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(November 2005)

The Invisible in the Visible

By St. Justin Popovich


The invisible is the heart of the visible, the kernel of the visible. The visible is nothing compared to the invisible. Countless are the forms in which the invisible appears; it appears and disappears. The sun is visible, but the force that gives it its warmth is invisible. The numerous constellations are visible, but the force that wisely guides them through the infinity of space, which prevents them from colliding, is invisible. A magnet is visible, but its force is invisible. The earth is visible, but its gravitational field is invisible. The nightingale is visible, but the life force that gives it its being is invisible. Many creatures on the earth are visible, but the force that from the same earth brings forth a variety of herbs, a diversity of flowers and different fruits is invisible.

The earth! The most interesting and most mysterious workshop, and at the same time the most ingenious creator. She unceasingly produces from herself animals, and plants, and minerals. In her are simultaneously produced roses and thorns, wheat and tare, basil and wormwood, incense and stinkweed. This is evidently so. But, that same obviousness raises a question: who works through her, and who creates through her, who acts through her? There, basil and wormwood grow side by side on the same square of land. And while the earth produces in the seed of basil its pleasant smell, at the same time the earth enacts in the seed of wormwood its own unpleasant odor. The same holds true for physical laws, the same conditions, the same; and the sun, and moon, and the stars, and the earth, and snow, and wind, and rain, and frost, and droughts, all the same and the results are all diametrically opposed. How is it that sunlight and drops of rain should become a pleasing aroma in basil but a foul odor in stinkweed? And furthermore: how is it that the earthís fluids become sweet in a cherry and bitter in wormwood? Who performs this unusual differentiation? On the same ground, under the same conditions, a vast variety of fruits and vegetables sprout, grow, and ripen, a diversity of animals live, and the most adverse things coexist. Who infuses this vast secret of life and existence into all creatures and all things? In one and the same, there exist opposites; in one, there are many.

Any of the thoughts of man cannot but be humbled before the truth of the Holy Bible; ďAnd God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kindÖ and God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creatures after his kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after his kind: and it was soĒ (Genesis 1:11-12, 24).

It is clear: the earth received its creative, life-giving power from God. God has transferred to the earth one part of his divine omnipotence, and the earth in a mysterious way extends Godís creative, life-giving work. Hence, the many inexhaustible forces and supremely wise adaptations in the earthís creations. The word of God has fertilized the earth and has granted it creativeness, fertility, and life-giving power for all time. Not only in the beginning but now and forever the earth creates, produces, and gives life according to the word of God.

There is a fact that holds true in the visible world; the things that are most important in life are invisible. The air is invisible. Yet is there anything more essential for the life of men, animals, and plants? Molecules are invisible, as are atoms and electrons. And is not the visible world built up from these invisible elements?

Invisible particles make up the visible world. How does the invisible become the visible? In what manner does the invisible become the visible? How is it that these invisible particles become objective and appear as the visible material world? From where do these invisible particles receive their visible, tangible, and numerous forms? Visible matter is composed of invisible particles. This is a paradox, yet it is also a fact. And on that paradox rest the world and its existence. The visible rests on the invisible and is composed of the invisible. The fact of the matter is that in the visible we ceaselessly observe and look up the objectification and manifestation of the invisible. Such is the law that governs the visible world; at the same time it is an endless enigma and an infinite mystery.

Man is the best example of how the invisible is transformed into the visible; his invisible thoughts, his invisible feelings, his invisible desires and wishes are transformed into visible works, visible actions, and visible achievements. No matter from what angle he is observed, man, every man, is a miracle-worker simply because he is a man. He endlessly works miracles; he transforms the invisible into the visible. If he defends his honor, look! He defends something that is invisible, and he is ready to sacrifice for that invisible thing that which is visible in him; his own body.

Like all feelings, love is something invisible, yet how many lives have been sacrificed for her, the invisible? In its own nature, conscience is the most inner and most invisible thing; but by the reality of its manifestation, what is more evident and tangible?

Men hold to their convictions, suffer death for them; but are they not something invisible? And in general, all of manís thoughts and feelings, desires and beliefs are essentially invisible, even though their manifestations may be evidently perceptible. The visible man is just a manifestation, a projection of the invisible man: the outer man a projection of the inner. The visible man rest on the invisible, he exists through the invisible and of the invisible.

The bottom line is that the foundation of everything that is visible is the invisible; of man, his invisible soul; of the world, the invisible God. The invisible is the hypostasis of everything, the basis of everything, the substance of all things, that is, it is that upon which the world and everything in it rests. Every man who seriously inquires into the mysteries of this world and this life has to feel this. At the bottom of all that is visible an invisible force is at work. The invisible is the strongest thing in our world of earthly perception; electricity, radium. The gravitational force is invisible, yet is stronger than all of the planets. It moves them like children move marbles.

The law that presides over all other laws in this world is the following: the invisible is the core of the visible; the invisible governs the visible. This world is Godís laboratory in which the invisible is manufactured into the visible, but only up to a certain point. For there are limits to the transformation of the invisible into the visible. This is because the invisible is always larger, infinitely and profoundly broader, than the visible. Just as the spirit is incomparably wider and larger and more profound than the body it inhabits, so too the invisible core of every substance is wider, larger, and more profound than the matters it finds itself in. In fact, the visible is the materialization of the invisible. But around the visible, and behind the visible, there extends the endless sea of the invisible.