Are we saying that knowledge is eternal life? Are we saying that to know the one true and living God will suffice to give us complete security for the future without need of anything else? Then how is “faith apart from works dead”? When we speak of faith, we mean the true knowledge of God and nothing else, since knowledge comes by faith. The prophet Isaiah tells us this: “If you do not believe, neither shall you understand.” But he is not talking about a knowledge that consists in barren speculations, which is entirely worthless. For one of the holy disciples said, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder.” What then shall we say to this? How is it that Christ speaks the truth when he says that eternal life is the knowledge of God the Father, the one true God, and with him of the Son? I think, indeed, we must answer that the saying of the Savior is completely true. For this knowledge is life, laboring as it were in birth of the whole meaning of the mystery and granting to us participation in the mystery of the Eucharist, whereby we are joined to the living and life-giving Word. And for this reason, I think, Paul says that the Gentiles are made fellow members of the body and fellow partakers of Christ, inasmuch as they partake in his blessed body and blood. And our members may in this sense be conceived of as being members of Christ. This knowledge, then, which also brings to us the Eucharist by the Spirit, is life. For it dwells in our hearts, reshaping those who receive it into sonship with him and molding them into incorruption and piety toward God through life, according to the Gospel. Our Lord Jesus Christ, then, knowing that the knowledge of the one true God brings to us and promotes our union with the blessings of which we have spoken, says that it is eternal life. It is the mother and nurse of eternal life, being in its power and nature pregnant with those things that cause life and lead to life.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of John, 11.5 , in Joel C. Elowsky (ed). John 11-21 (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture) 231.

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