God is not only unity – He is also the fullness of being. When man seeks life’s riches he instinctively seeks for God. Even material riches involuntarily summon forth in the soul of a religious person the idea of Providence. The infinte diversity of being in the universe likewise turns us toward God. In religious life we seek the spiritual strength that will sanctify the whole of our existence and make it productive. Upon everything that is not evil lies the stamp of the divine image, yet God cannot be equated with the universe in its unity, as the pantheists think: He is the fullness of all goodness, of all the positive properties and modes of being in existence, yet as the Creator He eternally embraces all of creation in His love and in His thoughts. Having created the world, He fills it with His own presence.
If God is the fullness of all goodness, then it is clear that only in God can all of man’s aspirations find fulfilment, and man becomes willing to give up his life in order to some day be in God. When man rejects or forgets God he immediately makes himself, or the world, or animals, or society, science, or art, into a god. We must understand that this is the greatest, most destructive self-deception. We can be gods in union with God, but when separated from God we are insignificant, powerless and evil. All the grandeur and magnificence of the world is but a senseless mass of matter if there is no God. Animal life by itself can never satisfy man; once we have taken our fill of delight in it we turn upon it with our spirit’s full, passionate force: we violate it and destroy it. Animals are beautiful, but the man-animal is an abomination. Society, when idolized, is a horrible monster which devours people – it devastates and torments man. Science, when it is idolized, is a false idol, for it has never and will never possess either omniscience or infallibility. On the contrary, nothing is easier than to exploit science for the sake of falsehood and the destruction of the world. Art, when it has become an idol, degenerates into ambiguous fantasy or the pursuit of original, striking forms.
Society cannot exist without God, for it must be rooted in goodness, and goodness is God. Science and art are nourished by truth and beauty, but absolute truth and beauty are God. An alternative path is, of course, skepticism – the denial of all that is absolute and perfect. But then man takes arms against his own spirit and brings it to extinction, for in his desires, his knowledge, his feelings, in goodness, in truth and in beauty man always seeks for fullness. In God we lose nothing – not even the most minute value of the created world – but rather we gain in addition that which cannot be found anywhere in the universe.
Serge Verhovskoy in The Light of the World
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