Eternity, time and change

Some think that when it comes to religious world views that anything goes and that such views are beyond reasoned discussion. This is not the case and one task of theology is to demonstrate what is a sound understanding of God, or existence in general, and what is not.

It is the aim of this post to demonstrate that what is eternal cannot be subject to change. This is in answer to LDS believers and others who conceive of God, or gods, as subject to change, time and even parts and yet being eternal. This conception will be shown to be unsound theologically and in error. It will be argued that it is impossible for such a concept to be actual and belief in such a concept, while one is free to believe it, is not belief of the truth.

Time cannot exist without change and at a basic understanding of time that does not measure but simply refers to before and after, change cannot exist without time. One cannot define change without having a state before the change, initial state, and a different state after the change. If there is not an initial state then we cannot have an after state, so there is no change. If change is infinite in duration in the past then there is no beginning and so no initial state. Without an initial state we cannot define any subsequent state and hence we cannot have change. So, the premise that change is infinite in duration in the past is self contradictory. Hence, what is of infinite duration in the past does not change and change must be finite because it must have a beginning.

Thus, change, and with it time, must have a beginning and what is infinite in duration in the past cannot be something subject to time and change. Further, we cannot have something of infinite duration in the past because that is defined in terms of time and hence change. We can only have something that exists before time began and that something cannot be defined or conceived in terms of time or change. Eternal is not the equivalent to infinite duration in time because it also speaks of existence beyond time and beginning.

Any concept of anything, including a god, that permits change must be a concept of something that has a beginning that is comes into existence out of non-existence because it cannot be eternally existing before time. This is the chief problem with a concept of existence that limits existence to the changing material universe because such an existence must have a beginning, evidence supports that this is the case, and such a universe must come from non-existence by itself. Yet, this is impossible because what does not exist cannot bring itself to existence without already existing to do so. Even to argue it was random presupposes the existence of randomness as an eternally existing something but randomness only has meaning with change and so only begins to exist with change and time. Thus, the only coherent understanding of existence must include the existence of something not subject to time or change that is able to create the existence of things that change without itself changing.

Theology comes into its own to set some boundaries as to what this something is and properly excludes as unsound ideas of that something that are in any way defined in terms of change or time, such as LDS or pagan Greek concepts of gods.

These arguments are better made by others but posted here to challenge thinking on some basics of theology that are largely assumed by the Fathers and much thelogical discussion.

47 Responses to Eternity, time and change

  1. Robert says:

    Fr Maximus,

    Neither.

    Movement, change, transition, “frozen”, simultaneous et al, these are all concepts denoting time and space, neither of which apply to God in Himself. These are concepts we use out of our necessity.

    After V Lossky (not Kant), I would call this an antinomy.

  2. Fr. Maximus says:

    Robert,

    Yes, but ad intra, does the transition from potentiality to actuality represent a change or movement?

  3. Robert says:

    To be clear, I must hasten to add to the above that His essence (in contrast to His energies) is indivisible, inaccessible, imparticipable, unknowable and unchangeable.

  4. Robert says:

    Fr. Maximus

    Indeed, thus the question arises how the understanding of created vs uncreated energies has bearing on this subject.

    If, following the Fathers, we can understand eternity as the simultaneous presence of all time and reality, perhaps then we can say that God through His energies is in and outside of time. That which is uncreated is in creation – simultaneously in and out of time. The potentiality, transition and actuality then are likewise in and outside of time. If we identify essence with energy we can make no such distinction, as we are left with created within creation.

    But we hold rather that God Himself interacts with and within creation through His uncreated energies in which He is indivisibly divided. Likewise, through His uncreated energies He is unchangeably changed.

  5. Fr. Maximus says:

    Let’s reformulate this in terms of a comparison. We all agree that God does not change in any way at all with respect to His essence, but in what sense, if any, does He change or move with respect to His energies? If we take the standard Latin view based on the identification of essence and energy, God is absolutely immutable – he only seems to change or move in that He causes different effects to happen at different times within creation. But from God’s point of view, he has not moved at all with respect to creation, since God is outside of time. Now, suppose that God’s energies are distinct from His essence. One may still hold practically the same view as this, since the transition from potentiality to actuality in God’s energies only occurs with respect to those who are inside time. But with respect to God ad intra, there is no real transition from potentiality to actuality: what He does, He does. Now on the one hand, it is difficult to conceive of any transition from potentiality to actuality apart from a temporal framework. On the other hand, the second view outlined above seems to differ hardly from the first, and it seems to make God frozen in His acts, such that His acts are eternally and irrevocably defined… which is not so far from identifying the essence and energies, or at least allowing only a formal distinction.

    How do we solve this? It seems to me that part of the answer at least lies in determining how God interacts with time, and what eternity means for God.

  6. ZSDP says:

    I’m a little too frustrated by this conversation at present to say anything more than the following:

    I’m not sure I’ve understood Perry to have “dealt with” anything I’ve written. In fact, I understood him to be vaguely supportive on at least one point—namely, when he wrote “that God is activity in some sense, otherwise the energies are not deity.” He certainly hasn’t yet contradicted me, though I would like to be clear that I don’t think his silence is akin to endorsement of anything I’ve written.

    Only one thing in this quickly-disintegrating conversation still interests me—the notion, put forth by ioannis and yourself, of . . . well, I don’t know what to call it just yet. You write:

    “The argument would be, in line with Ioannis, that the beginning or end of certain divine energies is only in terms of how these energies are manifested in terms of Creation, such as the energy of creating, which begins with creation and does not operate as such eternally, otherwise creation would also be eternal.”

    What could this possibly mean, then? How can potential (e.g. the power of creating) be actualized eternally without its activity (e.g. the activity of creating) being manifest (e.g. as a Creation)? You speak of an act-without-act! My mind is quite literally boggled.

  7. Sorry for the very slow response to the questions raised but unfortunately my Internet access is rather restricted.

    MG
    You correctly represented me.

    ZSDP
    Please provide a example where we have change without time being in any way applicable or have time without some form of change. What you have stated in response hasn’t convinced me that the two are not linked. There is one case of having an expression of time that does not involve change is in the concept of now but otherwise please describe a change that temporal terms cannot be applied to it and an understanding of time, apart from now or its equivalent, that does not involve some form of change.

    The use of “subject to” time or change was deliberate in that the argument was to show those concepts of God that define God in terms of time or change are invalid. This does not mean that God cannot create time and begin an energy, or operation, as long as such a creation and beginning of the energy or operation is not necessitated of God but something done of His free will. Thus time or change is not something that he is subjected to by necessity or definition.

    I would argue that, even taking into account the energies and with the examples of Palamas, God does not change or is permitted to change on this account that is God does not differ by these examples but remains the same. The argument would be, in line with Ioannis, that the beginning or end of certain divine energies is only in terms of how these energies are manifested in terms of Creation, such as the energy of creating, which begins with creation and does not operate as such eternally, otherwise creation would also be eternal. Does this mean that God has a new uncreated energy (or better operation) that he did not have before? If so where could it come from? All existence is rooted in God, nothing exists of its own self apart from God, all the logoi of created things are found in the Logos. So, the meaning of beginning an energy or operation cannot be of a new energy or operation added to God that he didn’t already have, thus changing Him, but the exercise of the energy (or operation) that was not exercised previously but existing in potential. Even this may be problematic and I could argue that such operations or energies that begin do so in terms of their particular operation on creation, which is in a sense a sub-category of an eternal operation or energy in the life of the Trinity. Unlike humanity, God doesn’t change when he acts.

    Perry and Ioannis have dealt with many of the other points.

  8. ZSDP says:

    . . . seriously? Forget it, then. I give up.

  9. Robert says:

    Zach,

    Sorry, I don’t understand your question.

  10. Robert says:

    Perry,

    I do not think (and have not thought that) we disagree on this point.

    Paragraphs 127 ff.

  11. Robert,

    Here is what I am thinking. What is an accident philosophically speaking? Does Palamas say the energies are accidents like my hair color are accidents? Does he use the term in a qualified or unqualified way, with the latter indicating a more classical philosophical sense? That is, of Aristotle’s nine categories of accidents, which do the energies fall under? When I denied that the energies are accidents, I meant the latter notion. If you meant the latter then I can’t see how that citation supports that claim. If the former then we don’t disagree, but then its rather empty. So the “facts” as we have them is that Palamas endorses that the energies can be said to be accidents only in a qualified way. Consequently, Palamas still denies that they are accidents in the classical sense.

    Did you have a page number for the reference?

  12. Robert says:

    Call it what you like Perry but it doesn’t change the facts of the matter. 🙂

    St. Palamas is not alone among the Fathers to say the same.

    Topics of Natural and Theological Science.

  13. Robert,

    That is hardly an unqualified gloss of an energy as an accident. Second, what is the textual location where this is found?

  14. Robert says:

    “One may if one wishes say that it is in a certain way an accident, since it is not an essence” – St Palamas

  15. ioannis says:

    Happy new year everyone!

    @Don Bradley

    And what would an LDS believer answer if we were to claim that the hypostasis of Logos, in becoming compound, did not change, because He remained the Son of God, but it was the assumed human nature that change by virtue of its union with the divine nature in His hypostasis?

    “But observe that although we hold that the natures of the Lord permeate one another, yet we know that the permeation springs from the divine nature. For it is that that penetrates and permeates all things, as it wills, while nothing penetrates it: and it is it, too, that imparts to the flesh its own peculiar glories, while abiding itself impossible and without participation in the affections of the flesh. For if the sun imparts to us his energies and yet does not participate in ours, how much the rather must this be true of the Creator and Lord of the Sun.”
    John Damascene

  16. ZSDP says:

    “I see former Protestants holding on to old ways of thinking.”

    And another attempt at character assassination accompanies the latest evidence of a lack of understanding. Robert, what’s the deal?

  17. Robert,

    That is fine but that is not what an antinomy is. Actually from my reading of the Triads and the Capita, Palamas denies that they are accidents. It is one of his arguments against Barlaam that his metaphysics has nothing in between accident and essence.

  18. Robert says:

    Perry,

    I was referring in general to that which seems to be contradictory – but isn’t.

    To be more precise St. Gregory, along with the Fathers, refers to energies as both accidents and not.

    re: the absolute I was merely pointing out the distinction between essence and energy.

  19. Don Bradley says:

    “….but the logos of human nature, that is, its essence is not created, but uncreated….”

    Please elaborate.

  20. Robert,

    Why think that the Trinity is an antinomy? Antinomies are opposing arguments that can both be shown to be valid and sound. The world has a beginning and the world doesn’t have a beginning, indicating that the noumenal world is metaphysically indeterminate. So I think you mean something else by an antinomy of reason apart from experience as Kant employed them.

    Second, not all the energies have a beginning or an end. God never ceases from goods because he never began them. Further, Palamas among others denies that the energies are accidents, they are not accidents nor substances. Further, it doesn’t follow that a move from 2nd potentiality to first actuality implies a change in the energy qua energy. The divine essence is without necessity and contingency because it is beyond being.

    If God’s essence alone were absolute not only would it be being, but it leaves the divine persons in an odd situation. When you say that human nature is created, this is true in so far as the members of the set are created, but the logos of human nature, that is, its essence is not created, but uncreated, which is why creation is of grace.

  21. Robert says:

    Perry,

    Yes, in “some sense”.

  22. Robert says:

    Ioannis,

    Show me an antinomy that is not problematic and I will explain the Trinity to you. 🙂

    The uncreated energies are often referred to as God’s creative activities. They begin and end (cf Gen. 2:2 for instance). In this fashion the energies can be understood to be accident, subject to change. The same can never be said about God’s essence, His nature; as in His essence He is without change, without beginning, without end. He is without necessity and contingency.

    God’s essence alone is absolute. Our essence is a creation of God’s uncreated creative energies; therefore any parallels to be found have their limitations as the two are distinct categories of being and should not be confused.

  23. Robert,

    ISTM that we had better say that God is activity in some sense, otherwise the energies are not deity. God is both being (energy) and not being (essence).

  24. Don

    Change may be said in many ways. Which kind of change did you have in mind? In order for it to be problematic at the hypostatic level it needs to be a certain kind of change. Just using the term “change” therefore doesn’t show that this is problematic.

    The fact that specialized categories aren’t big deals to LDS theology can be explained in lots of ways. First that it is a fairly recent religion and has previously tended to be anti-intellectual. Second, the context in which it grew wasn’t one in which it was forced to deal with the best thought of the day. More to the point, the LDS use some of these concepts even if they don’t admit as much or spell them out precisely.

    Its not very hard to know that the LDS are heterodox. Often the LDS complain that Christians seek to arbitrarily reserve the term “Christian” to themselves. While its not arbitrary given the historical usage, I am not clear on why the LDS get to employ such terms legitimately in the first place.

    I would think that the Bible “produces” divine persons and seems to limit it to three. As for the argument you give, its not an argument but a statement. So I think you need to construct an argument here. We would need a premise or a further argument that the Father as recipient of divinity is problematic. I don’t know why the LDS can’t simply balk at this like the pagans of old which say the gods coming out of the sea or some other pre-historical ooze.

  25. Don Bradley says:

    ioannis says;

    “According to Chalcedon Christ is confessed to be in two natures without confusion or change.”

    The natures may not change, but the Person of Christ did change. He didn’t have a human nature prior to the incarnation, now He has one, forever. That is change. The categories of essence, person, nature, energies aren’t big deals to the LDS; a person conversing with LDS must establish each methodically to even begin a debate with them. The quick route is what I call the “usuck” method of debate…. rushing from one’s objection of another person’s thinking to the pronouncement that they are a heretic as quickly as possible so the former person can beat their chest and talk about how wonderfully intelligent and godly they are.

    “I think that the Orthodox theology does preclude the existence of a 4th person in the Godhead as it was made clear during the filioque controversy.”

    If I was LDS I wouldn’t accept that at face value. I would say the Orthodox conveniently produce divine Persons to fill in theological gaps. The Orthodox, in turn, should hammer the LDS with the argument that in LDS theology the Father is not the source of divinity but merely a recipient of divinity. IMHO that is the weakness of LDS theology.

  26. ioannis says:

    @Don Bradley

    According to Chalcedon Christ is confessed to be in two natures without confusion or change.

    I think that the Orthodox theology does preclude the existence of a 4th person in the Godhead as it was made clear during the filioque controversy.

    @Robert

    I find somewhat problematic the idea that in saying that God is unchangable we mean it only in terms of His essence. Do the hypostases of the Trinity change then?
    More important, does our essence change? It is said that in partaking of the divine energy man can become everything that God is apart from His essence. If our essence does not change, why don’t we say that we are unchangable as well?

    Just my thoughts.

  27. Robert says:

    MG

    My point is that the “assumptions of Christianity” are not at all credible – rather they are “foolishness to the Greek” to use NT parlance.

    I am uncomfortable to count myself among the Fathers. They were affirmed by the Church to be Theologians, Illuminated, Light Bearers and Martyrs by reason of the witness of their lives – not merely by what they wrote or said.

    I see former Protestants holding on to old ways of thinking.

  28. MG says:

    Robert–

    Does the fact that some teaching is revealed imply that there are no persuasive arguments for its assumptions (perhaps even arguments that can sometimes convince people that initially do not accept its assumptions)? At least part of the reason I am not Protestant is because I ceased to believe Protestants were part of the Church–something I had to be persuaded of. Plenty of people in the past have been persuaded to change their perspective partially based off of the fact that they came to think the evidence weighted in favor of some other perspective. I’m not saying reason is pure and perfect, that no one comes to a philosophical pursuit of truth without biases, or that everyone will be convinced by arguments. At the same time, I don’t see why the fact that Christianity is revelation makes a discussion of the credibility of its assumptions unhelpful in attempting to persuade people to change their minds. So I guess I’m wondering what you think it is that implies it is futile to try and persuade LDS of the Orthodox view of God.

    Also, don’t we have numerous examples of the Fathers trying to give arguments for why the assumptions of Orthodox theology should be accepted instead of Judaism, Paganism, or heretical theology?

  29. Robert says:

    To clarify I should add to the above that the uncreated energies do indeed begin and stop, but this is not to say that God changes. He is not energy.

  30. Robert says:

    Zach, MG et al

    I am not intending to be mean spirited here, but I am persuaded of the futility of trying convince LDS to become Orthodox by means of discussing worldviews. The Christian Faith is not philosophy, it is revealed.

    As to the issue of change: One must maintain a clear distinction between essence and energies and in no way confuse the two (as Don’s comment makes clear). One must also define what is meant by change vis a vis uncreated energies before anything meaningful can be said about this: St Gregory makes it clear that the energies are not essence, and thus the energies can be considered accident (as His essence is changeless), but yet he also states that they do not introduce composition or change. Without going in detail here, the meaning of change as understood in relation to God’s uncreated energies is thereby qualified. In that the energies are both energized and energize they are said to be uncreated.

  31. Don Bradley says:

    As long as I’m on a roll….

    Isn’t your Orthodox conception of Trinity itself a changing deity? You can say there are hints of Trinity in the Old Testament, but nothing blatantly obvious. It took until His baptism for it to be revealed, in your theology. Doesn’t it ever strike you how creation-centered the Son and the Holy Spirit are in your thinking? The Son redeems fallen creation, and the Holy Spirit acts upon it with divine energies, but that only serves to make the point that the whole reason the other Persons exist is in response to fallen creation. As well, your theology does not preclude the hypothetical existence of a yet unrevealed 4th person in the Godhead of your theology. Wouldn’t it be fair to say, on this point, that your Godhead eternally generates divine Persons as needed to cope with the relationship He has with humans? There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of difference between divine energies coming from God, and the begottenness of the Son and the procession of the Spirit coming from the Father as source, other than the labels you have attached to each to account for the Father’s relationship to His creation.

  32. Don Bradley says:

    If I were LDS and arguing on this point of change, I would present this:

    There is a point of change in God in Orthodox theology; the incarnation. The triune Deity of the Orthodox had no human nature prior to the incarnation. Sure, you say He retains His divine nature in the hypostatic union, but He recieved another nature nonetheless that He did not have before and He will retain forever, and that represents a change in Him on some level. You say we can now touch Him, see Him, etc. in the incarnation; isn’t that a change? Right now there is a Man, in your theology, that has an entirely human nature that now sits in heaven, body and soul, as God Almighty. If that isn’t change, then what is? There was no Man prior to the incarnation in heaven as God, yet now there is. Why are your changes to a divine Person OK, yet ours are not OK when we speak of divinty exerting changes on persons, be it the Son or any other person? Better said: You have the person of Christ changing in the incarnation, while we have divinity exerting changes on persons which in no way means that divinity itself has changed.

    I’m Orthodox, just presenting a possible objection. My apologies if I have misrepresented the LDS position.

  33. ioannis says:

    Nor do I recall such a statement but in the Triads, in the chapter about the holy light, he refers to that uncreated light (which is the energy of God) that the Saints partake of as unchangable.

  34. ZSDP says:

    ioannis –

    While I do recall Palamas’s insistence that the divine energies are uncreated, I don’t remember him saying that nothing uncreated can change. Would you mind digging up a citation so I can look at that? I’m not sure I’d be able to competently answer your points until then.

    Thanks much.

  35. ioannis says:

    @ZSDP

    It is my pleasure to discuss with you because you raised an interesting and difficult issue and although I think that I understand your point and it seems valid to me when I see it from your own point of view I will try to challenge it.

    I do not think that Palamas would agree with your assumptions because, as he insisted, the energies of God are uncreated and nothing uncreated, I think, can be subject to change. If he speaks about their beginning and their end he does so in regard to their works and not in regard to their existence. In other words, how does the fact that there is nothing left to be foreknown affect and change the foreknowing power of God?

    Who changes the energies of God? God? The energies of God are means through which He makes and changes things. If He changes them there must be another means through which He changes them. Which is that?

    Can the various uncreated properties of God change? Can He become more wise or less wise, more good or less powerful than He is, as it happens with us? If yes then He is not perfect and there must be another God who is trully perfect God. If the properties of God do not change then the energies of God remain unchangable since they are properties of God.

    Another word for change is passion. Monkpatrick does not use accidentally, in my opinion, the expression “subject to change” implying that there must be someone active who acts upon that passive someone who undergoes a certain change. However, who can act upon God and change Him? How can the energies of God be passive? If they can be passive why are they called energies and actions?

    Does that make sense at all?

    PS: How did God change in making the world?

  36. ZSDP says:

    ioannis –

    FIrst of all, thanks for actually engaging with my comment.

    It seems to me, however, that your questions all assume that change requires that a thing become other than it currently is. A particle’s acceleration from rest to movement is a change in state, but it is not at all a change in that particle’s nature. To make the example more clearly analogous, you might say that the particle is exhibiting different energies.

    This leads me to a nice clarification about the assumptions undergirding my original comment. I do not at all think that there is any change in God as pertains to “the divine essence”. However, Palamas says, in addition to those things I mentioned above, that God is fully in each of His energies. Since these change, it seems to me that there is change in God as pertains to the divine energies.

    But to answer your questions more succinctly:
    Yes.
    No.
    Neither.

  37. ioannis says:

    @ZSDP

    Did God change when He started realising His creative energy and creating?
    Did He became something else from what He always is?
    Did He stop being God or did He start being God at that certain moment?

  38. ZSDP says:

    And now, I’d really love to see some responses to my original comment, as I am very much interested in discussing the post.

  39. ZSDP says:

    After a few minutes of searching, I just found the comment you mentioned:

    “It is my experience that young men interested in theology and such have plenty [pride] to go around.”

    It’s kind of, uh, unkind of you to imply that I’m being prideful, especially since I went out of my way to be polite to monkpatrick. My one sarcastic comment was mostly a complaint about how blatantly unhelpful (not to mention unclear) your first comment was. I merely intended to seek clarification and perhaps to dialogue about what I took to be a problem in the post. If that’s too arrogant for you, then I don’t know what to do. Perhaps you shouldn’t read anything else that I write.

    As far as I’m concerned—and I think MG and Georgios can confirm this—I have been extremely polite and reasonable in this exchange, especially when compared to my usually sardonic manner.

  40. Robert says:

    Something Perry wrote almost 5 years ago about “young men interested in theology” and such:

    https://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/2005/01/15/on-my-intentions/#comments

  41. Georgios says:

    Robert –

    I think I speak for both myself and ZSDP when I say that I really have no idea what you’re talking about. Can you be clearer in what you mean, please?

  42. Robert says:

    Reacting to “persuasions and arguments”. Nothing personal intended.

  43. MG says:

    Robert–

    Monkpatrick wrote the following:

    “It is the aim of this post to demonstrate that what is eternal cannot be subject to change. This is in answer to LDS believers and others who conceive of God, or gods, as subject to change, time and even parts and yet being eternal. This conception will be shown to be unsound theologically and in error. It will be argued that it is impossible for such a concept to be actual and belief in such a concept, while one is free to believe it, is not belief of the truth.”

    This sounds like a set-up for an argument that is intended to persuade people that do not already agree with all the presuppositions of Orthodox theology to accept one of the teachings of Orthodox theology (that God is atemporal). Monkpatrick seems to be appealing to an accepted standard that an LDS should be convinced by.

    I hope I’m not misinterpreting Monkpatrick, but it sure seems like he’s not trying to just state the teachings of the Church:

    “Theology comes into its own to set some boundaries as to what this something is and properly excludes as unsound ideas of that something that are in any way defined in terms of change or time, such as LDS or pagan Greek concepts of gods.

    These arguments are better made by others but posted here to challenge thinking on some basics of theology that are largely assumed by the Fathers and much thelogical discussion.”

    He says that he is trying to persuade people to accept what is *assumed* by theology. Divine timelessness is assumed by the Church, and some people might be persuaded by certain arguments for it based on a more limited number of shared assumptions between an Orthodox and a non-Orthodox. This looks like an attempt to persuade people that non-timeless views of deity are unacceptable.

    As far as I can tell, he is trying to show that there is a contradiction in the way LDS think about God. He seems to be appealing to (allegedly) shared intuitions about time and change to do this–not appealing to those presuppositions of Orthodox theology that an LDS wouldn’t yet accept. Appealing to the authority of the Church’s teaching as a reason for accepting the Church’s teaching wouldn’t be persuasive to an LDS, after all.

    Because Monkpatrick is not assuming the complete truth of Orthodoxy, and is appealing to intuitions about metaphysics that may be had by those outside the faith, and is not merely being a theologian (experiencing God in prayer) or giving an explanation of theology (talking about the experience of God), I think ZSDP’s points stand. As a matter of fact, I know ZSDP and he is very much aware of the fact that the teachings of Christ are not philosophy (even if some of them can be referred to with philosophical vocabulary, or illustrated using philosophical concepts).

    It looks like Monkpatrick’s arguments are philosophical insofar as philosophy is a standard that he is appealing to (without identifying it with theology, or otherwise assuming the authority of philosophy). This looks like the same kind of apologetic we find in so many early Fathers, and I don’t think they were saying the Christian faith is philosophy. And insofar as the argument of Monkpatrick is philosophical, a philosophical criticism by ZSDP seems apt.

    Monkpatrick–

    If I have in any way failed to represent your intent, or otherwise distorted what you were doing, I apologize and would like to be corrected.

  44. ZSDP says:

    Mmm, very helpful. Thanks for clearing that up.

  45. Robert says:

    ZSDP, the Christian Faith is not philosophy. Indeed you have misunderstood.

  46. ZSDP says:

    Forgive me, but I am a bit confused. In the Triads, St. Gregory Palamas describes some of the divine energies in terms of change. He says, for instance, that some of God’s energies began prior to creation and will end (or have ended), that some have not yet begun, that others always were and always will be, etc. If God is not in any way subject to change because change implies time, what do we do with Palamas’s examples of changes in the divine energies?

    Personally, I find your equation of time with change unconvincing and problematic, and I would probably attempt to solve the problem by jettisoning that. But perhaps I have simply misunderstood you or Palamas.

    Also, in what way is “God” the same as “existence in general”?

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