"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

Tuesday 31 July 2012


I noticed tonight in a Facebook discussion a reference to this article – thus I thought a reprint might be timely. I continue to be amazed at the literalism that infects the minds of many Christians. Just because Scripture uses the language of geography to describe something does not at all mean that we should assume that it is referring to a literal geography. Those whose imaginations are filled with various versions of heaven and hell in literal terms – it seems to me – lack imagination. The accounts of Christ after the Resurrection, though marked occasionally with very physical descriptions, are clearly marked as well with things that defy everything we know of physicality. His Resurrection is the only “image” of a tangible/non-tangible sort that we can point to for the character of life after death. Some Christians so lack imagination that they won’t let Christ off a literal throne in heaven and use such nonsense to deny the complete reality of the transformation of the Eucharist into His body and blood. In earlier centuries of the Church, such notions would (and were ) declared heresy by the Fathers. How can we worship God in awe and wonder when He is reduced to such understandable terms. Jesus Christ is Lord and His resurrected existence is the only measuring stick (if you will) of reality. 

The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) has a long history of teasing Christians into dangerous territory. I suspect that many if not most Christians have more than a little curiosity about life after death. We want to know what happens. We want to know “how things work.” And this parable – at least on its surface – seems to give more indication of “how things work” than almost any other passage in Scripture.

It gives us a geography of sorts: Lazarus is in “Abraham’s bosom” apparently enjoying good things; the rich man is in Hades and in torment; we are told that there is a “great gulf fixed between the two” so that no one can come from Hades to Abraham’s bosom and no one from Abraham’s bosom can go to Hades.

It interests me that many Christians use this parable as a “map” of the after-life, or at least as a story that supports their own “map” of life after death.

The most important feature of such maps is the very “fixed” character of their geography. What seems most important to them is that one character is in one place and the other character is in another place and there is no traffic between the two. (To read some useful Orthodox thought on life after death and Christ descent into Hades – the following article is of interest.)

It would seem that the reason some Christians like this is that it fits their own map of God and life after death. There are those who seem to like things to be stableand unchangeable - by this I mean they want a life after death (and a life before death) with clearly defined rules, boundaries, unbending laws and the like.

In such a map of things – those who obey the rules, observe the boundaries and master the laws do well. Those who do not – are punished. Such a world, it seems to them, is the way things ought to be, and to be the best way to either reward the good, correct the bad, or punish the incorrigible.

I might add that if you want a world like this – then it is even better if you can find a way to secure God as its underwriter. Many people do this under the heading of the “justice of God.” They will say that “God is just and He cannot deny His justice,” thus forcing God to have very clear rules and guaranteeing that He cannot break His own rules.

Several things to note:

1. There are no maps of the afterlife. Regardless of the descriptions in this parable – the purpose of the parable is not to teach us the topography of heaven and hell. Where, I will ask, is Abraham’s Bosom? How do we think of this as a place? Hades has the same problem – where do you place it? As for the Great Gulf – of what does the gulf consist? What sort of obstacle is insurmountable in these circumstances?

The point of the parable is found in its end: “If they have not listened to Moses and the Prophets, neither would they listen to someone even if he came back from the dead.” It is not a parable about the topography of the after-life, but a comment about our present life and our unwillingness to hear the gospel.

2. Important, and please note carefully: no matter how much some may want the world – particularly God’s world -  to be describable in clearly defined rules, boundaries and unbending laws – it’s just not the case. If there is a “rule” of any sort – it is God Himself – it is Personal - and is defined only by mercy, love and kindness.

And so it is that the “Way” forward, backwards, up or down, however you want to describe our travel in the Kingdom of God – the Way only follows the map of the heart of God. If you want to know the way to go – if you want to know how things work – then you have to know the heart of God. You have to know God Himself.

And this is all that we need to know for life here – and life hereafter. God Himself is our heaven – and in the teachings of the Fathers – God Himself is our hell – for hell is nothing other than our self-imposed refusal to accept the love of God. It is that refusal that brings its own torment.

If we have the eyes to see – we are already traveling the roads of heaven and hell – already dwelling in the bosom of Abraham or in the torments of Hades. The geography of that journey is the geography of love and mercy, kindness and forgiveness – or contrary – hatred and judgment, violence self-conceit, slander and calumny.

Judge for yourself – for we’ve all experienced both. Where do you want to dwell? The good news is that whatever gulf is fixed in our heart – whatever wall or chasm has been erected within us – Christ has gone there. He descended into Hades. If you will look within yourself – into the darkness of your own private hell – you will find Christ there – for He has gone there to look for you. And as sure as He trampled down death by death – He can trample down your own hell and translate you into the Kingdom of light.

CAN GOD SUFFER? by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware (click)

THE SUFFERING GOD Dr. Christine Mangala Frost presents a series of reflections on the services of the Holy Week.(CLICK)


Sunday 29 July 2012


source for text: the blog "Idle Speculations"

In the 12th century the Abbot Suger (c. 1081 – 13 January 1151), the chief adviser to the French King, rebuilt portions of the Abbaye de Saint-Denis, north of Paris using innovative structural and decorative features that were drawn from a number of other sources. In doing so, he is said to have created the first truly Gothic building (Panofsky, Suger and St Denis)

The basilica is also the prototype for the Rayonnant Gothic style, and provided an architectural model for cathedrals and abbeys of northern France, England and other countries.

The gothic architect drew much of their mathematical inspiration from biblical sources, the 12 supporting columns for each the ambulatory and choir of St Denis, make manifest Suger’s statement that they were "building spiritually... upon the foundation of Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ being the keystone that joins one wall to the other."

The new Gothic abbey designed under the Abbot Suger not only represented a splendid theology of light but one upheld and championed by the French crown.

The cathedrals aim was literally to manifest this radiance, both physically and spiritually. The church becoming transparent bathed and interpenetrated by "the Light of the Father".

Abbot Suger wrote:

"The whole church shines with its middle part brightened.

For bright is that which is brightly coupled with the bright,

And bright is the noble edifice which is pervaded by the new light."

Much of the inspiration during the Gothic period for a theology of light was drawn from Pseudo Dionysius, an eastern mystic of the 5th or 6th century AD. He blended Platonism, in which light is identified with the Good and the magnificent theology of light in the Gospel of St John, where the Word is compared "to a light that shineth in the darkness, by which all things were made, and that enlighteneth every man. 

Pseudo Dionysius described a world infused with divine light:

"Inspired by the Father, each procession of the Light spreads itself generously towards us, and, in its power to unify, it stirs us by lifting us up. It returns us back to the oneness and deifying simplicity of the Father who gathers us in... Jesus, the Light of the Father, the ‘true light enlightening every man coming into the world ...through whom we have obtained access’ to the Father, the light which is the source of all light. ... We must lift up the immaterial and steady eyes of our minds to that outpouring of Light which is so primal, indeed much more so, and which comes from that source of divinity, I mean the Father. This is the Light which, by way of representative symbols, makes known to us the most blessed hierarchies among the angels. But we need to rise from this outpouring of illumination so as to come to the simple ray of Light itself."

Pope Benedict XVI continued his talk on the Romanesque and the Gothic on 18th November 2009 thus:

"In the 12th and 13th centuries another kind of architecture for sacred buildings spread from the north of France: the Gothic. 

It had two new characteristics in comparison with the Romanesque, a soaring upward movement and luminosity. 

Gothic cathedrals show a synthesis of faith and art harmoniously expressed in the fascinating universal language of beauty which still elicits wonder today. By the introduction of vaults with pointed arches supported by robust pillars, it was possible to increase their height considerably. The upward thrust was intended as an invitation to prayer and at the same time was itself a prayer. 

Thus the Gothic cathedral intended to express in its architectural lines the soul's longing for God. 

In addition, by employing the new technical solutions, it was possible to make openings in the outer walls and to embellish them with stained-glass windows. In other words the windows became great luminous images, very suitable for instructing the people in faith. In them scene by scene the life of a saint, a parable or some other biblical event were recounted. A cascade of light poured through the stained-glass upon the faithful to tell them the story of salvation and to involve them in this story. 

Another merit of Gothic cathedrals is that the whole Christian and civil community participated in their building and decoration in harmonious and complementary ways. The lowly and the powerful, the illiterate and the learned; all participated because in this common house all believers were instructed in the faith. Gothic sculpture in fact has made cathedrals into "stone Bibles", depicting Gospel episodes and illustrating the content of the liturgical year, from the Nativity to the glorification of the Lord. 

In those centuries too, the perception of the Lord's humanity became ever more widespread and the sufferings of his Passion were represented realistically: the suffering Christ (Christus patiens) an image beloved by all and apt to inspire devotion and repentance for sins. Nor were Old Testament figures lacking; thus to the faithful who went to the cathedral their histories became familiar as part of the one common history of salvation. With faces full of beauty, gentleness and intelligence, Gothic sculpture of the 13th century reveals a happy and serene religious sense, glad to show a heartfelt filial devotion to the Mother of God, sometimes seen as a young woman, smiling and motherly, but mainly portrayed as the Queen of Heaven and earth, powerful and merciful. 

The faithful who thronged the Gothic cathedrals also liked to find there, expressed in works of art, saints, models of Christian life and intercessors with God. And there was no shortage of the "secular" scenes of life, thus, here and there, there are depictions of work in the fields, of the sciences and arts. All was oriented and offered to God in the place in which the Liturgy was celebrated. 

We may understand better the meaning attributed to a Gothic cathedral by reflecting on the text of the inscription engraved on the central portal of Saint-Denis in Paris: 

"Passerby, who is stirred to praise the beauty of these doors, do not let yourself be dazzled by the gold or by the magnificence, but rather by the painstaking work. Here a famous work shines out, but may Heaven deign that this famous work that shines make spirits resplendent so that, with the luminous truth, they may walk toward the true light, where Christ is the true door". "




Saturday 28 July 2012


PRESUPPOSITIONS: The Relationship Between Church, Eucharist and Bishop in the Consciousness of the Primitive Church

Chapter Two: The "President" of the Eucharist as "Bishop" of the "Church of God"

1. The identification of Eucharistic unity with the canonical unity of the Church

The identification of the Eucharistic assembly with the "Church of God" led naturally to the coincidence of the structure of the Church with that of the Eucharist. It is a noteworthy fact that the Church was distinguished from the world around her as a sui generis unity mainly by forming a Eucharistic unity.87 For precisely that reason, her organization, as will be shown below, was not borrowed or copied from the world around her, as historians have often contended,88 but arose naturally out of the Eucharistic assembly through which canonical unity is connected with the essence of the Church.89

The reconstruction of the image presented by the Eucharistic assembly in Apostolic times in all its particulars does not concern us in the present work.90

As regards to the relationship of the Church's canonical unity with the Divine Eucharist, the existing sources allow us to make the following observations.

Through her worship, and especially through the Eucharist, the primitive Church lived under the influence of an absolute theocracy. The whole of her worship is performed on earth, but forms a type of the heavenly worship where the throne of God dominates.91 In consequence, all authority in the Church is concentrated in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the one Lord, i.e. the only one who has power over all things, being exalted on the right hand of God.92 Hence also, unity in one Lord93 is manifested first and foremost in worship and especially in the Eucharist. As the one Lord, Christ is also the one ruler, again recognized as such primarily in the Eucharist. 94 Precisely because of this position He holds in Eucharistic worship, Christ concentrates in Himself all the forms of ministry that exist in the Church. He is par excellence the minister,95 priest, 96 Apostle, 97 deacon,98 bishop, 99 and teacher,100 "in everything being preeminent."101

But here too, as has been remarked in another case, 102 Christ is a great paradox in His relationship with the Church. While He is worshipped in heaven, He is at the same time present on earth and in the Eucharist, 103 thus transforming the heavenly state into an earthly and historical reality. Thus Eucharistic worship on earth does not constitute a reality parallel to that of heaven, but is the heavenly worship itself {mystical identity).104 In precisely the same way, the paradox of the relationship between Christ and the Church is also extended to the forms of ministry. The fact that the ministries in the primitive Church were always understood in humility as "ministries of service" (diakoniai)105 does not mean that they were devoid of authority.106 In precisely the same way as the heavenly worship was truly represented typo-logically in the Eucharist on earth so the authority of Christ was truly reflected in the ministers of the Church. The Church ministries, therefore, were not understood as existing in parallel with Christ's authority,107 but as expressing the very authority of Christ. As the one Lord and ruler of the Church, Christ does not govern in parallel with an ecclesiastical administration on earth, but through it and in it. The ministries that exist are antitypes and mystical radiations of the very authority of Christ, the only minister par excellence. The rank of Apostle, for example, was not understood in the primitive Church as an authority existing in parallel with the authority of Christ, but as the very authority of Christ.108 In a similar manner the bishop, as we shall see shortly,109 was understood as occupying the "place of God" and as the "image of Christ." In this way, Christ remained the only minister and the only one holding authority in the Church. Ministers had no authority except as images and representatives of Christ. This makes the Church a theocratic unity.110 But this authority of Christ was not expressed except through the ministers of the Church; the law of which had a human as well as a divine character. This was made possible mainly because of the Divine Eucharist which identified heavenly worship with earthly and Christ with His Church in a manner that was mystical and real.

So thanks to the Eucharist and, therefore, chiefly in it, the various forms of ministry grew up in the primitive Church, and these in turn gave rise to the various "orders" in the Church and produced her law as a strictly Christ-centred reality. All the ministries of Christ were reflected as historical realities in the Church in a way that created order and, therefore, "orders." In other words, while Christ was identified with the whole Church which was His body, and, therefore, all the members of the Church were "sharers in Christ,"111 the powers or ministries of Christ were not expressed through all these members, but through certain ones. Thus Christ was regarded as the "apostle," but this did not mean that in His Body all were apostles.112 Christ was the 'Teacher," but in the Church there were not "many teachers."113 He was the deacon, but this property of His was expressed through a particular order which received a special charisma for this.114 This held good for all the ministries of Christ which are mystically reflected in the Church.115 In the same way, the unity of the Church came to be the unity of a body, but in diversity of charismata116 which is equivalent to a unity in law and hierarchy.

Thus, the Divine Eucharist through which Christ was united to the point of identity with the Church, making it possible in this way for the charismata to be distributed, became not only the source of canonical unity, but also the chief area in which it was expressed.117 As we know from the First Epistle to the Corinthians, the diversity of gifts was manifested chiefly in the Eucharistic assembly. But it was precisely there also that unity in order was manifested - the unity which Paul tries to reinforce still further by opposing the individualism of the charismatics and making the charismata subordinate to the unity of the Church which for Paul meant unity in order. 118 The frequently attempted separation between spiritual gifts and order, 119 even to the point of an antithesis such that order is seen as the destroyer of the spirit in the primitive Church,120 finds no basis in the sources of primitive Christianity. The division between charismatics and non-charismatics, introduced by Harnack, founders on the fact that the permanent ministers too received the gift of the Holy Spirit and were therefore considered charismatics.121 The act of ordination by which the permanent ministers were "appointed" was nothing other than a laying on of hands to convey a special charism,122 one which remained permanently with the person ordained.123 Nor is there any serious basis in the sources for the idea, again introduced by Harnack, that the so-called "charismatics" took precedence in the early Church over the permanent ministers. Looked at in the light of the entire section of the Epistle concerning the Eucharistic assemblies in Corinth, the passage in 1 Cor.12:28 on which Harnack bases his thesis, is evidence that Paul did not have in mind a hierarchy such that the "charismatics" were placed above the permanent ministers. On the contrary, his whole purpose is to subordinate the charismatics to the "order" of the Church,124 and this is why he places the gift of tongues, so dear to the Corinthians, right at the end of the list of gifts. The fact that Paul is not interested in that kind of order of precedence is further evident from several passages where he places the so-called "charismatics" after the permanent ministers who are regarded as "administrators."125 The primitive Eucharistic assemblies, in consequence, knew no antithesis between spirit and order, charisma and hierarchy, because hierarchy and order without a spiritual charisma were inconceivable at that time.126

2. The elevation of the "president" of the Eucharist to "Bishop" of the Church

What specific distinctions of "order" do we find, then, in the Eucharistic assemblies of apostolic times? And how did they lead from the structure of the Eucharist to the permanent structure of the Church's unity? Again, the information available to us is severely limited by the nature of the sources. The actual situation in the Church of that period is known to us only from the Apostles, and this prevents us from seeing what exactly happened in the Apostles' absence. So what we discover is only the minimum of the historical reality. A fact which should make us wary of arguments from silence.127 From Paul's description of the Eucharistic assembly in Corinth, we learn that the Eucharist involved all the members of the Church,128 but within it there were those who gave their consent and confirmation through the "Amen."129 So in the Eucharist there was, on the one hand, the order of offerers or leaders, and on the other, the order of respondents through the "Amen." Who exactly these leaders and respondents were, 1 Corinthians does not tell us. About a generation later in the Church of Corinth, we learn that there were two orders clearly distinguished from one another, the clergy and the laity, and that - significantly enough - the substance of these two orders is based on the place each of them occupied in the Eucharist.130 When, in about the middle of the second century, the Eucharistic assembly in Rome is described by Justin (and judging from 1 Clement which links Corinth and Rome, it cannot have differed from the practice in Corinth), the "Amen" attested in 1 Corinthians is placed in the mouth of the order of laity.131 So insofar as we can throw light on the situation in Corinth around 55 A.D. through what we know from somewhat later sources,132 the distinction between those who led the Eucharist and those who responded with the "Amen" sprang from the structure of the Eucharist to appear clearly a short time later (1 Clement) as the fundamental canonical division of the Church herself into clergy and laity.

More particularly now on the question of the leaders of the Eucharistic assembly, the apostolic period is again obscured by the shadow of the Apostles.133 From what the book of Acts tells us, we are obliged to accept that when the Apostles were present at a Eucharistic gathering, they led the Eucharist.134 It seems that the same applied to the itinerant "prophets," judging from what we are told by the Didache.135 But, whenever the Apostles were absent, which was most of the time, leadership of the Eucharist naturally belonged to the permanent ministers. Here, again, there is an impenetrable historical problem, because the information we have is sporadic. When the Twelve disappeared from the historical scene in a highly obscure manner, we find leadership of the Church of Jerusalem in the hands of James and the presbyters.136 These presbyters may have existed in the Church of Jerusalem before James took over its leadership.137 Appearing there in parallel are the "deacons,"138 an institution not unrelated to the common tables, with which the Eucharist too was connected at that time.139 Thus, the Church of Jerusalem was headed by the triad: James - the presbyters - those who serve (diakonountes)140 which probably replaced the scheme: the Twelve (or the Apostles) - the presbyters -those who serve. This may have formed the model also for the organization of the other Churches which received Christianity from the mother Church of Jerusalem.141 As we can know, today, thanks to the research of Professor G. Konidaris,142 this triad was the first linguistic form under which the Bishop appeared in history as a specific and complete rank, initially known only by the personal name of the office-holder and implicit within the collective term "the presbyters" whenever there was no reason to single him out. It follows that the office of Bishop exists even in the apostolic period, overshadowed by the institution of the Apostles143 and linked with the presbyters and deacons, either (more rarely) through the scriptural expression "Bishops and deacons,"144 or (more commonly) through the everyday expression "the presbyters."

That the Bishop, surrounded by the presbyters and deacons, was from the beginning the leader of the Eucharist is shown by the existing texts even though they do not provide us with clear evidence as to who exactly offered the Divine Eucharist. A careful examination of the sources leads to the conclusion that the Divine Eucharist could be offered principally and par excellence a) by the Apostles or other charismatics such as the prophets, and b) by the Bishop, surrounded by the presbyters and deacons.

Texts such as the Acts of the Apostles, 1 Clement and the Didache point in the former direction. In Acts (20:11), we read that Paul celebrated the Divine Eucharist in Troas on the occasion when the youth Eutychus accidentally fell from the third floor room where the Christians had gathered to "break bread." Again, 1 Clement talks about a "ministry of the apostles."145 What was the nature of this ministry in which the Apostles were succeeded by the presbyters of Corinth who had been dismissed? Even though the term "ministers" is used by Clement in a variety of ways, 146 as used here of the Apostles it has the specific meaning of offering the Gifts of the Eucharist. The ministry of the Apostles which had been given to the dismissed presbyters was the offering of the Gifts; this is why it was considered "no small sin" to dismiss them from it.147 It follows that the Apostles had the right among other things to offer the Divine Eucharist whenever they were at any Church. It is possible, indeed, that each Church had a special place at the table of the Divine Eucharist which would be used by the Apostle whenever he visited; and that later, once the apostolic generation was gone, this became not simply the exclusive locus of the Bishop, but also the most vital symbol of his succession from the Apostles.148 This probability stands, whether we accept the theory first put forward by C.H. Turner,149 according to which apostolic succession was understood in the early Church as meaning that the Bishop of a local Church traced his succession back, not to the Apostles in general, but specifically to the apostle and the apostolic foundation of the local Church over which he presided - or whether we accept the opposite view upheld by A. Ehrhardt and other historians,150 according to which the succession was seen as a succession from all the Apostles. Γη either case, it does not alter the fact which interests us here, that apostolic succession as an historical fact stemmed from the Divine Eucharist, in the offering of which the Bishops succeeded the Apostles. This becomes clear from studying 1 Clement where the meaning of succession from the Apostles revolves exclusively around the ministry of "offering the Gifts." A similar conclusion is to be drawn from studying the Didache. In this text, the Divine Eucharist appears as a ministry of the prophets too,151 which permits the conclusion that charismatics generally were able to offer the Divine Eucharist when they were visiting a local Church.

Despite this, however, two historical facts should be taken into consideration before drawing more general conclusions. Firstly, it should be borne in mind that many local Churches were not founded directly by the Apostles, but by missionaries who came from other Churches. As to the meaning of apostolic succession, this fact does not change things because by tracing his succession back to the apostolic foundations of his Church, the Bishop would ultimately go back to the apostle of the Mother Church from which his own Church had received Christianity. But as regards the unity of the local Church and its relation to the person offering the Eucharist, this fact is of particular importance as we shall see. A second historical fact which should be taken into consideration here is that even in those Churches which had been founded by one of the Apostles not all the charismatics were connected permanently with the local Church. Furthermore, which is more important, that at an early date the Apostles and charismatics started to disappear and be replaced in all their ministries by the permanent pastors of the local Church.152 In view of these facts, the Apostles and other charismatics cannot be regarded as figures connected permanently with the offering of the Divine Eucharist in the local Church and, therefore, capable of expressing her unity. This was the task and character of the permanent ministers of the local Church and in particular the Bishop.

The task of the Bishop was from the beginning principally liturgical consisting in the offering of the Divine Eucharist. This is attested in very early texts. If we combine the information Ignatius gives us about the Bishop with the image of the Eucharistic assembly that the author of the Apocalypse has in mind (late first century), we see that the Bishop is described as "presiding in the place of God,"153

precisely because in the Eucharistic assembly he occupied that place, which the Apocalypse describes as "the throne of God and of the Lamb" in the heavenly assembly, the image of which the Apocalypse takes from the celebration of the Divine Eucharist in the Church.154 The very title of "Bishop" (episkopos) is used by Ignatius most probably because, in keeping with his whole theology, the episkopos par excellence is God, Whose place in the Eucharistic assembly was now occupied by the Bishop who presided over it.155 Everything in the vision of the Apocalypse revolves around the altar which is before the throne of God. Before it stands the multitude of the saved and around the throne in a circle the twenty-four presbyters. The metaphor is plainly taken from the Eucharistic assembly at which the Bishop sat on his throne before the altar with the presbyters in a circle around him156 and the people in front of him.157 This was from the beginning the place the Bishop occupied as the one who offered the Divine Eucharist, and for this reason the Church saw him as the image and type of God or of Christ.158 The basis for this vivid consciousness in the Church lay in the understanding of the Divine Eucharist as the Body of Christ in both the Christological and the ecclesiological sense.159 In the Divine Eucharist, the Church was manifested in space and time as the body of Christ, and also as a canonical unity. In this way the unity of the Divine Eucharist became the font of the Church's unity in the body of Christ, and also of her unity "in the Bishop."160 How the unity of the Catholic Church was established and took shape on the basis of this reality will be the subject of our enquiry in the chapters which follow.

To summarize the conclusions of the first part of this study, we observe that the Divine Eucharist was from the beginning identified with the Church of God. Through this link with the consciousness that in Christ the "many" are united in the One, the Eucharist appeared as the highest expression of the Church as body of Christ. Thus, in the earliest historical documents, Paul's Epistles, the Eucharistic assembly is unreservedly identified with the Church of God which is in a given city. Identification of the Eucharistic assembly with the "Church of God" led automatically to the coincidence of Eucharistic unity with the basic canonical unity of the Church. The division of those taking part in the Eucharist into those who led and those who responded with the "Amen" appeared already in the first century (1 Corinthians and 1 Clement) as a clear and now permanent canonical division of the members of the Church into clergy and laity. At the same period the "president" of the Eucharistic assembly, as occupying the "throne of God" in the altar, was elevated in the consciousness of the Church to the one who was seated "in the place of God." In this way, the unity of the Church in the Eucharist automatically became also a unity in the "Bishop."

These general presuppositions of the first three generations or so of Christianity formed the basis for the further formation of the unity of the Church in the Divine Eucharist and the Bishop.


87. Unity per se was not a characteristic exclusive to the Church. In the Roman Empire, the formation of "associations" was such a widespread practice that there were special laws governing the affairs of the various organizations which were known by the term collegia (see Tacitus, Annals 14.17; Pliny, Ad Traj. 34.97; Minucius Felix, Octavius 8-9 and Origen, Against Celsus 1.1. Cf. J.P. Waltzing, Etude Historique sur les Corporations Professionels des Romains, I, pp. 113-129 and Th. Mommsen, Le droit penal romain, Π, pp. 274-8). The love and mutual support which prevailed among the members of these collegia was extraordinary and was organized through a common fund to which each would contribute monthly (stips menstrua); thus, the members would address each other as "brethren" (fratres, sodates, socii). Cf. F.X. Kraus, "Fraternitas," in Realencyclopaedie der christi. Altertumer, 1, 1880, p. 540). Apart from the pagans, the Jews who lived within the Roman Empire came together in special communities under their own ethnarch (cf. E. Schurer, Geschichte des judischen Volkes, 1914, pp. 14,17). The brotherly love between them was strong, and was manifest especially in groups such as the Essenes whose life was organized on principles of common property (cf. L. Philippidis, History, p. 480 f.) To characterize the Church's unity as simply a "communion of love," therefore, does not satisfy the historian who sees the Church as a sui generis unity.

88. E.g. E. Hatch, The Organization of the Early Christian Churches, 1888, p. 26 f. and L. Duchesne, Histoire Ancienne de VEglise, 1,1906, pp. 381-87.

89. The connection of the Eucharist with the essence of the Church (see above. Introduction) should be especially stressed because it is precisely on this point that R. Sohm goes astray in his attempt connect the origin of Canon Law with the Eucharist.

90. On this see H. Chirat, L'Assemblee Chretienne ΰ l'Age Apostolique (ser. Lex Orandi No. 10), 1949, passim and esp. p. 188 f.

91. This is clear in the book of the Apocalypse (see above p. 51); but also in Hebrews, where worship dominates, the "altar" of the Eucharist (see above p. 64, n. 83) is linked with "Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels, and to the festal gathering and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all..." (12:22 f.).

92. Heb. 12:2, Col. 3:1, Eph. 1:2 and esp. Phil. 2:6-11, where we most likely have a hymn used in the worship of the primitive Church (cf. above, p. 56). I. Karavidopoulos, The Christological Hymn in Phil. 2:6-11 (in Greek), 1963.

93. Eph. 4:5.

94. Rev. 1:5.

95. Heb. 8:2.

96. Heb. 5:6; 8:4; 10:21; 2:17.

97. Heb. 3:1.

98. Rom. 15:8; Lk 22:77; cf. Phil. 2:7; Mt 12:18; Acts 3:13,4:27.

99. Pet. 2:25; 5:4; Heb. 13:20.

100. Mt 23:8; Jn 13:13.

101. Col. 1:18.

102. See above, p. 53 f., on the relation of the One to the "Many" united in Him.

103. Cf. the phrase in the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, "Who art enthroned on high with the Father, and invisibly present here with us."

104. This is especially evident in the Apocalypse and in Hebrews, and also in Ignatius on whom see below.

105. G. Konidaris, On the Supposed Difference, p. 34 f.

106. Cf. EM. Braun, Neues Licht aufdie Kirche, p. 179.

107. As is the opinion of e.g. B.O. Beicke, Glaube und Leben der Urgemeinde, 1957, p. 25 f.

108. Between the Apostle (lit. "sent one") and Christ the sender there exists a mystical relationship. Christ Himself is working in and through the Apostle: "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me" (Lk 10:16. Cf. 1 Thes. 4:8).

109. See p. 65ff.

110. Cf. K. Mouratidis, Diversification, Secularization and Recent Developments in the Law of the Roman Catholic Church (in Greek), 1961, p. 36: "The divine factor dominates during this period (i.e. the initial period) in the organization of the Church...."

111. Heb. 3:14. Thus, from the viewpoint of participation in the body of Christ, the Church, there is complete equality of her members irrespective of what order they belong to. This is expressed par excellence in the Divine Eucharist in which from the beginning all orders of the Church had to participate. Cf. G. Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy p. 195 f. and I. Kotsonis, The Place of the Laity in Church Organization (in Greek), 1956, p. 32 f.

112. "Are all Apostles?," asks Paul (1 Cor. 12:29).

113. "They shall all be taught by God," indeed 0n 6:45); but not all are teachers (1 Cor. 12:29 and Jas 3:1).

114. Acts 6:1-6.

115. The same should be said of Christ's priesthood. He is the Priest (see n. 96 above) just as He is the Apostle or the Teacher; and the members of His Church, as constituting His body which is of fered by the priests in the Eucharist, form a "priesthood" (it should be noted that both 1 Pet. 2:5-9 and Rev. 5:10, where a royal priest hood is mentioned, occur within Eucharistic texts). But as not all partake of His apostolic or other properties, so not all are able to partake of His priestly property. A general priesthood would have been as comprehensible to primitive Christianity as a general apostolicity or diaconate etc.

116. Cf. J. Colson, op. cit. p.49 f.: "If all the faithful are members of the same Body in Jesus Christ, not all of these members are identical and not all have the same function. The grace of God is multiform, and the gifts of the Spirit various."

117. It is by no means accidental that although the Church separated from the Eucharist many sacraments which were once connected with it she never did this with the ordination of priests.

118. 1 Cor. 14:40.

119. This distinction was introduced by Harnack, Die Lehre der zwolf Apostel... (Texte und Untersuchungen, II, 1884, pp. 145-149), perhaps under the influence of E. Hatch's work The Organization of the Early Church..., as O. Linton thinks, op. cit. p. 36 f. (cf. also E.Foerster, R. Sohms Kritik des Kirchenrechtes, 1942, p. 51 f.). it was subsequently established in historiography by Lietzmann and Heussi through their church histories.

120. See e.g. J. Klein, Grundlegung und Greuzen des Kanonisches Rechtes, 1947, p. 10 f.

121. See 1 Tim. 3:2,5:17; 2 Tim. 2:2; Tit. 1:9; Heb. 13:7; Jas. 5:14 etc.

122. On the subject of ordination as the laying on of hands to convey a particular blessing see J. Behm, Die Handauflegung in Urchristentum nach Verwendung, Hcrkunft und Bedeutung, 1911; J. Coppens, L'lmposition des Mains et les Rites Connexes dans le N.T., 1925; M. Kaiser, Die Einheit der Kirchengewalt nach den Zengnis des NT. und der Apostolischen Vater, 1956, p. 104 f. Cf. also M. Siotis, "Die klassische und die christliche Cheirotonie in ihrem Verhalmis," in Theologia 20 (1949), 21 (1950) and 22 (1951). Especially for installation in a specific ministry, ordination was commonplace in apostolic times. So, for example, in Acts 13:1-3 (despite the doubts of J. Brosch, Charismen und Atnter in der Urkirche, 1951, p. 163 and M. Kaiser, op. cit. p. 38), Acts 6:6 and 14:23 (Cf M. Kaiser, op. cit. p. 94). Likewise in 1 Tim. 4:14 and 2 Tim. 1:6. The term "appoint" (Ti. 1:5) must also include or presuppose an act of ordination even though it has a special meaning (see. G. Konidaris, On the Supposed Difference, p. 31.

123. Cf. H. Schlier, in Glaube und Geschichte, Festschrift fur F.Gogarten, 1948, p. 44 f. and G. Konidaris, op. cit. p. 31

124. See 1 Cor. 14:16 and 23 f. in combination with 14:40.

125. Thus in Romans 12:6 deacons are placed before teachers, and in Ephesians 4:11, pastors come before teachers, etc. Besides, the view that the charismatics formed a special order and organization in the primitive Church cannot be supported from 1 Corinthians 12:28 on which Harnack and subsequent historiography tried to base it. A simple comparison of the list of charismatics contained in this passage with the similar list in Romans 12:6-9 and the explanations Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 14:6 is sufficient to demonstrate that in 1 Corinthians 12:28, Paul is not in any way referring to the administration of the Church in Corinth. Nothing could justify Hamack's supposition that the "prophets" and "teachers" in 1 Corinthians 12:28 constitute special "orders" of ministers in the local Church more than the obviously groundless supposition that "he who contributes in liberality" and "he who does acts of mercy with cheerfulness," who are numbered with the prophets and teachers in Romans 12:6-9, also formed special "orders" in the Church!

126. The separation of administration from the charisma of priest hood in such a way that a distinction is created between "administrative" and "spiritual" spheres of competence is a product of Western scholastic theology. This separation was accepted and enshrined by the Roman Catholic Church which can, thus, entrust higher administrative responsibilities to church members of lower clerical rank (cardinals, for instance, may be deacons or even laymen, without this preventing them from carrying out administrative functions superior to the bishops).

127. Many of the Protestant historians base their views on the polity of the primitive Church exclusively on such arguments from silence. So for example, E.Schweizer, Gemeinde und Gemeindenordnung im Neuen Testament, 1959,5b; 5m and elsewhere

128. Clearly all participated through hymns, speaking in tongues etc.

129. 1 Cor. 14:16.

130. 1 Clement 40:3-41:4 "For his own proper services are assigned to the high priest, and their own proper place is prescribed to the priests, and their own proper ministrations devolve on the Levites. The layman is bound by the laws that pertain to laymen. Let every one of you, brethren, be well-pleasing to God in his own order, living in all good conscience, not going beyond the rule of the ministry prescribed to him..."

131. Justin, I Apol. 65. Cf. P. Rouget, Amen. Acclamation du people sacerdotal, 1947.

132. In this case, this is not an arbitrary procedure from the view point of historical method if one takes into account that the Roman Church was distinguished for its strict conservatism in the early centuries. Thus, on the basis of 1 Clement which forms a link between the Corinth we know from St Paul and the Rome known to Justin, we are justified in believing that the situation, regarding the Eucharistic assembly, did not change substantially during the period of time covered by these texts

133. G. Konidaris, On the Supposed Difference, p. 70 (note): "The presidents / presbyters / bishops who took the place of the Apostles probably did not dare to emphasize the same name more strongly. They lived under the shadow of the name of the Apostles and of their authority."

134. See Acts 20:7-12, where Paul presides at the assembly the purpose of which was to "break bread."

135. Didache 10:7: "Allow the prophets to give thanks as long as they wish." It is probable that Acts 13:2, "While they {i.e. the prophets and teachers] were worshipping [leitourgounton] the Lord," also implies a liturgical function for these charismatics, as J. Colson thinks, op. cit. p, 31.

136. Acts 21:18.

137. This conclusion may be deduced from the fact that the presbyters already appear with the Apostles at the Apostolic Council (Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22, "Apostles and presbyters." The origin of the presbyters is an obscure historical problem. On this see the theories of G. Dix, "Ministry in the Early Church," in The Apostolic Ministry (ed. Kirk), 1946, p.233 f.; A.M. Farrer, ibid. p. 143 f.; Bornkamm, in T.W.N.T., VI, p. 655 f. and W. Michaelis, Das Attestenamt, 1953, pp. 35-39. The most probable view seems to be that of G. Dix, according to which presbyters go back to the Jewish tradition.

138. Acts 6:2ff; Phil. 1:1 and 1 Tim. 3:1. Their origin, in contrast to the presbyters and contrary to the view of G. Dix ("Ministry," p. 232 f.) should be sought in the Churches of Gentile origin, according to von Campenhausen, Kirchliches Amt und geistfiche Vollmacht, 1953, p. 84.

139. On the close connection of the deacons with the Eucharist, see G. Dix, op. cit. p. 245 f. It is noteworthy that a similar close relation existed between deacons and bishops probably deriving from the original position of the former as assistants to the Apostles (see Acts 19:22,13:5; Rom. 16:21; 2 Cor. 8:23 and Phil. 2:25), and the capacity of the latter as successors to the Apostles particularly in the Divine Eucharist. See below.

140. G. Konidaris, op. cit. p. 26.

141. ibid. p. 42 f.

142. In his work On the Supposed Difference, etc.

143. M. Kaiser (op. cit. p. 174) is right in stressing that the absence of the Bishop from the 1ΝΓΓ is connected with the presence and prestige of the Apostles there. We should make dear, however, that this absence relates only to the title of bishop and not to the institution per se (cf. G. Konidaris, op. cit. p. 13). The presence of the Apostles meant that the Bishop became invisible in the sources, but not in practice.

144. Cf. G. Konidaris, On the Regional and Chronological Limits to the use of the term "Bishops and Deacons," 1960.

145. Clem. 44:1-3.

146. Elsewhere he speaks of Enoch and Noah as "ministering" (9:2-4); and similarly of the angels (34:5) and of the O.T. prophets as ministers of God's grace (8:1).

147. Clem. 44:4.

148. Cf. G. Konidaris, "Apostolic Succession" (in Greek), in Threskeutiki kai Ethniki Enkyklopaedia, IV, 1964, col. 1116.

149. "Apostolic Succession: A. The original conception. B. The problem of non-catholic orders," in Essays on the Early History of the Church and the Ministry, H.B. Swete (ed.), 1918, pp. 93-214.

150. See A. Ehrhardt, The Apostolic Succession in the First Two Centuries of the Church, 1953 and F.Dvornik, The Idea of Apostolicity in Byzantium and the Legend of Saint Andrew, 1958, p.39 f.

151. Didache 10:7.

152. This transfer of powers is attested by 1 Clement and the Didache.

153. W Ignatius, Magn. 6:1.

154. Rev. 4-5. In linking the Apocalypse with the Divine Eucharist here, we are not making arbitrary use of an apocalyptic text as an historical source. The Apocalypse was not written without relation to the Church life of its day and particularly the Divine Eucharist. There is a widespread tendency in modern scholarship to regard even the hymns of the Apocalypse (Rev. 4:11,5:9-14 and 17 f.) as hymns from the Divine Eucharist. See e.g. F.J. Doelger, Sol Salutis. Gebet und Gesang im Christlichen Altertum. Riicksicht auf die Ostung im Gebet und Liturgie, 1925, p. 127 and C. Ruch, "La Messe d'apres la sainte Ecriture," in D.T.C., X, 858.

155. Cf. W. Telfer, The Office of a Bishop, 1962, p. 93.

156. For the term "presbyter" in the Apocalypse as meaning not angels but men, see P. Bratsiotis, The Apocalypse (in Greek), p. 119 f. and esp. p. 122. The fact that the reference here is not to human beings in general or the faithful in their entirety, but to a particular order, is shown by the clear distinction made between the "presbyters" and the "saints" (= all members of the Church regardless of order) in Rev. 5:8. There is thus no reason to reject the interpretation according to which this passage has to do with the institution of presbyters and in particular their place in the Eucharistic assembly, especially given that, as Professor P. Bratsiotis observes (ibid. p. 122), "this heavenly liturgy [in the Apocalypse] is a type of the earthly liturgy according to the Orthodox understanding." Ignatius" phrase "the Bishop with the presbyterium" (Smyrn. 8:1 and Eph. 20:2) most likely also takes its origin from the celebration of the Divine Eucharist which Ignatius had in mind. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that this phrase appears immediately after a reference to the Eucharist and as part of Ignatius' more general effort to underline its unity.

157. This arrangement of the Eucharist is likewise presupposed by texts such as Justin's First Apology, 65 and 67; Hippolytus, Apost. Trad. (Dix, 6 and 40f.) etc.

158. The Johannine understanding of the Divine Eucharist was precisely theocentric: "My Father gives you the true bread from heaven" (Jn 6:32). The Bishop who occupied the throne in the Altar was therefore seen as the living icon of God or of Christ Ignatius, Tral. 3:1 and Magn. 3:1). Anyone who does not obey the "visible" bishop "seeks to mock the one who is invisible," i.e. God (Magn.3:2). Cf. likewise the connection between the "unity of God" and "unity in the episcope" which Ignatius makes in Polyc. 8:3. The conception that the Bishop is an "icon of Christ" was long preserved (see Ps-Clement, Horn. 3:62 - Syria, fourth century).

159. See above, Introduction.

160. Ignatius, Magn. 6: "Be united with the Bishop." It is worthy of particular note that Ignatius "does not hesitate to characterize union with Christ as union with the Bishop" (K. Bonis, "St Ignatius the Godbearer and His Views on the Church" (in Greek), in Orlhodoxos Skepsis 1 (1958), 39.

This article from a book by Metropolitan John Zizioulas explains very well some of the thinking of Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) on the identity between the Church and the Eucharist in his article here: Cardinal Ratzinger of the Church and the Eucharist.(click)


Tuesday 24 July 2012


Does Quantum Physics Make it Easier to Believe in God? By Stephen M. Barr (click)

July 10, 2012
Not in any direct way. That is, it doesn’t provide an argument for the existence of God.  But it does so indirectly, by providing an argument against the philosophy called materialism (or “physicalism”), which is the main intellectual opponent of belief in God in today’s world. 

Materialism is an atheistic philosophy that says that all of reality is reducible to matter and its interactions. It has gained ground because many people think that it’s supported by science. They think that physics has shown the material world to be a closed system of cause and effect, sealed off from the influence of any non-physical realities --- if any there be. Since our minds and thoughts obviously do affect the physical world, it would follow that they are themselves merely physical phenomena. No room for a spiritual soul or free will: for materialists we are just “machines made of meat.”  

Quantum mechanics, however, throws a monkey wrench into this simple mechanical view of things.  No less a figure than Eugene Wigner, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, claimed that materialism --- at least with regard to the human mind --- is not “logically consistent with present quantum mechanics.” And on the basis of quantum mechanics, Sir Rudolf Peierls, another great 20th-century physicist, said, “the premise that you can describe in terms of physics the whole function of a human being ... including [his] knowledge, and [his] consciousness, is untenable. There is still something missing.” 

How, one might ask, can quantum mechanics have anything to say about the human mind?  Isn’t it about things that can be physically measured, such as particles and forces?  It is; but while minds cannot be measured, it is ultimately minds that do the measuring. And that, as we shall see, is a fact that cannot be ignored in trying to make sense of quantum mechanics.  If one claims that it is possible (in principle) to give a complete physical description of what goes on during a measurement --- including the mind of the person who is doing the measuring --- one is led into severe difficulties. This was pointed out in the 1930s by the great mathematician John von Neumann.  Though I cannot go into technicalities in an essay such as this, I will try to sketch the argument.

It all begins with the fact that quantum mechanics is inherently probabilistic. Of course, even in “classical physics” (i.e. the physics that preceded quantum mechanics and that still is adequate for many purposes) one sometimes uses probabilities; but one wouldn’t have to if one had enough information.  Quantum mechanics is radically different: it says that even if one had complete information about the state of a physical system, the laws of physics would typically only predict probabilities of future outcomes. These probabilities are encoded in something called the “wavefunction” of the system.

A familiar example of this is the idea of “half-life.”  Radioactive nuclei are liable to “decay” into smaller nuclei and other particles.  If a certain type of nucleus has a half-life of, say, an hour, it means that a nucleus of that type has a 50% chance of decaying within 1 hour, a 75% chance within two hours, and so on. The quantum mechanical equations do not (and cannot) tell you when a particular nucleus will decay, only the probability of it doing so as a function of time. This is not something peculiar to nuclei. The principles of quantum mechanics apply to all physical systems, and those principles are inherently and inescapably probabilistic.

This is where the problem begins. It is a paradoxical (but entirely logical) fact that a probability only makes sense if it is the probability of something definite. For example, to say that Jane has a 70% chance of passing the French exam only means something if at some point she takes the exam and gets a definite grade.  At that point, the probability of her passing no longer remains 70%, but suddenly jumps to 100% (if she passes) or 0% (if she fails). In other words, probabilities of events that lie in between 0 and 100% must at some point jump to 0 or 100% or else they meant nothing in the first place.

This raises a thorny issue for quantum mechanics. The master equation that governs how wavefunctions change with time (the “Schrödinger equation”) does not yield probabilities that suddenly jump to 0 or 100%, but rather ones that vary smoothly and that generally remain greater than 0 and less than 100%.  Radioactive nuclei are a good example. The Schrödinger equation says that the “survival probability” of a nucleus (i.e. the probability of its not having decayed) starts off at 100%, and then falls continuously, reaching 50% after one half-life, 25% after two half-lives, and so on --- but never reaching zero. In other words, the Schrödinger equation only gives probabilities of decaying, never an actual decay! (If there were an actual decay, the survival probability should jump to 0 at that point.)  

To recap: (a) Probabilities in quantum mechanics must be the probabilities of definite events. (b) When definite events happen, some probabilities should jump to 0 or 100%. However, (c) the mathematics that describes all physical processes (the Schrödinger equation) does not describe such jumps.  One begins to see how one might reach the conclusion that not everything that happens is a physical process describable by the equations of physics.

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So how do minds enter the picture?  The traditional understanding is that the “definite events” whose probabilities one calculates in quantum mechanics are the outcomes of “measurements” or “observations” (the words are used interchangeably).  If someone (traditionally called “the observer”) checks to see if, say, a nucleus has decayed (perhaps using a Geiger counter), he or she must get a definite answer: yes or no.  Obviously, at that point the probability of the nucleus having decayed (or survived) should jump to 0 or 100%, because the observer then knows the result with certainty.  This is just common sense. The probabilities assigned to events refer to someone’s state of knowledge: before I know the outcome of Jane’s exam I can only say that she has a 70% chance of passing; whereas after I know I must say either 0 or 100%. 

Thus, the traditional view is that the probabilities in quantum mechanics --- and hence the “wavefunction” that encodes them --- refer to the state of knowledge of some “observer”.  (In the words of the famous physicist Sir James Jeans, wavefunctions are “knowledge waves.”)  An observer’s knowledge --- and hence the wavefunction that encodes it --- makes a discontinuous jump when he/she comes to know the outcome of a measurement (the famous “quantum jump”, traditionally called the “collapse of the wave function”). But the Schrödinger equations that describe any physical process do not give such jumps!  So something must be involved when knowledge changes besides physical processes.

An obvious question is why one needs to talk about knowledge and minds at all. Couldn’t an inanimate physical device (say, a Geiger counter) carry out a “measurement”?  That would run into the very problem pointed out by von Neumann: If the “observer” were just a purely physical entity, such as a Geiger counter, one could in principle write down a bigger wavefunction that described not only the thing being measured but also the observer. And, when calculated with the Schrödinger equation, that bigger wave function would not jump! Again: as long as only purely physical entities are involved, they are governed by an equation that says that the probabilities don’t jump.

That’s why, when Peierls was asked whether a machine could be an “observer,” he said no, explaining that “the quantum mechanical description is in terms of knowledge, and knowledge requires somebody who knows.” Not a purely physical thing, but a mind.  

But what if one refuses to accept this conclusion, and maintains that only physical entities exist and that all observers and their minds are entirely describable by the equations of physics? Then the quantum probabilities remain in limbo, not 0 and 100% (in general) but hovering somewhere in between. They never get resolved into unique and definite outcomes, but somehow all possibilities remain always in play. One would thus be forced into what is called the “Many Worlds Interpretation” (MWI) of quantum mechanics.

In MWI, reality is divided into many branches corresponding to all the possible outcomes of all physical situations. If a probability was 70% before a measurement, it doesn’t jump to 0 or 100%; it stays 70% after the measurement, because in 70% of the branches there’s one result and in 30% there’s the other result! For example, in some branches of reality a particular nucleus has decayed --- and “you” observe that it has, while in other branches it has not decayed --- and “you” observe that it has not. (There are versions of “you” in every branch.) In the Many Worlds picture, you exist in a virtually infinite number of versions: in some branches of reality you are reading this article, in others you are asleep in bed, in others you have never been born. Even proponents of the Many Worlds idea admit that it sounds crazy and strains credulity.

The upshot is this: If the mathematics of quantum mechanics is right (as most fundamental physicists believe), and if materialism is right, one is forced to accept the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics. And that is awfully heavy baggage for materialism to carry.

If, on the other hand, we accept the more traditional understanding of quantum mechanics that goes back to von Neumann, one is led by its logic (as Wigner and Peierls were) to the conclusion that not everything is just matter in motion, and that in particular there is something about the human mind that transcends matter and its laws.  It then becomes possible to take seriously certain questions that materialism had ruled out of court: If the human mind transcends matter to some extent, could there not exist minds that transcend the physical universe altogether? And might there not even exist an ultimate Mind

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