Augustinianism meets Orthodoxy

Pyrrhus: Virtues, then, are natural things?

Maximus: Yes, natural things.

Pyrrhus: If they be natural things, why do they not exist in all men equally, since all men have an identical nature?

Maximus: But they do exist equally in all men because of the identical nature!

Pyrrhus: Then why is there such a great disparity [of virtues] in us?

Maximus: Because we do not all practice what is natural to us to an equal degree; indeed, if we [all] practiced equally [those virtues] natural to us as we were created to do, then one would be able to perceive one virtue in us all, just as there is one nature [in us all], and “one virtue” would not admit of a “more” or “less.”

Pyrrhus: If virtue be something natural [to us], and if what is natural to us existeth not through asceticism but by reason of our creation, then why is it that we acquire the virtues, which are natural, with asceticism and labours?

Maximus: Asceticism, and the toils that go with it, was devised simply in order to ward off deception, which established itself through sensory perception. It is not [as if] the virtues have been newly introduced from outside, for they inhere in us from creation, as hath already been said. Therefore, when deception is completely expelled, the soul immediately exhibits the splendor of its natural virtue.

–The Disputation with Pyrrhus

What are the vitues for Maximus?

Ambigua 7, PG 91:1081D: “There can be no doubt that the one Word of God is the substance of virtue in each person. It is evident that every person who participates in virtue as a matter of habit unquestionably participates in God, the substance of the virtues,” and Gnostic Centuries 1.50; 58 in Berthold pp.137-138: “But some [virtues] began to be in time, for there was a time when they were not, and others did not begin to be in time…The one who with his body is diligent for his soul in the well-ordered diversity of the virtues.” C.f. Thunberg, Microcosm, p. 323-327 for Maximus’s understanding of virtue.

These virtues are the many logoi that pre-exist in God, Who keeps them together. They pre-exist in God, implying that they are grounded and fixed in Him. As Maximus says, “every divine energy properly signifies God indivisibly, wholly and entirely through itself, in each thing according to the logos—whatever it may be—whereby it exists, who is capable of conceiving and of saying exactly how, being wholly and entirely and altogether common to all and yet altogether particularly present in each of these realities.”

If you are an Augustinian, are you not a little taken back by these statements by Maximus. Does this short dialoque not guarantee the worth and dignity of each human person? If grace/virtue exists in each and every person, what does this say about divine election? Historically, has the will to dominate been covertly manipulated and hidden under the doctrine of predestination (think the Feudal System)?

Photius

61 Responses to Augustinianism meets Orthodoxy

  1. Should be:
    “that theophanies were created and not uncreated *as dogma*, which was wrong, but it was a correct statement of the Western theologoumenon.”

  2. “This all cuts against Maximus, umm, where? You’re ignoring Maximus’s following earlier Greek fathers’ theme of recapitulation.”

    It doesn’t cut against St. Maximus, if one doesn’t read Maximus’s emphasis on the metaphysical aspects of liturgy as thereby denigrating the Western insight on the filioque. If one takes Maximus at his word that he believes the filioque is a linguistic issue not reflective of an underlying theological debate, there is no problem. I prefer to frame the discussion more broadly than Maximus, because I think the basis by which his views can be reconciled with the West is not clear on account of his emphasis on the metaphysical aspects of liturgy and monasticism. In the interest of clarity, I would prefer to place the emphasis elsewhere.

    “This is where your criticisms regarding theosis and the filioque are misguided and don’t really touch our argument. Every synergistic act with the Holy Spirit is a pre-condition and necessary condition to be exercised in virtue. We don’t view the incarnation as in putting man in this autonomous state that now implies some sort of Pelagian monergism (my will is now sufficient to exercise virtue), which is what you seem to imply.”

    No, my point is that your criticism of the Western view cuts against your own view exactly to the same extent it is effective against the West, assuming that one lets the Western view speak for itself on what it means by the filioque. It is your assertion that the filioque in the West reflects an Augustinian/Plotinian view, and I consider that opinion entirely unhistorical. If the filioque did, in fact, originate from orthodox Fathers and persist in the West even among those who rejected Augustine’s particular formation of divine simplicity, then it follows that to reject it is to reject those orthodox Western Fathers as well.

    “Moreoever, why do you seem to separate the Son and the Spirit in their work?”

    I don’t. The only reason I make particular reference to the Spirit is to distinguish this economic action from the bare fact of the Incarnation. That action is most fittingly associated with the Holy Spirit, just as revelation is most fittingly associated with the Son, but obviously, the action is Trinitarian in character.

    “Furthermore, I don’t have a doubt that Hillary and Leo give Orthodox readings from their own respective tradition, but NONE of them develop the filioque along the same lines as Augustine.

    Nor were they Augustinians. Where is the Augustinian/Plotinian view of simplicity in them?”

    First of all, St. Leo the Great uses the filioque verbatim from the creedal modification in his discussion with the Spanish bishops in struggle with the Homoians. It would be revisionist nonsense for me to say that it was meant in some sense other than how the later West intended it. Therefore, while I completely agree that they didn’t pursue the filoque along “Augustinian lines,” they didn’t develop it along the lines of Gregory of Cyprus or Gregory Palamas either.

    Second, the reception of the Augustinian mystical tradition showed an extraordinary diversity, and plenty of them did NOT accept ontological simplicity in the way you describe it, often applying Pseudo-Dionysius in a way that appears to act as a corrective to Augustine. Indeed, I would argue that the first rigorous application of simplicity that you are describing was St. Thomas’s innovation in explicit contradiction to Ps.-Dionysius and Thomas’s own Western predecessor St. Denis the Mystic. Significant numbers of Western mystics read St. Augustine differently, both well before and well after each of Lyons and Florence, including St. Thomas’s contemporary St. Bonaventure. The conflict between Jean Gerson and Bl. John Ruysbroeck over their respective views (not to mention other controversies with the German mystics and the Free Spiritists) is an excellent example.

    No surprise that I find this suggestion that “the Augustinian view is what gets sucked up in the later tradition with the Carolingians and the Scholastics through Lyons and Florence” to be something of a conspiracy theory, ill-informed by the actual historical record. I’m sure you’ve read _Augustine: Mystic and Mystagogue_; you ought to know that it’s not that simple.

    “‘Form of God’ is fine, but how is it going to help you with the filioque as defined by the Medieval Councils? How will it help you with simplicity? Do you become the form of God in the eschaton? Is this the divine essence? Given Rome’s view of simplicity, it’s either the divine essence or something other than God, since God is an absolutely simple essence. If it is ‘other’ than God, it’s a creature by definition. The former precludes a real union with God, and the latter allows it only with another created effect.”

    “Rome” never had such a view of simplicity. It has always been the Western view that God’s absolutely simple essence was expressed fully in the form of God, just as it has been the Eastern view that the absolutely simple essence is expressed fully in the energies. By co-expressing the form of God through cooperation with the Holy Spirit, one is truly joined with God in the Trinitarian life; one is joined to the divine Unity. It is union by method of expression, mode of life, which truly is God despite not being identifiable with the divine essence. Ruysbroeck clearly distinguishes the two when his view is accused of being pantheistic or, alternatively, of man becoming identical with God by essence (i.e., becoming God). He doesn’t confuse the being of the Trinity as love with the divine essence (viz., he doesn’t identify God with being).

    “The early Latin tradition before Augustine is okay, but it is an inchoate and ill-defined concept (who would follow Tertullian’s Stoic views of substantia is beyond me anyway). Theology was primarily being done in the East.”

    There you go again. The people who followed Tertullian were Saints: Ambrose, Hilary, Leo the Great. Calling their theology “inchoate and ill-defined” completely misses the historical context; the Homoians were far more sophisticated philosophically than most Arians, and drawing the lines with them was considerably more difficult than identifying the separations between Christians and Eunomians, for example. The West was addressing the issue of how the concrete actions of the individual Persons could be ascribed to those particular Persons (basically, the structure of Trinitarian relationships), while the East was dealing with problems of creation and the technical formulation of simplicity (subjects of peculiarly Neoplatonic interest).

    “I don’t see anything wrong with Romanides read of Augustine. I don’t think the best reading of the scholastics gets around Romanides objections, no matter how rhetoircal he may be at times. Perhaps you have a reference?”

    Whether his reading of Augustine is right or wrong, his reading of the West’s *reception* of Augustine is entirely off the mark. First, the idea that Augustine’s unique explanation of the filioque somehow came to dominate the West’s view is preposterous; universally respected Western mystics held contrary views throughout the period in which the subordination of Western orthodoxy by the Franks supposedly took place. As I mentioned before, _Augustine: Mystic and Mystagogue_ should suffice to make that clear.

    Second, neo-Thomist scholarship notwithstanding, the facts don’t support that St. Thomas’s understanding of divine simplicity gained traction so quickly or so universally (and we already know Augustine’s didn’t), particularly given that there were still ongoing disputes among religious orders about these very subjects. Unless the bishops of Lyons and Florence were simply oblivious to these problems or the religious orders were simply oblivious to the council decrees (neither of which seems particularly likely), it clearly was neither the goal nor the effect of those councils to resolve these disputes. For Romanides to believe that, he would have to write off a substantial part of his Western tradition just as his neo-Thomist opponents have! The problem, ironically, is that Romanides is not critical enough of *Western* scholarship.

    Third, Western scholarship regarding the conflict with the Homoians has only just experienced a renaissance from the triumphalism typifying Catholic scholarship from the Reformation on. In-depth historical study of this period has been painfully sparse, which contributes to the ignorance. Within the last decade or so, works have emerged from Yves-Marie Duval, D.H. Williams, Neil McLynn, Lionel Wickham, and Joseph Lienhard about this period that challenge the simplistic view of Western theology as simply having “gone along” with Nicaea. The conflict with the Homoians was a great deal more complicated, and the formulation of Western orthodoxy, far more subtle than a rubber-stamp of Eastern formulations. I’ve only barely scratched the surface of that work, and I can already tell that Romanides’s thesis won’t hold up. Seems to be that triumphalistic scholarship on both sides has hindered careful examination of the historical record.

    “If you think Barlaam was a heretic too, as the Orthodox do, is this why he went back to the Western Church and they made him a bishop?”

    I don’t think Barlaam was a heretic; I think he mistook a Western theologoumenon for dogma. He took the position that theophanies were created and not uncreated, which was wrong. Palamas argued that the hesychasts had always held this belief and could not be heretical on that account, which is correct as well. The problem is that BOTH of them were wrong as to the essentiality of a position on theophanies with respect to their respective beliefs. Theophanic dogma is a neat supplement to hesychasm, but it’s not essential. And as far as the actual *practice* of hesychasm and its involvement of real union with God through one’s uncreated core goes, that’s absolutely orthodox Western mystical dogma as well, and apart from its being mistaken for quietism, that shouldn’t even be a point of disagreement.

  3. Jonathan,

    This all cuts against Maximus, umm, where? You’re ignoring Maximus’s following earlier Greek fathers’ theme of recapitulation. This is where your criticisms regarding theosis and the filioque are misguided and don’t really touch our argument. Every synergistic act with the Holy Spirit is a pre-condition and necessary condition to be exercised in virtue. We don’t view the incarnation as in putting man in this autonomous state that now implies some sort of Pelagian monergism (my will is now sufficient to exercise virtue), which is what you seem to imply. The Incarnation is primarily the salvation of human nature, and that’s salvation from annhilation (no exercise of virtue can save you from annhilation which is why human nature is monergistically saved) Moreoever, why do you seem to separate the Son and the Spirit in their work? Gregory of Cyprus may be of some use here.

    Furthermore, I don’t have a doubt that Hillary and Leo give Orthodox readings from their own respective tradition, but NONE of them develop the filioque along the same lines as Augustine. It’s just that the Augustinian view is what gets sucked up in the later tradition with the Carolingians and the Scholastics through Lyons and Florence. ‘Form of God’ is fine, but how is it going to help you with the filioque as defined by the Medieval Councils? How will it help you with simplicity? Do you become the form of God in the eschaton? Is this the divine essence? Given Rome’s view of simplicity, it’s either the divine essence or something other than God, since God is an absolutely simple essence. If it is ‘other’ than God, it’s a creature by definition. The former precludes a real union with God, and the latter allows it only with another created effect. The early Latin tradition before Augustine is okay, but it is an inchoate and ill-defined concept (who would follow Tertullian’s Stoic views of substantia is beyond me anyway). Theology was primarily being done in the East.

    You don’t believe you have to scrap Hillary and Leo? Goodie for you. Neither do I, but neither do I believe they taught the filioque dogma. Nor were they Augustinians. Where is the Augustinian/Plotinian view of simplicity in them?

    I don’t see anything wrong with Romanides read of Augustine. I don’t think the best reading of the scholastics gets around Romanides objections, no matter how rhetoircal he may be at times. Perhaps you have a reference? If you think Barlaam was a heretic too, as the Orthodox do, is this why he went back to the Western Church and they made him a bishop?

    Photius

  4. “1) How the heck is Nyssa’s view of Dunamis Aristotelian when Barnes sites over and over and over The Republic 509B as a touchstone text in understanding Power for the Pro-Nicenes?!?!”

    Plato and Aristotle don’t appear to be at odds with each other on that point.

    “2) I site Barnes not as an authority, although, he’s a fine Patristic scholar. I site him as someone who gets our views right. He’s a Roman Catholic so I doubt he’s going to call the Western account of created theopanies that pass into time and back out as heretical.”

    I cite him as a logical thinker making arguments.

    “3) If you think Basil thought the energies were created, then you need to cite something. All the scholars that I’ve read that have investigated his massive Adversus Eunomium say the opposite.”

    I didn’t say that Basil thought the energies were created. I said that the way he thought that we got knowledge from created things resembled Augustine’s idea more than the hesychasts.

    “4) Once again, vision of God in the Eastern account is not a corporeal vision with the physical eyes. It’s as seeing and unseeing as Dionysius says.”

    So is vision of God in the Western account.

    “5) The filioque and Western Triadology has a Tri-hypostatic structure similar to the One-Nous-World Soul since deity is defined as causality.”

    Again, “Western Triadology?” Every Western thinker defined deity as causality? No. Some did; some didn’t.

    Proclus:
    “God is seen in his creation but in seeing creation one does not see God because God is essentially beyond seeing.”

    Exactly.

    Jason:
    “Does this ever end up translating into a theology wherein the divine essence is in itself absolutely unknowable? I’m wondering because the Western view that the divine essence manifests itself to souls in Heaven ‘plainly, clearly, and openly’ and that they see the divine essence ‘face to face’ (Benedictus Deus) seems to be at odds with this and to be a problem for Easterns looking Westward.”

    The thing is that as far as I can tell, nobody bothered to see what manifestation actually is in the West, i.e., the presentation of a form as real manifestation (see also sacramentum). You can never perceive an Other in immediacy without becoming the Other; that goes without saying, which is why phenomenology (true perception as mediated by experienced phenomena) comes entirely naturally for Western thinking. Augustine’s Platonic theory of signs also fit rather naturally within this system (“form” being what he thought of as “sign”). What is perceived immediately is the form of God, the glory of God, the manifestation of God, which is truly seeing God without seeing God. But lots of Easterns appear to have bought into the aforementioned notion that the Western eschatological understanding somehow sprang into existence with the Franks, rather than studying Western thought in great detail.

    And Romanides is really starting to tick me off in that regard. Calling Augustine’s view “Neo-Platonic mysticism, as Romanides does here (http://www.romanity.org/htm/rom.02.en.the_cure_of_the_neurobiological_sickness_of_rel.03.htm#s31), is just flat out wrong based on what Barnes documents. That’s what makes Romanides’s read of Barlaam as a faithful interpreter of Augustine so ridiculous; Barlaam’s mysticism WAS Neoplatonic mysticism, something that Augustine himself had rejected as having any saving power. Meyendorff wasn’t far off in that respect; Barlaam was more Origenist than Western (although I disagree with Meyendorff’s thesis that the orthodox Byzantine monastic tradition needed any correctives; it didn’t).

    The only substantial difference between East and West is whether the vision of God (in the Ps.-Dionysian sense) is a manifestative act of the Holy Spirit allowing the person to be conformed to the form of God by free consent or whether it is the person being conformed to the image of God by asceticism. My vote is “both.” In either case, it seems ridiculous for people to get their panties in a bunch over the difference between morphe’ and energeia. But the Greeks are SO hung up on ontology that they won’t even concede that the difference is completely immaterial for the purpose for which it actually matters (viz., hesychast prayer).

    I’m just vexed about this, and it seems to be becoming worse the more I read about it. The fact that the relatively inept opponents of Photius couldn’t articulate any of these things doesn’t mean that one gets to throw the authentic Tradition out the window.

  5. Jason says:

    Jonathan,

    This is just a question for curiosity’s sake more than anything. You mentioned all the Catholic phenomenologists who are now referring to God as “beyond being.” Does this ever end up translating into a theology wherein the divine essence is in itself absolutely unknowable? I’m wondering because the Western view that the divine essence manifests itself to souls in Heaven “plainly, clearly, and openly” and that they see the divine essence “face to face” (Benedictus Deus) seems to be at odds with this and to be a problem for Easterns looking Westward. So, just curious.

    Thanks,
    Jason

  6. Proclus says:

    Augustine’s natural theology is generally understood to be a form of middle platonism (not Plotinianism).

    God is seen in his creation but in seeing creation one does not see God because God is essentially beyond seeing. The Logos is seen in Christ’s humanity, but the Logos is not reducible to Christ’s humanity, although Christ’s humanity is reducible to the Logos. God is seen and touched and known but is beyond seeing and touching and knowing.

  7. 1) How the heck is Nyssa’s view of Dunamis Aristotelian when Barnes sites over and over and over The Republic 509B as a touchstone text in understanding Power for the Pro-Nicenes?!?!

    2) I site Barnes not as an authority, although, he’s a fine Patristic scholar. I site him as someone who gets our views right. He’s a Roman Catholic so I doubt he’s going to call the Western account of created theopanies that pass into time and back out as heretical.

    3) If you think Basil thought the energies were created, then you need to cite something. All the scholars that I’ve read that have investigated his massive Adversus Eunomium say the opposite.

    4) Once again, vision of God in the Eastern account is not a corporeal vision with the physical eyes. It’s as seeing and unseeing as Dionysius says. Try Romanides: http://www.romanity.org/htm/rom.15.en.notes_on_the_palamite_controversy.01.htm

    5) The filioque and Western Triadology has a Tri-hypostatic structure similar to the One-Nous-World Soul since deity is defined as causality. This is how the Frankish theologians are able to stave off Arianism in the West. How do you make the Son divine and uncreated? Make him the cause of another Person. But in doing so, the view is undergirded by the same presuppositions as their opponents. St. Photios was right to jump all over this. If the Holy Spirit is to be deity, what Person does he cause? Does he cause the Son too along with the Father (or perhaps he causes another divine person along with the Father and Son)? Augusine asked that question, and thought it was logically plausible. He knew it was erroneous since that would go against the Creedal Symbol.

    Photius

  8. Again, it’s the very person to which you refer me who has given me cause for concern. In this case, Barnes maintains that the Latin view of theophanies is not heterodox either. While I have little sympathy for Augustine’s equation of God with Being (the erroneous exposition of Ex. 3:14 that spawned a whole mess of difficulties), conflating that problem with the essence/energies distinction is simply guilt by association.

    The problem with East and West is anthropomorphism in the older sense, the distinction between “form of God” and “form of a servant” in Phil. 2:6-7, and the intersection with the Latin defense against modalism. With respect to the former, the position of the anthropomorphites was that Christ manifested God as the “form of God” (viz., the personal property of the Son was in being the form of God, and that this “form of God” was the pattern of manhood, which is what defines man as being in the image of God). Alas for this faction, the position was no longer tenable after the homoousion dogma of Nicaea; Christ was not an expression of divinity but divinity Himself. Consequently, the orthodox formulation took over; insofar as Christ has a divine nature, He is “form without form, shape without shape” as Symeon puts it. The relocation of the imago Dei among many ascetics then went from the visible manifestation to the inward man, the heart. That change was *uniform* among Origenists and anti-Origenists. Hieromonk Alexander Golitzin explains “Regarding interiorization, it is also true that the fourth and fifth century opponents of “anthropomorphism”, as I have sketched the latter, had precedents of their own, not only in the great Alexandrian tradition of Philo, Clement, and Origen (who themselves, likely as not, were in part responding to aspects of the kabod traditions [211]), but in the New Testament itself. One can point, for example, to texts like I Cor.3:16 and 6:19-20, the Christian as temple of God or the Holy Spirit, to the promise accorded the pure in heart in Mt.5:8, and perhaps especially to passages in the Gospel of John, such as 14:21-24 and 17:22-24. These texts appear with great frequency in the ascetic literature I have been discussing [212]. Interiorization was no new thing, nor was caution against seeing God in a human form, thus for example Dt.4:12 [213]!”

    Rev. Golitzin further notes that:
    “The line which stretches from Evagrius, “Macarius”, Epiphanius and Cassian on to Diadochus, Barsanuphius of Gaza, Isaac of Nineveh, John of Dalyatha, Symeon the New Theologian and the fourteenth century Byzantine Hesychasts seems thus to me to be pretty clear [153]. In the West, on the other hand, things work out a little differently. Cassian, certainly, heads off to Gaul carrying the reply just sketched, but another, much louder and more powerful voice had spoken to the issue as well. Augustine allows the theophanies no true appearance of God at all. The vision of God is the vision of the substance of the indivisible Trinity, of the substance which is Trinity, and that vision, so far as I can tell – with two possibly significant exceptions in his corpus – is restricted to the eschaton [154]. To say the least, this had to have complicated matters considerably, and I leave it to experts in Augustine, Cassian’s heirs, and Western spirituality generally the task of describing how this difference has played itself out in Latin Christian spirituality — or, perhaps better — spiritualities. What does seem to me clear is that there was a difference, and that this difference must have had its effects, but with this issue we really end up squarely in the middle of late twentieth century Christian dialogue, which I will happiliy defer to other people at other times and places.”
    http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/morphe.html

    See also http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/Demons

    Now, it would be ridiculous to think that Evagrius Ponticus or John Cassian were not Origenists. But one could still argue in principle that the theory here is at least distinctively Eastern, whether it was the erroneous notion of pre-existing souls or the orthodox notion of divine energies. In either case, both sides would have had a basis for thinking that there was an interior divinity, something that Augustine’s view of absolute divine simplicity would (in principle) not allow. At best, I suppose, this would prove that Augustine’s account of theophanies partakes of something like the Plotinian concept of the undescended soul, although I’m not sure how that squares with glossing original sin as an Origenistic “fall” of the soul into matter (see, e.g., Elizabeth Clark’s allegations). But anyway, let’s suppose that Augustine was simply an inconsistent Origenist, Neoplatonist, Platonist, or whatever he is accused of being.

    Even with that assumption, it turns out that the way the Western view of theophanies developed didn’t have a thing to do with Augustine’s view of divine simplicity, but rather, on a completely different happenstance. A common anti-modalist argument in the West was that the Son and the Father could not possibly identical, because the Father was invisible and seen only through the Son (see, e.g., Tertullian, Lactanius, Novatian). The Homoiousian Arian argument then turned this on its head, arguing that if the personal property of the Son was visibility, then this would obviously make the Son less than the Father. What is important is that they also referred to Christ “delivering the Kingdom to the Father” (1 Cor. 15:24), giving their argument an eschatological cast.

    Barnes points this out in http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/augustine

    This is important, because the Western answer took the same perspective: handing over the Kingdom is viewed in terms of glorification of the Body of Christ, and thus, the vision of God is in the sight of the reigning, glorified Christ. The exegesis of Matthew 5:8, itself eschatological, is thus linked with 1 Cor. 15:24 and with Phil. 2:7 (“form” being equated with vision face-to-face in the Western understanding); the sight of God is given in the eschaton. Conversely, the only vision given in this life, apart from some miraculous circumstances of divine intervention (St. Augustine cites St. Paul and Moses; St. Hilary, the Transfiguration in XI:37-38 on the Trinity) is the one given by the interior eye of faith through purity of heart, not sight/reason.

    The point is that St. Augustine’s view of theophanies wasn’t even peculiar at the time. The “form of God” becomes visible in glorification, as we ourselves are conformed to the form of God so as to partake of the divine nature:
    “And this means that the glorifying should reinstate Him in that nature, with which He was united by the Mystery of His divine birth; that He might be glorified of the Father with Himself; that He should resume all that He had had with the Father before; that the assumption of the servant’s form should not estrange from Him the nature of the form of God, but that God should glorify in Himself the form of the servant, that it might become for ever the form of God, since He, Who had before abode in the form of God, was now in the form of a servant. land since the form of a servant was to be glorified in the form of God, it was to be glorified in Him in Whose form the fashion of the servant’s form was to be honoured.”
    http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/330209.htm

    Now, whether St. Augustine holds a view of the divine essence that can meaningfully articulate the Western form/glory/nature/vision distinction from the essence is an open question. I’d argue that he can’t. But I have a heck of a time figuring out how the form of God/form of man distinction articulated by “the Athanasius of the West” that the East approved at Chalcedon in the form of Leo’s Tome suddenly became unacceptable once the essence/energies distinction was articulated. This is especially peculiar since everything I read on St. Cyril appears to point up the fact that his theology was IN FACT reconcilable with form of God/form of man Christology and that St. Basil’s explanation of energeia had a lot more in common with Augustine’s read of Romans 1:20 (knowledge of God through created manifestations) than Palamas’s essence/energies distinction. See also St. Clement of Alexandria in Stromata V for an eschatological understanding of the energies.

    I’m sorry, but it sure looks to me like whether theophanies are created or not is pure-D theologoumenon, and that makes me extraordinarily skeptical about whether Gregory of Nyssa’s understanding on this subject is anything else. Yes, Gregory of Nyssa’s opinion is that love is a power; yes, I disagree based on how the West has looked at it; no, I don’t think the Western theology has a thing to do with whatever Plotinian ecstatic ascent that Barlaam *claimed* was Augustinian.

    And I could even go on at this point to argue that Gregory of Nyssa’s *problem* was that he took a purely Aristotelian view of dunamis that needs Zubiri’s corrective of Greek metaphysics in Dynamic Structure of Reality (hence, that the philosophical error is the Nyssen’s). Or that the phenomenological account of action as the bridge between self/other, following the Western theology of love and articulated by one Karol Wojtyla inter alia, actually makes MORE sense than the hesychast view of partaking in matter according to Iamblichan theurgy. But frankly, I’m not all that convinced that I should even be worrying about those theologoumena when the point is that the accusation of the filioque as inherently Arian simply won’t fly.

  9. Elliot,

    Love is personal, but that doesn’t mean that it IS a person. Each of the Persons of the Trinity are fully present in each energy, so that makes them personal, but it does not follow, then, that an energy is reducible to a person. In my view, there are three realities in God: “essence” as a causal designator and completely uncoordinated with all, hypostasis, power and energy. Moreoever, the energies are enhypostasized in each Person, i.e., they exist in each Person of the Trinity.

    I already answered your question and followed up with a book recommendation: Michel Rene Barnes, Dunamis in Gregory of Nyssa’s Trinitarian Theology.

    None of the quotes you gave cut against my view, but on the contrary testify and support it. I’m sorry that my posts didn’t clarify more fully for you. Much of what we do here presupposes some knowledge of older posts where these things are explained more clearly. That saves me time considering it is pretty much the same people that dialogue here. Furthermore, I get on the defensive rather quickly when someone hops on the blog guns-a-blazin’ ready and hot for refutation.

    Photius

  10. Elliot B says:

    Okay, keep yawning. I misfired all that up yonder to encourage you to explain more carefully/fully some rather bold apparent misfires of your own.

    Is God love? Is the Holy Spirit God? Is God’s love “one” of His energies? Is God His energies?

    Just keeping my hook in the water, seein what bites, thanks for your input.

  11. Elliot,

    I’m not sure how your quote about Augustine is relevant. Maybe if we were distinguishing Calvinism from true Augustinianism, sure. But it has nothing to do with this discussion. Perry and I have already argued and defended for years now that Augustine was a kind of synergist.

    Photius

  12. Elliot B,

    Palamas’s theology of love or more accurately–Energetic Procession–has nothing to do with the hypostatic origin and hypostatic existence of the Spirit. Your quotes are simply a cognitive misfire. *yawn*

    Jonathan,

    The Western Fathers you list I am convinced have little or nothing in common with Augustine’s filioque theology. Hence, the Triadology that I’m talking about is the Augustinian view–which just is Rome’s view, and everyone is just assimilated to this understanding. Don’t like it? Thank the Franks for it in elevating Augustine’s theology as Godlike. 😉 It’s not as if we are putting the Fathers at odds with one another. It’s more like the Roman Fathers (East and West) are not intrinsically commensurate with Augustine and Post-Augustinians at key points.

    Ss. Cyril, Gregory, and John ? In relation to the points that divide us, what do you possibly think they have in common with you? Not much by my lights. Without the essence/energy distinction you end up with Nestorianism or Monophysitism, unless you want to say the hypostatic union is a contiguity of two essences.

    How does claiming Franciscan’s over against Thomists supposed to be a compelling argument? They’re both just good ol’ Augustinians! Trent askew? Trent’s view of justification is Arian by my lights. My righteousness is not identical to Christ’s, but is a gift that makes me righteous. There’s that like/unlike again, eh? This is where the Reformers get you. If I don’t have Christ’s righteousness, I’m never justified, and I agree with them.

    Rome has set the conceptual boundaries pretty much between Thomism and Molinism. Both of them view predestination as inevitable for those elected to glory–and is understood strictly as personal. It is also a dogma that God has predetermined certain men to eternal blessedness. See Ott’s section about it in FCD. It’s not as if Protestants were the first one’s asking these questions. You see Augustine wrestle with it, Lucidius wrestle with it, Gottschalk, Hincmar of Rheims, Anselm, Aquinas, Albert, Scotus, and Ocham long before Protestants came on the scene.

    You two both need to go read the Barnes book on Power, then maybe you’ll grasp what I’m talking about in relation to filioque-love theology. There is a two-fold sense in which Dunamis is understood. 1) Where the person is signified by that Power (like when we call the Son Wisdom of God or the Power of God) and 2) Where we understand the person as possessing that capacity.

    Photius

  13. Elliot B says:

    Well, okay, two other things, sorry.

    1) Months ago, here perhaps, then-Daniel Jones asked rather scornfully who in the West has claimed to see the essence of God, in an attempt, I think, to highlight how radically impoverished the Wets is in comparison to the East’s Taboric-hesychatic magnificence. Jack (I believe) was shrewd enough to ask if this were a joke, since the whole “Palamite project” is to deny the possibility of seeing the divine essence at all. Since then-Daniel probably didn’t mean to put too much weight on a quick, indelicately phrased question, I won’t hold him to that “essential” inconsistency. ;o) What I do feel compelled to mention, though, is how naive the question itself sounds. Who in the West has claimed to see the Trinity? Er, St. Ignatius, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, to name only three counter-Reformation figures. I may as well ask who in the East has enjoyed apparitions of our Lady, or who in the East has manifested stigmata. Clearly something is going on both sides of the Bosporus. Hence, asking such questions, while helpful in certain ways and at certain times, tend too easily to become a “my mystic is better than your mystic” theo-pissing contest. Not my style.

    2) I hardly have the time or acumen to keep pace here, but I offer the following words to my betters in the hope of furthering (and maybe re-focusing) a good discussion on grace and virtues:

    The first principle [of Augustine’s theology – EBB], viz., that of the absolute sovereignty of God over the will, in opposition to the emancipation of Pelagius, has not always been understood in its entire significance. We think that numberless texts of the holy Doctor signify that not only does every meritorious act require supernatural grace, but also that every act of virtue, even of infidels, should be ascribed to a gift of God, not indeed to a supernatural grace (as Baius and the Jansenists pretend), but to a specially efficacious providence which has prepared this good movement of the will (Retractations, I, ix, n. 6). It is not, as theologians very wisely remark, that the will cannot accomplish that act of natural virtue, but it is a fact that without this providential benefit it would not. Many misunderstandings have arisen because this principle has not been comprehended, and in particular the great medieval theology, which adopted it and made it the basis of its system of liberty, has not been justly appreciated. But many have been afraid of these affirmations which are so sweeping, because they have not grasped the nature of God’s gift, which leaves freedom intact. The fact has been too much lost sight of that Augustine distinguishes very explicitly two orders of grace: the grace of natural virtues (the simple gift of Providence, which prepares efficacious motives for the will); and grace for salutary and supernatural acts, given with the first preludes of faith. The latter is the grace of the sons, gratia filiorum; the former is the grace of all men, a grace which even strangers and infidels (filii concubinarum, as St. Augustine says) can receive (De Patientia, xxvii, n. 28).
    [http://www.nd.edu/Departments/Maritain/etext/augustin.htm]

  14. Elliot B says:

    Oh, that wasn’t so bad.

  15. Elliot B says:

    Catholic simpleton here again, just hoping for some clarification as I continue to learn, observe, pray and ponder. + + + +

    Photius wrote: “That’s why he [St. Augustine] could say that the Holy Spirit is Love, but love is not a person.”
    + + + +
    1 John 4:8, 16 say, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. … And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” Further, we see (in Rom 5:5 and Gal 4:6, Mk 1:11, 9:7, Lk 3:21-23, Jn 17:26, etc.) that God sends His love to the Son and the Church in and precisely AS the Holy Spirit.
    + + + +
    Let us also note St. Gregory Palamas’s words:

    The Spirit of the most high Word is like an ineffable love of the Father for this Word ineffably generated. A love which this same Word and beloved Son of the Father entertains () towards the Father: but insofar as he has the Spirit coming with him () from the Father and reposing connaturally in him”
    + + + +
    [alternate translation: “This Spirit of the Word from on high is like a mysterious love of the Father towards the Word mysteriously begotten; it is the same love as that possessed by the Word and the well-beloved Son of the Father towards him who begat him; this he does insofar as he comes from the Father conjointly with this love, and this love rests naturally on him.”] (Capita physica XXXVI, PG 150, 1144 D-1145 A).
    + + + +
    Consider also Sergius Bulgakov:

    The tri-hypostatic union of the Godhead is a mutual love, in which each of the Hypostases, by a timeless act of self-giving in love, reveals itself in both the others. … The Holy Spirit “proceeds” from the Father to the Son, as the hypostatic love of the Father, which “abides” in the Son, fulfilling his actuality and possession by the Father. In turn, the Holy Spirit passes “through” the Son, returning, as it were, to the Father in a mysterious cycle, as the answering hypostatic love of the Son. In this way the Holy Spirit achieves his own fulfillment as the Hypostasis of Love. … If God, who is in the most holy Trinity, is love, the Holy Spirit is the Love of the love.
    [_The Wisdom of God_ (1937), p. 57-58; _Le Paraclet_ (1946), p. 121; _TWoG_, p. 74]
    + + + +

    Finally, consider Dmitri Staniloae:
    In the Trinity the Spirit subsists in continuous procession from the loving Father towards the beloved Son, and in loving ‘irridation’ from the Son towards the Father. . . . He is this flowing current of the love of the Son or, more exactly, of the Father, returning from us also as a current which is united with our, loving affection for the Son or, more precisely, for the Father. … The love of the Son for the Father differs from the love of the Father for the Son. Through the Spirit the Son responds with his own joy to the joy which the Father takes in him. . . . The irridation of the Spirit from the Son is nothing other than the response of the Son’s love to the loving initiative of the Father who causes the Spirit to proceed. The love of the Father coming to rest in the Son shines forth upon the Father from the Son as the Son’s love.
    [*Theology* (1964), p. 25, 30-31]
    + + + +
    Now, I do NOT mean all or any of this as a one shot one kill fundy “spoof-text” “argument”. I point these, er, discrepancies out to encourage Photius to expand on what he means that love is not a person if God, who is love, is a person (par excellence). Notice 1 John does not say “the Father is love”, or “the Spirit is love”, nor “the Son is love”, but bluntly that God (in His divine essence) is love. Hence, this feature of the divine essence must be equally and fully “possessed” by each of the persons. Further, after taking such pains to clarify that God does not “have” his energies, but really IS (and really is “had”) His energies, I fail to see how calling love an energetic action of God allows you to deny that same love-energy IS God. That the Holy Spirit “possesses” the divine nature of being love more vividly or dynamically than the other Persons is only an apparent difficulty: just as the Son manifests certain aspects of the Godhead more than the Father, and vice versa, so too may each person be said to BE divine in a unique, preeminent way.
    + + + +
    At any rate, I’ve always taken the objection that “calling the Spirit love de-personalizes/ de-hypostasizes Him” to be too wooden, or just too easy. It seems to ignore the fairly central biblical notion that a person IS what he/she LOVES (with all various necessary qualifiers and “in a sense”s). The perichoretic LOVE of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit simply IS what makes them God (both distinguished hypostatically and unified essentially). The Son’s entire person is comprised of His loving-of the Father, which in itself “makes” Him as much God as the Father. Same for all three persons.
    + + + +
    From a different, more “human” perspective, I do not blush calling love a person precisely because in loving, we are most truly ourselves; and when we are most truly and purely ourselves we become pure love. God loved the world so much that He became one of us; and we, by divinizing grace, grow to love God so much that we too become God. Man becomes his idols. God becomes his beloved.
    + + + +
    I leave aside the numerous other issues on the table here, simply hoping to focus, as I said, on what I see as a rather pressing difficulty in Photius’ approach.

  16. Elliot B says:

    I can’t seem to use HTML in here (bold, breaks, etc.), so I apologize for the disaffecting bulkiness of my ensuing comment…!

  17. Elliot B says:

    Testing (before a lengthy comment)…

  18. “it’s just that the Triadology has Origenist and Arian presuppositions

    It’s just at this point that you can’t have the filioque without the Augustinian grid. If you think so, then you need to demonstrate this.”

    What is THE Triadology? Victorinus’s? Augustine’s? Hilary’s? Leo the Great’s? Anselm’s? Richard of St. Victor’s? Those guys just plain don’t fit in a single box. That’s what’s particularly galling about the dismissal. Photius may have even been right about why the people from whom he dissented endorsed the filioque, and he was probably even right about those people imputing something to the Western Fathers they never taught, but he was just plain wrong about the doctrine not having been present.

    “BTW, how do you get the Immaculate Conception without an Augustinian view of original sin”

    Good old fashioned Franciscan piety. It wasn’t theological arguments that won the day there, not if dissent from Aquinas was any indication.

    “or Trent’s view of justification”

    Doesn’t strike me as particularly askew…

    “or Thomism/Molinism (inevitable predestination theories)”

    That’s just people getting too big for their britches trying to answer questions Protestantism should never have asked. Like you said, defining deity as causality doesn’t so much work.

    “It just so happens that the division of the schools in Neo-Platonism give some traction of what is adopted by the two traditions and why the schism persists (Bradshaw’s book might be helpful here). You seem to think that there are some new metaphysical views out there. I just don’t think there are. Much of modern philosophy is just a recapitulation of older views.”

    Yeah, that’s why I find this whole line of reasoning so painfully unconvincing.

    “If there views had some traction in what Rome views as ‘Doctors of the Church’ then maybe I’ll take it more seriously.”

    Their views have a heck of a lot of traction among the Bishops of Rome, which probably counts for a great deal more. But what about St. John of the Cross? St. Teresa of Avila? St. Catherine of Siena? St. Therese of Lisieux? And that’s, of course, neglecting Ss. Cyril, Gregory Theologian, John Damascene…

    “For now, I’ll stick with Dionysius/Nyssa/Maximus/*PHOTIOS*/Symeon/Palamas in relation to Augustine/Anselm/Aquinas/Albert/Scotus and the contemporaries that follow them.”

    No matter how new the thought, if I can find a coherent argument for taking all of them, I will take that interpretation over one that puts them at odds with one another, particularly when the prevailing interpretation is simply “too pretty,” as it were. It’s not as if oversimplifying the patristic witness in the interest of “cleaner” dogma hasn’t let to schism before; the Monophysites and the Protestants both went down that path.

  19. Palamism is dogma for the Orthodox Church, why do you think they have it in the Sunday of Orthodoxy dedicated to it in their liturgy if it isn’t. Same can be said for St. Photios the Great’s Triadology. Hart and maybe a few that he bullies around are so minor a voice, it is insignificant and is insignificant to me.

    Rome doesn’t justify the filioque based on Origenism, it’s just that the Triadology has Origenist and Arian presuppositions. Deity is defined as causality. It’s just at this point that you can’t have the filioque without the Augustinian grid. If you think so, then you need to demonstrate this. BTW, how do you get the Immaculate Conception without an Augustinian view of original sin, or Trent’s view of justification, or Thomism/Molinism (inevitable predestination theories), et al?

    Nobody here is saying that Iamblichian Neoplatonism is identical to Maximus. It just so happens that the division of the schools in Neo-Platonism give some traction of what is adopted by the two traditions and why the schism persists (Bradshaw’s book might be helpful here). You seem to think that there are some new metaphysical views out there. I just don’t think there are. Much of modern philosophy is just a recapitulation of older views.

    As far as the men you mention, they are relatively new. I’m not saying you need to be static in your thinking, but I’m not convinced. If there views had some traction in what Rome views as “Doctors of the Church” then maybe I’ll take it more seriously. For now, I’ll stick with Dionysius/Nyssa/Maximus/*PHOTIOS*/Symeon/Palamas in relation to Augustine/Anselm/Aquinas/Albert/Scotus and the contemporaries that follow them.

    Photius

  20. “I don’t really care much for Western phenomenological accounts if they are not captured by Catholic dogma, which I don’t believe they are.”

    I think this is exactly the difference. I (and others in that list) think that metaphysical understandings were dogmatized only insofar as they are logically necessary to justify a dogmatized theological conclusion; otherwise, you’re dogmatizing a theologoumenon (which I suspect is Hart’s difficulty with both Palamite theology and papal infallibility). Origenism isn’t necessary to justify the filioque, Lyons, or Florence, nor is essence/energies necessary to affirm apophaticism. Iamblichan Neoplatonism is not necessary for Maximus’s account of freedom (nor Athanasius’s account of salvation). Identifying a metaphysical system that can become antiquated (and IMHO, *has* become antiquated) with dogma doesn’t seem wise to me. In fact, it sounds a whole lot like the guys who endorse geocentrism or monogenism as dogma.

  21. 1) Hart is semi-Origenist by my lights because he believes in absolute simplicity. In fact, he thinks Maximus, Aquinas, Augustine, Athanasius, and the Cappadocians all taught the same account of simplicity. I have first hand knowledge of this, and there is no doubt he does NOT like our views/interpretations of Maximus. He has made that clear to Perry. He pretty much thinks that anyone that spends a lot of time with Gregory Palamas’ metaphysics is wasting their time.

    2) I don’t really care much for Western phenomenological accounts if they are not captured by Catholic dogma, which I don’t believe they are. Catholicism is Origenist because of the filioque dogma–which is built on the back of absolute simplicity. Finding a few philosophers that semi-agree with the Orthodox view doesn’t change the fact that at the end of the day, they like you, are stuck with reconciling their view with what his dogmatically been proclaimed at Lyons and Florence.

  22. I did look at Yannaras. That’s what convinced me that there was a problem. He talked up the essence/energies distinction, but what struck me was that his description was inherently multi-personal (viz., that this energy cannot be expressed other than by living ecstatically). That’s what got me thinking about this notion that love can’t simply be treated like another energy. It doesn’t seem to get at the centrality with which it is treated by Ps.-Dionysius, by Marius Victorinus, and by dozens of later Western mystics.

    I think that’s why David Hart sounded Origenist to you. Self/otherness transcendently bonded by love, drawn together by beauty, is how the West has historically resolved the problem of being joined to something without becoming the something. That’s why Christian Continental phenomenology persists in being Christian rather than pomo, while also being quite distinct from either rationalism or Romanticism. It’s what separates Blondel, Zubiri, Gadamer, and Marion (the latter three all appealing to the concept of God “beyond all being” from Plato) from Husserl, Heidegger, and Derrida. Based on that, I don’t believe that this Western concept of love is an impulse toward the Neoplatonic one or even necessarily deriving from it. In fact, it appears to be quite the opposite; the people who have moved away from the rationalist tendency to conceive God as being seem to have done just fine.

    It just occurred to me that this actually recapitulates a grievance I had felt intuitively some time ago, although I had forgotten it. I had read an article some time ago about the difference between Catholic and Orthodox mysticism. At the time, I recalled being disturbed by this notion of ascesis that made even the love for God into a disordered passion. Here’s the article:
    http://www.onearthasinheaven.com/orthodoxtrue.html

    Now, if it’s true that Eastern and Western mysticism (at least along the lines of St. John of the Cross and the Victorines) aren’t reconcilable, then there’s nothing more to say. But absent a compelling philosophical refutation to the Western phenomenological account, I don’t see any good reason to think that Western thought is inextricably tangled with Origenism.

  23. That’s not Augustine’s mistake. Augustine confused hypostatic properties with energies and collapses them together. That’s why he could say that the Holy Spirit is Love, but love is not a person. It’s an act of a person, a going forth of a person. A mode of existence of person(s).

    You say:
    “Love is a mode of existence.”

    That is what an energy is. Might want to look at some of Yanarras’s work.

    Photius

  24. Photius said:
    “I don’t see any difference between you and Augustine at this point. Your dialectical argument is bringing it back around full circle.”

    The difference between Augustine and me is that I don’t identify God with being and Augustine did, which created an improper analogical (like/unlike) equation between human love and divine love. This is illustrated here:

    “God is love. Perfect love can be a person. There is but one person in the Trinity.”

    Careful. Love is a mode of existence by my account, and in fact, it is a Trintarian mode of existence, because it is ecstatic (living outside one’s person). If you identify love with an attribute of God, then you reach the problem you described, but if you understand it as the Trinitarian mode of existence as such (which is the orthodox way to look at it), the problem goes away. That’s why I said that one could say that the Holy Spirit can be Love, if love is understood correctly. Where one saves the distinction is in the distinction between God’s love ad extra (knowable) and God’s love ad intra (unknowable).

    I think that’s what this commentator on Ps.-Dionysius was getting at:
    “a) First, Dionysius evidently cannot accept in any single straightforward sense the Neoplatonic notion of a One that excludes the possibility of expressing trinity. He therefore links in a new way God as unrestricted being with God as utterly beyond being or any determinate predications. At the same time in the DN he argues that the ecstasy of love, which moves as a unifying force through creation without departing from itself, is the divine nature. Dionysius admits, in a note from Plato’s Phaedrus, that it is characteristic of yearning not to allow “lovers to belong to themselves but only to their loved ones” (DN 4, 13). This is shown, he goes on to argue, by the providential care of the greater for the lesser (a reference to Proclus’ divine providential love (eros pronoetikos) from the Commentary on the First Alcibiades, #56), by the love of equals, and by that of the lesser for those better than them (a reference both to Aristotle’s seminal treatment of friendship in the Nicomachean Ethics and to Proclus’ returning or converting love (eros epistreptikos) in the same Commentary above), as also in the case of St. Paul’s famous dictum “I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). Might then such a belonging to one’s beloved be characteristic of God, if perhaps in a different sense?

    Dionysius continues as follows:

    ‘We must dare to say even this on behalf of the truth that the cause of all things himself, by his beautiful and good love for all things, through an overflowing of loving goodness, becomes outside of himself (exo heautou ginetai) by his providential care for all beings and is as it were, charmed (thelgetai) by goodness, affection (agapesis), and love (eros), and is led down (katagetai) from his place above all and transcendent of all to dwell in all things in accordance with his ecstatic superessential power which does not depart from itself (DN 4, 13).'”
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pseudo-dionysius-areopagite/

    What you pointed out is exactly right: if you make attributes of God LIKE God’s, then you fall into the trap of Western analogical _ratio_ (like/unlike), and therefore, you make God into a being. You have to get away for that for the pseudo-Areopagite’s argument to work. But if you consider love as the *mode* of God’s being, then you affirm the Trinity (lover and beloved living outside of themselves in the same love), and you also affirm creation as love and participation as love between Creator and created. Augustine *thought* of love as a power or energy, because he was thinking of God as a being with attributes, love being just another one of the attributes. But other commentators, particularly Western mystics, had a much more radical conception of love, following in the tradition of Marius Victorinus.

    The radicality of this concept of love follows other analogies used for the Trinity, e.g., image, truth, Word. IF one thinks of love this way, I don’t see how it is substantially different than other Trinitarian models. Indeed, it is THE refinement of the effusive nature of the good that transforms Neoplatonism into Trinitarian orthodoxy. On the other hand, if you think of love according to the rationalistic analogia entis (like/unlike, rather than being/beyond being), then you end up with this type of misunderstanding of Pseudo-Dionysius:
    http://www.newadvent.org/summa/102001.htm

  25. Jonathan,

    I don’t see any difference between you and Augustine at this point. Your dialectical argument is bringing it back around full circle. God is love. Perfect love can be a person. There is but one person in the Trinity. Augustine saw the implications and (inconsistently) rejected it, but it was breaking down right at the point of the filioque.

    I couldn’t disagree with you more. Love is a power and an energy. God’s love that we experience and are united with is his energy. That love is enhypostasized in each Person and not particular to one.

    Photius

  26. “Love is a power. Is the Holy Spirit an energy or demiurge? Is love a person?”

    When love is conceived properly, it is a mode of being outside oneself, in another, not a power or an energy. In that respect, perfect love can be a person, and God is love, although only in the same sense that we use words to describe the Father as father or the Son as son or the Logos as logos. Not that I think that scholasticism has understood this particularly well, and the subjectivism of Luther was (if anything) the antithesis of love: pure subjectivity, pure selfishness. But I think that the emphasis on love and the indwelling of the Spirit in Western theology was groping at this truth the entire time, although St. Augustine was hard pressed to reconcile his own theology of love with his views of will and divine simplicity, leaving him in the dark as to how to reconcile them apart from simple trust in the divine benevolence. Love without freedom is, well, Protestantism, and that was what Augustine could never get around.

    I think there’s a good reason why Western mystics influenced by Pseudo-Dionysius placed such a strong emphasis on the experience of the love of God. I rather doubt that was metaphysical misunderstanding.

  27. Jason says:

    All,

    [Sorry for the length of this post.]

    Hm, well, now I do have some concerns again, at least with regard to what seems to be being implied to follow from the initial dialogue between Maximus and Pyrrhus (which began this thread). And Jonathan, once again (surprise, surprise), I think I might be agreeing with you to some extent.

    I say this all because of a re-reading of Lossky, so maybe what I’m about to present is one-sided (i.e., it will perhaps show only his influence). Even so, here it is.

    First, I need to modify (or at least temper) some of the statements I made in my most recent reply to Jonathan. Believe it or not, it seems, at least on my reading of Lossky’s reading of the Eastern tradition, that I have placed too much emphasis on the penetration of human nature by the divine energies. Yes, the hypostatic union redeemed our natures, but this alone is not the end of the story. It seems my comments may have lessened the work of the Holy Spirit a bit too much. Lossky has some strong things to say about this, such as what follows (all quotes are from his “Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church”):

    “That which is common to the Father and the Son is the divinity which the Holy Spirit communicates to men within the Church, in making them ‘partakers of the divine nature,’ in conferring the fire of deity, uncreated grace, upon those who become members of the Body of Christ” (p. 162). [Here, we see that it is the Holy Spirit who makes us personally partakers of the divine nature, by virtue of cooperation with the uncreated grace (energies) He bestows upon us after baptism.]

    “The work of Christ concerns human nature which He recapitulates in His hypostasis. The work of the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, concerns persons, being applied to each one singly. Within the Church the Holy Spirit imparts to human hypostases the fullness of deity after a manner which is unique, ‘personal,’ appropriate to every man as a person created in the image of God. St. Basil says . . . ‘the Spirit . . . bestows sufficient and complete grace on all'” (p. 166). [Again, note that apparently Christ deifies the nature and the Holy Spirit deifies the person.]

    “Christ becomes the sole image appropriate to the common nature of humanity. The Holy Spirit grants to each person created in the image of God the possibility of fulfilling the likeness in the common nature. The one lends His hypostasis to the nature, the other gives His divinity to the persons” (p. 166-167). [Same as above.]

    “Through the coming of the Holy Spirit the Trinity dwells within us and deifies us; confers upon us the uncreated energies, Its glory, and Its deity which is the eternal light of which we must partake” (p. 171). [Again, the Holy Spirit confers upon us personally the divine energies, with which we must cooperate.]

    “In Him [the Holy Spirit] the will of God is no longer external to ourselves: it confers grace inwardly, manifesting itself within our very person in so far as our human will remains in accord with the divine will and co-operates with it in acquiring grace, in making it *ours*” (p. 173). [The Spirit confers grace inwardly because we are now ready to receive Him due to the recapitulation of our natures in Christ; Lossky contrasts this with the Old Testament. At one point (I’ve lost the page now) Lossky even says that the work of Christ makes the nature “fit” again to receive the Holy Spirit.]

    Finally, some language that mirrors Jonathan’s:
    “The human person was called, according to St. Maximus, ‘to reunite by love created with uncreated nature, showing the two in unity and identity through the acquisition of grace'” (p. 126).

    So, Photius and/or Perry, is the above really a problem, or are we all actually more or less in agreement about at least this much? I guess I’m trying to understand what the significance of Maximus’ idea of natural virtue is for all of this, and vice versa. It appears that there is something going on here beyond a mere tropic activity in accordance with natural virtue. Instead, it seems we’re looking at personal cooperation with the uncreated grace bestowed upon us by the Holy Spirit, which is apparently something beyond the restoration of our nature (although consequent upon it). Perhaps, Photius and/or Perry, your point is that, by cooperating with the Holy Spirit, we bring our natural will into accordance with the divine will, and thereby manifest the virtue for which our nature was created? I think *maybe* that’s right, but I also believe my attempts to understand at this point are only resulting in more confusion for myself, so any help would be much appreciated. 🙂

    All the best,
    Jason

  28. Jonathan,

    The point is that the union in the Augustinian sense is that habitus grace is what you are united with. Where the notion of union is a dependent relation, and not a *real* union with the Holy Spirit. No dispute there. If habitus grace is a creature (created effect), then you can’t have theosis. If you are talking about divine indwelling as the union, then the notion of a real union is gone, and the union is nothing more than a contiguity of essences.

    On the Eastern model, according to my mode of willing (tropos), I really become united to the uncreated virtue that inheres in me.

    The Augustinian tradition can’t make the notion of a real union work–because of absolute divine simplicity–between an uncreate and created thing. The Eastern model can.

    To go further, the Eastern model is a much stronger realism. None of the Augustinians can account for this type of realism. Is it any real wonder that Nominalism was risen out of the Western framework? I’m being fairly polemical here, but I think a case can be made.

    Love is a power. Is the Holy Spirit an energy or demiurge? Is love a person?

    The point is, is that Augustine’s notion of participation just IS Neo-Platonic (and uncritically). My love is like God’s love, my holiness is like God’s holiness, my justice is LIKE God’s justice, but God’s justice is never REALLY mine. Funny how Luther’s concerns at that point were right on.

    Photius

  29. My point is that everyone seems to be arguing that tropos is superior to habitus, and I can’t fathom how that can possibly be the case. The sole difference between the two is that in the case of habitus, it is a created thing that exists by virtue of union with an uncreated thing, while in the case of tropos, it is union with something uncreated. In either case, the goal is to express the metaphysical reality of union with the uncreate.

    In both East and West, this union is most fully expressed as love. IF the created habitus was something other than charity, maybe it would be problematic, but the very definition of charity is reaching past oneself ecstatically to another. OK, so maybe describing the Holy Spirit as the Love between Father and Son is excessive, but then again, maybe it isn’t, depending on what one is trying to suggest by love. If one is orthodox about what means by love, that being communion between two persons according to energies, then who cares if it is phrased in terms of energies or not? The point of us being in the image of God is that we are ecstatic by nature, which is precisely how we partake of the divine energies, and that’s what I don’t see being captured in the account of salvation as participation in the natural (at least insofar as it is exclusive of the Western formulation of the virtue of charity). Freedom is precisely freedom to love, to embrace the other, and to be ecstatic. This notion of the Western view being too rationalistic or Origenistics just doesn’t seem to grasp that it’s love we’re talking about, not metaphysical quantities.

  30. Jason says:

    Jonathan,

    “And, of course, the *use* of faculties is a personal property, not a natural property. Natures don’t do anything; persons do.”

    Yes, of course. No disagreement here. I don’t believe I’ve claimed otherwise.

    “[Peter raised the dead] after Pentecost.”

    Yes, of course; again, no disagreement there. I’m not entirely sure of your point. We *do* need the Holy Spirit — I’ve affirmed that.

    “You can eradicate your own gnomie through ascesis, at least after baptism. You don’t need the Holy Spirit for that.”

    Actually, I think I disagree with you there. At least, I’m not sure why you think this.

    “You’re confusing faculties with use of faculties. The fact that a person’s nature has properties doesn’t mean that the person can use/access/manifest those properties.”

    What I was responding to in your prior comment was the fact that you referred to our finite energies. My point was that energies are properties of nature, our natures have been divinized, and therefore we have the divine energies, not just “our (finite) energies.” Nothing in that point seems to confuse faculties with use of faculties, or to even make mention of those sorts of things.

    “This notion of ‘shining forth’ is, I think, a bit misleading. Natures don’t shine; persons do.”

    Actually, I think it’s the energies which shine forth, from the nature through the person. I think again you seem to be positing an opposition here that doesn’t really exist. Furthermore, isn’t it the case that the uncreated Light which shone forth on Mt. Tabor was divine energy? I think so (or at least I think Gregory Palamas thought so). Also, here are pieces from some hymns from the Feast of the Transfiguration, with emphasis added:

    “In His mercy, the Savior of our souls has transfigured *disfigured humanity* and let *it* shine with Light on Mount Tabor.” [Humanity is transfigured and *it* shines forth.]

    “Christ our God, You Who were transfigured in glory on Mount Tabor, disclosing to Your disciples the splendor of *Your Divinity* . . . ”

    “Let us receive Light from His Light and with uplifted spirits forever sing the praises of the consubstantial Trinity.” [I cite this last one because it seems to connect His Light with the consubstantial Divinity.]

    So, your idea seems to at least be contrary to the Eastern tradition. Plus, I don’t think it’s at all clear, at least a priori, that “natures don’t shine; persons do.”

    “If the Holy Spirit is simply facilitating what you can do naturally, then you don’t ‘need’ the Holy Spirit.”

    First, this simply doesn’t follow. Second, I worry that you might be confusing nature and person here. The Holy Spirit, as I think I understand it, makes it so that I can do personally what is already in some sense present naturally.

    “He might make things easier, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t, strictly speaking.”

    Again, this doesn’t follow. Synergy demands two activities working together. I don’t *think* I said only that he makes it “easier” and that we can do it without him, but if I did, forgive me.

    All of this said, I think the reasons you give for finding the account “inadequate” ought to be significantly weakened, if not eliminated. As for the Zubiri/Neoplatonism stuff, I don’t have too much to say about all that, except that I think I share many of Photius’ concerns.

    Either way, I’ll keep reading.

    All the best,
    Jason

  31. Jonathan,

    I must say I have no idea where you are going with this. How your view relates to Augustinianism, it’s accidental character of grace, et al., I don’t know. It appears to me that you aren’t distinguishing between Eastern accounts of participation and Neo-Platonic notions of it, which is unfortunate. I’d like for you to tie this together so I can see what you are trying to do.

    Photius

  32. “Perhaps I’m misunderstanding you, but you seem to almost be saying here that energies are properties of persons. They aren’t, though, of course; they’re properties of natures (there are “two energies” in Christ because there are two natures).”

    And, of course, the *use* of faculties is a personal property, not a natural property. Natures don’t do anything; persons do.

    “Either that, or you’re saying that our human nature has finite energies and not all of the divine energies, which seems to deny the full reality of the hypostatic union (see the Maximus quote above, again, where he says that human nature was “entirely permeated” in a sort of perichoresis).”

    You’re confusing faculties with use of faculties. The fact that a person’s nature has properties doesn’t mean that the person can use/access/manifest those properties. This notion of “shining forth” is, I think, a bit misleading. Natures don’t shine; persons do. That’s where I suspect the Neoplatonic notion of participation is inadequate. Neoplatonism says that persons can participate in their causes simply by virtue of having been caused, and I doubt that account (particularly because I’m Zubirian). To the extent that St. Maximos, Ps.- Dionysius, and Gregory Palamas were Neoplatonic in that regard, I think they were wrong, and I think this error has been responsible for anti-Westernism and overemphasis on ascesis in the East.

    “In fact, to illustrate this rather pointedly in reference to your last assertion quoted above, St. Peter precisely *did* raise someone from the dead (see Acts 9:40). In other words, as I see it, he was able to “manifest the divine energies” in ways that you seem to be suggesting we aren’t able to do.”

    After Pentecost.

    “Of course, I still have a gnome, unfortunately as a result of the Fall. However, the Holy Spirit, as I understand it, is the Comforter who comes to us and helps us to turn our wills back toward God, to cooperate with the divine energies which are already present in us by virtue of the fullness of the hypostatic union.”

    You can eradicate your own gnomie through ascesis, at least after baptism. You don’t need the Holy Spirit for that.

    “Now that those energies are present in me, it is precisely by ascesis and so on that I can participate with and manifest them. Because of the hypostatic union, the divine energies are there; what must be allowed is for them to shine forth (some of the desert fathers speak of becoming our “all flame”). Certainly as a creature in and of itself I am not able to surpass my created limits; this is precisely why Christ, after the Fall, became man.”

    That’s the line that I don’t buy.

    “Now, though, the fullness of divinity has mysteriously united with our humanity (praise be to God), permeating it with the divine energies. None of this implies that I do not have a gnomic will or that I do not need the Holy Spirit for my personal salvation, of course.”

    If the Holy Spirit is simply facilitating what you can do naturally, then you don’t “need” the Holy Spirit. He might make things easier, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t, strictly speaking. That’s part of why I consider this account inadequate. If the purpose of the Holy Spirit is simply to assist humans in overcoming their gnomic wills, He is superfluous. That’s why I suspect that this Neoplatonic account of participation is inadequate.

  33. Jason says:

    Boy, I really am going back and forth here, aren’t I? Again, I’m trying to leave the bulk of the argument to the rest of you all, but I’ll say a few things very briefly.

    Essentialy, I’m not sure about all this, Jonathan:
    “Personhood is nothing other than the capacity to manifest the divine energies according to one’s own (finite) energies. I can manifest the divine energies according to the modes that my logos demonstrates them, but I myself cannot raise the dead or walk on water.”

    Perhaps I’m misunderstanding you, but you seem to almost be saying here that energies are properties of persons. They aren’t, though, of course; they’re properties of natures (there are “two energies” in Christ because there are two natures). Either that, or you’re saying that our human nature has finite energies and not all of the divine energies, which seems to deny the full reality of the hypostatic union (see the Maximus quote above, again, where he says that human nature was “entirely permeated” in a sort of perichoresis). Either Christ is consubstantial with us, and therefore divinity entirely permeates our nature, or… something is awry. I of course find neither approach very satisfactory.

    Furthermore, there’s the additional point that, after the hypostatic union, human nature has been deified and, as I noted earlier, entirely permeated by the divine energies. Like I pointed out when I mentioned Gregory Palamas, there is some sense in which we are precisely *not* finite and created any longer. In fact, to illustrate this rather pointedly in reference to your last assertion quoted above, St. Peter precisely *did* raise someone from the dead (see Acts 9:40). In other words, as I see it, he was able to “manifest the divine energies” in ways that you seem to be suggesting we aren’t able to do. That’s also problematic for me.

    Here’s a quote from Panayiotis Christou in his “The Teaching of Gregory Palams on Man” that highlights some of what I’m getting at:

    “But whenever he [man] participates in divinizing grace, he acquires supernatural qualities and . . . he is transferred from the category of creatures to another position. God and man have then life as a common uncreated energy, the former as the natural source, the latter as a vessel of grace. So each man becomes a being without beginning and end.”

    In other words, by participating in the divine energies which permeate our natures, we *become* in some sense uncreated. By virtue of the hypostatic union, I do seem to have these possibilities open to me. Yes, my will is still finite. Of course, I still have a gnome, unfortunately as a result of the Fall. However, the Holy Spirit, as I understand it, is the Comforter who comes to us and helps us to turn our wills back toward God, to cooperate with the divine energies which are already present in us by virtue of the fullness of the hypostatic union. Now that those energies are present in me, it is precisely by ascesis and so on that I can participate with and manifest them. Because of the hypostatic union, the divine energies are there; what must be allowed is for them to shine forth (some of the desert fathers speak of becoming our “all flame”). Certainly as a creature in and of itself I am not able to surpass my created limits; this is precisely why Christ, after the Fall, became man. Now, though, the fullness of divinity has mysteriously united with our humanity (praise be to God), permeating it with the divine energies. None of this implies that I do not have a gnomic will or that I do not need the Holy Spirit for my personal salvation, of course.

    So, in other words, up to your last post, I thought I was with you. Christ repaired our human nature and made us “fit” to receive the Holy Spirit, sure. Furthermore, the activity of the Holy Spirit makes possible the realization of our personal salvation. However, I don’t quite understand what you’re getting at regarding our finite energies and so on; it seems to me too precariously close to denying the full reality of the hypostatic union.

    Best,
    Jason

  34. Jason:
    “maybe the ‘Eastern gloss’ as a whole is slightly different (or at least wider) than the gloss being presented here on Energies of the Trinity at the moment?”

    Thank you for phrasing it pointedly. That is exactly what I mean.

    Proclus:
    “Jonathan’s implication seems to be that through the Incarnation, the Logos accomplished something that Adam, prior to the fall, could not have done because it exceeded Adam’s natural capacities (felix culpa).”

    No, Adam could have done it, because there was no historical separation between the Holy Spirit and humanity, since God had breathed the Holy Spirit into Adam at creation. What God asked Adam to do, the Spirit was willing to do also. It was Adam’s free rejection of the theandric act that killed both spirit and flesh (human nature).

    “If this is correct, the problem seems to stem from an unwarranted ontological division between nature and grace.”

    On the contrary, it is a division between nature and person. Personhood is nothing other than the capacity to manifest the divine energies according to one’s own (finite) energies. I can manifest the divine energies according to the modes that my logos demonstrates them, but I myself cannot raise the dead or walk on water. Christ and the Holy Spirit have the ability to manifest Themselves in ways beyond the finitude of any created thing’s energies. That’s the difference between a divine person and a created person; the divine person has no limits in the manifestation of the divine energies (viz., they can be manifested in any manner according to the divine will; their tropic freedom is unlimited). Or to put it another way, that is the difference between created modes of operation and uncreated modes of operation. Finitude limits the created modes of operation, how exactly the person manifests the divine energies. The redemption of the nature does not expand the capacities of the tropos, which were not capable of manifesting the divine energies outside of created limits even in the case of Adam.

    At least, that’s how it seems to me. I could be wrong. There seems to be an assumption that the tropos can manifest the logos in any way the nature allows, but I don’t think that is true.

  35. Proclus says:

    I’ve only just glaced at the comments, but I can’t help feeling that something is awry. Jonathan’s implication seems to be that through the Incarnation, the Logos accomplished something that Adam, prior to the fall, could not have done because it exceeded Adam’s natural capacities (felix culpa).

    If this is correct, the problem seems to stem from an unwarranted ontological division between nature and grace. As I see it, we are naturally capable of reaching our end because our nature is to cooperate with grace. Nature and grace can only be distinguished conceptually or, perhaps, historically, not ontologically. What is ungraced is unnatural. The institutional Church became “necessary” because creation failed to be what it is, the Body of the Logos. The Church serves to heal the Body in order for the Body to be what it already was but had not yet realized.

    Thus, there is something to felix culpa in that the Logos himself became one particular enhypostatic man, Jesus, in order to do what Adam failed to do. But, Christ simply heals and fulfills the law of nature, which is himself, his incarnation doesn’t alter the metaphysics of creation but completes it. Christ is what Adam was called to become, nature hypostatically united to the Logos through the instantiation of the virtues.

    Maybe I’m missing something here.

  36. Jason says:

    Well, at this point I think we’ve gone beyond my area of any real competence (Scholasticism and the details of the “Neoplatonic participation theory”), so I’ll let you all duke it out. 🙂 What I will briefly question, however, is this:

    “[The Eastern theologians are] not particularly careful about distinguishing between the two (and neither were the Fathers, to be honest), but that distinction seems to be implicit, and I think the failure to acknowledge that distinction has been quite unhelpful for understanding Western theology. Scholasticism was a tool deployed to explain the action of the Holy Spirit (with limited success, as Daniel notes), but I don’t see where the Eastern gloss on being ‘in Christ’ as hypostatic union with the Spirit is any better.”

    What I will question is only whether or not that truly is the “Eastern gloss,” or if, particularly given the quotes I’ve already cited, the “Eastern gloss” in its fullness already acknowledges what you’re saying. It seems to me that Meyendorff does, at least, but maybe I’m wrong. Without intending to be offensive — and I’m not sure how to phrase this without it potentially appearing that way — maybe the “Eastern gloss” as a whole is slightly different (or at least wider) than the gloss being presented here on Energies of the Trinity at the moment? Alternatively, maybe we’ve been misunderstanding eachother for the bulk of this thread. Or, alternative, maybe I’m just totally wrong. 😉

    All the best,
    Jason

  37. “Is that much acceptable, as long as its not assumed that the original relationship was one of hypostatic union? I took it that Jonathan’s main point was mostly something along on those sorts of lines here.”

    Exactly. I’m not talking about hypostatic union, which I don’t think happens. Adam never HAD the personal capacity to actualize the divine power except insofar as he had the capacity to work with the Spirit in theandric action. My read of Orthodox theologians is much the same as yours; I don’t think Orthodox theologians deny that the Spirit’s personal individual distribution of the divine energies is responsible for people being able to actualize them. They’re not particularly careful about distinguishing between the two (and neither were the Fathers, to be honest), but that distinction seems to be implicit, and I think the failure to acknowledge that distinction has been quite unhelpful for understanding Western theology. Scholasticism was a tool deployed to explain the action of the Holy Spirit (with limited success, as Daniel notes), but I don’t see where the Eastern gloss on being “in Christ” as hypostatic union with the Spirit is any better. If Neoplatonic participation theory doesn’t capture it, then that’s a problem with the metaphysics, not improper speculation on the part of the West.

  38. Jason says:

    Photius,

    Ohh, okay. That clarifies things quite a bit. However, I’m not sure that the central thrust of Jonathan’s point here has been to defend the things you’ve just mentioned (although he does mention them peripherally); for the most part it seems that he’s focusing on “the coming of the Spirit after Christ” (cf. his first comment) and the possibility that a “consequence of the fall was that the human soul was no longer ‘fit’ for an intimate relation with the Spirit.” That latter quote (on its own, anyway) does not necessarily imply that man was originally hypostatically united to the Spirit and then drove Him away; rather, it presupposes only that man was originally in a relationship with God whereby he was *fit* for an intimate relationship with the Spirit (even if it hadn’t been completely actualized yet,) and that he lost this “fitness” after the Fall, until Christ restored it. Is that much acceptable, as long as its not assumed that the original relationship was one of hypostatic union? I took it that Jonathan’s main point was mostly something along on those sorts of lines here.

    Best,
    Jason

  39. I deny that Adam was hypostatically united to the Holy Spirit at creation. Why? Because virtue is [personally] acquired through habit. If Adam was created where he was hypostatically united to the H.S., he wouldn’t have fallen. Nor would he have had a gnomic will. This is a general problem with the Augustinian tradition: trying to explain how someone created in habitus grace could sin. They just can’t do it.

    What was lost in the fall was a relationship with God where man lost the capacity to actualize the divine power and attain theosis.

    Photius

  40. Jason says:

    Okay, a few things. First, I’m a little unhappy with my most recent post to Jonathan, as I said some things that were probably just plain wrong if not at least a little unclear or ill-phrased. I was definitely (and maybe still am) lacking precision of language. I chalk this up to having written it after enjoying a few beers. 😉 Second, I’ve said a few times that I’m obviously less-informed than the rest of you, so I hope my attempted clarifications of positions aren’t distractions from the issues at hand.

    That said, I continue to vacillate between thinking that there’s some real disagreement going on here and thinking that what Jonathan’s saying is perfectly Orthodox. As it is right now, I’m again leaning toward the latter. I also continue to vacillate back and forth as to whether or not we’re talking past eachother. So maybe I’m missing something. In any case, to explain what I’m thinking, I’ll make some comments and again cite a few things from Meyendorff’s “Byzantine Theology” (that’s where all the quotes are from).

    First, we’re all in agreement, or so it seems, that there’s a difference between salvation/redemption according to nature and salvation in personal terms; we can agree, for example, that there is a universal resurrection due to a natural consubstantiality with Christ, but that there is also something personal beyond this, according to which we are in some sense either glorified in the eschaton or not. In other words, there is a differing experience of resurrection according to our persons. Jonathan, this is the only reason I suggested your distinctions were “red herrings;” it just seems to me that they aren’t really relevant, because each of us accomodates and seems to agree to these things. However…

    Beyond that, I think it might be the case that Jonathan’s saying something right here. First, while it might be true that the Eastern tradition does not countenance original sin as the absence of “original justice” or some such thing, I am having a hard time seeing why Photius (Daniel) disagrees with seeing original sin as an absence of the Holy Spirit. Truth be told, I had (perhaps wrongly) thought that this was at least part of the Eastern understanding. Gregory Palamas seems to suggest something like it when he says, “After the transgression of our ancestors in Paradise . . . we suffer the death of the soul; that is to say, the separation of the soul from God.” Doesn’t separation from God in some sense entail an absence of the Holy Spirit? There is also the further, typically Eastern thought that, after the Fall, humanity “fell sick of corruption” (that’s Cyril of Alexandria), became subject to death, and, as a result, is held under the sway of the devil (until Christ liberates us, anyway). Furthermore, I think there’s some significance to the baptismal rite here: it is preceded by a renunciation of Satan, followed by the triple immersion (i.e., dying and rising again with Christ), and so on, and then only after all this is one chrismated and able to fully receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. None of this implies inherited guilt, of course. So what’s wrong, exactly, with saying that the work of Christ restores our nature and thereby makes us fit to receive the Holy Spirit? I take it that this is at least part of what Jonathan’s been saying.

    If we accept that, I *think* we get to Jonathan’s point (though Jonathan, certainly correct me if I’m wrong). Christ does indeed redeem our natures, deify our humanity, and so on. I think Jonathan’s point is only that this deification of humanity, which certainly confers grace and results in the universal resurrection of all men, needs to be supplemented by a life lived in cooperation with the Holy Spirit if deification is to be personally appropriated. St. Athanasius writes that the Son has given us “the first fruits of the Spirit, so that we may be transformed into sons of God, according to the image of the Son of God.” The “image of the Son of God” *is* the Spirit. Meyendorff concludes from this that “it is . . . only through the Spirit that true life reaches all men . . . [that] a new mankind enters back into divine fellowship” (p. 171). Vladimir Lossky seems to say similar things to what Jonathan is suggesting when he (Lossky) says, as paraphrased and then quoted by Meyendorff in a section on the Holy Spirit and man’s redemption, that “the whole mystery of redemption . . . is both a unification (or ‘recapitulation’) of mankind in the one divine-human hypostasis of Christ, the new Adam, and a mysterious personal encounter between each man and God. The unification of human nature is a free divine gift, but the personal encounter depends upon human freedom: ‘Christ becomes the sole image appropriate to the common nature of humanity. The Holy Spirit grants to each person created in the image of God the possibility of fulfilling the likeness in the common nature'” (p. 172). Finally, Meyendorff goes on to say: “[The Spirit] communicates His uncreated grace to each human person, to each member of the Body of Christ. New humanity is realized in the hypostasis of the Son incarnate, but it receives only the gifts of the Spirit . . . Gregory of Cyprus and Gregory Palamas will insist, in different contexts, that at Pentecost the Apostles received the eternal gifts or ‘energies’ of the Spirit” (p. 173). I could add more, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

    I fear that there’s a big possibility of my naively missing something, but it seems to me that this is more or less what Jonathan’s saying. Jonathan seems to me to have suggested that Christ’s work prepares us to receive the energies of the Spirit. He seems to have allowed that Christ’s work has redeemed fallen humanity, but he also wants to say that personal salvation depends also on the gifts of the Spirit which can be received only because of what Christ has done for us. He seems to be suggesting that, after the Fall and prior to Christ’s work on our behalf, we were not fit to receive the Spirit. Now, of course, we are, and part of our continued divinization is living synergistically with the Spirit’s grace (the energies). I guess at this point I’m not really seeing him saying anything beyond that… And I see all of what he’s saying as things that ought to be acceptable, if I’m understanding correctly. Of course, I don’t in the end see the crucial significance of this to Photius’ quotation which began this whole thread. Granting what’s been said so far, of course, does not imply that Maximus was wrong or that we must become wholesale Augustinians about either sin or grace. But I don’t really think anyone’s suggested that.

    If I’m way off, forgive me. Thoughts, anyway?

    All the best,
    Jason

  41. “It even seems to me (though I could be wrong) perfectly fine, on everyone’s view, to say that the Holy Spirit expands our capacity to participate in the divine energies more fully, as long as this is with regard to our tropos.”

    What is the mechanism? Answer that question, and you’ll dispose of whether the distinctions I raised were “red herrings.” I am arguing that it is not the presence, but the willed action of the Holy Spirit that causes the divine energies to be manifested in ways beyond the limits of human energies. There are separate (resistible) acts of divine will that glorify, even beyond the permeation of the nature with divine energies. The acts of will are according to a divine _taxis_ (they aren’t arbitrary), but they are still voluntary according to providential ordering.

  42. Jason says:

    Jonathan,

    Maybe I’m not understanding, but I’m not sure that there’s as much disagreement here as you may be suggesting. I don’t see any reason, on either account, to deny that there is a “twofold aspect” to salvation, to deny that, in baptism, there are dual roles of water and the Spirit, to deny that there is a distinction in the Resurrection between those who are resurrected in a general sense and those who are glorified, or any such thing, so (though I could be wrong) those things seem to me to be red herrings. Further, from what (I think) I know, Daniel and Perry probably can agree that “there is a difference between the natural participation in the divine energies and the conformation of our own natural image to the very image of God,” as long as “our own natural image” which conforms to the image of God is understood in some sense as our tropos. Indeed, as you seem to suggest, there is a difference between participating in the divine energies according to our logos and in participating in the divine energies according to our logos AND our tropos, but I don’t think anyone denies this. It even seems to me (though I could be wrong) perfectly fine, on everyone’s view, to say that the Holy Spirit expands our capacity to participate in the divine energies more fully, as long as this is with regard to our tropos. Daniel and/or Perry, would you reject that? Jonathan, am I perhaps missing something?

    The only problem, as I see it — and again, I could be mistaken — is your idea of reaching “beyond the finitude of our natures.” My question is, I suppose: reaching beyond to *what*? As a result of what the Incarnate Logos has done through the hypostatic union, the fullness of divinity permeates our natures. Why would we want to reach beyond that? As I ask that question, I can’t help but thinking of the words on the Cross: “It is finished” (though perhaps I’m entirely misappropriating those words). Furthermore, from what I remember (I don’t have any texts in front of me), the Fathers would even say that our human nature, after the Incarnation, is precisely *not* finite; as members of the body of Christ, or, at least as consubstantial with the Incarnate Logos, we are not only deified, we are made, in some sense, eternal and infinite. I believe this language can be found in St. Gregory Palamas among others, though I may be mistaken. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I have a lack of resources at the computer I’m currently at.

    So again, I don’t think the question is one of whether or not the Holy Spirit enables us to act in ways we couldn’t without his working in us. The question is whether or not he adds something to our natures from outside. The issue, I suppose, is that Christ has divinized our natures entirely. The Holy Spirit enables us to appropriate the divine energies, as far as I understand it, by enabling our tropos to accord with our logos, i.e., to accord with the divine energies, with grace. The Holy Spirit is necessary for our personal salvation, certainly. Participating in the divine energies according to our nature alone is certainly distinct from, though not opposed to, participating according to our persons, according to our tropic will. However, I don’t see any of that implying that it must be the case that the Spirit adds something to our nature. As Perry said earlier, the Spirit energizes nature but does not trump it, and as Daniel suggested, nor does it add anything to it from outside. Human nature has been deified. The work of the Spirit seems to be that of divinizing persons, according to their tropos.

    Forgive me if this response has sounded polemical; I haven’t intended for it to, but it seems to me that it might risk coming across that way.

    All the best,
    Jason

  43. I agree with Daniel about what’s going on. Problem is it doesn’t resolve the question. Here’s the problem:
    “It is almost as if its a false dichotomy to oppose participating in the divine energies which permeate our nature to participating synergistically with the person of the Spirit (as I think Jonathan may possibly be doing). Participating in the energies which permeate our nature IS participating in divinity, IS participating in the Spirit, IS participating in the divine life, IS partaking of the divine nature — which, again, is the significance of Daniel’s quote that God is fully present in His energies.”

    It’s not opposition; it’s distinction. The object of participation is the same in all those cases. The mode? I doubt it. That’s why God being fully present in His energies resolves nothing, at least as far as I can tell. I freely concede I might be wrong, but I don’t know how I am wrong if I am.

  44. That’s exactly what’s going on in this discussion.

    Photius

  45. “In the hypostatic union, the Word ‘deified [our nature] with all its characteristics, entirely permeating it through the union and becoming one with (perichoresas) it without confusion . . . rendering it totally capable of acting in a divine way, just as iron is permeated by fire’ (Maximus’ ‘Fourth Opuscule’). I think that language is very significant: humanity was ENTIRELY permeated, and has been rendered TOTALLY capable of acting in a divine way.”

    It’s the difference between being totally CAPABLE of acting in a divine way and ACTING in a divine way. My suspicion is that the capability of doing so is conditioned by theandric action, in exactly the same way that the manifestation of Christ’s own deification was gradual (Lk. 2:52, Jn. 17:19). The Holy Spirit must be present and ACTING for the divinized nature to be actually manifested in a manner beyond created limitations, just as Christ’s own manifestation of His divinized nature required His theandric action.

    Daniel Keating argues that St. Cyril’s replacement of the older term theopoiesis with the Scriptural language “partakers of the divine nature” was simply a shift of convenience or circumstance, but I am not sure that it was not intended to clarify a substantive recognition on Cyril’s part. Based on his exegetical understanding, Cyril was constantly speaking of a twofold aspect to salvation, a somatic and a pneumatic component. Thus, in describing baptism, he speaks of the dual roles of water and the Spirit: water in taking away sins and the Spirit in making us partakers of the divine nature. In the Eucharist, there is a corporeal aspect (the mingling of divinized flesh with our own) and a spiritual aspect. In resurrection, he distinguished the soma psychikon, in which all persons are resurrected, from the soma pneumatikon, the glorified body. The two aspects are coordinate but still distinct and even separable in the case of the Resurrection, and I think that this corresponds to Cyril’s recognition that there is a difference between the natural participation in the divine energies and the conformation of our own natural image to the very image of God (Christ) or the very image of the very image of God (the Spirit). In some respects, this corresponds to the distinction between eternal hypostatic origin and eternal manifestation that we have been discussing; creation ex nihilo in the image of God corresponding to the former, and theandric action (personal communion with God) corresponding to the latter.

    My theory is that the image of God is a finite created capacity to participate in the divine energies (essentially, a finite capacity to align the tropos with the logos) that is expanded outward by theurgic action and through our finite interactions with other logoi. I am thinking of participation as a kind of vantage on the divine, so that we expand in our capacity to manifest/participate in the divine energies by learning from the personal experience of other good perspectives (communicating with one another as logoi) as well as theurgic action (and personal conformity therewith). The concept I have is conforming the tropos to another logos of which we are made aware, in essence reaching personally beyond our own limits and therefore expanding them. The gloss I would give on Maximus’s account of Christ in Gethsemane is that Christ’s human will, made aware of a good beyond that recognizable in His created capacity, was able to tropically align Himself to another logos beyond His (kenotic) created limits. The difference between Christ and ourselves, obviously, is that since His kenosis is willed, He chooses His manifestation of deification, while we are actually limited by the finitude of our experiences.

    Put another way, the gloss that is currently being given is that the Holy Spirit “makes possible” or “enables” or “helps” or “energizes” (in the sense, I gather, of making a mode of willing available). None of those, I think, are true. My gloss is that the Holy Spirit acts, and people respond. Before the Holy Spirit acts, people can no more participate in their own uncreated core outside of their created capacities than they can fly. In other words, the Holy Spirit does not make available a mode of willing; He makes available acts of willing that are capable of expanding our capacity to will tropically. It is not “supernatural” in the sense of coming from somewhere beyond the divine energies that are beyond ourselves, but it is a supernatural (or more accurately, superpersonal) *act* in that it expands our created capacity to participate in the divine energies more fully. In other words, He actually expands our capacity for participating in the divine energies by expanding our personhood (our “imageness” of the divine; our scope of freedom). That’s why “When the Son of Man makes you free, you will be free indeed.” Christian freedom, as opposed to simple tropic free will, is the freedom to reach beyond the finitude of our natures, to actually become less finite.

  46. Jason says:

    If my less-informed comments are totally off-base and/or throw the discussion to the side, do let me know. 🙂

    The way I’m understanding things is this: the human nature of Christ is a completely deified humanity, and, by consubstantiality, our human nature is also deified by virtue of the hypostatic union. In the hypostatic union, the Word “deified [our nature] with all its characteristics, entirely permeating it through the union and becoming one with (perichoresas) it without confusion . . . rendering it totally capable of acting in a divine way, just as iron is permeated by fire” (Maximus’ “Fourth Opuscule”). I think that language is very significant: humanity was ENTIRELY permeated, and has been rendered TOTALLY capable of acting in a divine way. Humanity, having been deified, is permeated by the divine energies. Now, as Daniel has noted, God is present in His entirety in every divine energy. This all, in some sense, brings us back to Perry’s original question: “How can the Spirit’s work get us beyond grace? . . . ISTM that the Spirit’s work is one of energizing nature rather than trumping nature.” The point is that the fullness of grace, by virtue of the hypostatic union, now permeates humanity. God is fully present in each of His energies. So, in some sense, it seems impossible that the Holy Spirit could not already be present in humanity, and this seems to be why Daniel is saying that it’s wrong to think the Holy Spirit is coming “from outside of our nature.” Certainly, the Holy Spirit needs to be present for our salvation. Certainly, His indwelling, as Meyendorff says, “grants to each person created in the image of God the possibility of fulfilling the likeness in the common nature.” The Holy Spirit does indeed enable us to appropriate the grace given to us in the energies through our nature; and this is where the logos/tropos distinction comes in. The Holy Spirit enables us to participate, by our tropos (i.e., mode of willing), in the divine grace which permeates our being (logos). But, even so, He does NOT, as already pointed out, bring grace “from outside our nature.” Our salvation is personally “appropriated,” so to speak, by the Spirit’s help, who allows our tropos to will in accordance with our logos, and thereby appropriate the divine energies permeating our nature. It is almost as if its a false dichotomy to oppose participating in the divine energies which permeate our nature to participating synergistically with the person of the Spirit (as I think Jonathan may possibly be doing). Participating in the energies which permeate our nature IS participating in divinity, IS participating in the Spirit, IS participating in the divine life, IS partaking of the divine nature — which, again, is the significance of Daniel’s quote that God is fully present in His energies. The Spirit certainly helps us to do this, and certainly we cooperate with the person of the Spirit; even so, it’s not as something is going on outside or aside from our nature — which has been deified entirely by Christ, permeated by the fullness of divinity — at all.

    I THINK that’s what’s going on in this discussion. What do you think?

    Jason

  47. “[E]very divine energy properly signifies God ***indivisibly,*** ***wholly*** and ***entirely*** through itself, in each thing according to the logos—whatever it may be—whereby it exists, who is capable of conceiving and of saying exactly how, being wholly and entirely and altogether common to all and yet altogether particularly present in each of these realities.”

  48. “This is the whole point of the logos/tropos distinction! Those who exercise the natural virtues are hypostatically united to the Holy Ghost.”

    No, I think the point of the logos/tropos distinction is to make us ready to partake of the Persons of the Trinity, but I have doubts that it actually counts as participating in the Persons of the Trinity. IOW, I don’t think that the transcendent presence of the divine in the created is identical with the indwelling of the Spirit. I suspect the latter is what is meant by being made “partakers of the divine nature” and “sons by adoption.”

    I don’t think the distinction is simply one of created and uncreate; I think it’s also a question of divine by nature and divine by participation. It is only by participating in synergistic action with a *person* who is divine by nature that we become partakers of the divine nature. You seem to equate participating in the uncreate core of humanity with participating in the Spirit, and I don’t believe that equation is warranted. I also don’t see how we can take for granted that the natural mode of participation translates to the personal mode of participation (hypostatic union with the Spirit and with Christ). The latter appears to be a separate synergistic act, related to acting in conformity with virtue but not identical with it. So while the divine nature is not something alien to us, the divine Persons are clearly Persons other than us Who work with and in us, and by that working, our own nature is transfigured beyond its finite imagic quality.

  49. Jason,

    I don’t see how Jonathan’s statements are really relevant to my post here. This is the whole point of the logos/tropos distinction! Those who exercise the natural virtues are hypostatically united to the Holy Ghost. What Jonathan seems to be thinking is that the giving of the Holy Ghost is something coming from outside of our nature, where in my thinking, it doesn’t. I just don’t see what he is doing touches my argument against Augustinian views of grace.

    Photius

  50. Jason says:

    Okay, wait… I’m not as theologically-informed as the rest of you, that’s for sure, but, Perry and Daniel, isn’t what Jonathan’s saying pretty much identical to the Eastern understanding of things, maybe excepting notions like originally offending divine justice and not being juridically justified to receive the Spirit? It seems to me, particularly on reading Meyendorff’s chapter on the Holy Spirit in his “Byzantine Theology,” that the stuff he’s saying about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit increasing our capacity to partake of the divine energies which permeate our nature is right out of Byzantine thought. Or am I wrong somewhere?

    Meyendorff says stuff like the following (where the quotes are from Lossky):

    “The unification of human nature is a free divine gift, but the personal encounter depends upon human freedom: ‘Christ becomes the sole image appropriate to the common nature of humanity. The Holy Spirit grants to each person created in the image of God the possibility of fulfilling the likeness in the common nature. The one lends His hypostasis to the nature, the other gives His divinity to the persons.'”

    In another place:

    “Salvation is understood essentially in terms of participation in and communion with the deified humanity of the incarnate Logos, the New Adam. When the Fathers call the Spirit ‘the image of the Son,’ they imply that He is the main agent which makes this communion a reality.”

    What I’m getting from this is that man is redeemed freely by Christ by virtue of the fact that he is consubstantial with him according to the human nature; the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given personally to the believer and then enable him to participate more fully in the divine energies which permeate his now-redeemed humanity. Is this not correct, and is this not — leaving aside the judicial metaphors for the moment — what you’re saying, Jonathan, or have I missed something?

  51. Jason says:

    Photius,

    Actually, the copy I cited from is one that I’ve “obtained” only temporarily — that is, I’ve also only been able to get it through the university library. Having been afflicted by “poor graduate student” syndrome, that tends to be where I get most of the books I read lately. Sorry; I wish I could help you beyond that! Best of luck finding your own copy.

    Jason

  52. Jason,

    I’ve learned that you have obtained a copy of Haugh’s book. Where?? I’ve read it, but only through checking it out at the university library. It would be a nice addition to my own library.

    Photius

  53. Jason says:

    Charlie,

    Two cautionary words.

    First, you cannot take the Second Council of Constantinople absolutely literally when it says “in every way;” if so, you will have to follow John Chrysostom in believing that Mary committed a sin, and I don’t think you, as a Catholic, will want to do that. But then it may be that, if “in every way” is not completely literal, then the Orthodox cannot be required to whole-heartedly embrace Augustine, either. So the argument already perhaps carries less force than it originally seemed.

    Second, you have to put all of this in its proper historical context. If you read what the Second Council of Constantinople says about Augustine, you will find the following:

    “Moreover, several letters of Augustine of sacred memory, who was particularly outstanding among the African bishops, were read in which he indicates that it is correct to condemn heretics even after their death. Other most reverend bishops of Africa have also observed this church custom; moreover the holy church of Rome has issued anathemas against certain bishops even after they were dead, although they had not been accused on matters of faith while they were alive; the acts of our deliberations bear witness to both these cases.” (emphasis added)

    You can see from this that the purpose for citing Augustine was simply that of proving that it was legitimate for a council to condemn heretics even after their death. That was the content of his letters with which the council ended up agreeing. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense, as the very intent of Constantinople II was to attempt to bring the monophysites back into Orthodoxy by posthumously condemning certain problematic works written by people who had died in communion with the Church.

    Don’t just take it from me, take it from Professor Richard Haugh:

    “From a strictly historical perspective it must be stated that the majority of the Fathers of the Fifth Ecumenical Council were not even acquainted with the works of Augustine. There was only one aspect of the thought of Augustine which interested Emperor Justinian (527-565) . . . [He then goes on to say much of what I just said, and then] . . . An African priest by the name of Mocianus provided Justinian with texts from the works of Augustine which stated that the Church had the power to excommunicate a heretic posthumously . . . It was this aspect of Augustine’s thought which became useful to Justinian and the decree of the Fifth Ecumenical Council acknowledges its debt to Augustine in this regard” (Photius and the Carolingians, p. 77).

    Anyway, there you go.

    All the best,
    Jason

  54. Perry Robinson says:

    Charlie,

    How exactly does one harmonize Maximus with Augustine on the doctrine of God? And where exactly have Catholics done this?

    Furthermore those statements were made in ignorance of MOST of Augustine’s writings, specifically his full work on the Trinity. So I follow Augustine in everything that the council knew about.

  55. Charlie says:

    *correction- please add “with suspicion” to the last sentence of the second paragraph. ^

  56. Charlie says:

    Thank you for reminding me why I am a Catholic again.

    The Second Council of Constantinople declared that we are to follow the holy Fathers “in every way”- and it names Athanasius, Hilary, Basil, Gregory the Theologian, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose, Theophilus, John Chrysostom, Cyril, *Augustine*, Proclus, and Leo.

    Modern Orthodox writers, however, have declared a war on Augustine (and practically the entire Western theological tradition). Instead of harmonizing the Fathers, as Catholics have done, Orthodox are looking on the Western fathers (in the Middle Ages, I believe, some polemicists went to say that the Latin fathers were *heretics*).

    It saddens me greatly to see this.

  57. It’s not begging the question; I honestly don’t know why you don’t draw a distinction between natural salvation and the presence/absence of the Holy Spirit. In terms of a metaphysical quality inhering in a subject, I’ll freely concede that “original justice” and “original sin” doesn’t make sense. But in terms of personal relationship, I think that it does. If the fittingness of the Spirit being enthroned in humanity is not only a matter of nature but also a matter of real legal relationship, then the Western dogma of original sin is not meaningless. The metaphysical tendency is to dismiss relationships as “not real,” but in terms of concrete personal reality, there is hardly anything that is more real. Surely, there must be a difference between partaking of the divine nature and being indwelt by a divine person?

  58. Jonathan,

    You’re still defending original sin as original justice or absence of the Holy Spirit. That begs the questions since you are presupposing a position that Perry and I deny.

    Photius

  59. It’s not a question of the indwelling being beyond grace; it’s a question of the mode of participation in grace. In effect, the Spirit’s work of sanctification appears to increase our capacity to partake of the divine energies, in principle without limit. He polishes the image of God, to use a metaphor that the Fathers seemed to prefer. This didn’t occur to me until I read Keating’s book on the appropriation of divine life in Cyril, but once I started thinking about the significance according to the Fathers of the work of the Spirit in conjunction with the imago Dei, other pieces fell into place. It’s working with the Spirit that incorporates one into the Trintarian life. The Spirit doesn’t *trump* nature; human nature is designed to serve as a throne for the Spirit and to be incorporated into the Trinitarian life (that’s what the imago Dei is), so that is a natural mode of life for human beings. All things participate in divinity to some extent, but only humans are in the image of God in the sense of being able to relate personally to the Spirit, to share in the Trinitarian life.

    The restoration of nature (and its limitations of mortality and corruption being crucified and defeated by the Resurrection) obviously has significance, but ultimately, it does not accomplish its aim apart from the indwelling of the Spirit. That’s why the relational talk of sacrifice, offering, ransom, and the like figures so largely in the Bible; the Passion and Crucifixion (the kenotic sacrifice) re-establishes the relational ground for reunion with God (Rom 5:17-19) just as the Resurrection establishes the natural ground. That’s also why “from His side salvation flowed;” the Resurrection was inevitable by then because the hypostatic union was preserved through Christ’s death (death was trapped), and the relational atonement was also complete (acquittal and life came for all men, Rom. 5:18, so that the wedge Adam drove between man and the Holy Spirit was removed). At a personal level, Christ was already the pattern for the Holy Spirit’s return to man, because the Spirit was His own (John 17:17-19 “… for their sake I consecrate myself…”), but the free offering on the Cross corrected the judicial (relational) standing of the rest of humanity vis-a-vis the Holy Spirit, Whom we had grieved in Adam (driving out “original grace”). It wouldn’t have been “just” for the Holy Spirit to indwell those who had offended divine justice.

    The consequence of the fall was that the human soul was no longer “fit” for an intimate relation with the Spirit, for both natural and contingent (relational) reasons. The personal realization of the restoration of the nature is in engaging in a personal (moral/ethical) relationship with the Spirit. That’s not to say that the natural aspect is solely Christ’s while the personal aspect is solely the Spirit’s. Baptism is baptism into Christ’s death; feeding on the Eucharist is receiving Life from the life-giving flesh of Christ; it’s always a question of living with the Trinity. But the point is that personal salvation involves an actual participation in the Trinitarian life; the purely natural aspects of salvation don’t cut it, both because of our own personal sins/guilt and because of the need for a new personal mode of life in relationship with the Spirit.

    That’s what Western theology is fundamentally about: focusing on the relational absence of the Holy Spirit. The various attempts to couch it as a metaphysical entity never quite worked, leading to the misidentification of the personal Spirit with Love itself (between the Father and the Son) and good will itself (hence, the concept of “sanctifying grace” as habit), although the account of “fittingness” in Anselm and Scotus came quite close. The Eastern critique of the Western pneumatology is right in that it won’t do to identify the Spirit with the relationship itself. But the counter-critique of the West has validity too; it won’t do to couch salvation solely in terms of the personal realization of one’s own nature absent these judicial/relational factors. That fails to account for the double aspects of the fall: corruption of nature AND driving out the Holy Spirit.

    I think I’m on to something here. Maybe not though. Critique away.

  60. Perry Robinson says:

    Jonathan,

    How can the Spirit’s work get us beyond grace? Moreover, what is the role of the crucifixion here? ISTM that the Spirit’s work is one of energizing nature rather than trumping nature.

  61. I’ve got no beef with participating in virtue in our created capacity, but doesn’t the coming of the Spirit after Christ inaugurate a whole new ball game? ISTM that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is far beyond even the access we have to virtue naturally. The mode of participation seems to be drastically different, even if the object of participation is not.

%d bloggers like this: