Evagrius: The Seven Deadly Sins, Origins

The Spiritual Teaching of Evagrius

Evagrius, like Origen, believed that humanity was created to inhabit a spiritual paradise to enjoy the Trinity; that is what God intended and intends; but, resulting from free will, we are fallen. We experience disharmony; material is frustrating but not evil; it is a world of impermanence and vulnerability but also of hope and redemption, our bodies seeds sown for the resurrection life; infected by demons and visited by angels,  supremely Christ, our task is to restore creation to its beauty in the mind of god, to spiritualise matter, beginning with the body:

  1. Overcoming passion.  Controlling appetites and desires, the passions; active asceticism, to control the passions, heal the body and restore the world's integrity, referring all  thoughts to Christ. Diagnosis of symptoms never alone, always in Christ.
  2. Overcoming ignorance.  Once control of passions progressed, learn to understand true place, taking tranquil delight in the world, the creation of the Logos.
  3. Apprehend Spirits.
  4. Contemplate the Trinity.  Apatheia, of which love is the offspring, is the fruit of obedience to God, not the suppression of emotion attributed by Jerome (c. 347 – 420); the word used by Ignatius of Antioch (c 35-107) to describe Christ's attitude to his suffering, by Clement of Alexandria (c 150-215) as loving calmness. But Jerome's misunderstanding has led to Western suspicion of apophatic thought. This loving in freedom and selflessness is social as well as individual.

We might not accept Evagrius' idea of demon infestation in the world but neither should we unthinkingly accept the 'enlightenment'  idea that there are no demons. What is it in us that makes us do what we do, knowing it to be wrong to think wrong thoughts is not wrong in itself; we have a "compromised spiritual immune  system"; Temptations come from demons; sin is surrender.