Saint Porphyrios the Kavsokalivite
The problem is the evil and Orthodoxy explains it in a wonderful way; there is no better one. The explanation it gives is the following: Evil exists and it comes from the devil. Inside ourselves there is the evil spirit and the good spirit and they fight with each other. Either he shall hate one and love the other or shall attach himself of one and shall despise the other one; you cannot serve God and Mammon in the same time. Meaning that within ourselves it takes place a struggle between good and evil. In this struggle the man is free to decide what to choose. Thus it is not God the one who predestines and decides, but the free will of man.
God in His omniscience knows with exactitude even before the creation of the world that for example someone would commit at the age of 33 a crime. But the man in the freedom of his will – gift which he received from God but perverted it – acts in his full freedom.
God is not the cause, He doesn’t predestine us for this purpose. His omniscience doesn’t indulge us. He respects our freedom, doesn’t cancel it. He loves us, He doesn’t make us slaves, He gives us value. God doesn’t interfer in our freedom but respects it, giving us free choice. Thus we are responsible because we do what we want. God doesn’t compel us. God knows you will kill that man but it is not predestined by Him to commit that crime. How could it be possible that God who created us out of His boundless love and being absolute love Himself and wanting only love, lead you to wickedness and crime? He gives you your freedom and then He takes it back? You are the one who acts in full freedom, you decide what God knows beforehand, without being forced by Him. That is why you are made responsible for it.
These matters are very tricky; it is needed to have divine enlightenment so that you could understand. These are misteries.
The good in itself is a mystery.Isn’t it beautiful a flower with different colors which attracts you and make you love it? You go near it and it has such a noble and fine perfume that you love it even more. This is good. But isn’t it a mystery as well? How were all those colors created, how was created that fragrance? We can say the same about birds, animals, water creatures. All creatures express God’s kindness.
God gave to the man everything is beautiful and good. He designed him to become perfect. But He gave him this freedom and thus he is given the chance to choose between good or evil. On one hand there is God’s love and on the other there is man’s freedom. Love and freedom are intertwined. The human spirit is united with the divine spirit. This is mystic life. When our spirit is united with the divine spirit then we do the good and become good.
Our personal will is responsible for our passions. God doesn’t want to hedge our freedom, He doesn’t want to force us. It depends on us what we do and how we live. Either we shall live Christ and will have divine experinces and bliss or we shall live in melancholy and sadness. There is no in-between. Either you are or not. Either one or the other. Nature retaliates, it hates evil. Anything can be this way but it is also possible not to be at all. Kissing for instance may be holy but may also be wily. But this is what has value, that man acts freely. God created man so that he would ask to become good, wanting to be good and becoming that way as if it were his own victory while in fact this comes from the grace of God. He reaches that point when he wants it, he wants loves this and then the divine grace comes and makes it possible.
God is love, He is not a mere spectator of our life. He takes care of us and is interested in us as a Father but He also respects our freedom. He doen’t force us. We should trust in the divine providence and since we believe that God takes care of us we should have courage and entrust ourselves to His love and then we shall see Him ceaselessly by our side. We shall not be afraid anymore of stepping aside.
How many needles has a pine tree? God knows them all and without His will no one of them falls down. It is the same with the hairs from our head, all of the are counted. God takes care of the smallest details of our life, He loves us and protects us. We live as if we would not feel the greatness of the divine providence. God is very mysterious. We cannot understand His works. God is faultless. Who is God in His essence we don’t know. We cannot know His thoughts.
But when God gives us the charisma of humbleness, we see everything and feel everything. Then we live God very intensely. But when we don’t have humbleness, we don’t see anything. On the contrary when we would be worthy of the holy humbleness, then we shall see everything and rejoice in everything. We shall live God and fell heaven within ourselves and this heaven is Christ Himself.