Paradise

by Scott D. Hendricks

Seeing God face to face is what properly and in itself makes Paradise Paradise, or rather is Paradise itself.  So, on the contrary, never seeing God is what properly and in itself makes Hell Hell.

Paradise means the soul to be as directly united with God as heated iron is united with fire, so that God is almost indistinguishable from the soul, and the soul from God; just as the fire is almost indistinguishable from the iron and the iron from the fire.

Paradise means to sit in the throne of the Deity and partake of the Divine feast; that is, to enjoy by participation and grace the happiness that God enjoys by essence.  “To him that overcometh I will grant to sit with me in my throne” (Rev. 3:21).  Hence the divine Maximos has said: “He who has been deified through grace is everything that God is, without the identity in essence.”  Hence, the same good which was able, before the appearance of time, to fill the heart of God shall also fill directly the heart of the blessed one.

~ St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite

Constantine Cavarnos, Modern Orthodox Saints vol. 3: St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite (Belmont: Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 1974), 130-131.