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Re: Militant Latins or Orthodox [Re: Apotheoun] #286185
04/13/08 07:50 PM
04/13/08 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Alas, you fail yet again to take into account the distinction between essence and energy. The essence or nature of God is not present in icons, but His uncreated energies are. Thus, I am not in violation of the decrees any ecumenical council, although I do dissent from the teaching of the Latin Church's particular synod at Trent.


I'm not talking about Divine Essence, but Divine Nature, which is the term Nicaea II uses. The Divine Nature includes both Essence and Energy, or else we do not become partakers of the Divine Nature by sharing in the Divine Energies. Unless, of course, you believe that the Divine Energies are not the Divine Nature, which would then mean that St. Peter lied to us.

If the Divine Energies are not due worship, but only the Divine Essence, then we fall into the error that Latins have accused the East of holding, namely that there are two divinities, a greater and a lesser. If the Divine Energies are indeed Divine, the Divine Nature, then the worship due to the Divine Nature is due to them, and we would be right to worship Icons as having the Divine Nature (which Nicaea II condemns).

Incidentally, I'm not suggesting at all that the Divine Energy does not operate through Icons, or that the Divine Energy is not of the Divine Nature along with the Essence; I use those examples to highlight a problem, not to indicate any difficulties I myself have with the veneration of Icons, or the true Divinity that we receive from God. I'm merely pointing out that your use of terms leads to a violation of Church dogma, from an Eastern Ecumenical Council at that, in one way or another.

Peace and God bless!

Re: Militant Latins or Orthodox [Re: Apotheoun] #286187
04/13/08 07:54 PM
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The divine essence or nature, according to the Eastern Fathers (e.g., St. Clement, the Cappadocians, St. Maximos, St. John Damascene, et al.), is beyond any kind of knowledge or participation, and so a man cannot know what God is in essence. Nevertheless, a man can experience the divine energies of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which means that he can know albeit in a limited way that God exists and who He is tri-personally (cf. St. Gregory of Nyssa, Sixth Sermon on the Beatitudes; St. Basil, Letter 234).

Re: Militant Latins or Orthodox [Re: Ghosty] #286189
04/13/08 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Ghosty
I'm not talking about Divine Essence, but Divine Nature, which is the term Nicaea II uses. The Divine Nature includes both Essence and Energy, or else we do not become partakers of the Divine Nature by sharing in the Divine Energies. Unless, of course, you believe that the Divine Energies are not the Divine Nature, which would then mean that St. Peter lied to us.

If the Divine Energies are not due worship, but only the Divine Essence, then we fall into the error that Latins have accused the East of holding, namely that there are two divinities, a greater and a lesser. If the Divine Energies are indeed Divine, the Divine Nature, then the worship due to the Divine Nature is due to them, and we would be right to worship Icons as having the Divine Nature (which Nicaea II condemns).

Incidentally, I'm not suggesting at all that the Divine Energy does not operate through Icons, or that the Divine Energy is not of the Divine Nature along with the Essence; I use those examples to highlight a problem, not to indicate any difficulties I myself have with the veneration of Icons, or the true Divinity that we receive from God. I'm merely pointing out that your use of terms leads to a violation of Church dogma, from an Eastern Ecumenical Council at that, in one way or another.

We give only veneration to an icon, because even though the divine energies are present in it, the icon has not been for lack of a better term transubstantiated into God. The material from which the icon is made remains unchanged, but God is made manifest through the icon, and that is what makes the icon venerable. The icon and its prototype share an enhypostatic relation, but not an essential one, and so the icon and the saint depicted in it form one living reality.

Re: Militant Latins or Orthodox [Re: Apotheoun] #286190
04/13/08 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Apotheoun
The divine essence or nature, according to the Eastern Fathers (e.g., St. Clement, the Cappadocians, St. Maximos, St. John Damascene, et al.), is beyond any kind of knowledge or participation, and so a man cannot know what God is in essence. Nevertheless, a man can experience the divine energies of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which means that he can know albeit in a limited way that God exists and who He is tri-personally (cf. St. Gregory of Nyssa, Sixth Sermon on the Beatitudes; St. Basil, Letter 234).


If the Divine Nature is beyond the experience of men, then we can't become partakers of it:

Quote

[3]

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

[4] by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.


Nicaea II uses the same term as St. Peter used; if the Divine Physis (nature) is not worshipped in an Icon, then the Divine Energies are not the Divine Physis, and we do not partake of the Divine Physis as St. Peter said. This is because we don't access the Divine Physis (which you equate with Essence here), but only the Divine Energies which are not the same as the Divine Physis.

Obviously I believe that we DO share in the Divine Nature by Grace.

Peace and God bless!

Last edited by Ghosty; 04/13/08 08:11 PM.
Re: Militant Latins or Orthodox [Re: Apotheoun] #286191
04/13/08 08:08 PM
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Concerning holy icons St. Photios wrote the following:

". . . from the beginning the divine and infallible proclamation of the Apostolic and Patristic tradition is like a certain living wisdom which dominates matter and, in accordance with its own sacred laws, works it and fashions it and produces a representation and shape, not allowing any element of material disorder or of human curiosity to assert itself in these, but showing and manifesting all its work, it provides us, in a way appropriate to the representation of sacred things, with clear and unadulterated reflection of the prototypes in the holy icons . . . For this reason they are no longer wooden boards . . . or colors bereft of the inherent power and grace which produces form, neither can they be so conceived nor so named; but rather, they are holy and honourable and glorified and venerable. For having come to participate in the energy that comes from above, and in those holy persons, they bear the form and the name and are dedicated, they transport the minds to them and bring us blessings and divine favour from them. They are not indeed named after the material from which the icon is made or after any other property which is incongruous and applies to their opposites. On the contrary it is from those in whom they participate, . . . and whom they serve, and to whom they are dedicated, that they are very rightly known by the true devotees and receive their name" [St. Photios, Epistulae et Amphilochia, ed. Laourdas-Westerink, Leipzig 1984, vol. 2, 117-119].


Re: Militant Latins or Orthodox [Re: Apotheoun] #286192
04/13/08 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Concerning holy icons St. Photios wrote the following:

". . . from the beginning the divine and infallible proclamation of the Apostolic and Patristic tradition is like a certain living wisdom which dominates matter and, in accordance with its own sacred laws, works it and fashions it and produces a representation and shape, not allowing any element of material disorder or of human curiosity to assert itself in these, but showing and manifesting all its work, it provides us, in a way appropriate to the representation of sacred things, with clear and unadulterated reflection of the prototypes in the holy icons . . . For this reason they are no longer wooden boards . . . or colors bereft of the inherent power and grace which produces form, neither can they be so conceived nor so named; but rather, they are holy and honourable and glorified and venerable. For having come to participate in the energy that comes from above, and in those holy persons, they bear the form and the name and are dedicated, they transport the minds to them and bring us blessings and divine favour from them. They are not indeed named after the material from which the icon is made or after any other property which is incongruous and applies to their opposites. On the contrary it is from those in whom they participate, . . . and whom they serve, and to whom they are dedicated, that they are very rightly known by the true devotees and receive their name" [St. Photios, Epistulae et Amphilochia, ed. Laourdas-Westerink, Leipzig 1984, vol. 2, 117-119].



Yes, Divine Energy operates through an Icon; no one is denying that. I think we can both agree with Photius on this.

Peace and God bless!

Re: Militant Latins or Orthodox [Re: Ghosty] #286193
04/13/08 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Ghosty
If the Divine Nature is beyond the experience of men, then we can't become partakers of it:
Quote

[3] His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

[4] by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.


Nicaea II uses the same term as St. Peter used; if the Divine Physis (nature) is not worshipped in an Icon, then the Divine Energies are not the Divine Physis, and we do not partake of the Divine Physis as St. Peter said. This is because we don't access the Divine Physis (which you equate with Essence here), but only the Divine Energies which are not the same as the Divine Physis.

Peace and God bless!

We are made partakers of the divine nature through the divine energies. In other words, we participate in the divine energies, which are natural to God, but which are not themselves His nature, they are what St. Gregory of Nyssa calls the "things around God" (St. Gregory of Nyssa, Sixth Sermon on the Beatitudes).

Ultimately, for the Eastern Fathers, to participate in the nature or essence of another being is be that being by nature, and the saints do not become God by nature; instead, they become divine energetically.

In the theology of the Cappadocian Fathers, as Dr. Michel Rene Barnes points out, there is what he calls a "causal chain of being" in God: (1) the essense (ousia) or nature (physis) of God, which is completely unknowable and incommunicable; (2) the divine powers (dynameis), which are reflected in creation; (3) the divine persons (hypostaseis), i.e., God's tri-personal existence, which is made manifest through divine revelation; and (4) the divine energies (energeiai), which come down to man as an enhypostatic gift of God, and which are the outpouring of theosis upon mankind.

Re: Militant Latins or Orthodox [Re: Apotheoun] #286194
04/13/08 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Apotheoun


Ultimately, for the Eastern Fathers, to participate in the nature or essence of another being is be that being by nature, and the saints do not become God by nature; instead, they become divine energetically.


Then they deny St. Peter's statement that we do participate in the Divine Nature.

That, or this reading of them is incorrect and leads to error. I think my priest and Bishop would sternly correct me if I took the former view. laugh

Peace and God bless!

Re: Militant Latins or Orthodox [Re: Ghosty] #286196
04/13/08 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Ghosty
Originally Posted by Apotheoun


Ultimately, for the Eastern Fathers, to participate in the nature or essence of another being is be that being by nature, and the saints do not become God by nature; instead, they become divine energetically.


Then they deny St. Peter's statement that we do participate in the Divine Nature.

That, or this reading of them is incorrect and leads to error. I think my priest and Bishop would sternly correct me if I took the former view. laugh

Peace and God bless!

Yes, if by your comments you mean to say that mankind participates in the divine nature directly, and not through the divine energies, then I will say that the Fathers reject that notion. In fact, to hold that humanity can participate directly in the divine nature is a form of pantheism, and the Church Fathers rejected that as heresy long ago.

Re: Militant Latins or Orthodox [Re: Ghosty] #286197
04/13/08 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Ghosty
Yes, Divine Energy operates through an Icon; no one is denying that. I think we can both agree with Photius on this.

It is too bad that Trent doesn't agree with us.

smile

Re: Militant Latins or Orthodox [Re: Apotheoun] #286199
04/13/08 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Originally Posted by Ghosty
Yes, Divine Energy operates through an Icon; no one is denying that. I think we can both agree with Photius on this.

It is too bad that Trent doesn't agree with us.

smile


It certainly doesn't say otherwise. It merely says that "Divinity is not in them", which if taken to mean the Divine Nature is absolutely true, even in your own words. The Divine Nature works in and through these images, and Trent says nothing about that.

Peace and God bless!

Last edited by Ghosty; 04/13/08 09:05 PM.
Re: Militant Latins or Orthodox [Re: Apotheoun] #286203
04/13/08 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Apotheoun

Yes, if by your comments you mean to say that mankind participates in the divine nature directly, and not through the divine energies, then I will say that the Fathers reject that notion. In fact, to hold that humanity can participate directly in the divine nature is a form of pantheism, and the Church Fathers rejected that as heresy long ago.


The Divine Energies can not share what they themselves do not have; if they impart the Divine Nature then they are of the Divine Nature. This same point was raised to prove the Divinity of the Holy Spirit, incidentally, and was done in the East.

If Divinity is truly in the Icons, as you have said, and also that it is the Divine Energy which is in the Icons and not the Divine Nature itself, then Divinity is distinguished from the Divine Nature, and the Divine Energies indeed represent a "lesser Divinity". That would also mean there is Divinity that is not due Divine worship, as Divine worship is not to be given to Icons.

We know, however, that there are not two Divinities, but one that exists in the Divine Essence and is communicated by the Divine Energies.

This is why it's critical to not speak of the Divine Energies as if they were a thing, and why we can't adopt a language of Divine Energies as being "Divinity, but not the Divine Nature".

Peace and God bless!

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