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Author Topic: "Created" vs "uncreated" Grace  (Read 4194 times) Average Rating: 0
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radbird191
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« on: July 04, 2007, 09:56:03 PM »

Hey everyone -

I've read that the Orthodox church seperates itself from the West and Roman Catholicism based upon a view of grace as being "uncreated" rather than "created."  However, I have not been able to find an explanation of what the means anywhere!

Can anyone explain it to me?  It'd be immensely appreciated!

Thanks!

-Robin
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« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2007, 10:58:24 PM »

It is the means by which God is not separate from us.  It seems to me that the idea of "created grace" keeps God so separate  from us that ultimately we cannot have communion with Him.

Thinking of it this way, before Adam sinned, humanity was capable of incorruption due to union with God.  In fact, incorruption is not a natural human attribute, but a grace from God, since only God is incorruptible.  By man's disobedience, man lost such grace, and naturally lived and died like all other animals.

One can also consider grace as the "presence of God," that divine, uncreated presence.  The Theotokos St. Mary is "full of grace" for having bore for us the Eternal Logos Incarnate.  In one of our Theotokias (Coptic), we sing to the Virgin "Hail to you oh incorrupt vessel of the divinity," where we are reminded to "Praise God in all His saints" and that we too can be vessels of the Divine Grace.

God bless.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2007, 11:17:56 PM by minasoliman » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2007, 03:11:36 AM »

I have only read a little about this, but it has to do with certain theological constructs regarding the nature of grace, whether it is a created gift of God to act upon us or whether it is something more im-mediate (ie. not mediated as a created entity).

The Orthodox view is that, just as we might say, God is love, we also might say, God is grace. Therefore, He does not need to create grace to act upon us, but His loving nature acting upon us is itself an extension of His grace.

If anyone can help me out here, please do, because I may not be explaining this properly.

It goes back to the discussion of your other thread, that as Orthodox we just bow before the mysteries and receive and enjoy them rather than always having to explain them.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2007, 03:12:48 AM by BrotherAidan » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2007, 01:47:50 PM »

In Orthodoxy, Uncreated Grace is the Divine Energies, and the Divine Energies are God.
If you think of the Sun, we cannot actually approach it or touch it, but it's light and warmth reach the Earth. Likewise, we cannot approach or participate in the Divine Nature of God, yet He communicates Himself to us in his Uncreated Divine Energies, like the rays of the Sun. The Divine Energy is not created, it is an emanation of God Himself in which He communicates Himself to us.
The works you need to study are those of St. Gregory Palamas on the subject of the Divine Energies. By way of introduction, see this article: http://www.monachos.net/library/Gregory_Palamas:_Knowledge,_Prayer,_and_Vision  and especially the section subtitled "Unnatural Participation: Objections to the Divine Vision, and the Distinction of Energies and Essence."
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2007, 10:43:40 PM »

Dear Robin,

Bishop Kallistos Ware has a written a rather accessible and comprehensive article on the general issue of the energies/essence distinction entitled, 'God Hidden and Revealed: The Apophatic Way and the Essence-Energies Distinction', in Eastern Churches Review, 7 (1975): 125-136.

With regard to the specific inquiry of your post viz. created vs. uncreated energies as a point of divergence between EO and RC, Bishop Kallistos Ware suggests that it may be a mere semantic difference (though i'm sure, given that the article in question was written more than twenty years ago, that more recent developments have been made with regard to the debate). The Council of 1351 quotes a passage from Abba John the Damascene wherein he makes a distinction between the energies (energeia) and the consequence of the energies (energima). The former is the uncreated Grace that energises, whilst the latter is the created effect of God's energising activities. It seems to be the case that the RC's, as indeed was possibly the case with earlier Fathers of the Church, are in fact referring to the energima when they refer to God's 'energies.'
« Last Edit: July 06, 2007, 10:45:19 PM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2007, 04:10:32 AM »

Thank you for the last two posts. I read a discussion of uncreated grace in Orthodoxy vs. created grace in Roman Catholic theology by Fr. John Romanides that I really didn't understand too well. What both of you have written is very helpful.
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2007, 11:39:40 AM »

Dear Robin,

Bishop Kallistos Ware has a written a rather accessible and comprehensive article on the general issue of the energies/essence distinction entitled, 'God Hidden and Revealed: The Apophatic Way and the Essence-Energies Distinction', in Eastern Churches Review, 7 (1975): 125-136.

With regard to the specific inquiry of your post viz. created vs. uncreated energies as a point of divergence between EO and RC, Bishop Kallistos Ware suggests that it may be a mere semantic difference (though i'm sure, given that the article in question was written more than twenty years ago, that more recent developments have been made with regard to the debate). The Council of 1351 quotes a passage from Abba John the Damascene wherein he makes a distinction between the energies (energeia) and the consequence of the energies (energima). The former is the uncreated Grace that energises, whilst the latter is the created effect of God's energising activities. It seems to be the case that the RC's, as indeed was possibly the case with earlier Fathers of the Church, are in fact referring to the energima when they refer to God's 'energies.'

Does +Kallistos mention anything about the Barlaam controversy?
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2007, 01:12:37 PM »

I came across this recently. It my be of some interest.

Metropolitan John Zizioulas, Greek Orthodox theologian   

“emphatically affirms that an energy is never apersonal. The energies of God are communicated only through the persons of the Trinity. This emphasis on the personal character of energies is indicative of the primacy of an ontology of personhood and communion in Zizioulas’s thought. Second, salvation is not described for Zizioulas as an increase in participation in the divine energies, but as the transformation of being into true personhood in the person of Christ. For Zizioulas, the essence/energies distinction is ‘nothing else essentially, but a device created by the Greek Fathers to safeguard the absolute transcendence of God without alienating Him from the world.’ The energies are God’s actions in the world and are saving events. The ultimate saving event, though not excluding the divine energies, is not simply a matter of God’s action, but a relational event of communion that constitutes human personhood as true personhood in the image of Christ.”
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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2007, 01:56:07 PM »

Radbird,   The Holy Orthodox Feast of the Transfiguration (of our Lord on Mt. Tabor) August 6th illustrates the uncreated light and energy of our saviour Jesus Christ. If you can, attend a liturgy on this blessed day. See an excellent article on the Greek Archdiocese website: http://www.goarch.org/en/special/listen_learn_share/transfiguration/learn/      If this link fails, just go to www.goarch.org  and type in feast of the transfiguration.
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