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Author Topic: Do God's Energies Change?  (Read 11737 times) Average Rating: 0
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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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"All that the Father has belongs likewise to the Son, except Causality."
St. Gregory Nazianzen

"We should believe that divine grace is present in the icon of Christ and that it communicates sanctification to those who draw near with faith."
St. Theodore Studite
Apotheoun
"Three realities pertain to God: essence, energy, and the triad of divine hypostaseis." St. Gregory Palamas
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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.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2011, 04:06:40 PM by Apotheoun » Logged

"All that the Father has belongs likewise to the Son, except Causality."
St. Gregory Nazianzen

"We should believe that divine grace is present in the icon of Christ and that it communicates sanctification to those who draw near with faith."
St. Theodore Studite
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