THE TRUTH IN CHRISTIANITY
THE ONE DOCTRINE AND THE MANY FALSE ONSE
by Apostolos Makrakis
The truth is one. Consequently the true doctrine concerning it is also one, explaining it faithfully and interpreting it as it is, and enouncing it clearly. Every other doctrine, distorting the truth, and enouncing it in a garbled form, is false. Accordingly, there are many systems of false doctrine; for falsehood varies in accordance with the varying distortions of the truth: but there is only one system that sets forth the true doctrine; for the truth is one and simple, and the right and true conception of it is but one also.
The first principle, eternal, everlasting, infinite, is God — a principle that is cognitive and volitive, all-wise, all-powerful, all-good, creative and formative of the universe and preservative thereof. Therefrom are all beings, living beings, thinking beings, the world and man, temporal things, finite things. These things are works and products of its all-wiseness and all-powerfulness and all-goodness, of its infinite perfectness. God is the creator of the world, and the molder of man, the everlasting cause of time, the eternal cause of whatever occurs, the infinite cause of space and of extension, the invisible cause of the existence of both visible and invisible beings, the eternally existing cause of occurrences by reason of His wisdom, love, and might. This is the divine truth, everlasting, interminable, immutable.
We see the sensible world by means of perception and the senses, and we believe in its existence unhesitatingly: the world of beings, of realities, of bodies, the multipartite world, the complex world, we say, exists, because we perceive. it encompassing and surrounding us, because we can feel its colors, its figures, its odors, its gustables, its solidity and renitence; and we infer that it would have been impossible for it to exist in such a state of organization, in such orderly arrangement and harmony and variety of beings and purposefulness, had there not been some cause that is absolute, infinite, cognitive and volitive, all-powerful, all-wise, and all-good, an eternal, unalterable, everlasting cause — had there not been in existence a God as a source of wisdom and of power and of goodness. So it may be affirmed that the everlasting and eternal One actually exists, that God actually does exist and is the efficient and final cause of the universe; and His existence is infinite, and absolute, whereas the existence of the world is finite and relative, because the nature of the fact (i.e., of the phenomenal world) is such by nature. Whatever is a fact is therefore finite and relative; because it became a fact and is such in time and space; because it is related to an efficient will that exists absolutely and causes it. So, inasmuch as we can conceive the necessary and absolute existence of God, we believe in it without any hesitation, being unable to form a rational conception in our minds of the contrary. So we may assert that God exists, the absolute Mind, who has produced by absolute Reason and Spirit the beings out of nothing, the Cause of creation, of the order, or orderliness, of the purposefulness, of the cohesion, or connectedness, of the harmonious arrangement observable therein.
But I, who perceive the world by whatever senses I possess, and who conceive the necessary existence of God, I who believe in the existence of the world, and in that of God, I am conscious as concerning myself that I exist, that I am an existence distinct from God and the world, a finite and relative existence; and that I co-exist together with other beings, as a being that thinks, wills, and feels, as a cognitive and volitive essence that is the cause of my actions, and motions, and decisions, an existence that searches, seeks, discovers, that yearns to know everything, and is learning and investigating, and, in short, an existence that aims at the infinite. Such I conceive my existence to be But I who am conscious of my existence and unhesitatingly believe that I exist, am therefore led to conceive that it would not have been possible for me to exist, had there not eternally existed a creative, cognitive, volitive, all-wise, all-good, all-powerful cause which gave me not only my beinghood, but also my livelihood, my immediate awareness, my volition, my ability to do things, and predestined me to ascend to perfect cognition, and perfect knowledge, and enjoyment thereof attained through love and intelligence. So I am a product of the absolute action of God, a work of God's all-wiseness, all-powerfulness, and goodness, a finite and relative work; accordingly, I conceive the existence of God, in accordance with right reason, as the cause of my existence and of that of the world. Thus I conceive above me and the world the absolute and necessary existence upon the will of which depends my existence and that of the world. It is not because He exists that I exist, but because He so willed. My existence is not a necessary consequence of God's existence, but merely a possible and contingent existence; for it would have been possible for me not to exist, as it would have been possible also for the world not to exist. But I do exist, and the world does exist, simply because God so willed; and lie willed it because He is good. Hence it is logically evident that the cause of my existence and of that of the world was and is God's goodness. So a doctrine that interprets this truth is a true doctrine, and such is only the Christian doctrine.
But God, who out of goodness made me and gave me the infinite desire to comprehend Him, to enjoy Him, to soar upwards to love of Him, to appreciation of Him, also showed me the means whereby I shall be able, as being desirous of accomplishing the realization of my longings, to become like him, to avoid being led astray, or if I be led astray to find my way back to the truth. Now, this sure means, whereby I can accomplish the realization of my noble longings, my destiny, is none other than the Logos, or Reason, of God, the Son of God, the everlasting Wisdom of God, the Logos of God who became man, the God-man, Jesus Christ. This eternal God in the God-man invites all human beings to a moral and spiritual union and communion with Him; man in the God-man realizes his noble longings, soars upwards to God, and becomes united with Him through perfect love and appreciation of God. The God-man is the way to God; He is the truth and the life and the light of the world. All persons who travel by means of Him are bound to reach God, to know God, and to live in love of God. Those, on the other hand, who wander away from Christ are wandering away from God; and sooner or later they fall into irrational deism, or atheism and materialism, into pantheism or panegoism — some by deifying matter, others by deifying man, and others again by deifying the universe. it is evident, therefore, that false doctrines grow up by the side of Christianity; and necessarily whoever fights shy of Christ is bound to fall into one of these systems of falsehood and to perish.