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« on: July 06, 2013, 06:13:49 AM »

Divine simplicity concerns the doctrine about the simplicity of God. That is to say God is simple. What is meant by this is that God is uncompounded in his essence as opposed to material things like us or anything physical that are composed of multiple atoms, particles, organs, parts and etc.

At least thats how I understand the doctrine, someone feel free to offer a more philosophical definition.

I ran into some orthodox I know the other day and brought this up and they seemed to really object to the doctrine, no real reason was given but then I started to look around and found similar concerns with it by orthodox online. I hope to discuss this with my priest tommorow but I also want to hear what people here have to say about it.

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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2013, 07:23:38 AM »

Divine simplicity concerns the doctrine about the simplicity of God. That is to say God is simple. What is meant by this is that God is uncompounded in his essence as opposed to material things like us or anything physical that are composed of multiple atoms, particles, organs, parts and etc.

At least thats how I understand the doctrine, someone feel free to offer a more philosophical definition.

I ran into some orthodox I know the other day and brought this up and they seemed to really object to the doctrine, no real reason was given but then I started to look around and found similar concerns with it by orthodox online. I hope to discuss this with my priest tommorow but I also want to hear what people here have to say about it.

The Orthodox you talked to object to God being simple? That seems sort of like a common/straight forward part of Orthodox theology. St. John of Damascus, for example, says it repeatedly (he also says the human soul is simple). What's there to object to, I wonder.
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2013, 07:35:49 AM »

What's there to object to, I wonder.

The scholastic distinction between actus and potentia and the inevitable conclusion that God is actus purus.
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« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2013, 09:24:19 PM »

Here are a couple of examples from David Bradshaw and Vladimir Lossky as cited by Aristotle Papanikolaou.

Quote from: David Bradshaw


"...one of the most fundamental tenets of the Latin theological tradition [is] the doctrine of divine simplicity. Given divine simplicity as the Latin tradition understands it, God is identical with His own eternity, as He is identical with all of His essential attributes. This means that, as Augustine remarks, “eternity is the very substance of God” [1] Plainly since eternity is the divine substance, it cannot be shared by creatures[2]

[1]Expositions of the Psalms, Homily 2 on Psalm 101, ch. 10 (PL 37 1311).
[2]It is true that Aquinas speaks of angels and the blessed as “participating” in eternity, but on close examination this turns out to be an intentional rather than an ontological relationship. Such creatures participate in eternity only inasmuch as they take on the divine essence as an intelligible species. Given the identity of the act of understanding with its object, this means that they are united to God, as Aquinas puts it, not “in the act of being, but only in the act of understanding.” (Summa Contra Gentiles III.54.9; cf. III.61.3.)

David Bradshaw, A Christian Approach to the Philosophy of Time, pp 2, 12
http://www.uky.edu/~dbradsh/papers/Christian%20Approach%20to%20Phil%20of%20Time.pdf



Quote from: Aristotle Papanikolaou


"When they [Roman Catholics] speak of operations and energies as distinct from the essence, they are thinking of created effects of the divine essence. Their notion of God admits of nothing but an essential existence for divinity. What is not the essence itself does not belong to the divine being, is not God. Therefore the energies must be either identified with the essence or separated from it completely as actions which are external to it, i.e. as created effects having the essence as their cause." Vladimir Lossky, cited in Aristotle Papanikolaou, Being With God: Trinity, Apophaticism, and Divine Human Communion (University of Notre Dame Press, 2006), p. 26.

"To this argument, Lossky, following Palamas, poses the dilemma that if God’s energies are not uncreated, either the essence is communicated which results not in deification but absorption, or created existence participates in something that is less than divine. In either case, there is no real deification that consists of a real communion with the divine without an annihilation of the integrity of creation. Barlaam’s defense of divine simplicity starts “from a philosophical concept of essence, leads finally to conclusions which are in admissible for practical piety and contrary to the tradition of the Eastern Church.” (Papanikolaou, ibid)

"...It thus becomes clearer what Lossky means when he argues that in Thomism “a rationalistic doctrine of causality is introduced into the doctrine of grace.” The net result is that it reduces knowledge of God to human concepts. For the God who is transcendent and immanent in the creation, this violates God’s transcendence insofar as God becomes that which is necessary according to modes of human thought and logical discourse; it also leads to a God who is not immanent insofar as these modes of human thought and logical discourse are limited to created being and do not bridge the gap between the uncreated and the created. The intellectualization of theology, with the introduction of a “rationalistic doctrine of causality,” leads necessarily to notions of created grace, which is something less than God... The main problem with such an approach to theology is that it fails to establish as its first principle the realism of divine-human communion. It attempts to eliminate the paradoxical nature of the Incarnation when the very core of theology is this antinomy. If the very notion of divine-human communion, of the transcendent and immanent God, is antinomic, then theological discourse itself is grounded in the very being of God and must express, not eliminate, the antinomy. Hence, the necessity for both cataphatic and apophatic theologies to be held in a tension that is transcended in the being of God, and not simply for an apophatic corrective to cataphatic theology. The apophatic affirmation of the God who is beyond being is, ironically for Lossky, the only way to affirm that there can be real immanence in created being and, thus, the realism of divine-human communion.  (ibid, p. 29f.).



Divine simplicity follows from the Thomistic doctrine of pure actuality and is affirmed in the Roman Catholic tradition by the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 and reaffirmed in Vatican I (1870).
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2013, 10:45:01 PM »

What's there to object to, I wonder.

The scholastic distinction between actus and potentia and the inevitable conclusion that God is actus purus.

So when he said: "I ran into some orthodox I know the other day and brought this up and they seemed to really object to the doctrine" ... the above is what you think they were talking about? They must just not edjumakate Orthodox (including priests) here in PA then...  Cool
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« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2013, 12:15:04 AM »

St. Augustine (don't get your panties in a knot) says God is simple because He has what He is.  From Civitate Dei (11.10):
But, as regards Himself, irrespective of relation to the other, each is what He has, thus He is in Himself living, for He has life and is Himself the Life which He has.

It is for this reason, then, that the nature of the Trinity is called simple because it had not anything which it can lose...
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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2013, 01:30:51 PM »

Divine simplicity concerns the doctrine about the simplicity of God. That is to say God is simple. What is meant by this is that God is uncompounded in his essence as opposed to material things like us or anything physical that are composed of multiple atoms, particles, organs, parts and etc.

At least thats how I understand the doctrine, someone feel free to offer a more philosophical definition.

I ran into some orthodox I know the other day and brought this up and they seemed to really object to the doctrine, no real reason was given but then I started to look around and found similar concerns with it by orthodox online. I hope to discuss this with my priest tommorow but I also want to hear what people here have to say about it.



I would not attribute God's simplicity to His essence; these would be different subjects (but that's just my personal choice and understanding).

One way I look at it is that God is simple as opposed to complicated (as in pretentious, let's say). Yet, God is not devoid of complexity and richness, but He keeps things divinely simple as well.  

Another way I look at it is that God does not overwhelm, but is simple, yet convincing even when it comes to very complicated things, deep mysteries, let's say. God's simplicity gives rest to us.
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« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2013, 02:14:13 PM »

Divine simplicity concerns the doctrine about the simplicity of God. That is to say God is simple. What is meant by this is that God is uncompounded in his essence as opposed to material things like us or anything physical that are composed of multiple atoms, particles, organs, parts and etc.

At least thats how I understand the doctrine, someone feel free to offer a more philosophical definition.

I ran into some orthodox I know the other day and brought this up and they seemed to really object to the doctrine, no real reason was given but then I started to look around and found similar concerns with it by orthodox online. I hope to discuss this with my priest tommorow but I also want to hear what people here have to say about it.

That's the gist. Speaking of God's "simplicity" is a way of emphasizing that there is no division in God's being. There are distinctions ("being" and "will"), but not divisions.

As for the larger point: St Gregory Palamas makes it clear that he professes divine simplicity, and that the distinction between essence and energy does not imply any diminution of the doctrine of divine simplicity. Lossky got a lot of things wrong in "The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church," which he later restated more correctly.
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« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2013, 02:46:25 PM »

Actually Lossky also affirms divine simplicity, but as with his view, following the Cappadocian fathers, of the essence of God as unknowable his main point is to oppose rationalist extrapolation from logical requirements of the relations of human thematizations what is in reality no less antinomic and paradoxical than the Incarnation, least of all in a manner which precludes the possibility of a real participation in the divine nature on the level of uncreated being vs. mere intellect as Aquinas argued.
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2013, 04:59:01 PM »

IV. HOW CAN WE SPEAK ABOUT GOD?

39 In defending the ability of human reason to know God, the Church is expressing her confidence in the possibility of speaking about him to all men and with all men, and therefore of dialogue with other religions, with philosophy and science, as well as with unbelievers and atheists.

40 Since our knowledge of God is limited, our language about him is equally so. We can name God only by taking creatures as our starting point, and in accordance with our limited human ways of knowing and thinking.

41 All creatures bear a certain resemblance to God, most especially man, created in the image and likeness of God. The manifold perfections of creatures - their truth, their goodness, their beauty all reflect the infinite perfection of God. Consequently we can name God by taking his creatures" perfections as our starting point, "for from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator".15

42 God transcends all creatures. We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, image-bound or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God--"the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable"--with our human representations.16 Our human words always fall short of the mystery of God.

43 Admittedly, in speaking about God like this, our language is using human modes of expression; nevertheless it really does attain to God himself, though unable to express him in his infinite simplicity. Likewise, we must recall that "between Creator and creature no similitude can be expressed without implying an even greater dissimilitude";17 and that "concerning God, we cannot grasp what he is, but only what he is not, and how other beings stand in relation to him."18
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s1c1.htm
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« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2013, 05:05:57 PM »

IV. HOW CAN WE SPEAK ABOUT GOD?

39 In defending the ability of human reason to know God, the Church is expressing her confidence in the possibility of speaking about him to all men and with all men, and therefore of dialogue with other religions, with philosophy and science, as well as with unbelievers and atheists.

40 Since our knowledge of God is limited, our language about him is equally so. We can name God only by taking creatures as our starting point, and in accordance with our limited human ways of knowing and thinking.

41 All creatures bear a certain resemblance to God, most especially man, created in the image and likeness of God. The manifold perfections of creatures - their truth, their goodness, their beauty all reflect the infinite perfection of God. Consequently we can name God by taking his creatures" perfections as our starting point, "for from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator".15

42 God transcends all creatures. We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, image-bound or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God--"the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable"--with our human representations.16 Our human words always fall short of the mystery of God.

43 Admittedly, in speaking about God like this, our language is using human modes of expression; nevertheless it really does attain to God himself, though unable to express him in his infinite simplicity. Likewise, we must recall that "between Creator and creature no similitude can be expressed without implying an even greater dissimilitude";17 and that "concerning God, we cannot grasp what he is, but only what he is not, and how other beings stand in relation to him."18
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s1c1.htm

Why did you post that?
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« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2013, 05:37:14 PM »

It directly speaks to what the Catholic Church actually teaches as to how we can speak about God and divine simplicity as opposed to the Scholastic caricature offered by Cyrillic and Xariskai.  I just noticed this is Faith and not Orthodox/Catholic discussion so if that is the problem feel free to move or delete, my apologies.
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« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2013, 06:14:13 AM »

It directly speaks to what the Catholic Church actually teaches as to how we can speak about God and divine simplicity as opposed to the Scholastic caricature offered by Cyrillic and Xariskai.  I just noticed this is Faith and not Orthodox/Catholic discussion so if that is the problem feel free to move or delete, my apologies.

It's fine. Non-Orthodox are allowed to correct wrong statements about their beliefs in this section.
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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2013, 08:14:01 AM »

It directly speaks to what the Catholic Church actually teaches as to how we can speak about God and divine simplicity as opposed to the Scholastic caricature offered by Cyrillic and Xariskai.  
Horsefeathers. There is, in fact, nothing above other than quotation and description of Lossky and Dr. Bradshaw. There is no "misrepresentation of scholasticism" in their remarks, only disagreement with it.

IV. HOW CAN WE SPEAK ABOUT GOD?

...All creatures bear a certain resemblance to God ...Consequently we can name God by taking his creatures" perfections as our starting point
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s1c1.htm
The theory of analogia entis (analogy of being) you pasted as a "counterpoint" is also flatly rejected by most major Eastern Orthodox theologians. And most major Protestant theologians. Karl Barth went so far as to describe it as "the invention of Antichrist" (Barth, CD, 1/1, x). It is not as if all those major theologians -a majority of theologians who aren't RC- who reject analogia entis "have not heard of it" or "have not read the RC Catechism" such that simply cutting and pasting from the CCC  suffices to correct them. They have considered it and rejected it. That is something different from "misrepresenting something."

What you present here as a "solution" is widely regarded among Orthodox Christians as precisely part of "the problem":

Quote from: Mystagogy
The problems [with medieval scholasticism] are these...


2. That God's essence bears a resemblance to creatures.

3. That we reason up from creatures via "analogia entis" to know something of God's essence...



6. That essence and energy/action are the same in God, as well as all attributes being the same. This "god" is actus purus - pure act.

...These are the awful ideas of scholasticism. It's NOT bad because it uses philosophy and logic. If that were true, then Nyssa, Maximus, Basil, Theodore, Athanasius, the two Cyrils, John of Damascus, and all Eastern Fathers are all "scholastics."


http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/02/root-issues-of-western-scholasticism.html

But perhaps by simply pasting a description of it from his Catechism DL can change the course of the world?

"...in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him" -1 Corinthians 1:21
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« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2013, 08:49:18 PM »

I notice Sanidopoulos states scholastics teach that creatures bear resemblance to God's essence, which is not what the Catechism states.  It states: All creatures bear a certain resemblance to God, most especially man, created in the image and likeness of God and God transcends all creatures.  So lets deal with what the Catholic Church teaches versus what Orthodox polemicists would like to pretend the Catholic Church teaches.

 “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.” Proverbs 14:8

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« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2013, 03:54:40 AM »

I notice Sanidopoulos states scholastics teach that creatures bear resemblance to God's essence, which is not what the Catechism states.  It states: All creatures bear a certain resemblance to God, most especially man, created in the image and likeness of God and God transcends all creatures.  So lets deal with what the Catholic Church teaches versus what Orthodox polemicists would like to pretend the Catholic Church teaches.

 “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.” Proverbs 14:8



I think it's important to remember that sometimes we use words in a loose way or not knowing their full meaning (or momentarily unaware). I don't know if it's the case in the example above, but I for one have referred to God's essence as to mean the way God is or who He is, but I was not exactly speaking about the topic of His essence in all its seriousness and clarity. I say this because we may read things into what people say and they didn't even mean it in that way.
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« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2013, 08:40:37 AM »

Actually Lossky also affirms divine simplicity, but as with his view, following the Cappadocian fathers, of the essence of God as unknowable his main point is to oppose rationalist extrapolation from logical requirements of the relations of human thematizations what is in reality no less antinomic and paradoxical than the Incarnation, least of all in a manner which precludes the possibility of a real participation in the divine nature on the level of uncreated being vs. mere intellect as Aquinas argued.
I need to get around to Lossky again. I really liked his intro to Orthodox theology. But I am reading other things that are much more important to me at the moment.
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« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2013, 10:33:10 AM »



Quote from: Mystagogy
The problems [with medieval scholasticism] are these...


2. That God's essence bears a resemblance to creatures.

3. That we reason up from creatures via "analogia entis" to know something of God's essence...



6. That essence and energy/action are the same in God, as well as all attributes being the same. This "god" is actus purus - pure act.

...These are the awful ideas of scholasticism. It's NOT bad because it uses philosophy and logic. If that were true, then Nyssa, Maximus, Basil, Theodore, Athanasius, the two Cyrils, John of Damascus, and all Eastern Fathers are all "scholastics."


http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/02/root-issues-of-western-scholasticism.html

But perhaps by simply pasting a description of it from his Catechism DL can change the course of the world?

"...in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him" -1 Corinthians 1:21
Actually, St. Thomas flatly rejects the idea that God resembles creatures. In the Summa contra gentiles he states, "All the less proper, moreover, is the expression that God is likened to a creature. For likening expresses a motion towards likeness and thus belongs to the being that receives from another that which makes it like. But a creature receives from God that which makes it like Him. The converse, however, does not hold. God, then, is not likened to a creature; rather, the converse is true." (SCG, I, 29).

What is more, because the limitations of perfection that one finds in creatures are so utterly lacking in God, in as far as his perfection is infinite, St. Thomas states that one gains more accurate knoweldge of God by stating how he is not like creatures, or by simply stating what God is not. He states:

"Now, in considering the divine substance, we should especially make use of the method of remotion. For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." (SCG 1, 14)

and


 "For this reason, we must derive the distinction of God from other beings by means of negative differences. And just as among affirmative differences one contracts the other, so one negative difference is contracted by another that makes it to differ from many beings. For example, if we say that God is not an accident, we thereby distinguish Him from all accidents. Then, if we add that He is not a body, we shall further distinguish Him from certain substances. And thus, proceeding in order, by such negations God will be distinguished from all that He is not. Finally, there will then be a proper consideration of God’s substance when He will be known as distinct from all things. Yet, this knowledge will not be perfect, since it will not tell us what God is in Himself." (SCG, I, 14)
 

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« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2013, 03:30:52 PM »

...the Catechism... states: All creatures bear a certain resemblance to God

Quote from: Mystagogy
2. That God's essence bears a resemblance to creatures.
Actually, St. Thomas flatly rejects the idea that God resembles creatures.
I have to agree -Sandinopolous's wording was technically amiss at that point. Aquinas thought it true that creatures resemble God, but improper to say God resembles creatures.

I also agree with the Via Negativa approach Papist mentioned, which Aquinas derived from the pseudo-Dionysian corpus. No real conflict between Aquinas and EO at that point -Aquinas is not by any means wrong about everything.  Wink

Turning back to the OP, it might be worthwhile to cite earlier RC writers who regarded East and West as opposed on related points, before the more modern ecumenical modality of insisting "we are really the same except for different terminology" came into fashion.

The Catholic Encyclopedia describes the Orthodox essence/energy distinction as "fundamentally opposed to" Scholasticism on the basis of divine simplicity:
"The other element of fourteenth-century Hesychasm was the famous real distinction between essence and attributes (specifically one attribute — energy) in God. This theory, fundamentally opposed to the whole conception of God in the Western Scholastic system, had also been prepared by Eastern Fathers and theologians... The Greek Fathers (after Clement of Alexandria mostly Platonists) had a tendency in the same way to distinguish between God's unapproachable essence and His action, energy, operation on creatures. God Himself transcends all things. He is absolute, unknown, infinite above everything; no eye can see, no mind conceive Him. What we can know and attain is His action. The foundation of a real distinction between the unapproachable essence (ousia) and the approachable energy (energeia) is thus laid. For this system, too, the quotations made by Hesychasts from Athanasius, Basil, Gregory, especially from Pseudo-Dionysius, supply enough examples. The Hesychasts were fond of illustrating their distinction between God's essence and energy (light) by comparing them to the sun, whose rays are really distinct from its globe, although there is only one sun. It is to be noted that the philosophic opponents of Hesychasm always borrow their weapons from St. Thomas Aquinas and the Western Schoolmen. They argue, quite in terms of Latin Aristotelean philosophy, that God is simple; except for the Trinity there can be no distinctions in an actus purus. This distinct energy, uncreated light that is not the essence of God, would be a kind of demiurge, something neither God nor creature; or there would be two Gods, an essence and an energy.   http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07301a.htm

The same Catholic Encyclopedia article references St. Gregory Palamas's opposition to the equation of God's essence and attributes, which is part of divine simplicity as conceived in scholasticism:
Gregory Palamas (d. about 1360; Krumbacher, op. cit., 103-105) was a monk at Athos, then from 1349 Bishop of Thessalonica. He wrote no less than sixty works in defence of Hesychasm, one especially against the Scholastic identification of God's essence and attributes. He found fifty heresies in his opponents. He was also vehemently anti-Latin, wrote a refutation of John Beccus's latinizing work, and did his duty by Orthodoxy in supplying the usual treatise against the double procession of the Holy Ghost. Naturally his opponents call him a ditheist, while he considers them Arians, Sabellians, and Epicureans... Gregory Akindynos, a friend and contemporary of Barlaam, also a monk, wrote a work against the Hesychasts "Peri ousias kai energeias," in six books, of which the first two are nothing but translations from St. Thomas's "Summa contra Gentes".

Also Hesychasm is dismissed as a form of autosuggestion; this may be influenced by the perception of doctrinal incompatibility of East and West in that article.

"After Isaias, John XIV (John Aprenus, 1334-47) had become patriarch. Barlaam demanded of him a synod to settle the question. For a time the patriarch refused to take the matter so seriously; eventually, since the quarrel became more and more bitter, in 1341 the first synod of the Hesychast question was summoned at Constantinople. The emperor (Andronicus III) presided. This first synod considered only two questions; (1) Whether the light of Thabor (that of the Transfiguration) was created or not; (2) a certain prayer used by Hesychasts, stated by Barlaam to contain ditheism. The enormous influence of the monks at Court and the want of energy of the patriarch (who was in his heart on Barlaam's side) made this first synod a victory for Hesychasm. In both points the monks and their theory were approved, and Barlaam was forced to withdraw his accusations. Soon afterwards he left Constantinople forever; his cause was taken up by Gregory Akindynos. The emperor died a few days after the synod. John VI, Cantacuzenus (1341-1355), who gradually usurped the imperial power, first as rival, then as fellow-emperor, of Andronicus's son John V, Palæologus (1341-76), was always a friend of Palamas and the Hesychast monks. The second Hesychast synod under Cantacuzenus, but without the patriarch, condemned Akindynos and introduced a new element by representing him and all its opponents as latinizers who were trying to destroy Orthodoxy... Hesychasm had become so much identified with the cause of the Orthodox Church against the Latins that the other side never succeeded in ousting it. On 2 February, 1347, the fourth Hesychast synod was held. It deposed the patriarch, John XIV, and excommunicated Akindynos. Isidore Buchiras, who had been excommunicated by the third synod, was now made patriarch (Isidore I, 1347-1349). In the same year (1347) the Barlaamites held the fifth synod, refusing to acknowledge Isidore and excommunicating Palamas. From this time Nicephorus Gregoras becomes the chief opponent of Hesychasm. Isidore I died in 1349: the Hesychasts replaced him by one of their monks, Callistus I (1350-1354). In 1351 the sixth synod met in the Blachernæ palace under Cantacuzenus. Gregoras defended his views boldly and skillfully, but again the Hesychasts had it all their own way, deposed Barlaamite bishops, and used violence against their own opponents. In this synod six questions about God's essence and attributes were answered, all in the Hesychast sense, while Palamas was declared to be without any doubt orthodox and unimpeachable. The synod finally published, in defence of Palamas and his views, a decree (Tomos) which eventually was looked upon as an authentic declaration of the Orthodox Church. From this time Hesychasm may be said to have defeated all opposition... After the deposition of Cantacuzenus, the Barlaamites held an anti-Hesychast synod at Ephesus; but the patriarchs of Constantinople and the great mass of the people had by now become too firmly persuaded that the cause of Hesychasm was that of Orthodoxy. To oppose it was to incur the guilt of latinizing; so even Cantacuzenus's fall was not enough to turn the scale. Hesychasm from this time is always triumphant. About 1360 Palamas died. In 1368 the seventh Synod of Constantinople (concerning this matter) under the Patriarch Philotheus (1364-1376: Callistus's successor) excommunicated the Barlaamite monk Prochorus Cydonius, confirmed the "Tomus" of 1351 as a "Faultless Canon of the true faith of Christians", and canonized Palamas as a Father and Doctor of the Church. So by the end of the fourteenth century Hesychasm had become a dogma of the Orthodox Church. It is so still ...the Orthodox still maintain the Tomus of 1351 as binding; the real distinction between God's essence and operation remains one more principle, though it is rarely insisted on now, in which the Orthodox differ from Catholics. -ibid

The Catholic Encyclopedia article concludes by reaffirming the fundamental opposition of Hesychasm and scholastic theology: ...Latin theology on the whole was too deeply impregnated with the Aristotelean Scholastic system to tolerate a theory that opposed its very foundation. That all created beings are composed of actus and potentia, that God alone is actus purus, simple as He is infinite — this is the root of all Scholastic natural theology. " -ibid

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« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2013, 04:18:25 PM »

I'm actually really interested in how the concept of the essence/energies distinction fits in with the doctrine of Divine Simplicity. I suspect that because Catholics and EOs are asking entirely different metaphysical, philosophical, and theological questions, we may have defined terms differently. The result is that it is difficult to have a conversation about what we all mean by simplicity, essence, energies, etc. without equivocation. This is one of those areas where I think we may not be as far off from one another as it appears on the surface. Certainly there are areas where we differ greatly, but I am not entirely convinced that this is one of them. Though I could be wrong. If I ever do a second masters degree, one in theology, I might write my thesis on this topic.
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« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2013, 04:30:20 PM »

I'm actually really interested in how the concept of the essence/energies distinction fits in with the doctrine of Divine Simplicity. I suspect that because Catholics and EOs are asking entirely different metaphysical, philosophical, and theological questions, we may have defined terms differently. The result is that it is difficult to have a conversation about what we all mean by simplicity, essence, energies, etc. without equivocation. This is one of those areas where I think we may not be as far off from one another as it appears on the surface. Certainly there are areas where we differ greatly, but I am not entirely convinced that this is one of them. Though I could be wrong. If I ever do a second masters degree, one in theology, I might write my thesis on this topic.
I hear this a lot as a claim, and I'm personally open to hearing/seeing the case actually made. If you write such a thesis I'd love to have a copy to read.  

On the face of it, given how older Roman Catholic writers (like the Catholic Encyclopedia article) were so adamant in seeing the energy/essence distinction as absolutely incompatible to scholasticism, and seeing how all their Orthodox opponents completely agreed as to incompatibility, one will need more than an intuition to make the case.
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« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2013, 05:45:32 PM »

I'm actually really interested in how the concept of the essence/energies distinction fits in with the doctrine of Divine Simplicity. I suspect that because Catholics and EOs are asking entirely different metaphysical, philosophical, and theological questions, we may have defined terms differently. The result is that it is difficult to have a conversation about what we all mean by simplicity, essence, energies, etc. without equivocation. This is one of those areas where I think we may not be as far off from one another as it appears on the surface. Certainly there are areas where we differ greatly, but I am not entirely convinced that this is one of them. Though I could be wrong. If I ever do a second masters degree, one in theology, I might write my thesis on this topic.
I hear this a lot as a claim, and I'm personally open to hearing/seeing the case actually made. If you write such a thesis I'd love to have a copy to read.  

On the face of it, given how older Roman Catholic writers (like the Catholic Encyclopedia article) were so adamant in seeing the energy/essence distinction as absolutely incompatible to scholasticism, and seeing how all their Orthodox opponents completely agreed as to incompatibility, one will need more than an intuition to make the case.
Oh I agree with you that it would take more than intuition. However, the fact that St. Gregory Palamas himself teaches that God is simple and uncomposed, or that while there is a distinction between essence and energies, there is no division, leads me to suspect that our differences on this matter are exaggerated. Also, the old Catholic Encyclopedia was written during a time when Latins tended to be somewhat ani-byzantine. That may or may not have been a somewhat idiosyncratic period. Even if don't ever get around to that second masters degree, I hope to eventually read this book:

The Ground of Union by A.N. Williams.
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« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2013, 11:31:43 PM »

Oh I agree with you that it would take more than intuition. However, the fact that St. Gregory Palamas himself teaches that God is simple and uncomposed, or that while there is a distinction between essence and energies, there is no division, leads me to suspect that our differences on this matter are exaggerated.
I'm definitely grateful that many RCs today, like Papist, after centuries of continuous and persistent arguments to the contrary find room to understand St. Gregory is not after all a heretic whose views reduce to either belief in a demiurge or ditheism (one or the other), as the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) so pointedly insists.

Also, the old Catholic Encyclopedia was written during a time when Latins tended to be somewhat ani-byzantine. That may or may not have been a somewhat idiosyncratic period.
Unfortunately -and this is part of the challenge- this was not at all idiosyncratic, but persistent Roman Catholic assessment for over 600 years -until the late 20th century. One of the things that RC and EO frequently agreed upon during those six centuries was that Hesychasm and Eastern Orthodoxy on the one hand, and Scholasticism on the other, were incompatible. On the positive side Hesychasm was never officially condemned by the Roman Catholic Church -perhaps the energy/essence distinction being clearly found in the likes of St. Athanasius, St. Basil the Great, and the pseudo-Dionysian corpus which Aquinas himself regarded as an authority had something to do with this, although we have seen how blithely the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia attributed this to "Platonism of the Greek Fathers."

For another taste of the typical earlier portrayal, compare Simon Vailhe's article, "Greek Church" in the 1909 Catholic Encyclopedia:

"Palamas taught that by asceticism one could attain a corporal, i.e. a sense view, or perception, of the Divinity. He also held that in God there was a real distinction between the Divine Essence and Its attributes, and he identified grace as one of the Divine propria making it something uncreated and infinite. These monstrous errors were denounced by the Calabrian Barlaam, by Nicephorus Gregoras, and by Acthyndinus. The conflict began in 1338 and ended only in 1368, with the solemn canonization of Palamas and the official recognition of his heresies. He was declared the 'holy doctor' and 'one of the greatest among the Fathers of the Church', and his writings were proclaimed 'the infallible guide of the Christian Faith'. Thirty years of incessant controversy and discordant councils ended with a resurrection of polytheism"

There you have it: the Eastern Orthodox Church teaches monstrous heretical errors and has resurrected polytheism in her midst.

Obviously the notion that Orthodoxy and Scholasticism have compatibility issues isn't some recent anti-Western novelty solely on the Orthodox side, or due strictly to some sort of "unthoughtful misunderstanding" of Scholasticism; it has remained a general and mutually shared (across the fence) RC and EO sentiment with a long and persistent history and some very articulate and intelligent minds on both sides. We hear such sentiment echoed to this day within in both of our traditions.

Nevertheless since Vatican II the situation has changed remarkably:
Quote
"The later 20th century saw a remarkable change in the attitude of Roman Catholic theologians to Palamas, a 'rehabilitation' of him that has led to increasing parts of the Western Church considering him a saint, even if uncanonized.[11] John Meyendorff describes the 20th-century rehabilitation of Palamas in the Western Church as a "remarkable event in the history of scholarship."[14] Andreas Andreopoulos cites the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia article by Fortescue as an example of how Barlaam's distrustful and hostile attitude regarding hesychasm survived until recently in the West, adding that now "the Western world has started to rediscover what amounts to a lost tradition. Hesychasm, which was never anything close to a scholar's pursuit, is now studied by Western theologians who are astounded by the profound thought and spirituality of late Byzantium."[15]
_________
11 John Meyendorff (editor),Gregory Palamas - The Triads, p. xi.
12 Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909.
13 Adrian Fortescue, "Hesychasm" in Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. VII (Robert Appleton Company, New York, 1910).
14 Saint Gregory Palamas (1983). Gregory Palamas. Paulist Press. p. xi.
15 Metamorphosis: The Transfiguration in Byzantine Theology and Iconography (St Vladimir's Seminary Press 2005, pp. 215-216  -from Wikipedia, "Hesychasm"; cf. also J. Christensen, Jeffery A. Wittung, eds, Partakers of the Divine Nature (2007).

"...Pope John Paul II repeatedly emphasized his respect for Eastern theology as an enrichment for the whole Church, declaring that, even after the painful division between the Christian East and the See of Rome, that theology has opened up profound thought-provoking perspectives of interest to the entire Church. He spoke in particular of the hesychast controversy. The term "hesychasm", he said, refers to a practice of prayer marked by deep tranquillity of the spirit intent on contemplating God unceasingly by invoking the name of Jesus. While from a Catholic viewpoint there have been tensions concerning some developments of the practice, the Pope said, there is no denying the goodness of the intention that inspired its defence, which was to stress that man is offered the concrete possibility of uniting himself in his inner heart with God in that profound union of grace known as theosis, divinization" (Pope John Paul II, "Eastern Theology Has Enriched the Whole Church" (11 August 1996), English translation (original text in Italian), ibid.

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« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2013, 09:45:14 AM »

I'm definitely grateful that many RCs today, like Papist, after centuries of continuous and persistent arguments to the contrary find room to understand St. Gregory is not after all a heretic whose views reduce to either belief in a demiurge or ditheism (one or the other), as the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) so pointedly insists.
Unfortunately, I used to be one of those Catholics who was hyper-critical of St. Gregory and his teachings on the essence/existence distinction. I'm actually pretty embarrassed about some of my behavior here, and other places, during my early/mid twenties. Thankfully, God was merciful and provided the opportunities to change my mind. There were three things in particular that straightened me out. The first was seeking quotes from the early Fathers mentioning the essence/energies distinction. The second was a very holy deacon at my Byzantine Catholic parish (who btw, is now a married priest, and is the pastor of the parish). This deacon very intelligently defended the reality of the essence/energies distinction, as well as veneration of St. Gregory Palamas. The third thing that was important in my growth in this matter was the example of an extremely holy and orthodox (litttle 'o', in the Catholic sense, bit 'C') Franciscan Friar. He absolutely loved all things Byzantine, including the Orthodox Church. He spent so much time at the Russian Orthodox Church in Trinity Square in New York,  that the Parishoners affectionately referred to him as their honorary   "associate  pastor." All the while, he remained a faithful son of the Catholic Church. 
Where am I now in all of this? Well, I'm still learning. I love my Roman Catholic background, but I am equally grateful for my exposure to the Byzantine Catholic Church. While I love the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, including his teachings on Natural Law, and his proofs for the existence of God, I prefer the Byzantine approach to theology. For example, I like the Byzantine approach to the sacraments, the on, after life, divinization, mysticism, mystery, etc.
Unfortunately -and this is part of the challenge- this was not at all idiosyncratic, but persistent Roman Catholic assessment for over 600 years -until the late 20th century. One of the things that RC and EO frequently agreed upon during those six centuries was that Hesychasm and Eastern Orthodoxy on the one hand, and Scholasticism on the other, were incompatible. On the positive side Hesychasm was never officially condemned by the Roman Catholic Church -perhaps the energy/essence distinction being clearly found in the likes of St. Athanasius, St. Basil the Great, and the pseudo-Dionysian corpus which Aquinas himself regarded as an authority had something to do with this, although we have seen how blithely the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia attributed this to "Platonism of the Greek Fathers."

For another taste of the typical earlier portrayal, compare Simon Vailhe's article, "Greek Church" in the 1909 Catholic Encyclopedia:

"Palamas taught that by asceticism one could attain a corporal, i.e. a sense view, or perception, of the Divinity. He also held that in God there was a real distinction between the Divine Essence and Its attributes, and he identified grace as one of the Divine propria making it something uncreated and infinite. These monstrous errors were denounced by the Calabrian Barlaam, by Nicephorus Gregoras, and by Acthyndinus. The conflict began in 1338 and ended only in 1368, with the solemn canonization of Palamas and the official recognition of his heresies. He was declared the 'holy doctor' and 'one of the greatest among the Fathers of the Church', and his writings were proclaimed 'the infallible guide of the Christian Faith'. Thirty years of incessant controversy and discordant councils ended with a resurrection of polytheism"

There you have it: the Eastern Orthodox Church teaches monstrous heretical errors and has resurrected polytheism in her midst.

Obviously the notion that Orthodoxy and Scholasticism have compatibility issues isn't some recent anti-Western novelty solely on the Orthodox side, or due strictly to some sort of "unthoughtful misunderstanding" of Scholasticism; it has remained a general and mutually shared (across the fence) RC and EO sentiment with a long and persistent history and some very articulate and intelligent minds on both sides. We hear such sentiment echoed to this day within in both of our traditions.
This is all very unfortunate, given how heavily St. Thomas relied on Dionysius, St. John Chrysostom, etc. and how heavily St. Gregory made use of Aristotle.

And thank God for the change in attitude toward Eastern theology. It is part of our heritage as Catholics as well.
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« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2013, 10:03:38 AM »

It seems were on very similar ground there Papist.


While I love the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, including his teachings on Natural Law, and his proofs for the existence of God, I prefer the Byzantine approach to theology. For example, I like the Byzantine approach to the sacraments, the on, after life, divinization, mysticism, mystery, etc.
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« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2013, 04:11:04 PM »

It seems were on very similar ground there Papist.


While I love the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, including his teachings on Natural Law, and his proofs for the existence of God, I prefer the Byzantine approach to theology. For example, I like the Byzantine approach to the sacraments, the on, after life, divinization, mysticism, mystery, etc.
Cool  Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: July 12, 2013, 09:10:25 PM »

I am convinced that the impasse between Catholicism and Orthodoxy on the divine simplicity is best addressed by returning to the fourth and fifth century Fathers and seeing how they dealt with divine simplicity.  How did this teaching function in their theology?  Why was it important to them.

I recently published a blog series on St Basil, and two of them were devoted to the views of Eunomius and Basil on divine simplicity:

Eunomius and his Simple God

St Basil of Caesarea and the Not So Simple God of the Gospel

For a contemporary Catholic appraisal of the Palamite distinction, see David Coffey, "The Palamite Doctrine of God."

As too often is the case, especially in theology, matters are rarely as simple as they might first appear (pun intended).  Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2013, 12:41:39 AM »


I would not attribute God's simplicity to His essence; these would be different subjects (but that's just my personal choice and understanding). One way I look at it is that God is simple as opposed to complicated (as in pretentious, let's say). Yet, God is not devoid of complexity and richness, but He keeps things divinely simple as well.

For St Basil, "simple" is predicated of the divine ousia, but it functions as a negative term:  To say that the divine essence is simple is simply to say that God is without parts. and that the divine essence is without parts is one reason why the divine essence is incomprehensible to the human mind. 
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« Reply #28 on: July 16, 2013, 10:42:59 AM »


I would not attribute God's simplicity to His essence; these would be different subjects (but that's just my personal choice and understanding). One way I look at it is that God is simple as opposed to complicated (as in pretentious, let's say). Yet, God is not devoid of complexity and richness, but He keeps things divinely simple as well.

For St Basil, "simple" is predicated of the divine ousia, but it functions as a negative term:  To say that the divine essence is simple is simply to say that God is without parts. and that the divine essence is without parts is one reason why the divine essence is incomprehensible to the human mind. 

Interesting. God's simplicity is the reason why Thomists also assert that we cannot know what God is in himself.
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« Reply #29 on: July 16, 2013, 01:31:51 PM »


I would not attribute God's simplicity to His essence; these would be different subjects (but that's just my personal choice and understanding). One way I look at it is that God is simple as opposed to complicated (as in pretentious, let's say). Yet, God is not devoid of complexity and richness, but He keeps things divinely simple as well.

For St Basil, "simple" is predicated of the divine ousia, but it functions as a negative term:  To say that the divine essence is simple is simply to say that God is without parts. and that the divine essence is without parts is one reason why the divine essence is incomprehensible to the human mind. 
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« Reply #30 on: July 16, 2013, 02:40:02 PM »


I would not attribute God's simplicity to His essence; these would be different subjects (but that's just my personal choice and understanding). One way I look at it is that God is simple as opposed to complicated (as in pretentious, let's say). Yet, God is not devoid of complexity and richness, but He keeps things divinely simple as well.

For St Basil, "simple" is predicated of the divine ousia, but it functions as a negative term:  To say that the divine essence is simple is simply to say that God is without parts. and that the divine essence is without parts is one reason why the divine essence is incomprehensible to the human mind. 
Yep, the fact that God is without parts is what makes him incomprehensible to the human mind. We think that.
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« Reply #31 on: July 16, 2013, 02:40:36 PM »

I am convinced that the impasse between Catholicism and Orthodoxy on the divine simplicity is best addressed by returning to the fourth and fifth century Fathers and seeing how they dealt with divine simplicity.  How did this teaching function in their theology?  Why was it important to them.

I recently published a blog series on St Basil, and two of them were devoted to the views of Eunomius and Basil on divine simplicity:

Eunomius and his Simple God

St Basil of Caesarea and the Not So Simple God of the Gospel

For a contemporary Catholic appraisal of the Palamite distinction, see David Coffey, "The Palamite Doctrine of God."

As too often is the case, especially in theology, matters are rarely as simple as they might first appear (pun intended).  Smiley
Thanks for sharing this stuff. I was able to use it in an assignment for my Natural Theology class.
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« Reply #32 on: July 17, 2013, 12:28:35 AM »

I've probably asked this question before, so my apologies ahead of time. In Byzantine theology, are the manifold energies ontologically distinct from one one another and form God's essence, or are the only distinct in the sense that creation, being diverse and not simple, can only experience God in a manifold way?
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« Reply #33 on: July 18, 2013, 04:20:41 PM »

Sorry to bother everyone with the question above, but BUMP
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« Reply #34 on: July 18, 2013, 04:22:23 PM »

AFAIK they're ontologically distinct, but I'm not sure.
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« Reply #35 on: July 19, 2013, 03:49:51 PM »

I've probably asked this question before, so my apologies ahead of time. In Byzantine theology, are the manifold energies ontologically distinct from one one another and form God's essence, or are the only distinct in the sense that creation, being diverse and not simple, can only experience God in a manifold way?

"When Orthodox speak of the divine energies, they do not mean by this an emana­tion from God, an “intermediary” between God and man, or a “thing” or “gift” that God bestows. On the contrary, the energies are God himself in his activity and self-manifestation. When a man knows or participates in the divine energies, he truly knows or participates in God himself, so far as this is possible for a created being. But God is God, and we are human; and so, while he possesses us, we cannot in the same way possess him.

Just as it would be wrong to think of the energies as a “thing” bestowed on us by God, so it would be equally misleading to regard the energies as a “part” of God. The Godhead is simple and indivisible, and has no parts. The essence signifies the whole God as he is in himself; the energies signify the whole God as he is in action. God in his entirety is completely present in each of his divine energies. Thus the essence-energies distinction is a way of stating simultaneously that the whole God is inaccessible, and that the whole God in his outgoing love has rendered himself accessible to man." -Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way http://katachriston.wordpress.com/2011/08/16/who-or-what-is-god/
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« Reply #36 on: July 19, 2013, 06:58:36 PM »

I've probably asked this question before, so my apologies ahead of time. In Byzantine theology, are the manifold energies ontologically distinct from one one another and form God's essence, or are the only distinct in the sense that creation, being diverse and not simple, can only experience God in a manifold way?

"When Orthodox speak of the divine energies, they do not mean by this an emana­tion from God, an “intermediary” between God and man, or a “thing” or “gift” that God bestows. On the contrary, the energies are God himself in his activity and self-manifestation. When a man knows or participates in the divine energies, he truly knows or participates in God himself, so far as this is possible for a created being. But God is God, and we are human; and so, while he possesses us, we cannot in the same way possess him.

Just as it would be wrong to think of the energies as a “thing” bestowed on us by God, so it would be equally misleading to regard the energies as a “part” of God. The Godhead is simple and indivisible, and has no parts. The essence signifies the whole God as he is in himself; the energies signify the whole God as he is in action. God in his entirety is completely present in each of his divine energies. Thus the essence-energies distinction is a way of stating simultaneously that the whole God is inaccessible, and that the whole God in his outgoing love has rendered himself accessible to man." -Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way http://katachriston.wordpress.com/2011/08/16/who-or-what-is-god/
Fantastic! This was the answer I was hoping to see. I feel better and better about the essence/energies distinction the more I learn about it. In fact, I have found some similar ideas in Aquinas' own work. It's really too bad that we can't have St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Gregory Palamas to sit down, define their terms, and figure out if they really agree or disagree with one another. It's unfortunate that I can't research this in the fall for my thesis, since this is more theology than philosophy; but if I ever do get that second masters in theology, I can guarantee my thesis will be on this topic.
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« Reply #37 on: July 19, 2013, 07:33:27 PM »


I would not attribute God's simplicity to His essence; these would be different subjects (but that's just my personal choice and understanding). One way I look at it is that God is simple as opposed to complicated (as in pretentious, let's say). Yet, God is not devoid of complexity and richness, but He keeps things divinely simple as well.

For St Basil, "simple" is predicated of the divine ousia, but it functions as a negative term:  To say that the divine essence is simple is simply to say that God is without parts. and that the divine essence is without parts is one reason why the divine essence is incomprehensible to the human mind. 


Correct, as I was just translating some of the Oktoekhos into modern English, repeatedly "simple" refers to the Trinity as "uncompounded" in essence, i.e. not a compound of parts (and repeatedly mentions that, while distinct hypostases, they are "the same" and "simple" in essence/nature).
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« Reply #38 on: July 19, 2013, 09:44:56 PM »

I've probably asked this question before, so my apologies ahead of time. In Byzantine theology, are the manifold energies ontologically distinct from one one another and form God's essence, or are the only distinct in the sense that creation, being diverse and not simple, can only experience God in a manifold way?

"When Orthodox speak of the divine energies, they do not mean by this an emana­tion from God, an “intermediary” between God and man, or a “thing” or “gift” that God bestows. On the contrary, the energies are God himself in his activity and self-manifestation. When a man knows or participates in the divine energies, he truly knows or participates in God himself, so far as this is possible for a created being. But God is God, and we are human; and so, while he possesses us, we cannot in the same way possess him.

Just as it would be wrong to think of the energies as a “thing” bestowed on us by God, so it would be equally misleading to regard the energies as a “part” of God. The Godhead is simple and indivisible, and has no parts. The essence signifies the whole God as he is in himself; the energies signify the whole God as he is in action. God in his entirety is completely present in each of his divine energies. Thus the essence-energies distinction is a way of stating simultaneously that the whole God is inaccessible, and that the whole God in his outgoing love has rendered himself accessible to man." -Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way http://katachriston.wordpress.com/2011/08/16/who-or-what-is-god/
I just wanted to share that I am reading an article on this topic in The Thomist, a speculative quarterly review, and the author is describing the essence energies distinction in the same way that Met. Ware does here. I am just so exciting about what I am learning right now. Perhaps my thesis adviser will let me write on this topic, because it does relate to Aquinas' philosophical perspective on God.
Funny thing, years ago when I was considering working on an MA, I wanted to write about how St. Gregory's view could not be reconciled to Aquinas. Now, after learning about St. Thomas' teaching on the nonsynomous nature of the names of God, and the Byzantine teaching on Divine Simplicity and the essence/energies distinction, I would really like to write a thesis on how, in some ways, the ideas are compatible.
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« Reply #39 on: July 24, 2013, 01:19:54 PM »


For St Basil, "simple" is predicated of the divine ousia, but it functions as a negative term:  To say that the divine essence is simple is simply to say that God is without parts. and that the divine essence is without parts is one reason why the divine essence is incomprehensible to the human mind. 


How is this different from Aquinas?...who also teaches divine simplicity negatively.
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« Reply #40 on: July 24, 2013, 01:25:13 PM »

http://www.amazon.com/Speaking-Incomprehensible-God-Interplay-Positive/dp/0813215749/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374687187&sr=8-1&keywords=Gregory+P.+Rocca

This text is exceptionally helpful to those who have any interest in trying to separate the work of St. Thomas from the speculations about the work and concepts that followed.   I never see it mentioned in these sorts of comparative discussions, so I expect that it is not a will know source.  I hope it is helpful to some of you.  It has been exceedingly helpful to me.  I wish I had found it sooner.

M.
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« Reply #41 on: July 24, 2013, 01:54:20 PM »

Maria!!!!

So glad to see you back. Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: July 24, 2013, 02:08:37 PM »

Maria!!!!

So glad to see you back. Smiley

  Cool  Got caught by the reference to that ages old article by David Hart on the schism and then picked up this one since the other had thin substance in the comments.
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« Reply #43 on: July 24, 2013, 02:53:41 PM »

Squee!

Welcome back.  angel
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« Reply #44 on: July 24, 2013, 03:05:04 PM »

Squee!

Welcome back.  angel

Well!!...I have to say thank you for that!  You two make it very nice to be back.  I won't be as active but I may stop in more often, as I have the time.  It is good to see you.  It is good to see a number of old familiar faces...so to speak  Tongue

M.
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