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Posted By: Altar Server Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/12/08 05:42 PM
Is Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine the same as in the Latin Right of the church if not what are some of the similarities and differences?
Posted By: lm Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/13/08 01:34 AM
The doctrine certainly is the same, otherwise we would not be Catholic. The theology may have a different emphasis and expression, but it cannot lead to a different doctrine.

One example of the theological difference is that the East does not use the "filioque" (and the Son) in the Creed. This is not to say that the Latins are wrong for doing so, but it does provide a different and legitimate example of a different emphasis. For the theological reasons for this difference see the article on The Procession of the Holy Spirit in Greek and Latin Traditions by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

http://www.geocities.com/athens/atrium/8410/filioque.html
I have no objection at all to saying flatly that the Latins ought not to use the Filioque - it was interpolated unilaterally and has a fratricidal effect.

Fr. Serge
Fr. Serge I agree with you completely
Posted By: ajk Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/13/08 02:42 PM
Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
... the Filioque - it was interpolated unilaterally and has a fratricidal effect.

Yes, "it was interpolated unilaterally," and the historical circumstances are known and have been explained. The dogmatic issue is still sensitive (and properly so) but the Catholic Church professes the same basic and essential understanding of the dogma as the Orthodox. There are fine points where theological views and speculations may differ, but how much should churches (and their theologies) that acknowledge an apophatic approach to the mystery of the Trinity demand of those issues?

Clearly as a matter of protocol (not dogma) the Latin, Roman, West goofed; and at this point in time that has a "fratricidal effect" only if one party decides to make it so, where the issue is in reality no more than a convenient stick used at will by some Orthodox to periodically spank the Catholics. As well deserved (some may say) that the spanking may be, the issue should not be turned into a justification for continuing schism.
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/13/08 04:15 PM
Clearly the filioque does not belong in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed because the creed as it was originally written is referring to the Holy Spirit's procession (ekporeusis) of origin as person, which comes only from the Father as the sole font of divinity.

Interestingly enough, the solution to this theological problem, which can be found in the Letter of St. Maximos to Marinus, was presented at the Council of Florence, but was sadly rejected by the West at that time. Nevertheless, if the West could come to accept what St. Maximos taught, i.e., that ". . . the Father is the only cause (aition) of the Son and the Spirit, the one by generation (gennesin) and the other by procession (ekporeusin)," [1] it follows that the two sides would then be able to make a common profession of faith in the Triune God. Now this solution would simply require that the West accept the difference between hypostatic origination, which comes only from the Father as sole cause within the Godhead and which safeguards the doctrine of the Father’s monarchy, and the manifestation of divine unity, which is revealed in the progression (proienai) of the energies of the Spirit from the Father through the Son. Moreover, this solution has the advantage of satisfying much of what the West wants to say in connection with the unity of the Godhead, while simultaneously protecting the monarchy of the Father as sole cause (aition) of the hypostatic existence (i.e., the subsistent being) of the Son and the Spirit.

[1] Letter of St. Maximos to Marinus, PG 91:136.
I think that if the western Church would simply change "and the Son" to "through the Son" the problem would be solved.

Joe
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/13/08 04:42 PM
Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
I think that if the western Church would simply change "and the Son" to "through the Son" the problem would be solved.

Joe

I disagree, because the term ekporeoumenon is used in the original Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, and that term refers specifically to the Spirit's origin as person from the Father alone. The per filium applies only at the level of the divine energy, and not in connection with the Spirit's existential origin, and so its insertion into the creed would blur the distinction that must be made between the Spirit as person and the energies of the Spirit, which reveal and manifest the unity of the Holy Trinity.
Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
I think that if the western Church would simply change "and the Son" to "through the Son" the problem would be solved.

Joe

I disagree, because the term ekporeoumenon is used in the original Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, and that term refers specifically to the Spirit's origin as person from the Father alone. The per filium applies only at the level of the divine energy, and not in connection with the Spirit's existential origin, and so its insertion into the creed would be a theological error.


Todd, you might be right about this and personally I think that the filioque should simply be removed from the Creed altogether. But it wouldn't hurt things if Rome explained more clearly what is meant by "through the Son."

Joe
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/13/08 04:52 PM
Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
I think that if the western Church would simply change "and the Son" to "through the Son" the problem would be solved.

Joe

I disagree, because the term ekporeoumenon is used in the original Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, and that term refers specifically to the Spirit's origin as person from the Father alone. The per filium applies only at the level of the divine energy, and not in connection with the Spirit's existential origin, and so its insertion into the creed would be a theological error.


Todd, you might be right about this and personally I think that the filioque should simply be removed from the Creed altogether. But it wouldn't hurt things if Rome explained more clearly what is meant by "through the Son."

Joe

It would be helpful if Rome would clarify its views on the filioque, but that really is not all that pertinent to the discussion at hand, because the creed as it was originally written is talking about the origin of the Spirit, and the Spirit receives His hypostatic existence (i.e., His ekporeusis) only from the Father.
Posted By: ajk Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/13/08 05:18 PM
Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Clearly the filioque does not belong in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed ...
Though the original received Latin and Greek texts differ slightly, the filioque is clearly a much later addition.


Originally Posted by Apotheoun
... because the creed as it was originally written is referring to the Holy Spirit's procession (ekporeusis) of origin as person, which comes only from the Father as the sole font of divinity.
This is the accepted understanding but was this, in its fullness, the original understanding at the time?

Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Interestingly enough, the solution to this theological problem, which can be found in the Letter of St. Maximos to Marinus,...
To be noted also is that St. Maximos accepted the West's explanation.


Originally Posted by Apotheoun
... was presented at the Council of Florence, but was sadly rejected by the West at that time.
Ah, the intrigues and vicissitudes of history, whatever they may have actually been.


Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Nevertheless, if the West could come to accept what St. Maximos taught, i.e., that ". . . the Father is the only cause (aition) of the Son and the Spirit, the one by generation (gennesin) and the other by procession (ekporeusin)," [1] it follows that the two sides would then be able to make a common profession of faith in the Triune God. Now this solution would simply require that the West accept the difference between hypostatic origination, which comes only from the Father as sole cause within the Godhead and which safeguards the doctrine of the Father’s monarchy, and the manifestation of divine unity,
Indeed, from Rome's 1995 Clarification
Quote
The Greek Fathers and the whole Christian Orient speak, in this regard, of the "Father's Monarchy," and the Western tradition, following St Augustine, also confesses that the Holy Spirit takes his origin from the Father "principaliter", that is, as principle (De Trinitate XV, 25, 47, PL 42, 1094-1095). In this sense, therefore, the two traditions recognize that the "monarchy of the Father" implies that the Father is the sole Trinitarian Cause (Αἰτία) or Principle (principium) of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.


Originally Posted by Apotheoun
... which is revealed in the progression (proienai) of the energies of the Spirit from the Father through the Son. Moreover, this solution has the advantage of satisfying much of what the West wants to say in connection with the unity of the Godhead, while simultaneously protecting the monarchy of the Father as sole cause (aition) of the hypostatic existence (i.e., the subsistent being) of the Son and the Spirit.

[1] Letter of St. Maximos to Marinus, PG 91:136.

Personally I think that the concept of "energies" has weaker doctrinal and theological basis than the filioque.
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/13/08 09:02 PM
Originally Posted by ajk
Personally I think that the concept of "energies" has weaker doctrinal and theological basis than the filioque.

Personally I think that your viewpoint is theologically untenable.


Below are some helpful texts that discuss the Eastern position on this issue:


Henny Fiska Hagg. Clement of Alexandria and the Beginnings of Christian Apophaticism. Oxford University Press, 2006.

Richard Haugh. Photius and the Carolingians: The Trinitarian Controversy. Belmont, MA: Nordland Publishing Company, 1975.

Hussey, M. Edmund. The Doctrine of the Trinity in the Theology of Gregory Palamas. (Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Publishing, 1972.

George Maloney, S.J. A Theology of Uncreated Energies. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Marquette University Press, 1978.

John Meyendorff. Byzantine Theology. New York: Fordham University Press, 1979, pp. 91-94.

Aristeides Papadakis. Crisis in Byzantium: The Filioque Controversy in the Patriarchate of Gregory II of Cyprus (1283–1289). New York: Fordham University Press, 1983.

Aristeides Papadakis. The Christian East and the Rise of the Papacy. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1994, pp. 232-238 and 379-408.

Pentecost, Scott F. Quest for the Divine Presence: Metaphysics of Participation and the Relation of Philosophy to Theology in St. Gregory Palamas’s Triads and One Hundred and Fifty Chapters. (Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Dissertation Services, 1999.

Duncan Reid. Energies of the Spirit: Trinitarian Models in Eastern Orthodox and Western Theology. Atlanta, Georgia: Scholars Press, 1997.

A. Edward Siecienski. The Use of Maximus the Confessor's Writing on the Filioque at the Council of Ferrara-Florence (1438–1439). Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Dissertation Services, 2005.
Posted By: ajk Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/13/08 09:59 PM
Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Originally Posted by ajk
Personally I think that the concept of "energies" has weaker doctrinal and theological basis than the filioque.

Personally I think that your viewpoint is theologically untenable.


Below are some helpful texts that discuss the Eastern position on this issue: ...


Thanks for the references for this interesting and potentially useful theologoumenon. Is there anywhere the Church in its liturgy professes the notion of Energies as put forth therein?
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/13/08 10:09 PM
Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Originally Posted by ajk
Personally I think that the concept of "energies" has weaker doctrinal and theological basis than the filioque.

Personally I think that your viewpoint is theologically untenable.


Below are some helpful texts that discuss the Eastern position on this issue: ...


Thanks for the references for this interesting and potentially useful theologoumenon. Is there anywhere the Church in its liturgy professes the notion of Energies as put forth therein?

The doctrine of divine energies is set forth in the Synodikon of Orthodoxy, which is supposed to be chanted on the Sunday of Orthodoxy in the Byzantine Churches.

P.S. - The Synodikon, which is perhaps the central dogmatic liturgical text within the Byzantine Tradition, also states explicitly that ". . . the Holy Spirit proceeds out of only the Father, essentially and hypostatically, as Christ says in the Gospel," and that anyone who says otherwise "shall be outside of our Church and shall be anathematized."
Here is a link to a translation of the Synodikon:

Synodikon of Orthodoxy

Fr. Deacon Daniel
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/14/08 02:19 AM
Those interested in reading the Synodikon in its entirety can access the complete text on my website at the link below:

Synodikon of Orthodoxy
Todd,

Do you accept the complete synodicon? If so, then how can you be in communion with Rome and believe everything contained in the synodicon?

Joe
Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
Todd,

Do you accept the complete synodicon? If so, then how can you be in communion with Rome and believe everything contained in the synodicon?

Joe


I ponder the same question. For Todd it appears the Synodikon is incomplete without the condemnation of those with whom he professes to be in full communion.

As with the original version of the Creed of Nicea and Constantinople sans filioque, I prefer the earlier Synodikon prior to any additions in the 16th century.

In ICXC,

Fr. Deacon Daniel
Posted By: ajk Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/14/08 03:16 AM
Originally Posted by Apotheoun
The Synodikon, which is perhaps the central dogmatic liturgical text within the Byzantine Tradition, also states explicitly that ". . . the Holy Spirit proceeds out of only the Father, essentially and hypostatically, as Christ says in the Gospel," and that anyone who says otherwise "shall be outside of our Church and shall be anathematized."

Hardly central in comparison to the Creed. As the links to the different versions show, it has grown over time to be a depository for polemics, the SYNODIKON OF THE HOLY AND ECUMENICAL SEVENTH COUNCIL (9th c.) that includes THE CHAPTER AGAINST BARLAAM AND AKINDYNOS (14th c.), and as the link to the primitive text notes:
Quote
The text of the Synodikon of Orthodoxy has been much altered over the centuries, chiefly by the addition of material and names that postdate the Restoration of the Icons in 843. This is the case with the text that is printed in the current Triodia. Some of the more zealous contemporary Orthodox even include condemnations of such things as the ‘pan-heresy of Ecumenism‘.
So, no, thank you.
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/14/08 06:00 AM
Yes, it is a polemical text, like the decrees (horoi) of all the councils, including Nicaea I. The Synodikon has a status similar to that of the Western Church's Enchiridion Symbolorum. Thus, it has dogmatic status and the things condemned in it are considered to be heresies against the Orthodox faith.
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/14/08 06:10 AM
Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
Todd,

Do you accept the complete synodicon? If so, then how can you be in communion with Rome and believe everything contained in the synodicon?

Joe

Yes, I accept the complete Synodikon. I also accept the Seven Ecumenical Councils, while rejecting the ecumenicity of the particular synods convened by the Latin Church.

As far as the filioque is concerned, I have no problem with it (although it does not belong in the creed) if it is meant simply to convey the doctrine of energetic manifestation, but if – on the other hand – it is intended to convey the idea that the Son causes (aitian) the Spirit's person, then I reject it as heretical. The clarification issued by the Vatican back in the 1990s, which was referenced by another poster in this thread, although sometimes a bit unclear, seems to promote the idea that Rome now distinguishes between ekporeusis and proienai, with the former coming only from the Father, while the latter comes from the Father through the Son.
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/14/08 06:26 AM
Originally Posted by ebed melech
Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
Todd,

Do you accept the complete synodicon? If so, then how can you be in communion with Rome and believe everything contained in the synodicon?

Joe


I ponder the same question. For Todd it appears the Synodikon is incomplete without the condemnation of those with whom he professes to be in full communion.

That would only follow if the Roman Church really believes that the Son causes the Spirit's person. The Vatican's clarification from the 1990s seems to indicate that that proposition (i.e., that the ekporeusis of the Spirit is from the Father and the Son) is false.

But perhaps the Vatican needs to issue another clarification of the clarification.
Todd, do you agree with this part of the synodikon?

From old Rome have come certain persons who learned there to wear Latin habits. The worst of it is how, from being Romans of Rumelia bred and born, they not only have changed their faith, but they even wage war upon the Orthodox dogmas and truths of the Eastern Church which have been delivered to us by Christ and the divine Apostles and the Holy Councils (or Synods) of the Holy Fathers. Therefore, cutting off these persons as rotten members, we command:



That whoever does not confess with heart and mouth that he is a child of the Eastern Church baptized in Orthodox style, and that the Holy Spirit proceeds out of only the Father, essentially and hypostatically, as Christ says in the Gospel, shall be outside of our Church and shall be anathematized. That whoever does not confess that at the Mystery of Holy Communion the laity must also partake of both kinds, of the Precious Body and Blood, but instead says that he will partake only of the body, and that that is sufficient because therein is both flesh and blood, when as a matter of fact Christ said and administered each separately, and they who fail to keep such customs, let all such persons be anathematized.



That whoever says that our Lord Jesus Christ at the Mystic Supper had unleavened bread (made without yeast), like that of the Jews, and not leavened bread, that is to say, bread raised with yeast, let him depart far away from us and let him be anathema as one having Jewish views and those of Apolinarios and bringing dogmas of the Armenians into our Church, on which account let him be doubly anathema.



Whoever says that our Christ and God, when He comes to judge us, does not come to judge souls together with bodies, or embodied souls, but instead comes to sentence only bodies, let him be anathema.



Whoever says that the souls of Christians who repented while in the world but failed to perform their penance go to a purgatory of fire when they die, where there is flame and punishment, and are purified, which is simply an ancient Greek myth, and those who, like Origen, think that hell is not everlasting, and thereby afford or offer the liberty or incentive to sin, let him and all such persons be anathema.



That whoever says that the Pope is the head of the Church, and not Christ, and that he has authority to admit persons to Paradise with his letters of indulgence or other passports, and can forgive sins as many as a person may commit if such person pay money to receive from him indulgences, i.e., licenses to sin, let every such person be anathema.



That whoever does not follow the customs of the Church as the Seven Holy Ecumenical Councils decreed, and Holy Pascha, and the Menologion with which they did well in making it a law that we should follow it, and wishes to follow the newly-invented Paschalion and the New Menologion of the atheist astronomers of the Pope, and opposes all those things and wishes to overthrow and destroy the dogmas and customs of the Church which have been handed down by our fathers, let him suffer anathema and be put out of the Church of Christ and out of the Congregation of the Faithful.


If you do then how can you be in communion with Rome?

Joe
...now where did I put my Papal passport to heaven...

Ah yes - next to my secret infallibility decoder ring sent to me by his atheistic astronomers in Latin habits who receive Holy Communion only under one species! grin

Fr. Deacon Daniel
Originally Posted by ebed melech
...now where did I put my Papal passport to heaven...

Ah yes - next to my secret infallibility decoder ring sent to me by his atheistic astronomers in Latin habits who receive Holy Communion only under one species! grin

Fr. Deacon Daniel


I have to confess that this last part of the Synodikon is a bit over the top. blush

Not that I don't agree with the criticisms of purgatory, indulgences, and the Pope as the head of the Church, but the way it is expressed here is not very helpful (how's that for an understatement?)

Joe
I whole heatedly agree with the criticisms of indulgences they make no sense when brought into the light of Scripture and Holy Tradition
well the greek church also sold indulgences correct?


if so... ANATHEMA!

(not really)

smile


Originally Posted by Altar Server
I whole heatedly agree with the criticisms of indulgences they make no sense when brought into the light of Scripture and Holy Tradition


I have always equated indulgences with the Old Testament Jubilee...the forgiveness of debts, the freeing of the slaves and the restoration of the land.

But I have never done much of a study on indulgences. I would be curious about the history of their development.

Fr. Deacon Daniel
Posted By: ajk Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/15/08 02:03 PM
Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
Not that I don't agree with the criticisms of purgatory, indulgences, and the Pope as the head of the Church,...
Image:Orthodox_Indulgence.jpg
[Linked Image]
CAPTION:
Quote
''18th century Orthodox indulgence granted by the patriarch Abraham ("Avramie") of Jerusalem, sold by the Greek monks for the "forgiving of the sins"'' The original is located at the History Museum of Bucharest ==Source== *Ştefan Ionescu, ''Bucureşt
LINK

Also, does anyone have a reference (especially from Catholic, especially from official, sources) making the claim that the Pope is the head of the Church?
WOW...fascinating.

Thanks for posting that image. I was never aware that any Orthodox engaged in selling indulgences for the "forgiveness of sins".

Fr. Deacon Daniel
Originally Posted by ebed melech
...now where did I put my Papal passport to heaven...

Ah yes - next to my secret infallibility decoder ring sent to me by his atheistic astronomers in Latin habits who receive Holy Communion only under one species! grin

Fr. Deacon Daniel


LOL--very clever.
neither was I
Dear Friends,

Todd is more than capable of responding on his own behalf (and on behalf of several others for that matter, should we call upon him to rescue us in a tight theological spot), but this is my take on the Synodicon as being capable of receiving the consent of Eastern Catholics.

The Synodicon's points regarding what Eastern Catholics would consider to be "ritual" issues such as Communion in both Kinds is no problem. (Fr. Prof. John Meyendorff, at one time, wrote about how an agreed statement between Orthodox and Roman Catholics demonstrated that both sides believed there was no more bread and wine on the altar after the Consecration - so that laid to rest that point - according to him.)

Perhaps more germane is the way in which the Synodicon is to be interpreted when it comes to any defined sort of "hierarchy" of truths in this regard. For example, should the Armenians ever come into full communion with Orthodoxy, what would happen with the reference to them in the Synodicon? Would they have to give up the use of azymes in their celebration of the Divine Liturgy? And what about other pejorative references to the "Armenians" (which in Greek and Slavic circles was a name synonymous with "vile heretic")?

Does the simple fact that such references are in dogmatic and other pronouncements mean they are themselves "infallible" and incapable of amendment? This would affect other Oriental Orthodox traditions as well - in light of the ten year theological discussion with them, how would Orthodoxy amend the Synodicon, if at all, upon the resumption of full Communion?

To what extent does that section of the Synodicon address dogmatic issues versus ritual ones and are the two on the same footing from a theological perspective?

The Synodicon's reference to the Eastern Church - how does this reflect on the Western Orthodox today and their traditions? Are they any less "Orthodox" as a result? And what about how certain Orthodox Churches, such as the Kyivan Orthodox Church during the Baroque period, who allowed baptism by pouring and otherwise allowed traditions that were different from the Greek, but nonetheless valid and practiced by universally-recognized Orthodox Saints?

Without calling into question the correctness and Orthodoxy of the Synodicon's condemnation of, for example, anyone who says that the "Pope is the head of the Church" - to what extent may all Catholics in communion with Rome today be considered to fall under this condemnation given that they believe Christ Himself to be the Head of His own Mystical Body which is His Church and that the Pope is merely His Vicar and visible head of the Church in this world? To what extent is the Synodicon's condemnation one in which Catholics may also share as "partners?"

The same is true of the condemnation of Barlaam and Akindynos in the Palamite situation. Nominalism is also something the Catholic church condemns.

And however the Filioque is communicated on a popular level, it is clear that Catholic seminaries do teach along the lines of what Todd wrote above with respect to the Son's relationship to the Holy Spirit. Perhaps a fuller clarification from Rome in this respect would be warranted. The dropping of the Filioque altogether from the Creed intended to express the universal faith of the one, undivided Church would be optimal.

Alex









Posted By: ajk Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/17/08 12:02 AM
I would prefer that the Synodicon of the 7th Ecumenical council be just that.

Also, it would seem proper that the the Orthodox Synodicon (the above with later additions) say all and no more than it should as a statement of Orthodox belief.

Returning, however, to the initial point of contention, I said:
Originally Posted by ajk
Personally I think that the concept of "energies" has weaker doctrinal and theological basis than the filioque.


To refine my follow-up questions:

Is belief in the Energies of God Orthodox dogma?

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

Is the Energy of God celebrated/proclaimed liturgically by the Orthodox in a form that is not compatible with Catholic dogma?
Nobody at all has attempted to put the Divine Energies into the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Symbol!

Fr. Serge
Posted By: ajk Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/17/08 01:20 PM
Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Nobody at all has attempted to put the Divine Energies into the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Symbol!

Indeed, which goes to my point:

Originally Posted by ajk
Personally I think that the concept of "energies" has weaker doctrinal and theological basis than the filioque.


It could still be the case, however, that the doctrine of God's Energy is established dogma even though modifying the Creed to include it would never be a consideration.

To my point, the following:

Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Personally I think that your viewpoint is theologically untenable.


And after my further inquiring as to how it is professed:

Originally Posted by Apotheoun
The doctrine of divine energies is set forth in the Synodikon of Orthodoxy, which is supposed to be chanted on the Sunday of Orthodoxy in the Byzantine Churches.


Hence, my previous post commenting on the discussion of the Synodicon and my follow-up questions which I reiterate:

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

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

Is the Energy of God celebrated/proclaimed liturgically by the Orthodox in a form that is not compatible with Catholic dogma?
Why, of all things, would a Catholic feel unhappy or grieved at the understanding of the Divine Energies, the Uncreated Light, and so forth? After the Holy See deliberately, with the inclusion of the feast of Saint Gregory Palamas in the Anthologion, has blessed this set of efforts to understand the profound Mystery of salvation, surely it is time to put the controversy behind us. Roma locuta est; causa finita est!

Fr. Serge
Posted By: ajk Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/17/08 06:15 PM
Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Why, of all things, would a Catholic feel unhappy or grieved at the understanding of the Divine Energies, the Uncreated Light, and so forth?
Without knowing more about who the unhappy, grieved Catholic is I really can't say. Speaking for myself I can only say that I ask questions not because I am unhappy or grieved but because I want to be further informed.

Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
After the Holy See deliberately, with the inclusion of the feast of Saint Gregory Palamas in the Anthologion, has blessed this set of efforts to understand the profound Mystery of salvation, surely it is time to put the controversy behind us.
My questions are intended as (and I would think examples of) an effort to understand "this set of efforts to understand the profound Mystery of salvation." For Catholics, Sts. Augustine, Aquinas, Loyola and Bellarmine are right there along with Palamas. Must everything they said be accepted without question?

Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Roma locuta est; causa finita est!
I bet I'll be quoting you quoting that one: (me imagining) As Fr. Serge always says "Roma locuta est; causa finita est!" but, being careful not to read more into someone's words than what's there, I'll have to drop the "always."
Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Roma locuta est; causa finita est!


Not if you read Todd's version of the Synodikon! wink

Fr. Deacon Daniel, who recently relocated his papal license to sin....
Originally Posted by ebed melech
Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Roma locuta est; causa finita est!


Not if you read Todd's version of the Synodikon! wink

Fr. Deacon Daniel, who recently relocated his papal license to sin....


This is making me curious about which version we recite in the Antiochian Orthodox Church. I honestly don't remember reciting it (though I'm only in my second year of Orthodoxy). I think I'll ask my priest next time I see him.

Joe
Hadn't noticed that Aquinas, Loyola, and Bellarmine were suddenly added to the Anthologion.

In the context of my posting above, Roma locuta est, causa finita est indicates the irony of those who adhere to Rome as long as Rome says what they want to hear. The number of these is Legion.

Fr. Serge
Posted By: ajk Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/17/08 08:44 PM
Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Hadn't noticed that Aquinas, Loyola, and Bellarmine were suddenly added to the Anthologion.
Nor did I say they were. So please do not spend time looking for them in the Anthologion since they are Western saints who lived after the "schism." They are, of course, to be found in the analogous liturgical books of the Roman rite. But I see that you correctly did not include Augustine so, to restate my point in an even simpler way:

Augustine is right there along with Palamas. Must everything they said be accepted without question?


Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
In the context of my posting above, Roma locuta est, causa finita est indicates the irony of those who adhere to Rome as long as Rome says what they want to hear. The number of these is Legion.
Thanks for the much needed explanation.

Consider this. Suppose, instead, my questions (mutatis mutandis) were:

Is belief in Original Sin Orthodox dogma?

Is Original Sin acknowledged liturgically in a form that is common to Byzantine-Catholics and the Orthodox?

Is Original Sin acknowledged liturgically by the Orthodox in a form that is not compatible with Catholic dogma?

Would I get the same response (as I'm sensing it): How dare you ask these questions you unhappy and grieved creature.

Posted By: MarkosC Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/17/08 09:11 PM
There's a lot in this thread, but I'll give a few opinions.

Originally Posted by ajk
I would prefer that the Synodicon of the 7th Ecumenical council 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).

Originally Posted by ajk

Is belief in the Energies of God Orthodox dogma?

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

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


1. see the proclamation of the 1351 Council of Blachernae, or the statement from Mt. Athos in the relevant section Philokalia. 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. Frankly, I can't see how anyone can side with Barlam and not be a nominalist. Reconciling the Essence and Energy doctrine with the Cathechism of the Catholic Church is a much different proposition. An even more difficult proposition would be reconciling St. Gregory Palamas with St. Augustine or with St. Thomas Aquinas. [the latter would require a truly herculean work of scholarship - impeccable knowledge of Greek, Latin, of the Scholastic and Byzantine theological traditions, and the ability to get around all the garbage that have been written about both men's theologies].

2. yes it is, in (among other places)the Vespers and Orthros texts for St. Gregory Palamas from the Menaion and Triodion. Otherwise, my jurisdiction and parish are "not Catholic".

3. No. The Triodion and Menaion which have the services - on the Second Sunday of Lent and on November 14th - for St. Gregory. For that matter, I believe based on the history I've read that the Antiocian Church went with Constantinople to accept the services for St. Gregory

Again, only my opinions.
Posted By: ajk Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/17/08 09:46 PM
Thanks for the answers. Can you clarify the response in "3". I'm pleased that you responded "No" there, even though as you earlier noted "Reconciling the Essence and Energy doctrine with the Cathechism of the Catholic Church is a much different proposition."
Posted By: MarkosC Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/18/08 01:05 AM
Originally Posted by ajk
Thanks for the answers. Can you clarify the response in "3". I'm pleased that you responded "No" there, even though as you earlier noted "Reconciling the Essence and Energy doctrine with the Cathechism of the Catholic Church is a much different proposition."


I say it's more difficult in relative terms. Approaching the question in terms of Orthodoxy versus nominalism, in the approach advocated by Father John, is easy because all the answers are there.

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.

Nevertheless, it is possible. Otherwise, AFAIC, there'd be no basis for unity between the Latin and "Byzantine" Church.

ETA: I forgot a sentence I meant to put in the last paragraph. The Melkite Church only stopped commemorating St. Gregory Palamas on the Second Sunday of Lent during the 1800s - meaning there were at least 100 years when he was commemorated. This was as far as I've heard voluntary, and came down from the sitting patriarch of the time. The commemoration has returned in at least some places based on the permissions given to do so, spurred no doubt by the better understanding that we have of his place in the life of the Church which has emerged over the past 100 years or so (of which Fr. John Meyendorff again was among the leading figures).

Markos
Posted By: lm Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/18/08 02:06 PM
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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
Posted By: lm Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/18/08 02:25 PM
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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
Posted By: lm Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/18/08 02:33 PM
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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.
Posted By: ajk Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/18/08 02:51 PM
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?
Originally Posted by lm
Quote
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
Posted By: lm Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/18/08 03:17 PM
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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.

Posted By: ajk Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/18/08 04:17 PM
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.)
Posted By: ajk Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/18/08 05:50 PM
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.

Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/18/08 06:50 PM
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.
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/18/08 07:44 PM
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."
Posted By: lm Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 09:14 PM
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.

Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 09:24 PM
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.
Posted By: lm Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 09:32 PM
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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".

Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 09:34 PM
Originally Posted by lm
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"]

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.
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 09:36 PM
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.
Posted By: lm Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 09:36 PM
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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.


And if the energies and powers are truly distinct, and not merely because of the way humans know, then you have destroyed the Simplicity which we know from the Creed is an absolute. "I believe in One God..."

Posted By: lm Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 09:45 PM
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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.



So, according to the East, in God there is essence and energies and Simplicity is destroyed. But that's not Basil's position but it may be that of the neo-Palamites.

God's Simplicity is the key. When it appears that there are real distinctions in God (like essence and energies) this is because of our manner of speaking not because these distinctions really exist in God.

As to quotes, I simply point out that Aquinas is doing nothing other than Basil. He falls in the same tradition of the Fathers.
Posted By: lm Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 09:56 PM
If you mean by hypostatic properties, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I have no objection. I profess, One God, Three Divine Persons. Nothing more, nothing less. If you mean properties in the way that a man has certain properties such that he has parts (essential though they may be), I repeat, God is One. Hence all that we say of Him regarding his Power, Goodness, Truth, Love refer to his Essence which is One. It is only in our manner of knowing and speaking that these things appear to be many and different.

A consequence of neo-Palalism which you espouse is that there is an inherent contradiction between faith and reason. Nonetheless, In the beginning was the Word (Logos).



Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 09:59 PM
Originally Posted by lm
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.

St. Gregory of Nyssa in his Seventh Homily on Ecclesiastes holds that the diastemic gap between the created and the uncreated is unbridgeable from man's side, and that true knowledge of God (i.e., knowledge that is salvific) can only come through divine revelation. Thus, the natural attempts by man to reach God cannot succeed, for such natural efforts can only find an imperfect reflection of His glory within creation, but that is not enough to save man, because to be saved he needs a real participation in God, a participation that can divinize him. This type of participation can only come about through grace, i.e., a real sharing in the divine nature through the uncreated energies, which unilaterally transgress the diastemic boundary between the uncreated Creator and His creation.

(See also, St. Gregory of Nyssa's Commentaries on the Canticle of Canticles).
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 10:06 PM
Originally Posted by lm
If you mean by hypostatic properties, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I have no objection. I profess, One God, Three Divine Persons. Nothing more, nothing less. If you mean properties in the way that a man has certain properties such that he has parts (essential though they may be), I repeat, God is One. Hence all that we say of Him regarding his Power, Goodness, Truth, Love refer to his Essence which is One. It is only in our manner of knowing and speaking that these things appear to be many and different.

I confess Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, consubstantial, of one Will and One Energy, who enters into His creation at the incarnation and Who permeates the world with His energies, for in fact the world exists within God's energies.

Originally Posted by lm
A consequence of neo-Palalism which you espouse is that there is an inherent contradiction between faith and reason. Nonetheless, In the beginning was the Word (Logos).

I reject Neo-palamism, because there is no such thing as Palamism in the first place, while I also reject Thomism, and Neo-Scholasticism, et al., for I embrace the Orthodox faith, which alone is true and holy.
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 10:13 PM
Originally Posted by lm
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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.

So, according to the East, in God there is essence and energies and Simplicity is destroyed. But that's not Basil's position but it may be that of the neo-Palamites.

God's Simplicity is the key. When it appears that there are real distinctions in God (like essence and energies) this is because of our manner of speaking not because these distinctions really exist in God.

Simplicity would only be destroyed if I accepted your dialectical reasoning, but I reject it, because theology is transcends the limits of the human mind.

Originally Posted by lm
As to quotes, I simply point out that Aquinas is doing nothing other than Basil. He falls in the same tradition of the Fathers.

On this issue we will have to disagree. Aquinas is doing philosophy, not theology; while St. Basil is doing theology and is not trying to workout a human philosophical system.
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 10:15 PM
Originally Posted by lm
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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.


And if the energies and powers are truly distinct, and not merely because of the way humans know, then you have destroyed the Simplicity which we know from the Creed is an absolute. "I believe in One God..."

No doubt that is what you believe, but I hold that the multiplicity of the divine energies is no more destructive of God's unity than is the Trinity of persons. Perhaps you do not believe that the persons of the Trinity are real, but I accept that they are real and not merely epinoetic constructs of my mind.
Posted By: lm Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 10:17 PM
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St. Gregory of Nyssa in his Seventh Homily on Ecclesiastes holds that the diastemic gap between the created and the uncreated is unbridgeable from man's side, and that true knowledge of God (i.e., knowledge that is salvific) can only come through divine revelation. Thus, the natural attempts by man to reach God cannot succeed, for such natural efforts can only find an imperfect reflection of His glory within creation, but that is not enough to save man, because to be saved he needs a real participation in God, a participation that can divinize him. This type of participation can only come about through grace, i.e., a real sharing in the divine nature through the uncreated energies, which unilaterally transgress the diastemic boundary between the uncreated Creator and His creation.


I never said that the natural knowledge of God is salvific. Neither does Aquinas. Both he and Gregory of Nyssa and St. Paul, however, see that God's existence can be seen through the things that are made. For salvation, revelation and the incarnation are absolutely necessary.

Thank Goodness (refering to the essence of course!) I am not required to believe in the Divine Energies! But from my viewpoint, speaking as a man of course, I don't need to believe in the Energies (operations). To quote a former Abp. of Canterbury when he was asked whether he believed in infant baptism, I respond:

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Believe in it? Hell, I've seen it!
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 10:20 PM
Originally Posted by lm

Thank Goodness (refering to the essence of course!) I am not required to believe in the Divine Energies! But from my viewpoint, speaking as a man of course, I don't need to believe in the Energies (operations). To quote a former Abp. of Canterbury when he was asked whether he believed in infant baptism, I respond:

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Believe in it? Hell, I've seen it!

Huh?

What has this to do with anything?

That there is a hell I have no doubt, but I do not believe in hell; instead, I believe only in the Holy Trinity.

As I said before: I believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one in essence and undivided, and this one God shares His uncreated life and glory with me through His energies, which – as long as I remain faithful to the end – bring about my deification (theosis).
Posted By: lm Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 10:24 PM
Believe in the energies (operations, i.e. works)? I don't need to believe in them, I've seen them!
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 10:26 PM
Originally Posted by lm
Believe in the energies (operations, i.e. works)? I don't need to believe in them, I've seen them!

The energies (energeiai) are not the works (ergon); instead, the works (ergon) are caused by the energies (energeiai). The energies (energeiai) are the enactments of the divine powers (dynameis) by the three divine persons, and so they (i.e., the energies) are God as He is made manifest.
Posted By: lm Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 10:31 PM
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Simplicity would only be destroyed if I accepted your dialectical reasoning, but I reject it, because theology is transcends the limits of the human mind.


But human words are the only kinds which we have to do theology---to reflect upon the Word by whom we are saved.
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 10:37 PM
Originally Posted by lm
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Simplicity would only be destroyed if I accepted your dialectical reasoning, but I reject it, because theology is transcends the limits of the human mind.


But human words are the only kinds which we have to do theology---to reflect upon the Word by whom we are saved.

Theology in the proper sense of the term is experiential, and so it is not reducible to human words (cf. Dr. Scot Douglass' book, Theology of the Gap). That being said, the decrees (horoi) of the Councils are meant only to establish parameters within which we can speak, and as a consequence one must not look upon them (i.e., the decrees) as "definitions," because God is beyond any type of human definition.
Posted By: lm Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 10:48 PM
Yes, Yes but as St. John Chrysostom says in the Homilies on St. Matthew's Gospel:

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It were indeed meet for us not at all to require the aid of the written Word, but to exhibit a life so pure, that the grace of the Spirit should be instead of books to our souls, and that as these are inscribed with ink, even so should our hearts be with the Spirit. But, since we have utterly put away from us this grace, come, let us at any rate embrace the second best course.

For that the former was better, God has made manifest, both by His words, and by His doings.

...But since in process of time they made shipwreck, some with regard to doctrines, others as to life and manners, there was again need that they should be put in remembrance by the written word....Reflect then how great an evil it is for us, who ought to live so purely as not even to need written words, but to yield up our hearts, as books, to the Spirit; now that we have lost that honor, and are come to have need of these, to fail again in duly employing even this second remedy. For if it be a blame to stand in need of written words, and not to have brought down on ourselves the grace of the Spirit; consider how heavy the charge of not choosing to profit even after this assistance, but rather treating what is written with neglect, as if it were cast forth without purpose, and at random, and so bringing down upon ourselves our punishment with increase.
But that no such effect may ensue, let us give strict heed unto the things that are written...



Have a blessed afternoon. Let us pray for one another.
Posted By: Apotheoun Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/19/08 11:00 PM
The Fathers were always reticent to speak about divine things, for they knew that human language was the creation of man, and not the creation of the Creator of man. Nevertheless, as St. Hilary pointed out:

". . . the errors of heretics and blasphemers force us to deal with unlawful matters, to scale perilous heights, to speak unutterable words, to trespass on forbidden ground. Faith ought in silence to fulfill the commandments, worshipping the Father, reverencing with Him the Son, abounding in the Holy Spirit, but we must strain the poor resources of our language to express thoughts too great for words. The error of others compels us to err in daring to embody in human terms truths which ought to be hidden in the silent veneration of the heart."


Originally Posted by lm
Have a blessed afternoon. Let us pray for one another.


God bless you too, and may God always watch over you.
Posted By: ajk Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/21/08 01:05 PM
Originally Posted by lm
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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.
True, they would (on the basis of what I understand as your interpretation), but why not then use (a fortiori) 2 and 1&3, i.e.:

2 destroys God's Simplicity while 1&3 (emphasized in 3) preserves it?

Originally Posted by lm
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

This does seem to subordinate (perhaps not the best word) Will and Act (energia) to consubstantial->homoousious->ousios. Also,(not referring to this post) later interpretations of Energy should not be read back into every prior use of the word energy as a demonstration of the new interpretation's validity.
Posted By: lm Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 10/23/08 04:16 AM
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True, they would (on the basis of what I understand as your interpretation), but why not then use (a fortiori) 2 and 1&3, i.e.:

2 destroys God's Simplicity while 1&3 (emphasized in 3) preserves it?


That's fine.

After thinking about this I went back to review The Triads and this caught my eye:

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[The human mind] will attain to that light, and will become worthy of supernatural vision of God, not seeing the Divine Essence, but seeing God by a revelation appropriate and analagous to Him.


I.iii My emphasis.

Aquinas, when he considers the knowledge of God that is attainable by human reason, considers the importance of analogical meaning of words derived from man's knowledge of sensible things.

See the ST Prima pars Q. 15 art 5:

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I answer that, Univocal predication is impossible between God and creatures. The reason of this is that every effect which is not an adequate result of the power of the efficient cause, receives the similitude of the agent not in its full degree, but in a measure that falls short, so that what is divided and multiplied in the effects resides in the agent simply, and in the same manner; as for example the sun by exercise of its one power produces manifold and various forms in all inferior things. In the same way, as said in the preceding article, all perfections existing in creatures divided and multiplied, pre-exist in God unitedly.

Thus when any term expressing perfection is applied to a creature, it signifies that perfection distinct in idea from other perfections; as, for instance, by the term wise applied to man, we signify some perfection distinct from a man's essence, and distinct from his power and existence, and from all similar things; whereas when we apply to it God, we do not mean to signify anything distinct from His essence, or power, or existence. Thus also this term wise applied to man in some degree circumscribes and comprehends the thing signified; whereas this is not the case when it is applied to God; but it leaves the thing signified as incomprehended, and as exceeding the signification of the name. Hence it is evident that this term wise is not applied in the same way to God and to man. The same rule applies to other terms. Hence no name is predicated univocally of God and of creatures.


My emphasis.

Aquinas continues:

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Neither, on the other hand, are names applied to God and creatures in a purely equivocal sense, as some have said. Because if that were so, it follows that from creatures nothing could be known or demonstrated about God at all; for the reasoning would always be exposed to the fallacy of equivocation. Such a view is against the philosophers, who proved many things about God, and also against what the Apostle says: "The invisible things of God are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made" (Romans 1:20). Therefore it must be said that these names are said of God and creatures in an analogous sense, i.e. according to proportion.


Emphasis added.

JPII gives a good example by considering what Fatherhood in God must be:

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In itself, [God's] "generating" has neither "masculine nor "feminine" qualities. It is by nature totally divine. It is spiritual in the most perfect way, since "God is Spirit" and possesses no property typical of the body, neither "feminine" nor "masculine". Thus even "fatherhood" in God is completely divine and free of masculine bodily characteritistics.


Mulieris dignitatem

While I appreciate Palamas' point that it is impossible to comprehend God, and hence for theosis there must be some "revelation" analogous to Him by which man attains to theosis, Aquinas is not unaware of the difficulty. In Q. 12 art. 7 ST, Prima pars he states:

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I answer that, It is impossible for any created intellect to comprehend God; yet "for the mind to attain to God in some degree is great beatitude," as Augustine says (De Verbis Domini, Sermon 37).


In the Summa Contra Gentiles Bk Three, Part I he states:

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Now, the final limit to which contemplation can reach is the divine substance. Hence, the mind which sees the divine substance must be completely cut off from the bodily senses, either by death or by ecstacy.


Palamas states:

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And what am I to say of this union...disengaged by ecstacy from all perception of the senses or intellect, admitted to the true vision because they ceased to see...


The difference between Palamas and Aquinas seems to be in this:

One says that God is utterly incomprehensible and we reach God in theosis by an analogy. The other says that through analogical terms, man can come to some very limited knowledge about God in this life, and yet in final union man "sees" the essence of God, without comprehending it. No that's theosis!

Aquinas has this in his favor:

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For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.


1 Corinthians 13.

And don't forget the distinct praise given to Aquinas by
Gennadios Scholarios which I have mentioned in other threads.

I would also argue that Aquinas has The Canticle of Canticles in his favor which is about the real union of the lover and the beloved. Finally, I would say that he has the Incarnation in his favor.

Interestingly enough, Aquinas himself shortly before his death, was taken up into this ecstacy. After his vision which was purportedly on the Feast of St. Nicholas, he gave up writing and said that compared to what he had seen, everything he had written was but straw. How amazing for one who, as man with great faith, holiness and learning, understood so much about Scripture, theology and philosophy.




Posted By: CathariC Re: Eastern Catholic theology and doctrine - 01/24/21 06:03 PM
Respectfully, I found John Meyendorff's "Living Tradition" clear and easy to share with others.
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