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Author Topic: Energies  (Read 1506 times) Average Rating: 0
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Keble
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« on: September 25, 2003, 08:10:25 AM »

OK, the phrase "uncreated energies" seems to be a ongoing issue. Can you explain what these "energies" are, and what it means to be "created" or "uncreated", and do it using words in their modern senses?

And please, leave out the contrast with the West. For the sake of this argument I'm going to be "the West".
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Robert
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2003, 09:38:42 AM »

Where's Afanisy when you need him? Wink

I will reply to you Keble once I get home from work.

Bobby
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moronikos
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2003, 10:23:17 AM »

I'm just a stupid engineer and not a theologian or even a seminarian.  Here's my lame attempt...

The "energies" are our experience of God.  The Fathers speak of the "essence" and "energies" of God.  Since God is so wholly other, we cannot experience him in his essence.  Instead, we experience him in his energies.  A priest explained it to me that we cannot experience the sun directly.  There is no way we could stand in it.  Instead we experience the light and heat of the sun.

We say the "energies" of God are uncreated.  Why?  Because if they were created, they would be part of creation and therefore not God.  Instead, theosis is brought about by a real encounter with God and not of his creation.

That's about as well as I can explain it for now.
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Doubting Thomas
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2003, 11:06:25 AM »

 A priest explained it to me that we cannot experience the sun directly.  There is no way we could stand in it.  Instead we experience the light and heat of the sun.

That sounds like a good illustration to me.  Not bad for an engineer.  Wink
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"My Lord and My God!"--Doubting Thomas, AD 33
moronikos
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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2003, 11:41:36 AM »

Where's Afanisy when you need him? Wink

I will reply to you Keble once I get home from work.

Bobby

Well, he has some stuff on his website, but most of it is beyond my comprehension.


http://orlapubs.com
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Keble
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« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2003, 01:51:30 PM »

I'm just a stupid engineer and not a theologian or even a seminarian.  Here's my lame attempt...

The "energies" are our experience of God.  The Fathers speak of the "essence" and "energies" of God.  Since God is so wholly other, we cannot experience him in his essence.  Instead, we experience him in his energies.  A priest explained it to me that we cannot experience the sun directly.  There is no way we could stand in it.  Instead we experience the light and heat of the sun.

We say the "energies" of God are uncreated.  Why?  Because if they were created, they would be part of creation and therefore not God.  Instead, theosis is brought about by a real encounter with God and not of his creation.

OK, taking this as a starting point, then why use the word "energies"? What are "my energies"?

Also, it does seem to me that we do have a problem with the word "created".  In Psalm 19:1 it says that do see the Glory of God in the heavens. It does seem to me that we do experience God, in some sense, in the ordinariness of creation. THere seems to be a problem here in how the act of creating fits into this language.
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Seraphim Reeves
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« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2003, 08:51:27 AM »

Quote
Also, it does seem to me that we do have a problem with the word "created".  In Psalm 19:1 it says that do see the Glory of God in the heavens. It does seem to me that we do experience God, in some sense, in the ordinariness of creation. THere seems to be a problem here in how the act of creating fits into this language.

No problem at all, since it is by His energies that the universe is created and sustained - the grace of God works "externally",  everywhere.  This is the rain which falls everywhere, both upon the good and the bad, as our Lord put it.  As this applies to souls, it's an obvious truth  - for otherwise, no one would be able to repent and become Orthodox.

The grace unique to the Church, is the internal grace, which renders the heart a source of holiness, making men into Temples - this is what is meant when you hear talk of there being "no grace outside of the Church of Christ" or that only Her mysteries "have grace."

Thus, there is no conflict with the passage you cite.

Seraphim
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Keble
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« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2003, 12:09:54 PM »

Quote
Also, it does seem to me that we do have a problem with the word "created".  In Psalm 19:1 it says that do see the Glory of God in the heavens. It does seem to me that we do experience God, in some sense, in the ordinariness of creation. THere seems to be a problem here in how the act of creating fits into this language.

No problem at all, since it is by His energies that the universe is created and sustained - the grace of God works "externally",  everywhere.  This is the rain which falls everywhere, both upon the good and the bad, as our Lord put it.  As this applies to souls, it's an obvious truth  - for otherwise, no one would be able to repent and become Orthodox.

The grace unique to the Church, is the internal grace, which renders the heart a source of holiness, making men into Temples - this is what is meant when you hear talk of there being "no grace outside of the Church of Christ" or that only Her mysteries "have grace."

Thus, there is no conflict with the passage you cite.

This seems to break naturally into two parts: the claim about uniqueness, and the claim about the nature of the grace of the Church.

As far as the old RC language is concerned, we seem here to be talking about "sanctifying grace". Deep in the bowels of the Catholic Encyclopedia article on the subject, we have the following passage:

Quote
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The theory of Suarez (De grat., VII, i, xxx), which is also favoured by Scripture and the Fathers, is perhaps the most plausible. In this theory sanctifying grace imparts to the soul a participation in the Divine spirituality, which no rational creature can by its own unaided powers penetrate or comprehend. It is, therefore, the office of grace to impart to the soul, in a supernatural way, that degree of spirituality which is absolutely necessary to give us an idea of God and His spirit, either here below in the shadows of earthly existence, or there above in the unveiled splendour of Heaven. If we were asked to condense all that we have thus far been considering into a definition, we would formulate the following: Sanctifying grace is "a quality strictly supernatural, inherent in the soul as a habitus, by which we are made to participate in the divine nature".

This seems nearly a statement of theosis, without using that word. And even in the heavily Thomist CE I'm simply not seeing this supposed assignment of Grace to creation. In fact, the more I look at it the more I see the same sort distinctions being made, but with a rather different theological language.

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Tags: Essence and Energies 
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