Author Topic: Is this statement accurate?  (Read 1827 times)

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Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Is this statement accurate?
« on: January 17, 2017, 04:28:23 PM »
"In the Orthodox Church and among Eastern Christians generally, grace is identified with the uncreated Energies of God." (Wikipedia)

I've not seen an explicit identification in the Coptic/Jacobite/Armenian Orthodox Churches that grace is the uncreated Energy of God. Would this assertion be accurate, if not, I thought of changing "Eastern" to "Byzantine" here, since I know Eastern Catholics of Byzantine Rite have the same understanding, at the very least.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2017, 04:54:36 PM »
We don't have an explicit theology of uncreated energies.  That's more of a Palamite development.  Nevertheless, the theology is generally the same.  Renowned Coptic theologian Fr. Tadros Malaty defines grace as such:

"This is the divine grace which in its essence is the enjoyment of sharing the nature of God Himself."

Source:

http://www.orthodoxebooks.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/THE%20DIVINE%20GRACE%20-%20Father%20Tadros%20Yacoub%20Malaty.pdf
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Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2017, 05:15:36 PM »
So what would you suggest a better reading of this sentence would be?
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2017, 05:16:56 PM »
The FULL presence of God working in and through you in various ways.


(I also gave you a link. Read it)
« Last Edit: January 17, 2017, 05:17:36 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2017, 05:27:27 PM »
I re-worded it in this way, "In the Orthodox Church, grace is identified with the uncreated Energies of God. Among Eastern Christians generally, grace is considered to be the partaking of the Divine Nature described in 2 Peter 1:4, however many Eastern Catholic, Assyrian and Oriental Orthodox Christians do not explicitly define grace as the uncreated Energies of God in the same manner as Byzantine Christians."

Does that seem accurate, or did I make a mistake?
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2017, 05:31:07 PM »
Another definition by Fr. Tadros is that grace is the "self-giving of God the Father in the Son by the Holy Spirit."  You can see that "presence" and "self" is including in the definition of grace as partaking in the divine nature, but nature not separate from person, but the full presences and persons of the Trinity.

You don't need to say "uncreated".  It's implied at this point when you enter into that intimate personal relationship with God Himself!

The issue is what does "uncreated energies" mean.  After the death of Palamas, there seems to be different ways of interpreting this phrase.  I think Metropolitan John Zizioulas comes closer to OO thought than other Byzantine theologians.  Uncreated energies is not a "thing".  It's a personal relationship.  That is what should be stressed.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2017, 05:48:00 PM »
Another definition by Fr. Tadros is that grace is the "self-giving of God the Father in the Son by the Holy Spirit."  You can see that "presence" and "self" is including in the definition of grace as partaking in the divine nature, but nature not separate from person, but the full presences and persons of the Trinity.

You don't need to say "uncreated".  It's implied at this point when you enter into that intimate personal relationship with God Himself!

The issue is what does "uncreated energies" mean.  After the death of Palamas, there seems to be different ways of interpreting this phrase.  I think Metropolitan John Zizioulas comes closer to OO thought than other Byzantine theologians.  Uncreated energies is not a "thing".  It's a personal relationship.  That is what should be stressed.

That's certainly how I understand it. My understanding, best illustrated by a Byzantine Catholic Hieromonk in an interview with EWTN, is that God comes down from the heavens and touches us in our deepest essence. It's as an intimate an experience with the Divine as can be illustrated. It's not just some impersonal force.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2017, 05:53:55 PM »
Then there's practically no difference.  We just tend to take the distinction not in the divine nature, but in the limitations of Man.  There's no real disctinction in divinity.  To say "partake" or "to become" means you are partaking or becoming something you don't have in yourself.  Therefore, the essence/energy distinction doesn't exist much with us.  I have seen Coptic middle age fathers who implied we partake of the divine essence.  And if you dig deep enough, so does pre-Palamite theology.
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If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2017, 06:03:55 PM »
So because partaking implies something you already lack, therefore it's not seen in any controversial light when partaking the divine nature is used and not clarified as in the Essence-Energies Distinction?
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2017, 06:46:19 PM »
We don't have an explicit theology of uncreated energies.  That's more of a Palamite development.  Nevertheless, the theology is generally the same.  Renowned Coptic theologian Fr. Tadros Malaty defines grace as such:

"This is the divine grace which in its essence is the enjoyment of sharing the nature of God Himself."

Source:

http://www.orthodoxebooks.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/THE%20DIVINE%20GRACE%20-%20Father%20Tadros%20Yacoub%20Malaty.pdf
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2017, 06:47:31 PM »
So because partaking implies something you already lack, therefore it's not seen in any controversial light when partaking the divine nature is used and not clarified as in the Essence-Energies Distinction?

There's no need for clarification.  God does not partake of His own nature.  He is His own nature.
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Offline recent convert

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2017, 09:37:41 PM »
I think the Palamite definition of uncreated energies was used to uphold Orthodox doctrine against non Orthodox redefinition.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2017, 09:39:23 PM by recent convert »
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2017, 10:14:15 PM »
I think the Palamite definition of uncreated energies was used to uphold Orthodox doctrine against non Orthodox redefinition.

Precisely.  Given the current events in the Coptic Orthodox Church, who knows what will happen in the next century.  A new Palamas might arise among us to fight against the Metropolitan who seems to spew Barlaamite teachings.

But for now, given my reading and research, the real distinction OOs hold is not essence/energy, but is/partake.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2017, 10:15:31 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2017, 01:46:24 AM »
I think the Palamite definition of uncreated energies was used to uphold Orthodox doctrine against non Orthodox redefinition.

Precisely.  Given the current events in the Coptic Orthodox Church, who knows what will happen in the next century.  A new Palamas might arise among us to fight against the Metropolitan who seems to spew Barlaamite teachings.

But for now, given my reading and research, the real distinction OOs hold is not essence/energy, but is/partake.

Both make sense to me, just like I think both of our christologies make sense. Anyway, I'm thankful for the input.
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Offline Tonedawg

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2017, 04:30:47 AM »
Father Peter recently wrote on the Essence and Energies distinction on his blog
http://www.stgeorgeministry.com/?p=1026
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2017, 03:17:22 PM »
My prophecy is being fulfilled sooner than I expected  ;)
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2017, 03:19:26 PM »
Father Peter recently wrote on the Essence and Energies distinction on his blog
http://www.stgeorgeministry.com/?p=1026

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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2017, 03:30:01 PM »
It looks like our recently canonized saint Pope St. Kyrillos VI

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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2017, 03:47:46 PM »
Father Peter recently wrote on the Essence and Energies distinction on his blog
http://www.stgeorgeministry.com/?p=1026

Actually, after reading this, I'm not sure what to think about it.  If we do not receive the hypostasis, what then do we receive?  I don't think any of the Church fathers ever said that we don't receive the hypostasis.  There is a difference between saying we are the hypostasis and receiving the hypostasis.  Christ IS the hypostasis of the Word.  We receive the hypostasis of the Word.  We also receive the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit.  There is no distinction in what happened in the river Jordan and what happens to us in baptism, EXCEPT that Christ had no need of this, but only fulfilled it that we may be fulfilled in Him.  Also the Holy Spirit is Christ's very own Spirit, so it can be said He anointed Himself.  But we do not anoint ourselves because we don't have any ownership of the Holy Spirit, but only receive the Holy Spirit, the hypostasis, as a gift.

The energies of God is the full presence and essence/hypostasis of God acting in us, inasmuch as we are able to receive.  But this doesn't mean we don't receive the essence.  Essence is about how God knows Himself fully, which we don't.  Neither are we able to be co-essential with God either.  But we do partake of Him, and gives Himself fully to us, not partially.  So I hope Fr. Peter can comment on this.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 03:49:36 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline Tonedawg

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2017, 04:39:21 AM »
Father Peter recently wrote on the Essence and Energies distinction on his blog
http://www.stgeorgeministry.com/?p=1026

Who is that in your profile and where did he get his wonderful hat?

Yes, it's Saint Kyrillos VI.
“How needful the human being is of service of the spirit, in an age where materialism, atheism, apostasy and deviant intellectual trends prevail. How needful people are to see Christ in our lives and to smell His sweet fragrance in us." St. Kyrillos (Cyril) VI

Offline Father Peter

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2017, 10:38:20 AM »
We should not imagine the divine energies of which the Fathers speak so clearly is other than God, but they are not God according to his essence. We do not receive the essence of God, we receive the energies of God. This is what it means to experience God as created beings. The essence of God is entirely unknown and unknowable.

Sometimes when people think that the energies of God are not God himself they will become concerned that what is being taught is not a real experience of God. But this is not what the Fathers teach. We truly experience God, but the means whereby we experience God is by his energies and not according to his essence. His energies are more or less the activity of God in condescending to our weakness and making himself known to our limitations as created beings. They are not things. They are God in his dealings with us.
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Offline Father Peter

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2017, 10:39:46 AM »
Everything I write is based on the Fathers and not on personal opinion at all. We do not enter into a hypostatic union, but the divine energies are always personal since they are the experience of a personal God.
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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2017, 10:41:10 AM »
The Fathers are clear that we receive union with God to the extent that we enter into union with God, and that it is not binary. So I can't agree that we receive all of God. That is not what the Fathers teach. And that is not what our own doctrine of sanctification teaches either.
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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2017, 10:42:11 AM »
The Fathers are also clear that there IS a distinction between what happened in the Jordan and what happens with us.
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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2017, 11:42:20 AM »
If its genuine and authentic.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2017, 01:14:31 PM »
Father bless!

I will put together some thoughts, but until then, I think a lot of the quotes need to be taken into context.  I will find the quote for you but St. Basil said in one instance the energy is the essence of God working in us.  It is not a difference within God but a difference within our limitations.  Your writings seem to say we receive a piece of God, which is nothing that I have found at all in the Church fathers.

Furthermore, there should be a distinction between being united with a hypostasis, and a "hypostatic union" two totally different things.

When I get back, I'll share with you my candid thoughts on the subject.
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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2017, 01:43:23 PM »
Where do I say that we receive a piece of God? No one I taught at seminary thought that?
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2017, 02:20:57 PM »
When you say "we can't receive all of God" what does that mean?
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2017, 03:28:25 PM »
The Fathers are also clear that there IS a distinction between what happened in the Jordan and what happens with us.

The only distinctions I remember reading is:

+He consecrated the waters whereas we are consecrated through the waters. 
+He had "His own" Holy Spirit to Himself, as the council of Ephesus says, whereas the Holy Spirit is not "our own" neither do we have power in ourselves to consecrate ourselves as Christ has.  But what happened to the humanity of Christ happens to us as well.  The hypostasis of the Holy Spirit rests on our human nature as He rested on Christ's humanity; that was the whole purpose at the Jordan, so that we are brought into the union with the Holy Spirit by grace that Christ had by nature.
+Furthermore, He had no need to be baptized, but we certainly need it.  He is God made man whereas we are men seeking God and His immortal grace from these waters.

I submit to Your Reverence Chapter 12 of the first Discourse against the Arians (paragraphs 46-52).  The disctinction made is not how we receive the Holy Spirit, but WHO Jesus is.  Jesus is the Word.  The Holy Spirit is His own.  He consecrated Himself.  But in His human nature, He consecrates ALL OF US "in Himsef".  He sends the Holy Spirit to all human nature "in Himself".  There is nothing here that says Christ received a hypostasis while we receive an energy of the Holy Spirit.  We receive the Holy Spirit "in Christ", the same Holy Spirit who descended on Christ in the Jordan.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2017, 03:29:57 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Is this statement accurate?
« Reply #29 on: January 21, 2017, 03:38:30 PM »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.