Not a Consolation Prize

On the subject of salvation and the posthumous states, a distinction is sometimes made among traditionalist authorities between (1) salvation as such and (2) deification, the second being equivalent to the Hindu moksha, that is, to the realization of our “non-difference” from the supreme Self.

You are correct in thinking that the first possibility, salvation, has to do essentially with entry into Paradise, which we could define as a Blissful Proximity to the Divine; this is the Hindu Brahma-Loka or the Amidist Sukhavati, or again the Christian Kingdom of Heaven. In “practical terms”—to use your deliciously paradoxical phrase—it obviously includes freedom from all the results of the fall, including sickness, sin, death.

It would be a mistake, however—at least within the eso-exoteric context of Orthodox Christianity—to suppose that the state thus described is merely a kind of “consolation prize” for those unable to obtain the winning ticket of theosis! On the contrary, the two states are as it were two sides of a single coin, two ways of envisioning man’s final end. No saint will ever be on the same “level” as God; on the other hand, as Saint Gregory Palamas says, the deified man becomes “uncreated, unoriginate, and indescribable”.

I suggest rereading what Schuon has to say on this subject in “The Servant and Union” (see his Logic and Transcendence).

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