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Author Topic: Essence/Energies of God IS God  (Read 3312 times) Average Rating: 0
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StGeorge
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« on: October 15, 2007, 01:51:41 PM »

I've recently heard of a difference between OO and EO on the distinction between Essence and Energies of God.  Supposedly, while the EO equate essence and energies with God Himself, the OO do not make this identification but only speak of the essence and energies OF God. 

How do the EO defend the belief that the Essence and Energies OF God are not simply categories or properties of God but are God himself?

Thanks!
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2007, 10:19:33 PM »

I've recently heard of a difference between OO and EO on the distinction between Essence and Energies of God.  Supposedly, while the EO equate essence and energies with God Himself, the OO do not make this identification but only speak of the essence and energies OF God. 

How do the EO defend the belief that the Essence and Energies OF God are not simply categories or properties of God but are God himself?

Thanks!



I don't think it's safe to say that energies of god are god himself.

Saint Gregory the Theologian gives us his own definition. They are subtle philosophical meanings.

He says that “essence” is that which is self-subsistent inside every single thing. It is that thing, which one can refer to uniquely, with regard to its own, unique existence.  God’s essence can be understood in this sense, regarding His uniqueness. That is what is meant by “that which is self-subsistent in every single thing”.

 “energy” is “that which is perceivable in other things”  it is something that is understood and is found inside something else. 
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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2007, 10:34:35 PM »

Quote
I don't think it's safe to say that energies of god are god himself.

Saint Gregory the Theologian gives us his own definition. They are subtle philosophical meanings.

He says that “essence” is that which is self-subsistent inside every single thing. It is that thing, which one can refer to uniquely, with regard to its own, unique existence.  God’s essence can be understood in this sense, regarding His uniqueness. That is what is meant by “that which is self-subsistent in every single thing”.

 “energy” is “that which is perceivable in other things”  it is something that is understood and is found inside something else. 

Thanks for the quote and info.  An Eastern Catholic (Coptic) poster at another site claimed that the Eastern Orthodox have developed from the belief that the Essence and Energies are OF God to the belief that the Essence and Energies IS God.  I know that the Eastern Orthodox speak of uncreated grace--God as Grace--and I thought it might have some bearing on the question of essence and energies. 

if the energies are uncreated, does that mean they are an uncreated "something" that is not God?  Ok, hope that wasn't too rationalistic sounding.  Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2007, 12:18:33 AM »

“energy” is “that which is perceivable in other things”  it is something that is understood and is found inside something else. 
I'm not really fluent in this distinction between Essence and Energies, but I am of the impression that the Orthodox understanding is that the Energies of God are indeed God as He is perceived and known through His creation.
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« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2007, 12:47:43 AM »

I read this from another forum by a Coptic priest who got this quote from a book on the Holy Spirit by St. Cyril:

Quote
Cyril – That which engraves in us the divine image and imprints there the transcendent beauty like with a stamp, isn’t that the Spirit?
Hemias – But not as a God, they say, as a minister of grace.
Cyril – Is it not Him Himself who marks us, consequently, it is the grace through Him?
Hermias – Apparently
Cyril – But if the grace given by the Spirit is something separate from its substance, why didn’t the blessed Moses clearly say that after having brought the living being into existence, the Craftsman of the universe had afterwards breathed into him a grace, the one which was given through the breath of life? Why didn’t Christ, on his part, say to us: Receive a grace, the one which was given by the ministry of the Holy Spirit? But in the first case, they call this one “breath of life”. It is that the nature of the divinity is true life, since it is true that in it we have life, movement and being. In the second case it is called “Holy Spirit” by the voice of the Savior, which in truth introduces and makes the Spirit dwell in the souls of the believers.

I thought this was quite helpful.

God bless.
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2007, 07:27:58 AM »

Ultimately, these terms are used to describe both the transcendence and immanence of God. 

Essence of God = transcendence, because we cannot truly (completely) know God in his Essence.

Energies = immanence of God, we know God through his energies (i.e. Creation was an Energy of God). 

So in this context the energies must BE God as well because if we KNOW God through his energies, then His energies must be completely Him, in order to know him fully (or to any extent for that matter). 

Is this helpful?  Or confusing? 
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« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2007, 10:02:45 AM »

I'm not really fluent in this distinction between Essence and Energies, but I am of the impression that the Orthodox understanding is that the Energies of God are indeed God as He is perceived and known through His creation.

Cor 1-13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

These are the energies of God as St. Paul suggests.  There must first be in a relationship to encounter his energies. I don't understand what you mean by known through his creation. If you mean that we learn these thing through others than I agree.
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« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2007, 11:58:42 PM »

Cor 1-13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

These are the energies of God as St. Paul suggests.  There must first be in a relationship to encounter his energies. I don't understand what you mean by known through his creation. If you mean that we learn these thing through others than I agree.
Whose interpretation of the Essence/Energies distinction are we discussing here?  That of Demetrios G., or that of St. Gregory Palamas and the Orthodox Church?   It's nice to know the conditions by which you judge the teachings of the Fathers agreeable to your tastes, but I think that largely irrelevant to this discussion.

IOW, how is the conclusion of 1 Corinthians 13 a statement on the theology of God's Energies?
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2007, 06:06:09 AM »

Cor 1-13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

These are the energies of God as St. Paul suggests.  There must first be in a relationship to encounter his energies. I don't understand what you mean by known through his creation. If you mean that we learn these thing through others than I agree.

If you were asking regarding my comments, then I would answer that the creation was an act of the energies of God (love being one of them as well).  It is out of God's love that he created the world, humanity, etc.  Also, we can find God in the creation, just as we can find Him in His energies.  So, it would follow logically that creation is an energy of God (so to say). 
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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2007, 06:57:50 AM »

I've recently heard of a difference between OO and EO on the distinction between Essence and Energies of God.

I fail to see how any real comparison/contrast can be made given that the OO Church has no official/conciliar rulings on these matters. As far as I'm aware, our understanding of the energies/essence distinction has not been, precisely because there has been no need for it to have been, refined beyond the Cappadocian conception of it.

Keep in mind that any given particular explication, clarification, or refinement of certain doctrinal principles does not take place in a vacuum, but rather in specific response to imminent problems that seriously threaten the integrity of the Church. I should stress that it is furthermore only (ideally speaking) in such contexts that the explication, clarification or refinement of doctrinal principles takes place; otherwise, flexibility is preferred. It is simply the case that there appears to have been no period in the history of the OO Church which manifested any sort of need to speak dogmatically on these mysteries (though I would suggest that, particularly in the wake of the recent controversies concerning various prominent contemporary figures of the Coptic Church, it is now the time for the Church to pursue such a process of explication, clarification and refinement, beginning with a consideration of the patristic commentaries and theological works of the late Indian Orthodox Bishop, Paulos Mar Gregorios).
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2007, 09:49:45 AM »

Whose interpretation of the Essence/Energies distinction are we discussing here?  That of Demetrios G., or that of St. Gregory Palamas and the Orthodox Church?   It's nice to know the conditions by which you judge the teachings of the Fathers agreeable to your tastes, but I think that largely irrelevant to this discussion.

IOW, how is the conclusion of 1 Corinthians 13 a statement on the theology of God's Energies?

Most of the fathers philosophical interpretations can confuse a simple subject. The energies of god are Love, faith and hope. They have broken it down to it's core through philosophy. It's very easy to get confused as to what they are trying to explain.
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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2007, 03:30:05 PM »

 I found a perfect analogy. God bless the person that thought of it.

God's essence is like fire, which in and of itself, produces heat-energy.(In this case LOVE) Man is like a iron bar, which when placed in the fire, takes on its likeness. Thus, when the bar is sufficiently heated, it can transmit the energy of the fire so that what touches the bar is also heated and may even combust. However, by its nature, i.e., without the fire, the iron bar is cold and inert.
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2007, 01:20:28 AM »

Most of the fathers philosophical interpretations can confuse a simple subject.
And we often do a very good job of making overly simplistic the incomprehensible mysteries of Faith.

Quote
The energies of god are Love, faith and hope.
Again, where do you get this interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13?
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« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2007, 08:43:01 AM »

And we often do a very good job of making overly simplistic the incomprehensible mysteries of Faith.


If faith wasn't simple who would be saved than? I'll presume you mean that only intellectuals can. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2007, 08:54:15 AM »

Most of the fathers philosophical interpretations can confuse a simple subject. The energies of god are Love, faith and hope. They have broken it down to it's core through philosophy. It's very easy to get confused as to what they are trying to explain.

It is our responsibility to learn about them, to incorporate them into our lives, and to simplify them only through understanding and praxis.

And we often do a very good job of making overly simplistic the incomprehensible mysteries of Faith.
Again, where do you get this interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13?

And that's one of the times when we make the mistake of boxing-in God.

If faith wasn't simple who would be saved than? I'll presume you mean that only intellectuals can. Roll Eyes   

Our God is complex and simple; our faith is likewise complex and simple.  Use the analogies all you want - I think your Iron was is pretty good.  But know that it is only the beginning.  If our faith was simple, then many would be saved.  If our faith was too complex, no one would be.

1 Corinthians 1
 18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
   "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
      the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."[c]

    20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
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« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2007, 09:20:13 AM »

They learned you goodly in seminary! Grin
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Excellence of character, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. Now it is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect.
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« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2007, 10:43:10 AM »

They learned you goodly in seminary! Grin 

I have to justify the expense somehow!
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« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2007, 05:05:25 PM »

ROFL!!!!!!  I'm still working on the justification.... Wink Grin
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