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Author Topic: Do God's Energies Change?  (Read 11462 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 08, 2011, 01:16:08 PM »

God cannot be restricted. There can be no change in the Godhead. If God were to restrict His power, He would no longer be omnipotent, and thus He could not regain His omnipotence, and thus all existence, including Himself, would be annihilated because of lack of support from an omnipotent being.

Not true, God creating is a function of His Energy, not His Essence.  There is no change in God when God creates a rock of any kind.  So your argument against the creation of a rock He cannot lift by trying to apply a change in God's nature does not hold water. 
Does this mean that God's energies change?
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2011, 03:35:52 PM »

God cannot be restricted. There can be no change in the Godhead. If God were to restrict His power, He would no longer be omnipotent, and thus He could not regain His omnipotence, and thus all existence, including Himself, would be annihilated because of lack of support from an omnipotent being.
Not true, God creating is a function of His Energy, not His Essence.  There is no change in God when God creates a rock of any kind.  So your argument against the creation of a rock He cannot lift by trying to apply a change in God's nature does not hold water. 
Does this mean that God's energies change?

A good starting place for the answer to your question is St. John of Damascus:

"The true doctrine teaches that the Deity is simple and has one simple Energy, which is good and energizes all things, just as the sun's ray, which warms all things and energizes in each in conjunction with its natural aptitude and receptive power, having acquired this form of energy from God, its Maker.  But actions (Gk. praxis) are also called energies...and yet again, the result of the force is also called energy."  (St. John of Damascus, 8th c.:  Orth. Faith 1.10)

"All the faculties we have already discussed...both those of knowledge and those of life, both the natural and artificial, are...called energies.  For energy is the natural force and activity of each essence: or again, natural energy is the activity innate in every essence: and so, clearly things that have the same essence also have the same energy... no essence can be devoid of a natural energy."  (St. John of Damascus, 8th c.:  Orth. Faith 2.23)
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2011, 03:43:45 PM »

God cannot be restricted. There can be no change in the Godhead. If God were to restrict His power, He would no longer be omnipotent, and thus He could not regain His omnipotence, and thus all existence, including Himself, would be annihilated because of lack of support from an omnipotent being.
Not true, God creating is a function of His Energy, not His Essence.  There is no change in God when God creates a rock of any kind.  So your argument against the creation of a rock He cannot lift by trying to apply a change in God's nature does not hold water. 
Does this mean that God's energies change?

A good starting place for the answer to your question is St. John of Damascus:

"The true doctrine teaches that the Deity is simple and has one simple Energy, which is good and energizes all things, just as the sun's ray, which warms all things and energizes in each in conjunction with its natural aptitude and receptive power, having acquired this form of energy from God, its Maker.  But actions (Gk. praxis) are also called energies...and yet again, the result of the force is also called energy."  (St. John of Damascus, 8th c.:  Orth. Faith 1.10)

"All the faculties we have already discussed...both those of knowledge and those of life, both the natural and artificial, are...called energies.  For energy is the natural force and activity of each essence: or again, natural energy is the activity innate in every essence: and so, clearly things that have the same essence also have the same energy... no essence can be devoid of a natural energy."  (St. John of Damascus, 8th c.:  Orth. Faith 2.23)
Thanks for those quotes, but do the energies change? It seems that they don't because according to St. John's arguement, the natural energy is is innate in the essence, so they can't change. Is this correct?
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2011, 05:12:58 PM »

God cannot be restricted. There can be no change in the Godhead. If God were to restrict His power, He would no longer be omnipotent, and thus He could not regain His omnipotence, and thus all existence, including Himself, would be annihilated because of lack of support from an omnipotent being.
Not true, God creating is a function of His Energy, not His Essence.  There is no change in God when God creates a rock of any kind.  So your argument against the creation of a rock He cannot lift by trying to apply a change in God's nature does not hold water. 
Does this mean that God's energies change?

A good starting place for the answer to your question is St. John of Damascus:

"The true doctrine teaches that the Deity is simple and has one simple Energy, which is good and energizes all things, just as the sun's ray, which warms all things and energizes in each in conjunction with its natural aptitude and receptive power, having acquired this form of energy from God, its Maker.  But actions (Gk. praxis) are also called energies...and yet again, the result of the force is also called energy."  (St. John of Damascus, 8th c.:  Orth. Faith 1.10)

"All the faculties we have already discussed...both those of knowledge and those of life, both the natural and artificial, are...called energies.  For energy is the natural force and activity of each essence: or again, natural energy is the activity innate in every essence: and so, clearly things that have the same essence also have the same energy... no essence can be devoid of a natural energy."  (St. John of Damascus, 8th c.:  Orth. Faith 2.23)
Thanks for those quotes, but do the energies change? It seems that they don't because according to St. John's arguement, the natural energy is is innate in the essence, so they can't change. Is this correct?
Answer in bold.
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2011, 05:14:15 PM »

So they do change. Interesting.  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2011, 05:52:05 PM »

So they do change. Interesting.  Smiley
He's not called "ehyeh asher ehyeh" ("I will be who I will be") for nuttin'. Grin
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2011, 06:07:58 PM »

So they do change. Interesting.  Smiley
Well, that seems problematic. If God's energies are God, God is unchanging, and the energies change, then we have a contradiction. Am I following the EOs correctly on this?
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« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2011, 06:14:46 PM »

So they do change. Interesting.  Smiley
Well, that seems problematic. If God's energies are God, God is unchanging, and the energies change, then we have a contradiction. Am I following the EOs correctly on this?

Jesus is conceived. Jesus learns to walk. He learns to talk. He learns about himself. He gets angry. He weeps. He grows. He dies. He resurrects.

God of the OT gets angry. Forgives. Creates. Destroys what He creates.

Methinks Platonism gets too much show at the expense of the Scriptures.

I think we humans try too hard to pin God down.

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« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2011, 06:17:57 PM »

So they do change. Interesting.  Smiley
Well, that seems problematic. If God's energies are God, God is unchanging, and the energies change, then we have a contradiction. Am I following the EOs correctly on this?

Jesus is conceived. Jesus learns to walk. He learns to talk. He learns about himself. He gets angry. He weeps. He grows. He dies. He resurrects.

God of the OT gets angry. Forgives. Creates. Destroys what He creates.

Methinks Platonism gets too much show at the expense of the Scriptures.

I think we humans try too hard to pin God down.


With regard to your references to Christ in his human nature, I think we are talking about his divine nature. Also, in the Old Testament, aren't those refrences to God's anger and such, anthropomorphisms used to help us understand God? I am debating, only asking.
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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2011, 06:19:55 PM »

So they do change. Interesting.  Smiley
Well, that seems problematic. If God's energies are God, God is unchanging, and the energies change, then we have a contradiction. Am I following the EOs correctly on this?
We can speak about "change" in many different ways. God's Energies may be "active", but they may also be "unchanging" in the sense of always being consonant with God's Essence.
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2011, 06:28:11 PM »

So they do change. Interesting.  Smiley
Well, that seems problematic. If God's energies are God, God is unchanging, and the energies change, then we have a contradiction. Am I following the EOs correctly on this?

Jesus is conceived. Jesus learns to walk. He learns to talk. He learns about himself. He gets angry. He weeps. He grows. He dies. He resurrects.

God of the OT gets angry. Forgives. Creates. Destroys what He creates.

Methinks Platonism gets too much show at the expense of the Scriptures.

I think we humans try too hard to pin God down.


With regard to your references to Christ in his human nature, I think we are talking about his divine nature. Also, in the Old Testament, aren't those refrences to God's anger and such, anthropomorphisms used to help us understand God? I am debating, only asking.

I take your point well. I wish I could remember the thinker who said, God is not anthropomorphic but rather we are theomorphic. In virtue of the Person of God and to the degree we are in His Image are we capable of such things albeit in our fallen state.

As Paul mentions, it is in virtue that God is THE Father that the relation we have to be fathers as persons lie.

I wonder on this. I know this line of thinking tends to go against the more Platonic view of God, if I can be less than nuanced, but I think it is worth considering.

That is not to say what is held by the Fathers, Liturgy, Tradition, etc. is wrong, but it seems to me that the apparent contradiction in God's unchangeability and the Scriptural Testament to God's "changeable" actions and temperament, if you will, the latter kinda gets lost or not taken very seriously.

Again, I am just suggesting perhaps, Platonism has a strong hold in the mind of many Christians and I wonder if it is always entirely accurate.

If you figure it out, let me know.
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2011, 06:38:24 PM »

Plato was obsessed with God's unchanging Essence.

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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2011, 07:12:49 PM »

Plato was obsessed with God's unchanging Essence.


The Scriptures say that he is unchanging and is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.
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« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2011, 08:03:18 PM »

Plato was obsessed with God's unchanging Essence.


The Scriptures say that he is unchanging and is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

And that He changes as well.
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« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2011, 08:05:33 PM »

Plato was obsessed with God's unchanging Essence.


The Scriptures say that he is unchanging and is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

And that He changes as well.
I have never seen a passage in scripture that explicitly states, "Lo, I am a changing God". Rather, I have seen scriptures that emphatically state that he does not change. Is there anything in the Cappedocean fathers, or St. John of Damscus' works that suggest that God changes? Again, I am not trying to debate here. I am trying to determine what exactly is the Eastern Orthodox position.
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« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2011, 08:12:08 PM »

Everything I've read in St. John of Damascus seemed to indicate that God is unchanging (search for "change" here, for example). However, it's not like I was reading his works specifically investigating this idea...

EDIT--I am also not saying that a simple search for a word can necessarily give you a full and proper understanding of what someone believes...
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« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2011, 08:13:24 PM »

So they do change. Interesting.  Smiley
Well, that seems problematic. If God's energies are God, God is unchanging, and the energies change, then we have a contradiction. Am I following the EOs correctly on this?
We can speak about "change" in many different ways. God's Energies may be "active", but they may also be "unchanging" in the sense of always being consonant with God's Essence.

I was thinking action necessarily requires change, but that's a good point...
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« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2011, 08:15:25 PM »

So they do change. Interesting.  Smiley
Well, that seems problematic. If God's energies are God, God is unchanging, and the energies change, then we have a contradiction. Am I following the EOs correctly on this?
We can speak about "change" in many different ways. God's Energies may be "active", but they may also be "unchanging" in the sense of always being consonant with God's Essence.
Actually, that's pretty good.
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« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2011, 08:16:59 PM »

Everything I've read in St. John of Damascus seemed to indicate that God is unchanging (search for "change" here, for example). However, it's not like I was reading his works specifically investigating this idea...

EDIT--I am also not saying that a simple search for a word can necessarily give you a full and proper understanding of what someone believes...
But there is something to this. It seems that every instance of the word "change" in reference to God, is used in order to describe the fact that He does not change.
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« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2011, 08:29:57 PM »

Everything I've read in St. John of Damascus seemed to indicate that God is unchanging (search for "change" here, for example). However, it's not like I was reading his works specifically investigating this idea...

EDIT--I am also not saying that a simple search for a word can necessarily give you a full and proper understanding of what someone believes...
But there is something to this. It seems that every instance of the word "change" in reference to God, is used in order to describe the fact that He does not change.

I think that was the point being made.
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« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2011, 08:36:33 PM »

Plato was obsessed with God's unchanging Essence.


The Scriptures say that he is unchanging and is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

And that He changes as well.
I have never seen a passage in scripture that explicitly states, "Lo, I am a changing God". Rather, I have seen scriptures that emphatically state that he does not change. Is there anything in the Cappedocean fathers, or St. John of Damscus' works that suggest that God changes? Again, I am not trying to debate here. I am trying to determine what exactly is the Eastern Orthodox position.

I believe that aspect of the apparent contradiction must be pointed explicitly for the very fact the God typically is depicted as a living and a  "changing" God.

Well just write it up to anthropomorphism. Then why not toss it out? Why make any petitionary prayers? Why do anything? God has already decided everything. Where does free will stand? And if we are given "free will" to the degree we are made in the Image of God, then how is this Divine Will to be understood, unless it involves "choice" of some sort? The god of the philosophers leads nowhere.
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« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2011, 08:37:55 PM »

Plato was obsessed with God's unchanging Essence.


The Scriptures say that he is unchanging and is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

And that He changes as well.
I have never seen a passage in scripture that explicitly states, "Lo, I am a changing God". Rather, I have seen scriptures that emphatically state that he does not change. Is there anything in the Cappedocean fathers, or St. John of Damscus' works that suggest that God changes? Again, I am not trying to debate here. I am trying to determine what exactly is the Eastern Orthodox position.

I believe that aspect of the apparent contradiction must be pointed explicitly for the very fact the God typically is depicted as a living and a  "changing" God.

Well just write it up to anthropomorphism. Then why not toss it out? Why make any petitionary prayers? Why do anything? God has already decided everything. Where does free will stand? And if we are given "free will" to the degree we are made in the Image of God, then how is this Divine Will to be understood, unless it involves "choice" of some sort? The god of the philosophers leads nowhere.
Then is God infininte in perfection? If he changes from one state to another, then he is lacking something in one state, that he has in another. Am I wrong about this?
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« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2011, 08:39:16 PM »

Papist,

I will take this outta the realm of arguably pointless debate tonight or tomorrow and put some blood into this discussion.

And you and everyone can let me know, if my post is non-Orthodox / non-Catholic.

An honest appeal to criticism.
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« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2011, 08:43:25 PM »

Plato was obsessed with God's unchanging Essence.


The Scriptures say that he is unchanging and is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

And that He changes as well.
I have never seen a passage in scripture that explicitly states, "Lo, I am a changing God". Rather, I have seen scriptures that emphatically state that he does not change. Is there anything in the Cappedocean fathers, or St. John of Damscus' works that suggest that God changes? Again, I am not trying to debate here. I am trying to determine what exactly is the Eastern Orthodox position.

I believe that aspect of the apparent contradiction must be pointed explicitly for the very fact the God typically is depicted as a living and a  "changing" God.

Well just write it up to anthropomorphism. Then why not toss it out? Why make any petitionary prayers? Why do anything? God has already decided everything. Where does free will stand? And if we are given "free will" to the degree we are made in the Image of God, then how is this Divine Will to be understood, unless it involves "choice" of some sort? The god of the philosophers leads nowhere.
Then is God infininte in perfection? If he changes from one state to another, then he is lacking something in one state, that he has in another. Am I wrong about this?

Since we are posting simultaneously, I'll just point out this is Platonic line of thinking, that "perfection" is "unchanging".

Does God work with us or not? Is God a Person in a relationship or a Monad (not of the Leibnitz variety)?

Till more blood is offered for your judgement.

Of course, all this speculation on my part is not meant to be espousing any Orthodox position, just some of my difficult questions I wonder about.

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« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2011, 08:50:51 PM »

Plato was obsessed with God's unchanging Essence.


The Scriptures say that he is unchanging and is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

And that He changes as well.
I have never seen a passage in scripture that explicitly states, "Lo, I am a changing God". Rather, I have seen scriptures that emphatically state that he does not change. Is there anything in the Cappedocean fathers, or St. John of Damscus' works that suggest that God changes? Again, I am not trying to debate here. I am trying to determine what exactly is the Eastern Orthodox position.

I believe that aspect of the apparent contradiction must be pointed explicitly for the very fact the God typically is depicted as a living and a  "changing" God.

Well just write it up to anthropomorphism. Then why not toss it out? Why make any petitionary prayers? Why do anything? God has already decided everything. Where does free will stand? And if we are given "free will" to the degree we are made in the Image of God, then how is this Divine Will to be understood, unless it involves "choice" of some sort? The god of the philosophers leads nowhere.
Then is God infininte in perfection? If he changes from one state to another, then he is lacking something in one state, that he has in another. Am I wrong about this?

Since we are posting simultaneously, I'll just point out this is Platonic line of thinking, that "perfection" is "unchanging".

Does God work with us or not? Is God a Person in a relationship or a Monad (not of the Leibnitz variety)?

Till more blood is offered for your judgement.

Of course, all this speculation on my part is not meant to be espousing any Orthodox position, just some of my difficult questions I wonder about.


Although I know what I believe, I am simply wondering aloud as well, concerning the Eastern Orthodox position.
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« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2011, 10:24:31 PM »

Plato was obsessed with God's unchanging Essence.


The Scriptures say that he is unchanging and is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

And that He changes as well.

That sounds possibly blasphemous. Also, I've never seen anything that indicated a change in God save for certain things in the OT which were interpreted non-literally by a number of the Fathers.
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« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2011, 10:44:00 PM »

So God cannot do everything? He is not omnipotent?

No, God can't do anything nonsensical. He can do anything real that actually respects His nature.
I would add that nonsensical things are not "things" at all. God can do everything, but contradictions are not things.
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« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2011, 11:30:23 PM »

I would add that nonsensical things are not "things" at all. God can do everything, but contradictions are not things.

If you want to get really technical, acts in general aren't really things either.  Tongue

But I'll acknowledge that nonsense has less of a claim on existence than sensical action.
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« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2011, 12:22:47 AM »

Plato was obsessed with God's unchanging Essence.


The Scriptures say that he is unchanging and is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

And that He changes as well.

That sounds possibly blasphemous. Also, I've never seen anything that indicated a change in God save for certain things in the OT which were interpreted non-literally by a number of the Fathers.

Did the Incarnation become non-literal all the sudden?
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« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2011, 01:32:49 AM »

Plato was obsessed with God's unchanging Essence.


The Scriptures say that he is unchanging and is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

And that He changes as well.

That sounds possibly blasphemous. Also, I've never seen anything that indicated a change in God save for certain things in the OT which were interpreted non-literally by a number of the Fathers.

Did the Incarnation become non-literal all the sudden?

No. When did the Incarnation become a matter of God changing?
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« Reply #30 on: February 09, 2011, 10:59:53 AM »

There is no change in God.   However, as one person already remarked, here "change" has a very specific appliction.   We think of the term 'change' as applying to activity (i.e., I changed my clothes, or I changed direction in the car, first going south, then going east, etc.).  This is not the kind of change we are talking about, for otherwise, that would mean that God could not do anything at all.   Rather, the following:

A person sees that a fisherman has slipped from the bridge and is hanging from the bridge by his ankle, and otherwise, will fall to rocks below headfirst.   He acts immediately.   He first runs in to get his rope, gauze, and peroxide, he then changed direction to go up to the bridge.  He ceases running straight because he has to run vertically up the stairs (another change?).  He then walks straight again.  He then kneels down (another change in posture), ties a lasso in the rope as a harnass, and lowers it down around the head and up the midsection (more change), pulls the guy up, washes out the wound in the ankle, and bandages it (change change change).   Again, in one sense we would think of this diversity of motion as "change."   Yet in another sense, it was one singular unchanged action:  saving the person.   It was without change in the following manner, however, that this energy proceeded from a single will which did not change--the man neither changed his mind at any time about saving the fisherman nor did he change his action in such a way that the fisherman might not be saved.   In fact, if his will would have changed, then his actions would not have changed (i.e. he would maybe have just run straight past the stairs up to the bridge, without a change of motion, but with a change of will, the latter being the more crucial in defining energy).   An unchanging will necessitates variety in energetic application in order that the single will is carried out, and in this sense, is also a single energy or operation (i.e. the single energy/operation of saving the fisherman).   

God cannot be restricted. There can be no change in the Godhead. If God were to restrict His power, He would no longer be omnipotent, and thus He could not regain His omnipotence, and thus all existence, including Himself, would be annihilated because of lack of support from an omnipotent being.
Not true, God creating is a function of His Energy, not His Essence.  There is no change in God when God creates a rock of any kind.  So your argument against the creation of a rock He cannot lift by trying to apply a change in God's nature does not hold water. 
Does this mean that God's energies change?
A good starting place for the answer to your question is St. John of Damascus:"The true doctrine teaches that the Deity is simple and has one simple Energy, which is good and energizes all things, just as the sun's ray, which warms all things and energizes in each in conjunction with its natural aptitude and receptive power, having acquired this form of energy from God, its Maker.  But actions (Gk. praxis) are also called energies...and yet again, the result of the force is also called energy."  (St. John of Damascus, 8th c.:  Orth. Faith 1.10)  "All the faculties we have already discussed...both those of knowledge and those of life, both the natural and artificial, are...called energies.  For energy is the natural force and activity of each essence: or again, natural energy is the activity innate in every essence: and so, clearly things that have the same essence also have the same energy... no essence can be devoid of a natural energy."  (St. John of Damascus, 8th c.:  Orth. Faith 2.23) 
  Thanks for those quotes, but do the energies change? It seems that they don't because according to St. John's arguement, the natural energy is is innate in the essence, so they can't change. Is this correct?
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« Reply #31 on: February 10, 2011, 05:28:00 AM »

God is the unchangeable changer. He did change when He put the universe into being, but He remained unchanged. I tried to rationally explain this philosophically, but gave up and decided it was just a mystery.
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« Reply #32 on: February 10, 2011, 09:29:53 AM »

God is the unchangeable changer. He did change when He put the universe into being, but He remained unchanged. I tried to rationally explain this philosophically, but gave up and decided it was just a mystery.
People often (incorrectly) use the ice-water-steam imagery to explain the Trinity, but it might be better used to describe how God's Essence (symbolized by the H20 molecule) is unchanging, but God's Energies (solid ice, liquid water, gaseous steam) do change.
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« Reply #33 on: February 10, 2011, 09:46:37 AM »

How did God not change after he incorporated humanity into the Godhead?
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« Reply #34 on: February 10, 2011, 09:59:31 AM »

So God cannot do everything? He is not omnipotent?

No, God can't do anything nonsensical. He can do anything real that actually respects His nature.
I would add that nonsensical things are not "things" at all. God can do everything, but contradictions are not things.
OOoo! I like that.
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« Reply #35 on: February 10, 2011, 10:06:31 AM »

God cannot be restricted. There can be no change in the Godhead. If God were to restrict His power, He would no longer be omnipotent, and thus He could not regain His omnipotence, and thus all existence, including Himself, would be annihilated because of lack of support from an omnipotent being.

Not true, God creating is a function of His Energy, not His Essence.  There is no change in God when God creates a rock of any kind.  So your argument against the creation of a rock He cannot lift by trying to apply a change in God's nature does not hold water. 
Does this mean that God's energies change?
If in the Incarnation, which involved God's essence in the Person of the Son, did not change God's Essence, no involvement of His Energies in the world would change them.
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« Reply #36 on: February 10, 2011, 10:43:05 AM »

Papist, you may find David Bradshaw's essay "The Christian Approach to the Philosophy of Time" of interest. 
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« Reply #37 on: February 10, 2011, 10:52:01 AM »

How did God not change after he incorporated humanity into the Godhead?
The hypostasis of the Logos became composite in the incarnation, so in that sense one can say that God (i.e., the divine Logos) changed, but this does not involve a change in the divine essence, which is utterly transcendent and beyond being (hyperousios).
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« Reply #38 on: February 10, 2011, 11:00:41 AM »

Could the people arguing that the Uncreated Energies "change" please give me an example of how they change?
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« Reply #39 on: February 10, 2011, 11:09:44 AM »

Could the people arguing that the Uncreated Energies "change" please give me an example of how they change?
I would say that the Energies are "active" (in relationship with creation), not that they "change" (from their unity with Essence).
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« Reply #40 on: February 10, 2011, 11:30:08 AM »

Could the people arguing that the Uncreated Energies "change" please give me an example of how they change?
It is not so much that the divine energies change, but that they are not always energized.  God possesses the real power to create, but He does not eternally create, or the world itself would be eternal and not subsequent to Him (see Capita Physica, no. 102).
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« Reply #41 on: February 10, 2011, 12:37:50 PM »

I would add that nonsensical things are not "things" at all. God can do everything, but contradictions are not things.

If you want to get really technical, acts in general aren't really things either.  Tongue

But I'll acknowledge that nonsense has less of a claim on existence than sensical action.
Acts are a kind of "thing" in the sense of an act being a noun.
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« Reply #42 on: February 10, 2011, 12:39:38 PM »

Could the people arguing that the Uncreated Energies "change" please give me an example of how they change?
It is not so much that the divine energies change, but that they are not always energized.  God possesses the real power to create, but He does not eternally create, or the world itself would be eternal and not subsequent to Him (see Capita Physica, no. 102).
So what is an non-energized energy? Is that His essence?
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« Reply #43 on: February 10, 2011, 12:45:54 PM »

Could the people arguing that the Uncreated Energies "change" please give me an example of how they change?
It is not so much that the divine energies change, but that they are not always energized.  God possesses the real power to create, but He does not eternally create, or the world itself would be eternal and not subsequent to Him (see Capita Physica, no. 102).
So what is an non-energized energy? Is that His essence?
It is a power that manifests nature, but without revealing what the nature is in itself.
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« Reply #44 on: February 10, 2011, 12:46:07 PM »

Papist, you may find David Bradshaw's essay "The Christian Approach to the Philosophy of Time" of interest. 
Thank you Father Kimel.
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« Reply #45 on: February 10, 2011, 12:47:42 PM »

How did God not change after he incorporated humanity into the Godhead?
The hypostasis of the Logos became composite in the incarnation, so in that sense one can say that God (i.e., the divine Logos) changed, but this does not involve a change in the divine essence, which is utterly transcendent and beyond being (hyperousios).
I don't think you can say that God changed, but only that the Person, but not the essence (which the Father and the Spirit also posssess), of the Son changed, but I would be wary of even saying that.

That said, I've often wondered if the Son is present in the Eucharist in His Essence or His Energies.
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« Reply #46 on: February 10, 2011, 12:48:03 PM »

Could the people arguing that the Uncreated Energies "change" please give me an example of how they change?
It is not so much that the divine energies change, but that they are not always energized.  God possesses the real power to create, but He does not eternally create, or the world itself would be eternal and not subsequent to Him (see Capita Physica, no. 102).
So what is an non-energized energy? Is that His essence?
It is a power the manifests nature, but without revealing what the nature is in itself.
So it's what manifests what God's essence is, without being God's essence? That sounds like God's Energies in general. What is a specifically non-energized energy vs. an energized one? Whjat is the specific difference between the two?
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« Reply #47 on: February 10, 2011, 12:49:31 PM »

I would add that nonsensical things are not "things" at all. God can do everything, but contradictions are not things.

If you want to get really technical, acts in general aren't really things either.  Tongue

But I'll acknowledge that nonsense has less of a claim on existence than sensical action.
Acts are a kind of "thing" in the sense of an act being a noun.
Acts are a kind of thing because they have existence, whereas contradictions by definition do not exist.
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« Reply #48 on: February 10, 2011, 12:50:04 PM »

I would add that nonsensical things are not "things" at all. God can do everything, but contradictions are not things.

If you want to get really technical, acts in general aren't really things either.  Tongue

But I'll acknowledge that nonsense has less of a claim on existence than sensical action.
Acts are a kind of "thing" in the sense of an act being a noun.
Acts are a kind of thing because they have existence, whereas contradictions by definition do not exist.
You stated that better than I did. Thank you.
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« Reply #49 on: February 10, 2011, 12:54:16 PM »

I would add that nonsensical things are not "things" at all. God can do everything, but contradictions are not things.

If you want to get really technical, acts in general aren't really things either.  Tongue

But I'll acknowledge that nonsense has less of a claim on existence than sensical action.
Acts are a kind of "thing" in the sense of an act being a noun.
Acts are a kind of thing because they have existence, whereas contradictions by definition do not exist.
You stated that better than I did. Thank you.
No problem.

As for "What is a specifically non-energized energy vs. an energized one? Whjat is the specific difference between the two?" God's energies as Creator are not always energized (or else creation would have to be coeternal with Him, just as the eternal begetting of the Son and the eternal procession of the Spirit), but they always manifest (before creation, only to Himself) His Esssence as the "I AM" source of all being.
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« Reply #50 on: February 10, 2011, 01:05:20 PM »

How did God not change after he incorporated humanity into the Godhead?
The hypostasis of the Logos became composite in the incarnation, so in that sense one can say that God (i.e., the divine Logos) changed, but this does not involve a change in the divine essence, which is utterly transcendent and beyond being (hyperousios).
I don't think you can say that God changed, but only that the Person, but not the essence (which the Father and the Spirit also posssess), of the Son changed, but I would be wary of even saying that.

That said, I've often wondered if the Son is present in the Eucharist in His Essence or His Energies.
But the person in question is God; after all, we are not Nestorians.
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« Reply #51 on: February 10, 2011, 01:10:29 PM »

Could the people arguing that the Uncreated Energies "change" please give me an example of how they change?
It is not so much that the divine energies change, but that they are not always energized.  God possesses the real power to create, but He does not eternally create, or the world itself would be eternal and not subsequent to Him (see Capita Physica, no. 102).
So what is an non-energized energy? Is that His essence?
It is a power the manifests nature, but without revealing what the nature is in itself.
So it's what manifests what God's essence is, without being God's essence? That sounds like God's Energies in general. What is a specifically non-energized energy vs. an energized one? Whjat is the specific difference between the two?
It might help to remember that the distinction between nature and power, and that between power and energy, were all used by St. Gregory of Nyssa in his dispute with Eunomius.  God is never without power, but God (i.e., the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) does not always energize every power of His nature.  The example given by several people in this thread about God's activity in creating the world is probably the most common example given by the Eastern Fathers.  Another concerns His will and foreknowledge, because God foreknows everything, but does not will everything that He foreknows (e.g., sin and evil).  Thus, there is a distinction between His will and His foreknowledge, and one of these energies may be energized when another is not.
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« Reply #52 on: February 10, 2011, 01:15:18 PM »

How did God not change after he incorporated humanity into the Godhead?
The hypostasis of the Logos became composite in the incarnation, so in that sense one can say that God (i.e., the divine Logos) changed, but this does not involve a change in the divine essence, which is utterly transcendent and beyond being (hyperousios).
I don't think you can say that God changed, but only that the Person, but not the essence (which the Father and the Spirit also posssess), of the Son changed, but I would be wary of even saying that.

That said, I've often wondered if the Son is present in the Eucharist in His Essence or His Energies.
But the person in question is God; after all, we are not Nestorians.
But the person in question is neither the Father nor the Spirit: after all, we are not Sabellians.
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« Reply #53 on: February 10, 2011, 01:19:40 PM »

How did God not change after he incorporated humanity into the Godhead?
The hypostasis of the Logos became composite in the incarnation, so in that sense one can say that God (i.e., the divine Logos) changed, but this does not involve a change in the divine essence, which is utterly transcendent and beyond being (hyperousios).
I don't think you can say that God changed, but only that the Person, but not the essence (which the Father and the Spirit also posssess), of the Son changed, but I would be wary of even saying that.

That said, I've often wondered if the Son is present in the Eucharist in His Essence or His Energies.
But the person in question is God; after all, we are not Nestorians.
But the person in question is neither the Father nor the Spirit: after all, we are not Sabellians.
Which is why - if you look at my original post - I referred specifically to the "hypostasis of the Logos," and then added that, "this does not involve a change in the divine essence, which is utterly transcendent and beyond being (hyperousios)." 

As St. Gregory Palamas said:  "Three realities pertain to God: essence, energy, and the triad of divine hypostaseis."
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« Reply #54 on: February 10, 2011, 01:23:42 PM »

I am not a philosopher, but it seems to me that the question originally posed, "Do God's energies change?" is one of those questions that always brings us into mystery.  That God is immutable, impassible, eternal is universally confessed in the Christian tradition, yet what we mean by these terms is not clear.  It is easier to say what they do not mean than it is to say what they do mean.  

I have found it helpful to always keep the Christian confession of the creatio ex nihilo at the forefront.  Of course, I have no idea what it means for God to create the world from "out of nothing," but this confession reminds me that God is not a being, even the most powerful being, in the world.  How is it even possible to speak of this God who infinitely transcends the world he has created.  Every time I open my mouth to speak of God I find that I am almost immediately speaking of him as if he were a being/agent/existent in the world.  But he is not.  The best Christian theologians, whether Eastern or Western, know this.  All of our language breaks down.  

The second thing is need to remember is that God created the world in freedom.  He did not have to create the world.  He does not need the world.  If he had never created the world, he would still be the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in infinite glory, goodness, and perfection.  Yet he did create, and so we need to find a way to say that the immutable, impassible, and eternal God "became" Creator, while always recognizing the limitations and inadequacies of this language.  The same considerations apply when we speak of God "becoming" man in Jesus Christ.  I have found the reflections of the great Reformed theologian, Thomas F. Torrance, who was profoundly influenced by Sts Athanasius and Hilary, to be particularly helpful here:

Quote
Athanasius shows that in virture of his intrinsic and eternal Fatherhood, God always had the power to create, and did actually create because he was and is the Father of the Son.  God is, and always is, Father, but to create something out of nothing utterly different from himself is an act of his will and freely follows from what he eternally and intrinsically is.  Hence, "for God to create is secondary, and to beget is primary" [Con. Ar., 2.2]. ... The truth of the matter, then, is that while God was always Father, he was not always Creator or Maker.  That is not to say that the creation was not in the Mind of God before he actually brought it into being, but that he brought it into being by a definite act of his will and thereby gave it a beginning.  Quite clearly words like "was," "before," "when" and "beginning" are time-related, and present us with problems when we speak of God, for the time-relations they imply may not be read back into God.  These terms have one sense when used of God when they are governed by the unique nature of God, and another sense when used of creatures in accordance with their transitory natures.  Thus when the Scriptures tell us that "in the beginning God created" we must understand "beginning" in a two-fold way: with reference to the creating act of God, and with reference to what he has created or his works.  Hence Athanasius could say that "while the works have a beginning in being made, their beginning precedes their coming to be" [Con. Ar., 2.57].  Behind the beginning of creation there is an absolute or transcendent beginning by God who is himself eternally without beginning.  This is what makes the creation of the world out of nothing so utterly baffling and astonishing.  It is not only that something absolutely new has begun to be, new even for God who created it by his Word and gave it a contingent reality and integrity outwith himself, but that in some incomprehensible way, to cite Athanasius again, "the Word himself became the Maker of the things that have a beginning" [Con. Ar., 2.57].  God was always Father, not always Creator, but now he is Creator as well as Father.  It is in similar terms that we may speak of the eternal Son who became Man. The Son was always Son of God, but now he is Man as well as God.  "He was not man previously, but he became man for our sake" [In ill.om., 3]. ... If God was not always Creator, the creation of the universe as reality "external to God" was something new in the eternal Life of God.  If the Son or Word by whom he created all things was not always incarnate, but became man in the fullness of time, then God's communication of himself to us in Jesus Christ who is of one and the same being and nature as the Father, is something new to the eternal being of God.  Thus the incarnation and creation together, the latter interpreted in the light of the former, have quite breath-taking implications for our understanding of the nature of God.  They tell us that he is free to do what he had never done before, and free to be other than he was eternally: to be the Almighty Creator, and even to become incarnate as a creature within his creation, while remaining eternally the God that he is. (The Trinitarian Faith, pp. 87-89)

I would think that the approach outlined by Torrance provides a way for us to think about the immutability/mutability of the divine energies.  And most importantly of all, let us remember that when we speak of the divine essence and the divine energies, we really have no idea whatsoever what we are talking about.  All we know is that they belong to the Creator side of the Creator/creature dividing line.    


    
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« Reply #55 on: February 10, 2011, 01:36:18 PM »


I would think that the approach outlined by Torrance provides a way for us to think about the immutability/mutability of the divine energies.  And most importantly of all, let us remember that when we speak of the divine essence and the divine energies, we really have no idea whatsoever what we are talking about.  All we know is that they belong to the Creator side of the Creator/creature dividing line.    


    
Well stated Father Kimel. Thank you.
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« Reply #56 on: February 10, 2011, 01:37:02 PM »

As St. Gregory Palamas said:  "Three realities pertain to God: essence, energy, and the triad of divine hypostaseis."
Is it not essential to God to exist as the Three divine hypostaseis?
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« Reply #57 on: February 10, 2011, 01:43:03 PM »

How did God not change after he incorporated humanity into the Godhead?
The hypostasis of the Logos became composite in the incarnation, so in that sense one can say that God (i.e., the divine Logos) changed, but this does not involve a change in the divine essence, which is utterly transcendent and beyond being (hyperousios).
That said, I've often wondered if the Son is present in the Eucharist in His Essence or His Energies.
I admit I am not too familiar with Eastern Orthodox theology in terms of the whole Essence vs. Energies thing, but if I had to guess I would say both. In the West, we believe that Christ is present in the Eucharist in a different and more profound way than any other place except for the Beatific Vision (heaven).
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« Reply #58 on: February 10, 2011, 01:55:43 PM »

As St. Gregory Palamas said:  "Three realities pertain to God: essence, energy, and the triad of divine hypostaseis."
Is it not essential to God to exist as the Three divine hypostaseis?
It depends upon what you mean by the word "essential" in your question.  If you mean that the three hypostaseis are the divine essence then I would not agree, because that would involve a confusion of hypostasis and essence in God.
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« Reply #59 on: February 10, 2011, 01:59:26 PM »

As St. Gregory Palamas said:  "Three realities pertain to God: essence, energy, and the triad of divine hypostaseis."
Is it not essential to God to exist as the Three divine hypostaseis?
It depends upon what you mean by the word "essential" in your question.  If you mean that the three hypostaseis are the divine essence then I would not agree, because that would involve a confusion of hypostasis and essence in God.
So is there a way that it is not essential for God to be three divine persons? Could he have been otherwise? If he could have been otherwise, it seems that that would make the persons into energies. That seems problematic.
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« Reply #60 on: February 10, 2011, 02:10:22 PM »

As St. Gregory Palamas said:  "Three realities pertain to God: essence, energy, and the triad of divine hypostaseis."
Is it not essential to God to exist as the Three divine hypostaseis?
It depends upon what you mean by the word "essential" in your question.  If you mean that the three hypostaseis are the divine essence then I would not agree, because that would involve a confusion of hypostasis and essence in God.
So is there a way that it is not essential for God to be three divine persons? Could he have been otherwise? If he could have been otherwise, it seems that that would make the persons into energies. That seems problematic.
I do not wish to say that God could choose to be other than He is, but nor do I wish to bind Him in any form of neo-platonic necessity, because God is beyond such things. 

God is three persons in one essence, and this truth can be known solely by revelation, and not by any form of discursive reasoning, and this is as far as I believe one can safely go in discussing the matter.  Trying to pry into the divine majesty too closely will only bring - as St. Gregory Nazianzen said - madness.
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« Reply #61 on: February 10, 2011, 02:29:24 PM »

As St. Gregory Palamas said:  "Three realities pertain to God: essence, energy, and the triad of divine hypostaseis."
Is it not essential to God to exist as the Three divine hypostaseis?
It depends upon what you mean by the word "essential" in your question.  If you mean that the three hypostaseis are the divine essence then I would not agree, because that would involve a confusion of hypostasis and essence in God.
So is there a way that it is not essential for God to be three divine persons? Could he have been otherwise? If he could have been otherwise, it seems that that would make the persons into energies. That seems problematic.
I do not wish to say that God could choose to be other than He is, but nor do I wish to bind Him in any form of neo-platonic necessity, because God is beyond such things. 

God is three persons in one essence, and this truth can be known solely by revelation, and not by any form of discursive reasoning, and this is as far as I believe one can safely go in discussing the matter.  Trying to pry into the divine majesty too closely will only bring - as St. Gregory Nazianzen said - madness.
Is St. Gregory Palamas mad for using discursive reasoning to explain how the essence is separate from the energies?
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« Reply #62 on: February 10, 2011, 02:30:19 PM »

As St. Gregory Palamas said:  "Three realities pertain to God: essence, energy, and the triad of divine hypostaseis."
Is it not essential to God to exist as the Three divine hypostaseis?
It depends upon what you mean by the word "essential" in your question.  If you mean that the three hypostaseis are the divine essence then I would not agree, because that would involve a confusion of hypostasis and essence in God.
So is there a way that it is not essential for God to be three divine persons? Could he have been otherwise? If he could have been otherwise, it seems that that would make the persons into energies. That seems problematic.
I do not wish to say that God could choose to be other than He is, but nor do I wish to bind Him in any form of neo-platonic necessity, because God is beyond such things. 

God is three persons in one essence, and this truth can be known solely by revelation, and not by any form of discursive reasoning, and this is as far as I believe one can safely go in discussing the matter.  Trying to pry into the divine majesty too closely will only bring - as St. Gregory Nazianzen said - madness.
It's interesting that some are so concerned with avoiding Neo-Platonism, when the essence/energies distinction seems to come from Neo-Platonic thought, not that there is anything wrong with that.
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« Reply #63 on: February 10, 2011, 02:31:32 PM »

I do want to be clear that I am not against using the essence/energies language when talking about God, as see the Cappedocians as a rich source of theology for the Church.
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« Reply #64 on: February 10, 2011, 02:32:20 PM »

I do not wish to say that God could choose to be other than He is, but nor do I wish to bind Him in any form of neo-platonic necessity, because God is beyond such things. 

Is there anything in the works of St. Gregory Palamas that disucuss this matter?
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« Reply #65 on: February 10, 2011, 03:16:26 PM »

As St. Gregory Palamas said:  "Three realities pertain to God: essence, energy, and the triad of divine hypostaseis."
Is it not essential to God to exist as the Three divine hypostaseis?
It depends upon what you mean by the word "essential" in your question.  If you mean that the three hypostaseis are the divine essence then I would not agree, because that would involve a confusion of hypostasis and essence in God.
So is there a way that it is not essential for God to be three divine persons? Could he have been otherwise? If he could have been otherwise, it seems that that would make the persons into energies. That seems problematic.
I do not wish to say that God could choose to be other than He is, but nor do I wish to bind Him in any form of neo-platonic necessity, because God is beyond such things. 

God is three persons in one essence, and this truth can be known solely by revelation, and not by any form of discursive reasoning, and this is as far as I believe one can safely go in discussing the matter.  Trying to pry into the divine majesty too closely will only bring - as St. Gregory Nazianzen said - madness.
It's interesting that some are so concerned with avoiding Neo-Platonism, when the essence/energies distinction seems to come from Neo-Platonic thought, not that there is anything wrong with that.
Palamas was not a neo-Patonist, and GOTR published an article many years ago on this topic (see GOTR, volume 6, "Notes on the Palamite Controversy and Related Topics").
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« Reply #66 on: February 10, 2011, 03:20:01 PM »

I do not wish to say that God could choose to be other than He is, but nor do I wish to bind Him in any form of neo-platonic necessity, because God is beyond such things. 

Is there anything in the works of St. Gregory Palamas that disucuss this matter?
Not specifically - at least as far as I know.  Palamas does state over and over that God cannot be limited by human categories of necessity, which is one of the many evidences of his not being a neo-Platonist.  Plotinus' trinity is predicated on necessity, although some scholars hold that he tried to minimize its impact, but I do not see any evidence for that in the Enneads.
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« Reply #67 on: February 10, 2011, 03:22:13 PM »

I do want to be clear that I am not against using the essence/energies language when talking about God, as see the Cappedocians as a rich source of theology for the Church.
St. Maximos the Confessor also had a doctrine of energies.  Cheesy
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« Reply #68 on: February 10, 2011, 03:27:16 PM »

I do want to be clear that I am not against using the essence/energies language when talking about God, as see the Cappedocians as a rich source of theology for the Church.
St. Maximos the Confessor also had a doctrine of energies.  Cheesy
Of course he did.
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« Reply #69 on: February 10, 2011, 03:28:17 PM »

I do not wish to say that God could choose to be other than He is, but nor do I wish to bind Him in any form of neo-platonic necessity, because God is beyond such things. 

Is there anything in the works of St. Gregory Palamas that disucuss this matter?
Not specifically - at least as far as I know.  Palamas does state over and over that God cannot be limited by human categories of necessity, which is one of the many evidences of his not being a neo-Platonist.  Plotinus' trinity is predicated on necessity, although some scholars hold that he tried to minimize its impact, but I do not see any evidence for that in the Enneads.
Who said anything about human concepts of necessity?
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« Reply #70 on: February 10, 2011, 03:28:47 PM »

As we are talking about the essence/energies distinction, folks may find of interest these two articles I recently came across:

Alexis Torrance, Precedents for Palamas’ Essence-Energies Theology in the Cappadocian Fathers

J. P. Houdret, Palamas and the Cappadocians
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« Reply #71 on: February 10, 2011, 03:36:54 PM »

I also think that it's important that we distinguish what we mean by "necessity" in this discussion, so as not to end up confused.
There is the "necessity" of essence, in that a being must be certain way by necessity, becaue of its essence.
There is also the necessity of demonstration, in that we must, by necessity, draw certain conclusions based on what we know.
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« Reply #72 on: February 10, 2011, 03:37:52 PM »

As we are talking about the essence/energies distinction, folks may find of interest these two articles I recently came across:

Alexis Torrance, Precedents for Palamas’ Essence-Energies Theology in the Cappadocian Fathers

J. P. Houdret, Palamas and the Cappadocians
Norman Russell also wrote an interesting article on Palamas some years ago, which should be added to the articles listed by Fr. Kimel:

"Theosis and Gregory Palamas:  Continuity or Doctrinal Change" (SVTQ, vol. 50, no. 4, 2006)
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« Reply #73 on: February 10, 2011, 03:39:31 PM »

I also think that it's important that we distinguish what we mean by "necessity" in this discussion, so as not to end up confused.
There is the "necessity" of essence, in that a being must be certain way by necessity, becaue of its essence.
There is also the necessity of demonstration, in that we must, by necessity, draw certain conclusions based on what we know.
God is beyond essence (hyperousios), so necessity of essence does not apply to God in any meaningful sense that we can use in relation to the divine essence.
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« Reply #74 on: February 10, 2011, 03:42:15 PM »

I also think that it's important that we distinguish what we mean by "necessity" in this discussion, so as not to end up confused.
There is the "necessity" of essence, in that a being must be certain way by necessity, becaue of its essence.
There is also the necessity of demonstration, in that we must, by necessity, draw certain conclusions based on what we know.
God is beyond essence (hyperousios), so necessity of essence does not apply to God in any meaningful sense that we can use in relation to the divine essence.
Indeed. It is of God's essence to be superessential, in the way that we understand essence. But that is because God is beyond human language and understanding. That does not make it meaningless to talk of God's essence in an analogical fashion. Unless you are saying that God has no essence, and  may very well be or not be anything... Such volunteerism is dangerous stuff.
It's one of the reasons why ask I you if you believe that God is essentially three Divine Persons. It seems that for God to truely be the infinite, then we must conclude that He exists as the three Divine Suppositums, and any other way of existing would actually be a limit on his essence.
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« Reply #75 on: February 10, 2011, 03:48:33 PM »

Let me ask you another question, Todd. Is the essence/energies distinction essential to God?
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« Reply #76 on: February 10, 2011, 03:49:52 PM »

I also think that it's important that we distinguish what we mean by "necessity" in this discussion, so as not to end up confused.
There is the "necessity" of essence, in that a being must be certain way by necessity, becaue of its essence.
There is also the necessity of demonstration, in that we must, by necessity, draw certain conclusions based on what we know.
God is beyond essence (hyperousios), so necessity of essence does not apply to God in any meaningful sense that we can use in relation to the divine essence.
Indeed. It is of God's essence to be superessential, in the way that we understand essence. But that is because God is beyond human language and understanding. That does not make it meaningless to talk of God's essence in an analogical fashion. Unless you are saying that God has no essence, and  may very well be or not be anything... Such volunteerism is dangerous stuff.
It's one of the reasons why ask I you if you believe that God is essentially three Divine Persons. It seems that for God to truely be the infinite, then we must conclude that He exists as the three Divine Suppositums, and any other way of existing would actually be a limit on his essence.
It means that we cannot say anything about the divine essence itself (see Capita Physica, nos. 144-146).  The divine essence is unnameable, and whenever we think we are speaking about the superessential essence we are in fact speaking about the divine energy, which alone comes down to us.
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« Reply #77 on: February 10, 2011, 03:51:11 PM »

Let me ask you another question, Todd. Is the essence/energies distinction essential to God?
You seem to like to equivocate in your use of the word essential; so rather than repeat endlessly the word essence in different forms I will say that the essence/energy distinction is inherent to God.  Cheesy
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« Reply #78 on: February 10, 2011, 03:51:23 PM »

I also think that it's important that we distinguish what we mean by "necessity" in this discussion, so as not to end up confused.
There is the "necessity" of essence, in that a being must be certain way by necessity, becaue of its essence.
There is also the necessity of demonstration, in that we must, by necessity, draw certain conclusions based on what we know.
God is beyond essence (hyperousios), so necessity of essence does not apply to God in any meaningful sense that we can use in relation to the divine essence.
Indeed. It is of God's essence to be superessential, in the way that we understand essence. But that is because God is beyond human language and understanding. That does not make it meaningless to talk of God's essence in an analogical fashion. Unless you are saying that God has no essence, and  may very well be or not be anything... Such volunteerism is dangerous stuff.
It's one of the reasons why ask I you if you believe that God is essentially three Divine Persons. It seems that for God to truely be the infinite, then we must conclude that He exists as the three Divine Suppositums, and any other way of existing would actually be a limit on his essence.
It means that we cannot say anything about the divine essence itself.  The divine essence is unnameable, and whenever we think we are speaking about the superessential essence we are in fact speaking about the divine energy, which alone comes down to us.
And yet, in this post, you are speaking about the Divine Essence. Are the Divine Hypostasises Energies, that could have been otherwise?
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« Reply #79 on: February 10, 2011, 03:52:43 PM »

Let me ask you another question, Todd. Is the essence/energies distinction essential to God?
You seem to like to equivocate in your use of the word essential; so rather than repeat endlessly the word essence in different forms I will say that the essence/energy distinction is inherent to God.  Cheesy
Its not equivocation, because an essence is that which is essential to a being. The essence of a human being is to be a rational animal. Being both rational and animal is essential to humans because that is what a human's essence is. This is obviously an example from our experience, but we can use the language analogically of God (but only analogially).
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« Reply #80 on: February 10, 2011, 03:55:32 PM »

I also think that it's important that we distinguish what we mean by "necessity" in this discussion, so as not to end up confused.
There is the "necessity" of essence, in that a being must be certain way by necessity, becaue of its essence.
There is also the necessity of demonstration, in that we must, by necessity, draw certain conclusions based on what we know.
God is beyond essence (hyperousios), so necessity of essence does not apply to God in any meaningful sense that we can use in relation to the divine essence.
Indeed. It is of God's essence to be superessential, in the way that we understand essence. But that is because God is beyond human language and understanding. That does not make it meaningless to talk of God's essence in an analogical fashion. Unless you are saying that God has no essence, and  may very well be or not be anything... Such volunteerism is dangerous stuff.
It's one of the reasons why ask I you if you believe that God is essentially three Divine Persons. It seems that for God to truely be the infinite, then we must conclude that He exists as the three Divine Suppositums, and any other way of existing would actually be a limit on his essence.
It means that we cannot say anything about the divine essence itself.  The divine essence is unnameable, and whenever we think we are speaking about the superessential essence we are in fact speaking about the divine energy, which alone comes down to us.
And yet, in this post, you are speaking about the Divine Essence. Are the Divine Hypostasises Energies, that could have been otherwise?
No, I am speaking about what can be said about God, which means I am speaking about the energy which manifests God's essential presence, but which is not in fact His essence.  Hyperousios means beyond essence, and is used simply as a token which does not in any way define what is being spoken about.

How can language, which is diastemic, speak in any meaningful way about that which is adiastemic?  It cannot. 
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« Reply #81 on: February 10, 2011, 03:55:52 PM »

BTW Todd, to say that something is inherent to a being, is to say that it is essential or of it's essence.
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« Reply #82 on: February 10, 2011, 03:58:02 PM »

Let me ask you another question, Todd. Is the essence/energies distinction essential to God?
You seem to like to equivocate in your use of the word essential; so rather than repeat endlessly the word essence in different forms I will say that the essence/energy distinction is inherent to God.  Cheesy
Its not equivocation, because an essence is that which is essential to a being. The essence of a human being is to be a rational animal. Being both rational and animal is essential to humans because that is what a human's essence is. This is obviously an example from our experience, but we can use the language analogically of God (but only analogially).
And we cannot know the essence of God even analogically.  In other words, there is no analogia entis in Eastern theology, there is only an analogy of energy.
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« Reply #83 on: February 10, 2011, 03:59:33 PM »

I also think that it's important that we distinguish what we mean by "necessity" in this discussion, so as not to end up confused.
There is the "necessity" of essence, in that a being must be certain way by necessity, becaue of its essence.
There is also the necessity of demonstration, in that we must, by necessity, draw certain conclusions based on what we know.
God is beyond essence (hyperousios), so necessity of essence does not apply to God in any meaningful sense that we can use in relation to the divine essence.
Indeed. It is of God's essence to be superessential, in the way that we understand essence. But that is because God is beyond human language and understanding. That does not make it meaningless to talk of God's essence in an analogical fashion. Unless you are saying that God has no essence, and  may very well be or not be anything... Such volunteerism is dangerous stuff.
It's one of the reasons why ask I you if you believe that God is essentially three Divine Persons. It seems that for God to truely be the infinite, then we must conclude that He exists as the three Divine Suppositums, and any other way of existing would actually be a limit on his essence.
It means that we cannot say anything about the divine essence itself.  The divine essence is unnameable, and whenever we think we are speaking about the superessential essence we are in fact speaking about the divine energy, which alone comes down to us.
And yet, in this post, you are speaking about the Divine Essence. Are the Divine Hypostasises Energies, that could have been otherwise?
No, I am speaking about what can be said about God, which means I am speaking about the energy which manifests God's essential presence, but which is not in fact His essence.  Hyperousios means beyond essence, and is used simply as a token which does not in any way define what is being spoken about.
And yet, you are naming God's Essence as Essence on the one hand (contradicting your claim to name it; why not say that we can speak of it analogically and by describing what it is not?) and in the next saying he has no essence.
Again, help me to understand what you mean by beyond essence? Are you saying that God has no essence in reality so that he can be this or that, as opposed to what he is? Can he become limited? Can make and unmake himself? Is he not truely unlimited perfection, and can enter into other modes of being (which, by necessity, would be limited modes by not being the other)
Or are you simply saying that God is beyond essence, as conceived by human minds?
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« Reply #84 on: February 10, 2011, 03:59:52 PM »

BTW Todd, to say that something is inherent to a being, is to say that it is essential or of it's essence.
Alas it is impossible for man to know, in any sense, the divine essence, which is beyond being and prediction.
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« Reply #85 on: February 10, 2011, 04:00:57 PM »

I also think that it's important that we distinguish what we mean by "necessity" in this discussion, so as not to end up confused.
There is the "necessity" of essence, in that a being must be certain way by necessity, becaue of its essence.
There is also the necessity of demonstration, in that we must, by necessity, draw certain conclusions based on what we know.
God is beyond essence (hyperousios), so necessity of essence does not apply to God in any meaningful sense that we can use in relation to the divine essence.
Indeed. It is of God's essence to be superessential, in the way that we understand essence. But that is because God is beyond human language and understanding. That does not make it meaningless to talk of God's essence in an analogical fashion. Unless you are saying that God has no essence, and  may very well be or not be anything... Such volunteerism is dangerous stuff.
It's one of the reasons why ask I you if you believe that God is essentially three Divine Persons. It seems that for God to truely be the infinite, then we must conclude that He exists as the three Divine Suppositums, and any other way of existing would actually be a limit on his essence.
It means that we cannot say anything about the divine essence itself.  The divine essence is unnameable, and whenever we think we are speaking about the superessential essence we are in fact speaking about the divine energy, which alone comes down to us.
And yet, in this post, you are speaking about the Divine Essence. Are the Divine Hypostasises Energies, that could have been otherwise?
No, I am speaking about what can be said about God, which means I am speaking about the energy which manifests God's essential presence, but which is not in fact His essence.  Hyperousios means beyond essence, and is used simply as a token which does not in any way define what is being spoken about.
And yet, you are naming God's Essence as Essence on the one hand (contradicting your claim to name it; why not say that we can speak of it analogically and by describing what it is not?) and in the next saying he has no essence.
Again, help me to understand what you mean by beyond essence? Are you saying that God has no essence in reality so that he can be this or that, as opposed to what he is? Can he become limited? Can make and unmake himself? Is he not truely unlimited perfection, and can enter into other modes of being (which, by necessity, would be limited modes by not being the other)
Or are you simply saying that God is beyond essence, as conceived by human minds?
He is beyond essence in both senses, i.e., beyond essence in itself and beyond what man can conceive.  God is infinitely beyond the infinite.
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« Reply #86 on: February 10, 2011, 04:01:56 PM »

I also think that it's important that we distinguish what we mean by "necessity" in this discussion, so as not to end up confused.
There is the "necessity" of essence, in that a being must be certain way by necessity, becaue of its essence.
There is also the necessity of demonstration, in that we must, by necessity, draw certain conclusions based on what we know.
God is beyond essence (hyperousios), so necessity of essence does not apply to God in any meaningful sense that we can use in relation to the divine essence.
Indeed. It is of God's essence to be superessential, in the way that we understand essence. But that is because God is beyond human language and understanding. That does not make it meaningless to talk of God's essence in an analogical fashion. Unless you are saying that God has no essence, and  may very well be or not be anything... Such volunteerism is dangerous stuff.
It's one of the reasons why ask I you if you believe that God is essentially three Divine Persons. It seems that for God to truely be the infinite, then we must conclude that He exists as the three Divine Suppositums, and any other way of existing would actually be a limit on his essence.
It means that we cannot say anything about the divine essence itself.  The divine essence is unnameable, and whenever we think we are speaking about the superessential essence we are in fact speaking about the divine energy, which alone comes down to us.
And yet, in this post, you are speaking about the Divine Essence. Are the Divine Hypostasises Energies, that could have been otherwise?
No, I am speaking about what can be said about God, which means I am speaking about the energy which manifests God's essential presence, but which is not in fact His essence.  Hyperousios means beyond essence, and is used simply as a token which does not in any way define what is being spoken about.
And yet, you are naming God's Essence as Essence on the one hand (contradicting your claim to name it; why not say that we can speak of it analogically and by describing what it is not?) and in the next saying he has no essence.
Again, help me to understand what you mean by beyond essence? Are you saying that God has no essence in reality so that he can be this or that, as opposed to what he is? Can he become limited? Can make and unmake himself? Is he not truely unlimited perfection, and can enter into other modes of being (which, by necessity, would be limited modes by not being the other)
Or are you simply saying that God is beyond essence, as conceived by human minds?
He is beyond essence in both senses.  God is infinitely beyond the infinite.
So he can go from being an unlimited being to a limited being?
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« Reply #87 on: February 10, 2011, 04:04:04 PM »

BTW Todd, to say that something is inherent to a being, is to say that it is essential or of it's essence.
Alas it is impossible for man to know, in any sense, the divine essence, which is beyond being and prediction.
We can have some knowledge of what it is, by knowing what it is not. Isn't that the essence of apophatic theology? And further, if the Energies, are truely the energies of God's essence, then they do reveal something about the essence, otherwise they are not really the Energies of God's essence, which would make them some subordinate being.

Can I ask this? Can God choose to exist in a manner different than the Divine Hypostatises?
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« Reply #88 on: February 10, 2011, 04:04:21 PM »

I also think that it's important that we distinguish what we mean by "necessity" in this discussion, so as not to end up confused.
There is the "necessity" of essence, in that a being must be certain way by necessity, becaue of its essence.
There is also the necessity of demonstration, in that we must, by necessity, draw certain conclusions based on what we know.
God is beyond essence (hyperousios), so necessity of essence does not apply to God in any meaningful sense that we can use in relation to the divine essence.
Indeed. It is of God's essence to be superessential, in the way that we understand essence. But that is because God is beyond human language and understanding. That does not make it meaningless to talk of God's essence in an analogical fashion. Unless you are saying that God has no essence, and  may very well be or not be anything... Such volunteerism is dangerous stuff.
It's one of the reasons why ask I you if you believe that God is essentially three Divine Persons. It seems that for God to truely be the infinite, then we must conclude that He exists as the three Divine Suppositums, and any other way of existing would actually be a limit on his essence.
It means that we cannot say anything about the divine essence itself.  The divine essence is unnameable, and whenever we think we are speaking about the superessential essence we are in fact speaking about the divine energy, which alone comes down to us.
And yet, in this post, you are speaking about the Divine Essence. Are the Divine Hypostasises Energies, that could have been otherwise?
No, I am speaking about what can be said about God, which means I am speaking about the energy which manifests God's essential presence, but which is not in fact His essence.  Hyperousios means beyond essence, and is used simply as a token which does not in any way define what is being spoken about.
And yet, you are naming God's Essence as Essence on the one hand (contradicting your claim to name it; why not say that we can speak of it analogically and by describing what it is not?) and in the next saying he has no essence.
Again, help me to understand what you mean by beyond essence? Are you saying that God has no essence in reality so that he can be this or that, as opposed to what he is? Can he become limited? Can make and unmake himself? Is he not truely unlimited perfection, and can enter into other modes of being (which, by necessity, would be limited modes by not being the other)
Or are you simply saying that God is beyond essence, as conceived by human minds?
He is beyond essence in both senses.  God is infinitely beyond the infinite.
So he can go from being an unlimited being to a limited being?
I believe that He did that in the incarnation, but of course He is both simultaneously.
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« Reply #89 on: February 10, 2011, 04:05:09 PM »

BTW Todd, to say that something is inherent to a being, is to say that it is essential or of it's essence.
Alas it is impossible for man to know, in any sense, the divine essence, which is beyond being and prediction.
We can have some knowledge of what it is, by knowing what it is not. Isn't that the essence of apophatic theology? And further, if the Energies, are truely the energies of God's essence, then they do reveal something about the essence, otherwise they are not really the Energies of God's essence, which would make them some subordinate being.
We cannot know what God is, only that He is, and the latter is know through the divine energies.

Can I ask this? Can God choose to exist in a manner different than the Divine Hypostatises?
God only knows.  Such questions have no revealed answer.
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« Reply #90 on: February 10, 2011, 04:09:33 PM »

BTW Todd, to say that something is inherent to a being, is to say that it is essential or of it's essence.
Alas it is impossible for man to know, in any sense, the divine essence, which is beyond being and prediction.
We can have some knowledge of what it is, by knowing what it is not. Isn't that the essence of apophatic theology? And further, if the Energies, are truely the energies of God's essence, then they do reveal something about the essence, otherwise they are not really the Energies of God's essence, which would make them some subordinate being.

Can I ask this? Can God choose to exist in a manner different than the Divine Hypostatises?
God only knows.  Such questions have no revealed answer.
Basically, your answers tells me that you don't know if the Divine Persons are God or not. If God can exist in another "mode" (for lack of a better word) then the Divine Persons are not really infinite and perfect because they lack the perfections of this hypothetical other "mode" but God is Infinite and Perfect. It seems to me that we must say that God is unlimited perfection and conclude from this that what he is, is essential to Him, because all else would be less than unlimited perfection. Thus, God must be essentially the three Divine Persons. It would also mean that we must conclude that God is essentially essence and energies, and that  we need to be careful to not drive too deep a wedge between the distinction between his essence and energies.
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« Reply #91 on: February 10, 2011, 04:11:02 PM »

I agree with what St. Gregory of Nyssa said in his homilies on the Beatitudes:


The Divine Nature, whatever It may be in Itself, surpasses every mental concept. For It is altogether inaccessible to reasoning and conjecture, nor has there been found any human faculty capable of perceiving the incomprehensible; for we cannot devise a means of understanding inconceivable things. Therefore, the great Apostle calls His ways unsearchable, meaning by this that the way that leads to knowledge of the Divine Essence is inaccessible to thought. That is to say, none of those who have passed through life before us has made known to the intelligence so much as a trace by which might be known what is above knowledge.

Since such is He whose nature is above every nature, the Invisible and Incomprehensible is seen and apprehended in another manner. Many are the modes of such perception. For it is possible to see Him who has made all things in wisdom by way of inference through the wisdom that appears in the universe. It is the same as with human works of art where, in a way, the mind can perceive the maker of the product that is before it, because he has left on his work the stamp of his art. In this, however, is seen not the nature of the artist, but only his artistic skill which he has left impressed on his handiwork. Thus also, when we look at the order of creation, we form in our mind an image not of the essence, but of the wisdom of Him who has made all things wisely. And if we consider the cause of our life, that He came to create man not from necessity, but from the free decision of his goodness, we say that we have contemplated God by this way, that we have apprehended his goodness – so again, not his essence, but his goodness. It is the same with all other things that raised the mind to transcendent goodness, all these we can term apprehensions of God, since each one of these sublime meditations places God within our sight. For power, purity, constancy, freedom from contrariety – all these engrave on the soul the impress of the divine and transcendent mind. Hence it is clear through what has just been said that the Lord speaks the truth when he promises that God will be seen by those who have a pure heart; nor does Paul deceive when he asserts in his letters that no one has seen God, nor can he see him. For he is invisible by nature, but becomes visible in his energies, for he may be contemplated in the things that are referred to him (St. Gregory of Nyssa, Sixth Sermon on the Beatitudes).
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« Reply #92 on: February 10, 2011, 04:12:05 PM »

BTW Todd, to say that something is inherent to a being, is to say that it is essential or of it's essence.
Alas it is impossible for man to know, in any sense, the divine essence, which is beyond being and prediction.
We can have some knowledge of what it is, by knowing what it is not. Isn't that the essence of apophatic theology? And further, if the Energies, are truely the energies of God's essence, then they do reveal something about the essence, otherwise they are not really the Energies of God's essence, which would make them some subordinate being.

Can I ask this? Can God choose to exist in a manner different than the Divine Hypostatises?
God only knows.  Such questions have no revealed answer.
Basically, your answers tells me that you don't know if the Divine Persons are God or not. If God can exist in another "mode" (for lack of a better word) then the Divine Persons are not really infinite and perfect because they lack the perfections of this hypothetical other "mode" but God is Infinite and Perfect. It seems to me that we must say that God is unlimited perfection and conclude from this that what he is, is essential to Him, because all else would be less than unlimited perfection. Thus, God must be essentially the three Divine Persons. It would also mean that we must conclude that God is essentially essence and energies, and that  we need to be careful to not drive too deep a wedge between the distinction between his essence and energies.
I know - by revelation - that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are God; but I do not know what God is.  Cheesy

It is the difference between knowing what something is, and that something exists; I cannot know the former, while I can know the latter - in a limited way - through revelation.
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« Reply #93 on: February 10, 2011, 04:17:24 PM »

BTW Todd, to say that something is inherent to a being, is to say that it is essential or of it's essence.
Alas it is impossible for man to know, in any sense, the divine essence, which is beyond being and prediction.
We can have some knowledge of what it is, by knowing what it is not. Isn't that the essence of apophatic theology? And further, if the Energies, are truely the energies of God's essence, then they do reveal something about the essence, otherwise they are not really the Energies of God's essence, which would make them some subordinate being.

Can I ask this? Can God choose to exist in a manner different than the Divine Hypostatises?
God only knows.  Such questions have no revealed answer.
Basically, your answers tells me that you don't know if the Divine Persons are God or not. If God can exist in another "mode" (for lack of a better word) then the Divine Persons are not really infinite and perfect because they lack the perfections of this hypothetical other "mode" but God is Infinite and Perfect. It seems to me that we must say that God is unlimited perfection and conclude from this that what he is, is essential to Him, because all else would be less than unlimited perfection. Thus, God must be essentially the three Divine Persons. It would also mean that we must conclude that God is essentially essence and energies, and that  we need to be careful to not drive too deep a wedge between the distinction between his essence and energies.
I know - by revelation - that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are God; but I do not know what God is.  Cheesy

It is the difference between knowing what something is, and that something exists; I cannot know the former, while I can know the latter - in a limited way - through revelation.
You don't know that God is unlimited?
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« Reply #94 on: February 10, 2011, 04:19:47 PM »

When we contemplate God we see the things around God (ta peri theon), but we never see - in this life or the next - the ineffable divine essence.
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« Reply #95 on: February 10, 2011, 04:20:28 PM »

BTW Todd, to say that something is inherent to a being, is to say that it is essential or of it's essence.
Alas it is impossible for man to know, in any sense, the divine essence, which is beyond being and prediction.
We can have some knowledge of what it is, by knowing what it is not. Isn't that the essence of apophatic theology? And further, if the Energies, are truely the energies of God's essence, then they do reveal something about the essence, otherwise they are not really the Energies of God's essence, which would make them some subordinate being.

Can I ask this? Can God choose to exist in a manner different than the Divine Hypostatises?
God only knows.  Such questions have no revealed answer.
Basically, your answers tells me that you don't know if the Divine Persons are God or not. If God can exist in another "mode" (for lack of a better word) then the Divine Persons are not really infinite and perfect because they lack the perfections of this hypothetical other "mode" but God is Infinite and Perfect. It seems to me that we must say that God is unlimited perfection and conclude from this that what he is, is essential to Him, because all else would be less than unlimited perfection. Thus, God must be essentially the three Divine Persons. It would also mean that we must conclude that God is essentially essence and energies, and that  we need to be careful to not drive too deep a wedge between the distinction between his essence and energies.
I know - by revelation - that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are God; but I do not know what God is.  Cheesy

It is the difference between knowing what something is, and that something exists; I cannot know the former, while I can know the latter - in a limited way - through revelation.
You don't know that God is unlimited?
I know that His energies are unlimited, but I do not know anything about the divine essence.
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« Reply #96 on: February 10, 2011, 04:22:11 PM »

BTW Todd, to say that something is inherent to a being, is to say that it is essential or of it's essence.
Alas it is impossible for man to know, in any sense, the divine essence, which is beyond being and prediction.
We can have some knowledge of what it is, by knowing what it is not. Isn't that the essence of apophatic theology? And further, if the Energies, are truely the energies of God's essence, then they do reveal something about the essence, otherwise they are not really the Energies of God's essence, which would make them some subordinate being.

Can I ask this? Can God choose to exist in a manner different than the Divine Hypostatises?
God only knows.  Such questions have no revealed answer.
Basically, your answers tells me that you don't know if the Divine Persons are God or not. If God can exist in another "mode" (for lack of a better word) then the Divine Persons are not really infinite and perfect because they lack the perfections of this hypothetical other "mode" but God is Infinite and Perfect. It seems to me that we must say that God is unlimited perfection and conclude from this that what he is, is essential to Him, because all else would be less than unlimited perfection. Thus, God must be essentially the three Divine Persons. It would also mean that we must conclude that God is essentially essence and energies, and that  we need to be careful to not drive too deep a wedge between the distinction between his essence and energies.
I know - by revelation - that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are God; but I do not know what God is.  Cheesy

It is the difference between knowing what something is, and that something exists; I cannot know the former, while I can know the latter - in a limited way - through revelation.
You don't know that God is unlimited?
I know that His energies are unlimited, but I do not know anything about the divine essence.
So his essence might be limited? I thought that the mystery of God's essence came from the fact that it is unlimited and we limited, that it is a light to bright for our "eyes".
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« Reply #97 on: February 10, 2011, 04:24:39 PM »

Todd, do you know the Divine Persons?
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« Reply #98 on: February 10, 2011, 04:26:24 PM »

BTW Todd, to say that something is inherent to a being, is to say that it is essential or of it's essence.
Alas it is impossible for man to know, in any sense, the divine essence, which is beyond being and prediction.
We can have some knowledge of what it is, by knowing what it is not. Isn't that the essence of apophatic theology? And further, if the Energies, are truely the energies of God's essence, then they do reveal something about the essence, otherwise they are not really the Energies of God's essence, which would make them some subordinate being.

Can I ask this? Can God choose to exist in a manner different than the Divine Hypostatises?
God only knows.  Such questions have no revealed answer.
Basically, your answers tells me that you don't know if the Divine Persons are God or not. If God can exist in another "mode" (for lack of a better word) then the Divine Persons are not really infinite and perfect because they lack the perfections of this hypothetical other "mode" but God is Infinite and Perfect. It seems to me that we must say that God is unlimited perfection and conclude from this that what he is, is essential to Him, because all else would be less than unlimited perfection. Thus, God must be essentially the three Divine Persons. It would also mean that we must conclude that God is essentially essence and energies, and that  we need to be careful to not drive too deep a wedge between the distinction between his essence and energies.
I know - by revelation - that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are God; but I do not know what God is.  Cheesy

It is the difference between knowing what something is, and that something exists; I cannot know the former, while I can know the latter - in a limited way - through revelation.
You don't know that God is unlimited?
I know that His energies are unlimited, but I do not know anything about the divine essence.
So his essence might be limited? I thought that the mystery of God's essence came from the fact that it is unlimited and we limited, that it is a light to bright for our "eyes".
I have no knowledge of His essence, but only of His energies, and His energies are infinite.
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« Reply #99 on: February 10, 2011, 04:28:57 PM »

BTW Todd, to say that something is inherent to a being, is to say that it is essential or of it's essence.
Alas it is impossible for man to know, in any sense, the divine essence, which is beyond being and prediction.
We can have some knowledge of what it is, by knowing what it is not. Isn't that the essence of apophatic theology? And further, if the Energies, are truely the energies of God's essence, then they do reveal something about the essence, otherwise they are not really the Energies of God's essence, which would make them some subordinate being.

Can I ask this? Can God choose to exist in a manner different than the Divine Hypostatises?
God only knows.  Such questions have no revealed answer.
Basically, your answers tells me that you don't know if the Divine Persons are God or not. If God can exist in another "mode" (for lack of a better word) then the Divine Persons are not really infinite and perfect because they lack the perfections of this hypothetical other "mode" but God is Infinite and Perfect. It seems to me that we must say that God is unlimited perfection and conclude from this that what he is, is essential to Him, because all else would be less than unlimited perfection. Thus, God must be essentially the three Divine Persons. It would also mean that we must conclude that God is essentially essence and energies, and that  we need to be careful to not drive too deep a wedge between the distinction between his essence and energies.
I know - by revelation - that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are God; but I do not know what God is.  Cheesy

It is the difference between knowing what something is, and that something exists; I cannot know the former, while I can know the latter - in a limited way - through revelation.
You don't know that God is unlimited?
I know that His energies are unlimited, but I do not know anything about the divine essence.
So his essence might be limited? I thought that the mystery of God's essence came from the fact that it is unlimited and we limited, that it is a light to bright for our "eyes".
I have no knowledge of His essence, but only of His energies, and His energies are infinite.
Wow. So it is conceiveable, in your thinking, that God's essence is limited, you just simply don't know.
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« Reply #100 on: February 10, 2011, 04:29:48 PM »

Todd, do you accept St. John of Damscus' teaching that God's Energy is simple?
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« Reply #101 on: February 10, 2011, 04:29:55 PM »

Todd, do you know the Divine Persons?
Yes, to the degree that the divine persons are revealed in scripture and tradition, and in the worship of the Church.  But I have no idea what the divine essence is, because it is beyond anything that can be conceived, and it is impossible for any creature to participate in it.
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« Reply #102 on: February 10, 2011, 04:30:19 PM »

Todd, do you accept St. John of Damscus' teaching that God's Energy is simple?
Yep, it is simple.  It is also one and many, e.g., the divine will is simple and so is the divine foreknowledge, and yet God's will is distinct from His foreknowledge.
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« Reply #103 on: February 10, 2011, 04:31:02 PM »

Todd, do you know the Divine Persons?
Yes, to the degree that the divine persons are revealed in scripture and tradition, and in the worship of the Church.  But I have no idea what the divine essence is, because it is beyond anything that can be conceived, and it is impossible for any creature to participate in it.
Why are the persons knowable? It seems that the persons, being infinite, would also be beyond comprehension. In fact, it seems that Energies, becasue they are infinite would also be beyond comprehension.
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« Reply #104 on: February 10, 2011, 04:31:18 PM »

Todd, do you accept St. John of Damscus' teaching that God's Energy is simple?
Yep, it is simple.  It is also one and many.
Can you elaborate on this?
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« Reply #105 on: February 10, 2011, 04:33:08 PM »

BTW Todd, to say that something is inherent to a being, is to say that it is essential or of it's essence.
Alas it is impossible for man to know, in any sense, the divine essence, which is beyond being and prediction.
We can have some knowledge of what it is, by knowing what it is not. Isn't that the essence of apophatic theology? And further, if the Energies, are truely the energies of God's essence, then they do reveal something about the essence, otherwise they are not really the Energies of God's essence, which would make them some subordinate being.

Can I ask this? Can God choose to exist in a manner different than the Divine Hypostatises?
God only knows.  Such questions have no revealed answer.
Basically, your answers tells me that you don't know if the Divine Persons are God or not. If God can exist in another "mode" (for lack of a better word) then the Divine Persons are not really infinite and perfect because they lack the perfections of this hypothetical other "mode" but God is Infinite and Perfect. It seems to me that we must say that God is unlimited perfection and conclude from this that what he is, is essential to Him, because all else would be less than unlimited perfection. Thus, God must be essentially the three Divine Persons. It would also mean that we must conclude that God is essentially essence and energies, and that  we need to be careful to not drive too deep a wedge between the distinction between his essence and energies.
I know - by revelation - that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are God; but I do not know what God is.  Cheesy

It is the difference between knowing what something is, and that something exists; I cannot know the former, while I can know the latter - in a limited way - through revelation.
You don't know that God is unlimited?
I know that His energies are unlimited, but I do not know anything about the divine essence.
So his essence might be limited? I thought that the mystery of God's essence came from the fact that it is unlimited and we limited, that it is a light to bright for our "eyes".
I have no knowledge of His essence, but only of His energies, and His energies are infinite.
Wow. So it is conceiveable, in your thinking, that God's essence is limited, you just simply don't know.
Where did I say that?  I said I have no idea at all what the divine essence is, because it is unnameable and completely incomprehensible (see Capita Physica, no. 144).
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« Reply #106 on: February 10, 2011, 04:34:48 PM »

BTW Todd, to say that something is inherent to a being, is to say that it is essential or of it's essence.
Alas it is impossible for man to know, in any sense, the divine essence, which is beyond being and prediction.
We can have some knowledge of what it is, by knowing what it is not. Isn't that the essence of apophatic theology? And further, if the Energies, are truely the energies of God's essence, then they do reveal something about the essence, otherwise they are not really the Energies of God's essence, which would make them some subordinate being.

Can I ask this? Can God choose to exist in a manner different than the Divine Hypostatises?
God only knows.  Such questions have no revealed answer.
Basically, your answers tells me that you don't know if the Divine Persons are God or not. If God can exist in another "mode" (for lack of a better word) then the Divine Persons are not really infinite and perfect because they lack the perfections of this hypothetical other "mode" but God is Infinite and Perfect. It seems to me that we must say that God is unlimited perfection and conclude from this that what he is, is essential to Him, because all else would be less than unlimited perfection. Thus, God must be essentially the three Divine Persons. It would also mean that we must conclude that God is essentially essence and energies, and that  we need to be careful to not drive too deep a wedge between the distinction between his essence and energies.
I know - by revelation - that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are God; but I do not know what God is.  Cheesy

It is the difference between knowing what something is, and that something exists; I cannot know the former, while I can know the latter - in a limited way - through revelation.
You don't know that God is unlimited?
I know that His energies are unlimited, but I do not know anything about the divine essence.
So his essence might be limited? I thought that the mystery of God's essence came from the fact that it is unlimited and we limited, that it is a light to bright for our "eyes".
I have no knowledge of His essence, but only of His energies, and His energies are infinite.
Wow. So it is conceiveable, in your thinking, that God's essence is limited, you just simply don't know.
Where did I say that?  I said I have no idea at all what the divine essence is, because it is unnameable and completely incomprehensible (see Capita Physica, no. 144).
You don't know if it's limited or unlimited, so it seems.
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« Reply #107 on: February 10, 2011, 04:35:44 PM »

St. Basil seems to know something about God's essence:
"The operations of God are various, but his essence is simple" -Letters 234:1 [A.D. 367]
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« Reply #108 on: February 10, 2011, 04:36:37 PM »

Todd, do you accept St. John of Damscus' teaching that God's Energy is simple?
Yep, it is simple.  It is also one and many.
Can you elaborate on this?
The divine energy is simple, but that there are still real distinctions between the energies (see the example I gave of the divine will and the divine foreknowledge in an earlier post).
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« Reply #109 on: February 10, 2011, 04:37:37 PM »

St. Basil seems to know something about God's essence:
"The operations of God are various, but his essence is simple" -Letters 234:1 [A.D. 367]
Actually, he is speaking about what is knowable, i.e., the divine energy, and not the superessential essence, which is beyond names or definition.

As I told you earlier, when a person says something kataphatic about the divine essence, they are actually referring to the divine energy, because the essence is beyond any names, and that is what St. Gregory of Nyssa was saying in his homily on the Beatitudes when he said things like . . . "we have apprehended his goodness – so again, not his essence, but his goodness."
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« Reply #110 on: February 10, 2011, 04:39:35 PM »

St. Basil seems to know something about God's essence:
"The operations of God are various, but his essence is simple" -Letters 234:1 [A.D. 367]
Actually, he is speaking about what is knowable, i.e., the divine energy, and not the superessential essence, which is beyond names or definition.
So he is not really saying that his "essence is simple" when he says, that his "essence is simple"? I saw this more about him actually providing some knowledge by showing what God's essence is not. In other words we know that it is not composed.
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« Reply #111 on: February 10, 2011, 04:40:27 PM »

Todd, do you accept St. John of Damscus' teaching that God's Energy is simple?
Yep, it is simple.  It is also one and many.
Can you elaborate on this?
The divine energy is simple, but that there are still real distinctions between the energies (see the example I gave of the divine will and the divine foreknowledge in an earlier post).
Would this be like this idea: God is simple, but there is a real distinction between the Divine Persons that does not destroy that simplicity?
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« Reply #112 on: February 10, 2011, 04:46:46 PM »

St. Basil seems to know something about God's essence:
"The operations of God are various, but his essence is simple" -Letters 234:1 [A.D. 367]
Actually, he is speaking about what is knowable, i.e., the divine energy, and not the superessential essence, which is beyond names or definition.
So he is not really saying that his "essence is simple" when he says, that his "essence is simple"? I saw this more about him actually providing some knowledge by showing what God's essence is not. In other words we know that it is not composed.
It is important to remember that God is beyond simplicity, which is why St. Gregory Nazianzen refused to identify the divine nature with simplicity in his Orations.
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« Reply #113 on: February 10, 2011, 04:47:46 PM »

Todd, do you accept St. John of Damscus' teaching that God's Energy is simple?
Yep, it is simple.  It is also one and many.
Can you elaborate on this?
The divine energy is simple, but that there are still real distinctions between the energies (see the example I gave of the divine will and the divine foreknowledge in an earlier post).
Would this be like this idea: God is simple, but there is a real distinction between the Divine Persons that does not destroy that simplicity?
Yes, real distinctions do not harm simplicity, but we must be careful not to turn simplicity into a definition for God or the divine essence, because God is beyond such things.
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« Reply #114 on: February 10, 2011, 04:51:02 PM »

St. Basil seems to know something about God's essence:
"The operations of God are various, but his essence is simple" -Letters 234:1 [A.D. 367]

Correct!  Do you know what the Greek word that translates "operation" in this quotation is?  --Energeia!
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« Reply #115 on: February 10, 2011, 04:52:48 PM »

St. Basil seems to know something about God's essence:
"The operations of God are various, but his essence is simple" -Letters 234:1 [A.D. 367]
Actually, he is speaking about what is knowable, i.e., the divine energy, and not the superessential essence, which is beyond names or definition.
So he is not really saying that his "essence is simple" when he says, that his "essence is simple"? I saw this more about him actually providing some knowledge by showing what God's essence is not. In other words we know that it is not composed.
There is - in anything we predicate about God - what Dr. Scot Douglass calls an invisible and unspoken is that bears the weight of essentiality (see his book "Theology of the Gap"), so that, when a person says that, God (or the divine essence) is simple, what is actually being said is, the God (or the divine essence) - that is - is simple.  The Cappadocians used this idea in order to defeat Eunomius in their disputes with him, because they refused to identify any words or names with the divine essence, which they held was utterly transcendent and incommunicable.
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« Reply #116 on: February 10, 2011, 05:14:51 PM »

Papist, I'd like to recommend an off-the-wall discussion of the divine being by the brilliant Lutheran theologian, Robert W. Jenson:

The Triune Identity (available for the bargain price of $12 from Sigler Press)

Systematic Theology, vol. 1 (outrageously expensive, so it's probably best to borrow it through Inter-library Loan)

Jenson does some very interesting and creative things with Gregory of Nyssa, particularly with Gregory's insistence upon the infinity of the divine ousia.  We forget, says Jenson, how radical Gregory's assertion of divine infinity was at the time and how radical it still is:

Quote
Infinite being is an odd sort of being.  It cannot be anything other than its infinity, cannot be an infinite something, for there can be no infinite some-thing:  A substance without clear boundaries could be only a wavery, insubstantial substance, and a substance with no boundaries must instantly dissipate.  Just this observation was the starting point of Hellenic philosophy's analysis of the notion of infinity.  An infinite something would always generate new characteristics beyond those that make its given self at any moment.  Thus Aristotle:  "That is infinite ... which has always something beyond itself."  Therefore an infinite something would have no "nature" at all, for a "nature" is precisely what defines, that is, limits, the possibilities of an entity.  Just so, an entity's nature subjects it to knowledge. ...  God--in the judgment of Hellenic philosophy--cannot be infinite; this is the one negative predicate that cannot fit deity, for it is deity's function to be the final object of knowledge. ...

The Christian attribution of infinity to God is thus in itself a radical reversal of metaphysical values.  And more in the direct line of our present argument, if God's being is infinite, then divine being is nothing other than infinity as such.  What the three divine hypostases variously derive from each other, so as to be distinguishably three and so that their joint act can be called "God," is sheer unboundedness.

Of course, if talk of "infinity" is to have any sense at all, infinity must surely be the infinity of something.  And Gregory's analysis does say what is infinite, but this is not a set of essentially divine attributes or their possessor, to make a referent for "deity" in the usual style.  In Gregory's interpretation, there is, most strictly speaking, no some-thing, God. If believing in  God means being a "theist," Gregory is an atheist--which is what pagan Hellenists regularly took the Christians to be.  The divine ousia is the infinity--and this is its sole characterization--of the work done between Jesus and his Father in their Spirit.  That what these three do is God, that they "have divine being," means sheerly that what happens among them accepts no limits, that nothing can hinder the life and love they enact--that the Father's choice will embrace all events, Jesus' self-giving outlast all unbelief, the Future they send be inexhaustible. (Triune Identity, pp. 163-165)

Jenson is brilliant, provocative, insightful.  He may be wrong in his reading of the Cappadocians, but I love the way that he pushes the metaphysical envelope and in so doing captures something true of the living God, the One who raised Jesus Christ from the dead and pours out the Spirit upon all flesh.       
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« Reply #117 on: February 10, 2011, 05:51:57 PM »

BTW Todd, to say that something is inherent to a being, is to say that it is essential or of it's essence.
Alas it is impossible for man to know, in any sense, the divine essence, which is beyond being and prediction.
We can have some knowledge of what it is, by knowing what it is not. Isn't that the essence of apophatic theology? And further, if the Energies, are truely the energies of God's essence, then they do reveal something about the essence, otherwise they are not really the Energies of God's essence, which would make them some subordinate being.

Can I ask this? Can God choose to exist in a manner different than the Divine Hypostatises?
God only knows.  Such questions have no revealed answer.
Basically, your answers tells me that you don't know if the Divine Persons are God or not. If God can exist in another "mode" (for lack of a better word) then the Divine Persons are not really infinite and perfect because they lack the perfections of this hypothetical other "mode" but God is Infinite and Perfect. It seems to me that we must say that God is unlimited perfection and conclude from this that what he is, is essential to Him, because all else would be less than unlimited perfection. Thus, God must be essentially the three Divine Persons. It would also mean that we must conclude that God is essentially essence and energies, and that  we need to be careful to not drive too deep a wedge between the distinction between his essence and energies.
I know - by revelation - that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are God; but I do not know what God is.  Cheesy

It is the difference between knowing what something is, and that something exists; I cannot know the former, while I can know the latter - in a limited way - through revelation.
You don't know that God is unlimited?
I know that His energies are unlimited, but I do not know anything about the divine essence.
So his essence might be limited? I thought that the mystery of God's essence came from the fact that it is unlimited and we limited, that it is a light to bright for our "eyes".
I have no knowledge of His essence, but only of His energies, and His energies are infinite.
Wow. So it is conceiveable, in your thinking, that God's essence is limited, you just simply don't know.
God cannot be limited by His Essence, so He overflows in His energies.
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« Reply #118 on: February 10, 2011, 07:01:18 PM »

St. Basil seems to know something about God's essence:
"The operations of God are various, but his essence is simple" -Letters 234:1 [A.D. 367]

Correct!  Do you know what the Greek word that translates "operation" in this quotation is?  --Energeia!
Indeed, but thank you for reaffirming that. Smiley You have always demonstrated that you very knowledgeable on this forum.
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« Reply #119 on: February 10, 2011, 07:03:03 PM »

BTW Todd, to say that something is inherent to a being, is to say that it is essential or of it's essence.
Alas it is impossible for man to know, in any sense, the divine essence, which is beyond being and prediction.
We can have some knowledge of what it is, by knowing what it is not. Isn't that the essence of apophatic theology? And further, if the Energies, are truely the energies of God's essence, then they do reveal something about the essence, otherwise they are not really the Energies of God's essence, which would make them some subordinate being.

Can I ask this? Can God choose to exist in a manner different than the Divine Hypostatises?
God only knows.  Such questions have no revealed answer.
Basically, your answers tells me that you don't know if the Divine Persons are God or not. If God can exist in another "mode" (for lack of a better word) then the Divine Persons are not really infinite and perfect because they lack the perfections of this hypothetical other "mode" but God is Infinite and Perfect. It seems to me that we must say that God is unlimited perfection and conclude from this that what he is, is essential to Him, because all else would be less than unlimited perfection. Thus, God must be essentially the three Divine Persons. It would also mean that we must conclude that God is essentially essence and energies, and that  we need to be careful to not drive too deep a wedge between the distinction between his essence and energies.
I know - by revelation - that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are God; but I do not know what God is.  Cheesy

It is the difference between knowing what something is, and that something exists; I cannot know the former, while I can know the latter - in a limited way - through revelation.
You don't know that God is unlimited?
I know that His energies are unlimited, but I do not know anything about the divine essence.
So his essence might be limited? I thought that the mystery of God's essence came from the fact that it is unlimited and we limited, that it is a light to bright for our "eyes".
I have no knowledge of His essence, but only of His energies, and His energies are infinite.
Wow. So it is conceiveable, in your thinking, that God's essence is limited, you just simply don't know.
God cannot be limited by His Essence, so He overflows in His energies.
I have always appreciated this description of the essence/energies distinction as it seems to maitain the unity and simplicity of God... though it does tend to suggest that God's essence is limited, which is problematic.
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« Reply #120 on: February 10, 2011, 07:05:27 PM »

I wonder if at times we are talking different concepts entirely when Latins and Byzantines use the word "essence" with regard to this discussion.
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« Reply #121 on: February 10, 2011, 07:38:11 PM »

Could the people arguing that the Uncreated Energies "change" please give me an example of how they change?
It is not so much that the divine energies change, but that they are not always energized.  God possesses the real power to create, but He does not eternally create, or the world itself would be eternal and not subsequent to Him (see Capita Physica, no. 102).
If the Unreated Energies are sometimes "energised" and sometimes "not energised", doesn't that mean that they change? And how can there be "some-times" with something which is Eternal?
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« Reply #122 on: February 10, 2011, 08:39:53 PM »

Could the people arguing that the Uncreated Energies "change" please give me an example of how they change?
It is not so much that the divine energies change, but that they are not always energized.  God possesses the real power to create, but He does not eternally create, or the world itself would be eternal and not subsequent to Him (see Capita Physica, no. 102).
If the Unreated Energies are sometimes "energised" and sometimes "not energised", doesn't that mean that they change? And how can there be "some-times" with something which is Eternal?
I suppose we can use that terminology in the same way that we can say that God the Father is the cause of the Son and the Spirit without meaning anything temporal by it.
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« Reply #123 on: February 10, 2011, 08:41:58 PM »

Could the people arguing that the Uncreated Energies "change" please give me an example of how they change?
It is not so much that the divine energies change, but that they are not always energized.  God possesses the real power to create, but He does not eternally create, or the world itself would be eternal and not subsequent to Him (see Capita Physica, no. 102).
If the Unreated Energies are sometimes "energised" and sometimes "not energised", doesn't that mean that they change? And how can there be "some-times" with something which is Eternal?
I suppose we can use that terminology in the same way that we can say that God the Father is the cause of the Son and the Spirit without meaning anything temporal by it.
It seems temporal when you are talking about energies interacting with creation the way you do.
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« Reply #124 on: February 10, 2011, 08:43:40 PM »

I wonder if at times we are talking different concepts entirely when Latins and Byzantines use the word "essence" with regard to this discussion.
I think that that is probably the case.  

The more I think about these things, the more I believe that what the Scholastics called "essence" really is the divine energy.
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« Reply #125 on: February 10, 2011, 08:44:23 PM »

Could the people arguing that the Uncreated Energies "change" please give me an example of how they change?
It is not so much that the divine energies change, but that they are not always energized.  God possesses the real power to create, but He does not eternally create, or the world itself would be eternal and not subsequent to Him (see Capita Physica, no. 102).
If the Unreated Energies are sometimes "energised" and sometimes "not energised", doesn't that mean that they change? And how can there be "some-times" with something which is Eternal?
I suppose we can use that terminology in the same way that we can say that God the Father is the cause of the Son and the Spirit without meaning anything temporal by it.
It seems temporal when you are talking about energies interacting with creation the way you do.
They could be temporal in relation to creation without being temporal within God.
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« Reply #126 on: February 10, 2011, 08:45:10 PM »

I wonder if at times we are talking different concepts entirely when Latins and Byzantines use the word "essence" with regard to this discussion.
I think that that is probably the case.  

The more I think about these things, the more I believe that what the Scholastics called "essence" really is the divine energy.
Interesting. The more I thought about it, what Byzantines call essence and energies both, is really what we Latins call essence, since it seems essential to God to have both essence and energies.
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« Reply #127 on: February 10, 2011, 08:46:10 PM »

Could the people arguing that the Uncreated Energies "change" please give me an example of how they change?
It is not so much that the divine energies change, but that they are not always energized.  God possesses the real power to create, but He does not eternally create, or the world itself would be eternal and not subsequent to Him (see Capita Physica, no. 102).
If the Unreated Energies are sometimes "energised" and sometimes "not energised", doesn't that mean that they change? And how can there be "some-times" with something which is Eternal?
I suppose we can use that terminology in the same way that we can say that God the Father is the cause of the Son and the Spirit without meaning anything temporal by it.
It seems temporal when you are talking about energies interacting with creation the way you do.
They could be temporal in relation to creation without being temporal within God.
So then is it actually false to say that they are energized at one time and not at another? Would it be more correct to say that creation's relationship to the energies changes?
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« Reply #128 on: February 10, 2011, 09:10:35 PM »

I wonder if at times we are talking different concepts entirely when Latins and Byzantines use the word "essence" with regard to this discussion.
I think that that is probably the case.  The more I think about these things, the more I believe that what the Scholastics called "essence" really is the divine energy.
Interesting. The more I thought about it, what Byzantines call essence and energies both, is really what we Latins call essence, since it seems essential to God to have both essence and energies.
Yes, I think you are on to something.  The Orthodox, and particularly the Hesychasts, were very particular in defining terms.  For example, St. Gregory Palamas: "not all being is essence."  Does post-scholastic Latin theology even have such a concept?   In any case, it does seem that in post-scholastic Latin theology, or at least in some of it, "substance" was no longer seen as a translation of essence but rather of all (natural) being.   The observation of itself explains a lot.       
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« Reply #129 on: February 10, 2011, 09:17:01 PM »

Could the people arguing that the Uncreated Energies "change" please give me an example of how they change?
It is not so much that the divine energies change, but that they are not always energized.  God possesses the real power to create, but He does not eternally create, or the world itself would be eternal and not subsequent to Him (see Capita Physica, no. 102).
If the Unreated Energies are sometimes "energised" and sometimes "not energised", doesn't that mean that they change? And how can there be "some-times" with something which is Eternal?
I suppose we can use that terminology in the same way that we can say that God the Father is the cause of the Son and the Spirit without meaning anything temporal by it.
It seems temporal when you are talking about energies interacting with creation the way you do.
They could be temporal in relation to creation without being temporal within God.
So then is it actually false to say that they are energized at one time and not at another? Would it be more correct to say that creation's relationship to the energies changes?
The energy is the energized power of God, and the power is there, it is real, but it is not an energy until it is energized. 

That is why St. Gregory Palamas can say in the Triads [III:2:8] that - some of the energies have no beginning, while others have a beginning; and some of the energies have no end, while others have an end; and yet all of the energies are uncreated, because they are the activities of God.
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« Reply #130 on: February 10, 2011, 11:47:00 PM »


That said, I've often wondered if the Son is present in the Eucharist in His Essence or His Energies.

I do believe in OO Christology the idea of differing Energies and Essence is rejected in favor of the true Unity of the Divine Essence in its oneness in energy and operation.  It is ONE Godhead which operates in ONE Will, One Energy, so it would be inherent that Christ's Divine Essence is present in the Eucharist through His Energy/Will/Operation in a unified capacity.  The Energy is the mechanism and the Essence is the Source, but they are in Infinite Oneness.  Isn't that precisely the point of the Incarnation and the Offering, for the Divine and earthly, human, to meet in cooperation?

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« Reply #131 on: February 11, 2011, 12:32:14 AM »

He did change when He put the universe into being

 Huh Huh Huh

The Creation of the Universe is not a change in the Being of God.
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« Reply #132 on: February 11, 2011, 12:33:59 AM »

but God's Energies (solid ice, liquid water, gaseous steam) do change.

That brings into question the opinion I have been told that the Energies of God are infinite. I don't see how infinity can be changed.
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« Reply #133 on: February 11, 2011, 12:34:49 AM »

How did God not change after he incorporated humanity into the Godhead?

The Logos' humanity was not made part of the Godhead.
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« Reply #134 on: February 11, 2011, 12:36:02 AM »

God cannot be restricted. There can be no change in the Godhead. If God were to restrict His power, He would no longer be omnipotent, and thus He could not regain His omnipotence, and thus all existence, including Himself, would be annihilated because of lack of support from an omnipotent being.

Not true, God creating is a function of His Energy, not His Essence.  There is no change in God when God creates a rock of any kind.  So your argument against the creation of a rock He cannot lift by trying to apply a change in God's nature does not hold water. 
Does this mean that God's energies change?
If in the Incarnation, which involved God's essence in the Person of the Son, did not change God's Essence, no involvement of His Energies in the world would change them.

Sounds like you are coming down on this "God's Energies changing" business as an error.
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« Reply #135 on: February 11, 2011, 12:39:00 AM »

How did God not change after he incorporated humanity into the Godhead?
The hypostasis of the Logos became composite in the incarnation, so in that sense one can say that God (i.e., the divine Logos) changed, but this does not involve a change in the divine essence, which is utterly transcendent and beyond being (hyperousios).

Yeah. And even that has to be qualified by affirming that Christ's divinity itself did not change, but rather He united the humanity He took from Mary unto His self.
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« Reply #136 on: February 11, 2011, 12:48:41 AM »

As St. Gregory Palamas said:  "Three realities pertain to God: essence, energy, and the triad of divine hypostaseis."
Is it not essential to God to exist as the Three divine hypostaseis?

The Essence of God exists in the Father independent (meaning that its existence is not dependent upon, not that it exists in separation) of the Begetting of the Son or the Spirating of the Spirit.
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« Reply #137 on: February 11, 2011, 02:07:27 AM »

So is there a way that it is not essential for God to be three divine persons?

Yes, particularly with reference to the Father. Begetting and Spirating aside, which there must be some sense of them being aside, as the Being of the Father is not dependent on the existence of the Son or the Spirit, the Son and the Spirit are not part of the fundamental Being of the Father; He has an Essence in and of Himself which He gives to the Son and the Spirit.

Could he have been otherwise?

I don't think so, because I think that the Begetting of the Son and the Spirit was naturally "demanded" (not the best word, but I think you can get my intended meaning) by the Nature of the Father.

If he could have been otherwise, it seems that that would make the persons into energies. That seems problematic.

The Son and the Spirit are not Energies. The principle of their Being is the Essence of the Father. We can make a comparison to the Creation. We are created by the Energies of God, but that does not make us Energies of God, as that is not the substance we are created of/into. What we were created from was nothing. Likewise, the cause of the Son and the Spirit is the Energies of the Father, but what they are caused from and in is His Essence.
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« Reply #138 on: February 11, 2011, 02:12:37 AM »

God is beyond essence (hyperousios), so necessity of essence does not apply to God in any meaningful sense that we can use in relation to the divine essence.

I'm not sure that it is correct that God is entirely beyond a manner of being; the purpose of hyperousios to me seems to be rather than God is beyond any manner of being that we can conceive of.
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« Reply #139 on: February 11, 2011, 02:31:19 AM »

It seems that for God to truely be the infinite, then we must conclude that He exists as the three Divine Suppositums, and any other way of existing would actually be a limit on his essence.

This word "suppositum" is essentially an equivalent of hypostasis, no?
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« Reply #140 on: February 11, 2011, 12:28:09 PM »

Could the people arguing that the Uncreated Energies "change" please give me an example of how they change?
It is not so much that the divine energies change, but that they are not always energized.  God possesses the real power to create, but He does not eternally create, or the world itself would be eternal and not subsequent to Him (see Capita Physica, no. 102).
If the Unreated Energies are sometimes "energised" and sometimes "not energised", doesn't that mean that they change? And how can there be "some-times" with something which is Eternal?
I suppose we can use that terminology in the same way that we can say that God the Father is the cause of the Son and the Spirit without meaning anything temporal by it.
It seems temporal when you are talking about energies interacting with creation the way you do.
They could be temporal in relation to creation without being temporal within God.
So then is it actually false to say that they are energized at one time and not at another? Would it be more correct to say that creation's relationship to the energies changes?
The energy is the energized power of God, and the power is there, it is real, but it is not an energy until it is energized. 

That is why St. Gregory Palamas can say in the Triads [III:2:8] that - some of the energies have no beginning, while others have a beginning; and some of the energies have no end, while others have an end; and yet all of the energies are uncreated, because they are the activities of God.
Wow. Does St. Gregory really say this? Can you provide a reference? The problem is that this suggests that the energies are created, which simply cannot be. Since I don't have a copy of the Triads in front of me, can you give me a direct quote?
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« Reply #141 on: February 11, 2011, 12:28:49 PM »

but God's Energies (solid ice, liquid water, gaseous steam) do change.

That brings into question the opinion I have been told that the Energies of God are infinite. I don't see how infinity can be changed.
Exactly what I was thinking.
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« Reply #142 on: February 11, 2011, 12:47:49 PM »

How did God not change after he incorporated humanity into the Godhead?
I would add that because the Lord's Godhead so transcends our natural reality, that in the incarnation, there is no need to suggest that there is any competition between His humanity and Divinity. They can both be united in one person without contradiction and without change to His Divinity.
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« Reply #143 on: February 11, 2011, 01:01:45 PM »

I wonder if at times we are talking different concepts entirely when Latins and Byzantines use the word "essence" with regard to this discussion.
I think that that is probably the case.  The more I think about these things, the more I believe that what the Scholastics called "essence" really is the divine energy.
Interesting. The more I thought about it, what Byzantines call essence and energies both, is really what we Latins call essence, since it seems essential to God to have both essence and energies.
Yes, I think you are on to something.  The Orthodox, and particularly the Hesychasts, were very particular in defining terms.  For example, St. Gregory Palamas: "not all being is essence."  Does post-scholastic Latin theology even have such a concept?   In any case, it does seem that in post-scholastic Latin theology, or at least in some of it, "substance" was no longer seen as a translation of essence but rather of all (natural) being.   The observation of itself explains a lot.       
Wow Father, this discussion is becoming extremely enlightening. Perhaps we are all finally starting to be able to translate our thoughts between Latin and Byzantine Language. You are absolutely correct about what we mean by "Substance" in latin theology. It's not just an essence but the combination of both and essence and existence (though in God, the two are identified).
So here is what I am thinking. Because both what Byzantines call essence and energies appear to be essential to God (in the Latin understanding of essential), then what we Latins call essence is what you Byzantines call both essence and existence. This makes sense to me because for Latins God's essence is essentially free, and Byzantines see the principal of God's freedom to act and will in his energies. In both cases the freedom is in God's essence (according to the Latin understanding of esssence) but your theology/metaphysics call this energies.
Another interesting point is that we both see God as simple, and uncomposed. The understanding of the essence/energies distinction that I have proposed above seem to preserve the radical unity between the essence and energies in what we Latins call essence, while allowing for their real distinction. And where I see the distinction is in relation. The Byzantine essence is God relating to himself. The Byzantine energies is God relating to changing created reality. Both are God, undivided, and so we Latins can call them both Essence, in the Latin understanding of the term, while the relational distinction can be made without causing a division between essence and energies. Now, I am just thinking out loud, and would appreciate any corrections in my thought, but I feel like I have just had a Eureka moment.
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« Reply #144 on: February 11, 2011, 01:41:34 PM »

Some interesting thoughts from St. Cyril on the simplicity of God:
http://bekkos.wordpress.com/2009/06/22/st-cyril-on-divine-simplicity/
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Wow Father, this discussion is becoming extremely enlightening. Perhaps we are all finally starting to be able to translate our thoughts between Latin and Byzantine Language. You are absolutely correct about what we mean by "Substance" in latin theology. It's not just an essence but the combination of both and essence and existence (though in God, the two are identified).
So here is what I am thinking. Because both what Byzantines call essence and energies appear to be essential to God (in the Latin understanding of essential), then what we Latins call essence is what you Byzantines call both essence and existence.
 The understanding of the essence/energies distinction that I have proposed above seem to preserve the radical unity between the essence and energies in what we Latins call essence, while allowing for their real distinction. And where I see the distinction is in relation. The Byzantine essence is God relating to himself. The Byzantine energies is God relating to changing created reality. Both are God, undivided, and so we Latins can call them both Essence, in the Latin understanding of the term, while the relational distinction can be made without causing a division between essence and energies.

This is exactly what we teach in Oriental Orthodox Christology/Theology, in that the Essence and Energy are One and the same in Unity.  We do not accept the EO theology of differentiating between Essence and Energy, because we feel that borders on Nestorian thinking, rather there is One unified operation of God.  His Energies emanate from His Godhead, the Substance of God being an aspect of His manifested, Divine Hypostasis.  God the Father exists in His Divine Essence, and this is His Source, and the Trinity share this ONE Divine Essence, and the Energies of God which flow out of the Godhead into both the Divine and Physical/Terrestrial realms, are one and the same with His Essence, because as you pointed out in Latin theology, these are both uniformly of and from and are God, so we can not say there is a distinction here.  It is indeed enlightening and a bit surprising that the Orientals and the Latins agree on this one.
This was what I was implying in my response above


That said, I've often wondered if the Son is present in the Eucharist in His Essence or His Energies.

I do believe in OO Christology the idea of differing Energies and Essence is rejected in favor of the true Unity of the Divine Essence in its oneness in energy and operation.  It is ONE Godhead which operates in ONE Will, One Energy, so it would be inherent that Christ's Divine Essence is present in the Eucharist through His Energy/Will/Operation in a unified capacity.  The Energy is the mechanism and the Essence is the Source, but they are in Infinite Oneness.  Isn't that precisely the point of the Incarnation and the Offering, for the Divine and earthly, human, to meet in cooperation?


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« Reply #146 on: February 11, 2011, 04:05:52 PM »

So is there a way that it is not essential for God to be three divine persons?

Yes, particularly with reference to the Father. Begetting and Spirating aside, which there must be some sense of them being aside, as the Being of the Father is not dependent on the existence of the Son or the Spirit, the Son and the Spirit are not part of the fundamental Being of the Father; He has an Essence in and of Himself which He gives to the Son and the Spirit.

This does not sound quite right.  The Father is, of course, the unoriginate source of the Son and Holy Spirit; but there can be no putting aside, even for one hypothetical second, the Son and the Spirit, as if we could contemplate the essence of the Father independent of them, as if the Father might never have begotten the Son and breathed out the Spirit.  This misses the essential relationality of the divine being.  "God, in that he ever is," St Athanasius declares, "is ever Father of the Son."   As soon as we think "Father" we are immediately directed to the Son.  How can there be a Father without his only begotten Son?  How can there be God without his Word and Wisdom?  The divine ousia is inseparable from the coinherent relations of the divine hypostases.  Again Athanasius:  "We are allowed to know the Son in the Father, because the whole being of the Son is proper to the Father's being."  And again:

Quote
For the Holy and Blessed Trinity is indivisible and One in himself.  When the Father is spoken of, there is included his Word as well, and the Spirit who is in the Son.  If the Son is named, the Father is in the Son, and the Spirit it not outside the Word.  For there is from the Father one Grace which is fulfilled through the Son and in the Holy Spirit; and there is one divine Nature and one God "who is over all and through all and in all." 

I suspect that a reading of Athanasius's Contra Arianos (especially book three) and his Epistle to Serapion will encourage you to refine your thinking on this most interesting question. 



   
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« Reply #147 on: February 11, 2011, 05:37:09 PM »

I wonder if at times we are talking different concepts entirely when Latins and Byzantines use the word "essence" with regard to this discussion.
I think that that is probably the case.  The more I think about these things, the more I believe that what the Scholastics called "essence" really is the divine energy.
Interesting. The more I thought about it, what Byzantines call essence and energies both, is really what we Latins call essence, since it seems essential to God to have both essence and energies.
Yes, I think you are on to something.  The Orthodox, and particularly the Hesychasts, were very particular in defining terms.  For example, St. Gregory Palamas: "not all being is essence."  Does post-scholastic Latin theology even have such a concept?   In any case, it does seem that in post-scholastic Latin theology, or at least in some of it, "substance" was no longer seen as a translation of essence but rather of all (natural) being.   The observation of itself explains a lot.       
Wow Father, this discussion is becoming extremely enlightening. Perhaps we are all finally starting to be able to translate our thoughts between Latin and Byzantine Language. You are absolutely correct about what we mean by "Substance" in latin theology. It's not just an essence but the combination of both and essence and existence (though in God, the two are identified).
So here is what I am thinking. Because both what Byzantines call essence and energies appear to be essential to God (in the Latin understanding of essential), then what we Latins call essence is what you Byzantines call both essence and existence. This makes sense to me because for Latins God's essence is essentially free, and Byzantines see the principal of God's freedom to act and will in his energies. In both cases the freedom is in God's essence (according to the Latin understanding of esssence) but your theology/metaphysics call this energies.
Another interesting point is that we both see God as simple, and uncomposed. The understanding of the essence/energies distinction that I have proposed above seem to preserve the radical unity between the essence and energies in what we Latins call essence, while allowing for their real distinction. And where I see the distinction is in relation. The Byzantine essence is God relating to himself. The Byzantine energies is God relating to changing created reality. Both are God, undivided, and so we Latins can call them both Essence, in the Latin understanding of the term, while the relational distinction can be made without causing a division between essence and energies. Now, I am just thinking out loud, and would appreciate any corrections in my thought, but I feel like I have just had a Eureka moment.
In the bolded part above, I meant to say both essence and energies.
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« Reply #148 on: February 11, 2011, 06:56:52 PM »

Wow Father, this discussion is becoming extremely enlightening. Perhaps we are all finally starting to be able to translate our thoughts between Latin and Byzantine Language. You are absolutely correct about what we mean by "Substance" in latin theology. It's not just an essence but the combination of both and essence and existence (though in God, the two are identified).
So here is what I am thinking. Because both what Byzantines call essence and energies appear to be essential to God (in the Latin understanding of essential), then what we Latins call essence is what you Byzantines call both essence and existence.
 The understanding of the essence/energies distinction that I have proposed above seem to preserve the radical unity between the essence and energies in what we Latins call essence, while allowing for their real distinction. And where I see the distinction is in relation. The Byzantine essence is God relating to himself. The Byzantine energies is God relating to changing created reality. Both are God, undivided, and so we Latins can call them both Essence, in the Latin understanding of the term, while the relational distinction can be made without causing a division between essence and energies.
This is exactly what we teach in Oriental Orthodox Christology/Theology, in that the Essence and Energy are One and the same in Unity.  We do not accept the EO theology of differentiating between Essence and Energy, because we feel that borders on Nestorian thinking, rather there is One unified operation of God.  His Energies emanate from His Godhead, the Substance of God being an aspect of His manifested, Divine Hypostasis. 
First it should be made clear that a real distinction (e.g., the hypostatic distinction between the Father and the Son as persons within the Trinity, or the distinction of the divine essence and the divine energy within God) does not involve a real separation; and second, the idea that divine essence (or nature) and energy are one and the same was condemned by St. Cyril of Alexandria, who said, "Nature and energy are not identical" (St. Cyril, P.G. LXXV, 312C).  After all, "Energy is the efficient (δραστική) and essential activity of nature" (St. John Damascene, De Fide Orthodoxa, Book III, Chapter 15).
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« Reply #149 on: February 11, 2011, 07:04:23 PM »


That said, I've often wondered if the Son is present in the Eucharist in His Essence or His Energies.

I do believe in OO Christology the idea of differing Energies and Essence is rejected in favor of the true Unity of the Divine Essence in its oneness in energy and operation.  It is ONE Godhead which operates in ONE Will, One Energy, so it would be inherent that Christ's Divine Essence is present in the Eucharist through His Energy/Will/Operation in a unified capacity.  The Energy is the mechanism and the Essence is the Source, but they are in Infinite Oneness.  Isn't that precisely the point of the Incarnation and the Offering, for the Divine and earthly, human, to meet in cooperation?

stay blessed,
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Of course God has one will, and the will is an energy of God, but that really does not address the point at issue, i.e., the real distinction between essence/nature and energy in God.  If there is no difference between essence and will (the will being a divine energy common to the three hypostaseis), it follows that the acts of the divine will would be essential, and creation, which comes forth as an act of will, would be an eternal emanation of the divine essence itself, which is a form of pantheism.  The result is that creation is either co-eternal with God, or if it is not held to be co-eternal with Him it must be believed that the divine essence changed when God began to create the world.  Needless to say, both propositions are heretical.

As I said in an earlier post, according to the ancient Fathers a real distinction (pragmatika diakrisis) between essence and energy in God does not necessitate a real division (pragmatike diaresis) in God.  There can be no diastema in God - as St. Gregory of Nyssa taught.
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« Reply #150 on: February 11, 2011, 07:10:42 PM »

Wow Father, this discussion is becoming extremely enlightening. Perhaps we are all finally starting to be able to translate our thoughts between Latin and Byzantine Language. You are absolutely correct about what we mean by "Substance" in latin theology. It's not just an essence but the combination of both and essence and existence (though in God, the two are identified).
So here is what I am thinking. Because both what Byzantines call essence and energies appear to be essential to God (in the Latin understanding of essential), then what we Latins call essence is what you Byzantines call both essence and existence. This makes sense to me because for Latins God's essence is essentially free, and Byzantines see the principal of God's freedom to act and will in his energies. In both cases the freedom is in God's essence (according to the Latin understanding of esssence) but your theology/metaphysics call this energies.
Another interesting point is that we both see God as simple, and uncomposed. The understanding of the essence/energies distinction that I have proposed above seem to preserve the radical unity between the essence and energies in what we Latins call essence, while allowing for their real distinction. And where I see the distinction is in relation. The Byzantine essence is God relating to himself. The Byzantine energies is God relating to changing created reality. Both are God, undivided, and so we Latins can call them both Essence, in the Latin understanding of the term, while the relational distinction can be made without causing a division between essence and energies. Now, I am just thinking out loud, and would appreciate any corrections in my thought, but I feel like I have just had a Eureka moment.
In Eastern theology the divine essence is unknowable, while the divine energies can be experienced and referred to kataphatically.  That said, I do not see how your comparison can hold, since the Eastern Fathers teach that there can be no knowledge of, or participation in, the divine essence now or in the eschaton, while the West says that the vision of God is a vision of the divine essence.

Finally, the Western Scholastic teaching that refers to God as "pure act" corresponds at least to some degree with the Eastern understanding of the doctrine of energies (i.e., the divine activity), although the use of the word "pure" would not be acceptable because God is more than energy, just as He is more than essence. 

So in a sense the West - at least from an Eastern perspective - is saying that God is pure energy, while the East says that the one God is - without any composition - both essence, which is utterly transcendent and unknowable, and energy, which can be experienced and described - at least to a limited degree.
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« Reply #151 on: February 11, 2011, 07:37:16 PM »

I wonder if at times we are talking different concepts entirely when Latins and Byzantines use the word "essence" with regard to this discussion.
I think that that is probably the case.  The more I think about these things, the more I believe that what the Scholastics called "essence" really is the divine energy.
Interesting. The more I thought about it, what Byzantines call essence and energies both, is really what we Latins call essence, since it seems essential to God to have both essence and energies.
Yes, I think you are on to something.  The Orthodox, and particularly the Hesychasts, were very particular in defining terms.  For example, St. Gregory Palamas: "not all being is essence."  Does post-scholastic Latin theology even have such a concept?   In any case, it does seem that in post-scholastic Latin theology, or at least in some of it, "substance" was no longer seen as a translation of essence but rather of all (natural) being.   The observation of itself explains a lot.       
Wow Father, this discussion is becoming extremely enlightening. Perhaps we are all finally starting to be able to translate our thoughts between Latin and Byzantine Language. You are absolutely correct about what we mean by "Substance" in latin theology. It's not just an essence but the combination of both and essence and existence (though in God, the two are identified).
So here is what I am thinking. Because both what Byzantines call essence and energies appear to be essential to God (in the Latin understanding of essential), then what we Latins call essence is what you Byzantines call both essence and existence. This makes sense to me because for Latins God's essence is essentially free, and Byzantines see the principal of God's freedom to act and will in his energies. In both cases the freedom is in God's essence (according to the Latin understanding of esssence) but your theology/metaphysics call this energies.
Another interesting point is that we both see God as simple, and uncomposed. The understanding of the essence/energies distinction that I have proposed above seem to preserve the radical unity between the essence and energies in what we Latins call essence, while allowing for their real distinction. And where I see the distinction is in relation. The Byzantine essence is God relating to himself. The Byzantine energies is God relating to changing created reality. Both are God, undivided, and so we Latins can call them both Essence, in the Latin understanding of the term, while the relational distinction can be made without causing a division between essence and energies. Now, I am just thinking out loud, and would appreciate any corrections in my thought, but I feel like I have just had a Eureka moment.
In Eastern theology the divine essence is unknowable, while the divine energies can be experienced and referred to kataphatically.  That said, I do not see how your comparison can hold, since the Eastern Fathers teach that there can be no knowledge of, or participation in, the divine essence now or in the eschaton, while the West says that the vision of God is a vision of the divine essence.

Finally, the Western Scholastic teaching that refers to God as "pure act" corresponds at least to some degree with the Eastern understanding of the doctrine of energies (i.e., the divine activity), although the use of the word "pure" would not be acceptable because God is more than energy, just as He is more than essence. 

So in a sense the West - at least from an Eastern perspective - is saying that God is pure energy, while the East says that the one God is - without any composition - both essence, which is utterly transcendent and unknowable, and energy, which can be experienced and described - at least to a limited degree.
A. I think you are trying really hard to define the Latin view and Byzantine view in such a way that they contradict. Not sure why you do this.
B. What you explained about God being pure Act, demonstrates that you have no idea what we mean by God being pure actuality.
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« Reply #152 on: February 11, 2011, 07:37:57 PM »

the idea that divine essence or nature and energy are one and the same was condemned by St. Cyril of Alexandria, who said, "Nature and energy are not identical" (St. Cyril, P.G. LXXV, 312C).

A single sentence does not prove that Cyril affirmed a real distinction between the divine essence and energies, along the lines of Gregory Palamas.  We need to see the entire work from which this sentence has been extracted.  Unfortunately, the Thesaurus does not appear to have been translated into English, at least not as far as I can find. 

A few years ago I read Daniel Keating's The Appropriation of Divine Life in Cyril of Alexandria.  Cyril asserted a dynamic understanding of deification, i.e., participation in the divine nature, through incorporation into Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; but he did not explicate this participation in the divine nature by explicit reference to the divine energies.  I think it would be a mistake to read back into Cyril theological distinctions that were formulated over a thousand years after his death.  Cyril needs to be interpreted on his own terms.  He is neither Byzantine nor Latin.  He is Alexandrian. 

If anyone knows of a scholarly discussion of Cyril's understanding of the divine essence and energies, I would welcome the references. 
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« Reply #153 on: February 11, 2011, 07:51:49 PM »

Wow Father, this discussion is becoming extremely enlightening. Perhaps we are all finally starting to be able to translate our thoughts between Latin and Byzantine Language. You are absolutely correct about what we mean by "Substance" in latin theology. It's not just an essence but the combination of both and essence and existence (though in God, the two are identified).
So here is what I am thinking. Because both what Byzantines call essence and energies appear to be essential to God (in the Latin understanding of essential), then what we Latins call essence is what you Byzantines call both essence and existence. This makes sense to me because for Latins God's essence is essentially free, and Byzantines see the principal of God's freedom to act and will in his energies. In both cases the freedom is in God's essence (according to the Latin understanding of esssence) but your theology/metaphysics call this energies.
Another interesting point is that we both see God as simple, and uncomposed. The understanding of the essence/energies distinction that I have proposed above seem to preserve the radical unity between the essence and energies in what we Latins call essence, while allowing for their real distinction. And where I see the distinction is in relation. The Byzantine essence is God relating to himself. The Byzantine energies is God relating to changing created reality. Both are God, undivided, and so we Latins can call them both Essence, in the Latin understanding of the term, while the relational distinction can be made without causing a division between essence and energies. Now, I am just thinking out loud, and would appreciate any corrections in my thought, but I feel like I have just had a Eureka moment.
In Eastern theology the divine essence is unknowable, while the divine energies can be experienced and referred to kataphatically.  That said, I do not see how your comparison can hold, since the Eastern Fathers teach that there can be no knowledge of, or participation in, the divine essence now or in the eschaton, while the West says that the vision of God is a vision of the divine essence.

Finally, the Western Scholastic teaching that refers to God as "pure act" corresponds at least to some degree with the Eastern understanding of the doctrine of energies (i.e., the divine activity), although the use of the word "pure" would not be acceptable because God is more than energy, just as He is more than essence. 

So in a sense the West - at least from an Eastern perspective - is saying that God is pure energy, while the East says that the one God is - without any composition - both essence, which is utterly transcendent and unknowable, and energy, which can be experienced and described - at least to a limited degree.
A. I think you are trying really hard to define the Latin view and Byzantine view in such a way that they contradict. Not sure why you do this.
B. What you explained about God being pure Act, demonstrates that you have no idea what we mean by God being pure actuality.
As far as (A) is concerned I am not positing opposition, nor am I trying to be polemical; instead, I am trying to point out that God as "actus purus" is related to the doctrine of energy in the East, but without the assertion that God is "pure" (i.e., only) act.

As far as (B) is concerned, what do you think it means? 

My understanding of Thomas on this issue is that he holds that God being "pure act" (n.b., it should be remembered that actuality corresponds to energeia in Greek) means that there is no potentiality in God (n.b., potentiality corresponds to dynamis in Greek, and the Eastern Fathers believe that God does possess dynamis).  Moreover, the Thomistic identification of essence and existence in God also leads me to believe that when Westerners speak about the divine essence, they are really talking about what Easterners refer to as divine energy, because energy corresponds to existence in Eastern thought, but I do want to know what you think "actus purus" means.
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« Reply #154 on: February 11, 2011, 07:53:02 PM »

the idea that divine essence or nature and energy are one and the same was condemned by St. Cyril of Alexandria, who said, "Nature and energy are not identical" (St. Cyril, P.G. LXXV, 312C).

A single sentence does not prove that Cyril affirmed a real distinction between the divine essence and energies, along the lines of Gregory Palamas.  We need to see the entire work from which this sentence has been extracted.  Unfortunately, the Thesaurus does not appear to have been translated into English, at least not as far as I can find. 

A few years ago I read Daniel Keating's The Appropriation of Divine Life in Cyril of Alexandria.  Cyril asserted a dynamic understanding of deification, i.e., participation in the divine nature, through incorporation into Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; but he did not explicate this participation in the divine nature by explicit reference to the divine energies.  I think it would be a mistake to read back into Cyril theological distinctions that were formulated over a thousand years after his death.  Cyril needs to be interpreted on his own terms.  He is neither Byzantine nor Latin.  He is Alexandrian. 

If anyone knows of a scholarly discussion of Cyril's understanding of the divine essence and energies, I would welcome the references. 
Nor does a lack of a quotation on your part mean that he rejects the notion.

As I said, a distinction does not necessitate a separation.  The essence / energy distinction does not mean that God is somehow composite.  God's nature and the properties of His nature can be one without being identical, as Michel Rene Barnes said in his book "The Power of God."
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« Reply #155 on: February 11, 2011, 08:00:10 PM »

Wow Father, this discussion is becoming extremely enlightening. Perhaps we are all finally starting to be able to translate our thoughts between Latin and Byzantine Language. You are absolutely correct about what we mean by "Substance" in latin theology. It's not just an essence but the combination of both and essence and existence (though in God, the two are identified).
So here is what I am thinking. Because both what Byzantines call essence and energies appear to be essential to God (in the Latin understanding of essential), then what we Latins call essence is what you Byzantines call both essence and existence. This makes sense to me because for Latins God's essence is essentially free, and Byzantines see the principal of God's freedom to act and will in his energies. In both cases the freedom is in God's essence (according to the Latin understanding of esssence) but your theology/metaphysics call this energies.
Another interesting point is that we both see God as simple, and uncomposed. The understanding of the essence/energies distinction that I have proposed above seem to preserve the radical unity between the essence and energies in what we Latins call essence, while allowing for their real distinction. And where I see the distinction is in relation. The Byzantine essence is God relating to himself. The Byzantine energies is God relating to changing created reality. Both are God, undivided, and so we Latins can call them both Essence, in the Latin understanding of the term, while the relational distinction can be made without causing a division between essence and energies. Now, I am just thinking out loud, and would appreciate any corrections in my thought, but I feel like I have just had a Eureka moment.
In Eastern theology the divine essence is unknowable, while the divine energies can be experienced and referred to kataphatically.  That said, I do not see how your comparison can hold, since the Eastern Fathers teach that there can be no knowledge of, or participation in, the divine essence now or in the eschaton, while the West says that the vision of God is a vision of the divine essence.

Finally, the Western Scholastic teaching that refers to God as "pure act" corresponds at least to some degree with the Eastern understanding of the doctrine of energies (i.e., the divine activity), although the use of the word "pure" would not be acceptable because God is more than energy, just as He is more than essence. 

So in a sense the West - at least from an Eastern perspective - is saying that God is pure energy, while the East says that the one God is - without any composition - both essence, which is utterly transcendent and unknowable, and energy, which can be experienced and described - at least to a limited degree.
A. I think you are trying really hard to define the Latin view and Byzantine view in such a way that they contradict. Not sure why you do this.
B. What you explained about God being pure Act, demonstrates that you have no idea what we mean by God being pure actuality.
As far as (A) is concerned I am not positing opposition, nor am I trying to be polemical; instead, I am trying to point out that God as "actus purus" is related to the doctrine of energy in the East, but without the assertion that God is "pure" (i.e., only) act.

As far as (B) is concerned, what do you think it means? 

My understanding of Thomas on this issue is that he holds that God being "pure act" (n.b., it should be remembered that actuality corresponds to energeia in Greek) means that there is no potentiality in God (n.b., potentiality corresponds to dynamis in Greek, and the Eastern Fathers believe that God does possess dynamis).  Moreover, the Thomistic identification of essence and existence in God also leads me to believe that when Westerners speak about the divine essence, they are really talking about what Easterners refer to as divine energy, because energy corresponds to existence in Eastern thought, but I do want to know what you think "actus purus" means.
So now you think that God's energies are his existence???
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« Reply #156 on: February 11, 2011, 08:03:59 PM »

Wow Father, this discussion is becoming extremely enlightening. Perhaps we are all finally starting to be able to translate our thoughts between Latin and Byzantine Language. You are absolutely correct about what we mean by "Substance" in latin theology. It's not just an essence but the combination of both and essence and existence (though in God, the two are identified).
So here is what I am thinking. Because both what Byzantines call essence and energies appear to be essential to God (in the Latin understanding of essential), then what we Latins call essence is what you Byzantines call both essence and existence. This makes sense to me because for Latins God's essence is essentially free, and Byzantines see the principal of God's freedom to act and will in his energies. In both cases the freedom is in God's essence (according to the Latin understanding of esssence) but your theology/metaphysics call this energies.
Another interesting point is that we both see God as simple, and uncomposed. The understanding of the essence/energies distinction that I have proposed above seem to preserve the radical unity between the essence and energies in what we Latins call essence, while allowing for their real distinction. And where I see the distinction is in relation. The Byzantine essence is God relating to himself. The Byzantine energies is God relating to changing created reality. Both are God, undivided, and so we Latins can call them both Essence, in the Latin understanding of the term, while the relational distinction can be made without causing a division between essence and energies. Now, I am just thinking out loud, and would appreciate any corrections in my thought, but I feel like I have just had a Eureka moment.
In Eastern theology the divine essence is unknowable, while the divine energies can be experienced and referred to kataphatically.  That said, I do not see how your comparison can hold, since the Eastern Fathers teach that there can be no knowledge of, or participation in, the divine essence now or in the eschaton, while the West says that the vision of God is a vision of the divine essence.

Finally, the Western Scholastic teaching that refers to God as "pure act" corresponds at least to some degree with the Eastern understanding of the doctrine of energies (i.e., the divine activity), although the use of the word "pure" would not be acceptable because God is more than energy, just as He is more than essence. 

So in a sense the West - at least from an Eastern perspective - is saying that God is pure energy, while the East says that the one God is - without any composition - both essence, which is utterly transcendent and unknowable, and energy, which can be experienced and described - at least to a limited degree.
A. I think you are trying really hard to define the Latin view and Byzantine view in such a way that they contradict. Not sure why you do this.
B. What you explained about God being pure Act, demonstrates that you have no idea what we mean by God being pure actuality.
As far as (A) is concerned I am not positing opposition, nor am I trying to be polemical; instead, I am trying to point out that God as "actus purus" is related to the doctrine of energy in the East, but without the assertion that God is "pure" (i.e., only) act.

As far as (B) is concerned, what do you think it means? 

My understanding of Thomas on this issue is that he holds that God being "pure act" (n.b., it should be remembered that actuality corresponds to energeia in Greek) means that there is no potentiality in God (n.b., potentiality corresponds to dynamis in Greek, and the Eastern Fathers believe that God does possess dynamis).  Moreover, the Thomistic identification of essence and existence in God also leads me to believe that when Westerners speak about the divine essence, they are really talking about what Easterners refer to as divine energy, because energy corresponds to existence in Eastern thought, but I do want to know what you think "actus purus" means.
So now you think that God's energies are his existence???
Energy corresponds to existence, that is why deification is describe by Nyssa as an existential change in man, but not an essential one.
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« Reply #157 on: February 11, 2011, 08:58:48 PM »

St. Cyril in this topic...now I'm interested  Wink

Some quick thoughts.  St. Cyril talks about a relationship between us and the Father through the Son by the Holy Spirit. How this relationship is done however, is not really affirmed completely.  I think the energies/essence distinction of the Cappadocian fathers is complimentary, and I believe St. Cyril sometimes implied it when using the fire/iron analogy for Christ's unity and our partaking of Christ's flesh, not being flesh alone, but Life-giving flesh and Life-giving blood because the property of Live-giving comes from the Divine nature.  His communicato idiomatium is certainly a necessary aspect of Christology and our salvation.

And I wanted to add something by St. Augustine that might also put the "change" language in the right place:

Quote
Most high, most excellent, most potent, most omnipotent; most piteous and most just; most hidden and most near; most beauteous and most strong, stable, yet contained of none; unchangeable, yet changing all things; never new, never old; making all things new, yet bringing old age upon the proud and they know it not; always working, yet ever at rest; gathering, yet needing nothing; sustaining, pervading, and protecting; creating, nourishing, and developing; seeking, and yet possessing all things. Thou lovest, and burnest not; art jealous, yet free from care; repentest, and hast no sorrow; art angry, yet serene; changest Thy ways, leaving unchanged Thy plans; recoverest what Thou findest, having yet never lost; art never in want, whilst Thou rejoicest in gain; never covetous, though requiring usury.

God doesn't essentially change, but changes everything around Him.

Also, I'd like to remind people of St. Antonios, and when I find this quote I'll post it, as written in the Philokalia, that God doesn't change, but it is our actions that change in accordance with God, for God to change is like saying the sun is hiding itself from the blind.
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« Reply #158 on: February 11, 2011, 09:28:29 PM »

Could the people arguing that the Uncreated Energies "change" please give me an example of how they change?
It is not so much that the divine energies change, but that they are not always energized.  God possesses the real power to create, but He does not eternally create, or the world itself would be eternal and not subsequent to Him (see Capita Physica, no. 102).
If the Unreated Energies are sometimes "energised" and sometimes "not energised", doesn't that mean that they change? And how can there be "some-times" with something which is Eternal?
I suppose we can use that terminology in the same way that we can say that God the Father is the cause of the Son and the Spirit without meaning anything temporal by it.
But we don't mean anything Temporal by the Eternal Begetting and Eternal Procession precisely because they are Eternal. However, if, as you say, the Uncreated Energies are either "energized" or "not energized" (I'm not sure what you mean by "energised", but I'm presuming you mean something like "operating"), this leaves us with the the options that either:

1) The Uncreated Energies oscillate between being "energised" and being "not energised", which means this oscillation must be temporal;
 or
2) The Uncreated Energies are at once both Eternally "energised" and Eternally "not energised", in which case, there is no change.
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« Reply #159 on: February 11, 2011, 09:47:43 PM »

St. Cyril's Scholia on the Incarnation:

Quote
Natheless one may see in the coal, as in an image, the Word of God united to the human nature, yet not losing the being what He is, but rather trans-elementing what He had taken, or united, unto His own glory and operation. For as fire having to do with wood and entering into it, seizes hold of it, and removes it not from being wood, but transmutes it rather into the appearance and force of fire, and inworks all its own property therein, and it is now reckoned one with it, so shall you conceive of Christ too. For God united ineffably with the manhood, hath kept it what we say that it is, and Himself hath remained what He was; but once united, is accounted one with it, making His own what is its, and Himself too introducing into it the operation of His own Nature.

And in his criticism of Nestorianism, he accuses Nestorius of equating Jesus the Man as one who is a partaker of the Divine nature, of one who is in theosis, not the source of our theosis:

Quote
But I think it due by instances also to prove what I have said and to persuade that the Only-Begotten has been made Man and is God even with Flesh and hath not rather indwelt in a man, rendering him God-clad, like others too who have been made partakers of His Godhead.

God says somewhere of us, I will dwell in them and walk in them and I will be to them a God and they shall be to Me a people. And our Lord Jesus Christ Himself too saith, Lo I am coming and if any man open to Me, I will enter both I and the Father and we will dwell with him and sup with him. We are also called temples of God, for Ye (he says) are the Temples of the Living God, and again, Know ye not that your bodies are the Temples of the Holy Ghost Which is in you Which ye have of God? But if they say that He is Emmanuel, as each one of us has had God indwelling in him, let them confess it openly, that when they see Him worshipped as well by us as by the Angels, in Heaven alike and upon earth, they may blush as thinking otherwise, and ignorant of the drift of the holy Scriptures, and not having in them the faith which they delivered to us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word.

But if they say that He is therefore God and glorified as God because the Word of God the Father merely dwelt in Him, and not because He was made Man, let them hear again from us, If to them who had God indwelling in them, it suffices that they might therefore be truly gods and adored by all, all are gods and to be adored, for He dwelleth in the holy Angels, and we have Him ourselves too in us through the Spirit; but this is not enough to shew that they are by nature gods and to be adored who have the Spirit in them. Not therefore for this is Emmanuel. God and to be worshipped because the Word of God dwelt in Him as in a mere man, to be considered by him

And elsewhere:

Quote
If He were a God-clad man, He too (it seems) was made the Temple of God, and how is Christ in us also? as a Temple in temples? or rather as God in the temples through the Spirit? If He were a God-clad man, why is His Body alone Life-giving? for such should have been the bodies of others also, wherein indwelt Almighty God.

And some time before:

Quote
We believe therefore, not in one like us honoured with Godhead by grace, lest we be caught worshippers of a man, but rather in the Lord Who appeared in servant's form, and Who was truly like us and in human nature, yet remained God, for God the Word, when He took flesh, laid not down what He was, but is conceived of the Same God alike and Man.

I think these are sufficient to show that St. Cyril implied grace as an operation or energy of God, as God Himself, through the Spirit.
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« Reply #160 on: February 11, 2011, 09:51:25 PM »

Could the people arguing that the Uncreated Energies "change" please give me an example of how they change?
It is not so much that the divine energies change, but that they are not always energized.  God possesses the real power to create, but He does not eternally create, or the world itself would be eternal and not subsequent to Him (see Capita Physica, no. 102).
If the Unreated Energies are sometimes "energised" and sometimes "not energised", doesn't that mean that they change? And how can there be "some-times" with something which is Eternal?
I suppose we can use that terminology in the same way that we can say that God the Father is the cause of the Son and the Spirit without meaning anything temporal by it.
But we don't mean anything Temporal by the Eternal Begetting and Eternal Procession precisely because they are Eternal. However, if, as you say, the Uncreated Energies are either "energized" or "not energized" (I'm not sure what you mean by "energised", but I'm presuming you mean something like "operating"), this leaves us with the the options that either:

1) The Uncreated Energies oscillate between being "energised" and being "not energised", which means this oscillation must be temporal;
 or
2) The Uncreated Energies are at once both Eternally "energised" and Eternally "not energised", in which case, there is no change.
As to (1) I do not agree.  We say that God began to create, and yet time is a part of creation.  We may be using language with temporal connections, but when we use it in theology we separate it from those temporal connotations, as when we say that the Father is the cause of the Son and Spirit.

As far as (2) is concerned, I think the solution is to remember the nature of the divine causal chain used by the Cappadocians in their dispute with Eunomius . . . (a) nature -> (b) power -> (c) hypostaseis -> (d) energies.

The divine energies are the powers of the divine nature actualized by the three divine hypostaseis.  Even when the divine energies are not actualized the divine powers remain as properties of the divine nature.
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« Reply #161 on: February 11, 2011, 10:00:18 PM »

St. Cyril's Scholia on the Incarnation:

Quote
Natheless one may see in the coal, as in an image, the Word of God united to the human nature, yet not losing the being what He is, but rather trans-elementing what He had taken, or united, unto His own glory and operation. For as fire having to do with wood and entering into it, seizes hold of it, and removes it not from being wood, but transmutes it rather into the appearance and force of fire, and inworks all its own property therein, and it is now reckoned one with it, so shall you conceive of Christ too. For God united ineffably with the manhood, hath kept it what we say that it is, and Himself hath remained what He was; but once united, is accounted one with it, making His own what is its, and Himself too introducing into it the operation of His own Nature.

And in his criticism of Nestorianism, he accuses Nestorius of equating Jesus the Man as one who is a partaker of the Divine nature, of one who is in theosis, not the source of our theosis:

Quote
But I think it due by instances also to prove what I have said and to persuade that the Only-Begotten has been made Man and is God even with Flesh and hath not rather indwelt in a man, rendering him God-clad, like others too who have been made partakers of His Godhead.

God says somewhere of us, I will dwell in them and walk in them and I will be to them a God and they shall be to Me a people. And our Lord Jesus Christ Himself too saith, Lo I am coming and if any man open to Me, I will enter both I and the Father and we will dwell with him and sup with him. We are also called temples of God, for Ye (he says) are the Temples of the Living God, and again, Know ye not that your bodies are the Temples of the Holy Ghost Which is in you Which ye have of God? But if they say that He is Emmanuel, as each one of us has had God indwelling in him, let them confess it openly, that when they see Him worshipped as well by us as by the Angels, in Heaven alike and upon earth, they may blush as thinking otherwise, and ignorant of the drift of the holy Scriptures, and not having in them the faith which they delivered to us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word.

But if they say that He is therefore God and glorified as God because the Word of God the Father merely dwelt in Him, and not because He was made Man, let them hear again from us, If to them who had God indwelling in them, it suffices that they might therefore be truly gods and adored by all, all are gods and to be adored, for He dwelleth in the holy Angels, and we have Him ourselves too in us through the Spirit; but this is not enough to shew that they are by nature gods and to be adored who have the Spirit in them. Not therefore for this is Emmanuel. God and to be worshipped because the Word of God dwelt in Him as in a mere man, to be considered by him

And elsewhere:

Quote
If He were a God-clad man, He too (it seems) was made the Temple of God, and how is Christ in us also? as a Temple in temples? or rather as God in the temples through the Spirit? If He were a God-clad man, why is His Body alone Life-giving? for such should have been the bodies of others also, wherein indwelt Almighty God.

And some time before:

Quote
We believe therefore, not in one like us honoured with Godhead by grace, lest we be caught worshippers of a man, but rather in the Lord Who appeared in servant's form, and Who was truly like us and in human nature, yet remained God, for God the Word, when He took flesh, laid not down what He was, but is conceived of the Same God alike and Man.

I think these are sufficient to show that St. Cyril implied grace as an operation or energy of God, as God Himself, through the Spirit.
I think you are correct.  In fact, St. Gregory Palamas refers to the divine energies as the energies of the Holy Spirit, which flow to us from the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #162 on: February 11, 2011, 10:06:04 PM »

Here's the quote of St. Antonios I'm referring to:

Quote
God is good, without passions and unchangeable. One who understands that it is sound and true to affirm that God does not change might very well ask: 'how, then, is it possible to speak of God as rejoicing over those who are good, becoming merciful to those who know Him and, on the other hand, shunning the wicked and being angry with sinners.' We must reply to this, that God neither rejoices nor grows angry, because to rejoice and to be angered are passions. Nor is God won over by gifts from those who know Him, for that would mean that He is moved by pleasure. It is not possible for the Godhead to have the sensation of pleasure or displeasure from the condition of humans, God is good, and He bestows only blessings, and never causes harm, but remains always the same. If we humans, however, remain good by means of resembling Him, we are united to Him, but if we become evil by losing our resemblance to God, we are separated from Him. By living in a holy manner, we unite ourselves to God; by becoming evil, however, we become at enmity with Him. It is not that He arbitrarily becomes angry with us, but that our sins prevent God from shining within us, and expose us to the demons who make us suffer. If through prayer and acts of compassionate love, we gain freedom from our sins, this does not mean that we have won God over and made Him change, but rather that by means of our actions and turning to God, we have been healed of our wickedness, and returned to the enjoyment of God's goodness. To say that God turns away from the sinful is like saying that the sun hides itself from the blind.

Quote from the Philokalia Volume 1, p. 352, "On the Character of Men and Virtuous Life," chapter 150
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« Reply #163 on: February 11, 2011, 10:20:54 PM »

Could the people arguing that the Uncreated Energies "change" please give me an example of how they change?
It is not so much that the divine energies change, but that they are not always energized.  God possesses the real power to create, but He does not eternally create, or the world itself would be eternal and not subsequent to Him (see Capita Physica, no. 102).
If the Unreated Energies are sometimes "energised" and sometimes "not energised", doesn't that mean that they change? And how can there be "some-times" with something which is Eternal?
I suppose we can use that terminology in the same way that we can say that God the Father is the cause of the Son and the Spirit without meaning anything temporal by it.
But we don't mean anything Temporal by the Eternal Begetting and Eternal Procession precisely because they are Eternal. However, if, as you say, the Uncreated Energies are either "energized" or "not energized" (I'm not sure what you mean by "energised", but I'm presuming you mean something like "operating"), this leaves us with the the options that either:

1) The Uncreated Energies oscillate between being "energised" and being "not energised", which means this oscillation must be temporal;
 or
2) The Uncreated Energies are at once both Eternally "energised" and Eternally "not energised", in which case, there is no change.
As to (1) I do not agree.  We say that God began to create, and yet time is a part of creation.  We may be using language with temporal connections, but when we use it in theology we separate it from those temporal connotations, as when we say that the Father is the cause of the Son and Spirit.
I also disagree with (1). Something with a Beginning cannot be Eternal. Both Genesis and the Gospel of John open with the words "In the Beginning...", but in Genesis, God brings into being something being that wasn't, whereas John says the Logos already "was" in the Beginning. God's Creative act is therefore Eternal, whereas Creation is Temporal.

As far as (2) is concerned, I think the solution is to remember the nature of the divine causal chain used by the Cappadocians in their dispute with Eunomius . . . (a) nature -> (b) power -> (c) hypostaseis -> (d) energies.
The divine energies are the powers of the divine nature actualized by the three divine hypostaseis.  Even when the divine energies are not actualized the divine powers remain as properties of the divine nature.
I'm not sure how the "causal chain" you mention actually helps. it seems to me, the Eternal Power is the Uncreated Energy, since the Apostle says that we can understand the Eternal Power through Creation (Romans 1:20). And again we are running into the problem that you are saying that the the Uncreated Energies are oscillating between being "actualized" and "not actualized". This is no different to the "oscillation" between "energised" and "not energised" I describe above.
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« Reply #164 on: February 11, 2011, 10:21:52 PM »

Mina, read through the following citation from Cyril and tell me what you think:

Quote
But if the grace conferred by the Holy Spirit is something divorced from his essence, why did the blessed Moses not state clearly, when the living creature was being brought into being, that the Creator of all things then breathed in grace, the grace which came through the breath of life; or why did Christ not say, ‘Receive grace by the ministry of the Holy Spirit’? But what was breathed into him was named ‘the breath of life,’ for the true life is the nature of the divinity, if in fact it is true that in him we live, and move, and exist; while, by the Savior’s expression ‘Holy Spirit,’ the very Holy Spirit, in truth indwelling and abiding in the souls of the faithful [is signified]. (Book VII of his Dialogues on the Holy and Consubstantial Trinity (PG 75, 1088D-1089A))
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« Reply #165 on: February 11, 2011, 10:32:14 PM »

It seems that for God to truely be the infinite, then we must conclude that He exists as the three Divine Suppositums, and any other way of existing would actually be a limit on his essence.

This word "suppositum" is essentially an equivalent of hypostasis, no?
Correct
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« Reply #166 on: February 11, 2011, 10:58:46 PM »

Fr. Kimel, as you replied, I found a quote that I was going to post anyway... Smiley

That grace and essence of the Holy Spirit is still implicitly distinct:

Quote from: Sermons LXIV & LXV on the Gospel of Luke
And in sending them, He ennobled them with the grace of the Holy Ghost, and crowned them with the power of working miracles, that they might not be disbelieved by men, nor be supposed to be self-called to the apostleship: just as of old there were some who prophesied, "though they spake not out of the mouth of the Lord," as Scripture saith, but rather vomited forth lies from their own heart. For God by the voice of Jeremiah somewhere also said, at one time, "I have not sent the prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken unto them, yet they prophesied:" and again at another; "The prophets prophesied lies in My name: I sent them not, neither spake I unto them; neither had I commanded them." In order, therefore, that men might not subject to such a suspicion those who were commissioned by Christ, He gave them power over unclean spirits, and the ability to perform signs. For when the divine miracle followed close upon their word, no form, either of calumny or of Jewish false-speaking, could find a place against them. For they were convicted of accusing them without reason, or rather of choosing to fight against God. For to be able to work miracles is possible for no man, unless God give him the power and authority thereunto. The grace of the Spirit therefore witnessed of those who had been sent, that they were not persons who ran of themselves, nor self-called to the duty of speaking concerning Christ; but that, on the contrary, they had been appointed to be the ministers of His message.

...

The Holy Ghost then proceedeth from God the Father as from the fountain; but is not foreign from the Son: for every property of the Father belongeth to the Word, Who by nature and verily was begotten of Him. Christ saw therefore that many had been won by the operation of the Spirit, Whom He bestowed on them that were worthy, and whom He had also commanded to be ministers of the divine message: He saw that wonderful signs were wrought by their hands, and that the salvation of the world by Him,----I mean by faith,----had now begun: and therefore He rejoiced in the Holy Ghost, that is, in the works and miracles wrought by means of the Holy Ghost. For He had appointed the twelve disciples, whom He also called apostles, and after them again seventy others, whom He sent as His forerunners to go before Him unto every village and city of Judaea, preaching Him, and the things concerning Him. And He sent them, nobly adorned with apostolic dignities, and distinguished by the operation of the grace of the Holy Ghost. "For He gave them power over unclean spirits to cast them out." They then, having wrought many miracles, returned saying, "Lord, even the devils are subject unto us in Thy Name."And therefore as I have already said, well knowing that those who had been sent by Him had benefited many, and that above all others, they had themselves learned by experience His glory, He was full of joy, or rather of exultation. For being good and loving unto men, and wishing that all should be saved, He found His cause of rejoicing in the conversion of those that were in error, in the enlightenment of those that were, in darkness, and in the answer of the understanding to the acknowledgment of His glory, of those who had been without knowledge and without instruction.

That the Holy Spirit is consubstantial with the Father and the Son, equally ineffable and omnipotent, but working with our senses to aid in the partaking of the divine nature (I would read this in its entirety to get an appreciation of this passage, but I will bold the important parts for those who are impatient):

Quote from: Chapters 1 and 2 on the Gospel According to St. John, Book XI
14 He shall glorify Me: for He shall take of Mine, and shall declare it unto you.

As the Holy Spirit was about to reveal to those who should be found worthy the mystery that is in Christ, and to demonstrate completely Who He is by nature, and how great is His power and might, and that He reigneth over all with the Father, Christ is impelled to say, He shall glorify Me. For He sets our mind above the conceits of the Jews, and does not suffer us to entertain so limited and dwarfed a conception as to think that He is a mere Man, slightly surpassing the prophets in the stature they attained, or even falling short of their renown----for we find that the leaders of the Jews had this idea concerning Him, because they not knowing the mystery of piety, frequently uttered blasphemies against Christ, and, encountering His sayings with their mad folly, said on one occasion: Who art Thou? Abraham is dead, and the prophets are dead; and Thou sayest, If a man keep My word, He shall never see death. Whom makest Thou Thyself? And on another occasion they cast in His teeth the meanness of His birth according to the flesh, and His great insignificance in this respect: Is not this the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then doth He say, I am come down out of heaven? Note herein the miserable reasoning of the Jews. As then the multitude were so disposed and thought that the Lord was not truly God because in this human frame He was liable to death, and because they did not scruple to entertain the basest conception of His Nature, the Spirit, when He came down from heaven, illustrated completely His glory to the Saints; not that we should say, that He merely convinced them by wise words, but that He by actual proof also satisfied the minds of all that He was truly God, and the fruit of the Substance of God the Father. What then is this proof? And how did He increase the honour and admiration in which Christ was held? By exercising His activity universally in a marvellous and Divine manner, and by implanting in the Saints complete and perfect knowledge, He furthered His glory. For to the Sovereign Nature of the Universe alonemust we ascribe omniscience and the sight of all things naked and laid open to the view, and the ability to accomplish all His purposes.

The Comforter then, that is, His own Spirit, being omnipotent and omniscient, glorifies the Son. And how does He glorify Him? Surely what His Spirit knows and is able to effect, Christ knows and is able to effect. And if, as He says, the Spirit receives of Him, the Spirit Himself being omnipotent, surely He Himself has a power which is universal. And we must in no wise suppose that the Comforter, that is, the Spirit, is lacking in innate and inherent power in such a way that, if He did not receive assistance from without, His own power would not be self-sufficient to fully accomplish the Divine designs. Any one who merely imagined any such idea to be true about the Spirit would with good reason undergo the charge of the worst blasphemy of all. But it is because He is Consubstantial with the Son, and divinely proceeds through Him, exercising universally His entire activity and power, that Christ says, "He shall receive of Me." For we believe that the Spirit has a self-supporting existence and is in truth that which He is, and with the qualities predicated of Him; though, being inherent in the Substance of God, He proceeds and issues from it and has innate in Himself all that that nature implies. For the Divine Substance is not His by participation or by relation, still less is It His as though He had a separate existence from It, since He is an attribute of It. For just as the fragrance of sweet-smelling flowers, proceeding in some sort from the essential and natural exercise of the functions or qualities of the flowers that emit it, conveys the perception thereof to the outer world by meeting those organs of smell in the body, and yet seems in some way, so far as its logical conception goes, to be separate from its natural cause, while (as having no independent existence) it is not separate in nature from the source from which it proceeds and in which it exists, even so you may conceive of the relation of God and the Holy Spirit, taking this by way of illustration. In this way then the statement that His Spirit receives something from the Only-begotten is wholly unimpeachable and cannot be cavilled at. For proceeding naturally as His attribute through Him, and having all that He has in its entirety, He is said to receive that which He has. And if this meaning is conveyed in language that is obscure, far from being offended at it, we should with more justice lay the blame on the poverty of our own language, which is not able to give expression to Divine truths in a suitable way. And what language is adequate to explain the ineffable Nature and Glory of God? He says then that the Comforter "will receive of Mine, and will show it unto you;" that is, He will say nothing that is not in harmony with My purpose; but, since He is My Spirit, His language will be in every way identical with Mine, and He will show you of My Will.

15 All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine: and therefore I said unto you, that He taketh of Mine and shall declare it unto you.

The Son once more shows to us herein the complete and perfect character of the Person of the Father Himself also, and allows us to see why He said that He, being the fruit of the Father's Substance, engrosses in Himself all that belongs to It, and says that It is all His own, and with reason. For, as there is nothing to dissever or estrange the Son from the Father, so far as their complete similarity and equality is concerned, save only that He is not Himself the Father, and as the Divine Substance does not show Itself differently in the Two Persons, surely Their attributes are common, or rather identical; so that what the Father hath is the Son's, and what He That begat hath, belongs also to Him that is begotten of Him. For this reason, I think, in His watchful care over us, He has thus spoken to us concerning this. For He did not say, All things whatsoever the Father hath I have also, in order to prevent our imagining He meant a mere likeness founded on similarity, only moulded by adventitious graces into conformity with the Archetype, as is the case with us; for we are after God's likeness. Rather, when He says, All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine, He illustrates hereby the perfect union which He hath with His Father, and the meaning of their Consubstantiality existing in unchangeable attributes. And this you may see, that He clearly says elsewhere, when addressing the Father, All things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine. For surely they are identical in nature, in whom there is no severance at all, but complete and perfect essential equality and likeness. God the Father then hath, of Himself, and in Himself, His own Spirit; that is, the Holy Spirit, through Whom He dwelleth in the Saints, and reveals His mysteries to them; not as though the Spirit were called to perform a merely ministerial function (do not think this), but rather, as He is in Him essentially, and proceeds from Him inseparably and indivisibly, interpreting what is in reality His own