Essence and Energies in the Fathers

“Is it not ridiculous to say that the creative power is an essence, and similarly, that providence is an essence, and foreknowledge, simply taking every energy as essence?” Basil the Great, Contra Eunomius, I.8, PG 29, 528B

“The energies are various, and the essence simple, but we say that we know our God from His energies, but do not undertake to approach near to His essence.  His energies come down to us, but His essence remains beyond our reach.” Basil the Great, Epistle 234

“And if we may reckon that the Cause of our existence did not come to the creation of man out of necessity but by benevolent choice, once more we say that we have seen God in this way too, arriving at an understanding of his goodness, not of his being…He who is by nature invisible becomes visible in his operations, being seen in certain cases by the properties he possesses.” Gregory of Nyssa, Homily on the Beatitudes, VI.

“Essence and energy are not identical.” Cyril of Alexandria Thesaurus 18, PG 75:312c

“The man divinized by grace will be everything that God is, apart from identity of essence.” Maximus the Confessor Ad Thalassium 22, PG 90:320a

“But He Who is beyond every name is not identical with what He is named; for the essence and energy of God are not identical.” Gregory Palamas Triads, p. 97

“Nor does indeed everything predicated of him denote the substance, for relation is predicated of him, which is relative and refers to relationships with another but is not indicative of substance. Such also is the divine energy in God, for it is neither substance nor accident, even though it is called a quasi-accident by some theologians who are indicating solely that it is in God but is not the substance.” Gregory Palamas Capita 127

“God also possess that which is not substance. Yet it is not the case that because it is not a substance it is an accident. For that which not only does not pass away but also admits or effects no increase or diminution whatever cold not possibly be numbered among accidents. Gregory Palamas Capita 135,

“Nature and energy are not identical.” Gregory Palamas Capita 143

Advertisements

41 Responses to Essence and Energies in the Fathers

  1. David Richards says:

    Dudes, what is with the flower petals? Try putting up some cool icons. 😀

  2. David,

    Doods, think about it.

  3. Death Bredon says:

    “The man divinized by grace will be everything that God is, apart from identity of essence.” Maximus the Confessor Ad Thalassium 22, PG 90:320a

    Bingo — union without absorption.

  4. “According to the divine Maximus, the Logos of well-being, by grace is present unto the worthy, bearing God, Who is by nature above all beginning and end, Who makes those who by nature have a beginning and an end become by grace without beginning and without end, because the Great Paul also, no longer living the life in time, but the divine and eternal life of the indwelling Logos, became by grace without beginning and without end; and Melchisedek had neither beginning of days, nor end of life, not because of his created nature, according to which he began and ceased to exist, but because of the divine and uncreated and eternal grace which is above all nature and time, being from the eternal God. Paul, therefore, was created only as long as he lived the life created from non-being by the command of God. But when he no longer lived this life, but that which is present by the indwelling of God, he became uncreated by grace, as did also Melchisedek and everyone who comes to possess the Logos of God, alone living and acting within himself.” [St. Gregory Palamas, “Third Letter to Akindynos”]

  5. Elliot B says:

    For all, that I may continue to fill in my ignorance:

    1) Is the complaint that, if the Son and the Father generate the Holy Spirit, then why doesn’t the Spirit generate anyone in turn?

    2) What do you see as the link between between the immanent and economic Trinity, viz., do you agree with Rahner that the two are the same?

    3) Is it the proper prerogative of the Son to be incarnate for the mission of theosis?

    4) Do you consider the hypostatic primacy of the Father qua arche to be incompatible (mutally exclusive) with His ontic primacy as ipsum esse subsistens?

    5) Does/Did the human nature of Jesus participate in the divine essence?

    5a) Did the person (hypostasis) Jesus participate in the divine essence?

    6) Are the energies essential to God or only due to His relation with creation and humans?

    6a) Does God necessarily possess the attributes disclosed by His energies?

    Thank you!

  6. Elliot,

    1. That is one complaint.
    2. Define how you are using economic and immanent. I can’t agree with Rahner because Rahner’s insistence on identity presupposes ADS, which I reject.
    3. It is God’s will always to will his incarnation.
    4. I can’t consider the Father as arche incompatible with God being ipsum esse subsistens since I don’t think God is esse in any sense whatsoever ad intra.
    5. No. Why ask me this question. Haven’t you read the Fathers on the hypostatic union?
    5a. This depends on what you mean by participate. Participate is a platonic term that usually picks out a causal relation of dependence. The answer is no since the Son is not caused by the essence. If by participate you mean in a rough way just to say that he fully shares the same essence with the Father and the Life Giving Spirit, then yes.
    6. Depends on what you mean by essential. Are they the essence? No. Are they acts of the divine persons using the divine power or potentia? Yes. ConsequentlyGod is just logically prior to creation.
    6a. God is ad intra beyond necessity and contigency since those categories apply to being and God is not being in any sense whatsoever. Some of God’s acts have no begining and no end, some have a begining and no end, some have no begining and an end.

  7. Elliot B says:

    PERRY: 1. That is one complaint.

    EB: OK.

    PERRY: 2. Define how you are using economic and immanent. I can’t agree with Rahner because Rahner’s insistence on identity presupposes ADS, which I reject.

    EB: The immanent Trinity is ad intra. The economic is ad extra (viz., of Revelation).

    PERRY: 3. It is God’s will always to will his incarnation.

    EB: So this is to say the Father always wills to incarnate the generate Son? Is the Son’s incarnation, that is, coextensive in the Father’s will with His generation? This is what I am getting at by the immanent Trinity. Since I believe the energies are actual an Eastern way of saying “God-as-we-know-Him-in-Christ (and not elsewise)”, I see the key to theosis more in our union with Christ as a fellow human, as the one mediator and perfect image and eternal Son, than in our energetic immersion in the energies of God, somehow considered in themselves as free-roaming actions of the persons.

    PERRY: 4. I can’t consider the Father as arche incompatible with God being ipsum esse subsistens since I don’t think God is esse in any sense whatsoever ad intra.

    EB: Have you read LeGuillou’s “The Mystery of the Father”?

    PERRY: 5. No. Why ask me this question. Haven’t you read the Fathers on the hypostatic union? & 5a. This depends on what you mean by participate. Participate is a platonic term that usually picks out a causal relation of dependence. The answer is no since the Son is not caused by the essence. If by participate you mean in a rough way just to say that he fully shares the same essence with the Father and the Life Giving Spirit, then yes.

    EB: 5. Just being thorough. Did Jesus the man, in other words, know the divine essence? When He said to be the only one who knows the Father, how deep does this truth go, in your mind? Did Jesus the man know His own essence as the divine Logos? 5a. I mean the latter. So, then, does the Son, as a human person, fully share (in) the divine essence?

    PERRY: 6. Depends on what you mean by essential. Are they the essence? No. Are they acts of the divine persons using the divine power or potentia? Yes. Consequently, God is just logically prior to creation. & 6a. God is ad intra beyond necessity and contigency since those categories apply to being and God is not being in any sense whatsoever. Some of God’s acts have no begining and no end, some have a begining and no end, some have no begining and an end.

    EB: I ask 6 and 6a because, in knowing that the divine essence is to manifest the persons via the energies, we eo ipso know the divine essence. The very act of describing (if not dogmatizing) the divine essence as essentially energetic counts as unqualified knowledge of the essence; it is intellective participation. If God has ever existed without His energies, then they are not essential to His divinity. If He has never and can never exist without them, they are essential to His divinity. Also, if the energies are essentially what the persons can potentiate, then the persons are ipso facto bound by and united in the essential “structure” of divine potentia.

    Thanks.

  8. EB,

    Christ is not a “human person”; instead, He is a divine person who has assumed human nature. Many of your questions (particularly those in no. 5) sound Nestorian.

  9. Elliot B says:

    STK:

    I guess that is to be expected; I am divine-simplicity man, after all. Yuk yuk yuk.

    What I am trying to get at is how Christ can be a theandric person is the -andric part gets short shrift, and, in turn, the human nature by which we are joined to in the Holy Spirit also seems to be left dangling.

    Thanks.

  10. Elliot,

    The Son is eternally begotten of the Father. As for your second question I’d say no because I think all persons will the incarnation of the Son and the Son isn’t related to the Father in his generation by will. There is no intermediating relation of being between the Father and the Son, which is why they are of the same essence.

    Your gloss on the energies is not correct since the energies surpass what we have access to in either natural or special revelation. I don’t separate the humanity of Christ and the divine energies so that our theosis is firmly planted in the incarnating work of Christ. As I have repeatedly said, the energies are not emanations. They are not impersonal metaphysical budding of an essence. They are acts of the divine persons. Immortality, simplicity, etc. are energies of the Trinity. It would help if you went and read some material on this and spent some time with this rather than pelting me with questions I have already addressed with you specifically.

    No, I have not read the author you mention, but then again, I haven’t read everything. Do you have a point to make regarding it?

    5. As for thoroughness, do you suppose that I do not adhere to the Fathers on the hypostatic union? There is no “Jesus the man” There is the divine person who is incarnated as man. Does Jesus via his human intellect grasp the divine essence? No, because the human intellect can only grasp things that be and the divine essence does not be in any way or sense. But Jesus has two intellects. The Son is not a human person, to think so is inverted Apollinarianism or Nestorianism. You should read some Cyril. The Scholastics themsevles condemn such ways of speaking.

    6. To argue from the energies back to the essences along epistemic lines is not only denied by the Fathers but doesn’t logically follow. A psychologist can know all of my behaviors and still fail to know me and this is why Skinner’s Behaviorism lasted all of a whopping five years in the philosophical community. The energies do not exhaust the essence so it is not possible to work back epistemically from one to the other. Secondly, the energies be and the essence does not which is another reason why one cannot work back from one to the other.

    I never said that the essence was essentially energetic. What I made clear is that the divine power or potentiality is brought to act by the divine persons. I haven’t given any philosophical content to the word “essence” and in fact denied that any can in fact be given for the simple reason that God ad intra is not being so there is no possible philosophical definition. The divine essence is beyond the event horizon of reason. Lastly, perhaps you feel comfortable explicitly contradicting the teaching of the Fathers but I do not. It seems you have different teachers than they.

    Some energies of God are eternal-omnipotence, omniscient, immortality, justice and some are not qua energies. But qua potentiality God always has such powers. God has the power to create even when he is not doing so. Consequently, I think God actually rests on the 7th day of creation. So, your argument doesn’t follow. If I do not choose to move my arm it doesn’t follow that the motion of my arm is not a power that I have by virtue of being human. Your view leaves no room for personhood and agency. The energies are not a limit on divinity and to speak of God “bound” in that way borders on blasphemy. Following Athanasius, God is in no way circumscribed by necessity of any kind. The energies are not therefore a limit on what God can do, they are only in fact what God has done. Here it is clear you wish to treat God at bottom like a thing to be analyzed rather than persons to love. And by love I mean to exclude any Eudaimonianism.

  11. Nyssa’s homilies on Ecclesiastes — especially homilies six and seven — are worth reading in connection with the topics raised in this thread

  12. Elliot B says:

    I hope it suffices to say, thank you for your careful feedback on all this, and various bibliographic leads. For personal reasons I need to take a moratorium from (on?) blogging for a while, so in that while I will continue to read ad et ab fontes.

    As for Le Guillou, I think you would find interesting his exposition of the irreducibility in God of both his hypostatic and intellective existence. I think the book is only in French, German and Spanish (und zufällig unter anderen Sprachen), so I dont know if you can have a crack at it now.

    I do not “wish” to treat God in any such way, but thank you for the shot across the bow as a pastoral red flag. What I wish to do is work these concepts in my hands so I may understand this debate. I think largely in metaphors so I need to treat things from different angles, less axiomatically, more synthetically. God is not an object of anlysis, but He has freely disclosed Himself into our anlytically divisable world, which entails we aproach by those devices and then, if I dare invoke that name here, in a Wittgensteinian way, kick the ladder out from beneath us to find God beyond reason, beyond being, beyond knowledge, beyond categories, etc. But this ascent is always shot through with our own mode of appropriation of God’s glory. It is only in Christ that we can find this appropriation, in the “antechamber” of His human nature.

    As for the point about a shrink knowing your actions but not you, I guess that is one of the hard spots for me in this discussion. On the one hand I hear we truly “know God” in His energies, that He is fully present to us in them. On the other hand, I hear we actually dont know Him in them. This strikes me once more as an anthropocentric problem, not an actual complexity in God. The reason I can allow for personhood in a simpole God is because He is what we are not: a simple being. His simplicity is precisely what is meant by His being “beyond being”; His “energies” all coalesce in one triune pure act of benign will.

    As for God not “being” in any sense, I grasp that He is not among the class of beings, nor even under the roof of analytically coherent being, but I would invert the way of saying it; being is not in the class of divine existence, not even above the threshold of true being, God. There should be some way of explaining how Jesus is homoOUSIOS with a God utterly devoid of ousia. For me the difference is analogy. For you, I guess it”s energies.

    You shouldn’t feel a need to reply to me. I mean, I alwzys appreciate the feedback here, but I certainly owe it to myself and you to do more reading on paper, so these blog threads are ultimately more kata forms than real training for me. I dont mean that snootily at all, Im just saying, you need to sleep as much as you can. It would be better if we could drink beer over this (or should that be discuss this over beer!). As for pastoral housekeeping here, however, whisk away. Thanks. God bless.

  13. As I understand it, by experiencing God’s energies a man does come “know” Him (i.e., personally), but he does not know His essence, because His essence is beyond comprehension. Here is what St. Basil says on the subject:

    “Do you know Timothy? Oh, if you know Timothy you know his nature. Since you have acknowledged that you know Timothy, give me an account of Timothy’s nature. Yes; but I at the same time both know and do not know Timothy, though not in the same way and in the same degree. It is not that I do not know in the same way in which I do know; but I know in one way and am ignorant in one way. I know him according to his form and other properties; but I am ignorant of his essence. Indeed, in this way too, I both know, and am ignorant of, myself. I know indeed who I am, but, so far as I am ignorant of my essence I do not know myself.”

  14. Anon,

    Why? This is a Christian blog.

    Photios

  15. Anon, aka Michael Vasquez,

    Your comment has been deleted and you are now no longer permitted to post here at all. I have attempted to warn you over the last few weeks form making personal attacks and just plain rude comments.In our email exchanges I tried to call you to a more civil conversation repeatedly but you only answered with further personal insults and attacks. I attempted to weed out the more insulting comments in the last few weeks but you seem unable to control yourself and funnel your energies into a civil dialog.

  16. Euthymios says:

    Morey is not a recognized Orthodox scholar. He has no business even talking on this subject. Evangelical Boola Boola Bible College graduates are not scholars.

    Jaroslav Pelikan, on the other hand received 42 honorary doctorates in addition to his academic one, was recognized by President Bill Clinton and the Library of Congress for his scholarly work, and received the John Kluge award (the Noble Prize for the humanities). Pelikan converted to Orthodoxy from Lutheranism in 1998. He died in 2006. Pelikan was considered the greatest expert on Christian history in modern times.

    Georges Florvsky of Princeton wrote a book proving Sola Scriptura is ludicrous and was unknown in the ancient Church. “Bible, Church and Tradition.” Read it.

  17. What does St. Basil mean when he states that the essence is “simple?” Is he simply asserting the full divinity of the energies, the unity of the Trinity or something else?

  18. Euthymios,

    Who is not a recognized Orthodox scholar you say?

    Photios

  19. Daniel,

    He is talking about this thread http://biblicalthought.com/blog/the-book-on-eastern-orthodoxy-is-here/.

    Bob Morey is a Reformed Baptist. he has a new little book out attacking Orthodoxy. Right now I am working on a review of all of the major Protestant books out on Orthodoxy for the blog (Payton, Fairbain, Letham and Morey) and Morey’s is included.
    More is in So Cal and when I was back home for Christmass he has an apologetic class in the evenings that I went to. It sems that Fr. Josiah, a former Calvinist and a friend of mine, over at St. Andrew’s in Riverside has picked off some of his members.

    So he wrote this book. I read the book already. It is so absolutely horrible in so many ways. Spelling, grammar, citations, misquotes, false attributions and logical fallacies beyond measure. Euthymios (from this sunday?) must have followed my name link over here from that thread. In any case, thats whats up.

  20. Reformed Mama says:

    Hi Perry,

    Just so we’re clear, Josiah did not “pick off” some of Dr. Bob’s members. If you are speaking of my family, they were never reformed, don’t care for Dr. Bob and certainly were not members at FCC. As far as I know Dr. Bob doesn’t know anyone at St. Andrew.

    Looking forward to the review though…

  21. Reformed Mama,

    Just to be clear, I know something you don’t. 😉

  22. Euthymios says:

    Morey is not a theological or historical scholar. Don’t listen to him people. No Orthodox scholar takes him seriously.

  23. Gina says:

    Perry, no offense but why are you even dignifying such a fundamentalist rag as this book apparently is?

    I’m glad at least the reviewer gave Protestant converts credit for “reading a lot.” I do gaze at my cereal labels on certain caffeine-challenged mornings…

  24. Gina,

    Lots of reasons. Persuasion is about credibility just as much as it is about having a good argument. If people over there run into a credible apologetic from an Orthodox view, that will nix the effect of the book for them to some degree. My comments will stay up there and serve as a counter argument for a long time. Also it gives me an chance to place some mental time bombs in the mind of Morey’s toadies, just like I do with JW’s. If he lies there, what else is he lying about?

    For many people to move spiritually and grow in their understanding, it often takes exposure to a credible and different way of looking at things. Someone did that for me and I suspect that is so for lots of other people too. So, those are some of my reasons. I have a responsibility to help other people rather than sit on my lamp. 🙂

  25. trvalentine says:

    Perry wrote:

    Right now I am working on a review of all of the major Protestant books out on Orthodoxy for the blog (Payton, Fairbain, Letham and Morey) and Morey’s is included.

    Perry, having just finished Payton’s book, I’m very curious as to what you think of it.

    Thomas

  26. jacob says:

    trvalentine:

    As a newbie Orthodox I liked Payton’s book and would put it on my short list of books to give to Protestants curious about, or even hostile towards, Orthodoxy. IIRC, he doesn’t say anything negative about Orthodoxy; rather, he explains (for several beliefs/practices) where and why Orthodoxy differs from Protestantism, and goes on to say what Protestants can learn from Orthodox Christians about these things. Unlike some other books by Evangelical Protestants, he doesn’t go into what he thinks Orthodox Christians need to learn from Protestants. My only complaint with the book is that I wish he had discussed more things than he does.

    I don’t have Perry’s theological and historical knowledge and understanding, so if Payton erred in some of what he wrote, I probably wouldn’t have recognized it. I, too, want to read Perry’s appraisal.

  27. Matt Boulter says:

    Are you familiar with Rowan Williams’ view of essence / energies in Palamas? In an article from the 1970’s, he is highly critical of this, arguing that the reliance upon, ultimately Proclus, is bad. But I have heard that he has changed his views of this. Might you be able to point me in the right direction?

    Nice blog!

    Peace

    Matt

  28. Matt,

    Yes I am familiar with William’s take. I tihnk he is wrong. His criticism, like that of others before him, seems to turn on thinking that the energies are cut off from the essence and somehow free standing. I think that is wrong. I think that there is plenty of material in the Triads, the Capita and elsewhere in Palamas that contradicts it, explicitly. I also think such a view can’t be attributed to Plotinus who is explicit on this point. If you haven’t read Barnes and Bradshaw;s work on this I’d recommend it.

    After looking at your blog, it seems we have common interests. We are very much here interested in divine simplicity, Trinitarianism, and Christology. You can take a look at https://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/2005/01/17/perrys-logical-argument/

    That post pretty much started it all. I look forward to your participation here. Thanks for dropping by.

  29. Andrew Nova says:

    I attend Saint Andrews in Riverside and trust me when I say that good old Dr. Bob isn’t the only place we are “picking off” Protestants from.

    It’s not a game to us, its all about the souls of our fellows. I just firmly believe people are starting to wake up and think about what it is they believe in. For me, it took a hard look at my lack of knowledge. I had to listen to what people like Perry and others say, do the research, and then adjust my beliefs accordingly.

    The longer I am Orthodox, the more I firmly believe that Orthodoxy leans on the side of intellectualism. The only reason I say that is because that most of the reactions to Orthodoxy seem emotionally charged these days, rather than intellectual enquiry. As a former “fundy”, it’s obvious to me that Protestants are no longer on the top of the food chain and they don’t like it. As an example…

    I just heard about an incident at Biola University, where an over zealous Orthodox catechumen had told a fellow student (Protestant) that they were in danger of hell. I admit that the catechumen shouldn’t have made such a comment. Orthodox, by design, never judges the state of a soul except our own.

    Nonetheless, the irony is killing me. Protestants, as a whole, have been telling every other religion, sect, and even rivaling denominations; they are going to hell since the 1600’s. Now it’s unfair and offensive to hear from the Orthodox.

    Get over it and do your home work.

    Perry… please get a hold of me when you have time. Great work here. Thank you.

  30. Anthony James Puccetti says:

    The idea that the essence of God is unknowable and incommunicable is a legacy of Greek philosophy. Neo-Platonic philosophy insisted upon the complete transcendence of God,and Aristotle said that eternity cannot communicate with history. But the Jewish and Christian scriptures show a God makes himself known as a person and who personally abides within men.

    John 15,4-5:
    “Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.
    I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”

    Even if Basil was right to say that we cannot approach the divine essence,that says nothing about whether the divine essence may approach us. Is God to be considered limited in his ability to communicate himself to his creatures?

  31. Fr. John says:

    “PERRY: 3. It is God’s will always to will his incarnation.”

    Does that Divine Will then include the election of One Race, One Ethnos, to be forever hypostatically joined to the Divine Second Person of the Trinity, as the ‘mediator of a New Covenant’? I’d like to hear about that idea…..

  32. photios says:

    I believe Perry’s point there Father is that the Incarnation is first in the order of decree rather than Creation. In other words, the Incarnation isn’t a response to the Fall. Creation, rather, serves the purposes of God becoming Incarnate.

  33. Fr. John says:

    Dear Photios:

    I agree. “Before the Foundation of the World’ etc. But the point I was trying to make still stands.
    If, in the counsels of all Eternity, IF it is God’s will to always will His own Incarnation, (as would seem logical, based on St. Paul’s statement) then, as as Archbishop Puhalo notes, [Puhalo, Mystery of Gender and Human Sexuality.] this election has about it an aura of ‘racial consanguinity,’ for

    “..[N]either the Old Covenant nor the New Testament were ‘legal agreements,’ rather they were spousal relationships. This was the great error into which the Old Israel fell, and which the prophets warned them about. Israel did not recognize and receive the Christ because He came to her as a heavenly bridegroom seeking his bride. Israel, conceiving the covenant as a ‘legal contract,’ anticipated a stern earthly ruler, come to enforce a violated treaty and establish his will be military and political means. It is for this same reason that Western Christianity fell into an idolatrous concept of atonement.” [And eventually into unitarian and universalist modalities, in both her Protestant, and Roman ‘Catholi-schism’ wings.)

    Again, Puhalo: ” It is important for us to realize this fact: the Old Covenant was and the New Testament is, a spousal relationship. Only with this realization can we understand the nature of human gender as prophecy and revelation…”.

    IF this is the case, then could one also state that, as the OT laws that were given prohibited race-mixing among the ‘chosen people’ and the ‘nations round about her,’ [false incarnational theology] Christ Himself also would not ‘fornicate with a whore’ [mamzer] or a people not His own, [Matt. 1:21] as Bridegroom of the New Covenant- i.e., High Priest of the Eucharistic Assembly? [i.e., True Incarnational Theology]

    Does the Incarnation, therefore, have about it, “the election of One Race, One Ethnos,[One BRIDE?] to be forever hypostatically joined to the Divine Second Person of the Trinity as the Godhead chose His own form, as the ‘mediator of a New Covenant’? I’d like to hear about that idea…..”

  34. photios says:

    I don’t know how to answer that. It might have something to do with the genetic manipulation that has gone on in the Ancient world, in which the Israelites were forbidden to mix race, and as this relates to traducianism, that the body and soul (as natural to man) are inherited from the parents. Couple this idea with God using the OT law as a moral cultivator to cull out a blood line for the Incarnation and you might be able to piece something together. I’m afraid that Dr. Farrell is the only person capable of dealing with these kinds of complex questions.

  35. James,

    It is true that the idea of the divine essence being incomprehensible is found in Platonism, but so is the idea of an eternal Logos and lots of other ideas. It doesn’t follow that the Fathers took these ideas over carte blanch.

    Secondly, the idea that the divine essence is unknowable would only imply that eternity could not communicate with history if we assumed that God was only a simple essence, but that is explicitly denied by us. In fact, it is your view which denies that God has any real relations with the world in denying that God is the formal cause of creation and creatures.

    Third, John 15 offers you no helps since Jesus doesn’t speak of being in or remaining in the divine essence but rather in union with the divine power since the power of life flows through the vine to the branches.

    Fourth, even if Basil is right to say? Last I checked Basil was not only a saint but a doctor of the church and not a few other doctors say the same thing. This is not his private opinion of the matter.

  36. Fr. John says:

    “Couple this idea with God using the OT law as a moral cultivator to cull out a blood line for the Incarnation and you might be able to piece something together. I’m afraid that Dr. Farrell is the only person capable of dealing with these kinds of complex questions.”

    Well, no, not necessarily the ONLY person. I have written on this, but dasn’t mention it, as I wanted a better mind than mine to speak to this, especially in the era of the multiculturalism heresy, as adjunct to the Pan-heresy of Ecumenism…..

  37. Euthymios says:

    I have problems with some of the teachings of Gregory Palamas I am in good company with the Bishops,theologians, and monks of the 14th century who decried Palamas as a heretical innovator in doctrine. You might think about the patriarch of Constantinople John Kalekas excommunicating Palamas in 1344 for disobedience to patriarchal authority with the patriarchs Ignatius of Antioch and Gerasimos of Jerusalem joining in the excommunication. A major Greek Orthodox theologian, Panayotis Trembelas, some years ago wrote two articles rejecting the Palamite teaching concerning the essence and energies of God.
    Only God is uncreated. If there are other uncreated energies in God, then there are multiple Gods.

    God is essence

    God is energy

    Essence is not energy

    Conclusion: there are two God’s involved here.

  38. Euthymios,

    If Palamas is an innovator then so is Maximus, Cyril and Basil.

    Certainly the ecclesiastical censures are just as politically motivated as some of the backers of Palamas were. In any case, those censures were removed by the church and so the question is do you abide by the judgment of the church or not?

    Secondly, I don’t know if you read these comments somewhere else or this is you. (http://www.euphrosynoscafe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=45856&highlight=#45856)
    In any case, If you think that the authors you cite have good arguments, then summarize them for us. Just noting that someone possibly wrote something to the contrary doesn’t advance a position.

    Third, let’s model your argument on something else.

    Fire is essence

    Fire is energy

    Essence is not energy

    Conclusion there are two different things called Fire.

    That seems absurd. Energies or activities are not “cut off” from their source. This is a common point between Platonism and the Fathers and was especially crucial in arguing against the Arians since they took energies to be extrinsically related to essences while the Cappadocians took them to be intrinsic to them, which peritted them to consistently hold to the full divinity of Jesus.

    Fourth, the charge of jditheism seems recycled from the Catholic Martin Jugie. Jugie was a first rate scholar of the Catholic church and I think his arguments are very bad ones and I havewn’t found any better ones out there. So, I am not moved by the charge of ditheism.

  39. Euthymios says:

    The main problem I have with Saint Gregory is that he attributes parts in God; energy and essence. He makes a distinction. Anything with parts is complex. Anything complex is finite. I believe the energy/essence distinction violates God’s absolute simplicity.

  40. Euthymios says:

    And how do we know which councils are authoritative and reflect the mind of God? Saint Gregory was comdenned and the vindicated. This also shows that Orthodox councils can make mistakes. The reason is because they have no head and no authority like they do in the west.

  41. Even on a Platonic reading of energies, they aren’t”parts.” So I see no reason to think they amount to such for Palamas. You’d need to give an argument that they do form his own writings.

    Distinction doesn’t of itself imply composition and complexity and composition aren’t necessarily semantically co-extensive. And I don’t know why Palamas can’t simply reject the premise that anything plural is finite. Why think that? Is the Trinity genuinely plural? Is it finite? QED.

    I also believe that the biblical teaching violates ADS, which is why I am not Catholic or Protestant. If you wish to be so, then go be that.

    Regional councils have a limited scope of authority until lifted higher by general councils. Councils can also be revoked as they were in the case of Photios. No one denies that local councils can be fallible so nothing of interest follows form that. On the contrary, general councils show that the “head” in the west made mistakes where an ecumenical council rightly excommunicated Pope Vigilius until he changed his mind.

    And having a single head doesn’t imply that the head is infallible, it just limits error to the top. As the old Italian saying goes, the fish stinks from the head.

%d bloggers like this: