I've been listening to a series of talks on Ancient Faith Radio by Fr. Andrew Damick on Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy. It's been an interesting series so far, and I have learned a great deal about Orthodox theology and how it differs from other forms of Christianity. In some of his talks, he talked about the difference between Western and Eastern view, specifically the difference between Orthodox and Catholic views.
He reached a point where he said there were a few issues where a westerner converting to Orthodoxy would have to change their views. I don't remember all that he said, but one thing that stuck out is that he said a convert would have to reject the concept of a "simple God" and accept the "essences and energies" distinctions.
This puzzled me, as I have thought of Orthodoxy as the "Church of the Seven Ecumenical Councils," but it was my understanding that all this talk about "essence" and "energies" was from the theories of St. Gregory Palamas in the 14th century.
Is this rejection of a "simple God" a required belief for Orthodox Christians? How about the belief in "essences and energies?" I mean no disrespect to people who fiercely defend these beliefs, but to me it seems like a great deal of speculation run wild about something we cannot hope to understand. It seems to me that the exact nature of God and how He interacts with His creation are mysteries, and that any attempt to define them is foolhardy at best.
One problem I have with Catholicism is the idea that Christians today somehow know “more” than the apostles did. I don’t much like the concept of development of doctrine, particularly since a faithful Catholic from AD 1000 would be a heretic today, if he or she did not change his or her views right away. When I see this development in Orthodoxy, and without even an ecumenical council to back it up, it confuses me.
If I wish to become Orthodox, will I have to first assent to the theories of St. Gregory Palamas? Are there any other doctrines not found in Scripture or an ecumenical council that I will have to accept?
Please feel free to move this topic, if another forum is more suitable. I am very perplexed by this issue, and wading through pages of discussion on the subject doesn’t seem to have helped. Thank you for any help you can provide.