(And lest I am misunderstood, my target audience was not originally the Orthodox, though my comments directly apply to them. Rather, some Reformed guys took issue with my Covenantal Ontology and didn’t believe that chain of being was a real deal).
“The Old Testament makes the body obedient to the intelligence and raises it up towards the soul by means of the virtues, preventing the intellect from being dragged down towards the body. The New Testament fires the intellect with love and unites it to God. Thus yet Old Testament makes the body one in its active with the intellect; the New Testament makes the intellect with God through the state of grace.”-
St. Maximos the Confessor ( Philokalia Vol. 2, Fourth Century of Various Texts)
But anyone who is a “portion of God,” on account of the logos of virtue that exists in God, as was explained above, and who abandons his own origin, is irrationally swept away toward non-being, and thus is rightly said to have “flowed down from above,” since he did not move toward his own origin and cause, according to which, by which, and for which, he came to be.
“Flowing down from above” in this manner, he enters a condition of unstable deviations, suffering fearful disorders of soul and body, failing to reach his inerrant and unchanging end, [1085A] by freely choosing to turn in the direction of what is inferior. Here the sense of “flowing down” can be understood literally, for though such a person had it well within his power to direct the footsteps of his soul to God, he freely chose to exchange what is better and real for what is inferior and non-existent.
St Maximos the Confessor, Ambiguum 7. Translation by Fr Maximos (Nicholas Constas)
10.74} As for Elijah, he is the image of nature, not simply because he preserved inviolate the principles of his own nature (along with the deliberative frame of mind appropriate to these principles) free from any change due to passion, but because he taught by judging, like a kind of natural law, those who twist nature to unnatural ends. For such is nature, punishing those who undertake to violate it to the degree that they actually live in unnatural opposition to it, by not allowing them to acquire naturally all of nature’s power, for they have been partially deprived of its very integrity and for this they are punished, since it is they themselves who pointlessly and foolishly [1164D] have procured this lack of existence by inclining toward non-being.
>>>>Elijah was free from passions? Didn’t he call down fire on the king’s army?
>>>>Notice how he says “inclining toward non-being.” That is about as stark an admission of chain of being that I have ever seen. I did worry at a time that I might be reading chain of being into ancient sources. That is no longer the case. You do not get any clearer than that. In fact, this is far clearer than Plato ever was.
29. Just as evil is a privation of good, and ignorance a privation of knowledge, so non-being is a privation of being – not of being in a substantive sense, for that does not have any opposite, but of being that exists by participation in substantive being. The first two privations mentioned depend on the will of creatures; the third lies in the will of the Maker, who in His goodness wills beings always to exist and always to receive His blessings.
St Maximos Four Hundreds Texts on Love, Third Century. Philokalia v 2