‘Saints John of Damascus and Cosmas’ – Menologion of Basil II, 11th AD – Wikimedia
“The knowledge of the existence of God is implanted in us by nature.”
~ John of Damascus
In spiritual matters, it is always a pleasure and a thrill to find a new gem, to mingle with a different formulation, to venture for a while with an old, unexpected description of the perennial understanding; in more simple terms, to stumble on a new exponent of the eternal truth. John of Damascus is one such talented teller, to the point of having been named, in his own remote time, the ‘golden speaker’, or literally — and even more poetically — ‘streaming with gold’ (from the Greek ‘Chrysorroas’). John of Damascus was born in 675-676 AD to a prominent and wealthy Arab-Christian Damascene family. He is known to have composed many hymns and canons that are still sung today, and has written treatises, teachings, and other works, amongst which a highly influential synthesis of Christian philosophy called ‘The Fountain of Wisdom’.
Although raised in a rich and influential family, John became so dissatisfied that he relinquished all his possessions at around the age of 40, becoming a priest and a monk in a monastery near Jerusalem, where he spent the rest of his life studying, writing, and composing. The excerpts presented here are borrowed from the last volume of John’s work ‘The Fountain of Wisdom’, translated by S. D. F. Salmond, called ‘An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith’. In Book I, Chapter 1, John shows in a few eloquent quotes, that God is not to be apprehended in objects. It is empty and unreachable by thought or the mind. However, God is not knowable outside of, or away from ourself, but only in and as our very own self. In consequence, the nature of God as awareness is self-sufficient, and doesn’t need to find peace and happiness outside itself, in the objects of experience, which would rob God — and ourself — of Its/our divine nature…
“No one hath seen God at any time. […]
The Deity, therefore, is ineffable and incomprehensible.”
“God, however, did not leave us in absolute ignorance.
For the knowledge of God’s existence has been implanted by Him in all by nature.”
“No one knoweth the Father, save the Son, nor the Son, save the Father. […]
[no one] has ever known God, save he to whom He revealed Himself.”
“The Divine nature […] is both passionless and only good.”
Discover the life and insightful writings of John of Damascus… (READ MORE…)