversion out of himself to be of. but reason also aids the mind (νοῦς) in contemplating the logoi (e. Jo. 1348D). the diversity of logoi. Vladimir Lossky was insistent that Maximus and the other Greek Fathers had thoroughly distanced themselves from Augustine’s eternal rationes immanent in the divine essence (or mind). salvation. see esp. Christology. 1. CCSG 7:355–7). theol.23–4 (PG 90:1024A–B). Q. He sharply contrasted this with the occasional definition in Dionysius and Maximus of the logoi as θελήματα. in.

The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church (London: James Clarke. Maximus does not entirely jettison the noetic dimension of the logoi in order to define them exclusively in terms of divine intention and activity. Thal. Though he does not dwell at length on the concept as do Philo. . lies in his subtle but unmistakable reiteration of the notion of a “simultaneous” or ideal creation preceding the actual one. and Augustine. E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. and Christ too (as Logos) claims to have been working all along in the world as the Father’s princi- pal agent together with the Spirit to bring that plan to fulfillment. Here he argues that rational beings (λογικά) or souls do not preexist the material creation. and the Holy Spirit essentially completes both the Father’s approval of it all and the Son’s execution of it …” Cf. Gregory of Nyssa. From Nonbeing to Eternal Well-Being 177 expressions of divine will. then.34 In my judgment it is a both / ​and. 42 (PG 91:1341D–1345A). Evidence for this. but unlike Augustine in his De Genesi ad litteram. Q. Christ is intimating how the Father has always been “working” in the cosmos to form. Expositio ora- tionis dominicae (CCSG 23:30). Christ is describing the actualization of the creation that was simultane- ously and potentially projected in the logoi. Amb. Maximus uses the formula here that “the Father approves this work. cf. His most celebrated discussion. 36 Q. Jo. Thal. I think. Q. 2 (CCSG 7:51). Dionysius.35 And he follows this up by reference to John 5:17. Jesus’ rejoinder to his critics about working on the Sabbath. For the definition of the logoi as θελήματα. see Maximus. Amb. the Son properly carries it out. The logoi in turn sustain creatures’ inviolable natural constitution. Thal. premeditating the plan of all creation in a timeless instant. where he is refuting and correcting the cosmol- ogy of radical Origenists. the logoi are the means by which the Logos – and Maximus always has in mind the Logos as Christ in virtue of his multiple “incarnations” or embodiments – brings order to the latent chaos of matter. and Maximus says. 60 (CCSG 22:79).8 (PTS 33:188).36 In John 5:17. and preserve his creatures. 13 (CCSG 7:95). 35 Q. encodes the natures of diverse individual creatures. not an either / ​or. Origen. that the 34  See Vladimir Lossky. 95. 37 On the inviolability of a creature’s nature (though not necessarily its “mode of existence”) by virtue of its logos. where creatures move and behave according to their own “modes of existence” (τρόποι ὑπάρξεως). Jo. Maximus suggests that in this text. but the logoi do indeed preexist in the eternal Logos. De divinis nominibus 5. in the seventh Ambiguum to John. 1957). Maximus reinforces it when he states that the Creator-Logos completed the logoi of creatures “all at once” (ἅπαξ). but they also open them to a horizon of interaction with the Creator and with one another under the diastemic conditions of their history and life. 7 (PG 91:1085A–B). advance. 2 (CCSG 7:51). see esp. Maximus does not detail the precise dynamics of the implanting of the eternally preconceived logoi in the world. Thal. also Amb. conversely. treats the protology of the logoi only as a corollary of his larger teleological and eschatological interests. and projects their ultimate telos.37 There is a definite parallel here with Augustine’s rationes seminales. 7 (PG 91:1081A–B). cf. Jo. Cosmologically.

). 1985). according to the general law of the continual presence of God and of the Logos. 98. this immanence does not invite us to conclude that they are created. the presence of the divine intention and principle of every single nature and species … As re- alized in the existence of things. . On the other hand. are they created or uncreated? The answer must be a double one. Yet. The Christo- centric Cosmology of St. Blowers Logos is not only “in” the logoi but “is” the logoi to the extent the he embodies himself in them. 201–10. NY: St. The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church. and are. but a work of ever new creation and resourcefulness. 138. Karayiannis. Maximus appropriates and reworks Evagrius’s notion of the “logoi of providence and judgment” (λόγοι τῆς προνοίας καὶ κρίσεως). Jo. Maxime le Confesseur: essence et énergies de Dieu (Paris: Beauchesne. the Logos’s abiding work in the cosmos is not only preservative. In a certain way they are. hoping to rescue the idea from the Origenist framework whereby “judgment” is the degradation of fallen spiritual beings into bodies.”40 Lars Thunberg rightly insists on a dialectical approach: Are the logoi transcendent or immanent. some have asked. the live history of creatures’ progress and regress in the fulfill- ment of the logoi with which they have been gifted. and “providence” their divine redirection back to an original unity. he also says that God brought them to their realization in concrete creation. 170–1. Maximus the Confessor (Oxford: OUP. they materialize in the created order. 1993). Are the logoi. Amb. T. Jo. in Constantinos Athanasopoulos  – Christoph Schneider (eds. Divine Essence and Divine Energies: Ecumenical Reflections on the Presence of God in Eastern Orthodoxy (Cambridge: James Clarke. 42  See esp. Maximus the Confessor (Crestwood. 95. 7 (PG 91:1081B–C).178 Paul M. 40  ‘The Distinction between Essence and Energy according to Maximus the Confessor’. 10 (PG 91:1133D–1136A). both transcendent and immanent.41 In my judgment. 41  Man and the Cosmos: The Vision of St. thus. 251. Yet they are certainly not themselves created or part of that created order in the sense that they are bound by its material appearance or actual realization. and covenantally as it were – the unity and diversity of the whole creation. see also V. however. Tollefsen. scholars have scrambled to elucidate it. so that both judg- ment and providence express the singular divine intention to nurture – relation- ally.38 Because Maximus is not crystal clear on the precise ontology of the cosmic logoi.”39 while Vasil- ios Karayiannis finds a two-staged immanence: “the logoi of beings are uncreated as are the divine energies which are within the logoi of beings. of continuing relentlessly to make “something” of the “nothing” out of which the world was formed and to 38 Amb. As immanent they represent. 39  Lossky. Maximus’s lack of absolute clarity on the ontology of the logoi is a function less of philosophical or theological reticence than of his overriding emphasis on the freedom of Christ the Logos strategically to intervene in the oikonomia. On the one hand Maximus affirms that the logoi are preexistent in God. T. Vladimir’s Seminary Press. 2013). E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. 2008).42 What is more. equivalent to God’s “uncreated energies?” Are they created energies? Vladimir Lossky and Torstein Tollefsen see them as God’s “creative energies.

such that creation itself was but one among other staging points on the way to the full disclosure of the eternal Word. 7 (PG 91:1068D–1069A). or more precisely the perspectives of cosmology or ontology. who manifests himself not only from his immanence in the logoi but through his concrete demonstrations and epiphanies in salvation history. of course. Amb. “insofar as [the Creator] preexisted as the one who saves. of Irenaeus and his doctrine of the recapitulation (ἀνακεφαλαίωσις) of all things in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Maximus the Confessor: Jesus Christ and the Transfiguration of the World (Oxford: OUP. Maximus’s Refreshed Mythos of the “Recapitulation” of Creation in Jesus Christ I want to suggest here. is a commentary precisely on a statement of Gregory Nazianzen regarding how the Wisdom of God can still be operative in the midst of bodily suffering and the vagaries of carnal life. and Ambrose). Basil. Christ alone was the true ἀρχή in Genesis 1:1 (a point reinforced by intervening commentators like Origen. Maximus undertook a retrieval. Maximus remained confident that his major pre- decessors had already begun successfully to do exactly this kind of insinuation of perspectives. In many respects. Or. Theologically speaking. 7 (PG 91:1080A). Jo. E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. Maximus well knew. 45 See Paul Blowers. containing Maximus’s most elaborate discussion of the logoi. which was Irenaeus’s own retriev- al and reinterpretation of Pauline Christology and eschatology. 2016). 2. I have argued elsewhere that. Salva- tion in Christ and eschatology inevitably take precedence if scriptural revelation is given privileged place in a doctrine of creation. it was necessary that what would be 43  See esp. Jo. 44  See Amb. and the biblically-narrated oikonomia of creation and redemption on the other. on the one hand. is less about constructing an air-tight philosophical cosmogony or cosmology than about witness to the Creator’s (= Christ’s) salvific assumption of the contingencies and vicissitudes of his creation’s history. 3. that the great challenge before Maximus in cultivat- ing his own ideas concerning creation ex nihilo was to find ways to insinuate logos and mythos.43 Indeed. as it were. In Irenaeus’s striking phrase. 14. then. . From Nonbeing to Eternal Well-Being 179 which it is liable to lapse. ch. by setting out the revelation of Jesus Christ as itself the original “logic” of creation.7 (PG 35:865C).44 The Christian gospel itself. the Cappadocians and Dionysius.45 In Irenaeus Maximus found a model for privileging the perspective of oikonomia over that of kosmogonia. Ambiguum 7. creation ex nihilo was not the true beginning of the world. without duly considering the Logos’s identity and function as the very Wisdom of God. beyond his most consistently authori- tative sources. Maximus makes clear that ultimately there is no understanding of the cosmological and ontological substructure of the logoi. and the Logos’s governance thereof. quoting Gregory Nazianzen.

according to one. he also says. 2014). II. all things. he spells out his own neo-Irenaean view. Rev 5:3. inclining toward itself in the wholeness of its existence. et oecon.49 And in two of his Chapters on Theologia and Oikonomia. Nicholas Constas.20. unique. the Father originally opened up the “book” containing the secrets of “heaven and earth” (Gen 1:1). 41 (PG 91:1312A–B). And all intelligible things need a bur- ial.12). 48 Amb. the Word made flesh (John 1:14). though none of them has any intrinsic connection to him at all by natural relation. simple. all creation admits of one and the same. com- pleted by the mutual coming together of all its members. undefined. Accordingly.66–67 (PG 90:1108A–B). haer. to manifest the cross and resurrection: The mystery of the incarnation of the Logos holds the power of all the hidden logoi and figures of Scripture as well as the knowledge of visible and intelligible creatures. he describes the intrinsic cruciformity of creation. Jo. 60 (CCSG 7:75–7). Blowers saved should also come into existence.9. and the divine intention for all creatures.” with a view to which God created the very essenc- es of all creatures.2 (SC 100:628–30). Eph 1:10). On Difficulties in the Church Fa- thers: The Ambigua of Maximos the Confessor. this same christocentric and even cruciform logic of creation ex nihilo comes into focus in three especially salient texts. ab- solutely undifferentiated principle (λόγον): that its existence is preceded by nonexistence. And whoever has been initiated in the ineffable power of the resurrection knows the purpose (logos) for which God originally made all things. in order that the Savior should not exist in vain. in a manner appropriate to God. at the level of their very logoi. 49 Q.48 In Ad Thalassium 60.50 46 Adv. MA: Harvard University Press. haer. Thal. 3. Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library (Cambridge. as if it were another human being. meaning the capacity of preempting the attraction to them of those who engage them by sense experience. 50  Cap.22. 1. he sets this logic out in panoramic terms: …[Christ] recapitulated in himself (cf. For when all activity and stimulus toward all (sensible and intelligible) things is suspended together with all inclination to them. 47 Adv. For he is the salvation of the saved by grace and not by nature. 115. appears anew as if rising from the dead. All visible things require a cross. showing that the whole creation is one. who alone exists in and of himself. theol. since he encompasses all those (created) things that come from him. meaning the complete immobilization of those who engage them by intellect. trans. . that the incarnation of Jesus Christ is the recapitulation of all things.”46 To the crucified Lamb (cf.180 Paul M. In Ambiguum ad Johan- nem 41.47 In Maximus. 4. E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. “a super-infinite plan infinitely preexisting the ages. and unchangeable idea: that it comes from nothing. answering at length a query about the meaning of the foreknowledge of Christ as a “pure and spotless lamb …[to be] manifested at the end of time” (1 Peter 1:20). the Logos. Whoever knows the mystery of the cross and the tomb knows the logoi of these creatures.3 (SC 211:438).

since God’s resplendent plan for our transformation unto deification never ceases in its goodness toward us. Without it they could not exist. In Ad Thalassium 22 he indicates that the cosmic logoi are (along with the “modes” of the virtues) “types” (τύποι) and “foreshadowings” (προχαράγματα) of future supernatural benefits that in Christ have already be- gun to be enjoyed because “the end of the ages has come upon us” (1 Cor 10:11).53 3. On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ: Selected Writings from St. Creatio ex nihilo et continua: The Logos’s Relentless and Enduring Action in the World Despite his robust confidence that the outworking of the mystery of Christ. NY: St. 53  Q. Thal.” within which the creation of the cosmos ex nihilo is perpetually culminating in the deification of humanity and the transformation of all creatures. the Logos has pre-evangelized all things and prepared them for the Christophany in which all things are “recapitulated” according to their proportionate participation in the work of Christ. undergoes deification by grace. since the logoi – the logoi together of creation and of Scripture. 7 (PG 91:1084C–D). Maximus the Confessor (Crestwood. Vladimir’s Seminary Press. Jo. the two “books” authored by the same Logos – are also real presences of the Word in virtue of his “incarnation” or embodiment in them. but their underlying assumption is that the deep structure of creation elicits the eschatological gospel that awaits final consummation. is truly blessed.52 Through the logoi. This is why the text speaks of the riches of his goodness (Eph 2:7). Here too we see. the same symbolic and prophetic function that we find in Maximus’s treatment of the logoi of scriptural revelation (sacred history). From Nonbeing to Eternal Well-Being 181 These aphorisms are of course primarily instructions for contemplation and as- ceticism. with respect to the logoi of creation. rather. Thal. And therefore whoever. 52  Amb. 118. the recapitulation of God’s creative purposes. it is forever sustaining those – like us human beings – who have received their existence from it. Maximus frequently speaks of this ongoing work of recapitulation as the “mystery of Christ. 22 (CCSG 7:143). Paul Blowers. 22 (CCSG 7:141–3). For he who bestows his grace on those who are worthy of it is himself infinite in essence.51 To say that the logoi are figurative or symbolic does not reduce them purely to epistemic vectors toward the transcendent Logos (though they are that too). is already encoded in the logoi of creation and Scripture. by the exercise of wisdom. and despite his hopeful eschatology projecting that the consummation of creation and the end of sacred history have already begun 51 Q. trans. E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. in fulfillment of this mystery. in Paul Blowers – Robert Wilken. enables God to become incarnate within him or her and. Indeed. . because that deification has no end. and has the infinite and utterly limitless power to deify humanity. 2003). this divine power is not yet finished with those beings cre- ated by it.

6 (PG 91:1065B). .59 54  For further analysis of this theme. Maximus takes up Gregory’s image in Oration 14 of the human body as the soul’s reluctant coworker (συνεργός) that drags it down and binds it to the earth. Amb. 1997). apud Maximus. The Word’s self-abasement into a human womb goes hand in hand with his abasement into the present condition (κατάστασις) of corporeal human life. a birth pangs of the new creation.54 Maximus retains a fierce realism about the labor of divine creation and recreation. 55 Cited by Maximus in Amb. ‘Realized Eschatology in Maximus the Confessor. and to the kind of life that awaits us there. for the sake of us who were infantile in mind. catch but a glimpse of the Word who is concealed within created beings … For when compared to the ineffable glory and splendor of the age to come.57 and reworks it christologically into an image of the Logos’s deep solidarity with humanity in virtue of his incarnation. see Paul Blowers. 8 (PG 91:1104B). 57  Or. this present life differs in no way from a womb swathed in darkness. Ad Thalassium 22’. 58 Amb.58 He is hidden in the womb of material existence waiting to be birthed. When Christ spoke of “working still” along with the Father.7 (PG 35:865B). a new unity of its universals and its particulars. I. Jo. 56  Q. lover of humanity. Human beings … gazing through the womb of the material world. and of overcoming “nonbeing” in their pursuit of “well-being” and ultimate “eternal well-being. in Elizabeth Livingstone (ed. the infinitely perfect Word of God. In Ambiguum 6. he retrieves from Irenaeus a renewed commitment to the principle of recapitulation. 6 (1068B). became an infant.182 Paul M. trans. 6 (PG 91:1065C–1068B). Jo. and a new condition in which creatures that are by nature moved by the Creator move on their own toward well-being. Blowers to transpire in the work of Christ. effecting a new integrity of creation. StPatr 32 (Leuven: Peeters. Jo.55 Indeed.56 To make his point. and the conceptualizing of nonbeing (nothingness) as a chaos that always threatens the order and thriving of created beings – with creation itself being (at one level. E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. and true to the biblical mythos) an act of salvation from oblivion. in which. Maximus exploited certain potent images from Gregory Nazianzen to dramatize Christ’s (the Logos’s) enduring providential action of disciplining and advancing creatures through the concrete experience of cor- poreality. 73 (slightly altered). but he also retrieves from Athanasius and the Cappadocians (especially Gregory Nazianzen) a sobri- ety about the vulnerability of the cosmos. the nothing- ness or chaos underlying creaturely being effectively becomes the pure potenti- ality or raw material of an ever new creation by Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.).” There are three especially salient images that depict Christ’s deep involvement in pressing creatures toward such transformation and deification. 2 (CCSG 7:51). he was speaking in his own role as Creator. Not far from his mind is Paul’s vision of a world that still knows corruptibility and futility or vanity (Rom 8:19–23). 14. 258–63. which is both a bane and a blessing. Constas. 59  Amb. As I noted. Jo. Thal.

and infirmities. and the Ethics of Equalization in Maximus the Confessor’. a typos of humanity’s fall into chaos. and who ascetically overcome the material flesh. in Christopher Beeley (ed. StPatr 42 (Leuven: Peeters.”65 Maximus’s interpreta- tion of the image is extensive. From Nonbeing to Eternal Well-Being 183 The point is that those devout souls who contemplate him there.60 The immediate target of these instructions may have been monks but Maximus is really speaking of an asceticism enjoined on all of rational creation. 2012). a prefiguration of Christ’s own incarnation and assumption of this lingering chaos as a platform for his conquest of disorder and death. and his renewal of creation.”63 Jonah. 51–6. also from Oration 14. apud Max- imus. appears in the very last of Maximus’s Ambigua to John.). See my extended study of this text in Paul Blowers. Amb. however.) as a redemptive buffeting for the sake of retraining humanity to its true vocation. 64 (CCSG 22:191. one of the most adventurous of all. Amb. into the darkness of the deep. “where it both bears. Thal. helter-skelter delusion and confusion of material things. as in a flowing stream.60–8). Maximus capitalizes on another of Gregory’s images. in one of his Poemata moralia: “For the Logos on high plays in all sorts of forms. where he engages Gregory’s colorful phrase. he suggests that 60  Amb. mingling with his world here and there as he so desires. 63  Q. κόσμον ἑόν ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα.64 The final image. D. Jo. 61 Or.”61 While his initial interest is theo- dicy and the origins of bodily inequalities. 183–201. Thal. Re-Reading Gregory of Nazianzus: Essays on History. Maximus quickly moves to the ways in which the Creator (the Logos) constructively uses the latent chaos or disorder in corporeal existence (suffering. 64 Q. 2006). . Drawing on Dionysian apophaticism. in the heart of the womb and in earthliness itself. the passions. In Ambiguum 8.). Material Chaos. 6 (1068B–C). The Logos works precisely through this chaotic undercurrent in the “flowing stream” of human existence to lead the faithful to a new order and stability. Jo. 64 (CCSG 22:195–7). 62 Amb. 14. ‘Bodily Inequality.2 (PG 37:624A–625A). apud Maximus. Theology. in Frances Young et al. (eds. and his descent into the abyss. 8 (PG 91:1105B). anomalies. C. E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. 71 (PG 91:1408C): Παίζει γὰρ λόγος αἰπὺς ἐν εἴδεσι παντοδαποῖσι / ​Κιρνὰς. Poemata theologica (moralia) 1. 8 (PG 91:1101D).: Catholic University of America Press. Jo. 65 Gregory Nazianzen.2. emerge anew from that “womb” with Christ.30 (PG 35:897B). is also for Maximus a type of Christ. etc. in a passage where he declares that it is not clear whether the suffering of the poor and infirm comes from God “so long as matter bears with it chaos (τὸ ἄτακτον). I have essayed this image and Maximus’s interpretation of it in Paul Blowers. Bod- ily life unfolds by an active / ​passive dialectic of “bearing up” and “being born along” in the stream of materiality. ‘On the “Play” of Divine Providence in Gregory Nazianzen and Maximus the Confessor’. the unsta- ble. and is born along in. Initially it recalls for him the Pauline image of the “foolishness” of God (1 Cor 1:25) that is wiser than humanity and the weakness of God that is stronger.62 It is an image for which Maximus finds biblical substantiation in the prophet Jonah’s descent into the abyss. and Culture (Washington. ὡς ἐθέλει.

. the definition of the nothingness or nonbeing out of which God forms the cosmos. and echoes many of the concerns of his predecessors such as the transcendence and freedom of the Creator. the diastemic chasm between Cre- ator and creation. At the end of the day.66 What is more (and here Maximus draws on Dionysius). in a state of abandon to interact with his creatures and to teach them through the “playthings” of transitory existence the ways of and means to a new world. Jo. 71 (PG 91:1412B–C). and eliciting some of the functions of creation ex nihilo in his deeply integrated cosmology and soteriology.184 Paul M. the master poet and rhetorician. “playing” within the contin- gencies of history: This is also a paradox: that stability (στάσις) is seen as constantly flowing and being borne away. and so on. Probing deeper into the image. He is clearly concerned for logos – the coherence of a Christian un- derstanding of the origins and structure of the created universe. His principal contribution in this respect was his highly nuanced doctrine of the Logos-logoi relation as a way 66 Amb. 71 (1413B–1416D). E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. enabling those who are disci- plined (παιδαγωγούμενους) through this stable flux to be wise. Maximus sees it as suggestive of the Logos. mythos was every bit as crucial as logos (if not more so) in addressing this doctrine to Christian audiences. sought to avoid depicting Christ’s involvement in the world. 67  Amb. the playfulness of the Logos conveys the “ecstasy” of the Creator. understood the power of evocative images to convey the hard labor of the Creator in bringing about the new creation. the ontological status of matter. Conclusion My essay. an ever-moving flow providentially purposed by God for the improvement (βελτιώσεως) of the beings governed within his economy. Blowers this “foolishness” is a linguistic play or inversion intended precisely to evoke the excess of divine wisdom. the interrelation between protology and teleology in constructing a Christian cosmogony. III. to hope always for transi- tion to a better place. as merely an abstract principle of divine immanence.67 Maximus. like his two-centuries-removed “teacher” Gregory. and to have faith in being deified by grace as the goal of this mystery by inclining steadfastly toward God. his labor on behalf of the Father. while highlighting aspects of Maximus’s dependence on the variant interpretations of creation ex nihilo in earlier patristic tradition. hopefully has demonstrated that for Maximus. like Gregory. Jo. Maximus too. in virtue of his incarnation. beguiled by his goodness and love for the creation.

Jesus Christ alone leads creatures in the initial change from nonbeing to being in the original creation. soteriological. . His mythos of creation was an imaginative retrieval of the Pauline and Irenaean doctrine of the recapitulation of creation in Jesus Christ. his refreshed mythos of creation aimed to show how Jesus Christ – as Creator. both of creation and of biblical revelation (sacred history).” as it were. E-offprint of the author with publisher’s permission. For Maximus. lay in drawing out of his cosmological logos a refreshed mythos of creation ex nihilo. I would argue. Christ the Logos authors the “script. and in the transition from “being” to “well-being” to “eternal well-being” that is the revelation of a new creation. and enduring “live” activity in creation and new creation. and eschatological perspectives. immanence. and as incarnate Lord – was still at work both in the metaphysical bosom of the cosmos and in the cultivation of the salvific and transformative effects of his death and resurrection. and his eschatological endeavor is that of the lead character in an unfolding drama that began in his premeditation of the logoi of all things and will end in his full self-disclosure in all things. as Wisdom. From Nonbeing to Eternal Well-Being 185 of tying together the Creator’s transcendence. But Maximus’s greatest contribution. as Logos. Indeed. a concerted effort to insinuate and enrich Christian cosmology with more intensely christological.