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Roma locuta est, causa finita est....


As it should be, because the authority of the Pope, as Cardinal Ratzinger has written, is in defense of Christian memory. I would only add that once Rome has spoken, "faith seeking understanding" is the response of the believer.

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One can only comprehend the primacy of the Pope and its correlation to Christian conscience in this connection. The true sense of this teaching authority of the Pope consists in his being the advocate of the Christian memory. The Pope does not impose from without. Rather, he elucidates the Christian memory and defends it. For this reason the toast to conscience indeed must precede the toast to the Pope because without conscience there would not be a papacy. All power that the papacy has is power of conscience. It is service to the double memory upon which the faith is based and which again and again must be purified, expanded and defended against the destruction of memory which is threatened by a subjectivity forgetful of its own foundation as well as by the pressures of social and cultural conformity.


http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/RATZCONS.HTM

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Hadn't noticed that Aquinas...was suddenly added to the Anthologion


Hadn't noticed it either. But I have pointed out before, and shall do again, the words of Gennadios Scholarios, the handpicked successor of Mark of Ephesus as leader of the zealot opposition to the union council of Florence, regarding Aquinas' Summae:

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"The present book is a summary of two books, on of that against the Gentiles, or those heresies which oppose the truth, the other the first part of the Summa Theologiae of which there are three parts. We have taken up the labor of such a summary on account of our great love for these two books. We have put these things together which we had written out before our captivity, and later rediscovered in the diaspora. Since they are in no wise of an easily transportable size on account of the breadth and size of the chapters and questions, and of the fullness of the precise arguments contained in them, and since this our unfortunate life after our national disaster lavishes on us wanderings and distasteful goings and comings, and being unable to carry about so great a weight of books, of necessity and for no other ambition we have made a project of this summary so that it can suffice for us and for anyone else who is well versed in them, in place of the complete books. The author of these books is a Latin by birth and so he adheres to the dogma of that church as an inheritance; this is only human. But he is a wise man, and is inferior to none of those who are perfect in wisdom among men. He wrote most especially as a commentator of Aristotelian philosophy, and of the Old and New Testaments. Most of the principal conclusions of both Sacred Theology and philosophy are seen in his books, almost all of which we have studied, both the few which were translated by others into the Greek language, and their Latin originals, some of which we ourselves have translated into our own tongue. (But alas! All our labor was in vain, for we were about to suffer along with the fatherland which perished on account of our wickedness, the divine mercy being unable to hold out any longer against the divine justice.) In all the aforesaid areas this wise man is most excellent, as the best interpreter and synthesizer in those matters in which his church agrees with ours. In those things wherein that church and he differ from us-they are few in number-namely on the procession of the Holy Spirit and the divine essence and energies, in these not only do we observe the dogma of our fatherland, but we have even fought for it in many books. Our zeal even to the shedding of blood for our dogmas is evident to all men, both friends and enemies, and the whole world is filled with the books we have produced against those who deny them. Glory be to God in all things!"


Unfortunately on the question of the essence and energies, Gennadios failed to recognize the words of St. Basil:

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I think that He there [Jn.17.22] calls the Holy Spirit 'glory,' (that Spirit) which He gave to the disciples through His breathing on (them). For there is no other way for those who are divided from one another to be made one if not conjoined by the oneness of the Spirit ... [Rom 8:9]. But the Spirit is the glory, as He says elsewhere to the Father, 'Glorify me with the glory which I had from the beginning beside You before the world was'. For God the Logos, having before the world the glory of the Father, since in the last days He became flesh, it was necessary for the flesh, through compenetration by the Word, to become that which the Word is. (20) But this happens from the taking of that which before the world the Word had. But this was the Holy Spirit, for there was nothing else before the ages except Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (21)



Quoted in, The Mystery Hidden for Ages in God, by Fr. Paul Quay. Chapter three from which this is taken can be found here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20051218062732/praiseofglory.com/quayglory.htm

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Reconciling essence and energy with the CCC is harder only because it hasn't been done before (to my knowledge) and it's not really an academic theology task that the average educated person can do. It's much more complicated because you must get to what each side is really saying, you must "translate" between their two philosophical worlds (and human languages), etc.


Take a look at A.N. Williams', The Ground of Union, for a rather remarkable book regarding Aquinas' and Palamas' respective positions.

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Originally Posted by lm
Unfortunately on the question of the essence and energies, Gennadios failed to recognize the words of St. Basil:

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... But this was the Holy Spirit, for there was nothing else before the ages except Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


Here is the very core of the issue: Why is the underlined ultimately unfortunate unless it actually excludes a universally accepted -- dogmatic -- understanding and profession of the Energies by the Orthodox?

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Originally Posted by lm
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Reconciling essence and energy with the CCC is harder only because it hasn't been done before (to my knowledge) and it's not really an academic theology task that the average educated person can do. It's much more complicated because you must get to what each side is really saying, you must "translate" between their two philosophical worlds (and human languages), etc.


Take a look at A.N. Williams', The Ground of Union, for a rather remarkable book regarding Aquinas' and Palamas' respective positions.


Thanks for the references...

FrDD

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Here is the very core of the issue: Why is the underlined ultimately unfortunate unless it actually excludes a universally accepted -- dogmatic -- understanding and profession of the Energies by the Orthodox?



I should say, it was unfortunate for Gennadios that he understood a position to be dogmatic, which in fact, is not.


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Originally Posted by MarkosC
There's a lot in this thread, but I'll give a few opinions.

Originally Posted by ajk
I would prefer that be just that.


My belief is that the actual Synodicon recited varies between jurisdictions. i.e. what you might hear next Sunday of Orthodoxy in Moscow might not necessarily be what you hear in the Phanar (which for that matter might not be what you would have heard 400 years ago at either location).
Just a clarification: My point is that a Synodicon should not be labeled the Synodicon of the 7th Ecumenical Council unless it is just that. A Synodicon with later additions should not assume a title it does not warrant in that it is chronologically untenable and conveys a misleading origin for any authority it may possess.

Originally Posted by ajk
...I would say that it's "dogma", in the sense that it's a verbal articulation of the authentic life of the Church (and not necessarily "dogma" in any other sense one might give it).

I know this is frequently hard to some Latin Catholics to swallow. I'd suggest one approach it on its own terms, especially in the terms Fr. John Meyendorff put it in in his smaller book on St. Gregory.

Also, remember this is NOT Byzantium versus the West; this is Gregory and orthodoxy versus Barlam and a specific line of thought that was common in the "Byzantine Church" of the time.
I think most Latin Catholics aren't even aware it's on the menu. Actually, my experience is that any questioning of Palamite theology or the Energies is automatically interpreted as hostility by its advocates, and is presumed to be coming from those western bad guys or their benighted sympathizers. (...to be continued.)

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Originally Posted by lm
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Here is the very core of the issue: Why is the underlined ultimately unfortunate unless it actually excludes a universally accepted -- dogmatic -- understanding and profession of the Energies by the Orthodox?



I should say, it was unfortunate for Gennadios that he understood a position to be dogmatic, which in fact, is not.

Excellent point, although I did not gather that just from the quoted excerpt. But this goes to the issue, that is, we, east, west, Orthodox, Catholic can say and accept as doxology: God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, always, now and forever, and unto the ages of ages. Whatever necessary difference may be implied, we agree on what is stated. Returning then to the quote:
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... for there was nothing else before the ages except Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
I take this at face value as neutral, like a common doxological expression (I understand that in the context more may be implied by Gennadios.) So, what is the precise (true) theology:

"[F]or there was nothing else before the ages except Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," three persons

1.) , one essence.
2.) , one essence, and energies.
3.) , one essence, only.
4.) , one essence, only. (but the "only" as theological opinion)
5.) , one essence, and energies. (but the "and energies" as theological opinion)

or something else?

The distinctions this attempts to highlight are that: 4 and 5 are in accord with 1; 2 and 3 are mutually exclusive of each other and add to [as in 2] or limit [as in 3] 1; 3 makes 1 sufficient (the Creed makes it necessary) and excludes 4 and 5.


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Essence and energy, although really distinct, are also inseparable, and in fact there cannot be an essence without energy, as St. John Damascene explains: ". . . natural energy is the force and activity of each essence which only that which is not lacks." Moreover, the energy of a particular being follows its nature, and so a created being has created energies, and God, who alone is uncreated by nature, has uncreated energies.

As far as the dogmatic nature of the energies is concerned, the distinction of essence and energy (and person) is founded upon the teaching of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, which declared that there were two natural wills and energies in the incarnate Logos.

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Originally Posted by ajk
Is belief in the Energies of God Orthodox dogma?

Yes, it is a dogma, because theosis is a dogma. Man's theosis, like the incarnation of the Logos, is real, and not merely noetic or virtual, and that is why the distinction (diakrisis), without a separation (diaresis), between essence and energy in God is real.

Originally Posted by ajk
Is the Energy of God celebrated/proclaimed liturgically in a form that is common to Byzantine-Catholics and the Orthodox?

Yes, it is proclaimed in the Byzantine liturgy: (1) it is celebrated on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, when the Synodikon (including the additions made over the centuries that reflect the living nature of the Church) is chanted; and (2) it is celebrated again on the Sunday of the Fathers of the Six Ecumenical Councils:

"The Fathers of the Councils proclaim to us today that the eternal Trinity is one God and one Lord, explaining to us that it is of one nature, consubstantial, of one Will and one Act (energeia), not divided nor shared but existing in the simplicity of God's being; and defining that this Will and Act (energeia) of God have no beginning and will never have an end. Wherefore we the faithful glorify these Fathers as the Equals of the Apostles, for they taught all mankind the true doctrine of God." (Kontakion - Eighth Tone)

Originally Posted by ajk
Is the Energy of God celebrated/proclaimed liturgically by the Orthodox in a form that is not compatible with Catholic dogma?

No, the doctrine of energies is not incompatible with the dogmatic teaching of the West; although I would say that it is incompatible with the identity theory of the Scholastics, i.e., the theory that holds that everything in God is identical with the divine essence. It is interesting to note that St. Basil ridiculed Eunomius for holding a similar identity theory in connection with the essence and energy of God by asking the following rhetorical questions: "How, therefore, is it not absurd to say that craftsmanship is God's essence (ousia)? Or again, that His providence is His essence (ousia)? Or again, that His prescience is likewise? And, in general how is it not absurd to make every energy (energeia) into essence (ousia)?" (St. Basil the Great, Contra Eunomium, I, 8).

I will end my remarks with an extended quotation from St. Basil's Letter 234 where he explains in a more positive manner the doctrine of energies (n.b., this doctrine can also be found in St. Gregory of Nyssa's Sixth Sermon on the Beatitudes):

"Do you worship what you know or what you do not know? If I answer, I worship what I know, they immediately reply, 'What is the essence (ousia) of the object of worship?' Then, if I confess that I am ignorant of the essence (ousia), they turn on me again and say, 'So you worship you know not what.' I answer that the word to know has many meanings. We say that we know the greatness of God, His power, His wisdom, His goodness, His providence over us, and the justness of His judgment; but not His very essence (ousia). The question is, therefore, only put for the sake of dispute. For he who denies that he knows the essence (ousia) does not confess himself to be ignorant of God, because our idea of God is gathered from all the attributes which I have enumerated. But God, he says, is simple, and whatever attribute of Him you have reckoned as knowable is of His essence (ousia). But the absurdities involved in this sophism are innumerable. When all these high attributes have been enumerated, are they all names of one essence (ousia)? And is there the same mutual force in His awfulness and His loving-kindness, His justice and His creative power, His providence and His foreknowledge, and His bestowal of rewards and punishments, His majesty and His providence? In mentioning any one of these do we declare His essence (ousia)? If they say, yes, let them not ask if we know the essence (ousia) of God, but let them enquire of us whether we know God to be awful, or just, or merciful. These we confess that we know. If they say that essence (ousia) is something distinct, let them not put us in the wrong on the score of simplicity. For they confess themselves that there is a distinction between the essence (ousia) and each one of the attributes enumerated. The operations (energeiai) are various, and the essence (ousia) simple, but we say that we know our God from His operations (energeiai), but do not undertake to approach near to His essence (ousia). His operations (energeiai) come down to us, but His essence (ousia) remains beyond our reach."

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Glad you brought up the quotation from St. Basil. It is important, however, to look at what he says in letter 235. He states:

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But in our belief about God, first comes the idea that God is. This we gather from His works. For, as we perceive His wisdom, His goodness, and all His invisible things from the creation of the world, so we know Him.


Also see St. Paul in Romans, Chapter 1:

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Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.


Also see Aquinas Summa Theologica Q.2, art.2:

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The Apostle says: "The invisible things of Him are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made" (Romans 1:20). But this would not be unless the existence of God could be demonstrated through the things that are made; for the first thing we must know of anything is whether it exists.

I answer that, Demonstration can be made in two ways: One is through the cause, and is called a priori, and this is to argue from what is prior absolutely. The other is through the effect, and is called a demonstration a posteriori; this is to argue from what is prior relatively only to us. When an effect is better known to us than its cause, from the effect we proceed to the knowledge of the cause. And from every effect the existence of its proper cause can be demonstrated, so long as its effects are better known to us; because since every effect depends upon its cause, if the effect exists, the cause must pre-exist. Hence the existence of God, in so far as it is not self-evident to us, can be demonstrated from those of His effects which are known to us... Now the names given to God are derived from His effects; consequently, in demonstrating the existence of God from His effects, we may take for the middle term the meaning of the word God.
....From effects not proportionate to the cause no perfect knowledge of that cause can be obtained. Yet from every effect the existence of the cause can be clearly demonstrated, and so we can demonstrate the existence of God from His effects; though from them we cannot perfectly know God as He is in His essence.

[See Basil in 234: "The operations are various, and the essence simple, but we say that we know our God from His operations, but do not undertake to approach near to His essence"]





Basil continues in 235:

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But the word knowledge has many meanings... Knowledge, I say, has a very wide application, and knowledge may be got of what a thing is, by number, by bulk, by force, by its mode of existence, by the period of its generation, by its essence... I, however, confess that I know what is knowable of God, and that I know what it is which is beyond my comprehension... It is not that I do not know in the same way in which I do know; but I know in one way and am ignorant in one way... I know him [Timothy] according to his form and other properties; but I am ignorant of his essence. Indeed, in this way too, I both know, and am ignorant of, myself. I know indeed who I am, but, so far as I am ignorant of my essence I do not know myself.

Let them tell me in what sense Paul says, Now we know in part; 1 Corinthians 13:9 do we know His essence in part, as knowing parts of His essence? No. This is absurd; for God is without parts. But do we know the whole essence? How then When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.



Aquinas in the Summa Theologica , like Basil considers God's Simplicity:

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QUESTION 3: THE SIMPLICITY OF GOD
(In Eight Articles)


When the existence of a thing has been ascertained there remains the further question of the manner of its existence, in order that we may know its essence. Now, because we cannot know what God is, but rather what He is not, we have no means for considering how God is, but rather how He is not.
Therefore, we must consider: (1) How He is not; (2) How He is known by us; (3) How He is named.
Now it can be shown how God is not, by denying Him whatever is opposed to the idea of Him, viz. composition, motion, and the like. Therefore (1) we must discuss His simplicity, whereby we deny composition in Him; and because whatever is simple in material things is imperfect and a part of something else, we shall discuss (2) His perfection; (3) His infinity; (4) His immutability; (5) His unity.

Concerning His simplicity, there are eight points of inquiry:


(1) Whether God is a body?
(2) Whether He is composed of matter and form?
(3) Whether in Him there is composition of quiddity, essence or nature, and subject?
(4) Whether He is composed of essence and existence?
(5) Whether He is composed of genus and difference?
(6) Whether He is composed of subject and accident?
(7) Whether He is in any way composite, or wholly simple?

(8) Whether He enters into composition with other things?



And see, as Todd quoted below, the Kontakion - Eighth Tone

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The Fathers of the Councils proclaim to us today that the eternal Trinity is one God and one Lord, explaining to us that it is of one nature, consubstantial, of one Will and one Act (energeia), not divided nor shared but existing in the simplicity of God's being; and defining that this Will and Act (energeia) of God have no beginning and will never have an end. Wherefore we the faithful glorify these Fathers as the Equals of the Apostles, for they taught all mankind the true doctrine of God."



The Will and Act in God exist in the simplicity of God's being. As Aquinas states:

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Power is predicated of God not as something really distinct from His knowledge and will, but as differing from them logically; inasmuch as power implies a notion of a principle putting into execution what the will commands, and what knowledge directs, which three things in God are identified. Or we may say, that the knowledge or will of God, according as it is the effective principle, has the notion of power contained in it. Hence the consideration of the knowledge and will of God precedes the consideration of His power, as the cause precedes the operation and effect.



Q. 25, art. 1 reply to obection 4.

Aquinas follows the order set out by Basil because it makes sense. God cannot be known in His essence by his creatures, however, we can know something about him through his works, (i.e. creation). From that which he made, we can glean something about the cause (i.e. God).

Just as Basil considers that "knowledge" has many senses, Aquinas considers the ways in which we know God in Q. 12:

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QUESTION 12: HOW GOD IS KNOWN TO US
(In Thirteen Articles)


As hitherto we have considered God as He is in Himself, we now go on to consider in what manner He is in the knowledge of creatures; concerning which there are thirteen points of inquiry:


(1) Whether any created intellect can see the essence of God?
(2) Whether the essence of God is seen by the intellect through any created image?
(3) Whether the essence of God can be seen by the corporeal eye?
(4) Whether any created intellectual substance is sufficient by its own natural powers to see the essence of God?
(5) Whether the created intellect needs any created light in order to see the essence of God?

(6) Whether of those who see God, one sees Him more perfectly than another?
(7) Whether any created intellect can comprehend the essence of God?
(8) Whether the created intellect seeing the essence of God, knows all things in it?
(9) Whether what is there known is known by any similitudes?
(10) Whether the created intellect knows at once what it sees in God?
(11) Whether in the state of this life any man can see the essence of God?

(12) Whether by natural reason we can know God in this life?
(13) Whether there is in this life any knowledge of God through grace above the knowledge of natural reason?



In article 12 above, Aquinas considers how humans come to know, and he maintains, that natural knowledge begins with the senses. Anyone who has children knows this is true.


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I answer that, Our natural knowledge begins from sense. Hence our natural knowledge can go as far as it can be led by sensible things. But our mind cannot be led by sense so far as to see the essence of God; because the sensible effects of God do not equal the power of God as their cause. Hence from the knowledge of sensible things the whole power of God cannot be known; nor therefore can His essence be seen. But because they are His effects and depend on their cause, we can be led from them so far as to know of God whether He exists, and to know of Him what must necessarily belong to Him, as the first cause of all things, exceeding all things caused by Him.


In Question 13 Aquinas considers the various names of God:

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QUESTION 13: THE NAMES OF GOD
(In Twelve Articles)


After the consideration of those things which belong to the divine knowledge, we now proceed to the consideration of the divine names. For everything is named by us according to our knowledge of it.
Under this head, there are twelve points for inquiry:


(1) Whether God can be named by us?
(2) Whether any names applied to God are predicated of Him substantially?
(3) Whether any names applied to God are said of Him literally, or are all to be taken metaphorically?
(4) Whether any names applied to God are synonymous?
(5) Whether some names are applied to God and to creatures univocally or equivocally?
(6) Whether, supposing they are applied analogically, they are applied first to God or to creatures?

(7) Whether any names are applicable to God from time?
(8) Whether this name God is a name of nature, or of the operation?
(9) Whether this name God is a communicable name?
(10) Whether it is taken univocally or equivocally as signifying God, by nature, by participation, and by opinion?
(11) Whether this name, Who is, is the supremely appropriate name of God?
(12) Whether affirmative propositions can be formed about God?



The procedure followed by Basil is only made clearer by Aquinas. He follows in the same tradition of the Fathers.


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Originally Posted by lm
Glad you brought up the quotation from St. Basil. It is important, however, to look at what he says in letter 235. He states:

Quote
But in our belief about God, first comes the idea that God is. This we gather from His works. For, as we perceive His wisdom, His goodness, and all His invisible things from the creation of the world, so we know Him.


Also see St. Paul in Romans, Chapter 1:

Quote
Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.

God's energies (energeiai) and powers (dynameis) are revealed in His works (i.e., in creation), but one must be careful not to confuse God's energies (energeiai) and powers (dynameis) with created effects.

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"[F]or there was nothing else before the ages except Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," three persons

1.) , one essence.
2.) , one essence, and energies.
3.) , one essence, only.
4.) , one essence, only. (but the "only" as theological opinion)
5.) , one essence, and energies. (but the "and energies" as theological opinion)

or something else?

The distinctions this attempts to highlight are that: 4 and 5 are in accord with 1; 2 and 3 are mutually exclusive of each other and add to [as in 2] or limit [as in 3] 1; 3 makes 1 sufficient (the Creed makes it necessary) and excludes 4 and 5.


5 destroys God's Simplicity while 4 preserves it. Preserving the Simplicity is in accord with Basil and the Kontakion cited by Todd:

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The Fathers of the Councils proclaim to us today that the eternal Trinity is one God and one Lord, explaining to us that it is of one nature, consubstantial, of one Will and one Act (energeia), not divided nor shared but existing in the simplicity of God's being


I think what Aquinas says in Q 25, Reply Obj. 3 is apropos:

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In creatures, power is the principle not only of action, but likewise of effect. Thus in God the idea of power is retained, inasmuch as it is the principle of an effect; not, however, as it is a principle of action, for this is the divine essence itself;


If his Will and Act are not the same, the Simplicity is destroyed. That then raises the question of whether God by necessity must create. I think the answer must be "no".


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Originally Posted by lm
Also see Aquinas Summa Theologica Q.2, art.2:

Quote
The Apostle says: "The invisible things of Him are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made" (Romans 1:20). But this would not be unless the existence of God could be demonstrated through the things that are made; for the first thing we must know of anything is whether it exists.

I answer that, Demonstration can be made in two ways: One is through the cause, and is called a priori, and this is to argue from what is prior absolutely. The other is through the effect, and is called a demonstration a posteriori; this is to argue from what is prior relatively only to us. When an effect is better known to us than its cause, from the effect we proceed to the knowledge of the cause. And from every effect the existence of its proper cause can be demonstrated, so long as its effects are better known to us; because since every effect depends upon its cause, if the effect exists, the cause must pre-exist. Hence the existence of God, in so far as it is not self-evident to us, can be demonstrated from those of His effects which are known to us... Now the names given to God are derived from His effects; consequently, in demonstrating the existence of God from His effects, we may take for the middle term the meaning of the word God.
....From effects not proportionate to the cause no perfect knowledge of that cause can be obtained. Yet from every effect the existence of the cause can be clearly demonstrated, and so we can demonstrate the existence of God from His effects; though from them we cannot perfectly know God as He is in His essence.

[See Basil in 234: "The operations are various, and the essence simple, but we say that we know our God from His operations, but do not undertake to approach near to His essence"]

God's energies (energeiai) and powers (dynameis) are uncreated, for His wisdom, providence, love, etc., are connatural to His essence.

The theological disagreement between East and West is not focused upon divine simplicity itself, but upon the identity principle, which holds that everything in God is identical with His essence. The East holds that God's energies (energeiai) are real (i.e., they are enhypostatic), because they exist within the person's of the Trinity.

lm,

Simply posting a large number of quotations from Thomas Aquinas simply shows that you know how to copy and paste. I do not have a problem with Aquinas when he is talking about created effects flowing from a divine cause, so long as that cause is itself uncreated. Thus, created wisdom is a reflection of the uncreated energy of wisdom, and created goodness is a reflection of the uncreated energy of God's goodness. None of this really speaks to the issue at hand, i.e., the identity principle, and the confusion that it causes in connection with the divine simplicity.

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Originally Posted by lm
5 destroys God's Simplicity while 4 preserves it. Preserving the Simplicity is in accord with Basil and the Kontakion cited by Todd:

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The Fathers of the Councils proclaim to us today that the eternal Trinity is one God and one Lord, explaining to us that it is of one nature, consubstantial, of one Will and one Act (energeia), not divided nor shared but existing in the simplicity of God's being

I think what Aquinas says in Q 25, Reply Obj. 3 is apropos:

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In creatures, power is the principle not only of action, but likewise of effect. Thus in God the idea of power is retained, inasmuch as it is the principle of an effect; not, however, as it is a principle of action, for this is the divine essence itself;

If his Will and Act are not the same, the Simplicity is destroyed. That then raises the question of whether God by necessity must create. I think the answer must be "no".

This conclusion does not follow. Within God there are natural properties common to all three persons of the Trinity, and there are hypostatic properties that are absolutely unique to each hypostasis. Yet this does not bring in complexity because the real distinctions (diakriseis) within the Godhead do not involve real divisions (diareseis) within the Holy Trinity. That is why St. Basil is able to say that the essence is simple, while God's energies are both simple and multiple. This idea was further worked out later by Pseudo-Dionysios, who held that God is both one and many, and yet He is also beyond one and many.

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