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Author Topic: Do God's Energies Change?  (Read 11525 times) Average Rating: 0
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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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"All that the Father has belongs likewise to the Son, except Causality."
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"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 #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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"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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« 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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"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
Papist
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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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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."
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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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"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
Papist
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Toumarches
************
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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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