We cannot acquire true love for God the Father unless, first, the heart of our soul, the nous, has been purified and illuminated, because it is precisely the heart of the soul that “is the image of God, knows God, and alone of everything on earth can, if it wishes, become god” (Gregory Palamas) by grace. Sense perceptions cannot be lifted up to know God, because they are irrational powers of the soul. Meanwhile, opinion and mind, two rational powers of the soul, “are not detached from the imagination . . . [hence being unsuitable for knowing God] because they function through the organ of man’s natural spirit” (Met. Hierotheos. 2010. The science of spiritual medicine, p. 275).
According to the words of the Apostle Paul, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Cor 2:14). It is the nous, therefore, the heart of the soul, that both can and has the ability to “know God and become god by grace” (Met. Hierotheos. 2010. The science of spiritual medicine), because “love for God has nothing to do with the senses or fantasies, but is connected with the nous, once it has been purified and receives God’s illumination” (Gregory Palamas).