Jacob recognised this and separated himself from his family so that they might remain unscathed. He waited alone on this side of the river, because he knew that he was destined to death. But he did not succumb to the temptation of fatalism; he defended himself against death.
He did not allow himself to be led astray by the spiritual falsehood of fatalism, but set love against the knowledge of inevitable death. The power that preserved his breathing is expressed in the words indicating the successful issue of his wrestling: “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me” (Genesis 32.26).
If he had yielded to the knowledge of death, his breathing would have ceased, and he would have died. The balance of the first principles of breathing – knowledge and love – would have been overthrown in favour of knowledge. But as he resisted knowledge with the whole force of love, at the “breaking of the day” the angel of death, the archai being, surrendered. Love proved itself stronger than death.
Valentin Tomberg, Christ and Sophia